Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary
My Loves

Vincent Murphy

Central New York

Central New York


Come On!


I miss my Missy

Better Days

Better Days
they'll come again

Alicia Vida Billman

Alicia Vida Billman
is 29 today

This says it all!

This says it all!
Friday noon, you're coming home with me Vinny.

Vincent Murphy?

Vincent Murphy?

Tuesday nights

Tuesday nights
are gonna change in May

Mr. Murphy

Mr. Murphy
waiting for his haircut

When I get bored

When I get bored
I take pictures of myself in bathrooms

Graphic Boulevard

Graphic Boulevard
blown transformers and a tree

Cars in Bergenfield

Cars in Bergenfield
didn't do well

House on Queen St

House on Queen St
with a for sale sign in front of it


Storm 2010

Vincent Murphy

Vincent Murphy
and his look alike Bob Murphy

Off my back porch

Off my back porch
Don't worry I didn't take this pic while falling

Down Kellogg Street

Down Kellogg Street

Up Kellogg Street

Up Kellogg Street

My house, our cars

My house, our cars

Winter 2010

Winter 2010


I want summer back!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Fetish or Product Indorsement? You decide.

From Wikipedia (that source of student resentment) we get the following definition of the word fetish . . .

Fetish may refer to:

* Fetish, a song by Dj Falk
* Fetishism, the attribution of religious or mystical qualities to inanimate objects
* Sexual fetishism, sexual attraction to materials and objects not conventionally viewed as being sexual in nature
* Fetish (album) (1999), by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
* Commodity fetishism, a Marxist concept of valuation in capitalist markets
* Growth Fetish, the pursuit of economic growth in politics and economic theory as a universal cure for all society's problems
* Fetish fashion, clothing and clothing fetishes
* Zuni fetishes, small carvings from various stones, made by the Zuni Indians
* Venturi F├ętish, a car produced by Venturi Automobiles

Lit crit folks have loved to roll around in the grass with this idea for decades. The thing about a fetish that's so cool is that imbuing it with any of the above mentioned qualities means that we're acknowledging that we love the thing and somehow think the thing loves in return. Yeah, I know it gets a little weird because the thing that loves us in return is so subjective and individuated. Maybe for some wackier types it's something really crazy like John Donne's poetry or some such other written word that makes one's heart swell.

I have few such things in my life; I am, for all my flights of fancy, sort of grounded in the "real thing" (Jess, if you're out there, I expect you to recognize that allusion and want to read Bill Unwin again), but . . .

I have to say that . . .

I heart Trappist Ginger preserves with a heart so full, so true, so . . .

Seriously, this stuff is so good -- spicy, sweet, spicy -- oh yeah baby!

I hope it's on a shelf at a store near you. If not, maybe you should see if you can get it on the Internet, but watch out, it's magic.

Anybody got any recommendations for me?

P.S.: I'm not telling which definition from the above best described my "relationship" with ginger preserves.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

just gotta add one more . . .

6) get new watch instantly addiction to old Ballykissangel episodes under control before I have another Lost/Six Feet Under/Big Love type situation on my hands

Weekend, I Loves You!!!!

Don't get me wrong. It's been a pretty good week. Work has been fun, and now that my tenure file is done I don't spend all my extra time writing stuff that attempts to make me sound good enough to keep my job and/or copying said stuff. So here are some weekend goals I'm setting for myself. Some are weather-dependent, some are not:

1) use camera that I got for Christmas and put pics on blog

2) give Missy the bath I didn't give her Monday so she'll smell good for her spring break excursion

3) mop floors instead of just saying I'm going to mop floors

4) get birthday cards, anniversary card, and gift card for the moms and the pops so I don't seem like a total loser when I go to NJ for their birthdays/anniversary

5) face the music -- which translates to go out in the backyard (handsaw at the ready) and see what winter ravaged this time -- pile stuff at curb

Stuff piled at curb may actually be taken in a timely manner, considering that National Grid is cutting down trees on Kellogg St. Yup, I got a letter that said they're taking out trees (huge old ones) and that one in front of my house will fall in March. Am I gonna chain myself to it? No. As a matter of fact, I kind of hope the tree (well, part of it) lands on the house because I really need a new roof. Ah, the desperation of the middle class New Yorker!

Do you have any goals this weekend?

Monday, February 23, 2009

In another effort to be optimistic . . .

even though it's snowing and blowing, I'm going to make a list of all the good stuff that's happening in the land and life of new york a go go:
1) Still got a band -- yeah!!!! Even after a practice yesterday at which band mate N realized that I really meant it when I said I don't really know any music, he later called to talk about pieces he's gathering for us to practice, chic music to be more specific.
2) Grading almost done, yeah!!!! Business letters, as usual, contain some funny faux pas. Here's an almost cute word choice example: I am happy to inform you that the University of Nevada would be enthralled to have your regional fashion show hosted here. I suspect somebody clicked on thesaurus to get that one.
3) No driving to work for a meeting if it's snowing and blowing -- yeah!!!! This little worker bee, cog in the wheel, whatever, will stay safe and sound if the snow keeps up.
4) Countdown to SPRING BREAK -- yeah!!!! My SPRING BREAK starts in 11 days!
5) If I do stay home today, Missy gets a bath -- yeah!!!! I realize that of the two of us I'm the only one excited about this one.
How 'bout you? Got any good stuff goin' on? How about those Oscars? Comments, anyone?
Happy Monday

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Technology, ain't it amazing?

I finally figured out how to jazz up my blog, well, a little. This background is called "retro spring" but I chose it because I have knee socks that look just like this -- amazing, huh?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

If you've ever taught creative writing . . .

specifically memoir, I'm going to ask a favor. I've taught the memoir several times and liked some things about some books and really disliked some things about others. So far Judith Barrington's Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Art has been my favorite. She seems no so pretentious and sort of down to earth. But if anybody out there knows of a great text, please holler. I'm turning in my summer book order soon. At the risk of being kicked out of the clubhouse, I'll say up front that I used Bird by Bird once and didn't like it.

Happy Saturday
At least the snow has stopped!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Ed, Colin, you're overacting

Well, here I am at 7:00 in the morning watching the end of a movie whose name I don't know. It's about New York City cops, and being a man, and (I think) being Irish, and (I think) doing the right thing in tough times. It's pretty bad; it's pretty macho.

It makes me wonder, once again, how does this stuff get into my queue? Do I have blackouts, or just terrible lapses in judgment? After all, I'm an educated person. You'd think I'd pick better movies (okay, now people are hitting each other with bats, mob style, but they're cops, get it?). Edward Norton should ashamed of himself and spend his time finishing Motherless Brooklyn, which now has a release date of 2010.

I guess we all need some mindless drivel every once in a while, and not every movie has to be somehow significant or thoughtful or good. I mean they can't all have Keanu Reeves in them.

So here's my optimistism-oriented end of the week wrap up of things to be happy about:
-- I have three sets of things to grade by Tuesday, but I don't have four

-- I'm turning in my tenure file today

-- I have some cool things to look forward to this weekend, including the following: Sunday (Feb 22) at 10:30 am, Maurice Isserman will be speaking at the UU Church, 10 Higby St Utica, 13501. The title of his talk is "From Anne Hutchinsson to the Mohawk Valley Peace Coalition: four centuries of radical dissent in America".If you're in CNY, come on down.

-- If the snow quits, I think Ruby would like to go for a drive. She needs to get to know that there's so much more to Utica than just driving to work and back.

-- numero uno reason for optimism -- Spring Break is within range, less than two weeks away, and Ruby and me, well we're hittin' the road

-- and (jeez I almost forgot!) I GOT A BAND. Yeah, the dude did actually email me and wants to practice

Anybody out there got any news, plans, movies you're ashamed to say you watch?
Happy Friday

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Two posts in one day!?

Yeah there's just something I've gotta get off my chest, so to speak. I think that the triple whammy of tenure and winter and back pain have all conspired against me to turn me into a somewhat less than optimistic, kinda crabby, less than confident, sorta insecure, more negative than I care to be, almost furtive bundle of nerves. So, I hereby resolve to get back on track. I, Patricia Murphy, will:
-- complain less (don't expect miracles; it's a work in progress)
-- frown less (frowning is especially dangerous at my age, as it makes me look tired and old in a sort of Hillary Clinton way, sorry Hil)
-- make a HUGE effort to go back to being the naive and optimistic secular humanist (for lack of a more fitting term) who walked down that aisle at graduation way back in 2003 clutching that empty diploma holder and ready to change the world
-- reassert myself as more than cog, while remembering we're all cogs to a certain degree (the ultimate irony/agony of being a pragmatist?)
-- build a bomb; no I just put that in to amuse you
-- cheer up, for goodness sake. After all, winter will end, tenure will come or not, and by golly, people like me . . .
There! I feel better, a little.
Help me keep my resolve, will ya, especially if you work with me. If I'm "goin' off," just tell me to shut up. Thanks

Thanks for keeping us safe, but can ya do it a little later?

Today I don't have to wonder what woke me up at 4:15 in the morning because I knew right away. Those of you who live in CNY know that it snowed last night -- what I hope will be winter's last attempt to kick the crap out of any enthusiasm I might be able to muster up for living in what my father calls "the north country".

Yes, I know I personalize too much. Winter doesn't do this to me personally. I know the Puritans were a bit over the top with the whole howling wilderness that's testing our resolve thing, but you gotta admit it's been a long, protracted winter. I don't know about anybody else, but even though I can keep my head down and muddle through there comes a time when winter needs to be over. Unfortunately, my time for winter to be over and winter's time for winter to be over don't always coincide.

So, I'm listening to the plows go up and down Kellogg St. and trying to be optimistic. I know it'll be spring someday.

On a brighter note, I don't wanna sound like a braggart but . . .


Those of you who've known me long enough to be in a car or a house or a bar with karaoke with me know that I love to sing. Well, last night at my favorite coffee shop the two musicians who were playing asked me if I wanted to do a song with them, and I did, and (yeah, I'm getting all excited here) and they said they'd been looking for a female vocalist and they took my email and . . .
ya know what? Even if nothing comes of it, I had a lot of fun and it was very flattering.

I don't actually know much of any music, what with the whole I'm an Indie rock snob thing I've got going on, but I've always been a quick study when it comes to learning melodies. Words, well that might be tricky. If any a yous want to get in the ground floor, feel free to become part of my entourage now before I get too famous.

I hope that if you're battling the winter blues something funny and/or fun happens to you and cheers you up. If so, why not share it with the rest of us? We could all use a lift. Btw, some guy on the radio called this "mid winter" yesterday. My fury was quick and palpable. I think I need my happy light.
Happy Thursday

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I'm afraid it's that time of year again -- when I sorta get my Irish on. In my defense, I can't help it. When I was growing up in the big NJ, St. Patrick's Day was really the only time of the year I thought it might be even a little bit cool to be an Irish American. After all, I do possess the most common Irish surname, so looking for leprechauns and four leaf clovers ought to come natural to me.

It does and it doesn't. For me, St. Patrick's Day has always been a strange time. When I lived in Idaho there weren't too many Irish Americans around, and my daughters' school teachers sometimes asked me to make soda bread and bring it to class. I would comply and even lead them in a round of The Wearin' of the Green or some such other song. But one time some teacher asked me to talk about Ireland, and there you have it. I don't know a thing about Ireland, really. It is my little fantasy island in a way -- the place my grandfather ran from and never talked about. When he, Daniel Tade (or Tadhg if ya wanna get Irish about it), left Cork he really left it, case closed, New World; New York City here I come.

My mother's family is really the more Irish side in a way. While my father's father was Irish, he died young and my grandmother's British influence is more apparent in my father. My mother's side of the family has been from NYC so long that they know as much about Ireland as I do.

But, is that gonna stop me from making corned beef and cabbage? Well, no, and as a matter of fact I made some on Sunday. Is that gonna stop me from singing Danny Boy accompanied by my computer-generated melody? Nope, even while I feel like a total fool doing it, I'll be belting it out with tears streaming down me face.

It's kinda weirdly hypocritical, I think, for someone so lacking in any kind of "pride" to get all sappy every year for a few weeks. I can't even say it's because of family tradition. Yeah, we ate corned beef and sometimes my mother bought a soda bread from the bakery, and we'd say Erin Go Bragh at the dinner table, but I think St. Patrick's Day was more a Hallmark holiday.

So, maybe St. Patrick's Day is my gothic -- the terrible beauty to which I am drawn. I dunno, but I think I'm going to invest in a pretty good whiskey for this one. So think of me, dear bloggers, on March 17th when I may be reeling around with cabbagey breath singing When Irish Eyes Are Smiling over the phone to Mr. and Mrs. Murphy while trying to keep from them the fact that I've had a wee drop.

Anybody else have any customs, traditions or holidays that make them feel ambivalent? I bet I'm not the only one . . .

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

tempting fate

The other day as I was biting into a Luna Bar, my friend Doug pointed out that those tasty little gems of quick-fix protein were being recalled (voluntarily it turns out) due to the peanut pandemic. I continued chomping and said what I always say in such circumstances: "oh well, I've had a good life," and I have.

Sometimes, now that I have Ruby the red Spectra who can go fast without sounding like she's about to disintegrate (those of you who remember Blue Boy or who actually had the pleasure of being a passenger know that he was, well, old and, well, scarily noisy sometimes), I find myself going fast -- a little too fast. I guess I relied on Blue Boy's warning (whining?) system to let me know when I was at 72 -- that was his approaching critical mass speed.

What's the point of all this, you might well ask. Well, I guess it's about small ways of tempting fate. You know, those little things we do that make us feel like we can, in some small way, take a walk on the slightly wild side. What do you do to make yourself feel ever so slightly dangerous?

Happy Tuesday

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday Morning Dream Vacation

I don't often wish I was someplace else. It's just not my nature, I guess because I'm such a here and now sorta person. But this morning I've been thinking about how if I was in Pocatello, Idaho right now I could, in about a half hour, go around the corner to the College Market and get Christie to make me an Americano. I could sit and chat with her and then start my day.

I don't often get too nostalgic about my former life, and I'm well aware that the rosy little picture I have painted in my head of me sitting on the College Market patio is kinda, well, a silly one. After all, it's probably about 20 degrees there, and since it's Idaho there might be wind (haha, might be: I crack myself up sometimes). But, I know that a moment of escapism can be very helpful in times of stress, otherwise known as, yes, you guessed it


Have you begun to sense that a certain theme is going to be running through my blog posts? I'll try to keep it under control.

Where do you want to be when the goin' gets tough, and why?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

My thoughts on the world, well not really . . .

As I approach this new, grownup milestone rite of passage thing we'll call tenure, I have a few things to say:


Yeah, that's how I feel right now, but I'm sure I'll get over it.
Until I do, dear bloggers, wanna share with me your top five things you're looking forward to or things you appreciate? Here are mine:

1) It's sunny today, and the snow is melting.

2) I am cooking corned beef and cabbage for dinner tonight.

3) I am currently out of my tenure-induced depression long enough to vacuum the house today (first time in three weeks). Hooray, no more dog-colored carpets!

4) I have two cool things to do in my writing classes this week, so I think it's gonna be some fun.

5) Teresa's Facebook discussion workshop on Friday should be cool, way cool.

That's it for me. Whatcha got?

I'm Back!!!!!!

Murphy's New York a go go 2 is up and running, but it's gonna be password-protected.