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, November 5, 2010


Well I'm ack again, and to get ack into the swing of logging I'll do a list of things that are going on in my little world:
the b key on my keyoard does not apparently want to work too well
i have a cold, ut will remain undaunted y it
today is my rockstar roommate's irthday
my cat keeps getting fluffier y the day -- pictures soon
it took me two weeks to grade my usiness students' papers -- my worst turnaround time yet
i will not assign a paper that requires my usiness writers summarize articles of their choice again ecause i can't read that many (44) articles (especially from overachievers like you justin).
i am not looking forward to winter (as usual) ut think that hanging purple sheers in the living room will help; your thoughts?
as we approach the first holiday without my father, i am resolved to make it a good one, despite the fact that i miss him so.
i resolve also to reduce complaints aout the haircut that the very nice and well intentioned tacy gave me y 40%.
i resolve to look at the positive result that came from the aovementioned haircut. i learned the following new term: Mullshit: (Advanced term)When it's clearly NOT a mullet. Example: Yer hangin' out at Del Taco and and yer friend says, "Look at that mull" and it's obviously not.

that's it for now. have a lovely weekend. oh, one more thing: i think i'll try saying weekend like someone from scotland all weekend, y placing more emphasis on the second syllable than i normally would. why don't you try it too and let me know how it goes? note: if you're from scotland, oviously you could try the experiment in reverse.

no justin i'm not heavily medicated, just ridiculous.
have a great weekend.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Hello World

My back pain is subsiding again, as is the crazy all over body pain. Since it's the weekend I'm gonna go overdo now, which sadly for me means vacuuming the house. Oh, strange new world that has such appliances in't!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A rant about insurance companies . . .

well just mine. How is it that in the same 24 hour period I can have to learn about and absorb the following:
1) My insurance company has sent my ob/gyn a list of patients who did not act on their mammogram prescriptions, along with instructions to call said patients and guilt trip them, and
2) I will have to decide how much I can afford (out of pocket) I will be willing to pay for acupuncture just because the acupuncturist (who is smart and knowledgeable) is not credentialed in a way my insurance company recognizes.

Okay, before I go any further I need to caveat: yes, mammograms are good for everybody. Yes, there is always a chance that people who aren't D.O.s or M.D.s might be incompetent. But somehow that doesn't mean much when right now at this the technologically advanced 21st century of medicine, I still can't walk in the morning and I missed two days of work. To a closet puritan like me, that's egregious to put it mildly.

Since I like to keep my rants brief and since computing bothers my back, I'll close now. I do feel better. Thanks blog.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dear Blog,

Sometimes I truly wish that you occupied that place in my life you used to, back in the day. But I've been thinking this morning about how different things are now than they used to be back then, and I think sometimes that my new life just doesn't allow for the kind of emotional engagement you used to make me want to commit to.

Another big problem is that you represent for me the kind of engagement that requires (at least in my mind) some optimism and psychic wherewithall that I just don't have right now. I fear that if I feed you too many posts I'll have to face the cringing whiny pessimist you reveal all too clearly to me that I've become.

And, yes blog, I know that this state and status is temporary. I know too that it's created and fed by chronic pain and things like looking at my fingers and finding out that somewhere along the line two of them have become misshapen by arthritis. See what I mean about whiny?

So, it appears that for now the options are clear:
a) stop blogging-whiny little bitch
b) blog and whine and blog and whine with the full speed ahead narcissism I know I'm fully capable of
c) blog about the positive aspects of having chronic pain and my active search for help from various medical and "pseudo" medical"
d) replace "positive" (above, c) with negative, even though it becomes a restating of a).
e) lay off blogging for awhile
Which will I choose? Who knows? For now, I gotta go cozy up to my Saunders Lumbar traction machine.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My Thoughts on Having a Wedding . . .

1) It still scares me, but much less than it used to.
2) I'm pretty darn excited that I'm gonna do it.
3) I can't imagine making all those wedding planning decisions because it took me I dunno maybe a year to decide on the paint for my upstairs bedroom. Also I've never been a bride at a real wedding before, much less a frumpy middle aged one.
4) One thing I know I want -- kazoos for everybody.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

In short, my thoughts on the reorganization of SUNYIT

There are some great opportunities for humor in my work place; let's face it sometimes we laugh to avoid the alternative. In this the first throes of my school's restructure, I feel like going to work is almost surreal. There are all the everyday things like what will I do when I actually need some more chalk (insert legal pads, insert dry erase markers, insert staples), and there are the more abstract things like wow I felt bad for the adjuncts I talked to yesterday who somehow hadn't been told that they actually have two mailboxes now, one in an at that time yet to be disclosed location.

So for many agita seems to reign supreme at the SUNY Institute of Technology, whether it be about the semantics of our new transitional place of work or about the political intrigue that inevitably accompanies such an undertaking. As for me, I seem to be turning to the sense of humor that has gotten me through so many things, as evidenced by the following email I sent to the print shop last week asking for copies of my syllabi. The recipient's name has been left out to protect his/her anonymity. It went like this:

Subject: Knock, Knock . . .
(and in the body of the text): Who's there?
Orange who?
Orange you glad the faculty are back to drive you crazy?

Okay, so it's not that funny in the retelling; frankly it wasn't that funny to begin with. But it is my hope that this semester I can find some way to step out of the line of fire from people who might (understandably) get worked into a lather at the drop of a hat. My students just don't need an hysterical teacher.

One of the things I'll be doing to relieve stress is attending the following events at The Other Side on Genesee St. in Utica next door to Cafe Domenico:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010, 7:30 p.m. The Imagining America series that brings in scholars from Hamilton College into the city to give talks, Chautauqua-style, from their areas of expertise, especially the humanities and arts. The 3rd season is to be launched with a talk by Peter Cannavo, associate professor of Government, titled "Green Citizenship: Environmentalism and Civic Virtue in an Age of Oil Spills and Tea Parties."

Sunday, 9/19/10 6:30-8:30 p.m. Climate Change Forum with Ken Mazlen. Cal Ken, 734-9076 for more information. This forum will be held regularly on third Sundays each month.

There are a ton of things to do at The Other Side, so if you want to either escape or engage check it out. Personally, I plan to do both.

In other news: Coming soon to the Factory Times Issue One, an in depth article about SUNYIT's restructure. I don't know about you all, but I can't wait. Jess, I'm gonna need that game night to start SOON.

Coming soon to MNYAGG: what do students in Dr. Murphy's business communications and creative writing classes say about the new "system" at their school?


Monday, September 6, 2010

Chronic Pain

Yep, that's me sometimes. And sometimes it's because of the aforementioned title. If you know me more than casually, you know that I live with chronic pain from what I sometimes call the triumvirate of evil: fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis. I know the last ailment in that group is supposed to be painless, but I think it's responsible for the weak hollow feeling that I swear resides in my bones and not in my muscles.

And if you know me in person, you know that while I do talk about pain, sometimesit seems to me ad nauseum, I am also loathe to accept it, to call it for example "my pain".

But it is my pain, and chronic pain changes the way we live our lives. The facts are these: one, while there are places in my body that always hurt every day (neck, lower back and feet) there are also places that hurt intermittently; two, if I talked about pain, that would seem to me linguistically imprecise because it's the combination of types of pain(s) (stinging, aching, and sharp) that really kicks my butt, so to speak; finally, the problem of pain is, for me, compounded by things like my hands and feet don't work in the morning, so I stumble around and drop things a lot.

What I'm doing about it:
Well, I get a Boniva shot every three months. I take Zyflamend, CoQ10 and calcium every day and even tried Savella until the side effects became unbearable. I take ibuprophen and acetaminophen together when it's impossible to function without it. I stretch and try to do yoga, but I've given up walking for now because it makes my legs hurt too much the next day.

What I'm going to do about it:
I'm going to start acupuncture and in November I'm going to a neurologist my rheumatologist is sending me to.

I have recently learned that even though I thought bizarre cross doctor situations were little more than fodder for internet discussion groups and lifetime movies, you can (well, I can) become embroiled in some ridiculousness. My general practitioner, I found out recently, does not believe in rheumatologists or fibromyalgia. So I was treated to a lecture, just what I needed. My rheumatologist's physicians assistant seemed cranky at best the last time I was there a month or so ago and blamed everything on the "fibro". Everything that is until we got to the part where I said my feet won't hold me up first thing in the morning.

What I feel about writing this right:
Yeah, I feel like a whiner; I admit it. I would like to be the same woman who was able to ignore chronic pain for the 15 or so years I've had it, but it just didn't hurt so damn badly then. Maybe all that "ignorance" is part of why my pain has now become so hard to manage.

Why I'm writing this right now:
Well I was hoping that maybe someone would do a google search, see this blog, and read this and get some information about what I'm doing to keep afloat.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Essay: The Love of Old Houses

I went back to work yesterday, that is to do the teaching part. I was worried that I would fall apart if somebody expressed his/her condolences. And by mid morning somebody did. And it was okay. And it made me think, really think, about that word that Mark Doty uses as the centerpiece of "Essay: The Love of Old Houses", the word "dwelling".

This one word with its multiple meanings is a source of comfort for Doty as he mourns the death of his longtime partner Wally Roberts. Published in 2002, the poem has been a source (no pun intended even though the book that contains it is titled Source, honest)of comfort for me as I've transitioned from west to east, from one old house to another, giving up so much and acquiring so much in the process.

The problem for me is that "dwelling" also means thinking too much when I stay in my dwelling too much. And that means hashing and rehashing all the sad and frustrating things that have come down the pike over the last few years.

But guess what?

I made it.

I talked to approximately 67 students in the course of nine hours, and we had a blast.

I went home and reread a letter from a student thanking me for all I'd done for her and remembered how easy and natural it was for me to help shape her education and how lucky I was to be able to do so.

If this post seems scattered and disorganized I guess it's because it's one of those times when I can't really tell you how I feel in words. If you want to know how sad and hopeful I feel, you should probably read Doty's poem. Heck, I think everybody should read it at:
Have a good one!


Friday, August 27, 2010

Child Abandonment

. . . that's what I ouggta take my kids to court over. Pinhead's moving to Boston and Bighead's going back to Portland on Tuesday. DOES ANYBODY EVER CONSIDER THE MOM? Yeah I know; they're grownups.

Speaking of kids, I saw my ex roomie Sam yesterday. She's visiting with the man in her life (son Jonathan), and it was great to see her and great to meet him. He is adorable and full of personality, just the kind of kid I like. Sam's doing a great job.

I go back to work Tuesday. Everything's a first for me these days, and this is no exception: first semester back to teaching since dad died. I often tell stories about my family in my memoir class, but this semester I'll likely have to avoid that: too soon, too much.

Well, that's it for now,

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Back to Blogging?

Hello Blog,
I have to admit I haven't thought of you much at all lately. But reading Clark's blog and reading some of my old posts reminded me that there is life after the death of one's father, so here goes:
1) I can't sleep again, whah!
2) Missy smells really bad today for some reason.
3) I still love Missy despite the disgusting aroma wafting off of her.
4) I can't give her a bath because it's raining.
5) I can't go to Ithaca with D and Li today because it's raining and I'm too tired (see 1 above)
6) Vincent is adorable, mostly because he doesn't stink.
7) I'm feeling sorry for myself (in case you couldn't guess from reading 1-5 above).
8) A really bad smell just came off of Missy, so I have to go give her a bath NOW.

How'd I do for my first time back?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

NJ, I love ya, but come on . . .

Since I've been staying here (for two weeks now) we haven't really had a "Jersey Day". That's the kind of day when you wake up and feel the air outside pressing in on the screen window. It's the kind of day that doesn't go well, weather wise. Sometimes rain will fall, and if you've lived somewhere else where rain means a cooling down, you'll think okay, now it's gonna cool down. Likely it will not.

Today is gonna be one of those days, with an expected high of 88 degrees. It'll make me think of summer days long ago when I went from lap to lap trying to find someone patient enough to let me sit on them and add to their discomfort. It'll make me think of car trips with no air conditioning during which I also went from lap to lap as we set out for exotic locations like the Bronx and Long Island. And later it'll make me think about how my father let me sit on his lap on the front porch as he told scary stories to neighborhood kids gathered at his feet: stories he made up on the spot. I'll be sharing some of those with you.

I guess if you have memories like I have, even "Jersey Days" are good days.

Monday, June 14, 2010

I'd Like To Share This With You

I decided to post my "This I Believe" essay because it captures my parents' marriage and how much they love each other.

My parents are getting old; even by our new techno-medically induced standards, at ninety-seven and eighty-eight, they’re really getting old. They still live in the same suburban New Jersey home where I grew up. I’m four hours away in central New York, that rust belt of broken down towns and tenuous local economies.

Sometimes I worry about my parents a lot; always I worry at least a little. I worry about everything from dishonest plumbers to slippery front steps and basement stairs. But somehow they keep going. When serious medical concerns come and go, they continue to prop each other up.

My parents met when my mother was invited to my father’s sister’s wedding next door to where she lived in the Bronx. My father, a soldier in WWII, was home on leave from the Philippines, and when he returned to duty they corresponded in letters now neatly bundled in the attic. They had three kids right away, left the city for New Jersey and years later had another child, me.

I grew up in the 70s, before the Garden State came into its own, when we were still ashamed to be New Jerseyians. In high school it was always a source of discontent; the sameness, the same lack of identity in every north Jersey town wore me out. So I left and went to the West and worked on my superior attitude. I rhapsodized about the openness, the big blue sky, later the feeling I got from raising my kids in such a safe place. My family put up with running commentary about Jersey’s dirty air and overcrowding when I came for visits.

But by the time I finished graduate school I was ready to leave the rural West; accompanying the big sky was a rampant conservatism that I just couldn’t even understand. So there I was at 42 years old, running away to home in a way, but things had changed. I am now the middle aged child of really old parents, not the overindulged much younger one.

Sitting on my parents’ couch I overheard my father say something that I know I’ll always keep with me, as sappy and nostalgic as that might sound. As he bade my mother goodnight, he said “goodnight my dear; dream only of me.” With those words, I, the interloper on the couch, was reminded that there really is so much more to life that what we see on the surface as we rush every day from one important thing to another: as we fill our lives with the trappings of success.

I believe sometimes it’s the things we overhear that have the greatest impact on us. I think when we’re reminded inadvertently that people love each other profoundly we gain access to something important we can remember when we worry or become disgruntled in this time of fear. I believe that right now in history it’s more important than ever to overhear because we might be thrilled and inspired with what our ears pick up.

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My father . . .

was a very good man. I will miss him terribly. He passed away Saturday morning. When things settle down, I'll begin posting some things that I'd like you to know about him. Until then,

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Well, what can I say?

I'm in New Jersey with the Murphys. The hospice people are here. They are wonderful. My father is comfortable, on oxygen and morphine. I'm glad I'm here with him.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Imaginary Lover

If you read my blog, you know that I often make reference to a significant other, one "D". You may have wondered how come he never posts. You may have even begun to think that he doesn't exist, or is a cover for my closeted lesbianism (after all many people seem to think I'm gay when they first meet me), or that Clark is actually my boyfriend.

Yes, my significant other is a private person, but he does exist. Last night he cooked me dinner at my house because I didn't feel well. As a matter of fact, he came in, didn't bother me, and fixed dinner in my appliance-impoverished kitchen quietly and without complaint while I watched Up on my laptop in bed.

He's great, and I hope that any of you who know him will chime in and verify his existence. I'll give you bonus points if you can (without google) name the band from whose song my post title comes.

Tomorrow I'm putting up a little quiz I'm designing to see how "out the box" you are, so tune in.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The 2 Cat Couple

I'm at D's house where I am listening to Miss Sophie (his cat) meow by turns pitiously and angrily because she is in the kennel about to go to the vet. Getting her in the kennel revealed what appeared to be an extra set of legs containing an extra set of claws that clamped themselves on the sides of the kennel door. I really do think I saw six legs, maybe eight.

Earlier today Vincent Murphy (my cat, not my father) decided to jump up and chase a bug or something -- on the curtains in my office. I wish I'd had a camera for the nanosecond his claws were stuck in the weave.

We are a two cat (and of course one dog) couple, D and I. How cosmopolitan, how twenty-first century, how middle aged. We love our pets, but I think we deal with their traumas differently. D apologized to Sophie all the way out the door just now, and no doubt he is gently tryting to calm her right now as he drives to the vet. I, on the other hand, put Vincent's carrier (which he too does not like to go into) on the backseat and tell him to "shut it" as I drive to our destination. Come to think of it, that's what I do with my father Vincent Murphy in the car (I'm joking!). One thing our cats have in common: they are both charmers once they get out of their carriers. They're that cute.

Do you have any cute pet stories? Come on, share why don't cha?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

It's like thunder, lightnin'

Last night Missy was so upset about the thunderstorm that she couldn't eat the benadryl-loaded hot dog that I placed under the bed where she was cowering. Cowering, panting, shaking, hyperventilating, she was doing it all right underneath me while I was trying to sleep. When she eventually came to the side of the bed where I'd placed the hot dog, I grabbed her collar and pulled her the rest of the way out, out the bedroom door into my office, whereupon I closed the door to my room and tried to go to sleep. By then the storm was long over. So my little bundle of nerves got medicated after the fact, but I'm sure she had a good night's sleep. I am a bad pet owner.

I know I said I wouldn't be blogging, but thanks to Clinton's bird population, which rises early and noisily (5:30) I seem to have a chunk of time. Aren't I the lucky one.

Thank you Clark and Lena for reminding me that you're "out there", on the Internet that is.

Today is stating off humid and stuffy, as I remind myself that my love of humidity is what brought me back to the East. I am going to spend some time looking at my unpublished poetry (which is most of my poetry, after all) to select four to send to the Rattle poetry contest, even though I know:
I do not stand a chance of winning.
I am a fool who will be out $25.00 for trying.
My best poem has already been published and is therefore ineligible.
A better known poet will win.
I would sell both my children (easy to say when they're 29 and 27) to even get an honorable mention.
My time might be better spent walking the dog or weeding that one last flower bed.
I will enter anyway and be genuinely hurt and confused when I do not win or place.
Even as I typed all the above, I had a fantasy wherein I won and accepted a huge award as well as the cash prize they give. I MEAN HUGE!

That's the way my brain works, so conflicted it is.

Have a peaceful day wherever you are.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Real Burnouts

played a great show at the Tram in Utica last night. They are so talented. Tofu Delux played after them, and they were great. And people say there's nothing to do in Utica!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Yes I love you, but . . .

I love my blog. I love it even though I suspect nobody reads it. It's a good "place" for me to come and talk about what's on my mind.

This summer I'm teaching two classes, jam packed into one month writing classes to be exact. So if you don't see me for awhile, that's because I'm either online doing bus com or in the classroom (3 and 1/2 hours Monday through Thursday) doing creative writing. I'm not whining (well maybe a little); I'm just saying I'll see ya blog, whenever I can.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Too nice to blog?

I'm afraid so. Today we went to Green Lakes State Park. Thank you Governor Patterson for not closing it yet. Tomorrow is the series finale of LOST, and the Lost Tribe (as we like to call ourselves) is picking up a few extras for the event at my house that starts at 4:00. I'm making Lentils Iraqi style in honor of Sayid. We'll have mango pie and chicken enchiladas. Can you guess which characters those two dishes will honor?

If you haven't yet, get outside. I don't know what it's like in Idaho (Clark?) but central New York is stunning. If you wanna join us tomorrow, bring a lawn chair and a dish to pass.

Happy Weekend,

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Summer Reading

I always start a book when I start my grading. It's a bad habit that I started years ago, but somehow I think it works for me. Yes, I am jumping the gun because really I can't sit and read when there's a stack of papers to grade. But I can use the book as a carrot, my reward for finishing my grading.

That's what I did with the book First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers. It was hard to read at times because Loung Ung's story is so emotionally wrenching. But all in all it was worth reading.

Next up: Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer, who is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. I just finished watching the moving for the third time this morning and can't wait to get the book. I know I should be working on my online class, which opens for viewing today, but it'll get done. It's only 8:00 and that's what the rest of the day is for.

This summer I am also going to listen to my second book on tape, and maybe more will follow. I guess I should say book on cd. Last summer I drove around and on trips listening to To Kill a Mockingbird, a book I never would have read. Listening to it was a pleasure. So does anybody out there have suggestions for an audio book or two?

Well, it's time to get to work, ANGEL (the online system, not the television series) awaits me. Tomorrow I think I'll blog about LOST as we head toward Sunday's series finale.

Peace Out,

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bustin' Out

in more ways than one. This morning I am going to get Missy from the kennel where she's been for over a week. Missy likes the kennel for several reasons. One is that my friend Cathy owns it, so she thinks she's going to Cathy's house. The other reason is that Missy can be close to other dogs without feeling threatened by them and therefore trying to kill them.

My other bustin' out is happening all over my backyard, as peas and lettuce come up in various locations. I soaked a whole packet of seeds because since I haven't had a garden in years I forgot that one packet is a small farm's worth. I have peas coming up in flower beds and alongside borders (of weeds, that is).

My online and f2f classes start one week from today, so today is a workday, devoted to rearranging things for the compressed version of what are normally 15 week courses into 4 week versions. Wish me luck.

In other news, I'm going to power wash the house this week, and you all know what that means. Soon I'll be testing the bonds of friendship by asking for volunteer painters. I know you can hardly wait.

If you visited my blog thanks to Clark's link, welcome. He gave me a plug for being a faithful blogger, which may be the reason I'm posting today. Say hello and volunteer to paint my house, why don't cha? It's safe enough to do if you're thousands of miles away.

But if you're viewing my blog from CNY, or even Connecticut or the Big Apple (Josh and Nick) get your painting clothes ready.

Before I go: Jeremy Petersen


Friday, May 14, 2010

Back In Massachusetts

Since my trip to New Jersey wound up being a trip to Holy Name Hospital because Vincent Murphy fainted, I'm just gonna put up a picture of better days with the family. It was taken this year in January at my Aunt Grace's house.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Jeremy Petersen

is one of my most talented friends and a music maven. He has a show, In House, on Oregon Public Broadcasting, and it's his job to find and play new music of the indie variety. I also recently found out that he has Google Alerts which tells him when somebody puts his name out there in the web of the world wide web.
So here I go:
Jeremy Petersen
Jeremy Petersen
Jeremy Petersen
Jeremy Petersen
Let's see if ho finds my blog, and maybe he'll even post a comment.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Well, it's snowing

When I was a fifteen years old and had just moved to McCall, Idaho people liked to tell me about how it could snow in June there. Lucky for me that didn't happen while I lived there. I'd never seen much snow growing up in New Jersey with its cushy four seasons. I swear springtime used to be more moderate than it is now.

When I moved to central New York I heard tell of snow in May, and so I thought the locals were just having their way with the new kid on the block who'd just fallen off the potato truck. Today I woke up to . . . well I think you can guess where this is going.

Yesterday was seventy mph winds and cold rain. There's a fifteen foot limb on the edge of my property that I hope the Village of Clinton will remove while I'm gone. I'm going to Massachusetts to spend Mother's Day with Pin Head, then to New Jersey to see the Murphys. Of course I had my snow tires taken off a month ago; it's spring right?

If you're a mom, or you're like a mom to someone, Happy Mother's Day. I'm lucky to have Mrs. Murphy and Aunt Grace doting over me still. They are the two left of the "Catholic Women's Trinity" as I like to call my mother and her two sisters. They made sure I didn't do anything dangerous when I was growing up, anything they knew about that is. The third in my Trinity has passed, and I miss my Aunt Eleanor every day. She taught me how to argue, which helps if you're gonna be a college English teacher. From Aunt Grace I got the ability to make friends on line at the grocery store and be positive in the face of adversity.

And from Mrs. Murphy? Well, besides life itself, I learned determination and the ability to take occasional pride in intellectual endeavors. She is my little General, and I am proud to be one of her battalion. She is also sweet and kind, in case you wondered. There is nothing in the world like hearing her say "oh you know we love you so much" when we talk on the phone.

I don't know what it means to be a good mother; there are just too many different ways to do it. All I know is that there's nothing like a mother's love, and I've had it times three. I'm a pretty lucky person.

Friday, May 7, 2010


Alicia Vida Billman, aka Big Head, is 29 years old today. How can it be? Since I am also 29, something seems mathematically wrong here. Perhaps Z can explain that. Last year I posted some big mushy thing about her birthday, but this year I'm going to skip that because she never reads my blog, and because:
Happy Birthday AVB. I love you just as much today as I did when we met 29 years ago after 23 hours of labor.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Good Lord NPR, what were you thinking?

So this is what I wrote today, and put up on NPR's community of posters, in response to Frank Deford's commentary this morning:

There are so many insensitive, disturbing and downright stupid elements of Frank Deford's commentary that it's hard to know where to begin. I'll say that he has clearly missed the point in his apparent acceptance of Roethlistberger'...s behavior. Sexual aggression and assault is violent no matter who the perpatrator. To give someone dispensation because he's dumb is ignorant to say the least. Sexual assault is an under punished crime in contemporary American society, and using the airwaves to assert that it is something that should be excused because of stupidity is disgusting. The rhetorical strategy of comparing a real person to a romanticized fictional character is a poor one at best. I turned off my radio and NPR has earned an indeterminate boycott; I'm just too angry to listen right now.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

On the threshold of indecision

I spend a lot of time talking to animals. And today I decided that I must say the phrase "do you want to go in(out)side?" about 50 times a day, at least on a day off. Today I stood in the threshold of the kitchen and said both three times. One pet, Vincent the cat, was on the back (enclosed0 porch, and the other, Missy the dog, was camped out in front of the fridge because she'd decided she deserved another dog cookie. I should add that Missy thinks I'm going senile (or she is) and that she can get more than one dog cookie per morning.

So there I was, trying to get them to decide, and they weren't budging. I thought they'd both have fun on the porch, but Missy wasn't having it. I told Vincent that his girlfriend was out (he sits in the living room window and she sits under it making eyes at him), but he wasn't moving. Meanwhile, I had some David Sedaris to read and a peer review sheet to write.

One thing about my pets though is that they're compliant little people pleasers, for the most part. So after two or three minutes the cat gave in. But it did get me thinking about how often I say that phrase, so next weekend I'll count. I think I'm like a mom with little kids, but I don't say things like "do you want your binkie?" or "do you need to go potty?". I actually never gave them a binkie and never said potty. That's why my kids still suck their thumbs and wet their pants at 27 and 28. Kidding! Well, maybe not.

What phrases do you find yourself saying over and over?

Have a great LOST Tuesday,

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Goodbye little purple flowers . . .

hello suburban looking lawn. Today I mowed the lawn for the first time this spring. In central New York our lawns are covered with little blue and purple flowers in spring. They come back even before the lawn does. Every first mowing is sad because I wait as long as I can, but eventually I have to turn the field of purple into a lawn of green. I shoulda took some before and after pics. Maybe Jess will email me the ones she took last week.

Sometimes the purple splendor comes back, sometimes it doesn't. It must be related to how high or low the blade is set. I hope this time the flowers come back. I do what I gotta do to live in civilization.

Last night I ate my first Charlie Boys Crown Burger of the season, delicious. Oh and National Poetry Month is winding down, so here's a new poem. Warning: it has a bad, bad word in it.


Imagine this: a man suddenly falls silent

And we want only to hear his words

So we give him paper instead

He writes: mein Hut ist blau.

No, no, English we say.

He writes: I want to fuck that girl in the red dress,

And we are interested and want more, to read

About his pornographic thoughts. Attentive,

We watch as he writes: the world is coming

To an end soon.

And we take away his pencil.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

An "Other" Patricia Murphy

I googled "poetry Patricia Murphy" and found this poem on The Microwave Project. I found a lot of poets named Patricia Murphy, and one of them was me, but this isn't:

Things’ Hurrah

I’m always all over

between things of

some awestruckness

although sometimes

tracks and things stick out

vibrations’ hurrah

I want a star not a man

a unicorn in unison

cords so discordant

or melodic whale

stomach flops

hearts skip throb

like a porcupine

wobbling a


forgot to hop

possibilities of

possible explanations

things get stepped on

squeezed out

collide with other things

companions make colorful

outer patterned layers

bloated red flowers

push off in space

Today I'm reading at SUNYIT at 4:30, where I will be joined by Tyra Twomey and Drew Sabol. If you're near the Gannett Gallery around that time, come on over.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Two Trips to the Vet

Yes, I just booked two vet appointments for this Friday, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The two pets in question are not going at the same time because I would not survive it. Missy must have a Lymes Disease test and a heartworm test. She also has to have her "lump" checked. Vincent has to have his ears checked and his poop, to be blunt. He has the runs half the time, and his gooey ears might be the result of ear mites.

I've had a cold and was up all night coughing, so I feel like crap. However, I cannot afford to go to the doctor because my animals will use up this month's medical budget. Okay, I'm exaggerating. I am gonna say that I better get continuous unconditional love out of these two chumps.

How's your week going so far?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Colds get in the way . . .

of blogging and life in general. But National Poetry Month continues.

Noah’s Wife

is doing her usual for comic relief.
She doesn’t
see why she should get on the boat, etc.,

etc., while life as we know it hangs by a thread.
Even God
has had one or two great deadpan lines:

Who told you (this was back at the start—
the teeth
of the tautology had just snapped shut) Who

told you you were naked? The world
was so new
that death hadn’t been till this minute

required. What makes you think (the
withers under their feet) we were told?
The woman’s disobedience is good for
as also for restoring plot to human

scale: three hundred cubits by fifty
by what?
What’s that in inches exactly? Whereas

all obstinate wife is common coin.
the beginning was nothing and then a flaw

in the nothing, a sort of mistake that amplified, the
mistranscribed (it takes such discipline

to keep the prospect clean) and now the lion
the beetle rolls its ball of dung, and Noah

with no more than a primitive double-
entry audit
is supposed to make it right.

We find the Creator in an awkward bind.
Washed back
to oblivion? Think again. The housewife

at her laundry tub has got a better grip.
Which may
be why we’ve tried to find her laughable,

she’s such an unhappy reminder of what
costs. Ask the boy who cannot, though

God know’s he’s tried, he swears
each bar
of melting soap will be his last, who cannot

turn the water off when once he’s turned it on.
His hands
are raw. His body seems like filth to him.

Who told you (the pharmacopoeia has
the malady’s still the same) Who told you

you were food for worms?
makes you think (the furrow, the fruit)

I had to be told?

Good stuff, yes?
Happy Weekend,

by Linda Gregerson

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Matthew Zapruder

is worth reading:

Kingdom Come

She asked me how long it will be
until the giant black rose
she has seen in her dreams
bursts out of the ocean just beyond
the walls of the circular city
and drips molten fire on the heads
of likenesses of the smiling gods
who sent a message from outside
our solar system crying
and swearing to protect us
if we built them. Quite
a long time. Probably many
hundreds of years. First we must
build the circular walls,
then the towers and the steps.
Then we must build the satellite array
and send it into the atmosphere.
And we don’t have that
technology yet. The scientists
who can dream of building it
have not yet even been born. So
for now I say to her let us live
here in this apartment and make
sounds of love on this futon
while outside the window the orange
extension cable strangles
the white and green flowering branch
and monks cry anciently on the radio.

I hope you're enjoying National Poetry Month.

Monday, April 12, 2010

National Poetry Month

seems to have been forgotten by yours truly as I rhapsodize instead about cats and dogs and open houses; shame on me. But happily I haven't forgotten completely, so here's a poem for your enjoyment:



LOST COCKATIEL, cried the sign, hand-lettered,

taped to the side of a building: last seen on 16th

between Fifth and Sixth, gray body, orange cheek patches,

yellow head. Name: Omar. Somebody's dear, I guess,

though how do you lose a cockatiel on 16th Street?

Flown from a ledge, into the sky he's eyed

for months or years, into the high limbs of the ginkgos,

suddenly free? I'm looking everywhere in the rustling

globes and spires shot through with yellow,

streaking at the edges, for any tropic flash of him. Why

should I think I'd see him, in the vast flap this city is?

Why wander Chelsea when that boy could be up and gone,

winging his way to Babylon or Oyster Bay,

drawn to some magnet of green. Sense to go south?

Not likely; Omar's known the apartment and the cage,

picked his seeds from a cup, his fruits and nuts from the hand

that anchored him -- and now he's launched, unfindable,

no one's baby anymore but one bit…

Think of the great banks of wires and switches

in the telephone exchange, every voice and signal

a little flicker lighting up -- that's Omar now,

impulse in the propulsive flow. Who'll ever know?

Then this morning we're all in the private commuter blur

when a guy walks into the subway car whistling,

doing birdcalls: he's decked in orange and lime,

a flag pluming his baseball cap; he's holding out a paper cup

while he shifts from trills to caws. Not much of a talent,

I think, though I like his shameless attempt at charm,

and everybody's smiling covertly, not particularly tempted

to give him money. Though one man reaches into his pocket

and starts to drop some change into the cup,

and our Papageno says, "That's my coffee, man,

but thanks, God bless you anyway,"

and lurches whistling out the door.

Of course that's Mark Doty, who can turn any moment into art. I guess I'd better pledge to put up more poetry and maybe write some new stuff this month. How will you celebrate National Poetry Month?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

How will I feel

when it's my turn to open my house to a bunch of strangers who'll go tromping through it criticizing my somewhat clownish taste in furnishings and accessories? Well, I love going through open houses and criticizing other people's stuff, so I guess it's only fair. Open houses, several of which D and I will be doing later, are like being in an HGTV show, only it's real. Granite counter tops, open floor plan, ain't nobody gonna see that when they look at my house. So I try to think about how people will "interpret" my abode. Maybe . . .
she's clearly got a sense of humor, rather than a sense of taste
she's taken shabby chic to new levels
she really ought to have called her sister (my sister has great and conventional taste) before she started furnishing her house
I wonder if she dresses like she furnishes and accessorizes (answer yes)

It'll be a great time down the road when it's my turn to leave long enough to let people snoop around my house. I only wish they'd say things like "gee I hope pets come with the property."
Happy Sunday, I'm going to breakfast. You gotta build up strength for open houses. What are you doing on this chilly but beautiful spring morning?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Wild Weekend

weather-wise, that is. Who lives in a place where it can go from seventy degrees to snowing in two days? I do! Well, it matters little since the snow didn't stick. The wind is blowing like mad, but the sun is starting to come out.

It appears that despite my best attempts at fending off real thinking I have a "scholarly" interest. I've started research on an article about using blogs in freshman comp classes, in part because I do and in part because what I read when I started kicking the idea around two and a half years ago wasn't helpful. Scholarship on blogging is sort of either too esoteric or void of actual content for the most part, just sayin'. Mine will be both (ha ha).

Who knows what I'll find as I look into the reasons why I want my students to blog and start collecting their responses to the blog itself. Fun stuff, no doubt.

I'm toying with going to the Indie Garage Sale in Utica today, but it's so windy. Too windy to be Indie?

Whatever you're up to I hope it's fun. Clark, have you disappeared? I guess if you have you won't see this.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Holy Crap

There's a lotta that around my house, but at least it's all in the litter box. Vincent has also given me cause to purchase over the counter Claritin. For a few days I pretended it wasn't him, but after this morning I confess. That cat makes me sneeze.

But he's so cute.

And he's learning how to play.

And Missy's learning how to chase him.

Missy and I had a talk this morning, and I said something like "look you gotta calm down and get over yourself girlfriend. The cat is staying." I was firm yet loving, and I reminded her that Vincent was here to reinvigorate her. Since she hates other dogs, the get a younger canine companion trick wasn't an option.

I think it's gonna be great. The settle down is just taking a bit longer than I thought it would.

Thanks to Jess and Nicky for helping last night. You made Missy feel loved even as you kept her from devouring Vincent. That's why she loves you guys so much.

Well, time to get to work and prepare to fill young minds with knowledge. I have to get over to my composition blog and put up a prompt about Lars and the Real Girl, one of the best movies I've ever seen. What are you doing today?


Monday, April 5, 2010

The Two Pet House

is an interesting place. I don't think there will too much blogging for awhile. Two pets means twice the time spent making Missy feel like she's still loved and not put out. It means supervised face to face "visits" between the cat and the dog. It means spending alone time with Vincent so he doesn't ask to be taken back to the humane society, and it means cleaning a litter box. Wow, that's an eye opener!

But I think we're doing well overall. Last night after I got in bed B came home and she arranged a visit that seemed to go quite well from what I heard. I also learned that Vincent will express dissatisfaction for all his good naturedness. I found his empty water dish on the floor in my office this morning, where he'd knocked it down off the top of the closet he gets fed on. I forgot to give him more water before I went to bed. He was letting me know that better not happen again.

We had (D and me) a lovely time at the Colgate Inn for brunch on Easter with Wal, Joanna, Patti D, Z and Martin. It was something I hope we'll make a tradition. The food was fantastic. I had three desserts, and that's always the mark of a good time. I'll post some photos soon. Gotta go pet the cat.


Friday, April 2, 2010

The Final Countdown

is more than just a horrible old song by the (former, I hope) band Europe, it's the mode I'm in this morning as I approach the 12:00 hour and Vincent's introduction to Missy and my home.

This morning I noticed Sophie having a good scratch at her cat scratchy-thinger and realized that I needed to add one of those to the ever-expanding list of cat paraphernalia I need to finish purchasing. So far it's something like this:
Adoption fee, seventy dollars
Litter box, thirty dollars
Cat door, seventeen dollars
Cat litter, ten dollars
Cat litter scoop, three dollars
Cat brush, five dollars
Watching Vincent love his new home and Missy, priceless

Well, that's the dream. When I visited Vincent Wednesday after work, I learned that the cat I was originally interested in, Sancho Panza, had been returned to the humane society less than two weeks after his adoption. Sancho was a beautiful short haired Hemingway polydactal or whatever they're called; anyway he has six toes. I looked at Vincent sitting in his cage looking adorable, and for a moment there I was almost fickle. Sancho Panza had a lot going for him, after all: shorter hair, redder fur, six toes. And just as Vincent looked up at me with his round face and big (yellowish) eyes, the dude said that Pancho had been returned because he couldn't get along with the family's dog. Silly Pancho, he blew it. I hope Vincent learned a lot from hearing that conversation.

Okay, gotta go. Gotta start planning my day, which includes showing two teenagers how to clean up my yard. So middle class, I am.

Happy Easter to all of you (if there are any of you) who read this blog.


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hey Vinny!

So Vincent is coming to my house to live, not Vincent Murphy. Well, technically yes Vincent Murphy because that's what the vet will put on his papers. Vincent (the cat) Murphy will be leaving Petsmart in the hands of yours truly on Friday at 12:00.
I'm excited.
I'm scared.
I need a door that I can put a cat door in.
I need a cat door.
I need to pay a lot of attention to Missy so she doesn't feel left out.
I need to make sure that Missy doesn't eat the cat immediately.
I need to finish grading papers.
Bye Ya,

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


If you like LOST, you know there aren't too many episodes left. The LOST Tribe and I are gonna have to find something else to do. After all we're a tribe. We can't just disband. The obvious choice is to switch to V Night, but I'm not too sure how that show's doing. Suggestions anyone? What am I gonna do when it all ends?

P.S. The humane society did not respond to my adoption application yesterday. Now I know how those people feel when they're waiting for eastern European kids with big heads and crusty eyes. Just sayin'.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Back to the body shop

So Ruby's going back to the body shop this morning thanks to the unnamed driver who hit her, and I am desperately trying to find a door that can be modified to have a cat door. Why do I want a cat? This was the topic of last night's conversation with B (my roommate) as the cold settled in around my feet. Well, I knew it would happen. It's a big decision, taking on another pet, and I found myself saying things like "if Missy can't handle it that cat's going back to the humane society." It probably didn't help that B said that Missy won't be the number one pet anymore. Of course she will. But deep down I honestly think Missy needs this as much as I do. She's alone all day some days, and with B's "schedule" and mine there really is somebody in this house all the time.
So does anybody have a door that could be cut to let Zeus (who I might rename Vincent) come and go between the house proper and hid litter box on the back porch? Maybe I should have thought of this before I filled out the adoption application.

Have a great week, and tune in for pictures of "Zeus", hopefully not Zeus being eaten by Missy.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Well Ruby's home . . .

but she's going back to the shop again. Did they do a poor repair job? No. As a matter of fact she looked beautiful. Notice the tense on that verb. When Ruby was parked on D's street this afternoon, while I was in his apartment doing my taxes, she got hit. I shit you not. The car I just got back from teh body shop this morning got hit this afternoon.
That is some crazy, crazy shit. Don't you think?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Good Lord Internet!

What did I ever do to you except give you my undying love and attention? Yet you betray me and make me call three different phone numbers to resolve my issues with Time Warner.
Well, I made a late birthday cake (so far so good) and watched a movie while I did all this, so really should I be complaining? And I finished for good the creative nonfiction piece I've been working on since winter break, 22 pages all about me. Gross!

But I'm scared of what will happen when I disconnect this LAN cable. I feel like I have to do every little online thing before the bulb goes out, so to speak. I mean really, bills to pay, blogs to check (Clark, where's that new photo?), etc. Well, I'd better go. Have a great weekend.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

No Time To Blog

I'm actually at my desk at work where I should be finishing the prep for my bus com class this afternoon, so do I really have time for this? No, but I'm doing it any way. Tomorrow I will bake a coconut lime cake (lime curd in the middle) belatedly for someone's birthday. It will either be a great success or a stunning failure, like most things I do.

I am nervous.

This weekend was going to be power washing and painting part of the house so I can have a vegetable bed in the front flower bed (the one with the shrub, the picture of which is still on Zillow) that was destroyed when I had the $1,000. plumbing job done. Yes, I said was because I found out that it is GOING TO BE 9 DEGREES IN CLINTON, NY THIS WEEKEND! So I got a reprieve to do more yardwork. Lucky me!

What are you doing this weekend? Bring your rake to Clinton, NY for a fun time with prizes and alchohol.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Resolutions

Maybe the reason why people (okay, me) don't get New Years resolutions done is because we try to carry them out in the dead of winter when just getting through the day ought to be proof enough that we have resolve. So I'm proposing spring resolutions. Here are some of mine:
I'm not going to eat chocolate in bed even though there are three big candy bars and three bags of Easter candy in my bedside table. I bought them for Pin and Big, so maybe (notice this is not a definite) I should mail them to them.
I'm going to get the house power washed this weekend even if it's too rainy to start painting the section that needs to be done before I can get my raised bed in front (long story, but there's no more bush there thanks to an huge plumbing job last fall) ready.
I'm going to maintain a positive attitude about my upcoming online class (summer, bus com) even though I'm not convinced Angel is not the "delivery mechanism" for this kid.
I'm going to stop thinking that I'm so deprived because I'm trying to eat like a healthy adult rather than a six year old whose parents indulge her. And I'm not going to blame Mrs. Murphy for actually letting me be indulged as far as food goes. Really, isn't that water under the bridge? Maybe I should blame Mr. Murphy because he's the one who took me to the Sears' candy counter on Saturdays, but really who can blame him? I was a pretty cute (and really skinny) little kid at the time.
I'm going to stop waking up freaked out because I had another dream. It must be a side effect of the Savella, but I'm not used to dreaming. Having dreams doesn't mean I have to spend the first fifteen minutes of my day pondering their characters, events, settings, whatever. They are dreams; it's what I do while I'm awake that matters.

How about you? Any spring resolutions you'd like to put down in print?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

No Internet!!!!!!

at home. It's my fault. I had a great post too, but it involves pictures and such. Hopefully, Nick will bring a LAN cable to my house tonight. Hopefully I'll be back soon.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

It's spring and you know what happens in spring

That's right, it's almost National Poetry Month, that time of year when poets get all juicy because they think that since there's a month for it maybe people actually read poetry. And I'm right there with the rest of them, so I'm gonna kick it off, albeit early, with two poems from that little little known poet, me. These were just published in Yes, Poetry.


As if he didn’t fly toward that sun when the sky was sliced in two,
Choosing instead to turn north toward colder climes, whereupon
His wax and feathers froze and Odin spoke saying “all curious boys
Commend themselves to wrong turns sometimes, but you flew
Right and straight this time, handing off the burdens of avarice and
Infamy.” Icarus, not knowing what to say really, surveyed the heights
To which he had aspired. He counted one: I am going to cast out all
My hopes of warmth, and two: freedom’s just another word for
Nothin’ left to lose. The song ringing true in his head, Icarus looked up
And saw his blood blue number written on the sky. “When I am 33,”
He said, “I will die then and all the world will love me.”


Far away, you dream my belly
The one with the line down the middle
Through which babies came sprawling into the world
The one you’ve neither seen nor touched
Years ago I went to New York in spring
And bought you a book, first edition
Signed by a poet you loved and emulated
Your lines like his held out only so much
Until restraint took over
Secrets back in the box, yours, his, mine
The book my small offering to what you wanted
As March took over from the longest winter of our lives
Now we walk such different streets, you and I
My drum is syncopated to the only rhythm I know
Yours to everyone else’s
I like my drum better than yours
Now when the sky streaks toward the West with cold pink fingers
Pointing “come home” I will think of you and the book I put away

Yeah that's me. I was glad to see "Alien, My Love Monster" go somewhere. It's an important poem to me. So who wants to do/come to a poetry reading?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

As promised

pictures of the devastation in Bergenfield, NJ after Hurricane John Doe came through over the weekend. I have to say that being without power is only fun for about four hours, not 27. My parents are sure good sports. Thank goodness the Panda House had a generator and the Sub King pizza (which is very good Nicky) came right before the power went out and all the roads were closed.

Happy St Patrick's Day. My father is singing Danny Boy this morning today in honor of Daniel Tade Murphy, his Irish father who fled Erin because he'd stolen chickens. I'm having a party tonight. The St. Pat's Parade in Bergenfield was postponed on Sunday and I hope they get to have it today. It is truly cool. I'm putting up random storm photos taken within a few blocks of my folks' house over the weekend. The one of Mr. Murphy is from when we had power and he was waiting for me to give him a haircut. The one of me was taken in my parents' upstairs bathroom cause when I get bored I take pictures of myself sometimes. Don't you?

What's your favorite St. Paddy's Day memory?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dear Blog,

When I get a minute I promised to put up photos of north Jersey and the devastation that Hurricane John Doe left behind. Suffice it to say that the Murphys were lucky. Six people died in various horrible ways. We had no power for 27 hours, and Aunt Grace and Uncle Dave still have none. More later.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Vincent Murphy

is not doing so well. I guess for 99 he's doing as well as can be expected. But he was up at night a couple of times, and when I came down this morning at 6:15 I found a worried Mrs. Murphy waiting for me. I'll call the family doctor at 9:00, who will most likely say "take him to the emergency room." That's the standard procedure when you're 99.

Yesterday I walked past Cooper's Pond, where Mr. Murphy used to take me to feed the ducks and geese, and there were young moms there with their little kids. It made me sad and happy at the same time because the pond was closed for several years, all fenced off, and nobody was able to take their little kids there. My father used to tell me stories, great stories that I will have here in my heart forever, and take pictures of me. I am squinting against the sun in some; in others I am pinch faced because some goose just nipped a bread crust from my hand. I'm glad that Coopers Pond is open again, but I wish I could take Mr. Murphy there.

Yesterday I cut his hair and took a picture of him with a moist red washcloth on his head, waiting for my scissors and the shaver. I'll post it later.

I'll let you in on a secret. I want Mr. Murphy to live forever. I am sad.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Wrapped It!

in a combination of tissue paper and plain heavy white paper. So today is my honey's birthday and I don't think I should post too much cause he, unlike me, is a rather private person. This is the situation I faced when I was finishing my memoir for my creative writing class. I got to the part where I was going to talk about him and realized that he wouldn't appreciate any "tell all" qualities that might imbue my prose. So here's what I did:

And now I should write another 22 pages devoted to him, right?
Well no, because I’m too busy living my life with him to sit around and write about it. Recently I asked him what the most negative aspect of our relationship was. And he thought about it, really thought about (for two days) because he knew the question had been hard for me to ask. And when he answered that he wished he’d known I was so dead set against marriage when we’d started, I wondered if he wouldn’t have started. And so it is complicated, I was right. But hanging in that closet at my parents’ house is proof that some things have so much worth, so much bright and shining luster, that they’re worth it somehow.
So that’s it? That’s a cheesy piece of shit ending if there ever was one.
Yes, that’s it – deal.

Okay, so the above is taken out of context, so it's hard to tell how brilliant the whole piece it, just sayin'. But this isn't about me, it's about our birthday boy. It's about six years of relationship bliss (say what? after all most people who look at this blog know me). It's about a guy who is a great friend, colleague, (other more than pg rated stuff), son and just plain all around great guy. So Happy Birthday unnamed, identity protected dude whoever you are.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Y oTo Hear Me World

Life is good for a change, I mean really good. Just wanted to say that. Two days until D's birthday and I just have to figure out how to wrap that crazy thing.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Spring Break

and I'm going to New Jersey. Let's hope it gets a bit more springlike. I'm not leaving until Tuesday though, because Monday is D's birthday, either 44th 0r 45th. I'm not sure which, and it doesn't help that he keeps saying he's 28.

We're going to go to Philly after I go to Jersey, but only if the weather's good down there. There has to be walking weather, no snowing. I can take a little rain, but I AM DONE WITH SNOW. Hear me world? I AM DONE WITH SNOW!

Biggie Head sent me a photo from Portland, OR yesterday of a tree in full bloom. Children can be so cruel.

What are you doing for spring break?

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Well my father Vincent Murphy turned 99 yesterday. When I talked to him on the phone he sounded great, cheerful and adorable as usual. Here are some interesting things I'd like you to know about my father:
He had a boat when he was a kid. He kept it in Sheepshead Bay and once he took it up the Hudson River to see what was up there.
He grew up living in the Harlem Courthouse, in an apartment on the top floor with his widowed mother and five other siblings.
He should have been a photographer instead of a UPS man.
He told me once when I was a teenager not to smoke while walking.
He went to the 1924 World's Fair.
His father entered all of his redheaded children as "A Bunch of Carrots" in the Harlem, NY Baby Parade, and they won prize they were awarded onstage at the Apollo Theater.
Often people think he is my grandfather; sometimes my mother even tells me to call your grandma to come in for dinner.
He gave me a childhood that included tall tales, trips to the Sears nut and candy counter, and photos taken at Coopers Pond.
I love him so much words really cannot do it justice.

If you can, hug your father today. I'll have to wait until next week to hug mine.


Sunday, February 28, 2010

It all started with a trip to BJ's

Last night after having a lovely dinner at Lotus Blossom in Utica and spending some great time with Laura, Amos and the adorable (I mean really cute) Ms. Hazel, D and I went to BJ's in north Utica to get me some coffee beans. That's "get me" literally, not the Idaho "I'm gonna get me," which I swear is residual German left in the dialect.

I needed three things, coffee beans, frozen fruit for my endless ongoing calcium enriched smoothies, and dessert. The problem is that most desserts at BJ's require the presence of 30 or so of your favorite friends for consumption. There are some smaller gems there though and the carrot cake is one of them. At first I thought $9.99 for a cake! But with the raisins (small and tender), the cream cheese (a bit too much frosting on top but I ate it all nonetheless), and the fact that I wanted it "now" (I did not want to go home and bake one) it started to seem like a pretty good deal.

And it was. Now at 7:30 Sunday morning I'm sitting here ready to take the last bite of a piece (not a huge piece, mind you). It's a very satisfying breakfast food, I must say. And weekends and their no holds barred dietary system are a wonderful addition to any life. Of course now that we (the Lost Tribe? the Losters? the Losers?)do Tuesday Lost Nights, they are a wash for dieting, so maybe I shouldn't be eating this cake right now. Too late -- there went the last bite. I hope you enjoyed sharing it with me.

What yummy/crazy/decadent things do you eat on weekends?


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Snow Daze

It sure is white out there. A huge ice floe is traveling down the roof on my back porch, and so I don't let Missy stand there like she often does on her way back in the house. When it slides off it will be noisy. Yesterday in the afternoon it must've been 45 degrees out and all day I listened to the sound of snow thudding off my green metal roof: all day while I lay in bed and watched movies, all day while I made veggie soup and drank coffee and took naps and graded the occasional paper or business letter. It was cozy inside and when I did go out with the reluctant Missy, warm and bright outside. I could do this stuff for a living: relax I mean.

Since today is Saturday the snow blowers haven't started yet at 7:30. Yes, I have those kind of neighbors who get up early to blow, scrape and shovel. Thankfully, one of them blows me; yeah, maybe I didn't mean that the way it sounded.

Today I'm going to propose to my favorite Canadian (besides Celine Dion, of course) that he watch the Olympics and my house. Last night he and a "posse" of friends watched hockey at his house, and even though I knew I would lose a lot of girlfriend points I went home and watched myself drink a little whiskey and fall asleep to a movie on my computer. I guess I am, after all a feminist. Perhaps I am just a crappy girlfriend. Perhaps a little of both.

Missy is officially hatin' it. She wants to check out her entire yard (all 2/3 of an acre) every time she goes out, but the snow's just too deep out there. Today I'm going to shovel her a path, but it won't go far because that stuff is heeeeeaaaavy. A good pet owner would set up a series of interconnected paths with warming stations. I am not that pet owner.

I'm just me.

What are you doing this weekend? We're going to Lotus Blossom on Bleecker St. in Utica for pan Asian delights. This after last night's burger and fries at Creekside Cafe. I guess for middle class 21st century couples the weekend means dining out. I have no problem with that, but I'd better get on that treadmill.

I did walk down to the College Street Cafe in Clinton yesterday and looked at my snow covered little village. As I walked home I thought the following: Life is good; spring is just around the corner. I think maybe it'll be a long wide corner.

Peace Out,

Friday, February 26, 2010

Well hello winter

I see you're back again. It started snowing night before last and it's still snowing. I suspect there's well over a foot out there. So yesterday I went into work and taught my morning class, after calling the snowline obsessively because I was just sure they'd close SUNYIT. Well, they did, but not until after I'd driven twelve miles through some nasty slushy muck muck. They canceled 2:00 and later classes, so I drove home on by then pretty scary roads with some guy in a pickup truck up my backside, as Patti Doraz would say. But when I got home, I snuggled in with a movie, some Chex mix and chocolates, and some carrot sticks to add a healthy element to my snack.

When I woke up almost an hour later, Emily Watson had gone from being a famous vibrant cellist to being in a wheelchair (Hilary and Jackie), the house was kinda dark for 4:00, and the snow was still coming down. Then I looked out front to see some lunatic shoveling out my driveway and walkway to my house. So I gave him cookies and coffee and later steak; thank you Patrick.

We wound up going to the College Street Cafe and had a great time. And while we were in there the snow continued to fall enough that Patrick had to dig his car out.

Who says winter can't be fun?

And, btw, it's still snowing.

And the snowplow sonata has begun here at 6:10 am in the Village of Clinton, NY.

And when the sun comes out I'm going out to take pictures to post on this blog. Perhaps I should tie a rope around my waist and tether it to the house. Perhaps I should tie one around Missy. Perhaps I should read Willa Cather today.

How's the weather where you live?


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I do about as well with my blog . . .

as I do with the journal that Bistro Tina gave me eight months ago. I have gotten better with my physical journal since I started limiting myself to one page per writing "session".

So, what's new with me? Well, it's still winter here in CNY and I suspect that if it weren't for my prescription vitamin D pills, there would be some nasty classroom encounters in my little world. Vitamin D deficiency makes me an insomniac with a too tired brain and a restless edginess. Have you had your vitamin D levels checked? It's worth learning more about vitamin D deficiency, no matter where you live. Check out http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/time-for-more-vitamin-d.htm to get the scoop.

My classes are going well this semester, my first semester without any administrative duties. I teach a freshman comp, a bus com, and a creative writing class. Ironically, the creative writing class is shy, a first for me. But they've been a bit livelier this week -- thanks David Sedaris.

I am adjusting well (I think) to my recent diagnosis of fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis, or as I call it "the triple whammy" or sometimes "the triumvirate of pain." Taking Savella (ooh, I'd better label this word; maybe the company will pay me to post good things about their product) has literally given me my life back. It blocks my brain's "fibromyalgic" (neologism?) response to pain, which is mainly a response that tells my brain everything is painful. No, I don't walk around hurting myself and not knowing it or holding my hand over an open flame; it's not numbness. I am thinking of taking up fire eating, however.

Well, that's it for now. Whatcha been up to readers? That is, if you're still out there? Anybody planning a St. Patty's Day extravaganza? I'm cooking something up.

Bye Ya,

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ya Know What?

I wanna go for a hike. It's not so snowy that I couldn't, but it's not snowless either. I have a picture of me on a hike during one of southeast Idaho's few green summers. So if I had a magic teleporter I'd take myself to the Mink Creek Trail. Heck, maybe I'd even stand on that rock again in my victory stance.

If you could go for a hike right now where would you go. Jerad can actually do it for reals where he is, but I assume the rest of us are at some stage of cabin fever. So what outdoor location would be yours?

Next up on MNYAGG: when I can calm down enough to write it, a little mini review of the tv show Jersey Shore.