Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Lately, I seem to be inundated with weight loss information. I know it comes with the territory when you join Weight Watchers, but I am noticing it everywhere; magazines, videos, a large percentage of conversations among women that I overhear or am part of. I have many friends right now who are trying to lose weight and of course, we talk about it. A lot. I know it is important to be healthy and fit. I have worked really hard over the last year and a half to lose the weight that I have, and I still have more to lose. The problem is, sometimes I feel like it becomes an obsession. I think about it all the time. When I am about to eat, I plan out my menu; after I have eaten, I either feel proud of myself or guilty, depending on what I have eaten. I am just so sick of thinking about food all the time. I wish it didn't have such a hold over me. I wish I could just naturally eat a healthy, balanced diet, not to mention eat only when I am hungry instead of when I am lonely, bored, or stressed.

Not too long ago, I read an article by Eve Ensler, who stressed that if women spent as much time and energy thinking about some world problem and how to fix it as we do about our weight and bodies, the world would be an amazingly better place. How true, how true. I think I am going to try to make that my goal: Focus on making the world a better place, even in my own small way....

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Art of Will Cullen Hart

My husband has been raving about this artist, Will Cullen Hart, who also happens to be a musician. He used to be in The Olivia Tremor Control, an Athens, GA band who have split up. Bil discovered Hart's Art (hee, hee, I'm a poet) when he stared mindlessly at the liner notes of "Dusk at Cubist Castle," one of the band's albums. You can view his art on the Internet. Just Google Hart's name and up will pop many websites. My favorites of his works are entitled "Green" (the top painting as you can well imagine) and "Black Foliage." If only I had a couple extra thou lying around, one of them could be mine!
Oh, and if you are wondering about the band, Bil claims they sound like the early Beatles' songwriting with the later Beatles style production. If that means anything to you, definitely check out their albums.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Save the Environment!!!

I don't do nearly as much as I should with regards to environmentalism. I really try, but there are so many more things I could probably be doing. Which is why I was so excited to find the website http://www.envirosax.com/, where you can buy polyester totes, each of which can hold two bags of groceries. They are really sturdy AND washable. The designs are really, really cute and at about $7 a bag, they are pretty darn affordable, especially when you think of how using them instead of plastic bags helps the environment. Read these facts and see what you think:

Plastic bags create pollution and kill wildlife in the USA every day of the year.
Single use plastic bags made of HDPE remain in the environment for up to approx. 1,000 years.
Over 100,000 birds, whales, seals and turtles worldwide are killed by plastic rubbish every year.

I bought a set of 5 bags today and plan on using them for all my groceries from now on. According to the website, they are lightweight and can easily fit into your glove compartment.

Monday, August 13, 2007

I Love School!!

It happens every year around this time. I start jonesing for school. I love the beginning of a new school year, all the fresh opportunities. I know I am a geek, but I always loved registering for classes, especially in college, planning exactly what to take when and how to space out all the classes so I wasn't having to write papers for all 5 classes. (This is an occupational hazard of English majors. That and having to pay an arm and a leg for textbooks and Shakespeare anthologies, and later chiropractic bills to reverse damage induced by carrying all those expensive books.) My mom used to joke that I would be a student forever if I could make a living at it.

Which I guess is partly why I became a teacher. Here was a chance to decide not just what classes to teach, but also what material I would use. It was heaven. Also, I was lucky to have taught at an alternative school where the principal was very supportive of bringing in unorthodox teaching methods and materials. My very favorites were the Drama classes, in which we read most of August Wilson's works. He is the most amazing contemporary playwright and it was incredible to teach those plays. If you have never heard of him, you should seriously check out one of his plays. (If you are a first timer, I would suggest starting with "Fences" or "The Piano Lesson." Wilson won Pulitzers for both of those plays) He wrote a cycle of 10 plays, one for each decade of the twentieth century, each depicting the black man's struggles. The beauty of these plays, however, is that his themes transcend race and time. Anyone can relate to something in his plays, I believe.

I was incredibly lucky to have had a chance to hear him speak in Chicago about 2 years before his death. Wilson is one of my heroes, completely brilliant, but he is a high school dropout, which made him an easy writer for most of my students to relate to.

I think I may take out some of his plays and reread them. Maybe it will comfort me a bit when school starts.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Splishing and A-Splashing

Yesterday afternoon, my kids and I decided to fight the extremely high temperatures here in Illinois by going to the pool. Yes, the temps here have been in the 100's, which I can't get over. It feels like we are in Nevada or Arizona, except with loads and loads of humidity. Doesn't do a lot for your sinuses, let me tell you.

We spent almost three hours at our wonderful community pool and the kids are now rewarding me by sleeping in this morning. Ahhh, peace and quiet. It is so much easier to use the computer without Char reaching up and pounding on the keyboard. Speaking of Char, she was really funny at the pool. The kids' pool is like the beach; it starts out so shallow a baby could crawl in it and only get his knees wet. Charlotte was getting really brave this time and kept walking into the pool and then would turn around and walk out of the pool, go visit Ronald McDonald (I don't know what she was saying to the statue of him sitting on a bench, but hopefully she was giving him an earful about how disapproving she is of McDonalds' many shady business practices) and then come back. Char kept doing it over and over again. Every once in a while she would spice things up by sitting down in the water. What cracked me up was that each time she sat down, she would stare in amazement down at the water lapping at her feet and legs. She was adorable (I know I am biased, but still...) with her damp hair curling all over her head and her little plump legs and arms kicking in the water. Reminded me of the Coppertone baby.

The kids had a blast and, at one point, even made me take them in the adult pool where I had to hold one of them in each arm and walk them all over the pool. Danny was a little tyrant; there was a butterfly flitting around and he wanted me to chase it. However, it soon flew near the deep end, and we had to end our chase. Danny kept yelling, "Chase the butterfly. MOMMY, chase the butterfly." It was pretty comical. I think I caught an elderly woman laughing at us.

It's funny because sometimes I really miss my pre-kid days when things were less stressful. I get nostalgic about all the fun I had when I was free to go wherever I wanted without having to pack snacks and sippy cups or get a babysitter. Yesterday, however, I realized that I really have a lot more fun with my kids than I ever did without them. They are my license to be silly and let loose. With my kids by my side, I forget about being embarrassed about what other people think and I concentrate on watching them laugh with abandon. Plus, they are a really good excuse to let go of all my stupid body insecurities and don a bathing suit. As cliche as it sounds, they have helped me stop and smell the roses. Just the other day, as I sweatily pulled the kids in the wagon (I keep telling them to remember all these wagon rides when I am old and need to be pushed in my wheelchair) we saw a butterfly coming out of its coccoon. Danny was beside himself with amazement and kept saying, "Look, mommy, it's the very hungry caterpillar!" No trip to the Art Institute could compare to that!

With less than two weeks before school starts back up, I am glad we have been having a pretty fun summer.