I like books.


I live in a small town and enjoy writing about the inhabitants. I spend most of my time perusing through used book stores looking for that one great book that I don't have; consequently, I have rooms filled with books. I am a book addict.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hub Cap Burgers

So, Comma, my friend and colleague who is helping me in the Delta, and I went to the Delta to set up our month long project, talk to the students at the local high school, and get the English teacher and principal on board for our upcoming projects.
We left the City on the Hill at the best possible time. The entire town was covered in ice with falling trees and most houses without power. The four and something hour trip was good. The roads, for the most part, were clear of ice and debris. We stopped in Conway and had a shamefully gluttonous dinner. Then we stopped for a designer cup of coffee for the road, and all was good. The rest of the trip went quickly as we talked about our project and how we can do this and that. Comma is young and in tune with what kids like, so I’m happy she agreed to help me with both the Feb literacy event and the summer academy. We spent the night in a little town thirty minutes from the impoverished town where I do these literacy events to bring the town’s folk into opportunities to read and write. The hotel was full but they had one room, the presidential suit, and that is where we stayed. I might add, it was nice and warm and the room was large and even though Comma and I shared a King Size bed, we both felt that we were bathing in the lap of luxury. The next morning, I bathed in a huge ass tube with jets and whirlpools and big bubbles. It was all televisionesque. Then, we went to the town.
Here’s the thing, the town is dying and there doesn’t seem to be much any one can do. The main street has huge empty buildings, and all through the town there are houses condemned. The town sits on the bank of this big lazy river and while we waited for our appointments, we parked on the bank of the river and watched huge trees, fallen from the ice storm, float by. We also admired the house boats and old renovated homes that were at one time plantation owners’ homes or the summer homes of absentee landowners.
In this town, people are set in their ways and there are racial divisions that have such strong historical roots that racism is often blatant. The school has, in the last few years, consolidated with the African American community a few miles away and that has increased racial tension to the point where many have taken their white kids out of school and sent them to private schools in the town up the road. And the really sad thing is that those kids who came from the black schools and those black students who were already at this school are now being whitened, which I will write about later.
But, while we were there, we couldn’t find a place to eat lunch, but then we saw this sign, hubcap burgers and we thought, wow, that sounds good. NONONO. First off, the woman who cooked our burgers played video poker between flipping and dressing our sandwiches. She didn’t wash her hands and she smoked—right there under the misspelled sign that said, We cant smok cuse the governer said no smokeing inside of public establismints. Do you see what I mean about the town? Oh, and the hubcap burger place is right next to a motel where you rent by the week and those people came in and with dollars and played video poker and from their constant video playing and rotted teeth and exaggerated movements, I assume them to be tweaking on meth. I mean, in a town where literacy is at the lowest possible mark, and jobs are scarce, and money has to be tight, there are dollars for video poker and money for drugs.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Do I Look OK?

After teaching at the Fort on Friday, and, btw, I did get my employee ID and it does say FACULTY, I ran down to Charleston to pick up my grandbabies. My daughter is spoiled to me getting them every other weekend. I oblige because when my children were young, I had no one to give me a little break, so I do that for her; plus, I am one of these grandmothers who needs to see her grandchildren on a regular basis. Anyway, we headed back up the mountain and the wind was blowing hard—I struggled to keep the car where it was supposed to be and The Boy, who talks a lot and loudly, is telling me the story of not getting a library card—mental note: get The Boy a library card—and I’m trying to think of what I am going to do in the Delta and I say, wanna listen to my Ipod and he says, yeah and so he listens and is singing, although the wrong words, and I’m thankful for the reprieve from having to answer a four-year-old’s whys and whens and all of that and then he says, Nana, I gotta pee and I say, didn’t you pee at the house, and he says, yeah, but I gotta pee again and I smell smoke and see the fire on the mountain, a control burn, and I say, this isn’t a good place, and he says, but I gotta pee and by now he’s holding his himself and bouncing. So, I pull over with big trucks passing and big wind blowing and he and I get out and he starts to pee and admires his arch and says look at that and I say, ouch as the wind blows the pee on my pants leg and I get behind him and use my jacket to block the wind off of him and it might seem as though I am peeing but don’t care and when I get him back in the car, I see that two cars have pulled up and after I get him buckled back in, the thought of serial killers and perverts send chills down my back and I rush behind the car and hold my hand up to let them know that we are fine, and I get in the car and lament the fact that I didn’t wear a belt and my damn jeans are falling off and the new panties are even more lose than the old ones, and just as we are about to pull out, a cop walks up to the car and says, is there a problem and the Boy says, is that a real gun and the cop’s chest swells and I say, officer, my grandson here had to go pee and there are no bathrooms in sight and he is only four and I had no choice but to let him use the side of the road as his own personal bathroom. The officer smiled and said, just making sure everything’s okay. As I pull out on the highway, I wonder about okay and appreciate that while everything in my life isn’t okay, it is tolerable.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sabotage or Success

After this semester, I will be one course away from completing my course work for my PhD. I realize that I have only been in the PhD program two semesters, but instead of doing thesis hours during my masters, I just took the extra composition, rhetoric, and literacy classes to apply to my PhD. This semester, I am nailing down how I’m going to do my dissertation. I’m also seeing the light at the end of this long academic tunnel. If all goes well, I may be Doctor Bitch real soon, or at least before I turn 55. Which brings me to my latest conundrum: I have noticed that when I get close to reaching my goals, or at least in the past, I seem to do this sabotage thing. I'm hoping that old habits are not creeping back. This semester I am teaching five classes, taking two, writing a book, writing a chapter for the esteemed professor, chiseling out the Literacy Academy, and writing a conference paper. Have I bitten off more than I can chew? I certainly hope this is not the case. If I make it this semester, know that I am woman hear me roar.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Back to work

The new semester is upon us, and I, for one, am happy. I’ve done my policy and procedures and am half way finished with one of my day to day syllabi. I also finished my grant proposal for the summer camp and am winding up the memorial book for the vets. I bought books and materials for the classes that I am taking, and I feel really confident that I will get my conference paper ready, the book chapter for the Honorable and Esteemed Professor’s book, and will manage to pull off all the grading and other assignments. The bad news, it’s early and I am out of coffee and don’t want to get dressed to run for a cup, and my belly wants food and I’m not in the mood to cook.
On a good note, I bought my books, like I said; I don’t know about you guys, but whenever I buy my new books, I feel like a kid with toys and I cannot leave them alone. I’m the same with my school supplies. I just want to run my hands over the paper, and admire my long pencils with the sharp points and the pens with their tops and full selves. Yep, I’m definitely a nerd when it comes to school stuff. Oh and crayons are on sale again and I bought ten boxes. One can never have enough colors,right?

Friday, January 02, 2009

Is it my buisness?

I suppose I'm old fashioned. I don't mean to be, but I am. For instance, I don't like seeing old women showing their C U next Tuesdays or old men in spandex. But, I also don't understand why a man and a woman in a committed relationship must have boyfriends or girlfriends. Why is it okay for those men or women who have outside relationships to bring the children into it too? Is that okay? My mother's first husband took his older kids over to his girlfriend's house and my sisters still talk about how upsetting it was for them to see their father showing attention to this woman, who, by the way, wasn't a stranger. I remember when my first husband and I divorced. Two years past before I started seeing anyone and I didn't bring him around my children becausee I didn't want to parade men in and out of their lives until I was sure. But, one day, the children and I were on our way to the movies and the man, a very nice man, drove past and stopped and came up to say hello. When he got ready to be on his way, he kissed me on the cheek and my children were upset about this man touching their mom. Later, when they were much older, I started seeing Mr. Zelda and at first, they were weird about it all. Maybe that's just my children and others are luckier to have children who are not bothered when mommie bangs her boyfriend in the room next to where they are sleeping or mommie goes on week long visits to see her boyfriend while leaving child and father at home. I'm not liking this and really it isn't any of my buisness. But when it is put out there in the blogsphere for all to read and see and form opinions over, then I must respond. It just cannot be good for the kids is all I'm saying.