Category Archives: Non Sequitorial

The Holidays are hitting – Five Sure Signs

The following is a reboot of a post from a couple of years ago, but I happen to like it and I’ve been so busy grading end-of-semester essays, my brain’s too mushed to think up anything original. So consider it a Christmas gift–from me to you and visa-versa. (You may thank me now.)

With Hanukkah now behind us, another holiday fest starts imminently, but you would think that it already has, as much as gets done in December. As for me, I simply let the ‘daze rumble past like a runaway train, and if something happens to fall out of the caboose for me, so be it.  But if you believe the concept driving the season is peace and not what piece is for you, then here’s a few hints to let you know just how far behind you are:

1. The Great Work Stoppage – As soon as the Thanksgiving turkey comes out of the oven, it’s as if everyone forgets they have a job. Suddenly all meetings become holiday parties, and if you’re expecting that report to get finished, you might as well call back next year. In my particular milieu, I nearly have to hit my students over the head with their final essays to get them to even remember my name.

2. Vanishing Editors – If you were hoping to get your manuscript sold before the end of the year–ha ha, good one! From now until after New Year’s, editors, as well as a fair amount of agents, take a breather and make the rounds of Gotham’s holiday celebrations, where I imagine a fair amount of deal making takes place over the babaganoush. If you’re the writer, think of it as a temporary reprieve from submission angst.Oy to the World!

3. Everything’s on Sale – Back in the day, you used to have to wait until after Christmas to get a price cut, but thanks to retail giants like Target and Macy’s, the discounts only get deeper the closer you get to the big day. Which is fine, because if you’re like me, the shopping starts the day before, and I’m all about half-off.

4. The Dread Christmas Sweater – Think about it: if it wasn’t the holidays, would you ever wear that sweater in public? Do you actually like rick-rack, glitter, Rudolph’s battery-operated flashing nose, or cable-knitted Thomas Kinkade reproductions on your chest? So much better to wear the DCS’s less offensive cousins, The Christmas Socks. At least we only have to endure them when you cross your legs.

Creepy Christmas5. “Oh go ahead – it’s the Holidays.” – Which means, go ahead and eat that brandy cheesecake as big as your head. What the hell – you’re on Lipitor anyway, and your blood test isn’t until January. Which also means you can eat half that Hickory Farm’s beef stick, which is my personal holiday no-denial favorite. No fooling, I’m stocking up!

Only thirteen days left. Get crackin’!

 

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Happy Thanksgiving. Let’s eat!

Remember there are no calories on Thanksgiving, just fats, protein, and wine. Turkey and gravy are proteins, and whatever’s in wine is negligible. So feel free to indulge. You have my permission. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sorry. Have vacation brain.

Yes, that’s the beach in the background. I thought it was appropriate. Because that’s where I am, Yuengling in hand, not thinking about the book I have to finish, or that classes start one week from today. I’ll be thinking about that all sooner or later.  For now, fingers in ears and lalalalalalalalalalalalalalala…

Okay, my brain be like…

August is the cruelest time of year. If come just off of July, a tentative kind of month as far as summer is concerned, with the real start of it on Independence Day. But by August you’re fully into the swing of it, you have three-quarters of your tan and you’ve completely forgotten what socks feel like, you’re way into fresh tomatoes and peaches and sitting outside for dinner. You’ve gotten used to sleeping with just a sheet over you, mosquito bites, how good that cold bottle of brew feels in your hand. You can’t get enough ice cream, swimming, summer blockbusters, cricket chirps at night and early sunrises in the morning. But if you’re a teacher, or a college professor like me, you know these things are just there to taunt you, exclude you, set you on the outside looking in. Because if teaching is your chosen profession, you can kiss all these things adios by mid-month. Because by that time you’re already neck-deep into the brain-frying task of the dreaded CLASS PREP!

“Teachers get the whole summer off.” HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! You know what I’m doing now? It’s not laying on the beach, that’s for damn sure. What I’m doing now, by the very act of writing this is slacking from what I’ve been doing for the last week–interminable reading, lesson plans, website updating, essay prompt preparation, yadda-von-fucking-yadda. And if you teach college, you have the equally interminable Pre_Class week, where you have Online Training, Orientations, Departmental Meetings, College Assembly, Convocation, etc. etc. etc. ewwch, arrgguuuh!

Okay, gotta go. My Blackboard site is screaming for my attention because it goes live in ONE WEEK. “Teachers get the whole summer off.” Oh man–I’m cryin’!

Oh goodie, it’s International Cat Day

Do I have cats. Three at the present. Don’t judge me, only one was actually voluntarily acquired. The other two acquired me and the husband, just barged right in and decided to stay. You see, with cats, it’s not as if you have a choice. Even when they love you they will always leave you flat for a) food, b) a warm spot, c) scratchies. You see, they’re not really bad, they’re just drawn (to everything else) that way.

Brain Drain

No espousing any wisdom or advice this week. I’ve recently completed grading seventy plus 10+ page final essays to close out the semester, as well as finishing up thesis-critiquing with my grad students, and also have been diligently working on my current work-in-progress. Then my sliding glass door goes and gets assaulted by a large branch in last week’s storm, smashing it to bits, and my car had to be taken to the dealer for a thump it seems only I can hear. To sum up, my brain’s a bit fried.

So see that table in the left background? It’s at a lovely little lakeside bistro in beautiful Greenwood Lake, NY. That’s where you’ll find me this weekend, basking in the sunlight, with a restorative frosty in my hand. I will call you if I need you.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend start of summer, all!

Happy (deep state) birthday to me!

I blog every Wednesday, and it just happens that today coincides with my birthday. So I had a really good writerly topic I was going to expound on, and in doing so, I needed to look up a particular source I’d link to. So I go to Google and lo and behold, there is this doodle staring at me wishing me Happy Birthday, Gwen! (click on it to get the full impact of its exuberance). Okay, creepy enough, but how is this happening? Because Google knows everything about you, sweetheart! Nothing is secret anymore! Well, happy Wednesday to you, big brother!

 

BEA 2018 is coming to a Javits Center near you

The picture is from a couple or so years back of my experience at Book Expo America, which will be held this year from May 30 – June 1 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City.  I haven’t gone in the last couple of years for one reason or another and not for lack of wanting to. If you’re in the Northeast and in anyway connected with the book/publishing industry, it’s a worthwhile trip if you haven’t gone before. Nearly every book publisher in North America is represented, and the place is fairly swarming with editors, literary agents, publicists, and anyone in and around the industry. Not only that, but there are author signings almost from opening to closing, interviews with industry professionals or writers on a couple of stages, special programs for librarians and booksellers, and free books and swag galore. For more information, visit the BEA Homepage.

Waiting for Sandals

Spring has finally spring in my corner of New Jersey, and it’s hard to believe that next Tuesday will be May. We’re still looking at bare branches and there’s barely a bud in sight, though with the recent spate of 60-degree weather, they’re starting to pop out. It’s bizarre, as I’m still wearing boots and socks, and I should have long dissed them for sandals and toenail polish.

The fish have yet to reappear in the lake behind my house, even though a couple of weeks ago an OSPREY was in one of the large trees above the lake, ripping apart a fish. Hawks and Herons are fairly common sights, but a bird as large as an osprey is like having a rhino show up. Still, you never know what’s going to show up when you live on the water. Take, for instance, that thin yellow line in the upper left of the picture above, near the shoreline. That’s an oil boom from a spill when a house was demolished just above. Nothing like seeing men in Hazmat suits wading in the lake. Not that I should be surprised. This is Jersey after all.