Sunday, May 31, 2009

A market of farmers bring me lupine

One of my unsuccessful hobbies in Indiana was trying to grow lupine in my garden.  I'd plant it every year, but it wouldn't bloom and then it'd die.

My neighbor in NY has it growing in her front yard and I thought, hmm, NY does seem to be a better climate.

Cynderballs took me to the farmer's market and I found lupine for dirt cheap.  I now have a new bad habit that I already know I need therapy for.  The farmer's market is a Bryan dream come true.  It's like a European market of fresh food, vegetables, breads and knick knacks.  I don't have money for such frolic, but I did have $5 for two lupine plants.  Wish me luck to establish a field like this.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Taking a walk with my sister and her kid

My friday distraction was eating Chinese food with Nikki, Dave, Mom, Casey, & Sean and afterwards, Casey, Nikki and I took Sean around the block.  Sean liked stopping at all the sewers and throwing rocks to test if there was water below.

We also looked for monsters in the trees and I told him pine cones were monster fingers.  I pulled one off and it freaked him out.

I thought about clowns.  Wouldn't it be awful if every time a rock hit the water at the bottom of a sewer a clown popped out to greet you?  I don't think I'd like that.  It reminds me of Charlie's idea of dressing as a clown and running across the highways in Kansas.   All that corn and road for miles and miles, then suddenly a random clown leaping across the median.  It would be quirky indeed.  Something to remember for life.

Friday, May 29, 2009

had a flashback to the 1980s

There was a short period of time during high school, where boys woke up, put on their pants and rolled them at their feet to look cool.

The quirky thing is how we must have loved our ankles, because we celebrated them for just a short period of a decade.  Perhaps it was Molly Ringwald's influence or the Brat Pack, but scrolling up our pant legs made us wicked awesome.

How fun would it be to bring this style back to the world? Balloon pants with boat shoes and Ricky Shroeder haircuts?  Argyle socks and penny loafers?  Turtlenecks with polos and big hair?

Okay, bad idea.  It looks like a rejection from a Dutch clogging dance competition, but at the time, we Gernation X'ers were totally awesome.

What killed it?  Grunge.  Flannel had to become the rage.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Trees, Money & Hope

When I moved into my new home, my real estate agent in Southern Indiana bought me a house warming gift - a money tree. Now, my world is not about money these days. It is about hope.

Tonight, I replanted the money tree because it outgrew its pot. I took it outside and was hammered with maple seeds flying from the sky (tree sperm). I thought about nature, wild life and foliage and how Maude (Mother Nature and God's child) produces so much wonder for free, and it doesn't cost a cent. As quirky as it is, my luck has not come financially, but I'm braided with optimism and luck. And I'm thankful for this.

Soil, roots, branches, leaves.  This is what it is about in a world constructed of forests, rhizomes and blooms. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

This is a coconut shell

And during last night's game I wish I wore one behind the plate. A ball bounced off the catcher's glove right into my lap. (The following sentence must be read in a high pitched voice).

Mike, who was coaching first base, had to replace me at home while I took a little walk and regained consciousness.

Quirky thing is, we are always warning the boys about thinking ahead. Wish I took my own advice.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Two parties, one tux, a very short film about GRAPES OF WRATH & Syracuse Lacrosse

Yesterday was one of those days that make me truly appreciate my time off, nice weather and a go-with-the-flow agenda.  I woke up, rode my bike to a Memorial Day parade to see Nikki march with NSJH, came home and walked Baby to Intelligence Squared (where they debated what to do with Iran), then I went for a run, showered, and arrived to Cynde's for leftovers and the NCAA Lacrosse Championship.

The fact I had a major headache after this game is not a myth - it was caused by the final goal tying the game at the last seconds. I was counting down with the clock, and I did NOT imagine SU would score.  They DID!!!!  Then, in overtime, they were the first to stick it in and, as a result, defended their national title.  Totally awesome.

I returned home and thought, "Hmm. Now what do I do?"  I started to read Two Parties, One Tux, & a Very Short Film About GRAPES OF WRATH by Steven Goldman, and before I knew it, I was engrossed by the quirky, adolescent tale and engaged by an adolescent, coming of age story of a quirky, ubiquitous dweeb.  I did take a  break and weed-whacked my lawn, but for most of the evening I read this book (and finished it before going to bed).  Everyone deserves a day like this at least once a week.  It will fuel me for a while.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Although we all speculated it could have been the sausage, Casey swore she didn't eat any. Therefore, her stomach cramps and sharp pains were more evidence that she is truly knocked up, close to giving birth and moving towards motherhood once again. I couldn't help palming her belly yesterday to feel the little rabbit moving about in her stomach. I can't imagine what it feels like to be her as this being is doing somersaults in her tummy. It is truly amazing and we are all on call for what is to come next.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Quirky minds think alike

Need I say more this Sunday morning.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Re Run rerun

With So You Think You Can Dance back on the air for another season, I found myself thinking about What's Happening? from my childhood and Rerun dancing at the burger joint. Lo and behold, I found his quirky moves on YouTube.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Memory from 1992

When I studied in London in a program called "Literature of Exile and the Black British Experience," I met and interviewed Dr. Beryl Gilroy for a class project.  I was nineteen.

It was nostalgic today to find a memorial written by Dr. Carol Davies afterr Ms. Gilroy passed.  I post it below:

In 1992, I spent a semester in London with the Binghamton London program. Upon arrival, I had made contact with Jan Shinebourne who informed me that Beryl had heard I was there and was expecting me to see her. My own project at that time was to study black women writers in Britain for a chapter in my book, Migrations of the Subject and I interviewed Mrs. G. and several other of the writers there. I also invited Mrs. G to talk to our students. After her visit, the more curious students ran to the library to see if this little, aging black woman, was really as famous a writer as I made her out to be. One of them (Bryan Ripley Crandall) came back with the news that Beryl Gilroy was the author of about 14 children’s stories, ( then) 4 novels, 1 autobiography, Black Teacher and much more. He promptly arranged an interview with her for his project and left completely enamored of her. Since then, I have read all her new books in manuscript form. She liked my feedback, and I was careful not to give too much - not wanting to interfere with her creative vision. In 1995 again, I spent another semester in London and similarly visited and spent time with Mrs. G. This time, my daughter Dalia would skate over to her house from our place in Swiss Cottage to have a literature and writing lesson once a week. She developed a close friendship with my daughters as well and they knew they could talk to her if they needed someone who cared.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dode Fiske Strommen Ab

It might be my imagination, but my dog always returns from her visits to my parents smelling like dead fish.  Now, there aren't streams, creeks, lakes or rivers in my parent's neighborhood so my speculation is that the fisherman in the hood, Mo, Dad & Karl, throw fish parts in various areas of their yard and Baby finds a way to sniff it out and roll in it.  Of course, this is theory. Baby might also get the scent from lying on the upstair's carpet that my mother has been complaining about ever since it was installed.  I am surprised that neighborhood cats don't stroll to my yard in anticipation of nestling with the dog.  She smells that good.  It could be Trimethylaminuria, a metabolic illness where the liver cannot metabolise trimethylamine, a chemical produced by naturally occurring intestinal bacteria properly, which causes a fish smell.  I've seen quirky specials on that.  Oh well, I will give her a bath.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

baseball brats

I might be using it as an excuse for someone else to cook, but I swear Cicero Little League hotdogs are more spectacular than your typical dogs.   It could be that I haven't eaten all day and/or I truly appreciate a quick meal, but each night we have had a game I crave a Hoffman hotdog.  It's as American as baseball and apple pie (hmmm, they should serve apple pie at the field, too).  I only wish I could afford more than one when I treat myself and they came with potato chips and a coke, too.  Nope.  Hot dog and water for me.
And a smile for the baseball field ritual.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

If Cynde was from Sidney...

I made my third trip yesterday to Sidney, New York, and entertained myself with songs about my sister Cynde in Sidney (this is what I do when trekking along highways and am bored).  

Actually, driving along 81 S. towards Binghamton always brings back memories and I especially love the small, quirky town of Sidney in Delaware County.  I enjoy that such towns and school districts exist and that young people can grow up in a rural village like this, protected from some of the uglier scenes of the world.

It's not Australia, but it is a Sidney, and New Yorkers should be proud of this quaint personality and Americana feel.
It's nice to imagine a time in America where more people chose to live in such places.  

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hobbes & his Calvin

For those unfamiliar with academic language, this Calvin & Hobbes cartoon sums it up perfectly. As quirky as it is, this is the territory I've traveled the last few years and will continue to travel as I move forward with my collegial pursuits. Although I recognize Dick & Jane for the art of their story, the scholarly type complicates it for conversation with other scholarly types. In the end, it is all linguistics and a matter of semantics. Learning to play the game is survival.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The paws of pandas

Ice cream in a waffle cone is happiness on a Saturday night.

After storms and a hamburger and salt potatoes, what makes the end of a perfect day?

Easy.  Icecream, especially that is served in a waffle cone that isn't worn on your shirt (Cynde).  Meanwhile, Casey still has popped her water.  What will it take to bring us to such labor?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Star of Bethlehem

I came home from my retreat in the Adirondack Mountains with one goal in mind:  to mow my lawn.

In my lawn, however, several stars of bethlehem were in full bloom and adding white, celestial reminders that summer months are on the way as are graduation parties, barbecues and afternoons at the pool.

Let the warmer days arrive to Central New York with a smile and an acceptance of easier times and more relaxing hours on the clock.

Friday, May 15, 2009

more conference

work work work.  Quirk quirk quirk.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

With the bears.

I've never been to the Adirondack Mountains, and I have to say the lodge I'm staying in - a Syracuse University investment - is a good gig to begin with .  The lake is beautiful, the air is clean, the trees are green and the facilities are clean.  Very nice.  Very exclusive and very fortunate to have this experience.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dot and the Kangaroo

This cartoon from the 80s flashed into my head today, and I started thinking about getting cable, HBO, and having cartoons on several channels. I don't know why it flashed into my head, but I thought it had to do with platypuses. I was thinking about quirky animals and of course the platypus came up. I remember the hot, Australian accent of the kangaroo, too. Note to self: Travel to Australia and New Zealand one day.  I have no idea if this was a good cartoon or not, but I do remember watching it often.  Funny how that is.  It must be the song sung by the billed creatures in the end.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


While my father was fertilizing the lawn and I was spray painting a filing cabinet, a Federal Express man dropped off a copy of Teaching the New Writing: Technology, Change, and Assessment in the 21st Century, with my chapter 7 is in print.  

It is rather surreal to see the work I was doing two years ago finally written in a book that began during a summer at Bread Loaf School of English.  A lot has changed since I started to scribble this chapter, including Kentucky's use of portfolio assessment.  Even so, my quirky name has been indexed.  How odd.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Our Amazing Races

Finally, a night of mindless television and what did I find on, both Donald Trump's The Apprentice and another show, The Amazing Race.  Yes, it's been an amazing race this semester for me, too.

It was so nice to finally watch absolutely nothing that was intellectually challenging and to let the fury of money, speed, competition and intensity pulse into my brain without a need for a parenthetical citation.

Once upon a time it was The Waltons on Sunday night and Little House on the Prairie.  Last Night, it was stupidity and I loved every minute of it.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

I'm sure my mom can recall some of these lyrics, but there would be more interjections like, "Where's your father?" "Shut up, I'm watching Days." "Get me a diet coke, will ya?"

Happy Mother's day, Mom, and all the others out their who one day gave birth and who may currently find themselves singing this song.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Are you Smarter than a fifth grader?

One of these two people are my sister, Casey, who is nine months pregnant.  The other is my father who is not nine months pregnant but who resembles my little sister.  The quiz for you on May 9th is who is who?  Can you guess.  I'd give you a hint that my sister is wearing shaded glasses.  Not enough of a clue.  How about if I was to tell you than my sister likes Labatts Blue and my father prefers Buddweiser.  Does that help? I could tell you that one resembles Demi Moore on the cover of Vanity Fair and the other looks more like the pit crew at the Daytona 500?  Which is which?

Still no idea?

Look closer. My father tends to look more like his father more and more everyday and my sister has a likeness to my father's mother.
How about if I was to tell you that my dog, Baby, is comatose and closer to my little sister who is with child, and my mother, Sue, is nearer my father who is 2 cm. dialted?  I think you are smarter than a fifth grader and getting closer to the correct answer.  

Yes.  My sister Casey is the one on the left, and my father, Butch, is the one one the right.  They say, "like father like daughter" and I believe this picture is all the evidence we need!

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Berry Good Boy

The truth is I have a sweet tooth. As the weather warms, I begin craving ice cream more and more. Yet, as I noted to fellow Ph.D. students today, one of the greatest things about our high-stress experience, is that I've pushed myself to take longer runs in order to clear my mind and breathe better. This has worked out nicely for my health, but it doesn't kick that craving for sweets.

This is why the two for one deal at Price Chopper to buy strawberries has been excellent. A dish of strawberries with a cup of vanilla yogurt is tasty, indeed. My Aunt Bobby often treated me with such snacks after I came back from a run or we went for a long walk (she remembers this as baking me brownies, too, but I remember the healthier snacks). I'm not sure if this is a quirky entry, but it is quirky evidence for my bizarre relationship with food, exercise and sanity. For this, I smack my lips.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Yum, not really

In my second year teaching, a girl brought me a chocolate covered grasshopper and told me if I would eat it, she'd give me a pin that said, "I ate a grasshopper." She told me it was a national club and she wore her pin proudly. Reluctantly, I ate the chocolate nugget, thinking it was a joke. It wasn't. I earned a pin.

Yesterday, running, some sort of large bug flew in my mouth and crawled in my throat until it gave up. I tried to cough it out, but was unsuccessful. It reminded me of the chocolate covered grasshopper and the pin I once wore.

Yuck. A big, quirky, Yuck.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Red-winged and mean

In Kentucky, it was rare to see a red-winged blackbird unless you were outside the city of Louisville. In New York, they are everywhere and as they begin to nest for the Spring, they become more aggressive, especially when I run or walk by the reeds where they are building a home. They will sit on telephone wires and try to sing my attention away, but they will also swoop at my head if they think I'm more dangerous than I actually am. Yesterday, I witnessed a red-winged blackbird attacking a red-tailed hawk mid-flight. The hawk was flying as fast as he could to get away from the pesky little bird, and wasn't finding himself too successful. I applaud the red-winged blackbird for its quirky drive to be the king of the skies and streets, if only during the mating season of May.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Me-Cological Sustainability

Here's a quirky post for you. As part of my Future Professorial Program (FPP) I have to present and turn in a professional portfolio about, well, my future in higher education and my teaching experiences at the University. Me-Cological Sustainability is another blogging space and there I was able to draft an online-portfolio. Alas, I can't do video on that site so I will have to juggle between Blogger and Word Press. I am happy, however, that I'm about ready to check off another item on my semester's long list.

Monday, May 4, 2009


I am waking up this morning in misery of the marathon work of the last semester. I feel like I haven't had a break since the first weeks of January and all the weeks have blended together (thank God for the mini-yet busy weekend in Louisville). Wasn't I just shoveling the driveway? Now I'm mowing the lawn? I've spent all my awake time worrying, writing, typing, editing, organizing and freaking out about the volumes of student work I have to do. I am getting closer to the light at the end of the tunnel, however, even if everyday has felt like a Monday. Of course, today is a Monday so I have an excuse. My eyes are buggin' from computer screen light and my fingers are tired of playing the keyboard piano. Ah, but as all things in life, this too shall pass.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The horses come to Kentucky Derby 135

I'm not sure if she's racing, but this quirky truth presented itself to the Kentucky Derby, 2009. I know that if I still lived there she would have visited my Clarksville home and asked to ride Baby around Colgate Park. Paris in Kentucky. Pierre Le Coq, Margaret's rooster, would be proud to have such french-ness in the 'ville. Unfortunately, I also have to promote a commercial to bring her mug to my blog: welcome to advertising in the 21st Century. Endure the commercial and then see Ms. Hilton french kiss Pat Day.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

trickle down theory

Students under my supervision in a student teaching field placement were asked to do a digital story of their experience. In a very short time and with very little training, they did work that impressed me and made me proud to know them. In 2009, our quirky way of understanding the world has change a little with the format of being able to visually narrate our worlds. I believe this sample is evident of how cool and clever communication in the 21st Century actually is. Here I present Jo's work, his personality and cussing included. Enjoy.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Opening Night

The Bombers exploded on the field during their opening night premiere! Although the weather was ominous and eventually it did rain, the young men and women did get through two innings of ball smacking and glove slapping action. Congratulations to all our players (and the fans who support them)! The season of quirky coaching begins!!!