Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Upgrade Blues

So my computer, which I feel really isn't that old, is apparently old according to all things geek, or is it nerd or dweeb? (Only geeks, nerds, and dweebs know the diff amongst themselves.) I try to use iTunes or Photoshop or Adobe Acrobat, and there is a great slowing down... Tap, tap, tap... lalala... hmmm... Ctrl + Alt + Delete... pause... dum-dee-dum-dum... I was trying to just deal, but to see Aaron attempt to use my computer and get pretty much MORE frustrated than me sealed it. I can't deny it. I need an upgrade. And so I have Aaron on the case, since he knows hardware and I don't. We're looking into a way to keep all my accessories (keyboard, disc drives, monitor, accessories, and just replace the mother board and other stuff I can't remember the name of right now. So he's thinking he can get me moving at a reasonable rate for about $350.

OK, so that's cool, but I've accepted it, AND THEN... Grrrrr... So I design a few spreadsheets for all this logging I have to do this year. In the past few days, I have learned that I need to fill out a detailed time log for my graduate program using one format, a different time log for my internship program, a time sheet for the school system, a time sheet for my minor rotation, and a mileage journal for the schools. (It was bad enough I had to go through the entire application process for both my major and minor rotations as if I DIDN'T ALREADY HAVE THE FRAKIN' JOB!!!!)

OK, anyway, so I go to sync my newly created Excel time sheets with my Sony Clie, and it isn't working! So I go to upgrade the software I use (Documents to Go), and it upgrades on my desktop, but apparently my PDA isn't running the correct operating system to run the software. I'm in the 4's. I need to be in the 5's. I'm especially annoyed that upgrading the software made the old software go away. Gah! I search all over the Internet and learn that, in fact, "The Palm OS® operating systems require specific CPU and hardware features to operate. Because of this, the newer Palm OS® operating systems are unable to operate on handhelds that lack these required CPU and hardware features." In other words, I'm completely SOL. If I want to be able to use Excel spreadsheets on my Clie (something I've been doing for years), I'm going to have to buy a new PDA.

Why do they do this? It's bad enough I have to pay about a million dollars a month for the two channels I want to watch on TV and another million just to get basic phone service and DSL Lite. It's price gouging. Why can't it stop? WHY?!!!

I'm considering buying this. It's a good price. Although hell, I'll probably have to get a new case to fit it and a new who-knows-what-else just to make it work the way it should in the first place. Did I mention that at my major rotation I have a cubicle but not computer or phone? I have a stapler. Today, I wrote a report on a Windows 1998 machine with no Internet access. Do these people not understand the manner to which I have become accustomed?! IU has completely spoiled me, and I'm really not interested in going backwards.

So in short, I'm basically looking at $525 just to keep me afloat technologically. It's like teeth. I count on them to just be there. I should just have stuff that works. I don't make enough for these upgrades. Three years isn't long enough for stuff to be old. It just isn't.

{Stomp, stomp, tantrum, pout, grrrrrrr...}

Monday, September 27, 2004

This is not good

I've been starting to think about where I should live next year. Take a look at this bit of bad news. Hmm... Not so sure I should stay. And oddly, as I blog, there is an ad on TV for something called Healthy Memphis. Hmm. Where do you think I should live? I might go back and take those Find Your Spot and Best Places tests again.

Heavy

I’m down in it here. I really am. I’m just in the door, and I’m drained. I didn’t turn on the stereo in the car on the way home. I think I need to take all the downtime I can get!

I spent the morning in an alternative school. I got to sit in on a History class that uses the Facing History curriculum. It’s so good, not filled with all the euphemisms and revisionist bullshit I learned in school. I loved it. This one kid in particular really made an impact on me. This teacher starts class by asking about their weekend. It was clear this one boy had a terrible weekend, and he didn’t want to talk about it. Once the main part of class got started, they were talking about slavery and the precipitating events leading up to the civil war. The teacher (and the curriculum) did such an amazing job of getting these kids to think about what happened. The boy got so engaged, and by the time he left the class, he was really excited about what they were learning.

Something about hearing these kids read from this textbook… I mean, they are the direct result of slavery. Their situations would be better if slavery hadn’t gone down the way it did. And the persistent generational poverty and continued lack of access over so many years has everything to do with why the kids in this classroom are at least two years behind educationally. This one girl read a section about how slaves counted as three-fifths of a person. Man… And she’s just exactly the result of that messed up system.

The social worker with me raised her hand and shared about how when she was a kid in Memphis in the 60’s, black people could only go to the zoo one day a week. I wonder how many white people living here then knew that. And I wonder how many who knew had some sort of rationalization that made that make any kind of sense.

After that school, I went to the high school where there was a murder almost two weeks ago. There’s so much to say about that few hours that it’s hard to know where to start. I guess mainly, I was amazed that this was a school like any other. I liked the teachers I met. I thought that the kids there were as well-behaved at lunch as any I’ve seen. The faculty found out this morning that the father of the child who was murdered is suing the school, but most faculty members wondered about his involvement in his son’s life prior to his death.

I think what was perhaps most emotional for me was that after speaking with a special education teacher for about 40 minutes, I found out that she was actually the first teacher who arrive on the scene. I can’t remember how much detail was in the papers, so I don’t want to say more to be doubly sure I’m not breaking any kind of confidentiality, but I was just amazed that this teacher was still around, focusing 100% on the children in her classroom. I don’t think she’s missed a single day since everything happened.

Being there in the building, knowing what happened in detail and where… it was really intense in some ways, really everyday in others. The hope is that we can do some things to help kids in general at the school after what happened. The sad thing is that many of the kids have already experience violent deaths in their short lives. Makes me feel lucky.

Phew. I need some downtime after days like this!

Unveiling


It was a great weekend, even though I felt a bit cranky for parts of it. Aaron and I went and did a Habitat for Humanity build, which was really fun. We put up siding for about four and a half hours. I felt really useful.

The other usefulness came in the form of our co-creation of www.cutiegear.com. It's so cool that you're just going to have to go and look yourself. We put small markups on stuff, and we thought it would go to a travel fund (even though we're not expecting to make too very much), but honestly, I think it's more likely that we will end up using the money to pay for the stuff we buy for ourselves in our store!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Who's Coming to Visit?

Thus begins the campaign for visitors. I am particularly interested in lining up visits from Liz, Walter, Sunitha, Elizabethe, Poornima, and Nanu. Y'all know you wanna come!!! Memphis may be flawed, but it's a fun place, and I'm so excited to be living somewhere people might actually want to visit. So consider this your first official invitation. I am poised with my PalmPilot and stylus...

Happy Birthday, Simon!


I met Simon IRL yesterday for lunch at a really tasty Indian restaurant down the road. Funny how you can meet all these people online. Seriously, I have probably met about 50 people IRL that I initially met online. I heart technology.

Oh, and I found out that today is Simon's 35th birthday. Happy Birthday, Simon! :D

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


Another random picture. This is me at Cafe 1912 on Sunday night, one of the nicest meals I've had in a long time.


Random house change update. I have dismantled the large kitchen table and put it in a closet. The chairs didn't fit around it anyway. Is that too banal to blog about? I think my parents will care!

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Defense Against the Dark Arts

I have often thought that if I were ever attacked, mugged, or if anyone tried to take my keys, rape me, etc., I would started singing REALLY high notes to completely confuse them... maybe "Der Holle Rache kocht in meinen Herzen" from The Magic Flute would do the trick. It isn't every day you hear high F's, and it's probably the best defense I have. I read a great link on Boing Boing this morning that perhaps presented me with my new hero. Turns out singing is a great defense against the dark arts.

Go on... read it. I dare you! You won't be sorry.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

An Excellent Weekend So Far

So far, I've had an excellent weekend. Here's a little photoessay of some highlights...



Abby making a late night snack of pasta with garlic, serrano peppers, and olive oil after seeing A Little Night Music with Aaron at Theatre Memphis. Thanks to Uncle Mike for the free tickets


Cooper-Young Festival had lots of groovy art in several booths. Some was Memphis-themed. I bought a painting of a shoe.


Leslie is the coolest friend to have in a new town. She knows everyone and everything. Next weekend, I'm going to a Habitat for Humanity build with her next weekend. I can't wait!


Susan, Leslie, and Kurt head off to find some grub! Wait up, guys!


I've been to Glass Onion twice now. A very cool space indeed. Check out the stained glass above the door. We hydrated ourselves here. We needed it! It was really hot outside.


Leslie and Aaron at The Beauty Shop Restaurant. I had a seriously great meal here tonight.


Me making silly faces at the Cooper-Young Festival.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Report from the Jasper Outpost


So I've been living a highly self-centered life as of late. I guess I missed just how close the hurricane would be coming to my parents' mountain home. Sorry, guys! I'll try and pay more attention!! Here's my Dad's report:
Old people really do talk about the weather. Compared to our southern neighbors, I guess we came through it fine. Power out for about 18 hours, trees down on my apparently indestructable barn, and an impassable driveway. The buckets of rain have turned our lake brown and the "stream" under the dam looks like a whitewater river...

Mostly, the only real scary parts were the gusts of who-knows-how-fast swirling winds. Before the power went out, we watched our Atlanta weathermen flex their technology showing an almost infinite number of tornado-lets being generated in the bands of thunderstorms up here. Later, we watched them ourselves through our own back windows sending the tall trees into gyrating chaos.

So what's to do? We listened to a book on tape that finally lulled us to sleep. I suppose all's well that ends well, but is was a night not soon to be forgotten...
Here's Mom's report:
Well we weathered a very scary night. The power went off at 6PM yesterday and came back on about noon today. Until it got too dark, we watched the trees blowing back and forth, sometimes two adjacent trees going in opposite directions. Mickey watched a very large tree fall across the pavilion he built next to the barn, but it doesn't seem to have done too much damage. We have lots of other trees down in the woods, and Al had to remove one from our driveway in order to get up it. Fortunately that one was already dead and didn't weigh too much. Another one fell across our power line and dropped it into the road, closing the road. The rain got so heavy that we couldn't see the trees at all. The wind howled all night. Water streamed down the insides of our walls and flooded the floors and kitchen countertops. We built a fire, put towels along the walls and on the counters, and listened to a book on tape. Except for the fact that our driveway about washed away, we seem to be in reasonably good condition.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Ecclectic-land


Another corner of my apartment... it's an ecclectic place. I'm really happy I found a place for my Roman Holiday poster. If you look closely, you can see Becky's kitty cat. In the entryway, you can also see a painting my parents had of a Memphis home from the 60s.

Another kitty in the sunbeam!

Local Wildlife


My friend, Mr. Squirrel. The cats LOVE the close views of wildlife!

Prettiest Wall


And a lovely wall. One day I'll clean off the coffee table... NAH!

A pretty corner of my apartment

So that at the end of the day, I had my very own aebelskiver!


I made a really big mess...


Kitty in the Sunbeam!


Murder in the Schools

There was a horrible murder in a Memphis City high school on Tuesday. You'd think this would give me a lot to do, but everyone is very busy, so I'm actually just here reading cases and special ed law. I might go into that school on Monday. What a sad situation.

---

OK Update to this... I posted this early this morning, and it's only just now appearing. What's up with that?!

Here's another more recent article stating that all six children have now been charged,

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

On a more upbeat note...

At least people are finally starting to wise up! If you haven't made the switch, then I deem you a CHUMP!

OMFG!


A Good Old-Fashioned Abby Ramble

OK kiddies! Time for a good old-fashioned Abby ramble. It's been a while. It's been so linear here lately... topic, topic, topic, so very NOT me, just to keep you all sated. Silly linearity. I really don't see the point.

So I just got back from an insane outing I should have probably not bothered with in the first place. You may recall that my parents just sold a house in which they had been living for 25 years, and you may further recall that I ended up with 20 boxes of stuff to go through. I've been slowly doing that... a box here, a box there. The other night, I thought that it would probably be a good idea to get the stuff broken into themes (Dad's childhood, singing, boys, etc.) and put it into scrapbooks so that it would be easier to appreciate. Plus, I'm sure the mildew, mold, and random poisonous spores on this stuff would be enough to start a small plague, so the less, the better.

So yeah. I decide I'm going to make a scrapbook, but I know that nowadays, the word "scrapbook" is a verb. As in, "What are you doing?" "I'm scrapbooking." In fact, at one of the internship sites where I interviewed, this was apparently a department-wide hobby, which honestly scared me quite a bit. I mean, I'm no more likely to scrapbook with School Psychologists than I am to play golf with lawyers. Hazing is for stupid frat boys, not professionals... just my opinion.

So anyway, I head off to Michaels Craft Supply and end up in an isle with millions and millions of scrapbooking options. Why can't there just be one option? Used to be that scrapbooks were just books with black pages. I just wanted that. I stood in the isle inspecting all my options for about half an hour as my pulse slowly quickened. I finally left empty-handed and extremely irritated. I just want a fuckin' scrapbook! A normal, everyday, black-paged, no themed-scrapbook! I don't want kitty stickers. I don't want special inserts. I don't want pages with "old-timey" backgrounds. The stuff I have to put in the scrapbook is really, really old already! I don't need pseudo-bullshit indicators to this fact. Who does this? Don't they have lives?

So I left, annoyed and determined to locate an anachronistic store that time forgot with what I consider to be normal scrapbook options. I got back on the road, amidst the Memphian traffic. I have driven in Atlanta. I have driven in New York. I have driven in Boston. And nowhere have I ever encountered such horrible drivers! TOTAL CRAP! Here are some tips for the Memphian driver:
  • Stay in the lines.
  • Indicate before turning or changing lanes.
  • Look before pulling out into traffic.
  • When the light is red, stop.
  • When the light is green, go!
Somehow these basic rules of the road have eluded the Memphian driver. It's the most inattentive bunch I've ever encountered! Seriously. It's world class.

And so I drive towards Wild Oats in hope of finding some yellow corn grits. You'd think those would be easier to find here, but they aren't. And while I drove, I listened to Crooked Rain by Pavement. What an amazing album. Last Friday, I was at Glass Onion in Cooper-Young, and it was playing, and I knew it so well. I realized that in the aftermath of replacing albums that moved out with Hamilton, I had neglected to replace Crooked Rain. It was like finding an old friend.

So I'm in Wild Oats, and they have all these Amy's frozen dinners on sale for $2 each! I was so excited. See, if you don't know, I love to cook, but this new schedule is really taking some adjustment. I'm also allergic to MSG, which precludes me eating most kinds of frozen dinners, but good old Amy's. Now I have a lovely stack of them in my fridge, including two new Indian ones I hadn't seen before: Mattar Paneer and Palak Paneer, two dishes I love anyway. Indian is my favorite food to cook (thanks, Sunitha), but I am so tired when I get home! I think I'm going to have to cook a little less so that I can continue to love it while I'm working this hectic schedule.

So speaking of hectic schedules, did I mention that this internship is seeming like it's going to completely rule?! I am so happy with the amount of freedom we have to enhance our training in the ways we think will be most meaningful to us. And my supervisors seem really supportive of that as well. One thing I know will happen here is that I will become even more of a big scary liberal. It seems that every day, I learn about another mental health, physical health, or educational system that has been cut due to insufficient federal funding. And then I see how much money is being spent on the way, and I get so angry. Cutting this funding is insane and frustrating as hell. Perhaps the scariest example I've encountered is that the Memphis City Schools does not have a teen pregnancy prevention program. It's just unreal to me.

So there's much more rambling possible, but I think I'll stop here. Topics I didn't cover were as follows:
  • How adorable my cats are
  • How I've been terrible about returning e-mail, calls, etc. and that it isn't personal... it's happening across the board
  • How much I miss Bloomingfoods
  • How I'm starting to work on my dissertation again
  • How the future - meaning after this year - is scary! I have no idea where I will live!
  • I'm thinking about having a party for the people in my program
But if I'd discussed those things, I tell ya... they'd be fascinating! I'm too tired now to make lots of nice links. Sorry. Maybe next time!

Monday, September 13, 2004

Old Psych Reports

Just sitting around with Aaron reading old psych reports written about me... as you do... Here's an amusing sentence from the one written when I had just turned seven years old:
"Her style of relating was characterized by a mild degree of eccentricity and an underlying tone of impoliteness."
Hee hee! The more things change, the more they remain the same!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!!!


Happy Birthday, Mom! I know you'll see this, and I hope you have a super day! You're a great mom. I love you! See you next month! :D

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Events

So apparently, Elvis Costello is playing nearby next weekend, but I missed the tickets. Truth is, I've always thought he was kind of boring to listen to, although perhaps he'd be fun as a live gig. He seems like a groovy enough person and all.

My tolerance for live music is much greater than my tolerance for recorded music. For example, I saw John Medeski, Marc Ribot, and John Zorn at the Knitting Factory in NYC with Hamilton, and I loved it live, but when he used to play that kind of music around the house, it agitated me to no end! Made digestion nearly impossible! Turns out Medeski, Martin, and Wood are playing here in November at The New Daisy Theater, which could be good, althought he MMW crowd that went to the Knitting Factory that one time were slightly on the annoying side. What I'm most excited about is the Def Poets tour at The Orpheum in early December. That should be excellent. Oh, and the Cooper-Young Festival is next weekend. I hope I have some energy left for these kinds of things!

Friday, September 10, 2004

My Year

So, in answer to the question you haven't asked yet...

OK. There are three rotations during the year. Each lasts about 4 months. For each rotation, you do one major rotation for 22-24 hours a week, one minor for 8-12 hours a week, and then you can do 1-3 add-ons. Add-ons are usually about 4 hours a week.

So here's my schedule. I do a lot of work in the schools because I'm a School Psych intern, but the work can be incredibly varied: assessments, therapy, group therapy, parent training, consultation with teachers, special projects, etc... OK...


Rotation 1
  • Major = Public Schools
  • Minor = Forensics at a local mental health center. I will see all people who are ordered by the court to have a mental health examination - could be a misdemeanor, could be Murder One. I may do competency hearings to determine whether a person is fit to stand trial. I'll also assess for the competency at the time of the offense. Sometimes I might have to do expert testimony.

Rotation 2
  • Major = Public schools
  • Minor = Outpatient clinic affiliated with the city hospital. Severely and acutely mentally ill adults, but not so acute that they have to be kept in an inpatient setting.

Rotation 3
(For this one I have three minors.)

  1. A local agency that has 18 programs that all have to do with the prevention and intervention of child abuse and domestic violence. I'm most interested in a program that works with men who are in prison who are trying to learn to be better long-distance fathers.
  2. A rotation where I will do a lot of record review of mostly foster kids, mostly messy cases. I will work with an interdisciplinary team comprised of psychiatry, nursing, social work, etc to make recommendations.
  3. Public Schools

Add-ons


In Rotation One, my primary Add-on is dissertation hours, but I'm also beginning a crisis intervention training (I'll talk about that in a minute) and attending a Family Therapy seminar. Other Add-on options I will try to fit in over the year include running PTSD groups with veterans, doing assessment for a pediatric neuropsychologist, and learning about the business side of running a private practive. The crisis intervention model I'm learning was developed here and is used all over the country and the world. This model is used by police to intervene when the severely mentally ill create community disturbances. Once I'm trained, I can go on ride-alongs with the cops.

By the way, once I start these rotations, I can't talk about them in any more than the most general terms. I can see someone getting themselves getting into an awful lot of trouble blogging about their confidential client interactions. Ain't gonna happen here. Seems only Washington interns are that careless! I like what I do way too much to risk it! :P

The Big Decision

Today I decide from amongst the 20+ sites that have been presented to us over the past week. There are three rotation periods, each lasting about 10 weeks. For each rotation period, I have one major rotation (22-24 hours), one minor rotation (8-12 hours) and then add-ons, which are basically placements that are smaller than minors. Most people do a major, a minor, and one or two add-ons for each rotation period. For the first two rotation periods, the city schools are my major placement, and for the last rotation period, the schools are my minor. I am allowed to do any of the rotations, even though some are very adult-focused and medical (working with veterans with spinal cord injuries, for example).

Today, we all sit down together and decide who goes where for the whole year! I'm going to try and stick to things that are a little less comfy and things that I will use in my career. I am walking in with general ideas, but nothing I must do. I figure the training director will have some opinions about what I should do, and that other people's needs will make it all much clearer. Man! BIG DAY!

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Cognitive Overload!

Blogger has been totally fucked, and there were three entries I did last night that I thought were lost forever, but then the resuraced this morning. I reposted the first of the three.

Today I went to 17 presentations! 17 different agencies in the consortium where I could work. I am completely overwhelmed, and on Friday, I have to say where I want to work. I have to decide the entire year on Friday! No pressure!

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

So how was your first day?

It was just exhausting! I can't even say why. Just tons and tons of information about lots and lots of people, agencies, buildings, and procedures. The downtown medical area here is really confusing. Lots of agencies in lots of buildings, moving all the time, and in each building are several different programs funded by multiple sources, and they are moving all the time. And in the middle of it all is a the massive 1,900-bed Baptist hospital, which was abandoned 5 years ago. It's where Elvis died. I think an abandoned hospital seems kinda creepy. That must be bad feng shui or something. If I believed in ghosts, I'd say they were in there. For the next week, it's presentations by all the consortium agencies, one after the other. We get these presentations to decide on minor rotations AND to learn where our fellow interns will be working. We need to have some context so we know what they are talking about in supervision. I don't know when I'll be less exhausted. It might get a little quieter here in the coming weeks. Hard to say at this point. Gotta be back there at 8am.

Oh, and I absolutely am living in the coolest place of anyone! Atleast I think so. Many of the other interns have a 20-45 minute commute. I'm right down the street, 10 minutes away. AND I'm in the groovy part of town. I'm not saying. I'm just saying.

Questions to ponder: When will I have time to see all the gigs I want to see? Will I have the energy to go out ever again?! Only time will tell.

Ugh... morning...


It really couldn't be any earlier in the morning than it is. I didn't close my eyes until about 1am, despite really, really trying! Switching to a new structured schedule is never easy, and I often find it takes a few days of just getting up early to make the front end (the going-to-sleep part) happen at the right time.

Monday, September 06, 2004

The End of Freedom!

I start my internship in the morning! Eek! I haven't seen clients in such a long time. I almost feel like I've forgotten what to do! I know it will all come back to me, but I have the anxiety of a person who hasn't yet experienced that reemergence. Not to sound too goofy, but I hope they like me!

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Memphian Adventure!


Memphis Music & Heritage Festival

Yesterday, I had my first real Abby adventure as a Memphian. The Center for Southern Folklore is holding the Memphis Music & Heritage Festival this weekend. I wasn't feeling well at all yesterday, and I decided that perhaps if I dragged myself out of the house, it would help to take my mind off it it. I thought I'd be gone for an hour then return home. I left at around 4:20pm and didn't even feed the cats for their 5pm feeding, thinking they could wait until 5:30pm. Well, they were not at all pleased that they weren't fed until about 8:30pm.

I parked down Main Street several blocks from the festival and walked, encountering the lovely smell of barbecue all the way there. I love that! The first event I caught was a really great Latin band (very Tito Puente-esque) who don't seem to be the people I thought they were. Unfortunately, the program was just a list of performers and times with no real description. Now that I'm home and googling the people I thought I saw, it's clear that I was incorrect about my previous assumption. This paragraph has gotten strange. Time to move on to the next paragraph.

As a foodie, I next wandered down to the Viking Culinary Arts Center, which seems to just be a kick-ass kitchen store. Kitchen gadgets EVERYWHERE. DROOL! But they had all these demonstrations going on in the back. Apparently, there is a whole lot more going on upstairs. Another time, perhaps. Anyway, I walked up to some women making spring rolls out of this Chinese chicken salad. Memphians seem cool. Noone wanted the spring roll the women said was "not hot." The whole crowd was waiting for the heat. I ended up talking to a women there who said there was a great band playing outside.

She was right! I wasn't really expecting her to be, because often at these kinds of festivals, the main stage has boring bands who everyone has heard of. The band was Billy Gibson with the David Bowen Band. Man! This guy was a seriously amazing harmonica virtuoso. And it seems the band is the one he usually plays with, according to his web site. And they did "Mercy, Mercy Me," and they did it well. Ah Marving Gaye. Anyway, there was a fun crowd, and I ended up talking to the women I'd met inside more. And why is it so very amusing that at one point in the conversation, she said she was thinking about setting me up with this British boy she knows? I mean, I didn't even prompt her! What's up with that?!


The very amusing side-show at the Billy Gibson gig

She and I went back in for another cooking demonstraion: Ella Kizzie cooking Greens, dumplings, and Hot Water cornbread. She actually boiled the corn bread dumplings right in the collard green's pot likker. GENIUS! She also made flat, fried dumplings that were a lot like hush puppies except they were flat instead of round and pan fried instead of deep fried. YUM!


Ella Kizzie makes dough for her collards with corn bread dumplings. The woman to her right is also making dumplings, but hers are more Chinese. She's next on the agenda.

It was at this demonstration that Leslie and I met Connie, who we called "Miss Mississippi" for the rest of the night. Leslie kept calling me "Miss Indiana," and if you know me well, you know that I didn't exactly take a shine to this title!

After the demo, the three of us took a long walk down Main Street, passing several beautiful old run-down buildings interspersed with renovated buildings turned into art galleries, restaurants, condos, and clubs. We passed the Lorraine Hotel on the left. I'd never seen it from that side of the street before, and I realized that we'd just passed the building from which James Earl Ray shot Dr. King. Unreal, especially since it wasn't marked. I only knew that it was the building because I'd been to the National Civil Rights Museum before, and the last thing you see is the room where King stayed, and you are shown (from that room) where the shots originated. It snuck up on me. It was surreal.

On a side note, just noticed that my congressman in Georgia, John Lewis, just won a freedom award. Cool!

We ended up at Ernestine and Hazel's. There was noone there but the three of us and three employees. The woman working there gave use a tour of the place. Apparantly, it started as a soda shop/drug store. There are still drawers that held pharmacy items. Then in the mid-50's, Ernestine and Hazel bought this place. They turned it into a bar downstairs where all these famous people played (lots of pictures on the walls) and where they served food. The owner found lots of old menus in 1983 and has them intalled over where all the pharmacy drawers are. There's an old counter that looks original, a jukebox. I hear the yuppies go there on the weekends now.

The best part was that she gave us a tour of the upstairs. It was a brothel! I don't think it's been painted or much of anything has been done to it since. The steps going up are kind of wonky, and you really feel like you're going somewhere cool! At the top of the stairs is a long hall with many small rooms. It's very obvious what they were for! There are two bathrooms right at the top of the stairs. Man, if the walls could talk!

In the front are two small rooms. In one is a bar, and you can look out at the street through the dingy windows over the big yellow sign. The adjacent room has a piano. That's one thing I'm really loving about Memphis... the history. Unlike Atlanta, lots of old things have not been gutted and turned into food courts. A lot of that seems to be due to continuing poverty, so that is a bad thing. But in terms of really feeling a sense of place and connection to the past, it's fascinating!

I had a couple of beers with Leslie and Connie, two lovely women who are both worthy of full blog entries (or books) all their own. I mean, Connie's dad was a cotton ginner! And Leslie ran away to Paris as a teenager! So much I'm not telling. Anyway, after that, we took a streetcar back to the festival where we'd all parked, and we said our goodbyes. I have their phone numbers, so I'm hoping to catch them both at the Cooper-Young Festival in Midtown in two weeks.


Leslie & Connie at Ernestine & Hazel's

Friday, September 03, 2004

Bug Failure

All the empty promises. I thought a bunch of you were going to tell me about my bug, but alas, you have let me down. My day is grey and decrepit. I guess I'll just sit here and pout.

Snacking Out

There has been a great snacking crisis here lately. I keep hankering for something nice, and I go to the kitchen, and it's all fruit and vegetables. Now you know I love both fruit and vegetables, but it doesn't exactly hit the spot when you're in a snacking mood. So I decided to take myself to the store, intentionally hungry, with no limits. I bought exactly what I wanted, and I was HONGRY! This may end up being a terrible mistake, but nice food make a house (or an apartment) a home. That's my rationalization, and I'm sticking to it!

So here's what I got. Presenting the contents of Abby's receipt from Schnuck's grocery store (or "schnookums," as I like to call it... Who's a little grocery store? Schnookums, that's who!):
  • frozen corn kernels
  • sandwich bags
  • red grapes
  • Breyer's chocolate ice cream
  • bagged organic salad (herb mix)
  • Red Hot Blues (awwww yeah, baybeeee!!!)
  • Sesame melba toast
  • Anna's Ginger thins
  • Tobasco sauce
  • Sweet Sue chicken and dumplings
  • canned crabmeat
  • canned tiny shrimp
  • wheat bagels (They didn't have Everything bagels)
  • Nature Valley granola bars (fruit & nut)
  • hot sweet mustard
  • vegetarian baked beans
  • milano salami
  • two baking potatoes
  • 1/2 lb of peel and eat shrimp
  • Saga blue cheese (my aunt and uncle had it the other day - YUM!)
  • whole wheat tortillas (chapati for Indian food)
  • chipotle mustard
  • onions
  • Red Gold diced tomatoes
  • herring party snacks
  • Ben & Jerry's vanilla ice cream
  • green olives and garlic garlic
  • marinated roasted red peppers and mushrooms
  • lox cream cheese
  • pimiento cheese spread
  • horseradish (to make cocktail sauce for the shrimps)
So tell me, people. What do these foods say about me?

Thursday, September 02, 2004

The Great Stuff Reduction Project

Going through stuff is exhausting! It drains me. There are 20 boxes here from Atlanta. Some of them are easy: a lamp wrapped in lots of paper. Either it has an obvious place or it doesn’t. But I’d say about 30% of these boxes are filled with lots and lots of little pieces of meaningful paper. Valentines from my grandmother received in the 80s. Programs from every recital I attended at Oberlin. I had literally (and I mean “literally” in its truest sense… LITERALLY!) hundreds of concert programs. I just went through a couple hundred. I have playbills from shows and concerts I saw as a child, newspaper clippings, journal entries filling the first 20 pages of several different journals. There are wonderful pictures in ugly frames, paperwork from my 1991 fire, notes folded up from grade school discussing crushes. It’s an exhausting effort to sort them, because almost ever single item has some level of emotional significance.

I’m doing well. I think I’m keeping about 30% of what I find. I must admit I’m kind of dreading my mother’s surprises. She says there are things that were going to be thrown away, so she gave them to me. What might they be? How much space will they take up? I’m starting to run out of places to put things already! I have enough framed prints, paintings, and posters to fill every inch of wall space, and in this apartment, hammering often causes the 85 year-old walls to crumble. In addition to that are tchochkes from my Bloomington apartment, from my childhood, and ones that were my parents’. Right now, it feels like an impossible task.

Another problem I’m having is space for my clothes. I was living in a place with lots of closet space. This place has two closet and my dresser, but one of the closet is really for all these Atlanta boxes until such a time as I have them all unpacked. The closet in my bedroom is very deep, so there are two rails, one behind the other. I have winter clothes on the back rail, and current clothes on the front rail, but there are still MANY clothes that haven’t been put away and that are overflowing a large laundry basket. I can’t see how I could live comfortably cramming any of these spaces to overflowing. I feel the only answer is to reduce the total number of clothes, but it gets hard, because I just did this before I moved.

All those donation bags to the Salvation Army and the yard sale were great, but there’s still more downsizing to be done. I wish I had more time to make that happen, but I start my job on Tuesday, and I think once that begins, I’m going to have to really focus on that for a while. If there’s extra time, it’s GOT to be dedicated to the dissertation, not to The Great Stuff Reduction Project.

I need an assistant!

People as Monkeys


Here is a better picture of the monkey that was made to look like me. These are monkeys made by my friend, Anne, who lives in Seattle. That's me on the right. Shad is only the left, and Anne herself is in the middle. You can see more of her monkeys here.

Hi, Monkey!


This is a seriously silly site. Explore, especially the cooking area. Check out the deviled eggs, and be sure to look closely at this page. Reload it a few times for maximum enjoyment. This monkey is so lucky. He got to meet Eddie Izzard! Aw hell. Just look all over the site. The fun never ends!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AARON!!!


I usually don't share this much in my blog, but today, I will for a very special person. Aaron is absolutely the best surprise of my year. It’s been a year of transition, adjustment, and hard work (for both of us), and he'’s made it all so much easier. I'’m a complete handful, and he’'s always immensely tolerant and still seems to still like me! Today is his birthday. I wish him a wonderful day, and a wonderful year ahead. He deserves it more than anyone I know.