Triticum Turgidum

Lying Dormant and Waiting to Bloom Since 2005

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Location: The Prairie, Illinois, United States

I am a beauty-loving ambidextrous higher-order primate who learned transcendental meditation at 7, statistical analysis at 23, tap dancing at 30, and piano at 35. I tolerate gluten, lactose, and differences of opinion, but not abuse. Or beets.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Heaven help me...

...the first time she gives me this look on purpose.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Ode to Peg

I've owned three cars in my life. The first was Molly, a two-tone 1982 blue Ford Escort wagon with a broken speedometer and no heat blower. I had to scrape Michigan ice off the outside and inside every time I drove it, except in the summer, when the absence of air conditioning became my chief concern.

My current car is a yellow Ford Escape called, affectionately, The Short Bus. Please don't flame me; I didn't come up with the name. (For the uninformed, some genius in the U.S. public school system thought it would be fun to further stigmatize special-education kids by making them ride a bus half the length of a regular schoolbus. As a bonus, it made the rounds later than the regular buses so when it finally arrived at school everyone could look out and see exactly who "rode the short bus.")

In between Molly and The Short Bus was Peg, my white Ford Festiva. (See a pattern here? Dad worked as an automotive engineer for Guess What Company! Fortunately he wasn't one of those "boo-ya-Ford-RULES!" fist-pumping dads, like those weirdos who sport cartoons of Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes peeing on the logo of a competing car company; I just stuck with Fords because the "A Plan" gave me a cut-rate deal on cars without having to haggle at a dealership. *shudder*)

I acquired Peg in a most unorthodox way. It was 1991. Molly was on the outs and it was time for a new (used, a.k.a. pre-owned) car. Dad and I set aside a day to look at vehicles he'd spotted in the Tradin' Times. I hopped in his car and he handed me the classifieds so I could see which ads he'd circled. As we rolled down the driveway, I could feel my face fall. Oh no. What's this? A Renault Le Car? You've got to be kidding. Further down: an El Camino? No way. A Brat?? What the hell... a Pinto?! Oh my god. Dad, I know you're stingy er cheap er budget-minded, but don't Pintos explode when tapped from the rear? Isn't that why you got rid of your own Pinto?

Suddenly he hit the brakes. "Forgot something." He rolled up the driveway in reverse and commanded me to jump out and grab his thing-a-ma-jiggy from the garage. I opened the garage door and there, in all its gorgeous, glossy glory, was a brand new white Festiva. The rest of my family was standing around it, laughing and pointing at me for actually thinking I was doomed to El Caminodom. (I'm alarmingly gullible for someone who is otherwise pretty smart. Either that or my family lies really, really well.)

I was completely thrilled. It didn't matter that the car had no tape or CD player, no air conditioning, no power anything. It was clean, it was new, it worked, and it was mine. My parents had actually bought me a car. Isn't that every kid's fantasy? I had just graduated from college so I was no kid, but even working three part-time jobs at once didn't give me enough $$ for a new car. Dad told me it cost something like $6600. New. This was the '90s, not 1978.

The best part: the top speed on the speedometer was 85 mph. 85.

My friend Julie named my new car Peg for its practical, zippy personality. If Peg could speak she'd have an accent like Marge Gunderson in Fargo. Yah, sure, alrighty then. I fell in love with Peg and drove her everywhere. I took her to grad school, then back to Michigan after I finished my degree and got my first faculty job there. I finally gave her up in 2002 at the urging of none other than Dad, who admitted that he'd set me up with the auto-safety equivalent of a McDonald's ashtray and thought it would be wise for me to upgrade. I don't think he counted on me driving Peg for 11 years when he first picked her out. He probably thought it a little unbecoming for a professional woman to drive an 11-year-old Festiva.

But I'm not alone in my fondness for what I always thought of as an enormous Chiclet on wheels. I recently learned that there are Festiva clubs populated by people who have souped up their "Festies" and "'Stivas." One guy put a 240 hp motor in his. A bunch of Canadians hold yearly Festy races. How does anyone win if they're all topping out at 85 mph? Easy, just make 'em drive on ice.

Ahhhh, such a fun car. But I'm sure I'll be saying that about The Short Bus in another 7 years.

Friday, July 21, 2006


I do my most creative work at night. I've composed songs, written screenplays, and invented new extreme sports, all in my dreams.

The other night I dreamt that I was opening a knitting store in New York. This would be my logo:
If I ever do open a knitting store -- doubtful because all I can knit are scarves -- it had better be in New York. Otherwise it's back to the drawing board.

Friday, July 07, 2006

The best toys don't need batteries...

...but some demand the death of a bird.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Know Thyself

Have you ever come across a quote or passage that perfectly describes your character or perspective or modus operandi, some statement or set of statements whose spot-on application to your life and unique circumstances is all the more uncanny given how little you have in common with the source?

I was reading Business Week today and came across this quote from Pete Carroll, head football coach at USC, describing his "favorite mistake," which was accepting what would be a short-lived coaching position for the New England Patriots instead of a less challenging position with the St. Louis Rams:

"I thought I could handle anything... I felt like, Yeah, this'll be good... I'll win them over. My instincts--to a fault--are always to go to the high-pressure opportunity. I didn't really assess the situation clearly enough. I've learned to really weigh things and not be so driven by my gut. Sometimes it gets us in trouble, that feeling that you can handle anything. You have to dig deeply and not just be emotionally driven into a situation. Great competitors sometimes fall prey to their own drive to see what they can endure."

My friend Barbara recently asked her blog's readers whether and how they manage to get in the way of themselves. I'd have to say that Mr. Carroll's quote pretty much sums it up for me, especially the last sentence. I went into parenthood with that attitude, and more than any of the difficulties associated with a new baby (recovery from the birth, sleep deprivation, etc.), it's that attitude that's laid me low. If my life were a Hollywood movie, all of my struggles would be rewarded in the end with glory. The ends would justify the means. But life isn't a Hollywood movie, and people who engage in self-flagellation just end up with scars. Knowing yourself and your own vulnerabilities--even if that requires admitting that you aren't superhuman--is a good thing.