Saturday, May 29, 2010

It's Kinda Quiet Around Here . . .

. . . and you know what happens next in a movie after that line!

Seriously, I'm enjoying a little bit of "quiet time" before the Memorial Day weekend ramps up. We're lucky, in that nothing more strenuous than a dance recital and a cookout is planned. The dance recital involves two good friends (and one goddaughter) tapping like Ann Miller and the cookout involves watching a Kiwi deep-fry anything that isn't nailed down. (And even then, he'll probably pry about for loose nails!)

It's the beginning of full summer around the Nest. Dust off the white shoes, folks.

Memorial Day is an odd holiday. It's really only a "half" holiday - some businesses stay open, others close. My college, for example, will be open for classes. There are some parades, but most places hold off until the Fourth of July when schools are out. There are some speeches and some wreath-laying, but all in all, I think Memorial Day is thought of as potato salad and grill day.

And as I get older, that bugs me.

I come from a family with strong military ties - nothing special there, really. It's true of most American families, at least until mandatory service was discontinued with the rise of the all-volunteer military. My dad served in the time between Korea and Vietnam, one uncle made the Army medical corps his career, and several cousins served in Gulf 1 and the ongoing wars. I have friends who currently serve and a host of students who attend classes under the modified GI Bill. Those are not sacrifices that should be brushed aside. I may not like our involvement in Iraq, but I honor those who serve. (Afghanistan is another matter - I believe we had legitimate reasons for going in, but that hilly hell-land is called the "graveyard of empires" for a reason.) And North Korea is rattling sabers right now, which could lead to who-knows-what version of a mess.

I have a friend, Binary Biker, who is off on a Memorial Day trip to visit his new grandson. He's taking along a chunk of little paper American flags with the intent to visit a cemetery and place the flags on graves that are marked as the final resting places for veterans. It's a good idea - quiet and respectful.

Give it a thought, would you?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Hey, Look Over There!

No, I'm not trying misdirection. Not now, anyway. Rather, I'm reminding you that I maintain a second blog. While the Nest is where I play, Unfettered Brilliance is a little more like where I work. That's a blog devoted to the work of Joss Whedon, who I study and write about. (And always remember, you can buy the book! Click here for details - they make GREAT presents for all occasions!)

That blog doesn't get updated as often as the Nest, but it's about to go into overdrive. Every two years, the Whedon Studies Association throws an international conference to bring together Whedon scholars and it's coming up in about ten days. Among those of us who study Whedon, this is a big deal. People come from all over and the press makes a bit of a fuss over us, although they often paint us as half-whacked. Well, any publicity is good publicity, right?

I, along with FryDaddy, who will be presenting at the conference on Buffy's leadership style and making some comments on its success (or lack thereof), will be leaving for sunny Florida to attend. Here's a draft of the conference program - you can see speakers are coming from near and far! I'm delighted to be one of the keynote speakers (and the only American; the other two are coming from the U.K.), but there is much work still to do on that.

So I'll keep this short and remind you to check out Unfettered Brilliance for updates!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Circle of Academia

It was graduation last night. Hundreds of students in flapping polyester robes and tilted mortarboards secured by bobby pins. Cameras a-flashin', balloons a-flyin', and air horns a-screechin'. Smiles big enough to crack your heart. Lots of those.

One of which belonged to FryDaddy as he strode confidently across the stage to collect his degree (okay, it's not the actual degree; it's some little scroll thingie that stands in until the final tally of the courses is checked and re-checked by Student Services). He looked quite dashing in his robe. I, on the other hand, looked like a demented peacock in mine - gold braid edging purple velvet bars isn't exactly subtle, but hey! I worked hard for the right to wear that robe and I didn't see any advantage in hiding my light under any bushel on that score. (And I'll fess up to liking the puffy hat with the gold tassel.)

But as one ends, the next begins. Circle of Academia. I need to prep my summer class - a whirlwind tour of the dramatic arts conducted in five and a half weeks, minus a couple of days for the Slayage conference in early June. I've taught it before and I don't see much in the way of tweaking it for this go-round.

FryDaddy is finished (see top paragraph), so he gets to play house-husband this summer - I'm looking forward to coming home and sighing, "What a day! Wow, house looks great, honey - is that supper I smell?" OK - not exactly true. He'll be working some at the school as a tutor for the new developmental English and math courses, which have an extensive computer lab component. And he does most of the cooking anyway. (Readers, hear me well - find a man with a decade and a half of restaurant experience. Good restaurants; you know, the kind where the chef packs his own knives. You'll eat well and be entertained for days by the stories!)

Must go now - in addition to the aforementioned prep work, today is the joyous day during which old papers from semesters past may officially be flung into the trash. Sad that such small things bring me joy, but there it is.

Monday, May 3, 2010

News From Married Life!

Saturday's wedding went off with only one hitch (and that was the one that was supposed to be there, so that's fine!) and FryDaddy and I had a lovely night away before returning home to discover that one of our sneakier friends had let herself in to decorate our house for our return! Pictures from the wedding were already propped up on the counter, there was a lovely card and a plant (we'll try not to kill it, honest, Barefoot!), and chocolates had been artfully scattered throughout the bedroom. Very lovely and thoughtful and sweet. Not the kind of breaking-&-entering that makes me change the locks.

The wedding itself was just what we wanted. Tiny, intimate, and meaningful. The small church was adorned with gorgeous spring flowers that seemed to burst forth with joy. FryDaddy was a handsome cuss in his dark suit ("Non summer weight," as he sighed) and I had elected for shimmering turquoise and silver heels. My hair had grown long enough for an elegant "updo," thanks to a talented hairdresser, about a dozen pins, and enough product to make a polar bear weep. We came up the aisle together after our families had seated themselves (that followed a few minutes of milling about and self-introductions of nephews and in-laws) and when the time came to move up to the altar for our vows, I simply walked over to my young niece, handed her my white rose bouquet and asked her to "hold this for me, please." She seemed delighted to comply. The service included a "meditation," which I had been skeptical about (heels, remember?) but it was fantastic! The minister knew us both and tied in our chosen readings (Song of Solomon and I John), events in our own lives, and the origin behind such words as "anxiety" and "weird." I know it sounds a bit odd, but really - it wasn't. And it was very us.

As was the cake. As you can see, the topper was John Sheridan from Babylon 5 and my beloved Buffy, stretching out their hands to reach each other over the Hellmouth. I mean, bundt cake hole.

It's back to the work-a-day world with us today (with the promise of a long honeymoon at the end of July) and the weekend was so scrumptiously perfect that I think the end of the semester will be quite bearable!

Hey - married friends out there - is it true that wedding rings come with secret super-powers?