Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Random Edition

1. backstage tours at the Pentagon
2. watching movies with the Yoders
3. being the dog whisperer
4. always having a fuzzy foot warmer handy
5. old years without resolutions

Monday, December 29, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, On the Road Edition

1. getting taken out for Korean food
2. the Udvar-Hazy air and space museum
3. nieces who sing "Impulse controooool!!!" at the top of their lungs upon being informed they have none*
4. half coffee/half cocoa
5. planning out some festive food

*impulse control, that is. Not lungs. They clearly demonstrated the fact that they have lungs

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Four Dogs Edition

1. Gracie not actively trying to eat the guinea pig
2. Butler maybe being able to climb the stairs himself eventually
3. Butler licking the guinea pig
4. Fini's demands for affection
5. Opie's dopey sweetness

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Vacation Edition

1. someone else making the coffee
2. someone else making pancakes
3. the specific someone elses in question
4. really though not having to make that coffee
5. how late teenagers can sleep

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Have a Holly Jolly Christmas Edition

Note: Five Things will be taking a little holiday break to focus on family and onion dip. If I have time to post between Christmas and New Year's Day, I will, but you should expect posts to be even more sporadic until January 3. Meanwhile, know that there are many, many more than five things that don't suck, almost every day.

1. my oldest nephew completing the transformation into his dad by repeating a joke his dad and I have been telling since we were kids*
2. biscotti as a pre-breakfast snack
3. Lou Rawls' version of "The Little Drummer Boy"**
4. my mom, who apparently put a partially-used roll of ribbon into my aunt's gift this year
5. being able to spend the day with people I not only love but like.

*and not crediting either of us, by the way, which is the thing that really clinches the whole turning-into-your-father thing as far as I'm concerned

**the man brought some serious funk to Christmas, I tell you what

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Baking Frenzy Edition (Part 3)

Note: Five Things will be taking a little holiday break to focus on family and onion dip. If I have time to post between Christmas and New Year's Day, I will, but you should expect posts to be even more sporadic than usual until January 3. Meanwhile, know that there are many, many more than five things that don't suck, almost every day.

1. baguettes
2. spritz
3. chocolate chip cookies
4. putting together kick-ass cookie boxes
5. honey bourbon with honey from our bees*

*I know, I know. That's technically got nothing to do with baking. But it'll get you nicely toasted, which is kind of the same thing. Cheers!


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Baking Frenzy Edition (Part 2)

1. orange cinnamon biscotti
2. salted caramel cashew shortbread bars
3. molasses spice cookies
4. lemon thumbprint cookies
5. biting off more than you can chew

Monday, December 22, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Baking Frenzy Edition (Part 1)

1. cinnamon sugar pecans
2. candied orange peels
3. crack*
4. chocolate crinkles**
5. sugar cookies**

*no, not that, you wise-ass. Google "toffee crack" and be amazed
**well, the dough anyway

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Secret Santa Edition

1. how cool being a Secret Santa can be
2. a little snow on the ground*
3. wondering whether there is such a thing as secret reindeer
4. secret elves?
5. sowing confusion among the Secret Santa community for fun

*but not enough to shovel!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Best of a Bad Situation Edition

1. hanging out with people I love
2. hugs
3. the fact that I originally had a typo in #2 so it said "jugs"*
4. wondering if anyone uses the term "jugs" anymore for anything except maybe moonshine
5. how quickly an FTTDS list can get off-track and therefore write itself

*which also don't suck, for the record

Friday, December 19, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Cookie Edition

1. several days of cookie making
2. samples*
3. filling the freezer with dough
4. the super-organized shopping list
5. sitting down


*quality control is important. These are Christmas gifts, people

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Continuing Preparations Edition

1. being so on top of things that I forget to do a FTTDS list
2. the locally-owned office supply store*
3. dogs who don't even wake up when I come home***
4. asterisks
5. unexpected turns

*so randomly stocked! So dusty!**
**I actually do appreciate both of these conditions in an office supply store. It's how you know they're serious. 
***sleeping dogs = the ability to skip taking them outside

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Need a Little Christmas Edition

1. setting the away message on my email
2. having all the shopping done
3. getting everything in the mail
4. figuring out the Christmas cookies for this year's cookie boxes
5. a freezer full of dough

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck

1. Anna Karenina
2. knowing she's going under that train and watching it all happen*
3. the realization that Tolstoy actually knew a lot about pacing**
4. wondering if I'll read War and Peace this year or save it for next year
5. thinking about reading a comic book or something

*spoiler alert from 1877
**I suppose he'd have to, if he wanted to keep a novel going for 1170 pages, but still. Amazing.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Nice List Edition

1. finishing up the Christmas shopping*
2. wrapping presents
3. giving presents
4. houses that are all lit up**
5. a little nog***

*probably not until tomorrow, but most of it today
**you wanna use old-school, giant, multicolored bulbs? I say go for it, my friend. Let your festive flag fly!
***not too much, though. Nobody needs a ton of that stuff.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Sunny Winter* Sunday Edition

1. walking past the hives, knowing the bees are all in there, keeping warm and dry
2. wondering if they know how delicious their honey is**
3. the fact that there are still little tufts of green here and there***
4. a slow start to the morning
5. the second day in a row without too many plans

*I know, I know. It's still technically fall. But who exactly are we trying to kid with that?
**'cause it totally is
***in complete denial about what's coming

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Lazy Saturday Edition

1. having pretty much nothing on the schedule
2. Anna Karenina*
3. warm, comfy socks
4. a toasty chenille throw
5. naps

*seriously, such a good book

Friday, December 12, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Songs from Youth Edition

1. not getting the bends
2. dune buggies
3. wearing my sunglasses at night
4. the fact that Debbie Gibson only knew three chords
5. confusing the general populace with at least two of these FTTDS

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Creative MoFo Edition

1. creativity
2. trying new things even if you suck at them
3. eventually not sucking at them
4. expanding your horizons
5. being a creative mofo

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Stormy Weather Edition

1. the way it's not raining at this particular second
2. the possibility of not stepping into a giant, freezing-cold puddle in the dark*
3. drinking tea and reading a book while the weather does whatever it's gonna do
4. having the kind of hair that does really well in humidity**
5. not letting a smile be your umbrella***

*did this last night, right up to my ankle. Daylight also doesn't suck
**sorry, straight-haired people, sorry. But if you're feeling bad for yourself, please see #2 above
***because that shit simply does not work, my friends. You will get wet if you use your smile umbrella in Massachusetts today

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Last Day On Campus This Semester

1. not having to get up to a 6:25 alarm again until mid-January
2. not having to eat soup out of a thermos again for the same amount of time
3. having many of the joys of campus life without any of the grading
4. being totally caught up on grading
5. being okay with the way I'm not really sure how this happened

Monday, December 8, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Finals Week Edition

1. because it's only Monday, the library does not yet smell of stale Chinese food and desperation*
2. students pretending they think it's a good idea to sleep on** the library tables
3. seeing students for tutorials
4. collecting see-you-next-semester hugs
5. not having to take finals

*I will not be able to say the same tomorrow
**or under***
***or both

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Random Edition

1. dragonflies
2. the Easter Bunny
3. Robert Downey, Jr.
4. ice cubes
5. mittens

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Rainy Saturday Edition

1. getting ALL the grading done so I can relax and enjoy Sunday*
2. a warm, comfy hoodie
3. dogs who don't want to tromp around in the rain all day
4. putting the last of the Thanksgiving whipped cream into your coffee**
5. getting unexpected messages from old friends

*theoretical but very possible
**don't judge. I could have just shot it straight into my mouth instead, but I'm a lady.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Last Day of Classes Edition

1. easy parking on campus
2. how cheerful everyone is
3. the last department meeting of 2014
4. knowing how close I am to being a full-time poet again for a few weeks
5. being able to start to think about Christmas

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Off Campus with No Grading Edition

1. realizing that my Thursdays are once again grading-free*
2. cheerfully ignoring the first-year research papers that will be filling my bag at 9:30 tomorrow morning
3. focusing on the whole no-grading-today thing
4. making Christmas plans
5. egg nog**

*until February anyway
**just a little

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Distracted Morning Edition

1. not actually burning the house down by putting an insulated lunch bag down on a still-hot burner
2. owning a tote bag I can use to carry my lunch today
3. the fact that it's fall, so the heater will be on in my office, thus helping to keep my thermos of soup warm until lunch
4. the fact that the bag was empty and I didn't also ruin one of our lunches
5. buying a snazzy new insulated lunch bag


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Monday, December 1, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Last Week of Classes Edition

1. sending my students forth into a better, brighter world, one in which they are still forever my students
2. the way the library begins to smell like stale Chinese food and desperation as we approach finals week
3. being reasonably sure the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train*
4. being aware that overconfidence kills
5. coffee

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, I'm Getting Older, Too Edition

1. getting an email from your nephew in which he addresses you and your mother (his grandmother) as "Hey Guys!"
2. seeing some bees out on cleansing flights this morning*
3. sleeping as late as I want without anybody giving me a hard time about it**
4. comfortable shoes
5. realizing that the kids' table is still the kids' table, no matter how tall we've become

*if they're not dead, they're getting older. Don't pretend this doesn't fit with the theme. You know it does.
**no one's gonna give me a hard time about the nap I'll be taking later, either

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Don't Wake Up if You Don't Want to, Little Suzie Edition

1. falling sound asleep
2. not waking up and weeping
3. not being in any trouble whatsoever
4. already being home
5. having no idea where some of these FTTDS lists come from

Friday, November 28, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Pie for Breakfast Edition

1. Pie. For breakfast.
2. the fact that I didn't actually have pie for breakfast and am thus feeling morally superior to everyone else in the house
3. pie for lunch
4. the fact that moral superiority is often short-lived
5. yoga pants

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Thankfulness Edition

1. gathering family and friends around my (veerrrrry long) table
2. laughter
3. fellowship
4. pie*
5. a second piece of pie*


*duh

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Not a Creature Was Stirring Edition

1. kids sleeping in the office, visions of garlic knots dancing in their heads
2. waiting for Santa to come down the chimney and deliver a huge Thanksgiving feast with all the sides
3. stockings full of gravy
4. singing Thanksgiving carols
5. breaking into the wine a day early*

*just kidding, people. It's 8:30 in the morning.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Causing Trouble Edition

1. picking up my niece and nephew this afternoon
2. spoiling them rotten
3. simultaneously using them as unpaid pre-Thanksgiving labor*
4. pre-Thanksgiving Chinese food feasts
5. not having to get up with an alarm tomorrow

*they'll get paid in pie, eventually

Monday, November 24, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Two-Day Week Edition

1. two-day weeks
2. warm weather*
3. having the front yard all raked up and pretty and all
4. relatives that are also family
5. deluding myself that I'll be able to sleep in on Wednesday

*for now

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Out for Breakfast Edition

1. the ways in which being out to breakfast is better than being out to lunch
2. my mom's hilarious side of the family*
3. blueberry pancakes**
4. coffee I didn't have to make
5. Jed enjoying the tradition so much that he'll actually get out of bed at 7:30 on a Sunday morning***

*my dad's side of the family is also hilarious, but the brands of hilarity are distinct on both sides
**but don't go assuming that's what I'm gonna have, because my order is usually up for grabs until the waitress shows up
***most of the time

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Weekend Edition

1. toasty warm beds
2. staying in said toasty warm beds a little longer
3. leisurely cup(s) of coffee
4. the first big push to get ready for Thanksgiving
5. yoga pants

Friday, November 21, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Parental Arrival Day Edition

1. how happy my dad will be to see there are extra cookies left over
2. how happy my mom will be to see the dogs
3. my parents' hilarious Pomeranian, Mousse
4. my giant dogs wedging themselves into Mousse's tiny bed
5. my parents

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Visiting Poet Edition

1. going to another college to talk to their creative writing class about poetry
2. seeing my friend Jess
3. getting her out of the office for lunch
4. reading poems
5. being all poetic and stuff

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Denial Edition

1. not checking to see what the windchill temperature is
2. pretending I'm not wearing gloves
3. pretending I'm wearing gloves because I'm a world-famous cat burglar*
4. the fact that telling myself a little story about being a world-famous cat burglar can distract me for a moment or two from how [expletive deleted] cold it is out
5. the ways in which a scarf can lend a girl an air of mystery

*The Turquoise Fleece or maybe The Turquoise Palm or maybe just Fingers Foley. No matter what, though, my turquoise fleece gloves will be my signature.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Run-Up to Thanksgiving Edition

1. clearing stuff out of the house
2. emptying the fridge/freezer
3. making lists*
4. anticipation
5. gravy

*you might have noticed I kinda dig making lists

Monday, November 17, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Rainy Days and Mondays Edition

1. wanting to say "mud" and then remembering the sound my shoes made while I was walking the dogs this morning
2. wondering how to spell that squelchy sound
3. deciding on sccchhhhewwwwwp scchhhhewwwwwp scchhhhewwwwwp
4. how happy the dogs are when I rub them dry with a big towel
5. when Butler does not dry himself off by repeatedly drawing his entire flank against my thighs*

*theoretical due to the fact that this happens every damn time

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Sunday Brunch Edition*

1. mimosas
2. waffles
3. huevos rancheros
4. apple cinnamon pancakes
5. butter that's been molded into little flowers

*note: I am not having ALL these things at brunch**
**probably

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Saturday Afternoon Edition

1. giving people the opportunity to show how funny they are
2. people who seize that opportunity
3. outpourings of love
4. when good folk step up for people in need
5. comfy sweaters

Friday, November 14, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Bright Side (?) Edition

1. how quickly this snow will melt
2. when Butler gets snow on his nose
3. the fact that the bees are all bundly warm
4. neologisms
5. not having to shovel*

*yet. Sigh.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Really? More Cookies? Edition

1. having what are possibly the most popular cookies on campus
2. bringing a couple to a friend at lunch
3. getting "Makin' Whoopee" stuck in my head*
4. twice this week (so far) choosing a run over cookies
5. coping mechanisms

*So don't forget, folks / That's what you get, folks / For makin' cookies

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Random Edition

1. QWERTY keyboards
2. knowing how to use one
3. old-school iPods
4. lions
5. not, generally speaking, living in a place where it is likely you'll be eaten

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Back at It Edition

1. getting back to making clear decisions
2. remembering that sometimes the best cure for tiredness is getting some exercise
3. sweat
4. the shower after a workout
5. not being as far behind as I was afraid I was

Monday, November 10, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Where Does the Time Go Edition

1. being just over 2 weeks away from Thanksgiving break
2. having students getting ready to give group presentations*
3. gloves**
4. coming home to a toasty warm house
5. flannel sheets**

*they may think this sucks. It does not.
**I'm not happy about needing them, but they certainly do not suck

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Cookie Baking Edition

1. lemon cookies
2. chocolate chip cookies
3. snickerdoodles
4. oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
5. testing cookies for acceptability

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Woman on a Mission Edition

1. homemade soup
2. homemade cookies*
3. honey from our bees
4. poetry books
5. a visit with a friend

*in this case, snickerdoodles, but any will suffice. Except maybe oatmeal raisin. Your mileage may vary

Friday, November 7, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Random Edition

1. magic markers
2. greeting cards
3. putting together the mousetrap part of Mousetrap without playing the game so you can just make that sucker go
4. bats*
5. tree houses

*well, technically, some of them do suck, but you know what I mean. Nobody likes a pedant. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Taking Care of Business Edition

1. getting all the campus work done yesterday
2. having today free for poetry and lunch
3. having a niece wise enough to attend a local college and thus get lunch
4. thinking about making some cookies
5. making the aforementioned cookies

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Running Late Edition

1. flats
2. skirts that look all schmancy but feel like I'm wearing PJs
3. travel mugs
4. coffee in one of the aforementioned travel mugs
5. not getting stuck behind a school bus*

*theoretical/wishful thinking

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Election Day Edition

1. the end of robo-calls
2. not watching broadcast or cable TV* and thus being spared 99% of the election ads
3. knowing your ballot questions
4. ballot questions written so that it's actually clear what a yes or no vote means just from reading the question**
5. those little "I voted!" stickers

*except for the Pats games
**theoretical

Monday, November 3, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Weekend Leftovers Edition

1. getting the bees winterized and seeing them clustering around the queen
2. getting most of my grading done
3. turkey dinners
4. getting some projects out of the way
5. chatting with a good friend

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, What to do with Your Extra Hour Edition

1. decorating a candy skull for the Day of the Dead
2. drinking your morning coffee extra-slowly
3. listening to the rain and wind outside and be REALLY grateful it's not snow*
4. enjoying the extra hour to work on your NaNoWriMo novel project
5. trying not to envy your late-sleeping husband**

*location-dependent
**or wife/cat/partner/friend/newspaper delivery person/what have you

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, How'd It Get to Be November???? Edition

1. making Thanksgiving plans
2. raking leaves in the crisp autumn air
3. a nice glass of cider
4. how quickly the end of the semester will arrive
5. leftover tiny candy bars

Friday, October 31, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Halloween Edition

1. people who still put the apostrophe in "Hallowe'en"
2. tiny Snickers bars
3. Boris Karloff*
4. my kickass Bela Lugosi impression
5. still having a couple of days before it starts getting dark at 4:30 in the afternoon

*and Bela Lugosi, although he pretended to suck REALLY WELL

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Grading-Free Off-Campus Day Edition

1. getting a little sleep
2. lunch with a friend I haven't seen in far too long
3. having to make difficult decisions*
4. maybe getting the house in order a bit
5. seeing if I can fix the Kitchenaid

*like "Veggie Korma? Or Chicken Tiki Masala?"

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Random Edition

1. those sticky roller things that get dog hair off your clothes*
2. in-the-door water and ice
3. heated seats
4. universal remote controls
5. sliced bread

*not that I'd know anything about needing one of those

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Party Animal Edition

1. cows
2. saying "cows" over and over again until the word loses all its meaning*
3. adding weird animals (especially silent ones) to the song "Old MacDonald Had a Farm"
4. a moo moo here and a moo moo there.
5. big brown eyes

*you'll also probably stretch the "ow" longer and longer, which can only be fun, right? Right?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Authorial Edition

1. Ursula K. LeGuin
2. Anne Tyler
3. Ann Beattie
4. Tana French
5. Peter Heller

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Last Days of October Edition

1. crunchy leaves
2. Halloween costumes
3. old monster movies
4. all the bad Bela Lugosi impressions out there*
5. unseasonably warm weather

*including--or maybe especially--mine

Friday, October 24, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, It Never Rains It Pours Edition

1. the rain ending sometime today-ish
2. a warm, dry weekend
3. boots
4. all the worms that didn't end up drowned on the side of the road
5. the bees, all tucked safely into their hives

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Old Man Snoring Edition

1. not having a giant tree (or chunk of  tree) fall on our house
2. not being flooded
3. dogs who are smart enough to want to stay inside in this kind of weather (as much as possible, anyway)
4. good books
5. coconut carrot soup

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Anniversary Edition

1. being married for 20 years
2. that's 240 months
3. 7305 days*
4. 175, 320 hours
5. 10,519,200 minutes**

*don't forget the leap years!
**if I screwed up the math, please don't tell me

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Rainy Days and Tuesdays Edition

1. maybe getting rid of all this ragweed
2. the plants getting a nice deep drink before winter
3. hot cups of tea
4. a fire in the fireplace
5. the beauty of the compound word "fireplace."*

*Seriously, does it get any more simple than that?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Songs Stuck in my Head Edition

1. Saying Something Stupid*
2. One for my Baby (and One More for the Road)
3. The Luckiest
4. Almost Blue
5. Big River


*note: while saying something stupid might in fact suck, "Saying Something Stupid" does not, even if it IS sort of creepy that the best-known version is sung by Frank Sinatra and his daughter, Nancy

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Things that Might Be Metaphors But Probably Aren't Edition

1. the wood pile is full of snake skins
2. the bees are still asleep
3. morning glories trail along the ground beside the neglected garden
4. the developer came to the lot next door with a front-end loader, cleared the undergrowth from a swath of ground, and parked the giant machine there for several days. At some point on Columbus Day, someone drove it away again
5. the body of a mouse, left on the driveway, will flatten on its own

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Unseasonably Warm Edition

1. t-shirts
2. bare feet
3. bees in the sunshine
4. autumn yard work in warm air
5. skirts

Friday, October 17, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Friday Edition

1. short, celebratory days
2. Pats wins, even the uglier ones
3. being grading-free for the weekend
4. long talks with good friends
5. books

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, After Breakfast Edition

1. The Farmer's Daughter in Easton
2. that waffled hash brown thing they do
3. sharing that waffled hash brown thing so you don't injure yourself trying to finish it
4. friends who bring awesome bee-themed gifts to breakfast
5. off-campus Thursdays

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Super-Belated Wednesday Edition

1. occasionally remembering to post a FTTDS list
2. that phrase "almost every day" in the blog description
3. the prospect of having tomorrow off-campus with no grading
4. allergy medication
5. sleep

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Too Busy Not Sucking to Post Edition

1. being able to work with good friends
2. long productive days
3. a good night's sleep for the first time in maybe forever
4. poems being out in the world
5. four-day weekends

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Getting Better All the Time Edition

1. being only about 25% of the way through my weekend on a Sunday morning
2. seeing my friend Nan tomorrow
3. two unstructured days in a row
4. Airborne and zinc*
5. Vince Wilfork

*In combination, so they count as one thing that doesn't suck

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Rainy Saturday Edition

1. wondering how long I can stay in my PJs today
2. a second cup of coffee
3. the possibility that maybe some of this damn ragweed will get knocked out of the air and I can go back to being normal again
4. rain on the roof
5. soup

Friday, October 10, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, October Break Edition

1. four days in a row of waking up with no alarm
2. a break from grading
3. recharging
4. resetting
5. being ready for the end of the semester

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Mystery Theme Edition

1. long (really long) beach walks
2. salt marshes
3. real coffee
4. apple pie
5. introducing two good friends to each other

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Poet Edition

1. when good writer friends meet good non-writer friends
2. the color of the leaves right now
3. being able to describe said leaves but being unwilling to because I might want to use that someday for a poem
4. salt marshes in October
5. being just a few short days away from a long weekend

Monday, October 6, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Skipped an Edition Edition

1. being okay with realizing I didn't post anything yesterday
2. the Patriots playing like maybe they're actually a football team or something
3. being able to pretend I didn't see my breath while I was walking the dogs this morning
4. understanding the value of a healthy sense of denial
5. having a bonus hour off this morning because a student canceled the first meeting of the day

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Friday, October 3, 2014

Three Bonus Poems that Don't Suck

Hi Friends,

The good people at The Gloria Sirens have posted three of my poems as part of their horror-themed October. Check 'em out if you'd like to, and then spend some time poking around. They do good stuff over there...

Five Things that Don't Suck, Long Friday Edition

1. knowing that it will eventually be over
2. fun Saturday plans
3. no Sunday plans
4. a leisurely cup of coffee
5. the potential for maybe a little sleep possibly*

*theoretical

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Rainy Rainy Rainy Thursday Edition

1. the possibility of not having to pour water out of my shoes today*
2. a quick trip to Goodwill
3. kicking ass
4. taking names
5. maybe staying mostly warm and dry while I do so

*something I actually had to do at work yesterday, so I'm gonna say the weather is looking up??

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Light at the End of the Tunnel Edition

1. being on day 3 of a 3-day work binge
2. not having to wake up to an alarm tomorrow morning
3. coffee
4. maybe a little time to read
5. how I always say "not having to wake up to an alarm" instead of "sleeping in" because it makes me feel better about the fact that I can pretty much never sleep in

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Belated Tuesday Edition

1. somehow making it to the end of September
2. hot chocolate on a cold, damp afternoon
3. more poem acceptances
4. students who are really getting it
5. happy greyhounds

Monday, September 29, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Monster Movie Poem Acceptance Day Edition

1. Lon Chaney
2. Lon Chaney, Jr.
3. James Whale
4. Colin Clive
5. all the ingenues

For all you non-poets out there, it's tough to place a big batch of poems, tough to place any poems about movies that were made almost 100 years ago, tough to find anyone at all who really understands them. This morning, I found an editor who really, really gets them--and is getting five of them at once. Yay!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Out Into the World Edition

1. lovely weather
2. happy bees
3. bees' legs covered in pollen
4. muffins and coffee
5. feeling like myself again

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Improvement Saturday Edition

1. eating
2. being really, really grateful about the ability to do so
3. spending a minute watching the bees
4. Indian summer
5. have I mentioned eating? Because: eating.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Sickie Friday Edition

1. saltines
2. ginger ale
3. sleeping as much of the day away as possible
4. being smart enough to call in sick
5. tea

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Lots of Grading Edition

1. being off-campus for a day
2. procrastinating by having brunch with a good friend
3. procrastinating by paying bills
4. procrastinating by going grocery shopping
5. procrastinating by writing a poem

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Random Edition

1. not having to grade anything for the next 3 hours
2. last-minute student cancellations on a day when I can use that time to grade, thus allowing me to take 2 or 3 fewer papers home with me
3. the quality education I received, which taught me, among other things, the difference between "less" and "fewer"
4. warm sunny afternoons with the sunroof open on the drive home
5. going home

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Another Poetry Edition

1. getting poems out into the world
2. editors who are as happy with them as I am
3. beginning a new series
4. having the time to devote myself to writing the new series*
5. mythology

*so theoretical I don't know whether to laugh or cry

Monday, September 22, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Largely Theoretical Edition

1. sleeping without an alarm
2. waking up without an alarm
3. days on which I have not overscheduled myself to the point where I fear for my own mental health
4. friends who check in during difficult times*
5. naps**

*not theoretical. And if you think this is you, know that you are not alone because I'm pretty sure a bunch of you will think it's you today

**if you are a praying person, please pray that this is not theoretical for me today

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, It's a Good Thing Edition

1. hanging out with the Foley family in Newport for the Martha Stewart food/wine pairing event
2. being 100% certain that the Foley family is cooler than Martha Stewart
3. that time before MS was really famous where I stumbled on her Thanksgiving special on PBS and snorted soda out my nose when she started talking about serving the kids' table pumpkin soup using her collection of turkey-shaped candy dishes because it was a fun thing for the children
4. the fact that I am not making any part of #3 up
5. Newport

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Blessedly Free Saturday Edition

1. a lovely quiet Saturday after a difficult Friday
2. or after a lovely quiet Friday, I suppose
3. latte and a muffin
4. dogs who curl themselves into little beans in their beds
5. okay, so they're pretty big beans, but who's keeping track?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Friday Edition

1. having a day so good yesterday that I just want to repeat yesterday's FTTDS list now that I know the items on it are factual instead of theoretical
2. pretty much already having known that to begin with
3. the flexibility of syntax in the English language
4. the surprise appearance of my longest-term (I got in trouble for saying "oldest") friend last night
5. feelin' the love

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Reading Edition

1. seeing a friend/poet I normally wouldn't get to see again until July
2. hanging out with my friend Nan
3. when my mom calls these 2 poet friends "your elderly friends," despite the fact that she is older than they are
4. the many ways in which Nan and Anne are as far from "elderly" as one could get
5. laughing and laughing and laughing

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Grading Day Edition

1. getting having all my grading done today so I can be free to go to poet things tomorrow*
2. putting a present in the mail
3. getting mail
4. being in a place where I'm prioritizing workouts again, so I have to figure out how to get all my stuff done around them as opposed to instead of them
5. new poems--interesting ones at that

*local-ish poets, I'll be in Somerville Thursday night. Join me! 7PM at Arts for the Armory, 191 Highland Ave.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Lovey-Dovey Poetry Edition

1. my various poet communities
2. having so many varieties of poets that I can consider listing them here*
3. being trusted twice in the same day with work the poet feels uncomfortable with
4. maybe being able to do right by those poets
5. tough love

*poet friends, poet comedians, poet loves, poet companions, poet acquaintances I just really really like, poet supports...more than 5 means they don't get their own list!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, The Bright Side of September Edition

1. um...sweaters are nice
2. oatmeal with apples, cinnamon, and almonds
3. snuggling to conserve heat
4. fall foliage is pretty
5. the sunny days are quite lovely

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Now I Know Why the Pats Lost Last Week Edition

1. Thug Kitchen's vegan chili*
2. beer
3. a fire in the fireplace
4. suiting up
5. Vince Wilfork

*seriously, don't knock it 'til you've tried it

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Sunny Saturday Edition

1.  sunlight on the bee hives
2. a really long talk with a really good friend yesterday
3. laughter
4. coffee
5. knowing that everything is going to be okay

Friday, September 12, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck Random Friday Edition

1. the combination of cool nights and warm days
2. having no real agenda for the weekend
3. waking up without an alarm
4. the possibility of having a clean house by Monday*
5. Jed, learning how to use the espresso machine

*do not make the mistake of confusing this possibility for an agenda

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Off-Campus Edition

1. making cookies for tomorrow's meeting
2. seeing Julie for lunch (hi, Julie!)
3. being just a week a way from seeing some of my CT poet peeps
4. waking up to Jed's (7:30) alarm instead of mine (6:30)
5. maybe a little time for a poem

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, First Day of Papers Edition

1. these last few hours before grading begins for the new semester
2. getting to see what and how the students think
3. making a few minutes before class every day to read some poems
4. a cup of tea sweetened with honey from our own bees
5. ditching it all and becoming a roadie for Elvis Costello

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Monday, September 8, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Can't Trust that Day Edition

1. actually enjoying my job
2. seeing if I can get college freshmen to talk to each other today
3. poets near and far
4. the last of the banana bread
5. manatees

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Perfect Sunday Edition

1. being ready for some football
2. being able to DVR the game because
3. you get to hang out with your cool family outside today
4. how very gorgeous September days can be
5. appreciating every second of the weekend

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Poet Edition

1. writing poems
2. experimenting with new styles and modes
3. realizing that some of them are actually pretty damn good
4. reading some more poems
5. having napping and daydreaming as part of your job description

Friday, September 5, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Friday Morning Edition

1. the best going-to-sleep night of the week
2. getting together with friends tonight
3. a chance to get the house in order
4. the giant sunflower growing next to our mailbox
5. the fact that any time I can't think of an item for this list, I type "m" then replace it with whatever I come up with*

*I have no idea why

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Five Things That Don't Suck, Gorgeous Thursday Edition

1. warm, warm days
2. cool, cool nights
3. the particular clear shade of blue sky we really only get in early autumn
4. still being able to get good tomatoes
5. garter snakes sunning themselves beside the driveway

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Random Edition

1. walking the dogs in the morning mist
2. the tail end of iced coffee season*
3. bright yellow school buses
4. the fact that I no longer have any reason to be on a bright yellow school bus
5. Garanimals

*Yes, for me it's a season. If you want to continue putting ice in your beverages after October, be my guest, but I'm almost too British to use ice in the first place

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Accidental Day Off Edition

1. being so excited about bottling honey that I forget to post a FTTDS list
2. the tiny world around us that we so often forget to pay attention to
3. late summer nectar flows
4. little translucent wings
5. teeny tiny bee fur

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Honey Extraction Day Edition

1. honey
2. extracting said honey
3. tasting said extracted honey
4. enjoying said tasting of extracted honey
5. amusing myself with patterns

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Jed's Birthday Edition

1. being 4 years younger than he is
2. spending the day with his family, whom I love
3. his fuzzy beard
4. the fact that he's a surprisingly good dancer
5. Saturday birthdays

Friday, August 29, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Gotta Get Down on Friday Edition

1. a relatively short day on campus
2. making lemon cookies
3. eating the aforementioned lemon cookies
4. hanging out with Foleys
5. long weekends

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Hanging Out with Julie Edition

1. saying hi to Julie in person*
2. lunch
3. having a day off campus without having to grade**
4. making llamas fat, one 25-cent handful of kibble at a time
5. making the ducks so fat on what is possibly that same kibble that they become too bloated to paddle***

*Hi, Julie!
**this will not last long
***theoretical but entertaining

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Random Wednesday Edition

1. oatmeal
2. daisies
3. Robert Downey, Jr.
4. kinda getting stumped after Robert Downey, Jr. because what else could I possibly need to make my day brighter?
5. more Robert Downey, Jr.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Back to School Edition

1. pencils
2. books
3. my dirty looks
4. meeting new students
5. seeing (and hugging!) old students

Monday, August 25, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Last Day of Summer Break Edition

1. not having a 6:30 alarm
2. a leisurely breakfast with my parents
3. getting a nap later if I need one*
4. getting a ton of creative stuff done this afternoon
5. clean laundry**

*I need one
**theoretical

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Random End-of-Summer-Break Sunday Edition

1. hanging out with the bees
2. transcribing last night's poem
3. being kind of ready for classes to start*
4. celebrating all the summer birthdays at once
5. the last day of the 3-dog comedy show

*syllabus-wise, anyway

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Hangin' with the Family Edition

1. stories
2. inappropriate stories
3. laughing yourself into a sinus headache
4. curing the sinus headache with wine
5. snickerdoodles

Friday, August 22, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, New Laptop Edition

1. having a keyboard that doesn't have all the letters rubbed off
2. or big fingernail divots*
3. speedy, speedy, speedy
4. being relatively sure I'll be comfortable with the keyboard before I know it
5. shiny

*especially on the "e"

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Ziploc Impaired Edition

1. those little zipper things on Ziploc bags
2. twist ties
3. bag clips and/or binder clips
4. folding over the top and hoping for the best
5. reusable containers

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Popular Name Edition

1. lunch with a friend who gets ridiculously happy about being mentioned in a FTTDS list*
2. all of my friends named Kristin/Kristen
3. Telling Jed, "Kristin is hitting on me again tonight," and having him respond, "Which one?"**
4. being able to easily find stuff with your name on it as a kid***
5. all the close calls****

*Hi, Kristin!
**there's really only one option
***theoretical
****Christine, Kirste/in, Christy/Kristy/Kirsty, etc.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Last Tuesday of Freedom Edition

1. breakfast with a friend I haven't seen in too long
2. maybe getting laptop software issues worked out
3. settling down with some editorial work
4. a nap? A nap!
5. deliberately avoiding counting down the days*

*as much as possible

Monday, August 18, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Monday Lunch Date Edition

1. lunch dates with Nan
2. pretending they're editorial meetings
3. the Shelter Harbor Inn
4. whatever the Shelter Harbor Inn has on its dessert menu today
5. Nan

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Random Sunday Edition

1. breakfast with family I don't get to see often enough
2. dogs
3. putting my feet up
4. being creatively inspired*
5. Robert Downey, Jr.**

*perhaps a little overly so, but I'm not gonna complain
**no reason. It's just been a while since I mentioned how very, very much he doesn't suck.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Saturday Edition

1. reading a book
2. writing a book
3. looking at books
4. thinking about books
5. books

Friday, August 15, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, New Project Edition

1. when a new project is just an old project in disguise, so when you take it on, you can tell yourself you're really clearing out old work
2. projects that are so fascinating you can't help yourself
3. realizing something doesn't suck, even though you thought it did
4. not really needing sleep anyway
5. maybe being able to reset myself creatively

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Parental Arrival Editon

1. a clean house*
2. clean laundry*
3. a fridge full of ingredients for well-planned, healthy meals*
4. their hilarious tiny dog**
5. sneaking in a few more hours of writer time first***

*theoretical
**Mousse, but he thinks it's spelled the other way
***really should be cleaning the house and going grocery shopping...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Drive-In Edition

1. not needing that little speaker hanging on the window anymore
2. Mike and Ikes
3. being able to put the dogs in the car and hang out with them at the movies
4. double features
5. when the 2nd movie is so terrible you start actively rooting for the tornado*

*it might seem at first glance like this means the movie sucks. Well, see my very first post if you want to know my thoughts on that. The movie IS terrible--truly terrible--but we had a great time, so how can that suck?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Robin Williams Edition

1. not romanticizing suicide
2. the National Suicide Prevention Hotline*
3. a culture where we can speak openly about depression and other mental health issues
4. intervening with people you love
5. loving people for who they are

*800 273-TALK (8255)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Old Friends Edition

1. seeing a friend you haven't seen in decades--decades!--and having it seem like no time has passed*
2. maybe being a little early for meeting said friend and spending some time in the Harvard Coop's poetry section**
3. not being the guy on the red line using his iPod as a phone to tell his mom all about how sick he is, how he feels like he's going to throw up, how long it's been since he's pooped,*** and how much pain he's in while he's taking the T to the hospital
4. the fact that said guy had a friend with him who was clearly worried about him
5. high school kids declaiming Shakespeare**** on the same train

*except you are no longer 12
** 65 bucks means I got out of there cheap
***3 days
****incorrectly, but I'll take what I can get

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Big Projects Edition

1. having the time to think about what's next
2. clearing out some space
3. planning
4. scheming
5. a complete inability to rest on my laurels

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Clearer Heads Prevailing Edition

1. being able to think about this manuscript
2. feeling poetry-rested and ready to focus
3. maybe being able to carve out a little time this weekend to do so
4. maybe feeling able to read again
5. poets*

*I realize poets don't necessarily have a reputation for clear-headedness, but believe you me, they are some of the deepest, clearest, most thorough thinkers you're ever going to meet

Friday, August 8, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Top-Secret, Unbreakably Coded Edition

1. catching some z's
2. having a little honk-shoo
3. having a lie-in
4. 40 winks
5. being out like a light

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, House to Ourselves Edition

1. sleeping in whatever I want
2. having nowhere I have to be today
3. how hard the dogs will sleep
4. visits from friends who get you but know where everything is in your kitchen
5. time to process

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Out of Control Edition

1. hilarious poets and their hilarious families
2. especially when they stay with me
3. swimming in a dress*
4. beer**
5. that great sleep you can have after a really good, fun day

*don't knock it 'til you've tried it
**might be one of the reasons swimming in a dress seemed okay

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Settling In Edition

1. not having to be done with it all quite yet
2. dogs who like to be used as footrests
3. being unafraid to put the word "naps" here again even though some variation of sleep shows up on this list all the time
4. soda water (with lime, if you have it)
5. poets

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Jiggety Jig Edition

1. fully functioning internet
2. my own bed
3. my own dogs
4. having layover poet visits still
5. catching up on sleep

Monday, July 28, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Off to See the Poets Edition

1. road trips
2. singing quahog songs with Baby Squirrel
3. Jed getting the house to himself for a little bit*
4. sneaking the luggage out to the car last night while the dogs were out walking with Jed
5. hugs. So many hugs

*cue Risky Business dance number

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Sending Me Packing Edition

Note: Tomorrow morning, I'm headed to Connecticut for my annual week with poets. Sometimes the wi-fi there is great, sometimes not so much. Also, I'll be way out of my routine, so I might not think to post. And it'll all be fine. But there's a possibility of spotty-to-no FTTDS coverage for the next week. You have been warned.

Meanwhile, if any of you want to check on Jed and the dogs and make sure they occasionally have food, that would be great.

1. clean laundry
2. lists
3. checking things off the list as they go into the suitcase
4. road trips (albeit short ones)
5. snacks


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Friday, July 25, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, That's Why I Say "ALMOST Every Day" Edition

1. having friends staying for a while
2. getting all distracted and such
3. knowing that the whole purpose of the FTTDS list is fulfilled, ironically enough, when I forget to make one
4. breezes coming in through the window
5. butterflies

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Talking Squirrels Edition

1. considering this theme while walking the dogs this morning
2. realizing I only know of two talking squirrels and I really need five if I'm gonna do this right
3. plowing forward regardless
4. Rocket J. Squirrel
5. Baby Squirrel LaTour

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Clean House Edition

1. clean floors
2. clean laundry
3. clean bathrooms
4. clean sheets*
5. a husband who vacuums

*maybe not the best thing in the world, but lovely that first night

Monday, July 21, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, My Mom's Birthday Edition

1. my mom
2. her birthday
3. sharing my birthday celebration with her every year*
4. the number of times she must have expressed delight at Calgon bath beads or some such
5. yellow tulips**

*even if some years we have to wait until August to do it
**they're out of season but they're her favorites and they don't suck

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Saying "Yes" Edition

1. saying "yes" to 2 poet gatherings with mostly-strangers (or people I've only known online) in the past couple of weeks
2. saying "yes" to concert tickets on my birthday
3. saying "yes" to the whole manuscript process
4. saying "yes" to invitations to various small-scale meetings with friends
5. not having to say "yes" to anything today if I don't want to

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Even More Poets Edition

1. getting to meet one of my seriously formative poetic influences
2. getting to see another seriously formative poetic influence whom I haven't managed to see in far too long
3. hanging out with poets for a bit
4. getting to hang out with very cool non-poets afterward
5. swimming? Maybe there will be swimming

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Manuscript Edition

1. arranging a manuscript
2. re-arranging a manuscript
3. having pieces of paper strewn randomly across various pieces of furniture because I don't have access to the giant dining room table right now
4. binder clips
5. sticky notes

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Distracted Edition

1. being so distracted by things like Chapbook Thunderdome that I forget to post a FTTDS list
2. thunderstorms
3. not having to water the plants today
4. getting all creative and whatnot
5. ooh! Shiny thing!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Poet Thunderdome Edition

1. the entire concept of a poet Thunderdome
2. poets who fashion fighting outfits from duct tape and what appear to be disposable bowls*
3. the number of fellow Thunderdome poets who are sending me friend requests on FB today
4. brackets for gambling purposes
5. maybe being able to keep that Tina Turner song out of my head

*two of them. Figure it out.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Five Things That Don't Suck, Fighting Robot Suits Edition

1. the fact that my FRS is way better than Jed's FRS
2. arms made from that flexible duct stuff they use for dryer vents
3. robot voices
4. The Flight of the Conchords' song "The Humans Are Dead"
5. two hits: my FRS hitting Jed's FRS, and Jed's FRS hitting the floor

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Summer Sunday Edition*

1. potato salad
2. iced coffee
3. frozen novelties
4. sangria
5. shandies

*Note: this does not reflect a balanced diet and should not be confused with my actual food/drink intake today (well, except the iced coffee. And probably the sangria later). Don't try this at home, kids.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Friday, July 11, 2014

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Random Thursday Edition

1. fireflies
2.castanets
3. that Monkees episode where the phrase "I would like to buy a pair of red maracas" is a secret spy code and Davy uses it without realizing*
4. sweet potatoes
5. Franconia, NH

*groovy hilarity ensues

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Going to See Poets Edition

1. meeting some poets I've only previously "met" online
2. seeing a couple of other poets I haven't seen in far too long
3. assorted cheeses*
4. remembering to say "yes" to things because it's my word of the year
5. the promise of sangria

*poets love assorted cheeses

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Garden Edition

1. lilies
2. bee balm
3. when Jed calls dianthus "pinks"
4. the sheer number of blossoms on the bean plants*
5. pulling sugar snap peas off the vine and eating them right there

*for all you non-gardeners out there, blossoms = eventual vegetables

Monday, July 7, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Home Alone* Edition

1. uninterrupted reading time*
2. writing without distraction*
3. not having to worry about anything beyond what I'm doing in a given moment*
4. reading poetry out loud to an empty room*
5. having the whole day entirely to myself*

*unless you count the dogs

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Bee Vocabulary Edition

1. diploid drone*
2. eusocial
3. waggle dance
4. nectaries
5. pollen basket**

*my new favorite non-swear insult
** "Oof! That bee just hit me right in the pollen basket!"

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Beautiful Morning Edition

1. not writing any of the lyrics to "O! What a Beautiful Morning" here because just thinking about them is enough to get the song stuck in my head
2. opening the windows wide to let in cool post-rain air
3. sunshine
4. the way Gracie will alter her path--much like a little kid--in order to walk through puddles
5. scheduling a visit to the bees this afternoon

Friday, July 4, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Independence Edition

1. the founding fathers
2. the founding mothers, who don't really get any credit but who certainly got shit done because they were women and that's what we do
3. this video, the song from which is guaranteed to get stuck in your head
4. not being at all sorry about #3, because if I've gotta live with it, so can you
5. fireworks shows

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Never Complain About the Heat Edition

1. it's not bone-shattering cold out there
2. warm is good
3. ice water is delicious and good for you
4. warm weather is way easier on the bees
5. how sarcastic this sounds, even though I mean every word

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Suddenly Feels Like Vacation Edition

1. going to breakfast on a week day for the second time this week
2. so many books. So very many
3. staying up too late with one of those books, then getting up (also late) to go out for the aforementioned breakfast
4. having the head space to think about big writing projects
5. fruit salad

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Totally Random, Totally Not Sending Secret Messages Edition

1. being able to tell when people are secretly goth
2. mastodons
3. bunnies*
4. Edward Gorey
5. wearing just enough eyeliner

*taste like chicken

Monday, June 30, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Sniff Sniff Edition

1. making lemon cookies for them to take on the road
2. how much shorter "the road" is now than it was just a couple of weeks ago
3. a farewell shindig
4. knowing we'll see everyone again in just a couple of months
5. finally having convinced a distant niece to go to college in MA

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Post-Graduation Party Edition

1. dogs who actually didn't jump into the fish pond
2. dogs who are so tired that they crawl into bed at 11 and don't move again until I wake them up at 8*
3. people who are so tired that they crawl into bed at 11 and don't move again until I wake up at 8**
4. seriously, how funny the Foley clan is (I mean it)
5. coffee. Lots and lots of coffee

*evidence: completely flat, undisturbed dog blankets
**okay, it's possible I moved a couple of times, and that I woke up at 5 convinced that it was about 9. But then I went back to sleep. It's comedy, people, not science

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Graduation Party Edition

1. lemon cookies
2. secret beaches
3. how hilarious the Foleys are
4. dogs who definitely don't jump into the tiny fish pond*
5. not being in high school anymore

*absolutely not. Unthinkable.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Brave Souls Edition

1. Meg, getting right up in front of the bee hive to take pictures
2. Maeve, so excited that she grabbed the top of the hive box with her bare hands and leaned in*
3. Small people wearing big beekeeper hats
4. being the Foley cousins' field trip destination for the day yesterday
5. ice cream

*not recommended (but she was fine)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Lacking Credibility Edition

Note: one of my nieces is visiting in the area and wants to come over and meet the bees. Last night, I realized I should warn her that she should avoid eating bananas this morning, because bees can mistake the scent of bananas for the alarm pheromone they produce when the hive is in danger--and nobody wants to be around 30,000 bees who think they're in danger. When she didn't question the text I sent her, I thought it would be funny to just keep sending her completely invented "rules"--how many could I get away with before she stopped believing me? Then I realized that this sort of thing is exactly why my nieces and nephews never know when they're supposed to take me seriously. So here are five things I could have told my niece but didn't:

1. Always drink a giant glass of water before you visit the bees. At least 24 ounces. Our bodies have a relatively high percentage of salt, which can make the bees uneasy, so it's best to water it down a little bit.

2. The smoker must be filled with pine needles that are EXACTLY the same length or it won't work right. You must add one 3-inch long maple twig, no larger in diameter than a pencil. It must be maple, to counteract the pitch in the pine needles.

3. Don't wear horizontal stripes. It would be okay if you were here in July, but this is June. You don't want to know why.

4. Singing is helpful to keep the bees calm (they really like power ballads in particular), but no humming. Some bees are okay with whistling, but I wouldn't risk it since they don't know you yet. DEFINITELY NO HUMMING.

5. The first time you see the inside of a hive, you need to spin around in a circle three times while whispering, "Buzz buzz buzz, what an awesome sight that was" or there will be no honey that year. It's an old beekeeping superstition, but we take it very seriously.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Poets Edition

1. the generosity of poets
2. being so overwhelmed by #1 that the other 4 might not matter
3. the way that returning to an obsession can be like seeing an old friend for the first time in years
4. the sheer quantity of helpful ideas in my inbox this morning
5. poets

Monday, June 23, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Summer Vacation Edition

1. sleeping in
2. midday naps
3. staying up late
4. being in charge of my own schedule
5. realizing that I'm not really responsible enough to be in charge of my own schedule, but not caring

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Poet-Fest-Hangover Edition

1. the kind of headache you get from laughing too hard
2. staying up too late and being sort of woozy the next day
3. fantastic conversations
4. getting the very first taste of honey from your own hive and wondering if that's some sort of metaphor
5. lemon buttermilk cake*

*which is its own kind of poetry, trust me

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Poet Fest Edition

1. poets coming to my house again
2. poets going out back to see the bees
3. how smart my poet friends are
4. and funny
5. and talented

Friday, June 20, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Friday Pool Party Edition

1. baking snickerdoodles. You know. For the children.
2. taste-testing said snickerdoodles
3. getting my walk in early
4. watching the birds
5. patio umbrellas

Thursday, June 19, 2014

On Taking the Compliment

I know I've been relatively quiet, friends, for months even. I realized, while out on my run this morning, that I passed the second anniversary of the FTTDS lists on June 1 and didn't even notice. I just made my list and moved on with the day, which I suppose was part of the point to begin with.

Running has not been easy for me, either, in recent months. I had a series of minor-but-annoying injuries. When I felt better, I hit the treadmill and found just how much fitness I'd lost. When May brought the end of my early mornings on campus and the return of my outdoor (and morning!) running season, I realized just how bad it had become. I couldn't find a pace. Far from being able to run ten or twelve miles, I had to take a walk break on a two miler. It might have been related to my inability to find a pace, it could have been that I'd slipped that far behind—it's likely a combination of the two. But I've been running steadily again since mid-April, and I'm starting to find myself again, and it feels fantastic.

Which is one of the reasons I had such a hard time last week when a missed step on an otherwise strong four miler resulted in me hitting the pavement on my hands and knees, then my right shoulder, then my right cheek. Luckily, I was only about a quarter of a mile from home when it happened, so I cut the last mile from my loop and took the shortest route I could. My face was bleeding as were the heels of my hands, and one knuckle, which had scraped against the ground when my water bottle rolled out from under my hand. It was so bad that I didn't even notice that my knee was scraped and bloody until about five minutes after I got home. I didn't notice my shoulder until I tried to take off my shirt so I could get into the shower.

Anyway, apart from spending a day or two making friends with a bottle of Advil PM so I could get some sleep, I was fine. I'm a quick healer for one thing, and I was lucky for another. I didn't fall into traffic. I didn't break my ankle. I didn't land on my teeth or my nose or my chin. I was a little banged up, but just hours after my fall I was on campus, helping out with new student orientation, and I was back on campus for the five days of orientation that followed that. I spent my first post-tumble evening at our nephew's lacrosse state championship game (they won!), and then at dinner with the Foley clan. I posted pictures to Facebook, talking about what a badass I am.

And I am.

But I also spent a week not running, again. Yes, I was in the middle of a six-day stretch on campus. Yes, my body needed the rest so that it could heal properly. Yes, for several days I could feel every step I took reverberate in my cheekbone (that's weird, for the record. We're not really supposed to be aware of our own cheekbones that way). And I spent some time paying attention to how other runners were talking about their running.

Runners risk being a little obsessive. Running is one of those things that people tend to hate until they love it. We want what's next. We see lots of improvement in the early days and want the next step to come NOW. It's one of the joys of beginning to run—watching your endurance rise from a minute to 90 seconds to two minutes, building and building each week until all of a sudden you can run a mile for the first time maybe ever, then two miles, then three. I built on that joy until I was completing a 10 – 12 mile "long run" every weekend. There's something about running, about knowing that no one, including possibly yourself, is completely convinced you can do this, that is incredibly empowering. I hear versions of my own story a lot. I hear variations on that story, where people tell me that they decided that if I could run, they could run. That's always cool. Those people have been, up to now, exclusively women, and I think it's cool not just that they've decided to try to take care of themselves a bit better, but that they also thought to tell me about my part in that decision. The world could use more of us telling each other we think we're awesome. Or inspiring. Or badass. Choose your term.

The dark side of that story, though, is something that's begun to trouble me more and more. Let me preface this by saying that I'm only interpreting the meaning behind the actions I'm going to describe here: I could be wrong, because I'm not in these women's heads. But I don't think so.

Women punish themselves with exercise. And with food. Or with food deprivation. Or any number of other things. But having more couch time than usual has given me more time than usual to hang out on Pinterest and Facebook, looking in horror at the pictures women share, pictures using words like "skinny" (a word I personally despise) or, worse, "fit." Because often those pictures are of women who look incredibly unhealthy to me. Post after post of "skinny" versions of real food—often using ingredients created in a lab somewhere. Post after post of 1,200- or 1,000-calorie eating plans. Post after post of "everyday" exercise plans and meal-replacement shakes and women hating themselves for what they are.

I also see posts from runners (or people with other exercise plans, but most often runners) that make it clear that exercise isn't a part of health for these women. Women who run every day, giving their bodies no time to recover from the damage they're doing (because when anyone talks about "building muscle" or "strengthening" or "improving," what they're really saying is "doing minor damage so that the muscles/tendons/bones heal stronger"). Women who run every run—every run—with their heart rate monitors in order to ensure every single workout is as hard as it can be (I'm not a health expert, but I have yet to read anything by any expert saying, "Do all of your workouts at maximum effort"). Women who claim to hate all other forms of exercise (running burns a ridiculous amount of calories) and who don't warm up or cool down because it isn't "work." Women posting pictures of themselves from angles designed to minimize the size of their hips or maximize the difference between waist and hip measurements, or pictures of themselves half-hidden behind a running partner, or pictures that leave part of their bodies out of frame.

What disturbs me most about these particular pictures, though, is the expression on these women's faces. I know this is subjective—I know it is—but when I look at these women, it feels like they are desperate for acceptance. I see plenty of pictures of joyous women—finishing a run, getting ready to start a race, otherwise taking pleasure in their accomplishments—but the pictures I'm talking about are different. The women don't look comfortable in their own skins. Their smiles do not contain joy or triumph. They break my heart. Nothing they do is ever good enough for themselves. Running the way they do isn't going to change that and in all honesty, I've stopped thinking that even they believe it will.

Someone—I have no idea who—said it's impossible to hate yourself into becoming a better person. It's true. Also, I know healthy, well-adjusted women who exhibit one or more of the behaviors I've listed above. I understand a lot of the motivations: warming up and cooling down can feel inefficient, so I have to treat it as a non-negotiable part of the workout, which means if I'm pressed for time, I shorten the run, not the walk. I force myself to, because once I let the you're-not-good-enough part of my brain gain traction, it's very, very difficult to dislodge. I worry about how lumpy I will look in a picture. I calculate whether I'm the largest person in the room despite the fact that since I started running, that answer is almost always "no." I feel for these women, I do. I understand the thought patterns. I also understand that sabotage can often disguise itself as a plea for moderation—I have been told I was "getting too skinny" (at 200 lbs!), offered a size-22W blouse (at a time when I was wearing a 14 or 16, depending on the cut at the bust line), and given what was described as a celebratory bag of chocolates, by three different friends, all in the same week. I understand that would-be saboteurs do not always recognize their own motivation. Mostly, though, I have come to the conclusion that it's all part of the same cycle, a cycle rooted in the idea that we, as women, are never enough.

My friend Julie was here the other day, and she said something about how good I looked. I blew her off, saying that I was still a few pounds up from where I was last summer before my string of injuries and general slugginess derailed me a bit and that my clothes weren't quite fitting me the way I wanted to yet. We went back and forth for a bit until she yelled, "JUST TAKE THE FUCKING COMPLIMENT!"


She was totally right. So here's what I'd like you to do, friends: give a compliment today, maybe even to yourself, and force its acceptance. If you can't cut the negative self-talk in yourself, try to catch it in someone you love, and point it out to her. Tell a woman you care about that she's talking to herself in a way that she wouldn't talk about her friends—or allow anyone else to talk about her friends. Tell her why she's awesome. Tell her why she's an inspiration. Tell her why she's a badass. Tell her to take the fucking compliment.

Five Things that Don't Suck, Damp but not in Spirit Edition

1. seeing an oriole while out with the dogs this morning
2. being married to a guy who cheerfully heads out to Logan to pick up a friend whose flight gets in at midnight
3. some cooler (if wetter) weather for my morning run
4. the prospect of the Elephants game this afternoon
5. getting the house ready to see some poets on Saturday

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, The Girls Are Back in Town Edition

1. keeping jet-lagged people up too late
2. telling stories
3. laughing
4. sangria
5. learning I'm a pretty famous poet in certain circles in South Korea

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Elephantine Edition

1. FIFA logos involving an elephant holding a soccer ball with its trunk
2. having a goalie named Boubacar
3. winning the two highest-scoring shootouts in international soccer competition*
4. team captain and high-scorer Didia Drogba**
5. fĂștbol

*not that I looked up the Ivory Coast team on Wikipedia or anything
**again, mostly because his name is awesome

Monday, June 16, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, At Last Edition

1. getting out for a long walk for the first time since my fall
2. trying to figure out what flower is in bloom at the beginning of the last mile (can't see anything, but the scent is amazing)
3. the big pitcher of iced coffee in the fridge
4. how busy Bee Beach is already this morning
5. sunshine

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Father's Day Edition

1. dads
2. men who are dads to other people's children*
3. Old Spice gift sets
4. giant Special Dark bars
5. ties

*whether they have their own children or not

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Random Saturday Edition

1. last night's dinner with good friends
2. dogs who don't insist on getting up at 6 in the morning in the rain
3. the rosy maple moth*
4. people who post bee stuff on my FB timeline
5. the bee stuff they post

*seriously, Google that sucker

Friday, June 13, 2014

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Final Push Edition

1. being 2/3 of the way through this 6-day week
2. waking up without pain
3. having time to get my act together before I have to head out
4. actually using the time to do so*
5. bringing home a ton of books from the library*

*theoretical
*because having an office in the library is freakin' awesome

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Random Wednesday Edition

1. lunch with a friend
2. mid-week movie dates
3. putting your feet up
4. dogs that sing along with the passing ambulance siren*
5. bagels

*not so much a candidate for this list when it happens at 3 in the morning, but in general...pretty funny

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Garden Edition

1. growing basil from cuttings (who knew?)
2. radishes
3. baby greens
4. cilantro
5. beets

Monday, June 9, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Post-Wipeout Edition

1. Tylenol
2. Tylenol PM
3. ice packs
4. VERY gentle stretching
5. beer*

*but not mixed with the Tylenol. Be safe out there, kids.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, On Campus Edition

1. an office in the library
2. meeting a batch of incoming first-years*
3. iced coffee
4. being helpful
5. time to get a run in first

*some of them haven't even graduated from high school yet

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Friday, June 6, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Editions Edition

1. first editions
2. New Edition
3. paperback editions
4. late editions
5. limited editions

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Musical Rain Edition

1. Purple Rain
2. Rainy Days and Mondays
3. I'm Only Happy When it Rains
4. MacArthur Park*
5. Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head

*although leaving a cake out in the rain would pretty much suck, I gotta admit

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Slightly Damp Edition

1. not having to worry about watering the seedlings
2. not having to get up early after spending a lovely evening with a friend listening to stories
3. the fact that said friend is still vaguely traumatized by my "naked gardening" post
4. waking up with a new poem brewing*
5. having iced coffee ready to go in the fridge, thus eliminating much of the lag time between waking and caffeinating

*Again!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Random Happy Tuesday Edition

1. getting out for a run before it gets to be a zillion degrees out there
2. the possibility of it getting to be a zillion degrees out there
3. a thoughtful friend who gives me her spare ticket to the Moth for tonight
4. storytellers
5. drafting four poems in two days (and counting)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, It Must Really Be Break Edition

1. brunch for the second day in a row
2. and not on a weekend
3. having time to read and write multiple poems
4. long morning walks
5. not freezing my nose off

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Sunny Sunday Edition

1. getting up and out for a run despite the fact that my sleepy brain was trying to convince me to stay in bed and go later
2. knowing I wouldn't go later
3. brunch with my mother-in-law
4. the fact that delayed coffee is all the more delicious
5. delusions

Edited to add: I realized as soon as I posted this that the "delusions" item could be read as applying to any number of things here. It's only meant to apply to delayed coffee. I really wasn't taking the opportunity to make a mother-in-law joke, I promise.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Weekend Edition

1. my friend Kristin, who's running a 5K today and will surely kick ass
2. getting funny surprises in the mail
3. long talks with good friends
4. whatever those tiny native bees are that are hanging out in our daisies
5. eating vegetables you've grown yourself

Friday, May 30, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Friday Edition

1. sunshine
2. rhododendron blossoms
3. puddles
4. little kids' rain boots with animal faces on them*
5. butterflies

*I'm partial to the frogs, but I don't think you can go wrong with any of them, really

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Back to the Beach Edition

1. spending the second anniversary of Turquoise's death on the same part of the RI coast where we spent so much of our time together
2. having lunch with an amazing, hilarious friend
3. having three separate invitations for lunch today
4. champagne
5. beach glass

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Five Things that Don't Suck, Random Wednesday Edition

1. a cool-weather run
2. mud
3. how many plants are sprouting, flowering, or otherwise not sucking in the yard
4. growing carrot greens from carrot ends, for no apparent reason*
5. easy mornings

*it's just cool. Plus, salad, I guess.