Sunday, July 31, 2011

Best Music Videos of the 1980s

In honor of MTV's 30th b-day (a fact eloquently and nostalgically observed by The Thirty-Something Bride), I am making a list of some of my favorite music videos of the 1980s. This is stressful for me, because I'm going purely off recollection. I'm not Googling lists of 80s videos in order to make sure I haven't forgotten anything.

That's where you come in. Please leave a comment telling me your favorites so we can compare notes. Come on everybody! Let's Wang Chung!

Okay, 10 videos in no particular order that first spring to mind:

"Jesse's Girl," Rick Springfield
"Smokin' in the Boys Room," Motley Crüe
"Rio," Duran Duran
"Girls Just Want to Have Fun," Cyndi Lauper
"Look What the Cat Dragged In," Poison
"Lucky Star," Madonna
"Papa Don't Preach,", Madonna
"Little Red Corvette," Prince
"Beat It," Michael Jackson
"Thriller," Michael Jackson

Please tell me all of the videos that I should have listed instead. Except for the following: "Take on Me," by A-ha, "Rosanna" by (?), and "Big Time" or "Sledgehammer" by Peter Gabriel. I couldn't stand those.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


We are doing a brilliant thing here at Chez GEW. We are moving the kids' room.

We have three bedrooms, and our kids share a room, so the extra room is a playroom/office. The problem with this arrangment, however, is that it really ends up being mostly playroom and not so much office. As a result, the kids' bedroom and the playroom are, quite regularly, in full states of destruction. The bedroom they have been sharing is fairly small, and the playroom isI rather large. Recently, I suggested that we move the kids' bedroom to the room that has been the playroom, and then turn the small room into a and office/guest room in which kids do not play.

At first, no one liked my idea. Hubby didn't like it because he knew it would be tons of work to move the furniture and sort the crap. The kids didn't like it because they are happy and safe in their room, and the playroom has a sliding glass door that would be scary at night.

But on Sunday, after Hubby's brother came for dinner with his family (which includes two girls, ages 2 and 6), I said, " I want everyone to come look at the bedroom and playroom." Both rooms were destroyed.

Hubby took one look and realized that I am a genius. Well, maybe not exactly a genius, but he did come around to my idea. And somehow, even the kids became convinced.

So we have moved the furniture and steam-cleaned the carpets. Now I'm sorting through Polly Pockets, and plastic jewelry, and rock
collections trying to purge but also keep what matters. Right now, the kids' new room has no clutter. None. It is absolutely beautiful. The two room are the cleanest they have been since we moved into the house. The kids are amazed, and I think they love it.

Granted, the hallway is full of crap, but I will tackle that today. Granted, we have cousins coming to visit this weekend, and the room will be destroyed again, but with some clutter gone, it cannot end up so bad as before. And the capper? Only one room will be destroyed. The new office/guest room will be golden.

Even better? I now have a place to work on the dissertation in peace. We even have room for me to bring in a new, big bookshelf that can hold all of my PhD books. This could be huge, people. Huge.

Someday, the kids will want separate rooms--the boy girl thing, you know. But I think we have a year or to before they insist on that. And last night, as I gazed upon the beautifully clean and sparse study, I decided that maybe they will have to stay put at least until the PhD is finished.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Media Breakouts of the Road Trip

Musical Artists: Taylor Swift and The White Stripes
Songs: "Mean," "Speak Now," "I Can Tell That We Are Going to be Friends," "Baby Brother," and "Hotel Yorba"
TV Shows: Metorite Men, Fear Factor, Phineas and Ferb, and House Hunters International
Movies: Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2

And there you have it. Judge at will.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Brass Tacks

As I've been gimping along on my PhD thesis/dissertation for the last few years, I've enjoyed the work. Most of it, anyway. I like most of the reading, and I even enjoy writing. I like writing chapter drafts, and I like writing conference papers. But now, I'm entering a new arena: the realm of final, polished versions of articles and chapters. Right now, I'm trying to finish the article that I wanted to finish In April, but here I am now, in July, hoping to finish in the next couple of weeks.

I have feedback from my supervisor and from my writing group partner (can I call it a group if there are only two of us?). They both have very different feedback (perhaps because one is American and one is British?), but they both seem to think I am in sight of the finish line.

But there is still a lot to do, and, for me, it's the hardest part. I am not someone who writes quickly without mistakes. I have to go back over text again and again, fixing typos and changing language. Thank goodness I enjoy revision.

But final revision? When I know it has to be spot on and that my citations must be perfect? Well, that's just leaves me anxious. It reminds me of moving house. You know, when you've taken care of the big stuff and feel as if you've been very productive, but, somehow, there is still all of this crap lying around in the corners that you have no idea what to do with.

The difference for me now is that I can't just throw all of the messiness out. I have to deal with it. So off I go!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hog Pee

You know what's great? Flying down I-40 with the windows down, wind in our faces and hair, singing at the top of our lungs. Know what's not so great? Doing all that behind a semi-truck that is carrying hogs.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Back to the Real World

I'm cleaning the cabin, hubby is at the laundromat, and we're prepping to hit the road this afternoon. After a few days of driving and a detour to Meteor Crater in AZ, we will be back in California, back home. Although it will be nice to be there, I am already starting to grieve the loss of the true sense of leisure that comes with vacation. Once we're home, instead of hanging out with the family--drinking tea or wine by the river, reading books, rafting, hiking, swimming, knitting, etc.--I will be worrying about how to get stuff done: dissertation work, house work, syllabi, new prep, campus administrative work-- you know, the list goes on forever. And worrying about all of that work--and doing all of that work--changes how I relate to my family. Instead of enjoying them, I'm often figuring out how to get time away from them so that I can get stuff done. And that makes me sad and it makes them sad.

We've all been together for four weeks, almost 24/7, and it's been great, much easier than when they were younger. I am say to say goodbye to our little family bubble and all of the fun that has come with it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Rocky Mountain High

We've been on the road for three weeks now, and we've been having a grand time. We visited dear friends in Gypsum, rented a little cabin in Minturn, had five glorious days with Grandma in Denver, had fun with Grandpa in Pueblo, and now we are happily stowed at our last real stop--a little cabin on the headwaters of the Rio Grande. It's a little pre-fab jobbie in an over-55 park (it's Grandpa's cabin), but it is steps from the river, the beautiful river, which I can see out of every window. It's a great little cabin in a great spot. This morning, a fox ran by the window.

What is it about a water view that is so compelling? I could watch the river all day.