Dr. Thunderlizard’s Great Gray Moles

Three posts and four years ago (!!!) I wrote about my dear ol’ Professor’s book of poems.

Here is Dr. Thunderlizard* himself, reading one of them.

It’s been too long,

-Rachelcreeter

*Dr. Thunderlizard is one of Johnny Wink’s numerous nicknames.

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Grapefruits Need Pruning and Blogs Need Naming

Now here is a book I’m sure you’ll really enjoy. It is called Seven Ways to Prune a GrapefruitIt’s a collection of poetry by one of (if not the) most delightful minds I have had the pleasure of knowing. Dr. Johnny Wink is a professor of English and Latin, a perpetual student of his wife’s Advanced Grammar class, and a real nice guy, to boot. He has been writing poems “for the sheer fun of it” many a year, now, and it’s high time his words were put back into print.

I encourage you to read this article to get an even stronger idea of the whimsical nature of Johnny Wink and the affection he inspires in all who come across him.

Then I encourage you to pre-order his book here, at the publisher’s website. They will only print as many books as they have orders for, and will be taking orders until August 19th. Unsettling Wonder is a British publisher, so it will ship from overseas if you are from North America. The total comes to £17.99, or approximately $28USD, and I have every confidence that it will be well worth it.

I was lucky enough to have Johnny Wink as a professor, mentor, and friend during my time at university. It makes my heart swell with gladness to know that now virtually anyone can be moved to giggles by his wit.

Johnny Wink was, in a way, the inspiration for the title of this very blog. Erin had asked me what we should name our joint endeavor, and I was at the time enrolled in the Charles Dickens course taught by Dr. Wink. It was a very small class, with only seven students—and all of us female. Being a small group, we were able to spend quite a bit of time bringing up our favorite quotations from our reading and having a good laugh (Dickens really is quite the chap for humor, in case you had gotten the impression he was all stuffy and didactic). One such session brought up this very quote from The Pickwick Papers (or its full title, The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club), which turned out to be my favorite Dickens novel.

“Rum creeters is women” was such an unusual phrase; we had to know what it meant. When it was explained that the dirty-faced man was declaring women to be strange creatures, our class knew we had to take ownership of that phrase immediately. Johnny Wink, who for the purposes of that class was nicknamed “Miss Peecher” after one of Dickens’ characters, took it even a step further and suggested we start an all-girl punk rock band called The Rum Creeters. Well, we never did start that punk rock band, but I wasn’t willing to let that phrase be closed in a book and put back on a shelf. So now here we are, the Rum Creeters (for we are all a bit rum, aren’t we?), thanks to one Johnny Wink.

Signing off for today,

Puella Fontanarum Calidarum
(my Latin nickname, bestowed by Miss Peecher himself)

They go together like a horse and a carriage.

When you have to go back into your secret email archives to find your username, you know it’s been too long since your last post.

Little has changed, in some respects, since my last post – I’m still at the same job, with the same degree, with the same chum at my side and the same cat on my lap. I still think I’m too short, my back still hurts inexplicably, and I still sing to myself when I’m looking for things or running late.

But creeter-readers, in other respects, everything, everything, has changed.

My mom got married last summer. In 2007, my mom, alone and bored and feeling sorry for herself, did what every bored-alone-self-pitying creature does: started Facebook-creeping old friends to see if she could find someone more boring and less pretty than she was. Instead, she found her old high school boyfriend (whose heart she broke when she ran away from their relationship). 6 months later, I came home from Rome to find her ami in our kitchen.

“Hello,” said jet-lagged, freaked-out moi.

“Hello,” said OhnoI’mmeetingthehostileyoungestdaughter! him.

1 year later, I spent many an evening waiting impatiently for my mom to get off the phone with her boyfriend so that I could use the phone to call mine. Another year after that, I sang “Great is Thy Faithfulness” at their wedding, the song standing next to my mom’s extravagant happiness.

My mom is one of my very best friends (oh, go ahead and boo my clichédness, it’s true). We’ve shared so many ridiculous life moments together, but one I never anticipated sharing was the awkward giddiness of a first date. My chum and I have known each other since 2003, been best friends since 2006, and dating since 2008. Simplified version. I’m missing out on whole lifetimes of one-sided obsessions and non-break-ups and time spent together in the backseat and time spent alone in Mexico. But the point is, my first “boyfriend” (ha! I find that word ridiculous) coincided with my Mom’s (reunion with her) first boyfriend, and it made our relationship into something more than mom & daughter, more than friend & friend. For the first time, I realized my mom was a woman just like I was, and it has forever, beautifully changed us.

When I told my mom that le chum and I were dating, that after 2 years of being friends and awkward friends and then not friends at all, I had realised I didn’t want to live without him, she turned to me and said, “I’m so glad you were braver than I was.”

Braver? I don’t know. I suppose it did only take me 2 years, compared to 35, to realize I was willing to risk changing my known life for one that included le chum. But then again, I didn’t have 4 kids and 30 years of assorted relationship history to take responsibility for, which takes a kind of courage that is only watched on a screen, not witnessed in your own home.

Every relationship takes extraordinary courage. Relationships are about trust, which is about risk, which requires an unusual confidence in both you and in the other party involved; a confidence that is a choice, an exercise, a perspective, and sometimes, an act of faith. Always, an act of humility.

Wish me luck, wish me grace, wish me supernatural courage and stamina. August 13 2011, five years to the day that we became best friends, le chum and I are getting married.

And I’ve never been so excited about where life is going next.

Mix Tape Tuesday – Mesh Christmas, Vol. 2!

It’s that time of year again. Tacky lights and kitschy decorations galore! And I love it. So here’s to the meshiest part of 2009. I hope you brought your galoshes.

MESH CHRISTMAS 2009!

1. Hooray for Santy Claus! – Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
The theme song to the most ridiculous Santa movie ever! It’s a cult classic! I’m a fan of the MST3k and Cinematic Titanic versions of it, myself, mostly because I’m lazy and like other people to think up jokes so I don’t have to. But also because I have a crush on Joel Hodgson and Trace Beaulieu. Have a Patrick Swayze Christmas, everyone!

2. Put the Lights on the Tree – Sufjan Stevens
As I said last year, there’s a lot of Sufjan on this mix partly because he has so many songs to choose from, and partly because he’s just awesome at it.

3. Cha-Cha All the Way – Captiol Studio Orchestra
I have a lot of upbeat tunes on here, I’ve noticed. I guess ’09 has just been that kind of year. So dance it out, kids!

4. Blanca Navidad – Diana Reyes
A little Spanish Irving Berlin for you.

5. Deck the Halls – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
C’mon, you can make it through this song. I believe in you.

6. Holiday Road – Matt Pond PA
Makes me want to curl up with a blanket and drink some hot cocoa with marshmallows. Not quite Meshy, but festive nonetheless.

7. Attack of the Bear and the Robot – Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
Oh noes! Little Billy and Betty Foster are cornered in an ice cave by a polar bear! (Well, man in fur suit, really.) Then, when they finally think they’re safe, they run into a giant Martian Robot (man in cardboard boxes). Believe me, anything you can picture in your mind, even with this cheesy audio, is much, much more epic than how it was in the movie.

8. Toy Sack – Bob Rivers
A parody of The B-52s’ “Love Shack,” in all its Yuletide glory! “Have a what?!” “Merrrrrrrrrry…Christmas.” Hahahaha. I thought you would quite enjoy this one, Ebo.

9. The Friendly Beasts – Sufjan Stevens
Lovely song. I think my favorite part is the sheep.

10. Blue Christmas – Jessichristmas
I told you Jess does a mean “Blue Christmas.” So does our friend Dan, who I’ll put on next year’s mix.

11. Outer Space Santa – Lawrence Welk’s Little Band
Lies! All lies! As Santa Claus Conquers the Martians demonstrates, before 1964 Mars did not, in fact, have its own Santa. That’s why they kidnapped ours. I guess Lawrence Welk was just ahead of his time (snort).

12. Christmas – Disneyland’s Carousel of Progress
It’s not the Carousel of Social Progress, apparently. Now stop talking, Mom, and get back to the kitchen.

13. Winter Wonderland – Peggy Lee
Peggy Lee is all sorts of sultry. One of my favorite jazz singers, for sure.

14. Oh Holy Night – Elin
Beautiful song, beautifully performed by Elin Smith (wife of Daniel Smith, creator of the Danielson Famile)

15. Christmastime in L.A. – Chris and Adriana Schlarb
Nothing’s cuter than getting the kids in on your recording sessions.

16. Robot in Santa’s Grotto – Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
The Martians send their Robot to kidnap Santa in his workshop, but Santa turns the tables by treating him like a toy. So the Martians use a Nerf airgun on Santa’s elves to make them freeze. Santa doesn’t seem too worried about Mrs. Claus, though.

17. Sun Valley Ski Run – Esquivel
I love me some Esquivel. He’s Latin-tastic!

18. It’s Christmas! Let’s Be Glad! – Sufjan Stevens
Exclamation point!

19. Frosty the Snowman – The Roches
Fun! Favorite part: “Why I oughtta…”

20. Thanks For Christmas – XTC
When I put XTC’s other Christmas song on last year’s mix, I said I didn’t like this one as much as that one. It’s true. But XTC is so gosh darn lovely that even their lesser Christmas song is so totally worth it. Enjoy!

21. Christmas Kiss – The Mary Hamhocks
I want to be friends with these ladies.

22.Twelve Days of Christmas – Bob & Doug McKenzie
My favorite Canandians, besides Sara! Yes, they exist to make stereotypical Canadian jokes, but they’re Canadian so they can get away with it. Haha. Besides, their drunken timing is so perfect.

23. Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End) – The Darkness
Everyone needs a little bit of glam when they’re visiting with the fam.

24. Get Behind Me, Santa! – Sufjan Stevens
I love Sufjan’s affinity for song titles.

25. Martian Fight – Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
Martian Voldar tries to kill Santa and the kids by ejecting them from an airlock. Martian Kimar saves the day by fighting (jr. high wrestling?) with Voldar. And Santa is still jolly as ever.

Happy Holidays, everyone. Go kiss someone for no good reason.

Love,
Rach

P.S. I just realized there was a klezmer song I forgot to put on here. Now I’m kind of bummed. I guess I’ll save it for next year. I’m already looking forward to Vol. 3…

Le Principe du Plaisir

First things first: I want to make love to Gary Numan’s voice.

Now on to the post.

The wedding on Sunday was fantastic. My friend was absolutely beautiful, her husband was adorably overwhelmed (we’re the kind of girls that like boys who cry), and I got to have my face airbrushed! All in all, great weekend.

As for this week, Happy Thanksgiving, my dear Creeter Readers! I know I’m a day early, but it’s never not a good time to throw some thanks out into the world. So, “Thanks.”

I’ll be more cerebral next week, I promise.

-R