Wednesday, December 31, 2008

rewind. fast forward.

2008 was a big deal. it has many leather bound books. and since reminiscing is a byproduct of this time of year, here i go:

worst parts: daddy's surgery, hurricane freaking ike, kass jackman, the election drama, getting screwed at touchstone, not having a social life the entire summer (thank you again to my buds for putting up with my lack of availability and making me go out at least once a week!)

best parts: eli young band (twice!), ben folds with erin and josh, glen rose with gabe and erin, galveston with daddy, gabe, and erin, mardi, fishing on the boat on the fourth of july, serenading the boys with the sweeney todd soundtrack, iron man, the first day at my new jobs, the rodeo, taking pics with mom on christmas day, snow!, getting my m.a., nick's graduation, leaving touchstone, freak blizzard in march, movie night with the circle, obama!!, spending christmas at home this year
the good parts more than outweigh the bad. it's been a good year. so now on to the resolutions.
in 2008 i resolved to:
1) be less scared of life. check.
2) be braver. check. i went to chicago by myself. and while i wasn't as brave as a could have been while there, i still think that the trip alone is a big step.
3) take more risks. check. i quit my long-time job for a summer position with no prospects after that. yeah, that's risk-taking.
4) accept more challenges. check. i took up the challenge of leading a classroom full of people. and i ROCK at it.
5) not to back down regardless of anxiety. check. kind of. i still struggle with anxiety. probably always will. the difference is i haven't let it hold me back as much this year.
6) be more spontaneous. check. kind of. it's hard to be spontaneous. especially when no one around you wants to be spontaneous with you. i'm working on it.
7) appreciate the opportunities i am presented with. check.
in 2009 i will:
1) work seriously on the bradbury project. maybe even go to ohio to see the manuscripts.
2) make more time for things i enjoy: taking pics, baking, reading, etc.
3) set firm deadlines for grading papers and meet them.

2008 in review (quotes from my dear bloggy blog):

"so there you go. my plan for the new year. afterall, if i survived 2007 i can survive anything."
"who puts plato's allegory of the cave, biblical allusions, and homer into song lyrics? jack johnson does."

"the possum pauses, looks at me, then continues waddling across the sidewalk to the bushes on the other side."
"oh that and i came to the realization today that the "hood" for my graduation regalia is more like a cape. seven years of denton (and making fun of the crunchy-granola cape-wearing art students) and i'm going to be the one on campus wearing a cape. karma's a bitch."
mayo: "i'm now a lobster. but a lobster who totally outfished her daddy."
"i lost a friend this week. i had known her for several years, looked up to her, and admired her strength."
julio: "don't you just love it when you rediscover your awesomeness? that is all."
"obama, you have my support. for what it's worth."
septiembre: "5:: what is your kryptonite? used bookstores."
octubre: "don't think of halloween as a foolish children's holiday, think of it as nourishment for your inner child."
noviembre: "i woke up this morning in the new america"
"it's a little blurry--but so goes the average duessa birthday."

happy new year!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

birthday celebrations...

so my birthday was a couple of weeks ago. the big 2-6. whoopee.

in honor of the day, my b-day buddy, gabe, and i invited our circle to a day of fun. we met for lunch at dick's last resort then headed over to the dallas world aquarium. in true duessa fashion i intended on documenting the day on film (or in this case memory card), although that didn't go quite as well as i planned.

this is me on the way to meet my buddies:
when we arrived at dick's (gifts aplenty in hand), our oh-so-loveable waiter made me this hat:

then he made this one for gabe (gotta love the uber-appropriate creepy face):

just as the food was about to be delivered, we were made to wear bibs. that's right. bibs. like little children. here are josh and erin modeling theirs:

after lunch we headed to the aquarium. it was playtime for one of the sloths. here is a less-than-thrilled nick posing in front of him:

and here is said sloth:

we saw a ton of other cool animals there, but because i only took my digital camera, the only ones i caught on film (err, memory card) were sloths. i guess they just move so slowly you can't help but take their picture. anyway, here are a couple of other sloths living up to their name:

and finally, as we neared the end of our aquarium trip, i roped some stranger into take a group picture. it's a little blurry--but so goes the average duessa birthday.

the next day, my mom and i went to the ice! exhibit in grapevine. i'll post those pics soon.
duessa, out.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

something's been bugging me...

dad: did you hear that obama christmas ornaments are selling like hotcakes?
uncle: no. why?
dad: apparently everyone wants a black guy hanging from their tree.

as i listened to this “joke” from across the room i was overcome. how could someone who i love so much and have always looked up to be so full of hate? why is it still okay to make that kind of joke?

i know we come from different generations and that our opinions over politics, race, and a thousand other minute details clash from time to time. but how can anyone think that that is okay?

i am glad to be part of my generation. generally speaking, as a group we are open-minded, kind, and cognizant of the opinions of others. while this can sometimes be a drag, and we do get a little carried away with “political correctness,” for the most part, we understand respect. we have been lucky enough to have been raised in a society where difference is a good thing. black, white, brown, purple, straight, gay, bi—it doesn’t really matter. we accept people for who they are as individuals rather than what they look like or who they love. for that reason i am proud.

i come from a generation that has had it a little rough. my first semester of college began in august 2001. one month in to my “future,” and the world came crashing down around me. the devastation and utter despair that followed the september 11th attacks will never be forgotten. we, as a nation, were torn apart on that fateful day. i was eighteen years old when the world stopped and my future changed.

no longer could we lead naïve, simple lives. instead, we had to worry. worry about the safety of our borders. worry about the future of our nation. worry about rebuilding our dreams. we were, in the moments those planes hit the towers, robbed of our innocence, ignorance, and bliss. more than people died that day; dreams died to. it became our job to take up the charge of rebuilding. our task. our responsibility. our generation’s legacy.

if it is my responsibility to help rebuild this nation, then i must remain steadfast in my beliefs. i must face each day with respect and hope. i must retain my open-mindedness and ability to really see people.

i am sad for my dad. he will never see the world the way i do. he will never walk down the halls of a college and marvel at the students—each a different race or culture and all communing together and united as one. he will never walk down the sidewalk on a sunny fall day and take in the sounds around him: spanish being uttered in a phone call, classical music streaming from somewhere, and the gentle hum of the electrical wires. he cannot experience these things because he is closed off.

he’s from an older generation: one in which segregation was ordinary and civil rights were non-existent. and that’s okay. he doesn’t need to apologize for the way he was raised. and neither do i.

i am a student of literature, and as such i understand more than most the value of an open mind, and embrace the understanding that certain things are subjective. i merely wish that one day, jokes like this will go away and we can be truly united. until then, i will bear my burden with an open mind and heart.

my thoughts.

i wrote this on the morning of wednesday, november 5, 2008. it's been a crazy couple weeks, so i'm just getting around to post it. 

in all actuality i've been so filled with things to say (not ALL political), that i haven't had the energy or time to sit down and write a coherent sentence. so for now, this is all i have:

i woke up this morning in the new america.

yesterday was important. illinois senator barack obama is now our new president elect.
i wonder how many people realize what an amazing moment we are living in. twenty-one months ago when this election debacle began, obama was the underdog. nobody believed that a black senator from chicago with limited political experience could ever be the president of this nation. he was, metaphorically speaking, always the dark horse.

now we stand upon the brink of change, a moment for the history books, and it is scary. i hope that after throwing all my support, hope, and kind thoughts toward this man, he can and will do the job he set out to do.

watching his acceptance speech was awe-inspiring. he was happy, you could see that. but he was also serious—as if, in that moment, he felt the burden of his new path weighing down upon his shoulders. yet he did not succumb to that burden. rather, he faced it head on and laid out his plan for the new america. an america where anything can happen, where brave men go to the moon and back, where little children, regardless of race and culture, can dream big and become whatever they choose, where the unlikeliest among us can become president. that is the american dream. and i, in this moment and for once in my life, am proud to call that dream my own.

“we are building up a new world. do not sit idly by. do not remain neutral. do not rely on this broadcast alone. we are only as strong as our signal. there is a war going on for your mind--if you are thinking you are winning. resistance is victory. defeat is impossible. your weapons are already in hand. reach within you and find the means by which to gain your freedom. fight with tools. your fate and that of everyone you know depends on it.” –“we are winning,” flobots

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

on the eve of all hallow's eve...

halloween is tomorrow. i freaking love halloween. a lot of people seem pretty indifferent about it--they are grossed out, freaked out, or think it's the "devil's holiday."

halloween is not about ghouls and goblins. well, at least not all about ghouls and goblins. for me, halloween is about rekindling that little part of yourself that is still young. our lives are so hectic, so filled with the thousand mundanities that send us rushing about, that we lose a very cherished part of ourselves: out inner child.

so that's what halloween is for me. it's the one time of year when i can let my inner child out to run rampant through the streets. it's the only time when i can delight in smearing fake blood all over my house. it's the only time of year when it's okay to weild a knife and hack a pumpkin to death. it's the only time of year when i can play dress-up and not get odd looks. it's the best time of the year.

so this halloween i will play dress-up, delight in childish pursuits, eat candy, and hack up a few pumpkins. i invite you to join with me.

don't think of halloween as a foolish children's holiday, think of it as nourishment for your inner child.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

what i've learned in life...

:: i can accomplish a lot when i put my mind to it.
:: dogs are weird. particularly floppy ones.
:: stephen colbert is one of the funniest men in existence today.
:: i miss being a student.
:: there were a ton of people present at martin luther king's speech during
the march on washington in '63.
:: stephen greenblatt is a democrat.
:: i love fantasy as a genre. and it is literature.
:: i'm not as scared and socially awkward as i used to be.
:: tropic thunder = awesome.
:: i enjoy writing.
:: little kids aren't scary, but are annoying.
:: comic book movies can be fun.
:: not all teenagers are evil.
:: elections fill me with nerves, anger, and fear.
:: robert downey jr. has incredible comic timing.
:: no matter how many times you repeat yourself, someone will miss what you
:: no man is as handsome as gene kelley, as sexy as edgar ramirez, or as
dashing as hugh laurie.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


i remember a nursery rhyme chanted in england on guy fawkes day:

remember, remember the fifth of november,
the gunpowder treason and plot.
i know of no reason the gunpowder treason
should ever be forgot.

i am nervous--as an american, a voter, an educator. i am nervous for the fifth of november. not because revolutionaries are threatening to destroy parliament, but because on the fifth of november this country will have decided on its new president elect.

the past two weeks have been hell. with debates, poll results, and news stories focusing on the ever-worsening economy and the need for change in this country, i have grown anxious. this country needs to make the right decision. i feel as though we have reached our breaking point, and if something doesn't change soon, everything will fall apart.

another poem comes to mind. yeat's the second coming:

turning and turning in the widening gyre
the falcon cannot hear the falconer,
things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
mere anarchy is loosed upon the world
the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
the ceremony of innocence is drowned;
the best lack all conviction, while the worst
are full of passionate intensity.

yeat's published that poem in november. coincidence?

maybe it's the season--fall always makes me a little gloomy. maybe it's the political climate. maybe it's the fact that november, despite being my birthday month, has always been awful. bad things happen in november, and i'm always anxious going into it. maybe that's it. or maybe not.

i am afraid that our "best" will "lack all conviction" as our "worst" are "full of passionate intensity." i'm afraid that this country cannot overcome its traditional ways and elect a person based on cuontemporary needs. i'm afraid that we will make the wrong choice and will suffer for it. i'm afraid that we are heading for disaster. i'm afraid.

my fear has made me long for what now seems like a simpler time. i miss school. this side of the desk is great--but i miss being forced to think about things that were new to me, being made to read things that i really didn't want to read, and being pushed to embrace a new study, genre, author, field, etc. i miss spending hours upon hours at the computer researching this project or that. i miss trying to come up with an innovative topic for a research paper only to have it stolen by someone else. i miss the feeling of camaraderie i had with my fellow students.

i have turned to writing--or, at least, writing down ideas for writing. every day i think of some new connection that i could draw between things previously untethered. every day i find some new piece of a puzzle that i've spent a long time putting together. every day i listen more carefully to the lyrics of a song, the words in a movie, or the tagline of a commercial desperately trying to fill the void that has been left by graduation. i am so consumed with the need and desire to write that nothing comes out.

one day i will write something amazing. one day this longing for the other side of the desk will subside. one day i will no longer be afraid.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

that's super!

1:: what is the most powerful thing you have done in the last 5 years?
found the courage to stand in front of a room full of people and be the authority figure.

2:: what is your super power?
grammar. oh yea, grammar.

3:: if you could choose another super power now, what would it be?

4:: describe your superhero would probably involve some sort of cape. i love them. i wish i had an excuse to wear one daily.
5:: what is your kryptonite?used bookstores.

Friday, August 29, 2008

my two cents

so those of you who know me know that i don't spout political agendas, i don't like to debate in public forums, i really don't even talk about politics at all with the majority of society (with the exception of my sister). i try to be generally aware of peoples' differences and respect their opinions.

but i cannot remain silent on this one. i am so incredibly proud of barack obama and the speech he made last night. in a country where i and many of my friends and family have lost hope, lost the belief that our government cares, lost some of our personal freedoms, it is refreshing to see a leader stand up and have the guts to say that he stands for change, and will do his best to see those changes made.

do i believe that most of what he claims will come to fruition? no. no one in politics can affect change that drastically. washington's corrupting influence is strong. government is no longer about the people and their needs, but rather about money and the greed of those who have it.

so yes. i'm cynical. i don't believe that change can happen. i have to be proven wrong.

so last night when i sit down to watch the convention, i realize what a dramatic moment we are living in. here we sit, on the 45th anniversary of what may be one of the world's most famous speeches by one of the greatest civil rights leaders who ever lived, listening to a (half)black man, who is now the official democratic candidate for president of the united states, talk about change. we are witnessing history in the making, and it is awe-inspiring.

dr. king talked about change. he talked about the american dream and how our nation could rise up from its differences, its despair, its turmoil and hatred. he said we could come together not as black and white, man and woman, adult and child, rich and poor, but as a nation of one--a united states. not since the days of the great speech-givers have i been moved during an address. not until michelle obama's speech on monday, and barack's speech last night. barack's statement that "something is stirring" in america moved me to tears. he is right. for once in this country and in my voting career my vote, my voice, has been truly heard. i voted. i caucused. i helped put him on that stage.

forty-five years. that's a long time. a long time since this nation had hope for a better time, hope for a better life for its citizens. yet this, more than anything, is what the obama camp has given me.

there's a line from the declaration of independence that reads: "but when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security."
i'm not supporting anarchy or taking up arms against the government--what i'm saying is that it is our responsibility to correct that which we see is wrong with our government. that is the principle that our country was founded on, and it is one we should continue to respect today. i don't like the way washington has been going these past eight years. our lives as americans have only gotten harder during bush's two terms. while that may not be directly his fault, he does have a role in it. it is now our time--our charge--to "throw off such government" and to provide "new guards" for our "future security."

i claim no official party line. i have voted republican, democrat, and everything in between. those who know me well know that i vote for the person i feel will do the best job that they can. i am saying right now, that in my mind, after last night and the 18 months preceeding it, i believe that barack obama will do a better job of providing a hospitable environment for change, a better job of funding innovations and advances that will take us into the next century, and a better job of leading this nation and joining us together as a whole than any other candidate seeking office.

obama, you have my support. for what it's worth.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

just in case you were wondering...

tropic thunder = awesome

that is all.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

random survey thing...

How did you get one of your scars? falling down the stairs while going to see shrek 2 with gabe.
How did you celebrate your last birthday? brandipalooza 2007 involved a kid-themed birthday party at my house. we had a pinata, played pin the tail on the donkey, and had cake and icecream. yeah, it pretty much rocked.
How are you feeling at this moment? beat down.
How did you meet the person you're dating? not dating anyone at the moment. sorry.
How did you do in high school? top 10%, but could've done way better if i actually applied myself.
How did you get the shirt you're wearing? target.
How often do you see the person you're into? every once in a while. i'm not really "into" him, just infatuated. he's kind of strange. and that's interesting.
How much money did you spend last month? entirely too much.
How old do you want to be when you get married? dead.
How old will you be at your next birthday? 26.

Your Mom? is watching synchronized diving on the olympics. how does one get involved in synchronized diving? are you jumping into a pool one day thinking to yourself "gee, this would be more fun if i had a partner?"
What did you do last weekend? worked. a lot.
What is the most important part of your life? surviving the rest of this term and getting off on a good foot in the fall.
What would you rather be doing? sleeping. or reading. if i had a new book...
What did you last cry over? pain. i've had a tension headache for like a year now.
What always makes you feel better when you’re upset? movie night with my buds.
What’s the most important thing you look for in a significant other? humor.
What are you worried about? figuring out how in the hell to teach writing.
What is your favorite movie? too many choices...i pretty much like everything.

Have you ever had your heart broken? yes.
Have you ever been out of the country? not yet. hopefully soon. london is calling my name.
Have you ever done something outrageously dumb? more times than i would like to confess to.
Have you ever been back stabbed by a friend? yes. but not in a couple of years.
Have you ever had sex on the beach? no. sand in places you don't want sand.
Have you ever dated someone younger than you? yes. my first semester of college.
Have you ever read an entire book in one day? too many times to count. did it yesterday in fact. and last wednesday.
Have you ever surfed? me and a surfboard. HA!

Who was the last person you saw? my mom.
Who was the last person you texted? gabe.
Who was the last person to call you? nick.
Who did you last hangout with? erin.
Who is the last person who texted you? gabe.
Who was the last person you said 'i love you' to? kris.
Who are you missing right now? my sister. and my life and free-time.

Where does your best friend live? denton and dallas.
Where did you last go? to work.
Where did you last hang out? at the movies and denny's.
Where do you go to school? i teach at north lake and tcjc.
Where is your favorite place to be? home.
Where did you sleep last night? my oh so comfy bed.

Do you like someone right now? not really.
Do they like you too? doubtful.
Do you ever wish you were someone else? nope.
Do you know the muffin man? the muffin man? the muffin man. yes, i know the muffin man. he lives on drury lane.
Does the future scare you? hells yeah.

Why are you best friends with your best friend(s)? because they love me despite my flaws, that and they're pretty much a big deal.
Why did you get a myspace? to catch up with old friends.
Why did your parents give you the name you have? my mom let my dad decide. he and my sister really liked the name. i happen to hate it.
Why are you doing this survey? bored out of my mind and avoiding real work.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? teleportation.
If you could go back in time and change one thing, would you? pretty much no. all the movies say that that would make everything else change.
If you were stranded on a deserted island & could bring 1 thing what u would bring? my ipod with a fully charged battery.

Would you ever get back together with any of your ex’s if they asked you? nope.
Would you ever shave your head to save someone you love? duh. who wouldn't.

Are you happy with your life right now? kind of. i've had some ups and downs lately. more up than down, though.

Friday, August 8, 2008

hello, my name is duessa...

...and i'm a bookaholic.

i binged a couple of nights ago. it had been two months since i last purchased a book, then all of a sudden i realized that i was ten pages away from finishing the only book i own that i hadn't read and i had a little bit of a book anxiety attack. 

i bought six new books. six bright, clean, and delicious new books. i can't wait until they get here so i can begin devouring them one by one. 

don't you just love the way books smell? it's one of those smells that always reminds me of my childhood. it takes me back to walking into a library the very first time and realizing how freaking awesome it was to be surrounded by all those books. yep. 

turns out i was always a nerd. NERD. epic proportions.

so there's my confession. i am a bookaholic. i'm not ashamed.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

new book...

yay! my new book came in the mail today! it's been so long since i've gotten to read for pleasure that i've kind of become a book junkie this month.

so i've started percival everett's erasure. i'm only 22 pages in, but so far i really dig it. i don't read contemporary fiction very often, but this guy's a tenured prof at USC, so i figured i could give it a try. plus it was recommended by a coworker whose opinions i value. so here i am in the middle of a book about the "black experience," or rather the lack of the "black experience," and i'm freaking loving it. 

everett kind of reminds me of hemingway. in a short, choppy sentence layered with meaning kind of way. 

here's to broadening one's horizons.

Monday, August 4, 2008

sad day.

aleksander solzhenitsyn died yesterday. that makes me very sad.

Monday, July 28, 2008

rambling thoughts of a spent mind...

i'm tired. nix that. i'm EXHAUSTED. teaching is incredibly hard work (although i think that's mostly because of the grades i'm teaching). due to all this very hard work and slightly insane schedule i have neglected my poor blog.

so here i sit, utterly exhausted, with the cursor mocking me and my inability to think of anything interesting to write. so i'll just ramble on about the things that are on my mind:

1) the dark knight was pretty much awesome. i'm not going to call it the best movie i've ever seen--probably not even in my top 10--but it was thoroughly good. i know that it's rather blasphemous to express any negative comments about this nation-wide hit, but let's face it, there were parts that could have been better. christian bale--awesome. heath ledger--incredible. aaron eckhart--eww. seriously, couldn't they have cast someone who can, oh, i don't know, ACT? now, not knowing anything about the comic book and even less about why there are two series of batman movies now, i'm a far cry from an expert on batman or comic book movies. maybe there's supposed to be one actor who acts as a foil for all the other amazing ones. or maybe they just should have cast someone better.

2) so i'm in the third book of philip pullman's golden compass series and i'm a bit perplexed. i remember that there was an enormous hoopla surrounding the movie being anti-christian. yeah, i've read the books now. i see it. pullman vaguely hints at it in "compass," teases you with it in "knife," and beats you over the head with it in "spyglass." however, i do not think that the religious zealots who boycotted the movie took the time to actually, say, read the book. yes--there is talk of destroying the "authority" (presumed by all to be god). but, if someone who reads it has even of inkling of literary training they should be able to recognize a deeper allegory running throughout. i haven't worked it all out yet, but i know it's there. and i'm tired of telling people what i'm reading and getting the following response: "isn't that guy an atheist?". so what. i have my own mind and beliefs, and contrary to the opinions of some of my friends, i am capable of forming my own thoughts about things and not being brainwashed.

not since my first reading of spenser's faerie queene (from which the name duessa comes) have i been this intrigued and puzzled by a text.

3) i'm beginning to get really nervous about the fall. i've never not gone back to school before, and it feels really foreign and scary.

so there you go. my random thoughts of the evening. feels good to get it all out--even if in a horrifically illogical manner.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

the great fishing adventure.

because my dad and i work so hard, i decided to treat us to a special fishing trip. we hired a bass guide and went to the lake saturday to fish our hearts out. 

we meet up with our guide and he tells me to put my purse in one of the compartments on the boat. i do so and think nothing of it. i finally make it onto the very wobbly, low to the water boat and we take off. i’m not going to lie. i was freaking out. the only boat i’ve ever been on was a huge deep sea fishing boat in galveston—i’m not used to bass boats. it seemed very small.

nevertheless, we take off and i finally realize that i’m not going to fly off the boat and die, so i start having a lot of fun. we stop in the first of many fishing spots, and the water is really choppy. there’s this lovely breeze and we’re pulling fish in, and i’m thinking nothing of the water that’s occasionally sloshing over the back of the boat.

a word on the actual fishing: insanity. i have never thrown my hook in the water and pulled up two fish before. until now. we were pulling fish in left and right. sometimes all three of us had a double hook at the same time. when this happened, it was like fish pandemonium. i’m holding onto my rod with two sand bass while over my should appears my dad’s and he almost smacks me in the face with his fish—also bass. then the guide, while pulling my fish off the line, gets a huge hit and pulls in a giant catfish which promptly flops around right near my foot. eww. i loathe catfish.

the fishing was nothing short of brilliant.

after catching more fish than i could keep track of, we decide to head in for the day. we pull up to the fish cleaning station where our incredible guide is going to fillet and pack up our fish for us. we take a few pics of the load (we ended up with 25 regulation size sandies and 3 catfish) and i go to call gabe to tell him when to meet us for lunch.


the “waterproof” compartment that i had trusted my purse to was full of water! everything in my purse—destroyed. here’s the complete list of carnage:
· my cell phone (and all the pics and contact info in it)
· my dad’s cell phone
· my dad’s camera
· my mp3 player
· my checkbook
· the book I was reading
· several other miscellaneous odds and ends

because of the carnage, i was unable to get a hold of gabe, and had to pretty much stand him up. (you see, i don’t actually remember any numbers—my phone does that for me) my dad and i think that his camera and my mp3 player might work after they dry out completely. with the money we paid the guide, the cost of the new cell phones, and the new book, our 28 bring-home fish cost about $16 per fish. but well worth the price if you ask me.

we had so much fun. tim, the fishing guide, was incredible. he was a really nice guy, kept us directly over the fish, showed us some cool new techniques that i can’t wait to try out on my own, and did all the work for us. i never had to touch a fish if i didn’t want to. if you ever plan on hiring a bass guide on lake ray roberts you should totally check him out—

Friday, June 20, 2008

in memorium.

i lost a friend this week. i had known her for several years, looked up to her, and admired her strength.

i knew her before she was sick. got to see the sparkle in her eye as she asked "y'ont to?" the answer was always yes. her smile could not be resisted.

i knew her when she was diagnosed. very sad day. fourth of july weekend 2004. it's amazing how quickly things can change completely. yet she faced it with unexpected grace and courage.

treatment was bad. it made her extremely ill. incapable of eating anything. i would make her soup and dumplings to try to entice her. and through all the pain, she smiled.

then a blissful word: remission.

not even one year later it was back. more treatment. more trials and pain. still smiling. even when it had stripped her of everything--her hair, her job, her ability to do the things she loved--still she smiled.

i found out on monday that she succumbed to her illness. needless to say, i was heartbroken. she was one of the most caring, gentle souls i have ever known. her loss has had a profound impact on me. and i'm sure on all of those she has touched.

because i am no poet, i think it best to let the great john donne do the speaking for me:

holy sonnet x

death, be not proud, though some have callèd thee
mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
for those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
die not, poor death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
from rest and sleep, which yet thy pictures be,
much pleasure, then from thee much more, must low
and soonest our best men with thee do go,
rest of their bones and soul's delivery.
thou art slave to fate, chance, kings and desperate men
and dost with poison, war and sickness dwell,
and poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
and better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then ?
one short sleep past, we wake eternally,
and death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

edie--you will be sorely missed, but know that you have influenced and inspired so many with your unfailing courage and positive outlook. you were one of the greatest people i have ever known, and i am truly honored to have been able to call you my friend.

farwell dear friend, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

yay! home!

yay! i'm comin' home!! i'm so going to have mexican food, barbecue, AND a couple of margaritas as soon as i get off the plane...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

i'm just guessin'

but i think i might love teaching. we've been doing a bunch of workshopping, and it is nerve-wracking and tense, but also exciting and fun. so far, so good.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

i'm leavin' on a jet plane...

so tomorrow i leave for the big chicago adventure that has been looming for the past month and a half. i don't know much about the windy city, and i know even less about public transportation, so this should be interesting.

it seems as though my neurotic "gotta have a lot of books to choose from" side has finally kicked in. as i write this my suitcase is loaded down with the following:

1:: "oyster: history on the half shell" by mark kurlansky
2:: "krakatoa" by simon winchester
3:: "the hamlet" by faulkner
4:: "paradise lost" by milton
5:: "the snows of kilimanjaro" by hemingway
6:: "lady chatterley's lover" by lawrence
7:: "across the river and into the trees" by hemingway

seven books. seven books for 5 days. is this overkill? maybe so, but i like to have options. and look at the range--early modern verse, victorian fiction, modern american fiction, and narrative nonfiction. how can i get bored with all these books to choose from?!

there's just one thing left to say: hello, my name is duessa and i have a book problem.

Monday, May 26, 2008

i'm bored.

so here's a survey to entertain me. at least momentarily.

turn your music player on the shuffle mode and record the first ten songs that come on. then, for each song write something about it (a personal anecdote, the reason you like it, etc). be honest and don't skip around!

1:: "liedown" by darcy and the amazing glowing guitar of light
--this is a song by an classmate of mine. in undergrad we took a creative writing class together and i fell in love with his band. they have since changed names, but still rock!

2:: "closer" by nine inch nails
--wow. this song reminds me of eighth grade. not for any perverted reasons, just because the girl i sat next to in reading class sang it all the time. she was SO hardcore. or at least she thought so.

3:: "on broadway" by the drifters
--no special meaning here. just thoroughly love this song. the music is great!

4:: "you're just to marvelous" by frank sinatra
--i got rear-ended while listening to this song. but i still love it. i think that says it all.

5:: "show you how to love again" by eli young band
--amazing band. i'm kind of a groupie. for more info see this.

6:: "i got love if you want it" by slim harpo
--a really fun and unique song. it always reminds me of louisiana. for no particular reason, it just does.

7: "eshten charlyyry berge" by paul pena and kongar ol-ondar
--three words: tuvan throat singing. you should totally check it out. especially the genghis blues soundtrack. the best song is kagyraa moan. these people are able to manipulate their voices in such an interesting way...

8:: "imaginate" by gallegos
--reminds me of summer and cruising around with the windows down. that and beer. cold beer.

9:: "the distance" by cake
--i f-ing love cake. my sister introduced me to them a really long time ago; i have since purchased everything they put out. brilliant. i don't care of it's hokey.

10:: "adrift" by jack johnson
--this pretty much sums up my thoughts on jack johnson

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

don't you love it when life wraps it up in a neat little package?

got my shakespeare dallas subscription today (thank you gabe). i am totally nerding out.

this season they are doing othello, merchant of venice, midsummer night's dream, and all's well that ends well. i cannot wait to see them all! everyone else should go and give them money as well. even if you don't understand the language, it's a fun time. check them out at

on another note, i apparently read 300 words a minute. i'm not sure how that helps me in any way, or why i need to know it, but it's an interesting fact nonetheless.

by the way, i have totally crossed over into total dorkdom now. i'm going to go put tape on my glasses and buy a pocket protector.

that is all.

Friday, May 16, 2008

the countdown of my life...

10:: christopher marlowe.
9:: john donne.
8:: philip sidney.

7:: william shakespeare.
6:: edmund spenser.
ray bradbury.
4:: josh.
3:: gabe.
2:: my bff’s – erin and nick (they are tied, you see).
1:: my immediate family.

9:: listening to ella fitzgerald on vinyl.
8:: snuggling with my doggies.
7:: the cute flirty bartender at smg.
6:: alcohol treats w/ friends.
5:: birthday cake w/ whipped frosting. yum.
4:: snuggling up with a good book for hours.
3:: organizing parties.
2:: baking. anything and everything.
1:: sarcasm.

8:: sleeping.
7:: reading non-fiction.
6:: surfing the internet.
5:: catching a late movie with erin.
4:: watching tv.
3:: watching movies.
2:: downloading music.
1:: baking.

7:: humidity.
6:: people who don't listen.
5:: people who say “john don” instead of “john done.”
4:: whining.
3:: computer problems.
2:: people who don’t understand how to use adverbs.
1:: people who use reflexive pronouns incorrectly.

6:: caffeine.
5:: sugar.
4:: a constant influx of new music.
3:: claritin d.
2:: the internet.
1:: friends and family.


5:: curious.
4:: moody.
3:: slightly OCD.
2:: cynical.
1:: sarcastic.

4:: new experiences.
3:: enjoying life.
2:: relaxing.
1:: new job.

3:: be a good teacher.
2:: write daily.
1:: bring something new to the table each day.

2:: caffeine.
1:: sarcasm.

1:: the quest for that elusive creature called knowledge.

Monday, May 12, 2008

my thoughts on commencement

so graduation was friday. it was, to say the least, a big build up for a little payoff. or at least that's what it felt like. 

my fam came into town. that was nice. don't get to see them enough. we drag ourselves up to denton and take pics before the ceremony. embarrassing to say the least. for those of you who don't know, i DO NOT enjoy being the center of attention. wearing a polyester gown, cardboard hat, and green and white striped hood is not a good way to stay out of the spotlight. i just about died.

i leave my fam and get to the ceremony where i stand in what i have lovingly titled "the cattle corral" for an hour and a half. it's hot, i'm wearing polyester, and i know no one. it SUCKED. we finally get marched into the superpit and get to sit for the ceremony.

fave part: the musical interlude of pachabel's canon and green day's basketcase on the marimba(only in denton)

least fave part: the north texas exes sales pitch--seriously, send us a post card or something. don't try to sell us during comencement.

i went out with nick, erin, and gabe that night. we did all the denton staples--chopsticks, beth marie's, etc. good times.

then saturday morning it was back to the superpit to watch nick's commencement (which wasn't nearly as long and boring as i thought it would be).

my parents threw a party for us on saturday, and it was great fun.

graduation has made me realize how lucky i am to have the people i have in my life. seriously--my friends and family are the best possible. they're great and i could not ask for more.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

amazed. simply amazed.

so i saw ironman last night. it was freaking great.

i am NOT a comic book movie type person. i've only seen one batman, one spiderman, and no superman in my entire life. so i have to admit i was a little skeptical going in--i knew it would, at the very least, keep me entertained for a couple hours, but probably would not be "amazing."

robert downey jr. was really good. he has terrific comedic timing, and the humor in the movie really makes it. the music was quite good as well (even with an orchestral version of "ironman").

all in all it's a really enjoyable movie, even for those who don't really like comic books.

oh, and don't bother to wait through the credits for the little special feature. it's like 10 seconds long and just lets you know there will be a sequel.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

american folk song

so my daddy and i went fishing this past weekend. let's just say i had my mojo working. my daddy, not so much.

we recently bought some new ultralite rods and reels, so we had to play. after our last time out with the new gear i was feeling like mine was cursed. the line broke or got snared everytime i put it in the water (needless to say i gave the rod a very ugly nickname). so off we head to our favorite perch spot. perch is fun to catch, especially on an ultralite, 'cause they fight like hell. and it's the best possible fishing scenario for me because you get the thrill of catching the fish, looking at it (perch is really pretty w/ lots of different colors and patterns), then letting it go.

so my daddy had the first catch of the day. it looked something like this:

after that, i got one:

from there, it was on. i caught a total of twelve fish that day. my dad caught four. it was a thing of pure beauty. every time i put my hook in the water i was pulling out a fish. i think this one is number 5:
my favorite moment of the day--telling my daddy "not that i'm counting or anything, but this makes number twelve"

but, for all the crap i gave him, i was duly rewarded. in typical duessa fashion i forgot to bring sunscreen. i'm now a lobster. but a lobster who totally outfished her daddy.

Friday, May 2, 2008

life lately...

...has been extraordinarily busy. busy like christmas. rushing about, trying to tie up all the loose ends just in time for a large group of family to descend on your home.

yup. that's how it feels.

thursday was my last official day as an employee at {job}. i'm officially unemployed for two weeks. yay vacation! too bad it's going to be filled with paper writing and worrying about grades and graduation ceremonies. hopefully there will be some fishing in there too.

yesterday was my daddy's 55th birthday and in honor of the occasion, i busted out the baking supplies. here's the super-fly cake i made him.

duessa, out.

Monday, April 14, 2008

rodents of unusal size, take two.


while i haven't seen eddie for the rest of the week, i did open my front door this morning only to encounter another possum on my front porch.

i'm left to wonder--are the possums stalking me?


so i'm walking up to the auditorium building again today (as i do every day of my life), and what do i see? the giant possum from two weeks ago.

this time he's on the other side of the building sniffing around, then taking a moment to pose for the camera.

so maybe he's not as big as i originally thought, but he is the size of my beagle. i have decided that since i'm apparently destined to see this cute little fella' that i will call him edmund. eddie for short.

so bye for now eddie, i'm sure our paths will cross again.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

in need of inspiration...

i'm completely and totally blocked. i can't write anything. not a term paper. not a poem. even these few words seem forced. i'm in desperate need of some inspiration.

so when i'm feeling this way i usually tend to reread a bunch of favorite old poems. we're talking 16th century stuff. i somehow always seem to find what i need in them. it's kind of like how some people have problems and turn to the bible for guide. instead of the bible i turn to spenser. is that sacrilegious? it think so. but i should embrace whatever works, right?

well this time it's not working. i've read spenser, sidney, shakespeare, donne, wyatt, all the guys that usually bring about some sort of epiphany in me and i've gotten nada.

so i do what works when poetry fails: turn to song lyrics. i love music--all genres and types, so i can usually find something that seems to fit the situation i'm in. again, nada. the closest i can come is eli young band's "so close now," but that just causes me to think about graduation and the future, and not the paper writing that i so desperately need to be doing right now.

where do i go from here? guess i'll have to go biblical afterall.

any thoughts?

Monday, April 7, 2008

weekend rap-up

so my weekend can be described in the following phrases:

-great music
-great food
-bad fishing, but good times

so friday night nick, mom, cindy and i went to the eli young band concert at the house of blues (i'm kind of a groupie). it was, to say the least, freaking awesome. and to make it even better, it was their first sell-out show and mike eli's birthday!

check them out:
here's some video i shot...

so then saturday after work it was "hang out with the family time". freaking great food and company. we decided at one point that since mardi was going to the groomer on monday to get his hair chopped off, that we should take advantage of his long locks and give him a mohawk. he wasn't cooperative, but here's a pic:

sunday, my daddy and i went fishing at our favorite lake--lake ray roberts north of denton. beautiful lake, beautiful day, crappy fishing. it was so windy that you couldn't really cast, and the water was still too cold for the fish to bite. but, that's why it's called "fishing" not "catching". anyway, daddy and i had a good time and i came home looking like a lobster. i didn't even think about it being warm and sunny when i left the sunscreen at home that morning. oh well. sunburns fade away...eventually.

terrific weekend!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

only memories remain...

thought of the evening...

there are very few things on earth better than willie nelson singing "blues eyes crying in the rain"

oh that and i came to the realization today that the "hood" for my graduation regalia is more like a cape. seven years of denton (and making fun of the crunchy-granola cape-wearing art students) and i'm going to be the one on campus wearing a cape. karma's a bitch.

Monday, March 31, 2008

wow. i love denton.

so i'm walking up to the auditorium building today to pick up my graduation cords for sigma tau delta. i'm like 10 feet from the door when out from the bushes marches this possum the size of my dog. and not the chihuahua. the beagle. i stop dead in my tracks having flashes of thoughts like "aren't those things aggressive", and "oh my god it's going to claw my eyes out", and "wow. that's a brazen possum". i thought for a moment that cary elwes was going to jump out and wrestle the rodent of unusual size to the ground (and just for reference, i am aware that possums are marsupials, not rodents). the possum pauses, looks at me, then continues waddling across the sidewalk to the bushes on the other side.

again i'm reminded: only in denton.

look what i got!

i got my class ring today! yay! it's so pretty. and the "MA" staring at me from the side looks just right. here are some pics...

Saturday, March 29, 2008


...suck. that’s right. people suck. i make this broad generalization and mean it, with very few exceptions that include, but are not necessarily limited to: erin, nick, gabe, josh, kristy, mom, dad, a.b., and u.p.

everyone else sucks*.

*as previously stated, this list is not all inclusive. if i have not mentioned your name, please ask me for confirmation if you suck the next time i see you.

love in the time of cholera. the movie version.

so i just finished watching the movie for the second time. here are my thoughts:

1) i freaking love javier bardem. i would bear this man’s children. too bad the script couldn’t live up to his acting potential (for those of you who doubt it, see no country for old men).
2) despite the shakira, the music in the movie is lovely. i promptly downloaded the soundtrack.
3) most of you know how much i despise literature being turned into film (take for instance the recent rash of beowulf movies). i’m torn over this one. because it is gabriel garcia marquez, i really want to like it. but at the same time i don’t. bottom line--it’s a smidge slow, but a nice film if you haven’t read the book. basically, cinema will never be able to live up to the amazing portraits garcia marquez paints on the page. except maybe if done by the coen brothers. that i’d like to see.

history in the making. and me.

i was part of history tonight as i participated in the democratic caucus.

it was, to say the least, the most terrible public event i have ever participated in. just awful. organization? non-existent. crowd? enormous. materials? too few. here’s the story:

i early voted on february 20th—well before the actual primary. so by some miracle I manage to get off work early (huge surprise!). so i drive myself to my polling location to scope things out. the line to vote was wrapped around the building—three sides to be exact. i think to myself: "gee. a lot of people turned out. that’s amazing." i park my car two blocks away from the elementary school (the closest spot i could find), grab my bag, and schlep on over to the school.

i politely ask the school security guard which line is for the caucus. he instructs me to go around the corner to the gymnasium entrance. i do. i’m stopped by the line of nearly two-hundred people ahead of me. i ask the lady in front of me if this is the caucus line. she confirms that it is. we make small talk as the line moves, rather swiftly, into the building. we make it to the door of the gym and are told to go the back wall and get in a line. we do.

there are at least 500 people in this tiny, shabby elementary school gym. and about 300 more outside waiting to get in. this tiny little guy with a barry white voice climbs a ladder at the front of the gym. he lectures us for about fifteen minutes as to how he needs us to be in straight lines in order for things to progress quickly. the time is 7:17 pm.

another, very handsome man ascends the ladder. he informs us that there are about 400 people still in the building waiting to vote, and that while we can sign in for our delegate, we cannot tally those signatures or leave until all the polls are closed. so i’m thinking: "this sucks, but it’s worth it to be a part of this". this same man then instructs us to separate into the two precincts we represent. MASS CHAOS. now, i like to think of myself as a semi-rational person, so i found myself wondering and asking those around me: "why did they lecture us for fifteen minutes on proper line formation and etiquette only to have us move in masses across the room?". the people around me agreed. the time is now 7:47.

this same man then informs us that due to the incredible turnout, the people in my precinct are going to go to the cafeteria of the school to caucus. i’m thinking: "sweet. i am in the back of the line now, but this move will put me in the front." we proceed to the cafeteria. once in the cafeteria (where we all lined up with razor precision), we are informed that the election officials did not expect this kind of turnout and only sent twelve of the carbon-copy forms that we are supposed to fill out. each form had room for twelve people. twelve times twelve. that’s 144 people. 144 out of roughly 450. bad odds. he gets us started signing in. the time is now 8:17 and i’m about eight deep in the line.

as the lady directly in front of me sits down to sign in we are informed that they have run out of forms. our caucus guy then informs us that more are on the way from another precinct, and that they have contacted the republican and democratic campaign offices and that the decision has been made that we will be allowed to leave once we sign in. yay for small victories. the 144 chosen ones promptly exit the cafeteria. so there we are. corralled like cattle. it’s hot, the guy beside me has on too much cologne, and i really want to go home. i think: "este es para los pájaros. maybe apathy is where it’s at. no, no. that’s stupid. this is good. the more people vote, the more fair the election. stay. calm down. don’t think about the germs." it’s now 8:37.

about this time too-much cologne guy decides he’s gonna leave. right then caucus leader guy yells that the campaign offices have decided to let us sign in on copies of the forms--we don’t have to wait around for the other precinct to bring us more. yay!

i finally get to sign in my delegate at 8:54. i say: "yay!" and schlep the two blocks back to the car.

bottom line: the texas election system is ridiculous. caucusing was one of the worst, most disorganized experiences of my life, but i would do it again in a heartbeat. afterall, when in my life has my vote ever counted so much? i participated in history-in-the-making, and that makes me proud.

sleep through the static...otherwise known as greatness.

so here's my thought: i f-ing love jack johnson! i've listened to the latest album about twenty times now and LOVE it. who puts plato's allegory of the cave, biblical allusions, and homer into song lyrics? jack johnson does. that's who. i have loved this man's music since the days of brushfire fairytales, and will continue to buy up everything he makes. here are a couple of my all time fave lyrics:
"your point of view was chosen by the serpent's ruse
with all it's do's and don'ts
the future is an empty promise unconcerned and so tired of waiting
we could sell it wooden horses full of nightmares and when they open
this all might recompose
there's no going back to the good old days it's just a phase bring in some new life
archaism is a dusty road leading us back to nowhere" – jack johnson, "they do, they don't"

"well plato's cave is full of freaks
demanding refunds for the things they've seen
i wish they could believe
in all the things that never made the screen"—jack johnson, "inaudible melodies"

"all of life
is in one drop of the ocean waiting to go home
just waiting to go home
and if the moon
can turn the tides it can pull the tears
and take them from our eyes
make them into monsoons
yurn them into monsoon-er or later
they'll weep their way back to the sea
going to finally be free
free for a while
until they break
like waves of sorrow always do

all in due time
because time never waits"—jack johnson, "monsoon"
"what about those shoes you're in today
they'll do no good on the bridges you've burnt along the way"—jack johnson, "gone"

"the west winds often last too long ?
and when they calm down, nothing ever feels the same ?
sheltered under the kamani tree ?
waiting for the passing rain ?
clouds keep moving to uncover the sea ?
stars up above us chasing the day away ?
to find the stories that we sometimes need ?
listen close enough and all else fades
fades away"—jack johnson, "constellations"