Monday, December 18, 2006

Grand Rounds. Car. Change of Course.

There's a terrific, Charlie-Brown-Christmas themed Grand Rounds over at Nurse Ratched's Place. I'm delighted to be included!

In less happy news, today my car was towed to the garage, which reports that although the wheel and tire are fine, I need a new axle and two other parts: a control arm and some kind of link, I believe (I've misplaced my notes). The estimated bill comes to just under $1,000, which -- conveniently enough -- is my collision deductible. Gack. Merry Christmas! Oh well. At least AAA towed me for free, since the car really was damaged. Also, the tow-truck guy was very nice: talked about working eight extra hours on Saturday because of all the pile-ups (there was at least one fatality) and then admired the cats, which is a surefire way to get in good around here. His sister lives on a ranch and has forty-eight cats: all spayed and neutered, all named. Her ranch doesn't have rats, mice, or snakes. Go, cats!

Extremely faithful readers may remember that I was scheduled to teach a graduate seminar on "Fantasy and Trauma" this spring. Alas, only one person enrolled, so the class has been canceled. I'm disappointed, but I'll be teaching a section of "Women and Literature" instead, and that should be fun. I've decided to focus on liminality, on women navigating barriers and boundaries -- cultural, economic, psychological, medical -- in six non-fiction texts:

Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge
Anne Fadiman, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
Alexa Albert, Brothel
Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed
Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle
Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

The Didion's the only one I haven't read yet. Since the book's about her sudden, devastating widowhood (and her daughter's illness, which turned out to be terminal), it may be very heavy sledding as the last book in the course. So I may either change the order or substitute another text. But for now, this seems workable.

Meanwhile, I drafted two new ED sonnets today, but I want to smooth them out a bit before I post them. That will probably happen sometime tomorrow. I've been very gratified by the positive comments I've gotten. Thanks, everybody!


  1. OK - I had never heard of a 'control arm' before today, and just a short while ago my husband phoned to tell me that our van cannot pass its inspection without a new one, which will cost $1100 (mostly in labour!) to repair. Very bizarre!!

  2. The Didion is the first thing of hers I've wanted to read in about a decade. (Then again, Monster is a great book.)

    I saw the original description of your accident and immediately figured the axle was broken (I had one like it, though less dangerous, in Charlotte where they don't bother owning salt—storage costs are positive and the uses aren't high).

    Just under $1,000 is just about right, sorry to say.

    (As an aside, car repairs are almost always mostly labour--especially one that difficult to do right.)

  3. Hi, MM and Ken! I guess I'm lucky, since my just-under-$1,000 includes several other parts, plus a realignment.

    Oh, and Ken, the axle wasn't broken, just bent. It still has to be replaced, though.

  4. The Didion is not heavy going. She has a rather detached, analytical style. I enjoyed it but it wasn't as emotional as I expected.


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