Yes, I'm here and yes, I'm doing well!

[Jack L. and Baxter - with lollipop - in a Wegman's shopping cart... raising hell.]

Thanks, Amy and Jalena for the push to write! My silence was in part because I wanted the post about the seat for Mike at Philadelphia Theater Company to get a lot of attention... and because I've been busily finishing up the semester.


So far you have raised $875 towards Mike's seat at PTC! I just learned this yesterday and I'm freaking stunned! What a fantastic Christmas gift. Thank you.

In professional news...I traveled to Chicago for a conference November 15-18. Bax had a blast staying with Michelle. He didn't ask for me once!

The conference was a nice reminder that somehow I'm still "in the game." It's so bizarre to feel like my world has transformed so much in two years and yet my research and articles have sort of served as an alternate persona... out there plugging away doing their job, even on those days when I may stay in the fetal position in bed. This conference was probably the most positive professional experience I've had in four years. Both feet firmly planted on the ground - rather than up in the grief stratosphere. Lots of meetings with various scholars I've been wanting to touch base with. And packed house at my presentation ("Jon Stewart a Heretic: Surely you jest. The Daily Show's impact on cynicism, political engagement and participation") left me feeling totally energized. I got back home with a renewed interest in my work and am launching a study for the spring.

Last week I got word that my solo-authored theory piece I've been working on for three years - on the cognitive processing of political humor - was accepted for publication in Media Psychology. Amen.

I wrapped up my classes last week. When my honors seminar on the commodification of romance ended, the 13 students passed in their journals... some with artwork, collages, poetry... you name it. I said goodbye and went to my office and cried. I adore my job. I then cooked a big spaghetti meal and had them all over for dinner and for a screening of a romantic flick that captured a lot of the themes of the course. We watched French Kiss with Meg Ryan. Fun was had by all.

I have had some wonderful times hanging out with my friend Julie and her son, jack who is bax's age. She lives just five minutes away and we have had a great time hanging out with the boys and watching them enjoy each other's company. (see photo taken in the shopping cart at Wegman's) We even had a pleasant brunch at Crystal Lake Diner the other day. Imagine!

Oh right... Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is historically my favorite holiday. We spend it with friends and it's a day of eating, drinking and laughing. But... and forgive me if I spare you the details... this year it basically didn't happen. I had a stomach bug. More like a stomach vermin. I spent the day moaning in bed. Bax watched 9 hours of TV straight. It took like a week to feel like myself again. I lost 7 pounds in the process. YUCK-ola.

And finally... For the past few weeks, I have been spending time with a boy. Young man... who is boyish. A nice, smart, charming liberal indy boy. 27. A vegan. Lawyer. Who drives a hybrid. Who has spent time with Baxter and isn't running the other direction. And he juggles. Literally. He doesn't cook, though. I just learned that. I mean he doesn't cook At. All. And as I was preparing a lil onion, garlic and brussel sprouts in olive oil to serve with pasta, I thought, "Wait a minute. Just a few months ago, I didn't cook! When I met Mike I didn't know my ass from my elbow in the kitchen." So, I've decided to cut this young man some slack.

Over the past two years a lot has changed... including me. In addition to a life full of smooshy love, Mike gave me a lot. He did a lot for me. He was the cook, the source of financial stability, the one who bought the groceries, the one who paid the bills and took care of the car. Honestly.. when I met Mike, I was still afraid to take the subway in Philly. I only ate veggies out of a can. I didn't floss my teeth. I didn't know how to pay bills online. I didn't own a cell phone or have life insurance. But, I have had to figure all that shit out by my big self ( as bax would say )...Which - in a totally EFFed up way - is such a gift.

What I need and want in a partner now are different from what they were. I mean, he's still got to have a sharp tongue, quick wit, and be bright, curious and critical, but not knowing how to saute veggies? For gosh sake, I think I can handle it.

Besides, he's young. He can learn.

Love you all,