Monday, November 30, 2009


Sometimes as a time killer (read: procrastination aid) I like to read this blog:

Naomi and her husband are cute and happy and they live in New York. Ross and I are cute and happy and live in Portland. It's very transcontinental (it could also spark a long conversation about whether or not it's weird to read a journal belonging to someone I've never met who lives really far away, but I'll save that for another day).


A week or so again Naomi posted a photography giveaway. A fan of the pho-tog, I decided to post a comment. What the hell? Unless you're completely unfamiliar with the concept of the "surprise win story" you can tell where this is going: out of the 538 people who posted I won. So now Rosco and I get to choose a print from this shop to go on our growing photo wall.

Whaddya know.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

new baby

I. Am. So. Happy.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

le bon mot

If I ever want to cut it as the female version of Roger Ebert (plan B if graduate school doesn't work out), I probably need to stop watching movies with my mouth wide open. But Fantastic Mr. Fox was so incredibly (I hate myself for this, but sometimes there is no better word) fantastic that I simply could not help myself. I'm up to my chin in graduate school stuff, so in lieu of writing the long review I had intended, I will instead only say this: Please go see this movie. It deserves to be seen.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

love letters

Dear Portland,
If you weren't so beautiful and the thought of leaving you in nine months didn't hurt so badly I bet I'd work harder on my graduate school applications. It's your fault.

Dear Creature,
You make me insane. I adore you.

Dear Ross' Work,
Thank you for sending us a giant Honeybaked Ham for Thanksgiving. Too bad there are only two of us.

Dear Tea,
Thank you for getting me through graduate school applications.

Dear Personal Statement,
I'm glad you finally allowed yourself to be written (remember your first draft?). Please be more amenable to editing than you were to writing.

Dear Jon Stewart,
Thank you for introducing me to Truckasaurus.

Dear Sunshine,
I approve.

Dear Administration,
For the first time ever, I do NOT approve.

Dear Husband,
I don't know what I'd do without you. You're the Rocky to my Adrian.


P.S. Concept shamefully (shamelessly) stolen from this blog.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

truckasaurus helps me procrastinate

Today I took a break from working on my personal statement to make the following list:

Stuff I Want To Do
*Ride a camel in the Middle East
*Get a Ph.D. [editor's note: this would probably go faster if I worked on my personal statement instead of making lists]
*Go to a rodeo and a demolition derby or monster truck rally
*Live in the South [editor's note: where, presumably, I could accomplish the previous item]
*Live abroad (again)
*Road trip cross-country
*Play touch football with Ross and our kids on a lovely fall day

In retrospect, almost all of these items are charmingly blue-collar. Except for the whole Ph.D. thing. Interesting.

Monday, November 23, 2009

letter to the president

Dear President Obama,

I think it's really awesome that, to quote the New York Times, "you will announce a campaign [today] to enlist companies and nonprofit groups to spend money, time and volunteer effort to encourage students, especially in middle and high school, to pursue science, technology, engineering and math." I also think it's really awesome that that campaign includes a two-year science focus on "Sesame Street." Nothing beats Elmo in a lab coat. And I agree completely that science and math are going to be integral to our continued success as a nation. But Mr. Obama, I am currently applying to get my Ph.D. in English Literature. En-glish Lit-er-a-ture. The least science-y program in academia since medieval studies. And by the time I graduate into what is already a deeply depressed job market, looking to grab my own little piece of tenure, all these middle school students you are targeting will be entering college. At which time it would be really awesome if some of them wanted to study ENGLISH! Must the sciences and the liberal arts be endlessly locked in this holy war for funding? Can we possibly strive for a new and lasting peace?

Just some thoughts.


Haylie Swenson Dewey

P.S. Also, it would be great if you could endorse Elmo's 2012 bid for Congress. Thank you. HSD


This is Creature. We've had her for a few weeks now. She is insane. Certifiable.

And she waits...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

battlestar brunch

On Saturday Ross and I got up (not especially) early to get ready for a full day of Battlestar Galactica-watching, brunch-preparing, concert-going good times. Our day started with a trip to Portland's exceptionally fabulous farmer's market.

After conquering the farmer's market we brought our spoils home and Ross made me breakfast.

Green onions, buffalo sausage, and bell pepper potato scramble with the Best. Bread. In the. Universe. It was pretty delicious.

After brunch we settled in to watch Battlestar, Season 4.5, discs two and three. Only ONE DISC LEFT, which we will watch tonight. I'm losing my mind.

Later that evening my dear friend Annette (no pictures, sad face) came over. We went to Moonstruck before going to a concert at the Ash Street Saloon (no good pictures, sad face).

Overall it was a most excellent day. So say we all.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I don't usually post twice in a day, but I saw this tonight and fell crazy-in-love with it. Apparently some composer saw birds sitting on a wire one day and transcribed their melody. Love it.

P.S. It also made me think of Hera and Battlestar Galactica, for the fans out there.

portland farmer's market faux-laroids

Digital polaroids (coined "faux-laroids" by clever moi) of our fair city provided by this nifty site

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Tonight I will be sleeping at the zoo (on my TWENTY-HOUR SHIFT), which means that for the first time in our marriage, spouse and I will not be sleeping together. However, neither of us will be sleeping alone. I will be sleeping with somewhere between thirty and forty sixth graders (plus parents). Ross will be sleeping with our cat.

Wish us luck.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

married face

Photo by the excessively talented Rachel Thurston

Dear Husband,

Today being November 10th, we have been married for one whole calendar month, and I thought I would let you know that so far your job performance has been exemplary. I look forward to future evaluations.



P.S. Love you.

Monday, November 9, 2009

honeymooners, part 1: paris

Photo taken in Amboise, France

So, we're married now. You may have heard. And to celebrate said marriage spouse and I took a whirlwind two-week tour to France and London (I would love to say "France and England" but that will be a trip for another time). Our honeymoon was as is to be expected: amazing. However, in the interest of absolute honesty, I'm not sure I'd recommend it to other newly married (virginal) couples. Turns out that with the sleeping in the same bed and the "oh-s**t-oh-s**t-I'm-married" reaction and the instant post-wedding-preparation come-down, it's asking a bit much of the aforementioned married couple to also throw in jet lag and the French. But still. It was a pretty delightful trip, as the following five-part series is intended to show. Please note that the photos are mostly arranged by theme (as opposed to chronology) a la "This American Life." Still, the basic chronology is there. Anyway.

We flew into Paris on Monday the 12th. We were jet-lagged and exhausted but bravely went out into the world to explore and flout our new tax status.

Here's my thing about Paris (it's a lot like my thing about the opera): I want to like it--indeed, I feel like I'm supposed to like it--a little more than I actually do. It's not that it isn't amazing and historical and deeply, deeply beautiful, but in a lot of ways it feels like a toy city. But that being said, there is something about the light in that town that makes my little heart go all a-flutter.

While Haylie obsesses about the light, Ross makes himself right at home:

I'm a giant sucker for art museums (thanks, Aunt Bevan and Mom!) and so on our very first day Ross and I spent some incredibly tired time at the Louvre. Or at least I did: Ross seemed to show remarkably few signs of jet lag throughout, whereas I'm still not over it (I actually fell asleep--standing up--more than once at the Louvre).

We were much more awake for the Musee d'Orsay a few days later.

We didn't spend much time at the Eiffel Tower, but we did go to visit her on our last (exceptionally chilly) evening in Paris. Ross asked a policewoman--in sorta French--where the Metro was. I was very proud.

I may secretly be Catholic. I've got a massive thing for cathedrals.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

sometimes the small things...

...can be the most life-altering.

Case in point: I have spent my entire life waging an epic battle with Venetian Blinds. I hate them. I have always hated them. I don't understand how anyone could not hate them. Never in my life have I been able to make them work for me. If I want them to stay up, I usually have to tie the cord to/around/through something. If I want them to come down, I have to spend sometimes up to ten minutes engaging in a precise--indeed, almost surgical--operation whereby I pull first one string, then the other.
Lately I've been pulling the string with my right hand while my left tugs ever-so-gently on the actual blinds themselves.

Last night I was using the dual-handed trick and trying to close the blinds in our bedroom. I was becoming visibly and increasingly frustrated when my dear, sweet husband said the following, oh-so-casually: "You know that you pull the string to the left to lower the blinds, right?"

No. I did not know that.

Other things I learned in the course of last night's conversation:
  • To raise the blinds you simply pull the string, of course (I did know that)
  • But to get the blinds to actually stay that way you pull the string sharply to the right
I have since practiced this many times. Each time the blinds have operated perfectly. I can scarcely describe this feeling; it's as though I've gone my whole life with blurry vision and someone has suddenly given me glasses. It's like I'm Helen Keller in that scene from The Miracle Worker where she finally figures out how to say "water." In that one small moment my entire life changed for the better. The war is over.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

dear sweet sister

Dear Cassidy,

You are 20 today. As you like to say: "Oh, my" (you know that today is your birthday, of course, but not everyone does so I included it at the beginning of this letter as a helpful bit of exposition).

Happy birthday, dear sweet sister. I am so exceedingly proud of you. On your blog you wrote about all the lessons you've learned this year. I just wanted to tell you that it shows. I am so proud of you for going back to school and for loving it so much, and I urge you to STICK WITH IT! You're going places, baby (I feel like that's something Aunt Bevan might say. Whenever I give advice I try to sound like Aunt Bevan).

I also wanted to thank you for all that you did for Ross and me--especially for me--in the weeks leading up to our wedding. Our wedding absolutely, positively, indisputably could NOT have happened without you. Also, I might have died. Seriously, sister, you worked tirelessly in helping us plan, in running errands for me when I was sick, and in decorating our apartment (which looks fabulous, thanks to you). You remember this picture?

You look beautiful and I look like I'm dying. But I love it because it reminds me of all that you did for us that week.

I just love you to pieces, little sister. Through all that we've been through you've always been there. Thanks for always calling. Thanks for asking me for advice sometimes (I'll still write the introductions to your papers if you want). Thanks for getting along so well with Ross. And mostly thanks for being your irrepressible, spunky, hilarious, loving, surprising self.

Last thing: I know you don't like this picture,

but it's my favorite one ever of us. Thanks for everything, chica. Love you so much.

Happy Birthday Cassidy!

Monday, November 2, 2009

the (not) short (enough) list

Dear Graduate Schools,

Please understand that I realize that you are some of the better schools in the country, and that the odds of getting accepted into just one of you are stacked well against me. Trust me, I feel keenly your ivory tower superiority over us mere mortals! In fact, I was just thinking about it today, feeling overwhelmed, when a thought occurred to me: what if I asked really, really nicely? So, graduate schools, I aim to do just that.

Please accept me into your program. I promise I'll work very hard. I will be careful not to assume authorial intent and to cultivate negative culpability. I will strive to publish and read papers in all the good journals and at all the good conferences, and once my dissertation is through I will try my very hardest to achieve a tenure-track position at one of the best schools, a school you will be proud to list on your "Graduate Achievements" web page. But first you need to let me in.

Pretty please?


Haylie Swenson Dewey

P.S. Catalog card generator here.