Tuesday, October 20, 2009

State Fair, Part II

As promised, here are the quilts:

Aren't they gorgeous? It's hard to see in these pictures--far away, little hand camera--but the applique and hand-embroidery is just as beautiful as the piecing and the color choices.

There was more though (this is, after all, the TEXAS State Fair).

Clothes for Barbies--which reminded me of the clothes my own grandmother used to sew for my dolls--and other dolls.

These are older dolls that have new clothes or have been restored. I have several of this kind of china-head doll from my maternal grandmother.

Also, preserving:

These shelves are full of jars of preserves, jellies, jams, pickles, and so forth--and there was another set of them to the right.

But these were my favorites: handmade children's clothing.

The bodice is smocked and embroided (chickens to match the fabric print). Gorgeous.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Texas State Fair

On Friday, I went to the Texas State Fair with friends... or perhaps people I thought were friends, given the amount of fried food they allowed me to ingest in a six-hour period!

Here they are, contemplating our next fried adventure.

Here we are near Big Tex, the annual dual mascot and welcome wagon. You can always find yourself at the fair by examining your relationship to Big Tex... literally and metaphorically.

The fair is out in the State Fair grounds, permanent structures that remind me of NYC's Rockefeller Plaza: art deco and monumental...

with lots of exaggerated, symbolic maidens...

and hard-working blue-collar guys...

We saw butter sculpture: this year's entry was a complete Old West Saloon scene, with butter bar, butter bartender, butter saloon girl...

butter dog and walls...

and butter fireplace, table, and stools (the "brick" thing on the left was the fireplace, complete with faux fabric flames).

Forgive the flash lights: it is all behind glass, and I took terrible pictures!

We also looked at the women's handwork: quilts, clothing, and so forth, with handsewing, crochet, knitting, embroidery, needlepoint, crewelwork, and any other kind of handwork you can imagine. Gorgeous stuff, that reminded me very much of the work my grandmothers, aunts, great-aunts, and mom taught me.


This is three quilts, hanging 'way above our heads. I'll include more of them in a later post, because they are simply spectacular and should get the attention they deserve. The colors, the quality of the quilting and applique, all of it was incredible.

We also saw the work of the Master Pumpkin Carver on two massive pumpkins. Here's the less scary one.

We also ate our weight--or perhaps cholesterol count--in fried foods, but that too is another day's tale. I'll simply leave you with this: fried pickles, fried green tomatoes, fried butter, fried Oreos, fried potato laces, fire-and-ice (fried pineapple), and fried bacon. That's right: deep-fat-fried bacon.

Mmmm, good.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Consumer Annoyance: AT&T

Well, another annoying call from AT&T. What was it? In short:

1. the only customer service number on their website goes directly to wireless phone service--which I don't have and wasn't calling about. Had to tell wireless service lady that I wanted home phone and wireless internet... spent significant time on hold... then had to transfer again... hold... transfer... fnally at right department: no customer service phone number on website.

2. explained that two months ago I negotiated my bill down because I ONLY get these two services, want no others, and should be saving money... except that every month the electronic transfers from me to them are a. different in amount and b. more than I was promised.

3. explained that I cannot get onto the website for my account because the web wouldn't accept my ID number or password to open my account.

Was told in response that:

1. this month's "extra charge" was for two long distance information calls I made on August 24--that's right, two billing cycles ago--although the operator cannot tell me numbers I purportedly dialed for calls I don't remember making to an area I don't know why I would be looking to call. I was billed this month because (get this) long distance bills on a different cycle than my service plan: literally, the dates of billing and the period encompassed are different... and it has always been thus.

2. my September account was different because the government surcharges increased...

3. my August account was different because... what was the question again? Oh, yes, "why are the amounts of my bill different every month when I am on a billing plan." Well, they're different because I said so. I don't know. Red. Square. Billings, Montana. Oh, hell.

4. she can't open my account either, and while she can reset my password, she cannot reset or change my user ID. And she literally tells me that is has thus been so since May 2002: not my user ID, the fact that she cannot change it, which is supposed to give her an out and a sense of authority at the same time.

So while I am paying the same amount I would pay if I got cable tv on top of my phone and wireless internet--meaning apparently that cable is free--I cannot reduce my monthly bill because I only want two services. Huh? if I get three services, it costs the same as two services... I KNOW I an not a math whiz, honey, but I am not an idiot. What you are telling me is JUST STUPID math. It is Lehmann Brothers I want my bonus math. It is Big Corporation Shut Up and Pay Me math.

And it would be great if I wanted cable--but I don't. And it would be great if the third service was laundry--but it ain't.  And it would be great if AT&T understood the term "customer service"--but they don't.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Spicy Chicken

This week I made a delicious chicken main dish. Actually made it up, and it turned out great.

Spicy Chicken

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp Madras curry powder
1/2 c. lemon juice

Put stove top/over casserole dish on stove top. Add butter on medium heat; when it is melted, add garlic, cumin, turmeric, curry, and allow to cook for 3 minutes. Add lemon juice and chicken breasts. Turn chicken to coat with spices and butter; allow to brown on each side. Then put in oven at 300 for 30 minutes.

The result is a spice, juicy dish for two, with few calories or fat. Add salad and rice or vegetable, you're good to go.

Note: I used good-sized breasts; if your chicken breasts are smaller, cook for only 20 minutes. You don't want to dry them out, but the lemon juice should help keep them jucy and give the meat a tangy flavor.

I love cooking with chicken because there is so much you can do with it, no matter whether it is a complete roast chicken or pieces. Lemon, white wine, salsa, tomatoes, broth, and nearly every spice known to mankind. Humankind. I also made chicken soup this past weekend--spicy chicken soup, using red pepper flakes and garlic (d'you ge tthat I like my food spicy? Deifnitely this week when I am fighting congestion and allergies).


Trip to Beaumont, Texas

Last Friday and Saturday I traveled to Beaumont, Texas, for another feedback/workshop session... but no pictures this time. The drive down was dull--except for the raging storm during Beaumont's rush hour where I got stuck on the highway in no-visibility fog-and-rain spittle... but I didn't crash and I didn't drive over the verge and I found my exit and hotel. So yay me!


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Trip to San Angelo

This weekend, I drove to San Angelo to see and respond to an original play.

On the ride there, I saw this mosaic at a rest stop. Yes, it is a longhorn puffing out heated breaths and a pair of boots. Because nothing says "Texas in a ladies rest room" like a longhorn and boots.

All the way back on Saturday, there was heavy cloud cover and rain. The Hill Country--that part of central-west Texas--is flat land, primarily used for farming along the roads I drove.

These blue tin chickens were huddled up outside a small town.

Cotton fields in full blossom.

And, last, a herd of goats resting roadside just as the sun came up (heavily muffled by cloud cover).

As I got closer, I noticed something about the goats...

Zombie eyes...


Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday: Sloooooooooooow Day

Or not.

I finally have a simple day: no classes, only one meeting, and no social obligations. Aaaaahhhhhhhhhh!

Thus far today, I have gotten myself showered/dressed/coffeed, taken out the garbage, done two loads of laundry, unloaded and re-loaded the dishwasher, made oatmeal in the slow cooker, organized said lone meeting, cleared out email boxes in 3 accounts, posted on Facebook, posted snail mail, fed Jack, set up two students meetings for next week, organized a Chicks' Night Out for friends, graded student papers, graded student monologues, graded student participation points... and now to GET AWAY FROM SAID COMPUTER!

I think I'm due some time for reading or laziness...


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Fun Parts

One of the best aspects of my job is the annual new plays festival I produce within my department. I've been doing it for a long time--loooooonnnggggg time!--and it is always fresh, exciting, challenging, and rewarding. My senior students (yes, undergraduates) write full-length plays from August to October, and, starting in November, we all start the train ride to performance. It is a ride that takes six months plus to complete.

This year, I have six students all busily writing. Three (at most) will get full productions, while the others will get two to three public staged readings with feedback sessions.

For those in full production mode, they will be working with a director, a cast, a lighting designer, and some other design help during the process. Each student will rewrite their play before and during the rehearsal process, and get a lot of mentoring in playwriting and directing areas from myself and other faculty. They will have two or three performances for audiences of about 125 spectators.

For those with staged readings, they will also get playwriting mentoring, a director, a cast, and two or three public performances of their script, complete with post-performance discussions sessions. This will help them move forward with the script.

My goal--in the end--is to familiarize the students with some form of production under guidence, so that next time it won't be so very unfamiliar and nerve-wracking. And to move them through the process from idea to performance (August to April) of writing, rewriting, and producing their own original work.

Along the way, of course, there are disappointments: three three who are produced are happy, the others with staged readings not so much... initially. Casting always produces the need for adjustment, as do staging realities. And this festival has gone from no support in the department, to too much (over-designing, over-supervision of students), to not enough again... This year we will have one designer, for lighting only. He is the best and an avid supporter of the festival (unlike his colleagues), but no extra student hands... unless I can recruit them. On the one hand: a blessing. Only people with great attitudes need apply, because it is a lot of work for little praise, recognition, or any kind of reward from above. On the other hand: will require more work from those involved. Like recruiting live music or composition or dance or film students to add texture to the shows.

In the end, this project more than any other is about process--and a little about product, too--but about the actual process of teaching something during a process. How to rewrite a play. How to direct an original play. How to work with a playwright and actors at the same time. How to produce magic with little budget, little help, and lots and lots of creative imagination and desire. Good lessons for budding playwrights, directors, actors, and designers.

I am sometimes torn between wanting more people to notice what we do--internally, like admin and colleagues--and sometimes happy few do. This is a situation in which the students do the work, whatw e're training them to do, and succeed or fail (and it is always somewhere in between, isn't it?) they LEARN.

And that's what teaching is about, from my point of view. Giving them the opportunity to learn.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Back Together

This weekend, everything fell together nicely. Lectures got prepared. Papers got graded. The apartment got picked up. I saw a student-directed project. My freezer and pantry are full after visits to Costco, Target, and the grocery store. In the unending cycle of life and life's work, some things actually got completed.

The magical word: completed.

Mondays are always... suddenly here.

I am looking forward to this week. 


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Oy! Teaching!

Today was not a brilliant day in theatre history. We finished Roman theatre, focusing on acting, festivals, and the popular culture entertainment surrounding theatre.


Couldn't find the angle, the energy to make it an engaging class--which happens. The students didn't step up, either.

And... I'm bored. It happens, once every few months where I go through a massive boredom attack. Now. Which means I am over TV, Netflix, the stack of books I have piled up, and most everything else I can think of. Looking for something to engage my brain and imagination, which is harder than you think. Back to the current play?

Fortunately, I've got a paper coming up so I can focus on that. And it should be challenging, again because I've shaped an abstract with a HUGE subject: new ways of looking at actresses in late 19th-century Paris, connected to the new institutions of museums, department stores, photography, and flaneurie, a consideration of "seeing" that reconsiders how spectators saw the Actress. Visual culture, "seeing," the gaze, and spectatorship: really cool stuff.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Writing Workshop

Last weekend I taught a workshop for some of my sophomores, all young women, who are planning to hold a staged reading event of their writing next month. Most of them had never written a play, but had opted to start by writing a full-length piece of considerable weight.

Because that's what my students do.

So we did 3 hours of writing exercises. It was fun: they were a good group and jumped in without fear.

I'm looking forward to seeing what they finish with.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Week Four/Commute

Well, it is week four of the school year, and I have been missing my commute. This week it has been raining, I am really tired, and... yadda yadda excuse excuse.
The rain of the weekend started me on Monday to "ignore" the bike ride for the safety of the car... NO ONE is safe driving in DFW when the weather is anything but sunny and clear. Just a fact. So rain and bike do not automatically = accident, as my students suggested. Tuesday... same rain, same excuse. Today... just slllooooooowwwwww this morning, and needed the ability to leave the house at 8:40 for a 9:00 am class. (leave house, drive, park, pick up stuff from office, start class? Yeah, I can do that ALL in 15 minutes, no sweat--because I am an Academic Wonder Woman!)
I suspect part of it is because I also spent Saturday in a multi-person 2.5-hour web-conference (supposed to be 2 hours, but with aural problems and late arrivals became 2.5 hours) and Sunday in a 3-hour playwriting workshop with 8 students. So the weekend went--whish!--quicker than usual. Not enough down time/alone time for me.
I am also falling to bad habits of time crunching: no breakfast, napping late in the day so late sleeping time, not spending 15 minutes daily picking up the apartment, etc. That all trends back to having lunch prepared and ready to go for the bike, having the backpack prepared for the next morning, organizing clothes and accessories for the next day (or the week, which I prefer), handling the daily tasks of bills/laundry/paperwork/cleaning that always arise, and scheduling social time with friends and colleagues--so very important, but tough when you're juggling three courses, three committees, a conference paper, and an article.... and then some.
Back to Square One and gentle practice in getting these things into a routine. Which should take me until the end of October to establish as habits, anyway.

Work in progress, that's me.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Day Eight,Week Two of the Commute

Thus far, everything is... going smoothly. I am finally getting a handle on the timing involved in getting everything papcked into the bike, commuting, and then unpacking and preparing me for class each day. I teach four days weekly, so there are two distinctly different commutes: one that is for an all-day, two course + meetings commute, and one that is a single class, then gym commute.

I am definitely getting braver and more assertive about cars. Drivers in my 'hood tend to want to rule the road--especially in their Lexus/Mercedes-Benz/range Rover/Hummer mentalities (Big Expensive Cars). They do not want to dawdle behind a bike, even one as spiffy as mine. Luckily, there is little traffic, and everyone has been courteous when push came to shove. At stop signs or lights, for example.

Ironically, by near-collision came as a result of a mother opening the road-side backseat door to load her toddler into the car seat from THAT SIDE. Huh? The road is one parking lane and two driving lanes wide, with either side parking. The mother has the door wide open--into the lane, while the toddler stands next to her. Cars coming both ways, me on the bike... looked like disaster. Mom wasn't exactly rushing to get toddler out of harm's way, either.

Fortunately, both cars and I slowed way down and let her finish whatever.

My panniers have come in handy, since I am loading up backpack and panniers. Laptop, textbooks, and lunchbox go in panniers, while everything else goes in backpack. I am already considering ways to lighten the load by duplicating items to store at my office. But I still want to carry lunch: cost of lunch on-campus is just short of $10 daily (all you can eat buffet with sandwiches, salads, omelettes, etc.--healthy options!) and I can carry lunch for 1/4 of that. Since saving is one of my goals...

And the big weight will be relieved when I get my new laptop next week--a smaller, lighter MacBook. I am also investigating ways to cheat by not bringing textbooks, but copied pages/chapters... which means I won't feel so guilty marking them up, either.

Slowly, slowly.


Friday, August 28, 2009

First Week

This morning I can report that four days of riding Bella to My U has been... interesting.

Monday and Tuesday were just trial runs with no luggage on board. Very smooth, although I learned (as I said on Tuesday) that the route there is uphill. Wednesday and Thursday I added the junk I use for class--laptop, textbooks, dry-rase markers, folders, etc--lunch, and extra clothes... and "uphill" became a dirty word.

Wednesday was slightly fraught, although I had prepped much of the stuff the ngiht before, but I had to be at My U before 9 am (class time) through the heaviest traffic of the day in my 'hood.

And, ironically, the city decided to tear up the street one block from the entrance to the university grounds for one full block--putting up detour signs, bringing in heavy trucks, and molto guys in hard hats by 8 am. The day classes started is the same day the roadwork began: timing is everything.

Despite that, I arrived early, locked up and unloaded the bike, changed clothes and refreshed makeup in the ladies room next to my classroom, and got myself set up and on-line in time for class. Thank goodness I brought a clean blouse to change into, because the t-shirt I wore was soaked.

Going home, the roadway was blocked not only with roadwork, but gardening truck. This is always the case by mid-afternoon in my 'hood. One truck parked illegally and three guys weed-whacking. next block, one bigger truck with a crane planting mid-life trees. With about seven guys "helping."

And... I arrived home safely. Happy that the road home was all downhill.

Thursday, much the same, except that I travel in for a 2 pm class, so the traffic issues are different. Surprisingly, less sweaty arrival--although I notice my thighs are protesting earlier in the ride! I was also carrying about 5 lbs less weight yesterday than Wednesday. Each trip has been lighter, since things were left in my office or given away to students.

So far, good riding and good exercise. I am puffing like a blowfish when I stop at the traffic light at the edge of My U's grounds (always have to stop, never green my way), and aching quad and calf muscles, but I think that will actually be better by the end of next week. I feel much more confident even after only two days of class-specific riding, negotiating the streets and sidewalks on campus as well as in my neighborhood. I'll try a new route next week, as well.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Start Up

Yesterday, I rode Bella to My U for the Dean's meeting as a trial run.

Good News: while the ride took more time than the same car trip, it was a more pleasant ride all around.  I had no trouble locking Bella up to one of the two bike racks--where I think several of the bikes are actually rejects left behind. They had flattened tires and looked as if they'd been on-site for several weeks, if not months. Sadly.

The ride to My U is all uphill (also a new discovery), which means that the ride home is all downhill. What a great discovery! Granted, none of it is a big grade up or down, but sweet that the ride home will be easier.

I think that making the trip at 8:30 am will be different than at 2:30 pm, however, will involve a lot more car traffic than I encountered, given my experience with driving in at that time regularly... which also suggests use of alternate routes. There are at least three.

I also made the ride with regular teaching clothes: heeled sandals, skirt, t-shirt, and over-the-shoulder purse. Very easy, and again good news. I was definitely sweaty and breathing hard once I arrived, but not as much as I thought. Yay! Keeping clean shirts in the office and an icy water bottle will probably solve the worst of this problem. Regular riding will do a lot more.

Today is another trial run, for a short meeting requiring nothing but keys, etc. Tomorrow will be the real test: a full day of classes, requiring laptop, folders, texts, etc. -- and my lunch.


Monday, August 24, 2009

At the Gate

Although classes no not start today, today is the first day of the official school year for faculty at My U. Our Dean has called us for his annual pre-semester meeting this afteroon. Tomorrow is full of pre-semester meetings for departmental things. Wednesday, classes start.

I had also forgotten how many committees I am on (part of the academic life, I am afraid). I have scheduled two meetings this week to pre-meet before the actual committees meet, so that I can create an agenda for the committee meetings to come.

Yesterday, I spent nearly three hours in my office, rearranging books and papers into some semblance of order for the coming year. After the mess it had become, thanks to a new bookcase and the inheritance of a friend's 19th-century materials, this is a huge relief.

I know most people think professors spend all their time, well, teaching. Not so. Academic life includes teaching but also committee work, advising, research and writing, and endless meetings. We're just like everyone else in that respect.

Oh, and preparing to teach.

Today's agenda: meeting #1/pre-committee, Dean's meeting, post-Dean's meeting get-together with colleagues, finishing touches on Class #2's weekly schedule.

Tomorrow: Departmental lunch and meeting, finishing touches on Class #2's semester's assignments, finishing prep on first day meetings for Class #1 & 2, pack bike for Wednesday's commute, re-check all websites for semester's schedules/assignments/documents.

And.... we're off!


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Bella, The Bike

Turns out my bike is a Bella Beach Cruiser Bike made by Firmstrong. I thought it was a Felt from my discussion with the person who sold me Bella, but having visited the Felt site for information on the recall and doodled around, nuh-uh.

Instead, my research led me around to the ABikeStore.com site, where my beauty resides. Since this was one of my favorites when I was (briefly) considering ordering a bike online, I am pleased about that.

Ironically or perhaps by the hand of fate, Isabelle is one of my favorite names.


Synchronicity. Synergy. Syncopation.


Friday, August 21, 2009

More Good News...

Good News: It is only 11 am and I have already completed two loads of laundry, my weekly cold-water regular load and a second load of towels.

Bad News: I have my suspicions about the cleanliness resulting from our community washers.

Good News: The one dryer that works (dries) has been tweaked by some kindly person to run continuously... without quarters! So I am drying for free.

Bad News: This is my last free Friday before the semester starts. In fact, the semester starts Monday, because I misread the notice from my dean about his fall meeting: I thought it was Tuesday (Freudian!). Monday, Dean's meeting. Tuesday, Divisional meeting. Wednesday, classes start 9 a.m. for me.

Bad News: My office is still in "new office furniture" uproar, which means 1 day this weekend will be devoted to fixing that by re-positioning shelves in very tall new bookcase (and reshelving books), re-hanging framed 18th-century map of Versailles so it can be seen instead of hidden behind very tall new bookcase, and generally cleaning up the dust and loneliness of my school office, deserted for the summer months... Necessary before the tons of kids start popping their heads in and asking directions to classrooms, to borrow paper and pen to leave a note for another prof, or the office hours of other profs. Sure, I could keep my door closed, but I ask you, what fun would that be?

Good News: Class websites, syllabi, and assignments are READY for all three classes... good to go!
Meanwhile, this is my workplace, pretty much everyday.



Thursday, August 20, 2009

Review: The Bronx

Continuing my new ritual of eating out by myself on Tuesday nights, I chose The Bronx this week. It is not new to me, I like it very much, in part because it is a restaurant with a great bar. It is also a restaurant where I never feel uncomfortable being alone or a woman alone out for dinner (see Split Pea Soup Cafe).

The Bronx offers outdoor and indoor dining, although I've only ever eaten indoors. I actually like eating in a restaurant-bar that's got a great ambiance, kind of old-fashioned and clean. It's located on Cedar Springs Road.

The food here is good, the wine mostly Californian, and the prices reasonable. Tuesday I had the avocado-bacon burger with onion rings: both were delicious. The burger was perfectly cooked, a good size wihtout being too giant for one person to reasonably eat. The toppings were also well prepared: bacon crispy, avocado fresh and cool. The onion rings were neither over-cooked nor too crumbly: the breading stayed right in place. And there was very, very good coffee.

They open at 5:30, which is my only gripe about the place. I generally like to go out earlier, have a glass of wine, and order dinner after I've done some reading or writing. I think this is a result of time spent in French cafes, and most American places feel comfortable with this arrangement. You sit down, you order, you eat, and you go home, all in one long sweep, thereby freeing up the table for more hungry customers. It's all rushed and quick.

But The Bronx doesn't care if I sit and read for an hour or so before ordering dinner, which is another reason I like the spot. I did indeed read and take notes, moving between two books of French cultural history. The waiter was friendly but not chatty, which was again perfect. Several tables filled and emptied while I was there, and everything ordered looked and smelled great. Maybe if I could get over the burgers I'd order something else.

The prices are right, as well. My bill, including coffee, tax, and tip, came to less than $25.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Good News, Bad News

It's already been one of those days.

Good News: I've been asked to write a bunch of entries on French actors and actresses for a theatre-centered encyclopedia, which will PAY me either in $$ or in books (you get more worth in books, generally).

Bad News: My 30-year-old air conditioning system is wheezing like a smoker running uphill with a 20-lb. pack on its back... meaning I've turned it off for the day.

Good News: A.C. Man says it needs only one part and freon to work.

Bad News: He recommends whole new system, which makes sense since this system is, well, ancient. The equivalent of the abacus to the Apple. Landlord Man is fighting the inevitable.

Good News: My credit card balances are the lowest they've ever been.

Bad News: So is my savings account.

Good News: I'm healthy and I have an out-of-town friend who will let Jack and me stay at her place until the a.c. mess is resolved.

Good News: Completed first power point presentation for theatre history class (barring ancient Greek music soundtrack: can't figure it out!) and it looks good. Should prep 'em mighty well for class discussion.

Good News: Next week Life 2 is available on DVD. (Just a kiss goodbye to this fabulous show that NBC cancelled--like idiots--and will no doubt replace with something lower class. I am bitter, in this case. No more Damien Lewis! No more Adam Arkin! My autumn stretches before me, a wasteland*.)

Bad News: I think I'm out of bad news. This is all pretty good, in the end.

*Do you see why I am in drama?


Tuesday, August 18, 2009


If you haven't noticed, I've changed the title of da blog. Since I won't be in Paris this fall, but at My U in DFW (not bitter, not bitter, not bitter), I thought that it would be appropriate... I'll keep the same name of the Vox blog--the original one--and work around the idea of "Paris" while not being there.

Dallas skyline.



Skirting the Bike

First, I love the skort. It's shorts, it's a skirt... it's a skort.

I don't wear shorts. I cannot find any length, style, or shape that I think flatters my short legs and heart-shaped butt. Yeah, I've tried. My philosophy is much like this one.

Even the New York Times has jumped on board: "SKIRTS aren't just for tennis players anymore. In the last year, skirts specially designed for runners have hit the market. No longer do women need to 'imitate men down to the last thread,' said Nicole DeBoom, a triathlete whose company, Skirt Sports, sells three skirts and a marathon dress. 'Now, as you bounce past a guy in a skirt and he grunts, "I'm getting beat by a skirt," you can smile to yourself,' she said."

I am also a "girl" in these matters, meaning I like skirts for their shape, their femininity, their flip. Not to be confused with being a woman or a feminist--both of which I am also, everyday--I like the extra styling of the skort on bike or walking. And no one sees my panties. 'Cause I'm also a lady.

(Confusing for you? Shouldn't be. None of those things are mutually exclusive.)

Apparently, skorts are generally for school uniforms, athletic uniforms, weird porn wear, or poor dressers... according to the web. Don't care.

In matters biking, I have found three sites that offer appropriate wear, which will supplement the two older skorts I have that are falling apart. First, RunningSkirts.com, which offers very very short running skorts and longer skorts for "athletic" use. The really short ones only have briefs underneath--not my favorite option. Lots of colors, sizes, and some great videos of them in action. Then there's SkirtSports.com with better patterns--very cute. And finally Terry, which offers a slew of gear and apparel; not as cute or flippy, but serviceable.

There are a million other choices. Unfortunately, Champion--where I bought my first two--has nothing available on their website. And Adidas is all golf skorts, a whole different thing.

I won't be wearing these to class in the fall, although they are my favorite gym gear, including for the on-campus gym.