Wednesday, March 25, 2015

WakeBreatheMove -- Get Yours Now

Self promotion is what it's all about.  I'm happy to announce the publication of my second poetry collection WakeBreatheMove.

Finishing Line Press offers a pre-sale time frame to determine print run, which means if you have any interest in purchasing a copy of WakeBreatheMove, you should do it now or at least before May.

You can buy it online here:

You can also buy it by sending the title of the book, a check for $12.49 plus $2.99 for shipping, and your mailing address to the address below.

Here's the official press release so we can be all official about it.

Finishing Line Press
PO Box 1626
Georgetown, KY 40324

Finishing Line Press is proud to announce the publication of

WakeBreatheMove, a new collection of poems by Christina M. Rau, explores the emptiness of interactions between people and places. 

“In the shocked quiet following a break-up, Rau hooks a seismometer to the slow churn of recovery: she records the waking-breathing-moving, yes - but also planting, aiming, eating. Our speaker, like the ship's anchor she describes, does triumph, ‘shows that settling in is not/ the same as wasting away.’ Come for Rau's stark, deafening winter; stay for her vibrant, glimmering spring.”   
--Amy King, author of I Want to Make You Safe, 2015 recipient of   the Women’s National Book Association Award

Christina M. Rau is the founder of Poets In Nassau, a reading circuit on Long Island, NY.  She is the author of the poetry chapbook, For The Girls, I (Dancing Girl Press, 2014) and has been published in various journals, most recently in Technoculture, Crony, and Redheaded Stepchild. Her poetry has also appeared on gallery walls in The Ekphrastic Poster Show and on car magnets for The Living Poetry Project. She also writes reviews for Fjords Review about new poetry collections. She teaches English at Nassau Community College where she also serves as Editor for The Nassau Review and Coordinator of the Creative Writing Project.  She earned her MFA in Creative Writing at LIU Southampton, her MA in English and Creative Writing at Hofstra, and her BS in English at SUNY Oneonta, and the best poetry class she’s ever taken is UPenn’s Modern & Contemporary American Poetry (ModPo) through Coursera, for which she now serves as a Community TA .  She tweets on Twitter, pins on Pinterest, reposts on Tumblr, reviews on Goodreads, yowls on Yelp, and updates on Facebook.  In her non-writing life, she teaches yoga occasionally and line dances on other occasions.  

Media Contact
Leah Maines, Editor
Finishing Line Press
PO Box 1626
Georgetown, KY 40324

I also have a media kit and a fancy flier because it's like all the rage.Thanks for indulging me.  I hope you enjoy the poetry.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

But How About That Free Stuff?

Spoils from the AAA Travel Marketplace

Won these from the MTA through a Twitter contest that only three people entered.

Perks of being Eddie's wife

Perks of additional entertainment.  This guy?  Is awesome.

So I took a survey about text books and Cengage sent me $100 for Amazon.

Need a closer look?

Courtesy of Viggle

Free Tea For Me!!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Boston Market Makes Good, Sort Of

Upon making a big deal out of crumbled corn bread, I finally received some sort of solution to my Boston Market problem. After the first tweet sent me on a phone call email chase to nowhere and the second tweet fell on deaf ears, the third tweet with my detailed blog post attached was received with a Please DM us your contact information so we can contact you about this matter.

If this had been the first response to the first tweet instead of giving me instructions to call someone, this problem would have been solved a whole lot sooner. Either they changed their policy in handling tweeted complaints or the person in charge of the Twitter feed that first time hadn't a clue about customer service.

I DM'd my email address and in the next day received an email from a person in charge with lots of apologies saying that a district manager would follow up in an email.

Then came the correspondence with the district manager. I'll now remind everyone that I teach not only English but I used to teach, for many years, Technical Writing, a course that included specific lessons abut corresponding in a business professional situation.  Names have been changed to protect those who clearly did not take my Tech Writing course:

Hello Christina,
My name is Bostonia Marketa Area Manager for Boston Market. I am deeply sorry to hear about your bad experience at one of our location, I would like to give you my most sincere apology. We are more than happy to replace your meal and add some extra cornbreads , and a apple pie or pumpkin pie please get in contact with me on how I can make this right.

Dear Bostonia,
Thank you for contacting me about the problems I had at this restaurant. What you are offering to me is completely fair if you are able to offer us our four meal order plus a bonus of corn bread and a pie.
Would you be able to send us vouchers or a gift card of sorts? How might this work?
Also, having had that experience at that location, we would like to go to a different location if possible. Is there another location in the local area?
Thank you again for contacting me, and I look forward to your reply.

Please note that I refrained from addressing her as Bostonia Marketa Area Manager for Boston Market as that's what appeared to be her full name as she wrote it, and I ignored the "one of our location" and "a apple."  Also ignored: comma splices and run-ons.

Hello Ms Christina,
Thank you for accepting our offer. Would you be able to provide me with an address? This way I can send the be my guest card directly to you which you would be recieving between 10-15 days.
Thank you,
Bostonia Marketa

Hi Bostonia,
Yes, I am writing my address below. Please tell me what a Be Our Guest card is, if it will cover the four meals and sides you offered, and where I can use it. I'd asked if there were close-by locations other than the one on Main Street, USA.

The Be My Guest card sounds like something they ripped off from Disney's Beauty and the Beast, but I have no loyalty to Disney since working there was like being in a production for theatre of the absurd, so I don't care if they did rip it off.  However, I still didn't know what the heck it was.

Good morning Christina,
Be my guest card will be a family meal for 4 people with 6 extra cormbreas and a pie.You can use it at any Boston Market.
Thank you,

Clearly, I was not going to get an answer about the nearby location, and clearly Bostonia was now my friend so I just thanked her for her help. I mean, 6 extra cormbreas! How could I ask for anything more?

A few days later, this arrived in the mail:

I'm thinking I'll gather the fam in the car and we'll take a trip there, order on the spot, and chow down. Casual dining tastes extra wonderful when it's free.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Whole 30 and Beyond

Inflammation was the one thing the chiropractor said over and over whenever I saw him.  He couldn't understand why the adjustments and treatments wouldn't hold, and he suggested I take tumeric.  Then my No Fault insurance ran out and I stopped going to the chiropractor (also, the holidays and the snow had begun, so getting myself to Brooklyn was challenging--I'll go back for a looksee soon).  Since my back injury, everything else about my health started to head to a place it had never been.  Unhealthy.  Basically, I felt like shit all the time.

I found Whole 30 through Dr. Oz.  I rarely watch Dr. Oz, so this seemed serendipitous.  Also on the show were Chris and his wife, the trainers from that weight loss show, and they, too, had a nutrition plan that was high-low carbs.  That sounded easier, but I chose Whole 30 because it seemed like the only thing that would get rid of inflammation.  I had to try it.  To get me motivated, I started following Whole30Recipes on Instagram.

Cooking used to be part of my life.  I don't like to cook.  I'm not one of those people who go to the kitchen to whip something up when I'm bored.  However, I don't mind cooking for myself, I can follow a recipe, and I used to do it all the time as part of my wellness routine.

I never drank anything other than water and tea.  I never ate sweets as part of a routine.  I rarely ate bread and pasta.  These ideas had been long gone for quite some time.

With Whole 30, I got back to the kitchen.  I also started keeping track of everything I ate, and I started thinking about all the things I'd been eating before starting Whole 30, and I realized that everything I'd been eating was contributing to everything that was wrong with me.  What I've been eating that is Whole 30 Approved is everything that can make it and keep it right.

Eddie: "That looks really good.  For people who eat stuff like that."

After 30 days, I didn't feel completely better.  I did feel a lot better.  The pain in my back has been reduced greatly.

As an unintentional bonus, I lost some of the chub that latched on probably around the time I was slowly finishing a crumb cake from the holidays on a daily basis.  Eddie says I'm ripped.  My muscle tone is back and my pants are not tight anymore.  Bloating gone.  Chub gone.

My hair and nails are not shining like a sunbeam and my skin is my normal skin, but the results of eating healthy have been beneficial anyway.

I'm continuing to eat mindfully. I have incorporated some off-plan items back into my diet. Every day, I use cooking spray, which I couldn't use on-plan because it uses soy lecithin.  Twice a week, I go off-plan, allowing for good carbs and maybe even a sweet treat.

The sweet treats are not exactly treats anymore.  On Valentine's Day, Eddie and I had our normal waffle dinner, and then we split some chocolate lava cakes.  As I was eating the dessert, my head was feeling weird, my whole body was feeling weird, and then the aching started.  I kept eating, thinking that I was enjoying what I was eating, but then I realized it was simply too sweet to enjoy.  Idiotically, I scarfed it down, and then felt like I couldn't move ever again. I'll be backing down on the serving size of sweets in the future.

Eating out now will be easier because I won't have to wonder if something was made with butter, but eating at home is also easier now that I'm back on track.  My back is back on track, too.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Never Too Old To Learn Science

Because S likes candy and all things sweet and because I wasn't teaching and because I like museums and sweet things and hanging out with S, we met up at the New York Hall of Science to see the gingerbread exhibit and to, in general, learn things.  Science things.

The entryway was made for me.  So pretty!
Getting up to the cashier was easy enough with not a whole lot of people on line considering it was during a winter break.  Then came the hard part.  The cashier asked if I was a student.  I said, No, but I'm a teacher.  She asked if I taught in public school.  I said I taught in a SUNY school. She gave me a look that said, Nope that doesn't cut it, but in an apologetic way.  So I paid full price, which isn't much when I have all that science to learn.

Gingerbread Lane was pretty amazing.  Some artist created an entire town of gingerbread houses and buildings and other fun winter things.  By the time we saw it, lots of gumdrops had fallen away and some structures were lean-tos, but for the most part, it was intact and looked yummy.  Not many of the people nearby were touching it, which was surprising. It's so tempting to touch (like that song!  you know the one). It was also sort of blocking a fire alarm, but I suppose if you needed to pull it, you would simply knock over the cookie shelters.

Fire! Fire! Or not.

Recreating a Will Cotton moment, kinda

And then came the rest of the museum.  We chose a wing at random and started learning. We learned about life on Mars.  It's cold.  It's sandy.  We learned this by touching the metal ball that was cold and reading the sign above it that explained the temperature.

We also learned it because one of the docents (that's what they're called, right? I don't think I've ever used that word in my life and heard it once in a movie, possibly a Phoebe Cates movie, which is appropriate here because whenever I think of Phoebe Cates, I think of S) came over to us.  She was enthusiastic. She asked, So what do you think of the temperature on Mars?  We were like, It's cold.  She was like, Do you know why?  I read the sign to her.  I wasn't being snarky; I was just answering her question (S will attest to this--it was not a "good for youuuu" moment).

She answered that it's not often people actually read the signage.  We laughed.  That wasn't all, though.  She went on to explain it all to us even though we'd read it on the sign.  We thanked her when she was finished.  I thought maybe she was bored.  S thought maybe the Hall of Science has a secret-shopper program that sends in people to test how helpful the docents are (I'm really impressing myself with all this docent talk).  In any case, she was pleasant and helpful.

S and I came across a comet exhibit.  Dry ice was shooting out of a tube and careening across a pool, much like a comet would go through space.  I knew this because I read the sign.  Also, because the docent reappeared and explained the whole thing to us.  We got out of that wing after that.  We were being out-scienced or over-scienced, I'm not sure which.

Then came outerspace, molecules, and sports science.  The place was filling up with children.  I was well aware that this was a place specifically for children, so I wasn't getting angry that children were around.  I was a bit perturbed when one child cut in front of S on a line to throw a softball.  I was not throwing the ball, so I was not on the line, but I was still annoyed that when the child cut the line, S had to tell the child to go back on the line instead of the child's mom telling him to wait his turn.  Maybe I'd like children more if more parents actually parented in public.  Anyway, there was softball throwing, rock climbing, football spinning, and vertical jumping.  I spun the football with all my might, and that's about it.  We also lit up lights to watch how a power outage happens and watched some balls fill up a giant tank and then fall away.
A sciency looking thing

More science

S on the rock wall before the children accosted it

Good quote

Cool map

Pre vertical jump -- I tested mine in Vegas last year pre-accident--it's about 3 inches

Cool sign
And then, there was this.


We'd been going through the exhibits for over half the day when we came into the room that has stuff to do with lights and bubbles and mirrors. I turned to S and was like, Omigod, I've been here before! She was like, Uh, yeah, of course you were. I've been here a bunch of times, too. I? Have a shitty memory. I have the memory of an elephant. Or wait, is it an elephant that has a good memory? See?!? I don't remember. So I should either eat more peanuts or none. Whatever. But I had this epiphany of making a bubble wall and then I was in real time making a bubble wall. And when the little children came over and tried to take over before we were done, their mom was like, No no guys, you have to wait for the girls to finish.

Two reasons I like this mom:
1. She told her kids to stand down.
2. She called us girls, as if we have any business being in a children's museum without children.

This is right after the two of us realized I'd been pulling the wrong end of the string.
From the opposite side, a rainbow
About as high as I got it to go
Then came the mirrors and the lights and the white wall and the illusions.  The light wall reminded me of Epcot.  The rest was like a weekend carnival.  It was very dizzying, and while we were in the hall of mirrors, little kids were jumping into each other and then one fell down and cried a lot. 
Some very tall girl joined us.

I'm even shorter here.

This is the new way to get skinny.

Mirror cube!  Mirror cube!

Shadow color

A short girl joined us.

Color shadow

We're either dancing or fighting.

Ah, it's dancing.
Oh!  We also did some Alice In Wonderland inspired growing and shrinking, and another docent was kind enough to capture it. She took a bunch of shots so we could choose.
The secret of being a giant: perspective.  Also, we both have devil eyes in this picture.
That was enough of the science.  We grabbed some food and then headed out as the crowd grew (lots of children, so I was getting antsy).  So what's the main takeaway of the day?  Docents.  Or Science.  Whichever.