The “Inequality within the Toe Hierarchy?  A Little Toe Speaks the Truth” lecture will be in four weeks.

As you can see, the website has a new look.  Yep.  That’s simply because I wanted a new aesthetic, not because I couldn’t figure out this coding thing and then asked my friend Jon what I should do and he suggested changing the theme. Nope.   It’s not this at all.  Not at all.  Just wanted a new look.

So, welcome, to the first day of your exciting journey into Stoylstivek University’s Graduate MBA two year program specializing in Orthopedic  Medical  Footware Sales.  For our first day, I’d like everyone to go around and introduce themselves.  Say a few things about who you are, where you’re from.  Please try to not get off track.  There are 170 people in this class and we only meet for five hours once every six weeks, so let’s use our time wisely, guys, okay?

I’ll go first.  As you know, by looking at my stylish glasses, and my professional-yet-cool outfit, which consists of jeans, black boots, a white shirt and this my only fitted suit jacket and possibly by these large circles of sweat under my arms, I’m your professor. Also, you will know I’m your professor by how many times I say use the words “inherent tension” and also by how many times I tell you that you don’t have to call me Dr. but you can use my first name.  And, also how many times I talk about the PhD program that I was in for last twelve years of  my life. Also, you’re probably thinking, she’s not just any professor, she’s a cool professor.  And, yeah, I can’t deny that!

You can’t wear cool orthopedic/academic-chic clothes in Iceland, guys.

So, I guess to really understand me, you’ll probably like to know about my recent trip to Iceland.

Oh, you in the first row, do you have a question?

No? You’re just reading your textbook on arch support  Ah.  Okay. Oh you have a question about arch support?  That’s gonna have to wait.

I thought you might have your hand up because you wanted to know why I chose Iceland. So, I’m sure others have this question too, so it’s simple really: the WOW airline flight from Toronto was pretty cheap.

It ended up being an awesome airline.  On the flight, you lose a little bit of a weight because there is no food or drink included in your ticket.  This is obviously a large benefit.  Also, the seat leather is this really beautiful pink. I spent the flight sleeping because I was kind of hungry and didn’t have a lot of energy to do anything else.

So, when I woke up, I perused the in-flight magazine and noticed the ads were really progressive about body image: all different sized people.  I took this as a sign that my trip was going to be awesome.  And it was!

Oh, nope, I’m not quite ready for the next introduction, Shelly, just give me another few half hours.

Van at farm in Svinafelli.  Camping is about $15/person/night.  So, it’s much cheaper than hotels or airbnbs.
I gave a fellow traveler his hiking boots here when he forgot them. That’s just the kind of thing I do.
Lava fields
Van parked in morning coffee spot near Þingvellir park.
Van can’t go on F-roads, but the ring road loop has really smooth roads and you can pull off to hike into the crater-like terrain.

So, as you probably know, Vincent and I booked a camper-van.  I have posted some photos here on this powerpoint for your viewing pleasure.  This is actually our first objective on the syllabus.  So, you may want to take notes.

I can’t quite explain how awesome the camper-van experience was.  Really, like many of Vincent’s and my common decisions, we did this to save money on food.   We knew that food in Iceland is pretty expensive, so we reasoned if we could bring granola bars, beef jerky, chocolate covered blueberries, tea, coffee and nuts, we’d be okay.  We were right!

One day we did go out to a restaurant.  We were in a seaside town called Hofn and ordered a langoustine sandwich.  When we found out the price, $20,  we felt shock mixed with the  genetic cheapness we inherited from our war time grandparents.  Obviously, we shared it.  The other tourists in the restaurant ordered one each and a beer.  This is like $37.  We assumed they were billionaires.

So, we were still hungry.  We decided we could never go out to dinner after this and the only time we could spend money at restaurants was on beer during happy hour on our last day.  We reasoned that this would be a good cultural experience because we knew pub/cafe life was a cool thing in Iceland.  It was a similar reason to why we went to a hot spring every single day.  Both allowed us to get a feel of Icelandic culture and the hot springs gave us a warm shower.

Icelandic bathing culture is fascinating.  They are so clean.  They don’t look at the sign that says “Please wash without a bathing suit” and assume it doesn’t apply to us, like we do at American hotels.  They actually wash and get really clean.  Also they don’t have a puritan shame of naked bodies, like we Americans do.  This was refreshing.

I will say again, how progressive I think Iceland is in terms of gender.  I read that it’s the number one country economically for women.  They have the lowest pay-wage gap.  This was great news and I really felt it when I was in my bathing suit and not getting annoying weird-vibes from other bathers.  This was a great feeling.

We boiled water for coffee on the stove from the van.

So, our life consisted of getting up at 6am, driving to a different spot, making coffee on the stove and eating some packets of oatmeal or Skyr.  It should be noted that we used our coffee packets from Japan.  Among many other things, the Japanese understand design for coffee.  We felt totally awesome because we not only were in Iceland but we were using items from a recent trip to Japan.  BAM.

So, the van was fun to drive.  I drive a stick-shift here in Buffalo and I was really excited to drive a stick-shift van.  I am really allured by large vehicles.  I have a alternate fantasy version of myself where I drive a pick up truck and am a contractor for home repair.

Was I a little scared to drive the van?  Yes, McKenzie Marlett ’19.  I was.

My strengths in this world are 1. talking to people i don’t know, 2. crow dissection, 3. and of course, an intricate knowledge of feet.

Nope, McKenize, we’re not quite ready to get to the lecture called “Inequality within the Toe Hierarchy?  A Little Toe Speaks the Truth.”  That will be in four week.

So, yeah, I felt kind of scared about driving the van, but then by the time we were in Vik, I felt pretty good about driving.  I felt like the van and I were spiritually connected.  I felt like it understood my need for comfort and wildness.  I felt like it sent me that little arctic fox that I saw while I was skype-ing with my parents.  I felt like the van was on my side.  Always.

Glacier at Svínafellsjökull Glacier. The only rule of this class is: do not go on the glaciers without a guide.

After breakfast, we drove to a cool natural landmark.  We’d hike, take tons of photos, feel the steam of waterfalls on our faces.  We’d eat some beef jerky and then drive to our next town and have a two hour bath in the geo-thermal pools.  Then, later in the day, we’d get to our campsite and make some powdered soup or drink half of a beer.  Or eat some shrimp and cream cheese and gluten free crackers from Bonus.  Then we’d read until about 8pm, when we’d fall asleep dreaming of glaciers whispering sheep-wool secrets of Viking parliaments to one another.

Okay, class dismissed.  We’ll get to your introductions next class.  Don’t forget to follow me on twitter guys!  I just posted a fascinating article on “Post-colonial Ankle Theory.”

If you go to Iceland and want to try a van, get it from Northbound.  You really won’t be disappointed by this small company with a heart of gold.  Please feel free to e-mail me with any questions about what it was like or what you should pack (thermos!)  I’m happy to help.







Your husband, Steven Pickles, knows nothing about Bohemian Bliss.

Hallo. Wow. You look great.  Like happier. Like all those dark circles under your eyes are way less dark.  And your thighs look less like sausages.  Gosh, you’re as pretty as an elfin flight attendant.  What solar cream are you using these days?

Oh and I see you are here with Steven Pickles.  Your successful  industrial canning tycoon husband.  What’s that you guys have in this parking lot near Gullfoss waterfall?  Oh a  Porsche 911.  Pfuh.  Haven’t you heard? Capitalist status is out and bohemian bliss-convenience is in.

Here, come over here with me.  Yeah, yeah, no, don’t worry Steven Pickles is studying a tuna can in the trash.  Come look at my camper-van.  It’s a Ford Transit.  Note the solar panel.  Note the electric cooler.  Yes, that is beer in the cooler.  Please don’t touch that.  Thank you.  No, I’m not saying you were going to drink one, I’m just saying, please don’t put your hand near that Viking can.  That six pack cost $17 so I’m just taking precautions.

Here, hold my hair scarf for a moment, while I quickly change into my arctic bikini because Vincent and I are on our way to the hot springs.  That’s right.  We’re just going to drive there, go in the geothermal water, take a coffee from the community room which looks like the most inviting living room ever and then go eat some lunch in the camper-van.  We’re having Skyr, brown bread and smoked salmon and then we’ll take a little reading nap.  I’m reading Graceling. It’s about a medieval girl warrior.  As I read, I can hear the grumbles of Katla the volcano as she sits sleeping, dreaming quaking dreams of sand and ash.

If you find yourself in Iceland, check out Northbound for your camper-van rental. This is where we got ours and this company is super nice to work with.  Gummi, from Grand Iceland, picked us up at the airport and was really informative and helpful:

Screenshot 2017-07-27 at 9.32.35 AM


This is not a poem.

Salut!  So, I just saw the solar eclipse and everything has changed in my life.  I feel that we are on the brink of a hopeful, exciting, peaceful future!  C’est magnifique!  And, I am still working on my drawing challenge.  So far, I’ve learned that 21 days is a very long time (trop longtemps, peut-etre?) and I’m not that keen on “committing to a new routine.”

In the meantime, I’ve just finished a course about poetry.  Ah oui, les poésie!  Tres beau!  Or is it? 

Sometimes it’s extremely annoying.

Like, if you are going out and you’re like “Okay, so we’ll meet at Brothers Lunar Pub at 9.  I’m going to bring my buddies: fiction, non-fiction, photography, maybe painting isn’t busy, oh yeah and poetry said she wanted to come.”

And your friend is like, “Ugh.  Poetry.  Really?  Maybe we can just not tell her we’re going tonight.”

“What? No.  We have to tell her.  She’s was excited to wear this new couplet and she was talking about some kind of rhyme scheme she has going.”

“Ugh.  I don’t think I can go.  I think I need to continue my research on ancient plumbing on Pinterest.”

This is a made up scenario, but obviously something like this has happened to you.  En fait, I’ve seen you at Brothers Lunar before.  Actually you were the one who asked if my scarf was a “slanket” or a “freedom blanket” and then laughed hysterically with your cool friends.  I remember it all really well.  I have a photo of you on my dashboard and I often stay up late at night in my car listening to police conversations.  Just saying.

Anyway, here is a class I’m teaching in case you have conflicting views on poetry (click photo svp!):



Useful Conversation Advice

When I first meet people and they ask me what I do, I say, “Well, I mean, I’m not a professional body builder.”

This allows them to ask questions.  Questions like these questions:

Q. You look like a professional body builder.  How do you stay in such great shape if this isn’t your profession?

A. That’s a good question.  I’m glad you asked it.  I’m actually not in that amazing of shape.  But I do run a lot and when I’m running I make an expression like, “This is really difficult” or “I’m going to destroy you!”  And, that seems to keep me feeling like I’m in really good shape.

Q.  If you’re not a professional body builder, what is your profession?

A. Hmm.  That’s another good question.  I don’t actually know what my profession is.  I’ve had at least 25 jobs in my life.  Let me ask you something, do we need professions now?  Or can we just create side hustles?  Or can we just own a laptop and that is our job? Hmm.  I’m not sure.  To get right down to it: I think I’ve always wanted to be a graphic designer.  Does that answer your question?  Oh before you answer that, let me take this other question.

Q.  Do you know where Jacob is?

A.  Great question.  Yes, I do.  He’s inside.  I think I saw Lana in there too.

Q. What do you need to do to become a professional body builder?  I was very good at wrestling during high school.

A.  Wow, that’s great.  You’re probably closer to achieving the dream than I am, but I would recommend a morning routine where you eat about one or two bananas and drink a lot of water. Then you can essentially leave the rest to makeup contouring.

Alright everyone, thanks for asking me all these questions.  That’s all the questions I’m going to take because I want to go inside and check out the chip situation, but thanks for coming out and make sure to follow me on social media but not in real life, like not in a dark alley.  I mean, yeah, I’m not a professional body builder but I know how to ghost a pigeon if you know what I mean.*

*this is a bonus conversation strategy.  if you are sick of talking, just say something that seems like it makes sense, but really it doesn’t.  usually, no one will ask you questions and you can go find the chips.  




Jours 4-13

SALUT!   d‘accord, alors, c’est difficile, mais ca va. je suis très content actuellement.  Ici–Journées quatre à treize ! Et, c’est un difficile écrire en française aussi.  phuf!  je suis fatigue.  j‘avoir besoin mangé des pruneaux.


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see the full project here: Je n’aime pas dessiner

Les premiers trois jours. . .

Bonjour!  Pour mes illustrations de phrase française, je vais essayer écrire dans français.  C’est un petit challenge!  

A voila!  Les premiers trois jours de le projet: #jenaimepasdessiner See this page: Je n’ame pas dessiner

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Aussi: un site pour la grammaire aidé! (tres cool)


Call for illustrated non-English phrases

Calling anyone who wants to do this.

In an attempt to illustrate foreign languages, all of us here at
Le Poisson Nage, welcome submissions of 

  1. a non-English word or phrase
  2. that is illustrated
  3. please include your name and country 
  4. and an English translation of the phrase
  5. send to lexleclerc8 AT
  6. I will pick the best ones and display them with your name and country

See my project here: Je n’ame pas dessiner

Oh Já.

Ah góðan daginn, there.  I didn’t see you there.  I’m just practicing some useful Icelandic phrases in my car.

Why did you ask?

Or wait did you just say, “bye?”  You are getting in your car and going to work?

Wait! Let me tell you anyway!  Here I’ll button up your last button of your Nordic sweater and also strategically death hold your cardigan so you cannot escape until I finish this story.  Is this wool?  This is nice .

I’m practicing Icelandic because I’m going to be traveling around Iceland for seven days. What hotels are we staying in?  I know you didn’t ask that but it feels like you want to know from the way you keep unlocking your car as we’re talking.

Well, here’s the trick my love, we aren’t staying in any hotels!  Because our Campervan is a hotel.  Bam!  I’m dropping your keys as if they were a mic.

Oh sorry.  Was that fob expensive?  Eh.  I don’t give a fob.  It was worth it.

Wait, don’t leave–your button is a little tricky, let me just unfasten it and fasten it again.  Your breath smells of  almonds.  Are there almonds around?  I need to eat some of those.  We’ll probably bring a lot of almonds in the van and also beans and rice because it has a cooler and a stove.  Yeah, no big deal.  And we can look up how to go cold water snorkeling in Þingvellir National Park using WIFI!

So,  first we were going to stay in a camper van that did not have any heat or wifi but then I e-mailed Screenshot 2017-07-27 at 9.32.35 AMa company called Northbound and my view of Iceland, campervans and Northbound immediately skyrocketed.  I began to e-mail with the Co-Founder, Arnar, and he allowed me to fulfill my dream of writing a blog in exchange for a nicer van.  This is huge because it gives me purpose and makes me feel valued.

So, I obviously began referring to Arnar, not as the co-founder of a great company, but rather as my “friend from Iceland.”  I would just casually say things like, “Vincent, did you see Arnar’s van?  The duvet looks super nice!  And we can have running water!”  or since I am currently staying in a cottage with my family,  I  would run into an anonymous family member in  the kitchen while making coffee and comment, “Could you hand me the Nespresso cup?  Thanks.  Oh I got an e-mail from Arnar in Iceland, you know my contact slash friend, today.”  This would lead to questions about the campervan.  I conveniently had my computer nearby so I could show them the photos. They were amazed. They thought the van looked cozy and warm.

Screenshot 2017-07-27 at 9.46.00 AMMy  dad seemed most curious about this button–“does it control the heat?”  I don’t know.  But, I will find out.

A million good things have already happened because of this transaction.  For instance, I was speaking with my bank today and said I needed to use my card  to rent a van in Iceland but didn’t want foreign fees.  The representative, Shauna/Shelia, was like “Wow.  Iceland.  Awesome!”  I felt as if I grew closer to Shauna/Shelia in that moment.  Like she was someone I could really trust.  Also, there were no foreign transaction fees.

Oh my gosh, your sweater is being pulled away from my hands!  Oh, I see, you are walking towards your car.   Where did you get this sweater? Iceland?  It looks warm and cozy like something you could crawl inside and roam around glaciers in.

To find out more about campervans in Iceland check out these sites:


Grand Iceland:

This song will be on our iceland playlist for the trip.  Please let me know of other good Icelandic bands.   Takk fyrir!

MFA Basketball Team

Bonjour tout le monde!  I’m sorry it’s been a while.  I’ve had quite a July.  Let me tell you about it, Frida.

So, listen.  I know I invited you out to lunch to celebrate your recent promotion at your unknown workplace, but  I have no idea what this promotion entails.  You are a data sourcing manager?  Yes, those are words but what do they mean?  Not to dismiss your entire career, but it doesn’t sound like a real thing.

So, while we wait to order, I’ll tell you about something real: my MFA basketball team.

I graduated from my Masters in Fine Arts program in Fiction with a concentration in basketball.  You know how I texted you a while ago about my MFA basketball team: The New England Flash Fictions?  Well, this is that team.

We are D-1 in the Northeast Poetry Sport League (PSL).  The fiction players are very good at attacking (good hand eye coordination), while the nonfiction players are better at defense (people often question their personal essays so they are used to blocks and checks and stuff like that).  The poets are really good at jump shots as they can easily ascend from the literal to the abstract.   Yes, of course there is a doping problem, Frida.  Why’d you even bring that up?  Are you data sourcing right now?  Is that what this is?

Anyway, we went into the regionals and we won.  I am happy to show you these photos on my phone, if you’ll just lean over here.  No, that smell isn’t the velour booths of this moderately priced chain restaurant.  I’m wearing wool and it’s wet.  Sorry we don’t all own seasonally appropriate clothing, Frida.

This photo is of me giving an inspiring motivational lecture before our game in the final four.  We dress in regular clothes and put these jerseys over it.  Yes, I run in leather boots.  What is the name of your company, LinEx?  LemEx?  Lemons?  I have no idea.  I know the logo is a blue circle and a grey circle but that tells me nothing.

Oh, what? The waitress? She’s here now.  She can hear me saying this?

Ah, yes, hello, I’ll have the tuna sandwich but can you make it with breadsticks instead of bread?  And I’ll have half fries and half salad, yes–the unlimited option that combines both choices.  They’ve made it for me before.  Don’t worry.  Yes, I will have another raspberry iced tea but can you also order me a glass of house pinot grigio and then check back here and when I’m about 1/4 done with this glass of wine, immediately place an order for another glass, but make it a pink zin and then follow that by a glass of cold milk?  And is your name pronounced “Dahria” or “Dare-ia?”  I’m going to need to know for the comment card which I intend to fill out.  And, I require a senior discount.  I know I appear young, but I swear to you that I’m 65 years of age. Please don’t make this embarrassing for both of us Doraya.

So anyway, we didn’t win the final.  The other team was really good.  They were beat poets and experimental fiction writers.  They had moves I’ve never seen.  To give you an idea, they entered the court by snapping.  That’s pretty much all I need to say.  I got a bloody nose immediately.  It was stressful.  I don’t want to talk about it.  But, I will, if you insist.

Oh you have to leave?  I was going to order you the free double chocolate caramel brownie as a celebration, but if you have to go then I’ll just “like” your update on LinkedIn.

Okay, that’s fine.  If that’s what you you want.  I’ll just be here with my milk clicking the generic “Congratulations on your new position” pre-written words.