Tuesday, August 31, 2004

But I Love It Anyway

Last week I attended a two-day workshop on instructional technology. One of the topics that was discussed was how to get students to critically evaluate the information they get from Google searches.
I see that someone today found this blog from a Google search on "how to become a university teacher". Ha! Ha ha ha! That's wicked funny.
If you're looking here to find out how to become a university teacher, you are looking in the wrong place. One tip-- if you want tenure and the big bucks, you have to get a PhD. And try to find a job at a school that offers a major in your subject. Ok, that was two. Classes just started this week and my mouth/fingers have a tendency to run on. If only I took my own advice...
On the plus side, enrollment for my classes is excellent. I had five students trying to add my intro level course that was already maxed out at a capacity of 25 students. I'm sorry it's not possible to accomodate everyone who wants to take the class, but it's very satisfying to report back to my boss that demand for the subject is high.

Monday, August 30, 2004

I Survived

I survived the first day of classes. That's about all I can tell you at the moment, Excuse me while I go pass out. (Don't I wish, no time for that though...)

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Last Day

Today is the last day of summer vacation for me. I've spent most of it getting things ready for classes tomorrow. I always feel anxious the day before a new semester starts, even though I've been teaching for almost as long as some of my students have been alive! (man, that's a harsh realization!) I'll be teaching more classes this year and that will probably force me to obsess less about each class, which could be good for both me and the students.
It's always sad to see the end of summer vacation go, but I'll be happy to get back into my school year routine. It feels like the more seasons I go through, the more I am getting back to being myself. A friend wrote to me about how "we get so caught up in dancing for the world and being everything that everyone else wants us to be--we lose ourselves." I thought she put it well. It really does take some time and thought to get back to being ourselves. I know what I'm going through is not uncommon. That doesn't make it any less valid or important. It helps me realize there will always be a lot to learn.

Rinkya: Japan Auction Service

If you have ever wanted to bid on online auctions in Japan but can't read Japanese or are dealing with a seller who doesn't want to ship internationally, you should check outRinkya: Japan Auction Service. The site doesn't translate the item descriptions for you, but it does give you the current price, but it now price, time remaining, highest bidder and bid history info in English. The charge a commission, bank fees and shipping fees, which all seem like they could add up pretty quickly, but if there's some item that you just have to have and it's not available outside Japan, it might be your solution.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

All the Comfort, None of the Reality

Another best selling item in the land of the continuously falling birth rate-- The Boyfriend Arm Pillow I guess there might be advantges. His arm never falls asleep and you can drool on him in your sleep and he won't complain. Even still, I prefer the real thing.

Rare Find

Have you ever in your life come across somebody who, sometimes just by being there, makes it seem like everything is going to be ok, even when almost everything seems pretty far from ok at the moment? You don't come across people like that all too often. When you're young, you might not even realize what you've got and neglect being grateful for it. You might think more glamorous scenarios await you. They may. They may not. You might well find out what seemed glamorous and exciting isn't really right for you or what you needed.
Now I'm 39 years old. I've travelled to a lot of places and lived for years in foreign lands. I've done some stuff that people might consider exciting or adventurous, but what really means the most to me now is being able to be with the person who makes me feel like I'm home and everything will be ok.

Thursday, August 26, 2004


Last night I tried playing slide guitar for the very first time. Since I am not a natural talent at any musical instrument, it sounded like cats in heat, but it was fun. I'd like to play around with it a little more and see if I can ever learn to make it sound good.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Language May Shape Human Thought

I've long thought it was self evident that language shapes human thought and that one of the greatest benefits of being proficient in more than one language is that you have an expanded range of ways to shape your thoughts. This article about the results of a study on Brazilian tribe that doesn't define numbers larger than two is interesting, but I'm not sure it proves the hypothesis.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


For those who like it pink, juicy and raw.

Now That That's Off My Chest

An interesting observation about my new neighborhood compared to living on the horse farm. Although the human population density is much greater, it's a whole lot quieter around here at night than it was on the farm. My one, equine, downstairs neighbor (hey! neigh-bor) was noisier than the three human ones who live below me now.
And once again, I have the good fortune to live across from folks who do beauitful things with their yards and gardens. Think about that. When you look out the window, whose yard do you see more of, yours or your neighbors? In the types of neighborhoods I live in, middle class with smallish sized lots, I'm looking at the neighbor's yard more than my own. This place actually does have a nice yard and a patio with garden beds that I hope to plant some fall flowers in once I settle down a little bit more.

You Never Know

Until you hit a time of crisis you really don't know who is going to be there for you. Some of the people you are sure will stick by you and support you are very quick to keep their distance. And then people you hesitate to turn to turn out to be the ones who help you keep it all together.
Tonight my sister wrote to me that she "just do(es) not need to be in the middle of (my) personal issues" and then later in the letter mentions she feels a distance between us lately. Well gee, sis, that's probably because anytime I try to tell you what's going on with me you tell me you don't want to "get involved", which is your way of saying you don't want to hear about it.
Let me get it straight, you don't want to hear about any of my personal issues, for good or bad actually, you tell me I'm being distant and then you say you want to be there for my "lighter moments". You know what? I chose to spend my lighter moments with the people who are there for me in the darker ones too.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Wouldn't It Be Nice?

Wouldn't it be nice if you could just throttle some people? Not randomly, just the ones who are really friggin clueless.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Night At Home

I'm spending my first night with my girl in our new place. It's still very sparsely furnished, but it's comfortable. I made salad and tuna casserole for dinner. I guess it all feels kind of normal, which is the point, I suppose.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Not A Slave to My Non-conformity

It's early on Saturday and rainy and I don't have all that much to comment on here, but I thought I should mention that I'm writing this post on a HP machine running Windows XP.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Good News

My dad is out of the hospital and back home. I hope he is relaxing and not working. (But I suspect he'll be working at home through the weekend.) Of course the way I found out he was back home was to call the room he had been staying in at the hospital and find it to be answered someone else. After that I called his house and, sure enough, he answered. I'm glad he's feeling better and relieved that he's back home, but I could have done without those few seconds of apprehension after he wasn't the one to answer in the hospital room. OK, I admit I'm paranoid. I should lighten up. After all, I got two 4-leaf clovers today. One I found and the other was a gift.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Back In Action

I am posting this from my newly connected, new abode. If you use a Mac and ever need to register for Comcast cable internet, save yourself some time and go straight to the customer service phone reps and ask them to walk you through the set up using the proxy server. I've registered with Comcast on this Mac twice and could have saved myself a half a dozen useless phone calls by skipping the installation cd from the start.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

When It Rains, It Blows

My dad was admitted to the hospital last night. I didn't even find out about it until around noon today. He isn't in any imminent danger, but his condition is serious enough that they will keep him at the hospital for the rest of the week. It's probably the only way anyone can stop him from working 14 hours a day.
As soon as I got the call from my sister, I headed over to the hospital with my girl. My dad seemed to be in good spirits, considering the situation. He told me he had been feeling lousy for a couple of weeks and kept ignoring it, telling himself he'd feel better tomorrow, but he never felt better. Finallly he consulted with his doctor and she sent him to the emergency room and had him admitted to the hospital. I'm not surprised no one told me until today. My dad almost never tells me when something is wrong with his health, only when the crisis has passed or is so bad that he can't avoid mentioning it. He's 75 years old and acts invincible. I tend to believe he is.

Monday, August 16, 2004

That's A Long TIme

I saw a bright red pickup truck today that belonged to some kind of construction firm. The company's motto was painted on the tailgate-- "Our erections last a lifetime." Nice! I can't remember the name of the company or exactly what they do. It had something to do with steel.

Making It Home

I'm in transition between the two apartments I'm paying for until the end of the month. Yesterday my sister and I went and picked up the bed and dresser I got for my girl on Saturday and we brought it back to my new place. Today the girl and I went there and I put her room together. It's by no means finished, but it looks awesome. The color scheme is white, magenta, deep purple and bright green. The dresser is white and modern. The bed has striped sheets of white, magenta, deep purple and bright green and a satiny purple comforter and bed skirt. There are a couple of accent pieces, a desk chair and a storage unit that will work as a nightstand, that are white and magenta, kind of like Barbie furniture for humans. I got those through Freecycle. The carpet is light green. It's very cool looking and is probably the nicest room she has had in her life to date.
My room has light green carpet and a few cardboard boxes on the floor. I'll get to it when I can. I'm still trying to get the kitchen in some sort of functional mode. I got a love seat for the living room so at least there would be something to sit on there. It will be delivered on Thursday, which is the same day they'll come to hook up the tv (which I haven't bought yet), internet and phone service. I didn't want to get a full sized sofa because I thought it might overpower the space. Now I'm worried the love seat is going to be too small. I still need to get a billion other things. I was spoiled living in a fully furnished place. At least I still get to come back to the furnished place every evening and relax in a little luxury and comfort.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

You Mean I'm Not Immune?!

I enjoy reading Joel's blog roundup every week. He keeps his eye on a lot of different blogs and I can always find something new from scanning the summaries and surfing the links. Today an excerpt from a post by rachie caught my eye. Recently I've found myself feeling a similar white hot flame with quite a bit less provocation than what she wrote about. I can't say whether it's good or bad to feel that way, but it's something I've never ever really had to deal with before.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Going, going ...

It's just mid-August, but I can already see signs that summer is fading. Last weekend I spotted a branch up in an old tree that was already changing colors. It's still early for foliage, but all the leaves have deepened to a dark green now, the goldenrod is starting to bloom and sometimes I spy a branch in an old or unwell tree that has already turned yellow or orange. Of course, I understand the nature of the seasons, but I always feel a little bit sad to see summer go. I probably shouldn't feel sad to watch this particular summer fade because I think better times lay ahead for me, but amidst all the turmoil and upheaval there have been some stellar moments. It's a good thing I've been writing through it all, not only here but elsewhere, because this is going to be one of those years I look back on and wonder how the hell I ever got through it all.

Bye Newmarket

I liked living in Newmarket. It's a cool, funky little town. I wouldn't have minded living here a little longer. My apartment is wonderful, even though a couple of the skylights leak when the hurricane downpours pass through. I like seeing horses out my bedroom window and beautiful flowers out my living room window. I've even grown rather fond of the horse who lives downstairs and coughs like a man.
This place was great for me. It provided a well needed, comfortable refuge at a time when I couldn't have needed one more. But some things are even more valuable than a really great apartment and I really need to get back to that particular town and neighborhood for the coming school year.
The next place I'm moving to is also very nice. It has a larger kitchen, a bath rather than just a shower, a third bedroom that will be an office, a nice yard and patio, and a gas fireplace. It doesn't have skylights or horses or the privacy of this apartment, but it's close to my girl's school and I can even have my dog there. It will be good, too.
I've read that it takes about three months to begin to really settle into a new place. As of Saturday, I will have been here for exactly three months. I can start to move into the new place on Sunday. Eventually I'm going to find a good place to settle down. I'm ready for that.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Chilling Images

One reason why people like to tell ghost stories in the summer is because the chills they give you help cool you down. If you're in search of some chilling images check out this Nightmares Photoshop contest. Just don't look at it too close to bedtime or you'll never get to sleep.

Monday, August 09, 2004

State of The Pam Address?

A few summers ago things were really crazy in my life and sometimes when I was just sitting still I had a feeling like I was in a car skidding sideways at high speed. It happened quite often, probably daily. At the time I thought it was an interesting phenomenon, but I didn't take it for the physical metaphor that it was.
The following winter things got worse and I was amazed every day when I was able to wake up, take a shower and get dressed. Those simple acts all seemed to take a heraculean effort. If I hadn't been so into karate and the way it taught me discipline and to carry on through the pain I'm not sure what would have happened to me. I think I somehow got into karate beforehand to obtain the skills to get me through what came later.
I didn't let too many people know what I was going through back then, just a couple of friends. I certainly never said anything to anyone in my family about it. I was pretty miserable though.
I was willing to suffer through a lot back then, but not willing to make a move to change the way things were.I suppose from the outside things look more extreme now, what with me moving and moving again and dealing with lawyers and papers and what not, but I never feel like I'm skidding sideways. I sleep well at night and I wake up in the morning pretty happy to face the day. My appetite is generally okay and my weight is staying steady. I get butterflies in my stomach sometimes and there are days where all I really feel like doing is losing myself in my latest craft project (just finished a poncho for my daughter tonight, actually), but that's something I've enjoyed doing for years.
What's my point here? I guess it is that I know some people are not too happy with the decisions I am making about my life right now, but I am satisfied with these decisions. They didn't come about suddenly from out of the blue. In my heart and in my gut I know I'm doing what I know I have to do.

Saturday, August 07, 2004


I have lived in eight towns at ten different addresses in three states, two prefectures and two countries over the past twenty years. The longest I have stayed at any one address during that time has been four years. You'd think it would be time for me to settle down in one place for a while, but apparently not quite yet. Yup, that's right. I'm moving again. And soon. It's not really what I was planning on or hoping for, but sometimes you've just gotta do what you've gotta do.
Ultimately it will be for the best, but right now it has me kind of bummed out. I've been hauling ass all week getting everything set up and squared away with the arrangements, but still the thought of moving my things yet again when I just moved them less than three months ago and also now having to furnish a household makes me want to crawl into bed and hide under the cover for a good long while. I haven't done that yet, but I'm sure I'm a total mopey, pain in the ass to be around. I know I should snap out of it and not dwell because it all means I'm making progress, but it just seems like I have to let myself feel the way I feel so that I can go through it and past it.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Night Time Farm Drama

Last night there was something big and fuzzy moving around outside that was too big to be any of the barn kitties. It didn't move like a cat either, but had a weird, hopping lope. When I went over to the window to get a better look at it, I saw it was a skunk. There were two cats sitting out in the drive watching it. The skunk went back behind the sunflowers and then into the barn across the drive from me. The horses were in their stalls, but they didn't seem very bothered by the skunk's presence. After a few minutes the skunk came out of that barn, loped across the drive and went into the downstairs part of the barn I live in. The cats never flinched. The skunk never sprayed.
I just spoke to my landlady and she told me there have been three skunks around. They come into the barn and eat the cats' food. She said one of them brushed right up against her leg, but it didn't spray. I never knew they were so bold.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Full Speed Ahead Sign, Apparently

Well, perhaps that rainbow I saw yesterday really was a good omen because this day has turned from shit into something that has me feeling pretty spectacular. I'm not going to be foolhardy and announce my strategies on this blog, but I had some developments today that completely change the picture for the better regarding a matter most important to me.
I also got my student evaluations from last semester today. I knew there was a good reason why I love my students. They just absolutely rock! That's why. I was in such utter crisis through most of the spring semester and felt bad at times because I thought I wasn't really capable of giving them enough of my attention. I was just trying to make it through the day without completely losing it. Luckily, it must not have come across like that as much as I thought it did. I don't think I have ever gotten such positive evaluations before. I better make sure this coming semester makes them just as happy.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

A Sign?

This evening I was driving with my daughter to The Wright Place in Stratham for some ice cream when I saw a rainbow fragment in the road straight ahead of us. It wasn't a full rainbow, but maybe a quarter of one. It was rather faint and in front of a big cloud bank. I haven't seen a rainbow for a long time. They were a nearly daily occurence in Hawaii, but they aren't as common around here. I'd like to think it was a sign that things are going to be okay, because they are pretty crappy right now.
It was our first time getting ice cream at The Wright Place. It's a small wooden place on the side of Route 33 with a great selection of ice cream made on the premises. They have a lawn and picnic table out behind the shop and there were lots of happy people enjoying their ice cream on a very pleasant summer evening. I didn't even get an ice cream because lately about halfway through the serving I'm tired of it, but still unable to just chuck it. I got a lime rickey instead.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Stratham Fair, Again

Today was miserably hot and humid. I can't believe I used to live in Japan through months of this kind of weather. No wonder I spent most of the time in the apartment, with the air conditioner cranked, watching tv.
It showered on and off throughout the day and my dad called asking if we were interested in going to the Stratham Fair, so I decided to put off the Maine Faire until another week and we went to Stratham instead. I went on Thursday night, but my girl hadn't been this year. My sister and her family ended up going with us too, so this time I experience the kid version of the fair, which basically consisted of checking out the animals, spending wads of cash on the games to win crappy little stuffed animals, going on a few rides and consuming frightening amounts of sugar. They had a blast.