Tuesday, November 30, 2004

The Perfect Gift for Pot-Head Parents

Finally, pot-head parents have a storybook for their children, who have been sorely neglected in the politically correct diversity of modern day children's stories.
"Mommy, what's that smell?"
"It's Just a Plant, dear."

On Single Repeat, Ad Nauseum

Repeating on the ipod until everything else leaves my mind.Not so much for the lyrics, which really don't make that much sense to me. I just like the song.

If it gets you down well then I'll take it
If it gets you up well I don't want it
It let you down so broken hearted
If it gets you down well then I want it
If only, if only
If only, if only
If only, if only
If only,
If only we're nothing at all

So blow our mind and make it lazy
Those long long days with no escaping
I hold the wheel to let it go
Don't wanna stop, don't wanna know
If it gets you down, well just don't blame me
If only, if only
If only, if only
If only, if only
If only, if only
If only, if only
If only, if only
If only, if only
If only,
If only we're nothing at all

-- Queens of the Stone Age

Well, At Least Lunch Was Tasty

I wonder how I can end up being depressed by bad news I knew was coming anyway. The signs all point in a direction that says I need to find a new job and a new profession come spring. I like what I do, but I don't make a liveable wage here. I'm fairly sure there's nowhere else to do it around here other than where I am. I don't want to move away. Add up that equation and it all equals finding a new job in a new field. I've got skills, they just aren't the kind anyone around here needs or wants to compensate for.
Gee, maybe I ought to go ahead and write that Great American Novel I always said I wanted to write, even though I don't write fiction.
Anyone want to pay me to knit and watch tv?

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Ever Feel You're Being Watched?

If you blog (which I kind of assume most people who read blogs do), have you ever tried writing while someone was watching you? It's hard! There probably shouldn't be any difference because it's not like the observer is seeing the thoughts going through your head, some being considered and rejected, others making it down through your finger to the keys and into the screen. And once it's out there I don't mind so much who reads it, although I did start the blog with the assumption that no one who knows me would read it. I wonder why it feel so funny.

Holiday Weekend Wrap-up

Looks like I took most of the Thanksgiving weekend off from blogging. Once I finished up a proofreading job, I also took it off from working in just about any way shape or form. Wish I could find a job being a professional relaxer.
This intro to the holiday season went pretty well, all things considered. I got to spend time with all my loved ones. I got to eat lots of yummy food. There were no fights or arguments. There was lots of pie. I got some knitting done.
Not everything went my way, but having everything go my way is a lot to expect. I've got a lot to be thankful for and that's what Thanksgiving is supposed to be about, along with all the rest of it.
The Christmas season seems to already be in full swing. I see lights and decorations up on houses all over the place. The stores are full of shoppers and Christmas music. I have to be wise and take it easy with the Christmas shopping. There are a lot of things I'd like to make for people instead. I'm not sure if that's considered kosher or not in this day and age, but I'm Jewish to begin with (though not actively so) and it's more about the season than the day itself.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


I woke up this morning to find a white hair laying on the pillow next to me. It was mine, of course. I'm almost 40, so I guess white hairs shouldn't be much of a surprise. Between that and the stress I'm under these days, I should be glad I still have hair on my head at all!


I'm on vacation until Monday! I can sure use the break. Things started off a little rough yesterday as I came home from work to find more legal, divorce related stuff in my mailbox, but I dealt with what I needed to of it for now, and the rest can wait for a few days.
I've noticed I've got a regular reader who accesses this blog from my school's domain. My guess is that one of my students who lives on campus has discovered this blog and now knows waaaaaay more about me than necessary. I suppose that's all right. It could be worse, it could be a colleague checking it out!! Do I really mind? No. If I did I wouldn't have spent the past two years writing this stuff. It might seem like I put everything out here, but there's still a lot I keep private.

Monday, November 22, 2004

I Hope All My Pieces Fit Together

You Are the Stuffing

You're complicated and complex, yet all your pieces fit together.
People miss you if you're gone - but they're not sure why.

Perspective Check

When I followed the "Next Blog" link at the top of my page toDeath Maiden I thought it was maybe the blog of some heavy metal chick. Not so. It is the blog of a nurse who works with patients at the end of their lives.
I've learned quite a bit in the past few days of reading this blog, including the word "palliative". It also helps to pull things into perspective.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Weak End?

On Saturday morning I had the dubious honor of attending a child impact seminar for fours, for which I paid $75. This all thanks to the court system of NH which orders all divorcing parents to participate in the seminar. It was well run and actually pretty good, as far as sitting in a room for four hours with 20 other strangers going through their own personal crises can be. There were two presenters, one male, one female, who traded on and off throughout the session. Verbal participation was completely voluntary and at first I kept my mouth shut, but the ever attentive student within me couldn't help but pipe up with comments and contributions as time went on and the presenters elicited comments and responses.
It was good information that they put forth and the emphasis was on learning how to communicate effectively with your co-parent for the best interests of your children. But that's only going to work when both parents are interested in making it work. It can't work when someone is keeping score. I've read lots of books and they all say if you want to do what's in the best interest of your child, stay out of court, suck it up, be adults, sit down with a mediator and work it out. That doesn't work when only one side is willing to do that and the other one interprets the suggestion to pursue that path as an admission of guilt, an attempt at sneakiness or just plain old weakness. Or perhaps the other side is so afraid to take responsibility for the outcome that they would rather put it in the hands of some stranger with a title.
God, I can't wait for this shit to be over and done with.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Up and Down

I went to see Bob Dylan and his band with my boyfriend last night. It was an interesting and entertaining show. The way Dylan phrases his songs started to remind me of Louis Armstrong doing What a Wonderful World. I don't intend that as a criticism, just an observation. Despite being a little disappointed that Dylan played keyboards all night and never once touched a guitar, I was happy to be able to go see a living legend perform live and there were many moments of great music and great musicianship during the evening. I also enjoyed checking out the crowd almost as much as the show itself. Lots of old hippies and old hippies with their late teen/early twenties children in attendance. I heard a guy sitting near us say to a friend, "I saw him back in 64!" That's cool. I wasn't even alve then. I hope we're still going to see rock shows twenty or thirty years from now.I started to wonder who will still be around and playing then. So far the only sure candidate I came up with was Dave Grohl. Anyway, last night was good.
This morning I slept in until 8 and then went for a walk since it was an unseasonably warm day. The phone rang just as I got back home. It was my sister wanting to know if I was interested in meeting her for breakfast. We just got together for lunch on Tuesday, but sometimes we go weeks without seeing each other, so I knew I wanted to take the chance since it had presented itself. We met at Harvery's Bakery and had a nice breakfast and gabfest. Harvey's may well be my favorite downtown Dover breakfast spot, especially since they always give you a little piece of a danish or some other pastry with your order.
Breakfast was good. It meant I got to school later than I had intended and didn't get as much work done as I had meant to. I figured I could end the 2 hour class a little early and get it done after.
I got to class a little after noon and a couple of the students suggested we check out the International Food Lunch being held on campus at the international dorm from 11-2. We have a two hour long class on Friday. I didn't have anything particularly exciting planned for today and we had a Japanese grad student visiting the class for the day, so I decided we could go spend the second part of class "being international". There was a good variety of food and the day was nice so we all sat outside on a porch and ate and talked. I had a blast watching how everyone interacts outside of class. This is my second year working with this group of students and I really enjoy them all as people, as well as students. There's a nice mix of personalities in the class and they've really come together as a group.
After lunch we went to the Dairy Bar. A couple of the students had previously told me they wanted to take the Japanese student to the Dairy Bar and show him how ice cream is done here in NH, so they invited him and me and the rest of the class to come along. Most of us who didn't have other things to do joined in. I hadn't planned on eating ice cream. I hadn't even planned on eating lunch at school, but sometimes you need to take advantage of opportunities when they arise. It was fun watching the students use the language they have been studying in an actual conversation with a native speaker of the language. They make me feel like no matter what happens with my job at that school in the future, at least I have accomplished something while I've been there.
So where's the down side to my Up and Down title? Well, I'm in the middle of a divorce and interwoven through all these nice happenings are dealings with my lawyer and my ex over custody arrangements for the holidays. I'm trying to realize that this time through, the whole season is probably going to suck bad for me. I just want it to be as good as it can be for my girl. Ever since my junior year of high school, when my younger sister flipped out for good and got committed to a psychiatric hospital just days before Thanksgiving , the holidays have not been the easiest of seasons for me. I still get caught up having to decide how to spend which days and occasions with my own parents. Now it's got double layers because I have to figure out when I can be with my own child and then which of my own parents we're going to spend time with on what occasion. She never really got to celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas while we were in Japan and I was so happy when we came back here and she had the chance to have a "real" holiday season. For one holiday season, anyway. Basically, just thinking about it makes me feel like my heart is being ripped out of my chest. So I suppose that makes it even that much more important to take advantage of those spur of the moment chances to make connections with the people around me.
All of the people who are close to me keep telling me, "It's not going to be like this forever. You're going to get through it and you'll be fine." I like to hear that. It's easy to lose sight of that in the day to day when it seems like this has all been going on for so long.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Three Months and Counting

It has been three months since I moved into my apartment. It feels like longer than that. I am happy with what it is and where it is. It's not perfect. The rent is kind of killing me and sometimes the neighbors downstairs are loud at night, but it more or less feels like a house rather than an apartment. It's convenient. My girl's school is right around the corner and it's a just a ten minute drive to get to work. It looks like a home, not a stop along the way or a collection of junk someone dragged home from Goodwill. It's home, for now.
I don't know why I'm already worrying about my next move. Not necessarily house-wise, but life-wise. I need to find a job that actually feeds my bank account as well as my ego. Teaching is fun. I love it when students tell me they feel like they are really learning something. I can see their progress and it makes me feel good to know I've helped guide them a little. Emotionally it has been a very sustaining experience for me, when I sometimes feel like so much else of what I do is not always so constructive. I mean, I identify myself as a teacher. I don't really just forget about my job when I get in my car to drive home every day. It takes me out of my own problems. I like the interaction, even when I feel like I'm too tired for it. I think I make myself tired a lot these days mulling over things I can't change or make happen faster.
I'm here for the rest of the academic year. After that? I don't know.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Kids These Days...

I had two students come up to me today and ask if they could take the final exam on an earlier day because the way it has been scheduled it either falls right on or the day after their brithdays. Boo fucking hoo.
Being the damn softie that I am, I gave a non-comittal answer today and said I would think about it. Now that I have thought about it, I think I have the perfect solution. They may take a final earlier in the week with the intermediate or advanced classes. The only catch is they will have to take the final exam I am giving for that class.

I Find This Fishy

You are 60% Pisces

Monday, November 15, 2004

The Big Disconnect

Oh dear lord, no wonder the birthrate is shrinking in Japan. Now all those men who have been pushed aside for the the boyfriend arm pillow (with sales copy that boasts, "This pillow could be an emotional comfort") can seek solace in the girlfriend's lap pillow. Can't people just use a regular pillow and their imaginations?! Or *gasp* find an actual human being to touch?
What really scares me is that there are obviously people willing to pay about $80 for an amputated, simulated corpse for their "emotional comfort". I do not find that a comforting thought at all.
via Robert Brady.

I won't feel guilty. Really.

One of the less fun aspects of my job is having to teach the lesson that being a nice person and having intended to try harder just doesn't cut the mustard.

Friday, November 12, 2004


Wow. It has begun.
The day started out cold and overcast and I was congratulating myself for finding a black, hooded, down jacket at TJMaxx for just $50 yesterday. The weather forecast has been saying snow and rain on Friday afternoon for days now, but actually seeing and being out in it is not the same as watching the guy on tv say it.
It's cold, raw, wet and dark out. Not pitch black dark yet because that won't happen for another 30 minutes or so, but it's dark enough for the lights to be on in the house before 4pm. The snow isn't sticking to the roads, but it is on the lawns, naked tree branches and rooftops. I was able to leave school before it had accumulated too much on my car.
This kind of weather used to depress me. I'm sure it will when we hit the fifth straight month of it in March, but for right now, it fascinates me. I'm cozy at home, drinking a cup of hot chocolate. Everything is quiet except for the heat coming up from the furnace and the keys on the computer. Tonight I'm looking forward to snuggling up on the couch and knitting.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Yarn Lust

The mittens are done. I have a scarf and a slipper in progress. I think this means it's time to start thinking about my next knitting project. And I just happened to see that the new Stich 'n Bitch book is out. Coincidence? I think not.

Oh Dear, Not Just Game. Game and Beer!

So, it seems someone wants to know about the meat. Well, it wasn't just a wild game dinner. It was a wild game and beer dinner. A five course extravaganza of game dishes prepared with beer accompanied by a different beer for each course. I held strong through the early rounds, but by the next to last course my capacity was flagging and I had to bring home a lot of the food and leave standing two nearly full glasses of beer. Oh, the thought of it pains me so! But it's not like I could ask the waiter to pack up my beer as well.
Where to begin? I mean, I already have begun, but this meal and dining experience deserves a play by play accounting. The setting: Molly Malone's, an Irish pub and restaurant located in an old 19th century brick house on the corner of Penhallow and State Streets in Portsmouth, NH. The participants: myself, my boyfriend and a perkily flamboyant waiter named John who literally cheered us on to "EAT! EAT! EAT!"
The meal started with a glass of beer that was identified as A Toast with Molly's Irish Red. That one went down pretty easily. The first course (I'm working from memory here because someone seems to have taken the menu to work with him or something this morning) was an appetizer of duck sausage with a something mustard sauce, frog legs cooked in a casserole dish with a sauce I can no longer identify and little Kobe beef burgers, which I heard the waiter jokingly describe to another table as "Kobe Bryant burgers". I'm not sure how Kobe beef fits into the game classification in a strict sense because those cows get more care and attention than some peoples' kids. Then again, I assume most of what we had for dinner was farm raised game. I doubt anyone was out with a musket taking down the wild boar. The accompanying beer was Pilsner Urquell. The sausage was delicious, as was the kobe beef burger. I had a little of the frog legs (had to conserve space, you know) which I found not really to be like chicken, but more like chicken crossed with fish, which seems to make a fair amount of sense to me.
The second course was roasted pheasant on a bed of fresh greens with roasted beets and deep fried butternut squash croutons. The pheasant has been marinated in ... a beer. It was very moist with a wonderful flavor. The beer for this course was Samuel Adams. I was still holding strong at this point and starting to put on a good buzz, as well.
If memory serves me well, the third course was a venison and ostrich chili made with Guinness Stout, accompanied by a glass of the good, thick brown stuff. It was a great chili. It had a nice kick and a little sweetness. Perhaps it was the Guinness that started to slow me down at this point. My pace had slowed, but I made it through the chili and eventually through the glass of Guinness. That is one recipe I would love to have.
The fourth and most sumptuous course was where I hit the wall. I really wanted to make way way through it all; the Old Thumper Hassenpheffer stew, a wild boar chop marinated in some .... beer, roasted vegetables and polenta with goat cheese. My god, rabbit is tasty. The stew was incredible, another recipe I would absolutely love to get my hands on. The beer was something from The Shipyard Brewing Company. A quick visit to their site shows that their Old Thumper won Best in Show in Los Angeles and I'm sure that must have been what was in the stew. I barely touched the beer and had to bring home most of what was on my plate. That's okay. It's going to be make a great lunch today!
The desert course was Pumpkinhead Ale bread pudding with a chocolate hazelnut sauce and a glass of Pumpkinhead Ale. I love bread pudding and it was a nice firm one, but I was just too stuffed. It made a lovely breakfast this morning, however. I bought some Pumpkinhead Ale last fall. It's interesting stuff and tastes very much of pumpkin pie spices. It's the kind of thing I like to have one of once a season, but a little goes a long way.
Even though it was a chilly night, my honey and I went for a little walk around town after dinner. I'm so old school, or maybe just old, but I walk through that town mentally identifying everything as what it used to be. "Oh! Strawberry Bazaar! That used to be down on the Vaughn Mall. I used to shop for holiday presents for my parents there." "Hmm, Saucy Grace's? Nope, that's where Goldie's used to be. Can you believe there's no decent Jewish deli in town anymore?" And on and on I go.
It was a wonderful meal with wonderful company. If you want better details of the menu, check here for an account of the same meal by the one who went to work with the menu today. I realize the extent to which I am treading on the soils of dorkdom here, but fuck it. We enjoy ourselves and each other. The rest of you can deal, or not, as you choose.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Mittens and Meat

The forecast for temperatures in the teens last night motivated me to finally knit up a mitten to match the first one I made a couple of weeks ago. I thought I was going to run out of yarn before I finished, but the knitting gods smiled upon me and I had just enough to get by. I was awfully happy to be wearing the mitts this morning as I was scraping frost off the windshield. New handknit, wool-mohair blend mittens=good day.
And what of the "meat" in my title? That, my friends, refers to what I will be dining upon tonight. My most wonderful boyfriend is taking me out this evening to Molly Malone's in Portsmouth for their annual wild game dinner. Yes, I am a carnivore. An omnivore actually, since veggies are good, too. And I haven't seen my sweetie since Saturday, so I might have to take a bite out of him when I see him.
Other good things: I remembered both my watch and wallet today. Yesterday I forgot them both at home.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Oh Warren Zevon Up in The Sky, I Do Enjoy Every Sandwich

The highlight of my workday is generally lunch, which I make myself and bring to work. My lunch is more or less a copy of whatever I make my girl for her lunch, recently minus candy surprises and with celery sticks instead because I am pseudo-Weight Watcher-ing myself to avoid massive autumn inflation of my physical being.
I eat by myself in my office. I already know what's in the damn lunch bag. And yet, I spend all morning thinking about eating lunch. I like food. I like lunch. I'm not so crazy about work these days.

Monday, November 08, 2004


Sometimes it's so hard to bite my tongue. I get tired of being patient and waiting for my day in court because I really want to know right now if I get to spend any of the friggin holidays with my kid or if I'm going to be held hostage to my stupid ex's warped sense of "fair" boiling down to an equation that the order of the days of the week mean more than holidays do. Not that he ever really cared about holidays or did much more than show up to celebrate anything. Holidays, anniversaries, any public recognition of any event being significant or meaningful didn't sit well with him. But how the hell was I to know that when I agreed to marry him six weeks after we met. It's all ancient history now, but if you ever find yourself in a similar position, just stop a moment and ask what all the rush is about.
I hate Mondays. I have a full day at school. Then I rush home to pick up the girl from the neighbor's house. We go home and deal with homework. I get dinner together early and have her fed and ready to go to girl scouts by 5:15. That gives me an hour and a half to hit the laundromat and put gas in the car, mail out bills, pick up whatever we need at the drugstore or any other little intown errand. We're home by 7:30 and now I'm ready to crawl into bed and hide under the covers, but the laundry needs to be put away. There's more homework to be dealt with. She has to call her father and I leave the room and pretend not to listen to the conversation, while I do just that because I get paranoid she likes him better hecause he buys her more stuff, even though he forgot to send her back with her lunchbox yet again this week.
I don't want her to be without him, but I want this all to be done. I want all my shit back from the house. I want my dog back. I want a reasonable schedule for the holidays. I want my cut of the house and the freedom to move my money around if I need to. Hell, while I'm at it, I want a job that pays me enough so I don't have to worry about having to ask for help. I want a day when I don't worry about someone else or if I'm good enough at the things I'm trying to do that I feel like I'm sucking at when I'm probably doing okay in reality.
Hmm, sounds like I need a drink and fixing one of those is something within my capabilities at the moment. I need a drink and to go to bed early and get up and do my yoga and try again tomorrow.

First Flurries

It's not that cloudy out. It's not really all that cold either. No matter that, there are still some very fine little flurries of snow falling from the sky.

One Very Good Thing

Wow. This is so brilliant I'm not sure whether to laugh, cry or just shake my head in amazement.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Barbie Has All Those Careers, Why Not Kitty?

Feeling anxious lately? Well, then you'd better take the Hello Kitty Psychological Test. It's very soothing and lavendar and has zen-like English translations. I like where they ask about the volcano and whether it has or will "expose".

Friday, November 05, 2004

The Come Down

This has been a wild and wooly couple of weeks, what with the lunar eclipse, the Red Sox winning the World Series, switching back from Day Light Savings time and, of course, the elections. No wonder so many people around me seem to be in a daze or disjointed.
Being the empathic sponge that I am, it's been hard because I have spent the week surrounded by students going through the whole election experience for their first time. Emotions were running so high in the lead up and by Wednesday it seemed like so many had had the stuffing knocked out of them. They're just now starting to learn that life does go on and the world doesn't grind to an irreversible halt when "your" candidate loses. You just keep keeping on. You can talk about leaving the country and you can talk about how dumb people must be if they don't agree with your beliefs, but that's not going to do anyone any good.
I wasn't disappointed with the results of the state and local elections. My beef is that everyone concentrates so much on the presidential race and forgets that the people they send to congress and the senate also can make a big difference, as do the people they elect to state offices as well.
There are a lot of things we can't control in life. We can try but it's not always going to go our way. These days, when I'm feeling overwhelmed by all sort of circumstances in my life, I'm just trying to concentrate on controlling myself, my home and my health. I've been sort of back on the WW wagon, tracking points, drinking more water, eating healthier foods, taking walks and waking up early to do yoga and take as much advantage of the shrinking amount of daylight as possible. My house is basically clean. The kitchen is clean. There's food in it too. I try to make the most of the time I spend with the people I love. What else can you do, really? Thanksgiving is coming. Might as well start being thankful for all we have right now.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Yeah, You Go and Run Away

I'm getting sick of all these people saying they're going to move to another country if (since?) Bush wins (has won?). As someone who actually did that, all I can say is be prepared to stay away for a long time and for nothing to have gotten any better when you come back.
I graduated college in 1987 and was not a big fan of Reagan and the whole social climate of the time, so moving to Japan seemed like a good way to avoid it all. I came back in 1992 and Bush Sr. was in the White House. My desire to go to grad school had trumped my political emotions and then Clinton got elected that year anyway. I went back to Japan in 1996 and moved back to the US again in 2003, with yet another Bush in charge. I'm ready to stay put now even though I am not thrilled with the way the election seems to have gone.
Maybe I just picked the wrong country to run away to. Maybe if I had picked someplace more comfortable for me I could still sit back and be a smug expat. If you want to go ahead and flee, you do that. But don't go waiting for things to change to your liking while you're away avoiding it all. They most likely won't.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Ward 4 Polling Station, Dover, NH

I took this picture around 10:35 this morning, after I voted. The Back River Veteran's club is the Ward 4 polling station. There were also flyers up for a holiday craft fair that will be held there soon.


I went and voted. The voting itself went fine. They always have things running smoothly at the Ward 4 polling station. But I saw some disturbing sights on my way there and back.

Disturbing Sight #1; On my way to Dover along Route 108 I saw a clean-cut, middle-aged man angrily ripping Bush-Cheney signs out of the ground and flinging them into the field along the side of the road. The signs for local democratic candidates remained untouched.

Disturbing Sight #2; The nicely wooded paths along the brook in the middle of campus are plastered with Kerry-Edwards signs. I sure as hell hope the people who put them up there plan to take them down and dispose of them properly before it starts raining later today and they become a soggy mess. What a friggin waste of paper. And duct tape.

Disturbing Site #3: Every car in the faculty/staff parking lot plastered with two kinds of flyers explaining that students have the right to vote in town. That's nice, but students don't park there. Haven't you people learned how to read by the time you get to college? Didn't you notice while you were putting flyers under the wipers that every single car had a faculty/staff parking pass hanging off the rearview mirror. You really couldn't miss that.
I mourn all the trees that went to waste for so much of this bullshit.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Peace and Quiet On The Eve of The Election

I'm doing a good job so far of staying away from the tv tonight. I don't want to be a part of the final frenzy of the campaign media blitz. If I haven't done my homework by now and figured out the choices I want to make, then I've just been plain lazy. I'm not elated with the choices I have, but I'll make choices anyway. It seems negligent not to make a choice and participate when so much is at stake here. I can't in good conscience refuse to participate because my ideal (whatever that would be) is not presented as one of the options. It's my community and my country. It's my responsibility as a parent, a teacher and a citizen to participate.
I'm going to try to get to the polls tomorrow on my way to work. If it looks too crowded I'll have to go back later in the day, but I think it would help set my mind at rest to get in there early and vote without worrying about what the exit polls are saying.

It's Certainly A Monday

I brought my iPod (and even a Firewire cable to charge it up with) to work today. I left the headphones at home. Oh well.