Thursday, March 31, 2005


I need to share with you my favorite couple of lines from one of the postcards my students received from students in Japan.
"I like a dog. Are you like a dog?"

National Crochet Month

Well, here it is, the last day of the month and I just found out that March has been National Crochet Month. During the month I went back to working on a rainbow colored, crocheted wrap I started last year, so I guess I've celebrated sufficiently.
Lots of media outlets seem to be hyping the hipness of knitting (NYT, need a password for the link) for the past year or so now. I've been knitting since high school. It was a popular thing to do at that preppy, private school, probably in no small part due to the fact that one of my friend's mother's owned a yarn shop in town. I remember going into the shop that sat right over the little falls of the Squamscott River and buying a pattern for a Portuguese fisherman's sweater and a bunch of purple yarn. The sweater had a cool little lace up thing at the neck and some simple pattern around the yoke. It was a pretty ambitious first project, but I finished it and wore it for years. I've knittied on and off since then and have made several sweaters and many hats, scarves and pairs of mittens.
I never really cared if knitting or crocheting was "cool" or not. It's relaxing and productive at the same time. I can't think of too many other things that fit that description. Kind of feels like the antithesis of work, which at times seems both pressured and non-productive.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Why I Feel Doomed

Despite all that scientific evidence to support me in the previous post, I'm starting to wonder if teaching is really what I'm supposed to be doing now. Don't get me wrong. I love teaching, but it just seems like it's going to continue to be too much of a stuggle to make a living at it here. I don't get paid enough to live on with what I make now and no one on the administrative side of things seems to think that what I do is worthy of a living wage. On the other hand, I have students who are so happy about the opportunity to learn a subject they see being useful to their plans for the future. The ones who care enough to volunteer to act to ensure that they will be able to continue their studies come to me and I get put in the position of telling them I'm so appreciative of their interest, but the reality is that we don't have much political clout or administrative support and I can hardly even promise that I'll be there next year, even though I want to be. As it stand now I could be teaching at the university in the mornings and working some crappy job at the mall for the remaining hours of the work day because I don't know how else to keep up with both the teaching and my bills. That is not a sustainable schedule and if it really comes down to that I think what I will have to do is end up disappointing my students so I can go do something completely unrelated to the skills I have spent my adult life and career attaining to be able to pay the bills.
The only other alternative would be to move away and teach someplace else, but I'm not moving. It took me 20 years to get back here and I plan to stay.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

What a Surprise-- I'm a Teacher

ENFJ- The Teacher
Your Type is 60% Extroverted, 12% Observant, 6% Logical and 50% Structured

Your type is known as the teacher, or the educating mentor. You also
belong to the larger group, called idealists. You tend to bring out the
best in other people. You lead without seeming to do so. People are
naturally drawn to you. You expect the very best from people which
takes the form of enthusiastic encouragement which is so charming that
people try their best not to disappoint you. You share your personality
type with 3% of the population.

You need to feel a deep and meaningful connection to your romantic
partners, and go to great lengths to understand and please your mate.
Harmony is vitally important to you, and you often put others' needs
before your own. You have a pretty thin skin and are easily hurt.
Although you strive for harmony, when your values or ethics are
violated, you can be very emotional, confrontational, and even
punishing. However, you are very insightful about the underlying cause
of conflicts, and an excellent communicator, so you have the tools to
bring about a quick and peaceful resolution as long as you can keep
control of your facilities. You want to be appreciated for your
thoughtfulness and compassion. You need your partner to make a real
effort to get to know you. Above all, you need to be able to express
your feelings and have them taken seriously.

Your group summary: idealists (NF)

Your type summary: ENFJ

Link: The Quick and Dirty Personality Test written by unpretentious2 on Ok Cupid

Yikes! I'm Number One!

I've noticed a lot of hits to this blog for the search string "no panties day". I sort of remember writing about it last year after the fact, but couldn't figure out why it was such a popular way to find me until I googled and found out that I am the number one result for that particular search. Um, guess I'll make sure to celebrate it this year.

Saturday, March 26, 2005


I thought I'd start a little weekly feature here to track the spring thaw for all you folks who live someplace where winter doesn't last half the year. I'll be taking pictures every Saturday morning to show how much snow is actually left in my front yard.
This first photo was taken a week ago Saturday.

This photo was taken this morning. You can see the mailbox post has become visible now. Oh boy!

Friday, March 25, 2005


I was downtown this morning getting my taxes done at H&R Block. The H&R Block office has one side facing the Cocheco Millworks Courtyard. In the summer there are free lunchtime and evening concerts in the courtyard. Today there was some kind of re-enactment of Jesus on the cross going on in celebration of Easter. While I was waiting to see the tax preparer I watched a man getting dressed for the performance from the back of his SUV. He had on a robe-like garment and I watched him adjust that and then pull on a belt kind of like an obi, except it had elastic sewn into the back. All the while the downtown traffic kept streaming by him.
It looked like there were about ten to a dozen people in costume and another half dozen or so standing around near a table with a few boxes of Dunkin Donuts on it.
I'm not religious by nature and not Christian anyway, so the whole Easter thing is pretty foreign to me. I was kind of taken aback by the religious display taking place in the middle of town, but I guess that's normal around here.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Silence of the Pam

I've noticed I don't blog as much as I used to. Part of the reason is that a lot of my thoughts are directed to personal matters that wouldn't be very smart or interesting to write about in public. I had more time to muse when I wasn't quite as busy working, having a life and getting a decent amount of sleep.
Then again, I may just be getting lazy.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Goodbye Uncle Gus

I just read that Uncle Gus died recently. I'm willing to bet that any kid who grew up around here in the 60s or 70s watched the Uncle Gus show on WMUR. I never got to go be in the audience, but I remember the Name the States game, the birthday wishes and, of course, the cartoons. Any chance that any of you ever got to go see the show?

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Thoughts From an Afternoon at the Mall

I took my girl to the mall today since she still had a $50 mall gift certificate she received for Christmas. I figured I went on my spring shopping extravaganza this past week and she might also want to get a few new spring things and use her Christmas present before her birthday rolls around next month.
The mall is always interesting for its people watching possibilities. The merchandise looks pretty much the same from store to store, but the variety of people is entertaining. I tend to check out the women more than the men because I like to see what everyone wears. Thanks to some inspiration from Kinga I've recently started reading The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf and I'm finding it interesting, but I definitely have my doubts about some of her assertions. I don't really agree that the patriarchy has fashioned this beauty backlash plot to prevent women from realizing their full power and potential. I also was taken aback by her statement that, "Women work hard-- twice as hard as men. All over the world and for longer than records have been kept, that has been true." Isn't that just a bit of an exagerration and a fairly bald and unsupported claim for female superiority rather than equality? No, not everything is hunky dory and many women, including myself at times, get sucked into valuing themselves less for their physical imperfections. The awareness that so many of us do unconsciously buy into the manipulation is something I should think about, but I think it's more a scheme of a consumerist society than a patriachal plot to keep women down.
Anyway, that little tangent aside-- what I really wanted to write about was the big picture ad I saw out in front of Lane Bryant featuring a young, pretty, blonde woman in a pink bra and panties, which would be the same sort of thing you'd see in any store except for the fact that this woman actually has some flesh on her. (If you click the Lane Bryant link above you can probably see the picture I'm talking about.) This woman looks like a lot of women in this country actually look like and not some alien from Planet of the Amazons. I almost stopped right in my tracks to stare at the poster because it shocked and pleased me to see it. Then I realized I can't even shop at Lane Bryant because I'm not big enough to wear their clothes and I started to wonder how big that model really is because she seems to be wearing their merchandise but she doesn't look any bigger than I do.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Queens Rock!

Hey, any other Queens of the Stone Age fans out there? They have their whole new CD (release date of March 22) available in streaming video here. (Check out the band bio links if you go to the band website. Kinda funny.)

Spring Shopping

Shit! Fine. I just wrote a post and then didn't want to lose it so I waited forever for my browser to quit hanging. And then I closed the window I was blogging in by accident. Oh well. It was kind of drivelly anyway.
Blogging has obviously not been high on the list of priorities this vacation week. Oddly enough, shopping for clothes has been. During all the years I spent in Japan I got into the habit of returning to the States twice a year and buying all the clothes I would need for the coming seasons while I was here. When I could find clothes in my size in Japan they were always very expensive and never fit right because they weren't cut for my body shape. (I'm not particularly large by US standards, slightly tall at 5'7" and a solid medium/size 10-ish.) Even though the yard is still buried under a lot of snow, I know spring is coming and I have been in need of clothes for the season. With a week off and a birthday check from my father in my bank account, I figured it was time to do something about it.
I like to go shopping alone because then I don't need to worrying about how long it takes me to decide on anything. The drawback to that is that I don't have anyone to ask if something really looks okay or not. In most stores it's hard enough to find a clerk to let you into the dressing room, never mind give you an opinion on whether something fits or is flattering. And I noticed as I followed many a sales clerk into the dressing room that a lot of them aren't exactly dressing in clothes that fit them very well anyway. I suppose if I went to fancier, more expensive shops I'd get better service, but the Kittery outlets have clothes I can afford. And actually, the clerks at J. Crew were friendly and attentive. So, now I have some new clothes and just need to go ahead and wear them and not leave them in the closet while I wait for an occasion worthy of wearing new things to appear.

Monday, March 14, 2005

So Close, So Far

I know we feel like we're pretty high tech here in America, and my campus paper reports that nearly all undergrads are instant messenger users , but I still feel like we've got nothing near the social reliance on technology that I witnessed in Japan. A little surfing this evening turned up the Japan Media Review, which looks like it's going to satify my curiosity on how media and technology developments in Japan are effecting the way people relate to one another there. One little tidbit I picked up in my reading tonight is that it's now becoming somewhat standard social protocol to text message someone before making a voice call to them, to see if it would be convenient for then to talk to you. I always thought that was what voice mail was for, but what do I know?

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Plop, Plop, Plop

Here it is, spring break and I have been waylaid by a nasty cold. I rarely get sick during the semester. I'm too busy to get sick then. But ever since college my body has had a knack for getting sick as soon as finals end or a vacation begins. I'm not so sick that I can't take care of myself or my girl, but I feel like hell. I can't smell anything and therefore have no appetite. When I do eat I feel okay while I'm eating but kind of sick not long after, which makes me not so eager to do that again the next time. I'm dizzy and tired. It's warm enough that the snow is melting and the roads are clear and it's probably one of the last days it will be possible to play out in the snow before this all becomes messy mud world, but I just can't do it. So basically I'm stuck inside watching the snow melt off the trees. It almost looks like it's snowing again, but in bigger, soggy clumps. The sun has come out and there are breaks in the clouds. The sky looks like spring and the snow looks kind of funny. A month from now it'll be gone. At least I hope it will.
In the meantime, I will sit here and be sick, plan some dinner menus for the week and make a shopping list to gear up for my big energy expenditure of the day, which will be facing the supermarket. God, how exciting can it get?

Saturday, March 12, 2005


Here it is nearly the middle of March and the first day of my spring break and it's snowing harder than I've seen all winter. It's our second storm this week. The first one was overnight Tuesday into Wednesday when snow fell on top of the rain which turned to ice as the temperature dropped. The university didn't cancel classes and a new, young professor died in a car crash on what I assume was her way to work Wednesday morning. It made the front page of the local paper. The university put up a condolence link that's already down. They tend not to cancel classes for bad weather since many students live in dorms on campus. What they don't seem to consider is that many students and faculty don't live near campus and have to decide if going to class is worth risking dangerous, icy roads.

Friday, March 11, 2005


Everything's better in pirate.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

I'm a Bunny!

Hare Daemon
Your HARE DAEMON represents your passive,
kindhearted, and honorable nature. Though you
are occasionally shy with new people, friends
admire your unshakable tranquility, even in the
face of chaos.

What Animal Would Your Daemon Settle As?
brought to you by Quizilla

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Vortex

It seems the vortex is in full effect now. This time I'm on the outskirts, watching some people close to me go through it. I'm glad that this time I'm not the one getting sucked into it. I've taken that wild ride a few times before and it seems like every time it's with more force and takes longer to come to terms with the aftermath. I know the vortex is just life. It's life when you feel circumstances pulling you away from what is known and secure to something not yet visible or definable. It makes your heart race and keeps you up at night. Days take forever and rush by at the same time. Everything changes so fast but you can't wait to find out what the final outcome is really going to be, so you feel impatient despite the speed. The vortex makes it hard to breathe.
I've tried resisting and I've tried leaping right in. In the end it's all the same. The vortex is going to draw you in when it's your turn and spit you back out when the necessary work is done. The best way to ride it is like a leaf floating on a current. Let it take you where it will. It pulls at you harder the more you try to resist. If you try to direct where it goes, it will hurt you with the strain of it. When you think you know what it means, all that means is it will turn around and prove you wrong. What you need to do is trust your buoyancy. Breathe deep and keep yourself light, the better to float. Keep your wits about you the best you can. The vortex never lasts forever, it just feels that way, but you have to live with whatever consequences it may bring.
You can't control the vortex. You can't choose it or unchoose it. It chooses you. Sometimes it seems like it is bringing you your deepest desires, and then shows you why you were wishing for the wrong thing. It's why they say, "Be careful what you wish for, it may come true." The vortex is what taught me to be a better, more careful wisher.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Friday, March 04, 2005

It's My Birthday

I woke up this morning and I was 40. Felt pretty much just the same as it did yesterday. Well, except that I'm having a whole lot of fun so far. I opened up presents before I ever got out of bed. I had the usual Friday morning powow and coffee extravaganza with Sis, and she treated. I'm going out to dinner (again) tonight with my wonderful boyfriend. If this is any indication of how the new decade is going to go, I'm think I'm going to like it.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Rabbit, Rabbit

We got the snow overnight and all schools relevant to my life cancelled classes for today. None of that stopped me from being wide awake at 6:20 this morning. One advantage I can see to this early rising habit is that I can satisfy my desire to pam about for 2 or 3 hours and still be ready to be useful at a reasonable morning hour. I've already finished up one knitting project (a felted bag) and went back to re-adjust another one (felted slipper) this morning. I have a couple more I am working on that could be finished up fairly soon if I'm diligent with them, which would leave me free to pursue new spring projects.
I've been battling late winter blahs recently. I think everyone around here does once winter starts in on its 4th month with no signs of stopping, plenty of snow on the ground and temperatures consistently a good ten degrees below the average for this time of year. My crafting kind of dropped off after the holiday rush to get present projects completed, but I think that's one of the things that helps me un-blah myself, so I'm heading back to it.
I remember feeling like March was all a bit too much to take last year. I don't know if it's the astrological influence of the sun in pisces or just the long New England winter, but I always feel mental in March.