Sunday, December 31, 2006

Goodbye 2006

This has been quite a year. Here on the last day of it some things remain unfinished; a sweater I started knitting back in 2005 and the legal nonsense that is my divorce (which started in 2004!) are two that spring to mind. But a lot has been accomplished and I like where things are headed. We have a home that we will all live in together once the legal stuff is finally over. My girl and my wonderful boyfriend get along really well (even if it is often to plot against me.) And my girl hugs and kisses me again now, not only in reciprocation, but just because she feels like it. That's my favorite development of the entire year.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Irony or Blindness?

I find it so weird when my (remaining) sister and I go out to lunch with our dad and she talks about the travails of raising a teenager and says, so earnestly, "I know we did some dangerous things when we were that age but at least nothing bad happened to us." What in the world does she mean? Our little sister ended up in mental institutions in her teens and was addicted to drugs until she died at 27. Something very bad obviously did happen to us. We lost Katie and we lost her years before she died.
I never say anything and Dad always just kind of nods, but he must be thinking the same thing as me. I need to find the right time and place to point that out to her so she can maybe stop saying it.


originally uploaded by bassbot.
Although I generally try to avoid it, I went in and did some work at my Dad's office today. My older sister works as a business manager for my dad's firm and occasionally I go in to help out with some things, which means I'm at the office with my sister and my father. About 5:30 this evening, my sister and I were summoned into Dad's office. Never can tell what that's going to mean.
Dad had a stack of old photos on his desk. There were lots of baby photos of my older sister and lots of photos of our family, my grandparents and even some old photos of my dad's family from back when he was in his teens and early twenties and of his parents back when they were young. He showed us some that he was going to keep and gave us some to keep. I got several photos of me and my sisters. The one posted here is of me and my younger sister Kate. I was three and she was two (so I'm the big one). We were on vacation in Florida. Dig our pink ponchos with yellow pom-pom trim! I love the look on Kate's face and the way she is insistently reaching for my hand. In some of the other photos she's looking at me that same way. We were only one year apart in age (to the day. We shared a birthday.) She was such a powerhouse of a personality that I rarely think that she ever looked up to me and so many of my later memories of her life are painful and regretful, so it's nice to have these pictures now to remember back when we were little and how perfect the world seemed then.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Day is Done

Christmas has come and gone. It's funny how much I let it all escalate when it's not even "my" holiday to begin with. I'm from a Jewish family and never had the whole hoopla associated with the holiday that so many other folks here in the States grew up with. There is no magical splendor of a childhood Christmas remembered that I am trying to emulate.
It wasn't really a big deal for me at all until I became a mother and then intensified a thousand fold when I was a mother in a troubled marriage in a foreign country and then even more again once I became a single mother back home in my original stomping grounds. Part of it is certainly a reaction to spending over a dozen years in a marriage where my partner thought all holidays and celebrations were a waste of time; distasteful, sentimental foolery at worst and not worth his time and effort at best. So for years I was fighting to convince myself that celebrations and traditions mattered and weren't just crutches for people who couldn't stay out of the mush.
Now I'm at a point where I can savor the traditions I know from the past and even feel confident enough to initiate one or two new ones of my own. This year saw our second annual cookie baking extravaganza. Last year's bash may have had more participants, but this years' was intimate and just as memorable. And the cookies were just as tasty. And I've come up with some ideas for ways to mark the end of the old year and greet the new one.
The court has had its say on holiday scheduling issues and this year sees me losing a few days with my girl that I'd have with her in a regular week. Oh well, such is life. We are making the time count by spending it well all together. And if I let myself fall into a funk over things that aren't able to be, all I really need to do is take a look back at where some things stood just a year ago and rejoice in the progress that has happened over the past year. One year ago I was stuck in a situation where I had to regularly bring my girl to a therapist who tried to paint me as uncaring and worthy of scorn, despite my attempts to be honest and open, and who seemed to encourage my daughter's estrangement. Now we are half a year free of that closed-minded quack and I relish every hug and kiss my girl bestows upon me. And the silly jokes, silly dancing, group hugs, the line-up of "family feet" and even the gaseous volleys all really make my heart swell. We used all of our patience and wisdom to let things grow and unfold without pushing. If waiting for that silly piece of paper calls for a little more patience, then we will be patient. I'd much rather have us all be in eager anticipation than reluctant co-habitation.

Farewell to the Godfather of Soul

Oh, James Brown. What more could possibly be said about the man? He was the hardest working man in show business. He was like no one else, although so many are lesser imitations and interpretations of him. Wherever it is that James Brown has passed on to, it has just gotten a whole lot funkier than it ever was before. Hail to the king of funk and soul. He will always remain in our hearts and the places that move us. HEEAAAAYYYY!

Friday, December 22, 2006

'Tis The Season to be Jolly

Well, what do you know? Today is Global Orgasm Day. Make sure you don't forget to celebrate!
(heh, Chosen is going to be so bummed I found this before him!)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Oh, Now They Tell Me

That messiness is not a character fault, but actually the sign of a healthy, interesting mind and a fertile imagination. At least that's what this NYT article, Say Yes to Mess, claims. And this now that I've spent the better part of this year working to adopt the routines and order propounded by FlyLady. I'm a naturally messy person and have been criticized for that for a good portion of my life. I don't really think I have come anywhere near attaining a standard that could be construed as being overly neat or organized and it has been really nice to wake up and head into a clean kitchen every morning, so while I don't think I'll be giving up my fluttering flybaby ways, I won't quite worry so much about the towering mountains of stuff that are my desks at work and at home. Balance. I am balanced mid-way between chaos and ordered. Organized chaos or chaotic organization. I'll chose one of those.

Happy Winter Solstice

It's 4:50 pm and black as night out there. Except for the lights of the Christmas trees and decorations shining in the windows and around the houses and yards of the neighborhood. I chuckled as I drove to the grocery store a little after 3 this afternoon and saw the sun was already starting to drop. Time to hunker down, light the candles on the menorah once my girl gets here. I think she's here now. Bye!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


I just updated to the new Blogger and figured it was time for a new color scheme-- wintry blue. Even though it's not very wintry, this lack of daylight is getting to me. I know it's only a few more days until the turnaround starts and the days start getting longer, but these days see me grumpy and a little paranoid a little more often than necessary. It's frustrating to keep trying and working and still get nowhere. I'm tired of waiting for a stupid piece of paper and I don't really see why it's even relevant or important at this point. All it does is make me feel like I'm not going anywhere and I'm not getting anywhere and I'm working my butt off and trying to maintain a good attitude for no good reason.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Big Move Part One is Done

Today was The Big Day, the day wonderful boyfriend moved all his stuff out of his apartment and into the house. We had a small crew of friends and family to help with moving the furniture and we were done with that part of things much earlier than I expected.
In the month since the house became ours we have gotten the electrical systems updated, replaced the leaking washing machine faucet, replaced the dryer vent with a new one, graded the yard along the foundation on the back side of the house, ripped out and disposed of all the carpet in the downstairs, painted two bedrooms and part of the living room, taken down an overgrown shrub that became a tree flanking the driveway, replaced the ceiling fan in the upstairs bathroom and probably other stuff I can't think of right now. My boyfriend has handled most all of the mechanical side of things and I am the painter. Not a totally shabby accomplishment in a month of working on the house after work and on the weekends.
The house looks good with furniture in it. The girl and I were back over this evening to hang out and eat mini moes, chips and cookies leftover from the moving crew's lunch. The girl wanted us to stay over too, but that would have meant sleeping out in the living room and after the hectic pace of the last few days I am really looking forward to a good night's sleep in my own familiar and comfy bed. I'm planning for the girl and me to move in sometime next month. I know the house is going to provide us with months and probably years of projects to accomplish. But it's already starting to feel like home. I'm looking forward to when the three of us (well, four if you count the dog) are all calling it home for real.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Every Ninja Has Its Day

I walked into my first class this morning and with my superior powers of perception noted that three students were dressed as ninjas. I said, "Okay. I see ninjas. What's with that?" I was promptly informed that today is Ninja Day. (Like, duuuh. God, Sensei, don't you know anything?) And indeed it really is Ninja Day. Next year I'll have to remember to mark the occasion by making origami shuriken in class.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Today's Excitement

As I was driving to take my girl to the high school for her dress rehearsal this evening, a big buck ran across the road right in front of my car. I instinctively hit the brakes but he was moving fast enough to get out of the way before I got to him. It all happened so fast I never even got an adrenaline rush from the closely averted danger. My chain of thought went something along the lines of-- oh a big golden retrieve..wait that's not a dog..ooh big and's going fast..oh, there it goes. "Woah! Wasn't that COOL?!?!?" That would have f**ked up my car if I had hit it, I bet.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sad Parade

I found out by talking to my sister today that a 9-year old cub scout participating in the Portsmouth Holiday Parade died after falling off his troop's parade float last night. I guess that's what kept the parade held up from making it's way down to Congress Street for so long. I can't imagine what a terrible tragedy that must be for the boy's family and other loved ones. So very, very sad.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Holiday Season

The girl and I went to enjoy a bit of the holiday season in Portsmouth this afternoon. We went to the matinee of Clara's Dream at The Music Hall. That was a great show. Auntie Groove (Brenda Bufalino) pretty much stole the show, although the entire cast and band were excellent. After that, we went up the square to Popovers, where the deserts were just as incredible as I'd heard they were. The girl had a hot chocolate and a huge slice of the Mocha Torte. I had a coffee and the French Apple Crisp. They are very generous on the portions. We sat and chatted and checked out the preparations for the Holiday Parade going on outside on Congress St.
After fueling up we poked around in a few shops and galleries until it was time for the parade to start. My sister had tipped me off that our dad would be a Grand Marshal in the parade. Of course, he didn't mention this to me when I saw him this morning! Anyway, the parade was about 45 minutes late in getting started and we weren't really dressed for standing in the cold, but we waited it out anyway. Dad was walking the route, so we were able to catch his attention and say hi. He looked happy and surprised to see us there. It looked like he was having a good time. There were lots of marching bands, the New England champion Portsmouth Little League team, girl and boy scouts, church groups, community groups and all the typical holiday parade fare. We decided to leave before Santa's float came to signal the end of the parade since we wanted to avoid the traffic rush out of town. It's many hours later and my toes are still cold, but it was a great afternoon and evening. Sometimes a day out in Portsmouth really does do the trick.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Day Thirty

It's the end of the thirty days. I have not missed a day. I have not seen any appreciable improvement in the quality of my choice of topic or in my writing. I'm not even sure if that was what I was going for. I like to prove I can set goals and attain them, even when they are pointless. This is probably the same impulse that keeps me going back to Weight Watchers. At this point I don't even really care all that much about losing more weight, EXCEPT for the fact that according to them I am five pounds away from my goal weight and I want to play the game and get back to the point where I don't have to pay for meetings anymore. I realize I could just stop going to the meetings and therefore stop paying. That's not the point. I want to play the game and get to the goal. Hmm, I sound like a gerbil in a maze.

Cyril Connelly?

I woke this morning with "Eric the Half a Bee" in my head. I hadn't even heard it in years. Go on. Click the link and have a listen. It'll make you happy.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


I'm glad November is a 30-day month rather than a 31-day month because I am pretty much out of post ideas but I'll be damned if I get this far in NaBloPoMo and blow it at this point just because I have nothing interesting to say. It's not like that stops me at any other time.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Living In the Past Much?

How odd that someone who so steadfastly refuses to communicate face to face chooses to continue to litigate. Is this communication by litigation? Therapy would be so much cheaper.

On The Up Side

Yesterday at the supermarket I bought the special edition version dvd of This Is Spinal Tap for $9.99! I loooove that movie.
And, I got to work and found the nice computer tech guy had left me a new mouse with two buttons and a scroll wheel for my eMac. Yay! Scroll wheel! Two buttons! I love Macs, but those one button mouses (mice?) suck.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel

Day 27. Monday. Back to school from the holiday weekend. Found out my ex has filed a Motion for Reconsideration which means the divorce is quite possibly not going to be finalized anytime soon, unless I can file something else that is the equivalent of begging the court to put me out of the misery that was that marriage. Blah.
Lots of running around and catching up on errands, which meant no time to spend working on the house, which I can't really can't plan to move into until the divorce is done now anyway. I thought it was almost done, but maybe not.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Oh My Neck!

Clean, clean, clean. Tape, tape, tape. Paint, paint, paint. It feels like that is all I do these days, but the reality is that we just got the house 9 days ago and life has gone on in the form of work, holidays to celebrate and other family obligations. My main project this weekend has been to paint my girl's room. I'm trying to make the formerly muddy plum-colored walls white. So far I've put down a coat of primer and a coat of latex over the walls, but they need (hopefully just) one more coat of latex to kill the muddy plum completely.
What really bummed me out was the discovery that painting the ceiling made the room look much brighter. Now that means I'm going to have to paint all the ceilings, which would be bad enough if they were just regular flat ceilings, but these are heavily textured. I did it with a roller, but after googling around I see some people recommend using a sprayer. Does anyone have any advice?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Missed My Chance?

I'm watching some movie on tv ("Mr. Deeds") where Adam Sandler plays a yokel from New Hampshire. Wow, what a stretch, since he's a yokel from Manchester (aka Manchvegas) New Hampshire, the biggest city in New Hampshire. I also recently found out the Sarah Silverman is from Bedford, New Hampshire, which is near Manchester. There are like 20 Jewish people in New Hampshire and those two end up as Hollywood comedians? I'm Jewish and from New Hampshire. With those odds maybe I went into the wrong business.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my father's 77th birthday. We all went out to dinner at the local "Japanese" steak house and had a great evening. My father is really something else. He still works full time (which means 50-60 hours a week, for him) and wakes up at 4:45 every morning to work out for an hour in his home gym. He is a full steam ahead guy who shows no signs of slowing down. I can only hope that's how I'll be when I reach his age.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you all have a marvelous Thanksgiving!

Thankful for the Recognition

Wow. I never thought I'd see the day when a tenured professor from my school would publicly address the issue of exactly how crappily the university treats adjunct faculty. I can vouch that those salary figures he quotes are real. What I didn't know is that the rate was set back in 1991 and has not been raised since.
Read the article here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Damn Pie

Grrrr. I have such minimal duties for the Thanksgiving meal. And yet, I'm not performing them well. My job is to make two pumpkin pies and an apple-butternut squash dish and bring them to my sister's house tomorrow. I've got the pies in the oven on a cookie sheet that decided to warp up on one end from the heat and dump a good deal of the pie filling out of one of the pies. It's still relatively full, but what's in there is going to be set on a diagonal. Too bad I didn't get any whipped cream that could have been used to disguise the flaw. At least the apartment smells marvelous right now.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Blowing My Cover

No, I don't consider posting quiz results authentic blogging. That just happened to be a cool quiz.
I'm surprised I've made it two-thirds of the way through the month without blowing my "big secret." I suppose I could go on some more about my anxiety over the holiday season and making sure everyone's schedule allows them to enjoy time together and how I forget to see if I'm enjoying things since I'm so busy worrying about everyone else. But that's boring and would cause me to worry about boring you, the reader.
So instead, I'll blow my secret and let it be known that for the past month my girl and I have spent Monday nights taking belly dance classes in Rollinsford. It's so much fun. And every time I find myself alone in front of a mirror I practice hip circles or figure eights or the chest circles or figure eights. In fact, I was doing just that today at the dressing room in Target. I hope they don't have cameras in there. I've also been known to practice snake arms when taking a walk, when I think no one else is around.

Reserved Creator

My personal DNA is pretty. (Mouse over the colors to see what they mean.)

Monday, November 20, 2006


Deepest, darkest night. The phone shrieks through the silence at 4:38 am, or thereabouts.
"Hello. This is some translation agency in Singapore that you have never heard of. We got your telephone number from the translators' directory. We would like to offer you a job. Oh, is it nighttime there? I don't know. I am in Singapore."
Yes lady, it is nighttime here. Yes you have just blasted me from sleep and nearly given my dog a heart attack to boot. No, I cannot deliver a translation of a business contract to you by tomorrow your time, which will be the end of today my time. No, I do not want to look over the job first before I decide because that would mean getting out of bed, turning on my computer, waiting for you to send the file, reading it and THEN telling you no because I have no idea who you are, if you would ever pay me and YOU WOKE ME UP AT 4:38 AM AND DIDN'T EVEN APOLOGIZE!
I need to train myself to just say, "Thank you for the call but it is the middle of the night here and I cannot discuss business. Please call back during my normal business hours if you'd like to work with me."

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Another Post About the House

Yes, I realize this blog is in danger of becoming one of those house-centric blogs, but that's what occupies your mind when you buy (or to be accurate here, your boyfriend buys because you're still waiting for your damn divorce to be finally finalized so you can sink some cash into the beast and have your name on the deed) a house. Hey, tt least I'm not writing about baby poop-- too much of or lack thereof and subsequent suffering.
So, back to the topic at hand. I wonder how we are ever going to live in peace with any sort of decorating concept since I am heartily on the side of minimalism and my boyfriend (and my girl, the traitor!) are self-proclaimed pack rats. I don't like a lot of stuff in a room. I like clean lines and no clutter. I do not appreciate pitchky-putchky crap all over the place. One thing that probably appealed to me in Japan was the traditional design sense of rooms with almost nothing in them, just clean lines and open space that allows you to appreciate the beauty of the wood and tatami mats and the view into the garden. Of course the reality of many people's homes in Japan is that they are stuffed floor to ceiling with a plethora of crappy souvenirs and trinkets that are obligatory in the social order of things. But I'm speaking of ideals here. My ideal is "less is more." My boyfriend's ideal is "more is more." I know relationships are about compromise. (My therapist even says so. ;) ) So I hope we will at least be able to compromise on where to compromise. He has already claimed the downstairs den as "his" room, so I figure he can do whatever he wants with it. I'm going to need there to be at least one room in the house that is relatively clutter-free or I will not be a happy camper.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

House Day Two

Bought painting supplies, missed our first house guests, scraped off glued down carpet pad, removed carpet staples from staircase, was so busy running various errands that I didn't get to spend enough time working on the house. I like being there. I like doing the work. I just need to remind myself that all the other things that need to get done on any given day-- laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning the place I'm still living, work-- still need to get done and it's not realistic to think that I'm going to be able to put in as many hours as I'd like on any given day.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Home Work

Wonderful boyfriend closed on the house today in a little room at the Registry of Deeds that was decorated on three walls with hand-painted bucolic scenes of fields, bunnies and butterflies. As a spectator rather than a participant in the event, I had a view of the room's one plain wall as I sat in the corner under the painted white birch that stretched its leaves up to the ceiling.
The closing closed. The house had no electricity for a couple of hours thanks to a screw up by PSNH, so we headed down to my Dad's office for a surprise birthday pizza party for his 77th birthday. They managed to pull off the surprise because his birthday isn't for another week.
Then it was time to get to work. I did some cleaning in the house and helped rip out the carpet in the basement. I cut myself with a utility knife and had my first blood-letting in the house. Now I am losing my mind trying to figure out what colors to paint the interior since I basically hate every color the former owner used aside from the walls she left painted white.
I'm tired and crabbed at my girl on the phone because she's known for the whole week that she has a sleepover birthday party tomorrow afternoon starting at 4 and won't be back to my house until 3, but her father didn't take her to get a birthday present or card. Of course, I'm probably really pissed off at him, but since I never talk to him I got frustrated with her instead because she didn't ask for my help earlier in the week. So now I'm tired, stressed about paint colors, damp basements and acting bitchy to my girl. Ah, the splendor of it all.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Or is it "lethargia"? My girl tried to back-form the country name "Norwegia" from "Norwegian", and it sounds kind of cool, so I'll go ahead and call it lethargia. I've been okay in class this week, but I have no motivation to do any school work when I'm out of the classroom. And despite what you might think, when you're the teacher that's even worse than a student feeling that way. In the classroom the teacher drives the bus. (oooh, bad mixing of metaphors here but I am also a bass player, so maybe that can explain it away.) All I want to do is sit on the couch and surf Craftster while thinking about knitting rather than actually getting it done. But the reality is that I am in my office, at my desk, with homework to be graded and quizzes to write and I can't go home until it gets done, so I best get doing.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


So here we are at Day 15 of the NaBloPoMo. I'm not really sure what I think so far but since this is a very big month in my life, what with the divorce decree and the wonderful boyfriend buying a house in which we all will live happily ever after, I suppose someday in the future I will look back on it and be glad I kept a record of what was going on in my head, even if it was stuff about Disney dogs and planets and weird friends who live far away. Sometimes the stuff that is right in my face and within reach is too hard to wrap my brain around to write about. Things are easier to comprehend in retrospect.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

More Weird Friends

As I was getting starting to get ready for bed around 10:30 last night my phone rang. I reacted with slight alarm. No one ever calls that late. So with some trepidation, I picked up the phone to hear a very familiar voice with its characteristic New York accent ask "Whaddaya doing?" "Getting ready to go to bed." "Whaddya mean getting ready to go to bed. It's only like 10:30 there! Who goes to bed that early?!"
Oh yes, it was Ivan. He has such a charming way of starting phone conversations. Ivan is a friend from college. He used to bribe me to study for Japanese exams with him by promising to cook for me. Now he lives in Tokyo and is a chef. Among news of a friend's new baby, my own soon-to-be-finalized divorce and other catching up, he informed me he is going to fulfill the dream of every Jewish boy from Long Island and open his own ramen shop in Tokyo. If you know anything about ramen (the real stuff, not the instant kind) you'll understand he is going deep. I think he can pull it off. He has the right personality to be a boutique ramen shop owner.

Tangents in Outer Space

In the classroom I am known for going off on tangents. For the most part these tangents are related to the subject I teach in a broad sense. I mean, usually they are something about Japan. I control myself fairly well with the first year class but sometimes it gets a little loose with the second year class. Today they were practicing expressions about things they'd like to try to do when visiting another place. The textbook gave us five exotic locations and the students had to come up with a sixth. They chose the moon. This somehow led to a conversation about the planets and it seems a lot of the students are angry about Pluto's demotion to a "demi-planet." (We also talked a little about what the planets are called in Japanese, thus preserving tangential contact with our class subject.)Somewhere along the line, with students proclaiming Pluto was their favorite planet, I felt compelled to share one of my most embarassing elementary school episodes. I think it happened in third grade. We were studying the solar system and the teacher asked us to identify the last planet in the solar system. I knew I had it nailed. I raised my hand, got picked by the teacher and proudly proclaimed, "It's Goofy!"
Well, I knew it was one of those Disney dogs...

Monday, November 13, 2006

Some Days You Eat The Bear

A couple of weeks ago I attended the wedding of some friends and my sister read a poem called The Invitation as part of the ceremony. I've been thinking about this poem on and off since then. It was a bold choice for a wedding, but that suits the couple perfectly.
One stanza of the poem reads,
"It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy."

I found myself going over and around those lines in my head like a wiggly tooth. I've wrestled with that bear in the past. After wading through the mossy questions of "gee, is this an appropriate wedding sentiment?" and "can being faithless lead to being trustworthy?", I can see now that the betrayals I committed in the past all stemmed from an inability to admit the truth to myself, or even worse, an inability and unwillingness to share that truth with those who needed to know it. It's not good enough to flow along just to minimize friction. You need to hold your ground in the small daily struggles so everyone knows who you really are, even when that means you really are unpleasant. So you don't end up creating another shadow life to escape from the one you live and secretly despise.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Turkey Pot Pie

Let me know what you think about this. If at random odd hours of the night your darling had a habit of whispering "turkey pot pie*" in your ear as you slept or, worse yet, dozed on the verge of sleep, would you be at fault if, in your mostly unconscious state, you happened to aim a light kick or two his way?
*Why "turkey pot pie"? It's a joke that has evolved from a line in The Breakfast Club.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Mandatory Post of the Day

It's been warm around here for November, but I'm still knitting obsessed. I think it's due to the shorter days. This morning I went to Michael's and bought two kinds of yarn for "Christmas presents". I suppose eventually they will turn into presents, I'm just not sure who will receive what yet. Don't hassle me with those details! I just want to knit cute things. They'll find their rightful recipients after they're done.

Friday, November 10, 2006

One Point Advice

Upon your first visit to the home of your prospective future in-laws following your engagement announcement, if either (or both) parent(s) sinks down to his and/or her knees, bows his and/or her head to the ground and begins to thank you profusely for agreeing to marry their offspring, feel free to take a very long time to reconsider the wisdom of your decision to marry. It may save you trouble down the road. Just saying...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

What I Hate About Teaching (aside from having to talk to people)

Heh. No, although in theory I dislike the whole idea of dealing with people, I actually enjoy them quite a bit in reality. I have to admit I enjoy having an audience in the classroom. What I really hate about teaching is grading homework and tests. That is why I am thinking about teaching a conversational Japanese class outside of the traditional school environment. I could have all the fun and none of the grading.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Squeaky Wheel

got the grease. I guess sometimes whining does pay off.
This blog has been reviewed by Janice at N.H. Blogging. It was probably thanks to my whining in the comments section on Be Less Boring that although my boyfriend's and sister's blogs had been reviewed, mine had not. Now it has.
She likened me to "a lunatic accordion player with an attitude." For some odd reason this pleased me greatly. There's so much going on these days-- new house, divorce decree, reconnecting with old friends-- that I am easily excitable. Polka On Y'all!!!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

More Big News

Wow, this is a week for folks I know in the news. Although I have sworn it off on principal, I picked up last week's copy of The Wire to see what info they had about the candidates and opened it up to see the artwork featured on page 3 was done by my boyfriend's brother in law. Turns out he just found out about it being published there yesterday too.
Today my mother told me to check out the front page of today's Portsmouth Herald. There's a big feature article on my uncle's retirement after 52 years in the menswear business. His retirement at 77 doesn't come as a surprise to me, and I'm glad to see it's really happening, especially since I was there before and after the open heart surgery he had last spring. Although it's foreign concept to my uncle and my dad, I'd like to see at least one of them slow down and take it easy. I kind of doubt it will happen, he'll just find himself another way to be busy.

Free At Last (sort of. With apologies to MLK for stealing the line.)

Although it wasn't written in liquified gold in Sanskrit after all, I am still very pleased to report that I have finally, finally, FINALLY received a copy of the divorce order from the court. And it only took 2.5 years from the time I left him to get it all done. Actually, it's not all done because now there is a 10 day window to appeal the decision, but I don't anticipate any problems. I didn't get everything I wanted, but that's why you ask for more than you want in this type of situation.

Lost and ...

Last night when we got home from dance class I realized that I was wearing only one of the earrings I made at the class on Saturday. My first pair of Pam-made earrings and I already lost one! I was bummed out for a minute or two until I realized that I made them so that means I can always go back to the bead store and make another one just like the one I lost.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Is anyone else not loving Firefox 2.0 on a Mac? It hangs and spins the rainbow colored wheel at me too often and sometimes when I open a new tab I cannot enter anything into the address bar. Not only that, sometimes my space key doesn't work to scroll down the page. Nope, not loving it at all, even though the restore function brings me back to the pages that were open when it started hanging and forced me to quit the program.

Old Friends

In the past few weeks I've been back in touch with some old friends. Maybe it's some sort of mercury retrograde thing. What always strikes me when I get back in touch with friends after years of no contact is how I still feel really comfortable communicating with them and how little seems to have changed between us. What also strikes me is how the people I have maintained these friendships with over the years, or in some cases decades, is how weird they all are. Not "his hobby is collecting antique sex toys" kind of weird, but "he has a reputation for freaking people out" kind of weird. Case in point number one is my old karate head master. I admit the guy is, in a way, off his rocker and is always willing to put his students in situations that will threaten their physical safety and emotional comfort zones , but I've never met anyone with more drive and confidence. He also has a great sense of humor. It also never bothered me that he likes to go around looking like a Japanese hybrid of Elvis and some sort of mafia figure and believes in his heart that he can be the next big thing in martial arts on a scale with Bruce Lee. I've never seen him back down from anything in fear or trepidation. I learned about testing and respecting my limits in his classes and in dealing with him in helping out with the dojo. He may have a flashy facade but when it comes to intent he is as straight an arrow as you'll ever find.
Last night I called and talked with a friend of mine from Colorado who is a musician and recording engineer and producer. He was a friend of my boyfriend's when I was in college. Me and the boyfriend didn't stay together but Bob and I stayed friends anyway. I never really understood why so many people seemed intimidated by him. Sure, he has little tolerance for idiots but there's nothing wrong with that. He is talented as hell musically and it wasn't until years later that I realized how much I learned from him about music and how to really listen to it.
My oldest, weirdest and best friend is Heidi. We became friends in the third grade and sometimes years and years go by between contact, but we're always the same. She ended up the way my mom probably wanted her girls to end up. She is married, with three kids and is a stay at home mom. She is still also the funniest, wackiest person I know. The last time I spoke with her it dawned on me why maybe my perception that I am really very normal is not quite the same as the perception of others around me. (In other words, I get called weird a lot.) All my life Heidi has been my standard of weird versus normal and most of the time I'm not quite as out there as she is. Thus, I am normal.
If the old "birds of a feather flock together" saying is true, I'm proud of the company I keep.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I Needed Another Obsessive Hobby

Yesterday I finally took a class at The Bead Bin. It's another one of those things I've been wanting to do for a long time but never actually sign up for. This was an earring making class. It was two hours long and I learned the correct way to turn a loop which means I can now make dangly earrings and lot of other stuff.
This morning the girl and I went to the craft store to get some paint for the volcano she is making for a science project. (Yes, it's going to explode and everything.) While we were there I decided to pick up some things to make stitch markers with. I've been a knitting fanatic for years, but I've never used nice stitch markers. It's always cut off pieces of straws or leftover yarn from some other project. I made these markers while eating lunch. (I have no patience.) I had to use whatever pliers I could find in my tool box so the loops aren't very nice, but for a few bucks I'm quite pleased with the result.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Now If I Just Take It To Heart

Great tips for any kind of freelancer.

Good Boy

I love having a dog. Who else is going to follow me around and look at me with such an expression of adoration? Of course, he does get underfoot and threaten to trip me up several times a day, but if that's the price of having my own personal fan club, it's worth it.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Howdy Folks

All these new visitors and me with nothing clever to say. The NaBloPoMo! Randomizer seems to bringing many visitors my way. Well, to you all I say, "hi!"
So, of course the presentation on "Student Motivated Vocabulary Acquisition" (sounds appropriately academically bullshitty, huh?) I gave at work yesterday was fine. I don't know why I insist on driving myself and everyone around me crazy for days before I give any kind of presentation. I mean for god's sake, I'm a teacher. I stand up in front of people and talk every day. Is there really a difference between that and a presentation? Presentations are acutally easier because I only have to know what I'm doing for an hour or so and I don't have to count on the audience coming back again the next day. When I teach I actually need to have a plan for the whole semester in line. Oh well. Anyway, I regularly think about quitting teaching because there's not a lot of money in it and sometimes too many students come to me with too many problems and excuses all at once. (I teach at a college, so they're all adults, in theory.) Then something happens to make me think about how I may actually be effecting peoples' lives in some kind of positive way and I think maybe I really don't want to quit after all. Yesterday this happened at a conference with my girl's teacher. In the course of conversation I mentioned where and what subject I teach. My girl's teacher asked me if I knew a particular student. "Oh yes!", I said, "He was in my class last year. He did well in the class." Turns out my former student's mother is a teaching aide at the middle school. My girl's teacher told me that all my former student talked about last year was his Japanese class and how much he loved it. That got me to thinking about this particular circle in the community between me, the student, his mom the teaching aide, my girl's teacher, my girl and back to me. It feels good to know that someone else had heard good things about what I do before they even met me. I guess that's part of the reward of teaching.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I Will Survive!

Thank you Gloria Gaynor for singing that song so its chorus can be my own personal anthem for the day. Due in class in about 4 minutes. More or less have my lesson plans ready but am now two days behind on grading student work. This afternoon I have to give the presentation to my work colleagues. Hope it doesn't suck. An hour after that I have a conference with my girl's teacher. That should be fine but I think her math class is too easy for her so maybe she can switch to another section or something. Then early evening I am going to attend the Open lands Committee meeting at City hall for the first time. I signed up to find out more about them at Apple Harvest Day and said I was interested in being on the Monitoring Committee, which means going out and walking the land to see that it's not being misused. If I can combine some community service with an excuse to go walk around in the woods and fields that's perfect.
NaBloPoMo Day 2-- got it.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Holy Mackerel!

I realize Standard Time reared its ugly head at us three days ago, but I've really been too busy to notice until right now that it is slightly after 5pm and it is DARK out.
In other Holy Mackerel! inciting news. I am slated to give a presentation to my departmental colleagues at the university tomorrow afternoon. I was fearing that no one was planning to show up since I am a lone wolf in that department and no one is obligated to show up for me out of political posturing or even collegial courtesy. Today I checked with the administrative assistant in charge of ordering in the lunches for the event and she told me 11 people have RSVPed. That's a good sized group. I suppose when free lunch is thrown into the mix that's added incentive. I wonder if I'll even have a chance to eat. Um, wait. That's probably the wrong thing to be worrying about now, isn't it? Well, I figure it won't suck too much and even if it does, what would the repercussions be? It's not like I can get demoted to a lower rank or position. I'm not even sure if I know 11 other people in the department. Ooh, guess I won't be stealth for much longer there.

Rabbit Rabbit!

First day of the month. First day of NaBloPoMo (click icon over to the right if you need more info.) This means I will post at least once a day every day this month. Thrilling, isn't it? I can feel the chills running up and down your spine as you read this. Yup...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Happy Halloween!

This has been one of the funnest Halloweens ever. Last night my girl and my nephew went trick or treating and me, my wonderful boyfriend and my sister went along as chaperones. (So yeah, more chaperones than trick or treaters.) A year older now, the kids had more stamina than last year and the extra pavement pounding meant a bigger haul. First thing my girl did when she got home was weigh her pillow case full of candy. She brought home 6.5 pounds. That's 1.5 pounds more than last year. It's also an obscene amount of candy. We'll save out a bunch to be used for lunch box treats and she'll take the rest and hide it in her room, where I will unearth it sometime next spring and toss out what's left since she'll have forgotten about it by then.
Today we went to a wedding! This is a wedding that has been in the works for a long long time and it was so satisfying to see it all go so well. The ceremony was held at Fort McClary midday. The weather was warm (for this time of year) and more or less sunny. Guests were told to dress either in costume or in regular wedding garb. We chose costumes, of course. I was a pirate, fully armed with a cutlass and a flintlock. (I may post a photo if one gets sent my way.) My boyfriend was a monk, Brother Seamus. My girl was a 50s girl in a poodle skirt and bobbysocks. The ceremony was beautiful and I admired how it emphasized their wholeness as individuals who were joining together to share in the fullness of life, not to fill an emptiness. It made me think of how my ex used to say marriage was about joining together to make up for what the other lacked and how that always struck me as so wrong.
Anyway, the bride was beautiful in her strapless satin gown with beaded spider web across the bodice and down the skirt and the groom was handsome in his black morning suit with deep maroon vest and a magnificent, thin and spiky red mohawk (that is his real hair, not a Halloween wig). The whole event was a fun mix of formal and ghouly. I loved how it reflected who they are and was all about fun and celebration and not at all about ostentation and pretension.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Daylight Killing Time

I didn't come up with that name for it myself. I saw it written in on the department calendar near the faculty mailboxes. Anyway, it's here. And that means it is 7:38 am on a Sunday morning and I am up, showered and dressed already. Weird. There's laundry, cleaning and grocery shopping to be done, so I guess it will get done early and then I will probably go back to trying to catch up on a sweater I'm knitting. I was about to finish the last shoulder piece yesterday afternoon, while the storm was raging around outside, and came to the horrible realization that I had made a fatal flaw in the sweater back down at the start of the armhole shaping. I thought about trying to work around it and then I realized I'd rather have a sweater I actually have a reasonable chance of wearing rather than something misshapen and relegated to the back of the drawer, but finished sooner than doing it right. So, I ripped it all out, both front and back, down to the beginning of the armholes and this time I did it correctly. I hope I at least still like the sweater when I'm finished making it.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


There is no way in hell I will ever write a novel in a month, or even likely in my lifetime. And yet, when November rolls around and NaNoWriMo begins, I always feel pangs of something like wistfulness. I'd love to attempt something like that, just not quite so ... ambitious. Fortunately, someone was insightful enough to call for NaBloPoMo. A post a day for the month of November. I think I can handle that. More than I can handle a novel anyway.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Things That Go Knock in the Night

Last night was not a great one for sleep. I was up later then usual putting the finishing touches on a translation job due at 9 a.m. this morning. About twenty minutes after I finally got to bed, the alarm clock in my girl's room went off because it had reset back to the default of midnight when we lost power Saturday night. I had remembered to reset her clock but not the alarm. She was too asleep to deal with it, so I got up, reset it for 6:30 and then went back to to bed. At 3:25 I got up to pee. Then at 5:15 I was awakened by short, sharp warning barks from the dog. Between his barks I could hear someone banging on the door. My first guess was that it was probably somehow going to be my PITA neighbor and I really wanted to just ignore it, but the dog was barking and he is not easy to ignore. Then I thought what if there was a gas leak or some other situation that jeopardized our safety. I got up and went to the door and of course it was my neighbor, in her pink bathrobe, apologizing and explaining that her car keys and phone "were locked in another car" and could she please borrow my phone to make a call. I said sure and brought her the cordless phone. She made her call, mostly likely to her boyfriend, whose car she had left, not locked, her keys and phone in. The dog went and laid back down in his bed. She returned the phone and the dog barked a couple more times for good measure since he remembered she was there. I tried to go back to sleep but my headache from yesterday had returned and instead I took some ibuprofen and got out of bed 20 minutes earlier than usual. I can't wait to no longer gave her as a neighbor.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The One, The Only!
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Both my present and maiden name get zero matches here. I'm an original, one and only!

Sunday, October 15, 2006


New Hampshire has had a stellar fall this year. Unlike the endless rain of last October we have had the warm sunny days and cool, but not too cold, nights to give us a beautiful show of fall foliage. The reds are particularly spectacular. I walk around with a camera on me at all times and will pull my car over to the side of the road to get a photo if I'm not in too much of a hurry and the scene strikes me right.
It's been a great fall in more than just a meteorological and scenery kind of way too. Although I am still (four months and counting since the trial, 2.5 years + since I initiated the process) waiting on the divorce order, life has continued to move along. My girl and my wonderful guy get along great. (Most likely because they both have minds that work in weird and weirdly similar ways.) We've been looking for a home to call our own and.... while not every last detail has been signed and nailed down, we're getting very close to that point! As my Mom commented to me recently, "Sometimes life is just grand. Sounds like this is such a time." I think she's right.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What's That You Say?

I say, ipskabibble.

I Can't Believe I'm Going to Say This But...

I heart Starbucks. Maybe I'm just a freebie whore, but I went in to the Dover Starbucks this afternoon while my girl was at dance class so I could get some work done on a translation job and the barrista girl gave me a free iced maple latte. I thought I tried to order a regular iced coffee, but then the girl was offering me a free maple latte (or macchiato, which I had to ask what the hell it was since I am not hip on the Starbucks lingo) to try and if I didn't like it I wouldn't have to pay for it. And she made it up, handed it to me, asked me to try it and let her know what I thought. She said if I didn't like it she'd make me something else and I didn't have to worry about paying for it. It was yummy so I kept it, and then left her a couple of bucks for a tip. As I was working on my translation I heard her comp a few other customer their drinks as well. I figure it's got to be some kind of marketing ploy, like YouWho wrote about recently. But you know what, I think it works because I know where I'll be next Tuesday afternoon.

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Whiner

I really don't know why I continue to torment myself each week by reading The Wire, Portsmouth's "alternative", groovier-than-thou, free arts and music scene rag. Every week there's some opinion piece in there that makes me want to say "Stop whining already!" There's usually at least one reference per issue ever-still mourning the late, great and endlessly hyped Elvis Room, which I think was long out of business before The Wire ever came along. (And no, although I am of the generation, I never went to the Elvis Room. I was living in Japan or Hawaii then.) Anyway, it's long gone. Get over it already.
This week there were two articles bemoaning Cafe Killim's move to Islington St. Why bitch about it? Yes, the market for downtown real estate is hot. Did you like it better back in the late 70s and early 80s when the whole place was dead and everyone was out at the Newington Mall? Why are they complaining about Popovers on the Square as if it were some big corporate tentacle? It's owned by the guy who owns the Galley Hatch in Hampton. It's another local business. Is it too pretty for their "alternative" tastes?
They were all chicken little-y when the Muddy River changed hands and the live downstairs music stopped for a couple of weeks while the new owners decided what they wanted to do. Oh! It was "the end of an era" for live music in downtown Portsmouth. For a couple of weeks anyway until the new owners reopened and renamed the room and started featuring a much wider selection of music and bands.
The Wire bitched about The Friendly Toast being offered the option of buying their location. (Oh no! Don't give them a chance to build equity when they could just pay rent endlessly instead!!) Another sign of Big Bad Business in their eyes. The Friendly Toast did not spring fully hatched at that location. The Friendly Toast started out in Dover and I think they were in Kittery for a while after that before they moved to Portmouth.
The paper seems so reactionary to every change that happens in downtown Portstmouth. I wonder if they have a clue about what's going to happen with the McIntyre Federal Building on Daniel Street. That the whole thing will be torn down and the 2.2 acre lot redeveloped, with the federal offices moving out to Pease. But all that talk happened back in 2003, before The Wire's time. I'm betting that won't stop them from whining about it.

Dawn Breaks Over the Peaks of the Himalayas

I have devised a theory as to why it's taking so long (3.5 months since the trial and still waiting) for my divorce decree to come down. Each individual letter of the decree is being flown by carrier pigeon to a Himalayan mountain top where a scribe is painstakingly recording each precious letter in liquefied gold, in Sanskrit. It will then be carried by hand across the continent and handed off to a long distance swimmer who will bring it back across the ocean to the Strafford County Court for proofreading. The court will, of course, need to consult with a Sanskrit expert from the university, who is naturally on sabbatical for this academic year, to ensure the accuracy.
When I finally get the thing I will frame it in all of its gold lettered splendor and put it on my living room wall. Or if it's too many pages, I'll use it to wallpaper my bathroom.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Third or Fourth Time's the Charm?

For the past four years I have been in an office with a motion detector sensor light that is timed to shut off after about 10 minutes. This means when I am sitting at my desk working, the light flicks off and I have to wave my arm spastically around behind me until the motion sensor detects it and turns the light back on. I have emailed and called the facilities department and have even asked the departmental admin person to check into it for me. Four years and I'm still waiving my arm behind me to turn the light back on. I just made another call to the facilities department and asked them to come and fix it. Uh, what was that definition of insanity again? Something about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome....

Where Did My Time Go?

I don't understand how I used to have more time to blog than I do now. I somehow recall blogging from my office in the mornings, but I never have time for that anymore. I don't blog much from home now either. Guess I'm not feeling particularly observant or introspective these days.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I've Always Been Well-Rounded

Okay, but if I really am this insightful and intelligent, why am I sitting in my office taking online quizzes instead of doing my work!?

Very Well-Rounded

You have:

The graph on the right represents your place in Intuition 2-Space. As you can see, you scored above average on emotional intuition and above average on scientific intuition. (Weirdly, your emotional and scientific intuitions are equally strong.)

Your Emotional Intuition score is a measure of how well you understand people, especially their unspoken needs and sympathies. A high score score usually indicates social grace and persuasiveness. A low score usually means you're good at Quake.

Your Scientific Intuition score tells you how in tune you are with the world around you; how well you understand your physical and intellectual environment. People with high scores here are apt to succeed in business and, of course, the sciences.

Try my other test!
The 3 Variable Funny Test
It rules.

My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on Scientific
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on Interpersonal

Link: The 2-Variable Intuition Test written by jason_bateman on OkCupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Sunday, September 17, 2006

This Bugs Me

Here in New Hampshire in the spring we have to put up with black flies. We also have to put up with mosquitos that might carry Eastern Equine Encephalitis, which can theoretically kill us. But I think I'll take any bug situation NH can throw at me, even the burly spiders, over what happens in this video of the Great Osaka Cockroach Stampede. (via Japan Probe)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

She Has Such Good Taste!

Twice in the past two weeks a student and I have showed up to class wearing variations on the exact same outfit on the same days. Last week (back when it was still warm) we both wore teal blue t-shirts, black cotton skirts and black shoes. Her skirt was longer and she wore sandals and my skirt was knee length and I wore heels, but still it was the same basic color combination and outfit. I walked into class this morning and she started cracking up before I even noticed we were both wearing navy blue cable-knit crew-neck sweaters, khaki colored pants and brown clogs. Again, the sweaters were slightly different and so were the pants and shoes, but it's funny. The term "age appropriate interpretations of a look" springs to mind. How we end up wearing it on the same day is a little bit of a mystery though.
I do this cloned dressing with my sister by coincidence all the time, but it kind of makes sense because we're related and are often told we look a lot alike. It's not a huge surprise that with our shared background and similar "look" we gravitate towards similar styles. My student is obviously younger than me. She's a little taller than me and has completely different hair. I told her next week she should email me before class and let me know what she's wearing so I can make sure I don't wear the same thing!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Ooooh. Leia!

This may solve that annual "what to be for Halloween" dilemma for me this year. It's perfect for trick or treating in New England because by the end of October it's damn cold to be out walking around for several hours at night. Cranial warmth and Halloween costume all in one. And I'd have to knit it! Perfect!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Congrats. Sort of...

So Princess Kiko has given birth to a baby boy and the succession crisis of the Japanese imperial family has been averted. I bet they've known it was going to be a boy from the get go. The Imperial Household Agnecy wouldn't have it any other way.
They still don't have any spare male heirs kicking around though. Maybe they ought to just reinstate the imperial concubine system. That would shake things up some.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Back to School

School started two days ago. For all the bitching and moaning I did before it started, it's good to be back up in front of the classroom again. The only problem is I need about 90 minutes of class time to get through everything I want to cover in the 50 allotted minutes. Well, that and the fact that my classrooms are packed solid full of bodies without a seat to spare. I don't need one. I rarely sit when I'm teaching anyway.
The Friday before classes started I got an email from my new office mate asking if I would mind if she brought her brand-new baby to the office with her. The only problem with that isn't really my problem at all; the office has, over time, become something of a storage closet for end-of-life computer equipment scavenged from around campus. Recently the maintenance staff seemed to think it also looked like a good place to store mopping equipment. It doesn't strike me as a very baby-friendly environment, so I took the opportunity to let the folks who own all the stuff know they might want to clear it out of the way if they want to be welcoming to this new faculty member. The mopping stuff got picked up today anyway. Actually, I haven't seen my office mate's baby at all, although the office mate did stop by this morning to introduce herself and say hi. She seemed a little confused as to exactly who I was and what I was doing in that office when she walked in the door. I introduced myself. I think she looked disappointed that I'm not Asian. Oh well. You don't need to look the part to know the language.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Top Scientist Advises, "Don't Become Eminent"

So maybe this explains why I'm becoming an old fogey and I don't care. And I'm not even eminent.
(via Shannon)

Tick Tick Tick

I'll be back in school in a week. I'm not particularly excited about it or dreading it. After almost 20 (!!!) years as a teacher of one kind or another, the "first day back to school" jitters just don't really happen much anymore.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Candles vs. Incense

This afternoon I sat relaxing at my kitchen table reading a magazine. (It's not something I find time to do very often.) To make the most of the relaxing mood, I lit some incense and started thinking about how I like incense better than scented candles.
I like Japanese incense the best. It's much more refined than the stuff they sell in head shops that's imported from India. Awesomely enough, my wonderful boyfriend found Nippon Kodo's website and ordered a ton of incense from them. It's the same incense I sometimes bought when I lived in Japan.
There are several reasons why I prefer incense. First of all there's the scent itself. I've got a lot of olfactory memories of Japan intertwined with the fragrance of incense-- temples, walking past high-walled graveyards, the altar at my ex-in-laws house, Kyukyodo in Kyoto, even my old apartments. I like the smoke. I know they sell "smokeless" incense, but the smoke appeals to me. I like to watch it drift, to see how the air currents are flowing in my room. Incense has a beginning, middle and end. With scented candles you have to think about when to blow them out. And you have to remember if you extinguished them before going to bed or leaving the house. Not with incense. It gets lit. It burns down. It's done. If you want more, you light more.
Incense is all fragrance, not much light. Candles set a mood. Maybe I like them better when the days are shorter. They're cozy in the winter. Incense takes me someplace else. I don't know when I'll get there again in presence. For now an olfactory journey is about as close as I get.


My final paralegal certificate courses ended two days ago. I checked my grades and see I got a 95% for the microcomputing applications course and a 91.45% in the criminal law class. Okay. So after a ten year break I returned to school and still had my (nearly) perfectionist streak intact.
I will not become a paralegal. The point of the whole endeavor was to educate myself in legalese so I can make that a translation specialty. If it works out, wonderful. Either way, it has been good to learn more about how the law works.
Theoretically this should free up several hours in my week that were previously spent on homework, exams and fun stuff like that. So far the time has been filled with some paying translation work. (yay!) It's got nothing to do with legal subjects, more corporate eco-speak stuff. Anyway, it's work and they pay me for it.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Trail Report and My Philosophy of Hiking

Yesterday we hiked a big hike-- two peaks (3,910' and 4,052'), 6.5 miles, 2,500 feet vertical rise. We went up to the top of Crawford Notch and hiked the Webster-Jackson loop trial.

It was a beautiful day for it and it was a beautiful hike, even though my actual hiking experiences usually go something like this:

First 45 minutes to 1 hour or so: Head is dizzy. Legs feel completely not up to the challenge. Carry on.

First hour to first summit: Quiet yet grumpy. Annoyed at all rest stops because they are not getting us closer to the summit

First Summit: Moment of elation somewhat dampened by how cold and windy summits are. Put on all layers of clothing available. Hunch down behind some sort of wind block and eat gorp, summit cookies and jerky. Realize there's still one more summit and the descent to go.

Ridge to Second Summit: Feel pretty good thanks to sugar buzz and the relative ease of most trails between summits.

Second Summit: Briefly enjoy nice views. Realize it's just as cold and windy here as at previous summit. Carry on.

Descent: The hardest portion of the hike. Complain about how much my knees hurt all way down. Wonder when we can get back to the car already.

Drive Home: Rhapsodize about how excellent the whole hike was and how much fun I had!

Yesterday really was a good hike, the toughest we've ever done. My girl bagged her first 4,000 foot peak and it was my second. The views really were astonishing, big green mountains as far as the eye could see. The peak of Mt. Washington was clear and not too far away from us since we were hiking in the Presidential Range.
And my knees didn't even really start to hurt that much until about the last half mile of the day. As we drove away, wonderful-yet-slightly-devious boyfriend pointed out the one of the mountains we had just climbed to our left. It was HUGE. I had to bend over with my head near my knees to look out the driver's side window in order to see the summit. I found it hard to believe that we had been capable of climbing that massive beast of a mountain. Then I realized we drove past if on our way there as well and he hadn't pointed out that was our destination. He had kept it to himself because we probably would have mutinied if we had realized that was were we were headed.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

What a Weekend

Saturday night I went out with my sister. We were supposed to go see our buddies in Geezerteen play at the Press Room, but it wasn't to be. Sis told me there was a party in Dover with some of the people she volunteers with working with the police horses. She asked if I'd mind if we stopped by. I said "no problem", figuring we'd get there around 8 and leave around 9:30.
It never happened. The party happened, but the journey to Portsmouth never did. I met some very nice people at the party and there was plenty of good food and drink there. Around 9:30 I started to notice it looked like we weren't moving along to our next destination. By 10 I was thinking it wasn't likely we'd be making it there. By 11 I was all set and ready to go home. By 11:30 almost everyone else had left the party and I finally convinced sis it was time to go home.
The next morning I was at the pool by 7am for my girl's big swim meet. I showed up that early because I thought I had to be there to work the concession stand. When I went to check they told me the work assignment was from 11am to the end of the meet. If I hadn't had been so sleep deprived and vaguely hung over I would have gone home to sleep for a few hours. Instead I parked my chair on the sunny hill and read the Sunday paper and kind of nodded out for a while. My girl's first event was right around 11. I watched her swim and do an excellent job-- winning her heat and besting her previous time by six seconds. I went to the concession stand after that and saw someone setting my ex up behind the grill. Since only one family member has to volunteer per meet I left it to him. Of course, he could have communicated to me earlier that he would work the concession stand, but since he doesn't talk to me at all, naturally he didn't. Anyway, I moved my chair under the trees and watched my girl swim several more great events. Then when she was done I was able to head home and nap for a little while mid-afternoon.
Later in the afternoon me, the wonderful boyfriend and the girl went to Portsmouth to see the The Eagle, a tall ship that was visiting Portsmouth. It was an hour-long wait to get on the ship, but I think it was worth it. After that, we went out to dinner at the Muddy River.
Another whirlwind weekend. I love it.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


I used to be a confirmed coffee drinker. Had to have a cup every morning or I didn't feel alive. Now I think I've hit the other extreme and can't, or at least shouldn't, drink coffee anymore.
I weaned myself off the coffee by drinking tea, without even realizing it. This week I've gone to local coffee shops a couple of times to do some work and enjoy their air conditioning and both times I've felt fidgety and agitated for the rest of the day. It's got to be the coffee. I need to switch to decaf, or at least half decaf. I hate feeling this antsy!!!

Monday, July 31, 2006

All We Need is a Little Patience

I don't blog with nearly the frequency that I used to, but I think that is because now I spend more of my time living my life and not so much time sitting around waiting for things to change. There are still plenty of things I'm waiting for, like my divorce decree and my cut of the house, but really those are minor things in the day to day of living.
This summer has already had so many opportunities for my wonderful boyfriend, my spectacular girl and me to spend time together doing all kinds of fun things like hike, go to the King Arthur Festival, listen and sing along to sea shanties (yes, really), watch movies, hack limbs, swim at the pond, play with the dog, eat ice cream, go to country stores and just hang out and enjoy each other's company. It took a long time for this to happen and I think that lets me appreciate it all the more. At the risk of being really goopy, I think so much has happened and so many things have changed in me over these past few years that I've become able to stop looking at my life as a series of obstacles and impediments and rather than just feeling guilty about sometimes having the need to receive, I can see how much I have to share and to give too.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Go Ahead and Bow Down, if you feel like it

I think this is better than what I got the last time I tried something like this.

You scored as III - The Empress. The Empress is a maternal symbol. She is the mother figure who loves, nurtures and protects.
She will protect you, she will always be there when you are in trouble. When you fall over and graze your knee, the Empress will kiss it better.
Yet she is not a weak figure. Her compassion is strength. If her children are threatened she will stop at nothing to protect them. If well aspected in a Tarot spread, the Empress can symbolise security, protection and unconditional love. If badly aspected it can represent over-protectiveness, fear of risk taking and refusal to face the real world.

III - The Empress


XIII: Death


I - Magician


VIII - Strength


VI: The Lovers


XIX: The Sun


II - The High Priestess


IV - The Emperor


X - Wheel of Fortune


XVI: The Tower


0 - The Fool


XI: Justice


XV: The Devil


Which Major Arcana Tarot Card Are You?
created with

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


WTF? It's 1 am and I just finished taking my criminal law midterm exam online. I'm glad there's less than a month left until I finish this whole program because I feel like my head's going to explode after being asked to explain why we allow alcohol to be sold and consumed but not "narcotics" like opiates, cocaine and marijuana. Pot is not a narcotic. It's a plant. Stop lumping it in with crack and oxycontin. And god please stop those people in the class whose whole point of debate on the issue is that it's bad because it's illegal and therefore it is bad. These are the same folks who argue that it's ok for the governmnet to wiretap our phone calls if they say they need to because if they say they need to, then they must be justified. Sheep. baaah baaah.
I hate people sometimes. I really hate stupid people with no capacity for analytical thought. I hate staying up until 1 to write an exam I don't even care about. (and yet I do care because little miss super student inside me wants to maintain the cumulative 3.67 GPA I've got now that no one in the world will ever ever see or care about other than me.)
I hate how arrogant I get about school. I knew there was a reason why I said no more after I finished my masters. Why didn't I listen?
Three more weeks and I'm done. Then I have to move off my ass and go out and sell my newly certified skills. Joy.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

So Solly!

I'm usually not so much of a collecting-type geek, but this 1963 Waddingtons version of the classic board game Sorry! looks really friggin awesome. It's my favorite passive-aggressive board game, in the first place. And look at that little dude bowing! And there are cherry blossoms and bonsai trees and sort of Chinese looking mountains. It's so 1960s retro-Anglo-Asian. I dig it.

Of course this whole game lust has been spurred by the fact that I bought a new version of Sorry! today at Walmart since my last one is still at the ex's place and not worth the hassle it would take to get it back. They've designed the latest version to look all space-age and astral. A space-robot motif, I guess you could say. I don't like it. I am disproportionately disappointed that the design has strayed so far from the classic, simple lined version I remember playing back in the 70s. I don't want space age Sorry!, I want the more normal one. Except now I want the retro-Anglo-Asian version even more.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Happy Anniversary!

Happy anniversary to Gary Sredzienski and the Polka Party on WUNH celebrating their 19th anniversary! It's the coolest show around, bar none. If you're in the Seacoast NH area tune your radio dial to 91.3 FM between 9 am and 11 am on Saturday morning to get in on the fun. If the airwaves won't reach you, go to WUNH and listen to it live online or download previous shows.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Hello Estonia!

I love how weird and random the internet can be. I was just looking at visitor stats and see that someone in Estonia googled something in some language that may or may not be Estonian that got them to click on a link to a picture of a bag I made two and a half years ago. Of course they might have been searching for something like "ugly handmade bag", but even still, it just seems kind of cool.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


Five weeks to go to finish the damn paralegal certificate course. I'm getting kinda tired of this online study thing. I have learned a lot along the way (which was the whole point) but when they make me take a class on the basics of using MS Office during the last of the six terms, I wonder what they hell the point is in that. Especially since I had to submit 17 separate Word documents showing I know how to cut and paste, use find and replace and use the thesaurus for the first week's assignment.
I've been using Word or some form of word processor since 1987 for god's sake! Hell, I even used to teach students how to use the damn software as part of my job when I taught English in Japan. At least I can jump straight to the weekly assignments and not worry about wasting time doing the assigned reading in the fifteen-pound textbook that cost $70.
Oh, and let's not forget the sections where the book asks us to go out and plagiarize web articles and call them summaries without asking for any form of citation. Sorry, but as a former English teacher that is a total pet peeve of mine. You don't just go out and gather various paragraphs from the web, sequence them yourself and claim it's your own work. That's cheating. And it's exactly what the book asks us to do. I added citations anyway. I mean, how hard is it to google up one of those citation-generating websites now?
The $800 or so dollars of student loan debt I'm generating on this course is starting to piss me off. The only saving grace may be the two weeks we spend on Excel because I suck at using Excel and I do need to use it for one of my bookkeeping gigs.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Hontoe Moods Cashey!

Gee, maybe I should go really old-school and teach from this text in the fall. It's called "Exercises in the Yokohma Dialect" and was first published in 1897.
Piggy? what's that about?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Wicked Awesome Weekend

Well, that was such a great weekend that it lasted until Wednesday morning!
On Saturday me, my girl and my awesome boyfriend went and flew pirate kites at Wagon Hill. There was a nice steady breeze blowing up on the hill and the kites really took off. We brought the dog with us and he had a blast too. After we dropped the panting pup off at home we went to Calef's in Barrington, stopped at the Dairy Bar in Durham and then a little later on went to Hot Dog Heaven in South Berwick. (yeah, there goes the Weight Watchers...)
On Sunday afternoon my dad and step mom had the family over for a barbecue, which was actually Weight Watcher friendly since I'm back on WW with Dad. (and driving those who deal with me on a daily basis crazy because of it, but I'll save that for another post.)
On Monday the three of us went hiking near Squam Lake on Mounts Morgan and Percival. It was my girl's first ever hike and she loved it. I was so proud of her. We're definitely doing more of that. I even went down through the cave and ladders on Mt Morgan. It was awesome.
In the evening we hooked up with my sister and her family and went to Portsmouth for the fireworks. That was ok even though I was tired and could hardly walk because my left knee was all locked up. It seemed like the same show as last year and the traffic to get out of town was truly sucky. But I sure slept good that night.
On Tuesday me and the girl hung out at home and relaxed for most of the day and then wonderful boyfriend came over later and we all went to my sis's house for a barbecue and to watch the Dover fireworks from her driveway. Mom came and joined us, which was great since I hadn't seen her in a little while. The food was awesome, as it always is when my bro-n-law is running the kitchen and the grill. The fireworks were really nice too. I think Dover shoots off better fireworks than Portsmouth.
Today it was back to the regular routine and to work, Even that was ok after such a great weekend.

Friday, June 30, 2006


No wonder I'm nuts and have no patience. I blame it on my family. Maybe it's genetic.
My 77 year old uncle had open heart surgery yesterday. The surgery was to replace a porcine valve that was put in 19 years ago. It has been replaced by a bovine valve. (So he's kosher again!) The old valve was supposed to last 8 or 9 years, so the fact that it kept going for 19 years is pretty good. Even still, it's unsettling to think about a guy his age going in for such a major surgery. I have to admit I had a hard time getting to sleep last night wondering if everything went okay.
The news this afternoon was that my uncle's doing even better than his doctor anticipated he'd be doing at this point. They may have even already moved him out of the ICU. My dad's going down to Boston for a visit tomorrow.
Today at lunch my dad told me a story about the last time my uncle had heart surgery and my dad went to visit him a couple of days later. He said my uncle got out of bed, put on his robe and started walking out of his room. A nurse saw him and asked him what in the world he thought he was doing. "I'm going to lunch with my brother!" was his reply. Being as that he was just a couple of days post-op, she yelled at him and made him get back into bed. He and my dad got a big kick out of the whole thing.
I can almost picture me doing the same thing 30 or 40 years from now, but the line will be "I"m going to breakfast with my sister!."

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Another Addition to my Bag of Tricks

This week I finished up courses numbers seven and eight (family law and business law) of the 10-course paralegal certificate I'm pursuing. I'm not certain, but I'll probably get grades in the B to A- range for them. That's good enough for me. In grad school, where I majored in the oh-so-marketable field of Japanese classical literature, I had a 4.0 average. Now as a teacher, I think that's friggin ridiculous and pretty well shows I was an obsessive perfectionist with no life outside of school.
I've got a full ten days off before the last term of paralegal classes start. I'm down to working just two part-time jobs these days. I think I may actually be learning how to relax and enjoy myself.Oh, the horror! ;)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Vent Minor

Now that the trial is done I guess I have some leeway to bitch about my ex in this oh-so-public forum. He testified in court that he makes $8,000 a year net. I just spoke to my girl, who is with her father this evening, and she told me he just recetnly got a $600 massage chair. And the foot massage attachment will be coming next week. That's quite a luxury to blow 10% of your annual income on.
I hope it was as obvious to the judge as it was to me that he was lying his ass off about more than money up there on the stand.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Sting Me

Yesterday morning, as I was about to take my girl and a couple of her cohorts to the library on the first full day of summer vacation, I ran up onto the back porch to grab a bottle of water from the cooler that is out there due to the barbecue we had here on Father's Day. On my way back down the stairs I felt a searing pain at the base omy my achilles tendon on my right leg. It felt like it was literally burning, but when I looked there was nothing there. I ouched myself back over to the car and looked down to see a big red dot on the back of my leg. One of the wasps or hornets or whatever those damn stupd flying stingbots are had stung me.
My leg swelled up around the sting and it hurt for a while, but not enough to stop us from going on with our plans. Now it's over 24 hours later and now the inside of my right ankle is red, swollen, warm and itchy. WebMD says it should go away in a week at the latest.

Friday, June 16, 2006

And The Day After? How Do You Feel?

I feel about 175 pounds lighter.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Congratulations! Your divorce trial is done. What do you do next?

I go home, throw in a load of laundry and pour myself a drink. It's in the home stretch now.
So how's the body count? Two years. Many thousands of dollars. Two and a half days in court. Many tears and restless nights. And now left up to the judge who will most likely come up with a decree that will be no more palatable to either of us than if we had done what I suggested two years ago, which was to mediate a settlement and be done with it. Ah, but he wanted to suffer and play the martyr. Which he did. I think all his testimony did was prove why after working my ass off to support him and take his orders for 14 years I decided I'd had enough.
Oh, but it's going to be sweet once I have that decree that legally declares I am no longer his wife. Maybe then he'll finally realize I was never his property to begin with.

A Bad Dad

I was doing some grocery shopping at Shaw's yesterday. As I was waiting in line at the register I noticed the dad in line ahead of me shoplifted a big jar of Planter's peanuts. There was a toddler in the toddler sized plastic car thing attached to the front of his shopping cart. There was also an infant in a car seat perched in the wire seat where little kids used to sit before they came up with the shopping carts that look like big playground toys. The dad had a basket full of family food and the jar of peanuts wedged into the right side of the wire seat, on the side of the car seat furthest from the cashier. The man chit chatted with the young cashier as she rang up his merchandise. He had his arm draped over the top of the car seat and his body positioned sideways, facing the cashier and blocking any view she might have had of the peanuts. From my perspective standing behind him, the jar with its bright yellow cap was very easy to see. I thought about chiming in with an "Oh sir! You forgot an item in your cart." But I didn't. When I got out into the parking lot I saw their car parked across the row. The kids were in the car and the dad was putting the groceries into the trunk. I noticed the jar of peanuts was nowhere in sight.
Why would someone go to the supermarket, spend over $100 on groceries and then shoplift a $3 jar of peanuts? Especially with two small children in tow. I don't get it.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Chipmunk Attack

The dog and I were out for a walk this morning. It was already about 9:30 and past being the cool part of the day, but it's so nice to see the sun after all the rain we've had lately. We made it safely past the house where the big German Shepard lives without incident. Well, we always make it by the house, but she hadn't come running out barking her big deep bark, scaring my not-so-brave pup into running fast, wide circles around me. His ability to run away quickly is really about his only superior skill.
Anyway, we were past that house and around a corner when a chipmunk ran close by the dog and then stopped. The dog decided to go after it, since it was small and close. The chipmunk started to run off toward a tree in a yard and then apparently thought I was a closer tall object on which to climb to safety, so it changed direction and came running past the dog and straight at my foot. I let out a loud and pathetic "EEK!" and hopped away, trying not to step on the stupid little rodent. Then it ran past me, looped back and ran by me again before scampering off across someone's lawn. I think at that point the dog had stopped trying to catch the chipmunk and just watched the whole incident. I took a minute to get over my adrenalin spike in fear of the little critter. (What if it was rabid!?) We turned another corner and my dog fled to the end of his leash in terror to avoid the wrath of a fluffy yellow pomeranian that came charging at full yap, offended that my buddy had dared walk past its driveway.


I'm not sure which downstairs neighbor, the woman who rented the place or her boyfriend who moved in a couple of weeks later, has the drinking problem, but one of them left the plastic wrap seal from what must be a pretty hefty sized bottle of Absolut on top of my washing machine this morning. Maybe whoever did it felt there wasn't enough room for it on top of her machine since it has had a garbage bag filled with mildewed clothes sitting on it for the past three weeks.

Friday, June 09, 2006

To Be Continued

Day two of the trial is done and we still need to go back for a few more hours toward the end of next week. After a two hour delay, I spent the rest of the day on the witness stand yesterday and maybe another twenty or thirty minutes today. It wasn't fun but in a way it was easier than sitting and listening to some of the other testimony I heard that did not get the facts straight. Some things really drove home why I filed for this divorce in the first place, but it's a little surreal to hear the facts uttered out loud rather than just in my head where they usually reside. It gave me a more objective look at the whole situation and how misguided I was from the very start to have jumped into a marriage to someone from a culture I didn't really understand and after such a brief courtship (5 months from meeting to marriage). I look back at my 25 year old self and wonder "Why didn't anyone stop me? Why didn't anyone question me?" Actually, some good friends did but I was too foolish to listen. I had no idea what marriage really meant and neither did my oh-so-soon-to-be ex. The whole 16 years it's like there was never a consciousness of "ours". There was "mine" and "yours". That's not what marriage means. That kind of thinking is just a recipe for constant power struggles and competition. It's certainly not a recipe for happiness and contentment. It's nice to see that the end to the struggle that was this marriage is in sight. There will undoubtedly be more scrapping along the way with issues concerning our girl, but at least the ex will have to stop acting like he has the right to treat me like I am somehow his property. He just hates the idea that I can and have exercised my own free will.