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...