Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Year That Was

With it being the end of the year and all I figured it was time to take stock of what I accomplished this year and put down some goals for next year. I realize this is probably less than entertaining for you all, but if my main reason for keeping this blog was to be entertaining I'd have to be working a lot harder at it than I do. So there.

Big Things That Happened in 2007
  • My divorce was finally finalized
  • We moved into our house
  • I got a "real" job, meaning I basically kept the same job but now with more money and benefits. (Who says hanging on for 4 years without any promise of advancement isn't a real career strategy?)
  • Met my freelance translation earnings goals for the year, which was about double what I earned last year.
  • Joined a Knitter's group and now have much more inspiration to feed my knitting obession!
  • Stayed a fairly acceptable weight despite quitting WW. I could only go so long calculating the damn Points Value of everything.
  • We went on a real family vacation in the summer and it was a blast.
  • I went on a "girls only" overnight with my girl. Should definitely repeat that in 2008.
  • Ate good sushi in Boston with my sis. Is this the end of my cityphobia?
  • Traded in my old car for one that seems nearly new and also has 4 wheel drive.
  • Had a lot of fun at work.
  • Hiked another 4,000 footer.
  • Had my therapist set me loose after determining that I'm really not struggling with too much any more. I agreed, but it was like taking off the training wheels.

Oh Boy! Oh Joy!

An all-nighter! Or as close to one as I get these days anyway. Suppose this is what I get for accepting a rush job during the pre-holiday weekend. It's been a while since I've done one of these. And actually, I'm kind of in the mood for it. I'm just generally feeling weird these days anyway.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Things I Wanted to Say Out Loud This Semester but Couldn't

I was going to post this after some sort of link but that would mean messing with the blog template and I lack the time and patience right now to do that.
  • I don't care that you were a debutant
  • Take a shower
  • Get a haircut. You are starting to look like Krusty the Clown.
  • Stop whining and study more if you want a better grade
  • Stop poking holes in your face
  • That new hair color really doesn't suit you
  • You think you are way more sophisticated than you actually are
  • Your boyfriend is a dork
  • Stop looking for loopholes
  • Enough with the nose rings already
  • You're probably cooler than you think you are
  • You're a nice kid, but you have no clue
  • I know you mean well, but you annoy the hell out of me
  • Yes, you are smart. That doesn't entitle you to act like an asshole
  • I don't care if you're pissed off. Your grade is what you earned
I really do love teaching, but sometimes I just have to bite my tongue. Bring on the vacation already!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Winter Blahs

For the past five or six years I have felt sick for the last couple weeks of December through the first couple weeks of January. The first year it happened I thought the nausea, dizziness and fatigue meant I might be pregnant. The next couple of years I thought I was coming down with the flu. Now I just recognize that I'm going to feel like crap when the days are short. It's probably the expression of an instinct that wants me to hunker down and hibernate. That, however, is not really a possibility. So instead I'll just nap when I can and wait for it to be over.

Friday, December 14, 2007

What a Year in Japan

The top Kanji of the Year have been announced at Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto, Japan and judging from the top three selections, it appears not to have been a very auspicious year in the Land of Wa.
Number one was 偽 (nise/gi) which means fake or deceptive. This came from a string of scandals about fake news reporting, fake brand name goods, fake expiration dates on food and such. The second choice was 食 (shoku) meaning food. This is connected to the first choice, since food sold as one thing often contained something else all together (ground pork sold as beef by Meat Hope) and well established food manufacturers being exposed for using expired ingredients in their products. The third choice was 嘘 (uso) means lies. Politicians lied. Businesses lied. Nothing new, of course. They've all been doing that for years.
I wonder if anyone is going to take the words of Kiyomizu's chief priest to heart and use the disgraces of this year as an opportunity to turn things around in the coming year. It would be wonderful if they did, but I won't be holding my breath.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sorry Bob. My Bad.

I know Bob Dylan is universally revered for his song writing talent, but I honestly can't stand to listen to him for more than 5 minutes at a time. I'd rather read his lyrics than listen to him sing them. My bad, I guess. Maybe some day I'll grow in to it. Or not.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Channukah and a Ramble

I made latkes and noodle kugel for dinner tonight, for what has become our traditional Channukah dinner. The latkes are a little bit labor intensive, but they're tasty and since it's just a once a year thing, I don't mind making them. Noodle kugel was something I think I only ate once or twice as a kid. It wasn't a regular feature of my family's holiday meals, but I made it last year and it was really good, in an artery bursting kind of way. Again, something that's fine to eat ionce a year. Hell, anything made with a stick of butter, 8 eggs (!!) sugar and sour cream is likely to be rich and to taste pretty good to me.
Speaking of which, I'm all chubbed out again. And I really don't care that much. It could be my age, the wintry weather or something, but for right now it seems ok to not obsess over every morsel of food that goes down my throat. Life has not and will not be compromised because I am 5 or 6 pounds over the number I think should be my absolute top weight. Nothing terrible has befallen me. I'm still getting exercise and trying to drink enough water and be generally healthy. My boyfriend has not fled in terror and run off with a skinny chick. My daughter still talks (and talks and talks) to me. My students all still like me and show up to class and work and listen. My dog still adores me and follows me around the house like a ... puppy dog. There has been no major inconvenience resulting from this. What a notion!
I like food, dammit. I like to make it. I like to eat it. I like to think about it, read about it, and talk about it. I like to look at pretty pictures of it. So yeah, me and food and the scale are coming to some kind of understanding where I'm going to stop admonishing myself every time I step on the scale, but I'll act like a reasonable and healthy adult and eat well and enjoy it.
And another thing. A conversation I had this evening with my boyfriend turned another light on over my head. I'm Jewish. I can opt out of all the Christmas hype on the grounds of that, even if I'm not the most Jewish-y Jew you'll ever find. I am not obligated to jump whole hog into being Perfect Miss Christmas. I mean really, why the hell does my family give Christmas presents to each other when we're all Jewish? That's just silly. The season has its lovely moments and no, I won't be offended if anyone wishes me a Merry Christmas. But it's really okay if I decide I don't want to play along in full force.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Woo Hoo!

Just got my invitation to Ravlery. Because you know I need to belong to a website that will feed my obsession with yarn and pointy sticks and surround me with a community of people who take it way farther than I ever could.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Not Such a Bad Jew

I went to temple for the first time in about 30 years last night. It was kind of nice. The motivation to go was my girl. She's usually with her dad on Friday nights, but she's staying here full-time for the next couple of weeks since her dad is out of town. She knows she's at least part Jewish, but she had never been to temple, so I figured it was a chance for her to check it out. In a nice surprise, my boyfriend, an atheist who was raised Catholic, decided to join us too.
The temple we went to is a reform temple. I grew up going to a conservative temple, so it was pretty deifferent from what I remember. The weirdest thing to me was that apparently it was ok not to wear a yarmulke in the sanctuary. I mean, wtf? I wore one anyway. I couldn't not wear one after the way I was indoctrinated as a child.
Anyway, the service was nice. There were about 15 members of the congregation in attendance, mostly older folks. People were friendly and welcoming and made a point to come over and say hello and introduce themselves. The rabbi plays a 12-string guitar and a lot of the prayers were set to music in more modern arrangements. Later on in the ceremony when they got to the Aleinu, the Mourners' Kaddish and the Kiddush I found I remembered the words and the melodies and could still sing them. After the service everyone went and had some nice refreshments and stayed to chat.
I liked being there. I enjoyed the service and the sense of community. I am honestly not sure how I feel about the idea of God. I tend to think that what people call God really refers to our higher nature rather than the existence of some external entity that controls the show. But aside from the God part (if I can say that) I liked a lot of what I read and heard in the service-- the emphasis on doing good and helping others and peace for all nations, on prayer for those for are suffering and remembering those who have passed on. I also liked that my girl could at least get a glimpse for herself about what it's all about. I've heard her refer to herself as Jewish more than once and although she has a handle on some of the cultural aspects of it, I always felt bad that she had never experienced anything about the religion. I don't expect she'll attend Hebrew school or anything, but she at least has had a taste and something to go on if she decides to pursue it more at some other time. I might go back again. I'm not so sure what it means to go if I'm not so into the God part of things, but I am interested in getting involved in some of the volunteer work they do and I'd at least like to be familiar with the community.