Thursday, September 30, 2004

Sure, Why not?

What Is Your Animal Personality?

brought to you by Quizilla
Now I'm going to have Warren Zevon's Werewolves of London stuck in my head all day.
And why do the quiz makers have such a hard time with basic spelling? "Your Indepentent"? Come on!

Wednesday, September 29, 2004


What the hell was I thinking when I bought that package of mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups the other day? That I wasn't going to feel compelled to keep sneaking into the cupboard to get just one more? Yeah, right. I'm good, but I'm not that good.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Funniest Thing I Heard Today

The funniest thing I heard today was at a faculty meeting during a discussion about whether or not it's really acceptable that the university allows students to take American Sign Language to fulfill their foreign language requirement. (Real ripe fodder for laughter, huh? I know what you're thinking, "Damn academics and their lameass sense of humor)
Well, I thought it was pretty funny when an Italian instructor proposed to settle the matter with a duel of gestures between an Italian teacher and an ASL teacher to see who was more expressive. I'd definitely put my money on the Italian teacher.

Now They Know I'm Nuts!

This afternoon I let my elementary level class in on my language learning secret: practice thinking in the target language throughout the day. I told them I used to do it all the time when I was a student. (Still do, actually, but by habit, not as a conscious act.) I recommended they don't do it aloud, unless they want people to think they're nuts, but I swear it works.
They're just learning how to form very simple sentences, but they know some vocab now and can identify stuff and say if it's this or that or who it belongs to. They all laughed when I told them it's a great way to practice, but I hope they give it a try.


Where the hell has all my sass gone in this blog? I think I used to have more attitude and now I'm all soccer mom-ish about life. Yesterday I found myself actually excited about being able to squeeze in a trip to the grocery store while my girl was at her girl scouts meeting. That's skidding into seriously pathetic territory with that one.
Maybe since I took the big leap and moved out I have more to do and less to bitch about. Of course, I can always bitch about having so much to do, but usually I'm too busy to do more than mutter about it to myself while people clear out of my way as I dash to my car so I can get where I need to be next.
And then I do stupid stuff like stay up too late looking at yarn auctions on eBay and reading novels (god, isn't my life thrilling? Don't you wish you had this much excitement on a daily basis?) and get woken up before my alarm goes off by the girl's chirping tree frog, which I really think I need to make her keep out on the porch because that damn thing is loud.
Anyway, it's rainy and fall-ish out today. I like how red leaves look against a gray sky. There was a thread on the translators mailing list about how to translate "snuggle" into Japanese. I don't care how you'd translate it, but this would sure be a good day to snuggle, watch a stupid movie and pretend I didn't have 4 million things to do everyday.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Online Shopping

Back in the day, when I lived in Japan, I used to shop online or even by mail order catalog because that was the only way I could get clothing that was cut to fit me. Even if I found my size in Japan, the cut of the clothes never looked right on me. Now I live back here in the States and there are plenty of places to shop nearby, I just have no time to do so, so I'm back to buying clothes online again.
It's still pretty warm in the daytime here, but I know the cold weather will be here soon enough. I am dying to get started on knitting something for myself, a sweater or maybe a vest. My boyfriend got me this book that I had been wanting since I first saw it in the yarn store about a year ago. It has basic blueprints for all kinds of patterns in any size you want, using any yarn you like. Now I just need to finish at least one of the two projects I am already currently working on before I start something new.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Grave Yarns

This morning the girl and I attended "Grave Yarns: The Cemetery Revealed", a Dover Historical Society Heritage Walking Tour. Last year the group put on a "Factory Revealed" tour of the Cocheco Mill in downtown Dover. I regretted missing that and was determined to catch this year's production.
The tour took place in the Pine Hill Cemetery on Central Ave in Dover. A tour guide lead our group on a 90 minute walk through the cemetery with 20 scenes depicting notable and notorious figures in Dover's history. The entire cast did a great job and a few of the actors really stood out. I thought Darryl Cauchon playing the miserly Michael Reade, Jr. and Joyce Braungart as Christine Otis Baker were particularly engaging.
We learned about the history of the cemetery, from it's earliest beginnings as a 15th century Indian burial ground to the evolution of the cemetery park concept, and about the changes in gravestone design and art and how they reflected the beliefs of society in their own time. The day was gorgeous and highlighted the beauty of the spot. There were just enough fallen crimson leaves to remind you that even though the days are warm, fall has definitely arrived.
One point that came very clear to me was how easily death visited the people of those times. Nearly every character depicted had suffered the loss of a child, a spouse or both. I suppose that was just the way things were then, but it made me think graveyards were likely much more a part of daily life than they are now. The tour guide told us a story about one mausoleum in the cemetery where a widower, a school teacher, came and read to his deceased wife in the mausoleum he had built for her every day until his own death six years later. Another striking site is the graves of Henry Law and his former fiancee Cordelia Teatherly Griffin. Law was a successful business man who was very generous in his donations to the recreation facilities of the city, but he broke off an engagement with his fiancee, a young widow, when she refused to give up a puppy she had acquired. She died broken hearted several years later at her own hand and on top of her monument, located right next to Law's, is a statue of a weeping young woman with her back turned to her former fiance for eternity.
I am really looking forward to seeing what other tours the DHS develops and I'm even a little interested in maybe taking part in one in the future. It looked like a lot of fun and a great way to learn more about the history of the town.

Laundramat Review

One of the problems with this single mom stuff is that I don't have my own washer and dryer anymore. This means I end up going to the laundromat once a week, since I don't have enough clothes to go any longer between washes than that anyway.
I have been going to the place on Broadway and think it's nice, but this morning I realized there is a Laundramat behind Clearly Cleaners on Central Ave, so I decided to check it out. I didn't like it. It was kind of dirty. The places was crowded and the aisles are narrow so you can't get by someone else and their stuff without bumping into them and/or asking them to let you through. The equipment itself is fine, but there wasn't any attendant working there so there were dryer sheets and other junk lying all over the floor and they didn't seem to have enough of those wheeled carts or folding table space to accomodate eveyone. My laundry didn't even dry all the way but I folded it up and left anyway. I couldn't stand spending anymore of this gorgeous day inside that place.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Fall Gardening

I didn't get a chance to do much gardening this spring or summer due to the turbulence in my personal life and the fact that I spent the summer living in an apartment without a yard of my own. I have lived in this apartment (but it feels like a house) for over a whole month now and a few weeks ago I started planting a fall garden in the beds around the patio in the backyard. I added to the icicle pansies that were already there and also put in some mums, asters, a couple of pretty fall plants I had never heard of before and can't remember the name of and a decorative kale. I just took another trip to the nursery today and got another kale, a sedum-stonecrop cross and a different kind of flowering fall plant that I don't know the name of. I'm going to go add the new additions and then sit there and read a book. I've been dreaming of doing that all week and I believe it's actually going to happen very soon. I know flowers don't do much and you can't usually eat them, but they make me happy.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Rewards of Blogging?

Did you ever wonder who in the hell those people are who find love on the internet from their blogs?
Well, you're reading one right now.
I happened to find his blog. He happened to know about mine, too. He happened to live around here. We happened to have a lot of common interests and it all just happened to click. :)
It didn't happen exactly all as easy as that, but that's the executive summary for you.

Fall Rocks

It just doesn't get much better than Fall (it deserves the capital letter) in New England. The weather has, for the most part, been gorgeous, warms days and cool nights. The leaves are starting to turn. Apples are coming into season. I got to go to the Rochester Fair with my honey. My fall garden is looking pretty good. I need to start experimenting with apple crisp recipes soon. It feels like I rarely have a free moment these days, but all in all, things are all right.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Hold the Presses!

I am wearing a teacher skirt today.
What, you may ask, is a teacher skirt?
It's a long skirt, made of neither denim nor khaki material, that makes me feel like I look like a teacher when I wear it. I'm not sure what the problem is, but everyone in any official capacity on this campus seems to ask me if I am a grad student. I'm a teacher, dammit! I think I must dress too casually, but really, how could you tell around here?
My new shoes from Zappos arrived yesterday, so now I finally have shoes that aren't sandals to wear with skirts. It is the first day of fall, after all. I can't wear sandals forever. Zappos, by the way, is quite awesome. Not only did they have shoes that I liked on sale and free shipping, they upgraded my shipping for free so I ordered the shoes on Sunday evening and they were waiting on my porch when I got home from work on Tuesday afternoon. That's service!!

I Didn't

Some twisted turn of events has made "staying together for the kids" the top search term for this blog. That's odd since I have only one kid and I didn't stay together with her father "for her sake".
I tried for a lot of years, but it didn't work. There are times when you just have to admit that not everything can be saved and move along. The only one who knows when that is true for you is you.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The Error of My Ways

Now I see the error of my ways. Transparencies are not meant to go through laser printers.
And I got kicked out of the blood drive today for bleeding too slow. Can I go home yet?

Sunday, September 19, 2004


I used to spend a lot of time talking on the telephone, but that was a long time ago, probably before I moved to Japan for the first time and had to pay outrageous rates. Oddly enough, I spent three hours on the phone today for three separate phone calls.
The first one came in at 8:30 this morning and was my friend Ivan calling from Tokyo. I've known Ivan for about 20 years. We first met in Japanese class in Boulder. We used to study for tests together. Actually. I'd study with him in return for him cooking for me. As it turns out, he did end up becoming a chef. The man knows his food. I spoil his fun by not caring that the Red Sox suck and get pounded by the Yankees. We burned up a quick hour, even though as soon as I heard his voice the first thing I said to him was "you're not really calling me at 8:30 on a Sunday morning are you?" Didn't phase him in the least.
Later in the afternoon my girl wanted to find out if her cousin wanted to come over and play tennis with her at the school, which necessitated a call to my sister. My nephew couldn't come over to play, but thanks to the wonders of wireless technology I spent an hour on the phone with sis while she ran around doing her farm chores and feeding some people's cat.
After that I thought about calling my mom, but was sort of phoned out so I thought I'd save that for another day. Well, mom had different ideas because she called in later in the afternoon and that was another hour on the line. She said several things I really liked, as she often does these days. One was that it's really okay to let other people know when you're going through rough times and that by letting them know, you're giving them the opportunity to show their best sides. I don't recall that being her motto when I was growing up. I think we were all in more of a "hide your problems" mode of operation. Asking people for help is one of the hardest things to do. Offering help is easy. I never mind helping out when I can. Now I'm finally learning how to let people know when I'm struggling and could use a hand.
Part of it feels like I'm still in the process of re-acculturating. In Japan, if you have a problem, you put a lid on it (kusai mono ni futa). I'm not Japanese but I lived there for so many years that a lot of those modes of being became my own. At times I feel like I am waking up from a very long and strange dream.


Punk Mama
You're a punk rock mommy! DIY is probably your
motto, because you're a punk mama at heart.
Your kids are getting your independent spirit
and guts, and learning to solve problems
themselves. You love it when they show their
independence, even when it's breaking your

What kind of a freaky mother are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Sears Haters Unite!

It's so wrong, and yet so very right, that "I hate Sears" is the most popular search term bringing people to this blog. I did finally resolve my dispute with Sears, but it took a lot of time and effort to do it. With the exception of a really good deal on a garden hose, I have not bought anything from them since the incident. I still hate them. Just thought anyone else out there currently battling them might want to know that.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Rant (Just skip it if you're not in the mood, ok?)

Why the hell am I sitting here in my pajamas surfing blogs and reading about how Johnny and Joey Ramone hated each other because Johnny stole Joey's girl and never apologized for it, and Tony Pierce rant about how Avril's really just another pop tart (well, duh!)?
I have work to do, classes to plan, dozens of pages of translated mundane and bullshit emails to drop off at the lawyer's, probably dozens of more answers to questions in the interrogatories to write, a shower to take. Can't I just go back and hide under the covers a little longer? Guess not.
All I can do is keep telling myself-- this is temporary. I will do it and be done with it. So, if I have to spend the next week flat out writing the story of my miserable marriage and digging up old tax records, pay stubs and other detritus to make my point, then I will. If I want an audience for all the crappy details of that story, there may be no better one that than the court. I didn't want to play hardball, but when that ball gets hits into my court I sure as hell am going to hit back as hard as I can.
OK. I feel a little better now. Off to the shower and the rest of the day. Hope you have a good one!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

A Rose By Any Other Name

Came into work this week and saw that the building directory and the sign on my office door have my name spelled correctly and the correct names of the current faculty in our office. That's nice. Last year my name was misspelled on the directory and there it stayed all year.
I've been thinking about what I'm going to do with my name after the divorce is final. Right now it pegs me as an ethnicity I am not, which sort of lends me a false credibility in my work. Of course, the name itself has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on whether or not I can do what I do. I've got the skills I need because I've spent the last 20 years of my life developing those skills. But still, I know sounding the part can impress some people more than actual ability. It kind of sucks that almost no one can pronounce it correctly, though.
Going back to my maiden name could also have advantages. My family has been in the area for a long time and that name has the ability to open certain doors for me. I often find myself being introduced as So and so's daughter anyway. Going back to my maiden name would feel comfortable, but I wonder how my daughter would feel about it. It might make her feel like I'm distancing myself from her and what is part of her heritage.
And what happens when I get remarried? (ooh, look at how I just wrote when and not if. How brazen of me.) Do I change it yet again? It's a pain in the butt to legally change your name. A lot of running around is involved. It's something I'm thinking about, anyway.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004


Oh geez! I just realized today is the NH state primary election. I have to make sure I go and cast my vote. I've known one of the democratic gubernatorial candidates since I was born and that's pretty much reason enough for me to vote for him. (Not wanting to blow my recently regained bloggish anonymity, I'll just say it's the candidate from Portsmouth.)

Monday, September 13, 2004

Feeling Parenthetical Today

The demons are best battled with allies. It might seem like a common sense notion, but I've always been used to battling them alone.
Today started off rough. I am being forced into a (temporary) situation that requires me to cut some corners I would rather not cut and it stresses me out. Apparently the stress was more obvious than I meant it to be this morning. Not long after the advanced class ended and I was back in my office doing some work, there was a little knock upon my door. It was three of my students (and the boyfriend of one of the three students) bearing a sweet little bouquet of flowers for me with a card that said "ganbatte ne!" (means "Keep going. Keep trying") I'm really surprised I didn't cry at them, except it was such an absolutely sweet and thoughtful gesture that I wasn't going to ruin it by crying. They told me they heard me stressing out over the technical difficulties I was having with the computer in class today, which was more like an extension of the technical difficulties I seem to be running into in life these days, and they wanted to cheer me up. I don't know what I'm going to do after this year where there are no more classes they can take in my subject. Most of them have one more year of school left, maybe we can do an independent study or something.
And then before lunch time, I IMed my guy and asked if we could go for a walk together. We work down the street from each other and one of the things I've been looking forward to with the semester coming into session was the chance to kill two birds with one stone, meaning spend some time with him and get some exercise. I could have done what I've done the past couple of weeks, namely stay cooped up in my office working through lunch and feeling stressed and then bummed for being too sedentry. But being back to work seems to inspire me to find the time to create little breaks in my day so it doesn't feel like I'm constantly rushing around for everyone but myself. So, I joined him and his boss (they had already made a plan to walk together) and we walked for about 50 minutes on this most gorgeous day.
So, I started out the day battling demons, but I got some allies on my side and the demons are mostly gone now. It would be much too ungrateful and self-indulgent to feel bad when I've got so many people around me helping me feel better. I try to never let myself get that far gone.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Halfway to Everywhere

It's Saturday night. Today was basically mellow. It started out really nice and even by the end of the day it didn't suck.
I made my first visit to the laundromat on Broadway this morning. On the way I saw the result of what happens when someone in a large UHaul truck tries to drive under a railraod trestle with a 9'6" clearance. It appears they got halfway through before the top of the truck peeled off. There were a couple of fire trucks and a bunch of men in blue business suits on the scene. It was quite a sight.
The laundromat was fine. It's a wooden building with high ceilings, lots of machines, very clean and with a nice attendent working there. I chatted with her a little and she said it's usually much busier there on Saturdays. Most of the time I was there it was fine, but it was starting to get crowded by the time I left. They have free coffee and Dunkin Donuts there too. I had some coffee, but no donuts. I read the paper and started reading a new book.
My girl got here at 12:30. I shouldn't write about it much here, but her father is giving me a very hard time these days and even tomorrow wouldn't be soon enough to be able to legally and properly refer to him as my ex. Anyway, the girl and I hung out, had lunch, did some errands and later in the afternoon we went and played tennis. It's more ball chasing than tennis at this point, but it's fun and it's exercise, so it's good.
Now it's Saturday night. The dishwasher is chugging away. The girl is watching something on Nickelodeon. I'm on the computer. I suppose I'm about halfway to where I really want to be with my life. That's not so bad.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Procrastination on a Beautiful Day

It's too beautiful today. The sky is blue with puffy clouds that rarely seem to block the sun. There's a steady breeze riffling through the leaves that won't start to show their fall colors for a few more weeks. And just now I'm realizing that this new perch I have in my office is a little closer than I've ever been before to the office view I used to imagine. You know all those books about the power of visualization that advise you to see in great detail the things and places you want in life? I used to read them sometimes and I'd visualize an office with a desk in front of a window that was up in the trees, looking over cliffs down to the ocean.
Well, I don't have the cliffs and ocean part yet, but I do have a desk looking out a window that is nicely framed by the branches of a maple tree in the yard and a view of the quiet street and a gray ranch style house with a lot of black eyed susans planted around it. And actual work to do at this desk. Work that involves writing (well, translating, which is a form of writing) and being paid for it, while I sit here on a Friday afternoon, already home from my other job, with a nearly full cup of chai and a really intense feeling of deja vu, like this is something I read somewhere else a long time ago.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Roll With It

You gotta roll with it
You gotta take your time
You gotta say what you say
Don't let anybody get in your way
Cause it's all too much for me to take

-- Oasis

Monday, September 06, 2004

But There's More to Life Than Being Smart

An Indiana University study concludes that having children significantly lowers
parents' IQs
. Well, guess I wasn't just imagining things then.
I'm waiting for the follow up studies to see if the loss of intelligence is reversible once the children grow up and if having more children causes even greater losses.

My Choice, huh?

You are an enzyme. You are powerful, dark,
variable, and can change many things at your
whim...even when they're not supposed to be
changed. Bad you. You can be dangerous or
wonderful; it's your choice.

Which Biological Molecule Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Eat Greek

This weekend I got to do something I had been saying I want to do every year-- go to the Greek Festival. I love Greek food and I don't know of any restaurants in the area that serve it anymore. When I was a kid, a friend of my dad had a restaurant in Portsmouth that had some greek dishes on the menu, but that was a long time ago. The only chance to eat real Greek food around here if you don't know someone who can make it for you is to go to the Greek Festival.
The festival is basically about the food, which is certainly fine with me. It was held at the Hellenic Center out on Long Hill Rd in a part of Dover I have never explored before. It looks like there are some nice, quiet neighborhoods out that way. There was dancing at the festival, but we missed the 12:30 show that was going on while we were standing in line for the food and we didn't really feel like hanging around until 2 for the next show. I'm sure the dancing was good, but we were so stuffed and the weather was so fine that going back home and taking a nice nap became the next order of business. (I love napping in the afternoon when the weather is beautiful. It feels so decadent.)
We ate good. I had the spanakopita (spinach pie) plate, dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves) and a little of my boyfriend's souvlaki (lamb kabob). The pastitsio (a meat and pasta casserole topped with cheese and bechamel sauce) looked good, too, but I didn't have room to try it. The didn't have moussaka on the menu, but they had several other dishes I had never tried before. There were also several long tables full of pastries, and the menu listed a baklava sundae that sounded like a marvelous idea, but I was too full from the meal to have desert. I just can't eat like I used to.
This is a great area to live in. It has a lot to offer, but I really wish there were restaurants serving good Greek and Korean food. If I could eat good spanakopita and good bibimbap once a month, I'd be really happy.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

I know the news is full of stories about Hurricane Frances and how Florida is bracing for another big hit. Up here in NH we are looking at a beautiful holiday weekend. It's sunny and warm and should more or less stay that way through mid-week. Even though it's the end of the growing season, I plan to go to one of the local nurseries and get some flowers to plant in the garden at my new apartment. It has a nice yard and patio with flower beds and it would do me good to be quiet, spend some time out there and make it look pretty. Considering the season, I'm thinking about getting mums, icicle pansies and maybe one or two perenials if they still have anything nice left on sale.
I missed gardening this year. All I had was a spindly patio tomato plant and a couple pots of herbs (rosemary, sage, chives and oregano), all of which I basically neglected.
I wonder how long it's going to take for me to learn how to relax and be somewhat normal. It feels like I'm always fighting battles or preparing for them, moving or travelling.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

New iMac

Forget what I ever said about switching. This is just too cool.