Thursday, December 29, 2005

New Year's Approaching

I've never really been a big New Years celebrant. I don't like big, fancy parties and they don't really happen in my world anyway. Christmas usually takes most of the urge to celebrate out of me and when New Years comes around mostly I just stay home and maybe stay up until midnight to see that the new year has arrived safely. It might not if I'm not up to greet it.
I'm not feeling much like reflecting on 2005 or making resolutions for 2006. I read an op-ed piece in the New York Times today by some psychologist or professor of psychology and he wrote that research shows that people who analyze their emotions too much are less happy with their lives and that perhaps a lot of what passes for conventional wisdom about having to replay and rework through bad experiences might just not be true. Dwelling is not the answer. Maybe the best way to be is to accept and enjoy what's good and not spend too much time worrying about what isn't. Maybe that's as introspective as I need to be.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Knitting, Knitting, Knitting

I think I've got the hang of drinking and knitting. Part of the secret to lack of a mess is to be familiar enough with the pattern that you don't have to think about it much. I'm making the Branching Out scarf from Knitty in a navy blue merino wool. It's probably long enough now that I could be done with it, but I have more yarn and longer scarves have more wrapping up possibilities, so I'll keep going a bit more with it.
My girl knit her first scarf yesterday. I've tried teaching her to knit a few times already, but she hadn't even gotten too far with it. She got two knitting books as presents (one from me and one from her Gram). When we went to the yarn sale at Michaels I got some size 17 needles and encouraged her to pick out a super bulky yarn, which she did. Then she knitted like crazy for the rest of the day and evening and the next morning until the scarf measured from the tip of her toe to her thigh, when she proclaimed it long enough and done. I taught her how to bind off and sew in the ends and she had a very excellent looking scarf.
Hmm, I seem to be neither knitting nor drinking now. Damn all this sidetracking!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Quote of the Day

This conversation took place in the car in the parking lot outside of Michaels, where we had ventured out to take advantage of the yarn sale.
Me: So, do you want to go anywhere else while we're out?
My Girl: No. I just want to go home and knit some more

Christmas 2005

Christmas was good. There were times in the build up that I was a bit frazzled, but it all worked out in the end. Sometimes it helped to remind myself that it's a whole season to enjoy and not only about THE day. I entertained more than I probably ever have and while I'm still not the most confident or gracious hostess, it was fun and something I've always wanted to be able to do. When I was growing up my parents occasionally held big catered parties at the house and maybe that set my standard of what it means to entertain at home, but of course that has nothing to do with what I can or want to do anyway.
THE Day itself was good, despite a little stress and a fashion crisis about what to wear. It started out nice and calm with my boyfriend and me opening our presents together. Early in the afternoon my girl came home and opened the mounds and mounds of presents she got from everyone. I've never seen a kid get so many presents. She spent the rest of the day saying, "I feel so spoiled!" and I wasn't about to disagree with her.
Later in the afternoon we joined up with my dad and stepmom, her sister and mother and my sister and her family at my dad's house. There were more presents for everyone and then we headed to the Wentworth by the Sea for their Christmas buffet. That was like being in a movie. The ball room is huge and was decorated with larger than life sized mechanical reindeer and sleighs and other Christmasy things. There was a real gingerbread house that must have been five feet tall. The food was magnificent and I finally stopped eating only after it had become painful to take another bite.
Sure, I stressed about being late to get to my father's house because I couldn't figure out what to wear. I stressed about buying presents or not buying presents and whether the presents I bought were good enough or if the recipients would like them. I stressed about what to serve, if the house was clean enough and a bunch of other stuff that in the end I probably didn't need to worry so much about. I'm working on reducing the worry factor in my world. It's going to take some effort, but I think it will be worth it.
Anyway, now comes the fun part. I get to sleep in. I get to hang out at home with my girl and watch her enjoy all her presents and play with some of them with her. There's nothing more to buy or wrap. Nothing to bake unless I feel like baking it. No place I need to be other than right where I am, on the couch in my jammies and bathrobe with my new fuzzy slippers on my feet. This is what it's all about.

Friday, December 23, 2005

C is for Cookie...

I think I've finally recovered from the cooking baking shindig I threw at my house last weekend. I thought a cookie party would be something the kids would enjoy and since I have somewhat of a reputation of being the baker in the family, it seemed easy enough. The easy enough assessment of things was a bit off, but it was fun. I went nuts cleaning and straightening up the house, made sure there were other savory items on the menu so we wouldn't all die or end up strangling each other due to over consumption of sugar. The night before I started making the dough for sugar cookies to be used in a cookie press, butter cookies to bbe cut out with cookie cutters, maple walnut spice cookies for that holiday spice and then had four egg whites left over from one of the cookie recipes so I baked up a batch of meringue cookies too to keep from tossing out the egg whites. Sure, I coudl have saved the whites to make an egg white omelet, but with all those cookies waiting to be eaten, what good would an egg white omelet do me anyway? We had chips. We had dips. We had salsa. We had mini-Moes. We had veggie sticks. We had a whole lot of food up on offer.
Even with all the advance prep, the cookie making took more time that I had imagined. The cookie press thing just didn't seem to work out. The cut out cookies came out fine and we set up the kitchen table as decoration central and everyone got to show off their creative talent with four colors of frosting (yes, of course homemade), sprinkles, colored sugars, little sugar stars and even those metallic sugar balls. My brother in law managed to score those at a wedding cake store and came back to tell us the story that the reason you can't find them in the supermarket anymore is that the government no longer recognizes them as a food substance, so you have to buy them at specialty shops now. Of course, they made their way into just about every single decorated cookie made that day. Gotta have a little non-food substance with your holiday cookies.
Despite the fact that my diet for the past week has consisted mainly of cookies, with a few small meals thrown in occasionally just to keep my from passing out from the sugar crashes, there are still some cookies left here. Eventually I will go back to eating like a sensible, adult person, but not until after Christmas has come and gone.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Sometimes I wonder why I try so hard and I need to start wondering more about why I lack the ability to question the thought processes and actions of people who seem less than competent in matters that mean a lot to me. I really should not leave the office of my girl's counselor always feeling like a shitty parent who can't win no matter what she does. I don't get why it never occurs to me to question this woman about why she isn't encouraging my girl to talk to me about her apparently many complaints. At best, she tells me that I should try to encourage the girl to talk to me about it. At worst, she tells me it's my tough luck and that sometimes kids stay mad for a long time.
All I know is that on our way there we were laughing and joking and having a great time and on the way home I just felt like crying. My personal experience with this counseling that is supposed to be for the girl is that it makes me feel estranged and like a crappy parent and like I'm stupid for thinking that just because she talks to me all the time and seems happy that doesn't mean she is adjusting to the situation at all. When does the counseling get to the part that helps her adjust? So far all she seems to be learning is that it's okay to talk behind my back and not tell me when she's mad or unhappy and that it's okay to stay angry and not tell me about it.

Monday, December 19, 2005


I'm not sure how funny this is if you don't understand Japanese. It's subtitled, but I think what really makes it good is the narrator's delivery. I think it's brilliant and I hope they come out with more of them.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Slippery Slushy Stormy Day

Second Friday storm in a row. Friday is usually my day off anyway, except today I was supposed to go in and work with my uncle but he told me to take the day off and come in on Monday. So I stayed home with my sweetie who had the day off since the uni preemptively cancelled finals schedule for today and curtailed all university operations. The only time I left the house today was when we had to go across the street to help the elderly woman who had slipped and fallen on the icy road in front of her house. Other than that I stayed inside and knitted, worked on my legal research and writing class' final assignment, made up some cookie dough to be baked at my little Christmas cookie get together happening this weekend, made dinner for me and my honey and drank wine, which is what I'm still doing right now and it's making my typing even worse than usual.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Decisions, Decisions....

What do I want to be when I grow up? Seems like the question comes around too often. Once again I am beign asked by my school if I will come back and teach again next year (academic 2006-2007). They are not offering my any better deal than I get now. They like the status quo. I like the job well enough but it isn't a fulltime job, nor anything close to a fulltime paycheck. I guess I'll just say yes for now and if something better comes along between now and next September I can let them know. It's not like I ever sign an actual contract with them and even tenured profs have been known to give notice in July.
I feel like this year just started but the truth is that I'll be giving finals this week. The semester is done. In retrospect it looks like both classes have made progress. It's always easier to see that with the elementary students because they go from zero to something. I like both groups of students this semester. That helps. I guess it's okay. I guess I'm doing okay. Work is okay. My private life still has some annoyances, but on the whole it is so much better than okay and it's so much easier for me to see the annoyances for the minor issues they are than it was a year ago. I used to spend so much time thinking I was so much to blame. Now the more time passes, the clearer it becomes that I am not the one in the wrong and I am not the one to blame.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Call the Dog!

If I ever won the lottery I would totally buy this cell phone for my dog.
In fact, just this past week I let the dog off line to run free in the ball fields near my house. It's kind of a habit we have and during the summer and fall he was so good about not going too far away that I was fairly certain I had succeeded in training him. A little bit of cold, soggy weather cured me of that notion last week. Rather than continue subjecting his delicate, wimpy, drama-queen girly-man paws to the wet sandy track around the fields, Pancho elected to skitter off across the parking lot and disappear from view. He was gone. I headed off in search of him across the parking lot, the street (where no dead carcass was visible, so that was good) and through the neighborhood back to my house. I looked in the backyards of all the homes I knew have dogs, but didn't see him and didn't hear any telltale tag jingling either. I was fairly close to home and contemplating where to look next and how to tell my girl I lost the dog when I saw a black and white form moving up on the landing in front of my door. It was the dog, waiting to be let into the house. He had obviously tired of me and the whole silly "walk" idea and had gone home. I would have been spared those minutes of worry if I had only been able to call or locate him via GPS tracking. Although I'm pretty sure he'd freak out if he suddenly heard my voice emanating from his collar saying, "Pancho! Where are you?!" And how would he answer anyway? Oh wait, I could get a Bowlingual too!

Saturday, December 03, 2005


For months I've been seeing commercials for Mega M&Ms and never saw them in the store. It got me to thinking-- how mega would a Mega M&M be? The size of a quail egg? Like a ping pong ball? How mega are we talking about here anyway?
Today in the supermarket I came across a bag of Mega Peanut M&Ms. Although it was perfectly possible to feel them up through the bag, I decided I had to buy them. Now I've eaten too many and feel kind of gross, but it was done in the name of investigative blogging (and shopping for groceries on an empty stomach). My verdict is: I can't tell if they are really that much mega-bigger than regular peanut M&Ms. The colors are kind of muted and ugly for candy. There's a tan colored one, something sort of raspberry colored and a smoky blue. They'd be Autumn or maybe Spring if you typed them according to Color Me Beautiful. And they're kind of lumpy shaped. They taste like M&Ms though. And they still melt in your mouth, not in your hand. I give them a C+.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Banks Suck

I opened a new checking account with a local bank about two months ago because of the great deal they offered university employees. Part of this deal was that I would get the service offered in their premium checking account and a waiver of monthly maintenance fees and a minimum balance as long as I was having some of my paychecks direct deposited into the account.
I just checked my balance online and see that last week they hit me for a $15 monthly maintenance fee, which is not supposed to happen. I called the toll-free number and got some call center person in Pennsylvania who said she had no record there of any special deal I was supposed to be getting. I called my school's human resources office and asked if the deal with the bank had been rescinded. The guy I spoke to said he was in charge of the employee discounts webpage and that he didn't see that bank on there and didn't recall taking anything down recently, but he didn't remember it being there anyway. I explained that the bank in question just had a big presence at the HR Benefits Fair earlier this month. He transferred my call to someone else's voice mail. Bump. deadend.
I just called the local branch of the bank and dialed the extension of the banker who opened my account. I figure she should be able to tell me what's going on. Of course, I got her voicemail as well.
I hate how businesses promise service to get your money and then once they have it treat you like crap. Fortunately for me (and unfortunately for them) I haven't yet done anything about moving my other financial dealings to this particular bank. I'm going to have to rethink whether I even want to do that now.

Update: Just got a call from my local banker who told me I will be getting the maintenance fee returned to me account and who also apologized that the mistake happened in the first place. She also told me how she will be fixing it.
Today's lesson is--
Local service=good. Big anonymous call center service=crap.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Sweet Spot

I discovered the sweet spot in Pong tonight. I was losing 13 to 6 in Pong on my little plug and play Atari game when I discovered the magic spot. I resisted the urge to move the paddle once I saw what was going on and came back to win 21-13.
I know winter is here when I start playing Atari.

Beware the Dollar Store

I have discovered why the last few things I have tried to bake have turned out marginally edible, at best. I bought a new set of measuring spoons at the dollar store a few weeks ago. They seemed kind of big when I used them, but I trusted that the amounts stamped into the metal handles reflected the actual capacity of each spoon. Silly me for trusting a label over my own eyes. I just dug up some of my old plastic measuring spoons and compared them to the new ones to find out that the new spoons are marked as half of their actual coapacity, so the spoon marked half a teaspoon is actually one teaspoon, etc. Now that I know what's going on I suppose I can use them and just remember about the sizing. Too bad about that batch of cranberry muffins and the pumpkin pie though.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow!

Ah, New England. There was a little scenic flurrying on the day before Thanksgiving, which was nice and festive for that extra bit of holiday flavor. And we woke up Thanksgiving morning to find snow on the ground and more coming down. A little early for that sort of thing for my taste, but I figured it would melt away by the end of the day. It hasn't. In fact, it's now Saturday afternoon and there's more snow falling on top of what's already there. Probably just enough to add that extra bit of slipperiness to all the walkways and sidewalks that no one really seemed quite ready to believe were going to freeze up and stay. The temperature is just around freezing and there's no wind, so it's not so bad as far as feeling cold goes. It just seems not long enough ago that I was watching my step on that icy driveway at the beginning of spring.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's not Thanksgiving quite yet, but I haven't worked at all today so I'm thankful for that. I'm thankful for the fact that I had the day off with my girl and we went to see a Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire matinee. I'm thankful I will be spending tomorrow with my loved ones. I'm thankful that I stood up for myself and refused to be intimidated on this occasion. I'm thankful for my students who make my time spent teaching fun and worthwhile. I'm thankful I've got a comfortable place to live and a car that runs. I'm thankful for all the people I love and who love me back. I'm thankful for good health. I'm happy to be where I am. I'm thankful for this life I have.
I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving day and much to be thankful for.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Weigh Away

If you're a guy, you most likely won't get this post at all so move along if you like.
If you're a girl/gal/woman/chick/female, you might understand this very well, unfortunately.
Because I opted not to shower yesterday I ended up going a full 48 hours without stepping on a scale. I honestly cannot tell you the last time that has happened. And the funny thing is, even though I ate out for dinner both nights, when I weighed myself this morning the scale was absolutely normal, at three pounds above what I think I'm "supposed" to weigh at max.
Now this is retarded on several counts. First, why do I weigh myself at least once, if not several times, a day? Does that make any sense? No, but if the digital display is within what I consider acceptable I'm fine and if not I will fret about what big pig I am. If it has gone down from the previous day, then I'm happy. If not, then I'm not.
Second, Why is it that no matter what I weigh, it is almost always three to five pounds more than what I think is acceptable? When I weighed more than this, my current weight would have fallen into an acceptable range. When I weighed five pounds less than I do now, that was three pounds more than I thought I should weigh. Does anyone else notice three pounds but me? Probably not. I'm forty years old, for crying out loud. I was like this in high school and didn't really dream it was going to be a lifelong situation. I know it's not just me, either.

Friday, November 18, 2005

What Really Matters aka Slacker's Guide to Entrepreneurship Part 2

Last night I was IMing with my sis and I told her about the sudden business meeting I had scheduled with a new potential client. I love that her first reaction was "What are you going to wear?" because that was my first reaction, too.
It might be the result of all those years I spent in Japan and the conclusion I finally reached-- that at least 80% of every judgement of competence there was based on looking the part. I know I know what I'm doing when it comes to translating and understanding Japanese business practices. I don't always know what kind of look that is supposed to translate into. So I went with black wool pants, a fine ribbed and cabled blue-gray-ish wool sweater and black mid-heel boots. And I wore make-up, including lipstick. Have to put on the game face once in a while. I was aiming for looking professional, but not austere or imposing. Suppose if I wore $500 suits I could charge people $200 an hour like a lawyer does, but I don't have the wardrobe for that. And if I did I'd be spending what I make on the wardrobe anyway, so it's all the same really.
Does any of this have any bearing on the kind of impression I made or in anyway supersede or overshadow my qualifications? Probably not, but in my mind it does. Anyway, I'm back home in my sweat pants and ought to stop with this nonsense and get cracking on prepping an estimate for this client.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

GAH! aka The Slacker's Guide to Entrepreneurship

Geez, why does everyone have to be busy at work when I'm so excited and have such cool news? I've just been contacted by a big local company that I know does business in Japan and I'm meeting with them tomorrow morning to see if I may be able to provide them with some translation and consulting services. Of course, if I wasn't the lazy ass that I am I would have knocked on their door and let them know about what I do, but I am a lazy ass so they had to find their way to me. Then again, I'm not in any kind of rush and building the business up slowly by word of mouth isn't such a bad idea either.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Web Has Brought Us So Much

Are you bummed because the Numa Numa kid regrets his worldwide lip synching fame? (I kind of am.)Well, if you are or you aren't, and just in case you're craving some lip synching entertainment and want to see two Chinese guys wearing the red counterparts to Hurra Torpedo's blue track suits, check out The Dormitory Boys. As a teacher, I really ought to encourage them to study more and stop playing around with that webcam so much, but they're entertaining and they aren't in any of my classes, so what do I care?
I particularly like the roommate in the background who uses the computer and ignores them. Nice touch!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Eureka! I Have Found It!

We will interrupt this day of extreme slacking for an important service announcement--
Everyone once in a while people googling for "Portugeuse fisherman's sweater" visit this blog because of a post I wrote back in March. Every once in a while I do some searching for it myself since it was the first thing I ever knitted. Well folks, today I found a link to a site that sells that very same Candide Portuguese fisherman's sweater pattern. It looks kind of boxy and slightly dorky now. If I ever made it again I'd definitely make some variation on it, but I always thought the way it laced up at the neck was kind of cool.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Rant-- Skip it if you aren't in the mood

It seems like everytime I get ready to settle in and enjoy some free time to play music or knit or do something else I like, I end up having to deal with divorce and custody bullshit instead. I swear I must have put off divorcing him for as long as I did because I knew he would be as big of a pain in the ass as he is.
Screw it. I'l do what I need to do and then I'll play my bass anyway.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Hurra My Beating Heart

I'm so excited about this!!!!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Tom Colleta Plays the Best Theremin Ever

Well, he also is the only person I've ever seen play the theremin, but he still rocked it hard.
You know sometimes when work just seems to be beating down on your head you have to beat back with a little bit of imbibing and some very loud rock music. I had the chance to do that last night at Station 319 in Somersworth. Sis and I went to see our buddies in Hotrod Fury, who delivered a soul satisfying set of surfy rock goodness. They make me wonder why you would ever need more than three people or a singer in a band. They were followed by Jupiter 2, who I have never seen before. They weren't what I expected, but I mean that in a good way. Their website claims they are "punk rock from Uranus". Sounds about right. The band was tight. The guitar was blazing. The frontman (the above mentioned Tom), well... let's say he has a lot of energy.
I really don't go out as much as I might, but that makes it really fun when I do. And they also pour really huge drinks for $4 there at Station 319.
Alright, time to get back to that Property Rights clause I was working on...

Saturday, November 05, 2005


The problem with working part-time in three unrelated fields is that occasionally all three demand my attention at the same time. Juggling two at a time doesn't seem so bad. I like the variety. But throw in a software licensing contract to be translated by Tuesday on top of learning how to run a business and administering and writing quizzes and it gets to be a bit much. And it would be a bit much even without the paralegal course work to deal with. At least the translation job is a step in the direction the paralegal certificate thingy is supposed to be taking me in.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Hands On MBA?

I've recently started working with my uncle to learn how to do the books for his store so I will be able take charge of that end of things when he goes down to Florida this winter. The mechanics of the bookkeeping are pretty straightforward and not all that interesting, but working with my uncle is. He shares a lot of his business philosophies and strategies with me. Probably not what they teach in school, but much more practical I bet. He has been in business for over fifty years, so I figure he knows what he's talking about.
I like working with family. My sister works for my father now, too. It's a little funny that it took us this long to finally get around to helping with the family businesses, but I guess at this point we all appreciate what a privilege it is to work with people you know, love and trust.
Anyway, if you're looking for a nice men's suit or some sportswear, come see us.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Speaking of Meat

I already thought this site was cool, but now this recipe for Alligator Spaghetti and Bacon ("Courtesy of the Louisiana Fur and Alligator Advisory Council") makes me think it's REALLY cool. I've never seen a recipe before that starts the list of ingredients with three pounds of alligator meat. Kind of awesome.

Trick or Treat

Ozzy and the Pirate Fairy as they set out for a night of looting. The Pirate Fairy seized five and a half pounds of candy booty! Now the trick is to keep it away from me so it doesn't end up on my booty.

Monday, October 31, 2005


Happy Halloween! Last night was Trick or Treat in my town. I went with my girl, my nephew and my sister and brother in law. It was the first time I'd been out to trick or treat in many, many years.
Some random observations:
1) People give out lots more candy per kid than they used to. They don't give out one fun-size Snickers or a couple rolls of Smarties. They give out a handful of the little Snickers bars or little bags with about half a dozen types of candy in them.
2) It's more fun when the people answering the door are dressed up too.
3) Sometimes scary is too scary. There was one house in the neighborhood that scared the kids and my sister so much that they refused to go in. They had a big pickup truck with yellow flashing lights on top parked in such a way that it looked like it was pinning a man to a tree. He writhed a little bit sometimes just so you could know he was real and not a pretend person. The same yard was full of scary looking things and there were a few zombie-type people silently roaming the yard. I thought it was brilliant, like performance art. The only one who agreed it was awesome was my brother in law.
4) When you're on a dark deserted street and hear the music from Halloween playing faintly a few streets away, it's pretty creepy even if you're a grownup.
5) Older people seem to give the best and most copious quantities of candy.
6) Trick or treating at condo complexes is very efficient. So many homes in such a concentrated space.
7) Trick or treating is a good excuse for checking out people's homes. I love seeing how they decorate and what their houses look like.
8) Carved pumpkins with real candles are still the best Halloween decorations.
9) I saw a shooting star while we were out. That was pretty cool.
10) People can still give out homemade treats (popcorn balls) around here and you know it's okay and not evil and poisoned.
11) Even though the officially designated time for trick or treating was from 5 to 8 in our town, two hours was plenty. The kids were beat and when we weighed my girl's bag o' treats, already minus some treats, it weighed 5.5 pounds!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Fall Back

Today is the first morning after the end of daylight savings time. It was weird to wake up at 6:30, which my body still thinks is 7:30, and see the sun up and shining. The dog, who I put to bed at 8:30 last night, was still sound asleep. So much though that I wondered if something was wrong with him and went in and bugged and babytalked him enough to wake him up. He's back curled up napping now. I guess that's what happens to dogs as they get older and winter creeps up. They sleep. A lot. Lucky dog.
So there I was, up at 6:30 on Sunday morning. I made a pot of coffee and sat down at the computer to log into my online class to make my kind of late-ish contribution to this week's discussion only to find out the assignment closed on the 29th. Oh, that was yesterday. Guess the whole thing ended yesterday. Oh well. That was the only time I missed contributing so I think it will be okay.
Taking an online class has been a weird experience. I like the convenience of it but it seems so part time. Which is a dumb thing to say because it is part time. Maybe what feels odd is being a part time student. Any other time I've been in school, school has been my life. One of these days I'm going to adjust and not be obsessive about everything, I hope.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


This morning when I dropped my girl off at her middle school I noticed again that none of the kids wear raincoats. Not even when we're in the middle of a Nor'easter like today. They wear sweatshirts and some of them pull the hood over their heads, but that's about it. I saw two girls with umbrellas, but they were walking into school with their mom who works there and was also carrying an umbrella.
When I got to campus I saw lots of rain gear and umbrellas, but I get here around 7:30 which means most of the people I saw were other adults who work here. Us grownups use rain gear, I guess. I reached the door of my building at the same time a student did. She had a raincoat on and was carrying an umbrella. The umbrella was folded up at her side and the hood was down. She had the rain gear but she was still walking through the rain letting her head get wet. What is it with that?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Blue Bunny

I'm pretty quiet these days. That's not necessarily a bad thing. I've been trying to trade computer time for actually doing things in the world time. Not all that time is spent doing important adult-type things, like my new bookkeeping job. Sometimes I'm making things like this, with patterns from here. The patterns are only going to be free until the end of the month, so if you're interested in making little stuffed animals and are too cheap to pay a few bucks for some really good directions, get them now while you can.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Speaking of Tigers

The little red exclamation mark in my Forecastfox Accuweather extension tells me that a killing frost can be expected tonight. I guess it's late October already and the leaves on the tree right outside my kitchen table are all yellow, so this isn't really anything that should come as shocking news. The changes in October are just so dramatic. They say March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb around here it usually comes and goes like a lion. I nominate October for the comes in like a kitten and goes out like a tiger award.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Shameful Confession

I google the answers to riddles if I can't figure them out in about ten seconds.

Monday, October 17, 2005

My Future's So Bright I've Gotta Wear Shades

The sun is out for the first time in about ten days. New Hampshire is not known for any particularly intense solar activitiy and people from brighter, hotter climes probably find it pretty easy on the eyes. However, I had become so accustomed to the dim, dreary gray skies dropping down rain in buckets that I've spent all my outdoor time today squinting at the partly sunny, partly cloudy, very breezy sky.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Food for a Rainy Night

All this cool rainy weather has inspired me to get busy in the kitchen. Earlier in the week I made Crumbly Apple Squares from a recipe in The Clueless Baker. Last night it was finally the right kind of weather to try out the Guiness Braised Chuck Steak with Horseradish Mashed Potatoes recipes from the latest edition of Cooking Light. It was pretty easy to make and a very tasty combination of flavors. For desert I made a red pear and apple crisp (cortlands are the way to go) with a shot of brandy in the topping as suggested in the old, tattered Loaf and Ladle Cookbook I've had forever.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Mama is Fighting Everyday

I was looking around on the Japanese McDonald's site for "authentic teaching materials" and came across this page in the "Mama Station" section. You can even download an image file to print out your own t-shirt with the slogan "Mama is Fighting Everyday." The ad copy also refers to children as "little monsters". I mean they are sometimes, but does the concept of McDonald's referring to children as monsters really make Japanese mothers feel like the corporation feels their pain? Sometimes I wonder if raising kids in Japan is really that difficult or if a lot of mothers are just way too uptight about everything.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Change of Seasons

A couple of weeks ago it was in the 80s and didn't really feel like fall all that much. This week it has been rain, rain, rain, damp and chill. In a weird way, I kind of like it. I crocheted a pink and white beanie cap with a lovely pink and white flower for my girl the other night. I also taught her (once again) how to crochet and this time she seems to be taking to it. She wants to make a blanket for the dog. Sounds like a good first project to me.
I've also continued working on the sweater I'm knitting out of merino wool and have re-started (for the third time) a shawl I'm knitting from a lovely alpaca wool I've had sitting in my stash for the past two years.
When I'm not playing with yarn, I seem to be baking. Yesterday I got home from teaching with an hour and a half free before I had to pick up the girl from school. There was a half peck bag of cortland apples on the counter, so I looked through my baking books and decided on the Crumbly Apple Square recipe from The Clueless Baker. Very crumbly and very yummy. I'd like to see if I can come up with something that travels a little better next though.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Rainy Weekend

This weekend has been okay. I guess the best part of it is that I don't have to teach tomorrow since it's Columbus Day, which is one of those politically incorrect holidays I would have expected the university to ignore or something. It's been a pretty okay weekend. I had plenty of time to relax and knit (and frog and knit again) and even played bass and jammed with my sister and brother in law. I guess I should be feeling pretty good, but I'm still worrying about the same old crap I always worry about and that includes my friggin neighbor. See, the thing is that her bedroom is directly under my daughter's room and although she has both her daughter and her boyfriend's kids staying there sometimes, the nights the kids aren't staying there and she has noisy sex with her boyfriend is always a night my girl is with me and it always happens right around the time I'm putting my girl to bed. That's not something she needs or wants to be hearing and it makes me feel crappy about living here even though it's a nice enough place and I pay plenty in rent. So tonight, while my daughter was in the bathroom brushing her teeth and I was in her room petting the dog and listening to the neighbor and her moaning, I didn't know what else to do but bang on the floor a few times to see if that would get the point across. It seemed to work. I've got nothing against the neighbor having sex but I don't think my kid should have to listen to it. Funny thing is when there were two young guys in their twenties living down there, both with girlfriends who stayed over regularly, I never had this problem. They'd stay up late drinking and playing loud video games on the weekends once in a while, but at least it didn't sound like the chick from that Duran Duran song down there.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Bearish on Tiger

A couple of weeks ago I did something I may not have ever done before. I purchased a system upgrade for my Mac iBook. I had been running OS10.2.8 for a long while now and when my beta version of iChat got all wonky on me I decided to shell out $104 and see what all the Tiger fuss was about.
It looks cool. The widgets are kind of groovy and there is even a sudoku widget that pauses the stopwatch when you leave the widget interface and starts it back up when you resume. I suppose iPhoto and Garageband are better, but I haven't had much time to use them yet.
There are a few things that just out and out piss me off though. First is that I have to manually connect to my wireless connection everytime I startup the machine or wake it up from sleep. My preferences settings are such that it shoudl just find and join the network, but it doesn't. The other annoying thing is that mails sent from one of my non-primary email accounts in Mail automatically get a reply address to my primary account. I don't know why that's happening either. It didn't happen with OS10.2.8.
So, I'm not finding this new OS the most convenient thing to use, but I'll stick with it since I have it.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


I get the sense that there is some kind of neo-traditional thing going on with young women and their life goals. It makes me re-think the assumptions I grew up with and I like it. A few weeks ago the New York Times published an article about a study that has found that a large percentage of young women who are studying at some Ivy League universities plan to become stay-at-home moms once they have children. I'm sure this has a lot of "Feminists" up in arms but I think it's kind of cool. First of all, the fact that these young women have even thought about their futures to the point of getting married and having children puts them way ahead of where I was at their age. Coming of age in the 80s, I was mostly just thinking about where the next party was and what kind of dumbass thrilling adventure I could find next. Family and children weren't even on the map for me when I was in college. It wasn't cool to be thinking about that kind of thing and even less cool to admit it if you were. Raised with Free to Be You and Me and the whole women's lib movement, it seemed like some kind of betrayal to consider full time domestic committment an option when the Enjoli woman was singing "I can bring home the bacon. Fry it up in a pan. And never let you forget you're a man." We were supposed to go out and conquer the world like our mothers never could since they were supposedly stuck at home tied down by their apron strings.
I've seen this neo-retro attitude closer to home with my own students. Today in class, while practicing conversations about wanting to do things in the future, a student said she wanted to become a housewife. I started to talk with her about it a little because in light of the NYT article I found it interesting to see it might not be just an Ivy League phenomenon. The student told me both her parents work and her mom probably earns more than her dad, but both she and her sister want to stay home with their children when the time comes. I told her I thought that was cool and that it's hard work. I also mentioned that it must drive some of the female professors my age and older a little crazy to hear it. I've heard other students with working moms comment that they spent a lot of time in day care as kids and didn't like it and wished they had been able to spend more time with their moms around.
I realize not every family can afford to have a stay at home mom. Probably most can't. But for me it's nice to see younger people valuing that role. It also makes me feel less guilty for the choices I'm making about my career now and allowing me to realize that my students might actually understand and possibly even respect that I arrange my teaching schedule around my parenting schedule, and not just their convenience. They might find a 2pm class would suit their leisure, but it doesn't fit my life at the moment. Maybe they didn't even care that I dashed out at the end of afternoon classes last year to be able to make it in time to pick up my daughter from school. For so long I had this rule in my mind that said it wasn't professional to appear to have a life outside of my role at work while I was at work. And in my personal life I was encouraged to think that any yearning I had for traditional family roles was backwards and wrong. I still think that people should have a choice, as far as reality will permit it. It's just kind of funny to finally allow myself to consider all the choices as well.

Land Grab

Wednesday is switch-up day, the day my girl goes to stay with her father until the weekend. The routine is that I bring her bag of stuff (mostly stuffed animals) and the dog over to his house in the afternoon before she comes home from school. I haven't been back in the house for months, but even just looking around outside in the yard reminds me how little I understand about the way he judges what is important and what isn't.
The house is older and looks it. There used to be railings up the front stairs and stairs coming down off the small back deck. Now there are rusted off metal stumps where the handrails used to be set into the concrete stairs in front. Out back there is a two and a half foot drop off from the deck, which is missing not only stairs but also a couple of floor boards. The flower beds in the front and on the side of the house have been left to the weeds. In other words, it doesn't look so good.
If the rest of the property was also neglected, that might go along with the general tone of things, but what's odd is that the grass is always cut short and my ex has obviously spent a lot of time and effort clearing away a whole bank of blackberry bushes off one edge of the property and clearing out small trees and brush from the other edges of the yard. He has also moved the dog's house progressively further back in the yard so it is now about as far away from the house as it can be while still being on the property. I'm not really sure what the point is, but if he doesn't want to deal with the dog anymore I'd be more than happy to keep him (the dog) here. In an odd and politically incorrect (because the ex is Japanese) way, it reminds me of Japan in World War 2 when it got all land hungry and was more focused on capturing as much territory as possible than just about anything else. I guess I don't see how it's okay to sacrifice the wellbeing of the home(land) for the sake of claiming more land.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

It Comes As No Surprise

You are a

Social Liberal
(65% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(28% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Monday, October 03, 2005

Mellow Eclipse

The day is not yet done, but today has seemed pretty mellow for an eclipse day. The general consensus among the astrologers I read seems to be that I (and my fellow Pisceans) are going to be enjoying some good, unexpected financial news. I could really go for that.
Sometimes I feel wound up when eclipses come around. My theory to them, as far as it goes, is that they kick you in the ass to get you back on track if that's what you need, but if things are generally moving in the right direction then they don't cause quite so much chaos. I'm not really sure how much I believe in astrology anymore, but I still like to keep an eye on what the planets are doing, just in case...

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Ban It, I'll Read It

I saw this meme over at Joel's site and decided to see how many books on the list of banned books I have read. Turns out I've read quite a lot of them, most before I graduated high school. Maybe this explains a few things about the way I turned out.

3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
7. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
8. Forever by Judy Blume
13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
17. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
23. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
25. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
41. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
42. Beloved by Toni Morrison
43. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
51. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
52. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
56. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
59. Ordinary People by Judith Guest
62. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
69. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
71. Native Son by Richard Wright
77. Carrie by Stephen King
88. Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford
89. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
96 How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell

Monday, September 26, 2005

Handsome Baby

I just found this old picture of my dog when he was a baby puppy. I saved it with his listing on Petfinder. He looks kind of tired and vaguely anxious in the photo. He's got a much more mischievous look to him now. I tried to show him the picture, but he didn't get it. Oh well. I'll show the girl when she gets home from school.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Excellent Weekend

On Thursday night my boyfriend and I went to the Rochester Fair. This was the second year we've been. The same old guy was playing the accordion at the entrance. The apple crisp shack was in the same spot, as were all the pizza, french fry, fried dough and sausage sellers. We watched a bit of the oxen pull and went through all the livestock barns. We saw some alpacas, which were like smaller, more delicate llamas. I want one.
We ate the requisite greasy fair food. The games and rides and crowds on the midway freaked me out as the always do. The ferris wheel ride was a little bit scary, but the view was nice, the weather was just right and the company was good.
On Friday we went hiking. My boyfriend has done a lot of hiking all over the state and I get to benefit from his wealth of knowledge. We drove up to Holderness and hiked Mt Percival and Mt. Morgan. The hike was a little under 5.5 miles, up one mountain across a ridge trail to the top of the other one and then back down. It was perfect September weather-- sunny and warm with a good breeze. Right before you reach the summit of Mt. Percival the trail splits and you can choose to hike up the scenic cliffside route or go the adventurous way up through the cave route. We went for the caves. When I saw the yellow spray painted trail marking arrow pointing to a tiny triangle opening in the rocks that looked about big enough for my dog to pass through, I thought it was a joke. My boyfriend assured me it wasn't. We had to take off our packs and pass them through ahead of us as we took turns getting into the cave. Inside the cave was pretty spacious. I took some nice pictures, but I've maxxed out my flickr quota for the month so I can't upload the photos for another week. The way out of the cave looked as small as the entrance and it did take a fair deal of contorting to make my way out. From there we had to climb over some fairly big pieces of rock to make it to the summit. I'm afraid of heights and of falling on big pointy rocks and splitting my head open like a melon, but I really had a lot of fun climbing up through the cave anyway. If I ever do it again I may even take a look around and see if it doesn't freak me out completely.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


I just stuck my hand in my front left pocket and something felt like cash. It was a $10 bill. I love when that happens.

Monday, September 19, 2005

My Name Is...

I know it's poor character to be excited everytime my neighbor does something dumb and annoying because then I can blog about it, but there ought to be some upside to it, right?
Today's tale begins with an envelope with my name on it being dropped off in the mailbox that is shared by both units of this duplex. My neighbor only seems to pick up her mail once a week, so as the days of the week go by and her credit card statements from mall stores pile up ever higher, it gets to be kind of a drag slogging through all her accumulating mail to make sure I don't miss anything of mine. I admit I'm a geek, but getting the mail is one of the small things I look forward to everyday and I don't get why someone would let it pile up all week. (suppose if my mail was all credit card bills I might not be so excited, but I wouldn't want my nosy neighbor looking at them all either)
The envelope that was dropped off for me was put in the mailbox after I had collected what the postman had delivered on Friday and before the woman downstairs, who I have come to silently address by a variety of unbecoming names in my head, did her weekly trek to the curb to pick up her mail.
I checked the mailbox on Saturday and my envelope was not there. I checked again on Sunday. It was still not there. I checked the mail this afternoon, and sure enough, the envelope was not there, so I got in touch with the person who was supposed to leave the envelope and confirmed that the envelope was indeed put in the box on Friday afternoon.
I figured the neighbor must have unintentionally taken it along with all her other mail, so I left a note on her door to ask if she happened to have an envelope with my name on it. Shortly she got home, she came up to my door with the envelope in hand. As she handed it over she explained that she hadn't known whose it was. I told her if there is mail she is not sure about she can just put it back into the mailbox. Then she told me that she didn't remember my name so she didn't know the envelope was mine. And I told her once again, as I walked away from the door and back to fixing dinner, my name is Pam. I was tempted to point out that it's only three letters and pretty easy to remember. The woman has been living in the downstairs unit of this duplex since June. We share a mailbox. I have told her my name three times before because she said she forgot it. I'm trying to figure out if she is just incredibly dim or if she's trying to be snotty by "forgetting" my name. I'm starting to think either way, she is incredibly dim.

Ayyyyy Matey!

It's Talk Like a Pirate Day!! Grab a mug of grog and start ye merrymaking before one of these pirate lasses runs you through!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Clean Plate

My plate has been cleared of immediate big things I need to worry about. After spending an admirably minimal amount of time pondering the "what if?" question that could have easily arisen in light of the necessity of having to schedule a follow up to two mammographies with a surgeon-type doctor, it seems highly likely that minimal worries are exactly what is called for. I had my appointment with the doctor today and what I learned is that we will check again in six months to see what shows up in the pictures, but very most likely it is not anything evil and malignant. That's good because basically my total allotment of worry and obsessive time has been allocated to issues relating to divorce, custody, health of family members and crappy compensation at my highly enjoyable job, so I really didn't have any capacity left to devote to worrying about the possibility of breast cancer right this moment anyway.
So, ladies, the lesson of the day is regular monthly breast self exams. And just in case any of you were wondering-- no, I am not considering or accepting applications for assistants in this matter.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Sweet and Sticky?

It seems the hunks (hunks of what?) of the locally internationally famous band Shuttle Cock have received a cease and desist order from a similarly named band in Ohio that will not step up to the plate in any manly kind of way and duel it out by having a rock-off in a geographically neutral location, as was suggested by the men of NH's own Shuttle Cock. I'm sure the local boys would have kicked ass and retained their name had the issue been settled in this way.
Anyway, Portsmouth's own Shuttle Cock will be renaming and from henceforth be known to us all as...(dramatic, anticipatory pause) The Frosting. I predict many references to licking will accompany the name change.
Hmm, I wonder if this will create a great spike in value for my Shuttle Cock t-shirt now.
Oh, and they're playing tonight at the Brick House in Dover, too.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Such a Sucker I Am

When they come up to me after class and tell me they want to be doing what I'm doing now when they get older it makes it harder to want to walk away. Of course, they have absolutely no idea about the gulf that lies between what they see and what my life really is. So I guess I'm doing okay at projecting the proper professional appearance or something. It also makes me think I better hold out for better conditions for myself because if the powers that be continue to think that they can keep me for cheap they have no incentive to offer me or anyone else anything better. And if there is no fair compensation, no one with any skill or experience is going to go into the field. Not around here, at least. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I would just break the ban that has been placed upon me and invite the dean, the department head and anyone else who has to authority to get off their ass and do something to come observe a class so they could see that all 25 students were in their seats and ready to go five minutes before class even started this morning. The big wigs would never show and if they did there aren't even enough seats in the classroom to accomodate them. I've got students learning to write hiragana with their notebooks perched on their knees. That sucks.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Another Great One Gone

Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown passed away yesterday at the age of 81. He was a classic. If you've never heard of him, you owe it to yourself to get educated.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Just LIke The Old Days

It's 77 degrees and sunny with a mild breeze right now. All the translation I planned to get done today was done by noon. Yesterday in my hurry to get out of my office and down to Portsmouth to meet my dad for lunch I forgot to bring home a folder full of homework to be graded, so I decided to enjoy this lovely afternoon by biking over to school so I could pick up the homework, get some exercise and save on gas. Even though it's about a mile longer, I took the back way to get there because it has much less traffic and is a prettier ride. My bike tires are a little low on air and I'm not in particularly good shape right now, but it was a very nice ride and I'm even thinking about commuting to school that way on days when the weather is right and I'm not in too much of a hurry.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


Sometimes the clamor in my head is just deafening. Court divorce custody foreign bank accounts bills school translating remittance fees business brochures family health prescriptions doctor appointments phone calls xray films counseling homework assignments grading lesson plans and that's the stuff that I need to take care of and doesn't include the things I like to think about like my boyfriend, knitting, food, books, my dog, music, napping and breakfast at Harvey's with my sister.
I haven't even dared to write a list of all the crap I'm dealing with right now. I'm too afraid so I keep track of it all in my head. I don't even make little categories or anything. It just swirls and somehow in the course of each day I deal with everything that must be dealt with that day.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

D Is for Dumb and Divorce

So, after thirteen months of legal stuff, several thousands of dollars and a couple of trips to the county court, the general opinion of the legal experts seems to be that mediation is the path to take. What a coincidence. Sixteen months ago when we split I tried to tell my ex the same thing and he disagreed vehemently and insisted he would rather take things to trial and lose everything than do what I suggested, which was mediation.
I wonder how he feels about it now? I hope he has enjoyed enriching his counsel's bank account in the process. I feel vindicated and gladder than ever that I am no longer with him.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Trick Question

I have a prepaid cell phone and this morning I decided I would register my credit card with the service so I could always be easily prepared to buy more minutes. There is so much crazy stuff going on right now that I can't afford to be unreachable because I ran out of minutes on the cell phone.
Since it is a prepaid service, the security check on the credit card is much stricter than what it was for my old cell phone company. Along with the social security number, billing address, card number and expiration date I was told I would be require to answer some randomly generated security questions, apparently sourced from personal data that is available though credit check companies or something like that. Still, that did not prepare me for the first questions, which was about what age range my sister who died eleven years ago would belong to. I told the customer service rep that the person she just asked me about was deceased, but if she were alive she would have fallen into the 37 to 41 year old range. The other two questions were about the location of previous residences and mailing addresses. The rep told me she would have to check with the supervisor about my answer to the first question. She got back to me quickly and said I had passed the check. No duh.
I hope they'll do something about their data base and not ask too many other people about dead relatives. I hadn't heard anyone who didn't know her mention her full name name in so long that for just a second I felt like maybe she was still around. Anyway, I'm all re-boosted now.

Sunday, September 04, 2005


You might have noticed some llamas in the mix on the flickr badge off to the right. They are from a vist my girl and I took to the llama farm that's down the street from my mom's place. The "gurl" has her own website now and she needed pictures of real llamas.

I Think It's Going to Be a Long Long Time

I don't know how to wrap my brain around the disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina. So many are so quick to play politics with the situation. Some use it as a chance to bash the current administration and others blame people for being born and living their lives in a region that is vulnerable to this type of disaster. There might be validity in all the accusations, but I don't see how they do anyone any good. All I can see are all the people who didn't have much to begin with who lost everything. I think there must be something I can do to help. My first thought was to donate money to the Red Cross, which I guess might be a start. Then I started thinking about how so many of the displaced are going to become refugees in their own country. On this evening's news I heard that 2,500 people would be brought to Camp Edwards in Massachusetts for up to two months with some likely to be resettled permanently. I'm wondering if maybe I can put my knitting habit to some good use in this situation. It may be dorky, but I wonder if it might help just a little.
Hmm, I just found Crafter's United which is raising money for Hurricane Katrina relief. Maybe that's someplace I can start.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Why I Don't Like Neighbors #2

I live in a duplex. The downstairs neighbor and I share a utility room that has hook ups for two sets of washers and dryers. The downstairs neighbor recently purchased a washer and dryer and shoved all her crap that was taking up that space further down into the back of the utiity room. That's fine. Whatever. The only thing I keep down there is my snow shovel and my bike. If she doesn't mind my muddy mountain bike hanging over her open box of clothing, that's fine with me.
I just went downstairs to put a load of laundry into my machine. When I opened the door I was assaulted by the smell of pee, which I trust was emanating from the hamper of dirty clothes she has left sitting on the floor right inside the door. The tops of my washer and dryer were covered in sand and there was even sand inside my washer. Of course the clothes in the hamper she left sitting there are sandy. Maybe it's even a mixed smell of pee and moldering sea water. I wasn't in the mood to analyze it too deeply. Maybe she has burnt out her olfactory receptors with her potpourri and is unaware.
I'll admit I was a sneaky neighbor and peeked inside her washer to see if it was full of sand. Nope, it was full of what I would guess is the load of clothes she put in there yesterday afternoon before she drove off. I always thought if you leave wet clothes, even clean wet clothes, sitting in a small dark confined space for a day or so they could start to mold. Anyway, I've never left a load of clean clothing sitting in a washer for more than a half hour or so. Even if you leave clothes in the dryer they'll get wrinkled, but at least they won't get funky. Call me crazy, but my rule of thumb is to not start a load of laundry until I have enough time to see if straight through to the folding the dried clothes end of things.
I really want my own house where at least I can be related to the people who piss me off. It's easier to tell them to stop being gross slobs. Not that they are, but if they were at least I'd feel okay telling them.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Hitting The Wall or Deciding to Stop Beating My Head Against It

It's kind of funny how once things go past a certain point of absurdity it's not even worth getting upset about them anymore. I have been bitching and moaning and struggling with my employer for a couple of years about how there is a real demand for courses in the subject I teach and I have been paid a little lip service, but basically ignored when it comes right down to it. And now that I have gone ahead and made other plans for myself and classes have already started, I am being asked if I could now do more.
You know what? I don't think I can. Not without a little more financial incentive anyway.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


Two summers ago I wrote about how I could tell something was getting ready to change in the meadow down the street. It used to look like the picture below.

Yesterday morning as I walked past that former field on my way to my former home to pick up my dog, who is still at least partially mine, I took a few photos that illustrate what happened after. Seven single family homes and a retirement home, plus three more new homes in on the other side of the street. At least the family that lived in that nice cape on the left in the picture below who thought a large plastic deer would make a fine lawn attraction in a field that used to have real live deer in it have already sold that new home and moved on and taken their resin mammal with them.

Do You Sudoku?

Have I mentioned before that sudoku rocks?

Saturday, August 27, 2005


How to Zen. Make sure you let your browser allow pop-ups from the site. It's from Kodaiji temple in Kyoto. I like it when the monks have a sense of humor.
The first one is funny. The second one is kind of beautiful.They're both sort of like the Viridian Room, in a way.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

What a Man

Not only did my wonderful boyfriend take me to see the Rolling Stones last night, he fixed the iBook power adapter I destroyed with the vacuum cleaner today. Yup, I've got me a keeper all right.
How did I destroy the adapter, you ask? Well, I have a central vac in my apartment and usually I use the mellow vacuum head, but since my dog has been shedding enough that I could make a twin for him with the fallen hair on the carpet, I decided to take out the big, badass separately powered vacuum cleaner head today. I was doing my usual coverage of the living room carpet and had the coffee table pushed back so I could do a good job. I didn't pay much mind to the dangling white iBook cord until it was wrapped a few times around the rotating vacuum head and ripped out about a quarter inch from the base of the adapter. It was such a stupid thing to do that I didn't even bother getting mad about it. I just sort of marveled at my stupidity instead.
Mr. Wonderful Boyfriend is good at fixing things of an electronic nature, so I alerted him to the situation while I browsed the web and learned that replacement adapters go for about $60. He came over with his soldering iron and in about 20 minutes had the whole thing fixed and working again.
Yeah, he rocks. Big time.

Rolling Stones at Fenway Park

The Stones concert was fantastic. What could I possibly write about them that hasn't been written before? It was my first time to ever see them and Fenway Park was a great place to do that. It was an excellent evening overall. We found sort of reasonably priced parking a five minute walk from the stadium. We went past all the noisy, drunk people on Landsdowne Street down to a place called Jillians which was air conditioned, had a decent menu with reasonable prices and nice waitstaff. They also had a live Stones show playing on their big screens which was a nice way to get fueled and ready for the show without having to deal with drunk idiots. We were also spared the drunk idiot factor near our seats-- another bonus. I didn't see anyone falling from the rafters. Just saw one guy in the next section over get escorted out by the police for causing some kind of trouble. There didn't seem to be many people under 30 who weren't there with their parents, but it was kind of cool to see families making an evening of it.
We missed the opening act, The Black Eyed Peas. Can't say I regret that much and they went on much earlier than the Stones. The gates opened at 6:30. We were in our seats probably around 7:30 and the Stones went on around 8:30. Considering that Buddy Guy will be opening for the Stones in Milwaukee and Minneapolis, Beck will be opening for them in Columbus and Toronto and Pearl Jam will be doing the same in Pittsburgh, I figure Boston did not get the best pick of opening acts, but it doesn't matter much because really everyone was there to see the Rolling Stones.
Everything about the show was excellent. It was the second show of the tour so there were some things that weren't absolutely perfect, but seeing how it all gets handled with such poise, professionalism and a sense of humor is part of what was great. So many times throughout the performance I got chills from the power of it all. It must be incredible to have a stadium full of people singing your songs back at you, which happened pretty much straight through the show. It was everything you could want and hope a Stones to be. The music, the visuals, the fireworks and plumes of fire off the top of the stage, the set list. It was a rock and roll show by the guys who taught us all how it should be done.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

And I've Got The T-shirt to Prove It

I saw the Rolling Stones play live at Fenway Park tonight. I could now die happy, if necessary. (Don't think it's necessary. It may be necessary to post a photo of the t-shirt though.)

Monday, August 22, 2005

For Beautiful Human Life

I think in a fair majority of the translations I work on I could just submit the following single sentence and have the jist of the matter accurately conveyed.
XYZ Corporation is constantly striving to provide next generation advanced systems boasting improved efficiency that harmonize with the global environment while contributing to the infrastructure of our daily lives as residents of the earth who wish for world peace and conservation of the natural environment.

Did I miss anything?

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Good Call

Last month I gave up my Sprint cell phone and got a prepaid Boost phone instead. I was paying $37 a month for Sprint. So far I've used 70 cents of call time on my prepaid phone and the month is two-thirds over. I should probably be planning on using the savings to pay the heating bill this winter. Or I could go ahead and buy more yarn and knit warm things to bundle up in instead. More yarn! More yarn! More yarn!!!! MORE YARN!!!!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Viscious Cycle

I get a fair number of search hits here for non-mom jeans. I think we all need to bear in mind that the low rise, non-mom jeans will, within probably a couple of years, become the new mom jeans when our daughters decide to differentiate themselves from us by wearing something like crotchless jeans ("But Mom, I'm wearing underwear. No one can see anything" and then there will be the girls who don't...) or crinolines or something fucked up that we would never dream of, because they don't want to look like us.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Back to It

School starts in 12 days. Crap.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Rabbit Rabbit

Some people get a lot accomplished by 8:04 am. Wonder if this was done pre or post morning caffeine? Rabbit rants, but she also rocks. I can't always follow all her honky this and that, but she certainly does not pull her punches.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Quick & Dirty Guide to Ice Cream Places I Frequent

#1 favorite of the moment-- The Daily Scoop, Rt 236, Eliot, ME
Large selection of home-made ice cream in flavors other shops don't have. $1.95 for the "ultra-mini" which is the same as a kiddie size at Golicks and Dover Delite or a regular at Annabelle's. Also has Glorai Jeans coffee, sandwiches, subs and salads. The soft serve smalls are also $1.95 and HUGE.

Local standby favorite-- Golicks, Dover Point Rd, Dover NH
Large selection of home-made ice cream. Seasonal and ice cream only. I think it's $2.00 for a kiddie size and $2.50 for a small. (I never order anything bigger than the smallest servings around here because even they are not really small.) The only ice cream shop I've ever seen around here with cute guys working there. My sister once spotted a tip jar there that said "Saving for a new girlfriend". So much more fun than the typical "saving for college" messages.

Local standby backup favorite-- Dover Delite, Chestnut St., Dover, NH
Another seasonal ice cream shack. Serves Shains of Maine ice cream. Same (or similar) prices as Golicks. The parking lot is a big bad accident waiting to happen. Once customers start parking near the picnic tables there is only one way in or out and when the lines get long they start to interfere with the traffic flow. Good ice cream. Sometimes seems understaffed. Big portions.

Once upon a time was a favorite-- Annabelle's, Ceres St., Portsmouth, NH
$2.70 for a regular, which equals a kiddie or ultr-mini size elsewhere. Great ice cream. Quaint Portsmouth location near the tug boats. Air conditioner is always cranked so high I can't wait to get out of there.Typical, kind of snotty, Portsmouth customer service attitude.

The Good Old Days-- The Ice House, Wentworth Rd, Rye NH (the part near Newcastle, between BJs Boast House and the golf course)
Ice cream windows and an inside dining room. It's always packed. I haven't been for a few years, but they have the very best buttercrunch ice cream ever. It's all I ever order. Reminds me of being a kid before Rye and Newcastle got so upscale.

If you're on Rt. 1/Lafayette Rd-- Lone Oak, Rt 1, Rye, NH
This place has been in existence as a seasonal ice cream take out place since the dawn of time (i.e., since I can remember). They have a huge parking lot and a billion serving windows so I think they can handle the crowds. Massive servings and picnic tables so you don't have to drip all over your car.

Because It's There

I'm not 100% sure why this exists, but if you want to see a fuzzy picture of me rocking the bowl cut as a toddler now you have your chance.

It's a Family Affair

Sis started up her blog a week or so ago and now my brother in law has one too-- Mat's Black Stage Pass. Mat has seen more shows and concerts than any one else I've ever met and his blog is all about the music. Welcome to the world of blogging, Brother!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Who You Calling Granny?

If you think crochet is just for grannies, take a look at what Croshayqueen does with it at Off The Chain. For all of you who just like to look at the picture, just keep scrolling down. Amazing!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

How Can You Tell?

Yesterday in the car my girl asked me how you can know that a guy won't get all lazy and sloppy after you get married. I thought it was a pretty brilliant question. Really, how can you tell?
She was fairly detailed in her line of questioning. "Do you have to start yelling at him all the time? Like if he leaves dirty underwear on the couch do you say "Hey! Don't leave your dirty underwear on the couch!" (leaving dirty underwear on the couch? ew.)
I talked about relationships always needing time and attention from both partners and that it is important to pay attention to the way he treats you before you decide to get married. I pointed out that a guy who is a fun boyfriend isn't always a great choice for a husband.
My mother never discussed this kind of thing with me or my sisters. I remember asking for advice over whether or not I should call a boy I liked in fifth grade and her comment was "I'm not interested in boys. I prefer men." That didn't help me much. Not many men attending the fifth grade and if there were a fifth grade girl should steer clear, I figure.
I told my girl to keep asking questions. It's fun talking about that kind of stuff with her. I told her no one gave me any advice and I wish they had somewhere along the way. Even if you reject the advice you get, at least the advice giver made you stop and think about it. When I said that the girls said, "Oh, you mean hear me now, listen to me later." She's an awfully smart cookie for a ten year old.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Bad Charlotte (contains spoiler)

I finished I Am Charlote Simmons by Tom Wolfe the other day. I got through it pretty quickly for a nearly 700 page novel. I stand by my opinion that much of the book reads like an old man writing about things he doesn't know about anymore, but it was still entertaining. I was a little shocked by the cynicism of the ending. Taking a glance through the reviews it seems like a lot of people thought it was a happy ending. I thought it was cynical as hell and showed that nothing ever really changes. It's a 688 page testament to the Ladder Theory. We've got a smart, ambitious, motivated, originally pure female protagonist and in the end she winds up with shitty grades, an over-awareness and over-reliance on the effect her physical attractiveness has on men and prime status as the big jock's girlfriend. What a stale paradigm for the new millenium.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Skirting the Law

This morning I got a frantic email from a good friend who lives in exile, or at least against his will, in Japan. This friend is a photographer of a certain genre. (And no, I never modeled for him when he was shooting in that particular genre, despite his entertaining efforts to convince me that I should. We bonded on other issues. ) My friend had submitted a couple of rolls of film to be developed but not printed at his trusty camera shop of many years. He told me he had tried to communicate to the store manager that this was a special order and should be handled with a certain sensitivity. When he went to pick up the order the manager made him wait an uncomfortably long time and when he got home with his order he found some type of form letter enclosed in each set of negatives. He doesn't read Japanese and didn't know if the letters said they were going to prosecute or what, so he sent me a scan of the notices.
Turns out this must be a fairly common enough occurence because using very polite lanugage the form letter said:
"Thank you very much for your color print order. When we viewed the negatives of the film you submitted for prints there were images that we are not able to print. We are returning your negatives without printing the images mentioned above. We ask for your understanding in this manner."
I know that photos and even comic drawings of genitals are illegal in Japan. Showing depictions of pubic hair is even illegal. But there sure is plenty of porn in Japan. I guess my big question should be why doesn't my friend just go digital and avoid dealing with a camera store at all? No, wait, that shouldn't really be my question should it? Actually, it is my question.

It's No Big Secret

In fact, I see links to it all over the place, but I love the PostSecret blog.

Monday, August 08, 2005

What Comes After Summer Love

If that fling with Mr. Summer Love seems to be winding down and you're wondering what better options you have for the future take a look at A Girl's Guide to Geeks.

New Addition

There's a new addition to my blogroll. My sister has started a blog-- Dangergirl in NH. She says she's going to write with a sociological perspective on things.
Welcome to the world of blogging, Sis!

Friday, August 05, 2005


I feel antsy. I feel edgy. I feel like the inside of my teeth itch. I feel like I've been riding a bicycle down what looked like a wide, open road and then the backdrop fell away and what it really is is a tight rope. How did I not see it was a tight rope? I feel like all the things I thought I was doing right missed the point. If I was any kind of drinker, I'd probably be drinking now, but I'm not. The only thing I can do to bide my time and keep my mind from obsessing is to work. I need to stay positive. I need to remember that at some point it will all be worked out. Someday it's not going to be like this anymore.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

One is Okay Too

Day. Word. Another day another dollar or actually just cents on the dollar per word. Yesterday did utterly and truly suck, as those who had to deal with me not dealing well with it could attest, but that was yesterday.
I was up not too long after 4am this morning and I'm feeling slightly heavy lidded but still rolling along. I finished the rush translation job for my long time agency in Tokyo. I hadn't heard from them in months and of course they show up with a job with a rush deadline and then the manuscript arrives a day late with the same deadline. I should charge them some kind of rush fee, but I won't. It's good enough that they have agreed to now send my payments to me here in the States rather than into my Japanese bank account that I have no access to right now. Oh well, when I finally get back there for a visit some day at least I'll have some spending money.
I also got to join my sister for lunch. Usually we meet up for breakfast at Harvey's, that spectacularly and truly retro throwback coffee shop in downtown Dover. She was working in Portsmouth so I decided to go join her down there. Neither of us were feeling up to socializing with those great guys at Belle Peppers so we went to Geno's Coffee Shop instead. Geno's is cool. It's tucked back along the river in the South End. The menu is simple and straight forward-- lobster rolls, chowder, some standard green salads, sandwiches and burgers. You get a little bag of chips on the side with a sandwich or burger. White or wheat. I had a BLT. She had a tuna sandwich. Nothing fancy going on with that menu unless you count those homemade pies and deserts. And they were pretty straight forward too. I was tempted to have a slice of blueberry pie but had to go with my favorite-- lemon meringue. We sat at a table inside although all the other customers waited, preferring to get seated on the outside deck covered by a striped awning.
One thing I noticed is that twice women came into the restaurant alone and when the young woman working there asked about seating by asking if they were a party of one, both rather apologetically said "just one." I wanted to tell them both to not say "just". One is okay too.
Me and sis are going through our own versions of bumpy times right now, but as long as we get to hang out and share a meal and take some time to spend together talking it starts not to seem as bad as it did. It's good having a sister.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Try Again Tomorrow

Did you ever have one of those days when you wake up early, do a little exercise and get showered and dressed and feel like you're know what you need to do and you're sure you can get it done? And then everything falls apart. That is my day today.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Synthetic Floral

The potpourri or air freshener my downstairs neighbor uses is so strong that I can smell it everytime I open one of my closets. And sometimes it wafts in through my open windows. It makes my head hurt. I don't think she's using it to cover up any pot smoking smells or anything. I know what air freshener scent over pot smoke smells like and she doesn't really seem the type anyway. Sometimes I end up lighting a scented candle in my office just to try to counteract the other smell.

Sunday, July 31, 2005


It's been a couple of weeks now since I've gone back to counting points Weight Watchers style in an attempt to lose eight pounds before classes start back up at the end of August. Why the number eight? Because that will bring me back to what Weight Watchers deems the maximum recommended weight for someone my age and height. Also because I had put back on more than half of the twenty pounds I lost when I was following the program and going through some serious life crises. It's much easier to lose weight when the situation is dire. It's a reliable appetite depressant. But get all happy and content in a relationship and the general direction that life seems to be heading in and I can pack the pounds on in no time at all.
I want my clothes to fit well and I don't want to stand in front of the classroom and turn to write on the board feeling self conscious about the size and shape of my ass, so I figured eight pounds in six weeks is a very realistic goal. It is. I've already taken off three pounds in two weeks. Lovely, right? Sort of, except for the fact that I feel grumpy as hell half the time because I want to eat but I don't want to blow my points balance. In a way I think it's stupid because who really notices six or eight pounds other than me? Then again, I'm doing it for myself anyway so who cares who else notices? I'm sure I have more important things to concern myself with, but sometimes I get this way.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Night Out on the Town

Last night my honey and I went to catch the Friday night concert of the Cocheco Arts Festival. The concerts are held at the Rotary Arts Pavillion in Henry Law Park in downton Dover. It's a pretty nice place to go see a show, and it's free. The "headliner" last night was Pondering Judd, a roots rock band from the area that is one of the best bands around. My desire to see them play live is what helped me to live through the set of the 80s cover band that preceded them. Thank god I had my boyfriend there to whisper snarky comments to or I would have combusted as they went through their set of Def Leppard, Pat Benatar, Bon Jovi, etc, etc, ad nauseum. I'm sorry, but the majority of 80s pop music sucked badly enough while it was happening. I don't want to be made to live through any sort of "revival" of that crap. Much of the audience must have been insane because many of them packed up and left after the first band. Or maybe it was just past their (or their children's) bedtimes.
The last time I saw Pondering Judd they had a different lineup and a mandolin player. Now they have a new drummer and local legend Hank Decken on all kinds of guitars. They put on a great show. There was a little boy named Pete, maybe four or five years old, who came up on stage with his acoustic guitar to rock out with the band for maybe half the set. He stole the show for a song or two but by the end of the set he was still there and I hardly noticed anymore. That's a damn good band that won't be upstaged by a little dude with some serious rock and roll stage moves. Pondering Judd will be playing the same spot on August 11 from 12-2pm for the lunchtime Shark in the Park series. I'm going to make a point to get down there to see them again.

Books Books Books (and some bitching)

I've been on a little reading jag recently. I whipped through Parched by Heather King like some kind of possesssed maniac because it was such an engrossing story. First of all, she is a very good writer and a lot of the story is set here in the NH Seacoast area, my home turf too. I got to see her read in Portsmouth last month and would love to read about how she got from where she left off at the end of Parched to where she is now.
After finishing such a good read so quickly I was suffering from book withdrawal (and a good funk on the occasion of what would have been my fifteenth anniversary) and headed off to the library before I had the chance to consider the recommendations I received from some kind folks in their comments. I need to start a list of books to read and keep it in the little notebook I just bought to keep in my bag. I went without much of a plan other than the vague notion that I'd like to read John Irving's latest, knowing full well it wouldn't be sitting there on the New Books shelf waiting for me. Instead I found I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe waiting there for me. I'm about 100 pages into it and some of it screams of old man trying to write about a world he doesn't really know anymore, but it's still entertaining. His eye for detail seems to be most accurate when he writes about the rich and spoiled people, which is probably closest to the world he knows now. I don't know if young men walk around consciously thinking thoughts of entitlement and superiority like some of his young male characters do, but maybe that's something he knows more about than I do. Anyway, the book is helping me remember how clueless freshmen really are when school starts which is something I should keep in mind as this next semester approaches.
I also found a very little book titled On Bullshit written by some professor of philosophy. Apparently it stirred up some kind of hoopla when it came out but I missed all that. I read it in under an hour and my basic feelings about it were 1) I now remember why the only class I dropped out of and failed in my entire academic career was a philosophy class and 2) it was pretentious, pointless and basically reaffirms everything I hate about academia, academics and liberal arts.
Which brings me to my plan of escape from that world. I've decided I can't take it anymore. I don't want to live with the shitty pay and no benefits and full responsibilities of running a one woman show in my subject at that school anymore. So I now have a plan. My mother has commented to me before that I always have a plan and am happiest that way. She's right. My current plan involves making fuller use of my language abilities and going back to translation,this time with a specialization. When you specialize you can charge more and it becomes easier to do the work because you're familiar with the topic and spend less time in dictionaries and worrying about the correct way to word things in your own language. It means more money and less time on the job. I like that. To accomplish this, I am going to take an online paralegal course starting in September and use what I learn to specialize in Japanese to English legal translation. I figure I'll be able to make double what I'd make even if I had an instructorship at school (which I don't. I'm there on a per-course basis) and I'll be able to work from home and live the groovy freelancer lifestyle.
All I know is that being poor sucks and I make a third of what I used to make when I lived in Japan and I'm too stubborn and proud to ask the people around me for help too often, so if I'm going to be able to satisfy myself at all, I need to figure out how to make a decent living. And if the freelance translating doesn't work out the way I hope it will, I can always go get an office job with the education.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Cure

I'm going to the library. I need a good book to lose myself in.

The Dog Days

It is very hot and humid once again today. I just dropped my girl and our dog back off at her father's house. Today would have been our fifteenth anniversary. I suppose it still is since the legal crap isn't finished yet. I don't even understand how I can be old enough to have been married that long. That's a big chunk of time.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Shades of Things to Come

My girl spends half her time with me and half with her father. It's not my ideal scenario but it was the best I could come up with when I had to and now it can't change until the court says it can. Even still, it starts to drive me a little crazy as summer wears on and she complains of boredom. So, I should be thrilled that a friend invited her to swim and play up in Waterville Valley for the day and both the friend and the friend's mom enjoyed my girl so much they invited her to spend the night with them (back here in town), as well. I should be pleased that my girl is so much fun and so pleasant that her friends and their parents find her a joy to have around. And I am pleased. Part of me is pleased. The other part is sitting here with the dog, about to kick back with a new book in peace and quiet and wondering if that's so wonderful why do I feel so conflicted. I also realize when I felt like I had to create a life I could live with and be happy with myself in a few years back, I wasn't wrong. She's going to grow up and move on with her own life. That means I have to have one that isn't all about her, too.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

If I Wasn't Me

I've been approached about a translating job that I know some people would give up crucial bodily parts to get. It's translating manga. There seems to be a decent amount of (indecent) material and I'm being told it could develop into a steady gig. The thing is, I could really give a shit about manga. I don't particularly like manga, anime, RPGs, J-Pop or any other of that crap. Guess it'll boil down to the money. Kind of funny to think I'd rather work on translating contracts than comic books.

Monday, July 18, 2005


As I was driving around town today running errands I noticed hydrangeas are coming into bloom. That seems kind of funny to me. There are a lot of hydrangeas (ajisai) in Japan and they bloom throughout the rainy season, which runs from June until about mid-July. They start out blooming blue and then change colors as the weather gets damper and hotter. By the time they are a faded purple (or maybe it was pink) summer has hit with full force. So, it seems weird seeing that early blue hydrangea in July, smack in the middle of what is our short summer season. They just don't look quite right to me unless they are offset by a concrete block wall and the sound of rain on my umbrella.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Oh Well

Sometimes despite my best intentions life turns into an O. Henry story. Then again, "despite best intentions" tends to be what a lot of those plot twists are about. I just get so busy thinking about other things that I forget to pay attention to what's sitting right in front of my face.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Grammar, Anyone?

Am I being a prig for being disturbed that a column written by the chairman of the state university system Board of Trustees and published in the local paper is titled "Tuition increases unfortunately but necessary"?
That just sounds wrong. You can't mix an adverb and an adjective like that. It needs to either be "Tuition increases unfortunate but necessary" or "Tuition increases unfortunately but necessarily" (which in my opinion sounds sucky.) It also seems to be missing punctuation, a comma or an em dash or something. "Tuition increases-- unfortunate but necessary." Increases could be in the singular rather than the plural. I suppose I shouldn't let that kind of thing bother me, but it's just so sloppy.