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.