Friday, February 29, 2008

The bestest of wishes for the bestest of people (one day late)

Happy Birthday, Perilous Cheryl, you cranky yankee!! I hope that your day was filled with much happiness. I know that these weeks have been a downer, but know that there are a lot of excellent people who think you are just awesome!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Feeling Groovy

Thanks to a gift certificate from my sister, I treated myself to a massage tonight. My new best friend, Christina, must have worked on my shoulders the entire time. How did I think that fifty minutes was going to get rid of what has been literally riding my back for months now? Still, I feel pretty groovy. I'm definitely tempted to book another one with her.

My presentation lays untouched for the moment. I'm waiting for screams from Australia to happen any moment now but doesn't seem to be the case as of yet. I also have a stack of midterms to grade, and I had a panic attack that midterm grades were due tomorrow (thank all that is bright and beautiful that it was not the case). I was also very annoyed by annoying events all day (ironic that they do that, right?). I kept chanting...I will be relaxed very soon.....

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bugs Bunny: Sheesh! I leaves ya alone for a minute...

Has it really been that long since I blogged. I must be feeling guilty about my writing so I avoid the computer at all cost. But now I am back and typing away. I've been working on a Powerpoint (death to powerpoint tyrants everywhere!) for my weekend trip to Milwaukee to talk about manga (I'm on Sunday!). It's going to be a whirlwind and I hope I can fill the numerous hours they are giving me. Probably just a forty minute talk and then questions. I think I can handle that. I'm no Steve Bissette though with his multiple slides about horror comics. Amazing to think that I could through a four hour show just riveted to my seat looking at images that deal with sharp objects plus eyeball.

So, what else is new? Hmm. I've booked a massage tomorrow night because my life needs to be full of much more decadence than it is. And I spent last Saturday at the local Tiki Bar with QOE and Johnny 10x. Despite the fact she served me Windex, I was able to hold my own at cribbage.

And I've been working. I gave a midterm exam today. I glanced through them and was pleasantly surprised by a kick-ass psychoanalytic reading of a poem they had to analyze. Gosh I'm so proud (an actual quote from me to a group discussing a short story "c'mon, people! What could be more Freudian than confusing sex with death!?!" They gave me a bunch of blank stares. I love my job -- eventually I will have to let them know that Freud is oh so out of fashion).

Still planning Alaska trip and having lots of family drama involved -- Fun! I think we plan to spend a couple days in Vancouver as my mother has discovered that there is nothing in Alaska. I plan on catching this fab exhibit there. Maybe I'll drag my niece along. I still haven't renewed my passport. I dread the picture taking, especially since I looked so young in my previous picture. Speaking of which, I need to take some pictures to load up to various things online. This, I also dread. Been thinking of picking up a digi cam for the cruise. And an Ipod and...whatever. Just too much to prep.

In other good news, looks like I will be in LA for at least three weeks. I got a "hey, this is not a contract, but we will probably be sending you a contract and wanted to make sure you haven't made other plans" e-mail. Anybody up for a visit to La-La land? I was toying with the idea of booking my plane ticket with frequent flier miles. I could even go First Class -- how absolutely decadent!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

West Coast Wendy??

I've been looking at online stuff about Alaska all night. My eyes are melting. There are just too many choices in this world and now my sister wants to join us (which introduces an entirely, new level of planning because of many factors). Enough of that. I don't want to think about what I want to do in Alaska (but if my mother drags me to a canning factory, I will freak out. I just want to relaaaaxxx).

Now, my schedule is never as busy as Miss Kate's, but get a load of this. I will transversing the US three times in two months. In May, to K'zoo (which is NOT West Coast but it is west -- Miss Kate, shall we plan? I see cheap flights now) then a week later for the cruise (either we will fly into Vancouver or Anchorage). Then if I get my summer teaching gig (maybe both sessions), I'll be in L.A. from June-August. That is just too wacky. I must spend a good portion of my income just on airfare.

I do have to say, to get back to my online travel planning, that the idea of taking a freighter around the world sounds really tempting. (yeah, you can do that. Looks awesome).

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Backyard Birdcount 08/a New England Anomaly

Today, I decided instead of working my fingers to the bone like I have been doing for months now, I would brave the great outdoors. My neighbor who hooked me on birdwatching asked if I wanted to participate in the Great Backyard Birdcount which means you go out and count the species and numbers that you see. (My mother knew about it because Martha Stewart had mentioned she was doing it this weekend -- my mother watches MS??). We went to the Mansfield Hollow Dam and saw a few birdies. You can see our toll here. We also went to Jillson square and counted 140 ring-billed gulls (that's a lot of seabirds!). It was a lot of fun -- Sunny and not too cold unless the wind blew. There was only one mishap when I fell into the mud. I'm not much of country girl, hopping over fences. Fortunately the ground was very soft and I sat there for moment, marvelling over the fact that I was unharmed (though muddy). My neighbor didn't even see me take the fall, it was so quiet. Yes, slapstick is funny.

To the next part of my story -- the New England Anomaly (a shout-out to Cranky Yankee). Okay, so I'm a transplanted Southerner and am familiar with the weird predilection for strangers to come up and talk to me in these warmer states. Now, hardcore yankees assure me that this is strange. People should mind their own business. Okay, that's fine (although sometimes in the grocery store when someone bumps into and me and doesn't even acknowledge my existence is just plain weird and very annoying -- all right, this is not meant to be a slam on the stoic NE). Anyway, I was in Super Freakin' Big Y, at the deli counter, waiting for my turn when an older man came up to me (I shouldn't be surprised because old people always talk to me. Them and museum guards, I have no idea why). At first he freaked me out because he told me without any introduction "My cat swallowed some yarn" and those of you who have such animals in their life know that yarn + cats = intestinal distress and death.

Then the most marvellous thing happened. He said "I took her to the vet and he said that [pause] she's going to have mittens."

I laughed as he walked away.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Rough Day

It's been an up and down day in an up and down week and then the last person I want to deal with pulls a traditional "hey, don't forget that I'm a jerk!" It's just too poopy for words.

Hey, at least I beat the snow and ice tonight. Oddly enough I'm trying to plan a tour to Alaska with my mother. I figured we both needed a vacation. I suppose Juneau in June is not Connecticut in February (the longest month of the year and there's an extra day this time!). Anybody been to Alaska and can give me advice?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Craving Citrus

I've been craving oranges, clementines, and pineapple all winter long and I am not usually a fan of the citrus family (too tart for me). But a few weeks ago, I even bought orange juice. I must be dehydrated and should drink more water. But that doesn't seem to satisfy. Now I understand the trouble sailors had on those long scurvy-ridden voyages. Bought a couple slices of juicy pineapple today. I ate one this evening and greatly enjoyed it.

Such an eventful Sunday, eh?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Annoyed with the Weather

Finally I had a day where I could go out and buy a new TV. What with all the big flat screen technology dropping prices, I was excited. Then it started snowing big fat flakes, and it was coating the ground. Mind you, I wasn't scared to drive in it. However, the idea of toting the TV and its giant box across slick snowy sidewalk did not appeal to me. I am extremely annoyed.

The only thing that makes me happy this moment is that I discovered a new "breed" of dog -- the schnoodle (half mini-schnauser/half toy poodle). Just too adorable, sorta like a working class poodle although some of them can look more schnauser-ey. Must get one for my cats -- they should have a pet of their own). This discovery has led me to research all sort of hybrid dog breeds (you can see them listed here). May I point out some of my more favorite names: Jack-a-bee (Jack Russell Terrier and Beagle); Comfort Retriever (Labrador Retriever and a Cocker Spaniel which must be the friendliest dog in the world); Miniature Schnoxie (Dachshund and a Miniature Pinscher); and Wauzer (Westie and a Miniature Schnauser). A colleague of mine asked if there was such a thing as a cross between a Bulldog and a Shih Tzu which would make... ah never mind.

Repeat after yourself and feel the blood pressure lower: schnoodle, schnoodle, schnoodle

Monday, February 4, 2008

On Primary Eve

When I was fourteen and a high school freshman, I attended a conference about getting girls interested in science (you can see how well that worked -- I now teach English). My biology teacher, Mrs. Brooks, nominated me (I won the "coveted" Watson-Crick award at my high school - hee hee ). My mother came with me and we sat through lectures and seminars. I don't remember too much about it except for one incident that my mother told me about.

I think she was talking to some other mothers about what they had heard that day. You have to understand that my mother, though not politically active, embraced women's rights, seeing what it had to offer her daughter even if it might not affect her future in the same way. One African-American woman commented discouragingly to her that white women would then more likely take away the jobs from black men. My mother was outraged and related the story to me by saying "why that so and so!" to me (my mother does not curse, for the most part).

On the one hand, I can understand my mother's frustration because this was an event where we were all supposed to "on the same side." Alternatively, the woman showed her that there are many facets to the "same side" (and a common critique of feminism from that era was that it did not take into account class or people of color).

So, now on the eve of the Primary, the two Democratic contenders are for a white women and a black man. And I can't help but think about both my mother and that woman who spoke to her over twenty years ago. Since I only heard about it from my mom's point of view, I wonder at the other's tone and reasons for speaking. Was it because she thought my mother would be sympathetic or that she needed to be reminded of the complexity? Or was it that there were too many white girls there (and where was her child at that time? Was it frustration about how can a black woman ever get a break?). I'm not sure and when my mother told me the story, I felt this same way. I don't know what I would have said at that point.

Still, I'm going to vote tomorrow for a woman because I want to vote for her. If the black man gets the nomination, I will also proudly vote for him.

Falling to the Wayside

Poor little blog. So neglected. I had a long, tough week and it took me days to recover. I had to finish an article which was just hell. And then I had long hours at my job(s), including staying late on Thursday to hear a speaker -- Mirta Ojito, author of Finding Manana, a memoir about leaving Cuba in 1980. My colleagues and I had dinner with her beforehand. She was very charming and interesting. I had heard that her father was not well but it didn't show at the time. It really hit her when she finally spoke to the corps. She fought back tears and told them that her father had been rescued by the Coast Guard and it was important for her to be there to talk to the cadets. She had asked her sister to put the phone up to her father's ear in the hospital so he could pass a message to them. His message was of gratitude. I was crying like an idiot and thought that all my students, especially those espousing right-wing, anti-immigrant propaganda, must be likewise moved. If not, they are terrible people.

Okay, will write more soon!