Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The before travel nerves

I'm up early today because I woke up and went "oh, crap! I have a lot to do today." I fly out tomorrow, and while I am an old hand at this, I wish I had more time. I picked up my students' research papers on Friday and so far, I'm deeply disappointed. I think I need a couple of the good papers to put me in a better mood. I should have read more of them this weekend but I was very discouraged.

So far, I have arranged for kitty sitting -- thanks Queen and Cranky!!! I really appreciate it. But as for preparations, that's about it. I have a to-do list as long as my arm. I'm also debating if I want to bring aforementioned papers with me so I can grade them. I somehow think I won't. One plus to flying now is that I'm that super frequent flier which means that there is a good possibility that I will be bumped to first class. Woohoo! I sure hope so! I'll let you know if I had to break some kneecaps to get into it.

Though I have not been the best blogger in the world, know that I won't be blogging while I'm away this holiday -- unless my mother's dial-up works miraculously or if I am not too comatose from all the food (she's been baking for a while already!).

I hope everybody has a great Turkey day!

And, last -- I almost forgot. A belated happy birthday to punk rock jukebox Marco! I hope you had a great day!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Yes, it's the "idea of order"

I'm not like one of those fancy pants bloggers who blogs on the day or week as the event happens. No, I like to let things simmer and percolate so it rises to the top until I feel I must talk about it. Perhaps this comes from a deep-seated, postmodern need for skepticism.

Well, I want to tell you about a trip I took a month ago when Bill was in town. You know, it's nice when there is someone new to show around. I end up doing touristy things I hadn't gotten around to doing. For instance, though I lived in Atlanta many years, I have never made it to some of the attractions there -- the CNN center, Underground, Coca-cola museum, etc. But I took Bill around New London in October and after a tour of the Academy which was nice and quiet (except for one of my students in the Watch office working on a paper), we went to the bustling streets of the city. Much to my surprise the Academy's tall ship, Eagle (a WWII reparations gift from the land of the Deutsch) was not only in port, but also open for tours. Unfortunately, I didn't know anyone working on the ship -- mostly enlisted folk whom I could not prevail upon to see the bilges (ooh, bilges). But it was really cool. I have wistfully thought about signing on as a chaperone just so I could lose any shred of dignity I ever had by having my students watch me heave the last bits of my lunch during the heaving seas. Here, I share some cool pics that Bill took with his cell phone.Quite arty, no? He forgot to take a pic of the entire ship so here is one I nabbed off of the CGA site:
As pretty as a jigsaw puzzle! Fortunately as we boarded the seas were rather calm and the tide was reasonably high. That is, the gangway was not crazy steep, although one had to go carefully up. There were cool little plaques that explained the things that we were seeing. If only I had blogged right afterward, I might have remembered some details to share with you. Oh, the irony. I'll have to ask Bill.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Getting Lost

I have a pretty good sense of direction, yet whenever I head out to a new place (or even a place that I haven't been to in a while), I'll get turned around once or twice. However, I always find my way back. This happens in Boston. On Friday, I attended one day out of a longer conference which was taking place near the Prudential Center. I wasn't driving, and I didn't bother to print out directions. My ride had done that. After a quick look at them while on the road, I thought to myself "hmm, this doesn't look right." And sure enough, once we took the exit off the pike, I had to ditch the printout all together and just wing it. She didn't have another map and Googlemaps had just little, tantalizing windows of streets. Still, I was able to get us there.

Why does this always happen to me in Boston? I have long since sworn that I will never pick up anyone again from Logan because once exiting the airport I am faced with a choice of two ramps and I pick the wrong one, every damn time. I even have that pause when I think "oh, yeah, I always take the wrong one" and then I'm lost in merging traffic.

And those stupid little turnpike signs which will lead me along the merry path like a will 'o wisp and then just abandon me until I'm wondering where is that damn pilgrim hat? (and don't ask pedestrians because they will LIE to you).

I suppose this is because Miss Kate used to drive us into Cambridge all the time and I didn't really have to learn. Still, once I manage to find Storrow drive, I'm so happy. Last time I personally drove into the city, Alex and I almost got smooshed by a semi making a wide turn. We both yelped and found god.

On the return from my one-day conference, I rode back with another person who, thankfully, knew Boston much better than I did -- although even she had to make one u-turn. She decided to look for the Trader Joe's in Cambridge so she could note its place for future trips. Though she apologized, I told her "no, no. That's okay. I find Boston traffic relaxing." She missed the sarcasm.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Time is getting shorter

Well, literally, the days are getting shorter but it does feel like all that I wanted to get done this year is not getting done. One of my goals was to keep up with this blog and I have, in fact, started a post a couple times since my last one. But inspiration proved elusive. So, I decided to just plow through -- which is advice I give my students.

I'm also inspired by a visit of a writer in my residence -- Miss Kate. She will most likely blog about this as well but I met up with her on Friday after a long couple days of conferencing with students. I was hurriedly cleaning up my place when I heard a knock on the door. It was not Miss Kate but my downstairs neighbor's daughter who was rather panicked. She had locked herself out and what with the short days, it was dark and her mother was not home yet. I sat her down and she used my phone. Eventually, she got a hold of her mother and everything turned out fine. The girl was clinging to the little black cat who now completely believes that my home is also her home (the cat, not the girl). Kate also showed up about the same time as the mother.

After a little chit-chat, it was off to services at the synagogue because today is the anniversary (Hebrew calendar) of my father's death. I had to say Kaddish for him. There was also a bar mitzvah going on so Kate got to meet a lot of people.

After services (and homemade cookies at the kiddush), we headed over to the Queen's place for martinis and snacks and music and gossip. We were a bit startled at the possums in the Queen's backyard who froze in the headlights and then slunk under the fence. I guess they were looking for some of the fancy cheeses that Kate had brought. I'm afraid that after a few hours I pooped out so we returned early-ish to mi casa. After a few more drinks and some chat, we headed to bed. I apologize to Miss Kate for having to sleep in my "junk" room but I guess it was bearable because she said she slept well.

The next morning, after tea and coffee and fried egg sandwiches, we watched Black Books and then the film Paprika. Then, since it was a rainy Saturday afternoon, we did the only thing one should do -- besides nap and read books -- watch more bad television. I'm so glad that we not only caught the "no more wire hangers" scene from Mommie Dearest but we also watched Alien versus Predator. Now, life is, indeed complete. Finally, we finished our visit with a pizza. All in all, a very relaxing and uneventful day. I enjoyed the visit!!