Saturday, December 15, 2007

So I've been gone...

I've been reading books!!! Several of them! How delicious is that?

Anyway, so that's what I've been doing. Sometimes you write, sometimes you read.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Dino-Mighty Scary

The 50's are back! Bring out your biggest Cadillac! Or at least that's what it felt like when I caught this shirt while browsing birthday clothes for Junior. How scary that someone would actually make this shirt for sale today: are they intentionally trying to lobby for oil drilling in the arctic?
Here's the copy that went with:

Dino-mite! Give baby a stylish Stone-Age look with this cool dinosaur tee. Fun graphics and contrast stitching add prehistoric pizzazz. Features a rib-knit crew neck and cuffs. Tag-free for added comfort.
  • Canteen Green: graphic features a young caveboy riding a giant dinosaur on wheels, with "Fossil Fuel Motors Dino-Might Power!"
Yeah. Thanks, Old Navy. This one I'm going to pass up.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Barman

So the Kiddo got his results today: he passed the bar. We have a lawyer in the family. He gave me the news on his way to jail today. I could make a lawyer joke now but he would get mad at me. So I won't. It's his great day, after all.

He called himself the Barman. I told him that he gets to serve us drinks at Christmas whenever we're thirsty. I wonder if I can get him to serve up some peanuts and mozzarella sticks too. I would stuff a couple of dollars for him in a tip jar to keep him from calculating it as billable hours. Hmmmmm...... This might just work.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Now we just need some good contenders...

...for the Oscars. Hooray that they asked Jon Stewart to come back. Now if the movies are good, it will be a good show. Should I start planning the party?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Non ti scordar di me

What to say? I mean, I certainly am not letting the passing of Pavarotti go unnoted here, but this is just one of those times when words are inadequate and possibly do more harm than good. There aren't enough superlatives in all of the languages combined to describe his voice, his persona, or the impact he had on millions, myself included. Let's face it: Pavarotti was my first introduction to opera and to the Italian language (a beautiful and yet somewhat frustrating introduction at that--I distinctly remember when I was in second grade or so trying to follow along with the words on the dust cover of the album--they made no sense according to the spelling rules I knew at the time). So seeing him go makes me sad. The world needs more bounteous, joyful personalities like his.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Summer in Photos

Well, since I taught a class last night, the summer is really officially over. So here is a recap of the summer from the point of view of my camera lens. Enjoy.

1. Bumper cars. Here is a picture of the car belonging to the idiot who parallel parks worse than I do.

2. Signs. The grammar is horrid. To the writer of the first, I say no wonder they haven't fixed it yet. To the writer of the second, I forgive you, hooray for Idaho.

3. Here is my sad car after the semi got to it. It doesn't look as scary as it felt:

4. This summer's praying mantis:

5. And the picture I got framed as a consolation prize for not going on vacation this summer. I did it more to protect the painting--it was in danger of having a corner bend off--than to show it off, but the frame is so great with it that I displaced some other stuff and hung it in the dining room.

Well, there it is, two months of deep breathing, and now the onslaught renews. Wish me luck.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Peach for Dinner

Tonight for dinner I had a peach that was so perfect it caused fireworks to go off at the base of my brain. The fuzziness from the fireworks explosions then wafted upward to surround my whole brain and right now it's settling into the most wonderful sense of wellbeing and awareness.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Kabuki and a Truck

Nasty thing happened today in the middle of some fine to good things that were happening today. Class went well enough this morning, although tomorrow is their final exam and I know we have just gone too fast for most of them to understand what they've been taught. A few of them have it, but most of them really could have used more time.
After class, I was going with friends to Washington to see a Kabuki troupe perform--really, a once in a lifetime opportunity, and we were going to see it for free for the dress rehearsal - tonight's performance was $105! But the trip up is when the nasty thing happened--we were stuck in traffic for a long, long time--an accident on the freeway had clogged things up good and proper--and we were just getting in sight of the accident, which meant we were just getting in sight of being able to move again, when a semi in the left hand lane decided he wanted to merge into our middle lane, and did so right into my car. I was sitting in the back seat so I could work on correcting, and I saw it coming and couldn't speak, I just screamed. Then the other passenger saw it and she scremed a little too, but by this time we were being hit. Now the driver is starting to honk and move a little bit out of the way, but let's face it, we're boxed in, and the semi comes forward again and hits us a second time!! Both of my driver's side doors look terrible, there are even holes torn in the back one. So we called for a trooper and now my car gets to go back to the body shop, even though it was just there two weeks ago to fix an accident from January.
The officer railed into the semi driver. He asked him what he was thinking, changing lanes in traffic that is packed in so tight. I was glad that the officer gave him a piece of his mind. I learned a couple of accidents ago to not say much to drivers who hit me or I'll end up giving them a plausible lie to tell once the police arrive! So I was happy to let the officer be frank with him.
Thankfully, no one was hurt--it could have been so much worse! But we shook it off and continued along our way and saw a great performance. Japanese woodblock prints from the 1700s and 1800s often featured kabuki performers, and some of my favorites show them making wild eyes and pulling faces. It was so strange to see that in context today. They performed two plays. The first one was boring to me (not much action, just a lot of talk, and let's face it--I don't speak Japanese). But the second one was great with lots of body movement, vocal variation, and comedy. Both plays were visually stunning, there was live musical accompaniment, it was just a fantastic performance overall.
Finally I'm home now. I have to write my final exam for tomorrow. Yikes! But then the class will be over and I will be able to focus on other things, which, unfortunately, now include getting my car fixed. :P

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Big Audio Dynamite

Ok, so maybe the title is a little overreaching. But the fact is, I have a new project. After looking and looking and evaluating and looking more to find the perfect portable music/whatever else player, I ditched it and bought a big fat external hard drive (500 GB) for the purpose of collecting my music, photos, and a few other things. So now I am in the process of ripping my entire music library to MP3. Which is so much fun. I am listening to music that I never listen to because it is not in my computer. But now it is, and now I can listen to it. The whole thing makes me think of Hermione's sparkly new bag for book 7--a tiny little thing that holds way too much. (If you haven't read Deathly Hallows yet, please do--what a wonderful way to spend a weekend!)
But an external hard drive is not enough to code name this project Big Audio Dynamite. The fun part is the system of cables I'm putting together to pipe music beyond the study. Now, mind you, without a freestanding house it is really rude to do anything too loud and bass-shuddering (not that some of my neighbors over the years ever realized that--come to speak of it, it's not nice to shoot guns in the middle of the night, but some people just won't learn....) I digress. Anyway, we're not talking a big bad mother-of-all sound systems, just something to pipe some choice tunes through the house. It's fun. It makes me feel all zen with my computer and with my music all at once--everything connected, everything in balance.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Patriotic Zeal

Hi! Happy holiday, it's the Fourth, hooray for independence and freedom! I just rolled out of bed--it's 7:45 in the morning. The lovely thing about being a couple of time zones ahead of everyone else in the family is that they should all still be asleep (even the Boy is visiting friends a time zone away). So I'm resisting the pull to be terribly evil.

When we were kids there would be a pancake breakfast at the church every July 4. And a sunrise raising of the flag. The choir would sing some patriotic songs, it was all really quite lovely, but it did mean getting to the church early enough to call it sunrise. Which is really early in July. So dad would sneak his gigantic early 80's stereo (which, I must admit, I thought was so cool and called a ghetto blaster at a certain point in history when kids who wanted a stereo of their own really did call those things ghetto blasters) downstairs, plug it in in the hallway, crank it up full blast, and jerk us into consciousness to the tune of Stars and Stripes Forever. One year he even did it to the neighbors.

So, of course, right now I want to put on Stars and Stripes Forever and call everyone in the family. And maybe even the neighbors, who moved, but are still within telephone range.

Or maybe I'll let everyone have a nice sleep in and I'll just play it for myself and make some pancakes.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Holding Back Gale-Force Vindication

Let me tell you all what a good little lawyer the Kiddo is going to be. Today I went to my car, which I had parallel parked before class, and there was someone parked in my back bumper. I was livid. I wanted to knock in all their windows and doors. I wanted blood. The freak shouldn't have been parking there anyway--more than half the car was in a no-parking zone. I wanted to let the air out of the tires. I wanted revenge.
So I called the Kiddo to say hey, what's the deal, because I figured the police wouldn't really have to believe my side--I could just as easily have slid into that car. So the Kiddo asked me what damage I had sustained - none, really, as the back bumper is still messed up from when I was rear-ended in January. So really all I could do was call the police and see if they would ticket the idiot.
Remember. I want blood. If I had had a machine gun, I would have shot up the car.
But Kiddo the Lawyer was so calm about it, and all "Well, you could get the police to give him a ticket, or you could drive away and in a couple of hours be fine."
So I took a picture. I admit that I very much want to post it here with a "When You See This Freak Car Hit It" message, but who knows how many ways I could be held liable if anyone did. (I didn't bother asking the Kiddo about that. I like to think that I only have to be told to be a decent human being once a day.) What a good little non-bloodthirsty lawyer the Kiddo is.
I did leave a nasty note on the windshield. The jerk probably laughed and then threw it on the ground to litter the world up. I still wish I had smashed in a window or two. Hopefully Karma will do that for me.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


I am the type of person who hears the word "festival" and usually runs in the opposite direction. A festival is just one more reason why it's hard to park, one more opportunity to bump into people who aren't using their brains, a time of standing in line forever for a little bit of "fun". No, I much prefer being at home or going out to find the anti-festival, a place that is beautiful and isn't packed with people.

Not to mention that when I was a kid, the annual torture of having to go play piano in front of a judge was called "Festival". I never understood that one, as it always racked my nerves so much to play in front of a stranger that I was millimeters from tears (and the tears usually ended up falling after the performance, perfectly executable at home, fell apart with my nerves). That festival was certainly a misnomer.

I explain all of this so you can understand the significance of my saying that I would do just about anything to attend the Venice Biennale. Yes, it's contemporary art when I much prefer something older, but Venice is so amazing anyway and then to make the whole city host art from everywhere, as a matter of course, it must be beyond wonderful. (And it's not like the masterworks get dumped in the canals while the newer stuff comes in....) I imagine sitting on the Grand Canal in front of Santa Maria della Salute drinking in the view after having seen some strange but oddly likable piece of contemporary art somewhere (wish wish) and anticipating an afternoon in the Academy in front of some Tintoretto frescoes to wash my soul and set it free to fly. I imagine staying in a hotel away from the main walks of the city, getting to wander and see Venice at night, and being there long enough that on one day I even find myself escaping to one of the smaller islands for a breather with relatively fewer people milling about, then, once I am fortified by the away time, rushing back in to the excitement and buzz of thousands of people out to see the new, the curious, against an antique and venerated backdrop.

Of course in this dream I am also there long enough to visit other cities: Genova, Firenze, and finally Assisi, Rome, Capri, Palermo...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Off Task.

Right now I'm supposed to be writing one of two final exams I'll be giving in the next two days.
I'm supposed to be writing them so I can get to bed so I can get over the cold that has attacked me to the very core and made me so exhausted I can't make it through the day.
I'm supposed to be eschewing the Internet and the television and concentrating on the task at hand. I even tried going to work on the exams at a location without Internet or cable. Of course, though, since I'm sick and out of my mind, I didn't take the proper books, so here I am at home where there is Internet and cable and I just finished watching a documentary on Tianenmen Square and the changes in China since 1989. Last night when I was supposed to be working I was watching a documentary on being a nightowl and insomniac. I love documentaries. What a fantastic medium--to make your point with experts and witnesses and pictures, sound and motion. Viva la revolucion!
Hooray for PBS and independent filmmakers! Hooray for freedom of speech! Hooray for information so easily available, so nicely digestible, so incindiery and wild!
Yeah. I should get back to the test.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

on Work and More

All right, for anyone who has been in suspense since my last post, I decided to take the summer job. Which we all knew I would do. There's only one word for me. Spell it with me:

When I have been stealing time from the piles of work that surround me and make me feel guilty for doing anything but pay attention to said piles of work, I've actually had some lovely little things happen in the past couple of months. Dad came to visit for spring break, and although I made him sit around while I worked for much too much of the time, we did fit in some fun things, including catching a show of orchids (which Dad thoroughly enjoyed, especially as they reminded him of the beautiful island of Zamboanga in the Philippines) and seeing the National Cathedral, and driving out to Assateague Island to see the wild ponies, or the "Fat Salt Ponies" as Amilynne has named them. (She apparently saw a special on them which stated that they are plump because of the extra dose of salt in their sea-island diets.) They were really cool. Dad also got his first visit to the Atlantic. Here are the pictures to say the thousands of words I'm too impatient to write:

In other news, I also discovered the amazing poetry of Mary Oliver. The poems are the most real and powerful and spiritual descriptions of the natural world that I think I have ever encountered--I can only read so many before it is too much and I have to set it down for fear of my soul bursting out of my skin. So I'm reading the books slowly, and re-reading poems several times before moving on. Amilynne is mad at me because I told her I think Mary Oliver might be my poet (meaning Billy Collins may have been bumped from the top spot). I don't know. I love them both, but I can't argue with the power of this. Here for your pleasure, a link to several of her poems.
The joy is that this has me writing poetry again. (Yes, Billy Collins, I know that doesn't necessarily please you.) Not that any of it is good yet. But if I'm not writing it's never going to get any better, and it feels good to be in a creative moment, because I've been out of one for a long time.
And it feels good to shake my little fist at the piles of work and say, "Yes! But first this!"

Thursday, March 15, 2007

So I'm still up

and it's almost 1:00. I should really be asleep, but I'm not.

I'm trying to decide what to do with my summer. I had declared that this would be the summer of peace, and that really I would refuse anything that came my way. Now I'm faced with the opportunity to teach a class at the university and I am torn. On the one hand, who turns down decent income for a 5-week stint? On the other hand, I had promised myself a summer off. I keep going back and forth on it. There are a lot of things that normal people do to take care of themselves and their interests that I just haven't had a chance to do since September 2003. Not to mention that I have side projects (stained glass, painting, books to read) that could easily fill ten summers. I haven't been really truly creative since I started my master's and I really need to give that an outlet. Anyway, I have to decide by Friday. And I am absolutely torn.

And losing sleep.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

on Sting

One of the times I didn't get to see Sting.

I could go for a Police reunion tour, but you know that for me it would be all about Sting.

Yes, I caught the Police opening the Grammys tonight. I didn't know what I would think. And then Sting started to sing and it was good. I didn't care much who was playing the other instruments, it was all about Sting.

You see, once upon a time, a long time ago, when I was 14 or so, my cousin came to visit, and she had a copy of Dream of the Blue Turtles. We hung out and I had a listen, and late that night, long after she had gone to bed, I was still listening. The lyrics were profound: they spoke to my greatest fears, appealed to my growing sense of social justice, and enchanted me with their poetry and with descriptions of places I hadn't yet imagined. The music and the voice were rough and smooth and played tricks I wasn't expecting. I greeted Sting's pursuant albums with the same mix of awe and adoration. Hours have been spent just listening. Tears have fallen. Ultimate Sting mix tapes have been made. I spent years waiting for the chance to see Sting on tour - but whenever he came near I was elsewhere. When I finally got to see Sting perform live, my heart just about burst. I could not stop the tears that welled over the whole time he was on stage. OK, so I mist up easily, but that was extreme.

Hearing him sing the earlier Police stuff is fantastic. (Hearing him sing the ABC song would be fantastic.) Do I care about the Police reuniting? Only as a vehicle for another tour with Sting, another chance to have all of that live emotion and greatness blow me off my feet again.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

It's an architecture kind of day

I'm vibing with buildings. Found a couple of cool things. I was reading about the current soccer moratorium in Italy (national crisis!) and the article referred to "Palazzo Chigi" as an entity - Ha! *Click* went my brain and off I went to find a picture of seat of Italian government. Here is Wikipedia's version:

I also came across an article on referring to the top 150 examples of American architecture as picked by the American public. The list is here. Hmmm. The Empire State Building is definitely not my favorite (for old skyscrapers, the Chrystler building is cooler), and the White House is not nearly as cool as the Capitol. But what a fun list to go over and look at. I haven't decided yet which is my favorite. I'll let you know when I do.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Bozzetto's Take on Italy

Click here or on the title to experience the truth about life in Italy, as compared to the rest of Europe.
I split my sides. The bus thing is SO true.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Where is my Robot?

I've been home for two weeks now and the house is still a mess and I'm still behind in what I need to get done for work and I went to do laundry and of course the facilities are down so I've got to go to the laundromat. And I would just like to ask: Where is my Robot? Where? They just had the big tecchie show and woo-hoo there's a new cellphone coming out (hello - I've had a cellphone for a LONG TIME now and the one I've got lets me phone. It's a phone. That's all I need there.) but why did no one unveil a robot? A robot to keep the house clean and calculate the balance in the checking account (and do my correcting) and run to the laundromat when the laundry facilities are down. That is the invention I would buy into and make room for...a personal assistant I would only have to buy once.
Did you see the Electric Grandmother when you were a kid? She should be the prototype. She knew when to make chocolate chip cookies and she handled the house with ease. I would not be like the little girl in the story. I would embrace my Electric Grandmother with thankfulness. I would make sure she had a nice rocking chair for when she was plugged in every night and I would pay the electric bill with a song in my heart.
So please, Steve Jobs, take your iPhone and go back to the drawing board. I'd like to see the first issue of an electric grandmother announced at the conference next year. Put all of your people on it, maybe team up with the folks at MIT. But hurry, please. My to-do list isn't getting any shorter.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Resolved: Must Blog in 2007

Here I am at my computer making "lesson plans." Right. Unfortunately, I'm still running on mountain time, which means my body thinks there is plenty of time to get the work done and still get some sleep before work in the morning. And that is why procrastinators should only travel in a westerly direction... might miss some days entirely, but it will always feel like sleeping in!

Anyway, I suddenly remembered that I used to blog. And that I enjoyed it. And it really fits in with my one and only (2-part) resolution for the new year: to take better care of myself and enjoy life.

So Hooray! Hooray! Last semester is over. I graduated, taught my first college class, and worked full-time to boot. I am SO happy not to be taking a class this semester. I remember how happy I was to take my first class for certification--it felt so good to be back in school--how things change! I am so ready not to be taking classes for a while!

Anyway, so the holidays were good, if brief. Lots of playtime with Junior, the whole family was at Dad's and we had a pretty good time. Junior is the cutest child in the whole world ever. He loves to tell stories--I do wish I knew what he was saying--but it is so fun to listen to him just talking away.

And now it's back to work until the end of June. Far away, but we'll make it.