31 December 2008


I'm in love. My new love is British and quirky and fun and fast.
His name is Mick.
Seriously, my new car is so much fun. It's a zippy little thing to zoom around town in. I still like my old car--an Acura MDX. It's comfortable and roomy and easy to drive. But it's no fun, which is why I'm now practicing polygamy with Mick. Plus, despite its tiny size, the Mini actually has some bells and whistles the MDX lacks, like a secret storage compartment and mood lighting, the color of which can be changed on a whim (really!). And I can plug in my iPod. My X is an NPR sort of vehicle, but I listen to the Clash and the Sex Pistols and the Outcasts in Mick.
Also, I gotta say, I have never had a car dealership spend so much time on customer service after I've bought a car. Nothing obnoxious, just one follow-up call and then several friendly little emails with info on the car's features. Mini is really doing their marketing right.

30 December 2008


The Things are on vacation, and I'm trying to find ways of keeping them busy. Yesterday we made a giant gingerbread man:

Today they're sorting their bookshelves to weed out the outgrown books. I think we'll tackle their black holes closets tomorrow.
We had Chinese for dinner the other night. Here's my fortune:
Q. What is H20? A. Caring, 2 parts Hug and 1 part Open-mind.
Okay, first off? That's not a fortune. It's a--I'm not sure what the hell that is. And second, what on earth does it mean?? Who writes these things? The back of the paper was more helpful. It informs me that Chinese for beer is pi jiu. No clue how to pronounce it, though. And is that Mandarin or Cantonese?

20 December 2008

Meet Mick

Some of you have apparently known about this since early November and have done a really good job of keeping your mouths shut.

We went to Sacramento today to order my Mini. And look what was waiting for me:

Hubby ordered it 8 weeks ago and kept it a secret until today. My whole family knew. Everyone at Hubby's work knew. The entire Mini and BMW dealership staff in Sacramento knew. Hubby isn't usually a secrets guy and the last time he really floored me was when he proposed to me over 20 years ago. This was a doozy. :-)

He even decorated it:

And he drove the 100 miles home with the kids in my old car, and I had much quieter company, also supplied by Hubby:

Hubby had also planned ahead and brought an appropriate CD for me to listen to on the ride home: the Sex Pistols. And I listened to it twice because I couldn't figure out how to switch to the radio while I was driving on the freeway.
I think Hubby's a keeper. And Mick is way, way fun. Here it is in our driveway:

I have to say, it's a pretty good Hanukkah present. :-)

16 December 2008


Hubby, who likes to car shop (yes, he's crazy) promised me a new car back in March. Today he finally struck a deal he's happy with. So we'll go order my car this weekend, and it should arrive from England in 6 weeks or so.

I'm going to keep my SUV, but just use it mostly for longer trips when we have the whole family on board. My new car will be my daily commuter (not that I have much of a commute), and my taxiing the Things car.

Have you guessed what I'm getting? One of these in chili red with a black top and black bonnet stripes.


08 December 2008

Literary Efforts

I am trying to wade through 37 term papers on serial killers and mobsters. But the Things have graced me with much more interesting reading material. First, a story Thing2 wrote today at kindergarten, all by herself:


T2 is in bed now so I'll have to wait for the explanation of who Sparkles the Pony interrupted, or was interrupted by. T2 recently attended a birthday party that involved pony rides, so ponies have been much on her mind.

And here's a note that Thing1 left on our bed last night:

Dear Mom and Dad,
I want to go to camp again. I want to be surrounded by Jews, not
Christians! Sorry, ran out of ink [she changed from pink to red]. Anyway, what I
am saying is ever since first grade I have been the ONLY Jewish kid in the
class. And I am not sure about pre-school and kindergarten because I don't
remember. And I don't think anybody in school likes me because 3 reasons: #1
Nobody sits next to me on the bus. #2 Nobody ever pays attention to me. #3 I
can't think of number three. So I want to stay at camp for 3 weeks so you guys
can send letters to me.
Jewish [Thing1]
P.S. p.s. stands for post script.

Poor kid. We're not at all observant, but I guess it sucks when you're the only one not celebrating Christmas. Well, you and the Sikh kid or two in your class. As for the nobody liking her, this is a child who spent the entire weekend at her friend's house.

Okay, back to serial killers....

04 December 2008

December 4

The end of the semester joy continues. I have 37 twenty-page term papers sitting on my desk, and the damn grading fairies have not yet come to do their work!

So of course my mind is thinking ahead, to travel. I'll be off to Poland in just over a month. I may get a chance while I'm there to visit the town where my grandfather was born. That would be pretty cool. Well, and cool is probably the operant word here. I've got my scarves and boots and things all lined up, though.

02 December 2008

Memo to My Students

Memo to My Students

  1. If the syllabus says, in all-cap, bold, underlined letters that there will be no makeup tests, and if I said in class at least 3 times, beginning on the very first day, that there will be no make-up tests, you cannot take the final early so that you can go on vacation in Mexico.

  2. Remember that 20 page term paper? The one I've been nagging you to work on all semester? The one that's due today? If you emailed me questions at 11:34 last night about how to cite things or how long the second section is supposed to be, I didn't answer you.

  3. It's December. Even in California, it's December. Flip-flops with parkas or, alternately, uggs with shorts look stupid.

  4. I'm sorry your transmission died/you got pulled over by the cops/you had to drive your brother to the airport/you got called in to work/you had training to attend for work. No make-up tests. See Item 1.

  5. The paper is due today. If you'd tried printing it out at some point earlier than 5 minutes before class, it wouldn't have been such a tragedy when the printer broke/you ran out of printer credits/the computer ate your file.
  6. I advise over 80 students every semester. When you come to see me for advising, if you can't remember what classes you've taken/are taking this semester, don't expect me to know.
  7. I don't live in my office or on my computer. If you call on Saturday morning or email at 2am, don't expect an immediate response.
  8. I'm happy to write you a letter of recommendation. Please ask me more than 2 days before it's due.
  9. I know it's waaaay too much to ask that you actually proof-read and edit your own papers. But for goodness sake, please at least run a grammar and spell check.
  10. Grammar and spell check will not catch all your errors. For example, statues are rarely violated or unconstitutional, except in term papers.

23 November 2008

Baked Things

Thing 2 and I made sugar cookies yesterday while T1 was having a playdate.

I remember when I was a kid, how much I enjoyed decorating them. T2's have lots of sprinkles. :-)

And I brought a bunch of things home from ceramics class on Wednesday. Some I can't show you because they are destined to be gifts (but I'm really pleased with how they turned out). But I can show a few:

The thing with holes is just a little candle holder I made. It's certainly nothing special, but I do really like the glaze, which turned out a lovely coppery-brick color. And the mermaid is by request, for T2. T1 already has one. I'd made T2 a different one, but it fell apart in the kiln, so this is actually my 3rd mermaid. I also made T1 a monkey, but it cracked into pieces, too. So I've made her another, but it's not glazed yet. I'm better at mermaids than monkeys.

I also like the glaze on this piece, which was my first attempt at a lidded jar. The glaze is kind of irridescent green and purple.

21 November 2008

Stone Soup Day

Here's a really cute pic of Thing 2 and her friend Tiffany at school today. Tiffany has the most adorable blonde ringlets, which T2 covets. T2's adorable, too, of course, but not her hair, which she took it upon herself to cut last Saturday morning before her parents came downstairs. Sigh. At least this time she wasn't playing outside in her pajamas.

T2's school has Stone Soup Day every year, and today was it. Each of the kids brings a particular food item (we contributed onion rolls this year), the teachers make soup and other things, and parents get to join the kids for lunch. I never get to go because T2's school is a 45 minute drive from my office, but Hubby, who works only 3 blocks from her, does get to go. So he took this pic.

And here's T2 (who, as you can see, is currently into tatts) decapitating her dessert.

16 November 2008


It doesn't feel very fall-like today, as the temps topped out near 80. Still, Thanksgiving's drawing near, and I refused to spend the day agonizing about my department budget (although I did get an email from the Dean today indicating the cuts won't be as bad as feared). So I've spent the day making multiple batches of onion rolls, my Thanksgiving staple.

Hubby is going to take the Things to visit his family this year, leaving me to stay home with the pets (there was no room at the doggy inn for Ruthie). That's okay--I'm looking forward to a few days of rest and quiet, actually. But I will roast myself a turkey breast, because it just wouldn't be the same without turkey and cranberry sauce sandwiches on onion rolls (yes, I prefer the leftovers to the actual main meal). And I'm making extra rolls so Hubby and the Things can take some with them.

And while I had the flour and the yeast and everything out anyway, I dragged out the bread machine this afternoon and made a loaf of brioche. I'm going to make it into French Toast for dinner tonight, and won't that be yummy?

Is there any better smell in the world than baking bread?

14 November 2008

Work woes

We're having a miserable, horrible budget emergency at work. I'm faced with a bunch of crap decisions that will make everyone angry. Blargh!

So I posted on LiveJournal an old essay I once wrote. It has nothing to do with work or budgets. So there.

05 November 2008


Okay, first off, I'm thankful for a few things. The damn election is over. Yay! I am, of course, pleased about Obama, and even more pleased that there are only 75 days left of President Stupidhead. I'm also happy about a couple of the ballot measures.

On the other hand, I'm deeply disappointed that Prop 8, the anti-gay marriage measure, passed. Whatever people's own views might be on the issue, why on earth should they care so much about other people's marriages? After all, I can think of lots of straight couples that I don't think should be married, but then that's really none of my frigging business. I'm also appalled at how much time, energy, and money the Yes on 8 people put into this, especially the local churches. If you think gay marriage is a bad idea, fine, but aren't there much more pressing issues? Things like poverty, abuse, war, and inequality?

I'm officially off my soapbox now on this issue.

02 November 2008

Joys of Parenthood

So yesterday morning Hubby and I slept in a bit. Thing 1 was still at her friend's house, and all was quiet at ours. Too quiet. Hubby got up and went searching for T2 who, it turns out, was outside, still in her jammies, playing with the neighbor kid. We had a little talk about leaving the house without permission and without appropriate clothes.

Then last night around 11pm, T2, who had been fast asleep, came downstairs crying. She had chewing gum in her hair, on her arm, and on her jammies. She steadfastly denied taking any gum into her room, and insisted T1 had left it on her pillow. While I cleaned T2 up, Hubby questioned T1, who denied any involvement. We decided to leave it for the morning. I interrogated them both this morning and soon got the culprit to crack. The result? T1 will be cleaning T2's room for a while.

01 November 2008


The little monsters and their parents had a good Halloween yesterday. The vampiress went trick-or-treating with a friend, and then ended up spending the night at her friend's house at an impromptu slumber party. The pirate hit every house in our subdivision and filled her pumpkin literally to the brim. We went through 2 and a half Costco-sized bags of candy. Our conservative estimate is that 150 kids came to our house last night. There are a lot of kids in our neighborhood anyway, and then families import whole minivans full every year. My favorite costume was two girls dressed up as Thing 1 and Thing 2.--the Dr. Seuss versions, that it. :-)

It was rainy yesterday, but by evening there was only an occasional drizzle. And the cloud cover meant it stayed quite warm, so most of our block ended up spending the night outside in a sort of block party.

I think my favorite visitors was a group of 3 boys in their mid teens. Too old for trick-or-treating, really, but they all had on elaborate costumes and they were very polite. I gave them candy and little toys, and as they walked away, I heard one of them say happily to the others, "Dude! She gave us bouncy balls!!"

29 October 2008

New Story

Every so often, morbid inspiration strikes me. Did yesterday. New story here.

28 October 2008

Election Blues

I have studiously avoided all network television for months, in part so I don't have to watch campaign ads. I've hung up politely on all the people who've been calling to solicit money or votes for various causes or candidates. I've restrained myself from pulling over and shaking the "Yes on Prop 8" ladies who have been stationing themselves near Target. I have placed in the recycling bin all 9--count 'em, 9--separate fliers our household received in the mail today trying to tell us what, or whom to vote for.


Hubby and I have already mailed in our ballots. Now everyone else needs to get off their butts and vote, and then the campaign people can LEAVE US THE HELL ALONE!!

I feel better now.

26 October 2008

Happy Birthday Ruthie!

Thing 1 isn't the only October birthday girl around here--Ruthie turned 10 on Friday! I tried to get a pic of her, but she was more interested in sitting on my feet. Thus, this crappy portrait:

You'll have to take my word for it that she looks very pretty, having been groomed on Monday. Ten is a pretty ripe old age for a Saint, but, other than arthritis in one hind leg, she's doing well. And, happily, Ruthie did not request a slumber party for her birthday (although she sure did enjoy Thing 1's).

I'm finding it hard to believe it's nearly Halloween. It's been in the mid 80's, so the kids are still running around in shorts, and we had dinner tonight on the back patio. Not that I'm complaining. One year when we lived in Nebraska, the mayor of Lincoln cancelled Halloween because there was a blizzard!

I spent the day grading mid-terms. You have no idea how many wrong ways there are to spell catharsis.

21 October 2008


We had a good time at Disneyland. October's a great time to visit--lines were short and the weather was perfect. And they redo the Haunted Mansion in a whole Nightmare before Christmas theme which is pretty cool. We rode all our favorite rides. I like Tower of Terror best, personally. I also enjoyed people watching. I love how Disney turns everyone--young, old, tough guys, hipsters, cool dudes...just everyone--into goofy Disneyfied people. I say heavily tattooed, muscle-bound guys in Mickey ears. My favorite was the one totally gangster-looking man who was patiently waiting for his wife and kids outside Space Mountain, sporting his daughter's pink, flowered backpack. We made good time on the road, too, and arrived back home at 1am today. Today it was back to the real Mickey Mouse world of work.

Here are the Things and me with some villians. I always like the villians best.

Oh, and the remarkably observant among you might notice that I'm now sort of a redhead. I asked my hairdresser to do something different.

18 October 2008

I finished something!

Look!! An actual FO!

If you can't tell from the pic, this is a funky wall pocket thingy. I quite like it. And here's a secret. See those oh-so-artistic-looking cracks? Those weren't intentional. Apparently this batch of clay tended to crack a lot in the kiln for some reason. But that's okay, because I think the thingy actually looks better with the cracks than without. Serendipity, I guess.

We're off to Disneyland in the morning. It's a little over 300 miles from here. We're hoping that this time of year the lines will be short.

12 October 2008

We survived!

Thing 1 turned 9 on Friday and celebrated with a slumber party last night. She had 5 guests, but only 3 actually spent the night. Which is good, because the small group we did have made plenty of noise and stayed up till nearly 4 am. They had fun.

But I need to rant about parents. Several didn't RSVP at all. One kid's parents (whom we've never met before) not only failed to RSVP, but showed up to drop the kid off 2 hours early yesterday, and then picked her up nearly 2 hours late today. The girl actually is very sweet and I like her a lot (when Thing 2 was crying about having to go to bed and "miss all the fun," this girl read her a bedtime story). But what are these parents thinking??

Next weekend we're off to Disneyland, which was our present to T1.

Thanks for the feedback on my Poland trip. I'm excited about it! Knatolee, there is no excuse for my having never visited The Great White North. We're considering a drive up the west coast to BC (with stops in Portland and Seattle) as our major family vacation next year, though. Although certain members of the family have been lobbying heavily for Hawaii instead.

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I've started watching True Blood on HBO. I'm still really enjoying it. And it has what I personally think is the best ever opening credits sequence. Perfect music, even.

09 October 2008


I just bought my tickets to Warsaw. This follows several days of agonizing, because there actually aren't many convenient ways to get from San Francisco to Warsaw. I wanted to avoid any plane changes in the US, because the weather in January in places like Detroit and Chicago and Newark can be iffy, and if I'm going to get stuck somewhere due to a storm, I'd prefer for it to be a tad more exotic than Newark. On top of that, the flight costs have been swinging up and down by as much as $200/day, so deciding when to buy is like playing the stock market.

So...I'm flying via British Airways, which means connections at Heathrow. I don't get to spend any extra time in Europe because Hubby needs me back here, but I do end up with one night in London, probably somewhere thrilling like the Heathrow Sheraton. I'd hoped for Paris, where I've never been outside the airport, but c'est la vie. On the plus side, BA lets you choose from a long list of interesting titles to call yourself, so if you've ever fancied yourself a viscountess or marquise, this would be your chance to declare it.

You know, my trip to Poland will mean that I've made a pretty decent circuit of central and eastern Europe, but I've never been to Canada, and my one trip to Mexico consisted of a few hours in Tijuana when I was 3. Strange.

Yesterday I got an issue in the mail of Verena Knitting, "Europe's top knit magazine." I dunno why. I subscribe to a few US knit magazines, and I assume that has something to do with it. I'm never one to look a gift magazine in the mouth, anyway.

01 October 2008

More bragging

In my last post, I bragged on T1 and my students. Here's two more brags.

Today the director of T2's school mentioned that T2 is reading at a 3rd grade level. She's two months into kindergarten. The advanced reading is currently just great, because she's at a Montessori school, where kids sorta go at their own speeds. But it should be interesting next Fall, when T2 attends public 1st grade. I hope her teacher can keep her gainfully occupied, because a bored T2 is a dangerous T2.

Last night, I sent Hubby to the store with the Things to get two items: shoelaces for T2, and ginger ale for me, because that's what I like to drink when I'm sick. He came home with shoelaces, ice cream, cookies, potato chips, and a mop. No ginger ale. So then--without my making a fuss or asking him to do so--he went back to the store and got ginger ale (and Reese's Pieces for him, but nobody's perfect).


T1 did very well in the spelling bee; only about 6 kids remained after her. And considering that she was up against 5th and 6th graders, that's really good. She bombed out on indebted. I took her out for ice cream after.

Still have that stupid cold. Yesterday a student emailed to ask for an exam grade, which I couldn't give her because I was at home and the grades were at work. Look at this sweet message she sent back:
YES! I know how you feel. Hope you feel much better. Remember home is just one
call away. You should stay home for a while and visit your family. Get well soon.
See you on Thursday. :)

At least she and the other students in my Intro class will be pleased tomorrow when they get their tests back. They kicked butt. Average was 85, and two students got perfect scores. Yay! I've taught them something!

One thing I hate about parenting is the amount of pimping for fundraisers you get stuck doing. A few weeks ago T1 was selling wrapping paper for her school. Now T2 is selling frozen cookie dough for her school, while T1 is selling magazines, candy, and nuts for Girl Scouts. And we're still nowhere near Girl Scout cookie time yet. Anyone need magazine subscriptions? Sich.

30 September 2008


I have a cold. And I always feel sorry for myself when I have a cold, but this time even more so, because it's been hot out (we were near 100 for a few days), but Hubby insists we not run the AC because it's the end of September and we shouldn't need AC at the end of September. And I'm too sick too argue, so I've been sick and hot. Blah!!

In other news, Hubby and I have been watching Six Feet Under on DVD. I missed this series when it was originally on, and it's fantastic. We're in season 2 now. We're also actually following 2 current series, which I haven't done since the writers' strike. One of them is Dexter, which just started Season 3 on Showtime. I don't normally watch cop shows, but this one's too good to miss. And now we're hooked on True Blood, which debuted a couple weeks ago on HBO. True Blood is about vampires in Louisiana. It's based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlene Harris. Those novels are great fun, so when I heard about the series, and heard it's produced by the same guy who did Six Feet Under, I subscribed to HBO. And so far, the tv series has been way fun, too. And if you notice a certain theme to my favorite tv shows, what can I say? I have a macabre sense of humor. It's one of my eccentricities. :-)

Thing 1 is participating in a school spelling bee tomorrow. They gave out the list of words ahead of time, so she's been preparing. There are several hundred words and most of them are really hard for a 4th grader (reconnaissance, rheumatism, and antimacassar are a few). I know I can't spell some of them correctly. But T1 is a good speller and she's been working hard. She won't win--she'll be competing with 5th and 6th graders as well--but I'm sure she'll do great.

Okay, I'm back to my Kleenex now.

24 September 2008


This morning, one of my students was complaining that another one of her professors is pretty strange. Actually, he is. But being a professional, I just told her that a lot of academics are eccentric. Her response? "No, professor. You're eccentric. He's crazy." I've decided to take it as a compliment.

23 September 2008

Tuesday Miscellany

A few comments today:
  • Am considering buying another pair of Docs. These. Can't make up my mind. Input?
  • Shout gel will do a reasonable, if not complete, job of removing black magic marker from beige/tan microsuede upholstery. Ask Thing 2 how I know this.
  • I'm going to go to Warsaw in January (yes, I am slightly insane), and I've begun pricing plane tickets. There are no direct flights from San Francisco to Poland, and, since I have to connect somewhere anyway, I figure maybe I can swing an extra couple days in the connecting city. Right now London's looking like a good bet, but I've been there a couple times already. So maybe Paris. If any of you have been to Paris, I'd surely appreciate tips. Is it worth it for, say, 2 days? What should I see in that short time frame? Where should I stay?
  • Thing 1's 9th birthday is next month and--shhh!! Don't tell her!--we're going to take her to Disneyland. Plus she wants a slumber party.
  • On Sunday we hired an actual babysitter and went to see a movie without Things. We saw Dark Knight, and both really enjoyed it. Lots of stuff blows up. So nice to have occasional grownup time.

14 September 2008

I wouldn't have done it....

I've completed a draft of the story I wrote in response to last week's contest. You can read it over on LiveJournal. I hope you like it, and I would prostrate myself in thanks for feedback. :-)

11 September 2008


I made a tiny bit of progress on that story today. I'm only getting in about 2 words at a time, before those pesky work-related interruptions interfere.

Today one of the students in my Intro class, which is 90 minutes long, came up to me after class. "Wow! Time went by really fast today!" he said. Which was nice. Always glad to know I'm not boring them all to death.

Yesterday evening when it was time for Thing 2 to go to bed, I told her to get her jammies on while I put some things away in my bedroom. When I went to find her a few minutes later, she was in her bathroom. She was stark naked, standing in her sink, bent over double and looking between her legs toward the mirror behind her. "I'm looking to see if my butt is sandy," she explained. Ooookaaay.

My students have been noticing my tattoo. They're impressed. Yesterday I had a whole tattoo-related conversation with one student who got a tat this summer on his forearm. It's his mother's name and dates of birth and death, in Aramaic. Which is sweet, but as a parent, I'm not sure I'd want my offspring to memorialize me by inking their arms.

10 September 2008

Happy today

I am happy today.

I learned this weekend that there's a new Thai restaurant in town. Our previous only Thai place, which was really good, closed several years ago when, in the process of "redeveloping" downtown, they tore it up so much that for months it was pretty much impossible to get anywhere the businesses there. Looks pretty now, I guess, but no Thai has made me very sad. So I checked out the new place today for lunch, and it was quite good. Mmmm.

It was cool enough this morning that I could wear my new Docs without risking baking my lower extremities. I'll have to wear them with thicker socks next time, because they rub a bit in the heel, but they're otherwise comfy. I've had a request for a pic of me with boots, so here you go:

I think blue hair would've completed the look nicely, but the dye's washed out. ;-)

Fall Knitty's up.

And tonight is ceramics class.

See, doesn't take much to please me.

09 September 2008

Future Noise

Oh, no.
Look what we're in for now:

Could be worse, I guess. At least it's acoustic and not electric.

Really, the main worry I have is what kind of music she'll want to play on the thing. Kids seem to want music that annoys their parents, and, considering that this Thing's parents have been listening to The Sex Pistols and Tool, respectively, what's she going to choose? Shudder.

On another note, I've actually written the first couple paragraphs of the "I wouldn't have done it" story. Now I know exactly what I wouldn't have done. Once I get the story poured out of my brain and into the computer, you'll know, too. [chuckles evilly]

07 September 2008

And the winner is...

"I wouldn't have done it under normal circumstances."

Thanks for voting, folks! As soon as I get something written, I'll post it. I'm anxious myself to find out what happens. :-)

03 September 2008


Thanks for the votes so far--only 3 more days to get your vote in. And I promise, no Alaskan governors will be involved.

The semester has begun, so this was my third consecutive weekday of solid meetings. I think that, in general, meetings could be reduced by 90%, and the world would continue to function just fine. Better, maybe. Classes begin tomorrow, so tomorrow at 9:40 am I expect to have 100 or so freshmen all ready for me. Heh heh heh.

I decided on which pair of Docs I wanted. I ordered them last night, and--score another big one for Zappos--I already have them in my possession. I got these. They're comfy and they come with regular laces and ribbon laces. It's going to be 99 degrees tomorrow so I won't get to wear them yet. Now I'm really looking forward to cooler weather!

Thing 1 has taken to writing me notes at bedtime, which she leaves on my nightstand. Here's a recent one:
Dear Mom,
I'm not tired. I'm upset because you're not helping with this Toontown
thing. Neither of you. By the way, I want to go to Hawii, not Canada and Death
Desert/Valley. And my stomach is STILL hurting so, CALL THE DOCTER! Plus, I want
a computer in my room. And I want a phone. Why? Because almost EVERYBODY has a
phone at my school. And don't forget, CALL THE DOCTER! And I'm half tomboy and
half girl. Tomboy = tough. girl =hates dead worms and flies.
Thing 1

Oh, the joys of preadolescence. Dad, remember when you used to accuse me of being melodramatic and I'd get angry? Well, you can laugh now.

28 August 2008

Inspire Me!

Way back BC (Before Children) I used to like to do some creative writing. I've posted some of my old stuff on Live Journal, if you want to read. But in recent years, my responsibilities have been piling up and I haven't done anything but academic writing. I miss the fun stuff.

I used to also keep a journal of sorts, and, as a self-prompting exercise, each entry would include just the first sentence of a story. Some of those sentences eventually made their way into stories I wrote. Most didn't.

So...I thought maybe I'd try to get some creative juices flowing again, and maybe I'd start with those old sentences. Here's the deal: I'm going to write 5 of those sentences below. You vote in the comments for one. Whichever gets the most votes by September 6 gets turned into an actual story. I have no idea yet where any of these sentences will go. So, folks, please. Vote and inspire me. :-)

  1. She had her own web page.
  2. He was going to have to start over.
  3. As always, she burned her tongue drinking her hot chocolate.
  4. Nick Ford was stopped at a red light on Ninth Street when he decided to become a woman.
  5. I wouldn't have done it under normal circumstances.

27 August 2008


Okay, by popular demand, I present my blue hair:

Thing 1 took the pic a couple days ago. The blue has faded, but it was still definitely there yesterday when I met with the police chief. Oh well. My boss, the Dean, was there, too, and it didn't bug her any.

23 August 2008

Saturday Update

Thanks so much for the comments, you guys! Keep them coming! :-)

So Thing 1 started 4th grade this week, and seems very happy with it. I'm not too thrilled with the school district, though, because (without notifying anyone!) they messed with the bus schedule. Now, instead of being the last stop of the morning, T1 is the first. That means I have to get her out the door nearly an hour earlier, and that means we have to get up nearly an hour earlier. Joy.

Thing 2 officially becomes a kindergartener on Monday. No bus problems with her--she commutes to school with Hubby.

I have been dealing with a moderate administrative crisis at work. And yesterday I attended a freshman orientation. One of the girls there was wearing a Ramones shirt, which amused me because I owned a Ramones shirt back when I was in high school, probably 6 years before this kid was born. I even almost went to a Ramones concert, but it was on a school night, and my cruel, mean parents wouldn't let me go.

Today I dyed my hair blue. It'll probably wash out before classes begin. I don't know what reaction 100 plus freshman Intro students would have if their professor showed up with blue hair, black fingernails, and a tattoo. Oh, and I have a meeting with a police chief coming up, too. I rather like the blue, though; it's almost the same color as my eyes.

This week I finished the last season of Angel, and we've now begun season 2 of Dexter. I don't usually watch cop shows--too much like work--but Dexter is really fun.

Hubby has two--count 'em, two--fantasy football drafts this weekend. So in exchange, he has taken the Things for the day. They are currently at the movies. This is why I had time to finish line editing a chapter, dye my hair, polish of the next Anita Blake novel, and post this update. :-)

16 August 2008

Lizzie and Lizard

Thanks for the comments yesterday, Sharon and Angela! :-) No, I haven't finished Lizzie yet. Still need to block and assemble, and it's too hot to think about afghans right now.

But, speaking of Lizzie...or at least lizard...look at what Hubby rescued from the pool this afternoon:

Isn't this the cutest thing ever?!? Look at those itsy bitsy claws and those bulgy little eyes! (click on the pic for a close-up view of the lizard and my hairy arm). I think it's a baby of the same species I fished out of the pool earlier this year. From nose to tail-tip, this little guy was shorter than my index finger. He (she?) was just fine, and seemed perfectly happy perched on me. In fact, when I tried to put him down in a nice sunny spot next to my orange tree, he tried to climb up my arm. I wonder what kind of critters such a tiny thing eats? I wish I'd been able to get a better picture, but it's hard to get a good shot with a tickly lizard on one arm, the sun shining brightly on the camera viewscreen, and two pool-wet Things helpfully dripping all over you.

15 August 2008

I'm baaaaaack

Wow. I sort of disappeared off the face of the earth, didn't I? So what have I been up to?
  • I am currently mourning the near-end of the summer. Although I am not mourning Thing 1's return to school on Monday. And lest I seem cruel, I'll point out that she's anxious for school to start, too.
  • Thing 1's feet are now only 1 size smaller than mine, so she has been stealing my shoes all summer. I don't mind as long as she sticks to the flip-flops.
  • A few months ago, I began making a concentrated effort to Eat Healthy. I'm eating way more fruits and veggies, and way less fat, carbs, and processed crap. I've lost over 20 pounds and I have a lot more energy. And I don't feel deprived. Still, I've decided to reward myself soon, I think with a new pair of shoes. I've wanted a pair of Docs for some time, but the question is which one: these are awfully cute, but I kinda like these too, or maybe these? I told you I've reverted to my punk period.
  • My co-authors and I finished the second draft of the Textbook We've Been Working on Forever. Hallelujah! And next week I'll complete the line editing for a chapter I wrote for someone else's book. My desk will be momentarilly cleared of writing projects, just in time for the new semester.

  • I haven't been knitting. Dunno why, really. I have been reading, though. Specifically, I've gotten myself hooked on the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series. I just finished the 9th book in the series. They're perfect summer reading, for me: just enough blood and monsters, and minimal intellectual value. My only complaint is that the editor deserves to be shot with a silver bullet or something; there are an inordinate number of typos and grammar errors, as well some minor but annoying plot holes. Argh.
  • Remember how I gradually worked my way through all 7 seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Well, I'm now in the last season of Angel. Then I'm going to have to pick another series to watch (although Season 2 of Dexter comes out next week). I haven't watched any actual tv since the writers' strike. And I am sad, sad that nobody commented on the Spike doll I knitted. :-(

  • We drove down to San Diego a couple weeks ago, and visited Legoland and Seaworld. It was fun. The weather was perfect, as it nearly always is there. Here's Thing 2 at Seaworld and Thing 1 at Legoland.

So there's a quicky update, and I promise not to disappear again for so long, if you all will just do me the favor of leaving a quick comment, so I know I'm not just writing to myself. :-)

16 July 2008

Finally an update

Sorry about the lack of blogging. I'm teaching a summer class right now that's short but intense. It'll be over on Sunday afternoon. :-)

I finished the outfit for that doll I knitted. Here he is, completely dressed and posed with some of his favorite music. Which I've been listening to a lot lately, too. Maybe I'm having a midlife crisis and reliving my youth.

Do you recognize him? I don't seem to be able to get a really good picture of him. Well, maybe vampires don't photograph well, sorta like they don't cast reflections.

And, here for your entertainment, is another picture:

This, my friends, is what your house might look like if you had a Saint Bernard. That attractive splotch on our 9-foot ceiling is dog fur, cemented in place by slobber, and flung there by Ruthie.

05 July 2008

Back in California

We're back in California now--flew back yesterday afternoon. But here are a couple pictures from our trip:

Here's Thing 1 as she was getting on the bus to camp.

And here's Thing 2 enjoying pirate day at her camp.

This building is where I lived for 3 years during college. It was my first apartment, and it was a quirky one: the tiny bedroom had 2 doors but no windows. But I liked living there. There's a big park right behind the building, and it was within easy walking distance of campus. See the third window from the left in the front of the building, on the first floor? That was my living room.

I promised the other day that I would post a pic of the knitting project I was working on. This is a pretty crappy pic, but here ya go:

Can you guess who this is? The object he's propped against is a hint, actually. I adapted a pattern from Stitch 'n Bitch Nation, the same pattern I'd previously used to make Joey Ramone and Sigmund Freud. I'm still planning to make a shirt and coat for this guy. The knitted version is buffer (hint, hint!) than the real guy, and you'll have to click on the pic to be able to see his very light-colored hair, but I'm pretty satisfied with how he turned out.

In other news, I came home to discover two fun surprises in my pile of mail. First, there was a thank you note from the place where I got my tattoo, which I think is very nice. And second, there was a gorgeous skein of Hand Maiden Sea Silk, sent as a surprise from a generous friend. :-) Boy, that yarn is really scrumptious!

And one more thing. Have you noticed that the Bush Countdown on the left of the screen is now under 200 days?

02 July 2008

Wednesday Night

Thanks for the nice comments on my fused glass plate. You are very kind. :-) I think glass fusing is one of those things where you can make something that looks pretty good even if your talents are limited!

On other creative fronts, I've posted another story on LiveJournal, and I'm finishing up a fun little knitted project. I'll fill you in on the details and post pix when it's done.

Thing 1 made it back from camp. She had a great time, and sustained only minor injuries. She received a certificate for being the "Most Athletic," which actually isn't surprising for her, but is seriously ironic for my offspring. She lost her backpack and disposable camera, but both were found. She got a sunburn on her nose (despite the sunscreen I packed). She decided, after discussing the matter with the other 4th graders in her cabin, that she now needs a bra. :-)

We're down to our last couple days in Portland. I have managed to make 4 separate trips to Powell's this time, including 3 different locations (I went to the main downtown one twice). And tonight I went to this place, because it's one of those stores I've passed a zillion times (it's a block from Powell's), and always been curious about, but never managed to visit. Turns out it's way fun (I scored glow in the dark skull and crossbones stockings!), and the heavily pierced and tattooed sales staff are really chirpy and nice. Who knew?

28 June 2008

Glass Class

My Mom, my sister, and I took a glass fusing class the other day. We made plates. Here's mine. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. I love working with glass.

Letter from Camp

Received a letter from Thing 1 today; she's away at camp until Monday. Here's what it says:

Dear Mom,
How you doin'? I'm having a great time. You know about bug juice and how
thier isn't really any bugs in it? Well, mine did actually had a bug in it! By
the way, can you send me letters and stuff.
Your caring daughter,
Thing 1

Please send me my Webkinz and bunny

26 June 2008

Tagged Too

Angela tagged me, so here goes:

What was I doing 10 years ago?

Actually, pretty much the same thing as now. But I was kidless then and had just been tenured.

5 snacks I enjoy:
  1. Biscotti
  2. Ice cream
  3. Grapes
  4. Cookies
  5. Chocolate

5 things on my to-do list today:
  1. Take T2 to day camp
  2. Attend glass fusing workshop
  3. Have lunch with Mom & sister
  4. Catch up on email from work
  5. Pick T2 up from day camp

5 things I would do if I were a billionaire:
  1. Travel, travel, travel
  2. Give lots to charity
  3. Hire my own driver
  4. Buy big houses for relatives
  5. Write more

5 jobs I have had:
  1. McDonalds
  2. Take and bake pizza place
  3. Law clerk
  4. Teaching assistant
  5. Professor

5 of my bad habits:
  1. Eating junk
  2. Not exercising enough
  3. Interrupting people
  4. Overspending on books
  5. Overspending on yarn

5 places I have lived:
  1. Bolingbrook, Illinois
  2. Beaverton, Oregon
  3. Portland, Oregon
  4. Lincoln, Nebraska
  5. Turlock, California

5 people who I'd like to get to know better (this means you're tagged!):
  1. If you're reading this, consider yourself tagged!!

5 random things:
  1. I went through a punk period when I was a kid, and my iPod is still loaded with the Clash, the Ramones, the Sex Pistols, Iggy, etc., etc.
  2. I hate scallops. Ick.
  3. I am a klutz.
  4. I'm going to Poland next January!
  5. Maybe someday I'll get another tattoo. :-)

25 June 2008

Tattoo Me

So, I am now a tattooed woman. It didn't hurt as much as I thought it would, and was actually a pleasant experience. It's just a little sore now. An explanation of the design? Of course, we have the scales of justice, because of my law degree, but the scale itself is shaped like the Greek letter psi. Psi is a shorthand symbol for psychology, which is what my PhD is in. And the whole thing is on top of a law book. It's kinda geeky and I'm very happy with it.

24 June 2008


I've posted another story on LiveJournal. This one is short and sort of strange.

I'm having a nice visit with my family. We sent T1 off to camp yesterday. She was excited--it's her first time at sleep-away camp. Wonder what she'll look like when she gets back on Monday? Meanwhile, T2 is enjoying her day camp. She conked right out at bedtime last night.

And tomorrow I get my tat. I'm going to tease you by not telling you yet what it will be, but here's a clue: it's related to my academic life. :-)

22 June 2008

Away from Home Again

So now I've taken the Things for a 2 week visit with my family in Portland. Even better, Thing 1 will be spending 1 of these weeks at summer camp, while T2 spends the same week at day camp. In other words, I get a vacation! And I'm planning to get a tattoo, too. Been wanting one for a while, but with work and travel and the Things, haven't been able to manage it. But now I have an appointment for Wednesday. :-)

20 June 2008

The Ring

I've put a second story up on LiveJournal. It's another one I wrote some years ago, and it's called The Ring.

18 June 2008

Story Online

So I recovered from jetlag just in time for Hubby to head off to Las Vegas, leaving me with a book writing deadline and the Things. Now he's back, but in a couple days the Things and I are heading north to Oregon. So June has left me very little downtime. I haven't picked up the knitting needles in a few weeks. :-( But I did accomplish something today: I set up a LiveJournal account, and I posted to it a short story I wrote several years ago. I like to write short stories, but haven't found much time in a long while. But this story is one of my favorites. I hope to post some other old stories shortly, and--who knows?--maybe someday something new. In the meantime, please click on over, and I'd love feedback!

10 June 2008

Pictures from Zagreb

I made it home and am mostly recovered from jetlag. I had a tight connection at Charles de Gaulle, which is possibly the most annoying airport I've flown through, but I made it. Somewhat regrettably, since I wouldn't have minded a day in Paris. Oh well, it's good to be home. So here are a few images from my trip.

This is Tkalciceva Ulica (pronounced Tkalchichayva Oolitsa), a long pedestrian street lined with cafes and shops. I had espresso at a couple of these cafes.

And here's another street in the Upper Town, in the rain.

This is the view from the funicular.

This is Lotrscak Tower (there are supposed to be marks over the s and c, but darn if I know how to do that on Blogger). It's at the top of the hill over the funicular, and it's 900 years old. It's where they shoot a cannon every day at noon. And when they do, every dog in Zagreb barks.

And this is a statue of Josip Jelacic (Yosep Yellacheech), a governor of Croatia who fought the Hungarian empire in 1848. The statue is is Ban Jelacic Trg, Zagreb's main square (and that's a beer tent or something set up next to it). The statue was built in 1866, and Jelacic's sword faced north, toward Hungary. It was taken down in 1947, when Croatia became part of Yugoslavia and the Communists didn't approve. In the early 1990's, Croatia gained independence and the statue was re-installed. But now the statue faces south, toward Bosnia. Ya gotta love Balkan politics.

07 June 2008

Last Day in Croatia

There's a funicular in Zagreb. It's very short--the whole ride takes less than a minute--and because it runs only every 10 minutes, you could porbably just walk up the hill in less time. But it's fun, and costs just 4 kuna, which is about 80 cents or so. At the top of the funicular is a tower, and every day at noon they shoot a cannon on the top of the tower. I'd forgotten about that and happened to be at the bottom of the hill today at noon. That noise'll make you jump out of your skin! And it makes all the dogs bark, too.

The area at the top of the hill is called Kaptol. The big cathedral is there, and also a long pedestrian street lined with cafes and shops. Most of Kaptol is very quiet, though, and I meandered for an hour or so among winding cobblestone streets and old houses. Very pretty.

I had lunch today with a couple people from the university, at a restaurant across from the cathedral. There was covered outdoor seating, which was good because it's raining today. Again. I had some local food--mushroom soup and a zagorski strukli, a sort of pastry filled with cheese. The strukli are delicious--they taste quite a bit like the cheese knishes my grandmother used to make, although the look and texture is sort of lasagne-like. And we had red wine with water, which I guess is traditional with lunch, and of course espresso. Boy, have I been drinking a lot of espresso. :-) Tomorrow very early I leave Croatia. I have a very quick layover in Paris this time, so we'll see whether I make my connection. If not, well, I guess I'll be stuck in Paris. Quelle tragique!

05 June 2008

Another day, another kuna

I had the morning free today and finally was able to walk around a bit. Zagreb is a nice walking city. But it's an even better sitting at a sidewalk cafe and drinking espresso city. The area around the main city square is packed full of cafes, and nobody cares whether you sit there all day, sipping and talking and watching the people walk by.

Zagreb is apparently the exact dividing line between northern and southern Europe, and between central Europe and the Mediterrean countries. This brings about interesting combinations of behaviors. For example, they zoom down the streets really fast in their little French hatchbacks--cars are quite a hazard to pedestrians, really. But then they are happy to sit for hours, smoking and drinking. They seem a little stern and unsmiling for a few minutes, but once you start to chat they're very warm and gracious.

I had time today to visit dolac (pronounced dolats), the market. Happily, I've managed to hit the city at the tail end of strawberry season and the beginning of cherry season. And, since 1/2 kilo is the smallest amount I was able to communicate to the salespeople, I'm now in possession of quite a bit of the stuff.

And ack! The tv in my room just turned on all by itself, to inform me I have a message. That was startling. I watched tv for a short time last night. Croatian tv is wonderful--if you want to watch terrible programs in American and British English (CSI is here, too), German, Italian, Spanish, and Croatian. Somehow awful shows are more entertaining when you don't speak the language. Plus, European television is chock full of gratuitous nudity.

Emily, I can't remember what they say in the Czech Republic, but it probably is something close to dobar dan. In Russian, you'd say dobree dyen. I think the Slavic languages are all quite closely related.

04 June 2008

Today's Dispatch from Zagreb

I spent this most of today at the Croatian equivalent of the FBI, sorta, and also in jail. Isn't this what most people do when they travel? It was actually very interesting. Well, for me anyway. Croatian jails are much nicer than American ones. I even had a really good lunch in jail. I had palacinke for dessert, which I haven't had since I was in Prague 6 years ago. They're basically crepes. In the Czech Republic they serve them with ice cream and fruit; here they come with jam or chocolate sauce. Mmmm. At the police, I was given a baseball cap with the national police's seal on it, which I think is pretty cool. Yes, strange things make me happy.

This afternoon, a professor took me on a walking tour of the old part of Zagreb. It's really pretty, and I took some nice pictures, which I'll have to post when I get home. We sat at a cafe and drank strong coffee. Very pleasant. I think tomorrow morning and Saturday I'll have some more time to explore, and maybe do a little shopping or visit a museum or two.

I'm liking Zagreb more and more. Croatians tend to crowd on and off of busses and in and out of doorways, but they're actually very polite. You hear people greet each other all the time; even the jail inmates offered smiles and a "dobar dan." (Which is the correct spelling, I think. You hear it a zillion times a day). Everyone is extremely patient with my lack of language skills. Most people seem to speak at least some English, and seem happy to use it. Several of them have even apologized for not having better English, which seems silly considering I'm the one who came to a country where she doesn't speak the language at all. And although the people I've met with are busy people, they all offer drinks and spend hours with me, telling me about their organizations.

I've had several discussions of US politics with people here, who are interested in Clinton and Obama. I learned that our beloved President recently visited Zagreb, and his security requirements basically resulted in them shutting down big chunks of the city. How embarrassing. He hasn't caused enough problems already, so now he has to go create chaos in countries he probably couldn't identify on a map.

03 June 2008

More from Zagreb

So I spent this morning at an institution for kids with behavior problems, which was very interesting. Still no time to sightsee, though I saw quite a bit of the city today from busses and trams. I'm finding myself liking Zagreb quite a bit. It's not at all touristy, which is nice. I guess the coast is really the tourist destination in Croatia.

One funny thing happened this afternoon. We were walking down the street, and a group of teenage girls heard us chatting and decided to try out their English on me. They managed a few phrases, and then threw out some Spanish for good measure. Apparently, telenovelas are popular here.

Angela, I haven't learned yet how to say Saint Bernard in Croatian. :-) I did see an actual Dalmatian today (Dalmatia is in Croatia)--well, two, actually, because one of the people I met today was from Dalmatia.

The police detail at my hotel yesterday was for the national football team. They're on their way to Austria for some competition. They must be a quiet group, because I never heard them.

Right now we're having a really good thunderstorm. I got back to my hotel just in time. I guess I won't be taking a stroll this evening.

02 June 2008

Dobar dan!

You'll notice that my Croatian vocabulary has doubled. I can say thank you, too: hvala. I spent most of today at the university, but did manage a short walk toward the central square. I managed to buy things at a few stores successfully. I'm always amazed at the staggering array of juices and soft drinks that they sell in European countries. I took a guess on what a few were based on the illustrations, and I've been enjoying them so far. My Dean, who was here in the winter, loaned me her cell phone (mine won't work here) and I managed to buy a phone card and add credit to my account, even though the instructions were in Croatian. And I sent two text messages, which I have managed to get this far in my life without ever doing before.

I like Zagreb so far. Reminds me of Budapest. People here drive crazy, though, all in their little French hatchbacks.

Someone important must be staying at my hotel, because there's been a large police detail out front all day. Wonder who it is?

01 June 2008


Greetings from Zagreb, where I have free internet at my hotel. :-) I just arrived tonight and haven't seen anything yet. It's 11pm here and I'm going to crash soon. I can tell you with some certainty that there are more exciting ways to spend 8 hours of one's life than in Terminal 2E at Charles de Gaulle Airport. I did get to practice my high school French, which is more than a little rusty. I read all of one really excellent book--Vernon God Little--and 2/3 of The Shipping News. I enjoyed my new iPod shuffle, which ran out of neither charge nor songs. I ate some mysterious food on the airplane that was sort of like pico de gallo, only with zucchini and a soft boiled egg on top. I added a new passport stamp to my Central European collection (and once again marvelled that it's much easier for me to get into another country than back into my own, even though I'm a US citizen). I remembered how much graffiti there is in Europe. I figured out how to use Skype. And learned that gas here is about 9.50 kuna/liter. I'm too tired to convert liters to gallons and kuna to dollars, but I think that's quite a bit more than we're paying.

I hope to get some time to actually explore the city. I have a pretty busy schedule. Silly university pays my way here and then actually expects me to work! I have to give a lecture Friday, on what I just learned is the very last day of their semester. Great.

26 May 2008

Finally, finished stuff!

Am I excited about my trip in a few days? Da! Am I ready? Ne! I still have to prepare the lecture that I'll be presenting there, and get a few stray term papers and exams graded, and pack, and.... At least I have mastered two important words in Croatian. I bought a phrasebook. Way back in college I took 3 years of Russian. I still remember a little, which may come in handy, as it looks like the two languages have a lot of similarities (although Croatian is written in the Roman alphabet rather than Cyrillic).

In the meantime, here are some actual FOs!

This knitted and felted purse isn't actually quite an FO--I still need to add a closure of some kind. But it's at least nearly done. I would've preferred a longer strap, but I ran out of brown. It's a fun pattern to make, other than requiring a zillion rows of 6-stitch i-cord.

These are all candleholders. The one in the middle is an experiment--the idea is that the flame will make shadows through that hole. Haven't tried it yet. The one on the right even has a title: Keep(er) of My Heart. See the little heart inside? The one on the left is intended for someone specific.

The bowl on the left is funky, but it turned out better than I had expected, anyway. I'm not usually into green, but I like this green. The other two things are supposed to be yarn bells. I haven't tried them yet either, so don't know whether they work. I can say I love the glaze on the one in the middle, and of course I have no recollection of which glazes I used.

This is just a bowl. Sadly, the edges cracked a bit during the bisque firing, but it's still usable. I like the red.

And here are top and side views of my favorite things I've made so far. We did a raku firing on the last day of class, and just look how pretty it turned out! Each bowl has just a single glaze on it, and, as you can see, I left the outside of the bowls unglazed, other than the rim on the right one. I don't think the pictures really do the colors justices. I love raku!

17 May 2008

Blah, and stuff

  • Today is our third day in a row in triple digits. Yesterday it hit 106. Hot weather isn't unusual here, but for goodness sake, it's only mid-May!
  • Thanks, all, for the Croatian yarn tips. It looks like I may have a free day while I'm there, and I will hunt down some fiber if I can. The rest of my time will be spent working. I have to give a lecture, which will apparently be translated into Croatian. I've never had a lecture translated before--should be interesting. I'll also be visiting a prison or two, which I'm actually looking forward to. Some of us make eccentric tourists, I guess.
  • Since we finally finished Buffy a couple weeks ago, I've now started in on Angel. I'd watched quite a bit of Buffy when it originally aired, but only an episode or two of Angel. I'm keeping track of the percentage of episodes that show David Boreanaz bare-chested. So far, we're 3/7, although one of those 3 did have 2 separate bare-chested scenes, so maybe that counts twice. I haven't watched any network tv since the writers' strike began, and I don't miss it at all.
  • My ceramics class ended this week. I made a few nice things--I'll try to get some pix up soon. We did raku on the last night, which is really fun and produces some pretty results.
  • I am so ready for the semester to end! Finals begin this coming week. I'm buried in term papers. And I have 2 different book deadlines and that lecture to prepare, all by May 30. Ick. Who needs a life?

11 May 2008

Swimmin' Lizards!

I fished this little guy (girl?) out of the pool yesterday. He is sceloporous occidentalis biseriatus--the San Joaquin Fenze Lizard. Pretty little thing. I didn't get a good shot of his back, but his belly is his best feature anyway. He was cold and tired, but I put him in a nice sunny spot, and after 30 minutes or so he was looking much perkier. So I put him back in the garden. Hopefully, he'll forego more swimming.

07 May 2008

Croatian Yarn?

So, I have my tickets to Zagreb. I have an 8 hour layover in Paris, which is probably not long enough for it to be worthwhile to leave the airport. Oh well. I have a tight connection in Paris on the way home--maybe I'll miss it and tragically find myself stuck there an extra day. Anyone know of any yarn stores in Zagreb? Anybody at least know how to say "yarn" in Croatian?

05 May 2008

Eastward, ho. Wait, that doesn't sound right....

It's official--I'm going to Zagreb in a few weeks. I'll probably stay for a week. Now I need to make my travel plans, which involve important questions such as: Do I want a 22-hour layover in Paris? and Which knitting project shall I take along for the trip? and Can I squeeze in a side trip to Trieste? and What do I need to do to get the household shipshape for my absence? and What kind of compensation is Hubby likely to demand in exchange for abandoning him with the Things and pets during his busiest month at work? and Are there any yarn stores in Zagreb?

We finished Buffy last weekend. I'm going to miss it. No more shirtless vampires. Of course, we now have 5 seasons of Angel to watch, and since I never watched that series during its original run, that'll be fun.

02 May 2008


Looks like my trip to Zagreb next month is a go. Life is so hectic now that 12+ hours stuck on an airplane almost sounds good. I won't know details about the trip until next week, and it will, of course, be a business trip, but I'm still excited. I can add a new passport stamp to my Central Europe collection. :-)

29 April 2008

The Downside of Literacy

Text of note discovered last night in Thing 1's bedroom doorway:
A check with the author this morning confirmed that it says what I though it said. Apparently, T1 did something to tick off her newly-literate younger sibling, and the note was the response. I love how she not only decided to swear, but also decided that "damn" has 2 m's. Can you imagine what notes she'll be writing in a few years?

26 April 2008


Dinosaurs roamed the earth the last time I had a knitted FO. So here's the scarf I finished last night. The yarn is lovely, lovely Malabrigo Baby Merino laceweight, and the pattern was a freebie from Imagiknit. It was a perfect pattern for knitting in front of Buffy (and we're now finally in the 7th season).

I adore this yarn. It took only one skein for this scarf--in fact, I have a little left over. And of course, the scarf will come in very handy, now that it's 89 degrees outside.

On an unrelated note, thanks for the Croatia tips! I don't know yet whether I'll get to go, but it would be exciting. It would be a business trip, but that's fine. I'd still get to see some sights, I'm sure. I've been to central Europe before--6 years ago I was in Hungary and the Czech Republic--but never Croatia, which sounds like a very interesting place. If I do go, it'll probably be a short trip, because I already have some other travel booked for June. I doubt I'll have time to visit Annecy, alas, Emily. :-( Would love to visit Trieste, too, which is only about 100 miles from Zagreb.

23 April 2008


Do any of you know anything about Croatia? There's a chance I'll be going to Zagreb in June.

20 April 2008


We spent yesterday at Yosemite. Even though it's less than 2 hours from our house, we haven't been there since the Things were born. That's silly.

They're doing some road construction in the park, which meant at one point we had to stop the car and wait for nearly half hour. It wasn't torture, though, because this is what it looked like where we stopped:

The Things managed to amuse themselves for 30 minutes. Then we had a picnic on this beautiful beach, and Thing 1 attempted to throw every last rock back into the Merced River. Meanwhile, T2 practiced the art of log walking:

Later, T2 made John Muir's acquaintance:

And then we walked up to the bottom of Yosemite Falls.

It's a great time of year to visit. Highs temps were in the 60's, it wasn't too ungodly crowded, the falls are beautiful, and the trees are just leafing out.