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.