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Random musings on Romance

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Get on the good foot

My Yahoo! Horoscope for the day reads:   So I guess I should interpret this as a strong hint to add another blog entry, right? Seems only logical to me, really. Or does it mean that I should email my one brother, even though I know he won't get the email until tonight, when he's back home? Or does it mean I should G-Chat with my other brother, even though I talk to him all the time? Oh bother.   Nah, I'll stick to this entry, and then go for a walk. Then do a bunch of work. Then, perhaps a nap. I'm not really sure right now. All I know is, if I get most all of my work done today, not only will I have very little to do this coming week, but the following week (which happens to be my Spring Break) can be enjoyed fully. I like the sound of that. So, I shall forgo the pleasantries, and get on with my day.   Of course, it's such a pretty day today, and the next few days are shaping up to be quite stormy. March this year came in like a lamb, and definitely is going out like a lion--reverse of what it should be, from what "they" tell me. So maybe I should frolic and play while I can?   Gotta love spring in the SF Bay Area...one never quite knows what to expect!

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Almost a century of memories

Today is a very special day in my family, as my great aunt turns 99 today.   Yes, 99. And while arthritis has slowed her to the point that tortoises move faster and farther than she does, and while her "forgetter" tends to work more than her "rememberer," this woman is amazing. Yes, there is someone who comes in 4-5 days a week for a few hours a day, and she probably needs to be put in a place where there is 24-hour care, but at the same time when she has a good day you hear about long-lost memories of times gone by, both of personal history and the history of this country.   I called her a little while ago to wish her a happy birthday, after I had just come in from a long bike ride. When I told her this, she relayed a story of how when she was a little girl, she was riding her dad's bicycle in rural Watsonville, going back and forth, feeling the wind run through her blond locks. She hit a sandbar...and, well, how to put this delicately, she landed on the support bar that ran between the yoke of the bike and the column where the seat is situated. "I *still* feel it today!" she cried.   She asked about work, and I told her that it's somewhat tense now, because we know we'll have to make cuts but the when and how much is still being negotiated, well, it's a bit unsettling. At which point we talked about her memories of the Great Depression; she and her new husband married in 1932, and had the first 4 years of their marriage where they luckily had jobs, but had cutbacks to deal with, which cut into their savings. But in 1936 they were able to move down the street from where they first lived, into a 5-room unfurnished flat *and* had the money for furniture. Then, in 1939, they moved to their final place, in the Cow Hollow (and very nice) area of San Francisco, where they have lived ever since. Uncle Bruno died in 1985, but she still soldiers on. The stairs make it so that she really can't go down anymore, but this woman used to walk to the bus stop to go to the store up until a few years ago, well into her 80s. Once she got into her 90s, she has slowed quite a bit, but her mind is quite sharp still. Sure, it's not quite like it used to be, but it's amazing that she's not just sitting in a bed, a vegetable. She has pretty good memories of her childhood and of the major events in her life; it's just her short-term memory that isn't quite working anymore.   But still...she's still here A la vecchiaia! (I promise, that's what she's called herself for years...and I guess she is 'the ancient one'.)   Happy birthday, Mary Petrucci...buon compleanno!

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

The blind leading the blind

For the completely ignorant, there is a vote going on...well, later tonight...regarding the institutionalization of a type of national health care system. To put it mildly, it's a hotly debated topic. We Americans have a very strong sense of "I am my own person"--basically, we are a wee-bit leery of people, particularly big governments, telling us how to live our lives. And yet we also are concerned with the "common good," such that we really don't want our fellow Americans to suffer and we recognize that we need some sort of massive health care reform. When the vast majority of the citizens either have no health care, inadequate health care, or have to take on a second job just to pay for their health care, well, something's broken, that's for sure.   I won't go into my beliefs per se on the topic; that's for another person's blog, not mine. But I'll share with you a statement, or perhaps a line of thinking, that I'm starting to hear every now and then. In fact, on now a handful of occasions I have overhead the following opinion regarding this topic:   "Well, I get my information from my (senator/congressman), and I trust his/her opinion. They know what they're doing."   My problem is this: we have a representative-based republic. This means that our legislators (one could even say all of our politicians) listen to their constituents (aka us), use the information that they have on hand, and lead accordingly. We should not be getting our opinions from them, rather they should be getting their opinions (in part or in whole) from us.   This really bothers me. We're teaching our young voters and soon-to-be voters a lesson in laziness, non-participation, and general ignorance. While I may not agree with someone's opinion, I respect the fact that they have an opinion--hopefully it's an informed one, but at the very least they have considered more than one side of a given topic, reflected upon how said topic would impact their lives, and believe accordingly. To suggest that it's okay to let others rule simply because you couldn't be arsed to learn something leads to more and more idleness. To put it mildly, it aggravates me to no end.   While I may not agree with the opinions of some of my colleagues, I love the fact that many of them force their students to play devil's advocate, to argue both sides of an opinion, and to inform themselves. We've had parents and community members complain, saying that the professors are trying to indoctrinate the students to their (the professors') political views. The cases that I personally know of (which are many of the ones discussed) are not that way at all; the professors are simply trying to show the students how to think for themselves. I didn't realize that was such a dangerous concept.

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Predictions and predilections

I have no idea why, but lately I've gotten into the habit of reading my horoscope in the morning. Actually, I have a clue as to why: I love to have a giggle in the morning. Seriously. Today's Yahoo! Horoscope for Capricorn:     Is it just me, or are those two statements a bit contradictory? I mean, things are going to go my way, but there could be a problem? Be cautious, but share the good times with others? Huh?   Can I share the good times with my cat? Or do I have to include the people in my life? Well, first that would include the 'good times'...or rather, me actually having good times. If things go right, they'll come in the summer, but as far as I know, I have no 'good times' right now.     And what kind of problems? Could you be a bit more specific? I mean, sheesh, how's a girl supposed to prepare if she has no idea how to prepare?   Who needs the morning comics?

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Spring forward, my ass

I dislike Daylight Savings.   No, really, I dislike it. I still don't see the point in it. Maybe for some there's a savings in electricity bills or some such thing, but honestly, just turn a light off every now and then. It helps.   The first couple days of the spring-forward instantiation, I'm always off time-wise. I wake up 'late' in my mind, even though it's my normal time to wake up. I mean, my body tells me it's 7 or 7:30, but in fact my clock says 8. It takes a couple of days for both my cat Bella and I to get right.   The fall-back one is even worse. Not only does it take me a couple of days to get back right again, but poor Bella is completely confused. What, it's time wake up, right? No, we don't have an extra hour, we have to get up now! I swear, that's what she's saying.   Regardless, it's a gorgeous spring day--yes, I know that the equinox isn't for another few days yet, but it feels like spring has already sprung here in NorCal. Time for some cleaning, to finish up a couple of projects, and to generally get work done. Cleaning the apartment is on the list, of course. I think I'll wait another week to replace the basil plant that decided not to take hold...I don't really feel like going to the nursery. But definitely spending time outside is in order...well, not quite yet. At 8:38am (according to my clocks) it's still barely above 50'F. I think frolicking outside can wait until this afternoon.

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Same thing we do every night, Pinky...

There once was a point in my life that I really didn't care about going out. Well, that's what I thought...in reality I was lonely, but also in denial about said lonliness, so as far as I was concerned, hitting the town with friends was no big deal. Sure, it's fun, but I wasn't concerned that I was missing out on the grandest of times.   At the time, I was living in Austin, working on my degree and, frankly, not very happy. Oh, I loved the city, loved the university...just hated the state (sorry, all you Texans out there in UNRV world), and really wanted to move back to the West Coast. I knew that this NorCal chick didn't fit in the Lone Star State, with the small exception of the capital city...and, really, that wasn't making my life any happier. So, as a result, I was slightly depressed...not enough to truly be sitting at home, sad sack and all, crying into my beer. I just preferred to stay home much of the time, and trapse out into the night life when I could financially do it and when my heart desired it. Oh, I wasn't anti-social; many times I was spending time with friends on the weekends, or we were watching movies at home. But to say that I saw a new movie every week, imbibed various types of swill other potent potables, danced the night away, and all that, well, I didn't feel the need on a constant basis. Sure, every now and then I'd go let my hair down like that, but I never felt the need to. I had a comfy couch, most everything that I wanted at home, so why not stay in?   I lived like that for a long time--even after I moved back home to the Bay Area. The difference was, back home I was doing it because I was either broke or because I had so much work to get done, that the little free time I had was spent on the couch, relaxing. Go out? Are you mad? I just spent the last 2 weeks slaving on that chapter. I'm pooped...wiped out...my butt's on that couch, and I'm enjoying that baseball game, dammit. My parents understood--they saw how hard I worked, and how it was draining me--but at times my brothers didn't. "Why don't you go out for the evening...go see what the world looks like? Why do you have to stay at home?" Um, well, because I'm exhausted, mentally and to a lesser extent physically, I really just want to curl up with my cat, pop in a movie or tune into a game, and just relax. No thinkiing, no talking, no nothing. Just...peace.   I finally got to the point that I could go out every now and then, but to be honest I still couldn't afford it. Ok, so I didn't hit the bars and such, but I hung out with the neighbors, joined a dating site in order to meet some eligible bachelors. And I did...one, in fact, was exclusively mine for 7 months. But it was more than just the dating that I enjoyed; for the first time in a while, I actually had time to be a member of society. I was being social! Going to museums! Spending time in the park--ok, so I brought work along with me, but so what. Going to the beach for the day! The past year has been this way: work hard during the week, spend at least one day of the weekend in some public place, but still getting work done throughout the week.   Recently a friend of mine accused me of being a workaholic. Hah. A workaholic purposely puts themselves into situations that they *have* to work--they make excuses, whine that they're miserable, and then work some more. They could, in theory, take time off, but they convince themselves that they're needed and wanted. They also financially are able to take time off...they just choose not to. Nope, not me. I can't afford to take much time off. If I don't work, then I don't pay the bills, it's that simple. Sure, I wish I could take more time off, travel more. But the fact that I've got these little things like gas bills, phone bills, student loan payments, rent payments, and the like, added to the fact that I don't have a full-time job, well, that pretty much puts a wrinkle into things. Besides, there's one more element: I truly love what I do. I have 2-3 classes at one campus--a campus that has enchanted me with its students, its staff, its faculty, and its environment. I openly enjoy teaching there. I've now started up private group courses with another group of people that I've come to enjoy immensely, and it has gotten me to think about other projects that I want to do in the future. I'm always looking for full-time positions that are interesting to me. Basically, if I'm a workaholic, it's because I have the energy and the stamina to do it...and because I love what I do. Is that so wrong?   And let's face it...I spend my free time watching movies, gardening, hanging out with friends. It's just that I don't have as much free time as most do. Academia is not for the lazy, and it's everything that you make it to be. I wish I had more time to research--as of now, it's relegated to the summers, and maybe during spring break. I wish I could take these amazing trips every year to far off places, or do whatever comes to mind. But I can't, and that's just the way it is right now. But, to be honest, it's not like my life was ever full of that. Some of us just don't swing that way.   But every night, I still try to take over the world And in June, Italy will be next! A ha!

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Ch ch ch ch changes...

February...what the hell! Ya flew by me without a bye or leave. Then again, it's probably for the best, as it sets up a first half of 2010 that is keeping me busy. Pedal to the proverbial metal.   And this is all leading up to... *cue the trumpets* my trip to Italy! Yes, the Motherland is calling me, and I am heeding the call. Well, my parents, my godmother and her kids are, too. My parents will be there a total of 5 weeks, me only 2, but oh what a 2 weeks. My parents are renting a villa just outside of Sienna, but I'm flying a few days early to Rome to see how much I can take in over a couple of days. (I'd love to stay longer, but I have very little money to spend, so I'm saying that this is just a taster course of the two areas.)   The best part of the trip is what I'm planning in the middle. See, 2010 is the centennial of the last of my great-grandparents immigrating to the US, so I want to go up to Lombardy to see where 2 of them came from: Ferno and Magnago, just outside of Milan. I'm trying to get a hold of the one cousin my great-aunt kept in contact with, but this is proving difficult. But at any rate, it would be awesome to go there, see where we're registered as citizens (newly minted, as of last year), and if we're lucky to see where my great-grandparents came from. Granted, in the 100 years since they left these towns have changed from po-dunk hicksvilles to suburbs of Milan, but still.   Aw no, it's 8am. Need to get a move on for the day. Oh how this day has already flown, and I've only been up an hour.

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Heyyas, long time no see...

Well, I guess I should explain my absence and lack of participation. To say the least, I've been a very busy doc.   It breaks down like this: I've been doing more, although I haven't exactly been paid any more, but with the added responsability comes recognition and, hopefully, something more permanent. There were late classes thrown at me, various curriculum and planning duties. I do love it...I'm back to teaching an intro to linguistics class, which I haven't taught in over 10 years, along with my usual 2 Spanish courses at my main emplolyer. (This course is taught at a local charter high school, which has two AmeriCorps or something volunteers...basically, they're like Teaching Assistants, but I can't have them grade anything. But copying and stuff...it's all theirs...I mean, whoa. This is so hella cool! A girl could get used to this!)   I've also been recruiting potential clients for 4 different private courses, with more to come. It's amazing how this business is taking off, so much so that soon I may have to 'legitimize' it in the eyes of the government. Really, I'm quite amazed. I'm not suggesting that I've become a total small business owner, or anything, but pretty soon this is gonna take off, if I'm not careful.   Oh, and then there's the private life. Because my weekends are now filled with family, friends, and one loved one in particular, I'm working dilligntly during the week. In short, the free time I used to have farting around, well, just doesn't happen much anymore. Much less time is being devoted to all things InterWeb...sad, but true. My games are being neglected, my online toga parties are not being attended to...basically, I'm back to being a fun girl in the real word, but not so much in the virtual world.   But don't dispare, my UNRV friends...I'm still here. I'll always be here. Just be patient with me, please.

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Deep in the Heart of Texas

Thanks to last year's baseball excursion, I had a $300 voucher to fly anywhere in the continental US on American Airlines, and decided a while back to use it to go down to San Antonio and Austin. Outside of a trip back here 2 years ago to defend the dissertation--when I was so focused on that one element that I didn't do anything else--I haven't been back since I left 4 years ago. There are a lot of people here that I came to care about, and I wanted to visit them. And, well, Austin is an outstanding city that I fell in love with--just that I don't really care for the rest of the state.   Anyway, I've been back here for a few days now. Had a great visit with Roc

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Everybody Needs Somebody

What is it about relationships that are so amazing, yet so unpredictable? I mean, you date for years and years...you make some connections, but nothing that sweeps you off your feet for the majority of the time. You put yourself into periods of drought...and then you meet someone who seems to understand you so completely, so quickly...well, things just seem to fall into place. _________________________________________________________________________   My brother Matt proposed to his lady, and she did accept...that was the news of last week. In a way, I think we all kinda knew it would happen. Sure the relationship went a little fast, but it just was meant to be. That, and this sort of thing runs in my family; from the day my parents met to the day they were married was not even 11 months. Ok, it'll be longer than that for Matt and Jessica--they're planning the wedding to be in September of 2010--but they only started seeing each other like 9 months ago, and moved in together a few months ago. And she's an awesome chica; very bubbly, warm, open, kind. I'm really happy that she's going to be my sister-in-law. __________________________________________________________________________   My brother Mark, who is notorious for his lack of passion for life and lack of want for a commitment in any realm, is also seeing someone. Sarah (good name!) is an opera singer, who he met through a friend. Things have been going well, evidently...Mark's only thoughts are that, hey, he likes being around her, and she's not needy...just really down to earth and a good person. There's hope, I tells ya. __________________________________________________________________________   And me? Well, yes, there's someone new in my life, someone who has very possibly stolen my heart. No real details here, but suffice it to say that my world is definitively rosier when he's around, both instinctually and intellectually. I'm getting ready to go off for 6 days to Texas to see a couple of my best friends, and while I'm quite excited to go, there's a part of me that would love to stay around. Eh, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and all that. Besides, I think I need a bit of away time...my head's been spinning and my heart racing for the last few days.

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Summertime

Whew. I made it! Well, ok, it's not quite done yet; next week is finals week, and I still have plenty of work to do before I leave for San Antonio and Austin on 4 June, but one class is completely closed for the spring, and the other two will be shortly. I'm telling you, I didn't think I would get so slammed with work.   Just a couple of random musings:   [*]MSNBC is reporting something that I've heard rumors about in some of the publications I get, that more and more 'traditional' 4-year universities are starting to offer Bachelors' degrees in 3 years. It's a cost-cutting move--shave a year off of your education, and it's that much debt that you (or your parents) don't have to incur. This is also coming at a time when many community colleges (which offer Associates' degrees that traditionally take 2 years to complete--the colleges I've been teaching at are of this model) are teaming up with 4-year universities to offer these Bachelors' degrees on the community college campus; Ca

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Panic

Don't you love it when you hear a song that you love, and it happens to fit your life in some way or another?   I was driving to work this afternoon when that lovely Smiths song came on. The funny thing about the Smiths (and Morrissey) is that I never am totally sure what the title of the song is, but I always end up singing the damned thing. Very good songs, very catchy...and very silly.   "Panic on the streets of London Panic on the streets of Birmingham I wonder to myself Could life ever be sane again ? The Leeds side-streets that you slip down I wonder to myself Hopes may rise on the Grasmere But Honey Pie, you're not safe here So you run down To the safety of the town But there's Panic on the streets of Carlisle Dublin, Dundee, Humberside I wonder to myself   Burn down the disco Hang the blessed DJ Because the music that they constantly play IT SAYS NOTHING TO ME ABOUT MY LIFE Hang the blessed DJ Because the music they constantly play"   So...we have a virus which is killing people off...and making most others just sick. How is this different than every other winter where we have a particularly nasty strain of influenza?   The 'powers that be' are asking us to really push early registration for our students. They'll be making their decisions earlier about which classes will be closed for Fall Semester...and doing this in June. So we instructor types are panicking (legitimately, I think), because if we don't get students to enroll early, the class could be cancelled. For full-time faculty, that means you have to make up those units somehow--use extra units you've banked, teach more in the Spring, take a class from a part-time instructor. For us part-timers...yep, you guessed it. Loss of income...no chance to make that up. Right now I'm praying that my 2 courses fill up soon...I cannot afford to lose even one of them.   Many of my (middle-aged) students are panicking at the financial situation...particularly that they were in school to switch careers, and now aren't sure if they'll have the opportunity to make that switch. Will there be a job for them when they finish? I'm thinking to myself: I have friends who are finishing up their doctorates who are thinking the same thing, let alone the millions of college grads who are now going through the same thought process.   But honestly...what the hell are we going to be able to do about it??? Just live your life as best you can, take the opportunities as they line up before you...and plow on through. Generations upon generations of our ancestors have done the same thing; what makes you think you'll be any different?   (But don't hang the DJ...he doesn't deserve it.)

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Manic Monday

...and Tuesday, and Wednesday...well, you get the drift.   Yes, it's been about 3 weeks since I've had time to sit down here and update...actually, it's been almost 2 weeks since I've had time to log into the site. So, just to catch you up....   Honolulu was absolutely spectacular...but 4 1/2 days isn't nearly long enough. Love it, loved spending my time doing exactly what I wanted to do, nothing more and nothing less. Wish I could do this vacation thing more often.
Got back, and had a shit-ton of stuff to do (yes, that's an official American phrase...it works well, doncha think?). Busted my ass to get everything done.
Hit my proverbial wall. I do this every few months, after I'm go into extra-ludicrous-high gear (which, by the by, is much faster than my usual damn-she's-hyper high gear), I need about a week or so to recover. Oh, I still work and get stuff done, but just the minimum...the rest of the time I can be found outside, or even inside, not expending much energy.
The weather here for a stretch was gorgeous...even the beaches here got to 80'F. Definitely put the time in there...I even have the tan lines from my flip-flops to prove it.
Now I'm back to busy mode...lots of end-of-semester stuff to get to.
Oh, and I'm starting a relationship with someone...more on that later...but definitely he's taking precedence over you folk. Nothing personal, you understand   Oh, and in the last 2 weeks I've gone to the gym more often...and lo and behold, I've dropped another 10 pounds. If I keep this up, I'll be to my 'goal' in a few months, at which point I'll be crowing from the top of my apartment/house...you'll hear me from all over.   So, if I get all quiet on you guys, well, now you know. 4 more weeks of class, then finals...I'll be on more regularly then. For now, just a quick 'hello', and I'm off! I'll be back soon enough, I promise!   (BTW, Vig's following me on Twitter (nicely done!)...it might be best to follow me there for the next couple of weeks. If you need directions, let me know.)

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Blue Hawai'i

On the island of Oahu there is so much to do, so much to see, but the one thing that is a must is to hike the Diamond Head Trail. Diamond Head is a crater from a volcano that blew many thousands of years ago, and is now by far one of the most spectacular views on the island. Sure, it's a bit rocky, and there are quite a few stairs (the US used it as a lookout in WWII), but once you get tot the top it's so worth it.   Today is my first full day here, and I wanted to really start my vacation here. I remember doing this trail with my dad when I was last here in 1993, and couldn't stop gawking at the beauty. From various vantage points one can look over Hanauma Bay and other less-famous areas of this paradise. Once at the top, you can see half of the island. What a way to start my vacation!   And now: to the beach for some sun and swim

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Margaritaville

Hmmm...perhaps the title should be instead: Mai Tai Ville?   Tomorrow morning I'm off for a 4+ day holiday to Honolulu...a long overdue return to that special place. Oh, sure, there are other areas in the Hawaiian Islands that I want to explore. Actually, to be perfectly honest, I want to see all of them. However, Dad's in Honolulu for 3 weeks, and I decided that I would join him.   This trip marks the first big trip of 2009 for me...and it won't be the last. I know I'll be going to Austin and San Antonio in June to visit two of my best friends. I'll be in Philly right after Christmas for the MLA again, but might be able to swing a trip up to NYC after that...who knows (Neph, don't get your hopes up quite yet!). For once in my life, I can actually afford to go on these trips. Airfare is cheap ($450 for a RT ticket to HNL!!??), and I am making enough money to put in the bank, so that instead of working I can take some time off. True enough, I wanted to take a grander vacation this summer--I have a free ticket on American Airlines. and was going to use it to go to NYC for a few days in the summer before purchasing a ticket from there to either Spain or Italy--but since I don't have a teaching position lined up for the summer, well, there's no extra spending money. On the other hand, I get to see two close people in my life, and that's ok, too.   So, I dropped Bella off at the borders' this afternoon and then got stuck into some cleaning. Sure, it doesn't sound glamorous, but there's something about coming home after a trip to a spotless (or close to it) dwelling. Thing is, once I finished, I really was looking for her...just to cuddle a bit, or play in the backyard. Nope, she's less than a mile away...I leave early in the morning, so I needed to be able to drop her off today. Anyway, I've been reading, cooking (gotta use up the last of the fresh veggies before I go away for a few days), and now I'm bored. I could read some more, but I've had just enough wine (hey, it was open...gotta drink it before it turns to vinegar), so the thought of reading isn't very appealing. I have 20 minutes until the Sharks play, so I'll watch that...but it won't be the same. I'm half missing Bella, half geeked up for this trip.   I think it's the anticipation that kills ya. You want to get to your destination...you want to (in my case) hit the beach, go play in the warm water, and enjoy a well-earned vacation. But I have to wait. I've even checked in online and printed my boarding pass, and set up shuttle service from the airport to the hotel in Honolulu. I've already packed all that I can; the only thing left is my BlackBerry, the charger, and my toothbrush. I guess in theory I could work, but there's no way on God's Green Earth that I'm gonna look at work right now. I'm on vacation, dammit...that can sit and wait. I'd use saltier language, which is really what I'm thinking, but, well, I'm supposed to be chill. Relaxed.   Hmmm...time to watch hockey That'll keep me entertained for a few hours.   So, seeyas on the beach, everyone. Mai tais and pi

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Mr. Roboto

So here I am. I caved in. I am a weak individual who could not stand to be on the island anymore.   Which island, you ask? The one where people refuse to purchase let alone use some sort of PDA.   Yesterday I went into my cell-phone-carrier's store, wanting to ask some questions. After getting my answers, I also inquired about a notice on my account which declared that I was eligible for a big device upgrade. The guy looked up my account and, to his surprise, it was true. When I asked what I could get, he noted that I could get the most expensive devices for under $100. On top of that, I could turn in my old cell phone and get a credit.   Now, I have been holding out on getting anything like a Blackberry for a long time, citing my lack of need. But increasingly I'm noticing how much easier it would be to have my ever-busy schedule at my fingertips. Or, say, be able to text people without wearing out the buttons on my number pad. Or check email while out.   So I caved.   As I type this from my crackberry, I'm on campus, staring at a gorgeous scene of the hills, the sun, and the fingers of fog which want to linger. And somehow, I'm ok with this.

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Cat Scratch Fever

Taking Bella to her yearly examinations is oh-so-much fun. Like many cats, she hates her carrier, hates car rides, and really hates the vet. Nevermind that her vet is very nice, gentle, and knows what she's doing. Nope, Bella will have none of it. She, um, always provides a fecal sample, shall we say? She's very clingy, and sheds all over the place. Nope, she's not a happy camper there.   Due to a clerical error, Bella didn't get her annual vaccinations at her exam, so we scheduled them for this past Friday late in the afternoon. No worries...I got her in, they poked her, we went home. Routine so far. The normally nervous Nelly usually vomits a bit after, say in the 12-24 hours after the shots. When she didn't get sick on Friday night but did a bit on Saturday morning, I was concerned but only mildly so. After a couple of rounds and a 2 hour break, she seemed ok to leave, and I did...I had to meet up with friends for lunch.   I came back in the afternoon, and as we were working together (well, I was working...she was on the bed resting), here comes another few rounds of upchucking. Oh fun. I was a bit more worried, but figured her body was still working things out.   Then at 4ish she started to come down with a fever. I'm told. I mean, her ears were bright, deep pink and hot as hell. She wasn't moving much...a bit, but just wanted to sleep it off. I kept watch pretty closely, but she just slept. At 9ish the fever broke, and I figured the worst was over. In fact, she ate some last night and this morning, so I thought, ok, it's all done, she's fine now.   Nope. This morning, after playing a bit and staring at the birdies outside, she started another round of puking. That's it...I hauled her into the vet again, and told them what all went down. "Oh, she's reacting to the vax, probably," the vet quipped...no worries. Some Benadryl and some cortisone for any inflammation and to calm her down, some kitty-Pepcid for her stomach. $65. Not bad.   Oh, and you know they say that you're not really a parent until your kid pisses on you? Well, I must now be a real cat owner; Bella pooped on me in the vet's office. Yep, I've been christened.   The rest of the day she's been comfortable. Not moving a ton, but every now and then. She's eating, but not vomiting...very good signs both. I get to go out tonight!   Still...today hasn't been that great a day. Add to it that last night's storm blew in quick, and left us with a very cold, raw, blustery day (yet sunny...), Bella's had a worse day than I have; cat's hate the wind, even if they're snug and warm inside. But she's getting better, as is her day. Or so I keep telling her.   (We won't tell her that she's going to the kennel in a couple of weeks while I go to Waikiki, right?)

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

The Boys Are Back In Town

Spring has hit fully here in lovely California! Baseball is in the final tuning before the season starts, March Madness has hit the populace (and, yes, I got my brackets in...my normal one on Yahoo and another that I got dragged into). Hockey and basketball have hit their home stretches...and the playoff-bound teams are trying to jockey for position while the others are just trying to finish the season on a non-negative note. For a sports nut like me, this is one of the best times ever.   And to boot, the weather is cooperative; it makes me want to go outside more and more. Even Bella has gotten into the spirit of things...about this time, when the birds start to twitter outside incessantly, she starts pacing the apartment, wanting to go outside and 'play' with them...of course, her idea of playing is to stalk, catch, toss and gnaw. Somehow I don't think the birds will like that much. _________________________________________________   While I was wasting time before my hair appointment last week, I perused the used book store nearby. Among my mini-nuggets of gold I found a well-loved copy of Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch, his memoirs of being, as he puts it, a football obsessive. I was extremely relieved to start reading it, and to find out it has nothing in common at all with the atrocious movie of the same name. Instead, Hornby really does chronicle how it came to be that he has memorized so many details of his beloved Arsenal, and attempts to understand why it is that footie (and the Gunners in particular) makes him so miserable...yet he can't tear himself away from it. I've just read the first part of the book, which more-or-less goes over his childhood until he hits 18.   Ok, so I'm not a huge footie fan, but I am a big time sports fan...but not quite an 'obsessive'. I don't recall my first baseball game--I probably was 4 or so, and have been to literally so many since that, well, they're all a blur. In fact, there's really only a handful of games of any sport--in my life--that I recall with great clarity. On the other hand, I do love to have sports on at all times; often it's the 'background noise' when I'm grading or farting around the place. Why put on a crappy tv show when you could have a game on? But I do understand the draw to the sport. It's a true reality show...this is really happening...there is no set of producers and writers who are pulling the strings behind the curtain. It's drama. And yet...I can find myself dispassionate overall. I used to watch basketball all the time...now I can barely stand to have it on. Much of this has to do with the fact that my Kings suck...um...well, the phrase I would like to use here isn't exactly polite, so I'll refrain, but to put it mildly, they are bottom-feeders. But it's more than that...I've seen many games live, and I guess I just don't get the same thrill on tv. This is totally different with football and hockey...ok, you don't get the same thrill at home over the tube, granted, but since I can't really afford the tickets, well, that's all I'm left to. Baseball, however, has bleacher seats...and often has specials on those seats. I can afford a couple of games per season, maybe as many as 5, and still have change left over. Ok, I admit it, I'm a bleacher bum. __________________________________________________________   In the TMI department...we started a new chapter today in one of my classes, one where the vocabulary had a lot of names of animals. I asked my students to work in pairs on a few questions which utilize the new words, one of which being to name the animal that best represents them, and why. Two students, both being Middle College students* and good friends, snickered. KB said he'd be a falcon, as it represents a liberty that he feels he possesses. JJ said he would be a monkey...and giggled. Uh, ok, why the giggling. "Because I'd throw poop at my brother," was the response. Yes, it was a fecicious answer, but still...dude...

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Wake the sun

March is an amazing month here in Baghdad-By-The-Bay. The weather is either rainy (but not cold...55'F or so) or gloriously sunny. It seems like we're done with the rain for about a week, so I spent much of the mid-morning and early-afternoon outside. Bella was all too eager to join me, and was ecstatic to be outside again. I don't know who had more fun: her going all over the backyard as I cleaned up the debris from the neighborhood trees, or me playing with her. She took several naps in the sun while I read (more on the book below). After about 3 hours outside, she wanted in, so I obliged her. The rest of the day one or both doors were open, letting in the springtime air.   I got quite a bit done outside. I wanted to fertilize the plants and prune the rosemary bush. I pulled a ton of weeds that had been growing wantonly between the brickwork. My landlord keeps saying he's going to come by with weed killer, and I know he means to. But I also know he's more than got his hands full with other duties. Besides, I told him the backyard was something I somewhat wanted to keep up, so he lets me do pretty much whatever I want. Nothing major, but general upkeep. The only thing I won't do is the bar; I'll clean up my own stuff, but if the boys can't take away their dirty pint glasses, well, tough shit. I ain't their mamma. My landlord has threatened to recycle/throw away their deserted glassware...and still no action. Hmmm, maybe he and I will talk about that.   Overall this was a productive day. Along with the backyard gardening, I finally got to the 9-months' worth of paper shredding. I finished the survey that I'll send to my students, so that I can plan my private courses in the fall. I finished the biography on Marco Polo that my dad gave me (Laurence Bergreen's 2007 Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu), which I recommend very highly. It's under 400 pages, yet you get the feeling you've read a huge volume's worth of text on the great Venetian. I also did some general farting about--a luxury I was afforded having done most of the grading yesterday, and one which I haven't had in a few weeks.   Dinner even tickled my creative bone: Cajun-Asian Fritto Misto. Say what? Basically, cubed yellow squash and chicken breast are quickly marinated in a milk, vinegar, and Tabasco batter, fried, and then sprinkled with more Tabasco and soy sauce. Outfrigginstanding. Dessert was taking platanillos (the very small banana-like fruit, yellow ones which are in between a plantain and a banana in the starchy scale) and fixing them the only way I like a banana: sauteed in butter and brown sugar, with rum. No ice cream...I don't want it in the house, or else I'll eat it...particularly when I get home from teaching.   For tonight...Well, I should really start on what remains of the grading. That way, tomorrow is a domestic day, ending with the finishing of the grading and the creation of the last of this round of midterms. Then again, the Sharks are playing tonight...hmmmmm....

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Under Pressure

This week has been utterly brutal. Actually, the last few weeks have, and it wasn't until Thursday that it all came to a head.   I teach an 8am class 3 days a week, on a campus that's 25 miles away. For us 'round here, well, that's not much of a commute, and I really don't view it as being far away. But an 8am class, that means I need to be on campus by 7:30 to get last minute stuff done, which means I have to leave the house no later than 6:45. Originally I thought I had to leave the house at 6:30, but the traffic hasn't been horrific, so I've been leaving later. But I was still waking up at 5:30, simply because I move about as fast in the morning as molasses on a frozen wintry day.   Well, this wasn't working. It's very hard for me to fall asleep before 11:30 (and I really do prefer 12 or so) unless I'm either sick or exhausted. So I was really only getting 6 hours of sleep or less, and while this doesn't sound like a bad thing, with all the running around I was doing, I was getting very tired. Mt. Grading Pile was getting harder and harder to tackle simply because I was having less and less time during the day to get things done, and more and more meetings were being requested. It's great to be wanted and all, but this was getting ridiculous. To make matters worse, my weekends were being filled up with plans to meet up with family and friends; the time I usually take to leisurely grade and prep for the week was being compacted into the space of a few hours during my two days off. I was not a happy Sarah.   When I'm stressed I do one of two things (and sometimes both): I either eat junk and processed foods, or I don't go into REM sleep and therefore wake up anything but refreshed. I can fall asleep, but don't seem to get a good night's sleep; I don't think I toss and turn, but who knows. Well, the last couple of weeks I've been doing the bad-sleep routine, and as a result would hit the snooze alarm 4 and 5 times before I could get myself to turn off the alarm...please, just 8 more minutes...please.... Monday-thru-Thursday I didn't wake up on time once...in fact, twice instead of hitting snooze, I accidentally turned the alarm off totally. Thankfully I caught it; once I only slept 15 minutes before Bella decided to wake me up for good, and the other time, while I slept an entire hour more, I had the time in my schedule to do so. As a result of waking up late all those days, I felt like the Scarecrow in "The Wizard of Oz:" discombobulated. Nothing was working right, and because I was so tired I kept forgetting things, which is highly unlike me. Clearly this 5:30 crap isn't working. My body doesn't function at all.   So, time for a change: Friday I decided I'd set the alarm for 6. Ok, 30 minutes doesn't sound like much, but if I don't have to leave the apartment before 6:45, well, I can get ready in 45 minutes. And it was a kind of magic! Friday I was refreshed...the day went better...and I didn't feel like falling down like a pile of bricks at the end of the day. (I would have done the once-usual of going out for dinner and go to a movie, but since I had eaten both breakfast and lunch 'out', well, it was time to stay home with a salad and my copy of "The Princess Bride.") So, the routine has been changed...and there's a weight that's been lifted from my shoulders.

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life

Wheeeeeeeeeeee! Spamalot is coming to San Francisco!!! Oh how I've waited for this to happen! When Las Vegas got a hold of it, the deal was that the producers wouldn't show any version of it west of that happening light-tropolis, so that we would have to go to the desert and get bamboozled just to see our silly English knnnnnnnnnnigits. But no! I did not give in to temptation! (Mostly because Vegas doesn't do much for me.) And now I, like many others, have been richly rewarded--Spamalot will be at the Golden Gate Theater for 6 weeks!!!! Yippee!!!!! Maybe I should dress as Zoot, Just Zoot for the occasion, or her twin sister, Dingo. Or perhaps I'll turn my neighbor Hank into a newt...oh, he'll get better. But come hell or high water, I'm going to see Spamalot!

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Volare (Nel Blu Di Pinto Di Blu)

Well, after more than 3 years of waiting, plus another year of paperwork SNAFUs, it's now official. I am both an Italian and an American, as are my brothers and my mom. I can proudly wear the red-white-and-blue and the tri-colori and not get ripped for it. I can go in the short line when travelling through European customs; I can stay in Italy and other EU countries for longer periods of time (watch out, European UNRV members!), and grant-funded trips to EU countries, from what I hear, will now be easier to obtain.   So look out, world...there are 4 more Italians on the block! Really!

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Beautiful Day

As I drove to work yesterday, the sun slid over the eastern horizon like a welcomed old friend. Sure, it was quite a bit cooler at night than it had been lately, but the daytime temps creeped up towards an almost spring-like level. Welcome to February in the San Francisco Bay Area--it could be pouring, or it could be brilliantly sunny.   Mt. Hamilton has a few specs of snow on its cap, which should go away before our next blast of precipitation this weekend. People were outside, sunning their faces a bit. Gotta get that 20 minutes in, folks, so that the body can generate Vitamin D. Even I forewent my usual gym routine, opting instead to walk along the Guadalupe River Park here downtown. I have walked the northern half several times, which leads you to the Mineta San Jose International Airport, but haven't walked very far south before. I forgot how well it was landscaped! There were tons of Canadian geese (grrrrrrr) taking a swim, trying to shoo away the ducks from entering 'their' space in the river.   Even my night class folk seemed more chipper than usual--which is saying something, as they tend to have even more energy than I do. They were raring to go last night, and in fact wore me out. I was in bed by 11 again, which is so unlike me.   This morning I slept in, and awoke to the fact that our jackass state Legislature finally passed a stinking budget (no, I'm not pissed off about this, nor bitter, nuh uh, no way, can't prove it) and that the Governator will sign it this morning. I know that there will be cuts that will hurt, but at least now we know what the hell they are. It just took them 6 months to figure it out. So I guess now we can get on with our lives, get out of limbo, and work on making life better.   And look! The sun's out!

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Mr. Sandman

Maybe it's the weather, maybe it's the return to waking up at the butt-crack of dawn after 5 days to the contrary, but today I'm beat. I can't seem to stay awake. When driving up to work this morning, I could feel my eyelids getting heavier and heavier. Once I pulled into the parking lot, I had an extra 20 minutes, so I took a quick nap in the car. It did me well for quite a while, but now I'm in office hours having the same problem. However, unlike earlier, I don't have time for a nap, as I leave for a meeting right after office hours, and then off to teach a private course.   I purposely put some little candies in my lunchbag, knowing I'd probably need the extra energy; it hasn't done much. I can't drink caffinated beverages anymore, so no leaded coffee for me, or I'll get the shakes and heart palpitations something terrible. What I really need is a place to curl up for 20 minutes, but I don't know that it'll be possible. Maybe if my meeting doesn't go long I can catnap before class. Then again, it might be a while before that happens.   There are some 50 of us part-time instructors in my division, and an incredibly small work office with three computer desks for us to use. Thankfully in the library there is an 'adjunct station' (our official title is 'adjunct instructor/professor'), and that's where I set up shop for office hours. Full use of a computer, printer and phone...a big desk to use...the only thing lacking is privacy. So when I need to talk to a student privately, I have to hope that one of the private study rooms is available; thankfully very few students come to office hours at all, let alone to ask private questions. But right now an office of my own would be wonderful; I could close the door, grab a pillow, and catch 40 winks. Or 5. Whichever I had time for.   In the meantime, I get up and strech every 10 minutes or so; I've taken a short stroll around the desk. I might have to resort to doing jumping jacks in a minute, if I'm not careful. But I can feel the grains of sleep that Mr. Sandman is trying to pour over me, and this is one helluva battle I'm fighting. Maybe I can hold out...yes, I think I can...I...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

The Greatest Man That Ever Lived

Valentine's Day is a bogus holiday, as far as I'm concerned. Why do we need one day for women to expect to be lavished with gifts, making their men suffer as far as what to do next? I really never did like the day; I'd rather celebrate with the one I love all throughout the year. And while in recent years I haven't had a person to share this pitiful day with, it never ceases to amaze me how many hoops men will jump through, and how many hoops women will put up for them.   ______________________________________________________________   I got asked all week long if I had plans. Yes, yes I did. I planned to spend Friday the 13th taking my cat to the vet, teaching a private group course, and then at home with a steak and taters. Saturday was to be spent at my parents' place, with Sunday spent in Sacramento with one of my closest friends. When I would tell people of my plans, they all frowned. What, no plans to go out on V-Day? It seems one is not allowed to have non-amorous plans on the 14th of February. Tough.   ______________________________________________________________   One of my parents' neighbors was bragging about how her husband spent all this money on flowers, jewelry, candy...the works. My dad's response: so how long has he been cheating on you?   ______________________________________________________________   My brother and his girlfriend went down to Disneyland this weekend. In my email today was a picture of the two of them, Mouse Ears on. The running joke in the family is that he's going to propose to her in "It's A Small World"--no, he's not going to, that we know. But somehow it just seemed right. Either that, or do it on "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride."   ______________________________________________________________   My neighbors and I were reminiscing the other day about the best, most romantic act that they (or, in my case, a former beau) have ever done. The gents had some great ones--spa-days for their loved ones, shopping sprees. I couldn't help but giggle, and when it was my turn to spill, I told them of the most romantic day or act that has ever been done for me. When living in Texas, I got very home-sick--not for my family per se, but for the coastline. A former beau (who I very nearly married) knew my pain; he was from Baltimore and missed the Atlantic coastline. So he set up a whole day where we had a picnic lunch on Lake Travis (just to the west of Austin), with dinner at the Oasis which looks over the lake. Ok, it wasn't the coast--and the Texas coast is ugly and couldn't be further from the beautiful rugged coastlines we were used to--but it was the next best thing. Their jaws dropped...they didn't realize it was so easy to please a girl.

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

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