Wednesday, December 27, 2006


I was listening to NPR yesterday (yes, I get most of my news from NPR, the rest I get from The Week, which is kindly donated to me by friends—hey, recycling! Anyway, at least those are better sources than the Daily Show and the Colbert Report, which is where my students seem to get all of their news. Well, I guess I shouldn’t complain—it could be Fox News—“Fair and Balanced?") and someone did a study on productivity during the holiday season, say Chanukah through New Years, and guess what they learned? Productivity is down during the holidays. Duh. Now, I’m all for studies, but I could have told them that. I haven’t blogged for days—proving that my productivity is down. I just seem to drink tea, eat cookies, and knit—oh no, what will this do to the GNP?

Oh, and by the way, the winter holiday season is only the second lowest season for productivity. Wanna know what the lowest season for productivity is? Fantasy Football season—all seventeen weeks of it.

Sometimes I do not understand Americans.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Solstice!
Turnips accomplished.

This has been a culinary morning. First we went out and bought ducks for roasting on Christmas, then we bought pancetta to make this lovely pasta dish for brunch. The inspiration for it came from my new cookbook by Nigella Lawson. No, I didn't follow the recipe exactly, but the idea came from the book. I served it with broiled tomatoes (a tribute to Nigella, since she's English) and papayas, since I'm going to Hawaii in a few weeks. We have a great bottle of wine that would have gone well with it, but since it was only 10:30 am, we decided maybe that was a bit decadent.

Now, we're off to the Asian food store to find the right turnips to roast with the duck. Wish us luck.

My blog is worth $3,951.78.
How much is your blog worth?

Ha, ha, surely they jest.

I'd like to say it's not worth the paper it's printed on....

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

My (Long Awaited) End of the Year Form Letter

Here are the highlights of my year: 2006. I have not written it in the third person, or in the “form letter fairy” style as my husband dubs it. I have used the first person.

The year started with Jan. 1, just like it does each year. I probably did something to commemorate this, but I don’t remember what.

Next was February.

Then March. My birthday is in March. I think it rained too.

I taught, graded a bunch, then it was summer. We watched nice fireworks at our local spot; our usual spot quit doing fireworks, I preferred the old place, but parking was dreadful there. We got a great place to park at the new place.

Summer was hot and my son spent a lot of it bored. I spent a lot of it bored. I also complained a lot about the weather. I have more posts in July than any other month—I’ll bet most of them complain about the weather.

We skipped vacation this year, as it seemed that everyone was doing it, and we didn’t just want to be “one of the crowd.”

School started in fall, as it generally does. It did take awhile for fall weather to start, it generally does. Everybody went back to school, as they generally do. I taught and graded papers, as I generally do.

I started dance lessons, and I’m doing so well, I’m thinking of turning pro.

I ate a lot of figs. In fact, I ate probably ten pounds of figs (not all at once). I made fig jam.

I gave up coffee twice, no make that three times. I did not give up chocolate.

I became the author of an extremely successful blog (fifteen readers and counting), with relatively few misspelled words. And, I just resisted the impulse to misspell misspell. Yet another point for me.

I bought a new pair of jeans, a new bathing suit, and several tank tops—oh, and a new pair of salsa shoes.

Ha, top that all of my upwardly mobile friends!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Three significant things happened today that I would like to share with you. First, I finished my grading. Second, we drove up to the local mountains to watch it rain, and it snowed instead. And third, and probably most momentous, it was cold enough today to wear socks. Just thought you'd like to know.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

We live in a time of rudeness.

It’s true. In our grandparents’ day, everyone was polite and respectful (my husband calls this the GOD—“good old/ol’ days”—syndrome).

But now, people don’t even have the tiniest particle of consideration. I mean, do you know how long it took me to get onto the ‘net today? I carried my laptop all over my house trying to sign in on one of the many airport servers in my neighborhood, but not a one of them would let me on today. They all wanted some sort of password. That is so rude.

I finally had to plug my laptop into my landline system.

I mean, if people are going to litter the airwaves with their internet connections, the least they could do is make them able to be reliably accessed by me.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Salsa Shoes

Recently my husband I started taking dance lessons. We started with Swing, and it went well. We attended a few workshops, Polka, Waltz, and a Rhumba class. All went well. We practiced, we practiced with friends who know how to dance, and all went well.

Then we tried Salsa. In a class, in a workshop, in another workshop, with videos. No dice. What was wrong with us? Everybody can Salsa, right? Why can’t we? Are we too old? Too “white?” We could Rhumba--that’s Latin.

After much head scratching, I finally figured it out. It’s clearly my old dancing shoes. I have the wrong shoes. I have Swing shoes. I need sexy new Salsa shoes—high heels. That should solve everything.

Now, if they don’t work, will I be able to return them?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Year End Update Form Letters

Yesterday I received my first end of the year update form letter. I haven’t opened it yet. I just can’t face it. It’s from one of those old friends I haven’t seen in years whose life took a very different path than mine did. In other words, she has a successful career, owns her own house, and makes oodles of money, at least to judge by her past form letters. I know all about her activities (promotions) and acquisitions (vacation getaways).

See, that’s the problem with these letters. They are really just a way to either validate one’s existence (see I have made a success out of my life) and probably to imply that others haven’t (what have you done lately?)

Now, I don’t even know if this particular friend is happy, and I know that I am, but the letters (year, after year, after year) bother me. It also bothers me that I receive them before I have even remembered where I tucked the stash of Christmas cards left over from last year, let alone set aside time to write and address them.

So this year, I’ve decided to write my own letter and send it around, so that my holiday missives can strike terror in the hearts of my old friends too.

I’ll reproduce it right here so it can strike terror in your heart too.
Okay, yet another new blog look. At least it's green. At least all of the bits don't run together. At least the writing is darker than the background.

Looks too canned.


Monday, December 11, 2006

New look

Well, I finally broke down and upgraded my blog. I didn't want to. Blogger made me. I find this particular template to be uninspiring. I wanted one with green in it. The green one had white print, which gave me a headache. I almost chose the one named "Jellyfish," not because it was great, but I did like the name. I love jellyfish. To look at. Not to eat. I am very allergic to jellyfish. Really.

Anyway, this may not be the final look of the blog. Blah blog. Blahg.
A small white ball is silhouetted against the blue grey sky
Amongst the naked branches of the tree outside of my study window
Yellow leaves blanket the dead grass
Fall happened while I wasn’t looking

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Smokers’ Paradise

Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit Las Vegas to meet my brother and sister-in-law for a visit. Las Vegas is a strange place, to say the very least. Everything seems to be legal there from gambling to prostitution. I saw lots of people gambling, but no one engaging in prostitution. I did see lots of people smoking. In fact, with the exception of myself and my party, everyone seemed to be smoking. Not just a cigarette or two, people had a cigarette hanging out of their mouths at all times: in the restroom, at the slot machines, in restaurants, outside on the street, in their cars, in the halls of the hotels.

The conclusion I reached was that people don’t go to Vegas to gamble, they go to smoke. Las Vegas seems to be the last place in the United States (maybe on earth—even the French are banning smoking in restaurants) where it is legal (and maybe compulsory) to smoke in all places and at all times.

Now, I’m surprised that the high paid ad execs who do the marketing for Vegas haven’t seen this angle yet. Imagine the new visitors this would encourage; who cares about night club shows, roulette tables, and outlet malls when you can actually smoke anywhere you want?

I mean, Las Vegas could be located out in the middle of nowhere, or in the middle of a desert and people would still go.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Ooooh, look at my new moon phases dealie. Too cool.

Clearly, more avoidance behavior. I am working a lot, really.

But a moon phase dealie--everyone needs one.
It's good to be back. Blogging cheers me up. Working does not.

Teaching does, but that's not actually working.

Anyway, it's nice to be blogging again.

Besides, now my fifteen readers will be happy I'm back.

Okay, off to grade.

Well, the big news is out this week, and what a relief it is. We can
all rest easy now. I know you, like me, have been up nights worrying
about this, but now you will sleep like a baby. The news of course,
is, that Plutonium does not decay as quickly as we used to think it
did. Scientists and military officials are thrilled because this means
that the nuclear bombs we made thirty years ago are still good.

Which of course means that we could USE THEM. It also means that our nuclear waste is staying radioactive even longer than we thought.

Thank the heavens above and the earth below.

Whew, that was close.