Saturday, September 30, 2006

I've got a quick favor to ask y'all

Could you take a moment to send good thoughts to my new little first-cousin-once-removed? She was born somewhat prematurely on Wednesday and, though her prognosis is good (weighing in at 6 lb 3 oz), she's in the NICU while her lungs mature.

I miss my Doctor Who

Season Two of the new Doctor Who is on. There's a new new Doctor Who. I miss last season's Doctor Who. He had the perfect combination of goofy, serious, and scary. This new guy is charming but...I guess I'll have to give him some time.

On the plus side, there was a really good Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reference in the first episode.

Also the actress who plays Rose did a great job of acting possessed by a smarmy woman during the second episode. I'm very fond of Rose.

A thing of beauty

Moreena's got a new post up that you just have to read. I'm still laughing.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

As seen at Raising WEG

You've Changed 40% in 10 Years
Ah, the past! You may not remember it well - because you're still living in it.While you've changed some, you may want to update your wardrobe, music collection and circle of friends.

I said my circle of friends had not changed much because I'm still really good friends with Jim (of Jim and Jenn) but the truth is that aside from him (and Mr. Spock, of course), I do have a totally new circle of friends. All of YOU. Thank you for being my friends, for being here for me, and for letting me be here for you.

Holding pattern

School's going well. I love most of my classes, and I'm doing well (judging by test scores) in all of them. Muffin Man is healthy, happy, smart as a whip and funny to boot. Mr. Spock is the world's best husband. There are no crises in my life at the moment.

So I was wondering why I feel so...blah. Not depressed, just...blah. And I think I've figured it out.

Muffin Man is the same age I was when my parents separated.

The parents of his friend, Deep-Voiced-Toddler, are going through a separation on their way to divorce.

I'm about to enter unknown territory, I have no idea what it's like to be a school-aged kid in an intact household. None. Well, a hint from reading fiction, but no personal experience. And Deep-Voiced-Toddler is about to live my life (sort of, I don't think joint custody will be an option there).


Tuesday, September 26, 2006


So Gilmore Girls was good. At least everybody seems to be TALKING and actually being honest for once, except WTF is up with Rory not saying to Logan that she wants to spend the Summer with him? And that town selectman guy is now tied with Kurt for the Gilligan/Dr. Smith award on this show.

Oh well, so I liked it. But then the coming attractions for next week...I'm just not sure. I may not last through the season, folks.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Muffin Man: Soup afficianado

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this, but we like soup around here. Most Saturdays will find us eating SoupAndBread (potato leek soup and ciabatta bread for dipping) in Nearby Historical Town. Muffin Man gets cranky on the weekends that we don't do our ritual ciabatta dipping.

Tonight, we ate at a nearby Vietnamese restaurant that not only has The World's Best Spring Rolls (and I know from spring rolls, I'm a New Yawkuh), they also have The World's Best Wonton Noodle Soup. Delicious. Muffin Man LOVES this stuff. He's not so happy with pork though, so I trade him my shrimp for his pork and he just digs right in. "Good soup!" he said happily, slurping up noodles and shovelling in wontons. "I love this soup!"

He's my little Souper Man.

I'm so excited!

People: Dick Francis has a new book coming out. It's actually AT my campus bookstore, but they won't let me buy it until tomorrow.

Squee!!!! Dick Francis!!! Yay!

I thought that his last book (Shattered, published in 2000) was, you know, his last book. It's well-known among his fans that his late wife was a real partner in his writing, so I thought that her death meant no more books. I was sad, but okay with it. After all, he's written a boat-load of books and I'm happy just re-reading them.

But a new one! And not just a new one but a new Sid Halley! Halley is one of two characters that Francis has written more than one book about (this makes four Sid Halleys and two Kit Fieldings). I'm. Just. So. Excited!

Okay, back to work.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Rush Hashonna Dinner

With SingsLullabyes and MakesBooksForGrandkids. Just the three of us in their New Yawk apartment. We ate oysters (yeah, not so much with the kosher), borscht and sweet challah with raisins, baked salmon and arugela salad, with rughella for dessert (Yay! Arugela and rughella!)


Shopping for the ingredients was fun, too.

And I brought back some cinnamon-raisin challah for my boys.

Hope y'all had a good weekend!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

It's sad when you can't see the cells for the floaters

I have floaters. They've been my companions for at least 32 years. I can distinctly remember sitting on the brown cordoroy couch my mom had in the '70's, watching my "water marks" floating around in the sun. I don't notice them much in the ordinary way. One of them is a black speck and I notice it most when there are gnats in the room, since it looks JUST. LIKE. ONE.

Today I got up close and personal with several microscopes. Looking for cells. Which look just like most of my floaters. I had to ask the TA teaching the lab if she would mind helping me focus 2 of the fireplacing microscopes because the frelling floaters just kept getting in the way (cheek cells and smooth muscle cells). Turns out, that once the microscope was focused properly, the smooth muscle cells looked like a beach at low tide, with a sort of feather pattern. Neurons look like jelly fish and lilac leaf stomas look like a place where a tree would be in a brick walk way. Best of all was looking at the cells from a living plant (stuff moves around inside them!)

Monday, September 18, 2006

My weeks

Monday through Thursday, first thing in the morning, I'm in a Psychology class that covers Research Methods and Statistics (really, it's two classes but they're both taught by one professor and he's joined them together). Friday mornings, I take a 3 hour lab for that class. We just got our first test back and, while I got one of the only two A's in the class, I only got the A because he curved pretty steeply. The TA who teaches the lab didn't get all the answers right when he took the test to see why the class did so poorly on it. It's been agreed between them that the questions were written poorly (on the questions I got wrong, 18 out of 21 students picked the same answers as I did). Next time, he's going to let the TA proof the exam before he inflicts it on us.

Mondays and Wednesdays I have Religion. I like this class. Good teacher. He's got a wry sense of humor and led a brief discussion today about Pope Benedict's adventures over the weekend. We're currently covering Judaism (just finished with David and are about to discuss Solomon.) I'm doing my usual Hermione imitation (raising my hand alot and being an insufferable know-it-all), but the scary thing is that everything I know about Judaism comes from various Passover sedars and reading children's fiction (All-of-a-Kind-Family, anyone?)

Tuesdays and Thursdays I have Biology. Loving this teacher. We've just finished covering the cell and will have our first exam on Thursday. Tuesday afternoons I go to a three-hour lab for this class. Last week we tested for protein, starch, reducing sugars, and lipids. Our mystery mixtures were sugar and starch. Tomorrow, we're looking at cells under a microscope.

And, of course, on Friday afternoons I have Hawaiian Dance. Still having trouble with those steps.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Hula is kicking my ass

We're learning "Little Gras$ $hack" and the uwehes are frelling painful. Not to mention, I still haven't gotten the hang of amis. My calves, thighs, and back are all asking me WTF I think I'm doing.

Aside from which, there are some arm movements that are nigh impossible for me to do correctly because my appendages get in the way. I'm a mountain range in a classful of rolling hills, if you know what I mean.

I'm loving every minute of it, though. I particularly like that my favorite fish, the humu-humu-nuku-nuku-apua'a, is mentioned in the song. (Dashes and dollar signs have been placed there to avoid having my classmates discover the site while researching the song)

Interesting aside: My Hawaiian Dance class and my Psych 300/301 joint class and lab each have only one male student, the rest of the students (28 in dance and 20 in psych!) are female. So I'm spending most of my class time with predominantly female classes. Bio and Religion are more of a 50/50 mix.

One of my Psychology classmates is pregnant, due December 2nd. She's already made arrangements with the professors if she can't attend finals.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The mourning sky

Today I thought about five years ago and what I remembered most. And aside from the horror and the fear and the sadness, what I remember most is the silence.

I live near a flight path from Dulles Airport. About once every five minutes or so, a plane goes by, often loudly. At all times there are contrails in the sky.

Five years ago there was silence and the sky was an unbroken blue. The absence of plane engines, the absence of those straight white lines made me feel that even the sky was mourning.

At school today, I heard a lot of students ask why today isn't a national holiday, and it's a good question. But I think that a national holiday would devolve into what all national holidays are, an excuse for store-wide sales and barbeques.

Wouldn't it be a more fitting tribute if, one day every year, we grounded the airplanes? No flying ever again on 9/11. Bring back the reminder of the eerie silence, the unbroken blue, and the mourning sky.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Vanessa Lynn Kolpak, Age 21. Died 9/11/01.

Bright. Bubbly. Positive. These are the words used to describe her.

A classmate who hadn't seen her in 10 years remembered her playing the violin at an assembly. "I remember the song she played. Her talent."

Her music teacher:"I had difficulty believing that she would not appear in some unexpected place to comfort our aching hearts."

A former employer: "I can't think of a more brilliant young woman, someone who had so much poise and grace, and someone who made people melt with her smile."

She had a big, beautiful smile and brought joy to all who knew her. She had a soft voice and a tender heart. In high school she said, "If I knew that of all of my friends, someone had to have something bad happen to them, I would want it to be me."

This young, vibrant woman worked for Keefe, Bruyette & Woods on the 89th floor of the South Tower. She called home shortly after the first plane hit to say she was fine and was never heard from again.

She is sorely missed by family and friends. They leave messages on various websites telling the world how much they still love her.

I never met her and I regret that so much. I am writing about her because I was given her name by the 2,996 Project. Vanessa, you are missed and loved and remembered.

As seen at Fuzzball

Have you ever...? The ones that I have done are BOLDED:
01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said 'I love you' and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten my own vegetables (Tomatoes!)
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than I could afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as I possibly could
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about my life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for my computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Taken a midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer then I was actually in love with the person
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized my CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Posed nude in front of strangers
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love with someone and not had my heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class (does fencing count?)
71. Played D&D for more than six hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an "expert"
83. Received flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Had a one-night stand (long, long ago)
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one of my parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror Picture Show
96. Raised children (not done yet, though)
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Created and named my own constellation of stars
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when I knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an illness that I shouldn't have survived
105. Written articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Petted a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of mine below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had my picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone's mind about something I care deeply about (I got a homo-phobic, evangelical, born-again Christian to agree to vote "No" on the anti-gay-marriage amendment on the ballot this November)
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Petted a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad (and the Odyssey)
135. Selected one "important" author who I missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared and animal for eating (fish)
137. Skipped all my school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language 139. Been elected to public office
140. Written my own computer language
141. Thought to myself that I'm living my dream
142. Had to put someone I love into hospice care
143. Built my own PC from parts (well, assisted my husband to build it)
144. Sold my own artwork to someone who didn't know me
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146: Dyed my hair
147: Been a DJ
148: Shaved my head
149: Caused a car accident
150: Saved someone's life

Friday, September 08, 2006

Holy wow.

People. I have seen the most incredible thing today. I watched these folks exercise and dance (click on the video clips on many of the story pages to see them in motion). And they are amazing. Stunning. Spectacular. And I was sitting thisclose to them in the performance room at Nearby U.

Holy wow.

During exercises, they hold their upper bodies perfectly still while they rotate their hips (ami)almost faster than you can watch. One of their dances has three performers imitating the movement of a boat through the water using one outstretched leg and an outstretched arm that they pulled and pushed back and was incredible.

Meanwhile, I'm still having troubles with my ami, and I'm doing it very slowly indeed. And I'm having trouble remembering to sway my hips during the kaholo if I'm also doing arm movements. But I'm loving every minute of my class. I feel good. Sore, but good.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Weekend Bullets

  • Went to a certain blogger's son's 3rd Birthday party with Muffin Man (who says, "I love AB, he's my little brother.")
  • Cleaned out the garage. Cut down and boxed up all the cardboard boxes that have accumulated since last year, threw out a ton of junk, and donated everything that didn't sell in last year's yard sale. The yard sale where all the donations went to Katrina relief. Yeah. Procrastinate much? I can't wait for Thursday when we can put out all the recycleables for pick up.
  • Went to the Leesburg Animal Farm Park with friends of MM and their moms. Pony rides, wagon rides, puppet shows, AND feeding the animals.
  • Practiced dancing "We're Going to a Hukilau". I think I have the hand movements and the kaholos down pat, but I'm still having issues with my ami kuku.
  • And I'm sad for his kids, but is there anyone out there who didn't think Steve Irwin would get too close to the wrong animal one day?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

So, why does Norton suck?

1. It wouldn't let me read some comics.
2. It wouldn't let me read some comment pages.

And finally, the straw that broke the camel's back...

3. It stopped letting me send e-mail.

That's right, I said send. I could receive just fine.

So now Norton and I are through. And if Macafee pulls the same crap, I'm moving to Linux.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Norton really sucks

Details to come later.

Ow. Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow.

My thighs and my back hurt. Who knew that keeping your knees bent while stepping back and forth in a smooth lateral motion and swaying your hips would be so hard?

But I had tons and tons of fun.

I dropped Historical Criticism of Children's Literature and picked up Hawaiian Dance. Children's Lit involved waaaaaay too many papers to write, and I already got the fun of reading all the books.