Thursday, December 31, 2009

So Long, 2009. We've Had a Good Run...

Well, the year 2009 comes to a close. Being the pragmatic realist that I am, I'm baffled as to why people celebrate New Year's. We don't celebrate New Month's or New Week's, or even New Day's. So why all the hoopla about a new year?

I just realized that I sound dangerously close to Andy Rooney all of a sudden.

Anyway, I guess I'll do what everyone else seems to like to do at the end of a year: reflect on it. Really, this has been a pretty good year for me. Far better than that other year that totally sucked for me. But see? I can't even remember which it was. I'm guessing 2008 though.

Okay, what has 2009 brought me? Well, a resurgence in blog posts, for one. Granted, I'm not as good at it as I was back in my heyday (2005-6) when my blog was new, but I've made quite an improvement over 2007 when I hardly blogged at all.


Also, I got a full-time job. I'd say that's something to get excited about. So I moved to a different place, started teaching kids of all ages (from junior in high school all the way up to adults older than I returning to school).

Also took a road trip to Appalachia over the summer. That was nice. I got to see Shenandoah via Skyline Drive, so I sorta fought my fear of heights on that one. It really was beautiful and a great time.

I read several books over the summer, but I almost can't keep track of them anymore. I know there were several Sinclair Lewis', and Little Dorrit by Dickens, and The Great Gatsby because I couldn't believe I'd taken a Master's in English without reading Gatsby. I know there were more, but as I said, there are too many to count.

I got a new car, so along with that new job, I have new payments to deal with. But it's all good.

I've also started playing my guitar again and doing crafts more regularly. Case in point, I just finished a latch hook project from I don't know how many years ago last night. I'm still working on that granny square afghan. I've probably been working on that since before I started this blog. But I really don't feel like working on it at the moment, somehow. Thus, I think I'll get back to my small needlepoint project. I figured I'd give the latch hook to one grandma and the needlepoint heart to the other.

Well, that's about all I can think of for 2009. I'm sure there were other blogworthy things about the year, but if so, I can't seem to recall them at the moment. Here's hoping that 2010 will be even better! Now, onto those resolutions...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year's Eve Eve

I remember New Year's Eve last year, but I can't say as I recall New Year's Eve Eve last year. Strange, huh? Well, the reason I remember New Year's Eve is that I had to do laundry at the laundromat. And something bad happened. I've repressed most of the memory, but I do recall that something bad happened. And then I went to Subway with Beth and Jean. And the other Beth showed up. And her Subway gift card wouldn't work. Then my mom called and we went shopping. That's a pretty lousy memory, isn't it?

But the strange thing about this is that I can't seem to remember more important things. You know, things like what happened on New Year's Eve Eve last year. Why is it that I remember the New Year's Eve story that nobody really cares to hear? Eh well. Such is life.

Well, I'm happy to announce that my Spanish verbs book has come in! Sure, it's a little late, but who cares? And I finished The Road. Nothing like a little Cormac McCarthy to make a dreary day all the more dreary. This has been one of the bleakest Christmas-New Year's stretches that I can recall in the history of recorded time. It's almost a shame that I don't have Bleak House to reread. Or, I guess I could have checked out Ulysses from the University library again. I mean, sure I didn't get very far on it when I started it over the summer, but it's a big book. It could take a while to read. Plus, I don't see the book club suggesting it anytime soon, so to try to read it alongside the book club books and juggling all that with teaching/grading stuff? I'm worn out already.

And speaking of juggling, you should have seen me play the Wii at Jean's house the other day. I think the first thing she conned me into doing was Wii Juggling. Okay, so I can't even juggle in real life, so I'm not sure why I got cocky and thought I ever had a snowball's chance in heck to do Wii Juggling. Perhaps it's because I'm not bad at Wii: boxing, tennis, baseball, and bowling. Though I'm terrible at all those things in real life, save boxing, which I've never tried in real life, but you get my point.

Anyway, the juggling. So you have to balance on a beach ball thing while juggling. It was nigh onto impossible for me to do, so I moved on to other things. I think in just under two hours' time, I juggled, hula hooped, skiied, snowboarded, skateboarded, did martial arts, did step aerobics, and did some crazy game where I had to control a bird character. All I remember from the latter is Beth screaming, "FLAP HARDER! FLAP HARDER!" So when I flapped harder (looking a complete fool, I'm sure), I overshot the pole I was supposed to land on and heard Beth screaming, "STOP FLAPPING!" at which time I did, in fact, stop flapping, and my bird sunk into the ocean.

Good thing I'm not a bird.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas, Part Deux

Okay, so anyway. We had cinnamon rolls for breakfast--mmmm. Then, headed over to Dad's mother's house. She wasn't feeling the greatest when we got there--her pulse and blood pressure were both high and she was shaking. Fortunately, it didn't last long, and she started feeling much better while we were sitting around visiting. After she felt better, we opened gifts. Just before we left, she took her blood pressure and pulse again and it had returned to normal.

From her, I got a scarf that she knitted, a beading kit, and some money.

Came home and watched some SNL Christmas/Hanukkah specials. I love Adam Sandler's Hanukkah song! Oh, and Dana Carvey is my hero! He does a terrific job as George Bailey. And since I love It's a Wonderful Life, the alternate ending sketch was priceless, in my estimation.

I baked a loaf of bread (I had my doubts about the quantity of flour), and my now-famous cheesy potato soup. It's sort of become a tradition on Mom's side of the family for me to bring this combo to the annual soup supper extravaganza.

While the soup was cooking and the bread baking, we finally got around to opening our gifts. I got two learning Spanish DVDs, a video game, some candy, a gift card and some more money.

At the evening party, I got the third learning Spanish DVD, another game, another gift card, a planner, and some more candy. It was a very good Christmas, but not just for the gifts.

We had a great get-together tonight. Pierce (always the joker) was making cracks constantly (no surprise there), but, on occasion, was also the subject of much jesting. We had a bit of a game of "things [certain people] will never be heard saying." Needless to say, that was a riot.

Andre had wedding photos to give out. I took a couple of wallet pictures. She even gave me a hug. I'm not sure we've ever hugged before. She knows and respects my introvertivity, but I think she just likes me.

The weather has been bitterly cold, so Andre and I were humming "Mele Kalikimaka." Not sure what I'm going to do tomorrow, but I'd love to drive down to Jean's house and play some Wii with her and Beth. I am glad to announce that, even though it was a busy Christmas, it really wasn't quite as rushed as I feared it would be; though, we were late to the evening gathering.

Merry Christmas

Well, this is my 26th Christmas. I think I'm ready for it. I had fun wrapping gifts and watching PBS last night. The potato pancakes and hot cocoa must've helped degrinchify me. Anyway, Peyser wanted to help wrap gifts too. He can melt even the coldest heart. Actually, he's sitting on my lap right now helping me type this entry. After the gifts were wrapped last night, he positioned himself among them. Oh yes, and he, of course, had to play in the ribbon.

So, I got up at 7:30 this morning, thinking I'd really gotten up early. Thought maybe we could get a head start on the whole Christmas thing. Well, then I found out that my dad had been up since 4:00, and my mom since 2:30. Maybe I really should have stayed up all night like I'd planned. But then, Santa might not come if I don't go to sleep, right?

Well, anyway, I need to get off here. Dad's got his Santa hat on and I haven't gotten dressed yet. I'll hopefully have more updates later.

Merry Christmas to all celebrating!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Potato Pancakes!

Okay, I know this is unorthodox and wrong, and possibly even sinful, but I made potato pancakes without egg. In fact, I just stirred up some Potato Buds, milk, margarine, and water, then stuck this in the microwave for a minute, and browned them in a nonstick skillet without any oil, etc.

They were really good.

I'm feeling a bit more festive now; so much so that I actually had Dad pick up two kinds of ribbon (curling ribbon and wire ribbon) so I can decorate my gifts nicely. Yeah, just so they'll be ripped open and damaged beyond recognition in around 28 hours or so.

And you know what? I don't even care about the rushed Christmas thing anymore. I'm just glad to have some days off. I'm hoping to shoot some pool while I'm here, and I definitely need to go to Jean's house and play some Wii, and heck, I might even find the time to make some more potato pancakes.

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Another Blogiversary

This post has very little to do with the fact that today is my 4-year blogiversary. It seems like it's been much longer, somehow.

Apparently, this year Christmas is going to be more hectic than ever and even less enjoyable. I mean, I don't know that I ever saw the holiday as magical, but this year is going to be like the old days when we would rush around from one location to another without getting to enjoy the day one iota, until it's over, and then there's the lousy anticipation that starts all over again. You wait all year for this day, and then it's gone.

I'm getting mad just thinking about it.

And what really burns me is that it shouldn't be this way. For the past several years, we've gone to one grandma's house on Christmas eve, and the other on Christmas night. Well, this year, the Christmas eve grandma decided to haul off and spend it with some people she barely knows. Without even asking us if it was okay to totally railroad us out.

So now, we're forced to do the Christmas day rush. Oh yes, and I thought I was going to get to see my uncle and a cousin that I haven't seen in years. Yeah, no. They're not coming, either.

And I'm in a foul mood as a result. I don't have much time here with my family before another busy semester starts, and I'd really like to take the time to actually enjoy Christmas. But, then again, my feelings amount to nothing. I guess that's why I don't generally have feelings--I've conditioned myself to lose all feelings and emotions (unless under intense stress and at certain times of the month).

Call me Clark Griswold (actually, please don't), but I had this overly idealized concept that maybe this year we could slow Christmas down a little. I mean, separating it into two days helped, but I still get really depressed once it's over. Now I have to contend with the depression plus the feelings of insignificance that accompany being pushed to the back burner in favor of strangers.

I'm sure that I'm overreacting and that someone everyone anyone who reads this anymore (if anyone does still read this blog after I've practically abandoned it numerous times) will probably consider me horribly spoiled. It's not that I don't appreciate Christmas--quite the contrary. I appreciate it a lot, and that's why I'd like to slow it down and actually enjoy it for once, rather than treat it like work where there are stresses and deadlines to meet and all sorts of unhappy things accompanying it (which is not the way Christmas should be).

I guess I could still make those potato pancakes I've been so hungry for.

Monday, December 14, 2009

End of the Semester

Today was my first final as a college instructor. It went pretty well. I'm going to miss my students. I'll probably see most of them again next semester, but some of them won't be in my class anymore. They wrote such sweet things to me on their finals.

I'm grading those finals now. Well, not right now. Right now I'm updating my blog, but I just took a quick break from grading. I have a Grateful Dead concert playing, courtesy of www.archive.org. I hope to get through all these finals tonight and calculate a few grades. Then, I'll get to do it all again tomorrow.

Except tomorrow I shouldn't have as much paperwork to do. Today, I had a tremendous amount of paperwork to do. I think I have a form to sign tomorrow, but for the most part, I got that type of thing taken care of today. Maybe that means that tomorrow I can start getting ahead of schedule. Well, we can always hope, anyway. Gonna get back to the grading now. Peace out.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Where Does the Time Go?

Well, the semester is certainly coming to a close. I had my last class meeting yesterday. Finals week starts Monday. That should be fairly easy. I don't know if any of my students are going to turn in late essays or not. I'm planning to grade in-class essays today, as well as (hopefully) finish To Kill a Mockingbird for book club. I've read it a million times, but I like it so well that I decided to read it again, rather than rely on memory.

The essay-grading plan is thus:

Saturday: grade and record all in-class essays
Sunday: maybe grade some essays (if any from Monday's class come in late); otherwise, chill
Monday: give first final; grade essays to be returned Tuesday; grade Monday finals
Tuesday: give second final; grade essays to be returned Wednesday; grade Tuesday finals
Wednesday: etc.
Thursday: I'm not sure what to do during their final, as I haven't received essays from the Friday class to grade; perhaps read The 42nd Parallel.
Friday: collect final drafts of their essay; give last final; grade drafts during final; catch a plane home for Christmas; grade Friday finals on the plane
Saturday: figure and post grades

And voila! From Saturday morning on, I'll be on break! And one of my top priorities is making some potato pancakes.

Another is picking up Ulysses again. I started reading it over the summer, but with my teaching workload and the book club and the writing group, and my own personal quests to read the U.S.A. trilogy and practice guitar and learn Spanish and conquer Call of Duty and pick up an embroidery project I'm still working on for a friend and occasionally update this blog, I just can't seem to find the time to try to wrap my mind around Joyce. Might be a nice Christmas goal though. At least to make some more progress on it.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Weird Blast from the Past, Lately

Hmm, so this year has been a crazy mixture of new things combined with pieces of my past that keep popping up. New things involve my job and where I live, but the old things are what interest me for this post.

When I got my new car, it came with Sirius radio. Okay, so first things first, that brings me back to the mid 2000s when I used to hang out at Annette's house all the time. I used to bum around on the couch listening to the Sirius channels on their TV. Then, we'd often have a meal (or go out) and come back to either watch a movie or play cards. It was really awesome, and I miss those days.

Secondly, one of my new friends introduced me to Sirius 32--the Grateful Dead channel. Okay, well this takes me back to my college days. I've heard of the Grateful Dead as long as I can remember, but the only song I'd heard by them for quite some time was "Touch of Grey." But at the time, I didn't know what the song was called or who sang it. A few years back (it seems like it hasn't been that long, but I know it's been a few years now), I randomly heard "Alabama Getaway" on the radio. Now, most 'heads will know that to hear the Dead on the radio is a rarity. This is the first time I was aware that I was hearing a Grateful Dead song. I fell in love with "Alabama Getaway" and knew I had to hear more. At some point I managed to hear "Truckin'" and "Sugar Magnolia" on the radio as well, and that was it. I had to own a Grateful Dead CD. So, my obsession began in college, but the only music I was aware of were the songs on the CD + "Alabama Getaway." I had no idea what I was missing out on.

With the Sirius radio, I have been exposed to far more Dead tunes than I ever dreamed existed. I haven't heard them all yet, but I'm getting there.

Okay, I've also managed to reconnect with some old friends. Jean and Beth (sisters) and even sometimes the other Beth (their cousin). I talk to Jean around once a week. We always have a good time. When I came home for Thanksgiving, I got together with her and her sister Beth. I didn't want to leave--we were having that much fun.

Then, the really weird thing happened last night. Other Beth's brother, David, the one I had a crush on for about three years, randomly called me up. I don't have feelings for him anymore, but had he called me sometime between 2001-2004, I would have been ecstatic. I'm not sure what prompted him to call me last night. We did used to be friends, so maybe he wants to regain that friendship. What I don't understand is that when I liked him, he never wanted to have anything to do with me. Then he got married. Then he got divorced. Now he's dating someone else and for whatever reason, he called me last night. I don't understand it.

A couple other things from my past that have come back are video games and music. The music came first. When I started listening to the Grateful Dead (and even figured out how to incorporate a YouTube of the band playing "One More Saturday Night" for my classes), I decided I wanted to play guitar again. Also, one of my students plays, so that did it. I had to go buy a cheap guitar so I'd have something to play. I've been playing much more now than I did 13 years ago when I first started taking lessons. I guess now that I don't take lessons, I'm more dedicated.

It was probably in 2002 that I got my Xbox. I really don't remember. I'm not even sure what made me want one. I made a huge leap in gaming systems--I went straight from Atari 7800 to original Xbox. Granted, I played original Nintendo and N64 with friends between times, but as far as systems I owned, that was it. Well, after hearing my students talk about games, games, games, sure enough, I had to buy a console. I was a little irritated with Microsoft for discontinuing Xbox stuff so quickly, when PS2 has really held on; and after reading multiple essays on how PS3 was better, I opted for the Sony. Actually, it was the Blu-Ray player that sold me. That being said, I only own one PS3 game, and I've already conquered it. It just feels weird to be sort of living my past again in the present. Trippy enough for ya?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ah, the Weekend...

This has been a fairly relaxing weekend. Except for the heartbreaking emails I've had to send to students, the unnerving nightmares I never completely remember but still feel unnerved by, and the grading I ended up doing, though I told myself I wouldn't.

Tomorrow's a short day--one class, one advising hour, and however long I want to stay in my office doing the grading I've been trying to avoid this weekend.

Tuesday is a regular day, except that I'm taking off after work to head home for Thanksgiving. Hard to believe--it'll be here before I know it!

Today is Pierce's birthday. I'm still not sure what we're going to do to celebrate. I've cloistered myself in my room most of the day.

Except when I went to the park for two glorious hours. Were it not for the fact that my bladder was urging me to get back to the house, I could've stayed in the park all day reading Dos Passos.

Have I mentioned that I really love Dos Passos? I don't recall Manhattan Transfer at the moment, but I remember liking it a lot. Well, I should clarify: I think I remember it, but some of the literature from that time period (Modernist) is pretty similar. And I've read a bunch of it. Maybe I'll just Google the novel to see if it's the one I'm remembering.

I just love reading in the park. If only I had more time to do that...

Additionally, I worked on a cross-stitch project! I usually don't have time for crafts, but today I was able to. I have several cross-stitch projects in progress. Two for friends and one for my mom, and some others for my cousin. I'm hoping to get the ones for friends done by Christmas, but I'm not holding my breath. I thought I'd get them done for last Christmas, but obviously that didn't happen. And I wasn't even working that much back then. I'm not sure where my time goes, but it seems to really get away. I think it has something to do with having too many hobbies.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Still Waking Up...

And now it's Saturday. Not sure what I'm going to do today. Have a bunch of papers to grade, but I've been doing that all week! Want a little time off. I have plenty of things to do today, it's just a matter of deciding which to do, rather than wasting the whole day.

Yesterday was a big day. Taught class from 8-11:50, then had a meeting from 12-2. Then in my office from 2-4. At a little after 7, went back to the college to hear my cousin and some others in the music department play a recital from 7:30-9. Pierce played some of his own compositions, as well as some Classical (opera?) pieces and the very impressive "Winter Wind" etude by Chopin. I'm totally at a loss on Classical music, but I really enjoyed "Winter Wind." It's haunting and a little creepy in places. If I'm going to listen to Classical, that's how I like it. Haunting.

Anyway, Thanksgiving is coming up. I'm looking forward to seeing my friends and family. I have a lot of things planned for a very short handful of days, but maybe we can make it all work. I'll probably be so busy that I won't get rested up before I have to come back to work! But then, there will only be the last few days of classes left before we get another break--Christmas!

I can't get too excited about Christmas though, because I haven't started shopping yet. And I have a bad feeling that I won't have much time to shop during those last weeks of classes.

Anyway, I'll probably call some people today, play a little music and read my Dos Passos book. I'd like to do some embroidery, but I seem to never have the time. It is a very time-consuming hobby. But then, I guess I don't have to do much embroidery at once. We'll see about the grading.

P.S. Tomorrow is Pierce's birthday. I wonder what we will do to celebrate?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Where's the Red Bull When I Need It?

I love Wednesdays, but I'm feeling slightly overwhelmed with work. Not that bad yet, but I know I'll be getting more essays tomorrow. And probably even tonight. Been grading, grading, grading, and listening to Grateful Dead music courtesy of archive.org. One of my former professors introduced me to the site. I'm really glad he did because, though I don't get to listen to it very often, I've found some great concert music on it.

Well, I guess Thanksgiving is coming up--a week from tomorrow. Hard to believe. Tying back to my previous post (was that just yesterday?) about time, where did 2009 go?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday's Gone... with the Wind

Thank you to Lynyrd Skynyrd for that awesome lyric. And all apologies for ripping it off. I was rereading some of my old posts and some from my friend AG lately. They reminded me of the "old days." I put this in quotes because I'm being slightly facetious, but not too much, when you think of it. My college days have come and gone and sometimes I find it hard to believe that I'm out of high school. I think this is because when I was a little kid (and too much of a thinker), I used to think things like, "Wow. In the year 2000 I'll be 16 and have a car! In 2002 I'll graduate high school!" It seemed like the magic turn of the millineum was an event that was too far in the future the ever happen. Plus, when the 19's ended and the 20's began, well, we all just knew that was going to be the end of the world. Anybody remember stocking up on rice and beans and/or buying a generator to outwit, outplay, and outlast the dreaded Y2K?

But nothing happened. It was just life as usual. I guess what blows my mind is that the 2000s are almost over and the teens are going to begin. In the naughts, I have graduated high school, community college, university, and graduate school. Not only that, but I have also seen all my employment during those years. In a way, it seems so short. How did all that happen in a mere 9 years?

But then, you say, 9 years isn't anything to sneeze at. Nine years is 1/10th of 90 years. And 10% can go a long way. But seriously, what can I say about the '90s? A whole heck of a lot more. I started school, met all the milestones, and even became a teenager. The 1990s were a strange time. They somehow linked the 1980s with the 2000s. To me, that's a major feat.

What does all this have to do with the title of my post? I honestly haven't a clue. Maybe I'm just thinking about how it blows my mind that Spring 2010 is rapidly approaching. Maybe I'm having another quarter-life crisis. Could be related to being on the 30 end of my 20s now. Maybe it's because I teach some dual enrollment classes and I see high schoolers almost on a daily basis. Sometimes I forget that it's been years since I was there age. About 9 years, to be exact. And why is it that that pesky numbah noin, numbah noin, numbah noin, keeps popping up, anyway?

Like that reference just then. I wonder how many (if any) of my students would have a clue that I made a reference to the Beatles just now? If they even read this blog. Which I hope they don't. I sometimes forget that I'm supposed to be out of the loop. The only time I remember it is when I truly am. High school. It's been an eternity, but it just happened yesterday. And what really freaks me out is that these students were little kids when I was their age.

Anyway, I think the moral of this story, if one can be distilled, would probably be something like this: Tuesdays tend to wear me out. But this week, it's over. Maybe the tie to my childhood is my subconscious or my unconscious or whatever not-entirely-conscious-but-sorta part of my brain trying to tell me that high school is done. Over. Fin. And so is college.

But wait! While rereading the first part of this (whatever this is), it came to me. I miss the old days when AG and I had just begun blogging. I felt so full of inspiration and creativity back then. I also had dreams of being published. What happened to those dreams, anyway?

Monday, November 16, 2009

My Evening, in a Nutshell

I just made a cheese bread out of a refrigerated pizza dough. It wasn't the greatest, but it'll do. Chased it with a Ferrero Rocher and a Coke (they've already put Santy Claus on the cans) and I felt pretty good. Somehow I've been really tired lately. Think it might have something to do with the cold front and the overcast days.

Maybe I just haven't fully recovered from my birthday last Tuesday.

I wanted to go to the park, but by the time I'd eaten, it was getting dusky. Plus, I'm really too lazy to get out. It feels good just to lie down. Problem is, I have so many hobbies that once I'm done with work, I rarely have time to do them because I'm usually too tired!

Hmm, let's see... I played a bit of "Wish You Were Here" on my guitar. Heard a guy in a restaurant play it over the weekend, so I went home and practiced it. I'm not great by any means, but I can at least play it.

I would have played video games, but I only have one game. And I got through it in just over a week. Too cheap to buy another at the moment.

I do have a copy of The 42nd Parallel by John Dos Passos. It's so refreshing to be reading modernist literature again. Don't ask me why stories of industrialization and socialism in early 1900s America is so appealing to me.

Our book club is going to tackle one of my favorite books of all time: To Kill a Mockingbird. Even though I've already read it umpteen times, I'm looking forward to reading it again. But my heart yearns for Dos Passos. I'd like to read the entire USA trilogy, but we'll see how much time there is for that.

Right now a nap sounds like it might be in order. I'm sure I'll hate myself later for sleeping my evening away, but I'm just so tired.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Update

Hey y'all...

Can't stay long today--been super busy lately. Have to fill you all in on everything when I get a chance. Anywho, just wanted to give a heads-up that I enabled comment moderation, but only on posts older than two weeks. Hopefully this will cut down on/eliminate the spammy comments I've been getting on posts that are nearly four years old. If it doesn't, though, I'll turn on comment moderation for all of them. Wish we could just blog without fooling with all that nonsense. Have a good day, everyone!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Catching Up

You know, it just occurred to me that I haven't updated this blog since Bob Weir's birthday. Let's see... how to recap the past few weeks into one post?

In no particular order...

I bought Halloween candy for all my students. That cost a pretty penny. I then handed out candy to trick-or-treaters here in the 'hood. That was fun, though I'm not very good with kids.

Courtesy of a joint co-operation between some of my students and Urban Dictionary, I learned the gaming term "teabagging." 'Nuff said on that one.

I read four essays from students telling me that PS3 is better than Xbox 360.

And one that World of Warcraft is better than City of Heroes/City of Villains.

I made gnocchi for the first time. It wasn't the disaster I feared it would be.

Got observed for work. Same day, a student brought his guitar to class and played "Dust in the Wind." During the break, of course. That was pretty cool. Speaking of guitar, I've been practicing mine almost every night. Mainly Grateful Dead tunes, but I occasionally mix it up.

I bought my own video game system. Betcha can't guess what it was! I also bought a Blu-Ray of Woodstock stuff and a Grateful Dead scrapbook. Early birthday gifts to myself.

Having four (4) parties at school next week to celebrate my birthday. Two of the classes really got into it and seem really excited.

Finally watched In Cold Blood, Dead Poets Society, and the original Stepford Wives.

Anyway, my birthday is coming up on Tuesday. I'm sad to see 25 go--it was such a good year. Andre says that 26 will probably be even better. I hope she's right.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Happy Birthday, Bob Weir!

I love celebrating celebrities' birthdays. I used to celebrate Fred Savage's and Buddy Holly's birthdays every year. I started celebrating John Lennon's quite some time ago, but this is my first year for celebrating Bob Weir's. My Bob Weir obsession appreciation began when I was introduced to Sirius 32: Grateful Dead channel. Well, let me take that back, I've thought Weir was hot ever since I bought my lone Grateful Dead CD. But then, he was 18 or 19 when the picture in that album booklet was taken. Anyway, I started hearing more songs and getting a feel for his voice and realized that I really liked it. Plus, I learned that he got even hotter through the late '60s and early '70s. But I have consistently liked his music throughout the years. I hope to get the chance to see both a Furthur and a RatDog concert someday. Well anyway, happy birthday, Bobby!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Random Ramblings: October Edition

I thought it was time to update my blog because it's been a week since my last update and since I'm planning to get final drafts of a narration paper from one class this weekend and rough drafts of an argumentative paper early next week (read: I'm gonna be uber-busy starting with this weekend).

Not a lot to report on right now. I did buy a fairly inexpensive Squier Strat the other day. I've had a lot of fun playing some Grateful Dead tunes (my best so far is "Ripple," though I can do pretty well with "Mississippi Half Step Uptown Toodeloo" and "Me and My Uncle" and even "Mexicali Blues" (if I skip a particular chord).

Been reading Winesburg, Ohio, but I'll admit, it's not as good as I expected it to be. I'm gonna keep truckin' and hope to finish it before its due date (though I've already had to renew it once).

Also, I've been fairly sick; I got sick the day before I got the guitar. And that's been almost two weeks ago. Not sick enough to have to stay home from work, but sick enough to sound like crap. I was hoarse all last week. This week, my voice has reached the Janis Joplin level. That's what I like to call it. In other words, my voice isn't as hoarse, but is still gravelly enough that if I try to belt out a song like, oh, say "Mercedes Benz," I sound remarkably similar to Janis. It's kinda cool, but I'd also like to get over this sickness, too.

Well, that's all I've got for now. Plus, even though I don't have papers to grade, I do have other things to do. So I guess I'd better get to it, because papers will be here before I know it! Peace out, y'all...

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Dear Jerry and Bobby,

I only think it fair to address this letter to both of you, seeing as how its content kind of involves all three of us.

Jerry: Your guitar skills are through the roof. So much so that I actually bought another guitar and would like to try my hand at lead. Nothing like you could do, but at least a start.

Bobby: I like the rhythm your strumming produces; you have a nice voice; you are extremely hot from the 1960s to the early 1990s. Yes, I realize you're married and have children. Just sayin'.

Fact is, boys, I'm realizing that I'm leaning towards yet another vocalist, here. Jerry, I love you on "U.S. Blues." You know I can't get enough of it. I actually saw an Uncle Sam hat shaped pinata at Wal-Mart the other day. I considered putting it on, but there was no one around to take my picture. Then I thought about buying it, but I passed. Anyway, I also love you on "Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo" and "Ramble on Rose," to name a few.

And Bobby, I think the world knows that one of my favorites from you is "One More Saturday Night," although I also love "I Need a Miracle" and "Samson and Delilah."

But guys, neither of you quite has the blues shouting skills that Pig Pen had. I'm sorry to be so blunt, but it's true. I've heard "Easy Wind" three times in the past three days. And each time, it excites me more. I'm really getting a taste for this blues sound. In fact, I got really excited hearing some of his work on Sirius 32 the other day. Does this mean I'm leaving the two of you? Of course not. But please, understand my needs, guys, and don't be hurt if I start listening to more McKernan for a few days. I'm kind of new to his sound.

Thanks for understanding.

Your fan,
Sunshine Jones

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Musings Musing From the Last Day of September, 2009

Today may not have been my best day ever, but the way I have it figured, if I can work the Grateful Dead and the Beatles into one class period, it can't be all bad.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I Love Cheese

I really do. My favorite cheese is asiago. It's great on pizza. However, I also really dig these twisty cheddar and mozzerella string cheeses (Mom and I like to eat those on road trips, it seems). Let's see, if we're talking cheddar, my rule is: the sharper the better. I tend to like loud flavors (I also like my chocolate dark, my peppers hot, and my sourdough, well, sour). Anyway, if the cheddar doesn't bring tears to my eyes or make me start foaming at the mouth like a rabid dog, I'll probably pass. Okay, so maybe I wouldn't. After all, it's very rare that I pass on cheese...

...unless of course that cheese would be any type of Swiss. I've always been a little scared of Swiss cheese. When I was a little kid the fact that this cheese had holes in it scared the (insert noun here) out of me. Additionally, I'm not crazy about the taste (described by many as "nutty"--whatever that's supposed to mean).

Anyway, back to cheeses I do like. I'm a pretty big fan of pepper jack. I remember riding the Smoky Mountain Railroad through the Nantahala Gorge in North Carolina and hogging all the complementary pepper jack cubes and still being greedy for more. Note: cheddar cubes were also provided, but seeing as how they were not particularly sharp, the cheese snob in me put them away, opting for the deliciously salty (though not all that spicy) pepper jack.

Whatever I do, I've learned to avoid fresh mozzerella like the plague (apologies for the cliche). But I do. I once stupidly assumed I'd like fresh mozzerella after watching some Martha Stewart cooking show in which she made some sort of fresh mozzerella crap that appeared delicious on TV; well, when I finally tried fresh mozzerella for the first time (in Scottsdale, Arizona), I almost threw up. I think this is because fresh mozzerella is not sharp.

Other cheeses I appreciate include Parmesan and Romano. I like them in gratable chunks and in powdered form both. In fact, my favorite pizza includes parmesan, romano, and asiago on a homemade crust with slices of green olives. I could go for one of those about now.

So, does the fact that I just blogged about cheese make me cheesy? Or is it because I just made a bad pun about it?

Check out Sunday Scribblings for more cheesy posts.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I Said My Name Was Ramblin' Rose

Dear Jerry,

I find I'm thinking about you more and more every day. I've even found myself listening to such tunes as "Mississippi Half-Step," or whatever it's called. I never really figured out what the official title is, but you do a good job on it. Anyway, I've also been listening to "Shakedown Street," or whatever it's called. I apologize, Jerry--since I only own one of your band's albums, I have to rely on Sirius 32 and YouTube for my song titles. Bobby hasn't filled me in on any official titles yet.

Anyway, my point is that I'm gaining a whole new appreciation for your singing. And watching you pick guitar on the Half Step song--I had to stop grading papers for at least a whole minute to watch in awe as my jaw dropped. Very impressive fretboard work. That being said, I think Bobby can do a pretty good job with a guitar as well.

Point being, Jerry, maybe I was a little rash in my last letter. I mean, we'd been spending so much time together and all that maybe I just needed a fresh sound. I don't know. I don't even know what I'm trying to say. My emotions are you everywhere tonight. I mean, I really like Bobby, you know? But if things don't work out between us and I decide I need to listen to a different style of music, do you think you could find it in your heart to forgive me and take me back as a fan? I am still your fan, Jerry. I don't want you to ever forget that. But I'm just going through so much right now, what with changing my musical tastes everyday and all. It's just a lot for a girl to handle. You do understand, don't you Jerry? I knew you would. Thanks for always being there to support me in my decisions.

Your increasingly Grateful fan,
Sunshine Jones

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Feeling Good...

Well, I'm done grading papers for now. Unless, of course, some late papers come in. But for tonight, I'm done! I've been grading for about two weeks now. I haven't had an honest to goodness weekend in three weeks, if that makes any sense. Now I need to finish planning classes for the remainder of the week.

Getting rain here tonight...

But I don't care. I must say, the rain put the song "Brown Eyed Women" in my head. Especially the part about the sound of the thunder and the rain pouring down or something like that.

Anyway, I'm in a musical mindset tonight and feeling good. Who knows how long this mood will last. I'm also kind of tired though...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I Need a Miracle (Every Day)

Dear Jerry,

It hurts me to write this letter, but to get to the point, I am going to have to leave you for Bob Weir. To be honest, it was "Samson and Delilah" that did it for me. However, he really had me at "Sugar Magnolia."

Don't get me wrong, Jerry, I still love you for "Franklin's Tower," "Friend of the Devil," and "U.S. Blues." It's just that those aren't my top songs at the moment. I apologize for being so fickle.

Really Jerry, it's not you, it's me. I love your sound, but sometimes it's just too mellow for me. I can't help myself, but I really love the screaming rhythm of music like "One More Saturday Night."

I really do dig your lead guitar skills, and I like you better in a full beard and mustache. In my opinion, Bobby should go back to the long sideburns, long ponytail, and hair in the face look he had going on in '72; but you Jerry--you rocked that bushy beard look.

In closing, I'll "say my piece and get out." We've had some good times together Jerry Garcia, but for the time being, I think I'm going to have to listen to another lead singer. I hope you'll understand.

Your fan,
Sunshine Jones

P.S. Please don't take it personally, Jerry. I'm sure I'll come around and favor your songs again sometime. After all, you were my first favorite Grateful Dead lead.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

No Falling Asleep in This Service...

I never cease to be amazed at the stuff I hear at church. Tonight Pastor Tom sang a bit of "Let's Get it On" to explain how Jacob must have felt at the end of his seven-year stint of work for Laban to "earn" Rachel. Sometimes I think he does things like this just to keep us awake. Not that there's much fear of falling asleep during a 5:00 PM service, but you never know!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

My Students Are Awesome!

I've been teaching for just over a week now. I guess you could say a week and a half, though I had Labor Day off. In this period of time, I have already had students refer to me as "Professor" (even though I only have a Master's degree), a student who asked to call me "Master," (though he never decided to actually call me that--which leads me to wonder: if a PhD is a doctor, is a person with an MA a master???), a student say I was cool, a student say he enjoyed coming to my class, and a whole class that wants to celebrate my birthday.

I have four groups right now, but will be adding a fifth in October. The students are a riot! They really know how to make me laugh and have a good time. Fortunately, I can make them laugh too, usually.

If the classes get loud and I have to quiet them down, many of the students will shush the noisy ones. It's amazing. I don't want to jinx anything, but it's like they're really "on my side."

I know you're not really supposed to apologize for lack of bloggage, but I just wanted to let everybody know what's up. I'm teaching full-time now, so I'll still try to blog when I can, but I haven't been able to do memes for a while now. Peace out, y'all!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Terrific News!

Update: I found another copy of my novella! I am SO EXCITED right now!

Angry...

Okay, so I met up with my cousins at a local coffeehouse. Objective: good fellowship and writing. I didn't get much writing done because I was so out of the habit (new job = not a lot of spare time until I get into the swing of things). Anyway, I did write a little today. Fired up from that, I came home to open up my novella and possibly add some to it. First, I couldn't find my novella. I found the first chapter and nothing more on my computer's hard drive. No biggie, I thought, I'll get out the old flash drive--it'll be there in its entirety. No. It's gone. The victim of a corrupted file. Now I'm not even in the mood to write. I'm just mad. I know I've printed out the stuff I've written, but I also didn't bring it with me. The stuff is nearly 1300 miles away. That is not cool with me. I mean yeah, I can still write chapters, but I'm not happy with my USB drive right now. Of all things to ruin, it ATE MY NOVELLA. (insert expletive of your choice here--insert a couple actually).

I have to head to the school to hold my office hour. Maybe I can get some grading done and feel better about the whole prospect of writing afterward. Thing is, I thought I had my novella saved in about three different places, so I don't know what happened.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Been Busy...

Just wanted to update y'all--I took a new job and moved. Thus, I've been busy with training, etc. lately. I start teaching tomorrow.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Random Ramblings...

My blog entries haven't been terribly organized lately. I'm reverting back to the old Sunshine who wrote about whatever was on her mind and whatever happened during the day (circa 2006). I'm still plugging away at Little Dorrit. I know, I've been reading it all summer. Hey, it's a long book. And I took some time off to read Catch-22, which is nothing to sneeze at.

I'm taking a bit of a break from reading, though I intend to get back to it very soon. The plot has really picked up now that I'm about ten chapters from the end. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed what Dickens had to say in previous chapters, but the plot was kinda lacking (sorry Chuck).

Looking back to my most recent post regarding crafts, I have picked up an afghan project again. I'm crocheting the last round (which is quite time-consuming and consists of nothing but picots and single-crochets). But it's almost done! In a way.

As I type this worthless blog post, I'm sipping some green tea. It's Lipton: Orange, Passionfruit, and Jasmine. I first fell in love with this tea in it's iced version with sugar. I'm finding that it is also interesting hot and unsweetened.

Isn't the past an odd thing? I often look back to the past (hey, I'm a creative nonfictionist, so I kinda need to, right?), and I tend to muse far too much. Especially while reading. It's a wonder my mind retains anything I read when it's going the speed of light flashing through thoughts that I'm only barely aware of. I especially enjoy pondering this one: I've noticed that every year I'm a different person somehow. I imagine most people are like this, but I can only speak for myself. I am blessed with a photographic and (I'm not sure this is a coined term yet) a phonographic memory both. I can remember events like frames of a film, if I'm lucky, and like snapshots if I can't remember something in its entirety. Often, a song or a certain phrase will bring these pictures into focus. It's very bizarre. I'm saying all this because, in remembering these various pieces of my past, I have come to the conclusion that I keep repeating myself in variations on a theme. Sure, I'm a totally different person in 2009 than I was in 1999 or even 1989, but let's examine some of the similarities. I was quite the reader in 1989, often taking on books that were too advanced for me at the time, but not being intimidated by them. In 1999, I was listening to a lot of music (I've toned down the music addiction, but I still find myself spouting off random bits of trivia about Billboard chart positions, artists' backgrounds, etc.) My point is, that with each "new" aspect of me that emerges, I retain something of the former me and they get sort of swirled together like finger paint that isn't completely blended. I change from day to day, picking up various hobbies, and setting others aside for a while. I always come back to the ones I've set aside--they're not abandoned. Even blogging. Though I admit I don't blog as frequently in 2009 as I did in 2006, it's been a vast improvement over the blogging I did in 2008. I left crocheting behind for probably five years or better, and reading... well, I had to read SO MUCH for college, that it was about six months after I graduated that I started picking up books to read for fun again. Funny thing the past.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Crafty Musings...

I'm taking Granny to buy some embroidery floss today. Maybe that will put me back in the mood to do crafts. Lately I've been on a reading kick and have been playing far too many computer games.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Nostalgia

It's really cloudy and gloomy outside, but for some reason, I'm not depressed! Usually this kind of weather bothers me, but today I'm feeling cheerful enough. And a little nostalgic.

In the fall semester of 2005 I took probably the hardest college course I've ever had, but the texts were a thrill to read. The course was difficult for me for a number of reasons: #1 I was an undergrad in a graduate course, #2 I was enrolled in five other courses at the time, and #3 I was working two part-time jobs in between classes. Whew! No wonder it was tough! Anyway, this course was Victorian lit, and I remember Wednesdays at the library that semester. Wednesday was my longest day--I was on campus from 9:00 AM to 9:30 PM for classes. In fact, I had four classes that day. After my morning classes, I usually grabbed something to eat at the student union, then headed to the 4th floor of the library (I had a certain area I liked to study in) to the study area near the large south-facing window. If the tables were occupied, then I'd lounge in the soft chairs nearby. I always prayed for seclusion, though that was pretty selfish of me in a university library.

From the time I finished lunch to around 5:30 or 6:00, I was in the library, usually doing nearly a week's worth of assignments for that Wednesday night's class. It's not that I was trying to procrastinate, but this class only met on Wednesday nights from 7:00 to 9:30, and my other five met more frequently. Combined with the number of hours I spent on the job, I usually had time to start the Wednesday assignment sometime on the weekend, then finish it up during my big break on the Wednesday we would discuss it.

Several of my classmates didn't understand how I could spend literally hours alone in the library without going crazy. Many of them wanted to go out with their friends to eat together or go to the bars after class. The last thing they wanted was to be stuck in the library. I didn't mind it.

Being alone in the library gave me a chance to really pay attention to what I was reading, though I usually had to skim the long secondary text articles to save time to read the primary texts more closely. It was an intimate moment with the literature, and great literature it was, too. A few books I remember reading in this class were: Charles Dickens' Bleak House, Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Sign of Four (which is technically a novella). I remember reading much of The Moonstone in the comfy chairs near the window. It was such a cozy spot. I wish I had a cup of hot tea to sip while reading it. Another benefit of reading quietly in the library before class was that everything I read was fresh in my mind for discussion later that night. Yes, I had to do a lot of work for the class, and yes, the semester was very hectic that fall, but by golly, I miss those long evenings of reading by myself in the library.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Catch-22 Reviews (quick overview of book and film)

I finished the book last night, then popped some corn and watched the movie. The movie was good, but not as good as the book. I hate that the moviemakers left out the "Washington Irving" nonsense. That was one of my favorite recurring themes of the novel. I realize, though, that to condense a 500+ page novel into a two-hour movie requires a good deal of editing. Still, it seemed as though the moviemakers took out mainly the humor and satire, which was my favorite aspect of the book.

I love this: three actors who would later join the cast of "The Bob Newhart Show" are in Catch-22. Newhart himself plays Major Major, Peter Bonerz (Dr. Jerry Robinson on BN Show) plays McWatt, and Jack Riley (Mr. Elliot Carlin on BN Show) plays a surgeon. Other funny stuff: Anthony Perkins (Norman Bates on Psycho) plays, of all parts, the Chaplain, Martin Sheen plays Dobbs, Jon Voight plays Milo Minderbinder, Orson Welles plays General Dreedle, and, to my utter shock, Art Garfunkel (yes, of Simon and Garfunkel) does an excellent job of portraying Nately. I was impressed.

Thought Yossarian was a little over the top, even for Yossarian in the movie. There's a lot of line-screaming in this film. I think the movie would have been far move effective had the actors not been quite so dramatic. While reading the book, I pictured the characters speaking loudly and with excitement, but not with that much excitement.

Several of the characters looked as I pictured them. Yossarian fit perfectly, in my estimation. Major Major was a great role for Newhart, also. Once again, Art Garfunkle fits Nately's persona well. All in all, it was an effective and humorous film, but nothing compared to the angry hilarity to be found in the novel by Joseph Heller.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Uninspired...

I'm feeling good,
Full of food,
Comfortable in what surrounds me.
I want to write
But try as I might
My muse has not yet found me.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Photography... and reading

Agh. I haven't been able to take the kind of photos I want lately. Either I'm busy doing something, or the lighting is off, or (like today) it's way too humid. Oh I took a picture, alright, but it's all hazy. I'm scared I'll ruin my camera pulling shenanegans like that. I really didn't know it would fog up the lens though, because I didn't realize the humidity was so high. Should've known better though, since the thunder was beginning in the west.

So, since I don't have photos to share at the moment, you get to hear me talk about the four books I'm reading! I've plowed through a few more pages of A Clockwork Orange and I'm now on page 8/175. A Clockwork Orange is a slow-go because I'm constantly looking up the Nadsat words in the glossary provided at the back of the edition I'm reading. I'm really thankful that there is a glossary, because otherwise, I wouldn't have a clue what any of the veshches* mean.

I'm on 248/561 on Catch-22, and holding steady on the other two. This means that with 342/788 on Little Dorrit and 22/783 on Ulysses I'm now to 620/2307 total, or just over 25%. I'm 256/736 or just over 33% finished with the books that are due on July 23, and I'm 364/1571 or just under 25% through the books that are due on August 1. I've really enjoyed Catch-22 so far. I'm planning to watch the movie after I finish the book. I mean, come on, Anthony Perkins, Martin Sheen, Bob Newhart, John Voight, Orson Welles, and Art Garfunkel? This has to be good.


*things

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Reading Update

Well, friends and neighbors, I'm still recovering from the whirlwind that was June 2009 slowly but surely. I haven't taken any photos yet :( but hope to soon. I might be a little late on True Colours Thursday. Not only did I make my bed today, but I got dressed and also vacuumed and wiped down the kitchen and bath. The situation is improving! Anyway, my real purpose here was to update any of you who are interested about the books I'm reading. Thus far I am on 342/788 on Little Dorrit, 32/561 on Catch-22, 22/783 on Ulysses, and 3/175 on A Clockwork Orange. I rarely read one book at a time, as you can see. My main focus is on Little Dorrit since one of my professors has already finished the book, and the other professor I know to be a speedy reader as well, though I don't know where she is in relation to my progress. Catch-22 is next on the agenda because I'm enjoying it immensely, and it's due earlier than some. Then I plan to read A Clockwork Orange because it is also due earlier, and it's the shortest of the four books. Finally, I plan to finish with Ulysses since it's just so long and I have extra time to read it. Think I'll get them all read without renewing? Orange and 22 are both due July 23, whereas Dorrit and Ulysses are both due August 1. Basically, I'm at 399/2307 and it's July 2nd.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Catching Up

It's amazing how one little wedding can throw you off so much. Especially when you're just a guest. Sheesh. I had this thing all planned out last month, and everything kinda went to hell in a handbasket after Thursday. That was the last day of my photography class, and the day before the rehearsal dinner.

Friday was a mess--I had three loads of laundry to wash and dry at my grandma's, had to take my mom's car in for an oil change, and still had to do the last dusting of the Mexican Wedding Cakes for the party later that night. We stayed at the party until about 11, which totally threw me off. I had been in the habit of going to bed at 10ish and getting up between 6 and 7 and starting right in with chores. It was a beautiful thing, while it lasted.

So of course, I slept in on Saturday. Because not only did I stay out till 11 Friday night, but I didn't get to sleep until around 2 Saturday morning. Thus the problem snowballs. I overslept on Saturday and was unable to get any chores done. Seriously, it was all I could do to eat, shower, and get dressed in time to be ready to leave at 2ish to pick up my grandma and co. and head to the church where I could "man my post" at the guestbook.

I wanted to dance at the reception, but I think I already complained about that, so I won't anymore. Yeah, so we got home around 9:00 that night, but once again, I didn't get to sleep as early as I had been.

Then Sunday. After church, Mom and I had a scrapbooking class to attend at the teacher's house/workshop. It was fun, though I'm really not a scrapbooker. I mainly went because Mom wanted to go but didn't want to go by herself. Then, I dropped her off at the store to meet Dad, and I went home to presumably try to catch up on things again. I'm not sure what happened, except that I talked to some friends and decided to go out for pizza with S on Monday. Oh yeah, I guess I did read some on Dorrit and took a nap, also. Real productive.

That takes us to Monday, the day that I met S for pizza. I hadn't seen S in weeks, so we hung out longer than is typically needed for pizza consumption. I was supposed to go out with BJ and Mom and Marigold and Pansy for dessert, but Mom had to cancel because Andre and Scott were opening their gifts that evening. That was okay with BJ because she said Marigold and Pansy couldn't make it that day, anyway. Come to find out, we didn't go to the gift-opening either, because they bumped it back a half-hour and moved the location to Renee's house, which is a good hour and a half's drive from Mom's job. Mom decided to just stick around and play catch up herself.

Yesterday was a frightening blur that I can't seem to account for very well. I know I slept in again. I know I crocheted on my afghan and read some on Dorrit, but other than that, I'm at a loss.

Now it's today, and you'll find me in my pj's past noon, finally caught up on my Word of the Day and not caught up on much else. I have two more lessons to complete for my online class, I need to take care of the 'keets, I need to vacuum, and I need to get a shower. But you know what? at least I made my bed.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Wedding Bell Blues (Oh wait, adjust that white balance)

Well, today was my cousin's wedding. Kind of hard to believe she's married. I figured she'd be a free-spirit, but I guess she settled down! So now Pierce and I are the only single cousins left. Pierce will probably get married someday. I guess weddings are nice, if you like that sort of thing. I personally think they're too flowery and sentimental.

Speaking of flowery, Mom tried to take some photos of the flowers (and dresses), but the purples came out blue each time...

During some song (in the wedding ceremony), Andre (the bride) and her twin, Renee, looked at each other and burst into tears. Hearing loud sobbing from the front row, I turned to see their mother boo-hooing too. Then, to my right, sat my mother, Marguerite, bawling her eyes out. I couldn't help myself. With all this emotion floating around, I broke into fits of laughter. Unrestrained, irreverent laughter. I laughed right through the prayer. I don't belong at fancy-schmancy gushy mushy emotion-riddled events such as these.

I did my duty. I chatted with the groom's brother (who bears a striking resemblance to Steven Weber), I made people sign the guestbook, I handed out programs, I blew the bubbles at the bride and groom, and I toasted Andre and Scott with a glass of champagne at the reception. But I didn't dance.

This is not to say that I didn't want to dance--I did. But Mom wanted to leave the party at 8:30 just as the party was getting started. See, the dinner took too long. Had it been a cake-and-punch affair, we could have gotten some quality dancing time in. But this was like a three or four course meal (I'd know which it was if I knew the definition of a course) and it was strung out over a long period of time. Of course, I'm an idiot and didn't know which of my three freaking forks to use for what. I probably made a real fool of myself because I'd never had such a fancy meal before. I'm not comfortable with such high-class stuff.

Anyway, they called the wedding party out for a dance, but I wasn't sure if that included me or not. I was billed as a member of the wedding party in the programs, and I was wearing a coursage, which technically associated me with the wedding party, but I hadn't been to the rehearsal and I wasn't really "in" the wedding. So I sat back. I considered dancing with Pierce, since he just looked lost and alone, but being my first cousin (and basically my twin in age), I figured it would be weird for both parties invovled, so I stayed back. I considered shelling out $2 for the dollar dance and dancing with both Andre and Scott, but that's about the time Mom decided we needed to go. It was a real bummer. I think she felt bad about leaving so early, but she didn't know what time it was. It was much darker in the reception hall than it was outside. And she didn't have a watch. I really wish we could have stayed a little longer. I at least wanted to listen to some music, if nothing else.

It was nice to meet Scott's family, and it was cool to see a couple of my former college instructors there, but the icing on the cake was that I didn't catch the bouquet. Like I say, those things aren't for me.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Addicted to Academia

It just occurred to me today that I am addicted to academia. I haven't been out of school a whole year yet, and still I can't seem to stay away from my community college or my university. In fact, I went to the university today to meet with a former professor and visit the library, and this evening, I'm heading to the community college to take, yes, a noncredit course.

This is not the only noncredit course I'm enrolled in. No sir! This is the final meeting of a three-week photography course, but I'm also enrolled in an online writing course, and a one-day course in something elusive that appears to be of a scrapbooking nature. It's summer and I've enrolled in three courses? That's practically a full load (in grad school terms, that is a full load).

But wait, there's more!

As you all know, I'm currently reading Little Dorrit with none other than two of my former professors. I'm also reading Ulysses as recommended by one of the profs, and I just checked out A Clockwork Orange and Catch-22. I've been reading all kinds of literature this summer and trying to get as many MLA Top 100 novels under my belt as possible. And I've been writing. Creative writing, that is.

If I start writing academic papers, then I'll know I have it bad.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

True Colours Thursday--What a Maroon!


Okay, so I had to rip off Bugs Bunny there. At least I gave him credit. Seriously though, I'm still plugging away at Little Dorrit (which looks much more maroon-y in real life). You know, for having a name like "Little" Dorrit, it's a rather long book ;)

True Colours Thursday is hosted by friend Blue.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fraidy Cat...

Peyser, our goldish-colored cat, is a big wimp. He's pretty much scared of everything. Especially the vacuum cleaner. Now, this fact alone isn't very surprising, but his response to my vacuuming is more bizarre than our other two cats' responses. Snugs just sits quietly in a chair and ignores it; Abby runs into the kitchen and ignores it; Peyser finds a cubby-hole and keeps it under constant surveillance--usually.

Since Peyser is usually the cause of the vacuuming (he's been shedding a lot due to the hot weather), I've been having to vacuum more frequently, which in turn, scares the crap out of him more frequently.

Peyser has taken to hanging out in the bathroom for some reason. Probably because it's the coolest room of the house, and also, he seems to be partial to napping on the soft toilet seat. While vacuuming today, I thought it might be a good idea to sweep up the furballs he's created in the bathroom, as well (not realizing that he was napping on the toilet). We have a small bathroom, and the toilet is hidden by the door which opens inward only as far as the toilet will allow. So I came in, sweeping up the various hairballs while still standing in the hall. When I made my way into the bathroom to continue sweeping around the toilet, I saw Peyser, frozen on the toilet seat with large eyes. I tried to tell him it was okay and that I was just cleaning, but he wasn't having any of it. In fact, he jumped into the bathtub, and from the safety of this new post, proceeded to hiss at the vacuum cleaner. Twice. Finally, I decided that the bathroom floor was just going to have to be good enough for the time being, because I really didn't want to scare him any more than necessary. So I took the vacuum back into the hall so I could finish up later. As soon as I did, Peyser rocketed out of the bathroom, knocking down anything that got in his path (almost including me, but I regained my balance).

If only a pet company made some sort of silent pet-friendly vacuum to help the shedding problem... Or maybe I should just brush him more ;)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

Juneteenth

Today being June 19th, is Juneteenth. Were I not busy reading Little Dorrit and Ulysses, I'd have checked out the Ralph Ellison novel of the same name to start today.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Happy Birthday, Sir Paul!

Just wanted to wish Paul McCartney a happy birthday.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

True Colours Thursday--Black and Tan

My grandma found a little nest of baby rabbits the other day.


This little guy was watching me pretty intensely.

True Colours Thursday is hosted by friend Blue.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Happy Bloomsday... I guess?

One of my former professors informed me that today is Bloomsday. This is associated with James Joyce's Ulysses, which I'm also reading. Basically, I'm reading Little Dorrit through the day, and Ulysses at night. The modernist structure of Ulysses might explain the strange dreams I've been having lately. By the way, Ulysses is this former professor's favorite book, I think. Enjoy your Bloomsday!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Monochrome Maniacs: Catching Up


I'm reading Little Dorrit by Dickens. I liked the texture of the book cover, so I started playing around with angle more.


This is a row of empty tables at an Italian restaurant where I was dining one day.

Click here for more monomania, courtesy of Aileni.

True Colours Thursday--Late Again!

Yes, friends and neighbors, I'm quite far behind on all my memes and blogging in general, but I'm trying to make it up to ya'll today.

These are my purples from last week.


I won the above lotion/body wash set from my cousin's bridal shower during a game of Bingo.


These also came from the shower. Each lady was given a small box with purple Jordan almonds.


And now for ivory. I used Peyser (in the foreground) for gold one week, and now I'm using his twin sister, Abby, for ivory. She's a little more backward and shy when it comes to being photographed. Also, the wallpaper in the background is a bit of an ivory colour.

True Colours Thursday is hosted by friend Blue.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Brief Book Update

I started reading Little Dorrit on Monday evening. I had to read it through Project Gutenberg until I could borrow a copy from the library (which I did on Tuesday). Anyway, I'm in chapter three now, and completely confused about who's who (ah, Dickens and his love of introducing new characters). I remember reading Bleak House in the fall of 2005, and not knowing who was who and what was really going on until about 3/4 through the book. Hopefully I can figure out Little Dorrit earlier than that!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Mantrap, etc.

Whew! This is looking like it's gonna be a busy month! I have a thesis defense to attend this week, possibly going to visit one of my friends this weekend, starting a noncredit college course this week, have my cousin's rehearsal dinner and wedding later this month, and just today, committed to reading Little Dorrit.

Among these things, I'm going to somehow try to squeeze a few hours in at my job, continue working on short stories (and hopefully the novella) and work on my various and sundry craft projects.

Following up on Mantrap, I'm enjoying it. I'm finding that I rather enjoy Sinclair Lewis' style. I'm kind of a sucker for the 1920s American lit (which probably seems odd, considering I'm planning to read an English novel from the 1800s next). I'm less than 20 pages from finishing Mantrap, so I hope to finish it tonight.

In other news, I visited Barnes and Noble again today. Didn't buy anything, but I saw a ton of cool books! I did purchase a new crochet book at a crafts store. More projects on the way :) Also, since I went with my mother and grandmother, we ate out. We decided to share this dessert called "Bananas Foster," which is sort of starting to sound familiar now, but I don't think I'd ever heard of it before. Anyway, the thing was covered in this really delectable caramel-rum sauce, which my grandma (who could easily have been a spokeswoman for the WCTU had she been old enough) was afraid to eat. She said she'd never had any alcohol in all her life. My mom winked at me and said, "well, then maybe it's time you tried some." I told Grandma that it was probably made with rum extract instead of the real stuff. Mom and I both reassured her that even if it were made with real rum it wouldn't be enough to do anything to her and that we weren't scared of it. Grandma kind of rared up at that one and protested, "Well, I'm not scared of it either."

I can't believe my mother was trying to corrupt hers with desserts.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

True Colours Thursday--Man oh "Man" (Cobalt)


Sorry this is so cropped, but the game was sitting on top of some media storage at just about the right height, so I hated to move it.


I have no idea what this book is about, but I checked it out of the library, along with three others. I hope to start it soon!

True Colours Thursday is hosted by friend Blue.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ten Things I've Never Bought...

BJ has tagged me for a meme. Ten Things I've Never Bought. Why seems to be irrelevant.

1) A house
2) A steak
3) Real estate (land, etc.)
4) A pet
5) A DSLR
6) A boat
7) A hockey mask
8) Lawn furniture
9) Mascara
10) Anything from Abercrombie and Fitch

I tried to make this as random/stream of consciouness as possible, hoping for a diverse combination of things.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Monochrome Maniacs--Wallpaper

It's not a terribly exciting subject, wallpaper, but I wanted to play around a little with angle, so this is what I came up with. I kind of imagined it as spotlights on a stage curtain.



For more monomania, check out Aileni's Monochrome Maniacs

Thursday, May 21, 2009

True Colours Thursday Turquoise with A Touch of Grey

I know, I know. I skipped out last week. Again. But this is graduation time, and mother's and father's days, along with the pre-wedding parties for my cousin's wedding (do I have enough excuses?) Anyway, I'm making up for it this week with this week's as well as last week's colours:


Just one of six rocks I bought at a gem show last year.


Another rock, this one making up the gravel of our driveway.

True Colours Thursday was created and is hosted by friend Blue.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Monochrome Monday Cherry x 2!

I missed last week again, so I'm making up for it today. Two pictures from our cherry trees. The cherries still aren't ripe, but they're getting a little pink, so they'll be ready before we know it!




For more monomania, check out Aileni's Monochrome Maniacs

Monday, May 11, 2009

In My Neck of the Woods...

Whew, what a busy weekend! On Thursday, I met up with some of my former classmates and professors from grad school. I should mention, this was after I'd spent a couple of hours with two of my friends who just graduated with bachelors degrees, and after going to work for a bit. Friday, I did the usual lunch with Grandma and Mom thing, and afterwards I worked a little. Saturday was graduation, so that was pretty much a day-long affair. Sunday was Mother's Day, and also a graduation party for one of the graduates. Suddenly, I see that it's Monday. In just under two weeks I'll have a bridal shower to attend for my cousin, and I just received the wedding invitation today. So much stuff going on that I feel the need to stop and catch my breath just typing!

In other news, I've been taking this "sabbatical" time to catch up on books, movies, etc. that I didn't have the time for during school. I just recently finished Main Street by Sinclair Lewis, then turned around and polished off Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's in less than 24 hours. Now I'm reading The Silence of the Lambs--I'm half done with it, and trying to decide what to check out next.

Well, I must sign off for now, as I'm preparing to fix a waffle and a veggie sausage patty for supper. I know, I'm odd eating breakfast foods of an evening, but heck, that's what sounded good.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

True Colours Thursday: Hello, Cerise

Sorry, I just had to make a bad Silence of the Lambs joke, since I'm currently reading the novel. Anyway, I stepped outside today in this lovely slightly-overcast photography day, and here's what I found:


A new flower Mom bought recently. Sometime when it stops raining long enough to work outside, this will be potted with some other flowers and will live on our porch.


These are some buds from our cherry bushes. The little green things are cherries that aren't ripe yet.

I certainly hope this is cerise, because, not being familiar with these fancy schmancy terms, I just took my best guess!

True Colours Thursday is hosted by friend Blue.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Monochrome Maniacs--Leaf



For more monomania, check out Aileni's Monochrome Maniacs

Cinco de Mayo

Okay, so we didn't really celebrate Cinco de Mayo so much, but we had some quasi-Mexican food last night. It was a fun change of pace, and helped use up some extra canned goods from our pantry.


From the left: my version of the corn in a cup purchased from a street vendor in Nuevo Progreso, Mexico; my take on the burrito; nachos and cheese. I'd like to post the corn recipe on Nana's Kitchen, but it's one of those "to taste" kind of things. Roughly, you would drain some canned corn or, if you're lucky enough to have fresh, cut the kernals off the boiled ear, add mayo (I prefer Miracle Whip), hot sauce to taste, and sometimes I add some Monterrey Jack cheese; heat (I just stick it in the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute) and top with parmesan cheese.

The burrito is made with whole wheat flour and brown sugar for an interesting flavor combination. I added some vegetarian refried beans, a bit of cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheese and nothing else.

The nachos are pretty much self-explanatory. I didn't make the cheese sauce--it came from a can.

Can you tell that I really love my queso?

Saturday, May 02, 2009

True Colours Thursday on Saturday--Craft Edition

Once again, apologies for the lateness of my post. At least I'm a day earlier this week! Here are a couple of crafty shots of projects I'm working on.


This is some embroidery floss I have separated out on a card for a large counted cross stitch project I'm working on. I bought the kit for $3 at a church rummage sale. Didn't stop to consider what an overwhelming project it might become! I'm guessing this particular kit would probably cost at least $20 retail, so I got a really good deal on it, even if it does take me a while to use all those colors!


And speaking of taking a while, these blocks are granny squares for an afghan that I started literally years ago. I was probably in community college at the time so... I could have started it seven years ago? Anyway, I didn't use a pattern, but I decided to make a granny square of each of these rainbow colors and then crochet them together with brown yarn to make an afghan. If I ever get the thing finished, I'm planning to donate it to a charity.

True Colours Thursday is hosted by friend Blue.

Monochrome Maniacs--Tulip

Spring is here, and I decided to take a walk with the camera and see what kind of flowers and plants I could catch. Thought this one was kinda interesting.



For more monomania, check out Aileni's Monochrome Maniacs

Sunday, April 26, 2009

True Colours Thursday on Sunday

Once again, I've gotten behind on my posting. Sad thing is, I actually took these photos on Thursday, but somehow, didn't get around to cropping them until today! Better late than never, I suppose.


A bit of rusty signpost I spotted during a late afternoon walk.


Rust-colo(u)red hedge along the same walk.

True Colours Thursday is hosted by friend Blue.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Thank You, Paul Simon

It's been a pretty good day: Mom and I got a little walk in, though I must confess it was a walk to a maltshop for lunch. No matter--we did a little exercise over lunch hour. Additionally, I worked on an embroidery project (messed up a little, but really, who's gonna notice?) But I just wasn't feeling all that productive. So I put a couple loads of clothes to dry and took a brief nap. Somehow I couldn't seem to get Paul Simon's "Kodachrome" out of my head, so I hunted out my CD and am playing it via Xbox. It was amazing... at the first strains of "Mother and Child Reunion" I instantly felt about 10 years younger. Suddenly, feeding and watering my birds wasn't such a chore. I even swept up the birdseed they'd spilled with no complaints. I found myself singing along to "Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard," and even DANCING to "Loves Me Like a Rock." Okay, granted, I'm blogging now, but trust me, I was really productive for a while there. And since I have the CD set to loop, I may become quite efficient with the housework.

Another plus: I forgot to take my pedometer off when I started my dancing fit, so I now have 1.3 miles in for the day. Heck yeah, I'm counting it--dancing is good exercise. Okie doke--gonna get back to that housework now. Peace out.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monochrome Maniacs: Mexico x 2!

Once again, I failed to do a monochrome last week, so I'm making up for it by posting two this week. These are both from my recent trip to south Texas and Mexico. These are both from the border town of Nuevo Progreso, Mexico.


This is a monument just inside the city limits of Nuevo Progreso.


A shot of the busy city street. There's something of a traffic jam of cars trying to cross the border.

For more monomania, visit Aileni's Monochrome Maniacs

Sunday, April 19, 2009

What Was That, Again?

On Sunday, April 5, 2009 (two weeks ago today), I attended my first all-Spanish church service. Mind you, I don't speak fluent Spanish. Mine is broken, at best. So why did I go to a Spanish church service, you might ask. Here's the deal: my cousin's bilingual fiance, who has relatives in Mexico, had agreed to go with Andre to show my mom and me Nuevo Progreso, Mexico on Sunday afternoon. However, Mom and I also wanted to hear Pierce play piano, and it just so happened that he was playing at a Mennonite Brethren church that week. The first service was in Spanish, and the second in English. Being somewhat pressed for time, we agreed to go to the earlier service, leaving time for Mexico in the afternoon.

As we walked into the church, we were greeted, in Spanish, and had no idea how to respond. I think I may have just said "gracias." Then, after being led down a corridor toward the double-doors of the main sanctuary, a youngish fellow appeared seemingly out of nowhere and asked, in English, if we were here for the English service.

Before anyone had time to think, my mom replied, "Yes!" enthusiastically.

Andre looked at us, puzzled. So I tried to fix the situation with, "No. Espanol," which, in retrospect, probably sounded like I was affirming that I, indeed, could not speak Spanish. This time, it was the boy who looked puzzled. I shrugged my shoulders and suggested we just go in and sit down, as we were 10 minutes late.

But that is another story.

So we made it in time to hear Pierce play "Levanto Mis Manos" and "Here I Am to Worship" in Spanish. Please don't ask me to translate that one. It was very nice. Between the four of us, we sort of got the gist of the sermon, and then were ready to leave. It had gone rather smoothly. Now, it was time for the road trip to Mexico.

We drove for a good length of time until we reached the border. Andre left the car in a parking lot and we crossed the Rio Grande on foot. As soon as we entered Nuevo Progreso, it occurred to me that I wasn't really up on my Spanish. Fortunately, we had Diego, who could act as interpreter.

I found myself using one Spanish phrase so frequently that it became second-nature: "Perdoneme." Nuevo Progreso was a bit crowded, and I was constantly in someone's way. "Perdoneme," I would apologize, seemingly under my breath, as my voice did not carry well in the overcrowded business districts.

After eating our tacos and this corn dish that was served in a cup, we headed back toward the border. But I was so disoriented that I thought we were going deeper into the city. When I saw the border station, I knew I was almost out of time for buying souvenirs, and I wanted at least a little something to bring home. So, Diego suggested that I visit one of his favorite shops that wasn't far away.

Mom and I decided on a few ceramics. Diego and Andre picked out a huge pinata. As Mom was paying for our gifts, I noticed she was speaking English. This was really annoying me because we were in Mexico, and Mom had minored in Spanish in college. The clerk did not seem pleased with her unwillingness to use Spanish. Finally, when the transaction was complete, and the clerk was handed Mom her receipt, I heard the words, "Muchas gracias" escape my lips. The clerk's whole countenance lit up, and he gave my mother and I a welcome smile.

For more tales of language, visit Sunday Scribblings

Thursday, April 16, 2009

True Colours Thursday--Lime!

Just a couple of limes I found in my room:


This is the logo on top of my old-school Xbox. Yeah, I still play games and watch movies on it.


And this is some scented simmer oil that I pour into the top of a warmer. There's a tea light underneath that warms the oil, creating a pleasant fragrance throughout the room... well... unless I go off and forget about it and come back to thick, sludgey burnt-smelling oil. Safety tip: never leave those suckers unattended!

Visit my friend Blue for more True Colours Thursday offerings!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

To the (Top of the) Lighthouse...

A week ago yesterday, I was in South Texas with family, as some of you may know. I was very excited about visiting South Padre Island, which was on the schedule for things to do that Saturday. Along the way, however, my cousin stopped at the Port Isabel lighthouse. I thought perhaps we were going to look at it and then head to the Island. I soon realized this was not the case. We were not only going to look at the lighthouse, we were going to go inside the lighthouse.

Now, my fear of heights has been so severe over the years that walking to the second floor computer lab at my community college’s library could provoke panic attacks. Just about the time I conquered this second floor library room, I graduated community college and enrolled in a university. Wouldn’t you know, the English classes were all on the 3rd floor at the university, so to make a long story short, I was constantly off the first floor. To make matters worse, the university’s library computer lab was on the 4th floor. There was no escape, so I tried facing my fear. I always chose window seats in my 3rd floor English classes, and I occasionally walked by the windows on the 4th floor of the library. After some time, I got used to these heights.

When I took my first airplane flight, I didn’t know how I would react to altitudes of more than 30,000 feet. Still, I chose the window seat and watched the takeoff. No panic attacks.

Thinking I was cured of my fear of heights, I remember my shock at being creeped out by the escalators to the SkyLink at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. Subsequently, with each flight I took, I tried reminding myself that the heights I feared were nowhere near the height I’d been while in the air. Still, standing at the base of the Port Isabel lighthouse, I found myself wishing we could skip the lighthouse and soak up some rays on the beach. My palms were sweating profusely as I started up the steps. I thought this might be a good time to tell Andre and Pierce that I was scared to death. I mean, in the event that I might pass out at the top or freak out and run down the steps without warning.

“You’re scared of… heights?” Andre asked.
“Yeah, quite a bit. Facing that fear though,” I answered, more to reassure myself than to actually respond to the question.
“Funny, I’d never expect that out of you,” she mused.

I was actually doing okay until about halfway up the lighthouse or so, when some joker coming down said, “Be careful—steps get pretty narrow up there.”

“Don’t say that!” I whispered loudly.

So I kept climbing, a little slower this time, until I almost stopped. Andre said, “Just keep climbing—just like the stairs at Dad’s house, ‘cept there’s more of ‘em.”

She had a point. Her dad’s house has a spiral staircase that, as a child, I loved to climb, so much so that I would dream up excuses to go upstairs. That sorta helped.

Suddenly the stairs ended and I faced a short ladder. At this point, I seriously considered doubling back, but instead I started up the ladder. In my flip flops. And my feet were cold and sweating. In fact, my whole body was cold and sweaty, because I knew that this was it—the observation deck. Once at the top, I grabbed onto the door and planted myself firmly in that position. Problem was, I didn’t want to go out on the deck, I didn’t want to ascend to the upper glassed-in level, I didn’t want to go back down, and I didn’t want to be where I was. Eventually, I took a few pictures from my post, still clinging onto the door with my left hand. Pierce saw me standing there and said, “So… I take it that acting like I’m going to push you over for a photo op is out of the question then?” He sounded a little disappointed.

“Uh, YEAH.”

(Funny thing about Pierce, he loves to ham it up for the camera. Had I not been so scared of the heights, I’d have been all for it. But this was serious).

Then, he offered to take my camera around the observation deck so I could have some photos without having to step out of my comfort zone.

“Careful, I got the camera a little sweaty,” I informed him, ashamed of myself.

“Oh yeah. Thanks for the warning. Don’t wanna, drop it over the edge.”

Seriously, Pierce really is a good kid—he just likes to tease.

While he was out taking pictures, I got brave and started climbing the steps to the upper level… and promptly chickened out. I knew I’d hate myself if I went that far and then wouldn’t go to the very top, but these things take time. Then Mom did it. I said, “Hey, I thought you were scared of heights.”

“I am,” she replied.

That was far too offensive for me to handle. Offensive enough to provide an impetus for me to scale the steps to the top. But of course, I had to wait until Mom came down. Finally, I started. Mom said, “I’ll go up there with you.” I know she was trying to be helpful, but I declined, as another person might make me feel claustrophobic. Though I don’t usually have a problem with close spaces, I didn’t want to take any chances. So, I made it to the top. Took some pictures (Pierce had returned me my camera), but I didn’t walk around. Then I really hated it that I hadn’t even set foot on the observation deck. It looked like the lighthouse tour was winding down, so I stood with one foot on the deck and took some terrible photos of nothing in particular. But that just wouldn’t do. There had to be documented proof that I was actually there. Don’t ask me what made me do it, but the next thing I knew, I was actually on the observation deck. It wasn’t so bad, really, but until I get used to these things, they still make me a little nervous. Pierce happened to be out there, so my Mom grabbed a shot of us together.

Now, climbing down the ladder was, of course, worse than going up, but with Andre holding onto me and giving me pep talks, I made it. Then, going down the actual steps wasn’t so bad. I did tell a couple of total strangers that I was terrified of heights, but I had gone to the top. I think they were proud of me?

After we got to the bottom, I looked up. I honestly couldn’t believe that I had just conquered the lighthouse. “So,” I asked Andre, “when we get to South Padre, you wanna go parasailing?”

For more scary posts, visit Sunday Scribblings