Saturday, September 29, 2007


The Husband~ Appears to be on track to be the 'curve breaker' in both pharmacology and something called natural science, which is a combo of chemistry and anatomy and physiology specifically for nursing majors. He keeps telling me he doesn't remember very much, but he seems to be doing just fine so far. If only the girl behind him would stop chewing gum with her mouth open...He tells me half his class couldn't be bothered to read the syllabus handed out the first day & were thus caught unprepared for the first test. Surprisingly the prof wouldn't accept, "but I didn't read the syllabus!" as a reason to take the exam another day.

Graduate~ According to rumors he's settled in very well. His grandparents are keeping him busy. He's job hunting. I've only spoken to him once, so I'm operating on the theory no news is good news. The husband has spoken to him roughly once a week, and I'm told he's alive and well.

Anime Queen~ Claims she's doing fine so far in both chemistry and algebra, thanks mom. Bummed that her best buddy has a different bus this year and no shared lunches. :( Spent the first two weeks of school running around trying to have her schedule fixed. Obssessed with some anime character she calls Vincy (from Final Fantasy VII). Has gone from wanting to be a fine arts major to a writer. Misses her big brother.

Pianist~ Formerly Younger Son, but I can't decide on a better moniker than Pianist. Schmoozer describes him well, but has a negative connotation I dislike. Mostly settling in middle school with success. Says he's happy to have new friends. Doesn't like lugging his books around. Had to have a key to his locker for several days until his locker could be fixed. He's stuck with a teacher Anime Queen had, but one whom we found to be umm.. unprofessional & unhelpful. He's teaching a different subject, one that Pianist has no trouble with so I expect all will be well. Jerk teacher. Pianist has outgrown every pair of pants he has and is losing the chubby cheeks of his younger years.

Moi~ Scheduled to within an inch of my life. Busy. The learning curve on my new job is quite steep. The other day I discovered my new position was originally two separate positions, up until the jobs and duties were reorganzized earlier this summer. I feel better knowing that. I have felt really pushed trying to learn everything, but I had a good conversation with my manager and I feel better about things.

After I came home from the back to school night (see earlier post about schedules) I realized what bothered me about the parents that night. This was BTS night for Pianist, btw. Pianist and Anime Queen are in an academically demanding international curriculum, mainly because I want them to be challenged in school and they both qualified & were accepted. AQ is on the far end of this 5 year prep program & Pianist is just starting.

Anyhow, the difference is that during AQ's middle school the parents asked alot of questions and appeared to be very interested and involved. This year, most of the parents didn't ask anything, other than questions related to figuring out the online gradebook. Nothing about the workload, the curriculum, the expectations, the school environment. Zippo. Zilch. Very depressing.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Today's Schedule

5:45 am~ Wake up. Ok, peel myself out of bed, throw on some shorts & a t-shirt, yadda yadda yadda

6:00 am~ Make pot of coffee (Dunkin' Donuts or Gevalia or Melitta only), attempt to watch morning news & wake Younger Son up

6:25~ Take Anime Queen over to her bus stop. Shivering in the cool air 'cuz I'm tired and half asleep & was too damn lazy to dress properly. It's dark out this early in the morning and her stop is off the road, so I take her over there & wait until she's on the bus.

6:57~ Take son to bus stop. Again, same location as the A.Q. difference is, this time (even though it's only 25-30 minutes later) the traffic is heavy enough that he has trouble crossing the road, no one will stop, despite two cross walks. So I take him. Better by far than him turning into road pizza cuz my lazy ass wouldn't get up out of bed.

7:15-9:45~ Return to bed for brief nap. I didn't get home from work until 11 pm the night before & I can never fall asleep right away.

9:45 am- 12 pm~ Scrub bathroom, make bed, run malware & anti-virus programs, clean kitchen, make my lunch for work, shower, dress & get ready for work

12:15- 1:10~ Drive to work, call Hubby & chit chat along the way.

1:15- 5pm~ Work

5:15- 6:15~ Drive home, call kids in transit & make sure they're ok.

6:15- 6:40 pm~ Run inside, make sandwich & drink a glass of lemonade; kiss kids & tell them I'll return ASAP. Tonight is back to school night at Son's school & I'm only home briefly.

6:40- 7:05~ Drive over to his school & attempt to find a place to park where I'll be able to get out again. As if.

7:10- 8:15 pm~ Sit through overly repetitive teacher spiels for Son's academic classes. Skip PE and chorus in order to return home in time to kiss the kids goodnight. Dash outside only to realize my parking choice was great except for the fact that there's no lighting & I can't see a thing. Also, the car is on the far side of a cluster of trees. In the pitch black dark. Lovely.

8:20- 9:15 pm~ Drive home, with intermediate stop at 7-11 to buy a newspaper and a frozen fruit bar. Listen to the drunks argue with the clerk about why they deserve more beer. Call home to see if Hubby has come home from work.

9:20~ Rush back into the house in time to kiss the kids. Victory! My biggest and most important goal achieved.

9:30- 11:30 pm~ Read paper, surf, eat sherbet

11:30- Snore on Hubby's chest while he studies for a chemistry exam

Sunday, September 23, 2007

In Memoriam

Image found on

Image found on

The world is a sadder place today.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Nickel Roast

First, let me pat myself on the back for making up a menu and a shopping list before going grocery shopping. Second, a gold star for remembering to bring the lists to the store. Let the story begin.

Last Sunday after church the kids and I went grocery shopping. Around and around we went (not in our usual store & so we played seek & find) crossing off as we discovered things. In the meat department I start digging through the pork roasts and pull one out of the back. Startled by a little green button I take a closer look. Only to discover the roast is priced at .05~ Yes that's right. A 4-5 pound pork roast for one nickel. The green button turned out to be a pop up thermometer.

Naturally I couldn't believe my eyes. So Younger Son took the roast to a price check scanner, which merely said "priced as marked." At the check out my clerk was all of 17, if you're generous, and didn't pay a half a wit's attention to the price of our precious roast. Which did indeed ring up for one American Nickel. Amazed and afraid the grocery store police would chase me across the parking lot accusing me of theft, I bundled My Precious into the car, kids too, and rushed home.

Tonight our little Nickel Roast was braised in apple cider in the crock pot. Delicious.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Stardust; Neil Gaiman

I finished this a while ago, but due to scheduling issues I've not had time to type up my thoughts. I enjoyed it very much. It was quite a change from the tone and substance of others of Mr. Gaiman's work. I am surprised and delighted. The copy I have is the movie tie in edition. Stardust was originally published in 1999, the edition I have is published by HarperCollins and copyrighted 2007.

Somewhere in the UK is a little town called Wall which physically marks the boundary between Faerie and humankind. Mr. Gaiman remarks in his book that every land that disappears from human's maps reappears in Faerie thus making that world ever growing and unknown in size. That really captured my imagination- the thought that no people, no country has been wiped off the face of history. Somewhere those people, that place, is alive and well and thriving well apart from human predation.

Anyway, once every nine years in Wall there is a fair in the meadow where Faeries and humans meet and trade. One year a young man and an enchanted Faery enjoy one night of blissful happiness resulting in a basket on the newly married (after the fair) man's doorstep. Thus Tristran Thorne is a halfling raised as an human. Tristran has an uneventful childhood and youth, although he falls in love with the wealthiest young lady in Wall. One evening they are together when they see a falling star and Tristran promises the young lady he'll bring her the star to win her undying love. Sounds very cliched I know, but trust me when I tell you the treatment is unique and worth reading.

So Tristram sets off beyond the wall into Faery, looking for the fallen star. He has a series of adventures, gets involved in nefarious political plots, discovers the truth of his parentage and gets turned into a mouse. As I read this the legend of, link follows: Tristran and Isolde constantly ran through my head, although I am pleased to report this book has a happier ending than the legend.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Dark Possession; C. Feehan

Link to Ms. Feehan's page about this book HERE.I finished this one last week sometime. It fits the usual Carpathian mold, but reveals significant details about the struggle Carpathian and Jaguar (and others') struggle for self preservation. IMO that alone made this book well worth the purchase. All heroes have feet of clay somehow or another, and Vlad Dubrinsky is no exception. That's the only hint I'll give for those few people out there who haven't read this or those of you who will wait for the paperback.

This one is set in the jungles of South America. The hero is Manuel de la Cruse and the heroine is Mary Anne ____. Again, I'm forgetful so forgive my memory lapse. Mary Anne has appeared in at least two other Carpathian novels. She's a women's counselor who specializes in traumatized and victimized women. She has flown to S.A. to counsel a young woman who has suffered unspeakable violence at the hands of a renegade band of Jaguar shapechangers.

Manuel (Manolito) is one of the five de la Cruse brothers. He barely survived an attack in the Carpathian Mountains and has been buried in deep, healing soil on a tropical island in the middle of a river in the jungle. Trouble is while he was in the mountains he hypnotized Mary Ann and did a blood exchange with her which has initiated the physical and mental changes lifemates undergo. Problem being, Manuel did this against Mary Ann's wishes and without her knowledge. So she's freaking out a little at her reactions to what exactly is happening to her. Also? Turns out Manuel is only half saved. He's stuck between bodily life and spiritual death.

But why? Can Mary Ann address her legitimate needs for independence and understanding? Will she call Manuel onto the carpet for his deceit? What exactly are the origins of the plot to overthrow the Dubrinsky monarchy? Will Feehan ever return us to Europe or the US or will we be stuck indefinitely in South America? BTW, the Guardians? Totally cool. We'll see how things develop.

According to Ms. Feehan's website (see above) at this writing there will be a Carpathian book out next year, details currently unavailable.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Downward Mobility

IIRC, early in January I set an informal goal of beating last year's book total by at least one. After checking my previous posts, it seems I didn't actually make a published list of annual reading goals. Thank goodness~ I had 20/20 foresight didn't I? It'd be nice if I could do that (have accurate foresight) with stocks, though. LOL ;)

Last year I read 104 books, thus making this year's goal 105 or better. That means a minimum of 12 titles per month with one month 13. Even at my fastest I usually only manage 10 or so titles in four weeks. I don't think I'm gonna make it. Even to break 100 means 10 a month between now and Christmas. I'm unsure I'll make it, TBH. I hope so. I'd like to. I'll be disappointed if I don't. I'm trying hard to be realistic and honest though.

So I'm revising my goal to this a toughie. To what? I'm mentally stuck on 100. As though that's some sort of magic number or something. SO.. OK 100 it is. That's still 10 per month. Starting now. Guess I'd better goet off the 'net and get reading!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The McJob

The job. It's sort of in the McJob category of employment, although it's a Federal McJob. Meaning I'd likely make more $$ working at a real McDonald's. However, it's a position where I'm supposed to be trained in all of the different sections of the business and then slotted into a place that best fits my goals and abilities and their needs. And then given a substantial raise.

I say supposed to be since this is a new hiring program and no one at work is willing to give out details of how exactly this new program works. I could look it all up online, but I've limited free time that I need to spend driving or cooking or cleaning or reading the newspaper or hiking with the kids or pretending I know 7th grade algebra. You get the picture. I plan to look it all up very soon- like tomorrow- since my situation at work changed this afternoon.

Anyhow. I'd been out of the workplace very nearly four years before I was hired. I knew that whatever job I got would be an entry level, a very basic 'yes i'm conscious and breathing' type job. I was ok with that as long as there was potential for advancement. Which, as it turns out, there is. And sooner than I expected. I think I've moved one rung up. Not a big rung, and no more $$, but it appears my boss thinks I can mutlitask and I'm not easily ruffled by the public or my coworkers. Which may or may not be true. We shall see.

Starting Monday I shall be learning to oversee the inmates of rung #1, facilitate their duties, make sure they have breaks and meals as appropriate. At the same time I will assist other employees and customers with all manner of transactions and issues. The most limiting factor being: in order to help the inmates of rung #1 I must remain in their immediate vicintiy. I cannot leave my station. However, issues arise that would be best and fastest resolved by going to the source, ie: leaving my post. Which I can't do. So I'm going to have to learn to work around this problem. Without appearing unhelpful or frustrated or hampered or unprofessional in any way.

I've already been warned that coworkers who've been there longer will mutter and be resentful and that I may be directly confronted with "What makes you so special?!" My manager has told me in no uncertain terms to be firm and unapologetic and to hold my head up and reply in a straightforward manner. She is older than I am, and a woman of color, so I'm sure has heard plenty of crap like that herself, but I was still surprised that she would tell me straight out. She was straight on though- my instinct is to play off negative comments with humor or by changing the subject or by putting myself down a bit. Anything other than a direct reply like, "I don't plan to stay on rung #1 forever. Deal with it." Which is exactly what my boss said to say.

My lovely and bright Sister, who was once my boss long long ago (and a good one too), has plenty of supervisory experience. I plan to ask her for advice if I run into any problems. Hopefully I'll live up to my boss' (and my own) expectations and I can make a go of this whole new working world. Next post about work we can talk about the really fun stuff- the commute, traffic, juggling of schedules, the scenery.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

20th Anniversary

Twenty years ago this morning I married the man who would grow into my life so deeply I can't describe to you what it means or how we achieved it. I certainly never realized, at the time, what I was getting myself into. The most profound moment during the ceremony itself was when the priest took off her stole,wrapped it around our joined hands and said, "Those whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder."

We've hit the 'psychic' stage. You know, finish each other's sentences. Can tell the spouse's favorite family/childhood stories better than the spouse can. Make impulse purchases in the grocery store which, when brought home, the spouse says, "Thanks honey I was just thinking that ____ would be good right about now."

Happy Anniversary Darling~ May we have many, many more

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

August Synopsis

Totally pathetic. Even if you account for the fact that two of them were well over 700 pages apiece. Listed in the order I read them.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; J.K. Rowling

Kushiel's Justice; Jacqueline Carey

The Road; Cormac McCarthy

Sunday, September 02, 2007

by Grace Schulman

Rain hazes a street cart's green umbrella
but not its apples, heaped in paper cartons,
dry under cling film. The apple man,

who shirrs his mouth as though eating tart fruit,
exhibits four like racehorses at auction:
Blacktwig, Holland, Crimson King, Salome.

I tried one and its cold grain jolted memory:
a hill where meager apples fell so bruised
that locals wondered why we scooped them up,

my friend and I, in matching navy blazers.
One bite and I heard her laughter toll,
free as school's out, her face flushed in late sun.

I asked the apple merchant for another,
jaunty as Cezanne's still-life reds and yellows,
having more life than stillness, telling us,

uncut, unpeeled, they are not for the feast
but for themselves, and building strength to fly
at any moment, leap from a skewed bowl,

whirl in the air, and roll off a tilted table.
Fruit-stand vendor, master of Northern Spies,
let a loose apple teach me how to spin

at random, burn in light and rave in shadows.
Bring me a Winesap like the one Eve tasted,
savored and shared, and asked for more.

No fool, she knew that beauty strikes just once,
hard, never in comfort. For that bitter fruit,
tasting of earth and song, I'd risk exile.

The air is bland here. I would forfeit mist
for hail, put on a robe of dandelions,
and run out, broken, to weep and curse — for joy.

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