Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Low point for today. Easy! The English as a Second Language program that I run is an evening school, and we use the same classrooms as the children use during the daytime. In between, there are meetings, social services like legal aid, and a whole bunch of other things going on. We've been beating this building into the ground for about 20 years, and it shows. My students have to be careful, because we get blamed when things are messy or broken, whether we were responsible or not. So last week, a team of volunteers came to the school to paint some classrooms and they did the preschool room. At night, I use the preschool as a childcare facility. For reasons I can't really fathom, a volunteer stashed a little plastic bucket full of paint in the play refrigerator and forgot it. So tonight, some little kid opened the toy fridge, reached in and pulled out the paint (which was still pretty liquidy) and spilled it all over the preschool carpet. Then walked in it and walked around a little, looking for help. It was interesting. I have paint in my hair, still. Luckily, we're getting new carpet soon. Also, when I called the executive director to tell her what happened, I got to the part where the kid took the paint out of the fridge, and she thought I was about to tell her that he drank it. She was so relieved that he didn't - she was delighted that he'd just spilled it. Disaster is relative, I guess.
High point. Hmm.... that would have to be running this morning with my new iPod, and realizing that a half-hour had gone by and I hadn't even looked at the clock. I have all of my favorite stuff on there from the CDs in my collection, so now I want new music. If you comment oon this posting, tell me what your latests music addictions are.
I don't think my highs and lows are terribly interesting, and you probably won't either. I'd rather collect some of yours, 'cause I like collecting stuff like that. Tell the best and worst moment of your day. Only two rules: it has to be a day that is basically over, so it might have to be yesterday; and it has to really be a moment, not an hour or something.
Monday, July 30, 2007
1. I'm eating Whoppers.
2. My son pooped this evening without medical intervention. Plums are a mom's best friend.
3. My mouse was so horrible, but I just took it apart and cleaned all the crap out of there, and now its moving as smoothly as Nathan. Aaaah.
I'm a cheap date, I know.
"Toothbrush cutter" is a term used to describe a backpacking purist. A person who will go to great lengths to save even a fraction of an ounce of weight, including taking a hacksaw to her toothbrush. My dad is a toothbrush cutter ("Why would we need two potatoes? There are only six of us; one potato's enough."); Simon and I used to be. Now, we are hypocrites. True, we cut our toothbrushes, but we will be taking two apples and two oranges. Oranges are an insane luxury. Carry the peel in, carry the peel out. Suspend the fragrant, varmint-attracting peel 15 feet in the air at night.
Are we planning a backpacking trip or having a marriage encounter session? Who is this guy? In a different epoch of our life together (namely, before kids), Simon and I backpacked all the time, and there was no need to negotiate or compromise. We knew the drill. We haven't done this since I was pregnant with Sara, though. He's changed. He is not the man he was.
Evidence. Exhibit A:
"OK, lunches. What should we take?"
"What did we use to take?"
(What am I , the historian?) "Hardtack and margarine."
"Uh...dried fruit. Apricots, pears..."
"I don't like dried fruit."
"Since when? You used to eat dried fruit."
"I ate it, but I never liked it. Let's take fresh fruit."
"Fresh fruit!? Do you have any idea how much that WEIGHS?"
"I know how much it weighs. If you like, I will carry the fruit."
[suspiciously] "What kind of fruit were you thinking about?"
"Oranges!?!" [At this point, I pass out.]
He would say that I have also changed with the passing of time.
"No more oatmeal. I used to put up with eating that mushy s***, but I'm done gagging down oatmeal."
"So, what are you going to eat for breakfast?"
[perkily] "Clif bars!"
I think he wants to take a ridiculous amount of toilet paper. He thinks my rain gear is too heavy. Tomato, tomahto. Potato, potahto. But we're not going to call the whole thing off. We have successfully managed to negotiate eating utensils (2 tablespoons, one fork to share, one teaspoon to share), after all. Score one for the home team. We're getting our s*** together in the basement, so we don't have a last minute scramble to pack after I get home from work late Thursday night.
We need to get an early start on Friday morning. The trail head is on the North Slope, which means we have to drive up through Evanston, WY to get there, then drive quite a way on unpaved roads. Tonight, besides cutting my toothbrush, I oiled my hiking boots, water-proofed my stuff sack (rain in the Uintas in August is almost guaranteed) and sharpened the knife.
Soon, the only big questions left will be:
1. Will I get to the top of King's Peak without chickening out?
2. Will the weather cooperate at least a little and not send a bunch of lightning just as we're about to reach the peak?
3. (The really big question) Is there any way in hell I can manage to smuggle Harry Potter along? It's on my nightstand right now, driving me insane with anticipation. No. Must...resist... Still, I can't stop myself thinking...Weight? About the same as two oranges....
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Nathan is constipated. The problem (which I have heard is not all that uncommon in a busy little kid) is that there is always something he'd rather be doing than pooping. He's even perturbed about taking time out to pee, which is why he still has an occasional accident. At preschool, if he suspects that anything interesting is about to happen while he's in the bathroom, he'll come mincing out with his pants still around his ankles, saying, "Wait! Wait for me!"
So, I can see how this comes about. I talk to his teachers so they can encourage him to go. I promise to perch on the edge of the tub and read stories if he'll just sit still on the pot for a few minutes. We discuss foods that are good for pooping. Oatmeal, good. Cheese, bad. Plums, good. Salami, bad. The first time he got really constipated, I gave him Colace for a few days, and he was OK again. This past week, that failed to do the trick, and after about 6 days, I was stumped. It became a constant, nagging worry. I called the pediatrician. "Time for an enema," she said. When I was a kid, the dreaded enema was an ongoing threat that my mother used to keep all of us kids regular. I had only the vaguest of notions about what was involved, but it sounded sinister.
Nathan was intrigued. When I took it out of its package last night, his eyes lit up. "Are you going to put that up my bum?" I was at a bit of a loss. This is supposed to be a quasi-medical procedure; to be taken seriously and anticipated with solemnity. I got him arranged on a towel on the bathroom floor as per the instructions and carefully administered the thing as directed. Simon was ready, thinking he'd need to be held down. On the contrary, he just giggled and said, "Well, this is awkward!" It worked like a charm and he was totally blissed out by the experience. He sat there with a huge grin and gave me a blow-by-blow description of how it felt. He hopes he'll need another enema again soon. I'm worried that he'll never want to poop in the conventional sense again.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Lots of great fun getting wet butts of the sopping inflatables. Added an element of water-slide-ish-ness.
The police helicopter circled for a while, then landed. I told Nate they were coming for him.
This is Nate's wheedling face. I suppose he thinks he looks like Puss in "Shrek". He wanted to stay longer, but we had to go home because Sara was planning to make lasagna for supper, and it needs a while to bake.
Here is Sara making supper. She'll have Cooking Merit Badge in the bag. (Actually, in Brownies, they call them "Try-Its", not merit badges. Girl Scouting has changed a little since I was in it.)She has to stand on a milk crate, but she can do the whole thing: measuring, browning the meat, cleaning up when she's done. I open the tomato sauce can and deal with the hot oven and its scary hot door. I thought I'd put this in to prove that she's really not a goth or a flapper, as per my earlier blog entry about her.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Snap, went my temper. I had a doctor's appointment scheduled for late this afternoon, but this morning I knew I was feeling better and didn't need it after all. [I don't know about you, but I always start to feel better as soon as I call the doctor.] So, I called to cancel the appointment.
At 8:30, the hold-queue was 7 minutes. I decided to try later.
At 11:30, I just got a busy-signal.
At 12:30, the message said that the doctors were at lunch and if it was an emergency I should hang up and dial 911. No way to leave a message.
At 1:30, same thing. Dial 911.
At 2:00, busy signal.
At 2:30, I got a person. I told her that I'd like to cancel my appointment, and she said that would be fine, except I would be billed for it anyway because I need to make a cancellation more than two hours before the appointment.
I let her have it with both barrels. Then I let her supervisor have it, too. They reversed the charges. I got so hot under the collar, I pulled my shirt off and was skwawking at them in my camisole. Quiet day at the office, luckily.
People who know me can say what they like about how "Type A" I am, but hardly anyone sees me lose it, because I almost never do. This was an exception, however. I told Simon about it later and his eyes widened. "You lost your temper?! Like that time with the Maytag call center?!" "Don't worry. It wasn't that bad."
Crackle, went our backpacking plans. Our partners for the King's Peak trip, Jodi and Ralph, are not coming along after all. Jodi is having trouble with her toe. Of course, Simon and I are still going. In fact, we're off to REI tomorrow for the quad map and a water filter (after 20 years of boiling water, we're going to join the ranks of the filterers). New gear! I was upbeat and said that, well, we can take our books and read all we want without having to worry that we're being unsociable... but some of the zip has gone out of the trip. At least temporarily.
Pop, went a tiny but (I suspect) very important muscle in my groin. I was working out at the rec center tonight and was doing that weight machine where you squeeze your legs together, thereby making the inner thigh sleek and toned. I finished and got off the machine and something went "poing". S***. Gingerly, I walked back to the car like a toddler with a full diaper, gradually adding a little more and a little more movement...it feels sort of OK now, but something is not quite right. "Well," said Si, "You'll have a clearer picture in the morning." I suspect so. Can't wait.
This post is a little whiny in its tone. I will conclude with some good news. It rained today. The first rain I've seen since early June. Not at my house; but as I driving home, I drove into it on the freeway. It was like a car wash. A deluge for about 200 yards, and then I drove out of it onto completely dry pavement. When they talk about isolated showers out here, they are not kidding.
I'd better surrender this day and go to bed before anything else comes flying off.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Here she is after the show. Personally, I think she looks more like a flapper than a villain with evil powers. They should have ratted her hair and spray-painted it red.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
The other large number causing me some concern today is 800, which is related to our upcoming climb of King's Peak. Si did a little research, and downloaded some info about the hike and the climb. We're planning to hike in about 10 miles the first day, spend the second day getting to the top of the Peak and back down, then hiking out on the third day. He read aloud to me while I cooked supper. "Shady trail....gradual elevation gain...great scenery...excellent camping choices..." Sounds good. I ask him about how many thousand feet of vertical we need to gain. "From trail-head to peak, 5,000 feet." No big deal, spread out over what looks like about 15 miles. It isn't really nasty until it's 1,000 feet of vertical or more per mile. And of course, the big elevation gain (the grind) won't be until the second day. "No technical climbing required...but the last segment of the climb is talus and boulder field." What? Talus? Boulders?Oh, ick. For those of you who don't hang out much in the mountains, "talus" is that loose, flat, broken s*** that slides out from under your feet, and we have a lot of moutains in Utah that are talus-topped. Since I like staying on my feet, I don't love talus/boulder scrambles. I glanced over Si's shoulder for a second. "Oh, well...that's only the last 800 feet. I can do it." "Actually, that 800 feet is the vertical that we gain in the scramble. It's actually about .8 of a mile long. " Oooooh. Well, all right... That's...a lot of talus. I better kick my workouts up a notch. The iPod arrived just in time.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Lounging in camp chairs with books open in our laps while we fall asleep. Also commenting on who snores/drools while doing this.
Cooking and eating lavishly.
Geocaching, in some cases.
Swimming, sort of, if there is water.
Taking incriminating photos of each other. Except me. I always bring my camera, but get too distracted to use it. I'm sure I'll be getting some photos other people took in a few days.
Other important camp chores, such as jockeying camp chairs for the best position at the fire; trying to keep the picnic table clear enough to eat at; and sending representatives into the nearest town for ice, rum, chips, wood and Pull-Ups.
We used to call this "Camp Book Club", but a few years ago, someone (I think it was Rich) began to refer to it as "Camp Misconduct". This year I pointed out that, for all our swagger, we don't really get into much trouble. Wanna hear just how BAAAAAD we are? Here is a list of crimes that I observed (but perpetrators not named, 'cause others will want to take credit).
1. Copious alcohol consumption, resulting in dirty jokes, occasional butt-grabbing, and one camper referring to a bottle of South African Cabernet as "Cheetah Piss".
2. Cigar smoking.
3. Swimming in Silver Lake Reservoir even though the bottom was muddy and slimy. We live dangerously.
4. Picking a fight with the people at the neighboring site about whether they were "cleaning" fish at the communal tap, or just "washing" them.
5. Riding scooters in the road. Against the rules, according to the campground hosts.
6. Dipping a marshmallow in Sambuka (sp?) before toasting it, to see what happens.
7. Eating a package of Double-Stuff Oreos before the people who had brought them got any.
8. Saying that we were going to discuss the book, but blowing it off.
9. Lying and deceptive behavior regarding the rumored existence of a bag of Funyuns.
10. Turf wars over the sweet spot for achieving golden marshmallow perfection.
11. A major tussle over language. So, we're taking a survey.
When you are anticipating something eagerly and can't wait to get started, you are "________-ing at the bit". What verb do you use inthis expression? If you feel comfortable doing so, you could satisfy the linguist and tell me what state/country you were born in and what state/country you lived in during your late childhood. In the name of science, thank you.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
All sharp objects have been taken out of the office until the sums of the rows add up to the sums of the columns.
I need brain candy. I have a good book at home that I'm reading; but I suspect that tonight, I will go for my anesthetic reading material instead. Here's a new pseudo-literary question for you: Is there a book you have read a zillion times, and you keep taking it out and reading it again?
For me, the choice is always the "Outlander" series by Diana Gabaldon. When my husband sees me reading one of those books, he says, "What?? Again?" They are quality escape-reading, though. Funny, exciting, sexy, but also detailed and historical. Love 'em.
BTW, can anyone advise me on how to do a sidebar featuring the book I'm currently reading? I see that a lot of my favorite bloggers have them, with a photo of the book cover and a link, but I can't make it work. How's it done?
Enough stalling. Next question: "How many Intermediate-Level Hipanic females between the ages of 17 and 24?"
Monday, July 9, 2007
Still, it was a good day because:
1. My in-laws flew back to England! Yipee! I was so good for 2 1/2 weeks. Feels like I spent the whole time cooking, and my face is frozen into permanent blankness.
2. Daughter Sara started Theater Camp today. This is waaaay out of her comfort zone, but she asked if she could do it, 'cause she's hoping it will make her "less shy", as she puts it. She loved it, made two new friends, can't wait for tomorrow, and learned how to die.
3. My friend John will be around when I go to Wisconsin next month, and has time for lunch.
4. I had my annual performance assessment with my boss. I won't bore you with my positive feedback. My "constructive comments" indicate that I'm "Type A" and "competitive". My boss wonders if I need to set a personal goal of relaxing more. S***, if I relax, I fall asleep. Being Type A is really just a means of staying awake.
Such a great day deserves to end with a piece of candy. Or two. My friend Shawn went to Taiwan for a wedding and brought me back some Taiwanese candy, which I found in my mailbox at work a few days ago. So, tonight I ate the first piece while I was rambling around the house, doing chores. Caramel-y and peanutty. Interesting. For the second piece, I actually stood still and looked at it after I unwrapped it. Hmmm... it was covered with green leafy bits, sort of like someone dropped it on a freshly mown lawn. Tea? Herbs? ....Mold or some other unauthorized green-ness? I looked at the ingredients. The English translation says, "maltose, peanut, glucose, wheat flour, salad oil laver". Whatever that is. The packet does say that it is "laver flavored". All righty, then. I wonder if the green stuff is "laver". I ate it, and I'm still alive. If this is my last blog entry ever, you'll know what happened.
What was the first adult-themed book that you read? For me, this was the biography of Harriet Tubman, "A Woman Called Moses". I remember being amazed by the fact that there was SEX in that book (even if it was just a little bit). My mom embarrassed me because she had read it, and when she saw me reading it, she said something like, "What a great book! It's a little salty, though. Well, good introduction to sex in literature." I don't remember my response, but it must have been something like, "Oh, gack! Moooooooommmmm!" (That's the 3-syllable "mom".)
Friday, July 6, 2007
When she asked him what he wanted for dessert, he started with "Weeeelllllll...." All of us who know him understand that the server is about to get the long-form answer.
(Nathan has a little trouble pronouncing /r/. It usually comes out /w/.)
"I'm thinking........I would like a piece of pie..ie....ie..." (Nate does that: holds the floor and everyone's attention by dragging a word out over several breaths)....that has a bottom cwust and a top cwust. A pie with two cwusts."
"And so.......(at this point the server is probably trying to go to her 'happy place')...I think I would like...woobob. Stwawbewy woobob."
Thursday, July 5, 2007
1. Blog, obviously.
2. Swipe food from my co-workers. Diane, I ransacked your desk drawer and chewed up the last of your Altoids gum. I owe you. If Becca ever came on my blog, she would know that I also owe her some chocolate-covered espresso beans.
3. I listen to music REALLY LOUD. Tonight it is Mana, my favorite Mexican rock band.
4. Start to get twitchy as the night gets later. All the little whirs, thumps and bangs - I wonder, if it is "the ghost" (My old boss, Suzanne, now dead. I swear she's still trying to find a quiet corner of the building in which to have a clandestine cigarette), the pipes or....Lula, the new custodian?! She's just arrived to do a late-night cleaning, blowing all the mystical atmosphere of the silent school. "You're still here?!?" she asks, and revs up the vacuum. Well, fine. I guess I'll go home.
Monday, July 2, 2007
Not one to let reality stand in my way, I went out to harvest the last of my scrawny rhubarb. My total yield was a cup and a half. Well, I also had a container of strawberries to pump up the volume a little, but even the two together did not give me enough to fill the damn pie. So, after weighing my options, I remembered there was one last container of peaches from my tree, frozen last fall and still seeking a purpose. So they went in there, too. The results were wierd but good. Now, what to call it?
and Bingo. Bingo is becoming a tradition. I bought us a Bingo set this year, as I got tired of trying to find ones to borrow. I get a bunch of prizes from the Dollar Store and it's pretty fun.