Sunday, September 28, 2008

I may not know much...

... but I still feel compelled to write a how-to.

Some of my favorite bloggers do these how-to's regularly, and I've always found it to be interesting reading.

Two or three topics come to mind today, all springing from the past 24 hours or so.

In chronological order, because there is otherwise no connective thread what-so-ever, except maybe you could say the theme centers around "breaking all the rules".

How To Ride A Bike Wearing A Skirt Or A Dress

This morning, my mom really wanted to know how this is possible. Really, shorter is better, until a certain point, I'm sure. I guess I mean: avoid long or voluminous. I ride in dresses frequently, because I like to wear dresses and skirts. Jeans are difficult when it's hot out and I like jeans that are on the tighter side, anyways, so they just aren't that great when I'm riding. When you are cycling, I doubt if anyone really sees anything, but be prepared for hoots and whistles (best to just smile and ignore; you don't want to let it distract you, lest you lose your balance).

If you are going to wear a skirt with a little more volume, like I did to my archaeology meeting yesterday, what you do is straddle the bike before you sit down. Then pull the skirt to one side and use the opposite side's hand to hold it down to the back of your thigh where it comes close to your body, while the other hand holds the rest of it up and to the side. Then, while your hand is on your leg, fold the skirt that is up and to the side behind you, under your ass, and sit down on it. Now you have a shorter, tighter skirt which is perfecto. Not going to get caught in your non-danish bicycle.

How To Not Be A Bitch To The Guys That You Like

You might get a lot of feedback from the girls you know who say that the only man worth dating is one who is going to rearrange his entire life to shower YOU with attention (I seriously have had girlfriends tell me to ditch someone I was seeing because he had his own life in addition to the time we spent together), but I hope you put that idea aside for a moment and listen to what I have to say.

That is asking for too much. My goodness! Would you want someone to ask that of you?? Really? And it's the kind of thing that can be addictive, but it's definately not healthy. The giver gets worn out and the recipient grows numb.

To not be a bitch, all you have to do is treat others with the kind of respect you expect to be treated with yourself, and to not ask of someone more than you know you can give, without giving too much. That means that personal boundaries are PERSONAL. I'm not saying that you won't naturally develop closeness with someone you spend time with, but I'm saying that you don't have to try to infiltrate like you've been hired by the Dept of Homeland Security.

Also:how can someone be interesting to you if all they like is you? And, how can you expect that a normal human being won't be interested in dating other awesome people too? Aren't you dating other people too? Exactly.

How To Discuss Religion With An Evangelical Christian (Without Arguing)
Translate what you have to, in your mind, so that their points make sense to you on your own level.

Mention that you don't want to "put God in a box". They will understand this terminology.

Nod, when you somewhat comprehend. Sip your coffee and neutrally state that you don't understand when something is beyond your sphere of understanding or intrest.

If you have NO acceptance for ANY version of God/Infinite Wisdom/Universe, then you might want to not attempt this one at all! :-P

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I'm home from my archaeology meeting

... and feeling pretty excited. I've only ever worked on paleontology digs, but pretty soon I will be getting some practical experience!

My boss, Bill Hemme, and the director of social sciences at SPC are both in my corner about getting this work classified as "co-op work experience", too, so I'll be earning credits at the same time.

Oh, yeah, and I did about 15 miles today. woo.

a work in progress

Look at my new back-rack! I have not only mobility, but carrying-power!!!

Brian was so very sweet to not only deliver the part, but to install it, too. And, the install ended up requiring modifications (bending/drilling various spots) since my bike is such an old cheapie. After we got drunkish, and before he got really serious at making it work, he suggested something about maybe not needing to modify, but just getting a new bike for the new rack! Haha, very funny (rolling eyes).

In it's defense, the bike is functional, and was practically free.

One last thing: would it be wrong to mention that hot guys are hotter than normal when they are fixing something for you?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

nerd alert

I got 102% on my history exam from last week, woohoo! And I, the most perpetually late person ever, turned in my colonial paper for that class a week early.

Actually, I am not behind in any of my classes, and my grades are pretty good, so far.

But, combined with work and the kids school stuff... it has been a grueling week. On Monday night, in Chem lecture the man next to me fell into a dead sleep, and there is nothing that could make someone want to sleep more than Dr. Herod's powerpoint lecture and a sleeper to the left of you. I caught myself nodding a little, and had to exercise extreme self control.

I REAAAALLy wanted to skip on Tuesday and go back to bed, or at least skip Trig, my 9:30 am class, because I was running on a total of 9 hours sleep over three days. But I dragged myself there. And it was rough. But it's a good thing I was there, because we discussed graphing tangent and cotangent waves, and LET ME TELL YOU, that is not as easy as sine and cosine waves!

What made me go was that:

1) In the spring I was so lazy and wasn't able to complete Statistics, which I am still embarrassed about.

2) I really want to go to field school in [insert most awesome wilderness here, because I don't want to announce more it until it's set in stone], and if I fail now, I'll mess that all up.

3) Working in the Math/Sci dept makes me interact with my prof's more (3 of my 5 prof's are in Math/Sci), so skipping to sleep seemed like more of a bad idea than it normally would.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Abba Oil and the Angle of Death

My mom ran out of anointing oil from the Holy Land. Not 'The Holy Land' in Orlando, where you can walk through Bible stories and buy caps and tees emblazoned with Judeo-Christian slogans. I mean the Holy Land everyone fights about.

Anyways, that neither here nor there.

So, she ran out (PROBABLY BECAUSE SHE'S CONSTANTLY ANOINTING MY CHILDREN) and I did a "nice thing" and ordered her another little bottle.

We'll call it My Good Deed of the week.

After that, sadly, she and I had an argument that had nothing to do with religion and everything to do with me being capable to manage simple things in my life, and for my kids. I believe the real root of the fight was that I need exercise in order to feel like a real live human being, without it I feel awful, like I just want to lay around and feel sicker and deader.

So, tonight, I a long ride (9 miles), ad it gt me in the mood to apologize to her. But not before I had to leap into bushes from the bike. Yes, I leapt. Into bushes. Instead of dying (or probably just skinning my knees).

See, I picked up a lot of speed coming down Gulf to Bay from Hillcrest (which is at the top of a hill, of course). The sidewalk is great on that stretch of my route, until the Angle; 90 degrees and narrow AND bordered by a high curb. And at the bottom of a hill.

And do you know Ms. Mitchell, my chem lab prof WARNED me today that something bad might happen, after Greg and I were giggling, devilishly, about a psychological trial involving titration with burets holding ONLY WATER, Mwah HAHAHAAHAHA.

Can you tell I love titrating? And Greg, my upgrade-lab-partner, is color blind!

Well, the Angle of Death is what happened to me. Photo to come, if I can manage it tommorrow.

Monday, September 22, 2008

...ever the student

I finally met Bonnie tonight, and I believe she accepted me as an acolyte/apprentice. She gently reminded me that we place our shells facing upwards, open, on the Mesa, but otherwise said mine is lovely (it really is) and that I am doing everything I need to.

In a couple of weeks I think we're going to have more time to sit down at my Mesa and do some actual work, since tonight was busy. Lot's of people there, at Sacred Lands, for the get-together, but only 5 mesa-carriers, including myself.

Oh, and Cora was SO mad at me afterwards when I mentioned to her that the guest musician was singing cool traditional Sioux songs... She loves this sort of thing!

Oh, yeah... they are having an archaeology event next Saturday evening, too, if you are interested. That will not be a night of meditation, as far as I know (in case that kind of thing scares you off). It's going to be pretty educational... oh, yeah, forgot to mention: I was invited to come work with this team, the Central Gulf Coast Arch. Society. It was even suggested that I try to get school credit for the internship!

Anyways, far as my Mesa practice; well, it's quite likely that you now think I'm totally nuts, but I guess that's how it is sometimes. ;-)

In other news, this week is going to be fun and different and everything like that.

Con is (most likely) starting preschool tommorrow, which is good, since I work and go to school 5 days/week. We ended up picking a very Christian preschool, of all things.

I am really happy with the choice, though. It's true that Harry is an athiest and I am "other", but this school is so great. A perfect fit for us, even though he will be going to chapel and whatnot.

Friday, September 19, 2008

in the deepest southern climes

It felt sort of UNDENIABLY delicious this morning. We had a breeze stirring and the sunlight was golden- without being too hot.

My numerous trips to and from the word processing office in the SS building had me in sort of a giddy mood.

Siting at my desk, filing old exams and scantrons drove me insane.

Also, a box of something marked "ALIVE" arrived on my desk by FedEx this afternoon. That's kind of cool, huh?

And The-Longwinded-Professor brought in a book to loan me... It's an ethnographic account of the indigenous peoples of Alaska. Wooo whee!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

...licentious means dirty

HTH ;-)

Haha, and on that note, off to the shower. Just got home from doing about 9 miles... I say "about" because I am really not sure.

I rode in one direction alone and I know I rode 2 miles and then my roommate called me and proposed family ride night. So I told her to head north and meet me. I know I rode 2 miles back the other way and then she and I rode for about 45 minutes through the neighborhoods, and our closest park. At the pace we were doing, I usually can go about 4 miles in a half hour, so in 45 minutes, guessing we did 5 miles is sort of a low guess, but since I have no clue... it's good enough.

I saw some really gorgeous clouds tonight and I feel victorious because my school refund arrived this evening and that means I can finally budget out the next few months of [meager as usual :-) ] living. Kinda.

Just wait and see what I post next week... I am rediculously excited, but still unsure if I can justify spending some money.

Nostalgia bit me on the behind, over at Memarie Lane

My friend, Memarie, did some digging in a box of high school memorabilia and her findings made me think about those days of yore.

It really wasn't all that long ago that I was a teenager; we had internet access in some of our savvier teachers' classrooms, low rise jeans, cell phones, spinal meningitis scares, and Columbine. Can you spot me in this sea of faces?

But it was long enough ago to feel like I could forget it all, if I'm not careful. Sort of like the answers to questions about how old your child was when they did x, y, or z. I really don't remember how old Conner was the first time he held a toy or slept through the night. Too much else has been jumbled into the too small mental storage space I have to work with. Insignificant facts from high school seem to have been lost in the fog, as well.

Why do some things stand out in my mind, like it was yesterday? Is it the emotional quotient?

Anyways, I feel inspired to regale you with a tale of mortification!

I was 17. This was a time of complete wierdness for me; I wore "wierd" cropped pants (capri pants enter as a fad, just a year later) and wrote some decent poetry with metaphors that I actually appreciated more when I re-read my work a few years later. I was very "esoteric" and reading way too much. Besides, my choice of literature was, er, different.

Ginsburg, Carlos Castaneda, Timothy Leary, Albert Camus, Kafka, Jim Morrison, James Joyce, Leo Tolstoy, and Anais Nin topped my library bill.

Did I mention I was also having problems with basic repsonsibility and remembering things from day to day? At 17, I was lucky if I remembered to GO to school, much less to return library books!

Right around the end of my senior year was when I "became a woman", so to speak and the experience had a huge impact on me. I was so happy that I had waited until then, feeling very in touch with my burgeoning adulthood.

Thankfully, memories from that specific time in my life don't evade me too much. But maybe it helps with the remembering that I ended up living in that same house, with the same man, smelling the same roses every day as I came and went. I recently unearthed a photo of my son, as an infant, wrapped in the same quilt that had been on the bed THAT day, years before, when I was almost 18, done being a child (and almost done with high school & with being so wierd and esoteric).

Well, enough setting the scene, and onto the embarrassing part:

I had a teacher, the grey and wizened Dr. E, whom I found really inspiring. He was controversial and wierd and well-read. He'd let us sit in the hall outside his class with thick volumes if we felt like reading instead of going to some nonsense-class.

One day I had (no doubt, distractedly) been journaling/poetry-writing on the back of a research paper outline I had to turn in to Dr. E. And what I had written was pretty licentious, albeit creative. Interestingly, his note on my paper advised me to continue to write- on my own time!

Ok, now the story is preserved for posterity. My work here is done.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

step lively

Again, the pace is starting to drain me.

Drive to drop off kids, go to class/work, drive to pick up kids, errands, stress, homework, exams, class/work, kids, stress, sleep, stress, class, errands, exams.

You see why I had to spend time "unwinding" last night with a (hot) guy friend? Yes, that's what we young people call it these days. Plus- he made eggs in the morning and served them with orange juice and coffee. Yippee!

All the while, my gas gauge is on E and I have $1.50. No joke. I have held on to this $1.50 now for a few days, reluctant to spend it (now I am cursing myself for my EXTRAVAGANT five dollar purchase over the weekend... that was really going out on a limb and I knew it). Both my accounts are empty. WHERE is that student check?

In ten years, we will all be laughing when we "remember that time", won't we?

Won't we??

Yeah, things are interesting right now. This is a great learning experience, though. Did I mention how good my grades have been? That's definately a plus.

Work today was good. I re-did a sign in the hall where the professor's office numbers are posted. It was a wreck before, and, of course, is done perfectly now. Then I bullshited with my professors as they stopped by the office, answered phones, ran a few errands for the department, got some free food for some special occasion on campus, and shredded a million and one sheets of top secret math-test-scratch-paper. [I know you've always wondered where your scratch paper goes, haven't you?]

Oh, I saw my good friend, Hilary Flower, today, too! :-) She teaches Earth Science @ Clearwater SPC.

Oh, and I'm sorta sad to say I have no new bike miles to list. My mom drove me to Chem lecture tonight, and then bought the kids and I a burrito afterwards. She's awesome. At least I went to the gym on Sunday morning, but that's sort of pitiful, huh?

Monday, September 15, 2008

the new job

I freaking love my new job so far.

Math/Science office...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

forgot to tell you

My sundress blowing in the breeze, I did about 8 miles yesterday, in the beautiful late afternoon. I rode from here to downtown, then over to Clearwater Beach, and I was (literally) muttering obscenities as I crossed that crazy steep bridge.

And then, after you cross the first, there's another bridge, with less of an incline, thank goodness. An there is a sign that says "No Jumping Off Bridge" at the start of the second one, because I think they knew what I was feeling as I approached.

Well, anyways, I felt great once I arrived at my destination and cruised around for a while, enjoying this different pace. I stopped into Kiku for some sushi because I have been wanted to get a bite there for over a year now, and I never seem to be in the neighborhood when they are open.

Amazing. Freakin delicious. I just wish I could have spent more than $5!

It is likely going to be my new (every other) weekend routine; ride over that bridge, bask in the glow of the beachy-vibes, and get my wasabi/ginger/seafood fix.

Who's going with me next time?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Can someone tell me it's time?

I need to sit down and be productive.

(Wow, remember when I made, like, 200 cloth diapers in that month when Tom and I were breaking up. Stayed up all night sewing, for days on end. Amy had very good timing to give birth to Avery around that time...)

when the kids go to sleep = Husqvarna time

since you guys have been asking for more pictures...

The most bare-bones night of camping ever.

Cora, feeling victorious, after her first week of first grade.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Self medicating. The Rx: one tent, some water, stars

Although life is good, I was feeling stressed out this afternoon.

It's probably because of a stupid issue that popped up with the kids' dad, normal financial problems (still waiting on this semester's Pell grant), pressure to finish a few custom diaper orders but not really feeling the drive to work on them, and just some general uncertainty.

So anyways, just now, while we were discussing living a balanced life my roommate told me a story about something that happened at the Mesa Link up last night.

To make a long story short, it was advised to someone who was dealing with some personal imbalance to make a point of getting fresh air and reconnecting with nature, each and every day. That is a very common sense thing to say, when someone needs to de-stress, but I think maybe it's SO common-sense-ical that we all tend to forget those needs sometimes.

I'm not doing badly in that department; I've been getting lot's of exercise since I got home from Colombia, and much of it has been outdoors.

Plus, a few years ago I developed a habit (that has really stuck with me) of staring at the sky or at tree branches as a way of processing extreme stress. I go to the beach (though I haven't lately) to swim and reconnect. But that all just seems like mental health maintenance.

So, as Helen told me what the shaman's advice to our friend was, I jumped out of my seat, having an epiphany.

I'm going camping. Yes, right now.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

so, define "inclement"

Are we talking about lighting, gusts of wind, or just rain?

In spite of of the dark afternoon, I chanced it and did the 4.25 miles to school, and back again. The route I took this time was different, with much steeper hills, but less branches in my way... hm.

Anyways, just here, kiling time. Not preparing for an exam I have tommorrow (already? really? school just started!).

Can you believe my chem prof is in Japan, and the class gets to take an exam?

But at least I have motivation to do well in the course; field school is on the horizon, sort of. More about that another day. Ok, time to go prepare.


Monday, September 8, 2008

my mom is allergic to my particular brand of common sense

Yesterday, I mentioned to my mom how on Saturday I rode 10 miles on my distance test, and that I was very proud of myself. She said "Ok."

Then, I mentioned that I've made a commitment to myself to ride instead of drive "whenever possible", which means when I don't have to transport the children + children's gear, and when I'm not going not excessively far (about 5 miles each way was kinda easy... so I'm not sure what my upper limit is yet).

She flipped out! She is really not happy with me about this, and, like always, I wish she could understand me.

I mentioned that there is no good reason to NOT ride. I am physically capable, no excuses there. I can save money on gas. I can get my workout while I travel to work and school (saves time at the gym). It's fun. It's good for the earth, because I use less resources and put out less waste this way. And, it's empowering to know that you can do what you need to do, with the energy of your own body.

According to my mom, I should be thankful to have a car (I am, trust me!), and I should show that gratitude by not deviating from the (so called) norm.

She said if I need help paying for gas I should ask her for some extra cash. (Ok)

And that I'm a mother and it's time to act like it; time to stop always doing what I want. To me, doing a good deed now is doubly good. Children see everything.

The 'helps the earth' part pissed her off the most. Did you know there are anti-environmentalists? Yes, there are. Nothing against the 'religious right', but come on! If God made the earth, why trash it just because He can work miracles or because the end is nigh? My mom says that I should be focusing on my salvation, and not so much on "so called good deeds".

Maybe this is our biggest bone of contention, but I REALLY believe in doing things ethically, even if it inconveniences me a little (and I think I stick to my principles about 90% of the time).

If you are poor and need my coat more than I do (because I'm lucky enough to have 2 or 3), I might give it to you.

Do you need fresh air to breath? Let me see if I can do something to help out.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I rode 10 miles this afternoon/evening

... and the brakes on my bike sound a little, um, rebellious.

In order to prepare for Monday, I wanted to test out my route, but I didn't want to go to SPC for nothing (I am goal-oriented, I guess). I decided to ride to Borders at Clearwater Mall. I figured it's past my school, but just down the street, so I could plot out my route for school, time myself, and then read for a little while.

It was pretty easy.

I feel slightly compelled to take a pair for shears with me next time. Not that I don't love branches in my teeth, I just want to multitask and do a little gardening with my neighbors.
Since I'm REALLY NOT in the mood to recount the story of the bet I lost (argh!! Shel Silverstein!!), and and how I got my car back last night, instead I will blog to you as I watch Palin's speech online. No, I didn't see it televised. I am watching it right now, right this very minute.

min 5- Will the audience ever stop screaming and clapping, and let her get a word in edgewise?

min 10- Damn, she is likeable. The comment about special needs families needing a friend in the White House moves me to shed a tear.

min 14- Oh, I just joined PTA! Man, I just wish this woman (who is so likeable) and who seems to support my right to have guns (woohoo! yes, I'm a "bad" liberal) didn't want to take away MY right to choose (a safe and legal abortion on MY terms). Both of those things seem like inalienable rights to me.

min 15- Ooh, a liberal just got removed from the convention room, lol! I didn't see what happened.

min 18- I feel enamoured by her line about the duty of politicians to leave the country better than they found it. That is sort of my way of approaching everything. I like the bit about going to the White House with a "servant's heart".

min 22- Oh, yes. Back to the oil-talk. She makes herself sound like one of the good guys. I am scratching my head now.

min 25- How about we become energy self sufficient by FIRST reducing use and then by drilling to meet the need that remains? There's an idea.

min 28- Shit. Am I a Republican? I also agree with Palin that the government needs to be smaller, with all the unnecessary nonsense weeded out. I am 100% for programs that BENEFIT Americans (ie; Medicaid, foodstamps, Pell grants) but how, in good conscience, can taxes be spent on bureaucracy that gets in between the people and the resources intended for them?

min 34- Feeling conflicted. Feeling confused. Feeling torn. Why is it that I am so misrepresented by every candidate. Who is the one that represents me?? No, I'm not a Dem, I've always been staunchly NON partisan, however I don't see a smart candidate meets me on the issues that matter most to me are environmental and economic responsibility, equality (yes, I mean gay marriage), truth, and protecting personal freedoms.

min 40- More applause. I'm going to go have a bowl of cereal now, as I ponder this.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Flight of the Conchords? Oui, ca va?

We were rolling around laughing tonight, watching these New Zealander's performances and music videos on youtube.

I like their song Foux Du Fafa because it really does take me back to my first-year-French-class, but this other one had me in stitches.

Oh, and I decided that Bret (the hotter one) should totally be my boyfriend ;-) especially now that we know, well, what he's into...

Everything except the roommate bit, anyways, lol.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

editorial note!

Ok, a couple of things to address here...

Firstly. Yes, it is the middle of the night. What happened to the new schedule? I don't know.

Secondly. Cora lost her first tooth on Sunday. Sorry, I forgot to tell you! So, she has a little baby tooth gap and a little grown up tooth has made a tiny appearance.

Thirdly. I got an unreal amount of stuff done today/tonight... Tuesday is my verybusyday. [ha! remember when Thursdays were crazy w/ teaching at the homeschool co op and having Thursday classes too? wow, time flies]
Ah, but no riding to school today, I had to take the kids to Harry's right before class...

Lastly. We did our first real work in Chem lab today, but it was easy and kind of boring. It should get more interesting in the coming weeks.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Diurnal-Girl, here

And I am feeling a little sleepy.

Probably because I have been kicking ass this weekend with housework, homework, and the gym. I'm back to the pre-vacation rhythm of going 5 days a week, but I actually wasn't a slug w/ my cardio, today. You know how you are 'supposed' to mix it up if you want to challange yourself? I did; instead of running or getting on the elliptical machine I used a bike and it was a nice workout. I feel healthy, and discovered that I can make it farther than I previously thought.

From now on, riding to school...