Wednesday, August 30, 2006

treasure and trash, part 1


Her eyes lit up, and a little gasp escaped her lips, as her tiny four-year-old fingers reached for the shiny object lying there on the top of the pile. It was pearly white, cool, and smooth to her touch. She rubbed it lightly on her cheek, feeling the glossiness of the round jar.

With her other hand, she unscrewed the lid, and peeked inside. It was white too, and creamy. She sniffed. It smelled beautiful. She put the lid back on the jar, held it tightly, and went back to searching for treasures.

She stepped somewhat gingerly through the piles, as she was barefoot yet again. She was invariably barefoot, but not because she didn't have shoes, or didn't want to wear them. It was because she kept losing her shoes - well, one of them, anyway. She didn't know why the mate kept disappearing, and mommie could never find it. And it seemed pretty silly to wear just one shoe, so she went barefoot whenever the weather was even remotely warm enough. Otherwise, she was stuck at home. Mommie smacked her more over the shoe thing than she did over any of the other stupid things she said and did. And boy, did she say and do a lot of stupid things. She must, 'cause mommie wouldn't smack her that much if she weren't stupid.

She and her brothers came to this spot almost daily, to this empty lot in a quiet residential area. In the mid ‘60’s there was no garbage pickup in this town, so people who couldn’t get their trash to the dump – or just couldn’t be bothered with it – would drop their trash in the local empty lot. And if she looked hard enough, treasures could be found among the piles of refuse. Treasures like her beautiful jar of half-used cold cream. She felt rich with that jar in her hands…she felt like someone important.

Today, the only treasure revealed was her pearly jar – but the jar was a serious find, so she was happy. She smiled to herself, a smile that could be seen in her eyes, and wandered off, away from the dump area and back into the neighborhood to find someone to play with.

Eventually, she walked into a small group of kids, some her age, some older, playing in a yard, close to a carport. She watched, from the outskirts, like she usually did. Her pale eyes – eyes that one day, forty plus years in the future, someone she had a crush on would describe as aqua – missed nothing. Her hands clutched her treasure...holding it close to her...keeping it safe.

~to be continued~

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

a clean bill of health

After bloodwork last week and a visit with the endocrinologist yesterday, I got lots of pats on the back for getting my triglycerides and bad cholesterol and blood sugar down dramatically. I can still do a bit better, but for a summer of exercising to do that much, it really shows the benefit of working out regularly. She couldn't even pretend to be serious about the work I still need to do, because the changes were so positive. Yay me!

Just as an example, my triglycerides, which have been over 300 in the past, need to be at 100 (because I am prone to high blood sugar, and triglycerides affect that -- normally, one would aim to stay below 150). They were 160 in February, now they are 129.

On another note, I am apparently old enough to need a bone density test. After a visit with my gynecologist as well yesterday, I now have to schedule another mammogram (now yearly), a bone density test, and a pelvic ultrasound for an ovarian cyst.

moving along

Got the syllabus to the office to be copied for the first day of class.

I had a few moments of panic about a week or so ago. I had done the syllabus at the library, and put it on a floppy disk (they don't have cd burners), and when I went to print it out at work, my work computer read the disk as not formatted. Wouldn't access the data. So I tried at home, and the same result. So I went back to the library, and tried with their computers. I mean, if I did the original on those computers, they should read it now, right? But no, I got the same response.

Now, this syllabus and handout represents several hours of work, and I was completely panicked about potentially having to redo all that work. So I sat there for a moment, and then did what I do best -- repeat behavior that hasn't worked the first time. I clicked back onto the disk again in windows explore, but this time, it read the files on the disk. Whoo hooo!

So then, to avoid the problem, I tried to email the documents to myself, but the damned computer wouldn't let me email. I tried both our university email and yahoo, and couldn't get either one to work. So, I copied the files to my dissertation disk, since I had read that one the same day and knew it worked. And voila! Now I have my files.

All I need to do now to prep for class is dust off my lecture notes and burn the student cd's this weekend.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

books, glorious books!

I loooove the hell out of barnes and noble. As I've blogged before, I could spend days and thousands of dollars in that store. Popped by last night with rugrat before the movie. Picked up a book that I read the first time my senior year of high school: Green Darkness, by Anya Seton (yes, the paperback version -- hard covers are so damned expensive). Somehow the copy I had disappeared over the years of moves as a young adult. I'm going to attempt to read it, even if it is heavy reading and I'm in the middle of a dissertation. I love Seton's works, she pays particular attention to historical accuracy, which I appreciate. Just because it's fiction doesn't mean the author can't be accurate in the telling. If books weren't so expensive, I might have picked up my other favorite by her, Katherine.

I also love Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I have several of his, even a few first edition/first printings that I got on ebay.

I'm also partial to Isabel Allende, and I have a few of hers.

And Sherman Alexie, he's particularly good. I only have one of his right now, I used to have a few, but lost them over the years. I'd love to re-possess a few.

And of course, my favorite US History books, goes without saying.

And I'm still picking up the occasional classic from the past that I've lost over the years.

If I had a house, I'd devote one whole room just to books. I'd have bookcases lining the walls, full of books, and huge comfy chairs to sit in while reading. Good light to read in. But no tv in the book room. Maybe music for background, but I'm not even sure about that.

Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

conversation snippet

rugrat: where you going?
boyfriend: to your room
rr: why?
bf: I'm going to lay down on your bed for awhile.
rr: why?
bf: my back is hurting.
rr: need a massage, baby?

As I dropped rugrat off at her bf's on Friday afternoon, and watched them walk toward his mom's apartment, her arm tucked into the crook of his elbow as they walked, I was struck by just how lucky she is to have this guy. She really found a nice one this time, and she deserved it after that last one. Did I mention his favorite store was Barnes and Noble? A guy after my own heart, lol.

I don't think I mentioned that he was hit by a car when he was a kid. Hit and run, I think. Damaged his hip and leg, and he had a few surgeries after to repair damage. Apparently he needs more surgery, but he doesn't have medical insurance and can't get it done. He's not really supposed to be in a job where he has to stand all day, nor one that requires a lot of up and down lifting that would put pressure on the hip. But without a college education, his options are limited. (That's what was behind the conversation above -- he does find himself in pain often.)

I haven't posted a full photo of the two, but it occurred to me that they've plastered photos of themselves all over both their myspace accounts, and on friends' accounts too, so what harm could come of posting one here. This is rugrat and bf:

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

next steps

I have to get my syllabus to the right support staff soon, so it'll be ready on the first day of class.

Also, I need to start getting additional readings scanned into e-res so that I can add them to the student disk. This weekend I'll make sure I have all the new readings copied, and take them in on Monday.

Then I need to buy cd's and write all the disks. Basically, I take all additional readings and documents that I think they can use for class -- I've put together some really good resources, not just for this class, but that they can use afterward -- and I put them on a cd for each student. You just can't count on blackboard or e-res, cause systems go down, and they are difficult to access. So it's something I do for the students -- well, mostly for the students, but also for my own peace of mind.

Monday, August 07, 2006

all quiet on the front

I didn't hear from rugrat, so about midnight I called to see if she was gone or coming home. She was still in an 'attitude' frame of mind, so after hearing that she planned to take a taxi home, I hung up. Bf paid for the taxi. I locked the front door so she'd have to wake me up, so I'd know when she got home (2:15 am).

I had removed the electric cord and battery from the laptop, and the little credit-card sized cards that go in the digital cable boxes (no tv without the cards in place), so she wouldn't have internet or tv when she got home.

Still, she was up all night, in and out of her room, not quite slamming the door, but opening and closing it loud enough to keep me awake.

I wound up calling in sick at work, cause I'd literally been up all night with her, the little snot. She did it on purpose.

I am using the cord to the laptop to check email, etc., then it goes right back in my handbag. She will have no internet or tv until she decides to get her act together. And I'm not asking for much, really, in the grand scheme of things: to pick up after herself, help around the house, go to bed at a reasonable hour. That's not so damned much.

I kind of wish that I could make a lot of noise and keep her up all day, but the damned ankle biter sleeps like a freakin' log.

My eyes still burn, I may have to go take a bit of a nap.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

rugrat takes a walk

Rugrat has become a funny mix of easy yet difficult lately -- and I mean more so than normally.

Her sleeping patterns have been changing over the summer, until she is staying up all night and sleeping all day. While up all night, she is on the computer -- AIM, myspace. The computer is worn out, and with the lights and air conditioner on all night our bill shows it. And when she is sleeping all day, she clearly isn't doing any work. And she's sleeping mainly in the living room, because her own room is uninhabitable.

She hasn't followed up on her working papers at school, or on any possible jobs, so basically, she's just a lazy assed kid sitting around the house doing nothing when she's not hanging with friends.

Sunday night is one of the nights I drive her to her boyfriend's house and then pick her up later. And today, she was supposed to get all the dirty dishes out of her room and wash them; fold and put away two loads of clothes she did during the week; and wash at least two more loads. I even got quarters so she could use the laundry room washer, since ours was broken.

Instead, she fell asleep on the sofa, and fell asleep hard. She didn't hear her phone ring or anything. I woke her up three times and told her she'd better get busy or I wouldn't drive her. I can't be sure she was completely awake, but she did respond with some grumps and whines, and then went back to sleep.

Miraculously, she manage to wake up 25 minutes before she was to be at the bf's. She came into my room, rushing me with 'mom, we need to leave.' I of course let her know it wasn't happening -- that I wasn't taking her anywhere since she hadn't done her work.

Think major storm, stomping, slammed doors, and very loud music for about 10 minutes, then another tirade in my room cause she thought I'd give in. I didn't. So 5 minutes later, she informs me that she's going anyway, and she'll just walk. It's about a 40 minute walk, maybe more since she's not much of a power walker, if you know what I mean.

I told her that the whole point of this wasn't just that I wouldn't drive her, but that she wasn't going because her work wasn't done. With an 'I'm sorry if I have a commitment to my boyfriend,' she went out the door anyway. I made the mistake of yelling after her that if she left, the door would be locked when she got back.

So as of this writing, I have no idea if she's even coming home, or when. Or what I'll do when she gets here. Or if I should let her bf know what's going on, so that he can back me up.

Life with a 16 year old girl. And the $64,000 question is, will we make it till she's 18.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

25 things

I'd like to do before I die. Resurrected from the other place.

1. Pay off my students loans (although it’s not bloody likely).
2. See grandkids (although not for another 20 years or so…please!).
3. Actually be able to purchase a home (instead of renting).
4. Lose the last 30 pounds and keep them off.
5. Finally conquer my addictions (or at least learn to live with them).
6. Go back into public policy work.
7. Run for a public office.
8. Win the bid for a public office.
9. Travel. A lot. Everywhere. Internationally.
10. Finally become fluent in Spanish.
11. Then learn another foreign language (French?).
12. Be named ambassador to a foreign country.
13. Run the NYC marathon, and end with a respectable time.
14. Finish my memoir (the current one—of the welfare years).
15. Learn how to sail.
16. Go sailing (long term—maybe around the world).
17. Finish the dissertation (ok, that's a joke -- I hope!).
18. Figure out where I come from (genealogically).
19. Take a vacation. A real one. With no kids.
20. Pursue my interests in history and archeology.
21. Actually build a savings account (and don’t spend it).
22. Learn more about farming i.e. growing my own food.
23. Learn to shoot and take care of a gun (various kinds).
24. Find someone. The right someone for me.
25. Die before my kids do (I do not want to outlive my kids).