October 03, 2006

Highly Amusing

In class this week, Hubby had his students watch a movie and answer some questions based on the film.  It was immediately apparent that most of them had been too busy goofing off, working on other stuff, or chatting to pay attention to the video. In fact, less than 1/3 of them turned in the answers at the end of class.

So hubby had a pop quiz today.  The first four questions came directly from the movie questions.  Question number 5 was: "Why do you think we are having a pop quiz today?"

One kid raises he hand and asks "Are we taking this because everyone was talking and you warned us we'd have a quiz?"

Hubby answered in the affirmative.

Then another kid asked "so what is question 5 about?"  and then his friend says "Didn't you just hear [first dude] answer that already?"

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July 24, 2008

Nine, nine, number nine.

Happy Anniversary to the sweetest husband a girl could ever imagine. Even if you are a complete and utter dork.

I like you that way.

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October 08, 2008

Overheard in my house last night during the debate (R-rated language)

Obama is a tool.
He's really a dick. 
He should go swallow a dick. Wait, he is a dick.
Go swallow yourself, Barry.

Hysterical laughter, choking, and tears running down my face

(with one finger raised, as a finger puppet; in a cartoon voice) I'm a tool.

Hysterical laughter, choking, and tears running down my face.  Pain in my guts from the laughing.

Obama (on TV):
blah, blah, vote for me (pauses)

(same finger puppet and voice) Because I'm a tool!

Hysterical laughter, choking, and tears running down my face, hiccupping, now running for the bathroom...

Perhaps you either have to know my usually mild-mannered unflappable husband to get it.  Or maybe you had to be there.  Either way, I am still giggling 12+ hours later.

I love you, hon!

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November 15, 2008

Happy Birthday!

To my darling sweet wonderful husband!

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January 11, 2009

You're probably wondering...

What's all this twitter talk about Ted Kennedy being under my house?

Well, unfortunately, I don't have him locked in the slab a la Jimmy Hoffa, but he is in fact gone.  And really, that's preferable.

Because this is Ted Kennedy:

* Actor Portrayal, not an actual Kennedy

Dear Teddums is a skunk.  A skunk who decided that the underside of the stairs to our den was a perfect place to curl up on those cold winter afternoons.

Seems he knocked out a flimsy (likely VERY OLD) grill that was covering the entrance to the crawlspace under the main part of our house and found himself a cozy, warm spot to sleep in sometime Wednesday morning.

We left him to his own devices until we could do something about keeping him out, yesterday.  We flooded the crawlspace with light and turned on KROQ at top volume.

Teddy left the bar around closing time last night, as he had departed when DH got out of bed at 3:30 to check.

There's now a MUCH sturdier panel covering the crawlspace, which is actually secured to the wall itself, rather than just fit in place.

So why Ted Kennedy?  Well, yesterday I lamented that I wished the damn skunk would just LEAVE ALREADY, and Mike replied, "yeah, that's how I feel about Ted Kennedy too." And the name stuck.

Fare thee well, Ted.  Just stay the hell away from my house!

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January 21, 2009

Comfort and Canning

While most of the rest of you either watched or avoided the evening festivities surrounding the adulation of The One, I was busy in the kitchen.

Ooey-Gooey Mac N Cheese with bacon for dinner.  I needed comfort.  That's the very definition of comfort food.  Plus, I had to use up the last of the fancy cheeses from our New Year's Eve party, which were remarkably still mold-free.  I didn't want to press my luck further.  This was real white sauce Mac N Cheese, too.  A first for me.

After dinner it was back to the stove.  I'm like a kid after Christmas with my new toy.  Some of you may recall I got a small-batch canning cookbook for Christmas and I have been waiting for the stars to align to use it ( and by stars I mean time, inclination, and pectin). 

Last night I broke open the book for the first time and made a batch of Blood Orange Red Wine Marmalade.  Sadly, because our blood oranges are tiny, it made only a cup and a half.  Tonight I broke rule #1 and made a double batch.  Which made just over 4 cups.  YAY!

Then I decided to try and use up some of the apricots in the freezer that we got from our tree in the spring.  Batch #2 was a Winter Pear Apricot Jam.  That was tasty cleanup!  That recipe made 5 cups after skimming.  Not bad.

I was ably assisted by my awesome husband who is quickly learning the difference between tongs and jar lifters, and who has always been a dab ahnd at cutting, measuring, and heavy, hot lifting of pots and plates.

Net: 5.5 jars (+ a bowl in the fridge of leftover) Blood Orange Marmalade (two days), 5 jars Pear/ Apricot Jam, and half a casserole dish of leftover MacCheese.


Pictures as soon as I get a chance to download.

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January 29, 2009

Pictures and stuff

Lots of new pics on the Flickr page.  Including Flea performing with the Caltech Jazz bands (and our own Kjerstin, too!) and lots of glorious jam/marmalade food pRon.

Like this:

Winter Pear Apricot Jam

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February 14, 2009

Valentines Zen

Valentine's Day together #1: bought each other the SAME valentine stuffed animal.  Entirely without consultation.  Giggles and kisses ensued.

Valentine's Day together #15: walk into Costco, notice motion-detector fixture on good sale, toss it into cart. Look at roses and strawberries on display across from motion detectors and go, "Oh yeah, Valentine's Day."

Somehow, #15 was a hell of a lot better.

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February 27, 2009

Friday night fights

Well, so it didn't turn out terrible. We were taken seriously by some of the lions referenced below.

We'll see where things go from here.

And seriously, I have the awesomest husband in the universe.  I came home to delivery chinese food ordered and an expensive bottle of sparkling pink wine in the fridge.

Egg rolls and pink bubbles really make all the bullshit fade away.  Going to spend this weekend chilling and enjoying my time away from stress-world.  See you on the flip side.  Or at least on Twitter and Facebook.

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January 04, 2010

Everyone else is doing it.....

Taking a cue from Shannon, Rachel, Bou, and many others, I thought I'd do a decade-in-review as well.

So it turns out this is just part 1.  Wow.  Crazy.

'99 was a huge year for me, I got my engagement ring, interviewed for, and was accepted to graduate school, graduated from Caltech, adopted my Princess, got married, and moved to NC, all before August.  Then we lived through 2 hurricanes, I started grad school, DH got his army orders, and we celebrated our first Thanksgiving as a married couple the night before he left for Ft. Sill.  We celebrated Christmas together at home in Fresno (yay for leave!) and rung in the millenium in my parents' living room, all the while laughing at the Y2K fools.

2000 started off with a blizzard.  Back in North Carolina again, I think it snowed the whole month.  At one point I measured 30" of snow on our back stoop.  I fell on the ice and broke my tailbone.  We got broadband internet for the first time.  I was addicted.  In the spring I taught my first General Biology classes and fell in love with developmental neurobiology.  DH was transferred to Aberdeen Proving Ground for more training, and I got my first sight of Washington DC traveling to see him.  On that trip I also discovered IKEAs in both VA and MD (YAY!).  I brought him home in May for 3 weeks of TDY before shipping him off to Ft. Hood.  Dipshit Stalker (who was the best man at our wedding) arrived in July, emotionally destroyed after a failed marriage and lost military career.  He was good until he found an outlet to start drinking again....  More on that later.  In August I dropped a pot of spaghetti down the sink and KNEW that the pain I was having couldn't be good for me.  I was subsequently diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and started the odyssey of drugs, therapy, and bullshit that I have been on for almost 10 years now.  DH came home for Christmas, and we celebrated our first Christmas alone together.  I admit,  I went a little overboard, as I bought him what turned out to be a roomful of Star Wars toys.

After much indecision and not a little prodding from my program, I chose a thesis project, and began working on brain development in Schizophrenia.  In June we moved out of the apartment into our house in the country, dipshit stalker and his friends doing all the heavy lifting.  I paid them amply with beer and barbecue  About the same time I took and passed my qualifying exams, and DH, home on leave at the time, had his now-infamous drunk moment at the Carolina Brewery (ask him.  Funny!).  I flew home to CA for two weeks in July, best ticket deal ever ($197 round trip to LAX via Atlanta!).  In late August, DH and a friend conspired to surprise me, and he flew home on the same flight as the friend I was picking up at the airport.  He returned to Texas on September 9 so his unit could prepare for a field exercise scheduled to begin on 9/12. My other friend was scheduled to fly out on the afternoon of September 11.  She eventually left on 9/26.

I was awakened on 9/11 by the ringing of the phone.  My husband, eating breakfast and watching TV in the barracks had seen the first plane hit the Towers.  I turned on the TV just in time to see the second.  You know the rest.  I was numb and frightened for weeks, addicted to the TV.

DH eventually learned that he was not being deployed anywhere, and came home for Christmas, and the rest of the year passed quietly.

We spent New Years at Carolina Beach, and rang in the new year on the sand with poppers and champagne and group of friends, getting up in the morning at 5 am to get donuts from Krispy Kreme in Wilmington and watch the sunrise over the beach.

I continued working on my project and teaching.  We made plans for DH to begin earning his MAT when he finished his 3 year conscription.  I planted a garden, which the deer mostly ignored, and repainted the kitchen.

In the aftermath of 9/11 I discovered blogs.  My first "addictions" were Lt. Smash, a geek blogger named Jay Solo, The Accidental Jedi, and Dean's World.

Dipshit stalker got drunk one night, threw a tantrum, and threatened my life.  When I called him on it and threw him out, he hit me.  I called the cops.  They arrested him at work, gave him a TRO, and someone blew up my mailbox that night. I barely slept the next 6 months and left every light on. I got to know most of the Orange County deputy sheriffs.  Once they found out about what kind of military training he had, they circled my driveway every night for months, making sure he wasn't lurking somewhere in the woods surrounding the house.  Now you understand why I love cops.

In October, my Neon committed suicide under a Ryder truck (tire separation), and we got the Escape. In November, DH's contract finished, and he came home just in time for Thanksgiving, and then the storm of the century.  Ice fell from the skies and clogged up everything.  It was 6 degrees outside, and hundreds  of trees fell from the weight of the ice. We had three trees down in our driveway alone.  All the power was out for 7 days: no heat, water, stove, toilets, etc.  Everything in our house (including the water pump) was electric.  Thank God for the snow: it was like a great big natural freezer, so the food was good.  A tree fell on our brand new car, necessitating the first of many trips to the body shop.

The year began with a bang.  Two of our friends from LA flew in just before New Years, and we drove to Miami to see USC in the Orange Bowl vs. Iowa.  Of course we won. It was also my first trip to Pedro's South of the Border and the fireworks mecca that is South Carolina.  We made record time coming home, as we started listening to the National Championship game in Florida and saw the last two plays on our own TV. DH and I were both in school, me working on rat brains, and him first taking referesher science classes, and then beginning his MAT program.  It was a super productive year, workwise, generating the data that would be my first two papers.  dipshit stalker (although we can't prove it) broke into our house and stole some cash and my digital camera. Of course, it could have been a junkie, but then why didn't the other things of value walk away?  And how come only certain drawers were opened?

DH finished his MAT program and got a job teaching in Chatham county.  I got my first paper published.  In June we moved back into town so I could ride the bus to school (free in Chapel Hill!).  We became addicted to ESPN.  I started blogging (here) (finally!) after being a serial commenter for many, many years. Many of you became real friends, and not just people online. I taught myself to knit and crochet, and I learned the secrets of NC pig aka Eastern NC barbecue. In August we finally traveled to DC for real, road-tripping with the same football friends to the Black Coaches' Classic versus Virginia Tech at Fed Ex field.  We stayed in Landover and rode the Metro into the city, and walked around the Mall and the museums.  My favorite memory of the trip is sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial around 1 am, looking down the Mall.

2005 began with my advisor's announcement that he was leaving, so I needed to finish my project.  The winter was a whirl of surgery, explants, and writing, and I passed my committee in May.  In fact, I passed my thesis, left school, got on a plane, and flew to CA to look for a place to live.  We were coming home.  I finally got to meet a TON of my Bear Flag League blog colleagues at a brunch while we were in town. We returned to to NC finish the school year.  I taught neuroscience, gave my public defense, and on the last day of June we packed up the moving truck and our car and left NC behind.  We road tripped home, taking the 90 across through South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.  We met my blogchild (Paul) in Wisconsin, and had a crazy memorable dinner with Margi and family in Spokane.  We spent the 4th of July at Mount Rushmore.

Arriving in CA, we thought I had a job, and DH would be interviewing.  We settled on Pasadena, near my putative job, and with plenty of opportunities for him.  We chose a townhouse, and that afternoon I found out my job wasn't going to happen.  His however, DID come through, and he was hired after his first interview, for a job he still loves.  The townhouse came through just in time for the movers to drop off our things, and the next day we hurried back to Fresno for our friends' wedding. I looked for jobs all through the rest of the summer, and in October I was hired for a job I hadn't applied for, and which was, in fact, better! After I received my first paycheck, the first thing we did was go out and buy a sofa, since we left most of our furniture in NC.  I still miss my orange chair, for the record.  One of my biggest regrets is being talked into leaving it and my desk behind.

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April 12, 2010

Caught up but still catching up

Life is strange. They tell you this and you nod your head. Yes, oh yes. And then one day it happens, and the world falls into place, except the geometry is twisted.

I know that some of the people in my "RL" read this. I want you to understand this is not about you. This is not angry or complaining or confused. If you know about this you're most likely NOT one of the people I'm talking about, and I'd appreciate it if the rest of them didn't find out about this space.

So for the rest of you, a little story. There was once this girl, about 13. Smart, vivacious, outspoken. Sometimes arrogant. But not pretty. Not like the other kids, and very self conscious. Some people preyed on this. A lot of people. Including a girl I'll call K. K and her friends liked to make fun of this girl and her friends. for a number of reasons. Some of which were deserved. The girl also had a friend we'll call M. M and several other people and the girl were very close until one day the friends decided they didn't want to be friends with her either.

To this day, I don't know why. I guess I wasn't cool enough.

Anyway, the girl landed on her feet and found a new group of friends. Friends she still loves to this day (Hi Ben!) and one of whom she married.

Which brings me to the point of the story. Fast Forward 10 years. Turns out K is my husband's sister. Forward ten more years, M is now my husband's brother's new wife, and Saturday I was standing around talking to people who haven't deigned to speak to me in 15 years or more, and from whom I parted on less than amicable terms in some cases. Including my new Sister In Law.

Ain't that the shit? I haven't seen some of these people in two lifetimes, practically, and I'll see them again next week at another wedding. And I'm even FB friends with some of them all of a sudden. Which is ok. I'd rather know what they're up to than not. I mean, I never really stopped caring about them as people.

And I realize that I've spent the best part of the last decade hiding out. Pushing that part of my life away. Some of the reasons I had were good. Some were selfish. Some of them no longer exist. Some of them are gone forever.

I also realized that I feel like a stranger in what used to be my life. It's not like riding a bicycle. I'm just not that person anymore. My world is a different place, both spiritually and physically from what it was when I was that girl. Yes, everyone changes in 20 years, but not everyone needs a shoehorn to put on old shoes. As I stood there chatting about who does what and people's careers and kids and friends, I could feel the old patterns coming back. The old jokes, the snappy answers, the interaction was still the same, just less comfortable. As if trying on old clothes to check the fit. And I wanted to fit in, in spite of myself.

It's funny the hand life deals. I love my husband. But you can keep his family most days. They probably feel the same about me, and yet we are part of the same family. I love him and he loves them, so what choice do I have but to pitch in and be a sister to two people I would otherwise as soon have forgotten? The funniest thing is that my husband and his brother really haven't gotten along in years. For many good reasons. But they have grown closer over the last few months, due in large part to my new SIL and our own attempt at reconciling our problems.

So maybe this is a good thing, then, and my selfish anger and internal sense of righteous justice that burned its way out over the last year was just a waste of time, and the real answer is live and let live and love your family whether you chose them or got stuck with them.

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November 07, 2010

At the Crossroads

As some of you know I am at a decision point in my life.

My current job has gone to hell in a handbasket in more ways than I can count and all I can do right now is try to keep my own head above water and not get fired.  The administration is making what seem to be arbitrary decisions and striking out at vulnerable faculty and programs in the name of doing business better,  but the evidence (and I'll admit I am a bit biased) seems to point out the fact these decisions have been at best short-sighted, and at worst, disastrous.  Day by day it becomes clear that I can not count on having a job much longer, through no fault of my own.

So I have been looking around.

I July I applied for a local job, similar to what I am doing now, teaching the same kinds of classes, working with small groups of students, and being able to have a place where I can keep a small lab and give undergrads a chance to have some lab experience.  As a bonus, it would be a short "reverse" commute.  I didn't hear back right away, and I figured they didn't want me.  We'll call this Job #1.  They did eventually call me for a phone interview 'round about October 1, but I haven't heard from them since.

In August, I applied for another job, this one at a major research university in a VERY SMALL TOWN in another state.  Job #2 is a unique position, non-tenure track, but only because it focuses on teaching and student advising, rather than research.  I think it would be a great opportunity to use the skills and experiences that I have developed over the past 15 years to give students useful help as they navigate their college experience.  So I applied, despite the great potential for upheaval in my life.

Job #2 called me a week after the position solicitation closed and invited me to come for an interview.  Which I evidently nailed, because I am sitting in a hotel room in that same small town today.  Two weeks after my initial interview, they offered me the position, and after some back and forth, they invited BOTH of us up here for a weekend look-see.  We've been here since Friday afternoon, bumming around.  We've visited the campus, toured all of the neighborhoods, found the Co-Op in the next town over and even drove an hour out to the Costco.  Which we totally found by accident, although we were looking for it.

When I was here initially, they asked a realtor to drive me around town, and so I asked her to show us inside a few houses, so we could a real sense of what a house we would WANT to live in would cost, and how we would have to work it.  Because see, if we move here, we would have to rent out our house.  There's no way we could sell it, the market in LA being what it is, and so we needed to know what the numbers would be, and if we could afford to buy a house here, since rent and mortgage payments here are about the same.  Might as well get the benefit of the equity.  Not to mention that I'm not uprooting my life to live in a shack somewhere else when I have a house I love.

So we talked.  And gave her our list of needs, wants, and likes.  And of course, dammit, the first house we walked into we fell in love with.  It's quirky and has a huge yard and more storage space than we can fill right now, and of course, it would be long gone by the time we would be ready to move, should I decide to take the job.

And I stepped out on to the deck, and I saw my dogs running on the lawn, and a swingset and plenty of room for a garden, and all of the things  I would want in my life.  And I felt like I could be happy here.  Snow, small town and all.

It's a million years away from my life. But then again, there are so many things I want to change about my life.  I want to have time to focus on ME.  On getting me healthy again.  On my marriage, which is good, but won't stay that way if I just let it go.  On my puppies.  They need Mommy back.  I want to be able to go walking and work out and be able to cook dinner everynight without being bone-weary from a day from hell followed by a commute from hell.  I want to open my computer at night and not have to worry about discovering yet another pissing contest that I have to mop up.

And let's face it, I ain't getting any younger.... tick tick tick....

My biggest concerns are my husband and my family.  Who knows whether he can even FIND a job here?  There are fewer opportunities, even though most districts look for a science teacher more often than other disciplines.  And our families will be nearly impossible to reach, now.  Disappointing after reaching a detente with my inlaws and beginning to build a relationship with my nieces and nephew now that they're older. And of course my Mom and Dad aren't getting any younger, though they are both in reasonably good health now.

So many things are really positive: There's a heated, indoor therapy pool (!!!!) and an Arby's and a Wendy's and a DQ (none of which I have now).  Super Walmart just opened, and it is nicer than our current Target (at least this week) and you can even find a parking place.

Side item: the house we love faces the Walmart directly, though it is a few blocks away, and because both are on hills, you can see the Walmart from the kitchen window and vice versa.  Amusing as hell.

Traffic is a joke, though some people clearly don't know how to drive, and I shudder to think what most of these people would do with an LA freeway.

I am conflicted and I don't know what to do.  It's hard. Can I give up what has become comfortable and close to home for something entirely different, though not altogether bad? 

Alright y'all, weigh in.  I want to hear your thoughts....

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