Thursday, October 31, 2002

The post-Halloween Report

It's been a long day.

I went to Geoff's school this morning for a holiday pancake breakfast.

It was a lot of fun. I wasn't going to go, I have a ton of work I've been putting off, what with feeling useless and unloved and soon to be unemployed even by unemployment... When I told Geoff I wasn't coming to the pancake party, he was crestfallen.

I got home, thought about it... and went back. I can work tomorrow. He's rather important. And boy was he thrilled to see me.

Here are geoff's pancakes. They had several toppings for the pancakes, most of the kids were just glomming on bananas or blueberries (the long skinny things are carrot strips)... geoff painstakingly made these two faces on his plate. They cracked me up so hard, I had to take a picture of them. The one on the right looks like he's actually looking at me. Too damn funny. We then ate them. Eyes first!

One of my patented take a picture of us with camera at arm's length things. Geoff is looking at his friend Ramon.
This is Geoff when I walked in. That's a boy happy to see his mom, ain't it? This smile MADE my day. I could almost cry looking at it right now.

Leaving the party wasn't easy. He wanted me to stay, or wanted to go with me... I had to convince him that my presence there was special, but I had to get to the college to see professor MF, and I'd see him tonight. He grudgingly went downstairs back to his class, with me fearing he'd be a pain in the ass all day... I couldn't worry about it though... I had to get to the College, and it is in Salem, MA, Witch City USA.

I barely made it to the college on time for the class, and as luck would have it, CuSeeMe was broken.

We had some students able to access it, but none of us at the college were able. We called their tech support, got the run around, MF gave them a ration of shit. They told us they'd connect us to the original guy we'd dealt with since May and she told them not to bother because he is no help... she was mad. They told us they'd call right back with a status on when things would be back to normal.

We waited a while and that guy, Mr. CuSeeMe as I call him, called her back. He let us know they were working on the problem AND, this is the ass kicker, told her that we could have our own private room as a test... set us up with it, and we're good to go. It's awesome. We're psyched. Class ended just as CuSeeMe came back online, and I bolted in order to get home and get the kids ready.

I got home from MF's class and got the kids dressed. We didn't know if Halloween started at 5, 5:30 or 6, so we settled for 5:30 and headed out. This Halloween, unlike last Halloween, was gorgeous weatherwise. The air was crisp and very cold, but no wind, no rain. The sky was overcast, and it kept the air from becoming even colder. It was, by all accounts, one of the better weather years we've had. And weather combined with willing kids makes for a very very fun celebration. We set out to meet our friends Steve and Shelley... Jessica ended up going one way with Steve and their daughter (her best friend) Maddy and another girl from their immediate neighborhood, Geoff wanted to go another direction. So Doug and I went with him.

Defending the Realm against usurpers and other meanies, Sir Geoff the Knight readies for battle!
Both my kids -- total hams. Jessie enjoyed the rose in her mouth thing, and the crystal ball was the icing on the cake.
I sprayed crazy black hair stuff in her hair. It made her hair gray because I couldn't get enough of the stuff in there to cover the blonde... dig that crystal ball!
And again -- another shot of jess, with the rose and ball.
Our new neighbor was a kitten. She had a great time going out and about.
Maddy is a little devil...
Steve and Shelley, hamming it up as usual... They're a good time.

Geoff was into it this year, and it was so fun to watch him.

He walked up to screen doors and yelled "Trick or Treat!", but didn't ring doorbells, so he'd have to yell louder to get their attention. It cracked us up.

In one doorway there was a boy dressed all in black, spread eagled out on his porch. Geoff approached with great caution -- the bowl of candy was between the boy's legs.

He looked like a fake body, clothing stuffed and thrown out onto the porch for scary impact. Before we got to the house I saw him sitting up and talking to someone inside, so I knew he was human. He had on a black ninja mask, so his face was completely covered.

Geoff gently took a candy out of the bowl and said "Happy Halloween," softly.

Initially I was sure this kid was going to jump up and scare him, but instead he softly said back, "and you too."

Doug and I laughed -- Geoff was slightly confused, and we talked to the kid for a while. He said he only jumps up and scares his friends and the bigger kids (there were plenty of them... and they were all nice).

So I gotta hand it to the older kids in my town. They are classy. Tons of them passed us, and gave greetings. They seemed all so incredibly polite... unlike many of my memories of being that age, or dealing with kids that age when I was younger.

Here are two kids we met, Jessie and James from Team Rocket!

A house near Steve and Shelley's was decked out old school with all kinds of strobe lights, crazy scary lights, and big HUGE speakers cranking out AC/DC's "Hell's Bells." It was a riot. You could hear it all over town, and all the parents were laughing and getting into it. They kept looping the song over and over, just the beginning... sometimes letting it get further into the tune. They let the CD play most of the way through at one point, and then switched back to their original song. When "Hell's Bells" would start again, Geoff would say, "I love this song, it's the Halloween song!"

We were up in the neighborhood up the hill and around the corner from us, where we never go on a regular basis. In fact, I haven't been up there since we moved in and I was scoping out the view. You could hear the music all the way up there, and someone in that vicinity set off fireworks which lit up the sky and made tons of noise.

It was a great Halloween One I'll remember for some time to come. Not nearly as much as the one we had 2 years ago when Jessie was the knight and Geoff was the dragon, and Aaron and Michelle came and spent it with us and we went trick or treating with Hard Cider in our hands AND it was 60 degrees out (I have pictures from our getting ready time and Geoff is out on the porch BAREFOOT that year... it was a very comfy night). That was the best halloween ever. This one would have been if A&M could have been here too. But it kicked ass nonetheless.

We got home, the kids didn't over eat candy, Doug made grilled cheese sandwiches. I have to tuck Geoff in pretty soon, he's had it. I think I have too.

Happy Samhain to anyone reading this who actually celebrates the ancient traditions, by the way. As an Irishly-rooted person, I feel the traditions of this particular holiday are lovely. As for me in the 21st century, tomorrow being All Saints Day I say the traditional prayers of remembrance in the Episcopal book of common prayer. They give homage to the old traditions of the ancient religions, and are one example of Christianity picking up on a good thing. I will remember Clayton. Be sure to remember someone, and thank God for their presence in your life, making you the person you are today.

Monday, October 28, 2002

Autumn is an Ache

I'm not depressed, angry or sad about not getting the job or anything... just so you know. I've gotten email from complete strangers and friends I've made through this journal, and am touched that people care. Not getting the job kind of bummed me out, but not enough to quit writing and crawl under a rock. I simply have been busy doing a lot of nothing, all of it not in front of this computer. So that is the reason for my absence. Thanks for asking.

I inadvertently caused my sister a great deal of home sickness with the above banner picture.

She is in Florida, where there is no fall, there is no snow. And there in the picture is a combination of the two. It hit her hard -- she isn't going to see fall at all this year, and may get to see snow at Christmas if she's lucky.

I didn't mean to drive her into a great sadness. It was just a picture. I printed it for her on my new printer, color glossy and the whole 9 yards, and I am going to get it framed for her. I'll give it to her and it won't be a Christmas present, like I thought it would be. It'll be a just for no reason present. All nice and ready to beautify a wall wherever she lives for the rest of her life, be it north or south, east or west.

We did a geocache on Friday afternoon with one of Doug's co-workers. She was so interested in geocaching after Doug explained it to her that she ran out and bought a GPS and she and her sons attempted what they thought would be a nice easy one. Turns out the guy who put this one out there also put out the one that skunked us on our first attempt (thanks, Fismo!) and so they couldn't find it. Doug, being the seasoned geocacher, figured he'd walk right up to it.

We couldn't find it either. There was another cache in the same area, by the same guy, and so we went and found that one easy as pie.

After we split up to head our own way home from Doug's friend and her son, we realized our error and think we know where it is now. Unfortunately, after work caching is now done because of frigging daylight savings time. We'll have to cache on weekends or holidays, until the snow comes. So far we've found 31, and have only had to revisit two of them to find them. This has been a fun hobby, and we're not done yet. I'm just hoping the snow holds out.

I know exactly where we are going to put one when we're ready to put one out there. I just hope no one beats us to it.

I took the kids to the one that Ivy, Jamie and I did on Monday because we all needed a walk, Doug was sleeping, and it was so easy I knew Jessica would be able to find it in a second, and she did. We left the house at 3:50pm, finished finding the cache and got in the car at 4:45pm, and it was already too dark to be walking in the woods. It broke my heart. Just a few months ago the sky would have looked like this at 8pm. We've lost three hours of light, and it's only going to get darker. I hate it.

It doesn't matter to me that it is lighter in the morning. I'm not a farmer. I don't get up at 5 to plow fields. This is stupid. It should so be abolished. Stupid daylight savings time.

Anyway -- I did grocery shopping, we did church, we watched football. It was pretty much a weekend away from the computer and I needed that. Unfortunately, I've got a project to finish for CM, and have some more work for MF to do this week. I can't believe it is week 9 of the semester already. There are only 15 weeks. Gah!

Wayne and Marcia are coming by at about 11am with the first set of pieces for the built-in entertainment center. Wayne did a ton of work on them this week, and it's all falling into place. The bottom is the hard part. The rest of the piece, above 36 inches, is shelving and he'll be able to build that out quickly. Doug and I need to pick a stain for it, and then I get to stain it.

I'm actively looking for a job, and sent out about 20 resumes in the last 48 hours. I'm contemplating contacting a head hunter. Professor CM is hoping to create a grant-funded position for me to work at the college again. I'd take it in a heart beat. He wants a 2 year grant that would pay between 40 and 50 grand annually. I don't know if grant funded positions come with W4s or if they are 1099 contractor positions, so if I got such a job and the grant didn't have my taxes withheld I'd only make between 20 and 25 k in the end, which would kind of suck. But... it beats getting no money. And it'd be working for him. Which would so rock. I miss spending time with him on a more regular basis. Not only is he funny as hell, but he inspires me and we have so much to talk about workwise. He's such a techno-whore, and he keeps me feeling fascinated by the net. I have been lacking that kind of spark since getting laid off. My boss at my last company was always thinking of what the web could do for what she wanted... and I'd research it and find out. We were a good team.

I miss that kind of work relationship. I don't get that here at home. Not to dis home or anything -- I love being here. I just miss a more concrete intellectually challenging work environment.

Speaking of home -- dishes call my name. Have a great day... and here are some dogs to make you smile (they even fit in with the color scheme of the page!) Check out Jack's tail on the back of the couch... it's so furry and cute. Kinger looks as if he's mentally communicating "Please get him off of me!" to me. But the two of them were cuddled really nicely together before I came in with the camera and Jack got all excited to have his picture taken. He's evil, but cute.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

and the winner is....

here are a couple of you who are checking this journal on a five-times daily basis to see if I got the job. So, without much further adieu --

I didn't.

I got email today from the woman who would have been my boss had they picked me, letting me know they are going with a candidate who currently works for a company like Blackboard or WebCT, who is a former educator.

I always come in second place to someone with exceptional skills. I like that I am close enough to be in the running, but hate that they don't say, "Ya know... this one has a lot of potential and we can pay her less than the bloody farking expert. Let's pick her!"

Alas. I'm going to start looking hard for a new job. I don't know if I'll hear from the college again on a different job that they anticipate an opening for. I wish Prof CM would quit his job and start his own company for us to run and kick ass on. I wish he'd write a 2 year grant funded position that would make me a job instantly doing all kinds of cool technology stuff for him.

I wish a lot.


Well, I'm not too down on the situation, so don't pity me and get all schmoopy on me. It'll all work out. It always does. All things work for good. And we're on that track.

We geocached yesterday afternoon. The snow melted and contrary to what the weather said it didn't rain after all. It was a gorgeous day, and we made good use of it. No ticks picked up. Cache found. Life is good.

We're caching tomorrow afternoon with one of Doug's coworkers. She's the ESL teacher in his school district, and he had told her about geocaching a month or so ago. She ran out and bought a GPS, but didn't get mapping software to go with it and was confused because she couldn't figure out how to get from her house to the waypoint. Why is the screen blank? What is going on??? So he took her GPSr (Garmin Etrex) and figured it out pretty fast. We'll use our GPs to show her how it is done (she was kind of frustrated and he doesn't want her to turn negative on it, because it is just so much fun) and he explained to her that the GPs is only part of the gear needed to go. She needs a cable to attach to her PC, she needs mapping software (our cable and software aren't compatible), so she understands more now.

It's fun teaching people stuff.

Here are some foliage pictures (by the way, I printed the un edited copy of the banner today on my new photo printer and it looks astonishing. I'm such a freakin' artist!

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

A surprising snowy day

Normally it does not snow here before my birthday in November. Today, an exception to the 35 year rule. The news reports last night said that west of Worcester they'd see accumulating snow to about an inch, here -- some flakes but nothing.

Worcester must have a foot of snow this morning because we have an inch.

Geoff was thrilled beyond belief with the sight. Jack puppy wasn't nearly as interested. I had hoped puppy's first snow would be a delight for him and for me to witness. Oh well. Geoff thinks it's going to snow all day while he's at school and he'll be trapped there, as the Simpsons leads him to believe. It should all turn to rain and be gone by the time school lets out. Here are a couple quick pictures, and of course the banner is inspired by the fact the foliage is still falling, even though the snow is here too. But, as I said... it is fleeting. 'Twill be all gone and but a memory this afternoon.

The mums on the porch are weighed down by the snow. I feel the urge to go around the yard and clean all the plants off to keep them from getting hurt.
Fall and winter collide right in my own backyard.

In other news, yesterday Wayne came down from his place and we spent the afternoon designing and planning the home entertainment built in shelving unit that I've been talking about here for just ever. He's really smart with design and building... my husband was insulted that I called Wayne for this, but he should not be. See, here's the deal -- Wayne's good with this stuff and in exchange for what I'm good at (web design) we made an agreement (Doug was sitting there, and I guess he just doesn't recall all of this...) that we'd trade. I'd build him a family site, he'd build me some rocking furniture. Done deal.

I didn't tell Doug that the plan was to get this done in the near future (the conversation took place this summer) so he was mad. I didn't consult him, and I guess I undermined his home improvement skills by calling in a professional hobbyist.

But it's not to undermine his skills. This is a lot more than putting up some shelves that you buy at home depot. This is building a nice piece of furniture. that is scalable so we can get a bigger TV and not have to rip anything out. This is cabinetry, not shelving. This is going to look the bomb when Wayne is done. I have priced units that would fit into the space we have, and they are (at the unfinished furniture. store) well into the thousands of dollars, unfinished. So far, for the bottom part of the cabinet, materials were about 125 bucks. The top part will be very easy -- probably a total of 50 bucks. Then we paint or stain to our liking and viola, the nicest thing we own. Done.

I do feel bad that Doug was insulted and mad at my going forward with this, but also frustrated because I am trying to be proactive and get stuff done while possible. I need to get a full time job, at least by January, and then will have no time to do any of the stuff I set out to do. I'm feeling the pressure, as if I know my own date of death, or as Homer felt -- having 24 hours to live -- and I have this list of stuff to do and a looming "dead" line. Doug has done a lot of the home improvement stuff we've needed done this year, and I'm really proud of him for doing those things. But I totally feel that the ceiling and this cabinetry are so important for me to get done that I've just got to do it.

I know he reads this, and I know I should be telling him these things -- but last night he sent me loud and clear signals that he didn't want to talk to me about it, and I'm hurt and he's hurt and I guess that's where it stands.

I love my husband -- I appreciate my friends who are helpful... I have ideas and plans that I want to accomplish. I shouldn't have to feel defeated in my efforts to make this a better place to live. We've got issues with the dogs sneaking around the house doing their outdoor business (when they were JUST outdoors), we've got issues with Geoff stemming from bedwetting or not getting awake enough to actually pee into the toilet, so I've got THAT to contend with. There is so much that I feel is blocking me from keeping this place livable that I feel like I am going to freak out screaming and run into the woods pulling my hair out, never to return.

So much to do... and so little time.

I got email last night from another friend of Clayton's who just recently heard about his passing. He's read the content in the journal, and I guess it's good that it is there for him, and others who had no idea. The alumni magazine announcement that I wrote still sits in my inbox, my heart unwilling to send it to the publications department to have it run... so the Alumni director put a simple two sentence announcement into the most recent quarterly publication. But I doubt anyone who graduated around our time looks at the "In Memoriam" section... usually it's filled with people who graduated the same year Mr. Burns graduated from Yale. Only one other time have I seen anyone from the 80s listed there. Perhaps I should still send it in. With a great picture from that time... perhaps they'll still run it if they have space. I don't know.

Anyway... all my chatting here about needing to get work done has me... needing to get work done. I've got two webpages to build and another possible project lined up. I've got drywall joint compound in a 61 lb container calling my name from the garage. Sigh. Gotta do what a gal's gotta do. More later.

Monday, October 21, 2002

Clayton's Birthday

Exactly six months ago CAL passed away... and today would have been his 35th birthday. I marked the occasion by giving the altar flowers at our church yesterday. Saturday morning I went and bought them -- they are gorgeous and I'm supposed to got get them and have them here, but I didn't make it over there today.

I spent the day with his sister and his old roomie Jamie. We spent a lot of time just gabbing, laughing, and didn't mention him once.

I think it was good to do it that way instead of dwell on him.

To be completely honest, I would love to pour my heart out to them about how much I miss him so damn much, how I see and hear things all the time and say "oh, that reminds me of..." or "oh, he would have liked that."

The geocache that we did was close and nice, and way too easy. Doug taught me over the phone how to put the coords into the GPS, so now I'm dangerous -- I know how to do it and just might do that on my own when I'm unattended by the rest of my family. Why the hell not.

We had lunch at the Chinese restaurant up the street from my house and we were the only patrons. So it was kind of odd. I enjoyed their company greatly on this day.

Fall is slowly infesting the area, and each day is glorious. But I'm noting a lot of naked branches, which means her lush cloak of color is quickly falling off to reveal her bare essentials. I have a feeling it will be a long and somewhat depressing winter. I don't know if that's just me feeling bummed today because of the whole CAL thing, or if I really feel that way for real.

Well. Sorry this is a shitty boring entry. I'm just glad that I had fun with Jamie and Ivy, got in a good and fun geocache, and only picked up a few ticks in the walk (stupid little bastards). I guess that's about all. Honestly -- more happy fun ball entries lie ahead. I'm almost done annotating my archives, and so that's been loads of fun, looking back on the contents of each entry in the past. I'm glad I'm doing it too, because I realized that the links to my archived entries off the monthly pages for the past 2 months are all broken, so I fixed them all. Huzzah.

ipswich river at dusk, bradley palmer park 10/18

Sunday, October 20, 2002

PBS, geocaching

PBS has done it again. Those jerks have sucked me in whole hog with yet another historical recreation "reality" show. You know how fond I was of "Frontier House."

Well, thanks to the friends at the BBC, our local PBS is now showing "Surviving the Iron Age," which takes place in West Wales around 800 B.C. It was filmed in 2000, and this is the first time I think I've seen it here in the states... at least on our local PBS.

I haven't gotten sucked in nearly as badly as I did with "Frontier House," but I'm fascinated by some of the people on the project.

One of them is exceptionally brilliant (Chris) and another is exceptionally insane (Yasmin).

There seem to be only four episodes, and I've seen two. Which is sad because I like the program and I don't think you can get a real understanding and feel for the project with just four episodes... But they only lived up there for like five or seven weeks or something, unlike the six months the volunteers spent on "Frontier House."

PBS will be showing another BBC series called 1940s house, which focuses on life in London during WWII. I'm intrigued. The bombings, the war, the rationing, the air raids... all narrated by Geoffrey Palmer ("As Time Goes By"). I'll be tuning in.

Yesterday we were planning a go down to Bonnie and Duncan's in the big City (er ah, er ah, Bahstin) for some urban geocaching. Doug got up and picked the caches in the Arnold Arboretum for us to do, and then checked the weather.

The news was not good. It was expected that before 2pm it would start raining and blowing harsh windiness on us, so Doug thought it best if we didn't go down. I agreed -- being on the hill at the Arboretum when it starts to wind and rainstorm on you is no party, so I called Bon to reschedule.

I was disappointed, so was she. I think we should have just gone to the city ANYway... and I moped around the house for a while. Doug went out and got the lawn mowed (most likely for the last time this year unless we get another warm couple weeks for the rest of this month) and cut down the sunflower heads so we can dry them for their seeds.

At 5pm it finally started raining, and was really just a little pissy storm. We SO could have gone down there, geocached, spent time hanging around the schitty, but no.

Sigh. Disappointment 101.

We geocached Friday after Doug got home from work, it was a quickie, but we all picked up ticks. I thought we'd had a good frost that knocked those suckers down, but I was wrong.

The sun set at 5:57, and at 6:06 we abandoned our search for the second cache right in the same area and decided to do it another day with more time.

We took the dogs swimming in Topsfield in the darkness, with the full moon shining on the lake. There was a sharp drop off where there used to be a paved boat launch that the town seems to have removed, and I was quite anxious about Geoff falling into the pond in the dark. I hate that it is pitch dark at 6:30 p.m. now, and I hate knowing that in a week or so we'll be turning the clocks back and making it even darker earlier. Gah.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

It was 7:55 a.m

Doug was up and out of bed, and turned the alarm off rather than leaving it in a state to cause me to hit the snooze several dozen times while he showered and got ready in the bathroom.

For a half hour, I slept deeply. Very deeply. I had this dream in which my friend Ben was telling me a story about helping a Puerto Rican maintenance worker from the college move from one apartment to another.

In the dream, he tells me that while he is getting ready to meet the guy the phone rings. It is 1:30 in the morning (in his story) and he can't figure out why he needs to help a guy start moving at 1:30 in the morning. He can't even figure out WHY he's helping this guy, because he hardly knows him, and can only think that he's "a big fat sucker." So I start laughing at his self depreciation. He lets the machine answer the ringing phone because he is in a hurry.

The voice in the other end of the phone starts babbling hoping Ben will pick up, which he doesn't. Ben imitates the man in a voice that sounds a lot like "Fez" from "that 70s Show."

The man wants to know when Ben will be there, and eventually says something like "Oh, Ben. I guess you are already gone so I'll stop talking. You aren't picking up so I'll see you later..." the usual thing people do when they know the person isn't there... all in Fez Voice coming out of Ben's mouth.

And im my dream, I'm reclined on the couch in his livingroom laughing. Laughing my ass off.

I can smell bagels, and I can hear Sports Radio with Dennis and Callahan on WEEI Boston in the background. I'm laughing and laughing at Ben's Fez imitation and his ongoing exploits in regards to helping the guy move... And I'm aware in my sleep that I'm in the kind of place while sleeping where you're awake but asleep. I feel like any second now I'm going to start laughing in my own bed instead of on the brown couch at 1 South Street.

I still smell bagels, and I hear Ben telling more of the story in his own voice. Couches, staircases... And there is this amazing levity in my heart, I think there is a smile on my face while I'm asleep here...

I hear, "Good morning Geoffrey."

I hear, "Good morning Dad. I pee'd my bed. I have to get mom."

There is a naked little boy standing next to my bed telling me that he needs a shower. He woke me up rather than letting his dad (who I heard offer to help and attempted to stop him from waking me up, by the way) put him in the shower.

"No, I want mom to do it."

What's the difference kid?

Why do I have to put you in the shower when your own father, a willing participant at this moment, offers to do it? Is there something special about the way I turn on the water and yell at you to wash your whole body and not miss a spot? Is there something special that only I can do in regards to making sure the shower head is aimed correctly and the curtain is closed all the way?

It is 7:55a.m. This is my life.

I'm not sure why that dream-me thought Ben's story was so funny. I don't remember details of the story of the move, just the Fez Voice. I'm not sure why Ben would be helping some guy move other than he has a really big Dodge Durango. I realize as I'm scrubbing the mattress and trying to analyze the source of such a bizarre dream that my day is now officially "on." I am up, Geoff ran to the bathroom and Doug makes the assist and gets the shower running (he also gets him out of the shower while I'm cleaning up his dirty laundry).

Last night Jessica pulled out a loose tooth, all on her own, without fuss. She said it was loose for one day. She's got two teeth that have been loose for six months and refuse to come out. The adult teeth are up behind them, resulting in an inability on her part to brush correctly. We're going to the dentist to have the baby teeth extracted next week. She won't pull those ones out, but this one, "pop!"

She knows about the tooth fairy so she took a dollar in quarters out of the coin jar. I told her once you stop believing in the tooth fairy, you don't get no money for yer teeth! She pouted and I let her keep the money. She handed me the tooth and went on her way.

I have most of her teeth. One she lost at school in second grade and then lost in her classroom. The tooth fairy left her money anyway.

So my question is -- is it gross of me to keep her baby teeth? I kept them before just to hide them and so I could show her that I was the tooth fairy when the issue came up (she was impressed that I had them). Do other moms keep their child/ren's baby teeth? Is this utterly revolting or is it something everyone does? If you have any feedback, let me know. I'm sorely tempted now to get rid of them. Doug thinks it is gross.

I'm starting to think he is right.

Yesterday was a cateringman day. It was a hopping place. Five of us working doing prep, Cateringman taking calls and making orders for stuff and going to the store to grab stuff needed immediately. Two dishwashers. Sales Representatives from supply companies just "swinging by..." absolute chaos. Noisy, fun chaos. It was a pretty good day. It also rained like it did on Noah once upon a time. I had to run to the grocery store for an immediate need and got drenched in the process. Today is a professor MF day, and it is the first class session in many weeks that I don't have my heart in my throat with anxiety about how the class is going to work. I am relaxed, I need to shower and get ready, do more laundry and get down to the college, so this is a quickie. Not much to report. Fall is in full startup mode and I want to get some nice pictures of the trees in the yard before they are all "stripped bare of all they wear (but what do I care?)" Tra la, tra la. That's all for now.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

In My Hometown...

I never spent a lot of time tromping around my hometown. There are parts of it I have never been in.

Huntington, NY, is a big place, with several small "sub" towns in the township. We went geocaching yesterday in South Huntington, and it was one of the funnest geocaching days I've ever spent. Doug was amazed that I'd never been in these parts, but to be honest -- why bother when you have no friends and you're hiding in your room listening to Jackson Browne all day.

Or, when you ARE out with the few friends you have, you're up in the bay sneaking into beach clubs to sit and drink on the beach. If you needed to find out how to get around Huntington Bay, I'd be able to tell you. But navigating through historic old South Huntington... that was a task in and of itself.

We went to a Jayne's Hill, also known as High or Oakley's Hill, which is supposed to be the highest spot on Long Island at 410 feet, and did three of the four caches in West Hills County Park.

Walt Whitman "is said to have walked through this area..." And there are tons and tons of blue and yellow "historic" markers all through the neighborhood marking all the places Mr. Walt was to have allegedly been/walked/ate.

All we could think of, naturally, was Homer Simpson in the episode where he finds out his mother is alive. He thinks the grave at the top of the hill is hers, but finds out it belongs to Walt Whitman. (Whitman is actually buried in New Jersey I think). So he starts kicking the gravestone, yelling: "I (kick) hate (kick) you (kick) Walt (kick) Freakin' (kick) Whitman (kick)! Leaves of Grass my ASS!" And then he falls into an empty grave, which is supposed to be his own.

Here is Doug doing his imitation of Homer, sans falling into empty grave, and instead of a headstone it's a boulder with a Whitman poem from "Leaves of Grass My ASS!"

All told -- Monday was Columbus Day and a great day for exploration by my clan. We had a lot of fun and quite a few laughs. Here is photographic evidence.

My children, lounging on the boulder with the "Paumanok" poem on it.

I guess it is some ode to how wonderful Long Island was/is. Yawn.

My whole childhood Whitman was shoved down my throat and I can honestly say it is the fault of my former school system that I hate American poets for the most part. Oh Captain, my Captain.

My ass.

Jessie being extra dang cute in her brand new jacket. Love that blonde hair!
Found the cache! This one was a hard find, but a good one. We were the first finders! Again -- an homage to exploration and adventure!
Me. Looking red. I always look so damn red. I hate my skin. Like the head hankie? I didn't have time for a shower before hitting the trails... so I opted for farmer Jane headgear.
Geoff got Pokemon cards from one of the caches... Of course, the highlight of his little day.

Speaking of my public education experience, I was dragged on a field trip all the way out to Hauppauge to the top of a geological moraine and told THAT was the highest point on Long Island. Mr. Hiscox (nice guy, unfortunate name) was my 8th grade earth science teacher, and could have saved a lot of time and effort by taking us around the corner to West Hills.

Another thing that bothers me is my whole elementary/junior/and high school experience revolved around Walt Whitman (again, Hate Him!) and Harry Chapin. Had I known interesting tidbits like John Coltrane's final resting place is in my freaking home town, as well as Count Basie and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, I might have been more inclined to learn more about my home town.

A field trip to the Pinelawn Cemetery in Huntington would have been interesting to me at any age. But no. We had to learn about 20,000lbs of banannas and ... Leaves of Grass, MY ASS! I had to learn about these final resting places from an online GAME. Ugh. I hate my educational experience. It could have been so much better.

But as usual, I rant.

For more info on the 3 caches we got, visit these pages, and our comments (logged by me) are under "Team Screamapillar."

Kyle's Cache

The rest of our Long Island visit was ruined by a late arrival to the house on Saturday (due to traffic and weather) and rain all day Sunday.

My dad REALLY wanted to go to this Fall Festival in town, but Sunday was totally washed out, and our desire to get out for some heavy duty hiking and exercise weighed more for us in deciding what to do. I was irritated that he didn't want to come with... his longest hike is to the bar over by the train station that he frequents. Oh well. We didn't go into a town filled with cabin fever filled New Yorkers, and I'm happier for it. I wish it hadn't rained the whole time.

My parents' neighbors harbor a stray cat, and she had YET ANOTHER litter of kittens. They really should take her in and get her spayed if they want to keep her around. This is like her third litter and she's gotta be about four years old max.

But. Kittens are frigging cute as all get out and you know I'm a pet whore... so. Here are some quick pictures. I'm off to get my own pets from the kennel (freshly bathed and groomed, hallelujah!) and I have laundry and other things to do. Have a super day all.

Uh, Meow!??!
Stop, you're too damn cute!!

Saturday, October 12, 2002

Away for the weekend. Topsfield Fair

Rather than deal with the nightmare of holiday weekend traffic last night, we stayed home to relax. That way we can face the nightmare of holiday weekend traffic this morning. We're off to grandma and grampa's (my parents) in NY, for relaxation, geocaching, and perhaps Doug and I will take an evening tonight or Sunday night to go out to dinner without the shorties. A night to ourselves.

I love my parents and my inlaws. I also love that we don't live really close. Why? Oh, you know. The really close in-laws next door types of familes always end up in constant struggle.

See the TV "comedy" "Everybody Loves Raymond" for a very good example of what I mean.

Geographically close families are often in conflict. And I dislike conflict. I have had moments in my life when I've wanted to run screaming into the night when dealing with either my mother or my mother in law, and if I lived next door I'd probably ... kill them. NO. Not really. That's complete exaggeration. I'm just saying that the distance between us makes for a nice, safe buffer zone. I enjoy that.

The one thing I don't enjoy is not having them close by to see the grandkids grow up. We probably see Doug's parents a couple times a year, my folks more often. My mother is willing to travel up here a lot, which is good... because I hate traveling home. I really dislike the ride down and back, not the being there. Traffic on Long Island is like death on wheels to me. It makes me angry, sick, frustrated and committed to never returning.

I also miss the concept of free babysitting. But I've seen that so abused by other people in life. The fact that grandma is home, and close, and the kids end up dumped there at all times... so the husband and wife can work, or go to a movie, or go on a cruise...

Doug and I have taken one weekend away from the kids in our entire marriage. I know people who do that once a month. Sometimes... more.

It is just wrong. Raise your own kids. Take them on vacation with you. Don't make grandma do all the work she did with YOU on YOUR kids. If you need some alone time, drug the kids, put them to bed and make your bedroom your own crazy fantasy zone (brings to mind Homer and Marge in the utility closet at the Camelot Inn... but if you don't watch the Simpsons the reference is lost).

I wouldn't mind having the rentals or the inlaws close by, like an hour away, so dinner out once in a blue moon wouldn't be difficult. Finding a babysitter, getting to know him/her. We've had three people sit for us, and each of them leave for college, or leave college in the area and go back home.

The girl who sat for us most recently is native to the area and is going to college in Boston in January. I asked her if she'd be willing to sit for us when she comes home on weekends and she enthusiastically agreed... but I hate the idea that I'd be cutting into her social life with my neediness.


Speaking of doing stuff with the kids, Thursday night we went to the Topsfield Fair. A New England Tradition. We went kind of late, and enjoyed the night greatly. Hardly anyone was there, and we got to ride some rides for free because the guys running the rides were bored off their asses.

We ran into Shelley and Steve and M, Jessie's friend from school. We spent a ton of time walking around with them and checking out the fair. We didn't intend to do that necessarily, but it was still a blast. They crack me up.

We sat in a Dodge Truck that made me drool at the Dodge truck booth, and are considering buying one, trading in Rudy the Red Saturn in order to buy a totally wicked extended cab 23mpg red or black ass kicking truck. I'd love it forever.

And we got home, everyone was so tired, Geoff tried to go to bed with shoes and his hot fleece on. It was a hard time getting him to actually get bed ready.

Last night I spoke at very great length (uh, 2.5 hours, I think) with my very good friend Rob, the one who spent the prom with me in the hot tub singing "It's Raining On Prom Night" (see my 100 things, number 36).

He lives in the Washington D.C. area, works in a middle school as a counselor. So he's telling me all about what he's dealing with in the classroom, not only with the kids but with the faculty and staff.

He went to the gas station today with three other people who needed gas in their cars but were too petrified to pump the gas. So he pumped it for them.

He was a big focus for counseling for the kids after the September 11th attack -- it's his job. So many kids in his school are military kids and had family or friends impacted at the Pentagon that day. So not only did he have to deal with his own feelings, he had to put the kids and the staff first. It's so hard.

I want you to pray for Rob and for his school. I'm not kidding.

Pray for these children. He is doing such a good job with them, but the situation there is fraying everyone's edges. And pray for him specifically -- he has a lot of people who unload to him how they feel, and I know he could use the spirit sent his way to lift him and provide him with the strength to help them and to deal with stuff he's feeling as well.

Anyway -- here are a couple pictures from the fair. I will be here again to update life for you on Monday or Tuesday. Try and enjoy yourself as much as you humanly can this weekend -- and special love to Tess as she travels. Wooo!

"Carnival. The wheel flies and the colors sing..."

An artsy couple pictures of crazy rides. Doug went on the one on the left with Geoff. Geoff loved it -- Doug felt w

Spongebob in a wheelchair. He must have suffered a ride-related accident. Not that I should joke, because someone did at the fair a couple days before we got there!
I am sorry this picture came out so dark. She looks so cute, and the lights on the ferris wheel were so pretty.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

post-interview, babies

You are all dying to know about the interview. I've gotten a ton of email. I can't believe that people ... are interested.

The interview went really well. I was interviewed by only part of the search committee, the faculty decided not to show up and the CIO had to rush off campus for something. So instead of 8 people I interviewed with three. I had a lot of fun. One of the guys interviewing me graduated with me. I thought he looked familiar, but I didn't know his name until we got on the alumni topic. He's been there for a year and is really happy.

The job seems like it will be hard. A good part of me wants to work only for professor CM as he is continuing to make contacts and sell his ideas to local school districts. Another part of me knows that I need to be making some serious money in the next 4 month time frame. We'll see what the future holds.

I could see myself doing this job easily. It is the first job I've interviewed for that I can actually envision being in without saying "Oh my GOD! I am so lame! How did I talk my WAY into this job!!!"

So that's a good sign, right?

Today -- follow up cards to the interviewing staff thanking them for their time.

Alright. This was a quickie. I have to get Geoff ready for school and I've been goofing on this for an hour now with my joys in playing with Photoshop. Snarf...

First things first... an email from Chad that I didn't expect to get this morning:

Our new arrivals are here a bit early but in good health.

We are happy to announce the birth of Jacob Michael XXXXX and Jadon Tyler XXXXX at 5:38 and 5:39 respectively on October 9th, 2002.

Jacob is 3 pounds 12 ounces and Jadon is 3 pounds 7 ounces. They are currently in the neonatal intensive care unit at the Medical University of XXXXXXX. They will remain there for one week and then they will be brought down to the step down unit.

As of now, Jacob is doing very well and Jadon requires help breathing from a respirator, but that condition was expected and he is doing very well. Both are expected to be fine.

Mom is recovering nicely after a c-section. Her water broke some time on Tuesday and she would not dilate past 3 centimeters, so in order to prevent risk of infection, the doctors opted to take them out. Remi will be allowed to come home on Saturday. The twins will be in the hospital for at least four weeks.

Dad and grandmom are exhausted from attempting to sleep in hospital chairs while Remi was given drugs to help relax. I guess that's only fair because she did all the work.

I will write more later and provide pictures on my website sometime in the near future. For now, I'm going to bed a happy guy.

Wow. Shocker. I totally didn't expect this one. Great joy, great praise and thanks for a good delivery for these little guys. They weren't due until ... oh, December? So send them good vibes, hearty prayers and mojo to be able to do what twins do these days and make it home in a decent amount of time. I love his line about being exhausted from sleeping in hospital chairs while Remi got drugs to relax... hardly seems fair, eh? Snarf! Funny. Way to give me a good laugh.

And I whipped this up for them quickly this morning to welcome Slash and The Bus to the world. If I'd had more time today, I'd have made little Steelers Jerseys for their bodies. Yuk Yuk. As is, I had to quickly grab a picture of a newborn and just slap the heads on. It didn't come out too bad. I love the hand position on the kid's body (I used just one and flipped the second one horizontally so they'd look good.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

New Sink, job interview

The plumber is here. He's doing his plumbery thing. Geoff is all over him. Fascinated. It is all I can do to keep him from talking the guy's ear off about tools, where our sink is going, and Spiderman.


I am glad we'll soon have a new sink. And I'm glad I had a professional come in to do it. When he removed the cold water pipe, it busted in half. The drain pipe crumbled in his hands.

The guys I work with at cateringman's were all "Go to home depot, buy a factory second sink for 40 bucks, install it yourself. How hard can that be?"

Um, yeah. Plumbing and the residents of this house do not mix, friends.

There are two home improvement items we don't muck around with. Plumbing and electrical stuff. No way. Electrical stuff scares the bejezus out of me. Plumbing is easy enough to screw up and have an instant catastrophe on your hands to deal with.

I must say here though that I am very proud that my husband made do and did the work he did for as long as he did to prevent us from calling a plumber in immediately. He tried very hard. Did a great job.

Well. Today is not just groovy new sink day, it is interview day! As Spongebob Squarepants says: "I'm READY!!!!"

I'll be using the groovy new sink to brush my teeth and apply makeup over, and then I'll be off to sit in front of oh... 9 people or so, and make my case for why I'd be an asset to this institution of higher education.

I feel like puking already.

I don't know why I'm nervous. I normally never GET nervous before an interview. I interview very well for the most part. I remember to amazing detail the interviews I had for my last company and for the last college I worked at... even what everyone was wearing.

Let's see if I blank on this one or puke on the conference table. I'm sure it's been done before in history.

There really isn't much of interest to report in my life right now. I did get thank you notes from the girls (even my own daughter) that I chaperoned. Which made me smile. K. wrote me that it was the best field trip she's ever been on because she learned so much and I was so smart. Hey. Truer words never spoken, eh? cough gag.

Oh, and speaking of Spongebob... what the hell is the deal with people running around saying he's gay.

All of the Boston Talk Stations yesterday were on this story, and it was way over the top.

The news reports I heard initially said the show is popular with gay men. Which is fine. So are the Powerpuff Girls.

And surprise surprise people. Both are popular with people with senses of HUMOR. Gay or straight. Duh!

The discussion warped to "Spongebob is Gay."

How does one wander to that conclusion automatically. Really. Does it MATTER if gay people LIKE the show a lot and think it's funny? And does that automatically make the character and storylines "gay?"

Millions of people gay and straight are SBSP fans. Myself and my husband and my kids totally included.

If you need to categorize him, I actually think Spongebob is more like an evangelical than a "gay" person. Look at his personality:

  • He is kind
  • He is lighthearted
  • He is very very genuinely happy in a life-loving way
  • He is enthusiastic about everything in life... his work, his friends, jellyfishing, karate...
  • He is annoying to those who don't understand him (ie Squidward)

I think that someone somewhere along the lines read too much into an episode that aired recently. SB's "sexual" role sort of comes into play when he and his buddy Patrick find a lost sea scallop who needed a home.

They "adopt" the scallop. SB assumes the "mother" role, cleaning, caring for the baby, wearing himself out to maintain the household. Patrick shuffles off each morning to "work" in a tie and a hat, with briefcase in hand, and returns home dog-shit tired and ready for a beer.

By the way -- Patrick's "job" was sitting in over his own apartment watching TV. He came home exhausted on a nightly basis, because it's hard watching TV all day. Sometimes the remote control falls on the floor and you have to find it. And all the clicking around the dials... wears a guy out, ya know.

So they weren't necessarily being "gay" in the sexual sense. I believe the writers were more or less just illustrating how parenting works, and they were dangerously close to ending up like Paula Cole's "Where Have all the Cowboys Gone" song.

I suppose the creators would have been better suited to pair up SB with Sandy Squirrel, but SB and Patrick are such good friends, and their relationship is funnier than that of Sandy and SB.

I didn't read "sex" into the relationship for that episode personally. Did you?

When "The Lion King" came out, no pun intended, everyone was insistant that Scar (voiced deliciously by Jeremy Irons) was homosexual. He was "single" and had a British accent and was evil, but charming all at the same time.

I mean, when I was watching the movie, I didn't think immediately about the stupid lion's sexuality. Same with Timon and Pumbaa. Everyone says THEY are gay. First of all -- they aren't even the same species. I can see how Chip and Dale, the chipmunks of Looney Tunes fame could possibly be "gayish," again with the whole English accent and proper grammar thing. All gays are SO proper (snarf) aren't they?

"Oh, do let's invade the duck's cellar and get all the acorns!"
"Indeed, dear sir! Invade is such a rogue term! Let us stealthily procure said acorns under darkness of night. After tea."
"Very well then, after you."
"No, I insist -- after you..."

I read a great book that looks into the creation process of comics and the possibility of underlying homosexuality. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon. It was a fabulous story -- about two cousins, one is gay but quite closeted. Together they build a comic empire, and the gay cousin ends up getting dragged into testify in court against his will that all the comics are gay propaganda stories. Pairing men and young boys into exciting relationships. The wearing of tights. The riding one seater motorcycles together...

It's a horrible situation for him. He created wonderful stories that had nothing to DO with HIS sexuality... but others interpreted his personal life as being broadcasted through the characters to children across the country. His empire crumbles. It is... sad.

I highly recommend the novel if you're looking for something to read by the fireside this fall.

Anyway -- Spongebob isn't gay. But if he was... I'd be alright with that. He's a nice guy. I think Squidward is gay. But that's a whole nother analysis for another day. Guffaw.

I'm going to go hang out in the living room now. I'm sure I'll post later or tomorrow about my interview. Just remember. Good vibes/mojo/prayers my way for 3:15 p.m. And hope I don't barf on things.

And, I'm going to use my new sink. More later...

ain't she purdy?