Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Things Recently Learned

Ok, well if we are on the life lessons bit again, things I recently learned include: Don’t say your life is boring – because then it will get weird.

For instance I’ve since learned that I had a hit man living across the street. Yes, I did say HIT MAN!!!! It’s always a bad sign when a reporter calls late at night to ask you if you know one of your neighbors. Unfortunately I wasn’t home to take the call. Cleverly I forgot to check the next day’s paper but Dan remembered. Turns out this guy was a hit man for a gang is Puerto Rico, was living under his brother’s name – hiding out. Only his brother was murdered last week in P.R. and now he’s busted. This is wilder then Jerry Springer. Leave it to my Dad to try and put a silver lining on the cloud “A hit man isn’t that bad, it could be worse. At least he wasn’t a serial killer, those are the worst kind.”

Then, later the yard was invaded by a skunk. There is no way out of our three foot wide back yard, it is surrounded by a (attractive) chain link fence. Well we had people over that night and there was a fire in the front yard and the skunk was afraid of the fire. This is bad, caught between a skunk and a hard place. This was also a litmus test for who had drunk the most beer. Me, I made a bee-line for inside – Dan followed. Sean and Joel are out there determined to chase the skunk away despite my dire warnings that if they got sprayed they were sleeping outside with their new little friend. Somehow by the grace of, I dunno, pure luck they didn’t get sprayed – even after cornering in the shed and throwing gravel at it to try and get it to run.

As I was navigating last night for someone not familiar with my neighborhood I was marveling anew at some of the ridiculous shops in the neighborhood and wishing I could take pictures without fearing for my life. There is a home nestled into the cliff face that recently had about 50+ bathtub Virgin Marys in the front yard and all over the cliff face. I wish I had gotten a picture of that one before he was forced by the town to take them down. This is quickly followed by a small shop whose name is proudly proclaimed “STUFF – U – NEED” and the aptly named convenience store whose window is full Styrofoam heads with wigs. Cause you never know when your going to have to hit the convenience store cause you forgot your hair… I guess life is never totally boring as long as you open your eyes.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Blah, Blah, Blah

I guess that title is both figurative and literal. Not too much to report other then being another year older and feeling it (and not much wiser seeing as I drank beer and played with fire on my birthday). Other then that, nothing new is really happening, except of course feeling guilty for not posting. Frankly life’s a bit boring right now and I don’t need to inflict it on anyone else.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Life Lessons

Over dinner last night a good friend and I were swapping “Life Lessons” with much hilarity. One of her top ones: If you are walking across a sewer grate, be sure you have a good hold on your keys!

For me: Never read and walk at the same time. You think I would learn after once, twice, god knows how many times. When I first started working at the credit union (I don’t work there anymore) I was busy reading the internal memos I had just retrieved from my mail box at the same time that I was walking down the line of glass fronted offices. All I can say is “Danger Will Robinson!” Anyhow I managed to misjudge where the door was and when I tried to enter the office, I ran full force into the huge pane of glass. CLANG!!! Reverb… Of course due to my luck, all of the other member service representatives were loitering in that office, and looked up in time to see my startled face firmly connecting to the glass. So much for first impressions, they all dissolved into pools of laughter. Believe me, by the time I left three years later I hadn’t done much to improve my reputation. My manager used to beg me to please take the elevator…

So, back to the present, in the restaurant parking lot we have just finished explaining how we have both managed to fall over absolutely nothing. I turn and start walking away while looking back at her saying goodbye. When I finally get back to looking where I’m going, I’m surprised to realize that the corner of the Jeep is only about 3 inches from my nose. Hit the Brakes!!! How apropos. You can dress me up but you can’t take me out and expect that I won’t run into stuff!! We were both laughing so hard we were crying and could barely get in our cars.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The power of memory

I have only seen my mother truly cry a few times in my lifetime. But the thing that I remember most about 9-11-2000 is her voice. I was blissfully unaware of what was going on. Unusually the radio was not on. I picked up the phone and my Mother was sobbing. She, always one to talk on the phone, could only manage to get out two sentences.
“They’ve hit the world trade center. Turn on you television”
I turned on the television in time to see the second plane hit. I stood there in total shock; I couldn’t take it so I walked outside, down my front walk. I wondered how to reconcile the horror of what I had just witnessed with the beautiful sparkling sunshine, bright purple flowers against the sky, and the seeming normality of my home. I couldn’t. I was suddenly struck with the absolute silence of my usually boisterous neighborhood, even the birds were quiet.

I was supposed to teach that day, and was expected at the university. I got in the car turned over the ignition. The DJ on the radio was saying that there were 4 more planes in the air that were unaccounted for – would there be more horror? I remember the frantic fear for my Father, who I knew was traveling. I turned off the car and went back inside. My family was lucky, he was safe, and managed to rent a car to drive home from Ohio. It was the first time I, or many of my generation in this country could truly appreciate the horror of war, or more simply the starkness of terror.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Is that a… Oh God!

So yesterday felt like a marathon. Run for school, run for the office, run to class (pause) realization – Oh dammit I forgot to go to the pharmacy! Of course I realized this 10 minutes before I was supposed to start teaching. Definitely not enough time to get to the pharmacy and back to the classroom on time. Man was I mad at myself, as I would have to drive back to school just to get the prescription filled the next day!

Luckily I got through my lecture with an extra ten minutes to spare. Now mind you I’m wearing high heels, not realizing I would be running a friggin marathon that day. So I took off out of the classroom like a shot, hoping that in 20 minutes I could make it to the pharmacy and then to the next class I had to teach far across campus. Unfortunately I didn’t realize that one of my students was following me so he could find the classroom. As he put it, later “Yeah, I was following you to find the room, and then it got weird.”

“Phew, there is not line at the pharmacy, maybe I can pull this off…”
I found the back door to the health center, and figured (wrongly) that I could cut across the back way in almost a straight shot to the Math Building. Now, I haven’t used this section of campus in years, like since I was an undergraduate. So I’m running along, in my heels, on a good course and suddenly, there is a building that never used to be there blocking the way.
“Aarrgghh! Where did that come from? Detour!”
I cut through the bushes and come out on N. Eagleville road and hurry along. The building is a giant L wrapping around the corner of the block. Of course I need the other end… I figure I can go in one end and just follow the hallways around… famous last words, “Not a through entrance.”
Proving nothing at can ever be simple, back outside run across the plaza, find the stairs – I got to the classroom about 1 minute before class was supposed to start.

I actually found my entire class in the hallway.
“What the hell is going on?” The teacher in the classroom before me refuses to end his class on time, a pattern is developing here.
I stick my head in the room, “Ahem, I am supposed to be teaching?”
He actually has the audacity to say, “Ok we’ll be out in ten minutes”
I guess I shouldn’t have asked in a questioning tone, now I’m irritated “No, not in ten minutes my class is supposed to start NOW!!!!”
“Oh we’ll be out in a minute”
I don’t know who he was, and I’m kinda glad he doesn’t know who I am after that little exchange, but by this time I’m on my cell phone with scheduling getting a new room…

Consequently, my class ran over and I didn’t get everything done. Now I’m late for Beer Hour which I’m supposed to be organizing due to the absence of the normal MC, and it is across campus, again! Cursing the location of my classroom for the tenth time that day. I’m off and running again.

By the time I wrapped up my own work after Beer Hour, I still had to pick up some groceries on the way home. By now lunch has definitely worn off, the lady checking me out asked how I could shop without eating first? I countered “with a lot of restraint” of course restraint went out the window while I was stopped at a light next to Burger King. Next thing I know I was scarfing down a burger… Yet another healthy meal. Finally my very blistered feet hit the front step at 10pm.

The first thing I did was to loose the sandals in exchange for some PJs and bare feet. Second, a glass of water… Then standing at the water cooler, OH GOD WHAT IS THAT GROUND INTO THE CARPET???? It used to be a mouse. SIMBA!!!! WHAT DID YOU DO? He usually eats the whole thing and spares me. To make matters worse, Dan, in his work boots had stepped on it without noticing. Oh, God, Oh, God, Oh, God I can’t deal with this right now.

Ok, first go get the boots off him. Of course he wants to know why I want to see the bottom of his boots, and then immediately turns green. Take the boot outside, clean it up. Then I needed a few minutes of breathing to figure out how to deal with the worse one. Gloves, paper towels, cleaning solution… my poor stomach – flip-flop, GROSS!!!! All said and done, I finally wind down enough to go to bed figuring I’ve had enough of this day. Of course to top the day off I manage to drop the barrettes I’m taking out of my hair, directly into the toilet… I might have washed it recently but I STILL DON’T WANT TO STICK MY HAND IN THERE! Man, I’ve got to go to bed before anything else bad happens. I’m glad I’m staying home today.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Um, Professor?

It’s begun, all over again. I can not believe that summer is over, but just to rub it in it has rained for the majority of the last two weeks. Fall is definitely here early this year, unbelievable. Actually, what’s really unbelievable is the difference in the amount of questions in my inbox when I have 300 students, and not just 50.

What is really funny to me sometimes, is that they see me as a grown up, adult, whatever the term. I guess, despite the impending doom of another birthday, I still don’t apply those words to myself… (denial, perhaps but adults have things like children & IRA’s…) Maybe it’s because I’m still in school. But, anyway, on my way out I pass through the co-op to shortcut to the parking garage. I decided to pick up a juice for the ride and that’s when I hear a tentative “Um, Professor?” from behind me. (snicker) It seems the young student in my office earlier today lost his check card, and without six dollars they wouldn’t let him out of the parking garage. So he was trading in all the change he found in the car for bills, and still was two dollars short… So, I loaned him two bucks. Now if any of you know me, you know this is a situation I, in all my absentminded glory, might easily end up in myself. And he has absolutely no idea how lucky he was that I actually HAD two bucks to loan him! And I’m the authority figure? Again snicker.

Then we get to the elevator and he asks, “So when did you start studying anthropology?”
I replied, well I started grad school in ’99, got my masters in 2002 and hope to finish up this year”
“Oh, (pause) in 1999 I was twelve.”
Great, just great, now I feel really old…