Monday, October 30, 2006
So, I showed up Thursday with my pencils and brain all sharpened up, expecting a test in algebra, and the teacher didn't show. So, naturally, I expected today would be the day. Alas, it was not. I know, most people would be happy for the extra day, but my brain can only keep things for a limited time, so, once again, I am boning up on my exponents and factoring and scientific notation. Add to that the fact that my art teacher asked us to show up today with a fruit or vegetable in tow. Two of us actually did that. Didn't matter, because teacher forgot about that, too, and had us do another project. Well, I spent $$$ on this absolutely trancendental yellow pepper, so I finished up my painting, and proceeded to immortalize that sucker. I got a really fine rendering, of which I have decided to be very proud. And she actually taught me something I did not know, and I got very brave and had a lot of fun. Now I have an exquisite chili simmering, yellow pepper thrown in. Life is good.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
If it is true that "you are what you drive", I suppose I am in trouble. My modest little puddlejumper is economical to drive and maintain, and does the job of getting me where I want to go just fine. Truly, I could not wish for more. I used to think that, if I won the lottery, I would get one of those fully-loaded M-class thingys, and get to look down on the world from my fully-adjustable, warmed leather seat. However, knowing the state of our environment now, having taken Critical Thinking and Geology, now I think a Prius is more the ticket. And then, Lexus came out with a car that does something I find difficult to resist; it parallel parks itself. I flunked my driver's test twice because of my inability to parallel park, 44 years ago, and I still avoid it whenever possible. Now, if that model comes with a rear camera to show what is in my path when I back up, I may need to rethink my position.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Much going on. My art project is finished, for good or ill. What I learned: neatness is not my forte, just keep trying, it will come together in the end. I rendered eight versions of my object, this beautiful, conical shell, to get four together for the final product. Sick to death of that blasted shell. And I am driving around with a Ouija board in my back seat for a reason, really I am. I have an informative speech to make, on Halloween. It was going to be about tobacco, like the FDA banned ephedra, one of my favorite drugs, when a couple of people may have died from abusing it, and yet tobacco remains legal when hundreds of thousands of people have died from its use. Tobacco is interwoven with our history, for sure. It was a major cash crop in the colonies, and continues to be huge agribusiness to this day. But that was just too big a hunk to chew. The research piled up here on my desk, and whittling it down to a three page outline was looking like climbing Mt. Everest, so I asked to change my topic. What a concept, take care of myself! There was a blurb on TV that night about Ouija, and I thought, great idea! We have to use a presentational aid in this speech, hence, the board, which I borrowed from a friend. I have been admonished not to try to use it, as bad things happen when we do. Okay. And as I type, I am listening to Brahms, on my 2nd listening disc for music class. About to toddle off to visit one of the artist's on our annual Art Trails list, one who does whimsical portraits of dogs. It is the idea that I am interested in. Where does one get that kind of inspiration? I think I may have the ability, but where is my muse?
Friday, October 20, 2006
I have always wanted to be a compact, tidy little person. Alas, this was not meant to be. Not only am I tall, but my bulk is always threatening to break the surly bonds of my skinny jeans, so that every bite that I eat must be carefully measured. On the other hand, I have always kind of chuckled up my sleeve at those women who gripe and whine about how sensitive their skin is. Mine has always been elephant-hide tough. Until now. Now, even though I bathe with silky bubbles and never use soap, oh, nonono, beauty bars, there's the ticket, I am (gasp) chafing! Like under my arms, where my ever-so-sensible cotton knit bra tickles my underarm flab. And it itches! Like all the time. Ointments help, for a little while. This bodes ill for the coming winter, when the air is dry as dust. I got some super-moisturizing body wash, in hopes of not getting worse. And I am on my way to Walgreen's for some super-mild deodorant, too. Hopefully, it will settle down. I am too old to go braless.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Apparently, tis the season, for potato bugs. As much as I hate spiders, they are eminently preferable to these critters. When I stopped at The Filling Station for my Monday latte, the two cute little gals were still trembling from a close encounter with not one, not two, but three potato bugs. And this morning, as I left speech class and ambled down the ramp to the door, a nice guy warned me there was "a giant ant or something" in the pathway ahead, and sure enough, it was a potato bug. These things are like aliens, they are so weird. They do indeed look like giant wooden ants, with a bulbous brown torso and evil flesh-like head and legs. They click when the walk, even. And, they bite. I shudder just to think about it. Because they are so big, they make a huge mess if you step on them. My close encounter was one of those chilling moments that are best forgotten. I rolled over onto one in the night. It felt as if I had rolled over onto one of those cheap plastic combs, the ones with threads and shards of plastic still attached. I jumped up, turned on the light, and screamed. What to do? Well, I grabbed a glass from the bathroom sink, and corralled the bug under it. Then I took a piece of cardboard and slipped it underneath, and put it on the floor next to me. In the morning, I let it loose in the gutter out front, with the fervent hope some SUV would run over it. I've not seen any here in my snug little house, but the slugs seem to have a bead on me. One made its way through the dog door, the living room, the laundry room, the bathroom into my bedroom, where I got to step on it as I toddled off to the potty in the middle of the night. Yuck. I am sure HP has a need for these creatures, but more better they stay where HP intended them, and out of my house!
Monday, October 16, 2006
I got to school today without my binder, and my algebra homework. Catholic guilt rears its ugly head and I am tempted to beat myself up. Then I remember that I tell all the women I work with not to do that, that is the number one rule in self-care. So, it was a very human Monday morning. I told Brian, my algebra teacher, that I forgot my homework, could I turn it in tomorrow or am I hung out to dry? And he said, oh, just bring it tomorrow. Then I toddled off to art, where I thought I had three of my four renditions of my shell done, and unfortunately, ran into my art teacher, who is usually busied with the table behind me, where these kids are just dragging their feet. Lo and behold, she didn't like my design, so I changed two of them, and am doing one totally over. There's time for this, it isn't due for a week. And I have the materials, and the desire to do the best possible job, so it isn't a big deal. Really, I am just clueless here, and should be delighted to get any feedback I can. Now to do some work on that stinky speech outline. Yuck.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
I took music appreciation because 1) I know a lot about music, and since I was taking algebra, I thought it would be an easy A, and 2) I needed something artsy-fartsy in my curriculum to transfer to a university anyway. Well, it's not easy, and I don't know a lot. OK, I had heard half the selections on the first listening disk, and four of seven on the second. But I didn't know that a scherzo is a musical joke, that Franz Liszt was the first rock star, that Schubert was the father of the romantic era, or that Berlioz constructed the modern orchestra, and many new ways of flavoring the music with awesome timbre, the blend of instruments that gives classical, oops, I mean art music its character. So here I am, Saturday morning, with my second cup of luscious Sumatra coffee, listening to Mendelssohn's Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique, not to mention Dvorak's New World Symphony, not anything I would think of doing by myself, and really enjoying them! No one is more surprised than I. Really, I thought I had done everything, been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. And to find there are new horizons in the twilight of my years on this planet, well, that's solid gold.
Friday, October 13, 2006
OK, after walking around these last two days all chilled and achy feeling like my head is wired to implode any moment, I am going to bed, and just be sick. Somehow, it doesn't seem fair to be sick on my day off, when I could be out having fun. Sick is for a workday, to get away from tedious, onerous tasks, and taskmasters. Sick is for getting out of an algebra test and getting an extra day to study. Part of this decision is based on the fact that two new Netflix movies arrived in the mail. There's nothing worse that being sick than being sick and bored at the same time. O guess not vacuuming is a good reason to be sick. You think? Oh, and apple pie for dinner, because I am too sick to cook. Sounds like a plan.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Once upon a time, when I was a pneumatic 20 year old living in Noe Valley and traveling down Market Street to the financial district every workday, I noticed that the smart people on the streetcar brought a book to while away the 20 minutes spent lurching along. So, for a happy few months, I toted this paperback the size of a brick, Atlas Shrugged, it was called. I slogged through the first four hundred pages, until Dagny crashed in the valley, and then raced through the rest (skipping the 40 page speech, of course). Still one of my favorite books. Things were so clear to Ayn Rand. You were either a hero or a slug. Even dear Eddie Willers did not survive the fall of civilization as we know it, just not strong enough, got swept away like the rest of the dirtbags. Well, good news! They are going to make a movie, or a trilogy of movies, out of this enormous tome. But, bad news! Angelina Jolie is going to play Dagny. If ever there was a role for the young Meryl Streep, it is this one. And as she has passed into dowagerhood, we need an equivalent actress. Hilary Swank would be good, strong jaw on that one, and all Ayn's characters have strong jawlines. They are all very gaunt, too, and Hilary has that going for her. Or Charlese, there's another consummate actress, maybe a little too pretty, but she monstered up pretty good, so I know she could tone it down. And for Hank Reardon, Russell Crowe, if he can slim down enough. Francisco D'Anconia is definitely a role for Keanu Reeves, or Colin Farrell. And then there's John Galt. Hmmmmm. I'll have to think about that. Someone strong, thin and steely. I'll get back to you on that one.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
My gift to myself for this month was the DVD of "The Lake House", Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock in a totally sappy chickflick that I just adore. I put it on the dresser next to the DVD player, savoring its very presence for a week while I went sloooowly through my Netflix selections of the BBC productions of "Rebecca" (Charles Dance, so edgy and elegant) and "Persuasion", another Jane Austin tome of tiny lives in tiny towns, all hopelessly intertwined, and one sensible woman, of course. Sunday night I finally watched the new one, and lo, would you believe it, it revolved around "Persuasion", and I got the gist, I got that she was supposed to save his life, and that was why they were communicating across the years! OK, I tend to be a little dense these days, like there are barnacles on my gray cells that have to be broken through for anything to take up residence there for very long. Anyway, it was uber-wonderful, I got a good cry out of it, and now feel a need to pull out all my other sappy movies for a happy, tearful viewing. After the algebra homework and the work on my next speech and a couple of chapters in my music text. Probably next week. I hope.
Monday, October 09, 2006
My algebra test score was 85, and that's a lot more like it, though, of course, it also could have been better. Still lots of tiny, dumb mistakes that bring up my Catholic red-faced shame in response to this inner voice that harps on me like my 7th grad teacher, Miss Closter (flat-chested, flat-footed old maidish woman, very handy with a pointer). Nevertheless, I press on. As we speak, I am printing out a timeline of tobacco use around the world, and I am realizing from this information that until the 20th century, tobacco use was almost exclusively a male thing, unless you were George Sand, or Mrs. Andrew Jackson. That's when cigarettes were born, and tobacco became an equal-opportunity drug. This is for my 3rd speech, an informative speech. Tobacco was originally a sacred herb of the natives of South and Central America. As they migrated, it spread to North America, and eventually became the premier cash crop of the American colonies. Many of our founding fathers' fortunes were built on tobacco. Which is probably why it is so hard to get rid of. Any other drug is just made illegal. Today, just throw some money at those bozos in Congress, and you can just keep killing people. What a world.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Ah, Sunday. I slept in till 8:30, stinky airplanes buzzed the house and woke me up. Made my last pot of hazelnut coffee, stuck my hair up with one of those clampy things, slapped on my face, and went to the 10 AM meeting up at the hospital. I like that meeting; there are two speakers and no one has to share from the floor, thus greatly reducing my propensity to share my dubious wisdom with the folks. On my way out, I ran into one of my least favorite people in the world. I remember her from meetings 10 years ago. She had this freaky over-the-hill Alice-in-Wonderland look going, violently blond, straight hair banded with black velvet. I had no doubt she was a natural blond, as her skin had that white rattish pink thing going, when it was not milky blue. OK, I am being pretty unkind, and when I was around her, I was especially careful to be as kind as possible, even though she was the snottiest woman on two feet. So it was not without an inner snicker that I found her in the hall this morning, looking like the wrath of God, hair all flyaway and brittle looking, already prominent circles under her eyes even deeper than before, and her oh-so-handsome hubby looking like a seedy fireplug. And I said a prayer of thanksgiving for Karma, the cosmic credit plan. In spite of her appearance, she was still snotty to me, refused to acknowledge she even knew me, so I said "maybe you don't remember me" and introduced myself. And she snapped " I know who you are". Nice to know some things do not change. Lessons. Learn 'em, or pay later.
Friday, October 06, 2006
Tests are all history, so on this gray Friday morning at 11:20 AM, I am still in my pjs, second cup of coffee by my side, browsing the web and thinking about what to do, what to do. Shopping got done yesterday, as it had been put off all week due to an avalanche of study guides, and I was (gulp) out of Cool Whip. This time I got two big tubs, and a pumpkin pie the size of a manhole cover to keep me busy for at least two weeks of nibbling away at. I had a happy hour of channel surfing with Boo beside me, and has anyone else noticed that one can catch an episode of Law and Order pretty much 24/7/365? How many of those buggers did they make, anyway? As I am not a fan, a great deal of my time is spent trying to avoid it. And whoever started up that annoying leafblower thingy this morning at 8 am should burn in hell forever. OK, not everyone has Friday off like me. I'm grateful, really I am. Just a little fuzzy with the perspective. This calls for an extra cup of coffee, and a meeting. Toodles.
Monday, October 02, 2006
Sushi with wasabi and avacado for lunch (did amazing things to my sinuses), seafood pasta for dinner. Yum. And it's fall! I slept like the proverbial baby last night, all curled up in my pajama bottoms and thermal tee, with Boo at my side. Getting up was really rude, cold and dark, but off I went into my day, fortified with my whole grain cereal and banana. And now, Six Feet Under is on Bravo, how sweet is that! Such a great series, usually reserved for the HBO crowd. I used to subscribe, now I do Netflix. And speaking of that, I just saw In Her Shoes, and what a great chickflick. Which reminds me to go online and update my queue. How about that, I have my very own queue. Meanwhile, back at the college, I have three tests to study for, one tomorrow. No sweat, I have my study guide all outlined, and am going back for another couple of run-throughs. Yeah, life is sweet here on Wild Rose Dr.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Strange to tell, but I am actually appreciating this music I have to study for class. Like, what torture, Chopin, Liszt, Schubert, Schumann (both of them, Robert and Clara), Stravinsky, etc. I love some of this music already; Firebird, wow. But Liszt was not up there in my opinion. And then I learned how difficult his stuff is to play, and that elevated his music in my tiny mind. How perverse is that, anyway? But, isn't that part of what makes watching ballet so fascinating, the difficulty of it all? There is this piece by Liszt, "The Little Bell", and I went, well, ho hum. But then our erstwhile teacher showed us the fingering, something I am intimate with from the many years I spent studying piano, and I went, holy cow, that's phenomenal. It is so difficult, very few professional pianists will tackle it. And now, I really appreciate it. And the lied, or German artsongs by Schubert or Schumann, well, they are just early versions of "I Will Survive", albeit terribly angst-ridden and dramatic. Those Germans, they really knew how to suffer for love. But the king of suffering is Chopin. There is in his music (almost all written for the piano) this sense of loss and yearning that makes me want to cry every time I hear it. Never mind that he suffered in real life, that he died at 39 of consumption, was painfully shy despite his fame, and carried on a doomed love affair with George Sand, a woman who cross-dressed. How tragic is that?! His music is often played rubato, which gives the performer some lattitude with tempo, tiny hesitations that pull at the heart and sustain that yearning with virtuoso brilliance. It is an emotional exercise, listening to Chopin. Must rest up, study some algebra, to decompress here.