Tee Ball Is Whack

The yoga class I'd been attending just about every Wednesday since last July had gotten stale, so when my new local community sent around class offerings, one of which was pilates, I figured I'd sign up for it. The recreation building, where the class is held, is next to the major park for the area. The park has ballfields, and if I thought last week the park was mobbed with little leaguers, this week was overflowing with them. Picture day or something with the tee ball kids, said one of my classmates as I finally snagged a parking space that wasn't ten miles away and walked up to the building.

I don't know what they were thinking when they scheduled us for 7:00--the games aren't done yet. The pressure of trying to find a place to park on top of trying not to run over the kiddos is more stress than I need. Next week, I'm praying for rain.

'Cause we're indoors and the ballfields aren't.


Meme: Six Things

Ashley reached out from her little apartment and tagged me for the “Six Truths/Facts/Quirks About Me” meme. The rules are:
* Link to the person that tagged you.
* Post the rules on your blog.
* Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
* Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
* Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

1. Since moving out of my parents' home in 2002, I have lived in six different places. Five, if you consider that the current one is in the same community (different building) as place #2.

2. I have had a cat continuously since the age of ten. That's more than two-thirds of my life.

3. The first real rock concert I attended was in 1993. My friend from school was a whiz at winning radio station contests and invited me to go. Frank Black, The Cranberries, and The The were on the bill, but The Cranberries canceled due to illness. (I saw them later that summer.)

4. The first time I went on a casino trip, I won over $200. (Beginner's luck.)

5. Having been heavier than my younger sister pretty much all my life, for the past two years or so I finally have been able to wear the same size pants she does. (And I have no problem with hand-me-ups!)

6. I started writing a novel when I was a teenager and finished it my first year of college. I've been revising it in chunks (with long dry spells in between), and one of these days I'll be content with it. And finish the sequel. I fully expect to be published someday!

I'm just gonna tag WordGirl because she tagged me on the previous one.

Let's Not Do That Again

The first part of my previous week's assignment for one of my courses was to analyze a particular type of library and suggest an information literacy program. That was due by Thursday night. By last night we were to have read all our classmates' papers and make some collective comments about the content, not--the instructor emphasized--the quality of the writing.

For a grammar freak like me, it was doubly excruciating to read, and attempt to read past, the apostrophe abuse, the disagreeing verbs, the glaring typos. . . you get the idea. I don't even think of myself as a good writer, just one who knows and follows the rules. But apparently that's enough to be commended again and again, by instructor upon instructor, and now I understand why.

I was sitting in their chairs last night.


Meme: 19 Songs

O.K., so WordGirl tagged me for this one.

1. Choose 19 of the songs you like best, regardless of artist or genre.
2. Put them all together in a CD.
3. Make 5 other copies.
4. Post your playlist on your blog.
5. Choose 5 people and send them a copy of your CD each. Send the first copy you made to the one who tagged you.

I've never burned a CD--heck, I'm still saving for an iPod--so I'm going to omit that part. (Take that, meme police!) I'm posting now because if I don't, I'll keep going back and changing the list. "Favorite" is too hard to do in a short span of time, and I tried to think of ones that if they came on the radio in the car I'd scream with delight and crank it up. (Some, sadly, wouldn't even come up on college radio, but a girl can dream.) This should, at least, give people an idea of what I like, in no particular order:

High and Dry—Radiohead
No Myth—Michael Penn
Dreaming of Me—Depeche Mode
Three Coins in the Fountain—Frank Sinatra
Dancing with Myself—Billy Idol
The Ghost in You—Psychedelic Furs or Counting Crows (Clueless sdtk.)
So Lonely—The Police
Float On—Modest Mouse
El Scorcho—Weezer
Take Me Out—Franz Ferdinand
We Both Go Down Together—The Decemberists
Not Enough Time—INXS
Think Long—Mates of State
Karma Police—Christopher O’Riley (interpreting Radiohead)
Waiting for Somebody—Paul Westerberg
Paint the Silence—South
Ocean Avenue—Yellowcard

I'm tagging Ashley because I must return the tagging favor (although no need to do it until I get to yours), and anybody else wanting to take it on is welcome to have at it.


The Friday Five, Times Two

We're going visual for this one. . .

It's the time of year when hobbit toes are completely unacceptable, so here we have five perfect piggies on the left, five perfect piggies on the right. (Yes, I know they are some of the palest piggies you've ever seen, but they'll be the freshest looking piggies at the old folks' home while everyone else's are dark and leathery.) It's one of the few and infrequent "high maintenance" things I do. Plus, I figured that a tiny bit of the security deposit from my old apartment recently returned to me should be used for something nice and relaxing after all the craziness living there put me through. Ahhhhh.


Baby's Got a New Office

I moved all my pathetic little cubicle contents into my new office today. The HR Lady let me wear jeans. Some people expressed theiir envy, but jeans were definitely necessary for little ol' me to climb on counters to pull stuff off cubicle walls.

I have a door and a real desk now. Having an office is even better than I could have imagined. The peace and quiet alone is astounding. I feel as if I'm sitting at the back of a cavern, and that's perfectly all right with me.

Other people in the office knew I was moving before I did, because someone not from our department was moved from an office on the edge of our area to another office. And told everybody, in her own words, why she was moving. HR Lady tells me she's happy to have moved, but this exchange that happened yesterday, right outside my (then) desk, tells me otherwise:

Slacker Girl: (sees moved person at the file cabinets near our desks) Hey, girl, you're up on Diamond Row now!
Moved Person: Yeah.
SG: How you likin' it up there?
MP: (I know something was said, because of SG's response, but it was said very quietly--because she knows I'm right there.)
SG: O.K., well, I'll have to come up and see you. (Blathers on about polishing off the contents of MP's candy dish. Ugh.)

For the record, I asked for an office, and actually I wanted the office of the person from our department who quit in February, but they gave it to the new hire. I didn't make the decision to move anybody, and she's the one choosing to look at it as if I took her office away from her. The fact is, nothing in the office really belongs to us, and the powers that be can tell us to go wherever and whenever they want us to go. I'm following orders just as much as she is. I feel bad she's not happy, but I refuse to take the blame for it. Anybody who falls for that line most likely wants to believe anything bad said about me, anyway.

Right now, though, all I'm thinking about is that I don't have to eat lunch in my car anymore.

Little things make me happy!

Commuting is Wheel-y Tough Sometimes

When I had to complete a certain amount of hours driving for my driver's education course, I learned one very important thing about driving when there are joggers and other people/vehicles in the road. That was not to try to pass them if you're on a hill or going around a curve. Very handy in Pennsylvania.

The latter part of my commute home to my new apartment involves a very curvy road, but usually there's not a lot of traffic on it. But boy, did I hit the jackpot tonight. As I came up the curvy road, I saw a whole pack of cyclists in front of me. I thought some of them were wearing Temple U. jerseys, so maybe it was a team biking for practice. There was no way to tell if any opposing traffic was coming, so I just stayed behind them and worked on being patient. Of course another car came up behind me, but the driver seemed pretty understanding. I figured everybody was cool until what I think was the driver of the second car behind me blasted his/her horn. I'm sorry, since you can see so well from back there, why don't you tell me when I should go drive into oncoming traffic? Jerk.

I hate that kind of pressure, and I'm still shaking off the accident from March (not to mention the warning I got on Saturday--first ever, caused by a dumb move on my part), so I was hoping I'd get to my turn soon.

Annnnd then I watched the bike team take the turn ahead of me.

It was all right, though, because we were on a straighter, quieter street, and I was able to get around them fairly soon. I hope I don't have to do that again anytime in the near future, but with a major bike race coming up in June, this might be just the start. I'm not the biggest fan of cyclists around here. They demand that we "share the road" but many of them ride as if they don't share the traffic laws. I guess they like living on the edge but a car could injure them very badly. My car's not going to be one of them.


Poll Cats

I went to vote after work today. I've voted there twice before when I used to live in the same area a few years ago. In my former town, I voted at the high school, and it was rare if I was handed any materials. Usually nobody would be around by the time I'd get there. Tonight, as I walked up to "the Barn" (a community center for art/dance education), a slightly-older-than-middle-aged man came to me right away and started going over a sample ballot. It wasn't for my party, but stupid me dumbly asked if I could get one for the other party.

"You're in the other party?" he asked.
"Yup," I replied, shrugging.
"My condolences."
I smirked and shot back, "Yeah, likewise." And walked into the Barn with the gratitude that pollworkers have more manners than campaign shills.


I Gotta Crow

The blunt/meanie professor from my earlier post might have redeemed herself (at least for all the embarrassment during our last course together) when she posted a response on the boards to the written assignment I'd posted:

"As an experienced school librarian I am impressed with your intuitive
understanding of the dynamics of that setting as a classroom. Your ability to adapt your methodology based upon an analysis of your learners is commendable."

Update to explain what I wrote for my assignment: We're required to respond to a portion of our reading and relate it to experiences to support our agreement or disagreement with the selection. Well, I don't currently work in the education field, but I train people at work, so I related a part about cultural background differences to my difficulties with training Slacker Girl. I was trying to review a procedure with her by asking her questions, and she kept getting more and more agitated with me. Our readings said that in her cultural background, "Questions between older children and adults involve straightforward requests for information, not. . . for parents to drill children on topics to which the parents already know the answers." (from How People Learn) Of course I didn't mention her slacker attitude and blamed entirely my, well, lack of sensitivity to her cultural background. This seems to excite people in academia and I don't quite understand why. In any event. . .

Woohoo! I don't think the one I did this week was as good, but I'm still coming back from being sick as a dog all last week. At least I'm starting to remember all the appropriate articles; last week I caught myself leaving out "the" and "a" all over the place. Maybe I channel a foreign language when I'm sick. And now, to bed with my recovering, intuitive self.


Poorly Designed Quizzes Annoy Me

I just took a quiz (not affecting my grade) to test my understanding of Gardner's model of multiple intelligences--that there are these separate kinds of intelligences like spatial and musical--by matching the different intelligences to board games. I had to do a search on two of the games, "Rummicube" and "Scruples." I thought I knew what Scruples was, but apparently not. A player is given an ethical dilemma and predicts another player's answer. That sounds like "interpersonal" intelligence to me, but I got a big red "X" and an advisement that the correct answer was "linguistic." Baloney. I have a degree in English Lit so there's a pretty good chance I know what linguistic intelligence is. Give me a break.

I'm going to post my complaint to see if it stirs anything up. This is the class where the instructor, in my experience of her technique last quarter, tends to post really blunt and borderline insulting responses to my posts. She's always complimentary when grading me on assignments, but for some reason she likes to imply on the boards that I'm dumb as a, well, post.


It's Still Friday Somewhere

I'm running a little late on the Friday Five this week. So two former co-workers and I are going to the movies on Sunday. I couldn't care less about what we're seeing; I'm just happy to blow off steam with two very smart and funny ladies whom I don't get to see often enough at all. Well, usually we reserve the blowing-off-steam for dinner afterwards--you know, silence your steam as you silence your cell phone for the main attraction, that sort of thing.

Anyway, the movie my friends chose--and I suspect the choice had more to do with the eye-candy lead than the story--got me to thinking about how often books are made into movies, as the one we're seeing falls into that category. So this week's Friday Five is about five movies I've seen that were based on books:

1. (As if I wouldn't mention this right off the bat) Pride & Prejudice--Usually well done and faithful to the book, although if we're talking about the most recent version in its "American" form, the book is far better. As with just about all film adaptations of Austen. Is it that Austen is hard to mess up or that there's some sort of Austen mafia that filmmakers know would off them if they screwed up?

2. Speak--I'm not sure if this was just a Lifetime (Manhater Channel) production, but it was faithful to the book in just about every respect, and judicious in editing for the sake of time. My only quibble was the revamping of Melinda's art teacher from an older nerdy dude to a hot charismatic one. It wasn't necessary.

3. Drive Me Crazy--I never read the book on which this was based (How I Created My Perfect Prom Date or something like that), and apparently the author claims the movie totally distorted his book. It's still a fun high school romp and well cast. Sabrina the Teenage Witch and that "Entourage" guy with the fabulous lips.

4. Jumper--again, did not read the book, but this is one case where I plan to at some point because it sounds as if it's far better than the movie. As LeVar Burton would say on "Reading Rainbow," you don't have to take my word for it. . . ask tracey.

5. Romeo Must Die--O.K., so this is based on a play; I was trying to think outside the box. It was well done, in spite of how violent it was. I just remember noticing Jet Li as an actor for the first time and trying to pick up the R+J elements.

There are a lot of books brought to the screen, if you think about it. I'm sure it's something I will continue to think about from the school librarian standpoint.


Vegan Cheese IS Boring

Must've been the cold meds talking last night. I'll never speak of it again, I promise.

I probably should have been asleep by now, considering the fact that I had to get up early to return the rental and pick up my fixed-up car. I'm sorry the body shop guy cut his finger when the bulb in my brake light broke as he worked on it, but I am happy, happy, happy to have my car back. Even if they messed up the interior trunk release so I have to be rough to use it. (Plus I found a $20 bill in between the gear shifter and the passenger seat and nobody at the shop claimed it. Yes!) Behind that wheel is where I belong.

It's funny, after looking at that bashed-in back end every day for over three weeks, now I'm doing double-takes when I go to my car and behold a nice shiny new bumper and straightened-out trunk. (I used that experience as an analogy when I helped my mom buy new makeup for the first time in years after work today; it is weird when makeup actually works for you and makes you look nicer.)

One thing is missing, though. Not long after I'd bought the car, and I'd started going out with the person with whom I had longest relationship (and worst breakup), the group I ran with started using the catch phrase, "It's all good." At one point, I found a sticker bearing that catch phrase at the drug store, and slapped it on the bumper. We all loved it.

Until there wasn't any more love. He broke up with me; the group chose sides. When someone else (very popular, rich, perceived to be oh-so-holy) from the group coupled up with him shortly thereafter, the group pretty much went one way and I went another. I spent a long time looking at that bumper sticker and thinking how much I wanted to tear off that lying piece of paper. It's not all good. I'm not sure things are ever going to be good again.

It took a long time, longer than anyone expected (they didn't understand that they had experienced the same thing at a younger age than me, and had tons of distance from it), but I crawled out of the hole. . . a hole that still threatens to suck me down once more, from time to time, but I consider myself pretty much above it and not interested in going back down. I moved to a new place, tried new things, enrolled in grad school, got a promotion at work, even took some chances in dating that didn't really pan out but at least taught me a few things. But the sticker, which had not weathered very well at all, remained. I had been waiting for the weather to get warmer, like it's just starting to now, so I could attack the crazed mess with a bottle of Avon's Skin-So-Soft.

Then, the accident happened. Instead of taking off the sticker, repairs took off the whole bumper. I've been given a nice new clean bumper and--forgive the cliche--the end of an era. Sure, I'm tempted to defile it with a sticker for my yoga studio, but I think I'm going to just let it be.

From now on, when I look at that shiny clean blue bumper, I will think of all the new possibilities coming my way, and let that hope fill my heart.


Cheesy Memories

In the fall of 2001, I figured out that I'd had an allergy to milk for most of my life, and since then, I've made many changes to my lifestyle to avoid milk products. Because I haven't eaten cheese in a long time, I forget what it tastes like, for the most part, and even sometimes what it looks like. Seriously, one time I was brought an omelet in a restaurant and I had to ask the waitress to confirm that atop it was indeed the cheese I had asked be left off my omelet. (Yeah, I ate for free that night.)

But this most definitely does not come close to what most people consider cheese. And their cheerful insistence that it melts beautifully is a complete delusion. This stuff doesn't taste good by itself--as I found in a lousy quesadilla last night--but because I didn't want to be wasteful, I thought I'd try to make salsa con queso dip by melting it with some salsa I had in the fridge. It took forever in the microwave--I tried high and low temps--and it was not smooth at all.

It made those "tofutti" individually wrapped slices look good, and that's not an easy feat for sure. I have to wonder if it's because some people who have never eaten real cheese have no experience for comparison. I also wonder if there's pressure not to match it perfectly because true vegans should not want imitations of animal products. Now I'm scared that when I do finally put the money out for an expensive but milk-free tiramisu (one of the things I've missed most), it'll skew to the bad tasting side of non-dairy products formulated from those perspectives. Maybe one day I'll feel daring enough.


Homework Pass

When an online student can't access the class site, said online student cannot do her homework. The support people said they've notified the administrator, but there's no information on when the site will be functioning again.

Which is fine for tonight, because it's hard to concentrate with a headache and a low-grade fever. Besides, I had other things to do, like clean up after cooking this for dinner (dairy- and gluten-free: sarahk would like it!) and baking this for dessert/breakfast (scroll down for the s'mores ones; I had leftover coconut milk to use up). Tonight it is important to have something for dessert because I need something to eat when I take those good ol' antibiotics the doctor--who for the first time in three visits didn't rag on my weight--prescribed. Wouldn't want to add "puking" to the list of ailments. (And yes I did ask the doctor if they would make me puke. I'm so clinical like that.)

My green-thumbed friend WordGirl (as her blog name suggests) would like this: while I was browsing the drugstore aisles waiting for my prescription to be filled, I found a petite kit to grow some herbs. I think it might be a cheap relative ($4!) of this kit; it's made by the same company. Now I just have to figure out where to put the pots so they'll grow but be safe from the cat (destroyer of all green growing things). But that's half the fun!


The Game Plan

I've said before that I'm notorious for list-making, so please forgive the list format for tonight--I'm a sick chickie.

1. Spoke with matchmaking friend tonight--he's going to e-mail the picture and I'm going to follow up later in the week. I'm doing this post, taking cold meds, and going to bed. Getting up early this morning to drop my car off for repairs, after not having slept well (Read the signs, Kate: you're getting sick) is adding to the blecch feeling.

2. Tomorrow I will call in sick and beg the doctor for an appointment to rule out strep throat. Silly me, I thought my throat hurt from all that gabbing and singing over the weekend. But when the chills hit--as I was trying to write up an assignment due tonight--I got a bit concerned. Slacker girl at my office was walking around all last week with hoarseness and coughing (sans hand-cover).

3. I'm still planning to post on my reunion weekend and hope I can do that this week.

4. That is, if I survive toodling around in a tin can with a bitchin' stereo. No, I refused to pay to upgrade, and I made them wash it. It was filthy. Because they made me late for work, they reduced the gas tank requirement when I return it. Yay me.
I'm still bemused by the fact that power windows and locks were scrapped for a stellar stereo. Guess what I'm driving? I'll give you a hint: Zoom-Zoom. (They're not kidding, either--dang, it is zippy.)



I definitely want to do a longer post on how my class reunion went--after I've caught up on my schoolwork--but I wanted to throw down a few quick notes. I didn't expect to get in until 11:45 last night so there went my reading plans. But overall it was a nice time; my classmates were a lot friendlier to me than I'd expected.

Plus I got to meet the lovely Amy and her mom--so when I didn't see any of my classmates before the liturgy (I think most came just for the cocktail reception), it was nice to have a couple of cool chicks to hang with, and it eased my nervousness.

I think there were about a dozen and a half of us (out of 125 on a "five not zero" reunion, it's actually not that bad). All but three of us had husbands (although surprisingly two were newlyweds), and at least two-thirds were moms--many, many cute kid pictures passed around. I bragged about my niece & nephews. When our cocktail reception at school ended, most of us ended up at a pub around the corner. I wrapped things up around 11:30 to save my voice for singing this morning, and it's a good thing I did: we had visitors at church! My cousins (husband & wife) are coordinators for the parish Pre-Cana day, which is a day of marriage preparation for engaged couples, and today was one of the two times a year they conduct it over at the smaller of our two churches (where I sing just about every week).

Speaking (slightly) of Pre-Cana, I got a bit of a shocking e-mail from a good friend: "Good news! I talked to that customer of mine [my friend's a department manager for a supermarket] I wanted to introduce you to [freaking eons ago]. He came in and was telling me about his trip to Italy [O.K., I'm intrigued], and since no one was around, I told him about you and he was interested." Apparently a picture of me holding my friend's little boy was shown at that time. . . and the customer handed my friend his biz card. I've always said I look hot with a baby in my arms. (Update: now that I have more information via a phone call, my friend was just letting me know he'd like to e-mail the picture to the person. And he laughed and agreed when I said I look hot with a baby in my arms.)

Yeah, I'll be calling my friend for more details. The timing on this is more than a little surprising to me. This morning in the car before going to Mass, right before I silenced my cell, I deleted the contact info for a certain person who has been MIA for the past two and a half weeks. No expectations but it's funny how opportunities come up sometimes.

Edited for clarification (thanks, Amy!).


Still Alive for the Friday Five

Oh, what a week it's been. I wanted to find an upbeat sort of theme for today's Friday Five, just to balance out all the whining and tears from this week. (Omigosh, I just realized it's pouring outside. Maybe it'll cool my place down--we got into the seventies today and I'm surprised how much heat this place retains.)

Five shows I look forward to seeing every week:

1. Top Chef--Yeah, I can't eat half the stuff (butter everywhere), but it's neat to learn about different foods and techniques.
2. How I Met Your Mother--I think I was the happiest viewer when Marshall & Lilly got back together.
3. Heroes--Was I the only person who didn't understand they weren't coming back until the fall? That was a disappointing realization last Sunday when I read the paper.
4. Project Runway--I think I could sew pretty well if I had a good teacher, but what those contestants come up with for the challenges is wild!
5. The Soup--I love the sarcastic humor, plus it gives me enough highlights of popular TV to keep me current but spare me the agony of watching a lot of bad TV.

Are these surprising choices?


Thanks, Nina!

The wickedly funny and smart-as-a-whip Nina, recipient of an award for having an excellent blog, was kind enough to give this little blog a mention. That's one of the nicest things that's happened to me this week, especially because it didn't involve snot.

Seriously, though, I feel as if I have some good posts churning, only I can't seem to tap them right now. I've got a bit of a "dark cloud" thing going on, in case readers can't tell. I've heard depression defined as "anger turned inward," and while I don't think I have a full-blown case (for once), the phenomenon of one frustration after another for the past few weeks has started to get to me. I'm still trying to unpack and adjust to my classes. They're not at all what I expected, and I was hoping that having two classes instead of three would free me up a bit more, but that hasn't happened, at least not yet. A friend recently disappointed me--an ongoing betrayal, really, and I'm not sure what to do about that. And the car. I'm pretty sick of dealing with the car.

I'm fairly sure this is temporary; it's just a matter of coping and getting through it. I really do feel as if things are about to change for the better--I just have to be patient. It's my one major failing; patience is a difficult thing for me to put into practice. I've been really tempted at times to despair of achieving the things I've dreamed of accomplishing for a long time, and that's wrong.

A few years ago, there was a wonderful elderly priest who used to help out at our parish. Physically, he was frail, but he had a strength in his voice that surprised us all. He also spoke very eloquently, but without any air of superiority. One time I asked him about despair, and among the words he used to counsel me, he said very firmly, "Despair is from the devil." And really, it is. It is the opposite of hope (one of the cardinal virtues). So I'm trying to cultivate hope right now.

And, because Nina spread some linky love to me, I want to thank her. It's not easy being single and still trying to build a support system (not even a "best girlfriend" in the vicinity--why don't more of my cool internet friends live around here?), and some days the need to love and be loved is just really overwhelming for me. I'm probably not alone in that feeling. So in response to that love, and that honor, I'm asking readers to stay tuned. (And spare a prayer/positive thought or two, if so inclined.) I hope to post some things worthy of being termed "excellent" once more, in the near future.


The Good, the Annoying & the Totally Gross

What is up with this week???

The Good: My new co-worker is smart and non-slackerish.
This morning, my boss told me that I've been approved to move from my cubicle to an office, at last. (Glad I spoke up.)

The Annoying: Apparently last week's requirement to post by Friday in one of my classes was a first-week reprieve, and we're expected to post by Thursday every week. Guess that means I won't be going to the Shakespeare lecture tomorrow.
The one time my mom decides to put cream of chicken soup in the batch of chicken soup she made, she forgets to tell me. I was a mess today. Sobbing by noon, sick by evening. It's not anaphylaxis but it ain't pleasant, either.
I got a jury duty summons. I think the last time they sent me one, I had just moved to a different county, and the time before that, I was a full time student in college--ten plus years ago. So that means I've never served. I wouldn't mind, but I probably never will serve because I'm related by a relative's marriage to one of the county judges. But I wonder if I'll have to go to the courthouse.

The Totally Gross: The one attorney for whom I draft documents handed me back something this afternoon. There was a e-mail stuck to the back of it, but I wasn't sure how. I pulled the papers apart and discovered green snot. Ew!!!!!!

There oughta be biohazard pay for this job.


I Cleaned Out My Car for Nothing

The repair guy said, "Bring it in," but apparently he was referring to the copy of the insurer's estimate, not my car.

When he saw I was about to burst into tears from frustration (the car, exhaustion, fear that "he" will never call again, hatred of work, etc.), he looked up the rental agency's number for me so I could call to reschedule. I got to work 20 minutes early, and that included stopping for a consolatory coffee. One more week of nearly being rear-ended to go.



Is't Possible?

Did I really just finish all my schoolwork for Week 1? And it's--*glances at clock*--only 8:30 p.m.? Honestly, a few days ago, I thought I was behind the eight ball and going to be down to the wire (a.k.a. midnight) getting this stuff read and completed.

I hesitate to hope that I can finish ahead of time every week, because it was Week 1 and they might be going easy on us with introductory stuff, but. . . I am taking only two classes this quarter, instead of three. If I can manage this, I might have time to finish unpacking in record time, and start having a life again.

I can certainly hope. For tonight, though, I'll settle for getting my school papers put away and getting to bed a bit earlier for tomorrow's thrilling events.

Stay tuned, dear readers (the whole handful of ya) for the exciting revelation of what the car rental place is going to turn over to me tomorrow morning. You may make your guesses as to make, model, and color in the combox if you'd like. And no, they don't rent Yugos around here. Or do they?


Who Are the People in My Neighborhood?

My mom's been trying to help me settle in. . . she keeps asking me if I've met my neighbor (a twentysomething gal--saw her and said hi once, she responded with a hi and kept walking).

Mom accompanied me on a shopping expedition (who knew Target sells staplers but not staples?), and she planted a few flowers around my patio while I cleaned the car out in anticipation of taking it in Monday morning for repairs from the accident. There's little parking available in front of my building, so I had the car parked in front of the patio to carry a few things in the patio door. (Hate doing that for fear of trampling the lawn and tracking mud inside, but right now it's semi-Spring and everything's still dead.)

We brought all the car things inside and Mom put the gardening tools in the kitchen. I wanted to get on the road back to her house so I wasn't parked illegally for too long, and as we're getting in the car, my next door neighbor's patio door slides open and her boyfriend hangs out the door. He's talking on his cell phone--in his bathrobe. Hello!

I don't think Mom's going to ask what my neighbors are like anymore.


The Friday Five Returns!

Now that I have a slightly longer commute to work, my brain gets more of a chance to warm up on the way in. The stereo's always on--either a little bit of talk radio, maybe some music, or if I can't find anything on the radio, I run the portable CD player through the tape deck. (Didja guess my car is six years old now?)

This morning, I caught the tail end of an interview with someone, and I'm not sure who it was, but there was talk about serving in the Vietnam War. I'm sorry to say that I am fairly ignorant about it. I don't think we even got to talk about it in my high school class (despite the fact that the summer reading of Gone with the Wind was supposed to help me with an essay question comparing the Civil War to the Vietnam War. It didn't). So those thoughts inspired this week's Friday Five: Five Subjects I Missed in High School

1. 20th century U.S. History. Yup, the entire century. I pretty much can't tell you what happened after Reconstruction. O.K., maybe a little bit about the Great Depression--sometimes I look at kiddie forts and cardboard boxes and think "Hoovervilles." That's it. Except that might be from seventh grade.

2. Economics. The stock market makes no sense to me. I do remember a trip to the Federal Reserve downtown, but I can't remember which class provided me the wonder of shredded defunct dollar bills.

3. Lab Science. Any lab science. Because I was required by my scholarship to take Art classes all four years, I missed freshman science, which I think was an introduction to physical science. Sophomore year, my biology teacher got really ticked off at me during a lab. IIRC it had to do with using the microscope. Sister didn't seem to understand that my science education in parochial school was minimal at best. It certainly showed.

4. Home Economics. Not offered in a college-prep, feminist-nun run school. Sometimes I do feel a bit "domestically disabled."

5. Latin. Oh, it was offered, but I opted for Spanish. Every once in a while, sometimes when I'm looking at art, or singing something at church, or reading one of those blogs written by self-proclaimed Catholic nerds, I wish I knew the language.

As an aside, I think my high school is doing something for the reunion classes this month but I haven't heard or received anything. After fifteen years I think I'm finally ready to go back.


Good News!

I was rewarded for standing out in the drizzle Monday morning to show the car's damage to the insurance lady--a brusque but smart lady with a short blond shag and eyeglasses. She knew her stuff, looked at all the same things the body repair guy did, and wound up with. . . get this. . . a higher estimate. When I called the insurance company ('cos I didn't know what to do next), they said they were sending out a check. Soon as I have that in my hot little hands, the car's going in to get fixed.

As a matter of principle, it's good to get the car restored to its prior condition. But from a personal standpoint, I want to get it done because I just can't stand it anymore. It's not about having to look at the giant holes in my bumper every time I go to my car. There definitely are important lights out, because other drivers are riding my car's tail hard. (Or are they all just "dumb buttocks" as Val once called them in a rare subdued FO moment?) I'm so afraid I'm going to get hit again that it's making driving very nerve-wracking.

So when the check arrives, there will be a little happy dance before phone calls are made to the body shop and the rental place.