Saturday, October 29, 2011


It is 90 degrees outside. Let me tell you how amazing that is.

From October 2010 to September 2011, my little coastal town never even made it to 70 degrees. That's 10-11 months under 70. Do I live in Alaska? No. No I don't. But I do live in a Coastal CA town that is frequently subject to an oppressive marine layer (I.e., fog).

Don't get me wrong. I love, love, love my little town (if you call it a town since, technically, I think we are a mere Community Services District), and I would rather have mild (read "cold") summers than oppressively hot ones. But it is nice to feel the sun on one's back every now and again. True, I can drive the few miles to work and be in a totally different, warmer climate, but it's fun to feel warmth in my home, and in my backyard, and it's even better to have a warm day at the BEACH.

So am I at the beach? No. No I am not. My family is. I am going to use this time to work on my dissertation. The good news? I'm going to take my iPad and my books and an iced chai latte, and head up to the fort that Hubby built (read "still building") in the back yard. It's on five-foot stilts; it has bamboo railing and "walls" made from rattan blinds. There is a corrugated plexiglass roof (that is not quite finished), and the whole thing is surrounded by honeysuckle and leaves from our neighbors Magnolia tree. Normally, it's a little chilly for me to hang out there.

But not today. Fort, here I come.

Update (a couple of hours later): The wind direction just turned on shore, and the temp dropped by
at least 10 degrees in 10 minutes.

Friday, October 28, 2011

You Say It's Your Birthday?

It's my birthday, too. Yeah! (And, Unicorn, I know you are thinking of the scene from Sixteen Candles that I am thinking of, right? Right?!) (And CT, how did you remember that it was my b-day?!)

Well, actually, my birthday was yesterday, but still. And it's been a very busy few weeks, and I was feeling all sorry for myself because I had so much work to do and couldn't relax on my birthday.

But then something happened. I let go of the idea of trying to leave work early yesterday, and I stayed and got stuff done. And because I'd been working so hard during the first part of the week to try to be able to leave early yesterday, when I did, in fact, stay, I was actually able to get sort of caught up. And I felt productive--like I was doing things that will help the college and my students. And it felt kind of like a good birthday thing to feel useful in the world. And then, I realized that I'm kind of caught up with grading, too, and then I started to feel truly buoyant!

Suddenly, it the stress and self-pity cleared in a way that I wasn't expecting. I suddenly wasn't so overwhelmed any more or so busy, and I totally was not expecting that. Happy Birthday to me!

Other happy birthday occurrences:

  • The bay near my house was full and beautiful.
  • My iPod suddenly worked again in my car when it hadn't been.
  • My daughter danced at a little Halloween event in front of a grocery store, and she had fun and she looked great in her ghost costume.
  • Hubby, the kids, my parents and I gathered at my house for take-out Mexican food.
  • Hubby made his truly awesome margaritas.
  • My mom gave me a painting that I had admired at a recent art show (painted by one of her friends).
  • Hubby tidied the house and made everything look great before I got home.
  • Hubby update my cell phone, so now I have a phone that, while not smart, is much cleverer that my previous 4-year old flip phone).
  • And he got me a really pretty bracelet!
  • The Boy's Grow-A-Frog tadpole arrived in the mail (which wasn't for me, but which made for a very happy Boy).
  • I did not have to do any work last night, and I got to listen to the children do their reading.
  • Hubby and I both dozed on the couch during an episode of Bones.

All in all, I'd say it was an excellent day.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

18-week Semester: Part the Second

Last week was nuts. I had all kinds of committee reports to write. And then I had to finish up an accelerated class. And then I had to prep for the new class that starts tomorrow. Also? I had to attend a conference on assessment from W-F. Doesn't that sound like fun?

And this all came after several nights (at the beginning of last week) of staying up past 1:00am grading. In fact, I'm wondering if all of that late-night grading is what led to the burst blood vessels in my eye, which made me look kind of scary during the conference. In fact, I still look scary. Or totally stoned. In one eye.

But, with the help of Hubby, I have gotten most of my work done (unless I've totally forgotten about something), the house is in relative good order, the laundry is (mostly) done, and we have food.

I think I'm ready for the next nine weeks.

Oh, and maybe this week I can work on the dissertation!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Say What You Mean

You know what I love about community college students? They write things like this:

"Gertrude is a character that seems to have stupidity written on her forehead. As a mother, she can't understand why Hamlet is so mad. She also can't realize that the new man she is married to plans to kill her son."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dinner Lost, Dinner Found

Tonight, Hubby and I were planning to get take-out Thai food. Usually, when we get take-out Thai, we feed the kids first and sit with them at the dinner table, chatting and talking over the day while they eat. Then, during story time, Hubby goes on a food run.

Tonight, as we were finishing up homework for school, Hubby said, "Hey, the tides are good and the skies are clear! Is it okay if you put the kids to bed while I go for a paddle across the bay?" I, ever the supportive spouse (esp. since Hubby has given me extra time to work over the past few days) said, "Sure, no problem."

So he got ready, putting on the appropriate garb, loading the boat, etc. Then he left.

Fast forward about 10-15 minutes. The kids and I are reading together, and I start to mention that I'm hungry.

Wait for it . . .

Me: "Hey! Daddy and I were supposed to get Thai food! We haven't had dinner! We forgot dinner. We didn't eat. Now he's gone, and I can't leave to get Thai food."

This was all made more complicated by the fact that the whole reason were were getting Thai food is that our stores have run dry. We have little food in the house because of recent busyness, lack of balance, blissful camping, etc.

I put the kids to bed and tidied up. Then I started poking around the cabinets, the fridge, trying to find something other than peanut butter toast for dinner. Not that I don't like peanut butter toast. I do.

Then, after the second trip to the freezer, I noticed something in the bottom shelf on the door. Praise be, it was two bags of Trader Joe's risotto--one mushroom, one asparagus. Like manna at the bottom of my freezer. I had some, and Hubby can have some when he gets home.

Too bad he finished off the last glass of chardonnay earlier this evening.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Blissful Camping

The weather here in GEW-town was beautiful this weekend. By that, I mean it was sunny, nearly 70 degrees, and not too windy. This is all quite impressive when you consider that, between October 2010 and September 2011, the temperature in my town never reached 70 degrees. Cold. Fog. Rain. Wind. That has been our coastal weather until just the past few weeks.

So, despite the fact that I had an incredible amount of work to this weekend, I jumped on board with plans to go camping in a secret special spot with our family and one other family. Because of that decision, the delicate balance that I spoke of a few days ago has been completely lost. I am behind with work, we have no clean clothes, and there is nothing for the kids to eat for breakfast or take to school in their lunches.

But it was so worth it. I'm not sure I've ever camped in a more relaxing, beautiful, blissful spot. Our travel to the spot also involved a short water crossing, which was managed by kayaks and a sailboat. And the water was beautiful.

I did, however, take some papers to grade (double bagged in plastic inside a backpack--just in case the water crossing didn't go so well), but even that wasn't too bad. I had a great view as I read the essays.

But now, it's back to reality. I have an accelerated class ending next week, so there will be a lot of grading over the next few days. I also have a conference next week that will interrupt the flow of it all (but will provide a couple of nights in a hotel room, and, at this point, I don't think I have to share!). And I want to maintain steam on dissertation work. But I feel recharged by the weekend and ready to go.

Carrying on!