Saturday, October 30, 2004

Footwear for the 21st century

I was awoken to the sound of Eliza-cat meowing mutedly; I figured she was stuck in the closet. Turns out she was downstairs with L.H. and D.D., so she is now officially "the cat who cried 'stuck'."

Later, she fell off the stairs. She's not much smarter than a pair of slippers at this point; it won't be much of a change when I'm wearing her on my feet.

I expect my new slippers will be more attractive than these boots, at least. I saw a woman wearing something similar the other day. It was much too warm for such heavy-duty boots, and I thought, "Her poor dog-sled team! They must be baking."

Friday, October 29, 2004

Goblins and ghosts and princesses, oh my!

Darling daughter wanted a Halloween party, so she's getting the crafty-est Halloween party of all time. We've learned the hard way that if you have a dozen kids over and nothing planned to do, chaos will ensue. So I have paper for making jack-o-lanterns and wizard hats, and lots of straight sticks and feathers and foil for making magic wands. The only game we came up with is the old grapes-and-spaghetti-in-a-covered-bowl game. Is it brains? Guts? Eeeew!

DD also wants dancing, so we'll pull out the Best of the 80s CDs and let them boogie down. She's going to dress up as a princess; the other kids were asked to dress up, but DD has a pile of dress-up clothes, mostly princess stuff, that they can swap if they want.

And what's Halloween without goodies? I got the coolest Halloween gummis—black ones shaped like skulls and rats, white skeletons, pink and white fangs complete with gums, spiders—and some small wrapped chocolates. I'm going to make some chocolate cupcakes; the ones with orange frosting will be mini-pumpkins; the ones with black licorice strings poking out of them will be spiders (I couldn't find black food color for the frosting). One of the moms offered to bring veggie kabobs—lovely husband managed not to laugh at her over the phone. Silly woman! Halloween is not about nutrition! It is about gluttony! Sheesh.

L.H. brought home a pumpkin, but we're just going to draw a face on it with a black marker. I am not to be trusted with a knife, and we want to cook it later, so intact is better.

D.D. will be out of school next week, but I think we figured out that she'll only have to come to class with us a couple of days. Monday is a state holiday (All Saints), so we can all hang out at home, then Tuesday I have no classes to attend, and Friday L.H. has no classes to teach. One of my instructors has school-aged kids, too, and she said she might bring them to class, or let them play in her office down the hall, so D.D. coming is no problem. The other classes are large and anonymous, so no problem there, either. Of course, poor D.D. has been dragged to the university so often in her life already that she'll probably not want to go to college by the time she's old enough. It's that boring place.

She said the funniest thing the other day. She wore her new corduroy dress from her Grandma to school, and the after-school teacher asked her if it was her birthday, since she was so dressed up. And she got a book from a classmate (long story). So when she got home, she told me it felt like her birthday, particularly since she was so pretty. No confidence problems there!

Weather-bitching level: I can't decide.
It didn't actually rain today, but we've had a weird mix of slightly overcast and sunshine. The overcast was not even that distressing since the clouds were big and puffy instead of a solid layer of smothering gray. So I guess I can't complain. Drat.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Thoughts on a Thursday

L.H. thought I was unaccountably harsh in my blog the other day on those American students. He doesn't understand that I would be just as harsh on the Russian and Chinese students if they were as loud as the Amis and if I could understand what they were saying.

I try to be efficient with my time on campus so I don't have to spend all my time at home locked away with my homework, and it irritates me to have my concentration broken by 2 girls discussing the state of their pens—"mine's almost out of ink"; "this kind's better but costs more"; blah, blah—and the search for a salsa partner, which segued into a discussion on someone else's roommate, who also happens to dance salsa, with a dash of revisiting high school dance team escapades thrown in. I stand by what I said before—inane blather.

I think part of the possible difference in opinion between L.H. and me stems from the fact that he was a college student for 12 of the last 13 years, and now teaches college students, so he still strongly associates with "youth culture." I, on the other hand, was out of school for 7 years before going back, and I worked in the administrative offices of a university almost that whole time, so I definitely do not.

Also, I like to bitch about stuff, which is the ostensible purpose of this blog. Don't like the bitching, Honey? Then don't read. (I already told him this in person. I wouldn't bitch about him behind his back.)

Weather-bitching level: 1.5
More off-and-on rain. I couldn't even manage to light the tile oven today, although L.H. thought it was too warm for it anyway.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The Eyes Have It

The latest generation of Barbies freak out L.H. and me. Their eyes keep getting bigger and more oblong—sideways. We think it looks even more trampy than usual. The regular Barbie that Mattel puts out as various fairy-tale princesses looks the same as before (only mildly trampy), but the My Scene dolls and the latest Fairy Something-or-Other dolls have the freaky eyes. Why doesn't Mattel just go straight to producing the Crack Whore Barbie? Sheesh.

The xmas toy advertising is well underway here. Don't get me wrong, there are always ads aimed at kids on TV, but now instead of trying to get D.D. to give up her allowance for gum and yo-yos, they're trying to get Mom and Dad to buy the giant Barbie mansion and cruise ship.

Every commercial it's "Mom, I want that." It drives us nuts. But one night D.D. actually commented unfavorably on a baby doll that transforms into a princess with the addition of *ta!da!* a princess costume. "She has creepy eyes." See! Even a 7-year-old will catch on to these things. On the other hand, as L.H. said, 1 toy down, 900 to go.


I can feel the winter bloat coming on. Even after my period, I am craving sour cream and onion Pringles and chocolate covered cherries. I may not normally eat enough fruits and veggies, but I also generally avoid sweets and junk food. Coffee is my one food vice, and they'll have to pull my favorite "Canada" mug from my cold, dead hands after I hit the floor.

It's been hard getting up in the cold, dark mornings; that's probably cluing in my body that it's time to step up the blubber production. It's hard enough finding pants when you're only 5 feet tall, but if I end up 5 feet wide as well, it'll be impossible. Also, I don't know my metric measurements. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

Weather-bitching level: 1-ish
It's not raining, but it was pretty chilly today. Also, it seems to be too overcast to see the lunar eclipse. Damn the luck.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Rain, rain, go away, dammit

I have only been back to school for a week, and already I am feeling slightly overwhelmed. Well, not too overwhelmed, but I was going to proofread today since I have no classes, but instead I have been preparing for an oral presentation I have to give on Thursday. Really, the presentation is pretty straightforward as far as I'm concerned, but the professor wanted me and the other presenter to contact him in advance, and I had to clear up a couple of things I couldn't figure out on my own, wah wah wah.

On top of that, Tuesday is my grocery-shopping day, my day to drop DD off at school and pick her up and take her to ballet. I think I'll have plenty of time for school stuff or work stuff, but it never works out that way. Alas.

It's pouring rain, and I have to walk out the door in 15 minutes to pick up DD. Stupid rain. At least we both have umbrellas. She spent some of her own allowance to buy a new-er one at a flea market. The old Pippi Longstocking umbrella has seen better days. We got it in Sweden when we lived there 4 years ago, and since then it has been dragged around the world (well, back to Texas, then to Germany).

Ok, ok, must spend last 15 minutes on presentation.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Cats and kids

I complain about our clumsy cats on a regular basis, and with good cause. Eliza can't jump from the floor to the third stair without missing her footing and slipping. The 2 of them even managed to fling themselves (and my ivy) off the top of the tile oven (a 5-foot drop) while tussling; it was a bit like a cliff scene in an action movie. And Missy has somehow fallen off the terrace on the top floor of the house and slid down the roof *4 or 5 times.*

I mean, I know "cat" does not equal "brain surgeon," but—really. You'd think that if she could learn to run into our room when the closet door is opened, she could learn to avoid death by terrace. Actually, bad example. She gets locked in the closet on a regular basis.

Last night, though, Missy was redeemed. (Eliza, on the other hand, remains clumsy until proven otherwise.) While pulling her back inside the house through the window, I noticed that her lips looked dark. "Great," I thought. "She's probably bleeding internally." I followed her into darling daughter's (D.D.) room, where she was standing over a small brown pile. Luckily (for me, anyhow), it was a bat. Turns out Missy's the great brown hunter.

A bat flew into our house one evening when we had all the windows wide open, and Missy managed to bat it out of the air, but that didn't seem fair. I had no idea she'd fling herself off the terrace for the chance. It explains all the roof-sliding.


Today I had my first dose of young American people in a long time. Please. Shut. Up. Shut. Shut. Shut. Why isn't karma or whatever striking these people mute!?

I'm not usually bothered by other people talking around me while I'm trying to study, because they are speaking in Chinese or Russian, and there's nothing I can recognize in what they're saying that could interrupt me, so I can tune them out. Not so with the Americans. Here I am, trying to read about the complexities of verb phrases, and I can't get their inane blathering out of my head. Must... resist... fist... of... death.

Weather-bitching level: 0.5
I think 3 days of Golden October are all we're going to get, so today we had to be satisfied with "At least it's not raining, and the foliage is beautiful." It was warmish until after dark, so that pleased me, except for the part where I was waiting for the bus after dark in my clothes that were appropriate only before dark. At least it wasn't raining.