Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Word Rich, Photo Rich

At my job back in Austin, I told my pregnant boss, J, “You shouldn’t make your baby out of chili dogs!” She had a lifelong habit of eating by whim—you can imagine how much of her budget take-out comprised—and her food choices were eclectic, to say the least, but she continued in this headlong fashion all the time I knew her, budget and nutrition be damned.

Sometimes I feel like I am following in J’s glorious footsteps. It would have been better for her and her baby if she had eaten something that fell squarely into one or another of the food groups, but chili dogs were often on the menu. It would really be better for my college career and my mental health if I would just sit down and write the paper that is due soon, but instead I am blogging and working on my short stories. The German IRS might prefer me to finish and send in last year’s tax return, but again, I am working my way through my German grammar book. It’s not like I am doing absolutely nothing—except yesterday, heh—but somehow I find myself doing stuff that is so far back on the burner that it is in the living room. Why?!

My new motto should be “Doing the Insignificant with Gusto!” Speaking of which, I crocheted us cell phone cozies to prevent the buttons being pushed while jostled about in a bag (I’m looking at you, John).

Purple sparkle for Hannah
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Black for John and me
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And I made a scrapbook* of Hannah’s artwork scrounged out of her “paper drawer”, directly under the “coloring implement drawer”, in her room. Now I see how previously unknown works by Beethoven or Shakespeare turn up—someone’s mom cleans out a drawer!

*In the original sense of gluing things on blank pages, not the artistic stuff WesTexGirl does.

Now that the daily introspection and beating myself up is over, I would like to give props to my hubby for carving this walking stick.

Walking stick, front

In case you are Germanic mythology-impaired, that is Odin. John’s interest in carving started back when we were still in Austin, thanks to the work of Rod Johnson, but this is his first completed object made using real tools and not a sharpened butter knife (don’t ask). A lot of people in our families have crafty hobbies, as opposed to John’s “hobby” of learning languages, so we’re glad to welcome him to the fold. Join us! It’s blisssss!

He’s going to carve me a witch out of this stick next. Can’t you just see the witch in it?

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I think I mentioned this before in relation to Hannah’s elementary school, but even her new school seems to have no reliable system in place for providing substitute teachers. Yesterday, her last class was cancelled, so she came home 1-1/2 hours earlier than scheduled. This morning she called to say PE was cancelled and her class was going to have to just sit around for 1-1/2 hours. She called back at the end of that period to say that someone had played a trick on them; the PE teacher came looking for them when no one showed up for class, but not before 2 girls went home. I think we’ll want to bring this up at the meet-the-teacher event this afternoon. Also—yay us! for getting cell phones! If this is going to keep happening all school year, it will be good to have a way to find out that Hannah’s on the loose early.

I am probably going to jinx us by saying this, but John and I seem to have the most amazing luck in certain areas. Work just falls into our laps. For instance, John got a line on his current Swedish-tutoring gig through the German-Swedish club. He has also picked up translating work from people contacting him through the university (including the university administration!). I have also picked up a few proofreading/translating/teaching jobs through his department (I should write an Ode to Nepotism), but not recently. My student employee job in the English Department, which I applied for myself, led to a temporary instructor job this semester.

Here’s the best one of all: John was approached by a guy who lives just down the street to help him brush up his English (his company is owned by an American). A coworker also wanted tutoring, so John put me forward, and I’ve been doing that for about 2 years now. Recently, yet another coworker expressed interest in tutoring. So at 10:30 this morning, John was working on a translation for this company (arranged by me and the original tutee while I was there for tutoring), and I was on the phone with the university about my teaching contract, and someone from the company left a voicemail about the new tutee. I tell you, we can’t swing a dead cat around here without hitting a job.

And to wrap up, a picture of our cat, who we probably couldn’t swing even if we wanted to. As Hannah’s friend said (but in German), “She’s GI-ANT!”


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