Thursday, May 7, 2015

Knit or Crochet

Since the last time I've written in this blog, so many things have changed.  I've gotten years older!  I'm no longer fully human, as my husband says.  Got a hip replacement in 2012.  My mom died last year (2014.)  My sister taught me how to knit while we waited in Mom's hospital room, and now, I do  it because it not only keeps my hands busy and creates useful things, but also feels like I'm honoring my legacy.  My mom loved to knit.  She even had a knitting machine!

I also picked back up crocheting.  Now I haven't made anything more complicated than flat square things (or in the case of crocheting, flat round things.)  I can't follow patterns very well.  I have to look at something and figure it out myself.  And I'm really curious about how knitting and crocheting stitches differ.

You can see here that I'm starting two dishcloths.  I have to pick one to take with me and hide in my gown during CNM's graduation (for people with Master's Degrees, the gown has a handy deep, deep pocket in each sleeve, where you can carry a bottle of water and your yarn work.)

I'll add a picture when I'm done with them.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tops, or rather, topS

We have a fat cat, a calico. She was meant to be Boone's cat, after his calico that he'd named Spot (after Data's cat on Star Trek: The Next Generation) died. So he turned Spot's name around and named our new kitten topS. I much prefer Tops.

She wasn't always fat. We wanted to allow her to have kittens because we wanted another calico, and sure enough, her first litter contained one calico, along with four other kittens. And then Jeffrey, a long-haired scaredy cat, got in on top of her nursing her kittens in her box, and had a litter of kittens! We didn't even know Jeff was a female, much less that she was pregnant! (It was her hairiness that misled us.)

Jeff was an awful mother. She was too antsy. If one of the dogs even looked in her direction, she'd disappear. We caught her several times taking the kittens (Topsy's kittens or her own) out of the house and hiding them under the house, and she'd forget to go back and feed them. Tops ended up feeding all 12 kittens. She became very, very skinny and was eating all the time that she wasn't nursing the kittens.

So when the kittens were old enough, we took them all to the vet to get them spayed. The vets reported that Tops has some kind of white meal surrounding her inner organs. They'd never seen anything like that before. They scooped the meal out and sewed her back up. After research, I figured that she had had a tapeworm. The "meal" was the eggs of the tapeworm. After that, Tops became fat.

So now we have her on a diet, eating diet cat food. She doesn't like that so much. She keeps bothering us to get us to feed her more. When I sit at my computer on the counter, she crosses under my face back and forth, making sure I get a noseful of her hair and typing odd things on my laptop. And when I try to push her off, she gets very stubborn, using her weight to pull all sorts of things down with her.

Well, today, I heard a suspicious noise on the other counter. I look and Tops freezes. I keep looking and very slowly, Tops continues, with her front paws, shoving the bag of markers I have sitting there, inch by inch, closer to the edge.

"Tops," I say in my warning tone. She stops and looks ups at me, innocent big eyes. But she stops. After a moment, she turns away from the bag, pretending she wasn't doing anything.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Dogs policing wolves

I just can't let this one go. Many other haunting dreams I have shouldered through the day, a moment reminds me of an emotion in the dream and I'm back in, but bit by bit those have dissipated. Last night's though -- I might be able to use it in a plot.

Dogs were like people, walking upright, talking (English, no less!), and interacting as equals with people. Now, as this dream went on, I was variable characters. So at the beginning, I was a hunting dog, which is like the police, looking for the wolves on this huge university campus to exterminate them. The wolves had not become like people. They "chose" to remain animals, and would kill anything they could, whether for food or not.

Sometimes, I was myself, and friends with the hunting dog. So the hunting dog must be my dog Shiloh. Whenever I walked into a room, all the clocks in that room would automatically adjust to another time. In the beginning, it was quite annoying, but other things began to take my attention. I can't remember them well right now. Seems I was captured by a wolf, but Shiloh saved me. Other times, I was the wolf, thinking "they can't do this to me" kind of thoughts. "I'll get them back."

There was a debate or movie being filmed on campus. Only instead of the actors needing to know their lines, they were going to take video of the parts of the lines the actors had said and piece them together to make their lines. The magic of Hollywood only one step farther.

As they were filming, I met a girl who'd fallen in love with a wolf. We were going to look for the wolf, but there was some kind of force field zipping across the path we needed to take. We started to run through, but I chickened out, or maybe I got zapped. It was like I got hit in the head. The other girl got farther in. But I just lay down on the ground and either pretended I was dead (as in acting) or I rested.

"Connie!" I heard a voice. "What are you doing here?" It was Donna, my old office mate. She pulled at me to get me up out of the ditch, and I offered her an arm (I was thinking it would take people lifting with both my arms and both my legs to get me out of here.) But somehow, Donna got me out, and we went to breakfast in the cafeteria.

Breakfast was some kind of sausage rice soup, very unappetizing. As we ate, Donna said, "I tell the students they need breakfast, go eat breakfast, but this stuff is crap. We'll have to get with the cafeteria staff and educate them on better nutrition."

Below me, at the foot of my stool (which seemed a mile high) was a guy who seemed taken with me. He kept circling my stool. He was in good shape, but I wasn't really interested. Then I thought of something. Here's this wolf-dog-world and yet Donna and Robin and Alex and the others we were eating with were acting like we were in our normal world.

"Robin," I said. "Can you see the guy below my stool?" She didn't know what I was talking about. I looked around and picked out a very distinctly Grayhound gentleman who was entering the cafeteria. "Can you see that guy coming in just now?" None of my friends could see him. Then I realized. I was in two dimensions at the same time. There was nothing to do for it, but just go along and see what happens.

Toward the end, I went into a library to do research. While I was at the front desk, asking the librarian if she could identify some curios I had with me, a lady behind me said, "It's 4:20."

"No, it's not," the librarian said. "It's 9:30. I just checked." Then she looked at the clock behind her and it said "4:20." All the other clocks said "4:20" as well. People started filing out of the other rooms because 4:30 was closing time. The librarian looked at me as if I had done that, and dumped all my curios in the trash. (She had originally said they were trash.)

As we left the library, an acquaintance carrying a huge mock up of the book I made from these adventures starting telling me he wouldn't buy my book. I didn't care. The book looked like a sword & sorcery type book -- the title even seemed like it -- but I was satisfied that it was actually more science fiction (the only "magic" being the dimensional doubling and the evolution of dogs to people-like status.)

There's more, but I'll let it come as it will.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Long time no see

Okay, if you haven't heard from me in awhile, it's because I am writing! Writing, writing, writing! I've finished revising my book Spirit Reader. Then I put all my creative effort into creating a couple of Powerpoint presentations for a convention (at least 80 hours) and when that was done, I threw myself into preparing for the Fall term at CNM. Whew!

I have two online classes (fortunately, both are using the same shell) but on a new program -- Blackboard -- which ate up WebCT. AND because of the conference (MERLOT -- which has nothing to do with wine; it's Multimedia Educational Resources for Learning and Online Teaching) I'm working on setting up a wiki for my face-to-face classes to use for group work, and I'm trying out Survey Monkey -- a free survey site my students can use for their research. By the way, why don't you pop on over and take my short survey?

Okay, gotta go. My puppy's at my knees, chomping on tennis ball, asking me to play fetch.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Another Dream

I, a young girl, found in a hotel I could fly and do all sorts of wonderful things, but mostly fly. I met a young man about my age who could do the same. At first we hid our truths from each other, but eventually we discovered them and we felt we were made for each other.

Our church group was going on a huge boat ride in a theme park. The boy and I found we could jump out of the boat and explore things at our luxury while the boat moved on. Usually, we'd catch up by flying back. But once, we lingered too long (the boy bought for me some bracelets and a bowl of chocolate) and we didn't know where the boat was. It was apparently on the other side of a small hill.

I couldn't carry everything and fly, so I gave the bracelets to the boy to carry while I had the bowl. The boy threw a bracelet into the air to help us fly higher -- we could "follow" the bracelet with our minds -- but the bracelet didn't even go as high as the ridge blocking the boat from our view. It would immediately fall back into the water. "We have to do something else," I said.

One of the denizens on the shore (strange looking creatures) suggested we ask Elmer. We said, "Who's Elmer?" Elmer was a skunk-looking mechanical creature who said to go down the stairs in the back of the Jack-in-the-Box store.

My friend the boy was carrying a blood-creature he had bought for himself -- it looked like a green mat that filled the shallow box and had six eyes on top.

We went down the stairs and found it to be a shortcut to where the boat was.

In a quiet moment, I asked the boy, "So tell me about yourself." He told me (without speaking -- I just knew) about the abuse he'd suffered as a boy, about the chaos of his family -- just like in mine. My heart grew really tender toward him and I hugged him. He was, I felt, my good friend.

Monday, June 4, 2007

The Guy who Played Jesus

I spent a good part of my night riding around the streets of a town on a minimal bicycle, which was little more than wheels, pole, and pedals. Good workout.

Then I was with a friend, and I got a wild idea. We went up the steps of a Catholic church, and plucked down the man who was playing the part of Jesus, dragged him into the church, upsetting a couple of priests. I spread the man out on the altar and began to pray, "Thank you, God, for sending your Son Jesus, whom this guy represents." It just felt so real. The reality of God's sacrifice. The priests were anxious, yelling, and then trying to bargain with me (We'll give you a special dispensation, they said. They were afraid I was going to actually sacrifice this guy. I'm not Catholic, I said. But my friend took the paperwork just to appease the priests.) Then we left before the police could get there.

After that, I was sort of on the run. I went to other churches, and actually saw the guy who had played Jesus there, but I hoped he didn't recognize me in my Sunday-going-to-church clothes. I couldn't stand the services, so I ended up leaving early, even walking by the guy who played Jesus, sitting on a big, beautiful, fat, sassy horse. (See, this guy was rich.) I thought, Jesus wouldn't be sitting on such a horse, since Jesus wasn't rich. His horse would be lean like he was. Yet, this man was lean.

Off to the side from the sidewalk, I saw varicolored leaves (red, yellow, green, purple) on the ground under a large grove of trees. There was a bit of snow and ice on top of the leaves, but their colors were showing through. I started digging my hands through the snow and ice to get to the leaves. I was on my hands and knees, moving from space to space, clearing the leaves with my passage of the snow and ice, just enjoying the nature.

When I came out on the other side, the man on the horse was talking to some other people (reporters?) and he said, "I won't ever play Jesus again." Not because of the danger from people like me, I gathered, but rather from the fact that I truly used him as a representative of Jesus, and he felt how wrong that was.

I pulled out my minimal bicycle and rode on.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Work Out

I need to work out more. When I go to bed after having spent much of the day at the computer, my legs want to stretch and I can't get comfortable.

I feel like I have worked out. During the day, in my writings, I jump from a cliff into a raging river, I travel miles across a desert, I go to a regular work out class (for assassins), I save lives, I run and hide . . . I feel like I've had a work out! But my mind's still running and working out when I go to bed and my legs stretch and stretch.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Coat

It all started with a swim meet, and a team from Iowa that traveled in a huge bus down to southern New Mexico. At first, I was a mom accompanying the team. The meet was over and I had a chance to swim.

So I jumped in and swam and swam and swam -- not wanting to end it. The other two swimmers (members of the team) were much faster and adept than I, but it didn't matter; I still had fun. (It occurred to me that I was so much better than I had ever been before. But still, why am I so slow? Oh, then I'd remember to kick my feet.) Then it was time to get ready to leave. The swimming pool was on a level at the top of a spire, and the next level down was wider and had more swimming pools. We looked over the edge and could see a kiddie pool filled with playing children. The girl swimmer next to me said something I couldn't catch, but at the end it sounded like "weenie." I bent down to pick up a piece of glass at our bare feet; the girl bent down as if to pick up a pebble, said it again, "This hotel is so sweeny," and jumped -- dived -- headfirst down into the kiddie pool. I thought she'd died -- I heard and felt two booms -- when she hit the water and when she hit the bottom.

Someone took a picture of it and posted it on the Internet and everyone knew about the stupid thing this girl did. But she was alive! And apparently unharmed. I told her I thought she was dead, and she spread her arms as if offering me to look -- not even a bruise. I retorted, "That doesn't mean anything. You can really deep bruises that don't show up for hours." Then we had to inform the coach, who was perhaps the ONLY person in the hotel who didn't know what happened. The girl was in trouble.

But she told everyone she had slipped or someone had pushed her. I kept my mouth closed, but had to decide whether I would lie with her or tell the truth -- what I saw -- when the time came. Surely they would ask me. But I liked the girl. Still I decided if and when the officials asked me I'd tell the truth. I figured the girl would be banned from any more swim meets, but oh well. She was a senior and this had been her last swim meet, anyway. Oh, and maybe she wouldn't be awarded the medals for her performance this meet.

So we all piled into the bus, which was more like a private RV. The guy driving was the owner, one of the dads. I was in the back, so I couldn't see the road signs as they came up. But I was able to point out things I like about New Mexico to the women and kids around me. At one point, we were sitting at a perfect vantage point to see the Sandias looming above us. I pointed out La Luz trail, told how high the mountain was in altitude, how high from the valley floor, etc. (The kids were listening with interest! Well, I guess if they were from Iowa . . .)

At some point, I realize that I'm seeing signs for some car dealership, and the signs look like regular highway signage. I go to the front and ask, "Are we lost?" No, says the navigating wife. No, says the driver. "Do we have a map?" I'm always needing to check a map. I love maps and rely on them. We don't have one.

Well, I don't think this is right. We're going into mountains, but the road is too wide, the curves too broad, for the type of road I expected for going over the pass. Sure enough, this "highway" is a dead end, luring unsuspecting travelers to a car dealership (Geo and Chevrolet). We stop at the end and work to turn the huge RV around. Everyone's disgusted with the deceit and without saying anything to the dealer, who's trying to get us to stay for awhile, we show our disgust with our expressions. So now we're going back the way we came. And I'm thinking of the correct road ahead and getting scared.

"I don't know," I tell the driver. "Maybe we need to reconsider this going over the pass." The road I know has hairpin turns -- ones I'm not sure this monster would be able to negotiate. I try to get the driver to take the long way around, using the freeways, but the driver assures me this baby can handle the turns. Well, okay. So we pick another road that seems like it. We go higher and higher in elevation and the road becomes dirt, then mud, and narrower and narrower, and I'm getting really scared, but there's no going back and no where to turn around.

We take a break next to railroad tracks. One of the women, the wife of the driver, has a bag of rails and for some reason she's shaking it, and the rails fall out, all over the tracks in the ground. And there's a train coming and we don't have time to pick up the rails, and we know it's going to cause the train to derail. We just barely have time to pile back into the RV.

A MAN comes to get us. No, that's not quite right. HE is going to come get us. In the meantime, we are to dress like we dress normally (actually, we gathered this meant with an entire outfit, including coats, gloves, etc.) And HE will tell us what we have to give up (in payment for causing the train's derailment?)

Now I left out the disjointed conversations going on in the back during our trip -- what was going to happen to the girl who dived into the kiddie pool, whether we should disguise ourselves (everyone was wearing a t-shirt with the team name on it) in case the whole world knows of this girl's stupidity and cover up our team name with jackets, etc. I had put aside my own jacket and another dad (a grandfather riding with us) had folded it and tied all the ties in firm knots.

Already, people are being called out, one by one. What they have to "give up" is usually little -- even as small as a thread -- and they place it on a flat open space at the front of the bus. But I have no idea of the significance of these things to the person having to give them up. They could be really, really important.

I am fumble-fingered at getting the knots on my folded jacket undone. And when I put on my glasses, they fall apart, and I'm having to put them on, piece by piece -- first the frames, oops, no, put the nose cushions on the frames first (people help me find those, and find a girl's lost earring in the process), and then pop the lenses in, and now I can see to untie the knots on my jacket.

I am acutely aware of the time passing, and my turn is coming up. What if I don't have my jacket on in time? What if I present myself not as I normally am? I am afraid. (Although the MAN is a shadowy figure like the Wizard of Oz was behind the curtain, it feels like HE is God and can do anything to us.)

Then it happens. Boone, my son, refuses to put his coat on. "I made him wear that for killing Olade," my husband says. I am aghast. But not completely in denial. Boone goes before the MAN without his coat on -- exposed. And I hear, like a whisper in the wind, I forgive him the sin. It felt like Boone was rejecting the identity that wearing the coat would mean. And because he rejected it and opened himself up even more, he received more than any of the rest of us.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Big Pepsi Machine Incident

Note -- apparently the ampersand (that little symbol above the 7 on your keyboard) is not allowed. So I am using the plus sign instead. Sorry, A+S professors.

I'm taking Reading 100 online as a student in preparation for teaching it online. One of the assignments is to find 10 vocabulary words that I don't know or am not sure about and look up their definitions and use them in my own sentences. Ehrenreich's 221-page book netted me a total of eleven words I didn't know the definition of for sure. Some of the words were ones that I had seen before but just never really looked up (like "chartreuse" and "apotheosis") but there were some I had NEVER seen before -- words like "postprandial," "cineast," and "hortatory." All this looking up the words reminds me of the Big Pepsi Machine Incident.

First you gotta know the situation at work. I work for the Division of Educational and Career Advancement at CNM (Central New Mexico Community College). ECA is only the third name for where I work. It used to be call "Prep," because the classes taught there are preparatory to college. Then when I was hired, it was called Developmental Education, in contrast to the Adult Ed Dept. that taught Basic Literacy, GED Prep and ESL. Then the two departments were merged to form the Department of Adult and Developmental Education, or DADE. So at the time of the Pepsi Machine Incident, we had teachers who taught everything from the alphabet to high-school-level math and English. Our full-timers' offices occupied the south wing of the fifth floor of Max Salazar.

On the other side of the building, in the north wing, were the Arts and Sciences professors' offices. The A+S professors tend to think they are better educated than we (not true) and more intellectual than we (may be true). In the center of the building was a teachers' lounge, with tables to sit at, microwaves, refrigerators and sink -- in essence, a breakroom.

One day, a huge Pepsi machine appeared in the teachers' lounge. Oh, boy, was the reaction of my colleagues in DADE. Now we don't have to go down to the soda machines on the third floor.
But just as quickly, email complaints -- addressed to ALL DADE and ALL A+S -- spread like wildfire through the ether.

How crass! the emails complained. How commercial. The teachers' lounge was our refuge from the crass and commercial world, and now we can't get away from it. It's just so, so . . . intrusive. (These emails, by the way, seemed to come mostly from the A+S teachers.) It ruins the decor of the breakroom. (Decor?)

We laughed and shot emails back, at first trying to point out the positive, explaining that the machine's proximity is at least a nice thing for all the secretaries of our two departmental offices -- now they can run for a soda without taking a whole break. And now we wouldn't be dependent on the machines downstairs that tend to run out about mid-morning. And besides, isn't it a material world?

In response to each positive email, someone else added their own negative perspective, and the complaints built in passion and fury. Finally someone on our side wrote, "Sheesh. Take a Prozac." Someone else responded, "That's not funny." And he went on to describe his son who's depressed and has to take Prozac just to stay on an even keel. And we laughed. Not at his son, but at the all the professorial solipsism that seemed to say, Everything we do is important; how we feel is important; why won't anyone listen?

And we laughed.

But the pinnacle of this email exchange occurred with the English chair of A+S writing about this "corybantic moil." I don't even know what that means! my colleagues laughed. So we got out the dictionary and looked it up. So there you have it. A+S professors are better than we DADE teachers because we don't understand the words they use. That was the last time I looked up the definition of some vocabulary in the dictionary (short of thesaurus sorties for my writing) until this Reading 100 class. (But I tell you what -- I don't think I'll ever use "corybantic moil" in honest discourse.) And if you want to know what it means, look it up!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Nickel and Dimed

I've been reading Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed for awhile lately. (The subtitle is On (Not) Getting By in America.) My big question when I started it was how did she continue to work at minimum wage (I'd understood she'd tried this experiment of working for minimum wage for a whole year)? Did she quit as soon as she was offered a raise? Did she do a half-assed job so she wouldn't be given a raise?

On the back of the book, Studs Terkel (whoever he is) crows ". . . Nickel and Dimed is a stiff punch in the nose to those righteous apostles of 'welfare reform.' . . ." Well, I guess I'm one of those righteous apostles of "welfare reform." Having grown up in the South Valley, where there are many wonderful people, but also a great number of generational welfare recipients, I could easily see how welfare, as it was, quenched any self-reliance spirit in people.

I'm almost done with her third and final location. Haven't gotten into the evaluation, but I can see how things are going. If you go into something with an attitude, you're going to find all kinds of things to reinforce that attitude. For example, my husband is a "the glass is half empty" kind of guy, while I'm more "the glass is half full." Each of us constantly find things to reinforce our stances and miss the things that go against our attitudes (even when we are both looking at the exact same thing!) So yeah, Ehrenreich is finding all kinds of obstacles against her success, seeing the filth and negative about her without seeing the positive.

In her first location, she worked one partial day at the motel housekeeping job she'd been trying to get and when her other job (waitressing) had "the perfect storm" (which does happen) she'd had enough and walked out. I can't blame her for that, but the chapter says nothing more about her housekeeping job. We just know that her first day was also her last day. In a footnote, she mentions the motel later advertising the housekeeping work as paying $9.00 an hour, she checked it out and found out they were paying per room instead of $6.00 per hour as before. The per hour arrangement encouraged people to work more slowly to take more time and make more money. People making $9.00/hour were busting butt to get more done in less time (which is really the enterprising way).

So she made some bad decisions. If she HAD truly been "poor," she could have maybe learned from them and used what she learned to improve her lot. She couldn't live off of a waitress's $2.15/hour plus tips, during the off season in Florida, so she had to get another job. She got a second job that paid $6.00/hour. But fatigue (in trying to handle both jobs) got in the way of her ability to deal with the more stressful job. So she walks out on BOTH OF THEM? What if she had stayed with that housekeeping job, started making the same amount, but in less time? Then she would have had more time to look for a better job. Instead, this was the abrupt end of that particular experiment.

In her second location in Maine, she was working for a maid service and seemed to be doing okay financially. What was getting to her was the downtrodden state of her coworkers. It didn't so much bother them as it bothered her. She hated that they wanted to please their boss and do a good job. And the juxtapositioning of "servant poor" with "master rich" bugged her royally.

I have never had a maid clean my house although at some point, my husband wanted us to hire out that work. The thing is I would clean my house for my maid to come clean. I relate too much with the working poor. They are my roots; I am a part of them. And nothing is wrong with getting your hands dirty cleaning up your own messes.

But this is what gets me. Ehrenreich saw everything in terms of economic class. I did help a friend clean some houses. The people whose houses I cleaned had much nicer houses than mine. Sure, they were richer than I (I guess.) But I didn't see them as being in a different class. They just had more money than I. But Ehrenreich was always aware of herself as "actually a highly educated person, a PhD, in fact" who was pretending to be lower class. She always wondered if anyone would blow her cover -- like you can recognize a PhD by her carriage. And when at the end of this episode, she "came out," it was anticlimactic. It seems she expected everyone to react as if she had managed to cross the demilitarization zone in the night and spied on the "other side." The ladies just saw her as another person. (They should have realized she wasn't one; she was just pretending to be one.)

Interestingly enough, she got a raise while working in the service. So yeah, she quit right after getting the raise.

Just a note: I really enjoy Ehrenreich's writing. She has a nice style with just enough hard words to challenge me -- about one every 20-30 pages. (Hmm, guess I'm not PhD material.) But as you can tell, I don't agree with her politics, nor with her cynical outlook on life and the world. I feel sorry for her.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Danger, Danger!

Where, I ask you, is the absolute worst place a dog can lift his leg and direct his pee?

You might think into someone's food, and yeah, that's pretty bad, but I'm talking worst, as in potential for damage.

How about a live outlet?

This morning I'm just getting started on my computer work, and I hear a hissing sound behind me. I turn to see Tanker lifting his leg against our entertainment center. The pee is falling directly on a multiple outlet "surge protector" plugged into our TV, VCR, and game system. I yell at Tank, he runs, I dash over to the surge protector and it's humming. Oh, oh. Quick, I push the switch (oooh, pee). Then I feel safe enough to unplug it, unplug all the cords, clean it, plugs, floor, cabinet, and spray them with enzyme stuff, so the dogs don't smell urine and have to put their own mark down. Now I have the surge protector upside down, draining.

Of course when I yelled at him, Tanker ran, and I made him go outside. But I have no idea why all of a sudden he would do that. And there! I just thank God I was here when it happened.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

We've got DSL!! Da-da-d-dah-dah. (Doing the DSL dance.) Da-da-d-dah-dah.

You know how slow dialup can be? Well, supposedly it runs 56.8 kps through the line at a time. Except in my situation where we have a split phone line so that we can have two computers online at the same time, or a computer and the phone. (There are four computers in my household.) So whatever I get is being fed to my computer at 28.4 kps. That's why I don't ever open up photos friends send me, or funny videos, or anything intensive like that at home. I save it for work, which isn't a guarantee. I swear our computers at work were slower than my dialup last week!

During my break, I was working on a self-paced online class to learn our new WebCT. It's real fortunate it was self-paced. I'd click on a page and go get me some coffee or go brush my teeth while it loaded. The benefit was I had a good idea of how my own classes come across for those of my students who have dialup. But I think I got the idea now.

My son is a gamer and has been frustrated with our dialup situation. First, he definitely can't play any real time games online. Second, we were always battling for line time. You could hear the plaintive cry "Are you online?" at any time of the day or night -- Mike asking Boone, Shelli asking me, Boone asking Shelli, Mike asking Shelli, Boone asking me, me asking Mike . . . Last week, Boone brought up the possibility of getting hi-speed Internet, for the umpteenth time. Short of getting an expensive satellite setup, we couldn't, we explained (for the umpteenth time). The DSL access stopped just short of our road.

"No, we do have access," Boone said. "I just checked." Come to find out, this was the DAY after access to our road was opened up. It took about a week for all the kinks to be worked out, but what a difference. I don't have to worry about who's online! I don't have to time my online time so that our satellite can have the phoneline for downloading the programming information. Whoo-hoo!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

My To Do List

Here are the "jobs" I want to accomplish today.
1. Burn the paper trash.
2. Wash a load of darks.
3. Wash dishes.
4. Clean the bathrooms.
5. Create a "Syllabus Search" exercise for my two classes tomorrow.
If I have more time, I'd like to
6. Vacuum the living room and bathroom.
7. Sweep the kitchen.
8. Mop the kitchen and sections of the great room.

Now this looks like an innocuous little list, but let me tell you what some of those jobs involve. 2. Washing the load of dark clothes means that I pour the five five-gallon buckets full of rinse water into the washing machine before adding the detergent and clothes. In addition, it means draining bucket by bucket of wash water from the washing machine when it's finished with the wash cycle, and carrying those buckets to the bathroom to pour into the larger bucket. Then when that water is drained, it means pouring 12 to 16 gallons of water from gallon jugs, two by two, into the washing machine for the rinse cycle. Then draining that water, bucket by bucket, and pouring it into the five five-gallon buckets to save for the next load of clothes. Then the rest of the process (drying and folding) is the normal process.

3. Wash dishes means I pour 2 to 3 gallons of water into a stock pot from the gallon jugs and heat it up on the stove. Then I pour that water into the sink tubs, make suds, and hand wash the dishes, letting them drain in the dishwasher. The leftover dishwashing water gets used for flushing the toilet.

So I guess I'd better get started.

My Mother's Day

Mom is getting married tomorrow! And she's giddy as a school girl. Well, no, I'm giddy as a school girl.

She laughed when she told me over the phone that he's younger than she is -- by a few months. So they will both be 72 this year when their birthdays roll around. I'm so happy for her.

To be fully honest, after the shock of Dad's death wore off, I was happy for her. I love my dad, who really was my stepdad, but he raised me and my sister like we were his own children, but after we kids had left the nest, he became so dependent on my mom. He didn't want her to have a job; instead, he wanted her to ride around with him on his jobs. He resisted her getting into any interest of her own. She wanted to join the Sweet Adelines, a chorus group, for example. At that time, my dad had the excuse that the younger kids still needed her to be home in the evenings (but I think it was he who needed her.) After awhile, she just gave up trying to have a life of her own.

When she worked, she had a life separate from home. She had friends at work. But her needing to work to help pay the bills really hurt Dad in the ego, I think. And when they had to move, Dad made sure she didn't get another job. Dad was 12 years older than Mom, and as people tend to do when they get older, became more and more opinionated and narrow-minded. Mom wasn't there yet.

Once Mike and I visited Mom and Dad in their Silver City home. Mom and I had gone to spend the day with "the aunts" in Cliff, and Mom had left fixings for lunch in the refrigerator. Mike said the hour got late and he was hungry, but Dad just said, "Wanda will take care of that when she gets home." Finally, Mike pulled out the sandwich fixings and made himself (and Dad) some sandwiches. He was laughing about it when he told me about it. Funny thing is that Mike will do the same thing nowadays.

If I'm not home (for example, when I'm at a conference) Mike will forget to make himself a lunch and he'll go hungry all day. He just gets into the habit of relying on me. It's not that he can't cook for himself, but because I'm the one who buys the groceries and does most of the cooking, Mike doesn't even know what we have to cook with. (What gets me is he'd rather wait for me to get home than go into the various storage containers containing leftovers in the refrigerator.)

Back to Mom. Tomorrow, in a small ceremony, she'll marry Don Landmire (I hope I got that name right). Too bad it wasn't like a week ago. This last week I had "free." But tomorrow is the first day of our summer term classes. Oh, well, I'll be thinking of her and at least celebrating mentally for her.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Weird Weather

The grass was high enough that I had to mow (again). But first, I did a little work on the pond. As I worked, the clouds gathered and darkened. And by the time I was ready to mow the grass with my little push mower, it was snowing! I just stayed out there in my t-shirt and sweatpants for awhile and mowed anyway. So I was mowing while it was snowing.

Then it stopped snowing and the clouds cleared away. Then it started snowing again -- in the sunlight! It's spit snow off and on all day. But it's not cold! Just, at the worst, about 45 degrees. And everything's green outside. I love it.