3.23.2014

Accepting Applications

When we first moved in this building, it was the quiet building in the complex. Now, not so much. The people above us seem to regularly bounce bowling balls.  Seriously, our ceiling visible dips at times and the ceiling fan shakes. 
With us on the ground floor are at least two apartments full of people who cannot close a door without slamming it. 
We have random tree puncher dude.
No one but us picks up after our dogs. 
The genius teenager in front of us likes to hang out with his friends in the breezeway under the stairs to smoke pot.  I wouldn't care except smoking ANYTHING in the breezeway is awful. And the kid totally fails at looking innocent. Eventually I will be irritated enough to just tell them. "Look, dude-bro, I can totally tell you're trying and failing to hide a joint over there. I don't care but please go somewhere else. And try to be less of a dipshit."
I want a cabin. With distant neighbors. 
Until then, I am grumpy and wish to smite things ala Narmer. I need a volunteer to carry my sandals though. Thus the title of this post. Please submit your applications in the comments.



1.18.2014

Tens of dollars!



Based on my extensive market research (by which I mean sitting here petting the dogs while my fever goes higher) people around here will buy any damn thing if it has a fleur-de-lis on it. It seems to be a combination of the Saints being a halfway decent football team, attempting to link the coast with New Orleans by any means possible, and a desperate attempt to cling to the early French colonial history around here. I don't remember it being so popular and omnipresent in the early 90s but I had other priorities then, most of them related to avoiding bullies and trying not to die of boredom.
In any case: I propose to test this theory by hot gluing a bunch of fleurs-de-lis to doggy diapers. 
Problem: I need a venue to test market.  

1.17.2014

One Year Out

As of her vet appointment today, she is heartworm free! Hurray! She finished treatment in July, but the markers of infection take a while to go away.  
It seems almost impossible that it's been a year since we adopted Bunny.  She's fit in so well it seems like she's always been with us.
A year ago she was a terrified little skin and bones, dull-coated little bit.
She is now up to a healthy 15 pounds with a beautiful, silky, glossy coat. She's getting a bit braver. She does cower with new people and sometimes even with us, but she doesn't try to hide behind me so much. 
She's learning how to play and that it's okay to keep her toys.
She bosses Oreo around a bit but they still get along beautifully and are starting to learn to play with each other. Bunny likes to count coup with him, which Oreo finds utterly baffling. He tries to play tug with her, but she assumes he wants the toy and lets go. 
They both RUN to the other's assistance if they suspect trouble. 
She is getting better with snuggling with Tom and she's very happy when he comes home from work.
We have bonded very closely. She rarely leaves my side and is horribly upset if I leave for a while. It's been interesting having such a snuggly kissy-face dog. Oreo is a love and likes to sit or sleep touching one of the "pack" but he's not usually super snuggly or demanding of pets and scritches. 
Bunny gets all up in your face. She messes with my iPad with her paws and nose. And she has for some reason decided some of my mascara smells delicious and tries to lick it off. 




12.25.2013

Christmas crafting

I like to make at least a few presents every year and this year I got some pretty cool ideas.

Tom needs a place to put his wallet and phone and keys and other pocket stuff, so I thought I'd make a tray. I decided to imitate a sifting screen we use as archaeologists.
I used a plain unfinished tray from the craft store and sealed it. Then I mixed craft sand with Mod Podge and coated the bottom.  
I put wire screen on top of that. 
Then I added "artifacts": beads, modern produced arrowheads, pennies, rocks, a pop top, some shells and some flagging tape.
Then I poured in clear casting resin. I didn't quite get everything embedded fully, but it all does have a coating at least.
The screen I used was very fine mesh so you can't really see the sand, but I still really like the effect.




 

Tom is also growing out his beard so I got him a comb and mustache trimmer. I also blended some oils to use on his beard to keep it healthy and soft.

I got lots of lovely tea and a cute teapot. My electric kettle died yesterday (grrr, it was only a few months old" so post-holiday shopping will involve a new one.
And I got jammy pants!
And I'm going to go get some new Vibram FiveFingers, which horrify my mom, but I looooove.

The doggies got presents too. This is Bunny's first Christmas and the tearing wrapping paper scared her.  She's not quite sure how to play with her new toys.  Oreo has a new stuffy to kill.

And in fine family tradition, we made marinara and meatballs.

12.24.2013

An Offering for Christmas Eve


This time of year is significant for many people. Some recognize the birth of Christ, others the miracle of the lamp oil, still others the solstice and the return of light.
Light is a common theme - the light of the guiding star, light of hope, light of God, light of the sun. So too, the restful darkness that lets us appreciate the light and renew it within ourselves.    
It is also a time to appreciate the light of knowledge. A time to celebrate our ability to light the dark and keep warm in the cold. A time to marvel at our ancestors observing the skies and knowing the changing seasons.
The finest reminder of the light for me is the Christmas Eve broadcast from Apollo 8 in 1968. The crew and their craft represented a coalescing of light - the light of knowledge and ingenuity, the light of bravery and exploration, the light of faith - in God or scientists and engineers.
The account of creation in Genesis, of the creation from darkness was apt-regardless of personal belief - as a major part of the Western canon it influences art even today. And the theme of naming having power and causing things to come into being is a common one in mythology and can be seen in a way in the voyage of Apollo 8 itself.     President Kennedy called for the US to send a man to the surface of the moon and bring him back by the end of the decade. He spoke, millions listened, thousands worked and created and transformed words into actions and things.
So, on Christmas Eve, I wish you all well in the restful dark and the returning light and offer you the reading given by Frank Borman and Jim Lovell and Bill Anders from the depths of space between Earth and Moon on December 24, 1968. 


8.08.2013

The Oriental Institute: Fragments for a History of an Institution: Sad News: Barbara Mertz

The Oriental Institute: Fragments for a History of an Institution: Sad News: Barbara Mertz

Barbara Mertz is probably familiar to most of my blog readers (if there are any of you left after so long a span of silence) as Elizabeth Peters, the author of the Amelia Peabody series of Egyptological mystery novels set in the late 19th and early 20th Century. Her book Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs was a big part of why going to the University of Chicago to study at the Oriental Institute was my dream from roughly age 8 onward.



I never had the opportunity to meet her but by all accounts she was a delightful, funny lady.

6.22.2013

Wow, so it's almost July

It's been a very busy few months/year so far, leaving me less time to post. I've found one downside if the iPad is that I'm less likely to compose posts on it than my laptop and I only use the laptop for teaching and heavy typing.

Anywho...
I've been teaching online courses for a for-profit university that will remain nameless. It's been very interesting. Employee support has been superb so far. I've had several lovely students and a few kind of scary ones. 
Time management has been a huge issue. I have roughly 30 essays and 30 short papers to grade weekly. This is complicated by having to write out all corrections, comments, etc rather than writing on or marking a hard copy or even a digital copy. I'm getting a bit better at strategizing. Procrastination is still an issue.
I think I have one more class before I get substantial discussion on my performance. 
It has been nice having a fairly steady income versus my in-person courses that aren't confirmed often until a week before the first class meeting. 

In an ideal world, I'd have a permanent part-time position at a community or small 4-year college with an office and possibly a pony. Near Lake Tahoe. 
In all seriousness, I would like to be more involved with students over the long term. 

Tom and I just celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. That really doesn't seem like it was 10 years ago. Tom says it feels like an eternity. I reply with creative obscenities. 

Bunny has had her first immiticide treatment for heart worms. She's doing well so far, but keeping her inactive has been challenging. She likes to scamper. 

Oreo is bonding more with Tom because he won't muscle in on Bunny to get my attention. 

Dad is doing fairly well despite being a total jackass about some health issues. 

I am being regularly confronted with my less than stellar health and stamina. What to do about it is kind of an open question.

Teaching and grading is exhausting. 

I saw my rheumatologist last month and almost the first thing she said was "wow, your hands are swollen!" 

Arthritis pain is becoming more of a problem. I hadn't realized that humidity regardless of temperature can be an issue. I thought cold and damp, not hot and damp. 

Heat and sun make things more complicated. I am highly sun sensitive now thanks to meds and autoimmune crap, I've had several atypical moles removed and would like to avoid more. And I have almost no heat tolerance. This sucks.

Hopefully I can start posting more regularly. And crafting more. And find a way to build back some strength and stamina.