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Better. Rugs is vacuumed, ant invasion is over (I hope; I haven't seen any ants since Wednesday), computer is backed up, router seems to be behaving, laundry is sorted. Floors need swiffering and mopping and laundry needs doing, in that order so I don't have to mop around the drying rack, but at least I don't feel quite so much like I live in a pit tangled up with a mass of cat hair and rug fuzz and broken technology.

There's nothing wrong with my computer. The Computer Loft ran a bunch of tests on it and said it was possibly the router, and to try resetting that before I call RCN and spend half my life on hold so they can tell me to unplug it and plug it back in again. So I came home and unplugged the router and plugged it back in again, and tried it, and it wasn't having any. But this morning, when I was resigned to calling RCN, it all behaved perfectly well. I do not understand technology. (And I actually like RCN, especially compared to the other option, which is Comcast.)

I broke down and ordered a DVD bookcase because I am so tired of having more DVDs than I have shelf space. The extra ones do not belong on top of the cable box; it annoys me to see them there, and I have enough other things to be annoyed about and enough money to throw at the problem, so that's what I did. I've found myself not thinking so much about money lately, which is new and different. I used to think about it in the context of not having much at all, and then I gradually started thinking about it in the context of having enough to be able to do things that made me happy but weren't absolutely necessary, and now I'm sort of taking having a certain amount of it for granted. Which is probably a bad idea. I was prepared to throw several hundred dollars at computer repairs, having already thrown several hundred dollars at Lily's blood test earlier this month. That would have been impossible when I was young, and inconvenient five years ago, but now I'm OK with it and I'm not sure I should be.

I am, however, allowed to go spend my birthday gift card for Brookline Booksmith, so I think I'll do that today. Books make me happy, even if they do take up space. I have two largish boxes of books that need new homes. I still want to start the ODE Non-Dental Book Swap Shelf, but I never get around to it. Maybe I'll sneak in some weekend and start it.
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Last week was not very much fun for anybody in my household. The week before last was not very much fun for me. However, the universe seems to have taken notice, because yesterday I wandered into the basement at Brookline Booksmith and came up with six first edition Pogo books I didn't own already (Uncle Pogo's So-so Stories, Deck Us All With Boston Charlie, A Pogo Panorama, Prehysterical Pogo, Pogo Reruns, and We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us. I left Pogo's Will Be That Was and two copies of Pogo's Double Sundae there, because I've owned those for years now.) And then I wandered off to get my hairs cut, and met one of the faculty members there getting his hairs cut too. I wasn't quite in the right frame of mind to have my personal and professional worlds collide like that, so I sort of floundered.

I did get my $20 back on Friday. Also on Friday I had cause to be glad I wasn't drinking anything when the faculty member from Barcelona was in our side of the office talking about class pets, because when he said "hamster", he sounded EXACTLY like Manuel from Fawlty Towers. That would have been an interesting choking fit to have to explain.

Anyway, I survived work on Friday (just barely; I am now responsible for making sure Standard 2 lists all the correct appendices, exhibits and tables, and that we know we need all of them) and tottered off to a massage appointment. OW. Both hips, my right ribcage and my left shoulder were all so tight that they itched when they let go, and that was the first time I've ever been asked if we could skip working on my legs because my back wouldn't have been sorted out in time. The itchy places finally got around to being sore yesterday evening, after I went grocery shopping and cat-supply shopping (Wellness Core cat food is on my List for the Minister of Convenience now; they changed the design of their bags so I had to hunt for the right kind of food, and they put less food in the new bags, but they haven't changed the price).

Earlier this month I woke up with a craving for Sally Lunn bread, but I couldn't find the recipe I know I had somewhere. So I had to ask Mom to send it to me, and then I had to go buy butter and milk and eggs (the only one of those I keep around is eggs, and I generally hard-boil them), and then it got HUMID, which isn't great bread-rising weather, and the upshot is I haven't actually made the bread yet. I should do it today so I can bring it to work tomorrow and not have it sitting around here.

If I'm really being smart, I should make coffee today so I can refrigerate it overnight and have iced coffee for breakfast tomorrow.
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I treated my angry and jealous and sad from the other day with retail therapy, to wit: buying out-of-print books I grew up with. Everybody ought to own Harry the Fat Bear Spy by Gahan Wilson (yes, THAT Gahan Wilson) if for no other reason than the threatening letters:

1. "HELP! I am turning GREEN! Somebody stop it! Somebody BETTER stop it! Signed, The Turning Green Bear."

2. (I forget exactly how it goes, but it ends with "and if I am STILL GREEN tomorrow I will do something TERRIBLE! Signed, The Green Bear.")

3. "It is tomorrow and I am STILL GREEN, and I have done something TERRIBLE, JUST LIKE I SAID! Signed, The Terrible Green Bear."

I already own Harry and the Sea Serpent, which is the second and last of the books about Harry the Fat Bear Spy, and is notable for containing an excellent quote: "I'M the one who talks to strangers! And they usually wish I hadn't!"

Everybody also ought to own A Great Big Ugly Man Came Up and Tied His Horse to Me, by Wallace Tripp, if for no other reason than to look at the illustrations. The fact that two or three of my favorite silly poems came from that book doesn't hurt either. So now I have incoming silly out-of-print books, and that makes me happy.

I walked home last night because the weather was excellent and I had to go to the Walgreens in Brookline Village anyway. I don't remember walking home being as much exertion as it was yesterday, so obviously I had better start doing it again. Today was an excellent day until it got cloudy again, but I got out for lunch and the weather was exactly what I ordered. For once.
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I had a conversation with a coworker that led me into looking up whether there's a French translation of The Phantom Tollbooth. There is, and now I want to read it to find out if it's any good.

While I was cleaning out my bookshelves in the decluttering process, I discovered the copy of L'Oiseau Bleu that I kept because I wanted to try translating it. I kept it again, because I still want to take a crack at it some day.

This train of thought came about because I'm trying to wrap my brain around revising 38 pages of the accreditation self-study. It's rather like wading through peanut butter because (among other reasons) it was written by one person who doesn't write all that well and another person who doesn't type all that well. I have to figure out what they're trying to say, whether they actually said it, make it say that if not, and then elaborate on it. At least there's something there to build on. (There had better be; this thing goes to the printer in July and if we had only just started it now, nobody would be going home until then.)

OK, several years later, I think I'm making progress. Everything I don't know enough to write about is a thing I'm not supposed to know about.

Wish I had a feline/English dictionary, part N+1: Last night Snip was absolutely adamant that I come keep her company while she had her before-bed snack, and after that she was absolutely adamant that any part of me she could reach while she was standing on the bed and I was lying in it had to be headbutted and rubbed on. I have no idea what that was about. But I guess it means she's still speaking to me.
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I've got a tremendous case of the fidgets and can't decide what to direct it at. Some of me wants to go outdoors for the sake of being outdoors, and some of me wants to stay indoors and clean things, and some of me wants to do some more embroidery, and some of me wants to walk down to the Super 88 food court and invest in a massive bowl of pho. Whatever I end up doing, it feels like I'm wasting the day if I don't do everything else. ARGH. But I do have to go outdoors at least through the front door, because Part 1 of the Great Jeans Quest is supposed to arrive today. And it had better work, because I'm down to one pair of wearable jeans, and the inseams thereof are going to shred themselves any minute now. Hence the parts of me that don't want to go outdoors for extended periods of walking.

Random silly thing that bothers me every time I think about it: in the Kipling short story "Toomai of the Elephants", Toomai's father is scolding him for doing something fairly terrible, and ends with "Go and wash Kala Nag." Given that Kala Nag is an elephant, I've never been able to figure out whether washing him is intended as a punishment (there's a lot of him to wash) or whether it means "Go play in the river with Kala Nag and don't bother me for a while." I like the story, but I'd really like to ask Kipling about that bit.

I haven't heard from the framer about Less Is More yet. It's supposed to be ready sometime like tomorrow, but I'd really rather go get it today. Add that one to the List for the Minister of Convenience.

Speaking of offices we don't have, is the Office of Common Sense a division of the Office of Not Destroying the Country, or does it have such an uphill battle that it needs its own budget?
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This is marvelous weather for soup, and I have a lot of good things to make soup with, but they don't all go together and I can't decide which ones I want to use. First world problem, obviously.

I think Lily wasn't feeling well on Saturday, because she insisted on being in my lap or in my face all day and then ate a lot of dry food at bedtime (not her usual routine) and yarfed all over the kitchen in the middle of the night. She seemed to be better yesterday, so whatever it was, it was a 24-hour bug. And she didn't give it to Snip as far as I can tell, which is good too. Snip doesn't care what she yarfs on.

I finally downloaded Monument Valley because I've caught up with Two Dots and wanted something to do with the phone. It falls under "somebody having way too much fun with a computer", but also falls under "reasons to own an iPad" because it's a tad bit too small on the phone screen. Gorgeous and fun, though, and it doesn't kill you and force you to start over when you get something wrong. I had Issues with a couple of the levels in terms of my brain not working the way the game needed it to, but I did get there eventually.

On Saturday I wandered through the bookstore and came up with both Dodger by Terry Pratchett and Eggs, Beans, and Crumpets by P.G. Wodehouse, from the used books section. Both of those books have been on my "keep an eye out for this" list for ages. That's why I wander through the bookstore. It's nice to have things to be happy about that don't involve ingesting calories. In that vein, I'm seriously considering sending a letter to the Patriots.

Speaking of calories, I have a small problem in that I only have one pair of jeans that fits me these days, and they're in the dirty laundry hamper at the moment. I don't WANNA buy size 12 pants again! But at least they aren't size 14. I started the whole weight loss saga three or so years ago when I needed new pants and discovered that they really ought to be size 16, and that was unacceptable. So here I am three or so years later and size 12 is unacceptable. I'm not sure what I think about that. I know I ought to be walking home, but a foot or so of snow is a pain in the ass to walk home in.
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Friday I went back to the post office, again, and they almost didn't find my mail. Whoever filled out the card indicated it was a letter, but it was actually a "large envelope", so they didn't find it because they were looking in the wrong place. Anyway, the contents were what I thought they were, and the upshot is I cashed out my $500 401K that I can't do anything else with, and will get about $340 by the time it gets done with fees and taxes. Whee.

Then I treated myself to a bagel with butter and jam for breakfast (strawberry jam, thank you), went home and filled out the paperwork to cash out the 401K, ironed the Less Is More embroidery and went out again to mail the paperwork and get the embroidery framed. The woman who owned the Washington Square Fast Frame franchise has retired and the new guy admitted he knows next to nothing about framing embroidery. So now I need a new framer, because when I get the cat-in-tree piece done, I'm not letting him have it.

After that I trotted off to Coolidge Corner to go grocery shopping for odds and ends, and book shopping (I did finally buy the book about the Gulag, even though it's depressing) and stopped for ice cream while I was down there. Sometimes I just want ice cream. Then I went home and made mushroom cheeseburger bake, as follows:

Cook one cup of raw rice in the rice cooker. While that's going, fry a pound or so of hamburger with smoked salt, pepper, garlic and sage, and remove the meat from the pan. Fry two boxes of sliced mushrooms in the drippings with more garlic and more sage. Put meat, mushrooms and rice in a baking dish and let it all cool off while grating a ridiculous amount of sharp cheddar cheese. Add cheese to cooled-off other stuff, combine thoroughly, top with panko and bake at 350 for half an hour. Hit the spot when warm, and sticks to the ribs quite well when cold.

On Saturday I did the laundry and wandered off through Coolidge Corner again to do the real grocery shopping. I must have done things other than grocery shopping and laundry, but I don't remember offhand what they were.

Yesterday I finally figured out why I hate vacuuming so much; it's because the bags that are supposed to fit my vacuum cleaner have a 1.5" diameter hole, and the inlet they're supposed to fit on has a 2" diameter. Every time I vacuum, I have to argue with the bags. I hate that. So I went off to Target in a towering rage and bought a bagless vacuum cleaner. Then, of course, I had to walk from Target to Kenmore and from Washington Street to home with a box 2/3 as tall as I am, with one heavy end. My arms didn't like that very much, and they still don't like it today, but they can suck up (ha ha, since they were carrying a vacuum cleaner) and deal.

I assembled the new vacuum cleaner and vacuumed the rugs, and observed that the new one is quieter and more maneuverable than the old one, and fluffs up the rugs instead of beating them flat. And it also sucks up cat hair and other stuff. So it was worth the sore arms.

Along with most of the rest of Boston, I watched at least some of the Super Bowl. I shut it off when the score got to 21-0, because I wasn't having any fun. I spent the rest of the evening merfing around online and keeping an eye on the score. Good thing I recorded it, because it turned into a game halfway through the third quarter. I'm really happy for all the veterans (Long, Van Noy, Hogan, Bennett, etc.) who came to the Patriots this year from one or more bad teams and suddenly found themselves winning the Super Bowl. (OK, maybe Buffalo isn't that bad, but Rex Ryan can take a long walk off a short pier.) And I really wanted the Patriots to win because I wanted something to be happy about that didn't involve ingesting any calories.

The phone spam people have come around to my number again. I've gotten six spam calls since Friday. If I ran the universe, all spam calls would go to an answering service consisting of 30 seconds of air horn. Not that that would make them stop, but it would make me feel better.
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Nothing like going out with a grocery list consisting of coffee, cat food and stuffed grape leaves, and coming home with:

- Coffee
- Stuffed grape leaves
- Lemons
- Mushrooms
- Downeast Cider (might as well see what the fuss is about)
- Garlic oil
- Bacon jam
- Carnitas
- Chickpeas
- White beans

And, of course, no cat food because they were out of the right kind.

I decided not to buy what looked like an interesting book about the Soviet gulags, because right now I'm not in the mood for absolutely everything I read to be depressing.

Speaking of depressing, since the weather decided to be solid overcast, I decided to get all the other depressing stuff over with today, and did my taxes and the laundry and paid the bills. Laundry isn't all that depressing except for how long it takes the air-dry stuff to actually dry, but it keeps me at home because I don't go out while the dryer is running. It hasn't set the place on fire yet, but I don't quite trust it not to try. And actually, taxes aren't so much depressing as "get them over with as soon as possible and don't think about them again until next winter". I ended up getting the usual chunk of refund, so that's nice. But there are definitely things I would rather be doing.

I'm not going to California in March. Next year, when I'm not in charge of the oral surgery course, and the accreditation insanity is over, and the meeting is in Orlando, I'll go. I do want to decide where I'm going next, though. And when. The When is the hard part, because give me a time period between now and mid-October and I'll give you a reason why going on vacation then wouldn't be a good idea. Eventually "because I need to be Not At Work for a while" is going to be a better reason than any of the others, but that's not the case just yet. I've maxed out my accruable vacation (again), though, so I should probably use up some of it.
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I didn't go to the Boston women's march, because huge crowds are not my best thing. (Although I was OK with the Patriots game I went to. I think maybe it was because there were seats.) However, I have been thinking about what I can do/should do/want to do about the whole situation. I can't change the whole situation, but I can do something about part of it. The question I keep coming up against is which part. I believe that abortion and gay marriage should remain legal, but apparently my opinion doesn't count on gay marriage because I'm straight. I believe in the Golden Rule and that the Golden Rule should be colorblind, but apparently my opinion doesn't count because I'm white.

I would dearly love to tell one of my straight white relatives-by-marriage to haul his Catholic head out of his Libertarian ass for a minute and think about what happens if abortion is illegal and the country is awash in children their parents can't afford. He objects to abortion, and he's firmly in the "I get mine and I don't pay for anyone else's" camp, and that makes me incredibly angry. If he's going to insist that all children must be born, he damn well can't insist that he doesn't have to help pay for them. End rant.

I'm most of the way through The Pillars of the Earth, and wondering whether pigheadedness was an actual survival skill in 1100s England or whether it's just the way the author thinks. Pigheadedness seems to cross all classes, professions and sexes in the book. No wonder there was a civil war going on?

I bought some disinfectant/anesthetic gel for Lily, and she promptly washed it all off (it's safe for feline consumption). It seems she doesn't want any. Fortunately she seems not to really need it either. I just wish the fur would grow back, because its absence keeps reminding me that there's a hole in the side of my cat. Snip is, as usual, washing the living daylights out of Lily's head, but stopping there.

Remembering the Good Things, the weather on Saturday was a revelation. I feel like it hasn't been sunny on a weekend since before Christmas, so I went out grocery shopping (I had to do that anyway) and indulged myself shamelessly on the way home by going to both JP Licks and Union Square Donuts. And now I have satisfied my sugar craving for the next couple of months. I may have to do something about my chocolate craving eventually, though.

Then I came home and played a complete game of Civ 5 for the first time, and won it by cultural victory. I don't think I've ever won a game by cultural victory before; usually I win by building a spaceship first. Then again, I've never played as the Celts before either. I didn't really intend to spend five and a half hours doing that, but I didn't tweak enough settings to make it shorter, either. Next time I should see if I can tweak the shape of the land masses, because being stuck in the middle of a very long, very narrow continent was a pain in the ass. At least it meant everybody wanted open borders with each other. And I do have to admit it was fun clearing out barbarian axemen by sailing a destroyer up to their islands and going KABLAM.
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For some reason I seem to be having a hard time staying asleep lately. Hopefully now that Dr. G has said that Lily probably licked herself into a hot spot, and the cyst is not infected (it went bald and changed colors), I can stop not sleeping on that account. All the rest of the current accounts will be over after October. I hope.

The weekend was good aside from the cat and the sleep issues. I spent some money because I needed to (foundation garments) and spent some money because I wanted to (spices), and finished reading Babylon's Ashes (so we forgot about the stolen protomolecule?) and started reading The Pillars of the Earth, which had been recommended by several people. And I made soup stock and preserved-lemon wet rub for turkey thighs (preserved lemon slices, fresh rosemary, crushed garlic, and olive oil). And it turns out the teeny little food processor is exactly the right tool for that, and is less loud than the blender besides. I love it when a plan comes together.

I keep thinking I should start thinking about my next trip. I'm inclined to go somewhere in the continental US this time. But then I start thinking about work and whether taking any time off in the spring is a good idea (doesn't feel like it), and then thinking that I said I was going to get scuba certification when taking two weeks off this summer. It's hard to do that in two weeks if I'm also going somewhere else. So I have no idea what I'm going to do or when I'm going to do it. The idea of taking Fridays off every week between Memorial Day and Labor Day sounds good right now, though.
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Today's excitement consists of writing a business plan for a two-year MMSc in Dental Education program. Because we're not doing enough things around here right now with the DMD curriculum change and the accreditation self-study, of course. (Don't mind me, I'm grumpy, because I probably know more about curriculum development and dental education research than the prospective students do. But I don't have $100K lying around so I can take the two years to get the piece of paper that says so.)

Speaking of expensive pieces of paper, I suppose I ought to finish filling out all the legal documents and then pay the $1000 to get them witnessed and printed and filed and all that. Might as well get all the depressing stuff over with while it's still dark out before I leave work (which is depressing too). And speaking of depressing, I'm sick of remembering that I don't have a W2 yet so I can't get my taxes done and get on with the business of ignoring tax preparation ads until April.

At least today it might still be warmish out when I leave work. If I ran the universe, urban snow would stick around for precisely long enough to give everybody one day off to build snowmen on school playgrounds with. And then it would be 65 and sunny for a week. I think I miss the sun more than I hate the snow, actually. It seems to me like it hasn't been sunny very much lately.

One of the things I could do to maybe help with the lack of sunshine is stop reading depressing books. I got through Time's Arrow by Martin Amis, but only because it was short. I'm giving up on Until I Find You, which is by John Irving (I always want to say John Updike, but I'm always wrong) and which I also got from the FB book exchange. I kind of liked the first hundred pages or so, but after that, suspending disbelief got to be too much work and it's an 800-page book. I guess I should stick my head in Brookline Booksmith and invest in Babylon's Ashes, which I've been simultaneously looking forward to and putting off buying because I don't want a largish hardcover falling on my face when I fall asleep reading it. The Instant Gratification Monster is getting loud, though, so I think I'm not actually going to wait for the paperback.
dchenes: (katana)
Cats are vetted. Snip's fine, Lily's skinny (but Marlene is fine too). Sometime tomorrow they'll call me and tell me if it's Lily's thyroid; if it is, pill every day for the rest of her life (to start with; if that doesn't work, I get a radioactive cat for a little while). If it isn't, find food she likes and provide her with lots of it.

We sort of started on the wrong foot because I was just persuading the cats to come into the bathroom and eat cheese when the doorbell rang. Lily shot off somewhere like a guided missile, so I went down and let Dr. G in and he stayed downstairs while I reconvinced Snip to stay in the bathroom, found Lily and more or less chucked her into the bathroom and shut the door in her face. And then Lily had to have blood drawn after the shots/exam/manicure process. But at least she's still speaking to me in a "Hey, what about dinner?" sort of way.

There are other things I could have done today, but they all got postponed in favor of finally finishing that book about the WWII concentration camps. Heavy stuff. Part of my brain thinks that book is worth keeping, but there's another part that doesn't want it in the house any longer than it took to finish it. For now, it's living in the vicinity of the "somebody please take away these books" boxes. Which, eventually, will go either out on the curb on trash day, or some will go to work and I'll finally set up the Official HSDM Non-Dental Book Swap Shelf. I'm not sure anyone at work would actually want to read the nonfiction stuff I've been reading for the last year or so.

Tomorrow I plan to vote on the way to work and then come home and put Octarium's version of Ubi Caritas on repeat until I get sick of hearing it. Where charity and love are, there the gods are. (Which is not what the original says, of course. But I'm not Christian, so I'm allowed to think there are several gods. If there are any at all. It's complicated.) In any case, I will not be looking at any election news until Wednesday morning. I've had enough.
dchenes: (katana)
I can has assistant! I guess I had better learn to be somebody who has an assistant.

I'm glad the vet is coming next week, because I alternate between worrying about Lily and wondering, while watching her kill various fuzzy mice and start wrestling matches with Snip and holler at me for chicken skin and generally act like herself, why I was worrying. (Because she's skinny and she has a proportionally great big lump (named Marlene), that's why. I suspect the answer is "feed her some more food she actually likes, and quit worrying about Marlene as long as it doesn't bother her.")

I made coffee jelly, and ended up with a quart of lightly sweetened black coffee that goes boing. That amuses me more than it probably should, but I think it's partly the fact that coffee doesn't go boing in the same way that pie doesn't have tentacles. Only it does. The question now is, does it go with half and half, or does it go with vanilla ice cream? I can't decide, so the answer may be both, separately. The other question is, how odd is it going to seem to me if I eat my caffeine in the morning instead of drinking it? (Thou shalt not have coffee jelly made with high-octane coffee after dinner, except on Friday or Saturday night.)

Speaking of things thou shalt not do, I'm reading a history of the WWII concentration camps. I hadn't realized they started in the mid-30s. I thought it was later than that. I'm still processing information, but it seems to me that the "go back in time and assassinate Hitler" people are doing it wrong. Hitler was advocating and enabling, but wasn't actually doing, the really nasty stuff.
dchenes: (katana)
Aside from the heart attack I got on Tuesday because FedEx declined to deliver my guaranteed-Tuesday-morning delivery to Indianapolis until Wednesday morning, it's been a fairly quiet week. I don't even really remember Monday, which means nothing exploded. Tuesday was heart attack day, and yesterday the weather was so nice that I nearly skipped chorus rehearsal in favor of staying outdoors in the evening air. But I didn't; I talked myself into going to rehearsal.

I'm in the middle of trying not to buy a Scantron machine. We used to do 200-question exams as prep for the Part 2 board exams, but the timing changed and we were giving the prep exam after the board exam deadline had already passed, so we stopped. A lot of the course directors are still doing paper exams, and some of them are still doing bubble-sheet exams, but we have to send the bubble sheets to BU to be scanned, and that doesn't make sense any more either. So I'm trying to either get the course directors to quit with the bubble sheets, or get the school to invest in Akindi, which is a program that seems to allow you to make up, print out, and scan your own bubble sheets and then makes reports out of the results. Yes please? The only question is, how much is it going to cost us, and can it fit in the budget? (OK, two questions. The second one is, can I talk the course directors out of using bubble sheets at all by next year?)

Normally, anything on Facebook that ends in a hashtag or depends on repostings is met with my own private circular file. I made an exception for a book exchange, though, and sent Captains Courageous off to somebody in Easthampton this afternoon, and reposted the original post. The skeptical side of me thinks this is just a massive address collection scheme and I'm going to get massive amounts of spam and junk mail. We'll see if I ever get a book myself.

I get an assistant in November. I'm trying to resist the urge to make a list of everything I hate doing and handing it all off to her. "Feeding meetings" is getting right up to the top of that list, though, especially because of the cafeteria strike. I'm tired of pizza and sandwiches, and I'm not sure where to get decent soup and salad except Milk Street, which we can't afford to make a habit of.
dchenes: (katana)
I tried, I really did, but by the end of today I just plain hated every human being I came into contact with. They consisted of:

- Pushy salesmen (referred by the Dean, so I couldn't just tell him to pound sand)
- Pushy students (no, I can't print this recommendation letter from this faculty member on our letterhead; the faculty member is not a member of our office, and no, I don't know who in their department can do it for you)
- Confused faculty (no, I don't know who's giving this lecture; ask the course director, and no, I don't care that they told you to ask me, because they haven't told me who it is, so I still don't know)
- Faculty with legitimate but stupidly complicated questions (yes, that is a legitimate course, but it's part of the old curriculum and only a month long and no, I don't know when during the day it happened)
- Confused coworkers (no, I don't think renaming all of these two-hour lectures as "interactive sessions" is going to keep them from being two hours of Powerpoint slides, either, but that's what I was told to do, so I'm doing it.)

I also was not fond of the fact that the three (and a half, because she's filling in while two co-directors of the same course are on vacation) Year 2 course directors, the instructional technologist, and myself, all seem to have different versions of the course schedule. We have a Dropbox folder precisely so we can avoid this sort of issue. I have no idea which version is the one being argued over.

So I called my parents and said "Set the clock" and got it mostly out of my system, and went home by way of a bookstore and a liquor store. Turns out the new Harry Potter book really is a play, and I've never been able to get anything out of reading plays, so I came home with The Golem and the Jinni instead. The woman I sat next to in dress rehearsals for chorus was reading that in the spring and I thought it sounded interesting.

Good old cherry mead. All of the above are still aggravating, but I don't care nearly as much as I did half an hour ago.
dchenes: (katana)
This weekend was my favorite kind of weather: between 65 and 85, and sunny and dry, and a nice breeze (which is a bonus). It was perfect embroidery weather if I had stayed indoors, but it's a shame to waste weather like that on staying indoors, so I didn't. Except on Sunday, when I was suffering from the effects of eating entirely too many potato chips on Saturday (I had a craving, and decided to kill it completely. That worked, in that I want nothing to do with any more potato chips until at least Labor Day, but I felt like a slug all day Sunday.) I did my usual "stay home and watch the Pops on TV" thing yesterday, and apparently I agree with the Boston Globe that there was way too much pop (and none of them can sing, damn it) and not enough orchestra. And I didn't particularly like the cinematography for the fireworks; I don't need a new camera every five seconds. Maybe I'm getting old.

On account of yesterday being Monday, today isn't, as hard as it's trying to be. Actually it's not trying all that hard and my boss is in Florida for the week, but I did have to be at work at 7:45 this morning because somebody decided that today was the ideal day for postdoc orientation (really, the day after a holiday weekend?) and they needed some extra bodies. At least I got breakfast out of it, and it was pretty good breakfast besides. And then I spent most of a couple of hours shooing predoc students away from the breakfast food, because half of the postdoc students took a while filling out the six forms they had to fill out before breakfast and then got herded into the auditorium in which food is not allowed. So I had to guard the breakfast until the postdocs got out of the auditorium. Regardless of what generation students belong to, they will ALWAYS fall like starving hyenas on free or leftover food. I've been observing this phenomenon since 1998.

I'm about halfway through the stack of books I bought last weekend. So far: the English translation of HHhH is OK, but not great (I might have been able to do it better; it's a faithful translation but its word choice sort of diluted the original); Georgiana was interesting, but long; I couldn't get into Medical Muses; I can't decide whether I want to keep The Death of Woman Wang or not, because it's short and some but not all of it is worth re-reading; and I think Dad would be interested in When Books Went to War once I'm done with it.

One of these days when I feel like spending money, I'm considering taking one or two of my best or favorite (not necessarily the same thing) photos from each of my major vacation trips, and having them printed on aluminum. The thing is, I don't know where to have that done around here. Anybody got any suggestions?
dchenes: (katana)
Cirque du Soleil was absolutely worth going to. I want to be able to do trampoline tricks! At least with a trampoline, you bounce when you land. (Or not, but if not, it's on purpose, and several other people have helped you not do it.) I might not be so afraid of falling if I knew I could bounce when I landed.

Other weekend fun stuff included the Harvard Book Store warehouse sale, which I got out of with only eight books (mostly because I walked 20 minutes from Harvard Square to get to the warehouse and knew that walking 20 minutes back with more books than I could carry comfortably would have been a Very Bad Idea). But it was absolutely worth going, and I'll have to keep that in mind because they seem to have a warehouse sale in the winter too. And now I own How to Cook Everything Fast, and an actual English dictionary, and three books I've had on the list for ages (the English translation of HHhH, Georgiana, and When Books Went to War), and three other books for just because (The Death of Woman Wang, Medical Muses, and The Thirteenth Turn).

Come to think of it, the dictionary is pretty much for just because, too. I can't remember the last time I needed an English dictionary. Oh well, it was cheap and I can use it to pad the hammer the next time I need to pound on a bookshelf without damaging it. I do remember the last time that situation came up, although it was the TV stand, not a bookshelf.

As much as I hate wearing socks in the summer, I'm going to have to because I can't walk home in any of the sandals I currently own without getting a prize case of blisters. But I hate wearing socks in the summer.

My watch seems to have stopped. Harumpf. I guess I better get it a new battery.
dchenes: (katana)
I got home on Friday night and discovered an Amazon envelope addressed to me stuck between the front doors. I haven't had anything I didn't order sent to me since Oberlin, as far as I know, so I was rather surprised. And it was full of Epic bars, which led me to believe I knew who sent it (I was right). They were meant to cheer me up, and they certainly did that. So, yay, Epic bars!

Saturday I went grocery shopping eventually, but mostly I hung around under the ceiling fans. It got so humid that they didn't help much, and then Lily decided she couldn't sleep, so she was in my face every five minutes between 3:00 and 3:30, and every ten minutes between 3:30 and 6:00. So I slept until 9:00 on Sunday and then hauled my carcass, my mattress pad and my quilt to the laundromat. That was over with relatively painlessly, and then I washed the sheets and the blanket and a load of clothes at home. (Silly me for trying to air-dry anything this weekend, particularly anything I wanted to wear to work this week.) Another minor cleaning fit ensued and now all I have to do is clean the kitchen and the bathroom sink and the floors, and the place will be in shape for me to leave it for two weeks.

Yesterday I thought I would go test my rain pants while it was raining, but I didn't get outdoors before it quit raining on account of being lazy. Oh well. I guess I'll take the rain pants on faith. I did finally get off the couch and go wandering; I meant to wander down to Washington Square and invest in coffee, but I ended up going to Coolidge Corner after that and buying a new luggage tag and three used Dorothy Sayers books (The Nine Tailors, Strong Poison and Murder Must Advertise). Fortunately these are the really old versions, because I dislike the font they used in the last reprints.

Speaking of books, I'm trying to figure out why I object to paying $10.00 for a Kindle version of a book. Part of it is because I already own most of the books I'd want Kindle versions of and I don't want to pay for them again (in short, I am cheap). Part of it is that if I paid less than $10.00 for the actual book, I don't want to pay more for the Kindle version. Part of it is that when I buy a book, I get a physical object of my very own, and it feels different. But I buy songs through iTunes, and I buy tax software online, and I don't object in the same way. (I grumble about the tax software, but that's because it has to do with taxes.) This requires more thinking about.

I discovered last night that I had somehow turned the linen 90 degrees when I started the new project and was merrily stitching away 2/3 of the way down the wrong side, so I have to tear everything (several hundred stitches) out and start over. Again. What on earth is wrong with me these days?
dchenes: (katana)
The Buy list is dead. Thank goodness. The Pack list and the Clean list are next. And the accreditation narratives, and the summatives, and the competencies, and the tutorial case, and the year 2 course directors meetings, and the Canvas/OASIS meetings, and the course guides for the new medical school courses, and why didn't I go on vacation in March? My brain is very crunchy, and has been since after April 22, and here it is May 23 and I am in desperate need of not being at work for a while. And my right shoulder is giving me grief again, although at least it still has the range of motion I require of it. But I just got the feel of the new embroidery, and would like to keep on with it.

I could start packing tonight if I could decide which sort of luggage I want to pack into. I can pretty much guarantee I won't need a bathing suit between now and June 7.

The Buy list managed to contain a new catnip toy for Lily, since I have absolutely no idea where the last one went and I've looked under every piece of furniture that has enough under to hide it. So she has a catnip turtle, and she seems to think it's quite nice. She also decided to charge up her ventral solar cells this morning, so when I left she was sprawled on her back on the living room rug looking completely unlike a Guardian of the House. I told her to guard the house, anyway, because that's what I tell both of them when I leave in the morning. So far they seem to be good at keeping anybody from walking off with it, because I always have a house to come home to.

I wish I could have spent more time outdoors photosynthesizing. And I kind of wish they hadn't put up the enormous tent all over the quad, so I could have had a nap on the lawn. I need a nap anyway, because I stayed up way the hell too late last night trying to get to the end of Nemesis Games. I didn't make it, of course, and it was after midnight when I gave up. Not a smart move on my part, and I knew that, and I did it anyway. That's the bit of my brain that just doesn't care whether it has to go to work in the morning or not.
dchenes: (katana)
Weekend should have happened sooner, but it did at least happen. I didn't do very much with it, aside from finishing Caliban's War and reading all of Abaddon's Gate. I think I'll stop there for a while, now that I know what happened after Caliban's War.

The only other really productive things I did over the weekend were to get all of the sixth section of the embroidery done, and make half a batch of cranberry pecan granola. It's probably just as well that I only had enough oatmeal for half a batch, because I think what I really wanted was to eat almost-overtoasted pecans. But now I have breakfast for most of the week.

Snip will tell you that I spent a largish amount of Sunday afternoon providing lap space. And then my lap got up and went out to buy more oatmeal, and the cats got up and went back to sleep on my bed. I don't know if they actually miss me when I'm not home, but it's gratifying to be hung around with when I am. Hanging around with them did reveal that they both need to be brushed, though. And the living room rug needs to be vacuumed. But if I do any of that right now, the static electricity generated will probably short out the entire building. Maybe I'll try the "one stroke with dryer sheet, one stroke with brush" approach on Lily, who will put up with it.

Must be Monday, because here it is 1:15 and I seem to have forgotten to have any lunch.
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