Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Really Good Day

Yesterday was the first day I was actually in front of the kids by myself for the whole 84 minutes of class. And it rocked!

I tought them about the Aztecs, and they actually listened to me lecture! Honestly. They really did. It was a short lecture - they aren't being tested on it, so I was just presenting them with why they were interesting, and why they were important. Cool stuff. And then we did a thing on Aztec art - the kids got in pairs and analyzed two figures that were up on powerpoint. They were really astute, and really impressed me with some of their comments about the figures. So happy! And then, I gave them an art activity - they got in groups of 4 and picked out a famous human (any human, real or not was fine) and had to draw it like the Aztecs would have. They were all on task, and working well together, and the pics were pretty amazing. One group did a Barbie doll in Aztec style, and one did Li'l Jon with his dreads all multicolored and sticking up like a headdress, and his 'crunk' necklace hanging on a chain of skulls. So damn cool.

The kids that are normally a pain in my arse were really good and engaged, and the 84 minutes felt like 30 or 40, it went so fast and smooth. I was going to video tape the session, but forgot to set it up before class, of course.

All of which means that today, when I do actually turn the camera on, it's all gonna go down the toilet. Law of averages, you know.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Busy Busy

This long weekend has been fabulous. I have gotten lots done, and even had some downtime, imagine that!

I started my student teaching last week, and it has been an adventure so far. Some of the boys in class seem to feel that since I am not the regular teacher, they should feel free to act up and talk over me in class, like they would a substitute. I am going to have to do something about this, but I'm not sure what, because I am not exactly intimidating to them. I seem to have a smile on my face a lot, and I don't like to raise my voice to them, which means, apparently, that I am not to be respected. Others, on the other hand, respond to me really well. I'm just going to have to give the class a little lecture about it next week. Oh, joy!

Another nice thing is that the rain has finally returned, so I have been much more productive than the couple weeks before. I have the hardest time studying when it's sunny. Luckily it hasn't flooded around my place (yet), but I thought I was going to have to take of my socks and shoes, and roll up my pants to wade into school last week. The parking lot at the high school was sporting 4 or 5 inches of standing water across most of it. Apparently, there are drains, and they were not clogged by leaves, they just really suck. A lot. It's a public school, so they don't figure on it getting fixed anytime soon.

Mr. Duck has been doing a bit better these past couple weeks, his back is finally starting to respond to the shots. A bit. Hopefully the next round will be stronger... But it was even more expensive than they told us - the shots were another $600 or so more than we were expecting. I am having a really hard time with the whole not-bringing-in-any-money thing. I really want to get a job, so he can cut back his hours, or find something that is easier on him physically.

On a totally different note, I have found myself, while bored in classes, writing poetry lately. Don't really know why - the spirit has just hit me I guess. It mostly consists of crappy haiku so far, but I have fun at it. Maybe I'll post some, since it takes me so long to do a real post anymore!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Wow, I'm a lowsy poster lately!

I think about posting all the time - normally when I cannot. I have decided to try something new this week though - when class gets too boring for words, I will post instead of daydreaming about coffee and a paying job.

We were asked a few weeks ago if it was ok for undergrads to come observe the classrooms we are in, and I said sure. So the girl they had contact me is only available to come to the high school during actual school hours one day a week. Right. And, that one day being Fridays, and having no school the next few Fridays, I wasn't sure she was going to make it. But she did decide to come this past week, and emailed me Thursday to let me know.

In said email, she indicated that she didn't know where the school was. So she felt I should give her directions. Seriously.

My reaction, not the kindest I ever had, but the only witnesses were Mr Duck and the kitties, was "Oh, for FUCK'S sake!" Said in a voice loud enough to concern Mr Duck out in the living room. The chick is in college and she hasn't mastered the art of Mapquest? It's not like this is a big, confusing town. You can get to any part of this town, from any part of this town, in under 15 minutes. She needs directions? She needs them typed out by me?

My reply was "head North on xx road until you hit yy road. Turn left, it's 2 blocks down on your left." I reeeeeaaaaaalllllllyyyyyyyy wanted to say "hope you don't get lost," or "get in your car. put on seatbelt. turn key in ignition. head north until you see signs saying 'HS next left. at that point, go left. watch for large public institution, with underage people smoking out front."

Honestly, the town in so small I didn't even have to know where she was coming from to give her directions.

Turns out, of course, that she was suuuuper nice and sweet and competant-seeming when she got to the classroom. Never can tell. But I totally stand by my overreaction.

PS - the kids ate the crickets (and all of my ginormous pumkin pie dish). It was so gross, I couldn't even cut them (there were only 7, so we cut them in half for the kids who wanted to all have a head or butt. They are all much, much braver than I.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


I went to my first ever Teacher's conference this weekend, in pdx. The Confederation of Oregon Foreign Language Teachers met up with its Washington counterpart for a conference on Friday and Saturday, so I went to meet some people in the field.

First, I looked up and there, across the lobby, was my high school Japanese teacher! So I had to go give her a hug, and catch up. It wasn't surprising per se, as she is obviously a language teacher in this state, but I just hadn't thought about it.

At lunch, I saw my Japanese teacher from my undergrad days. Small world, right?

That afternoon, while browsing the tables set up with book vendors, etc, I looked up, and saw Shizuka. She and I went to Portland State together years ago, and were close until she moved and I didn't have her new number, about 5 years ago. I tried looking her up, to no avail, but always thought about her.

Well, it turns out she's a Japanese teacher in Washington now! I had no idea she was even going into teaching. So we had our own little reunion there at the conference, and I am just tickled pink! I'm already planning to spend a day shopping with her at x-mas.

I also got some fried crickets from one of the tables, because some of the boys in class had been declaring how they would try ants and grasshoppers etc last week when we were talking about ethnic foods last week. They are so gross to even look at. I bought the box that was "cheese and bacon" flavored. I assume that the flavoring is supposed to make them taste better, bomehow, that makes it even more revolting to me...

And today, I actually managed to get a lot of homework done, so I feel pretty productive! All in all, a good weekend.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Divinity of Shoes

Every day lately we have been getting mailers from Jim Torrey and his opponent, Nancy something. Whatever. I really hate political season. What has been getting me about these ads is that both sides' arguments consists of "I am great! I support our schools! Here's some pics of me with kids!!!!!!"

I have NO IDEA what party either is affilitated with, what their actual positions on actual issues are, whether or not they win the fight against halitosis, any of the criteria I usually apply when picking candidates to single-handidly place in office. All I know is they think kids are important to me. As if. I teach because I like breaking their shiny little spirits, like most teachers.

If my Battlestar Galactica is interupted by one more of their "ooh, ohh, the OTHER one is all partisan!!!!" ads, I might just shoot my tv. And if I bust a cap in my telly, and miss the next installment of Lost, I might just have to take it out on Mr and Mrs Senate "I love kids more than you do" Hopefuls 2006. Violently. Bloodily. The severing of important appendages could be involved. And the feeding of said newly liberated body parts to drunken frat boys. How long til November?

On a nicer note, this week I got shoes shoes and more shoes. 4 fabulous pairs of flats, for which to work in. All on sale, one pair for $6! Don'tcha wish your girlfriend was cheap like me? I love new shoes. Really really really. I especially love when my favorite pair is in stock in my size. Somehow, the stores still feel it prudent to order 10 pairs of size 6, and only one 10. I know I gripe about this all the time, but for the love of America, it's not like I'm even that tall. You can tell their ordering is crappy, because when things go on clearance, they have 6 racks of size 7, and half a rack of 10s left. Hmmmm, maybe all those customers you turn away with the magic words "we already sold our 10" would give you more money if you sold them something? You think?

I'm just on this kick because this was the first time since junior high that I went shoe shopping and they had the shoes I liked in stock in my size. Cute, and flattering, and fun. New shoes make me fell so fabulous and feminine. Cute shoes are good for the soul. Almost enough to turn a girl religious. But only if they are all in stock next time, too. Don't hold your breathe.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


I dragged Mr. Duck to a play for the first time this weekend. We have been to concerts and the symphony, but he has never seemed too keen on the theater. But there was an encore of a very popular presentation of Midsummer Night's Dream from campus theater, and I know the young woman playing Hippolyta/Oberon (they had some fun with the traditional gender roles in the casting), so I insisted he come.

Hands down, the funniest play I have ever seen. They had so much fun with the delivery and characters, we were laughing the whole time. The set was almost bare of props, mostly just a few narrow curtains that doubled as walls/trees, and a rolling bed for Titania's fairies (played by a man, Titania was a fairy in several senses... very over-the-top in a pink velvet bustier/codpiece... loved it). They also made songs of many of Puck's interludes, and just generally had a blast. Mr. Duck even liked it. Which, of course, just encourages me to drag him to more!

In other news, the first week of classes is over (we celebrated at a BBQ at Nordy's house yesterday). It will be a busy term, naturally. But this marks the start of my very last year in school (as a student anyway)!!!!!!!!! This clearly makes me happy. Very happy indeed.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Still Here

It's been crazy, and every time I think I should post when I get home, I get doing other things. But I'm still alive.

Student teaching is great. I am getting to know the kids pretty well, and most are great. One makes me sad - he's nice, but has real problems understanding and wears second hand, too-small clothes and really old sneakers. I have to make a point of not looking at his shoes, because it really makes me want to cry. I've always been too much of a bleeding heart, so I'm really going to have to figure out how I can deal with this stuff on a long-term basis.

Mr. Duck is doing better - we went and had the doc at OHSU botox the muscle in his back that is pushing him over, and his grandparents are going to help pay for the treatments (about $3000 every 3 months, and the insurance only covers 65%). This is a huge relief, because we can't afford to pay it ourselves. Meanwhile, he has been trying so hard to overcome the back issues that he has put out his hip, so he can barely walk. Seeing him hurting so much has been very upsetting to me, which is increased by the fact that there is nothing I can do to actually help him, besides carrying all the groceries myself, so I feel kind of useless and helpless. Which feels great, let me tell you.

In other news, I helped escort my first field trip on Friday. All the Freshmen in the school of IDEAS took a day trip to the coast, to the Hatfield Marine Center and then hiking. I volunteered to go because I had never been on the chaperoning end of such a trip, and I thought it would be a good experience. Holy cow, so much noise, for such a long time. We started at 8 am, and got back at 7 pm, and there was yelling the entire freaking time. Forgot about that. I also forgot how uncomfortable school buses are. I could not sit facing forward without my knees squishing up against the seat in front of me, but If I sat at a diagonal, I was crowding my seat-mate out. I felt bad for some of the really tall boys, though they seemed less concerned about being considerate of the people next to them :-p

The hike was up Cape Perpetua, and it was very challenging even for the sporty kids. I was assigned to a 'challenging' group - fast and far - and I was awfully sweaty by the end. I crashed at 9 pm, and didn't wake unitl 8. Sore too. I thought for sure the students would be tired on the drive back, but a lot of them were like 5 year olds - purposely keeping themselves awake. I just sat back and tried to relax, but the headache was raging by the time we hit florence.

There were two other student teachers on the bus - one who, while nice and personable and friendly, does not know how to stop talking. Honestly, she chattered non-stop the entire day, until she fell asleep after the hike. Like our own personal talk-radio station, talking about herself and nothing much else.

The other thought it would be best to sit in the back at first, because she felt the teachers should not be grouped at the front. That ended before we got out of the parking lot - she came up and told the group leaders that the kids were "awful" and "evil" and she had never been with such an ill-behaved group in her life, and that they were "disrespecting and insulting" her.

And I am not trying to call her out, because I like and respect her, but what did she expect? In our school, the brainy/studious types mostly self selected into the International school and the school of Arts - IDEAS is all about lap tops and has the reptation of being less academic, so these kids are not, for the most part, the quiet, studious types. There are a whole lot of rowdy, social, unmotivated kids in this group. So first thing in the morning, this lady who they don't know waltzes to the back of the bus and makes one of them give up their seat for her, demands they show her respect, and gets offended and upset when they test her on it. Hmmmmm, how's that going to turn out? And really, 'evil'? Maybe poorly behaved, maybe disrespectful, but evil? And it's all on them - none of it was possibly how she presented herself? Several of them were in my group, and they certainly weren't anything other than normal, sometimes sullen, 14 year olds.

I did have to spend a lot of time gently prodding, and calling roll to make sure they were all on the bus after each stop, and later on yelling "stay ON the trail!" and "NOT acceptable language!" Crack that whip! It would be interesting to go on a trip with the kids in the International group, just to compare and contrast.

Classes start this week, so the crazy busy will just continue for now.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

My own bed

This week has been my first as a student teacher. The kids don't start until next week, but we have been having meetings and setting up classrooms (everyone had to move for the small-schools layout that was begun this year) etc. I like my cooperating teacher quite a bit, and the school as a whole seems great. Everyone gets along and is friendly, which is very nice.

Last weekend, we went to the coast for Chile's wedding. She wanted a 'tropical' beach wedding, all bright colors and sunshine and Hawaii. Unfortunately, it was socked in with the fog the whole weekend, which I loved (such a romantic atmoshpere!) but she was disappointed with it. A few miles in either direction, it was bright sunshine, but our beach was foggy the whole time. It was also cold - about 30 degrees cooler than in town. Mr. Duck and I had checked the weather and packed jeans and jackets, but no-one else had taken the forcast seriously, so there were some chilly looking folk there. After the wedding, some guests, of questionable sanity, decided that it was simply ridiculous to go to the beach, and not swim. I tried very hard to convince them of how cold the water is here, but severa of them stripped down and jumped in anyway. And then came out bluish.

Chile looked beautiful, and the wedding went well, and Chef was handsome in his tux.

I made the mistake of asking a friend of the bride to take pics with my camera, without reminding her to get a few pics of me. So she used my entire roll, and got me only in a couple group shots before the ceremony. She got pics of her friends with the bride, and her friends coming down the isle, but none of me, and not a single one of Mr Duck, which is disappointing because he looked very handsome in his new tie. And I didn't have another roll, so I got nothing of the cake cutting, or toast, or first dance, or anything. A mistake I won't repeat. But here is the bridal party,

Everyone was very beautiful. I look really tall here, but it's the slope of the path. I swear.

You can't see it here, but some of us were suuuuper tired that day. We were all sharing a few rental cottages, and the best man was in mine. The guy, while very nice, has some crazy sleeping disorder, that his doctor hasn't taken seriously. He snored like a freight train, but I got used to that and fell asleep. About 3 am, we were woken up by shouting downstairs. At first, I thought there was a fight or someting, but it was just this one guy, and was rythmic, and really loud. Loud enough they could probably hear it nextdoor. He would scream with every breath for abut 10 minutes, then go through a couple strange breathing patterns for another 10 minutes, then start yelling again. This lasted over an hour. The groom tried to wake him, but the best man fought back, and slept the whole time. Unlike the rest of the house.

When I got up the next day, and went downstairs looking for coffee, he was still sleeping on the couch, and was kicking in his sleep. And still snoring. Maybe it's an old wive's tale, but I had always understood that the way to stop someone from snoring was to roll them onto their sides. I did not know until this last weekend that it is possible for a human to snore while sleeping on their side or stomach. But it is. I saw it with my own eyes. The guy said he had told his doctor that he wasn't sleeping through the night, and that his dog wouldn't sleep on the bed anymore, but the doctor had just poo-pooed him. We all told the guy to have the doc call us, 'cause we could describe his sleep patterns in detail, and it's not normal. The guy felt pretty bad at having ruined our sleep, but we were all too tired and grouchy to do the whole 'oh, it's OK' thing for him.

Never been happier to sleep in my own, lovely, bed.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


In case you haven't seen it, the "Here it Goes Again" video by OK Go is the coolest thing I've seen since Christopher Walken in "Weapon of Choice." Catch it, have a giggle on me.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Academia Sucks

So I haven't updated on the thesis issue in a while, because I have been sooooooooooooooo frustrated about it. My friends will recall that my committee dicked me around for two full terms over my prospectus, and then finally agreed on a version that was almost exactly what I had originally written last fall. The changes should only have needed a couple weeks, if any of mu illustrious committee had known what the hell they wanted. So I wasted the entire school year.

When I finally defended my prospectus in the Spring, we had discussed how the thesis should be formed and focused. I spoke to my chair about defending in the fall, but she thought it was best for me to do it over the summer, even though I had classes and such. So I said OK. And then she left town. So I emailed her, and said that one of the other committee members had suggested that I send each chapter to her to be approved before sending it on to the rest of the committee, and she agreed.

So I spent the summer working my fat ass off. I haven't had down time since May. I have had sooo much to do with classes, and every extra hour was spent on my thesis. I wrote it stemming exactly from what we had discussed at the defense. As I finished each chapter (in order) I sent them to my chair. And never heard a word of any kind from her. At all.

But there were all sorts of deadlines looming, so I couldn't just stop writing, so I kept going. And still no word. And then it was so close to the final deadline, I had to send it to the rest of the committee with no word from her. And then, I didn't hear back from one of them at all, and didn't know where on the earth he was. I barely ate for days, I was so stressed.

Then I finally heard back, and apparently they are all in agreement that my thesis went entirely in the wrong direction, and the entire damn thing needs to be rewritten. If I was really going so very far off course, my chair should have been able to let me know that with the first freaking chapter, but she didn't. Apparently, she never read a single page of it until a few days before the deadline. The direction they all think it should have gone in was NOT part of the final, approved prospectus, and it was NOT anything we had discussed at the defense. They all just assumed, without ever speaking to me about it, that I would automatically focus my thesis around elements of the early prospectus' that they had rejected.

So here I am working myself into a freaking ulcer all summer, with family and health and money and class and all these other issues on top of the freaking thesis, and 3 days before the deadline they all say 'this isn't what we wanted, start over.' To which my immediate reaction, admittedly silent, was "fuck you. You aren't the ones writing it. You have been, collectively, as much help as a club foot to a f*#^ing ballerina." Which surprised me, as had I been asked, I probably would have said that such a reaction from my committee would have devastated me. It didn't it just pissed me off. If they want specific things from me, they could at least have the freaking courtesy to let me know about it before I spend the worst freaking summer of my life working on this sheisa.

And somehow, it never even occured to them that this might be interfering with my other school stuff. The three credits I had to add to summer term so that I could defend, are wasted, and have screwed up the rest of my shedule for no reason. And now, I have to find another term in which to add 3 more credits, because you have to carry those the term you defend. Since I am already at the limit for credits each term, that translates into over $1000 that I am just going to have to pull out of my ass to pay to defend next summer.

And when I spent a day trying to figure out how to handle everything, their reaction was that I was 'wasting my time' to do so before I had heard more detailed comments from them. Which sounded to me like they were saying I couldn't do it, the past two years of my life were completely wasted. I am pretty sure they just didn't want me to jump the gun, but that's not what it sounded like. Plus, I am going to have to fill out all sorts of petitions and paperwork and shit to get this fixed, so how exactly is it inappropriate for me to consider these things? They don't seem to realize that my life and schedule and finances do not automatically adjust themselves to fit every freaking whim of my damn committee.

Of course, I haven't said any of this to them. My friends seem to think I should, but I still have to work with these self important mutants for another year, so I don't think it would be helpful to put them on the defensive. So I just have to sit here and simmer in my juices and figure out how to please these sadists.

So that's the update on my summer. Hope everyone else's is going better.

On the bright side, next week I start my first student teaching here. Suuuuuper excited. It's the most diverse school in the area, and the very poor students get bussed there, so it should be a great place to learn to teach all kinds of students. It's broken into 'small schools' - which is a new idea funded by the Gates Foundation, focusing on taking large schools and having smaller schools set up inside them, so that the students are taking classes with 100 others rather than 400 other students, and can really get to know their teachers and peers, etc. Each shool has a focus, which students pick from in the 8th grade. If you look at the site, the 3 pictures represent the 3 schools (a fourth will be added next year). I know this is kinda snarky, but I can't get over how weird the first boy (IHS) looks - like a sci-fi movie, where he's supposed to be from some alien otterish-humanoid race. I'm sure the kid doesn't look like that in person, it's just a kinda weird picture.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Snakes on a Plane

So usually, I turn up my nose at monster/creature/slasher flicks, but I have been intrigued by the whole SoaP thing. I first heard about it ages ago, and it sounded pretty darn amusing. So when Mr. Duck, who luuuuuurves the monster/creature/slasher flicks got off early today, we went to catch it.

Loved it.

It started off all cheap tv-movie style, following some hotshot showing off his rad moves on his motorcycle in the Hawaiian countryside, like some movie about the underdog coming from behind and kicking ass at the motocross finals might start. And then it went kinda Jackie Chan, with the hero unwittingly witnessing a brutal killing by an over the top Asian-American mobster. And then it went all cheesy cops-interogate the guy as the melodramatic music swells. And then we got to the airport, and witnessed The Lineup of Stock Characters - witness the sexy stews, one of whom just got into law school, the famous rapper and his posse, the Hitlon-wannabe heiress, the newlyweds, the kids flying alone, the uptight businessman, and the list goes on.

And then, we get to the plane, and yeah, it was fun. Giggled my ass off. The movie makers were just over the top enough, without making it dumb, and didn't take themselves seriously for a second. For instance, the snakes were, by and large, true to real-life sizes, and many were identifiable even to a snake-plebe like me. They included a method of driving the snakes all crazy, so they would get hyper-aggressive. Lots of people died, in icky ways.

But they made it fun - the snakes didn't go for the ankles, oh no. They went for nipples and eyes and necks (accept for those characters who were supposed to survive a while). The snakes were literally jumping and holding themselves out perpendicular from their victims while biting - not too realistic, but an effective graphic. At this point, it was straight up Sci-fi movie of the week, but somewhat higher budget. Awesome.

And then, it went all airplane-in-jeopardy, amature-has-to-land-the-plane cliche. Why? Because it had to. They could only show snake deaths in so many ways, and they had run out of cabins for the characters to retreat to. So they said hey, we are on a plane here! There are dozens more cliches we could incorporate! That they did so is a testament, in my opinion, to the high artisitic integrity of the filmakers. ;-)

Sooooooo much fun.

And while driving home, Mr Duck and I couldn't stop reciting the tag line, which half of the theatre recited with Samuel Jackson. All in all, there was a plane, and lots of snakes, and it was awesome. Highly recommended for a good brainless giggle.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Seriously Tired

So the past week has been hellish. This whole damn summer has been the longest, most stressful, most upsetting few months of my entire life. And when things are worked out, I'll write about it, but right now everything is still up in the air.

So instead of boring and depressing everyone, I will make up for my atrocious lack of posts this summer with a short bit of funny. Names have been changed to protect the crazy innocent.

Kiki's friend was flying home for a few weeks now that summer session is over. She had asked Kiki to give her a ride to the small local airport, and Kiki had, oooooh so generously, agreed. She's a sucker that way.

"See you Tuesday," her friend had said. "Oh, what time are you picking me up Tuesday?" her friend had asked. Kiki, rather than checking the flight itinerary that had been forwarded to her, simply asked what time the plane left. "7:50 am." "I'll pick you up at your house at 6 am. See you Tuesday morning!"

Tuesday morning, Kiki woke up at 5 am, which was kinda hard given that she hadn't gone to bed until midnight. But she showered, made herself her favorite latte, grabbed an uptempo itunes mix, and hopped in the car.

Kiki knew something was wrong as soon as she drove up. The house was dark, and for the first time ever, her friend was not out the door before the engine was off. Kiki pulled over, got out, and knocked on the door.

A minute later, the door opened a crack, and her friend, bent over as if to hide a state of undressedness, peered through. "What?" "WHAT?"

"Are you ready?"
"No - Tuesday." The door opened a little more.
"It is Tuesday."
"Today? Tuesday?????"
"... Yes." The door opened wide, and Kiki stepped in.
"Are you sure?"
"... ... uh, yeah. It's definitely Tuesday."
"What? The 15th?"

And then it happened. The friend freaked out. She ran in a circle around the living room, emitting a high-pitched, squealing, bat-like noise.

Kiki just stood there for a moment. Part of her analyzed the situation - it was 6:10 am, the sun wasn't even up, she had had about 2 sips of her coffee, and the woman in front of her was screaming fit to wake up the neighbors.

But most of her mind was occupied thinking very rude things, mostly along the lines of "shut the hell up," and "what are you, a walking teakettle?" Various cruel and friendship-ruining verbal options sprang to the tip of her toungue. Vitriol ran through her head.

Now, Kiki thinks these mean things all the time, and often amuses her friends with them afterwards, but she never has quite enough spite in her to actually say such things to people's faces. It's a character flaw that she will probably have to deal with until she snaps and becomes the cranky old cat lady down the block. Sometimes, she is just being internally snarky. But sometimes, especially 6 am-no-coffee-yet sometimes, she really really really wants to say it. One day, she will.

But this particular Tuesday morning, she went all nicey-nice again, and all Kiki said was "calm down. We have plenty of time, just grab your suitcase and throw on some clothes, and we'll go."

The dervish moved into the bedroom. Words began to emerge from amid the dolphin-squeaks.

"Oh my god!" eeeeeee "Oh no!!" eeeeeeee *gasp for air* eeeeeeee
"Calm down, I'm sure you've already packed, just throw on some clothes..."
"I was sure it was tomorrow! Wasn't my flight on Wednesday?"

Again the unhelpful thoughts poured into Kiki's brain. "How the f*@# am I supposed to know that?" and "holy crap, you just asked me 162 times if today was really Tuesday, but you think the flight is Wednesday?" and "it's too frickin frackin early for this." Again she wimped out, and spoke up like the civilized person she so often pretends to be.

"Maybe you should get out your tickets and check."

So the friend got her tickets out of her purse and read them with the rising-question intonation that is so pervasive among young women lately. This, if noted under normal circumstances, would have make Kiki proud that her friend was becoming so comfortable with colloquial English. But, perhaps due the sonar-ping vibrations still echoing around her brain cavity, it went unnoted until later.

"7:50 am, Wednesday?"
"OK... ... ... I'm tired. See you tomorrow."

And when Kiki's other friends heard the story, they unanimously offered the opinion that her friend should have to take a cab the next day. But Kiki, being the afformentioned sucker, woke up at 5 am Wednesday too, and this time got her friend to the freaking airport. But she expects some sort of kick-ass souvenier when her friend gets back. Damnit.

Monday, August 07, 2006


Hmmmm, I still want songs...

I decided to reward myself for getting to this point (finally) with

this (thatched - about the 5th or 6th one down) and these (butterfly kisses, 4th down).

I cannot get enough of her stuff!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Help Me Celebrate!

I just sent my committee chair my concluding chapter of my thesis.

That's right, the last one!!!!!! It's a wonderful feeling, but I think it'll take a bit for the stress to wear completely off. Not like I don't have 800 other things I have been putting off doing, and now must finally focus on.

I have tons more to do, including getting comments, defending, revising, blah blah blah, but the major writing proccess is now complete!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, I want to celebrate a bit. I want everyone who reads this, and I know who you are, so no slacking, to send me two celebratory song ideas. Two songs that you put on to celebrate whatever it is you like to celebrate. I have at least 30 free itunes songs just waiting to be used, to be turned into a "Thank God I'm Done" mix.

Don't worry if you think I don't know the songs, or may not like them, or whatever. Just send me your best ideas, and I'll take it from there.

And I know most of my friends who read this don't comment often, if at all. This time, YOU HAVE TO. Or else. You know I can be annoying when upset, so don't make me upset at you!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Just finished chapter number four! I'm going to try to get number 5 written by tomorrow, and send them both out tomorrow night... But first, I have to have other people read them, because after I look at this crap for so long, I don't even see what's on the page anymore. I just see what's in my head...

My eyes are going crossed from looking at my computer screen so damn much...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tuesday's Child is Full of Grace

So when I was a kid, I loved the rhyme about what day you were born on. I was born on a Tuesday, and I always thought 'full of grace' was really nice, and I always hoped I would grow into a graceful person. This weekend, finally, destroyed that little self-delusion once and for all

Scene 1: Friday night. Hot as all get out in her apartment, she heads back to the bedroom to charge her cell. She doesn't bother with the light, because really, who needs an incandescent bulb on in a 104 degree room? She turns at the door, heading toward the charger, on the wall at the end of the closet, and Bam!!
She smashes her pasty white leg into the (sharp) corner of their gorgeous teak bed. Damn, blood and everything, highlighted by a nice bruise. A lovely accessory for shorts-weather.

OK, people bump into things in the dark - it's well known. Doesn't mean I'm all that clumsy, right?

Scene 2: Sunday afternoon. Even freaking hotter in her apartment, she heads to the bedroom for shoes, to go to the bookstore and escape the heat. She doesn't bother with the light, because really, who needs and incandescent bulb in a 108 degree room? She turns at the door, heading for the closet, and Bam!
"OW! Ow ow ow ow ooooowwwww!!!!!"
She smashes her eggplant colored bruise into the (sharp) corner of their gorgeous teak bed. Looking down, she realizes that she's bleeding. Assuring her husband that she was still alive, albeit in some pain, she hobbles to the the bathroom and puts her pasty white leg up on the counter (the surface of which, like all surfaces in her apartment, is approximately 100 degrees), wherein she discoveres a miracle of her own making. Rather than simply reopening the old gash, she had managed to give her self a NEW CUT RIGHT ON TOP OF THE OLD FREAKING CUT.

Doubting that even she, the woman who randomly looses her balance and bumps into people when she is concentrating more on talking than walking, could be quite that clumsy, she reexamines the wound. Sure enough, the second cut starts about 1/4 inch to the right of the old, it travels diagonally to the old cut, follows it's length and inch or two, and then tails off to the left. Amazing. On the 360 degree surface of her leg, she managed to nail the exact freaking spot that was already hurt. Breaking out the neosporin, she whimpers quietly as she applies it to the new bruise that has aggravated the old bruise.
"You married one of the clumsiest women in the entire freaking country! Look at this!"
Her husband shakes his head, and continues watching tv - there is nothing he can do for a woman this blunderous. Fade scene.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Lady in the Water

I sent out my first Chapter of my thesis yesterday, and finished the main edit on chapter two! And as a treat, Mr. Duck and I went to see Lady in the Water, because I adore Shyamalan, and it was simply too hot to sit in our apartment for 2 more hours.

Seriously, the heat wave thing is killing me. I die a little every summer.

Maybe I should look at teaching in Alaska.

Anyway, loved the movie. Maybe my fave of his yet - I'll have to see it again to say for sure, of course. I'll try for no spoilers :-)

First, the cinematography was great. The coloring was quite moody, but I really loved the way he used mistyness. A couple times, the picture literally blurred out - reflecting the characters states of mind - and it was very effective, it made the scene feel sleepy. Loved it. Mr. Duck thinks he did his 'red' thing again, but I didn't see that, for me it was the water - not just the pool but the rain, the sprinklers, the dripping faucets and showers, very thematic (big surprise, given the title, right?).

A big old surprise in this flick was the humor. I laughed my tush off a couple times. Who goes to see an M. Night Shyamalan for the giggle factor? Not me. Not previously, anyway. But he's a damn clever writer, and the entire theater was laughing out loud during several sequences. Funny ha-ha, not funny strange. Honestly. Go see it and we'll discuss the previously unplumbed depths of his freaking genious.

Also, Shyamalan's little Hitchcokian cameo penchant got turned up a notch or twelve. I expected to see him, but only briefly. But he gave himself and actual role! Hubris? Perhaps. Handsome? Ooooh yeah. Complaints? Nope.

I liked all the acting as well. Shyamalan, even in his less successful movies, manages to get beautiful, unforced performances from all his actors, which may be one of the reasons I like his work so much. This was no exception, and I found myself very drawn to the characters.

Lastly, something that normally bugs me. I knew everything. Without giving stuff away, there are certain characters or symbollic people that become important, and I knew who each and every one was going to be. And yes, there was some misdirection, but none of it fooled me.

Normally, I hate this. I much prefer being surprised by the story and the storyteller. but somehow this time, I enjoyed it. I think it's because there was definate foreshadowing, but it was more subtle than the miscues were. So I kinda felt vindicted, as the truth was revealed, and it was nice seeing the pieces I had in my head come together on screen.

Altogether, very good storytelling. There was the element of scary, but the story itself was very sweet.

Mr. Duck liked it too.

Saturday, July 15, 2006


Romancing the Stone is on right now, and I heard one of my very fave quotes. Except for Zoolander and Austing Powers, I don't tend to pick up on the popular quotes - I guess my fancy is just tickled differently. But here are some of my faves... Be forwarned, I tend to go for the ones with the exclamation points.

He wants you too, Malachai! (my sister and I went around saying that for about 6 months, straight - gravelly voice and all)

The man who killed my father, raped and murdered my sister, burned my ranch, shot my dog, and stole my bible!

That's a big twinkie.

Listen to your buddy Billy Zane, he's cool, he's trying to help.

Humans! Not worth the flesh you're printed on!

I'm an extraordinary thief!

ROUS's? I don't believe they exist.

For every action, there is a Jackson.

You speak so many languages, yet you never want to talk.

That's what you get for playing with Yakuza! Go home to your mother!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Some pics

As a way to relax before classes started, we took Teacee to the beach on the last weekend in June. She had never been to the coast here, and had heard how beautiful it was (she agreed - the Pacific coastline is never-ending gorgeous). All pictures are courtesy of Teacee, as I haven't finished my roll yet...

We started our day by going straight over to Florence, where we had a late breakfast. Here are Mr. Duck and I on a pier in oldtown Florence (you can see the famous dunes in the back).

Then we went to the Sea Lion Caves. Most people from this area have been there, but if anyone hasn't, it's the world's largest natural sea cave, and is year round home to a colony of stellar sea lions. You can take an elevator several hundred feet down into the cave, where they have turned a ledge into a viewing platform.

The closest building in the picture is the elevator, and the cave is directly beneath.

We wanted to take her to see the lighthouse visible on the far cliff, but the parking lot there was crazy full, so we didn't want to deal with the crowds.

Next, we had a picnic on a small beach near Lincoln City. Here is Teacee on the trail down to the beach (a good 10 minute hike, at this particular beach)

And here are Mr. Duck and I at the local 4th of July celebration in the park near our place.

They had wine tastings for 50 cents! Teacee had never been in the US for the 4th either, so it was fun taking her and pointing out different aspects of Americana on display. And I got some SUPER cute earrings from a local artist...

Also, I freaked out on poor Teacee. She wanted her picture taken with the American flag, and there was one next to this Paul Revere guy, so I took her camera to get a shot of her, and when I looked up, she had grabbed the flag and was pulling it to show it in the picture, and we both learned how much I disapproved of the manhandling of the flag... Totally bit her head off, and then felt bad. I surprised myself at the vehemence of my reaction...

addendum - In Japan, many people still associate their flag with WWII, and thus it has very different and often negative connotations for them, as opposed to the great amount of respect that we hold for ours. So Teacee really had no way of knowing that tugging and pulling on our flag would elicit that kind of response from me. So she let go, and just held the pole :-)

Sunday, July 09, 2006

What a Helper

Two things

1 Holy crap, the Italian team is chock-full of hotties. This is my kinda sport.

2 Noooo! My thumb drive! I don't CARE if you need to save your thesis! Don't make me do the kitten-poses!
You know you can't resist my fluffy-belly-paws-up ninja moves! You have NO DEFENSE!!!!!!!

P.S. If France is called "le Bleu," which I am almost positive means "the blue," why the hell is Italy (whos flag is green, white and red, as evidenced on the top of my tv screen) wearing solid blue uniforms? Are they just trying to confuse the refs? Are they trying to appropriate the symbols of the team that has so thouroughly and repeatedly beat them these last few decades? Is their coach/kit designer colorblind?

Friday, July 07, 2006


The week has, once again, been crazy. But I am bound and determined to finish editing my intro chapter tonight... We'll see if I succeed.

I went to the Museum shop for java this week, and it was so sad being there without S and Sunshine. They remodeled, and it's nice, but it's just not the same without them. Pathetic, aren't I?

But I did give in and get one of the little floppy enamel fish I have been admiring there for months. I put it on some embroidery thread with dragonflies I made on the ends, to use as a necklace (at least until I find the perfect ribbon).

Cute, no? The little round ring coming out of it's mouth I am thinking to leave there because A) it looks cute, like the fish is blowing a bubble, and B) it's freaking welded on, and I haven't got the time or energy to get it off.

I'll leave it to those who know me to determine which is the more powerful motivator there...

Anyhoo, tons to do and no time to do it!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Hot damn, what a couple days.

Sunday was lovely, we took Teacee to the beach (pics will come when I finish the role, so sometime between now and Christmas, I assume). It was beautiful, and much cooler than town, and a good way to spend a quiet day before all hell broke loose, which it has.

I have started the courses for the education program. They have taken a bunch of 11 week courses, and scrunched them into 4 weeks, and then told us to take them all at the same time.

Because they love us.

Well, last Friday we had Orientation, and those of us who are interested in endorsements for teaching two areas - which I am... Social Studies and Japanese - were told to wait until said orientation to learn what to do. 3 days before classes started. They only told us about it Friday, because in past years it "has been a problem" to wait and figure it out once classes start. Aren't they thoughtful!

So they told us that we would have to take a couple extra courses. OK, fine, that's what I expected. Problem being, all the flipping courses are taught at the same 2 flipping times. Yep, that's right folks! They couldn't space them out by even one freaking hour!!!!

Since the class requirements are so specific, they set all of us up into groups and we were told EXACTLY which courses to take at which times. But then Friday, we were told that if we want any combo of Social Studies, Science, or Language endorsements, we would have to drop a required course, and take a methods course this summer (because they are both taught at the same time). And hope that we can fit the required course back in somewhere else, but they had NO FREAKING INFO about where or when that might be.

Because remember, they teach all the classes at the same times. So I can't just assume that the course I had to drop (Law in education) won't conflict with other requirements later.

And then today, the other shoe dropped. The course I had to add not only conflicts with Law, it also conflicts with Adolescent Studies. Seriously. And the department never freaking told us, we had to figure it out and tell them.

Oh, but it gets better. The second course conflicts with even more required stuff this fall, so I have to add another course on now to open up a slot next term. That's right folks, it slices, dices and cleans the cat box!

So when I went to add this other course this afternoon (which I had only found out about myself, about 20 minutes before the class was supposed to start, because of 3 other students in the same situation), I couldn't add it, as I am now over my 16 credit limit. Because in order to finish my Poli Sci thesis this term, I also have to carry 3 PS credits. And the school of Ed thinks that 16 is all we should be allowed to take at once.

And normally I would agree, but dammit if they haven't figured this shit out in however many years they have been running this program, then they are just going to have to make a freaking exception for some of us. I think the part that is making my eyes roll uncontrollably, is that this has apparently happened every. damn. year. And they couldn't even tell us what classes to switch to - we had to figure all the administrative bs out (on top of the 6 hours of reading and 4 classes I had yesterday) then let the admini-freaking-strators know what is going on.

This program, here at the U of O, is top rated. And by that I mean top 5 in the country, top 3 in special ed. VERY respected. VERY competitive admissions. I shudder to consider what students in less well-funded programs must go through.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Sicky Icky

I am a freaking snot factory this week. I have gone through 2 regular boxes, and 5 minipacks of tissues - Mr. Duck had to bring home 3 jumbo boxes of tissues yesterday. Eeeeew. I had to go get fingerprinted at the Sherrif's office today (for background checks for teachers. I didn't realize it would be required, but it's a really good idea), and had to tote along a pack of tissues, and a jar of vasaline, with which to sooth my red, cracked, painful nose. Very summery and attractive, I'm sure.

And this isn't alergies, at least not mostly. It's full blown cold. I can't lay down without coughing to death, and so have spent the last few nights sleeping propped up on the couch. So my neck is all achy too. Feel sorry for me yet?

These ought to help. Mr. Duck felt bad I am so sick, and brought home feel better/ happy 1st day of summer flowers yesterday! We started dating 12 years ago today - I cannot believe it has been that long! Kinda makes me feel old. My nose was too plugged to smell them last night, but this afternoon they must be really putting on the olfactory fireworks, because even I can smell them, and they are lovely.

Like my shadowbox, too? S gave me a lovely fan at our farewell dinner, with a poem by Ono no Komachi , of which my favorite translation (by Dr. Helen Craig McCullough) is:

Alas! The cherry blossoms
Have flowered in vain and faded
During these long rains,
Interminable as my own
Melancholy reveries.

The fan on the bottom was given to me by Teacee, and has a lovely purple floral pattern, done on cloth rather than simple paper. Both very beautiful, so I thought I would try to create a little display for them. Not too shabby for my first try, but the composition isn't quite right. If I can figure it out, I might rearrange it a bit.

Also, stop for a moment and look at the vase for the roses. Mr. Duck didn't get a vase for them, so he had to find one at home. The actual vases I have are all small, so they wouldn't do, and the glass pitcher I have was too big, leaving them splayed out, so he put the bouquet in a big plastic UO football cup, put that into the pitcher for stability, and filled with water - voila! I'm pretty impressed at the ingenuity myself, I would never have thought of it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

This is just a photo of the Taiwan float from the Rose Festival a few years ago. I'm just figuring out the various functions over here, so bear with me!
This is my first post here, as I was having issues with my old blog (http://aduck.diaryland.com)...