Monday, March 17, 2014

Photos are Missing


I don't know why I have this interesting European-style gray bar image on most of my Blogspot images.  A complete mystery.  Apparently someone flipped a switch at Google that did A which led to B which meant that many of my photos, even ones that I own and uploaded myself, are now unavailable on the blog.


I've been toying with the idea of shutting down all my Google-related blogs completely, donning a sackcloth and ashes, and hiding out in the bushes alongside the highway for some time now.  This may have pushed me over the edge.  I will still run my Wordpress blogs, however.

When confronted with some seemingly inexplicable change in our software/hardware that takes us days to figure out, my mother and I like to say that the "27-year-olds have been busy" in these tech companies, and after reading last week's New York Times article, I realize our attempt-at-good-humor tag line may not be too far off the mark.  While the article dealt with those who are employed there, with the different cultures between the young, hip, cool (think: 27 year olds) and their elder (think: 50 years old) engineers, I can also see it playing out in the world at large.  I think Google is trying to manage their massive GoogleWorld and in doing so is making moves that we elderfolks can't decipher or understand.

However, the best revenge is to live long.  Soon enough these 27-year-olds will be inhabiting their own 50-year-old bodies, moaning about what the new 27-year-olds are doing to "their" products.  I'll be long gone (pray for no Google in heaven!), but can only imagine how satisfying that would be to hear their complaints and see their confusion.

Update: Apparently if I used an old link to my old Picasa albums and set them all to PUBLIC, which means Google is further down that road about making us all link to each other (privacy be damned I want your data) then the photos will show up again.  Which they have.  Which still leaves me pondering my options about whether or not I want to blog on Google.  Those highway bushes are looking pretty tempting.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Pikus-Pace Intervew


I don't know how long this video will be available, but click over *here* to see it while it lasts.  (Love her necklace!)

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Days Stacked Like Dishes


Days

Each one is a gift, no doubt,
mysteriously placed in your waking hand
or set upon your forehead
moments before you open your eyes.

Today begins cold and bright,
the ground heavy with snow
and the thick masonry of ice,
the sun glinting off the turrets of clouds.

Through the calm eye of the window
everything is in its place
but so precariously
this day might be resting somehow

on the one before it,
all the days of the past stacked high
like the impossible tower of dishes
entertainers used to build on stage.

No wonder you find yourself
perched on the top of a tall ladder
hoping to add one more.
Just another Wednesday,

you whisper,
then holding your breath,
place this cup on yesterday’s saucer
without the slightest clink.

—Billy Collins                                                                                                                
Sailing Alone Around the Room

Monday, December 02, 2013

Fading


Four more days until the end of the semester, and I feel like this photo of my Santa Quilt, purposely faded in intensity so I can doodle my quilting designs on it.

I took it in today to class, tucked in my pink briefcase right behind their new Precis Assignment, the Checklist for their Research Paper packets, and the three-page Peer Review handout.  Since I spent Saturday morning in Urgent Care getting diagnosed with Bronchitis Induced Asthma, and then getting a breathing treatment and receiving four medications (all together now: I Believe in Pharmaceuticals), after an hour of waiting at the pharmacy, I was pretty tired, so went home, swallowed a glug of cough syrup and went out like a (drugged) light while Dave put up the outside Christmas lights.  At least someone is productive around our house.

I was most concerned because we'd spent Thanksgiving with a friend with a low-functioning immune system, so I asked the doctor, "Am I contagious?"  "No," he said.  Relief.  And so we swing into the holiday, with lights on the front of the house and me wheezing in between inhaler hits. 

So, that faded Santa is a good representation of how things are around here.  This afternoon I crunched down a cough drop during class to keep the coughing at bay while they read through the handouts, one by one.  Then we got to the Peer Review.  The stats:
  • Twenty students still on the rolls.
  • Three have stopped coming.
  • Five didn't have the requisite three-page minimum on their essay, so couldn't participate.
  • Twelve students spent the rest of the hour, trading papers, evaluating.
  • I doodled on my faded Santa, a satisfying diversion.

We came out to the most glorious sunset, and two of the girls sighed audibly at the brilliantly colored sky.  I snapped, then posted, photos on Instagram, then drove home on the back roads, avoiding the horrific freeway traffic.

The latest news from the Educational Front is that our Dean has been canned.  Well, he has until June on his contract, so there have been "Reporting Reassignments," which doesn't affect what I do one whit, except that I don't see him slinking around the Tutoring Center, hobnobbing with the staff as much.  The last time I saw him, he was dressed like an upscale bum: half-shaven, casual clothes, his dreads grown out again, and sneakers.  I made some comment that he looked comfortable today, and he said, "I try to dress up as much as my faculty does."  So even though I had to overlook that snotty comment, I did sort of like the guy, but he's a goner, while I still wear pearls and nice clothes and have my weensy little adjunct job that involves coming to class when I feel like staying home in bed, but I did solve a Santa-quilting problem, then was taken out to Pho for dinner by my light-stringing husband.

On the whole, not a bad day.



Thursday, November 28, 2013





Dave's gone for a bike ride, I've spent hours on Pinterest, and it seems this quiet morning is restorative for both of us.  Blessings abound: nice place to live, nice home, great children and grandchildren, good relationships among extended family, learning how to live with those daily aches and pains and thorns of life.  We're also happy for our work, both the work that brings in money and the work that doesn't, and that it gives us something to talk about on our morning walks.  Laundry, the Great Leveler, teaches me to be grateful for tasks, but also greatful that I can entertain myself beyond counting up the completed household chores. 

I also am grateful for the mundane: the new drill that works great, comfortable shoes, good blogs to read, clothes without patches and holes, wall-to-wall carpeting, my Apple TV and a comfortable sofa from which to watch movies.  My mundane may be different from yours, but I'm hoping that your Thanksgiving Day is a good one, filled with thoughtful moments of gratitude.

(Like being grateful I'm not camped out front of Target right now, like the folks I saw last night.)

Happy Thanksgiving, 2013. 

Monday, September 09, 2013

Habits




I read this article on the 99-Percent website some time ago, titled A Master Plan for Taking Back Your Life.  I think I bookmarked it to use with the class I was teaching at the time which included a book on what the internet is doing to our brains.

The article notes that every act that chips away at our willpower diminishes our ability to resist temptation and focus our energies.  There are multiple decision points in the act of reading on the web, each with their benefits and their accompanying Lernean Hydra-like links, dooming me to a distracted exhaustion.

Just as Charlie, my nephew's daughter, won't leap about the kitchen for endless hours, according to the article, we, too, should think about chunking our time into 90-minute intervals, taking a rest in between.  I find that if I slither onto the web in the morning, sucked into by email, then the New York Times headlines, then blog reading, I look up and it's nearly lunchtime, and my day has gone an entirely different direction.  When my children were at home, the day was compartmentalized by school schedules, their activities, and church meetings.  Since they've left home, my day has been defined by my tasks, rather than me thinking about how I want to structure it.  The digital interaction that seems now imperative needs to be factored in, rather than ignored.  This 90-minute idea could be a good habit to grab; new habits for our new digital world. 

Friday, September 06, 2013

Shifting Perceptions




In our house, it's always been Dave who doesn't notice things.  It's kind of a relief, because he doesn't notice when the dishes aren't done, or the house is dirty--those kinds of things.  No pressure housewifery.  But I always say I could leave his birthday present in the middle of the floor for months and he'd just step over it, not seeing it.

So I was pretty surprised the other night when he walked in the kitchen, looked out the window and said "What happened?"  I was standing at that window, preparing dinner.  I turned to him, "What do you mean what happened?"  He pointed.

And outside the window, the tree that is tall and reaches up to my sewing room and which I look at every day had lost a major branch.  It had perhaps cracked in our recent storms and had fallen to the ground.  Huge. 

And it was me who had not noticed it. You can see the hole, below, and the stub of the branch poking into the empty space.


It's another way to demonstrate how I feel lately, with everything shifting under my feet.  I was contracted to teach Tuesday/Thursday in this new semester, but AFTER the first day of school, the Dean's secretary sent me an email asking me why I wasn't in class that Monday. Apparently they'd switched my classes and had neglected to inform me. (And no, they didn't apologize.)

The students showed up that second day (Wednesday) with all their books, but it they were all wrong.  They weren't my books, but the ones listed on another class.  We're now headed into the third week of the semester and every Monday I have to remind myself that I'm teaching that day, not Tuesday.  

Whereas before I used to love books with great pathos, now I feel like they pull me under, and I didn't listen to any all summer long, while I recuperated from foot surgery.  I can't find things.  I don't have the energy to really dig into some deep drawer-cleaning-out.  I used to be the BEST drawer-cleaner-outer.  My children make jokes about our garage, and could I please get it cleaned out before they have to?

I don't really know how to describe how I feel except to reference it to the summer before I went to college, when I sat on my bedroom floor, cutting out clothes for fall, knowing that all lot of things were going to change in my life, yet unable to see what they were.  In hindsight, of course, I went off to college, got married the following June and never again sat on that floor with scissors and pins and patterns.

We always think of only adolescents changing.  Or of toddlers learning to walk.  Or Twenty-Somethings morphing into the most delightful adults, having pushed (as my daughter would say) the "Grow Up Button."  But on the cusp of sixty, the frame through which I perceived the world through my fifties seems ill-fitting, out-of-shape, like it was meant for someone else, yet I don't know what I will use next.  I could write something here about not seeing the forest for the trees, but after this week's experience, maybe I can't even see the trees, with their fallen branches. 

All I can do is wonder what's coming next, the ground unsteady beneath my feet.