Monday, January 31, 2011

Brain Fog

Between visits from family, quilt shows, school starting, a Writers' Conference, brain is fogged in.  More later.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Train Crossing

First week of school.  First office hours.  I get in the lane to turn onto the freeway ramp and it's closed.  Closed?  I glance at the freeway--a parking lot.  Now I'm going to be late.  I take the detour on the surface streets, which includes two train crossings.  I make it through the first one, but am caught by the second one.

This occurrence--the clanging of the bells, the lights flashing and the railroad crossing arms going down--used to drive me right up a wall.  Pat the steering wheel, check the time, crane my neck to see how long before the end was.   Then I decided that whether I freaked out about it, or was calm about it, that the train was going to do what it needed to do (go from Point A to Point B) and I could either adapt, or have a knot in my stomach.  Ever since that day, my fallback position when stopped by a crossing train is to open the window to listen, and take a moment to breathe.  Even if I was ten minutes late for office hours.  Which no one came to because it was the first week.

So, here for your boring pleasure, is one minute and 59 seconds of the train crossing this morning.  Watch this when you have a small boy nearby.  Or need to kill two minutes.  Or wonder at the massive miracle that is a train.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Monarch of the Glen

 Dave and I decided to watch an old BBC series titled Monarch of the Glen, about a castle on a loch in Scotland.  We needed something to do together, as we all too often retreat to our own caves.

The setting is luscious, with an grey stone castle of obvious vintage on the edge of a deep water loch bordered by hills and mountains.  Makes you kind of want to be a billionaire or something. 

The story line is anchored by Glenbogle, the fictional estate, with its cast of interesting characters.  The series played in prime time in England, so the language and the subject matter are family oriented, but interesting.  I loved hearing the deep Scottish brogue, and have more than once wondered aloud if we should go and visit there.

Anyway, long story short--we finished the series the other night.  I can't reveal any details as a friend is watching it too, but it was satisfying and sentimental.

Friday, January 14, 2011


I've just finished six circles on my newest quilt project and yep, there are 104 pieces in each block.  (Really there's 108, but that's if you add the corner sections.)

Find the info at OccasionalPiece-Quilt!

Friday, January 07, 2011

MLA--Day in LA

As lowly adjuncts, my friend Judy and I are used to be low women on the totem pole, and even have learned to see the bits of black humor that come from having no benefits, low wages, no office, no official phone numbers, no committee assignments, no politics and no status.  So I was surprised when the august association of the Modern Language Association sent out an email inviting us lower-than-lows to their annual convention in LA.  Show this letter, they said, and you'll get a free one-day pass.

We decided to take a shot right in front of the poster, to prove we were there (we're using this as our "Professional Development" hours at the end of the semester).

After two energetic sessions, we slipped out for some lunch/dinner at the local Wolfgang Puck's--in the LA Live Center--really a plaza right next door to the Staples Center with big screens, cool lights in the trees and a nice ambiance.

It was an interesting day filled with contradictions, thought, interesting challenges, a call to labor activism (although I'm pretty sure the speaker meant the Real Teachers, not us) and a workshop or two on Digital Humanities.  We broke away from a few minutes to grab some linner (or dunch) to bolster ourselves for the upcoming sessions, and to rehash the ones we'd been to.

Since this is my blog, you know there has to be a picture of the meal.  

This pizza had goat cheese, sun-dried tomato halves, kalamata olives all adorned with prosciutto and bits of basil (I think).

As we walked, we enjoyed the sunset, the lights with their drippy lights and having a day away to think about all things MLA.  And that's not only how to list sources for your research paper.

Huge fake leaf shapes with fake shadows.

One of the fun things was throughout the day was receiving lots of text messages, phone messages, emails wishing me a Happy Birthday. Thank you all for your birthday wishes--sorry I wasn't always able to answer the phone immediately.

Judy had planned ahead (not surprisingly) and when we got back to the car after a long day, she whipped out a covered cake pan, and presented me with this Happy Birthday plate and cake.  She sang to me, then we enjoyed a sweet treat.  Thanks!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Google Car in Our Neighborhood!

I did a double-take.

That wierd-o looking red ball on top contains a BUNCH of cameras.  It probably caught me taking this.