Saturday, September 22, 2012

Shuttle Endeavor Lands in Southern California

I'm quite intrigued by Big Ideas, and certainly the space shuttle program was one of those.  So when the news about the Shuttle Endeavor going to its permanent home in Southern California splashed all over our pages, I read every bit of it.

 It arrived at LAX yesterday, and when watching the *video* from the Los Angeles Times, I loved how someone popped out of the cockpit and waved an American Flag.

Soon, it will be mounted on some sort of mover and taken through the city streets from LAX to its permanent home at the California Science Center. Dave and I are already planning a trip to see this, just like we did when they moved Levitated Mass, the giant rock on its own mover, to the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA).  Another Big Idea.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Guido Brunetti Mysteries

I've been saving this distorted Grand Canal picture for a while (thank you, Google Maps) to accompany the recent list of Guido Brunetti mysteries that I've been reading.  Dave started reading them, getting in the mood for upcoming travels to Italy this fall, and I was jealous of all the fun he was having.  So even though I had a full plate of things to read, I jumped in.  Luckily they read quickly.  Quite a few people I know have read/are reading these: my sisters Susan and Cynthia, my brother-in-law Bruce, a quilter friend, and on Rick Steve's radio show this week, they were also mentioned.  As the woman said, "I may never travel to Venice, but by reading these, I feel like I have traveled there already."  Or something like that.

These little books are addicting.  I finish one, saying not another until I get the grading done, but after that, I find the next one on my nightstand (where Dave puts them after he finishes them) and dive into another.  I've been in Venice, these past few weeks, courtesy of Donna Leon.

Guido Brunetti is the Commissario of the Questura, the police department in Venice, and has two teenaged children and wife who teaches English Literature at the local university.  I can relate definitely to the wife-teaching-English-Lit part.

Here's what I've read, so far:

1. Death at La Fenice
2.  Death in a Strange Country
3.  Dressed for Death, also published in Britain as "The Anonymous Venetian."
4.  Death and Judgment, also published in Britain as "A Venetian Reckoning."
5.  Acqua Alta (one of my personal favorites)
6.  Quietly in Their Sleep, published in Britain as "The Death of Faith""
7.  A Noble Radiance
8.  Fatal Remedies
9.  Friends in High Places
10.  A Sea of Troubles

This last one is set on the neighboring island of Palestrina, and had me reading and flipping the pages at the end as fast as I could.

This summer I've also read (with my mother):

The Sense of an Ending: A Novel
Turn of Mind
The Buddha in the Attic
On Canaan’s Side: A Novel
The Shadow of the Wind
How It All Began 
I'm still thinking about On Canaan's Side, as well as Turn of Mind. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Cushion Comfort

We went sofa shopping yesterday.  Let me rephrase that.  We stopped sofa shopping yesterday.  We began sofa shopping shortly after one of our grandchildren had a major diaper-leak accident on the current sofa, and that was coupled with the grape juice incident, to which was added the barf incident.  We had talked about it off and on, but sort of dragged our feet, waiting for our grandchildren to grow up a little bit.  Who knew you had to wait for that?  Dave is sitting on Option 3 of 4, all models found in the Crate and Barrel Store at South Coast Plaza.  (I refused to buy the prefab junk at Macy's.)

So after we'd sat down and up and down on the four different sofas, we talked about what fabrics were available to us in their Custom Upholstery Event.  "Event" is a misnomer.  It should read Custom Mark-Up-The-Price-Of-Your Sofa Experience.  I like the lines and the look of the mustard colored sofa, above, but obviously not the fabric.

And here we're trying out fabrics on the Other Sofa.  I couldn't make up my mind, but remembered my mother's refrain to "get a sofa you can get out of." 

We liked the fabric available to us on the mustard sofa, as we took to calling it.  We had about the perfect salesperson ever, patient, cheerful, and no high pressure to close the sale. It was time.  We closed the sale, chose the leg color (more decisions?), handed over the plastic card, signed the white screen.  She made up our little folder for us, and off we went.

Here it is from the brochure online (above).

Here it is in the front window as we walked out.  We didn't choose that fabric, but I do like the look of it.

Then we went out and looked at their corporate canned food drives in the mall.  I think the deal is that some corporation gets someone to design them a design using stacked cans, and they hit up collect them from their employees.  Above is a gnome and toadstool (?).

London Olympics and telephone booth.

Apple Logo.  Right near the apple store.

We had lunch, stopped by Chad's house to say hi to the family and to see Chad's new car, then headed home to the furnace called home.  I'm tired of this heat wave and ready for summer to go away, for my sofa to come (sometime mid-November) and for my front room to be magically redecorated to match the new piece of furniture.

Sunday, September 09, 2012


There's a sort of a shakedown that any new school term goes through, when the students are getting used to the teacher and the teacher is adapting to the new classroom of students, and generally by the end of this period, you have a pretty good idea of what to expect.  This can be disrupted by reality knocking, and that's usually in the form of the first essay to come in to be graded.  Which happened this week.

The results, roughly:
Two A+ papers
Four A/A- papers
2 B+/A- papers
Two B papers
Bunch of C papers
One paper I refused to grade because the student didn't turn in the required copies of her source materials
Three papers I stopped grading because 1) either the student is trying to use another paper from another class to get by for this assignment and it missed the mark by a mile or two, or 2) the student never read the assignment sheet again after we went over it in class, relying instead on their brilliant memory, or 3) the student is clueless.

It took about 18 hours to grade this stack.  The B+/B/C/Redo papers I'll see again in about a week, for their mandatory re-write.  We'll see if the A papers want to do the same, but I'm praying that they won't.

I started working on this class the second week in August, about five weeks ago, and it's been a constant grind getting this baby afloat.  I've had a few hours here and there where I just refused to write another assignment, or blog post, or quiz and either did quilting, or stared at any screen (computer, iPhone, iPad or TV) for a while, candidate for Vegetable of the Week.

And finally, tonight, after taking this show on the road for five weeks, I feel somehow I might be just turning a bit of  corner.  Just gliding over a wee bit of a hump.  Just the tiniest bit of pressure escaping.

If that's the case, I guess I can lay that red pen down for an hour or two.  Maybe even a day.