Jabberwocky for 2002 April

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: Stomach flu. Gaaaah. And it's HOT here!

: Well, today I did my old trick of painting on the black eye, but not so many people were fooled-- it doesn't look as real as it used to before I got all the wrinkles and before I lost the olive green eye crayon.

However, Midge Ladd pulled a real cutie: she had a loose white thread hanging off her (black) blouse, but it was attached to a spool hidden in her bra, so when you picked the thread off her back you just pulled and pulled and pulled and pulled!

: The Dell computers logo is eerily reminiscent of the Enron logo. What's up with that?

: I went out and got baptized in mud and crawled around on the ground and got very wet and still can't figure out how to program the sprinkler timers.

: It was a long day at work, topping off with an ACDV 50 faculty meeting where we evaluated anthologies to adopt for the 2003-2004 school year. Gretel and I went for a long walk before dinner, and saw lots of police officers arresting lots of teenagers on bicycles.

: After work I went and looked for an outfit to wear when I go to the job interview next Tuesday. I hated shopping. I bought several things, most of which I will probably take back when Rachel arives home to serve as Fashion Police tomorrow.

: I went to book discussion group, where I argued that Jan Karon's At Home In Mitford was artificial and shallow. Two people sided with me, while four other people loved it. Sherrie Lewis abstained, not having read the book.

I thought it was absurd, poorly written, and had too many characters, all of which were underdeveloped. Any chance for conflict or crisis was glossed over, and even the botany was wrong.

: Narcissus that bloomed while I was sick and thereafter: 'Actea' 'Duet' 'Sinopel' and one that I can't find in either the bulb catalog or the daffodil book. It's similar to 'Actea' and 'Sinopel' but with a creamy cup trumpet edged in yellow.

I did really a lot of yard work this weekend, even though I SHOULD have been making tablecloths for the church spring brunch.

Other notes from the weekend: Rachel and I went to Frugatti's and then to see Ice Age, I lost and then found my cell phone, and we went to CLS Pets to their buy-one-get-one-for-a-penny fish sale, except they were out of fish. Poor Quasi is still alone in the pond. Also CLS only has a 24 hour return policy on dead fish, as opposed to the 30 day one at PetsMart, so I guess we won't be shopping there for friends for Q. any time soon.

: I wish to go on record that I am the only person I know who has ever actually put a dead fish into a baggie and returned it to the store from whence it came.

: Job interview update: I never did find a blouse to wear with this suit. Nor a scarf. I got a piece of white material out of my sewing box, wound it around my neck, buttoned up the jacket, and called it good.

I did my teaching presentation on the chapter on fats and oils from the food science and nutrition textbook from a class I took at DeAnza, back when the textbook author was still alive. Vocabulary from context clues, graphic organizers for the main ideas, cheating on the textbook by reading up on the subject in the children's encyclopedia, yada yada.

: Note to self about tablecloths: Five twin size sheet sets, five colors each. Yellow, Green, Blue, Pink, Lilac. Out of the five, EACH color: Two 60X180 rectangles from two top sheets.

Five squares from five fitted sheets.

Three rounds from three top sheets pieced with bits from the fitted sheets as follows: Tear an 18" wide strip from the WIDTH of the top sheet. Add to the strip an 18" square scrap from a fitted bottom sheet. Sew the 18" wide strip to the LENGTH of the top sheet to make a large square. Fold into quarters and cut into a round.

The church has 15 round tables. This gives us 15 rounds that can be overlayered with 25 squares in various combinations of color, plus ten banquet size rectangles. Somehow I ended up making an extra green round which is more pieced than the others. It was my first, highly experimental.

As of today, I have finished the green and yellow ones.

25 pillowcases for the girls to decorate for camp.

: Upcoming uses for tablecloths: Spring brunch, all colors. Becca Mitchell's wedding, lilac. Robyn Jackman's wedding, all colors. Fall Church County Fair? Baby shower for Sara Langley. Ward Christmas Party, all colors, with bright accents from somewhere to make a Mexican theme. Susanna's wedding.

: HO. HUM. I spent hours and hours in the lab today trying to figure out what was wrong with a recalcitrant computer. Scandisk is running on it now--- slowly---- and I'm going to leave it to its own devices and go home to my tablecloths. So there. Last night (late) I finished the pink ones.

Sharon White sent an invitation to some kind of direct sales party. I couldn't figure out from the postcard what was the name of the company, or what was being sold. However, I did deduce that food was involved, and the tasting thereof. Ohhhh yeeahhh!

: Job interview update: I did not get the job. End of story.

: Misty got hit by a car and I had to take her to the vet emergency room to get sent to the Rainbow Bridge. I had to call Rachel, and she took it really hard. This sux.

: Why do *I* always have to be the mommy?

: Yeah. Today. I came home from church and crashed, and then cooked yakisoba. Didn't get a whole lot else done. Gretel hasn't eaten anything today, but it's hot. I guess some time I'd better get a new air conditioner filter. I put on a dress that fit me fine last summer and it's way baggy.

I am washing all the tablecloths from the brunch yesterday. Then, I have to fold them all and figure out where/how to store them.

I gave Emily Thiessen my cone thread stand because it doesn't work with my new sewing machine cabinet configuration.

: Karen Nations invited me to an "early" birthday dinner to take place tonight, at Frugatti's. She and her family were going to take me. Imagine my surprise when we walked in, and there was a large table full of folks... the Olsons! The Cornetts! What a treat. We had a really nice dinner and they gave me a balloon bouquet, a flower bouquet, a couple of garden art stakes, and the Hoban children's book, "A Birthday for Frances." Everyone signed the book, at three or four cards. I was so overwhelmed.

Then our waitress brought a piece of cheesecake with a candle on it, and made everyone in the restaurant sing happy birthday to me. (Including Candace Urmston, who works there.) Wow. Wow.

: I was going to go home and do sprinklers with Mike James this afternoon and forgot about a faculty meeting. Now I have to stay. And I am HUNGRY!

: I went to work and then to the dentist, where the dude poked and prodded and patched to his heart's content. Then I came home and collapsed because there seemed not much point in doing much else all numb and in pain.

The dental group has a new dentist starting tomorrow. He is from Romania, so I made an appointment with him for Susie.

: OK now it really hurtz.

: I graded placement exams, taught my class, and now, now... time to pull weeds! Oh for the joys of Eden.

I wonder how I can have so many students every semester, when it seems like most of the placement exams I read send them to English 60? Where do they come from do you suppose?

: I took an Internet "colour" test and got the following results:

At this particular time you are feeling the results of extreme stress and you are seeking a 'way out' but you are pushing too hard. Obviously you need peace, tranquillity and contentment. Your temperament is such that you are hoping,unrealistically perhaps, that your desires will shortly be fulfilled (even if at this time you are not quite sure what those true aspirations may be!).

You are working extremely hard trying to improve your image. You need for those people in positions that matter to recognise your potential and to acknowledge you.

Your confidence has been shattered. There are so many things that you would like to do with your life, so many dreams to be fulfilled - and you know that your hopes and dreams are not just figments of your imagination, they are real and you are looking for reassurance from someone. Basically your fears are such that you may be prevented in attaining your hopes and dreams. Even now you would like to broaden your fields of endeavour but in order to develop your 'inner- self' you need peace and solace. You are distressed by the fear that you may be prevented from attaining your goals.

What you really need at this particular moment in time is quiet reassurance from someone close to you to restore your confidence.

Presently, you are experiencing stress because of restriction on your independence. You need and seek respect from other people and it is essentialthat they appreciate you for yourself and not for what they would like you to be. You have your own beliefs and convictions and you would like to be respected for them. You are anxious to avail yourself of every opportunity that may come your way but nevertheless, come what may, you have the need to control your own destiny without imposed limitations or restrictions.

You wish to be left in peace... no more conflict and no more differences of opinion. In fact you just don't want to be involved in arguments of any shape or form. All you want is for 'them' to get on with it - and to leave you alone.

I think not getting the job I applied for has affected me more than I want to admit.

: Today I made a huge (I mean Really Big) pot of spaghetti sauce. It simmers in the crock pot at this moment. I wanted to have some real food in the house when my children get here. As I was finishing up, I realized that on Saturday night we are going to the Boy Scout fundraiser/dessert auction to eat.... ahhhh, you guessed it!

: Household hint: I discovered this as I was making dog food from cheap hamburger, the kind that comes in those five pound tubes. I put it in the crock pot overnight, and as it cooked, the fat separated out while the meat stayed in a tubish shape. One could, conceivably, pour all the fat off and then crumble the low fat cooked meat.

So today I tried it with "good" hamburger. The resulting ground beef was a little dry, but I certainly poured off more grease than I ever have before in my life. The dryness is more than compensated by a long simmer in spaghetti sauce and garlic sauteed in olive oil. I think this is quite possibly the best spaghetti sauce I've ever made in my life.

: Bah humbug. Susanna's car has a flat tire. I don't know how that happened. I am trying to figure out alternatives for fixing it.

: I have never thought of myself as the sensitive allergy type. AAAAAchoooo! However, I had to quit working in the yard early yesterday, before dark, and today the schnozz is running and I am sneezing and quite miserable. Wazzup with that? I pulled a lot of ragweed out of the vegetable garden, and I recall that my father was so allergic to that stuff he was scared of it. Could it be advancing age sensitizing me to environmental allergens? After all, tomorrow is my 50th birthday.

I remember when I was quite small, my parents rented a vacation cabin near some Anasazi (I know that word is not PC anymore!) ruin in Arizona. We arrived after dark and awoke the next morning to find our cabin was situated in a field of ragweed and had to leave. Mom had brought lots of food in the cooler, but no way to cook it (sans the cabin's kitchen.) We went wandering about northern Arizona and saw a meteorite crater and the Wupatki ruins. I remember doing a lot of starving and then getting carsick after stuffing myself full of barbeque potato chips.

: Ten a.m. Lots of funny cards from co-workers. Birthday wishes from students. Hillary Neumeister brought me a bottle of sparkling pear cider and a hug. We opened it and are toasting around the lab like crazy women.

A passing idea is to pour some of it into the Deskjet 890C and perhaps it will either start working properly or give up entirely!

: Aunt Jeuney's birthday message:

Dearest Frances . . .

I can't believe it! Our little girl is 50 today!! Your childhood is still vivid with me, photos filed away in my mind of you in Salt Lake and Lark and vacationing and in Arizona and New Mexico.

Your agile mind and amazing vocabulary at an early age and color identification.

Reciting "Horton Hears a Who" and other Seuss books.

Rearranging the tableware (when you were in your 2s) -- I had given your parents a set of dishes, half gold, half green. I set the table with them mixed up in color and you promptly rearranged things so each place setting had the same color.

Earl asking you (to show you off) to bring the National Geographic to him that had the article about the dogs. This was in the days when the NG had the contents listed on the front cover -- not a photo as it is now. You promptly went to the stack of Geographics, shuffled through them without opening any, and brought me the right magazine. I was awestruck. "How did you know which one," I asked you. You turned it over and showed me the back, which had a Coca-Cola ad. You had memorized the ads to identify which issues went with which articles you looked at. Wow!

It was wonderful when you moved to Sunnyvale and I had the pleasure of watching you all grow up.

I love you, dear Frances, and I continue to be filled with admiration and amazement about how deal with life and raise your wonderful children. You are a family treasure!

: Emily Thiessen took me out to Hungry Hunter for my birthday dinner. When she dropped me off, there was a PRESENT on the porch! Wonder who it's from? No card.

Today, lunchtime, at work, Marlene Bursell came in with a huge chocolate cake to share with everyone. And, my baby Susie is home from Romania! I got to talk to her on the phone, and to her wonderful brother. Lots of ecards, and Anne called me too. Happy birthday to me!

: The lab is positively somnolent right now. In fact, we have one student-- Nancy-- who has narcolepsy. A few minutes ago I couldn't get her to wake up. She had gone to class now, but left her narco vibes.

I spent the morning in Microsoft Outlook training, and the now the afternoon holding down the fort here. What a waste of "golden minutes and jewelled hours."

: There is a megamouth shark swimming around in my fishpond at this moment. Quasi doesn't even eat fish food anymore; he prefers to hunt his own fresh meat. RAWR!

: Late Narcissus advisory: Another 'Camelot' from the same bulb that bloomed a couple of weeks ago. 'Actea'. (finally!)

Next year I'm going to order more late ones. The Dutch Iris are blooming again, and quite lovely.

: More birthday, today. Lunch with Sherrie Lewis, Ernestine Boonstoppel, and Jill and Sara Langley. We went to the Country Rose Tea Room, and I spotted a homonym error on the menu. I got a card and scrapbook paper from Sherrie, a sweet card from Ernestine, and a pot of basil plants from the Langleys.

: I worked a long hard day today. The computer at station #16 kept freezing up, so I ran scandisk and then left it on defrag but I forgot to tell anyone I was doing so. It probably got stopped. I proofread about a gazillion papers on fairy stories for Eng. 1B students.

Leonard and Susanna have arrived home, and Gretel is making them crazy with her bids for attention. I'm a little worried about Rachel and her travel timetable and sore throat. Finally today I finished getting my Christmas letter out. Go me!

: A landmark day! I beat Leonard in Scrabble, the second time in my life!

We had a quasi-birthday-to-me, with all kinds of Romanian gifts. Susie brought me a pottery vase, an embroidered tablecloth (it does not appear to be particularly washable), a "Ukranian" egg, a little woodburned plate, and a stack of nesting dolls. Also, she gave me a "tatty" plaid plastic tote, which appears to be much inferior to the ones from Mexico. That is a sad situation indeed, when a household product is inferior to what is available and widely used in Mexico.

The very best gift was a Kinder Egg-- a chocolate egg containing a prize in the middle. My prize was a goofylooking plastic cow that had to be assembled and stickerized. When you crank its tail, its hat lifts and its eyes open and close and its tongue hangs out.

Leonard and I went down to Somewhere in Time to buy my dresser, but it seemed uglier than before, and he wouldn't let me get it. I couldn't find another one, so I am still undressered.

: Today's interesting conversations were with Phil Feldman and Gladys Stilwill. Phil and I talked about the-faculty-job-which-is-not-mine and about possible better uses of teaching assistant time, especially in the computer lab. I reported to him the gist of yesterday's meeting with the Dean and we formed various hypotheses about whether we (the faculty) were actually being given the opportunity to have input into some of the budget decisions, or have the choices already been made and they are just having a buncha meetings to try to make us "happy" (I use the word advisedly) with whatever the administration does. We agreed that if everyone could have a TA like MaryAnne, Utopia would bloom.

Gladys caught me up on her family-- son Tom getting married (finally!) and on the gossip at East. She says they miss me, and I told her to tell them I miss them! We agreed that JJ Kaiser should be English department chairperson. She says Jeana Widelock is very successfully teaching English and advanced drama and everyone just loves her, so I guess something good came of that debacle. The whole situation makes me so sad. Damn that HIV virus.

: Today I weeded the whole-- yes! the whole! backyard. I am going to be so sore by morning. I also made cheesecakes, one for us and two for the Boy Scout fundraiser.

I am reading Niall Ferguson's The Pity of War, which is a British revisionist history of World War I. It is interesting because he has gone back to primary sources and corrects many of the misconceptions everyone has about the reasons for the war. It gives a lot of extremely detailed background information on the build up towards conflagration. The text, tables, charts, and graphs are a very heavy read, but the photos are enough to keep a person awake nights. There are some "official" photos reprinted, but most of them are from the personal albums of ordinary soldiers which have never before been published. My poor grandfather!

: Leonard gave me an early Mothers' Day celebration. A jasmine scented candle, a t-shirt that said "Garden Mom" and a pair of Horton Hears A Who pajama pants. (Yertle The Turtle green.) I dyed my hair Manic Panic red today, so maybe I'll wear the pants to work on Monday.

: In the words of the Goldblum character in Jurassic Park (I), "THAT'S an impact tremor!" It was awful at work today, with the earthquake retrofit construction shaking the building. Gaaahhhh! The fillings in my teeth are shattered. Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear. I want to take an Advil and go to bed, but Karen Nations wants us to go to Michaels with her so everyone can go through a separate line and use the 40% off coupon from the Sunday paper [limit one per customer.]

Payday! I paid bills and did the checkbook and then Susanna and I ate at Saigon for a payday break.

I'm going to miss paydays, but I'm not going to miss the work, especially the 8 a.m. class. We start proficiency testing tomorrow.

Susanna is a scrapbooking maniac, and has been puppysitting very efficiently.

I had something really strange happen today. Yesterday, about 5 p.m., someone called and the answering machine picked it up. Today, 8:30 a.m., I received a voice mail message on my cell phone. This message consisted of: (1) the answering machine recording (2) the message (recorded to home phone number, (3)the conversation Susanna and I had in the room after playing the recording, and (4) incidental room noises. Very strange gremlins at play. I suspect, once again, the fillings in my teeth.

Jabberwocky for 2002 April

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© 2001-2006 Frances Whitney.