Friday, September 29, 2006

A vs. The administrative assistant, Round 2

Today I'm forced to admit, quite shamefully, that I crumbled. The administrative assistant came in to where I was working and complained about my (intentionally) not filling in the pay period on the time sheet again. After I series of monosyllabic replies, she dropped the paper on the desk and said that she wouldn't file them if I didn't fill out the pay period and that I wouldn't get paid. I stewed in my anger for a while, not really believing that she would actually keep me from getting paid, and contemplating just not getting paid (with the financial aid I'm getting, I actually don't need the money. I'm just hoping I can save up enough to not need to take out a loan next year). I eventually caved, though, and went to explain my case (I've worked there for almost 4 years now and never filled in the pay period, but no one made an issue of it until this summer). I tried to get across how annoying her condescending attitude it, not just about this but also in other incidents of the past, but it really was beyond her and I totally lost the battle. She didn't even express regret for the toilet flushing episode that I found rather humiliating (honestly, it's a toilet. Sometimes there will be some brown streaks at the bottom of the bowl. I have literally shoveled shit, so that's nothing). I was angry for a bit after that, but, really, she's a very pitiable figure. Alone, no husband or kids, can't even have animals because she can't deal with cleaning up after them. All she has is work and being anal retentive. What a sucky life.

A is for apiary

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A frustrating incident

Last night, in the first session of a class on the history of bilingual education, the instructor revealed that she often doesn't like to reveal what she does, because everyone wants to argue with her. This was most unfortunate news for me, as I was hoping the incident I had in the bookstore while buying a text for another of the education classes (Instructional Patterns: Strategies for Maximizing Student Learning) was some sort of fluke. Upon seeing the title, the lady at the counter launched into this rant about how all the kids really need is some discipline at home, and how when she was going to school the students had to share textbooks and she turned out just fine without a computer in the classroom (never mind the fact that this woman is a cashier at the university book store). Apparently everyone has a PhD in education and just have to share their infallible wisdom. I guess it is similar to people want to discuss their medical problems when they find out that someone is a doctor.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A feeling

I've got this horrible fear that I'm not perky enough to be a teacher. It could just be the people who choose to come back and teach how to be a teacher, but you never know. The only time I'm that chipper is when I'm nervous, otherwise I'm quiet/sullen/aloof/shy (depending on who is labeling me). Maybe I'd be better off as a professional bee painter. I'm sure I could do it as some sort of performance piece, illustrating the transitive nature of art and reality, as my painting is destroyed/transformed by the very canvas on which I paint. Something like that.

Monday, September 25, 2006

A tale with a point (get it?)

When I woke up this morning, I had no idea that only five hours later I would be standing in a swarm of bees. Luckily, I was wearing a bee suit, so my lack of epinephrine would not be my undoing (not allergic, but still, swarm of bees). I thought I was going in this morning just to speak with the volunteer coordinator in the bee lab about helping out with research this quarter, but, one thing led to another, and I wound up heading out to the bee field and changing classes. The bees were awesome (my favorite part is definitely painting little dots on the bees), but the book for the new class is not so good. You see, there has been a long running complaint that the textbook industry charges too much for textbooks, gouging an already poor population. Whoever made the book for this class decided, hey, we sell bound books for X amount, how about we just don't bind the books? This way, the books are cheaper, but it doesn't cut into our profits. So, yeah. Now I've got a nice stack of three hole punched paper on my hands. Real helpful.

A video game confession

Lego Star Wars? Totally awesome! R and I have been playing chapters of it in the evenings and, even for a button-masher like me, it's really fun.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

A thought

Is it weird that I want to try rocky mountain oysters? Because I totally do.

Friday, September 22, 2006

A newsworthy experience

So, this afternoon, when I went to the workout room to exercise, someone had gotten there before me and was watching TV. Now, aside from the presence of another human being, this doesn't sound like a bad thing. They even had it turned to CNN, so, really, it should just be a factual workout, right? Wrong. Half hour story on the death of Anna Nicole Smith's son, which contained maybe five minutes worth of information. It was horrible. They kept playing the same clips, restating the same facts, and making really dumb conversation.

"Gee, it's hard to loose a child. I wonder how she's taking it?"
"Well, she's devastated. We can talk to her about the new baby, but any time we ask about Daniel she just breaks down."
"Gee, that must be really hard. So young, too."
"Yes, as we said before, he was only twenty."
"So very young." my skull...

A victory for broke students everywhere

...Well, maybe not students everywhere, but definitely for one student in San Diego. One of the books I need this quarter was used in a class last year, so not only do I already own the damn thing, but I've totally already read it. Booyah!

A fun tidbit

My step-brother got kicked off the chess team for fighting.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A revelation

Ha! Well, apparently crockpot cooking just involves tossing things you want to eat into a crockpot and turning it on. BBQ chicken? Why, just chicken and BBQ sauce. Want soup? Water, lentils, sausage, garlic, and toss in a bay leaf for good measure. Whatever you think belongs in a recipe, just toss it in! The crockpot does the rest.

Man, we're going to be having some good soups this winter.

A brief note

Oh, when I was talking about the two times I had used the crockpot, those were both Hambuger Helper crockpot kits, so I'm totally searching for recipes. The year I got the crockpot for Christmas, I was given two copies of Fix-It and Forget It Lightly, which is ass. It is basically recipes that were originally filled with unhealthy things, but then they replaced all the bad stuff with good but bland stuff and then neglected to pump up the flavor. I don't know what it is with my family and light cooking. There are recipes out there that are naturally healthy, but some recipes just aren't and so sometimes you just need butter or sour cream.

A cat photo (I'm so sorry!!)

I don't want to turn into one of those people who obsesses over their cats (there is this lady at R's work who, after finding out that he had cats, proceeded to ensnare him in cat discussions and send him cat emails. She calls herself a "cat mom"), but I had to share the cute evilness in this picture. My underwear drawer used to be their favorite place, before they started eating my socks and were subsequently banned for life from my closet.

A talk about my course of study

Last Friday I went to the orientation for my graduate program and signed up for classes. This was, of course, very exciting (I think signing up for classes is my favorite part of the year), but I also found out about a few negative aspects of my schedule.

1. I won't be graduating in June 2008, but rather the end of July 2008. Even though the first year of the program is really light (not even full-time from the financial aid standpoint, so I have to take another class just to fill out my schedule), they apparently can't cram all they need to into the second year of the program, which results in my having to take summer school. Not really that big a deal, but I was planning on getting married in late June 2008, and now have to move it back to August. Had they posted an example schedule on their website (instead of/in addition to just listing the classes you're required to take) I wouldn' t have gotten my heart set on June. Oh well.

2. The two classes I have to take this quarter are in the evening, which means that on Mondays and Wednesdays I'll be getting home at 8 or 8:30, which, not being single, makes dinner a bit more challenging. I've decided to dust out the crockpot (I've used it twice in the nearly two years I've had it) and do a little slow cooking. That way dinner will be ready for R when he's hungry, and then still be hot and ready to eat when I get home. The upside of this is that R will be getting a little more involved in the cooking, as he'll have to add final ingredients, shred meat, and whatnot. Ever since the cooking in La casa de A & R moved beyond boxed noodles, R has been somewhat absent from the kitchen.

Anyway, class starts tomorrow (my fluff class anyway) and I'm rather excited!

A grievance with the administrative assistant

I don't know if it's just me, but being really patronizing when you're trying to get me to do something is a good way to get me to not do it. Seriously. Now, the first time you asked me to put the start and end dates of the pay period on the time card and carefully explained how to determine said dates, I actually going to do it on successive time sheets. However, since you insisted on explaining it again after I already told you that I know how to do it, I'm now going to make a point of not filling it in. Hopefully this combative streak is something I'll grow out of when I'm older, but for now I have to say up yours. Have a nice day!

Friday, September 15, 2006

A talk about incompetence

Today was orientation for my graduate program, so after several hours of useful but please-stab-a-pencil-in-my-eye boring talk about all sorts of bureaucratic hootennany, we were then sent out to get our ID cards. We had been told that the education studies department had made arrangements with the business office so that we could get our cards before the first day of class (easier for us, spread out their workload. Good stuff all around). I get there, and the girl says she needs a department letter on letterhead in order to get me my ID. What! I try to explain the situation, but no luck. I turn away, and explain what she said to the others from the program that have since gotten in line. Luckily, the person in back of me is a bit feistier, and she gets the girl to call the department with the threat that there are tons more of us coming in (there are only 18 of us total, but never you mind that fact). After giving us a look like we're asking her to walk there or something, she finally does it, gets the approval, and takes our pictures. As we're waiting for the laminator to do its thing, we sit in the waiting area, where there is a flier about the procedures for getting ID cards. The second bullet point for the grad student procedures (the second of two, mind you), is that education studies students don't need a letter to get their IDs. Skills.

On a brighter note, it looks like I'm going to be having a lot more free time this year then I was expecting. Yay!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A lunchtime confession

I'm sad to admit it, but lunch is the highlight of my day. The whole morning is leading up to lunchtime, and the whole afternoon is just a downhill slide from that lunchtime glee. I've even started making nicer lunches, since, if lunch is going to be the focus of my day, I'd better have a kick-ass lunch to be focused on. At least I know that, even with all the worries and doubts I have about teaching, what I'm doing now definitely isn't the career for me.

Today I made omuraisu (a rice omelet), and it was really good. I cut the recipe in half (only one of me, and R was not keen on the idea of a rice omelet (or, indeed, omelets at all)), added corn (I forgot to defrost some chicken), and left out the bell peppers. It was really good! A lot of food, though. I'm thinking of just doing 1/3 of the recipe instead of 1/2 the recipe.

Along with interest in tasty lunches, I have developed and interest in lunch boxes. Mighty Goods had the cutest one listed today, so I think I'm going to get it. I love how they said it is "for people who don't like their food to touch," because that is totally me. No touching!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A morning freak out

So, I'm quite glad that I didn't post anything this morning, as I was totally freaking out. I don't know about you guys, but every once in a while, all of a sudden all the little problems, worries, and stresses become BIG problems, worries, and stresses. The world is not right, life is horrible, and goddamn if I don't just want to change it all right that instant. I feel the strong urge to break things or cry or yell at people, possibly all at the same time. Career changes and moving out of the country start looking pretty good. By the time I calmed down I found myself on the Peace Corps website, looking at student loan deferment. My mom has, on several occasions, said that I just run away from my problems, but I think her view is just an indication of a radically different strategy for dealing with issues. She's still quite bitter about getting divorced ("I said 'till death do us part and I meant it!"), even though her marriage had dissolved long ago and had been a sham for years. Me, if it can't be fixed (and many things can't), why stay and fight with it? Leave, start something new! Life can be better elsewhere, so why stay miserable?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A reason to stay in school

...To learn how to spell, obviously.

This does bring up a fear of mine. Teachers have to write on the blackboard/whiteboard, and spelling issues really stand out when 30 people are depending on what you write. My spelling is not so good, having attended a Spanish Immersion program from 1st through 6th grade (where English spelling was only briefly touched upon in the final year). I suppose it's a good thing I'm not going to be an English teacher, as there seems to be a bit more forgiveness when you're not actually trying to teach a language. I had a Biology teacher in high school who had a similar problem (she was British, so she used some different words and spellings, but it worked out to be the same issue), so I suppose bad spelling doesn't have to be a handicap. My handwriting, though (sigh). I suppose I'm just the kind of person they made Powerpoint for.

A side note: you would not believe how long it took for me to get this photo. This trailer has been sitting there in the construction on the way to work, and a month or so ago I noticed the poorly spelled graffiti and, for some reason or another, it struck me as really hilarious. Once I decided to preserve it for all time in a photo, I then faced the challenge of taking a picture from a moving vehicle. I could only get the shot on the way to work (and on the days I wasn't driving), and, digital cameras being how they are, timing the photo was a challenge.

Monday, September 11, 2006

A breached door redux

I obviously jinxed myself, because this morning at 5 am I was woken by the sound of the door handle twanging open, followed a couple of seconds later by a cat nudging my hand. I put the cat out, but a few seconds later I heard the door open again. I locked the door after I kicked her out this time, but she then proceeded to try to open the door for the next twenty minutes or so, illustrating the fact that extinction does in fact take longer than behavior acquisition. Now I'll just have to keep the door locked for the next several weeks, since periodic reinforcement is the best way to create lasting behaviors (if she gets in every once in a while, she'll keep trying forever).

Sunday, September 10, 2006

A breached door

My cats have figured out how to open doors. The first time they did it, a couple of weeks ago, I thought it might have been an accident (and it probably was). However, they let themselves in yesterday morning and again this morning, so I guess they've finally figured out the secret. Fortunately, so far they only seem to let themselves in in the morning after we're already up, so we don't have to start locking the door. I guess they're just really eager for breakfast.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

A weekend foray into the world of Frisbee golf

Having been cave dwellers for the past few years, R and I launched Operation Get Out Of the House On the Weekend (aka Operation Stop Sitting On Our Lazy Asses and Watching Television All Weekend). For the past month or so we have just been going to the beach on Saturdays (an easy activity in San Diego, as long as you don't mind the walk to and from the car), but this weekend we decided to change things up and go Frisbee golfing. I suck at throwing Frisbees, so I was a little concerned. It turned out alright, though I was clearly the loser out of the three of us. It was fun. Really fun. So much fun, actually, that we got a set of disks and are going to go again tomorrow. You do have to wonder about the type of people who go there, though. While we were waiting for the group in front of us to finish up, I overheard this conversation from the group behind us:

"So, looks like I'm going to have a girlfriend pretty soon. Guess I'm gonna have to try and stay faithful."
"It's hard to be faithful living downtown."


I shall leave you with the shoe tree, which can be found by the second tee.

A tale of curry

So yesterday, R went out to a Japanese place for lunch with one of his colleagues. The guy had been to the restaurant before and recommended the curry. R proceeded to order the curry, and it came, hot and delicious smelling to his table. R took one bite, and then said, "You know, I have this very thing in the refrigerator back in the office." As it turns out, we had eaten curry last night and I gave him the leftovers for lunch. I guess I do a pretty good job, eh?

A trip to the Museum of Man

I've always been a fan of museums. We'd always visit a few on family trips, and I would thoroughly enjoy them until I got bored, at which point in time I would mope around and while until we left. In any case, I saw an ad for an exhibit on body ornamentation at the museum of man, and I decided that I had to go. R, having grown up in San Diego, has been to the museums of Balboa Park for many a school trip, so he didn't really want to go (plus I don't know that many guys who like to hit up museums). I decided to make a day of it and packed myself a picnic lunch (Brie and home-made pesto sandwich on rosemary bread, cherry tomatoes, leftover shrimp with garlic and lemon, mini oranges, and Pocky. I then freaked out and almost didn't go, as I was terrified of going anywhere new by myself. However, after deciding not to go and unpacking my bag, the knot in my stomach made me realize that I wouldn't be able to live with my cowardice, so I decided to go anyway.

After a brief search, whereupon I rediscovered the reason that people bring blankets to sit on for picnics, I found a nice shady spot to eat my lunch. As usual, I brought way too much food.
I then went to the museum, whereupon I found the body art exhibit to be interesting, but less than impressive (and rather small). The other exhibit in the room had a pair of trepanated skulls, so I decided that it wasn't a total loss.

I then wandered about, crossing over an elevated walkway into another section of the museum, and there I happened upon the most interesting exhibit. It was about molas, wwhich are made by the Kuna Indians of Panama. The molas are these brightly colored, finely decorated squares of fabric that are used for the front of the women's' blouses. For me, though, the most interesting part was not the craftmanship (though it was exquisite), but rather the way that these women have integrated the modern world into their traditional culture. The molas didn't just have rustic or traditional designs, but elements of their every-day life as well as reflections of their current culture. They had their own interpretations of appliances, cartoon characters, and even a JFK memorial mola. My favorite, though, were the bra and panties molas. Awesome.

I'll leave you now with "La sirena ambiciosa (the ambitious siren)."

Friday, September 08, 2006

A random (and more than a little morbid) thought

Now that so many more people are getting tattoos, identifying corpses has got to be a whole lot easier.

A complaint about my neighborhood

This morning there was a fly in the car, which we discovered shortly after setting out. This of course meant that I had to roll down my window. I got it about a fraction of the way down, before quickly rolling it back up and letting Rich take care of the fly. You see, it's not that I have some open window phobia, but rather that the street corner near our condo is where all the Mexican day laborers hang out. We turn right at that intersection, and pulling up to the corner and rolling down your window is the signal to them that you want to talk. Now, I know that they're probably perfectly nice people, and their labor is valuable to the people of San Diego, and they're only trying to feed their families, and I know that they have to gather somewhere in order for people to find them, but why my corner? Why?! Groups of people just give me the willies. I will never ever be able to walk to the shopping center now, since the very idea of it makes me so nervous.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A craving for bad food

At the university where I work and attend school, there is this Japanese fast food joint. When it first opened, I thought it was the greatest place. The food was tasty and cheap, a college student's dream! After eating there (quite frequently) for a while, I realized that there was a reason that the food was inexpensive. The rice they used was of a very poor quality, and the chicken was the miscellaneous grisly pieces. After that, I couldn't really eat there for a few months. Now, however, I get this craving for it every month or so. Even though I know it won't be as good as I wish it would be, I'm still irresistibly drawn to it. I think it's some sort of mental defect. R is the same way with Panda Express, even though it usually gives him a stomach ache.

A revelation

This blog has been visited by someone from Canada! I feel so... International.

Sort of.

A horrible kitchen discovery

This morning the overhead light in my kitchen was repaired. Now, a little background on this. Seven months ago, when we officially came into possession of the condo, the light was quite functional. Six and a half months ago, on the day that we finished moving in, the light stopped working. After a long and tedious process, the light finally was fixed (with a repair that took all of ten minutes), and the kitchen was filled with its fluorescent glow. I soon had to turn the light off, as it was showing the kitchen for what it truly is: really fucking dirty.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A lunchtime disaster

I've been cursed with a leaky set of tupperware (Damn you, Ikea!), so yesterday my faux Greek salad leaked all over my purse, leaving everything all balsamic-y. On the upside, the salad was still rather tasty.

A's Faux Greek Salad

  • Cucumbers (I prefer the little Persian ones, since you don't even have to peel them, but any will do)
  • Tomatoes (I used halved cherry tomatoes, but this also could be any other sort of tomato)
  • Fresh Basil leaves
  • Feta cheese
  • Balsamic vinegar


Cut up the cucumber and tomato in big chunks and toss together. Chop basil, and sprinkle on top of cucumber and tomato mixture. Drizzle with vinegar, then crumble feta on top. Garnish with a sprig of basil if so inclined.