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|Monday, September 9th, 2013|
|ESTJ. No big surprise
I re-took the Myers-Briggs/Jung Personality Test (108 questions) online this evening... some of the questions I answered with a question mark, because I feel I'm in flux. But even still, I tested the same as I had way back (10 years ago). So some things haven't changed :-)
Doing lots of self-examination lately. Big changes, all good, if not painless or easy. Need to keep challenging my set-in patterns. Went to a free concert spontaneously yesterday afternoon, and it felt good (I justified extra driving despite my environmental and resource conservatism i.e. frugality). This evening I biked in the light rain and cool air, and it felt great. I dropped in on a friend spontaneously after visiting with another friend nearby (which was planned). Current Mood: okay
|Thursday, June 14th, 2012|
|On the road again
For a self-professed 'home body', I sure have traveled plenty this year. It's the sixth month of 2012 and I am on the eve of my third trip (out-of-state, involving airline travel). Huh. Even though each of these trips has been (will be) for fun, I experience a significant amount of anxiety pre-trip. It seems that I don't learn very well from my experiences, because each time I discover that my anxieties were unfounded, I resolve to remember this then next time Angst strikes, so that I may quell it. But the next time the Angst seems to real and justified, and I heed its bullying warning cries and let myself get all in a tizzy. Brain... why must you do this?
So it's the penultimate pre-trip night and here I am, all abuzz. Breathing seems important.
In case you're curious: this trip involves traveling to Asheville, NC for a contra dance weekend (Summer Soiree) with a friend, who will be picking me up from the airport in SC and with whom I will, after the weekend, drive up to VA/DC. Then I'll stay with my brother and his wife for the week, which will include celebrating his birthday, seeing some old friends, as well as my grandmother and at least one aunt/uncle.
I suppose I have learned *something* from my experiences: I've taken tomorrow off from work, so that I have a day of cushion between work and play, which also allows me to pack in a more leisurely fashion, not to mention the much-needed chill time after working this week and some over last weekend.
Last but not least, tonight I will graduate from the Citizens Police Academy. For the past fourteen weeks, my Tuesday evenings have been devoted to learning about the APD. The course has been interesting but really, it's just the tip of the iceberg. I am glad that I went through the 'academy' (aka CPA) and feel better informed about local issues now, though I need to resolve to be better about keeping up with local news on my own. (In case you wondered about why I did the CPA, it's because chikuru
had gone through the program a while back and had some good things to say about it. And because I'm just a curious person. Oh, and it's free, though you must apply and let them do background check on you before you'll be admitted. There'll be another session in the fall.)
Random notes: At warmdarkwoman
's suggestion, I saw NT Live's encore screening of Frankenstein
last week. Awesome. "The Dictator" (new Sasha Baron Cohen film) was quite fun. And I just finished reading Sideways on a Scooter
by Miranda Kennedy, which is a memoir about the author's time in India, her home base as she served as a news correspondent for Asia. (Made me think a lot about a lot of things. If you've read it, ping me and we can discuss!) Now on to Sybil
, by (? first name) Nathan, the book about a woman with multiple personalities (the story of which seems fraught with controversy). Current Mood: abuzz
|Tuesday, August 24th, 2010|
|Dancing it out
This evening I had a massage, a nice post-vacation massage to help my body ease back into 'normal' life. Over eight days of vaca, I had three days of travel and did a lot of walking and dancing and sleeping on floors and hard mattresses (my hips were bruised!); I also fell/slid in the airport (yes, I tripped running for my plane - great story, impressive bruises on knees and right hip). My massage therapist, a very gifted and astute practitioner who knows me well (I've been seeing him for over two years now), said that there really wasn't that much to work on tonight; he said I must've "danced it all out." The power of dance!!! I've already scheduled my next mini-vacation for mid-October, a long-overdue visit to see my parents/family, combined with several excellent dance opportunities (so I'll see friends too). Also, my friend L will be undergoing further treatment for cancer, and I want to visit with him, too.
I am enjoying a deep feeling of contentment right now and want to sustain it. "I try not to postpone joy." That is my new mantra. Current Mood: content
|Saturday, July 31st, 2010|
|Learning to fly
This morning on Car Talk, a teenager called in asking for advice on learning to drive a stick shift. She said that her father was trying to teach her but complained of whiplash. The Car Talk guys said that she really needed to practice on her own, for one, and gave her some specific pointers. This brought back memories for me. Both my parents drove manual cars, and my mom was a bus driver, and held her CDL (required for bus driving even though she didn't have to use a lot of the info they test - but there was never any doubt that she *could* have driven a semi had she wanted to!); so I had some training from both my parents. At the time, we actually had two cars with automatic transmissions, and only one with manual, but I still wanted to learn to drive a stick. Well, I remember at least one evening in a parking lot with my dad telling me to look for that point in the release of the clutch at which the gears would engage... and having me just start moving that way, until I got the feel for where it caught, before even using the gas pedal at all. After I while I had that down, but starting on an incline was still tough. One afternoon my mom was home, and I took the car down the street to practice (it was a low-traffic rural/suburban residential street, with one small hill). I recall that one night I dreamt I could drive stick effortlessly, I could imagine myself making that smooth transmission, releasing the clutch and pressing the gas in a glassy exchange, but that afternoon, the force was not with me: I ended up walking home in tears of frustration, and handing my mom the keys, telling her she'd have to go get the car. Well, that was only a speed bump on my journey, and I soon learned to drive a stick with no problems. Only a few years later, I would end up as the proud owner of a 1974 Chevelle Malibu, which had a 'three on the tree' transmission. I definitely got some muscles - and kudos - for driving that beast.
I can recall other times when I was in the process of learning a new thing; if I was intensely focused on that activity or subject for any amount of time during the day, the focus would spill over into my dreams. Maybe it helped - mental practicing - but it sure made for exhausting dreams and perhaps less-restful sleep. This happened to me when I was learning to teach aerobics, and when studying echo. When have you dreamed as an extension of your daytime efforts? Current Mood: thankful
|Wednesday, June 30th, 2010|
|Wash my mind out with soap
As a teenager, I recall watching the movie The Doors
, and afterwards feeling what I would describe as a contact high, though I'm not sure I was familiar with the term at the time. There was so much drug-taking (was it just alcohol?) and crazypartymaking in it that I felt affected, and remember feeling sort of dizzy and buzzed after seeing it. I think the movie Trainspotting might have had the same effect. The past few days I've been reading Josh Kilmer-Purcell's I Am Not Myself These Days
, which I looked up (and borrowed from the library) after my cousin said she was reading it. It's a memoir, one of my favorite genres, and while I don't like reading about (or seeing TV/movies of) physical violence, I generally don't shy away from tales of addiction, poverty, irresponsibility. I guess I feel that we're all subject to the same forces, though some are more predisposed to self-destructive behaviors. I just don't feel that I'm 'above' such experiences; though falling into such a state involves personal choices, to be sure, and I'm not making any that would lead to such crazy results (I don't do drugs and barely drink alcohol), we all have our addictions, and I feel that I personally know, to a lesser extent, the thought patterns and behaviors involved in more serious cases. Cliche as it sounds, there are lessons to be learned by reading about others' experiences. Oh, and there's also the voyeuristic aspect, and, oddly, the escapism one engages in when reading such personal accounts of addiction. JKP's book isn't just about alcoholism, though; he had a very busy life as a drag queen (in NYC during the time period covered by the book; also in other cities including Tokyo) and his boyfriend is a hooker and crack addict. As such memoirs go, I enjoyed Augusten Burroughs' more (anything he's written, I've loved), but I'm going to finish JKP's memoir and probably check out some of his other books, too. I guess I'm just not very into drag queens, even ones with backlit plastic breasts featuring goldfish swimming in tinted water.
Last night before bed, I read for an hour or so, and this morning, I woke up very early, and ended up reading some more. I ended up feeling quite nauseous, and wondered if it wasn't the effect of what I was reading, visceral evidence of a sort of unnecessary, unrequested empathy. The feeling has cleared up a bit, now that I've been up a while and had tea and food. I remember once in college that a friend, Julie, told me that she hadn't had a real meal in a while, that she'd been eating from the candy machine and that (IIRC - this was half a lifetime ago!) she had woken up nauseated (if not actually vomiting). Well, that night, I woke up in the middle of the night and puked. Heh. Current Mood: headachey
|Thursday, June 24th, 2010|
|Rant against batteries
Lately batteries have been a cause of annoyance in my life. I got an eye pawed nan oh for Xmas. It took me months to get around to having all my music digitized (ripped all my CDs) and then onto the iPod, and then I sync'd the thing. Until Xmas I'd been using an inexpensive em pee three player, which I purchased with a hard-earned mall gift card at the arr shack; adding files to that is pretty easy, drag and drop, although the pawed casts (tee hee! I like that one!) i.e. of my favorite radio programs had to be manually converted to allow them to be put on the device. Anyway, with my cheapo device, the battery could be charged (via usb) and the device then used here and there, with no draw on the battery's power in between. If it was at 50% when I turned it off a month ago, it'd be at that same level today. Well, I have since learned that the eye pawed battery is different. At first I kept using it in the same way I was used to using my em pee three player, with long periods of dormancy between usage. But when I tried using it after even four or five days, I was finding it dead, without any battery power at all. I thought my nan oh was defective, because I expected it to behave like the em pee three player. First I endured a call to tech support, during which a guy with a very strong Indian accent (which wasn't the problem) helped me in a bizarrely helpful yet valley girl-inspired way, saying things such as "now we are going to, like, check the settings" (not an exact quote) with horrifying and annoying frequency. I ended up going to The Store, which seemed to be full of people having an Apple Experience, as if just being in the store makes one hipper and smarter. The guy assigned to help me wiped and reconfigured my device, and said that I should also update eye toons on my computer for best results. When pressed for details about how long battery power is supposed to last, neither the phone guy nor the store guy could answer, saying that 'it depends' so heavily on so many variables that there isn't any set number of hours they could give me. Basically, it seems that one has to stay in Civilization and carry one's charger around. So one cannot, say, travel to some remote destination several weeks' journey from any power source and then expect to turn on one's eye pod. No. Cannot do. Stay in city.
Next up is the electric mower, touted as a 'green' choice for those with grass in their yards. Personally, I think we should have just an overgrown crazy weedy wildflower-filled lot in front of our house, but the homeowners' association doesn't approve, and so we mow, reluctantly and as infrequently as possible. We have an electric mower with a battery, i.e. cordless. Charge the battery, mow the lawn, then put it back on the charger. Bought it about 2.5 years ago, replaced the battery last April or May. And now, the battery stopped charging again, and so we need another one. That sucks a s s. According to the experts, that's the normal life of one of these batteries. That is ridiculous and unacceptable. I mean, sure, if one were using the mower for a dozen yards - like if one were the neighborhood lawn boy and got lots of mileage out of the battery - a year of battery life might feel more worth it. But for one lawn mowed as infrequently as possible, it's just not a good choice. I had been using a lawn guy to come and do everything (edges, mostly) and then touching up every week or three (sometimes front lawn only) until the other stuff got bad (back turned into jungle, edges got gnarly), and then we'd have him come out again. But now we can't do even our own basic mowing. It seems very environmentally inefficient to have to replace the battery every year or 14 months. And a corded mower doesn't seem like a good, safe option. Grrrr. Current Mood: grrrr
|Sunday, June 20th, 2010|
Just finished a small book called About Alice
, by Calvin Trillin. It is essentially a homage to Trillin's wife, whom he adored and deeply misses now that she's gone. There are some nice little nuggets of wisdom in the book.
On page 9, the author quotes his wife (the first quote within the quote is attributed to Ernest Becker): "'To live fully is to live with an awareness of the rumble of terror that underlies everything' or to begin to understand the line in 'King Lear' - 'Ripeness is all.' You might have chosen to become ripe less dramatically or dangerously, but you can still savor ripeness." We spend our whole lives ripening; enjoying the process is part of living life well, I suppose.
On page 23, another quote attributed to Alice: "[...] much of what appears to be optimism is actually denial." Ah, the power of willful denial!
|Saturday, June 19th, 2010|
|Who *does* that?!
After leaving the house just before 7 a.m., working 5.5 hours, hanging out in the hospital's vicinity in case I got paged to come back (which entailed a workout followed by an hour or so at Central Market shopping and caffeinating), stopping in at one party for an hour (4-5 p.m.), moving on to a second party (book club discussion and pot luck), then returning to the first party for another hour-plus, I returned home around 10 p.m. What was the first thing I did after arriving home after that fifteen hour day? Laundry. For me, there's nothing quite so satisfying about washing all the week's scrubs, then folding them (I do use a dryer for my scrubs for accelerated wear, leading to softer scrubs); it is a ritualistic (and also practical) task. It celebrates the end of work-time and the beginning of leisure, and marks the transition from one to another.
Work was, all in all, fine; the hanging out solo was good; both parties were fun, with lots of chatting and connecting with people. Now that I've showered, I'm going to wind down. Part of the winding down will involve folding the scrubs :-)
One of the books we picked for our book club is The Happiness Project
. I haven't read it, but I do know that different things make different people happy. That laundry thing is one example that others might find hard to understand. But it works for me. Current Mood: content
|Friday, June 18th, 2010|
|Eat yer veggies
Picked up my CSA box yesterday. The contents: three med-large eggplant, 5 large tomatoes, green beans (lots, and nice ones, too!), 1 head garlic, 3 sm-med zucchini, 5 medium yellow squash, 1 patty pan squash, a HUGE bunch of basil, 1 bunch parsley, 5-6 sm-med onions (various types (red, white, yellow)), a bunch of cucumbers (6-7 med-large!) and peppers (8-9 various types, 3 bell (red/green), and the rest hot peppers)... and a cute, small melon (probably a 'watermelon'). I have my work cut out for me! Lots of good nutrients, though!
This was the first time I tried out JBG's new pickup site at Whole Foods (I used the Arboretum location, but they also offer pickup at the downtown location). I have to say, I don't like it. For one, there isn't the option of a trade box (depositing stuff one doesn't want or won't use, taking stuff others have left in exchange, or not!) at Whole Foods, as there is at the residential pickup sites. Also, at the other pickup sites, one transfers the contents of the (actual) box into one's own bags or boxes, and then collapses the box, adding it to the pile which will then be picked up the next week when the farm makes its next delivery. There are about 1000 shareholders with JBG right now, and even without considering the environmental impact of so many boxes (they're sturdy corrugated cardboard (they have to be able to hold 1/2 bushel of often heavy veggies), with some sort of coating - plastic or wax?), there's the cost consideration. I don't want the farm to have to spend so much money on boxes that they boxes are more expensive. If the prices of shares are higher, that also means that less people will be able to afford them. And of course it's such a waste not to reuse the boxes. When I asked the Whole Foods folks about the boxes (I'd brought my bags into which to transfer the contents of the box), they said that JBG hadn't talked to them about that issue, and that it would be inconvenient for them to hold onto the boxes. I've already sent the farm an email about the issue, voicing my concerns.
Since I was in a radio-listening mood and waiting for a friend to arrive, I used the time to do some cooking. I roasted the yellow squashes and eggplant, along with the garlic and several of the onions. I prepped veggies for a batch of late-spring tabbouli (red onion, bell peppers, tomato, squash -- chopping things that small, and removing seeds (cukes, tomato) before doing so, is time-consuming!!!). I soaked bulghur for the tabbouli. I still have cabbage from two pickups ago, and want to make another batch of cabbage bread soon.
|Sunday, June 6th, 2010|
|Another disgusting roach story
This morning as I was listening to the radio and waiting for my tea to steep (I let it steep a loooooong time, usually - I love it dark and probably like the tannins, which some might try to avoid...), I decided to clean the countertops. I do this every so often, but this cleaning was prompted by the appearance over the past few days of ants. Not a whole bunch, but maybe a dozen at a time, small ants, but still. So I also took the opportunity to clean out the bottom of the toaster oven. I had noticed recently a burning smell after I started some toast in it, so I figured that some crumbs had fallen on or close to the element. Well, the smell may also have been due to the *roach corpse* in the bottom of the toaster oven. Ew.
So after removing the body and all the other crumbs, which were probably what the roach was after in the first place, I finished my cleaning job, and now my kitchen is cleaner than it has been in months. There are still pillbugs littering the floor, mostly in the corners, but since they're harmless and keep arriving, I don't feel the need to remove them very often. I'd rather wait til they stop coming in, which should be soon, from what I remember in previous years in this house. Speaking of which, it is here that I've lived longest since moving to Austin in 2002. My first apartment I lived in 3 years and 3 months. I've lived here with A for 3.5 years now (a bit more, actually), but this isn't the longest I've lived anywhere on my own. That honor goes to my first solo apartment ever, in Worcester, MA, where I spent five years. That was a great apartment, but in general, I'm happier now than I was when I lived there. Most of my happiness during that time of my life was experienced out of the apartment, off dancing in one place or another. And I want to become better acquainted again with that dance-happiness. I've some plans in the works that might result in just that brand of joy! [Boy, what a progression - from dead roach to dancing joy!]
Still working on reading The Thorn Birds, which somehow is just a real drag for me. It's not like the language is difficult. I think maybe it's the setting/landscape in the book, which is so unappealing to me: mostly dry, barren land in Australia. Sure, one part is set in a more humid climate in some other part of Australia, and the book starts out in New Zealand, and the characters venture a bit to Europe, but most of it is not someplace I'd want to go. I have lots of other books on my next-up list... so I am anxious to be done with TTB.
I watched the 2010 Scripps National Spelling Bee, thanks to the DVR, over the past few days. It was held on Friday. Those kids are really cool. And the pronouncer is, too. I wondered why there was a priest (from his clothing) seated next to him. Well, he's the co-pronouncer or something like that, and he is an ordained priest in the Greek Orthodox Church. The sample sentences used in the bee are amazing and awesome and entertaining. For example: "Joe's springer spaniel was fed up with having to always take the blame for his owner's borborygmus."
It has been a good weekend. I was on call, but managed to squeeze in a wide variety of normal life activities in between working. (This included finally planting a rosemary in a small area of dirt (well, mostly rocks, but technically it's a flowerbed...) in front of the house. Will it take over? Here's hoping! :-) Now for pre-workweek rest... Current Mood: sleepy but content
|Thursday, June 3rd, 2010|
Sleep-deprivation, I think, caused me to do something really stupid on Tuesday. Having just returned from a long weekend traveling to NM and dancing, I returned to work Tuesday morning... late that afternoon, surprised that I was feeling so good (the aforementioned arm strength, and not feeling sleepy), my fatigue manifested itself in the following way: I have a locker in our break room, where I keep my purse and my Pyrex measuring cup for boiling water in the microwave, my tea mug, my clipboard and cable brace, pen, my OR bonnet, etc. Since starting work there, I have had the same lock, which uses a key, which I keep, along with another key (for our department's cleaning room), on a little fob, clipped to the back of my scrub pants in such a way that the keys dangle into my back pocket. This method has never failed me, and I have at times thought how great it is that I have never lost the keys and have never, say, locked them in the locker. So, in my post-mini-vacation-haze, perhaps, guess what I did? Yup. I pulled the keys from their normal place and put them in my locker while I sat eating lunch, and afterwards locked it back up. Oops. Security had to come and cut the lock. The security guard said it was a good one, too. Of the two security guards, the beefier one (male) had to cut it, as it was too tough for the female officer to cut successfully, though she did try. (I have a duplicate key somewhere, but it's definitely not anywhere useful.) I really hate losing things, but when it's my own fault, I am generally good at getting over the loss. So now I am using a combination padlock I've had since starting seventh grade, which was 1986 or 1987. Twenty-something years is pretty good for not losing a padlock, or its combination, right?
Picked up veggies yesterday, just before the huge storm hit (wasn't it awesome?!). The CSA box included: broccoli, green beans, basil, four med-large tomatoes, four cukes, several summer squash, a bunch of beets (3) with greens, a head of garlic, two large leeks, a bag of potatoes (red, small-med) and a bag of onions. I plan on making potato leek soup, and using the potato peels (which I'll leave out of the soup, probably) will go into another potato casserole type thing. I've already enjoyed one of the tomatoes - vine-ripened goodness which won't last long enough; pretty soon it'll be too hot even for tomatoes.
I plan to plant rosemary in our front walk area, and already have a lavender plant (transplanted from stickcow
's yard - it seems to be doing well so far!) Another friend sent me seeds for roses and says they'll really take care of themselves. I just throw them in some dirt, right?
|Tuesday, June 1st, 2010|
I don't know if that's a word, but that's how I feel. This past weekend, I was in Socorro, New Mexico, at Folk MADness, a contra dance (and folk/music) festival. Around New Year's I decided that I needed to do more dancing, and vowed (or something like that) that I'd go to a dance weekend or two. Since I moved to Austin, I've been contra dancing less and less, and I miss it, and the people, dearly. Several friends helped point me in the direction of this particular weekend/festival, and so there I was. Erik is a dance friend I know from western Mass - we met when I was first dancing back in 1999/2000 (when he was also new to dancing and newly head over heels in love with it, as was I); he lives in Albuquerque now, and so when I contacted him about the weekend, he offered to pick me up at the airport.
Traveling is exhausting, and I don't like doing it alone anymore, but that wasn't something about this weekend I could change. In the future, though, I would love to either attend a dance weekend at which a close friend would meet me (that way we'd have an instant companion for the non-dancing times, which can be quite extensive!) or drag A along with me (even if he didn't dance as much I, I think he'd have fun hanging out).
Though I am tired after this weekend's travels and dancing (about fifteen hours spread over less than 72 hours; and I did skip a lot of dancing, BTW - I had to pace myself), I feel quite invigorated. Dancing again reminded me of how much I love contra; of what a good dancer I am (it was really nice to have an affirmation of this after some recent disappointment I've felt with relation to belly dancing); and of the wonderful relationships that develop in the unique environment of contra dancing. The deep joy felt collectively in the room is so powerful. The attraction and flirtations one enjoys with other dancers transcend age gaps: two of my favorite dancers were aged twenty-one and probably close to seventy! And my arms feel great, so strong; I must have had thousands of 'manual' contacts with other dancers this weekend, flinging ourselves in and out of myriad dance holds and allemands and balances and right-and-left-throughs, to name just a few.
At times I was sad, like during the 'prom' on Sunday night. The festive atmosphere sort of exacerbated the slight undercurrent of loneliness I felt, and my emotions also were probably intensified also by fatigue. (The elevation might have had something to do with it, but it was under 5000 ft above sea level, and I'm not sure if there are really any effects at that level.) I only danced three or four dances that night, and left an hour early, returning to my dorm room in search of snacks and sleep. I was in a strange emotional space that night. But by morning, I was feeling better, and after breakfast and 'moving out'/packing, I had some fabulous farewell dances at the final dance of the weekend. Thanks to a new friend, I got to the airport in plenty of time (with lots of chatting on the way), and the journey home was uneventful. I was home before sundown.
Looking forward to the next dance... Current Mood: content
|Friday, May 21st, 2010|
|8th Annual Austin Adult Spelling Bee
Last night I participated in the 8th Annual Austin Adult Spelling Bee. Up until 2009, the bee was held in October, at Fado Irish Pub. The fall of 2008 marked a bleak time in the bee's course, as it was a bee-less year. The bee resumed last May, when it was held at Threadgill's World HQ for the first time. That seemed to be a much better venue, especially since it seems that attendance and participation have increased (by my totally informal, subjective assessment). I've been at every single AAASB since they began in October 2002, and have been “in” the bee, i.e. On the stage spelling words, three times now. Last night I fully intended to be in the audience just taking notes during the finals, but I actually made it *into* the finals! Here's how it played out.
The proceedings, in a nutshell: register and make minimum donation of three dollars to the Austin Public Library; first written test distributed around 6:20pm (see below for details); those who scored 17 or above went on to take a second written test; the top 25 scorers on the second test moved on to the Finals, which is the on-the-stage-spelling-into-the-mike part. And now, for all you curious folks, the details!
First Written Test: This test was distributed to all contestants (these were people who donated (at least) $3 to the Austin Public Library). The task: circle all misspelled words. I have listed the as-given spelling first, with the corrected spelling, when applicable, in parentheses following the given spelling.
There were 61 contestants with 17 or more correct on the first written test; these advanced to take the second written test. I believe there were well over 100 contestants in total. (Last year only 49 folks advanced to the second written test, but the cutoff was 16 correct answers, which I missed by one.)
A side-note here: I'd brought along a dictionary, as usual, for consulting during pre-bee hanging out and between written tests (“Did I spell that right?!” comes up frequently in conversation at these times.) The dictionary I'd brought was from 1966, and did not have gnocchi or psychedelia. Such interesting artifacts, dictionaries are. There are so many concepts and foods and activities we regard as commonplace now which we didn't have or know of even a relatively short time ago. Heck, many Americans in 1966 mightn't've known about spaghetti, which was possibly considered exotic ethnic fare to some.
Second Written Test: Sixty-one folks (those who got 17 or more correct on the first test. I have again listed the as-given spelling first, with the corrected spelling, when applicable, in parentheses following the given spelling.
The Finals - Twenty-five spellers made it past the two written tests and into the Finals. We were given huge name tags with our 'number', and were seated in numerical ordere in four rows on the small stage. The rules/instructions were given, i.e. after being given a word by the pronouncer (who was a former bee winner, and who has acted in the role of official bee pronouncer in years past), contestants could ask for definition and/or origin of the words as well as repeat pronunciation; no sample sentences would be given. Once a spelling was begun, there was to be no going back to amend letters already spoken. A bell rung by the judges after the spelling was complete would indicate that the spelling had been incorrect, and that the contestant was out of the bee. All these rules and regs might make it sound like a stuffy affair but I assure you that it was no such thing. The emcee (Erin Collier from the Austin Chronicle, I believe) and other announcers are a fun-loving, easy-going bunch, and the atmosphere was one of levity. Many people had a drink in hand, even if it wasn't an alcoholic one – the temperature was around 90F and the humidity about as high in percentage.
I should note that I relinquished my note-taking once I was up on the stage, thinking it more important to relax and get into a zone of some sort than to jot down other contestants' words. But thanks to my friend TG, who offered to take notes during my time on stage, there is no gap in the coverage :-)
Without further ado, here's the list..An asterisk indicates that the speller spelled the word incorrectly, thus eliminating him/her from the round. Rounds are separated by a row of asterisks.
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
Down to the top five spellers now...
& This was my word. Given the Greek origin, I used a 'k', and given it's meaning (water clock, roughly) I also inserted an 'h' before the 'y'. Oh well!
^ In 2006, I was in the finals but got out on this very word; in fact, the contestant last night misspelled it in exactly the same way I did back then (v-i-c-e-r-e-i-g-n).
# At this point there was a little hiccup in the proceedings when it was unclear whether the speller was actually finished spelling; the bell was rung just as the pronouncer was asking the contestant if she was done (she'd left off the final 'e' but had also misspelled it otherwise). It was then decided that henceforth, spellers must repronounce the word once finished spelling to indicate their completion.
%@! Really?! That does not seem to be a word difficult enough for inclusion this late in the bee... ditto for the next word.
Note the relatively low occurrence of German words from this year's bee, which have seemed until now to be a favorite; I'm not complaining, mind you. And I'm glad I made it into the bee despite the lack of to-me 'gimme' German words.
The winner of the bee was a man from San Francisco, David, who has competed in the AAASB before. I'm not sure what his story is, whether he just likes Austin and times his trips here to coincide with the bee, or maybe has family here. In any case, once he had the trophy in hand and was posing for some photos, he did a little jumpy dance with the cup held high above his head. He looked happy!
Other finalists got goodie bags, the contents of which got more exciting the further into the finals one made it. My bag was in the less exciting range, but still, good loot: a huge, durable, reusable shopping bag from Recycled Reads (the Austin Public Library's used bookstore), several film passes (Paramount, Galaxy), some bumper stickers, and a humongous tee-shirt advertising a recent film which I might recycle into a quilt if I ever get that project started.
So, that was the bee. In summary, F-U-N. Looking forward to next year!
PS As always, if you spot misspellings here (other than the intentional ones!), please comment on this post and I'll make the correction. I have proofread this quite minimally. Current Mood: all abuzz
|Wednesday, May 12th, 2010|
|Walking the 'hood
Tonight I opted for a walk in the neighborhood over going to my usual dancey aerobics class. I just had a massage last night, and while I wanted to get out and stretch my legs a bit, didn't want anything bouncy, and after a long seven days of work in a row (okay, one of them was very light - one hour or so - the others were mostly hard, and yesterday I had a patient who weighed 480 lbs. Ouch.) I felt like I was in a little working-out community, there were so many folks out and about, about half of them in pairs, the other half like me, solitary. Some walked, some ran, some walked with dog(s). The wind was very gusty, and the air still in the eighties despite the time (20:00). In one yard, I saw fireflies (I grew up calling them lightning bugs; what did you call them?), but only in that one yard. I blinked a few times, thinking perhaps I was just seeing reflections from my peripheral vision, but no, they were real. I've heard of planting a butterfly garden, i.e. with specific flora to attract butterflies, but never heard of targeting fireflies. Curious! Oh, can anyone tell me why people crack their garage doors? I didn't see any tonight, but plenty of times I have seen houses with their garage doors up a foot or two. If they lowered into a recessed pocket in the ground, then the heat could escape better out the opening in the top part of the garage, but as the doors are, I wonder if it really is just to let heat escape. Current Mood: okay
|Friday, May 7th, 2010|
|Veggies et cetera
I picked up my CSA box the other day. I had meant to postpone pickup until next week, as I was still working on finishing the stuff from my last pickup. Oh well, I'll handle it somehow. I already engaged in veggie management that first night, so it's not looking too overwhelming in there. In the box were: small bag arugula, two kohlrabi (w/greens), large bunch carrots (1 kg, w/greens), 1 small head cabbage, broccoli (about a dozen or so florets), 1 head each red leaf and green leaf lettuce, 1 bunch dandelion greens, 1 bunch swiss chard. I know I'm forgetting something. In any case, there was also a duo of beets, one of which was enormous; since I only *just* cooked up the beets from last time the other day, I decided to trade my beets for a small bunch of dandelion greens and the kohlrabi... the greens do make good food, too, but they don't, like, *go* with anything, so (gawd, I hate to admit this) it feels a little like punishment to eat them. They're just beet greens, and that is how they stay. Maybe next time I'll make a sort of borscht with them and the beets. That goes well with rye bread. Yum.
Current Mood: content
Work has been busier lately and apparently everyone is feeling it, because we're all nursing some sort of physical maladay, mostly in the upper back and neck areas. So sad. I plan to take care of mine with rest, then further strengthening exercises, and periodic massage. The latter is an investment in myself that I probably couldn't afford were I to have kids. I heard a story/commentary on the radio about motherhood yesterday, about how those who have children are not happier than those without; but then the commentator brought up the question of whether happiness is all that important anyway. Here's another commentary from the same woman, who's an economist. This is an interesting little essay on soulmates, and marriage from an economist's point of view: http://bpp.wharton.upenn.edu/betseys/index.asp
|Saturday, May 1st, 2010|
|Quotes from life
I've been having a little bit more trouble lately leaving work at work. I know that the politics there are sort of par for the course, a sad reality which I accept; my ability to deal with the interpersonal crap, which just festers beneath the surface most of the time, has been diminished lately, and I've been slipping in my efforts to maintain a 'front', a protective mechanism...
But I digress. I started this post in order to record some funny things I've heard at work lately:
- Smelly, dirty, barely conscious alcoholic in the ER, who was barely responsive when I asked him to change his position in order to better image his heart, piped up with this statement, which at first I took to be sleeptalking (sleepmumbling): "You must have the most boring job in the world." Really. Really?! He's drunk in an ER bed, blood and dirt on his hands, with all manner of health problems, uncontrolled diabetes and probably unable to afford nevermind maintain medical care, even through state aid programs, and he's pronouncing my job boring? Heh. Plus, his eyes weren't even open to look at my screen which was showing his g.d. heart, which is usually a very interesting image to patients and any visitors or family members in the room. After I recovered from the shock of his statement, I of course realized that this criticism was part of his illness, that his needs and choices are the most important, and that his inability to see the ridiculousness of his statement was part of the all-consuming nature of his alcoholism. He thought, perhaps, that my job was to just sit close enough to smell him and press a plastic wand into his chest at annoyingly finicky angles, lubed up with cold water-based gel. And yes, I did later ask him (nicely) what he did for work. His answer was surprisingly cogent, as if an untapped pride in his career could act as a sobering force; he described work in construction, operating some machinery whose name I don't remember, though I think he is out of work currently, whether due to his medical state I don't know.
- Seventy-odd year old female, big-boned and somewhat obese, but seemingly with-it mentally, in the Intermediate Medical Care unit, i.e. not a regular med-surg room, but not ICU - somewhere in between. I forget now what was her main diagnosis, but she had some cardiac history, and there was some need to reassess her from that standpoint, so there I was, doing her echocardiogram. I asked her to stay still and quiet, because when she talked, her lungs obscured her heart (in some people, they can talk the whole time and I can still see the heart, in others, I can only see between breaths; you never know how a person's images will be until you start the exam). She was quite loquacious, and I knew it'd be hard to get her to stop talking, but it really did affect my ability to get a good study. She seemed befuddled by this request, and asked "What do people do to keep quiet?" as if they had to implement some special plan or distraction in order to achieve this gargantuan task. She then stated "I am very verbal!" She said that her husband had been a linguist; she herself had studied psychology. She also said that she had a daughter who is a psychopath and alcoholic.
I thought there was more stored up in my brain, but apparently it's not ready to reveal itself just now. Better go do some errands: check mail, check tire pressure, to name two.
|Thursday, April 22nd, 2010|
1 bag arugula (this will become green soup for I dislike eating it raw, but it makes a great savory smoothie of sorts!), 3 heads lettuce (red leaf, green leaf, romaine), 1 bag escarole (at least, I think that's what it is!), 1 bunch swiss chard, 1 bunch parsley, 1 small bunch green onions (with long, crisp greens - now the challenge is to use them before the greens get slimy!), 2 large purple kohlrabi, 1.5 kg carrots (small, tender ones!), 1 bunch beets
Today is Earth Day. I have so much to say on the topic of environmentalism, but most of it is on the conservative consumption end of things. This isn't an expecially popular behavioral model to espouse as an ideal; sometimes it is even regarded as unpatriotic not to shop. But I don't think I can get into that just now. Maybe later. I'd like to *stay* in a good mood :-)
Reading: just started Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage, by Elizabeth Gilbert. She's a good writer, and makes the topic interesting, infusing her anecdotal memoir with boluses of research on the institution as it has evolved through the ages. The last eight words in that sentence are essentially a mini book report on Gilbert's latest. So while conservative folks complain about the corruption of the institution of marriage, it is precisely *because* it has evolved with our beliefs, societal changes, and religion that it has survived at all. Another great point she makes, with the aid of statistics, is that as people have begun marrying for love (as opposed to the many other reasons for marrying which have dominated the institution's story), the divorce rate has risen. The book is due tomorrow, so I'll read as much as I can, and then probably request it again to finish reading it later. Normally I'd be disappointed by having to stop reading a book I'm enjoying, but I have The Pillars of the Earth to finish (only 150 pages or so left), and then the Conover book, and then the POTE's sequel, World Without End, which, at over one thousand pages, is even longer than POTE.
It's time for an installment "Who Knew?" My version is fueled by crosswording, which I love, as you know. I still have yet to make my own attempt at constructing a puzzle; I have a book about it, just need to make time to read it and take my first stabs at an art which I highly revere. Anyway, here are various things I learned recently:
ternary - an acceptable alternative to tertiary
tapir - big beast, African...
serin - a small finch
Boz - Charles Dickens pseudonym
epos - a long narrative poem telling of a hero's deeds
Oh, and along with crossword constructors, my heroes include the actors of SNL. Those people are amazing. They aired a two-hour special last week, featuring interviews with all the current (and some former, IIRC, as well as some guests), and lots of clips from years past. I was in awe. Current Mood: okay
|Tuesday, February 16th, 2010|
In baking, when I stray from recipes, it is from a position of some experience; granted, the results are usually only for my consumption, and I'm pretty non-picky (also, I have already done some pre-selection when I decide what recipes to make, and I don't generally make very fussy things, like, uh, a souffle).
In sewing, for example, I am in a different position. I have done a fair bit of amateur sewing and needlepoint and very basic knitting and crocheting, but never enough to really consider myself fluent. Of all the above-named crafts, though, sewing, with a machine, is the least foreign to me. I did lots of sewing as a young girl and teenager. Recently, my department at work changed its scrub color (grape, by the way... yes, purple!) due to a hospital-wide policy change, and I have enough sets of scrubs. What I don't have is the matching "warm-up jacket." No one would have any problem with my wearing a differently colored jacket or coverup around the department; heck, we don't even really use the jackets for their intended purpose (which I think is to be worn when one is in the department, to prevent spreading around the germs acquired on one's scrubs when out and about interacting with patients in treatment areas). I haven't had a scrub jacket since I was in school, when we needed to have one as per school policy, when in our clinicals. When I want to put something on now at work, in the department, it's because I'm cold; I am almost never cold when I'm out and about working, in patient rooms, in the ICU, etc. (The OR is freezing, and sometimes there's a patient with hyperthermia whose room will be kept cool, or a patient who has the fan blowing directly on him or her. Those are exceptions to the rule, though. And I can wear a cover-up in the OR.) The problem with the scrub jackets, though, as made by the manufacturer, is that they're of scrubs material, and are not warm at all. They are unstylish, to boot, and remind me of being forced to wear a jacket when I was in school, and that's not a happy memory because it brings with it the uncertainties of that time, the lack of confidence, the subordination. And like I said, they're really dorky. And not warm! So I endeavored to make my own, out of a sweatshirt. I bought a regular crew neck sweatshirt from an online retailer (cost was $6 and change, with shipping/handling about the same, so $13-ish). I bought a jacket-style zipper from the fabric store. I looked up instructions on the web for advice in how to install the zipper
, and then, when I ran into a hitch, I did what I do when baking: I improvised. Basically, I used the interfacing as advised, but when I started sewing, the interfacing didn't adhere well to the fleecy side of the sweatshirt and then the disparate weights of the fabric vs interfacing allowed the latter to get sort of caught up in the needle beneath the fabric (probably because of the feeder teeth advancing the fabric), and I decided to just put the kibosh on that and tear out the interfacing halfway down the first side. The zipper on that side came out alright. I knew I'd have about two inches of extra on the top to deal with, and I'd planned to deal with that last. When I put the zipper on the second side of my new jacket, I discovered why the how-to recommended the interfacing, and the adhesive tape web stuff: ah, sweatshirts stretch. A lot. The result: one side was about two inches longer than the other. Oh, the zipper worked fine, but there were ribbony curved areas in the second side, which was well-accommodated by the zipper being extra-long, but which looked really wrong, of course, when the two sides were zipped together. I have since fixed the zipper, but my errors really upset me. What bothered me was that I failed to consider *why* the site said to use the interfacing and the other tape, and bunged it up as a result. Oh well, lesson learned. And now I will look forward to the warmth and comfort of my matching jacket at work. No one else will have one like it, that's for sure!
|Saturday, February 13th, 2010|
|Gas, money, veggies.
Whaaa. My gas mileage went down, probably due to getting turned around (aka lost) on at least two occasions (which requires forgoing hypermiling in order to reach the destination in time (one instance was to get to a movie theater; we can never remember which exit or which way to go once off the highway; no one to blame but ourselves there...), and due to idling for about twenty minutes when it was just too cold to sit any longer in the resting car (we were waiting to have A's motorcycle towed home - battery died, and it wouldn't trickle charge from my car's battery enough to start and it'd been there a few weeks already). In essence, my fuel economy was sacrificed due to the effects of procrastination. Not the worst thing in the world, but still unfortunate.
Anyone know anything about Slow Money? I am considering making an investment in a local farm which needs to come up with some money for a down payment for a larger loan, and they'll repay the loans at a rate of 4% over 7 years. Of course, the value of such an investment extends beyond the rate of return - the vote, of sorts, for development of agriculture in which one believes. But does that make up for the risk of such an investment? Sharing any personal experience you've had with such investments would be helpful.
This week in the CSA box: huge bunch carrots (1.5kg approx), kale, spinach, dill, radishes w/greens, dandelion greens (or mustard greens?), 2 grapefruit, 4 oranges. After loading all this into the fridge, I then discovered some sweet potatoes in the pantry, probably from at least two months ago... need to be cooked and made into food, STAT! Which reminds me that I am on call this weekend. Oh well. Despite this, pizza will be had, and valentines may be exchanged... <3 Current Mood: okay