Monday, January 30, 2006

"ACHOOOOO!!! (hack-hack-hack) BRAAAAAP! *hic!* UGGGGH",
"The sound of sleeping next to Cat."

I'm sick! It's so un-fun. What I thought last Thursday was a cold, mixed with maybe a little disagreement with something I ate, is turning out to behave more like a flu. I haven't barfed, but I feel like I'm going to most of the time. And the sneezing is the most violent sneezing I've ever experienced! I swear I'm going to squeeze some brain out my ears one of these sneezes.

Believe it or not, there's a good side to this story. I was supposed to go teach in New Jersey this week, but the client moved the class to May (which will make 14 teaching engagements in 14 weeks starting as soon as we get home from Europe, oh joy) and while I was NOT pleased about it at the time, in retrospect it was a positive karmic turn for my health. We've discussed how much fun it is to fly when sick, and I've had to teach while running to the restroom to wretch and hurl. Lemme tell you- no fun at all. So I don't have any travel until Feb 14 when mom and I meet up in Miami and sleep all the way to Madrid.

Oh, and the title? Tell me if I'm not the only one who gets this way, please! Whenever I'm sick, I burp a lot. What the-- why? Do I suck in a lot of belly air when I sneeze? And I get the hiccups more than normal, too. Or maybe I just notice it more, because when your ears are full of gloop and you hiccup, the pressure differential is really painful.

So today I'm going to the health care center. They will tell me I have a cold or a flu, that there's not much they can give me that I can't go get at Eckerd's myself but here is a prescription that will makes your visit to Eckerd's at least 30 minutes longer, thanks for dropping in. But I want to go so I have some excuse to work from home this week. Because I'm sure my colleagues, whose travel schedules are a bit busier than mine right now, surely don't want this bug.

What a fun post! Maybe to increase the entertainment value, I should give you very detailed descriptions of my symptoms! Oh wait, I already did that. No need to thank me, just leave a little something in the comments. Like a box of tissue.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Three weeks and counting...
(Warning-- more vacation and Spanish class musings. No, I can't think about anything else. Yes, I am useless at work)

I think it's kind of funny that we're taking Spanish class to get ready for this trip, when Spanish is the language I will need to know the least-- since mom is a native speaker and all. But hey, I should've done this about 20 years ago anyway...

Monday we started our 2nd semester of Spanish class. Most of the students were in our class last semester, although we have a new teacher. She's an adorable petite woman from Peru who speaks very little English, so nearly the whole class will be conducted en espanol. Naturally, there were a few people who were jolted by this change of pace and threatened not to come back, including our beloved SNG, but I think she's fantastico. I told her I'd have to miss 3 classes for vacation and didn't want to get too far behind, and she offered to write up assignments I could take with me, and to schedule a make-up day with me after the trip is over. She really seems to be willing to go beyond the call of duty to help students.

I just re-read that and realized what a geek I sound like. If you're reading this, then you know me, and you know I love love love classes. I love the classroom discussions, I love the feeling of learning something new, and while I don't love tests, I love the thrill of making a perfect score on a test. But it's like a sugar high-- it never lasts for long and leaves you wanting more. The rumor is that our new teacher gives tests...

I have to admit that one of the things I most look forward to on this (or any other international) trip is getting to communicate in another language. I don't speak a lick of German, but I have a CD that promises to teach me fluent German in 7 one-hour sessions. Heck, if I can get one of these for Mandarin, Japanese, Russion, Italian and Portuguese, I can be like the Pope by the end of the year! Woohoo! And I thought Spanish would require 5 semesters! Ha.

I very much doubt that my CD will actually deliver on its promise, but I am hopeful that I'll pick up enough of the patterns and grammar to be able to read signs, menus, etc. reasonably well. Or, at least to get from the train station to the airport to the rent car to the hotel on the 1st day we're there. After that, we'll be among German-English speaking friends. *whew!*

If you've made it this far without navigating to some other page, here is your biker-yoga pose for today.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Birdwatching and Nature Documentaries

I've been jogging to/from work most days since fall started because biking in the cold? Not so nice and running in the cold? warm & toasty. Anyway, I might have mentioned this before, but we have a lot of predator birds in this area, particularly red-tailed hawks. And apparently, from a distance and through the trees, a medium-length light-brown ponytail bouncing-bouncing-bouncing through the woods looks just like a squirrel if you're a predator bird, and it's only once the bird is almost on top of her prey that WHOA CRAP THAT'S BIGGER THAN A SQUIRREL, it's.... me. I see more red-tailed hawks at close range than is normal, and I can only explain it as a case of mistaken identity. One of these days I'll get scalped. In the meantime, it's kind of neat.

Since the sun goes down around 5:20 these days, and I run from about 4:45-6:15 in the evenings, there are always deer browsing in the underbrush. I KNOW I've said this before, but those deer are big. HUGE! Tyrranasaurus doe! They tend to congregate in groups of 3-5 and at dusk you can't see them until they move. I've had a deer leap away as I approached it at about 10 feet and startle the heck out of me because I had no idea it was there. If they'd just hold real still, I'd never know they were there.

Monday, January 16, 2006

In Case You Were Wondering,

Credit goes to Dianaverse for finding this site, which is "the premier online repository for pictures of dogs in bee costumes." Who knew there was such fierce competition for the title?

Saturday, January 14, 2006

It's 4 weeks and 3 days until mom & I leave for Spain! And it's 6 weeks and 3 days until SNG leaves for Germany! Yay! I've packed and re-packed my bag several times, each time weighing the items carefully to figure out what will take up the least space and weigh the least.

I got a new backpack for the trip-- an Eagle Creek women's Continental Journey. It fits so nicely that even with 20 pounds of stuff in it, it hardly feels like I have anything on my back at all. So I guess I should be more concerned with how much space stuff takes up than with how much things weigh (to 1/8 oz precision). But I have learned a very important thing: cashmere weighs less, takes up less space, and is just as warm as polarfleece. Vive le cashmere!

SNG will bring me additional clothes and shoes when he comes, including something nice to wear to J and K's wedding, so the backpack has to hold enough for 14 days. The 14-day wardrobe will consist of:
3 cashmere sweaters (blue, aqua, and grey)
3 silk + 1 wool long-sleeve undershirts
4 sets of quick-drying undergarments & socks
1 pair chocolate brown casual lounging pants
2 pairs black cotton twill trousers
1 pair black Simple sneakers (they look like bowling shoes- SO cute)
1 pair back Maryjane walking shoes (I might change my mind on those...)
multi-colored fluffy scarf that my beloved Tia Panchita knitted for me, because it looks fab with EVERYTHING
black leather gloves
black chenille stocking cap
gym shorts (for late-night tiptoeing to a shared bathroom in a hotel)
2 pairs tights
black knee-length down parka (DKNY, tres chic)

The rest of the pack will be filled with electronic equipment, spare batteries for said equipment, chargers for said batteries, and adaptor plugs for said chargers. Too bad they don't make electronics in cashmere.

I can't wait to go. It's so much fun traveling with mom, because we can live out our bohemian dreams. We like to travel in the style of college students on summer holiday. Who knows, maybe we'll try hitchhiking and staying in hostels, too.

Although we will have a rent car part of the time, and our Eurail passes are first-class. But that's only because we aren't allowed to buy 2nd class tickets past the age of 26. So we will suffer through the first-class seats. And we'll curse "the man" for making us travel in luxury.

10 days ago I told my nutritionist that I wanted to lose between 5-10 pounds before I leave, and she said No problem! Just avoid sugar and white flour (and rice, and potatoes, presumably) until then. So this is the end of the first week without white flour or sugar, and I still want chocolate-chip muffins as much as ever. Oh, well. It's a small price to pay to be able to bring pants that are 2 oz lighter because they're smaller.

So far I've lost... nothing. DAMN YOU, ATKINS!


On a completely unrelated subject, BIRTHDAY GREETINGS!!!! to one of my favorite co-conspirators in mayhem, my cousin PartnerInCrime, who turns the THIRTY tomorrow! Welcome to the club, chickie! You'll class up the "thirtysomethings," since most of us wander around with no makeup on most of the time. Have a great birthday!

Thursday, January 5, 2006

Quick Quiz:
The Eyes of __A___ are upon you,
All the live long day.
The Eyes of __B___ are upon you,
You can not get away.
Do not think you can escape them
At night or early in the morn-
The Eyes of __C___ are upon you
'Till Gabriel blows his __D___.

A. Texas
B. Texas
C. Texas
D. Horn Posted by Picasa