Thursday, December 29, 2005

Hey! Merry Christmas a little bit late... SNG and I are off work this week-- my company closes between Christmas and New Year's and SNG has vacation he'll lose if he doesn't use it. Actually, he'll end up losing some anyway, but I'm sure his reward will be great someday for all the extra hard work he puts in (smirk).

So this week, we're all alone at home without, as my mom put it, a chaperone. No one to stop us from eating Christmas candy for breakfast, no one to make us pick up dirty socks & underwear off the floor, general mayhem all around. Just last night we had chocolate-covered pretzels for dinner over at Peace & Fuzzy's house. And I'm still in my pajamas even though it's almost 1pm. Hee.

Oh! I updated 2 things on our homepage. First, I re-linked J&K's blog address so now the Blog of Fun gets you to the Blog of Fun. I also linked a Christmas card on the homepage. It's a bit slow to load-- sorry. Consider yourself jollified.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Graduation Day!

Last night was the last meeting of Spanish class for the semester. Only about half of the class turned out, so we went over the homework, told a few jokes, and headed out, caravan-styley, for a local Mexican restaurant. Well, yes, it was NC-Mex (which isn't quite Tex-Mex) but the food was tasty and the waitstaff good-naturedly entertained our pathetic attempts to engage in all transactions in Engspish (which isn't quite Spanglish). Almost everyone who went to dinner is also planning to take the 2nd semester class starting in January, and we worked on the profesor to sign up to teach the Monday evening section if possible. He is a good teacher and we like the people who are taking the class. We've signed up, of course.

One cool thing about taking a class through the continuing ed program at the community college is that there are no grades, so everybody passed. But I think SNG and I will be doing a lot of studying over the holidays to ensure that we meet the prerequisites for the next class. :-)

Today I'm off for NYC. SNG will be flying out tomorrow, and while I'm teaching all day, he'll be walking around museums, Macy's, and the Empire State Building, and standing in line for cheap Broadway tickets.

If anyone has earned 3 days on the town, it's SNG. Bless his heart, he made the mistake of tracking his overtime in the same spreadsheet as his vacation. So far this year, he's taken about 145 hours of vacation. He has worked about 185 hours of overtime. You can do the math. It comes as no surprise when he starts to get all Jake Morgendorffer at the dishwasher, or the garbage collectors, or the TV, .... Yeah, he deserves a little down-time.

It's still 28 degrees outside, but I've procrastinated long enough. Gotta get running.

Sunday, December 4, 2005

Home at last!

I've been mostly disconnected since Thanksgiving break started, with little fits of communication access, and then darkness again.

But first, a clarification about the hat my Canadian colleague so generously donated to me in my time of need in arctic Nova Scotia. My dad, a born-and-raised southern Louisiana boy, informed me that the hat is called a Toque. How he would know this, as he's never lived for more than 1 year anywhere colder than Texas, I can't underatand, except to fall back on the usual explanation that my dad actually knows everything.

So, through brilliant deduction, I have determined that my hat is in fact Provencal, and not Canadian as I had previously reported. The way I figure, if the hat is a toque, then surely it was named for Alexis de Tocqueville, which would make perfect sense as the Canadians, like Americans, are fans of democracy. And what a fine homage, indeed! And if a toque a hat, then I can only conclude that de Tocqueville translates to from Hat Town. Well, if there's a Hat Town in France, then it must be Avignon, where the critically acclaimed Chapeauneuf-des-Papes comes from. So de Tocqueville's ancestors must have come from Avignon, and the Toque, while it may have been dreamed up by Canadians, clearly has Provencal roots. And now you know!

By the way, the hat has saved my toque-us on 2 more trips since then, and it has special status as my 3rd-favorite-winter-hat now.

The Austin trip was terrific! We got to spend lots of time with my mom and dad, my brother and my sister-in-close-enough-to-law, which alone would make the trip worth going, but we also got to spend some time with my niece, who is the coolest little chickie I know. She's not very tall for her age, so even better, she isn't taller then I am yet. By about 10-12 years old, all my little cousins have passed me in height. What do they feed these kids in the public schools??? I know that within another 2 years or so, my neice will be doing the thing where she rests an elbow on my shoulder, all causally, so that it's even more obvious that she's as tall as an amazon. I'm resigned to my destiny of bolstering the self-esteem of the pre-teens in my family. Everybody's got their something. *sigh.

We did some pilates with mom, went ice skating with my neice, saw T&E and their little dude (a.k.a. Big Al). SNG went home on Tuesday, and I flew from AUS to Ann Arbor on Wednesday to teach at UofM. It was a good time, but Ann Arbor is SERIOUSLY cold. It snowed and I didn't have a car, so I walked everywhere. But I had my fabulous new knee-length down-filled coat, so it wasn't all that bad.

And there's only 1 trip left for the year! Yay! Week after next SNG and I will go up to NYC (I've got a 3-day class, SNG's got a lot of sightseeing to do) and hopefully will be able to see my cousin Cosmopolitan (who thinks her name refers to her social drinking habits, but it really refers to the fact that she's lived in some major urban-hip places, so she's the most cosmopolitan person in our family). We'll also grab dinner with a friend from work and his partner while we're there, and we always like seeing them. In the meantime, though, it's overtime in the woods for me! I missed most of the fall colors, but I'll be darned if I miss the last of the not-too-cold-to-hike weather.