Thursday, April 30, 2009
This weekend Victor and I are headed down to our hometown for my 10-year high school reunion. I am so freaking excited! I went to an all-girls boarding school (I was a day student for the first three years but boarded my senior year). Think Catholic school, except without the nuns (it was Episcopalian). Also, the only time we wore plaid skirts and knee socks was during field hockey games. I LOVED high school. Loved it. It wasn't just that we had a more college-like schedule or a beautiful campus with perks like lounges, a yummy cafeteria, and a bowling alley. The atmosphere was the perfect balance of freedom and structure. Sure, there were lots of rules, especially when I was a boarder. Every night at 7:30 a resident director would come down the hall screaming "Study Hall! Phones in the hall, doors open please!" We had to sign in and out every time we left or returned to campus. Once a week we had to get dressed up for dinner and sit with some faculty members. And 1-4x/week (it varied year-to-year) we had chapel. Ah, chapel. I'm fairly certain our chaplain smoked some feel-good substances, but even though her homilies generally had nothing at all to do with the scripture reading, they were always entertaining (in the raised eyebrows, side-eye kind of way). At the end of every chapel service we draped our arms around each other, swayed, and sang the school hymn. And this was what I loved about high school. Tradition. ("Traditiooooon, tradition!) (sorry, I got carried away) (bonus points if you know that song). Not just the big traditions, like at Christmas when they put luminaries out around the front of campus and light up a large tree. Those were great, but it was the small things that made me glad everyday I was there. The tradition of our ninth grade advisor sitting with us during breaks while she did her crosswords and asked us about our lives. The tradition of the honor code, enabling us to leave our stuff laying around without worrying if it would still be there when we returned. And the tradition of the faculty and staff really KNOWING the students. Some of the most important discussions of my life were had with my history teacher and she even recommended for me to check out the college I eventually attended (and loved) because she just thought it would be a place that would suit me. The fact that there were no boys immediately made things like clothes and makeup less important so we could be more relaxed, more "us". We could go to class in our pajamas, ask lots of questions in class, and sing Emily Dickinson poems jazz lounge-style in the middle of the cafeteria (true story, but only once). We were at home and most of us cried like babies the last time we sang that school hymn at graduation. This weekend is sure to be full of lots of memories. And craziness.
Monday, April 27, 2009
I think I've mentioned before that Victor and I are pretty avid swing dancers. More specifically, we lindy hop. Lindy Hop was a dance that began in Harlem (like most kick-ass dances) in the 1920s. After the 1940s or so, it dissipated in the United States in favor of other swing varieties but in the 80s a few dancers went looking for the old-school performers who had starred in movies like A Day at the Races. And they found this guy. Frankie Manning had been a superstar dancer back in his day, but eventually moved back to Harlem and worked in a post office. When he was "re-discovered", dancers who had found his movies convinced him to come out of retirement and teach them how to lindy hop. Did he ever. The lindy hop movement was the largest in the late 1990s (remember those Gap commercials?) but it still goes strong. Frankie traveled all over the world for the past two decades sharing his love of dance and his love of life. Victor and I were fortunate enough to take some classes with him a few years ago and at the age of 93, Frankie stayed standing (and dancing!) for an entire day of workshops. His energy was contagious and quite honestly, makes me ashamed to think of the times I didn't go dancing because I was "too tired" or even danced in half time to a fast song. Frankie never complained and always said that dancing kept him young. Frankie Manning passed away today, shortly before his 95th birthday. He had planned to celebrate at a four day festival in New York and, as was his tradition, dance with 95 women consecutively to commemorate each year of his life. His death is being felt tremendously by the international community of dancers. I'll be dancing tonight to honor Frankie, may he swing out in peace.
Friday, April 24, 2009
When a flash drive that was working on your computer decides to stop working sometime between the time that you leave your office and arrive at the other office where you're supposed to give a presentation on the project that you've slaved over for a year and one half. And when it takes you ten minutes to get up with someone at your office to break into your computer and email the presentation to you. And when you realize that you did some fairly extensive editing to the presentation but only saved it on the flash drive and not on your computer and thus not to the file that you're using. In the middle of your presentation. And when it's so hot in the room that you sweat through your shirt during your talk. And when you have to go back to work after the presentation to return the computer that you didn't even need to borrow. You know what doesn't suck? Two-for-one margaritas at the Austin Grill Happy Hour.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Today I'd like to report on what I perceive to be a great injustice in the world of Hallmark Holidays. National Administrative Assistant Day was yesterday. Administrative assistants all over the country received flowers, gift certificates, and free lunches. I think that's just great because heaven knows what kind of crap those ladies and gentlemen take from the big bosses. And then on October 16 we celebrate National Boss Day. I'm not exactly sure what bosses receive for this day, but I'm sure it's something good. Again, I have no problem with this holiday because I'm sure it's stressful to manage other people. What bothers me is that these two holidays leave out the vast majority of workers who also deserve some recognition. Like me! I am not an administrative assistant (a fact my boss forgets sometimes), but I do not have anyone working for me. In my department at work, at least half of the employees fall into this category. We do the vast majority of the hands-on science that makes money for our company and I imagine that most companies are in the same situation. So what about us? Why is there no holiday honoring the majority of the workforce? I think I know... It's because those darn folks at Hallmark couldn't think of an appropriate and catchy name for the holiday. So I'd like to offer some ideas. National People Who Really Know What is Going On Day National Overworked/Underpaid Day National Workers who Get No Credit Day National Workers who aren't Administrative Assistants but Get Treated like Them Day National Cubicle-Dwellers Day Any other suggestions? We can compile them and send them to Hallmark. We won't charge for our services, as long as they promise to market the new holiday aggressively.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Forgive me Internet (and parking authority), for I have sinned. I have forsaken the narrow path of good and turned to a life of crime. Yesterday was Free Cone Day at Ben and Jerry's. Because we are
jaded slackers such hard workers who deserve a break, my coworker Gwynn and I decided around 2:30 to leave work to go get some ice cream. The trip hit a bump fairly quickly as our dear friend Google Maps suggested we drive down a sidewalk to find our destination. Seeing how we were still law-abiding citizens at this point, we found another way to go. Parking was limited, as always in our particular part of the country, but we found a lot with a very clear sign that said "Parking after 11am: $1/hr". Internet, I promise you that's what it said.
So, we waited in line with hundreds dozens of screaming kids in private school uniforms, got our ice cream (peanut butter cookie dough, yum yum), and then headed back to the car. When we pulled up to the pay booth and hand the man our ticket he says, "three dolla". No, we were not there for three hours, or even for two hours and one minute. We were there for 35 minutes. Ordinarily I would not have argued about this unannounced price hike.
But, um, we didn't HAVE $3. Between us we were only able to scrounge up $2. Actually, Gwynn had $1.99 and I provided the last penny. Because I was only carrying about seven pennies with me. I mean, who needs cash on FREE CONE DAY? When I tried to point out to the man that what he said was contradicting the sign below him, he only repeated his mantra: "three dolla!". I was tempted to get out of my car and go pan-handling for the rest but unfortunately, I had left my permit at home.
(that was a joke)
Finally I explained that we did not have enough cash with us he told me I had to write my name and phone number on our ticket so that he wouldn't lose his job. Over $1. As I held that pen and ticket, I had a moral dilemma. Because how would he possibly know if I wrote the wrong name? But, I am proud to say that I decided to return to the straight and narrow and face the consequences of my parking theft. I wrote my REAL NAME and phone number (at work, just in case).
Today I'm not answering the phone for any numbers I don't know. Also, I'm going to the ATM. Because now I'm down to only 6 pennies and that's a lot scarier than 7 pennies.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Victor got back from his interview on Saturday. He is really excited about the job and thinks it went well. Hooray! Oh, and the company said they can't let him know about the job until they find out if they are receiving a contract from the government. On June 1. That is 6 WEEKS PEOPLE. More probably, seeing how they won't call on the actual day they find out about the contract. Victor said they were optimistic they'd get the contract, but there is no way for us to know if they intend to hire him until they find out for sure. Shoot me now. With a tranquilizer gun. As I've mentioned before, I'm a wee-bit prone to anxiety. Before my wedding last year I lost eight pounds in two weeks because of all the stress (note: I was also writing the masters thesis I turned in exactly eight days before I got married). It's not just a mental thing either, my stomach decides to reject pretty much anything I offer it when I'm feeling anxious. And I burp. A lot. Internet, I could win contests with these burps. But seeing how I try to at least pretend I'm a refined lady, I'm not really bragging about my burping skills (except to Victor, cause it's sexy) (or not). Right now I'm actually getting anxious about the impending anxiety. I'm meta-anxious, if you will. And I'm not sure how I am going to get through the next several weeks.
Friday, April 17, 2009
I mentioned last week that Victor would be needing to wear a tie sometime this week. Sadly, I was unable to find the Roy Williams tie due to the fact that it sold out within 30 minutes of this store opening on the day after the championship game. Apparently I'm not all that creative. Victor has plenty of other ties to choose from, thankfully, which is good because... He has a job interview! This interview is only the second one he's had in a year. Finding a good job during recession when you are very specialized in something that is not too applicable to the non-academic world (Victor has a Ph.D in astrophysics) is pretty difficult. But today he is interviewing at a good company where most of the other people in the group are former astro people. The catch? It's 2662 miles from here. I'm alternating between being super-excited about a new adventure and scared to death of moving across the country where I know very few people. Today I'm trying to avoid thinking about any of the possibilities. I'm sure by next week I will be a hot mess, but for now I'm just praying for my husband to show the interviewers that he's as wonderful as I know he is. Please send good interviewing vibes to Victor today.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
I recently read The Language of God by Francis Collins and have been meaning to write my thoughts on it. Francis Collins is a ROCK STAR scientist. Have you ever heard of (genetic) breast cancer? What about Cystic Fibrosis? Well he was instrumental in discovering the genes that are responsible for both diseases. He also led the Human Genome Project. Needless to say, he commands a great deal of respect from the scientific community. I think this fact makes it even more awesome that he’s also an evangelical Christian and wrote this book. Because you probably won’t be surprised to know that a lot of scientists look down on religious types, to the point of assuming that they are not intelligent. But Francis Collins is helping to prove them wrong. In his book, Collins examines both sides of the argument. He discusses the evidence for an atheistic worldview where everything is random and also for a Creationist worldview where everything was directed by God. And then he eloquently points out that neither worldview is wholly accurate. Collins believes in things like the Big Bang theory and evolution and he also believes in an omnipotent God who created the world and is involved in the lives of His people. He argues that the scientific explanations for the origins of the world and life are in no way incompatible with Christianity when one simply examines the evidence and holds back on the assumptions. Just because God said “let there be” doesn’t mean He didn't mean for particles to slam into each other to create the earth. Our genetic similarity to primates in no way precludes the fact that we are different from them in that we have souls. And even the Bible says that time is different for God, showing that the young earth philosophy is incredibly misguided. This book hit home for me. I was raised in a very fundamental church where the anti-evolution drum was beat loudly. As I became more interested in science during college I started wondering, why all the fuss? The Bible is not a scientific document. It is a compiled book with history, poetry, and prophecy genres of writing and
a literal reading of it misses the point (case in point: Song of Solomon). Likewise, science can admit that it is an incomplete discipline and that there are some things we do not know.
Science is the study of the visible world and theology is the study of the unseen world. They do not need to compete with each other, and in fact, they can complement each other nicely. I’m not saying that we should use God as a placeholder for things that are unknown in science. A God of the blanks is not the One I worship. But if we look at the scientific explanations of the world we can say, “Wow! God did that, he used these elegant processes to bring about the world and its inhabitants.” Every day as I read papers and do experiments I am struck with this feeling.
And it is beautiful.
That's right. You see, Mrs. Newlywed is having ANOTHER giveaway and I could really use a new beach towel. I have to post on my blog to get that third entry. So go and check out her blog. But don't enter the giveaway, because I want to win!
Monday, April 13, 2009
Thursday, April 9, 2009
View from the top of a slope Victor and I in our uber-hawt ski gear
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Even after a course of antibiotics my ear is still killing me. Last week the doctor at the Urgent Care center said that she couldn't even see my eardrum because the canal was so small and blocked. I have been having dreams about a doctor sucking or surgically removing the gunk I feel in my ear and let me tell you Internet, they are such divine dreams. I can almost feel the relief. Until I wake up. My dreams better come true on Friday because I have an appointment with a real ear doctor. I'm hoping I'll be feeling better by the weekend because Victor and I have a great few days planned to celebrate our anniversary. We're staying at a cute little inn by the water near where we live. We're going to enjoy our city by walking, shopping, and eating good food. And maybe something extra, if Victor behaves himself (wink wink). Also, I get to give Victor his gift. And get mine! I actually know what I'm getting because I generally tell Victor exactly what I want for various occasions (thus no trouble for him). So that it will be a surprise for someone, I won't tell until after it is delivered. Stay tuned! Also, I suppose I promised some more Carolina haiku to celebrate the championship. Roy Williams' blue tie Wasn't as bad as others Where can I find it? You see, I want to buy it for Victor. He has something coming up where he could use a sweet tie. More on that next week
Monday, April 6, 2009
...so instead I am writing some love haiku in honor of tonight. Tar Heel basketball I started cheering for you To piss off my dad. Tonight is the game My husband will scream loudly Please send tequila (Note: the tequila is for Victor, it calms him a bit. I'll be drinking wine) The great Roy Williams Carolina's saving grace! but needs better ties. Michigan State Green We beat you by 35 Tonight, let's repeat. More poetry shall surely ensue if the mighty Tar Heels succeed tonight. If not, I may be too busy convincing Victor life is still worth living to write. Rah rah Carolina-lina!
Thursday, April 2, 2009
And because Mrs. Newlywed is a great writer, of course, I'm officially recommending you check out her blog if you don't already. A Haiku, because her name is already 5 syllables so I only have to think of 2 more lines: Missus Newlywed She loves Lilly Pulitzer And guess what, me too! (sorry, that sucked) I am currently battling a nasty ear infection. I haven't had one of these for about a decade or more and whenever I get them I immediately feel like I am five years old again. I will get back on the blogging horse when I feel a little happier.