Thursday, September 29, 2005

Blogging en español

Ah, the beauty of a spanish keyboard, where an ñ is but one button away. I promise not to really blog in spanish, but I love how when you go to other countries all your familiar websites suddenly are in the appropriate language. Don´t hold it against me if I make lots of errors because of the subtle differences of the keyboards which I am then too lazy to delete. Ironically, as Katie pointed out, I actually have much more luxury to blog than she does or I did at home. I have a lot of time on my hands and ample internet access. I have internet in my hostel, for 4 cents a minute. I have internet at the place where I´m going to take spanish classes for 1 cent a minute, and the internet place I am at now is the same price. And there´s never any fancy cards or passwords involved, or paying by chunk of time, you simply waltz in and then pay for however many minutes you´ve used when you´re done. Or in the case of my hostel and school, at the end of the week when you settle your bill. So, in conclusion, expect much blogging from me.

At least I now have vaguely interesting things to report. If I never spend another day in Quito, I´ll feel like I got to know it pretty well in the last 24 hours. My hips are incredibly sore from all the walking. I´m enjoying that the city, while too big to truly be a walking city, has a ¨trole¨ that runs up and down the main streets between the old city (where I´m staying) and the new city (where the downtown/touristy stuff is), and you can pretty much walk around anywhere from there. There´s also a million busses going in every direction, but I´m a bit intimidated to try those yet. Basically they just drive around everywhere and have these guys that lean out the side while they drive by and announce the destination, and it´s your job to wave them down and jump on.

Yesterday basically involved me walking around for 7 hours around the city, much of the time in the pouring rain, without a map or really any idea of where I was going. Which would be just fine, except that I actually had several destinations in mind, and since there is no coherent address system that I can figure out, just the intersection of streets, and with the whole non-map carrying (and when I got one I wasn´t about to bust it out in the middle of the street) and not knowing where any of the streets are, let´s just say I covered a lot of miles. But now I feel like I know my way around pretty well, which is pretty impressive given that I had never set foot in this city until Tuesday night.

Weather: I discovered first hand what I´ve been hearing about Quito, in the rainy season at least, which lasts from October-May. (Good timing... b´oh...) In the morning it´s supersunny and in the low 70s, the kind of perfect weather which in the US would have all the guys in shorts and sandals and the women in sundresses and skanky tank tops. But here, EVERYONE wears pants and long sleeves AND sweaters, jackets, etc, even scarves! Then in the afternoon there´s giant thunderstorm action, which brings out a million people yelling ¨paraguas! 2 dolares!¨ Then it gets dark at like 6 pm. Remind me to become a morning person.

Tourism: The one thing I absolutely adore about Quito so far is that I seem to be able to blend pretty well. At least walking around in the old town yesterday morning, even though I was certainly the only gringo in sight, no one gave me a second look, and certainly no obnoxious male comments or touristy solicitations. Even in the downtown, supposedly tourist area, the only place I actually saw anyone else who I would assume was a foreign tourist was at the actual tourist destinations I happened to frequent. (The language school, the south american explorers club where I got a free map and some info.) And most of them weren´t American... german, australian, etc. And for a supposedly tourist center, the Mariscol area is actually pretty fun and funky rather than cheesy. Lots of hip coffee shops and some vegetarian/organic restaurants even. And again with the not actually seeing a lot of tourists, despite obvious signs in English and a high concentration of internet cafes and such.´

Money: Ah, the cheapness. I won´t brag anymore yet. They use US dollars, but the coins are a really hilarious mishmash of american coins, the ones they mint here, and whatever random foreign currency ends up in the mix. I definitely got a coin from the czech republic yesterday.

Language: So, tomorrow I start my first Spanish lesson. (At Vida Verde.) I get one-on-one teaching, 2 hours a day, and I´ll probably do it for the next two weeks. When I went to sign up yesterday I had to take this extensive grammar test. Oy... it´s a good thing the one day I was feeling ambitous about reviewing Spanish (ok,let´s be honest, it´s when I was really lazy at work and the bosses were out of town)I did the command forms, or I would have had to leave that whole section blank. Everything else came back to me pretty well, really I´m very shocked at how much grammar/vocab I´ve retained and how easily I can get around in Spanish here. Of course, it would be nice to carry on a longer conversation than "Puedo usar el internet"and "Gracias." Hence the lessons.

OK, I better stop now. I promise not to tell you every single thing I do every day. And I´ll work on getting pictures up soon... I think the easiest way will be to track down which of these million of internet places has wireless so that I can use my laptop. Also, I need to take some pictures first.

Sorry for the comment spam, I´ve been too lazy to delete them since I´m not automatically logged in on the computers that I´m using so that it involves doing more than clicking once. Maybe now I´ll at least get some Spanish spam.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Aqui!

Well hello everyone! After all the talk, I´m finally here in Quito. I don´t really have anything exciting to report yet... my flights were uneventful, got in at 11 last night and the guy from the hostel was there to meet me. Didn´t get a good view of the city yet since it was dark and everything was gated up. This morning I had a complimentary breakfast at the hostel - eggs, really good bread, freshly squeezed orange juice (flashback to my stay in Paris with Katie!) and coffee. They asked if I wanted my coffe ¨con leche¨(with milk) so I said yes, thinking they would add the milk to the coffee. Instead, they heated up a pot of milk for me and I got to add the coffee (they generally have instant here) and sugar, which was very yummy. Then I checked out the offerings on the tv in my room... caught part of ER in Spanish, Gargoyles (remember that cartoon?? I actually used to watch it after school. whoa blast from the past!) in spanish, and their version of mtv, which is creatively called htv (i don´t have any idea what the H stands for.) I´m about to venture out into the real world to try and find a grocery store, maybe a bookstore, and maybe buy some more socks. Ooh calcetines. Sweet, I was trying to remember the word for socks before and it just popped into my head. I think that´s the one thing I did leave at the Mahoneys... a bag of socks in Katie´s closet. My tevas just won´t cut it in the Quito weather. OK, I´m off, we´ll see how my spanish fares. Again, love to everyone up there in los estados unidos!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Me voy hoy!

(Ha ha, that rhymes.) To the airport now, will hopefully blog again tomorrow from the safety of my hostel. Love to you all.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Lauren withdrawal!

Big day tomorrow (starting with removal of stitches at 8:45.) so I'll keep this short. Long story short, Lauren came!! There was much rejoicing to be had!! Other things found in abundance:

1) Free samples. We took the cheap culinary tour of Oak Park - samples at the farmers market, Whole Foods, a new cheese shop, and Great Harvest Bread Co.
2) More food. In frustratingly small portions. Chewed very slowly by me with my front teeth. So. Much. Chewing. (List within a list... 3 top easily chewable foods consumed over the weekend: (Soy) chocolate pudding, tiramisu ice cream from Baskin Robbins in Hyde Park, and most of all, those amazing pancakes from IHOP made with Cream of Wheat. Hey K and R, remember when I dragged y'all there as part of your Berlin Turnpike Birthday Night 'o Fun specifically to introduce a skeptical Lauren to IHOP ? This time it was Ms. Graber's suggestion to reprise that particularly American experience... I knew she'd come around!)
3) Illegal parking. Stupid enjoyable friends of ours who choose to live in the most parking challenged areas of the city and convince us it is a good idea to visit on Saturday night.
4) Digital photos. Trying to catch up on a whole year through photosharing. Not quite a satisfying replacement for a year's worth of Lauren time, but her pictures are nothing to sneeze at! Crazy world traveler girl. I can't think of a better person to visit me on this particular weekend... who else could give me such fabulous travel advice (Pepto Bismol=good) and make me feel so wonderfully positive about taking off on my own with no real plans.
5) Sadness at the sudden lack of Lauren! Stupid Wesleyan diaspora. I want all my friends down the hall from me 24/7! Is that really too much to ask??

Speaking of photos,here's a few from this past week. My dad sent me a few including shots from the wedding last weekend (Did I mention that? Family friend who is about 6 weeks older than me! yikes!) and I got a couple of Lauren. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Alaska Report or, Slow Down, Rebecca! I Just Can't Keep Up!

Okay, it's been practically two weeks since my last post. Apologies to any loyal readers who are sick of reading Rebecca's hilarious posts (i.e. none of you) and are pining away for news of what I've been up to (i.e. my mom). So much for target audiences. Let's see... news, eh...

Click here if you want to read about the man who's visiting me here this week. Click here if you want a good laugh at his expense. My infamous father, Nitram Yenoham himself, is in Juneau until Saturday, and he seems to have brought the rainy season with him (notice the seamless transferral of blame from Mother Nature to my own father? I'm such an ungrateful child). We'd made reservations for a day cruise down to this glacial fjord that's supposed to be spectacular, and managed to pick the only day this season they've had to cancel due to high winds and inclement weather. So we were rescheduled for today, which was sad because R couldn't come with us (he's spending three days hiking a historic mountain pass used by the gold rush miners, so you don't have to feel too sorry for him), but happy because the weather and the day turned out to be practically perfect. It was raining this morning, but the biting winds had died down for the first time since my dad got here, and the clouds were extraordinarily cool, covering everything in white fog down to a straight line above the tops of the tallest buildings downtown... so you couldn't see any of the mountains, or else you could just make out the shadowy peaks seeming to materialize out of nowhere in the middle of all that white. We'd been warned by an inside source that the captain of the boat/owner of the company we were patronizing has been known to have issues with competition and consideration and once, um, hit a whale. However, Ahab or no Ahab, our cap'n conducted himself in a perfectly responsible and civil manner throughout the duration of our wonderful day, and we harmed no sea mammals, I'm pretty sure. I'm still sort of speechless with wonderment at how indescribably beautiful Alaska is. So beautiful. We saw two giant glaciers (bright blue!), countless icebergs, mountains and mountains and elevated fjords and waterfalls and waterfalls and mist, dozens of humpbacks, an orca who followed our boat, mountain goats, eagles, and THE SUN (almost the most staggering part of the whole day). I'll try to steal some of C's digital photos to put online in the next week.

In unrelated news, our doggy friend Cobalt died on Friday morning of a heart attack. He was three years old. The news was hard to hear. Fortunately, his owners got back from vacation in time to spend his last week with him.

Not much else to report here... museum life is chugging along, as it will. The past few weeks, in short: cooked with meat for the second time ever with little to no mishaps; made C and R watch "Strictly Ballroom"; decided to go to grad school for Museum Education; toured the salmon hatchery. Yep, that's about it.

Love,
K

From Chicago to... Chicago??

So... I hear I'm moving to Ecuador on Tuesday. I can't particularly wrap my head around that any more than I could going back to school this summer, so my preparations are taking a decidedly unorthodox turn. Am I practicing Spanish, gathering up ESL teaching materials, and packing? No, instead I'm wholeheartedly embracing my sudden love for America - Cranberries! Natural beauty products! Wireless internet at home! I guess this appreciation is the lesson I was supposed to learn by leaving the country for awhile, but I thought it would involve, you know, actually leaving the country. In my defense, in addition to a plane ticket I now have a reservation at a hostel for the first week. Of course I may have to extend that until I find an apartment.

My new home is, inexplicably, named Chicago Hostal. It seems hostels in Quito are really more like a combo of the ambience of a nice hostel or bed and breakfast with the facilities of a hotel... no giant dorm rooms here (or mattresses on the floor, as it were, Richard!) I've got a private room with bath and TV, plus there's a guest kitchen, internet, terrace, breakfast included, etc etc. And they'll pick me up from the airport. And what is all this going to cost me??? Wait for it.... $8.80 a night. Taxes included. And this place was one of the most highly recommended! Hmmm, maybe I can live without Whole Foods after all. Anyway, in conclusion, I think I'll be happy at this place... it's not in the supertouristy part of town, and it's recommended but it's not the hot spot of crazy young travelers and not all the staff speak English. More chill, more real, more my style. We hope anyway. I'll let you know next week!

Mmmm... boring recovery... tastes liquidy...

So, my hiatus from blogging has not really been due to any post-op incapacitation, more so the inherent boringness of convalescing and the accompanying lack of material. Here goes anyway... As soon as the anesthetic wore off a couple hours after the surgery, I've felt pretty fine. In fact, overall I've definitely been on the lucky side of the whole wisdom teeth thing. Took a couple of pills for the pain the first day. I'm not much worse for the wear except for the nice swelling on my jaw and the fact that I CAN'T EAT NEARLY ANYTHING. Had about 8 oz of solid food in the last two days (yogurt and mashed sweet potatoes), otherwise I've been subsisting on orange juice, tomato soup, and soy milk. Since I'm finally leaving the house today for yet another doctor's appointment I plan to swing by Whole Foods and pick up some more variety in soft foods... maybe some nice flavored applesauce and a different kind of soup. Mostly the last few days have been nice and lazy, and a good excuse to put off all the fun things like packing, bank-account managaing, etc. That's what's on the agenda for the next several days, I'm trying to get a good bit done before the weekend when LAUREN COMES TO VISIT!!!!! Hopefully we will engage in much Chicago hijinx and capture some of it photographically for your benefit.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Local news

Not that I intend to become one of those bloggers who just posts a digest of news stories, but I have to give a serious WTF to this one I read in the Chicago Tribune this morning.
New twist on Iraq aid: U.S. seeks donations

Also, I hear that Natalia's ex-stepfather, Paul, (English/drama teacher at our high school and local actor extraordinaire) is going to be on the Fox series Prison Break tomorrow night! (Probably for like 2 seconds... I think he plays a drug dealer who doesn't want to get back in the game. Or something.) It's on at 9 ET. Check it out!

And lastly, the wisdom teeth come out tomorrow, so excuse me if I am not up to posting/responding to emails or other forms of contact for awhile. Actually, after hearing wisdom teeth recovery stories from everyone and their mom, I'm rather curious to see if by the afternoon I'm ready to (um, insert some strenuous activity comporable to playing several sets of tennis, but one that I might realistically do under normal circumstances) or if my recreational activities will be limited to pill-popping and drooling for the next week. Who wants to put dollars in the dictionary?

Friday, September 16, 2005

Celebrating me

Pictures of my weeklong birthday extravaganza. Watson, cake, fabulous presents... what more could a girl ask for?

Oh yeah, how about a trip to Green Zebra. Drool. I first went with my mom last spring, when it had newly opened, and have been counting the minutes until I got to reprise that experience. Enter Birthday Dinner #3. Between my parents and I, here is just some of what we ordered. (I stole the descriptions from the menu on the website, which isn't up to date. It changes a lot due to their use of local seasonal ingredients. Again with the drooling...) Before you start calling us pigs, their menu is a tasting one, designed for you to order several "small plates" and get lots of different taste experiences. Which is good, since rarely do I eat somewhere where I can eat anything on the menu, not to mention somewhere where everything tastes like heaven. There, reviewing the menu is like a course in and of itself. Look around the restaurant.. no one is in a rush to order, savoring the offerings and anticipating the food has its own satisfaction.

City Farm Mixed Greens, aged manchego, sherry-hazelnut vinaigrette
Chilled Harmony Valley Farm Beets, whipped carrot yoghurt and port wine vinaigrette
Slow Roasted Shiitake Mushrooms, in crispy potato with savoy cabbage
Warm Blue Cheese Cake, red wine-grape reduction, hazelnut tuile
Artichoke Cassoulet, summer squash, garlic scapes, brioche, favas, lemon balm hollandaise
Crimson Lentil Cake, with spiced shallot & bell pepper jam, preserved lemon
Greengold Farms Duck Egg, caraway onion puree, basil & country sourdough
Artisanal Cheese: Fleur-d’Teche, cow, Bittersweet Plantation Dairy, Louisiana

Ok. I'll stop now, and you can quit laughing at my ardent blogging of culinary indulgence. It's just that it's like I got to go all Pleasantville with the Food Network. Or more like an independent vegetarian version of the Food Network. OK, I said I would stop. I'll just let this New York Times review speak for itself. "Whether Green Zebra (the name of an heirloom tomato, natch) is currently the most important vegetarian restaurant in the United States is unknowable. But it is unquestionably among the most ambitious." ...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Tetanus and Hepatitis A in the left arm, Yellow fever in the right. Typhoid in the fridge.

Despite being born and raised a city girl, (ok, greater metropolitan area girl... even worse) I just plain don't like cities. I was rudely awakened this afternoon from the past 5 blissful years of sort-of small town living out east. Need to go to the doctor in Middletown? Walk down to Main Street to the community health center (also my place of employment), run into multiple people I know on the way, see the doctor in 20 minutes, waltz out and be home in front of the tv in less than an hour. I theoretically know that this is not how life works in Chicago, but wasn't particularly in any hurry to get to the doctor for a truckload of immunizations. Fortunately traffic wasn't bad, and I found my way easily, even though I'd never been to the Northwestern hospital before. But, wait for it... It took me a full TEN MINUTES of driving around in the crazy giant crowded parking garage before I found a spot. Then, despite the fact that the parking garage is attached to the hospital, it took me another FIFTEEN MINUTES before I found my way through a maze of elevators to get to the office. I started to feel totally insane, having to go down several floors to catch an elevator to a higher floor, only to find that it wouldn't stop at my floor, so I had to get off at the 13th floor to go back to the 2nd floor to walk down to the first floor to find a DIFFERENT bank of elevators to get up to my floor. Add in several minutes of waiting for each elevator, inquiring at different information desks, rinse and repeat a couple of times. OH MY GOD. And all of this so that I could subject myself to scare tactics about not eating any food other than starch and thickly peeled fruit in Ecuador and walk away with several vaccines coursing through my system and several expensive prescriptions in hand. Great.

On the upside, I was a big girl and I GOT ALL THREE SHOTS IN 30 SECONDS! With no hours of crying, hyperventilating, or burly male nurses holding me down!!!! Most of you will realize that this is a first for me. I am truly the most amazing woman alive. I so deserve the fabulous expensive vegetarian birthday meal I am going to receive tonight at Green Zebra.

Oh, um, you probably noticed from the above ranting that I made it safely to Chicago. Very pleasant surprises regarding my trip:
1) Leaving late was made all worth it, as the mail really did come before I left, Katie, and I got your birthday card! Thanks buddy, and Trini!! Best thing ever! I'm still awaiting this fabulously elaborate present of which you speak.
2) Gas is consistently in the $2.80s throughout Ohio, Indiana, and even the Chicago area!!
3) I found what must be the world's only remaining free air hose at a gas station in the Cleveland area. Definitely an improvement over our last experience of filling the tires back in Boise.
4) I arrived home to beautiful birthday flowers from Sue and fun/practical presents from my parent. (Birthday celebration made complete with leftover Nancy birthday cake, made extra moist from two days in the car.)

Stay tuned for: Pictures, more raving about Green Zebra, and most likely more ranting re immunizations / city living.

And, lest I forget, thanks to eveyone who sent me fabulous birthday wishes and bon voyages through the various media!! This year's birthday is actually is a time of transition for me, rather than an intangible milestone, so it's extra nice to get all of your happy thoughts.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

"Always late but worth the wait."

My mom once got me a button proclaiming that... I'm only running a few hours late, it's still good, it's still good. A quick lunch and I'm off. Stopping just outside of Cleveland tonight... at a Motel 6, not a sketchy budget hotel where the sheets aren't particularly clean and there's an ornery old man sleeping in a back room behind the counter who has to wake up and give me grief for checking in at 2 am. I learned that lesson back in Dickinson, North Dakota.

So it's back west for me... missing everyone here out east, looking forward to a couple days of bad country radio and expensive expensive gas.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Who's ready to go back to Chicago?? (Awkward silence. Rebecca looks right, then left, then hightails it out of the room.)

I just got out of the shower at 12:02 am and there was already a birthday present waiting for me! (Thanks Nancy and Martin, you win! Well actually, my mom sent me a lovely cheesy poem and gift which arrived the other day. Thanks Mom! But Nancy and Martin win if we're playing a birthday game like the game where you try to slide something so that it gets as close as possible to the edge of the table, but doesn't go over. Where was I going with this parenthetical remark?) That brings me back to freshman year at Wes, maybe two weeks after I'd gotten to school, and just about at midnight Richard and Elaina nearly gave me a heart attack by jumping out to yell happy birthday the second I walked back onto the hall carrying my laundry. Good times. Anyhoo, I'm really posting because I updated some pictures. See before/after pictures of Andrea's new house (well, more like whatever stage the room was at when I visited a couple weeks ago vs whatever stage the room was at when I visited on Thursday) plus some pictures of her fabulous lovable cat, Foster, who wandered into her kitchen and all of our hearts a few days ago. So soft, good-natured, starved for attention/food. He is totally the new Watson. Well, Watson is still the new Watson, but Foster is the cat Watson. I LOVE Foster.

One more day. I've tied up most of my loose ends. The next step is to, um, start packing. And finishing packing would be nice too. We'll see how that goes.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Sick as a dog

Our second-to-last evening at the housesitting house, so must take advantage of ability to write a post without tying up the telephone... It's been a tense ten days, with Cobalt the wonderdog coming down with some sort of mysterious illness that makes him refuse to eat, drink, or move. For two days he wouldn't open his mouth when food was offered, turned his head away whenever we tried to get him to drink, and spent all day lying quietly by himself in a corner of the darkened back room, thumping his tail feebly when we appeared at the doorway, but otherwise not doing anything. I took him to the vet twice, once on Sunday and once on Tuesday, and both times they shot him up with something to bring down his 104+ degree fever and pumped him with fluids... both times he got his spirits back for about 24 hours, then sank back into a sick stupor. This evening I took him back and they're keeping him for at least a night, to run a bunch of blood tests and give him an antibiotic IV. His owners are getting back on Saturday, which is at least close enough now that I've stopped fretting that he'll spontaneously die before their return, but it's been SO hard and heartbreaking and worrisome. And in the meantime we've had to shove amoxicillin and aspirin down his throat and inspect his bowel movements and clean up his vomit and coax him to eat and try to keep his spirits up by scratching him and offering him his toys and taking him outside... it's like one of those high school class projects where you have to carry a sack of sugar around for a week and pretend it's your baby. He's not my kid, or even my dog, but still.

So that's that. Last weekend R and I hiked the West Glacier trail, which was beautiful and smelled all like autumn. I've been missing fall like crazy. The leaves turn a little bit, but I hear tell that it pretty much goes from summer (rain) to winter (colder, harder rain) here. At any rate, the weather was good on Saturday and we got an insanely expansive view of the glacier-top, photos of which I'll be sure to put online shortly.

(Speaking of photos, R would like me to give a little credit where credit is due. I would therefore like to point out that pretty much every picture I've posted - except, obviously, the ones of him - were taken by his truly. There... happy???)

R and C are taking advantage of our last 48 hours with a car (and possibly our last chance to partake of $2.69 gas... Richard suggested that we hurry up and fill our tank before news of Hurricane Katrina reaches the Alaskan border...) to make a Thursday night Fred Meyers run. I might take advantage of their Thursday night Fred Meyers run to read some more of my book before they get back and force me to play cards with them.

And I hope everyone remembers that SOMEONE who posts on this blog whose name DOESN'T START WITH A "K" has a birthday coming up on the 12th...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Late nights / Lasts

So I just did that thing that I'm really good at, where I'm tired but haven't napped, and I "just close my eyes for a second." Which results in me falling asleep at 6 or 7 pm and waking up at 1 am, still sprawled on my bed in all my clothes with the light on. So that then I'm unnecessarily up for many hours in the middle of the night, before taking another little nap. The upside is that I didn't awake to find myself surrounded by academic books and papers, leering at me because I haven't started a paper that's due in several hours. A refreshing change from my college years.

At least I can put this time to some good blogging use. I had a nice relaxing labor day weekend, the highlight of which was... MP!!!!! I got to see my good and oldest friend Mary Paula for a rare second time in one summer. She surprised me last week by calling up to see if I was still in the area, since she would be driving her sister to her freshman year at UMass over the weekend. Yay! She had to get picked up early on Monday, so I didn't get a chance to show off Northampton, but I did get to have my very own guest at the Mahoneys on Sunday night. It's a good thing she's a dog person and quickly joined the Watson fan club, because we had a very Watson-centric evening. He was all riled up and attention starved, since Dan had just gone back to school and Martin and Nancy were in New York for the day. He was clearly missing his 10 walks a day from Dan and when we came back around 5 he was practically bursting out the door, so before we so much as brought in her luggage it was walkies for all of us. No sooner were we back home and Watson had scarfed down his dinner, then he proceeded to bark up a storm and run around some more, so we were forced to take him out for a second walk! I would have just let him run around the yard and let off some steam, but due to his naughty naughty hijinx earlier in the day it was nothing but the leash for him. (When I let him out in the morning he promptly ran to visit the new neighbors, and sitcom hilarity ensued... I had to chase him back and forth several times between their open garage and their front porch, yelling at him, while they were clearly home. Heh. Might I also add that in the last week he has eaten my entire lunch twice, when I turned my back for two seconds. The first time it was a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich, and the second time stuffed shells with squash. It's a good thing he's cute...) Anyhow, we had a grand dinner, reminisced about elementary school music class, gave Watson some more attention, looked at each other's pictures, went to bed, and were promptly woken up by a visit upstairs from Wats first thing in the morning. Excellent.

I added a couple of pictures of MP and Watson to the Cute Dogs album. Said album has also been graced by much commenting from Richard, including the very first vote for cutest picture. My dad asked about the winner of the contest... first you have to vote, people!

Labor Day proper: For the first time in recent memory I had a proper American labor day celebration. Labor Day has usually found me doing such things as working at Edy's (where I distinctly remember Laura and I consoling ourselves by ordering and consuming both Chinese food and an entire pizza for the two of us) or starting class at Wes. This year I crashed Martin and Nancy's grown up going back to school labor day traditional get together with friends. Preceded by much cooking and followed by much clean up. An excellent meal, even by Mahoney standards.

As the days count down until I head back west (next Tuesday morning), it's time for lots of "Lasts." Yesterday was my Last Tuesday Night Sing, which was of course bittersweet. (Since my core blogreading audience were there I will refrain from a long description. I'm not one for big goodbyes, but my appreciation of all the hugs and fond farewells goes without saying. So, have I mentioned enough how much I'm going to miss singing out here? I'm desperately counting on much blog commenting, snark filled email, and pictures.) This morning I taught my Last English Class at ILI. (Which went really well... the lesson was fun and my students were of course so fabulous and sweet, wishing me good luck in Ecuador and thanking me so much. Our last lesson was on idioms, and they really picked up on "Playing by ear." They were very quick to point out how my teaching style is much more to play things by ear, and Amy, the other teacher, is much more on top of planning. Fortunately I think that we balanced well, and our bootleg volunteer August class was mostly successful. I'll really miss my two star students, and I'll make a point to visit them at Hunan Gourmet when I come back! ) Tomorrow is my Last Trip to Middletown. Soon it will be such further sad things as Last Walk with Watson and Last Mahoney Dinner.

Hmm, turning back to happier thoughts, I think I can fit in another Buffy before going back to bed.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

PHOTOGRAPHS!!!

Okay, ladies and gentlemen, it's the moment you've all been waiting for... I'm slowly, slooooooowly putting together some online albums of our Alaska photos.

Click HERE if you've been having trouble picturing everything I'm talking about and really need some visual aids.

More to come!!!

Love,

K

Labor Day and links

It's that time of year when suddenly summer is slipping away. It's particularly bittersweet this time, for it was truly the Summer of Rebecca. For the first time in a long time I was able to indulge in a relaxing, stimulating summer that didn't involve work or screaming children. Full of travel and family and friends. (And good food and Buffy and blogging.) And now suddenly it's Labor Day weekend, Dan went back to school this morning, and I'm faced with another round of packing before heading to Chicago in another week! Of course, I am off to bigger and better things... or at least different and further things. And this year back to school means teaching on my own terms, and I can look forward to eternal spring with tropical vacation spots a mere bus ride away... so long suckers, you can keep your New England winters.

That's all the self-reflection I can muster... I'm getting rusty a month out of my TESOL course.
In other news...

I finally got around to picking up this week's Advocate, and what do I see on the cover? Why, it's a giant picture of The Education of Shelby Knox, that PBS documentary I watched a couple months back in my hotel room in Bozeman, Montana. I'm so ahead of the times.

Also, as if the news from New Orleans wasn't unsettling enough, it seems to be doing wonders to further undermine America's global reputation.
World stunned as US struggles with Katrina
The article begins: "The world has watched amazed as the planet's only superpower struggles with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, with some saying the chaos has exposed flaws and deep divisions in American society." Hopefully that insight won't be lost on us here at home.

Friday, September 02, 2005

"Wake up with a smile and go after life"

Or so the sign outside the VA hospital told me last week. (It's back to celebrating some military anniversary.) That's not exactly my motto... my motto is more like wake up, roll over, and go back to sleep. But today I am excited to wake up and go after banana splits with Nancy and Dan. I'm also excited that said trip in within easy biking distance and so does not involve using any gas. Speaking of horrifically high gas prices, I just read an article explaining how those resourceful Europeans can't wait to ship us some oil and make some money off of our shortage, allowing us silly Americans to relax and keep filling up those SUVs. It included this fabulous quote: "Capitalism is a great way to address supply and demand." Wow, thanks Mr. Expert, your incredible feat of economic logic is so very reassuring to me.

While I'm indulging in ice cream, you can check out these fun graduation pictures that Dan put up online. They're supposed to be of "Katie's graduation", but appear to mostly feature me and Richard and our families. And the sandwiches. Don't forget the sandwiches.