November 29th, 2006

Only 25 days to finish EVERYTHING. This TA needs a TA.

A Trip to Walnut Creek

November 26th, 2006

My favorite Baba quote this year:

Anne: “He’ll be 14 by the time you’re finished knitting it.”

Baba: “Good. He can take it to college with him.”

The Wildest Dreams of Sneaky and Shrieky

November 23rd, 2006

I returned Monday from a trip to Georgia, where my nieces were visiting their Grandmother and Grandad. Four-year-old Dani, aka “Shrieky,” was her usual high-energy self. She demanded I sing “This Land is Your Land,” or, as she calls it, “the California song,” at least eleven hundred times.

“Krissy, can you sing the California song?”
“Krissy, can you sing it again?”
“Krissy, can I sing with you this time?”

Sunday I watched her consume nothing but cookies and juice for six hours during a family get-together. That night instead of going to sleep, she spent a half hour running up and down my parents’ long hallway, shouting, “Look, I’m racing myself! I’m racing myself again!”

My favorite Dani moment, though, was when we were driving back to Marietta from the aforementioned get-together in Lawrenceville. I drove. My sister rode shotgun. My dad had no problem being relegated to the backseat with his beloved granddaughters. Only catch was, it was a small car (my dad’s PT Cruiser), so Grandad had to squish against Dani in her booster seat, which was strapped into the middle. As he wedged himself in and crowded Dani, Dani shrieked, “AH! You’re a BIG BOY!” This is funniest if you know my dad, who is truly a VERY BIG boy.

Erica, age 7, coveted my Nintendo DS. She tried a number of rhetorical strategies to convince me to give her mine or to buy her one. But even though Christmas is coming, she’s not getting one, because the child has shown extreme game-addictive tendencies. She plays nonstop and becomes combative when asked to detach herself from the gaming device in order to do things like eat or sleep. So I told her no DS this year, because she would just play all the time and flunk out of school. “That would never happen,” she said, “Mommy would NEVER let me bring it to school.”

At one point, I asked Erica what she wants to be when she grows up, and she said, “A zoo keeper or veterinarian. Or my wildet dream is to be a lion tamer in a circus.” Her wildest dream! Then she said, “What do you want to be when YOU grow up?”

“I’m grown up already,” I said.

This seemed to confuse her. “How old are you?”

“Thirty-one. I’m older than your mommy,” I explained.

“So?” she said, “What do you want to be?”

Little did she realize what a relevant question this was, being that I am ONE MONTH from graduation and still unsure of what to do next. Indeed, I thought, What DO I want to be?

“Well, I’m a teacher, but I guess I want to be just a poet.”

She said, “You mean you want to write poems and send them to editors and stuff?”

Did I mention she is only SEVEN?


The family get-together was wonderful. It’s satisfying to see my cousins striking out on their own. Matthew is a renaissance high schooler who wows his teachers and has a real shot at a baseball career (his current ambition). Sarah-Nicole, a recent college grad, has four job offers to teach math at area high schools. And Chelsea. Chelsea, the little tot in diapers, is in her freshman year of college. They are such NICE adults. They seem self-assured and content. They are the types of people who contribute to society and make the Edgar clan proud! My Nana enjoyed herself with so many family members around, too. The baby of the day was Austin, my second-cousin Beth’s blue-eyed charmer. A chub-ful of sweet.

The best parts of these trips for me are always the no-big-deal little moments that feel like the types of things we would do together if we all lived close. Pauline and I snuck out for a little girl-time and shopping. And Cheri and I decided spontaneously to see a movie on Saturday night.

Speaking of the movie, GO SEE IT. “Stranger than Fiction” is terrific. I don’t want to give anything away, because it is surprising and interesting and heart-warming. It’s not a chick flick, just a great movie. I recommend it to all.

So we are here at home hanging out today. Stevel has baked me brownies and is enjoying his Wii. Tomorrow we head up to the San Fran area. We have a date with his family at a Chinese restaurant on Friday. When your cat is like a big greasy turkey every day of the year, it’s not a sacrifice to forgo the bird on Thanksgiving.

And here are photos. Happy Thanksgiving!

Three Years of Linus

November 15th, 2006

Today is Steve’s and my anniversary (the Las Vegas one, not the wedding one). So this marks three years of my being a step-pet-owner to Linus. Monday we hosted the homeowners meeting at our house. This was the best night of Linus’ life. There were several purses for him to make out with, a number of laps for him to knead and plop on, and hands—Oh, the HANDS!

This also marks three years since Stevel and I held hands in front of a marriage clerk in Las Vegas and vowed to honor and cherish each other for all our lives. The security guard served as our witness. I was chewing a stick of Big Red gum; the marriage office required cash, exact change, so we had had to go around the corner to a drug store and make a purchase to break a twenty. Afterwards we went to Hoover Dam.

We’ve already weathered turbulence, not in our relationship so much as in life-circumstances, and it’s already clear to me I can’t survive without this guy. He’s supportive and understanding, and he makes me laugh every day.

Of course, I feel the same way about Stevel.

A Day in the Life of My Left Knee

November 14th, 2006

I’ve been having some trouble with my left knee and ankle this week. They are achy, slightly swollen, and generally weak-feeling. Before you make a bunch of corny “You’re old” jokes (Dad), I already realize that I’m 31 and over some kind of hill, if not “the” hill, then some kind of trainer hill where skin is no longer smooth, brownies no longer cost me zero weight gain, and a neighbor’s loud rock music elicits not an inspiration to dance but crabby irritation and thoughts of calling the police to make a noise complaint. Furthermore, I have already addressed the issue in several ways.

First, per an athlete friend’s advice, I iced the knee and ankle.

Second, I took it easy on them for a couple of days, making a conscious effort to put as little weight on them as possible and to wear sensible shoes (thus ending a long campaign of high-heel sporting on campus).

Third, and perhaps dorkiest, I decided to “reconnect” with my left knee. I realize this may sound sort of hippie or voodoo or, worse, Yoga-ish, but “taking it easy” meant I began to notice how I treat this knee. I realized I twist it a little—with a harsh yank— every time I get into or out of my car. I habitually fold it under me when I work at my desk. And I do a lot of squatting to access things on low shelves, leaning to put most of my body pressure on my knee. In short, I am seriously abusive of a body part that has done nothing but serve me well in life, and that requires some care to remain useful into my old[er] age.

I have apologized to this knee and vowed to treat it with more respect. And I have begun to wonder, what other body parts do I take for granted? So I think I will do a series, sporadically and when inspired, of blog entries dedicated to answering this very question. Before you get worried that I may become an explicit blogger, I remind you this is a PG-13 rated blog. Should I run out of PG-13 rated parts, I can start on the internal organs or something. But most likely, I’ll lose interest long before that, being that I can’t think of an area of specialization for a hypothetical PhD because my interests are too all-over-the-place. Hm, PhD in literature from body parts’ point of view? Nah.

Camping Weekend

November 13th, 2006

Camping this weekend was a bit chilly and headachy, but the food and company were great, and the beach was interesting and beautiful. Photos are HERE (I recommend clicking on “View Slideshow).


November 9th, 2006

Last night we had pizza at No. 6. This means that for several days we will have a decoy for Linus. He won’t bother us quite as much while this is around. It’s a quirky passion of his.

Update on the Construction

November 9th, 2006

The construction continues. Here’s what I’m listening to right now:

1. an ear-piercing power-saw

2. a guy repeating over and over the phrase, “Sit, Ubu, sit,” loud enough to be heard over aforementioned saw

3. a guy telling another guy, “Well, that doesn’t look any better.”

4. a guy replying, “Fuck. I know.”

5. a lot of REALLY AWFUL singing, including “Dream, dream, dreaam”

The door to our wing locks itself after 5 p.m., and few of us have keys. A lot of times, if we’re here late, we just prop the door open with a chair so our students can get in. Also, lately, the air circulation in here has been cut off, so the door gets propped open in the daytime, too. Someone printed out a little sign and taped it to the door. It says something like this: “To the person who keeps propping this door open after hours, It has a security lock for a reason. Please don’t prop it open after five when it’s set to lock.” Someone else wrote in pencil undernteath this message: “We have a plastic wall. I don’t think this lock really makes it secure in here. Just don’t leave valuables in this office.”

Attention Target Team Members

November 9th, 2006

Today in the Target parking lot, I saw a man walking to his car with nothing but a suitcase, tags on. As in, he went to Target to buy a suitcase, and that is all he bought. How does this work, exactly? I can’t go to Target without buying enough stuff to FILL a suitcase. The only thing that slows me down is that shopping at Target has a mysteriously laxative effect. Every single time. I literally know where the bathrooms are in every Target store between my house and Long Beach, and I know where the opportune cart-parking nooks are NEAR the bathrooms, and I know if I’m making a quick trip to Target that I need to allow time for this. I know this is a lot of very personal information, but it all fascinates me—the man buying ONE ITEM at a store with THOUSANDS of NECESSARY items AND the mysterious qualities of this chain. Maybe they produce something at Target Headquarters, some chemical meant to induce purchase … some chemical with strange side effects. Hm. I’m onto you, Target.

La Dani

November 8th, 2006

I talked to my sister tonight while she was at the hairdresser’s. She had had a haircut herself. Erica (7) had had a “trim”—there was near-panic, I’m told, over the possibility of Miss Long Locks losing a centimeter or two of her length—and as we spoke, Dani (4) was in the chair. Cutting Dani’s hair has to be one of the most challenging jobs a human can do, right up there with coordinating the commuter train system in Tokyo, and building things in Space. Dani cannot—canNOT—be silent. She must talk at all times. (Yes, she talks in her sleep.) What she talks ABOUT varies. She narrates her own activities, recalls memories aloud, describes the things she is capable of or wants to do. All the while, the little blonde head is moving animatedly.

She comes by it all naturally. My father is a fantastic storyteller who loves to converse. One of the most frequent callers to my cell phone, he enjoys nothing more than chatting up one of his daughters or his wife. (And we love you for it, Dad—thanks for keeping in touch with us, and for keeping all of us in touch with each other.) My sister inherited the storytelling ability, and Erica has it, too, although her genre is more imaginative (bordering on science fiction accounts of HER days) than Dani’s “reporter” style blow-by-blow chronicling. Of course, “I” do so little talking and storytelling you have maybe never heard my voice.

So as Dani blabbers away, and the hairdresser patiently repeats, “Be still, OK?” in the background, my sister tells me about her own new haircut and then, interrupting herself, she calls over to her daughter, “Dani, if you be completely still while Kim trims your bangs, I’ll give you a prize later.” Bribing your daughter with candy to keep her from losing an eye? Brilliant parenting, if you ask me.

Right Now at No. 6

November 6th, 2006

A truce is called …

… for a nap …

… in the sun.


November 6th, 2006

We have gorgeous sunsets in Southern California this time of year, worth climbing on the roof to see:

Other direction, the moon

Mix Day

November 4th, 2006

I’m making a mix CD for myself today of songs I’ve been really enjoying lately. I can make many copies. If you want a copy, reader of my blog, please comment or e-mail me. I will be happy to supply you with one. It is easy. My one disclaimer to my design-savvy friends is that the only “design” program I know is Word, so the CD jacket I “designed” is quite rudimentary. You may laugh at it, but not to my face, please.

Trick or Treat

November 3rd, 2006

I just watched a squirrel in the alley unwrap and nibblingly devour a Halloween bite-size Snickers.

Many thanks to all of you who pumped up the Halloween spirit in No. 6. We display our collection of cards proudly above Stevel’s desk. OK, I display the collection, but Stevel sits in its warm glow.

This morning I took the cats to the wilderness north of L.A. and “set them free.” No, I didn’t. But I thought about it.

Out of Control

November 2nd, 2006

This morning found Linus tailgating us as we rose and moved around the house. If either of us stopped for TWO SECONDS, he extended a paw to remind us of his presence: “Hi. Over here. Right here. Ready to make use of your hand. Scratchy, scratchy, let’s go.” As Stevel made his escape down the stairs, Linus followed in his slinky-of-fat-careening-down-the-steps fashion and stuck his head through the bars between the up-stairs and the down-stairs, where Stevel stood at the top. He tried first one paw and then another, reaching to extend as far as he could to wack Stevel on the hip: “I see you’re leaving. Don’t leave without scratching me vigorously first. Don’t forget. Hey. HEY!” Finally, he drove Stevel away. Who can take this. It’s TOO MUCH.

Left alone with Linus after that, and having gotten about three minutes of sleep all night due to this week apparently being daylight-savings/night-dark-attacking time for this cat, I promptly plunked him in the bathtub and scrubbed him with shampoo and a scrub-brush. “There,” I said, “You’re getting the scratch-down of your life. You should be ecstatic. Why are you instead screaming for one of the neighbors to rescue you from drowning?”

Incidentally, he’s leaving me alone now. No cat wants to be friends with the crazy bath lady. At least not until his walnut-sized brain forgets all about it in ten minutes or so.


November 1st, 2006

In the saddest of sad news, I came home yesterday, excited to light candles and display our pumpkins aglow, to find both pumpkins deflated, rotting, and leaking rotten-deflated-pumpkin juice all over the carpet. It was not only a heartbreaking blow to my Halloween, but it smells like a garbage dump in our living room now. How could this happen in just eight hours? When I left for work, the pumpkins were looking just fine. Damn you, Pumpkin Goblin!

Linus was a very bad bedmate last night. He scratched my ear, and it’s still bleeding. It wasn’t intentional. It’s just his way. He walks by putting one foot out and then another. He pays no attention to the depth of the “ground” before him or to whom it belongs to. This is why sometimes he steps in our eyes, on our hair, in our mouths, etc. But he couldn’t quite get traction in my ear, and in the process of slip-sliding, he scratched me a good one.

Now I am in a post-Halloween grump. Stevel took our candy to work, so there’s no sugar-remedy immediately available. I might need a Frosty on the way to campus.