Saturday, January 28, 2012

A quiet Saturday night

I'm still behind in my work, so I spent the whole day working to get ready for my upcoming conferences. But in the evening, Andrew and I sat down and had dinner together, like we do almost every night. It wasn't anything particularly fancy - I thawed out some homemade tomato soup and made some grilled cheese sandwiches. We ate and listened to Prairie Home Companion, a radio show that's been on the air since I was a child. Since it's set in Minnesota, it connects me to my past, and I'm happy that Andrew enjoys listening to it, even though he didn't grow up with things like Jello salad, bachelor farmer uncles, and blizzards. While we were eating dinner, we watched the hungry geckos** who hang around our kitchen window at night to sup on all the insects attracted by the light of our dining room lamp.
It made me think about my life right now, and how I'm happy with a job I love, sharing a home with my husband. Ten years ago (more or less), I was working as a line cook in Albuquerque, living in a roach-filled apartment. I didn't have quiet Saturday nights, because I always worked weekends and evenings, although I did listen to Prairie Home Companion, because I use my cassette tape recorder to tape record it while I was away every week. I earned a bit above minimum wage, and I couldn't really figure out what to do next with my life. My life is so different, ten years later. And I wonder what my life will look like ten years from now.

** They're not actually geckos (they're anoles), but that's what many people call them here.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Most of the time I love living a tiny house (350 square feet, remember?) but this week is not one of those times. Andrew is repairing the head gaskets on his motorcycle. This is a big job, and requires many weekends and evenings of work. In the meantime, my living room and kitchen look like this:

The pictures are somewhat poor-quality phone pictures because another lingering annoyance in my life. My work computer (which is also my home computer) is on the fritz. The cursor moves around, on its own, opening folders and changing settings. I've had it in to two repair guys, and it has been diagnosed as (1) a malfunctioning trackpad, (2) a virus, and (3) "nothing is wrong". Diagnosis number (3) was the most recent, but, unfortunately, it is not true. My loaner computer can't process video and audio at all, but it's still nice to be able to do 80% of my work. And the loaner isn't playing nice with my camera, which is why I had to use the phone pictures tonight.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Time off

The semester starts tomorrow, and since I'm teaching this time around, I'm a little less sure of my time management skills. That is, I'm not quite sure how much time teaching will take, and thus how much will remain for research, cooking dinner, preparing for my upcoming conference, or learning my new voice parts for choir. As a result, I'm been preparing. Our clothes are clean, I'm only behind in one project at work, and I did a lot of pre-cooking for the next few weeks.
I also decided we need to prepare by having fun, so we went kayaking this weekend. My mother-in-law worried about about the danger in kayaking, but I think she's picturing people strapped tightly into narrow boats, shooting down rapids. We were in low-to-the ground plastic two-seated kayaks, gently paddling our way through mangrove forests in water that was four feet deep. Our friends, silhouetted picturesquely below, demonstrate the peacefulness of the activity.
The beauty of the double kayak is that (while I try to do my part) I generally find that my paddling partner is working harder than me, so I get to glide a bit more than I paddle.

Thursday, January 05, 2012


I'm back in Miami, where we've been living through "cold" weather, which means that it's in the 60's (15-20C) during the day and 40-50F (4-10C) each night. For a northerner, of course, this is still laughably warm, and it's amusing to see everyone pile on their wool sweaters and hats. On the other hand, most of us don't have much warm clothing, and there's no heat in the buildings. It's kind of like when I was in Norway and they had a "heat wave" of 70 F (20C). If you don't get that kind of weather, then the houses and people there just aren't built for it.

In the meantime, I'm dealing with another kind of cold, the kind that lives in your sinuses until all you dream about is when you'll be able to take a deep breath of air through your nose again. Since I was sick over Christmas, I didn't do much cooking. But I did get out of bed to make dessert. While it's not very polished, you can still tell it's a hedgehog, right? It was made with a dark chocolate olive oil cake and Swiss buttercream frosting, so it tasted good, in any case.