Almost there...

Friday, June 29, 2007

Defining Christianity

Okay, Joel made me giggle this morning.

Christianity - n; ...the belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree...


And my students used to tell me that the story of Bumba vomiting up the universe was a ridiculous origin myth.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Drat!

Thought to myself "Hmm, I wonder if the new TJs near Target in San Jose is open yet." Figured I could stop by there tonight. Checked the website. It opens June 29th. Yeah, that's tomorrow.

Too Tired

I knew I was too tired on Monday night. I was having a hard time keeping focus teaching the beginning lesson and the little stresses were getting me. I knew I was too tired on Tuesday. I felt like I could nod off at dinner. I couldn't get excited about dancing in the show at Stanford. Yesterday I had a farewell luncheon for a coworker and I decided to take one of the sunnier spots at the table because I was cold. I put sunblock on and stayed mostly out of the sun, save for my back, which was under my dress, so no biggie right? By the time I was headed home, I was too tired for shopping. Trader Joe's seemed difficult, and I gave up and headed home with only a small percentage of my intended groceries. Heading home, I felt drowsy enough that the ten minute drive seemed far. Dancing Irish Sets at the Britannia Arms was right out. A quick grilled cheese and tomato soup dinner was made and a few minutes on the couch before heading to take a shower. I was sunburned on all the parts that were in the sun but covered by clothing, because apparently an hour in the sun fully dressed is too much for me. Yeesh. Well, anyway, to bed early, and a good night's rest, and I'm not feeling that same level of core tiredness this morning. This is good. Early to bed should be repeated tonight.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Baby Magic

Bob and I seem to have the same super-power: the ability to make Sarah fall asleep in the middle of a dance set. We actually tag teamed on it this weekend, where Sarah passed out on me in the middle of the 12:30 street set.

Then when the dance set was over, we transferred her over to Bob who navigated the sleeping girl through the crowd back to camp where he managed to get back to ground level. I pulled together a plate of lunch for Bob and set it aside for later. Sarah slept for well over an hour, with me eventually feeding Bob his lunch (yummy apricot cobbler!) and Sarah woke just in time for the next show at 2:30. She's such a great kid - almost 2 now!

Monday, June 25, 2007

'splodey

Fair Oaks Faire is generally a ritual in heat endurance. This year was different though. It was only in the high 80s rather than the traditional high 90s or last year's high 100s. I didn't melt, but unfortunately I didn't take sufficient precautions with items in my car, and my purse became part of the ritual sacrifice. I made a shrinky dink out of one container in my purse. Comparing it to a similar item in my office, it shrank about 25%. Also, my lip color exploded, popping the end off the bottom and spewing goo all over, hardening up though before smearing far. My Labello melted and reformed in the shape of the container.

It's funny to me because I grew up in Sacramento and I know better than to leave things pent up in a hot car all day, but I've lived long enough in the bay that I didn't actually think about it carefully. 88 degrees plus several hours makes a the car into a highly effective oven. Oops.

Friday, June 22, 2007

He Made Me Blush

I had this oddly stressful afternoon yesterday dealing with a bunch of ceili stuff - music issues, insurance issues, people issues - before driving out to Berkeley to go to a possible new venue for the ceili (because people want beer and food). Add to that a bad project team meeting where I felt like a total wet blanket. So, I was rather grumpy headed to Berkeley.

And then this guy pulls up next to me two lanes over on the bridge. He mouths, "You're beautiful. No really, I mean it." I go back to the conversation I'm having with Rick, now blushing madly. He keeps pace with me. He professes his interest again. Eventually he asks for my phone number, miming dialing the phone. Just when I couldn't take the shear mortification any longer, he pulled off the freeway.

I get a lot of affirmations from friends and loved ones that I'm cute or dressed up neat and pretty, but they know me, so it's not quite the same level of... something... surprise maybe? as when you get this sort of thing from a total stranger. It's just really flattering. Made me smile a lot for the next half hour. You mean I'm not the awkward teenager I still mostly perceive myself as? Neat. And here I was thinking I was having a bad hair day. Go figure.

Anyway, made it to Spuds. Dealt with venue stuff. Spuds might work, but it's a bit small if we keep having 60+ crowds. Space was a limiting factor at the Plough for a lot of years and I don't want it to be if it doesn't have to be. The ABA has been great to us so far. I figure we'll see how crowds stay over the next month or so and then decide whether the space or the food is the better trade-off. So, venue issues deferred. Back to music issues, insurance issues, money issues, people issues...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Prius Love

My last tank of gas was 53 3/4 miles per gallon. And when I wanted to go to the Pirate Festival this weekend, I just told it the address, it gave me two options, and we drove there with turn by turn instructions. I love that my sub-trunk stocks an entire case of bottled water so that I'm never far from home and parched. It's such a perfect car for me.

Ceili Report

Anne came and taught her fabulous reel to 36 willing dancers last night, and we had another dozen for the beginning class. The total head count for the evening was over 60. Color me impressed.

We need to figure out a better plan for musicians though. Much as I love Dave, we need some sort of rhythm instrument to go with him at least. Otherwise the dancers have to concentrate too much on hearing the music. So, perhaps I will attempt to dragoon Matt into joining us. Or if Flonk and Jan would just come on home, they could fix it right up.

The funny thing about Anne's reel is that when she first started teaching it to us, I said there's no way we could dance it at the Plough because of a move in the body that went way outside of the square and there just wouldn't be room to do it there. Now we have a big huge wooden floor and there's no problem. This is very very cool.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Wedding Reel

Anne & Heraldo's wedding was lovely. The first dance was gorgeous, and Anne managed to get her dad through the father/daughter dance with elegance and grace. There were dance performances every hour - Decadance, Belly Dance, and us, billed as Nuevo Ceili. We did the Wedding Reel that Anne wrote. Folks liked it more than I expected. Personally, I love watching Decadance. They're the one performance group I think I'd consider joining, save for the fact that just watching them makes me feel like a talentless hack. Anyway, the wedding reel went well. Karen and I had one moment of, "Wait, what's next? Oh shit! Southern Cross! Go go go!" This entire conversation brought to you by the panic in our eyes.

The cool thing is that Anne has cleared her teaching schedule for the week and wants to come up for the Alameda Ceili. She's going to teach the Wedding Ceili tonight at 8, so if you want to learn it, show up on time.

I'm ever so slightly amused that as Anne takes the week off from teaching dance, she's decided to come teach dance for fun. It's good to love what you do. I'm so happy she's found a place in the world.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Blood Donor

So the other thing I did today was finally go give blood. All things considered, it wasn't so bad. I had an appointment, and came in and told the receptionist that it was my first time. She said, "First time here?" I said, "No, first time ever." For all the advertising they do, I guess that doesn't happen too often.

First came all the questions in the universe, followed by an iron level check by finger prick (ouch!). All that done, you get to secretly put a barcode on your form stating "use" or "don't use". Apparently some people come regularly with family or whatnot and really shouldn't be donating blood, but don't want to tell, so they just mark it "Don't use." and go through the motions regardless. Others use it as a free way to get tested for various things. Whatever. Seems a big hassle to me when there's tons of free clinics, but to each his own. Me, I marked it "Use", because I'm not doing this for sport. If you're draining me, I want someone to get the benefit.

Then comes the actual blood donation part. Sit in a super lounger chair, feet up. Then they asked if I had a nice mellow weekend coming up. I said, "Nope, I'm doing a dance demo at a wedding tomorrow." They asked what kind of dance. I said, "Irish Ceili." They said, "Like Riverdance?" I said "Yeah, kinda." They stopped cold. It turns out you're not supposed to do anything vigorous for 24 hours. Oh. Well, dance demo isn't til 10pm tomorrow. I was admonished to eat well, drink lots of fluids, have a nice big breakfast. I said, "Right, make Rick take me to Hobees in the morning. Check." They said, "Perfect."

Then they stabbed me in the arm with a big old needle while I looked the other way. It hurt, but that's not exactly a surprise. Once in, it was just a niggly irritation. First the blood get directed to the test bag, then clamped off and run to the collection bag. It takes a while, but less time than you'd think. It's amazing though how fast your body will just pour it out. About five, maybe eight minutes later she says, "Okay, you're done. Just need to clamp that off." Such a tiny little hole, and it'd probably take less than 15-20 minutes to pour out enough blood to kill me. This isn't comforting.

I wasn't feeling any particularly ill effects. She asked what color bandage I wanted. Out of the rainbow, really, would I choose anything other than purple? Beside, it matches my necklace. So she bandaged me up, and I held my arm up for 2 minutes. I noticed that my feet were kind of sweaty. After 2 minutes, I put my arm down and then she told me to just sit there for another few minutes. This is the good part. I am smart and brought a book. I got enforced time to read in the middle of the day. This rocked. After another few minutes, she let me out to the lobby and offered juice (hooray for cranberry!) and cookies. On the wall were award placards with the names of folks who have donated 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 gallons of blood over time. Wow. Two cups of juice, one peanut butter cookie (and far more empty calories than I usually consume in a day), and 20 pages of the Dresden Files later (plus a trip through the ladies room), I headed out.

Back at my desk now a couple hours later, I feel just fine. I have to pee again. This is not a surprise, but really I just took away a pint of fluids. Couldn't some of the ones I'm pouring in just stay put? Stupid biology.

I also looked up the Red Cross Tips for a Good Donation Experience. I failed at several, because lunch was the IT Services summer picnic and involved a chicken apple sausage and caffeinated soda. Oops. I'll know better next time. But yeah, there will be a next time (unless they say I can't for some reason). It wasn't that bad, and it is a really useful thing to do. It's right here on campus so I don't have any excuse not to do it. Here's hoping they like my blood.

Biology!

Egad. I was running late getting back to my desk for a WebEx meeting so I didn't think to visit the ladies room. Big mistake. I spent the entire hour fidgeting at my desk, trying to concentrate, trying to participate, but mostly just thinking, "Oh god, I really need to pee." Later it was, "Oh god, oh god, oh god, I really really really need to pee." Stupid inefficient biological system. I just drank that water. Why do I have to send it back out again so darned quickly!?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ceili - Still Rocks!

The ceili in Alameda still totally rocks. This week I ducked into the side room and rehearsed the wedding reel while Alex and Rachel taught large classes. After rehearsing for an hour, the Southern Cross is finally starting to feel right. For some reason, that bit has been the trickiest for my brain to latch onto.

Then, back to the main room and into the breach. First there was business - reminders about windows and barres and driving in Alameda, home of bored and vigilant cops, and a waiver/release. We're working on getting insurance just in case, but in the meantime, it seemed a good idea to cover ourselves a tad. Then it was time to shut up and dance. And dance we did! I think my favorite for the night was the mass Galway Reel. Rachel had taught it in the beginning class, so everyone was out on the floor, facing the mirrors, checking their footwork and arms and dancing with a smile (or at worst, a puzzled look, probably thinking, "Wait... who goes under first?"). Meanwhile, a game of Apples to Apples bloomed on stage thanks to Tox and Joel. The count I heard was 46 in attendance. That's pretty good. And Christyn came for the first time and had a great time, so I'm likely to have a carpool buddy more often than not.

Anyhoo, I'm still just amazed at how well this is all working out. It's a joy to dance.

Just Another Day

No zombie attacks on campus at Stanford. Everything seemed normal here, though reports from elsewhere yesterday weren't as positive.

So I spent my day finishing the next SAPM course - Managing Without Authority. I think I've got 3 left, one more of which I plan to finish before August 31st. I may only have 2 more. Can't recall right now. It's been too long. Still, got a 96% on the final exam, and I'm pretty sure that one of the two questions I missed was a typo on the part of the test writer. With one word changed, the question would've made sense and would've had a clear answer. As it was, choosing the best answer didn't quite make sense. Overall, the course was a nice affirmation that time spent building relationships is actually valuable rather than just a waste of otherwise potentially productive time.

And today, back to my regular work day. Oh the joys of gap/fit analysis!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Linguistics Are Fun!

Here's a fun article on why bad words are bad and the usual historical trajectory of bad words. This begs the question - if fuck and shit just aren't that bad anymore, what is? What term really makes you gasp at its profanity? I can think of one: cunt. Whenever someone uses that word, I think it unbelievably vulgar. But how did it get that power for me? Does it have that power for everyone? Are there other words that do?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Schottische

One of the weird things about my love of dance is having songs come on the radio and immediately thinking, "Wow great $dancestyle."

Just now, Launchcast fed me "Got to Get Up" by Siouxsie and the Banshees off the Superstition album. Though I listened to this album in my youth, it never occurred to me before, but now my brain is thoroughly programmed to listen for a moment and say, "Hunh, nice schottische." Somehow it seems wrong to schottische to Siouxsie.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Kitten Snuggle Attack

The kittens have fearsome powers of play and cuteness. Roused from naptime, they proceeded to play rambunctiously for at least an hour, Spitfire and Blackie going end over end in an endless brother/sister brawl. Fiona liked Rick a lot and he got her chasing the feather on a stick toy to a point of pure comedy. Right and left the stick goes, then faster, then faster, til the kitten's head is vibrating back and forth. Poor little thing looked like she was having a seizure, but really she was just having too much fun. Meanwhile, little Gizmo is the runt of the box. Being the smallest, he could run behind and under places the others couldn't get to.

After an hour or more of running, jumping, fighting, and playing, kittens started picking humans to curl up on. Blackie liked my hair and wanted to lick my fingers. Spitfire fell asleep in Kev's arms. Fiona stuck close to Rick. We kept trying to leave, but they had their kitten cute rays turned on full strength. I reckon we'll be back for more next week.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Google Dance Performance

Went to Google for lunch and dancing again today. We ended up having 8 folks sort of by accident because Rollie just came by for lunch, and Bob made it out of work after all. So, we did an impromptu polka set, plus the planned Chutney modification. Polka set followed by Chutney makes me winded and my feet were on fire because the stage was in the sun. As I felt the heat building up from friction and hot floor, I wondered if I'd have blisters again like that time at Gold Rush Days at History San Jose all those years ago. My feet seem to be definitely scorched, but not blistering, so they should be fine again by morning. But it was good, and I had a yummy burrito for lunch, and then drove back to campus listening to the Pixies on the radio (hooray for 104.9's format change back to Alternative!). Compared to yesterday, it definitely feels like June now. Driving along, the Pixies and the B-52s sounded like the right sort of music again. There's something about those bands that seem so much more right in the summer. I stopped at 7-11 for a Slurpee and now I'm back to watching my online course on Managing Without Authority. And tonight I get to go play with a boxful of kittens. Have I mentioned lately how good I have it? Yeah.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Simple Pleasures

I love going down to the Beckman Bistro for lunch, being greeted with a smile and a wave from the guys behind the counter, and having them put together my lunch with little more than a "the usual?". Sitting for an hour over lunch and a bucket of Diet Coke with a good book that makes me smile, with my back to the sunshine. I've got it so good, and I'm glad that I'm aware enough to be able to step back long enough to appreciate it.

Browncoat Ball 2007

The 2007 Browncoat Ball will take place in Philadelphia. It looks like a great weekend. Heck, they've got the Mutter Museum as one of Saturday's track options. May not be able to resist that since that was something we couldn't get to on either road trip. Anyone else interested in going?

Dance!

There has been much dancing. This is good.

Friday was Friday Night Waltz. Always good, this was very nice because Anne was DJ'ing and she kept picking polkas she knew we'd enjoy doing Irish to. She also busted out the Brazillian samba action. I danced with several gents I'd never met before. Could it be there are new guys in the dance scene? Woohoo! One didn't immediately cringe when I mentioned he'd make a lovely Fezziwigger. Oh yes, it's June, and Fezziwig recruitment brain is on high.

Saturday was PEERS Space Cowboys. Again with new people to dance with and I finally got to waltz with Rex who I had intended to dance with at the Plough on the fateful Monday. He's pretty cool - a former ballet dancer just learning vintage ballroom, and his daughter can dance in 3 inch platform boots. I'd break an ankle. Color me impressed.

Sunday was dance rehearsal for Anne's wedding. I was, for some unknown reason, a total zombie on Sunday, but I still managed to get through the dance. It's starting to sink in and be pretty. I know the body and I know the figures, now I just need to work on the transition between the two. Two hours of dancing later I was starting to wake up and feel human. Every fiber of my being cried out saying, "Just go home and bond with the sofa, or crawl in bed and read a book." But I valiantly ignored that and went for dinner with Fred and Malaya and Paul and Karen after dancing, and then Paul and Karen and Rick and I went to see Shrek 3.

Monday was Alameda ceili. More dancing. Lots more dancing. Yay!

Tuesday was Pryanksters at home. I think I have the tune for Feign I Would permanently wedged in my head, horribly semi-tuned fiddle and all. On the flipside, I think I've finally got 29th of May glued in. It's a really fun dance and a pretty tune that I dearly wish was stuck in my head instead of Feign. Grimstock makes sense to me now, though I'm still leary of any dance with waves - Waves of Tory or Grimstock. I've gotten a fist to the forehead one too many times in Waves of Tory. Luckily with a line of only 3 couples this is far less likely.

I felt a bit bad about not making it to the gym over the weekend, but y'know, I think I'm getting my exercise with at least 2 or 3 hours of dancing every day.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Happy Ceili

Ceili was fun again last night even though our musicians were dead from Valhalla so we lacked live music for the first time. We did just fine with the canned stuff, with a little technical issues with the sound being very muddy from the stereo last night. This was odd. But it mostly worked out.

Basically though in the past couple of weeks I've come to one big happy conclusion that was only slightly clouded last night: Everyone is happier. The one exception is Patrick, and I feel bad for him, but he dropped by last night and I was just thrilled to see him. He's not having so much fun at the Plough, but he's hanging in there. He's been there far longer than me, so that's saying a lot. I don't know how things are all going to work out in the long run, but for now, we've got about 40 people regularly attending in Alameda. It's a great crowd. And meanwhile, John and Gretchen are getting to remake Mondays at the Plough in their vision, so they're happier too. I think there's room for both of us in this world. I just wish it all could've been handled better. But there we were last night, flying through the demo for Google on Thursday, and practicing Anne's wedding dance, waltzing and redowa'ing and I taught the beginners the whole 4 hand reel in 1 hour and though they were a little overwhelmed, I figure that's okay. They'll be back again and they did fine in the open dancing. They've got the basic figures, and Terry always said that was more important to getting dancing than to fuss over footwork, and I firmly believe that. Your footwork can be beautiful and you can still be in totally the wrong place. If you're making it through the figures, your footwork probably isn't hurting anyone else (save for the round the house which is the one thing I spent quality time on). Anyway, it was a lovely night, full of dancing, friends, new faces, and goodness. I like how things have turned out.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Space Cowboys



The PEERS Ball this weekend was a hoot for me. Being Kaylee for a night was fun. I think my favorite part was sitting out front in coveralls with parasol greeting guests as they arrived. "You wanna dance with us," I stated with authority as I spun the parasol gently. Also, I ate a strawberry the size of an apple. The strawberries were so yummy. And it was just too wonderful to be officially portraying a character with a love of them. My life was so hard. Also, after changing to the fancy dress, I spent the entire night with Mal's gun hidden under my hoop since firearms weren't allowed, but we needed just a little insurance anyway. Anyway, good night, good dancing, good playing. Life is good.

Went out for milk...

My morning coffee was fouled by my milk having spoiled over the weekend. I failed to run a sniff test before pouring and that first sip was not the warm, comforting morning greeting I was looking for. I poured it out and went back to my desk, but was lacking focus, trying to figure out when exactly I could go fetch milk, where I should do that, and all the while missing my morning cup of comfort. (The coffee speaks to me every morning saying, "Yes dear, I know it's not right that you're out of bed and expected to be productive already. It'll all be just fine.")

So, I didn't have any meetings cluttering up my morning schedule, and figured it'd be more productive to just go fetch milk now rather than continuing to waste brain power on the question. Off to 7-11 on Lytton.

Dear Bicyclists,
You are on wheels. I don't care if you don't stop at the stop sign when there's no one in cars in the intersection. It's sort of a tree in the forest question at that point. But if there are lots of cars waiting, then please stop at the stop sign like every other wheeled vehicle. You are not a pedestrian even if your wheels are traveling in a cross-walk. That makes you a law-breaker, not a pedestrian. After six years on campus, I'm not going to feel *too* bad for hitting you if you jump out in front of my already moving car after I have waited my turn at the stop sign. You're a Stanford student; in theory, that means you're relatively bright. Please use your brain or someone will run over it.


Also, to the guy talking on your cell phone sitting at the corner of Palm and Arboretum waiting to turn left after having just drove over the paint on the road that says NO LEFT TURN and sitting at the stop light that has no less than three no left or U-turn signs, thanks for at least leaving your signal on so that I knew to use the other lane, because you clearly can't read English nor pictographs. No, I have no idea why you're not allowed to turn left there, but that's how it is, and all those folks honking behind you should've been a tip off.

Back again to my desk, hot coffee in hand. The coffee says, "It's okay sweetie. You're in your office safe from all the stupid people."

Friday, June 01, 2007

I'm embarassed by how often ICanHasCheezburger cracks me up. This one made me snort in my office.

As Christyn says, "Blessed are the easily amused, for they shall be."