Sunday, September 30, 2012

Is there ever a wrong time?

It's not been an easy semester so far.  I've had incapacitating back issues, sick kids, sick spouse and a case of severe crankiness.  Admittedly, it's been easier than the previous three semesters, and I have it much easier than many of my friends who are facing real health and job issues, but knowing it could be worse doesn't actually make giant stacks of ungraded papers go away any faster.
Last week (or rather two weeks ago now, but it feels like just last week), was particularly frenetic with a house guest following a week of sick toddler (like sleeping with Darth Vader punctuated by seals mating) and sick babysitter/housecleaning helper.

And then a colleague down the hall told me that I was really "slimming nicely".  Then my guest, my graduate advisor, traded compliments about me with my current bosses.  It felt a bit like he was fishing for them, but I became convinced that everyone was sincere, if not normally so forthcoming about my positive attributes.  My students told me what a great speaker my advisor was, one going so far as to thank me for bringing him. My peer reviewer thought nutrition labels were an excellent addition to biological molecule discussions.  And one of my neighbors spontaneously told me how much his family loves my giant sunflower patch and "wild" flower garden.

Things were much better.

Amazing the benefit of a compliment at just the right time.

Which, reminds me, have I told you how good you are looking these days?  That I love the way you laugh when you read things I write?  That you're a great friend (or odd random reader) and I really appreciate having you in my life?
You are and I do.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

American Cities in Film-- Suggestions?

I'm taking the Mister to "Houston"* for his 40th birthday, except that it's not really Houston. I've planned to reveal the actual destination on his birthday and then have a series of "Houston" themed movie nights prior to actual going in October.  This is highly unlikely to happen, because, well, we've managed to watch two or three movies here in the last six months.
So I need to get  my enjoyment from planning and discussing movies rather than actually watching them.  Of course, discussing would mean revealing.
So, we're going to discuss movies that feature American cities.  The movies don't need to be about the cities, or necessarily very good, but be set there enough that you think, "Oh, this is where X happened."
I think of "Adventures in Babysitting" when I see the Chicago skyline.  I want to go to art museums in Los Angeles because of "L.A. Story".   Except we won't be watching those particular films because we're not going to L.A. or Chicago.
We're going to either San Francisco, New York, Houston, Cleveland, New Orleans or Boston.  Or maybe D.C.
What are your favorite movies set in these cities?

*Thanks to Janet for the actual Houston suggestions.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Raising the Bar and Drifting Apart

My Father is drifting away from My Mother

Only a few days into their month long anniversary trip, my mother took a picture of my father drifting away from her.  My father e-mailed it to me with a similar caption and I'm posting it here**, because they were in Iceland, at the very spot on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge where on can see North America separating from Eurasia at about 3 mm per year.  When you are in Iceland, a geologist, and a fan of puns, taking and captioning such a photo is what you do.  When you are a nerdy daughter of a geologist who also likes puns, blogging longingly about it is what you do.
I mean, how much more romantic can you get?

Iceland!  Drizzle! Imperceptible geologic event!

Regular readers of this space will not even need to know that it's 102 degrees here to realize I'm only mocking myself: I would love to be in Iceland in the drizzle looking at weird rocks with The Mister.

I'm planning a getaway trip to "Houston"* with the Mister for his 40th birthday.  We're going to eat good food, see a puppet show, eat some more and probably see a garden or some art, because that's what we do if we're not looking at weird geologic formations or engineering marvels.  I think he's looking forward to it, but has already commented on his apprehension about what this means for future expectations.  Perhaps, he notes, I am raising the bar on birthdays.

Alas, Mister, I was not the one who took me to Paris for the weekend when we'd been dating for 6 months.  I was not the one who made (birthday or anniversary related) "dose of coast" trips every year it was possible.  I'm not the one who planned a fabulous honeymoon with me to see weird rocks in cold conditions on Newfoundland.  I'm not the one who's been married for 45 years to a great travelling companion who sends maps and menus for kids and in-laws to follow.  I'm not even the one who made a birthday getaway to Wichita exquisite with trips to the botanical gardens, art museum, and prairie arboretum in addition to scheduled movie and dinner.

The bar is high for birthdays and travel, but it wasn't me (or at least not just me) who put it there.

*It may not be Houston; actual destination is a secret.

**And I had rotated it already!  How did it end up sideways?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

STIR Next?

Compared to 2011, I've done a very poor job of organizing STIR this year.   Good books have been read (The City and the Mountains, The Hunger Games, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest [albeit not read by me] and The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test) and interesting discussions have been had (Janet, I am really going to call you because we have lots of say about E. Kool Aid), but I didn't formalize a schedule and I didn't contact an up-and-coming writing to join the discussion.  And I've completely forgotten who wanted to be the next selecters.
Let me know if it was you, or if it wasn't you but you want it to be you.