# Thursday, January 04, 2007

These are a few of my lesser-know things...

Trina put me up to the "what are 5 things people don't know about you" challenge...here is my response......  :)

1) I play the accordion and I have always wanted to learn to play the banjo.  I have played a multitude of instruments over my lifetime, mostly in the first 20 years or so, including the accordion which I took lessons for about 8 years and got pretty good. I haven’t picked it up in awhile, but it is here in Ireland with us and I do hope to dust it off again.  Other things I have played; the piano, the clarinet, various recorders, the organ, a very little bit of guitar, and the ukulele, which I wasn’t half bad. It is the banjo, however, that has always fascinated me and is something to which I aspire, but have a feeling I will never get around to doing.


2) I am the first one in my family to go to and graduate from college.  Neither my parents nor grandparents on either side of the family ever went beyond HS.  Both of my parents were from farming families in the mid-west (Iowa and Kansas) and came from farming families. It is a personal and family victory to have my undergraduate, much less my graduate degree, accomplished. 


3) I love to people-watch and pick out which women are carrying fake hand-bags.  It is a little guilty pleasure of mine.  I have a personal thing against “fake” designer bags.  The reason you buy a fake bag is to look like a real one, right? I have never understood this. Is it to impress? The problem with that is the people you are trying to impress (e.g. other women) who can afford the real thing are going to know it is a fake to begin with.  Is it because you just really like the style but cant’ afford it? Fine, that is understood, but then forgo the “designer” bag and find a wonderful unknown handbag designer with great talent and quality materials which is in your price range, or save up for the real thing.  I personally equate stealing a designer look by trying to identically copy a bag the same as someone trying to sell me a fake Van Gogh or Picasso – they are works of art designed by an artist who shouldn’t have their work facsimiled and talent diluted.  An art lover wouldn’t frame one of those cheesy Monet posters (you know the ones, you had them in your dorm room freshman year at college) and hang it over their mantel, why would a handbag lover use a crappy copy of the real thing when there are tons of great bags out there of better style and quality.  OK, rant over.


4) The longest relationship I had before Reeves lasted 3 months.  I think after 11 ½ years of marriage and 13 years of being together, this one is going to stick. :)

5) I used to have about 24 pet Gerbils. Yes, that is a lot, and frankly, too many gerbils for any one household. This was my first pet which I got in 5th grade and I thought it would be great idea to get a boy and a girl gerbil to see what happened. Well, 24 gerbils happened! After the first litter, we let them grow up in the same cage for awhile, but we A) didn’t know how short the reproduction cycle was and B) even when we separated them by wire partitions, those little hormones were strong enough for them to chew though some serious metal. This all happen within a couple months. Needless to say, I am not sure what my mom was thinking when see agree to this, and we quickly decided two girl gerbils was plenty.

I am supposed to tag 5 more bloggers, but I have to say my blog-o-shpere is pretty limited and all the people I know with blogs have already been taged, so if you are reading this and you haven't been, please feel free to add yourself to the list.

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# Sunday, December 31, 2006

I PASSED!

Just a really quick note to say I PASSED my final masters portfolio project!!  I found out the day before we went to Maryland for Christmas so I think that was my best Christmas gift ever!! I are a grad-u-ated! :)

Hope everyone has a wonderful New Year's Eve.  Reeves and I just came home from the store with a few new DVDs and a fire log - the perfect even for us recovering from jet-lag and colds.

..and a Happy New Year's to all!

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# Sunday, November 12, 2006

Really, really bad....

Ok, yes, it is one more posting of excuses of why I haven’t kept my own personal goal of blogging, but I am still amazed at how much finishing my masters would kill me.  Tthe stress of what I have been feeling over the past 6-8 weeks...sigh... selling our house, cars and a 1/3 our life, picking up and moving to a new country was a breeze compared to completing my e-Portfolio.  AAAAHHHHHH – I really need a vacation….wait, we are taking another one! J  

 

The next posting here will probably be when we return from our trip to Rome.  We leave Nov. 22 and basically, we are spending Thanksgiving in Rome. Turkey-smurkey, here’s to authentic Chianti and pasta!!!

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# Wednesday, October 18, 2006

History and Global warming

Last night I caught part of a news segment where the newscaster was interviewing an expert on global warming & its effects on the oceans in terms of how and when it would affect life in London, especially considering London is bisected and greatly influenced by the Thames River.  I don’t remember the totality of the response, but it wasn’t so much about the details of his response as it was about the perspective he placed on the situation.  He stated, at current trends, the world’s oceans could rise enough in the next 1000 years that London will be underwater.  My first reaction to this was wow, that is a really long time away, but then what really hit me was his next statement…(and I am paraphrasing here) ‘London was here a 1000 years ago, and we certainly imaging it will be here in another 1000, we really wouldn’t want to move the whole thing.’

This is what really hit me, especially being an American who has lived in places with maybe, if you are pushing it, 200 years of history of ‘settled’ civilization, is that London has buildings and infrastructure that are still in use from 1000 years ago!!!  In fact, it will be only 60 years from now that we will all celebrate the 1000th anniversary of the battle of Hastings in which William the Conqueror came over from Normandy and decided to make England his new year-round residence. He and his decedents changed to the course of English history and if your family has its origins in England, it is a good chance your are descended from one of his conquering hoard. Anyway, I degress….

This little exchange really underscores one of the reasons I really am happy with our move to Ireland – the imbedded history in the people and culture, not to mention all the cool old houses and castles!

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# Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A new car, with the steering on the wrong side!

I think we had the easiest car buying experience, ever......

 

Today as Reeves was walking home from the SPAR on the corner, picking up some bread and juice for me to make breakfast, he happened to cross over the street and walk by an used car on the street the BMW dealership had parked there to move around their inventory (which seems like a daily occurrence).

 

Since it was a 3 series station wagon (one of the cars we have been considering) he thought he just might see if it was an automatic transmission, which is harder to find than a dry day here.  Confirming it was auto, he didn’t think he could possibly be as lucky to discover it has a/c as well.  Peering through the rain-soaked window, there it was, the tell-tale snowflake – it had A/C!

 

Not believing his luck, he came in and called to talk with the sales manager to ask why it was such a good price to boot. Everything checked out and it had just been on the sales floor for a couple weeks, so wanting to move it, the price had just been reduced. Since Reeves was home because we were expecting our new replacement fridge to be delivered (yes, we haven’t had a working fridge yet) we couldn’t go over till 2 pm.  We took a test drive and by 3 pm, we had a new (used) car!  Since the price of the car was so resonable, we only haggled down once and even at that price, it was almost half of what we were going to spend on a new Jetta we had begrudgingly decided to buy.  (scary huh, cars here are insanely priced for new and NOTHING is “standard”, you even need to pay extra for armrests and cup holders!)

 

So the car is a 2001 318 wagon in black (the only color we really didn’t want, but beggars, etc. etc.) with grey cloth interior and a tape deck, how quaint!  The car had only one previous owner, a full service record, taxes paid through the end of the year and a full one year warranty, good through out Europe!  (just as a note, most every new car here only has a 2 year warranty, nothing like the US and their 4 and 5 year ones)

 

We still can’t take possession of the car since we don’t have insurance, and getting car insurance means getting a provisional Irish drivers license, which we are hoping to do over the next week or two.  Thankfully, with the dealership (and their service center) being right across the street, we can have them hold the car for us till we are ready to take delivery.     

 

This is one huge weight lifted off us and with the great price, we can even take a driving trip over to England now without guilt!!  Hay-on-Wye here we come!!!!

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# Monday, August 14, 2006

One month and counting

I can't believe it has now been a full month we are here.  In some ways it feels like forever since we were in San Jose and others, it can't possibly be a month since we moved in....very weird state of being.

 

It has been a couple weeks since I posted here for a couple reasons…

1)       We just got broadband access as of Friday (after 'borrowing' our neighbor's unsecured wireless access until they left on vacation and turned off their computer, the nerve of them! :) )

2)       Amy was visiting for 2 weeks and we spent time in Scotland while she was here

 

I will start putting up some more posts soon, but today, after spending almost 6 hours online looking for jobs, I am a bit exhausted with the computer and will post more about the past couple weeks in the next few days.  

 

However, here is a link to some of the pictures from Amy’s visit.

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# Thursday, July 27, 2006

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26/07/06

 

Day 13 and I still can’t believe I am in Ireland.  Since we still don’t have our stuff, I guess it still feels like we are on ‘vacation’ like everyone said we would.  However, if this is vacation, it is a really exhausting vacation! J I started to muse about what makes one feel ‘at home’ in a place.  (yes, I have had too much time on my hands) As much as I have professed I wanted to purge our life of too much ‘stuff’, I have to admit I really miss the stuff we don’t have.  It is not so much the physicality of our stuff (although I really have wanted to curl up on our couch in front of a movie in the evening) but what I really miss is the idea of ‘us.’  ‘Us’ being the home we have built together, the choices we have made to create a unique and comfortable home which reflects the memories and choices we have made over the years, and in some cases, the items passed down the generations. Still a month till our stuff arrives, but it gets to take the scenic route and will see the Panama Canal, something I have always wanted to do! :) 

 

I found another new store today which I really like.  It is called Habitat and the American equivalent would be if the high-end stuff at Ikea merged with Crate and Barrel and then had smaller babies.   It has more modern looking items in addition to having a section where they do sales of vintage Scandinavian furniture, something I am very excited about purchasing.  It is located in city centre right across from a 19th century church converted into the Dublin tourism center.  It is the most beautiful center you could ever image and very apropos for the surroundings.  I picked up a good 2-inch stack of free brochures for Amy’s visit next week and for our further enjoyment of the greater area. 

 

Once again, it was a glorious day and I did an hour and a half walk in the morning through Ranelagh, over to Rathmines, and down through Beechwood, three of the closer villages to our Milltown.  

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# Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A few more "firsts"

It is Sunday evening and Reeves and I are sitting with our respective laptops in front of the TV-PC watching Sex and the City dvds.  Since we still don’t have internet access or cable, I am a bit starved for access and entertainment.  I can’t believe how much I depend on having access to organize and live my life.  It seems everything I want to “research” to do needs the internet – wow, I am a geek and didn’t even know it! 

 

We just got back from walking to dinner in Ranelagh (again J ), this time it was at a different Italian place which was very yummy.  We sat outside and did a little people watching since it was such a lovely evening again.  An interesting practice which I have noticed at restaurants is Dubliners have a tendency to just sit at any open table, without checking with the host to see if there is a wait. I have now seen at least three couples sit down only to be shooed away by the hostess.  I am curious to know if the practice was the acceptable norm until the population expanded to the point where the seats became prime real estate, much like the houses around here.

 

The weather is perfect here for outdoor dining right now.  We really have very little humidity (about like San Jose) and the evenings are pleasant.  Compared to what I have been reading about the bay area and the tremendous heat wave, we are blessed!

 

It has also been a weekend of Dublin firsts for us.  On Friday I took the LUAS in the city center to do a little shopping all by myself.  It is so fun to realize we finally live close to a major metropolitan area which is interesting, exciting and close enough to use public transportation to reach!  I had a lovely afternoon at Brown Thomas shopping for some new linens for our soon-to-be house guest, Amy.  En route home I stopped by Mark & Spencer’s café for an “organic egg and watercress sandwich” and a lovely glass of white wine.  You gotta love a country where the ‘cafeterias’ serve nibbles like this!! 

For the next ‘first’ we met up with Lawrence (who also works at MS and will soon be moving into the office next to Reeves) and his girlfriend, Fiona, at a local pub/restaurant to enjoy our first Friday night at the pubs! We enjoyed a couple bottles of wine here before we went to another more ‘traditional’ pub and happen to run into a couple more MS people and one of their friends.  We had some fun conversation and more wine and Bulmers cider (sp?) which Reeves actually had almost a whole bottle.  The cider is a malt beverage which is sweeter and it a ‘lighter’ fair than the average beer.  We closed down the place and didn’t get home till 1:30am – pretty late for us old folks.    

 

Saturday, I nursed a pretty good hangover, one the likes I haven’t had in a very long time.  I learned my lesson in trying to keep up with the locals and drinking!  That day we had brunch with Susan (a MS employee) and her Fiancé, Olivier, for a late brunch at noon.  We met them at the Dundrum Shopping Town from which they live walking distance.  They are a fun couple and we are glad to have them to help us become acclimated to the community.   Olivier works for Dell, so we all have lots in common with the technology industry as our focus. 

Bunch unfortunately was not serving breakfast when we arrived so I was still craving my greasy hangover food when we walked by McDonalds en route home later in the day.  I really didn’t want to give in as there is so much wonderful food out there we want to try, but this was an emergency situation.  I have to say, however, that was the best damn McDonalds I have had in years! J 

 

Back to Sunday the 23rd  - it was another first for me, driving on the other side of the road.  I wanted to practice with Reeves in the car so he could help look out for things and help me with judging distances.  I have to say that driving on the left is pretty easy to master compared with judging the distance to the curb on the other side of the car.  What makes it even more disconcerting judging distances is the lack of space here and the very narrow roads. In some cases there will be cars parked on both sides of the road and a very large double-decker bus coming at you with what seems like one room for one of us to pass through.  At this point both Reeves and I come to almost a complete stop and let the bus pass because it is better than taking a side mirror off the rental car! (especially since Reeves has already managed to blow out a tire from hitting a curb on the left side of the car, which just as easily could have been me doing it!)

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# Monday, July 24, 2006

A few updates

I haven't had Internet access again untill today so I have a few posting I have been saving....

19/07/06

 

Today was a meeting with our tax consultant with KPMG who helped us sort out the Irish tax schema.  It actually is much simpler than you would imagine and much simpler than the United States.  In fact, what you get every month is what you get, the taxes are deducted right away and there is none of the wondering about if you will need to pay or get a rebate – great system!  The only downside is the taxes are higher here, so we are still waiting to see what our ‘take-home’ is each month and hopefully it will leave a little left over for traveling! 

 

After our consultation we did a quick browse of Brown Thomas (the Irish equivalent of a Neiman Marcus or Bergdorf Goodman) a lovely little lunch at an outdoor table at a café off of Grafton Street and then the LUAS home.  This afternoon I have spent several hours trying to keep my promise to myself and our blog of Ireland.  Additionally, I have been updating my resume, and replying to a few e-mail before the neighbor, whose wifi I have been camping on, logs off.    

 

For dinner we went into Ramelagh for dinner again, this time for Indian at The Punjab Balti.  What a yummy place – the saag paneer was divine and although the naan was much thinner than we were used to, it was quite yummy.  I am looking forward to the future take-away from this new restaurant.

 

 

20/07/06

 

It is about 5 pm and about 85 degrees out – ugh – and very few places here have air conditioning.  I have not been dwelling on ‘what we left behind’ but right now I would kill for the a/c in out house!!  The week has been lovely without a drop of rain in sight, but I am ready for a few cooler days soon.  I really didn’t pack the right clothing for this warm of weather, so today I went by the Dundrum shopping town, a very familiar place to every American mall rat out there, and bought a pair of longer shorts and a couple linen tops at the department store The House of Fraser (a little nicer than Macy’s but not quite a Barneys).  They are having their summer sales right now and I have to say they are much better than the US.  Things were between 40-70% off and a great deal of the store was on sale. 

 

Today we also went to get our PPS number, the equivalent of a Social Security number which you need when you are employed and paying taxes.  Even though I don’t have a job yet I was able to get one since Reeves was doing his. The office was near Dun Laoghaire, which also happens to be the dock from which the car ferry leaves for Wales and England.  I really can’t wait to take that trip, but I think we need to be here a bit longer than a week. J

 

Right now I am just waiting for Reeves to come home from work so we can sup.  I am really glad I brought along my Sex and the City dvds.  They have been a great source of entertainment, especially since we can’t use Irish dvds in the computer till Reeves works his magic with the regional codes. 

 

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# Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A few bumps, but all is good in ‘ole Dublin

We arrived safely Friday morning Dublin and after a ride in a hired car with WAY too much luggage.  We stayed at the Beacon hotel which we called home for two nights in order for us to get settled in and get our new house set up.  We started the day off with a very quick shower and went straight to the bank to get our account set up. (MS has really had some great relocation services including someone to take us around to do all these ‘administrative’ issues who is local and knows the process.) Since Ireland has so many of the utilities paid by direct debit only, this was very important to set up quickly so we could have the utilities set up in our name. I however could not sign up for account or even as a joint account since I did not have proof of residency (i.e. lease with my name on it, utility bill, etc. There is so much of this circular proess it is amaizing - can't get an account without a proof of residency, but can't get residency without proof of an account - I don't know how the average person does all this without a large company to vouch for them) so Reeves said I have to be really nice to him. J  After the bank we headed to the Garda Immigration Office (The Garda are the police here - from the Gaelic) This is where we get our “official” card to state we are in the country legally and are able to stay (equivalent to the American Green card).  That took a couple hours since it is first-come, first-served system and is as slow as most government offices, for which America does not have a monopoly on!

End of Day one in Dublin……

 

Day two started early with a retail spree spending all the money we earned selling off everything in San Jose.  We knew we were going to need to replace many things (everything you plug in to start with) so we started with stuff like a convection microwave oven, toaster, iron, etc. in addition to things like paper towels, laundry detergent, and dish soap.  It is amazing how many things you forget about which take to start a household!  Every time I go to do a task I have to think through what it is going to take and if I can do it or not!  One important item I had forgotten the first night was a wine bottle opener, but thankfully with the Irish drinking laws being what they are, the Italian delivery delivered my bottle of wine already corked! J  We have purchased a couple more ‘fun items’ including a really great sat/nav system which has all the maps for IE/UK and the whole of Europe.  I hope we put it to use very soon! Additionally, since we want to have a TV in the kitchen and eat-in area, we decided to purchase a windows Media Center edition computer with 19 in. screen to eventually keep in the kitchen for me to use while I am cooking and if we want to watch something while eating dinner.  We have it in the living room right now, with 2 lawn chairs in front of it, and we are watching dvds since we won’t have cable till next week.  

 

Our new little home is very cute and has many of the things we wanted including character.  We have gotten a few more things than we wanted, however, including an army of spiders!  If you know me you know I don’t do spiders – bugs yes, spiders no.  Since the house has been sitting for several months it was needing a good shaking and we have shaken out more than our share including one last night that was actually big enough it audibly bumped its way down the death-tube (aka vacuum) – yuck!  So this morning we looked up exterminators. Interesting note, there is not a single pest control company in the yellow-pages which lists “spiders,” nor, when we looked for our own spray, did any of the products list spiders, just “crawling pests”.  I don’t know what the issue with killing spiders is, but I am not going to be shy about this one. J 

 

We have also been getting used to new appliances and new ways of doing things.  So far I have managed to turn some of our whites grey in the washer.  Weird thing however is that it was not the whole load, just certain pieces and certain parts of clothing.  From what I can tell it was certain synthetics that reacted with some process/chemical in the washer.  For example, a pair of Reeves underwear (which was white cotton) had just the inside of the waistband turn grey and the rest just fine and a pair of my underwear which were beige turn a strange light grey-green.  The plane white t-shirt and a button-down turned out just fine….hmmmm…..if anyone out there has a solution please let me know as I am scared to do any more “good” pieces for fear of ruining them!

 

On the upside of our house is the location – we are about ½ block from a small row of shops which includes a dvd rental store, cleaners, pharmacy (which carries some fancy products like Dior makeup/skin care), the very cute little fancy café Inna run by a young German woman and the best of all, a day spa with mani/pedis and salon!  Right next these shops is a Spar shop which like a cross between a 7-11 and fancy specialty market.  They have a full wine collection, made-to-order deli in addition to the selection of other groceries and small sundries. It is a very handy corner and on the way back from the LUAS (Dublin’s light rail system) to our house!  In addition, we are only a 10 minute walk from the village of Ranelagh. For those from California, it is like a little downtown Palo Alto or Los Gatos, but older and with more pubs! We have eaten at a few of the restaurants and like what we had had thus far, including the take-away Chinese we walked to get last evening. 

 

One of my favorite things about visiting, and now living, in a different country is the comparison/contrast with all aspects of life from how you order coffee to driving on the other side of the road.  I am going to try and keep track of these and share them as I guess I am a sociologist at heart!  

A few I have noticed so far:

  • You can’t buy a blanket to go on your bed.  Everything is duvets, coverlets (to put on top of your duvet) or small throws.
  • People don’t have screens on their windows – there are still bugs, but no screens
  • The smart card is king & your credit card never leaves your sight which is great for security
  • Shops close quite early and even the main phone company that owns all the telephone lines, isn’t open on Sundays to open a phone account.
  • There are few to no street signs on roads so finding your way without a map or sat/nav system is nearly impossible
  • You rarely get a bag to put your products in when making purchase at grocery stores, diy stores and the like
  • Every shopping cart we have used thus far require a 1 or 2 euro ‘deposit’ inserted into the handle (which then releases the latch which holds it onto another cart) You get it back when you return the cart and re-latch it to the other carts.

 

The weather has also been unseasonably warm – into the 80s (low 30s Centigrade) which means you sweat a lot here since very few places have air conditioning.  It has been great to get us eased into the climate here, but I am afraid it is lulling us into a false sense of security! J

 

Enough for today, I am afraid I need to return to cleaning and updating my resume.  I have started submitting my resume, but need to really get serious about it so I can have some other distractions outside of the house.  Until next time…..

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# Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Time to go

It has been almost a month since my last post, but so much has happened it will take a bit to get it all in here, which will happen over the next few postings.  In a nutshell, however, we sold our house, our three cars and about 1/2 our possessions. Had the rest packed up and it is right now on a boat somewhere in the Pacific ocean on its way to Ireland. Right now we are about to shut up the house for the last time as owners and leave it to its next chapter with the new owners, Michael and Gayle. 

Our new life starts tomorrow and with a wonderful forecast to greet us when we arrive on Friday morning in Dublin!

 

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# Friday, June 02, 2006

So much to do….

…so little time.  Isn’t that always the case!?!?  For the few of you out there that do not know yet, we are moving to Ireland and selling our house.  We have been killing ourselves trying to get our house ready to put on the market, and as of today it is there! If you want to check it out, her are some links…

 

SeeItBuyIt.com and our Realtor’s site.

 

Hope we can sell quickly as we already have a townhouse waiting for us in Dublin!

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# Monday, March 06, 2006

Simple pleasures

I LOVE getting postcards!  It is one of those things in life which gives me an un-explainable giddiness when I find the little treasure among all the postal spam.  I received a postcard today with some beautiful art from the British Portrait Gallery from my friend Amy and her recent trip to England. 

 

I guess one of the reasons I love postcards so much is the little visual and mental escape you get when reading the happy personal message and gazing at the exotic scene.   What a fun tradition!

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# Wednesday, January 25, 2006

New Glasses and the worst customer service….EVER!

I am still fuming over my horrific treatment and it is five days later, therefore, as a cathartic exercise, I am posting this. You however ask, what could possibly be.the source of this extremely verbose dissertation and my antagonized state? The store, Optical Illusions, on Santana Row in San Jose.  

 

The tale of woe begins when I bought a pair of glasses from them in August of 2004. They were my first ‘fun’ pair of glasses, breaking out of a traditional frame into a bit more avant-garde style which I grew to really like. (although it did take some convincing from Reeves at first) At the time of purchase, I ignored the fact I paid WAY too much for these glasses, justifying it by thinking I would have them for awhile.

 

When I purchased the glasses, the service people at the store were nice enough, although the shop is pretentious and their staff does subtlety exude this presence, but I wanted my glasses too much to care at that point.  Over the past year and a half, I have visited the shop about every 4-6 weeks to have my glasses adjusted because my chosen frame-lens combo led to the glasses splaying out, causing them to be too wide for my face.  Several of the times I went in to have them adjusted they made me feel like Vivian in Pretty Woman when she walked into the snobbish boutique the first time, that I couldn’t have possibly have purchased glasses in THEIR store.

Side note: I am VERY picky about how my glasses are adjusted since I wear them (over contacts) about 85% of the time – therefore, they must be comfortable, without pressure points and tight enough they don’t slide down my nose every time I look down at my keyboard. All of this said, I would only leave their adjustment to the professionals since I don’t want to have my glasses damaged or unusable.

 

As luck would have it, about 6 weeks ago I somehow managed (and I still can’t figure out how since they have never bee dropped to my knowledge) to put a deep scratch in the left lens, just slightly to the right of my center focal point.  It was really annoying, but I had to get used to it for awhile since the holidays hit and with traveling and school, I just didn’t have time to get them repaired.  I also have to say, as a preface to the upcoming conclusion of this tale, in my almost 25 years of wearing glasses, I have never had to have lenses or frames replaced from my carelessness.  

 

To get onto my rant….I went into Optical Illusions on Saturday night (accompanied by my friend Leslie) and went up to the counter and stated I would like to have a price quote for replacing the lenses since one had been damaged. The woman I was speaking to went in back and another gentleman (and I use that term very loosely here) came back with my file and glasses.  He quoted me $280 (admittedly the same price I paid before), but I knew this was high (from my many, many previous purchases) and asked if there was anyway he could price match another quote.  He proceeded to hem and haw about how their lenses were superior to other lenses and how the lenses could not match their quality.  Now, I have been around the block a few times and there are standards to which all lenses need to adhere and there is not that much difference in the quality, years ago maybe, but now, no.  At this point, another employee came over and tried to tell me the same thing, that if any other store could sell them for less, they must be sub-standard, especially the thin ones I ordered, which most places charge a considerable amount for or don’t carry. This sealed my opinion of him, that he was full of it - I have been getting the ‘thin’ lenses for years and it is pretty standard as ‘normal’ these days.

 

At this point in the conversation, I am still quite composed and polite and ask if there is anyway to reduce my cost again – they both state that if I don’t get the anti-glare coating, it would reduce the cost by $80.  I agree, and we settle on this solution…..the price is reduced to $200.  OK, not what I hoped for, but still it is costing me less.  Content enough. I pull out my credit card and think things should go quickly from here….HA HA HA!

 

I also want to mention at this point the attitudes of the sales people – the moment I stated the cost seemed high and if there was anything they might be able to do, they immediately got VERY defensive, hence all the hemming and hawing I got…..all I  can say is “me thinks thee doth protest too much…”?????

 

Little did I know the drama about to begin when the first gentleman proceeds to inspect my frames and lenses closer and notices the frames seem to be miss-shaped.  I had sort of noticed this a few months ago, but really didn’t think too much of it since I had them adjusted by them several times since and nothing was said to me about it. They still stayed on my face and I could still see out of them, so all should be good with the world.  I stated this same think back to him and his response, in an accusatory tone, as he starts popping the lenses in and out “have you had these glasses adjusted by anyone else?”  I responded with a firm but polite ‘no.’ Next came from him, almost spitting it at me, “well who adjusted them?”  Woaaaa, where did the attitude come from again, and more importantly, what sort of question is that????  In 1 ½ years did he really think I only had them adjusted only once???  

 

I proceed to tell him of my routine of every 4-6 weeks coming by and again he throws back to me the same question “who has helped me” in his now growing snooty-ness.  At this point I am starting to loose my patients, but still trying to keep my cool I calmly state that “unless you have a policy of writing down every time I come in, how can I possibly remember who has helped me each time” and go onto to say that each of the employees in the store at that moment had helped at least once. (I already knew they didn’t have this policy since I had only been questioned a couple times if I had purchased my glasses there when I came in to have them adjusted) This response causes him to quiet down for a minute and shuffle his paperwork around as if look for such a log that I knew, he knew, didn’t exist.  

 

Again, he goes back to futzing with the frames, knowing that his line of questioning was going nowhere, so then states, almost spitting it, “well, you must had stepped on them or something”………..THE NERVE!!  At his point I am starting to silently fume, how dare he accuse me of this!  I firmly (but still politely) state, while looking him straight in the eyes, this has NEVER happened. 

 

Again, more futzing and the final question “well, if you didn’t step on them you must have left them in your car on a hot day.”  Ok, now I am ready to jump up and down and as him if knows to whom he is asking this question (which obviously he does not or he would know I would never do any of the accused), but I know if I cause a fuss, he really won’t do anything to fix them, since I am starting to realize this must be something pretty serious going on with the frames for him to be going on like this.  More firmly this time, I look him in the eyes again and slowly respond to emphatically emphasize my answer while still trying to hold back the distain in my voice,”I NEVER leave them in the car.”  

 

I speak my statement and just keep staring at him, which causes him to again start messing with my glasses. He then decided to take the passive-aggressive approach and mumbles that I must have stepped on them once again.  I ignore his comments and becoming more concerned about my frames, ask if they can then be fixed or replaced since the only place I have ever had them adjusted was with them.  He fumbles with them more and realizing I am obviously not backing down, says we will get the lenses in and we will go from there.  At this point I can tell from the way he say it and from the way he is handling the frames, they are, and will be unusable.  

 

We finish the transaction as Leslie and I chat about other things, basically trying to distract myself from my flustered state of being, incurred from the accusations and the inquisition I was not expecting.  Feeling like I was between a rock and a hard place without time to contemplate all the repercussions, we finalize by him trying to hold onto my (only!) pair of glasses for a week till the lenses come in for their instillation. He acts like it is a HUGE favor he is now doing for me by letting me keep my glasses for a week, stating he will then install the lenses in “only an hour” when they come in the following week.  Just wanting to get out of there by now, we leave, still dazed by the whole incident.

 

At the time I thought my only choices were either not having my lenses replaced and having to just throw out the glasses (since he was so convinced they were ruined and their store was the only ones who could replace the frames since it was their fault they were in that state, although he didn’t believe me) and having to invent another $200 in them to not loose my previous investment…..I choose to continue with the transaction and go from there.

 

In fuming, mulling, and being distraught about it all night, I relayed the story to Reeves and he made me realize that loosing my original investment (which truthfully I had been able to use for 1 ½ years) was a VERY small prices to pay to a) not invest $200 more in this horrid company and b) to never have to return to their shop again!!! 

 

The only catch was if I would be able to cancel the order…..

 

The next morning Reeves and I went into the shop (because if there was going to be a confrontation, I wanted to do it in person and with witnesses, just in case) to cancel.  I asked one of the two women who were working if I could cancel my order from the previous evening. She went in the back and brought out an empty tray, which I assume, was the beginning of my order, stating it seemed like it would be ok, but she needed to get managerial approval the next morning and would call me first thing since she was working, letting me know my account was credited.  I thanked her kindly (sort of hoping she would ask me WHY I was canceling so I could tell her it was the horrible customer experience I had) and left.

 

The next day, not hearing anything by almost 1pm, I called the store and asked for her.  She was at lunch (of course), so I told the woman on the phone I had spoken with her yesterday and she was going to call me back about a managerial approval for a canceled ordered.  I barely got out my explanation when the woman on the phone cut me off and stated, with the store’s now infamous snobbery, it was credited to my account.  I quick thanked her and she said something like “yeah” and hung up!

 

I can’t even begin to list all the things wrong with this horrible, horrible experience. Not only was this not just one person, but a pervasive attitude for ALL the employees!!  I will NEVER set foot back into Optical Illusions again and will beat my friends silly with a wet noodle if they ever thing of patronizing this establishment.

 

The happy conclusion to this story…..I went back to Lenscrafters, but their Optique store this time, which has more trendy and fun frames, for which I had strayed for before, and found a pair of frames I actually like better than my previous ones!  The best part, I was quickly helped by friendly, efficient people (without the pretentious attitude, even though the brands they carry are almost identical to those at Optical Illusions) and the lenses WITH the anti-glare, featherweight size were only $240!!!!  Additionally, with the Blue Cross discount that we have (and Lenscrafters honors), the lenses were only $140!!!!! 

 

Ok, feeling better now. J  (and it is all about me you know) ;-)

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# Wednesday, January 04, 2006

New Year, New Internship and a few memories

What a year, 2005….I can say with absolute certainty I am glad to have all the work I put into 2005 behind and I am looking forward to more challenges in 2006. I just had an interview at the Computer History Museum today and I am happy to say I got the internship!  It is actually a paid internship (hence the hour interview) although it is a very small stipend, but not the reason for doing the internship.  The CHM is conveniently located almost directly across the street from the MS campus which will mean Reeves and I can carpool again to work!  I will be there Wednesdays and Thursdays starting February 1 and working for 3 months.  I am excited about this position as I will be using more of my archival skills as well as incorporating technology into the mix.

 

School starts again on 1/25 so I am really relishing the time free since last semester was so hectic.  This semester however is going to test all my computer skills (and probably Reeves’ patience with me as I pepper him with a million questions). I am, however, excited to get down and dirty with technology and really understand what all my more computer savvy friends are talking about at parties. (yes, we are all geeks in case you didn’t get that before)

 

One of the classes will cover the following:
Information Technology Tools and Applications

We will focus on modular Web site design and DHTML (Dynamic HTML). Dynamic HTML uses (X)HTML, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), and JavaScript as the building blocks for Web sites. Students will be introduced to XML and PHP. In this class students will:

(1) Understand the client server relationship and work with a Unix server
(2) Design conceptual and practical strategies for presenting information on the Web
(3) Create content in XHTML format
(4) Design interfaces using CSS
(5) Incorporate features such as images, frames, interactive forms in a cgi directory, image maps, internal search engines, and Perl scripts
(6) Work with JavaScript, PHP, and XML
(7) Study design, accessibility, and cultural issues

 

The second class will cover Digitization (as a form of access and preservation) – that is the process of taking a physical item (paper typically) and transforming it into a digital record – not to be confused with digital preservation which is the process of managing the life cycle and preservation of digital objects which originated as digital information.

 

In summary, I will have 2 classes and the internship.  I really thought I was going to have an ‘easy’ semester, but with these two classes which will both be a challenge to me, and an internship which requires double the time I was doing last semester, it is going to be another busy 5 months.  Well that is the new, back to the old…..

I also wanted to quickly review some of the events of 2005 for which I would like to remember (since I like to use this as a diary of sorts) and they are:  (and please forgive me if I forget something, but it was a very busy busy year):

1) Fabulous trip to St. Thomas with the family (which we get to go back to in April)

2) Spending Valentine’s day and Reeves’ birthday with friends in Tahoe

3) My first Archives conference, in Las Vegas none the less!

4) My friend Leslie getting engaged to a great guy, Jason!

5) The amazingly beautiful wedding of our friends Dick and Trina

6) The wedding and mini family reunion of Reeves’ cousin Nancy & Chuck

7) Amy visiting here and our Napa valley adventure

8) Mike’s 40th Birthday Bash in Vegas with ‘the crew’

9) My visit to New Orleans for the Society of American Archivists conference while also visiting my Mom who lives in the area….and leaving only 5 days before Katrina hit….

10) My internship at Stanford’s Hoover Institute

11) Finishing a total of 7 graduate classes in one year!

12) Celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary (with artwork J )

12) Visiting Goshen, NY and NYC for the 2005 holidays

 

That is all that comes to mind at the moment, but I really hope I can be better about blogging as I really enjoy keeping a record of my life, even if there is no one who is really interested in reading it! J

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# Friday, September 16, 2005

“Back to life, back to reality…

…however do you want it, however do you need it”…..ok, so I admit, I really like this song and pretty much can sing it on cue, but as embarrassing as that is, it is so appropriate this week!  After being away for what seemed like a decade, I am getting back in the swing of things. 

 

R and I returned on Friday evening to a very happy puppy that was glad to be home again. She actually seemed to grow stronger over the week we were gone so I guess it was a good thing she went to the kennel (although her guilty parents almost break down every time we have to leave her).  Her back leg and muscles since her last ‘episode’ seem to have taken much longer to adjust, but I really hope I am that spry at 14 ½ dog-years!! (what is that, like a million people years or something!)

 

Saturday I had my Archives and Manuscripts class all day – one of the few classes I feel like I have actually been challenged in so far.... (and I am more than ½ way through the program) My professor, Lori Lindburg, is very inspirational and I wish I had even a ¼ of her energy – she is currently a PhD student (about to defend her dissertation this fall), full time SJSU faculty member, full-time paid archivists, and a wife and mother of 2!!  I don’t think she could possibly have time to sleep!!!!

 

On Sunday I ran our annual Society of American Archivists Student Chapter meeting.  In addition to preparing for the meeting for several hours, I had to trek to campus to conduct the meeting.  Should be a good year, we had several enthusiastic people volunteer for our executive team – always good to have people around you which want to be there!!

 

Monday was my very first day at Stanford – this is where I am doing my internship for school.  I am working at the Hoover Archives doing Library of Congress Subject Heading classification, as well as short summaries, of audio tapes from the Commonwealth Club of California.  The tapes go back to the 1930s, but I am starting with 1970.  I really am going to learn my CA political, social and economic history!!  The archivist for whom I am working, Lisa, is really great – she is going to be a wonderful mentor and I think I will learn a great deal about the ins and outs of the archival industry from her.   I will be working there every Monday for the rest of the semester as well as a handful of other days to make my 135 hours for 3 credits of class work. 

 

Wednesday night we celebrated Dick’s Birthday at the House o’ Prime Rib  in SF– what a fun evening of laughter and high-jinx.  We were the table every waiter dreads – in addition to our decibel breaking laughter, we had a table full of comedians which took pleasure in making the waiters fulfill all our ‘special requests’ including my “warm” pecan pie. (which was fabulous I have to say!)  I really wish we lived closer to the city, but until then, a short drive is very little cost to enjoying our good friend’s company.

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# Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Katrina update

I finally heard from my mom on Saturday evening (just as we were rushing off to Reeves’ cousins’ wedding in Sausalito) – they are doing fine – have had plenty of food and water, but gasoline is the most precious commodity at this point.  They were able to get into their house in Slidell on Sunday to find the remnants of 5 feet of water in the house, with everything covered by silt and a growing layer of mold.  Pretty much all their possessions are gone, but the house is still standing and they are safely staying with Don’s daughter in her house which was not affected.  They have no idea how long it will take to remove and repair the damage – first it is the long wait for the insurance adjuster to evaluate the property and until then, they can’t do anything to the property, even though the mold grows by the day.  It is going to be a very long rode ahead for all of us it seems….

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# Thursday, September 01, 2005

Katrina

About noon on Sunday, August 25, my Mom called to say she and her boyfriend, Don, with whom she lives, were evacuating because of the coming storm.  They had first thought they would try and ride out the storm, but just decided that morning they would be leaving just as soon as she made a few phone calls and packed a few things….that is the last I have heard directly so far.  They live in Slidell, LA which is just North of New Orleans on the shore of lake Pontchartrain.  I guess it is a fairly small community that has many water inlets and according to the few reports I can find, is almost completely gone.  Today I did get a call from Don’s niece with whom they were supposedly staying farther North, but I guess even they weren’t far enough away and had to evacuate farther.  Everyone is physically fine, but there is still no word on their house yet – I am assuming at this point it is all gone since they only packed a car-full of belongings.

 

I wanted to tell everyone who has contacted us with their well wishes and concerns, thank you.  I am still in a bit of disbelief, and until I hear more, am hoping for the best, but planning (realistically) for an unfortunate outcome to their home. I will keep everyone post when I can…..

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# Thursday, July 28, 2005

A spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down, the medicine go down-own….etc.etc.etc.

So, I have been sitting at my desk all morning working on a paper with the basic theme of ‘the Patriot Act’s impact and influence on the records management industry’…as you can tell by the title this is a scintillating piece full of drama, intrigue and passion…..NOT!! 

I was having a hard time getting into it and after several days of only starts and stops, (and only 2 pages written) as well as an incredibly frustrating morning, I finally found my ‘spoon full of sugar’ in the form of a glass of wine with lunch! 

Ok, I really am not a lush, I promise, (and yes, I know, admitting it is the first step) but let me tell you how much better I have been writing since my libation!

The true test will be when my proof-reader (aka husband) gives it the once over….maybe I will just have to stick with caffeine. J  

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# Wednesday, July 20, 2005

No more pin cushion here

I had my yearly appointment with my allergist today and he took me off allergy shots which I had been receiving for over 8 years!  I had the last shots today, and with two swollen arms, so much so I can’t lean them back against the couch while seated from the pain, I can’t say they will be missed AT ALL!

I reached a plateau about 3 years ago and really haven’t gotten much better since then.  I still have symptoms ranging from minor to severe depending on the season and exposure, but unfortunately with allergies, there is no cure, only alleviation of the symptoms.  I still can’t be around cats for any period of time without some of the most severe symptoms coming to the fore. Thankfully, of all the allergens, dogs only rate 2 out of 4 on the scale (I was a 4, the highest reaction, on all but 5 of the 49 tested) which means I can still “squeeze, and hug, and call (Nala) George” (….does anyone else remember that cartoon????)

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5 inches, baby!

After a long over-due hair appointment, I got my hair cut and highlighted today.  I really like my stylist, Lisa, and have been going to her for almost 8 years, not long after we moved to San Jose.  Even thought the place I go, 5 color Cowboy, is a bit avant-garde (there is usually someone getting pink or blue hair done while I am there), Lisa has always been great at knowing my limits and knowing what my hair can and won’t do (and what is best for my hair and my style).  Although I am feeling a bit scalped right now, I do like my hair cut and within a couple days I will get used to running my fingers through my hair and it stopping much sooner than I think it will!

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# Monday, July 18, 2005

Mail is Magical and Marvelous!

I have to admit, I look forward everyday to the chink-scrape-thunk of the mail-person leaving their allotted daily assortment of correspondence, both wanted and un-wanted, in our mailbox.  (the specific sound comes from our flapped mail box, which when opened and pushed again the wall in the vigorous manner needed to toss at least 10 catalogs on average, the loud 'scrape and thunk’ is inevitable when the mail drops to the bottom)  Being a stay-at-home student/wife, I have few interactions (unless you count my morning tea with Katie Couric and Matt Lauer an interaction) so I eagerly look forward to seeing what wonderful things might appear in my mailbox each day around noon. 

 

Today however, reinforced my amazement of the magical quality of the mail.  I had just finished reading my friend Trina’s blog, which stated they had just sent out their wedding invitations that day, (Saturday) when I heard the familiar chink-scrape and thunk.  Rushing eagerly to the door, but not so quickly as to surprise our poor over-worked mail carrier, (remember the 10 catalogs a day???? It can go up to 50 during the holiday season!!!) I quickly discarded those annoying and completely useless random coupons for ‘one-day blinds’ and got to the good stuff - the beautifully emblazoned wedding invitation from Dick and Trina!  In less than 24 working hours, this piece of mail had been put in a box in SF, sent to a station, scanned, had that little bar code attached to it, sorting onto one truck, made the journey to the south bay, sorted again, placed on a truck and walked directly to my humble front door.  (and I am sure I don’t even begin to know all the various steps in between my invitation saw)  …..and all this for 32 cents!! (well, actually 60 since it was a typical wedding invite with multiple sheets, but you get my point). 

 

In this digital age, I stop occasionally to marvel at how an e-mail can show up in my in-box with just a couple clicks on my keyboard, but I think it is much more astounding to remember all the millions of pieces of physical mail, which arrive with astounding accuracy, that must be touched, cared for and delivered safely to their destination, regardless of the crappy weather the mail carrier must endure, every day, for the last couple hundred years!!

 

My hats off to those dedicated and over-looked civil servants at the post office!

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# Monday, May 16, 2005

Time is a bizarre thing

I just realized that as of this week, I will have been living in California 10 years!  Wow, that is almost 1/3 of my life...and it feel like yesterday!

Time however feel like it has stood still for the past three weeks - too much homework, but it is all over today.  I take one final tonight and turn in my last paper/final tonight after I edit it a little.  Hallelujah!!!!

Then it is off to NYC to have some well-earned fun and relaxation.  Although, both Amy and I are quite the planners, so I have no doubt we will have an action-packed week! I am sure this week will go all too quickly....

Time is a bizarre thing

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# Tuesday, May 03, 2005

All the info you need is free!

After the past year of being tied too many hours to my desk studying, with little physical activity, except walking from the computer to the living room, I decided about 5 months ago to do something about my sluggish lifestyle and expanding waist line.  While I have incorporated about 45-60 minutes of physical activity into my day, almost everyday,(and losing over 20 lbs so far) I have just begun (well, over the past 2-3 months) to truly change my eating habits.  In that process, today I went to the USDA’s website because I wanted to see what the “new pyramid” was all about.  I don’t think I have ever actually looked at the report before, but in spending about 45 minutes reading and skimming the 90 some pages, I realized all anyone needs is this one free report to be fit and healthy!  I used to dismiss the pyramid as something you saw on elementary school walls as an outdated and ignored poster, but the verbiage, for the most part, of the report is down-to-earth simple advice.  I strongly recommend reading or at least skimming all the “Key Recommendation” sections.  Your kidneys, colon and heart will thank you for it – so, too will your loved one’s when you lead a longer, healthier life!!

 

FYI – don’t give up that glass of wine, coffee or olive oil – they are all part of a daily lifestyle, but like everything, in moderation.

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# Monday, May 02, 2005

Spring weather is just better with your top down

I have had a convertible for about the past 3 years and one of my favorite days of spring is the first day the top goes down…and that was today!!  It was a perfect 73 degrees out so I took my homework with me at went to my local Mexican food place and sat outside for about an hour eating my burrito and reading about the early history of American libraries.  I also ended up doing a couple errands that really didn’t need to be done today, but I felt too guilty ignoring my homework for just a spin around the city! J

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# Friday, April 29, 2005

Quite the year for benchmarks

I was thinking of all the events going on this year and thought I would list all the benchmarks happening in 2005:

1) Trina’s 35th birthday (which was yesterday and prompted me thinking of them all)

2) Lora’s 30th Birthday

3) Mike’s 40th Birthday

4) Reeves and my 10th Wedding anniversary (holy cow!)

5) Dick and Trina’s Wedding

6) My father-in-law, Rob’s, 70th Birthday

 

I am sure I am forgetting something….anyone?

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# Wednesday, February 02, 2005

A new semester

After a month of organization I feel like I can jump into a busy semester, and busy year to come, with less ‘stuff’ (literally) on my mind!  Reeves and I decided to reorganize our two additional bedrooms and pretty much switch all the contents so we could utilize the space more efficiently.  I have also plowed through about a dozen projects including photo albums, file purging, closet reorganization, memorabilia consolidation and a few decoration projects.  It feels great to have had the time to get some of these things done!

 

BUT, school started last week and there goes all my free time! I have a strict study schedule (with small breaks for things like blogging) – in fact I spent 7 straight hours yesterday reading and doing research.  It really is going to be a busy semester! This semester I have 3 classes again including:

1)       The History of Books and Libraries (of which I am very excited – I know, I know, I am a geek)

2)       Collection Management

3)       Cataloging and Classification (very bizarre class – all about how one transcribes the bibliographic information you find on the verso side of the title page of a book – we learn were to put every space, comma and colon!!  There is more to the class than just this, but after flipping through our new cataloging ‘bible’ which is the 3 inch-think binder of the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules [used by the Library of Congress], I think my brain hurts already!]

 

I have also taken on the responsibility of being the Chair of SJSU’s Student Chapter of the Society of American Archivists.  The title is much more impressive than what I have seen of the position so far, but I am going to try and change this….in fact I have already been meeting with people to try and get our chapter more active both locally and nationally – we will see how it goes!

 

As excited as I am about a new semester again, it is tempered with a bit of a black cloud from the quality of the program and my feeling like a solitary student. I have one class that is totally online, one class that met for 2 days last week and now is all online and a third that attendance at the lecture-only class is optional (all the lectures are digitally archived on the web and can be accessed at any time) - I am starting to really crave some in-person interaction.  I have taken the attitude that you get out of the program what you put in, but the more I talk with other students and discover on my own, the more frustrated I become with SJSU and specifically with the SLIS.   Now the million dollar question….. how long do I push through this program to just get done, or find a program that is higher quality and has a director that actually care about the future success of their students! 

 

Well, enough distraction for today, the books are calling me back…..

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# Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Home from the holidays

It is now January and with the craziness of the holidays over, I can now turn my attention to organization – one of my favorite hobbies. As much as I like organization, I do have a tendency towards pack-rattery (but much less than my husband thankfully!) so I have adopted a new mantra (borrowed a bit from my friend Amy) – “If I don’t love it, it goes”.  The only caveat to that is that it needs to be eminently useful – in other words, not something that I will save for 5 years that ‘might’ be useful in that time.  So far I have divested my closet of almost 2/3 of the contents, the linen closet, parts of my office and I am about to tackle the kitchen….(who really needs 6 sets of salt and pepper shakers!!) 

 

I don’t start school again till January 26th so I have a bit of time to get some things accomplished besides the daily maintenance of laundry, dishes, etc.   While in Colorado over Christmas I went through some of my old stuff at my Dad’s house and brought back with me the majority of pictures from growing up.  I so far have put about 600 pictures in albums and still have about 2/3 to go.  I have been putting them in new albums so that they will be preserved a bit better than the crumbling ones from which they originated.  I haven’t seen some of these pictures in 20 years and it has been very fun to take a memory stroll and share with Reeves some of my childhood.  I hope to start posting some select treasures - all the good, bad and ugly here, for all to share in the comedy. Stay tuned…..;-)

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# Friday, December 17, 2004

Winter and Christmas, as only California can do

Today, while out at Santana Row to get my glasses adjusted, I decided to get a Wahoo’s fish taco for lunch. While walking by the small grassed area in front of Wahoo’s, I noticed a strange flakey white substance in the air. Much to my shock it was snowing!!  If you live in the Bay area you know that today it was a beautiful sunny day which reached about 65 degrees.  You ask then, how could it be snowing???  Well, thanks to modern ‘technology’ (and according to a friend, the scientists at Disney) there were 3 snow making machines ejecting a constant stream of a substance much like soapsuds, but very fine, and from a distance, a dead ringer for snow.  Only in California would a mall spend that much money to produce a substance the colder parts of the nation spend millions trying to avoid and remove!!

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# Friday, December 10, 2004

My first semester, done!

After what seemed like a blink in time, my first semester of grad school is over and I have three classes done!  (although, the past couple weeks did seem to take an eternity with 3 papers and a group project due….)  I am still waking up in the morning trying to dispel the nagging presence of “what do I need to turn in today” feeling. I think by next week I should feel officially on break. 

 

And to answer the question my husband posed in his blog…what does one do when they have finished their first semester of school??…they go to DISNEYLAND!!!!  And we did!!!!!!   It was a very fun trip with many people who are even bigger Disney geeks than we are….in fact, we had a walking encyclopedia of Disney knowledge along – you name it, Andy knew it – we even stumped a few employees with questions to which he already knew the answers!!  (the reason you ask why we were asking employees questions?..... Andy created this amazing trivia/scavenger hunt for us to tackle for the two days we were visiting – what a tour guide!)  The park was magical and dressed to the nines for Christmas – definitely not the place to be if you are a bah-humbugger about Christmas carols, Christmas decorations, Christmas everything!  I am sure we will be back again the share the holiday season with ‘the mouse’.

 

Now I can turn my attention our upcoming trip to Colorado in only 11 days!  Eeek – too many packages to wrap, ship and pray get there in time!  I can’t also believe it has been a year and a half since I visited ‘home’. It is strange I don’t miss it more than I do, but I do have to say I am very excited about seeing Boulder, and spending some time with old friends and family.  Christmas at the Little’s (my in-laws that is) is always quite an event.  There is more food than we can all possibly eat and more bodies in one house than you think can survive in-tact for a whole week together – but we do, and still like each other after we part ways! ;-)

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# Thursday, November 25, 2004

Tis a gift to be simple…..

….you remember that song you sang in grade school ? – it always reminds me of Thanksgiving and to be thankful for what I have, including…..

 

My husband – every day I am reminded of how lucky I am to have someone who is a never ending source of strength, laughter and love.

 

My puppy….of 13 years….as always she is a reminder of what true unconditional love can be.

 

My friends – this past weekend at our 2nd annual Raclette fest of 2004 confirmed how important my friends are to me.  Their shared laughter and company is as important to me as breathing.

 

My mind – although I will never claim to be the smartest person in a room I am grateful to have been given an inquisitive nature and the ability to understand the great gift that is knowledge.

 

My possessions – yes, it is not the PC thing to say, but I am fortunate to share in a warm home and more pretty things than any one person really needs.

 

My health – other than a few minor ‘growing’ pains I have been thankful to have had a pretty easy run of it so far…..

 

My husband – am I aloud to have him on my list twice? Well, to me I am that thankful for him and secondly, this is MY list! :-)

 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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# Sunday, August 08, 2004

A fun weekend with my ‘hunny’

After two weeks of barely seeing my ‘hunny-moose’ (yes, this is an inside joke) we were able to spend a wonderful weekend together! 

 

Over the past two weeks I was doing school for what seemed like 24/7 and Reeves went to Colorado for a mini family reunion (including a very busy work schedule) so our together time consisted mostly of a kiss good morning and a kiss good night. 

 

On Saturday we slept in, what Joy! -then a lovely lunch at Santana Row and a bit of window shopping, followed by a fabulous guilty pleasure of an afternoon nap on the couch. (our couch is long with a chaise on one end so it is big enough to fit both of us comfortably, which is wonderful!) We then met our friends Mike and Bunny for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Vin Santo, in Downtown Willow Glen.  The four of us completed the evening by seeing the Bourne Supremacy. (it was a fun an action-packed flick and who can complain about watching Matt Damon for 2 hours!!)   

 

Today we were able to sleep in again and decided to take a drive in the convertible since the weather was beautiful.  We took the vette out and dove up Skyline Boulevard to Alice’s restaurant for great burgers and a fun parade of pretty motorcycles. (I am sure these manly-men would love to know their metal manhoods are referred to as pretty :) We took the road down to the PCH and up to the quaint Half Moon Bay downtown where we walked around a bit having fun looking at antiques and curiosities.   After an evening of dueling computers (Reeves doing work and I organized my homework for the next 4 months) in front of the TV we are about to happily snuggle into our cozy bed. 

 

Happy times!!

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# Thursday, July 08, 2004

Housewifery was not my calling....

After 5 loads of laundry and at least 4 more to do tomorrow, I must reflect on the job that is the housewife.  Being the non-breadwinner right now I am happy to take on the tasks of keeping the house running smoothly including the laundry, cleaning, cooking, errands, grocery shopping, gardening, bills, etc. But, and this is a big but, I am not going to miss any of it when I start working again.  I know there are many people who find it very satisfying at the end of the day when they have their task list done. I applauder these people and stand in awe of their dedication and ability. I on the other hand will be just as happy to sign my name to a check for the cleaning service, thank you very much!

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# Thursday, June 24, 2004

Journaling vs. bloging

Starting in High School I began an almost daily journal where I would pen the trials and tribulations of my teen angst.  Throughout college my journals were my method of dealing with all those thoughts you just can't express to anyone but a blank page.  It didn't judge, criticize or complain, but let me unleash my bottled psyche. 

I still have all those journals tucked away in my memory boxes and pull them out now and then to chuckle at who I was, relive a bit of of the past and reflect on where I have come. I have never let anyone read them and probably never will. 

Now, with limited time and even less energy to devote to two journals - that is a blog and a personal journal - I feel a pressure I didn't in my journal - to be witty, cleaver, intelligent and well written, a much different feeling than that blank page beckoning me to purge my most private thoughts. 

We will have to see how long I am able to keep up this type of journaling.  I know that the blog is a different venue for a different purpose, but so far, in my vast experience of 3 days, it has drained me of mental energy I am going to need much more of when grad school starts in a month.......

 

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# Tuesday, June 22, 2004

I've joined the cool kids

Well, after a year or so of stalking my friend's blogs, I have finally decided to take the plunge myself and put my 'little' and truly humble thoughts out there for everyone. 

I think this is the pinnacle of my technology geekdom and I am sure Reeves is swelling with pride over the fact I am actually going to use my blog! Anytime he can get me to use (and not complain about) technology I know it warms the cockles of his heart.

Well, unfortunately this is not the ideal time to be able to write much as I have a house full of double-bagged food and other indigestibles. We just had out house tented for termites this past week.  The house looks like a tornado hit and being the designated non-bread-winner, the task is mine to un-bag everything.  At least this will force me to do some well needed re-organization and expulsion of canned food that expired several years ago. (and yes, canned food does go bad!)

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