1.31.2003

Yesterday in my geology class, I sat next to an 18 year old kid who talked on his cell phone during class. Low enough that only I could hear him. At one point, he got up and walked out, then came back in. He also sneezed all over the desk, coughed incessantly and did everything he could to not pay attention. My glare while he was on the phone was not enough, nothing could hold him back. Towards the end of class, he started asking me questions that were on the homework, stuff he would've already had the answer to had he paid even a little bit of attention. Then he had the nerve to copy my notes, without asking. Little bastard.

I guess I do mean to be all high and mighty about this. I'm taking time away from earning real money to do this, to be there in that classroom and I resent the hell out of a kid who thinks he can just copy my answers when he's made no effort to pay attention. I realize that at his point in life, he doesn't have a direction, a focus, but I do and please get the hell out of my way while you talk on your cell phone.

Another weird thing at school, people who step inside to talk on their cell phones. Why? Did you need better acoustics?

But, last night I had the best class yet, with a guy who works for a county Parks & Recreation department. I started to see that there are more jobs out there than just ranger jobs, that the *and rec* part of Parks & Rec really appeals to me. There's a graduate program in it at San Jose State, I may start looking into that for the fall, hopefully after I land some kind of part time job with this guy's agency.

1.30.2003

Liz Doughty, Suave Student
In my (so far) lone administrative error, I waltzed into my night class on Tuesday, not realizing that it only meets on Thursday. Whoops.

Yesterday, I learned how to use PowerPoint and to add myself to a listserv. Never mind that I've been supporting listservs for the last 1.5 years as part of my (now former) job. All in all, school is okay, no, good. I'm looking forward to being done with it and having a nice job as a ranger but for now it's certainly way more interesting than working. I did not anticipate being as tired as I've been but today I'm more rested and ready for a big day of Geology (which I love), Badminton and Park Planning, the night class that does meet today.

Tuesday was the first day of allegedly introductory badminton. I walked in expecting a bunch of badminton novices like myself. The room soon filled with Chinese people, all of whom look very serious when it comes to badminton, and their high-quality racquets. It could prove to be a long semester...

1.29.2003

Greetings from College, where I've had a successful morning. I have just a few minutes before I have to hit my final and longest, and most boring class of the day. Today has been utterly plagued with doubt -- should I be doing this? shouldn't I be looking for a job? I'm not like these ranger types who backpack constantly and defecate without fear in the woods. But I know in the end, nice jobs with the National Park Service (NPS) await them and with a little bit of luck, a nice job with a city agency awaits moi.

Textbooks are even more of a ripoff today than when I was an undergrad the first time. I just bought one that was $75. $75 for ONE BOOK! It doesn't even include a password to free porn sites. Sheesh. This book better change my life.

1.28.2003

I had completely forgotten how emotionally draining being in school is. I came home after 4 classes yesterday absolutely wiped out, stumbling around the house. I'm a little better today and only have 2 classes (plus badminton, which doesn't count) so it should be easier today. I hope. The only low moment was when I walked into the cafeteria between classes, starving and freezing (the Park Management room seems to be devoid of heat) and was met with a room full of 18 year old jocks. When I went back at noon, the place had cleared out.

So far, everything seems doable, hopefully I'll feel that way later in the semester as well.

1.24.2003

Oriented
I went to the Welcome, Geezers meeting at school and also ended up at the official Geezer Orientation where I learned about the exciting world of college. Had I not gone before, I might have been a little less cynical. Here are highlights of my day:
  • Meeting some very nice people who are also getting started on a new life
  • The woman in front of me who sat with the look of rapt attention through the entire 2 hour meeting
  • Learning about every program available for people with every issue under the sun. Have issues? Community college is the place for you!
  • Taking the campus tour. It's a very small campus and yet some of the brand-new-to-college folks forced our tour guide to turn back to see the building we'd just passed and re-confirm what it was
  • Getting the skinny on how to blend in with the kids (don't sit in the front row, make sure you wear a backpack, don't raise your hand for every question). I have to ask, why would I want to blend in? I'm not like them, it doesn't make sense to pretend to be.
  • Utter horror as they discussed why taking math is necessary for the degree
  • Utter joy when I learned that my BA means I just need the classes in my program and I still get the coveted AA in Park Management.
  • Mild joy at paying only $2.50 for a gigantic burrito in the school cafeteria.
  • A sense of wonder at how damn pretty the campus is. If you always lived in California, you'll think I'm weird for this, but if you ever lived in a place devoid of scenery (aka Ohio) you might understand how I'm continually amazed at how pretty this place can be.
  • Seeing the cool party hats that rangers wear on display outside the Park Management room and thinking hey, hopefully one day I will wear one of those myself.

1.23.2003

The other night we just happened to run into Irene, master of scorekeeping and reffing, as she was coming into the ice center. She showed me how to keep score for the over 35 league (22 minute running time, no real surprises). I'm going to sit with her for a couple more games and in a few weeks I will be on my way to my exciting part time job, keeping score in the evenings when I can make it.

I still look at web jobs but in the end, I would've had to make a decision about going to school right about now anyway. For what I do, it seems expected that by this point I'd be more of a programmer, know some Java or some other language that doesn't interest me. So on almost every level, a career change makes sense, seems inevitable.

1.22.2003

I've been invited to a geezers returning to school meeting tomorrow. Free refreshments and a chance to meet the other 2 people at school who are over 21, what's not to like? I'm getting pretty damn excited about school starting next week, though.

1.21.2003

She Skates!!
Before Sunday's Red game, Andrea put on her skates and headed out for a spin on the ice. I suited up for the game then joined her. When I got to the ice I was stunned to see her skating pretty much exactly like she had before the injury. We did a few laps, me grinning the whole time that Andrea (aka Winking Bunny) is back on the ice. Go loo!!!

I'm doing my best to enjoy my time off so I just don't have much to say right now.

1.18.2003

In case it's not clear, I am extremely grateful to Andrea for putting up with me through all my silliness (though I do have a suspicion that my silliness is part of what keeps her interested enough to stick around and see what I'll do next. I guess it's sort of like watching Jackass but on a longer-term commitment.) and now, for being willing to be our solitary decent-salary earner as I pursue this dream. Maybe some people would expect this from their partners and not acknowledge the tremendous gift that it is, but I do not and would not expect this of her. I am in awe of her generosity and will remain grateful as each day brings me closer to once again being a decent-salary earner, this time in a job that I actually want to do.

Oregon
It seems to be where I go when I need to decompress. In 1994, I was living in Portland and about to move away when I found myself with about 2 weeks to spare, so I headed to my new friend Gail's house out on the coast. It was just what I needed and somehow left me refreshed enough to take a deep breath and tell the movers to turn around, leaving my meager belongings in California instead of taking them to Ohio, where I'd intended to go.

This time, it's a matter of re-thinking my life. Yes, I have a plan, I know what I want to do but getting to the point where I'm ready to go ahead with that plan has taken some time. Tomorrow I return home, ready to do some serious housecleaning in the week before classes start, then to dive into my exciting new life as a community college student. It will most certainly be odd to be almost 30 years old and spending so much time among kids fresh out of high school but I imagine the years I have on them make me grateful to at last, have some idea of what I want to be when I grow up.

When I started working on the web, it was partially because it was interesting but mostly because I knew that I could make decent money without requiring a lot of extra training. For a short time, I loved it, but that quickly wore off as every company I worked for went out of business and the people I knew became arrogant despite the great decline on the horizon. At first I thought of being a firefighter, but I knew the EMT portion of the job was not for me. A cop, maybe? Sure, except that I do not want to be the one who goes running through backyards, chasing after criminals. When I saw the words 'Park Ranger' it was the proverbial light bulb coming on, yes, here's the right blend of not being behind a desk and intelligence. I only hope that my instincts are correct and I enjoy this new career even half as much as I hope to.

1.16.2003

I am glad that in my absence, my friends have developed blogging tourette's, so you have something to read. Meanwhile, I'll be drinking powerful margaritas.

Greetings from Oregon, where my cell phone doesn't work but I'm relaxing a little. Today's plans include a trip to the Tillamook Cheese Factory, indoor rock climbing and drinking. None of these things will happen if I don't get off my ass. Later.

1.14.2003

Haiku for Tuesday
Unemployment sucks.
Dude, I am like so damn bored.
Sitting on my ass.

I don't want a job
Building web pages all day
Let's work in the park

I really don't know
How to entertain myself
While waiting for school.

I've been quiet because my fear did come true, I was laid off yesterday. For once, I have a plan, I'm going back to school full-time for 1 semester. If I like it, I'll find the $$ to finish the Park Management course. If I don't, I'll figure out something else. In the meantime, I'm hoping to get some part time web work to supplement my huge unemployment income. Please bear with the upcoming silence as I fill my days doing other things besides sitting here.

1.10.2003

There I am, minding my own business, when my boss, who does not generally speak to me, sends an email saying he'd like to meet on Monday. He doesn't say why, or what time, nor does he answer his phone or my email question about the topic of this meeting. I've been laid off so many times now that this kind of thing automatically throws me into a panic. Sheesh.

Went to the college to pay my bill and buy my books. I managed to find the cashier's office, no problem. I was behind a woman who was paying fees for her grandson and a kid who was like 18. At least I wasn't the oldest one there. Paid my $109 (which scored me a parking pass as well as my 2 classes) and I'm all set for the spring semester, which starts in 2 weeks. I made my way to the bookstore, realized I didn't know my course numbers (1 was obvious, the other not), asked for help, got the books and on my way to the register I realized I'll need notebooks and crap. In the back of my mind, I'm thinking that it's now been almost 8 years since I got out of college (and btw met Andrea), 8 years since I wandered a college campus, looked for my books, bitched about high textbook costs and of course, was surrounded by college-age people. Fortunately, I'm going to a community college, with the economy here the way it is, I know the entire college is not made up of 18 year olds.

I signed up for the Intro to Park Management class and the Commuications class. I assumed that the second one would be park-specific but it seems to be a general communications class. My biggest risk is getting too cocky and flunking because I think I know this stuff already. Let's hope I keep my mind in the game.

1.09.2003

Today, I realize once again how very patient Andreatan is with me and how lucky I am to have her. Mwah!

I guess I don't have much to say today.

Let us all wish Amyfritz a happy birthday. May your day be full of mirth and free of menses.

1.08.2003

Looks like I don't need to write about my trip, this site summarizes just about everything we saw!

In case you wondered why: I did not send postcards from China because the stamps there don't come with glue. I'm not kidding. I was in no mood to even begin to pantomime glue to the nice people at CenturyMart. Note that I did manage to pantomime "are these toilets squatters or Western style" to the nice attendant at the People's Square pay toilet (the panorama I've linked to does not include said toilet location) and determine that I was more interested in waiting to have a seat.

A Helpful Trip to the DMV
Yesterday I headed to the DMV to register my car for the year. I figured it would be around $140, it was $154 last year and is supposed to go down as your car's value decreases. Imagine my great shock when Jon (aka that Nice Man at the DMV) told me that I need to pay the sales tax on the value of the car when I bought it from VW in 2000 -- 8.25% on $20,800 + a 10% penalty for being late. This comes to a grand total of $1887. I paid the $132 registration fee and told him I'd have to get back to him on the rest. As of right now, I have until the end of the month to come up with the loot.

Just when I think I'm getting ahead, something comes along to blindside me. Sigh.

Did I mention that I'm headed back to Vegas in February for the women's hockey tournament? I had so much fun with the Jets that I figured I'd have at least as much fun with Code Red. As of this week, we were short a couple of players but I asked around and ended up with 3 very talented folks so we've just gone from being a decent team to a pretty solid team with a good chance at winning. The best part? One of the folks we picked up is one of my favorite people to play D with! Woo!

Vegas, here we come!!

The Worst Pirate Joke Ever
A pirate walks into a bar with a steering wheel embedded in his groin. The barkeep asks him if that hurts. The pirate replies, no, it doesn't hurt but it's drivin' me nuts.

Ha! Drivin' me nuts! Hey clown...

1.07.2003

It now seems that this website is full of pictures of me. That could easily be seen as a sign of my own arrogance, but I prefer to consider it proof that I'm aware of my own photogenic-ness. That and pictures of me being wacky are a lot more interesting to me than scenery.


Me, master of falling down.


Amyfritz, master of snowboarding!


Me, laughing at whatever it was and Amy, very much looking like Mary Tyler Moore in that cute hat.


The weight of the world is migh-tee heavy.


A little ray of sunshine spread across Southern China that day.


See? China can be fun!


Me and Amy at some ancient Chinese table. Note the distinct lack of American food on said table and our windblown faces. That's the China look right there.


Andrea, Amy and I, at a low moment in our trip. Don't we look like we're longing for the United States, or at least for corn or sausage on a stick?

Teaser photo from China

Left to right, Amy, our lovely tour guide Jo, J-O, and moi in the Humble H-U-M-B-L-E Garden of Suzchou.

If you've ever skated at Eastridge Ice Arena, if, like me, you count on it as a place to rent ice for a reasonable amount of money, please visit The Alliance to Save Eastridge Ice Arena and see what you can do to help.

I'm proud to report that after far too many losses and a lot of hard work, the A-Team, my 5 on 5 co-ed team, finally pulled out our first win last night! We beat Buster 7-4 thanks to a stellar effort from everyone. Special thanks to Gerald for playing goal at the last minute. Even though it was late and we're all tired today, I'm glad he was there for our first win. I'm glad I was there too!

1.06.2003

Last night, I saw Doggy Fizzle Telefizzle, Snoop Dogg's new TV show. It was so damn funny I almost needed a poise pad. And he talks a lot like Walt. Who knew that a gang bangin' homie like the Dogg was taking vocal lessons from the whitest guy alive (even though Walt is friends with Joe Momma)? He works the drive through, asking a lady if she wants a Nappy Burger special -- a burger with a bite taken out of it and yesterday's fries. That Snoop, aka Mr. Dizzle. He visits a class of second graders, all dressed up as Mr. Dizzle. And who can forget Cap'n Pimp, who flies around bitch slapping people who mess with hos? Comedic genius.

1.03.2003

Here are a few highlights of China:
  • Getting the upgrade to World Business class from Seattle-Tokyo, which included free booze
  • Picking Andrea's dad out of the crowd at Pudong airport after a very long day of travel
  • Our first sighting of Western products, when we emerged from the subway station into downtown Shanghai the next day, feasting our eyes on Pepsi Plaza, with a KFC in the background
  • McDonald's, ambassador to the world.
  • Pizza Hut, a place where I never eat in the States, but where I welcomed everything they had to offer, except escargot. No, I'm not kidding about the snails.
  • The Tours that saved the trip.
  • Winking at every man who stared at us.
  • The train from Hangzhou back to Shanghai, where chippies wander the aisles selling everything from stamps to meat buns and expired Coke.
  • The Metro, where shoving is an art form and Andrea is the master.
  • The Buddhist temple at Hangzhou, where I had some sort of epiphany about getting on with my life after Alice.
  • The gigantic group of Iranians who spent the entire flight on our way home yelling at their teenage son for taking a sleeping pill. Asking them to keep it down got this clever retort: "if you wanted a private plane you should've gotten a private plane." Thanks to their antics I'm still wiped out, 2 days later.
  • Hearing people speak accent-free English and only English upon our return to LAX.
  • Asking a little boy to stop yelling so much in the LAX lobby because we'd just come from China and were very tired.
  • Amy's skill in finding the only western toilet for miles vitually everywhere.
  • Indoor skiing. Nope, I'm not kidding. For about $10 we got equipment and free run of the 'hill'. Ski lift? Nope, a gigantic conveyor belt. Nobody there looked like they'd been skiing before so we looked like pros. I snowboarded for the first time and only fell down a few times.
  • Riding in our very own love boat in Zhouzhang. Our driver sang for us, then asked for a tip. If only it had been a singalong.
  • Jo, our tour guide, who punctuated everything with 'okay' and 'you know'
  • Hearing Andrea's parents call the Shangri-la the Shangrilla.
  • Returning home, having seen an entirely different life than I'd ever imagined.

No DNA test for baby Eve. Interesting. These people claim to have cloned a baby but won't offer up the baby or the mother for any kind of testing. My favorite part about this:

"At another point, he was asked if his group had simply gotten away with a great publicity stunt. Rael, speaking from Canada via satellite, said his earpiece was having technical difficulties."

"I am so sorry, but the sound is so bad. I cannot hear anything," he said.

Morons. Or are we the morons for even giving their claim a second thought?

I'm still too overwhelmed to write about China. It was both amazing and horrible, wonderful and awful. We were masters of the subway, pros at being stared at, expert hagglers and in the end, very tired. Not sure I'd do it again but I'm glad I did it.

1.02.2003

Riverfront Stadium reduced to rubble. I know that in recent years it was Cinergy Field but to me it will always be Riverfront Stadium. My parents went to a lot of Reds games there before we were born, it was there that my mom told my grandfather that they'd lost hope of ever adopting a girl. He turned to her and said not to give up that her daughter was out there. Sure enough, not long after that, I came along. So it's sort of a special place for me, today is indeed a sad day that's gone, replaced by PacBell park's cousin.

Until this trip I really had no clue what Jet Lag meant. I'm utterly exhausted and have no idea what time it is.

(My birthday post to the Daily Drool): We're a little late with our Roo's 2nd birthday celebration because we were in China for 10 days. We had a great time but when we returned home today, I saw Rainie and Patrick in the window and started to cry, I was so happy to see them.

2 years ago, I had no inclination to have not only one, certainly not 2 baby bassets. Soon we realized that adopting a pup out of rescue, a dog who we know where they've been every day of their lives was a miracle that wouldn't likely pass our way again. Adopting Rainie in May of 2001 is a decision I've not regretted. When Patrick's family decided to return him in May of 2002, we struggled again (we already had 3 dogs!), but knowing the bond her littermates Rockie and Lexie share, we knew we couldn't pass up the chance to give Rainie a peer.

Patrick has helped me start to move past losing Alice, the greatest of all beagles, he's truly a gift that Alice sent to get me through the hard parts. Enough like her that I don't forget, yet so unlike her that I see clearly who Patrick is.

We celebrated a day late by coming home and sitting with them but their birthday and every day we have with our Roos is a tremendous gift. Our thanks go out as always to Dena, Walt, the Holders and everyone else who had a hand (or rather, a handful) in bringing all the Roos into the world.

So to all the Roos, Happy Birthday, a day late but never more heartfelt than now.