Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Welcome to the Jungle

The red needle indicates the current temperature in my living room. Outdoor temperature? 60 degrees, otherwise known as too warm to have the heat on.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

And She Said

Let there be chicken and leek soup.

And there was chicken and leek soup.

And she saw that it was good.

And since this was on a day when she had also said, "Let there be a whole week's worth of class plans," and there were class plans, she was feeling pretty good about herself.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

On Getting Outta Town

Last weekend I mentioned that we were going to Duluth for a couple days of something--almost anything--different. We stayed in a hotel in Superior, Wisconsin that was unremarkable except for the jaw-droppingly low cost, the thinness of the walls, and the fact that they still use these:

So the hotel wasn't luxurious or even a very good place to relax, and next time we'll drop a little more money on that. But the rest of the trip was great. We had lots of good food, even more good beer, and did one of my favorite things: we hiked. And the place where we hiked didn't have the vague chemical smell that I think pervades every bit of nature nestled in and around this city. What it did have was birds of prey. They were pretty much invisible to the naked eye (and to our camera), but you could see them with binoculars, like this guy:

After spending a few minutes watching the hawks, we followed Ole's Trail through the woods. It was one of the best hiking trails I've been on, partly because there were so many variations in the geography. We climbed rocky hills, walked through tall brown grass, and stood beside a creek. It was pretty. See?

This is Lake Superior from the hills above Duluth:

And this is Duluth from a pier on Lake Superior:

On Monday before we came home, we stopped by Lake Superior Brewing, where they gave us an in-depth tour and some free beer. Then we continued our vacation by buying CDs at the Electric Fetus in Minneapolis (since we didn't have a single quarter to feed the parking meter at the Duluth store). We finished it off by making a frozen pizza at home and collapsing on the couch. Awesome weekend.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Possibly the Most Anyone's Ever Written About Radiators

So they turned the heat on in our building last night, and for several hours I was in love with radiators, which I've never had before, except for that one dorm room where the radiator didn't work the whole time I lived there. At first I thought I missed the cozy winter sound of the furnace roaring on and the heat blowing through the vents, but then I noted the advantages of this: radiators don't blow ancient dust into the air to aggravate my asthma, and since they're always on, the room is always toasty, instead of going down to arctic temperatures every ten minutes before the thermostat notices and kicks the furnace back on.

And then this morning I realized, holy heat wave Batman, the radiators are always on. After I broke a sweat doing my yoga, and again while drinking my tea, I checked the thermostat, which might not be exactly accurate, being about 50 years old, but it's something like 78 degrees in here. Since the thermostat doesn't actually do anything except tell us the temperature we're being forced to live at, I could only turn on the ceiling fan. And that's helping, for now, but I'm not looking forward to vacuuming later today.

Also, in non-radiator news, we're leaving tonight after work for our weekend away. I'm feeling ambivalent now, like I always do, about leaving home. But we have just a couple of good things on our itinerary, and a few restaurants we want to hit, and I have no work whatsoever to take with me. The relaxing is going to be excellent, especially with this cold I have that makes me feel floaty like I'm on cold medicine, even though I'm not.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

On Not Feeling Like It

My to-do list for today includes an exciting variety of tasks, none of which I want anything to do with. And while I'll admit that some of that laziness is internally generated, I really think the fact that it's 47 degrees outside right now and I have no say over whether there's heat in my apartment (which there isn't yet) is playing a supporting role. Today is a perfect day for putting on a pair of fleecy socks, sitting underneath a big fleecy blanket and the pair of cats who refuse to relinquish contact with the fleecy blanket, and reading a good book while drinking cup after cup of hot tea. In comparison, cleaning, vacuuming, planning classes, and grading all sound like very cold activities for a cold day.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Too Many Irons in the Fire

Early this morning, just before my final snooze alarm went off, I dreamed that I was going to the bathroom in a bar. And on my way back out to the table where my friends were I passed by the bartender, who said, "You look worried." And then started telling me why it isn't worthwhile to get stressed out. I didn't get to hear all of his reasons because my alarm went off, but anyway the point is that I'm noticeably tense, even in my dreams.

And ironically, one of the biggest stressors in my life right now is planning the trip out of town we're taking this weekend so I can exempt myself from responsibility for a couple of days. I won't go into the boring prissy/financial details, but I do want to say that I'm finding a little temporary relief in comfort food, a glass of apple brandy, and some old sad bastard music. You know, to remind myself that there are always good things in life, tucked in among the bad.