The fall of lice.

The autumn of 2008 has had some big milestones, but for me the end of 2008 will always be the period in which a significant portion of my work life was caught up in the lice infestation that began in September and was still going as of mid-December. I lost track of the number of full school lice inspections that I did with Tara and Maureen. My presence in a classroom eventually became synonymous with those lice inspections. One day in early November, I walked into Allegra’s classroom to ask her a question and Mina piped up: “Do we have a lice inspection today?”

I’m hoping that the three-week break will bring an end to this particularly hardy strain, but I’m also worried that without our constant emails about the state of the lice infestation, the lice have been colonizing heads, ready to come back stronger than ever. For the sake of the parents and staff, I hope that isn’t the case.

My first day of guidelines.

How did it go? Pretty well.

I did get up, went jogging (4) and got dressed (1). For work (5) I spent from 8:30-3:00 (includes transportation time) decorating the tree at my Aunt Pat’s house. I also wrote my Christmas letter and went by the library to see if I could pick up the books on hold. Sadly, they were closed because of the snow. Oh! And I shoveled the walk. I just loaded up the dish washer (7) though have not picked up the house at all today. I actually packaged up the rest of my apple from breakfast this morning because I was full (9) but did get a little full for lunch and dinner.

On the didn’t side.
No nap (6) today, so well under my 30 minute limit. There was no studying for the math test (2) though that was on purpose as I want to take a 2 hour practice test tomorrow, so that will count for both days. I made my food plan (8) this morning, instead of last night. I haven’t watched a movie today, but if I do, I have my eye on a pomegranate (10) in the fridge.

On the maybe side:
I still have 34 minutes left of blog time (3) I may do the full hour.

Bus tips.

First in an occasional series.
When riding the bus, or any kind of public transportation, take a seat. If you feel like standing, move to the rear of the bus. Do not stand at the front of the bus near the driver. When you do that people have trouble getting onto the bus and everyone’s commute takes longer.

One thing that often happens on semi-crowded buses, is that people will “move to the back” but stop at about the point where the woman is wearing the tan coat, instead of walking up the rear steps all the way to the back of the bus. Then other people can’t get by them, so the front of the bus becomes quite crowded while often there are still some seats left in the very back. If people would instead walk all the way to the very back of the bus, more people would be transported more comfortably.

Remember, the key to happy public transportation is to not only watch out for yourself, but your fellow travelers too.


Well, this evening begins my two weeks of Winter Break. One of the perks of my job is that I have a lot of vacation. Would that every American had this much vacation, I think we would be a much happier and healthier country.

As much as I love vacation, I sometimes get a bit off track. When free from the normal structures of my life, I sometimes want to be free from all structure and some parts of my vacations have passed in a food coma haze where I also either watch to many movies, read too many books or both.

The problem is that if I keep to my normal routine it doesn’t feel like vacation, it just feels like work in a different place. But if I discard all my routines I become a bit too free and that isn’t pleasurable either. Sometimes I have a project that keeps me occupied, but I wasn’t feeling up to a whole project thing this break. So instead, I decided to have guidelines. Things that aren’t quite my normal routine, but are things that will most likely make for a pleasurable vacation. Here they are:
1. Get up and dress to the shoes.
This is a Flylady thing. Flylady is always going on about putting on your shoes so you are prepared for anything. I’ve found it is true for me, and it is so cold that I need to wear shoes right now anyway.
2. One hour review for math test.
It’s coming up right after break is over and I would love to pass it the first time.
3. One hour work on the blogs.
The other one is caught up, but this one is horribly behind. Hopefully, I can chip away at this and get this post up in January or *gasp* December.
4. One hour of exercise.
Although if I jog, then 25 minutes plus stretching will do. I feel so much better if I exercise and it, sadly, is one of the main things that falls apart during vacations.
5. Four hours work.
“Work” means anything I am doing that is not officially leisurely. I’ve got a lot of little this and that in the project realm that could be finished, I could work on the blogs or do some house cleaning. Running errands counts too.
6. Maximum nap time: 30 minutes.
As vacations go on my naps tend to get longer which messes up my overnight sleep. I know that I can have 30 lovely minutes of napping (one of my favorite parts of vacation) without affecting my sleep, so that is where I will draw the line.
7. Keep up with dishes and picking up.
There is nothing worse then attempting to eat a lovely lunch and finding that there is no clean silverware. Okay, there are worse things, but a lack of silverware is a vacation downer.
8. Plan food the day before.
When at home, I tend to react with excitement to every item I see in the refrigerator. Thus my meals can become quite large. This should keep them normally sized.
9. Eat only when hungry and stop when full.
Yet another challenge while on break. Life is better for me when I can do this, though.
10. When watching movies, eat nothing or fruits and vegetables.
I have stockpiled a bunch of movies to watch over the break. I usually like to have popcorn, but fourteen days of popcorn would not be a pretty thing. However, I can have one bowl of popcorn, as long as I stick to having fruits and veggies the rest of the time.

I’ll check in mostly daily and see how I do.

Snow downtown

On the last day of school before winter break, a snow day was called. That was no different for me than the four previous days which were also snow days for west side schools. So I have a three week winter break, instead of the scheduled two week break. I did go into work for a few hours this morning to put together a lunch order for the day we go back to school and then ran some errands downtown. It was snowing Hollywood snow, the kind you always see on TV: big wet flakes floating slowly to the ground, and it looked lovely in Pioneer Square.

You will note that there isn’t really a lot of snow on the ground. This is because a reasonably reliable forecast for any amount of snow here is the equivalent of about 18 inches of actual snow in Massachusetts. Schools are canceled, people stay home from work, many, many people avoid driving for any reason. I have a theory that American workers, starved for more time off from work, take any advantage of the weather to have more days off. Here that means a chance of snow causes many things to grind to a halt. Perhaps if we had more vacation, we would be more willing to go out in the snow.

Parking lots and snow

One thing I always remember about snow in Boise, is how a light snow would fall and cover everything, including the parking lots. People would drive to the mall, or the store, or someplace with a parking lot and take their best guess as to where the spaces were. They would then go in a shop, or perhaps work. Meanwhile the temperature would warm up and the snow would melt, exposing the actual parking spaces, many of which were difficult to park in, because the people who guessed would have guessed wrong, yet their cars were still there, parked outside the lines.

With that memory in mind, I was pleased to see this ingenious solution at a parking lot near my work.

Three sentence movie reviews–It’s a Wonderful Life.

This is my favorite holiday movie even though I find the main character to be whiny, petulant and mostly unlikeable. There are so many good lines where I snort or hoot with laughter–“Mary? You on the nest?” is perhaps my favorite. And every year it kills me when George Bailey finds out that no man is ever poor who has friends.

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Three sentence movie reviews–Before Sunset.

Most of adult life is pretty boring and repetitious: hours, days, month spent doing the same thing over and over again with no real surprises. I can’t really convey the pleasure and the anticipation this movie brought letting me join the characters of Before Sunrise nine years later. They are still the same age as me and there is still a lot of walking and talking and well-thunk thoughts.
Crap, I can’t do this in three sentences, here are a few more: Never has a walk up a staircase been so full of tension. I’m hoping Linklater will take up Roger Ebert’s suggestion to drop in on them every nine years so we can see what has become of their lives.

Also, watching these movies one after another really highlights the aging that can take place in a decade. And I don’t mean that in a bad way, just looking at Ethan Hawke, I thought, “Wow! Has my face undergone similar changes?” Which of course it has, as I smoked for seven years and love the sun and tend to shy away from sunscreen.

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Three sentence movie reviews–Before Sunrise

I was the same age as the characters in this movie when it was released and I couldn’t imagine anything more exciting then meeting a boy on a train, and accepting his offer to wander the city overnight with him engaging in long conversations about well-thunk thoughts. I fell in love with this movie and the characters and thus, I can never give an impartial review. Watching it now, 11 years later their well-thunk thoughts seem so earnest and young and a bit silly I giggled, but that didn’t diminish my love.

Note: I watched this originally with Cindy and Sara at Cindy’s house and thanks to her, I will always be distracted by the noise Ethan Hawke’s jacket makes. The dress Celene wears always reminds me of Sara. In those ways they both continue to watch it with me, every time.

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