Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Japi Jalouín

It just wouldn’t be Colorado-ween without snow.

When I left the house this morning a little before six, it was drizzling. I went back inside to grab my ski parka, the only waterproof jacket I own (I should fix that). When I emerged two minutes later, the drizzle was starting to freeze and it pelted my hood in tiny percussions all through the six-block stroll to the train station. I had plenty of time to think about Halloweens past when I had to wear my coat over my costume, or long johns under it. When I was a little thing my mom used to make my costumes, and they were usually a home-made version of fuzzy footed zip-up jammies with various embellishments to make them look like some animal. My mom is really good with stuff like that. When I got a little older and more willful I didn’t want to wear a warm, fuzzy mouse costume. I wanted to be a princess (someday I will replay this frustrating drama with my own daughters). My mother relented and even made up beautiful princess costumes, but they were never very warm, and it always snows on Halloween in Colorado. No matter how pink and glittery and frilly the dress, a girl just doesn’t feel as princess-y when that dress is donned with moon boots and a big lumpy parka.

I’m not dressing up today. I’m too busy, and I’d feel more than a little silly walking in to teach a university-level class in a costume and make-up. It’s the wrong setting. I used to throw huge parties for Halloween, but this year my husband has class until 9pm and I’ve got loads of homework to do and arrangements to collect data from an informant for my linguistic anthropology project. We don’t get trick-or-treaters because our building has a locked entrance. When did Halloween become just another grey, drizzle-to-snow day?

Monday, October 29, 2007


A few weeks ago in class I was teaching my alumnos how to chat about health and doctor's visits and other such useful vocab, and I had them playing in pairs with a conversation activity. One of the preguntas they asked each other was how they maintain a healthy lifestyle. When they do these kinds of activities I usually circulate through the classroom, listening and giving suggestions and encouragement. I also encourage them to engage me in their simple dialogues from time to time. That particular day, one of my sweet students posed the question,

"Profesora, ¿qué hace Ud. para llevar una vida sana?"

and it stumped me. In a stark moment of realization I had to answer that I don't do one damn thing to keep myself healthy. The little pat answers I was teaching them did not apply to me. No tomo vitaminas. No hago ejercicios. No voy al gimnasio. No como muchas verduras. No duermo ocho horas por noche. Anyway, I least I didn't have to answer with the auto-evaluation common among them that me emborracho todos los fines de semana or worse, me moteo todos los viernes. Does that make up for my obscenely and inexplicably high cholesterol?

Around the same time I took one of those stupid online quizzes that I really ought to ignore, of the "find out your real-age" variety. Once upon a healthy pre-grad-school lifestyle I found them somewhat validating, because they told me I was young. Not so now. I wanted to cry foul, to say it was unfair to tell me I'm "really" 42 when I don't drink, don't smoke, don't play with illicit drugs. On the other hand, I don't have time to exercise, eat right, or sleep more than four to five hours a night, and according the the all-wise RealAge quiz that's enough to add over ten years. If I took up the habit of a nightcap, would it add another ten, or just make me sleep more heavily? Screw them, I say. I look damn good for 42, if that is in fact my "real age". At least grad school isn't making me go grey, yet. We'll see how my dark locks fare come comprehensive exams.

I'd love to say that all this was a wake-up call, but in real life I have to finish this semester, then another one that will likely be more difficult, then take my exams. Somewhere I have to find time to study for said exams. Let's not forget that I'm required to continue teaching five days a weeks all this time. So, more sleep is simply not an option. I'll think about sleep after December 2008. I know I'm not supposed to procrastinate these things, that I should take care of myself right now, blah, blah blah. Ha, ha, ha. The truth is I made this choice and I know this is the trade-off. Tired as I am I love being in school and I love everything I'm studying with the marked exception of acoustic phonetics (which I loathe, and fear I will have to repeat next fall if I don't manage the required B or better). The intellectual stimulation and sense of meaning in my life make up for the exhaustion. I just wish the headaches would go away, they wear me down more than anything else. I'll sleep a little over Christmas. If I go grey at least I'll know why, and I can christen each silver strand with the name of a different soundwave or phoneme.

Lola wants to believe age is only in one's mind.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Todavía viva

Hello out there! Yes, I am still alive. I know it's been months since I updated, and now that NaBloPoMo is coming, I should gear up by getting back into the habit of writing at least a little less sporadically. There's loads I never wrote about, like the adventures we had in Mexico when my husband came back with me after our little adventures at his sister's wedding in Utah, and the roadtrip we took to Montana twelve hours after we got back to the States, and the ongoing insanity of this semester. Worry not, dear reader, you'll get it all as I scramble for things to write about every day for a month.

(For the uninitiated, NaBloPoMo is some weird abbreviation, I don't know its original derivation, but during the month of November bloggers make an entry everyday for the 30 days. It's a web version of the crank-out-a-novel-in-the-month-of-November thing. If I were more motivated or less pressed for time I'd do the novel. Maybe next year).

Anyway, as stated above, this semester is killing me, but it's halfway over. Is that good or bad? It's nearly over, but that means less time to do my final projects. I need to get rolling on those, blah, blah, blah.

However, the most important news by far of late is the birth my niece, the most beautiful newborn in the world. In the photos my brother sent the day she was born she was still pink and squinty and pained-looking, but now that she opens her big eyes wide she is more than beautiful. I am going to spoil her absolutely rotten. Someone has to teach her the joys of launching flaming Barbies with an atl-atl, and that is precisely why she needs naughty Aunt Me.

Isn't she gorgeous? Can't you already see the mischievous twinkle in her eye? Don't worry, Ben, I'll spoil her in sweet ways for at least the first year or so. Lola is smitten by a baby.