Saturday, July 31, 2004

It's the end of an era.

I no longer reside in Rhode Island (I guess I haven't been residing there for about a week, but I was going back everyday). I guess I am a transient right now. Neither here nor there.

Today I moved the last boxes out of our three bedroom, third floor apartment on the East Side of Providence. I also finished cleaning the place up and left the keys on the counter.

We lived there for three years: one year, followed by a year in Italy, and then two consecutive years. Yes, we did move all our things out only to move right back in. It was a nice apartment. I get very nostalgic when I move out of somewhere. Hmmm.

We did move out just in time. Our landlord told our neighbors that on Monday painters are going to start scraping the old paint off the outside of the house. Knowing the kind of people our landlord hires, this will probably take about two years to complete.

Speaking of the neighbors, they were having a yard sale today. So I put a few of the things that were going into the trash out with their stuff. I got $5 for an old phone and $5 for my desk. The phone was probably worthless and the desk was probably worth at least $20, so I broke about even. Actually, I made $10 because i was just going to leave it with the trash.

I don't think I could ever have a yard sale of my own. I am not sure if I could subject my belongings to that kind of rejection. It was amusing seeing people drive by, stop, peer out at the items on display, perhaps even step out of their car, give us a look of indignation as if to say, "Is this ALL you have to offer?" and then drive off. But that is only because the stuff wasn't mine.

I mean, I am attached to my things. If I were to actually part with them, I would want someone to actually appreciate its value, if only sentimental.

No. It is best that when I need to get rid of something, it either goes to some form of charity or into the trash.

Enough about stuff. This moving experience has reminded me that we have way too much of it. I love that classic standup routine by George Carlin about stuff.

Sara returns from Switzerland tomorrow. I am really looking forward to seeing her. I have actually been talking to the dog and to myself much more than usual. It will be good to have someone around who actually listens (neither I nor the dog pays much attention to what I am saying) and someone who can actually respond (the voices in my head don't actually respond, but rather carry on their own converstation. The dog just stares at me or pokes at me when he wants something).

I am actually on Sara's new computer. It is pretty nice. I don't know if she will let me use it once she is here. So I better enjoy it now. Weeee.....

I am on an archaic dial-up connection. We had internet cable installed, but of course it does not work. The cable tv works, but not the internet. I have been much to busy this week to call and figure out what the heck is going on. Our upstairs neighbor/new landlord was also having trouble. He had the cable guy around, so I asked him if he could check ours. There was an extra filter that was not taken off. That fixed the neighbor's/landlord's problem, but our connection is still not working.

Ok. Off to bed. I installed the a/c unit in the bedroom, so I will finally get some sleep. It has been so hot and humid around here recently and I just cannot sleep in this weather. I also get to sleep in because I don't have to drive to Providence tomorrow. Yay!!!

I do need to get some flowers for Sara, though. I am not sure where to get them around here. Ah...I get to explore. Fun, fun.

No mas ranting!

Friday, July 30, 2004

I am shutting down the Providence office.

The only thing left here is a desk, a chair, this computer, and a printer. 

It is kind of sad.  I wrote a dissertation in here.

Now it's on to bigger and better things, I guess.

Stay tuned....


Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Ok, the donkey is gone...

As are Sara's smutty corn pics.

This is because it was up on the server of our internet provider in Providence.  And although I asked that the service be ended at the end of the month, our pictures seem to be gone.  They were going to disappear anyway, so what's a few days. 

Some people seem to like the white background better anyway. 

I am not sure whether I will let this blog die out or whether I will pick it up again.

Postings are sparse now and will become non-existent as I drive across this big country of ours.  I won't have a way to post on the road and I am not sure what life will be like once I get to Washington. 

Things to ponder. 

There is still so much left to do before I leave.  It stresses me out sometimes. 

Today I am trying to finish my students' personal evaluations.  Sometimes giving a simple letter grade is so much easier (even though sometimes I think it is stupid). 

DNC is going on in Boston.  It has actually made driving back and forth to Providence easier.  It has scared people off the roads!  I feel cautiously optimistic about the election right now.  I am glad I am going to vote in a "swing-state" this time, where my vote might actually make a difference. 

So much to say, yet I have no time to get it out.  So I guess I will just stop.

Say hi, will ya?

Sunday, July 25, 2004


Our apartment in Providence is almost empty. 

Except for my office, which is still set up and very, very messy.  There are a few things I need to work on before I can pack it up.  It needs to be packed up and ready to go by the end of this week. 

Our apartment in Boston looks more like a storage unit right now than a home.  Boxes are piled high everywhere.  I am not sure where everything is going to go because it is smaller than the place in Providence. 

So this week I am going to be commuting between Boston (where I will be busy unpacking boxes, assembling furniture, etc.) and Providence (where I will be writing evaluation for my students, organizing files, packing the few things I will take with me to Washington State, packing up what little is left in the apartment, cleaning, etc).  Somewhere in between there is a whole lot of laundry that must be done, a car that needs service and a muffler fixed, and a nervous dog that needs a lot of attention.  So my absence here can now be better understood. 

Need I say it?  I am very tired.

Sara made it off to Switzerland a day after she was supposed to leave.  Her flight to DC where she was to connect to Zurich was so late, that she missed her connection.  It all worked out: I was happy to see her for another day and she definitely needed a good night's sleep. 

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Can I say it one more time?
I HATE moving!!!
I am stressed, Sara is stressed, and the dog is stressed.  Not a pretty picture.  Dirty, stinky, and sweaty (ok, the dog isn't sweaty, but that is a very good thing).  My knees are hurting and my back is sore.  As if it were not bad enough, today was one of the most humid days this summer.  Just a few steps and I was drenched in sweat. 
I drove to Boston and back twice today.  I don't know how many times I went up and down our stairway here.  It's one of the few times I regret living on the third floor.  At least the new place is on the first floor (it still has a few stairs up to it, but I am not complaining about those). 
We got most of Sara's plants moved thanks to some friends who helped us out.  That was no small task as Sara has many, many plants. 
Now my buddy from Mexico is consoling me.  No, not tequila.  Tonight it is Kahlua!!!
Tomorrow is not looking promising: grading, more packing, and another drive to Boston.  But tomorrow night I get to stay in the new apartment with Sara.  So does our dog.  I hope he doesn't freak out.  He is pretty freaked out already. 
I am off to wash up before getting some ZZZZs.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

You know what is worse than packing for a big move?
Packing when it is hot and sticky.
Our dog is freaking out too.  He has become very needy and follows us everywhere.  It makes moving boxes difficult when there is a dog right in front of you all the time. 
The dog has his equivalent of a security blanket.  It is a giant plush toy in the shape of a bone.  Whenever he is nervous, he walks around the house with it.  Now that there are boxes and stacks of stuff everywhere, he walks around knocking countless things over.  It is irritating, but I cannot blame him.  It is a stressful time and he is trying to cope the only way he knows how.  Plus he is so cute...
Sara has been making over her look.  She got her hair dyed a dark brown/red.  She also got her eyelashes tinted to match (a few days ago I did not even know that this was done).  Today she got glasses (she only needs them to see really far away).  I am still not used to all the changes. 
That's ok.  I am going to undergo my own transition: I am shaving off my goatee.  I do it every summer.  Having facial hair when it is warm and humid is too irritating.  It is also good to have a symbolic change once in a while.  Sara doesn't like it when I do it because she gets startled everything she sees me.  Just as she is getting used to it, I grow it back out. 
Break is over.  Now I have to go back to packing.  Yuck.


Friday, July 16, 2004

A moving company called.  They can move us a week from today.
We have a week to pack up all this crap. 
[Runs out of the room screaming].

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Tired, Cansado, Stanco, M:ude, Fatigue...
In any get the point.
I like these new editing features Blogger has.  Now if I could only figure out how to get the umlaut above the u.  Hmmmm....
Now I have forgotten what I was going to write. 
Word to the wise: Don't try to teach a summer intensive course while you wife is taking intensive summer school in a city that is an hour's drive away and you both need to pack to move to different cities.  I am sure not many people are facing such circumstances. 
The course I am teaching is over tomorrow.  Thankfully.  I love teaching, but there is just too much going on right now for me to be focused and enthusiastic about it. 
The dog is with me.  He is dreaming; he is twitching and snarling.  I sure hope he gets that squirrel this time.  I think the dream is over.  No wait, there is a kick.  Why am I writing about the dog's dream? 
I need to get to bed soon. 
I have been meaning to write more here.  I am disturbed about the plan that may be put into place that would delay the election in the case of a terrorist attack.  That story was out for a few days and then it disappeared, which is equally disturbing.  Am I the only one who feels this way?  Or perhaps I am just paranoid?  It seems to be going around in different guises as of late. 
Damn!  I just reached to get a drink of water, but my water cup is empty.  I sure could have used some thirst quenching refreshment right now.  It was not meant to be. 
I got my paycheck today for the course I am teaching (not without having to track it down and a long paper chase).  Who is this damn FICA and why does she keep taking my money?  Somehow, after I graduated, the university wiped all records of me from its system (hence part of the paper chase today), and it put me back into the highest tax braket possible again.  Thus a huge chunk of my paycheck also went to pay Federal and State taxes.  Maybe I will become a Republican now.  Probably not.  Been there, done that.  Ah those youthful indiscretions...!
I need to stop writing those party names.  Since I started I have been getting party propaganda on my ad banner on the top.  I hate party propaganda. 
Speaking of parties (or Parties).  I tried to get movers to move our stuff to our new apartment in Boston.  Of course I was hoping to do this towards the end of the month.  A certain political party is having its party up there at the end of this month, however.  As a result, no moving company is going anywhere near the city.  Yes, I can imagine big trucks will be undergoing  a lot of scrutiny up there over the next couple of weeks.  They are even shutting down the freeway and one of the main subway stations.  I just wish they had consulted with us with regard to our moving plans before they planned all of this. 
Now I have had to beg our landlord to let us stay a few more days until we can clear out the city of Boston and we can hire some movers to take our stuff up there.  So far the landlord jury is out.  I guess we can be squatters for a couple of days.  Hmmm...
Over the next couple of months, posts will be erratic, infrequent, and utterly nonsensical.  Just thought I would warn you. 

Monday, July 12, 2004

If you haven't done so already, go over to Woojay's and read his posts on racism (parts 1, 2, and 3).

You just may learn something. And even if you don't, it is a good read (regarless of whether you agree with him or not).

As an anthropologist, I just love when a science person takes an interest in these issues and decides to share them. Way to go Woojay!!!
It sure has been busy (and stressful) around here.

Life is changing. Life is chaotic.

We have a new car: a Vibe. Blue. Drives nice.

Drove the new car to a lovely garden party in Salem, MA. Got to tour a very large house that was owned by an eccentric wealthy man. He was a recluse artist. The house was full of some fascinatingly bizarre artwork - mostly paintings and sculptures. It was rather cool.

I need to work on packing up my stuff. I hate packing. I think I mentioned that before.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004


I think this is a good ticket. I mean, I was already going to vote for Kerry, but I hope this will bring more people to vote. The key to this election is getting those who sympathize with the Democrats to actually get out and vote and to sway a few of the independents.

The vehemence and speed with which the RNC has begun to attack Edwards I think is a good indication that they feel threatened by him and that he was, indeed, a good choice.

Deep in my heart, I wish Kerry had picked somebody novel, somebody different. A woman. A minority. A minority woman. A non-politician. A moderate Republican. An independent. My pragmatic side, however, knows that this is not the time for idealism. The country desperately needs new leadership, a new direction. It needs to make friends in the world, not more enemies. Kerry could not afford to pick someone to make a statement. He needed to pick a candidate so he will win. Maybe someday those two can be the same. We are not there yet, unfortunately.

On a lighter note, let me ask, don't Kerry and Edwards remind you of the old Batman and Robin from TV? Kerry is the serious, thoughtful and practical type and Edwards is the goofy side-kick. Keeping with that theme, what would that make Bush? The Joker? The joke has definitely been on us the past four years. Chenney...the Penguin? Rumsfeld must be the riddler with the way he answers questions with other questions, don't you think? Would Condi Rice be Catwoman or someone else? I can just imagine the debates: POW, BANG...CRASH.

Gosh, I hope this election brings about change...


The trip to the mall with the students was more or less a success. We go to the beach (also for research purposes) tomorrow, but of course the weather forecast is calling for rain (whereas today was sunny and nice). We have to schedule these trips so far in advance, however, it just turns out to be a gamble. One that it is looking like I lost.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

The muggies of summer are back.

If you have been reading this since last summer, you know that I really dislike humid weather.

It is worse when you have to dress up and look professional like I have to for teaching my class. I hate being constantly moist and sticky.

The room where I teach has a/c, but it happens to blow straight down on the students, which is very unpleasant. However, if we turn it off, I see them begin to wilt very quickly. There does not seem to be a happy in between.


Tomorrow I am taking my students to the mall. They are going to do an observation exercise - at least that is what they are supposed to do. The distractions that they will face there are many. We will see how much work they do and how much money they spend by the end of the day.


This is the country we live in: Last week, I took my students to a daycare center and a youth camp (again, they had to do some anthropological observation exercises there). At the daycare center, the teachers were adamant about not letting the children exhibit any form of violent play. No pretend guns, shooting, chasing, or fighting. At times such impositions seemed excessive. I thought to myself, is this being too sensitive to political and social pressures.

My question was answered with a resounding no the following day at the youth camp. The students were broken down into small groups and assigned to observe specific groups of children doing different camp activities. One group of students had to observe the youth camp equivalent of "The Lord of the Flies." The children turned to my students and started threatening them almost immediately. "We are going to get you. We are going to kill you!" They yelled at my students as they pretended to fire imaginary guns at them. If this was not scary enough, this group of campers were going to do archery. The camp counselors did absolutely nothing about the children's behavior. I believe this is because they resented the presence of my students as well. Oh yeah, this was a YMCA camp - so much for Christian values of peace and kindness.


A funny incident from the daycare center. I have a tendency to mishear song lyrics and make up silly alternatives in my head. When I first heard "Cold Hard Bitch" by Jet, I thought they were saying "One eyed bitch," whatever that meant. I finally figured out what they were saying.

After this, when I was at the daycare, a girl was drawing a picture when a boy came up to him and asked what she was drawing.

"It's a dog," she replied.

"Your dog, he only has one eye!" cried the boy.

"This dog is not a boy dog, it is a girl dog! And yeah, it does have only one eye, so what?"

My first thought was that the girl must have also listened to the Jet song and heard the same lyrics I did.

Probably not.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Today was one of those draining days. Draining on all fronts.

The air was warm and thick. It was not necessarily opressively hot, but you can feel the atmosphere pressing on you, making it uncomfortable and difficult to breathe.

We started early, driving to Massachusetts to take Sara to the commuter rail. She had a crazy day of her own up in Boston. Then lto the department to lecture in the morning. I needed to make some copies for the students before class, and the copier went all haywire on me. The temporary secretary (the usual ones are on vacation and maternity leave) tried to help me to no avail. I felt bad because she ended up with hands covered with copier toner - vile stuff.

I had some trouble getting through my lecture. It is definitely more challenging to lecture on things you are not familiar with. Note to self: avoid this in the future.

During lunch I had to call to switch our car and renter's insurance to the new address in Boston. The auto insurance laws in Massachusetts are increadibly complicated (and the rates are very expensive). I love my insurance company, though. They patiently went over all the new rules and requirements with me, explained the convoluted way of registering your car in that state, and made sure I had understood everything.

Then it was back to my class. Today we took a fieldtrip to a youth camp that is about 40 minutes away so the students could observe child behavior. We sat in the sun for about an hour and a half doing this. Then an even longer bus ride back (it was rush hour).

While all this was tiring, an email from my best friend from high school who lives in San Diego put it all in perspective. His nine-year-old step-daughter was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in her leg about a year and a half ago. She has undergone countless treatments (read: ordeals). It seemed like she was making progress, but recently the doctors have found that the tumor has returned and it is now resistant to the chemotherapy. They are going to try some new experimental techniques, but most likely they are going to have to amputate the leg below the knee. On top of this, they also saw some spots on her lungs which they are going to have to surgically extract and biopsy. I feel so bad for this poor child, my friend, and his whole family. I am so far away, there is little I can do for him. This latest news has really hit everyone hard.

Rather than elicit help from him specifically here, if this story has touched you, I ask you to donate something to either The Jimmy Fund or the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Even a token amount will help. The first organization is working to put an end to this horrible killer and the second works to bring a little light in what is a painful routine these children face. My friend's daughter got to go to Disney World a few months back.

May a cure be found soon.