Friday, June 29, 2007

I rescind my last post.

I just returned from the movie theatre, where I enjoyed another lovely afternoon all by myself watching Michael Moore's new film, Sicko. I agree with many of the reviews I read in that it seems like Moore has gotten away from a more journalistic style, but I think its effect was (or could be, or won't be, depending on your particular political bent) dramatic.

I am inches away from getting those packing boxes ready.

It would be so easy. Tyson's already in Switzerland, working. I could just eBay everything and come, too.

If Switzerland shared France's healthcare system, I would be there in a minute.

But, returning to Planet Earth, where I am in debt, have no passport, have 2 dogs, 2 cats, a bunny, a gecko, a tortoise, a turtle, and a snake to think about, not to mention an impending teenager, almost 3 more years on my lease, and no real concept of how one secures a job abroad, let alone completes permanent-residence status paperwork....and I begin to understand how the only people who can really afford the luxury of up and moving somewhere else are, well, people who can afford it, and people in their early 20s with no money, nothing to keep them in place, and without the sense to know any better.

Well, cheers to them. Maybe the rest of us can work on changing what we've got here.

And my that, I mean looking for jobs in Canada.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


I just got home from helping some very good friends pack up their house in preparation to move to Missoula, Montana. When I showed up at about six this evening, it did not look like the home of a family preparing to move. There was still no truck, even though the U-Haul had been reserved for several weeks, and they had run out of boxes earlier, so there were piles of random things scattered all throughout the house. (It was with a sigh of relief, then, that I surreptitiously began checking kitchen cabinets and drawers to find them all empty.)

Finally, the truck arrived, along with a half-sister, her husband, and two teenage sons, intended to be the workhorses for the evening. I was a bit alarmed when one of the boys asked for "some kind of painkiller, like an ibuprofen or a Lortab" because of a torn rotator cuff, but things went just fine. The half-sister ordered us all around like a general marshaling her troops, but it soon became clear that what was really needed was a second truck of approximately the same size as the first.

Not being of a manly stature, strength, or gender, I was relegated to the more domestic role of throwing whatever miscellaneous items still sat on counters, shelves, dressers, and other flat surfaces into the nearest empty boxes. Even without my heavy lifting skills, the truck was loaded in about two hours. Unfortunately, there were still piles and piles of stuff--what will amount to an entire garage stacked full, when the last of it finally gets that far--just lying around everywhere.

I stayed for an additional three hours after the departure of the truck-loading team, and I can only guess that there were at least two more hours required to get everything into the garage in preparation for the carpet guys and the painters. Now I'm sore, cranky, and tired, and I no longer have any immediate desire to move ever again. Except as we moved through each of the rooms clearing them out, I couldn't help but imagine what my belongings would look like in the empty spaces, what color I would paint the walls, and how many day laborers I would hire from the gas station parking lot down the street to help me move in.

Because you sure as hell won't catch me moving my own furniture any time soon.

Monday, June 25, 2007


I went to this yoga class tonight at a different gym than I usually go to. My initial impression was that the instructor said things too fast. It's supposed to be, like, relaxing and calming and everything, and she was going through naming the asanas and everything with this very normal voice. Imagine the difference between, say, a hypnotist encouraging you to just breathe, relax, etc., and then his receptionist telling you your copay is $20. She was the receptionist.

The second problem I had was that I was inadvertently wearing the wrong pants. I had worn my ultra-light (and ultra-threadbare!) cropped pants all day, and they're usually fine for a cardio or weights workout, but when it came to poses like the crescent lunge (above), I couldn't get all the way into the stretch because I became too worried about splitting a seam. As entertaining as that might have been for everyone else involved, it wouldn't have been all that relaxing for me.

But about halfway into class, we started doing pigeon. Normally, I can lay all the way flat over my ankle, but with the non-stretchy pants, it was all I could do to get my hip all the way down. Then the instructor showed us this variation:

After that, I got more interested in just watching her twist herself all around than in trying not to split my pants. Doesn't it seem like everyone should be able to touch the bottom of their foot to the top of their head?

When we finally got to savasana, or the final relaxation part where you just lay on the floor in what is alternately called corpse pose or laying-down mountain pose, I realized why there were so many guys in the class (I've never been in a class with more than 2 or 3): the instructor walked around and gave four-minute massages to our faces, necks, and the backs of our heads. You could opt out, of course, and I heard several people rolling up their mats and leaving during this time, but I stayed. It was unreal. I had no idea that was exactly what I needed to close my practice. The whole process took almost half an hour, and afterward it was interesting noting who had stayed to be massaged: all the guys, and about half of us girls.

Anyway, I am off to bed very shortly. I think I am relaxed to the point of collapse.

It's not all bad...

There are some upshots, I'm finding, to Tyson being 9 time zones across the Atlantic. Here are a few that I've found:
  1. I get the dishes washed right after I get them dirty, or I can just rinse off the ones from earlier. Hell, they're my germs anyway.
  2. I can wear the same clothes three days in a row and nobody notices.
  3. Less laundry to wash (in conjunction with #2).
  4. I can leave clean laundry on the other side of the bed when I go to sleep.
  5. Pity points with friends. Free lunches and movies and stuff.
  6. I can leave the TV on all day, tuned to whatever I want, and I don't have to be watching it to keep "driving privileges."
  7. I can play on two computers at once.
  8. I'm forced to figure out how to do some things on my own, like hook up computer stuff and replace car headlamps.
  9. I'm not hampering anybody's schedule if I go to bed at 8:30, take 3-hour naps, or wake up at 6.
  10. I can vacuum at 6 a.m. and not wake anybody up.
  11. When I IM Tyson in the morning, it's already, like, 5 or 6 p.m. there, so I can see whether the day is going to go okay or not.
  12. I can keep the bedroom as cold as I want at night.
  13. I get to pick which side of the bed to sleep on--as long as there's no laundry sitting there (just in case my side gets too cold).
  14. I can watch tv and practice guitar at the same time. (See #6)
  15. I finally solved the mystery of who doesn't rinse their cereal bowls. (hint: It isn't me!)

That's not to say there aren't many, many things I miss, but being sappy is just so trite. Some of the less-smarmy things I'm sorry to be doing without are:

  1. punches in the butt
  2. punches in the porcupine
  3. a lap to lay across on our God-awfully uncomfortable couch
  4. sex

Saturday, June 23, 2007

It just doesn't seem fair...

So last night, I went to the grocery store to stock up for the next week or so. I tried to get all good stuff, even vegetables, which I tend never to eat when I'm alone. I got salmon, turkey burgers, fruit preserves, whole-wheat no HFCS bread, organic milk, tomatoes, organic spinach, whole-wheat burger buns, a fruit cup for breakfast, some high-fiber granola, yogurt, orange juice, and bananas. The total? About sixty bucks.

The woman checking out in front of me had 8 cases of Pepsi, about as many packages of nitrate-laden lunch meat product, Sunny D, a gallon of milk, and two boxes of no-name sugar cereal. AND IT ONLY COST HER 18 DOLLARS. That made me feel sort of angry, but also kind of smug, but then angry again. It shouldn't cost more to eat better food. Even the lifetime health care savings I'm probably earning by taking care of myself now, rather than later, doesn't offset the fact that I could have bought soda and lunch meat and a new pair of shoes.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Ow, ow, ow

I haven't had skinned knees like this since I was a kid. That's not really a picture of my knees, but anyhow.

I started going to an Aikido class at the rec center twice a week. On Tuesday, we did this knee-walking thing that gave me some fairly small patches of rugburn right on my kneecaps. No big deal. Some Neosporin, and everything was OK.

Until last night. I was wearing these white sweatpants to train in, and after the initial knee-walking part, I happened to look down at my pants, and they had all these brown splotches at the knees. Sure enough, I had ripped up my knees again enough to bleed through my pants. Ow.

But I did fix the backward-rolling issues I was having on Tuesday, and I learned my first throw. Now if some would-be attacker grabs my wrist, then stands really still to let me think about what I'm doing, I can step behind him, twist his arm down behind his head, and pull him to the ground. Provided he doesn't try to resist, or have a gun or anything like that.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

One day down, 29 more to go...

At about this time yesterday, it seemed fairly certain that Tyson would not be leaving for Switzerland at 8 this morning. The airline said they could reschedule for Saturday evening, and we were pretty sure that was our Plan B. So when we finally got a call at 5:07 a.m. from the post office telling us his passport had arrived, we had about an hour to get out of the house, pick up the long-awaited package, and get him to the airport.

It was actually good, in some ways. It all happened so fast that neither of us had time to get all sad and sappy. It signaled an end to a lot of worry, stress, and frustration. Yes, having another few days together sounded nice, but they would have been filled with stress and resentment and not really all that pleasant.

On the other hand, it meant that he spent our last day together for a month on the phone, pissed off at government bureaucracy, while I played on the computer, trying to stay out of the way.

It's getting to be close to bedtime now, and, while it's fun to be independent when the sun is out, this is the time of day the house feels the emptiest. Miss you, baby.

Attention, Kooks!

Apparently, the way to get whatever you want is simply to threaten the safety of children. When people see that their available choices are to a) shut down extracurricular programs with the potential to get kids interested in learning or b) face public criticism when said kids are bombed by Christian fundamentalists, it really sets people's priorities straight.

That's just f*cking sad. It's not enough that kids are raised by fundies themselves, but even children of parents sane and rational enough to allow them to, I don't know, practice yoga or giggle over horoscopes get things taken away from them by these crazies.

What's really sad is that the library's decision to acquiesce and close the summer program is indicative of broader relations between the political right and left. The tacit assumption has always been that the left is "better than that," which means that, yeah, we as a nation were pretty pissed when Dubya lied about WMDs in Iraq, but we were really, really upset when Clinton lied about a certain blowjob he received. We expect people on the right to do what they do. The left is supposed to value the means more than the ends, so we've got this higher standard to live up to.

The whole situation reduces to the same schoolyard politics most of us grew up with: bullies continue to get away with their egregious behavior, while the good kid who fights back is the one suspended.

It makes me want to go back to bed.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Erin's 100th Post Retrospective

It all started one hot, boring day in June 2006. I was three days into my first summer of freedom in twelve years, and I was getting tired of wandering around the house in circles.

My, it's amazing how things just don't change.

1. Vegas is still a miserable, smoggy, soul-searing, apathetic, lethargic, sun-baked hell-hole after about 10 in the morning.

2. I still don't have much more going on than meals and naps.

3. I still weigh the same as at this time last summer.

4. I think my skin cancer is back.

But if that was the whole story, there would be no reason for this blog to exist. Let's see what else happened over the last 100 posts:

There were lots of great vacations, with lots of great pictures. Click here, here, and here for cool, refreshing photos from the Sierras.

Last August, Tyson wanted some pictures for Tracy, an old friend from high school.

In September, we had a little poster contest. The second poster from the top was declared the winner.

In December, we got snowed on and said goodbye to the beach house.

Things were pretty boring around here until the end of February, with the debut of the a series of participation exercises. Soon dubbed Audience Participation Monday, these activities quickly became the highlight of this blog.

April brought a potential Spring Break crisis and a new job for next year.

May consisted almost exclusively of Audience Participation Mondays, and June, well, scroll down to reminisce about June. It's all still there.

I just want to give a shout out to all my readers who have been there from the very beginning--Tyson, my sister, and my moms. Without their support, this would probably have been another one of those "ehhhh" projects that sounded good, but never got off the ground. And for everyone else--Tammy, Erica, Elaine, Brannon, Michael, Billyfish, J--I'm glad you showed up and stuck around. (With apologies to anyone I may have forgotten. I can always add you in, good as new, and nobody will know the difference.)

Here's to another 100 posts.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Are you ready?

Something very significant is coming up!

No, it's not Tyson's passport in the mail (although we're crossing our fingers that it arrives tomorrow, seeing as he's scheduled to fly out Thursday morning).

If you've been following the numbers in the column on the right, you might notice that this is the 99th post on my blog.

In case you're wondering, the traditional 100th post gift is hundred-dollar bills, but if you're strapped for cash, I'd accept your humble comments.

And check back here soon for my 100th Post Erin's Blog Retrospective, probably coming tomorrow!

"I'm totally going to the gym every day for the next 5 weeks," Day 2

So it's Day 2 of my nefarious plan to rid my body of unwanted mass so that I can buy new, smaller clothing, and, let me tell you, it sort of sucks.

I've done all this work, like trying to do step aerobics moves (requiring me to count and differentiate right and left--at the same time!) while also simultaneously using hand weights, then attending an uninspiring pilates class that left my midsection trembling like a Jell-o mold, then furiously riding a bicycle that steadfastly refused to go anywhere...

...and I still can't wear most of my pants. So now I'm just tired, achy, chafed, sweaty, and fat, which is two adjectives more than I was at this time on Sunday (tired and sweaty are par for the course around here on summer afternoons), with no benefits. Where is the instant sexiness and energy promised to me by the diet-and-exercise people? Where is the tighter, less jiggly ass? The firm, pert bosom? The sculpted abs? Not to mention the overwhelming feelings of joy and empowerment. I paid my dues. Now how 'bout a little something in return?

What they don't tell you is that sometimes all you get is tired, achy, chafed, sweaty. And, if you're watching what you eat, bitchy from lack of cookies. Try putting that on a poster and using it to sell gym memberships.

On the brighter side, I think I rode harder than the very pregnant woman next to me in cycle class this morning. Go, me!

Friday, June 15, 2007

I have summer plans! Woot!

I finally have something to do during the month that Tyson will be gone!

This morning I signed up for Aikido classes and a guitar workshop at the rec center up the street. Okay, so they will occupy exactly four hours of my time each week, but that's four fewer hours to mope around the house, bitching about the heat. (Which has, by the way, become excruciating, particularly during the hours of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., the time each day most people in other cities set aside for doing things other than lying pantsless in front of the air conditioner. It becomes very difficult to get much done when half of the day has to be spent in this way.)

Anyway, that is, at least, something to look forward to. My new personal organizational software reminded me this morning that there are only 68 more days until I have to go back to work. Which reminds me, I have to get rid of the lurid orange-pink on my classroom wall. What would you recommend? I was thinking of a crisp apple green. Any other suggestions?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

One more thing, then I'll make pancakes...

Just thought you would enjoy.

The Audience Participation Monday You've All Been Waiting For

Today's APM comes directly from the editors at Glamour magazine, which I was forced to read for 55 minutes while I sat under the dryer turning my hair pink. Actually, I heard some similar stuff on NPR this morning, so I think that serves to legitimize this week's activity just a bit.

As we all know, by virtue of being teachers, or married to teachers, or students, or parents of students, graduation season is winding to a close. Graduation is often a time for gifts, and the one gift that everybody wants to give but no new graduate ever wants to receive is advice. (Hint: Graduates want money. Lots of money. And possibly new cars, but it's best to just give them the money for that, too.)

So in keeping with graduation season, tell us,

What is the best or worst advice you've ever gotten? Explain, if necessary.

Yes, this was a while in coming...

I'd been sort of stalling until I took some pictures of my pink hair, which, in turn, was waiting for the following convergence of events:

  1. School to be out

  2. My hair to be pink

  3. Having bought a new camera to replace the lost one

  4. Getting Tyson to take a picture

As you can clearly tell, I was so anxious to have the preceding 4 qualifications met that I didn't wait for the fifth, which, obviously, would be a non-napped-on hairstyle. But whatever. I knew you, my six loyal readers, were anxiously awaiting my post, and I didn't want to delay it any longer.

The other reason I have been remiss in my blogging commitment is that last week was the last week of school, so therefore when the Nevada lege awarded grant money the Thursday prior to teachers in at-risk schools who completed 30 hours of professional development by the end of the school year, that meant I had eight days to put in an entire additional workweek. <-- That sentence, by the way, is only an overture to a workday that starts at 6 a.m. and ends at 7:30 p.m.

So now that I've successfully (I think) justified my absence over the past two weeks, we can get down to business.

It's actually been quite a productive first four days of summer vacation. I got new contacts, put my student loans back into forbearance, cleared up some insurance stuff, applied for and turned down a job at REI (no pink hair, no last trip to Bishop with Tyson before he leaves--even the hefty employee discount couldn't persuade me to change my only two firm plans for the whole summer), unloaded my carful of classroom stuff into my new room (one wall is approximately this color--eew!), drove all the way back across town to my old school to retrieve the jump drive I'd left in my computer upon check-out, helped (mostly by staying out of the way) friends train horses, and schooled Tyson at Guitar Hero in front of his class. As penance, here is a picture of me sleeping it off with my elbow straight up in the air last night.

So there it is: my update. In a few minutes I will post a new (belated) Audience Participation Monday, then I'm making breakfast-for-dinner.