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April 7th, 2010

Walking

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I just discovered www.walkscore.com, and have been spending some time inputting addresses from places I've lived.

Some interesting data: My current home near downtown Long Beach gets an 85/100: Very Walkable. This is quite true. Lance and I can get to most places we need to get to on foot, excluding our jobs.

My parents house in Belmont Park is a 72, and they probably do more walking in their neighborhood than we do, simply because there are nicer things to walk to in their neighborhood than ours.

In New Orleans, our place got an 80. We probably walked as much there as we do now.

Where I grew up on San Francisco St gets an abysmal (by Long Beach standards, the average is 70) 42, which I blame mostly on being bordered by the LA River/710 freeway. There's no way I was ever going to walk across to the Westside. But it was a great neighborhood for riding bikes and playing. I had several neighborhood friends when I was growing up.

My in-laws' place in Mississippi gets a 14. Their neighborhood is quite nice to walk *around*, but there's no where to walk *to*.

What is your walk score? Do you take advantage of the walkability of your neighborhood?

April 2nd, 2010

successful courtship

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I'm pretty sure Lance and I saw two of the people from our dance class make a date last night. I overheard her say something like, "I did already see that movie, but I'd love to see it again!" Then Lance saw a big hug before they got in their cars.

We like both of these people, and we were so excited to see it happen. I pointed out to Lance that, as married people, we never get to experience that anymore. Lance agreed that it's fun to live vicariously. The he said, "He's so happy right now!!"

Lance and I are big people-watchers, but I don't think we've ever consciously witnessed a probable first-date planning before.

January 11th, 2010

Ok, so I'm writing a semester-long Film As Literature class for high school Juniors and Seniors. I'll be focusing on analysis of how the elements of film create meaning (not film adaptations, as everyone seems to think), guided by my Giannetti textbook from college.

I don't have a whole lot of time, so which films should I show in their entirety? I need films that have particularly good examples of photography, mis en scene, movement, editing, sound, and story. Any suggestions? Also, if you have a movie with just a particularly good *scene,* let me know. I took a good share of film classes in college, but it's been a while, and I haven't been using that information.

October 20th, 2009

So the other day I was picking Lance up from work, and this piece about Chinua Achebe's opinion of Heart of Darkness came on NPR.

I was quite disappointed to hear Achebe's continued opinion of HoD, as it is one of my favorite books. (Coincidentally, I had recently started rereading it. A friend was reading it for grad school, and it got me excited. Granted, I got distracted about 2/3 of the way through, and have yet to re-finish it.) I started to tell Lance about my opinions, and as I progressed, I managed to both reinforce and contradict my own arguments. I could see a way for Achebe's viewpoint to be completely valid, while retaining the validity of my own view.  I still agreed with myself, but I could see Achebe's point.

The thing about this is that I did all of this by mostly just talking to, not with, Lance. Lance gave me feedback on whether I was making sense or not, but didn't really offer any opinion of his own until I was finished. While I didn't reach a definitive conclusion, I felt wholly satisfied in the process of exploring possible conclusions. This is the way that I process most things. It takes a very long time for me to come to a definite opinion about something, which many people may find surprising, given that I seem to have passionate Opinions about just about everything. However, I'm not actually tied very tightly to many of those opinions. I'll frequently discuss an issue with someone, go think about it for a while, and then need to bring it up again later to either prove or explore my original conclusions.

I think this is why I've always found writing mostly unappealing.  Writing seems so permanent, and there is so little that I want to be permanent--able to be stared at and picked apart without defense.  Talking lets me feel out a subject, adjusting as needed, while writing assumes that I've committed and won't budge.

August 31st, 2009

Health Update: An Answer!

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So my diagnosis has come back as Sjogren's Syndrome. It's an autoimmune disorder that attacks the moisture glands and creates musculoskeletal pain, among other things.

I've got four (!!) prescriptions to pick up (steroids, vitamin D, naproxen, and hydroxychloroquine) an eye doctor visit, and a chest X-ray coming up.

Apparently Grandma has this as well.

I'm taking this as good news, as we finally know what the deal is.

It was also the best thing to happen to me today. Today consisted of the following issues:

Jaw tried valiantly to lock up again this morning.
Was scolded over the intercom at work for something I didn't do.
Had to deal with whiny student email.
Had one of my major work triumphs hit a major hitch.
Had break duty.
Stepped in cat vomit.

I also have Back to School Night tonight.

Edited to fix drug name.

July 19th, 2009

Bruno

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Rich (Winston's daddy) has some interesting things to say about Bruno:

http://fourfour.typepad.com/fourfour/2009/07/behold-a-white-horse.html

An excerpt:
"He's not just there and queer and get over it; Brüno violates social boundaries so that his primary fault is his rudeness. Baron Cohen constructs these situations so that Brüno is judged not by the color of his skin (or the genitals of his lovers) but by the content of his character. There's something oddly humanizing in his beastly behavior."

But he is not entirely sure:
"Baron Cohen is presenting a cartoon character to people who don't think that gays are real people, anyway. "
So today I emailed the Dude at Preferred District to ask if all the openings were settled for this year, or if something might still open up.

I also told him that I would be interested in middle school positions in addition to high school, which is a pretty big departure from my previous desires.  But I'm starting to feel like kind of a loser who can't get into any district, even when I know that it's entirely the fault of not having any openings instead of not wanting me.

I guess being stuck at one place in your life is better than going downhill, but still.  This feeling of stagnation is getting old.

Update: As expected, District Dude replied probably as soon as he got into the office this morning.  He says, "Nothing at this time but I appreciate you checking back."

Sigh....

July 13th, 2009

When things go wrong

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Right now, the following things are not working in my house:  doorbell, clothes dryer, garbage disposal.

In the rest of my life, I do pretty well when things break down.  Something happens to the car, and you take it in and get it fixed.  No big deal.  But things in my house breaking send me into a paralyzed sort of panic.  I'm always convinced that they're indicative of some much larger, systemic problem, even when they're probably not.  Because of that, I'm kind of terrified to try to fix anything on my own.  I could probably do the doorbell in ten minutes, but I'm not confident about it.  The dryer I definitely couldn't fix, but I don't mind hanging the laundry.  I kind of actually prefer it.  The disposal, however, is kind of important.  It went out last night when Lance decided to run  whole head's worth of lettuce down it.  Naturally, the drain stopped up.  We plunged and plunged, and finally resorted to drano, which looked like it wasn't going to work until we seriously considered taking apart the U-bend.  Then the drain miraculously cleared.  However, it looks like we overloaded the disposal.  It worked while things were stopped up, but the minute it cleared, it stopped working.  Now you flip the switch, and all we get is a hum.  We've both tried hitting the reset button, but to no avail. 

I'm guessing this means we'll need a new disposal.  Right now we've got a trap in the drain opening so that food won't wash down, and we'll probably be fine with that for a while.  But it stresses me out to know that something isn't working in the house that should be.  And that we'll probably have to find someone to come fix or replace it.    I wish I had a good, dependable handyman that I could just call to come and take care of things.  I know they exist, but finding a good one is the difficult part.

UPDATE!  Lance fixed the disposal!  It turns out it was just really jammed, and wiggling the flywheel loose with an Alin wrench was all it needed.  As much as it being broken bummed me out, it being fixed elates me.  I keep walking through the kitchen thinking, "This WORKS now!"  Yay!

July 2nd, 2009

Rheum

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I had my follow up appt. with my rheumatologist today, and she's putting me on megadoses of vitamin D for the next 8 weeks to get those levels up.  Other than that, there's nothing really wrong with me that they can tell.  However, while I was talking to her, my feet went a little purple, which happens to me regularly when it's cold or when my legs are dangling.  But bluish purple feet and hands are a sign of lupus, so she noticed.   I told her that it always goes away quickly, and showed her that if I sit without my circulation being cut off by the examining table, they go back to normal.  She said "I *know* you don't have lupus, but I'm going to run a full lupus panel anyway, just to make sure."  Previous to this, the specific tests had said no lupus.

So getting that *definitely* ruled out will be good, but it's crappy that they can't find out what's wrong with me.  Such is life.

Vacation pictures!

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I've uploaded a decent amount of our Portland pics to my facebook account.  Everyone should be able to see them here.  Many of them feature me because Lance had camera duty.  Those of you related to me will probably also be subjected to the non-person-centered pictures, like signs, beers, kitties, and scenery, at a later date. 
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