Archive for April, 2006

It’s just you, K

I’ve often been told that I have this ability, whether good or bad, of making my life into an odd, complicated story that seems somewhat implausible. Things just happen to me. I know these things also happen to other people, but for some reason, when it is me and I retell the story, I’m usually told, “It’s just you, K.”

For a while now, nothing odd has happened. My life has been pretty level. I’ve had no strange interactions with people, places, or things. Everything has seemed somewhat normal. Until Thursday.

Even the events since Thursday really haven’t been all that unrealistic. Just things to make me feel like me again. I’ve been in this weird funk for a while, and I think it was because strange things weren’t happening. I remember now that I have to make them happen. They don’t just come about on their own.

Thursday morning, I almost forgot my cell phone when I took the dogs for a walk. At the point in the walk where we were turning around to come home, I slipped off the edge of the sidewalk and twisted my ankle. I thought, “This is why I bring my cell phone.” Then I realized it was 7:30am, I couldn’t think of anyone who would be awake that early, and it wasn’t bad enough for an ambulance, so I walked it off.

That evening, I was sitting outside of In’n’Out Burger waiting for a friend. A guy pulled up in a mini cooper. I decided that a guy driving a mini cooper was better than a guy driving a beetle. I smiled a little just before he got to the door. Then he turned around and went back to his car. He got something out of the front seat and came back. Just as he was about to go in, I said, “Oh good. I was afraid I’d scared you away.” I was impressed that he quickly replied, “No, just the opposite. You are the reason I came back.” It was really cute. Then my friend showed up, we went inside. My friend was curious as to why this guy waiting for his food was looking at us funny. Dear In’n’Out Burger Guy, thank you. You made me smile! =)

Friday I had a lovely evening with my friends. They came over and cooked. Why is it that I feel like an outcast in my own kitchen. I’ve come to realize that my friends have bonded more with my stove than I have. I’m not even sure that I’ve turned it on yet. A friend used to joke that his mom makes the best reservations in town. I haven’t succeeded at that either. You guys are awesome. You come with food, good cheer, and a dash of ridicule. I couldn’t ask for more. Well, other than to think you might be awake at 7:30 in the morning the next time I fall down and can’t get up. ;-)

So that brings us to Saturday. I ran three miles this morning. Walked the dog through a farmers market. At the end, found the sign that read, “No Smoking, No Pets.” Good thing they didn’t have to write, “No smoking pets.” Meine Schwester and I went to Santa Cruz and found another wonderful place to let the dogs run free. Or as she says, “Free-ball it.” Arrived home starving and ate leftovers from Friday night. Just as I was finishing, a friend asked if I’d like to join him for dinner. Rather than say no, I went and had a salad. I suck at lying, so I had to admit I’d already eaten, but didn’t want that to stop us from going out.

After dinner, we decided it would be a nice night to play mini golf. We drove in separate cars. On the way to my car, I smiled as I passed three well dressed guys in the alley. I had forgotten that smiling opens the invitation to begin a conversation. I was then invited to go with them to the club they were headed to. Dear Club Guys, thank you for the offer. I am flattered!

At the mini golf place I tried the normal parking lot, but it was full, so I drove around the block to the lot in the back. It was full too, so I pulled out into the street and turned immediately into the parking lot of the nursery next door. I turned the corner a little too tight and scraped the curb with my front passenger side wheel. It didn’t sound good. I parked and went to look at it. It looked fine, but the hissing sound wasn’t pleasant. So I backed the car into a spot where it would be easy to change the tire later. I found my friend and we decided to ignore the situation and play mini golf and air hockey before dealing with the tire. I do wonder if he thought I was exaggerating about the tire…

Well, I lost at mini golf (not by much) and then I lost at air hockey (by a lot). I swear I’m pretty good at air hockey. At least I won a lot the last time I was there. And then we played this odd game where you play music. It was really cool, but I was confused because the buttons are setup like a keyboard, but are too far apart and too big for my size hands. If it had been regular piano key sizes, I wonder if I would have done better. Probably not, but I can wish. I finally decided that I had ignored my tire long enough and it was time to do something about it.

Lesson number 1: If you are going to call AAA, try calling _before_ you play mini golf. I was convinced that I was going to change the tire myself. I may not have won at mini golf, air hockey, or big-key piano, but I was going to succeed at something tonight. So I didn’t really want to call AAA. We got the tire and all the tools out of the trunk and got to work. Somewhere along the way, we decided to call AAA just in case we failed. AAA’s hold music played in the background for the duration of the test.

Lesson number 2: If you are going to break something, let the owner of the car do it. This was actually figured out before anything happened. I did manage to break a plastic cover that goes over the lug nuts.

Lesson number 3: Loosen the lug nuts before jacking up the car. For some reason, I had forgotten this from the day in New Jersey that I decided to rotate all my tires using a jack and a spare. It didn’t take too long before I remembered. Just the tire starting to spin once did it.

Lesson number 4: When all else fails, read the instructions. This didn’t really help much, but it did remind me to set the emergency brake, which was already set. After all the warnings, I got bored of the instructions. Might have been better if they were more like Lego instructions. My friend suggested that everything should be color coded. That would have been nice.

Lesson number 5: Laugh. Seriously, there isn’t much else to do. I had a blast spending an hour at midnight changing a tire. Would any of you have expected less from me? My hands got filthy, my car is a mess, and I’ll have to buy a new tire, but I feel accomplished. I changed my tire! Dear Tire-Changing Friend, thank you for your support! Thank you for letting me do most of it and helping when I needed it. My ego is fairly unbruised–all except the part where I made the tire flat to begin with. It would have taken a lot longer without you and wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun. Thank you! =)

Like I said, none of the stories are really out of the ordinary. Typical for me, really, but I feel so much more normal. Now all I have to do is to come up with some overly elaborate plan and sucker some unsuspecting people to help me with it….


I’m crying

I haven’t laughed this hard in a while. Watch the Free Photo Booth

New expensive dog/cat toy

My new dog/cat toy arrived yesterday. After charging it last night, I set it free this morning. It is currently exploring my condo. Of course, I’m fascinated by it because I’m wondering what the algorithm is. The cats and dogs are fascinated because it seems to have a pet sensor that drives it straight at the closest animal staring at it. Mitsy and Perl seem to be the most intrigued. Perl follows it around. Mitsy lays on the floor and I’m waiting for her to claw at it. I think that the new toy needs a name because it definitely seems to have a personality. Any suggestions?

The pictures are in

I finally took some photos of the new place now that everything is put away. Of course, I had issues with the software I’m using and it decided not to import any photos that were vertical. So enjoy the few that I actually have. The username is my first name and the password is my middle name. Both are all lowercase.


This weekend, I completed hanging pictures on walls, cleaning off the table, and putting all my clothes away. I have now officially moved into my new condo. It is crazy. I live here. All my stuff is here. My pets are sprawled upside down on the living room floor. Wily E. Coyote looms once again over the living room. I promise, I will take pictures tomorrow. =)

What’s your passion?

I was asked a very good question tonight. ‘What’s your passion? What do you get excited about?’ I didn’t have an answer.

I shouldn’t have stumbled on a question like that. It should be obvious, however, I realized it wasn’t. Many people have passions. Often they are hobbies if they aren’t what they do for a job. I don’t know what my passion is. I know I get excited when I talk about work, whether it is engineering or teaching. I don’t know if they qualify though. When I’m teaching, I miss engineering, when I’m doing engineering, I miss teaching. Maybe I just need to do higher-level teaching. Maybe I do need to get my PhD so that I can teach at the college level.

I guess I get really fired up about my kids. For those of you reading this, you are all amazing. You probably don’t realize it, but I love to talk about you. I’m proud of you. I get excited when you tell me that something I taught you came in handy. I love to hear about your accomplishments, your tribulations, your life in general. People who don’t know me well get very confused that I have kids who have already graduated from college because I speak of you all as if you were my own children rather than my students. We can all thank The Yellow Nunnery for providing an environment where teachers and students can feel like family and friends.

So more than teaching or engineering, I am passionate about the people who have been part of my life. You’ve all helped to make me a better person in some way, and I can only hope that I’ve had a positive effect on your lives.

What is your passion?

This week in music

This week has been full of music. Wednesday night I went to see my friend Ed play his cello. He plays with Rupa and les poissons d’avril (The April Fishes). It was great. It is the second show that I’ve seen and was just as cool as the first. Initially, I was a little thrown off by the mixture. A cello, violin, drums, accordion, guitar, and singer. It sounds like an odd combination, but it really is quite amazing. Rupa sings a lot in French and it is really quite beautiful. I highly recommend going to see them play.

I stuck around with Ed and his friends for the second show which wasn’t nearly as good as Rupa. The second act should have been opening for Rupa. I don’t even know who she was, but it was just her and her guitar until she managed to borrow Rupa’s drummer for a while. At one point she made a comment that she wished she could have the cello player as well. We all just laughed in the back. Ed, it was tons of fun. I’ll try to get more of your old coworkers to show up the next time!

Friday night, I went to see Duncan Sheik. You’d remember him from the one hit wonder, “Barely Breathing” back in the late 90’s. I’ll probably get my butt kicked from someone for even mentioning the song. From what I can tell from the show last night, it seems to be sacrilege to even bring it up. A friend of mine is helping to manage his group, so I really went to see her. Sorry Duncan. It was nice meeting you, though.

It was a good show, but I have to say that my favorite moment was meine Schwester’s trip to the bathroom. She was on her way back when she heard a lot of clapping and started to run to get back in to see what the commotion was about. Just as she was about to enter, this guy with a water glass almost ran her over. She thought, “He looks kind of familiar.” When she walked in, everyone was starring at her. It was then that she realized the person she ran into in the hall was the guy that she had been watching sing all night and the show had just ended (well, it was that whole fake leave-until-enough-applause-for-an-encore thing). When we were introduced later we had a good laugh about it.