31 December 2006

Christmas 2006, before it's too late

It's hit me this morning that, if I want to blog about Christmas 2006 I'd better get on it. Who wants to read of holidays that happened the previous year, right?

In short, we had a very nice Christmas. Mitch is home (yay!) from CA, and his uncle, Larry, came in from Franklin, NC to spend the weekend as well. We had approx. 6 dozen freshly-baked cookies in the house, thanks to my mom, as well as a chocolate cake to die for and yummy wine provided by Larry. Ethan, per usual, was in charge of the entertainment.

Ethan got just about everything he'd asked Santa for. In addition to the regular stuff kids get form Santa, Ethan also got several activity/game sheets form Santa via The Elephant Sanctuary, in eastern TN. Ethan has always adored Elephants, and this place takes great care of retired/abandoned elephants. Their learning goodies are pretty fabbo too!

Anyhow, back to Christmas... Ethan loves his new bike, of course, and, otherwise, was generally sponsored by the movie Cars this year. He's got a fabulous pop-up play tent, a slot car racing game, and oodles more.

Ethan also has Christmas tree i his room and a moon on the wall that actually lights up and indicates the current moon phase - I'll get pics of them and post them here later today. (Trees shown in this post are (top) in the family room) and (bottom) in the library.)

30 December 2006

I know you've been dying to know...

what fantasy archetype I am, so I will tell you.

What Fantasy Archetype Are you?


The Seasoned Veteran Friend
You are the Seasoned Veteran Friend! You resemble Aragorn (Lord of The Rings), Merlin (Arthurian Legend), Han Solo (Star Wars), The Marquis (Neverwhere), Sirius Black (Harry Potter) and Chase (Wizard's First Rule). You are exceedingly loyal, tricky and hardy. You regularly pull the Unlikely Hero, Mentor and Pillor-of-Strength Love Interest out of trouble and into safety. Beware The Traitor, who will make your job intensely difficult. And don't coddle the Unlikely Hero too much, he has to learn how to fend for himself. Anyway, everyone admires you and your resourcefullness / reliability - good going!
Take The Quiz Now!Quizzes by myYearbook.com

Yeah, this seems right.

23 December 2006


It's a nice Festivus at home for me so far. Christmas presents are bought and wrapped, we have soething like 6 dozen freshly baked cookies thanks to my mom, and the house is clean. Mitch's uncle is driving i as I type, ad I am sitting in the window dining room with the window open to let in some of our fabbo 70 degree weather, and "The Sound of Music" is on TV tonight.

I could get used to this!

Happy Festivus!

Happy Festivus to one and all! I'm off now to set up the Pole...

21 December 2006

ONE singular sensation...

LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

However, There are 5,999 people in the U.S. with the first name Nanci. Statistically the 2397th most popular first name. (tied with 365 other first names)

20 December 2006

The Tech and Christmas in the Park (San Jose, 12/10)

Bright and early on Sunday morning, we drove downtown San Jose to visit The Tech museum. Mitch and I attended a party during WWDC there way back when he was working at Apple, but hadn't been back since. We were sure Ethan would love it, and we were right. I think his favorite thing was visiting the IDEA house, where he had great fun playing with a Rube Goldberg machine and creating a raft for a mouse to float around on.

He also enjoyed playing with pool noodles that could be put into all sorts of crazy patterns, shapes, etc.

Next, we moved onto the robots, where one spelled his name. He also had a chance to do a virtual puppet show, wherein he played a butterfly,

and designed a bike, which you can see HERE (to be added).

After leaving the museum, we went across the street for something we didn't even know existed, Christmas in the Park. There were all kids of great trees decorated by local groups, and also dioramas, including a train, Santa's workshop, and a gingerbread house. Ethan loved it!

Perhaps the funniest thing we saw there was this warning sign:

Once we'd seen it all, we headed back into San Francisco, just in time for the really good weather (the best of the whole trip) to come out.

18 December 2006

San Francisco, Sun 12/10

Sunday in was a mixed bag of a day - we started the day early in Alameda at Ole's Waffle Shop, a place that's been around since 1926. After having tried the waffles, I can see why!

We then went down to San Jose to The Tech (more on that in my next post) and then back up into SFO, once the weather cleared.

San Francisco on Sunday was wonderful. The rain had - for the time being - come to an end, leaving us with temps in the 60s and (finally) no wind. We took another pass by "Postcard Hill" to see if we could get a nice shot there (seen here) and then went back to the wharf area, for a wander through Girardelli Square, then over to the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park. For all the times Mitch and I have been in the area before, this was the first time we'd ever ventured in. Ethan loved it, and had a great time working the pulley and bucket demo to learn about leverage, seeing a working shipwright's shop, the giant paddle wheel from an old boat, walking through a houseboat, and seeing the old ships up close. He also enjoyed seeing a cat that seems to have taken up residence in a rowboat on the site.

We finished out the day with dinner at Tarantino's, overlooking the Bay.

Marin Headlands & Sausalito

I'm FINALLY on break from work (2 weeks - yippee!), and have time to blog about our trip to the Bay area. I'm going in reverse chronological oder here because the weather went from crappy to quite nice as the trip progressed, and so my best pics come from the second half of the trip.

Last Monday, Mitch had to work most of the day, so my mom, Ethan, and I were on our own. We started with breakfast at a great little place we'd found in Pleasanton earlier in the trip, called Dean's Cafe. It's right on Main Street, and is one of those quintessentially small-town, diner-feeling places with FABBO food. The menu has 300+ types of omelets, and the two I had on the trip were certainly worth the drive. Oh how I love the power of Google to help us find less-than-obvious places to check out :-)

After breakfast, we went up to Mill Valley for some serious window shopping and general hanging out downtown. It started to rain/mist heavily, so after a while we deiced to move north a bit, to Sausalito. Of all the places in NoCal I've been, I think this is my favorite; nestled by the Bay and just gorgeous, I know I could be happy there. Mitch and I have been to Marin several times, but I'd never spent an entire day there before - it was great to have a chance to do that. The pics here are of Sausalito. We hit a few galleries, enjoyed the little shops, and loved the weather, which was finally beginning to clear. It was warm(ish) and dry at last!

Finally, we went up to the Marin Headlands, where I took the pics at the beginning of this post. I've been to the turnaround point on the opposite side of 101 before, but had never been on this side. Now that I've been here, I don't think I'd ever need to go back to the other spot - there were hardly any people there when I climbed the giant hill, and the views, as you can see, are just spectacular. I'd love to get back there in the spring or summer sometime to really explore the area properly.

Finally, some Christmas pics of a square area in downtown Sausalito. Ethan, of course, was thrilled to see the civic use of elephants.

16 December 2006

Old MacEthan had a farm

Ethan loves animals of all likes and, for some reason, has been totally into farm animals this week. LAst night he was going into great detail about all the animals that are on his farm. He told me where they lived, what they ate, etc. All seemed pretty standard farmy stuff (for a total city kid, at least), until he got to his cows. He says he has three cows, Bessie, Frank, and... Killer. LOL! Apparently Killer earned his name by "killing a grumpy elephant last Monday." And to think, that day, we were just wandering around Mill Valley and Sausalito, completely unaware that a Killer was on the loose!

14 December 2006

It's grading time again

A student has told me:

I've learned that women are consider "ugly" if they age or if they are female.

Hmm... I wonder what kind of women aren't female? Other than Eddie Izzard, I can't name a one.

13 December 2006

A funky holiday

Mitch has often worked with cool people - all sorts, from all over. Right now, he's working with a guy who used to be a backup guitarist for Pink Floyd. I don't know about you, but, if you're like me, when you think of Pink Floyd, you think of three things:
    1. Bob Geldof and the nipple scene in "The Wall." (yeesh!)
    2. The general weirdness (yet coolness, too) of the band
    3. Laser light shows

In the spirit of #3, I suppose it's only fitting that their former cohort has done this to decorate his home for the holidays. As you drive by, you can tune your car radio to hear the music as the house does its thing.

All too honest

We are back from SFO, where a great time as had by all. I'll blog about that tomorrow, hopefully, meanwhile, I've got 5 days of work to catch up on before we all go on holiday break this weekend. So, I'm going through some discussion questions I' assigned and came across this all too honest reply:

The students were asked to read a sample APA-formatted paper and then evaluate it, including telling what they would have done differently had they written the piece. One student said:

If I would have wrote [sic] this article it would have been short and the APA format probably would be little messed up.

LOL! I have to give her credit for honesty! :-)

03 December 2006

If I had $1 million

OK, sure, I'd buy dijon ketchups, a monkey (haven't you always wanted a monkey?), and all the Kraft Dinner I could want, but, for $70 mil? I'd buy this.

01 December 2006

90 or 95%?

Whaddya think, does this passage have 90 or 95% too many words?

The effort of many different views on the issue that has taken place was needed to get to the point where we are right now in dealing with the consequences of drinking.

30 November 2006

All I Want (and Do Not) Want for Christmas

I know that people can be hard to shop for around the holidays. So, as a public service, I present here a list of things I do not want for Christmas (and a few I'd be happy to accept).

FELT TREES to decorate the table and hide bottles of things like wine and ketchup

A CERAMIC STAND for umbrellas in the shape of a Roman gladiator’s foot, by Fornasetti, for $625 from Bergdorf Goodman

Painted WOODEN CUTOUTS – weird, weird, weird

A FLOOR LAMP made of resin is as large as, well, a horse. By Front Design for Moooi, in the Netherlands, for $4,100. Paging Joey Tribbiani... For that price, I will buy a real horse and strap a miner’s lamp to his head.

THE 16-INCH CUBE TABLE by Mario Marsicano, a New York designer, is made of Plexiglas, though it would be worth considering if the thing could be turned a la Rubik

MOROCCAN POUFS, 22 inches in diameter, that come in a variety of colors, for $225, or silver and gold for $285; from John Derian Company in NYC. Just WTF are these, anyhow?

Actually, I kind of like these SILVER BELLS, 14 inches high, with masklike faces, but doubt I will ever own them.

I also like this GLASS VASE from a new collection of 10 designed by Michele De Lucchi, a member of the Memphis design group in the 1980s, but not its price: $3,150

I would also enjoy this juicy price of property at 19 Avenue Kléber in the 16th Arrondissement, Paris.

Oklahoma is not OK

THANK GOD we don't live in OK anymore. Here's what's happening in Tulsa, as I sit here in NC, 75 degrees, with my office window open:

Winter Storm Warnings Continue. Ice, Sleet, and Snow will be likely across much of the area today with significant accumulations likely. Cold air will remain for the next 6 days.

TODAY: Periods of ice and sleet, then becoming all snow by midday. Total accumulations from 4 to 10 inches possible for some locations along and northwest of I-44. Sleet,Ice, and Snow from 3 to 5 inches may occur in southeastern OK. Temperatures in the mid 20s to upper 20s northern OK to near 30 in southeastern OK. North wind 20 to 35 mph.

(Props go to KOTV 6 weather for the copy and picture of the airport.)

More wisdom from my students

A lot of the majority of folks that want marijuana to be legalized are folks that use it for their personal entertainment.

The term “medically prescribed” is simply a way to stop a means to an end.

I've got 8 more papers to grade, so watch this space!

The issue will bring a lot of diverse opinions that the students in the U.S. do not have a need to learn a foreign language since in the U. S. English is the national language.

29 November 2006

Continuing the theme...

This article is fun for the Worst Band Names Ever. Glad to see U2 was given a pass ;-)

28 November 2006

I Love Covers

Anyone reading this should stop and immediately click on this link to discover some fabulous tunes. Be sure to check out the "Better Than the Originals" section! Who knew a Paula Abdul song could rock? LOL

27 November 2006

Small world

I had a weird little moment in the car today. I'd dropped Mitch off at the airport, the headed around town to do some mundane errands (buy gas, pay bills, etc). I am an NPR junkie, and was listening to one of the popular shows on WUNC, The Story, With Dick Gordon. It's an hour-long interview show that features an in-depth "story" each day. All kinds of topics are covered, you never know what will be on. Today's show was about a guy from Kansas City who'd been sent to Iraq as a JAG last year and his perceptions of what is happening there. After his story was done (45 mins or so), Dick had a "Your Story" segment, wherein a listener who'd had some sort of revelatory moment could contact him with their own story and he would air it. I rarely hear the end of this show, so this Your Story section was, essentially, new to me. I was expecting something OK, but not compelling, good enough to drive to, but not one of those sit-in-the-garage-with-the-car-still-running sorts of things.

As my mind began to wander, however, I was instantly pulled back. I heard the name "Calin Buiya" and knew I had to listen. As it turns out, Calin is a friend of mine, and his story was on the air! Calin is a physicist studying at UNC who I know because he is also a member of my stepdancing group. I think he is, most likely, the only Romanian immigrant stepdancer in America. He's a cool guy and loads of fun to be around - he's terribly enthusiastic about nearly everything, and just fun to listen to and watch dance. His story was very cool, all about the smallness of the world amid apparent (and literal) isolation. You can listen to it (all 5 mins or so) if you click the link in this paragraph. I had a similar experience once, in Paris. I was with friends waiting in line to enter the Louvre when who did I spot across the crowded lobby (it was a Sunday, the free day at the museum, so crowds were extra heavy)? None other than my 9th grade history teacher, Ms. Loper. I'd not seen her in years, but she looked exactly the same. I think we were all just mystified to run into each other - who'd a thunk it? Calin's experience was like this, only weirder. And mine, today, seemed like a demi version.

22 November 2006

Christmas is coming!

With tomorrow being Thanksgiving, Christmas is basically starting now, in our family. My mom and I took Ethan to the Raleigh Christmas Parade last weekend, and we had a great time. It was Ethan's first Christmas parade, and he really enjoyed himself.

Here he is waiting for it to begin:

He loved the floats (Esp. the train, quelle surprise!), balloons, and marching bands. Some of the other more unorthodox groups also caught his eye. He was very impressed by Winnie the Pooh and the Star Wars cast appearing (not together), but didn't quite know what to make of an outlawed Chinese cult (who says Christmas parades are all the same?!?). I found the marching librarians with the Christmasy book carts particularly fun. We all enjoyed the giant food bank shopping cart too.

Santa, of course, was a great hit as well. We'll be visiting him in the next few days, I am sure of it.