The Final Countdown Saturday, Sep 29 2007 

(Extra points to you if you sang the title as you read it)

I was in Phonetics class this morning, as I am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday this semester.  I pulled out my color-coded notebook (because I am that kind of student:  Phonetics is the navy blue notebook), turned to the end of my notes and wrote the date down.  And then it hit me.

Exactly one month until my birthday.

I jokingly say that I’m in a constant state of turning 30; once that is no longer believable, I will then turn 31, and so on.  But really, I have never been in the habit of lying about my age, and as a result, I do it very poorly.

A month from today, I will be turning thirty-mmhmm.

You could (and I often do, to myself) argue that age is a number, blah blah blah…But the fact is, each birthday I have, I am less likely to have kids.  That’s not society, that’s biology.  If I didn’t want to have kids, I probably wouldn’t be so bothered by having another birthday.  Au contraire, I could totally see myself kind of bragging – as in, “Hey look at me – guess my age.  Wrong!  I’m at least 10 years older, but I don’t look it!  Woo hoo!”

My mother, bless her heart, tries to encourage me by mentioning every celebrity having kids in their 40s.  It’s kind of cute, although we both a) know that most of these women are having IVF and b) we both have issues with IVF (monkeying around with hormones, additional health risk, expensive, by no mean guaranteed success).  What other women choose to do, more power to them.  What I feel comfortable doing, that’s all on me.  It is true that late pregnancies run in both sides of my family, but that’s a big leap, too.

Actually, all this theoretical chitchat about my options (which of course include adoption, though I hadn’t specifically mentioned) is just that – theoretical.  After all, I am ambitious, but not so ambitious to raise children on my own.  I have friends who do so, and they amaze me with their ability and skill.  They are also always tired.

So yes, these days are filled with thoughts of motherhood and my ever-dwindling window of opportunity.  I long for the day when my impending birthday brought on thoughts of how I would celebrate, what my Halloween costume would be, how I would get that cute guy to notice me…

…and speaking of that…

I googled GSS.  It was bound to happen, no?  Do you remember the dark ages of dating before Google?  Terrifying.  Anyway, my googling turned up no red flags; GSS looks great on paper (I also think he looks pretty good in person, but we have to go beyond mere superficiality), and what’s more, everything that he has claimed (background, education, etc.) has checked out.  Who among us has not been burned by a liar?  And, if there was something I’d find alarming, better I should know when I am in the early crush stage.

So I can go on having my crush on GSS.  If only I could stop thinking about my biological clock – it muddies up all my other issues.

Boo Hoo Friday, Sep 28 2007 

One of the main problems with having a new crush:  you’re all keyed up to see the object of your affection; however, life has other plans, and your crush takes the day off, leaving you wearing your “good butt” pants for no real reason.

As you can infer from this, GSS was not at work today, which, while not a disaster, does take the shine off a day.  After all, I work two jobs and carry 16 credits – some days I need that little extra incentive to leave the house.  That said, I was busy helping students, which is good (helping students is the reason I keep coming back to this job each year).  And when I had a little downtime, I made some bitchin’ IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) flashcards.

Still, GSS being MIA means that I won’t get to see him until Tuesday, I thought I had acquired some good momentum.  Ah well, if he’s really interested, he’ll be waiting for Tuesday to roll around, too.

Tee Hee Thursday, Sep 27 2007 

I am posting at work, which I generally wouldn’t do, except that a) it is pretty deserted and b) GSS has gone home, so I don’t have to worry about any embarrassing over-the-shoulder reading.

As I mentioned yesterday, I believe I was caught in the act of having a crush by Mr. Math, a coworker/work pal, who may have been subtly teasing me.  Damn me and my laughably translucent skin.  Even though Mr. Math didn’t work today, his spirit lives on, as a student I was working with asked me if I had a sunburn.  At first, I thought that maybe I did have one; then I realized that the proximity to GSS was bringing out the nerdly 13 year old in me again.  Porcelain-skinned girls with mild social anxiety disorder can’t seem to catch a break, apparently.

However, I can live with that, as it seems that the attraction isn’t one-sided.  There are interpretations where his behavior might not be a sign that he is attracted to me, but they would mean that a) he is biblically dense when it comes to interpersonal matters or b) my conversations are some of the most scintillating in the Upper Midwest.  You be the judge.

I come in, and as I pass by, I brush him lightly on the shoulder, as a nonverbal greeting.  (Pretty slick, huh?)  He is busy with another student, and immediately after I sit down, one of my regular ESL students comes over to work with me.  GSS and I are both busy for roughly an hour.

After my student leaves, I look around to see if anyone else is struggling.  No one needs my help, so I start a little of my own studying.  GSS is still helping students.

Indication #1 he may be interested.  We are seated at different tables, but his body is turned towards me, not his student.

Indication #2 – When there is a lull in his session, he looks over at me and smiles.

Indication #3 – After he finishes, he leaves, but then comes back.  I ask him if he’s headed home, and he says he is in the process of leaving.  However, he still finds time to talk to me.  He starts the conversation standing, but then sits down at my table (unfortunately, I had students need my help, so I had to stop talking).  When I can no longer continue the conversation, he leaves.

Indication #4 – He comes back after roughly 45 minutes.  I’m still busy with students, but he kind of lingers around, looking at stuff on the walls.  After about 15 minutes of doing this, he leaves, saying “bye” or “see you” to everyone except me.  He says “au revoir” to me.

As I said, individually, none of these are particularly compelling – as part of a pattern, I think it could be considered evidence.

Of course, in my still-fragile state (post-Ex), I’m in no real position to take the lead (i.e. be more forward).  So it’s all on him.  Very retro, I know, but actually having a crush on someone I have real interaction with, someone I know, is huge progress for me.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.

I’ll see him tomorrow at work.  News to follow.

Plain as the blush on my face Wednesday, Sep 26 2007 

It has been awhile since I’ve attempted to draw a connection between some linguistic phenomenon to some quirk of the human existence.  So I may be rusty.

When you say a word, certain characteristics from each sound in the word are likely to bleed into other sounds in the word.  You might be still saying an “a,” but you have already started to say the “m” that follows, too.  So you actually have been saying “m” when you think you’re only saying “a”.  I mention this because in the last post, I had indicated that there was a guy (we’ll call him “GSS” for Grad School Sabbatical) at work that I could “be interested” in.  This must have been percolating in my subconscious for awhile, because it has become a full-fledged crush.  And much like the “m,” it has probably been around longer than I knew, because I doubt that it begain today.

But, like many things, once you know it’s there, it is impossible to ignore.

And I may not be the only person to have realized it.  In fact, the cat may be out of the bag.

There I was, kind of waiting for him, for a variety of reasons.  When he got to work, I may have sort of metaphorically pounced on him.  Another coworker had been sitting at my table, and had seen the conversation that GSS and I were having.  We I returned to the table, he (let’s call him “Mr. Math”) started to find excuses to refer to GSS.  And the reason?  Apparently, I blushed every time Mr. Math mentioned GSS.  I could feel it.

I feel I should explain to those who don’t know what I look like that I have little to no skin pigmentation.  Even the sad little excuse of a tan I had gotten in France has faded.  So when I blush, the whole world knows it.  And I blush like the dickens.

So, I don’t know if GSS realizes that I have a crush on him.  But Mr. Math sure does.

Define Free Time Friday, Sep 21 2007 

It has been too long, everyone.  I keep thinking that I’ll sit down and write a few thoughts, but then with this and that and other random things, I simply don’t seem to find the time.  Which is  a shame, because I’ve been thinking about a lot of crap.

Annoyance #2 – In the last post, I bitched about a certain large telecommunications company and how I have been jerked around needlessly for months.  And Puppy Mama, if you want my mother to go on a obscenity-laden tirade, mention the local cable borg in her presence.  I guarantee you that she has plenty of material.  But we’ll call the evil corporations Annoyance #1.  Annoyance #2 is much smaller, but still annoying.

I have a French History class, which is all very well and good.  Last Friday, he said that he would not be able to hold class on Monday and Wednesday, which is also all very well and good (I got to sit down and eat lunch, as opposed to standing in a hallway, inhaling a sandwich).  Instead, we were to watch a movie between that Friday afternoon and class this Friday (at 12).  He explained that they had the copy of the movie in the language lab, and we could watch it there.  The language lab is not open during the weekend, but you can check it out Friday afternoon and bring it back that Monday.  I should mention, at this juncture, that there are roughly 25 students in the class.  Well, I have to work every day, and when I don’t have to work, I have class.  But I think, “hey, this is a well-known movie, I bet they have a copy of it at Well-Local Indie Video Place.”  And they do – a VHS and a DVD copy.  But I feel that I should reiterate that there are 25 people in my class.  So Well-Known Local Indie Video Place had both their copies checked out.  Then I tried Other Local Indie Video Place, which is in my neighborhood, but I was out of luck.  You see, the film in question is a well-known film (Le Retour de Martin Guerre), starring France’s version of Michael Caine, Gerard Depardieu.  It is 25 years old, and that makes it harder to find.  I called the Video Behemoth in my neighborhood – no dice.  Finally, I was able to check it out from the library at work (hooray for working for another college), and squeeze in the viewing required.  Because tomorrow is the quiz on the film.  The final kicker is that I watched it in a high school French class, but that was a loooooong time ago.  Thus endeth Annoyance #2.

I am feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work I have to do over the course of the semester.  I fear that I will never fit it all in, and that my grade point will flush itself down the toilet.  Then even Bob’s Bait Shop and School o’ Languages will reject my application, and I’ll be forced to translate for food.  At least I can write the sign in French, too.  (Je traduirais pour la nourriture.) 

A development:  there may (or may not be, I am unsure) “undercurrents” with a guy at one of my jobs.  We talk quite a bit, and that may be all there is to it, but again, I sense certain “undercurrents” (though I often suspect my detection equipment is permanently on the fritz).  I’m not sure how I feel about this.  On the one hand, it’s good to feel that certain type of charge that comes with getting to know someone you’re attracted to.  And yes, I am attracted to him.  But part of that attraction may be that he is just “passing through,” and everything feels really temporary.  And, my relationship with the Ex always felt pretty permanent, even in the early days.  Even now, though we don’t see each other, there really is a link that’s still there.  I’m not saying that it supersedes any other relationship (or proto-relationship)…I am definitely not ready for another “permanent” relationship, but would I even be satisfied with a temporary one?  Not to even scratch the surface of the (very real) possibility that I may be dead wrong – the electricity (to use a shop-worn cliche) is one-sided.  One could make a case for that being progress on its own, even more progress than my crush on M. LaPoste.  Time will tell.

Oh, and I am accent-less, as I still need to fully customize my laptop, including installing my accent capabilities.   Until them, I am diacritic-poor.

Bad Mood Hangover Saturday, Sep 15 2007 

Today was a day, much like any other day – until I got home and got a bill for my old dial-up service.  Then I hit the roof.  I had stayed with the same company when I upgraded, but for months, I received bills for both services.  It took months for the issue to be resolved, and even then it involved a governmental agency; all the while, I kept getting calls from a collection agency (because I kept refusing to pay for service I canceled).  Finally, after nearly 6 months of back and forth, they finally fixed it.

Until now.

I may have been rude.  In fact, I started to yell, because the “customer service representative” (and believe me, these quotes are the ironic kind) tried to upgrade me to the high-speed service.  The kind I’ve had since January.  And then I may have yelled at the supervisor, who claimed I didn’t cancel the service.  Which I did.  Twice.

I have worked in customer service before, so I should sympathize.  However, when dealing with a disgruntled customer, I have never EVER tried to upsell them, nor have I insisted that they must have made a mistake.  Those are not wise choices.  Those are not helpful choices.  I have never worked for a company that was so incompetent at the fundamentals of customer service that it took 6 months to fix a simple billing error.

But now the residue of my anger has made me queasy, after a fashion.  I don’t feel particularly guilty for losing my temper, because of the way the company treated me.  I just hate getting angry, especially over a bill.  I mean, it is hardly the end of the world, but I don’t like being treated like an insignificant rube who will never notice two bills for one service, and I don’t like being on hold for 20 minutes, only to be told that I didn’t cancel my service correctly.  After all, how many ways can you interpret, “cancel it, cancel it all – I never want to be billed for this again.”?  Where’s the ambiguity?

This would be a perfect time to kick back with a cocktail; however, a cocktail can not be had by me for the next few days.  I’d go for a long walk, which often helps, but the weather currently sucks.

And if anyone one can recommend a good high-speed service provided and/or phone company, let me know.  I’m in the market for one with good customer service, as opposed to the shitty kind.

Do I need intellectual water wings? Wednesday, Sep 12 2007 

Yesterday was the first meeting of my super-scary grad class.  Originally, I thought I was all slick, sweet-talking my way into the class, but as the day of our first meeting approached, I worried that I may have gotten in over my head.  True, I should push myself; I do think that I will be getting a lot of that already, without competing with grad students (who can and will kick my ass in writing and speaking French).

I am not the only undergrad in the class.  I do feel it is worth mentioning that there are as many dissertors as there are undergrads.  I also feel that it is worth mentioning that there are actual native French speakers in the class.  Oy, does that make me self-conscious; especially after I discovered that a goodly portion of the grade is based on an oral presentation in class.

On a positive note, I feel confident that I understand the material covered in the class, and I have noticed that however much I have been panicking in class about public speaking, when the time comes to say something, it is pretty automatic, provided I haven’t spent too much time fretting.  My mental processes have shifted – in France, I never thought that much about what I was going to say; back home, I have been overthinking.  As long as I don’t overworry, it doesn’t affect my spoken French – I just talk – even if I don’t say exactly what I had constructed in my head, I say what I mean to say.  Still, surrounded by grad students who have passed their prelims, I am more acutely aware of my lesser French language skills.  Fortunately, I would pit my literary analysis skills against even the most seasoned grad student, since I had enough of it before this class (mostly in English, to be sure).  Cross your fingers and hope that I can keep my head above water; I know I’ll be doing the same.

Darkroom Mania! Sunday, Sep 9 2007 

Yesterday, I finally made it to the darkroom and developed my 8 rolls of black-and-white film from France.  Which took awhile if you can imagine.  However, I did not even make contact sheets, as a) I took 3 hours to develop the film, and I was paying an hourly rate for the use of the darkroom, b) I was starving and needed dinner and c) the enlargers looked shitty.  I’m going to see if I can sweet talk my way into a nicer darkroom temporarily, and I hear there is a professional timeshare number downtown; if it isn’t too expensive, that would be badass! 

A little disappointing:  while 6 of the 8 rolls look really good, 1 roll has a weird mottled appearance and half the frame on the other looks clouded.  Since I developed them in batches of 2 and the other roll in each batch is perfectly developed, I suspect that I had some issues along the way.  I can print them, but I may have to scan/Photoshop anything I want to keep.  Ah well, it’s doable, and I like futzing around in both the darkroom and, from time to time, Photoshop.

Something Stupid Friday, Sep 7 2007 

Imagine the scene:  I have treated the Ex to dinner to thank him for a huge favor he rendered me earlier this summer.  He then, in turn, bought me a drink at a quasi-romantic spot (though also the spot where we broke up, but that’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax).  I’m showing him some of my photos from France, and he is interested, but he also checks the time occasionally, as he wants to stop by the house of some friends that live in my neighborhood.  I keep offering to stop the photo display, but he always refuses.  He checks the time again.

“Trying to make some time for your other girlfriend?”  I say, jokingly.

 Oof.

I swear, I wasn’t fishing for information.  I wasn’t trying to suss out whether he’s seeing someone else.  However, the Freudian slip of “other” girlfriend is not something I can ignore.  In the deep recesses of my brain, clearly I still consider myself his girlfriend.  This cannot be healthy.

He did me the service of ignoring my slip, for which I am grateful.

Now, of course I wonder if he would have mentioned if he was seeing someone.  He’s personally ethical, so I’m inclined to say that he would; however, I can’t help but suspect that he might remain silent on the matter, to avoid hurting my feelings.  It is 99% not my business, but I am, evidence to the contrary, emotionally healthy enough to handle the news (and it might even help me move past the whole damn thing, knowing that he has moved on).

Or (and I hope to the heavens that this is true), he didn’t even notice the all-too-revealing slip of the tongue.  After all, I say a lot of stuff to be funny, and a lot of it has no deeper meaning.

Crack for mosquitoes and other thought nuggets Thursday, Sep 6 2007 

Yes, that’s what I am – the little devils can’t get enough of me – although the population is so bad that even those that mosquitoes have ignored in the past are being harassed (ooh, I rhymed!).

I had some aggravating news today, but I’m not about to prematurely bitch about it.  I’ll wait until it becomes intolerable, and then I’ll bitch about it.

Once again, it was like Old Home Week in classes today.  Funny how small a university of over 40,000 students can get like that.

With the students come the crazies (or, if you prefer, the hysterically passionate on one topic or another).  The fanatics of the left, the right, the religious, the secular; they all sense the intellectual plasticity of new college students and flog their philosophies, hoping to stir a lifelong allegiance to Communism or super hard-core Christianity.  They’ve all set up shop in front of the University Bookstore, looking for wide-eyed blank slates on which to write their ideologies.  My question:  do college-aged wide-eyed blank slates exist?  I’m not saying that the human race has lost its gullibility (clearly, it hasn’t), but I think that “these kids,” if I may get ancient on you, have seen so much marketing and advertisement that extreme ideas written in magic marker on poster board don’t pack much punch.  Maybe I’m the cynical one.

I check my blog stats from time to time (oh, who am I kidding?  I check them daily.).  I fear that the traffic is artificially boosted because a few months ago, I had an injury and had been prescribed a popular painkiller that I will not name as that would only be adding fuel to the fire.  I find it surprising that the mention of said painkiller still brings people here.  They must be bitterly disappointed.  That said, maybe I should have a contest; the people who actually stick around to read something should suggest topics and or keywords that will bring folks here in droves.  Sure, it won’t mean that anyone new will read the blog, but it could be an interesting experiment.  Thoughts?

That’s all for tonight.  I have to finish a reading though.  Ah, sweet sweet homework.

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