Wednesday, November 29, 2006


While I assume (deperately hope?) that this masters program is an excellent learning experience, for the next month I fear I'll be walking the fine line between insanity and insomnia. It is certainly a trial by fire, for me, at least. But intellectual fire-trials aren't like others. Instead of walking hot coals or enduring a blast furnace, leaping over bonfires or holding my hand in boiling water, I feel like I'm being asked to make charcoal. When people made charcoal, they stacked a huge pile of logs - 3 cord of wood or so (a long winter's worth of wood in a drafty house). Then they smother it with dirt (shovelled on by hand), and light it on fire - for a very slow burn. One week later, they dig back the dirt and pull out the charcoal, which, given the amount of wood consumed, is a mere fraction of what you start off with.

Forget separating the wheat from the chaff - I am convinced that academia is about assembling, arranging, and then consuming by fire vast amounts of information, to collect in the end the few blackened nuggets of compressed information that may remain.

No wonder I sometimes feel like I'm on the verge of resembling this broken pane of tempered glass that I saw at the bus stop today:

Monday, November 27, 2006

November afternoon

I wandered out into the yard today to take pictures of whatever I could find, and was thoughtful enough to bring my tripod with me this time. Hence the clear images, with no blur! So I am sorry if this post takes longer to load than usual, but I was happy enough with these pictures to want to post them as large as possible.

Echinacea seed head

Olivia, looking intense (she has been practising in the mirror).

This picture of the cat was, naturally, not taken outside, but in my room. Any of you who know Livy will understand that, as mesmerising as birds at the feeder are, late November is decidedly *not* the time of year for a kitty of her self-professed pedigree to be leaving the warm confines of her palace. I was very pleased to have her sit still enough for a close-up, and so I include it with the other pics.

Berries in the back yard.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

I-will-not-refer-to-the-festivities-now-approaching. . .

. . . But I will post some pics that have reminded me of it.

Frosty grass - no snow yet, not even a flurry.

A "Late Autumn" cactus

The cotoneaster in the grey morning light.

Honestly, I cannot believe that December is almost upon us! I'm pretty occupied with my School Stressing activities right now, but really looking forward to what the rest of December will bring. Most of you probably know how excited I get about holiday decorating and visiting and baking and *eating.* Especially eating to the sounds of Bing Crosby and a roaring fire (that ticking noise the wood stove makes can actually be quite rhythmic). Before I get to all of that, I have to keep my mind on the many, many tasks at hand. I can at least eat sweets, listen to Bing, and grade at the same time, right? In fact, that might help the students out considerably.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Booo!!! I got "Edward Ferrars" for the Austen hero who is most right for me - BLECHHH. Hugh Grant can keep his sense and sensibility, for all I care. No need of persuasion, I can say for certain that quiz was _bogus_.

Captain Wentworth all the way, baby. Although, this website has made me a bit more sympathetic to Henry Tilney these days, too.

"Till this moment, I never knew myself"

I've been doing Jane Austen-related quizzes to pass the time this evening, since it is too cold in my office to do work. When I do the "which heroine are you quizzes" I keep getting Elizabeth Bennet, which really annoys me since I'd rather be Anne Elliot, and end up with the dashing Captain Wentworth *swoon*. But for the "which villainess" quiz, I got Mary Crawford from Mansfield Park,
which is interesting, to say the least. I'd like to think, if I was going to be Mary, that I would be more successful at ensnaring and exposing that stupid Edmund - he's such a "Lord High Mayor of Wankerville," as the editrix over at Austenblog calls him. That way Feeble Fanny would be free of his nincompoopishness.

Also, for the "Regency Romance Quiz," I received the following analysis:

Oh dear, you are Bookish, aren't you? You are a highly intelligent and witty bluestocking, whose beauty is hidden behind spectacles. Your dress sense is eccentric and a little unfashionable, and you consider yourself plain. You have very little use for men, who find your knowledge of Shakespeare, interest in politics and forthright speech formidable. You are undoubtedly
well-off. The only reason for your presence in a novel of this kind (which, I might add, you would not dream of reading, although you have occasionally enjoyed the works of Miss Austen), is your mother, who is absolutely determined that you will make a good marriage. Rather than defying her directly, you are quietly subversive, dancing with anyone who asks you, but making no attempt to hide your intellectual interests. The only person who can get past your facade is the man who is witty enough to spar with you, and be amused at your blatant attempts to scare your suitors away. While you will, no doubt, subject him to a gruelling cross-examination to find out whether his respect for your intelligence is real or mere flattery, you may be sure that he is your match, and that you, he AND your mother will all live happily ever after.

Now I don't mind hearing that. Although they can leave out the references to my mother. If I'm an independent, witty bluestocking, why should she have a say in it?

Feather pics from my feather wreaths. The white one is still in progress.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


What with the rain, and my cold, the time change, lack of sunlight, and my schoolwork, frustration et al. included, I'm feeling rather blue today. Don't get me wrong, I like rain in November, it's very atmospheric (as a description, not a pun) and moody and dark. Still, the best way to experience November rain is sitting with a for-fun book by the fire, with a mug of tea at your side, cat on your lap, and apple crisp in the oven. I, on the other hand, am sitting in a hard wooden chair, with a flourescent light overhead, and the drip drip splat of bad gutters just outside my window. It has no literary charm whatsoever. It's just Bleak. Bleak House. *sigh*

Not myself, but Sarah

I had a dream a few days ago that I died, but was brought back to life through some medical means. The problem was that I was no longer Sarah, but a girl with Sarah's thoughts and only Sarah's thoughts, and none of my friends or family knew quite how to treat me. After I realized this, I spent the rest of the dream wandering around the moon-lit house, trying to think of a new name for myself that would enable me to become my own person, and so people would know how to relate to me. I can't remember what name I settled on (or maybe I do, but I don't want to share it, because it only sounds fitting in a dream).

It was very odd, being Sarah but knowing that I was not her. It was like wandering into a dimension that is exactly like your own, except instead of calling it gravity they call it non-levity. The rules are different but the results the same. Such a strange sense of 'other.'

Anyway. This is my glass of water.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Ou est le camera?

I can't seem to find my camera tonight to upload any new photos. If I don't find it tomorrow morning I will be very concerned, but for now I am perplexed.

In lieu of any other pictures (well, I have plenty, but don't feel like sharing out of the Sarah O. library tonight), and because I am mildly addicted to blogging and blog-reading, I'll post a pic or two of myself that I took with my macbook photo booth. They are only of me because I have found it awkward to carry a computer around and point it at things. Seriously. I don't generally like pictures of myself! I thnk my neck gets turkey-ish. So I have chosen the least poultry-like to share.

I like this last one the best, shall we name it "Ghost Kitty"? She wouldn't pose by herself so I had to hold her. And then I had to scratch her chin so she would hold still. And then she would close her eyes. Oh yes, computer pic-taking is *very* tricky.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Tough choice

If you are a loyal reader (lol), you'll know by now that I like to take pictures of hardware and tools. So imagine my joy (oh yes, joy) when Mom, Dad and I went to Home Depot the other day, and I had my camera in my purse.

Dad was looking for a belt sander or a palm sander, so Mom and I just wandered around the store looking for ideas. You know, stuff to buy, projects to add to our 75-item "To Do" list. Because we love pain.

Oh, and on the way home I took pictures of the traffic lights and made them all squiggly. Indulge me.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Light pics

The afternoon light made everything glow the other day, so naturally I took some pictures.


Don't you just love it when your post is finished and ready to publish, and blogger goes down? Or maybe the wireless router at your house? Yes, fun times.

In any case, last night I was attempting to share this short little story with you. It seemed to be a day for the birds, because I had two encounters. As I was sitting at my desk yesterday morning, this precocious little bluejay - I am calling him Wingnut - decided that my office window might be the perfect place to hide his stolen peanut. He checked it out a few times and eventually decided to pass (Bleak House may look abandoned but it is inhabited by ferocious MAs such as myself), but I hope to see him again.

And then a starling at the ferry terminal asked to share my donut with him. He chose the wrong time to beg, however - he showed up just as I had stuck the last of it in my mouth - and I only had sugar bits to share with him. We had a short conversation - all politeness on my side, and impertinent chirps and feather-puffing on his - and then I had to catch the ferry. He watched me go, I think he was as sad to end our brief acquaintance as I was.