Wednesday, April 30, 2008

birthday flood

Today is my twenty-fourth birthday. It's also Walpurgis Night, and Student Moving Day (Michelle and Scott have a new apartment today, and our next door neighbours moved out, and Sean's boss is moving into an apartment upstairs), and the one-year anniversary of leaving for Mexico.
How do you celebrate a birthday? Well, I slept in, and then wandered downstairs to have a bagel with cream cheese and a coffee - something Sean and I used to do once upon a time when we had money for $4 bagels all the time (I don't know when that was, but I know it happened). Sean had to work, sadly, so I brought a book instead and listened to the good people of Fredericton discuss the coming flood. The commenters on the various CBC articles about the flood are all very upset that the government isn't sending in the troops, but the actual residents of downtown are pretty blase about the whole thing. We received little emergency booklets in the mail today, which is apparently to help us deal with not having the walking path by the river available to us.
Around lunchtime I headed back upstairs and was just settling into a good afternoon of knitting when Sean turned up early with flowers:

And a cake (pictured gently used):

And the afternoon off, having banked some hours. Yay!
We passed a quiet afternoon doing not very much (except eating cake) and had a delicious maple curry for supper before heading out into the disaster zone that is Fredericton for a walk. As CBC seems to suggest that we might have our power cut off to prevent flood + electricity issues, we picked up some candles, but honestly, I'm not that worried. We may have to apply for some sort of emergency funding to feed us fast food if we have no cooking apparatus for a few days, but there are worse things.
On our walk we noticed a huge amount of traffic, really too much for the time of day (when we got home, I noticed that Gail's blog says the Princess Margaret bridge is inaccessible, which is probably why downtown was choked with commuters at 7:30 pm). Also, a little dog ran out into traffic, which made me panic until he made it across the very busy street and onto the side where we were waiting for the world's slowest walk light. I started to walk down to check him for tags, but a businesswoman ran over and scooped him up. We kept waiting, and she walked by with the little dog in her arms and asked us if we knew where he belonged.
"I'm terrified of dogs," she explained, "but I just couldn't stand it. I don't know if he's going to bite me, or rip up my car..."
The dog was licking her ear and was pretty content to be held, so I think she'll be fine.
We picked up some batteries and candles, and headed home via the suburbs, coming out near Brunswick St, which turned out to be having some flood issues of its own:
The water was bubbling up through the grates onto the street. I've seen it do this before - two years ago I lived in the house down the road, just visible with the red roof - but they had to close the road. This SUV didn't seem to appreciate that, though, and barreled on through:

We ran into Amy the Pirate and her dog Guinness (Stu's roommates) and also Sean's boss Mike - absolutely everyone is out for walks to see the flooding and enjoy the spring. The word the scientists tend to use for our flood is "the freshet", and I think it's a nice word for it. Whatever the news says, it certainly doesn't feel like a disaster.
So here we are back at home. We're planning to go back out later and walk to the Diplomat to have some deep-friend wonton skins that I've been craving (on birthdays you get a bonus Point for every year you have been alive) and we'll probably see Megan there, but this is pretty much it.
Except, of course, the internet. People like to talk about how cheap communication has become with all this technology as though it's a bad thing, but there's something great about getting up and having eight or nine Facebook messages wishing you a happy birthday, from people who probably wouldn't remember except for the internet reminding them , and seeing most of my family wishing me a happy birthday in their MSN line. It's a good feeling.
Oh right. Here's a picture of me, though you still can't see my hair - I'll get Sean to take a picture from an angle where you can see the blue and green:

And to finish off this dispatch, what comes with bouquets of gorgeous flower? Tulle for the kitties! Picture here stalking the plastic wrap that also came with the bouquet of flowers, which she seems to have chosen as her favoured enemy.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


1. The internet is down, of course (it would have to die as soon as I'm at home full time while Sean is away at work all day, that's just how things go), so I'm at Reads, checking my email and my marks, and the news, over a quiet cup of coffee. It's pouring out today, and the internet tells me it's the same province wide, which means that the river, who was looking defeated, is rising again and is expected to come up to the levels of two years ago. Some gold from that article:
Harry Bridges, 86, of Sheffield, told CBC News on Monday that he would be moving his furniture and appliances up on blocks.

"You couldn't find a better place," he said of the community, and vowed that he won't be leaving. "But you have that worry every year about what can happen and what does happen every once in a while."

Bridges said the worst floods in his memory are the ones in 1934, 1936 and 1973.

"In '73 it was up to the indicator on the oven door on the kitchen range," Bridges said.
That would be the Famous Flood of '73, the flood that was so much more devastating than any of these wimpy floods we have these days. As soon as the rain lets up, I'll try and get out there with the camera and get some pictures.

2. As to everything else - no calls about work. That more or less sums it up. The weekend was fairly quiet, mainly catching up on Battlestar with Sean, and yesterday I cleaned up around the house and did dishes. In the morning I went for a long walk, up to the university to see Sean and check my mail, then over to Superstore. On the way back from Superstore I ran into Amanda, an anth student I met in Mexico, and I went for a drive with her and had lunch with her and her boyfriend.
I'm trying to adjust to the quiet life, but I still feel pretty edgy. I'm trying to lend some routine to my life with walking and so on, but the rain has sort of knocked that out of today's plan. I'm hoping that when I figure out the rest of the summer, everything else will fall into place and I'll be able to relax a little more. Mom and Sean keep telling me I should relax and enjoy the time off while I can, and I'm trying, but I'm still tense.

3. Today? More dishes, possibly some laundry. I'm thinking about using up some of the random yarn and/or fabric I've gathered up to keep busy. Let's see if I can't find a way to be more zen about all this.

Edit: Please mark this day on your calendar as the first time I have ever had a useful response from Aliant Support. The running theory is that the outlet surged, as it is sometimes wont to do, and blanked the username and password settings for both the router and the modem. It's all working again now, thank God.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

dam hair

Here we are on the other side. The past couple days have been dreamlike, in a way - I've had a few things to do, but mainly I'm filling time. It hasn't really sunk in yet that I'm in the land of perpetual Saturdays.
Yesterday I invigilated an exam in the morning, and it was a pretty tame affair. It was for Anth 1001, which is usually about 200 students, and we had to check IDs to make sure people weren't being paid to go in and write exams for other people. Or something; I'm not sure why else we would need to prove that someone is a student. In any case, it's only so useful when people don't have any warning that they will need their ID. They left it at home, they left it in the car, they left it in their bag by the wall - one poor guy had just had his wallet stolen. Of the hundred or so I checked, only one gave me grief - "You seriously need my ID? Why? Don't you believe I am who I say I am?" - and I am glad to say he got glared down by his fellow students for making too much noise. I just wish I could tell them all it's going to be okay, there's no need to tremble in your seat over a multiple choice intro Anthropology exam, but people will fret.
In the afternoon I went and got my hair did. After the longest foils ever in the history of the world, I now have nice blue-green inlays.

Please forgive the awful picture, the batteries were running out and I was home alone, so a quick mirror snap is the best I could do. You get the point, long reddish hair.
This was today, on the way back from visiting the Macdam with Gail, Mert, and the triplets. You can only see a little, but it's mainly visible on the sides. Very nice. I'm enjoying it.

Monday, April 21, 2008


1. Mythology exam done, paper finished and passed in. Exams sort of have a feeling of inevitability about them - they approach, they happen, they're gone - but papers can hang on for so long. This one has been dogging me for ages, it seems, and now that it's finally out of my hair, all I have to worry about is my Latin exam tomorrow at 1, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is that. I can come home tomorrow and... what?
I'm pretty sure there were things, back when I had a life.
I'm sure I'll remember.

2. It's been crawling up to 20 degrees in the afternoons here, and the talk around town is that we've skipped directly from February to June. CBC is warning that we'll be in official flood conditions as of Wednesday; I'm excited, though I must say I expected to be flooded while I was still in class, not after exams were through.

3. I'm exhausted and I have a lot of studying to do in the morning, so I think I will roll into bed. Tomorrow: Latin exam, and...?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

s-s-s-saturday night

I remember being a teenager and spending a surprising number of Saturday nights at home listening to the radio. I'm sure it bothered me to some degree, but a lot of nice people told me while I was growing up that high school doesn't last forever and university would be different, and it was very true. I still tell young people that as much as I can, because unless I'm talking to the wrong people, high school is at least a little awful for pretty much everyone. Certainly most of the people I know either had a terrible time in high school or were very, very different people then. I'm not so different, and I didn't have a really awful time, but I got past things a lot by swearing things would be different.
And boy were things ever different when I got to school. Unfortunately a lot of people were the same at first, but now? I mean, really, would anyone who has seen me grow up believe that I could go on a pub crawl with a bunch of people from school and just have a good time? You find your niche, you learn some things, and high school seems so... forgettable.
I find myself thinking about that now that I'm getting ready to move on to being a real person with a career (I hope). I keep thinking I'll miss a lot of things about university, but I'll still have my friends and Sean and everything that has gotten me to this point. I can't think of it so much as the whole caterpillar-butterfly thing so much as butterfly hanging out in a lilac bush for a bit instead of a dandelion patch.
And I'm probably thinking about it because I'm home alone on a Saturday night. Ellis was supposed to come by to study, but she managed to get her day off tomorrow so we're going to do that instead. Sean has gone out to a party with Megan, and I'm supposed to be working on that one last paper. I'm almost angry at it enough to bang through it and get it done just to not. think. about. it. anymore.
I suppose that's the difference. I'm at home alone procrastinating about homework not because I'm a loser and no one wants me to come out, but because I turned down invites in order to be responsible and boring.
My god, I'm getting old.

back again

1. It feels like an eternity since I last posted, certainly the longest two weeks of the year, and I could give a blow-by-blow of everything that's gone on, but it would take simply forever. So instead, let's see where I am.
I'm finished my greek exam (it was okay), and finished my lab job. There's been a pub crawl, and lots of hysterics about academics from both Sean and myself. The apartment keeps getting messy and we keep trying to clean it, people come over but all anyone talks about is End Of Semester. It's like a war, or a natural disaster.
I have two exams left: Mythology on Monday and Latin on Tuesday (and am invigilating on Wednesday, but that's hardly an event). I have a paper to finish this weekend for Latin. My time at the Crafts Council is slowly winding down; I should be finished as of the end of April. I haven't heard anything about jobs yet, something that is starting to stress me out more than everything else put together. Sean is done as of yesterday, and working his full hours at the university library ETC lab, converting electronic texts, from now on. The snow is all but melted. The river is rising, but not on the roads yet. The cats are thriving.

2. So today I'm having coffee with Megan, and studying for Myth with Ellis, and in between (and after? and before?) working on that paper. I've compiled a huge list of links and so on over the past two weeks, so I'll post later today (or maybe tomorrow) about that. Mainly I'm tired, and I'd really like to get home. Work at the NBCC has been so quiet these past few weeks.
I will leave you for now with pub crawl pictures: Will and Sean, and then Will and myself (there are more on Facebook). I was running on three hours of sleep that day, having had a Greek exam first thing in the morning and work all afternoon, so this is the least sleepy picture of me there is. I call it "Surprised with Satay".

Sunday, April 06, 2008

daffodils and norowalkers

1. Well, the presentation is over, over, over. And you know, I've done better presentations. But it's over, and I don't have to worry about any more undergraduate presentations ever. It's a great feeling. I still have a moderately huge mound of work to do, but it's nothing I haven't handled eleven times before, not counting high school. Papers, catch up assignments, whatevs. They're not presentations and I love them for it.
Sean is currently stressing pretty hard over his mound of work, but I'm helping as much as I can.

2. Also, the weather? Spring has officially arrived in Fredericton. All week it's been quietly melting in the afternoons and not really freezing at night, and we've had honest to goodness rainy days, which I will take over freezing rain days off any day of the week. This week coming up is supposed to hover around ten whole degrees above freezing, so with one good rainstorm (to wash away grit that ruins bearings), I could see Sean zipping around on his longboard very soon.

3. So, this week. It's hazy, but I remember helping to plan a mid-exam anthropology pub crawl, and watching fair amounts of Futurama, and cooking some glorious pork chops and also some truly awesome broccoli salad (so awesome I'm making it again tonight). Sean brought me some spring flowers, and so the house is full of little vases of daffodils and little lilies.
Kitty went home midweek when Gail and Mert came back - it's so weird scooping up a cat and locking them into a cage without needing a team and oven mitts to fend off the panic and claws. Apparently Kitty likes the carrier because she often goes to the cottage in it. They also brought us presents - shirts, a bottle of wine for Sean, and a bottle of vanilla syrup and a knitting magazine for me, which has no fewer than three sock patterns that I need to get into.
Speaking of, I've been reading a lot of Terry Pratchett to keep stress levels manageable, and knitting some socks - Jaywalkers again, but knit from Noro Sock. Noro is a yarn company with famously beautiful colours and infamously tough yarn - like knitting rainbows made of hay. I was dismayed when I started knitting them - the colours seemed a little too random to make up for the tactile nastiness of the yarn (like knitting bailing twine!) - lavender, indigo, teal, orange-brown? But somehow I finished the first one this morning and you know, it really worked. It used almost exactly one full colour repeat of the socks, so the same colour doesn't appear twice, and the whole picture makes for some pretty socks. And the tough yarn makes for socks like armour - honest-feeling wool socks. I gather it softens up a bit upon washing, but I'm pleased with it already.

4. Coming up... Danielle is coming over tonight, and we're going to try for real vegan supper this time - roasted red peppers stuffed with vegan risotto, with roasted sweet potatoes and a reprise of the broccoli salad. It should be an adventure :)