My part-time student assistant started yesterday and all I can say is hoo-ray!
Her name is Liz and she's a senior and so has the maturity and the skills to work in the office pretty well.
This will really save me from a HUGE amount of paper pushing that keeps me from doing more substantial work and my boss knows it, and I am grateful. So, hurray!
Also, I'm happy to see The Sopranos is starting up again on Sunday! Excellent. I haven't been watching The Sopranos as religiously as I watch Sex and the City and Six Feet Under, but I have caught enough of it to love it.
All 3 shows are really different, but the writing, the acting and the characters (esp. in Six Feet Under and Sopranos) are so compelling, they are all an absolute pleasure to watch. I look forward to Sunday nights.
These 3 series, and the occasional HBO special (John Leguizamo's one-man shows, for example), make the cost of HBO totally worth it. And, the fact that the shows are broadcast in 8-10 week blocks ensures that you never take them for granted or that the writing gets weak (I used to love ER, but it's gotten so soapy in the past years).
Now if only "The Daily Show" would come on earlier every night, I would be a TV addict every evening. One night a week is plenty.
Last night felt like a really "neighborly" kind of evening. Our neighbors out and about on our street walking their dogs, playing with their kids, tending to their lawn, and me feeling like we have a real community on our little block.
Our new neighbors across the street are a single woman named Jessica and her 6-year-old daughter Isabella.
Don't know much about them because Jessica doesn't really come out of the house and visit with the rest of us.
Hmm. Kinda strange.
When she first bought the house and was over there, I walked over and introduced myself and was all friendly.
She was cordial. That was fine. I don't want to be best friends with all my neighbors, but it's nice to be friendly with them. Now, she waves and says hello, which is fine, but it's a marked difference from all of our other neighbors within spitting distance, who are very friendly and just love Molly.
A cluster of us right in the middle of the block know each other names, we share basic information about our jobs, we know each other's kids' and dogs' names, we tell each other when we are going on vacation, etc. It's really, really nice.
My across-the-street neighbor, Linda, who I have mentioned before, has become a good friend to me. I feel so lucky that Ed and I have cultivated such good will with our neighbors, which can go a long way toward making a house feel like home.
Last night I saw the new girl, Isabella, playing with the girl next door to us, Claire, for the first time. They are both around 6-7 years old and it did my heart good to watch them riding bikes together, playing games, exploring the street. I can imagine them becoming best friends.
I grew up in very friendly neighborhood in a small town in upstate New York, playing games and going to school with the kids on our street and exploring the creek that ran behind our garage with my sister and my friends.
I want Molly to grow up exploring our yard and its surroundings, to live in a neighborhood where the adults and kids know her name and keep an eye on her when she's not in our yard.
I've heard horror stories from people I know who live near neighbors who have alienated them or alienate themselves. So, I'm going to consciously enjoy our wonderful, little community. When the weather turns cold, we won't be seeing them nearly as much...sigh.....but it's nice to know when we need them, they'll be there and vice versa.
Today on my way into the building where I work, two women were handing our white ribbons and small safety pins and a small card that asks people to wear this white ribbon in memory of last September and "in hope for a future of peace and understanding."
It was touching for strangers to reach out to strangers in this way.
I think that is one way life has changed in the past year (a common theme across all media outlets, it seems)--people are more willing to reach out to others.
I live in a very diverse community. After September 11, a lot of people who consider themselves "true Americans" lashed out against some immigrants and non-native residents. A sad, displaced show of frustration and anger.
I have made a conscious attempt to be more open--in body language and conversation--to those who might feel marginalized by "mainstream Americans" who harbor resentment against those who think they are "other" or "different."
More than ever, I realize how important it is to be a force for good in this chaotic, uncertain world. A force for good in my own home, at work, in my community and the world at large.
Ed and I have also realized that now that we have a child to support, we need to make sure that we have the right kind of life insurance and long term disability insurance. If one of us didn't come home from work (due to any circumstances--a car accident, whatever), we would want to protect our families from even greater loss.
As a world, I think we are all sadder but wiser. I don't think the appropriate symbol for today is an American flag--it's a white dove.
I've been so incredibly busy at work (my desk is covered in papers as we speak), that I've hardly had time to catch up on my blog.
Tomorrow, though, my part-time student helper starts! yay! That will save me from all the tedious tasks of paper pushing, data entry and such that is sometimes a big part of running 5 (count 'em--5) grant competitions. I'm glad on the end of receiving and reviewing proposals rather than writing them, however.
A lot is going on, but it is good stuff. I was given co-authorship on a research paper that my office is publishing on online teaching, so that is a good thing, as well. I'm in my second year of running these grant competitions, so I'm much more on top of things than last year. All good.
Speaking of "all good," last weekend was wonderful because we stayed home and had a quiet but productive weekend. We spent all day Saturday cleaning out and organizing our garage and storage area off the garage. It was a wreck after our yard sale two weeks ago. We took two car loads of stuff to the recycle/reuse place, collapsed about 24 cardboard boxes, and labeled and organized all of our stuff in storage. Ahh...heaven. Now we can actually find something.
Ed brought home roses for me last night after work and I had to go out and fetch just the right size vase out of storage and I was able to find it. Very nice on both fronts!
Also, Friday night we had an early dinner and then walked to the frozen yogurt place as a family. The funny thing is that there were about 4 other families there--all couples with young kids. I joked, "Look, it's the big Friday night out for people with kids."
Saturday night after cleaning the garage, we walked to the video store (we are soo lucky to live in a quiet neighborhood about 1 mile from a business district) and rented A Beautiful Mind. The walk was nice, but the movie sucked. The message I got from that movie: "If you have a mental illlness, all you need is a lot of love and determination and you'll win the Nobel Prize." Gag. Russell Crowe was pretty damn amazing, but his performance was about the only redeeming thing in the whole movie.
Sunday, we did laundry and some stuff we needed to do inside the house and for dinner I made a yummy new recipe from my Moosewood's New Classics cookbook. It was a rice and vegetable frittata. It was amazingly good.
I highly recommend this cookbook for people (like me) who don't like to cook with meat a lot, but want healthy and great tasting food.
And, our replacement cell phone arrived in the mail! Hurray! It was a good weekend...