Friday, November 30, 2007

Chuck Norris fears my father

In Edinburgh, in 1984 I was in the same nursery school, then the same primary school as K. We met briefly and hit it off, but were never in the same class. Then she moved schools.

In San Diego, in 2004 or 2005 I started commenting on the blog of an Edinburgher I'd noticed in comments on a few of my favourite blogs. We had a lot in common, and eventually figured out that we'd met at age 4.

This year, in Edinburgh again, I met her Mum, who also reads blogs (a rarity, my parents know I have one, and as far as I know have never visited it, it's not their thing).

So the mother of my nursery-schoolmate whom I re-met through the internet...alerts me to a news article on my father's retirement (before my father does), and the article mentions there's a Facebook group of his students, and "appreciation society". Of course I go to join it, he's my Dad after all. The first post I find on the group's home page contains a Chuck Norris joke about my dad.

The internet is a wonderful, bizarre place.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Hi Ho

Back to work I go.

It has been a lovely long weekend. We didn't get the magical stone shelter in the desert campground, because the campground was booked up with reservations. We ended up in a free camping area, with no amenities beyond dunnies, but it was great because we had the whole area to ourselves, under a funky tree for shade. Just us and the desert. A coyote came to check out our campground the first night, we heard him yip-yip-yipping, and the answering call from further away, he wasn't close enough that we heard his foot falls, but he was close! There were a lot of wild bunnies around our site, and a lot of coyote scat (poop), so I think we were invading a favourite coyote hunting ground.

Wednesday night we had our tent pitched, set a fire going in our fire pit, ate hot dogs, drank beer and hung out until we'd burned half the firewood we had with us, just chatting. Thursday morning, after breakfast and espresso, we went for a little hike along the dirt road that lead to our site. When we'd drunk half the water we were carrying, we turned around and went back to the site to prepare Thanksgiving dinner. Roast turkey, potatoes cooked in garlic olive oil with a bit of bacon, mixed veggies in butter and herbs, corn bread (bought, then heated over the charcoal), and pecan pie (also bought and heated over the charcoal) and wine from our favourite winery. Yum.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Matt's on holiday from work all this week (though not from his online university courses), I'm only at work today and tomorrow. It is so hard to concentrate! I want to be on my break! Camping for Thanksgiving! I've just been told that Thanksgiving weekend is the official start of desert season (get out there and hunt you some desert boy!), so our genius plan of trying to get a choice camping spot out in the Borrego desert might be a bit optimistic. I'm sort of banking on the assumption that most people will do "the dinner" at home on Thursday THEN go camping, whereas we want to go out on Wednesday and spend the turkey day in the desert with fire-warmed pumpkin pie and fire-cooked turkey. No fancy place settings and centerpieces for us. If we can't get the favoured spot I hope we can at least camp in the same campground.

The spot we want has a little stone windbreak shelter with a fireplace and picnic table inside it, no roof, but it provides shelter from the strong winds at night while sitting by the fire. Friends of ours once took a bunch of tea light candles there and set them in the crevices of the walls, so they were surrounded by candle light.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Copies of what?

The university enrollments office wants me to stop by with my A-Level certificates, since they need to see the originals and keep copies. Sure, I keep 9 year old high school exam result certificates handy at all times.

I am saved by my Mum, who was able to put her hand on the certificates inside about 5 minutes (a rare feat of finding in their house, usually once something is lost it's lost to a black hole only to reappear 15 years later when you are looking for something else entirely). Even better, the office is fine with faxed copies for now, as long as I bring by the originals for inspection once they get to me. It's beyond me why they need documentation of high school exam results, though I suppose it's something about the US equivalent "AP" classes, counting for university credit.

This morning I went on a bit of a rampage after putting up a shelf in the kitchen, I scrubbed the kitchen floor, cabinet fronts and all the doors and door frames in the flat. This may have something to do with wanting to nest before my family comes to visit for Christmas. Can't have grimy door jambs!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Slightly less active waiting

My application materials for the Master's program are now completely submitted. After applying online on October 4th, then sending in my essay on the 22nd, which was also the second day of the big fires and the beginning of a week when all the universities and some of the postal service were shut down for the duration, I found out in the last week of October that my home university had not yet sent the transcript of my BSc degree. Considering that the transcript serves as proof of possession of a bachelor's degree, and that the final application deadline was Nov 1st...I was a bit freaked out by this news. The transcript was "missing some information from the department", and the department had been contacted, but had not responded. For two weeks. There followed a few emails back and forth with the registrar's office in London (each with a one-day turnaround because of the time difference), some fingernail biting on my part, several slightly frantic calls to San Diego State to find out if they could at least LOOK at my application while waiting for the transcript to arrive, a short break to gnaw on the furniture in frustration and, finally, (after my mother offered to go to London and beat on the office doors herself) one phone call to my former department in London before it was fixed. Transcript mailed on November 1st, I am told the post mark is the important thing for the deadline, so I was under that wire by the smallest amount possible. I get the distinct impression the registrar's office never thought it important enough to phone for the missing information, just fired an email off into the ether. Once I called my department it was all fixed inside two days.

The day the transcript was mailed I found out that not all of my reference letters had arrived, but nobody could tell me which of the three was missing. The person in charge of those files was on holiday and "nobody else has access". Those tooth marks on the arm of the sofa? No, not Marble, too big, not fangy enough, those were made by an anxious female Homo sapiens sapiens wannabe graduate student. I was about to ask all three referees to re-send when I received a form letter telling me which reference was missing. I called my previous boss and she not only FedExed another copy of the reference, she faxed it and called the admissions office to tell them it was being re-sent. That type of overkill made me want to FedEx her cookies in return.

This morning my online application status page told me that my transcript arrived. Just when I was starting to think about lost-in-the-mail scenarios. The woman in charge of admissions returns next week, she of the magical one-woman access to the files. I don't know when I can reasonably expect to hear if I have been accepted or not, the session starts at the end of January next year, so it can't be that long before they send out acceptance letters...unless they like to keep things exciting and only notify students mere days before their graduate program begins. Which would fit with the way things have been going. So now I wait. At least now I am no longer waiting while expending my limited psychic powers willing strangers in offices in London to get off their arses and produce paperwork for me.

I hear massive cat battles going on in the living room, it must be dinner time for the felines. Tali has taken to chasing Marble about when he's hungry, she growls and makes a lot of noise when he does it, so it gets my attention. Little brat boy. He tried to run off with a half-knitted sock earlier this evening. He looked very cute hopping off the sofa with it in his mouth, needles and all, but I had to scold him, I don't want him thinking it's ok to nick my knitting.