Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Memory of My Mother

  I cannot tell the exact date of this event. It comes to me as a dream or a fragment of a dream. I cannot even  tell you if it happened before Dad died or after. He is not a part of it and everything but this dislocated fragment is surrounded in a kind of fog.Mother

You had come to say goodbye at the bus station. I was frankly overwhelmed that you had made such an effort for me. Climbing onto the nearly empty Trail ways bus, I stare down at you. You are smoking a cigarette, one hand on your hip. Your usual pose. The mousy color of your hair. The strap of your bra is showing, I notice. Your oversized hips and your oversized glasses. You are looking up at me and I am waving back at you. Though I am less than a yard away,  you cannot see me. The reflective windows make it impossible for you to anything more than glare and abstraction. Still, you are studying the bus carefully while I am waving, ever more frantically.  The bus pulls away and you hesitantly hold up your hand and wave to the place you think I might be.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Story of A Practical Man

georgemorganMy father was a practical man.  He did not believe in risk-taking or gambling or trusting the fates or your luck.  Instead, he was devotee to moving slowly, thoughtfully, patiently and sticking to things, especially when they were soul-crushingly boring, exhausting or unrewarding. He felt that hard work purified the character. He believed in the middle of the road and safeguards and safety nets and insurance for insurance. My father’s life was a tribute to grim struggle, exact planning with low expectations. 

Here was a man who gave me loads of grief for quitting my first job at a Chinese restaurant with the line, “You can’t keep hopping from one job to another, you know. Think what it will look like on your applications. Think about  your future.” I had been a dishwasher.

This was a man that, (and I am not making this up) decided for my birthday one year to buy “the best pair of shoes I would ever own”- Boone Brand Shoes- the only dress shoes I have ever seen with steel toes. (I imagine that he figured that steel-toed shoes might save my feet in the case I was run over by a tank on the way to my Homecoming dance.) But, as if this wasn’t bad enough, in order to teach me the value of quality, he decided  that he would donate half of the price for the shoes. The other half would be up to me. So, in effect, he gave me for my birthday one steel-toed dress shoe, that was about as heavy as a VW.  I think I wore

them about four times and marched about with a resounding thud on any bottom step.

My father loved cars because, I came to think, cars were such complicated machines that no matter what you worried about, there was always something else that could break down. Something explodes- or merely snaps- under the hood, the driver grips the wheel but the vehicle spins violently, crashing past the guard rails and now hangs like a cocoon over the edge of a bridge with the muddy Missouri below.

Was there enough of this fluid or that fluid? enough air in the tires or fuses in the fuse box? A spare filled with air and checked regularly? Registration and inspection completed? Insurance paid up? After years of constant nagging about the thousand and one possibly-neglected items, I decided to turn the tables and “feign” worry about the car. I pretended to visibly fret about not having checked the depth of the tire tread with a penny that week, or some such nonsense. I really hammed it up. It was a kind of experiment. And to my surprised confirmation and amusement, he said, “Well, you can’t worry about everything. Take one day at a time.”

Years later, when I was old enough to listen, I learned more about my father’s early years.  Never from my father. He was not the kind of man to talk about intimate things. It embarrassed him for some reason, as if, by discussing the events of his past, he was trying to find excuses or sympathy.

According to the family legend, when my  grandmother went into labor with my father,  it became clear that something was not right. There was some kind of problem, protracted labor, I think. His family might as well have lived about 150 years ago. There was no car or truck, only a mule and a wagon. There was, of course, no gleaming hospital and maternity wards. Just a grumbling ancient doctor of dubious qualifications. 

My grandfather and the older sons, Fred and Frank, went off in a freezing rain to bring back the physician. Apparently, they found the doctor who managed to resolve the birthing problems easily enough. However, my grandfather, due to the freezing weather, had caught some kind of flu.  Within three days of my father’s birth, his father was dead. 

And so, my father grew up fatherless, pampered by his older sisters and excessively beloved by his mother. They managed to survive only for the fact they had own the land they farmed. Selling whatever the chickens and the gardens might produce.  My father told me, maybe a hundred times, about being too ashamed to go to school because he had no shoes to wear. (To this, I would roll my eyes up like cheap window shades.)

Fred Uncle Fred became my father’s father. I have only seen photos of Fred. A dashingly handsome man with a genial smile and sparkling eyes. He made quite an impression in his military uniform when he was sent off to fight in World War II. My father was 15, when they received the news that Fred had fallen in the Battle of the Bulge, the last attempt by the Germans to hold the occupied lands of northern France.  The government brought his body back- he became a sad local hero for a week or so and some military representative gave my grandmother a triangular flag. She stored it away in a steamer truck in the barn along his his dashing uniform. And although his photo hung on the wall, in my aunt's home, I can't recall a time when Uncle Fred was ever mentioned.

That was how my father lost his two fathers and became such a practical man.

This American Life

This American Life (TAL) is a weekly hour-long radio program produced by Chicago Public Radio and hosted by Ira Glass. It is distributed by Public Radio International on PRI affiliate stations and is also available as a free weekly podcast. Primarily a journalistic non-fiction program, it has also featured essays, memoirs, field recordings, short fiction, and found footage.  http://www.thisamericanlife.org/

Each week's show loosely centers on a particular theme. The theme of the show is explored in several "acts", usually two to five. On occasion, an entire program will consist of a single act. A notable exception was the show "20 Acts in 60 Minutes", which broke the normal convention by presenting twenty acts in one hour. Each act is produced using a combination of staff and freelance contributors.

Here is a sample from the archive. It is called “Family Legend.”

http://audio.thisamericanlife.org/player/CPRadio_player.php?podcast=http://www.thisamericanlife.org/xmlfeeds/270.xml&proxyloc=http://audio.thisamericanlife.org/player/customproxy.php

To all my loyal but crazy fans,

I have finished my CELTA course and for this reason, I have not had much time for writing on the blog. The CELTA course finished on Dec. 19th and now I shall be embarking on a new adventure, which I will be telling you about in detail a bit later.  Suffice to say, my time in New York is coming to a close and, despite the year being full of horrendous turmoil, I shall be rather sad to say good bye.

1208snowbw The people of New York City are some of the most interesting and warmest people I have met. Conversations on a ferry. Amusing retorts by a busy policeman. And that distant look of sadness when they speak about September 11th, as if they had all lost a good friend.   The city itself has so much beauty and I could live here a lifetime and never get bored. 1183482661

Sometimes I wonder if the people of New York  realize how world-famous this city actually is. It can become a world in itself because it truly seems to have everything. 1183482637

I will miss this city but I will return for a visit as soon and as often as possible.

brooklyn

Friday, December 26, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Two Christmas Trees

A lighted Christmas tree with presents underneath. My mother, who was generally rather over-the-top even in the best of times, did not believe in frugality and understatement when it came to Christmas, and especially regarding the tree. The whole point of Christmas was to go overboard in as many ways as possible. Besides, winters could be so dreary and bland.

Our Christmas trees were always natural, sold from a supermarket parking lot- a process which involved as much haggling as the purchase of a used car.  Following this, our newly-adopted tree had to be  tied down onto the roof of our station wagon. This was as logistically involved as whaling. It took  all hands to get the evergreen into the house and cradled in the stand, turned this way and that to display its best side, like a fat lady in a bathing suit. (Two aspirins make it keep longer, my mother would remind us every year.) After that my father was sensible enough to leave my mother to it. His job was done.

Our family dog, Charlie, was a clever beast and somehow he understood that, although this was clearly a tree, it was not to be used for peeing as any other outdoor tree might be. How he figured that out I cannot imagine. However, the white blanket we used year to cover the stand never came up with any suspicious stains.

All the ornaments and accessories, accumulated year after year and stored in the attic, had to be brought down and the operation would then began in earnest. And it was indeed quite an ordeal, one which my mother supervised and directed  like some allied commander. First came our crowning serenely-smiling angel who, over the years, became more more haggard and balding. Then came the strings of lights, both flashing and continuous, then the boa-like ropes of tinsel (usually silver or blue, but sometimes red and gold) then the countless ornaments, followed by the tufts of  fake silver icicles and lastly a heavy shroud of “angel hair” over the whole thing. 

(As children, we were strictly forbidden to touch the spun glass. I suppose my mother thought we might mistake it for cotton candy and try to eat a handful.)

When operation was done, the end result was a cross between a slumbering yeti in drag and a home-made wedding cake. Both impressive and slightly freakish. Without the lights, the thing was positively frightening. The moment came when, with great courage, my father told us all to stand back as he plugged the lights in. A moment of great tension. I guess my parents feared the string of lights would begin exploding, sending shards of colored glass into our eyes. That never happened, of course. The fourth of July and Christmas stayed well apart. 

But when the lights winked and shone through the illusionary circles of angel hair, and as the scent of the pine slowly filled the house, my mother would stand back and critically stare for a minute, a cigarette in hand, and then move on the next Christmas task. Usually, that meant finding the Burl Ives, Kitty Wells and Elvis Presley Christmas albums.

Our next door neighbors, the Statens, were, by contrast, very subdued as far as their Christmas trees. (Of course, even the Catholic Church in Rome was more subdued than our home.) This low-key approach to Christmas struck me as peculiar and suspicious, since Fay was extroverted in most other ways. Their tree was an artificial tree, a mere waist-high, all silver with a small collection of blue bells. Beneath the tree, she had a display light with a slowly turning disk that changed colors. And, of course, a small star on the top. And that was it. It resembled an ad from the Aluminum industry rather than a celebration of the holy days.

For them, the Christmas holiday was not a particularly happy time of year. It reminded them of family estrangements and unresolved conflicts, telephone calls that were secretly anticipated- but were never placed. There had been a son, Mike, from a previous marriage who had run away from home after some ugly scenes with his stepfather. I had met him only once or twice before he left for good when he was about 17, and he had seemed nice enough to me as a kid. I only recall him having very black hair and a thick moustache at such a young age. 

However, he had, according to my mother, been in and out of trouble with the law for years, got mixed up with the proverbial wrong crowd, and with drugs.  He would appear unexpectedly to ask for  money, making promises nobody believed. Always picking himself up from the ashes of his latest fiasco, always needing a bit more cash to start another new direction in his life. His appearance would inevitably set up a predictable series of events, divisions between stepfather and son, then between husband and wife, questions of loyalty, a mother's love and broken trusts. Silence and emptiness at Christmas time seemed preferable, I suppose. 

All that talk of closeness and  family and the songs about love and goodwill came to them as mocking jib, and an indirect and cruel judgment on their on their own family problems and their personal failings. Christmas would be replaced by his boozy twin sister, New Year's Eve and then the whole holiday bit would be done with, with only the barren vista of frozen January and arctic February to look out upon. As soon as that ordeal was over, their artifical tree would be put away, its duty done for another year.

Kubus, New York City

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Why I love Winters!

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Temperatures fell over the ice-coated Northeast on Saturday, as utility crews made only limited progress restoring power to more than a million homes and businesses after an ice storm struck the region last week.

Utilities in New Hampshire, the hardest-hit state, said it most likely would be Thursday or Friday — a week after the storm — before all power was restored.

“What is facing us is the apparent need to rebuild the entire infrastructure of some sections of the electrical delivery system,” said Martin Murray, a spokesman for Public Service Company of New Hampshire.

Crews across the region saw electric poles, wires and equipment destroyed.

The extent of damage was unclear because some roads were still impassable.

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS   Published: December 13, 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

Izmir

It is rather spooky to take this drive again after being away for nearly 8 months. I can practically feel the hot slightly exhaust-flavored breeze in my face when I watch this clip.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

She Even Told Her Hairdresser

Feds: MySpace hoaxer let friends know about plot against late teen

SEPTEMBER 23--The Missouri woman charged with orchestrating a cruel online hoax that led to the suicide of a teenage girl was once so pleased with her prank that she shared details of the ongoing scheme with her hairdresser and other acquaintances, according to prosecutors. During conversations with several individuals, Lori Drew explained how she and others were"playing a joke on" Megan Meier, a 13-year-girl who was a rival of Drew's daughter. That joke involved Drew's creation of a MySpace page for a "Josh Evans," a nonexistent boy who took an online liking to Meier, but then abruptly turned on the girl, telling her on October 16, 2006 that the world would be a better place without her. A distraught Meier committed suicide later that day. In May, Drew was named in a four-count federal indictment charging her with conspiracy and computer fraud in connection with the MySpace scheme. In a court filing yesterday, prosecutors revealed how Drew spoke of the hoax as it was underway, and "denied any untoward purpose and dismissed concerns over her 'prank." 

While Drew appeared proud of her MySpace gambit while it was active, after Meier's suicide she sought to cover her tracks and mask her involvement in the plot. When questioned by FBI agents, Drew said that while she knew of the MySpace hoax, she was not involved in the creation of the phony "Josh Evans" account. Additionally, when agents surreptitiously recorded a conversation between Drew and Meier's mother, Drew "again disclaimed involvement in the scheme." Drew, pictured above, is scheduled for trial next month in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2008/0923081drew1.html

If you would like to read more about this case:

http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/criminal_mind/psychology/megan_meier/01.html

Sunday, November 23, 2008

One Joke, Three Languages

Lithuanian

Kartais po Sidnėjaus mirė, jo našlė, Tillie, pagaliau buvo galima kalbėti apie tai, kokie pateikiami apgalvoti ir nuostabus žmogus savo vėlai vyru buvo.
"Sidnėjaus pagalvojote apie viską", jis pasakė jiems. "Tiesiog prieš mirtį, vadinamas Sidney pašaukė mane į savo spintas. Jis man įteikė tris vokus." Tillie ", jis pasakė man:" Aš turiu pateikti visi mano paskutinio pageidauja į šias tris vokus. Kai aš miręs, prašome atidaryti ir juos padaryti tiksliai taip, kaip aš nurodė. Tada, aš galiu pailsėti taiką "."
"Kas buvo į vokus?" jos draugai prašė.
"Dėl pirmojo voko yra $ 5000 ir pastaba, 'Prašome naudoti šį pinigus nusipirkti gražią karstas." Ir aš nusipirkau gražaus raudonmedžio karstą su tokia patogus pamušalas, kad aš žinau kaip Sidney ilsisi labai patogiai. "
"Antrasis paketas yra $ 10.000 su pastaba, 'Prašome naudoti šį už puikią laidotuves" I išdėstomi Sidnėjaus labai padorus, laidotuvių ir nupirko visas savo mėgstamus maisto produktus visiems dalyvauti. "
"Ir trečiasis paketas?" paklausė jos draugai.
"Trečiuoju paketu yra $ 25.000 su pastaba, 'Prašome naudoti šį pirkti gražus akmuo".
Holdingas savo ranką į orą, Tillie pasakė ... "Taigi, ar jums patiko mano akmuo?" rodoma nuo jos 10 karatų deimantų žiedą.

Czech

Někdy po Sidney zemřel, jeho vdova, Tillie, byl konečně mohli mluvit o tom, co promyšlené a nádherné muž jí byl manžel pozdě.
"Sidney mysleli na všechno," řekla jim. "Těsně před umřel, Sidney mě zavolal do svého lůžka. Hand On mi tři obálky. 'Tillie,' řekl mi: 'jsem vložil všechny své poslední přání v těchto třech obálek. Poté, co jsem mrtvá, prosím, otevřít a udělat přesně tak, jak jsem poučen. Potom můžu odpočívat v pokoji '. "
"Co bylo v obálkách?" Její přátelé požádal.
"První obálka obsažené $ 5000 s poznámkou, ', prosím, použijte tyto peníze koupit pěknou rakev'. Takže jsem koupil krásný mahagon rakev s takovou pohodlnou podšívkou, že vím, Sidney turistika je velmi příjemně. "
"Druhá obálku obsažené $ 10000 s poznámkou, 'Použijte prosím tento pohřeb pro anice' I uspořádány Sidney velmi důstojný pohřeb a koupil všechny své oblíbené potraviny pro všechny jeho funkce."
"A třetí obálku?" požádal její přátelé.
"Ve třetí obálku obsažené $ 25000 s poznámkou, 'Použijte prosím tento koupit pěkný kámen'."
S její ruku ve vzduchu, Tillie řekl ... "Takže, co se vám líbí můj kámen?" naparování se jí 10 karátový diamantový prsten.

Japanese

シドニー以降、彼の未亡人、ティリー、ついに亡くなった夫への思いやりと素敵な男されていたものについて話すことができた。
"シドニーすべてのことを考えた"と彼女は語った。 "とにかく前に亡くなったが、彼の枕元にシドニーメインと呼ばれる。彼は私の3つの封筒を渡した。 'ティリー、 '彼が私に語った、 '私はこれら3つの封筒内のすべての私の最後の願いをしている。後に死んだ時、彼らはオープンしてください。正確に私に指示している。そして、私の中で眠ることができます平和' 。 "
"これは何の封筒に入れてはどうだった? "彼女の友達に聞いてみた。
"最初の封筒をメモに5000ドルが含まれ、すてきなお棺を買って、このお金を使用しています。 'だから私はこのような快適な裏地には私は非常に快適な休息さを知っているシドニーの美しいマホガニーの棺を買った。 "
" 2番目の封筒をメモに含ま万ドル、 '私は非常に威厳のある葬儀に出席のためシドニー配置と誰もが自分の好きな食べ物を買ったanice葬儀'については、この使用しています。 "
"そして3番目の封筒ですか? "彼女の友達に聞いてみた。
" 3番目の封筒をメモで25000ドルが含まれ、 'してくださいすてきな石を買うために使っています。 ' "
空気中の彼女の手により、ティリー氏... "だから、私の石好きですか? "彼女の10カラットのダイヤの指輪を見せている。

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Aunt Mabel

  Whenever I look back upon my earliest memories of my aunt Mabel  and Uncle Ernest, I can hardly comprehend how poor they were at that time. Although they would later improve their conditions considerably, when I was about 5 or 7, they lived as close to the ground as possible. There was a hand pump in their kitchen which only sometimes worked. It seems you had to pour water into the top of the hand pump to get anything out of it all. (This is where I learned the phrase, “to prime the pump” which means to invest a bit of time or money or energy to obtain greater rewards in the future. )

I never used to enjoy any prolonged stays at my aunt and uncle's home. You see, I was a rather spoilt child of the suburb, comfortable with all the conveniences of modern living, such as indoor toilets, central heating and ready to eat meals. My brother and sister would always tease me about being so extremely pampered and being a cry-baby. They had only three reactions as far as I was concerned. Sneering amusement, head-shaking disgust, or silent evil-eyed resentment.

As far as toilet facilities, my aunt and uncle used a falling-down outhouse behind the chicken coop. Needless perhaps  to say,  it was no great treat to have to venture out in the tall grass surrounded by the glowing (and probably imaginary) eyes of coyotes and wolves, possums and the curious raccoon or feral cat. I recall returning from one trip to Arkansas clearly sick as a result of trying not to use the toilet for three days.

There was a stove in the living room upon which my aunt roasted peanuts for later peanut brittle. Unlike my mother's mother, my aunt was a proud and exceptional cook. She would wake before sunrise every morning, and make biscuits. “Go look in the fridge.” She would tell us from her rocking chair with a sly grin, as we three children came barging into her home.

My aunt was a round and short woman with sagging jowls and a quick wit. She had this wonderful way of pointing out the most ridiculous aspects of the human behavior with the minimum of words. But then, when one least expected it she would turn that critical sardonic eye back upon herself. That quality, the ability not to take one's self too seriously was something I always admired her for and tried my best to emulate. It is a wonderfully disarming trait which seems to become harder and harder to find as the years go by.

When I was about 10, with a loan from my parents, my aunt and uncle were able to move from that hovel to a newly built house on the hill. The house was quite a step up, two indoor toilets, a large kitchen and porch with an expansive vista of the crossroads, where absolutely no one could come without an advanced warning. Just before the move, my uncle laid down the law: The cats would not be allowed in the house. In fact, if my aunt wished to keep the cats at all, she was, from that time on, obliged to feed them at the old house. Of course, that was a clear misreading of the natures of both my aunt and felines in general. Within a week, Snootsy the Siamese was sitting on a my aunt lap. And when she told us this story, she told it very very gently for my uncle had an easily bruised ego and  eruptive temper.

For years, it was my aunt's obligation to be my grandmother's nurse when the older woman became bed-fast. It could not have been an easy mission in life but she took it as her duty. Grandma loved her grandchildren and loved to probe their minds, ask them what they were feeling and thinking, what they hoped to be in the future- a future she knew she would never see.

Oh, of course, there were good things about our visits. My aunt made a wonderful dewberry pie and one of the best examples of pecan pie. My uncle on the other hand was a strapping monster of a man, copper tanned arms and a white forehead, a booming voice with a tendency to become wild and angry unexpectedly. He would cause the house to bounce when he stomped about in a tantrum. My aunt found some way to handle him- usually by keeping quiet and not taking anything he said very seriously. They never had children, no reason was ever given but we were clearly her surrogate children that she loved in a unspoken and private way.

A memory: it is very early Spring. Easter. The grass is so new it is a whitish green. There is the smell of wet soil. Buttercups line the path to my uncle's porch. They have hidden the painted eggs all over. My grandmother, for me always invalid, watches from the window. My aunt is standing on the porch in her flour-dusted apron. My uncle in his faded blue overalls shyly walks to my father and they walk off in the wrong direction to discuss the things men normally do: the recent weather, the hunting season- though my father never hunted- that long trip from St. Louis and which highways we had taken. abandonedHouse

They are all gone now, my grandmother, my father, my mother, my aunt and lastly, my uncle. And their first house has fallen in, abandoned for nearly 30 years now.

Today marks the seventh year since her passing. There is something ghostly about memory, for example, how my aunt is still making sage-scented pork sausage in the very early morning- if, now, only in my mind. I am thankful that as a child, perhaps more sensitive that your typical child of that age and background, I studied them all very carefully. They have a place where they can still exist in their purest- quintessential form. She is gone, cannot defend herself against revision and accusation, but I think my memory is charitable and fair. I hope it is because I owe her that much, at least.

In fact, of all my father's brother's and sisters, she was the last to leave, burying her little brother, my father, whom she had practically raised. How devastating that must have been for her.

One time, I recall asking my aunt what my father was like when he was growing up and she leaned close and whispered in a conspiratorial tone, “Spoilt.” Then, she flashed a smile that lingered there for a moment and then, she returned to her sewing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Joe the Plumber!

cartoons_12

Furry Happy-o-Meter

happy

courtesy of our friends at www.b3ta.com

Let’s Clone Lyon!

lyon January 18, 2008

A businessman in the desert Arab emirate of Dubai has launched plans to faithfully reconstruct the French city of Lyon, right down to its cafes, cinemas and schools, officials from the southwestern city have announced.

The project, due to be completed in 2012, is being driven by businessman Saeed Al Gandhi who fell in love with France’s third biggest city after a visit to draw up plans for a French-language university in Dubai in partnership with the Lyon-2 campus.

He is due to sign a draft deal for the 500 million euro project next week with the city of Lyon.

Lyon-Dubai City, as the new area will be known, will contain public squares, restaurants, outdoor cafes and museums.

All the original Lyon’s gastronomic, cultural, sporting and economic institutions will be painstakingly replicated.

"The city will be organized on European lines so that in a bistrot there you will find the same atmosphere as in a bistrot in Lyon,” said urban specialist Jean-Paul Lebas, who is working on the project.

It is not clear whether the French smoking ban, in force since Jan 2, will be extended to the Dubai bistrots.

http://intelligenttravel.typepad.com/it/2008/01/dubai-to-clone.html

Photo: Emiliano Calero on Flickr

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wish me Luck..

I am getting all excited about starting my CELTA course. If you don't know what CELTA means, it stands for: Certificate for English Language Teaching for Adults. Basically a course to get your English teaching certificate.  The 4-week course certainly seems thorough and, despite having centuries of experience in the classroom and a fairly intelligent answer to any grammar question, I am holding tight to my sphincters.

1955For one thing, I know for a fact that I am a far better teacher than a student. ( That isn't saying all that much, trust me.) Either the pace is mind-blurringly slow and I find my eyes crossing- or it is “Lucy at the chocolate factory”. Also, I used to hate having guests in the classroom watching me while I taught because you can’t ignore them and you aren't supposed to acknowledge them either.  So they sit there in silent judgment like disapproving ghosts.

I am sure I will learn a lot. If nothing else, I can learn to be pretentious and talk down convincingly to other teachers. Lord knows, I have had to endure THAT often enough. If I throw out a couple of juicy phrases like, “intrinsic motivation” or “the lexical or semantic meanings of the vocabulary” it tends to shut people up like disturbed clams!

No matter it will be good to get back into the classroom- there is a whole lot of classroom practice involved in this intensive course. 

Wish me luck and I will keep you posted on my adventures in learning.

Okay So I Freaked..

I would like to be all New York about being here but last night, I confess I freaked out while watching Ugly Betty. I guess if you live – and I mean all your life- in NYC, you would never get excited when you see a familiar place on TV. I however am not used to it.  Here are some screen caps of a place I was at last week ( sans movie stars of course)

UGLYBETTY1

In the background, on the corner, you can see the place where I bought my glasses. In fact, I made a fool of myself there by stumbling on a rug and falling into the shop, proving how urgently I needed new glasses. (Also I was looking soooo unfashionable. How did I know that, if you wear glasses in New York, they should be very noticeable. My old ones, besides being scratched into milkiness, were just too subtle for New York.)

029Uglybetty2 Like.. Oh My God!!! I even took a photo here. I was obviously about 4 months too late-(as usual.) No Ugly Betty when I was there but a few slightly delusional guys mumbling to themselves and some  totally unsophisticated out-of-towners posing in from of the fountain to tell the world..  “I was here!!!”  (Just like I am doing now!)

Who knows? Maybe I can get my mug on the show like Pee Wee Herman, trying to look “natural” in the background. Looking natural was never my strongest suit however. I would be giggling like a 11 year old girl and desperately NOT looking at the camera.

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