Today -- 05/31/00

I attempted to get up a few minutes past five this morning, thinking about going for an early morning run, but then decided that I would go out for a run at lunchtime, so I stayed in bed until 5:30. Thus, the usual morning tasks, except Tiger was stretched out on our bed and wasn't his usual starving morning self (for a few minutes at least), so I started coffee and then fed the cat in a reversal of the usual order.

Nancy has been fighting a cold the past day or two so in addition to bringing her a wake-up cup of coffee, I also brought a glass or orange juice and two small slices of canteloupe (got to get that vitamin C). Then, while sipping my first cup of coffee I packed her lunch, put coffee in a travel mug, and toasted a cinnamon-raison bagel (wrapped in aluminum foil to be eaten on the way to work). In order to avoid a time crunch later, I also fixed lunches for myself and the kids. Then, after Nancy left, I fixed a cup of coffee for Jennifer and fixed a toasted bagel for Sean. Why? Well, this usually serves as a kinder and gentler wake-up call... the theory being that it is harder to roll over and go back to sleep while drinking coffee or eating a bagel. As we get closer to the end of school it seems as if the theory is failing as they are finding it quite possible to drink the coffee or eat the bagel and then fall back asleep. Meanwhile, no longer being responsible for transporting them to school and not having any time constraints this week (since I am not teaching this week), I enjoy a relaxed dish of cereal and a second cup of coffee while reading the morning newspaper.

I am teaching next week, so much of today at work is spent setting up a classroom: placing books and manuals, also pens, writing tablets, highlighters, pads of Post-it notes, a map of Newport, a Newport tourist booklet, etc. at each student seat. I always like to have my classroom set up in advance like that, and I find that students appreciate information about the town. (My students almost always have flown in from other parts of the country -- or from other countries -- and since Newport is a resort area, the maps and tourist information helps them to enjoy themselves outside of classtime.) Usually I do that on Friday afternoons the week before a class, but I'm thinking of taking either Thursday or Friday off this week, so I want to be sure everything is all set.

A few other random thoughts...

I hadn't mentioned this in my entries on my trip to Nice, but I was struck by the wording of the signs posted at traffic circles (what Brits and Australians and some people here in New England call roundabouts). Here one would expect to see YIELD signs, signifying that traffic in the circle has right-of-way over entering traffic. That same rule seemed to apply in France, but there were two different signs that conveyed the concept of yielding and some circles which had no traffic control signs at all. One sign, in an informative tone, announced VOUS N'AVEZ PAS LE PRIORITE, while the other, in imperative fashion, ordered CEDEZ LA PASSAGE. Both convey the instruction to yield but I could identify neither rhyme nor reason why one was used instead of the other (or instead of no sign at all). [Any French speakers out there? Did I mess up the gramatical gender, should it be la priorite and le passage?]

Just before I woke up yesterday morning I was dreaming in French. I was back in France and was trying to carry on conversations in French. When I awoke I was somewhat surprised to realize that what I remembered saying in my dream really was in French -- not always good French, but close enough to work, rather amazing considering that I took my last French class early in 1964. I did purchase a multi-CD computer-based French training program in anticipation of my recent trip to France, but never got past ripping the shrink-wrap, never even installed it... however, I may be returning there later this year, and I still have hopes of being able to communicate a little bit in French.

I was asked to go back to Nice next week to co-teach a class, but I am teaching here in Rhode Island next week, so could not be in two places at once. There is another class there June 19th-23rd, but I would have to leave on Saturday the 17th, which is when we are hosting a graduation party for our daughter. (I've insured my inability to participate in that class by signing up to attend a two day class in New York City on the 19th and 20th.)

I've been having a good time reading other people's journals. I have become hooked on Bev Sykes' journal ... she is good people... warm, intelligent, outspoken... someone who has known pain and loss but rises and continues on... Read her May 27th entry where she explains the meaning of the inscription "fts" on the stone marking the graves of the two sons she has lost. Or read her recent entry titled "Guns and Condoms" (about an afternoon spent giving out condoms and safe sex info at a health fair)... She is a delight to read... and she updates almost every single day! (She missed only one day this month -- May 2nd -- because she was flying back to California from the Gay Rights rally in Washington, DC. (and also a PFLAG meeting - parents and friends of lesbians and gays). Oh, just go check out her journal; it's really worth reading.

And I also want to direct your attention to the latest journal I've begun reading... Juggler Jelly Bean, the life of a thirty-something wife and mother who has a full tme real world job, warm and amusing... If you have ever had a young child in your life you will recognize the events in her three ring circus.

Writing the above paragraph has made me think about the journals I read... Mentioning Juggler Jelly Bean made me think about the other journals I read that are written by parents of young children... Lee's "More Than Meets the Eye" is the journal of a mom with two kids but she sent email today saying that she is about to change her journal name and design and URL... Other parent-child oriented sites include Todd's "Back to Basics (without a gun)" and John Scalzi's site, not to mention Dave Van... Of course I also read journals by those who are not married (Molly, Emily, Piper Dane, Pamie, Jen Wade, etc... yeah, no links here, getting tired of A HREF and such, so check out my page of journal links and you'll find them) or are married but no children (either by choice or chance) at the present time. And then there's Bev Sykes, who is my age. Go read her journal .

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