31 March 2009

Spring break!

What luxury to wake up in the morning and know that the day is mine. I own it. I can choose to do whatever the heck I want. I actually feel like a human being. My morning coffee gets delivered to me while I'm still in bed listening to NPR's Morning Edition. After the caffeine boost I ease out of bed and spend the next half hour or so reading the New York Times.

And then my mood changes. I feel utterly helpless at the state of the world. What does it all mean? Am I allowed to smile? Can I just take it easy and enjoy the sunshine and the spring flowers? Or should I be doing something about the economy? Is Geithner a good guy or a bad guy? Why is Paul Krugman so critical? Is he really god? Obama - is he amking the right decisions? Are there right decisions? I can't stew about this. It's my spring break after all.
So, I push aside the news about GM and AIG and the G20 summit, and put on my bathing suit. Half an hour of swimming, then a soak in the spa, and relaxing in the steam room. Oh, what joy!

Back home I realize I have all the time in the world to catch up with email and read news blogs and peruse Facebook. I know what you're thinking. Aren't you working on a book, you ask??? FFS, don't I deserve a few days of pretending I have all the time in the world to do whatever I want?

Yes, yes, I'm about to get out my manuscript and work on the next chapter.

15 March 2009

The Ides of March Already!!

March has some cool dates - especially this year. There was square root day on 3/3/09. Then yesterday 3/14 was pi(e) day, and then today, of course, is the Ides. I looked at my last post and realized a whole lot has happened. I could be here for hours updating my blog - but, I've got only minutes to do this.

So, let's see, biggest news - we were in Washington, DC last week. It was my second time there and I have to say, it's one of the more interesting American cities - and definitely worthy of a visit. I took a couple days off work so I had a decent 4 days to take in the city. When I had arrived - in the morning - after a red-eye - I saw mounds of snow on the ground so I braced myself for chilly weather. But, to my surprise, the days were pleasantly warm and the evenings mild enough to drink and dine outdoors.

We sipped wine beside the harbor and watched the rowers sailing down the Potomac River. We had dinner in Georgetown on the first evening, then in Dupont Circle the next evening. On our third evening we came across an excellent middle eastern restaurant which served superb mezzes. We saw the usual sights along the National Mall, took in the museums, did a tour of the Capitol, etc. It was still very much winter in DC despite the unusual warmth. The trees were all bare, the grass was brown, and none of the fountains were running. Even the Reflection Pool between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument was drained out. In another month the cherry trees will be in full blossom and I'm sure the city will look beautiful.

Back in Santa Barbara meanwhile spring has arrived. When I opened our back door the first thing that hit me was the strong fragrance of wisteria, which is in full bloom. All the fruit trees are blossoming and the shrubs are green and lush with new growth. The California poppies and lupines are out and all over the landscape.

Switching to daylight savings time too early in the season has been a huge pain. I hate waking up in pitch darkness. Whose idea was this? And shouldn't we the citizens have a say in this?

At school my students are getting excited about St. Patrick's Day. They've been writing stories about leprechauns. I feel quite pleased when I see their stories. They know how to create good plots - it seems to come naturally to them. And I notice that they are always trying to do better and better. It's wonderful.

And now I have to dash off to the grocery store.