Monday, December 28, 2009

Inevitable back-from-holidays post! + appeal for good juju!

Holidays were busy! Basically good! Got to see/phone relatives and friends I haven't seen in a long time, which was really, really nice.

Helplessly reduced version

AV media:
Saw the Hangover, Dark Knight & Star Trek (thank you Carl!), and (for the second time) Hopscotch. Couldn't keep the slash goggles off, on those last two, I'm afraid (I know; I'm sorry. Yes, even Matthau). About ran out to see Sherlock Holmes; barely kept it in my pants. Will break down soon. Got to play my mom some fantastic music, incl. "Madam George" by Van Morrison, which I sometimes get obsessed with (and which she knew, btw, just not by title). Tried to show her some Kids in the Hall but don't think she was thrilled (alas!). Didn't get to show her Alice. Got to play/sings all those holiday songs Chris and I have been working on - we learned some non-depressed ones this year. (Last year or year before we learned "I'll Be Home For Christmas," "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)," and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," mostly to make me cry.) This year we've been working up the light and non-specific stuff: "No Place Like Home For the Holidays," "Let it Snow," "Santa Baby." Picked up last minute some "White Christmas," "Deck the Halls" and "What Child Is This?" because pretty.

Learned Euchre! Fun! Played that, Hearts, Pinochle galore. Never did send out cards. :\

Readin', Writin' and 'rithma--well, arts an crafts:
Got to read more Sandman (THANK YOU CARL!). Spent the car ride home on digging into various unfinished chapters. Knit another Möbius (that's number four--third for my mom). Started some gloves with some graciously provided yarn from family friend! Drew random pages I'm not sure I'll be able to use, but would like to at some point. Productive car ride!

Acquisitions department:
Light, which is good. Inherited an old sweater of my dad's that no one's worn in.. well, twelve + years, now, and can't seem to take it off (mostly, it's cold). Thirteenth Christmas without my dad, this year. But my sixth Christmas with Chris. That's amazing to think about, too. Chris, who magically remembers everything I say in even vague "Oh, it might be nice to have a..." got someone a flock of chicks for me, through Heifer International, which I think is the most thoughtful and wonderful gift I've gotten in a long, long time.

Among others... Albert.

So we were gone several days, but it was really cold and frosty, and I didn't get a chance to acclimatize Albert to going back outside, and frankly, got selfish and wanted to not have to take down the festive before xmas - and wanted a chance to camp out by the tree with the lights on one night (this will be tonight). So I watered him really well and left him inside.

Our best pals and neighbors house-sat for us, and (totally appropriately) cranked up the heat for the two nights they stayed here from the starvation rations we keep it at, and turned it back down when they left. And the two weeks or so that Albert's been inside is way longer than is suggested. But everything I saw only mentioned the trouble with getting dried out, and I gave him plenty of water, and he seemed springy and healthy.

Apparently the other problem with being inside too long is that a pine tree will start to think it is spring, and break dormancy.

I came home to find Albert covered in beautiful, precious, fluffy sprigs of pale chartreuse all over. He looks impossibly bushy and bright.

How could that be wrong?

Unfortunately, everything I can find now says, "Never let them break dormancy, or they will die when"--mark WILL and WHEN--"you put them outdoors." (Why would you put them outdoors to die if it's inevitable they'd die out there? And how about an "If this happens, you can do x," please?!)

Like a desperate mother, I search for alternative treatments for my doomed and written off and still apparently very happy and healthy (at the moment) baby.

I finally--after pages and pages--found something saying that, if dormancy were to be broken (it was still a cautionary tale), you would have to keep them indoors until chance of frost was over. (Eureka! This, I can do!) ...But that this, too, would cause inevitable death, because surviving an in-home winter and spring is not likely, what with heat and dryness. And that pines tend to need a long wintery rest, which will now have been cut short.


Everybody on the internets is talking doom at my tree.

Everybody on the internets refuses to troubleshoot, and instead, too late, offers me warnings of evil spirits and inevitable death.

So I put it to you that we need to have, on the internets, good juju, and assurances that an Aleppo pine accidentally propelled into an early Spring inside a home that goes really light on the heat and keeps the humidity up and where, in fact, he will get water and be gentled, will not only survive winter but survive Spring, make a peaceful transition back into outdoor life when the temps. aren't so shocking, and, though tired by next winter, will transition into next year's dormancy for a good long rest without much comment beside that. ("Albert will rock the casbah!" in a comment would do very nicely, for instance. Or even just some good wishes generally.)

Or if you have had any experience evading doom or know you some indoorable pine info, please share!

Now, I have spent way too much of my evening online, and need to get to a little gentling-into-sleep-mode and have my (apparently very dangerous) night out by my sweet little Albert. I hope all of y'all have had a wonderful (or at least not-too-stressful) week, whatever you did or did not do with it.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Music and Arts demonstration; student rally

Bless our students at CSU Stanislaus. The arts know how to put on a fucking protest.

This carol came after about an hour of gorgeous, mournful, and sometimes seasonal music from the Chamber Singers (slated to be cut next year) and the Wind Ensemble (slated to be cut next year). Wore all black. Marching in and out, and in between songs, they were silent.

Chris said: "They're holding their own wake."

There is hardly a more beautiful sound in the world than this ensemble singing, and next year, if our cuts roll on, it won't be.

Definitely encourage you to listen/watch. Earlier on in their performance, lyrics included "Fare thee well, my own true love..." and "I am tired, I am weak, I am worn... Take my hand... lead me home," and other sounds of loss and homesickness - music is these students' lives, this school and these programs are their home. I wept like a baby.

Less heart-breaking and amazingly optimistic, here, is Chris (the eternal pessimist). The day before the arts demonstration, there was a huge walkout, rally, and march (couple hundred students), most of the speakers for which are posted online, too. So if you want to see my hot honey being a rabble-rouser, you can here, starting at 3:56. (He is also wearing the first thing I ever knit, that rainbowy scarf.)

(At 6:54, you he's moved just off screen, but you can see three of his students running through to blindside group hug him, which made my day. <3)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

...And I'm replying to more innocuous email.

I just received an email from the Office of Alumni Affairs & Annual Giving, asking me to give them money.

The email begins this way:

Your gifts to the CSU Stanislaus Stan Fund directly benefit students in many ways:
1. By recruiting highly qualified faculty who excel as scholars and teachers and work closely with students in the context of a caring community...

(emphasis in original text)



...So I wrote back.

I appreciate the necessity of giving.  I am afraid I cannot give right now, as my husband is one of these highly qualified faculty, and is being eliminated for the next year--along with all other lecturers at Stanislaus and very likely some of our tenure-track faculty--so we cannot really spare any money at all, right now.

By the way: suggesting any money I gave could in any way go toward RECRUITING faculty any year soon, when the only movement in faculty is going to be outward, is disingenuous, if not an outright lie, and I would suggest you reword in future.

Thank you,
(major/grad date)

Also in the process of editing my earlier screed for mailing to my state reps, the board of trustees, and the chancellor. (Editing to add context, and, um, specific recommendations and information re: our campus president.) I'll post it (behind a cut, I suppose) when I have it in order and have sent it. I may look into sending a cleaned up version of the original to papers or... something?

UPDATE: I was sent a very nice note back in response by the head of that office, which was much appreciated. I know it's really hard for the staff in these offices, right now, too, and they're doing the best they can to try to raise money for CSUS in hard times - it was good to hear back.