Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Can It Get Any Worse?

And now for something not so funny.
I'm always excited to come home for Christmas break and this year I have an extra long one. My classes don't start until the last week of January and I am not doing anything during the three week January term. I have to present at a conference in Toronto on the 9th, but after that I am free for at least two weeks. Then I start my final semester of graduate school.
Despite the joy of a nearly six week break (I came home on Dec. 10th), this break has sucked. There has been a lot of pressure to make it a great holiday as it is my last one at home since I am getting married in October. The pressure sucks and there has been a lot of fighting. I have decided that I should just not talk because everything I say results in my being yelled at and I can't take it anymore. I also can't make anyone happy as I am trying to visit my fiance and stay with the family and I just wish there were two of me because then no one could complain.
What has made this one of the worst holidays ever, is the fact that yesterday morning, Mom called and told me she saw an obituary in the paper for one of my oldest friends. I have known Chris since kindergarten and he is now dead. His aunt got in touch with me and said he just got sick on the 23rd and died the 27th. He was in the hospital over Christmas and he died less than two weeks before his 24th birthday. I can't imagine how his family feels. Tonight is a gathering and my mom and I are going. She loved Chris too and is taking it hard. I will probably get to see some friends I haven't seen in a while, but this is not how it should be happening. Somehow I have to do work today, and I just can't make myself start. I should be having breakfast with Chris in a few weeks, not sending condolences to his family. The best always leave us too soon.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tree Shopping

I am currently at home in PA for the holidays. Seems early right? Contrary to what my fellow grad students believe, I am not done with my work, but am simply working from home. I sadly have a take home final, which I will be attempting to complete when I finish writing this entry.
Anyway, yesterday was my mother's birthday for which I surprised her by coming home. She expected me late today as I had so much to do (all lies). Today, my sister and I went into town and met up with Mom to buy our Christmas tree in this:
Yeah, not our brightest idea, as you can see, but there were extenuating circumstances. We were going to get it tomorrow when we go Christmas shopping, but we are also picking up my wedding dress and I don't want it getting squashed by a netted Christmas tree. That dress has to survive until next October, which is why it will be staying at my grandmother's. She has several unused bedrooms and one cat. We have no unused rooms and five cats and a dog. It just wouldn't survive here. This isn't to say our cats rip things to shreds or anything, but we will all feel better knowing my dress is hanging in a room no one enters.
I know my dress will survive, but will I survive being at home until the last week of January? Stay tuned to find out.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Funny things happen on the way to work

To start off my blog, I decided to share a couple of the things I have noticed or dealt with on my way to work. I happen to be in my last year of graduate school and I live right off campus, which is where I both attend class and work. My daily walk is only about 10-15 minutes, but sometimes shit happens as my fiancé likes to say.

Funny (or odd) thing #1: Just last week I was walking on campus and noticed an older woman coming down the sidewalk that intersects diagonally with the one I was on. These two sidewalks meet at a parking lot for the library that has a wide area for delivery trucks, turn-arounds, and the like. This lady reached the pavement and then proceeded to awkwardly jog across the lot while carrying her handbag at her side. I thought that she might have realized that she was late and decided to pick up her pace, but no. Upon reaching the other side of the parking lot (about 25 feet across), she slowed down to a walk. It seems that some people have a fear of parking lots that require them to get across them as quickly as possible.

Funny (and annoying) thing #2: This deals with sidewalk traffic and has come up several times in my year and a half of walking to campus. A lot of graduate students live in my complex and because we are so close, a lot of us walk to campus. There is a shuttle at night, which makes this all feasible as I don't feel safe walking home at night. Anyway, a portion of the students also bike to campus. Last time I checked, bicycles are required to ride in the road because they are not walking so should not use the sidewalk. This is also the reason for all those handy signs about sharing the road. In a perfect world, cars yield to bikes and people and bikes yield to people. The whole bikes yielding to people thing is where I have had some issues. Like I said, I walk to campus and use the sidewalk. Some students bike on the sidewalk, which I would to since the drivers in the area scare me. Because this is all right next to campus, cops tend to allow bikes to use the sidewalk, but this does not give them the right to ride all over the innocent pedestrians! One day, I was walking home and I heard an excuse me from behind. I stopped and turned and there was a girl on a bike. She gives me a little smile and pedaled past. I was astonished. What you do not know is that there is no bank or drop off next to the sidewalk. It is all just flat grass in this area, but instead of riding around me on the grass, she made me move to the side so she could stay on the sidewalk! Last time I checked, tires are meant to get dirty.

Funny/annoying thing #3: In a continuance of #2, I had another incident with a biker just last week. I was walking along and I heard what seemed to be a biker coming up behind me and tapping on his bike. I think he was warning me he was coming. Despite my previous rant, I don't mind bikers on the sidewalk, as long as they don't expect me to yield to them. I'm putting forth the effort to walk while they sit on their bikes so they can roll around me. Anyway, #3 involves this guy warning me and I am on the edge of the sidewalk so, from previous experience, I know bikes can get past me on the sidewalk since I wasn't in the middle. Well, obviously this guy didn't think so. This portion of the walk had a slight bank and some trees next to me so I wasn't going to climb them when there was room for both of us, but he must have thought I should have done just that. He bounces off the sidewalk and into the road and as he goes past he looks over his shoulder at me and I get a weird look. Maybe he thought I had headphones on so I missed his warning taps, but I clearly messed with his ride by not yielding to him. I'm sorry, but I don't climb trees for just anyone, and most definitely not for an asshole on a bike that I've never met.

Anyone else think I should put a sign on my bookbag that says "DOES NOT YIELD TO BIKES" ?