Tuesday Morning Background Noise: The Bush News Conference

This morning, self trying to post while keeping one ear glued to television showing presidential news conference. Sample dialogue:

Bush: If Congress passes an irresponsible budget bill, I will veto it. The clock is ticking, the holidays are approaching, the pressure’s on them to do their job.

Reporter: Can you address the latest intelligence on the Iran nu-cu-lar program?

(Note to dear blog readers: Bush II’s inability to pronounce the word “nuclear” has apparently infected the White House Press Corp)

Bush (Whiny tone): Why is it that you can’t get exact knowledge, quicker?

* * * *

Today, self will mail 20 Christmas cards, and a book by dear friend Rebecca McClanahan, a fab writing teacher, to Kathleen in New Bedford, MA.

Self will also attempt to set a date for Chem-Dry man to come clean the carpets (imperative to do this before son comes home, as he has terrible allergies — dander, dust mites, you name it. Yet we have two beagles. Hope self will not be accused of being negligent mother)

And here is self, sitting in a darkened living room, listening to Bush on TV while browsing the latest issue of the CalPoly Magazine.

Niece G has been in Oxford, England all fall, and self realizes she misses her. This past year was a strange one: son did not come home for the summer; instead he stayed in San Luis Obispo and got a job working security at the Central California State Fair. Niece, on the other hand, did not return home to New York City but stayed at Stanford over the summer, working as a camp counselor. All her charges were young women from Japan who exclaimed at how “dark” she was (Niece loves to get a summer tan, in fact self thinks that this was probably a major reason niece chose Stanford over Brown, U. of Chicago, etc etc) and urged her to use an umbrella when walking in the sun.

Self wonders if son minds that self is always talking about Stanford. Perhaps he reads this blog, and every time self mentions Stanford he thinks she is diss-ing his school, Cal Poly. But self thinks Cal Poly is an excellent institution, and she knows it was better for son than Stanford would ever have been. For instance, she cannot imagine son being RA for two years running in any of the dorms at Stanford. While at Cal Poly, he discovered a gift for dealing with people, and his freshmen “rezzies” (He’s been RA for the freshman Math & Sciences dorm, Muir Hall) love him.

So, let’s have a look at this Cal Poly magazine. Here are some interesting bits of information that self has gleaned from it:

      Cal Poly Aerospace Engineering students upheld a long-standing tradition of victory by taking two first-place wins and sweeping the Undergraduate Team Aircraft Design category at the recent

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Student Design Competitions.

    Cal Poly recently became one of only five universities nationwide to offer a certificate program designed to foster the education of tourism professionals.
    A diverse group of engineering students from Cal Poly’s Society of Women Engineers took first place in the national Boeing Team Tech Competition. SWE students submitted a winning design for a roller coaster weld-point-inspection device, using Walt Disney Imagineers as advisors and only half the team’s allotted budget, earning the team a $5,000 prize.
      The Architecture Department has received a pledged

bequest of $60 million

    , the largest single gift commitment ever made to a campus in the California State University system. Nationwide, it is also one of the largest gift commitments ever made to an architecture department at a public university.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

The Great Cook-Fest

Self doesn’t know what happened: After years and years of denying himself all kinds of material pleasure, and turning up his nose at mail-order catalogues, hubby went nuts and ordered all sorts of gadgets from Hammacher Schlemmer, all of which arrived in three huge boxes a few days ago. One of these was the DeLonghi Indoor Smokeless Electric Grill, which now occupies pride of place on kitchen counter (next to Calphalon Non-Stick Roasting Pan w/ Rack and Turkey Injection tool, which self has already blogged about) because neither of these gorgeous kitchen items can fit in our kitchen cabinets (which are full of chipped and cracked plates, most remaindered from Macy’s, and even son’s baby dishes). Yesterday evening, hubby purchased a rib-eye from Safeway so he could test his new toy. And self decided to cook a pork loin roast on her new Calphalon non-stick roasting pan.

Talk about over-kill. After we’d figured out how to use each of the contraptions, we discovered a) that the De Longhi Indoor Grill is not smokeless — the smell of garlic-marinated steak permeated all rooms in the house. In fact, self could still smell the garlic in the bedroom this morning. Moreover, it took many minutes for hubby to get the grill cleaned to his satisfaction afterwards; and b) the Calphalon Non-Stick Roasting Pan produces a perfectly browned roast, even without use of a meat thermometer, and moreover is a cinch to clean.

After these mighty exertions, which turned Sunday evening (when normally the only thing we do is watch Eberts & Roeper and 60 Minutes) into a stressful and harried affair, self and hubby crashed into bed at 9:30 PM.

This evening, self decided to set out the Christmas decorations. First were the Martha Stewart fake greenery that self always drapes over the bookshelves and the mantelpiece over the fireplace. This time, self was all thumbs and found herself getting the tape (which she uses to stick the greenery in place) all snarled up. Aaargh, aaargh, aaargh, why — huf-puf — can’t — huf-puf — these branches stay in place (!!@@##) After many slip-ups, self got everything arranged to her satisfaction.

Then, self put out the three-foot Santa (arranged him on top of bookcase in living room). Then, she set out two small Christmas trees. Then, she took out the Christmas lights for the big tree in the living room. Then, she put out the wooden Nutcrackers. And after doing all that, she was really exhausted, for the second night in a row. (Self doesn’t even want to think of having to take all these decorations down, a month from now)

Yesterday, while hubby was transfixed by a football game, self sneaked off and got him a gift card from Peet’s. And she’s already decided that this year, she’s just going to give son cash. She ordered a humongous Harry & David gift basket for her brother-in-law in New York, and she’s trying to persuade M in Virginia to mail her some Food for the Gods that she can give to friends (M is such a fantastic cook, a skill she inherited from her mom, who for years and years ran the Cookie Monster Bakeshop across the street from Makati Medical). Self is also congratulating herself for having finished writing most of her Christmas cards during the Thanksgiving break. Because now there are 20 Christmas cards ready to be mailed tomorrow.

AND she even managed to finish reading Resurrection Men. And grade a few papers. And cover most of M. Butterfly, Act I in class this morning. And she started reading a new novel, Anne Tyler’s Ladder of Years, which has a very promising beginning (Middle-aged lady shopping in supermarket gets asked by attractive man to pretend she is his girlfriend, in order to make the man’s ex-wife, who is shopping a few feet away with her boyfriend, jealous).

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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