Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Anti-Twitterer

(I borrowed this pic off the twitter website, I think)

I have a sister, who if it weren’t for her complete lack of techno-sophistication, would be hilarious to follow on Twitter. She texts things like: “Hickory Dick on a hobby horse.” I have no idea what that means, but I find it quite amusing. Reading some tweet about which ice cream to choose at the supermarket or about going to get your hair cut—not so amusing.

I am not on Twitter (which is why there is not a little box off to the side here that says “Follow me on Twitter.”) I sort of have an idea of what Twitter is and I am pretty sure I don’t want anything to do with it.

First, I don’t even like to touch my cell phone (Twitter is for your cell phone, right?) I use about 5 minutes of my plan every month. I have over 5,000 roll over minutes and hundreds that expire every month (I wish I could sell my minutes and buy a laptop—I need one of those more than my minutes). I am this close (can you see my fingers this close together?) to canceling my plan and getting a go-phone.

Second, I don’t text. I am just not from that generation… or something. Well, actually, I usually don’t text, I don’t even have a texting plan for my cell, but one day a few weeks ago I was bored and started sending naughty little texts to my hubs and pics of my feet to my sister—highly entertaining! But my texting frenzy has stopped and I have repented.

Third, I really don’t want to send out constant updates on my boring life or read anyone else’s updates or what they consider clever little thoughts—though they may really be funny. That's what blogs are for, right? I am sure it can be useful for some things, so this is not meant to belittle Twitterers, it’s just not for me, right now anyway.

I did get an email notification from Twitter, though, the other day saying that my mom wants to follow me on Twitter. I actually think she wants ME to follow HER. It would be rude to list so publicly all the reasons that would annoy the crap out of me.

Later my mom, in one of the mass emails she sends, that are like 10 pages long, talking about the need to use a parasite cleanse or the new vaccine for the swine flu that will be mandatory and will KILL you (you heard it here first), she complains that she is being hampered by the 140 character limit. As in, she CANNOT write something that has fewer than 140 characters. If you knew my mom, this would not surprise you even a little. She’ll probably have to start an idea in one tweet and finish it over the next 15 tweets, sent one after the other.

Another reason I will now never be on Twitter… I’d rather poke my eyes out than get my mom’s tweets. Is that bad to say about my own mom?

(of course I mean no offense to you mom, if you ever find my blog accidentally)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ends and Beginnings

For many years, as a graduate student, I have marked the passing of time by the beginning and end of semesters. Most semesters are hectic and stressful, trying to balance school work, teaching, and family life. Two semesters have been marked by births (not very prolific study-wise). Sometimes I work for a spell in the summer, but summers for the past few years have been largely spent at home with the kids. During these times I vacillate between savoring the sweetest moments of infancy and wanting to tear my hair out… that’s just how it is.

When people wonder, amazed why I didn’t wait until finishing my studies to have kids, I always think how perfect it has been. I get to spend a lot of time with them (summers, winter breaks, spring breaks, and many afternoons or mornings), but at the same time, (and not because being a mother isn’t enough, but because I personally need it) I have something else to focus on-- something that causes a similar contradiction in me: it is both immensely satisfying to do something so academic and intellectual… but at the same time I often want to pull my hair out.

It is the end of the summer (though not the heat unfortunately.) I am both sad and relieved that tomorrow I will take the kids to their care center…

… and I will go back to work. I only teach part-time, but I will have to work HARD to finish my dissertation. If I am lucky, this will be my last semester… ever…

(or until the next learning itch—which will hopefully not be as monumental.)

I guess there is a slight possibility that I will have to finish up in the spring, but mostly, I am dedicated to getting it done before December. Can you imagine? I hardly can think of what will become of my life when I am no longer a graduate student? I don’t know…

The only thing for certain is that you will have to call me Doctor.

I can’t cure disease or find alternative fuels and I may not even be able to find a job. But after all this work, I should at least be able to demand to be addressed properly, right?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Chilean Spanish

Margaret from Cachando Chile and some other gringas have been having some fun with the Spanish that is spoken in Chile. They even got some media attention when a journalist from a Santiago newpaper interviewed a few of them and wrote a story about it.

The game consists of translating some of the common slang expressions directly, word for word, without taking meaning into consideration. It's hilarious and great fun. I am something of a language nerd so I couldn't pass up something this entertaining. I fabricated a little story using as much slang as possible that Margaret has been gracious enough to post on her site.

Most of it is in English (but I'll warn you: there is also some nonsense in English and some non-standard Spanish).

It is my first "guest post" of sorts. You can read it here

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Confession # 4--Terms of Endearment... or Not?

So, I call my kids "Fatty" and "Lil' Chubs"...

Ok, well not in those terms exactly, or even in that language to be exact.

I call my daughter "Gorda" or "Gordita" (Spanish for fat and its diminutive form) and I call my son "Gordo" or "Gordito."

The translation into English sounds terrible, I know. In my defense, it is not my fault... it's cultural... well, not my culture, or not my 1st culture anyway, my 2nd culture: Chile.

Terms of endearment in Chile, (and most of the Spanish-speaking world, but I will refer to Chile, specifically, since that is what I know best) are not "sweet" as they are in the U.S. They don't call their wives/husbands, sons/daughters "honey," "sweetheart," "pumpkin," or "sugar."

They call them "gordo" and "gorda." There are a few alternatives every once in a while: "flaca/flaco" (skinny); "negro/negra" (black); and "guaton" (big-belly). These are actually nicknames your classmates and friends might have for you at school as well, but are genearally not mean-spirited.

Calling someone "gordo/gorda" or "flaco/flaca" is not an insult and it doesn't necessarily have to do with actual body size... I mean, it might, conincidentally, but that is just what they call everybody.

I didn't really want to use these terms with my kids, especially my daughter, since we are, for now, living in the U.S. and weight is such a sensitive issue here, not the matter-of-fact characteristic it is in Spanish-speaking cultures. But that is what my husband calls her and what his family calls her... and it is contagious, and it just sticks... and once I started calling her that, I can't stop. With my son it went down the same way. So what can I do?

I have many other terms of endearment for them too, in both English and Spanish, and this is just one of them. (I hope they never feel bad about it.)

My husband does not call me "gorda." I think I insinuated early on that it would not sound particularly endearing to me. So he calls me "piojito" which means "little louse"... but in a totally sweet and loving way.

You can read more of my sins here, here, and here.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My New(ish) toy

I am not one to keep up with the newest gadgets, I am simple that way. But, a while back I finally broke down and bought my first ipod (ever!). I got tired of feeling like such an old-timer. I knew what they were and how they worked and all, it just took me years to finally accept that I NEED one. Well, not really need, but whatever...I had really only imagined using one for exercise purposes: going to the gym and going running.

I could have lasted years, actually, without buying one myself. Yet as luck would have it, my husband bought me one for Valentine's Day. It was fancy enough, you could even have watched videos on the teeny-tiny screen (if you have your reading glasses on). Our neighbor friends, however, showed me their ipod classic--with a slightly bigger screen and told us how much fun they have watching downloaded TV shows in bed at night.

So I took back my humble ipod and saved the money. On Mother's Day I told my hubs not to buy me a present I was going to upgrade my ipod to a classic. But I still hadn't bought it yet.

Then, when my father-in-law was visiting and looking into gifts for his other kids, I volunteered to research the kindle as a possible gift for my brother-in-law. As I was looking into it, I saw that there was a kindle app for the iphone and itouch--which allows you to download kindle books onto your igadget.

So I knew what I had to do: as our anniversary neared, I told my hubs: "don't get me a gift, I am going to upgrade to an itouch (I don't want an iphone).

Of course, then we had to get a wireless router so I could get on the web. I got my free kindle app, which I, naturally, have not used (I will though). I subscribed to a bunch of nerdy NPR podcasts and uploaded a bunch of my music from my archaic CDs. My hubs takes it to the bathroom and spends an eternity in there watching youtube videos.

I got an arm-band so I can take it running. My hubs makes fun of me though. One day we went running mid-morning so I wore sunglasses (which I don't normally do while running). He said with the ipod and the glasses, all I was missing was a cocktail. I am not sure that would improve my run though.

Then, he imitates me running, like I have a big weight on my arm. The itouch is pretty big, and I just confessed how small I am... so it must look like I am running with a small laptop taped to my arm...

I thought I would express my favorite moments with my new toy in the form of mastercard commercials:

Commercial A:

Itouch: XXX dollars

New app for DH: 5 dollars

Nightly TETRIS competition in bed: FREE (and hilarious)

Beating my husband at the only video game he loves because my fingers are smaller and more agile: PRICELESS!

(note: in humility I must confess that I would not be able to beat him at Tetris on any other apparatus)

Commercial B:

Itouch: XXX dollars

A few new songs for my running playlist: 6 dollars

Running at the park: free (but HOT)

Running the first 2 miles in 8.15 (per mile) rather than 9.30 because I am listening to Lady Gaga: PRICELESS

Monday, August 3, 2009

Where we wonder who he thinks he married…

It started at her 2 year well-check. The Doc, after looking at her measurements for height and weight gave us her projected adult height… probably around 5’3- 5’4. When Doc left the room, the hubby looked at me with a pout, almost in tears, and said: “I want her to be tall.”

I looked at him for a moment, then slowly extended my hand and introduced myself: “Hi, I’m your wife; the woman you married; the woman you chose to contribute 50% of the genetic material for your children.”

This is a good place to tell you a little something about myself: I am short. I don’t just mean “not tall”—I mean, I am tiny. On a good day I measure 5 ft. even and I weigh in at just over 100 lbs. If it weren’t for the slight curve of hip and, well, my butt, from the back I would look like a child. It is not just me; I come from short stock. My whole family is short: my mom is 5’2, I my dad is something like 5’6. Most of my 6 brothers and sisters are short. I do have one brother who is 6 ft.—an aberration of a freakish nature. We really don’t trust him because of his height and if it weren’t for the close-set eyes and missing incisor teeth that run in the family we would inquire as to a mix-up at birth.

My husband is not totally non-observant and he does call me “chiquitita”… which leads me to believe that he has noticed my non-model-esque physique. So how could he think our kids were going to be tall?

Yet, it keeps coming up. He’ll suggest we feed her more, so that she maximizes whatever genetic potential she has for height. I counter that over-feeding her may maximize her genetic potential for width as well and we’ll end up with a very short, very obese daughter—you know which may have far greater ramifications than just being smallish.

There are a lot of things I want for my children: that they find something they are passionate about; that they find true love; that they are healthy and live way longer than their parents; that they are bright and compassionate; that they take care of us in our old age since we don’t have a 401K.

To be fair, hubby wants these things for our kids too; it is not that his only wish for them is to be tall. But tall isn’t even on my list… I guess because I have always been short and have totally come to terms with it.

Of course, studies have shown that tall people are more valued in the workplace and tend to earn higher salaries… which could help us solve the retirement issue.