August 23, 2007


319 pages, that is, that I have to read and memorize to stay on top of material. This week. Just this week.

August 19, 2007

August 16, 2007

Thanks to All Who've Helped Me...

And to those of you who asked me to repost my wishlist from my fire--updated for what I realize I need still, now that I've moved back north to Massachusetts.
Click here for that link.

And for people who would like to help, but want to dedicate their donation to a specific cause, I recently spent
200 on bookshelves
25 on a chair
100 on a drill
50 on kitchen utensils
170 on hangers, shelving
200 on a mattress

paypal works for me: send $ to alyssumclimbs (at) hotmail (dot) com
and my new address is:

174 Providence Rd
Apt 505
Grafton, MA 01519

Again, thank you, I've had the most wonderful, recharging, relaxing summer and am amazingly ready to start school again. Your care and generous support has meant so so much to me, and I really appreciate everything my (large!) group of friends and family have done. I am blessed to know you.

August 13, 2007

Boulder Fun

Seeing Tiger, Chelsea & Vinny, Dave & Colleen, etc.
Vinny's tattoo parlour opening, "Bonfire Bellydance Bonanza" (at which I danced).
Rafting down the Boulder Creek (getting splashed and banged up).
Riding bikes (a 5 yr old's bike. uphill. for miles. not so fun, but worth a good story).
Hiking around Bear Creek.
Eating at the Dushanbe/Boulder Tea House.
Eating/Drinking at the Mountain Sun.

August 12, 2007

Poor little Car

The drive from Wisconsin to Boulder, CO included our car that had already been fixed in Chicago, breaking down repeatedly. Specifically, the car would overheat. For nine hours we drove in 20 minute spurts (that's how long the car would last before overheating) mingled with 30-45 minute spurts of waiting on the side of the road for it to cool down. We think the thermostat was screwy, but in the end, the head gasket blew and that's when we gave up and sold the car for peanuts and rented a car to Boulder. During our 20 minute spurts of driving, though, all three of us were anxiously watching the temp gauge waver in the white, slowly getting warmer--toward the red, and we'd just wish and wish that it would stay in the white. To help the car stay 'cool' we blasted the heat (it was already 97 degrees outside, so with the heat blazing in the car it was near 120 degrees). We had the windows down to try to help the heat, which meant that the traffic and semi trucks whizing by were killing our eardrums as much as the buffetting wind. I wore a blanket over my head --increasing the heat, but decreasing the damage to my ears. Here are more pictures to illustrate. We were blessed with a lovely rainbow in Colorado when we finally got there.

Sailing Interim

And then we made it to Wisconsin and had a very very wonderful time sailing and hanging out with the Grabers and friends. We spent 3 days sailing among the Apostle Islands, eating marvelous food and jumping in the frigid waters once a day to keep us invigorated. Personally, I thought the water was a little too close to death defying rather than invigorating, but with people ready to save me all around, I went in anyway and swam around the two boats (outside the anchor rode) once and also to shore once. Not sure if I've ever swam so fast!
I loved sailing with them, one of the boats was so much like Feather, I felt just at home. I was also amazed how much more relaxing it is to sail with people other than my Dad (don't get me wrong, I love sailing with Dad, but I just noticed how other people are able to relax when they're sailing...). It was beautiful and lovely and wonderful all around. I'll let some pictures do the talking.

Roadtrip Disaster: New Jackson Hotel, etc.

Last month, Ben and I, along with our friend, Phillip, embarked on a roadtrip. We took Ben's car because it had the least # of miles and also had locking doors and airconditioning. Unfortunately, the little 1988 Honda Accord that Ben's family had bought when he was 8 yrs old bit the dust on this roadtrip and we had to leave it in Omaha, Nebraska. But not before it blew out its cooling system not once, but twice. (Here it is losing coolant:)

That's right. We were stuck in Chicago (on our way up to Wisconsin for some sailing with friends) for a night while we had it fixed the first time: had $700 worth of repairs done to it, and it worked just fine all the way up to Wisconsin. That night in Chicago, though, we ended up staying in one of those hotels you see in movies like Trainspotting that you don't really believe exist in real life. Oh, I assure you, they actually do. Here are some highlights/accoutrements afforded to us at The New Jackson Hotel (and Ben's Dismay at the place):

First of all, the only room available was the Honeymoon Suite-- for $50/night. The other rooms were rented by the week. Okay.
1. No wireless internet access (this is a joke, because the idea of that is ludicrous as you shall see).
2. Jizz fiesta (nickname of our bed. EEeeeewwwww.)
3. "original" radio (old timey radio/bedstand combo that hadn't worked in decades)
4. six sockets in bathroom, only 2 light bulbs, and only one that actually worked
5. large, unexplainable nook in bathroom with peg.
6. plastic on windows
7. crappy plastic satellite dish pointed straight to hell (wasn't even plugged in....oh wait, the wire is cut and this is actually just a peice of junk in our room).
8. duct-taped stool (the seat of the stool was held together with duct tape. Yes, in the honeymoon suite.)
9. stank carpet (we were going to sleep on the floor rather than the Jizz Fiesta. And then I took my shoes off and realized that it was nastier than any bar floor I've ever been to. We never took our shoes off after that).
10. particle board dresser/drawers (the fronts of which were all broken or missing)
11. red neon sign directly outside our window
12. frayed swatch of stank carpet in bathroom as bath mat
13. resident hobos and policemen outside the doors at all times, "How was your stay at the New Jackson?"
14. 2 mm of nastiness on the fan blades and walls (grime grime grime)
15. fake-ass fireplace full of green blocks. Ben said, "What ARE those? Are they like, styrofoam to put your used needles in or something? Alyssum, you know medical things, go check them out." So I did. And on closer inspection I was able to confirm that they were not styrofoam, but rat poison. Phew, just rat poison.
16. TV from the 1970's
17. moth-eaten, cratered ottoman that might have used to be pink, but was now a dingy grey.
18. gin glasses in ashtrays (???)
19. toilet paper wadded up and plugging the peephole
20. broken dead bolt
21. no keys (the security man lets you in)
22. stained sheets (of course)
23. spooge bubble floor (it bubbled under your feet in about a 5'square portion of the room
and finally,
24. when we used the nasty ottoman to hold open the window to get some fresh air, what do we see on the window sill???
(drum roll, please...........) an honest to goodness Crack Pipe. Oh. God.

The three of us slept (lied awake, more like) like sardines--clothes on, no covers, shoes on, scared to death of falling on the floor or being interrupted by druglords--side by side on the full-sized Jizz Fiesta.
(Ben and I are here, pretending to act out what we imagined happened here frequently with prostitutes and abusive clients: Oh, yes, the rates were listed by the week and also by the hour. We were strange in that we were there just overnight. "what? normal guests?")