Sunday, December 31, 2006

Subtract 3 and Add 6

Subtract 3 and add 6....that's how you get my new address!! (Actually, you need to subtract the apartment number and add 6 to the street address.) I spent most of the past few days moving. Jimmy, his family, and Anna (a friend who came down to visit for the weekend) helped a lot; they moved things from the apartment to the house, and I unpacked things and put them away. (I think I only made 3 or 4 trips from one location to the other all day.) While the move certainly wasn't very far (from the apartment to the house next door), I think it was a good one. The house is a 2 bedroom and has a lot of things that the apartment didn't: central heating and air conditioning, a washer and dryer, and a full-sized kitchen. It will be a nice little house for Jimmy and I come March....

I've also been working on some wedding stuff throughout the week. Anna and I went shopping for tops for the bridesmaids. (I think we might buy them instead of making them. It will probably be simpler, both for me and for them.) I also, with Jimmy's help, made the decision regarding the caterer. Now I just need to get the deposit in the mail. I like that some of the bigger things are finally coming together....

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Merry Christmas!! (I'm back!!)

I went homehome for about a week over my Christmas break, but I'm now back in the world of technology....

I had a very nice trip homehome. I spent a few days making bridesmaids' skirts and helping Mom with things around the house. (And now I know that at least 2 of the 3 dresses fit my bridesmaids; the third bridesmaid hasn't had a fitting yet, but I'm guessing that the measurements were incorrect and I'll be redoing part of the skirt.) While at homehome, I got to see the snow storm that blanketed the Midwest and closed the interstate highways and the Denver airport. Though homehome is over 300 miles from Denver, we still got enough snow and ice to make travel a bit difficult. (Mom, Dad, and I were hoping to go to town one day to see my niece's Christmas program, to look for a mother-of-the-bride dress for Mom, and to test-drive ugly cars since Mom and Dad's van is getting old and tired, but the day of the program was also the day the weather was the worst, so we ended up stuck at home.) Though travel was a bit rough for a few days, the snow and ice were absolutely beautiful. The ice probably damaged a few trees, but the glimmer of the ice on the trees was gorgeous. The snow covered everything in a beautiful blanket of white. Though Mom laughed at me (and even threatened to get out the camera), I went outside and made some snow angels. (I tried to make a snowman, but the snow wasn't right.) While the ground was still covered with snow, the highways were clear and I managed to make it back to my home just before Christmas.

I spent Christmas with Jimmy and his family. It was a good day and a lot of fun, but it was very different than the general Christmas at homehome....

Now that Christmas is over, I get to pack up all of my things and move. I'm moving out of my apartment into the house next door. Jimmy and I will be living there after the wedding, and it seemed a lot simpler for me to move now than for me to move in the middle of the semester. Thus, I get to spend most of this week packing, moving, and unpacking stuff. We went shopping for a few things today (or yesterday--Tuesday), and ended up with several of the important things that we'll need for the house.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Bridesmaids' Dresses

I made progress on the wedding stuff today. I bought the pattern for the bridesmaids' dresses, and I got the fabric for the skirts. The skirts will be in black and the tops in platinum or silver, unless I change my mind before I either buy the fabric or find tops that I like in the stores. I'm not sure which of the tops that we'll go with; I've asked the girls for input and we'll probably go from there. Now I need to get measurements from the girls, and I'll be taking my sewing machine with me when I go homehome for my holiday with Mom and Dad. I haven't done any big sewing projects in a while, and I'm actually looking forward to making the outfits. (And, unless something goes drastically wrong, I should have enough fabric left over to make myself a pretty black skirt too!!)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Wedding Stuff

I finished grading papers today, (though I had to do it all myself since the paper-grading fairy never came) and now my goal is to work on wedding stuff. As I accomplish stuff, I realize just how much more stuff still needs to be done. I'm currently working on invitation wordings and securing a caterer. I need to make the final decisions on bridesmaids dresses, so I know whether I need to send the girls to the stores to get their dresses or get their measurements and pull out the sewing machine. I also need to contact hotels and figure out guest accommodations....

I think I'll quite writing about all of the wedding stuff that I need to do. It kinda makes me feel bad....

Thursday, December 07, 2006


I got turned into a girlie-girl earlier this week. I had a Mary Kay party at my house on Tuesday evening as a little end-of-the-semester celebration for the girls from the office. We put lots of stuff on our faces and did the whole 'paint by number' make-up bit. It was actually kinda fun, and I finally learned what colors of make-up I actually should be wearing. (But with as much make-up as I don't wear, it doesn't really matter that much anyhow....) Anyway, it was a fun way to spend an evening and draw the semester to a close.

(Now if only the paper-grading fairy would visit my house tonight, I would be finished....)

Monday, December 04, 2006


YAY!! Exams are over!! (And there was great rejoicing!) I finished my last exam this afternoon, now all that's left in the semester is grading papers. I'm hoping that I'll have my exam results before Christmas break. While I think everything went okay, I would still like to have the results, just so I know for sure. Anyway, I think I'll probably go out and do the random shopping that's been neglected for the last week or so, first because of exams and then because my car was buried under the snow.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


Well, so much for being finished with exams on Friday.... We've had quite a lot of snow here in the last 12 hours, and the university is closed for the rest of the week. (We closed at 1 today, and we'll be closed tomorrow.) This means that tomorrow's exam gets moved to Monday. While part of me is glad because I get a few more days to study, I was also looking forward to being finished and being able to spend the entire weekend vegging our with the Gilmore Girls....

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Uno Mas....

Two exams down, one to go. The 19th Century American Literature section was on Monday, and it went fairly well. The 20th Century American Literature section was today, and it also went well, save that I would have liked another 30-45 minutes beyond the allotted time. I felt a little rushed on the last question, so my answer wasn't as thorough and as detailed as I would have liked it to be. I guess I'll just hope that that doesn't count too much against me. My Victorian Literature exam is on Friday; I took a practice exam for that field a few weeks ago, so mostly I just need to review key dates, major themes, and character names and I should be fine (unless the professor really throws me a curve ball)....

Back to books....

Monday, November 27, 2006

"her brain suddenly overloads...she becomes frantically and absurdly deranged"

Exam week....

One of my feminist friends sent me a video clip titled "Women: Know Your Limits". Though it certainly shouldn't be taken seriously, I found it to be quite funny. Though I certainly hope that "over-education" doesn't lead "to ugliness, premature aging, and beard growth." However, given all of my recent studying for exams, I do feel that my brain is a bit overloaded....

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Just a quick little blog today....

I went homehome over Thanksgiving break, which explains why my poor little blog was neglected during the past week. (I had a very nice time at homehome. I got to see most of the family, and I even managed to get some studying done too.)

I've spent most of today studying for my exams. They start tomorrow (one Monday, one Wednesday, and one on Friday). Thus, my little blog will probably be neglected for another week....

Friday, November 17, 2006

Portfolio Day

Today was the dreaded portfolio reading day in the department.... However, the day wasn't as miserable as usual. We started at 9 (which is early for me), but my reading group managed to be finished before 2 (some years we've been there as late as 5). All of the members of the reading group were present, which always makes things go more smoothly and quickly. In addition to a nice, smooth portfolio reading, all of my students passed. YAY!! (It makes me, as the teacher, feel good when all of my students pass!)

Now that their portfolio exams are over, I need to focus on my own exams again....

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Is it the weekend yet?

Today was a very crazy day, and I'm tired. I worked this morning, and that was total chaos. Every appointment slot was booked, the phone rang nearly non-stop, e-mails were pouring in, we had to start turning people away, and, to top things off, the printer ran out of paper. I was very, very glad that one of our receptionists made a mistake today and came to work 45 minutes early. Otherwise things would have been even more chaotic....

After a crazy morning, I spent most of the afternoon studying. I met with one of my professors to discuss my exams, and then I met with another grad student who will be taking his exams the same week I'll be taking mine and we spent nearly 3 hours studying and just talking through the materials. I hadn't really talked things through with anyone, so those hours were well spent since talking through things really helps me to learn them.

I had another meeting this evening. Hot tea and bagels were involved.

Now I'm going to put myself to bed so I can get up earlier than usual tomorrow and read freshman composition portfolios all day.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Pink Nails

I have pink fingernails today, very pink fingernails.... I went to the latest Wedding Decisions bridal show (their shows are free, large enough to provide variety among the vendors, and yet small enough that I don't feel overwhelmed by the crowds--oh, and they have good prizes too!) and I won a Mary Kay gift basket with several different bottles of nail polish and all sorts of other stuff. (Including more make-up than I've had in my possession the last half a dozen years.) Since my nails have been looking nice during the past few days, I decided to paint them. I picked the brightest bottle from the basket, and now I have very pink nails. (The only other way I can describe the 'very pink' nature of my nails would be to say that there's pretty close to the color of Pepto-bismol.) The pink's kinda fun (and one of my students even noticed the pink and commented on how it makes my hands look very petite), but I don't know how long I'll keep it before I go back to something that's a little more 'me.'

The Onion

I don't read The Onion all that often. However, I do browse through their articles whenever I spot an interesting headline on my yahoo! news and links page. Here's one I thought I would share: "English Teacher On First Date In Ages Lets Dangling Modifier Slide."

Friday, November 10, 2006

No Homework Friday

I declared today a no homework day. I've had a busy week, and I've been studying and working a lot lately. I took a practice exam for one of my field exams yesterday, and that was a little stressful. I think I did okay overall, but I know there were a few weak spots and that I still have quite a bit of studying to do. I have an oral practice exam for another of my fields on Tuesday, so I have more studying to do. My real exams are scheduled for the week after Thanksgiving, so I need to put in a lot of study time in the next two weeks.

Despite all of the studying that I need to do, I decided to declare today a no homework day. Today's been my day to relax. I did a bit of shopping this afternoon; I got a new pair of shoes. (I think I'd forgotten how therapeutic shoe shopping can be.) Jimmy took me out for supper tonight (Thai food), the then we went to a game night and ping-pong tournament at church. I got eliminated in the second round, which wasn't too bad considering that the competition level was a bit higher than I'm accustomed to. We also played some other games too -- Nerts, Crazy Uno, and Apples to Apples. Now I'm going to relax and enjoy the rest of my evening, as the homework starts again tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

On Homework....

My students have papers that are due tomorrow. I'm spending my evening studying for exams. The little comic seems applicable....

Monday, November 06, 2006

Wow, Monday Already....

I haven't blogged since Tuesday; I don't know where the past week went.... I spent most of the weekend working. I spent Friday studying for exams, and I spent Sunday grading papers. I didn't get much real work done on Saturday, but I did get a new pair of tennis shoes (which I needed because my old ones had no traction left and I'm playing intramural volleyball), some new knitting needles, and an assortment of cool yarns. I started on a new hat and scarf set for myself; I should probably be spending my time working on school stuff, but sometimes I'd just rather be knitting....

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


The Vampires came to campus for Halloween. (How appropriate!) I let them take my blood, and I didn't even pass out. (I almost made it through without asking them to lay me down, almost....) I guess it should be at least another 56 days before the Vampires start calling me again....

And, Happy Halloween!!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Knitting (K)night

I'm hosting a knitting (k)night at my apartment tonight. One of the girls in the department hosted one a few weeks ago, and we kinda decided to make it a quasi-regular event. We've taught a few more people from the department how to knit, and a few people bring their crochet instead. I'm currently working on a stocking hat, and I'm also sometimes working on the same sweater that I've been sometimes working on for the last year or two. Maybe I'll finish it this year, maybe....

Saturday, October 28, 2006


My nose is running. The froggie is finally gone, but now my nose is not happy. The Kleenex company is probably making a small fortune off of me this weekend....

Speaking of running, my nephew is running in the state cross country meet this weekend. He's a freshman, so this is a pretty big deal for him. YAY! Run fast!!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Perky Little Squirrels

I have pesky squirrels, though the pesky squirrels haven't attempted to take up residence in the same location as my pesky little frog. (That would be bad; very bad.) Anyway, when I woke up this morning there was a squirrel playing on the window air conditioning unit that's in my bedroom. He was making all sorts of noises, probably jumping up and down on the unit just to see if there was an echo or to listen to the noise it made. As I was finishing my breakfast, another squirrel (or maybe it was the same one -- I don't know) started playing on the window unit that's in my dining room. While I kinda enjoy watching the squirrels, I'm hoping that they don't make visits to the air conditioners a regular thing over the winter; the noise isn't really appreciated....

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pesky Little Froggie

I've had a frog in my throat for the past few days. He doesn't want to seem to leave, and he's beginning to be a real nuisance. I went to the pharmacy today to get some stuff to try to get rid of the frog; we'll see how that goes....

Friday, October 20, 2006

Happy Birthday Mommy!!

Mom doesn't have a computer and probably won't be reading my blog, but this is a good way to wish her a happy birthday anyway. (There will, of course, be a phone call homehome either today or tomorrow. The card's in the mail, though it probably won't make it to homehome to Mom today.) Anyway, Happy Birthday Mommy!!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

No Computers

The university's internet service provider was having problems yesterday, so the university was without computers for the large portion of the day. I was amazed at how things seemed to come to a halt and how even the basic functions of the university were compromised. We were still able to access files and things that were stored simply on the university network, but we were unable to access just about everything else. Early in the day, someone sent an e-mail to the campus computer guru asking about the problem. (The e-mail never left the campus network, so it went through.) He sent back a reply, "Our internet provider is having trouble. There's nothing we can do about it." That's real comforting....

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I'm rejoicing!! It's been what seems like a very long time since I've seen a gas price that begins with a 1!! YAY!

Some days little things make me happy.

Monday, October 16, 2006

100 Pages

100 pages per day from now until Thanksgiving, that's my goal. I'm preparing for my qualifying exams, and I still have a lot of things to read. I decided that setting reasonable goals and working toward them is probably the best way to get myself through all of the work that I have to do. So far I've worked through Frank Norris' McTeague, Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie, Booker T. Washington's Up From Slavery, and Frederick Douglass' Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. I'm halfway through Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio, and I should be able to finish that today.

I also have student papers to read and evaluate. I told my students that they would have their papers back by Wednesday.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I Missed My Birthday....

Yesterday was my first blog birthday...and I missed it. :(

Book Party

Jimmy and I went to a book party last night. Hawk Publishing Group, a publishing company operated by a friend and former classmate, had a party celebrating its newly released books. The authors were nearly all there, and they each spent a little time talking about their writing and their books. (I wanted to put pictures of all of the book covers up on my blog, but that would take up too much space. Instead, follow the above link to see the new books.) I like book parties and that type of events; I always learn a lot and get to talk with interesting and wonderful people.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Cingular Update

Okay, I managed to get the whole phone thing straightened out...hopefully, maybe. I called Cingular yesterday, and after about half an hour of being passed around to different offices and customer service people, I finally managed to get things worked out. I found out that they did receive the package that I returned to them, but they just hadn't told their computer (which, of course, sends the bills) that the package had been received. Anyway, they corrected my account, removing the erroneous $212 charge. And then the lady tells me "Just pay the remaining $47.96 of your bill. I'll put a note on your account that your bill has been adjusted so they shouldn't turn off your service." Great, that's reassuring. Now in another month I'll probably be calling Cingular again, from the office this time, to have them reactivate my service, and who knows how long that will take. (In case you can't tell, I don't have much confidence in the company any more. They seem to have mastered the 'hassle and scam' thing, but that seems to be about it....)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Cingular is Yucky.

(I had a different title for this post, but I didn't think it was appropriate. This is a rant continued from the 'My Yucky Phone' post from a few months ago. You've been warned....)

Okay, as you know I had trouble with my cell phone a few months ago. My phone quit working, so I contacted the company and they sent me a new one. After a week and a half, problems with shipping, and all sorts of mess-ups, I finally had a functioning phone again. After more phone calls to the company, I managed to get refunds for the things I had downloaded and credits toward my account for the days that I was without phone service. And I was happy....

Within the last month, I received two voicemail messages from Cingular regarding my replacement phone. The messages were rather vague; they didn't really say anything except that they were calling to check up on my replacement phone. Both messages asked me to return their calls, which I did, only to be transfered directly to voicemail where I left messages letting them know that my replacement phone was working wonderfully and that they should call me if they had questions or needed further information.

And today I checked my phone bill online....and they're trying to charge me $212 for the non-functioning phone that they claimed I didn't return to them! AHHHH! The non-functioning phone was sent back to them only a few days after I received the new phone (which was in late August). It was returned in the same box in which the new phone had arrived, the postage was pre-paid, and the shipping label was included (and it was even shipped USPS). I don't really see how this could have been messed up. Now I guess I'm going to have to spend another few hours, days, weeks trying to sort out this new mess with the phone people.

Like I said last time, Cingular is yucky; I want my AT&T back!!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


My sister sent me this picture. A little commentary on the whole spinach and e-coli thing.... Poor Popeye.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

I Passed!!

I got the results back from my language exam yesterday...and I passed!! That's very much a relief since I didn't feel that I did well on the exam. Now I really need to buckle down and start studying and reading for my qualifying exams, as they're going to be here before I know it....

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Engagement Pictures

Jimmy and I had our engagement pictures taken on Tuesday. The whole picture thing was a lot of fun. The photographer took us all over town, taking random pictures in some of the most random places. I put a few of the pictures up here; I'll put more of them online somewhere else. (E-mail me if you'd like the website and the password.) Now Jimmy and I are just trying to figure out which pictures to order, and how many to order, and all that stuff....

Monday, September 25, 2006

Monday Already....

I feel like I should write something today since I haven't blogged since I haven't written anything in a while. (Blogger's guilt, ahhh!!) I'm still waiting on the results of my Spanish exam, I returned papers to my students on Friday, and I cleaned my apartment over the weekend; that pretty much sums up what's happening in my life right now.

I made a trip to the gigantic local used bookstore yesterday. I can usually find almost everything that I need for class there, but I was miserably disappointed yesterday. I was looking for some things that are pretty standard (Hemingway, Carroll, DuBois, Mailer, Capote, Alcott, etc.), but I didn't have much luck. I ended up finding only three of the things on my list, and those were the ones I hadn't expected to find. (One I credit to Oprah; when she puts her logo on a book, it's magically a best seller and back in mainstream circulation again.) Anyway, I ended up making a trip to Borders after striking out at the used bookstore. Unwilling to pay $25 for the only edition of The Sun Also Rises that I could find in the store, I resigned myself to the library, where I found everything that I wanted. (The perk of the library is that it doesn't cost anything, save perhaps a few overdue fines. The drawback is that I can't scribble my notes all over the books since I have to return them in a few months....) I like having my own books; even if I don't ever write my own book, I like being able to write in them.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Spanish, Round 1

I took my required language exam today. (I just finished and my brain is fried.) I spent 1 1/2 hours translating materials from Spanish to English (with the help of my trusty dictionary). At this point, I don't know how well I did (or didn't do). I didn't get through the entire passage, so I don't know if or how much that will hurt me. I guess I'll have to wait and see. It's fairly common to retake the language exams, but I'm just hoping that I don't have to....

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Jimmy's English Teacher

Jimmy and I went to visit with a potential wedding photographer last night. I'd visited with this photographer at the second wedding show that I attended; I enjoyed talking with her, and I was pleased with her work. I was also relatively pleased with her prices, so I called her and set up an appointment where I could look at more pictures and chat with her about her approach to photographing weddings and her prices. Jimmy's Monday night class was cancelled, so he went along with me. As soon as we walked in the door, the lady looked at Jimmy and said, 'I know you!' It turns out that she had been an English teacher and the yearbook guru at the high school that Jimmy attended. (I knew that she was a retired English teacher, but I hadn't put two and two together.) When she realized that Jimmy was a former student, she took the original price list away and gave us a new one (with prices that were 20-25% lower); she also sent me home with a book to read....

I like English teachers. :)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Homecoming Weekend

It's Homecoming on campus this weekend. I've never really enjoyed Homecoming, not even as an undergrad. As an undergrad and a residence assistant, I would volunteer to be on duty during a large portion of the festivities so I didn't feel obligated to attend. As a graduate student and instructor, my feelings toward Homecoming haven't changed too much. My students have had 'Homecoming-on-the-brain' for most of the past week. The roads to my house were closed the other night because the university was setting off fireworks to go with the big bonfire. All of the roads to my office are currently blocked because of tailgating and other Homecoming-related traffic and activities...and the game doesn't start until 6. (I might go to the game tonight if Jimmy's up for it when he gets off work. I do actually like football. Also, one of my students this semester is on the football team, and he'll probably make me feel guilty on Monday if I don't go to the game since I missed the last home game.) Ah well, in another 24 hours this whole Homecoming thing will be over....

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

This Bothers Me....

One of my sisters sent me an e-mail forward, and this picture was at the bottom of it. While I do use my computer to keep in touch with friends and family, and I've even made a few new friends (or at least acquaintances) online, I don't really like to look at my computer as a stand-in for personal communication. I guess I don't quite know what to think of the picture, but it bothers me....

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

On Being Politically Correct....

I'm not always the most PC, but I thought this was funny. I agree with the philosophy behind politically correctness, but I think the whole PC movement has gotten a little out of control. Also, I generally prefer to be grammatically correct rather than politically correct, and sometimes it's difficult to be both. (Though, as you probably know, grammatical correctness and formal writing styles aren't usually things I'm overly concerned with in my blog.)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Another Wedding Show

Another wedding show today. I went to this one by myself as I wasn't able to find much information about it ahead of time and thus didn't know if boys were invited. (I guess they were, but there weren't many boys there. Jimmy might have felt just a little out of place.) I don't know that I made much progress, but I did get some ideas and some contact information from vendors who weren't at the last wedding show. I found a few people that I'll probably contact within the next week or two. I also won a free set of engagements pictures. I'm excited because we haven't had engagement pictures taken yet, and Jimmy and I currently have a total of about 2 pictures of just the two of us. We're hoping to have the pictures taken sometime next week....

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Movie Day

Not movie night, but movie day.... This afternoon we had a little film screening in the department. We've had a few department movie nights when we rent a random movie, order pizza, and just hang out for an evening, but this was a little different. One of the girls in the department is married to a director who has just finished his first feature-length film, and they needed a test audience. Quite a few of us from the department volunteered to be their guinea pigs. We watched the movie, and then we sat around and talked with the director and the producer for a while. The movie, "Four Sheets to the Wind," was pretty good. The New York Times ran a piece about the film a week or so ago. I found some version of it online....

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A White Dress

I went shopping yesterday and bought a pretty white dress. It's a girlie-girlie dress, and I'm excited!! (Pictures will not be posted, as a certain boy reads my blog from time to time....)

Sunday, September 03, 2006


And no, it's not someone's middle name....

I went out to the lake with Jimmy and some of his family yesterday. (It was overcast and looked like it was going to rain, but the weather was actually quite nice.) We had a generally nice day; we shot paintball guns, fished (they fished, I watched), and rode 4-wheelers. Jimmy and I took the 4-wheelers out by the water, and we managed to get them stuck in the mud. Jimmy got the first one stuck, and then we tried to use the other one to pull that one out. And then, believe it or not, we managed to get the other one stuck too. With a little help, we finally got both of them unstuck, but that was only after we were both at least partially covered with mud. I ended up with shoes that were covered in mud, and a very muddy backside (long story, don't ask), I guess if a mud mask is really good for the skin, my skin got the royal treatment....

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Wilmington, DE

I've never been to Wilmington (I don't think I've ever even been to Delaware, but I'm not sure). However, I have a pretty clear picture in my mind of what Wilmington looks like. Based primarily on the mail I receive, I imagine the town to consist of a single street, lined on both sides with very tall buildings, all of which bear the logos of money-lending corporations. The town also has a post office, which is perhaps the busiest in the nation (or at least has the most outgoing mail in the nation).

Do you know how disappointing it is to have a full mailbox only to realize that it's nearly all from Wilmington, DE?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Is It Friday Yet?

You know those weeks that just seem to drag on and on and on.... I know it's only Tuesday, but it feels like the week's been the better part of forever already. I've been up too early the past few days, and I think I've been up too late too. I should be able to get to bed at a decent hour tonight...we'll see. I think I'll spend the rest of the afternoon revising my reading lists and preparing for my Wednesday and Friday classes so I don't have that stuff to do later in the week.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Wedding Show

Yep, another wedding-type post.... Anyway, Jimmy and I went to a big wedding show yesterday. (And yes, it was a wedding show rather than a bridal show; boys were invited.) We were hoping to get some ideas and get a lot of things accomplished, but that didn't really happen. I picked up a lot of flyers and collected business cards, but that's about it. The place was completely packed (I think they were planning on having part of the show outside, but it was raining.), so it was a bit difficult to navigate. I did learn, however, that there are some places to which children, particularly babies in strollers, should not be brought. With the crowds, strollers caused traffic jams, and crying babies weren't appreciated with all of the other noise. And besides, aren't the babies supposed to come sometime after the wedding rather than before?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Return of the Vampires

The vampires were loose on campus today. (Actually, they've been on campus nearly all week; I just hadn't decided to go visit them until today.) Being that they have been leaving messages on my phone for about the last week, I decided that I would go and let them have my blood this afternoon. Karen and I went over together, though I was half expecting to be turned away. (I was expecting my iron to be too low, but it was okay.) The whole process went smoothly, and I didn't even feel fuzzy. (That was a surprise as I hadn't eaten anything all day. I packed my lunch this morning, but I managed to leave it in the refrigerator when I left my apartment.) I did have to laugh when I left though; they gave out winter scarves to everyone who donated...not quite what you need when the temperature's near 100....

Washing Dishes

I just finished washing dishes for the night. (Or, as they would say back home, 'warshing' dishes.) My glorified hallway that I call my kitchen doesn't have a dishwasher, so I get to wash all of my dishes the old-fashioned way. As I was washing my silverware, I noticed something: one of my spoons had the word 'China' on it. Isn't china the stuff that goes in the cabinet rather than the stuff that goes in drawers? Does my china (the very few pieces that I have, which were purchased at a second-hand store) say something like 'silver' on it?

Monday, August 21, 2006

And School Begins....

Today was the first day of the new semester. I'm teaching one class this semester and preparing for my exams. I'm also sitting in on one graduate course since it's related to my exam areas. I met with my class this morning, and I think they're going to be a pretty good group. The class that I'm sitting in on also met today, and I think that observing and reading along will be helpful too....

Not really much to report except that I hope I can now get back to a schedule.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

More Orientation....

Sitting in orientation again today. Not quite as bored as I was on Tuesday. We're in the ice-box computer lab today; I had to go home and get my jacket during a break this morning.

I didn't have orientation yesterday. However, I still spent most of the day in the office working on things that just didn't seem to go right. I didn't have my phone yesterday (and I don't have one yet today either), so that didn't make things any better. I kinda feel sorry for anyone who crossed my path yesterday because I was pretty grumpy, snappy, and just generally unpleasant.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

My Yucky Phone

(And yes, I did use the word 'yucky' in the title for today's post.) Anyway, I got a new phone just over a month ago. Thirty-four days ago to be exact. (I know this because I checked the receipt.) I've been having trouble with my phone almost since I got it. First it told me that the battery wasn't working. Then things worked fine. Then one day it wouldn't let me make or receive calls. (Okay, it would let me make and receive calls, but in about 20 seconds the phone would die and I would have to start the whole process over again.) The next day everything was fine. Today my phone died. It just died. I took it to the phone-fixer place and the phone-fixer-guy gave me a new battery. I went home and tried to charge said new battery. And then my phone let me know that the battery was not able to be charged. I promptly returned to visit the phone-fixer-guy, this time with my charger too, and he gave me a phone number to call to get a replacement phone. Then I went back to the office to call the phone number to get said replacement phone. I called, and the guy who answered the phone was quite helpful. However, it will be at least 2 days until they can get a new phone to me...and that's after I agreed to pay the $7.50 for rush delivery. (I just hope that I actually get the new phone within the promised two days, and I also hope that the few things I downloaded will transfer from the one phone to the next...otherwise there's a wasted $10.)

I'm a little frustrated today; can you tell? (And the fact that I spent most of the day in meetings all in the same room probably didn't help much either.)

Monday, August 14, 2006


I've been suffering from bagpipe deprivation since I moved to Oklahoma--actually longer than that. I attended an undergrad institution with a very strong Scottish heritage, and they had bagpipes at what seemed like every major college event. I developed a liking for bagpipes, but I haven't heard them played very often since I finished undergrad. As I was wandering through one of the buildings on campus today, I heard a pipe and drum band rehearsing for an event. I stopped and listened outside the door just because....

Orientation, Day 1

Today was out first day of TA orientation. I only had to be there for a few hours today, so it wasn't too long. I'll have a completely full day tomorrow.... I also tried to get a lot of beginning-of-the-semester things accomplished. I made progress on determining my semester schedule, getting my insurance stuff taken care of, and worked on things in the new office.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Getting Ready for 'Back in the Swing of Things'

Ahhh, I spent most of the day today getting things ready for the upcoming semester. Orientation for TAs starts on Monday, so I need to have most of my stuff in order by then. I spent most of my afternoon working in my office. Actually, I spent time and moving from my old office to my new office, and then I worked in the office. While the new office is supposed to be a step up (a statue increase) it's really not too wonderful. There actually isn't as much space in the new office as there was in my old office. Instead of bookshelves and open space, we now have file cabinets and files that have to be stored for another semester. Also, I have a new officemate (three of us share the office, two of us have shared an office for the last two years), so there's more adjusting to new people, habits, and schedules. Though I like the windows in my new office, part of me would just like my old office back.

Karen and I went in search of a table for the Writing Center yesterday. We were sent to the college surplus place, which is basically a really big warehouse in a not-so-wonderful part of town that is crammed full of lots of random pieces of furniture and stuff from the last I don't know how many years. We managed to find a desk suitable for our purposes, and we were even able load it in the car without too much trouble. We were just relieved to get the desk without too much trouble or excitement....

I'm hoping to get my syllabus finished tomorrow and get a little paperwork done too. Hopefully I'll be able to get everything finished before the semester actually starts....

Friday, August 11, 2006

Homehome (More or Less)

I'm back!! I had a wonderful trip homehome, and now I'm back to start the new school year. I have orientation starting this Monday, and classes start next Monday. I have quite a bit of work to get done in the next few days....

Anyway, in my blog today I think I'll tell a few stories from homehome....

Mom's Rhinestone Necklace
Mom got a new dress. (Now, you should understand that Mom doesn't wear dresses except on really special occasions--weddings, graduations, first communions, things like that. Therefore, getting a new dress is kinda a big deal. Jared, my nephew is getting married this weekend, so that's the occasion. Also, congrats to Jared and Kristi; wish I could be there. Okay, back on topic, necklace....) So, while I was homehome, I was helping Mom decide what to wear with her pretty new dress. We'd figured out what shade of pantyhose worked and which shoes looked the best, and then I said something about how a necklace would really add to the outfit. I promptly went rummaging through the old jewelry that I had left at homehome (most of which was the cheap jewelry that turns your skin green) just to see if we could figure out what would look right. We found a simple little necklace that was still in decent condition, but then Mom decided to look through her jewelry boxes to see if she had anything. (Besides her rings and an occasional lapel pin, Mom wears jewelry about as frequently as she wears dresses.) Anyway, after opening a few boxes, Mom found a very pretty rhinestone necklace that Dad had given her as a gift probably about 50 years ago, and decided to try it on with her dress. It fit with the outfit perfectly. (She couldn't be convinced to wear the screw-on earrings though.) Dad came in while Mom was still all dressed up. Mom asked Dad is he recognized the necklace; his reply "Wow, I haven't seen that one in 40 years!" I laughed.

Fighting with Windmills
Dad had a fight with one of the windmills this past week. The windmill wasn't working properly, so Dad tried to fix it. When he went to try to fix the windmill and it wouldn't cooperate, he hit it. The windmill bit back. Dad ended up with a little gash in his hand (which probably should have had a stitch or two, but Dad wouldn't go to the doctor) and ended up calling the windmill fixer people to come out and fix the windmill. It's fixed now....

Water, Water Everywhere....
Okay, so this isn't a homehome story.... Jimmy took me to play at a waterpark yesterday. (I got a little pink.) We spent most of the afternoon going down big waterslides and enjoying the water. I don't think I'd ever been to a waterpark before, and it was kind of fun. (Okay, English major question: From what work, and what author, does the title of this little section come? And no, you can't google the quote to find the answer. Well, I guess you could, but that would be cheating, wouldn't it.)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


I'm headed homehome for the next week, so I will once again be leaving the world of technology. I'm looking forward to the trip. I'll probably take books, but I don't know that I'll do anything with them. I'll also be taking some wedding stuff along to talk over with Mom and Dad.

Jimmy and I spent most of today working on wedding stuff. By now I think we've finalized the church and the reception site...unless something goes awry again (long story). We made a little progress on things like the rehearsal dinner, flowers, and photographers, but we still have a lot of work to do on things like that....

Anyway, I just thought I would say 'hello' and 'so long, see you next week' all in my little blog today....

Wedding Stuff

First, Happy Anniversary to Mom and Dad!! They celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary today!! (Actually yesterday, August 1st, since it's technically the 2nd as I'm blogging this.) They had a big celebration last year, but nothing large this year....

Jimmy and I spent some time working on wedding stuff today. We still have a lot of decisions to make. We thought we had a reception site, but things fell through; thus, we're back to square one again. With all of the searching and stuff that we've done, I think I understand why there's such a business for wedding planners/coordinators and why people elope....

Friday, July 28, 2006

'I do not think it means what you think it means.'

I've been noticing signs recently that don't seem to make much sense. (One of my friends has a whole on-line album of silly signs, but I can't provide a link to it. Sorry.) Anyway, I saw a few that were particularly silly lately.

1. "Failure to pay toll strictly enforced." Okay, I know what they mean, but just how does one enforce a failure, I wonder....

2. "Baby Exchange." I think this is the name of a store. I don't even want to know what goes on in there.

3. "Family Crisis Services: Offering Advocacy, Community Education, and Support Services for Survivors Sexual Assault, Child Abuse, and Suicide." I actually took a picture of this sign because someone had circled the words 'survivors' and 'suicide' and then put a big question mark connecting the two. Of course I know what the makers of the sign mean, but it isn't quite what they said....

Monday, July 24, 2006

Faulkner in Oxford

Jimmy and I made the drive back from Mississippi today; it certainly felt like lots of hours in the car....

Anyway, I had a good experience at the conferences. I presented a paper at the 'Southern Writers, Southern Writing' graduate student conference, and then I stayed an extra couple of days to attend the annual 'Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference.' The graduate student conference was fun, but a little small. The other conference was certainly larger, but I was only able to stay for a few days of that conference. (Jimmy wanted to be back for his class tonight, and the funds weren't really available for a greatly extended stay.)

We got to see quite a few things while we were in Oxford. We got to take a double-decker bus tour through the town. We visited Rowan Oak (Faulkner's home) and Faulkner's grave. We got to see the town square on the tour, with the historic court house and city hall, and we had some time to go back and wander around the square on our own too. While the town was certainly capitalizing on the whole Faulkner thing, I still liked the town. I think it's the kind of place that I would like to live someday....

I took pictures on the trip, but I haven't developed them yet. Maybe someday I'll post them....

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Hello from Oxford

Yep, I'm in Oxford...Mississippi, that is. Jimmy and I are spending a few days at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) attending conferences on southern literature and William Faulkner. I presented a paper on Faulkner's _The Sound and the Fury_ this morning, so now I get to enjoy a few days of the conferences without worrying about my own work and my presentation. I'll send a more complete update on the trip and the conference proceedings later....

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Heat, Pink, and Laundry

Heat: It's been miserably hot here the last few days. (I guess it's been miserably hot just about everywhere these last few days.) If the bank thermometers were correct, it was 95 at about 10:15 last night and again at 9:15 this morning. I know we've had triple digit temperatures the past few days, and, if can be trusted, we'll be in those triple digits or a few more days before the temperature breaks. I'm drinking lots of water and enjoying frozen pops....

Pink: Pink is still in reference to my skin. Jimmy and I went over to a friend's apartment on Sunday; she provided access to the complex's swimming pool and we provided the bar-b-que. I'd just recovered from the pink from a few days before, and I pinkened myself once again. The pink's almost gone though....

I suppose 'pink' could potentially connect to laundry too. I remember that someone (a friend, actually) gave me a bright red towel set when I graduated from high school. While I knew better than to wash the towel with things other than reds or my other towels (which were dark pink), I suppose 'pink' could be the title of a blog outline the disastrous consequences of red towels, hot water, and a load of whites....

Laundry: Today was laundry day. Yep. That's it. Nothing more to say about that.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Pink and Other Colors

I'm a little pink today. I went swimming with a few of the girls from the department yesterday, and I'm mildly sunburned today. I'm slowly getting a little bit of a tan, but I'm nearly always a slightly painful shade of pink before my pink turns to a pleasant golden brown. I guess I'm stuck with the tender pink for a few days....

Jimmy and I spent some time working on wedding details today. There are still quite a few decisions to be made, but we're making some progress. We haven't picked colors yet, but we've narrowed the options. Still working....

We photographed out first penguin today. (See Chasing Penguins.)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Summer Bum

I guess I've been something of a bum the past several days. I haven't been very productive; I keep telling myself that I'll start with the work tomorrow.... I need to go back to the office and finish packing so I can move to my new office, but I just haven't really been motivated to do so. I've been doing some reading, but certainly not as much as I should be doing. Jimmy took me to see a matinee of The Devil Wears Prada yesterday. I enjoyed the movie; it was nice to see something where no one got blown up or killed for a change. (Yes, I've seen plenty of non-violent movies; I just hadn't seen one of them in a theatre recently.) I'm sure the book is probably better, but the movie was certainly good too. Jimmy and I have been getting started with the wedding plans recently; I never realized just how many decisions go into planning a wedding. (I think I now understand why people elope....)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Just Plain Tired

I'm tired. I stayed up way too late last night, and I got up too early this morning. The Totus Tuus teams were back in town for their mid-summer break and retreat, so Jimmy and I have been preparing meals, running errands, and just hanging out with them during the past few days. Last night the group decided to go see the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie. We were unable to get tickets to the showing that we wanted, so we ended up seeing the movie at 11:15pm. The movie was very long, so it was about 2am before we even left the theatre. I was up and at the church by 8am this morning, so I've been tired all day. I did go home and sleep most of the afternoon away, but I still feel completely drained. I went out and rented a movie to watch this evening, but I'll probably put the movie-watching off because I would probably end up sleeping through the movie if I tried to watch it yet tonight....

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Why I Hate Wal-Mart

(Hmmm. I know, the title of today's blog sounds like a title for a mediocre, formulaic, five-paragraph essay. I'm hoping my little rant won't turn into one....)

Anyway, I, against my better judgment, made a trip to Wal-Mart this afternoon. I've never really liked Wal-Mart because it seems too much like some type of corporate world super-power, but that doesn't really have anything to do with today's miserable Wal-Mart experience. As soon as I pulled into the parking lot, the chaos began. I don't like driving in parking lots because most of the drivers don't ever respect the lines and arrows. While I generally dislike the lack of order in parking lots, today was worse than usual: not only did the drivers lack respect for the lines and arrows, they also seemed to lack respect for other cars and drivers. One driver was weaving through the parking lot (between parked cars, not just across the empty part of the parking lot like usual) and would have hit me, had I not managed to swerve just in time. Anyway, I did manage to park my car and safely enter the store. After finding a cart that squeaked and wouldn't steer straight, I proceeded to my shopping. I managed to find everything on my list, though it took twice as long as it should have. So, after my long shopping experience, I proceeded to the checkouts. Being that I didn't qualify for the '20 Items or Less' lines (and the sign in itself bothers me -- fewer, fewer!) and I didn't want to bother with the blaring, beeping, and recorded voices of self-checkout lines, I opted for a regular checkout line. Actually, I got in the cigarettes and tobacco line because that line tends to move more quickly than the surrounding lines (and it did). Nonetheless, I ended up standing in line for over 10 minutes before I even got to start loading my items on the little check-out conveyer belt. (I was glad I hadn't planned on purchasing any ice cream.) As I stood in line, I watched the lady in front of me take a soda out of the cooler, drink the soda, and then deposit the empty bottle on the rack just next to the register. Checkout went reasonably well. I was only over-charged about $6 (I think the prices were right but the items were displayed with the wrong tags on the shelves) and the check-out lady only dropped one of my peaches (which I then refused to buy). Anyway, a little over an hour after entering the store, I managed to escape from the clutches of the evil Wal-Mart. And by the time I got out to my car and loaded everything into the trunk of my car, my $0.88 comfort chocolate bar was already beginning to melt....

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Happy Birthday, Daddy!!

Today's my dad's birthday. (It's also the middle day of the year, as he likes to remind us. That means 2006 is half over; wow.) Even though my dad doesn't have a computer and thus has no way of reading my blog, I thought I'd say a 'happy birthday' here since the card won't get to him on time. Happy Birthday Daddy!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Cook-out, Croquet, and Climbing

Though I initially imagined today as a quiet and peaceful Saturday that I would have all to myself, the day was much more eventful than I'd originally anticipated. One of my friends had family in town, so she decided to have a cook-out at the park for both friends and family. We had the usual hamburgers and hotdogs and all that stuff, and then after dinner (or lunch, depending on your part of the country) we played a rousing round of croquet. While Mom and Dad had a croquet set in the basement when I was little, I don't ever remember actually learning to play. Granted, I do remember taking the mallets and hitting the balls around in the basement (and sometimes even in the front yard), but I don't think I ever actually learned how to play the game. The game's both more fun and more involved than I'd imagined...maybe I'll try to play again sometime. After our croquet, we went rock climbing at the park. The rocks weren't huge and we didn't use any ropes or anything like that, but it was still a lot of fun. I'd never been rock climbing before, so I learned a lot and had fun too. So after all of that, my arms are a little pink and a few muscles are a little tired.

I was expecting an uneventful evening, but then a friend called and suggested we go see Superman Returns. I saw the movie with Jimmy and one of our friends on Thursday, but since I didn't have anything else planned.... Anyway, I enjoyed the movie even more the second time. Being that I'm not a comic book junkie or superhero enthusiast, I was a bit surprised to see Marlon Brando listed in the cast....

Friday, June 30, 2006

My New Blog

Yep, I'm starting on another blog. (Okay, okay, what began as an experiment in rhetoric and communication is resulting in an addiction. No, no!! I can stop anytime I want!) Anyway, this new blog is actually a team effort. Jimmy and I are going to be working on this new one together. (Don't worry, it's not a sappy dating blog or wedding blog; it's something even more fun and more interesting.) Tulsa has penguins, and we're going to start 'Chasing Penguins.' The blog will probably consist primarily of photos, but we'll be sure to balance the pictures with brilliant and witty comments. We're just getting the new blog started; it's currently published, but it's still under construction. Hopefully we'll have it looking wonderful and updated soon....

Thursday, June 29, 2006


I bought a Guinness t-shirt when I was in Ireland last summer. One day when I wore it, one of my nephews remarked, "Oh, that's the world record book guy!" Well, yes, sort of. Check out the story; it really is connected.

Another one of my nephews has a Guinness hat; he calls it his genius hat.

We had an unofficial 'girls night out' last night. The weekly location is a little quasi-Irish pub. I've been told that the pub we go to serves the best Guinness in town, but I haven't tried it there yet.

And finally, a picture from last summer, taken at the #1 tourist attraction in Ireland....

Monday, June 26, 2006

Things You Find When You Clean the Office....

I'm spending my afternoon in the office -- cleaning the office, supposedly. Since I'm taking on a new position next year, I'm being moved into a new office. (An office with windows; I'm moving up in the world.) I'm not too excited about moving because I like my position in the building, even though my current office doesn't have any windows. (I'm right across the hall from all three of the professors that I'm working with this next year; it's very convenient.) Anyway, the thing that I think I like least about switching offices is the whole cleaning and moving process. I'm sorting through files and preparing to box up books (which will probably stay in their boxes because I don't have room for them at my apartment and my new office doesn't have a whole wall of bookshelves).

Anyway, when I was sorting through a few files, I came across a couple of sheets of collected quotes from a favorite English professor. They made me smile, so I thought I would share.... Here are some words of wisdom and insight from a brilliant mind:

"A woman seducing a man is comic; a man seducing a woman is tragic." --on romance and anti-romance

"It's like a cat that goes out and kills a rat, then drags it back to show what it's done." --on chivalry, knights, and loyalty to the lady

"Lets learn while you burn!" --on reading and sunbathing

"I forgot what the rest of my sentence was going to be." --on speaking and complex sentences

"Her name was Brittany long before 'Brittany' was popular. I always want to call her Normandy; those are two provinces in France." --on naming

"I hope that some of my former students haven't stolen it." --on her favorite book on Chaucer in the library

"Well, at least we know earth is fallen. I'm not sure about Mars and Jupiter." --on the sinfulness of man

"The Muslims must be kind of like the Baptists.... If you want to get back at the Catholics, bomb the Pope.... If you have a group of fanatic Baptists, who do you punish? It's just not handy." --on retaliation for terrorist attacks

"It was beautiful, but I couldn't understand it." --on Shelley's "Ode to Skylark"

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Hmmm, Summer....

The summer class that I'm teaching ended last week, so now I get to have my summer break. (I still have a few papers to grade and things like that, but everything will be finished by Monday.) I haven't had much luck in finding gainful employment for the rest of the summer, so I'll probably end up doing some volunteer work and attempting to keep myself busy. (I've been in contact with a temp agency; we'll see how that expectations.) I do have a lot of reading and studying that I need to be doing this summer, but I always have trouble motivating myself to do school-type work during the summer. I've read a few fun books so far this summer, but I need to settle in and do some serious reading. I also have a paper that I need to revise for a conference later this summer (more details about that will follow at a later date). I also need to work on my Spanish a bit more -- no hablo espanol bien.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Elvis and Willard

Elvis has left the building, and Willard was forcibly removed....

Elvis is the big black lab who lives with the guy in the apartment across the hall. The guy across the hall is out of town for the summer, so Elvis has a new home somewhere for the summer.

While Elvis left the building willingly, Willard was forcibly removed. Willard was a mouse who moved into my kitchen. (Actually, this was Willard #2. The original Willard moved in at about Thanksgiving and was evicted after a few weeks. It took a while to locate Willard #1; Jimmy says he had the little guy in the witness protection program for something.) Anyway, I learned a few things with Willard #1, so I bypassed all of the snap traps and the fancy traps and just started in with the sticky traps. (They're kinda gross, but they actually work!) So Willard #2 was evicted from the premises yesterday, only a single day after his presence was discovered.... (YAY no more Willard!!)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Little Baby Plants

My potted garden is starting to come up already!! I think every lettuce seed that I planted came up about three times, and the marigolds are coming up nicely too. I don't remember which herbs were planted in which pots, but one of them is starting to come up too. My patio tomato seems happy on my little balcony. Since all of the other plants are starting to come up, I think I'll move them from the back porch out to the front balcony; they'll look pretty out there.

And Happy Father's Day!!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Happy Bloomsday!!

I'll borrow from to give the brief explanation of Bloomsday:

"Bloomsday is a holiday observed annually on June 16 to celebrate the life of Irish writer James Joyce and commemorate the events in his novel Ulysses, all of which took place on the same day in Dublin in 1904. The day is also a secular holiday in Ireland. The name derives from Leopold Bloom, the protagonist in Ulysses, and June 16 was the date of Joyce's first outing with his wife-to-be, Nora Barnacle, when they walked to the Dublin village of Ringsend.

The event is commemorated with a range of cultural activities including academic conferences, Ulysses readings and dramatizations, pub crawls and general merriment. Enthusiasts may often dress in Edwardian costume to celebrate Bloomsday. The first celebration took place in 1954 and a major five-month-long festival (ReJoyce Dublin 2004) took place in Dublin between April 1 and August 31, 2004. On the Sunday prior to the 100th anniversary of Bloomsday in 2004, 10,000 people in Dublin were treated to a free, open air, full Irish breakfast on O'Connell Street consisting of sausages, rashers, toast, beans, and black and white puddings, and a pint of Guinness."

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Something Resembling a Summer Routine....

I feel like I'm starting to settle back into something of a summer routine. This week's been relatively uneventful (which is fairly typical for summer). I've been spending part of the mornings at the gym, and I spent a few mornings playing in the dirt and letting the mosquitoes eat me. I'm working on a potted garden; I have a patio tomato and I planted lettuce, basil, rosemary, chives, and sage (and some pretty flowers too). I don't know how much luck I'll have with my plants since I planted them this late, but I'll certainly have fun with them. My summer class met on Monday and Wednesday, and they managed to do okay without me last week. It seems like the summer term's nearly disappeared: one more week and I'm finished with my class. (And I'm still searching for another part-time job to fill some hours for the rest of the summer....)

Monday, June 12, 2006

Talkin' Texan

I went to Texas for a family reunion this past week, and I'm not stretching out my 'i's any more!! (I didn't think I would pick up any of the southern drawl, but I did catch myself stretching some of the vowels when I was talking to people down there....)

I enjoyed my trip down to Windthorst, TX for the family reunion. I hadn't been down for a family reunion in at least 9 years (I think it was 10 actually), and I felt like I needed to go see everyone there again. Quite a bit of the family came up to Kansas for Mom and Dad's 50th wedding anniversary last year, and seeing everyone there made me realize how much I had missed seeing everyone during the years between. The reunion was on Sunday after church. (See the picture of the absolutely beautiful church that's in the tiny little town!) However, the festivities actually began on Saturday night with a fish-fry out at Aunt Margaret's house. (Aunt Margaret lives in the house that used to belong to my grandpa. The house was always a central gathering spot.) I met up with Mom, Dad, and Janet that evening, and we all spent the night at Aunt Grace's house. (Aunt Grace always insists that Mom and Dad stay at her house when they go down to visit. Janet and I got invited too.) I thoroughly enjoyed the reunion, and I got to see lots of people who I hadn't seen in a very long time....

And then today was back to the same ol' everyday routine (or as much of 'the same ol' everyday routine' that actually exists during the summer)....

Friday, June 09, 2006

Florida, In Retrospect....

Okay, I'm back in Oklahoma. Now that I can actually sit in front of a computer for longer than about 15 minutes at a time, I'm going to attempt to describe some of the elements of my trip. As with a previous 'description of a trip' post, I'll use some headings to both guide the reader and the writer....

Scoring AP English Literature Exams
Well, I spent the past seven days reading and scoring English Literature AP exams in Daytona, Florida. Since I've had a few people asking about how the exams are scored, I'll share a little about the process and the experience. First, there were about 1,100 readers there to read and score the exams. (The readers included primarily graduate students, university faculty, and high school AP English teachers.) The 1,100 readers were then divided into three groups (thus that's where I got the 350ish figure that I used in a previous post). Each group was then responsible for reading and scoring all of the essays from a single question of the exam. (In other words, we were all reading essays responding to the same prompt for the entire week.) We read all of the AP English Literature exams that were taken throughout the country (and in American schools overseas). The whole experience was quite interesting, and I learned a lot about the AP program and about student writing. Sometimes the days (particularly the mornings, as I'm not a morning person) felt a bit long, and sometimes I just didn't want to read any more, but, on the whole, the experience was worthwhile (and the check that comes in the mail in a few weeks won't be too bad either). I think I'd do it again....

Playing on the Beach
One of the added perks of the trip was playing on the beach. (Though I should mention that the reading site will change next year due to the available facilities. Next year the reading will be in Louisville, Kentucky.) I spent a lot of time in the water, getting pushed around by the waves. I don't really like to swim, but it was fun to wade out and play. I enjoyed walking on the coast where the water was about ankle deep; I could see my feet through the water and could also see the little fishies swimming close to my toes. I went out looking for sea shells a few times, and I found some pretty little ones. I went out after dark one evening, and I discovered what jellyfish look (and feel!) like....

Today's Travel
Today was my travel day. I got on a bus just before 8am and my last plane landed in Oklahoma just a little after 5pm. While I was hoping for a peaceful travel day, I wasn't quite so fortunate. My bus was scheduled to leave at 8am, so I checked out of my hotel, walked to the convention center, and loaded my stuff on the bus. Since I was nearly 15 minutes early, I decided to run inside and grab some juice and fruit (something resembling breakfast) to eat on the way to the airport. While the bus wasn't scheduled to leave until the top of the hour, the driver decided that they would leave early; fortunately, a very nice lady let him know that I wasn't there and they waited for me. In addition to the near-fiasco with the bus, both of my flights were delayed. The flight out of Orlando wasn't more than 15 minutes late, but my flight out of Houston was very late. The depart time had been moved back about 35 minutes before we ever boarded the plane, and then we were delayed for another 25+ minutes once we got on the plane. (They told us they were having trouble with one of the engines and needed to fix it. While I'm glad they fixed it and we all got home safely, I didn't really need/want to know that the engines on the plane weren't working just before we were scheduled to depart!) Our 5pm arrival in Oklahoma was about an hour later than the anticipated arrival....

I could probably keep writing and rambling, but I'm a bit tired after my travels. Also, I'm bound for Texas tomorrow (it's family reunion weekend), and I'd like to be well-rested for my drive.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

(B/T)each Bum

Still grading papers in Florida....

The scoring's going well, though I'm a little slow in the mornings. (I do manage to work at a very nice rate in the afternoons though.) Our entire group (all 350ish of us) is a little behind our schedule. We worked an extra half hour today to try to catch up. I'm not too mentally exhausted at this point, but I'm getting tired of reading mediocre essays about Oscar Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan. (Not all of the essays are mediocre; some are really well-written. However, I'm not all that impressed with most of the writing.) At this point, I don't know how many essays I've read; maybe they'll tell me at the end of the week....

I've been playing on the beach in the evenings. The ocean was a bit rough this evening. I just let the waves crash into me. I also walked around on the beach for a while picking up sea shells. (I didn't find many that were very large, but it was still fun.) I browsed through some of the tourist and beachfront shops yesterday. I picked up a few little things, but nothing too big or exciting.

We finally got the whole hotel fiasco straightened out.... When we--myself and about 150 other people--arrived, we were told that we would not be staying in the main hotel reserved for the ETS program and located right across the street from our convention center. (Apparently the people in charge hadn't reserved enough hotel rooms to accommodate for all of the readers.) Anyway, they ended up putting us up in a hotel nearly 3 miles away, and we were left relying on shuttle busses to get back and forth between our locations. (This wouldn't have been so bad had the busses had consistent schedules. Basically, we knew that they were supposed to send busses about every 20 minutes, but there was never any real type of consistent schedule.) So, after lots of complaints from unhappy people about the inconvenience, they finally moved us to a closer (and much, much nicer) hotel. I'm now just down the street (less than half a block) from the convention center in a very nice hotel room with an amazing view of the beach. I guess this makes up for the inconvenience of the shuttle and all that stuff....

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Papers and La Playa

It's lunch break, and I finally managed to find the little computer lab that's set up for us here.... Anyway, things here in Florida are going well. Our work day goes from 8:30 to 4:45, and then they turn us loose to play. I've been going out to the beach the past few days, and that's been a lot of fun. (I'd never seen the ocean from this side before. I'm enjoying playing in the water and getting pushed around by the waves. Somehow I was a bit surprised when I ended up with the taste of salt water in my mouth after the first wave crashed into me.) I don't know that I'm altering my tan lines at all, but I guess that doesn't really matter....

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Leavin' on a Jet Plane....

(but I do know when I'll be back again!) Today's Wednesday...and tomorrow I'm bound for Florida. The past few days have been generally uneventful and somewhat productive asI've been trying to do all of those little things that need to be taken care of before I leave....

I'll be in Florida for the next week; it's something of a working vacation. (It'll be more work than vacation I'm sure.) I'll be reading high school AP exams for about 8 hours a day, so I'm guessing my eyes and my brain will both be a little fried. However, I'll also be staying at a nice hotel on the beach. Hopefully I'll have the time and energy to go out and play.

I don't know if I'll have regular e-mail access this next week, so this could be another 'so long for not so long' e-mail. Happy week....

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch....

Happy Long Weekend!! (And an early Happy Memorial Day!!) I'm back at home after my little weekend excursion. I decided to sneak away for a while, but I couldn't justify taking a long weekend given all of the things that I need to get done during the next few days. I went up to my sister Janet's ranch in Kansas for a little get-together there. The ranch is in south-eastern Kansas, nestled back among tall trees and little ponds. The working ranch was the site of a supper on Saturday evening (they bar-b-qued a lamb) and a lot of visiting today. Some of the guys went fishing at a ridiculously early hour this morning, and they sorted and worked sheep after they returned from their little fishing trip. I spent a bit of time wandering around with Janet and taking pictures of all the pretty scenery there--the lily pads were in bloom on the pond, the geese were swimming today, and some of the wildflower were beautiful. (I might post some pictures whenever I get the roll of film finished and developed.)

I enjoyed the trip up north, but now I need to get back to work here. I have lots of paperwork and lesson plans that need to be finished, and there's always cleaning to do and errands to run. Maybe I'll manage to get caught up on things tomorrow....

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Totus Tuus (And Frogs!)

Today was the start of the Totus Tuus training session in Tulsa. I'm not teaching with the program this year, but Jimmy and I are helping with some of the behind-the-scenes work over the next few days. We're packing up supplies and preparing meals, and we also get to meet all of the people who will be teaching throughout the summer. The teaching crew will be going up to Kansas for a week-long training session beginning on Saturday, but they're doing some introductory and team-building activities before they meet up with the Wichita groups. I think most of the shopping and packing is finished, now it's just cooking and doing a little playing.

Jimmy and I prepared little gifts for the returning teachers. We gave Blaise (our stuffed frog, the team mascot from last year) to BK, and Erica got the remains of the Green Baron, the frog mascot of her team (which amounted to a bag full of stuffing, a few black-cats, and other random remaining parts from a frog that met tragic ends). While we had expected a few laughs and giggles in reaction to the little gifts, the reactions were much more dynamic and amusing....

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Cell Phones and Ice Cream Trucks

3: The number of times that cell phones rang during my class today.

There's an ice cream truck that goes through my neighborhood in the afternoons. Sometimes I confuse the ice cream truck tunes with my cell phone rings....

Sunday, May 21, 2006


Wow, it's amazing how quickly time passes when you're not doing much of anything.... Other than my summer course, I don't really have anything to keep me busy yet. (I'm still looking for another part-time job, but I haven't landed anything yet.)

I'm currently doing a little work with the Totus Tuus program--just behind the scenes stuff. (I taught with the program here in the Tulsa diocese last year. I also taught in other places a few other years too.) My living room looks like half a dozen supply tubs erupted, spewing their contents over nearly everything in sight. I was hoping to have the tubs all put together by Friday, but that just didn't quite happen. Now I'm hoping to finish them by tomorrow. Jimmy and I will be doing some other stuff with and for the Totus Tuus groups this coming week, so that will probably keep me busy....

Jimmy and I went up to Manhattan (Kansas) for a wedding this weekend. One of his friends from school married one of my friends from school. (It was a Totus Tuus wedding too.) We went up on Friday, so we got to spend a little time wandering through Aggieville and just hanging out, which was nice. I also got to see quite a few people over the weekend, some of whom I hadn't seen in a while. Overall we had a nice trip, though I still haven't managed to finish my East of Eden audiobook (only 2 1/2 disks left). The only big not-so-nice thing about the trip was that my car decided not to cooperate on the way home. We stopped in Independence, and when it was time to get back on the road again the car decided it didn't want to go. Some very nice people with jumper cables helped us, and we got back safely. However, my car won't start again. I'm thinking (hoping) that it's just the battery, and I'll be taking it in to the car doctor sometime today or tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


My students and I just talked about plagiarism and ethics yesterday. Somehow this comic seemed appropriate....

Condensing Class (Again...)

Ahhh, my summer class started yesterday. I had 6 students in class, and I think I might be adding another 1 or 2 before tomorrow. While it's a small class, it's pretty average as summer writing classes go, or so I've heard....

Anyway, I was very proud of myself because I managed to condense a full 16 week course into a mere 12 class periods without cutting too many assignments and compromising the integrity of the course and without overburdening my students and causing them undue stress. While I was reveling in my accomplishment, I looked at the calendar and realized that one of the Mondays is Memorial Day; thus I now need to revisit my schedule and attempt to squeeze everything into 11 days instead of 12. I guess that's my task for tonight....

Sunday, May 14, 2006

I'm Back...and Back to School

Hello. I'm back!! (Did you miss me?) I had a wonderful time at homehome with Mom and Dad, and now I'm back to the city and the normal routine, if such a thing exists. I'm teaching a section of Technical Writing during the first block of the summer session, so it's back to school tomorrow (already). I think I'll spend a little time this evening rambling about homehome; however, I'll divide things into sections (complete with headings) so nobody has to wander through massive paragraphs of wandering ramblings. (Thus the headings will be of benefit to both the reader and the writer.)

Chasing Children
Mom and I spent a couple of days going to some of the school activities that my nieces and nephews were involved in. We went to Krysten's senior tea one evening, and that was a lot of fun. (To all family members: If you see Krysten any time soon, be sure to ask her to tell you about the things that were in her box.) We got to spend a little time visiting with everyone, which was good since I won't be able to make it back to Kansas for her graduation later this month. On the next day, Mom and I went chasing musicians. We first went to the league music contest where Eric was playing his trombone. He played a solo and played in an ensemble as well. (BTW, does anyone know what rating he got on his solo? He did a nice job on the solo, but Mom and I didn't stick around long enough for ratings to be posted.) After music festival, Mom and I went to Megan's band concert. The concert included the regular bands and the jazz band, and it was a good concert too. We all went out for a quick supper after the concert, and we got to spend some time visiting....

Books on Tape
As everyone probably knows, I like to read. I also enjoy listening to books on tape (actually it's CDs for me now, but 'books on CD' doesn't quite have the same ring as 'books on tape'). While I don't typically take the time to locate and listen to audiobooks, I do check them out from the library when I'm going on car trips. I checked out Steinbeck's East of Eden for this trip. It's a 25 hour (22 disk) set, so I only managed to get through part of it on the trip. I'd planned just to return the audio to the library and read the rest of the book, but I'm enjoying the audio so much I think I'll actually bring it in the house and finish it. The story's great (though not quite like the James Dean movie) and the reader is excellent as well.

Though I'm currently stuck in the city, I'm figuring out that I will always be a farm girl at heart. When I go homehome, I always remember how much I like the open spaces and the beautiful skies of Kansas. (I took some pictures this past week. If they come out well, I'll post some up here whenever I get the film developed.) I like being able to see for miles during the day and see a sky filled with stars at night. There's a certain tranquil beauty in the stillness and openness of the Kansas prairie....

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Summer Vacation!!

YAY!! I'm on my week for 'real vacation' before the busy stuff of summer starts. I feel like I've spent the past few days recuperating from the semester. I finally caught up on sleep and housecleaning and other random stuff. We had our end-of-the-year department party on Thursday night. It was fun, and it was the last party that I'll be organizing as I have moved up from the social secretary position. (I'll be the real secretary next year!!) I turned in grades on Friday, and that was my last official teacher task for the semester. I spent most of today cleaning house; my house was a complete disaster as it hadn't been cleaned in the past few weeks. I'm headed homehome tomorrow and will be there for most of next week. I'm looking forward to the trip homehome, as I haven't been there since Spring Break.

I don't know that I have any other interesting tidbits or anything like that. However, I'll say 'so-long' for the week as I won't be blogging while at homehome. (I like spending time in a world sans computers.)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

On Writing Autobiography

I don't need to say anything else about this one....

Celebrating with Blast!

I finished my classes for the semester, took my last exam yesterday afternoon. (YAY!!) Now all I have left to do is turn in grades for my students. Since the semester's over, I get to read 'just-for-fun' books for a while. I think I'll start with Bill's latest book and then maybe move on to some chicklit something-rather. I'll probably spend my time on a few 'beach reading' books before I return to working on my readling lists for my qualifying exams.

Anyway, Jimmy and I celebrated my being finished with a trip to the Performing Arts Center for a Blast! performance. (I think Jimmy's rejoicing that I'm finished with the semester too. I've heard the phrases 'Have you seen my girlfriend?' and 'When can I have my girlfriend back?' way to much during the past week.) Anyway, Blast! was my reward for surviving the semester. I'd seen them before a few years ago, so I was excited to see the performance again. The music was amazing, as I remembered, and the whole thing was very aesthetically pleasing. I think they had a few technically difficulties last night, as a few things didn't seem timed quite right, but the performance was still wonderful. I'm pretty certain Jimmy enjoyed it too (or at least he enjoyed it more than the opera).

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Exams, Partys, and a Honda

Well, I'm almost finished for the semester. The pages remaining count is at 0 (YAY!) and I have one exam left, which is tomorrow afternoon. (I had a paper due yesterday and an exam last night. It was not a pleasant day.) I have a little bit of grading left, so I'm hoping to have everything finished up by Thursday--certainly by Friday. I'll be going homehome for a week or so after everything's finished, but I'm not sure what the travel dates will be. I need to call Mom....

In addition to the crazy school schedule this time of the semester, somehow I've ended up with a crazy social schedule as well. (Wow, me with a social schedule, that doesn't happen very often.) Anyway, Jimmy and I went to the opera--the last one of the season--on Sunday. We saw _The Marriage of Figaro_. Though I'm not a big fan of Mozart (I think he's repetitive to the point where it's almost an insult to the audience), I did enjoy the opera (despite the repetitive elements). I think it was my favorite of the season.... Yesterday was brutal, so there was nothing social that occurred at all beyond an improv study group, which doesn't really count as social interaction.... Some of the professors had a party at their house tonight, so Jimmy and I went to that. It was fun...and people actually talked about stuff other than school!! While I like hanging out with people from the office, the problem is that the only things we really have in common are our teaching and our studies, which sometimes makes for pretty dull party conversation....

And a random cool link to close out my post today. One of my sisters sent me this one in an e-mail. It's actually a car commercial, but it's just pretty awesome....

Saturday, April 29, 2006

When I Grow Up....

(Okay, so I'm taking a break from writing my last paper of the semester. I'm over half finished, but I would like to finish early so I have time to really study for the exam in that class too. The exam's on Monday evening, and the paper's due then too. I don't really like having 100% of my grade for a course all due on the same day, but that's the way it goes....)

Anyway, I think I finally figured out what I want to do when I grow up. I want to work for one of the major paperback book companies and decide what pictures or paintings should go on the covers of books. Typically, the covers of the books don't go at all with the stories; sometimes they're downright misleading. I think it would be fun to read books for a living and then sort through hundreds, even thousands, of pictures trying to find just the right one to go with a certain story. Yep, that's what I want to do with my life. Does anyone know of a major book company that's looking for someone to fill that position (whatever it would be called)? Oh, by the way, I'm not interested in writing the blurbs for the back of the books. Just plain not interested....

Friday, April 28, 2006

I'm writing in the office tonight and had another wonderful experience with the OED (Oxford English Dictionary). Luckily, this experience wasn't as long and drawn out as my wanderings through the OED sometimes become. (I know, I know, only a nerd reads the dictionary. But come on, admit it, you've done it at least once!) Anyway, I started with 'prestidigitation' and then ended up with 'legerdemain.' That's all the farther my wanderings went tonight, but the words are fun....

"Shake Carton Before Opening"

I bought a box of chai tea latte yesterday. (I usually brew my own chai, but I bought the concentrate in the box for a tea party that's scheduled for Saturday.) Anyway, I found the label on the box to be quite amusing: "Shake Carton Before Opening (You may also want to do a little dance if you feel up to it.)"

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Reading Days and Poetry Readings

Well, Tuesday and Wednesday were our official 'reading days,' and finals started today. While I like the idea of 'reading days,' I somehow found both days to be thoroughly unproductive. I spent most of Tuesday recovering from very late night that I spent finishing up the paper that was due Monday. I got the last of my grading finished yesterday, but other than that, Wednesday wasn't too productive either. Today wasn't much better. I finally managed to finish the last of the Victorian novels of the semester (Aurora Floyd by Mary Elizabeth Braddon), but I didn't get mush else accomplished. I'm hoping to be able to write most (or all) of my last paper tomorrow, though I might make a trip back to the art museum in the afternoon. (I need to go back and take a look at a few paintings since I have to talk about them in my paper.)

Today's unproductivity was aided by a poetry reading at the Performing Arts Center this evening. One of my colleagues in the department had an extra ticket to the reading, so she took me along. Anyway, the reading was by Billy Collins, former U.S. Poet Laureate (2001-2003) and current New York State Poet Laureate (2004-06). While I wasn't familiar with much of Collins' work (save the "Introduction to Poetry" that's in the literature anthology that I use in my writing classes), I really enjoyed the evening. The pieces that he read were quite diverse and enjoyable, and the audience responded well to both his writing and to his presentation. I certainly had a good time, and I don't even feel to guilty that I was spending my time doing something other than studying or reading.

Monday, April 24, 2006


Wow, it's Monday and I haven't blogged since Tuesday. I guess that happens at the end of the semester. Anyway, today's our last day of classes here. Tuesday and Wednesday are reading days, and then exams start on Thursday. It's kinda crazy that the semester's over already. (And what's really crazy is that this is/was my last semester of course work. Now it's time to start preparing for qualifying exams....) Actually, I have to finish out this semester before I start worrying about the next semester. My 'pages remaining' count is 14, and I have two exams yet this semester.

Well, the last week was pretty crazy, but I don't think I'll try to do much catching up on my blog. I went to a fairly formal banquet for church on Wednesday, and then there was a very non-formal so-called banquet for the department on Friday. I went to one of the art museums yesterday and got to see a wonderful collection of Pre-Raphaelite art. I'll probably try to go back again sometime this week to take some more time to go through and really look at the pieces.

Anyway, I think it's time for me to go home and catch up on sleep....

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Writing English Papers

Jimmy and I were talking about on-line clips and cartoons yesterday. We watched a few Strong Bad podcasts, and then I remembered that I had received a funny Strong Bad clip from a colleague while I was at K-State. I sorted through my e-mail (cleaning out and filing all the junk that was there in the process) and managed to find the e-mail and the link. Remember, this is an example of how NOT to write an English paper....


The blood-sucking Vampires (the American Red Cross) were on campus again today. I tried to go and let them take my blood, but they didn't want it. They took my temperature, poked my finger, and told me to go away. (Well, they were more polite than that and they gave me an extra-large t-shirt too.) I guess this means that they will keep calling me and asking for my blood even though they don't really want it....

Monday, April 17, 2006

Happy Easter!!

Okay, so I'm a day late. The Easter Bunny's come and gone (and he missed my house), and all the chocolate bunnies have either been devoured or have melted by now. Also, I don't know of any Salvador Dali painting of the Resurrection, so I can't add one of those....

Anyway, my Easter weekend, like to many other weekends, was spent with my nose in a book...well, books actually. I flew through George Du Maurier's Trilby, and then I started on Mary Elizabeth Braddon's Aurora Floyd. I enjoyed the Du Maurier; my older edition book had wonderful illustrations, but quite a bit of the dialogue was in French. (My older edition didn't have any footnotes or glosses on the French. And I don't speak French. Therefore, there were certain things that I kinda missed.) I'm not having any language difficulties with the Braddon text (plus I think there's only one edition of that book currently in print), but this book just isn't reading quite as quickly as the other one. (I guess by the time I skipped all the parts that were in French....)