Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens.

Two favorite things for today.

1. I was reading through a magazine and came across my horoscope at the end. So of course I read it, and the first line went something like this: "You are about to enter a wonderful new romantic relationship."

My thought, "Yeah, right."

Next line of the horoscope, "Stop being so cynical and sarcastic."

2. I was relaxing watching Castle last night. If you haven't seen it - hulu.

Detective Beckett: "It's a good thing he reads."
Other Detective: "It's a good thing he reads Russian literature. If he read Nicholas Sparks, he'd be dead."

Maybe you laughed a little. I laughed a lot.

Monday, December 14, 2009

One day when you're older, that'll turn out to be a gift.

Done, done, done with my Christmas shopping.

I was thinking about when I was little and how I had all kinds of things that I wanted and would ask for at Christmas. Somewhere in there I can to the understanding or developed the assurance that my parents (obviously this was post-Santa belief) would get me what I asked for (also obviously I was not asking for huge or ridiculous things... I think... maybe I did ask for a pony once).

There is one time this belief was tested. My mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I said I didn't know. I had had a thought, but had forgotten what it was. So shortly before Christmas (I don't remember how shortly, I just remember it being really close to Christmas), I remembered that I wanted to ask for a camera that year. And I did.

I remember doubting that I would get it, because it was a big gift and I knew that Christmas was not far away.

I got it. I probably still have it in my parents' attic actually.

Even though I always believed that my mom would get me what I asked for, there was still so much anticipation on Christmas Eve. I could never fall asleep (Heather always fell asleep).

But now I have decided that the person who said "Tis better to give than receive" was an old person. Now I am not awake all night thinking of what I will get, instead I am so excited and anticipating my family members opening the gifts that I got them.

I'll be the first to admit I had a pretty lame year of gift giving. All the birthday presents that I gave were a little lacking. And then I worried that I had used up my one and only stroke of brilliance when I thought of giving Kim a digital camera for her birthday. But fortune smiles, and I have actually managed to think of good ideas for two of my seven family members. (Sorry to the rest of you).

So excited.

And only 3 more days until I get to go home!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Buddy the elf, what's your favorite color?

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

Unfortunately for you, my wonderful readers, the only way I can get through grading all these papers and exams is to share the best with you. So round two of Favorite Student Writing:

In reflecting on his work during the semester: "I then realized that you were not like the teachers that my brother and sisters had in college. You were actually expecting us to write about what you had assigned."

Sunday, December 6, 2009

It's the first half of your favorite word

It's that time again. Favorite student writing. Yay!

This comes from a student's reflection about what he learned this semester:
"Writing was one of my downfalls and in particular run-ons were my major negative, it was something I couldn't help doing unless I put a lot of commas into my sentences/paragraphs, but I'm glad I can incorporate something else into my writing so my piece doesn't look like one big sentence."

My comment: Is this meant to be ironic?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Uh, it's just easier to say TMI. I used to say don't go there, but that's lame.

Toilet Bowl Exhaust System

Yes, this will probably be a TMI post. But I just have to tell someone.

One of the toilets at work fills up with boiling hot water.

Weirdest experience ever.

Monday, November 30, 2009

You call washing dishes and sweeping floors a work of evil?

My newly acquired skill:

Laying hardwood floors.

Yes, I wish it was in my house. But I decided it would be better to go "help" a friend and learn how to do it.

I only thought that the help would be in quotation marks. Turns out I really was helpful.

Lessons Learned:
1. The first two rows are the hardest. Don't get frustrated.
2. It requires three people. Minimum. Four are better.
3. Don't let a biologist lay out the boards. They like patterns.
4. A table saw is a necessary piece of equipment. So are a hammer, mallet, tapping block.
5. The number one most important piece of equipment: Kneepads.

My friend said her lesson was hit the tapping block, not your hand. Fortunately, I just didn't pick up the mallet or hammer.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Why, thank you. I'm getting to be a pretty big fan of yours, too.

Carla sent out a gratitude challenge for the past couple of years. During the month of November the challenge was to write 3 things you are thankful for every day. The real reason I enjoyed this was because I got to see what my sisters were up to. If you think about it, you quickly move past the big "I am thankful for my family" and get to the little daily things that happen.

She didn't send it out this year, and while I did see the facebook version, I just can't do those facebook things. (Yes, my students were shocked that I don't play farmville. But I just don't get it).

I've just been keeping a list, as part of the many things I write down before I go to bed. What surprised me this year, besides how much I have to be grateful for, is how much happens that I don't realize how grateful I should be until much much later.

I'll share some of my list with you.
I am grateful for the energy to get up early this morning. I'm grateful for the chance to eat lunch with my colleagues. I'm grateful for the money that I have that makes it easy to pay the bills and go grocery shopping. I am grateful for the answers to prayers, I prayed for help with my students and received help. I'm grateful for Lavon, and that she stood outside and listened to my day. I am grateful for my students, yes, all of them. I am grateful for another sunshine-y day. I am grateful for the blessings that I don't recognize until months later, when I find out how wrong things can go. I'm grateful for Becky. I am grateful that I can say it will be a good day, and then it is. I am grateful that I got all my grading done. I'm grateful that Dee got into her house. I am grateful for Kathy and a fun lunch and her willingness to share her family. I am grateful for absolutely gorgeous weather. I am grateful for good tasting food. I am grateful for errands and chores that I was able to get done. I'm grateful for silly movies. I am grateful that my coworkers are on board with portfolios. I am grateful for clean dishes. I am grateful for cute clothes. I am grateful for tasty lettuce. I am grateful for Heather. I am for peaceful places. I am grateful for dinner with Lavon. I am grateful for good students. I am grateful for Julianne. I am grateful for improvement. I am grateful for less stress. I am grateful for a hugely successful party. I am grateful for my job. I am grateful for a good morning's work. I am grateful for a day to take time for myself. I am grateful that Sherilyn let me help her. I am grateful for changes. I am grateful for my mom. I'm grateful that I can run. I am grateful for target. I am grateful for my garage. I am grateful for yogurt. I'm grateful for kind co-workers. I'm grateful for Eric, my officemate. I'm grateful that I can pray about anything. I am grateful that I don't have friends that are making me watch Twilight. I am grateful that I am happy with my life. I am grateful for a washer and dryer. I am grateful for a beautiful day. I am grateful that my prayers about big things and little things are answered. I am grateful that I went out tonight. I am grateful for friends. I'm grateful for a calm Saturday.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Snow, snow, snow, snow, snow!

Monday morning we had our first snow of the season.

I was excited.

The real reason I was excited? I have a garage. I got in my car and drove off without any scraping, brushing, spraying, or just running the car.

Life is good.

PS. Obviously you should read the title of this post and hear it singing in your head like Bing Crosby and the others on "White Christmas."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Go easy on the cologne, LeBeau. You're easy to track.

Favorite student writing of the week:
"And the smell of his cologne was like a fresh breeze on a summer day."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Oh Miss Elphaba

For Halloween, I went to a party dressed as Elphaba.

Yeah, that means I wound up having to tell people that I was the wicked witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz.

Best costume at the party: Wolverine.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Humans use this little baby... to straighten their hair out.

I took these pictures last week to illustrate my hair problem.

It's so long, it wouldn't even fit in the first picture!

I'm open to suggestions on what to do with it.


Last night in my class we talked about introductions. There are many types of introductions, and then we had to talk specifically about how to write an introduction for a story.

I suggested that the class start their story by setting the scene, explaining when and where it happened. And then I said that this is the most common way to start a story. How many have you heard that begin, "Once upon a time..." or "It was a dark and stormy night..."

Totally blank looks on "It was a dark and stormy night." "Seriously?" I said. "That's how Snoopy always starts his stories."

Snoopy typing

More blank looks.

"You people have never read Snoopy? Charlie Brown?"


I wanted to rant like Carla, "Where are you people from?!! Where in the world do I live?!!" But I sat and thought, maybe I'm old. No, that can't be an age thing, I have a huge range of ages in that class. And then I was just sad. These kids are surrounded by information, so surrounded by constant narcissistic status updates that they don't get to enjoy simple things like good comics.

He's the boy who dissected a frog, did not wash his hands, and then ate a sandwich.

My campus has finally joined in the quest to stop the swine flu by handwashing. While the media and the scientists continue to duke it out amongst themselves over the usefulness of handwashing, my campus has decided to install Purell stations strategically throughout the various buildings.
I saw them and thought, hm... Good idea.

They are free-standing and automatic. So you just hold your hand underneath the dispenser and it squirts out a dollop for you.

Then I realized that every time I walk past these things, my hands are full of books, and I can't use them.

And then I asked my class if they were using them and they all said, "Using what?" "Where?" "I didn't even notice."

Last night, I was leaving class and decided to try the Purell station out.

Much to my surprise it squirted foaming hand sanitizer into my hand. And, out loud, I said, "What is this!" Then I tried to rub it into my hands, and there was way too much. My hands are much too small for this "standard" amount. So then I walked up the stairs to my office, and hand gross sticky hands, like a 3 year old.

And I had to wash them with soap.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

How you doing?

Winter has arrived here in the middle. Again this weekend the forecasters are calling for snow...

I attempted to embrace the change (I'm totally a summer girl, much much happier in the summer), and must say that I was doing ok with it by looking super cute all week. And, without trying to sound like I am tooting my own horn, I really did look cute all week. My natural state was helped by some super cute jackets, necklaces, and my fabulous coat that I got on clearance last spring.

And the only time I got hit on, all week long, was Friday at the gym. Yes, that's right. At the gym. Where I was unwashed. And honestly, wearing clothes that I had already worn to the gym the day before. So maybe even a little smelly.

I went in to the gym and jumped on a treadmill as usual, for the 1/2 hour before the yoga class. Next to me was one of the men who also does the yoga class. So he started chatting.

One thing that just amazes me is how much people will talk about themselves. And how much they can tell you in 1/2 hour.

So in 30 minutes, I learned that he is 45, a security guard who works nights at an abandoned warehouse, divorced, has two daughters, had a 4 year relationship after his divorce that has also ended (so let's just call that divorced twice). Not only did I learn all of that, but I also learned that his daughters are beautiful, one is 19 and goes to Louisiana State, the other is 10, he doesn't like their boyfriends and would happily shoot them if he could, and I learned about two of his more exciting security breaches.

And that he thinks I'm beautiful.

I hope you won't judge me if I admit I made up a boyfriend.

I wasn't quick enough to say I was married when he asked. That was kind of early in the conversation, so it didn't occur to me to lie. Until my "no" caused him to respond, "What do you think of older men?" Later he said, "Well, you aren't married, but do you have a boyfriend?" And I said, yes.

From today's perspective, the whole thing was rather amusing. But then we both went to yoga, and I was worried that he would move over to where I usually go, so he was kind of throwing off my zen. Fortunately he didn't.

Perhaps my zen could have been restored after we got a few minutes into it, but the music the teacher chose just finished the job. It started with Pachebel's Canon.

I know, you are thinking "I love that song!" Me too. So it was totally distracting, because I was really enjoying it. That was followed by Copland's A Gift to Be Simple

And I enjoyed that one too much too. And that was followed by 2 hymns. Weird.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cyclops, Storm, what do they call you, Wheels?

Have you ever made a joke, expecting that no one would get it and then someone does?

In my class last night, the night coordinator came in to give my students the evaluation. Yeah, the evaluation of the class and of me so I can't be in the room. Anyway, the night coordinator has a power wheelchair.

So after he left and I walked back in, one of the students made the comment that he had a wheelchair, "And they call him 'wheels.'"

I said, "Just like Professor X."

He was so excited that I got the joke. Even more excited was another girl, who did her fingers in a heart like this for me.

sky heart by bellycub.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

That'll do, pig. That'll do.


It is Sunday again, and I feel like I should post an update. But I have just spent 5 minutes staring at a blank screen, wondering why I can't think of anything to write. And the truth has just hit me. I don't have anything to write because I spent the last week sick with the swine flu.

Here's how life went.

Saturday evening I thought I had just poisoned myself with spray paint. (Yes I'm spray painting again. When I get around to finishing, I'll post a picture).

On Sunday I was really sick. I stayed in bed all day.

On Monday I went to the doctor. Honestly I was expecting a little bit of panic. You know, for the nurses to force me to wear a mask as soon as I walked in the door. To be in isolation. Something.

No. Absolutely none of that. The little intern who took my blood pressure and everything didn't even bother wearing gloves when she took my temperature.

But the trip was a success because they gave me Tamiflu. And I headed straight to CVS.

When I asked for Tamiflu, I expected some panic. There was a slight flutter, but not because they were worried about a pandemic -- they were simply worried about running out of medicine. But they assured me they had my dose. So I got that and some Theraflu (ew).

I spent the rest of the day on the couch. And all of Tuesday and Wednesday on the couch. Seriously, yay for having a couch. And cable -- since I was too sick to be driving to the redbox.

Thursday I felt better and went to work. No panic anywhere until I got to work. One of my coworkers was Lysoling (yes, I just made that a verb) her entire office and all of the classrooms she teaches in. She has decided we need a campaign, because no one is cleaning properly. No panic from my students though, they just asked how I was doing and what I had. That's not typical, so it was nice of them. I had to come home at 2 pm and take a nap so that I could go back for my evening class.

On Saturday I finally felt good. Yay for being over the swine flu.

Friday, September 25, 2009

How many cups of sugar does it take to get to the moon?

Last weekend I took a road trip up to Nauvoo. It was great. I'm loading my pics here, because, yeah, Facebook sucks.

Carthage Jail:


My little hotel room:

Angie, Julianne, and me

The temple

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Operation tourist trap is a go.

I was thinking this week that I should have taken a minute to write about my Labor Day. I decided to act all tourist-y.

I saw the KC History museum, which is housed in Kansas City's 1st million dollar
home (actual cost in 1912: $738,000).
Corinthian Hall, Kansas City, Missouri, 1912

Principal or south facade showing window treatment variations

Stairway and great hall

It was a pretty fascinating story because this guy (R.A. Long) was a lumber baron and was compared to Rockefeller and Vanderbilt. Seeing this house made
me wonder how much the Biltmore cost to built and furnish, because
this was huge with 70 rooms, but is totally dwarfed by the Biltmore.

File:Biltmore Estate.jpg
(See what I mean? The picture is way too big, even for the screen. Check out wikipedia.)

I also went to Independence's fair/carnival/festival. They call it
Santi-cali-gon to celebrate the frontier trails that met here. They
had a ton of craft tents set up, and it was a lot of fun to walk
through those. Sometimes though I just think, well, I could make that.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

do you really think I would hide presents under the couch?

I've been horribly slack and negligent. My furniture arrived last week. I have a couch!

So here are some pictures of my couch, and my two chairs - that seriously are the most comfortable things I have ever sat in. I also bought heavy duty picture hangers and got my pretty pictures on the walls.

Next projects - make a pillow cover, and maybe two lampshades.

Oh, and this little side table in the above picture isn't permanent, because it's a little too tall and kind of goofy, but it's functional for now.

My dining room, with a lovely new picture hung on the wall.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mirror, mirror, on the wall...

Too good to pass up.

A student describing his dream house: "I'd also have a special room just for mirrors, so that I can just go admire myself whenever i want to."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

That's the secret, grand adventure of the infamous Jack Sparrow. You spent three days lying on a beach drinking rum.

It's that time again. Funny student writing.

So they turned in a rough draft and a student wrote about American Idol. One sentence was "Taylor Hicks is not heard of, like the infamous Chris Daughtry."

I circled the word "infamous" and made the comment word choice and that it does not mean what she thought it meant.

She "revised" and turned in a new paper. She changed that sentence to say, "Taylor Hicks is not heard of, like the infamous (highly famous) Chris Daughtry."

After shaking my head and sighing, I looked up infamous, just to make sure this rampant misconception hasn't made it into the dictionary yet. It hasn't.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

I took her to the hospital and the doctors tried to save her life. They did the best that they could - and she is going to be ok.

Back in the early days of this blog, I wrote about falling. Actual literal falling, and how scary it was to fall while I was running.

I don't think I've ever fully articulated this, but I really had a list of the top 3 scary moments.

Moment #1: The dog in Boone.
It was summertime in Boone, and I was outside running. Boone is the little hippy mountain town that I lived in for grad school. There were two highways that intersected in the middle of town, so I would run down (the sidewalk) of one, to the intersection, then turn left up the other, then run back to my apartment on a side street.

I was maybe half a mile down the first highway, and a dog started barking at me, from the other side of the highway. I looked up, and it charged me. From the other side of a 5 lane road! Fortunately for me, I was saved by the cars. It got out in the middle of the street, and cars just laid on their horns. So it turned and went back to it's side. Still going crazy barking at me the whole time. Yeah, that's right, not bothered by the cars, just bothered by me.

And of course we all know, "I don't do dogs. I had a bad experience!"
Go to minute 6 on this video.

Moment #2: Falling down on Truman Road
Shortly after my move to the great Midwest, I was running and was almost back to my apartment when the sidewalk grabbed me, and pulled me down.

This ranks as 2nd most scary because I fell face forward.

Moment #3: Falling down at Lake Jiacomo
I fell backwards, but it was a little scary because there was nobody immediately around me that I could have appealed to if I had truly hurt myself.

All these moments were totally obliterated by what happened yesterday.

I was hit by a car.

I was running down the main street in my super safe, super pedestrian friendly neighborhood, when I approached a side street. I saw the car pulling toward the stop sign on said side street, so I stopped. The car stopped, so I proceeded to cross the intersection.

When I was directly in front of the car, she pulled forward and bumped my leg, but I turned and slammed my hands on the hood of her car. She stopped, and I yelled at her, and moved to the driver's side, so I could yell at her some more, and she sped off.

How do these things happen to me?

Oh, just to clarify, I'm totally fine. I hit the hood of her car before she could really plow into me, so I don't even have a bruise. I did call the police. He told me to be more careful. And... I adjusted my car insurance. But now I am thinking I need to rig up a "safety pouch" to carry while I am running with... I don't know... but phone numbers of people who could actually come pick me up.

Or, I'm just going to quit running outside entirely. These kinds of things don't happen at the gym.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I've decided to make you my new project.

More projects to show off. Tell me what you think.

Project #1. I decided to hang the Italy pictures at the bottom of the stairs.

Project #2: The chair. I spray painted it dark brown. "Espresso" is the official title, I think. And for whatever reason, the camera can't do any justice to the actual prettiness of the fabric that I chose. So just trust me on that.

Project 3. These are the shelves I have been thinking about getting for several months, and they went on sale at target this week.

The funny part of this is that I moved the books from my current bookshelves over, and thought, "Perfect, I have a lot of space left." And then I started filling in the books that I had hidden around the house... Not so much space left.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

No, I prefer to be unsociable and taciturn.

Best moment of the first day of class:

I always make them play a name game, to start to get to know one another. So the game is to have an adjective that begins with the first letter of the first name.

We got halfway around the circle, and one student said, "I'm taciturn Tim."

I busted up laughing, and thought of this: Pride and Prejudice
(Embedding was disabled. Sorry.)

None of the other students knew what that meant, so we also got a vocab moment today.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Me? You're the one spending all your extra time at your little side project.

Since my parents and little sister left, I've been keeping busy with a bunch of projects. I just thought I'd share.

Project #1: Sewing ribbons on my curtains, and I decided to hem them at the same time.

Project #2: Jewelry making.

Project #3: Spray painting picture frames. And, on this one I can actually brag about the total cost of these pretty pictures. $8 for the frames, $2 for spray paint, $0.41 for cardstock = $10.41. The pictures are all of Italy, and I pulled them out of a daily calendar that my sister gave me a few years ago.

And you can weigh in. Where should I hang these? Choice #1 - under the stairs. Choice #2 - in the entryway. Choice #3 - at the bottom of the stairs. Choice #4 - in the office. Choice #5 - in my bedroom.

Project #4: Reupholstering this chair. You can weigh in on this too, this way I'll get my faithful blog reader's opinions, and not just facebook people. Should I paint the chair, and what color? Staining is too much work, so don't suggest that, it's paint or nothing.

Oh, and I can price this out too. Fun. $22.50 for the chair, $14 for new foam padding, $13 for new fabric = $49.50. Really not bad, since all the chairs I've seen in other stores cost well over $100.