Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hey, yo

It's a good day. Okay, I stayed up until three reading The Poisonwood Bible and was a useless zombie in the morning, got to my class two minutes early without one single thought in my brain, but of course I can wing it, so actually the class went great. It's one of those great skills, huh? I'm good at teaching college, that's for darn sure.

They are REALLY getting it, that's what makes it a good day. They all have papers due tomorrow or Friday so they're down to crunch time, trying to figure out how to do it right. You have no idea how it makes my heart swell up when they come to me at office hours, all serious, saying all the things back to me I've been saying in class, but totally understanding and using everything to write well. So glorious!

Today I made a whole lot of food, oh boy! Seems like it's been a while. I did make the Tacos of Revivification earlier in the week, and I've been devouring them for every meal but breakfast ever since--at least one more to go!--but today I made some other things.

To wit:

--Purple cabbage coleslaw, with some peculiar mistaken ingredient, possibly the mustard powder. Something's not quite right. Or maybe the ginger. Yeah, could be either one or both. It's still outstandingly good but the whole time I'm eating it I have this thoughtful, faraway expression, trying to figure out what's off.

--Bread. It stuck to the pan! I even greased the pan, which is non-stick. But what I did not do was knead it between the bread machine and the pan, which I should have because it was kind of wettish. I didn't because it's raining and my hands hurt like blood, that's why. Anyway it tastes fantastic and it'll be fine for sandwiches as long as you don't mind that it's missing some crust around the lower 1/3 of the loaf.

--Apple pie without the pie. Oh yum! I cooked those apples that were too tart to eat, sliced them up and cooked them in some butter and sugar and a little lemon juice, with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. The cloves were a mistake, but only because I used too much. And then put flour on it and made it all thicken up. Mmmmm. There is not a nicer thing to eat than warm apple pie without the pie. I was planning to make crust and all, but I kind of didn't want to eat the crust, so why?

Mmmmmmmm. Good food.

Let's see, today I drained and coiled up the very long garden hose with a hole in it and put it away. A mouse chewed it in the barn at the EF, I think. And I planted that kale that's been growing in my graduated cylinder measuring glass for about a million years, since before I moved.

Speaking of which, tomorrow is the 1st of the month and Mr. Potatohead has not done one single thing about the insulation beyond measuring last Saturday. So I don't pay the rent, right? And I keep on not paying it until he installs the non-negotiable insulation, and if he doesn't do it soon enough to suit me, which is legally speaking NOW, then I move out at the end of October. Hmm.

I guess.

I'm very very very very tired of the maybe/maybe not with the stupid poo for brains and his inability to perform basic tasks that are required by the lease.

Speaking of poo, the bear has been eating apples! Why does the bear feel the need to poop right at the corner of my garage, eh? And also I think I know whose apples it's been eating, since I went out to the apple tree to pick some today and the only ones left are way high up.

And then I thought about all the gunfire I could hear from one field over past the power line cut and what a person in a black sweatshirt-material jumper, black t-shirt, black leggings, and black boots looked like, standing in a field looking up at an apple tree, and went back into the house. Bear impression, over!

The turkeys have tromped down the high grass nicely, making a good path for me to get to the trees out there. Or the bear did. Or the deer. Or all of the above, most likely.

I'm reading The Bean Trees now, remembering why this is one of my favorite books ever. So good! Though you can kind of tell it's a bit first-novel-y in the beginning but how great is it to read a book and watch someone figure out how to do it, huh? I love how Turtle talks, perfect toddler language done exactly right.

I'm doing a good job of having two nights off, huh? Rock!


Tuesday, September 29, 2009


That is the name of my online course. Catchy, isn't it? BSDF sounds like it should either be an abbreviation for something insulting, or else videotape. And KONG is just glorious.

My course is a King Kong movie, I think. Wait. Don't those end badly?

What's going on in your world, bunnies?

I'm so tired I think I could just keel over right here and now. The miraculous tacos really helped, though. I'm just tired from a short night and an early morning, so I had a long nap when I got home instead of a walk. I'm still all fuzzy in the brains though. Oooof.

So far online school is good. I have the coolest set of names amongst my students! Including Timothine, my favorite.

Actually the names were cooler before but all the coolest-named people dropped. So much turnover!

It's interesting to be the puppet professor. I posted all those messages they made me copy and paste and post, and then I was all surprised when people started doing stuff all together, what with how I didn't read the messages myself or anything. I guess the powers that be changed them since last time!

As soon as I get everything checked off and answered, I'm shutting down the computer and going to watch season two of Rosemary & Thyme, while either ironing or quilting, depending. I did TOO MUCH WORK lately. My brain is fried. I warned the students about how you can lose major brain cells to grading papers--don't start! Stick to binge drinking! Just kidding.

Mostly right now I'm reading The Poisonwood Bible while waiting for pages to load and wondering if my email is broken. I hope so!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Go, fight, win!

Fight insufficient awesomeness wherever you find it! Rah, rah, rah!

I diagnosed myself with insufficient awesomeness earlier today. My prescription: TACOS! Mmmm. I made that kind of Minnesota tacos that old H. used to make way back in grad school days. Except he used a packet of some kind of Old El Paso seasoning or something, which, brrrrr.

So I made tacos and ate up an inordinate quantity. I can feel my awesomeness rising even now! EVEN NOW! Yes!

Well, I also thought it might help with the generalized insufficiently fed issue, plus that anemia thing. Today ground beef sounded so ridiculously good I could not do anything but go to the Hannaford and purchase some for a few green dollars of money. I already had everything else: lettuce, tortillas, tomatoes grown my own self on the deck.

In sum: yum!

I got my syllabus posted though it took about a dozen tries and lots of endless twirly still-working things and at one point I went and got into my bed and pulled the covers over me in hopes it would trick the system into thinking I didn't care anymore. AND IT WORKED.

Now I'm sleepy though. More evidence of Insufficient Awesomeness Syndrome! Don't let this happen to you! Apply tacos internally, as needed! Use only as directed.

Twitter will not let me write stuff. It's my home system though. It works at school. And sometimes on the laptop if I write the VERY INSTANT the page opens up, it'll let me post.

Lum de dum.

So one of the papers I was grading is totally plagiarized but I can't find the original so I can't prove it. Now what do I do? Unless Mr. Square-Jawed slacker really did go to Disney World 20 times even though he's only 20 years old at most. And unless he really is given to excited florid language even though generally he's monosyllabic.

Maybe I just won't give the draft back or deal with him at all.

Maybe I'll say things like, "Are you sure you want to do this? Are you really, really sure?"

It's not right to accuse him without evidence, but then again my own observations are evidence. It's seriously inconsistent with his previous work.

Tomorrow should be interesting.

So that wasted a lot of my time (time wasted on plagiarism makes me angry! Hulk smash!) and left me disinclined to grade more, plus there was some event having to do with the candidates for president of Husson, right there in the campus center. I admit I got a little irked. I don't have an office and the only place I can work on campus with beverages (tea is not negotiable) was suddenly unusable.

But then I realized I was totally going to faint if I didn't eat food anyway, sheesh, Miss Oatmeal Cake For Breakfast, Onion Rings for Lunch, Nothing Much for Dinner Last Night.

This morning I heard a huge loud crack and a huge turkey flew all the way down my back yard! Glided, more like. They fly like flying is not their preferred mode of travel, let me tell you! So I went outside to see if someone was shooting at the turkeys with a rifle. Not in my yard, you better not! But I think it was just a branch breaking. There was nobody in sight, anyway.

The turkey who had flown far away set up a hysterical gabbling and all the other turkeys hurried down there to be with her.

Turkey drama!

So the scenario I am reconstructing is: a turkey roosted in a branch, then the branch broke, which scared the poor thing out of her tiny wits, so she flew far away to get away from Scary Breaking Branch, and then got hysterical because she was away from the flock.

Once my dad and I were walking our dogs in the woods and scared a whole flock of turkeys, who burst up from the ground and flew into the trees. So scary! First off it's LOUD. Like when a pheasant gets flushed only much bigger so much louder. The wings are loud, the sudden movement scares you, and this thing crashing up into the trees scares you more. Aaaaaaaah!

Turkeys are so dang big. At least these are. Well, think of your Thanksgiving turkey with a six foot wingspan, flapping around the room.

There's a showstopper.

All right, presumably the tacos have integrated themselves into my networks and uploaded tremendous awesomeness and now I'll be able to charge at those remaining papers and get them done. GARGH I am sick of these papers--I mean, these same ones, which I'm getting again Thursday and Friday. Multiple drafts are a killer.

Someone posted already on my Phoenix forum. There are lots of adds and drops, my goodness! They keep coming and going. I guess I usually don't watch this portion of the program.

Man. I'm feeling really good. But also really sleepy. Tacos: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. I might actually make some illegal after hours tea. Do I dare? I think I dare.


Phoenix is up. That means, for anyone uninitiated (LUCKY!), that I posted a million draft messages in the forums plus a half a million normal messages, so that everyone can dive in and rock and roll as soon as they're allowed in, maybe midnight tonight.

I still have to post the syllabus. I spent over an hour tweaking its formatting and then discovered that Works doesn't translate when copied and pasted. Gack! My laptop doesn't have Word. Oy! Jeez. Rats. Crap!

It means I have to do it from home, which makes me tense because you just KNOW the internet will go out or I'll drop the modem in my soup or who knows what. Jeez oh criminy.

Anyway the Phoenix work is done (mostly) and that is deeply awesome. Now I have to swoop by the bank and go home and grade 15 papers in an ungodly hustle and do tomorrow's class prep and not forget my Phoenix syllabus and find some food in the middle there somewhere like probably a nice bowl of frozen veg cooked up in hot water for a bit and go for a walk if at all possible because JEEZ I'm doing way too much sitting lately.

Security guy just came by and chatted. I cannot resist these openings. He has a radio handset stuck to his shoulder that talks to him now and then so of course I asked, "Do you ever hear that thing talking when you don't have it on?" Because I know I would. And he said he absolutely does! He'll lift up his left shoulder to hear it better then realize he doesn't have his radio on at all.

That to me is of course A TV SHOW. I mean, come on! Immediately!

Oy, ack, okay, I have to go. Now now now.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Where is today vanishing off to so quickly? Whoosh!

First I slept late, until nearly 11, which proves that it was borrowing the rent (accomplished) that was stressing me out, more than Cipro or whatever. Though it's true I sleep better when not coughing my head off all night long.

Then the landlord showed up to fix the shower, yay! Right exactly when I was leaving for the soccer game! So that was awesome, because it won't be happening at 8 a.m. tomorrow, and because he came and went and came back and did it and was gone again before I got home from the game. Yahoo!

Meanwhile I went to the soccer game, fabulous! Some jackass was honking and waving at me behind me in the turn lane to go to Husson, probably a student, so I carefully did not look at him, while saying things to myself like, "No left turn on a red arrow! Quit honking, you jackass!" And then I realized it was my brother. Whoops! Hi!

They followed me to campus and we all went to watch the game, yay! Baby Julia's very first soccer game, at the ripe old age of two! Unfortunately it was cold and raining and windy, but she kept saying, "Soccer game! Kick the ball! Soccer ball! They're playing soccer!" and other lovely things like that. It all made me OUTRAGEOUSLY HAPPY like I had helium balloons inside my chest and was about to float away. They only stayed about ten or fifteen minutes because of the cold and rain. But still, huh? How cool is that?

I stood the whole game, since the home stands (three benches only) were heavily occupied by Taylor's family and Jacob's family. And anyway I get far less cold standing.

I cannot hold still during a game. I walk up and down and lean into every header and toward the goal with every ball, as if I can physically push it where I want it to go. Plus I get so hyper, I'm practically hopping up and down. It is very hard for me to sit through a soccer game. To be fair, I'm the same with ballet or other dance. I kind of move when they move. Isn't that embarrassing? My goodness, it's such a good thing no one was behind me!

Definitely driving down to Maine Maritime this Friday. I expect Taylor and Jacob's families will be there too. But this time we'll have the "away" stands and probably a lot more than three benches, gosh!

You should see how prepared I am for soccer games. I perfected all this prep with my Lock Haven team obsession. Fleece jacket, raincoat with hood, wool Scotland scarf, thinsulate gloves, poncho (doubles as groundcloth or rain cover for stuff), polarfleece blanket, water bottle, chapstick, hand lotion, hot tea in DS9-type raktajeeno mug, bandanna for hanky, cough drops so as to avoid annoying other spectators with my constant tubercular hacking, inhaler for asthma attacks, umbrella, and wool hat in case my Husson baseball cap is not warm enough. Also of course dressed in layers for warmth, including heavy silky camisole and wool socks.

In short, I was prepared. That all fits in one bag easily.

And I was fine. Got wet from the horizontal rain, but wasn't cold.

All the boys' parents said hi to me. Isn't that awesome? I always worry I'll embarrass my students by showing up to their games, but they grasp that I'd be there for the team no matter who was on it, I'm sure.

Came home, changed instantly, discovered the landlord had put the shower knob back on crooked (I'm going to have to fix it--that will drive me crazy), and ate all the nice hot leftovers I could find.

Now I have to grade at least fifteen papers. Oof. Two soccer games, two landlord visits, and a trip to Stately Burns Manor all in one weekend--that really cuts into the grading time!

Dollhouse downloaded overnight. Oh boy!

If I grade super fast like a maniac and stick to it and don't move until it's done, maybe I can get enough time to do other stuff this evening. Like my Phoenix prep, since the whole course has to be up and ready by tomorrow night! Not that the forum is available yet. And my ironing needs to get done. And the dishes. And somebody ought to clean this house at some point. I think it's been a while. And I need to bake bread, which actually does itself once I start the machine.

Thank goodness I'm getting paid in two weeks--I think some boughten food will ease the cooking pressure around here, for one thing. I signed the Phoenix contract yesterday. You just never know until that happens whether it's really going to fly or not. Yoicks!

As far as food, now that I've just devoured all the leftovers (bean soup, half a yam, and a dollop of creamed spinach), I think I'm down to a purple cabbage, some potatoes and onions, half a stick of butter, and a decent quantity of frozen veg. like spinach, squash, corn, and peas. Plus blue corn chips and some cans of refried beans, plus my stash of dried beans, not to mention plenty of rice and oatmeal and the makings of bread. Plenty of food! Seriously. For two weeks? Yeah!

But I nearly swooned when Sigrid put a pan of chicken enchiladas on the table last night. I think I had giant hearts in my eyes like a cartoon character. Chicken! Cheese! Sour cream! Om nom nom nom nom. I'm sure this way is way healthier and there is the startling diminishment of girth to be all pleased about, but those enchiladas sure were good. Oh boy!

I might make a turkey when I get paid, I'm not kidding, even though there are turkeys living in my yard and that's sort of culturally insensitive to them. Or something. October 12th is Canadian Thanksgiving, though, and I think we get two days off that week, so that would be a good time to have Thanksgiving dinner. Any excuse for Thanksgiving dinner! YUM!

Anyway, would the turkeys know? I don't think I would smell human cooking on the grill and get all up in arms. How would you know unless you saw a foot sticking off the end or something?

Oops, sorry. Heh.

Hey, a lot of Stargate Universe people are on Twitter. I am UNDULY EXCITED about this show! Oh oh oh! It starts the 2nd. That is this coming Friday! I hope it'll be on iTunes. I'm pretty sure I'm going to get DirecTV (even got the landlord to write permission, which they require) but probably not by Friday.

Mmmmm, soccer channel......mmmmmmmmm. I think if you drew a map of my brain right now about 40% would be grading/not grading papers, and the rest a mixture of soccer and the tv shows I'm crazy about: Bones and Dollhouse and Stargate Universe. Oh no, what if I fall in love with more shows? It could easily happen, with actual tv channels. Yoicks!

I hope it comes with its own DVR. I don't know how to watch tv without a DVR. Plus, what if it comes down to a show and a soccer game at the same time, huh? Like this Friday! Away game! Stargate Universe premiere! I can only decide because I don't have tv! Without a DVR I'd be in a terrible quandary.

After today it's all away games until the 17th. Gosh! One's at Bowdoin, though. Jeez, it's way down in Brunswick. Well. We'll see.

It's very weird to form an almost instant obsession with a team like this. Like when the other guys are all giants like today, I'm so worried about our little guys being all outclassed and loomed over and getting hurt. Those guys had to have six to eight inches and 20-30 lbs on every one of our guys. (Our boys lost 2-1 but played a great second half. In soccer that is almost a win because they were so completely outclassed and still scored. Rah!)

Plus there's this totally funny thing that happens, where I suspect the other guys' integrity and virtue and sportsmanship. Except you know that if I were obsessed with the *other* team I would suspect the Husson kids of the same things.

The other guys were amazing today. They were wearing my rugby team colors, darker green and black, which was confusing in my lizard brain. And they were all so tall and strong and such amazing players, yikes! And they were very international and multicultural, whereas Husson is mostly almost identical white boys with crew cuts. Plus the other guys had not one but TWO guys missing an arm! And they had a Scot with a red buzz cut! When the Scot started yelling I got all flashbacky to my old student Chris. Except almost no one could understand a word Chris said and this guy was comprehensible, so clearly from another part of the country.

I don't really get how soccer filled up so much of my brain. Soccer makes me go stand out in the cold and the rain! Soccer makes me drive long distances! Soccer made me buy a hat when I can't afford to buy food! Soccer has its hooks in me and will not let me go! Soccer got me to coerce my brother and sister-in-law to take my baby niece to a game today! Goodness!

Now I have to grade papers. You'll never guess what Jacob wrote about. When I read his paper I had to laugh because of course I remember NOTHING of any student papers at Lock Haven except for Chris's, which were all about...yes. Soccer.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Corn and corn, what is corn?

Gack, did you ever get a piece of popcorn shell stuck in the back of your throat? I've been trying to use candy corn to get it out. Fight corn with corn! I'm not sure it's working, what with the sugar high, wooo!

It's so gorgeous out, yowza! You do weather well, Maine. The yellow needles are falling off the pine trees in huge showers. And the turkeys have made a couple of trips through my yard already.

I usually know when they're out front because I hear cars slow down for them. They're kind of oblivious about traffic, seriously.

Turkeys. Looking good!

Also if someone's cat who is TOTALLY NOT SPOILED happens to be sitting on the large blue fez by the front door, you can tell turkeys are going past by how someone furry goes ballistic. Viz:

The landlord came by and measured the basement for the insulation. Oh boy! Good thing because this floor is so ridiculously cold, the soles of my feet are freezing most of the time. I'm all in thick wool socks AND slippers, the latter with plastic soles. But I think that some homemade felted wool slippers with leather soles are on the horizon for me. Oh yes. This I foresee. I'm thinking BLUE.

I'm grading papers, which you can tell because I'm here writing this instead. Oh and doing laundry. I'm half done with today's quota. Of papers, not laundry. Unreal, some of these papers.

Well, it's because of the two-tiered system. I think they test people and place them in 123 or 124. I'm teaching both. 123 students apparently cannot write their way out of a wet paper bag, I'm discovering. Nor can they follow simple instructions which were written on the board and also given several times in an increasingly shouty voice. Oh dear.

I'm doing the 123 papers today because I'll see those people soonest. Right.

Why all the papers aren't graded yet: exhibit A. Because if I get up to make tea or something, SOMEONE steals my chair, then looks at me with the melting kitty glance of devastating cuteness.

Ooh, so Friday there's a soccer game down at Maine Maritime. That is not so far away! I might go. It's at 7:30, so I guess they have lights there. I don't know anything about the school except that some of my Husson kids transferred from there, so I immediately assumed Husson is better, but of course it could mean the exact opposite. People transfer down as well as up.

Anyway I'm very curious about the place and might take this opportunity to zoom down there and check it out. It's only ten miles south of my house, actually. Wait, can that be true? Mapquest told me Bucksport was five miles and it's only twice as far, but I think Mapquest might be way out to lunch on this one, because it's clearly as far from here as Husson, which is 13 miles.

ANYWAY. Not that far, is my point. But remote! It's out on some kind of sand bar or something. Oh, I exaggerate. But it is in a tiny town on the edge of Penobscot Bay. Hence the Maritime, yes?

I will wear my new Husson hat and my winter coat and not freeze. Plus maybe Jacob's sister will have to work! That'd be awesome.

She really was oppressive. Yikes.

I'm onto the libertarian stylings of The Unusual Gentleman now. He is incapable of writing a paper without a) trying to solve every problem in the whole world in three pages, and b) expounding on the evils of the federal government and its attempt to control every aspect of our lives as well as sucking all our money out in taxes to give it to poor people who don't deserve it because unlike some people, they don't know how to work.

So basically he's just like my uncle. Only a little less crazy.

Hence the break for bloggery. Dear oh dear.

Hey, so the landlord is going to fix my leaky shower faucet! Yay! It's been dripping faster and faster over the last few weeks. He said about three different things about when he's going to do it, but one of them was this afternoon. I vote for that one! Since one of them was also 8 a.m. Monday. Oooof.

He was all funny about the basement. I said, "Isn't it nice down here? They did a really good job. Have you seen it yet?" Because I am all stealthy like that and will trap Notorious Slumlords in lies just for my own entertainment, when I am pretty sure they have come into the house when I was not home. And he was all, "Mmm hmm!" in a non-committal way. Well played, sir!

As long as the dang house gets fixed up, I'm happy. He also measured the front steps. Dude! If he actually fixes the front steps, I might fall over right then and there.

I have this empty bottle of bug spray sitting on the most broken step, to prevent people from stepping on it and breaking their necks. He picked it up to give it to me and I had to explain the "I don't want people to get hurt" side of things. Like say my brother coming up the stairs carrying the baby. Jeez! I would put caution tape on it if I had any.

Okay, I get to go see the baby after my daily batch of papers are graded. Awesome! I am deeply thrilled about this. I missed a week! BADNESS!!!

Plus they took her for her two-year checkup and the doctor confirmed what I have been saying right along, which is that it's amazing that she uses "I" properly at her age. I've never seen a kid do that before the age of two before. I've seen them get all the way to three without using "I" at all. And it's not like baby Dylan was backward Neanderthal or something. I mean, now he's an investment banker! Or does that contradict my premise?

How excited are you about Wendell, huh? Bones watchers? Wendell!!!

Wendell is totally my plagiarizing guy who got a second chance, that same look, that same hardscrabble background. Wendell is all about class divisions in ways you almost never see on television except when it's also about race, so it gets all muddied. Wendell is like a television miracle!

Plus I completely adore that actor (Michael Terry [VII] according to IMDb) beyond all sense and reason and wish him all the best, seriously--if you could bottle whatever that whole Wendell gestalt is, you would make a fortune. It's a thing Russell Crowe and Sean Bean can do, and it is utterly devastating. Wendell for the win!

Friday, September 25, 2009


More like door curtains. Is there a word for that? I am sort of given to hanging large swaths of fabric in my interior doorways, on tension rods. Sometimes I use actual curtains but sometimes when under a budget freeze I use fabric destined to become dresses and things like that.

I just hung a giant piece of heavy navy and white tiny check fabric in the living room doorway so I can just heat the living room. It's definitely working! It's 65 in here and ten degrees colder in the rest of the house. Oh and I hung some pretty blue silky watercolored kind of fabric with eyelets on the bedroom door, since I guess I actually have to heat the bedroom at some point soon.

Kitty discovered the spare comforter under the bed and has made it his new nest. Perfect! Hidden, extremely cushy, yet with visibility so he can keep tabs on me. Also incidentally it'll be the one room with heat on at night. I sure do like individual room thermostats!

So I went to the soccer game! And it was deeply awesome! I sat with Taylor's parents and grandma and brother and brother's friend on one side and Jacob (my student) Speed's parents, grandpa, sister, sister's best friend, and sister's boyfriend on the other side. Taylor's brother has that same tilted eyes thing that Alain and Nancy have, and a similarly way French name. Hmmmm.

Actually Jacob's sister was draining my will to live due to her inability to have a thought without saying it out loud. It was like having the world's most banal yet piercing radio station blaring in your ear for two hours. Ask me anything about Jacob's sister's life! I can tell you everything! Like how she locked her keys in the car because she was so excited about Brooke's birthday party, for which she was out buying decorations, plus she got her present already, this candle that smells so good, like Christmas cookies, I think she'll like that, she likes burning candles.

That was the first five seconds. She also complained endlessly about how cold she was until I finally offered her my blanket, which she declined, and looked all chagrined that I could overhear her, even though I was sitting at most three feet away. YES I CAN HEAR YOU WHEN YOU SCREECH FOR TWO HOURS IN A LOUD VOICE THREE FEET AWAY. Jeez!

It's nice you have a job at McDonald's and live in a trailer, really. I'm sure everyone for miles around needed to know that. Like your brother's English professor.

By the end of the game (and double overtime!) I was about ready to strangle her. Though the rest of the family was very nice. And Jacob really is lovely. He has his mom's eyes and his dad's disposition!

Taylor's family was far nicer. I had a really good time talking to his grandma. She is very cheerful and feisty and energetic. She went for a long walk with her Life Skills class today and was all tired out! What a gloriously chirpy person she is!

Honestly I think sitting with the families is about 65% of what I love about soccer games. It's all that social group activity kind of thing. Whatever the term for that is. Like why we like going to movies and concerts. Since apparently my memory was stored in my sinuses, I have no recollection of what the word for that is. It's been like this all week!

Maybe the sinus pressure squished my brains into pudding! That would explain a lot. Mmm, pudding.

I was trying to remember the word "libertarian" yesterday in class when explaining that someone with X principles might state things as fact that others might not state as fact. Like those people in militias, who stockpile barley in their fallout shelters. You know! What are they called? Like Adam Baldwin! Like Tim Minear!

They were boggled. No one could figure out what I was talking about. But it was my dumbest class. Well, one of two. I have one super smart class. I love them! You teach them things and then--a shocker!--they know them. Whoa!

Plus they are nice and friendly and funny and never rude. Except the one who I'm trying to get expelled for plagiarism, heh. This class is so cool! The tall lean football player has a cute pudgy girlfriend! I mean, how great are they?

A lot of them are going to be nurses and physical therapists and teachers and things when they graduate. I love that! I love pragmatic undergrads with a specific goal!

Willamette students are the BEST at figuring out what I mean when I can't think of the word. They were geniuses at that! Like say you are thinking of Gerard Butler but can't think of his name. I would say something like, "He sounds like Sean Connery and was in that movie with the leather briefs and the homophobic portrayal of the Persians! And Faramir had one eye!" And Willamette students, they are so great, six of them would be able to blurt out: "Gerard Butler."

That would have helped yesterday. Libertarian! I did describe them, after all.

Oh right, soccer. The game was glorious and fantastic but also strange. The other team played dirty, the ref was making very weird calls, and it ended up tied even after double overtime. Our boys played fantastically well, but sort of fell apart in overtime. Thomas College had some mutant doing throw-ins who could throw the ball fifty yards. Whoa!

Taylor's family--I just love this--all turned to me, all excited, when Jacob got put into the game, because I'd told them I had a student on the team and who he was. Isn't that nice? They all went, "Oh, your student got subbed in!" Jacob's family did not really talk to me at all, despite yakking my ear off the whole game long. Of course, who could get a word in edgewise over Radio Free Sister Speed there?

If I didn't enjoy sitting with the families so much, I'd go be solitary like Lawn Chair Mom who brings her soccer-themed lawn chair and her soccer-themed blanket and sits alone to watch her son play. I was sort of envying her by the end.

And I did not get any onion rings. Oh so sad! But it was a choice: hat or food. I could not see the game without a hat--and I mean a baseball type hat. The bleachers are only on the east side of the field, facing the setting sun. For a late afternoon game, it's impossible to watch without a hat. Taylor's dad bought one too! I think they sold a lot of hats today. The Brazilian girl was selling them, plus t-shirts and things, at her little folding table.

I should have said, "Bem obrigada," but didn't think of it until right exactly now.

Normally I keep both a warm hat and a baseball hat in the car. What is up with my failure to be prepared? SHOCKING. And gloves. Sure, I had two ponchos and safety flares and Fix-a-flat and fifty yards of clothesline, but did I have a hat? No, I did not.

Okay, so here is something I just noticed about my house: it is all dark wood and navy blue and looks like a stereotypical manly residence. What the hell? Where is my cheerful girl-y stuff? I have that, don't I? Everything is dark wood, navy blue, and books, seriously. Stuffed bunnies aside.

I don't know why I find that so alarming, but I do.

Soon I can hang up twinkly lights and then this December I get to get a real live Christmas tree from the farm up the road, oh boy! And it will smell SO GOOD. And I get to decorate it and hang lights on it and put presents underneath it!

Because, did I tell you this? No? Well the landlord called today to say he needs to come over tomorrow and measure the basement for insulation. WIN!!! Win win win!!! That is so freaking awesome! I guess that note I left with September's rent saying I expected the insulation by October 1st made an impression. It was essentially a threat--no rent in October unless you finish this job. Oh and FULFILL THE OBLIGATIONS ON THE LEASE. Ahem. I guess not paying it in August until he caved and took care of the mold remediation sticks in his memory too.

Now I have to find the rent somehow! It's almost funny but I wasn't expecting him to come through. I hadn't planned on it at all!

Wow. Okay!

I wish I could get this song out of my head. "I've got 33 papers but a b**** ain't one." Let's say Cheater McCheatypants is the b**** though. Then it's true! He's a goner. I do not have him anymore. (Shouldn't speak too soon--I suppose the appeal could go through, but it's extremely unlikely.)

I'm just going to have to buy that album one of these days. Wacky! In my collection it'll look like the thing you find that proves that someone else has been here, or something.

Did I tell you about Repentance McRepentypants? I shouldn't be flip. He was the stoic silent odd-looking farm boy who got so upset and got all red eyes and teary and said, "I panicked. I didn't know how to do it and I panicked." And then he couldn't even speak anymore. And I decided to give him a second chance.

Well, he came today to turn in the paper I assigned him: three pages saying why he should get a second chance. And his hands were shaking.

The paper is amazing. He really, really got it. Both why he shouldn't have done what he did and why he's incredibly lucky to get another shot at it.

Sometimes, if things line up just right, I get to make a difference.

A is for apple

I decided it might be a little obvious to bring an apple to campus to eat every day. Is that so? There's the whole teacher/apple thing, see.

I'm having extended office hours that are sneakily also just my way of filling up the time before the soccer game. So stealthy! Sitting on the couch! Students swoop past and give me papers every so often! I love that.

Also I'm sitting with Sweets, aka the apparently 12 year old friend of my strange student aka Weird Boy. I was over at the other pair of couches but all the great big hairy chubby unwashed baby people D&D people showed up and were really sad they couldn't play their card-based role-playing game. You could tell because they all stopped and looked at me and looked all sad and one of them waved his arms around and said, "Now I'm really sad!" So I moved over and joined Sweets.

I really like Sweets because he has so much social aplomb and is so ridiculously cool about hanging out with a professor who isn't even one of HIS professors. That's awesome! Plus obviously he kind of reminds me of John Francis Daley, say halfway between Freaks and Geeks and Bones. I think he went to the same private school as The Unusual Gentleman who deserves a better moniker.

The baby people were inordinately pleased to get their couches but so socially unable to cope that they didn't even say thank you as I relocated all my stuff. people! You're so predictable! You could learn a thing or two from our man Sweets.

Though please note: bathing and haircuts are not just allowed but encouraged.

I think everyone has come to turn in their papers by now. But I told them 2:30 so I'm still here. Anyway I have to be somewhere until the soccer game starts, don't I? And grading papers.

36 papers to go! 36 out of 44. Several people did not turn in drafts, which is very bad in one sense but kind of appreciated in the sense that I don't have to grade them. Grrr/phew!

It's freezing out, chilly and windy, but bright and sunny. PERFECT soccer weather. I've got my wool shirt, polarfleece jacket, polarfleece blanket, scarf, and comfy blue folding chair. But I want to get hot hot hot fried food right before the game so I can eat that and ride its metabolic furnace at least through the first half.

Even my boy Speed who is on the team (that is actually his last name, is that not awesome?) came by with his paper and said it's going to be cold out there. Usually the players are the last ones to complain about the cold, especially Mainers, gosh!

I'm going to wish I had something wind proof. At least I'm wearing my beloved and very warm black jeans, right?

Here is a sad fact to tie to the beginning of this post and give the illusion of completion: my apple is too tart. Astounding! I'm going to be baking a pie tonight or tomorrow, aren't I? Because I got five of them. Oh well, you eat them just as much in a pie as fresh. It's just a little harder to stick a slice of pie in your backpack, is the thing.

15 more minutes and I'll get on the road. Wish I'd brought a warm knitted hat. Say that bulky brown wool one, for instance! Or the navy blue US Soccer one that I wore to every Lock Haven game. Or the $1 black one I got that one time when I was freezing on the road. Or any hat whatsoever because I'm totally going to freeze AND my hair is now officially long enough that the wind blows it into my mouth at every opportunity, which makes eating fried food at a soccer game very difficult. You get ketchup in your hair, is all I'm saying.

You know, if I had my knitting, I could finish a hat by the end of the game! Gosh!

Oh my goodness. One of the baby people is wearing a Blue Sun t-shirt. I REST MY CASE.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Too small for my shoes

This is kind of stupid. My shoes are too big. I mean, honestly. I had to jam tissues in the toes because they kept falling off. They're those same old black loafery shoes I've been wearing practically every day for years and years.

That's just silly. Guess where else you get smaller, though? Your neck and your elbows. I just think that's so weird. I can stand necklaces now! The sleeves of those shirts I couldn't wear for like two years wouldn't button around my elbows back then anyway but now they do.

Weird. How come I still can't fit into all those khaki pants I have, though, huh? Why? That would be awfully convenient.

In sum, half my clothes are now too big and the other half still too small. AWESOME. Total exaggeration, of course, and kind of a good problem to have in general, I'd say. Okay! I'll take it! Sold!

How are you, bunnies? Shoes still fit?

We got our spring schedules, posted outside the chair's office. I went by to get mine off the master list and the chair was there, so I stopped and chatted for a while. And a) she's not so crabby anymore, b) she KNOWS she was outrageously crabby before, c) she says we may have more courses added in the spring if the enrollment jumps up.

Furthermore, my courses are MWF back to back! Much better for a writing class. This twice a week thing is not so very good when you're trying to do draft workshops and whatnot. And! And! My classrooms are in the fancy new building with the stupid roof shaped like a tilde! Very cool.

I have to admit to a certain amount of THRILL at the thought of getting to teach all year long and potentially coming back next year and all, you know, a REGULAR LIFE. With a JOB. Except I don't know that I could settle for that kind of insecurity, horrible pay, lack of benefits, terrible pay schedule, etc. But other than that!

Also I told her about the two kids I busted for totally cheating like cheaters cheat and explained how I'm being lenient to one (making him write me an essay that argues why he should get a second chance--jeez) but not the other, and why. And gave her copies of the busted one's paperwork and originals and whatnot.

I tend to forget I have a boss person, don't I? I really do. If I hadn't gone by to get my schedule, I never would have told her all this stuff. So maybe that's a super cool coincidence of goodness. Because also I got the chance to say how much I love the students and everything. They really are terrific kids, all down to earth and small towny but also smart and energetic and directed toward what they want in really practical ways. I'm getting all smitten with these Husson kids the way I was with Willamette kids. Yay!

And I got the chance to be the earliest one to say I'd love a third class if one opens up! Hint hint! Rah rah, go me!

Then I stopped by my old landlady's office because she teaches at Husson too, and picked up the ziplock bag of wall attachment hardware belonging to my blue acrylic shelves, which I'd left in the drawer in the bathroom vanity of the old house because I didn't think they were mine. They look like bathroom vanity hardware of some kind, truly. She was there with a student and had them right in her purse! Isn't that fabulous?

Something about that whole interaction made me just insanely happy. Like that day they got my yarn in at the store in Burbank and Bobbie Jo the yarn store person sent it over to the Triangle Building at WB with some friend of hers (I cannot remember why we did all this) and I walked over and picked it up there. There's just something there that fills me up with bubbly joy.

What I always want, obviously, is some way to belong somewhere and stay somewhere, which never quite seems to be possible for various reasons. No wonder I like your Farscape/Firefly type of things so much, eh?

I just heard kitty growling and looked up to see the whole flock of turkeys in the front yard. Wow! Then they crossed the road in front of the house. Wonder what Mr. Kitty thinks of a flock of twenty birds twice his size?

That one that got hit by a car last week has disappeared, thank goodness. I suppose the coyotes ate it up. Some feathers were in my yard, but only a few, so they could have been from a passing turkey spat. Internecine squabblings! Doesn't squabbling sound like something turkeys would do a lot?

Sean (a Wayne) said turkeys will roost on your car and scratch the hell out of it. Do not do that to the Outback, turkeys! Gosh I miss the Waynes.

I just got about forty papers to grade. AGAIN. I'm going to get started tonight, for reals, oh yes. Second draft is way less work. Final draft is next week. I feel like an avalanche of paper is starting to come my way. Because, er, it is. The first snowfalls of a long heavy winter. Once Phoenix kicks in it'll be about 70-75 papers per week.

Oops, interval of cat snuggling there--cat jumped on my lap and sat on half the laptop for twenty minutes and got thoroughly snuggled such that now I'm all sleepy myself. YAWN!

Who's for spinach and yams? Mmmmm.

Oh gosh

I hate it when they cry.

Making a six foot tall college boy cry is not among my proudest moments. Not that it's any better when the girls cry. And that goes on a lot longer and requires tissues, in my experience.

Dear college students: do not cheat. I don't like it when you cry. But I'm going to bust you for it every time anyway. The end.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I just have a lot to say today okay okay?

Aaaaagh! Another plagiarism!

This is how they do it: they download an article--this time from, as if I'm not going to be startled that a college freshman straight off the potato fields is suddenly producing the scintillating prose of a stylish professional journalist, instead of the marginally literate ponderous thoughts featured in all previous daily response papers he/she has turned in--and then rephrase things slightly.

Like this:

Pathological acts of course have multiple, complex causes and are terribly hard to predict.

Cleverly doctored version:
These different shootings are labeled as pathological, and pathological acts have multiple, complex causes and are very hard to predict.

And then, brilliantly, the author goes on to quote lots and lots of the original article UNCHANGED. Otherwise I might go, "Aww, BooBoo doesn't know how to paraphrase or cite properly! It was all a mistake! Poor BooBoo. I teach you now!"

Really it makes my blood boil. Partly just because it's so ungodly STUPID. And partly because it's so very poorly done. Partly because they really must think we are stupid, or more accurately, they must think I am stupid.

I suppose it fools plagiarism checkers. Do you think? One student who was borderline, who might actually have just been a horrible paraphraser, who might have discovered an unknown talent for photographic memory, was supposed to email me his/her electronic version so I could run it through Phoenix's online checker. But then didn't. WHAT A SHOCKER.

They don't realize that I just grab an unlikely looking phrase and Google it, and voila, there is the source article. I don't have to put in the whole paper, ye cheating spineless idjits. In fact, I just have to be moderately alert.

My favorite part? One of them is a criminal justice major. Is that not a delicious irony? Perhaps consider the other side of that field, young Jedi!

So HERE is the interesting part: what can I assign that is impossible to plagiarize? I thought of giving them a short story no one has read, or writing them a poem myself, or making them write articles on my Firefly essay, or I don't know what. But I think I might stab myself in the eye if I had to read 40 essays on my own work.

Maybe I can assign an argument paper on a Husson soccer game, or a campus play. Or they can write about one of Jacob's recaps of a tv show. Or I could just give them one of those trifectas not found in nature, like in my lit survey classes. What do Terminator, I, Robot, and Serenity say about our anxieties about technology? Or maybe they have to write: These are the three items you should always have on you, and this is why. Except better than that. The three things should add up to *character* in the "be a solid citizen" kind of way. Or! Every essay must feature certain unlikely items in combination!

Well, I'm still thinking.

Mostly I want to avoid a) having to waste so much time being the goddamn literary police department, keep your hands where I can see them, don't make any sudden moves, b) having to put any more students up against the wall and pull the trigger, because this is not fun at all and is totally stressing me out, and c) getting any more stupid plagiarized papers! Gaaaaaaaah! Oh yeah and I want to avoid GRADING RAGE because that completely sucked too.

Unbelievable that anyone would do this to avoid writing the first draft of a 3-5 page paper.

Some kid just sent me a paper to read. At midnight. When we have class tomorrow. Did I mention it's a first draft? So really there is no urgency about this at all. And although I would like to encourage the opposite of slacker poo-head cheater behavior, I am not going to read this draft right now. I will read it tomorrow in office hours, or whatever.

Still, it's nice to have the overzealous element represent. Like Chatty Boy, who has come to office hours twice this week and spent 40 minutes one time and 20 minutes the other. Even Weird Boy, who actually I quite like, the private school one, was getting sort of worried about it and butted in to rescue me. Please don't come to office hours every other day and stay too long, Chatty Boy! Ack!

In your office, you get to your feet and say something like, "Well, I need to go make some more tea," and hustle them out, when they've overstayed their welcome. I think I'll have to adopt that in the cafeteria also.

Freshmen, see. They are at a strange and vulnerable stage. You have to watch out or they'll imprint on you, like baby ducks! It really isn't good for them. I am afraid Chatty Boy may have baby-ducked me. Time to bring very garlicky food for lunch!



Baba ganouj! I put my orange and green food plans on hold when I realized I hadn't made the baba ganouj yet from the two cute little eggplants my mom grew and sent up here with my brother. Madness! So I made that tonight and had it for dinner, along with some tomatoes from the garden. A container garden is still a garden. You'll never convince me otherwise!

Oh my golly that was the best baba ganouj ever, even if it was a little lumpy and stringy and insufficiently blended. That's because if you blend it with bladed things you tend to cut up the seeds, which are then bitter and nasty in your nice uniform beige paste. Manual mushing only! It is a rule.

I might have maybe possibly scooped up a gray mushy stringy blob of it with my cracker and upon noticing its unprepossessing appearance potentially could have said, "Braaaaaaains!" but you'll never get me to confess. Never!

Man, I ate up that whole bowl of brai--baba ganouj. Mmmmmm.

Okay, I did all the paperwork to get the plagiarizer failed and/or expelled. I am not sure how much influence I have over this decision, really. I think it's up to the dean. At a small school, the word spreads so incredibly fast about a kid getting busted for this sort of thing, though. Probably word is all over campus already. So in that sense, I'm hoping that the problem will never happen again. You KNOW students talk about that sort of thing for sure.

You have to assume that students know absolutely everything you say, even in other classes. It's insane not to assume that. You can't contradict yourself or be inconsistent in how you deal with things or it will absolutely come back to bite you.

I suppose the same thing is true in anything you do, isn't it? If you're in an enforcing kind of role.

So today was incredibly productive! And much was accomplished! Shall I regale you with the thrilling tale of my afternoon? Okay, since you ask so very nicely.

0) Taught my class and it was awesome. There was this whole thing about paternalism and the Third World and the metaphor for reaching adulthood and whatnot. Talking about your classes is like talking about your dreams. I hereby desist! (Seeley G. I mean J. Booth was not a feature in either, you'll be pleased to hear.)

1) took those grown-up pants back to the store where I got them way back in August and swapped them out for some incredibly comfortable black stretch jeans, what with how I kept trying to wear the grown-up pants to work but COULD NOT MAKE MYSELF. They were just so very much not me. Plus they made me look like a building, I'm not kidding. But it was more the not-me-ness of them.

I am INSANELY HAPPY about the black jeans. Oh my golly. I was running around the store clutching them to my chest and saying things like, "I love these jeans! I'm so happy! I love these jeans!" I had to deal with the bossy lady who I yelled at but apparently she's gotten over it by now, thank goodness. She still totally talks over you and has no social skills but I suppose as long as we don't discuss brassieres, we can get along okay.

Black jeans! I will wear them constantly once it gets cold! With my boots! So bifurcated! I'm pretty much exclusively a skirt-wearer when I teach, but you can freeze solid that way in the snowy cold winter.

2) Finally got the dang face soap at Target so I can quit pumping the old (empty) one in hopeful futility. Empty really is empty, it turns out.

Minor candy corn incident there. Nothing to see. Move along. La la la la la!

3) Came home and failed to nap. Do I have reverse seasonal affective disorder or what? I'm all tired, I flump on the bed, and I utterly fail to sleep. It's not caffeine, I swear--I'm drinking maybe three cups of tea a day and getting NO SLEEP at night. I do not know what the story is there. Is insomnia a side effect of Cipro? I am having some crazy insomnia these days, even when I'm not coughing up a lung.

4) Leapt out of bed and raced around the house getting all manner of things done. Put things back in the attic! Put things in the basement! Put things in the garage! Took out the recycling! Brought in the garbage pail! Did some laundry so I can wear my new black jeans right away! Took out the compost! Put library books in the car! Cut up those unwearable t-shirts and trimmed off all the seams! Still wearing a sleeve on my head because they're the best headbands ever! Put away all the laundry AND last Sunday's too! Put away all the tights I got a couple of weeks ago, finally! Brought the ironing and ironing board out here so I can actually get it done!

I mean, good heavens. That's not even anywhere near all of it, daft as it sounds. It only ended with the baba ganouj-fest just now.

In sum, I'm feeling better. Though the giant dramatic cough could stop any time now. You hear me, in there? The funny thing is, I don't actually cough very often, but when I do, yikes, I get going and can't stop. Oh well, it'll pass. It's definitely on the way out. Hear me? You are over, cough! You are so last week!

New Bones episode tomorrow, dudes. I'm gonna download it at school this time! Smart, huh? That's me, always thinking. Also then it won't use up my data allotment for the month.

I gave everyone until the end of office hours Friday to turn in their next drafts, since they got notes back later than I'd have liked due to the system's complete failure to allow me to send their paper notes through Husson mail--or even SEE their email addresses, so I could send via gmail. Husson's faculty portal is possessed or something. Some days it works fine. Other days it won't even open. Other days it'll let me write emails to students but will not send them no matter what I do.

The only solution I can think of is to download all their email addresses and use gmail all the time, but we're discouraged from doing that, for whatever reason. TOO BAD. I'm doing it. That was STUPID last weekend. Gaaaah!

Here are all the rest of the things I still totally want to do today or at least soon, before I get snowed under with papers again:

1) Quilt that quilt the other direction! Sew on a binding! Finish it up! Yay!

2) Iron the clothes. Clothes that are clean but can't be worn are an abomination. An abomination, I say!

3) Work on that new blanket for Afghanistan.

4) There's some major holiday thing coming up at the end of December that has me saying, "Hmmm," and making speculative plans. Must get hup-hupping before too much time has passed on that topic there, see.

5) Get stuff out of the garage so the car can go in there. There's still quite a lot of things in there. Including that exciting new free awesome side of the road Nordictrack that I am incapable of walking past without getting on it and langlaufing a bunch, even with my bronchii in a sling. Is it an OCD thing or what? Why is it so compelling when an exercise bike is not? Mysterious. AND AWESOME.

6) More books to sell to Powell's, but it's so dang labor-intensive. It's on the top of the list, though. Even though, okay, it's at the bottom of this one.

7) Before I do anything else, I have to do tomorrow's reading. Rah, rah, rah! Yeah!

Grading papers is going to be like malaria or something from here on out. It'll be a rare week when I don't have any. Oh! I will ALWAYS have them, now that I have a second Phoenix course! Goodbye, weekends! Goodbye, brain! But I'll just have to get on top of them right away and do them the instant I get them, charge through and get them out of the way.

Otherwise they hang over me like the black cloud of doom and who wants that? Not I.

Does anyone else have a profound urge to work on a puzzle right now? Just me? Okay.

I'm just going to go look up the side effects of Cipro now. Yeah!

Edited to add: trouble sleeping is one of the top side effects of Cipro. Phew!


The Big Picture has some, er, big pictures of the orange-out in Australia. Terrifying!

I'm not so clear on the whole "stay indoors" thing, especially with smoke and fine dust. It's coming in. I guess it's less. But it's not like you get none that way!

Let's just say that if I were living in Sydney right now, I'd have headed out of town one way or another, though apparently the storm was so huge, you'd have had to go several thousand miles to get away from it, by which time there probably wasn't any point. So maybe I'd have to head to my secret climate-controlled uber-villain bunker and eat chocolate covered macadamia nuts until the crisis has passed! Mwahahahahaha!

This sort of thing gives me nightmares. Nightmares! Inescapable environmental traumas that can totally make you (by which I mean me) die, I mean. Aaaaah!

The pine trees have gone all yellowish/orangeish suddenly. Are they having fall too? I know they drop a lot of needles all at once at some point in the year. I guess it's today. It is AMAZING how nothing was colored and now all of a sudden things are changing, like the equinox clock went off and bam! So pretty! Even just starting, it's so pretty!

But the yellowing/orangeing pine trees were kind of startling.

Don't go to Target, speaking of orange. I needed more of that face wash stuff. It's seriously four dollars less than at Walmart. What is up with that? How come Walmart is so expensive these days? Is it because we think it's cheap so we'll ignore actual evidence that it's not? Not me, man. So a 16 oz. bottle (which lasts six or eight months) was $6 instead of $10 which is just crazy!

Except Target also has gigantic orange bags of unhealthy Halloween candy at 2 for $4 so I guess I came out even there. Oops.

Must not go to Target! Bad idea.

I want to try the Cetaphil facial moisturizer but it's only in giant tubs. Have I gone down this road already? I seem to remember I have. Didn't I end up giving it to my sister and saying, "Here, this makes all my skin come off such that I look like I have radiation poisoning," or something? Maybe. Maybe not.

I am going to bake a yam for dinner. Mmmmmm! And make some stupidly delicious creamed spinach. Oh my golly, creamed spinach just owns me. It's so ridiculously good. You make a little roux thing and mix that in, see. Not that I wouldn't eat a bowl of plain steamed spinach without pausing for air. I LOVE SPINACH. But imagine taking your favorite thing and then making it even MORE unspeakably delicious. Oh oh oh! Mmmmm, spinach.

Of course I am delirious about yams too. I've got this ancient relic of feta I'm going to melt over top of the baked yam. Have you ever done that? Add some nuts and it's outstanding. Mmmmmmmm.

This unit of bloggery brought to you by the color orange.

Phew! News.

Ah! Last night I actually jumped out of bed and turned the computer back on to log into Phoenix and make sure I wasn't supposed to check in by some crucial one-week-before deadline. They have these deadlines, see. And they don't always tell you what they are.

But nope! No forum posted yet, just my last class.

HOWEVER. I did notice in my email that they offered me (drum roll) another class! This one starts the day after the last one ends, which will be a little hairy since I'll still be grading final papers and learning team projects. But really it's okay--the new class won't have papers due until the end of that week.

I have to tell you, this is:

1) AWESOME. Because it means now I have an actual lasting part-time job for most of fall. This makes the difference between just squeaking through November, when I have to pay off all the late bills of August-October, and also keep on paying current November bills, and also save up enough to pay all of December's bills until I get paid by Husson near the end of the month. Short version: yay!

2) HAIRY. In the sense of MANY, MANY PAPERS. FOREVER. I already have 50 drafts or final papers to read and write a page of notes on pretty much every week for the next ten weeks. So this adds another 12-20, except without the notes. I don't have to teach these people to write, just judge them on what they wrote. Different skill set.

3) Not actually so bad. Because on most days it's just a matter of reading a bunch of forum postings and responding to a couple of them. Answering questions, nudging the discussion one way or another. I can do it in my office hours, for real. This is where my superpowers of reading incredibly fast and typing incredibly fast serve me oh so well!

The upshot is: awesome!

Partially because now I can stop looking for another part-time job I won't have time to do anyway. First Phoenix class flying solo starts Tuesday! I've been trying to start posting all my stuff every few days, but no forum.

Man, that is really good news. REALLY good news.

My other superpower of dubious utility is extrapolation, so let me indulge myself! Yeah! I'm hoping this means a steady diet of classes going on all the time, winter break excepted of course. That is a nice additional income and no commute. It's also possible (extrapolation powers, activate!) I can get going with two classes at once one of these days. I seem to recall they said after doing it solo twice. THAT, my friends, would be a significant income source.

Must remember to use a further superpower of dubious utility and knit at stop lights. They change instantly! It's like a miracle! Like they can SENSE my knitting!

The cynic who suggested that light reflecting off my Addi Turbos triggers the emergency vehicle green light changer receptor will only be proven correct if it only works in dense urban areas. You know that thing, right? Where if you flicker your high beams at a red light, it turns green? Or is that an urban legend too? The person who told me this was manifestly evil and a liar, so You Never Know.

Also: it's silly to use it here, where I go through maybe five lights on the trip to work.

I just discovered that Orrington is WEST of Bangor. This area is essentially unplottable, you realize this, right? North Bangor, an actual point on the map, is west of Bangor. East Bangor, an actual point on the map, is north of Bangor.

I would bet everyone you asked would say Orrington is southeast of Bangor. Now *I* live southeast of Bangor but then again I live five miles southeast of Orrington, too. And I still haven't grasped that this window faces east. It doesn't feel east! It feels north.

Mapquest just utterly failed to look up the distance from here to Husson, which I sought for distance exactitude. It provided me with a map showing just Husson. Proof! Proof! Of something or other! Proof!

Ah! Got it. 13.25 miles. For which I leave an hour before I have to be there, due to hiking around on campus and parking search time, not to mention giving papers back before class time and getting a cup of tea from the campus center time. And not being scarlet and sweaty from rushing time.

The internet is so ridiculously slow. Speaking of time. And online teaching jobs.

I think it's time to tackle the landlord and figure out What's What so I can make some big decisions here, finally.

By the way? The colors just started changing yesterday. Oh boy! I guess that really was the first day of fall! So pretty already!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Oh, Sumara!

They're having some kind of horrific red dust apocalypse in Sydney. Yowza! Look at these pictures!

My goodness gracious. Are you missing a few counties somewhere? That is a massive quantity of dust in the air!

Looks like Mars. I'm sure I'm only the ten millionth person to say that, huh?

Over here at Bootstrap Cottage things are peaceful and lovely, with no apocalyptic dust storms and lots of equinox cake. Oh and mint tea! I discovered it quells the wicked cough.

You know I think my sister bought the mint tea for me in Oregon? It lives in the blue tin with the grumpy moon on it. Every time I move, I pack up the tin without worrying about what's inside it, since it's going anyway. That is some well-traveled mint tea right there. It's Safeway brand, that's the clue.

Mmm, mint tea.

Kitty and I are sitting on the "couch," very snuggly and cozy. Absurdly so, actually. I still have to write notes for three papers but, er, yeah, I really don't want to. But I will. But I don't want to. Ugh. SICK OF PAPERS, ahem.

Though in my "What good things happened yesterday" recap of mental health and positivity, the top of the list was: I got all that grading done. Awesome! Rawk! And I got the dishes washed, which seemed like a miracle at the time. And baked equinox cake, while (and at the same time) watching Harbingers in a Fountain again. What? It's a good episode! Some fine work by Mr. Boreanaz.

Really, the man has grown. It's not that quivery-lipped Angel malarkey anymore. Oh no! Got depth and lightness and timing and awesomeness. Now if he could just stop saying, "Dis here's my partner, Doctor Temperance Brennan." Dis here's my partner? Dude. Dis here's my disapproval, sir!

I cannot believe they took away "Greenleaf" from him even though, okay, it was only in my mind. Still, sheesh! Seeley Greenleaf Booth is a perfectly good name and resonates strongly with the Oberlin library and many others around the nation! Seeley Greenleaf Mudd! Seeley Greenleaf Booth! John Greenleaf Whittier! Look at the associated awesomeness and think again. "Joseph." Pffff.

Though naturally since he's a good Catholic boy who wears a St. Christopher medal, I instantly decided that Brennan actually is pregnant and he's going to help raise the baby even though it isn't his because he was in his coma when she decided to get pregnant. Joseph, see. The psychic even mentioned that Brennan is pregnant. Aha!

This is the danger of having obsessive literary medievalists as your fans. Every nuance is fraught! I will study your works with near-Talmudic intensity! I have theories! Hurray!

Did you read Doris Egan's Talk Like a Pirate Day/Rosh Hoshanah joke? It is deeply awesome: Sound the shofARRRRR! Hee! I love Twitter. Shoulda hired me when you had the chance! I'd still be there, working hard, if the fires this summer somehow didn't kill me dead! I bet House has good health insurance. I asked them if they all turned into total hypochondriacs working on that show and they were all like, "YEAH! But then you get over it." Lum de dum. (Sad.)

I got the reading done for tomorrow, thank heavens. In the process I cast on the fourth square in the latest baby blanket for Afghanistan, but frelled it up somehow and had to rip it out. It's just picked up stitches along the sides of two others. No big deal. I was trying to undo half of it and pick it up on the back side going the other direction, but it's kind of brain-bending. Which isn't always a bad thing, actually.

Okay, so my brains have stopped trying so hard to escape through my face, what a pleasure that is! But this chest cough is nasty. It sounds like the whole route is paved with cobblestones. I mean, it is so rough, and I rasp and cough on the inhale also, which makes me tense. Have you ever coughed inhaling? Don't try this at home. It makes you feel like you are going to TOTALLY DIE RIGHT NOW AAAAAAGH, for one thing. It makes you FRANTIC. Which makes it worse.

Then I look at the kitty and he's looking at me with eyes half-closed, like, "Would you keep it down already? Some of us are trying to sleep." And then I'm all, "Oooh, shhhh, sorry kitty...pardon my death rattle and stuff! Kitties need their sleep." And kitty curls a fuzzy paw into a fist and thinks, "Damn straight."

He was enjoying the comfy chair very much, but then joined me on the so-called couch. Two cushions on the floor side by side with polarfleece on top, laptop on the footstool, teacup and water glass on a bookshelf behind us. Got my knitting, got a book rack for the last of those The Dark Is Rising books, got the stained glass afghan my mom crocheted for me. Got my Willamette sweatshirt on! I haven't worn it for ages because it was too small. No longer, eh? Got the first socks I ever knitted on, with their re-knitted half feet where the balls of the feet wore out and I ripped them back and did them again.

In short, there is some serious coziness happening over here at Bootstrap Cottage and don't you forget it. I mean, fuzzy blond cats stretching on their sides on royal blue polarfleece and making cute little yawning noises! Equinox cake! Awesomeness to the nth degree!

Mmm, equinox cake. Actually I need to go get some of that. It's daft not to eat it on the actual equinox.

Hoping you're breathing and all over there in your massive red dust storm, Sydney! Hang in there!


22% of the battery left to go. And guess what? I figured out what was going on with two of the three papers I thought were plagiarized. Now there's just one left.

Actually that was kind of dramatic. I walked into the classroom ten minutes early, looked up, met the guy's eyes, and he turned to his buddy and whispered, "She knows." And then he ran after class before I could talk to him, though everyone else stayed and talked to me about their issues and got them resolved.

It's going to be interesting serving him his failure papers, or whatever you call it. Will he ever come back?

However I happen to have another way to find him. He has a class in my second classroom of the day, after my second class is over.

Making them sweat is part of the whole plagiarism response. My friend H. used to have kids come to his office and sit there and then not say anything to them. He'd just wait. And if they didn't spontaneously combust, I mean, confess, then he'd say, "Why did I ask you to come see me today?" They would always crack.

Honestly it's all pretty new to me. I only remember one who tried it, back at Lock Haven, and that was one of those probably accidental things, where they paste blocks of research in and it's obviously not meant to pass as the paper, they're just maybe kind of not too sharp.


Classes were FANTASTIC today because I didn't try to teach the reading, just told them what they needed to know and showed them how to do stuff. They were so happy. I was so happy. We were all so happy. I don't know, teaching the reading when it's about rhetoric is kind of dumb. It says x, we go over it, we all know it says x. What then?

I brought a Theraflu in case The Enemy My Breathing acted up, which of course it did, such that I had to let the first class out early when the coughing wouldn't start. Only I'm still not sure whether it was nighttime or daytime Theraflu. Isn't that odd? Daytime usually makes me frantic and jittery, and nighttime knocks me flat, but I am neither. Huh.

Holy yikes, I was awake ALL LAST NIGHT (that is hyperbole) with the coughing. It wouldn't stop! I coughed so much and so hard, my whole freaking sternum hurts. It hurts my chest to talk. That is insane!

I am thinking that Nyquil is counterproductive because it turns the glue into rubber cement and then I can't cough it out properly. Dude, I damaged myself doing that last night.

The best part is I sort of have to sleep face down, in this weird twisty curled up half hedgehog position. It's lovely, actually.

I don't know how I'm conscious today at all, grading until midnight and not really sleeping.

Pretty psyched about the awesome classes though. The brats! They were NOT BRATS! They behaved perfectly! It was amazing. I think they were just bored before, because of the suckiness of things. I.e., me. I have not been at my best lately healthwise but last week was by far the worst, dear oh dear. Oh well! Good to know. Learn from it and use it and keep on going.

Of course the scathing reaming they got last week might have contributed to good behavior this week also. Hmm. The lecture about how they should think about their own self-interests, right? Yeah!

Battery's going. Bye!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Happy September equinox!

Did you know they call them the March and September equinoxes now instead of vernal and autumnal, to avoid northern hemisphere bias? I did not know that! It is amazing the things you can learn when avoiding work!

Did you bake your September equinox cake yet? You know I totally did! It is the official round oatmeal cake of all major celestial events for no particular reason! Yum!

Also served as baby Julia's birthday cake, incidentally. Mmmm, oatmeal cake. Especially good when still super hot straight out of the oven. People don't eat hot cake enough.

You know if you sold them, they'd sell cakes. I know!

Do you get all soaked washing the dishes? What is up with me? I'm going to need to wear a waterproof apron or a poncho or something and even then I think I'll just wind up with wet socks because it'll all drip down. How do I manage to get so wet? It's a miracle. A predictable, soggy, unpleasant miracle.

Oh, I'm doing a whole lot of wheezing and drowning and stuff over here. It's unpleasant. It's technically bronchial pneumonia at this point. The infection itself is surely getting knocked down by the lovely drugs but that doesn't mean my faulty breathing system can't get screwed up. Ugh.

By the way, please, kind people, do not send me any more alternative medical information. Ack! Stop! NO MORE! I know y'all mean well but I'm perfectly happy with Western medicine. And I'm also just outrageously unlikely to take even the slightest chances with any medical advice that doesn't come from an actual doctor.

Okay? Okay!

Really I know you want to help and I appreciate the good thoughts very much. I do!

Man, that slice of hot cake was good. Oh boy. And actually greasing the pan, what a miraculous difference that makes! They are nonstick so you shouldn't have to, but I'm not taking any chances after all those broken cakes.

All right, all right, enough stalling. I'm on the grading. Normally it won't be so telescoped and therefore so hard, I promise.

Right. Happy September equinox tomorrow! Welcome to fall! Or spring! Depending!

Edited to add: finished grading papers at 12:09. Printing their notes now. And very nearly out of ink. Eep! Will the printer make it? OH THE DRAMA!

I didn't get to do the reading (again) but that's okay because they need to learn paper writing things instead, before I get more drafts from them, oh please.

How to write good papers: the short version. I can do this one in my sleep. Heh.


I will start with a positive thing: on the way home I scored a free Nordictrak by the side of the road. It had a big sign saying FREE taped to it. Awesome! Five minutes with some spray cleaner and it works just great.

There is a lot of paperwork involved with turning someone in as a plagiarizer. Also apparently they have to sign something before you can turn it in. What does that even mean? If they don't admit it, you can't bust them?

I'm exceedingly tired due to the ailment-induced not sleeping. Good thing I have a very short-hours kind of job.

Oh and I managed to parley a sinus infection into a monster case of bronchitis, which is at least dramatic and noisy and demonstrates how miserable I am to a wide audience. I mean, when I'm not home.

It's the kind of cough that makes people pick up their things and move to another location, let me tell you. Loud, unceasing, and messy sounding. Eeek! I'd move to another location too if I thought it would help, but alas, it is attached.

Okay, here's my biggest complaint of the day: I still have to grade all the papers for that last class. Mostly I'm in dread because of the likelihood of plagiarism.

One kid came to office hours and sat there chatting for forty minutes until I wanted to stab him with a pen to make him go away. At least he grasps the concept of being nice and sociable with your professors, unlike the neanderthals who think that being jerks is somehow in their best interests. (Surprisingly, no! And in case it wasn't clear, I gave them the whole "being jerks is not in your best interests" speech on Thursday.)

Oh oh oh, it was the most gorgeous day! It really was. I watered the tomatoes and puttered about the yard a little bit. My yard is disappointingly low maintenance, but thank goodness, some of the ancient locusts drop branches pretty regularly, so I can go pick those up. Phew!

Oh so beautiful out there!

I have big exciting plans for knitting giant thick rugs for the house, using a lot of strands of yarn together (acrylic) and gigantic needles. Knitting on huge needles is hilarious because each stitch is about an inch. I'm definitely looking forward to this project.

What do you think, various blues and dark greens? Mmm, pretty. Of course they will be covered with blond cat hair in no time flat, and he'll snag them with his sharp little claws, but at least we can stop fighting over the one comfy chair. It's unspeakably cozy to have a cat lying on his back on a rug, don't you think? He looks so pretty on blue.

He's been very good about sleeping on the two floor cushions when I boost him out of the chair. Good boy.

Yep, that's my cheerful plans! I'm trying to drown out the frakking bronchitis and the stack of papers, can you tell? La la la la la!

You can't GET pneumonia when you're already taking the drugs to CURE pneumonia can you? Or can you? I guess if you can get bronchitis in that situation...I don't know these things. I thought it was just the usual post-infectious cough thing but no, my chest is making little popping bubble noises and it's definitely bronchitis. Blah!

Future blue rugs! Beautiful day! Not dead yet! Yes! Okay!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I promise I wrote this post myself. Honest!

Oh, students! I'm having severe grade rage due to some completely blatant plagiarism. The whole entire paper, lifted straight off the internet, then sometimes artfully nipped and tucked to make it seem like they wrote it, but sometimes not even that.

It's easy enough to tell just from reading it, then two seconds on Google reveals that they just downloaded it.

Well, it's an instant F on the paper, so that makes my life easier--fewer things to grade. I'm checking to see whether I can fail them for the course, too.

This is the university's policy:

"Each instructor is empowered to determine the appropriate sanction based on a violation of this policy, including failure in the course. If an instructor determines that violation of academic integrity has transpired, the instructor will memorialize the finding in a report and meet with the student to discuss the findings and proposed sanctions. The student may appeal the findings to the Dean of the respective school for the course within 10 business days of the scheduled meeting with the instructor. Other academic sanctions may also be taken by the University authorities, including dismissal from the University."

I have no idea what they mean by "memorialize the finding in a report" but I'll find out tomorrow and do that immediately.

BOY do I hate plagiarism.

Three of the first seven papers I graded in one of my classes were completely plagiarized. What a WASTE. It's a 3-5 page paper! They couldn't be bothered writing three double-spaced pages. It's even a first draft, so there's no pressure at all.

I really hope they get completely kicked out of school.

I shouldn't take that Tussin while grading papers. It definitely gets the old blood pressure up and the pulse pounding! I'd be rageful enough without that extra help, jeez.

Let's see what lessons I've learned from friends who suffered through plagiarizing students in the past...I know never to give the paper back. One person I know did that and then of course had no evidence. Whoops!

I know not to confront them at all. Simply give everyone else's papers back and let them sweat. If they ask, say, "The Dean will be contacting you." It can make them drop the course before you fail them or kick them out, but that's a chance you have to take. That's why I want to file the paperwork before they find out. I know not to make it an issue between me and the student, but between the student and the academic integrity policy. I can be sad or disappointed but never mad, or it becomes about me. You never want that.

Trying to remember what else. See, I'm usually teaching my own crazy lit classes, where it's just impossible someone's going to download a paper discussing aspects of monsterdom in Beowulf, Paradise Lost, The Tempest, and Evil Dead.

Three out of seven so far. I wonder how many more there are in this batch of 20? I decided to get through this class of 20 tonight, though actually at least two people didn't turn in drafts (I think I suddenly developed a policy on that too...) and so there can't be that many more. Looks like I have 12 more to go. Woo frelling hoo.

Want to take bets on how many plagiarism papers I get total? I'm betting on eight or nine in this class alone, given the rate so far. Who's in?


Oh boy! Our man Hart Hanson mentioned this in passing on Twitter but didn't know how to link to it. Isn't that sort of adorable? You keep writing the good shows, the rest of us can take care of the linkage. (I found the recap in about two seconds, made a tinyurl, and sent him the link. I am nice like that.)

It's an 11 year old's recap of the Bones season premiere, but it won't be funny if you don't know the show, just so you're warned.

Honestly I don't even think there are spoilers, since she misunderstood just about everything.

Deeply awesome. Here you go.

My very favorite part is that she thought the federal prosecutor, Caroline, was Booth's mom. Awwwww! Everything in the recap is brilliant because she saw how it looked and went by that, instead of knowing how it was and adapting her perceptions to that knowledge. Fantastic!

Amazing tv director Greg Yaitanes suddenly up and let everyone follow him, a million years after I clicked the follow button. (I assume everyone. Surely I'm not special.) Makes me want to go back and watch his Bones episodes again. You know you can tell which are his before the titles, right?

Oh good lord it happened again, didn't it? I was in denial but I guess if you know who directed which episodes maybe you're a wee bit OBSESSED with a show.

The guy is truly amazing, though. He makes use of the same spaces everyone else uses in completely different ways. It was like that! I watched the Christmas lung fungus episode and could not get over how cool the direction was, looked up the director, and started noticing when that coolness appeared again. Maybe it's more noticeable to me because I only own season one.

Like Jeffrey Reiner directing the Caprica pilot. You notice the awesomeness and then watch it again and notice how much awesomeness you didn't even catch because it overwhelmed you. That pilot is so gorgeous! The things it does with light! I must have watched it a dozen times now. He did a whole lot of Friday Night Lights (18 episodes) and you know how that show just totally killed you dead all the time.

Oh, right, back to grading papers. It is WAY more fun to think about television, that is all I have to say about that. Also, I definitely like teaching writing more than comp, though it's a lot easier teaching comp because rhetoric has nice clear rules. But fiction is way more fun. That's weird, huh?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Two second fix

This just made me so happy! You know my laptop couldn't play iTunes videos properly for like a year or more. Two years. I don't know, a really long time. They would pause and jerk and when they jerked, you'd miss what happened during the pause because it skipped. Jerk pause skip! Skip pause, jerk!

One easy Google and I found that (of course) others have had this problem and learned (of course) how to fix it: go into QuickTime and uncheck all the DirectX boxes. Huh? I have no idea what that means.

BUT IT WORKED. Perfectly. Instantly.

I am so happy!

Because I downloaded the Bones premiere and yes it took fourteen hours or actually more because my connection stopped for no good reason three hours before I woke up this morning, so more like seventeen hours. Fourteen to download, three to stop for no reason. Yeah!

And then I watched it on my laptop but it was impossible to see about 1/5 of it and I missed about that much dialogue too. Sheesh!

So then I watched it on the ol' iPod on that speaker thing over the kitchen sink while washing dishes and preparing hot lemony beverages to cure my revolting cough! And I could hear and see everything, but of course I could only see it the size of that teeny screen. Nuance is lost, is what I'm saying.

Oh so frustrated. Hence the search for solution and finding of same.

Now I get to see it on a decent sized screen with no jerks, pauses, or skips. YAY!

It's kind of a good episode! I like it. I love Cyndi Lauper, yay! And everyone is back! And it's so glorious! And okay Brennan was a bit off but Booth was all full of gloriousness and it seems to me based on my unscientific research of watching every episode a million times in a moderately obsessive manner (but often while quilting!) that they take turns having the best stuff to do, so it was his episode, and that's okay!

I like this show. I'm weirdly not obsessed with it though. I mean not like Certain Other Shows. I'm just saying. I like it and I like watching it. I don't even own more than one season, dude! Crazy, huh? So not obsessive! Sheesh!


Just so we're clear.

I will be downloading the episode every week, though. Or watching it on Hulu if I can get a decent connection. Oh my gosh I wonder if Hulu would work on my laptop now too, now that the stupid DirectX settings are changed?

Oh, how am I doing? Well aren't you nice for asking! Doing all right in a useless convalescent kind of way. Not totally croaked, just marginally. Stayed home yesterday and today, just went to the mailbox. In my slippers, heh. I'm drinking hot lemony beverages and eating oranges. Tonight I cooked actual food, rice and stir fry whatever. I call that progress! It's been days and days since I've done that.

And yeah the thing is in my chest all nasty but I'm coughing a lot. I'm hoping the Cipro will kill it off before I can get pneumonia instead of after for once. It would be nice to go thirty seconds without coughing but surely that day will come! Yeah!

Anyway I think it killed the kidney infection more or less, so that's a relief, since that was like having someone twist a broadsword in my back a lot. Cut it out! Bad gladiator!

I don't seem to have the brain cells to get any work done. Not that I haven't been trying! But I can't get from the beginning to the end of a paper and retain knowledge of the beginning, which makes writing up detailed notes on how to make it better downright impossible.

If you held a knife to my throat I could not tell you what the beginning of this post said. Mental acuity has taken a hit, is all I know.

Actually yesterday the nice lady from Concentra called me all worried because I'd forgotten to call and get my results from the blood tests. I had NO MEMORY of being supposed to call until she said that. Yikes. I was stupendously out of it on Thursday. Actually I'm not quite sure what the test results were, except the gist was, she wasn't worried about anything and I'll get more results Monday. Okay! Maybe I'll get them to send the results to Sigrid, come to think of it.

I guess I'm kind of a peaceable dope in this condition. Is it the drugs or what? Sleeping 12 hours a night? Not sure. Let's hope some sharpness comes back tomorrow since I have a giant stack of papers to grade and that's the day it needs to get done. And Monday I guess. Oy!

Back to my Bones episode. Yay for Bones!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Y'all read this a while ago

Turkeys in the yard! Promised a while back. Finally got it to upload, woohoo!

Feels very Jurassic Park to me. I think that's a weird reaction, but it's the one I have, so there you go!

Okay y'all read this article a while back, but I just came across it today. So interesting!

I'm fascinated by feedback loops like that. Like the thing about remembering something good about yesterday. That really works! Or looking at pictures that make you happy. How easy is that? How simple? How dumb not to do it?

Baby niece has the right idea. Pictures of kitty!

I am self-medicating with Meg Cabot books, as usual when Things Look Dim. The Mediator series seems to be out under her pseudonym of Jenny Carroll, but I found them, aha!

Today I suddenly realized how great it is that there is a huge long row of gigantic 100 foot evergreens in my line of sight out the big sliding glass door. In the winter it gets very black and white and gray in Maine, but these will stay, you know: evergreen. Plus think of the possibilities for snow ghosts!

The wind was rippling the evergreen trees all around today and reminded me of how my heart just stopped the first time I saw a snow ghost blow off a tree and go walking across the yard. I know, I know, pareidolia and whatnot, but WOW.

Do you think, maybe, possibly, Bones is on iTunes? I am just going to check. The season started yesterday. The night before I had another odd Boreanaz dream. Odd because it was odd, but also odd because I hadn't watched the show for, oh, days and days! And also odd because again it was the actor and not the character. It wasn't Booth. SO WEIRD.

Also he was all cold like marble so maybe it should have been Angel. Brr, eeeeeesh. Room temperature people, I tell you what. Unless you're in a 97 degree room.

I suspect it'll take ten thousand years to download, if it is available. Mostly the iTunes store won't even load properly. It times out. I mean, I can do it on campus or whatever, or in town, but I'm all LOVE MY SHOW WANT IT NOW, see.

Yeah, it keeps timing out. But stay! I will try the laptop. The connection is better in the front room.

This is hilarious actually: I set up the desktop to be wireless also, with the little modem with its blue antenna that swings up, but then later that bugged me and I put it away. Except I forgot. And then I could NOT make the desktop be wireless, aaaaargh, why won't you work? I fought and fought with it and only remembered about taking away the little modem thing about A MONTH LATER, when I opened the fez it was in and found it.

Oh! Ha!

Silly. Hee.

Man, the Defenders of Wildlife are having a BUNNY event, planting shrubs to help endangered New England cottontails--sounds implausible, but whatever. But it's way down south of Portland! I don't think I can go. If it were nearby, I'd be there, you betcha. Bunnies!

My mom sent me a check for a flu shot. Awwwwwww! That's so nice! Concentra actually has them now, but I didn't learn this until I was on the way out the door. I hope getting one there doesn't include the cost of another visit. It won't, right? It shouldn't. If so, I'll just wait for Walgreens to get them in. Early October. Oh boy!

Such dramatic light and storm clouds today. I keep taking pictures out my window!

Jeez, I just checked my tracker thing and found out I've lost 14 lbs. in a month. No wonder things fit better. Funny to look at it and line up when The News arrived, about not getting paid for a million years, I mean, and see the precipitous drop. The mortal peril diet strikes again! (Oddly, I suspect my credit rating shows a similar precipitous drop! Oh well.)

Want to hear good news? My friend Didi got her insurance to resubmit the $1000 bill and they said it was done wrong or something (good!) so it should only be about $100. Yay for moving a decimal the right way!

Plus she got her no good very bad abscessed tooth yanked and so is no longer in major pain. Yay! I have to do that too. That broken tooth is not going to regrow spontaneously, I don't think, though I'm always open to miracles, hey! Starfish can do it, why can't we? Honestly I think I've already HAD the miracle, that it's gone nearly 9 whole months without being horribly painful or needing to be pulled yet.