Tuesday, December 26, 2006
My best Christmas present was early. I got an A- on my paper and a A- in my class. I survived my first PhD class. Considering my masters degree was in Education, it feels pretty good to survive a PhD level class in English.
When I was young, and realized that the choices I had made precluded a top level graduate school, I really wondered what I had done. So I went back and got my post-bach teaching certification, and a masters in Instructional Technology (school library). Then I *was* a school librarian for a year. Then I taught English for two years. Then I took a year off (freelancing). Then I added part time writing teaching to my freelancing. Then I went full time teaching writing. With a M.Ed.
It has dawned on me the last two years that I cannot continue in the university setting with just a masters degree. But I still have the results of my choices from years back. My husband and three kids, who have attachments here. So I found an online course of study from a real university.
So back to Christmas. Instead of kicking back and relaxing, though, we have work to do on the house. I need to paint the trim in the dining room. And I need to put together a portfolio for my freelance web design. And take down the Christmas tree. I am feeling overwhelmed just thinking about it.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Of course, now, I am wondering about whether or not I even made the right argument! It really does not matter as it is turned in.
I'd like to write more about the folklore of the Ozarks. Really, since Randolph died, not much has been done. Nothing much since Ong, Foley, etc. have made their contributions to orality.
Monday, December 11, 2006
What is striking me today is that I may be asking the wrong question (not what I want to know when my paper is due on Wednesday). Should I be looking at the self conscious way the Ozarks informants talked about orality as something people "used to do"? I am finding, juxtaposed in between Chaucerian stories and Beowulf variants, stories about people with "book learning" or without it.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
I am still working through Ong and applying his work to Randolph's. And the thing that drives me to distraction is that I *really* need to see Randolph's transcripts. I need to see *exactly* what his informants said... I need to *hear* the recordings (when they exist). For far too many of the stories, Randolph relies on his memory and his own mid-west dialect instead of what the informants actually said.
So how can I know if they are copious or use formulaic language???
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
I have a nervous breakdown scheduled for next week. Copious amounts of adult beverages would probably make this more fun, but alas, I don't indulge...
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Yet, some how, I am inexorably drawn to these pieces. I seem to really unable to avoid the self-flagellation of reading about some who always has socks in the morning for her children. (Don't get me wrong, I always *eventually* find socks for the kids. And if they are white, and underneath their pants, they don't have to have exactly the same kind of cuff, right?)
Why is the image of neatly folded clothing neatly placed in drawers the image of perfect motherhood? Isn't it more important that I take my kids to listen to the visiting author series at my workplace? I make them think, but the house that we live in is definitely not company ready.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
The Vino was ready for today, so we were able to give it out to the families of the students there. I heard a lot of nice things about it. That class really outdid itself putting it together. I am so proud of them.
We took the kids over to Cindy's tonight... Six kids in one house may just be too many :)
I actually started looking at my paper tonight. I have five pages, out of the needed twenty. If I could manage to turn out a page a day, I would be in business. (I may actually try that. That would almost be like not procrastinating.)
Mom and Dad came late last night and spent the night. But of course, since today was Homecoming, the only Saturday for months that I am committed, I hardly got to see them. They spent the morning with the kids, though, and dropped the girls off at the Rendezvous on their way out of town.
I am toying the idea of pitching an article on scrapbooking. I need to work on it a little more, though...
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Overall, I think it went well. (Well, except when the computer hung up on me, in the midst of Dr. Whithaus's comments). I didn't realize that it was supposed to be an outline, rather than a summary of findings. Or maybe it just turned out that mine was more that way since I have been working on it so much. The last revision made it more of a whole.
There is a horrible delay from the video conferencing system. I move, then I see my self move. Like I take a drink and set down my cup, then I see myself move. That is odd. It makes it REALLY hard to participate.
The best part is, we got done in time for me to take the kids trick or treating. We went to Craig's, but no one was home. Craig was probably at work. But, still. Then we went to NaDean & Joe's, then the kids just went around to our nearest neighbors. The had fun, and had PLENTY of sugar, so all is good.
I need to grade some papers, so I'm off.
Friday, October 27, 2006
Mark Amodio comes lately to the discussion of orality. Walter Ong and Eric Havelock are the fathers of orality as we understand it today, but Amodio is making in-roads in the field (but he does not have a wiki, yet).
I am reading New Directions in Oral Theory, which he edited. His essay, "Introduction: Unbinding Proteus" has some important implications for my study.
He first discusses how "profitably" orality can be applied to a "wide range of verbal art, but they have also begun to free oral tradition itself from the bonds oral-formulaic theory's formalist emphasis unintentionally placed upon it" (2).
"Orality and literacy, we are coming to understand with ever increasing clarity, exist not in conflict with each other but as constituents of a continuum whose termini, what we might label 'pure orality' and 'pure literacy,' exist only as theoretical constructs. These termini are useful heuristics in that they provide us with touchstones against which to situate various cultures
and their practices along the oral-literate continuum, but they do not reflect real world states" (4).
I love the quote above. He articulates a problem I have had with Ong. That is, how Ong can contend that Primary Orality could have disappeared with the printing press. My thesis is that Primary Orality survived in the Ozarks up through the middle of the 2oth century and continues to have a great deal of influence in the rural areas there. While better education is creating more of a literate culture, it has been slow to come. And possibly, Primary Orality has simply been replaced by Secondary Orality rather than Primary Literacy.
Now I just have to write the paper...
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Today, we wrote in class. It was nasty wet outside, so I decided it would be a good writing day. So we wrote (I only wrote in one class...) about a place that was important to us.
It never ceases to amaze me that students will come up and THANK me for giving writing days. Of course, there are a few who treat it as punishment...
A student came in today with a jacket and tie on. I commented on it, even though it didn't fit all that well, it was "dressed up" for first year comp. Turns out, that was a Clark Kent costume and he had a Superman suit underneath. I've never had a student come to class as superman before.
Becky cleaned out her closet and brought us a huge garbage bag full of clothes. Part of me feels bad for taking them. I really don't want to be her charity case. But part of me just can't turn them down... She had *nice* clothes.
I lost my bookmarks when I upgraded to Firefox 2.0 on the living room computer. I am so vexed. I had found Todd a bunch of Social Studies teaching links and now they are just gone.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Not that anything really has changed. We are living in our unfinished house. I did get the hardwood floors refinished, after Todd had to rebuild about 15% of the living room floor.
With my overload money, I bought a new computer to do graphics. Now all I have to do is buy the software. The software I want may cost more than the computer did...
Saturday, August 05, 2006
My kids have had lousy teachers, just like anyone else. Walker's first grade teacher seemed as though she disliked him for pretty much the whole first semester. Meleah's third grade teacher was incompetent. One of her fifth grade teachers just disliked her. It happens. Her seventh grade social studies teacher caused her no end of grief (truthfully, not just her. He has been causing bright students grief for a number of years). In ANY profession, there are people we don't like. Most people who are in teaching competent. Are they perfect? No. Should they be expected to be? No. The majority, though, do good work.
Inappropriate behavior on the part of a teacher should be reported & addressed, of course, but the idea that every teacher, everywhere should pay for the bad behavior of a few is just crazy.
This is what I get for checking my email too close to bedtime.
Our friend came and finished wiring the water heater and the stove. At some point, we are going to have to get him to come and rewire the outlets to 3 prong grounded outlets. But first things first. We have a giant hole in our living room floor right now, and pieces of subfloor in a stack beside it. I am not sure how much of it can be salvaged and reused (if any).
It amuses me, as I paint & drip paint on the chipboard, to think that someday wood may be scarce enough that some, in years to come, will fuss over the chipboard the way I fuss over the stained hardwood that we found under the carpets after we took them up. Or possibly the vinyl tile will be treasured.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
We knew the floor in the living room was uneven, but, hey, it's an old house. Not until we started taking out the patched bits did we find what was (not) underneath. The header was rotten away. Where it should have been, someone had stacked two-by-fours on top of concrete blocks to hold the house up. It looked like something my child could have done. So that set us back on our timeline.
The kids have picked up a new show Who Wants to be a Superhero? The best part of that show is Stan Lee, who is judge and jury. It is funny to hear him teaching these people (who evidently never read X-Men) what being a super-hero is all about. In many ways, Stan Lee's superhero requirements and the Sermon on the Mount have many similar characteristics...
Olivia is at Mom & Dad's. I am sure she is doing well. But it bothers me that she's not here. (It also bothers me that I seem to feel compelled to write with pronouns without antecedents). Not that she needs to be here while we are working on the house. She is bored here, and lonely. But we ended up staying home and resting today-- I so could have had her here today. Tomorrow, though, we'll be working again.
Why do I only discover shows after they are cancelled? Today I found LA Dragnet. Only lasted two seasons. Stars Ed O'Neill (formerlly Al Bundy) and Eva Longoria. Don't know how I missed it.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
I found out something else today that is really interesting for a number of reasons. It was not until the 1896 with the Rural Free Delivery Act that mail was widely available. This act changed the face of rural America by providing mail order to parts of the country that had relied on cross-roads store to provide all of their "store-bought" items. Sears and other mail order catalogs changed this. No longer did a rural customer have to depend on what was available in their local area, accessible only by horseback. Now they could have items shipped in via US Mail from all over the country.
At least one forum exists where people discuss issues related to kit homes.
At some point, I am going to walk around Conway and take pictures of the houses I suspect of being kit homes and see if I can id them. Maybe I should write an article... (at least for the Historical Society).
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Todd is hopeful that we can get the house ready to move into by the first of August. That would be really lovely. We really need to be moved by the 14th of August, as that is when Todd reports for school. On the 21st, I have to be available for meetings, and whatever else comes up. We really need to have almost all of our stuff out of here by then. Possibly just some stuff here to prop the place and possibly not.
Anyway, by then, we need to have the floor joists fixed, the foundation repaired, the sub-floor in the laundry room replaced, and the roof joists replaced. And the inside needs to be painted and the floors refinished. No pressure, right?
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
We are wondering if the house we are buying might have been a kit home of the type sold by Sears and others. So I wasted the afternoon looking at online pictures of kit houses. Well, that and looking for my 2004 W-2 forms for the bank...
Clarke Historical Library hosts a huge online exhibit on Aladdin Homes. Aladdin, along with Sears, were two of the largest kit home manufacturers.
Several sites, including Old House Web and River Valley Home and Garden offer information on existing kit houses.
Monday, July 03, 2006
Now we are at my parents' house. Since 10am Saturday morning, I have spent 15 hours on the road. I am so looking forward to not getting into a car tomorrow.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
It is hard to remember not to spoil a child who does that.
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Then I get to do it all over again when we move.
We watched Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) with the kids tonight. I am not sure what I love about the movie, but I do. It is not just that it has Paul Newman and Robert Redford, although that would be enough. Maybe because they are doomed. They are trapped by their choices.
Now we are watching Cool Hand Luke (1967). It amazes me that I have lived this long without seeing this movie. Although right now I am watching Paul Newman eat those eggs and really could have waited a few years longer before seeing that. But overall, this is really good. The script is good. I like the way this film looks.
Friday, June 23, 2006
The roof joists need to be repaired as well. Todd and Dad think they have figured out a way to do that effectively, but it means the room that is there will have to be torn out. So Meleah will not get "her" room for a while, but will have to stay in the Winnie the Pooh room.
I have recently discovered Neil Gaiman's comics. And Frank Miller's. I have been reading Gaiman since Good Omens, which I borrowed from Mike Shepard when I lived in Honors House. Ironically, the book actually belonged to Leonard. Mike had borrowed it from him and loaned it to me, then I took it home and loaned it to Craig. Small world.
Speaking of Leonard, his parents stopped by on their way to visit their family in Conway. I so much enjoy my visits with them. Nell and Dale always have such interesting stories.
Monday, June 12, 2006
The house we bid on is on Oliver and needs bunches of work. We are under the impression that the work is cosmetic in nature. But there is a lot of cosmetic work. The carpet has to all be pulled up and the flooring either finished or replaced. The kitchen countertops don't match, but there are lots of cabinets. The hot water heater needs to be replaced sometime soon. The living room walls are paneled, and the adjacent dining room walls are orange. The original baseboards have been replaced in the bedrooms, but are still in the living room and dining room.
The outside needs work as well. Siding to be finished (we're never getting away from that are we?). And soffits. And places where the "older" roof does not match up perfectly with the "old" roof." But I love the brackets on the roof. And the bungalow roof line.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
I hate the feeling that I am always being inspected. I hate the constant urge to find things to pick up and put away. I hate this whole process. I hate trying to find a new house. Hate it, hate it, hate it.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
The Free Range Librarian reminds me why I am glad to be out of the librarian business.
I am tempted to rate my incoming freshmen using the MAP questions. That way I could judge how (or if) they improve from the beginning of the semester to the end.
Finally, I am registered for my class! I am so excited. Now I just have to pay for it...
Monday, May 29, 2006
I also found PhD Comics, which are really funny. I think I need some ProcrastinX!
Also, remember back in the 80s when Newsweek ran the story that said: "40-year-old single woman was 'more likely to be killed by a terrorist' than to ever marry"? Well, they recanted.
Linked to the above article was this blog: Academics_anon. Their description says: "This is a community that caters to people involved in (or recovering from) higher education. It probably has an attitude problem." They discuss some of the things that go on in my life, like faculty meetings.
Today, we have spent a lot of time talking about what, acutally, I will be able to do with my PhD. Their website says that graduates will be prepared for: "leadership roles in technical and professional communication, composition instruction and administration, and software development."
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Yesterday, I went to the Niswonger family reunion at my aunt Rebecca's. Well, technically, this year it was at Shauna's. All my aunts and uncles were there except Lula. Most of the cousins who are my age (or nearly so) were there.Even Craig came. This may be the first reunion he and I have both been to since I moved back from Missouri. Anyway, I enjoy these when people my age show up. Nothing is worse than a family reunion where everyone in attendance is either 20 years older than I am or 20 years younger. Really, I only want to hear about my cousins's births so many times. (To be fair, that is not at all.)
Today, I cooked and painted. I made roast, mashed potatoes, gravy, mixed vegetables and salad. Then, I painted trim in the girls' rooms and touched up the paint in the hallway. More things to check off on my "to do" list.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
While I realize that the ins and outs of my refrigerator drama are not utterly transfixing, I am so proud of the fact that I figured out what could be wrong with my fridge and I fixed it. Okay, so it did not really require tools or anything, but I still did it.
I need to go and fold laundry. I am too tired to do anything else...
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
I have explored the Honors College Blog Ring (which I have not joined) and found Traci's blog. She was in my creative non-fiction class last spring (05) and then disappeared in December. I had wondered what happened to her. I read her "Goodbye" in the Echo and asked Tim, but he was vague.
Anyway, I also found this: A Teaching Manifesto (A personal view on undergraduate university education) and I am not sure how I feel about it. I understand about treating students as adults and allowing them to fail if they choose to do so, but it is really hard, especially for freshmen. Coming out of high school, most of them are not prepared to manage their time well enough to succeed.
The first year I taught here, I made assignments, explained them, answered questions, and then collected them. Amazingly, a lot of students failed because they did not get their work in. And many more strung out their work for days and weeks after the due date. In fact, I got a paper from one of those classes LAST WEEK (2.5 years late). So I have done more hand-holding and management. And I take attendance and drop students for non-attendance.
I began dropping for attendance this year because last year I had a student who appeared to be having personal problems, so I let her attendance slide. Then she turned around and said on the anonymous evaluations how my Comp II class was "just like high school" and not all that useful. (I don't really know who it was, but she and the evaluator had similar writing voices.) Well, how would she know? She never came. I could have taught those students to write like Michael Chabon and she wouldn't have known. (I still get mad).
Back to the subject at hand, I am not sure how I feel about putting all relevant info online and testing and not requiring attendance. If I lectured, which I don't, I might see more value in this philosophy. None of us, though, like to feel that our only value is that of a scantron machine. We like to believe that we are making contributions to our students. Otherwise, why would we show up every day? It certainly is not the money.
Tomorrow's Professor Blog is a discussion of technology in education. I'll be looking more at this one...
Yesterday I got the air conditioner fixed in my car (hooray!) and the girls and I spent the day with Craig. That was really nice. Todd came into town, met me, and then we got in the van and picked up
We drove out on Hwy 64 and looked at a couple of houses.
That is where nice ended. We had to bury our cat, Daisycutter, yesterday morning. He liked to fight too much... Anyway we need a cat to keep down mice, since we live out in the country. So, unsure where to go, we went to PetSmart, a place we thought we could trust. We looked at the cats in the area they have for cat adoptions, and one orange cat watched us and seemed really interested in us. So we asked to play with it. So we went into the cubicle with the cat and the attendant and played with the cat. It was affectionate-- walking from one of us to the next to be petted, purring, and generally acting as though it would ever choose to be with anyone else. Little did we know.
We put the cat in the cardboard carrier, and drove to the truck. Todd and Meleah took the cat home. They got the cat out of the carrier and let him sit in the front of the truck. The cat lay in Todd's lap for a while, then in Meleah's. Then he lay down between them. Again, pleasant, affectionate, happy kitty behavior.
Then they got home. Walker and Olivia and I had gone to Wal-Mart to pick up some supper, so we weren't there yet. Todd got the cat out of the truck. He walked to the porch. The cat looked around, then, without warning, sank his teeth into Todd's wrist! Then he clawed until he got loose. He ran around the porch to the back deck. There Meleah tried to catch him, but he clawed her to rush headlong off the edge of the deck. Never one to give up, Meleah caught him, but then he clawed her again and fell the remaining distance.
This was a horrible, nightmarish experience. But, wait, it gets worse. Todd called PetSmart and told them what happened. The person who answered the phone was horrified and sympathetic, but said that we would need to see Karl Justice in the morning to process the refund. Told us to knock on the door if we got there before they opened this morning.
I got there about 9:15 and asked to speak to the manager. The clerk said, "So are you the one with the crazy cat?" and I said, "Yeah, how did you know?" And she pointed to the bandage on Meleah's arm. So we find Karl Justice. He asked me to describe what happened and I did. Then he started lecturing me on taking care of animals. He said things like, "We always encourage people not to take rescued animals out of the container" (which they hadn't) and "Rescued animals really need to be handled carefully" (as though we weren't). He asked if we had the cat. I told him that we could not catch the cat. That we had not even seen the cat since he had escaped. Then he told me that he would have to call the humane society since they would have to authorize a refund. Then he walked into another office and shut the door. He emerged, telling me that he had to talk to someone else before he could authorize a refund. So I offered him my cell phone number, which he took down.
Then he continued to talk to me as though I were incompetent. The implication was that the cat had run away because we had not treated it correctly. I finally told him that this cat acted nice and affectionate at the store and in the truck, then acted like a barn cat trapped in a sack when we got it home.
I will never take another rescued animal again, and I don't know that I will do any more business with PetSmart.
Monday, May 22, 2006
I am dithering about how much prep work to do for the summer class I am scheduled to teach. Only two people have signed up for it so far, so I am reluctant to do a lot of prep work when I don't know if the class will make. And I can't just apply whatever I do to next fall because I using a different book.
I have now been trying to register for over three hours. I think it is time to give it up as a lost cause for today. That was actually my only goal for today, and I failed to complete it.
I talked to the powers-that-be upstairs and found that unless enrollment picks up significantly, my class will not make. I was counting on that because Todd's school messed with his contract so he won't actually get an August check. This sudden lack of income promises to make summer budgeting more difficult than I had supposed.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Tonight I am watching Real Genius (1985) with my children. I love this movie. I always wanted to meet a really cool smart person like Val Kilmer plays. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of being in the Honors College at UCA with Jenn, Craig, Willie, Carl & company. I tell my students in my Honors classes that it really does not get any better; the real world is a let-down. (And it is not as though I don't have a good life because I do.)
But back to Real Genius, this movie shows smart people as something other than objects of derision. Unlike the John Hughes films, others perception of them never changes. The characters are who they are and we see them as people, as individuals, not as sterotypes.
Of course the underlying theme that youth are smarter than the corrupt authority is a little heavy-handed, but does provide a plot. And the higher authority is in place to protect us from the evil ones. The deus ex machina overrides the evil professor in the end...