Friday, December 28, 2007


So my kids are mutinying and are demanding to stay with my parents. Mea is trying to arrange her social life in conjunction with the extended stay.

This puts me teaching Sunday School by myself on Sunday. Still with no curriculum-- at least no good curriculum. So I am looking up the beginnings of Methodism. At least I am interested in that.

Mom and Dad gave me tons of clothes & tons for the kids. Which is absolutely what we needed.

Dad is working on a synopsis & first three chapters for a book he wrote. The agent wanted him to re-cast the book as a juvenile. So I have been reading and editing this week.

I am heading back home after lunch. I have laundry to do and have been trying to get a chance to sew for a couple of months now.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Party over

The party that I have been anticipating/dreading for the past month went off without a hitch (well, with only a minor meltdown by my husband). The house looked presentable, after much work and much yelling. We got the living room rearranged, resulting in a net loss of storage in the living room and a gain in the kitchen.

Several people showed up (Jenn, Luke, Christie, Brad, and Carl) but not as many as I expected (Willie, Heather). We had plenty of food-- we mostly stuffed ourselves for four hours. Really lovely.

NaDean took the younger two to mass with her this morning, then to a Christmas party this afternoon. They came in just as everyone else was leaving.

I taught Sunday School this morning for the sixth graders. Wow, a couple of those were a handful. Sixth grade is not my favorite age, but I'll be working with them for a month or so until Lali finds a teacher for that age.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


My house is not fit to be seen. And ten of my oldest friends are coming to my house on Sunday. Sunday! And my house still looks like one (or more) of my children exploded in here. How many days away is Sunday? Five?

And tomorrow, I have to go to a stupid meeting about how I can further donate my time. Aarg.

Friday, December 14, 2007


You would think I would be done by now-- but I am so not. I have submitted my grades for one class, so now only four to go. Could someone just sedate me now? So what should I be doing right this minute? Not blogging. And what am I doing instead? Procrastinating.

Pathetic, really.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Semester is finally winding down (thank God)...

Today I handed back the last of my Comp portfolios. I still have a short writing assignment to grade from them, though, before I can finish the grades. For Comp II tomorrow, I have to (grade &) return research papers.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Meleah survived her allergy attack. She has had not other symptoms-- no other problems.

We got our heat pump installed, along with a second mortgage, but fortunately no co-signer.

No clue how my paper turned out, gradewise, but I was pleased with how it turned out given the constraints of the assignment.

I still have portfolios and journals to grade. And papers. Lots of papers.

I am watching Star Trek: Enterprise, which I totally and completely missed when it was out the first time. How I manage to miss these shows, I'll never know. I totally missed Dead Like Me when it came out, too. I *love* Dead Like Me.

W has been at work with me the last couple of days and will be with me again tomorrow. Fighting, this time. And yes, he did win, although I cannot understand why people continue to ask... He lost, in that he has to miss three days of school. Heaven knows he has enough problems turning stuff in when he is *at* school. I am dreading what he ends up doing after three days off.

Laundry took over my house while I was working on my paper. Now there is a ginormous pile of dirty clothes in the laundry room and clean clothes everywhere else. *sigh. I suppose I should stop procrastinating and get some work done.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Sigh of relief...

Relief-- I have submitted my last paper of the semester. And I went ahead and submitted my paper for my Burke class, about four months late.

Now, of course, I have grading to do. Porfolios to return on Monday and on Tuesday. Research papers to grade. Honors papers to grade. Honors journals to finish...

Suddenly I don't feel as relieved as I did...

Today, I actually need to go to my office today and get those portfolios graded and ready to return bright and early on Monday.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Nearing the end...

This semester has been long for me... I am not sure why. I am sure the test-driven curricula in public schools is at least partly at fault. Students seem so unprepared to do the amount of thinking that we ask them to do (not all students, of course, just the certain ones). Others, of course, are brilliant and wonderful and make me happy to be alive.

And the Vino is beautiful. Of course, what was supposed to be about civic engagement, showing that students care about what goes on in the world of politics, turns out to look like candidate endorsements. But the rest makes me happy.

I have a paper due on Friday. I am about half done, but have to re-tool part of what I have done to make sure that I include enough theory. Right now, I am short on theory. I do have an article that summarized the theory that I want to use, which is helpful.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

A break from catching up

Grading is overwhelming me. So for a break, I checked the blogs of some of my favorite people. Tim had a great post on his observations from coming to a top-notch grad school from a working class background. He and I have really similar backgrounds in many ways. My parents were educated, but they were the only people in my family who were. Several of my cousins, who are my age, have degrees, but not any of my aunts and uncles (wait, Aunt Rebbecca has an associates degree, but she earned that within the last few years).

My experiences growing up were just different from that of many of my professors and of my colleagues. Add to that, I come from a culture that places a lot of value on orality. And as part of that, we tend to use additive construction rather than subordinative construction in our communication, which is largely narrative. Further, we offer example after example and let people work out their own conclusions as to meaning. Yeah, that was something to overcome in academic discourse.

The people that I am around do not look as these issues as classist, but they certainly are. What else *could* they be? In a world where multiple voices are valued, my voice, as it is, would be considered in the conversation. Instead, I, and many others who are outside the mainstream, must take on the voices of the prestige group.

I sound so cynical here. I should probably do some work and quit pontificating.

Friday, November 23, 2007


This may be the craziest Thanksgiving ever. We went to Mom and Dad's and it was supposed to be really low key, and kind of quiet. Craig was working (and it wasn't their year to come to our family's stuff anyway) and no other assorted relatives were expected.

Things, however, did not end up as expected. We drove up Wednesday night. About 5 am Meleah woke up Mom and told her that she was itching. Turns out, she was broken out in hives. So Mom gave her a dose of benedryl and put calamine on her and everyone went back to sleep.

So we went on. I sprayed her with Dermoplast and we rubbed hydrocortisone on her and she was miserable, but not a big deal.

Today, she woke up with her throat tight and her chest tight. So I called the pediatrician. They were closing at 11 & recommended that we go to the emergency room. So we did.

And they were packed at the emergency room. But they still got us in and out in about an hour. And they gave her an antihistamine. And she is not a whole lot better.

And our dog pulled a houdini. That gave us a couple of hours of terror on top of everything else. He came home, though, on his own.

Now I am tired.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


We all drove up to Mom and Dad's today. First, though, I had to get my tags renewed-- because I am a loser and did not do it in October when I was supposed to. Traffic was terrible coming up here. Trucks everywhere, and Miss O had to go to the restroom three times.

KY3 (the Springfield MO NBC affiliate)is doing a story on the "baby boom" 10 months after the ice storm last year. I love Springfield local news. It is, of course, what I grew up with. We never saw Little Rock news at home, when I was a kid.

We got our new heat and air system installed. It is really nice to have heat again ; )
Old houses certainly have quirks.

I seem to be having a gathering at my house in December, which means I have to throw out stuff. I cannot bear for my oldest friends to see the mess my house is. And Do is probably going to stop by on her way to Louisiana. So, yeah, I have to clean my house. And I need to paint my living room, dining room, and trim. Because I have nasty paneling in my living room and ugly knotty pine trim in both the living room and dining rooms. And my dining room is yellow. Which is fine, until I paint my living room, then they will clash. And they are only divided by columns. So, they have to match.

All this after my final paper is due on Dec. 8, grades are due a week after that. Then I am free for a week to clean my house.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Links about teaching Comp

“Quantity produces quality. If you write only a few things, you’re doomed.” —Ray Bradbury

“The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.”
—William James

Commonplace books may be on my list of assignments for the spring. I am excited about the idea of changing the structure of my comp II class in the spring.

Meaningful assignments:

Creating Meaningful Writing Assignments

A Multicultural Approach to Writing Assignments

Women Don't Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever is a great resource on the topic of employment negotiation (at least according to the listserv that I read...)

Case Western Reserve Comp Resources

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Debt to Income Ratio

I have discovered that I am broke. My debt to income ratio is too high.

How did I discover this wonderful piece of information? Our furnace went out. It just will not come on any more. And even when it did work, it was inefficient and obviously on its last legs.

So we have to buy a new one. A $6000 new one.

And my dad has to co-sign. I find this depressing. I try to pretend that I am enough of a grownup to not need my parents help all the time. And truthfully, we manage most of the time. We have bought two houses on our own. We have bought vehicles on our own. We paid for the transmission on our truck when it went out. We did, however, get help when the air conditioning went out on my van. They offered, though, because they thought that it was making me sick to go without air conditioning (and it was).

So that is where I am. In my mid-thirties and still not financially independent. I hate that. Hate that.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I have been so busy-- I have spent the last week just running around in circles. I did turn in my paper on time, though. It was painful. But done.

Now, maybe, I can get some time to *gasp* do my job. I did critique a group of drafts today, and handed those back.

I am behind on a set of papers, which has the darlings slightly freaked (and which is not necessarily a bad thing)(he he).

We are launching the online writing center. We do have some dissension in the ranks. But I think ultimately, it will be a positive thing.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Three weeks and no post

In my defense, I have been busy...

I am so far behind. But I may be on track to catch up a bit. I gave my presentation at the Ozarks Studies Symposium on Friday, and it went better than I could have hoped. The audience there was the best, most interested audience that I think I have ever spoken to. They told us that they plan to put our talks online (I did sign a release for that) and I will post a link when I get it.

The keynote speaker asked for a copy of my talk for one of his projects. That makes me insanely happy.

Now I am back to wondering what my dissertation should be. Dr. Stewart's dissertation Orders of Discourse in the Science-Based Controversy Over "Reparative Therapy" for Homosexuality Anyway, what I find interesting about this study is the bit about the discourse approaches:

In this dissertation, I sketch a framework for studying science-based controversies that integrates Goodnight’s (1982) model of technical, personal, and public argument spheres with Fairclough’s (1992) conception of “orders of discourse,” that is, “relatively stabilized configurations of discourse practices” (Fairclough, 1995, p. 2). I argue that Fairclough’s three-layered approach to critical discourse analysis enriches Goodnight’s insights by incorporating methods of bottom-up textual analysis to account for the multiple discourse practices that comprise science-based controversies, while rhetorical theory enriches critical discourse analysis by providing methods for linking text to discursive practice (the production and consumption of discourse) and social practice (ideology and hegemony) in Fairclough’s three-layered approach. I apply this rhetorical/discourse analytic framework to the science-based controversy about “reparative therapy” for homosexuality—that is, debates over whether gay men and lesbians can change their sexual orientation through psychotherapeutic or religious means.

I wonder if I could use a similar framework to look at the Ozarks? Or education? Just to get out of the pedagogy study, where I am working right now? The problem with the pedagogy stuff is that it does not relate to professional writing, or even really to rhetoric. I have considered that, and I do realize what that does to my job prospects. Frankly, I am concerned. I do not want to be stuck in the back of an English department teaching a class in methods that is not enough literature to matter and not enough writing to help. So where does that put me?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Home Improvement

Not the television show, but my life. Our toilet started hemorrhaging water last week, so we had to replace it. We wanted to replace the bathtub that had the big (filled) crack in it that felt like it was falling through the floor. We wanted to do that while the toilet was out.

So we did. The bathroom is still in pieces as we try to get a 60 in tub in a 60.5 in slot. That is what we have been doing all day. I cleaned (and bleached) the area under the tub because the old tub had been leaking so there was mold. Lots of mold. Dad came to help, which was a god-send. We really could not have done this without him (at least partially because Todd was temperamental and I was just mental by the end of the day.)

We got a lovely cast iron tub, but the problem, of course, is that it weighs 300 lbs.

My son just came dancing through the house singing, "It's in! It's in! It's in, in, in!" so I am guessing that is it in...

Just went and looked at the tub. The bathroom is shaping up to look really nice. We splurged a little on the fixtures (not that we went crazy, we bought like the second cheapest thing instead of the dead cheapest). Of course, the new fixtures look so pretty that I think we need new flooring... And new faucets would be nice, too.

Truthfully, I am just excited that the toilet will flush without having to hold the handle down. And that nothing leaks. I am not so excited about having to tile the surround. Anyway, there is still work to do, so I am off.

Friday, October 05, 2007


Today was a crazy day of meetings. I met with the thesis faculty to talk about publication options, because some of our students are really doing great work. They have been publishing some of them in an online articles forum (the bbs system), but they have been behind password protection. We are looking at ways to publish those (only with permission, of course).

I got nearly all the 12 pm papers graded. I think I lack three. Then I need to grade my 8am. Lest this turn into a giant to-do list, I think I will stop that now.

I have been reading WPA-L, the list-serv that is focused on issues of Writing Program Administrators (which I am NOT). Anyway, there has been a recent discussion about grading. A few links have been posted. One is Doug Hesse's "13 Ways of Looking at
Responding to Student Writing
." Another is from Richard Haswell.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Just a report

Our workshop today went really, really well. We didn't have enough time for the material we had!

My boss was there, as a participant. Nothing like nerve-wracking there. He was very supportive, though. We had eight participants, plus the three of us.

I am happy with how it went.

Now I am going to take my daughter shopping, because she kept my younger daughter and I should compensate her.

Friday, September 28, 2007


Happy about that. Nuff said.

Tomorrow Joanna, Jennifer, and I will be giving an inservice for the dual enrollment teachers. And anyone else who signed up. Three of the four high school teachers are coming, so we are happy about that. We are going to be talking about teaching philosophies and norming, because we need to make sure that everyone is grading the same way. Of course that is a problem because people value different things based on their philosophies and axiologies (see I learned a new word), but the goals for the department are essentially rhetorical. So we all have to recognize those rhetorical goals, even though we may be expressivists at heart (and I do have a little of that expressivism going on, especially in my 1310s.)

I need to read an article for next week. I am finding several articles on philosophical approaches to teaching writing, but the are old. And I am supposed to review new articles.

Not cool.

And now I need to go home. Otherwise, there is a possibility that I would be here always.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Too much to think about

So I deleted a comment from my friend Tim's blog because I got to thinking about what I said, and worried that it was one of those things that sounded better out loud than in print. And I should not be allowed to take back things, because knowing I can, makes me want to. Because I have a really hard time making decisions. I hate committing to ideas and courses of action. Usually I just dither until courses of action commit themselves.


I am attempting to digitize my wedding video. It is, of course, damaged. Part of that is because I have been married since 1992, and that is a really long time in the life of a video tape. And part of the reason is that it spent most of the last year in a storage unit.

I am becoming more and more immersed in the world of the Writing Center. I am now to that I am scheduling my hair appointments around those Thursday meetings. Don't get me wrong, I am excited about this opportunity. It is just not how I saw my career going when I began my PhD.

Today, Home Depot finally sent my paperwork for the washing machine I bought in August. And I have to see if I can still submit my rebate. I will not be happy if I have to fight for my $100 rebate.

Friday, September 21, 2007


This week has been rather hellish. The sheriff found the body of my high school friend. W had a speech language eval on Monday, so I sent an email to the secretary to cancel my class. She got distracted, so she didn't. I had to give a brief presentation at the Dean's reception on Tuesday (he saw me today with Becky, and I could tell that he was trying to work out how he knew me. Today is Friday.) Wednesday, I went to the Robert Kennedy Jr. lecture (which was wonderful). Thursday was Vino, plus W's progress reports came in. He is failing some of his classes. FAILING? I never failed a class. A test maybe, but not a class.

I need to go pick up the little dears. We have a quiet weekend planned. I am going to get some kids clothes ready for a consignment sale, so I can buy them more clothes. Or maybe purge a bit. We have too much stuff for our house. Or maybe we don't have enough house for our stuff? Either way, we have a mess. Right now, my entire house looks like a child's bedroom. Even to the clothes and toys strewn all over the living room floor. Part of it is my fault. I can admit that. I have my grad school stuff strung out. But that is everywhere. Maybe I should start by containing that.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

2 bodies discovered; suspect named

So this isn't much of a post, but I was in high school with Timothy. And we were friends after a fashion. This is the second third of my high school friends that was murdered since drugs became a problem there...

It really breaks my heart.

We need tougher laws on meth (something besides locking up the Sudafed... like most people buy this stuff legally). Maybe then my friends, even my odd ones from high school, can live to be old friends.

From the Harrison Daily Times
2 bodies discovered; suspect named
By JAMES L. WHITE, Times Staff -

Staff Photo/James L. White
William "Bill" Ashworth, 41, of Newton County was escorted from the Newton County Jail across Highway 7 to the Newton County Courthouse on Monday morning wearing a bullet-proof vest and surrounded on all sides by police officers. Newton County Sheriff Keith Slape said both he and Ashworth were concerned for the suspect's personal safety.

JASPER - Newton County Sheriff Keith Slape said Monday morning that skeletal remains of two bodies were found in Newton County over the weekend and those remains may solve a case nearly two years old.

And a suspect, William "Bill" Ashworth, 41, of Newton County, made his first appearance in court just before noon Monday.

Slape said the bodies were found in the Shiloh Mountain area, although he declined to say where exactly they were discovered.

However, he did say police believe the bodies could be those of two men who were reported missing almost two years ago. Timothy Ray Eddings, then 38, and Tilton Housden, then 22, both of Jasper, were last seen Oct. 19, 2005, after they had finished roofing a house in the Shiloh Mountain area of Newton County.

Eddings' 2001 Dodge Ram pickup was found abandoned off Highway 21 about three miles south of Fallsville about three weeks later.

At the time, then-Sheriff Charles Raulston said the vehicle was undamaged and there were no apparent signs of foul play inside or near the vehicle, although Eddings' key chain was missing and only a single key was left in the ignition. The keys to his house, ATV and motorcycle were removed from the key ring and were missing, Raulston said in 2005.

Ashworth was escorted from the Newton County Jail across Highway 7 to the Newton County Courthouse wearing a bullet-proof vest and surrounded on all sides by police officers. Slape said both he and Ashworth were concerned for the suspect's personal safety.

In that appearance before Newton County District Judge Tommy Martin, Ashworth was informed of charges the state was planning to pursue.

Deputy prosecutor Wes Bradford said in court that the state was seeking two counts of capital murder. Martin explained that because the offense is punishable by death by lethal injection he couldn't allow Ashworth to proceed without legal counsel.

Martin appointed public defender Sam Pasthing as Ashworth's counsel for the first appearance only, adding that it appeared Ashworth would be able to hire legal counsel on his own.

Martin reviewed an arrest affidavit filed by police. He told Ashworth he was looking for evidence that a crime had been committed and that "you probably committed it."

The judge ruled there was enough evidence to issue an arrest warrant for Ashworth, and he was bound over to the sheriff's custody until the defendant can be arraigned, at which time charges would be formally filed.

Martin told Ashworth that he had a right to argue for release from jail pending court proceedings, although the defendant must first consult with his appointed counsel.

After Ashworth and Pasthing had met privately for about 10 minutes, they returned to open court. Pasthing told Martin that Ashworth had asked if he had a right to bond.

Deputy prosecutor Bradford said the constitution doesn't guarantee a right to bond on a capital murder charge. What's more, Bradford said, a statement Ashworth gave police paralleled information authorities received from a confidential informant. That, coupled with the evidence found, led Bradford to believe no bond was justified.

Martin said that because Pasthing was only appointed for the first appearance and hadn't had a chance to review the case, it might be best to let Ashworth's hired legal counsel argue the matter of bail. Pasthing agreed and no bond was set.

Bradford said he hoped Ashworth would be arraigned Friday.

According to Sheriff Slape, a confidential informant turned himself into the FBI. The federal agency then notified the Newton County Sheriff's Office, who, working with agents from the 14th Judicial Drug Task Force, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and FBI, located the site of the bodies Friday and recovered the actual skeletal remains Saturday. He said the informant "painted a picture of where the bodies might be" and officers were able to locate them.

The remains were being sent to the state Crime Lab for DNA testing so they can be returned to family members for proper burial.

No further information was available Monday night, but the Daily Times will update the story in Tuesday's edition.

©Harrison Daily Times 2007

Added: Tuesday September 18, 2007 at 10:09 AM EST
You have formed your opinion of this man, and that is fine. However, bringing God into this is wrong. God can forgive all men, even murderers. The only unforgivable sin is blasphemy. We all sin; we all break commandments. God hates all sin. Remember the Bible says to pray for our enemies and forgive them as he forgave us. It is hard to do, but must be done to walk with Jesus.
AL, Harrison, AR

Added: Tuesday September 18, 2007 at 10:00 AM EST
Loss / Judgement
Sorry for your loss, but do not allow your built up anger to cloud your judgement. No one should be condeming or passing judgement on Mr. Ashworth, there hasn't been a trial. Unless you were there you can't know what took place that day or what events your family was involved in before that day.
Concerned Citizen, Jasper, AR

Added: Monday September 17, 2007 at 08:53 PM EST
Thanks to the Harrison Daily Times
I am the aunt of Tilton Housden. First of all, thank you to the Harrison Daily Times for the great coverage you have given this story over the past two years. The media is our greatest friend when we have a family member missing. Although this is a devasting time for our family, and the family of Tim Eddings too, I fall to my knees and thank God that we have some type of closure. I ask of anyone reading this to pray for the families of Joshua Middleton and Nathan Caleb Camerer too, still two of the missing men of Newton County Arkansas. Not knowing what has happened to a loved one is one of the most cruel things imaginable, you think of them every day, but especially on holidays, and birthdays, which I share with my nephew Tilton. The past 23 months has been sheer hell for all of us, and thankfully we are getting some answers. To the informant that shared this information, may God bless you, and to all of those of you who knew something and never told, SHAME on you, and I mean it in the religious sense, just not language. Although I would love to, I will not divulge any information I have on this case, but it was an extremely cruel execution of these two men. To Mr. Ashworth, not only have you taken the lives and destroyed the family of Tilton and Tim, but you have destroyed your own family too, now all your children will be known as the kids' whose daddy is a murderer, and your wife/ex-wife will be known as the woman married to the murderer, etc...I hope you have time to think about all of it before your execution, and I hope you have suffered knowing you did the dirty deed, like the families of Tilton and Tim have suffered all these grueling years. I will pray for your family, because I know, that like we, they are innocent victims too of your evilness. As I review the photo of you on the cover of the Harrison Daily Times, I giggle at the smirk on your face, your glorious 15 seconds of fame.
Enjoy it Mr. Ashworth, I would love to see that smirk melt off your face as you answer at the gates of Heaven!
Joyce Housden Minor, Trumann, AR

Monday, September 17, 2007

Happy Dance!

This was in my email inbox today:
Our committee has chosen to accept your proposal. We will pay you an
honorarium of $100 to defray travel expenses.

So that we may finalize the schedule, is there a preferred time on
Friday, 26 October between 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in which you could
present? Also, could you provide a brief paragraph or two biography for

If you have questions, let me know. I can be reached at ###-###-#### or
via e-mail.


Leigh Adams
Missouri State University-West Plains

This makes me very, very happy. This is not a graduate student conference; this is a real conference. So it is a small one, with a limited scope. The Ozarks Symposium is about the Ozarks, which makes me extraordinarily happy.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Two things I rarely ever do...

Today I did two things I almost never do. One is that I lectured in Honors Core I. I do that once per year (and once again in Core II). Two is I let my 1:00 class go with an assignment. I was too exhausted to teach. Outside was beckoning the students. They so did not want to be there.

My lecture seemed to go pretty well. It was, still, only 20 minutes long. And most of it was cribbed from Donald Murray. But I think I put it together nicely. The students seemed to enjoy it. I made them do open-ended writing, even. Put away their computers and write on paper. And they played along with me like troopers. This may be, all in all, the best Core I class I have ever seen, including when I was a student here. The new application process weeded out a lot of people who were not interested, I think. So we have people who "get" the idea of Honors.

Now I have to go home and pack. Which is a pain, but not a huge one, since it is just me & no kids. Even when I went to VA, I had to make sure the kids were sorted out before I went. This time, the kids are at home, so they are their father's problem.

So this afternoon, I am off to Petit Jean with no kids, and without the book read that I am supposed to have read. Wow, it is almost like being a student again...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

My so-called life

I am swamped. I am so swamped that I am joking about being suicidal. And I just might be, if I had time to think.

On Monday, on top of the phd work that I have been putting off (because I so hate Scottish realist composition theorists), my other department informed me that they had discusses that the lecture that I was scheduled to give on Friday was not appropriate because the first assignment had changed from a memoir to a profile. Note this was done before I got there, because they scheduled the regular meeting time at 9am and the MW class that I teach does not end until 9:15.

So do I have my new lecture done? No. Started? Other than a few notes, not really. We may do lots of in-class free writing. Just Perl process. Let my expressivist self just flow.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Teaching composition

It is hard to find a balance between teaching content and skills in first year writing. Part of me is really reluctant to require content memorization (via testing) in a writing class, but part of me is really noticing that workshopping does not fill all the time I need to fill. I am planning to try some different ideas for groupwork, but I guess the best way to start is with forms for students doing peer work ( I have always given students questions to answer, but this year I think I will type them out as a worksheet.

I am not comfortable lecturing. Not at all. I much prefer to lead discussion. I am more of a facilitator than a lecturer. I am sure that comes from my background in literature.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Random thoughts for a Weekend

We came up to Mom & Dad's this weekend. It is so beautiful here. Cooler, but still awfully warm, though. A little bit of rain would make it much nicer here.

I am reconsidering my wardrobe, actually with a plan, rather than randomly buying what I like, a piece at a time. I may or not get much made, but I am absolutely looking at what I buy. I need, to round out some of what I have, get a top and skirt from the same fabric. That I may need to make. Also, I may need to make a "cardigan," but I may make it from sweatshirt fleece. That would comfortable... as long as I didn't use sweatshirt detailing.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Draft Done

I finally have a draft done of my paper for the Burke class that ended nearly a month ago. God bless Dr. Metzger and his patience. I discovered some really interesting things about what Vance Randolph was promising in his introductions. It is no wonder the "back to the land" movement gained so much popularity a decade after Randolph's work. I wonder if there would be a journal article at some point on the rhetoric of the back to the land movement? Or on the "intentional communities"? Hmm...

I dragged Todd to Kohl's with me today (along with Miss O) to hunt for shoes. I found one really comfortable pair of Sam & Libby ballet flats and a pair of wedges. Todd found tennis shoes in his size (which never happens), and I got W some jeans and a polo. I have a hard time finding W cheap clothes, so we just have to get what we get.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Should be doing something productive

But instead I am typing here.

I have met with all but one of my classes, and I meet with that one first thing Monday morning. I finally have my desk copies, which makes me happy.

I have Miss Olivia down for a nap-- a much needed nap. She was pitching fits over everything all morning. Her first week of Kindergarten has gone well. She has made new friends and likes her teacher. We finally have pick up thing sorted. Her school just never got the pick-up right. I have been waiting in line forty and forty five minutes in over 100 degree heat. After sitting in the hot sun all day, it takes my van a *long* time to cool off.

My phd class begins meeting on Tuesday. 19th century rhetoric. I can hardly wait.

I am working on a new project... I am going to be helping coordinate with the high school teachers who do concurrent enrollment. Just because I don't have enough to do.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


So I am convinced that the reasons that diets work is that the food that is low calorie and low carb sucks your will to live, and by extension, eat. At this point, I am avoiding food, because I just don't want anything to do with anything I can actually eat.


Meleah and Olivia and I went to Hancocks today because Simplicity patters were $1. The air conditioning was broken. Olivia was bored. Overall not the most fun I have ever had (although I did get some nice patterns. Now if I could only steal some time to sew...)

Last night, I went to a scrapbooking crop in Greenbrier. I took Meleah, but not Olivia. I always enjoy that. I am working on an album from when I spent spring break in Ireland in 1992. It was another life, but really lovely to revisit. Since Meleah usually goes with me, we get to talk about who I was, before she came along and changed my life. At some point, I'll run out of those pictures and I'll scrap what normal people scrap-- kids.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Something is brewing...

Something is brewing at work, and I am really not sure what it is, but I am almost certain that I am involved... But if there is a renewing contract involved, I am all over it.

I moved my stuff into my office today. Yea! Office!

My paper is going better. I am applying Burke's principle of rebirth to Randolph's introductions to some of his Ozarks books. And that is, at last, going. And only 70% of my grade. (quiet whimper).

Monday, August 13, 2007

Stardust and Alice Cooper

Re: previous post. The house appraised for enough that we did not have to have mortgage insurance, but not enough that we can buy the pretty new one. On the bright side, our payment is low.

I still have an incomplete.

But I had a fabulous weekend. My husband and I took the kids to see _Stardust_ on Friday. Some details were changed, but I was pleased with the result. Even though my youngest is only five, she really liked it too. She hid her eyes a couple of times, but that is all.

On Sunday night, we went to see Alice Cooper. This time my brother and I took the big kids. We saw Crooked X, Black Stone Cherry, and, of course, Alice Cooper. It is funny, but of all the shows that we've taken the kids to see, the cleanest are Eric Bibb, Eddie Money, and Alice Cooper. And this was Alice doing a *show*. He killed a "man" as the show started, drove a stake through a baby doll, slapped a ballerina (during "Only Women Bleed"), sang "Cold Ethel" to a mannequin, was encased in a straight jacket and hung on a gallows. But not once did he, or any other the other other bands utter the f-word. Amazing.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Two classes are done. Done. Done. Done.

I had to take an incomplete in my Burke class because I simply could not get all three papers done. I need to get this one done this week though.

Grades are not posted yet. Which is reasonable, since papers were due yesterday.

We looked at a house yesterday, in my favorite neighborhood in town. The price is really reasonable, and they put in a covenant so that no one is allowed to rent out home there. The house is big-- nearly 2000 sq. ft.-- but still only has three bedrooms/two bathrooms. But it has a nice living room, and a big den. The laundry is in a hall closet, which I hate, but it is really a lovely house. The price is a little more than we're comfortable with (more than twice what this one is), but depending on what this appraises for, may be a possibility. I just hope this appraises for more than we have put in it! It would be depressing for all our work to be worth nothing.

Friday, August 03, 2007


At least for the moment, we are done with our house. The appraiser came today, which means that we no longer have to push to get everything done, because it is either done, or can wait.

What I did not get done today was my papers. I need to nearly double the length of my socio-linguistics paper. And I need to settle in with my visual rhetoric paper. I have most of the theory written out, I let it sit all day today... Tomorrow I should be able to look at that with fresh eyes. Socio is due Sunday, VR is due early Monday morning.

And I need to go see my dept head on Monday for work.

What I should have done tonight was edit and expand. Instead I watched the new Casino Royale.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Another House Update

We are making a full-out press to get the house ready for the appraiser tomorrow. I think we have every surface painted, which is the biggest thing. Everything has to be "finished" and I think we have managed to coat every surface with paint and to fill every hole. Todd wants to paint the living room next week. I am ambivalent about that. On the one hand, the house will be in order tomorrow, and I hate to take it apart again. On the other hand, my life will only get busier after next week.

I had coffee today with Becky. Really, it was more of a mad dash through Target while we drank our coffee. I found some cool toys on sale, that I put up for W's Christmas, along with a few assorted birthday gifts to put away.

Last weekend, we had our annual alumni meeting. We had several people come, which is unusual. (Last year, we had the exec committee, and not even all of it). We voted to join with the university alumni association as a chapter, so it is all over but the shouting. We did see that the improved communication is valuable, so we are going to continue that. Willie has worked so hard this year, it was great to see that pay off.

I am working on a sociolinguistics paper, that is really fun. I have done an analysis of Warner Brother's "Hillbilly Hare" that has really changed the way I see the cartoon. It is still funny. But is not funny in an innocent way anymore. It is funny is a really offensive way, like Dave Chappell.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Home at last

I am done traveling for the summer. Finally. I am so tired. Of course, I still have readings, postings, and papers to finish up. But I will have, at the end of this grueling summer term, 15 of the required 39 hours completed. And that is a relief. I am still frustrated with this fall's class offerings, but next spring sounds like it will be better.

I sorted through paperwork for a good portion of the day trying to find everything we need for our house loan application. But before that, I took Olivia to the doctor for her Kindergarten physical (and immunizations). She's been cranky for most of the afternoon because of the shots, including now. I think I am going to put her to bed now.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Class Day One

The sweetest woman picked me up from the airport. She lives in Virginia Beach, so I am pretty sure that it took her a while to get there. She is just the nicest person I have met in a while. She picked me up, made me a goody bag, brought me to the dorm, helped me carry up my stuff, and then drove me to a Mexican place for dinner. Then she took me back to the dorm, where I ran into my first problem.

Vital information that I needed, but didn't get: how to set up my wireless. So I was without internet from Saturday evening until this morning. Aarg. So I had no access to maps or anything, which means that I didn't get to go to church-- couldn't find one.

My room, though, is fabulous. I have a small bedroom, and my own bathroom. I am sharing a living room with Leslie, and Mimi is next door. Leslie and I went out to dinner last night, then she took me to the grocery store. So now I have water and instant coffee and cereal and milk-- the vital stuff of life.

We talked about ideologies of the standard language myth in sociolinguistics this morning. I am still torn about this. I teach code-switching in my classes. It is lovely to say that no one should give up their accents, but really, how seriously would I be taken with my "original" accent? And I found out my prof is a year younger than I am.

In my second class, we are learning to use Photoshop CS2, which is okay. This is a nice review.

Monday, July 02, 2007

My cousin asked me how I was doing today. Here was my response...

Slowly losing my will to live...
Our house had to appraised next week or the week after.
It needs to appraise for 20% more than we pd for it.
We had to buy a new truck last week 'cause our old one died.
We traded in our old one, but have to come up with sales tax
Groceries are more expensive, suddenly.
And I somehow have to sort out semiotics (no I don't know what that means) so I can write a paper on them.
How are you?

Monday, June 25, 2007

First Day

Today was the first day of my summer classes. I managed to get everything turned in for day one. Unfortunately, tomorrow gets harder. This may make me totally insane.

Tonight I am watching _Vertigo_ when what I should be doing is getting ahead on my reading and posting... I love Hitchcock movies. When I get time, I may develop a full-fledged obsession for his films. I am not normally a visual person, but I love the way Hitchcock uses the screen.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


We came up to Mom & Dad's last night for a short visit. W is staying for the week, but the rest of us are heading back home tonight. Tomorrow will be hectic. I need to work on my classes, get insurance sorted for our new truck, and figure out how we are going to pay our sales tax. Todd needs to take Lily for her vet appointment, too. And the girls want to go swimming in the afternoon. [I can feel my world closing in around me...]

Last week, Todd's aunt sent me a lovely necklace, evidently just because she thought it looked like something I would like, and sent the kids gift cards (which they, of course, *love*) for their birthdays. I am not sure that I have any suitable "thank you" cards right now, so either I need to shop or we need to make one... So that is another thing to add to the list of things to do.

We watched Ten Things I Hate About You tonight with Mom. I am a sucker for (nearly) anything Shakespeare, and Meleah just loves that movie. And Mom likes making Meleah happy. So that worked out. Olivia was less happy about the situation, but is now watching Oliver and Co. We'll not get to finish it, though, since we have to head home. The kids are tired, since Todd took them to the river this afternoon. They had a lot of fun, and came home shedding sand everywhere. They didn't take pictures, though, which is what I had supposed the purpose of the trip was. Shows what I know.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


June is almost over and I have hardly written anything. I went to National History Day with Meleah at the University of Maryland. That was amazing. Her group, the first time they every competed, placed fourth in the nation in junior division documentary. They also won the outstanding junior entry for Arkansas. We did the tourist stuff. Arlington, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, World War II Memorial, FDR Memorial,Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Natural History Museum, etc. The most amazing thing I saw the whole trip, though, was the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Still, twenty years after it was built, people are leaving items there. I saw a baseball, wrapped in a sandwich bag, inscribed "We love you, grandpa." A Cavalry division left pictures and names of the men they lost, laminated, underneath the names on the wall. All those lost lives. All those dead men.

Monday, June 04, 2007


My son has just acquired a rosary, even though he was baptized Methodist. He went to Latin Mass with my NaDean on Sunday and they said the rosary before the service (or something-- I am fuzzy on the details). Anyway he *wanted* a rosary. He just was fascinated by the ritual. So we let him get one. He sat down tonight and said a whole rosary. He had to follow the book-- he doesn't have it all memorized yet.


I.Hate.Math. Especially when a checkbook is involved. On the bright side, I have Moneydance, which does everything that Quicken does, except expire. (If I am content to use an old version of a piece of software, the company should not determine for me that it is too old, and disable downloads from my bank.) I fed in all my expenses (except February from US Bank, because they only keep 90 days of record online) into Moneydance and found out where my money went. This is what I found:

I spend more in clothes that I believed that I did.
Our grocery bill is out of control.
And we eat out too much.
We need a lot of entertaining.
We need to use the library more.

It is all very horrifying really. Essentially I have nice sum each month that I really have no idea where goes. Well, I know *where* it goes: Wal-Mart, Taget, Walgreens, the Dollar Store, Freds... So I *know* some of it is cleaning supplies. And some is clothing. And some is groceries. But what is what? I am clueless.

Then, I started poking around and found the USDA's estimated costs to feed a family. Turns out the federal government figures that we should be expected to spend $983 a month to feed our family of five. Now, all we need to do is cut down what we spend eating out...

Friday, June 01, 2007


Tonight, in the midst for cooking supper for my bunch and my dad who is visiting, I decided to do "something" about the open shelves in my kitchen. And what I decided to do was eradicate the plastic. So I put my baking supplies into glass jars, and put my metal cannisters on the shelf and it looks really great. I did have to paint above the stove-- evidently I forgot to do that before. But it is done, for the moment. Now I just have to decide what to put on the open shelf above the stove. It gets hot enough that I am worried about putting just anything up there...

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hope for the future...

So this is a Mini Cooper. A Mini for short. I stalk them. I call out to my family when we pass one on the street. An obsession? you may well ask. Yes, perhaps, but only a little one. When I finally finish my degree I get to go in debt up to my eyeballs and buy a Mini. Theoretically, that should happen sometime this decade.

Meleah and I went shopping today. The annoying thing about that is that the younger two had to tag along. I don't mind them tagging, but they whined. I hate whining.

Meleah spent some money on clothes to take to church camp next week with my parents' church and to Baltimore the following week. At least she can wear shorts to Baltimore. Bless her heart, she is heading for Hot Springs for a week of wearing dresses and capri pants. I do not envy that...

Back to the shopping though, Meleah did an excellent job picking through what was available to find really cute clothes that were marked way, way down. Today we went to shops frequented by her friends. Normally, we shop at Kohl's, Penny's, Target, TJ Maxx and Old Navy, along with the thrift store down the street from us. And manage to not have her looking like everyone else. But today we went to Cato and Rue 21, which had cool stuff. And they had much stuff on sale, which helps our shopping experience.

Speaking of Baltimore, Meleah figured out just how little liquid is allowed in carry-on luggage (which includes hair products and cosmetics). That may inspire her to have to check baggage. Personally, I am hoping to totally avoid checking baggage since it is such a short trip. I believe that I can get everything I need for five days in a carry-on. Meleah, is not so convinced. (I do think that I will have to take a real suitcase to Virginia, though. Two weeks of living out of carry-on is too much even for me.)

The big kids are testing at Karate tonight to see if they get stripes to wear on their belts to indicate that they are complete novices no longer.
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Tuesday, May 29, 2007


We gave away some furniture today. It was lovely furniture. Nice dresser and chest of drawers. But we simply did not have room. The furniture was seventies-era boxy furniture and we live in a 1920's bungalow. The house really has only 1460 square feet. Related to this give-away is my decluttering. Christopher Lowell says 7 out of 10 people have too much clutter. (I would like to know where that statistic came from, btw.) I *know* that I have too much clutter.

Clothing is my nemesis. I cleared out Olivia's 4T clothes today-- at least most of them. I am not even trying most of it on her to see if she *could* wear it one more season. I am just taking it to Katie. I have a kitchen trash sack half-full of clothes that just do not make me feel happy when I wear them. And I am giving myself til when school starts to get my weight back down or I am going to start getting rid of everything that does not fit well. Or that I just do not wear. I love clothes. Really. Love. Clothes. But right now, I have too much of a good thing...

My house continues to cause me stress. I would *love* to have a tidy house. I don't see ever having a home like my aunt, that always looks company ready. I do need, though, for it to not look like one of my children exploded in my living room. I do need to have enough of the mess contained that "finding the floor" can cease to be one of my hobbies. I need to be able to sweep without being a major production.

I made W clean up his room today. That was mildly painful. And he will need to clean his room again tomorrow. Finding the floor is a major part of what he will be doing. Next I need to nag Meleah. Her room is bad as well. She has no floor. Only clothing. Like her mother, she also likes clothes. Also like her mother, she has *way* too many of them.

On a brighter note, I received my paperwork to accept my fellowship for this summer, so it is all official.

Monday, May 28, 2007

New toy

We have a new toy. Rather, Todd has a new toy. We bought a second-hand eMac today from a co-worker who is retiring. This will be *his* computer, since I swiped the desktop that I built in the fall. (I needed it for class ; >) He is ooing and awing overing it right now. It is beautiful.

Todd went to pick up the big kids, so I have been playing on his new baby. Right now it is importing video so we can play with the new iMovie (okay, version 3, but newer than my baby Macintosh iBook...). iLife is software that we will upgrade sooner rather than later, I am certain.

I primed our cabinets in our kitchen so I can paint them. Then I need to paint the walls. I am pretty sick of renovation at this point. We are getting the house appraised next month so that we can start making payments (oh, joy of joys), but also so we can also quit buying building materials. So that will actually come out to be close to a wash. I love the way old houses look, but I am so sick of repairs that I could cry right now. When we get our closet project done, then we have to fix our bathroom. Fix is not a strong enough word, I am afraid "gut" is probably the more accurate word. We *have* to have a new bathtub and toilet. The old ones are just not salvageable, since they leak. Then of course, the new tub needs a shower surround tiled, and the floor replaced. All before the appraiser comes. *sigh*

The house needs new siding and a new furnace and air conditioner. But those are not on the top of the triage list, at the moment.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


After a long fight with Miss Olivia, we went to the 11:00 service this morning. We so did not make Sunday School. We did have to stop by Kroger on the way home, and bought bread and milk and cheese and ham... Then we came home and made sandwiches. We're heading to RiverFest this afternoon. Marshall Tucker Band is playing tonight. The Georgia Satellites are playing before that, but without their original lead singer. So who knows how that will be. I wouldn't mind seeing Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, but I don't know that I will be able to talk Todd into it.

Anyway, Todd is about ready to leave, so I probably ought to change out of my church clothes...

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Reunion & Kittens

Today was our semi-annual family reunion on my dad's side. I go to all of them for a number of reasons. One is that it makes my dad insanely happy for us to show up. Two is that I *really* enjoy some of my cousins; Joshua, Bobby (and his wife Dana), Amanda, Austin are some of them that I especially enjoy. Three is that this branch of the family reminds me why I am politically more liberal than I am socially. I see people who work, and work hard, but who find it impossible to get ahead. Some of them do not work as hard because they have learning disabilities, and they are just not on an even playing field. Reunions keep me humble. They remind me why I believe immigration should be limited. Many of the people there today are competing with illegals for jobs. And sometimes losing.

Gwen's kittens escaped-- or Finn dragged them out. One way or the other, the four kittens were in our back yard. I have a favorite-- she is a tortoiseshell with a little orange tiger stripe on the top of her head. She is independent and smart enough to stay out of trouble. I am really enamored by her. Her I am keeping. The rest we'll give away. And we have to get their mama fixed. We don't need kittens every year!

The big kids are at my parents. They were devastated that they might not get to help with the cattle vaccinations this weekend. Which amazes me. Then my parents have promised them a trip to Silver Dollar City to see Ricky Skaggs afterward. They are not overly impressed with that idea, even though Skaggs does a good show (and I abhor bluegrass). They just want to spend time with their grandparents. W is not going back to school. They are done with the academic bits, and Arkansas does not retain students for missing too many days like Missouri does. Meleah is also done, but wants to be at school next week to socialize (even though her boyfriend is out of the area).

Friday, May 25, 2007


We survived the party-- actually, it went far better than I expected. It went as well as I possibly could have hoped. Leonard made balloon animals for all the kids. We had plenty of food (and Todd did a great job cooking burgers and hot dogs).

Nearly everyone we invited came. Seriously. Becky couldn't because of her aunt is not doing well and Phil wasn't able to come. Otherwise everyone was there. The grownups ate; the kids played. Then I fetched the kids and they ate. And then they were off playing again. I had to go fetch them again for cake and presents. A couple of people had to leave, but the kids were playing again. I loved loved seeing the kids play and have so much fun.

Getting ready

The party is this afternoon. Now all that I have to do is somehow get to the park with everything I need to feed everyone that is coming.

Ice cream is still in freezer. Burgers in fridge. Those are important components. Baked beans are in the oven, ahem, baking. I still have to pick up the cake, then it is off to pick up Meleah from school.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Birthday Party

So, to appease Olivia, I told her that we would actually have a party. And I actually emailed my friends to invite them and their kids. Thinking, who would come on a Thursday afternoon with three days' notice?, I invited all my friends. Well, shockingly, almost everyone was free. So, like, 30 are saying that they are showing up for our party. A lot of those people are kids. Like 13. This is totally out of hand. I really cannot believe that no one has anything better to do an a Thursday. Maybe they couldn't get the hang of Thursdays either.

I have done all the shopping and put together treat bags. I have tons of chips and sodas. I have meat. And potato salad. I need to make slaw to go with it... And tomorrow I'll pick up the cake.

Tomorrow is the last day that W's teachers are collecting grades. Friday is the last day that I am taking him to school. The last week (after Memorial Day) is scheduled to be activities anyway, so he won't be missing out on education, really. And he will be missing lots and lots of unstructured, under-supervised time that is just waiting for him to get in trouble...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Pretending I have readers...

My computer dried out, eventually. The trackpad is still a little sticky, but serviceable once more. If I can just get W through this week, all will be good. Next week is all "enrichment" and I am just keeping him home. It is just not worth the hassle.

We got our new phones in, and I discovered that I do not have bluetooth on any computer in my house. So I am going to have to buy the stupid communication kit, at some point (possibly when the rebates come in), but in the meantime, I bought a Billy Idol, Generation X era, ring tone... "Dancing with Myself." I filtered out a lot of more risque music... No "Pour Some Sugar on Me" accidentally going off at work, thank you very much.

I went to the post office this morning to attempt to acquire some correct postage. This is easier said than done. All the stamp machines were broken, to one degree or another. The one cent machine was not giving change... fine, I thought I would just live with 25 1c stamps. But no, alas, the machine would only dispense up to 10. Fine, I thought, I could donate an additional 15c so that I could mail my bills. So I am tying in 10, the stupid machine gives me 1. One one-cent stamp for 25c. That is not enough for me to mail my bills, however. (One bill is for $1.08-- it is almost costing me as much to *mail* it as the entire bill is!) So I feed the machine a dime... And request 9 stamps (see, I am learning) which I received.

Because I am a complete masochist, I agree to throw a birthday party for Olivia. She has been wanting one since last fall, when we attended Cindy's kids' party, then demand quadrupled when her friend Ashton had a party. So. There we go. I have invited 15 kids-- those numbers do add up fast. Only 8 have RSVPd so far. But I also invited all the kids' adults. So we will be having lots of people. And truthfully? I'd rather just have my friends-- the usual suspects that show up for lunch, but the wishes of the 5 yo should probably be satisfied on her birthday...

My birthday, on the other hand, will have grownups. A very few, well-liked grownups.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Now for the Not-So-Good-News

W was suspended three days last week for fighting. He was not being supervised closely enough, but that is beside the point. He was out of school Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and it was close to noon on Thursday before I got his homework packet. I picked that up and took him and Olivia with me to work on cleaning out my office (which I have to vacate). So I got him pencils, paper, etc to work on his homework. What did he do instead? Read on that Robert Jordan book. So Thursday was wasted. Friday I stayed home, so he would work. Did he get done? Of course not. Same story, new chapter for the rest of the weekend. Sunday we insisted that he finish. Meleah sat down with him. She was sitting at the table with him, helping him find answers to a study guide, and he had a tantrum. In the course of this tantrum, he dumped a glass of water on my keyboard. The computer went dead.

For the next two hours (gosh, that seems like longer) we inspected parts, removed the battery, dried out everything that seemed as though it could be dried. We blow-dried the keyboard. We looked up reassuring websites that said that computers could recover from a dumped glass. We looked up battery prices. I looked up new laptop prices. Etc.

Finally, however, the laptop came on. It currently appears to be working, thank heaven. Now I do not have to go cry to IT tomorrow about how my aspie kid dumped water on my computer and is there any way that is covered under warranty?

The rest of the weekend was fine. We went to the Eddie Money concert in Harrison. He played his hits, he played a couple of tribute songs, & some new stuff-- All in all, it was a nice show. We nearly froze out, though, as it was about 48 degrees in Harrison last night. And we were dressed for summer. Shorts, sleeveless tops, sandals... Mom fished out jackets for us to wear and we did have lawn chairs. We took a blanket for two of us to sit on since we forgot our chairs and Mom and Dad did not have quite enough to go around. Yet still we froze. But we stayed anyway. By the time we left I could not feel my toes, but it was a great show, and at $15 a ticket (and even that was a gift from my parents) a bargain.

I saw one of my Core I students there with a bunch of his friends. I was impressed that he spoke to me with my entourage in tow and his friends in view.

Friday, May 18, 2007


I just found out that I was awarded a scholarship for summer school!!! I am ecstatic. Now I don't have to depend on student loans. (which I have enough of already). They are promising paperwork and details next week.

In other news, I got most of my office cleaned out yesterday. I have another hours worth of picking up and carrying upstairs yet to do. Next year, I get a table. Not a desk, not an office. A table. I am hoping for enough floor space for a file cabinet and a bookshelf (which I will have to provide for myself...).

On a more encouraging note, I went out to lunch with Craig. That was cool. We don't see each other enough. I really should have invited Willie along, but didn't think of it in time.

Last night, we ordered new phones. Todd is getting an LG CU400 and I am getting a Samsung Sync, which has a lousy camera, but does everything else I want it to. I am much more worried about call quality than camera quality. We may need Datapilot to take advantage of some of the advanced features. But I think I will see what comes in the box first. And my Mac has Bluetooth, so it will play nicely with the Mac without additional cords.

I need to put the elastic in the capri pants I made, and maybe cut out another blouse. I am really happy to be sewing again. I at least have to make up the fabric I bought last week. If I make everything, that $90 is a bargain. If I let it set, then it is a colossal waste of money :-)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Quick post.

This Altered Clipboard looks like something I might use. Right now, though, I have to go pick up W's assignments and pack up my office.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Scrappers Challenge

Okay-- some of my friends make fun of scrapbooking. Scrappers over -document, soccer mom activities, etc.

I'll admit that it has elements of offspring worship. And I don't see how some of these women can be "so" in love with their husbands, warts and all. But regardless, I enjoy scrapping. I like playing with pretty paper and telling stories that my family enjoys. I try not to over-document-- I can't really. I don't have the attention span to document all their milestones. I am not obsessive enough to follow them around with a camera, trying to capture that first whatever. But I do have to admit that my scrapbooks are full of pictures of my children and my niece. I do try to tell stories instead of writing huge rapturous litanies of all the reasons theirs are the most amazing children to ever walk the earth (or float above it, according to what some scrappers write!)I said all that to explain this. Rockester posted this information on her awesome Scrapbookers Challenge list-serv:

Oral Histories - Interviewing Relatives

Posted by: Rockester, Wed May 16, 2007

There are lots of guidelines and helpful sites on this topic of what to ask them [relatives]

The May challenge is to scrap something about ourselves. I may actually do this:

The Real Me (20 page ideas):


1. Intro page (Name and photo) My name means...
2. History of Me
3. My family
4. My Home (actual residence)
5. My family history (you, your parents, your grandparents and great grandparents)
6. I love
7. My childhood memories
8. My biggest fears
9. my proudest moments
10. Happy me/how I spend my personal time
11. I hate/pet peeves
12. Dreams/Goals
13. Character Traits/My faith
14. Work it (job)
15. Changes I'd like to make
16. My purse, My haircuts, My artwork
17. My quirks and secrets
18. My Music
19. Special someones (and why)
20. Laughter/ my jokes/ humor

Headache & Nausea

I spent the morning with W's principal. Always my favorite way to spend a day. The bright spot was that my lawyer friend came with me and sat with me through my trauma.

Yesterday I booked (and paid for) my tickets to Meleah's history day competition.

And even earlier this morning, I emailed to see if not hearing from the scholarship committee meant that I don't get a scholarship. (It does not).

And now, I need to go find things. Possibly my least favorite activity. After cleaning. But the worst part about finding things, is that cleaning usually must be involved, for some reason that I cannot fathom. I am actually guessing that divine hatred is the reason. Or at least divine apathy. Some divine intervention would really be appreciated at this point.

And I still have to go pack up my office...

Edit: This weekend is looking good though. One of my favorite people is getting married, and I can only wish him happiness. And I am going to a concert in Harrison. I love concerts in Harrison. They happen so rarely that the attendees are really polite and attentive. No illegal substances (or at least very few-- and they are usually consumed discreetly), no pushing. I go with my parents and my kids and we have a ball.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Short Update

Found the cord and the resume. Todd has a job interview tomorrow at a different school in the same district.

We have bead board paneling in half of the closet. Which I have painted. And painted. No exaggeration; I have painted four coats of the same color on parts of it. And after I painted the dark green paint on, I decided there was too much green, so I repainted the part above the trim white again (hard to explain without a picture...)

This afternoon, I am meeting with a friend to talk about how he could decide to go back to college. He's really smart, that is not a problem. College is just really boring sometimes (see, I do notice) and I am not sure how well he does boring... Oh, well, that is for him to decide, not me ; ).

The Vintage is done and as we speak being printed to be mailed out. That was more work that I thought it would be. And I have signed myself up to do it again, next fall. Aarg.

I am sewing this week when I am not painting. I made myself a wrap top and a pair of capris. I made Olivia a dress and a doll dress to match. I like sewing. It gives me a feeling of accomplishment. I should, however, have been cleaning out my office. That activity, on the other hand, fills me with dread.

I bought my tickets to go with Meleah to Maryland for her History Day competition. Wow. Those. Were. Expensive.

We were supposed to be notified about our scholarship applications yesterday, but we weren't.

Well, it is about time to go pick up my children, so I am off.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Semester over

I finally finished figuring grades. Now for the inevitable round of emails-- why did I get the grade I deserved instead of the grade I wanted???

I hate that. Some students that I genuinely like are not getting the grades they want. That does make me sad.

Semester is over though. I think next semester I am going to require more revision again. Students hate that. And contrary to popular belief, I do not set out to make students miserable.

I need to find the cord for my external hard drive so I can find Todd's resume. Then I need to go to Home Depot and get some paint so I can paint the inside of my closet and my bedroom. I have a scrap of wall paper that Walker excavated from the wall during the demolition that is has a beautiful dusky green background that I love.

This weekend, Dad came down and helped us with our project. In the meantime, I worked on getting the closet ready. We removed everything from our closet. All the clothes, shelves, everything. Now what was in my closet has exploded all over my house. It kind of looks like I am having a garage sale in my living room. This will get better soon, I am sure. Todd has promised tonight to get the sheetrock and paneling that we need to finish out the closet so we can get hanging bars back up and have a closet again. And I may have a garage sale as well, next week.

I think I am going to go eat lunch now. Maybe better blood sugar will help my outlook on life.

Speaking of home improvement...

Saturday, May 05, 2007


I have been to Lowe's or Home Depot four times today. I have bought and returned and bought and returned.

Long day.

Last night I went to the Honors Senior Banquet. I looked out and some of the best students on campus and saw how many I had taught. And I was amazed.

Today, I went to graduation and looked through the names of people who graduated with honors. And I taught several of them, too.

Of course, no one working at graduation could tell me what side I was supposed to be on, so I went to the wrong side & walked out with the College of Education instead of the College of Fine Arts and Communication. Five of us actually did that. I need to go in and explain that to my department head. Some days...

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Today was better

I went in and worked in my half-empty office for a while before my 11 am final. Then I walked a grade change over to Honors and visited with Phil for a bit. I am deviously trying to suck him into the cult of composition studies-- even though he is a history of technology person. But I keep trying.

I am now done with all my finals and most of my grading. Now I just have to figure those nasty grades. I am *not* looking forward to that. I wonder if anyone would notice if I just gave everyone A's? Probably not, but that really would not be ethical...

I just got my grade from my second class-- and it was a good one. Good grades make me happy. Bad grades make me disappointed in myself. All things being equal, I had rather be happy than disappointed.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Semester ending

I have been sad most of the day today... That just doesn't happen that often.

Today was a day of goodbyes. Tammy moved out of our office (and I have to move out next week). I had to talk to Olivia's childcare director yesterday about a date to pull her out. I met for the last time with my 8:00am State Hall class. Most of those people have been in my class all year. I had them in both Comp I and Comp II-- this is the first time I have taught the sequence in order. It was wonderful to see how they grew as writers as the year went on. Several of them told me how much they enjoyed my class this morning. So all I have wanted to do all day is just cry.

Today was my Honors final, too. Most of the students did really, really well on the final. That makes me happy. But today was my last day with them as well. And my last day with Magi as my assistant.

I snagged Tim as he walked by my office to ask where he is going next year. He got a nice funding package at University of Tennessee's MA program. That makes me happy. And my assistant from last semester, Samantha, got a really nice funding package from Kansas (as did her fiancee). They were in my classes my first year teaching for Honors (they were sophomores, and so smart they were intimidating). Now they are leaving, too.

I thought I would be happy to see the last of this semester. And I am, truthfully. This has been a difficult, frustrating semester. But I really wish I had more time with my students.

Monday, April 30, 2007

New Post

Paper done. Semester over. Praise to any higher power who would like praise.

Now on to the continuing fun of home renovation. The appraiser will be coming in June to decide how much our house is worth. Right now, with everything else I have been doing, I would guess $.32. Seriously. (Because, oh, by the way, the bottom fell out of the real estate market here). Our best hope is that our lot is worth almost as much as we paid for the house.

We have to finish painting the kitchen. We have to clean the kitchen. And the dining room. And the bedrooms. And paint everything. We have a mixture of nasty 1970's fake wood paneling and high gloss white paint everywhere I have not already painted. So that has to be done. And we have to gut the bathroom and replace everything in there.

Now all I have to do is grade all the revisions that I let students do because I am a gigantic, all-day sucker.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


I am feeling very marginalized today. I am in a PhD program in Virginia, while I am located here in Arkansas. The classes are amazing. I feel like I learn so much. But there are problems. The worst one is trying to participate in class. I am a small square projected on a wall, along with four other squares on the wall. I feel like Max Headroom.

See, all of the PhD students are not Hollywood Squares. Some of us are privileged to sit in the classroom, where we they can talk to our classmates.

And tonight my professor felt the need to tell us to make friends with our classmates. I would really like lessons on how to do that. Really, I would. I guess I could email, out of the blue, someone in the class and say, "Hey, I know you only know me as a face on the wall, but I was wondering if you could help me with my homework?" How lame is that? It is not even as though there is a message board (outside of Blackboard) to "talk." I guess we could get Second Life accounts and have study sessions (which is not actually the worst idea I have heard today. Tells you what kind of day I've had).

He compared what we were doing to being a commuting student. Well, newsflash, I *was* a commuting student for most of my college career (getting married obscenely young does that to a person). Yet, I made friends. Maybe *friends* is the wrong word, but at least phone numbers of people who were working on the same kinds of assignments. And, amazingly, even only seeing people online, I am in contact with a couple of my classmates. But, even though these classmates are smart, wonderful people, we are all in the same boat. We are living at a distance, unable to attend office hours. None of us were MA students there, so we don't know how people grade.

I am so frustrated. I don't know when I've been this frustrated (Wait! Yes I do. At the trucking company. Right before I started figuring out a way not to be there any more). Quitting this program, though, is not really an option, unless I have a deep, abiding desire to teach high school. Which. I. Don't.

Then on top of all this is the matter of course offerings. But I really think that I am too tired to talk about that right now.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Digital Scrapbook Blogs

These blogs were posted on ScrappersChallenge Yahoo group.

After falling off the face of the earth...

The Vino is done. And the file is transmitted to the technical adviser.

Thursday, I worked on our front yard. The big kids and I bought 400lbs of top soil and put in the flower beds (and the half barrel). And 100lbs of manure (which is not all spread, yet). The big flower bed had black plastic about two inches below the soil, so that all the roots for the shrubs were two inches deep. I found this out when I *uprooted* one.

We also planted flowers; old fashioned flowers. Johnny jump-ups, a lily, daisies. And we spread some zinnia seed. I love zinnias... they remind me of old-lady gardens. Zinnia petals were what my flower girl used at my wedding.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Or rather, I am sick. I have an upper respiratory infection. The only question, really, at this point is whether it is viral (in which case I simply have to get better or die) or bacterial (in which case I have to go see a doctor). The problem I keep having that complicates things is *asthma* (which means every time any little thing goes wrong, my lungs close in to, I suppose, keep out germs-- after the fact).

To make matters more fun, Todd and Olivia are also sick. Olivia has not been to school this week because she has been running a fever. Todd tried to go yesterday, but his principal sent him home, assuring him that she could find a sub.

I have some work to do on the Disneyworld website. It is shaping up to look pretty good, if I do say so myself.

This morning, during my 8 o'clock class, I was convinced that it was Friday, which it was not.

And now, Gerald McBoingBoing is on Boomerang when it is supposed to be Looney Toons. So I am cheating and watching Friends. Walker is playing a new video game, so he won't notice and Meleah is out with Todd buying me a vaporizer because I sound so pathetic. But a herpes medication ad just came on so I am not sure how long it will last...

And to make matters worse, today is Ash Wednesday and I was actually planning to go to church tonight. But at this point, I don't know that anyone wants to be in a room with me. One of my poor students sat beside me in large group today, but he assured me that he was also contagious, so I shouldn't worry about it...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

So I am evidently not good enough...

with html to make the quizzes look right without recoding the whole things (which I am simply not up for).

I found a futon with a frame for my parents' computer/guest room. It is a really nice one (I thought briefly about just keeping it, but decided I really don't have room for it).

Meleah is watching The Truth About Cats and Dogs. Walker is actually watching it with her. I really like that movie.

I really need to be grading some papers, but I just don't want to...

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Because it was on the site that Alex sent me to in his bad-influence-ness...

Your results:
You are Green Lantern
Green Lantern
Wonder Woman
The Flash
Iron Man

Hot-headed. You have strong
will power and a good imagination.

Click here to take the "Which Superhero am I?" quiz...


Because Alex C-E is a bad influence...

Your results:
You are Apocalypse
You believe in survival of the fittest and you believe that you are the fittest.

Dr. Doom
Dark Phoenix
Poison Ivy
Lex Luthor
The Joker
Mr. Freeze
Green Goblin

Click here to take the Super Villain Personality Test

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Perl Process

In my comp class right now, the students are composing using Sondra Perl's composing guidelines. I love them, but students have a love/relationship with them. That much writing is usually more than they want to do at one time...

I am researching this semester the teaching of professional writing, and my instructor is asking me to look outside the field of English studies for the sources. So I am traipsing through the world of journals I have never felt the need to look at before: Technical Communications, IEEE, Journal of Marketing in Education and more. And of couse, the ones I need are not available in full text in the databases. And many of them are not even available in our library here. Old Dominion has several of them in their print holdings, but that does not help me a great deal since I do not live in Virgina.

So for my annotated bibliography entry for today, I read eight pages where a couple of engineers argue that students should be exposed to visual rhetoric and document design. They used their observations as evidence. Fine. I am good with that. What they do not do is use much theory. They list one theorist, but do not summarize his argument. Instead, they show examples of how student work can be formatted to overcome common problems with illustrations commonly encountered with engineering students! So the middle of the article was essentially useless for any kind of broad sense...

Looking through some of the bibliographies posted by the other students, I am pleased to see articles that also seem applicable to my class idea. Of course, the avenue that I am ignoring at this point is the scholarship directly relating to honors students. I am not looking forward to digging that up. It is hard enough to find scholarship relating to the pedagogy of technical writing.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Meme from Chris

This was the most productive thing I did Thursday on my snow day.

From: chris
Date: Jan 23, 2007 7:29 PM

If you opened this, FILL IT OUT! Learn 50 things about your friends, and let them learn 50 things about you!

1. How tall are you barefoot?

2. Have you ever smoked heroin?
I've never even smoked a cigarette

3. Do you own a gun?
No, but my husband has 3.

4. Do you play with the ads on the side of the screen?

5. Do you get nervous before "meeting the parents"?
I get nervous before meeting *anyone*

6. What do you think of hot dogs?
If they are fried in cornbread, then I can eat them.

7. What's your favorite Christmas song?
Adeste Fideles

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?

9. Can you do push ups?
Absolutely not.

10. Is your bathroom clean?
Not as clean as I like.

12. Do you like painkillers?
When I hurt.

13. What is your secret weapon to lure in the opposite sex?
Getting married young and not having to worry about it :)

14.Do you own a knife?
The kind that go in the kitchen

15. Do you have A.D.H.D?
I am not diagnosed ;)

16. Middle Name?
I changed it to my maiden name.

17.What's your normal bed time?
After John Stuart

19. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink:
Coffee, Diet Coke and Chai

20. What time did you wake up today?
Which time? (It is a snow day!)

21. Name one person that comes to mind right now.
Chris (he sent this to me)

22. Current worry?
UCA Messed up my paycheck

23. Current hate?
War in Iraq

24. Your favorite place to be?
In the Boston Mountains

25. Least favorite place to be?

27. Do you own slippers?

29. How many people have ever truly broken your heart?
I don't know that my heart has "truly" been broken. I have been disappointed in people...

30. Favorite color(s)?
Earth tones

31. Would you be a pirate?
No... And I would probably try to reform one if I knew any.

33. What songs do you sing in the shower?
I don't usually

34. What did you fear was going to get you in the night as a child?
The clowns

35. What's in your pockets right now?

36. Is anyone on your mind right now?

37. Do you think you get enough exercise?
Not even close

38. Worst injury you've ever had?
I cracked my head open on the edge of a desk. I have a nice bride of Frankenstein scar above my left eye.

41. Who is your loudest friend?
I don't have loud friends. I do, however, have very loud children.

42. Who is your most silent friend?

43. Does someone have a crush on you?
I doubt it. A couple of years ago, I had a student who did and that was creepy.

44. Do you wish on shooting stars?
When I notice them

45. What is your favorite book?
Today? Anything by Neil Gaiman. A couple of years ago it was Jeffrey Deaver. Before that it was Judith McNaught

46. What is your favorite candy?
Toblerone and M&Ms

47. What song do/did you want played at your wedding?
When I see you smile (originally by Bad English)

48. What song do you want played at your funeral?
Anything but Karma Chameleon

49. What is one of your favorite quotes?
It is better to remain silent and be thought an idiot than to speak and remove all doubt (paraphrase from Mark Twain)

50. What was I doing at 12am last night?