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.