Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Amusement/Tourture of Choice

Every morning, a couple of newspapers deliver their headlines to my email. One, the one I never fail to open, is the Harrison Daily Times. I did my student teaching there in 1998 and subbed at the junior high for most of a semester in 1999. I worked at American Freightways before it became FedEx Freight. It is also the daily newspaper from close to where I grew up. (Understand that "close" is a relative term.) They also publish the Newton County Times, which tends to publish more stories about people I know, but it only comes out weekly.

Of course, all the friends that I had from Harrison when I was young have moved away, so those aren't the people I read about. My relatives and childhood friends from "home," however, are occasionally mentioned. The cousins with untreated ADHD,depression and other problems that drive them to self-medicate. Self-medication is expensive, so that drives them to manufacture and sell products in order to imbibe.

I truly believe better mental health screening would solve a lot of this. And some kind of job program. Something certainly needs to be done, because the drug problems are becoming generational. What used to be a few bootleggers getting into a bit of trouble turned in to marijuana growers and has evolved into meth manufacturing.

I know there are people who would like to turn the area into a giant National Park or something, but I would really like to see small-scale manufacturing return. Throw in mandatory drug testing. But people need jobs and dignity. Not weed and meth.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Another one gone...

Our friend and neighbor Conard Middleton died this week. He was 86. He was a lifelong Republican and long time member of the Newton County Quorum Court-- a JP.

The reason that I tell you that he was a Republican is because my Papaw was a Democrat. In the world where I grew up, such designations mattered. A lot. Such things determine if your road gets maintained and what jobs are open to you.

But Conard was bigger than that. He cared about people more than parties. I know that he called over a time or two to someone to get them to grade our road, because when the "wrong" party was in charge, our gravel road sometimes became virtually impossible to traverse in a car. And my mom always drove a car, in the days before quad-cab pickups and SUVs. (She still drives a car-- better gas mileage.)

And, when I was a beginning driver, I spilled some hot tea on myself and landed my dad's car in a ditch. And he pulled me out, and never called my parents.

That, my friends, is a good man.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Stealing a moment

I should be asleep. Barring that, I should be reading for my comps. Or doing laundry. Or something productive.

Instead, I am sitting on the loveseat, indulging in a guilty pleasure.

I feel like I am trapped in shoulds. Shoot, I know I am. I should be a better teacher, better student, better mother. My house should be neater, my papers graded faster, I should be thinner, more patient.

I am completely aware that my expectations are excessive. If anyone else were trying to do everything I try to do, I would tell them that they are nuts. I, however, feel that I ought to manage.

And really, I should. You know, my great grandmothers raised everything their families put in their mouths. They got up before everyone else so that there was breakfast before they went out to the fields to work. They built fires to cook on and hauled water to cook with and wash up with. They hauled their laundry to the creek to wash it on a rub board for god's sake.

Comps? I should be able to breeze through them, right? With one hand on a mop and the other grasping an outline for the perfect answer? Whatever.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Sigh of relief

My second job wrapped up today, so I am back down to just the one full time teaching job. Oh, and graduate school. My dissertation proposal is due in December. So I just trade one problem in for another.

We've adjusted son's medication, so he is less crazy. Which makes my life less crazy.

We bought a new kitchen stove today, paid for by my second job. We bought a dishwasher earlier this summer with that money, too. It is so nice not to have to borrow money for absolutely everything we do. My mother keeps pointing out that everything I borrow just has to be paid back, and of course, she's right. Maybe next year, if I do this again, I can pay something off.

Someday, our student loans will be due, and at that point, we're in trouble. :) I should totally buy a car before that happens. Never worry today about what I can worry about tomorrow.

In the meantime, I try to muddle through my PhD and keep my kids fed. As part of my quest to keep my kids fed, I bought Once-A-Month Cooking: Family Favorites. I don't know why I keep buying these cookbooks. I like the way it is laid out, and the way they break down the shopping lists. But a lot of the dishes sound really horrid, like Mahi Mahi steaks. The worst part of that recipe is actually that it isn't really a make-ahead recipe. The recipe is for a grilling sauce that gets repackaged with the fish steaks that don't even thaw as this recipe is "made ahead."

And, of course, modifying one recipe changes the whole shopping list, the advantage of buying the book. Aaarg!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Where has the time gone?

I can hardly believe how little I've posted lately! Well, maybe I can. I've been uber-busy, finishing up my summer job as my real job started up. My summer job is grading papers for a class for talented high school students, and all I have left are final reviews. Those are due Monday, but I'm procrastinating.

On top of all this, my son has been especially unstable. That is always fun. He disrupts the whole household, and then does not understand why we're still upset once he's calmed down.

All I have been doing for weeks is working one job or the other, punctuated by insane rampaging teenage boy.

I haven't even seen one of Project Runway's new season yet. (Although I do have them on the DVR.) As soon as I finish these final papers, I am going to go all hedonist and catch up on Project Runway. And watch those Being Human episodes that I've queued up in anticipation for a moment's free time.

Unfortunately, almost as soon as I finish up with my talented high school students, I have to start to work on bibliographies for my Comprehensive Exam. To make matters worse, I am only really friends with two of the other ten people in my class, and neither of them (I think) are in my "track," Professional Writing and New Media. Either way, I will have to do group work with people that I don't know/like. So I am fretting about that.

I tell my students that they should narrow their ideas down so that they only are saying one thing, but I completely failed on that point here. Perhaps if I had loaded my ideas in a shotgun and shot them at my blog they could have been more scattered. But perhaps not.

It is possible that I could be better next time. :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cash for clunkers?

So I am tired of my life. It gets lousy gas mileage. I'm looking for a trade in program. My life for someone who did her phd the normal way-- funded and sans kids. My kids are, this very minute, asleep. But earlier today, they made me crazy. Miss O, my seven year old, skipped in circles around my parents' living room, but refused to go outside to burn off energy. My 16 year old took five hours to figure out what she wanted to do today, and then called me in a panic to sort out the fact that we ate the food that she had intended to contribute to the church youth group get-together. My 14 year old son spent the evening lolling around because he got too much sun at above youth get together and somehow can't figure out that his pale skin (belying his Scots-Irish roots-- he managed to skip any Native American skin tones) means sunscreen and lots of it.

And all of this is my problem.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Craziness & Chaos

My husband is moderate about nothing. If anything gets his attention, the world is on hold until someone has solved it. This is never more apparent than it was today.

Olivia, our seven year old, is staying with Mea while I am in Writing Project and Todd is taking graduate classes. Today, Olivia did bother to wake up Mea. She got board, so decided to call me. I was of course in class. W had my phone because his day camp was over and he had to wait until I got done. W wouldn't come get me, so Olivia called Todd. He got very upset because she was “alone” while Meleah slept. It is important to note here that Todd was often neglected as a small child. From the time his sister was born when he was seven, he was left at home alone. This has obviously affected his outlook. His visceral reaction was extreme. So I tried to sort things out.

I called home. I called Mea's number and it rolled over to voicemail. Then I called the house phone. It, too, rolled over to voicemail. I had understood from Walker that Olivia could not wake Mea. So I came home.

I walk in the door, Mea is awake. Olivia is on the phone with her friend Sharnetta, watching tv in my bedroom. I had a nice long conversation with Olivia about what constitutes an emergency. She should only call me if one of the following occurs: the house is on fire; uncontrollable bleeding; severe burns; a break-in; or if she cannot wake up Mea after she pours water on her. I'll add a meltdown by W to that list for Mea.

It is hard to come down too hard on a seven-year-old for a lack of judgment. Of course, she lacks judgment. She's seven. But now she knows. No more judgment for her. Now she has rules.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Quick post and then off

Today, I am going to a family reunion (or reonion, as some of them refer to it, when they are in a mood). This is my dad's side of the family. He was one of seven surviving children and he and his siblings (and their kids, which is where I come in) get together 2-3 times a year. We all get together the Saturday after Thanksgiving and Memorial Day weekend at least.

This year's Memorial Day get-together was postponed for a week for Bluegrass and BBQ at Silver Dollar City last weekend. My dad has played bluegrass semi-professionally most of my life. He has played for churches and festivals and even at Dogpatch for a few years. Since he retired from teaching, though, he has been playing music with some of the young people in the community. A few years ago, he had worked with three young me and created quite the band. They made a couple albums privately and sold them. They made some spending money, anyway. And, like the Commitments, about the time they got their break, they fell apart. Trust me when I say it is no easier to watch in person than in the movie.

A year or two back, he stated working with a new group of boys. And they had a lot of potential. They were asked to play here and there. The boys, though, are also into sports and girls and being boys. So despite the gigs that have been coming, they were still having problems getting their stuff together.

Then they got the chance to play at Silver Dollar City's Youth in Bluegrass competition. There was a catch, though. My dad couldn't be on stage with them, since he wasn't related to any of them. So he has been trying to get them to work up their 2-3 songs. For months. Then, in April, one of the boys, J.O. went nuts, changing schools and quitting the band. This leaves two boys. After some scrambling, one of the boys from the first band, Anthony, pulled in his little brother and taught him the bass in a MONTH, so they could play at the park.

One of the other boys, J.S., still wouldn't come to practice. And he blew the show. The boy that had been playing a month played better.

So Dad is ready to quit them. The band was one reason that he and Mom had been reluctant to move down here. Dad felt obligated to them. He always wished he had been given that sort of mentoring. In all honesty, Dad could have been a session musician in Nashville, if he had known how to go about it. Or played with a band. He's not front man material, but he is a heck of an instrument player.

So today is our Memorial Day reunion, and I am heading to Cabot with two of my kids (the other one being at Disney World today, marching in a parade). And I will hear some of the best gospel bluegrass played anywhere on the front porch of my cousin's house.

And I will avoid it, as I always do, because as much as I have tried, I have never really developed a liking for bluegrass.

Friday, May 29, 2009

What's up with me...

Yesterday, I spent the day putting my 16 year old on a bus for Florida. We had to get her an ID card (since she hasn't taken her driver's test yet), money, food, and guide book. That took all morning.

Then, I had to take W to see his counselor in West Little Rock. Which means a fight with my GPS because she wants me to take a bizarre route. I get off the Interstate on Financial Center Parkway, but then she wants me to turn off of Financial Center Parkway to get to an address on Financial Center Parkway. This makes me crazy. I do, however, appreciate the fact the she can get me the right exit (and that she can take me to Sam's Club or Garden Ridge on the way). However, these quirky malfunctions make me a bit crazy.

After the counselor, we went by the 4-H office where I took care of (more) details for the camps this summer. I also signed W up for an illustrated talk at Regional O'Rama. Mea won her spot at regional-- in fact, she won two spots and had to choose.

Anyway, W will be giving an illustrated talk on Consumer Economics. We brainstormed about what he could talk about. We talked about budgeting or budgeting resources online. Then we hit things we can do to lower utility bills. So he and I brainstormed things to do to make an existing house "greener." If I can just keep him off the RPGs long enough, I think he could do this.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


How can serving food for five people on a daily basis be so hard? I mean, I have a refrigerator, a deep freeze, an oven, and a crock pot.

My great grandmother had a wood stove.

I have a pantry full of food, in cans, waiting to be turned into meals.

My great grandmother canned everything from peaches to green beans to pork. Only then did she ever begin to cook.

She also hauled water, built a fire, and cooked. Then she heated water on the stove and washed dishes. Cooking for her crew was about a full time job.

For me, though, cooking is not my job. It is what I have to do *after* my job. My dh, on the other hand, does his job, then comes home and waits for supper to appear. By magic. Occasionally, he does the dishes (not as often as he thinks he does) or he puts something precooked from Sam's in the oven (or microwave). He *never* cooks. He will look at my pantry full of food and ask me what there is to eat. Seriously.

So, this is my problem. My belief in equality aside, if I am ever going to consistantly have nutritous meals, I am responsible for making sure they happen.

So I flirt with organization.

I have books like Don't Panic - Dinner's in the Freezer: Great-Tasting Meals You Can Make Ahead
and the The Freezer Cooking Manual from 30 Day Gourmet: A Month of Meals Made Easy
(if your idea of Gormet is chicken and pasta, you're there) and even the Woman's Day Cookbook.

What I should probably do is to quit trying to find a system, and just start. Cook a week's worth of food. I can do that, right? I'll be off more this summer and won't be selling a house or taking six hours of PhD level classes.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Where I come from...

This is where I am from...
These pictures were taken between the "main" road (the paved county road) and my parents' home.
I've been to several states, and five countries in Europe, and no where can compete with my home for sheer natural beauty.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Real Obvious...

So this came in my inbox "help" from a home superstore, and Real Simple, the magazine dedicated to making me feel like the worst housekeeper on the planet. These "tips" are supposed to make my life better?

Use multitasking products? "No need to use separate products to cleanse and exfoliate" this exhorts me. I am so happy if I manage to get my makeup off my face before I collapse that I often use a wet wipe. Forget "cleansing."

"Line up your products in the medicine cabinet in the order in which you use them... No more forgetting deodorant when you're in a rush." If I couldn't get ready until my products were lined up in the medicine cabinet, I would never get to work. Then I have to put them back in the same order? Every morning? I might as well tender my resignation now.

"For items you're always using (like cotton swabs or makeup brushes), keep them on the counter in pretty containers." Really? Does anyone *not* keep their cotton swabs on the counter in a jar? Did I miss the memo that said that we weren't doing that anymore? Because everyone I know keeps theirs in a jar on the bathroom counter, along with the cotton balls.

Real Simple really should think about these "tips" before they send out this content. I am now convinced (as if I weren't before) that they are completely divorced from any kind of reality.

Friday, April 24, 2009

With mornings like these...

I really hate when one of my mornings is intersected with an extra child being at my house. Not "extra," as in friend over, but "extra" as in, should have been in the truck with their daddy. (He looks for excuses to leave them.) It is always disconcerting. And it takes a chunk of time out of my morning to do drop off at an extra school.

Anyway, so this morning W is sitting on the couch as his dad leaves. I ask why. Turns out, the guy who is taking him on an extra-special field trip to watch things blow up is picking him up at my house. My house is a wreck, as it is every semester about this time. (Spring break was a long time ago.) So I tell him that he has to pick up the living room-- all the area that can be seen from the front door.

Then, after I load the dishwasher, I tell him again.

In the meantime, he has taken the clothes out of the dryer so that he can dry his clothes. Fine. Turns out, though, those clothes are still wet.

I sweep the leaves out of the entry hall. At this point, I am yelling at W to clean up the living room that can be seen from the front door. He fusses about me yelling. Now, at this point, the fact that he needed to help neaten up should not have been news. Yet, he could not figure out why I was upset. How can he be such a man at 14?

Back to the wet clothes: I try to look at the lint screen to see if it is full. I reach over and pull it out and somehow knock the coffee out of my hands. As my dear Mea was trying to help salvage the falling coffee cup, she knocked over the laundry detergent. And the lid fell off as it hit the floor.

I had a quart (at least) Tide Free mixed with coffee on my hallway floor. And on my clothes. Which made the laminate floor impassible and my outfit impossible.

So I had to mop up the mess and change clothes. Changing caused its own set of trauma. I am evidently about 10lbs over my fat clothes at this point, so it was a challenge to find something that fit. Eventually, of course, I did, sort of. But I made it to work eventually.

And just made W wait in the front yard.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


So taking out the old vanity in my bathroom was a four hour job for three people. Evidently plumbing standards were "plumbing suggestions" in 1978. I can hardly believe the mess this thing was. And to get to anything, we had to ooze through layers of mold and rotted caulk. Oh, and the builder used regular drywall behind the sink instead of green board or cement board like someone who is not an idiot. So I also had to patch disintegrating drywall. Now, of course, it needs painted because it looks like patched drywall.

And since we got the old vanity out (in pieces), we see that one of the shut-off valves leaks. We have to fix this before I can start on the floor. Because there is a big vanity-shaped patch of cement in my bathroom, with no flooring. Around it are three layers of flooring, each more horrific than the last. The bottom layer is thankfully past my ability (interest) to dig out. The second layer is bright almost-Williamsburg blue. The top layer is mauve. I don't know why, because it clashes with the pumpkin colored walls. If there were ever a room crying out for a neutral, it is this one.

I just have to thank God that we escaped the harvest gold bathroom fixtures.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring Break

I love hearing my colleagues tell me that they are going to have relaxing spring breaks. For me, spring break is kind of like half-time. There is a break, so I actually *look* at my house.

Then I make a list.

Today, so far, Mea and I replaced one of a pair of really awful track lights. We'll probably get the other one before the day is over. Last night, I took the burners out of my stove and scrubbed that nastiness underneath (which I should have done when I moved in, but avoided until now).

Other items on my to do list:
  • Put new flooring down in the master bath before installing a new vanity and faucet (the old faucet leaks, and the old sink is stained and ugly).
  • Replace the light fixture in the master bath
  • Take out the shower doors in the master bath. They are outdated, stained, hard to use and hard to clean. I am totally replacing them with a bleachable curtain.
  • Paint Miss O's bedroom. Really, green and dark green with a huge border, with chunks missing. Really, really terrible.

I think this is a reasonable list, mostly. Painting is really the one thing that might not get done, because I'll have to clear out her room, then prime, then paint. That will be a two-day job.

And Mea is talking wistfully about a day-trip to Silver Dollar City.

Update: We finished the other light. No more 80s track lights.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Something I have never done...

I did something I have never done before: I dropped a graduate class.

One of the things I have never understood about taking classes in education departments is how the classroom practices are so divorced from the theories they teach (two amazing exceptions to this were Connie Zimmer at ATU and Patty Phelps at UCA). In this class, the instructor kept talking about the importance of a study guide, but he rarely provided them. The discussion board questions were only tangently related to the readings (honestly, I usually did the readings after the discussion board). It is mid-term, and I had gotten zero feedback on the discussion board portion of the class, which was worth 20% of the final grade.

I finally got a response from the instructor, after I dropped the class. I had three spelling errors (letter reversals-- I am mildly dyslexic). So that dropped my score on "Writing." Whatever. It is over. I'll finish up the other class I am in and be done with everything but my dissertation seminar. Then I can worry about more interesting things, like my dissertation. :)

Monday, March 16, 2009


I hate grades. I do. I hate giving them.

Normally, though, I don't mind getting them, because mine are generally good. And by generally, I mean, there is not a dead philosopher involved. (Come to think of it, living ones aren't much better...) Anyway, I got a paper back today with the most bizarre comment:
I am unclear as to your best practice.

organization 4 Writing 4 Thorough 5 Descript 4 Total 17 Weighted 8.5

This is my thesis:
Because of the distance in distance education between the instructor and the learner, either in location or in time, the potential for instant communication is tantalizing. However, in the rush to incorporate the new media technologies into distance learning (DL), there is a danger that the technologies can overwhelm all the other elements in the course. This must not happen. Instead, education must remain focused on instructional outcomes, not just the technology of delivery.

While I will admit it lacks a certain something (like readability), it pretty directly states a topic that the instructor listed as one of our choices.

I even emailed the instructor to ask him to explain himself. I did. And I never do that. I have been known to smother them a bit with questions about the *next* assignment if they gave me a bad grade, but I have not questioned assignments.

I am probably going to drop the class. Over this comment (and the B that goes with it). Part of me feels like a quitter, but I have not dropped a course yet in my phd program. And I don't need this course. It does not count toward anything. At all. I thought it would be interesting, and if I took two classes, then I could get a student loan. And we all know, I need money to pay for classes. Not that I have money to pay back student loans, but I think that is another issue altogether.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


(and Hare Krishna is not a part of this)

My GPS was lost for the better part of two days. How is it that I can't manage to keep up with things? Really, I am not an idiot. My parents did have me tested for idiocy... Really. My dad was working on a masters in counseling. I was a child. Lots of counseling students needed a victim person to try out their testing skills.

So, as a certified not-an-idiot, theoretically, I should not be inclined to lose every single one of my belongings. However, over the weekend, my gps went missing. A couple of weeks ago, my office keys magically appeared in a random location, so that they got turned into the department office.

At least my printer is large, so it is hard to lose it...

Monday, March 09, 2009

Finally! A new post.

Yesterday, I worked in our front yard. Normally this means cleaning up some resistant leaves and putting in some bedding plants.

Not this year.

Our yard is barren. There are two gigantic trees, a couple of shrubs that I don't recognize and two sickly azaleas. Near the mailbox, however, is a little oasis. There, tulips and peonies are just shooting up. No grass graces our yard. We thought about sod, but the affordable sod only grows in sunlight, and the guy at the landscaping materials place said that it was iffy. He recommended hardscape.

This yard is so beyond bedding plants.

So, yesterday, I bought hostas and caladiums. And vinca. And some other random groundcover that I can't identify. I planted the pinks I bought earlier in a pot, so I can move them to find sunlight, along with my herbs.

Mea's regional history day competition was Saturday. She has written a lovely piece on Sargent Shriver. This year, she has done an individual documentary, so she alone is responsible for the script, editing, sound, AND all the paperwork. Paperwork is what she hasn't really done before. Her friends she used to work with did most of the paperwork. This has been her biggest problem thus far. Her bibliography contains only a fraction of the works that she used. She still took third, and this is the hardest region in the state, but she has to improve it if she wants to go to nationals. One of her judges found my parents at the awards ceremony to try to talk to her, so we chased him down afterward. He said that she needs to focus more in her conclusion, and she needs to work on it-- starting soon. No more procrastination.

My dad's band, South Big Creek, played at Williams Family Jamboree on Saturday night. I only made it through the first set. Bluegrass music is an iffy thing for me anyway, and I was exhausted by 8pm-- that and I knew we had an hour's drive back home. So we headed back home before the second set. Mea, who was evidently still on an adrenaline high, stayed and rode home with my brother's family. Of course, she was not faced with driving.

Tonight our 4-H group meets, and tomorrow night is the fashion competition. Mea is threatening to skip tonight's meeting due to homework. And she probably will. AP English is piling it on-- a bunch of questions on Julius Caesar, which is one of my very favorite plays. The questions, though, are ridiculous-- we didn't do this in college lit classes (I did in one rhetoric class). Find an example of an anaphora in Act III; find Synedoche; find syllogism; etc. So she asks for help. Synecdoche, I remember. Part for the whole. Anaphora? Evidently I have aphasia where anaphora is concerned. Syllogism though, I know cold, right? Is is part of an enthememe. Alas, finding a bloody syllogism in a play is another matter. Fortunately, Caesar does have one of the best speeches of all time, so we mine “I come to bury Caesar not to praise him.” Lame as we are, we are comparing them to the classic: All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore, Socrates is mortal. We settle on the bit where he says that Brutus is an honorable man; they are all honorable me. The thing is, I love literature, with a particular love for Shakespeare. This stuff drives me mad. I don't understand how anyone survives this garbage in high school and goes on to major in English. Last year, Mea talked about majoring in English-- not this year. This year, it is sociology, with an eye toward studying rural sociology in graduate school.

My Miss O keeps getting her card pulled at school. She can't keep her hands to herself, and can't attend to her school work. Week before last, she had three “yellows” and last week she had a “yellow” and an “orange.” (That is with the missed two days for the ear infection.)“Red,” I believe, sends her to the office. I should, I suppose, start on the behavior mods-- I know how to do them. Goodness knows, I practiced enough with W. Of course, with him, it was all practice. Because of the autism, he only cared so much about the rewards or even the consequences. We finally found something that he was obsessed enough to hold over him: a laptop. (He's 14 now.) And he can even sull up and go without that-- except that his sisters have access to it when he is grounded from it and he just cannot stand that.

Anyway, I am afraid that Miss O has a bit of an ADHD thing going on. I am almost afraid to get her diagnosed, because with that comes meds. W, of course, is unmanageable without his.

Friday, February 06, 2009


So I always wonder why I do this stuff to myself. Why do I tell Mea that she can have people over? The house? A wreck. She's been too busy trying to get caught up at school to clean (like she promised she would). SO that would be me doing another load of dishes and wiping down counters. And it looks like it will be cleaning off the coffee table. And me who may be the biggest idiot on earth.

ETA: And, to add to the fun, my vacuum clogged. I have to take it apart, at some point, to remove said clog. And daughter for whom I am picking up like a madwoman? Cleaned her freaking bedroom instead of picking up the living room. Houseful of people coming over, and she decides to clean her room for the first time in six months.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


My office, which is actually a lovely little windowless office, is situated next to the men's room. We have a common wall. Fortunately, though, I can't see who walks in or out from my office. This is a blessing...

Because I can hear the men use the toilets. Yes, I hear the flushing, and that is bad. But it is not the worst.

So I bought a CD player, and I try to balance the volume with not disturbing the people on my hall. But regardless, I cannot continue with the bathroom noise. And once it is heard, it seems to be impossible to un-hear.

But I really really want to un-hear it.

Randomness seems to be a theme with me lately...

This is my list of random 25 facts about me from the Facebook meme.

1. I think golden age sci fi is amazing. I read and reread Asimov, Heinlein, Bradbury et. al.

2. Yes, I was an English major. I know what literature is.

3. I love love love Alice Cooper. He may be my all time favorite musician. Good thing he's prolific.

4. I am so excited that Neil Gaiman won the Newberry this year. Which speaks of my sci-fi geekdom and my former life as a librarian.

5. I will watch Weekend at Bernie's every time it is on cable. Ditto with Ferris Beuler. And Much Ado About Nothing. And Hamlet.

6. I don't have a cognitive dissonance problem with #5.

7. I scrapbook. Seriously, as in I pack up all my stuff and go to a crop once a month.

8. I can't keep organized. As OCD as I am, my desk and my house are both wrecks.

9. Despite my inability to keep house, I hate dirt. So while every surface in my house may be covered with stuff, I may well be sweeping or mopping my floors.

10. I don't like being outdoors. I like driving through pretty scenery, but lack any desire to walk around in it.

11. Most Sunday's you can find me sitting in a United Methodist Church.

12. I have a hard time telling people no (except students...). For this reason, I was head of the home missions committee at a previous church. I have taught every age of Sunday school from crawler to teenager, and co-taught some older than that. I am on committees at work that are outside the scope of my contract. And I am doing this meme.

13. I sew. I even made the outfit that I wore to work today.

14. My grandma taught me to sew and to quilt. She had high standards, but I now know how to rip a stitch I just put in (without gritting my teeth) and the value of doing things until I get them done right. And not to worry too much if I did it wrong the first time.

15. I have three kids. Their ages are 15, 13, and 6.

16. I have been married for nearly 17 years.

17. I think the Muppet Show was a work of genius.

18. I think Neil Gaiman is a work of genius, too.

19. I have more books than I know what to do with, but I love them, so I want to keep them. Ditto with fabric and scrapbooking supplies.

20. I believe that vinyl albums sound better than CDs.

21. I love mid-century modern furniture. Not the classy stuff that is back in style, but stuff that my grandparents might have bought.

22. Four of my favorite magazines have failed or are in the process of failing: O at Home, Domino, Simple Scrapbooks, and Blueprint.

23. I buy Vogue magazine, even though most of my clothes come from Kohls. (I do have a bit of cognitive dissonance about that...) And I dress myself by the rules of Trinnie and Susannah.

24. The last concerts I have seen were Better than Ezra, Apocalyptica, and Alice Cooper.

25. I hate driving in Little Rock. Take away my GPS and I am stuck.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


So I really have nothing. Why, then, am I writing here when I am aware that I have nothing to say (as opposed to other days)?


Pure and simple. I am not quite to the point that I am cleaning my house rather than do homework, but I may be edging closer. I have checked my facebook, my email, my message boards. I have prepared dinner for my family (okay, Kroger chicken-- but I reheated it), rewashed a load of clothes that sat in the washer too long, nagged dh into doing dishes (that started because we were looking for the corkscrew), and had a glass of wine.

Now I just need to bs my way through a definition of distance education. Recently, I have been rejoicing in the lack of theory in my classes that I am taking this spring. No theoretical framework to integrate into papers. No pretending I know what on earth my professors mean when they challenge me on my theories that I have cobbled together paraphrasing sentences I sort of understand. Just education classes.

Just the practical bs, ma'm. Hold the theoretical bs. I take the bs back. Busy work. That is what it is rather than bs. I am proving that I am working. Definitions, case studies, and bears, oh. my.

Let's see how far I get before I start wiping down the kitchen cabinets.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Dripping faucets. How hard can one be to fix? I have even done it before. So I buy a $35 kit and get my husband to turn off the water, and tear in.

Let me back up. To understand, you really must know that I fall asleep pretty easily and sleep like the dead. My husband, on the other hand, is an insomniac, and every little thing keeps him awake. The shower in the master bath has been dripping since we moved in. Our home warranty does not cover faucets. So, he felt that something *had* to be done. I on the other hand, have been putting this off for months. I knew that there was no shutoff for the shower itself. That means all the water in the house has to be off until I get everything put back together.

But dh finally nagged talked me into tackling this. I took apart the faucet, removing the handles and stems, and put on the new stems and handles. This took a relativity short amount of time. Couple of hours.

But of course, both handles still leaked. We had not touched the seats. The seat is a little nut-like thing that connects the back of the faucet to the faucet stem (which is under the handle).

So we take it all apart and take out the seat on the cold water. It didn't want to come out, so off to the hardware store for a different seat wrench. That helped. The seat loosened and came out. It was, of course, shot. So I try to put in a new one. It would not go in. Would not thread. We spent an hour or more trying to get it to catch. So I try putting in the old one, taping the threads and stuff. Nope. Leaking mess. So back to Lowe's to see if there is a different seat sold. No. Gerber changed the way they manufactured them. The clerk, though, helpfully pointed out how the threads were machined differently. And the old seat is ever-so-slightly smaller than the new one.

So there is no way to fix the old faucet. Which means after 6 hours, and $50 in materials, we are back to the beginning. Well, except for the drip that has turned into a waterfall. Dad is coming on Monday to sort it out.

Yeah, I slept in Miss O's room. Dh got to enjoy the waterfall by himself.

Friday, January 09, 2009

New Year!

So, I have gained a ton of weight. Almost a metric ton. So I decided to do something. My dh does WeightWatchers online, but it is expensive. So I didn't want to do that. So I poked around and found a free food tracker. It figured out how many calories I need to eat every day to loose 1.5 pounds a week (I lack the obsessiveness to eat few enough calories to lose more). Other than the point system, it works like Weight Watchers. You type in the food you ate and the amounts and it tracks the calories for free. It will keep a year's worth of records for you. If you want more than that, you have to subscribe (but it is still WAY less than Weight Watchers.

I've been obsessively finding foods that will help me not starve while not sending my calorie count out of control. I found this list of 100 Calorie Snacks on WebMD:
100 Calorie Snacks: 20 Choices

Need some ideas? To get you started on the road to calorie-controlled snacking, our experts offer some suggestions for healthy 100-calorie munchies:

1. Half an apple with 2 teaspoons of peanut butter
2. An orange and a few dry-roasted nuts
3. 10 cashew nuts
4. 10 almonds
5. 2 ounces of lean roast beef
6. Half a small avocado
7. 3 ounces cooked whole-grain noodles with 1 fresh tomato and 1/2 ounce hard cheese
8. 1 seven-grain Belgian waffle
9. 4 mini rice cakes with 2 tablespoons low-fat cottage cheese
10. 3 ounces low-fat cottage cheese and 3 whole-wheat crackers
11. 1/4 cup fat-free ranch dressing with mixed raw veggies
12. 6 Wheat Thins crackers with two teaspoons of peanut butter (or any nut butter)
13. 1 small baked potato with 1/2 cup salsa and 2 tablespoons of fat-free sour cream
14. 1/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce with 1 slice of whole-wheat toast, cut into 4 strips for dunking
15. 1/2 cup frozen orange juice, eaten as sorbet
16. 2 large graham cracker squares with 1 teaspoon peanut butter
17. 3 handfuls of unbuttered popcorn, seasoned with herbs
18. 4-6 ounces of no-fat or low-fat yogurt
19. A 5-ounce tossed salad with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and 1/4 cup fat-free dressing
20. Half a "finger" of string cheese with 4 whole-wheat crackers