Sunday, January 31, 2010

When All Else Fails, Ramble about Tarantino Movies...

Okay, so I finally got around to watching both of the Kill Bill movies. I thought they were brilliant. And the other night I couldn't get the sound effect of Uma Thurman in swordfighting mode out of my head. Now I can't remember what it sounded like anymore. It's strange, but back when those movies were in theaters I remember thinking they sounded incredibly stupid. I thought they were slasher flicks.

Guess I was the stupid one.

Anyway, my first Tarantino movie was Pulp Fiction. Oddly enough, that is a movie I did want to see when it first came out. But I was a little young and I don't think my parents wanted me to be exposed to all those "adult" themes at such a young age. Sure, the reason I wanted to see it is because I enjoyed its spoof (Plot Friction) in Mad Magazine, but it's all good, right?

I thoroughly enjoyed Pulp Fiction last year when I finally rented it, and moved on to Inglourious Basterds which I saw in the theater on opening night. It was great too.

I should back up and say that technically my first experience with Quentin Tarantino was Reservoir Dogs, which I gave up on far too early, being unaccustomed to Tarantino movies and not really knowing what to expect. So I'll have to watch that one in its entirety before making any judgments about it.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

RIP J.D. Salinger

Okay, so as not to appear hypocritcal, let me begin with this disclaimer:

Laying it on the line, I'm a little miffed that Mr. Salinger had to make The Catcher in the Rye as reclusive as he was.

There. I said it.

I would have loved for him to have given permission to someone to make Catcher into a play. And I'm not much of a play person, but I really think it would have worked. I mean, I fell in love with Holden Caulfield in college when I read the book.

I taught the book to a group of students and did something that would probably make the late Salinger roll over in his burial of choice: I had the students write something in Holden's voice. I wanted to make sure that they understood the character, and that was my way of assessing them, while incorporating creative writing into the mix.

Mr. Salinger, if I offended you in any way by making that assignment, I do apologize.

But, the apologies are not over yet. Another thing I must confess is that I wrote a story with Holden Caulfied in it. Nothing that I would ever try to publish, you understand, but just a writing exercise, basically.

Once again, meaning no disrespect by these actions, I'm just a big fan of Holden Caulfield. And to know that the man who created him is no longer with us, even though he wanted to be out of the public eye most of his life, is kinda sad.

Even though I'm sure he wouldn't have wanted anyone to feel that way.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Potentially Disjointed Post

Okay, night #2 of insomnia. Problem is, my insomnia last night caused me to be very tired and unmotivated today. I tried my best to act enthusiastic, but in reality, I felt like I was in grad school all over again after having stayed up all night reading academic essays on pedagogy and then getting up early to tutor students in writing, going on nothing but caffeine. Except this time, it was without caffeine.

I knew I should have made some coffee.

I can eat gelatin knowing when it's made of, thinking about what it's made of, even though I'm a vegetarian. Hey, I never promised to be vegan.

My Spanish is getting better. Just last night, I went to eat Mongolian food with the book club, and when I saw the orange root vegetable, the first word that came to mind was, "zanahorias." It took a few minutes for "carrot" to come to mind. We'll assume this is promising.

I was thrilled to receive correspondence from a former student. I did ask them all to keep in touch, but remembering how I was "one poor correspondent" (sorry to rip off "Sister Golden Hair") with most of my former college instructors and professors, I was pleasantly surprised to see that a student actually did send me a message.

All in all, it's been a decent day. Now, if I could just get a little sleep so that I'll feel more refreshed tomorrow. And possibly less random than I seem to be right now...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Absent Minded Instructor

Okay, so I managed to get through the day without my ID or my EXPO markers. Nothing short of a miracle.

The high school where I teach dual enrollment classes apparently knows me well enough that no one seemed to notice that I was ID-less. And I wasn't about to advertise it. Somehow I managed to get past all four security checkpoints (two at ingress and two at egress) sans the ID.

Then I showed up at the college to teach my second class. I didn't figure my lack of an ID would be a problem there since I can pass for a college student if I really want/need to (side note: a security guard at the college once informed me that I was parking in a faculty parking lot. I said, "I know--I am faculty"). Anyway, so the ID thing really wasn't a problem. And my students had a good laugh at my expense when I admitted to them that I'd forgotten my ID badge. It wasn't so funny, however, when I realized I was without my beloved EXPO markers, as well. Seems I'd cleaned out my bag before break and forgotten to repack the markers once the new semester began.

Aside from the goofy stuff though, it wasn't too bad of a day!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Today is my dad's birthday! I hope he had a great day :)

Monday, January 18, 2010


Was just reading Dos Passos' 1919 (published in 1932), and noticed he mentioned the scents of mustard gas and roses. I wonder if Vonnegut ever read Dos Passos. Granted, this mustard gas and roses came from WWI, not II, but there might be a connection there.

I must really miss grad school.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Slightly Philosophical Moment (Or, Faith Restored)

Well I went out to the park today. It was pretty nice. I read some on 1919 and took a couple walks. I didn't quite get my 10000 steps, but I did get some exercise.

During one of the walks, I saw something precious. And when I say something is precious, you know it has to be, since I'm not the mushy, sentimental type. Anyway, a woman was walking with her small child (since I've been studying Spanish, the first thing I thought of was "La mujer y su hijo caminan") down to the pier. As they were walking down, two geese waddled up to the kid. I'm sure there's something philosophical there, but I haven't thought about it enough. All I can say is that just about the time I'd given up hope in this world, that sight restored some of it.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Muse Strikes! (This time with a blunt object)

I had a lovely day today. I spent much of it practicing Spanish. It's a slow go, but I think know I'm making progress. It almost makes me wish I were a student again. Almost.

On that topic, at least two of my friends from grad school are in PhD programs now; one of my grad school buds is applying for grad school; and one of my undergrad friends is finishing up, preparing for grad school, and already making plans for the PhD program.

I still think I made the right decision for myself. After being in school for nearly 20 years, I was ready for a break. I wanted to travel, which I got to do a little of. I wanted a full-time job, which I got. And I wanted some R&R, which I sorta got. It's been wonderful to have a little bit of time to actually do the things I always thought I'd do if I ever got the chance. These days, I'm trying to work in anything I can. For instance, on days where I have large chunks of time (think, today) I like to spend the bulk of it on my Spanish, and spend a fair amount of time reading.

I already read the book for next week's book club meeting, so I checked out the 2nd book in the USA trilogy, 1919, earlier this week. To be honest, I haven't made much progress on it. I keep trying to go to the park, but it's just too chilly to sit and read. I was, however, able to do some walking, which is a good habit, I'd say. Tomorrow, weather permitting, I plan to try reading/walking in the park again. We'll see how that goes.

I've also been crocheting myself a doily. I thought I had one particular pattern, but as it turns out, I have a different one. Eh well, this one seems easier, and they're both pretty. Plus, I'll probably have enough thread left over from this doily to make another anyway.

I finished up a project I've been working on for Raquel. I am still finishing up one for her sister. Hopefully I'll get them both wrapped up this semester. But then, I also have several counted cross stitch projects to do. Most of them are small, and I'm thinking of giving them to my cousin as a set. I haven't seen her in probably ten years or more. I thought she was coming for Christmas, but turns out she couldn't. Maybe next year.

Anyway, I also talked to my parents, grandmother, and Raquel today. All in all, it's been a pretty good day, and I'm sad to see it come to a close. I always want to stay up as late as possible to squeeze out the last drop of day, but then I always make up for it by sleeping in the next day. Sometimes I think I'm the type of person who wouldn't sleep if it weren't necessary. But then, I tend to get a bit grumpy if I don't get my sleep, so I suppose I'm a bit of a contradiction.

This rambling business must mean that I need to get off the computer and get ready for bed. I hear 1919 calling me...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Wrapping up the Week

Yesterday proved to be a nice relaxing day, even after the incident. Anyway, I was able to spend a considerable amount of time studying Spanish, I read some on 1919, I started a crocheted doily for myself, I finished a project for Racquelle, and I was even able to take a walk in the park with my cousins.

Now, today there are two meetings slated. But then, there's always the weekend.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Well guys, after I got done blogging the previous post, I rolled up my shirtsleeves and got to work. And learned a lot about bed construction in the process. It really wasn't hard to fix, but the worst part was trying to move the mattress and box springs out of the way to get to the problem area. I'm kinda pleased with myself :) Maybe this won't be such a bad day after all. But then, to be on the safe side, I'd better knock on wood and not speak too soon...

P.S. All this before breakfast!

One of those Days...

Okay, so I know now why I was on pins and needles about the all-too-good day I was having yesterday. It was in preparation for what happened just after I woke up this morning. I was lying in bed musing about how embarrassing it would be for me if my light ever burned out in my room because I'd have to ask my cousin or her husband to replace it for me. And I have a terrible aversion to asking for help/feeling like a nuisance. Yes, even over a burned out bulb. Anyway, I'd been contemplating this for some time, but decided that I needed to really wake up and get going on this day. After all, it's a meeting-free day that doesn't involve class planning, so I really needed to get up and make the most of it. As I was rolling over in bed to reach for my laptop (I find the Internet a very nice way to wake up), a board or two fell out from under the bed and now the northwest corner of the box springs is now on the floor, and my bed's a bit droopy.

Yes, that's right all you James Thurber fans. The bed fell. Sorta. It made a horrendously loud noise and I was afraid that people would come running up wanting to know if I was okay and all that. Sure, I'm fine. The bed, on the other hand...

So I was thinking, just now as I sit on the floor because I don't want to get on the bed for fear of what might happen next, this is going to be far more embarrassing than asking someone to fix a lightbulb. The first actions I took were to clean around and under the bed, just in the event that anyone might come barging into my room (fortunately, no one did; the walls in this house are fairly soundproof). The second thing I did was to get on here and blog about it. Now, my next plan of action is to see if I can fix it. I don't know what the deal is, but I really hope that it's manageable because I don't want them to have to buy another bed.

I suppose if worse comes to worst, there's always that air mattress.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

One of Those Days...

Fortunately, I'm not talking about one of those days, but one of those good days. I've been a little nervous about the way things are going. They're going too well. But then, I had one day that I can recall where nothing went wrong at all with me. Now that's bizarre.

Anyway, so today, though my one alarm did not go off, I bought a new alarm clock, which did go off (though it's a horribly annoying alarm that I rather hate) after I'd already woken up. Not bad. I got an early start to the day, getting breakfast and a shower before anyone else got up. Not bad.

Then I came back to my room and started working on course outlines. I finished two of them last night, and managed to get the others put together this morning. That means I was then able to drop all five off at the copier's this morning, and hopefully they and the syllabi will all be done Friday for me to pick up.

See why I've been nervous?

Oh, and plus, even though my textbook never got ordered, the guy who orders them gave me his copy. To keep! I felt bad about the whole thing because I know he has a massive job ordering the textbooks for everyone, plus he teaches also. Anyway, somehow I wasn't in the file, and I imagine that's how my request got overlooked. Such is life. Anyway, since he gave me his, I should be covered!

Let's see... then I was able to exchange office keys today (I wasn't able to yesterday, though they were supposed to have been ready).

Made it to my meeting early and they had pizza! I was just thinking that I hoped they'd have pizza. It was glorious.

Sat at a table with three of my four former portablemates (the people I shared the portable building with until I was moved to an academic building). I wish they could have moved with me too--we seem to get along famously. We're all a bit on the sarcastic side, and most of us are very independent people, though we work well together, oddly enough. We had lots of good laughs during the meeting, and a good time was had by all.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Deja Vu... Sorta

I feel like I'm in grad school again. And for some reason, it feels like that was eons ago. Anyway, the new faculty at the school are required to read not one, not two, but three academic essays to discuss (I guess) tomorrow at the meeting that I just became aware of yesterday. Then, of course, there is this capstone project that they mentioned before break that I totally forgot about until I dug out the essays (which I easily could have read over break had I not forgotten about this entire project) and saw that I had scribbled some sort of note to myself about a capstone project in April. I think this means we're supposed to do some sort of experiment with our teaching pedagogy or something. I guess I forget that not everybody took pedagogy classes like I did. Really, this should be a breeze, but I'm just seeing it as extra work.

Now one thing I must remind myself is that, although I feel slightly overwhelmed right now, I have significantly fewer students this semester than last. More I get to thinking about it though, I don't know that this necessarily means less work. After all, several of the students that are not showing up on my spring dual enrollment rosters didn't write papers in the fall, either.

Well, such is life. I should get off here and get back to reading/highlighting those essays. Then maybe I'll have a chance to put together some sort of a course outline this evening.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Meeting Day

Well, today was the first day of two meetings. There will be another similar day on Friday. Meaning two meetings separated by a healthy lunch break. Anyway, that consumed much of my day. But I am happy to say that I have copies of all five of my syllabi printed out. This means I can drop them off to the copy place tomorrow and avoid the copy problems I had in the fall. Hopefully. Then, tomorrow I need to exchange keys so I can get into my new office, and return a library book. Also, I'll need to come up with a course outline and read over some academic essays for my Wednesday meeting. Among other things. Sorry this post was a bit dry. Just feels like I'm pretty busy somehow.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Back to Work

Well school starts next week. That means tomorrow we have meeting day. Yikes! I'm not ready yet. I still had things to do over break that didn't get finished. Eh, such is life.

This whole getting back to work after break thing is totally kicking my butt. I do like my job, I do like my students, and I am excited about the new textbook. I'm not, however, excited about putting together new class preps. That's why I'm starting them early--tonight.

I haven't technically started them yet, but I plan to very soon. Fortunately, my cousin just happens to have a copy of the textbook I requested for my Rhetoric class. Thisaway I can take a look at it before I get my own copy. Problem is, I've been traveling all day and I'm a little worn out. I took a nap before eating (I probably wouldn't have even eaten except that I was starting to feel sick), but I'm still really tired. I think after a break we should get another week or so to recover from the break. (Yeah, yeah, I know we get a week before school starts, but I'm talking a week before the meetings and the planning and all that).

Well, I suppose I could've come back sooner.

Anyway, I'm going to need all the support and positive reinforcement I can get here. One of my goals for 2010 is not to put things off. In other words, I want to get in and get things done. I'm not really a procrastinator, but I want to get even better about getting things wrapped up soon, thus freeing up larger chunks of free time to maximize the amount of stuff I can get done in any given day.

Whew! Just read back over that last one. Makes me tired. Maybe I should take a second nap.

Thursday, January 07, 2010


Well, I got the old tripod out again today to take some snow pictures. Really I probably took about the same ones as last year, except that this time I tried using the self-timer thing so that I could be in them as well. Those weren't the greatest, but it was fun to experiment.

Other things on the agenda for today: make cheese spread (gotta love those comfort foods!) called Ultimate Grilled Cheese from Taste of Home magazine, make chocolate pudding (maybe with amaretto--we'll see how daring I'm feeling), work on the granny square afghan and try to finish The 42nd Parallel.

I'm trying to get various craft projects wrapped up before I have to go back to work. So far I've finished two: the latch hook rug for one grandma and the needlepoint heart project for the other.

I have a confirmation from one grandmother to go with me to karaoke, weather permitting, tomorrow if the place is having it. I haven't karaoked in a long time. Not sure how it will go or if we'll even go. I would also like to go to her house and work on the beading project she got me for Christmas. Just thought it would be nice to do that together before I have to go back, but if we don't end up having time, then maybe we can get together and work on it during my next break.

Really, I've managed to accomplish a fair amount of diversified things over this break. It has seemed far longer than it's really been. That's a change for me. Usually time flies right by me and it totally freaks me out. That's why I'm so fond of doing several things in one day. Somehow that gives the illusion of slowing down time. I know, it runs totally contrary to what they say about time flying when you're having fun, but try it sometime--diversify the things you do in a day and see if at the end of the day it doesn't seem as though you've lived through two or three days instead of just one. I first discovered this phenomenon more years ago than I really should be admitting. Probably... 10-15 years ago I'd guess? It's been too long for me to remember. Anyway, that day I went to town with some friends from church (something I rarely did) and actually had a really good time. Then, in the afternoon, I went to another friend's house. It seemed like two days, but it was really just one.

Anyway, I started packing for my trip back today. It's a little sad, but I've had a good long break (made even longer by diversification) and there's always spring break which will be coming up in probably a couple months or so. Then there's summer. I'd like to take another trip with my mother this summer. I'd really like to visit San Francisco.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Just a Couple of Thoughts...

1) I'm sure that whoever is sending me anonymous comments in foreign languages and/or advertising WoW and Viagra must have too much time on their hands. Not that I have a problem with comments in other languages than English, but the anonymous ones appear to fake ones. Perhaps these individuals could find themselves employed with Wal-Mart (as checkers), which leads to...

2) What is the deal with Wal-Mart? The last time I went, there were employees crawling all over the place, seriously impeding shoppability, moving items to the front of shelves. Seriously, those people could have been stationed to man the checkout counters so that the lines didn't have to be freaking nine miles long. Sheesh.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

It's All My Fault

*This is the preliminary draft of something I'd like to probably proofread and add to a larger work at some point*

My father and I went to my grandmother's house to stay with my aunt who has autism. Really, she did just fine, though my father and I became remarkably sleepy during the course of the stay. The reason we were there was that my grandmother had a routine mammogram scheduled for today. As she is a breast cancer survivor, these checkups are extremely important.

Anyway, that's the background. So at some point my father and I were both conscious again after we'd each had our turn at napping during the afternoon. Seems as though when one was awake the other was asleep. Anyway, Dad asks me if I want cornbread for supper tonight (to go with some leftover butter beans). I reply that I'd prefer corn muffins. After a short discussion as to whether or not we had corn muffin mix, he came to the conclusion that I should call my grandmother (who had planned to stop at the store after the mammogram) and ask her to pick up a pouch or two of the mix.

I dialed the number.

(indistinct rattling and muffled electronic voices)
"Just a minute. Let me get my Bluetooth in."
(more of the same)
"There we are. Just a minute, honey. Let me pay her and then I can talk to you."
"Oh, you're checking out? Well, nevermind then."
"No, what? Did you need something? I can go back..."
"No, seriously, if you're in line, and paying, don't worry about it. It's really no big deal."
(checker in background) "I can hold your stuff if you need to go back and get something."

This continued for about 10 more minutes, ad nauseum. Finally, my grandmother insisted that she had already left her things with the checker and demanded to know what it was I wanted. Holding my hand over the receiver, I asked my dad, "Should I tell her?"

"Yes" he hissed, as he'd been telling me lo these 10 minutes that I should tell her to forget about it, not worrry about it, it's not a big deal, etc.

Confused and irritated, I replied, "Um, corn muffin mix."

My father scowled, thinking I meant should I tell her to forget about it.

"Like the kind that you make corn casserole with?" my grandmother asked.

"I don't know... the kind you make corn muffins with," I stupidly replied.

My grandma was mumbling something and my dad was growling something, and I really didn't catch what anyone said, but in the extreme drama of the situation, I figured I was bound to get in trouble with someone. Maybe both of them.

Turns out, my dad wasn't mad at me, but was rather horrified that my grandmother, in an extreme attempt at goodwill, would waste so much time (and possibly create an offensively long line at the store) over some blooming corn muffin mix. I was equally horrified, but as I was also still sleepy, I just wanted to get the thing over with. Becoming a hair grouchy, I mumbled, "This was a bad idea. I shouldn't have called. I've messed everything up." I really wasn't looking for sympathy, but I felt that I'd created quite a stir over something as simple as corn muffin mix.

Grandma, who is usually almost as deaf as I am, actually heard that. "No, you're not in trouble honey. I'm here. Now, how many do you want?"

This created yet another problem, as my father and I, both groggy and a bit moody from our nap/vigil shifts, neither one wanted any lousy corn muffins at this point. "Two" I blundered out. And it was as simple as that. Muffin mix was officially procured. Having survived the drama of the situation, my father and I were just calming down from the long-distance humiliation of the imaginary scene we inadvertantly created when his phone rang. Of course, it was my grandma. Seems she had locked her keys in the car. When Dad asked about spare keys, she told him that she'd locked them in the car, too.

I knew I shouldn't have asked for those lousy corn muffins! If I'd just agreed to cornbread, none of this would have happened.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Goals, etc.

Okay, so here's how I've been doing thus far:

The needlepoint project for my grandma (that I probably haven't mentioned on here) is almost done. Sure, there's some more background stitching for me to do and some outlining and some embellishments, but it's certainly coming along. I might even get it finished before the school year starts again.

The granny square afghan might have to wait until the next break or summer or something. At Thanksgiving, I had good intentions of finishing the afghan at Christmas; however, I haven't felt like working on it. So it goes.

Have been learning Spanish again. I have two workbooks (one on pronouns and prepositions, the other on verb tenses), three DVDs, and a Rosetta Stone. I'm making decent progress in the pronouns and prepositions book (won't start verb tenses, the DVDs or the Rosetta Stone until school starts, probably).

My new year's resolutions (goals, whatever) are made. We'll see how I do with them. Some of them are rather lofty (ex: publish something), whereas some of them are easier to do (blog more often), though some of them (procrastinate less) are hard to define. Several of the goals involve completing something (finishing a novel(la) I'm writing, reading various novels, and completing craft projects). Here's hoping the spring semester is a great one and that 2010 will be even better than '09!

Friday, January 01, 2010

I Have to Admit It's Getting Better...

Well, 2010 is looking up! Even though the bowling and billiards and karaoke are all closed tonight, I was able to go shopping with my mother and grandmother. I usually hate shopping, but we went to Barnes and Noble, which was just awesome. Also, we met up with my cousin and her husband for lunch. Well, I don't really have time to blog right now, so I'll get off and hopefully I can check back on blogs later. Happy 2010 everyone!


Well, here it is, friends and foes, whether we're ready for it or not. I didn't do one lousy thing to celebrate last night. I'm kind of thinking about not celebrating holidays anymore. They've lost their luster.

Still, I feel depressed thinking about how I'm going to have to hear about how much fun everybody else had last night. I want to go sing karaoke tonight, but I don't know if any of the local places will have it or not, and I don't know if the two friends that I ever do anything with will want to. Correction: I don't know if their parents will let them. This isn't a very good way to start the new year. Hopefully I'll feel better as the day progresses. The main thing I've learned is to never get one's hopes up or become excited about anything. That's the best way to cope with life.