Monday, December 31, 2007

What shoe am I?

As seen at Chaser's

You are Barefoot!

You're a total free spirit, go with the flow girl
You can't be restricted by shoes for very long
And unsuprisingly, the same goes for men
Your match is out there - and he's as carefree as you are

This is so freaking right it's scary!!!!!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

.... and we got to keep the leftovers...

My MIL needed computer work done, and since Hubby is her tech-support, we went over for Sunday linner (like brunch, but between lunch and dinner...).

MIL is famous for her chicken parmesan... and I've tried to make it, with various degrees of success.... So, this time she and I made it together.

and --damm, it was good.

The basic idea is to dip chicken breasts in egg , coat them in crushed garlic parmesan croƻtons, brown them in butter and let them drain on a paper towel.

Then you take a large baking dish, put about 1/2 of your tomato sauce (total sauce = about 2 cans...) on the bottom. Then you put in a layer of chicken, cover it with slices of mozzerella and swiss cheese, then another layer of chicken covered with cheese. You top it off with the other half of the sauce and a whole can of grated parmesean cheese on top.

It is fantastic. Really, about four people should share one of the breasts -- but they are way too good to share...

So, we cooked, watched a movie and hubby and I got the leftovers --- so you know what we'll have tomorrow :).

On having my whole break....

One of the things about coaching debate is that it tended to suck up a lot of my free time. The first couple of years (three maybe??) debate wasn't part of my course load or anything -- it was just service for which I got no release time... The year before it became part of my teaching load, I did get paid extra -- but for the first couple of years I didn't even get that....

So, as a result -- on top of my 5/5 load, I'd do debate practices, make travel arrangements etc... It got to be very time consuming. We'd also do practices during break, and spring break was always about the same time as nationals... so we'd do a lot.

The last two years I coached, I traveled with the team during winter break. Two years ago we went to a tournament in CA that started January 2. Last year we went to a tournament in Denver that started the Thursday before school started --

So, this year I'm really, really, really, really enjoying not traveling for debate over winter break.

Random photos of places I've been

I'm up late tonight and thought it might be fun to post some fun photos of places I've been since getting a digital camera... They are in no particular order -- either chronologically or of importance... just some really cool landscapes or other photos that represent the places to me..

This is a fun photo of D1 and D2 (both still debating and doing very well!!) -- I'm pretty sure this was in Southern California (maybe Huntington Beach or elsewhere in the OC??) two years ago. We had a day to play, as we'd spent New Year's Eve in flight -- arriving at our hotel about 3 AM PST. This may have been the first time one or both of them encountered the Pacific Ocean....

This is the Badlands in South Dakota... it is very weird, because there is little warning that this is here -- Imagine just driving along in the prairie, and suddenly, there is a huge hole in the earth...

This is Arlington -- Hubby and I have been to DC twice, and I want to go back!! There's something I really like about the place... I'm not sure why, but I suspect the West Wing has something to do with it... sigh.

We've been to the Grand Canyon twice -- the first time a long time ago (before Hubby'd even proposed... we've been married 17 years...). This time was different, no fences, no walls, plenty of places to fall off the edge.

And, Mt. Rushmore. Pretty impressive --- although, I see no reason to go back....

yes, that's a wolf. He's in the pack the public is allowed to see at the International Wolf Center in Ely, MN. If you get a chance to go -- you must. It really is the only way you are likely to see wolves in the north woods. There are plenty of them up there, but they are shy.

This is the Oregon Coast. I've got to get back there -- in fact, I'm scheming about how to take a long-weekend to go there with Hubby in February... hmmmm..... I'll work it out when we get to Red State next week.

Looking down Lake Meade, from Hoover dam. You can see how low the water is -- makes me wonder how Vegas is going to support itself....

This summer we went to Chicago on the "Ferris Bueler's Day Off" tour...

Two summers ago we went to Carhenge -- Stonehenge recreated out of cars. It is a pretty cool place, although if I had the choice between Carhenge and the real thing, I'd take rocks over Buicks every time. And no, Hubby isn't peeing on the car -- although it kind of looks like he is...

I've now seen the the cow sculpted out of butter at the Iowa state fair... and I decided the Minnesota State fair is better -- although this was fun to do with my city-slicker cousins.... from NYC :). I found out last week that my cousin Chris is going to marry the girlfriend we took to the fair, her name is Sunshine -- and we love her (even if we call her "Angie 3").

This is San Diego -- I've been there several times, but in less than a month (oh crap... it is coming up soon!) I'll be giving a paper at a conference there -- instead of coaching a debate team!!!

This is a photo I took on our two-week trip to Arizona last January. Hubby was there for a schoolish-type thing, I was there to be there. I fell in love with the cacti...

These are some random stranger's kids -- playing in the headwaters of the Mississippi at Lake Itasca... It was a perfect summer day and they were doing what kids do when they see water and rocks!

This is from one of our many trips to Colorado. I really am not sure where this is, and the snow isn't much of a help in terms of time of year, as I usually see snow when I go to the Rocky Mountains :).

This is Lake Superior in winter -- doesn't it look cold? I love the blue of this photo -- although it looks like I'm on an ice burg, I'm really on the shore, taking the photo from near the JEEP. I suspect it was one of those bright and very cold days, as the photo makes my fingers cold just looking at it!

This is the Old Market in Omaha. On warm summer nights performers come out of the woodwork.... this is also where some of my favorite restaurants are, as well as the best farmer's market in the Midwest, horse-drawn carriages, emo-kids and guys in tinfoil hats...

A few years ago we went to Florida in January. We found a great hotel on Daytona beach, for cheap!!! This was sunrise over the ocean -- we then went back to sleep....

This is Bugaboo glacier in Canada... very cool. People hiking and camping up here needed to put lumber and chicken wire around their cars to prevent the porkupines from eating their tires!

This is Palisade Head overlooking Lake Superior. This view prompted Sunshine to say "damm, that is a big lake" -- yep, it is!

This is the California coast near San Francisco. I took this when we had NPTEkqrz at Berkeley... This is another place we might run away to.... hmmm....

From our recent trip to Vegas -- which was unlike anyplace I've EVER been... in a good, but weird way.

Wherever we go, we still have our set of freaky-cats to punish us when we come home....
Extra-toes, in a photo where you can actually see his freakishly large feet.... if you like kitty toes, you'll LOVE him!

Extra-toes and New Kitty, when they could still share the top of the cat post... she's gained some weight since then and I doubt she could squeeze her fat ass in there today....

Blind kitty... looking rather angelic. No doubt it didn't last long --- he looks like he's brewing a major league freak out....

and the hellion herself, New Kitty -- this is a rather old photo of her, but the attitude hasn't changed a bit!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Charlie Wilson's War...

So, we couldn't see "The Great Debaters" -- as it was sold out. Turns out they don't hold any tickets for actual debaters - so we were out of luck. We'll go next week when everyone else has to go back to work :).

Instead we went to see "Charlie Wilson's War" --- it was really good. I'd describe it both as compelling and as funny as a movie about a covert war can be. If you are interested in a true, political story -- see it.

updates and a cat question for my bloggy friends...

  • On "Lush" products -- Hubby and I are both in love with the stuff. He can't wait to go to Macy's and pick out his own bath bombs. We love the way the bath bomb scent hangs around in the bathroom for a few days... it is great. Also, the solid shampoos are great, as is the scrubby bar thing that looks like very milky chocolate with lots of nuts.
  • On cooking and other stuff... I made the Pioneer Woman's steak sandwiches yesterday.... They were amazingly good. Of course, hubby and I are already plotting our modifications... (more meat, fewer onions, add mushrooms) -- but, generally -- wow!
  • New Kitty has managed to get a couple of ornaments off the tree -- one of them was pretty high up, and looked like Old Kitty (who died last March, before New Kitty arrived) -- it was a little creepy.
  • My paper is making progress -- slowly but surely I'm constructing a prima facie version of just war criteria -- and I think it will permit supreme emergency reactions which are exemptions to non-combatant immunity.... I'll know sometime on January 6.

The question ---
  • why does Extra-Toes splash in the water bowl? He splashes lots of water, enough that he makes the carpet kind of soggy -- He's drinking out of one of those kitty water fountains, so it isn't as if his water isn't fresh -- he just likes to slap at the water and push it out of the bowl. He does the same thing with traditional water bowls, and even when we leave some water in the sink for him.

Snowy Saturday...

It is snowing, again. I love it!!!

This morning I finally sent off a bloggy gift -- she'll get it sometime in the new year - I hope she enjoys it!!!

While I was out, I stopped for the least healthy breakfast possible... McD's breakfast sandwiches, Cinimelts (the most wonderful things, EVER!!) and fancy coffee... we have the three basic (bad) food groups -- grease, sugar and caffeine .

Now we are just hanging around, listening to NPR and pretending to work until we go to "The Great Debaters" later this afternoon...

not a bad way to spend a Saturday, eh?
You Are Impressionism

You think the world is quite beautiful, especially if you look at it in new and interesting ways.
You tend to focus on color and movement in art.
For you, seeing the big picture is much more important than recording every little detail.
You can find inspiration anywhere... especially from nature.

Friday, December 28, 2007, about that paper....

I've just finished our reservations for the conference in San Diego...

I'll come out early, hubby will meet me there and we'll enjoy some time in the sun. It will be our first non-debate trip to the city, and I'm looking forward to it!

Now, all I need to do is actually write the f-ing paper....

somehow, these trips were a bit easier when the debaters had to do the prep work ---- assuming they actually DID the prep.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A nice surprise at water aerobics...

This morning I got hubby out of bed and we went to the gym.

This is a huge thing for hubby, as he isn't a morning person.... and my intense dislike of the water aerobics people at the close gym makes me drive across town for a good teacher.

When we got there, my favorite teacher wasn't in -- but, an old favorite (who teaches at a shallow pool) was her sub. She did a great class, pushing us in ways our favorite doesn't --- in fact, she's so good we want her to teach us more often!!!

The nice thing about hubby going with me is that he had the car all warmed up when I got in -- it saves me the shiver and shock of getting out of a warm pool and into a cold car while still damp....

I kind of doubt I'll be able to get hubby to go with me tomorrow morning, but -- since favorite teacher was out today, I'll call the gym to see if she's she she should be....

How my wealthy friends from high school might have answered during college....

The bold are things I'm relatively certain of -- the italics are things of which I can't be as sure or can't answer :).

What is striking is that my list isn't all that different from the way my wealthy friends would likely have answered....

If your father went to college
If your father finished college
If your mother went to college
If your mother finished college
If you have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor
If you were the same or higher class than your high school teachers
If you had a computer at home
If you had your own computer at home
If you had more than 50 books at home
If you had more than 500 books at home
If you were read children’s books by a parent
If you ever had lessons of any kind
If you had more than two kinds of lessons
If the people in the media who dress and talk like you were portrayed positively
If you had a credit card with your name on it
If you have less than $5000 in student loans
If you have no student loans
If you went to a private high school
If you went to summer camp
If you had a private tutor
If you have been to Europe
If your family vacations involved staying at hotels
If all of your clothing has been new and bought at the mall
If your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
If there was original art in your house
If you had a phone in your room
If you lived in a single family house
If your parent owned their own house or apartment
If you had your own room
If you participated in an SAT/ACT prep course
If you had your own cell phone in high school
If you had your own TV in your room in high school
If you opened a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college
If you have ever flown anywhere on a commercial airline
If you ever went on a cruise with your family
If your parents took you to museums and art galleries
If you were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family.
How my child (if we had one) would likely answer it... assuming Hubby and I made similar life decisions...

The bold are things I'm relatively certain of -- the italics are things of which I can't be as sure or can't answer as I don't know the child :).

If your father went to college
If your father finished college
If your mother went to college
If your mother finished college
If you have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor
If you were the same or higher class than your high school teachers
If you had a computer at home
If you had your own computer at home
If you had more than 50 books at home
If you had more than 500 books at home
If you were read children’s books by a parent
If you ever had lessons of any kind
If you had more than two kinds of lessons
If the people in the media who dress and talk like you were portrayed positively
If you had a credit card with your name on it
If you have less than $5000 in student loans
If you have no student loans
If you went to a private high school
If you went to summer camp
If you had a private tutor
If you have been to Europe
If your family vacations involved staying at hotels
If all of your clothing has been new and bought at the mall
If your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
If there was original art in your house
If you had a phone in your room
If you lived in a single family house
If your parent owned their own house or apartment
If you had your own room
If you participated in an SAT/ACT prep course
If you had your own cell phone in high school
If you had your own TV in your room in high school
If you opened a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college
If you have ever flown anywhere on a commercial airline
If you ever went on a cruise with your family
If your parents took you to museums and art galleries
If you were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

As seen at Chaser's
Directions: Now we can test our socioeconomic class by describing the things we had in high school and college (if in fact we attended these). You bold on this list the things you had, and you get a point for each bolded thing.

If your father went to college
If your father finished college
If your mother went to college
If your mother finished college
If you have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor
If you were the same or higher class than your high school teachers
If you had a computer at home
If you had your own computer at home
If you had more than 50 books at home
If you had more than 500 books at home
If you were read children’s books by a parent
If you ever had lessons of any kind
If you had more than two kinds of lessons
If the people in the media who dress and talk like you were portrayed positively
If you had a credit card with your name on it
If you have less than $5000 in student loans
If you have no student loans
If you went to a private high school
If you went to summer camp
If you had a private tutor
If you have been to Europe
If your family vacations involved staying at hotels
If all of your clothing has been new and bought at the mall
If your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
If there was original art in your house
If you had a phone in your room
If you lived in a single family house
If your parent owned their own house or apartment
If you had your own room
If you participated in an SAT/ACT prep course
If you had your own cell phone in high school
If you had your own TV in your room in high school
If you opened a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college
If you have ever flown anywhere on a commercial airline
If you ever went on a cruise with your family
If your parents took you to museums and art galleries
If you were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family.

The extended list...
If your body does not bear long-term signs of malnutrition. (For example, my teeth are marked up from poor nutrition when they were forming.)

If you had orthodontia.

If you saw a doctor for anything other than emergencies or school-mandated shots.

If you heated your home with clean-burning fuels or had properly vented heating.

If you grew up in a house without vermin. (I think Chipmunks count...)

If you had running water. (usually, although the pipes froze and one summer the well was out all summer...)

If you had a basement or foundation under your house.

If you had an indoor toilet.

If your parents and immediate family were outside the criminal justice system.

If you yourself remained outside the criminal justice system.

If your parents had a new car. (only once... that I recall, I eventually totaled it...)

If you never went barefoot so that you could 'save your shoes for school.'

If your parents never argued in front of you about having enough money for food to last out the month.

If you ate hunted and fished meat because it was a recreational activity rather than as the major way to stock a freezer. (we didn't hunt and fish much, except when we needed it-- my grandparents also often brought vegetables from Iowa because we needed them...)

If your laundry was done at home in a washer rather than in a lavandaria. (laundrymat -- it depended on the year -- often the washer and/or dryer didn't work, so we'd go to the laundrymat...)

If your hair was cut by a professional barber or hair stylist instead of your parent.

It does seem to me that this list is a bit skewed, perhaps uniquely for me... -- for example, the commercial airline bit -- as well as the vacation bit -- my step-dad worked for United Airlines (but didn't really financially contribute as he supported his ex-wife and his first two kids...). The one thing we did do was fly to go on vacation because we could do so for little money-- and he got hotel discounts etc...

Having books read to you doesn't cost anything except a parent's time -- my mom was a nurse and still found time to do so... my father was a cop... we weren't wealthy by any count, but education was important to them and their reading to us reflected as much. Additionally, going to museums and art galleries can be free, if parents take the time to investigate the free days etc..

Where we lived there were very few single-family houses and very few rentals -- although I suppose my parents could have chosen to live in a more urban part of our metro area. We bought our house before the highway made it an easy commute to the city, so it was a really good deal.

On the other hand, when I was a kid, nobody had computers at home --(I graduated in 1987) -- and cell phones were non-existent... I thought it was wonderful when I was 21, moved in with hubby and he had a 286..... I suspect that we'd have had a computer at home if they'd been as common as they are now, although it wouldn't be a spiffy new iMac, like the one on my desk...

If you count the fact that it took me 8ish years to finish my BA, and that time included getting married to hubby, then the computer answers would change -- as we had several computers while I was 'in college'. Heck, I'm still technically a grad student, does that count as being "in college"?....

I don't remember the first time hubby and I got cell phones, but, it must have been after I started grad school and we realized that the cell phone would make it safer for me to take the old car on the 120 mile round trip from Omaha to Lincoln for classes... Since my mom was a nurse and worked odd hours, I have a feeling she would have given me and my sister cell-phones just so she could keep track of us..... that would have sucked :).

I'm not sure I can honestly answer the heating bill question, as for a lot of my childhood in MN we did most of our heating with wood. Wood that I stacked, brought in, fed into the stove etc... In one way I knew the cost of heating the house, as I did a lot of the work -- often in the cold and snow.... on the other hand, I didn't know how much the bill was, only that it was less expensive to burn wood than to run the furnace.

Back to work...

The Holiday was great. Now it's over... sigh.

Today I have one more class' worth of grades to finish. Their papers are waiting for me in my office.... I hope :). The rest of their grades are tabulated, I just need to add the paper and finish them...

I also have a pile of administrative stuff to do-- and I'm sure there are some surprises in my mailbox at school...

When I'm done with that, I have a conference paper due January 6. Of course, I've known about this since October, but -- who writes these things in advance??

Also, it is still snowing in BNstate -- YEA!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A postmodern Christmas celebration...

The artificial tree is decorated in the corner.

The Yule Log blazed on the tv.

I read "An Innocent Man", while watching the snow fall from my 2nd floor apartment.

Hubby played a video game....

When the Yule Log got tiring, we watched A Christmas Story on TBS, and then 2 hours of Family Guy...

Dinner was macaroni and cheese made with bleu cheese and mushrooms, from the Gordon Ramsey cookbook....

and.... something to be thankful for...

I am very thankful that generally my students behave more or less like independent adults.

I am thankful that the great majority of them don't act like the nasty minority.

I am also thankful that I can tell the difference between the good ones and the nasty ones.

In the coming semester, I want to appreciate the good and great ones while not letting the nasty ones get to me. It is a challenge, but one worth pursuing.

Christmas so far....

Last night was the in-laws -- lots of fun, including hearing my brother-in-law say "my bottle collection is classy" -- which made the rest of us laugh until we cried. I'm really lucky they all have the same sense of humor I do, because keeping that laughter in until we got in the car would have KILLED me.

Today we'll hang out at home... I'm watching 'The Christmas Story" on TBS (it is on continuously until 8 PM.... so watch part of it)... I'm TIVOing the station playing the burning of the yule log -- so, when the movie is over, we can have a fire :).

I made waffles for breakfast and we'll make a mac and cheese recipe from the Gordon Ramsey cookbook for dinner... in between, we'll relax, read books and generally hang out in our PJs.

I hope everyone is having as relaxed a Christmas as we are!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas questions...

As seen at Nikki's, and others....

1. Eggnog or Hot Chocolate?
Ummm.. both? If I had to choose, Eggnog

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just put them under the tree?
Santa doesn't wrap, he's too busy eating cookies

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
until recently, colored. Now, white

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
No, but it is a fun idea.
5. When do you put your decorations up?

Never before my birthday. This year hubby wanted to do some birthday stuff in Vegas, so he resisted setting up the tree before our trip. I didn't want New Kitty to have 3 full days to destroy the tree unpunished, so we just put them up yesterday (12-23). We'll leave them up for a while :).

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
Stuffing -- or maybe my sister-in-law's Sweedish Meatballs...

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child:
The few times we went to Iowa, before my grandparents started going to Florida in October.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I always kind of knew -- but, when my parents got divorced and Santa suddenly started coming to the garage, I figured out it was dad.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?

We'll open them at my sister-in-law's.... they like to leave Christmas day for religious stuff, so the commercial / gift stuff is on Christmas Eve.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?

This year, with stuff New Kitty can't eat/break. I went to Target yesterday and got a bunch of stuff on sale... It has 1-inch wide velvet ribbon, 1-inch wide red opaque ribbon, garland and tinsel... I put our yearly ornament (we buy a new one every year, with the date... we've only missed 1 year -- 1999). This year's ornament is an M& M one, from the M &M store.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
love, love, love, love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

12. Can you ice skate?

When I was a kid, I was a competitive figure skater. I haven't skated as an adult...

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?

As an adult, my watch. Quite a few years ago Hubby found one I'm not allergic to (I'm allergic to lots of metals) and that is solar powered -- and pretty! As a kid, when I was a competitive skater, new skates.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?

time off -- finally!

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?

anything with chocolate

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?

buying an ornament every year. Last year's ornament is a little cactus, since we were in Phoenix for two weeks in January. This year it is the M & M...

17. What tops your tree?
The angel my mom used to put on top of our tree when I was a kid. She's kind of beaten up, but she's sweet. She's also casual -- her dress is made of denim....

18. What are your favorite Christmas songs?

I don't have one -- I don't like Christmas music. I suppose I can tolerate the Mormon Tabernacle... but, anything else sucks.

19. Real tree or artificial?

artificial now -- since we couldn't buy a real tree a couple of years ago (on th 23rd...) and Target had them on a huge sale. Now I love it!!!!!!!!!!

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or yum?
I like them, but rarely eat them...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Prep...

Last night the tree went up and New Kitty was fascinated...

Today I went to Target for decorations she couldn't break or eat... and came home with wide ribbon and garlands.

New Kitty is now showing her girly side by going after the shiny garland... good thing she can't eat it. I know more than a few people whose cats have had serious issues after eating tinsel...

Vegas, the specifics....RBOC style....

  • The Mirage is a nice hotel... the room was decent, and even though we were on a smoking floor, didn't smell of smoke. It would have been nice for all the restaurants to be open, but since it was the slow time, I kind of understand it.
  • The spa at the Mirage was great. If you like spa services, save some of your entertainment cash to get one... I got the best pedicure, ever!!

As a feminist, I was challenged.... and I'm generally a sex-positive feminist...

  • One night I was curious and looked in the Vegas phone book--- about 120 pages of "entertainers" were listed, most with claims like "hot college girls with great bodies, to your hotel room in 20 minutes", or "petite Asian woman, you no like, you no pay".
  • As we walked down the strip, people will try to hand you little cards with naked women on them. I'm guessing they aren't allowed to speak to you (that would probably be solicitation), but -- they form a gauntlet at a narrow point in the sidewalk, wear neon t-shirts (over their coats) with the phone number and "hot women in your hotel room, 20 minutes" in big block letters. They also use their cards to make a clicking noise, kind of like clicking a ball-point pen... They are so pervasive one of the comics we went to see made jokes about them....
  • Hubby got approached by a hooker, who asked if he "wanted a date?" -- he didn't understand what she wanted at first...
As for my own indulgences in "sin" -- if you don't call shopping or eating a sin....
  • I put exactly $1.00 in a slot machine, at the airport on the way out.
  • I had exactly one drink... a bloody mary, with dinner.

The scoop on Vegas... the general stuff -- and photos....

We spent three full days in Vegas... and that was just enough time... Keep in mind that I don't gambol and rarely drink. Hubby plays poker but no slots and neither of us are into the nightclub scene.... In short, we are typical academic nerds.

We had a really good time and are planning to go back, probably in the summer when the hotel pools are open.

We stayed here.... at the Mirage, on th 20th floor. That rock-like thing in the foreground is a volcano that goes off every hour on the hour 6:00 PM-Midnight. It shoots fire --and was VERY cool.

I think the best advise anybody gave me prior to going to Vegas was to wear comfortable shoes. Dammm... was she right. If you are staying on the Strip, your hotel will be HUGE. The walking you'll do in the hotel alone is quite a bit, and then if you want to go elsewhere, the easiest way to do so is to walk. They do have a bus, a monorail, a trolly and a large number of moving sidewalks --- which help, but plan to do some walking. Comfort over fashion!

We went to the Bellagio for breakfast --- these are their indoor fountains -- which don't photograph well, but are VERY cool. If you get a chance, you need to see their water show.

Also, be prepared for slot machines to be EVERYWHERE -- the airport, the hotel lobby etc... The Bellagio was unusual in that their slots didn't dominate the decor.

We took a day and went to Hoover Dam -- it is about 30 miles outside of Vegas and well worth the trip. It is amazing. Doing this trip takes a full day... we left just after breakfast and got back to the hotel about 6:00 PM.

Currently, highway 93 runs across the top of Hoover Dam... so there are a few security checks etc.

They are working on building a new section of road to replace the one on top of Hoover Dam... and dang, it is going to be high. This is a photo of the place where a spectacular bridge will be... you can see both sides of the bridge at the top. Yep, they plan to connect them...

This is one of many photos from the west side of the Grand Canyon. The fence you see is about the only fence we saw while looking at the Grand Canyon -- most of the time, you could easily fall over the edge.

The whole operation is run by the Hualapi Nation.

To get out to the canyon, you buy a tour for a minimum of $25.00, which includes a buffet lunch... they take you around on busses and you can stay at each spot as long as you'd like. Going on the Skywalk is a minimum of $75.00 -- and we opted out of that. The publicity photos look much more impressive than the real thing -- it is probably amazing, but we didn't think it would be worth $50.00...

On Thursday I went shopping. When we got there, Hubby told me he'd planned a nice shopping budget for me -- and then I also got to spend what he won at poker... and he did win. First, I went for some shoes -- since I had to replace the ones extra-toes puked on... and finding shoes for my wide feet isn't easy.

I ended up at the Wide Shoe Store.

I left with three pairs of shoes --- one for conferences (with an actual, gasp, small heel!!), and two for teaching... all very comfortable, AND my size.

After the shoes, I went to the Coach outlet.. there are two Coach outlets, I went to the one at the "Premium Outlet" -- you can find a bunch of other cool stuff there as well.

Imagine a normal Coach store, but with really good prices. I got a new wallet, eyeglass case, a smallish pouch and a small square purse (to go in my briefcase) for about $200.00 --- the purse alone is almost that at Macy's.... The place was really busy --

After my shopping trip, I got an amazing pedicure... and took a long nap.

Our flight left on Friday afternoon -- so we had time to go to the M& M store.

It is four-stories of M& M merchandise.... and a full wall of different colored M & Ms... we have them in pink, green, purple, black etc... you name it, they have it.

Friday, December 21, 2007

We're back... more later

We're back from Vegas...

It was fun. I'm tired. I had exactly 1 drink and gamboled exactly $1.00 (at a slot machine in the airport on the way home).

I'll do a full post, including...
  • The short story of Hubby and the hooker.
  • A report on Hoover Dam and the West Grand Canyon trip.
  • All about the Coach outlet store.
  • Good and bad things about going when the rates are low...

Monday, December 17, 2007

still here....

It was barely not dark when I came in this morning... and it will be VERY dark when I go home.

of course, it doesn't help that the shortest day of the year is this week....

I'm very proud of myself -- I have most of the papers graded and all but TWO logic exams graded.

Everything that I've graded, I've also recorded in excel.

YEA, YEA, YEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I should be able to post logic grades today.

When we get back in town, it won't take me long to finish grading and compute my ethics grades...

Notes from Grading jail& blogging for internet discipline...

First, today is a long sentence in grading jail (a term I picked up from Hippie-Chick down the hall.. y'all would love her, I'm trying to convince her to start a blog...).

The bad thing is that they've improved the wireless in my building, so I can read blogs instead of working.... not a good idea!

Although my grading involves reading really fast, some things catch my eye... I'll keep you posted...
  • Did you know that if everyone has guns, 'neighborhoods will feel safer on their streets'?

One long day... and then fun, fun, fun

Today is going to be one long-ass day.

I'm about to hit the shower and head to work.

12 hours from now I'll be collecting the chronically late papers from my beloved night class.

When I get home, I'll pack for Vegas. I planned to do that yesterday, but we got a visit from D1 and the Enforcer, which was totally worth not getting my shit done -- even though the Enforcer and Hubby beat D1 and I at Trivial Pursuit (just barely beat us --- with a good/lucky run of questions right at the end...).

Between now and then, I'll do all the regular wrapping stuff up tasks we all do at the end of the semester.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

THE mall at Christmas...eek.

Hubby loves his bath.

One of you (I read a lot but don't recall exactly who) said they love Lush bath bombs. Hubby loves a good bath bomb.... so, I looked at the webisite and found that they have a new location inside Macy's at THE mall.

I hate crowds, especially Christmas crowds. I hate parking lots full of consumerism and idiots on cell phones. THE mall is nearly 100% those people..... and, when you get inside they have a latte in one hand while pushing screaming toddlers in strollers...

not at all my scene...

yet, I went to THE Mall because hubby would love the stuff from Lush -- and because I was curious...

He got 4 bath bombs out of the deal. I got 2 solid shampoos (it was buy two, get a free tin) , a bar that is bath wash, exfoliating and hydrating -- and a whole bunch of samples.

If you haven't been to one of their stores, you really ought to go -- if you end up at THE mall, let me know and we'll go together :).

The plan...

Tomorrow is my grading binge...

I have a draft of my syllabi for next semester....

So, my plan for today is to be domestic -- YEA.

I may go to the Mall of America for a treat for hubby from "Lush" (I've never been there, but y'all seem to love their stuff... and hubby loves his bath, so it is worth a trip to the palace of consumerism to get them for him...). double YEA!!!!

and, pack for Vegas -- tripple YEA!!!!!

We leave on Tuesday. We deserve it!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Working ahead....

It's a good thing I was that 'work ahead' girl in 4th grade...

I did it because, even then, I could see that public education was silly and the kids immature... or, maybe I was a dork.. anyway, the skill has come in handy as an academic..

Think about this -- On December 15:
  • I'm planning a course that will end in mid-May.
  • Two weeks ago I finished the Summer 08 schedule.
  • Last week I worked out the major kinds from the Fall 08 schedule.
So, I know approximately what I'll be teaching and where I'll be teaching it a year in advance!

Yea, that work-ahead thing may have been inconvenient for my 4th grade English teacher, but it is coming in handy for me...

You know it's the end of the semester when....

You look in the 'fridge and realize there is a 'quarantine' section --- of stuff that you know you shouldn't eat because it is spoiled, but you haven't thrown out because you'd need to wash the containers ASAP, and you don't have time to do that...


Friday, December 14, 2007

Done for a bit....

After a significant bit of grading last weekend and a quick, but large, pile today, I'm officially caught up on my grading --

until Monday.

The question is whether I'll stop by school to check for more papers later this afternoon -- I kind of think not, as I'll have time to read them on Monday.

BTW, my grading stamps have made it even faster!!! YEA! I have a legend to explain the meaning of the stamps, so I don't even have to write the general comments on the final drafts...

I'd feel guilty, but -- I busted my butt over Thanksgiving reading drafts -- so, no guilt for me :).

I'm off for a bit of reward shopping...

Desk photo...

You know I'm procrastinating grading when I decide I MUST take a photo of my desk and post it to my blog...

So -- you can imagine me working here...

The new computer in the background... my first grading project on the right.. caffeine on the left.

Just to the right of the computer, you'll see my Russell + Hazel binders.

Also.. the essential office supplies, and the clock radio -- to keep me company when hubby isn't home.

OK -- I've GOT to get to work.... because when I was looking for the link to Russell + Hazel, I found their "new" stuff, and found some things I NEED -- so I have to go over to their store when I'm done with grading. YEA for motivation!!!!


1 --- the end of the semester version....

I'm worn out -- but, I figure I can do anything one more time... So --- here's the end of the semester, 1 at a time :).

1 weekend of grading jail, includes....
  • 1 set of movie questions to grade
  • 1 set of papers to grade
  • 1 partial set of term papers to grade (the early paper bonus was a BRILLIANT move!)

leads to...

1 long day of giving exams and holding office hours, -- included in this one day....
  • 1 long day of grading exams and papers
  • 1 long day of recording exams and papers
  • 1 long day of wrapping up the semester

leads to...

1 quick trip to Vegas with hubby -- because we deserve it!!

and then...

the rest of the grading...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

My honey is home!!

I'm happy as a little clam.

My hubby has returned from Red State.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The best thing ever!!!!

Really, if you have a puky pet, an old pet or messy kids, and carpet -- they often don't go together. We have that kind of grey/tan carpet common to apartments. It is pretty new... so the pressure is on :).

After this weekend, I realized that I'll probably come home to the results of a nervous cat stomach every weekend -- thus, I realized the spot bot was a necessary piece of equipment, right up there with the automatic litter box.

The spot bot cleans a spot the size of a small dinner plate -- and all you do is to set it up and push the button. It puts solution in, it sucks and brushes and whirrs, working its magic on spots.

The surface stain setting worked well on the cat food colored spots Extra-toes left over the weekend. By the time I got home on Monday, they were dry... and looked like a bad modern art installation. It takes about 3 minutes to complete.

The deep stain setting worked on a couple of stains I couldn't get out with my previous methods. The deep stain setting takes about 6 minutes.

Sometimes it is hard to see the final results until the carpet is dry -- and by the end of the chain of spots, I went back and did a couple of the most intense spots a second time. I'm sure they are taken care of now.

The water canister is good for several places and it is very easy to fill. The machine plugs in, so it has plenty of power and you don't have to stop mid-clean to charge the thing up. It is also nice that it is always ready... so you can get to the stains quickly.

I probably spent two hours doing a pretty long and icky chain of spots -- So, if the stains are many or large, it isn't fast -- but, considering all you have to do is hit couple of buttons and move the thing to the next section, it isn't bad at all.

The only downside is that New Kitty is very wary of it, so we'll have to avoid picking her up while it is running if we want to avoid fatal scratches.

Overall, a big yea for the spot bot pet --

not so secret message to the nauseous cat...

If you can keep from upchucking all over our carpet, your new nemesis... "Spot Bot" will stay away....

For now, I love the spot bot more than I do you -- so don't make me choose between you and it...

even though it is the only reason I haven't given you away.

and.. I escaped just in time....

Hubby said Red State city is pretty much shut down today.

He had an inch of solid ice on the Jeep -- under several inches of snow.

He says the city was shut down and schools were canceled. As much as I'd love to get snowed in with hubby, I'd rather it not be when I have to get to work.

Maybe we'll get snowed in over break :).

a girl can always hope....


Here's a tip for faculty members... if you want to keep your chairs happy....

IF you are asked for information -- f-nig GIVE IT!

For example, if you need equipment in your room in order to teach, then if I ask that question, ANSWER IT!

Don't assume you are so special that everyone knows what you need.

and, don't even complain to me that your students don't follow directions.

Survival Mode....

This week my students are in survival mode -- get it done, NOW!

At least 10 of my Ethics students have turned in their final papers. All they want to do is to be done so they can move on... I really can't blame them.

Today will be fun -- especially for my afternoon logic class. Many of them will find out today that they are done with logic for the semester. In order to be done, they must have a minimum grade of C on every assignment (not a C average). They also need an A on one of the last three quizzes. Most of them got their A on the last one -- which was pretty darned hard. They worked hard and today they'll get the instant payoff... one little letter written on a grade report.


Does my cat get nauseous when I go away for the weekend?

I suspect it is extra-toes, as he has a habit of eating a lot and then puking it up...

Why did he decide to puke in and on my shoes?

Tomorrow, I'm going shopping -- new shoes and a Bissell Spot Bot, pet edition.

Monday, December 10, 2007

...wouldn't you think...

So, if you are going to get new equipment in the workplace, wouldn't you think that you'd have some kind of idea of when it is going to happen?

Don't you think that demanding an answer as to when the workers want that equipment without telling the person collecting the answers when it could be there is silly?

Don't you think that if two, or maybe three e-mails pass between you and the person tasked with scheduling the installation, wherein you ask the same question and she tells you the same answer over and over again... that you'd listen to that answer?

or -- is it just me? Am I supposed to get an answer to a question I can't even formulate?

It was much faster going the other way...

Just under 6 hours door to door... with a couple of stops... which is just the way the trip from Red State to BN state should be...

On the way I saw some amazing rainbow legs-- probably due to ice crystals and sunshine. They were pretty cool...

I also saw lots of that really icy frost -- most of the way up it was kind of ice foggy, but just in the 'leaves cool ice on the plants', not in the 'I can't see the road and the road is all slippery and nasty' way.

It is kind of nice to be back in BN state -- especially since Hubby will be home on Thursday. Week after next, we'll escape to Vegas for a few days -- and then it will be Christmas.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

and... a dash home between snows...

Hubby is now hooked on "Weeds"... sadly, he'll have to wait until he gets home to watch the rest of them... I hope the new season is released soon!

I've now had my legs waxed for Vegas-- Red State has some excellent salons, and one of my favorites is open on Sunday, YEA!

I'll grade for a bit and then go out for Indian food -- my very favorite! What we don't eat, I'm going to pack to take home tomorrow, as Hubby won't eat it and having it go to waste would be a shame!

Secret message to our waiter...


Just because we are Caucasian folks in the Red State suburbs does not mean we don't know our sushi...

1) I've been eating sushi in Red State since you were in junior-high making eyes at little Nikki across the room. I've never heard a hand roll described as, 'like an ice cream cone' -- and telling us that "most Caucasians" don't know that is crap. You really need to get out of Red State for a while.
2) I know that mock crab isn't crab meat, but whatever they use to make it taste like crab, I'm f-ing allergic to.... that's why we asked. Don't argue with me about what I can and cannot eat, believe me, my life would be easier if I could eat your whitefish-flavored-with-crab-juice, but I can't. It shouldn't be on my plate.
3) Yes, your sushi place is pretty swanky -- for Red Sate -- Have you had sushi in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Chicago and Washington DC? Their places were more or less swanky than yours, and ALL of them were better, more creative, sushi. Don't go looking down your 'I'm too cool for this 'burb nose' at me, young man.
4) Tell your sushi chef that not every roll has to have crab in it -- we picked among the stuff that sounded safe and STILL ended up with one I couldn't eat..... we'd already avoided the ones that were accurately described on your menu.
5) To tell you the truth, really sushi places don't have a whole list of Chinese dishes on their menus..... really, I can do better in my BN state suburb sushi-chain... and almost as good in the grocery store here or up there.
6) Really, we prefer one of the other Red State sushi places to your's.... you have the better atmosphere, they have the better food and much better service.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Omaha mall...

We went by the Westroads mall tonight...

Von Maur was closed, of course. Their outside white lights were on, but the store was completely dark inside.

On the steps outside, the pile of flowers, candles and wishes of peace, in the falling snow was sad.

Sadly, Omaha -- 'somewhere in middle-America' somehow became just like everywhere else on Wednesday. That doesn't mean we have to like it.

the day of reconing....

This morning I'll enter the grades for my logic classes.

If they meet what I think is a pretty low bar, they are exempt from the final.

The question for the morning is... how many of them WILL make it?

Friday, December 07, 2007

Notes from grading jail.... pt. 2

The air in grading jail is pretty rank.... y'all really ought to save the wacky-tobaccy for AFTER the grades are in... or, maybe not... hmmm

Notes to my students:
  • Miss thing, with a final quiz like that, what makes you think **I** wrote that shit down wrong in your notebook? Trying to challenge me on an old quiz in an attempt to grub points just won't fly -- especially since a) you are in the good class... the one that is awake, I KNOW they'd catch my mistake on the board and b) since they didn't say anything, you'd think they'd make the same bone-head mistake on that old quiz..... Hint, just from me to you -- COME TO CLASS SOBER YOU LITTLE SNOT.
  • To my morning class in general -- did I tell you to relax after Thanksgiving? 'cuz that is what you did. Many of you had a chance to avoid the final. Now, you've f-ed up your quizzes so bad that I'll see you there. I'm going to pick some hard-ass problems just because you pissed me off all semester with your lack-luster performance and complete inability to get to class on time. Yesterday was the first f-ing day you even had close to an excuse for being so dammed late--- the rest of the days you were just to lazy or self-absorbed to get your ass out of bed. You'd better pick it up or you'll be taking it next semester too... and, by the way, we are using custom texts next semester, so you can't even sell your book back and you can't use it for next semester (or, at least you aren't smart enough to figure out how to use it)..... so there.
  • Also, if you are going to cheat on a logic quiz, sit next to someone who can actually DO the problems -- because the right answers are nearly identical but the wrong ones are unique. I can't catch you if the answer is right... but when it is wrong, it is soooo obvious... I'll be seeing you after class on Tuesday.

as much as we complain about grading...

.. there seems to be a bittersweet joy in the end of semester grading.

You know you are almost done. You know that the little twerps won't be in your pile next semester -- unless they choose to be... and then they know what they are getting into.

Having a short list of things to grade is wonderful because it is finite.

Philosophical research can go on forever. Another revision could make it better written, another book read could make it smarter and another deep thought makes it, well... deeper.

Grading is just a stack of papers and when they are graded, they go away.

True, it is sometimes sad that they didn't learn what we are trying to teach them -- but, I always hold out some hope that they learned something else....

It was a long drive.... but I'm here

Normally something magical happens in BN state...

I jump in the car, put on my podcasts and zoom to Red State. Under 6 hours in my little tan Toyota (regular engine, 40+MPG), and I'm in Red State. I sail down the highway, not really seeing corn state -- I'm in my on little world of cruse control, podcasts and road munchies.

Not this time .... Thanks to Mother nature. It seems that Corn state doesn't like to use salt on their roads... So, I had an option -- be in the lane were the plow had recently been... no snow, but patches of black ice OR be in the snowy lane and concentrate on being in the path the trucks took.... That was my choice for most of my southward trip into Corn State.

Thank goodness once I left Corn state's "city" and was able to turn west, the roads were much better and I could get up to the speed limit.

So, a 6ish hour trip (one I've made in just over 5.... yea, some speeding there...) took me nearly 8.

The Counting Crows song "Omaha" was never quite so sweet....

Thursday, December 06, 2007


So, yesterday I managed to not leave the apartment for the whole day.... it was really nice.

Today, by contrast, I'm driving to the scene of the most recent "Mall Massacre".

It should be a fun drive, as it is supposed to be snowing all the way between here and there.


the things I do for love ---- and amazing Indian food (ha ha, Sunshine :) ).

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

On the Omaha shooting....

They are saying some kind of stupid stuff... as they go, I'll make some commentary..

  • Some news guy reported that the guy in the green camouflage jacket "stuck out like a sore thumb" -- um, no. Not in Omaha at the tail-end of hunting season and with lots of former military and military wannabes running around the state. That is as stupid as saying that the pick-up truck in the mall parking lot was unusual... umm, no.
  • Also, FYI, the mall is one of the two nice malls large. It is about 5 minutes from Warren Buffet's house. It is right across the road from the Omaha Borsheims, the only Whole Foods and a swanky small mall. It is where they built the only Cheesecake Factory and PF Chang's in the state. This wasn't some inner-city or run-down mall.
  • and... yes, the people on the news coverage all look more or less alike.. they look like Nebraskans... people who are proud to be good football fans, who don't like spicy foods and who think that little puddles should be called 'lakes'.
  • In fact, the news reporters are all reporting from the same parking lot where I looked into the back of a pick-up truck last fall and saw a dead possum.
  • The exact number of suspects is unclear, but Hubby says that local reports are that at least one of them is a 19 year-old from a southern suburb. He left a note about 'going out in style' -- sad, sad, sad.
  • To the CNN dude, get the name of the mall and store right. Of course it is, "hard for Omaha" -- duh, dumb ass.
I'm not sure why it seems so strange to be in BN state while this is going on... I suppose it's because I do think of Nebraska as a second home. I lived there for a long time and I've been spending decent amounts of time there over the past 3 semesters. In a strange way, I'm really looking forward to being there tomorrow night, snow and all. Although I'll always be 'from' BN state, Omaha is also home.

For those of you who know Hubby....

He wasn't at the mall in Red State.

The mall is very close to where he's living. He could easily have stopped off there on the way back from his uni to get me a birthday present.... the only thing that would have made that less than likely is that he doesn't generally shop until the last minute :).

I'm really glad he called me to let me know about it, I had the TV off today and if I'd just turned on the TV in the office, I'd be freaking out right now.

I really can't tell you how many shopping trips I've taken there --

In Red State, for me, that is THE mall.

Imagine a shooting at your mall and you know how this is just pretty surreal.

and... since August, I've been personally acquainted with two scary things that hit the BBC... yikes.

I've had some "help" in the office today....

New Kitty doesn't need to read my blog to know how I'm procrastinating... but, she really likes to read some of yours....

For some reason she identifies with Profgrrl.... maybe because her daddy and 402 have some number in common.

Even though The Boy is a dog, she likes reading about him anyway.

She won't miss reading what jo(e) has to say... I suspect she'd leave me for jo(e)....

and I know she'd leave me for the Man-Kitty...

She has some kind of weird love/hate/stalker relationship with him.... My theory is that she thinks Man-kitty lives across the hall from us, so she needs to get out to see him...

In fact, I have to cut her off the internet and give her something else to do...

She tries to help me proofread, but her grammar sucks. She needs to take jo(e)'s class...

When all else fails, she likes to look at herself on my wallpaper...

and... by the way, that is the same New Kitty who was model-thin last spring... no, she's not expecting.... she's lacking the necessary bits, she found the food bowl.

Update: -- for those of you who have been following the adventures of New Kitty... you may recall her encounter with the automatic litter box in late September (I put it down, turned it on, put her in the box to demonstrate and she clawed her way back up my left arm.. I still have the scars). I put it down again today, plugged it in and the next thing I know she's using it. Just goes to show that her love of a clean box overrides her fear of automated things.

A teaching moment....

Yesterday in Ethics we were discussing the difference between "art" and "porn".

I used an example of a particular painting that very conservative people would say has crossed the line. Of course, my students wanted to know how it crossed the line.

In order not to be too explicit, I explained that if the women in the painting were wearing jumpsuits, one could be described as having "camel toe".

Of course, I used the reference because I knew most of my students would get it -- and if they didn't, a neighbor would explain...

but -- after class, I found myself explaining the concept to a non-traditional female Hmong student.

Now, she can't say she didn't learn anything in MY class....
I'm so proud.

Things that are more fun than writing about supreme emergencies....

A log of my procrastination today.... In addition to the usual blog reading and cat petting, I've made the following "to do list" for procrastination...

  • making yummy coffee... I'm about to go for cup #3.
  • Taking out the trash... so far I've done the kitchen, but there are trash cans full of kleenex around here yet to do...
  • Cleaning the kitchen... I've started, but there is more to do.
  • Cooking ... I have some yummy soup to make, some leftover chili to freeze, cookies to make etc...
  • Rearranging the books in the office... living on a shelf together I have Kant, Nietzche and Rawls... In the reference section I have the Klingon dictionary, the Cynic's Dictionary and "How to be a Canadian" -- next to the Chicago manual of style, the MLA handbook etc..
Since I'm feeling better, if the snow hasn't fouled the traffic for the evening rush, I'll go across town for water aerobics with my favorite teacher...

between now and then, I need some lunch and I MUST write for a while...

hopefully I won't get to all of my procrastination goals...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

More snow...

It turns out, the rest of the world IS out there... it isn't just a construction of my imagination reinforced by the internet.

My cold is quite a bit better today and teaching was fun...

especially since it started snowing again this morning and pretty much hasn't stopped.

While I was out, I went to the grocery store and spent a bunch of money, but now I have the foods I was craving over the weekend -- stuff for yummy coffee tomorrow morning and potato soup to make tomorrow for the day-long grazing session. I also have hot coco mix.

and, I don't have anyplace to go tomorrow. It can snow sideways all it wants... I'm going to be a hermit for another day.


Monday, December 03, 2007

Addicted to Weeds..

I'm still sick, and I'm still in the apartment....

The only person I've seen face to face is the pizza delivery guy.

I'll be back at BNCC tomorrow -- but, for tonight I wanted something to distract me from feeling crappy.

Since I love, love, love Mary Lousie Parker -- and, since Sunshine recommended it to me a long time ago, I downloaded the first season of "Weeds".

The only reason I'm not watching it right now is that my ipod needs to re-charge...

but, hummm... I can watch it on my computer, eh.... then go back to cuddle with the cats in my cozy bed when the ipod is charged up... hmmm.

gotta go.

still home.. still sick...

I have a meeting this afternoon, but I'm really too sick to teach my evening class and then come back at 7:45 tomorrow morning for the class that really NEEDS me.

So, I'm thinking the plan is to go to the meeting and then cancel the night class...

Seems kind of odd, but while I can sit for about 90 minutes, I don't have the energy to teach for 3 hours.... and I have to have the energy for my logic classes tomorrow -- as they are into the really hard stuff and have their last quiz on Thursday... sigh.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Still in the apartment.... Sunday night

I went the whole weekend in my apartment complex.

Come to think of it, I haven't seen another person since Thursday night.

It was really pretty nice.

Tomorrow morning I'm hoping my cold symptoms are better, as I really want to go to Water Aerobics.

still in the apartment....

Sunday afternoon... I haven't been out of the complex since Thursday night...

Last night I went out to pay the rent, but other than that, I've been in the apartment.

Of course, it helps that I have a really icky cold that has moved to my sinuses.... aargh.

I wish this had been a productive weekend. Maybe I'll be able to squeeze some work out this afternoon, but I'm kind of doubtful.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Hey, people upstairs....

Really, what are you doing up there? I have my theories...
  • Does your pretty severe case of ADD force you to keep moving the furniture, because you can't decide where it should go?
  • Are you training for a logging competition -- in the event that requires you to push a huge chunk of wood across a carpeted floor?
  • Are you applying for a job with a moving company, so you are working on being able to move all of your livingroom furniture on your own?
  • Does your OCD require you to clean behind the fridge and stove every 45 minutes?
  • Do you have a really big cat who is unhappy with the location of your recliner?
Whatever the reason, I won't complain because I'm pretty sure you can hear Old Kitty every time he freaks out... really, I'm just curious.

Weekend update...

So far, I've managed to not leave the apartment -- I've been here since Thursday evening, and I'm loving it.

I do wish I hadn't picked up an icky cold... Although I suppose my cold makes it easier not to go out.

I've done the administrivia. I graded a stray paper. I haven't revised logic quizzes yet, but I'll do that sooner or later.

My own writing has been slower, but I have managed to cut sizable chunks out of my paper. The problem is writing the stuff that needs to go in there instead.... sigh.

I've also read a whole book, for fun, napped a bit, participated in a fun e-discussion, and watched TIVO.

So far, so good. I think I'll be able to do this challenge -- My goal is not to leave the apartment complex until my Monday morning water aerobics class.

wish me luck ;).

I love the snow...

I saw the first flakes of our first big snowstorm for the year.

The forecast on the radio is for 6-10 inches of snow.

I'm going to join the cats in bed for a while.

They have the right idea.....

Friday, November 30, 2007

Weekend forcast...

Outside: cold today -- and sunny -- tomorrow, warmer and 2-7 inches of snow.

Inside: Chili is already in the pot, cats are being cuddly and the apartment is relatively clean.

I wonder if I could spend the whole weekend inside our apartment complex?

I have groceries.
The internet, cable TV and TIVO are plenty of entertainment.
I have of work to do -- some grading, a course review, and a conference paper to start.
I want to exercise, but we have an exercise room in this building -- so I don't have to go to the gym.... besides, getting out of the warmish pool and going outside to get in my cold car sounds terrible.

I'll have to go to the other building to pay rent, but that is inside the building.


Sounds like a nearly perfect weekend -- if Hubby were here, it would be perfect. We'll have to plan a 'stay in for the weekend challenge' over break.

ps... the chili is almost vegetarian... 1 pound of meat in a large pot with lots of different kinds of canned beans, corn, peas, carrots and lots and lots of tomatoes. Add to that fresh onion and celery -- and the normal chili spices and simmer. For the hubby weekend version, I'll have to find something else to simmer, as he HATES chili, especially chili with anything resembling bean in it (yea, we all know he's odd, but I love him!!).

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Teaching schools and interviews...

Since they asked so nicely....

I'll weigh in on my experience on hiring committees at teaching schools...

First, you'll probably be doing a teaching demonstration.

The topic choice here is key -- make sure you ask who you'll be teaching to and how long you'll have -- and adjust your material accordingly. At my CC, the committee is usually made up of a couple of members of the discipline, maybe one or two other faculty members and a couple of administrators. The key is to take the teaching demonstration as a way to demonstrate your ability to teach to bright and attentive freshmen -- who haven't done the reading. Being engaging and interactive is good, but make sure you remain in control and within your time limit -- while not going above the heads of the non-philosophers.

In terms of questions asked - I can be pretty general, but even at my CC the questions change a bit from year to year.

General areas:
  • Your vision for 'normal' philosophy courses and your methods for teaching logic. Here you'll want to explain the kinds of exercises you'll do to keep students engaged. You'll also want to explain your assessment methods for those courses.
  • Your methods for adjusting to different preparation levels in the classroom. Here is where you'll have to explain how you'll deal with the kid who can't read and the kid who had to come home from Princeton sitting next to one another in your freshman Ethics course.
  • Your most challenging teaching situation and your most rewarding experience. Here is where you tell the story about little Jimmy who was sure he couldn't do logic -- who had talked himself out of being able to pass the class and who finally ended up passing the class.
  • Your use of technology in teaching. If you've used or TAd for classes using technology, make the most of it.
  • Your experience with diversity in the classroom. You should discuss both your experiences with populations that are ethnically diverse, but also you should discuss diversity in terms of age. It is quite possible that your teaching college will have students from 16-80, in your classroom.
  • How you would deal with a few students who are doing badly in the class -- and how you would deal with a significant portion of the class that is doing badly. The key with the student is to offer more help and to understand what resources are available to help students who need more assistance. With the class who is doing badly, discuss how you'd do some review to reinforce some important concepts AND to do classroom assessment techniques like asking about the 'muddiest point' etc.
  • Your professional development. Here is where you'll want to talk about the teaching seminars you're attending via your grad university, how you are a member of APT etc... This is not where you give details about conference papers, publications etc -- unless there is a research element to your position. Then you make it about 50/50.
You should do some digging before your interview.... especially to find the following information:
  • The normal class size is for your discipline. Make sure you have answers as to how you are going to adjust your teaching to either large or small classes.
  • The array of classes taught in your discipline. Make sure you have at least an outline of a syllabus for each of them in your head, if not on paper.
  • Where your students go when they are done at your potential school... this will let you show you you can connect to the students and help them to get where the school thinks they are going.
You should also do some basic on-line research into teaching jargon and trends... A few you should look for:
  • "Active learning" -- which is a very vague term, but means that you don't do 100% lecture, but rather you have means of helping your students get and stay engaged.
  • "learning styles" -- the idea that some people are visual learners, others are logical etc... if you can figure out what kind of learner you are, you can explain how you'll vary your teaching methods to help the other kinds of groups.
  • "Assessment" -- another very vague term, but something that seems to be coming to higher ed. Think about a project you could use to figure out if your students are increasing their critical thinking skills -- a pre/post test on logical fallacies or something... anything that could be standardized and assessed.
I hope that helps -- if I've missed something, feel free to leave a question in the comments and I'll do more :).

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I'm teaching the wrong course....

Dealing with administrivia.. in doing so, a conversation was had about a course I'm teaching.

The people who DON'T teach this course also seem not to know much about it, or philosophy in general.

It was their decision that Ethics isn't "writing intensive" -- btw, according to their lack of definition about this, neither are comp courses -- and thus doesn't need an English prereq...

Which means, I've wasted a whole weekend reading a shit-ton of crappy drafts for a course in which writing is NOT important.

It seems that I'm teaching the wrong course.

Funny conversation with Hubby

Background... Hubby loves to taunt me by calling the high-capacity drainage ditch in his neighborhood a "Lake". I, being a good resident of BN state know Lakes... we have a whole bunch of them.... and that puddle, my friends, is NOT a lake.

Today Hubby called me on the way past the pond, noting that "the geese have filled the lake".

I told him that he couldn't call it a "lake" anymore, or I'd revoke his BN state citizenship.

He objected, but I replied telling him that, as a BN state native, I have special powers.... I can kick the backside of anybody from Corn state, I can end sentences with a preposition, and I can eat lutefisk... and revoke BN state citizenship...

Just wait, sooner or later there will be a new character on Heroes... a BN state native.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

...another one bites the dust...

The logic quizzes weren't pretty today.

I think they got a bit lazy and forgot that they actually need to DO their homework and ask questions, even if it is the annual 'dead-bird-and-football' holiday, followed by the 'celebration of consumerism' holiday.

I have to give credit where credit is due -- one of my biggest airhead-boys pulled it out and got a good grade. Other students did well -- but, the ones who have had attitudes, loafed or missed class aren't going to be happy with me on Thursday.

oh well -- the fact of the matter is that I've passed this class. Besides, I take the quiz questions from their homework AND post the answers on my door. There is really no excuse for not getting a good f-ing grade...


at least I'm done critiquing ethics drafts. There are some small favors in my universe.

Another reason to hate monopoly air...

Of course I'm a member of Monopoly Air's frequent flyer program.

They just sent me an e-mail promising $65.00 fares...

except, when I look for a fare between here and Red State, it is $500.00.

Makes me feel a lot better about driving.

Monday, November 26, 2007

can't we just say 'uncle' for the semester?

I'm just kind of unenthusiastic about teaching the rest of the semester.

Logic is at the slogging it out point.... although, this next quiz should be interesting, as I don't think they've done the homework.... and that will hurt.

The ethics issues aren't all that compelling.

Next semester I'm going to schedule presentations at the end of the semester.... have any of you solved the group-presentation-slacker problem? I'm thinking that I might just do it like a conference panel-- Students write and present their own papers and someone is the discussant.... hmmm. I'd love to hear how you do it.

Almost out of Grading Jail...

I have 5.5 drafts left...

out of 62.

Not bad....

The rest of the semester should be easier, thank goodness!

Kitty threesome...

From top to bottom: Blind Kitty, New Kitty and Extra-Toes

Sunday, November 25, 2007

New member of the computer family....

I got my combo Anniversary-Birthday-Christmas present today..

a nice big iMac.

Actually, it is the smallest one they sell, but it is HUGE compared to my 12-inch PowerBook.

The theory is that it will let me write more comfortably -- but, y'all know that it really means I can read more blogs without eye-strain, do more photo stuff -- and that Hubby can have the old PowerBook officially to himself.... :).