Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Found a bed... and packing, packing, packing....

So, after our failed trip to IKEA, we went shopping at Hom furniture. They are having a sale on king-sized beds, so we got our king sized frame, headboard and footboard for the price of a queen.

It is perfect for our room and goes with our antique dresser...


I spent the afternoon packing the bedroom. I found 5 more bags worth of stuff for Goodwill.

I found a bunch of those space bags and decided that it would be ok to put the stuffed animals into them, because they aren't really animals and therefore don't need to be able to breathe.

I'm now going to pack the rest of the kitchen... sigh.

We get the keys tomorrow at 11:30.

If I'm not dead by then, it should be a good day.

Monday, July 30, 2007

I want it on the record...

that we went to IKEA and didn't buy anything...

We went looking for a new bed.

We found one hubby likes but I'm not wild about.

It is growing on me, but it isn't there yet... sigh.

Our old bed is too big for the new bedroom (it is a pretty massive canopy-ish bed). I'm just not sure I'm ready for the cheap Swedish look yet... maybe tomorrow.

Lessons from up north

We were at a pretty cool place on Saturday.

One of the demonstration was of the muzzle-loading riffles we gave to the Native Americans so they could dominate one another and help us wreak havoc...

A few phrases we use come from use of those guns.

"sideburns" refers to the place where men's hair would catch on fire when the riffles were used in a line...

"going off half-cocked" refers to the fact that the riffles have a two-stage cocking mechanism, so going off half-cocked was going off before you were ready..

"flash in the pan" comes from the two-stage use of gunpowder. Most of the gunpowder goes down the muzzle, but it gets ignited by a smaller flash, in a pan... the spark must pass through a small vent hole, and having a 'flash in the pan' indicates that it didn't do it's job igniting the powder in the muzzle.

We did things other than the fort -- we hiked up a really pretty river to some amazing waterfalls, we went to look out over the lake from a really high cliff face and we had high tea at one of my favorite hotels.

Sunshine's take on the lake was "damm, that is a BIG lake".

Friday, July 27, 2007


This week it has been pretty hot and our AC hasn't been working right. Parts of the apartment are nearly arctic and others are pretty warm. Packing has been either chilly or sweaty.

Today Sunshine will be helping me move furniture up to mom's... Mom lives far enough north not to need AC, but she may need it this week--sigh. At least Mom isn't far from some wonderful lakes and a vastly Superior lake, so we can spend tomorrow in some cool way.

Next week, when hubby and I will be driving furniture around town, it will be really hot and muggy.

We are staying in the new place for sure on Wednesday for sure... it has central AC and a washer/dryer. Right now we have dirty clothes and hot air.

I can't wait.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

attention moving bloggers...

There are a few of you out there who are moving soon...

Good news -- a sale on boxes at Office Max -- File boxes, the ones with the separate lid that you can put together without tape... 10 packs of the Office Max brand kind are usually $14.95, until Saturday they are buy two 10 packs, get one free...

$1.00/ box for good book boxes is excellent.

Of course, I know y'all have no books to pack or anything, now do you?

Right where I left them...

my grandparents, that is...

Our quick trip was fun, just enough -- go down for dinner and some conversation and be home by early afternoon the next day.

I love my grandparents, but hate the "skyview" guestroom in the basement. We all call it the "skyview" because there is one tiny window and all you can see from the bed is the sky :).

Later I'll post a writing sample of mine I found while I was there...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

It has been two months...

since I left the state.

Mom is going to see my grandparents (her parents) today. When she called them to let them know she was coming, they told her that the corn is ripe.

I can't resist.

I've been in BN state fro 60+ days --

It is time for me to leave again...

Mom is going to help me pack today, then we'll take off.

We'll be back tomorrow.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Mum's home....

My Mum has been in Norway with her sister for the last three weeks... seeing many fjords, eating fishy food and having a good time.

They hit BNcity this evening hungry for some normal food and wanting a menu they could actually read --

Tomorrow Mum will go to visit the grandparents in Corn state and aunt will go back to her home in Florida... it seems a good time was had all around, and they still have things to talk about.

today, more than usual, I'm missing Pam....


Hubby and I have a ritual.

We pre-order the book, one copy.

Hubby eagerly awaits the Saturday delivery. This time it came at about 4:00 PM. He was done reading it about 11ish and gave it to me.

I'm slower, I read the first 75 pages or so last night and the rest today -- although, in my defense, I did sleep in a bit and thus got a slow start on it this morning.

I finished about midnight.

yea, it was a good book...

Does it make me a hopeless dork that I did the math and figured out that one of my former debaters could actually BE a child of Voldemort?

For those of you who know who I'm talking about --- don't forget, using his real name will call him....

Sunday, July 22, 2007

it is nice to have my breaks back...

As a debate coach, when others get breaks, you don't. It is simple... Almost all the coaches I know both coach and teach. They do most of a regular teaching load and then do the coaching things at night and on the weekend. Unlike the football coach, debate coaches rarely just coach debate. Rather, for faculty coaches, coaching debate is something that may count in their teaching load and/or be something that they get straight release time for, but it is rarely the limit of their responsibilities. Many parli coaches are also grad students -- if they are lucky, all they are doing is a full load of grad classes and coaching, some of them do traditional TA work on top of it all. This may be different in policy debate, but this is how parli works.

Since debate is an extracurricular activity, a lot of work gets done (or, should -- at least get done) when classes aren't in session.... and, when the debaters are working, so are their coaches. Someone has to give and assess the research assignments, watch practice rounds, make travel arrangements and actually travel with the team

Last year, because hubby was going to Red State, I didn't attend any debate camps -- and I really did shirk some of my duties prepping a couple of debaters last year. In the two previous years we held summer practices and I spent 7-10 days living in dorms at debate camp.

As long as I can remember, just about every break in the school year had at least one tournament associated with it -- and Spring Break had two! So, just when you are about sick to death of dealing with college students, imagine spending 24/7 with them and a whole bunch more from other schools. No wonder I got a bit fried.

This summer seems a bit strange to me, in a good way. I don't have to worry about debate camp, I don't have to plan my syllabi (yea, I'm already writing them... ha ha!) around a debate travel schedule and I don't have to plan my visits to Red State around the debate season. While I may end up at a tournament or two -- the only one I'm planning to go to is the national tournament I helped start.

I have to admit, the prospect of having the full two days off for Fall Break and a full week of Spring Break in Red State excites me more than is probably warranted... but, a girl has to take her thrills where she can get them. Sigh.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

thank goodness for hubby...

I can go to water aerobics this morning. Hubby is on Potter Watch -- breathlessly awaiting the delivery.... and selflessly skipping the gym to make sure someone is home.

I feel like a big meanie...

New Kitty's nemesis is the laser printer.

This morning I printed a few things while she watched it like it was about to leap off the table and GET HER!

I noticed her tension and intentionally touched her, knowing I would make her jump.

She gave me a dirty look...

and I loved it...

and then I felt like a big meanie.

Friday, July 20, 2007

'fess up...

It is TV confessions time...

What has caught your attention this summer?

Hubby and I are watching "Hell's Kitchen", "Deadliest Catch" and "Ice Road Truckers".

If you ever wondered what a two-academic career couple watches during summer research time, now you know...

We are also excited (beyond measure)for the new Harry Potter book, the Underdog Movie and the Simpson's movie...

2 weeks...

2 weeks from today we'll be moved.

This apartment has been good to us. It is big enough to do what we thought we wanted.. i.e. give us separate work spaces. Once hubby got the job in Red State, it turns out we didn't want separate places to work after all. It also turns out that I want an apartment that has been updated since the 1970s, and that isn't maintained and managed by racist and sexist morons.

We've given away a lot of books. I used to think I wanted to keep every fiction book I read because I was sure I would want to read them over and over again... until I didn't. So, I sent a bunch of books to a blogger who lost hers in a tornado and gave the rest away locally. I'll still buy and read fiction, but unless it is something I'll use in class, I won't hold onto it when I'm done.

Friends have spoken up about wanting most of our old furniture. Brain and Simon's Mom will take a desk and bookshelf. Mom will take the bed, a desk chair and a couple of bookshelves. Hubby's sister will take an extra desk and a pal who is moving into a new place will take the other extra bookshelves we have. Even with all that furniture gone, I am worried about being able to squeeze our remaining furniture into our new place...

This weekend I'll pare down the stuffed animals, kitchen gear and hall closets and then do another Goodwill run. I'll also figure out how many boxes we have, buy some new boxes and clear space to stack them once I pack them.

A week from today we'll get a trailer to pull behind the JEEP. Sunshine and I will use it deliver mom's stuff. Sunshine has never been to the northwoods or seen the superior lake, and she's been living here for several years... it is about time, and I'll need help unloading the bed at mom's :).

In the following week we'll use the trailer to deliver our old furniture around the beginning of the week. The 1st of August is a Wednesday, so we can start moving our boxes into the new place.... We'll do that on Wednesday and Thursday so that when the movers (paid... a lot per hour) get here on Friday the 3rd, all that will be left is our furniture.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

lessons learned about academic writing...

I'm about to put my third paper into 'percolate' status this week. I think the paper is pretty good, especially since I have a solution to the major problem presented in the comments.

It seems like a good time to share a few of the things I've figured out about academic writing. If you have more tips, please share...

1) Sticky-notes are your friend.

When I read books, articles or even my own drafts, I have three sizes of them handy.

I use the large ones to make more detailed arguments either extending what the author is arguing, noting how the passage may be useful in my paper or to write an objection to what I'm reading.

If I have a library book, I use a small sticky not in the book with a letter that corresponds to the big one... I'll often use the small ones to label sections of a book or paper so that I can get back there quickly when necessary.

The medium sized notes are useful for writing down sources I need to find, to make "to do"style notes about finding citations or checking on format issues etc.

All the medium and large notes go onto printer paper, NOT into the article or book -- this becomes a running and portable set of notes I can then stick into drafts of the paper I'm writing, arrange in other ways or generally move around. If they are in the paper or book, they are stuck.

Also, I use stickies to make notes that occur to me about future projects. They go on another piece of paper for later reference.

2) Sometimes starting over is a good idea.

Take the weakest section and write a complete replacement. Start a new document and write how you think the section should look. When you are happy with it, insert it into your paper. Your experience with the material will often turn your weakest section into the strongest.

3) Time is your friend.

When you are working on a paper, decide on stages at which it needs to "percolate". Time will give you fresh eyes about the paper and let you sort out the knotty problems associated with all good papers. Of course, this requires some advance planning and time management :).

Before you put something on "percolate", gather all the references you cited in the paper as well as all the sources you think you may want to include. This will prevent you from having to re-do research later -- and it may save you a lot of time.... Trust me, I've skipped this step -- don't do it!

Also, before you put a paper away, make a "to do" list. Sketch out the problems you see with the paper when you put it away. You should remind yourself to check for your bad writing habits.

Then, don't look at it for at least two weeks, maybe even a month.... really, don't do it. Start another paper, clean your closets or catch up on grading -- just don't work on that paper!

I hope those things work for you --

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


It was kind of fun... I love summer thunderstorms, the whole sky broke loose and it was like being in a huge shower with one of those expensive shower heads.

I've spent a lot of time in the pool this summer, between water aerobics and just swimming... I was drier when I hit the locker room at the club this morning than when I got back to my apartment after going to the grocery store.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Nerd threats...

Hubby: I can get into the TIVO account on-line from Red State. I could fill up your TIVO with Battlestar Gallactica.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I love it when a plan comes together...

Suffice it to say that a few good friends collaborated long-distance and it worked out.

Y'all know who you are and what worked out... so pat yourselves on the back a little, stop reading blogs and get back to work!

Polygamous Pigeons pooping on the Porch...

We've had a polygamous group of pigeons on the porch for a while now.

Part of moving entails cleaning the stuff off the porch. That stuff is covered in pigeon poo.

We threw the furniture and storage cabinet over the edge, dragged the whole mess to the dumpster via the garage and said goodbye to most of the stuff from the porch. It was about time for it to go -- and now I can get new stuff for my new porch next month -- about the same time all of that kind of stuff goes on sale.

The problem is that the pigeons have eggs in at least one nest on our porch..

Perhaps that will end up being the problem of our apartment people. They've known about the pigeons for at least a year and have done nothing. Of course, last year we told them that their proposed solution (catching the pigeon with a pool net and bringing it off the porch via our apartment) was unacceptable, so they'll probably want to charge us for it.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Long-term goals...

Europe, next summer...

We have passports.

We need to save money.

We need to get in shape.

We need to make huge progress on our dissertations.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

money, why I love summer teaching...

A few things are simple truths.

Moving is expensive.

We'll pay movers to move our furniture. We'll move the rest. Even so, we are planning about $750.00 to go out to the movers on August 1.

Hubby and I are good at spending money.

Our AMEX bill is kind of high again this month, sigh.

My summer pay is on top of my normal pay and I'm done with my summer class.

Until the end of August I get nice paychecks and I don't have to talk to freshmen at 7:45 AM.

So, I can pay the bills AND not have to work.

damm... I love July.

I miss y'all...

Vienna is being naughty....

I'm used to being able to see if you have something new and I don't have time to look at my long list of favorite blogs...

I'll see you later :).

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Thank you, American Airlines...

Well, at least thanks for screwing over a couple of friends -- so we got to see them :).

D1 and his sweetie, The Enforcer, ended up as impromptu house guests last night. You see, they were trying to leave BN state -- but American Airlines would have none of that...

It seems there was some weather between here and their backward southern state --- which tends to put American into a tizzy -- a tizzy I've experienced often enough that I won't fly them anymore.

The good folks at Northwest were able to help them out with a direct flight, but American forgot to release their tickets before they went home... thus, D1 and the Enforcer had to wait until today to go south on American....

Since hubby and I live pretty close to the airport, it was convenient for us to go get them, give them dinner and a place to sleep for a bit. The Enforcer got a treat, as we went to Cheesecake Factory (ymmmmm ---- really!) and then she got to see a videotape her debate coach debating as a competitor.

This morning I dropped them off before water aerobics, and since they aren't here now, I presume they got on their 10:00 flight.

All in all, I'm sure they would rather have gone home on time -- but it was a nice surprise visit for us.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Secret message to the woman in water aerobics...

Honey, you are NO Venus Williams.

You are doing a relatively easy water aerobics class.

A class designed for old women like you.

There is NO reason to grunt at every movement.... especially not in the cool-down.

Stop it.

If I can hear you grunting behind me you are either too close or too loud.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Like mother, like daughter...

I had lunch with the Red Head today... and her daughter. Her daughter is almost 9 and going into 4th grade next year. She's only one year younger than the Red Head was when I met her...

and she's sure her mother's daughter -- but with a cell phone.

On the way home I wondered how the Red Head's mother handled her at that age. You see, Little Red is really smart. She's kind of saucy, very sweet and very sophisticated - a lot like her mother was at that age. Little Red usually has something funny to say and she's easily able to out argue her father. It takes someone super-smart like the Red Head to stay ahead of Little Red. Now, I love the Red Head's mother, and for all the wonderful things she is, she isn't super-smart like her daughter and granddaughter.

hmmm.... I suppose that is why the Red Head was able to be naughty in high school and not get in trouble....

Friday, July 06, 2007

Advise to the 'Army Wives"

For those of you who aren't up on your Lifetime TV, "Army Wives" is a new series about Army spouses (all but one of them women). They get together when one of them goes into labor at an official tea...

For those of you who don't know me IRL, you should know that hubby was in the military when we got married and stayed in the military for about 10 years after we married... so, I have some experience as an army wife...

One of the characters is new to Army life, so I thought she could use a bit of advise... I figured I'd post it here because it is also generally good life and marriage advise...

In no particular order...

---Don't iron his shirts... really, don't do it even once.
--- Mind your own business.
--- Don't do anything you wouldn't want everyone to know about.
--- Don't gossip.
--- Choose your friends wisely and stick with them.
--- His rank isn't your rank, be an independent person and have your own achievements.
--- His job isn't your job, get your own job off base, waaay off base.
--- Learn what the alphabet soup means.
--- Have something to talk about outside of the military.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

a perfect summer routine...

or, at least the start of one.

This summer I taught at 7:45 on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

This isn't a big deal for me, as I tend to wake up early and usually I'm awake by 5:30 or so in the summer -- when the sun comes up. In our family we credit the 'farmer genes' for this annoying inability to sleep in.

This summer I'm using it to my advantage.

First thing in the morning I find myself some caffeine, check e-mails, read blogs and wake up a bit. I listen to my favorite morning radio people and become aware of the world.

Then, I do about 2 hours of academic work -- MY own work... on whatever project I'm working on at the time. This brings me to 8AM.

At about 8 I leave for water aerobics. My favorite gym is the one with the outdoor pool. The class runs from 9:00-10:00 every morning, so I can get a good workout in the pool, shower and go on with my day.

Of course, the rest of the day usually goes haywire -- but, the first few hours are good.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Dear Self,

When going to water aerobics, bringing your swimsuit is really the only necessary thing...

If you'd remembered it, you'd be having fun 'splashing around' instead of writing this post.

Don't forget your suit tomorrow.


Sunday, July 01, 2007

book about High School debate...

"Cross-X" was a fascinating book. I'll post more on it later

Joe Miller went deep into Kansas City Central High School's attempt to have a nationally competitive debate team. According to Miller, the problems faced by Central were based in racism.

The thing is, Miller is wrong in blaming KCC's problems on race. There were many times I experienced the exact same issues with my white community college team. There were many rounds that they lost when they seemed to have won the arguments -- in state it was because they dared to debate like the national circuit and out of state it was because they dared to enter the open division.

The worst times were when they'd get a hard time because they didn't go to the community college nationals, which was my decision... FYI, I think the CC national speech and debate tournament has some anti-educational practices.

So, while Miller seems to get the real feeling of a debate team right, he doesn't quite have the breadth of experience to get the under-dog part right.

Beginnings, endings and treats...

in other words, random stuff...

My end of paper treat is to have lunch on the deck at a good restaurant on the river. Hubby and I went over there on Friday only to find that the deck was covered by mayflies.... So, we went to another place that was fun, but not the treat place. The treat place will have to wait until the mayflies go away....

New Kitty's neck is a pale pink. She doesn't seem to notice, so we'll live with it. I'm pretty sure she got it wet drinking from the faucet, so we'll probably get her one of those cat water-fountain water bowls...

Extra-Toes has attacked another loaf of bread. If we leave a loaf of bread anyplace other than the kitchen, he'll find it and chew one corner of the end of the loaf. He eats the plastic of the bag and a little bit of the slices at the end. He does this consistently, so you'd think we'd learn (ummm hubby, this time it was on your desk....).

Extra-toes has also found the treats -- he knocks them off of hubby's desk and treats them like they are cat-crack and he's an addict. I'm not sure what is in kitty treats that makes him so crazy...

We have one more month in this apartment. I am SOOOOOO excited, it really wouldn't phase me if they called from the other place today to say we had to move in early....