Thursday, January 31, 2008

The first set of student mysteries this semester...

I have one of those syllabus handouts with a bunch of specific policies. Really, they are common sense and if I were really teaching adults, about half of them would be necessary... but, I'm not, so they are.

I also hate to do the 'read the syllabus to the class' thing on the first day -- So, I do a take-home syllabus quiz.

All of the answers are on the handout. The last page of the handout IS the quiz -- so I know they have it.

There are about 4 multiple choice questions, 4 points worth of opinion questions, and 12 T/F.

How could anybody miss more than a point or two?

Why does a student who has had me before nearly FAIL it (because he didn't read the syllabus last time, nor did he read it this time -- and he guessed... wrong)?

I really don't understand them.

maybe they are from another planet --- or, maybe I am...


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

a meeting --- and a new kindred spirit...

Sometimes you find interesting people in the most unusual places --- like, meetings.

Late yesterday I had a meeting with a member of a committee I'm occasionally on --

I expected it to be a standard, necessary but boring meeting, but I found someone I really like.

She's smart, funny, honest and has some of the same basic ideas about the committee that I do.

I know we'll collaborate well on this, and possibly on other things, while I'm at BNCC.

I really like having someone in this office I can work with -- mostly because I don't always work well with others (I can play well, and pretend well, but actually working well on my side is hard to pull off...).

the book meme

as I picked up at Anastasia's...

book Meme Rules

1. Pick up the nearest book ( of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people. (I don't tag people, do it if you'd like...)

Unless they create a "better state of peace," they may simply fix the conditions under which the fighting will be resumed, at a later time and with new intensity. Or they may confirm a loss of values the avoidance of which was worth a war.
The theory of ends in war is shaped by the same rights that justify the fighting in the first place - most importantly, by the right of nations, even of enemy nations, to continued national existence and, except in extreme circumstances, to the political prerogatives of nationality.

yea-- my dissertation is about war... hmmm..... and that is ONLY three sentences.


-17f actual temp

-44 windchill

right now, out there.... but, since I went to the grocery store last night, I don't have to go out there.

In fact, I think I'll go back to bed....

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

95 degrees.....

The difference between the temperature in San Diego and the 'feels like' low temperature here.

The real temperature will be -11.

We are supposed to get 1-3 inches of snow.

I don't mind -- especially since I'm home tomorrow....

Monday, January 28, 2008

home sweet home...

Thanks to Monopoly Air, after what they will call an "on-time" arrival, it took me more than an hour to be able to leave the airport.

7:25 we land in BN state

7:35 we are able to pull up to the gate

7:45 I actually get off the plane (sitting in the way back... sigh)

15 minutes of potty break and walk to luggage claim...

8:00-8:35 Waiting for luggage... once they started to actually unload it, it came quickly... but, it took them a full hour to get to "unloading" status.

Goodbye San Diego....

It's been fun -- you've always been a place of fun.

Prior trips have been focused on debate, with the fun on the side..... and even when I had to be responsible for debaters, you were still fun.

This time, you gave me a two day conference and a whole weekend to play. THAT was fun.

I'm sure we'll be back -- we always seem to come back. Even if next year's conference is back in DC, we'll find a reason to spend a long weened with you anyway.

For now, thanks for giving us a break from the snow and cold. We really appreciate it -- and we didn't really mind that you weren't at your best --- in fact, it was kind of convenient, as it seemed like your residents spent the weekend huddled around their space heaters while we had fun with the Chinese tourists in Tijuana....

See you soon,
me and Hubby

Saturday, January 26, 2008

We did San Diego harbor....

This morning.....
Whale watching was amazing... we saw several -- some pretty close to the boad. We saw flukes, spouts and 'knuckles' (their backs... kind of). We also saw sea lions and lots of dolphins.

This afternoon...
We spent on the aircraft carrier Midway. Very, very, very cool. No doubt about it.

Just before dark...
We spent at the end of Point Loma --- the whole of the Pacific Ocean on one side, San Diego Bay on the other...

I'll post photos later... right now, I need a nap before dinner.

Friday, January 25, 2008

quote of the night....

Hubby and I have ritualistic arguments.

When we are in Red State, he insists on calling what is clearly a pond a 'lake'.

When we are in California, he insists that palm trees don't exist and that the interstate should be called "THE 5" (yea, I know that is what Californians call it themselves, but they are wrong too).

He just persists in these bad habits of thought and I correct him... if I miss even one, he says it sets a precedence, and thus he's right forever....

So, on the way home from the harbor cruise tonight I finally said, "Just because I don't correct you, doesn't mean you aren't wrong".

His response was something to the effect of 'that is the definition of the American male's life'.... 'especially the married American male'.

yea -- that's my hubby.... but, I can keep up with him.

"the talk"...

My presentation went well.

As I spoke, I realized that it was really pretty darned good, if I do say so myself.

A few people asked questions, made comments and generally pushed a bit. I answered and actually admitted when I didn't have a good answer.

If I didn't come off as knowing everything, I'm sure I came off as confident, professional and friendly....

and -- I didn't make a fool of myself.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

-- so far, so wet!

or, at least it isn't -20...

I arrived in "sunny" San Diego--- in the middle of a drenching rain.

When a city is designed assuming sun, lack of sun poses some not so fun challenges...

  • My suitcase was soaked..... most of my clothing was wet inside.
  • My hoodie was soaked -- from just getting the rental car, fooling with luggage and a quick trip into the hotel.
  • My jeans were wet to the knees...
  • and all of the above are hanging in my bathroom... the maid will thing I'm some sort of freak.
This morning was beautiful, and they say it is supposed to be decent today and rain again tonight... just in time for hubby to arrive.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"I'm leaving on a Jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again"...

.. well, I'll actually be back on Monday...

and, I really hate that song since I've been in a LDR... it is just too sad.

but, this time hubby will be meeting me -- YEA!!!!

and it will be warm
-- because it isn't here... it is getting to the 'pretty darned cold' stage around here.

Right now, on my bed I have the following assortment of things:
Dress clothes, shoes, socks and other things...
4 scutty t-shirts
flip flops
fun birkenstocks
my travel cosmetics bag (much larger than what I usually carry, which is nothing...)
1 pair of hubby's Christmas socks (which turned up in the laundry, and he'll need)
hubby's book
my raincoat

all of that will go into a 22-inch suitcase.

really, it will...

it has to.

Update -- it fit -- barely. I've recently learned the real purpose of expandable suitcases -- If you close the zipper with the expansion zipper un-zipped, you can use the expansion zipper to compress the contents. Now, all I need to be concerned about is the prospect of the TSA inspecting it, they'll never get it all back in there...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Yea, Yea, Yea!!!

Excellent news... one of the committees read my paper and passed it.

Amazing that a one-line e-mail could make me so happy...

now, send the "RTFP" vibes to the other committee (read the "fine" paper)...

Monday, January 21, 2008

I blame the cats....

I've spent all day in my pjs... and it is all their fault.

The one thing I need to do today is to fold the mounds of laundry.

I need the bed to do it, which means I'll have to disrupt the day-long three-way.

I've really got to do it today. I have a conference to pack for, other things to do and this will be my last day for a week to get anything of the sort done.

Next week I'll need to spend my time at home, working... you know, that research stuff....

if only the cats could help....

please, just read them....

I'm having a bit of stress today...

I mailed papers to the M& E and History people sometime around Thanksgiving.

I've had no news yet.

It is making me nuts...

I know they are busy.

I know things get crazy.

but, we are pushing 60 days here folks....

-- and, I can't go to the next level until they do it.

The really frustrating bit about this is that I'm sure that if I were there, they'd have been read by now. They don't see me in the hall --- some of them don't know me -- and thus I'm just another obligation.

The people I've been working with directly are generally pretty good. My problem is with the ones I don't know.

I'm not sure what is reasonable... but, if they don't read them soon the set of excuses after the usual end of semester/holidays ones will get in the way.... and, in the end, this is part of their job. While I feel bad about nagging, I also shouldn't have to nag to get them to do their jobs.

I'm over it....

There is an on-line forum for debaters. I've just decided to ignore it from now on.

The ignorance and PCness there are just too much.

The people who claim to participate in debate and conversation about quickly resort to ad homs and jargon when the slightest objection is made to their unique brand of PC-BS.

I'm over them.

I've been posting there pretty much from the beginning of the site -- I was one of the first 20 users or so.... Since I stopped coaching debate, I've been less involved in what passes as "discussions", but this is just enough.

There are many better things to do with my time on and off-line... like pick my toes or practice crocheting.

Unlike others, I'm not going to post a big "I'm out of here message" -- I just deleted them from my bookmarks in Firefox.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

...yea, it's cold... so what?

It's cold outside... blah, blah, blah...

It is also sunny outside.

The car has heat.

We generally own jackets, boots, mittens etc.

and -- it really isn't all that cold -- just -10 or so.

let me know when it is really cold -- (like last year the first week in February when it was -25 with a high wind and a windchill about -60).

Friday, January 18, 2008

Mom & "Juno"

Mom update...

Things are fun -- we've had a variety of good meals, bought the grapefruit knife my step-dad wanted and saw the movie "Juno".

I really, really, really liked "Juno". Seriously, it is a fun movie -- and, while I'm not super-keen on the ending, the dialog and pace of the movie were just about right. Go see it for yourself, really.

Today we went to see my Great Aunt P. She's 80 and still fun to talk to. She doesn't get out as much as she used to, and she's decided to stop driving... but, she still lives in her own home, has her cat and a bunch of friends to help her out. Life could be much worse at 80.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Mom's visit...

When I asked my mom what she wanted for Christmas, her reply was that she wanted to hang out with me for a weekend.... so, we're doing it this week.

As usual, the weekend is a bit longer than for normal people, but that is good --- Mom and I can use the time....

So, she arrives today, on the end of her trip to Florida.

Tomorrow she's said she'll do my laundry while I teach (score!! as a kid I never had a mom who did laundry -- I won't feel guilty about letting her do some when I'm 39). When I'm done teaching, maybe we'll go to a movie --- and the Olive Garden, mom looooves the Olive Garden.

On Friday we'll take a road trip to visit my great aunt P. She's in her late 80s and I was named after her. We get along great, although I've turned out to be much more like her sister, H. ....

The more I think about it, I'm a lot more like H. H taught English at a CC for a long time over in cheese state, she has cats and is intellectual and sarcastic in the same way I am... H never married, but I think that is because she never found someone who could handle a really strong woman like H -- She's not a political feminist, but she's a great feminist role-model.... In fact, I think I told an anecdote about H when I was hired at BNCC (or, at least I planned to...).

I'm not sure what we'll do on Saturday -- probably a trip to the gym, as mom loves to swim. I suspect we'll also be at IKEA sometime, as mom loves IKEA too...

Sunday I'll take her home to the north woods, so I'll come back on Monday. A trip to the north woods is wonderful in the winter -- and this weekend is supposed to be really cold, so it should also be beautiful, as it doesn't get really cold with cloud cover.

Vienna and the cats conspire against you...

For the record -- I'm sorry I've been light commenting on your posts....

I use the reader "Vienna" -- whose most recent version treats many comment windows like pop-ups, and blocks them... grrr....

Plus, right now I have not one, but TWO big, fat cats on my desk.... it is hard to reach the keyboard.

New Kitty is snoozing on my mouse pad with her head on my mouse.

Blind kitty is snuggled between me and the keyboard, which seems to be the only way he'll stop yelling at me.

So, I'm reading your posts -- really I am -- but posting comments is hard.... eventually one of these problems will solve itself and I'll make more comments -- I promise!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ready, but not ready...

The syllabi are done, copied and in my office.

I have the first few weeks of class prep done.

but ---- I'm not intellectually ready to start class.... and I don't think I will be soon.

This week is 'odd' because my mom will be here tomorrow for a visit. The nice thing about mom's visit is that she'll do my laundry and help me figure out where to put the pictures... but, she's out of the normal, so it will be odd...

Next week I'm going to a conference someplace warm -- I leave on Wednesday... another 'odd' week...

So, while I'll have three teaching days between now and then, I really don't have to be ready to settle in for the long -haul of the semester until I get back from the warm place, right??

As it is, today is a long day -- but not tragically long -- my first class is at 11:00 and the last one ends at 9:00....

So, wish me luck and strength to do another semester. I'm hoping things will go quickly between now and the end of next month -- because March will let me have the illusion that hubby and I almost live together, as our spring breaks don't overlap at all....

Monday, January 14, 2008

just in case you are wondering....

Even though it is kind of cool to live in two cities,

Long distance relationships suck...

All I want is for my wonderful BNCC to be about 400 miles closer to Red State --- and my honey...

really, is that too much to ask?

I'm tired of this distance and travel thing -- and the cats miss their dad.

now I'm going to go over to BNCC to make sure the copies are ready for classes tomorrow.

can you tell I'm a bit cranky?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

watching from home...

This weekend there was (is still) a pretty big debate tournament in Colorado.

I took teams last year -- and it was during that trip that I first seriously considered not coaching debate anymore. To be clear, there was nothing all that unusual last year that made me want to stop coaching, but it was at that tournament that I realized that I could (and probably should) quit.

This year, I'm watching the tournament on-line, from home.... in Red State.

and (not to jinx it, knock on wood) D1 is doing really well!!!!

Sure, D1 is debating for another school now, but he'll always be one of 'my' debaters. Especially D1, who was the one who insisted that we start a team at BNCC -- and had many challenges at BNCC... the fact that he was able to get to the debate school, and now is tearing things up, is something I'm probably more proud of than I have right to be...

but, so what if I'm proud?

He's a good person and a good debater. He's finally getting the recognition he deserves.... and I'm proud that I was his first college coach.... that, if I hadn't decided to have a team at BNCC, he wouldn't be where he is today.

Yea, I can be proud of that -- can't I?

besides, if he wins nationals, I'm getting the tattoo....

Update -- so far D1's 11/11 in prelims over the two tournaments and in semi-finals. To make it to finals he'll have to beat the team that beat him in the first tournament, and who has been really good in the past. On the other hand, if he makes it to finals, he'll hit one of two very good teams -- at least one (if not both) of whom he's beaten in the past...

Of course, to add to the drama/fun -- Hubby's current school is in this part of the tournament -- D1 beat them in prelims and could face them again in finals.... hmmmm.

Final update: D1 beat the excellent Texas team he lost to in finals the night before... and then lost to the team from hubby's school. That makes D1 and his partner (someone I should never forget to mention, but do in the whole post) the only team to appear in finals at both halves of the tournament... way to go guys!!!!!

Also, the team from hubby's school was the national runner-up last year -- so losing to them isn't exactly a reason for shame.....

Friday, January 11, 2008

New blog phrases or new blog uses for common words....


I have a friend who needs your help.... They are developing a project that would, if funded, allow them to read blogs for a living... at least for a while :). Sounds cool, no?

I think I understand their project well enough to ask for your help in gathering examples. They aren't really interested in newly created words for blogs, or new uses of punctuation (it seems they've been studied to death, who knew?) -- but rather ways in which bloggerss put old words together in new ways or the way that bloggers give new definitions to old words.

One example of the kind of thing they are looking for is the blogging world's construction of the phrase of "random bullets of crap"... or the way bloggers and blog comment-writers use "here" to refer to a blog... as in "she commented here that ________".

So, if you could help out my brilliant buddy, we'd both be grateful.... you can help by leaving your thoughts in comments here (they'll read etc..). If you think it would help to ask the question on your blog, you can let my buddy know what you are up to by leaving a comment.

....I just figured it out.

What I just figured out was how to teach. If asked as an undergrad, I never would have thought that 'on the job training' would be how I would eventually figure out how to do this thing we call teaching.

I have to admit that there is some wisdom to the 'you'll sort it out as you go' point of view. Part of being a professional is doing the job using the judgment developed over the course of your training. Also, part of being a professional is having a sense of perspective and a sense of reflectiveness about your work -- along with the ability to change what you are doing to accomplish your goal as you see fit.

Of course, I'd be less than comfortable being represented by a lawyer who hadn't had courtroom training and I'd never trust a surgeon who'd never been formally taught how to hold a scalpel, so the analogy only extends so far.

I guess one thing that makes me think about this is that I'm not sure I am an effective teacher. I have some indications that what I do in the classroom works. My students seem to recall ideas I present. In logic they manage to pass quizzes and exams I write. My ethics students seem to be able to write, in their limited way, about ethical issues. So, in some ways they are at least able to mimic doing philosophy -- which isn't all that bad or unreasonable for first-year philosophy students in unreasonably large classes.

I also seem to have a following of students who at least think they have learned something from me -- and they tell their friends and families. I've had many parents, children, siblings, spouses and other relatives of students from prior semesters turn up in my classes -- I suppose it is one thing to tell your pal that I'm a decent prof, it is quite another to tell your spouse that I'm ok -- that is a risk --- because you know that if you're wrong, you'll hear all about it.... forever.

In terms of formal evaluations, my dean has always given me high marks -- even when she surprised me by showing up in my worst class ever (dead class, me exhausted, in jeans, the day after a long debate trip!)--- or when we'd do venn diagrams in logic that are backwards from the way mathematics does them... My student evaluations are really good, although the value of student evals in general is more than a bit unclear.

Perhaps it is part of the process of teaching college is that you don't know if you are really being effective -- or, if you are just likable enough that the students don't hate you.

I do know that it would have been helpful for me if my grad department had done more to prepare me for teaching. On the job training is one thing, but going in nearly cold the first time was terrifying.

To be fair, I wasn't exactly cold -- but I was definitely cooler than warmer...

I had examples of how to construct a course. I had syllabi from when I took the courses not all that long before.... In one case, that syllabus was constructed by an adjuncting grad-student from my own department. Did she really know all that much more than I did at the time? Did she get the basics of her syllabus from a grad student where she did her BA? In many ways, my current version of that course doesn't differ all that much from what she did many years ago ---- so she probably did something right... or, not.

The thing is, it would have been very helpful to sit down with someone much more experienced than myself to talk about why the syllabus is the way it is. Why are the topics in the order they are? Where do students often have trouble? Where might I get behind the syllabus and what do I do if I do get behind? More generally, what should and shouldn't be on a syllabus?

It also would have been helpful to have information on writing effective test questions. There are numerous studies that conclude the way a question is worded and the way it is put on the page are directly related to the student's ability to answer the question correctly. Just like we tell students to write clearly, the way our exam questions are worded make a huge difference.

Finally, it would have been helpful to know how to write good paper assignments as well as to know how much reading it is reasonable to assign. It would have been wonderful to have discussions about classroom atmosphere, handling late students, when to tell a student to withdraw etc. Learning to hit these sorts of curve balls took me a long time... and some basic advise would have been helpful.

It seems to me that I was lucky, in a way. I got my on the job training packed into a few years as an adjunct, both in Red State and in BNstate. I did the OJT before I started work on my dissertation and before I had the pressure of a new tenure-track job. Granted, I'm now much further behind on my own dissertation than I'd like (because, I'd like to be done -- doesn't everyone?), but I do know why I'm writing it... because I know what I'm getting into.

If (when -- knock on wood) I end up in a tenure-track job in the same location as hubby (be it Red State or the moon... I really don't care!), I'll be able to count on my teaching abilities and teaching experience to let me focus on writing my own stuff. Right now, I'm using that experience to carve out time for my own writing.... and my goal for the semester is to keep my time really MY time (but, that is another post..).

The thing is, it is hiring season and that means there are a whole group of grad students who are about to be hired into departments at universities across the country. They'll have to figure out both how to teach and how to publish at the same time. That can be really, really stressful. Add to that service expectations, conference travel and the stress of living in a new place, and the fact that anybody survives the first couple of years is pretty remarkable.

I suppose the tragedy in all of this is that it doesn't have to be that way. Grad programs can, and should, help their students be more effective teachers. The way I see it, even if you want your grad students to be highly productive and prolific researchers, if they have to learn to teach on the job, then in their first few years they are using mental energy and time they could spend writing, trying to figure out how to teach. Why not save them the trouble and equip them with some basic skills, it will help everyone in the end.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Good day!

After a bit of a conflict with AMEX (in which their confusing billing practices became another reason not to use the card -- that, and we spend way too much money when we do....) I had a pretty darned good day.

I got my hair cut and colored by the best hairstylist in the world.... She's also a very good friend...

She had time after my appointment, so we went to lunch.

I then went to the gym, where I had the pool almost entirely to myself -- YEA! There were some kids in the other pool, so I had something to look at -- but, no splashy old men trying to do the butterfly and looking like they are about to have a hear attack.

I came back to Hubbys, took a little nap and read a bit...

now I'm going out for the best Indian food in the world....

Not a bad way to spend one of my last days of winter break -- much better than about a year ago when I was meeting my debate team in Colorado, and finding out they hadn't done much to prepare.... sigh.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Working in Omaha.....

I've got to write syllabi today. Really, if they are going to get e-mailed and copied by next week, they have to be done today. Hubby starts school today, so I'll have most of the day to work...

So, I'll sit here with my pop -- watching the neighbor's back yard (a random white, shaggy dog just went by) and planning medical ethics and logic for next semester.

I'm going to try to get to the gym today, maybe once I have a draft of each syllabus, I'll go to the gym as a break.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

RBO I don't want to get ready for Spring semeser...

  • We're in Red State --- I'm here for a whole week... which is more time than I've spent down here in many years. Sadly, it won't be all eating amazing Indian food and reading good books (some of the best things to do here..), rather, I have class prep to do... sigh.
  • This morning I'm getting some waxing done and going to the gym... and then I'll start syllabus prep... sigh.
  • On the way down we had some cool fog -- sometimes the fog was between us and the sun -- So, as we drove, the buildings were often just silhouettes against a pink/purple sky... it was really cool. Of course, even if I had my camera with me, I doubt the photos would have come out properly...
  • My pal is still on Jeopardy -- watch him today to see if he can win Game 9! I love that he's doing well --- both he and his sweet spouse are just nice folks.... as well as being on of the most blissfully smart couple I know... the result is that their daughter will grow up in a home that values intelligence -- a needed counter to our culture's focus on dumb-assness...
  • I got up bright and early intending to go to water aerobics class, only to find that they've changed their schedule and there is no class today... sigh. I did bring my water barbells and elastic band thingy... so I'll go to the gym and have my own little class.

Monday, January 07, 2008

The paper's out of here, and so am I....

I finished my conference paper last night and sent it out.... 37 pages, over 12,000 words and 82 endnotes... it is kind of a monster.... but, it has a lot of work to do.

I have a sneaking suspicion the conference is going to extend the deadline and I'll get an e-mail making me feel like my students feel when I give an extension (note to self ... NO EXTENSIONS this semester! that feeling sucks!).

Today Hubby and I head to Red State together for a week... We'll drive down together in a Jeep full of books (seriously, we aren't sure there'll be room for my suitcase...)..... and I'll fly back next Monday.

The kitties will have Auntie S take care of them ---- and, when I get home they'll be irritable with me.

While I'm in Red State I have plans.... I'll write syllabi and start class prep, I'll make a couple of trips to the salon, I'll see Dr. Advisor and eat some Indian food... In short, I'll do all the fun stuff Red State has to offer.....

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The idiots of the week are....


They have a monopoly in our apartment building.... and they suck.

Usually my complaint is about the fact that their DSL service isn't working -- and their customer support are complete and total idiots who are aghast at the concept of a home router or the completely outrageous concept that hubby and I might want to use both of our computers on the internet --- AT THE SAME TIME!!!

No, today the complaint is about their bill payment process.

Their website is nearly impossible to find, and when I finally found it -- their on-line bill payment option was down.... and now has been down all day.

Finally, I gave up and decided to call -- and, their billing department doesn't answer the phone on weekends.

I used to complain about Comcast -- but, I'd love to have them back. At least you can give them money and get someone to help you --- eventually....


How New Kitty spends her time...

She waits for Daddy-Cat to come home... of course, she doesn't realize she's looking down at the "out" door of the garage -- she is a cat, after all. Since Hubby and I will go to Red State tomorrow, she'll be waiting for a while. He'll be back in February.... The good thing about her waiting is that she isn't on MY desk... which is in the far left part of this photo...

She spends a large amount of time sitting on my desk and ignoring me. She enjoys watching what is on my screen. If you look closely, you can see several of my favorite things in this photo... to her right is my purple Philosophy water bottle from Powell's Books in Portland, to the right of my computer monitor is most of my collection of Russell + Hazel notebooks and just to the left of my notebooks, under the monitor, is the scarf given to me (via Hubby) by one of Hubby's students -- a charming Asian student who had a little bit of a 'thing' for Hubby :). She gave him a matching tie -- with the characters of the Chinese Opera on it...

This is the "you aren't Daddy" look. New Kitty does that well and often, when she realizes that she's stuck here in BN state and not in Red State with her favorite parent. What she doesn't realize is that her favorite cat (Blind Kitty) wouldn't be with her in Red State, and she'd have to make several trips across Corn State in order to live with her cat-father full-time. As you might guess, she isn't a fan of the car... not at all.

This is her "I'm going to try to play with every small thing on your desk" mode... paper clips, rubber bands and anything small enough to be moved by a cat paw is fair game.

Finally, she's in her "I'm going to go jump on Extra-Toes" pose. Every morning she has a ritualized spat with Extra-Toes. They fight in the doorway to the office. She usually wins -- although sometimes he gets his extra-claws in her collar and takes it off of her. When he does this, she gets rather sad and looks at me as if to say "put my collar on... NOW!". Of course, I do so, because it has a bell on it and I get to know where she is...

Can you tell I'm on a paper deadline? Thank goodness it is almost time for their mid-morning nap... which follows the mid-morning spaz attack going on right now and which will be followed by the late-morning nap, the noon nap and the ever important all afternoon nap... most of these naps happen on our bed...

I'm going to refrain from posting anything else -- or reading any more blogs -- or checking any e-mail until I have a solid draft of this paper!

Y'a know what....

General note -- Overall, I'm politically liberal. If it is possible to average out my views on social and fiscal issues, I'd be a centrist-Democrat. I'm also a good feminist -- unlike many people who claim to be feminists, I've read a shit-ton of feminist philosophical literature. In fact one year ago, if you care to dig back into my archives, which I don't care to do, you'll see that I spent two weeks reading feminist stuff in the Sandra Day O'Connor school of law, law library... so, don't call me a sexist because I don't love Hillary... live with the fact that feminism is about individual choice and giving women the freedom to be construction workers, strippers or stay at home mothers... or, all three (in a lifetime, although the first two could work well together).

I also know many, many, many people who have gone to small Bible colleges and/or big Bible Universities. I've seen them come out just fine as adults who know what is going on in the world. I've also seen them do well in graduate studies or in their chosen careers.

In talking to them about their schools, they express the idea that they like the atmosphere on campus, they like the supportive environment and they like the fact that there ARE restrictions on behavior on campus. As such, the campus is sober and dry....and thus is a good environment for learning.

What bugs me is when people who don't know people from Bible colleges or universities make blanket decisions about them. They mean well, but their narrow-minded liberalism and feminism makes them blind to what may be the best choice for any given STUDENT. This isn't about where the person giving advise wants to go, it is about what would be a good place for the student to achieve their goals...

The real problem with taking such an adamant stand on where a student ought to go is that, if the student decides to go against the "advise", they risk losing the support of someone upon whom they should be able to rely...

So, be a liberal and be a feminist -- but, realize that there are reasonable people out there who may make considered decisions to reject at least the liberal part -- (sorry, I can't say there are reasonable people who aren't feminists... I just can't make myself type that sentence).

Friday, January 04, 2008

Iowa, Huckabee and Obama....

I usually leave the political blogging to Hubby -- who does it well. It isn't as if I don't have political thoughts and opinions, rather, he's just better at writing about them than I am...

First, on Huckabee -- the man scares me, or angers me -- I'm not sure which. If he really thinks he's not being anti-Mormon, then he scares me because he's stupid. If he realizes his statements are offensive to Mormons and doesn't care, then he angers me. Either way, I'd almost rather vote for ANY Democrat than Huckabee --- as the thing I tolerate even less than homophobia is religious bigotry. Really folks, who we worship and who we f-ck are our own business -- and making any kind of decision based on another person's religion IS bigotry, plain and simple.

Next, Obama --- I'm happy to see him do well. In many ways, I hope he continues to do well -- as he seems to be open to taking advise from smart people, he's articulate and I don't think the rest of the world will hate him -- which is a good thing. It isn't as if I don't want Hillary to win, as I'd love to see the first female president -- it is just that I'm not really a fan of Hillary herself -- it is more interpersonal than political, she's just not my style.

Finally, on Iowa --- Folks, I've spent LOTS of time in Iowa -- lots of it... and, it isn't all farms. There is plenty of small town industry, at least one city that qualifies as such --- and a few more that almost count. In fact, the main complaint (if you read the billboards) is that corporate farmers are buying up all the land and shutting out family farmers. In fact, I know lots of people in Iowa and NONE of them are currently farming -- and only one of them lives on a farm!

What I do find problematic about Iowa is the way the Democrats do their caucuses... You have to stay for the whole length of the caucus. If you have some other commitment, you can't participate. In reality, having a caucus doesn't allow for absentee ballots etc... So, the process itself doesn't necessarily capture what Iowans think.

What is also pretty sad is that those that can't get back to their home to caucus and/or have to work etc have to listen to the political ads for months without the ability to do anything about it.... likewise for Omaha --- which is in the "Omaha /Council Bluffs (IA)" radio market.... sigh.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Kitty and the printer....

New Kitty has a whole bunch of odd behaviors -- most of which are amusing.

Her "issue" with the printer is not.

Every time we print something, we have to first kick her out of the office. If we don't, she'll go into 'freak out/hunter mode'. Then she'll jump on our desks and go after the printer, like it is trying to kill us... this usually involves stepping on our keyboards and anything else in her way --

If we try to pick her up while she's in 'freak out / hunter mode', we'll need stitches...

I just printed a 44 page document (a version of my Supreme Emergencies paper -- YEA!). As soon as New Kitty realized the printer was going, she started banging her front paws on the French doors to our office... the look of concern on her face was flattering, but we knew that letting her in would result in injury....

A pal on Jeopardy... still!

You can follow the action from his sweet spouse's perspective...

So far they've won a boat-load of money -- and I'm really happy for them! She's about to have their first child and both of them are (or will be) attorneys working for the greater good... when they could have decided to use their degrees from highly-ranked law schools to make themselves a ton of money.

So, even if you don't watch - tune in over break to watch Dan win cash -- and know that they won't spend it all on hookers and blow... :).

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

"they" say....

.... that you are supposed to start the New Year doing what you'd like to do all year.

Today I started the year with a good water aerobics class.

After a good (and mostly healthy) lunch, a nap with the cats and a shower (not in that order), I spent the afternoon writing about the ethics of warfare.

yea, that sounds like the way my year ought to go....

on Resolutions...

I just caught a bit of Sharon Osborne talking about resolutions... she said something to the effect of, "I never keep them, they are always things like 'I'm going to stop spending' or 'I'm not going to eat chocolate', but, I never do them, so I'm just going to go on as I am".

I kind of feel the same.

Of course I want to exercise more and eat less. The exercise more bit is easier than the eating less... So, I'll work a bit on the eating less part while trying to keep the exercising more consistent.

Naturally I want to get more work done and have more fun... toward that end I'm spending the first 6 days of the year working on a paper -- and once we get to Omaha, I'm going to look into a weekend away with hubby for February...

And -- I want to keep my living space cleaner -- So, I'm going to call one of my (now) former students for an estimate. She runs her own cleaning company -- and, she's really smart and probably quite quick...

So, these aren't resolutions -- They seem to be more like positive patterns I want to improve on... and that's ok with me.