Friday, August 31, 2007

Antietam Battlefield

Last Sunday, my family and I visited Antietam, site of the bloodiest day of fighting in the Civil War. The battlefield is only about fifteen minutes from Shepherdstown. My parents and I had actually visited once before, back in May when we were trying to get the lay of the land and find housing options for my move here. At first I wasn't too excited about going back to a place I had just been to a few months before, especially with a couple of kids in tow, but it turned out to be a nice afternoon.

I didn't actually to look through the small museum the battlefield has this time, as Aidan was being fussy. Since I'd just seen it a couple of months ago, I took him outside in the stroller. The park, of course, has tons of green space and lots of interesting things to look at--the perfect kind of place to let an antsy two-year-old expend some energy. We eventually wound up at the New York monument near the main entrance, a big impressive tribute to the soldiers from my home state, complete with stairs for Aidan to run up and down and four sides to play peek-a-boo around while we waited for the grown-ups to finish inside.

I asked Aidan to make a funny face, and here's what I got:

Actually, visiting with the kids (especially with Kelsie) gave me a new perspective on the battle, or at least a new perspective on how kids learn history. Kelsie is only 8 and is about to start fourth grade, so she doesn't know that much about history and wars yet. It's kind of sad that part of growing up and getting educated is learning about so many painful events from the past. This is something that's been on my mind this past week, as we are discussing what it means to be educated in my English 101 classes, reading works like Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" and the excerpt from Frederick Douglass's Narrative in which he discusses how learning is both a blessing and a curse. I am reminded of Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye, who wants so badly to keep children from losing their innocence and growing up.

So all of this is context for me seeing Kelsie experience Antietam. I don't think she really got the magnitude of what happened there in 1862, but who among us can really say we fully understand a battle in which 23,000 men were killed or wounded in twelve hours? Kelsie seemed intrigued by the photo below. It's a rather iconic photograph, taken by Alexander Gardner and shows dead bodies in front of the Dunker Church. The museum at the battlefield has a blown up version of it right as you come in, and later on, while we stood at the Dunker Church, she asked if that's where the photo was taken.

After we were done watching the reenactors (a post on that will come next) at the church and made our way back to the cars to drive to the next stop (the battlefield is, of course, so big that you drive from stop to stop), she asked if that small bit of field we just saw was the battlefield. I tried to explain that the battlefield stretched for miles and miles, and again, I am not sure if it sunk in completely.

At another stop, we saw a monument dedicated to one of the generals who died at Antietam (post on that to come, too), and she asked, "Was he on our side?" That was a complicated answer, since the general had fought for the confederacy. "Yes and no," I explained. So we talked about the Civil War--how the North and South fought each other--and how after the war was over, the nation (slowly) healed. She asked, "Why did they fight?" and I gave her my own answer, which I know people like to argue about. "Well, basically it was over slavery." "Lincoln freed the slaves!" she eagerly volunteered, proud of something she learned in school. Earlier that day, she had also confidently identified Lincoln in this other iconic picture where he's meeting with General McClellan. Again, this was all quite interesting to me--to see what she knew and try to teach her just enough for her to know some more without her getting overwhelmed and confused. Here's a picture of her posing at the site known as "Bloody Lane."

In the end, I am not sure how much Kelsie learned at Antietam. I know that she had fun walking around the green spaces and seeing the monuments, trees, and flowers. Seeing it all through her eyes gave me a lot to think about--and reminded me of when I was a kid and we visited places like Gettysburg and Fort Ticonderoga.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Nephews are fun

One of the things that made me laugh the most about spending a couple of days with Aidan? He call me "Dr. Tante Heidi" or "Dr. Heidi." His parents taught him that and it stuck. He's a sweet little guy most of the time, although at times he provides an excellent demonstration of "the terrible twos." He also has an unhealthy obsession with Sponge Bob. We might need an intervention.

"Tante Heidi, can I take a picture with your camera?"

Alternate title for this post: "What happens when an eight year old has access to a camera." Please enjoy a gallery of pictures taken by Kelsie. As for commentary, I am going to give you my best idea of what might have been going through her head as she snapped each picture.

"How about a picture of Aidan? Everybody seems to think he's cute."

"How about another one, this time from close up."

"It's hard to photograph a moving target."

"Okay, if he won't hold still, I'll take a picture of his favorite toy."

"Enough of that kid. I'm plenty cute enough. Time for a self-portrait." [Editor's note: it's also possible that Aidan took this one.]

"Now for a close up. That'll be dramatic."

"Time for silly faces!"

"Time for just one more before my mom says, 'Put that camera down!"

Ansel Adams she ain't, but at least she had fun.

Return of the snail

My parents, my brother Christian, my sister-in-law Jennifer, and my niece and nephew, Kelsie and Aidan, visited me this past weekend. You can expect a couple more posts on their visit, but let's start with a returning guest star from a previous post--the common snail. Kelsie, Aidan, and I were playing in the yard behind my apartment and found dozens of snails on the edge of some tall weeds. Here are a couple of shots of note:

Give Kelsie points for bravery, because she just picked a bunch of the suckers up and carried them over to show her folks. They weren't all that impressed, although the grandparents thought they were cool.

Close up of "snail hands."

Kind of gross AND kind of cool. Afterwards, we put all the snails back where we found them (more or less).

Cleaning is hard work

Wes must have wore himself out vacuuming.

Ugh--I know...two cat posts in a row. Mostly they are for Shannon, who said she needs some happy posting to help her through long days at work when she is worrying about her own cat.

No space is too tight...

...when Bing decides he's going to get in it. I left the door to the storage closet open for a minute, and as I am putting things back in, these two yellow eyes peer at me from the back. Extricating him was fun.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Brave new world

Back when I was in college (a phrase that makes me sound old!), the only campus-wide alerts we ever listened for concerned the weather. Would class be canceled because of that half-inch of snow? But my, how the world has changed. In the aftermath of the shooting at Virginia Tech, schools all over are implementing text-message alert systems. They are really publicizing it here at Shepherd, and you can read about it here. I just noticed that they are instituting a similar plan at Roanoke, which you can read about here.

This topic brings up so many interesting sub-topics. Notice the language used to talk about these programs, especially in the Shepherd announcement. Talk about dancing around the real impetus behind the program. (I can't say I blame them, though). Roanoke's is a bit more straightforward, even going as far as to discuss an "Active Shooter Protocol."

Beyond the rhetoric of it all, though, it's strange (and sad) to think that such programs are necessary. Of course, I can remember when Columbine happened. I was a senior in college and my house-mates and I sat around the table talking about how we couldn't have imagined something like that happening in our high schools. (And it was even that long ago that we had been in high school). It's amazing how quickly "normal" changes after something horrific happens. I also remember us talking about how sooner or later, we would have the same worries at colleges and universities. I wish we had been wrong about that.

"I am so smart! I am so smart! S-M-R-T! I mean, S-M-A-R-T!"

The title of this post comes from one of my favorite Simpsons quotations. Now check out this article, about how the Simpson's have made it into the Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations. Awesome.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Huckleberry update

Some of you may know about the stray cat I took in, cleaned up, and found a home for right before I moved away from Richmond. Although for most of the time I had him, his name was "Kitty," right before I had him neutered, I decided to call him "Huckleberry." I figured he deserved an actual name before going under the knife.

Anyway, Josie, the person who adopted him, emailed me today with another update on how he is adjusting to his new life. He's doing very well and is settling in nicely. She also included some pictures, one of which I'll post below. It's not the best photo, but I like it because you can see his cute little face peeking out. I have to admit that when I saw that little face, my heart ached just a little bit and I missed him, but I know he's in a good home.

Stonewall Jackson's arm and other famous peoples' parts

Check out this interesting article. Who knew that Napolean's ummm....manhood...was a collector's item, currently owned by an American urologist? So very strange.*

For some reason, this article also got me thinking about Jeremy Bentham, the English philosopher who requested in his will that his body be preserved and displayed in a cabinet. You can read all about that creepiness here. Seriously--that picture of his body sitting there creeps me out big time. It doesn't matter that it's a wax head. In fact, the whole head business only adds to the creepiness.

A very random post, I know.

*I think my blog is losing coolness points (Amber will have to confirm this, since she's the self-appointed judge of such matters) because I chickened out about using the original title I wanted to give this post: "Napolean's Penis." I just couldn't bare to see that in large print or on the sidebar of recent posting.

Monday, August 20, 2007

"And miles to go before I sleep..."

My post's title channels Robert Frost, of course. It's a line that comes to mind often when I see a long road in front of me, like at the beginning of the semester, or when facing a huge stack of papers to be graded, or...well, you get the point. In other words, what I mean to say is: one day down, and so many to go. Still, though, the first day of the semester has gone pretty well. I only taught one class today, English 101-10, which meets MWF from 2:10-3:00. I did the basic stuff today--went over the syllabus, took attendance, explained that it will be weeks until I will learn everyone's names (but that I will do it, darn it!), and let them get into pairs to "interview" and introduce each other. I told them I would let them out early, as I am more or less opposed to keeping students the whole time on the first day. It just seems wrong. And I kept my promise, releasing them a whole 15 minutes early. They actually cheered, which I hope meant they were happy to get out early because getting out early rocks, and not because the first 35 minutes of class had been so miserable.

This group seemed like a good one, although who can tell anything based on one day? I will say this, though, in all my years of teaching (since the fall of 2000), I’ve never had a class I didn’t like. Sure there are individual students one might want to (hypothetically) throw out a window, but I’ve never had an entire class of those types. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: teaching brings me so much happiness and satisfaction and I am glad to be back at it again.

Tomorrow I’ve got two sections of my American literature survey. I will keep them just a bit longer than today, in part because I want to give an ever-so-brief introductory lecture on pre-contact Native Americans and Early European Exploration. I want them to have that knowledge before they read the Native American creation stories and excerpts from John Smith’s writings that I have assigned for Thursday.

Now back to work I go. I want to get the planning done for Wednesday’s composition classes (both the MWF section and the section that only meets on Wednesday evenings) and then get some reading done for my own work (by that I mean, the scholarship I am supposed to be working on all the time). And yes, as far as that last bit goes, some days/weeks/months are better than others.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Escargot and thoughts on poetry...

This morning I was rushing out the door--rushing for no reason in particular. I wasn't running late and there was nowhere I had to be immediately. Rushing off to get something done, feeling like I am not getting enough done--these are common feelings for me lots of the time. Now I am not complaining--I like my life that way. It helps me feel motivated and productive and (eventually) accomplished. But as I walked out the door today, a little creature was slowing creeping across my door mat.

It stopped me in my tracks for a bit, so much so that I even snapped the picture above. A snail really is an amazing creature, carrying around something as marvelous as a pretty shell. He or she was a pretty brave snail, too, not really hiding in the shell as I leaned over him/her to take a picture.

Can you see where I am going with this? (I hope it's not too cutesy or Chicken Soup for the Soul). Something as tiny as a snail made me stop, take a look, and consider the wonder of creation. It made me slow down, just for a moment, at a moment when I certainly benefited from slowing down.

The rest of the morning, as I thought about the snail, I thought about all the great poems written about little creatures who lead human beings to greater insights about themselves. Here's a partial list:

  • John Donne's "The Flea". Donne ingeniously uses the logic in this poem, arguing that since the same flea on a woman he desires might have also fed on him, and since their bloods, therefore, were probably already mixed, they ought to just sleep together.
  • Robert Burn's "To a Mouse." Burns is said to have written this poem after turning up a mouse nest on his farm. It contain the famous line "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft agley." For those unfamiliar with Burns' dialect, it's usually translated into "The best-laid plans of mice and men / Go oft awry.'" He also has a poem called "To a Louse," slightly less scandalous than Donne's poem on vermin.
  • Edward Taylor's "Upon a Wasp Chilled with Cold." Taylor's speaker observes a wasp that seems to come back to life and constructs an elaborate conceit in which a sinner is imagined as the wasp and God as the sun that brings him back to life. I'm partial to Taylor these days, as I taught some of his poems to get my job here at Shepherd. He really is an amazing person--a Puritan clergymen who wrote these elaborate and beautiful poems to get himself ready to preach. And most of the poems were forgotten until they were discovered in 1937, over 200 years after he died.
  • Walt Whitman's "A Noiseless Patient Spider." This poem kills me--in a good way. The image of the spider/soul throwing out "filament, filament, filament" hoping for a connection is so beautiful and touching. But Whitman has a way of doing that with nature poems. Don't even get me started on "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking."
I could go on, I suppose (haven't even touched Emily Dickinson yet, or that wonderful bug that Thoreau talks about crawling out of the table in the end of Walden, although I suppose I'd be switching genres then), but you get my point--a point the metaphysical poets, the British Romantics and the American Transcendentalists (and poets, painters, and writers long before and after them) made so well: creation is a constant source of wonder and inspiration for us, a way to understand both ourselves and the world around us. Okay--enough English professor preaching!

Poe-Toaster Revealed?

I've been intrigued by the story of the "Poe-Toaster" for some time now and would one day like to go and see him for myself. Rita and I have talked about doing it--she's always up for that sort of thing. I also like to tell my students the story. I think it helps us get into a discussion about Poe's enduring popularity and allure to readers. We love the Gothic, Romantic, and creepy that Poe brings us, and this yearly ritual provides a great example of our fascination.

Now, though, it appears that the whole thing might be a hoax, made up by the Poe House's former curator. Towards the end of the article, the current curator questions out loud what difference the revelation makes. I am inclined to agree with him, at least partially. Still, it is a bit disappointing. I wonder what Poe would think of the whole thing.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

New Home, Same Old Spot

Some of you may remember Bing's 15 minutes of fame, when a picture of him relaxing in the bathroom sink was featured in the SPCA of the Triad's newsletter. The photo below confirms my long-standing suspicion about how adaptable my boys are. New house--our third home in the last 12 months? Who cares so long as there's food in the bowl, toys to play with, someone to spend time with (umm, that would be me!), and a sink to chill out in. Plus, this house has STAIRS!!! In fact, Bing and Wes adjusted to being here in WV so well and so quickly, this post feels like old news already. Maybe I am feeling the significance of having been here for just over a month. Regardless, I am glad they are happy and healthy. Having them around makes everything so much easier.*

*Cheesy post, I know!

Last Cape Cod Post

There weren't many things I didn't like about our trip to Cape Cod, as you can probably tell by the tone of my posts below. But my favorite thing about the trip didn't really involve doing much of anything at all. What I really enjoyed, you see, was simply relaxing on Vogel's parents' back deck overlooking the water. The view was amazing and sitting out there made me feel so relaxed and peaceful. I spent hours on that deck reading, working on my syllabi, or just watching the boats and fishermen out in the water. Part of what makes the view so amazing is that you can see the old Stage Harbor Lighthouse, now inoperative, but still quite pretty. I do regret not getting a picture of at least one sunset, but you'll have to trust me when I tell you that they were gorgeous.

First, a shot of the back of the house, so you can get an idea of what the deck was like (and the house itself--really a lovely space, open and airy). On the far left of the picture, you can see the largest part of the deck, off the side of the house. This is where I did most of my watching and working. (And yes, I did work on vacation, but that made me happy. I don't mind doing my work most of the time, vacation or no vacation. Too bad so much of that work may be gone with the broken laptop, but that's another story...)

Now some views from the deck:

Everyone loved spending time out there, even Java!

This might be my favorite shot from the whole trip, as I feel it just sums up the whole vibe of the vacation.

In the end, this is the vacation I needed--a time and place to relax, collect my thoughts, and gear up for the coming year, one that promises to be full of excitement, work, and change.

Birthday Dinner

As some of you know, one of my best Greensboro friends, Rita, just moved from GSO to Bridgewater, Massachusetts, where she'll be teaching at Massasoit Community College. Rita actually moved into her new apartment on Sunday, August 5, and then drove almost two hours on Monday, August 6, to meet up with Vogel and I in Chatham. How's that for a sign of devotion from a friend? She rocks.

On Monday night, Rita and Vogel also took me to dinner to celebrate my birthday a bit early. We went to this really lovely restaurant called the Cape Sea Grille. The food was awesome and the ambiance was quite nice as well--quiet and relaxed. Everyone loved what they ordered. Rita and Vogel got seafood (salmon and bass, I think) and I got this delicious summer vegetable stew. (If I were Amber, I would have taken lots of pretty shots of the food, but I'll leave that niche to her). Afterwards, we drove back to Chatham and got ice-cream. Not a bad way to spend an evening.


To reward myself for having completed two of my four syllabi (and remember, the other two might also be done, if they can be saved from my broken computer's hard drive), I am doing yet another post today.

On the same day that we visited the Highland Lighthouse, we also drove to Provincetown, a truly unique place that you can read more about here. I've never been there before, but Vogel had been several times for writer's workshops and other reasons, and assured me it is a great place for the arts, shopping, restaurants, and people watching. Now, of course, a large reason for all of that is because it is also a very gay-friendly town--sort of a gay mecca on the East Coast.

Vogel was right (as usual) and there were lots of cool things to see. I actually didn't take all that many pictures, but a do a have few choice ones to share.

The first is one Vogel insisted on taking of a little chihuahua wearing shades. The owner was only too happy to force the dog to pose for us, although the dog didn't seem to like it very much. Dogs (especially little dogs--go figure!) were everywhere in this town, and Vogel, being the dog-lover, kept stopping in her tracks so she could "ohh" and "ahh" over them. Pretty funny stuff.

Here's a funny coda to the chihuahua story: about an hour after we took this photo, as we were walking back to the car, we ran into the same dog and owner again, this time in a different spot, and this time the dog was wearing a different accessory--a pink baseball hat. Poor chihuahua--it seems her desires come second to her owner's desire to draw attention to herself by posing her all around town with different props.

As I mentioned above, since Provincetown draws so many artists, you don't have to look far for interesting sights. This one house had a beautiful garden with an eclectic collection of statues and sculptures that Vogel asked me to photograph. I think the statue is kind of scary, but I tend to get scared pretty easily by things like this.

You can also find "art" on the store-fronts on the main street in town. Vogel made me photograph one sign with a particularly catchy name. "Take a picture for David!" she said. That request is all kinds of hilarious.

You gotta love that the small print says "A FINE JEWELRY STORE." Awesome. I hope these three pictures give you a good idea of the town--I think they are pretty representative of its spirit--funky, risqué, artsy, and fun.

Highland Lighthouse

Because Vogel was bound and determined to keep me sufficiently entertained on our trip, she came up with the idea of visiting the Highland Lighthouse, also called the Cape Cod Lighthouse or the North Truro Lighthouse. She read in a guidebook that this spot was one of Thoreau's favorites, and since she knows how much I love Thoreau, she thought (correctly) that it would be right up my alley.

Thoreau visited the lighthouse several times in the 1850s, and wrote of his visit in Cape Cod. Here's just an excerpt I've lifted from this page about the lighthouse:

"The keeper entertained us handsomely in his solitary little ocean house. He was a man of singular patience and intelligence, who, when our queries struck him, rang as clear as a bell in response. The light-house lamp a few feet distant shone full into my chamber, and made it bright as day, so I knew exactly how the Highland Light bore all that night, and I was in no danger of being wrecked... I thought as I lay there, half-awake and half-asleep, looking upward through the window at the lights above my head, how many sleepless eyes from far out on the ocean stream -- mariners of all nations spinning their yarns through the various watches of the night -- were directed toward my couch."

The nerdy nineteenth-century scholar in me got a real kick out of seeing the same view Thoreau saw and imagining him sleeping in the keeper's house. [If you're interested, you can read the entire chapter here.] The admission fee to climb to the top wasn't too bad ($4 a person). I also got a kick out of the guides--men in their 50s and 60s who were completely in love with that lighthouse. Maybe this could be a post-retirement job for my dad! Vogel and I asked them a couple of questions, and they were tripping over each other to answer us and show off which one of them had superior Highland Light knowledge. Hmmm...I take it back--maybe my dad isn't cut-throat enough for the competitive world of lighthouse guides.

Now for some pictures from our visit. First, the lighthouse from outside:

Here's one of Vogel posing for a picture. Doesn't she seem in love with the lighthouse, too? Maybe SHE has a future career as a guide???

We also snapped a couple of pictures of the stairs leading up to the top. The climb is anxiety-producing, to say the least. There are about sixty stairs and then, at the top, two very narrow ladders that you have to climb up.

Getting to the top isn't so much a physical exertion as a mental one. I was so nervous that I was going to fall and humiliate myself. In the end, though, we got to the top like pros and took some pictures of the view. You can kind of see our reflections in the pictures, but again, I think that makes the pictures even cooler, especially since the day wasn't especially clear so they needed a little something extra to make them interesting.

Okay--more later. After all, I should be using this time to finish my syllabi. Bad teacher...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Chatham Lighthouse

As I mentioned in the previous post, we stayed in Chatham, where Vogel's parents have an awesome house. Chatham has a really cute and fun downtown area, but what I was most interested in, at least initially (being my father's daughter), was the Chatham Lighthouse, pictured below.

Right opposite the lighthouse is a beach where we went swimming one day. The first night we were there, though, we stopped by the lighthouse and I tried to take some pictures. Since I am just learning how to use my camera, and since it was really dark there, I couldn't figure out how to turn off the flash. The result was a couple of really spooky and cool photos. Vogel loved them. It was very foggy and humid that night, so what you are seeing (I think) is the moisture in the air. You are also free to think that they are ghostly entities. Accidents make for cool pictures, huh?

Another day, we stopped by a bit earlier in the evening and took these pretty shots. (And Vogel might kill me for putting her picture up here, but she'll get over it. And she LOVED that Java made it into the previous post, so maybe she won't mind?)

More to come later...

One last note: since my laptop is still broken, I didn't have access to any photo-editing software. The images from the previous post, you might see, are still quite large--too large for a blog and the space blogger allocates. (I am talking about file size here--not so much image size. Also, I couldn't crop anything either). My computer here at school doesn't have anything on it to scale things down, so I downloaded GIMP, a free program that works great. Props to freeware!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Blogging the drive to Cape Cod

Here's the first of several posts I'll do on my recent trip to Cape Cod with my friend Vogel.

It took us about 10 hours to get from Martinsburg to Chatham. We took our time, since we had to stop for Java, Vogel's dog, several times. That might sound like a long trip, but we actually had fun. Vogel indulges my penchant for bad singing and I appreciate her interpretive dances to such amazing songs as Fergie's "Big Girls Don't Cry" and this pretty darn awful new Bon Jovi song, "Let's Make a Memory."

For the record, Java is pretty awesome on long car trips. He gets nervous and pants a lot, but otherwise, traveling with him isn't that bad at all.

I tried to take lots of fun and interested car trip pictures, but failed rather miserably. Either A) I took the pictures too early and you can't tell what they are supposed to be or B) I took them too late and they appear to be pictures of nothing. Here's an example of each:

The first sign we saw that said "Cape Cod," but you can barely read it.

I am sure this was supposed to be a picture of something oh-so-interesting, but I was late on the draw, so it's the side of the highway. Oh well.

In my defense, though, some targets were next to impossible to catch. This one above, for instance, is of a semi-bald guy with "crazy hair" riding on a motorcycle. Vogel demanded I take a picture, but we never got close enough again. I tried. And his hair (what there was of it) was pretty crazy.

Okay--more to come later!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Technical and emotional difficulties

Hey folks. I am sorry for not having updated in a bit, but first I was on vacation (it rocked--more posts about that soon), and then my laptop broke. Seriously--it's in critical condition. A repair guy picked it up today and said they should get back to me with some diagnostic info by Friday afternoon or Monday. The worst part is that I spent a large part of my vacation finishing my syllabi and other documents for next semester and didn't save them to my USB drive yet. (Stupid, I know).

And to make matters worse, just now I double-checked my book order for my ENG 101 classes--after I was told that the "standard department books" had been ordered for my class and that I could find all the relevant information on the department's website. So I plan two ENTIRE syllabi around THOSE books and now see that they've ordered a different book. I need to get to the bottom of that ASAP, but there isn't much I can do about it at 7:00 p.m. except sit on the verge of a breakdown. I mean, the semester starts soon and I thought I was done with these damn things. Ugh.

Plus, now that this vacation is over, I am finally feeling like I am here in my new home for real and to stay. I know that might sound crazy since I've been here since July 13, but all that time, this vacation was in the future and because I was going with a Greensboro friend and meeting up with another Greensboro friend while there, and because I was looking forward to it, I hadn't really felt totally "here" in West Virginia yet.

I am not sure if that makes sense, so I'll try to explain. Since the move, because I was waiting for this trip, I still felt connected to my Greensboro home and friends, who were only 3.5 hours away when I lived in Richmond so never really all that far. Plus, I had Shannon and Mike in Richmond, so I always had a couple of friendly faces there. Don't get me wrong--being here is great for so many reasons: a cool new job, fun new courses to teach, people to meet, but it's also very hard (especially for me) to start all over again in a new place.

But on the bright side of things, you can look for upcoming posts on the Cape Cod trip and on my new office here at Shepherd, into which I am finally settling (there's a reason for the delay--one both funny and gross).

So to recap: vacation=awesome, computer=broken, syllabi=possibly lost and possibly very wrong anyway, blog=full of potential potential posts, me=sad, frustrated, and a bit lonely. Moving and growing up is hard.