Wednesday, December 16, 2009

More puppies!

Check out my dog-niece, a boxer puppy that my brother Ryan got just before Thanksgiving. He named her "Sugaree," which is apparently a Grateful Dead song. We've always been a cat family, but it didn't take long for her to win us all over.

Here she is with Ryan.

With Ryan again.

Sleeping in Jeff's arms.

Hanging with Kelsie.

With yours truly.

She even passed the test with my mom, the biggest challenge of all. Less than 5 minutes after this picture was taken, my mom was calling her "Oma's dog." Too funny.

And of course, I've got video.

This last video shows what happens when puppy meets cat and neither one saw it coming. Notice, by the way, how I get asked, "Did you step on her?" Real nice, folks.

Fall wrap-up

Now that I am catching my breath, here are some photo highlights (?) from this past semester...

First, there were the conferences...

Vogel and I at SSAWW in Philadelphia in October. This is the one decent photo I have from that conference.

Aaron and David at SAMLA in Atlanta in November. A couple of hotties, right?

Gretchen was at SAMLA, too, and we totally geeked out over her presence at the book displays. The above photo is a blurb she has on the back of this book.

And of course we had to get a photo of her just happening to notice her own book on sale.

Of course, it wasn't all about glamourous conferences and travel this semester. There was also, as I've complained about a lot on this blog, tons of freakin' work to do!

Not everyone was happy about all that work. Here are Bing and Wes doing their best to talk me into taking a break one night. This was in the middle of advising, as evidenced by the spring course schedule and catalog in the picture.

Bing's tactics got increasingly desparate that night. "If she won't stop, I'll just throw myself on the papers and look cute."

Again, it was a long semester!

But there were some fun moments, like the one below, from Allison's Halloween party.

Why yes, that is Little Red Riding Hood, Marie Antoinette, and a poor imitation of the Octomom.

I promised puppies...

...and I deliver puppies.

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, a day that I had been in my office on campus all day grading papers and reading applications, my friend Steph stopped by with her new acquisition, Cali. Pretty darn cute, right?

You can also check out this video on Cali and Bella, her new big sister, playing on the floor of my office. Please ignore my silly laughter--you can tell I was punchy and just thrilled for such an adorable distraction.


I am trying to keep this relatively quiet, since most of my colleagues are still mired in grading, but I am DONE with mine as of about 3:00 yesterday afternoon. Some of the credit is due to early exams, but I also just plowed through them, determined to get done as soon as I could.

More good news: my dad had a heart procedure yesterday that (for once!) went amazingly well. He had to spend last night in the hospital, but should actually feel better once he gets home. Believe me, that is so not the usual pattern. And God bless the scientists/doctors who had made such amazing advancements in technology. Yesterday, his doctor was able to remove a blockage that had been untouchable and untreatable since 1989. That's 20 years. Amazing.

The cherry on top: tomorrow, I have a day of Christmas shopping and fun with Jane on the schedule.

I haven't said this for a while--haven't had the heart to in the middle of what has been a rough couple of months--but life seems pretty darn good right now and I feel quite blessed.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Goodbye to an old friend...

Sad news from New York: my parents' cat Bailey died today suddenly at the age of 15. (The doctor thinks it was a heart attack.) He was just fine when I saw him over Thanksgiving. He and I even fell asleep together on the couch one night, with him snoring happily away. He really was a major part of our lives for so long--in fact, it is strange for me to call him my "parents' cat" since for so long (when I considered NY my home), I would have called him "my cat," too. (The semantics of these things evolve when you move away and get your "own" pets.)

My parents are understandably shocked and very sad. Couldn't have come at a worse time for them, for lots of reasons I won't go into right now. To tell you the truth, I cried my eyes out when I heard. He was a great cat and I'll miss him a lot.

Emerging from Grading Lockdown...

So I've still got a decent amount to get done: about 30 more exams to grade and one of those short articles to finish, but I am taking a mini-break to say one thing:

Holy crap, can you believe the ending of Dexter last night? So amazing.

Okay--back to work I go!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

End-of-the-Semester Totals posts in a long time! Sorry 'bout that. Life has been very busy since that last posting. The presentation went well, but then there was Thanksgiving, over 160 job applications to read, 100 ENGL 204 papers to grade, 20 MLA interviews to schedule, and just general craziness.

But, catching my breath for a moment, here are the final tallies of work awaiting me--all needing to be completed by December 16:

1) Seventeen English 101 essays, each about 4 pages. This class started out with 20, so I lost three of them... I got these essays today and have already read through four of them. (It does by so unbelievably quickly when you don't have to comment on them!)

2) Ninety-nine English 204 exams (3 sections). This could be worse: each class started off with 35 students, so there could have been 105. I get two sections worth of these tomorrow and the other section on Monday morning.

3) Two short introductions for the Anthology of Appalachian Writers, one on Jesse Stuart's "Split Cherry Tree" and one on Rebecca Harding Davis's "Life in the Iron-Mills." These are, as I mentioned, supposed to be short (2-3 pages each) and I've got the research done. I just need to sit down and write them!

4) MLA interviews to plan. This is a minor thing--and there's a committee involved, but it's on my mind, so it's on the list.

5) One party to host at my house. The Sigma Tau Delta students want to have a holiday party at my house, so tomorrow's the day. Should be fun--but I've got to clean the house and all that before then, so I am putting this on the "work" list.

After that, it's a short trip home for Christmas, then off to MLA, then back to WV to finish up those syllabi for next semester!

As a reward for myself for getting work done, I might be taking some blogging breaks (breaks during which I blog!) to catch up a bit. I've got pictures from Thanksgiving, for instance, and pictures and videos of puppies! (Everyone loves puppies, right?)