Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Devil's Highway

Not much time to write now, as the finales of Dexter and Homeland are about to start (priorities, you know!), but I just finished reading The Devil's Highway, which is being considered as a possible Common Reading selection for us. (We narrowed our list down to about 15, and I picked this one to read on behalf of the group.)

And wow...what a book. I'll make a case for it when the committee meets again. It's beautiful and tragic and absolutely gripping.  Miraculously, though, it's not preachy and is incredibly fair. Read it and you'll never think about illegal immigration from Mexico the same way again.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Visiting the National Tree

Jane and I visited the National Tree in DC this past weekend. It was cold and crowded, but fun!

 The New York Tree. I found myself feeling loyalty for a lot of the trees (NC, VA, NY, WV), but ultimately chose 2: NY and WV.

The West Virginia Tree.
Jane, the Washington Monument, and the tree.

After Jane took a picture for some nice people, they took one for us.

The tree with just a few of the 57 others that surrounded it.

Jane's arm and the Virginia Tree. It was really crowded down there and hard to get photo ops. Jane said this was okay.

The White House.
Also, we saw this Peep Mobile parked downtown. Random.

Some Thanksgiving pictures...

Once again, I didn't get pictures of everyone, but I did get some good ones.

Friday, December 9, 2011


With the exception of one last paper that should come in sometime tonight (from a student with the most legitimate, warranted reason for an excuse--seriously!), I am done!

Happy, chair-dancing track, for no other reason except that it popped up in my playlist and I appreciated the whiff of nostalgia. It's an awesome song:

Now I am heading home to do something mindless for a couple of hours.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

End of the semester tallies

Although I've said before that you never want to do the actual math, here we go:

Total pages of end-of-the-semester term papers I've graded so far: Approximately 680 (!). But hey, these are 680 graded pages. On to the exams!

Still waiting to be done:
32 ENGL 204 exams (not too bad--these go kind of quickly)
20 ENGL 312 exams (these are essay exams, so they'll take awhile; each is about 6-8 pages)
16 ENGL 101 final papers (being dropped off by students as I write this, these are mercifully short--about 2 pages each, and because of such a high rate of attrition this semester in ENGL 101, I only have 16)

Already completed: 17 ENGL 377 portfolios.

Interestingly, so far the soundtrack to this season's end-of-the-semester grading has been Broadway. Yesterday was Evita and The Secret Garden. Today has been kind of eclectic: Rent, followed by Man of La Mancha, which I haven't listened to in years. It's amazing how much I remember.

Monday, December 5, 2011

It will never happen, but it sure would be nice...

Just imagine: an actual, true, sane conservative nominee. He's been my top choice ever since he threw his hat in the ring.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Nightmare material!

Speaking of signs of the season, here's one: My sister tormenting me with "Elf on the Shelf" pictures. She thinks she's so funny.

The kids don't get my fear at all. I mean, they are genuinely perplexed by it. And I suppose that's a good thing.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Getting into the spirit....

I hosted a really fun holiday party for the Sigma Tau Delta students at my house last night. Nearly 30 people showed up, which might be a record for the place. (I also got my butt kicked playing the insanely fun "Apples to Apples.") It was a nice reminder (not that I really I needed one!) of how lovely our students are and how the holidays can bring us together. Yeah, they can do the other thing, too, but let's focus on the good.

This morning finds me working in my office on campus, taking on huge stacks of papers waiting to be graded (another sure-fire sign of the season). However, I've got some Christmas music playing on Spotify and the promise of a break in about 45 minutes when I walk down to German Street for the Shepherdstown Christmas Parade.