Friday, April 29, 2016

Spring 2016 Grading: DONE!

29 April 2016: Just entered my last grades of the semester. It was a good semester overall, I think--strange in some ways (each semester has it own strange moments, I guess), really long in some ways and short in others. But I'll call it a good one. Waiting for Pandora to play some decent chair-dancing's feeling very 90s emo right now. Maybe that works? (Currently playing Jewel's "You Were Meant for Me.")

Trivia with the parents

28 April 2016: Trivia was on Thursday this week (it's usually on Tuesday). My parents were in town and they joined us. And we won. Awesome. The best part, though, was that my dad knew (who knows how?) the name of Jane Fonda's first exercise video: Work Out. Ha!

Post Capstone Dinner

27 April 2016: We had our last round of senior capstone presentations on Wednesday and they were terrific. Afterwards, some colleagues and I had dinner to celebrate the end of the semester. It was a lovely evening all around.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

EHG Game Time

26 April 2016: Today's good thing has got to be this week's "Game Time" on Extra Hot Great (one of my favorite podcasts). I laughed out loud (like loudly!) several times. So much fun!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Getting better

25 April 2016: I've been dealing with a nasty cold since Wednesday, but I think (maybe?) things are starting to get better. Today has been a bit of a slog at times, but I there were still some highlights. Today's official "good thing" is a simple gesture by a student: I was coughing a bit during one of my final exams and a student reached into her bag and pulled out a couple of cough drops for me, quietly sliding them across the table. At first, I thought she didn't need to--I had my own--but it was sweet of her. And, as it turns out, I needed them as I ended up running through the supply I brought with me to class.

Doughnut dipping!

24 March 2016: Midnight Breakfast was last night. I love going and always have fun.  This year, there was a new location and some new menu items advertised. I wasn't sure how I'd like the changes...I don't always handle change well.

So this was amazing: I got to work the doughnut dipping station (a new thing this year). It was as much fun as it sounds. Students pick a doughnut. We dip it in hot icing (white or chocolate) for them. Then we dip it in toppings. I was like a doughnut artist. (It was also very sticky and messy, but so much fun!)

End-of-the-semester get-together

23 March 2016: Some of the members of Sigma Tau Delta came over on Saturday for an end-of-the-semester get-together. Nothing too fancy--just pizza and conversation, but it was a lovely night. Most of them are actually graduating and I sure will miss them. Here's hoping they keep in touch.


22 April 2016: Check out what I got on Friday.

I also get my name on a plaque in the University's Center for Teaching and Learning and some professional development money. I gotta say, this award means a lot to me. I love advising and think I do a pretty good job of it. It's nice to know that some people agree.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Flowers from home

21 April 2016: Even with the cold I am fighting, I can smell these lovely flowers from across the room. My parents sent them to me to congratulate me on an award I won. (More about that later, maybe.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

New members of Sigma Tau Delta

20 April 2016: We initiated our new members of Sigma Tau Delta today, right before the second round of English capstone presentations. Two of the new members couldn't be there, but I like this picture of our current president and the four initiates who could be there (and one initiate's 3-week old baby who joined his mama on stage).

Little blue flowers...

19 April 2016: I just love these little blue flowers that line the path at the C&O Canal this time of year. They just make me smile.


18 April 2016: Monday saw the last day of new material in my ENGL 204 classes. Since the new edition of the Norton Anthology came out, the last piece in the entire book, Junot Diaz's short story "Drown," is the last piece I teach. I love that story, but sometimes wonder about ending the semester with it because it's a bit of a downer (as if the title doesn't give that away). I also do have a good enough sense (yet) of what to do with it in my teaching. Still, the students do a pretty good job with it. Not great, but pretty good. And I get that that's as much about me as it is about them.

But there was one terrific moment that especially thrilled me (in that quiet, can't-be-too-excited way). The story's narrator lives with his mother, who is described as a quiet--so quiet that her son describes her (jokingly, affectionately) as a ninja. She's also had a very hard life: she's poor, she's been abandoned by the man she loves, she's lonely. Anyway, in my later class, I asked why she is so quiet. And this one student--you know the kind, I think--the kind who always pays attention, always does well on tests and quizzes and papers, but never speaks up--well, she spoke up and explained why she thinks the mother is so silent. It was a small moment, but one of those moments that reminded me of how you never can predict what will happen in the classroom.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

3D Dash

17 April 2016: Today got off to a good (and active) start as I joined some of my friends for the "3D Dash," a 5K run/walk (guess which option I picked!) to raise money for a local women's shelter. It was a beautiful day for a walk, especially a walk for a good cause. Plus, I got most of my 10,000 steps in well before noon.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

This guy...

16 April 2016: Saturday nights spent grading aren't always that memorable, but it's hard to complain when you look up and see this guy looking like this.

More daylight

15 April 2016: I stayed at the office until nearly 7:00 yesterday, but this is the season where I feel pretty okay about that normal occurrence since it is still light out when I leave. Yesterday I was able to drive over to the C&O Canal and get a good 50 minute walk in down there, making it back to my car before it was dark. Ordinarily when I leave work that late, I just have to walk in my neighborhood (the path by the canal is closed after dark). So yay for more daylight!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Orphan Black Returns!

14 April 2016: Today was a kind of long and weird day. Nothing bad...just a bit strange. So perhaps it's appropriate to end the day by watching the first episode of the new season of one of the weirder (and terrific) shows on TV.

First set of capstones

13 April 2016: We've got some terrific students graduating from our department this year. On Wednesday evening, the first group of them gave their capstone presentations. What a treat it was to listen to them talk about their culminating projects! And man, I will really miss some of them so much.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A toast to Wesley

12 April 2016: Look who's 12 today! Wesley celebrates by taking a big old drink...from my water glass. Good thing he's cute.

Bonus points to Baby Cat for her laser eyes in the background. No doubt she's wondering what she's missing out on and if she should shove her head in the cup when he's done.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Slooooooow progress...

11 April 2016: So Veronica is still much more into Bing and Wes (especially Bing) than she is to me. It's not always great for my self-esteem (ha!), but I get it. Every once in a while, though, there are bursts of progress. Today, she jumped up on the ottoman and relaxed a bit, even giving herself a little bath. She probably sat there for a good five minutes. I caught the tail (ha) end of this bout of proximity on video. (It's not a very good video, but you can see her cuteness.)

Patience is a virtue, right? It has never been one at which I excel, though.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Brain Games

10 April 2016: Today my friends Cyd, Amy, and I volunteered to help with Brain Games, a trivia tournament that raises money for a local adult literacy program. Amy and I helped out the quiz writer/head judge, a five-time Jeopardy! champion, as his assistant judges. Usually I am on the competitor side of a trivia game, so it was neat (and less stressful) to be on the other side. And fun, too.

Sleeping in...

9 April 2016: On Saturday morning, I did something I haven't done in forever...slept in until 10:30. It was decadent and amazing.


8 April 2016: Friday was a day filled with options for the "good thing." Shepherd inaugurated a new president, for instance. But what I enjoyed the most was what happened after: Tim and I had dinner with some of our favorite former students and then we all watched the Rude Mechanicals' production of Medea. A great night all around.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

"It's Quiet Uptown"

7 April 2016: Like so many others, I remain under Hamilton's spell. Today while taking my walk through Morgan's Grove Park and when this song came on, I found myself weeping. And yes, that might sound like a weird thing to say about today's "good thing," but it was a lovely moment, I think. Grief like the song explores is the "unimaginable," the ineffable. And these lines got to me in a way they hadn't before:

"There are moments that the words don’t reach
There is a grace too powerful to name
We push away what we can never understand
We push away the unimaginable"

So yeah, this sad and beautiful song is today' good thing.


6 April 2016: I recently bought myself a kitchen gadget for smoothie-making. Wednesday's breakfast creation was quite good: kale, oranges, a banana, and almond milk. Yummy stuff. Good way to start the day!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Now an opening day post...

5 April 2016: Wrote a bit this morning, mowed the lawn, got some other work done. Now I am grading papers and watching the Yankees play. That's my kind of day.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Good PR

4 April 2016: Today's good thing is this press release about the conference Tim and I took students to over Spring Break. It's nice to see some recognition for our students' efforts.

P.S. You KNOW that I wanted this to be a post about Opening Day, but the Yankee game was rained out. Shucks.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Call the Midwife

3 April 2016: Today's good thing is the return of one of my favorite TV shows, Call the Midwife. Sundays can make me a bit blue, especially Sunday evenings, so having this lovely show to look forward to it just wonderful.

Escape Room Live

2 April 2016: What an amazing day Saturday was! First, Amy and I had our presentation for Accepted Students Day, which went really well. Then I took a long walk along the canal, headed home and got some work done--all before heading out for the real fun: to celebrate my friend Emily's birthday, some of us gathered for dinner (at Founding Farmer's--delicious!) and then went to play a locked room game.

That game was was so much fun. We lost, but came sooooo close. Now I fear we are addicted. But a great day all around.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Dinner meeting

1 April 2016: Another busy but good day. This one started to wind down with a dinner meeting with my friend Amy. We needed to finish planning for a presentation we are doing tomorrow for Shepherd's Accepted Students Day. That's my idea of a nice way to end a week: a bit of productivity, a good dinner at one of my favorite places in town, and (once the work was done) some great conversation.

Sans Merci Release Party

31 March 2016: Thursday's good thing is a yearly ritual--attending the release party for Sans Merci, Shepherd's literary and art magazine. It's always a lovely night: you get to view the students' art and hear them read. To me, it always signals that spring has arrived.