Thursday, September 29, 2016

Apple pancakes

29 September 2016: Dinner at IHOP with two good friends at the end of a chilly and rainy day? Not bad at all. And these yummy apple pancakes? Yup, they can be today's good thing.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Rosie the Riveter at 95

28 September 2016: Here's a nice story that I stumbled upon, about the "real" Rosie the Riveter getting recognized--at the age of 95. We'll call that today's good thing.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


27 September 2016: Wish I had video of it, but you'll just have to trust me: today's good thing is Bing, Wes, and Veronica chasing each other all around the house, something I found them doing when I got home from trivia. I still wish the boys were more interested in cuddling with Veronica, who is dying for them to let her do so, but it sure is fun to see them all playing.

Monday, September 26, 2016

"Not good enough Cs"

26 September 2016: It's early in the day, but it is also promising to be a very busy day, so I am going to post this very good column now and call it today's good thing. It picks up on something that always bugs me when people discuss higher education problems in big generalities or dismiss entire generations with labels like "millennials." Students and their lives are complicated and one-size-fits-all answers and explanations rarely work. This isn't to say it's not worthy trying--of course it is. But we need to think more carefully and beware pat solutions.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Baby smiles...

25 September 2016: This little smile=today's good thing.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Going-away party...

24 September 2016: Today's good thing is the lovely going-away party I attended for a recent graduate who is joining AmeriCorps soon. I am so thrilled for her and know she'll do great things. And, as an added bonus, two more of our recent graduates were there: three great students from our program, all employed and already making a difference in the world. Just wonderful.

5:45 on Friday...

23 September 2016: My office hours go until 6:00 on Friday. Usually, no one comes after 5:00 unless big project deadlines are looming, so imagine my surprise when one of my students (one of my sweetest, best students) showed up. And because she is one of my best students, she wanted to talk about work that isn't due for a while and work she has already gotten back and has months to revise (but she wants to start revising now). She kept apologizing for asking questions and coming late in the day (which is ridiculous and a habit she needs to break!), but really and truly: it was a delightful conversation--fun and interesting. Can't think of a better way to end the week.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Friendly Bing

22 September 2016: The cable guy got here early today to fix a problem that should have been fixed a week ago when another cable guy was here (but that's another story). Anyway, this guy was great: friendly and helpful and fixed the darn thing. So yeah, I am thrilled to have my television delivery system back at full strength, but I am going to focus on something else for today's good thing.

The cable guy (I think his name is Oliver?) was soft-spoken and didn't make a lot of noise coming in. If he had, there's a good chance Bing would have run upstairs. But he didn't, so Bing hung around and then sauntered right up to the guy, smelling his bag, trying to play with a loose zip tie, and just purring up a storm. He let him pet him for a while, too. The guy had mentioned earlier that his wife gets mad because her cat prefers him to her, so I guess he has a way. But it was really sweet to see old Bing (he's 14 now!) playful and sweet and happy with some attention from a friendly stranger.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Save the Day

21 September 2016: Another no-brainer good thing. Joss Whedon? Mark Ruffalo? Neil Patrick Harris? Tom Lenk? Julianne Moore? Daveed Diggs? And stopping the super villain who is running for president? I am all about that.


20 September 2016: I am going to stay vague on this, just because, never know. But I think Tuesday's good thing might just be a realization I had when talking with a student. This was someone I had been baffled by earlier in the semester. I wondered if this person should even be in college--his/her work was so off, his/her confusion at even the simplest instruction downright astounding. But we met yesterday to talk about an assignment and I realized that there was some real turmoil going on at home. And I recognized just a glimpse of the person I was back in 1995 during my freshman year.

Really, that's the only connection: two people who struggled to make that transition, but struggled in entirely different ways. But it was enough for me to get started being a more decent person. And I saw that this student was trying...trying really hard. And was improving. But I think that even if he/she weren't improving in terms of course work, I still might have had this bit of self-correction, reminding myself not to judge so quickly, to always remember that people are complicated, and that I need to be more patient. Lord...patience is so hard for me sometimes. I need to keep working on it.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Walking, walking, walking...

19 September 2016: Ugh. A stressful day today. But the saving grace(s) were the walks I made myself take at various points in the day: a walk to the post office at lunch, a walk this evening after I got home. They--along with my trusty podcasts--clear my head, distract me, make me laugh, make me smile, keep me sane... So those walks are today's good thing.

Tatiana Maslany!!!

18 September 2016: The Emmys were a lot of fun last night. But boy, I was really thrilled with Tatiana Maslany's win for her work on Orphan Black. Definitely that day's good thing.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Mount Vernon with Jane

17 September 2016: Visited Mount Vernon with Jane today. As with any event involving spending time with Jane, it rocked.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Sites of Conscience

15 September 2016: Continuing to push through this stupid sickness, I attended a wonderful training session led by someone from Sites of Conscience. It was moving, challenging, and inspiring. If you haven't heard of this group, check them out!

Powering through...

14 September 2016: Wednesday's good thing was (once again) linked to the 50 minutes I spent in my ENGL 312 class. Since Tuesday night (and I am typing this on Thursday night), I've been struggling with some kind of stomach ailment. Amazingly (and this is luck more than anything, I guess?), I was able to pull it together for any public time (teaching and so many freakin' meetings...), but in my down time (the break between my classes between 12:00 and 2:00, I literally spent almost an hour on the floor of my office, resting my head on the clothes I brought to school with me to change into to go walking after work. (That didn't happen...)

But that 50 minutes in that class? Talking about The Scarlet Letter? I felt amazing.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

13 years old!

13 September 2016: My niece Olivia turned 13 today. How can that not be today's good thing? She's an awesome kid: full of life and energy and love. What a blessing she is to our family!

Monday, September 12, 2016

"Black Like Me? Or, How I Learned to Embrace My Inner Emma"

12 September 2016: Today's good thing is this piece, one of the options for my ENGL 101 students' homework as they work on their literacy narrative. It's such an interesting and smart piece. Well worth a read (or a re-read).

15 years...

11 September 2016: Words fail on days like today, but groups like StoryCorps do so much to help us remember the people who died and survived that day. Those stories are, indeed, good things that come out of darkness and evil. Even just scrolling down the list brings tears to my eyes. It's too much. And not enough. Father Michael Duffy's remembrance of Father Mychal Judge always stands out to me, as does Bill Cosgrove's story.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Friday, September 9, 2016

Early release...

9 September 2016: About that seminar I mentioned yesterday? Today's good thing comes from its ending, specifically the news that we were going to be allowed to finish early and hit the road to get back home at 2:15 instead of 3:00. Music to my ears!

Night swimming...

8 September 2016: After spending all day driving to and then attending this seminar on curriculum in Roanoke, WV (about four hours away), nothing could have been nicer than taking a dip in the practically empty pool at the resort. Amazing.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

"It's 3:00 already?"

7 September 2016: The post's title comes from my thought today as I looked at the clock and saw that my ENGL 312 class had reached its end for the day and we hadn't gotten to half of what I wanted to talk about. That last part--not covering everything--happens a lot in classes and it's not necessarily a bad thing. What is more unusual is losing track of the time and that (to me) shows just how strong this group of students is--smart, motivated, prepared. They are such a delight to teach and the time flies by. Today was a crazy-busy day and some of it wasn't so great. But that 50 minutes and that realization? That's today's good thing.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Which is the well-behaved one?

6 September 2016: Honestly, for weeks now, I have not been looking forward to one appointment on my appointment scheduled for 9:30 a.m. today: Veronica's yearly vet visit. I mean, she's coming along here slowly but surely (emphasis on "slowly"), but she is never easy to catch and I was anticipating possible-Wesley-levels of misbehavior at the vet. But everything went so smoothly today, well, that's got to be today's good thing.

First, pretty soon after I started trying to catch Veronica, she just sort of gave up. Jumped up in the window and just howled in anxiety and sadness. But she didn't fight me. So that's good, right? And while she had some Cujo moments when I first put her in the carrier, she settled into just howling a lot pretty quickly. Once they called us into the room, I took a deep breath. The big moment of truth. Would I be able to get her out of the carrier easily? And yeah, I was. And then she just sort of got through it. Didn't even hiss at the vet tech or the vet. The doctor had only sweet talk for her. Go figure. And we were home by 10:00 a.m. (They took us in a bit early.) Hallelujah.

Here's the "before" picture, snapped while we were in the waiting room to share with my siblings who were sharing "first day of school" pics of their kids. Even here, you can see that while she's not happy, she's also not a total mess. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Never Been Kissed

5 September 2016: You know what rocks? When you have some work to do but it's the kind of work that you can do while you have something fun and mindless on the TV in the background. And at first you are frustrated because, it being a holiday and all, there isn't a ton on TV that fits your very picky tastes. And just as you are paging through the channel guide, you get a text from your friend telling you that Never Been Kissed, a movie you are crazy fond of and had just the previously day argued is under-appreciated, is about to start on Starz Comedy. And you text your friend back and marvel at her exceptionally good timing. And then you get back to work, looking up pretty often to remember how charming this movie is (especially if you don't think too deeply about the icky student-teacher thing).

"Harlem Heroes," Part II

4 September 2016: Sunday was just a perfect day. Tim and I, along with his nephew and our good friends Hannah and Cory, headed into DC. We saw the exhibition I first posted about here. It was amazing and I found myself more moved than I had anticipated. Such powerful picture of such determined, beautiful people. We also saw Hiram Power's The Greek Slave, which I remembered reading about when I was studying The Marble Faun, so that rocked. And an unexpected pleasure? The Romaine Brooks exhibition. I didn't know anything about her before yesterday (Tim did, so he was really excited to see it), but now I am thoroughly intrigued by her.

After the museum, we headed back to Tim's for croquet and lobster (seriously--how posh are we?). What a fun day.

Ram Tracks and Battering Ram...

3 September 2016: This post's title comes from the two flavors of Shepherd-centric ice-cream my friend Amy and I were scooping up as we helped sell concessions at Saturday's opening football game. Sigma Tau Delta stood to earn some money from helping sell concessions, but we needed eight volunteers--with almost no notice. And right now, we barely have eight student members. So I volunteered to help and, because she is just plain awesome, Amy joined me. She's also a Sigma Tau Delta alum, though she's now a professor of Sociology. Anyway, we had fun and did some good work for the organization.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Taco trucks on every corner...

2 September 2016: I was watching MSNBC live when the now infamous "taco trucks on every corner" comment happened. Right after I picked my jaw up off the group, I thought to myself, "Here come the memes!" Internet: you did not let me down. Here is today's good thing.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Produce fairy...

1 September 2016: Someone in my department has been sharing the abundance of their garden, leaving a basket of veggies and herbs out twice already this semester. Last week I snagged an eggplant, which I used for a really great stir-fry. Tonight, I used a bag of basil to make some delicious pesto. I *think* I know who the produce fairy is, but one of the things I love about the whole thing is that he/she doesn't sign the "help yourself" notes that he/she leaves. It's just such a lovely gesture and I am quite grateful.