Saturday, December 15, 2012

Another Hotel Night

It's a hotel night for the purpose of writing. I'm not even going to spend much time blogging, especially since I doubt there are many of you out there checking. But if you do read this, send smart focused vibes my way, please. I'm hoping to leave tomorrow around noon with a baby (or toddler) draft of Chapter 5 with at least 15 pages (if not 20).

It's' on.

P.S. And also a confession: I'm feeling a bit bogged down in Wolf Hall. I'm about 200 pages in, and I think reading it in 10-15 minute increments (as I do each night before bed), it probably not the best approach to the book.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Wolf Hall

Yesterday evening, after working for a few hours at a coffee shop, I decided to swing by the bookstore before I headed home. I had a gift certificate burning a whole in my purse, and I wanted to look around. Specifically, I was thinking that maybe the time had come for me to pick up a copy of Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.

I know everyone else has already read it and that I'm late to the party. But I hadn't picked it up yet since it's so long, I have a dissertation to write, and my dissertation is about the c18, not the c16. But, for some reason, I started to feel as if it might be time. I think part of the impulse might have come from my recent reading of Heresy by S. J. Parris (it is billed as an "Elizabethan Thriller," but I thought of it more as a historical mystery). And I guess it got me in the c16 frame of mind. It might also be that the evenings are getting colder and darker, and such a context seems fitting for a such a book.

But I had read mixed reviews of Wolf Hall, so I was hesitant to take the plunge. Most readers seem to love it, but quite a few deemed it "unreadable" because of a taxing writing style. So, when I arrived at the bookstore, I immediately texted Amstr to ask her if I'd like it. Amstr knows me very well, and she has an amazing way of remembering a lot of details about my interests and tendencies (a great quality in a friend, no?). She texted me back right away, which was fantastic because I only had about 15 minutes to spare. Here is what she said:

"Yes! I really liked it! It took a while to get into the groove of the narrative style (a weird kind of limited omniscient present tense, if I remember right). It took about 50 pages to get into it, but I'm glad I did."

I have just started the novel. I'm only about 15 pages in, but I really like it. And do you know why? Well, yes, because it's good, but I think I like it mostly because of the completely apt heads up that I got from Amstr. Since I knew what to look for in the style, and since I was assured (by someone who knows my interests well) that there would be a pay off, I wasn't thrown or confused by the POV. In fact, I was able to focus more on its benefits--the ways in which the characters and the relationships between them feel so real and alive.

So here's to good books and, even more, to good friends.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Freaks Come Out

I have some crazy friends who are doing NaNoWriMo. These are crazy friends who are even busier than I am who are committing to write 50,000 words of a novel this month. I can't believe how crazy they are. I am just not that crazy.

But still. I kind of wanted to stick my toe in the water to see how it would feel. So today, after a few exuberant texts were exchanged with my buddy over at Cleared for Flight, I gave myself an hour to write 1,000 words. And, guess what? I did it! I wrote 1,200 as a matter of fact--1,200 words of a novel. And you know what? It felt pretty friggin' great.

So. Even though I am not crazy enough to commit to writing 50,000 words this month, I am going to commit to writing 10,000 words of a novel and 8,000 words towards my dissertation. These are my goals for November, and they are crazy enough for me.

And Tiki the Wizard (a.k.a Tiki Freaky) hopes that you had a great Halloween.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friendly Respite

It's been a grading heavy week, and I am still stacks and stacks behind. But yesterday I had the reward of meeting SwallowingSoul for coffee, and, this weekend, Rebecca will stop over for an evening with one of her little lovelies.

On top of all of this, tonight is family movie night: pizza, snuggles, and a low-quality dog movie are typical fare. And a cool gin and tonic with extra lime for me, of course.

There will have to be work done this weekend, but these little respites are golden.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Riding the Train

I am on the train today. I know that I have written before about how much I enjoy trains, and today I'm doing it again. I'm on my way to a conference in Southern California. Some of my colleagues left last night to drive down, but I didn't want to spend three nights away from the kids, so I'm riding down on the train today, and will catch a ride home with my colleague when the conference ends on Friday. Any excuse to take the train.

The ride will be about six hours. I brought a lot of papers to grade, but guess what? The train car rocks too much for me to grade. Isn't that terrible? I guess I will just have to grade later. But it seems that I can type, and I'm sure I can also read, so I still plan to be productive.

I can also look out the window. Not only am I on a train, but I am on the Pacific Surfliner. I live near the ocean, so I see it on a regularbasis, but today I hope to see a lot more of it. So far, though, I'm mostly seeing fog. But now that the sun is coming up, perhaps some of the marine layer will burn off and I'll have some nice views.

Right now, I am passing through ranch land and am seeing cows, horses, barns, etc. It's lovely.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

What Would You Read on a Three-Month Hike?

I have just started listening to Cheryl Strayed's book Wild on CD in my car as I drive to and from work. At one point, she talks about what books she has in her pack. She's got a book on the Pacific Coast Trail, she's got As I Lay Dying, and she has a collection of poetry by Adrienne Rich. As much as I love Faulkner, and as much as I love poems by Rich (esp. "Phantasia for Elvira Shatayev" and "Diving into the Wreck"), these are not the books I would take with me on such a trip. But then I started thinking, what would I take? I'm really not sure, and I'd need to think about it some more, but I think I'd use the time to read things that I'd never had a chance to read, maybe some classics that also have good plot. I'll list a few, but I reserve the right to revise my list when I see other people's choices:

  1. War and Peace (I've never read it)
  2. Middlemarch (I've read the first quarter of it)
  3. Little Dorrit (or something else by Dickens)
  4. Jane Austen (yes, there are one or two that I haven't read)
  5. ??? -- I need to think about this. Something fat and fun.
This list might be too old school and classical for me, but that all have strong plot I think, which would be important after a long day of hiking. Maybe I'd have to do a re-read like Lonesome Dove or something. I read that one while backpacking in Europe and loved it.

So now you:  If you were heading out on a three-month hike in the wilderness, what reading would you take? I'm sure you could mail yourself new things at various PO stops along the way, so feel free to list up to five things.

Ready, go!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Nagging Observation

Over the past year, I have worked on many a bureaucratic document, and I have sent many an email about bureaucratic issues. These documents and emails often require that I mention "instructional programs, adminstrative service programs, and student service programs."

What I've noticed is that, no matter how I try, I just can't find a good way to abbreviate "student services." Right? See what I mean? I can write "instruction" or "admin," but "student services" just can't be shortened.

Surely others have noticed this, too, but I've never heard any one  mention it. I've been thinking about it for nearly 10 months now. Just needed to get it out.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

28 Minutes

It was late tonight after Hubby and I watched an episode of Once Upon a Time. And can I just real quick say how amazing Robert Carlyle is? His acting leaves me feeling stunned and slack jawed. So, anyway, we had just finished watching a great episode written by Jane Espenson, who is also just so amazing, and Hubby was off to bed. I stayed up so that I could do my 15 minutes of dissertation work. I wrote the whole time, and it turned into 28 minutes, and I got quite a few words on the page (not sure how many because I forgot to get a "before" count).

I feel very smug.

And also tired.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Small Increments

In the previous post, I wrote about how, for lack of the time for anything else, I have resigned myself to getting in shape by taking short runs (although, after being resigned, I learned that I sort of like it!). Along similar lines, I have realized that, during busy times (like almost always), it's nearly impossible to find a large chunk of time for working on my dissertation. And oh do I love large chunks of time. So much. But I don't have them, and yet I must keep making progress on the work.

Like some others of you, I have been participated in online writing groups. Over the summer, we checked in at Amstr's place, and now Dame Eleanor is hosting.* Of late, I have not been accomplishing my weekly goals. So I decided to borrow from my running plan book, which is based on short bursts, here and there, throughout the week. In other words, my new plan for making dissertation progress is to work on it at least 15 minutes a day, six days a week, for a total of 1.5 hours.

It's only been a week and a half, but so far it's working. I've found that the 15 minutes feels most productive when I've been writing rather than reading (it's hard to make much reading progress in 15 minutes), so I've been writing much more than usual. I did read one night when it was late, and I was tired, so I just picked up Roy Porter's English Society in the Eighteenth Century before crawling into bed--it's interesting, useful, not too heady, and I still got in my 15 minutes just under the wire. I'm not exactly sure how I'll work in the difficult reading--the long theoretical articles, the dreaded seminal texts--but I'll cross that bridge when I trip over its first plank.

*Don't ask to join. It's too late!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

On the Run

Because of the ongoing college crisis (one that is an immediate threat to its very existence), I didn't exercise much at all last year. The previous year, I went on occasional uphill hikes with the dog, so there was some activity. Hiking was great exercise, but with the dog it took a long time. Not only did the hike itself take 1.5 hours, but then I would have to bathe the dog afterwards in case he'd gotten into poison oak.

This year, as I faced another school year focused on the college crisis, I finally accepted the fact that I would not have time for long hikes or yoga classes (these are what I pine for when I wish that had more time). But I also accepted the fact that I'm at a "use or lose it" age when it comes to bone density and muscle mass. So, I asked myself: How I can fit in exercise in less time? How can I get in shape in 15 minutes per day?

The answer, of course, was running.

There was just no way around it. Please note, I have never been a runner. Once, about a decade ago, I tried to become a runner. It lasted two months, and my knees were killing me. But now there really is no other way. I don't have time to spend an hour at the gym, and, also, I don't like gyms. I think they are stinky and claustrophobic. I do like yoga classes, but I don't have time to attend them. So . . . I'm left with running.

And it turns out that running is kind of awesome. Here are some reasons:

It's cheap.
I don't have to get in the car.
Even if I can only do 15 minutes, it makes a differences.
If I'm only gone 15-30 minutes, the kids hardly notice my absence.
I can take the dog (although sometimes he drives me crazy).
After seven weeks, I'm already stronger.
It's outside, so I get fresh air.

This last point is amplified by the fact that I live in an absolutely beautiful place. It almost never gets too hot or too cold, and I live close to a body of water. This means that taking a quick run down to the bay is a great way to start a morning, and instead of dreaded it, I actually kind of like it.

So I'm running three time a week:Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. Four times would be better, but as in all things, the perfect (or the ideal) can be the enemy of the good (or good enough). So three days a week it is. When I don't feel like going, I tell myself, "You only have to do 15 minutes. You can walk if you want to." And usually, I end up going for 30 minutes, running most of the time. And since I'm not overdoing it (and since I'm not running on concrete), my knees feel fine.

So there it is. Running. And I think it might be sustainable. Who knew? Sometimes solutions really are fairly simple.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Something Finished

One of the things I spoke about in writing group this summer is that I'm bad at finishing. Whether it's knitting or writing or whatever, I like the beginning and developmental stages, but not so much the finishing stage. This, I suppose, is because the finishing is often tedious, and it precedes submitting my work to others with the implicit (if not explicit) message, "This is the best I could do."

And then, alas, I can be judged.

Nevertheless, I finished something this summer, and I gave it to my godson, who, when I saw him in June and gave him his blanket, was eight months old.* And, if I do say so myself, I think it's fantastic:

*I think maybe finishing this wasn't so scary because I keep telling myself, "He's just a baby! He won't care about mistakes!"

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Six One

Hubby and the kids are camping in the cold fog. I am home writing up outcomes assessment reports. I'm not sure who comes out on top.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Big Hair, Leather Pants, and a Baboon

Tonight, I made Hubby go see Rock of Ages. I thought it was brilliantly awesome and fantastic.

Perhaps that's because I graduated from high school in 1986 in the Mid-West with big hair. During high school, my first concert was Van Halen 1984. I saw Mötley Cru twice, Kiss twice (or three times?), Whitesnake, Quiet Riot, Ratt, etc. My first year of college I saw Bon Jovi twice (Cinderella opened both times, and they totally killed), and I saw Poison. So you see, for this movie? Rock of Ages? I am its exact demographic.

The rest of you--you who listened to much hipper, cooler, more sophisticated stuff that I know nothing about and can't even list--might not love the movie as I did. But I loved reliving the music through the giant Dolby surround sound, and I thought the movie did a great job of combining the music and over-the-top comedy while still eliciting my true sympathy for the characters. It was a "silly love song" to hair bands, and it cracked me up.

Now I'm going to figure out which songs are suitable for the kiddos so that we can rock out on the trip.

Oh, and Tom Cruise might be a freak, but he was awesome, and I Could Not. Look. Away.

Rock on.

Pondering Finances While at Jury Duty

I am serving jury duty today. I was summoned for Monday but then was put on standby until today. I am really hoping to be dismissed before the end of the day since we are supposed to leave town on Saturday. If I go before the judge, I will have to plead "hardship" and ask to be excused. Before living where I do now, I don't think I was ever summoned for jury duty. But here? I get summoned every 18 months, like clockwork. And the timing is never good.

Since returning from the UK, I have been focused on kids, a garage sale, and work. (I had planned to do trip preparations today and tomorrow, but now I'm here at the courthouse. Bah.)

I had mixed feelings about the garage sale, but actually, is was great. It's so nice to clear out unneeded things from the house, and it's so nice to see those things go to other people rather than to a landfill. One person showed up, and after a few minutes, I began to suspect that she was a student of mine from about 15 years ago. I remembered her well because, at the time, she was a single mom who was also in a band. She ended up getting a super nice car seat for her newest kid, and she was thrilled! Another little perk of garage sales--an interesting parade of humanity.

The sale also reminded me to think more about the value of a dollar. Hubby and I are okay with money, but we are not really as frugal as we should be, and we don't save and invest as much money as we should. These days, high prices, expensive lattes, and the regular use of plastic cards can inure me to the sense that real money--lots of it--it draining out in small bits on a daily basis (mostly in books for me and in good beer for Hubby).

About 15 years ago, I went "cash only" for a month. Doing so helped me remember the ways that dollars add up, whether they are going in or out. Surprisingly, the garage sale served as a small reminder of the same truth. Maybe Hubby and I can internalize this truth and build some new habits. I remember reading that it just takes $27 a day to spend $10,000. Certainly, I could have done that math myself, but having it pointed out to me was a bit shocking. It's so easy for me to blow $27 in a day on items that aren't truly necessary.

Recently, a former classmate of mine (and blogger/writer/knitter extraordinaire) wrote a post about money ( In it she mentions that she and her partner, for a while, spent only $50.00 a week on food. I think it would be great for Hubby and I to try to set some food limits. We don't blow money on new furniture or cars, but we spend a ton at the grocery store and eating out. I'm thinking that this would be a big area of saving for us.

Do any of you have good advice on good ways to save $27 a day?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Goodbye, UK

It has been a splendid day and a fitting farewell to England. I was looking forward to visiting a couple of small museums, but they were closed. I was disappointed, but the day turned out well anyway. It went as follows:

Leisurely breakfast at the hotel
Visit to the "Writing Britain" exhibit at the British Library
A stop in the BL store to get goodies for the kids
Back to the hotel room to read
Skyped with the family
Read more
Went to Norfolk Arms Pub for dinner (their food is SO good)
Took an evening walk around Bloomsbury (still light and the weather had cleared!)
Back to the hotel to type up some notes
Watched the end of Pride and Prejudice (2005 movie)
Wiped away my happy Jane Austen-induced tears

Now, I'm getting ready to get organized so I can get out of here really early tomorrow (by 7:00! Ack!*) so I can take the tube into Heathrow. I can't wait to get back to my family, but I will miss the time for leisure and work that I have had here. It's been like a mini-sabbatical, and I think maybe my husband and I should each take one once a year.

If I finish packing soon enough, I might be able to squeeze in an episode of Sherlock before bed.

*I realize that 7:00 isn't actually that early, but I haven't fully adjusted to UK time, so I'm still very groggy at that hour. I have set three alarms to make sure I get up.

Simple Musing

I were an actor, a male actor, and a director called me and said, "I'm directing Pride and Prejudice, and I think you would be a perfect Mr. Collins!"--I'm not sure I would be flattered.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Someone, Pull the Plug!

1:30 am
Reality Show
80s Teen Idols:

Two guys from Baywatch
Guy from Blue Lagoon
Eric from the first Real World (who only eats raw food now)
Guy from Grease 2 (a cool rider!)
Guy from Fame (TV show)
Guy from 90210 (How Do You Talk to an Angel?)

They want to make it again.

Please help. I Can't. Look. Away.

Update: Oh no. Another episode. You know what else? It is hosted and produced by Scott Baio. I am doomed.

Supervisory Meetings

All of my supervisory meetings are now complete. I have met with my primary and secondary supervisors, and I have had my monitoring interview. As many of you know, the PhD system is a bit different in the UK from the one in the US. First, the project is called a "thesis" rather than a "dissertation" (here, the dissertation is the MA project), and I think it might be, in general, a bit longer that the American dissertation. I'm expected to have five or more chapters and 100,000 words. The UK PhD also does not have all of the coursework and various stages for the American PhD. The focus is on the research and the thesis, and thesis work begins as soon as one enrolls as a post-graduate student.

The supervisory structure is also different. Instead of a committee, I have a primary supervisor with whom I work regularly, and then I have a secondary supervisor, with whom I meet from time to time. When I do my "viva voce" (like the American "defense"), I will sit before one external examiner from another university and one internal examiner, who is from my university but who has not been involved with my work. They will most likely be people I have never met. I think I am allowed to ask my primary supervisor to be present for moral support.

The purpose of my monitoring interview (which was with a third faculty member with whom I haven't worked) was to make sure my progress is timely and to see if I have any complaints about or conflicts with my supervisors.

I did not have any complaints. I have been very fortunate to have wonderful supervisors. My primary supervisor is a successful and prolific scholar who is supportive, friendly, and open. My secondary supervisor is also very nice (if a bit more reserved) and has great expertise in philosophy, which is extremely helpful to me since my project has philosophical underpinnings.

With my primary supervisor, I talked about a chapter draft I had submitted, and then we talked about the article that was rejected earlier this year. She was pleased with the chapter draft, and had great suggestions about some additional contextual factors I might research and consider. My secondary supervisor was very enthusiastic about the work and, most important, didn't seem to think I was totally stupid about the philosophical bits. And she, too, had great suggestions about ways I might further investigate the topic and its contexts. Today, my primary supervisor and I discussed the article and steps I might take to revise it so that I can submit it to another journal. She was very encouraged by the fact that I received one positive report for submission to a top-tier journal.

In short, they thought the work that I have done is very good! In fact, my primary supervisor said that I should not be stressed about whether or not the quality of my final draft will be good. She said that the work I do is very good, so my focus should be on Getting. It. Done. And though there is much left to do, they gave me a lot of great suggestions. Now, if I can just find time to do it all--the ongoing challenge. So this is where I am:

Intro: not yet written
Chapter One: Currently in article form. Needs to be revised for submission to another journal and later expanded to full chapter length.
Chapter Two: Currently at about 25 pages. Needs to be expanded to about 40-45 pages with more about context and method.
Chapter Three: Not yet drafted.
Chapter Four: Currently at about 35 pages. Needs a lot of revision with better attention to context, methods, etc. (I drafted it two years ago, so I'm sure it needs a lot.)
Chapter Five: Not yet written

This summer, I think I will work on the article revision while I also continue to develop chapter two. I will also be reading some primary texts for Chapter 5. In late summer or early fall, I will submit the article revision. Then, after I make it through fall and the peak of college crisis work, I will start in on chapter three or chapter five. I hope to have a drafts of all five chapters (even if some are only half done) and the intro by the end of next May.

It can be done! Right?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Care for Tea? (Or a look around my room?)

I just finished enjoying afternoon tea service in the morning room, surrounded entirely by Welsh-speaking senior citizens. Occasionally, they would speak to each other in English, so I was able to glean that many of the locals received discount coupons (of some sort) inviting them to afternoon tea at the mansion for the grand re-opening during the month of May. I have also discovered that I need to lock my hotel room door when I am inside since visitors are interested in touring the mansion as they would a museum. In the process, they seem to forget that it *is* a hotel, and they just try the knobs of all the doors. One man opened my door, but I'm glad to report I was merely sitting at the desk, typing, when he came in. Once he was in, however, he did not retreat! He chatted me up about the mansion and its beauty as he looked around the room--from his spot in the doorway, thank goodness. Then, cheerfully, he wished me a happy afternoon enjoying the beauty. I am now back in my room--with the door locked, of course--a bit hopped up on black tea, ready for more work.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Good Kind of Day

I had my first meeting with my primary supervisor today. We mostly just sorted out some bureaucratic stuff and then had lunch. On Thursday, we'll meet to discuss my chapter draft, and Friday we'll talk about the article revision. After our meeting today, I had great fun in the library with old newspaper archives (digital versions, which are less cool but also less dusty). Then I stopped by my favorite charcuterie to stock up for the hotel room: Olives, almonds (the kind with oil and salt), Bread, Manchego, An awesome local cheese, and An awesome Spanish white wine. I also have a couple of bananas, some trail mix, and leftover chocolate mousse in the mini-fridge. I'm set! Oh, and thanks be to Bacchus for the return of the screw top. Airport security confiscated my corkscrew. My only challenge now? To keep working for a couple of hours before I relax. (edit://Whoops! I forgot that the iPad isn't doing paragraphs, so I'd better go back and stick in some commas.)

Monday, May 28, 2012

I feel like Emma Woodhouse

Yesterday, I arrived in London after a fairly smooth flight (we had some major turbulence about an hour in--accompanied by a few shouts and spilled beverages--but fortunately it did not last long). I don't really care for flying, so I'm always very happy to get back on the ground. London, yesterday, was sunny and HOT. I'm not sure of the temperature, but it was probably mid to high 70s. Maybe even 80. Today, my Welsh cab driver told me that this is the hottest it's been in about 28 years. Maybe that's just for this Welsh town, but maybe for the UK as a whole. I'm not sure. Either way, after arriving in London and checking into my hotel, I had a lovely time walking through Regent's Park, people watching. Loads of people were out and about, enjoying the day. Today, I took the train to my university town in Wales. I love the train ride. It's so relaxing, and the countryside, especially as I get closer to uni-town, is beautiful. Now, I'm sitting in my hotel room, looking out my window at the hillside that is dotted with sheep. I posted a picture of the hotel a few posts back, and I wish I could add some now, but I don't know that I can do it from the iPad. But it's wonderful. I haven't had time to look around much because, when I arrived, the hotel was very busy serving high tea. I think people drive here from town for the afternoon tea service. So I've been sitting in my room, catching up with email and the online writing group , all the while looking out of my window, listening to the sheep. After I finish this post, I think I might poke around downstairs, and then come up and read in my window seat until I go to dinner. I miss my family, but I'm so excited to have this opportunity to be here and get work done, all while staying in a Georgian Mansion. When I caught the taxi at the train station and told the driver my destination, the first thing he said was, "I don't know if I should tell you this, but they say that that place is kind of spooky . . . " (It appears that I'm having paragraphing issues similar to those of loveskidslit. My apologies! Let's blame the iPad, shall we?)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Taking Recommendtions--Books and Movies

In two days, I leave for England and Wales to go to my PhD uni and meet with my supervisor. Although I will be spending a lot of time on thesis-related work, I tend to go for lighter, leisure reading on planes and during evenings. I mix in a few evening movies, too, especially when I have jet-lag induced insomnia. Usually, I've got some perfect books queued up, but this time I'm not sure what to read or watch. I have already downloaded Season 2 of Sherlock to my iPad, but, other than that, I'm looking for book and movie recs. Nothing too scary, please, since I'm staying in a supposedly-haunted mansion.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Similar But Different

The Boy and Girl each have a friend over. Both friends are girls (all the Boy's friends are girls). But two kids are in the bedroom, listening to Taylor Swift, doing hair, and singing on the microphone. And other two kids are in the backyard creating a volcano from dirt and a hose.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I am feeling better today, which is fantastic. On Tuesday, I was so congested and my nose was so sore from all of the blowing that I was wishing I could just rip off my head and breathe through my neck.

The bad news is that Hubby came down with the crud yesterday, and the Girl might be on her way down, too.

But as for me, I'm recovering, and I gave my last final yesterday. Although I have a lot of grading, and I have tons of service work this summer, and lots of diss writing to do (esp. over the next few days and weeks), I still feel so liberated!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

It finally happened. I got sick. I can't really complain. I'm not sure when I was last sick, but I know that it was before August of last year. We've been a very healthy family this year, for which I'm grateful.

And if I'm gonna get sick, better this weekend than last weekend when we were camping at the beach to celebrate the Boy's ninth birthday. We camped at a spot right by the beach, and the weather was glorious. We had all of the Boy's good friends there (all of them girls), and it was a grand time. We had a family dinner on Wednesday to celebrate his "actual" b-day. I do love that Boy.

Things are wrapping up at my CCC (community college of crisis). Finals are next week, and although the meetings continue, their intensity is waning. This coming week, I imagine we will have some meetings to map what kind of work will need to happen this summer (despite the fact that I'm not on contract in the summer, of course). But I glad to see things settling down a bit even though the crisis is still at the forefront of our concern.

I'm also getting ready to visit my PhD university in the UK. This involves fattening up a chapter draft and maybe doing abstracts of the remaining chapters that I need to write. It also involves leaving my family for 10 days, which is always a bit heartbreaking for everyone.

Mother's Day has been trounced by this fairly intense cold (or whatever it is) that I have contracted. Hubby made a good breakfast, and now he and the children have gone out for the afternoon. I had hoped to work on my chapter today, but my brain is pretty fuzzy. I'm not sure if it's from the cold or the meds I took last night. I took some nighttime cold medicine, and holy coma! Apparently, the Girl woke up several times with nightmares last night (thanks, Rango!), and Hubby was up with her. I didn't hear a thing. I'm not sure that has ever happened before.

We had planned to go out to dinner with my parents to celebrate Mom's Day, but I think we'll have to wait until next week. Let's see if I can push far enough through my mental fog to get some work done today.

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

This is a Test

This is a test post. After my last one, I noticed that old posts weren't showing below the newest one, and I'm not sure if the new one is visible. Blogger decided to get all new-fangled, and I don't know if it's working. So if one or two of you could comment and just say, "Yes, I see the posts," that would be awesome.

I wish I could also think of some little tidbit of value, but my head is muddled by conferences, meetings, grading, and assessment, so I've got nothin'.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Just Call Me Jane

In less than a month, I am supposed to check into this place. It's newly renovated, and I got a good deal on a room. It's supposed to be very haunted, which is probably why the rates are reasonable.