Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!!!

We're actually walking around the corner to a neighbor's house for a New Year's Eve party. I'm already sleepy and it isn't even 9 o'clock yet. Wish me luck at staying awake until midnight. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Beaches in winter

On our break from work this holiday season M wanted to visit the beaches. Beaches in winter are always cold but also pretty. Here's a view of the ocean as it reaches the inlet in Ocean City, MD.

Here's a picture of the snow on the boardwalk at OC.













Next we visited the beach at Rehobeth, DE. Here's a shot of the snow they got on their boardwalk.










Here's the ocean. We got a nice walk on the boardwalk at OC, but the winds were too strong and cold to walk in Rehobeth. What are you doing over the holidays? Hope you're getting out and about.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mentor

I received a letter in the mail today from my old mentor, Norb. I say old as in former because he's no longer a daily force for action in my life, even though his influences on me can be felt daily. And I do not mean "old" even though he is 70 years old. Norb is a great philosopher, a man of the cloth, a student of life, and a really great guy. If you ever look back on your life and you find those few defining moments, when the trajectory of your life was irrevocably altered, you can often point to an event or a person and say, that moment was important, that person changed my life. For me, the moment was considering yet another try at college at the ripe old age of 30 and meeting Norb, Director of The Honors College.

Norb was The Honors College. It was his baby, his creation, his vision. I was changed by his vision and I know in some ways, I changed the college as well. Norb was/is big on embracing life, encountering "the Other," and constantly learning and growing. Meeting him was a good fit for me, at the right time in my life when I was finally ready and serious about learning, when I desperately needed to discover my true potential, and also at a time when I needed a safe place to grow and be nurtured among enough like-minded people to encourage me, and enough unlike-minded people to throw a few bumps in the road, make some lessons a challenge, and help point out the rough edges I needed to work on.

The Oak tree is a symbol for The Honors College. This one was painted by a former Honors student, Derek Kaplan and hangs in the Honors Forum, complete with Roman pillars. At least it did the last time I was back there to see it. I was last back there for Norb's retirement party. The "official" retirement, even though he still teaches the occasional Honors Seminar, still writes and researches in his office, and is still a presence around the Honor College offices and classrooms. Honors was so quintessentially Norb, that I can't imagine it without him. My life used to so revolve around that place that I couldn't imagine ever leaving the nest or any life outside of that perfect world. Yet, Norb has retired, and I haven't been a part of that community for ten years now. Life changes, you can embrace the change or resist it. As the Borg would say, resistance is futile. So back to the point of this post, the letter from Norb. I consumed his letter immediately, so full of the words, the lectures, the ideas that made Honors what it was. I felt torn in two directions, nostalgia for what can never be again, and sadness, because I still need someone like Norb in my life today, to show me the possibilities, to encourage me that I can grow and endure the pain that comes with walking into the unknown. Someone to challenge my brain and make me think deeply about things, read and question, debate. I miss that stimulating environment for learning. I think that might be why I still love being on a university campus, because every now and then, I overhear intellectual conversations, I see a glimpse of curiosity and growth in a student and I think of Norb. He made something really special with his life. He changed so many lives. I place this expectation upon myself that because I was lucky enough to have studied with this man, learned from him, grown in the environment he nurtured for me and hundreds of other students, that I owe something back to the Universe, to honor Norb's life's work, to keep passing on the gift that was given to me. Now how to do that in my own way?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

It's Snowing....

Hope you all had a great Christmas. My kids were here, and Min made ornaments for us. She taught herself how to do wood burning. As you would know if I'd gotten a picture of the Christmas cookies I tried to decorate, that Min is the one who inherited the artistic talent in the family, but not from me.







































The snow here started lightly last night and has been coming down steadily all day. I know we're over 8 inches now and I don't know when it will stop. M has gone out and shoveled the walks twice so far. I shoveled off our flat roof. We pulled out the generator and got the power lines ready in case the power goes off. M is prepared to watch her Packers game today no matter what. Hope you're staying warm and have plenty to keep you occupied.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Not to be annoying or anything, but this made me laugh. Hope you're having a good holiday.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday Time

Isn't that scene just gorgeous? This is how I like snow these days, looking out a window, with the sun shining bright, and I don't have to go out into it. Well luckily we don't have any snow here right now, other than a dusting from a week ago. (What's the snow situation with you CK?) M is disappointed that she won't have a white Christmas, I'm just thankful I don't have to try and walk on or drive on any ice. I know it's a sign of getting older when snow no longer brings me the joy it once did because I now have to worry about slipping on ice and breaking something. I fall at least a couple of times each winter, usually off the edge of our back stairs. It doesn't feel good and it takes a long time for the bruises to heal. I know it's only a matter of time before I break something, so I'm ever more careful in winter, I probably salt the deck and steps more than necessary out of extreme caution.

Another thing I do in winter is bake. Oh sure, I'll bake the occasional pan of cookies throughout the year, but winter baking is different. It's an all day event, there are breads and cookies and decorating, and wrapping, and arranging baskets of goodies for the various individuals. I spent all day yesterday baking for the first batch of people and when I get done here, I'll start on the second group of people I'm baking for. I bake for people at work, the courthouse, the neighbors, friends, etc. I tried out a new pan this year. It has shapes of snowmen, Santa heads, and Christmas trees. The pan works really well, the cookies taste great, but the decorating leaves much to be desired. I did okay with painting the Christmas trees, but my snowmen look more like ghosts, and Santa's rosy cheeks look more like he got in a bloody brawl with one of the reindeer. I told M I was getting in touch with my inner-child when I decorated. Apparently my inner child is no better artist than I am. So my next plan is to ditch the frosted cookies and go back to lump cookies, like "no-bake" cookies. Well, I'd better get back to baking. The cleaning and shopping are done, the kids will be home tomorrow, and I can look for that elusive Norman Rockwell shot on Christmas day. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Breezing through . . .

Hi, sorry I've been so absent lately. I'm swamped with grading, I've got 135 essay finals to give next week and have graded and turned in by Sunday of next week, so I'll have to remain absent a little bit longer, then I'll be back and bugging everyone.

To tide you over until my return, enjoy my new favorite commercial:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving is upon us once again. Last year I think we had around 14, the year before that 24 and after much pressure from me, I think we're at 11 this year. I love having all the people over, but there is such a thing as too many people. I mean, I would like to have some leftovers when this is all done, that's also a traditional part of Thanksgiving!

So I was looking back through my previous Thanksgiving post pictures and came across these two. This first one is from a couple years back before we got a large table. We had to line up 3 tables end-to-end just to seat everyone together. The thing that struck me about this photo though was how empty my china cabinet was. Wow, it looks nice.









Contrast that shot with this one where we now have a super long table to properly seat everyone comfortably and look at the clutter in the china cabinet now. I don't think you can see as much in this photo, but now we have a couple sets of dishes in there, countless wine glasses of various types, platters, bowls. I kinda miss the clean, uncluttered look that it had briefly after we first painted the dining room. Maybe once I get all the cabinets installed in the kitchen I will be able to de-clutter the china cabinet once again. Anyway, hope all of you who celebrate the day are able to share it with people you enjoy and not just people you tolerate. :-)

Friday, November 19, 2010

On the treadmill

You know how you get so busy that before you know it the weekend or maybe two or three have flown by? I keep finding myself at Thursday or Friday and wondering what happened to the previous 6 days. Too busy, but I will get a break in about a month. Until then, as the world continues to fly by me, every so often something will catch my attention for just a fleeting moment before I move on to the next order of business. Here's what has caught my attention:
Keri Hilson pays tribute in this video to a number of Black female entertainers. See how many you can name.


I don't know about you, but in addition to eating this Thanksgiving, I'm seeing this movie! I love the energy in the music1

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Breathe

It's a rainy, dark fall morning. I'm feeling rather Celtic in my emotions today. It's about the music more than the visual images.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Daily Life

What are we doing with our daily lives? I thought about this early this morning on my way into work. I saw someone getting the daily paper and I wondered if they were happy in the house and neighborhood in which they lived. I wondered if they had job satisfaction and if they were doing what they always dreamed of doing as a kid.

I thought of this again as I attended the swearing in ceremony of our new State's Attorney. This is a guy who began in community college, then went on to graduate from a 4 year college with honors. He attended law school part-time while working and supporting a family, then graduated from there with honors. He worked for the Navy, became President of our local Bar Association, became partner in his firm, and has been a really good guy by everyone's accounts all the way through. I don't get the impression that this guy sought out this position, he was urged to run. I wondered if positions of leadership found him, or because of his work ethic shining for everyone to see, he was secretly sending out signals that he was a man of integrity and quality and should be in positions of power? Is this what he dreamed of being as a child? Is he happy where life has led him?

Then I turned that reflection back upon myself. We're gearing up for our next municipal election. I met with two candidates this weekend. They haven't filed or announced yet, so this was a planning session. And I wondered, how do I always find myself in the middle of politics? Politics didn't really interest me as a child. Being the center of attention never interested me, even though I sought out music and theatre, it was never about being in the spotlight, so much as doing something I enjoyed. So here we are back to politics. I've sworn I can only help with one campaign this time, so of course I met with 2 candidates to plan two campaigns. I'm currently scouting out possibilities for a 3rd candidate. I'm so ridiculous! I never dreamed when I was a young girl that I would be living this life. I'm seldom certain what this life is exactly. I often feel like I'm running in too many directions and never really accomplishing anything. I'm happy with this life I am leading. As haphazard as this all seems to me at times, I do know my actions have been deliberate. I just still don't know where I'm going in this life, probably toward a life of service in some capacity, I just haven't arrived at it yet. So I'm treating my political activism and volunteerism as a training ground. I'm shrouding myself in faith, that whatever plans the universe has for me, they wouldn't continually plop me down in the middle of political messes unless I needed that background for what I will eventually tackle.

I think of life as a journey, as something I haven't arrived at yet, and then I'm reminded of a section of a book I read many years ago that gave me an official Oprah "Ah-ha" moment.

The girl in the book has been organizing her life, saving, planning, taking care of details so that she can finally take a spiritual trip to India. Before she's able to go on her trip, she meets and falls in love with a famous man. Of course, she's totally pissed. She tells her spiritual adviser, "I don't have time for this! I've purchased my plane ticket. This is not what I planned. He pushes my buttons. He's got too many issues to deal with. I don't know who I am as a person when I'm with him. I've planned my whole life for this spiritual journey, this spiritual growth. My journey is set for India." To which her spiritual adviser replies, "but my dear, perhaps this is your India."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear


I was one of those people who planned to go to the rally but couldn't, so I watched it on t.v. My favorite moment was when Yusef came out to sing "Peace Train" on the mall. It felt like two different time periods melded into one.

My next favorite thing were all the irreverant signs people made. You can see over 400 of these signs over at Huffington Post, there's also a video link. I saw signs for every American, including Tshsmom, Melanie, LOST fans, Hitchhiker's Guide fans, SNL fans, and everyone else. Gosh I wish I could have gone there. What would your sign have said?

Here are some of my favorites:















































































Saturday, October 30, 2010

Costume Party

M's band is playing downtown tonight at Escape. Show starts at 8:30. All the band members are dressing up like the Bass player. For tonight only they will be the Dead Vilmars. Here are shots of a few of them. These are from my cell phone. I'll download the others from my camera and post tomorrow.
















There's a discount on drinks for anyone who dresses up, so my version of Peg Bundy will be there with the "girls" on display.

Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear

On another note, Jr. is in D.C. at the Rally to Restore Sanity/Fear. He's supposed to send me pictures and video clips. I'll do a post if he remembers to do that. Otherwise, go to Rally Live Feed to watch the event on-line, or tune in to Comedy Central on cable to see the events. I really wish I was there. *sigh*

It took B about 2 1/2 hours to get on the train and get to D.C., normally a less than 30 minute trip. He finally got to the Mall and hit a wall of people. At noon they said there was over 150,000 people with more coming, but by the time B finally got up out of the crowd and on some stairs to take a photo, it was 3:00 and the crowd was so large he couldn't get it all in. Here's the shot he did send me.

We can rebuild him, make him better than before...















































Thanks to my niece, Alison, for her help in putting the gargoyle back together. Now we're waiting for him to dry so we can get the paint on him next. We just might have him up by Halloween.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Betty's Words of Wisdom

I was just reading an interview with Betty White and just decided I like her even more.

"She believes everyone should have the right to say "I do."
White's status as a gay icon dates to the mid-80's popularity of "The Golden Girls." "Gays love old ladies," she says of the phenomenon, which saw fans from West Hollywood to New York City turn on their TVs between 9 and 9:30 on Saturday nights to watch the exploits of Rose & Co. "I don't care who anybody sleeps with. If a couple has been together all that time -- and there are gay relationships that are more solid than some heterosexual ones -- I think it's fine if they want to get married. I don't know how people can get so anti-something. Mind your own business, take care of your affairs, and don't worry about other people so much." (Read full article)

On another note, I will be back to posting more regularly very soon. I'm coming to the end of this busy period by the end of next week. Ta-ta!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get

That's just the story of my life this semester. I am working the two jobs like I normally do, only this semester I'm teaching an extra class and doing them all back to back with no breaks. I eat lunch rushing between classes. That means extra lecture time, extra grading and extra students to talk to during office hours. I'm also taking a seminar for instructors on how to incorporate more writing into class assignments, so there's time to attend class and homework for me. Yes, I'm nuts to be doing all this in one semester, but I figured it was only for one semester and I could rest later. Sometimes it's good to push yourself. I seem to accomplish more when I have more to do.

Today we've been hauling out the Halloween decorations and getting everything set up, well sorta. We decided our ghosties needed new sheets and new styrofoam heads, so we refreshed some of those and then took the extras to the other side of the yard so they could be running to join the other ghosties. I also decided to add some more decorations so I was busy with that today. We got about 2/3 of the way done. I still have to stuff our dead sailor and my patching of the gargoyle this year will be like major surgery.

For the last few months we've had a mouse in the house that no amount of poison or traps has seemed to do the trick. Mousie was very busy in the basement chewing the hell out of the gargoyle! He got his head and one entire side. So I know what I'll be doing all week. Hopefully I'll get him re-plastered in time for Halloween. Argh. I'm still planning a post on the NFL game we went to two weeks ago and our visit to the National Museum of Art in Washington, D.C., but I just haven't had the time to upload all the pictures. Gee, I wonder why? I'll be back posting as soon as I can.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

This Woman is Everywhere!

We've been so busy with travels last weekend to D.C. and my first NFL game. This weekend we went to Williamsburg, VA for a conference and you'll never guess who we ran into!
video

Full posts coming as I can get to them.

Monday, October 11, 2010

College Visit

So M and I went up to Party Central this weekend to visit Junior at college. It's a beautiful campus and has about 25,000 students there. So I won't be surprised if my Junior gets lost in the mix and his teachers don't know who he is. Hopefully he does well enough this semester that they'll let him come back next semester, but judging by his sleep deprivation and kennel cough, I'm not so sure.

After repeated calls to wake up Junior to come down and let us in (to his friend's dorm room) he finally appears. His first comments to us are "I need a haircut." Great! That's one battle down that we won't have to fight. This is the after picture. He easily had 3-4 inches cut off. Anyway, Junior hasn't been staying in his "Scholars" dorm because it's not as nice as the "Honors" dorm where his best friend, Mr. Thespian, lives. This is also the dorm where all Junior's friends live and where all the all-night video game parties are held in the "man nest." I love how they refer to it as a nest and not a cave. He admitted that he was severely sleep deprived but didn't express any ideas on how to correct that, if he even thought that should be corrected, or any inkling if this sleep deprivation might eventually affect his grades. So we kept our visit short, figuring he needed to get back to sleep. We got the haircut, a filling meal, cough medicine and cough drops, plus gift cards for other eateries. He seemed happy with the visit. I received multiple hugs, "I love you"s and I even got to take this picture. The last time he was that friendly was when he had his wisdom teeth removed and he wasn't in his right mind. Okay, so maybe the sleep deprivation caused all this friendliness, but I prefer to think he was sincere and actually missed us. *smirk*

And on and on and on

Still busy!  Surprised?  I think this is just the state of my life.  I'm teaching an on-line course, traveling three weeks in a row (MD,...