Monday, December 31, 2012

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Cruise

We're back from our cruise. In ten days we visited a private island in the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Grand Turk (Turks and Caicos Islands), Bonaire, Curacao, and Aruba. We also sailed past Haiti and Cuba but didn't stop there. I was sea sick the entire trip, and also managed to pick up a 24 hour bug at the beginning of the trip. That said, I drugged myself with everything available, sucked it up, and went snorkeling a few times, kayaking, sailing on a catamaran, went swimming at numerous beaches and did some shopping. One thing I do want to mention, no matter how many times I heard Christmas carols being played on steel drums, it did not feel like Christmas. I had a good time in spite of the illness but am also happy to be back home for a few days. Yes, on Thursday I fly down to New Orleans, LA for a national history conference to interview 15 job applicants for our department. Three lucky people will later be flown to campus for a second round of interviews. I'm also teaching winter session, so back to work for me! Hope you all had a happy holiday.



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I need a break!

The last 6 months have been very stressful with both jobs, working overloads, elderly family issues and a new dog. Tomorrow is my last final, once grades are in, I'm going on a cleaning, packing, and baking frenzy. I plan to get my Christmas cards and gifts out, then hop a plane to Florida, and get on a big ship to cruise the Caribbean for 10 days. It's not my idea of Christmas, but it's a great way to disconnect and relax, and that's exactly what I need. So hopefully the world won't end on the 21st, because that would really suck for the holidays. Have a happy one and stay safe.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Frustration

I try really hard to be a good teacher. I honestly like my students. I change up my lectures to keep them fresh. I search for books that are interesting, not too long, and easy to read so some of my students might actually read the assignments. I also change my paper assignments every semester to reduce the chance of cheating. I also make the paper assignments very specific, on unusual topics, often with local primary sources, to prevent cheating. I learned to do this after I found 16 papers in one semester where students had plagiarized. So when a student does cheat, after all the thought and hard work I put into creating an assignment, I feel a huge sense of betrayal. I just found two papers that were 98% identically. These two students turned in the same paper. The betrayal on this one is bigger, because I worked all semester with the one student, privately tutoring him after he'd been sick and missed a number of classes. I also told him to take all the time he needed to complete the paper. So to copy someone else's paper and hand it in, it hurts. *sigh*

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope all of you have a great day! Lambeau just completed his first 5k! And nobody got bit! :-)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Flooding from Sandy

This was the worst of our town's flooding. The river runs through the middle of the picture. You can see the tops of the pylons for the docks/piers to the left and the right. So the river over ran its sides into the surrounding blocks. We live about a mile from here and didn't have any flooding.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

If you give a moose a muffin

http://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play?p=if+you+give+a+moose+a+muffin&tnr=21&vid=&turl=http%3A%2F%2Fts1.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DU.4586244161929436%26pid%3D15.1&tit=If+You+Give+A+Moose+a+Muffin

My life is very much like the children's story, If You Give A Moose A Muffin. I go to do one thing, which reminds me there's another thing I need to do, I go to do that, only to realize there's some item I need in order to do that item, then go off to the store, where I remember all the things I'm running out of at home, I get groceries, only to discover upon arriving home, that I forgot the very thing I went to the store to buy in the first place.

So that's what has been happening since May. MAY for Pete's sake, MAY! Of course, I am busy, I am accomplishing a lot, but I've gotten so busy, that I don't have any down time. I think to myself, "just get through the semester, then you'll have a break and don't take on so much next time." Then I find myself trying to help other people out of their scheduling binds, and before I know it, I am over scheduled again.

Once again I am teaching a double overload at school which causes stress with all the grading I have to do. So on the weekends I don't have grading, I like to get a lot of home projects done. Thus, every weekend is over scheduled trying to get so much done.

So this weekend I told myself I would relax. The only thing we had scheduled was a progressive dinner.

The weekend started out so promising. We went to the movies to see Cloud Atlas with a friend. After the movie, we got home, walked the dog, then stayed up late watching t.v. I slept in a little later than usual for me, got up and went to have bagels. I was on such a roll to have a relaxing weekend, so close.

I went to take a package to the post office and was near a favorite store of mine, so in keeping with my plan, I thought I'd go shopping for something nice.

While in the store, their garden stuff was 40% off. I found the heaviest duty rubber gloves I'd ever seen and decided they would be perfect for yard work. I make some purchases and head home. As I'm coming up the back walk I see saplings growing in our gutters. Hurricane Sandy is supposed to hit us tonight, so I think to myself, "I probably ought to clean the gutters. Hey, those new gloves will be great for that." So I get out the gloves and ladder and climb up to clean the gutters. I can't reach very well and the dog is trying to climb up the ladder behind me, which isn't safe, so I decide to go up on the roof to clean the gutters.

The cleaning of the gutters goes fine but when I turn around to come back through the window, I notice how blistered and peeling the paint is around the window. So of course I pick at the blistering paint. Then get paint for the window. I can't just paint the window sill because the paint on the side of the house is blistering too. So I decide to touch up the sill and the wall where it needs it. Then it's really noticeable where I painted, so I paint the whole side of the house and window frame. Then I notice how bad the rusty down spout looks and paint that too.

Can you see how one thing leads to another and why I'm always so busy? I've got to learn to go through life with blinders on and not get distracted and do more than I planned.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hey Naomi!

This might be a long shot, but a friend asked me to check and see if you knew anyone who could identify the ladies in this picture, or know someone who can.

This photo, entitled "Six Women" (actress Vonetta McGee is second from the right) was taken by David S. Johnson, the premier chronicler of Black life in San Francisco in the 1950s and 1960s. Mr. Johnson photographed luminaries including Nat "King" Cole and Eartha Kitt and documented historic events including voter registration drives, the March on Washington and other activities in the Civil Rights Movement in the San Francisco area. Born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1926, Mr. Johnson was the first Black student of photography icon Ansel Adams and a graduate of the first fine art photography program in the United States at California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute). Today, Mr. Johnson is in his 80's and still lives and works in the Bay Area. Thanks to Maya DeRoche and Sally Dupre for the updated information.

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I saw this photo on Tumblr recently, described (incorrectly) as models in a fashion show in San Francisco's Union Square circa 1950s. This can't be the 1950s (it is definitely late 1960s) and I know this because of the presence of actress, Vonetta McGee (1945-2010) who is second from the right. If anyone has any further information on this shot (photographer, names of the other models) please let me know in the comment section.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Major League Baseball

I am at my first major league baseball game, the Milwaukee Brewers vs. the Washington Nationals. Woo-hoo!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

New puppy

So we just made a fast trip to Ohio and back this weekend to pick up our new puppy, Lambeau. We are tired from the drive and tired from being up in the night with the puppy. I am still determined to get the Estonia post done, maybe this week since I have to sit home with him a bit.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Where did the summer go?!

Honestly, I do have all my photos loaded to do a post on Estonia and Finland, but I just haven't had the time to write the posts to go with them. School starts on Monday and some of my students are moving into dorms today, plus I have to attend numerous meetings and events this week, finish up home projects, finish class preps and prepare the house for the puppy we're going to get on September 8th. I honestly don't know where the time went. Until I can get to the Europe posts, enjoy pictures of our soon to be new puppy, Lambeau. He will be 8 weeks old tomorrow.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Hey CK!

I just saw a trailer for this movie. It is so up my alley. Have you heard of it? What do you think of the trailer and the concept?

If this link doesn't work, look up the movie: Cloud Atlas


http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/cloud-atlas/trailers/cloud-atlas-extended-first-look-30133594.html;_ylt=AnB_PSFdTCZ6.oXSIg9TzePAtYd4;_ylu=X3oDMTM5NGlhNDE2BG1pdANFbnRpdHkgVHJhaWxlciBJbiBQYWdlIFZpZGVvIFBsYXllciB3aXRob3V0IEhlYWRlcgRwa2cDaWQtMzAxMzM1OTQEcG9zAzYEc2VjA01lZGlhQ2Fyb3VzZWxJblBhZ2UEdmVyAw--;_ylg=X3oDMTE2Z2ppM3RwBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdAMEcHQD;_ylv=3

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A good day's work

I am slowly getting posts together on Estonia and Finland. They will be up soon, but in the mean time, chores still have to be done.

Last week M and our neighbor, Paul, rented a splitter and spent about 4-5 hours splitting wood at his house and ours. We had those giant logs from the Holly trees we had taken down a couple months back.

So once the wood was split, we had nowhere to put it until I could find time to clean out the woodshed. They stacked it against our fence.

So today I cleaned all the old wood, hay and trash out of the shed to make way for the new wood. Halfway through getting the new wood stacked in the shed, we got an hour long soaking rain that was desperately needed. So the new wood is in and tomorrow I will re-stack the old wood in front of it.

Bring on winter, we have plenty of firewood!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Puppies

I have been busy with teaching, painting around the house and family things so I've gotten behind in my posts. One other thing that has captured my attention is the litter of puppies my sister's Shepherd had 4 weeks ago. My sister lives in Ohio, so I'm enjoying the puppies through photos. I will drive to Ohio at the beginning of September to pick up a boy puppy from the litter for my very own. In the mean time, here are some pix of the puppies.

Oops, I just checked my post and saw a painting picture got in there. I hadn't intended that but since it's there, I'm painting over the burnt orange in the living room and painting the room gray. Thanks to my neighbor, Michele, for the paint color.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Happy Canada Day!

Thank you to our neighbors, Paul and Michele for hosting a lovely Canada Day party. Hours later we are still so full!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Travel

I am not a traveller. Oh, I do it and I'm fairly good at it and good natured about it, but if left to my own devices, I would not wander far from home. I enjoy going places, seeing new sites or old friends, I love taking pictures and having foreign experiences, but I'm not a traveller. My thoughts tend to wander toward the comforts of home, toward making a home, making it a refuge, making it the place where I want to be. That said, I do need to get away from home on occasion to stop my endless list of jobs I set for myself and truly relax. M is a traveller. Her thoughts tend toward "the next place" on her list of places she wants to see, things she wants to experience, and new foods to try. So it's always interesting when we travel. M is more easily stressed when things don't go smoothly, any change to the travel plans, or any glitch in the accommodations, and she starts worrying. I'm more of a "we'll get there when we get there" or "it will all work out in the end" type of person. So to begin my series of posts about our recent trip to Estonia and Finland, I think I should tell you about the travel end of it first.

We live just under 3 hours drive from Dulles International airport, on a good day with no traffic or weather problems. M, who is ever cognizant of such problems, plans for us to leave for the airport with extra hours built into to the schedule to account for any single mishap. So it really wasn't her fault when we hit rain, highway work, and massive traffic backups on our way to the airport. It also was out of her control if security was extra slow. M and I are both control freaks in our own ways, but thankfully over different things. So M was freaking out that we were going to miss our flight to Germany, and therefore also our connecting flight to Estonia, and then she would miss her first meeting in Estonia the next day. I was all, "it's going to be fine, we'll get there," which in itself had to be annoying for her. As it turned out, the extra couple of hours she built into our drive to the airport and getting through security in time, were completely eaten up and we made it to the gate as our flight was boarding. At which point M began worrying whether our flight would take off on time or be delayed because of another rainstorm moving in. Everything went well, we made it out in front of the storm so M could finally relax, at which point I began to freak out that the plane would crash, I'd never see my babies again, and all manner of worries that people imagine who are afraid of flying. It's a good thing we take turns with our worrying and control issues.

Okay, all that mess behind us, there's something you need to know about airlines. I don't know if they are all doing this, but United Airlines and Lufthansa began doing this during our trip. So when we originally booked our trip, we had confirmed seats together. By the night before our flight, the airline had separated us in different seats in different rows. It turns out in addition to trying to make up financial shortfalls by charging extra for luggage, they also decided to charge extra for aisle seats and window seats. If we wanted to sit together, one of us would have to pay extra, because in a row of 3 seats, there is only one middle seat and the window and aisle seats are now extra. Because the airline moved us without notifying us, by the time we found out, the only seats left for us to purchase together were an upgrade in a different part of the plane. M spent hundreds of extra dollars getting all our seats to and from together. Personally, I think this was a very sucky move for the airline to make after we had already purchased our seats. I will say, with the upgrade, we had more leg room which made a world of difference in flying for 10 hours. I will say we had pretty good flights with little turbulance with smooth take-offs and landings. So I can't fault the pilots for anything. They did an excellent job, and the food and the flight stewards were very nice. That doesn't mean I got over my fear of flying, it just means I had less to stress over.

My next post will begin with the sights of Estonia. Stay tuned.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Time Sucker

I've been hard at work prepping myself for the summer class I will begin teaching soon. I was so proud, got the slides, the syllabus, the first exam and first in-class writing done and in a folder. So prepared. Then I looked at Facebook, got sucked into George Takei's (Star Trek) Facebook page and lost an hour of my life in the time sucker vortex. Here's what I have to show for that lost hour. Happy Friday and enjoy your weekend.

Lake Ontario

I've taken to strolling the shores of Lake Ontario lately.  I like that it's no longer tourist season so the dog and I can have the ...