Sunday, February 27, 2011

A-Z: A Sunday Procrastination Meme

So much to do today, so little time to do it all... and yet here I am, procrastinating on my homework and grading with this meme I stole from Tickateeboo!

A. Age: 33 1/2 (July 23, 1978)

B. Bed size: Double, for now.

C. Chore you dislike: All of them!  But, if I must chose one, I'd say dishes. I hate keeping up with the dishes.

D. Dogs: Small dogs only -- my baby's a shih-tzu! I mean really, who could resist this face? (I took this picture through the stormdoor, with myself on the outside and Ani on the inside... I also managed to get Galileo's paws and a hanger. lol)

E. Essential start to your day: The first thing I do in the morning is turn on my computer.

F. Favorite Color: Pink and Purple.  I know those are colors, but I love them both. Besides, Purple is my school colors -- a fortuitous coincidence!

G. Gold or silver: Gold.

H. Height: 5’5”

I. Instruments you play: Nope, never learned.

J. Job title: Graduate assistant & tutor -- Teach basic writing, labs, and work in the University Writing Center.

K. Kids: No thanks!

L. Live: Texas, for the last 12 years, and at least for the next 15 or so months.

M. Mum’s name: Cheryl.

N. Nicknames: Erm, hmm?  My mom calls me Krissy, that's about the closest thing I've had to a nickname.

O. Overnight Hospital Stays: When I was 5 and had my tonsils and adenoids out, and tubes put in my ears -- Otherwise, I've had several outpatient surgeries, but nothing requiring a hospital stay.

P. Pet peeves: Way, way too many to put here, but I think rudeness goes to the top of the list. It seems like everyone has just been so rude here lately and it drives me crazy. Followed closely by parents who don't make their children mind in public (as when Melanie and I were out to dinner the other night and the couple behind us was letting their three year old bang on the booth between us and then, screaming his little head off. They just ignored it... I mean, really?) Oh, and little kids with no manners (like the little boy who squeezed in between Melanie and his father, while we were waiting for a table, and sat square on her purse). Okay... onto the next question.

Q. Quote(s) from a movie: "Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory... lasts forever." (Shane Falco [Keanu Reeves], The Replacements)

R. Righty or lefty: Ambidextrous, but right hand dominant.

S. Siblings: Two sisters.

T. Time you wake up: Mon-Fri at 7:00 a.m.  On the weekend, whenever I wake up, but usually around 9:00 a.m. unless I've been up terribly late the night before.

U. Underwear: Mhmm.

V. Vegetables you don’t like: Celery and carrots.  One's too stringy, the other's too crunchy.

W. What makes you run late: Matt... definitely Matt. I'm somewhat obsessed with being on time, early even, while Matt's always lagging behind because he has no real compunction about arriving places late.  Drives me up a wall!

X. X-rays you’ve had: Lots and lots.  Teeth, a broken bone, etc.

Y. Yummy food you make: Mac & cheese!  I'm on the hunt for the perfect mac and cheese recipe, but haven't quite come across it yet. I love Kristine's Mac & Cheese (I should share the recipe), but I'm also looking for something more traditional. I just have this concept about what the perfect Mac & Cheese should taste like and, so far, nothing's quite met with that expectation.

Z. Zoo animal favorites: Lemurs... I love the lemurs.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Green Smoke: A Happy Medium

Last year, when I was so sick that I couldn't speak for almost a month, I wrote about my worsening allergy to smoke and the problems it was causing us.  It's a problem because my husband is a smoker, which has been a constant source of tension in our lives over the last few months as we've struggled with his comfort and my health. When I found that it was the smoke that was making me cough uncontrollably and have persistent laryngitis, I asked him to smoke outside, and the conflict ensued. It wasn't overt, of course, but he didn't want to smoke outside (duh!).  It was starting to get cold, though it never actually got really cold, but most of all it was a huge inconvenience.  For my part, I had a huge problem asking him to smoke outside because I knew when we married him that he was a smoker, that he smoked inside, and that I was allergic to smoke. I didn't feel justified in asking for this after 11 1/2 years.  So, when I had to ask for it, and he resisted, I felt like shit.

After a while, I agreed, in lieu of smoking outside, that he could smoke beside the window in the living room.  There were only two problems with this. One, the smoke didn't go out the window very well, so it didn't solve my problem and two, the window was open which made it ridiculously cold inside and Matt wouldn't agree to turn on the heater. So, I was miserable with the cold and I still couldn't speak or stop coughing. It wasn't a solution that lasted long, for the aforementioned reasons and before long he was back to smoking at his desk. The good news was, the window smoking had helped enough to allow me to start healing and I got my voice back... mostly. In time, it came back completely, but it wasn't long before I was coughing again and the laryngitis was back.  In January, when I got horribly sick, all of my problems with coughing and voicelessness came back and they weren't going away.

I've been thinking about it since, and I think that the reason my allergy to smoke flaired up was exposure. I had been exposed to it day in and out for years, and I grew use to it.  Then, I started working outside the house, so I wasn't around the smoke as often, and my system grew sensitive to it again. So, when I was around it, I couldn't breathe or speak. It's the only explanation I can come to about why, all of the sudden, my allergy to smoke decided to grow worse and make our lives miserable.

Anyway, when I went back to school in January, one of my co-workers had an e-cig he'd gotten in the mall in the Metroplex.  He liked (likes?) it well enough, but seeing it gave me an idea.  I came home and asked Matt if he would consider going to the e-cig.  He said he would, so I ordered him one from Green Smoke after doing some research about which ones were the best on the market.  He had tried the Envy e-cig  before, be he hadn't liked it because it was clumsy to refill and largely defective; it wouldn't stay charged and the charger didn't work worth a crap. Needless to say, he wasn't going to go back to the Envy. So, learning that Green Smoke has one of the best reputation on the market, I got him one. The start up was a bit pricey, but not more than cigarettes cost per month, and it has been so worth it!!

I know he doesn't want me to feel bad, or be unable to speak -- especially since I speak for a living-- but he also didn't want to smoke outside. The e-cig was exactly the happy medium we needed.  Not only does he get his nicotine fix, but it doesn't smell bad, produce smoke, and make me smell like a smoker when I'm not one. All good things, in my book. Oh, and it's better for our animals, one of which is a shih tzu, a breed notorious for their breathing problems. So, I'm happy and he's agreed that should he smoke regular cigarettes now and again (very rarely, since we simply can't afford both the e-cig and regular cigs) that he will do so out of doors, rather than inside. He hates to smoke outside, so it's a good preventative measure.

He's been smoking his e-cig for almost a month now and he really likes it. Each cartridge is about one pack of cigarettes, and he smokes only about one cartridge every day or two, so it's much better for his health than cigarettes because he's smoking less. Also, because it doesn't produce smoke, but water vapor, it's doubly good. I'd say the only real downsides are that occasionally he does crave real cigarettes and that, because of the battery, the e-cig is a bit heavier than regular cigarettes. Not so much a problem on either count, especially since he's agreed to smoke outside when he smokes regular cigs.

If your spouse is a smoker, I highly recommend it.  I only hope that this solution holds out because it's been fantastic so far!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Community College, Career Goals, and Composition Pedagogy

Last weekend, I spent a good deal of time procrastinating on grading papers because, let's face it, I was in mortal terror of that tiny little stack of essays. I've never graded anything in my life, and firsts are sometimes excruciating. I didn't want it to be excruciating, I wanted to enjoy it, but I also wanted someone with whom to commiserate. I Googled "first time grading papers" because that's where I was (still am?). While I came across some interesting articles and forum responses about grading, I really wasn't imparted with any great knowledge or the key to successful, succinct grading. I did however find Equality 101, an education blog, and with it some really fascinating essays about teaching composition.

I've come to find, through this graduate assistant process, that composition pedagogy is something I'm very interested in. While I have no interest in teaching children, I'm finding that my interest in pursuing a career as an English instructor on the community college level is growing. Honestly, I think community colleges get a bad rap. I've found that many people, quite mistakenly believe, that no quality education is to be found in community colleges, something I vehemently disagree with. I attended jr. college for a year before going onto the university. As a non-traditional student, I needed the baby steps between high school, which I graduated in 1996, and the university. Had it not been for community college, I wouldn't have my BA, and I certainly wouldn't be perusing my MA. I even took comp 111 at a community college and carried from it the lessons I would need to succeed in both composition 112 and higher level English at the university. I am an English major, after all, and community college is my foundation.

All that having been said, I feel like community colleges need quality instructors just like universities and I've never made a secret of my desire to teach in a community college. When they asked me, in my interview for the graduate assistant position, what my career goals were, I told them exactly that, that I intended to go back to my roots, to community college. Okay, slight tangent aside, I wanted to share something I found with you because I am so impressed and inspired by this.

An essay "Teaching the Citational Syntax of Critical Discourse to Students with No Great Interest in Either" by Diego Báez suggests that:
Because successful citation requires students take themselves seriously as editors, as much as they must be writers as well, and because very few teenagers and twentysomethings see themselves as crotchety old scholars with bifocals and obscure bodies of work, I like to compare instead the researcher to a late-night dance club DJ: someone well-versed in material she intends to spin for the benefit of her audience.

Taken on it's own, this is fascinating to me. Added to his next move and I was so impressed I shared his advice with my colleagues and friends. I really feel like Diego's made an effort to reach his students with this, and as I've recently learned with an assignment we're giving our students requiring them to describe and evaluate ads, an engaged classroom is an amazing place. So what is his next move? Here it is:
One such person in particular serves as a conveniently (literally) illustrative example. Nick Bertke, a.k.a. Pogo, arranges sound fx from feature films over uncomplicated instrumentals to create (again, literally) fantastic remixes of soundtracks.... Bertke’s method works so well, not only because the reordered samples work together aurally, but because the source movies are of course musicals in the first place.... So too with academic writing: scholars must acknowledge and arrange previous work in meaningful ways to contextualize whatever they want to say within a larger framework.

Okay, so I saw this, thought it through and went straight to Pogo's website to hear exactly what Diego was talking about. I was nothing less than impressed, not only because Pogo's work is amazing, but because the example is so on point.  This is something a more sophisticated, say English 112 (composition & research), students can understand with some explanation and it's such a beautiful illustration of how applying this method to writing, a student can create harmony in text.

Not quite sold, or need those Pogo examples?  Check these out:

Pretty amazing, right? Well, clearly I'm biased because I'm sharing it here. I found it really fascinating the way the music works with with sound bites from the films. There're more, if you're interested in hearing them, but there ones were my favorite. Go and check out Equality 101 while you're at it, they have some really interesting essays about education for teachers and students at all levels.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Definitely Need More Cookies!!

This. Exactly this. This is how I'm feeling today... and if we're being honest, most days. I truly believe that graduate school, while rewarding, is meant to try the limits of your sanity. It's trying mine daily.

I feel kind of bad for complaining about how worn out I am -- I mean, Shannon goes to grad school, has a job and an internship, four kids, is writing a dissertation (which is like a thesis's much bigger brother) and still manages to make time. She's my hero right now, I swear!  She's far less whiny and bitchy than me!!

Unfortunately, feeling bad isn't going to stop the complaining I'm about to do. Sorry. I just don't know, maybe it's that I haven't had enough sleep, or the fact that I've not had a single day to just bum around, but I am starting to feel so overwhelmed with everything I have going on right now. Going to school, work, and trying to manage my home life is starting to wear me down. I know he's going to get mad at me for saying this (if he sees it at all), but I could really use more help at home. Matt's an amazing husband, very emotionally supportive, but he's not nearly helpful enough around the house. An example, Friday night he offered to do laundry, was up all night, and when I got up on Saturday morning he'd folded one load, had one in the washer and one in the dryer. Okay, he worked on it a little bit. So, when I got up I started working on the laundry and got seven loads finished in about 6 hours.  So, yeah, you see what I'm saying here. I also managed to do three loads of dishes, read nearly 200 pages of composition studies, and outlined about half of those pages. Saturday was crazy busy, no rest for the wicked.

Sunday, I woke up (too early, mind you) thinking about my composition studies discussion post for the week.  I laid there about a half an hour, trying to go back to sleep, but all I could manage to do was formulate, and reformulate, my discussion post in my head. Believe it or not, doing rhetoric homework in my head is not conducive to sleeping. So, I got up on about six hours of sleep and did my rhetoric homework.  I also did two more loads of wash, another load of dishes, wrote a blog post, graded two papers (which took me quite some time), read 45 pages of my book for American lit, cleaned up the living room, vacuumed the carpet, and Fabrezed down the curtains in both the living room and kitchen. Sunday was amazingly busy, too.

By the time I crawled into my bed at 1am last night (or would that be Monday morning?) my entire weekend had been spent cleaning or doing homework. Not, awesome. And would you believe that after all of that, all the wash is still not done?! Matt has sooooooo many clothes. Our house, even though I spent all weekend cleaning it between my homework, is still a huge mess, but I don't have the drive to clean it up. And it's a catch-22, because the mess and the clutter is making me so depressed. I almost don't want to be home, which is silly because I'm a total homebody, because of the mess. I simply can't stand it, it makes me so terribly angry, which makes living with me a nightmare, both for me and for Matt. I know I'm being a raging bitch, I just can't help myself, so everyone around me is miserable. Again, not, awesome.

So yeah, I want time to do nothing, that's what it amounts to and you know, I don't think that's too much to ask.  One of my new year's resolutions was that I make "me time."  That's never managed to actually happen yet and it's the last week of February.  I have to make some soon, or I'm going to lose it, but when will I do that with everything else?  I figured, today, that before spring break (which starts March 14th) I have to write my thesis topic proposal, write the proposed primary and secondary source lists for my thesis, read two novels, write two papers, take a mid-term, write two discussion posts, read and outline 12 chapters (that's hundreds of pages), grade and re-grade 15 2-3 page essays, and work, which amounts to teaching 7 more classes, two more labs, and about 45 hours of tutoring in the writing center. Oh, and did I mention there's going to be a conference at our school on the weekend of March 4th? Yeah. That is a heck of a lot of work between now and two and a half weeks from now! I'm feeling so overwhelmed.

And you know, I think I said this before but it warrants repeating, I really like my job. I mean, really like it. I don't feel that grudging feeling when it's time to go to work. I don't count the minutes until I can go home. I enjoy teaching the class and labs, which is huge for me, and I even enjoyed grading the papers last night!  My boss looked over the two I graded, said I was on the right track, and gave me a whole bunch of tips/suggestions on how to improve. I love the mentoring process, where I can learn to teach from people who are both patient and experienced. I was even, this weekend, considering where I'll end up when I'm done here. California is obvious, but where?  I'd like to move to the desert, but getting on at VVC isn't really a very good possibility. They're never hiring, save for the adjunct pool, and I don't really want to adjunct if I'm going to be working at a community college. I spent some time searching for jobs for English instructors around Southern California and found that there are openings. Of course, I can't take one now, but soon. That said, some of them are in places like Porterville, near Bakersfield, but that's okay too. Seeing the openings and knowing that I qualify for them is good enough for me, for now. I honestly never believed that I would be looking for work as a teacher, even on the college level, but here I am planning to do just that, and I'm happy about it!

So, long story short, I both need to stop starting sentences with co-ordinating conjunctions and I need to stop being so down about not having much time to myself. Graduate school is hard, no one said it would be easy, and I knew that going in. I just need to remember that there's a reason I'm going to graduate school, that when I'm done I'll be educated and have the experience I need, and that I can move to California, get a good job, and have time to myself then. Until that time, I'm probably going to complain because I feel like my sanity is not-so-slowly seeping away. It's not (probably), but I feel that way a lot of the time.

It might just be that I need to talk to Matt, who has been awesome lately, especially about the smoking thing (I'll tell you about that soon), and see if I can wrangle more help out of him. I'm sure he wouldn't mind helping out a bit more, he knows I could use the help. Which, of course, begs questions like "if he knows I need help why hasn't he taken the initiative to help me?" which I simply chalk up to him being a man so that I don't get angry at him. I know not all men are unhelpful, take my dad for instance, but I know a lot of men who are so I'm sticking with it.

For now, I have to go finish the book for my American lit class so I can write the paper that's due on Wednesday night. I hope you're all holding it together better than I am and having an awesome Monday. For me, it's about to be cookies... like I need any damn cookies.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Literally Making the Grade

Bet you can't guess what I'm doing today...

This will be my first ever attempt at this. I'm only going to grade two of them tonight, but have to have all 15 graded by February 28th! Wish me... understanding? I was going to say luck, but that seems somehow inappropriate to the occasion.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Think It's Too Late to Get 2010 Back?

In the interest of fairness, the following post is filled with bitching and complaining. If you don't give a crap about my miserable year, the TL;DR version goes like this... "Dear 2011, shove off, asshat. Love, Kristyn." If you care to commiserate, read on.

I don't know about you, but I love Frank & Ernest by Bob Thaves (to whom credit for this amazing comic goes).  It's so frank, heh. Yeah, so this comic pretty much sums up my life right now. There's so much going on and, honestly, if I don't laugh about it from time to time I'm liable to crack. I cut this comic out of a newspaper about a zillion years ago (or, ya know, in 2004) and found it in a drawer the other day. Maybe its a coincidence, or the universe telling me something, or whatever, but it made me laugh.  Then I looked it up online and saved it because I need it to remind me that sometimes, things just happen.

I know I've said this, but this year has been so damn terrible.  First, I was sick for 10 days, and not a little sick, but really, really sick. I've not been that sick in more than a decade. I was sick sick! Not a great way to spend 10 of the first 15 or so days of the year, but I recovered.  Then, our car was acting like an asshole, so we took it to the shop and they wanted $1,000 for parts and labor to fix it. Like I just have a random grand laying around to get it fixed, or something... yeah, not so much, so it didn't get fixed.  It's running okay for now, so I'm not sure what's going on, but it's a good thing because we can't afford to get it fixed. Then, we hit a major freeze, the pipes under our house froze, and we didn't have water for 4 days. That royally sucked, though being out of school/work for nearly a week made up for it slightly. Then, when we it thawed out our pipes had burst and flooded the underneath of the house. Awesome. We had to get that fixed or we wouldn't have water, which turned out to be less of hassle than I thought it would be, but still.

Yeah, all of that and it's only mid-February... but that's not all, oh no, not by a long shot.

On Wednesday, yeah, the day after Valentine's Day, I logged into my email to find PayPal notifying me that some asshat had made 65 mass transactions on our account. Again, awesome. They were anywhere from one cent to ninety cents, and in the course of an hour and a half, which is about how long it took them to make all those transactions, they'd siphoned off about $10.  I called PayPal who were helpful, but only after making me wait on hold like twenty minutes and talk to a "specialist" who was nice, but really not all that special. He couldn't figure out why it was happening and the only thing he could do to stop it was to put a limitation on my PayPal account. So, now, we can get money into our PayPal account, but we can't take it out. Which means I can get paid from Demand, but I can't access the money to pay my bills. Not, fucking, cool. So, while PayPal tries to figure out what the hell is going on and decide whether fraud protection wants to refund me, my bank account is going into overdraft to pay the bills, even though we have the money to pay our bills in PayPal. Have I said awesome? Yeah.

In the process of trying to put the limitations on my account, PayPal informed me that they may have hacked my account with information from my computer. This, my friends, is bullshit. I scanned my computer with a virus scanner, twice, and with a malware scanner, twice, and there is not even a single misplaced cookie on my system, let alone a virus. I tried to tell them that someone had applied for API credentials on my PayPal account and that was how they were getting the money, but the guy at PayPal wouldn't listen to me.  API credentials allow whomever is using them to access my account remotely. So, rather than cancelling the API permissions, or blocking them, they're limiting my account and telling me it's my system, which it clearly is not.

So, here it is, Friday and I still have no idea what they're doing to fix this. I think I'm going to call them.  This huge fiasco has caused me to have to go to the bank and put a stop pay on anything coming from PayPal, which caused my bank to reject a previous payment through PayPal, which they shouldn't have rejected. As I'm sure you can imagine, I'm quite livid. PayPal is supposed to be secure. It's supposed to be safe!  I've toyed with opening a new PayPal account in Matt's name and attaching that to my Demand account, so I can still get paid, but I wouldn't be able to get a debit card on that account for 90 days, which really affects my ability to pay my bills.  Not everyone accepts PayPal, so it's nice to be able to use the PayPal MasterCard to pay for stuff.  I hope they can get it worked out and this stops happening because I really need that account.

Yeah, on top of that, Matt's computer has been making the most atrocious noise.  I spent some time looking at it on Thursday night because if his computer croaks I am going to lose it. I don't think I can handle one more thing going wrong this year. I managed to solve the problem, it's the fan on one of his video cards.  Since he has two video cards, put together with an SLI bridge, I just unplugged that video card from both the SLI and the power supply.  So, he's running with one video card like the rest of us mortals, poor him. Of course, for some reason, one of the fans on his computer is making a rhythmic on off sound for about five cycles when we turn his computer on, but that's the only time it does it, so I'm ignoring it because otherwise, his computer is working okay again.

Like I said, if one more thing goes wrong... I might just need extended psychiatric care. I'm not built for this kind of constant stress.  My job, and graduate school, provide me with more than enough entertainment (read: stress), I don't need everything else in my life to come crashing down around my ears, too.  I swear, when we were at the store today, I bought junk-food and cheap wine. I need them to cope and they're cheaper than therapy, which is my next move if the liquor doesn't work. The only really good news is that my thesis topic seems to be working out and I'm getting things rolling with that. Thankfully that weight is off my chest, at least for the time being.

Okay, enough bitching. I'm off. I hope you have an amazing weekend.  For my part, I'll be doing homework and grading papers... and gorging myself on crap. Awesome.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What Tomorrow Brings & A Small Request

Matt and I were talking last night, as we do from time to time, about what's going to happen when we get out of college. This is by no means a first, we've been talking somewhat non-committaly about what would happen for years. It's always "when we get out of college..." but it's never been as much a reality as it is right now. He graduates this May (thank goodness!!), I graduate next May, and when we're done I feel like we need to know what we'll do. I'd like to hit the ground running, it's not like we're kids anymore. Far from it, in fact, and for reasons beyond my comprehension my brain is screaming that we need to start doing all those grown up things people do, like get a 401k and buy a house. I don't even like owning my own house -- I find homeownership a drag, but who knows if I'll still feel that way in a few years -- but I suppose that's beside the point, I mean, the message is clear, we need to start looking forward.

You may know that we're planning a move to California. This is a plan that's been in the works for the last year, at least, and for a while there we were planning to move this year, when Matt graduates. That won't happen, for obvious reasons, like I'm still in school, so the move has been re-scheduled to its original date in summer 2012 (duh, right?). Even still, I'm so anxious to get this underway! I know we can't do anything until I'm done with my Masters, but I really miss home, my family, and everyone in California. I miss being able to go to the beach, I miss spending holidays with family, I miss being somewhere comfortable and familiar. I just miss it, so I'm going home and bring Matt along for the ride, and I hope he'll fit in in California. He never seems so much a Texan as when we're in California, but I'm sure he'll adapt and come to love California!

Our initial intention was to move to the desert, come hell or high water, and work out the job details later. We've been thinking, lately, that it might be more in our interests to consider moving wherever the jobs are, even if that means not living in the desert. We've considered Riverside, San Bernardino (Ugh!), Highland, Rancho Cucamonga, and Ontario just in looking around for property and jobs. There're a lot more colleges in the valley than there are in the desert and I'm not much of a commuter. I've talked it over with my mom, who agrees it's a good idea not to limit ourselves to the desert. I think she's just happy that we'll be moving back home, and a half an hour drive is much more doable than a 2 day drive! We're keeping our options open and honestly, I don't know if the desert is big enough for me and my ex-husband (and his wife). That sounds strange, and petty, but I don't want to spend the rest of my life awkward and uncomfortable and that's exactly what you get when you put me and him in the same space. I really think we could be civil, and learn to be comfortable with one another in a not-friends-but-acquaintances sort of way if it weren't for his wife. She's just... I don't know. It wouldn't work.

Okay, so I'm off because I'm really starting to yammer on and on.  I've decided, in thinking about going forward, that I we can afford to save $3,000 per semester over the next two semesters for our move, and afford my class ring.  I skipped it when I graduated with my bachelors degree, but a masters is a big achievement and I plan to make the most of it.  I've been going to Tarleton since 2004, I've grown to love my school and would love to mark this achievement with a ring. So, I'm getting one. Our school uses Jostens, which makes me twitch. I don't particularly like their rings, at least not enough to pay $1,000 for them, and I can't go and look at them.  That's not cool.  Of course, they have a lifetime warranty, which is very cool. So I'm at an impasse.  On the other hand, there's a jewelry store here in town that sells Tarleton rings.  They're roughly the same cost as Jostens, and I don't know about their warranty, especially since we'll be living in another state, but I'd be supporting a local business and their rings are awesome. And, since they're local, I can go look at them and decide which one I like, have it sized, etc. So, I'd like to ask you to help me choose!

Here're the choices... [IMAGES REMOVED]

They're pretty, no?!  I just notices, while imbeding these pictures, that the one on the far left is missing a stone. Ha!  They have a really good reputation, so I'm going to over look that one small error. The one in the middle is also available in the same diamond and amethyst pattern as the first ring, so I'm not 100% certain what the difference is, except maybe that it has more diamonds (3/4 carats of diamond is a lot of diamonds!). They range in price from $825 to $1,025, but price really isn't a concern, being happy with what I get is -- I mean, it's a lot, but yeah, I deserve it!

All of the pictures are the sole property of Swindle's Jewlers and you can go there to see the rest of the options (just click the link).  So... what do you think?  Which one do you like best?  I'm taking votes. I'm going to go down there and look at them in person, but not right now. I'm talking myself into waiting until fall, which I suck at, but am doing my best.

Time for me to go to bed. Good night!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Recap...

I hope you all had a lovely Valentine's Day. Ours was really nice, well, it was nice after I got off work at 4:30.  I mean, don't get me wrong, I have a good job that I enjoy, but it's Valentine's Day and our 11th anniversary, so work was really the last place I would have chosen to be -- even still, I was in a really good mood today! Believe it or not, in the whole 11 years we've been married, this is the first anniversary we've spent apart. So, when 4:30 rolled around and I was done with work and meetings, Matt picked me up and took me to dinner at Pastafina, a lovely local Italian place. When he picked me up he brought me a dozen red roses, a box of chocolates, and a small box of Cherry Chocolate Bark, which is amazing stuff. My head is currently spinning ever so slightly from the sugar rush, but it has so been worth it. This is only the second time since we've been married that he's brought me flowers, so I was both charmed and speechless! I really love flowers, but my allergies don't like them so much.

We had calamari and shrimp, salads and braided garlic bread, lobster ravioli in brandy pink sauce (house specialty and it is amazing), and tiramisu at Pastafina. My god it was rich and delicious, and honestly, I couldn't have been happier. After dinner, we went to Hastings and wandered for a bit. We didn't buy anything, we just browsed around, and then came home, but it was nice to just look at the book covers together -- I saw several I'm going to look for on Kindle, but I can't remember what they are now. When we got home I put my roses in water and settled in to watch Eat. Pray. Love. It's on right now, in fact, as I type this. It's a good movie, but not my favorite, which I feel bad saying since it's a memoir of sorts. When it's over, and so is this post, I'm going to watch House, take a hot shower, and spend the rest of the evening cuddling with Matt. All in all, it's been an amazing Valentine's Day and Anniversary. The nicest we've had in a long time.

I was really happy this morning. It's a rare good day. The flowers are those Matt brought me this afternoon, with a slight Photoshop because my camera was trying to turn them pink. Stupid camera.  Aren't they pretty?!

The sunset was really beautiful tonight. While we were in town, leaving Hastings, I wished I'd had my camera. The clouds were gray on top and pink on the bottom, but I couldn't snap them because the camera on my phone is total junk. So, I caught this pictures of what was left of the sunset when I got home.  The other picture is, well, chocolate... I love chocolate!  It's been a long, long time since I've gotten one of those luscious red heart boxes, you know the ones wrapped in red with a gold bow. Matt brought me one tonight, with the flowers, and though the outside of the box turned out not to be terribly photogenic with the glare from my flash, the inside is amazing!

So how did you spend your Valentine's Day?  However you spent it, I hope it was as lovely as mine.

Good night.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!!

11 years ago, in a lovely, historic court house in Waco, TX, Matt and I said, "I do." Today's not only the most romantic day of the year, it's also our anniversary. Last year, I wrote about our wedding day, this year, I'd just like to say... I love you, honey, now more than ever!!

Just by way of explanation about the card, Matt proposed to me at Lover's Leap in Cameron Park in Waco, so the picture on the card is the picture of the Lover's Leap Road sign I took when we went to Waco for my GRE last spring.  I love that place more than anywhere else; we have so many memories there! Click the card to see it larger.

To all my friends and family, I hope your Valentine's days is amazing, filled with love and laughter!! I have to work all day and have a meeting in the afternoon, so Matt and I are going out to Pastafina, a local Italian food place, and then in for the night because we have class and work tomorrow.  If all goes well, we may even be able to catch a movie, but we're not sure yet.  Either way, it's sure to be a lovely holiday.

So tell me, how will you spend the most romantic day of the year?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Good News: Thesis Topic!!

After turning over about a dozen different ideas for my thesis, I've settled on one. Amazing how you'll be reading alone, trying to research for one idea, and another will just fall on your. That's about how it happened, too, it sort of just occurred to me and after I was having a total freak out earlier this week about this whole thesis thing. Right this minute, I've feeling eons better than I've been feeling about this. Eons might be an understatement.

Initially, and I only say initially with regards to the time between Jan 1, 2011 and today, my thesis plan has been to do something with the idea of woman as monster. Sounds easy enough, right? Right. Unfortunately, I'm learning that I have some serious scope issues. The thesis is only 80-120 or so pages and there was no way I was going to be able to talk about every single representation of woman as monster in literature, it was just impossible. I managed to scale it down to the Romantics and Victorians (about 1770 - 1901), but I was still having problems scaling it down to a research question. Since the thesis is just one big answer to one big question, not having a question means no topic. I've met with my thesis chair twice this semester, so far, and we've talked it over, and though I'd had a ton of good ideas and guidance, I was feeling really, really hopeless.

Then, yesterday, while skimming through the essays in The History of Gothic Fiction by Markman Ellis, looking for any information about how or why women were presented as monsters during this era, I saw something that propelled my project down a road I hadn't even considered. I scribbled it down in the little notebook where I'm doing my thesis research notes and put everything away, determined to give it some time and think it over. There's a fine line between what is acceptable as a scholarly project and a topic that's just not. The more I thought about it, and ran it past Matt, the more confident I grew in my idea.

Today, I did some research to see if anyone else was doing what I'm planning to do and, to my very happy surprise, no one else is!  People are doing similar things, talking about this aspect or that, but nothing exactly like what I'm proposing to do. I sat in stunned silence for a while, wondering how I had managed to come to something that was new, and it was then that I started to lose steam. I tend to have very little faith in my ideas.  If scholars aren't doing it, then it must not be an idea of worth. It's a vicious cycle, that, because no matter what idea you come up with, it won't be good enough if no one else is looking at it. I spent some time pep talking myself and then, when late afternoon came, I collected my nerve and emailed my idea to my thesis chair. Then, I waited, hoping I didn't sound like a complete dolt.  Thankfully, I didn't have to wait long.  She emailed me back within the hour.

She said my idea sounded great, with a valid topic and reasonable approach, and that I wasn't working with too much (or little) material for a project of this size. I was absolutely floating around on a cloud of contentment and self-satisfaction for hours tonight, which I honestly needed because today has been a bad day. Of course, when I looked over the first email I sent her (four or five paragraphs long) and see all the typos I just want to crawl under a bench and wilt, some English major I turned out to be, so a tiny bit of my happiness is sapped by my inability to communicate without looking like I have no grasp of the English language. I really need to proof read more completely before sending emails to people with PhD's, I was just so thrilled to have a working idea, and so nervous that she wouldn't agree that it was a good idea, that I sent it without proofing it at all.

So right now I need to sit down and decide what novels I'll be using for my project and which side of the argument I'll take. I know I haven't said what my topic will be, I'm guarding it with my life right now. Now that I have one, I don't want to do anything to jeopardize it. This step, the deciding what sources to use, is a lot harder than it sounds, but at least I have a topic and know what sort of sources I'm looking for definitively. That's a great feeing, and I'm not going to lie, I just keep thinking that something's going to go wrong and that I'm not going to be able do it. So, I'm going to try to get my topic proposal out of the way this week so I can stop worrying.  It's not due until March 11th, but the sooner I get it done the sooner I can start working on my thesis topic proposal for the college of graduate studies. As the thesis topic proposal is the majority of my grade, I really need to get that going with enough time that I can really work on it.  Procrastinating on this particular thing might not be a good idea.

I have a meeting with one of the professors on my committee on Monday afternoon to have my degree plan signed and I plan to talk it over with her then. She's not my chair, but it's important that all of my committee members understand what I'm planning to do, so I'm looking forward to meeting with her about this. I think, as I'm working with the Gothic and she enjoys the Gothic, she'll be fine with what I'm doing. Finger's crossed.

For now, with all that said and my thesis topic floating around in my brain, I'm going to bed (and without proof reading, too!!).  Good night!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

~Insert Appropriate Title Here~

Well, you've probably been able to guess, or maybe you saw on Facebook, that we got our pipes fixed. What an ordeal!  No water for four days, followed by gushing water under the house, the no water again. Fortunately, the plumber came out on Saturday night, much earlier than expected, and got them fixed in a bit less than an hour. It wasn't as expensive as it could have been, so that's good at least -- he said he had several customers who were going to have to have their entire houses repiped, now that's insane! Since then, I've been in such a funk, suffering major pity party syndrome (okay, I know that's not a real syndrome, but it works). It just seems like nothing's going right this year. I just want something to go right. Is that too much to ask? So far, yes.

Anyway, we're back to work and school this week after having four days off last week (Tuesday - Friday) due to ice and snow. The conditions here were horrible, even though they don't look so bad in my pictures.  So far, it's been fine. Teaching this semester has meant that I'm constantly unsettled. It's not easy for me, as you probably know, to stand up in front of people. Teaching is an exercise in pushing my limits, but you know, as little as I thought I'd ever say this, I think I'm enjoying it. Yeah, seeing that in black and white is making me feel awkward. That's one of those admissions that one likes to keep to themselves... though that isn't entirely accurate, is it, since I just shared it with you. Now, I don't think I could ever teach children, but I think I would enjoy teaching on the college level -- community college would be ideal, both for my education and my comfort zone. This is probably going to sound so silly, and a little sappy, but getting up in front of people every day (except Thursdays, awesome, gracious, restful Thursdays) has made me feel like I'm stronger than I thought I was. Yeah, see, sappy. I don't care, it's the truth and this is my blog, so I can sound as sappy as I want here. Don't judge me.

My boss, who is a really nice woman and a great teacher, has been giving me some pointers so I can improve, but says that I'm doing a good job! It's always nice to have positive feedback, with tips. I've never taught anyone before, never even tutored unless you count last semester's labs and working in the writing center. So, I have zero idea how to do it. It's much harder than it looks, or at least it is for me, but I'm learning. I feel like I get more and more comfortable every day, which is awesome.  By the end of the semester, I'll be a pro! Ha! Okay, maybe not a pro, but you get the idea. This semester has been amazing practice and a great learning experience, which I will need because next semester (fall 2011) I'll be teaching English 111, the first for-credit comp course, the one every major is required to take. I'm so excited, and nervous, about that!

Other than work, school's going okay. The snow last week meant one of my classes, which is normally Wednesday nights from 6-9pm, was cancelled. It's kind of a bummer, actually, because I really like that class!  My professor is fantastic, I really like him and enjoy his lectures and our class discussion, so it's always a little bit depressing to miss that class. He gave us a revised schedule, which includes pushing everything back a week all the way to the end of the semester.  Now, it's supposed to snow again tomorrow!  I hope it snows, of course, but I'm a little bummed about potentially missing class again. I'm not sure what he'll have to do to compensate for another week's absences, we'll see.

I had my second directed reading's meeting today and it was really productive. I have so much to think about before we can meet again. I'm a little bit nervous because I have so many directions, but what I need to do is chose one and reign it in. She gave me some suggestions, so I need to think them through, but I think the ideas she gave me are both amazing help in the guidance department. I think my biggest problem is that I have no idea how to narrow it down into a topic (Shannon, I need advice... help!! lol). The fact that I have to do something that's never been done is so, so overwhelming! I know I need to research the literature, and what's being said about it, so I have a good idea what's being done, but my goodness... it's absolutely, completely, and totally mind-boggling! I seriously have moments where I feel like I'm not... I was going to say not smart enough, but I'm definitely smart enough... organized enough for this! It's amazing anyone does this. Hats off to everyone who's done this before me, it's not easy.

Anyway, enough rambling. Instead of trying to figure out how to finish this up, I'm just going to share this with you (even though it has nothing to do with this post at all, I'm tricky like that)...

I love this song, not to mention the amazing video. Matt loves it too, which is what brought it to my attention this particular night. I've watched it several times, such beautiful imagery!

Good night.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Broken Pipes

I swear to you, I just want to rewind this year and start over. It's been nothing but trouble, so far. I got up this morning, went outside to check on the pipes and everything looked okay. No gushing water, no messy pipes, so I walked around a bit enjoying the cool weather and the sunshine. Seriously, check out this sunshine...

Beautiful, right?

So I was doing another walk around, enjoying the morning, preparing to get some homework done, when I heard it... gushing water. I stood for a moment, trying to think that it was coming from the neighbor's house, but my denial was short lived, it was clearly coming from under our house. Pulling back one of the skirting panels, I looked underneath and sure enough, water was gushing up from one of the pipes, like a fountain, making a big freaking mess. And, I do mean a big. freaking. mess!!

Right then, faced with this problem, I did the thing a woman is never supposed to admit to doing, I called for my husband to fix it. Matt came out and we spent some time looking at it, trying to get one of the skirting panels off closer to the water shut off valve.  We got it off, turned off the water, and when it was still gushing out of the pipes realized, with some distress, that we had just shut off the water going into the house, not the pipes from the water main. So, Matt called the manager and he came out and turned our water off at the main shut-off valve.

Our manager is a nice guy (not at all like the misogynist pig that use to do that job), but he informed us that any pipes under the house are our responsibility. Anything on the other side of the water main is their responsibility. We have to get it fixed. He gave us the name of a plumber, who we promptly called. The plumber said that it would be late in the weekend, or early week before he could come out and fix it. Fan-fucking-tastic. He also said it would be about $100 per break. I'm hoping and praying there's only one break. I only saw the water fountaining out of one spot, but it was a long break.  Of course, the water was pouring out down the pipe, under the foam insulation, and I cant tell if that was symptomatic of another break, or if it was the water from the first break pouring down the line. Either way, I'm sick of dealing with this.

As of today, we're 4 days without water. Tomorrow will be day 5.  I'd really like to take a shower, rather than the "spit bathes" I've been suffering, my hair is disgusting.  My house is disgusting, I have dishes to wash and let's not even go into the rest of the house. Oh, and the laundry, it's not doing itself. And, of course, there's a problem were if they can't get it fixed before Monday, I can't go to work. This isn't good, there's no way I could go into work like this. No way, but calling in sick after having 4 school days off last week seems like a bad idea. I just keep hoping it'll get fixed tomorrow and we won't have to worry about it anymore.

Check this out...

This is actually not a river, it's the flooding under my house.  It had only been flooding about 2 minutes when I took this picture. You would not believe how much water there was under there by the time we got the main valve turned off.  Our manager said, "Wow, look at that dial go!" in reference to the fact that gallons of water were pouring out... nice, we're going to have to pay for all that water that's currently making mud under the house. On the upside, we've not used any water in days, so I suppose it balances out. Ugh, I am in such a bad mood about this!

I enjoyed having the time off last week, that was nice, especially after sacrificing the last 10 days of my Christmas vacation to illness. What I don't like is the repercussions. Fortunately, I'm salaried, so I get paid whether I'm at work or not.  That much is nice. Our anniversary is this month and, honestly, I'm feeling so stressed out with school, work, and the constant disasters. First our I was sick, then the car, which is running fine right now since they put transmission fuel in its, but now this broken pipe thing.  What next?! I swear, I'm about to crack.

Tomorrow's the Super Bowl, but I could care less who wins. Packers or Steelers, I don't give a shit.  We're going to watch it, and try to enjoy ourselves despite the fact that we have no water, but it's not going to be easy.  I have a paper to write, almost 200 pages to read, notes to post, and a discussion post to make. I'm so overwhelmed by the amount of homework I have, and honestly, that's my fault too because I procrastinated all week.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy Chinese New Year!!

Ooh, I nearly forgot in my happiness about the vintage cupcake boxes.  Today is the first day of the Chinese New Year -- 2011 is the year of the Rabbit!! While I know it's not a holiday most people here in the U.S. celebrate, I enjoy learning about foreign holidays. So, you're just as likely to see a post about Bastille day in July or Guy Fawkes day in November... I'm particularly fond of Guy Fawkes Day!

If you're interested in the holiday, check out this site for more detailed information because honestly, I'm not a very reliable source of Chinese New Year information.

Happy Chinese New Year!!

Hostess Vintage

When I moved to Texas 12 years ago, I believed I had traded my love for Hostess baked goods for my love for Matt, the most awesome of men-- not a bad trade, all in all. I went from taking weekly trips to the Hostess outlet shop, a place my mom called the "day old bakery" to not being able to find a single Cupcake, Ho Ho, Twinkie, Ding Dong, Sno Ball, fruit pie, or SuzieQ. Nothing, not one in all of Waco. Here, Mrs. Baird's ruled the roost and Hostess was exiled in her territory! Mrs. Baird is a jealous bitch... and honestly, she's not the only one. I'm looking at you Blue Bell.

Then, last week, while doing some grocery shopping, I saw this...

Not just Hostess, but Hostess Cupcakes all dressed up in their vintage best! They called to me, and of course, I couldn't resist. I took them home and promptly devoured most of the box... I have no restraint, it's Hostess for cryin' outloud! I blame my 12 year, Texas imposed, Hostess abstinence.

I love the retro design... love. it.

And yes, I know I'm gushing over pre-packaged, preservative filled, baked goods, but I can't help myself.  Hostess is my kryptonite!  Would you believe they also had Banana Twinkie's in the vintage box?  I don't have that one anymore, I ate them all (not by myself and not all at once) and tossed the box... I think. After eating them, I'm convinced that all Twinkie's are banana flavored, or that the box lied. 

Okay, I know, enough gushing about cupcakes... but they're amazing! Over time, I've learned to enjoy Mrs. Baird's, I had to, it's all we have (unless Little Debbie counts?), but nothing quite compares to Hostess for this California girl. Although, I feel like I should say, Mrs. Baird's has amazing cinnamon rolls. Amazing. Yeah, I hope the Wal-Mart keeps carrying them. I'll definitely keep buying them, even if they are $2.50 a box.

On a final note, don't judge me... I could be bitching about the snow and being cold again!

Also, yes, I am picture taking crazy. Yes, I will take any opportunity to take pictures of random shit. Yes, I will be sharing them with you. That is all.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Frozen II!!

I know, I already bitched about the weather today, but I have more to say. Read my last post, or don't, it's up to you. It's a lot of bitching, but not without good reason. Anyway, we decided to brave the horrible weather and go to Wal-Mart this afternoon because without water, cooking dinner would be rough. I need to do the dishes, which I can't do without water, but we can't eat without clean dishes, so it's kind of a catch-22, anyway. I digress, we went out and it was a nightmare! The roads are covered in an inch and a half of solid ice, which makes going to Wal-Mart more like ice skating than driving. It's cold and slippery and somehow we managed to get there, and back, without much incident.

On the way home, we stopped to eat at Montana (a local place), and their parking lot's not much better... okay, it wasn't better at all, it was actually worse than Wal-Mart's parking lot. Anyway, just before you get to Montana, there's a light in front of the college. The entire road at that intersection was covered in icy slush and we started sliding back and forth like crazy. Had I been driving, I'd have lost it. As it was, Matt handled it extremely well. Of course, over dinner we started the what-ifs, which made dinner kind of worrisome. You know the "what if the pipes actually burst while we were gone and our whole house is under several inches of water?" or "what if our power's out (stupid rolling brown-outs) and Anakin and Galileo are freezing?"  The what-ifs! Let me tell you, I am amazing at that game. I worry better than anyone I know.

We got home to find that our house wasn't under water and that we hadn't lost power, so all the worry was really for nothing. It was toasty and warm, compared to the 15 degree weather outside. So anyway, while we were at Wal-Mart Matt got me a new camera! We looked at them and found a nice 12 mega-pixel Kodak EasyShare compact digital camera for $99. It came out to be about $120 after the extended warranty and the SDHC memory card. Nice little camera, too, takes really good pictures.

I shrank this picture down, it was originally like 4000x3000 or something. I need to see if my camera will allow me to turn down the image size, I think it should have that setting, somewhere. Still learning how to use it.

Yeah, I can feel you thinking "that's not much snow, what's she bitching about?!" but it's actually much worse than it looks. The pictures make it look like a pretty little storm, no problem, but it's crunchy and hard and frozen. The road, in front of our house and out on the highway, is frozen solid... repeating myself, aren't I? Anyway, I'm not going anywhere, again, until this mess melts off. I just hope it gets warm enough to melt off before our pipes get any worse. Besides, I'd really like to be able to shower... I'm thanking my lucky stars I did so last night before going to bed.

Okay, I'm cold and have bitched about the weather (again) and gushed about getting a new camera (Happy Valentine's Day/Anniversary to me!!), so it's time for me to go do something else. What, I'm not sure, but something. Thinking I may give away a book over at my book blog, that sounds like fun! If you have a few spare minutes, knock on wood for us that our power doesn't go out. Anyway, hope your doing okay and that you're warmer than I am.


School's out again today. We had a good deal of snow yesterday, and temperatures in the low teens, so everything's frozen. Since temps aren't going up, and everything's slippery and cold, we're out again today. The Weather Channel's saying that the temps won't be going above 20 all week and that it's supposed to snow again on Friday morning. I love the wintery weather, but it's causing us some serious problems. I'm wondering how they're going to handle tomorrow and Friday at the University? Will they cancel classes like they did yesterday and have today? Something makes me doubt it, actually, but we'll see. I was skeptical about these last two days, too, and here we are.

For now, our chiefest problem seems to be that our pipes are frozen. I left one of the faucets running a little bit, but I'm wondering if it didn't get turned off at some point. Also, it was on cold, which I realize now may not have been my finest moment. Anyway, we got up this morning and no water's running out of any of the faucets in the whole house. Not just the bathrooms, but the kitchen too, and I can't figure out which pipe it is except to think that it's the main line coming into the house. Everything I've read, from some pretty reputable sources like the Weather Channel and Allstate, say to turn the faucets on and call a plumber. There're only two problems with that plan. The first is that my house is a huge mess and I can't mop the floors or do the dishes because, well, we have no water. The second is that I really can't afford a plumber's fee if there's nothing wrong, and right now, there's really nothing wrong. Of course, the plumber fixing it right now may be better than him having to come fix it if the pipes burst, so I'm thinking about it. If the pipes are still frozen tomorrow, I'm going to call around and find out what it'll cost to get it looked at. That's a decent compromise, I think.

So yeah, all of this has put me in a foul mood and poor Matt's the recipient of my ire because there's no one else around to take it out on, and because he's the unfortunate fool who told me about the pipes. I don't know who I'd be mad at, except to think I'd have no choice but to be mad at myself, had I found that the pipes were frozen all on my own. I suppose the largest part of my unhappiness comes from not knowing when they'll be able to thaw since it's going to be below freezing here for the next few days, at least.  I just keep hoping it'll get warm enough inside the house to thaw them. Oh, and to top it off, our heater's not really powerful enough for this weather, so it's working overtime, running up our electric bill, and it's not really warming us up. I have the oven on, for heat, with the heater and we're still not warm. You have no idea how much I'm wishing, right now, that I'd actually caulked the windows when it was warmer. We've got insulated drapes and the cold's still emanating from the windows. The condensation on the inside of the windows is frozen so thick we can't see out and cold is rising from the floor. I'm wearing slippers and considering socks, it's so cold.

But the icing on the cake has to be that Texas has decided that it doesn't have the energy reserves to keep everyone warm on the coldest day in recent history (15 degrees F, here), so they're going to do rolling brown-outs. They're saying the brown-outs will be between 10-45 minutes per neighborhood, which is ridiculous! I'm working to heat this house, which is a struggle, and they're going to turn off our electricity for 45 minutes?! The house will be absolutely frigid by the time it's back on, and it'll take twice as much energy to heat it back up! And never mind us, what about Anakin and Galileo. They're 20 lbs, they could freeze much more easily than could we. The whole thing is ridiculous! I looked up the outage areas and they're saying that the "Dallas/Fort Worth Area" is on the list. We're about 60 miles from there, so are we part of that area, or not? I have no idea, I suppose we'll see when our power goes out... if our power goes out. I just feel so bad for those who have lost power, and I feel even worse hoping and praying that we don't also lose power.

And, to top everything off, because I'm not pissed off enough already, my friggin' camera is still missing. I've searched for it high and low and nothing. Matt says he wants to replace it, but if we can't afford a plumber for the pipes, it seems like an unnecessary expense. So, no pictures from me, not today. Maybe in the near future, if I get a new camera for Valentine's Day (or that'll be the excuse, anyway). I'm so upset that I can't take pictures now! I know this sounds like a tantrum, but I'm so use to taking pictures of everything that to suddenly not have that power seems kind of wrong. Especially right now, when I would be snapping about a thousand pictures of this weather! I guarantee you, I wouldn't be in half as foul a mood were I able to take pictures. Silly as that sounds, it's absolutely true.

So there you have it, we're living in a wintery hell right now! We don't have any water, but hopefully we will soon and without incident. Fingers crossed. I really don't think I could handle another damn catastrophe right now.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snow Day 2011!!

It's snowing here today, and has been since last night!!  The Weather Channel's website has been saying "Winter Mix" since last week, but I was skeptical.  They're not always all that accurate, especially since every other day they change the forecast. For two days, they actually said it would be 60 degrees and sunny... clearly, it's not 60 degrees and sunny.  Rather, it's 15 degrees, snowy, and the wind is insane!

Of course, this weather means we're having a snow day for inclement weather!  I was pretty doubtful that we'd be out today, our university president is from the north and when it snowed last year, he didn't close the university.  We just had to tough it out.  I was definitely not going to tough it out in this weather, everything's frozen!  Our storm door is frozen to the house, the condensation on the inside of the window's has frozen, and have I mentioned the wind... it's crazy!  So, when we got our texts from Code Purple, our school's warning system, that school was cancelled, we were pleased.

The picture above is from last year's snow -- this year's isn't nearly so calm and lovely.  I'd have taken a new one except that my camera is still missing.  Right now, I'm pretty damn bummed out about that fact, too.  Not only were there some great pictures of Anakin and Galileo on that camera, but now I can't take pictures of the snow. I hope I find it soon, but the longer it's missing, the less likely I feel that is.  Matt lost his wedding ring somewhere in this house like 4 years ago and we've still not found it.  So, my camera may have been eaten by whatever black hole ate Matt's wedding ring.  It's so aggravating!

Anyway, I'm off to make myself a cup of cocoa and enjoy the day off.  Have to finishing reading the book for my American Lit class and write a short paper, but otherwise, I've nothing to do!  Okay, I never have nothing to do, so I'll say it like this... I'm going to do nothing!  It's supposed to be cloudy and 20 degree's tomorrow, so there's no chance this is going to melt off any time soon.  Maybe we'll be off tomorrow, too!!  That could be too much to hope for, but I'm feeling optimistic.

Good morning!