Friday, April 15, 2011

Spring Writing Center Conference

Today, rather than going about my usual Friday activities (teaching a class and working in the writing center), I went out of town with Melanie to attend a conference.  It's the second conference I've had the pleasure of attending this semester, in fact--the other being CCTE in March. Anyhow, we closed the writing center today so we could all attend the Spring North Texas Writing Center Association conference, of which my bosses are the president and vice president. You may recall that I wrote previously about the fall conference, which was held at the Tarrant County College--Trinity River Campus, in Fort Worth.  Today's conference is the same association as the fall conference, but was hosted by Tarleton, at the Langdon House, which is actually a very small complex of historical buildings in Granbury--about 30 miles outside of Stephenville.

The conference was held in the Concert Hall, which is actually a historical church that was moved to the grounds of the Langdon House after Tarleton purchased it from the church that was building a bigger place in 1998. I just love the building, all of them really, but the only one I got a picture of was the concert hall because the wind was blowing quite hard and both Melanie and I were wearing skirts.  We nearly blew away, in fact she and Mike (another tutor) were blown several steps forward by a heavy gust, the wind was blowing so hard.  The pictures below are the concert hall and the historical plaque explaining about its origins.  Had it not been for the wind, it would have been a perfectly lovely day.

Melanie and I, along with Marsha and her husband Randy, all arrived at the conference location early because we had agreed to help set-up for the conference before registration. It took us all a minute to get oriented, we all parked across the complex from where we needed to be, but after a short walk we found ourselves standing at the front doors of the above structure, which actually turned out to be the back doors, and Melanie rather bravely turned the knobs and went inside. The doors were unlocked, but the space was dark and empty, save for the furniture.  Our bosses hadn't arrived yet, so we hung out and I took some pictures of the inside while we waited.

The whole place just oozes historical charm! The floors are hardwood, the windows are long and tall, and the rafters are high and open. I loved the ceiling, which explains the picture on the right. It's a shot of the very high ceilings with teal painted rafters. Very pretty with great acoustics. I could close my eyes and almost hear a choir singing. It wasn't long before our bosses showed up with all of the stuff and we got around to setting up. The tables were all covered with yellow table clothes, excepting one at the front that we covered in a purple table cloth with our school and writing center name. We put springish paper cutouts on each table by way of decoration, and set out lunch on a table along the back.

We served sandwiches, chips, cookies, and drinks, a lunch well worth the $6.50 each participant paid for it. Melanie and I worked the registration table, where we took the payment for lunch and made colorful name tags for the conference attendees. We started with lunch and greeting, where everyone got their plates and mingled. The conference is very friendly and everyone's very nice, and approachable. Some professional conferences are quite stuffy or unfriendly, but this one's nothing like that.

After lunch there was the business meeting, awards, and paper presentations. All of the speakers had something interesting to say.  One of them was from our Writing Center, a tutor who's been working there since 2007, and talked about the rhetoric of writing centers. Poor guy was so nervous, but he pulled through it like a champ.  The three others were two undergrads from TCU and a grad student from UTA. It only went through about 3:45 this afternoon and we stayed after to help clean up, which only took about ten minutes with everyone from TSU working together to get the mess resolved. It's amazing what a group can do when everyone works together to get things done!

The drives both there and back were very rocky.  Melanie drove, and I was glad that she did because I don't think I could have handled the wind. It was absolutely gusting out! When we came out of the conference and headed for home, the sky was filled with dirt and smoke and the air smelled vaguely of something burning.  It looked like smog, but was actually dirt and smoke,, you get what I'm trying to say. It was fair gross, to be honest, and I cannot breathe today for it.

Once we got back into town I had Melanie bring me to Tarleton so I could get some things and email my boss some work I had for her. I called Matt and asked him to come for me, he was happy to do so but told me to stay inside the building until he got there, that it wasn't safe for me to be outside in the weather. His concern was adorable!  He was right though, they were blocking a street across campus, one block over, because the wind had blown a huge branch off of a tree. He got me, we got Chicken Express (god I love their food!!) and then came home and watched "Knight and Day" which Netflix had sent us for a second time because the first disk was scratched and unwatchable.

The sun was so surreal when I got in tonight, a sort of orange glow in the brown sky. I was outside with Matt while he smoked and took Anakin out.  It was really pretty and really ugly all at once.

I took the first pic, and then went a little camera crazy while Matt was gawking at the Mormons who were out and about and trying to save souls in the mean weather, and took the picture of us. I never can get him to actually look at the camera, so this is the best I could do. He's about as bad as Anakin when it comes time to have his picture taken. Turns out the picture turned out awesome with him not looking at the camera. I like this picture so much I set it as my profile picture on Facebook! The picture of us has been edited with Picnik, a free online photo editor.

As always, you can click any of the pictures to see them bigger.  That's all I have for now, and more than enough, I'd say, for the time being. I have so much to do this weekend, but for now I'm off to watch Marilyn Monroe movies and veg. I hope you're having a great Friday and have a lovely weekend!