Broken

I won't lie, this blog post will rant. It might even rave. Let's just say that I have good reason. But, rather than leaving it at that, I'm going to share them with you. Wouldn't be much of a blog post if I just said, "I have issues. That is all." now would it?! Okay, so you may be aware, from my ranting before, or on Facebook, that in the last several months my heater and dishwasher decided to go the way of Old Yeller. Yeah. That sucked, especially since it was pretty cold for a while there, and because I absolutely hate to wash dishes (and my dishes are behind, constantly, because of it). What you may not be aware of is that this breaking down thing is turning into a real comedy of errors... and it's not at all funny!

So a few weeks ago, my toaster and microwave decided to bite the dust. They're both old appliances, and neither of them were expensive, so I wasn't too heartbroken. Well, except that making waffles and Lean Cuisine in the oven is a chore. I mean, when I say they're old, I mean the toaster was a wedding present the first time I got married, in 1998 and it wasn't terribly expensive then. The microwave was Matt's grandfathers. We inherited it, along with a lot of other things, when he passed away in 2002. Matt says he thinks that his grandfather had that microwave for a good decade before that, too, so it was the microwave's time to go.

Was I ticked that everything is breaking? Oh yes, and I'm not terribly tolerant of things like that. But, what I was more upset about is that everything is breaking at the same damn time!! That's the really annoying part. I mean, the heater, dishwasher, toaster, and microwave all around the same time. That really breaks my heart because it feels like we can't seem to get a break... ugh, no pun intended, of course!  That stuff won't be cheap to replace, and because of that we're not fixing the heater or the dishwasher right now. I cannot, however, live without a microwave or toaster. Oh, but wait, there's more and this is the last straw, the one that made me go off the deep end.

The coffee pot broke. Yeah, this week, after all of that, when coffee could help us cope, the coffee pot decided to die. This is the second one we've had in as many months, so having to replace it again is not a good thing. This was the last thing we needed, and had it broken at any other time, I don't think I'd have been upset about it. Breaking at the same time as every-damn-thing-else in my house is what gets me!  And you know, I don't even drink that much coffee. Matt, however, drinks about two pots a day (and he's actually cut back, would you believe it?!) and dealing with his tantrum when the coffee pot went to the other side wasn't fun!  The man literally had a tantrum and was going to make coffee on the stove, in a pot. That's desperation! I had to remind him that we have a french press. The dork.

Still, I think half of his tantrum had to do with the fact that he's as pissed about everything breaking as I am. A friend said, "Well, look on the bright side, now everything will be new" but I don't care about new, I just want my stuff to stop breaking! So today, after work, I get to go to Wal-Mart before Matt goes to work and replace some of that stuff. Just what I want after a long day, to go to Wal-Mart and spend money on things I don't really want to buy, but need nonetheless. Great. I just keep wondering, what next?!

What... next?! I'm almost afraid to find out. :(

Another New Blog

Yes, yes, I know... why do I need another new blog?  The answer is, I'm obsessed with blogging. I absolutely love it. So, I started another one and hopefully it won't be as labor intensive as book blogging was (and I still plan to go back to book blogging when I'm out of school), but rather will be much more whimsical fun. That's what I need in my life, whimsical fun. Yes, I'm being serious. So here it is: Oh So Very Vintage.


'Oh So Very Vintage' is a blog about my love of all things vintage, retro, and classic. This particular passion has been becoming more and more a part of my life as I get older, so I thought I might start a place to share this love with others. If you happen to be so inclined, stop by. If not, I completely understand. It was definitely not Matt's thing. He looked at it for a second, told me it wasn't too yellow (I asked) and then clicked away. He said, "Yellow is a vintage color." He's right, which is why I chose that color scheme in the first place!

I spent about four hours last night setting it up. Though I prefer to self host for most things, I love how user friendly blogger has become as far as blog design. The only thing I really hate about blogger is the photo editing capabilities, or lack there of. You can't even line two pictures up next to one another, which irks me to no end. But, I think I'll manage.  Anyway, there's not much there yet, but hopefully there will be.

Have a lovely Monday and be sure to read my Going to California post below, if you happen to, oh I don't know, live in California or are interested in what I'm going to be up to. Now, I'm off to work. Adieu!

Going to California

 

I just love this image! It so reminds me of home and I used it last time I writing about going to California for a visit, so I thought now would be a good time to revisit it. You see, my mom told me yesterday that my Aunt Sue will be leaving for a business trip to California on March 10th, which would have been ideal since that's my spring break week. I got my hopes up, because I'd ridden to California with Aunt Sue during spring break week a few years ago and it was a lot of fun. Sadly, when I contacted her about it she said that if I could get to Roswell, NM I could ride with her. She wouldn't be leaving from Texas,  since she and my Uncle are moving to Roswell. That's definitely a no-go because Roswell's about 7 1/2 hours from here. A 15 hour round-trip drive is absolutely out of the question since Matt just started a new job where he works 12 hour shifts.

I did look for alternate ways to get to Roswell, including renting a car here and dropping it off there, and taking a bus. The car thing wouldn't work for two reasons (a) I'd have to pick it up at an airport and drop it off at an airport, and (b) because I can't afford $100 a day plus gas. So, the car was out. A bus is out because (a) bus tickets would have cost as much as renting a car, and (b) because taking a bus alone is not safe!! So lets just say I had a really depressed morning, trying to figure all of this out and realizing it just wasn't going to come together.

Then I had another idea. If I couldn't go to California in March, I'd go in May, after the semester's over, instead. So, once I had talked to Matt about it, who was more than happy to support my trip, I called my mom and told her the plan. She was pretty bummed that I wouldn't be going in March, but says they're looking forward to seeing me in May. All that said, the plan is this: I leave for California on May 9th and will return on May 22nd, via Amtrak. The trip is about 38 hours each way, so I'll get there early on May 11th and leave on May 20th. Matt was a little bummed that I'd be gone so long, but he's willing to cope, it's not even two weeks in all.

Talking this over with everyone, it seems they all wish I would fly, which would cost only a little bit more than Amtrak as long as I order the tickets soon, but I nixed that plan right of because I am petrified to fly. Particularly so to fly alone, especially after what happened last time I flew anywhere. Besides, I've taken Amtrak along before and it was fine, so I'm not really worried. I much prefer the train to the plane, even if the plane is about 34 hours faster. The best part, as long as I get tickets soon, it's only going to cost me about $285 round-trip! I'll be leaving from the Temple train station (want to have lunch that day, Phoena?!) about 4:45 p.m., and will arrive at Palm Springs in California at about 4:50 a.m. two days later.

What's cool about this is that my folks are going to make reservations at the WorldMark resort in Indio for the night before I arrive. Then, after I arrive we'll stay overnight in Indio before heading back to Hesperia. So, I'll get to see one of these awesome resorts they're always staying at and since Indio is hotter than Hades, I'll be able to swim (and finally use my new bathing suit!!), which I'm sure will be fantastic after spending two days on a train.

Also, I'll be in California for Mother's Day. Since I haven't been able to spend Mother's Day with my mom for the last 12 years, that will be really nice for both of us. I'm also hoping to get together with friends while I'm out there (*cough*Jodi & Shannon*cough*). My only regret is that Matt won't be able to come both because of work and because someone has to stay home with our bratty babies. They can't be left alone that long and if we go for Christmas, which I'd really like to do, we're going to have to kennel them, which I worry about and is expensive. But, that's another post for another time. For now, I'm just trying to focus on going out in May, we'll take Christmas as it comes.

So that's the plan! Phoena, Jodi, and Shannon, let me know if you want to get together--Phoena in Temple, Jodi & Shannon in Cali. If so, we'll make plans. I'm so thrilled, I can't wait for May to get here!

Dilly Dally...Dillidally...



Meet Dillidally, my new World of Warcraft character. Yes, I her name is intentional (and Dillydally was taken). I was playing WoW yesterday, relaxing, when I suddenly realized that if I was going to use Warcraft to procrastinate, I might as well own it. Also, I was overcome with the desire to play a Goblin, so I combined the two things and Dilli was born.

Originally, I was going to name her Procrastinator, or Procrastination, but I decided that was a bit too on the nose. So, her name is Dillidally because it says the same thing, without such an obvious nod to my shameful behavior.

What's good, I suppose, is that last night I had a spark of inspiration about Chapter Three, so I won't be dilly dallying around quite as much as I would otherwise have done. This is a good thing, even if I would just rather play WoW sometimes. I'll get thing done... it may just require a little bit of dilly dally along the way.

A Whole New Chewbi!!

This is Chewbi, perhaps you remember his furry little face...


Well, let me tell you, the older he got, the furrier he got. It was absolutely out of control. If the little guy would have held still long enough, I'd have snapped a picture or two. You couldn't even see his pretty brown eyes!

So, yesterday, we took him to Chris at  Bre's Barkery: Wash and Wag (a local grooming shop). Don't you just love that name? Bre's Barkery: Wash and Wag! When he came out he looked like this...


How cute right?! I couldn't believe what a good job Chris did. Of course, I knew Chris was an amazing groomer, he's been grooming Anakin for 6 1/2 years, but my goodness he did a good job! And you know, Chewbi is such a drama queen, I was so worried that he was going to act like a brat. Turns out, Chris is the puppy whisperer or something because Chewbi was good as gold for him.
And check out that bow! How cute is that?! I love that it's not pink, but is black zebra stripped since Chewbi's a little boy. It's still very Shih-Tzu, but it's not emasculating, if that makes any sense at all. Can a dog be emasculated? Hmm, anyway, he looks so cute we can't stop cuddling him, so I thought I'd share.

I hope you're having an awesome Friday!

They Just Don't Care

I'm going to rant, and yes, it's password protected because I have a job I want to keep. I feel like this sort of rant belongs behind closed doors because it's not really appropriate to publicly discuss school and student issues. Password protected is not public, so it works for me. Besides, I need to get this out of my head and this is my blog. I can use it however I like. So, I'm going to hash out some of the problems I have with my students here, behind the veil of password protection, and hope that's good enough.

So, my students' first paper was due at 6:00 p.m. on Monday. I had them turn it in electronically, which is something new for many them. I get that, but the students who had me last semester should know how it goes. Sadly, I had a lot of students--mostly those who had me last semester--turn their papers in late. This is a huge issue because one of the learning outcomes for this course, based upon state criteria, is that students should be learning personal responsibility. For me, turning in assignments on time, or facing the consequences for not doing so, is all about personal responsibility. It's also a problem because I told them that if they didn't get their papers in on time, I wouldn't accept them and that they'd make an F.

Sadly, I feel like they're pushing me. I think some of them know that when push comes to shove, I tend to be too nice. And, I am. This time, I accepted their slightly late papers (an hour or two) and told them that next time the deadline was firm. I told them that next time the paper would receive a half a letter grade deduction if it came in on the day it was due, but after the deadline. I hope this inspires them to do what they should be doing, but something makes me doubt it.

Then, today when I mentioned it to them, they collectively informed me that paper #1 was too hard. They said they didn't understand it, or what they were supposed to be doing, but when I asked them what they didn't understand about it, they had no answer. None at all, except to say that "my sister helped me with this and she didn't understand the assignment either!"  Two problems: They shouldn't be getting help from anyone but me or the writing center, and their sisters (etc.) are not in the classroom to hear the explanation.

What makes this worse is that they waited until today to tell me they didn't understand it. They had 5 weeks to tell me if they didn't get it, I asked them repeatedly if they had questions and if they understood the assignment and they always said they had no questions and that they understood it. Now, I have to grade 50 poorly written assignments because they thought it was hard and "didn't know what they were supposed to do." To me, that's BS. They did know what they were supposed to be doing and this assignment was not  hard.

I mean, how hard is this: "Write a paper that overviews your sources by comparing or contrasting the ideas in the articles."  This is not a hard assignment. I assigned them two articles, and I went over them point by point. Then, I told them they had to go out and get two other essays that have the same subject matter as the first two essays we read in class--paranormal and the media. Then, all they had to do was overview the points in their sources by either comparing or contrasting them. This is not hard!

So today, I went over the assignment sheet for assignment #2--which is when they expressed confusion about assignment #1.  I asked them if they understood what they are supposed to be doing and if they had an questions. The assignment is to chose an article from the book (any article), decide whether what the author is saying is true, untrue, or somewhere in between, and then find three sources that support their argument. Another very easy assignment. They all nodded and told me they understood, but one girl I had last semester came off with, "yeah, we get it... for now."  Oh, so they get it as long as it's convenient. They understand now, but later when they're pressing a deadline they're going to be all, "we didn't get it!"

It really is days like this that I hate this job. It's days like this that I wish I was doing anything else. It's days like this that I think--and hope--that I'll never teach again. Today's college students are so irresponsible. They're so entitled. They're so underwhelming. They don't care about learning, they just care about getting by and getting the paper so they can get a better job. They don't give a crap what the learning outcomes are, or what they're supposed to be getting from this, and they don't care whether they make an A or a C as long as they get through it.  Most of all, they don't seem to have any respect for their instructors and professors. They want us to baby them through the process and heaven forbid they should have one somewhat difficult assignment. It's ridiculous. No one babied me this much and I made it through with good grades (for the most part) and a really good education.

What's sad is looking out at my students and realizing that half of them will drop out at some point. Half of them won't finish. They won't be able to hack harder assignments, they won't be able to hack not being babied. Don't they realize the real world isn't like this? No one is going to hold their hands and make sure they go to work every day, or pay their bills on time, or know how to write a memo for their office.

Frustrating doesn't even begin to cover it. I am exhausted with their inability to summon up feeling for school. I'm not their mother. I'm not their babysitter. I have a job to do and I can do it whether they care or not, but I would prefer that they did. It would make everything so much easier for all of us.

Imagine If...



I saw this on the web recently and it really stuck with me. The whole comic is really quite poignant, but I loved this one. How many times have these words crossed your lips? Or your mind?  Even if you aren't a believer, the point is still relevant because this issue can also relate to Karma and the power of positive, and negative, thought. Think about it.

Passing Judgment

There is something I want to share with you, because I feel like sharing will make it more possible. I decided this year that I would dedicate myself to improving my inner peace. I feel like it's important to work not only on my physical health, but on my psychological health as well. It really hit me when my doctor said that the purpose of taking medications like Fluoxetine (Prozac) is to cope while working on getting into remission whatever the situation that requires me to take the medication in the first place. I'm a highly stressed, highly stressing person. I worry about everything, I judge things I have no business judging, and I feel like, generally, I could be doing something to quite all of the racket in my brain and smooth out some of the wrinkles in my character.

So, to do that I've decided that I need to be less judgmental. It's a good place to start and I believe it would go a long way toward shushing up all the negative thoughts I seem to be having. I can't do anything about the stress right now, my job and school are compounding factors, so instead I'm working toward a problem I thought I'd kicked a long time ago. It's funny, too, because the reason I chose this particular place to begin is Matt. Or rather, a conversation I had with Matt. I was telling him that when I was in high school, me and some of my girlfriends (*cough*Mindy*cough*) would sit and poke fun at passers by, usually other students. I told him, "I used to really be very judgmental, but I feel like it's a bad trait that I've overcome." His response, "You haven't, you're still judgmental."

I love that I have such an honest spouse, but I was also quite taken aback by his assertion that I'm judgmental. When I asked him how and when, he gave me a whole list of things I do that are judgmental. I'll not recount them for you, let me just say that I was absolutely floored, both because I did do those things, and because I didn't even realize it at the time. So, in an effort to improve my attitude, I'm taking active steps to be less judgmental about the things I don't know anything about, or that are none of my business.

What's sad is, I consider myself a generally good and very open minded person--I believe everyone is entitled to be who they are, believe what they believe, and love whomever they chose. So you can imagine how hard it is for me to think that I've not grown past this particular issue. And honestly, while I'm no where near as judgmental as I once was, the fact that I still am at all is disconcerting. It's hard to look your flaws in the face and really, truly try to do something to change them. So, despite my overwhelming sense of sadness at the realization that I have this problem, I'm trying to do something about it. Along those lines, I have, however, run into some flaws in considering what does, and does not, constitute judgmental. I mean, it's okay to have an opinion, right? Yes, but when does an opinion become judgment? That's where I'm facing the real issue.

On that, Matt and I have decided that in order for an opinion to be judgmental it must be either intended negatively, or from a place of personal insecurity. In other words, if you're judging something or someone because you feel threatened, or are insecure, and are doing so with little or no information, it's judgmental. If, however, I say that "Kelly Clarkson looks better without bangs" (something I said before the Superbowl this year and that I stand by) then I'm just making a statement of preference, an opinion, and it isn't judgmental. Yet it's amazing how many times you'll find yourself saying, "I don't like this about her" or "I don't like that about him" and even if you don't mean it with malice, it's probably still wrong to pass judgment on others, particularly if they're strangers.

So there you have it, and now that I've shared this particular issue, even though I'm embarrassed to admit that I have it at all, I'm feeling much more positive about my chances to make this positive change in my life.

Happy 200th Birthday, Charles Dickens

Today is Charles Dickens' birthday, he would have been 200 years old today! In celebration of Dickens' birthday, Google posted this awesome logo. This is my absolute favorite Google logo, ever.



Dickens is unique because I think everyone has a favorite Dickens work, even if they've never read a single word he wrote. Every single person who has ever enjoyed A Christmas Carol as enjoyed Dickens' work. For me, my absolute favorite Dickens novel is Great Expectations,but A Tale of Two Cities is near the top of my reading list.  So tell me, what's your favorite Dickens work?

Happy Birthday, Mr. Dickens. The world wouldn't be, or have been, the same without you!!

Plus-Size Activewear... Ha!

Okay, hold on, I'm about to rant a little bit. I had another topic in mind, but this one cropped up today, so the other topic will have to wait until tomorrow.  Anyway, while at Wal-Mart with Matt this evening, getting a cold pack and some aspirin, I decided to get some exercise pants. Since I signed up for the gym, I've come to realize that I really have nothing to wear to the gym. I have a few pairs of polyester exercise/lounge type pants, but they're very unflattering, so I don't like to wear them. I have been, for lack of anything better, but that doesn't mean I like them. Come to think of it, I also needed socks, but I forgot until just right now, which is Matt's fault because he was complaining about his sprained knee and wanted to go.

So, I walked around the clothing section for a while, looking at what they had, and you know, all of the workout clothes were tiny sizes. Do clothing manufacturers think larger girls don't workout? Do they think we don't want to be comfortable? It's really disgruntling and, honestly, I was really unhappy. It took me twenty minutes, but I eventually found one rack with plus size exercise pants. One-freaking-rack, in the midst of all of those racks of tiny little sizes 0-8 pants and absolutely no shirts!! Seriously, pissed doesn't even begin to cover it. I was so ticked.

Eventually, I did end up buying one pair of Danskin exercise pants, they're gray with two pink stripes down the outside seam. They also had blue with teal stripes and black with white stripes, so I'll probably go back and get a few more pairs because they're really comfy and look good on me. That doesn't change the fact that I'm incredibly disappointed with most clothing companies, Danskin included, but more-so companies like Just My Size who're supposed to make cute plus-size clothes. I mean, JMS manages to make sweat pants, which aren't flattering on anyone, big or small, but where're the flattering workout clothes?

What really gets me about it is that everyone preaches to larger people about how we're a burden on the system and we're unhealthy, blah, blah, blah... but when we try to do something about it we can't find even the simplest necessities. You know, like workout clothes! Try finding yoga pants in plus sizes, just try, what you'll find is pants that cost $75-$100 or more, for one freaking pair of pants, and only online. It's ridiculous. How are we supposed to get healthy when support products are only available for smaller people?!

Ultimately, I was able to find them, but what if I'd been a size or two larger? I wouldn't have been able to buy them. I guess companies that make exercise clothes, like Danskin, just assume that all plus-size people are lazy and want to be eternally unhealthy. It's shameful that no one thinks about making really good clothes, of any sort, for plus-size girls, particularly when such a larger part of the public is size 14+. Seriously, shame on them!

Feeling "Meh"...

It's Superbowl Sunday and though I'm generally ecstatic about the event, this year I'm feeling pretty "meh" about it--I don't really like either team. I'm  thinking, though, that my "meh" is about more than the mediocrity of the football game. I have a really long week ahead of me, which always bums me out a little bit, not that I'm lazy or don't like to work; rather, I like to look at the week ahead and see my workload, and more importantly the few moments when I might have time to breathe and catch-up with myself.  This coming week's not one of those. Let's see, I'm also not losing weight like I think I should be, and honestly, I'm a little bit bummed that e-checks take so long to transfer and I still haven't gotten my premium theme files (hence the continuing red headers and hyperlinks).

So, I spent the whole morning preparing for Monday's classes so I can watch the Superbowl this afternoon. I'm going to be lecturing about avoiding plagiarism, incorporating in-text MLA citations, and how to make a MLA Works Cited page. This is actually pretty tough material for beginners, so I tried to make my slides as clear as possible. Hopefully, they'll catch on if I'm really careful about making my explanation both slow and thorough. Then, after working from 9-3pm, I have a meeting from 3-4pm. Then, I have to go home and make sure Matt has dinner, so I can get to Melanie's by 5 or 5:30 for thesis writing group. Tomorrow's going to be busy, busy, and I never look forward to overly long days. I'm thinking I might try to make it to the gym sometime in there, too, maybe when I get off work at 4pm, we'll see.

Tuesday Chewbi has to go to the vet for his next round of puppy shots. He's a sweet (and naughty) little guy, and he never minds going to the vet, but he also doesn't always mind at the vet. We had to take him for a check-up last week because he was crying and I thought he might have a blockage. Turns out he was just being dramatic about having a crusty behind... which he wouldn't have if he let me clean him up instead of screaming his puppy head off. So, my day off will be filled with vet visit fun and I'll probably also try to get my thesis worked on.

Wednesday and Friday I work, and Thursday I have an internship meeting, so it's looking like I won't have a moment to breathe until Friday afternoon, when I get off at 2pm. Next weekend cannot come quick enough--I love that next week is our Anniversary!! Oh, and I'll likely get some thesis Chapter Two corrections back from my committee members this week, too, which is always nerve wracking. No time to breathe during the coming week.

Regarding my complaints about weight loss, all I can say is that nothing's happening. I've not lost a single pound in the last nearly two weeks. It's frustrating! I'm doing weight watchers (not as diligently as I should), going to the gym (not as often as I should), and generally getting more activity and better food into my life. You'd think that if I lost weight doing nothing but laying off sweets, when I actually try to lose weight something would happen. But, I'm thinking that since I've lost 25 lbs over the last few months, I might be on a plateau, so I'm going to redouble my efforts, try and stick more diligently to my WW plan (after Superbowl Sunday, of course), and get more exercise than I have been. Maybe if I keep on keeping on, something will start to happen for me again.

So, with any luck, I'll be able to get through the week, kick my "meh-itude" and start losing weight again. Because you know, as hard as it is to change my habits and to face a really full week, it's made easier by wearing smaller jeans! ~.^

(Sort of) Under Construction...

As you can probably see, I've made yet another change to my theme. It's been a while since I changed it last (well, okay, not that long) but I wasn't 100% happy with the other theme. I liked it alot, but the colors started to make me twitchy. I decided I needed something a) more professional, even though it's not a professional website and b) something more simple and clean. So when I saw this theme (I made the changes to the header and background), and fell in love with it, I knew it was the theme for me. I like it so much, I bought the premium edition... I'm just waiting for them to send it to me (they have to wait until my funds clear), which may be tomorrow or the day after that. So, for now, this site is slightly under construction--as in, I know the link & header colors don't match the header & background colors. I'm working on it. When I get the premium files, I'll make some changes. Here's hoping they come soon!!