Monday, January 18, 2010

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

So, it's been a couple of weeks since my last post. At first I was waiting for my second day of classes so I could give you a first impression run down of how those were. Then I was waiting because I had so much make up work. Then I was waiting until I got back for the week from my trip home. Now? I'm writing the post, so all is good!

So, I'll start with my classes.

Systems of Grammar: This is easily the classes I'm the most disappointed in. I mean, while it's fascinating to learn how all of the different dialects of the country have a specific reason for their language being structured the way it is, and while it's interesting to learn how languages--specifically English in this case--change through the years, it's mostly Hippy Dippy Grammar Part II. One of my biggest fears about entering the teaching field as a high school English teacher is that I won't know enough about grammar to be an effective teacher. I'm afraid that I won't remember what participle phrases are, what prepositions are, or how to recognize passive voice. I really wanted Systems of Grammar to be a back to basics teaching of the mechanical workings of English grammar...but it's not. I guess I'll have to go ahead and buy some grammar books to refresh myself on the subject before I graduate.

Classroom Application of Educational Psychology: This class seems to be an exercise in redundancy. It's supposed to point out things that are obvious, but that we just haven't given time to think about them. To me, though, it seems like a waste of a class. I realize that kids from strict, authoritarian families are going to be more likely to be passive and prefer structure and being told what to do, while kids from neglectful families or families who make the rules together are going to want fewer rules and less structure from the teacher. I realize that I, as a teacher, have to be sensitive to each student's need as an individual. So...this class makes me sleepy.

Adolescent Development: Is taught by the same teacher as the previously mentioned class, so it's just as boring, and, for now at least, is covering the same material as the other class. I know that the other class is reviewing this a little before moving on to other stuff, but both seem to be a bit redundant. Nevertheless, they're required for my major, so take them I must.

Adolescent Exceptionalities: This class is much more interesting than the other two classes about adolescence. For one thing, the teacher is much more engaging and entertaining. For another thing, the class doesn't point out the obvious, it's about the out-of-the-norm cases. My only beef with this class is that I have to have 10 hours of observation time with an "exceptional" child, which is going to put me in a bit of a crunch with my other class--"Application of Educational blah blah blah"--because I need an additional 10 hours of observation with a high school teacher in the field I will be teaching, AND two videos of me student teaching a class. In addition to the 10 hours with the exceptional student, I'm also expected to write a 15 page paper about the experience by the end of the year. BLARG!

British Literature since 1800: It goes without saying, I enjoy this class. We're starting with Jane Austen's Emma, which I like so far. I've had this teacher before, so I don't think I'll have much to complain about in this one class.

Besides all of the work I'm expected to do for the classes listed, I also have to make up two final exams, finish my poetry portfolio from last semester, write two final papers (6-8 pages each), and make up all the assignments I'm missing for my Technology class. I have a LOT of work to do. Stupid car crash.

On the good news front, I've had two of the most amazing days with Darling Dearest ever. She's not in rehab yet--she developed a little fluid on the brain, so they did a procedure to drain it. However, she's since recovered and is doing leaps and bounds better. She's regained memories that I didn't think she'd every remember, and her personality is finally almost completely back. For example, she misses me, which is something I haven't heard in a while. She calls me all the time now, and that makes me happier than I ever thought I would be ever again.

I also, in my infinite wisdom, decided to purchase a camcorder. I'm very excited that it will be arriving soon (might already be here...although I may have to wait until Tuesday to get it if the Post Office is closed

So that's the news so far. I plan on spending my Martin Luther King, Jr. Day working on all of my make up work and praying that I can get it out of the way before the work piles on from my other classes. Then, if I make significant enough progress, I'm going to see Darling Dearest in the hospital because I have no classes tomorrow! Whoo hoo with going to see loved ones.

So that's all for now. Remember to leave cookies and milk for Martin Luther King, Jr. so he can leave you presents and freedom under your tree.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Moving Day!

If you're reading this, then it's moving day and I'm on the way back to college. The hilariously sad part of this particular moving day is that, should things work out the way I want them to, I'm moving up to college today, and I'll be moving again at the end of the month to my awesome new Apartment of Awesomesnaps (TM). So, yes it is a bit of a wasted effort, but I also need to have a place to stay for the next two weeks.

I gotta say, it's a bitter sweet feeling going back to college. I do like college, I like living on my own (no offense to my family. They're fantastic and have been amazingly supportive during for the past month, but I do like having my independence back), but I will also miss my family. We've kinda reconnected a bit since my accident. It's the kind of experience that brings any family together.

One of the most surprising (and strangest sounding surprises) is that I really like my brother. I mean, I've always loved him, and I've always been there for him, and he for me as well, but I caught just a glimpse of the man that he's turning into, and I'm very pleased. I think he'll do great in this world. He graduates this may, can you believe it? Well...I mean, I'm sure you can. You don't really know him at all. But trust me, if you knew him, and you were his brother, you would not be able to believe how fast he's grown and you'd probably be astounded that he's going off to college in the coming August as well. I'm very proud of him.

The other bitter taste to the sweetness of independence is independence without Darling Dearest. She's not going to be there, and even though I've gone to college for several years without her, I can't imagine how I did it, and I definitely can't imagine how I can go back. The one cooling salve to that sting is that she will only be an hour from me because she got accepted to a very exclusive rehab program and will be soon getting training in all of her physical and mental skills. It's a 2 week program that is pretty hardcore, and then she'll be sent for a more prolonged stay at another rehab institution. But the fact that in just a little over a month, she's already come back this far is astounding and I'm impressed more everyday by how amazing she is. [/awestruck]

Anyway, so as I was saying, I'm moving today. And then moving again at the end of the month, but to my Apartment of Awesomesnaps (which will eventually get a much cooler name).

On resolutions news, I'm doing okay.

Health wise, I almost don't even need my cane anymore. I darted across the room the other day without it to clean up a spill in the living room. It was a little uncomfortable afterward, but it means I'm aaaalmost ready to be totally caneless.

Reading wise, I have started on the Twilight saga, which is much, much better than I first gave it credit for. Of course, the movies are vile pieces of garbage that should never see the light of day, but the books are pretty good. It is kinda creepy that Edward is so very old compared to Bella...who is but 17 (*coughpedophilecough*), but I guess love comes in all forms. And I am...shamefully...Team Edward. There I said it. I have finished Twilight and New Moon, and since I do not have Eclipse or Breaking Dawn (or as my brother so elegantly retitled it, Breaking Wind), I have moved on to Stardust by Neil Gaiman.

I didn't think I'd like it as much as I liked American Gods--and I really liked American Gods--I'm not hooked into Stardust as well, and look forward to finding out more about Tristan Thorn and his adventures in Faerie. So, two so far with number three closing in fast. After Stardust, I will move onto a non-fiction book called Children of Jihad in my ongoing efforts to read outside of my norm (fiction), and in my ongoing efforts to keep myself informed.

Writing wise, I've been doing okay. Just working on notes, and came up with an idea that should have been obvious from the get-go, but was not so obvious for some reason (I don't understand my thinkings!!). I have trouble nailing this one down, and just thought of more things this evening that I missed in my earlier drafts of my outlines. Don't want to talk about it too much. I always wind up not finishing them.

Homework wise, there is nothing to report. I have not been back to school yet.

So, anyway, that's how my Sunday is going to be going--moving, unpacking, tidying up, etc. How has your weekend been?

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Frigid, Soggy Friday

So, how about this weather, eh? Well, those of us in the south, anyway, are experiencing the craziest winter in a while. It's currently 12 degrees Fahrenheit (I can never get that on the first try...yet another reason why we should switch to Celsius!) outside. It's been a long time since it's been this cold, and the wind chill factor is making it as low as -5 degrees outside. Now, I find this a tad bit unfair. All these years, when I was in school and praying to any deity in control of the weather that would listen, it would never snow. Or it would snow a smattering--enough to make the roofs and the grass white, but never touch to roads. This year, when I DO NOT want it to snow because my fiance is in the hospital in a town several miles on a curvy, woodsy road away, the weather threatens to snow every other frickin' day. This shows a cruel sense of humor on Nature's part. Surely she should realize that I've got important places to be--I already missed my check up on my pelvis thanks to this ridiculous weather.

On the other hand, this weather sort of cheers me up. I worry about global warming, and looking at the thermometer and seeing "12^F" is a nice little assurance that we're not quite as far along to Hell in our hand-basket as I thought.

On another note, I think that our family is cursed. I don't know if our house is on an Indian burial ground, if maybe we hit an old gypsy with our car, or maybe denied some crazy old lady an extension on her house payments, but somehow we have crossed some spirit we should not have crossed.

Just when things start settling down, I learn that my scholarship was revoked because I "didn't complete the number of hours necessary to keep it." Nevermind that I contacted everyone and told everyone important that I was in a wreck, could not return until the next semester, and contacted all of professors thusly. Thankfully, with a little persistence, I managed to get it back.

In addition to that, my brother came home to see water gushing from the house. Since our house hasn't been on anti-depressants in years, he figured it wasn't crying. Nope, turns out a pipe burst in the ceiling in one of our rooms. Hooray flooding! It flooded the kitchen as well as the laundry room. So we'll have to get that fixed tomorrow.

C'mon 2010, you gotta do better than this. Don't you want all of us to talk about how much better you are than that crappy 2009?

On a much brighter note (and the third edit so far) I am pretty much positive that I will transferring dorms. The cool thing is, this is less a dorm and more a private apartment. It has a kitchen, a living room, a bathroom, and a bedroom, and is the bomb-diggity. It'll still have the luxury of a meal plan should I have no food in the house, but also have the advantage of being able to cook super healthy meals for myself whenever I want. I don't have everything squared away yet, but I'm very, very excited.

So how has your week been?

(By the way, how do you like the new template? I think a new year is always a nice time for some redecoration. I also have a new template for the main site as well, although I was looking for one a bit snazzier, but it's hard to find good free website templates. Oh, if only I had a web designer.)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

An Attempted Look into 2010

I was reluctant to write this post. See, last year my life was very clear. I was going to school, trying to get healthy, trying to survive in was sort of high school all over again, but with some adult training thrown in for good measure. Not very much to think about, just doing. My life was already sort of planned for least...for the year...

This year, so much has changed. I'm engaged to be married. I always thought I understood the bond that a husband and a wife share. I romanticized it, and sometimes even envied those with significant others to faun over. It's only now, with Darling Dearest in the hospital, that I realize how much that other person gets under your skin, gets inside of you in every way, and how incomplete you feel without them. She's only in the hospital, but I can't go see her everyday, I can't be there all the time, and I classes start back Monday. And even though I've been doing it for years, I can't imagine going back to school without her. In addition, since so much of me is wrapped up in her, the whole year feels up in the air. How fast she gets better, how fast she recovers, how fast she regains movement and's all up to her.

With that said, when I sat down to make resolutions, I had no idea what I wanted to resolve. With Darling Dearest...nothing feels as bad. My life was almost absolutely perfect. If I gained a little what? She loved me. If I didn't read as much as I wanted what? I spent time I wasn't reading with her. If I didn't do my homework as promptly as I should what? I had more important things to do--like spend my time with her. Now, it's a similar, but starkly different feeling. Now it's almost pathetic. If I gain what? The person I care about is miles away from me. If I don't do my what? I'd rather be with her in the hospital.

I realize this is not the mindset to have. And so, with that, I have decided on my resolutions.

1) Try to eat healthy and get my weight down. It's a problem that runs in my family, and I want to nip it in the bud. I'm trying to create good habits that will carry over into the years when losing weight will be a real problem. Obviously I can't exercise...because I can't do any real lifting or running until my leg heals, but I can control what I eat, portion size, snacks, etc. This will also be good for me, because it will force me to work through my depression in a way other than eating--which is what I notice I do when I get depressed.

2) I'm going to try to do my homework promptly. While this shouldn't be a problem, I get bored with it easily, and I would rather go and do other things. But without Darling Dearest, I don't have to desire to go out much. I figure maybe I can use this to my advantage to get my homework and studies done. The better I do in school, the better chance I have at graduating sooner, and regardless of when Darling Dearest goes back, the better chance I'll have at getting a job and securing my life with Darling Dearest.

3) I going to try to write more. This is a staple resolution. I love to write, and on those days when the writing is fresh and new, I get this thrill that I can't get anywhere else. But eventually, whether because of school or other important things, the writing falls by the wayside, and when I try to go back to it I've lost interest in the project. I have the same problem with a lot of things--homework, working out, writing, reading--I lose interest and lack the drive to get myself motivated to do it when I don't want to. So that's gotta be fixed. As for the specifics of the writing goal, I really don't know what I want to do. I don't know how much I can write a day, because I've never really written everyday despite of my schedule.

4) I'm going to try to read more. I like to read, and I notice that I put it aside because TV is mindless and easy. I don't like that I settle on mindless and easy. I think I'd like to read an hour a day. That should help with multiple things, including the Lit classes I will be taking. Also, it means that can try again to read 50 books this year. 23 is a disgraceful number. Not even half. Ha ha. I would like to do better than that this year.

5) I'm going to try to keep from wallowing in depression. It's easy to slip into that mindset. To start blaming myself for what happened, and to get depressed about how good things were compared to how crappy they are now. I can't do that. I don't want to do that. So I'm going to try to keep my mind off of things and be hopeful and strong. I have to be hopeful and strong, for Darling Dearest, for me, for our future together.

So that's my resolutions. To be healthy, to do my homework, to write, to read, and to be strong. It seems like such an easy to do list written out like that. Here's hoping I'm up to the task.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

One Last Look Back on 2009

I figured before I go on to posting about relevant things that have happened in 2010, I should look back and see how I did this last year, and what I can improve on in the year to come. So let's have a look, first, at my old resolutions:

1) Continue to work on getting healthier -- cutting out junk food, working out, running, drinking mostly water, etc.

*I did pretty good with the first half of the year. The problem was going home. Where I'm away from the school's carefully portioned meals and healthy ingredients. I gained a bit of weight over the summer...and then I met Darling Dearest, who's greatest passion is Taco Bell. And then I had the wreck, which caused a month of inactivity, and going to and from the hospital means a lot of eating out, which means I've gained somewhere between 15 and 30 pounds. Gotta do better in the year to come.*

2) Manage my money better. I was way to loose with it last semester, so my resolution is to budget it out better so that I don't blow through it with thoughts like "'s only $5..."

*This was a complete and utter failure. Just trust me.*

3) Try to get out more and meet more people. This is one that will be really hard, as I'm usually content just hanging in my room when there's nothing going on. The biggest problem will be that I don't know how to meet new people.

*This was actually a major success. I've met tons of people. Switching to a new dorm helped a lot--I met lots of nice people--and I started dating Darling Dearest, who introduced me to all of her friends. So I've met lots of people. Go me.*

4) Try to write more. What I'm thinking about right now is 2000 words a week, and a short story a month.

*Another dramatic failure.*

5) Work on doing my homework early rather than procrastinating.

*Semi-success. I'm gonna say I got a little better, but didn't improve as much as I wanted to.*

Besides that, what else happened? Why, I was taking part in the 50 Books Challenge of 2009. Did I succeed?


I only read 23 books in 2009. That's seven less than in 2008, and three less than in 2007. Not quite half of the books I was supposed to have read. But I did succeed in part of the challenge--to broaden your reading scope. In that regard, I was a success. Just because it might be interesting here's a list of the books I read during 2009.

1. The Smoke Thief - Shana Abe
2. Blaze - Richard Bachman
3. Song of Solomon - Toni Morrison
4. Go Down, Moses - William Faulkner
5. The House of Mirth - Edith Wharton
6. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas - Gertrude Stein
7. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
Hawkspar - Holly Lisle
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe - Douglas Adams
10. American Gods - Neil Gaiman
11. The Golden Compass - Philip Pullman
12. Create a Plot Clinic - Holly Lisle
13. Women and the Family in Chinese History - Patricia Ebrey
14. Precious Records: Women in China's Long Eighteenth Century - Susan Mann
15. Cinderella's Sisters : A Revisionist History of Footbinding - Dorothy Ko
16. Beowulf - Seamus Heaney
17. Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen
18. The Subtle Knife - Philip Pulman
19. An Abundance of Katherines - John Green (which is, ironically, a very fitting number on the list)
20. Create a Character Clinic - Holly Lisle
21. Paper Towns - John Green
22. The Emerald Tablet - P.J. Hoover
23. The Secret Lives of Great Authors - Robert Schnakenberg

So what did I learn from this list? I really like Toni Morrison. I would like to read more books by her. A lot of the books were for classes (like the Chinese history books). Actually, though, they really got me interested in Chinese culture. In addition, I've learned that I really like John Green's books. I haven't, until now, read them, though I've been a fan of his YouTube show for a year or more.

Also, I finally read The Emerald Tablet, which I really enjoyed. It has a Rowling-like prose style, but the world is totally original and interesting.

By far, the most interesting book on the list was Secret Lives of Great Authors by Robert Schnakenberg. I learned lots of very interesting things.

  • Louisa May Alcott was addicted to opium, but it was for medical purposes.
  • Emily Dickenson was so reclusive she had to have doctors examine her from behind closed doors. She also chose to wear nothing but white.
  • Ernest Hemingway spent a lot of time trying to affirm his masculinity because when he was little his parents dressed him up like a girl and called him Ernestine because they wanted a daughter so much.
  • T.S. Elliot loved practical jokes a lot, and idolized Groucho Marx so much he kept a portrait of him up in his house. The two actually had dinner once, and while Groucho expected them to talk about literature, Elliot just gushed about how much he loved his movies, and constantly quoted the comedian.
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald went through several titles for his novel The Great Gatsby. He finally decided on Under the Red, White, and Blue, but it was too late the halt production, and so The Great Gatsby it is.
Interesting stuff, to say the least. There was a ton of stuff about authors from Shakespeare to Ayn Rand to J.D. Salinger. From Lord Byron to Mark Twain.

And last but not least, I have one more thing to post about. To ring in the New Year, I am proud to announce that I have purchased a replacement car (Not without a certain pain in my stomach, though. Too bad we couldn't afford full coverage on the old one.) I am the proud owner of a (slightly used) new 2007 Pontiac G6. Whoo hoo! *confetti flies* *horns blare* *"Auld Lang Syne" starts to play* I really am glad to have a new car. This one apparently has airbags on all sides, which I was quite happy to learn. I don't have a keyless fob though. Too bad, because I want a clicker, ha ha. I'll try to post a picture of it later, but just know I am pleased to be nearly fully mobile again.

I'm still coming up with resolutions, so that'll come later.

So, how did you do with 2009? Did you have any successes? Any...not-so-successes?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

From me at SoaM to you, I hope you have a happy new year. May the coming year bless you with as many blessings as the old one and much more. May you find love, keep love, or help your love burn stronger. May you live in the moment, with many exciting adventures, and may you find that balance between living the exciting, while still finding the time to slow down and enjoy what you have.

Happy New Year.