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Those who read the SWG newsletter or follow me on Tumblr know that I have officially started my hiatus for my thesis. I won't be on social media and will even *gasp!* be closing out my email while I'm working so that I can avoid the bad habit of popping in every five minutes to see if there is anything new.

I am definitely reachable on email, so if you want to tell me something, please do email me. :)

My most excellent comods will be taking over my responsibilities for the next few months on my various fandom projects. Russa put together the SWG newsletter this month. It was the first time in ten years that I didn't do it! I feel like a new parent leaving a child with a babysitter for the first time with all my little finicky instructions and comments. (I hope I wasn't too annoying!) Even though I know they will do a wonderful job, it's just strange that something that has been a daily part of my life will for over a decade now will get on without me for a few months! I'll still be getting auto-forwards but trying not to answer them! Let's see how I do!

So ... I'll see everyone in March then! <3


Mar. 1st, 2015 08:20 pm
dawn_felagund: Lamppost in the winter snow. (winter lamppost)
It is presently icing/sleeting outside and has been for now going on 12 hours. Schools are already delayed two hours tomorrow morning with "morning reevaluation," which means that they're at least considering closing altogether. I can always use a snow day; I always have stuff to do. I finished the short article based on my Mythmoot presentation and turned it in yesterday; today was the SWG newsletter; tomorrow could be revising and turning in my article on the SWG for the Signum University Eagle. That would put me in a really good place. So ... *crosses fingers*

It's March One, so ... B2MeM! I think probably everyone here who is Tolkienish has heard about it, but if you have not, check it out. It's a great event this year, which I can say without feeling like I'm tooting my own horn since I am not running it this year and had almost nothing to do with planning it: a marketplace format, where participants "sell" and "buy" prompts using imaginary coin. There are many, many excellent prompts. As a mod, I get an email for every comment left on mod posts, and I was reading all of the prompts as they came in but stopped because I was wanting to buy everything that came in.

I went to register for my last class before the thesis (Romantic and Industrial Revolutions) on Friday, and it doesn't start till April, so I have another month off from for-credit coursework. This means that I should be able to get a big jump on my reading. It will probably mean that I dick around with B2MeM, thesis research, and other fannish things instead. I should at least download the syllabus so that I can at least pretend I'm going to do something with it.

Because there's nothing better to do on an "ice day" than play with green, living things, I showed some love to my houseplants today, and Bobby and I started the year's tomato and pepper seeds. My succulents are all throwing off baby plants since I've been doing better with fertilizing them properly; I need to re-pot these and then find new homes for them. Otherwise I'll be like the Duggars of succulents; I already have several baby aloe plants that I was supposed to give away years ago. I just get attached and don't want to give them away.

All in all, this was a pretty dull weekend, but productive. I'd love to extend it to a third day!
The chickens started laying eggs again. Bobby got two eggs yesterday and two today--all greenish-blue from the Ameraucanas--out of the coop. However, since egg-laying is motivated by day-length, not by temperature or any magical!animal!intuition of impending spring, then this doesn't mean that we're due to experience spring-like weather anytime soon. And we haven't. It's barely cracked freezing all week--the warmest day in a week being the day of the effing ice storm--and we're due for more of the same this coming week. We got two more inches (5 cm) of snow today. I think I'm turning into a Northerner; I was all like "Two inches ... yaaaawn." This is what the NOAA weather forecast for Manchester looks like for the coming week:

Image )

This looks like our weather forecast for the past two months. A red "Hazardous Weather Outlook" at the top. Weather icons that look like a kid's arts-and-crafts project that involves making snowflakes out of coffee filters. And temperatures where the highs are our usual lows and lows are just OMGWTFthisisMarylanddammit.

I hate to keep talking about the ice storm, but I'm going to have to because our trees are still covered in freaking ice. Yes, a good bit has either melted or (more likely) fallen off. (Piles of ice pieces from the white pines turned the driveway lovingly cleared by Bobby into a miniature version of the Helcaraxë. I was mostly excited today about the snow today because it would cover up all the shards of ice on the ground.) The branches of the Japanese maple no longer point groundward, true, but the tree is still encased in ice, just somewhat less ice than it was a week ago. The annoying thing is that if we drive even five minutes south, most of the ice is gone. As of yesterday, people were still having their power restored. We went out to a late dinner on Friday and were talking to the restaurant owner, and she told us that she had a man come in earlier in the evening whose house was 35F and who was sleeping in his winter coat. :^|

But spring is coming, right? The long-range forecast apparently shows a rapid warm-up into an early spring by the end of the month. The chickens are laying again, we've started all of our indoor seeds, and we've ordered a package of bees ... spring better be coming.

As perhaps evidenced by the fact that I just spent a whole post talking about the weather, my weekend has been pretty dull. I spent most of the weekend working on my final essay for my Enlightenment class. It has to be 17-20 pages. Between yesterday and today, I wrote 13. Yay me. It's not due for a week, but I am taking the month of March off from grad school and starting back in April, so the sooner I finish, the sooner I can begin my break.

Cold & Ice

Feb. 6th, 2014 09:26 pm
dawn_felagund: The Pillbury Doughboy looking angry as he's poked. (doughboy)
Well, now on top of our winter woes, I have a cold. Bobby has been fighting one off for days, and it was inevitable that I'd catch it, and I did.

It was back to work today; Baltimore County schools opened regular time. (Carroll County schools remained closed since we got hit with the worst of the storm.) The drive to work this morning was quite startling. Branches and trees are down everywhere. The damage is substantial. It looks worse than the tropical storms of the past few years.

Everything here is still coated in ice. Drive even just five minutes south, and most of the trees have thawed, but it doesn't appear to have gotten above freezing here today. We lost another branch in the yard from one of the maples that took down part of the chicken run. Luckily, the damage was not bad, and Bobby was able to repair it this afternoon.

Freyja was due to be spayed today, so we loaded her into her carrier to drive her to the vet's office this morning. Ten minutes on the road and they called to cancel her appointment because the office is still without power. So we turned around and drove her home. She is spared again! She was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but we had to reschedule for today because the after-school program started up Tuesday, and we would have had to pick her up right in the middle of it, which was impossible. Hopefully three is a charm and her next appointment will actually happen.

I am almost ready to start writing my final paper for my current class. I really drag these things out ridiculously. I have one more article to read; I have written a draft thesis statement and a quick outline, so it will just be a matter, this weekend, of writing each section. If I can do two or three sections a day, then most of the paper will be done this weekend. Those who think I work too hard will be proud that I downloaded another book by Rousseau yesterday (my Kindle has 3G--dangerous because I can continue to download books even without Internet or power) that I do not actually intend to read for my paper. I decided against it. I have already read three books by Rousseau in excess of what I was required to read for the class, plus the usual collection of articles and book chapters, so I decided to give this one a pass.

This means that I am actually reading something at the moment that is not school-related! (It is still academic-related, for my "Tree of Tales" paper ... baby steps, people!) The book is called The Song of Middle-earth by David Harvey. I'm actually rather disappointed in it so far. It was written about 30 years ago, so the Silm and UT were available, but the book seems to mostly summarize the texts. How annoying! I would assume that if someone is buying a book about Tolkien, then one has actually read Tolkien. He frequently reaches the point where I think he is going to get into something deep and thought-provoking, and then just kind of peters out. He makes some good points about Tolkien's legendarium not being derivative; he starts to delve into world cosmogony but flakes out with a statement that Ainulindalë shares several themes with other world myths. Aaaaand? (He also falls into the trap that I've found to be rather frequent of stating that a particular archetype is "common" in world creation stories when reading a boatload of world creation stories has convinced me that this is not the case.) He also doesn't seem to be much of a writer, and it is hard sometimes to see how his ideas are connected. (This reminds me of an objective that I frequently include when writing Written Content goals for student IEPs: The student will use transitions to show the connections among ideas within and between paragraphs in a multi-paragraph composition. He could use that objective in his hypothetical IEP.) Since he deals with mythological themes and cosmogony in particular, then it was a book that I pretty much had to read before undertaking the next revision of my paper, and I do hope my opinion of it improves. But so far, I'm not enjoying it much more than if I'd read the other work by Rousseau, and that is saying something.
Today is Imbolc, which is the halfway point between winter solstice and spring equinox. To all who observe Imbolc as part of your spiritual or cultural tradition, I wish you a good day and spring to come!

Today was a rather appropriate Imbolc for us. Today is the warmest it's been in weeks. Read more... )
  • Every now and then, I have one of those social butterfly weekends. This was one of those weekends. Bobby and I met our friends Tristan and Don for Indian food on Friday night. On Saturday, we hosted a Burns supper for six of our friends in the SCA. It was so, so much fun. The food, prepared by Bobby (except vanilla ice cream by moi), was fabulous and plentiful. We had some big eaters at the party and still put away leftovers. There was beer and Scotch. Lots of empty bottles, and four different kinds of Scotch to pass around. (I indulged in my favorite, Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban, and ended up quite happy.)

  • Sunday was less good. Bobby was at Ski Patrol training, taking the sled down a double black diamond run with moguls (apparently the most challenging run to do with the sled on a snowboard) when some ass on skis cut in front of him. To avoid hitting the guy, Bobby put on the brakes hard and ended up wiping out and reinjuring the shoulder he separated last year. So he's back in the sling. It's not as bad as the injury last year, thankfully. Two of the senior patrolers took off after the guy who caused the accident and gave him a piece of their minds at the bottom of the hill.

  • It's been ridiculously cold now for over a week. It is presently 12F/-11C. Yesterday, it got above freezing here for the first time since last week. When I woke up in the morning, it was 33F/1C and actually felt warm outside when I went out to care for the chickens. It was short-lived, though, and by going-home time that afternoon, was back down below freezing again.

  • I am almost done with my current grad school class. The class is on the Enlightenment and is the one where I am the only student in the class. It has been ... okay. It is just not the time period that I am most interested in, and the reading has been lengthy and intense, with a paper due for each work.

    • The Memoirs of Princess Dashkova

    • The Confessions of J.J. Rousseau (this guy is fucking crazy and the book is about as long as Don Quixote*)

    • Pride and Prejudice (this week felt like vacation!!)

    • the major works of Thomas Paine (totaling to DQ length again)

    • The Journals of Lewis and Clark (not the whole thing thank god)

    It has been hard to motivate myself. I have my final paper left and a multimedia presentation of my abstract, and that's it. I finished the Lewis and Clark paper this weekend. I think the final paper is going to be on idealistic depictions of Nature in Rousseau and Paine and how each author uses the concept of the "natural man" in developing his ideas of the ideal government and civilization. Doesn't that sound exciting? The good thing is that I have most of my sources already from the papers I already had to write on these authors.

    *Don Quixote has long been my standard for what counts as a long book, ever since middle-school Spanish class when the length of DQ was the subject of hushed awe by my teacher. I had to read DQ for my last class on the Renaissance so it is on my Kindle now, and it is easy to compare its length to that of other books by the number of little dots below it on the listing.

  • I am taking March off from school. I can do crazy things like that now that I'm no longer on financial aid.

  • The Goldens got into a fight yesterday. I had taken some overcooked, stale wontons out to the chickens. The wind caught them and blew a few of them and a lot of crumbs past the fence and onto the snow. Phil gobbled up the whole wontons right away. I didn't think much of it. Bobby and I were eating breakfast when we heard one of the Goldens start crying outside. We both ran to the door since there is a possum living in the shed, and we were afraid one of them had gotten to it. But no ... Phil had his jaws closed on Alex's head and was pinning him to the ground while Alex screamed. Alex has a small puncture over his right eye. As far as we can tell, they were fighting over the wonton crumbs, as though they don't have ample meat-based food constantly available in the house.

  • And I think that's all.
I just finished my paper and my final discussion post for my Renaissance class! Earlier today, I turned in the annotated bibliography. Yes, for those of you keeping score at home, that is with one week and six days to spare. I will have to participate in this week's discussion, and I still have to revise my paper, but the heavy lifting for that class is finished.
\0/ \0/ \0/

For the Ancient World class, I still have one paper (8-10 pages, comparing ancient Hindu and ancient Greek cosmogonies) and two discussions left to write. I have some sources for the paper already from stuff I've written for other classes or just gathered in my travels because it was interesting. (Creation myths are something I never get tired of, so I keep stuff when I find it.) By the end of the week--the work week--except for ongoing discussions, I could be done that class as well.

I'm beyond relieved. This has been a difficult semester, not only because the workload has been intense but because my brain and body have been rebelling against me at every turn. So this feels like a triumph in excess of the usual Hermione bullshit y'all listen to here about my grades and misery with some of my less gung-ho classmates. (I don't think I've complained about them here once this semester, which is probably the first time and a definite improvement over past semesters. Trust that it hasn't been because they haven't given me anything to complain about!)

As I noted yesterday, I took today off from work to get school stuff done. It rained all day. Starting this afternoon, the weather radio alarm went off several times for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms, but nothing near us, thankfully, aside from a tornado watch for Carroll County. Marylanders LOVE to Talk about the Weather! )
I was so busy this week with graduation that I didn't get to post about last weekend. Friday was Bobby's and my seventeenth anniversary. (We celebrate in years together, not in years married; I was fourteen and he'd just turned fifteen when we started dating!)

Unfortunately, the date of our anniversary, we barely got to spend any time together. We had work during the day, of course, and in the evening, I had my dance show, and he had his Outdoor Emergency Management class for ski patrol. We both got home late and went right to bed. We did get to have a romantic lunch together at Quizno's! When I went out to the car, he'd left a dozen red roses on the seat. Awwww ... :)

Preparing for the dance show started on Thursday. We had our dress rehearsal that night. More and Pictures below the Cut )
This week was midterms. This is good because it means the semester is halfway over and *checks pulse* yep, I am still living. And I am well done over half the work in both of my classes, so the latter half should be significantly less intense than the first half. I have around a 98% in both classes, so I am floating buoyantly with my head and upper chest above the water at this point. I had two midterm essays to write this week for my Renaissance class that were like pulling teeth to write; neither topic was very interesting (I had to choose two of three and the third was even less interesting), and the one book I had to discuss, Gargantua and Pantagruel, however ... intriguing ... and sometimes entertaining it was, was not a book I found easy to write about. I just finished both essays, and they are posted, and I am caught up on other work for the week.

So I am rewarding myself by writing in my journal. \0/

Bobby and I went to Ocean City last weekend so that we could take the Goldens. Dogs are not allowed on the beach or Boardwalk May through September, so it was one of the last weekends we could go. We had a good time. We left Friday after school, sat in horrendous traffic to cross the Bay Bridge, and were in OC by 8 PM. There are very few pet-friendly hotels in OC, but we have stayed at the Barefoot Mailman before and liked it, plus it is rated #7 in all of OC on Trip Advisor, which is saying something! It keeps company with the Hilton and Princess Bayside and other luxury hotels that, in season, cost several hundred dollars a night to say in. It is a humble little motel that doesn't even back up on the ocean, but it is very clean. ("Pet-friendly," unfortunately, tends to equate with "slightly skeevy" in my mind; I had a former coworker who stayed at a pet-friendly hotel once where the chair had fleas!)

The Goldens were good. This was Lance's first trip to the ocean. We took Alex when he was still a baby, before we had Lance, when he was afraid of the ocean and ate sand that he later shat out on the Boardwalk. (I just looked back at those pictures. Alex looks so young! I look so skinny! Bobby looks so beardless!) Alex is still afraid of the ocean, as is Lance, but no sand was consumed or shatted out on this trip, although Alex did poop once on the beach, right on the edge of the ocean, and got washed over by a wave in mid-poop, which he did not like, Bobby said. (This was early morning. I wasn't there.) The weather was decent but not great; the Goldens behaved better than the weather. It was chilly and so windy on Monday, the day we left, that we decided to skip a final walk on the Boardwalk and just go home instead.

More about Our Trip with Pictures below the Cut )
Thursday, I will have been teaching for two years, because I started student teaching on the 31st two years ago. Growing up, a year did not pass without a single snow day. The first day with students for my internship was closed for ice; an auspicious beginning? mrrrrp! Not! More like a jinx! Since then, we haven't had a single snow day. I feel I should apologize to fellow Maryland teacherkind for jinxing one of the best perks of the job. We live in a magical place that generally gets snow every year but not enough to invest in what it takes to send kids to school during our couple-few annual snowfalls. Last year, we didn't even get a single snow delay or early dismissal. Boo!

Things are looking up a little on that front. Last Thursday, we had a two-hour delay. Friday, we had a two-hour early dismissal, both due to inclement weather. This morning, another two-hour delay. Baltimore County, the district our schedule usually follows, was closed for students today, as were most local school districts, so there was a rather puzzling "two-hour delay for nonpublic bus service" this morning, which translated to nonpublics (like us) going in two hours late. Had schools been open for students, we probably would have been closed, as it didn't get above freezing here until late morning. The jinx strikes again!

The delay couldn't have come at a better time. I woke up at about 1 AM last night and didn't fall back to sleep till about 4:30 AM, so the few extra hours were very welcome.

It's third quarter, starting today, believe it or not, so the year is halfway over. In my two years of teaching, this is the best I've done in getting my grades done on time. Yay me. I have a few loose ends to tie up and that's it; they're ready to go in. No crunching them on the day they're due at 4 PM with Bobby tapping his toe in the doorway to the teacher resource room! Grades always seem to come due at the same time as multiple other obligations.

Speaking of Bobby, he took and passed his first assessment for National Ski Patrol this weekend. He went on a "ski along" (he's a snowboarder, but the National Ski Patrol tends not to be very PC in their inclusion of boarders, I guess!) on Saturday and took some skills tests and got invited to the next stage. It will be a pretty intense year if he makes the final cut--they're accepting 12 new candidates this year, and he thinks he has a good shot--but it sounds like a hella cool part-time job once all the training's done.

What else? Life for me is 1) teaching, 2) grad school, 3) fannish projects. The usual line-up. I did actually go out the weekend before last in the evening to see my dance teacher's band perform. I had two Guinnesses, hung out with friends not my husband (although he was there too), and almost felt like a normal young person.

Speaking of grad school, if anyone knows (or is!) a practicing Hindu or Confucian who'd be willing to do an email interview with yours truly, please let me know. I have to interview both for my history of religion class, for my final comparative project. Comment here, PM me, or email me at if you can help me out; it would be very, very, very much appreciated.
Tomorrow is the presidential election. World, breathe a sigh of relief; our years-long election cycle will again grind to a close. Of course, it will start up again soon enough.

I am not so worried about the presidential election tomorrow. Oh, I am fervently in support of Obama, for a variety of reasons that I'm not going to enumerate here. Tomorrow's a big day here on ol' Maryland, though. Tomorrow, we vote on a ballot measure, Question 6, that if passed, will extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. Anyone who's known me for even a little while knows that this is a HUGE issue for me--yes, so huge that I am willing to overuse HTML markup and abuse caps lock to make my point! I don't follow polls because they tend to get me worked up for no good reason (since I can hardly change their outcome by myself), but I asked Bobby what the prognostication was for Question 6, and he said it's very close.

It's personal and emotional to me because my sister is gay. If Question 6 passes, it won't really change her situation, personally, since her wife is not a U.S. citizen and, therefore, they need federal law to change too in order to be able to live here. (I don't even know that they'd make that choice, but it would be nice for them to actually have a choice.) In terms of our family, then, it's more a symbolic victory than anything, but it does have very real positive consequences for other people I care about, including one of my dearest friends and his husband, who have been in a committed relationship for over 25 years and yet still lack even basic rights as a couple.

From a less personal perspective, I have very mixed feelings. Not about my support for the measure but about the fact that I'm even called upon to support it. I find it deeply, deeply disturbing that people are so quick to accept that a majority can vote upon the rights of a minority. We are all minorities in some way. That makes us all vulnerable to the whims and bigotry of the masses. Even if one supports the measure, why would one support such a precedent?

Of course, there's the religious angle. I'm not Christian. Never have been and am going out on a limb to say that I never will be. I resent being governed by another person's religious beliefs. I don't presume that others should be governed by mine. And the same Christians who are out there screeching to "Vote Against 6! Don't Redefine Marriage!" are the same who bleat about being persecuted. I'm trying very hard to remember that these idiots are still people and to not be hateful right now. *trying trying trying ...*

So tomorrow, I'll of course be watching the presidential outcome, but I'll be right and truly nervous about Question 6.

Since this is going on longer than I thought ... more stuff below the cut. )
[personal profile] village_of_geckos and her boyfriend left this morning after visiting since Monday afternoon. What a great time we had! I miss them already! Monday, we basically chilled and went to Arooga's for dinner. Tuesday was our big day: We spent the day in Gettysburg, which is about 45 minutes northwest of us, and had a firepit at night. We went through the museum, hoofed all over the battlefield and town, had dinner and beer at a local microbrewery, and climbed the tower on Culp's Hill. Last night, we had a massive cookout and crab feast with my parents. In between, we managed to solve all of the world's problems and catch up from the past three years since we saw each other last in Ireland.

I just sent off my first unit of lesson plans to my principal, so that's water under the bridge, although I'll still probably be working on materials (especially graphics, since my work laptop doesn't have Photoshop) over the next few days. I'm hoping to get ahead and stay ahead. I'd like to be able to show up at work on Monday and print out the materials for the next two weeks. How awesome that would be.

I've been "writing"--mentally, of course--quite a bit lately. Original and fanfic. I'm not quite to the point of putting anything to paper, although I'm considering just diving into the AMC prequel, t'hell with being prepared. After all, I didn't prepare at all to write AMC; might as well keep with the spirit, eh? I have a couple of chapters on the prequel from years ago. I'm trying to discipline myself into making room for my own time again. What a concept! I've backed off a bit from certain commitments I've taken on in the past few years, given up entirely on some and moved others lower on my list of priorities.

Speaking of AMC, Bobby is reading it. I am still not sure that was a good idea; it is very long, and he's still never made it all the way through The Silmarillion. I've been told it stands on its own quite well; I suppose this will be the test of that. Last I checked, he was at the end of Chapter Four and was--like most people who read AMC--liking Carnistir the best. He told me that he liked it, but he would.

I have registered for my fall grad school classes. I'm starting later this year, which I hope will help and give me a chance to get lesson plans and materials created well in advance of when they're needed. I'm taking two classes: Antiquity and the Middle Ages, and the History of Religion. The first class is an eight-weeker; another good thing, as I'll only have one class for half of the semester and will still earn six credits.

Okay, now for some random pictures, mostly butterflies, a coupla sunflowers, and one random Phil.

Pictures of Stuff )
This morning, I had a course survey for History of Pop Culture in my inbox, so I suspected that meant my grade had been entered. Cue nibbling of nails! I didn't want to check my grade while at school because, if it wasn't what I wanted to see, then I would be crabby all day and not in the right frame of mind to interact productively with my students. So I waited till I got home and ...

I got a 96.67% on my final paper! \0/ \0/ \0/

That makes my final grade a pretty dang respectable 97.3%.

Yes, yes, I know some of you are wondering why I was even nervous. I know I'm smart. I know I'm a good writer and a conscientious (to say the least!) student. (It has taken almost three decades to be comfortable in saying that.) But this paper was really a challenge for me. I'm not a historian. I haven't been this frustrated by an assignment in a long time. It's not the kind of thinking or writing I'm used to doing or even that I particularly like doing. Some of the books I read for the paper were wonderful, but others were fall-asleep-at-my-desk-boring treatises on the economics of agriculture, localism, et cetera. Most were in between. The topic is one that I love--sustainable ag--but the approach was one that I don't. I'm not a city girl, either, for a reason. I had to wrench the paper back time and again to an urban studies focus. It wasn't fun, which is rare for me to say of a writing assignment. I wish I could say that it was.

But I did it and, apparently, did it well. The professor said it was one of the best he'd read. Not bad for a non-city-girl and non-historian! I'm very happy.
The final paper from HELL that is! I finished it late this afternoon. I still have revisions to do, some trimming, tidying of footnotes, all that, but the thing is written at least. This paper has been a nightmare. It is very out of character for me to not enjoy a writing assignment. It wasn't even a lack of interest in the topic--industrialized agriculture and its impact on the U.S. city in the mid-twentieth century to present (eegads)--but was the approach and, yeah okay, the insecurity. 1) This is my first ever history class. 2) This is the only writing assignment in the class so I have zero sense of the professor's expectations, and this paper counts for 30% of my grade. 3) In typical fashion for my university, when I emailed the professor with a question about the paper taken directly from the syllabus, he seemed completely clueless about what the syllabus contained. That always makes me nervous, as I'm one of those people who reads all of the course documents on the first day of class and revisits them pretty much weekly to make sure I'm on target. Syllabi are my security blanket.

Anyway, it's done, and I don't even think it's that bad.

This pretty much commandeered my weekend. It was possibly the most beautiful weekend of the year too. Well, all was not lost. Yesterday was the first day for the Westminster farmers' market; it started early this year, which Bobby found out quite by accident while looking at the Carroll County Times yesterday. We didn't even need much, but it was good to see our farmers' market friends; I sometimes think farmers' market is as much about socialization as food. We were photographed and interviewed by the Carroll County Times, so we may get five minutes of local fame. (This would be Bobby's second time this year, as he was on the front page--the front page!!--of the Carroll County Times when he won the charity snowboard event earlier this year.)

Last night, we saw the first lightning bugs of the season. Bobby saw some earlier in the evening, and we were sitting outside and I whined, "I really want to see a lightning bug tonight!" and flashflashflash--just like that, one blinked along the treeline.

After I finished the paper this afternoon, Bobby, the Goldens, and I took a walk down Charlotte's Quest. I had so much laundry to do today it wasn't even funny; I haven't even touched laundry in weeks. This evening, aside from laundry and cleaning up the kitchen, I realized that I had no actual obligations to fulfill, so I took a bath and read Game of Thrones. Tomorrow it will be back to chipping away at the long-neglected stuff on my to-do list (a calligraphy project, a beta, SWG stuff ... eep!) but tonight? Tonight was blissful nothing.
I have reading to do for school, but Bobby is making breakfast, and it seems silly to start something when I'll have to walk away in a few minutes, right? That's my excuse anyway.

I didn't want to mash this stuff in with my post for Aunt Lil, as this is comparatively frivolous. I beg pardon of my flist for the two posts in close proximity.

This weekend, I spent more time in malls than I think I have spent in the past year. The reason is one I thought I was long-ago rid of: I needed a prom dress! Yes, the handsome self-contained teacher has asked me to prom. ;) Okay ... in reality, Bobby and I are chaperoning, and my 30-year-old self will no longer fit into the gowns I wore when I was in high school.

I don't like malls. I probably spent too much time in them as a kid, going every blessed night with my parents. First we went to Westminister Town Mall and completely struck out; aside from a dozen dresses in Deb, there wasn't a single prom dress in sight. I guess Carroll County girls don't go to proms?

Friday was "Earth Day" at school, which actually translates to staff-clean-the-school-day-while-the-students-are-technically-supposed-to-help-but-mostly-don't. So I was already pooped and didn't feel like a completely futile walk around the mall. Alas.

After Aunt Lil's funeral, we were in White Marsh and so stopped at the much larger White Marsh Mall. Between going for myself and going with Erin, I've probably been dress shopping here a dozen times. Most of the stores have gotten rid of their prom dresses. :^| Macy's had some; they had a pretty white gown with black lace trim, but the only dress in my size, the zipper was so jammed that I couldn't even unzip it enough to get the dress on. The mall was crowded and hot and I was still in my funeral clothes and so extra-uncomfortable as a result.

The mall does have a store that specializes in formal clothes for women, and we finally found something there. (I offered to do this on my own, but Bobby insisted on going with me, brave man that he is.) The dress I ended up getting is very Roman-looking and, of course, red. Yes, I'll post pictures when the time comes. ;)

Bobby and I are auditing an elementary Latin course this summer via the Mythgard Institute. We've both wanted to learn basic Latin for some time now--enough that we can fumble through translations of primary source texts--and this opportunity seemed too perfect to pass up. I'm really excited about it. The only bad thing is that I will have pretty much turned in my paper for this current course and I will be starting the Latin course. This semester's class, the History of Pop Culture, has been somewhat disappointing. Turns out it is an urban studies course, which has proven interesting in some regards but in no way includes anything that I could see myself studying in the future. My paper is on the relationship between agriculture and urbanization in the mid- to late 20th century, which is the most interesting topic I could muster and is probably telling that I ended up finagling a rural studies topic into an urban studies course. But the reason I took the course was to get a stronger understanding of the history of popular media--which I assumed would be a part of any pop culture course--so I could apply it in the context of fan studies. Pfft.

This morning, I was working at my desk and looked over at the wall, and there was a jumping spider there! I like spiders in general but really enjoy jumping spiders; I had one as a companion in my study two years ago. I might never see this one again, but I'm hoping I do. I'm also hoping it eats some of the brown mamorated stinkbugs that perennially invade the house.
Last night, I finished the big research paper on Beowulf that I've been writing for grad school. I finished it two weeks and one day before it was due--woohoo! I worked my butt off over winter break to make that possible, in hopes that I will actually have some spare time during January before my next class starts in February. (That spare time will probably be eaten up by getting ready for Back to Middle-earth Month, but such is life!) And I'm really pleased with the paper too.

Second good thing: the Broncos beat the Steelers tonight! w0000000t! Yes, I know there are nice Steelers' fans out there, but in our area, they're almost universally obnoxious. Case in point: Bobby went snowboarding today, so we went out to the Greene Turtle to grab dinner when he got home and to catch the end of the game. Per usual, there were a handful of Steelers' fans there. Now I'm all for cheering and celebrating when one's team does something nifty, but shrieking at the top of one's lungs at every good play the Steelers make is a bit over-the-top for me. As is making loud statements like, "Suckit, Ravens' fans!" in a restaurant while people are eating. Anyway, Tim Tebow and Demaryius Thomas made short work of overtime after the Steelers tied it up near the end of the game; Tebow threw a gorgeous pass that Thomas ran 80 yards down to end the game. I had just been complaining about the seemingly unnecessarily convoluted new NFL overtime rules (they actually do make sense; I just like complaining about the NFL), but I stopped complaining after that. So I'm a newly minted Tim Tebow fan, but that will be short-lived, I promise. I have no problem with people believing in a personal god (so long as they respect my right not to) but do think people who believe said personal god gives a woof about the outcome of a football game to be rather foolish.

The Ravens play the Texans next Sunday at home. I think things look really good for us. 1) We are more than a season undefeated at home. 2) We are undefeated this season against every team we played with a winning record. 3) We are undefeated in our division, which is the hardest division in the NFL. (Three of four teams in the division made the playoffs.)

Okay, off to watch a documentary about bees--woo! What an exciting life!
This week represents that last major hurdle before I start student teaching in February. I finish my classroom observations this week, and I finish my linguistics courses. Once those are done, I can send off the last of my internship application. And then ... well, there's still work, one graduate class, and the holidays, but the next few weeks seem blissfully devoid of significant obligation.

The holiday weekend went well. I have pictures from Thanksgiving but don't feel like getting up and getting the camera, uploading them, blah blah blah, so that will have to wait. Bobby brought home a cold from his school and was sick for most of the weekend. He passed it on to me on Saturday, but it was thankfully short-lived. We went to see a holiday show up in Lancaster with my parents on Saturday. They have the same luck with couple friends that Bobby and I do; the couple they used to do stuff with ended up getting divorced, so they asked Bobby and me this year instead. Of course, right in the middle of the show was when the worst of the cold descended on me like a ton of bricks. I still had a good time, however. My dad kept saying how weird it was to see me wearing heels. Our one dress-nice excursion last year was snowed out, so it had been over a year since anyone saw me in anything but my dumpy flats and long skirts.

This weekend will be busy as well. On Saturday, we're seeing Scythian down in DC, and on Sunday, we're going to cut down our Christmas tree. At this point, I'm shouldering forward and hoping to reach that point with at least a shred of sanity remaining!
Cut for Said Complaining )

glug glug glug

Nov. 3rd, 2010 05:24 pm
dawn_felagund: Skeleton embracing young girl (Default)
That's the noise I make as I surface briefly from the eternally churning sea of chaos that my life is lately to jot some notes in my journal.

As the previous sentence suggests, things remain pretty crazy here. I have about half of my student-teaching application packet completed, including having gone for fingerprints on Monday and having both the Maryland and FBI background checks started. I'm trying to pack in the last of my classroom observations, which means insanely long workdays writing 8 or 9 articles a day on some days so that I don't have even insanely longer days of five hours in the classroom, followed by 6 articles in the evening. (Today will be an 8-article day! I should be working on #7 now ...)

The administration of the university is not making this any easier. I don't believe that they respond to emails. I sent an email, oh about a week ago, to the person supposedly in charge of background checks. The information in the application packet is vague and unhelpful, so I wanted clarification before I spent money on checks I didn't need. I was told to email this person by the internship director. A week later ... *chirpchirp* Crickets. Speaking of the internship director, I emailed her half of my application packet on Sunday, and it's now going on Thursday (workday-wise), and I still haven't gotten any sort of acknowledgment from her, much less an answer to my question about whether I can use my GRE scores for Praxis 1. This is my second time asking this question with no response. It's becoming very annoying. The SWG--a volunteer-led group devoted to fan fiction and drooling over Elves--should not be better run and managed than a university, but it does frequently seem that way to me. At least it makes me feel about my own organizational/leadership abilities.

It occurs to me that this will all be over someday, and I will read this entry and cackle madly about how crazy my life was. I'm looking forward to that day.

Now onto #7!!
Yesterday, Bobby and I went to the livestock auction in Westminster. It was our third time going: once for chicks, twice for Ameraucanas, and the third time to replace the roosters. Well, we struck out the first two times, but three's a charm, and we came home with five fluffy hens: three Delawares and two New Hampshire Reds. We've already gotten two eggs out of them.

The roosters are gone. Bobby found a guy and his wife with a farm that pretty much collect chickens because they like them. He had an ad up on Craigslist and was happy to take our four fellows off of our hands. We dropped them off on Tuesday. It was a little sad saying goodbye, to the little reds at least. (The Rocks weren't particularly friendly and smelled bad and Dicey Riley clawed up my arm when I was trying to catch him on Saturday.) Sophia fluttered into my arms for one last time, and we walked out to the shed to refill the feeder, and that was it. But they're in a good place now.

As we drove away from the farm, Bobby's iPod shuffled the Dubliner's song "Dicey Riley." Ha!

And School ... )

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