Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

For those who celebrate it, and even for those who don't, Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah. For everyone else, happy holidays!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Interesting Article

Now that Devi's asleep for the night (I hope), here's an article I hope people will find helpful.

It's about the service Freecycle where people are encouraged to give things away instead of throwing them in the dumpster. I've been a member of the local chapter here for several years and I've given away my old entertainment center and a bed frame that were in great condition. It's a way to help others (and get help yourself) when you have something someone needs (or when they have what you need) and I think it's a great concept. And for those who are concerned with strangers coming to your home, you can always arrange to meet the person somewhere public to make the exchange so that nutjobs won't come to your house. If it's available in your area, I recommend joining it.

100 Things (I'll Give it a Shot)

I got this from Joy's "Babble On" Blog awhile ago, but I'm just getting around to posting it on my blog (yes, I suck at this whole regularly-posting thing). All the things I've done are in bold because it's easier to do when a 3 1/2 month old is sitting in your lap refusing to sleep, but quietly observing things. Here we go.

1. Started my own blog (This is, technically, my third blog)
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower (still not as neat as seeing the Milky Way in Northern Wisconsin)
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world (and hated it)
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo (but haven't since my girlfriend's wedding a couple of years ago, unless you count online karaoke)
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris (...someday)
13. Watched lightning at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch (knitting, guitar, piano, and I suck at them all)
15. Adopted a child (this one almost happened, and may still happen in the future; closest to this is that my husband and his brother are both adopted)
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train (Hope to someday)
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse (solar and lunar)
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset (both, but the sunsets were coolest when watching the sun sink into the Lake Erie horizon)
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors (Since the only location I have found is of my Irish roots [really!], I plan to visit someday)
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language (Japanese)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke (Some of my girlfriends do so competitively, but the closest I've come to is once at Chaamps and online several times)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant (Someone did this for my husband once, so I hope we can do this someday; the closest I've come to this is having a stranger give me $20 in cab fare to get home from a grocery store in a bad neighborhood)
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance (6th graders + mace + public bus = disaster. Stupid kids).
47. Had my portrait painted (Just had a caricature done because my grandmother gave someone a photo of me to draw from)
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (I'd be happy if I even got to Paris)
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in
55. Been in a movie (I might have been in the background in a film, but I don't remember)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
(Tai Chi)
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen (Had to for graduation, but it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life)
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp (Visited the Holocaust Museum in D.C., but not exactly the same thing)
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy (In my family, that was really hard to do)
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial (It was being restored at the time, but I wrote a song there...I just didn't know I was singing it when I got back on the bus)
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt (badly)
73. Stood in Times Square (Nope, just walked passed it)
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person (Saw it from a plane on the way to California)
80. Published a book (Just a poem, several articles in high school, and an op-ed response in the college paper)
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car (It was practically new at 8,000 miles)
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper (As a Singing Angel, several times)
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House (Well, we didn't go inside, but we visited it twice on the same trip)
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox (At 18!)
89. Saved someone’s life (I did for someone what hadn't been done for me at the time [high school]; talk them out of suicide. My turn came in college)
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous (Performed with Peabo Bryson and several other famous people once as a Singing Angel, performed with Marie Osmond at another Singing Angel concert, met Voltaire (Goth singer) and Peter S. Beagle at Dragon*con 2007)
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one (still not coping with the last one)
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit (It was a fraudulent one against my grandmother, but was dropped based on my witness testimony)
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Ridden an elephant

Friday, December 19, 2008

...Oh yeah, I'm done!

Sorry about the lack of posts! Now that I'm done with classes, Devi takes up a lot of my I need to do a quick update and then try to get her back to sleep.

Anyway, here's how the assignments went down. The first assignment was turned in 5 hours late (as I reported two posts ago) but the professor gave me the grade bonus credit anyway. The second assignment was turned in roughly eight hours late, but there's a good chance it was just turned in really early because the official due date was December 9th at midnight, and I didn't know if that meant it had to be in by the end of Monday or the end of Tuesday, so it was done by 8 a.m. Tuesday morning. My last assignments (the big project, the annotated bibliography and the rest of the weekly summaries) was due by 4 p.m. on the 10th but had the unique problem of everything had to be printed out and put in the professor's mailbox (the other two classes wanted the final projects e-mailed). Since my printer was on the fritz, I had to use my printing credits in the graduate lab (something that I would've used sooner if I had realized that I had 250 printing credits per quarter) to print everything out. I also asked my husband to read over the syllabus assignment to see if it sounded like a class he would be interested in [I had to create a class syllabus for a class I would like to teach in the future, so I designed an undergraduate course that would look at graphic novels...a lot of graphic novels.] and he did. Unfortunately, I had to transfer my work to a flash drive, run to campus like a madwoman to print everything out, and then run up one more floor to drop everything off. And, to top it all off, I was an hour late from the deadline! Everything was deposited at 4:58 p.m. and the professor had already picked up everyone else's envelopes. Fortunately, the head of the department was there when I came in (having to use the passcode to get to love being a graduate student) so that there was proof that I didn't just drop everything off the next day and lie about it.

Anyway, let's get to the good part: my grades. For my first quarter in graduate school, I earned two As and a B+. These would've been grades I would be ecstatic to receive if I hadn't heard from the other graduate students at a get-together that "everyone gets As in Graduate school", making my B+ feel a little inadequate. But you know what? I worked damned hard for my grades, and I had a feeling that the class I got the B+ in was going to turn out that way, but I learned so much that I'm not upset. Hell, I thought I was going to get a B, so this was higher than expected. I do need to find out if the B+ was a result of the final project being poor or a result of my low participation in the class. Either way, this class was taught by a woman who had just finished her post-doc at Columbia after getting her PhD at Harvard (and I'm taking another of her classes next quarter) so I thought she may have something to prove, if nothing else.

Now that I've been though my first quarter, I know what to expect and what is expected of me. And I think I can do this. Now I just need to work on my participation in class, my presentation skills, and try to get invited to at least one conference. I won't say that this will be easy, but at least I'm not going to be 100% completely freaked out next quarter. Maybe it will be down to 80%.

Soon, I will need to post pictures. I've taken a ton and want to post them, but I need to find the time to upload them before I can create the next slideshow. I can't believe she's fifteen weeks old already!

Until then, I'll try to get better at posting. She's simmering down so hopefully she'll crash out for the rest of the night. Later, gators ;-)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

One Class Down, Two to Go

I just finished my first assignment for finals, but I finished it 5 hours too late to get the grade bonus I so desperately needed. But, as it is, I barely know my own name and just want to pass out. I've got a 15-pager, a syllabus and annotated bibliography and one last weekly assignment to do before I'm done with it all.

I then made the mistake of seeing the syllabus for one of my classes for next quarter and have concluded I'm too stupid for grad school.

I'm going to go to bed before I completely lose the ability to...complete a thought.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Won't Be Around Much...

The quarter officially ended for me on Wednesday, so now I am spending the rest of my time getting my assignments done for finals. My first paper is due on the 6th at 11pm if I want the letter grade bonus (and I do want it), my second paper is due on the 9th at midnight, and all of the assignments for my third class are due on the 10th at 4pm (and is the only class where I have to print out everything instead of e-mailing it in). I'm hyper stressed about all of my assignments, so I have to try to maintain a level of focus that has been rather difficult of late. I seem to get easily distracted by practically nothing, but this work has to get done.

I should not be posting between now and the 10th, but to make up for it I made the instructions for seeing the photos from our family photo shoot available in the comments of my last post, so you can check those out there.

I hope to remember to post about the "fun" that was had in the last days of my classes because some interesting things did occur. But if I forget, I forget.

See you around!