Friday, March 31, 2006

See the Dixie Chicks' new angsty video!

They aren't ready to make nice, and you can see it here first.

Forgive, sounds good
Forget, I’m not sure I could
They say time heals everything
But I’m still waiting

I’m through with doubt
There’s nothing left for me to figure out
I’ve paid a price
And I’ll keep paying

I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should

I know you said
Can’t you just get over it
It turned my whole world around
And I kind of like it

I made my bed and I sleep like a baby
With no regrets and I don’t mind sayin’
It’s a sad sad story when a mother will teach her
Daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger
And how in the world can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they’d write me a letter
Sayin’ that I better shut up and sing
Or my life will be over

I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should

I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should

Forgive, sounds good
Forget, I’m not sure I could
They say time heals everything
But I’m still waiting

Official spring break report for Thursday, March 30

Sleep: 8.5 hours of deep sleep. Decadent….

Weather: Cool and rainy

Fun: Haircut and color—a nice plummy-reddish-darkish color to cover the white!

Chores: More paperwork. Registered for the American Folklore Society meeting next October. Went to the post office to mail a box to Erin and a magazine to Mom.

Food Events: Breakfast at Bertie Lou’s with friend Amanda. I had chicken-fried steak, over-medium eggs, and a biscuit. Oh the guilt, the guilt…. But it is vacation, after all!

Dog: Tremendously improved! Today he wagged his tail (tail-wagging has been MIA since the Vet ordeal), played a little, and acted pretty much like his old self.

Meme from Erin’s Blog:

1. Where were you when the ball dropped for 2006?

2. How did you get the idea for your blog name?
It is my magickal name.

3. What time were you born?
Something like 8:38 am.

4. What song are you playing now, or wish you were playing?
“Watershed,” by the Indigo Girls

5. Has the death of a celebrity ever made you cry?
Not that I can recall.

6. What color underwear are you wearing?

7. Do you want a baby?
A baby what?

8. What did you do this morning?
Read the paper, checked email, petted the recovering poodle.

9. What does your Mom do for a living?
Keeps Joe busy.

10. What ended your last relationship?
Stay tuned.

11. Do/Did you have a date for Valentines Day?
I had in at-home date.

12. What are the last 2 digits of your phone number?

13. What's the last concert you attended?
“Dixie Chicks”

14. Who was with you?

15. What was the last thing you watched on tv?
Last night’s version of “The Next Food Network Star”

16. Who do you dislike at the moment?
Resident Bush and Big Dick Cheney

17. What food do you crave right now?
Key lime Blizzard

18. Did you dream last night?

19. What was the last movie you watched?

20. What is your favorite piece of jewelry?
The “mood ring” my Mom made me.

21. What was the last thing you ate?
For dinner: artichoke, jasmine rice, and chicken meatballs

22. Who is/are your best friend?
I have a handful and wouldn’t want to start rating them.

24. Are you on any meds?
Lisinopril—blood pressure.

25. What side of the bed do you sleep on?

26. What shirt are you wearing?
PSU hoody sweatshirt (green and white)

27. What is your favorite frozen treat?
Fresh peach ice cream in the summer

28. How many piercings do you have?
One in each ear. So that would be two.

29. What's your favorite store?
Either Powells Books or New Renaissance

30. Are you thirsty right now?
Yes—and drinking a Diet Coke.

31. Can you imagine yourself ever getting married?
Again? Probably not. Definietly not while I’m in school, unless it was to someone who was really rich. Otherwise my financial aid would go bye-bye.

32. Who's someone you haven't seen in a while and miss?
Dr. Black. Sappy, but true.

33. What did you do last night?
Worked on my Gargoyles book.

34. Do you care what people think about you?
Yes, at least some of the time. As a teacher and as a student, much of my success has to do with how I interact with people.

35. Have you ever done something to instigate trouble?

36. What song(s) do you think ex's listen to and think of you?
Ralph: Paul McCartney and Wings, Band on the Run.

37. What is your dream job?
To be a college writing teacher and to also be a successful wirter.

38. What is one thing you wish you were better at?
Certain magickal skills—meditation and shielding, for starters.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Official spring break report for Wednesday, March 29

Quote for the day:
Thinking is the hardest work there is. Which is the probable reason why so few engage in it.
--Henry Ford

: 7-ish hours. Heavenly.

Weather: Rainy and cool.

Fun: (1) Watched Rent. (see review, below)

(2) According to Entertainment Weekly, here are the top dramas everyone should be watching each week:
1. 24
2. The Sopranos
3. CSI
4. Battlestar Galactica
5. Lost
6. Everwood (see above)
7. Gilmore Girls
8. Law and Order franchise
9. Veronica Mars
10. The Shield
I am a devoted watcher of 6 & 7, but honestly, I’m so busy with school I just don’t dare get involved in any other shows, despite my family’s efforts to interest me in Lost. I have taken a gander at Battlestar before, and liked what I saw. I've always had a soft spot for good sci fi.

Chores: Paperwork day! Paid bills, got caught up on correspondence, etc. There’s more to finish tomorrow, but it was a worthy start.

Food Events: Fed homemade chicken stock and bits of soft chicken breast to the dog.

The World: Received this email from a fellow Grey School staff member:
Dear Folks,

I caught part of "Real Time with Bill Maher" today and was sufficiently impressed to go back and take notes. This is for the episode originally airing 3/24/06 with guests: Actor Jason Alexander, Author Reza Aslan, Rep. Jack Kingston (Republican-Georgia), and Journalist Michael Ware. It will air again on March 30 at 2 AM (central time) on HBO-west.

What grabbed my attention was one of the "New Rules," specifically: No one is allowed to call something "our greatest problem" unless they're talking about global warming. Maher went on to describe how Bush is not waging a war on "terror" but on TERRA (including the satirical idea that he's really an alien sent to destroy the Earth). Then came the news that climate expert James Hanson delivered a message about global warming, saying that we needed to level off carbon dioxide production within 10 years, or the climate would pass certain "tipping points" -- such as the disintegration of the ice sheets. The White House tried to censor this report. Maher also expressed the opinion that global warming threatens us enough that it should be considered a national security issue -- and that failure to warn the citizens of the danger fits the definition of treason. He concluded by saying that environmentalism should be driven by something the Republicans can understand: utter selfishness.

I was impressed because Maher's summary was the most succinct and effective description of environmentalism that I've heard in years. He makes it real and personal and immediate, not just another cause. I hope this phrasing catches on.

Dog: Recovering. Slept all day, didn’t want to play, didn’t eat much, barked once—very hoarsely.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Special entry.... "Rent" (the film)

We interrupt your regular spring break programming to bring you the following film review.

Erin has been after me to watch Rent. We started it when she was here last week, and I finally finished watching it today.

The verdict? Thumbs-up, with some qualifications.

First, the music was really good, and the performers were excellent, except that I didn't really like the voice of the guitar-playing loft-dweller who pairs up with Rosario Dawson (can't remember his name--I'm bad with names--sue me). His voice seemed a lot more lightweight that the rest of the cast, and it stuck out.

Second—and I said this to Erin last week—when the film was over, I wasn’t really sure what it was about. Today, after it finished, I went back and watched the opening scene—the one on stage—again, and I think I “got” that it was about a year in the life of friends. Okay, I can be good with that. Except that it seemed to be doing so much social commentary—on AIDS, gentrification, the plight of the homeless, gender issues, etc.—that I wasn’t sure it knew what it wanted to be.

Third, I felt as if the story was a little disjointed, as if the story line was there to support the music, rather than the music lending background to the story.

These were minor complaints, though, in terms of enjoying the film. There were some terribly poignant moments, as when the people slowly vanish from the AIDS support group circle, or the moments in Angel’s hospital room. Big sniff. The diner scene was hilarious—‘loved the homage to Pee Wee Herman.

I thought the Taye Diggs—Benny—character was awkward, and seemed completely unnecessary. The whole thing with the gentrification and foreclosure could have been implied without having him even be there. Every time he entered a scene and was given any lines, the action instantly turned clunky. I also had trouble sympathizing with some of the character’s actions. Too much mother in me, perhaps, but when they’re using drugs or wandering around dark streets or the like, I just wanted to slap them upside the head and yell, “C’mon, straighten up!” To be fair, I missed my own Bohemian phase—went right from high school to a nursing career, marriage, children, and a house in a matter of 4 years. Yikes.

I agree with Erin on her choice of husband from the cast. (Good one, Baby!) (And no one puts Baby in the corner!)

I haven’t seen this on stage, but having seen the film, and knowing that it came from a stage production, I’m about a gazillion percent sure that the theater production would beat the film. A production like this just cries out to have an audience around it.

That said, I enjoyed it, shed a tear at the funeral scene (not at the end—with Mimi’s resurrection—which seemed very contrived) and then I went and, for the first time, activated my iTunes Music Store so that I could download “Life Support” and “Seasons of Love.”

Erin, thanks for having me watch! Is that a good enough report?

Official spring break report for Tuesday, March 28:

Quote for the Day:
You don’t know my dog but he’s quite a distinctive individual. He’s brave, relentlessly optimistic, completely present and entirely without artifice. What you see is definitely what you get. He’s also a great listener.
--Mary Rosendale, Everything I Need to Know In Life I Learned From My Dog

Sleep: 7 hours, but ragged. I kept waking up to check on Ernie. (see “Dog,” below.)

Weather: Started sunny, and so warm that the boys next door were working on their cars in their driveway with shirts off. Erin likes it a lot when this happens.

Stupid Stories: A teacher-friend sent me the above math image, along with a quirky one-liner about how ‘no wonder our students' math scores are going down.’ (Sorry, The Jessica)

Fun: Has everyone heard about customizable M&Ms? Now you can order M&Ms in your choice of colors and with your own messages printed on them.

Chores: With Ernie at the vet for the day (see “Dog,” below), I took advantage of the time to start cleaning the family room. Lots to do there, but I made a good dent. It’s now potentially habitable for guests once again. (Hear that, Scott and Rebecca?)

The World: World? What world? Today’s world was condensed down to a cluttered basement and a pathetic dog (see “Dog,” below).

Dog: To the vet for his annual teeth cleaning under anesthesia. When you’re a 12-lb dog going on 18 years old, something like this is a real nail-biter. Thankfully he sailed through, with one exception. Lab tests showed the earliest stages of weakening kidneys, a common finding in old dogs. And let’s face it—Ernie is a really, really old dog.

The easiest treatment is to change the dog food to a lower protein version that doesn’t stress the kidneys so much. That, and he has to have repeat blood work next month. So, cross fingers. The vet (Dr. Stemper) said that this could end up being something very minor, or it could be something that will eventually take him out.

Anyway, I spent the evening being nurse to a very sweet, old doggie who mostly slept but who, when up and “about,” tottered alarmingly and almost fell down the stairs once. I fear he has a very sore throat as well—from being intubated. He tried to bark once and only managed a raw-sounding, airy whoop.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Official spring break report for Monday, March 27

Quote for the day:
Follow your bliss, and the doors of the universe will open wide.
--Joseph Campbell

Sleep: 8 hours!

Weather: Sunny, with wispy clouds.

Amazing news: Got a phone call today from the editor of the Oregon Quarterly magazine, telling me that I'd won the annual essay contest! This was an amazing surprise—I submitted almost three months ago and had pretty much given up hearing anything. The award brings a cash prize, a publication, and a public reading. Very, very exciting! The story is an essay about Celilo Falls (above), something dear to my heart.

Fun: Getting the phone call!

Chores: Went back to the PSU print shop first thing in the morning—it was open this time—and got my course packet turned in. The cover will be “lunar blue” and it will be ready by Monday. Ordered my textbooks for next term; did so via mostly used books and saved lots of cashola.

Food Events: Went by the grocery for apples and skim milk and found out that they’re now making miniature Cadbury crème eggs. You know, with the bunny?

The World: Oral mouth piercings are now being linked to infections and (possibly precancerous) tumors. It’s almost as if the tongue wasn’t meant to be pierced. Ya think?

Dog: Barked at bubble wrap. Charged the TV (Roseanne) once.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Official spring break report for Sunday, March 26:

Quote for the day:
"If a man could pass through Paradise in a dream,
and have a flower presented to him as a pledge
that his soul had really been there,
and if he found that flower in his hand when he awoke,
--Ay! And what then?
--Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Anima Portae

: 8 hours plus, but I’m still tired, and wondering how long it will take into the break before I get caught up.

Weather: Sunny-rainy-mild.

Stupid Stories: None. I had a smart day. (Erin-- shhhh!)

Fun: A good, long, leisurely read of the Sunday New York Times.

Chores: Errands to Petco and Best Buy, dog food and a VGA cable, respectively.

Food Events: Grilled Reubens for dinner. (Waving a belated good-bye to St. Patrick’s day!)

The World: Mt. Hood’s glaciers are melting. But it’s okay, because our President says that there is no global warming.

Dog: Tried out a new sitting position (see photo, above). Results still out.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Official spring break report for Saturday, March 25

Quote for the day:
"You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should."
--Max Ehrmann, Desiderata (excerpt)

Sleep: 7.0 hours. Not bad.

Weather: Rainy and dark. Comforting, in a way.

Stupid Stories: This morning I knocked myself out to finish a 188-page course packet (above) for next term’s WR 121 class. In PSU-ese, a course packet is a compilation of class assignments, readings, etc., that students buy in addition to—or, in my case, instead of—a textbook. The teacher puts the thing together, the print shop copies and binds it, and the students buy it and haul it to class. Anyway, I loaded up my packet-to-be and got into the car and drove to the print shop on PSU campus. And found the print shop closed. Sigh. Never even occuured to me that it wouldn’t be open.

Fun: Driving back from PSU. Also did the “Music Meme” that follows. (Have fun with it!)

Chores: Did laundry, put up the futon and got my sanctum sanctorum back to normal from Erin’s visit, went through piles of paper from last term and put most of it into the recycling bin. Finished and submitted a ‘Cosmology’ book proposal for New Page—have been trying to find time to finish this for three months.

Food Events: Grande nonfat latté at Starbucks, while driving back from PSU.

The World: Found out that a fellow GA—who shall go by the name of ‘Spine’—wrote a letter to the ed in today’s Oregonian, shredding the much-hated David Reinhard. As Spine would say, Ba-DUM!

Dog: Tired, barked at the crows once, when they came for peanuts.


Spring Break Music Meme!

Okay, here’s how this works. You open up iTunes or turn on your iPod and set it on shuffle. Then, you reshuffle it and use whichever song title comes as an answer for each of the following questions. See my answers at the bottom. It was kind of scary, really.


1. How does the world see me?
2. Will I have a happy life?
3. What do my friends really think of me?
4. Do people secretly lust after me?
5. How can I make myself happy?
6. What should I do with my life?
7. Will I ever have children?
8. What is some good advice for me?
9. How will I be remembered?
10. What is my signature dancing song?
11. What do I think my current theme song is?
12. What does everyone else think my current theme song is?
13. What song will play at my funeral?
14. What type of men/women do you like?
15. What is my day going to be like?
16. What is happiness?
17. What's my favorite fetish?
18. What is your love life like?
19. What is sex with you like?
20. What's your life motto?
21. What do your parents think of you?
22. What does your best friend really think of you?
23.What's your favorite hobby?
24. What's the worst thing about you?
25. Describe your mind.
26. How will you die?
27. How does your crush/S.O. feel about you?
28. What is your wedding going to be like?
29. What about your honeymoon?
30. Describe the last day of your life.
31. Why does life suck?
32. Why does life rule?
33. What will you be famous for?


1. How does the world see me?
Happy Ending

2. Will I have a happy life?
Christmas is


3. What do my friends really think of me?
Opening theme, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”

(I like this one!)

4. Do people secretly lust after me?
I Can’t Tell You Why

(this explains a lot)

5. How can I make myself happy?
There’s Your Trouble

6. What should I do with my life?
Take it Easy

(not kidding!)

7. Will I ever have children?
These Days

(Yup, got ‘em.)

8. What is some good advice for me?
I Believe in Love


9. How will I be remembered?
Do What You Have to Do

(If only….)

10. What is my signature dancing song?
Lonely People


11. What do I think my current theme song is?
Tortured, Tangled Hearts


12. What does everyone else think my current theme song is?

(getting seriously freaky….)

13. What song will play at my funeral?
Let it Be Me

(big grin)

14. What type of men/women do you like?
I Believe in You

15. What is my day going to be like?
Wasted Time

(Spring break!)

16. What is happiness?
Kum Ba Yah

(Ah, those Camp Fire camping trips….)

17. What's my favorite fetish?

18. What is your love life like?
When I Grow Too Old to Dream

19. What is sex with you like?
Chopin Prelude #13

(?? Erin, can you explain this?)

20. What's your life motto?

(Me ‘n Joanie)

21. What do your parents think of you?
Learn to Be Still

(waves to Mom)

22. What does your best friend really think of you?
Always a Woman


23.What's your favorite hobby?
Deep Water


24. What's the worst thing about you?
The Water is Wide

(No one can get o’er…..)

25. Describe your mind.

(Okay, I’m seriously getting creped out here.)

26. How will you die?
Gimme Three Steps

(Hmmm.... Will I walk in front of a train? Hike off a cliff?)

27. How does your crush/S.O. feel about you?
Girl from Mars

(This explains a great deal)

28. What is your wedding going to be like?
Bach Toccata and Fugue in D-minor

(This also explains a lot)

29. What about your honeymoon?
Higher Ground

(Hmm…. Well, it was in a high rise on Waikiki beach….)

30. Describe the last day of your life.
I’m Beginning to See the Light

(no, I am not making this up!)

31. Why does life suck?
I’ve Got the World on a String

(a yo-yo, perhaps?)

32. Why does life rule?
Cowboy Take Me Away

(any time!)

33. What will you be famous for?
Pursuit of Happiness

(I truly hope so….)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Official spring break report for Friday, March 24

Quote for the day: The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes. --Marcel Proust

Sleep: 8.5 hours at night, 2.0 hour "nap" (wow!) (This compares favorably with the average 5.0 or so hours I’ve gotten nightly for the last 2 weeks.)

Weather: A neat mixture of rain and thunderclouds and patches of blue sky. Warm enough to wander around wearing a sweater, but no coat.

Fun: Watched some TV while doing absolutely nothing else: “What Not to Underwear.” Fun!

Chores: Trip to Costco for miscellaneous needs—TP, toothpaste, birdseed, etc. And, of course, can’t leave Costco without one of their cheap and fabulous rotisserie chickens.

Food Events:
Lunch with Valerie at Pho Van: charcoal pork and spring roll over vermicelli, Jasmine pearl tea, ginger-infused crème brulee.

Dinner with Bill at McGrath’s: crab won-ton appetizers, salad, mixed grill of halibut and shrimp, baked potato, veggies.

Dog: Pensive, thoughtful.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Spring Break has officially begun!

I’m done! I’m done!

All of my own work has been turned in, and I’ve graded and returned my student's portfolios. All I have to do is enter their grades (this is done electronically). Spring break LIVES! Woo hoo!

I have lots to do this break, mostly of the fun kind. Some of the possibilities include (not in this order):

*Preparation for next term's teaching (I’m teaching WR 121 again)


*Going to at least one film (theater variety)

*Catching up on Grey School work (classes to write, studying to do)

*Working on my Gargoyles book

*Finishing three book proposals for New Page

*Cleaning up the family room—it needs a good post-floor vacuuming. (I’ll probably do this on Tuesday, when Ernie is at the vet having his teeth cleaned)

*Lunch with Amanda

*Lots of reading—for fun, rather than by assignment (imagine that!)

*Walking—every day

*Doing my taxes (ick)

*Catching up on paperwork

*Watching some DVDs here at home


The above may not sound exciting to y’all, but after the hell and chaos of the past weeks, it sounds like heaven to me.

Scattered through this email are a few photos of my WR 121 students, geniuses all. (Truly!)

How are you spending your spring break? Even if you don’t have an official one, it's spring, after all!

Monday, March 20, 2006

A blessed Ostara!

Ostara comes from the goddess Eostre, “Eastern Star.” Eostre was the Saxon goddess of rebirth and fertility. Such female-based terms as estrus (referring to the menstrual cycle) and estrogen are based on Eostre’s name. The name Esther is also derived from Eostre.

Other Names (or Spellings) for Ostara:
Alban Eiler (Welsh)
Esther’s Day
Lady Day
Spring’s height
Spring (or Vernal) Equinox
Easter (the Christianized term)
Ostara occurs on the astronomical Spring Equinox, usually on or around March 21. It is a time when night and day stand in balance.

The traditional symbols of Ostara are related to fertility and birth:

Eggs: In ancient times the return of the birds meant the return of an important food source for the people. The ability to find eggs often meant the difference between health and hunger in the days before the crops were ready. Eggs correspond with fertility, mysticism, and ancient questions.

Rabbits: Central to mythology worldwide, rabbits are often associated with the moon. In traditional Goddess cultures, rabbits were an important totem animal and eating them was widely prohibited. A Scottish superstition held that eating rabbit was tantamount to eating one's grandmother. Rabbits were used as divining creatures by the Greeks, and also referred to by the Iceni Queen Boadicea, who correctly predicted victory from the direction of a darting rabbit. Since the hare can sleep with its eyes open, the Romans equated it with vigilance and believed that rabbits watched over everything--just as the moon appears to. In European folk belief, the phases of the moon could be seen in the eye of rabbits.

In Asian imagery and myth, rabbits and the moon are virtually synonymous. The Japanese see the Rabbit in the Moon. An enduring Japanese symbol is one of a rabbit pounding rice into flour, and the word mochi means both rice flour and full moon.

Moon and rabbit associations carry across the Pacific Ocean to the Americas, where Ixchel, the Mayan Goddess of the moon, midwifery and weaving has a rabbit totem. Mexican panels of 600-900 AD illustrate this moon goddess giving birth to and suckling a rabbit, while another shows the rabbit symbolizing phases of the moon. In North American lore, the rabbit plays the part of the trickster and the embodiment of fertility power. Worldwide, rabbits or hares co-exist with the moon as sacred symbols of vitality, fertility, and the life force. Some cultures associate rabbits with tricksters, shape shifters, and longetivity.

Newborn animals—particularly chicks, bunnies, and ducklings--remind us that we have survived the long dark winter, and that life is beginning anew.

Dairy products—things that are made of milk or milk products—are consistent with the newborn animals and life of spring. Milk corresponds with Goddess energy, mothering instincts, and nurturing behaviors.

Young spring greens, spring flowers, herbs, and flowering bulbs are signs of the Earth’s returning life. Lettuce and young greens correspond with peace and relaxation. Flowers and herbs have unique correspondences—you may want to investigate these further on your own.

Above all, Ostara is a time for rebirth, initiation, and new beginnings. This is a tremendous time to embark upon a new path or set of goals.

Equinox blessings to all!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Finals Week

The above picture is for Erin. She knows why.

I am now officially in Finals week, and I’m not likely to update this blog until Thursday night. Your thoughts, prayers, and useful spells are appreciated.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Summer is coming...

...and it's never too soon to start thinking about wholesome summer swimwear.

Monday, March 13, 2006

What planet are you?

What Planet Are You From?

this quiz was made by The Autist Formerly Known As Tim


Knowing that I am Gaia may help me stay centered right now, and I'll take whatever help I can get, for next week is Finals Week.

My work load for the next 9 days includes:

Finishing a 25+ page case history for my Contemporary Comp Theory class, plus making 15 e-journal entries that I've been procrastinating on.

Finishing a 10+ page critical summary on how I envision Jacques Derrida and deconstruction as a metacommentary on the American Enlightenment,

Finishing revisions of a 2500 word profile piece on a living subject (Jamey Sharp) and a 2000 word profile piece on a dead subject (Samuel Lancaster), along with commenting on 9 2000-word revisions belonging to my classmates.

Finishing a 10-section, probably 50+ page portfolio for my GA class, "Teaching College Composition."

For the WR 121 class that I'm teaching, responding to 20 5-page essays featuring the Toulmin model of argument, and then issuing final grades for a stack of 20 final portfolios, each probably 40+ pages.

This is in addition to my usual classes and to several hours in the Writing Center.

Helpful, upbeat sayings, heartfelt wishes for sanity, and CARE packages of chocolate graciously accepted.

P.S. Check out the Mars maps on Google. Stunning!

Friday, March 10, 2006

If I were....

I woke up this morning to big, fat snowflakes, the size of half-dollars. Alas, it's 34 degrees, so none of it stayed, but gosh, was it pretty. I sat with a cup of coffee and just watched it for a few minutes.

I got this meme (below) from somewhere, but didn’t make a note of it and can’t remember where. Or maybe I made it up? I can’t remember that, either. Anyway, it’s fun!

If I were a natural phenomenon, I would be…dusk, where it’s not quite dark, and the horizon stands out in a deep blue, sharp relief.
If I were a metal, I would be…silver.
If I were an animal, I would be…a bear.
If I were a color, I would be…green.
If I were a mythological being, I would be…a Moon goddess, full of cool, silvery power.
If I were a human activity, I would be…reading.
If I were a work of art, I would be… something in chiaroscuro. What he does with light is amazing. See the above painting, by Caravaggio.
If I were a weapon, I would be…words.
If I were an emotion, I would be…contentment.
If I were a character in a book, I would be…Morgaine, in The Mists of Avalon.
If I were an article of clothing, I would be…a warm, soft woolen shawl.
If I were a flower, I would be…a daffodil—secretive and seasonal, and always a good surprise.

Someone else's turn!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A Dark Day

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a few days.

South Dakota has now approved a nearly complete ban on abortion. The procedure may only be performed when the woman’s life is in immediate danger.

Women who are raped? Doesn’t matter.

Pregnancy resulting from incest? Sorry, doesn’t matter.

Pregnancy following a birth control failure in a woman who has a dangerous chronic—but not immediately life-threatening—illness? You guessed it. Doesn’t matter.

Documented chromosomal abnormality that will cause catastrophic impairment—or death—to the fetus? Nope. Doesn’t matter.

There are peripheral problems as well.

Rapists and committers of incest in South Dakota may well have moved to new levels of consideration as “daddies.” (Shudder.)

South Dakota physicians who continue to provide safe medical abortions face fines and prison terms.

The new ruling will be hardest on poor, lower class woman, who won’t have the resources to fly off to a state (or country) where abortion is quick and legal, but who, instead, will go back in time to self-abortion methods involving knitting needles, coat hangers, and ingested poisons.

And although this argument gets a little slippery-slopey, it’s reasonable to think that if abortion is banned, limitations on contraception may not be far behind. This is especially true of contraceptive methods that work by preventing the implantation of an already growing embryo, e.g., the IUD and the “morning after pill.”

(Perhaps South Dakota should also think about banning Viagra sales within its boundaries? But, I digress….)

The ban also brings us one step closer to fulfilling the agenda of the religious fundamentalist right in this country, which seeks to make us One Nation, Under [THE FUNDAMENTALIST CHRISTIAN] God.

It seeks to support the religious right’s agenda of taking abortion back into the Supreme Court for an overturn of Roe v. Wade.

Those who know me know that I’m not necessarily pro-abortion. I think that when an abortion is performed, a baby’s life is taken. I mean, it’s a human life—it’s not a sunflower, or an armadillo. It is a prototypical human, with every bit of genetic material and engineering potential needed to become a fully formed human being.

But while that is my personal opinion, I would never take it upon myself to tell other woman that she could not have an abortion, if that was truly the most sensible thing for her to do under the circumstances. I think it’s a terribly difficult decision to make, but for some women, it ends up being the best one.

South Dakota’s action catapults us backwards.

It imperils our rights as women.

Take notice.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

What horrible Edward Gorey Death will you die?

Thanks to Grey School teacher Estara T'Shirai for this meme.

Being sucked dry by leeches isn't so bad.
You will be sucked dry by a leech. I'd stay away

from swimming holes, and stick to good old

cement. Even if it does hurt like hell when

your toe scrapes the bottom.

What horrible Edward Gorey Death will you die?
brought to you by Quizilla

Friday, March 03, 2006

I have a committee!

Let me explain. In the literature part of the Masters program at Portland State, there are three ways to finish the program:

Thesis option: the student writes a critical thesis of 80-140 pages on a focused topic. They do an oral defense, and may also be asked to do a written 1-3 hour exam upon whim of the committee. Their committee is composed of three tenured profs who are relevant to the thesis’ topic area.

Exam option: the student selects three areas of focus, and selects a committee member for each of the three areas. Each committee member provides a reading/topic list with which the student is supposed to become conversant (i.e., you have to read them all). The student then shows up on a designated date and takes a 6-8 hour (that’s not a typo) written exam on the three areas. After that, they have a 1 hour oral interview/exam with the committee.

Portfolio option: the student selects three areas of focus, and selects a committee member for each of the three areas. Each committee member provides a reading/topic list with which the student is supposed to become conversant (i.e., you have to read them all). The student then works to create a portfolio of scholarly work in the three areas. Ultimately the portfolio is read by the committee and then an essay question is assigned (based on the portfolio contents), and the student has one week to generate a 12-15 page response. Once that is done, the student does a 1-hour oral defense of the portfolio.

So…. Almost no one does the thesis option anymore, because it really doesn’t take you anywhere. If you’re going to be hired somewhere or admitted to an advanced program, they want to see breadth of study, and a thesis is a highly focused piece of work. But, a few people who are really zeroed in on one discreet idea still do a thesis.

Lots of students—probably the most—do the exam option. It’s killer to study for, but their thought is that it’s a one-shot deal: you study like mad, take the test, and it’s over.

Many also take the portfolio. There’s more actual work involved than with the exam option, but when you’re done, you have something that you can use when seeking job placement, admission to another program, etc.

Okay, now that we’ve got all of that groundwork laid…. I have decided to go the portfolio route. And yesterday, I got my committee nailed down, which is a HUGE first step! (It’s important to ask them way ahead of time (1.25 years ahead, in my case!) because they get very busy and eventually start turning students down. And ideally, you want your first choices—the profs who know you best and who you feel comfortable with—to be the ones on your committee.

My committee will be:

Hildy Miller
, emphasis in rhetoric and composition (she’s also my GA advisor)
Elisabeth Ceppi, emphasis in early American women’s lit (she’s also my lit advisor)
Lorraine Mercer, emphasis in women’s lit and Victorian British lit


I’ve also picked two of my three areas. One will be rhet-comp, and the other either American women writers or just women writers in general. The third will have to be some aspect of Brit lit (we’re required to have a British focus as one of our fields), and I’m still thinking on that.

So, there you go. Just having the committee set is a major check-off on the larger list.

This has probably bored most of you to death, but, if you can’t go on and on on your own blog, where can you?