Friday, June 30, 2006

What D&D character are you?

Although it's been years since I played D&D, this meme is scarily accurate in terms of my present... urm... abilities.

I Am A: Chaotic Good Elf Ranger-Mage

Chaotic Good characters are independent types with a strong belief in the value of goodness. They have little use for governments and other forces of order, and will generally do their own things, without heed to such groups.

Elves are the eldest of all races, although they are generally a bit smaller than humans. They are generally well-cultured, artistic, easy-going, and because of their long lives, unconcerned with day-to-day activities that other races frequently concern themselves with. Elves are, effectively, immortal, although they can be killed. After a thousand years or so, they simply pass on to the next plane of existance.

Primary Class:
Rangers are the defenders of nature and the elements. They are in tune with the Earth, and work to keep it safe and healthy.

Secondary Class:
Mages harness the magical energies for their own use. Spells, spell books, and long hours in the library are their loves. While often not physically strong, their mental talents can make up for this.

Solonor Thelandria is the Chaotic Good elven god of archery and the hunt. He is also known as the Keen Eye, the Great Archer, and the Forest Hunter. His followers respect nature, and only hunt when needed, but are quick to defend the forest from intruders. Their favorite weapon is the bow, and they tend to be extremely talented with it. Solonor Thelandria's symbol is an arrow with green fletchings.

Find out What D&D Character Are You?, courtesy ofNeppyMan (e-mail)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Not much happening here

I'm approaching the end of my first week of summer session. So far, so good. I'm teaching an introductory comp class of 20 students, who--at least during this first week--have done a good job of looking awake at 8 o'clock in the morning. The class is four days a week for four weeks-- as of now we only have 11 classes left!

The recent record heat abated, thank Goddess. Life is good otherwise. Not much else to report-- reading lots of Hawthorne and Mellville for school and trying to get an Oregon Literary Fellowship application written by Friday. Also am making prepartions for wizard school Conclave, which happens in about three weeks.

The above is a corner of my deck, with pretty flowers!

Sunday, June 25, 2006


It is 8:22 pm on Sunday, June 25.

It is 90 degrees outside right now.

It is 84 degrees inside right now.

It reached 103 here today.

I am in hell.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Quiet times

I'm enjoying the last moments of a week of calm before heading into four weeks of classes on Monday. I said in an earlier blog that the summer session was five weeks, which was scary enough-- but I found out a couple of days ago--when I sat down to create my syllabus against the school calendar—that it’s actually only four weeks. Ack!

So, no stress here. I’m just charged with putting on a writing class for 22 students, and doing it in 4 weeks. That's all.

Plus I’ll be taking my own “Hawthorne and Melville” class. The professor teaching it is my advisor, and she has an eminently sensible homework policy. Specifically, she’s one of those who believes that you can’t really do long papers in a short period of time. So, I’m hoping the workload won’t be horrible, although I’m pretty sure the reading load will be quite intense. No Moby Dick, thank goodness, but Melville’s short novels and Hawthorne’s House of Seven Gables are on the list, along with a bunch of short stories. In four weeks!

Enough whining. So, about the jar at the top. It’s my ticket stub jar—an ordinary Mason jar into which I put all of the ticket stubs from films I’ve gone to. I’ve kept it up for several years—lots of fun.

Last night we went and saw The Da Vinci Code. Not an award contender, but a fun actiony sort of flick. Good summertime amusement. And Tom Hank’s hair wasn’t that bad at all. I can see why the Catholic Church pitched such a fit about the film-- it includes a fairly sympathetic look at Pagan history and traditions. Anyone who watches the film will come to learn that the pentacle is not a symbol of Devil worship, which is a reason enough to like the movie.

The other thing of interest that’s happened this week had to do with Ernie. We’d had spaghetti for dinner one night, and when Bill went to give Ernie his bedtime Rimadyl, he called me into the kitchen, saying, “He’s got a piece of spaghetti stuck on his chin—could you get it off?” (Note that Bill, the fearsome woodsman and hunter, was afraid to try and take the piece of spaghetti off the 13-lb ancient poodle’s chin. But never mind that.)

So, I bent down and took his muzzle and went to pull it off, but it was really hard and odd. And I realized it was his tooth. Ack!

Bill and I got all icky-nervous at that, but Ernie was acting like, “Whatever,” and didn’t seem to be in any pain, so we all went to bed.

The next morning, it was still there—the lower left canine, hanging at a crazy, sabertoothy angle. But by the time Bill left for work, it was gone. I later found the tooth in the living room. Ick.

Anyway, I took Ernie to the vet and they said that, yup, he’d broken the tooth. (Ya think?) Problem is, it wasn’t a clean break. There’s a bit of tooth and the whole root still in there. But the vet is reluctant to go in after it, given Ernie’s age. So, we’re watching him to see if anything more comes of it. So far, so good.

They think that when he tried to fly off the front porch (six or so weeks ago; see May 6 blog entry, "Dogs Who Fly--and the people who love them") and hit the concrete, he probably broke the tooth then, causing the root to die. Then at some point, whether he bumped the doorframe, bit a kibble, or whatever, it finally fractured through all the way and came out.

Anyway, that’s about as exciting as my life gets right now. Which is a good thing.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Just in time for tomorrow's summer solstice, I stumbled upon the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Arctic web-cam.

Yup. Looks about like I thought it would.

Monday, June 19, 2006

A day in the garden

Today I finally had time for gardening! I'm trying to do some quick sprucing-up as I'm having friends over for the Solstice on Wednesday. In truth, there are a summer's worth of chores to do in the yard, but it felt good to get started even just a little.

The above picture shows my two raised bed planting boxes. The closer of the two is where I planned to put my veggies. The back one will (soon) hold a themed "tea garden," a project for a Grey School class. I'll be growing all kinds of herbs for use in culinary and medicinal teas.

Anyway, I spent almost three hours, and managed to get the first box all planted, including installation of drip irrigation and tomato cages. I planted 4 tomato plants, 2 basils, and a couple of trays of butter lettuce and mesclun. Plus marigolds to keep the little sluggies away. Here's what it looks like now.....

I was poking around in the weedy area next to the beds and found a gift from the garden. A couple of months ago, we planted peas in that space. They didn't come up,--we figured they'd rotted and just sort of forgot about them, especially after the weeds grew up. But today, I found that the peas had not only sprouted and grown, but were wound in and among the weeds, hidden and heavy with sweet peas. Guess what I'm having for dinner?

My muscles are sore tonight, and I might have burned my nose a bit. But it felt good to be out working in the dirt, under the sun.

In another piece of news too long in coming, the American Heart Association has FINALLY come out officially against "trans fats," a.k.a. partially hydrogenated oils. These non-foods aren't even recognized by our bodies, and are responsible for raising LDL (bad cholesterol) and cretaing a lot of heart disease. The AHA is recommending that trans fats comprise 1% or less of our daily diet. As I said, finally. This gives us yet another good reason to avoid fast food places which all--except, I think, for Burgerville--use trans fats for frying andf in their baked goods.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Grad School 'Year One' is a wrap!

Yes folks, it's true. Yesterday--Friday--I turned in my final piece of spring term course work: an 18-page research plan with annotations for my 'Problems in Literature Research' class. Earlier in the week, I submitted a 15-page teaching pedagogy, a 26-page critical reading journal, and 17 pages of polished-draft-level creative non-fiction. This was on top of grading 22 student writing portfolios, which come in 3-ring binders and are each about 1” thick.

Things got a little panicky, especially since my family had been visiting and I set all of this work aside for 3 days so that I could hang out with all of them. But, it’s done. It’s done! I can't believe that I am half-way through my graduate programs. The year has been fun, and challenging, and really hard....but it has gone by unimaginably fast.

I now have one week’s break before summer term begins. I am taking classes this summer—the GA position offers me free summer tuition, and I can’t help but take advantage of that. It’s an easy schedule, though. PSU sets up it’s summer classes as five-week “crash courses,” where you go to class 3-4 hours/day, 5 days/week for five weeks. So, I’m taking a “Hawthorne and Melville” class for five weeks, with a terrific teacher who’s also my lit advisor and will sit on my graduate committee. I’m also taking a 4-credit self study with my non-fiction professor, which amounts to receiving credit for time spent working on my non-fiction thesis (a book-length work). And, I’m spending one weekend at “Haystack,” PSU's annual arts/teaching event at Cannon Beach, Oregon (above). I'll be taking a landscape/geology class that supports my thesis.

My classes start on June 26 and run through July 20. On top of taking classes, I’m also teaching a class: WR 115, which is an Intro to the Intro to College Writing class that I’ve taught for the last two terms. This class is also set up as a five-week kamikaze version, and it starts at 8 am! Now, picture, if you will, a room full of young college students at 8 am. Think hard…. Got it? I’m imagining vacant looks and lots of drool, but we’ll see how it goes. Getting to teach over the summer is a great opportunity—there are only a few slots available. Originally I was supposed to work all summer in the Writing Center, which would have been fun, too. But someone who was supposed to teach was unable to, and I was offered the job.

So, I’m going to be really, really busy until July 20, and then will have a quiet, open summer before fall term insanity begins.

Re: the picture at the top. I didn’t have time to write about it before, but on June 7, I was in Eugene as one of the group of winners of the Oregon Quarterly “Northwest Perspectives” Essay Contest. Yes, I was in Duck Land. We took part in an afternoon workshop and an evening reading. It was really fun. Anyway, the image above is of the magazine cover, and if you follow the link earlier in this paragraph, you can download a copy of the story that includes the complete magazine layout and photos. I took two of the photos, which is pretty cool.

I'm off this afternoon to a fellow GA's graduation party today, then hope to spend time excavating my home office, which looks as though a few reams of paper and a stack of books blew up inside it. Maybe I'll take 'before' and 'after' pictures!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Family in town!

Lots going on. I’m headed into spring term Finals Week (note intentional use of capital letters) and my family is visiting! Katie arrived on Thursday, Mom on Friday, Erin & Scott & Rebecca on Saturday. I haven’t time to write much right now—more after Finals Week is over—but let’s try a photo story. At least that way you’ll know I’m alive.

So, Katie arrived. And with her—or any of the kids—always come the inevitable assortment of cousins, friends, school chums and the like. Here’s a photo of Katie and two of her Chi-O sorority sisters (l-r: Kat, Holly, and Katie) headed out for a night on the town:

Yesterday (Saturday), Bill, Mom, Katie, Holly, and I spent a day in the Columbia River Gorge.

Driving east, we stopped first at Sam Hill’s Stonehenge monument, a short distance east of the Maryhill Museum. This Stonehenge is an exact size replica of the one on England’s Salisbury plain.

Katie, Gammie, and Holly on a rock before Stonehenge, with the Columbia in the background.

The view from Stonehenge….

The Columbia River, framed by Stonehenge (photo by Holly)….

Our ultimate goal was the Temani-Pesh Wa trail, a trail literally “written in stone.” It is the home of several petroglyphs, rescued from Petroglyph Canyon before the area was flooded in 1957 by the impounded waters behind The Dalles Dam (the same flood that erased Celilo Falls).

Spedis (say SPEE-duss) owl, a very famous glyph:

And another cool one, the water devil:

We walked down the train tracks to get a view of ‘She Who Watches.’ Here are Katie, Mom, Bill, and Holly. ‘She Who Watches’ is a dark (reddish) glyph near the upper right corner of the picture, just to the left of a green bush.

A closer view….

And another….

It was a great trip…. Except for a little run-in with a ranger at the site, who wasn’t happy with the fact that we were technically trespassing when we looked at ‘She Who Watches.’ But I promise you all, we didn’t do anything we shouldn’t have. I would never, never, never harm a petroglyph or any other sacred object. Never.

This morning we all went to the Milwaukie Farmer’s Market. Note Erin and I, reflected in Bill’s glasses!

Wish me luck on those exams. We’ll chat later!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Not a Goth... who knew?

/> You scored as Understanding Outsider. You are not a goth yourself, but you may know goths and you understand and appreciate, or at least respect, the gothic subculture.

Understanding Outsider


Ethereal Goth


Anything-Goes Goth


Confused Outsider


Fantasy Goth


Romantic Goth


Death Rocker




Perky Goff




Old-school Goth


What subcategory of Goth best fits you?
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