Monday, April 30, 2007

The forsythia bush is looking good.
There are a lot of things I don't write about here, for various reasons. Some because I don't subscribe to the "emotional vomit" type of ejournaling (or even paper journaling). Some because I don't like to reveal too much about students. And some because of privacy.

Something I haven't posted about this past year is my grandniece (or is it great niece?), Grace. She'll be 1 on Friday. She had a (very) difficult start, but is doing great now. She is such a happy little person. Yesterday was her christening, truly a joyous occasion.
We went to see The Namesake at the Spectrum on Friday. Great movie, worth seeing. We had a delicious meal at My Linh before seeing the movie.

It was a strange night. We were seated in front of a large picture window in the restaurant, and witnessed three young men going through a wallet and tossing it in front of the window. They disappeared for a short time, and returned with a woman's over the shoulder briefcase. They were digging through the contents as they walked by. Bob found our server and told her, and she told the owner, who went out (wearing gloves! How CSI) and picked up the wallet and its contents. She called the police, and we spoke with the cop.

While we were talking to him, a couple came in and asked whether the officer was there because of the car parked nearby. We said "no," and they went away. We finished our dinner, and when we left, we saw the couple again, standing near a car that was parked on the street, still running, with the front passenger's door open. After we chatted, and explained about the stolen wallet and briefcase, they called the police. As we were having dessert at a cafe next to the theatre, the cops came back. I don't know the outcome, but I wonder if the two events were connected, and where the driver was.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Finally, a beautiful, sunny day! I even noticed a couple of leaf buds on the lilac bush.

I scanned another image of St. Augustine's. It's a postcard, with an illustration by Ethel Adams. I'm not sure of the year, but it appears to be before the building of the house next door that I grew up in (which I think was 1968 or 1969), where my nephew now lives.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I finished the taxes, and mailed them yesterday. I was actually done figuring on Friday, but I waited until Monday to fill in the forms. Since Monday was Patriot Day in Massachusetts, and that's where my federal taxes are processed, we get until the 17th to file both the federal and NYS forms.

We had a surprise 80th birthday party for my father on Sunday. It was at the height of the nor'easter! Only 12 people canceled, but 5 others came whom we weren't expecting, so we had about 52 people there. There was no electricity, luckily my brother had a generator. Here's the fabulous cake (I wanted to get a better picture but there were too many people crowded around admiring it to make that possible):
The campus shootings at Virginia Tech are so upsetting. Last week, a woman I didn't know who was wearing hospital scrubs came into my classroom, looked around, sat down in the front row nearest the door, and then after a while, got up and left. I nervously joked with the students after she was gone, trying to guess what her intentions may have been. I know the odds of something horrific happening aren't that high, but in 1994 we did have a gunman hold students and a professor in a lecture center hostage. He was eventually overcome by a group of students. One student was shot during the struggle. The case was the subject of this PBS documentary. I've never received any training on what to do in any sort of emergency situation on campus aside from the once per semester fire drill in my building. I'm pretty calm under pressure, but I think some sort of guidance would be a good idea.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The hard drive in my computer on campus was dead when I got there yesterday morning. The computer support guy was able to recover the documents I had saved (I usually use the network to store documents, but for some reason this spring semester I made a folder on my desktop and have been saving there lately). But what a hassle not having a machine! What is there to do in the office with no computer? I had to go to the student lab to check my email, and I also had to ask someone with access to my network drives to print my class rosters. The computers in the lab must have a ton of spyware, they are so slow and the mice are all jerky. I managed to find old handouts from a few semesters ago to adapt for the group exercises I had to assign. The copies were kind of messy, but it worked out OK. I am hoping the hard drive has been replaced by tomorrow, when I am on campus again.

Otherwise, I am good shape as I go into the end of the semester. The changes I made really have evened out the workflow. Today I worked on the taxes, and I'm almost done.

Friday, April 06, 2007

I'm freaked out by the pet food recall. So there is rodenticide (according to NYS) and melamine (according to the Feds) in the wheat gluten. It seems like the plot to a bad science fiction movie. Is someone trying to kill off our pets? It makes me really glad that I feed my animals a homemade diet. I also wonder about the possibility of human grade wheat gluten being tainted too. I think it is totally plausible.

On a brighter note, I finished half the journals for two classes (the rest will be done on Monday) and all the midterms for another. Wednesday will be devoted to the taxes. Right now I'm making apple pies for Easter. (This minute I'm typing, but you know what I mean.) Sophie is driving me crazy, wanting the peels - or preferably, her own apple. Or several apples. Even the entire bag, if possible. (Sam wants apple too, but that's only because he's imitating Sophie.) The pet food manufacturers can shove their products, as far as she is concerned. But bring on the apples!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Yesterday, we went to Hartford, CT to the Mark Twain house and museum. I've wanted to go there for years. It is about 100 miles from here, and it took under 2 hours to get there. There were two separate tours of the house, one of where the family lived, and the other of the kitchen area where the servants spent their time. It's a lovely brick Victorian house, built in 1874. Mark Twain lived there from 1874 to 1891, and sold it in 1903. He wrote many great books while living there with his family. Most of the furniture was sold off in 1903, but his one daughter who survived him was still alive when the house became a museum in the 1960s and she donated the things she had inherited. There also is a visitor's center on the grounds, with a great museum shop (I spent $146 in it!). I think I may have known more than the guides, although I kept my mouth shut because I hate it when people act like know-it-alls at Cherry Hill. Next door is Harriet Beecher Stowe's house, but we didn't go there.

On the way back, we stopped in Lee, MA and ate dinner at the Salmon Run Fish House. Great place, this was our third time there.

Monday, April 02, 2007

I sponsor a little girl through CFCA. That's a reputable organization if you're interested in becoming a sponsor. The girl lives in the Philippines and will turn 13 on April 15. On Saturday, I got a heartbreaking letter from her; a typhoon struck not far from where she lives and her family lost their house. She included a colorful Easter card that she made and a new picture. So, I sat right down and answered her. This is one of the pictures I sent, from October 2006: