Monday, September 29, 2008

Major work is being done on our street - it is a long time coming, so I'm not complaining...but today, they tore up the part in front of our house to put in new drainage pipes. This is how my day went: Equipment Noise Dog Barking Equipment Noise Two Dogs Barking Construction Worker Yelling Two Dogs Viciously Barking Equipment Noise Two Dogs Barking Equipment Noise Dog Barking Quiet for a Moment Dog Intermittently Barking Equipment Noise Two Dogs Barking. Lunch Break. Repeat.

I have been cooking the last things from the garden. Yesterday I made butternut squash. I don't think I have ever had it before, and didn't know what to expect. It was delicious!! Tonight I am making zucchini parmesan.

Yesterday at church, an adult was baptized. I've never been to an adult baptism before. I know it is common in some churches because they either don't accept baptism from other religions, or because they don't believe in baptizing babies, but neither is true of the Catholic church. Apparently this young woman had never been baptized, and as an adult she has decided to become Catholic. She will make her communion at the Easter vigil. It was an interesting and beautiful ceremony. The woman and her sponsor went up to the altar, the priest read a blessing, the sponsor made the sign of the cross over various parts of the woman's body (forehead, eyes, lips, hands, etc.), and then after each, the choir and congregation sang. We have some really talented people who serve as cantor, and also in the choir. The music often brings tears to my eyes and yesterday's ceremony did too (and I am not much of a crier, so that is saying a lot).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

All in all, it was a good birthday...went to Franklin's Tower for dinner; that has become one of my favorite restaurants. Got home, and a friend had surprised me by leaving a fall wreath on the door. Once inside, I discovered that on the answering machine, one of my brothers left a message, where he sang happy birthday. Then, over the weekend, my mother made my favorite food, eggplant parmesan and I had a big meal at my parents' house with other family members. I got a watch, a St. Brigid's cross necklace, a box of Krause's candy, a sweater, a pottery vase, a bookmark, a Korean coin necklace, and a few cards. I swam Saturday (the water was 63 degrees, but felt fine), again briefly on Sunday (60 degrees, and it felt very cold) and then we closed the pool. No regrets, I think that is the latest I have ever taken a swim! We got some second cut hay in on Sunday. An unexpected thunderstorm rolled in toward the end of haying and soaked us! I was especially tired when we got home on Sunday night - what with the remnants of Lyme Disease, such an active weekend and the late night.

Friday, September 19, 2008

I've been watching a ten-year-old British documentary called The Nazis that I got from netflix. It's very powerful, and I am learning a lot about WWII that I didn't know.

The last netflix movie I watched before this was Rent. I'd seen the show years ago and liked it a lot, and have the soundtrack which I also really liked, and unfortunately, overplayed. However, I didn't like the movie very much. The show didn't translate very well to film, even though most of the original Broadway cast were in it. The downside of having the original cast was that they almost universally struck me as too old for the parts. It also seemed extremely dated. I wonder why it wasn't made into a movie during its top popularity period of the '90s?

Earlier this week, I removed the plastic from The Chronicle of Higher Education, and a DVD fell on the floor. I don't remember anything free ever being included with the newspaper before. I looked it over and thought it contained a preview for a documentary called Obsession, but it turned out to be an hour-long version. It was pretty scary. It was strange that The Chronicle sent it out.

Just now, I got a robocall pushing a movie called Fireproof that opens next Friday. I don't remember that ever happening before.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Today I am 47. How can that be? My birthday is always kind of odd. Not that I mind getting older necessarily (I mean, I don't love it but it is better than the alternative and the truth is my life has gotten better over the years), but there is that bittersweet end of summer, back to school thing (even though I like fall), and then there have been a lot of bad things that happened in September. I am sure you could say that about any month; maybe I just notice it more because it is my birthday month. Other people's birthdays who are now gone, so their birthdays pass and it is a reminder. Mimmie, Aunt Jean. Rudy and Howie both died in September, and Rudy was born in September. 9/11. Don's death, and some other things I won't mention. This year, there is the resurfacing of that thing from the past that I hinted about already once. I brought in candy for my students to celebrate my birthday. It's the first time I've done that. I have occasionally brought in leftover Halloween candy, but not recently.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Rudy would have been 13 today. I thought I would still have him, instead next week he will be gone 3 years. Sniff. Happy birthday, Mr. Wuj.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Since Lyme Disease, I've been more tired than usual. I have been trying (somewhat successfully) to get more sleep. To some degree, I have no choice because I am SO tired. But I still have to be careful about letting myself stay up to late. I did some reading and was concerned that maybe it was "Post-Lyme Disease Syndrome" (I wasn't overly concerned because what I read says it usually resolves on its own after a while). But after I read more I determined that I don't have that many of the symptoms. My biggie: episodes of extreme tiredness. The syndrome seems to include neurological, memory, mood problems, etc. and I don't notice any of that. Maybe concentration / focus issues a *little,* but that always accompanies tiredness so I haven't really separated it as a symptom. Plus, the problems have to persist for six months after treatment and I haven't even been done with doxy for a month yet. So I guess this is just what is expected with Lyme Disease, and it will go away eventually.

The weather has been so warm that we left the pool open. I swam Friday night, Saturday (in the rain) and Sunday. I think it will have to be closed this weekend though. Although they are kind of shopworn, the gardens continue to produce. Tonight we are having fresh beets! Can't wait!!

Classes are great. I've had a couple of irritations, but nothing serious enough to lessen how good this semester has started out. My enrollment is pretty even so far: in the four classes there are 26, 28, 30, 32.

One thing I note, not just this Fall, but gradually over time, is the number of students who call me by my first name without asking. That's irritating when it is anyone other than a serious, well-meaning student. With wonderful students, I really don't care, even if I do believe they should ask me if it is OK (and I would say yes, even though I am silent on the subject in class - I mean, I don't prompt it).

But there are some who do it to show disrespect. They become overly familiar because they want to decrease the status differential for bad reasons. There is a problem and they claim it is my fault. Cheating. Not doing various assignments. Bad attendance. Missing deadlines. They think by calling me by my first name it will decrease my authority, and increase their control. I only say something when I am really pushed, and once this summer I told the offending student that I preferred to be called Dr. He continued to use my first name anyway. Very passive-aggressive. Would you have done that to the person who has the power to assign grades?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Second week of classes and it is so hot! Feels like early August. Speaking of classes, so far mine are awesome. The students seem very engaged. Lately - I'd say the past couple of years, I have been lucky with my classes. Either that, or after 8 years, I have gotten to be pretty good at this teaching thing. The Fall semester is always the best.