Monday, November 28, 2011

Spent today in school. Observing third grade this fall -- ten different classes, two different schools -- is bringing back so many memories of my own experiences in that grade 42 years ago. The teacher described here in my Seven Teachers anecdote as "Maybe He Thought Third Graders Liked Gross Stuff" almost sums it up. The other half of the day I had a wonderful teacher, and (in what may be a commentary on what is remembered -- the bad more than the good) not a lot of specific memories.

I do have two. First, the teacher cut her hand badly preparing Thanksgiving dinner, had to have surgery to repair the damage to her ligament, and was out of school for (what seemed to an 8 year old to be) a long time. Second, it was during third grade that we learned the times tables. Luckily, it was the wonderful teacher, not the lover of disgusting lesson plans who taught math. But I remember we had to memorize each number sequentially, and then pass a series of progressively faster timed tests.

At the end of each - 9 minutes, 5 minutes, 3 minutes, as I recall -- we got certificates with gold seals and ribbons. This exercise was a great source of anxiety (and in many cases failure) for a large number of fellow students, although also luckily, not for me. I know the method gets a lot of criticism and has been abandoned in more places than not, but today I am thrilled to have that invaluable information cemented in my brain.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The baptism is in a couple of hours, and I (as usual) am procrastinating on getting ready. When we arrived here Thursday, the wireless was down -- which means no phone, no roku, no cell. I was in a panic -- but the clocks were not blinking, so how could we have had a power surge or a lightening strike? Also puzzling, the wired connections were working fine. When we got home from the fabulous 18 person dinner at my sister's, I hooked up my old router, restored everything, and planned to package up the broken router to send back for repair or replacement, since it is on warranty. It is very frustrating, this constant frying. I have done this drill so many times.

Yesterday I set aside some time for contacting netgear to get the return authorization. I got my glasses, since I can't see all the tiny numbers on the back of the router, and as I was examining it I noticed an illustration of the various ports, internet connection, A/C adapter plug...and wireless on/off switch. Duh.

So today I swapped the routers again, and we are back in business.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Yesterday evening we met with the priest about my grandnephew's baptism, which will be on Saturday. I've been working like crazy to fit in that trip, the holiday and an extended stay in Samsonville. I always resolve to get some things done when I am there, but that rarely happens. It is even hard to find time for my Kindle when I am there!

I returned a batch of assignments yesterday. I think the last midterm, the one that was so bad it made me mad may have been a harbinger! It isn't the same class, but about half of the assignments from yesterday were terrible. It's the weakest class in terms of writing that I can remember. There was a respite last week when the on campus sections made presentations - the majority were excellent. But still, yesterday's results were beyond alarming.

Something I've been meaning to note here but keep forgetting is that November 2 was the 12th anniversary of Penny Poodily's death. This mean that early next month we will have had Sophie for twelve years. Hard to believe.

I can't stand all the television commercials about so-called Black Friday. Why would anyone wait in line so they can buy a crappy flat screen at 4 am? What's the matter with those people? I've searched the recesses of my mind and discover not a shred of explanation (or understanding). I find the Target ads especially annoying, keep fantasizing some awful tragedy falling upon that irritating woman in them. Shallow is celebrated -- makes me sick. Full disclosure is that of all the big boxes I hate, Target is way up there on the awfulness scale.

So in honor of Thanksgiving, here is my 10-year-old self:

November 25, 1971

Dear Gina,

I heard from my neighbor, a cranberry sauce can, that I was invited to your house for Thanksgiving dinner. I was delighted! The thing I didn't know (I heard it from my never-lie Cornish Game Hen neighbor) that I was the dinner. She said not to worry, everyone's time comes. She said that was the reason I was born (to eat). The Grand Union sells you, and after that some hungry person buys you. That's how they live, she told me. I didn't like your way of living. You live on the innocent little helpless creatures. To make things worse, first, you put us in a freezing cold box, then in a boiling hot box. It's not fair. How would you like it? I don't. I don't like the idea at all. I just won't be eaten and you better do something about it.

Yours Truly,
Tom Turkey

Friday, November 18, 2011

On FB, some "friends" have been worked up about this (I have remained silent, since I am a dissenter who escaped the mandated-at-that-time small pox vaccine as a child, and have learned to keep my mouth shut). But it reminded me: Here's a tidbit from Mark Twain that I've been meaning to share:
In 1845, when I was ten years old, there was an epidemic of measles in the town and it made a most alarming slaughter among the little people. There was a funeral almost daily, and the mothers of the town were nearly demented with fright. My mother was greatly troubled. She worried over Pamela and Henry and me, and took constant and extraordinary pains to keep us from coming into contact with the contagion. But upon reflection I believed that her judgment was at fault. It seemed to me that I could improve upon it if left to my own devices. I cannot remember now whether I was frightened about the measles or not, but I clearly remember that I grew very tired of the suspense I suffered on account of being continually under the threat of death. I remember that I got so weary of it and so anxious to have the matter settled one way or the other, and promptly, that this anxiety spoiled my days and my nights. I had no pleasure in them. I made up my mind to end this suspense and be done with it. Will Bowen was dangerously ill with the measles and I thought I would go down there and catch them (16 March 1906).
My niece and her husband have asked me to be my grandnephew's Godparent! It has been many years since I have been asked to serve in this capacity, lots of young people don't practice religion, and so I am both pleased and flattered. I have been scrambling to secure the needed documentation. I think it will take place next weekend.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

2011 Note: Earlier this year, I stopped receiving newspapers. They are too irritating, too content-free, too expensive -- and are being made superfluous by the Internet. It was a little difficult in the morning at first, but the feeling quickly dissipated. That was helped along because the current delivery person is unreliable, and the papers were often not delivered early in the morning, and sometimes not at all. And, as it turns out, I miss the Record more.

Smarter or Prettier, an answer to an old meme (2002)

About 15 years ago, at work someone asked, "if you could be either smarter or prettier, which would you choose?" The office was on campus, and the staff was all 20-something women, mostly graduate students, as a group already bright and attractive. Everyone, and I mean everyone, said without hesitation: prettier. Why? Because all felt they were smart enough, and that becoming any smarter would be a barrier to dating, and maybe even to getting through life!

More Jocks, Less Brains (1999)

For an owl, the early morning is filled with anything but joy, even after years of practice and forced early-to-bed. The television commercial may be right, that coffee – though not necessarily the advertiser’s particular brand – is the best part of waking up, but the morning newspaper is a close second.

The cities of Troy and Schenectady are smothered, with some justification, and rightly, I think, by the neighboring Albany. And so their daily newspapers struggle for significance.

The Troy Record hails itself as Rensselaer County’s voice, and if that is so, then the column Sound Off is a cacophony. The premise of Sound Off is that readers telephone to respond to articles in the Record; callers have 30 seconds to leave reactions on an answering machine. A Record staffer responds to the more outrageous callers. After years of following along, I’ve concluded that the less literate, the more inflammatory the comment, the greater the likelihood that it will be printed in the paper.

It is the forum Sound Off which rivals coffee for making early morning almost worthwhile. Corrupt politics, high taxes, the poor condition of local roads and the low quality of today’s teenagers are subjects especially dear to callers’ hearts. Hardly a day goes by without the wise aleck who writes the responses, which appear in italics beneath some of the quotes, raising someone’s ire. The latest controversy surrounds the Record’s stance on high school athletics verses academic programming. The editorial staff had the nerve to question the over emphasis on sports in a local district, and Sound Off’s phones have not stopped ringing.

After my morning caffeine and paper, I go off to campus three days per week. Returning to the full-time student arena after years of part-time study, I now find myself participating with other doctoral students in forums of a very different nature; or on second thought, maybe they are not that dissimilar. My peers share gossip and other secrets.

It seems failure is a badge of honor. “He failed the statistics exam ELEVEN times,” begins the confidence, complete with wide, unblinking eyes; the way the sentence is structured makes it sound like a blessing, not a curse. Or, “when I was taking the comprehensive exams for the second – or was it the third? – time,...” is the introduction to a story about what happened on that day, and the opening clause is just that, merely an opening, mentioned in passing with no shame. In fact, so proud is the telling, that it might even be called bragging.

I remember when such track records were labeled, as Frank DuMond probably would have, in the wonderful book Walking Through Yesterday in Old West Hurley, had it been the subject of his musings, “not college material.” Just a few tidbits from that delightful read; he is describing his mother:
She reminded us...that a “lazy man’s load” was trying to carry too big an armload of wood for the stove and dropping part of it. When I scurried around doing tasks I should have much earlier, I was told, “A lazy man works best when the sun is in the west.”
Perhaps, since I am in critical mode, that is something all owls should take to heart! Or maybe I should take those harsh attitudes as a lesson, let compassion get the best of me, and allow that it’s possible it is not failure which is prized by my peers, but perseverance and the overcoming of failure?

A few mornings ago as I was taking sips from my mug, my eye was caught by another of Sound Off’s many gems; “so we are known for sports and not academics...more jocks, less brains!” And this is something you are proud of? Smirked the wise aleck, in italics.

So did the owl.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tired today! It was quite a weekend. Fun, bittersweet to see it end. Then today I had to do a school visit, and the mad rush to end of semester begins. I hope to accomplish a lot next week, before Thanksgiving.

Rejection (1999)

Hibrow Publications
100 Flashcube Building
Erudite, New York 10000
June 11, 1999

Simon Colchester
10 Never-ending Lane
Insipid, New York 11111

Dear Mr. Colchester:

Generally I begin my letters, regardless of whether they are offers or rejections, by thanking the writer for his or her submission.  In your case, I must make an exception.  I could never thank you for sending me your story.  Reading it has wasted the better part of an hour and ruined my day.  Have you heard of writer’s guidelines?  I am not impressed that you are clever with your word processing software.  We at Hibrow Publications do not appreciate every line of your text beginning with a bullet.

Under ordinary conditions, I would just recycle your story, never send you a response at all, and remove the stamps from your self-addressed, stamped envelope to use for my own personal mail.  But, for your special circumstances I have decided to sacrifice the postage.  Someone needs to let you know the truly abysmal quality of your work.  Perhaps then you will be persuaded to stop producing it.

Do you remember the “Gong Show?”  Many times while I was reading your submission, I wished you were a contestant, and I was a judge, so I could have the pleasure of interrupting your miserable thoughts on that page by hitting the gong with all my might.

You may find this note shocking.  It is evident you are extremely proud of your writing.  Indeed, your article is quite comprehensive and contained much detail.  Rather than being impressive, however, I found myself asking who you think would be interested in so much drivel on so boring and trivial a topic?  A friendless loser would have something better to do than read your article.  And even if your topic had been clever one, your prose was so mind-numbing that my brain’s ability to generate pleasant-sounding rejection letters has been frozen, and may be forever impaired.

In case my message has yet to penetrate your consciousness, your submission does not meet our needs at this time, nor will it meet them at any other time.  Unfortunately, I am unable to congratulate you on the effort you showed in your story, because your time would have been better spent by watching a test pattern on the television.  However, I am willing to offer a suggestion for improvement.  Throw this story in the trash immediately, and erase it from your computer disk.  As a precaution, you may need to format the diskette to eliminate all traces of this piece.

Finally, I will not wish you success in your future endeavors, because should you persevere and achieve publication, you will only serve to drag down the overall quality of writing in the English language.

Valentine Green

Friday, November 11, 2011

Action packed weekend planned. Will likely translate to an overwhelming backlog of work afterwards, since I usually spend some time on my classes during a three day weekend, but I'll manage. The fun will be worth it.

Then, there's this, which I don't have time to write about today, but it will keep. Suffice to say, one more piece of evidence that 1) middle school needs fixing and 2) school needs to be closed.

Finally, in honor of Veteran's Day 11/11/11:

This is my father during WWII.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

I have been scanning ephemera into efiles, and sharing them on facebook. I have a lot of cousins who are hungry for the photos and memorabilia. While looking to see what else I have that I'd already scanned in the past, pre-facebook, I discovered my old writing folder tucked away, several levels down from the desktop. I must have backed up the Iomega drive at some point! Oh happy day!

After I read the story I have copied below, it reminded me of something else from yesterday, also friend-related. I am handling the retirement party for someone at work that I have known since I was in the doctoral program, and yesterday it hit me that I need to get a card so colleagues can sign it. The clock is ticking! I went to the bookstore to buy one. There were only two choices for retirement. I laughed, shook my head, and chose the one with the most space for signatures.

I was thinking how I always fly by the seat of my pants -- get out of bed with five minutes to shower and get ready. But especially on such things as cards, gifts and gift wrap. No time or space to hit a Hallmark store. Bob is our designated gift wrapper, left to me I roll packages in crumpled funny sheets and use masking tape. I am capable of making pretty presents, but I almost never do. Reminds me too of Aunt Jean. She was always scribbling out the message on cards - changing Get Well to Happy Birthday. So when I ran across flying by the seat of my pants in this anecdote, I had to smile.

What's Missing from this Study? (1998)

This fall marks my thirty-first year of being a student.  The plan is to graduate after two more academic years and be done, having attained the ultimate terminal degree, the doctorate. 

It will not be too soon.  A good part of my identity has been defined by my student role.  It has fit, or I wouldn't have worn it so long.  It feels good to excel at something.  To have almost no peers, even among my student peers.  Feed that special trip.  It has always been this way, which is why high school wasn't any fun.  High school, where so much is defined by the social life, the cliques and clubs and teams.  That part doesn't matter so much any more.  Now it's great to be smart.

So why will it not be too soon to put aside the student role, since it fits like a glove?  The costume is too tight.  Two three hour sessions for two consecutive Saturdays writing to fulfill a requirement.  Answer eight questions out of sixteen. Spend an equal amount of time on each response.  Be sure to really answer the questions. Go.

Fifteen more three hour blocks, Monday nights from seven to ten, to prod along those (shift around nervously) dissertation proposals (pause for a moment of shared giggles and groans).  In a three hour block of time I could read a book or write a story or take a walk or stare into space.  Instead I must sit at yet another conference table and listen to one more meaningless comment. Yes, class, yes professor X, believe it or not there are stupid questions.  My special trip has made me feel superior, how awful.  Makes me long for RB's class, a sweet memory from my undergraduate days.  "Raise your hand if you are a freshman," he would say, immediately upon walking into the room on the first day of class.  (Looks around room.)  "I have signed drop forms on the table in the front.  You're out of the class."  (He's not joking.)

 Recently I read some publications from high school.  Been digging out every scrap of my old writing.  "Monday Blues" was our literary magazine. A greaser girl named Teresa wrote a story called "Where Did Freedom Go."  The premise of the essay was that it's unfair students couldn't go to the market across the street to get a soda, and they shouldn't have to go outside to smoke cigarettes.  I remember reading it at the time and thinking it was hilarious.  But Teresa didn't intend it as a humor story.  Now I feel as confined as she did.

But these are doctoral students, not teenage greasers.  Are there any former greasers in the group?  More likely jocks, maybe even the top magazine-selling booster club member.  Mostly they pass the class time by studying for the comprehensive exams, unabashed.  No RB here. I remember years ago my friend Stefan said that there are something like only twelve different facial types, and everyone has a twin.  Jeff from my class (does he have a topic?) is a triplet. (He's the grad student triplet.)  The other two are Paul from work (the accountant triplet) and Gene, a.k.a. the Corvair driving, gun toting, employed by and worshipper of the governor (the evil triplet). Jeff tells the class he has asked Professor D to be his dissertation chair (God help him) but hasn't gotten a commitment. Sitting in the back, a man I don't know asks trivial questions, things about font sizes and format.  But maybe that's actually insightful and not inane, since senior management would value such interests.

Laura and a man I don't know discuss how they didn't finish the management section and never planned to pass it. (And I thought I was flying by the seat of my pants.)  The woman next to me, a music teacher whose name I can't, but should, remember, sits frozen, on automatic pilot until the second half of the comps are over. But I know she always does her school work, so how bad can it be? No, I guess the questions weren't written as a musical score.

Debbie tells a story about parents pushing kids too much, especially in sports -- something alien to her, since she was always somewhere else smoking cigarettes when there was a high school football game.  So there is a former greaser among us!  The others, including the instructor, stare in disbelief. I find her story hilarious.  This time, it was intended to be.
Here is a link to Commissioner King's presentation to the NYSSBA last month. It's very well-done and informative. It raises some interesting points -- nothing Earth-shattering to the educational community necessarily, but the presentation is so concise yet comprehensive that I think many audiences would benefit from seeing it. Sort of related, I've been asked to work on this initiative from the university's (meaning system's) perspective. I'm very excited to be part of the conversation.

Yesterday I had lunch with a friend and we discussed the core standards and achievement gap highlighted in the NYSED presentation. It is persistent and very troubling. She'd like to work with me on a study. I would love to do it, if I can find the time. Presently my research involves the influence of arts integration on K-12 achievement, and it consumes most of my "free" time, but the issues in the Commissioner's presentation interest me more and are (arguably) more important.

Among the areas we considered in our broad ranging chat were what factors make most home schooling, many private schools and some charters get better results, and why some in the public sector are so resistant to taking lessons from those innovative approaches. I suspect it is because people react that way when they feel threatened. But I think they shoot themselves in the foot by being reluctant to try reform initiatives and that is a reason they get attacked, albeit often unfairly. It's a vicious cycle. I have always thought the way to romance critics is not through disdain and defensiveness, but by being able to demonstrate results.

Regarding home schooling, my hypothesis from the literature is that strong parental involvement, individual attention, the ultimate in self-direction, and much less television watching are the salient factors that erase the achievement gap, prove that SES does not necessarily have to dictate performance, and cause home schooled kids to be two years ahead of public school peers. I used to think it was a weird approach, but I don't any more. It's particularly interesting that the qualifications of the instructor* don't appear to make much difference. Not a message education faculty want to hear! The RAND corporation found that didn't impact performance much either, not looking at home school in particular but at traditional K-12.

We ate at the Patroon Room on campus. Before she arrived, I stopped in to say hello (and goodbye as well) to JES from this site. That is only the second time that I have met "IRL" someone I only know in the virtual world! The other time was years ago, when I first started blogging. Probably should make an effort to do it more often. You get to know people rather well, at least in terms of what they share publicly, when you follow their blog. Very few of my "IRL" friends read this more than occasionally although most want me to email them my stories. I don't post reminders to my facebook friends. I update it too often and I think it might constrain me, given what a mixed bag those folks represent. (I already censor too much.) Not that I write anything I would not say in person, and not that most of it would come as any surprise to my "IRL" friends. But my sense is that it makes them feel like voyeurs. I think if you don't write online yourself you may not "get" it and wonder why those of us who do are OK with putting stuff out there. 

Anyway, after she arrived, we were just sitting down to eat, had our forks poised but had not taken a bite -- the fire alarm went off. I thought it was only a drill, but after a half hour outside, it became clear that there really was a fire! This didn't put a damper on our conversation, but it certainly did on our meal. The worst part (aside from worrying about being late to class and my soup getting cold) was that we had to take the stairs. Now in my pre-2009 days, I only took stairs - a painless way to get a bit of exercise. In my current situation, I almost always take the elevator. Don't want to fall, and in a situation such as a fire, I hate being "tail-gated," get all nervous. But I managed quite well, due to my ankle brace.

Once we got back inside and resumed eating, about 50 high school students who were there for a campus tour swarmed into the room, encircled the salad bar and buffet, and completely blocked access to the food. They behaved as if they had not eaten in a month. (That's a bit of an exaggeration, the truth is their behavior was not that bad, but their large number was a challenge.) My friend remarked, "between the fire and the students, this maybe wasn't the best day to come here."

As I was paying the bill, I asked if they were indeed high school students, and then joked, "I wonder if they are told that this is the only time they will ever see the inside of the Patroon Room." It wasn't much of a joke -- students basically never go there. I'm not sure who thought it was a good idea to bring them, because a regular dining hall experience would have been more appropriate.

Linking above to that particular post of JES's reminds me, Andy Rooney died, then Joe Frazier. It always makes me think of the rule of three, and in this case, to run through the various celebrities who might be next. Then I ask myself, how can I, as a religious person who also believes in statistics and scientific approaches put any stock in a silly superstition? It is almost as bad as "step on a crack, break your mother's back." I am not a generally superstitious person and yet the rule of three often does seem to come true. However I do know that it has no basis in fact, it is just because our minds try to make sense of the unknown by finding evidence that it could be true, turning simple coincidence into something spooky. On the other hand, I do love imaginative things (such as seeing faces in the bark of trees on a dark, misty night) so why not?

Last night I got a surprise call. As it turned out, it was a day filled with friends - this call was my "best" from childhood, we met the first day of kindergarten. To use facebook lingo, she is going through the "it's complicated" status on the way to "single." Wants to visit this weekend, with a new -- ahem -- friend. Life is always interesting and full of drama. We thought it would settle down in that regard by age 50, but as it turns out - it doesn't. I told that to my niece once a couple of years ago when she was marveling at the machinations of my social life. 

Our plumber/heating guy is here working on the furnace (pilot light won't say lit) and sink (new faucet). There is only so long you can make do with only a fireplace for heat. Sophie is barking her head off, it is a challenge to focus and write!

*however, skill of the teacher does -- and students do not recover from a bad three years in a row.

Monday, November 07, 2011

I scanned a lot more, here are a sample:

October 15, 1961, my Christening day. I was several weeks premature (5)? So I was small for a month old.
 It's funny, because most of the time on my birthday -- both as a child and adult -- I have a homemade cake, and that's my preference. But for my first it looks to be store-bought.
 This is at St. Francis DeSales Church in Phoenicia. 
I got the three above in the memory shadowbox my mother gave me for my birthday.
This is Bresee's Health Bar in Oneonta. I'm so glad I found it. Sadly, the Health Bar is no more. Lots of good memories from this place, including lunch there being the last time I saw a friend who died a week later. But that's hardly the only lasting impression, I ate there nearly every day and twice on Thursdays, when Main Street stayed open late. It was the site of many deep college-inspired discussions, also coffee was 25 cents a cup and two homemade cookies were another quarter -- or was it only fifteen cents? Even in the early '80s, that was dirt cheap. They had cream cheese on banana bread with a side of peaches as a daily sandwich choice. Our favorite waitress was named Grace, a tall, thin, aged, sturdy, lovely and kindly Otsego County lady, and she'd worked there for 40 years. RIP Bresee's!
 I liked getting my master's on this campus. Maybe because of its roots as a normal school? Was that a harbinger that eventually I would be teaching?
I have a few different views of Bishop's Falls, including a large framed photograph. This was the spot where they started the Ashokan Reservoir. Wish I could have seen it in the real world!
I tried to witness the meteor shower. Everyone else was asleep after midnight on Saturday, but I figured Sam would be willing to go out with me and wait. No such luck! After about 2 minutes he wanted go back inside. Meteor showers are not like Aurora Borealis - you have to be patient, willing to stay out there maybe an hour...certainly more than five or ten minutes, which is all I could manage. The skies were clear and the constellations easily visible, but no meteors. Oh well.

During my calm before the storm I am doing a little scanning. Here's the Watson Hollow Inn.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Warm and cozy near the fireplace, having hot chocolate. And we're getting our hour back! This is one night when it doesn't matter that much, though. I am hardly even tired. Whatever, happy to go back to real time nonetheless. Hoping to see the meteor shower tonight. There is very little light pollution here, so it is a good place to see it.

Friday, November 04, 2011

What a gorgeous day! Also a good one in that I have a brief lull -- caught up with everything (lots of epapers come in next week, also presentations start) - the calm before the storm so to speak. I finished the midterm marathon. One of those semesters where they were OK overall. OK means that there were only a few stunning ones; the majority were B range. A few were terrible (not due to skills but due to effort, it was so clear) and unfortunately the last one I read was the worst - almost made me mad. But, glad it wasn't the first one I read or I would still be procrastinating on that task.

So today I was able to catch up on minor details I have been putting off while I was absorbed elsewhere -- good old poop patrol and what may be the final weed whacking of the season, requesting my winter session blackboard class, trying to figure out how I can get CBS on the roku (the surface answer is you can't, but if there's a way, I will find it), organizing the emails that relate to my research in a separate folder, scheduling the last real-time chat with one of the groups in the online class.

I wore the the ankle brace part of the day on Wednesday while I was home, and all day on Tuesday and Thursday while I was on campus and elsewhere away from home. I don't like putting it on in the morning, I don't like how it slows me down when I walk (yesterday on the way to my afternoon class all I could think was "I really must look like a weird lady," but I do like that it takes away all the concern I have over twisting my ankle again, and I also like how my ankle feels as the day wears on: very good.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

We had about 25 trick-or-treaters. It was very busy until 7 and then tapered off. Early on I started to get worried we would run out of candy, but our neighbors turned off their lights and then the flow slowed to a trickle. Also, my ankle brace came. It is very sturdy. It isn't too heavy or bulky and it fits in my shoe, but it is hard to walk fast while wearing it. Still, I will put up with the inconvenience and wear it as much as I can.