Tuesday, December 18, 2007

[WHOO-HOO-HOO-HOOOOOOOOOOO!]

I checked my grades this morning, and guess what.

I GOT A 4.0!!!!!!!!!!!  My first semester of graduate school, a.k.a. the semester from HELL, and I made straight A's for the first time since high school.

Oh, and I'm sitting in a hotel room in Tulsa, Oklahoma, waiting to board a plane tomorrow morning for Hawaii.  Yeah, that rocks.

I guess I get a little reprieve from the insanity also known as my normal life for awhile.  Yay!  My twitch in my nose is finally beginning to subside.

Friday, December 14, 2007

[Blue is Back]






The blue streak is back, boys and girls, and looking better than ever!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

[Narnia is Calling]

If you're viewing this entry from blogspot, click on the title to see the Prince Caspian trailer.

"Who Is This Lion?" (2004, with minor revisions)

Who is this Lion, this Aslan?
Who is this Emperor Over the Sea?
What is the Magic that beckons me out of my world
Into Narnia, Archenland, and infamous Calormen?
Satyrs, centaurs, unicorns, fauns, and dwarves,
Beasts that speak, mice that battle... and conquer
Sons of Adams, Daughters of Eve
The rightful rulers of Narnia
Moments into the pages I transform into
Tenderhearted Queen Lucy the Valiant
Changed and redeemed King Edmund the Just
High King Peter the Magnificent
Dubious Queen Susan the Gentle.
Yanked out of this dreary dimension,
Seated on the throne at Cair Paravel,
Sailing past the Lone Islands in the Eastern Sea
Traversing through the lilies--are they lilies indeed?
Drinking the life-giving waters of the Silver Sea.
As Susan and Lucy, I bury my tear-stained face
In Aslan's mane, drinking in His Lion strength.
I am a Lioness. I am ready.
Then, beyond the Last Battle, as the final star falls,
And the door closes forever on old Narnia,
With an icy blast that cuts straight to the bone,
I turn to eagerly drink it all in:
The Narnia with Narnia, all that is beloved.
My hair blows in the wind as I race on,
Faster than I ever believed I could run:
Further in, and higher up, and bowing before His throne.

Monday, December 10, 2007

[Free-Floating Anxiety Attacks at Midnight]

I definitely did not sleep well last night.  I think I had a free-floating anxiety attack; I'm not sure how fast my heartrate was, but I'm estimating it came in at around 120/minute... maybe more.  Oh, no doubt, the cold medicines contributed, but stress definitely had a hand in the tossing and turning.  Any sleep I did get was punctured with dreams that I'd forgotten to grade one student's papers or that I'd have nothing written for my term paper presentation tonight in Jane Austen class.  Fortunately, neither are true; I've graded every paper turned into me thus far (I've checked), and I have two pages written so far on my Jane Austen report.  I'll have an hour between my 110 final exam period and the Jane Austen class, so I should at least be able to come up with another page or two--enough to talk for 15 or 20 minutes.  I have until the end of the week to finish writing it, and now that I've made some headway (and broken through that bit of writers' block), I should have it finished by tomorrow night.  Thank You, Lord.

All, the same, I'm not feeling so hot right now.  I confess, I wasn't exactly brokenhearted to look outside at 7:30 and see that the parking lot looked icy; I had a valid excuse for emailing Dr. Cadle and staying in and sleeping for another two hours.  These two hours, unlike my night hours, were real sleep--but unfortunately, not enough.  I think I'm going to run over to the student union around 2:30 and grab an energy drink.  I'll be here (on campus) and active until around 10:00 tonight.  Wow, I'm dizzy.  Yup... PSU, here I come.  

Maybe I won't wait until 2:30... maybe I'll go now... maybe...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

[Final Exam Madness]

An always-relevant old poem of mine:

"The Set-up"
Why do I set myself up this way? 
I know it'll never get anywhere.
I know he'll never look at me
Through the eyes I gaze at him.
Yet here I go again, on the same
Old beaten, worn-out path of mine;
Accidentally-on-purpose trying to
Run into him, to sneak a taste of his smile--
Maybe even steal a friendly hug.
I fought hard not to do this again--I did!
"You fool!" I snarl to myself, nursing
The wounds of another disappointing near-miss.
I just keep repeating history, I know.
He'll meet the perfect girl--not me!
I'll spot the two, hands entwined...
She and he, happy.  Ignorant of the world around.
Me, left to dig my heart from the pit of my gut.
Yet here I am, building my hopes again.
Lord, why do I do this to myself?
Why can't that girl ever be me?
Lord, that time has come once again;
Please pick up Your broken-heart dustpan
Because You'll need it soon, I'm sure.
I've set myself up again, and there
Is just no turning back now.

I rediscovered some of my poetry a couple nights ago while I was cleaning out old papers that mean nothing.  I'll probably post a few here and there, when the mood strikes, always tweaking something between the reading and the writing.  I did just now... I think I changed about 15 or 20 words.  

I finished grading papers tonight (or this morning?)!  I barely made it through the last three, and yet here I am, wide awake.  I guess reaching that point wound me up.  I still have to check over the final exams on Monday and Wednesday, and I'll have a few scraggler papers, but by all comparisons, I'm finished grading.  Now, once I finish my term paper for Jane Austen and my term paper and test for Shakespeare, I'll be completely finished with this semester.  Hallelujah!  Oh, I'll miss my first two classes dearly, but oy.  I need a break like a fish needs the water.  

I mean, look!  It's after 3:30 in the morning, and my sleep rhythm is so screwed up I can't sleep!  I wasn't planning to go to church tomorrow though, thankfully, because of the weather.  I just don't want to get out in that crap--I'm still not quite accustomed enough to city driving to want to compile that with icy roads.  Blech.  

In honor of winter weather and impending winter break, here are a couple of haikus:

Home with family
Sleep each day till afternoon
God bless Christmas break

Cold December morn
My dog runs to lick my face
Tongue froze to my cheek

Before Christmas break
Panic echoes through the halls
Finals break our minds

Ahh... some things never change.  And to think, this time last year, I was convinced I was about to embark on my last ever round of finals.  Oh, how we eat our words!

Hmm... one more poem to end the night... Oh!  Here's one, in honor of my spastic emotions:

"Whirlwind"

Shrieking and dancing with glee
Sobbing, heart-wrenched with sorrow
Heart soaring on hopeful winds
Chest pounding with bitter tears
Numb, paralyzed, too exhausted to feel a thing
Waken, start the whirlwind all over again

...and to all a good night.  Oh, by the way, I looked out my window... I'm not the only one around here still awake at this hour.  I'm surrounded by freaks! :)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

[Hallelujah!]

I've finished all the assignments for two of my classes, and I think I may have done well!  I can't believe it, but as stressed and exhaused as I've been all semester, there is something of a chance (small as it may be) that I may end the semester with a 3.75 or even a 4.0!  Wouldn't it be wild if I graduated from grad school with a 4.0?  I doubt it will happen, but who knows?  The only reason I even consider it a possibility is that I got an A on my last Shakespeare assignment, and that's one of my two hardest classes.  

Anyway, this doesn't mean I'm anywhere near finished.  I still have 2 major term papers to write (and I mean every freakin' word), a comprehensive Shakespeare final, and 110 papers left to grade.  I really do enjoy reading and grading the memoir papers, but the position papers can drag a bit, and I'm still trudging through that pile.  It's not my students' fault--the majority of them worked very hard and it shows.  I'm just tired, and I get a little weary of seeing some of the same mistakes in every paper.  It wouldn't even be so bad if I didn't have to give comments, but trying to word the helpful criticism so it doesn't sound too harsh and discouraging can be difficult.  None of the papers are bad, and I don't want them to think their papers are.  At the same time, it can look a little contradictory if I say "good work" and only give them a C.  I have to give my reasons without sounding like a meanie.  

Geez, how can I already be hungry?  Crazy body.  You know, I think tomorrow might be a good day for some Chinese food.

Ooh, and I have my schedule all set up for next semester, classes I'm taking, teaching, my office hours, and all.  I hope this shows up alright:

 

 

 

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

9:00

 

English 603: Practicum

 

 

 

 

 

9:30

Church at NuBrew Church and Coffeehouse

English 500: Nonfiction Writing

 

English 500: Nonfiction Writing

 

 

10:00

 

 

 

 

10:30

 

 

 

 

11:00

 

 

 

 

 

 

11:30

 

 

 

 

 

 

12:00

 

 

Office Hours

 

Office Hours

 

 

12:30

 

 

 

 

 

1:00

 

English 110: Writing I

English 110: Writing I

English 110: Writing I

 

1:30

 

 

2:00

 

 

English 110:

Writing I

 

English 110:

Writing I

 

 

2:30

 

 

 

 

 

3:00

 

 

 

 

 

3:30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4:00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4:30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5:00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5:30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6:00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6:30

 

English 600: Research

 

 

 

 

 

7:00

 

 

 

 

 

 

7:30

 

 

 

 

 

 

8:00

 

 

 

 

 

 

8:30

 

 

 

 

 

 

9:00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, if you're looking for me at all this spring, you'll know where I am.  Looks like my Mondays are going to be almost as dreadful as this semester.  Still, I get a longer afternoon, so naps are an even greater possibility.  I may survive.  

I am looking forward to sitting under a palm tree for three weeks with a ball of yarn, two knitting needles, and a small pile of books.  Oh, sure, I could stake out and search for cute guys, but frankly, that could end up being even more stressful than this semester has been.  I think I'd be safer keeping an eye out for the fellas that live around here... and certainly not until I get back and rested.  ;)

I hate to say it, but I may need a stronger prescription on my glasses again this year.  I'm not sure... maybe it's just glare on my lenses.  Either way, my eyes are crying out for rest.  I guess that's my cue. 

Good night, all!  I hope my next post is a little more coherent. :)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

[Classics Aren't Classics With Commercials]

As a passionate classic movie lover, I have a very difficult time watching these films on any channel other than TCM.  Right now, I'm watching White Christmas on ABC Family, and because of the commercials, they keep cutting out certain lines that I expect and look forward to.  It's making me downright twitchy!  The worst is that TCM isn't even showing a lot of the Christmas classics this year.  Oh, it's not that the movies they've scheduled aren't completely fabulous, but for pete's sake, I expect to see White Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, and It's a Wonderful Life, even if I have seen them too many times to count.  Le sigh.

I think it's so sad that the Hollywood dream of thin as beautiful has caused so many performers to starve themselves.  For example, by White Christmas,  Vera-Ellen had had an eating disorder so long that she had to wear turtlenecks to cover up the damage from starving herself.  She was so beautiful--she didn't need to do that to herself (not that anyone ever should need to; that's not how I meant the statement).   

I'm really getting sick of this sore throat.  It's not bad--I mean, I can swallow with relative ease, and it's not that scratchy type of raw.  Really, it's more like my throat's just been rubbed too much--that kind of raw.  It keeps making me cough, and I can barely speak.  Gosh darn it, I just want to sing at the top of my lungs!  Ah, well.  That's actually why I decided not to become a vocal performance major in college, like I'd always intended to--I get hoarse too often.  

I'm finishing up the Christmas decor.  I traded out the autumn potpourri (pumpkin spice) for the red Christmas selection (apple cinnamon).  After I drop by Pier1 tomorrow after church, I'll be set.  

Ooh, I checked one more thing off my to-do list this evening: I finished posting my six assignments for the portfolio in my teaching practicum class.  I'm hoping to get my Tuesday homework finished early tomorrow so I can get an edge on my Jane Austen term paper (I have an oral presentation for it; otherwise, I'd jump into the Shakespeare one first).  I'm boring you, aren't I?  Sorry.  

I need cough meds... but I think I'll wait until about 10 minutes before I go to bed.  It usually knocks me out quite effectively.

Argh... they just cut out another scene!  Oh, and now I'm hungry again... thanks "sleepless sequence."  

I ordered books today... a grand total of $200.  It's lovely.  Plus, I get to pay two months' rent this week, since I'll be out of the state for three weeks around the first of January.  Here's hoping my parents and I can find a small, inexpensive place in a safe part of town this spring.  I'm not fond of dishing out 2/3 of my monthly income to pay rent.  

Aw, dear old General Waverly!  Grrr... more commercials.

Well, that's all the coherent (ha!) thought I possess for tonight, so I'm out.  Have a stress-free week, everyone!

[Tumultuous Tumble of Thoughts]

Well, first of all, I should've been asleep two hours ago, but how often do I really end up going to bed when I intend to? It's a rare occurrence, to be sure. Well, I've been home since Tuesday, and while I have finished nowhere near the amount of schoolwork I meant to finish, under the circumstances, I feel I've done pretty well.

What are said circumstances? Well, first off, I'm sick again. Yes, I know I just got over that sinus infection, but probably within two days of being able to breathe again, the crud pretty much transferred itself into my upper chest. Now I've got a sore throat, almost no voice, and a nagging cough keeping me from relaxing. Actually, this all feels like a mild version of the virus I had back in March when I thought I had pneumonia. Yippee.

Also, we've had a full house since yesterday. Aunts, uncles, small-children-type cousins, and family friends have kept the activity levels way up above the level to which I'm accustomed, and the two little kids are very energetic. I didn't get anything accomplished yesterday OR today.

I'm heading back to my apartment tomorrow, though, so I'm hoping to at least get through one paper and my smaller assignments that are due on Monday and Tuesday. Here's hoping, anyway. Really, the way I feel, all I want to do is sleep (which I'm well aware is the best thing for what I have), but with only two weeks left in the semester, I can't afford the time. I just have too much I need to finish in the next two weeks.

Confession time: as much as I get sick (and I'm honestly sick when I say I am--I'm not a hypochondriac, and my symptoms are very tangible), I hate admitting to it. I feel like I'm making--no, I feel like I sound like I'm making excuses for myself, like I'm too lazy to do the things I need to do, so I make up reasons for having low energy, not going to a class, or not getting an assignment finished by the due date. But that is not the case. I seem to just be one of those people with "weak constitutions," like they called that sort of existence back in the day, where I just have a low limit on how much I can push myself before my body gives out. I hate it, and I wish I knew the reason. My guess, obviously, is all the surgeries my body has undergone; perhaps they've just taken a toll on my body's ability to handle steady strain. I don't know. It does frustrate me though.

Okay, I'm going to bed now. I think I've gotten some of the jumble out of my head and into words, and maybe now my brain will let me sleep. Good night all!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

[Argh... Wicked Insomnia!]

It's 2:30 in the morning, and somehow I find myself simultaneously hopelessly drowsy and painfully wide awake.

Friday, November 16, 2007

[Longing for Christmas Break]

Well, we've reached the final throes of the semester, and I'll be leaving this experience of my first semester of grad school with the solemn vow to never take more than seven hours of classes while teaching ever, ever again--no matter how long it takes me to graduate. I have never been this stressed out this often in my life. While in the past, I've averaged about two major nervous breakdowns per semester (midterms and finals, usually), I've had one about every two weeks all semester this time. Yeah, 10 hours of classes while teaching 6 hours is hopelessly over-optimistic... at least for me.

For the next week, I'll be writing and grading papers like there's no tomorrow. I finally have some time off, but that's only from class.

So, in order to cheer myself up, I began decorating for Christmas about two weeks before Thanksgiving:




Do you think I have enough books and movies?  I sure don't.  :)

Ooh, I made lasagna for dinner tonight.   It's good stuff... but I definitely ate too much.  I'm so ashamed.  Okay, not really.

In spite of my busyness, I've been getting more involved in my church up here in Springfield.  I've met some really great people so far; it's kind of like a grown-up version of CCF.  

Ugh... I've been hitting up the Claritin D a lot lately (thank you sinus infections!), so I'm a little sleepy tonight.  

I'm trying to decide if I want to stay up and watch Arsenic and Old Lace or just go ahead and crash to rest up for an intense week of paper-writing.  Knowing procrastinator-me, I'll end up doing the former.  Aren't Saturdays lovely?!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

[He Does Not Forsake Me]

My whole life right now is school.  Sunday morning, I go to church, but the rest of the week, I read, I write, I study, and I go to class.  Period.  Socialization?  Ain't happenin'.  And, if you know me, you know that sort of existence tends to have a rather detrimental effect on my psyche.  

Sure enough, I've been dealing with the old "singleness depression" that comes back to haunt me every month or two.  In fact, Saturday night, I was up late praying about how I'm tired of not dating--ever.  I'm tired of having had a solid 24 year dateless streak.  Even most of the ones who claim to have never had a significant other generally have gone a few dates or have had one of those awkward elementary/middle school hand-holding "boy/girlfriends."  Me, not even that.  So after whining about that on Saturday night, I go to church Sunday morning, and guess what the sermon contained?  A point on God's timing.  In face, Rich came out and said almost word-for-word the thoughts that had been going through my mind the night before.  "Some of you are tired of waiting.  You want to get married now, but you're not even in a relationship.  Maybe you aren't even dating."   

Amazing, isn't it?  It's like God was reminding me that He really does listen to and care about my longings.  He's not just shrugging it all off until He's good and ready to let me find Mr. Right.  There is a reason that I'm single now and have been all my life.  He's got a purpose, but that doesn't mean He doesn't understand my frustrations or my loneliness.  He understands more than I do, and He knows how hollow the words "wait on God's timing" sound at this point in my life.   Yes, they do still sound hollow, even when it's apparently a message directly from God in response to my prayer.  I understand that I have to wait and that there is a good reason for the delay; that, however, does not detract from the loneliness.  It's there, and there it will remain (in varying degrees, depending on my moods (and hormones, if I'm really honest)) until the time is right.  It hurts, and God understands that.  He's not just ignoring my pain or expecting me to forget about those feelings.  But He does ask me to trust Him, lean on Him, and curb my anger.  

I have not been forgotten.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Monday, October 01, 2007

[The Migraine Saga Continues]

Ugh, I got hit with a good one today. Usually, all I get is a perpetually recurring headache on the left side of my head, but when I'm getting a hardcore, I get dizzy and lose my ability to concentrate.

This afternoon, I was teaching my two freshman comp classes; during the first class, my thoughts flowed clearly and my students seemed to respond well to my explanations. The second class, which is immediately next, I could not explain anything to save my life. I kept trying to pass out the same worksheets I'd passed out 2 minutes before. I think my students were getting concerned; I know I was.

Then, I got home, and the pain hit. Fortunately, Aleve took care of the pain (for once), but I still had a 6:30-9:30 class left. I almost didn't go, and it's a good thing I did--the discussion was Pride and Prejudice, which I pretty much know like the back of my hand. Still, my head is spinning like a top, and I'm putting off responding to student emails until tomorrow morning.

You all are used to me saying silly things. Okay, they are too, but still... I need to maintain some level of dignity!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

[Epiphany of the Week]

Having read a plethora of constructive criticisms from my students and having had my emotions fluctuate along every point of the spectrum moment-by-moment, I've come to a conclusion. My teaching style will not work for everyone. For some, it's exactly what they need and want. For others, it's too much work. For others, it's not enough work. For some, it's the right energy level. For others, it's not enough excitement.

Even if I tried to adjust my style to suit some people who are discontented, others in the classes would become discontented. My teaching style is my teaching style, and while I will and will be able to make some minor adjustments for improvement's sake, thanks to some of the feedback, sometimes, I just have to stick to my guns and 'fess up that I have to do what works best for me as a teacher. For me, electronic submissions are the most reliable and fair means of turning in assignments. For me, posting on rough drafts on Blackboard works best, because it allows my students to see what others are doing and to give positive feedback. I can't be holding everyone's hand, and if they work together, they'll get more accomplished. Journals and Blackboard postings may seem a lot of commitment, but the benefits outweigh the annoyances.

Oh, and I need to learn how to separate my emotions from teaching a little bit more, or I'll find myself a nervous wreck from now until retirement.

Side note: I'm now the proud owner of the DVDs for every season of Gilmore Girls except for season 7! I love birthdays. I can't wait until I can get my hands on them. Homework will be so much more delightful running off of the high that comes from watching an hour of Gilmore Girls' fast talk.

Oh, and my dog is mad at me. I have a suspicion why--something to do with my paying more attention to my computer and grading papers than her--and I'm thoroughly convinced that she is beyond spoiled. Brat. But I love her anyway.