Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday Morning

My morning actually started last night but after a few hours of sleep I’m back at my desk.  I can hear the crackling of the fire Ken has going.  He brought me breakfast this morning which was wonderfully sweet of him.  I’m looking out my window and loving the colors.  Yes we have a gray sky but the trees are just popping out against the gray.  On the tree outside my window there are a few gold leaves hanging on to the branches.  On one branch there is a smattering of them but in another section there is a lone leaf dancing in the wind.  It stubbornly clings to the branch like it is on a mission.  It is that happy gold / yellow color which always puts a smile on my face. 

If I lean over a bit towards the center of my desk, I can see the other tree in our front yard.  It is still plastered with leaves.  I also see the brown leaves on the ground contrasting in color with the still green lawns.  Through the empty branches of the neighbors’ trees I can see the orange and red of the other trees on the street.  There is just something about the colors of this season that gives me such pleasure.  It is a sense of peace. 

The weather has definitely turned colder.  We are in the 30s and 40s at night and aren’t getting much higher than 60 during the day.  It is a relief for me because I’ve never liked the heat of summer and we are now in that wonderful phase of cooler and pleasant before we go to the harsh cold of winter.

Yesterday I got a LOT of stuff done.  I got about a dozen things crossed off my lists.  I worked on stuff from all of my lists from crocheting to the business, to writing, to the longest list of schoolwork.  I spent the afternoon having a wonderful discussion with a friend.  I’ve not had a chance to visit with her in a long time.  It was fabulous to see her and have the time to just gab.  We caught up and talked politics and a variety of other topics.  It was the perfect relaxation I needed in the middle of my very busy day.

Today I’m going to tackle more on my lists.  At this point I sort of know what isn’t going to get done but I’m not quite ready to give up on it.  Maybe if I work really hard and fast I will get to it all.  (Stop laughing it could happen!)  It is time to put my hair up and get busy with all my tasks for the day.   

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Soap Box Moment.

This study was done by UC Berkeley which outlines how the state workers have taken the hit for the deficit problems but in reality the level of state workers hasn’t changed much in more than 30 years. 

It is one more nail in the coffin of those who keep trying to tell us we are the bad ones.  It is a slight of hand trick to attempt to have us blame the public workers (i.e. myself and a lot of other hard working people) for the collapse of the economy. 

Here’s the link to the article:
http://www.irle.berkeley.edu/research/state_budget_deficits_oct2011.pdf

I say stop blaming and shamelessly trashing everything the people have worked for.  Get the corporations hands out of your pockets.  Stop making decisions based on what the rich guys tell you needs to happen.  Start listening to the people you are supposed to be representing.  Stop trying to dictate morality with your attack on women’s rights, birth control.  Stop attacking the people who are least able to defend themselves – namely the poor, old, disabled. 

Start being innovative, cooperative, productive.  Get in the trenches with the people who are unemployed and help them help themselves.  That is all they really want is to be able to take care of themselves.  Stop pointing fingers and get your hands dirty as you dig into the real problems of our society and country.  We are all willing to work hard to keep our lives intact.  We aren’t willing to become surfs to the wealthy.  We fought a war against that – you might remember it from history.  It was called the Revolutionary War. 

If you don’t get on track with the people you represent then WE THE PEOPLE will vote you out.  We will rise up and tell you (we already are) and we will as a nation show you what it means to be an American and more - not just an American but a person of this world who cares about our neighbors. 

We claim to be a great country.  We need to prove it by showing how well we can work together to rebuild our world after the devastation it has suffered from wars, natural disasters, and unrest around the world.

Let’s work together to become what our founding fathers (and mothers) started us on the road to be.  Let’s become the example we want the rest of humanity to follow.

Big job – I know.  It can happen if we just stop all the negative finger pointing and work together.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Step Away from the Post-its

I should have my privileges for lined post-its taken away.  I have five lists of things to work on this weekend.  I spent twenty minutes with my lined post-it pad and came up with this multi-level to do list. 

On one hand it helps me prioritize and organize.  The lists allow me to see what needs to get done and figure out what needs to be done first.  It is great for keeping me on track.  I feel so accomplished when I cross off things.

On the other hand it stresses me out because I know that I will not get through the lists.  If I stayed up all weekend and worked constantly, I would still have things to do on my to-do list. 

Why do I do this to myself?  I have no idea.  Hopefully I can get a majority of the things crossed off my lists.  I may be exhausted and cranky by Sunday night but at least I’ll have accomplished things right? 

I have a midterm this next week.  I’m freaking out a bit about it.  Some of the material I know.  I understand it and have no problem bringing it to mind.  The rest of it though I don’t know.  I think we will be able to have our notes and books for the midterm which is a great bonus.  Still I’m worried. 

I think if I weren’t stressing about this midterm (and all the other homework on the list) I’d be doing better and the post-it pad might not have taken such a beating. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

WOO HOO!!!

I got my first 10 out of 10 quiz in my Language Studies class.  I’ve gotten everything from a 2 to an 8.  For me to get a 10 is AMAZING!!!  I’m so excited!!!

It may seem ridiculous to be so happy over a 10 point quiz but I’ve struggled in this class.  It is a tough one.  I don’t know that the topic is that difficult.  I think the book sucks.  I also think that the professor is teaching above what most students understand in an intro class. 

The fact that I did well is a relief.  Now the question is will I continue to do well.  I’ve got to make note cards / flash cards so I can study for my midterm tomorrow.  He gave us a project that a student did in a previous semester and I’m going to start with that.  Then anything from her notes I don’t understand I’ll add to with my own notes. 

I don’t know if the test will be in the classroom or on the computer.  I’m hoping for computer but I think that might be too much to hope for. 

For now though, I’m just thrilled with my perfect score!!!!  It very well could be the only one I get in this class.

Mindlessness

I’ve discovered that I require a certain level of mindlessness.  It doesn’t matter if it is playing on Facebook or a computer game, watching mindless tv or whatever.  There are times when my brain says enough and I require a break.  It is probably because I don’t get enough sleep and it is shutting down to sleep (even when it won’t let me sleep). 

Last thing at night I am generally on my computer.  I either answer emails or playing games – usually games.  At the end of the day, I seem to need to have that blank mind and not think about anything more strenuous than which card plays or find the objects listed. 

I’d rather not have these moments of mindlessness but my brain seems to be requiring them.  The thing is I could easily sit at my computer and write during these times.  In fact when I do, I am often energized and lose track of time.  (This is probably why I need the mindlessness.)  However, at 11 pm I need to be going to bed not writing in my novel.  Unless of course, I don’t need to get up the next day – then it is all about the writing.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Resolution - I guess

I met with the chair of the English department.  I got no options for fixing things this semester but I did get suggestions for faculty for next semester.  We will see.  I’m not holding my breath that anything good will come of my sharing the information.  

I’ve swapped over my formal project.  I still really want to do the other one but perhaps I’ll do that on my own.  I’m doing the Gricean Maxims which confuse the heck out of me.  I got him to agree to give points back if I prove my point.  I know it will be easy enough for him to say I didn’t prove my point but I hope that isn’t how he is.

Yesterday was full.  I paid bills, ran errands, studied, crocheted, hung out with Vicki, Ken and Beth.  It was a busy day.  When I finally headed to bed, I sat down to my computer and played a bit.  I was on the verge of shutting down completely when I went back into this short story I’m working on.  I worked till 3 am and now have a rough draft.  When I’m done with revising and editing it I’m hoping I can market it and get it published.  I am very pleased with it. 

This means that I didn’t get out of bed till 10 this morning.  It doesn’t bode well to getting a lot accomplished today but perhaps I just need a bit of down time. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

School

This week has been a disaster.  I’ve worked a ton of overtime to work on a huge project which is really only about half done.  I’ll be continuing to work on it this next week and I’m not sure how much overtime I’ll be putting in. 

There’s also been a bit of drama with school.  In my linguistics class I’ve been arguing with my professor about some of the answers on quizzes.  It isn’t really getting me anywhere but I at least want to make a good argument.  I’ve decided to step it up and start actually asking for points back because the subtle approach has not been working. 

Several of the students in my linguistics class have decided the professor is trying to fail everyone so they are taking it to the dean.  I’m not sure that is the right approach.  I’m sitting back and waiting.

I sent off three questions to my creative writing teacher.  One was for clarification on the comments she made on my paper – not saying she was wrong just looking for clarification.  One was asking about her grading scale.  One was a question on the next assignment.  Now I will concede that these were all in one day but I tend to ask things when I come across them.  It just so happened that I came across all of them at once. 

The professor was quite snarky about my questions.  Her attitude seemed to be “don’t question me”.  She insulted my ability to write which was very hurtful to me.  I know I’m a good writer and a good editor but for someone in that position to be so condescending it does make me question. 

I felt slapped.  I know that may sound harsh but if I can’t ask questions – particularly on the comments on my papers – then how am I going to learn?  I don’t know.  I guess then it just becomes her opinion which I can quite easily dismiss if I don’t agree with her. 

I’m disappointed with my creative writing class.  I was looking forward to some new and fun projects to expand my thinking and my abilities but I’ve got three books that don’t really help.  One of them I had to buy so now it is mine which after this class I will never open again. 

To me if you are teaching a writing class then the writing should be out there for discussion.  Here is my sample of work – how can it be made better.  We had a sample poem we had to edit but she never commented on the editing we did.  My question (which I’m not allowed to ask) is did I edit it the way she wanted?  What was she actually looking for?  There were some general comments but she couldn’t be bothered to comment on all the postings. 

I guess I’ll chalk this up to experience and make sure I do not take any more classes that she teaches.  I’ll also think twice before I take more classes.  If the teachers here aren’t able to help me grow then I need to go elsewhere so that I can expand my knowledge and my abilities.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Geekdom

Yesterday I worked on a formal project proposal.  I surrounded myself with grammar books and word origins books.  I looked on line for these types of books – not to borrow from the library but to add to my collection.  I’m currently reading a grammar book – partly to refresh my memory but also because I’m enjoying it.  I think it is official – I’m a word / grammar geek.

I finished my proposal and sent it off to my professor tonight.  Hopefully he reads it and will allow me to do it.  I have no idea if it is what he is looking for but I think it will be interesting. 

In my linguistics class, I’m not doing well.  There are a couple of concepts that I’m struggling with.  I am not one to give up lightly so I’m reading articles on one of the topics which I’m hoping will clarify it for me.  No, these weren’t assigned by the professor – I just don’t like not understanding. 

I emailed my creative writing professor thinking the grade she gave me on my story was a bit low.  Her response reminded me I’m good but I’m not perfect.  I definitely learned a lot from the response and it helped me to clarify a few writing issues. 

School is going okay despite my grumbling and frustration.  I have to remember that I can think and do the things asked of me.  It won’t necessarily be a cake walk.  If I don’t like an assignment then I have to work harder to make it my own. 

Ultimately the goal is to be the best damn writer and editor I can be.  These classes and degree are going to help me along that path so long as I stay out of my own way.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

New Publications

Circle Magazine came out while I was gone to Georgia.  I wasn’t surprised to see an envelope with it in when I got back.  I knew one of my articles was in it.  I was pleasantly surprised to find they had also published two of my poems in it.  I’ve listed them on my Credits page if you are looking for the titles.

It felt good to take my copy in to work and show some of my co-workers my accomplishment.  One of my student workers asked me a question which had me going well duh.  She asked if the magazine was nationally published. 

I’ve been in published in Circle for a while now.  It always feels good to be in such a nice magazine and to see my work in print.  I never thought about it quite that way before.  When I say – I’ve been published in a nationally published magazine – that sounds so accomplished I guess. 

I hadn’t thought that my affiliation with Circle and the magazine could be looked at that way until my student worker pointed it out to me.  I'll take the boost to my morale this gave me but try to stay humble because I’m still getting a lot of rejections. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Georgia

We had a great time visiting the girls.  Their new apartment is beautiful and fairly spacious.  It definitely fits the girls and their needs.  Just having the washer/dryer in the apartment is a huge convenience and bonus for them. 

We went to the zoo.  We also hung out at their pool one day.  I’m sure the southerners all thought we were crazy but some of us got in the pool and played.  It was mostly warm enough.  When the breeze picked up it was very chilly. 

Spending time with the girls and just being together was the best part of the weekend.  We played games, watched football (YUCK), picked on each other.  It was a good weekend. 

Now someone needs to invent the transporter so we can get to these locations in less time.  The fourteen plus hour drive was tiring to say the least.  On the way back was the worst because we were already tired from being so busy.  I did all the driving (partly because of my own stubbornness).  At the last gas stop I had a hard time standing because my knees were so sore.  Fortunately, I only took a day or so to recover.

Now we are back and trying to get back into the groove of every-day life.  I feel like I need a vacation to recuperate from my vacation but my desk is already so far behind there is no way I’d ever catch up if I took off again. 

Surgery and Other Updates

Last Wednesday I had sinus surgery.  It was a day surgery where they cleaned out my sinuses, straightened a deviated septum, narrowed some b...