Thursday, January 26, 2006

Cowgirls Beat CSU

Went to the Cowgirls basketball game last night with my spouse. Was it ever an exciting game. Here's the freakiest thing about it -- in the second half, with 15 seconds left in the game, UW was down by 5. 15 seconds. Down by 5.

Then Jodi made a three-pointer, Erin stole an inbound pass for a bucket, and voila! UW is tied with CSU, with 7 seconds left.

In overtime, we went on to beat CSU, 87-80 or something like that.

When we got home, I had a sore throat from screaming so much.

Not Really an Excuse

I know it has been much too long since my last post. No excuses. I should be posting more.

But . . .

(you knew that was coming, right?)

Here's the thing. I am not exactly anonymous here, and sometimes I get to wondering how I can really write anything somewhat approximating my experiences without pissing off my bosses, embarassing my students, implicating my spouse, or just plain making myself look foolish.

When those feelings overwhelm (and really, when the only things I have to talk about are things that would .... see above) I tend to go into hibernation. Work hard. And not blog.

But I had a bit of a breakthrough today, so I thought I would blog about it.

I'm teaching an intensive weekend course starting tomorrow, and planning for the Friday evening and all day Saturday has taken up a GOOD CHUNK of my time lately. Even with all of the work I've put into planning for the class, I started thinking this afternoon that I'm going to end up teaching until noon on Saturday and then run out of things to do.

That's a bad feeling.

So I sat down today, got out my composition book, and did some writing/thinking about what would I want to know about research in writing instruction at the secondary level, if I were a student in my class? Boom. Massive amount of content that I can deliver, that my students can debate and discuss and use for their projects, and that I actually have material on in my office. Cool, huh?

Topics to be enlarged upon before tomorrow afternoon at 1:00:

*** Research on response to student writing
*** Research on grammar and the teaching of writing
*** Research on the process approach to writing instruction

Now I must buckle down.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Triple the Fun

We returned home from our Christmas extravaganza at the home of my brother, his lovely wife, and their oh-so-precocious triplet boys (2.5 years of age), graced by the presence of Mom, Sam, assorted in-laws on either side, lots of booze, neighbors, parties, gifts, etc. What a fun and yet exhausting time!

My mom has written a lively, yet short recap of the experience. I'm still waiting on her permission to post it, but while I wait, I'll just let you know that I returned from Texas with a lovely cold and earache (thanks, boys!) that is just now beginning to simmer down.

Meanwhile, I'm working away on lots of projects, getting ready for next week when classes start, student teaching supervision begins, and I'll be making a trip to the center of the state to do some professional development in Casper.

It's lovely to be able to do all of this from home . . .

OK -- here's Mom's recap of

Christmas with the Triplets


Barbara M. Tobias

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and Matthew was running full tilt: through the den, around the corner into the living room, on into the dining room, back down the hall through the kitchen to make the full circle. Alexander was right behind him with William gaining fast. All three giggling and squealing with sheer delight. You don’t know how loud the pitter-patter of little feet can be until there are six little feet running, all fueled by the M&Ms they managed to get their hands on and the excitement of Christmas Eve.

They are not quite sure yet just what this Santa guy is up to, but everyone else is excited, so they’re in high gear too. Not enough to give serious consideration to being “good” but enough to lift the decibel level.

After they are finally asleep—at least we think they are sleeping—the six adults creep up the stairs to put Santa’s loot together. There is a bicycle. A real two-wheeler with training wheels. And there is a tricycle posing as a motorcycle complete with all the vroom-vroom sounds when you push a button. But the star of the show is a Hummer. Mustard yellow, squat and awesome. It runs on a rechargeable battery, moves when you press the “gas” pedal, turns when you turn the steering wheel, and even goes into reverse.

We were a motley team: two salespeople, one medical tech, one college professor, one computer programmer, and (thank Heaven) one mechanical engineer. But in spite of the somewhat limited qualifications, we managed to get most of the toys assembled. Getting the Hummer down the stairs was a challenge, but we were up to it.

And then we opened the box containing the table that was supposed to play host to a train track, trestle, bridges, and even the train. It contained no less than two dozen pieces, a bag of assorted screws, nuts and bolts, and not one single word of instruction. A three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle. The professor and the programmer looked at it, looked at each other, and called the engineer. There was a bit of trial and error. We discovered that you cannot put the drawer stops in place before the drawer is in its slots. We also discovered that right and left have meaning even when they are not marked.

There was much laughing and head scratching and video taking. I suspect the latter may lead to a bit of blackmail somewhere down the line, but not at Christmas, surely. We even managed to get the monster down the staircase and in place under the tree before exhaustion set in and we all fell into bed.

The first thing I saw when I stumbled into the room with the toys after the boys woke on Christmas morning was Will. He had a railroad car in each hand and was moving them carefully over the tracks. He continued to do so for the next two hours, ignoring all efforts to get him to open presents, play with bicycles or radio-controlled cars. He even ignored the mighty Hummer.

Matthew opened his own presents and was more than glad to help anyone else open theirs if they were not moving fast enough to suit him. Alex climbed on the tricycle and immediately mastered pushing buttons to make noises, although his real aim was to regain possession of the M&Ms that had been confiscated the evening before.

But the thing I will always remember about this Christmas is hearing the mother’s voice as I sat nursing a cup of coffee in the dining room: “No, Matthew, the Hummer will not fit into the kitchen.”

Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.