Friday, July 31, 2009

RIP Little Marty Cat

Yesterday I went to the office to work on syllabi, program reports, filing, cleaning, etc. I had been there an hour when Slogger called me to tell me that he had come home from walking Roxy only to find Marty had passed on.

So I came home.

Apparently, her heart just stopped. She had been losing weight for quite some time, although the vets said there was nothing wrong with her blood work, her thyroid was fine, etc. I was hoping that I could fatten her back up and get her back to -- well, not to her prime, but at least to put some meat back on her bones -- but apparently her heart was too weak to go on.

We buried her in the back yard, found some beautiful stones to put on top, and drank a glass of wine in her honor. She was a sweet little cat, always a bit fearful, but she certainly had her playful moments. She has been part of my family for 14 years, and we will miss her. We do miss her, in fact. I keep looking around expecting to see her under a chair somewhere... and my other cat, Loner, is looking positively dazed and confused.

RIP little girl.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

United Breaks Guitars

I don't know why, but I can't stop playing this.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Year Ago, I Spilled a Coke on My Laptop

Here, for your reading pleasure, is an actual email I received recently from a student. I had emailed hir multiple times, reminding hir to turn in long-missing assignments. And here is what I received:

Hi, so let me start off by telling you about my laptop. A year ago I spilled a large coke on it and ever since it has acted funny as I'm sure you can imagine. Now I'm telling you this not as an excuse, just what I think is the explanation, as best as I can figure. When you told me last weds that I had never turned in my [third written assignment] I thought that was weird cause I remembered doing it, so I went home and looked on my hard drive and couldn't find it. Then when you emailed me about my [other big, important paper] I thought that was odd too, since again I remembered writing and turning it in. but again I searched my hard drive for it and couldn't find it. So I rewrote it and submitted it on Tuesday and now this email which I just received. Now I can't find the second paper I wrote nor can I find my final so my only explanation is that my computer ate it, which might be funny on any other occasion. I don't expect you to give me a third chance and to tell you the truth I'm not sure I could write that paper a third time. The only consolation I can think of is I thoroughly enjoyed your class and aside from hurting my wallet it won't be a hardship to take it again at a later date. Sadly my college career seems to be full of these pitfalls, all well se la vie right. Well I'm sorry our class has ended this way and I hope you won't hold it against me.



Monday, July 20, 2009

Lovely, Peaceful Weekend (and a new roof)

The roofers arrived on Friday and made loads of noise shoveling the three layers of previous roofs off the house. I was able to avoid most of it by heading in to the office to work on yet another version of a program report (gah), but poor Slogger and Roxy were home for a whole day's worth. And they stayed Friday night until around 8:15! And were back Saturday morning at 7:15 AM.

Howsomeever, we had a lovely surprise for Slogger on his birthday, which was Saturday. Slogger's daughter (City Girl) flew in to Big Western City, rented a car, and drove to High Plains City to spend a day with her daddy for his big birthday. I wish you could have seen the extremely stunned and surprised and delighted look on his face when City Girl drove up in her fancy red rental Chevy. I WISH I had had a camera, because that expression was truly priceless.

So on our block at that time, there were the following events taking place:
  • roofers hammering away on our house, plus their compressor roaring
  • a very popular yard sale at the house next door
  • a garden tour taking place across the street (which meant people parking and walking all along our street)
  • City Girl showing up

Needless to say, it was a bit crazed. Soon after City Girl arrived, we packed up and headed for the local park, where we spread a couple of blankets, drank some Snapple, and just got lazy for several hours. Yours truly went to a nearby deli and got sandwiches, so lunch was easy. It was a sunny, but cool day, so hanging out in the shade, with a bit of sun, was nice. And peaceful. And happy, with City Girl there to show her daddy that she loves him very much. Which also makes me very happy.

Around about 4, we headed home, and the roofers were gone, and the roof was finished. Peace. Quiet. And a new roof!

We grilled salmon and corn-on-the-cob, drank a couple of glasses of chenin blanc, had a nice ice cream cake for Slogger's birthday, and had a good night's sleep. Then on Sunday we drove up to the mountains to check out our camping site for August (which was a good thing, as it was almost completely encompassed by a snow bank, and we had to change to a different site), have a picnic lunch, and generally enjoy being up in the cool mountain air.

Then City Girl had to leave to make it back for her flight. This engendered a few tears, but they are tears of love, which makes them good.

Now it's 8:15 AM and we're still in bed.... can I just say that I'm SO happy that Slogger retired?

Off to get some breakfast and the office for me. My goal for the day is to get a complete draft of the program report finished.

I'm hoping that your weekend was as lovely; or if not, that you have some peace to look forward to!

Friday, July 17, 2009

All accomplished, and everything

This week, I've been working hard on catching up and getting a few things accomplished. Because I'm a big fan of lists, here's a list of what I've done:
  • Finished the IRB proposal for my grant research, and sent it in. Oops, I was supposed to do that when I applied for the grant, but didn't.
  • Got a good start on syllabi for my two fall courses.
  • Wrote about half of the program report, which is due September 15th.
  • Returned multitudes of emails and phone calls that came in and slipped through my Crackberry while we were traveling.
  • Started a chart on my master's students so I can keep up with where they are in their programs.
  • Recorded one set of assessment data for the program report; I still have one more set to go.

All of this makes me feel so virtuous that I will probably drink an extra glass of wine tonight.

P.S. So earlier I hinted about some good news, and I think it is time now to share it. A colleague from a university down south (I'll call hir Timex) and I decided to apply for the co-editorial positions for a journal in our field. We sent in our application materials, did a phone interview, wrote answers to questions, and waited. Last week (while I was sitting with Slogger undergoing an echocardiogram, in fact) we found out that the publications committee has selected us as the new editors. There is still some paperwork to be done, but... it's pretty much a done deal. We are thrilled! And scared, also.... but then it's both a huge honor and a great responsibility to the field.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Morning

We woke up early this morning, made coffee, let the dog out, and had blueberry pancakes for breakfast. The blueberries were courtesy of my beautiful mom, who sent us off from her place with a GALLON of frozen blueberries, which they picked last summer, I think. Wow. That's a lot of blueberry pancakes for us. And blueberry muffins, bread, etc. I might even make some blueberry salad dressing, if Sam will give me his fabulous recipe.

We've spent the last couple of days getting back into the swing of things here, recovering from our month-long trip, cleaning up, and doing laundry, etc.

Yesterday I picked up the cats from the vet, where they had been boarded for 40 days. It was expensive, but it was worth it to know that they were being well cared for. The cats are 13 and 14 years old, so I'm always concerned these days about their health. Marty, in particular, has been losing weight lately. She's always been a sickly and somewhat feeble cat, so I'm not sure what's going on with her. They did some blood tests and found nothing -- so I'm going to see what I can do here to put some weight back on her. Loner, of course, is fine, although he lost weight while at the vet as well.

The plan for today is to finish up the laundry, clean out the frig in the camper, and get going on a couple of projects for work. Boring, I know.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Highlights from the Hiatus

During my hiatus from this space, I did do some interesting stuff. Here's a smattering:

* I got a grant. A small one, to be sure, but still. I wrote the proposal all by my lonesome, sent it in, and voila, it was funded. I gather it's a fairly competitive thing, so it makes me feel good. Of course, I haven't started the research yet, and I may be singing a different tune when that happens....

* I got a graduate assistant. Starting in Fall of 09, I have a doctoral student to assist me in my teaching and research, which is very timely considering the grant (see above). The GA is a former student of mine and I think we will do quite well together. She'll be helping me teach my junior-level class in the fall, so that next fall she can take it all on her own. Next fall, I'll be teaching a doctoral course of some kind... happy dance!

* Slogger retired. As of the middle of May, he is officially unemployed. His retirement was a bit earlier than we had planned, but after his heart attack, I am MUCH less interested in him working. The job tended to stress him out, so we're hopeful of better health and strength as a result of retirement.

* Facebook ate all of my leisure time. Well, you already knew that.

There is some other potential good news soon to be announced (no, I am NOT pregnant. Much too old for that!), but I don't want to jinx it, and it's not quite a done deal yet.

In the meantime, here we are, sitting at a campsite in 95 degree heat. We're in the shade, and there's a nice breeze and low humidity, so it's ok. Looking forward to the sun going down, though. We've been out camping and touring the country in our new little trailer for the last month and a half -- we're on the homeward side now.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Roxy, the Rottador Princess: 8 Months

I thought some of you might be interested in how our little Roxy is coming along, so here are some pics:

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

New Gadget

As we were preparing for this month-long, whirlwind trip through over 20 states, visiting relatives and friends we haven't seen in years (along with a trip to Niagara Falls, my first, which was one of the only touristy things we did), we considered how we would maintain our oh-so-important connection to The Internet. This is an important thing for the two of us, as there are blogs and email to read, facebook to remain addicted to, and games to play online. How could we exist without those? Not to mention the increasingly frequent need for my students and former students to contact me two days before the deadline to get letters of recommendation!

Anyhoo, we had decided to buy one of those USB broadband connectors and pay the monthly fee to get on the internet, when we found this:

And boy howdy do we love it! It's the Verizon Wireless Mi-Fi 2200. Or as we lovingly call it, the Mo-Fo. Turn it on, put it out on a table (or as it currently sits, on the dashboard of the car) and it connects to Verizon's broadband signal, and provides wireless access for UP TO FIVE COMPUTERS AT A TIME! Yes, you heard me right. This means that Slogger and I can sit together in our campsite or in a family member's living room and ignore each other while surfing the web and fb-ing. Or blogging. Or whatever.
Love it!