Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Homestretch - finally

After spending a week in 60-degree temperatures, I drove back to Columbia yesterday and today I woke up to this! Glad I drove up yesterday and didn't have to worry about getting home in bad weather. It's supposed to continue to snow until tomorrow morning and then warm up a bit for the remainder of the week.

I didn't want to leave Arkansas after a week of play. It was quite exhausting, all the visiting and eating with friends and family, the shopping, and going to the movies. What a fun week! I did have to play referee between Muki, the 14-year-old cat, and Abby, the 11-year-old dog. Don said his house was like a retirement home for old pets. Muki was aggravated that his space was invaded by a dog and Abby was so jealous of Muki when I pet him, that by the end of the week they were fighting quite a lot. It was funny, really, since Muki has no claws (on any of his four paws) and Abby is a wimp. It really was like watching geriatric boxing.

Emily and I went to see THE MOVIE - twice. Three times for Emily, actually, twice for me. If you don't know about this movie and the phenomenon of the books, then you've been underwater for a while. I have to read the series for a teen lit. class I'm taking next semester and I can't wait now that I've seen the movie. I think the author nailed teenage romance and Emily is absolutely in love with the series and now the movie. I am just happy that so many young girls are reading now! Seems that most of their mothers have read this particular series, too, and I can't remember that ever happening, even with Harry Potter. Dawn read the series in less than two weeks.

Reece is just as sweet and cute as ever and I was able to see him plenty and have some quality time with him. We had a good time shopping for basketball cards and looking at sporting goods. He also reads and enjoys discussing books with me - he's the perfect kid!

Emily and I had a great time together as well and I was lucky enough to see her play two basketball games last week. I miss attending those games!

Mom's Thanksgiving meal was beyond delicious. Thanks for going to all that trouble, Mom! We all enjoyed it.

Two more weeks of teaching and two more papers to finish, which must be done by Dec. 15, then I'm off work/school for a month! Words can't describe how excited I'll be when I submit that final paper.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I'm Almost Beginning to Relax

I've been home all day working on a final project for one of my classes. We have to come up with a program for a public library. Since I had no idea how to go about creating such a program, I brought home some books from the library on the subject and have been researching all day. I've finally decided that I'm going to "do" an adult reading program which will meet once a month for ten months. Each month will feature a book from a particular decade of the twentieth century, beginning with something written from 1900-1909, then the 1910s, 1920s, you get the idea. I got this great book from Barnes & Noble that's helping me choose books that really represent some aspect of each decade in American history. Oh, and the books are all written by American writers. I'll post the reading list after I've decided which books to use for certain. How does that sound for a reading program? It's sort of like a book club, but sponsored by my imaginary library.

Just two more days until I get to kiss these sweet boy cheeks:

I can hardly wait to see him and his big sister. You know, the one who dates boys.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Girls should not be allowed to date until they're twenty-five years old.

This ain't right. She actually went to a dance with this boy, her boyfriend, in his car. With the boy driving the car. That means she went on a Car Date. Did your moms use that term to refer to your dates with boys who were old enough to drive? My friends and I thought it was the dumbest thing we'd ever heard. Of course we were WAY smarter than our moms, then.

(Isn't she cute, though?)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

"I wanted to talk about how we had nothing to talk about."

My internet service, the one I pay for, has been down for three days. I called the company three days ago and was told that a fiber optic cable had been cut and Missouri and Iowa folks were out of luck until it is repaired, and of course the guy on the phone had no idea how long that would be. So, I'm using my wireless and hoping it continues to work until my regular service is back on. What do you bet that when I get my internet bill I'll still be required to pay for those days I didn't have service? This happens often enough with them that I think I'll call and tell them I'm prorating my payment. Nice thought, but I probably won't do it. Probably for the same reason I don't ever return stuff. I hate returning merchandise and will only do it if it's something I need to replace. If it's something trivial that doesn't work, or I just don't like, then I'll throw it away rather than return it. My mom buys clothes without trying them on, takes them home, tries them on, and then has to return at least half of what she's bought. Not me. I'll suffer trying on everything in a dressing room before I'll take something home that I might possibly have to return.

I am working this afternoon and then I'm coming home and working on papers, assignments, etc., until I pass out from exhaustion. At least that's the plan. I have so much work to do before Thanksgiving break it's frightening.

While I've enjoyed reading most of the required reading for my classes this semester, I've experienced a Tudor withdrawal, but I found THIS BOOK at the library yesterday so I'm going to be okay for a while.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"Who's gonna turn down a Junior Mint? It's chocolate, it's peppermint, it's delicious. "

Once again, I have a paper to write. It isn't due until next Tuesday, but I also have a project due next Monday in another class, so I have to get started on the paper today and finish it by Friday. That's the plan. Only I don't want to. Any of it. Do. I want to read and clean out closets and organize CDs and watch movies. Doesn't this whole thing smell of end-of-semester-burn-out?

Reece called me yesterday afternoon and talked for 45 minutes. I just love that boy. He was on eBay shopping for football and basketball posters and describing his finds to me, while I was melting away into a puddle of love mush. Anything he says is the cutest thing I've ever heard.

I called Emily last night after work and we talked for a while, too. I call her every Monday night around 9:30. That's the only time I know she's home and not busy, so we've made it our time to talk. She's doing great and is so wonderful and smart that I forget she's a 14-year-old youngun'.

Just got a phone call from Sandy. She interviewed at the MU Library yesterday and she's relieved that's over. Hope she gets the job. She told me I'd been writing a lot about her lately and I told her that she was just about the only person I talked to these days. Have I mentioned that I'm ready for this semester to be finished?

Saturday, November 08, 2008

It's easier to come up with a post than it is to give it a title.

I was all set to write a happy entry this morning until I looked at and read about those poor kids in Haiti. How could a school building just collapse? Easy, when there are no building regulations. Of course, according to CNN, "Preval (Haiti's president) has since called for a review of building-construction guidelines." Isn't that how it always is in these situations? I remember a bridge collapsing a few years ago, I think it was in the northeast U.S. and drivers, in their cars, crashed into a river and many were killed. I'm sure the authorities knew the bridge was unsafe. And what about Katrina? It makes me ill thinking about the neglect and how unaware we are of most of it until it's too late.

On a lighter, much lighter, note, my friend Sandy passed her comps. exams and is coming over later to gloat and do the victory dance. Actually, she and one of her boys are coming by and we're going to lunch, then she's going to read a presentation to me for practice before her job interview on Monday. If you're not in the academic library world, you probably don't know, and you would not believe, what you have to go through just to interview for a job. It's an all-day, or sometimes a two-day event which involves coffee with people, lunch with more people, a presentation on your part, an actual interview, tours of the library, dinner with more people...good lord I'm nervous just thinking about it. And Sandy's doing all that next week.

I have to work at the library this afternoon. Saturdays are good in the library; it's calm, quiet, very little drama, so I can usually get my papers graded and do some of my own school work.

Big kiss to Emily and Reece. I miss you so much.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Vandelay Industries

You should go here and click to give on the Literacy Site when you have time. It's free, you just have to click. There are also several places on the website and links to other sites that have some great gift ideas.

I am so sick of school. I get this way after midterm sometimes, but this time I'm really bad. Every day I have to make bargains with myself to get my work done, like, "Okay, Vanessa, if you get two pages finished of assignment X, you can watch one episode of "Project Runway." (or any DVD)

Just finished this book upon the recommendation of several people in one of my classes. Possibly one of the worst books I've ever read. Don't bother with it. This one is on my nightstand now. Haven't read that many mysteries, but they're fun once in a while.

I'm watching Seinfeld reruns and Kramer just finished preparing a salad in his shower. He has a garbage disposal in the bathtub. I never get tired of that show and find at least once a day I relate some situation in my life to a particular episode.

Have to turn off the TV now and get back to work so I can watch more TV. (I are not much of a scholar.)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Nobody says it better than this guy.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

My Reviews For Today

Here's a book I just wrote a review about for one of my classes. What a story. One of my best friends throughout school was a darling girl named Sylvia, who was from almost an identical background as the author, but who was lucky and was adopted by parents who loved her. I kept thinking about her while reading the book. Recently finished this one, too. The author was married to Louise Erdrich, whom you may know from her excellent Native American writings. I loved the book and recommend it.

I watched this documentary last weekend and cried my eyes out. It was one of the best docs I've ever seen and I can't get it out of my mind. Honestly, we think WE Americans have problems. Please, please watch this DVD.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Mondays Aren't So Bad

Congrats to Sandy for finishing with comps yesterday. Comprehensives are those nasty tests you have to take in order to graduate. My first time in grad school, I got with a really good study group and we studied for two years for comps. Yes, two years. We met at least monthly and we all passed all parts of the exam on the first attempt, so it was worth it. Anyway, Sandy, I know you're relieved they're over. Wish I'd taken them, but I get to have my fun next spring. It makes me a little bit ill just thinking about it.

I'm getting excited about Thanksgiving break and going home to see the family. I am thinking that I'd like to bake some pumpkin pies and I want to use fresh pumpkin. Doesn't that sound good? With freshly-whipped cream? I need to learn how to bake pumpkins before then, though. Any suggestions?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

I'm Aunt Vanessa, and I approve this message.

"It seemed that each time we would become proficient at a given task there would be a change made for no apparent reason. It sometimes appeared that changes were made simply because sufficient time had elapsed since the last change. And then our efforts would begin again from the beginning." -General Adalphos

I had no idea how much I was afraid of change until I left my family and everyone I knew a little over two years ago to pursue a new career. Everything I do now is a change from what I was doing a couple of years ago, except for Abby. Yes, people relocate all the time, I know. Only I never did until I was in my forties. And I was excited, but very afraid, and I'm not usually afraid of anything. Now that graduation is approaching, I have to begin my search for a job and I'm up for anything. Maybe Portland, OR. Or Seattle. Or a small coastal town in New Jersey.

Who knows?

All I know is that I have no fear and can't wait for the next chapter to begin.