Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Leap Year!

Should we be exchanging presents?
I'll trade a whole bunch of snow for some warm sun.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Oh just you wait and see

This editorial was published in the college newspaper this week.
At first when I read it I was so pissed off to think that this student is so presumptuous to think they have it so hard and everyone else has it so easy that I almost considered writing a letter.
But after a while my anger/perturbation died down to the point where I know that they will find out soon enough.
They just need to wait and see how easy they have it.
Oh yes.
And please, share your thoughts!
(P.S. I've changed the name of the school to protect someone's identity, I'm just not sure who.)

Professors give too heavy of a workload
Can students handle it?

Let’s break this down step-by-step — to get an A in a course, professors say that students must study for three hours for each hour of class. If you are taking a three-credit class for three hours per week, you need to study for nine hours for that particular class. Now, most students take the average 15 credits per semester, so that makes 45 hours of studying a week to get a perfect 4.0 grade point average out of the 15 hours in class. A majority of TCAB classes have countless books to read, papers to write and tests and quizzes to study for during a 24-hour period.

Forty-five hours of studying each week is like having a full-time job, however, a fair majority of full-time jobs consist of only working 40 hours per week. Even though students study more than the average adult works, the adult-work world has more benefits than the student work world.

First of all, full-time workers are given vacation days, sick days and emergency days off from work. They can take a week off and travel around Europe or stay home to relax. If a full-time worker has the flu or needs to take care of a sick spouse, they are allowed to take a sick day. If a family member or close friend dies, full-time workers are allowed to attend the funeral and mourn for their loved one for a few days — if a full-time worker didn’t do this, we would think they had something wrong with them.

Now, a majority of TCAB policies and professors do not follow full-time work procedures or allowances. There is only spring break in the Spring semester and mid-semester break and Thanksgiving break in the Fall semester. Breaks are supposed to be a time of rest and relaxation, yet everyone is catching up on homework or extra-long readings professors assigned because they figure we have more time over breaks to complete readings and papers. If we try to take a day for ourselves, we immediately get behind with assignments and scramble to catch up.

Documented sick and emergency days are permitted at TCAB, but some professors are reluctant to have us miss class for those reasons. It’s true that we can never get back that class we missed, but sometimes true emergencies are more important than taking notes.

According to Your Right to Know and Academic Policies Handbook, chapter seven clearly defines what will count as an acceptable and excused absence: “Absences will be excused for documented illnesses, official representation of the College, death of a close relative, religious holiday and other circumstances beyond the control of the student.”

Though students may not be officially penalized for those reasons, some professors become annoyed when we miss class. Also, as people we are offended when we have to bring in obituaries to prove a relative’s death. We’re grieving here — have a little faith in us.

Additionally, the average full-time worker, like teachers or lawyers, is able to leave work at their job and not bring work home. In college, students have a multitude of other activities outside of attending classes and completing the required 45 hours of studying a week. Students have jobs — sometimes full-time off-campus jobs or on-campus jobs. Of course, sleep, showering and eating must be factored into a day as well as time to hang out with friends or to just take a five-minute breather.

Some professors say that college is preparing us for the “real world,” yet, they seem to be preparing us to the extreme. All we are asking is to consider lightening the work load because we have other classes and lives outside of school. Besides getting a good education, college is supposed to be full of fun memories, sporting games or random adventures.

In other words, let college students be college students while we still can. Let us read one less book or slightly shorten a paper length. These four years truly go by fast and we want more memories than all-nighters in the leading library with Red Bull as our only source of social interaction.

I think they've forgotten their 6 week break between the fall and spring semester as well as the almost 4 months off in the summer. They'll miss that time off when they hit the real world.
And I have to wonder, do they think that no one takes work home with them? When do they think their professors grade their work, only during the alloted 40 hour work week?
Oh yes, my dear, just you wait.
Reality will come knocking very soon and you'll remember college as "the good old days" when there weren't so many demands on your time.
Just you wait and see.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What's for supper?

A paper to finish = pizza for supper.

My creative thought process is not aided by thrusting my hands into hot, soapy water following a meal.
Eat off paper plates, kids.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Big, Huge Congratulations

Congratulations to Major Knitter.
I wish I could have been there with you but I was definitely there with you in spirit.
I'm so happy for you and your DH (no longer BF "boyfriend" but still BF "best friend"!) and wish you eternal, endless blessings.
Beautiful chuppah, by the way!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Size of My Class

I was called upon to teach Sunday School this past week.
I'll pause while some of you laugh.
Hey, I'm good with the kids, we have a good time, and I am able to keep inappropriate comments out of my conversation for a few hours out of the week.
Now the great thing about New York schools as opposed to Virginia schools - or really DoD schools which is all we know - is that the kids get a week off in February for a mid-winter break and then another week in April for spring break. Do any other state schools do that?
Of course it never coincides with the college's spring break.
Could be.
So because many families have (a) money, (b) the ability to take a vacation from work, (c) a husband who is not recovering from knee surgery, and (d) someone to watch their pets or no pets, they are able to take a vacation.
We're here - but that's okay.
I went to church on Sunday with DN2 because it is her class for which I am a substitute. I want to show you a picture of all the kids in my class this Sunday:
Tell me she didn't love having individualized attention for an hour and a half (I was also teaching Children's Church too). So we left at 11:30 instead of 12:00 with a lesson left untaught. That can be taken care of next week when more kids are around.
And because there was no one else around I put in a few rows of my kerchief, again from Last Minute Knitted Gifts:This is what I worked on at the movies and you can see it is a simple garter stitch kerchief scarf using yarn from my stash - yea for me!
The yarn is Shine Worsted from Knit Picks and I'm interested to see how it looks when it is tied around my neck directly under my double chin.
Sounds attractive already, right?
Perhaps I'll use it as a head scarf.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Number Three Movie

I watched 2 movies this weekend.
Well technically I watched more television but if it is a partial movie, like Sands of Iwo Jima or Lover Come Back, I won't count that.
On Saturday night I rented Becoming Jane. Has anyone else seen it?
Now I have to say that I am not a huge Jane Austen fan, but I do know a bit about her life.
This movie seemed to be about a woman who happened to be named Jane and who happened to live during a particular period than actually being a semi-biography about Jane Austen. First I thought the casting was off. Jane Austen has always struck me as being particularly tiny and Anne Hathaway, while beautiful, is not petite. James McAvoy, her costar, however, is petite so I kept watching how they paired the two of them up and changed some of the cinematography to accomodate their difference in height. The Virgo in me was irritated by tiny details like that.
So the movie was okay, but like I said, more as if it were some sort of period romance than an actual adaptation of events in Jane Austen's life.
The second movie I saw this weekend - in IMAX - was The Spiderwick Chronicles.

That movie was a lot of fun.
Sure Freddie Highmore's voice can be irritating, especially when he uses an American accent, but I'm sure that will change once his voice changes and you know that kid is an amazing actor.
Now I've never read any of the books so I had no idea what the story was about before we went into the theater, but did I enjoy the movie! And at IMAX the light is strong enough to knit by so I worked on my kerchief from Last Minute Knitted Gifts.
How about that, eh.
As I said I've never read the books but I did stop and buy book one on the way home. It took me about 20 minutes to read - c'mon, it's children's literature - but it is a well-told story with wonderful illustrations. And if I judge the movie based upon just this first book they really did not change the film so much that it makes it unrecognizable. Even better is the fact that there are five books in the series and this movie encompasses all five. Kind of nice. No need for a sequel.
Sure there were times when I knew exactly what was going to happen, but that happens in a lot of movies.
Bottomline - I was entertained from start to finish. Never a dull moment, I assure you.
So go see it, I cannot recommend it enough.
Unless you have small children, and then you might want to know that there are parts that are a bit scary, but the ending is happy.
And you'll cry a bit.
Well I did.
(Oh, and it was number 3 at the box office this weekend, hence the title of my post, in case any of you were wondering.)

Friday, February 15, 2008

In the Name of Bob

I thought this Ballard Street comic would make you laugh:
DN2 names everything Bob. She has 3 goldfish and they are all named Bob -- Bob, Bob Jr. and Bob III. She has a birthmark she calls Bob the Happy Slug. And then there are all the Bob jokes.
You know those - I shouldn't have to repeat them (although I will if pushed).
Boring Valentine's Day in my household - I worked until 5:00 (gasp!) and then had class at 6:00, so no special gifts.
Oh well.
And no knitting to show you - I've been spending too much time reading and falling asleep watching tv. Kind of dangerous with size 7s in your hands, but I know many of you have done that too.
Raise your hand if you have - but don't poke yourself in the eye with your needle while doing it!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happiness is...

Do you remember the old Peanuts comic strips where "Happiness is..." something?
I miss those simpler days.
But you do have to find happiness somewhere, even during February in New York.
Not a pretty time of year.

I am happy about some things:
Micky is back!
Chuppah lace.
The writer's strike is over -- while I didn't miss tv that much I worried about Peaches who was affected.
Friends with secrets (you know who you are).
Longaberger Easter baskets.

And to answer a couple of questions:
Caroline asked who had the milk in the tea - that was DH, not me. I don't necessarily take my tea black. I have, but I like to use sugar, no cream. Unless the tea is really strong. PG Tips and Typhoo have a tendency to need milk to smooth out the taste.
Gayle asked if I had used my ice skates yet. Not yet, but seeing the state of my driveway this morning I would only need to get out a zamboni, clear off the snow, and use that for my own personal rink.

Now off to get ready for work.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Keep on Working, keep on working

Back to the daily grind today. It was certainly nice having 3 days off from work, even if I was taking care of DH post-surgery. Being home is always better than any other alternative. The problem is the longer I stay home the lazier and more reclusive I become.

I did make it to class on Thursday night and it was much, much better than the first night. However, and this is a big however, there is one student in my class who is extremely intelligent. Good on ya. But he also never shuts up. Granted, all of his remarks are spot on but there were times when a student asked the professor a direct question and this student responded for the professor!

You could see from the looks on some of the students' faces that this is not going to be tolerated much longer. And this is only the second class session! It irritated me but then I began to find the humor in it and it quickly reminded me of how much I want a digital voice recorder, just to inflict this pain on my friends. A woman with whom I work is taking classes towards her MA in History and she said that there are some talkers in her class. The professor sent an email out stating that the class location may be changing and also asked that all the students who got a chance to talk during the last class sit in the outer part of the circle and let the others who didn't talk much get their chance. I thought that was quite a diplomatic way to have people shut up.

Other than that the class was a wonderful equalizer. I felt so underqualified and out of my element on the first evening of class, but this past Thursday we got into our school circle and all pretension (minus one student) fell away. Plus we're reading Ovid and it has reinforced the strength of my feelings -- I love the storytelling involved in Greek and Roman mythology.

Now I need to get to bed. It is not about getting a fresh start for work tomorrow. Oh no. It is 8:30 and much too cold to function. I'll leave you with a picture of the voice recorder I'm considering buying:

More snow on its way tomorrow. Off to get under the blankets and read Ovid.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Ten Thoughts on a Sunday

1. A wind chill in the minus range always sucks.
2. Running into white outs while driving sucks.
3. Driving by and seeing a car flipped on its roof sucks absolutely.
4. The price of gas still sucks ($3.27 a gallon).
5. Having to sell your RV and SUV because of the price of gas must really suck.
6. Having a husband so "high" on Percocet that he actually wants to drink a cup of tea with you surprisingly does not suck.
7. Feeling winter outside but seeing spring bloom in my kitchen does not suck.
8. Going to Ben Franklin for craft supplies never sucks.
9. Watching movies and great tv shows all weekend doesn't suck either.
10. Knitting while watching tv never, ever sucks at all.
And how was your weekend?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

But will I still be able to walk and chew gum?

I took a quiz and found out my problem.

I am Balanced-brained

"That means you are able to draw on the strengths of both the right and left hemispheres of your brain, depending upon a given situation.

When you need to explain a complicated process to someone, or plan a detailed vacation, the left hemisphere of your brain, which is responsible for your ability to solve problems logically, might kick in. But if you were critiquing an art opening or coming up with an original way to file papers, the right side of your brain, which is responsible for noticing subtle details in things, might take over.

While many people have clearly dominant left- or right-brained tendencies, you are able to draw on skills from both hemispheres of your brain. This rare combination makes you a very creative and flexible thinker.

The down side to being balanced-brained is that you may sometimes feel paralyzed by indecision when the two hemispheres of your brain are competing to solve a problem in their own unique ways."

If you want you can click here and take the test for yourself.

Disclaimer: I did not buy the report. Why should I spend money for people to tell me how screwed up I am. I can get those critiques for free.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A Day at the Hospital

Today DH had surgery to reconstruct his ACL.
We arrived at the hospital at 6:00 and he went into surgery at 7:30.
He wasn't done until after 10:15, and I couldn't see him until after 11:15, so I sat there reading, listening to my iPod and knitting a simple K1 P1 scarf I don't even really like.
It kept my hands busy.
And now they'll be busy again ripping it out.
He wasn't allowed to leave the hospital until 3:30, so we had a very long day.
I'm exhausted and didn't even have surgery!
This is one of the many reasons why I am not a nurse.
Except for giving the medicine.
"It's time for your Percocet!"

(Personal to Sheri and Jean: I was so irritated today that I almost channeled DZ. I saw someone from transport taking an older woman down the hall in a bed but he was only using one hand to push her because the other was connected to his cell phone!! He was talking the entire time he pushed her down the hall!! I think I may actually write a letter to the hospital. So unprofessional. And I'm sure this lady did not want to hear his conversation.)

(Personal to Jean: Hope J and HS/SS are doing okay.)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Monday, February 04, 2008

Fulfilling a Promise to Myself

Look what I bought for myself:Couldn't beat the price -- $14.00.
This is the first pair of skates I've owned since I was 14 or so.
I'm so excited.
Now let's see how long it takes before I get down to the skate rink.
DN2 didn't want a pair so I'll have to go off by myself.
We'll see if she lets me.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Why the Giants Won

Go ahead.
Blame me.
Or praise me.
(I'd go with the latter.)
The Giants won because I didn't watch the game.
I walked through the living room twice - walked through, mind you, didn't stay - and the Giants were holding their 10-7 lead.
On the third time through I paused and watched.
On a 3rd and goal the Patriots scored.
DH told me I had to leave because I had just brought them bad luck.
I agreed and left with just over 2 1/2 minutes in the 4th quarter.
(Sorry Patriots fans, I like the Patriots; I don't like Tom Brady.)
I went back upstairs and SN2 came storming into my room and said, "The Giants won!"
I replied, just as enthusiastically, "You know why?"
He said, "Because you left the room!"
So blame me.
Or praise me.
But I'm glad it was the Giants who won.
Just doing my part for the NFL.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Silent Poetry

February 2nd is the day for the Bloggers Annual Silent Poetry reading. I have never participated in this before, but since it is the third year I think it's time I did.
The poem listed below is one which I have always felt symbolizes the autumn of our lives and it evokes beautifully the idea that death is not that scary of a time but just another long sleep that takes place after the life-long harvest. Being from New York (by way of Virginia) I also love the apples - they used to be everywhere up here, and they still are in some places, but now many of the orchards have been ripped out for housing and other unnecessary building (kind of the autumn of our earth as well, perhaps).

"After Apple-Picking"
Robert Frost

My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing dear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.

Friday, February 01, 2008

32 days of blogging

Today is Friday, February 1st.
I have officially blogged everyday in the month of January.
That, my friends, is nothing short of a miracle.
That I completed two outstanding (as in "not finished", not as in "excellent") projects is also a miracle.
My class started last night and I have to admit that I spent the entire time feeling like not only an idiot but like I've made the biggest mistake of my life.
What hubris to think I have the G2 (trans. intelligence) to succeed in higher education.
Well I was able to put things in better perspective today after thinking things through (trans. rationalizing). And then my friend at work, Claire, said to me, "Well you don't have to say anything in class. Stay quiet and you'll learn something. Good for you."
I like Claire and I like her advice.
Essentially in a room of 12 students with everyone trying to be the shining star there is always room for a snarky bitch who sits there and keeps her mouth shut.
I have found my role.
I will continue to march, I will continue to read The Metamorphoses of Ovid, and I will continue to consider knitting Shifting Sands along with Angelika.
She intimidates me as much as the other graduate students, but that's cool.
I trust her more.