Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Going out with a bang.

As I've mentioned, there are a lot of posts that I planned on doing this month.  Posts I decided against for one reason or another.  But there is one that I just can't let go of in my head.  Its about the mosque.

That's right.  THE Mosque.  
 
Now, this is old news... but when it was a hot topic I was pregnant and very tired.  And then people were still talking about it when I had a very new newborn...  but I was still very tired.  People aren't talking about it as much anymore, but I still think about it.  And these are my thoughts:

This situation mostly just embarrasses me.  I'm embarrassed by the way most Americans are reacting to this issue.  Really, we should just be better than this.  I honestly have not heard one really good argument against having an Islamic cultural center near ground zero.  (Note I reference the cultural center because the mosque is already there.)  This is not an invitation.  Its not likely that you can present to me an argument that I haven't heard yet.  It's just that I don't find the argument (the one that you are about to feverishly type in response to this post) valid.  

Mostly I just don't understand what the big deal is.  The Pentagon was attacked on Sept 11, and they've had Muslims praying in designated areas on the premises for years since.  It hasn't even been news.  Never mind that Muslims have been worshiping at the mosque in question for years.  They are really just talking about expanding it into a cultural center.  And really?  Since when do we find it acceptable to discriminate against whole groups of people based on something they had nothing to do with...  oh wait, we do that all time.  We can take pride (please note sarcasm) in some really awesome examples of this in things like Japanese internment camps.   

Its stupid.  I believe Timothy McVeigh was Methodist.  Shall we not allow them to worship in Oklahoma City? We should also not allow Mormons to worship in southern Utah, because of the Mountain Meadows Massacre.  And Catholics shouldn't be allowed to worship in much of Europe because of the Crusades...  oh but wait, that's not a good example, is it?  Because the Catholic church actually WAS involved in the Crusades (go Pope Urban II!).  In these other situations, there is actually a separation of what the bulk of the people believe and what these small groups/individuals did.  (This is not a dig on the Catholic church - just a part of history.)

The way humans are capable of treating each other never ceases to amaze me, and this is just another example of that.  Unless you are so close minded that you can't believe a Muslim when they tell you they don't  believe in the whole Jihad thing, have no association with or desire to associate with terrorists, and had nothing to do with September 11th (and if you are that close minded you deserve a whole 'nother post about the density of firmly believing that a whole group of people believes something because someone outside of that group tells you it's true - I just don't have time for that), then you should have no problem with a mosque/Islamic cultural center near ground zero.

I personally believe we should let people worship how, where, and what they may - but I suppose that means I have to let you believe whatever you want too...  even if you're hatin'.  

That is all.

And the end of NaBloPoMo 2010.  

William says, "There is nothing like a good workout."

I am writing this while watching one of my favorite shows, The Biggest Loser on NBC. This show inspires me even years after I lost the bulk of my weight. The people in the show always produce mixed emotions in me. The season is almost over, and everyone left has lost a lot of weight. Tonight, over and over, people keep saying, "I will never be that overweight again." I have said that before. For example, thirteen years ago when I finally broke through the 300 pound barrier and saw a 2 in the beginning of my weight for the first time in many years, I swore I would never weigh over 300 pounds again. Just four and a half years later, I stepped on a scale and read the results in horror: 338 pounds. I wanted to collapse helplessly into a fit of sobs. I probably did on the inside. I realize now, better than I ever could have then, that it takes a lot more than talk to keep the weight off. I hope that everyone of the contestants on The Biggest Loser continues to succeed in his or her efforts and continues to keep the weight off, but in some ways, I think success can only come through failure. These people have never lived a life in which they were not overweight, a life in which they must constantly battle (FOREVER) in order to avoid "be[ing] that overweight again."

I do not mean to make it sound like a miserable existence. I enjoy my active, healthy-eating lifestyle. As many of you know, I took up competing in triathlons this year, and I not only love the competition, I thoroughly enjoy the training. In addition to the triathlon-style cardio training I have adapted into my daily routines, I also started a new strength training program in the last year. When I put these things together, they DESTROY me. The best part is that I can get a killer workout anywhere. I don't need to go to the gym (though I often do). By the end of my workouts, I am literally on my hands and knees, panting over a pool of sweat, which continuously drips from my face. That feeling, while I am struggling to recover my breath and my composure, is the paragon of the phrase "hurts so good." I couldn't help but think about that while I watched the trainers on The Biggest Loser subject the contestants to a torturous "last chance" pre-weigh-in workout. Now, everyone, get out there and do work!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Simple Woman

Simple Woman


FOR TODAY
Outside my window... its rainy, but warmer than I'd like.

I am thinking... that its too late for me to be thinking too hard.

I am thankful for... a clean living room.  My husband rocks.

From the learning rooms... I was teaching John the names of instruments today.  It didn't matter how clearly I pronounced the word PIANO.  He just kept saying PINANO, in a confident you're-saying-it-wrong-mom kind of way.


From the kitchen... we're hoping that leaving those dishes in the sink over night doesn't attract any bugs.

I am wearing... things to sleep in.

I am creating... reasons to put off creating anything.

I am going... nowhere tomorrow.  Its gonna be a rainy day anyway.

I am reading...  mostly Bee Keeper's Apprentice these days.

I am hoping... to find time to use the vacuum tomorrow.  We're on the verge of a carpet situation.

I am hearing... the sleep music coming from John's room.  

Around the house...  like I said - a carpet situation.

One of my favorite things... is being the last person to go to bed at night.  Its nice just sitting in the quiet all by myself sometimes.

A few plans for the rest of the week:  nothing out of the ordinary.  I do need to get some Christmas shopping done this week-end, because we leave for Wyoming next week-end.  

Here is picture I am sharing...
My nieces.  Are they stinkin' cute, or what?!?!



William says, "When it rains . . ."

On top of everything else I had to do today, I covered two classes for a friend. Also, I didn't get a chance to start more focused work on dissertation chapter five because I found chapter four in my mailbox with suggested (required) revisions from my advisor. The good news is that he had some praise. The bad news is that I still have to do a lot of revision. I should finish it by the end of the week at the latest, but I still have other things on which I need to focus. I have a couple of job apps. due by Wednesday, neither of which I got to today. I did grade 14 papers, though, and I finished prepping the test for Thursday. I had other things I wanted to blog about, but I cannot remember any of them. They would have been far more exciting than this drivel. Funny how stress has a way of "focusing" the mind.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cloth Diaper Confessions

I love cloth diapering.  Truly.  I've never regretted for a minute our decision to do it.  Having said that...

For the last week or so we totally fell off the wagon with John.  Not with Wesley - because cloth diapering a newborn is SO, SO easy.  But it gets harder as they get older because of, you know, the poop.  The more they eat like full grown people, the more they poop like full grown people.  We used some disposables for some reason or other on one day and then we just didn't stop for awhile.

We're back on the wagon now though.  John wore cloth diapers again today.  Its really not that hard, and we have the system down...  its just a little extra work and apparently we just needed a break.

That is all.

William says, "Time to suck it up."

Remember what I talked about in yesterday's blog post? All that and then some begins tomorrow. I'll start the day with a hard core work out, and then I will lay into the day mercilessly, for it will certainly do the same to me. Good night!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

William says, I don't want the weekend to end."

The end of weekends usually don't bother me. It always means I need to get back to work and hit it hard, but I usually look forward to putting in the work. However, the coming week will really put me to the test and tax me beyond anything I have experienced before. I have to hit the ground running and dig deeper into research for chapter five of the dissertation so I can knock out a chunk of that before we head out of town in less than two weeks. Also, it's the last week of classes, so I will need to finish grading papers and preparing a test for my classes to take. I also have more jobs to apply to. Sadly, I have only mentioned a fraction of what I need to take care of this week. The anxiety and stress just might be too much. Hopefully, I can still have a relaxing Sunday before I have to lose myself in the mayhem.

Mr Sandman

Another prompt for today.

What's at the top of your gift wish list right now?


THIS

A girl can dream, right?

Friday, November 26, 2010

There's an app for that.

I've decided to work this phrase into everyday conversation.  For example(s):

"I have a headache."
"There's an app for that."


"That sound is driving me crazy."
"There's an app for that."


"There's nothing on TV right now."
"There's an app for that." (Okay, there really is an app for that...)

"I wake up at insane hours to fight insane crowds to buy things I normally never would."
"There's an app for that."  (Also my thoughts on Black Friday.)

You get the gist.  I'm hoping it catches on.

William says, "This is the most exciting blog post EVER!"."

It was a weird day. I felt out of sorts. I also got my first official rejection letter. The letter came from Washington University in St. Louis. The position was in my field, but they were looking for someone whose focus was a little earlier, so though I had to apply, I am not surprised by the rejection. That's not to say that it didn't sting a little. I know it's not personal, and I expect to get plenty more rejections, but one cannot help but feel a little let down. Basically, I hung out with the family and ate a lot again today, probably ate too much. Otherwise, I did nothing. And now I am writing THE MOST EXCITING BLOG POST EVER! Have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy sarcasm?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanks Giving

I'm grateful for my husband, my children, my family, my friends.  All of these people make my life full and rich.

I'm also grateful for the yummy food I stuffed myself with today.  And for the Turkey Trot 5K which allowed me to do so guiltlessly.

Life is good.

That is all.

William says, "Thanksgiving good."

Today was a grand holiday, capped off with that sick feeling that can only come from overindulging in good food, and there was plenty of that in this house. The day started with the 35th annual Tallahassee Turkey Trot. I was excited because I was shooting for a new PR (personal record) 5k. I had toyed with doing the 10k, but in the end, I wanted to see how quickly I could do the 5k, and I wanted to get done quicker so I could get the stroller from Leah Marie and let her finish the race more easily. I completed the 5k in 23:46. I know, that is like molasses in January for some runners out there, but for this hefty athlete who has never been a runner, that is pretty good. I started with an 8:03 mile, then a 7:41 mile, then a 7:25 mile. Now that's what I call negative splitting.

The meal turned out excellently. We could not have baked, roasted, or cooked anything any better. And dessert was amazing. Even the apple pie, whose crust gave me some trouble, was outstanding. I am feeling a little too full right now, but it was worth it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sad, sick, boy

I'm blogging from my iTouch, so forgive any typos and whatnot.

John is sick. It's just a cold (I hope), but he's having a hard time sleeping. So, I'm kicking back in the rocking chair with this 23 month old sprawled across me. He's sleeping so we're gonna stay like this for awhile.

It's so sad when they're sick. :-(

William says, "The prep has begun."

It was a long day. I graded eleven essays and applied to one job. Then I hit the store for the last few tidbits of ingredients that we always seem to forget during our weekend pre-holiday shopping trip. After that, I took the family to grab some doughnuts to help usher in the holiday (and for a pre-race breakfast, since we are running the Turkey Trot tomorrow), and we also hit Fuzions for some frozen yogurt. That is an awesome place. Google it if you are curious. I also made homemade rolls, and they are THE BEST rolls I have ever had. It has always been a dream of mine to make the perfect rolls, and I have succeeded. I then whipped up an apple pie. And I must say, it was a nightmare. I don't know whether it was the humidity or what, but I just could not get the pie crust dough to cooperate. So it is currently baking in the oven as a hack job with a patch-work top. As long as it tastes good going down, I will be happy. Leah Marie made a pumpkin cream pie, and it is AMAZING, and I am not a big pumpkin fan. I cannot wait to feed my face tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fate

I'm using a prompt again today.  I don't know what happened to all of the fabulous posts I had planned, because I haven't done a single one of them yet.  I just keep thinking of reasons not to.  I think probably because they are mostly political in nature and I'm kinda burned out on the political fray.  You can only take so much of Tea Party-ers jumping down your throat.  That's a whole other post though.  One I probably won't do.

The prompt:
Do you believe everything happens for a reason?  Why or why not?

This is a tough one.  It just depends on what "thing" you're talking about.  For most of my life the answer given would have been easy.  I would have told you that everything happens for a reason because God has a plan for us.  Now, its not that I don't believe God has a plan for us, its just that I'm not sure that every little detail is really playing a role in the grander plan.  Think about it.  If you trip over someone on a airplane, they ask you out...  you end up married to them... I'm gonna say you tripped over them for a reason.  If you spill mustard on your shirt, wash that shirt, the stain comes out, life moves on...  is that really part of a "plan" or just a thing that happens?  I'm voting just a thing that happens.  And, the older I get, the more I think that most thing are really just a thing that happens.  Sometimes even things that seem profound in the moment, like bad car accidents or serious illnesses.  Sometimes life just is what it is.

So, I guess the answer is no.  No, I don't believe everything happens for a reason.  Because that's actually just kinda silly.

That is all.

William says, "A simple usage rule."

The fact that I hold some English degrees does not necessarily make me an expert on usage or grammar. I know plenty of people who hold English degrees and still butcher the English language. That's terrible, but I think everyone whose first language is English should have some level of command. I am embarrassed for people who write "words" like "definately." Newsflash, "definately" is not a word. The one you're looking for is "definitely." I have come to realize that some people have a knack for this stuff; some people just "get it," and some people just don't get it. I consider myself fortunate enough to "get it" when it comes to most grammatical issues, but I have especially excelled at proper usage.

When I was at BYU, I took a class called Modern American Usage. The professor for that course deserves a shout out, Don Norton. I love that man. He knew his stuff, and he had a great, old-fashioned, traditional delivery that I loved, too. I rocked that class, and I proceeded to recommend it to everyone I knew who was an English major. One friend in particular decided to take it the next semester. On the first day of class that next semester, Mr. Norton asked whether anyone present that day had known someone who had taken the course. My friend and another student raised a hand. Mr. Norton asked the other student what he had heard.

"I heard it was really hard because you require us to know a lot of material," he said. That was certainly true of that class. Mr. Norton then asked my friend what he had heard.

"I was told that it was easy because you give us all the material we need to succeed." Well, I never said the class was easy. I may have said that I rocked it.

Mr. Norton was clearly offended, my friend said. Mr. Norton said, "Who told you that? Who said my class was easy?"

"One of your editors," my friend said, "William Silverman." Mr. Norton ran the faculty editing service for the English department, and I was doing an editing internship with him that semester.

My friend then described the scene as follows:
Mr. Norton slightly bowed his head and echoed my name, "William Silverman. Let me tell you about William Silverman. William Silverman is a genius. He sat right here in this chair [one in the front] and hardly said a word all semester, but he aced the midterm and the final and all the assignments. I would not be surprised; I would not be a bit surprised if he became a professional editor one day."

WOW! Needless to say, I was sure to ask Mr. Norton for a letter of recommendation for graduate school. Today, I am not a professional editor, although I do serve on the editorial/ advisory board of a literary journal. Mr. Norton's class helped me in so many ways. Unfortunately, it has produced more ways for me to be annoyed because I encounter gross violations of usage on a daily basis. Today's lesson is easy, "few" (fewer) vs. "less." There is a distinct difference, and people misuse the two all the time. Most often, "less" is mistaken for "few" or "fewer." Use less when you are talking about something that cannot be measured in specific units. For example, "pour me less milk than you poured for yourself." Use "fewer" when dealing with things that can be or that are measured in specific units. For example, "Skim milk has fewer calories than whole milk." In the former example, it is certainly possible to use "fewer" if you know the exact amount you want: "pour me two fewer ounces of milk than you poured yourself." Hope this helps clear things up.

Have a good night.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Simple Woman

Simple Woman


FOR TODAY
Outside my window... it's too hot.  Well, right now its fairly cool because its night, but the highs are too high these days.  I don't want to see 80 degrees in November.  

I am thinking... about Thanksgiving.

I am thankful for... Holidays.

From the learning rooms... I've decided to attend a conference in January that will leave me as a certified lactation counselor.  It's step one in becoming a lactation consultant.  I'm pretty excited.

From the kitchen... I'm making cornbread tomorrow.  In preparation for stuffing.

I am wearing... bed clothes.

I am creating... memories.

I am going... to bed soon.  Sleepy.

I am reading... the same things I was last week, except I finished Vampire Academy and have moved on to number 2 in the series, Frostbite.

I am hoping... to not be super sore tomorrow after the work out I put myself through tonight.

I am hearing... Lie to Me.  Great show.

Around the house... the laundry situation I spoke of last week has been rectified.  

One of my favorite things...  my husband.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Thanksgiving!

Here is picture I am sharing...



William says, "Still no word."

I am waiting on pins and needles. I have 37 applications out, and I am preparing to send off about six more, and I have only had one request for additional materials. That request came just over one month ago. I suspected that might be a sign of things to come, but while I wait around and see others getting requests for additional materials from jobs that I have applied to, I start to feel more anxious than is comfortable. I do need to look on the bright side, though. Most search committees are not interested in beating around the bush. If they had no interest in me at all, I would have certainly heard that much by now. So this is a case where no news really is good news. It means I am still in the running.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Things I am looking forward to this week:

1. stuffing

2. William having some free time

3. stuffing

4. The turkey trot - we're doing the 5K Thursday morning

5. stuffing

6. making corn bread in preparation for...

7. stuffing

8. Macy's day parade

9. stuffing

10. Thanksgiving!

If you say "stuffing" enough times it becomes a funny sounding word.

That is all.

William says, "Let's take a break."

Since I gave the first draft of chapter four to my advisor last week, I am going to try to take a little time off from the dissertation to clear my head and gear up for the fifth and final chapter. I will probably take this week "off" and get back to it next week. I put "off" in quotation marks because, for one, I will still have to grade some papers and put together some application materials, and also because it will be hard not to work on the dissertation; since that has been my life, hardcore, for such a long time, I don't feel like I can take time away from it without hurting my timetable, my focus, etc. But I seriously think my mind needs a break. I am adamant about making sure my body gets rest and recovery time from the intense workouts I put it through, so it's time I gave my mind the same rest. Yeah, yeah, I usually don't work on the weekends, but that's when I give myself over to other responsibilities: taking care of the family and the home, and that takes a lot of effort, too. So if I can take a few extra days to keep the apartment in order, be there a little extra for the family, and therefore clear my head of some of the pressure that has built up throughout this semester, I think it will go a long way to helping me knock out the rest of the dissertation successfully, and I won't have a major mental breakdown. It's a win win.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thing 1 needs some attention.

I think John has handled the new addition to our family pretty well.  He's maybe thrown a few more tantrums than he used to.  He has his moments when he exhibits a bit of jealousy, but for the most part he has been nothing but loving to Wesley.  Maybe too loving....  like accidentally-smother-him-to-death-when-trying-to-hug-him kind of loving.  But loving, at least.

He's done so well, that I think sometimes I forget what it must be like for him.  He used to have full access to me all day everyday, and now he doesn't, and perhaps doesn't really understand why.  Tonight he reminded me that I need to remember that more often.  A few hours after he went to bed he woke up crying (two year molars? bad dream?  just needed a good cry? I don't know.) and I went in his room to offer some comfort.  He sat in my lap, kinda clinging to me, for a good 20 minutes.  At first I was thinking about all the other things I needed/wanted to be doing, but then it occurred to me that what I was doing was just more important than those other things.  I need to be better about giving John one-on-one time.  Just so he knows I love him just as much as I always have - indeed, even more everyday - even though he doesn't have as much of my attention.  

That is all.

William says, "We have planned the feast."

We did our Thanksgiving shopping today. As always, we have an ambitious menu planned because holiday meals must be special; however, we are nixing a traditional staple, whose exclusion some may think borders on Thanksgiving sacrilege. We are NOT cooking a Turkey. It's all about the budget this year. I know, I know, turkey's are fairly cheap. However, the kind of turkey we are happy with these days does not come cheap. We are free range organic folks these days, and while we can find a turkey at a store in town that fits this description closely enough, we are not ready to spend $60 on one. In the future, yes, but not while I am still a lowly grad student whose pittance of a salary isn't even enough to cover all the bills. However, Costco has started to carry organic chickens at a welcome price for our budget. Yes, it's probably still a little more than we should spend, but we are willing to pay a little more for a superior product, one that did not suffer the life of a massed-produced over-fed, anti-biotic filled relative. So we were able to get a two pack of whole organic chickens for a third of the price of one of those pricey turkeys, and we will not enjoy our meal any less. In fact, we will enjoy it with greater peace of mind. On tap is roasted chicken, cornbread dressing (the famous family recipe from Leah Marie's side), homemade rolls (my latest specialty), roasted zucchini, roasted acorn squash, roasted broccoli with cheddar-cheese sauce, mashed potatoes, and mashed sweet potatoes (savory, not that cloying, gut-wrenching nastiness), cranberry sauce we will make from fresh cranberries, and homemade apple and pumpkin pie. A kingly feast indeed.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I

After my disappointment in Half Blood Prince, I almost didn't want to go see the the midnight showing of Dealthy Hallows.  But, I've seen the midnight showing of every Harry Potter movie so far, and with only two more to go, I didn't want to ruin my record now.

I'm glad I did it.  It was actually pretty great.  I can't say much for the entire experience, since I was surrounded by high school students using the F word like they thought they'd invented it.  But the movie itself was great.

Earlier today I planned an elaborate review of the movie in my head...  but its not happening today.  As much as I liked the movie, I'm just getting too old to stay up that late--and also without the luxury of sleeping 'til noon.

You know, when I started this little tradition with the Harry Potter movies I was in my early to mid-20s - 23 I think.  When the first movie came out I went to the midnight showing, slept a couple hours, went to a 7am showing, came home and showered, and then put in a full day's work.  And I thought that was fun.  

I'm really tired.  I'm never doing this again.  Except when Part 2 comes out.  And the FOR REAL I'm never doing this again.

William says, "I highly recommend it!"

I reluctantly went to see HP7.1 in the IMAX theater this morning at 9:30. I say reluctantly because HP6 blew. The adaptation of 6 was horrible, and it butchered the story line, eliminating absolutely sensitive and necessary points of continuation. I saw no hope for reconciliation, but since HP and I go back a ways, I had to give 7.1 a chance. Fortunately, it DID NOT disappoint. In fact, the first 30 minutes were, as Jimmy Walker would say, "DY-NO-MITE!" What a way to begin a flick. Easily the best 30 minute segment of any of the previous HP movies. The adaptation was superb. Yes, they made changes, which are always necessary when translating something to the screen. However, all crucial points remained intact, and they masterfully restore the ones that were lost in HP6, and the story moved at a great pace despite the length of the movie. Also, David Yates was in rare form. The movie was directed at an Oscar-worthy level. All involved, from the behind the scenes to the actors, set the stage perfectly for the finale. Was the movie perfect? Of course not, but I am 100% satisfied. A great ride.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

William says, "Just another boring report."

Hey, all, I am about to go to bed, but I need to blog, so here's the daily update. I submitted the first draft of dissertation chapter four to my advisor this afternoon, and now I am looking forward to taking the weekend to relax a little. I still have papers to grade. I haven't even looked at one, and I will probably grade some tomorrow, but right now, I feel like doing absolutely nothing but sleeping. Good night!

Tonight is the night...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The light at the end of the tunnel....

So, I'm up late working and just realized I haven't posted yet.  Since I only have 13 minutes to write something out, I'm using the NaBloPoMo prompt of the day.


How did you end up where you're living right now? What factors will help you choose the next place you live?


This is a funny question, because its a hot topic in my home right now.  We live in Tallahassee, FL because William is getting his PhD at Florida State University.  That is the sole reason we moved here.  We. hate. it.  We've met some pretty great people (many of them are/were also students and most have finished their degrees and moved away) but otherwise I hate pretty much everything about living here.  The weather is horrid, I'm really far from family and all my dearest friends, I'm at political odds with the area (in fairness, that's true of most of the country these days - but always true of the South), and despite the South's reputation for hospitality - the customer service is HORRIBLE.  We have found some bright spots, places we like to eat and shop...  but on the whole its just not a good fit for us.


The main upside is our proximity to Orlando, which we love to visit.


The sole factor is choosing where we live next will be where William gets offered the best job.  We should be moving to said place next summer.  We. Can't. Wait.

William says, "I promise I will have a good post one day."

So here it is, nearly 10:00 pm, and I am am scrambling to post something so I can go to bed. It was another long day in which I didn't quite accomplish all my goals. I got through most of them, but I was unable to grade a single student essay. I applied to three more jobs: Quinnipiac University (Hamden, CT), Marian University (Indianapolis, IN), and SUNY Potsdam (it's in the name). I would welcome the opportunity to teach at any one of those institutions and to live in any one of those locations. I was also able to put a little time into preparing an essay for publication. I hope to send that off Friday or Monday. I also did some tweaking on dissertation chapter four. I hope to submit that to my advisor by Monday. It's so hard to be motivated under this level of stress and dealing with this much exhaustion. I don't just mean blogging; I mean it's hard to do anything else. After I force myself into a productive day, I fall flat at the end of it. The kitchen is in shambles (I am the keeper of it), but so is much of the rest of the apartment. With busy lives and two needy boys sucking the energy out of us, it's hard to get much else done. I keep telling myself there is an end. I am planning a short break this weekend. HP7.1 opens Friday, and I have my IMAX ticket for Friday morning (Leah Marie is hitting the midnight show). Then I'll probably take the family to lunch at some point. Hopefully I can recharge the batteries just enough to make it through the end of the semester. Of course, then I have to keep working. I'll be looking to knock out a good chunk of chapter five during the semester break. I need to go; just the thought of it all is wearing me down even more.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Simple Woman

THIS is a Monday Meme that I've been meaning to get into for awhile now.  Now is as good a time as any to start - even though its Tuesday.



FOR TODAY:

Outside my window... it looks like it should be much colder than it is.  Cloudy, wind blowing, rainy...  but the high today was 79.  

I am thinking... about work (my part time work from home gig).  I've got some catching up to do.

I am thankful for... THESE.  Wesley doesn't cry a ton, just sometimes has a hard time getting settled and sleeping soundly.  Those help a great deal.

From the learning rooms... John has shown interest in writing letters.  He'll hand me crayons and ask (demand) me to do it. ("ABC!")  I'm gonna try to teach him.  I think he'll think its fun.  If he doesn't I'll stop, since its way early for it anyway.  I don't want to set a bad precedent for thinking school sucks.

From the kitchen...  I made chipped beef gravy tonight.  Its one of my favorite things to eat.

I am wearing... comfy shorts and a t-shirt.

I am creating... please.  who has time to create.  I still need to get THESE things done.  Better late than never, I say.

I am going... to my breastfeeding support group in the morning.  I love it.

I am reading... The Beekeeper's Apprentice (Nook), Pretties (Kindle), The No Cry Discipline Solution (actual book), and Vampire Academy (I'm actually listening to that one on Audible).  Nook, Kindle, and Audible all found on my iTouch.  I freaking love that thing.

I am hoping... for some cooler weather.

I am hearing... The Biggest Loser.  Makeover week is next week!

Around the house... we have a laundry situation.  Its all clean.  It is NOT folded and put away.

One of my favorite things... cuddling with a snuggly baby in bed.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Midnight showing of Deathly Hallows Part 1.  And shopping for Thanksgiving dinner.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing:
John.  This picture is a bit blurry because he was so close to the camera.  Trying to grab it from me.  "Crama! Crama!"


William says, "I am even more tired tonight."

It appears that Wesley's sleeping habits are changing. He woke up much earlier in the night last night than he usually does, and that, combined with a power outage (we lost our fan for a few hours), led to a less than ideal night of sleep. I buried myself in some serious research this morning, then my afternoon was mostly filled with teaching. What an exhausting day. Still no word, or no request for additional materials from other schools I have applied to. I must admit, that even though it is still relatively early, I am feeling a little anxious and nervous. That certainly does not help with concentration. I will start a new round of applications tomorrow. Yesterday I sent off an application for a great postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. That brings the total to 34 applications. I should have 40 out by the end of next week (or sooner). The number of new posting every week is starting to dwindle. It will pick up again after the first of the year, but will be mostly for temporary positions (one or two year visiting positions that pay far less and offer no stability).

In class today, we started discussing The Tempest, a great play about the power of knowledge among other things. My classes are turning in their essays tonight through our course website, so I have that to add to my busy schedule. Will I ever blog again? Stay tuned! I am too lazy to edit this post.

Monday, November 15, 2010

2 Months

Wesley is two months old today!  We had his two month well visit today as well.

HT: 23 in
WT: 10lbs 2 oz
HC: 38.7

So far he's tall and skinny.  Without the huge head that John has.

That is all.

(I was gonna post a picture, but I just did yesterday.  So, look at those for reference.)

William says, "I wish I was motivated to say more."

I am so sorry, fans. I just have no motivation to write. It was a long day, and I still did not accomplish everything I needed to accomplish today, so why would I put extra effort into a voluntary exercise? Still, I apologize wholeheartedly. I will say this, though, I just saw a preview for the first episode of the new season of Human Target. I have been waiting for this for a long time. I. LOVE. THAT SHOW! If you have never seen it, it's a little difficult to explain; okay, I am just too lazy to explain it. It's a show that has it all: action, comedy, intrigue, drama, suspense, etc. I suggest you look into it. That is all. Oh, by the way, I am about to get busier. I have over 70 students turning in papers tomorrow. Now I have 300 pages worth of grading to do in addition to everything else. UGH!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Baby Cuteness



William says, "I'm back in the kitchen, baby!"

The weather in Florida, in the summer (which lasts most of the year), is not conducive to baking or getting creative while standing over the stove. When it's hot and I am exhausted from dissertating, applying to jobs, or helping chase little boys all over the place, the last thing I want to do is stand on my feet and drip buckets of sweat for long periods of time in the kitchen. The lack of motivation can really hurt me because I love to cook. Fortunately, the weather lately has made the kitchen much more welcoming. The last couple of weeks I have been baking bread again. I love having fresh homemade bread in the house because I know exactly what's in it, about 5 ingredients of wholesome goodness, instead of the 20-30 ingredients found in most breads on the supermarket shelf. It has been so nice having homemade bread for sandwiches and toast. Also, I have been getting creative in the kitchen again. While I usually don't get too elaborate during the week (because of work-related exhaustion topped off with child-rearing tiredness), I have been roasting, baking, and searing like a madman on the weekends. This weekend we had a decadent mushroom risotto with a side of roasted organic delicatta squash. Today, I went back to my gourmet roots and knocked out my "famous" pizza. The dough turned out exquisitely, as did the sauces and toppings. It's feels good to be back in the kitchen. Who knows what I'll turn out next weekend.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

About the worst kind of doctor...

So, after Wesley was born, we encountered the kind of doctor that is the reason that I have a deep mistrust of doctors.  I'm generally very picky about who I will go see, and if I feel I'm not getting the care I should, I'm pretty quick to switch.  I was *especially* picky when choosing a pediatrician for John - who is, of course, Wesley's pediatrician as well.  I did quite a bit of research making sure that I found someone that would be the right fit for our parenting style and our family.  I feel like I was pretty successful.  Our pediatrician, Dr. Bunnell, is pretty great (most especially, in not pressuring me about my watered down vaccination schedule).  So, imagine my disappointment when getting an on call pediatrician at the hospital - encountering the devil in disguise as a man calling himself Dr. Simmons.

Wesley was born pretty jaundice, and lost more than the average amount of weight after he was born.  Not a big shock or worry to me, since the same thing had happened with John.  First we had a semi-irritating doctor who requested that we stay an extra night and put Wesley under bili lights.  His bili levels were around 13.  Not a big deal (doctors usually don't worry until levels are 20, and they aren't actually dangerous until they approach 30).  I was reticent to agree, but was talked into it.  That doctor was, at least, nice.  The next morning Wesley's bili levels had gone down to around 12 and everything was looking good.  William and I got ourselves packed up and ready to leave the hospital.

Enter Dr. Simmons, who refused to let us leave.  He said he "liked" to see levels under 12 before sending babies home.  They were, like, 12.something.   Something really close to 12.  And he wasn't even going to come tell me himself.  I had to ask to see him.  When he came into the room he was cold, arrogant, and rude. I told him I wanted to go home.  He told me I could go home later.  Nice.  He then gave us a plan that would put us home at 7pm that night.  I asked if we could arrange things to do it any earlier.  At that point he just said no and turned his back on me.  He talked to me like I was stupid, didn't listen to a word I said, and treated me like I was completely inept of being in charge of the care of my infant.

I *HATE* doctors like this.

For the record, we wanted to just gather up our things and leave, but we couldn't.  If you leave a hospital AMA (against medical advice), sometimes the insurance will refuse to pay the bill for what happened while you were still there.  Not a risk we could afford to take.  So, we were mostly being held hostage in the hospital

No, really, we don't need any healthcare reform.  The system we have in place is awesome.  :: insert roll of eyes here ::

That is all.

William says, "I love doughnuts."

There is a doughnut place in town called Donut Kingdom, and they serve up some of the best doughnuts I have EVER had. It's really quite dangerous. I am a big fan of quality, local products. Now, I like the occasional Krispy Kreme doughnut, but I am more often than not turned off by their mass-produced product. Donut Kingdom is a local joint with people who clearly put their heart and soul into their pastries. If I had the money and the metabolism, I would eat there every day, so I need to be very careful. That's not to say that I don't reward myself once in a while. For example, every other Saturday morning, for my long run of the week, I run all the way there (it's almost four miles from our apartment), buy a dozen doughnuts and a dozen doughnut holes, pop a few doughnut holes for some extra fuel (besides my sports drink), and run all the way back home. A doughnut or two for breakfast is a nice reward for running a little over 7.5 miles and burning about 1400 calories in the process. I know what you're thinking: "How on earth do you carry a dozen doughnuts while running nearly four miles?" John helps. See, I push him in the running stroller; yes, even up the big hills. A box of doughnuts fits perfectly in the basket of the stroller. I imagine that pushing John in the stroller helps me burn even more calories. Today's haul: four double chocolate cake doughnuts, four chocolate cream filled, two pumpkin cake doughnuts, and two cinnamon cake doughnuts. Mmmmm . . .

Friday, November 12, 2010

Insert giggle here

THIS WEBSITE made me laugh until I cried today.  I seriously haven't laughed that hard in a long time, and it felt good.  I keep going back to it and having fits of giggles. I highly recommend it.*

(Thanks to Caitlin for posting a link to it on facebook.)

*Warning: some bad language is involved.  Worth it though.

William says, "Kanye West is a big baby."

Need I say more?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Halloween 2010

My boys at the pumpkin patch.

"Pum-kin!!"

We're cruel parents.

He literally slept through the whole Halloween party.  This was the best shot I got.  Sad.

He IS super!  This was the first day we've ever let him have candy.  He doesn't hate it.  And no, that Mardi Gras necklace isn't a part of his costume.  Someone was passing those out.  Weird, right?

William says, "Crackers are good."

In yesterday's blog I explained how John was losing his mind in the morning, and it was only the beginning of what would be a loooooong day for us all. A big reason for John's issues was that he was tired. He must not have slept well the night before because his afternoon nap was a little over three hours long, about twice the duration of his normal naps. John's hysterics started when he asked for crackers first thing in the morning. We never give him crackers for breakfast, though he sometimes has them for a snack. I obliged by giving him a few crackers so that I could cook an egg for his breakfast. He LOVES eggs, so no problem right? Well, when John realized I was cooking eggs, he said, "No eggs." I thought, "He must be confused about something." Seriously, this kid absolutely loves eggs. They are one of his favorite foods. Surely, he will eat them, especially since I covered them with what probably is his favorite food: cheese. "No eggs! Crackers." Well, he managed to finish the few crackers we had, then he ate his toast but refused to touch the eggs. He saw them as an affront. I wished I could give him more crackers, just so he could eat more food, but we were plumb out. Unfortunately, the breakfast fiasco started his whole day off on the wrong path. We somehow made it through the day, and John slept much better last night. This morning, Leah Marie prepared breakfast for him, some cereal (another favorite food). She poured some quaker oatmeal squares into a bowl and set them in front of John, who cried out, "Crackers!" He was one happy boy.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The best thing my mother ever did for me...

... was have my sister first so that I could have a rock star older sister.  She knows me better than anyone.  Truly.  She has known me from the minute I was born, but as my peer has recognized the changes I've made along the way.  My husband is my best friend, but he's only known me since my mid-20s.  My mom has known me from the minute I was born, but sees me differently than my sister does.  Sometimes she might accuse me of having behaviors I haven't had since I was 10 (she's also one of my best friends, though).

But my sister gets it.  She gets it all.  There are things about me that she simply understands that no one else could.

So, thanks for that mom.  You did me a solid.

She has great hair too, yeah?

William says, "I have no idea what to write."

So here I am, sitting in front of the television watching Hell's Kitchen. I am exhausted from an absolutely crazy day in which John was losing his mind, and I was left to do the wrangling most of the morning, so I had an abbreviated work day that still left my mind as mush. I have already talked about how I need a break. One major downside to my exhaustion and mind mush is that I lack the motivation to write to powerhouse blog posts I had hoped to write. There is so much I have left untouched purposely to address this month, but I fear I will never have the time or energy to do any of it. This blog post is a waste of space, but when you are as drained as I am right now, everything you do feels like a half-hearted effort at best. Okay, I'm done now. I apologize for wasting the time of those who were suckered into reading this because they saw that I posted something. I'm not even going to edit it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Family of Four

When I talk to people about my pregnancies, I try not to be overly dramatic about it.  But when people ask me if I'll 'try again for a girl' I can't answer with an emphatic enough, "NO."  Maybe if it were just the hyperemesis.  Maybe if it were just the gestational diabetes.  Maybe if it were just the fact that my body refuses to go into labor and I have to have major surgery to bring the babies out.  Maybe if it were just one or two of those things.

Mostly its the hyperemesis.  Not being able to eat for nine months.  Loosing weight while being pregnant.  Going to the hospital two or three times a week for the first four months.  And it's not just that it's hard on me.  Poor John was getting pretty tired of having a mom who just sat on the couch all day, trying not to move 'cause that makes her feel sick.  Poor William had to take care of John and do all the cooking and cleaning...  oh, and work on the dissertation thing and teach some classes.  (Seriously, he's Superman.  I married Superman.)

ANYWAYS, William and I have decided we're not having any more children.  At least, I'm never getting pregnant again.  We haven't completely shut the door on having more children through adoption one day...  but right now we're feeling very....  complete.  We're content with our family.  If we're meant to have more, we'll know it when its supposed to happen... but I don't think it will.

Besides, vacation packages are always for families of four.  We don't want to complicate things.  ;-)

William says, "This is what I do."

I have had some questions here and there about what it is exactly that I do: teaching, scholarship, dissertation, etc. So I will use this blog to lay it all out for you (well as much as my exhausted mind will allow). I am currently a PhD candidate in the Department of English at Florida State University, where I have also taught for the last four and a half years the following classes: First Year Composition (Intro and Advanced), The Short Story, British Literature - Beginnings to 1800, and Intro to Shakespeare. My major area of focus is Literature of the British Renaissance, basically 1485-1660. However, I have done most of my work in the seventeenth century, which I actually cover in its entirety. I have also dabbled in Chaucer (14th century), ancient Greek literature, and literature from the Middle Ages. My secondary area of specialization (basically a minor) is science (as in knowledge and natural philosophy) and technology discourses of the seventeenth century. My dissertation, while it focuses on John Milton's blindness (how he uses it as a literary trope, how he represents blindness in his poetry, and how it affected his poetics) takes a broad swath through all the time periods in which I have worked, and utilizes developments in natural philosophy, like the telescope, microscope, and epistemology.

I am currently on the job market looking for a full-time tenure-track professorship. In all honesty, I will take any tenure-track job that is offered to me because I simply love what I do, and I see advantages in teaching at small liberal arts colleges, research one institutions, and everywhere in between. I have applied for 33 jobs so far, and I expect to apply for at least 40 jobs before semester's end. Then there are always more jobs posted in the spring. Finishing the dissertation is a priority because I can't land a good job without doing so, and I NEED a job because this is my last year of funding at FSU. They have generously covered my tuition (though I have still paid fees), and I have taught the same number of classes each semester as tenure-track and tenured professors for one-fifth the pay. It does make me feel a little exploited, but I also see it as a blessing. That is a lot of experience, and a lot more experience than many new PhD's will have coming out of their programs.

I hope everyone has a better perspective on what I do. Yes, I am an academic or intellectual or whatever you want to call it, and I love it.

Monday, November 8, 2010

What I Am

This song has been stuck in my head all day.  Because of this segment on Sesame Street.  And possibly because I have a crush on Will.i.am.

William says, "I need a break."

Sometimes I wish I could fast forward life, not because I necessarily want to skip the hard times. I am simply getting a little impatient about where we will end up next year, and despite efforts to the contrary, I am increasingly exhausted at the end of each day. That exhaustion is the price I pay for productivity. Today I did a lot of work on chapter four of the dissertation, which should be finished within the next two weeks if everything goes the way I expect it to go. That will leave me with only one chapter left to write. Of course there will be some final revisions and then the composition of an intro and conclusion, which will both, hopefully, write themselves. I also prepared an application for another job that made me especially think about taking a break, even a serious, completely relaxing and stress-free vacation. The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa has an opening in their English department for a Renaissance literature professor, so I am applying. I cannot afford to be picky. No it's not a flashy Research One institution, but it is Hawai'i, people. Sure, living expenses would be rough, but did I mention IT'S HAWAI'I? Seriously, there are plenty of other jobs I would take over this one, but what a life. I guess I just need a break to recharge my batteries more than I need a job in Hawai'i. Sadly, I have several months to go before I can take an truly relaxing and stress-free kind of a break. Like a said, anyone have a fast forward button? I don't want to miss out on the experiences and the work, I just want to speed up the process a little.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What would Freud say?


Last night I had a dream that I was in a crowd of people.  All of those people had Martin Short's face.  There were variations...  like facial hair, nose rings, and make-up on the women.  Yes.  Even the women had Martin Short's face.  It wasn't pretty.

That is all.

William says, "It's time for an autumnal feast!"

So the weather here has finally cooled off a bit, and we never know how long such cool spells will last. So we have decided to celebrate Fall with a feast that we feel appropriately represents it. We are feasting on seasonal vegetables that includes fresh, roasted zucchini and acorn squash. We will have homemade hearth style artisan bread, which I made yesterday. We'll start with a nice salad made with fresh organic arugula from the local farmer's market and a mix of fresh vegetables. The main course will be venison with potatoes. I cannot sufficiently explain how much I am looking forward to it. YUM!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Yummy

I made these tonight.  They're way better than I'd thought they be.  WAY better.  I substituted half the butter for almond butter, and most of the sugar for molasses.  And added crushed almonds.  They're yummy.  Mind you, if you're not a breastfeeding mother, you may not be interested in making cookies with brewer's yeast.  But if you ARE a breastfeeding mother, I highly recommend these cookies.

William says, "Point proven?"

So Boise State destroyed a solid Hawaii team with a powerhouse offense that was averaging 39 points a game behind one of the top rated passers in college football. BSU completely shut down Hawaii's passing attack. In fact, they abused Hawaii's quarterback so much that he recorded negative 44 yards rushing and only threw for about 127 yards. BSU racked up 737 yards of total offense in the process. Needless to say, they are scary good, but they will probably get shut out of the national title picture once again, even if Auburn or Oregon finally loses a game because TCU blew away Utah toady in an almost identical fashion. If nothing else, TCU and BSU have shown that they are teams no one wants to mess with this year. Of course, regardless of how well these teams perform, there will always be those out there who refuse to give them any respect because they don't play in a BCS conference. That argument wears thinner every time BSU or TCU blows someone else away, especially BCS schools and schools that big time BCS schools struggled to beat. GOODNIGHT!

Friday, November 5, 2010

C is for Cringe

Also for Circumcision.  (Sorry men)

I was thinking about this topic just recently - because I gave birth to a boy - and remembered how torn up I was about it the first time I gave birth to a boy.  I started thinking about circumcision when I was pregnant with John, and just found out the gender.  Since it is (or at least can be) a controversial decision, I wanted to thoroughly research the issue (what did mothers do before the internet?) before I decided what I would do.  I found the most fascinating things.

First of all, there is no consensus on this topic in the medical community.  You can find just as many doctors that say it is necessary as those who say it isn't.  I guess the only thing they all agree on is that its not harmful to do it, even if some say its not necessary.  So, there's that.  Otherwise, there is no help that the professional community can offer in making this decision.

Soooooo, I hit the messages boards.  I was shocked at what I found here.  SO MANY very passionate feelings about this topic.  Outrage at the very idea of circumcising.  Horror at the idea of not circumcising.  I was kinda blown away by the depth of feeling some people have about this issue....  when I realized something about the people who were experiencing this depth of feeling.  There were all mothers.  Which means they. were. all. WOMEN.  There's a special kind of irony there, no?

So, I changed my internet search a little bit.  I searched strictly for opinions of men on the issue.  This is the part that was most fascinating to me.  The responses I found can be put into four categories:

1. Men who had been circumcised at birth, and were perfectly content with that.
2. Men who had been circumcised at birth, and felt cheated/violated/mutilated.
3.Men who were not circumcised at birth, and were perfectly content with that.
4.Men who were not circumcised at birth, and hated it - most of whom were circumcised later in life.

This last group was the most interesting to me, because they are the only ones that have experienced it both ways.  They had some unique things to say about the issue.  For one, they said sex is the same - even though there were men in groups 1 and 3 saying they had it better.

As interesting as that was, however, it provided me (still) with no consensus on the issue.  There wasn't an overwhelming majority either way.

Finally, I took all this information to William and told him that, since I was not 'equipped' to make this decision, he had to decide.  In the end, all of the stuff I'd researched wasn't really that important.  William comes from a Jewish heritage and is proud of that.  Even though he doesn't practice the Jewish faith, the culture he comes from is important to him.  We didn't hire a Rabbi and hold a bris or anything, but our boys are circumcised.

That is all.

This post is cutting it close to the wire, but the important thing is that it's posted before midnight.

William says, "I was bound to forget once."

So here it is, past my bed time, and I have yet to make a blog post. Let me make it short and sweet by talking about something short and sweet: Key Lime Pound Cake Cupcake. Absolutely amazing! Thank you Lucy and Leo's. My wife and I have discovered an obsession for cupcakes in the last several months, and there are a lot of places that serve up cupcakes in Tallahassee, but none of them do it as well as Lucy and Leo's Cupcakery. WOW! That Key Lime Pound Cake left THE BEST aftertaste my mouth has experienced in a long time, maybe EVER! Have I mentioned that I love cupcakes? Yum, Yum!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What the "heck"....

A couple of people have sent me a link to a website that they knew I'd appreciate, but first had to apology for the language on said sight.  They've been right, I do appreciate it - except for the language, which is downright foul.  I would have otherwise linked to the site for this blog post - but that kind of foulness just irritates me.  So, I'm gonna share the content in a more pristine way.  Because I think its definitely worth it.

On the website, an accomplishment is listed (I put these in italics) and then there is a clickable link with something quirky on it asking for more.  I didn't even type all of them, because I got tired.  So, disagree with Obama's politics if you will, but stop saying he hasn't done anything.  That's just lame and one is showing ignorance in saying it.  Sadly, ignorance abounds these days.

Here we go:

"What the heck has Obama done so far?"

Appointed first Latina to the US Supreme Court.


But what has he done for me lately?

Promoted social responsibility through creation of serve.gov, a national database of volunteer opportunities. 


Big freaking deal.  What else?

Reversed 'global gag rule', allowing US aid to go to organizations regardless of whether they provide abortions.

I'm unimpressed.

Signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, giving the FDA the authority to regulate the manufacturing, marketing, and sale of tobacco for the first time.


Big freaking deal.  What else?

Signed New START Treaty - nuclear arms reduction pact with Russia.


Big freaking deal.  What else?

Increased average fuel economy standards from 27.5 mpg to 35.5 mpg, starting in 2016.


But what has he done for me lately?

Signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, restoring basic protections against pay discrimination for women and other workers.


That doesn't affect me personally so who cares.

Provided travel expenses to families of fallen soldiers to be on hand when the body arrives at Dover AFB.


That doesn't affect me personally so who cares.

Reversed the policy of barring media coverage during the return of fallen soldiers to Dover Air Force Base.


I'm unimpressed.

Launched recovery.gov to track spending from the Recovery Act, providing transparency and allowing the public to report fraud, waste, and abuse.


That doesn't affect me personally so who cares.

Provided the Department of Veterans Affairs with more than $1.4 billion to improve services to America's Veterans.


I'm unimpressed.

Signed the Children's Health Insurance Reauthorization Act, which provides health care to 11 million kids - 4 million of whom were previously uninsured.


That doesn't affect me personally so who cares.

Repealed Bush era restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.


Big freaking deal.  What else?

Signed the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act, the first piece of comprehension legislation aimed at improving the lives of Americans living with paralysis.


That's cool, I guess.  What else you got?

Developed stimulus package, which includes approx. $18 billion for nondefense scientific research and development.


I could that in my sleep.

Signed the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act to stop fraud and wasteful spending in the defense procurement and contracting system.


Big freaking deal.  What else?

Issued executive order to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay.


But what has he done for me lately?

Ended Bush Administration's CIA program of 'enhanced interrogation methods' by requiring that the Army field manual be used as the guide for terrorism interrogations.


I'm unimpressed.

Increase minority access to capital.


Yeah, AND?

Establish Credit Card Bill of Rights, preventing credit card companies from imposing arbitrary rate increases on customers.


Big freaking deal.  What else?

Health Care Reform Bill, preventing insurance companies from denying insurance because of a pre-existing condition.


That doesn't affect me personally so who cares.

Health Care Reform Bill, allowing children to remain covered by their parents' insurance until the age of 26.


That doesn't affect me personally so who cares.

Tax cuts for up to 3.5 million small businesses to help pay for employee health care coverage.


Big freaking deal.  What else?

Tax credits for up to 29 million individuals to help pay for health insurance.


Big freaking deal.  What else?

Expansion of Medicaid to all individuals under age 65 with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level.


Big freaking deal.  What else?

Require health insurance plans to disclose how much of the premium actually goes to patient care.


Big freaking deal.  What else?

Added 4.6 billion USD to the Veterans Administration budget to recruit and maintain more mental health professionals.


Yeah, AND?

Significantly increased funding for the Violence Against Women Act.


That doesn't affect me personally so who cares.

Lifted restrictions granting Cuban Americans unrestricted rights to visit family and send remittances to the island.


That's cool, I guess.  What else you got?

Eliminated subsidies to private lender middlemen of student loans and protect student borrowers.


Yeah, AND?

Increased funding for national parks and forests by 10%.


Big freaking deal.  What else?

Significantly expanded Pell grants, which help low-income students pay for college.


I could do that in my sleep.

Expanded hate crime law in the US to include sexual orientation through the Matthew Shephard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.


But what has he done for me lately?

Provided stimulus funding to boost private sector spaceflight programs.


Big freaking deal.  What else?

Appointed nation's first Chief Technology Officer.


Yeah, AND?

Signed financial reform law establishing a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to look out for the interests of everyday Americans.


Big freaking deal.  What else?

Signed financial reform law requiring lenders to verify applicants' credit history, income, and employment status.


Big freaking deal.  What else?

Signed financial reform law prohibiting banks from engaging in proprietary trading (trading the bank's own money to turn a profit, often in conflict with their customers' interests).


Big freaking deal.  What else?

Signed financial reform law allowing shareholders of publicly traded companies to vote on executive pay.


Big freaking deal.  What else?

Cut prescription drug costs for medicare recipients by 50%.


****************************************************

(All of these facts are sourced on the website.  If you want the website URL, let me know and I'll send it to you privately.  Just know I disapprove of the language on it.)

William says, "My brain is tired."

I must apologize to all you fans of my intriguing blog posts. It's hard to put the time and effort into something exciting when one's brain is already spent from extensive scholarship that includes working most of each day on a dissertation, applying to jobs, and teaching two Shakespeare classes. So I suppose I can update everyone on those activities. In the next few days I will submit a newly revised Chapter Three to the rest of my committee after making revisions suggested by my advisor. I will finish my first draft of Chapter Four and give it to my advisor within the next two weeks. That will leave me with one chapter to write and an intro and a conclusion. Of course, then there is the complicated housekeeping: manuscript clearance and such. The scariest part left will be the defense, however. YIKES!

Today, we discussed Macbeth in my Shakespeare classes. We talked about the role of the witches and their rhetorical connections to other characters. Sounds exciting, right?

On the job front, I have a little over three weeks before the next round of application materials are due, so I am taking some time out to focus more on the dissertation.

Finally, the brain drain is completed after the two boys finish exhausting me at the end of each day. Did I mention that I am also preparing something for publication? Full plate? I need a bigger plate.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Comparison

At a friend's request (shout out to Renee!), here is a picture of John, and a picture of Wesley at about the same age... doing the same thing.... wearing the same nightie.  The request was actually just for a comparison; the rest was just me.  I actually didn't do it on purpose, but when you discover something like that, how can you not share it?!
They for sure look like brothers but there are definite differences.  John's eyes are bigger, their lips and noses are different, Wesley's cheeks are bigger, their eyebrows and ears are different....  you know, its all in the details...  and those details make John look way more like William and Wesley look way more like me (or my mother, as it were).  

That is all.
John

Wesley

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