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Friday, December 29, 2006

On traveling...

I am usually early because I would rather sit and wait than miss something. All of us know what happens when we are late -- traffic lights are red, slow pokes are driving at half the speed limit, etc. Since I am flying out of State Capital this morning, traffic was so not fun; still, it was OK -- we were moving at all times, albeit slowly.

Parking was an issue, as always. Hey, I got my morning exercise walking from the Timbuktu Parking Lot and pulling my luggage. The check-in process was smooth, too. Honestly, I expected longer lines at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 29. Now let's hope my luggage makes it to St. Louis. I don't check in bags unless I absolutely have to; and I had to this time since I din't plan this trip and so didn't bring any travel size toiletries to my parents' house. Oh, well -- this is a non-stop flight so the worst scenario is leaving the bag in Atlanta and picking it up on Monday, right?

Then I got to security... A chirpy security agent looked at my boarding pass and informed me that I had an S on it, meaning that I was selected for additional security. See why being early or at least on time is important? They took forever looking through my carry on. Then they called the supervisor. Knowing that there was nothing bad in my luggage, I was not nervous, just impatient. Finally, they informed me that my laptop set off an alarm, probably because their scanner had a residue and set off an alarm. Huh??? Anyway, I got an apology for waiting so long and was finally able to walk to my gate.

Picked up a chocolate bar and a bottle of water. Due to some family issues, I didn't get to bed until after 2:00 a.m. and was up at 6:00 a.m., so chocolate is a necessity, not a luxury, this morning. And what can be better than chocolate for breakfast, right? ;)

So here I am, killing time before my flight boards. Then a short flight to St. Louis and a weekend of fun. We are attending a very interesting conference and doing other fun stuff, so I really look forward to this weekend. New Year's celebration should be pretty cool, too.

I am not sure if I will have another chance to blog so Happy New Year, everybody!!!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Hello, St. Louis!

I am going to St. Louis tomorrow -- for three days! I decided to go a couple of hours ago and got a great flight/hotel/car deal. Sorry, can't tell you why but I have my reasons, even though most people will think I need to be committed for making a decision so quickly. It should be fun, though! ;)

Happy Birthday, Sis!

My baby sister is 25 years old today! Wow, what a milestone! We are planning a big celebration for her tonight.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Shopping, walking, and working

Mom and I went shopping yesterday and today, just for a few hours. Bought several gifts for next Christmas at over 70%. Does anybody else do this? I don't buy all presents ahead of time but sometimes you can buy cool stuff at a bargain price.

Then we went walking, trying to walk off pounds that can't be avoided when family gets together and enjoys good food. We are doing pretty good, actually -- I didn't gain one single pound (um, according to Mom's bathroom scales).

Alas, holidays are almost over and I still have so much to do. Will have to drive home on Friday so I can finish everything by Jan. 3 when we have to be back at work.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Greeting

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Click here to see my greeting, created just for YOU! ;)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Turn your cameras upside down!

Hey, this is cool!

So far away...

Total Est. Time: 17 hours, 46 minutes
Total Est. Distance: 1082.86 miles

Yes, I thought of driving to New York. Foolish, huh?

End of the Year Review Meme

As seen everywhere... I created this blog in April and so my list is short but whatever... ;)

April: Having observed other bloggers for quite some time now, I decided it's time to join.

May: Landed contracts for two continuing education workshops, one for mining workers and another for the local K-12 teachers!!!

June: Tired of a small town I call home now...

July: After two eight-hour flights (Atlanta-Frankfurt and Frankfurt-Port Harcourt-Abuja) and a three-hour layover in Frankfurt, I am tired but, surprisingly, not exhausted.

August: It has been a crazy week so far -- final assignments coming in spurts, business writing seminar demanding my attention, and at least a million other things pulling me in different directions.

September: I can't believe it's already our last night here...

October: One of my business mathematics students finally decided to buy a calculator (at least I hope I convinced him this morning) -- after trying to follow complex calculations by working out every problem on paper.

November: We just finished the unit on Excel in my online course.

December: Inbox offered an email from a student who registered for my online course section, changed her mind, and now trying to get in; alas, the section is closed and there is a long waiting list.

Boooring... Maybe I will do better next year. :)

Course Syllabi

As I am working on my course syllabi for the next semester, I am wondering how strict are other schools about the adherence to certain standards. We have to include all basic information so our headings look very similar. However, we are free to change most policies as long as they are not in violation of the Board of Regents policies. For example, grading scale can't be changed, but attendance policy can be set by an individual instructor.

Also, how detailed are your syllabi? I explain each policy, provide a detailed list of assignments, and supply students with a tentative course schedule. On average, my syllabi are approximately five pages.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Yikes, it's already Thursday morning!

Time is flying by so quickly! I took a mini-vacation and escaped to the nearby island. Walking for miles on the deserted beach... Sipping tea on the balcony, watching flaming sunsets, and then counting stars... I needed that quiet time so much...

Now I am back to work, busily getting ready for the next semester so I can spend holidays with my family w/out worrying about all the things that need to be done. I am only taking several books with me -- rather fascinating and full of good ideas for my current area of research.

And I might go backpacking in Europe in May or June. Remember that headless figurine? Yep, that's me! Planning to take ballroom dancing lessons, too. ;)

Sunday, December 17, 2006


My traveler is safely back home, even though flights were canceled and delayed; connections were very close due to delays; and all communicating had to be done via a cell phone. Maybe I should look for a second job (um, third? I am a TA, too) as a travel agent??? ;) Actually, I always wanted to become a flight attendant... Crazy, huh?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Let's share holiday greetings in foreign languages!

If you don't speak a foreign language, just share a Christmas story with us!

Get Your Own Voice PlayerManage

Send me a voice comment. It's FREE! Just call 1(641)985-7800 and enter *2542044. If you get one too, I'll reply.

It's a happy day today!

  • Just finished a paper! Um, took like two months to write a four-page paper? I am ashamed of myself but it's done, done, done, and I will try to do better in the future!!! :)
  • I am playing a travel agent via a cell phone to one of my friends whose flight is all messed up; first, seats could not be confirmed; then, just this morning, they changed flights; and this person does not have anything but a confirmation number (long story), so all trust is placed on me to take care of this traveler.
  • I am taking a one-day vacation tomorrow -- driving to an island and doing nothing but walking on the beach and enjoying God's creation for. a. whole. day!!! Way cool after a busy year of earning 28 graduate course credits while maintaining a 4.0 GPA (well, hope it doesn't go down after this semester), working a full-time job -- five courses each semester, teaching two sections as a TA, going to a number of conferences, spending a month in Africa, and doing a myriad of other things.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

It's Wednesday night!!!

Already! And my desk is still covered with "stuff" that needs to be done NOW! My mother keeps asking when I am coming to spend some time with them but I really don't know what to tell her. So much to do... Yes, I will make time -- family is very important to me. No matter what, I will spend Christmas with Mom and Dad.

Go have some fun!

I thought you might enjoy taking How Well Do You Know the Nativity Story? Quiz.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Almost done!

  • Took my last final this afternoon -- we had three hours for 17 questions and it did take that long. I think I did fine. If I made 90 or above, I will have an A. Keeping my fingers crossed... Kinda too late, right? ;)
  • Will spend a couple of hours tonight updating and posting final grades for two classes I am teaching as TA.
  • Have a program luncheon tomorrow -- made egg "mushrooms." Curious? Very easy but looks cute! Cut off tips of hard-boiled eggs to make mushroom caps; carefully scoop out the yolk; stuff eggs with anything you like -- I used crab salad this time; place stuffed eggs on a platter; make very strong tea; place "caps" into the mixture for 15-20 -- they will turn brown and look like real caps; place caps on stuffed eggs; decorate with any greens to make grass (I usually use parsley, dill, or curly lettuce). I will post a photo later.
  • Still a long list of other things to do but getting there, slowly...
  • Going to New York again in January! ;) Wish I could go every week but it's not very practical, is it? Have to be patient...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

On living in a small town...

Living in Tiny Town is really annoying sometimes. Like running to the store for some groceries in order to take care of unexpected guests and meeting four of your students, all wanting to ask questions and wish happy holidays? I was glad to see them but really didn't have time to socialize...

Friday, December 08, 2006

On grading...

  • Graded final projects/exams until 2:00 a.m.
  • Averaged and posted grades this morning
  • Still need to finish grades for two sections in which I am a TA
  • Still need to study for one final (stats, what else?!) and finish one final project
  • Still need to finish writing a paper -- I have set a record on pushing the deadline, I think.
  • But for now I am off to the gym, to get a nice workout I have been needing for a long time now.
  • Then I need to clean my house (it's a mess!) and do laundry.
  • Yeah, another busy day ahead...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Yes, we do live in a crazy world...

Mom calls police when her son opens a Christmas gift too early; the boy is charged with petty larceny. Apparently, this child has already committed a series of crimes and his mother cannot discipline him. How sad...


I was attacked by a work monster as soon as I walked into my office this morning. Spending a weekend away is expensive in terms of work accumulated in your absence. Sighing... Would do it again in a heartbeat, though; so much fun...

Anyway, I have a million things to do, all competing for my attention at once:
  • Finish five projects (yes, five)
  • Take two finals
  • Grade finals (five classes)
  • Average grades
  • Finish a long-suffering paper -- ooooh, should have finished it a long time ago.

Oh, two more weeks of hard labor and then a brief respite... preparing for the next semester, of course.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

My last day in NYC...

I will treasure this adventure as long as I live, I think. I have ran through a gamut of emotions and my head is spinning. One more day of fun -- cool museum, some shopping, and then an evening service at Times Square church.

The weather won't cooperate...

My flight to New York City was a nightmare on Friday -- originally scheduled to depart at 5:45 p.m., it did not leave Capital City until almost 9:00 p.m. because all NYC airport operations were grounded due to inclement weather. When we finally got to NYC, the wind was too strong and the pilot had to abort a landing and try again. Did I scare you yet? I can tell you that I was plenty scared and I am not afraid of flying. The pilot was awesome, though -- when he touched down the second time, it was a very, very smooth landing. Way to go, Captain!

And so what are weather forecasters saying now??? Um, 50% of snow showers tonight and early tomorrow morning. My flight is scheduled to depart at 6:00 a.m. Fortunately, the thermometer won't dip too low -- 37 F so maybe it will be OK.

How could I resist?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

I do feel like Alice...

I feel like I stepped into a magic kingdom... that's why I am wide awake at 2:00 a.m. Need to get some sleep, though -- long day of wandering around NYC tomorrow... I am soooooooooooooo happy... Yes, I am crazy... :)

Friday, December 01, 2006

Just random thoughts...

  • Inbox offered an email from a student who registered for my online course section, changed her mind, and now trying to get in; alas, the section is closed and there is a long waiting list. So what does she do? Um, she goes to Admissions and gets a counselor to email my dept head to get a permission. Ha ha -- waste of time; I am very fortunate -- our dept head trusts our judgement and would never override the closed section w/out a permission from a course instructor. The nerve of that student, though!!!
  • Our bookstore manager always sends emails in size, um, 20, at least!!! Bold! Usually red or neon green! Why???
  • Anyway, my flight is boarding so have a good day! :)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

I am ready for adventure!

  • Flying out of University City tomorrow around 3:00 p.m.
  • Short layover in Capital City -- and off to New York City!
  • Taking a shuttle to the hotel and then meeting with a friend.
  • Two full days of adventure -- told to bring comfortable shoes.
  • I am sooooooooooooo excited!!!

Oh, yes, I still have so much to do before this semester is over. My laptop is traveling with me, of course. However, it won't be opened until I get to the hotel at night. At the moment, there are no absolutely critical deadlines that I am not meeting so things look OK. This trip might change my life forever so work is on hold.

Am I crazy??? Am I just following the White Rabbit? Maybe. Maybe not. Will see, I guess.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Let's advance research!!!

This guy is attempting to measure the speed of memes, so let's help him out. Link to this post in the name of science. Ask others to do the same. Results to be announced during the "Meet the Bloggers" panel at MLA 2006.

Specific rules:

  1. Write a post linking to this one in which you explain the experiment. (All blogs count, be they TypePad, Blogger, MySpace, Facebook, &c.)
  2. Ask your readers to do the same.
  3. Beg them.
  4. Relate sob stories about poor graduate students in desperate circumstances. Imply I'm one of them. (Do whatever you have to. If that fails, try whatever it takes.)
  5. Ping Technorati

It's not easy to collect relevant data (and, yes, I am a grad student myself -- here goes my plug) so please take a minute or two.

As shared by Profgrrrl.

Last day of classes -- well, almost!

I am teaching two F2F courses (not counting TA courses) this semester and one met for the last time this morning! We had a great discussion of various types of insurance, had a quick review, and now all they have to do is take the final exam; since it's posted online, we exchanged season greetings and probably won't meet again until next semester.

Tomorrow is the final day for my other course. And grades are due by December 8th. Lots of grading (seven courses total, three of them online) but things are moving fast!!!

Of course, I have one more week of my own classes plus finals. Still, it feels good. This semester was the worst ever in my college career, no doubt. Even combinining student teaching with a full load of courses and full-time job wasn't as tough. But I have survived so far!!! And I don't give up! :)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

On rude students...

One student emailed me a couple days ago, requesting a transcript review. I promised to take a look as soon as possible and respond via email. She insisted on coming over to my office, preferably on Monday or Wednesday. Well, Wednesdays are absolutely crazy for me and so I don't have time for any office hours. Mondays are usually OK but not next week due to a number of reasons. So I offered to meet with her on Tuesday or Thursday. Um, she was not so happy. When I checked her information, I found out that I am not even her advisor. So I politely told her to go see her own advisor. I am usually glad to help but asking someone who is not your advisor to spend a good deal of time perusing through files and then complain because they couldn't accommodate you right away? Come on, stop pouting and be an adult!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Ideas, anyone?

Anybody wants to name this photo? Mom and I saw this figurine last night at a discount store and burst out laughing. Why are they headless, do you think? No, don't give "some careless fool dropped it" explanation. ;)

You know what is funny? I kinda feel like that girl right now. Maybe I should go back and buy it. I can see the cashier's expression...

Update: I did buy that figurine, even though the manager at first refused to sell it, saying that "sharp edges can be a potential hazard." She relented and gave me a 25% discount, though. Who knows, it might be a very valuable souvenir indeed! I am cautiously optimistic. ;)

Hello, New York City!

I will spend the next weekend in New York, being a silly and excited tourist! Although I have changed planes there many times (and even spent a night at the hotel once when my flight was delayed), I am rather embarrassed to admit that I have never really "been" to NYC. I will arrive on Friday night and fly back early on Monday morning (6:00 a.m. flight -- need to be back by 1:00 p.m., so no choice, really) Yes, one short weekend is not enough to even get a glimpse of what the city offers. Still, it will be a start and I sooooooooo look forward to this adventure.

Any suggestions as to what I *absolutely* have to see and do? Most likely, I will be accompanied by someone who lives there but I may have to wander on my own, so any advice is greatly appreciated.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Live Christmas Decorations!

I put together my pre-lit Christmas tree today. In about five minutes, both of my cats were sitting inside, having a maaaaarvelous time! Grrrrrrr! Go away!

Shopping Craziness

Absolutely nothing will get me into any store today -- I abhore huge crowds of people, grabbing things only because they are apparently on sale and then returning stuff in heaps. I prefer relaxed shopping, with plenty of time to window-shop, try things on if I like them, preferably with a friend to keep company. Why people are willing to elbow through crowds is beyond me.

What do you think about post-holiday shopping craziness?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

On students, rewards, and warm feelings

Oh, it's so nice when students are actually thankful for what you do. My mailbox was full of Thanksgiving wishes this morning, mostly from students. It's just an e-card, right? Maybe I am being silly and overly sentimental but those cards mean a lot to me. Thank you, students! You are the reason I love my job.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Now I know how it feels...

to be a D student! Having maintained 4.0 most of my life, I am now joining my lagging students. Hey, could have been an F! ;)

Thanks for sharing the link, Seeking Solace!

D-List Blogger

A whirlwind of emotions, feelings, and events...

Happy, worried, smiling, tired, hopeful, doubtful, excited, despairing, determined, questioning, laughing, crying... Ah, what's happening to the calm and poised Ms. Alice my students know?

OK, a deep breath in... out...
  • This semester is almost over -- one more week for my students and two more weeks for me, then finals;
  • Although stats course is still a huge question mark, hanging precariously over my head, projects are falling neatly (um, eventually) into nice piles;
  • I am caught up on grading so there won't be a mad rush to grade, grade, grade;
  • I am treating myself to a cool trip in December;
  • Conference paper submission deadline has been extended and I will be able to submit my paper after all -- Hooray!
  • Above-mentioned paper is almost ready -- another Hooray!
  • It's cold outside but I will make a cup of hot chocolate as soon as I get to my office;
  • Oh, did I mention that I love my office? All that space? And a window?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Let's say "Thanks!"

If you go to this web site, , you can pick out a thank-you card, Xerox will print it, and it will be sent to an anonymous soldier who is currently serving in Iraq.


  • I wanted my students to do as much as possible last night so we went shopping and then ate at Joe's Crab Shack; it was packed but we had a good time; we didn't get back until 10:30 p.m.
  • And then I had to work, of course; deadlines don't wait. :(
  • Made myself get up at 6:30 a.m. (I treasure a chance to sleep in on weekends; alas, not this weekend)
  • Had breakfast (I had a delicious waffle smothered in whipped cream -- guilty as charged)
  • Took care of the bill (ah, they always forget to deduct taxes; government agencies don't pay taxes in their home states)
  • Drove to Tiny Town
  • Taught a student how to create an interactive PowerPoint presentation -- we were bored, so she took out her laptop and I guided her through the first set of slides; after that, she was doing great and I only provided additional hints/corrections.
  • Other two girls happily supplied facts for the project. She created an interactive game so they chose South America as a theme and the came up with categories. We learned some Spanish in the process.
  • Came home and collapsed -- so tired. Thought about lunch and decided it was too much trouble, so took a nap instead.
  • And what am I doing now? Um, working; evil stats homework is due on Wednesday night. Yes, we have a class on Wednesday, until 5:45 p.m.
  • I sooooooo look forward to Thanksgiving, even though I couldn't care less about turkey, stuffing, etc. I just need some quiet time. And my parents are coming over on Friday night to spend Saturday with me. Mom is still complaining about my absence on Thursday but I don't feel like spending 8+ hours on the road.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Yes, I am nuts...

just in case you are wondering. I found a great place to work -- um, in a hotel bathroom. No, I am NOT sitting in a stall; not THAT crazy. They actually have a huge spotless area with marble counters and several comfy armchairs and little tables. And it's sooooooooo quiet... only an occassional visitor; one gave me a strange look but who cares. ;)

Armed and dangerous...

to any serious accomplishments, I am afraid.

  • students are taken care of -- check!
  • wireless connection is working in the hotel lobby -- check!
  • Vesti Mocha Valencia has been delivered (ooh, need that sugar and caffeine after a long week of too much work and not much sleep) -- check!
  • Laptop is open and ready -- check!
  • notepad and pen -- check!
  • noise level -- can't do anything about that

Now I need to at least try to accomplish something by 4:00 p.m. when my students will be back and babysitting duties will resume. Come on, brain, kick into a high gear! Move, fingers!

At least my students are having fun and learning so much. They were bubbling with excitement at lunchtime. Although I didn't plan it, I have a fairly diverse group -- White, Black, and Hispanic; one of each. All girls, though; couldn't find any guys interested in spending a long weekend attending conference presentations. Maybe next year. They have a variety of sessions to choose from, all very interesting and relevant for students.

Another reason I am willing to give up my entire weekend is an opportunity for my students to escape their limited lifestyles. We are staying at Marriott Courtyard, not fancy at all. Yet, one student was awed by the "motel." Two other students didn't say anything but I could tell they weren't used to "luxury." I take so many things for granted... Eating at Olive Garden-type restaurant? Big deal! Oh, it IS big deal for them, apparently. We also had an interesting conversation about appropriate attire and they look nice but are still comfortable today. Baggy (or skintight) jeans and T-shirts are gone and these girls look professional. I am so proud of them.

This is one way to show my students that I care about them beyond their coursework and "news" about Ms. Alice's caring attitude is passed down the "grapevine," often prompting other students to open up during class discussions and/or ask for help when necessary.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Group Work

I love group work. And I hate group work. Depends on many factors such as group members, project, course, etc. I am involved in one project right now that requires my entire supply of patience. Several girls are "running" around like chickens with their heads cut off, worrying about nothing, making plans that are totally worthless. Stop, pay attention to directions! Yet, having dealt with them before, I know that it's better to let them boss around and then quietly pick up whatever portion is assigned to me and do my best with it. Otherwise, I won't be so popular when it comes to evaluations. Am I a coward? Not really. I just know from my prior experience that any suggestions will be ignored or, worse, taken as mutiny. Crazy, huh?

Anyway, too tired to think -- a long, long day. Put out several "fires" in the morning, barely made it to my noon class (phew, glad all cops were somewhere else), "flew" back in time to pick up a state car and meet three students I am taking to the conference, drove to Capital City (Friday night traffic is so annoying), fed my little flock, and finally collapsed. Oh, still so much to do...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Attention panda fans!

Select a baby panda name!!!

Lost in translation tool -- go play with it!!!

Using Lost in Translation Tool, I got these, um, "gems." Shhhhh, don't tell my mother -- she might be upset. ;)

Original English Text:My mother is a wonderful lady.

Translated to French:Ma mère est une dame merveilleuse.
Translated back to English:My mother is a marvellous injury.

Translated to German:Meine Mutter ist eine erstaunliche Verletzung.
Translated back to English:My nut/mother is an amazing violation.

Translated to Italian:Il mio nut/mother è una violazione stupefacente.
Translated back to English:Mine nut/mother narcotic violation is one.

Translated to Portuguese:A violação narcotic da mina nut/mother é uma.
Translated back to English:The breaking narcotic of the mine to nut/mother is one.

Translated to Spanish:El romperse narcótico de la mina a nut/mother es uno.
Translated back to English:Narcotic breaking itself of the mine to nut/mother is one.

Oy, oy, oy! What happened to my wonderful mother?!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The level of frustration is mounting...

I can't stop thinking about what happened in our stats class tonight. We just finished a rather complicated unit, although most of it actually made sense to me. However, many people who were doing great during the first part of the course are confused now. I was able to process information better only because I hired a tutor.

With about half an hour to go, our professor stopped and, oh my, asked if we would like to have a Q&A session. Wow! Sure! She usually plows through like a T-rex in a hot pursuit of its dinner. One person asked a question and our "esteemed" professor attempted to answer, meandering in every which direction, muddying up rather than clarifying an issue. Another person attempted to rephrase the question, obviously hoping to get a better answer, and, poor thing, set off a siren, literally:

Professor, suddenly: "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!" She was so loud, most of us jumped in our seats.

Then, sweetly: "Do you have another question?"

The poor student, in a barely audible voice: "Nnno."

"Anybody else has any questions?" Total silence...

"OK, then we will start the next unit." Several of us, fed up with this treatment, spoke all at once (yeah, strength in numbers): "Wait, we just finished this unit and need time to process the information and apply it to the homework."

The evil witch just cackled and declared: "Of course not! We still have twenty minutes of class and I am not about to waste that time. You will find a way to sort out this information over the weekend. If anybody objects, you are free to leave."

Ouch! If you think I am just mad and making this up, I am afraid its truth and nothing but the truth. If she hates explaining things, what is she doing in education? Yeah, what a naive question...

Yikes -- moving too fast!

As I am waiting for my class to finish an activity (two graduate students are conducting it for their research and I was told to sit quietly so not to influence students in any way), I am thinking that this semester has flown by so fast. In fact, we will meet only three times after today (well, really only twice since many of them may not be in class next week due to travel plans)!

I like this group of students -- they are bright, motivated, and inquisitive. They ask good questions and are not afraid to probe deeper, sometimes even forcing me to stop and really think because I don't always know the answer right away. They are moving beyond the basics and it's wonderful! You know, I would love to see them in action once they graduate and start teaching. I am also nostalgic about my middle school days.

They are working in groups for the next two meetings so I think I will bring some munchies for them. We can't eat in the lab but things can be set up in the lounge. Many of them were asking questions about one of my international trips so I might bring some ethnic finger foods.

OK, looks like they are almost done. Back to work!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Articulation Meeting

We met with our service area high school teachers (three counties) in order to articulate our courses, hoping to find at least some high school courses that can be used for college credit. It's a great program since students can earn college credit while still in high school, pick up any remaining courses, and graduate/move on to the next degree faster.

In our program, I was able to prepare three agreements (wow, these teachers are good and they are teaching necessary skills). As we were wrapping things up, another teacher approached our table, talked briefly with my colleague (who is new and was observing), and proceeded to chat with another person -- about kids, upcoming conference, lesson plans... And here we are, waiting for her, giving her dirty looks, while everybody else is about to leave. I finally interrupted her (yes, rude -- but I was desperate) but only for a moment -- she handed me her binder with all the programs and kept on chatting!!! I looked through her programs and it appeared that she taught every skill under the sun -- do you think her instruction results in adequate coverage??? OK, another 10 minutes go by; all papers are cleared; most people are outside. I had enough -- closed her binder, packed my stuff, and turned around to leave. Huh, here she comes: "Are you Ms. Alice? I am so and so from County High School. Would you sign our agreements? We have three courses."

What did Alice do? Um, smiled and said: "Nice to meet you, Ms. SoSo. Unfortunately, we ran out of time tonight; we waited for you for the past twenty minutes and now we have to leave; college vans are waiting outside. As for your courses, please identify main areas and email me how you are teaching those skills." And left, with another smile and a wave.

Rude? Yes. Upset? Yes. Especially since one of the courses she wanted to articulate was Office Procedures -- in this course, we teach business ethics. If she teaches her kids to ignore business proceedings, it's a sad situation.

Meme of the moment -- just because I need a break

You can only type one word. No explanations.

1. Yourself: caring
2. Your boyfriend: dream
3. Your hair: frizzy
4. Your mother: hugging
5. Your Father: loving
6. Your Favorite Item: book
7. Your dream last night: fleeting
8. Your Favorite drink: tea
9. Your Dream Car: driving
10. The room you are in: chilly
11. Your Ex: weird
12. Your fear: losing
13. What you want to be in 10 years: successful
14. Who you hung out with last night: laptop
15. What You're Not: athletic
16. Muffins: blueberry
17: One of Your Wish List Items:
18: Time: fast
19. The Last Thing You Did: yawned
20. What You Are Wearing: robe
21. Your Favorite Weather: sunny
22. Your Favorite Book: unpredictable
23. The Last Thing You Ate: apple
24. Your Life: rushing
25. Your Mood: hopeful
26. Your best friend (s): supportive
27. What are you thinking about right now? work
28. Your car: mustang
29. What are you doing at the moment? resting
30. Your summer: short
31. Your relationship status: looking
32. What is on your tv? blank
33. What is the weather like? cold
34. When is the last time you laughed? now

Monday, November 13, 2006

Better than goats???

Check this out!

Oops, I think I forgot... back in a couple of hours

Email from our bookstore manager this morning, around 8:00 a.m: "Dear faculty and students! Bookstore won't open until noon today because I forgot my glasses at home."

Font: 30 Color: Neon green Picture: pair of glasses

Online course seats are selling like hotcakes...

I am teaching five courses next semester, three of them online. Today was the first day of registration and one course is already closed (all seats were gone by 1:00 p.m.); two other sections are at the halfway capacity. Yeah and yikes -- I don't have to worry about courses "making it" but I will be bombarded by emails and phone calls from students begging to get in.

Two face-to-face sections are doing OK but rather sluggish; hopefully, I will get enough students. Technically, it's no big deal -- if my classes don't make, adjuncts will give up their sections since I am a full-time faculty. I never had to do that and sure hope to avoid the situation for two reasons: (1) I would feel bad for taking courses away and (2) with my crazy schedule, only certain days/hours work w/out conflicts; so making changes is not fun.

What is your experience with registering undergraduate students? Getting sufficient enrollment? Working with adjuncts?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Too much work, too much coffee...

I think I will start dancing around my house if I drink another cup of coffee so I better stop. Worked late last night, made myself stop when a glance at my clock revealed it was after 2:00 a.m., slept in just a little (8:00), treated myself to fresh waffles, and returned to a pile of work again. So much to do, so little time:
  • Finish conference paper (worked on it on and off for the past several weeks, too many interruptions, I really want to finish it by tomorrow so I can meet the deadline)
  • Finish course preps for the next week
  • Jot down notes for the curriculum alignment meeting on Tuesday afternoon (reviewing high school curriculum and preparing college credit agreements is a pain, no doubt)
  • Pull out my advisee folders (Spring registration starts tomorrow so I better be ready for a steady stream of students, frantic phone calls, begging for seats in closed sections -- oh, joy)
  • Start on my stats homework (at least jot down notes so I can start thinking about it)
  • Read notes for the final project in one of my courses (team members want to finish early so I guess I better cooperate; it's one of the reasons I hate group work -- you have to coordinate schedules and it's tough; nevertheless, as a teacher, I know that collaborative work is important)
  • I am sure there is something else I can't think of right now but will pop up on a screen when I open Outlook tomorrow.
  • Oh, duh -- pack for a trip later this week; taking three students to a leadership conference, Friday-Sunday. It looks good on my annual evaluation but so boring and time-consuming.

Don't have time for meal planning?

Check out this site provided by Kraft. Although not all recipes are that good, all basic planning is done; just print out a list and do quick grocery shopping (or maybe you already have some ingredients in your fridge or freezer).

Anyway, I am going to try their suggestions, I think.

Friday, November 10, 2006

What is your morning routine?

Profgrrrldescribed her morning routine.

My weekday mornings start at 6:30 a.m. -- no lingering in bed, 8:00 a.m. students are eager to learn (yeah, sure). I usually wake up a few minutes early, even though I do have an alarm clock -- just in case! And I do have a "natural alarm clock" -- there is a crazy bird that lives in my neighborhood and starts happily (and loudly) chirping just outside my bedroom window at 6:29 a.m. every. single. morning! No, I am not making this up. Yes, 6:29 -- I checked like a dozen times, at least. So I sleep in a guest bedroom on weekend mornings so I am not rudely awakened at 6:29 a.m.

Usually, I have a few minutes to get some breakfast. If not, I grab a breakfast bar and munch on my way to work. And then I arrive -- sleepy and not very motivated to teach equally sleepy and unmotivated kids. But it's a great bunch this semester, in both MWF and TR sections. They do make my mornings easier.

My wireless adventures

This morning, wireless network decided to take a vacation. After two phone calls with a technician somewhere around the globe (Indian?), we were able to get the router talking to my laptop. Phew, back to work, right? Wrong! My print server apparently joined the union and decided it needs a vacation, too. After another hour on the phone and lots of experimentation, my wireless friends are back and nicely talking to each other. I don't want to talk to them, though -- wasted three precious hours!!!

Midland accent? Um, no.

As seen everywhere

Alas, I do have a strong accent, but it's not American English.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The Inland North
The South
The Northeast
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Oops, completely forgot! My mother just called to remind me that today is our anniversary of becoming US residents! Wow, 14 years! And here I am -- US citizen who graduated from high school, earned B.S. and M.Ed., and working on a Ph.D. Hey, speaking English!


I heart meetings, especially high school articulation meetings. Yes, they are very important. No, they are not short and sweet. We met for three hours today and will meet again on Tuesday from 3:00 to (gulp) 8:00 p.m. to work out any discrepancies between our learning outcomes and their QCCs. In addition, we need to consider different course settings, schedules, accreditations, etc.

Do you have to go through this process?

On busy week and Christmas shopping

  • I feel like I am riding a monster rollecoaster, threatening to dump me off any minute now. So much to do... And my plans are being disrupted by all kinds of "stuff." On Tuesday, I was hoping to finish the paper. Unfortunately, one of my colleagues had a sick child at home and I was roped in to finish the project assigned to her. Grrrrrrrrrr... Today, it looks like I am popular -- a constant stream of students through my door...
  • Overheard one of my colleagues in the hall: "Oh, I don't understand my students. How could they do so poorly on the easiest test???" Ah, sounds familiar, buddy.
  • Last night, after a full day of teaching two classes and attending a class of my own, I was so tired I knew I won't accomplish anything important. So I stopped at the mall and did some early Christmas shopping. I can't stand the crowds and gift-buying frenzy and my family members have agreed a long time ago to buy only small practical (but still fun whenever possible) gifts. All of us have so many useless trinkets already! So I already bought some things online and last night purchased several tubes of body cream and this gorgeous robe for my sister (oooh, it's so soft -- I bought one several years ago and absolutely love it). Hmmm... maybe I need a new one??? What do you think?
  • Maybe not. I bought two pairs of shoes!!! Stylish and comfortable! Wearing one pair today and love it!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Virtual Second Life

Fascinating and scary at the same time. Go check it out!

Saturday, November 04, 2006


  • Number of words in the Bible: 774,746
  • Number of words in the US tax code: 2.8 million

It's Saturday afternoon again...

"Tea does our fancy aid,
Repress those vapours which the head invade
And keeps that palace of the soul serene."
--Edmund Waller, Of Tea

Enjoying a cup of fragrant Lady Grey while contemplating a long to-do list:

  • Paper #1
  • Paper #2
  • Paper #3 (in progress)
  • Paper #4 (in progress)
  • Advisory Committee notes and agenda (in progress)
  • Learning Outcomes rubric
  • Stats Homework (another 20+ pages)
  • Conference Paper (in progress)
  • Teaching preps
  • Laundry
  • Grocery shopping
  • Cat maintenance
  • House cleaning
  • Grabbing a novel and sunning on the deck for an hour?

What are you doing today?

I need a short break so...

As shared by Profgrrrrl

bold = things I’ve done

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea - from the shore
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can

32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster

35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment

39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe -- does traveling in Europe with a backpack count?
47. Taken a road-trip

48. Gone rock climbing -- does climbing rocks over the waterfall count?
49. Midnight walk on the beach

50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow

56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain

65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert” -- does a pre-taped five-minute interview count?
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage

85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark -- does taking one bite count?
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house

91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language well enough to have a decent conversation

95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country -- does a narrow canal trip count?
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over -- but have done it more than once for a job
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge

102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari -- does artificial safari count?
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents -- well, 4 out of 7
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school

131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read

136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life -- well, saved one person from a very serious injury

Thursday, November 02, 2006

No, I am not rich by OUR standards, but...

Discover how rich you are! >>

As shared by Dr. Brazen Hussy

I do not want to talk to you... go away...

I came to work early today, hoping to do some writing. As soon as I settled down, a student poke his/her head into my office. NOT one of my students. I don't know this person. S/he proceeded to ask me about my day (um, it's only 8:00 a.m. and I am not fully awake, what day?), telling me that s/he forgot it's not Friday yet and s/he didn't bring the homework, discussing family problems, etc.

What did I do? Went back to work, hoping s/he will go away. After about five minutes, s/he did. I think I might have been mistaken for somebody else. Or maybe I just attract weirdos? Anyway, I had to stop working and write this post. See what happens when people interrupt me???

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

What have I done?!

We just finished the unit on Excel in my online course. One student submitted all three projects in Word -- created tables, typed in numbers, etc. No, she didn't participate in any discussions either. Apparently, s/he lives on a different planet. A long sigh...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I am working with one Cameroonian NGO to fulfill one of the requirements for my Africa trip grant (develop a project that would benefit people I have met on the trip). This organization provides interest-free loans to women so they can purchase seeds, grow crops, and sell them for profit, thus earning income for their families. The social structure is very different from what most of us have experienced -- women, not men, are usually breadwinners.

One of the local families invited us to dinner and we discussed a potential project -- collecting recipes, publishing a cookbook, and donating all profits to the loan fund. Today, I received a CD with all necessary information and need to start working on that project.

Did anyone publish a cookbook before? I would appreciate any ideas and/or advice.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Are you making time for YOU?

Take this quiz to find out!


What happened to the weekend?! Even one extra hour didn't help.
  • Graded papers (yeah, they never stop coming)
  • Wrote a paper for class
  • Figured out a data collection plan and started coding some data
  • Read a stack of articles that I may be able to use for my research paper
  • Jotted down notes for another course assignment (due next week but I need to think about it)
  • Did a lot of other "things" that are necessary but do take sooooooo much time

Goals for this week:

  • Finish coding data
  • Analyze data
  • Write the paper using information collected so far -- so my advisor can edit and offer suggestions (or tell me to throw it away and start over -- just kidding, shouldn't be that bad)
  • Write two course papers (one is almost done; thinking about the other one)
  • Read several articles and write an article critique
  • Read several book chapters
  • Start working on Evil Stats Homework #3 (will get my midterm exam back today and don't want to see the grade)
  • Course preps and teaching, of course (yeah, life goes on -- students are waiting)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Full of energy today!

I slept a little longer than usual (8:00 instead of usual 6:30) so woke up rested and ready to conquer anything that comes my way today. And I do have a "mountain" to scale today.

My program requires a first-author article before the comps. Although I still have just over a year of coursework, I would rather take care of that requirement early and now feels like a good time. I helped my advisor a little (coding data, writing an abstract, and light editing to reduce the number of words) with an article for a conference we attended together and then wrote a short book chapter (it needed heavy editing but it was a great learning experience). My advisor provided lots of great feedback so I am ready to write an article, I think, especially since it's related to what we have doing before, thus providing an extra "crutch."

I planned to start yesterday but, with all that moving excitement and back-breaking labor of putting my office together, I only had time to think about this project. Actually, it gave me a chance to develop a mental outline.

This morning, ideas are flowing and my fingers are flying... Wow, feels good!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

My office looks great!

Wow, how did I manage to accumulate so much junk in five years??? It took forever (well, almost forever -- 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with only a few short breaks) to sort through all my stuff and either throw it away or tuck away in the appropriate location.

You don't want to hear it but...

I talked to my stats professor yesterday and she dismissed my concerns with a shrug and reminder that we still have a final exam. OK, thanks for nothing. In other news, I got my homework back (the one that should have been returned before the exam so we could see our errors) and it contains several "interesting" comments, including this one: "interpretate p-value." Um, I did -- wrote a long and detailed paragraph, using the same format we used in class.

I need my favorite music today...

No, nothing really bad. Just a shock of discovering that my office "stuff" has been moved to a new location and dumped all over the room. No warning. I unlocked the door to my old office this morning and just stared... Oops, am I awake yet? Where is my junk?

But!!! I have more space now (once I sort everything out) and a WINDOW! Yeah!!! :) And somebody else had to pack and drag stuff across the building. I am grateful, really and truly!

Now, let me tell you about that music... I rarely listen to anything on the way to my 8:00 a.m. class -- too early. This morning, I popped a favorite CD in and listened for a few minutes; then decided to take it with me. How strange is that? Anyway, so my favorite music is playing and I am ready to tackle the "great unearthing of my office junk."

CD? Probably won't be of interest to most of you but here it is: On My Knees by Jaci Velasquez.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A much better day today...

Although I didn't get to bed until very late last night (um, rather early this morning) because I had to finish a report, I am doing remarkably well. Taught a class. Held office hours. Completed a pile of little but important tasks that were vying for my attention for quite some time now. Now I am contemplating whether to take a nap and work later or make a pot of tea and work now. Tea sounds better, I think. I will try to hit the pillow early tonight, though. Although my stress level has gone done after yesterday's experience, I still have a low tension headache. OK, I made a deal with myself to leave it alone. Take a deep breath... Exhale...

Monday, October 23, 2006

Tired and upset...

We had our midterm in the evil stats course and it was beyond bad. The instructor, who specializes in marathon lectures to begin with, proudly announced that she completed all questions in 40 minutes and so we should have no problems doing that in 1 hour and 45 minutes (um, we lost 10 mins while she hand-delivered each test). Then she mentioned that one of her advanced students finished the test in one hour. No problem for us, "newbies," right? Then we opened the test -- several items were mentioned only briefly but now were worth a significant portion of the grade; to make matters worth, there were duplicate questions on those topics. Several questions were poorly worded so you really had to guess what was really required.

Several of us talked after class and agreed that the main cause of problems described above is instructor's delegation of duties. She relies on her TAs to create and grade assignments, thus allowing people with minimum teaching experience introduce all kinds of problems, especially since they are not the ones teaching the course. Language is another problem. For example, English is not my native language but I lived in the USA long enough to overcome the language barrier. The person who wrote the test barely functions in English. You tell me how this deficiency can affect the wording of test questions. No, I am not prejudiced against foreign students; just being realistic.

Anyway, I was tempted to just bang my head on the desk and leave. I did not. Instead, I did my best to answer the questions. I hope I passed. If not, I will think about it tomorrow. Too tired tonight.

Excuse me?

As seen in my Inbox this morning:

Good morning all,
The Tiny Town Masonic lodge is having a butt smoking as a fund raiser for the lodge. Whole butts can be picked up on Sat Nov 11 at the lodge from 10:00 – 1:00. The cost is 425. If you would like to purchase a ticket for a butt, just reply to this email and I will come by and make the arrangements with you.
Happy Holidays,

A few minutes later...

Sorry, the cost is $25 for Boston butts.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Something weird and spooky...

just happened a few minutes ago. I was working in my office with a door open and both of my cats were sitting outside on the second-floor balcony when these loud, awful hooting noises started in the backyard. My poor kitties ran into the house, obvioulsy terrified, and hid under my desk. After a moment of confusion, I realized that only owls would make such a sound! Because I live in a rather busy, although residential area, I haven't heard them before; however, there are lots of old houses around -- it's a historic district, after all. Something must have spooked them and they were raising an alarm. But in my backyard??? Go away!!! They were screeching for less than a minute but I was sure glad they left -- can't stand owls!

Suspicions, suspicions...

I had a student last semester who was giving me a hard time by acting strangely and giving weird excuses for not completing assignments on time. After a brief investigation, administration determined she was not taking her medication and so all her classes were dropped. She reappeared, with another girl in tow, several weeks later and registered for my course again, for this semester. Surprisingly (or not?), her performance is exceptional this semester -- she has a strong A average right now. However, because she is taking this course online, I don't know whether to attribute this success to (a) her medication or (b) "help" from a friend.

It's a math course and I do my best to randomize problems assigned to each student, so they can't "share" answers. However, I am not aware of an effective way to prevent "outsiders" from helping students. Any ideas?

What's wrong with me, anyway?

Can't figure out why (well, not true -- have some ideas but would rather ignore them) but I woke up feeling sorry for myself. It's sunny and cool outside. For once, I am almost caught up on things. My friend and I going shopping this afternoon. It's only a month till Thanksgiving and Mom's scrumptious creations and fun with my family. And semester will be over only two weeks after that glorious occassion, giving me three weeks of unscheduled time.

And, yet, I am feeling kinda blue... So I made a pot of fresh coffee and crawled back under the covers with my laptop. Hey, I am working -- just taking a quick break. :)

Update: After a late lunch at the local cafe and brief shopping expedition with a friend as well as "girl talk," I am feeling much better. :)

Friday, October 20, 2006

OK, so you want to be my friend?

I was really surprised to find two invitations to become friends from my brother's university. Come on, guys, asking your freshman friend's big sister to join the company is so not cool. One of the guys is my brother's roommate so I guess I can recruit a "spy." Just kidding, of course!

Thursday, October 19, 2006


One of my students, an older woman, just stopped by my office, smelling like kitchen. Yuck, yuck, yuck! I have to find some air freshener -- STAT!

As I was writing the entry above, another older woman came in, complaining about one of our instructors and asking me to teach that course as an independent study even though there are two sections available next semester! No way! I tried being as diplomatic as possible but firmly declined.

What is going on today???

Hmmm... Really, what's with all these older women today? Another came in a few minutes ago, upset that she did not receive any feedback from me. When I asked her if she checks her email, she sheepishly replied: "Um, no. I never check my email." Well, one mystery solved.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Oooh, if I only had enough time to do it every day...

Well, it's about time I stopped and did something nice for myself...

  • After my last class today, I went to the local Fresh Market store and picked up some goodies; wish there was one closer to Tiny Town -- this one is kind of out of my way so I rarely shop there.
  • Made a great salad for dinner:

French Chicken Salad
2 cups fresh green beans (1/2 lb)
4 cups stock or water, seasoned with salt, pepper, onion, and celery
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3/4 lb)
4 cups baby greens
1/3 cup raspberry vinaigrette
1/2 pint raspberries
Parmesan (or blue) cheese, grated
salt and black pepper, to taste

Blanch beans in water or stock for 4-6 minutes or until just tender. Set aside and while chicken is poaching, trim ends diagonally and cut beans in 2-inch diagonal pieces. Poach (slow simmer) chicken in water or stock for 8-10 minutes or until barely pink inside. Put in refrigerator, if not serving within 30 minutes. Bring to room temperature or warm briefly in microwave before serving.

Wash and dry greens. Put in large salad bowl. Toss greens with 2 tablespoons vinaigrette. Toss beans with 1 tablespoon vinaigrette and arrange over greens. Thinly slice chicken and arrange over beans. Sprinkle raspberries over salad. Pour remaining dressing over all. Season with cheese, salt, and pepper. Enjoy! :)

  • Enjoyed a cup of Blue Mountain coffee (my favorite -- fell in love with this java in Ocho Rios, Jamaica) while watching a movie for a while (another favorite -- Serendipity).
  • Definitely felt rejuvinated after this nice treatment -- yeah, lived on frozen dinners for the past several weeks and that stuff gets old fast.
  • Got some work done -- can't believe, actually; I was sooooo tired this afternoon, I thought I would barely make it home.
  • Now better get some sleep -- two more days to go and this commodity was in high demand for the past several weeks, too.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

What do you think?

What do you think about this story? I absolutely do not condone discrimination in any form. However, I don't believe they were actually discriminated against in this situation. What makes it worse, in my opinion, is religious leader's involvement. It gives a bad name to Christians -- yes, we are Christians, we would love to save the world, but we will also sue you just because our server was not quick enough.

Wow, thanks!

As I chatted with some students in the hall, another student approached me and asked about one of the courses I am scheduled to teach next semester. And then she made this statement: "You have a reputation of making sure students don't just "slide" through your classes but actually learn relevant skills; that's why I want to take your course." Wow, that really made my day! :) I usually get at least one nasty comment on my course evaluations about being too demanding. Dare I hope that students are finally realizing that "easy" is not necessarily good?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Hmmm... Looks like I am invisible!

Or too visible?
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

There are 1,500 people in the USA who share my first name, at least.

As shared by Profgrrrrl

I want...

one of these.

Who gave you that uniform???

As observed this morning on the highway between Tiny Town and University City...

One of those prisoner vans broke down so, instead of leading the wrecker to the turnabout just approximately 100 feet ahead, the police officer turned on his lights and lead the truck against the traffic to the turnabout approximately half a mile back! Behind all the cars slowing down for this clown to complete his performance! The speed limit on this highway is 65 so how stupid is that??? Oh, yeah -- there are emergency situations; this was definitely NOT!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Sick and tired, literally...

I grabbed a sandwich from our cafeteria yesterday because there was no time to make one at home and now I think I am paying for that "convenience." Luckily, I didn't have any important committments for today and my office at home is right next to the bathroom. I keep drinking hot tea, hoping to flush all the "stuff" out of my body.

Update: Other than a lingering headache (for which I am sipping some cold Coke), I am feeling much better. Alas, didn't get as much done as I had originally planned...

As a result, things are not getting done. So far, I
  • balanced my checking account and took care of the monthly financial checklist -- just to make my spending habits remain normal and I don't run out of money; I want to pay off student loans as soon as possible;
  • checked email and responded to important messages;
  • read two chapters in a textbook.

Alas, that's all -- and it's already past 1:00 p.m. Sighing...

I need to

  • write twoone papers, one of them is likely to be time-consuming;
  • edit another paper other group members are drafting now (I wrote the paper last time and so it's their turn); based on my previous experience, it will be very heavy editing;
  • finish discussions for twoone classes;
  • update grades -- again!
  • finish coding I have been doing for several months now;
  • find relevant quotes for the paper my advisor and I are working on;
  • take care of several miscellaneous items.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

So not my style...

One of these is my door prize for attending our Annual Benefits Fair -- um, all employees are urged to attend, even though it's mostly a waste of time. Now I have to waste more time and figure out what to do with it...

The weather is so nice...

today. It's sunny but cool -- finally! Walked to Business Office this morning and it was great -- the air is so fragrant, birds are chirping, and life is generally good.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Cool Personality Test/Meme

Go take it at! Have fun! :)

Here are some of my results:
  • Pride, Family, Love, Career, Money
  • Sweet, Smart, Ugly, Warming, Calming
  • I am not telling -- too revealing! ;)
  • Five
  • Saturday

Before I went to bed last night, I had to...

vacuum the stairs! Sounds exciting, huh? I left the door to the outside balcony open so my cats could play outside and one of them apparently sneaked in a flower pot inside while I was busy working. Imagine my surprise and disgust when I went down the stairs to get a drink before catching some dreams (it's after midnight, now, and I am soooooooooo tired) and found a dirt trail. Fortunately for those two bandits, the dirt was dry (um, the flower died a long time ago -- sorry, plants and I don't get along). Still, I had to get the vacuum cleaner up and take care of the mess before they use their little paws to complicate things.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Evil stats homework is done!

Aaaaaaah, just printed twenty-six pages!!! Now keeping my fingers crossed that those answers are correct (rather, mostly correct -- just being realistic). It's so annoying to get bits and pieces from all over the world, it seems, instead of having a good example to go by and just apply a different situation. No, I am not promoting "teaching to the test" -- however, this is only a homework and should be a good chance to practice, not a test of ability to collect advice from friends, coworkers, etc.

What an idiot!

Go play with this site!

Want to go somewhere? Don't know where? Looking for a cheap flight? Go play with this site:

Be careful!

There appears to be a virus circulating which is masquerading itself as an order confirmation from Best Buy for a Sony VIAO notebook.

Subject: (Order ID: 37679041 Is Being Processed)

There will be a ZIP file attached to the email, which would have contained an executable virus file. Attachment:

Monday, October 09, 2006

Ah, what a day!

No, I am not going to complain about my busy day again! However, I had two encounters that were both sad and funny, in a way.

First, I was a recipient of maybe innocent or maybe charged compliment this morning. I have this student in my MW morning class who apparently developed a puppy-love affection for me (um, he is like maybe 19-20; I am in my 30s and, MOST important I am a teacher and do NOT get involved with students). I have noticed him gazing at me and usually try to stay away from him so not to encourage any inappropriate behavior. This morning, he approached my desk while students were working on a brief individual activity and I was taking attendance and loudly complimented me on my outfit. I was shocked, of course, but responded in a business-like tone, very briefly thanking him and then immediately asking if he finished the activity; since his response was negative, I told him to go back to his seat and finish the activity. Needless to say, the rest of the class discreetly watched in stunned silence. Ever happened to you? Do you think I handled the poor guy properly? What else can I do w/out blowing this thing out of proportion? I think I will pretend nothing happened and hope he stays away or finds a girl of his own age and status.

Second, received several e-harmony matches tonight. None of them interested me for a variety of reasons. One did make me question e-harmony process -- it was for a cattle manager who can't live w/out country life, sleeping, and steak. Eeeeew! Definitely not interested!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Question about Outlook

Does anybody know how to get rid of all Sent folder messages w/out painstakingly selecting them one by one? Many thanks in advance! :)

I keep getting an annoying "reached the limit" warning and don't have enough patience to sit there and click for hours.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

As ideas are brewing...

I am enjoying a rare day of freedom from immediate deadlines. Oh, yes -- there are some things that are due tomorrow. But not today. And so I plan to enjoy my day -- I will work, of course, but w/out a pressure of producing something like yesterday.

It was great to sleep in this morning after getting minimal rest time for the past several weeks, enjoy a cup of coffee, watch cartoons (oh, haven't done that in so long and I guess there is still a child in me, buried under adult responsibilities and expectations), and think about upcoming projects and ideas. Too often, I find myself just "producing," w/out enjoying the process. There is one project that I am very excited about and might share some details as they form. For now, enjoy your weekend! :)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

It's stupid but I couldn't resist...

Mental Evaluation
It doesn't hurt to take a hard look at yourself from time to time, and this should help get you started.
During a visit to a mental asylum, a visitor asked the Director what the criterion was which defined whether or not a patient should be institutionalized.
"Well," said the Director, "we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to empty the bathtub."
"Oh, I understand," said the visitor. "A normal person would use the bucket because it's bigger than the spoon or the teacup."
"No." said the Director, "A normal person would pull the plug. Do you want a bed near the window?"



My complaints about our esteemed stats instructor have been confirmed this afternoon -- I am really not stupid, just needed someone to answer a few questions instead of running my brain over with big words and lengthy but meaningless explanations. All of a sudden, most of the jigsaw pieces fit into a pretty clear picture and it was no longer an annoying puzzle but a coherent process! Thank you, my wonderful tutor!!! You were able to do more in one hour than our "experienced" instructor in six weeks!

Huh, say it again?

From a student's paper:

"Mexico is making remarkable progress towards joining the twentieth century. In July of 2000, elections were held for the first time since the 1910 Mexican Revolution."

What a nice way to start my day!

Walked into my office this morning and discovered... a new computer system! Complete with monitor, keyboard, docking station, and removable laptop! And a new computer bag with all necessary travel stuff! Way cool!

Now I am itching to play with it but have to teach a class first. It's a keyboarding class, though, so my job is to spend a lot of time during the first week of classes to make sure students learn all appropriate techniques; after that, I am just monitoring and correcting if necessary. Because I don't like looming behind my students' backs and make them nervous, I usually find a strategic point where I can see most students and discreetly observe them. From time to time, I do walk around and make sure everybody is doing fine. Keyboarding Pro is a very nice program and requires minimal instructional efforts, so it's better not to interfere too much.

Of course, I will actively teach again in two weeks once we start formatting business documents. Usually, I model basic skills, answer questions, and then observe students and correct when necessary. This approach seems to be working for most of my students. One of my colleagues talks the entire class time and students hate that -- why would you want to do every... single... exercise... in a book as a class? One example is fine, just to give them a taste. Then off to hands on practice and discovering just how that stuff works. And I don't like doing things for students. If they have a question, I ask questions, too, gently guiding them to a solution. I maintain "hands off keyboard" policy whenever possible.

Anybody else teaching Keyboarding? I would love to hear about your approaches.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Just in case you're interested...

One of my friends sent this link: Vitas is a famous but very mysterious Russian singer who apparently never gives any interviews. You might have seen him on Yahoo! news this week.

I am not impressed by his screaming episodes but he is definitely a very talented singer. Enjoy! :)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Oh, time for only a few entries...

  • One of my business mathematics students finally decided to buy a calculator (at least I hope I convinced him this morning) -- after trying to follow complex calculations by working out every problem on paper. Didn't I tell you to purchase a calculator like several weeks ago?
  • A female student almost knocked me off my feet this morning as she rushed through, on the wrong side, as I just opened that door, balancing a stack of books and notes. Apologies? Nope! Ah, what happened to good manners?
  • My writing project from yesterday? Moving at a snail's pace, mostly because my knowledge of the topic is rather limited and you can't write unless you know what you're writing about; so more digging through papers, hopefully finishing tomorrow. My advisor is so patient with me... I feel like I am letting her down by not finishing on time but she also knows my mad struggle to balance work and school so I think she understands... I am so lucky to have her for the "terminal degree ride..."
  • Two classes taught, one class attended (click here; no, click there; now let's switch to slides; no, no -- let's go back; what???) -- yeah, that's my stats course... :(
  • Found a tutor for the stats course -- hopefully, we will meet on Thursday and random bits and pieces will start forming a coherent picture. Everybody keeps telling me that just passing the course is enough but... I always had a 4.0 average and can't accept substandard work... it's a slippery slope, in my opinion, and I will do my best to maintain reasonable standards... if nobody cares, I do care. Am I crazy???
  • Oh, well -- break is over. Have to write a short paper tonight that's due by 8:00 a.m. tomorrow so the clock is ticking...

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Another long, long day...

It has been another long, long day and, alas, I still have so much to do... At least, I did accomplish a number of things.

I guess the highlight of the day was my meeting with online students. This semester, I decided to invite students from my three online courses to the informal get-together so they would meet each other and discuss problems/offer suggestions before midterm. Overall, the meeting was a success -- we enjoyed hot chocolate and cookies (well, they enjoyed -- I stayed away from any tempting "goodies") and discussed possible improvements to all three courses; also, some students had individual questions and we were able to resolve some issues. And I connected more faces and names! :)

Then I came home and decided that my car definitely needed to be washed -- all those bugs, yuck... Well, those nasty things would not come off! So I sprayed on some "bug-off" solution. Oops, huge mistake! Now I had bugs AND white yucky stuff. I think I was able to get the stuff off w/out damaging paint; I sure hope so. I was furious but also felt stupid for not testing on a small section first.

Didn't have time for a pity-party, though -- too much to do. Grading, posting discussions for my own courses, writing a paper, looking for relevant articles, etc. Now one more thing to accomplish -- have to read through a pile of articles and make notes so I can write tomorrow; planned to write today but too tired now for composing anything coherent.

Tomorrow, I have to do the following:
  • Write two papers (one is critical because another person has to proofread it before the deadline and I really should have written it tonight)
  • Finish homework for my stats course
  • Finish discussion postings for two classes
  • Read some articles as well as book chapters for the next week
  • Do laundry
  • Take care of my poor neglected kitties -- refill litter, water, and food; maybe even play with them for a few minutes?
  • Would be nice to get some sleep -- the goal is to get things done before midnight tomorrow, so no sleeping in tomorrow morning.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Oh, kids, please be careful...

Technology is great when common sense is used...

Looking for fun? Ha-ha...

Received an email from one of our new faculty members: "What is there to do for fun in this remote village?" Alas, nothing... Want to have some fun, drive like an hour to the nearest city which is not exactly a "cultural center" but does offer a reasonable variety of fun things to do.

And another question: "I do not mean to be personal or nosy but just wondering as to how do you manage to be a full time student and a full time employee at CC at the same time?" Honestly, don't know. Motivation? See above. :)

Oh, just wishful thinking...

After surviving several very hectic weeks and working late last night (ah, midterm is almost upon us so midterm grades are due today), I woke up at 7:30 a.m., feeling surprisingly refreshed. And I don't have to be anywhere until noon... Wow, feels so good! It would have been great to have this luxury every day...

So I made a latte and decided to gather some articles for a lit review. Oh, it's so nice to move at a normal pace, instead of my usual rush-rush-rush...

Anyway, let me switch to a different topic... I attended a meeting yesterday afternoon, 4:30 to 5:30, with two guys from another department. And that meeting really irritated me -- please note that I am a very patient person. Our agenda was almost two pages long and contained stuff like (1) Welcome -- Chair, (2) Overview of Past Deliberations, etc. And we proceeded to have a ten-minute welcome, word-by-word reading of past deliberations, etc. It might have been fine for a new committee but we met a gazillion times last year and already knew exactly what had to be done. Come on, it's Thursday afternoon and everybody is tired; let's just make necessary changes and leave. I had enough when the new chair suggested we rewrite everything we already had. Are you kidding??? That's where my aggressive side kicked in, fueled by physical and emotional exhaustion, and I firmly "put my foot down." And it worked -- we wrapped up our "deliberations" in 15 minutes and the chair even looked pleased, apparently convinced it was his idea; oh, I don't care -- just want to go home. Come on, people, pompous phrases are totally unnecessary -- just state the important stuff and go do something else. I guess I won -- this time! :)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Early Christmas present!!!

Our Tech Support coordinator just stopped by to inform me that they will install my new computer system next week -- laptop, monitor, docking station, etc. Way cool! I didn't even know they were going to upgrade my current work laptop!

And here I am, working on a Ph.D. and dreaming of another job. Aaaaah, Community College is a great place to work but (1) pay is rather low and (2) I can't see myself spending the rest of my life in Small Town. I will definitely miss the generosity and support of my dept chair; she rocks!

Aaaaaaaaaah, saved by the local florist...

Believe it or not (I certainly don't) but I forgot today is my mother's birthday and had to make quick phone arrangements to get some flowers delivered! Done! Whew, that was close...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Hectic but OK day...

  • Surprisingly, woke up early, feeling refreshed -- went to bed late and totally exhausted.
  • Somehow wasted time getting ready and then had to rush out the door.
  • Taught 8:00 a.m. class. Fun stuff today -- simple interest, looking for car loans, comparing cars, etc. Students seemed to enjoy activities and I didn't see any glazed expressions, so that's good news.
  • Drove to the University City and, guess what, found a prime parking spot! Way cool!
  • Taught a class -- another success story! Students were actively engaged and seemed to be really enjoying the projects we completed today.
  • Found a quiet spot and worked on my stats homework. This course is driving me nuts! I read the book and go over the notes; sections make sense but I can't seem to "get" the whole picture. It's just soooooo meaningless! Remember "But it doesn't mean anything!" complaint from The Sound of Music? That's how I feel!
  • Went to see my stats instructor and was glad to hear that I did get several problems right. Well, hard work pays off but it's so frustrating and takes soooooo much time.
  • Drove home with a top down -- nice and cool (but not cold).
  • Made a tuna stir fry for dinner -- yum!
  • Now will try to work for a few hours -- until I fall asleep, I guess...
  • Have a great Thursday, everybody! :)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Taking a well-deserved break...

It's so nice outside today -- sunny but reasonably cool. I have sooooooo much to do but doing it outside really helps. I can enjoy the blue sky with light puffy clouds, a delicate spider web gently swaying in the wind, a warm sun, people walking down my street and cars zipping through faster than they really should... while wearing down my keyboard keys and creating new neuron connections (or destroying them?) in my brain. OK, blog break is over -- back to work, refreshed by your wonderful posts! :)

Question for y'all...

Why do people come up with ideas and then expect someone else to make them a reality??? Our new staff member decided we need a monthly newsletter and promptly asked the dept chair to appoint a committee. Excuse me, if you have time, why don't you create a newsletter? Of course, as luck goes, I ended up being on that committee and now have one more thing on my ever-expanding plate.

Did it ever happen to you? What did you do? I have to admit meak acceptance since I really had no choice. :(

Thursday, September 14, 2006

You know you are living in 2006 when...

1. You accidentally enter your PIN on the microwave.
2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.
3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of three.
4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.
5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don't have e-mail addresses.
6. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries.
7. Every commercial on television has a web site at the bottom of the screen.
8. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn't even have the first 20 or 30 years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.
10. You get up in the morning and go online [and read favorite blogs] before getting your coffee.
11. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. : )
12. You're reading this and nodding and laughing.
13. Even worse, you know exactly to whom you are going to forward this message.
14. You are too busy to notice there was no #9 on this list.
15. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn't a #9 on this list.
AND NOW U R LAUGHING at yourself.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Confession Time

I just ate a chocolate eclair for dinner; only one, mind you; but it was good, very good! Oh, yeah -- it went straight to my hips. But do I care? No, not this week! Should I care? Yes, but, like Scarlett, I will think about it tomorrow.

It has been a hard week so far -- tons of work, a good portion of it boring and totally useless; only a few hours of sleep; and, of course, another dating fiasco. I showed the profile to one of my friends and received a confirmation that my reaction was, indeed, valid; I was not just being rude or too proud or whatever.

I will hit the road tomorrow afternoon and won't get back until the following Sunday, so more work and less sleep ahead.

Break is over -- back to work...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Is it really funny or I just need a laugh?

I am cracking up anyway! And I may take an advantage of this free service offered by our hotel:

Free of charge are:
- the first check-up and the first aid;
- determination of correct feeding according to the methods of the American nature path Dr D’Adamo;
- choose of diet for the restaurant ******.

Where I am going may be disclosed later -- have to discuss it with my companions and make sure they want me to blog about it here! ;)

Update: I am going to Russia -- haven't been back for 14 years so I don't really know what to expect now, as US citizen and really more American than Russian.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Too tired to think...

Ah, it's after 11:00 p.m. once again -- and my stack of "stuff to do" did not visibly diminish. Monster #1 is done, done, done -- and sent away forever. Monster #2 is 50% done -- have an outline, need to write tomorrow.

Well, better catch some dreams -- didn't get much sleep last night, taught an 8:00 a.m. class, and have another 8:00 a.m. tomorrow. Yawning....

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Just putting out fires...

Oh, sooooooooo much to do... And two absolutely meaningless and stupid projects are driving me nuts! The kind that inspire a sigh of disgust, know what I mean? Not difficult but taking a long time because you just can't make yourself create trash? And I can't concentrate on other things (well, a mountain of stuff) until I push these two out of my printer and mind.

The weather is not helping -- it's gray and gloomy, raining from time to time... A great weather for spending a day curled up in a favorite chair with a good book. Alas, can't afford doing that... On days like this, when I would rather do something fun and not worry about school stuff, I question my sanity about pursuing a Ph.D. However, I am quickly reminded of the reason when I think about spending the rest of my life in our Sleepy Town (um, officially City). No way! I can do it and get out!

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