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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...

avandia class action