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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy New Year!

Click here to see a greeting card!

May your lives be filled with favorite things! Happy New Year!

A quiet day...

The door to my upstairs balcony is open, allowing the breeze to fill the house, gently swaying the curtains and freshening every corner. I love the earthy scent of rain... It's raining hard today but I don't mind -- we desperately need the rain and the sound of rain calms me, helping me concentrate on things that need to be done this weekend.

I played too much yesterday, again. However, I did catch up on at least some things on Thursday and Friday, so it's not so bad. Yesterday morning, we made rather spontaneous plans to go to the amusement park -- and had lots of fun! We finished the day with an ice-skating show and a fun family dinner at, um, Taco Bell! Yeah, sounds crazy but Taco Bell does offer a pretty good selection and so six of us ordered family-style and had fun sharing and laughing. Just a reminder that simple little things are most important in our lives...

Friday, December 28, 2007

Breaking the silence... to rant? ;)

Today is Dec. 28th??? What happened to 2007?!?! Alas, can't say I have accomplished anything noteworthy but it has been truly a rollecoaster year -- sad at times, filled with laughter most of the time... probably one of the happiest years of my life... even though not productive...

Like this morning... I woke up smiling after dreaming about somebody very special. ;) Um, you mean I have to get up and work, getting ready for the next semester?! Nope, let's enjoy a latte and chat on the phone first...

As I am sitting on the balcony swing, sipping my latte and dialing the number, I see the Terminix truck pull into my driveway. No, no, no -- go away! Please don't spoil my mood -- I so don't want to yell at you, even though you so deserve a kick in the behind. See, when the guy who treated my house for the past five years left, they assigned this moron to my route. Twice now, he came to the house when I wasn't there, left a "Bob was here" note (how juvenile is that?!), and then charged me for the regular service. Twice now, I had to call and cancel the charges. Last time, I told them -- again -- to remove me from their list.

Behold Bob -- marching to my front door, with a note in his hand, assuming that I am not home (my car is parked in the garage) and he can pull his dirty trick again!!! Ha, not this time!!! You had to see the look on his face when I called out to him from the balcony and calmly told him to leave. If not for his ample beer belly and the law of gravity, he might have jumped.

And what did he do next? Quickly recovering, he told me that he called and left a message on my answering machine (um, a small problem here -- I don't have an answering machine on my landline). I told him to stop lying and leave my property (a deep breath, chill...). The guy then whined and asked me to give him another chance. Are you kidding?! Another deep breath -- "Please. leave. my. property -- NOW!" A fake smile, fighting for control -- "Have a good day!" Grrrrrrrr... A real smile -- back to my delicious latte... ;)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The year is almost over?!?!?!

Translation: There is no such stress in life that cannot be overcome by prayer and chocolate.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Dubai 2007 Random Photos

Saw this ad in one of the outlet malls. Didn't see the right side until we turned the corner. Hmmm...

Desert Safari -- racing across and over the dunes, in a vast desert, in 4WD vehicles. What do you think? ;)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

On BlackBoard...

Last year, we moved to BB6 and I had to make major adjustments to all of my courses. Guess what? This year, we moved to BB7 and all tests/assessments (and test banks) are gone, gone, gone... all because our Tech Support "lost" my backups. Grrrrr...

So here I am, wasting days to reinvent my own "wheel," trying to put everything back together. No, I am not the kind of instructor who teaches the same course in the same exact way every semester. Maybe I should -- would save a lot of time. But I can't -- I want to reach out to students, to teach in the best possible way. Still, it's nice to accumulate resources and mix and match them every semester. It's not fun to just lose those resources...

There! I ranted and now feeling better! Now back to work... ;)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


So tired this morning... had to drag myself out of bed this morning... I am not a morning person to begin with and I didn't get much sleep. Talked on the phone until very late, then had to change a reservation. Because it was for the international flight, I kept getting "no seats left on this flight" message which was really freaking me out -- until I had a "brilliant" idea to check the seats left. Duh -- plenty of seats, just a block to prevent changes to international flights. So spent another 40 minutes listening to the most horrible elevator music I have ever heard -- can't even describe it, a mix of screaming, whining, ugh!

On a bright side, I don't really have to be fully awake on TR morning because I am teaching the basic keyboarding course and there isn't much I can do unless students work on their own, so I pretty much babysit for the first several weeks, making sure they are using the correct techniques, of course.

And that reservation? It actually means I am going to spend double time with my travel companion. Definitely not complaining here! ;)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Procrastinating, big time...

It's after noon and I still haven't accomplished anything truly useful:
  • Check and respond to email
  • Enjoy breakfast
  • Play with cats
  • Look for some books/CDs online
  • Finish writing a paper (um, more like write 2/3?!)
  • Update course rosters (add/drop period is over -- a reason to rejoice and celebrate!!!)
  • Go through/pay bills
  • Exercise
  • Enjoy a long soak...

Maybe I should just go to the last two items... alas, the paper is due on Monday...

Friday, August 17, 2007

Another busy semester...

This summer has flown by so fast... I can't believe today was the last day of the first week of classes. Yep, we start the fall semester very early, much earlier than I would like, personally. I wanted a few days off between semesters so I could do absolutely nothing but, alas, that didn't happen -- posted grades for the summer semester and had to prepare for this semester. At least I have a week before my own classes start...

On a cheerful note, I look forward to an exciting trip to the Middle East in a few weeks!!! :) It came together rather unexpectedly but should be lots of fun. Any advice for traveling to Dubai? I am rather nervous about driving there -- statistics are kinda scary... Originally, I reserved an economy car, trying to stay within budget. Today, I decided to pay a ridiculous amount of money but get an SUV instead; should be much safer. What do you think?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Yikes, this summer is almost over...

I can't believe we have finals next week!!! I am still so far behind with grading... didn't even start preparing for the next semester... oh, well, one day at a time...

Monday, July 09, 2007

Running, running, running...

it's all I am doing these days... Alas, still trying to catch up after two insanely busy months, but also very happy on a personal level. :) I am dreaming of having my own family one day so maybe moving that way??? Maybe??? Don't really know but it's a nice dream and dreams do become a reality, right? ;) This summer, I have a chance to "play family" in some areas like cooking, for example, and I absolutely love it; guess it's a confirmation that I would enjoy being a wife and a mother.

Monday, June 04, 2007

It's been so long...

Can't believe it's been almost a month since I posted anything. Ah, life is crazy right now...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Ah, graduation...

Our graduation ceremony took place tonight and, as always, I was so proud of my students walking across the stage to get their hard-earned diplomas. The best part was afterwards, though, during the reception -- when student after student came up to shake hands or give me a hug... I must have done something right... something good... ;) It feels good, especially after a long and busy semester while getting ready for another... Reminds me why I am a teacher after all...

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Grades are done, done, done!!! Oooh, what a relief! I love teaching but absolutely hate grading, especially long papers that require a lot of feedback. Yeah, I don't have to "punish" myself but I do know that students learn better when I provide feedback via critical thinking assignments so I do it, semester after semester, year after year...

Now to the next project... um, which one? too many vying for my immediate attention... For an hour or so, I am going to treat myself though -- will make a cup of tea and relax with a book... for an hour only, promise! ;)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Laugh all you want! ;)

Um, like I don't have enough to do, but one of my toilets stopped up this morning. Since Dad and his brother came over to renovate some stuff and disabled the other bathroom, I couldn't wait to call a plumber.

So! This girl found a plunger and tried to unclog the toilet. Nothing -- probably because I had no idea to use this "high-tech" device. Laugh all you want but I Googled directions (btw, here they are, in case you need them, too -- Unclogged!!! ;) Hmmm... if they fire me, maybe I could become a plumber???

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Oh, and I thought I was busy before...

This week was brutal, absolutely brutal... I had to (1) write a research paper, with only minimum preps done prior to this week; (2) finish creating an instructional module, conduct formative evaluation, and then write a report; (3) write a term paper; and (4) of course, keep teaching, attending a myriad of meetings, answering tons end-of-semester emails, etc.

Surprise, surprise -- I am also sick this week; usual stuff -- runny nose, stuffed sinuses, sneezing, a slight fever... Doing pretty good, though -- finishing up my last assignment, the term paper. Then lots and lots of grading... and another research proposal... and consulting project... and getting ready for the next semester... and taking three classes in May... and -- ah, better stop complaining! :)

Anyway, I will finish the paper in another hour or so and then will enjoy my dinner. Haven't cooked lately so tonight no frozen dinners for me!

Cranberry-Pine Nuts Meatballs
Yeah, sounds weird -- but this recipe is yummy... ;)


  • 1 lb ground lamb (or ground beef if you don't like lamb)

  • salt, black pepper, and any other spices of your choice

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped

  • frozen cranberry

  • pine nuts

  • chicken or beef stock

  • butter or olive oil

  • 5 small tomatoes

  • peppercorns, bay leaves

Slightly roast pine nuts on a dry skillet. Set aside. Saute chopped onion in a little bit of butter or olive oil until golden brown. Add spices of your choice to the ground meat and mix well until it sticks well together.

Divide seasoned meat into 10 parts, roll into a ball, then flatten. Place some sauteed onions, cranberries, and pine nuts in the middle; you can also add some butter for added juiceness if you like; form into a meatball.
Boil chicken or beef stock in a large pot. Add some peppercorns and bay leaves. Add meatballs and cook until meatballs surface; approximately 15 minutes. Remove meatballs.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut each tomato in half. Place meatballs and tomato halves into the baking dish, mixing them up. Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes or until both meatballs and tomatoes are slightly browned.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007


I created an instructional module for one of my courses and tested it with two of my classes so far. To my surprise, students loved the module so much, about half of them wanted a blank copy for their personal use. It felt like kids requesting more veggies! :0

Yeah, I know -- I am crazy! ;)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Swimming Lessons

I am taking swimming lessons this summer and looks like I can test my skills later... Click on the link below and scroll to Step 23 to find out why... :)

Swimming Practice

What was I thinking???

The past several weeks have been absolutely insane, mainly because I am juggling way too many projects. There is a research paper that should have been completed, like, two weeks ago? Another project is due next week but really need to work on it this week just in case something unpredictable comes up. Meanwhile, I am working on a design project because (1) they pay me well, (2) if I break this contract, I probably won't get additional opportunities from this editor again, and (3) it happens to be fun. Am I crazy???

Oh, I should also mention teaching seven classes (yes, 7) and doing minor projects for two classes. Somehow I managed to sneak some personal-professional (don't ask -- too complicated) time with a friend, too? ;) Yep, I should be committed!

I am curious -- if I survive the next two years and finish my doctorate, what will I do with all that free time? Hee-hee -- what free time? I am sure something else will occupy the vacuum.

Monday, April 09, 2007


It's too cold for April! Yesterday, we even had freezing rain for 30 mins or so, even though it was ridiculously hot (and I mean -- hot) earlier in the week. Today, it's still chilly. I shouldn't complain, though -- summers here are extremely hot and humid so we will get plenty of hot days. Actually, I am enjoying the cool weather -- bundled up in a sweatshirt and enjoying a cup of coffee. ;)

Talking about coffee, I better not make another cup -- trying to stay awake since I have so much to do but I am already jittery from too much caffeine. But this French Vanilla coffee is so good...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Ugh, what a visitor!

One of my advisees stopped by today to chat about classes s/he needs to take... and proceeded to devour candy on my desk. I keep a basket of Life Savers and just refilled it recently so it was almost full. When the person left, I discovered that s/he must have eaten at least 20 pieces!!! No, I am not complaining about candy -- it's for students anyway, I stay away from that basket. But I am concerned about that person -- it's not healthy to go through 20 Life Savers in 5-10 minutes.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Only three weeks left???

According to the calendar, we only have three weeks of classes (and then finals) left. It's exciting and scary at the same time. This semester has been a whirlwind of personal and professional events and I haven't been able to catch my breath, always moving from one thing to another. So, yes, I am ready for a short break (very short -- like two days) but also anxious about several major projects that have to be completed, three by the end of April and one by the end of May. I don't even want to think about grades at this point.

However, I know I will be fine. Many things have happened this semester that have changed me as a person, both personally and professionally; in a good way, I think. The future is uncertain, as always (who knows what will happen the next moment?) but full of potential so I choose to be happy and upbeat, ready to conquer those projects and enjoy my break as much as I can.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

It's been one year!

I created this blog on April 1, 2006. Looking back, I realize I haven't written much but there were days when sharing with blogosphere helped me to reflect on whatever was going on, lift my chin, and march on. Many thanks to all of you who stop by and read my ramblings!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Working, working, working...

Had to be on campus, working, for the last two Saturdays. We are holding new student orientation, one on our main campus (last week) and the other on our satellite campus (today). It was somewhat fun, actually. I talked to many prospective students and their parents, promoted our new courses, and chatted with other instructors, many of whom I don't get to see often. We are not required to attend these events but they look very nice on the annual evaluation and I do like to meet my future students because, in many cases, it establishes a certain level of respect and shows that I care. Many of these students are coming back on Monday so they can register for classes so my time hasn't being wasted.

However, that means that I will have another very busy week, especially since one faculty member in our program will be gone all week, attending a conference. There are only three of us and, since the third person is fairly new, I will be in charge of registration; would rather not have that responsibility and work load but can't do anything about it.

On a bright side, it's nice and cool today, so I can work outside. :)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Work Hours

Why do students usually assume faculty members are available all day long? Same students, it seems, send emails at midnight and expect a quick answer. Um, yes -- many of us (well, speaking for myself at least) work whenever we have time.

Still, I have heard negative comments in the past about how great it is to have "flexible" hours. Hey, they are not always flexible and we often work long, long hours when our students don't even realize we do. I love my job but sometimes I am actually envious of people who work 8:00 to 5:00, with a scheduled lunch break, and go home w/out worrying about work left behind.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Ah, so tired...

I don't know why but I am so, so tired... Tons of stuff to do, several deadlines -- but I don't have any energy left, it seems. What is it? Pollen, maybe? Insane schedule finally catching up with me? Probably a combination of both plus several other things thrown into a mixture.

I have a diagnosis: cranks. Thanks, Dr. Seeking Solace!:)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Broccoli, Grape, & Bacon Salad

It's so hot outside today so I wanted to serve something light for lunch.

  • broccoli, 2 heads (1 bunch)
  • 1-2 cups grapes
  • 1 pkg (12 oz) precooked bacon
  • nuts, chopped (walnuts or pecans), to taste
  • Mayo or yogurt, to taste
Cut broccoli and grapes into bite-size pieces (I used electric slicer). Chop bacon slices and microwave for 30 seconds for extra crispness. Mix broccoli, grapes, nuts, and bacon. Toss with mayo or yogurt. Chill.
I served this salad with fresh croissant sandwiches (hummus, turkey breast, cheese, tomato, and lettuce).
Served leftovers the next day and this salad was still pretty good.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Something weird just happened...

I received an email with a time stamp of Friday, 3/23, 9:27 a.m. but it's only 8:50 a.m.? Does anybody have an explanation?

What a beautiful day!

It's sunny and cool outside. Azaleas are blooming all over our campus. What a glorious sight! And here I am, cooped in my office... On a brighter side, I do have a large window now so I can least enjoy the partial view of azalea bushes and, um, parking lot.

Have a wonderful weekend, everybody! :)

I don't mind phone calls but...

common sense is greatly appreciated. Have one student in my Thursday night class who regularly calls a couple hours before class to ask questions about class assignments, grades, etc. Since I don't have office hours before this class, I can't answer those questions until after class anyway and end up talking to this student in class. So what's the big deal? We are more than halfway through the course and s/he is still doing that, even though I asked this person to wait. I guess s/he just likes leaving messages? Or annoying me?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

"Borsch" Recipe

Mom and Dad are visiting this week and Mom is cooking. Yay! :)

I am sure most of you heard of borsch (or borscht), usually described as beet soup. Unfortunately, many people are turned off by that description. However, borsch is a very tasty vegetable soup and beets are hardly noticeable.

  • Meat (Mom usually buys turkey necks and claims they make the best broth)
  • 3-4 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • 1 small jar of pickled beets, finely chopped
  • 5-6 potatoes
  • 1 sweet pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small head of white cabbage, shredded
  • 1 large can of tomato sauce
  • 2 small hot peppers, pickled in vinegar
  • Fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
Fill large soup pot with water. Boil meat until almost done. Add carrots and 1/2 of chopped onion, bring broth to the boil. Add beets, reduce flame, and cook for approximately 15-20 minutes or until beets are lighter in color. Warning -- be sure to add beets to the boiling broth; otherwise, they will turn dark (or so says Mom).
Add potatoes, cabbage, sweet pepper, and 1 tbsp of salt. Increase flame to bring broth to the boil and reduce flame again. Cook until potatoes are done.
Meanwhile, saute 1/2 remaining onion in olive oil. Add tomato sauce. Reduce flame and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Add onion/tomato sauce mixture, hot peppers, and parsley to the pot. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Simmer for additional 10-15 minutes.
Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream and crusty bread.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Class Attendance

OK, maybe I am mean but I do require regular class attendance and that classic line, did I miss anything last week," still irritates me after years of teaching. Yesterday, a student approached me before class and asked if s/he could leave early because of personal travel plans. The question? "Are we doing anything important today?" Well, yeah, of course. S/he left after the break, w/out telling me anything. Do you think that person will get full credit? Of course, not. My students are adults so I guess they are entitled to their decisions and consequences of those decisions.

Ah, sound so negative this morning. Very, very tired... So much to do...

However, we are more than halfway through semester and I look forward to the future, hoping for better things to come.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

March 15?! Yikes!

This semester, I just can't get things together. Taking only three classes, as compared to five last year. Attended only one conference so far. Courses I am taking are not that difficult, really. So why am I so far behind??? Just can't concentrate... too many things going on...

Yesterday, spent several hours trying to draft a research paper; worked as fast as I could, trying to meet the deadline. Alas, was able to write only two pages, with a lot of blank spaces. Today, though, I think I know exactly how to fix that paper... have some good ideas, I hope...

So we are halfway through this semester... I have mixed feelings about that. I do want this semester to be over, for more than one reason. Yet, there are so many things to do before it's over -- extra time would be nice.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Spring Break -- nice but so short...

Had lots of fun! :) So far behind it's unreal. Who cares? ;)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Ah, my feet...

are hurting after carrying me all over the city I am visiting today and tomorrow. So I am looking forward to those two activities pictured above! ;)

Monday, March 05, 2007


To celebrate the first day of spring break, I got a relaxing facial today -- just a treat to myself. To my surpise, several girls at the beauty salon wished me a "good time tonight." Um, do we get pampered just for guys? What's wrong with doing nice things for ourselves?

Don't get me wrong -- looking nice for a special person in my life is very important to me. Still, the assumption that I am getting ready for a date is rather unsettling since they have no idea who I really am, having met me only a couple of times.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Aaaah, feeling better...

For the past several weeks, I kept going like that crazy Energizer bunny, packing in both personal and professional things! This morning, I allowed myself to sleep until 8:00 a.m. and then enjoyed homemade waffles and Godiva coffee. Yum! ;) Now, back to work -- missed one deadline last night but it's not critical and I can tackle that item later today. Now, I have to get ready for a meeting. I actually look forward to this meeting -- we are switching to a new system and I am curious as to its improvements.

The worst part of this insane race is inability to schedule time for exercise. I lost about 30 lbs over the past several months and it feels so, so good. I am not quite back to my normal size (6) but getting close and there is no way I will ever go back to what I had been back in September of last year; no way! So, for now, I do my best to exercise as frequently as I can. The last trip overseas was rough -- no time and no facilities. However, I am back to my routine five-mile walk every night and my body thanks for me for this effort; my muscles feel so much more relaxed, even after a long day of running around, being both a full-time doctoral student and college instructor.

How about you? Anybody stuck to their resolution and lost some weight? ;) If so, how do you stay on track?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Students break teacher's neck after their iPod is confiscated...

So, so sad... Alas, it's becoming a common occurrence...

Wow, somehow I survived!

The past two weeks were a whirwind of activities -- a number of deadlines, international conference, and personal events (the most fun, of course). Needless to say, I was getting only a couple hours of sleep every night. Today, I am finally seeing the light at the end of the long tunnel of work. And I am so happy personally -- that's what carried me through the tough two weeks, definitely.

Have a great week, everybody! :)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Paper vs. Electronic Communication

As mentioned in my previous posts, I am going to a conference later this week. As usual, I told my students to send me their mailing addresses if they would like to get a postcard. One student sent me his/her email address.

“Life is like a rainbow. You need both the sun and the rain to make its colors appear.”

Heavy rain this morning... Now, we get to enjoy this gorgeous rainbow.

Busy but very happy week!

Still sick a little, still very busy (piles of stuff everywhere, screaming for my immediate attention), but several things happened that made me very happy.

Going to a conference with two good friends and we will have a great time! Some personal developments are very encouraging, too, so God has been very good to me, indeed!

Better get back to work, though! :)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Another busy weekend...

I am still sick -- tired of carrying around a box of Kleenex and forcing myself to concentrate on even simple tasks. It must be something nasty floating around because several people at work are sick as well. Alas, I can't stop and take it easy, with chicken soup, reading in bed, and all that good stuff. Way too much to do and the next two weeks will be totally crazy since I will be on the road, juggling teaching responsibilities and my own assignments.

At least it looks like two very good friends will be joining me (one is coming for sure, the other is 99% sure) so I am very excited about having a great company along. Although I am so not ready in terms of work load, I really, really, really look forward to this trip. First, I haven't been to this place before and exploring new places is my main hobby. Second, I am doing something that will advance my career -- and it's fun. Third, something just might happen that may change my life; it's totally out of my control at the moment (I want it that way -- being in control is not always good) and, no, it's not likely to be a drastic change; still, dreams are not forbidden, are they?

Anyway, better start working -- several deadlines are looming like ominous thunderclouds. Have a great weekend, everybody! :)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

What happened to this week?!

Oh, what a hectic week! I was also sick since Sunday night so, between a myriad of things to do and my sluggish response, this week has flown by way too quickly, leaving a trail of unfinished things.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Elementary school teacher tapes student's mouth...

Having taught at the middle school level for four years, I have a first-hand experience with chatty kids who won't shut up. Yes, it's frustrating. However, there are plenty of acceptable solutions for dealing with discipline problems. Taping that student's mouth? Sorry, it's stupid. What was she thinking?!

Oh, technology...

  • Our entire website is down; something to do with email server? Who knows?!
  • My cell phone rings only when it chooses to, I guess. Mom called me three times but I had no idea, even though the stupid phone was right next to me.
  • Voice mail takes its sweet time, too -- Mom left a message a few minutes before 9:00 a.m. and it didn't show up until 11:00 a.m.
  • Hmmm... maybe Alice is really lost in Wonderland of Middle Ages? ;)

Update: Email server is working! Hooray! Now let's see how many messages are there... ;)

Update: And it's gone again! There were only about 1o messages so I am highly suspicious -- some may have been "eaten" by the server.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Oh, not a very nice weekend so far...

It's a dreary, gray, and cold day (well, relatively cold but cold enough for me). I have tons of work, a pile of laundry, and a long list of other things to do. And I am not in a good mood, either -- for some reason, I woke up several times last night; then had a disturbing dream; dozed on and off until around 7:00 a.m.; and finally decided to get up and do something productive because, otherwise, I would just get a headache.

So writing, writing, writing today -- several things need to be completed ASAP. No, I didn't procrastinate; it was a very busy week and things were pushed aside by more pressing matters. And, woud you believe it, our email server is down, again!!! Hopefully, it's only a brief maintenance; since I am teaching three coures online, I really need the constant access.

So I lit a nice candle, turned music on, and now trying to concentrate on the tasks that must be completed today. All I want right now is curl up with a nice novel and lose myself in a fascinating plot... But all those tasks are hanging over my head... I can do it, I can do it, I can do it...

Update: Email STILL not working!!! I am getting so far behind and students are probably getting frantic because they are used to my quick responses.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Aaaaaaaah, fix it, pleeeeeeeeease...

Our email server is down and it's a tremendous nuisance -- I can't access any messages which is critical since I am teaching three online courses, my calendar is unaccessible so I am probably missing things I should be doing, and I will most likely have close to 1,000500 messages when (if?) they fix it. It has been down for over 24 hours now, can you believe it? I didn't realize email was such an important part of my life but it is; communication came to a screeching halt and it's driving me nuts.

Update: Email server is up and running!!! However, we lost two hours worth of messages. So who knows what's missing? I am sure I will hear from students sooner or later; just hoping nothing critical has been "eaten" by the server.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Um, what language is that?

My class used Hot Potatoes application today. As many students tend to save documents on the desktop and then forget to delete them, I usually check all computers to make sure files are not there to "tempt" other sections. One filename: Quiz Does (attempt at Spanish?)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Basic needs and darkness...

The maintenance guys are remodeling part of the building so our bathrooms are dark -- there are no windows, so I mean DARK. What fun, huh? Why did I drink that bottle of water??? ;)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Good day so far...

I have 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. office hours on Fridays this semester. Nope, I am not your chirpy morning person; however, given my crazy schedule, this arrangement works out just fine, especially since I teach 8:00 a.m. classes three times a week.

So this morning I actually slept to the last moment, took a quick shower, dressed comfortably (we can wear jeans on Fridays), grabbed a frozen panini, and drove to work. If you haven't tried those sandwiches, I strongly recommend you do; taste good both hot and cold. So, got to work, heated my sandwich, made a mug of Mocha Cappuccino, and now having fun checking out my favorite blogs.

Yeah, better get to work. There are no absolutely critical deadlines but I need to stay on task so those deadlines won't start breathing down my neck.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Ah, not looking forward to tonight...

This week is filled with various International Awareness activities and I was asked to introduce a foreign movie tonight. No big deal, right? Alas, I previewed the movie the morning (it wasn't my choice and I really had no say on the matter) and I absolutely hate it. Not only this movie is bizarre, it also twists the real events that took place. Unfortunately, the choice has already been advertised and I will have to be there. I think I will be honest about it but ask students to make up their own opinions later. Now have to figure out how to do it diplomatically...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Paper, paper everywhere...

I have a stack of articles to peruse so I can write a lit review section for a research proposal. As I work through the stack, I am spreading paper all over my desk. Hmmm... running out of space, maybe use the floor? ;)

Bible Quiz

You know the Bible 100%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
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Well, no wonder -- I grew up in a Christian family, grandfather was a pastor for many years, and I do read the Bible every day. It may sound strange but that book contains a lot of good advice -- check it out if you don't believe me. I would start with Psalms.

Thanks for sharing, Musey!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A quiet weekend...

It has been a quiet weekend -- did some work, started a new novel, enjoyed breakfast in bed (oooh, pecan waffles and Godiva coffee, yum), worked out. Although weekends are never long enough, I feel rested and ready to face another busy week. How about you?

Japanese magnolias are blooming now -- gorgeous, don't you think? While some of you are dealing with snow, our cars are covered with yellow pollen. It has been cool for the past several days but today was nice -- sunny and reasonably warm, 70s.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Our life, a constant motion, one step at a time...

Course Evaluations

Received my course evaluations for the last semester today. Good news there! :) Although ratings are not perfect, the mean is 4.9 (out of 5.0 possible). Just perfect! All comments were positive, too, so I feel good -- looks like I reached most of my students last semester and made at least some difference. That's why I am a teacher, right? ;)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Another very busy week

This week, things are just OK, I guess -- nothing bad, nothing too exciting. So just boring, routine stuff -- nothing to really blog about.

I did find a neat gift for one of my friends.

Monday, January 15, 2007

From a student's email message...

"Ms. Alice, I had a ruff time while working on this assignment because I don't know how to use my email account."

Arrooooo, why are you taking this course online then???

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Advice, anyone?

How do I make my students include their names in each email they send to me? I included this requirement on my course syllabus, posted on the course website (under Announcements and in assignment directions), and remind them every time they forgot. Alas, I am not. getting. through. Any ideas?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

My Saturday

Overall, it was a pretty good day. I allowed myself to sleep in, then luxuriated in bed for some time, reading and thinking through some issues. Accomplished quite a bit, too:
  • Graded some assignments (yeah, already)
  • Revised a paper
  • Cleared my Inbox
  • Updated class rolls for all classes -- due on Monday night so I am ahead
  • Worked on some preps for next week
  • Completed several of my own assignments; so far, the load is quite manageable
  • Started working on my Spring and Fall schedules (due by 1/22)
  • Started looking for articles -- need to submit a research proposal next week; I think I can finish a rough draft of my lit review by Monday night so I can demonstrate to my professor that I can work independently; he prefers us to work in groups but it's so inconvenient for me -- I live about an hour away from University City and so each trip means two hours wasted on driving.

OK, it's time to exercise -- I lost almost 20 lbs; walking fast at least three miles (usually four or close to four) every night; it feels great!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

My paper has been accepted!

My very first conference paper has just been accepted!!! I have done lots of conference presentations but it's the first time I wrote a full-length paper. Many, many thanks to my major professor who helped me sooooooo much! :)

It's nice working at home and other things...

This semester, I don't have any standing obligations on Thursdays, leaving them free for working at home and occassional meetings if necessary. I don't know how about any of you but I can't get much done at work -- too many phone calls, students, noise... This morning, I woke up early, made a cup of coffee, and already accomplished quite a bit. I am going to treat this day just like any other work day and avoid pampering myself; this way, I hope to be able to stay as caught up on things as possible and don't feel as guilty about treating myself on weekends.

And I do have a lot of things to accomplish this semester. All three courses I am taking require major projects so I better get started right away (actually, already did) and stay on schedule. Teaching seven courses, six preps, three of them online. Attending one international and at least one local (within driving distance) conference.

So, yeah, a lot of advance planning and perseverance but I know I can do it. One more year and I will be done with coursework, so thinking about my dissertation already. Have some ideas but nothing concrete yet; working with my major professor on the mutual topic of interest should help, I think, so I am not worried; things will fall into place -- they always do.

So how is your semester going so far? Have a full plate? I am sure you do. :)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ever had a day when everything goes wrong?

That was yesterday for me. My day started at 5:20 a.m. because I had a long drive to my first class at 8:00 a.m. and then a circling adventure of finding a parking space. The lab assistant was late so we had to wait outside for a long time. Finally, with only a few minutes to spare, we were able to get in. So taught my first section -- no major problems.

Then comes my second section and major headaches begin. First, we get a Blogger announcement that new accounts won't be accepted. OK, fine -- can wait until next week. Next, BlackBoard refuses to work so we really can't do anything else. I decided to improvise rather than waste the time and taught a lesson on Word but could not go over the main requirements because BlackBoard is still down. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr... So I had to let my students go early, asking them to login and complete the assignment in Word since I did demo the basic requirements. Not a good way to start your semester, huh?

Drove back to Tiny Town for my office hours, planning to finish an assignment for one of my own courses. Yeah, good luck with that -- phone kept ringing, students kept showing up at my door. Taught a night class. Everything was working fine until AIM stopped accepting new accounts. What's with new account creation today??? We had plenty of other things to do so I guess it was fine.

Do you think my day was over? Nope! My crazy brother decided to spend a few days with me before going back to school on Monday and drove his restored 67 Mustang to Tiny Town. Apparently, he was tinkering with that car the day before and didn't connect alternator wires properly so his pride (piece of junk in my opinion) died halfway down and I had to rescue him. Before I even got there, this crazy redneck approached him at the gas station and offered to jumpstart the car. Alex agreed, not realizing that the guy would demand payment. I get there and they guy is demanding $15!!! Since I don't normally carry cash, I have to withdraw money from the ATM to appease the guy. Do you know what really makes me mad? The guy didn't help at all! The car died again before I even got there because battery was not charging and it was possible to drive only for a short distance before jumpstarting it again.

Anyway, we used my car to jumpstart Alex's piece of junk and he followed me to my house, driving w/out lights to conserve power. Mom and Dad were going ballistic by that time, of course, and so I spent another hour on the phone assuring them that everything was taken care of, that Alex won't go anywhere today since I am working all day, that we will fix the car on Thursday, etc.

So far, today is much better... :)

Monday, January 08, 2007

Drop/Add Period

Like most schools (I think -- please tell me if I am wrong), our school allows students to add/drop courses for a week. In my opinion, it's such a waste of time. Many of our students wait until the first day of classes to register or change their schedules, thus missing at least one class meeting. Since semester is 16 weeks long, missing one class meeting is really missing over 6% of the entire semester (if course meets once per week). I can't afford wasting so much time and so present new material on the first day. Of course, it's a huge headache when students finally show up and want to know what they missed.

Does your school have drop/add period? How are you dealing with it?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Aaaah, feeling better...

I am feeling much better today after thinking about a lot of things for a week, making some important decisions, and discussing them with several people who mean so much to me. We are going back to work/school tomorrow and, although I would love to have a few more days of vacation, I think getting busy would be good -- it would test my resolve to make certain changes in my life.

Have a wonderful spring semester, everybody!!! :)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

So what do I do when I am feeling blue?

I make hot chocolate for coworkers. Yeah, silly, but it felt good. And we were freezing since Plant Operations apparently decided that we needed AC today; they should have just saved energy since it wasn't cold enough for heat or hot enough for AC.

Although I can't really blog about the situation that made me upset, I can't stay away from blogging, either. Crazy, huh? Although I don't write interesting stuff like many of you, it feels good to just ramble about things, maybe raise some questions. Right now, I am rethinking a lot of things in my life, like some of my negative traits, for example, and how they keep getting me in trouble. I already made some adjustments and it feels good, really good; I am much calmer, both personally and professionally.

Classes start on Monday and I am not freaking out, that's kinda unusual. Amazingly, things keep getting done -- syllabi are ready, copies are made, online courses updated, and even some course assignments are going to be completed tomorrow. I wonder if I kept getting behind because I tried to do too many things at once, tripping all over my own good intentions and worries? Anyway, I am testing myselt -- want to see if these changes are permanent.

Oh, and I lost about 10 lbs. Feels good... :)

Somebody just pointed out a major error in the course syllabus -- I guess I am not as calm as I think. Ah, deep breath -- in, out -- I can do it.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Oh, what is this world coming to?

We felt so safe in Thailand... Please keep these people in prayers. Thailand is known as The Land of Smiles because people are so warm and kind. I will never forget all the wonderful people I had a pleasure of meeting during one month we were there -- from tuk-tuk drivers to tour guides to university professors and students.

Thailand Public Announcement

January 01, 2007

This Public Announcement is being issued to alert U.S. Citizens traveling to and residing in Thailand of a series of bombs that exploded in the Bangkok metropolitan area during the evening of December 31, 2006 and shortly after midnight on January 1, 2007. This Public Announcement expires January 31, 2007.

At approximately 1800 hours on December 31, 2006, bombs exploded at five different locations throughout Bangkok, including Bangkok's Victory Monument, various police traffic control booths, and in the parking lot of a shopping mall. These bombs killed three Thai citizens and injured over two dozen additional Thai citizens.

Shortly after midnight on January 1, 2007, two additional bombs exploded near the World Trade Center shopping mall on Rama 1 Road in Bangkok's main shopping district. One bomb exploded near a pedestrian footbridge and the second in a beer garden. Bangkok's largest New Year's celebration, the "Bangkok Countdown," was to be held at this location, but had been cancelled by local authorities after the bombings earlier that evening. Six foreign tourists and an unknown number of Thai citizens were injured in these bombings.

The U.S. Embassy has confirmed that no Americans were injured or killed in any of the bombings. Additionally, the bombings appear to be limited to the Bangkok area. No incidents have been reported in any cities outside of Bangkok, including Chiang Mai and the popular beach resorts in Thailand.

Given the fluidity of the current situation, the Department of State advises all American Citizens residing in or traveling to Bangkok to continue to monitor events closely, to remain indoors when possible, to avoid any large public gatherings, and to exercise discretion when moving about Bangkok.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Taking a break

I have decided to stop posting for now since I am dealing with a lot of emotions that won't make sense to most of you. Of course, I will still enjoy reading your blogs.

Changed my mind -- I need to talk, even if my posts don't make any sense. Thanks for your support! :)

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