Archive for the 'School' Category

2 Month Countdown!
 

So I had originally been planning to bring Facebook sometime after next week, which is when I go back to work, as well as my birthday. However I realized today that I was surviving without it just fine (and Twitter too). I thought maybe it would be a good idea not to race back into the addiction. I also hung out with some school BFFs, and they too had since pretty much given up on the thing (one had gone offline as well).

Following up on a previous posting, I did finally bite the bullet and book a cruise. Well I should say I put a deposit down on one. I, and friends, have till the end of October to decide if we will go. The boat I wanted was filling up, and I was afraid the price would just keep going up at this point (which it was when I booked it).

So the date the final payment for the cruise is due is October 27th . . . Which in fact is 2 months from now. I’ve decided that this is “the date” to aim for on all fronts. I had said I wouldn’t book a cruise till I defended, and there was a reason for that, aside from it being a reward. If I defend anytime before January 21st (or whenever the Spring semester starts), I do not have to pay another semester of tuition. If things dragged out, I might not be able to go on vacation in lieu of defending.

For me defending before that date is a must on many levels. First, I really don’t want to go into another new year with this over my head, I want to be done! Second, I’m tired of tuition! I don’t know if I’ve ever stated it, but I did not take out loans to put myself through school. I worked and saved to pay everything on my own, including having to fund my own research (cause I didn’t get initial grants I applied for, and didn’t want to wait around to try again a year later).

Therefore, October 27th is the date. I want a defense date set by then (or at least a projected one). This means getting the final draft done and in tip-top shape. For once I am actually feeling good about things. I just came off another 2 week writing camp and am feeling really good about where things are, and where I can be by that date. Make no mistake, it will take hard core discipline, and I might not be having much fun at all the next two months :) However usually when I sit down to write and edit, I am overcome with panic attacks and/or get frustrated. I amassed far too much data for my dissertation, probably in hindsight enough for 2 of them. Dealing with this, and the fact that I’m a perfectionist, hasn’t been fun :) But right now I feel like I’m over the hump, and I am managing it all pretty well. I just have to continue this feeling when I go back to work (luckily for once I’m not teaching a new class, so I’m hoping it will be easy).

Perhaps I will consider October 27th as the date for my return to Facebook too? Or perhaps I should say the latest point I’ll return to it. Here is hoping final drafts get turned in, approved and dates set far before then :)

Anyways, right now? I’m off to do a little more writing, then tonight to see the Scissor Sisters in concert! I do in fact feel like dancing too :)

Weeds And Ivy Everywhere!
 

So Boot Camp #1 is over, ended last Friday actually. I’ve een trying to get a post out since then. A second one is in August which I fully intend on attending. I like the structured setting and being forced to just work and think :) Plus I like that I’m out of the house and away from distractions. This time they gave me an actual anthropology faculty member as my “writing adviser.” He was great and gave amazing feedback too. I’m hoping for the one in August that it will be close enough to the fall semester that my committee members will be on campus and can get involved. My aim is to have as close to a final draft by then as well. This thing weighs as much as I do at this point!

If you haven’t heard, the Philadelphia region, and much of the east coast, is having a little heat wave right now. As such I have not been out in the yard much. Heat and me don’t mix. I don’t melt, I just end up with migraines. I did take a day to finally chop down the rest of the weeds in front of the garden area. I took out the day lilies and real plants too. But they were so infested with weeds (and trash!) that I was over them. I told John that I am fully scrapping everything that isn’t a tree or bush, I want a blank slate and next year he can decide to plant whatever he wants (but has to upkeep it!)


My Topsy Turveys are progressing nicely. I have several flowers on the tomato plants, so I’m hoping for some fruit soon. I also added a Topsy Turvey Tree which has 2 types of eggplant and a third tomato plant. I really don’t know what I’m gunna do with all this stuff! I attempted to plant stuff in the ground, but not much is going on. I will admit I haven’t been watering the ground much though :)

This is the backside of the house and a window in a kitchen nook that looks out over the barn/garage/barnyard/garden area. As you can see it’s a nightmare too! With the heatwave this has become what I will probably tackle next, because it’s in the shade most of the day as is. There actually is a blocked off garden area under all that mess. You’ll notice a lot of “dead” to the left, that was my doing. The hose hookup is back there and I decided I didn’t want to walk through tick-ville to get to it. I hacked at the weeds/vines to make a path, then doused everything with weed killer :) My plan for this area is the same with the others . . . . everything goes! It’s like a going out of business sale, except we are getting out of the white trash business. I bought 4 bags of mulch today and after I clear it out will add that in to keep things from coming back. The leftovers I plan to use out front and on the side of the house. I’m sure I’ll need more. Luckily it’s cheap, like 4 bucks for the giant ass bags.


The front yard. Yeah . . . I told you it was all a nightmare. I actually played around here a bit this weekend till I couldn’t take it anymore cause of the heat. I pulled a lot of the Ivy down (like around the columns and porch, did a lot of weeding, then just gave up :) Oh I did free the flag. John has a new one that one day I’ll maybe get around to putting up too. A lot of the stuff on the side where the flag is is actually Wisteria, so I’m not allowed to touch that otherwise I’ll get beaten. Though it too has gotten out of hand (and is strangling a tree next to the house actually).

I have decided once I get the whole place looking nice, I’ll add a touch of white trash back in. Garden gnomes anyone? I just wish they still made Granny’s Fannies!

PS, yes the Christmas snowflake lights are still up. I am too chicken to climb up on a ladder to take them down. Knowing me I’d probably fall too. Unfortunately I don’t think they all work anymore after the insane winter they went through. Plus one I know is frayed, cause one of the snow flakes fell off!

Uma Thurman You Are Not Sexy Anymore!
 

So after all that yard work last weekend . . . I ended up with a nasty case of poison ivy. It had been years since I had it, and I had forgotten just how horrible it is. After a very itchy week, it’s finally drying up . . . and now I have scabs all over my arms and legs that just look lovely! Since this came about I have not really done much yard work. I’ve been going out and spraying the weeds that have tried to pop back up, and watered what I planted. I put eggplant in the ground, which may have been a mistake. They don’t look to well right now, bugs have eaten a lot of the leaves. I have since sprayed them with some garden safe bug and disease stuff. The sunflowers I put down are just now coming up, and I planted a bunch of zinnias in pots out front which are sprouting. Hoping to do a little more work sometime this coming week. I want to tackle the front of the house for a change.

My writing boot camp started last week. So far so good. There is one more week left, then another 2 week one in August I plan to sign up for. I am determined to get everything done this summer and am now delaying rewards as incentive. As of yet no January vacation has been booked. Originally I had said with the economy and until I knew what my job outlook looked like for Fall and next Spring there would be no booking. Now my job situation looks okay. However I’ve decided I’m still not booking anything. When I defend, booking that January vacation is the reward :) Other little things I want to buy (videogames) and big things (the new iPhone) are rewards for good progress done with chapter edits, rewrites and stuff.

That’s about all I have to say for now. Until my next check in, which hopefully will find me itch free!

Uma Thurman played the character of Poison Ivy in one of the Batman films, which is where the title of the post came from.

Compost
 

So I’ve added three new categories to the blog. Yard Work, House Work and Gardening. Because my regular life is so dull and blogless right now, these three things outside of work/school are all that I’m kinda doing (aside from hanging out and seeing movies with friends, which I guess I could post reviews of).

Today I bought two 120 gallon (I think?) composting bins. I figured I needed to do something with all this yard waste I was compiling, and dragging it to some dump site was not preferencial. John has a paper shredding fetish too, and we’ve just been recycling it all. Now I can add this in to the compost bins. I put them together today right before a friend came over, then we went to the movies. So I haven’t begun filling them. I’ll add photos of them to this post in the AM.

I have totally hacked away at the garden from the previous posts. Tomorrow I plan to dig up all the roots and hoe/rake the whole area clean. Then I’ll mix in some weed killer/preventer into the soil to make sure nothing comes back. The dog house I’ve flipped. It’s too heavy for me to move on my own, but so old and rotten I think I can demolish it and move it out piece by piece. Tomorrow I plan to clear out the whole garden, rake the ground smooth, and fill in all the gopher holes and stuff. Then I wanna put the bins in the corners and begin filling them. I’m not going to tear the fence down yet, but I am taking down the chicken wire that’s up along it (too hard to see in the photos). It’s just a weed enabler at this point.

My writing retreat for school begins next Monday. I’ve decided to use all day tomorrow to work in the yard. The weekend might bring storms, so I don’t know if I can do much then. I’ll begin preparing for the retreat then. When I start the retreat I know yard work will cease during the week as it’s an all day thing. I wanna clear out as much as I can before then and get these compost bins started. I’d like to move my tomatoes into the garden too for maximum sun. I’ve also got two pots of tomato seedlings I started I might be able to transfer into the ground soon, to give a good comparison to the topsy-turvey. Unfortunately it’s late in the season for planting, so I don’t know if I can start any other garden crops. Suggestions from experienced gardeners welcomed though!

Once the garden is sorted, I’ll start on the rest of the nightmare of a yard! I will have a beautiful garden again. I showed a friend photos of what it looked like years ago, she just said “WOW, what happened!”

I have a whole other post on an non-related note to make. Short version, I still have not set foot into the establishment, and it’s going on a year now. I am however doing their website once again. As I said, there is a reason/story behing it to tell.

From Left to Right First Row: The composting bins, A shot of the garden now, after rolling the doghouse out of the corner, a shot of the backside of the garden fence (the pile of twigs used to be by the fence and created a home for far too many critters, so it had to go)

From Left to Right Second Row: Two photos of the same areas above, just the after shots :) Oh and I guess I should have put sunblock on huh?

Baby Jesus, Indian Giver!
 

I’ve had a roller-coaster week and a half let me tell you, one I have not been enjoying either!

Things had begun to look up. I got an email from University M asking if I could teach some classes for then next fall and spring. I thought combined with University R, I might make a decent wage! However University M is a hike, an hour and 20 minute hike! So I was weighing my options, thinking maybe a part time job locally at the pet store would be better. Of course it wouldn’t look as good on my resume.

Well the choice got taken out of my hands, as an issue came up with the class I was to teach at University R in the fall. As it stands it’s in limbo, but the department is trying to make it work. It’s budgetary problems and shuffling stuff, nothing that reflects on me. I’m still scheduled to teach in the spring. However this means possibly no income for fall. Yikes!

I have since interviewed with University M, and officially applied to teach up there. We’ll see how it works out, and maybe they’ll pay well. Keep your fingers crossed!

I may still entertain a part-time job, depending on how things go. If both University’s work out for the fall, then I won’t need to, and I am not going to work over the summer. I really need to use the summer to finalize my giant ass dissertation draft and get the whole monster turned in and over with. I’ve already registered for writing boot camps to get my ass out of the house this summer.

Anyway, all I have to do now is finish grading and turn in my students grades by next Monday. My conferences are over, thank the Baby Jesus. I do however really like this paper I gave, and think it is one of the best I’ve done. I might entertain editing it over the summer and submitting it for publication in some journals. We’ll see. After next week I can finally write full time, not being able to has been stressing me. Between now and then I’m taking a mini-break. I’ll be going to see Heidi, and doing my best to relax. That’s never easy for me. I’m gunna try and get a massage at a place we are going to, I just hope that small asian woman from the cruise isn’t there. She hurt me!

One Down, One To Go!
 

So I am back from my first of two conferences, which are almost back to back. This first one was a conference organized for emerging scholars and was focused on material culture studies. It was very interesting, and very different from other conferences I’ve done, which mostly are anthropology/archaeology conferences. I got some interesting feedback for sure. Some useful, some I’m not sure how so much though given it was mostly historians commenting on our works. However I will use what I got to revamp this paper a little before the next conference. Actually it’s not really a conference, more like an informal symposium on Delaware Valley Colonial Archaeology.

The conference was at this fancy estate in Delaware, which as it turns out was the Dupont’s summer home. Yeah, fancy! No we didn’t stay there though. We were put up in the visiting scholar’s residences, which were the old farmhand’s houses. Not only were they creepy, they were quiet . . . really quiet. It was erie, and I didn’t sleep too well. The beds didn’t help, these old singles much like you’d find in a college dorm. But hey, it was free :)


We got a tour not only of the University of Delaware’s campus, which looked oddly like Williamsburg, but also a tour of the Estate, which is now a museum. It reminded me of the grandmother’s house from “Flowers in the Attic.”

Right now I’m feeling very drained. Conferences always do that. I’m not only mentally drained, but physically drained. I walked around all day with a backpack packed with things, including my laptop and a bunch of student’s paper’s I had hoped to grade. Needless to say I hurt, and the weather changes today didn’t help. Getting old sucks! I am planning to take a nice bath as soon as tonights TV shows are over.

On another note, I took the advice of many people and started reading the Percy Jackson books. I am liking them so far. Very much a Harry Potter ripoff in many ways, but then I’m sure Harry Potter didn’t invent the mold (Wrinkle in Time, Narnia Books, etc . . . ). I got the first for the kindle app on the iphone to try it out. It is nice to read in bed at night without having to turn the lights on, and after awhile it helps me get to sleep cause of reading off the phone screen. I’m not so sure if it’s great for one’s eyes, but then neither is looking at a computer screen most of the day :)

Sunshine Weekend! Everyone Is Smiling!
 

So I’ve had a fun week this past week! Well, at least it was very eventful. I woke up Tuesday to find my left eye swollen and sore. Okay the eyelid. Turns out I had a stye gone wrong. It has a technical name, something like a Churiza or something, but not to be confused with cinnamon confectionary amusement park goodness. Basically my eyelid was purple and swollen. In kids it’s caused by stress and bad eating. Yeah check for both of those with me lately! Fortunately with drops and over the counter drugs, it’s fine now. Just took some time to go down.

What else . . . so I sent out a feeler to the second conference I was considering (using a tweaked version of the paper for the first conference) and was basically invited to it. Two conferences basically one week apart. Yeah, I’m gunna be a mental wreck that week. I still have to sit down and put together my power point for them too. Ahhhh! But it builds my CV and looks good. Should have a published article out by this summer too hopefully.

So I have been having some jonesen for the new Apple Ipad. I had written it off, till I found out you could get a versions of Apple’s iWork applications on it. Suddenly it became of interest to me. I had been thinking about a netbook for awhile now to replace my laptop when traveling, but just haven’t committed to one. I was waiting to see how Windows 7 ran on my current laptop, which has been pretty well. But it’s still pretty bulky. Now I’m thinking about an iPad. I played with it in the Apple Store the other day and it was pretty! So far i’ve held off on it though . . . so far!

So from my Tweets, as some noticed, I spent part of the weekend working with a class doing basically a CSI like exercise. I helped out with a class in Forensic Anthropology, where they investigated a mock murder scene. It was big fun. It looks like I’m on the roster for at least the next year to teach, as well as probably the following. I might be offered some different courses than I’ve taught so far, so yay! We’ll see what happens :)

I still need something to supplement my income though, at least for the next year. There was a big “work at home” job fair here today that was all over the news. I went to it thinking “What the hell?” and went, but it was a big disappointment. They claimed that all the vendors had been screened to make sure they were legit, but there were far too many pyramid schemes for my liking. You know, like the Acai Berry stuff. Yeah they were there, as were others far too much like them. I did pick up a few pamphlets of places I knew were legit, though I could have found them on the web had I wanted to. I also gave my name out to a few places I felt comfortable with. We’ll see what happens. I’m not expecting much, and am ready to go out to some local places in late May to see who is hiring part-time. Yet again I fear I’ll be saying “You want fries with that?”

Yet Another Manic Monday!
 

So I’m typing this on this handy dandy Mac app called MacJournal. It is a diary/journal app, but with the ability to post them to blogs. We’ll see how well it works, especially since I’ve attached some photos and resized them.

I can also apparently download ALL my previous blog entries into it. We haven’t tried that yet, we wanted to see if posting went okay first. If it works though, it will be a handy way to have a solid back-up of the blog in a format other than the MySQL database wordpress stores them in.

The weather lately has been wonderful. I just hope the nasty rain and cold stay away :) Well obviously we need rain, but not days of flooding rain! In spite of the lovely weather, I spent most of the weekend with a migraine. I know where it came from, I volunteered to do some manual labor in the sun on Friday at school. The next day . . . migraine! Aside from feeling crappy, I am now behind on work. Story of my life lately!

Speaking of school, I am teaching in the fall and next spring most likely. I was told the prospects of keeping me around look fairly good right now. Fingers crossed! I have my conference at the end of this month, and am entertaining submitting an abstract to another local conference that happens in May. Fortunately I can and will use the same paper, with some minor tweaking :) The dissertation will finally be finished and defended this summer. It’s dragged on long enough, and by fall I expect to be working a lot and it just needs to be done.

In a little over a month I head out to visit my friend Heidi. Unfortunately we have become a fat-ass! I was shocked and horrified when I stepped on the scale this morning. I have not been exercising enough lately with working so much, and I’ve been drinking too many non-diet cokes for caffeine boosts at work, as well as grabbing too much fast food cause it’s quick and easy. None of this is good considering we are doing some water parks. Me in a bathing suit like this? GASP! It’s diet time again and I now have to be serious. I also picked up a copy of EA More Active, the sequel their personal training Wii game. I liked the original well enough, aside from the fact it was such a lunge nazi. Lunge lunge lunge! I got sick of always lunging. I’m hoping the sequel is better, I’ll give it a go tomorrow morning to see if it revs me up.

The doggies have also been getting their exercise as of late. I’ve been taking them to the enclosed field next to us to run around sans leashes and play Frisbee. They get pooped out pretty quick though. They are as out of shape as I am :) Enjoy some photos I took of them today, as well as one of Little Bunny Poo Poo, who is now a little over a year old.


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Looking Up?
 

Once again I apologize for neglecting the blog :) One day soon I won’t be so bad and will be blogging more. My TV blog is also feeling the neglect pain too. I’ve just been super swamped. Aside from working to finish this $@%@$%@#$ dissertation, I submitted an article to be published at the end of February (with my adviser), just finished a conference paper to give at the end of April, am for SOME reason entertaining submitting to another one or two conferences for later this year, and of course teaching two different classes has been an ass kicker.


The Drag Show last week was big fun. The best of the night was when this giagantress of a gurl performed Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” I mean she did the official video dance and everything! She got the whole bar singing too. The low point of the night were these trashy “Jersey Shore” girls who didn’t look old enough to even be in the bar and who almost started a fight with some other girls. I later heard one say “This is so much fun, but I think we might get kicked out soon.” I wanted to tell her “yeah and don’t come back!” They got way drunk and even disrupted Miss Lisa Lisa at one point, ruining one of her classic “This is a Christian show!” jokes. They got all “hey we aren’t Christian, we are Jewish!”
They just didn’t get it was not about religion, it was just funny. Sacrilege!

Since my last post it looks like a ray of sunshine has appeared. I appear to be teaching in the fall. I don’t recall being asked if I was available, but I have been so tired perhaps I somehow missed it. Perhaps it’s all a mistake as well. But my name is listed in the course schedule as an instructor for a class in the fall. At the moment, I’ll take it! I have been worried about what I’d be doing in the fall to be honest. I had planned to try and start job hunting this summer. I still will, but will probably take a part time gig if I can get one now.

On a final note, I’m off to the mid-west in May after the semester to see Heidi! That should bring lots of photos for a change, cause it’s someplace I’ve never been, so I’ll be taking photos like a Japanese tourist. I also am going to try my best to get to Williamsburg this summer since I didn’t last summer.

Snow Is Coming!
 

So my weekend plans have basically been ruined, all the way around, thanks mostly to snow. I was planning to see one or two friends tomorrow, but both are now ill, and even if they weren’t the snow probably would kill at least tomorrow night’s plans. Yes it looks like a blizzard is coming! I guess we won’t really know how bad it will be till tomorrow, but we could get at least a foot of snow. To the south, where my mom is, they are looking at 2 feet! I was also supposed to go to NY Saturday/Sunday and that’s out now too cause of the snow.

Tomorrow should be interesting. I have to get up and compete with everyone for the last loaf of bread and jug of milk :) I also am low on soda, and John commented there isn’t enough alcohol to make it either. It’s also looking like a second storm is coming next week. At this point (see the next paragraph) I am praying it knocks out a day of classes for me!

So while I’m sad at my ruined plans, at the same time it seems they may have gotten ruined for a reason. I found out this week (actually yesterday) that an abstract I submitted to an “Upcoming Scholars Conference” months ago was accepted, and I now have a month to get a paper in order to present at it. Ack! I had written it off, as originally we were supposed to have heard about a month ago if we were accepted (or this was my take on it at least). So I now really need every available free moment I can get to prepare for this!

Panic Attacks to occur regularly over the next month :) I really now need to call my doctor for that prescription for Ambien or Lunesta :P