Thursday, July 21, 2011


Why is it that most schools today believe in correct answers and standardized tests, but not truth?

And why are we okay with sending kids to schools that don't have anything like a coherent philosophy of education?

How did our school system become so broken?


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Work - Play - Life

  1. Currently working on overhauling our entire Writing Curriculum, mostly by myself. Other people will be doing the audio recording and visual tech stuff, but I'm responsible for all of the content.
  2. Also, preparing for orientation on August 11,
  3. Running the remedial summer writing program,
  4. Organizing and participating in cultural excursion field trips (#3 of 5 was Mission San Juan Cap on Monday, #4 will be Harry Potter 7.2 next Friday),
  5. And preparing a presentation for our third-years on co-inherence and the doctrine of largesse in Charles Williams' writings. And maybe bears.
  6. Extra Credit (i.e., not during normal work hours): preparing a presentation for a study skills seminar in Sept. where I will be presenting for about an hour on cog psych principles and tricks that aid memory and retention.

  1. Knitting this! And these! Just started the cowl this week after I finished my HP Gryffindor scarf for the movie premier, and I'm almost finished with one sock. Been working on the socks for a several months, but not very consistently.
  2. I've written almost 6,000 words of a novel over the last few months. (Generally speaking, I don't talk to people about it. Josh doesn't even really know the plot.) It's fun. I've got most of it plotted, I just don't have a lot of time to work on it. When I do sit down to work on it, I've been getting about 1000 words out per sitting, which isn't a bad pace, if I could just manage to squeeze in a bit more time here and there.
  3. Reading SO MANY THINGS. In the last two months, I have read the following for fun: The Time Machine and "The Empire of the Ants" [H.G. Wells]; Whose Body?, Clouds of Witness, Unnatural Death, The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, and Strong Poison [Dorothy Sayers]; re-read most of Borders of Infinity [Lois McMaster Bujold]; half of Happily Ever After, which is a collection of over 30 fairy tales retold by contemporary authors like Neil Gaiman, Susanna Clarke, Holly Black, and many others. Since my last book update, I've also read the entire Earthsea series [Usrula Le Guin] and The Great Gatsby [F. Scott Fitzgerald--duh.], which, for a book about utter ruination and despair, was decent. Still not convinced that it's a great idea to make every high school student read it, though. Josh and I have been read the Series of Unfortunate Events books aloud together [by Lemony Snicket! Which is not his real name, but is fun to say.]. We're almost finished with book 2: The Reptile Room. Also currently re-reading Many Dimensions by Charles Williams. Because I love him. So much. Seriously, if any author were to entice me into pursuing a PhD in Lit, it would probably be Williams.
  4. Hole-in-the-Wall Wednesday has turned into Bad Movie Wednesday for the summer. After work, my coworkers and I collect dinner and our respective significant others and go watch a bad movie at my boss's house in order to relax from work stress (because there is a lot of it right now). Sometimes we watch with Riff Trax, sometimes without. Last time we ended up not watching a bad movie (we were supposed to watch "The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra") because the bad-movie-bearer ended up being required to babysit at the last minute. We watched "A Town Called Panic" instead, which is currently on Netflix streaming, and which you should absolutely go watch. It is in French. It is great.
  1. WHERE DID THE SUMMER GO. Question mark.
  2. The things I want to do most right now: swim in Shaver Lake, lay out on the beach in the sun at Shaver Lake, visit Monica's Thrift Store up in Shaver Lake, ride in the boat on Shaver Lake, sit by the campfire up at Shaver Lake. Do you sense a theme? Of course, if we are able to go, it will only be for a measly 1-2 days since my family decided to go during my orientation week. Trying to figure out if we can leave at the break of dawn that Friday and spend at least a day and a half or so up there. Sadness.
  3. I am covered in bruises right now. I keep running into things: table corners, our bed, open cabinets, etc. This needs to stop.
  4. I keep wanting to do awesome things in our home, but other projects keep getting in the way. Example. I can't hang things on the walls in our room until we figure out if the bed is going to stay where it is or not. We can't figure that out until Josh turns the bed into a four-poster (so awesome!!!!!). Josh hasn't turned the bed into a four-poster yet (though he thinks he has a plan now, which is super great), so I wait.
  5. Speaking of bed, it is time for bed. And The Reptile Room.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Meet Theo [and Related Adventures!]

If you are not a cat person, maybe skip reading this entry.

This is Theodoric. He goes by Theo most days, because he thinks that Theodoric is a bit too pretentious for daily use. He's a simple young cat, after all. (Other nicknames in frequent use: the previously mentioned "Dork-Dork," "Theosaurus" or "Theodactyl" when he makes impatient dinosaur noises in the morning when I'm trying to feed him, "Theobumpkin" when he's being cute and uncoordinated and running into things, or scaring himself... we are finding that he has a very easily adaptable name.)

Theo likes...
  • Theo likes people. Not too particular about who they are at this point. He is very different from Ivan in this way.

  • Theo likes being picked up, held, carried, and cuddled. He is easily pleased, and purrs indiscriminately.

  • Theo likes sitting on someone's lap. Anyone's lap. You've got a lap? He'll sit on it.

  • Theo likes computers.

    Many times I have been reading blogs, checking Facebook, etc., no kitten in sight. Then, suddenly and without warning, Theo is flying through the air, having launched himself headlong at my laptop screen. When he's not doing that, he's usually persistently attempting to walk on the keyboard (I am batting his feet away now as I type) or rubbing his face on any part of the computer that he can reach. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for the existence of Command+Z. The number of times he has deleted what I've been typing...yikes. He has also managed to destroy one power cord thus far. Kitten teeth are sharp.

  • Theo likes his Ivan.

    Yes. In this picture, Theo is biting Ivan's leg, and Ivan is showing his Very Superior Breeding by Not Doing Anything About It. This is often the way of things. Ivan gets sick of him sometimes, but he also gets really worried when he can't find him.

  • Theo likes standing/sitting/laying on my feet, especially while I am trying to cook. Last week, this preference of his lead to this:

    What is this, you ask? Oh, nothing. Just the result of my crazy mid-air kitchen-knife-catching ninja skills that saved Theo's life last Tuesday. Let me set the scene for you.
- Begin Kitchen Ninja Adventure -

Me: [In the kitchen, preparing a delicious supper of beef curry, which, alas! we were never to taste.]


Me: [Chop onion. Throw into pan with oil. Foolishly decide to chop beef using the same counter space.]

Counter space: Ha ha! I'm so small! There's, like, no room for anything over here! Tee hee!

Me: [Begin to chop beef and throw into pan with chopped onions in order to create more space on tiny cutting board. Onions are now burning a little. Turn down heat a bit, stir onions and beef with spatula, keep chopping more beef.]

[This is where I become a ninja.]

Evil Spatula of Death: Unaccountably, I am filled with murderous rage, and wish to cause harm to you and all your kin. I will now make trouble for you by diving off of the counter. Ha ha! [spatula swivels inexplicably and falls off the counter.]

Me: Gah! Spatula! [Grab spatula in mid-air, begin to lift it back up to the counter. Feel triumphant for a split second. Notice that the falling spatula has knocked the chef's knife toward the edge of the counter, and that said knife is now also beginning its descent floorward.]

[This is where time stops for a few seconds.]

Kitten is on the floor at my feet, purring, no knowledge of potential danger. Knife is falling off of the counter. I will be traumatized for life if my kitten is skewered by said kitchen knife. For some reason, I didn't think about the fact that in preventing such tragic circumstances, I might, I don't know, lose a finger, die of tetanus, etc. My decision was made.

[Time resumes.]

Me: [Ninja knife-catching skills. Unfortunately, I catch the wrong end.] AH! [...Honestly, it was a single, short yelp.]

Theo: Rawmaow? [Translation: My legs moved without me. How did I end up in the living room? Why is my heart racing?]

Me: [Drop knife on kitten-free floor, away from feet. Turn around and plunge bloody hand under the faucet. Ask Josh to clean up blood from floor so that the cats don't get curious. Ew.]

Josh: [Freak out a little. Clean up blood. Bandage wounded wife. Insist that wounded wife sit down. Throw out half-prepared food. Take wife to Medicenter for after-hours medical attention. Be awesome husband. Tip lady at Rubio's for not locking us out and letting us order food one minute before closing, unlike Baja Fresh, who decided to close early and would not serve us. Not bitter.]

- End Scene -

So. They cleaned and glued me up (no stitches, but they actually probably should have--I've burst the glue open several times this week. TMI?) and sent me home. My rheumatologist gave me a tetanus shot at my appointment yesterday just to be safe. I guess I like my kitten or something.

By the way, for those of you who keep tabs on my medical updates, I'm starting to wean off of the steroids now! Yay! It might take as long as January since it needs to be really gradually decreased, but it means less moon face (it's a steroid reaction--yes, it's really called that, and I currently have it), and maybe losing a few pounds. I'm not overweight (I'm at about average BMI right now), and I was definitely really underweight for several months last fall. Like, below 100 pounds at one point, and struggling to keep my weight as high as it was. I've gained between 20 and 30 pounds over the last few months. So I'm glad to not be Skeletor anymore, but I don't currently feel fit and healthy either, and I'm struggling not to gain more weight at this point. Getting rid of the steroids should help even things out a bit, which would be great, because then more of my clothes would fit me again. Not that I mind buying new clothes...

That's all for now. Over and out.