lunadelcorvo: (Deadlines whooshing by)
What a year it's shaping up to be! Over the summer, hubby's grandmother has had her health decline rapidly. Actually, this has been along process for years; she had MD, and had been losing strength and mobility steadily for years. THis year it's really been accelerating. Worse yet, her husband, himself in his upper 80s has been unable to let go and put her n a proper nursing facility. One the one hand, I understand this, especially knowing him. He's the epitome of "pride goeth before a fall," except he thinks that means when your pride goes away, that's when you fall. It's meant a lot to him that he's cared for her for so long, and he doesn't want to give up and admit he can't any more. But really, he should have, for both their sakes. Now, however, she's been diagnosed with advanced bone cancer. She's in hospice, she's lost any real kind of coherence, and it's unlikely she'll ever regain it. Heartbreakingly, in her pain and delerium, she rails against Papaw for trying to get rid of her. I can see the damage that does to him every time she says it. He's said outright he doesn't want to go on without her; I suspect he won't.

Naturally, all of this is, as I said, inevitable. With a condition like hers, we all knew it would end like this. Which doesn't make it one whit less awful to see. And of course, it's bringing back the pain of my mother's death all over. So yay. I feel for hubby, too, as he recently had a good friend who had suffered a long-term illness call hi out of the blue to say goodbye. He said he'd taken a turn, and wouldn't be seeing him again. We found out a few days later he and his wife checked into the swankiest hotel in town, had champagne and then committed suicide together. I made the news. Now his grandmother is past the point of no return, and his grandfather is swearing he won't outlive her.

His father (my father in law) has also been left nearly blind by a failed eye surgery in one eye and a blown vessel in the other in about a four week period. So, universe, if you're listening, we're good now, no more surprises, yeah?

Otherwise, I suppose things are fine. I feel totally overwhelmed with work this semester, but I suppose that's not altogether new either, I really want to finish up the last of the kitchen because, as wonderful as it is, it's been the f-ing elephant on my shoulder for the better part of three months and I'm so ready to set it down. However, it's going to be 8 weeks before the tile comes in for the backsplash, (which yours truly is installing) so it's more or less never going to be finished. (First world problem, especially in light of all the rest, but it's the little ones that bug ya, ya know?)

And I so did not intend to make this a pity party sort of diatribe. Ah well, bucket dumped; look for a slightly more upbeat post next time!
lunadelcorvo: (Tea Spell High art)
Not much going on, but trying to stick to my (oft-repeated) determination to actually be here!

Classes are going really well; I've just begun to shake up my students, which is always very rewarding. In Utopia/Dystopia, they are having to come to grips with the idea that America is NOT the be-all of a perfect society! It's great when I can lead them to realize this in in their own - that's how minds open! And in Dev. of Christianity, we have just dealt with how little evidence we have outside of the bible for Jesus ever existing, and how very dodgy the biblical 'evidence' really is. Then we went right into an overview of 1st-3rd century heresies. It's funny how easily they can spot the logical inconsistencies there, compared to if I started them on contemporary stuff. But by the time we get to 20th century, they will be used to thinking critically - that, again, is where minds open. So good stuff all round!

Getting the countertops installed tomorrow! Yay; no more temporary counters of old cabinet doors! Of course this means I have to unhook the sink (again) and will need to re-plumb the new one...*sigh* Hopefully no more than one (maybe two) days of no kitchen sink.... First world problems again, I know. LOL

OK, geek moment: Picking up Diablo 3 for Xbox today (been playing on Mac for ages). Whee! Also SO totally psyched for updates on all my favorite games: D3 Reaper of Souls expansion, and Fable Legends both look *awesome!!!!* And still hopeful for Dragon Age: Inquisition - I adored Origins SO, SO, much, and DA:II just really didn't do a thing for me. (Maybe if I'd played it first, but it was a piss-poor followup to the awesome that was Origins...) SO yes - much squeeing for this little geek girl!

Oh, and tea. I'm in a huge tea phase right now - just got a big batch of Jasmine Dragon, and mixed up a new batch of my black tea/berry blend. Gonna float away at this rate, but what the heck - tea is good, right?
lunadelcorvo: (Summer Violets)
I read every day, but I find it seems to take ever so much less time than it used to. Well, OK, I'll toss a post out here, maybe it will spur a blogging renaissance!

Really, I've been out in the yard most every day that I'm not teaching, and some of those days, too! The food garden is going great - it's almost all planted and starting off nicely. This years crops will, if all goes well, include several kinds of lettuce, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, radishes, kohlrabi, celery, kale, mustard greens, green beans, lima beans, cucumbers, green and red peppers, 5 varieties of tomatoes, and pumpkins. I'm still trying to find a spot to toss in some squash, too. I also have loads of herbs, many of which came back strong from last year. I have chive, sage, oregano, two mints, tarragon, rosemary, thyme, parsley, savory, lavender, chamomile, and catnip.


For the flower garden and the beds on front, I've scattered some of the perennial herbs there instead of the raised beds. There they can spread all they like, and not crowd out the edibles. I've also planted four old English roses (an Eglantyne, an Alnwyck and two Crocus Roses (That's the Eglantyne pictured here). I am so anxious to see how they develop! I have the four grouped around the birdbath, with asian lillies in front, the lilac to one side, and a reddish-pink Knockout Rose (that I'm not actually too fond of, but it was a gift) on the other, and assorted this and that in front. I even found a small patchouli! How awesome if that really takes off!

And along the ugly chain fence (on the side where the redneck neighbor parks his tow trucks - yuk!) I'm putting in a hedgerow of double pink and blush Knockout Roses. My shade garden is sort of languishing because the soil back there is awful, but it's limping along. The bleeding hearts and lillies of the valley came back when I'd have sworn they were done for. I've been composting and mulching the bejayzuz out of it, so if I can keep them going this summer, I think by next the soil will have started to get better. (Go, worms!) The foxglove and monkshood seem to be going like gangbusters, though - yay! (Yes, it's a rather toxic little garden patch....)

But perhaps the best gardening news of all: Niblet is old enough to cut the grass! W00t! We don't have much, and are working on mulching over a lot of that, but until then, it's no longer my job! Yay!

More on non-gardening topics soon, promise, and pics as soon as things start coming up!
lunadelcorvo: (Run screaming)
Grrr. Just grr. Why? I don't know, just 'cause.

Still coughing my fool head off and getting short of breath every damned five minutes - yuck. Plus fatigue like whoa. I am exhausted, full time, which sucks big hairy you-know-whats through a straw. For serious. I love fall, but it hates me, apparently.

One of the interminable lot of persnickety grandmothers decided to buy us a new bed mattress set, which is lovely, but we were not consulted on it, and really? If I'm going to sleep on it, I'd like to have some input in selecting it. Not to mention, even though we need a new set, I wanted to wait until we could actually get a bed to put them on, which we do not have. Gift horse dentistry aside, could we have maybe talked about this? Planned it out a little? I mean, thanks, but well, damn.

I just do not even have any freaking idea what to do with my life. PhD or not to PhD? Where? Drive 90 minutes each way 3x a week, or say the heck with it? I can't go forever teaching just one or two classes, much as I love doing so, and am pathetically grateful for the chance to do so. Still; bills, baby! And if I don't do that PhD, gonna be some pretty sizable student loan bills comin' round, yo. So I either need to get back into school, or get some grown up money going on.

So while I ponder my money-making options (in the worst economy more or less ever - yay that), I'm looking for conferences to send paper proposals to, and considering substitute teaching (gulp!). I have my doubts about this, really. I mean, the money is OK (not great by any means, but OK), but really, me in a room full of 6-year-olds? More specifically, in a room full of 6-year-olds none of which are mine? I.... dunno... Plus, really early mornings, so not my strong suit. And how in the heck we'll manage Niblet drop off/pick up, I have no freaking clue....

So yep, could be oodles worse, but kinda feeling like the world is spinning a good bit faster than I can run, and it's only a matter of time before I go flying....
lunadelcorvo: (Summer Violets)
(As always, click for bigger version...)
Patio Pots
Patio Pots
The biggest pot has four varieties of Basil, and the two smaller round ones have five varieties of mint between them. Then of course, there is my big box of impatiens, which are not faring too well.

Azalea and Spirea
Azalea and Spirea
The Azalea and Spirea are in a small bed just next to the patio. The veggie garden is to the far left from this perspective.

The food garden
The food garden
The whole veggie garden, with my dilapidated shed in the back. The front bed is the first one I built. It's 8 x 4, and almost 2 feet high. It has been giving bumper crops of lettuce since late April, but they are about done. I need to find some late season crops to put in their place...

The cabbage (and chard) patch.
The cabbage (and chard) patch.
Something is making holes in my cabbages. I also think I put them too close together for them to really flourish. Live and learn, no?

The herb bed.
The herb bed.
Clockwise from the bottom: beets, basil, cilantro, rosemary, mint, dill, lavender, sage, and chives in the middle. (Yes, I know, beets are not an herb. I had two left over and nowhere else to put them.)

My first cucumber!
My first cucumber!
I am unreasonably excited by this! This small bed is also looking to put out some really nice peppers. The cucumbers have kind of overshadowed the herbs I put here. I think next year, I will try to put in some big, permanent herb beds in front, and leave the annual plantings in the back.

Front half of the back bed
Front half of the back bed
The tomato half of the back bed. They need better staking, badly! At least the coffe grounds and netting have kept the rabbits and squirrels out, at least so far.

Pumpkin tower.
Pumpkin tower.
I built a frame for my pumpkins to climb, and of which I am ludicrously proud! They are already a good 8 or 12 inches taller than in this photo, taken less than a week ago.

There are more, and a few of what will be my rose garden next year, as well as the front, but that's enough picspam for now....
lunadelcorvo: (Summer Violets)
To all those moms out there, I hope you had a happy Mother's Day, and I hope you got even a fraction of the recognition you deserve! And to my mom: I miss you, and I feel your loss every day, but I'm doing well. I'm proud of what I'm doing lately, and I am proud of how much of that comes from you. I hope you are proud of me, and I know you're proud of your grandson. Peace.

Mother's Day was lovely - my two gentlemen took very good care of me! From the Niblet I got a book on home repairs (100 Things You Don't Need a Man For) and a keychain that looks like a grenade, but opens up into a screwdriver with 6 different bits. (Man, I have an awesome kid!) Hubby, not to be outdone (and in addition to financing Niblet's choices, after all), gave me a nifty novel and a really fascinating book on contemporary Christian martyrdom.... We also went out for desserts (chocolate chess pie with mocha chip ice cream, yum!) and the in-laws gave me a gorgeous rosebush for the house. (Now where to put it....)

Otherwise, I am Gardening Mamma! more garden related stuff under the fold )

For now, off to the garden center! Whee!
lunadelcorvo: (Summer Violets)
But damn, I got a lot done this weekend!

Friday after my class, I staked out an 8' x 4' area for a raised garden bed. I cleared it, put down several layers of cardboard (with a heavy soaking between each) and then covered it with about 2 inches of leaf mulch. Then I rebuilt our small hoop-house (e.g. greenhouse). Saturday, I helped build a compost system for a local school. There were a bunch of volunteers, but it was still about a five hour job. Then today, niblet and I went and bought lumber and supplies, came back, and build the bed. (It turned out awesomely well, if I do say so myself!) Then out we went again for the soil to fill it. Hubby wanted to bring it from a few of his composting sites, but the logistics didn't work out. So, back out we went.

Three bundles of peat moss, 4 bags of soil, three bags of compost, and three bags of mulch later, it was still a few inches from the top, but I decided it would be fine. I'll add a couple buckets of worms when I can go grab some. Then we planted some 30 veggies and a few herbs. (Cabbages take up an ungodly amount of space in a garden bed, in case you didn't know!) I have another bed (smaller) to build for green peppers, and we still want to put tomatoes and peas along the fence, and possibly some berries.

I'll post pics when I get some snapped. Meanwhile, I ache all over, so I'm gonna go collapse in a heap. I'm not at all sure I'll be able to walk tomorrow....
lunadelcorvo: (Halloween Samhain)
Still unpacking. Urgh! If I have to step over/on/around one more cardboard box, I'll..... well, remind myself to unpack it eventually is what I'll do. But I am taking the time to do things right, and trying to sort out a log of stuff as I go. Unfortunately, this equates with stuffing a helluva lot of stuff into the basement until some mysterious, fictional time in the future when I will actually deal with all the heaps of heaven-knows-what-all I haven't a clue what to do with. I need to grow a spine and rent a dumpster..... alas.

Back on track to finish this semester! Yay! New topic, new committee, new format - it's like all the crap last spring/summer never happened. Well, sort of. But it's forward motion, and I am pretty jazzed about the new topic, so all is good! Classes are proving to be enjoyable and relatively stress free, which is a big plus. I am working with all new profs, even in fairly new departments, which is odd, but all things considered, a good thing.

I don't see much of any of the faculty I used to, aside from the chance passing in the quad and such, but again, for the present, perhaps that's for the best. I'm not entirely over my sense of disillusion and betrayal yet, but I'm getting there. Or at least, I'm leaving it behind, which will suffice for the moment!

We have added to the residents of our "Conservatory" (what my son calls our sunroom). The Conservatory houses all the house plants, the original 29gal fish tank, a newer 20gal tank, and now, a 5.5gal with three hermit crabs! And now my son's class is looking to adopt out a few anoles, so we may end up with a few of them as well.

I never thought I'd add 'zookeeper' to my list of job titles, but I must say, it's quite rewarding. Although, I do wish the mollies would stop already! We are on our fifth batch (spawn? brood? clutch?) of molly babies, and even though we have given away about 35 or 40, we currently have something on the order of 75 mollies! This is sustainable when they are no bigger than this---> • but gets to be a problem when they get to be regular fish-sized....

I think it's time to round up all but one or two of the last brood and take them to the petstore. Unfortunately, I think the gold male has been making eyes at the big silver female, so I am sure we have not seen the last population explosion by a long shot! (Is it dastardly of me to be considering a fish that tends toward the carnivorous? Those babies could keep an Arowana happy for a good long time.... Maybe our home is not the best place to teach the Niblet how the food chain really works....)

Anyway, off to read, cite and write! Cheers!

P.S. We've begun the spookification of the new digs! Whee! I do love Hallowe'en!
lunadelcorvo: (Where is all this stuff written?)
(Albeit a bulleted one)
  • We are moved! Well, mostly. There are still a few carloads of gods-know-what in the storage room at the old place. I am having to leave this up to others, as I have really messed up my wrists & elbows painting, packing, fixing, scrubbing, lifting.... DH has really been a champ; I don't know how he does it, and I'm afraid he's going to drop any second.... But - we have a new home, and we love it, so things are groovy on that front! Squee! (Yes, new house piccies when you can see something other than boxes!)

  • Mom is doing better. In fact, you'd hardly know she went through any of it. She still is a little shaky on her feet, and her back is a bit touchier than before, but even that's getting better with time. She even made it out to the Irish Fest with Niblet and I this weekend.

  • Niblet is loving school like wow! he's having to actually work a little, and I think that's a good thing! He's also loving the new house, and has developed a real passion for celtic music - I thought he'd murder me if we didn't get the the Irish fest Right. This. Minute. LOL! I'm glad; music is a good passion to have, and I'm so happy it's one we share.

  • The semester goes.... well it goes. Italian is actually a lot of fun, and I seem to be picking it up pretty easily. And hey, no papers! Italian Ren Art is fine; the instructor is very passionate and kind of fun, so I'm enjoying it immensely. First test comes back today; let's see if it likes me, too! Theory is...interesting. Some very different persepctives, but I have a paper idea that I think will be fun to do, which the prof seems to like as well. This is a good thing since....

  • Committee? What committee? I have no thesis and no committee. *sigh* Not going to go into it here/now, just busy working in plan B. Which may involve that paper I mentioned for theory class. So, there's that. What a crazy thing this MA is turing out to be....(Please, gods, can I be done nao?)
So, great stuff, good stuff, insane stuff.... sounds like life as usual for the Raven.... More details on all when I have a)time b)sleep c)answers d)all of the above.*

(*You do know it's 'd,' right?)

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Things I need to remember:
• Asking for help is not, as it turns out, fatal.
• Laughing is easier than pulling your hair out, and doesn't have the unfortunate side effect of making you look like a plague victim.
• Even the biggest tasks can be defeated if taken a bit at a time.
• I can write a paper the night before it's due, but the results are not all they could be.
• Be thorough, but focused.
• Trust yourself.
• Honesty, always.

Historians are the Cassandras of the Humanities

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