lunadelcorvo: (DAO Alistair sexy)
Well, the summer is half over (ish) and I'm not sure how much I've accomplished.

I dropped the thesis. It's a long story, but I got painted in to a corner and sort of forced to make a hasty decision. I didn't want to do a second thesis, and I sure as hell didn't want to do it over the summer. The topic is good, but I found out fast that COMM theory doesn't really have the tools to do what I wanted to do. As I explained to one of my advisors, I can cook very well, and I can garden, but even I can't mow the lawn with a frying pan, and that's very much what it was feeling like. So it's tabled for now. Not sure what I will do with the COMM degree, or if I will finish it at all, but you know what? I have a degree, I have a great job teaching, I get fantastic peer reviews, so it's not going to keep me up nights.

I have been working with husbandman and some friends on starting a business. Wow, what a lot of work that is! I think it's going well, and I think we have a really great thing. We'll just have to see if it goes anywhere! But that's been taking up a lot of my time. It's satisfying; I'm getting to do a lot of really good design work, which I do miss, and I have been learning some new skills, too. Of course, the fact that husnabdman is out of the country (4 weeks) makes things harder! LOL

I am also teaching two new summer camps; web design and a movie making one. (NO, I'm not totally qualified, but for 15 hours I can keep middle schoolers busy on these things!) And the extra money over the summer is SO very welcome!

Planning to go to WindyCon with the Niblet this year. He actually asked to go and bring 2 friends for his birthday. So I booked a suite and we are planning costumes right now. He want to be the Demon Hunter from Diablo3, so I am putting myself through a crash-course on making armor! It's a lot of fun so far! Yes, will post pics once I get some stuff together. I'm thinking if I have time, I may do the Wizard from D3 to go along with him. Or maybe the Crusader? But I want him to have his costume first; I've had my day of stealing the show with a killer costume, I want him to have his turn. If I have time for a second one great, if not, that's fine, too.

You may know I have a possibly unhealthy love of RPG video games like Diablo and Dragon Age. And of course, the third installment in the Dragon Age series is due out on the fall. So I have dived into DA2, for the first time. I was really nervous that it wouldn't hold up against DA Origins (the first one), which has been SO important to me. (Heck, I'm giving an academic paper on it in fall!) And in some ways, it doesn't hold up. But nevertheless it's amazing and heartbreaking in so many wonderful ways. So that (and of course, the associated fan-fic binge) has also been eating up a good bit of my time!

And that's about it for now. I've got all manner of ranting and commentary n the political climate, but... I don't know. Some days, it's almost too stressful to get wrapped up in it all. I want to keep writing about it and dialoging and such, but some days I have to put it down. Can one rage-quit citizenship? Meh; maybe I'll put some posts up soon.
lunadelcorvo: (Summer light)
So, I will try to inaugurate my return to LJ not with a meme or quiz, as has been my wont, but with...just life. Here we go!

I'm done with classes for the summer. I got me evaluations, and they are pretty good. My numbers are still above national, institutional, and departmental averages. As far as comments, it's a mix, as it usually is. And it's rarely a surprise, either. There will be one or tow disengaged students that will whine about too much reading, too much writing, too hard, etc. Welcome to college! I'm a big pussycat compared to some of the best instructors I had; count your blessings, you lazy sots! The enthusiastic students will be complimentary, and occasionally offer legit critique or advice, which I actually welcome. The rest can barely be bothered to fill out the eval at all, and therefore refrain from comment. All my peer faculty assessments are glowing, so I'm tickled, all in all!

I'm doing this thesis thing (again!). Still not 100% sure WHY I'm putting myself through the thesis process again, but it's gong well, if slowly. I'm trying to use COMM theory to analyze early illustrated manuscripts of Dante's Divine Comedy. COMM theory is resisting. I'm (slowly) persevering. Good news is, once I beat the theory into submission, the rest is cake; I can talk Dante all day long!

I'm teaching the Photoshop summer camp for the third year, and I seem to have picked up two more, as well: websites and movies (egad! wish em luck on those; I know how to do both, but necessarily how to teach middle schoolers!). But it's quick and easy money, so no complaints!

Otherwise, I am chilling and enjoying the summer! Rather unlike many parents I talk to, I am actually thrilled when my kid is out of school; I hate sending him back in the fall! Although, we are really excited about this fall. He's going to a very small private school that bases its educational framework on classical education and Socratic method. They are amazing, and I am hoping this is what the Niblet needs. He's SO damned smart, but he hates school, largely because he sees he's getting crap for education. Here's hoping this gives him something to sink his teeth into!

So that's it. I'm relaxing between wrestling matches with the thesis, gaming a bit, doing a little Latin and Art with the Niblet, and just living. I like summer. :)
lunadelcorvo: (Dante Alighieri)
...and failing. A lot. Another friend said something that sounded right to me: my life is going pretty well, so I haven't been feeling the need to vent/rant/whinge as much these days. But, I do miss the simple act of chronicling my life, so I'm back, again, for another try.

It doesn't hurt that I'm in a digital media course. That kind of got me all nostalgic for the ol' LJ (which is of course, more DW these days, since LJ continues its drain-circling idiocy and malfunction....

So, what's what? Said digital media course, by the same instructor as my general media course last semester. This is good; she's pretty cool. I really enjoyed the last class more than I expected, so I'm pretty jazzed abut this one.... (It isn't every semester you get to do your semester term paper on a video game you love! w00t!)

And on the teaching front: Dante! At last! I am SOOOOOOO excited about this. At the absolute worst, it gives me a sterling excuse to re-read the entire Commedia start to finish, in detail. I haven't done that in a while. Plus the students seem pretty open and talkative, which is awesome!

I'm also doing another junior-level, a repeat of one I've done a few times, this time at another hospital as part of the RN->BSN program. This is a tough accelerated course, but the students are great, and it's half a semester. In, out, done! Never a bad thing. And I'm still taking Latin, which is good.

My scary little brain is still turning and churning PhD options, but there remain precious few within reasonable distance. There is a perfectly adequate (if not stellar) history PhD about an hour away. There is a truly stellar medieval history PhD an hour and a half away. And, there is a kick-a$$ Dante studies program 5 hours away. No really good options there.... The hour-and-a-half, stellar medieval program is really tempting, but oy. Not sure how I'd structure my life around that kind of commute, especially for the level of work I'd be doing. Phooey. Ah, well, I'll just bide my time, see what DH comes up with when the ink dried on his own PhD, and see what opens up.

Another reason I have stopped posting as much is that I have sort of stopped trying to do commentary on the political sphere. Not because I stopped caring, but because - well, it's almost too much. Where does one even begin to discuss how insane things are? Eh, I might try to get back into writing more (in my copious spare time, of course!)
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: (Casavir (NWN2))
Part of the problem with my posting here lately is that I'm not doing much to post about.

So, let's see. I finished making a regency era outfit for a gentleman friend of mine, who serves tea at a Jane Austen festival. It kind of got my sewing bug up and active, which is good, since I am contemplating actually making a costume for WindyCon. (I am terribly excited about this costume, even though I know I will be very lucky if more than 3 or 4 people will recognize it. Story of my life - people rarely get my 'brilliant' cultural references. Sigh.)

Yes, in November I am going to WindyCon, a huge SF con in Chicago. This was my home turf back in the day, so it will be both interesting and strange to be there again. I am taking the Niblet and it will be his first con, so he's very excite. I really hope it will be the way I remember it. Hubby is going, too, and I don't know how that will play out. He went with me once, years ago, and spent most of his time being irritated at all my friends and the flirtation/innuendo going on. And he's never been quite as fannish as I have always been, or it seems, as my son has become. We'll see.

I have been writing a lot lately, and even have a couple short pieces up around the 'net. (If anyone is interested in Neverwinter Night-inspired semi-smutty fanfic, let me know. I'll spare the rest of you.) I am also working on a larger piece, originally intended as an exploration of the characters in the game, but it has grown to novel length. (Literally, 65K and still going). And here I though NaNoWriMo would be hard, but I've spun this out in about three weeks, though I am far from done. (I may have to NaNo this year...)

I am getting ready to tech a one week summer camp on graphic design to middle school students next week. I know this stuff cold, but I"ve never taught middle school kids, so it should be interesting. It pays well, and summers are lean, so it's worth it no matter how it goes. WIsh me luck.

In fall, I will be teaching three classes (one freshman-level, two junior, one of those an accelerated night course), and taking two. (Hmmm, given that, and since both WindyCon AND NaNo hit in November, maybe that won't work after all. What a stupid month to have NaNo! LOL)

Lastly, my garden is in a shambles because it is just too f-ing hot to get out there and muck about with it. And that's about all of it.
lunadelcorvo: (Dreaming)
Still here, reading and not saying much. I've had a whole lot going on lately, both within and without my noggin. More on serious stuff another time.

So, I have this tendency to fall in love with fictional characters. It's sort of a serial monogamy of fiction crushes. I know I'm not alone, and overall, I think it's a good thing. I am the sort of person who tends to live in my own head quite a bit, and it can get lonely rattling about in my skull. It's nice to have playmates in there. Rich inner life and all that, yeah?

For the first time I think ever, I have two crushes going on at once, and one of them is even inspiring a vast outpouring of writing. Well, that has actually happened a lot, it's just almost never resulted in any *actual* writing happening. This time, pages are appearing before my very eyes. Very exciting stuff, that.

So, is it odd to fic ship a PC and NPC from a video game? (My Google results tell me no, it is far from unusual.) Nevertheless, it's interesting spinning out this story. Like all my stories (and even my dreams), it has a soundtrack, too. I can half see myself putting it out there, with a playlist on Last FM coded by chapter. When I do things, I do tend to go whole hog, it seems....

Anyway, odd as it sounds, that's the biggest thing (well, second biggest; if you know you know, and that's going pretty well all in all), going on with me right now. Summer is such an odd kind of limbo for me, but I like it. It lets me indulge in all these strange inward travels I take, chase dreams, explore new spaces with a warm breeze at my back. Isn't that what summer is for?

(My, aren't I all artsy and pretentious today? ;)
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: (Widget)
In other news, we have a second cat! Why? Well, for one thing, the vet recommended it when we were concerned about Widget, our adolescent rebel, being a bit too wild. And of course, I'm a sucker for a fuzzy face. I saw this really sweet cat at the adoption center at the local pet supply way back before Christmas. I was really taken with her then, but.... I hemmed and hawed. I wasn't ready.

We go to different locations of the same local chain, so I didn't get back there until last week. And sure enough, the poor thing was still there! (Apparently they have a really hard time adopting our black cats - I guess people are still scared of them or something. Oi!) I almost took her on the spot, but I decided I needed to sleep on it, to say nothing of consulting the husband. He gave the OK, so back I went, and one week ago today, Midnight joined our family!

She's a medium-haired mixed breed, all black, about a year old. Poor dear hadn't had any vet care until she was surrendered by her former owner (along with two others) because they couldn't afford to keep them. I'm really grateful they at least gave them up, and didn't dump them! Midnight was the last of the three to need a home, and I'm really happy she's our! She's a sweet, cuddly thing, purrs at the drop of a hat. She's still pretty hostile (if totally unafraid) of Widget, even though he's a good bit bigger than she is (she's tiny!). But Widget seems to just want to play, so I think they'll work it out fine. Here she is:
Second day, and she seems quite at home already. No too fond of Widget, our other cat though....
Portrait of a Princess
Portrait of a Princess
She's a pretty lady, and she knows it! She's also tiny! She's at her full adult size, and she doesn't even top 9 pounds!
And the boy of the house is getting to be a big, handsome boy! He's so cute with Midnight; he follows her around everywhere, and jumps a foot if she so much as looks back over her shoulder at him. I think he's OK with her, and just wants to play....
lunadelcorvo: (Keys)
The Good:

- Being a professor, can, if you get on the right mailing lists, mean free books, in just the subjects you love! 'Examination copies' are the best!

- I am loving my new browser. Safari has become an overweight slob, and much as I love it in some ways, I have had enough of the spinny beachball of doom to last a lifetime, kthnxbai. So I took Opera for a spin. Fast, lightweight, very secure. Yay! (It's amazng how much difference this makes in my day, really. Alarming, in fact.)

- I am becoming quite addicted to Pinterest! If anyone else is on it, let me know. If you want an invite to join the insanity fun, I'd be happy to invite ya!

- I am making home made laundry, dish and hand soap. It's easy, and cheap, and more or less chemical free. Time will tell if they work - watch this space.

The Annoying:

- I know I have been letting my son watch more TV than I/we would prefer. I have also been suffering from some ghastly, weather-driven sinus-chest-cough-sneeze plague for weeks now, thank you very much. It's damn easy to tell me I shouldn't and then neglect to offer options, Mr. Teaches 10 classes and is never home.... Argh. Can I get back to my life and breathing soon?

- Related to the above, global warming deniers are cordially invited to kiss my butt. Global warming is rapidly rendering my already allergy-laden hometown unlivable by allergy-ridden me! Can I please have a little winter, just to kill off the last year's crud before a new crop springs up?! And I am SO not looking forward to mosquito hell unless we get a really serious freeze....

- Who knew it's as hard to get into Middle School as it is some colleges? Sheesh! Transcripts, references, essays... It's 6th grade people!

The Unexpected:

- The Spanish Inquisition (sorry, had to; contractually obligated, you understand)

- I may end up a student again. *sigh* I am both tickled and... not by this. I can get a second MA, for free, at the uni where I teach. (I get full class-for-class tuition credit.) There are not a lot of grad programs, but there is Communication. OK, yes, I think an undergrad major in Comm is kind of like 'rocks for jocks,' it's true. But at the grad level with the experience I have? I can kind of make it anything I want it to be. I can certainly use it to do work with the Religious Right in the media, which (if you read here much) I already do a lot. And I think I can even do some interesting stuff with medieval studies. Did I mention free? Besides, it will make those pesky loans go away for a while, too. And, free!

- This one belongs under 'The Good' but wouldn't have made sense until you'd seen the above. My boss (at my uni) literally submitted my letter of reference LESS THAN TWO HOURS after I first e-mailed him about it, entirely out of the blue! And he seemed almost giddy about the idea of my enrolling there. This was a week ago, and I'm STILL waiting for the other one(s) to come in from my alma mater. Just goes to show....

- I keep wanting to make a timely and relevant post about the current political situation, but every time I get something started, someone does something even MORE outrageous and dunder-headed, so I keep having to start over. Working on real content, promise!
lunadelcorvo: (Balance)
New year's is a funny holiday for me. Sometimes I find it deeply reflective, sometimes it comes and goes with nary a thoughtful pause. This year is somewhere in between. The whole holiday season has been a little strange. First there is the loss of my mom last January. It's been a painful loss through this season, which has always been deeply imbued with family, history, and heritage. At the same time, it has not been as painful as I expected, which leaves me on the one hand waiting for some kind of explosion (or perhaps I should say 'implosion'), or almost wishing I did feel it more. I suppose a natural part of growing through grief is giving yourself permission to heal, and to realize that healing isn't the same thing as forgetting....

Then again, last year at the holidays, I was still bogged down in classes, writing finals, getting my Master's finalized; I was still a student then. This year, I was closing out grades for my own students, after my first year of teaching. Last year we were still trying to feel wholly settled in the new house, this year we are more than settled, and I look out over not the leftovers of strangers, but the garden I myself sweated over, waiting to be planted again in spring. So in many ways it's like I'm living a different life than a year ago, and it seems far longer than 12 months.

As far as resolutions, I think I've said most years since I've been doing this thing, that making sweeping determinations once a year seems disingenuous at best, and pointless at worst. But I will say that I am not too sorry to see 2011 gone its way, and I hope 2012 holds new challenges, new rewards, peace healing, growth and happiness for all!
lunadelcorvo: (Candleflame)
Wow. I cannot believe it is only 10 days til Christmas, halfway through December, and the end of the year! WTF happened to 2011!?

My classes are all wrapped up for another semester, grades turned in, and all that's left is to archive all my files for next semester. This semester was a learning experience, that's for sure! One class was great, really top-shelf students. Attentive, responsive, engaged, thoughtful. The other one...was not. I just didn't know what to do with that class - I changed tactics, I swapped out turned in essays for in-class work, I gave loads of extra opportunities to earn extra credit... Nothing could get them motivated. Horse, water, only so much you can do, I suppose... I am so glad I had the other class to prove that it wasn't just me! I suspect when my evaluations come back, it will show that they thought little more of me than I did of their participation. (Another reason to be glad for the other to balance it all out!) True, I did have a couple success stories; there are a couple Bs in that group that are more rewarding to me as a teacher than the As in my other class. This spring it's back to just one, so here's hoping it's a good one! It will be my third time teaching the same course, so perhaps that will help.

Otherwise, things are good. I miss my mom so terribly much during this season. I'm so deeply connected to my family via tradition, especially holiday tradition, that almost every holiday thing I do is a stinging reminder that I'm the last one left. But oddly, it hasn't been as hard as I expected it to be. Now I admit, maybe I have an explosion of 'losing my mom' baggage lurking under the surface, but so far, it's been what seems to me a healthy mix of tears and happy memories. (Then again, I always tear up around the holidays! So, I'm a sentimental sot, what of it?)

Maybe it's because it doesn't seem like it's been just a year. OK, I know I just said the year just vanished, but at the same time, everything is so different now. Last year at the holidays I was writing madly to get my thesis done, fighting the powers that be, and writing a final on Italian Art! Now I'm grading papers. It seems like two different lifetimes, almost.

But all in all, things are good. I'm getting ready to begin the holiday baking frenzy, the tree is trimmed, the gifts are wrapped, the house is (well about one third) clean. Niblet has today and tomorrow of school, and then it's full into break. Things are....good. I am, only a little surprisingly, good.
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: (Medieval Halp)
Funny how life kicks you in the head, then hands you a treat. In the midst of the chaos surrounding my mom, I find out I have three courses to teach for fall. One is an intro to American Christianity, the other two are bona fide medieval studies courses! This is really, really awesome. And I'll be really really excited about it any time now... Naw, I really am happy, it just seems odd right now.
lunadelcorvo: (Badass is in!)
What do you know. It's official, done, finished, over. Paper approved, grade entered, semester finished, requirements met, degree awarded. I have a Master's degree. With all the kerfluffle, I'm not sure it's sunk in yet. There hasn't been a 'yowza yahoo' moment, but every time I remind myself (which I do have to do, rather often, in fact), I get this quiet, if intense, shit-eating grin.

And I have had my second day of class, and I like it! "Professor" sounds kind of nice in front of my name, if I do say so myself. I have a small group, which is fine, and they are freshman, most of whom don't like to talk. I hope to open some of them up with time. So yeah. I'm currently holding office hours.* I'm not sure, but I think that's really, really, awesome....

Really, the only drawback I currently have is my concern over my mom. She's got an even bigger array of tests set up over the next week or so than she did over the summer. Having the same cancer appear elsewhere when they thought they got it all out of her lung? Not a good sign. The whirlwind of doctor's appointments starts Thursday. Send her good vibes, and if you have a few left over....

So after I leave here, I'm going to go see her for a bit. Tomorrow I don't have class, but we are having a new dishwasher delivered, so who knows when that will be. This is a very good thing, BTW, because what we have now; is not a dishwasher so much as a dishmoistener. And, since we now own the joint (and we had a kind donor who chipped in!) we decided to invest in a good one; stainless steel interior, steam, the whole nine yards. Being the soul in charge of dish-related maintenance, I find this a very good thing! (Small consolations, yeah?)

*(Yeah, OK, only a n00b hold office hours the first week, so what?)
lunadelcorvo: (Xmas-Rudolph)
Getting back into this thing called life, and so far, it's kind of nice! I've been doing a lot around the house - decorating, cleaning, getting hastily moved piles of stuff sorted at last...

I got the niftiest little space heater for the family room; it looks like a wood-burning stove, and it has those odd lights that look like a fire. It's cheesy, but I love it! And this is now one of the warmest rooms in the house! Yay!

I spent several hours in the basement getting the workbench and all the tools arranged and sorted today. Hubby now has a full set of tools he can take to various projects without leaving me tool-less and irritated. Plus, I now have a nice clean Ms. Fix-it space. W00t!

Father-in-law is recovering from surgery, and doing really well, and Mom is still waiting to hear the results of the biopsy - which reminds me, time to chase that down! But she feels fine, and she's really excited about the new facility she'll be moving into in January.

It's funny - I feel like I've been sort of keeping quiet about everything until I was done with school, even unrelated things. I do have a bit of venting to get off my chest, but that can keep until my revisions are approved. Still, it's weird to think I won't be taking classes in Spring. And oddly anti-climactic! LOL Then again, I am sure that will fade when I am burning the midnight oil getting all my syllabus info together and such!

Ugh. I need coffee, and a shower, then off to pick up the boy, and go visiting relatives!
lunadelcorvo: (Default)
I am in a funk. I have no idea why - I have a house I love, my family is thriving, Niblet loves school, my classes are going well, I'm looking clear to be finished with this gods-forsaken MA once and for all, fall has been gorgeous and sunny and gilded with color.... and I'm all bleah.

OK, allergies have been going nuts this fall, which doesn't help a bit. Sneezy, bleary, itchy does not make with the happy. I'm also kind of afraid it's the house, or at least the carpet. Who knows what beasties have lived here, and we can't really afford to be ripping up and replacing, so... sneeze land it is for me. And that may be why I'm tired half the time, and keep getting headaches....

But I've lived with much worse allergies before...not that I wasn't really happy not to have to, and of course we really, really wanted to get a kitty once we had a house, and it is looking like the house is what's going to make that difficult, if not impossible. Augh. I don't know. Life is good, I'm just bleah. So there.
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?)
lunadelcorvo: (Fox on Pilgrimage)
Do you know how there are iconic elements in every story of a journey? Things like the 'call to the quest;' the thing that hits the protagonist and sets him or her out on the journey. We all have it. Maybe it's the life-changing moment, the sudden realization, or the determination to fulfill a lifelong dream.

There is an element of the journey that has become pertinent to me recently. It's the 'place of safe haven.' The seeker finds himself there often by accident, unexpectedly. Maybe she is injured and seeks help from a local wise-woman, or he is forced to wait out the winter in some distant and welcoming place, or are shipwrecked on a pleasant island. Maybe it's someplace discovered by accident, without calamity, and the seeker chooses to linger for a bit. The 'hero' spends time there, rests, grows, learns.

There comes a time when he or she realizes they could stay, even that they want to. They could do good things in this place, maybe even great things. It would be a worthy life, a true path to follow. But it would mean setting aside the quest, the original destination. It's a temptation, but the seeker must bid farewell and journey on.

Well, for me, I think it's time I moved on from medieval studies. I wanted it to have been my destination, I really did. And I love it, I really do. I could do good things here, maybe even great things. It would be a worthy endeavor. But when I began, I had a different reason that drove me; a different path before me. And that path is calling me.

The thing is, it's a nutty world. There are so many things happening in the US, and elsewhere, that need to be addressed. The extreme right-wing; the ultra conservatives; the theocratic, dominionist, and militaristic Christian movements; the abomination calling itself the 'Tea Party.' And then there are the global climate issues, the ever-spiraling levels of corporate corruption and power, the inexpressibly urgent need for us to move to sustainable systems, and those that want to keep us from doing so, so they can keep their slices of power as the world collapses around them, as it will. And a lot of these things are connected, in ways that the media doesn't talk about, and the public isn't aware of. They are connected and they operate in ways that smart, educated, literate people don't get. People here, in academia, don't get it. And they need to! We all need to understand how the forces in our world work, what they want, and how they are getting it, and too many of us don't.

That's why I started this journey. I wanted to be part of that discussion, part of bringing to light the ways in which some of these seemingly disparate entities are connected and how the operate, because our futures may depend on it. My son's future may depend on it. If and when I choose to go further in academia, if I choose to go for a PhD, I've come to realize, it won't be here in the Middle Ages. I love the medieval studies, I really do. And I have learned so much here, and it has made the issues of today that much clearer; I can use what I have learned here out there, in the world as it is now.

I'd love to stay here, with heretics and saints and Dante and crusades and manuscripts. But I can't. I have work to do, and it's work that needs doing. And if I would never dare claim myself anyone's hero, still, I need to do it for myself, and for my son. So, I'll finish building the fence, help bring in the crop, wait for the pass to clear, or whatever it is that remains to be done before the journey can continue, but continue it will.

Like every traveler, I will promise to come back when the task is done. But we've all read the books, and we know it's not likely. Makes it easier to pack up and say goodbye though.....



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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