I thought Tuesdays might be a smart day to reflect on the TA adventure and perhaps to vent about the events of my Monday morning teaching experiences. Yesterday I taught for the first time this term, once at 8am and then again at 10. I was surprisingly nervous before the first class began. I think the long summer break had me feeling rusty.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
In an attempt to bring sustainability into my classroom I've turned all of the homework assignments into online assignments using our online classroom component known as "Blackboard".
Friday, September 26, 2008
So WAMU has been bought out by Chase... meh.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
The past few days I've been working with Sara J, Peter and Laura to orient the new TA-folk. This has been an exciting and exhausting process for me, and likely for the incoming TAs as well. I sense that many of them might be feeling a bit overwhelmed, but it can't really be helped.
When it comes to my own situation I am at the moment bewildered but indifferent to the challenges of finding the correct classes to fulfill all of my requirements. I've decided to dedicate this term to completing one chapter (and hopefully the preface) of my thesis. I've also compiled about 12 schools that I am "interested" in attending (although really only two or three are totally desirable). The next step is signing up to take and studying for the subject GRE. I am not a big fan of standardized tests, and I typically don't do that well on them, so this is a source of some minor anxiety. To remediate this anxiety (a little at least) I am dropping most of my classes this term and taking some thesis hours to round out the gaps.
My teaching plans are in order so I am happy to say there is no tension surrounding that particular issue.
Wharton, Spanish class, Writing 121 and more Wharton look like the immediate future of my academic life.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Helping to orient the new TA's has been surprisigly exhausting...maybe I am just rusty. Hopefully.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
So this past weekend I decided it was time for me to get some new clothes for school. Clothes shopping is a huge issue for me for a number of reasons, not the least of which is my dismay over how fashion is used to "shape identity" in the consumer culture. If it were up to me I would own all second hand or hand made clothes, but my well-fed girth prevents the first and my lack of skill prevents the second. This being said I was prepared to spend some money on clothing that was either locally made or union made.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
So we've been trying to squeeze the last drops out of summer these past few days.
We went to the coast on Thursday and had a nice time seeing the usual circuit of places we and the dogs love. Agate Beach was almost empty and the cool clean air was a delight after many days in the smokey valley. The absence of humans on the beach helped to preserve a number of great sand formations, but high tide timing on our part made shell hunting unrewarding. We delighted in the huge driftwood tangles instead.
Today we took Hwy 99 to Eugene for Saturday Market. The coast range was extra lovely with layers of smoke, cloud cover, and fog. In town we took the dogs to a new dog park and Freyja had a great time exploring the various little swimming pools. Later though we noticed that she was shivering, so we put one of my shirts on her...she was not pleased, however she was warm.
So it goes. Onward to fall!
Friday, September 19, 2008
Greetings on Talk Like a Pirate Day! Although I spent most of this day gardening in true landlubber fashion, I do live in the home of this blessed day, and I tip my ratty tri-corner hat to all of the pirates out there fighting global warming. Because as we know more pirates=less global warming....
Thursday, September 18, 2008
So many people on the Wharton-l have offered great responses and suggestions. It seems I am behind the times. No surprise there. Apparently others have also suggested Adams as the location for The Fruit of the Tree. This is great news. Now I have a place to really center my eco-historical research.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
In my efforts to get some more work done on my thesis I've been concentrating my efforts on The Fruit of the Tree. I got myself onto the Wharton-l and started asking around to see what opinions other Wharton reserchers and readers might have. I have gotten back some interesting leads, one suggesting an edition of the novel edited by Donna Campell, and another directing me to a lecture given at the Mount last year by Dr. Jennie Kassanoff. I've emailed Dr. Kassanoff since I've been unable to find a copy of her lecture, and I'm on the look out for the Campbell edition in the University library.
"And do you remember how we said that it was with most of us as it was
with Faust? That the moment one wanted to hold fast to was not, in most
lives, the moment of keenest personal happiness, but the other kind--the
kind that would have seemed grey and colourless at first: the moment
when the meaning of life began to come out from the mists--when one
could look out at last over the marsh one had drained?"
A tremor ran through Justine. "It was you who said that," she said,
"But didn't you feel it with me? Don't you now?"
"Yes--I do now," she murmured.
He came close to her, and taking her hands in his, kissed them one after
"Dear," he said, "let us go out and look at the marsh we have drained."
As I wrote a few days back, I've become a bit of a fan of FactCheck.org . Every morning, before I read the news I take a look at FactCheck to see what's going on in the world of heinous campaign lies.
Monday, September 15, 2008
The past few days have been full of harvesting, prepping, and cooking. We've gathered blackberries, plums, pears and apples. We've also had a steady flow of tomatoes from the garden, and some beans have been collected as well. Add to this a great buy on Italian prune plums at the grower's market and that has made for busy times. It's also made for delicious times well worth sharing (click the links for photos of the delight).
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Recently, while looking for a plant identification book for completing these vegetation surveys, I stumbled upon a book called Food Not Lawns. The subtitle of this book is, How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and your Neighborhood into a Community. This got me thinking.
Friday, September 12, 2008
As readers of this blog likely know, I've been keeping my eye on the political scene surrounding the presidential and congressional campaigns. The two things that I've found most shocking lately are:
1. The willingness of the masses to perpetuate outright lies.
2. The damn near illiteracy of many who voice their opinions in public forums
On the first count I have only one thing to say, FactCheck.org This site disputes erroneous claims made against either candidate.
06:28 PM Sep 12 2008
WELL WE HAVE ANOTHER STAR WHO NOES ALL ABOUT SARAH,STICK TO YOUR FAKE MOVIE MAKEING,WE ALL NO WHO YOU WIIL VOTE FOR,MABEY YOU CAN MAKE A MOVIE AND YOU CAN BE HIM YOU NO ALL ABOUT POLITICS
Wow! I've always thought participatory democracy is a great idea, and that elitism is bad....ummm maybe not anymore...just kidding... but really.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
In the course of preparing my teaching materials I've been reading and thinking about John Taylor Gatto's "Against School". I've especially been mulling over his assessment of the material culture and its relationship to maturity. Gatto writes, "Maturity has by now been banished from nearly every aspect of our lives. Easy divorce laws have removed the need to work at relationships; easy credit has removed the need for fiscal self-control; easy entertainment has removed the need to learn to entertain oneself; easy answers have removed the need to ask questions. We have become a nation of children, happy to surrender our judgments and our wills to political exhortations and commercial blandishments that would insult actual adults. We buy televisions, and then we buy the things we see on the television. We buy computers, and then we buy the things we see on the computer. We buy $150 sneakers whether we need them or not, and when they fall apart too soon we buy another pair. We drive SUVs and believe the lie that they constitute a kind of life insurance, even when we're upside-down in them. And, worst of all, we don't bat an eye when Ari Fleischer tells us to "be careful what you say," even if we remember having been told somewhere back in school that America is the land of the free. We simply buy that one too. Our schooling, as intended, has seen to it."
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
We went to EE Wilson for the second day of vegetation surveying. Things went smoothly. I saw a lovely dry marsh and plenty of fruit trees growing wild. I ate some Asian pears and apple or two. Bird and I filled her pockets with plums and a big bowl of blackberries. All delightfully free.
a little more fruitiness... is this a Georgia Peach
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Although I had been planning to avoid politics today I was the recipient of a "banned book list" that Palin supposedly tried to push for while mayor. Book banning is another one of those issues that gets me up in arms so I had to look into it. Although fact checkers have found that the supposed "books banned by Palin" list is questionable, the fact checkers (even the rather right leaning ones) concede that Palin did ask about how to get books banned from the library in Wasilla. The fact checkers also concede that Palin fired (although under pressure from local citizens she later rehired) the librarian whom she originally asked about book banning. Why did she fire the woman? Because she felt the librarian was not "loyal" enough.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Today we went to Avery Park for a walk around the loop trail and down to the edge of Mary's River. Freyja and Moose had a splendid time swimming around. Especially Freyja who thinks she is part river otter.
Americans shell out more than $20,000 "every minute of every day" or up to 60 cents for a glass of bottled water
1978 Consumption = 415 Million Gallons**
2006 Consumption = 8.2 Billion Gallons***
For comparison, Worldwide Consumption =
41 Billion Gallons***
It takes 1,851 gallons of water to refine one barrel of crude oil.**
Twenty-four gallons of water are needed to make one pound of plastic. **
1.5 to 2.7 million tons of plastic used per year to make bottles for bottled water.***
That’s 24gal/pd X 2000 pd/ton x 1.5 million tons = 72 billion gallons of water or 24 times the quantity of water used by the City of Corvallis every year to make bottles that are empty.
**Emily Gersema, Associated Press (2003)
***FAO and Earth Policy Institute (2006)
Friday, September 5, 2008
I am up to week eight with my daily PowerPoints, which are essentially skeletal lesson plans designed to trigger my memory regarding what I want to teach on a given day. While it might seem neurotic and rigid to do such a thing I assure you that the PPT's are largely tongue in cheek. Each day starts with a pie chart showing how many classes are left in the term. Students seem to find it funny, though maybe they just laugh to amuse me. Either way.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Since Gov. Palin thinks Polar Bears don't deserve protection I would like to take a moment to revel in the glories of the Polar Bear.
These excellent creatures and their kind deserve our respect.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
The night is wearing on and despite the fact that I worked diligently on my teaching materials all day I haven't progressed past week one's PPTs. Maybe it's the fact that at almost 9PM I haven't had dinner yet but I feel somewhat confused and sleepy as I try to recall the events of my day.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Today I completed my final exam in the Columbia Basin History and Ecology class. For better or worse the class is over and I am ever so glad. I feel like this has in some ways been the anti-summer, although I have had many great adventures it is as though the schooling never ended.