Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Morning Bell

I'm just finishing up my first week of classes for the Spring semester and already my head is swimming.

I may have bitten off quite a large chunk of education this time with 15 semester hours, but I'm determined to conquer this mountain of papers (and the writing they require) before May.

My courses this semester are:

Europe and Africa
European Migrations
Principles of Visual Communication
Principles of Writing with Technology
Technical Editing

The 2 history courses will finish out my degree program for that degree. Geez, that only took 20 years. I guess I had to take some time off from learning about history to make a little personal history (and three other historically-accurate, history-making beings.)

4 of my 5 courses are online this semester. That doesn't mean I have to work less, that means I have to work more (but I can choose from more convenient hours of the day, like 1 am to 5 am when it's nice and quiet around here). The price to be paid for the convenience factor is a decidedly larger workload. Really, my theory is that online courses remove the possibility of collective student whining about the work/test load. Collective whining, like collective bargaining, is the 900 pound gorilla that will have his way. It should never be underestimated.

Another feature of this semester is "blogging for grades." In addition to my personal blog, Return Engagement, I'm required to create and maintain two more blogs. The first one will corral all my cleverness about the Atlantic slave trade and the colonial interactions between Europe and Africa. Take a peek at A Play of Dark and Light: Europe and Africa if you need something to help you sleep at night. Personally, I love this stuff but I'm aware that for most people history has an anesthetizing effect.

My other blog is equally narrow in scope. It is designed to follow the genesis of a semester-long design project for my Writing with Technology class (my inner techno-geek is so happy). It's named Projecting Success: Principles of Writing with Technology. I haven't determined what my project will be yet, but I'll be getting down with my geeky, bad self soon enough.

I linked both to this blog.

My hope is to keep all 3 blogs fresh with new ideas and new insights. But for right now, I gotta go, there's papers to write (30 of them by my count). Adios amigos.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Time Flies When the Sh*t Hits the Fan...

I'm so discomboobolated even my metaphors are cross-pollinating.

This past month has been pure mayhem. My 15 hours of courses this semester will be a relaxing day at the beach in comparison.

Here's the highlights:

We hosted DH's family for the holidays. Sister came in from Rome, Italy with her 2 children. Mom came in from OK with great-grandma.

My monkeys met their Italian cousins for the first time and it was love at first sight for everyone involved. At least until the comas set in. We learned Italian and they learned about near-lethal jet lag.

The guest house flooded on a cold and rainy day.

The washer imploded the next cold and rainy day.

Everyone learned that the flu is a cross-cultural event and brings people to their knees regardless of what their plans are.

We had pictures taken to commemorate the event 2 days after Christmas. The next day, illness and ambulances visited our house.

Cousins left amid great sadness.

Grandma and great Grandma still remain far from home, recovering.

Anyone who entertains the idea that life challenges only come in threes either can't count very well or else they indulge in some wildly over-optimistic thinking.

But don't think that I didn't have fun in the last month, because I had a blast in between life's little train wrecks and I even managed to finally finish Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union. I'll attach a review later but for now I'll leave you with this picture of one moment when we were all feeling the love...