Friday, December 9, 2011

Liebster Blog Award

I am a little behind with this, but thank you so much Caz, for nominating me for the Liebster Blog Award! According the Caz, the Liebster Blog Award is given to blogs with fewer than 200 followers, containing good content and warranting more support. Well, we can certainly all use a little moral support, so right back at ya Caz. 

The Liebster Award rules are as follows:

1.  Acknowledge who gave you the Liebster Award by thanking them and linking back to them.

Thank you, Caz.  You are always an encouragement and inspiration to me, as well as entertaining!

2.  Reveal 5 of your top picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog. So here are 5, in no particular order:

1. My Life as a Mature Age Student - for the reasons stated above.
2. Studying Parent - for admiration at her determination to fulfill her educational dreams.
3. Diaries of a Neurotic Non-Trad - for helping me survive my first "B".
4. The Non-Traditional Student Blog - for always being an encouragement to us non-trads and for her wealth of information for students.
5. Old Girl at Uni - for providing an interesting glimpse into her world as a non-trad.

3. Rule #3: Post the award on your blog.
4. Enjoy the love and support of some wonderful people on the www!!! Keep posting, keep commenting and keep being positive.

There are many more blogs that deserve mention; check the blogroll for many more lovely blogs!


Please excuse me for not blogging lately, but I have been fed up with anything that resembles writing or reminds me of school.  During what should have been my most focused and carefree semester (since I'm not working) has instead been quite difficult as I have come down with a bad case of senior-itis. This condition is characterized by an extreme lackadaisical attitude toward school, homework, and tests and almost a total lack of concern for grades.  I couldn't understand the cause of my attitude until I heard other students complain of the same ailment.  I was glad to discover that my experience is normal and that I haven't lost my mind, at least not anymore than the other students.  All I can think about is that I want this to be over; I am ready to move on to the next thing, whatever it may be, and though my body continues to attend classes, my mind is done with it all.

So, yesterday I took my first final, in Literature of the Ozarks, and I think I did well enough to keep my "A". I know it may be difficult for anyone to believe that we have actual literature in the Ozarks, but, for better or worse, we have Harold Bell Wright, Donald Harington, and Daniel Woodrell. So there you are.

On Wednesday evening I was required to read my seventeen page senior seminar paper in front of the class. I'm not one for public speaking, but I survived well enough. My professor says I have a good paper and I had very little re-writing or correcting to do before I handed in the final draft. Based on my professors comments I am hoping for an "A" in this class also.

As for my Middle Eastern history class,  my final is next Tuesday evening and I am hoping to scrape by with a "B", but will settle for a "C".  I know, I know, there was a time when anything less than an "A" would have sent me straight to therapy; this just goes to show how extreme is my case of senior-itis.

On Monday morning I have a final in Fundamentals of Tourism and an "A" is possible, though not probable, in this class.  I haven't particularly enjoyed this class but it is part of my Ozarks Studies minor and I had to take something, like it or not.

All things considered, I am so happy, happy, happy, that this semester is almost over. Next semester I will have only one class which is "Murder and Memory in the Ozarks", the final class I need for my minor.  I'll be researching and writing about an historical murder in the Ozarks.  Can't wait!

I'm also looking forward to being a volunteer and the County Archives.  Historical documents everywhere and I can see them and touch them!  I'm not sure yet how many hours I will work or how long I will be able to volunteer, but I feel as though I am finally doing something with my life that is relevant to me and I am looking forward to the future.

Well, that is what's been going on.  Hopefully everyone hasn't forgotten me!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Here is a link to the American Historical Association with about the history of Halloween.  Includes several interesting links with videos.  Enjoy the history of the holiday along with all of the candy!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Arsenic and Mrs. Wilkinson

In preparation for my seminar paper I'm spending the fall break weekend reading 1898 foreign relations documents and old newspapers.  Unfortunately, I'm frequently distracted by tidbits more interesting than the Peace Commission for the Spanish-American War.  Just felt like sharing this one from The New York Times:

ARSENIC SENT IN SUGAR: A Newark Woman Claims a Rejected Lover Attempted to Poison Her
Newark, N.J., Sept. 8, 1898

Mrs. Margaret Wilkinson who keeps a boarding house at 502 Warren Street, has reported to the police that an attempt was made to poison her, her three children, and her boarders two weeks ago last Saturday.  On that day, she claims, a boy came to the house and left a package of granulated sugar,with which she noticed there was something the matter, and as she had had trouble with one of her boarders she took the sugar to the Board of Health, where it was examined, and enough arsenic was found in the two pounds of sugar to kill 500 persons.

The chemist of the board certifies that about 4 percent of the stuff sent to him for analysis was arsenic.  Mrs. Wilkinson did not report the case to the police until she had received the report of the chemist.   When seen to-day Mrs. Wilkinson said she suspected a former boarder of trying to kill her.  This man, she said, wanted to marry her, but she had refused him.  There-upon he became angry, she claimed, and said he would get even with her.  The man mentioned by Mrs. Wilkinson denies her story.  The police are investigating.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I'm not sure where the time is going but it is already the eighth week of the semester and I'm am dreadfully behind in my studies.  So much reading and writing to do this semester and the more I think about it the more I panic and run from it and hide in some other nonsensical activity, which leads to less time to do my work and more panic and more hiding and, well, you get the idea.  Tomorrow I have to report to my seminar professor...too bad I  have nothing to report except for the work I have completed for other classes in addition to all the time I have wasted with my head in the sand.

As for the seminar paper, I had to give up on Nellie Bly because I could not find enough primary sources, particularly the newspapers she worked for, on-line.  I still believe she is a fascinating character and would like to return to her someday, but for now I have moved on the the Spanish-American War.  I've found 500 pages of foreign relations documents on-line and have been slowly (too slowly, unfortunately) wading through them for a few weeks now.  I desperately need to get started writing, which I hope to do later this week during fall break.  I'm running out of time to hide from my panic.

The last few days have been spent studying for a mid-term in Middle Eastern history.  I've been trying to cram 600 years of caliphs, Abbasids and Umayyads, Sunnis and Shiites into my tired brain.  Tonight is the test, so we will see how successful I have been.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Back to School

Seriously, I had almost forgotten that I have a blog. Summer whizzed by way to fast and before I knew it the time had come to ditch my job of twenty-two years and become a full-time student instead of perpetually being a full-time employee and part-time student.  It felt like it meant that I wasn't serious about my education, which is far from accurate and unfair to mature students trying to juggle life and school. Anyway, I have officially moved on to a new life and I couldn't be happier with this decision, difficult as it was as well as a long time in coming.

I'm already almost three weeks into the fall semester and I'm sinking fast and questioning my sanity.  I thought I would have lots of time for my classes since I am  no longer employed, but I don't believe it's going to work out that way after all.  For the first time, all of my current classes require a paper, plus book reviews, and so on.  The scary part is my Senior Seminar class which requires the longest paper (only 4500-6000 words, but still) and requires a quick decision on my part as to my topic, question, and thesis.  I'm not known for making quick decisions. If I do make a quick decision I will probably just change my mind anyway, so why bother?  It's best when I can just take my time about these things, which is also why I am completing my education as an adult student.

Next Wednesday is the deadline for turning in my prospectus and bibliography for my seminar paper.  I feel like my professor doesn't really like my chosen topic (Nellie Bly and the role of female reporters during the progressive movement, or something along those lines) and my initial excitement has given way to trepidation.  Well, maybe not exactly trepidation, but more like panic.  I'm waffling, as usual.  He wants me to do something about Louis Post and the Red Scare or making peace with Spain,  presumbly about the Spanish-American War, topics which I know absolutely nothing about.  I am leaning toward letting go of Nellie Bly, but I have to decide yesterday and this is causing me a great deal of stress.  Just decide already!

Moving on, my classes this semester are, in addition to Senior Seminar, Literature of the Ozarks, Fundamentals of Tourism, and History of the Middle East from 600-1914.  I'm wondering why I chose to do all of these classes this semester and leave only one class for my last semester in the spring, but it must have seemed like a good idea at the time. 

The best thing so far about this semester so far have been the trips with the seminar class to both the school and the county archives.  It was fascinating to read arrest reports, almshouse ledgers, and old coroner reports.  Apparently, back in the 1920's our county had quite a number so suicides by carbolic acid.  All very intersting; I just wasn't sure how to make a paper out of any of it. 

So here I am, trying to make a very important decision:  Nellie Bly, the Red Scare, or the Spanish-American War.  Suggestions anyone?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Good-bye Spring, Hello Train

I still can't believe that I got to see Train!  They were the closing act last Saturday night for our first ever Show Me Music Festival weekend concert series.  I gave up an arm and a leg for a 3-day pass just so I could be there to see Train.  I was a bit upset the next month when 1-day passes suddenly became available. Oh well, at least I was there and ever so close to the stage.  

Unfortunately, I did not catch the hat when Pat Monahan threw it into the crowd, but I will nonetheless see that he is immortalized in his "cowboy" moment.  Most of the concert was country music; Train was the major exception.  In a nod to the country music majority he donned a cowboy hat and quickly sang a country-style song of which I didn't understand a word but thoroughly enjoyed anyway.

Then came the bad news...a storm was fast approaching and, with the Joplin destruction fresh in mind, Train was given time to sing only three more songs and then, for the safety of the concert goers and and performers, the concert would have to be cut short. I was crushed, to put it mildly!  We barely had an hour with them and then they were gone.  They sang "Drops of Jupiter" last, then quickly left the stage.  As the crowd drifted away the lightning began to flash and the tornado sirens began to sing.  Having seen a tornado up close a few years ago, I take the warnings very seriously.  Still, if only Train had been able to finish the concert...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Springtime in the Ozarks

On Memorial Day this year we took a road trip to Powersite Dam and saw many interesting things, though unfortunately I can't seem to get very many of the pictures to load on the blog, probably because of their size. So you'll just have to take my word for it...we saw lots of cool stuff.  Above is a view of Lake Taneycomo, formed when a branch of the White River was dammed almost 100 years go.  What you can't see, or hear, are the bazillions of 13-year cicadas that are absolutely everywhere and make a continuous prickly, humming sounds that is about a thousand times louder than a mosquito.  They bust out of the ground every 13 years, do their thing, then disappear for another 13 years. They always make news because there are so many of them and they make so much noise.

{Sigh} I'm having a terrible time with these pictures. They won't go where I want them to go.

Anyway, the second picture is what's left of a STOP sign right below Powersite Dam.  All of the lakes and rivers in the area are flooded and the dam gates have frequently been opened, leading to even more flooding.  Powersite Dam was completed in 1913 and is the oldest dam in the Ozarks.  I'm not sure of the typical lifespan of such a structure, but I can't help but think that 100 years is pretty darned old for a dam. What are the ramifications of a region containing a large population of aging dams?

Spring flowers are everywhere, quietly waving in the breeze.  They seem so peaceful and dignified compared to the noise of the cicadas and the rush of the flood waters. 

I'm having computer problems so right now I'm borrowing my husbands laptop.  It may be few days before mine is ready from the repair shop.  I've been having terrible internet withdrawals.  Thank goodness for smart phones that allow Twitter and Facebook access!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bore, Boring, Bored...

In case it isn't obvious, I'm bored with his blog.  I'm bored with the look and the feel of it and I'm bored with my own words.  I'm just bored.  It's time to shake things up, though I'm not sure how.

Or maybe I do know how.  After twenty-two years at the same job, I finally gave notice last week. I know you can't hear my heart pounding with joy or see it thumping against my chest, but I assure you, it is.  I wasn't sure if I would ever get to say the words "my last day will be...", but now they have been said and they cannot be taken back. I look forward to full-time school in the fall with no work encumbrance or accompanying stress.  I look forward to having time to focus on my senior paper and to spending more time on campus acting like a real student.  I also look forward to increased involvement in the PAT, the history honor society, of which I am now the treasurer. Nothing boring about that; it's almost as exciting as quiting my job!

For a recap of the Spring semester, I completed my three classes with two A's and a B.  Yes, I received my first B and am still alive to tell about it.  I almost don't mind the grade; to mind I would have to be less bored.  I do mind a little, however.  I strongly disliked the class, but I can't help but think that with a little more effort I could have received a better grade. Oh well, it's water under the bridge now.  In the mean time, I've registered for my classes next fall:  Senior Seminar, Literature of the Ozarks, Fundamentals of Tourism, and History of the Middle East from 600 AD (or ACE, or whatever is politically correct at the moment).  I'm looking forward to everything except the Tourism class, but hopefully it will be interesting. 

On a totally unrelated topic, please remember the people of Joplin, Missouri in your thoughts and prayers.  A town of 50,000 about an hour away from my home, they were hit by an EF5 (which is as big as they come) tornado Sunday evening.  Having seen a tornado out my back door in 2003, I know the fear they inspire and the devastation they cause.  We were lucky; it skipped our house and the two next to us, but took out the rest of the road in our neighborhood. The tornado in Joplin didn't skip anything; it was just too big.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Yep, it's been a while.  I've been meeting myself coming and going and I don't feel like I'm getting anything accomplished.  Last week was a test on Machiavelli; next week I have a paper due for which I have not written a single word and I am extremely stressed about it.  I'm not doing as well this semester as I would like.  I am also not as focused as I usually am.  School always comes first with me and I have been unable to make that happen this time around.  Babysitting duties and other peoples drama are increasingly interfering with school work and I'm realizing that I am not good at setting boundaries.  On the other hand, should I always be placing school ahead of everything else? 

Just three more week, two papers, and three tests and it will all be over until August.  Not that I'm counting the days, or anything...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

How exciting to be nominated for the Stylish Blogger Award! Many thanks to my non-trad friends at Going the Distance, Academic Proofreeder, and My Life as a Mature Age Student for the nomination!

The rules are as follows: thank those who nominated you and link to their blog; copy and paste the award to your blog; list seven things about yourself; and list fifteen blogs that you regularly read. Here goes.....

7 Things

  1. I skipped kindergarten and went straight to first grade. Not sure why.

  2. I've watched Lord of the Rings about a million times and plan to watch it a million more.

  3. I'm desperate to be a world traveler, but so far have only made it as far as Canada.

  4. Chocolate is my favorite food group

  5. I once ran 10 miles. Never want to do it again.

  6. I love hiking almost as much as I love to read.

  7. I want to go an a BIG adventure.

Phew, that was difficult! Now for the blog list...

  • Well, so this is all I can come up with that I read on a regular basis. I would like to consistently read more blogs, but I have too much reading and writing to do for school to fit in any more blogs right now. Someday.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Well, so the snow is finally gone and the crocus are blooming and next week is midterms. It's hard to believe that the semester is already almost half over. Life is going by way too fast. On the other had, it feels like I've been doing this school thing forever and when will it ever end?

Next week I have two tests on Tuesday so I need to keep my nose stuck in the books for the next few days. I guess I don't need to have a life right now, but I am finding that hard to accept. I've reached the point where I want my life back and it is hard for me to focus solely on school.

As for my Renaissance class, well, I'm not at all happy with it. I'm not alone in not understanding where the class is going, and just when I thought I might finally be getting a little insight but...well, our assignment was to read one of Petrarch's letters, which was about the inability of humankind to know everything there is to know (ignorance, to be precise), but apparently a couple of youngsters in class did not get point (even though it was in the title of the letter) and proceeded to make it a theological debate which no one understood except maybe themselves. Every time the professor tried (rather lamely, I might add) to steer them in the right direction they argued with him and asserted the correctness of their own positions.

Bottom line, I don't feel like I'm learning much in this class. Nothing was accomplished in our discussion of Petrarch because the entire class session was co-opted by two people who certain that the truth lies with them alone. I'm just grateful that our midterm has been postponed because of the snow days we had earlier in the month. I'm also grateful that he is not requiring us to write the paper that is usually necessary for this class. We all feel like we are in enough trouble come test time as it is.

Sorry for the rant. I was just extremely miffed after class today.

On a happier note, next weekend I'm off to big college town to do some research in the archives. A couple of professors at my university are involved in a project about how the French wine industry was saved by a Missouri man. There is going to be a big to do about it in April, so a few of us in PAT (Phi Alpha Theta, the history honor society) are being dispersed across the state to various archives to collect information. I'm so excited to have even a minuscule involvement in the project! More news when I get back from college town.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Snow Days

Last week we had our first blizzard in almost 100 years which turned out to be worth a few snow days from school. Now, my university is notorious for never closing, regardless of how many inches of snow we receive. Therefore I was quite shocked when the school shut down for three days, thereby causing me to miss my Tuesday and Thursday classes. I also missed two days of work which made me feel quite giddy. It was a mini vacation that was more than welcome. Today it was back to school and so back to the world of hillbillies and the Renaissance.

I still don't know a thing about the Renaissance. It seems that no one in class knows what is going on (well, maybe the young Adonis who sits a few seats away from me may know, as he makes an intelligent comment occasionally) since we can't hear the teacher and we can't make heads or tails of the book we are currently assigned. Today's lecture was about Florence, Parlamento, the Albizzi family and the Medici's (finally, something I have actually heard of). Oh, and let's don't forget the Signoria council, which had almost unlimited power during their two month term; whose successor was determined my drawing a name from a bag; and whose winner could not possibly be fixed, except that they must have been or the same families, the Albizzi's and Medici's, could not have ruled for so many years. What all of this has to do with the Renaissance, I can't say. Possibly background information that will aid in our understanding of the Renaissance should we ever get around to discussing the actual topic of our class.

On a more whiny note, I've spent the last few weeks battling, and mostly losing, a war against allergies, colds, or whatever it is that has me in its grip. I've felt tired, apathetic, and unmotivated. I'm going to have to suck it up and get motivated because my first book review is due next week. Nothing like a book review to ruin a great story!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

No room in the parking garage

With the upper level closed to do snow and ice, this is how you find a place to park in the parking garage: troll the lot nearest to the stairwell, watch for an unsuspecting student to emerge from said stairwell, stalk follow the student until they reach their parking spot, hover until they have started their car and pulled away, then immediately whip your car into the vacant spot. If someone else tries to steal your student and take the spot you have so carefully cultivated, there is always TAWANDA.

Seriously, this is the only way to find a parking spot! Every time we get a little snow the upper level of the garage is closed. I'm not sure why the snow up there is considered more dangerous than the snow covering all of the outside parking lots, but there you have it. The upper lot has been closed during three of my four days of classes this semester and it was taking me almost half an hour to find a place to park before I figured out how to troll for a student. My work actually closed down on Thursday due to snow, but my school was one of only two in the area that chose to remain open. Students and professors alike were befuddled. I was just disappointed that my snow day was interrupted by school. The roads were not at all clear during the drive to campus, but were mostly just wet for my return home. We only received about three inches; it was the timing of the snow, during morning rush hour, that was the problem.

Here's hoping for a foot of snow and a snow day from work and school!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Renaissance: rebirth

And so the second week of school has begun. I have two Ozarks studies classes and a history class about the Renaissance. Thus far, I have not figured out exactly when the Renaissance took place; is it part of the Middle Ages or the Dark Ages or the Medieval Times or all of the above? There has been a lot of talk about the bubonic plague and the Hundred Years' War and various French and English kings and their progeny, but not much about the Renaissance. That is, unless I have missed that part of the lectures, which is quite possible as this particular professor is aptly known for speaking softly and mumbling. Now, having been in numerous Spanish classes I have considerable experience surviving classes where I don't understand what is being said and don't know what is going on. Hopefully that experience will prove beneficial this semester.
It is a good idea to learn to survive in, and adapt to, many different types of situations. Changes we make in our lives may lead us into unknown territory. The more skills and experiences we have available to us, the better equipped we will be to succeed. On a cold Sunday afternoon a couple of weeks ago, I took a basic survival class. We learned to start a fire, filter water, and to build a shelter. We were quite proud of our little shelter and are looking forward to next month's intermediate survival training. Who knows when my survival could depend on my ability to start a fire or construct adequate shelter against the elements? I just know that I enjoy the adventure and novelty of learning new skills; whether or not I ever need them is beside the point. But just in case, I want to be ready!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Theme for 2011: Freedom

Freedom from addictions:

  • Farmville - I have enjoyed playing the game and have made some new online friends, but it is time to give it up. It takes up far too much time that could be better spent in more fruitful endeavors. I shut it down yesterday and today I am feeling only slight FV withdrawals. So far it has not been as difficult to stop playing as I thought it would be.

  • Overeating - I'm an emotional eater so I can always find an excuse to eat. I'm also taking medication that makes me want to eat constantly, so I have a double whammy here. I'd like to find a way to redirect the impulse to be eating continuously and to change the types of foods that I eat. I will have to find a way to prepare healthier recipes when I have very little time to cook.

  • Salt - I've been a saltaholic my entire life. My doctor warned me of the dangers of high blood pressure, to which I responded that my reading is always low and I have been over-using salt for years. He glibly responded that I would not be young forever. Right. So I'm going to attempt to be free of my need for everything to taste of salt. I wonder what food will taste like?

Freedom from negative thought patterns:

  • Negativity - This will be the most difficult. I feel that my workplace is somewhat toxic and most certainly dysfunctional. Negativity prevails on a daily basis. Some of the negativity is mine and I despair of changing anything, but I have to try.

  • Positive choices - This one ties in with the need to conquer negativity, only on a more personal level. I need to free myself to make choices that are in my best interest and try to leave the guilt behind. I seem to be a carrier of guilt and I'm not sure why. I want to believe in myself and my decisions even if no one else does.

  • Freedom from fear - Well, not really. Fear is not always a bad thing and I don't expect to ever be free of it. However, there comes a point when fear ceases to protect us and instead simply becomes paralyzing. Self-doubt frequently prevails. I don't want this to be the norm for my life.

I've realized that the only way to change my life is to change myself. Wish me luck!