Tuesday, August 26, 2008
I may be able to post later this week. If not, I'll write a long post about my experiences here when I get back to Colorado (most of my readers probably won't care all that much but one or two of you might!).
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Tomorrow will be a long day of travel. I leave Alamosa at 6:15am and get into Portland at 5pm. Then I'll spend the night in a hotel and then the next afternoon be picked up by a bus that will take me to the theatre. I'll be there until next Sunday and will be home around 9:30pm Sunday night (if all of my connections make it).
I may be able to check my e-mail and blogs but I may not be able to. I hope that you have a happy, healthy and productive week!
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Get better soon mama! I'm thinking about you!
Monday, August 18, 2008
Friday night we went and saw "The Dark Knight." It was good, though definitely darker than Batman Begins. I think they're definitely setting up for a trilogy, following the vain of Star Wars. The first one was a lot about the young hero not knowing how to fill the role he was thrust into. The second one is dark, with friends and support slipping away and leaving the audience in a bit of a sad state. I told Reid that this makes me very happy, because then the third one should have cute furry animals (hooray Ewoks)! Right?
On Saturday we prepped for a get-together with friends that we had at our house that evening. Since it threatened (and delivered) rain all day and evening Reid had to grill under the little awning of the garage. But otherwise we had a lot of fun and got to meet a few new faculty members and their significant others (and reconnect with a few that we had already spent a little bit of time with). My hope is to be more social this year!
And Sunday... well, frankly not much happened on Sunday. It was a rainy day as well. So there was a lot of book reading and a little bit of movie watching.
And now it's the week. My last week before I go to Maine. My last week before being thrust into a new semester. My last week to work on a paper that I have been supposed to be working on all summer long. And yet, I keep putting it off. I think a part of it is that the paper is for possible publication... and I just don't know that I'm that good of a writer... and if I start and get stuck then it will be confirmed! And I think the other part of it is just that I'm being stubborn because this is my last week of vacation and I want to spend it lounging around, reading my book for pleasure because I know once school starts pleasure reading has to come to a grinding halt.
Tomorrow I go into campus for a few meetings and some photo-copying and errands. Then Wednesday and Thursday I am going to make myself write... sure I am... if only that Diana Gabaldon wasn't calling me...
Friday, August 15, 2008
What? I'm supposed to be awake??
As you can see, Sweets has some scar tissue. As a kitten he was accidentally burned over the majority of his body when they were burning the irrigation ditches around here. All of the hair on his scar tissue has grown in white. There are also a few places where the hair never grew back, like on the end of his nose and where his whiskers should be. Without whiskers, I think he has a bit of a human look to him. His paws were the worst burned and he had to have several toes on his front feet amputated. Besides a slight strangeness in his gait, though, it certainly doesn't seem to slow him down any. He is all kitten, attacking your feet one minute and then loving on you the next!
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Glory was, apparently, not meant to be our dog for long. As you all know we took her back to the shelter when Tater and I left to go out west. About a month later the shelter called and told Reid that Glory had rejected the puppies (which at seven weeks is pretty natural as they were eating solid food and socializing with one another) and that he could come get her whenever he liked. In fact, they said that she was acting depressed and that it would probably be a good thing to come get her sooner rather than later, since she was out in the runs with the other dogs at the shelter and not doing well in the socializing department.
Reid was excited to go get her because after all he had been here all by himself for almost a month. He went and got her and did notice that she seemed kind of depressed. More importantly though she seemed to have some mastitis in one of her teats and a runny nose and watery eyes. He immediately took her to the vet who prescribed an antibiotic. And she seemed to do much better for awhile, though she still seemed to have a cough that wouldn't go away.
Then three Thursdays ago, she started having tremors in her leg. And then they moved to her whole body. Reid called the emergency vet who said Reid should bring her into the vet's office first thing in the morning because all of the symptoms sounded like distemper. We said, how could that be? She was vaccinated in April and again in May. Reid took her in on Friday morning and the vet swapped underneath her eyelid, to send for the test that would show distemper. He said the only thing we could do was wait and see... Poor Reid was, of course, beside himself and told me that night that all he wanted was resolution, either to be told for sure that it was or was not distemper (a disease for which there is no cure). But unfortunately they had to send the sample out of the valley and we knew we wouldn't get the results until the next week, at the earliest.
Glory, in her infinite sweetness, decided that Reid wouldn't have to wait for the test results. She had a grand mal seizure early Saturday morning (distemper moves quickly upon infection and eventually results in neurological symptoms that get worse and worse until the dog dies). He called the vet, took her in and had her put to sleep. All while I was fifteen hundred miles away and could do nothing but support him over the phone! We got the test results at the beginning of this week. She was positive for distemper.
Apparently vaccines are the least likely to take when a dog is pregnant. At that time her hormone levels are fluctuating so greatly and her immune system is attacking things inside her body (in order to keep the pups safe) at a really high rate, probably before she could build antibodies. Because of the short duration of time between exposure and the first signs of the disease, we are reasonably sure that she contracted it while back at the shelter after being removed from the puppies. The only two apparent blessings to this otherwise terrible event is that no other dogs at the shelter have shown signs of distemper (so don't ask me where she got because she certainly didn't come into contact with any dogs while here and she came to Reid already exhibiting the first symptoms) and that Tater was with me in DC while all of it went down. He has been repeatedly vaccinated but it was nice that we didn't have to worry about him being exposed.
And we have learned three very valuable lessons from this experience. First, vaccinating your pets is REALLY important. It only takes a brief exposure to another dog or cat for them to be infected with a disease like distemper, for which there is no cure. Second, we're going to take a bit more care in the future in terms of where we adopt a pet from ('cause I really don't think we could handle this stress over again). And third, love your pets every second of every day, because you don't know how short or long their time will be with you!
In my next post I'll introduce you to the little guy (a cat we are cat-sitting) who helped to raise Reid's spirits during the week between losing Glory and my getting home. "Sweets" is truly sweet.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
The Big Read is an NEA program designed to encourage community reading initiatives. They've come up with this list of the top 100 books, using criteria they don't explain, and they estimate that the average adult has only read 6 of these.So, we are encouraged to:
So, we are encouraged to:
1) Look at the list and bold those we have read. (I had to underline them in order to get them to stand out)
2) Italicize those we intend to read.
3) Underline the books we LOVE
4) Reprint this list in our own blogs and share!
1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (almost… minus a few)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky (yes, I actually read the entire thing... aren't you proud of me?)
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker (no, but I've read Frankenstein... does that count?)
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker (no, but I've read two Toni Morrison books... who I think was my generations Alice Walker)
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery (I even read it in French... so there NEA!)
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
So… I have only read (or can only remember reading) 23 of the 100 (though I feel a little like I’m cheating with that, since Hamlet is a part of the complete works of William Shakespeare… and the truth is I don’t think I’ve ever read Cymbeline, a few of the histories or some of his sonnets). It certainly gives me a whole list of books to go look for at the library. I didn't italicize those I want to read because until I've read the descriptions of them, how will I know (though just by the titles Love In The Time Of Cholera and The Five People You Meet In Heaven are intriguing)? Plus, shouldn't a part of me (the academic part at least) want to read all of them?
And I want to know where are Fahrenheit 451 (which is one of the NEA Big Read sponsored books!**) and Hunchback of Notre Dame (one of the few books I was required to read in high school that I really enjoyed… there is just something truly rambling and wonderful about Hugo). And for that matter, where is Red Badge of Courage or The Scarlet Letter (both of which I would have to only half-bold because I read parts of them… enough to pass the tests in MA Block, sorry Mrs. Singleton).
(this list courtesy of both my mother’s blog, AliceD’sThoughts, and Merrilee’s blog, Merrilee’s Musings, on the side)
(**Thank you to the first comment for pointing out the disparities between the list and the "One Book/One Community" program... I, in fact, know about the latter due to the fact that our theatre department was granted a NEA Big Read grant last year and we did an entire year of programming focused on Fahrenheit 451, including producing the play as our last show of the spring season... we also gave out over three hundred free copies of the book to individuals here in the San Luis Valley and had forums on censorship, a banned movie series, etc. In no way were my remarks above intended to belittle the NEA. I think some of their grants and sponsorships are very noble endeavors).
And as for the drive... yeah, I got nothing. It was about as boring as Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Colorado can be when you are looking at them as you go by at 70mph on I-70. But that was the way home, and I'm certainly glad to be here.
Friday, August 8, 2008
So... if you have recently e-mailed me or written a particularly witty blog post, I promise I will get to it in the coming week (after I've had a little bit of time to decompress)!