My brain is all over the place. One such place… relief. At least last night’s comps is over and it’ll be a week before I hear results on either set, so that means a week of freedom, right? Please tell me I’m right. The stress the last few weeks kind of got to me. Ugh! I was talking to one of the professors last Thursday and said that grad school is more stressful than any job I’ve had and I’ve had some stressful jobs. She laughed and said, yeah, in grad school, you have a deadline and have to work on something until it is finished, where as long as your job is one of those you can walk away from at the end of the day, you’re done until the next work day.
I think grad school is taking a toll on me… I look old. That’s my opinion, but whatever…. Oh and gray hairs… they’re multiplying, I swear. Seriously? I’m only 32 (I think…. don’t ask me my age, ask me my birthday, I’m better at that number). And a tan, I’d like a tan… although I don’t want wrinkly skin, I have enough of that… so there is that…. anyway like I said, my brain is all over the place right now.
Today I feel like it is Thursday (don’t ask why, I don’t know) and yesterday I swore it was Tuesday (that’s because I sat at the school all day on a Monday which isn’t typical). So let’s see if I can impart some wisdom on you today… Here we go… if you have something that is bolded, italicized, or underlined and it is followed by punctuation, that punctuation carries the same bold, italics or underline. Although underlining words is a thing of the typewriter age when people couldn’t bold or italicize words for whatever the word is I’m looking for…. um…. emphasis I guess might be it.
I woke up this morning tired, stiff, and dreading the morning. Why? Maybe because it is Monday, or maybe because I’m just not a morning person, or maybe, just maybe it was because I have to take my second set of Comps tonight. This is Set 2 attempt 1. And then D) it could be all of the above.
This is the specialty set. It focuses on Professional and Technical Writing, which is actually what I’m getting my degree in. I’ve been studying all weekend. I’m not sure who’s brilliant idea it was to put this test right around Easter. Okay okay, so truth of the matter is that’s just how it fell. Fall, it is the last Thursday/Monday of October and Spring it is the Thursday/Monday after Spring Break. It just so happened Easter was early this year and it fell the week after spring break. I’m still going with that wasn’t brilliant planning.
Is it odd to admit that I’m not nearly as stressed about this set of comps as I am/was about the other set? When it comes down to English, my weakness is literature. It always has been and I’m not sure why. I like to read, although some of those authors are dark… I’m talking DARK! I’m not really crazy about that I guess. Life is too depressing, give me something upbeat. ha!
When I got home Thursday night after taking the other set, I was a mess. I’m not sure how it went as they said it’d be about a week for results, but I was a mess. I’m still not sure I passed because I didn’t completely get finished. I left the graders a note that I wasn’t finished and wanted to address this this and this…. we’ll see what happens I guess….
My Memoir Writing class is causing me to have to think about the past and causing me to write new ways. Sometimes you can’t teach an old dog (me) new tricks… but… I’m having to learn.
Recently I’ve been having to write poetry. I don’t care for poetry. I really don’t like looking for hidden meanings. I’d rather something be spelled out for me because I may take it one way while you take it a different way and it was intended to be a completely different way.
So this week I was challenged to write one of my essays into a free verse poem. I took that as a challenge and made a 7 page Memoir essay into a Haiku. If you don’t know what a Haiku is, it’s a Japanese poem form that has 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables.
Welcome to FFA Week. Did you know it was FFA week? What is National FFA Week? It is a week for FFA, Alumni, and Sponsors to be agvocates for this great organization and Agriculture as a whole.
Now I grew up on a farm and I have always had a fondness for agriculture, but I have learned there are people out there who think their food comes from the store. Well, yes, but where does the store get it?
Words that scare people are GMO, Farm, Factory Farm, Blood & Guts, Antibiotics, etc. There is nothing scary about those words, especially if you educate yourself to the best of your ability. That’s not reading just one side, no, read both sides. You may not agree with what the other side says, but that is how you educate yourself.
I joined FFA as a Freshman in high school (the earliest you could join when I was in school). When I did my student teaching I learned that some programs have 7th and 8th graders taking classes in agriculture to expose them, our school didn’t offer that.
But through the FFA I was able to travel both Domestically and Internationally. In fact I got my Bachelors degree in Agriculture Education. Which here’s a fun fact, George Straight graduated from Southwest Texas State University with a degree in Agriculture Education. Hey King George, you’re awesome in more ways than one!
Anyway I got in to showing sheep as an FFA’er. I showed sheep all over the state of Missouri and took it on to the American Royal. I also traveled to Washington D.C., St. Louis, MO, all over the state of South Dakota, and Costa Rica to pursue agriculture (and that’s just to name a few). Yes, Agriculture is that awesome.
In the FFA I learned how to public speak (I am a very shy/outgoing person), judge animals, trapse through muck with the best of them :), achieve awards, and much more. I learned how to be a team player, how to give more than I receive but receive all in the same. How to make friendships with people you didn’t know and much more. I can’t say enough good things about FFA. And now, some pictures.
Happy Saturday. Yes, I’m writing on a Saturday. I have a presentation and a paper due for my Digital Humanities class this week and back in grade school they always said to just start writing to get those creative juices flowing. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m writing to get those creative juices flowing so that I can write my paper and make my presentation.
In my Memoir class Dr. Morris had us do an exercise on that “first line” of works. We just had to pick up books and read those first lines. Have you ever done that? It’s quite interesting. We had to examine 10-20 works and then narrow it down to 10-12 that we liked. Then we had to examine our own works and our own first lines. I actually admitted in class I blog. I think it makes me sound like a nerd even though I do like it. I really do, sometimes probably more than I should. I guess if I’m going to be a nerd I should own up to it. I have the glasses and I was a band geek. In fact, my dad loves to point out that I could have had a scholarship if not a full ride scholarship to play in the band in college and he wouldn’t have had to pay for me to go to college. Sorry dad! I also heard if you are musically inclined you’re good at Math. At one time I was good at Math… now… well I have my moments.
My first line of this post by the way… Happy Saturday. Real engaging, right? So in my research for my Memoir class… One of the books I picked up was Taya Kyle’s American Wife: Love, War, Faith, and Renewal. Here’s her first line…
“If I could sum up my life in four words, they would be these: Love, War, Faith, Renewal, taken together, these have brought me great joy, though with that joy I have also found the deepest sorrow.”
If you don’t know who Taya Kyle is, she was married to Chris Kyle, the American Sniper who was killed on American soil after he retired from the military and joined forces in helping other solders with PTSD. Anyway, her opening line is much better than my Happy Saturday! That’s for sure! If you’ve made it this far, thanks and congrats. I might shut up now, but not before I give you a restaurant review because, well… that’s what I do.
This week a friend of ours turned 16. Wow I remember turning 16. We were getting ready to go home when they asked if we wanted to join them for dinner for his birthday. We said sure. The plans were to go to Old Chicago which is a new pizza place here in the area.
They gave Abug a kids menu but were out of crayons so we gave her an ink pen. Then I stole it and wrote on hubby because I mean, why not! It says SHMILY in case you can’t figure out. It might be a bit of a stretch but you can see it.
Why is it so hard as individuals to admit defeat? Have I been defeated? Well, the answer is technically no, not yet.
Growing up I’ve always had a fighting spirit. I always knew I could do better and I was always willing to strive for better. I didn’t have to be the best at everything, I always wanted to outdo myself from the previous experience.
In 1998 I joined FFA. My mom thought I’d use horses as my FFA Project but I wanted a challenge. I had shown horses my whole life, I wanted to learn something new. That’s when we decided as a family on sheep. That first year I knew absolutely NOTHING about sheep. And every time I showed, county fair, district fair and a couple local fairs, I was last. I didn’t know how to properly groom and/or show a sheep to save my life.
County Fair 1998 – First show ever.
I wanted a learning curve, boy did I ever get one. It was funny, I was bottom. I couldn’t get any worse. The only direction I could go was up. A lot of people stood behind me and saw my determination. I had a start, stumble, and fall, more often than not… but in the end, my persistence led me to win Grand Champion Dorset Market Lamb, Grand Champion Dorset Ram, Grand Champion Dorset Ewe at my last Missouri State Fair as an FFA Member.
Here it is 9:45pm on a Friday night. Is it sad that I’m home and sitting in bed? Wow, that’s so not how life was even a few years ago… some Friday nights I was getting Mike & Ike’s bounced off my head (lol love you Earl). I had other plans for a post for today, then last night hit and I had an allergic reaction to something. I don’t know what but my lip swelled up huge! It was CRAZY! This is the second time in 2 weeks this has happened. But nothing seems to be the same to cause the reaction. Anyway so I came home and took 2 Benadryl and well…. I fell asleep. I woke up this morning groggy, my lip was still swollen, I took another Benadryl and I was out again. (and no, there are no pictures… well there are but I’m too self conscious to post those on the internet!)
So since this post was written and waiting to be published sometime the beginning of this month, now seems like as good of time as any, especially since I now have 27, almost 26 days until Comps. Maybe… just maybe I’m having an allergic reaction to all the stress from studying for Comps while still taking classes…. Just a thought.
The other day I was camped out in the library between my morning class and waiting for study group. I sat for so long that when I stood up I felt a vibration in my legs. I’m pretty sure it was the blood pumping through my veins again.
Okay so this is the month of doom. I have comps the end of this month. Yes, I know I mention it a lot but I’m kind of freaking out! I have 3 chances to pass and then I don’t know what happens. No pressure or anything.
So basically they pass it out, we answer short answer and essay. Then there is an odd number of American professors and an odd number of British professors (specialty not where they’re from….) who grade it. It’s pass or fail. You have to have majority pass or else… you fail. Again, no pressure.
So anyway I’m doing an update on my list and where I stand… well because if nothing else it helps keep me on track, it gets my cheerleaders screaming for me and whatever…. 4 weeks baby, 4 weeks (or something like that)
Now first, before I give you my answer… when I was an Agriculture major I used to smart off that I could talk about Cows, Sows, and Plows. Sometimes I’d use it to the advantage of, Well at least I can talk about Cows, Sows, and Plows. Other times I’d smart off that I could talk about more than Cows, Sows, and Plows.
So now when people ask me, as long as they know my smart aleck side, I’ll smart off that I will now be able to eloquently write to Cows, Sows, and Plows. ha!
Some days I need to just learn to keep my mouth shut :). What am I going to do with this… well there are lots of plans in the making, hopefully one of them pans out!
But for now, I rely heavily on my family and friends to keep me sain, especially this fall as I prepare for Comps. I’m not going to lie, I’m scared of general comps.
Thankfully my mom is able to watch baby girl for hubby and me on Tuesday’s, Wednesday’s and Thursday’s. I’ve stated in the past that when I was growing up I got the opportunity to spend a lot of time with my grandparents and I wouldn’t have traded that for the world. Well, this is one of those opportunities that my baby girl is being blessed with also.
So last Wednesday I made plans with my mom to get her the squirrelly girly and she offered to meet hubby and me for lunch. We took her up on the opportunity. When the restaurant she suggested didn’t pan out, we opted to try another one. Joe’s Pizza, Pasta, Sub Italian Restaurant. Upon first impression of the name, we assumed it would be fast food Italian but it was in fact the opposite. It was a sit down meal.
My Wednesday night class is called British Comic Novel. The first night of class we were asked “What makes you laugh.” Seems like a very straight forward question, but try to put it in words. Then we had to give examples of our words.
The second night of class the professor summed up what we said:
We laugh……. At the Irregularand at the unexpected
The erroneous (deviation from familiar the Cathartic (psychological reaction)
patterns and norms)
Physical release of nervous tension
Verbal expression of surprise
The IncongruousThe Coincident
(juxtaposition of unlike things) (sudden discovery/achievement of order)
appearance (features) connection
Since that first and second night of class we’ve been discussing different books that we’ve been required to read. The first was Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding, the second was Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons, and the third was The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse. (by the way we’re reading 10 books in 16 weeks… plus I have books I’m reading for comps, wish me luck!)
Last night we finished up The Code of the Woosters, being a seminar class, we’re all required to talk. That’s part of our class participation, we have to ask a question, state a comment, or feed off someone else’s comment twice.
But one of the guys offered up this… Is The Code of the Woosters masculine comedy. Whoa, that opened a whole discussion for like 20 minutes on what is masculine and what is feminine comedy. Did you know there was a difference? I didn’t. I mean once we sat and talked about it, maybe there is… but I’m not 100% sure I totally buy that either.
Some of the characteristics described for masculine comedy is slapstick/physical (think America’s Funniest Home Video’s and all the people who constantly get racked over and over) and rude/crude. And they described feminine comedy as more predicaments we could find ourselves in. It was more compared to romantic comedies.
My Cinco de Mayo celebration after class. Yes I’m using a clothes basket as a table.
Are you thinking… Well Duh? I would be but I know why I titled that that way… neener neener neener. Oh fine I’ll share…
Last night was my last night of classes for the semester. Booyah! Now technically I have a final to turn in and a final project to turn in due by 10am on Friday but otherwise… no more classes for the spring semester. I’m doing a happy dance if you can’t tell.
But my summer isn’t going to be all butterflies and kittens. Nope Nope Nope. Instead I get to read 50+ish books. So I’m going to show you my reading list so you can keep me accountable, deal?
First round of comps come this fall. I’m scared!
COLONIAL (Beginnings to 1820)
Benjamin Franklin: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Part 1
Anne Bradstreet: “The Prologue,” “The Author to Her Book,” “Contemplations,” “A Letter to Her Husband, Absent upon Public Employment,” “Here Follows Some Verses Upon the Burning of Our House”
Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Scarlet Letter, “Young Goodman Brown,” “The Birth-Mark”
Henry David Thoreau: Walden, “Resistance to Civil Government”
Walt Whitman: “Song of Myself,” “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking,” “The Wound-Dresser”
Mark Twain: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Kate Chopin: The Awakening
Frederick Douglass: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Emily Dickinson (grouped by theme)
#207 (#214): I taste a liquor never brewed –
#320 (#258): There’s a certain Slant of Light
#359 (#328): A Bird came down the Walk –
#905 (#861): Split the Lark – and you’ll find the Music
Death, Immortality, Religion:
#124 (#216): Safe in their Alabaster Chambers –
#236 (#324): Some keep the Sabbath going to Church
#202 (#185): “Faith” is a fine invention
Mind, Soul, and Self:
#620 (#435): Much Madness is divinest Sense –
#339 (#241): I like a look of Agony,
#598 (#632): The Brain – is wider than the Sky –
#312 (#252): I can wade Grief –
William Faulkner: The Sound and the Fury
Zora Neale Hurston: Their Eyes Were Watching God
T.S. Eliot: The Waste Land, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
Langston Hughes: “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” “I, Too,” “Dream Boogie,” “Cross,” “Mulatto,” “Christ in Alabama,” “Mother to Son,” “Homecoming,” “Green Memory,” “Silhouette,” “Let America Be America Again,” “Harlem [Dream Deferred],” “Theme for English B,” “Song for a Dark Girl”
Robert Frost: “Design,” “Out, Out―,” “Birches,” “After Apple-Picking,” “The Road Not Taken,” “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” “Desert Places,” “Mending Wall,” “Home-Burial,” “Acquainted with the Night,” “Directive”
Tennessee Williams: A Streetcar Named Desire
POST WW II (1950-Present)
Toni Morrison: Beloved
Flannery O’Connor: “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” “Good Country People,” “Everything That Rises Must Converge,” “Revelation.”
Gwendolyn Brooks: “The Bean Eaters,” “We Real Cool,” “The Near-Johannesburg Boy,” “An Aspect of Love, Alive in the Ice and Fire: La Bohem Brown,” “the mother,” “kitchenette,” “the children of the poor” (1-5), “A Lovely Love,” “To Those of My Sisters Who Kept Their Naturals,” “The Chicago Picasso, 1986”
Allen Ginsberg: “Howl,” “America,” “A Supermarket in California,” “Sunflower Sutra”
David Henry Hwang: M. Butterfly
British Literature: Core List
1.Beowulf, “Deor,” “The Dream of the Rood,” “The Wanderer”
2.Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
3.Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales: “The General Prologue,” “The Miller’s Prologue and Tale,” “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale,” “The Clerk’s Tale,” “The Franklin’s Tale,” “The Pardoner’s Prologue & Tale,” “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale” (may be read in translation)
4.Sidney, An Apology for Poetry
7.Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
8.Milton, Paradise Lost (Books 1, 2, 4, & 9)
9.Pope, The Rape of the Lock
10.Fielding, Joseph Andrews
11.Austen, Pride and Prejudice
12.Wordsworth, “Preface” to Lyrical Ballads, “Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey,” “Intimations of Immortality,” The Prelude (Books 1, 9, 10, 13, & 14)
13.Brontë, Wuthering Heights
14.Dickens, Little Dorrit
15.Tennyson, In Memoriam
16.Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
17.Woolf, To the Lighthouse
18.Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
19.WWI, Yeats, and Auden bundle: Brooke, “The Soldier”; Owen, “Dulce et decorum est,” “Anthem for Doomed Youth”; Sassoon, “Glory of Women,” “Repression of War Experience,” “They”; Rosenberg, “Break of Day in the Trenches”; “; Graves, “The Next War”; Yeats, “The Wild Swans at Coole,” “The Second Coming,” “Sailing to Byzantium,” “Byzantium,” “Easter 1916,” “Leda and the Swan,” “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death,” “Under Ben Bulben,” ; Auden, “In Memory of WB Yeats,” “The Shield of Achilles,” “Musee des beaux arts,” “September 1, 1939,” “In Memory of Sigmund Freud,” “Ode to Terminus”