The Egg and I

I think I’ve probably told you guys that probably my favorite thing to do in this class (besides be in the classroom) is reading your blogs.

Standouts this week include Edith’s post about getting over the fear of traveling alone, Tommy’s take on getting “Shastasized” at Lake Shasta, and I also really liked Bino’s post about how his parents have pushed him.

My adventures this week include dealing with my old pet bird. She’s a hen (although it feels weird to refer to a green-cheeked conure as a hen). So that means that every spring, we go through a period of time when Piper is “on the lay” (as my husband so crassly puts it). She’s already laid one egg so far this spring, and I think she needs to lay another. Her companion happens to be a conure about ten years younger than she is who isn’t sexually mature yet and has no idea what to think about all of Piper’s weird cheeping and nesting behavior.

This year, Piper’s not having an easy time, and I’ve been worried about her. Birds will always hide their illnesses (otherwise their flock mates will pick on them), so when a bird looks noticeably droopy, it is always a bad sign. I’ve got her separated from her companion, but there isn’t much else I can do for her other than worry.

Anyway, one of the funniest things about Piper is that she immediately took a shine to my husband when I first met him about five years ago (that’s her on Roger’s shoulder there looking all excited to see him). It really irritates me, as of course I’m the one who feeds her and does most of the caretaking, but as far as Pipe is concerned, this guy is her mate. I joked once that if her eggs ever hatched, the hatchling would probably be bald and come out of the shell wearing thick eyeglasses (my husband didn’t think that was very funny).

The title to this post is a reference to a book that was written about a Northwest pioneer’s experience starting an egg farm (it’s a very funny book, by the way, written by the same person who wrote the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle series, if you read that as a kid). Interesting to note that titles are not subject to copyright law the same way things like band names are–it’s perfectly legal to cadge titles and use them as titles for your own work, like I did here to make a joke.

Nice work this week, people. Let’s keep it up!


Some Mighty Good Blogging

A tip of the hat this week to Stephanie, who wrote an excellent blog on fractals (you’ll have to check out the graphics, too, as they’re interesting). I also really enjoyed Kendal’s detailed discussion about North Korea and Lily’s post about how she had to make some tough choices between her work schedule and her studies, even though her employer tried to make her feel guilty about not working more shifts.

Blogs don’t have to be as long as these three posts, but I’m looking not only for some substance but some juice (meaning voice and expression from the writer). I love grading blogs, since I get to know y’all a lot better on your blog than I do from your more formal assignments for this class. Remember…your blog is YOUR blog. Write about stuff you want to write about, even if it’s about DIY projects or your family! You don’t have to write about science topics or news topics…unless you want to.

Good work this week–can’t wait to see the “fresh crop” this Friday! šŸ™‚


Professors get behind too…and the end-of-the-quarter blues areĀ settling in. Fear not: next week we have some fun things planned to help ease into finals week.

Some blogs that I really enjoyed the past couple of weeks? Laura’s “Winning in Third Place” was a good read, and so was Sara’s take on those “end of quarter blues.” I also enjoyed Quenton’s take on the TV show Inside the NBA now that basketball is starting up again.

We will wind up having a total of 10 blog posts for this class…a great start for those of you who are excited about keeping up with your blog in the future. Remember that if you’d like, you can delete your blogs (I can show you how) but ONLY after you receive your final grades for this course!

Good work and don’t forget that our final two posts areĀ due 3/3 and 3/10. If you’ve worked ahead, please let me know (email me, or tell me in class). Thanks!

The winter that would not die

I’m sitting here in my office looking out at the rain, hoping that this latest storm won’t be the one to do in our roof (I come by my Teutonic glass-half-empty pessimism naturally–my parents pretty much view optimism as a dangerous pastime).

But it’s true that it’s easy to start getting discouraged about this time in the quarter, particularly when it’s winter quarter, and particularly when it’s been a struggle for the last six weeks just to get in to school in the mornings (heck, let’s be honest, it’s been a struggle just to walk through the parking lot on campus). We all soldier on, of course, but it’s easy to forget the way our environment can start to wear us down.

One of the things that’s always fascinated me as a writer is the way sad stories can be so inspiring. We’ve got some great examples of that in the latest round of blog posts. Check out Susan’s chilling examination of what it was like to be raised by a parent with a personality disorder, or Karissa’s realization that the dude at the gym who keeps trying to correct her form is really not someone she needs to be listening to. I also really enjoyed Sara’s post about how important it is for a young woman not to lose herself in a relationship…and Quenton even took a break from writing about sports to write an honest post about how much work relationships can be.

Great work again this week! And great news…we have a three-day weekend coming right up. Maybe we’ll get especially lucky and it’ll be above 40 degrees. Hang in there, folks.



The Stone House

Lots of good stuff in the blogs this week, as usual…check out Alec’s take on crappy Superbowl halftime performances, Ken’s winter driving tips for the laws-of-physics challenged (see how I used hyphenation there to group those modifying words?) and Laura’s take on smart snacking. (Hint: Cheetos are not your best option.) Remember, you can always read and comment on each others’ blog posts…all the links are on the home page here to the right (if you’re viewing on a computer).

This week in Baileyville, we’ve been having a lot of discussions about a place we call the Stone House. I’m capitalizing it here because it may as well be a proper noun in this case…you’ll see why in a moment.

The Stone House (*ahem* note: STONE, not STONED) is a mythical construct that I came up with a couple of years ago to try to cheer my husband up. (I should mention here that the past few years, we’ve both endured more than our share of hardships related to family and work matters. That carefully sanitized phrase reminds me of another sentence by author Harry Harrison that I’ll quote here: “I dropped the bomb and it went off.”)

Now, all of you are old enough to have seen real troubles, which means you’re all old enough to understand that when things get really bad, people cling to those sanitized phrases so they can avoid specifics.

My point here, people, is that things haven’t been good.

Anyway, when Roger and I were really low one evening, I started coming up with details about an imaginary, outrageous dream home to try to make him laugh. But since Rog is just as much a weirdo as I am, he took the concept and ran with it.

To give you an idea of what kind of home the Stone House is now (after two years of us “working” on the place), the house now boasts a wraparound porch (built out of large river stones, as is the whole shebang…well, it IS the Stone House). The house will have a kitchen equipped with a built-in soft ice cream machine, a movie-theater style popcorn popper, about five large marble-topped islands (if you ever saw my husband cook, you’d know why), two immense refrigerators with automatic icemakers, and dual convection ovens. The house itself will feature a special insulated music room that’s lined with guitars and amps (for Rog) and a cat-proof indoor/outdoor aviary for our pet birds (for me, Cricket and Piper). Our contractor is also going to build in shelving along the tops of the walls for the cats in all the rest of the house…you know, like the pic below.

The house is of course located on about ten sub-irrigated acres, which includes an impeccably, expensively-fenced horse pasture for my horses and goats, a garden, a state-of-the-art chicken coop, a duck/koi pond, a workshop, and a garden and adjacent greenhouse where I can grow herbs for my master chef and all the gerberas and citrus I want. Oh, and we’d also have to have a pickup, a small tractor, and a horse trailer. Naturally, we’d also make sure a nice retired vet lived just down the road.

Plus, the Stone House comes with an actual staff! Yes, employees (which will include a classically-trained chef who will help Rog in the kitchen and cook on demand whenever we don’t feel like it, a cat wrangler, a housekeeper, a gardener, and quite possibly a couple of personal assistants whose main duty will be helping me find things that I’ve misplaced).

Last Sunday morning, I looked out our bedroom window in our ugly-tiny-kitchen-bad-flooring split level here in Yakima. As I looked at out at the gray day, I saw it was snowing…AGAIN. I flopped back down and pulled the covers back over my head. “You awake?” Rog asked.

“It’s snowing,” I said irritably, by way of reply.

There was a silence.

“We want breakfast!” Rog suddenly hollered, loudly enough to make me jump (and loudly enough to scare off two of the three cats lounging atop our bed).

“What, are you calling for the Stone House staff?” I asked, grinning.

“Where the #@!& are those guys, anyway?” Rog asked petulantly…which completely cracked us both up.

We’ve done a lot of talking this week about “little victories.” Don’t underestimate the power of dreaming. Flights of fancy have the power to take us outside ourselves, if only for just a few moments.

It’s easy to start thinking of daydreaming as a weak-minded and unproductive thing to do. But our imaginations are extremely powerful, and unfailingly provide us with a kind of irreplaceable, sturdy magic. I see that magic in class whenever you guys really get cracking and start bouncing ideas and jokes off of each other…or whenever someone’s eyes open wide when they hit on just the right idea for their next story.

Yep, I think sturdy’s a good word to use there. Sturdy like a stone house.

See you next week.




Blog heaven

I’ve probably told you all already that reading blogs is probably my favorite grading “chore” in this class. I love the way people personalize the appearance of their blogs and choose things that are dear to their hearts to write about.

Some of my fave blogs this week included Ken’s thoughtful examination about immigration and Dondrea’s honest (and kind of funny) examination of why relationships make you put on weight. Happy reading!

Bio posts

Just wanted to highlight a few I thought were really good…check out Alec’s, Sara’s, and Karissa’s bios this week.

From now on, your blog is YOURS. What you choose to write about is up to you. I’ve had students write about current events on their blogs as well (kind of like what I’m asking you to do with your Wednesday 20 assignments). Just be sure you’re keeping your purpose in mind as you write. WHO are you writing for? What audience would you most like to reach? Etc.

Any questions about blogging? Catch me in class, or email me at (Canvas emails get routed to that address, so Canvas works as well).