Category Archives: blogging

A Day in the Life

27th March 2015

dayinthelife

I just love Trish. Her blogging is always so honest and refreshing, and I truly feel like I know her and definitely count her a friend. So when she announced that she wanted to host a blog event, I thought I should try and get my act together. Alas, this week has been…a bit crazy, so I’m just now sitting down to do this Friday morning. But I still want to jump in! My days vary a good bit, depending on the semester, the point in the semester, etc., but it means my work is never boring. So here is the day in the life of…a writing center director.

6:20 a.m.: Wake up because the pup is moving around. I know I need to take her out, but if I pet her in her cozy little bed, I can usually get her back to sleep for a bit.

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7 a.m.: I get up and take Maddie out for her morning constitutional. This week is very humid with just a little (final) chill in the air, so I break out my fuzzy pink robe for this. If my neighbors catch me, I’ll just pretend I don’t see them.

7:20 a.m.: I know I shouldn’t, but I hop back under the covers – just to warm up! Then I quickly make the bed. This is a MUST.

7:30 a.m.: Pick out clothes; toss them on. Wash face, brush teeth, put in contacts, pull hair back. Do makeup. Breakfast! This week has been scrambled eggs, black beans, and pepperoncini rings. Yum. Clean up. Fill water bottles.

8:10 a.m.: My “get your ass in gear” alarm goes off. Prep work bag. Put on shoes. Give the pup kisses and a treat.

8:15 a.m.-8:21 a.m.: I never know where this time goes. It just flies by.

8:21 a.m. to 8:29 a.m.: Drive to work (and yes, be jealous. I live super close to work. If it wasn’t a horrible biking town, I’d bike there).

8:30 a.m.: Roll into the office in the university library.

8:35 a.m.: Check Facebook to make sure all friends have survived the evening and no new pregnancies/engagements. Check email. Respond to email. Tap my toes waiting for college student employees to show up (the Center opens at 9).

9:05 a.m.-9:10 a.m.: Greet student employees. Talk about anything that has to be done that day.

9:10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.: Respond to any lingering emails from the day before/morning. Clean up inbox a bit. Organize to-do list. Check Filofax for tasks. Add anything new from incoming emails. A professor checked yesterday to see if he could bring in his class for a special assignment. Facilitate group tutoring sessions. Talk to professor about a National Poetry Month event for April.

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10:30 a.m.: Check my favorite blogs.

10:45 a.m.: Get back to working on a Prezi for an APA presentation I’m giving for the nursing department on Monday. Decide template.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 10.45.16 AM

11 a.m.: Professor comes back in for update on NaPoMo event.

11:10 a.m.: Continue going through flagged APA manual to determine organization for Prezi. Reorganize layout of Prezi.

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11:30 a.m.: Prof comes in again to ask a question about NaPoMo event. Agree to check on availability of space and get back to him. (Get a little frustrated by the interruption.)

11:45 a.m.: Keep working on presentation.

12:30 p.m. Grab sharp cheddar and almonds and check Facebook while I eat.

12:40 p.m.: Back to work.

1:20 p.m.: Check with 6th floor about space for NaPoMo event. Figure out availability. Call professor to confirm.

1:40 p.m.: Back to my office. A former student comes in to catch up and ask for help on a research assignment.

1:45 p.m.: Continue work on presentation.

2 p.m.: A new ESL student comes in to ask questions about the WC. I had visited her class the day before, and she wants to know if the tutors can help her with her daily journal assignment. I tell her yes and set her an appointment.

2:15 p.m.: One of the tutors comes in to ask if she can have some time off because she has a relative in the hospital.

2:30 p.m.: View slide show thus far to see flow for presentation on Monday. Looking good, but I need to create sample documents. Create sample documents with pull outs to explain different elements.

3 p.m.: Check online class for emails and discussion board posts. I need to grade, but that will have to wait for this weekend.

3:30 p.m.: The boyfriend texts to see if I’m leaving anytime soon. Find a stopping place. Leave desk entirely too messy. Pack up.

4 p.m.: Home.

4:15 p.m.: Change clothes. Let Maddie out. Plop myself on the sofa in my bedroom and read. The book I’m reading doesn’t hold my attention, so I switch to a new one. Check email (always a mistake). Presentation for Monday is cancelled. Kind of feel like crying. Headache worse. Correspond with the author I’m working on an editing project with.

5:15 p.m.: Boyfriend is hungry. I am too, so we run to the store. We made spaghetti for the week, but he wants wine, and even though my head aches, it still sounds good. As does French bread. And chocolate.

5:45 p.m.: Food! Wine! Things are looking up. Clean up after dinner while talking to the bff on the phone. Feed the dog. Let her out.

6:45 p.m.: Hot bath. Take the wine with me. Pick up a nonfic book I keep beside the tub for bathtime.

7:45 p.m.: Last episode of Empire (addictive). Season finale of The Mindy Project (felt a bit scattered). New episode of The Flash (so damn good). We only watch TV once a week and usually on Friday, but I have to judge a UIL competition Friday, so tonight it is.

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10:40 p.m.: Think about reading. Too tired. Lights out.

Thoughts: Man, some days I have no interruptions. Others… It’s all part of the job, and I love working with students, but days like today feel a little futile because I know I could be finished with a project much faster with my door closed. But I never liked when my boss closed the door, so I try to always keep it open. Maybe I should institute “door closed” time.

Also, evenings are hardly ever so lazy. Usually, it’s P90X or a bike ride for a few hours followed by a beer on the porch until the sun goes down. Not today. I needed to decompress.

Thanks, Trish! It kind of feels good to see what I’ve actually accomplished in a day – even if it doesn’t feel like much.

 

 

Review: The Weirdness by Jeremy Bushnell

4th March 2014

pg1*I received this ebook from the publisher Melville House in exchange for an honest review.

Billy Ridgeway is a do-nothing. He works at a Greek deli when he can make it on time. He thinks his girlfriend may have dumped him, but he’s not sure. And the short stories he’s written are pure crap – he’s got a writeup in an NYC lit magazine to prove it. When the Devil shows up in his apartment with good, no, great coffee and offers to publish Billy’s novel if he’ll just do him a tiny favor, Billy isn’t even tempted. Ok, maybe a little. All he has to do is steal the Neko of Infinite Equilibrium, a cat statue, from a powerful warlock.

At first, Billy can’t be bothered. If he can’t even get his girlfriend to return his calls, how could he possibly face a warlock? But soon, whether or not Billy wants to help the Devil isn’t an option as he’s in up to his neck and discovers he’s a hell wolf and that his entire life up to this point has been a lie. As he races across the city, Billy learns a lot about what he’s capable of, and if he lives through this weirdness, maybe he’ll be able to do something after all.

The Weirdness is absolutely, positively one of the most original takes on the nearing middle age, suffering male writer bit. Because frankly, had this been another story about a guy who is too lazy to get off his ass and do something, I’d have hated it. Hell, I may not have even finished it. But Jeremy Bushnell manages to turn this story on its head in what should be the most ridiculous novel you’ve ever read.

Instead, Billy and his really lovely counterparts, specifically his best friend Anil, are people you feel for. They’re doing what they have to in order to make it. Maybe Billy hasn’t been doing his part, but he’s obviously unhappy. He has a job that is fine but isn’t a career. His writing isn’t transcendent. His love life…yeah, it’s not great. In a lot of ways, Billy has just shut down, and he can’t figure out how to restart until the Devil shows up. And ain’t that the way of things? Ok, maybe the Devil doesn’t really show up in order for you or me to get out of our funks, but it takes something pretty out of character or, in this case, out of this world.

Add this to your Goodreads shelf.

Review: The House on the Cliff by Charlotte Williams

6th February 2014

pg1*I received this book from the publisher Bourbon Street Books in exchange for an honest review.

Jessica Mayhew’s psychotherapy office is a sanctuary of sorts. She goes in, listens to her patients, and goes home. Her life is routine, and she likes it that way. But her routine is disturbed when her husband admits to sleeping with a younger woman in what he says was a one-night stand. Her teenage daughter Nella has pulled away from her. And at work, a new client, Gwydion Morgan, an actor and the son of famous film director Evan Morgan, unsettles Jessica.

Gwydion has a phobia of buttons and is concerned it may affect his work in a period film. However, as their sessions continue, a recurring dream Gwydion has dominates their sessions. In the dream, he is a child on his father’s boat. He hears a disturbance and then a splash before he wakes up, unnerved. When Jessica makes a house call after Gwydion’s mother calls her, concerned he may be suicidal, she learns Gwydion’s au pair drowned at their cliff side home, and she begins to wonder if Gwydion’s dream is reality. What really happened to the au pair?

The House on the Cliff – beginning with its cover – looked like an absolutely perfect read for the dreary January weather we’ve been having. Set in Wales, the tone and the subject matter are eery and dark. However, the longer I read, the more I had to shake my head. I thoroughly enjoy mysteries whose detecting character isn’t necessarily a detective. That said, the main character should also exhibit a sense of investigation that makes his or her foray into detecting plausible. Instead, Jessica is a bit of a mess. She is certainly curious, but she never seems to pair her curiosity with rational, measured thought. Unable to forgive her husband for the affair, she quickly entangles herself with her patient (!), delves into his family history without authorization, manages to alienate and place her daughter in danger, and make an altogether ridiculously foolish move at the end of the book. Though I enjoyed the writing, The House on the Cliff left me wondering if Jessica Mayhew is capable of leading a mystery series.

If you’re so inclined, add this to your Goodreads shelf.

Review: Road to Reckoning by Robert Lautner

4th February 2014

pg1*I received this ebook from the publisher Touchstone in exchange for an honest review.

“I, to this day, hold to only one truth: if a man chooses to carry a gun he will get shot. My father agreed to carry twelve.”

Thomas Walker is 12 when his father decides to venture out West to sell Samuel Colt’s Improved Revolving Gun. But a mere three days into the journey, Walker’s father is shot dead, and Thomas is left to find his way home with nothing but a gelding, a wagon, and a wooden model gun for protection. He encounters Henry Stands, a former ranger who reluctantly takes on responsibility for Thomas as they make their way back East. Told from the adult Thomas’s recollections, Road to Reckoning is part dime store novel and part coming-of-age tale.

Road to Reckoning was my first “wow” novel of 2014. Lautner’s choice to have an older Thomas narrate his tale allows for poignant moments of recollection, such as when he talks about journeying out with his father and the anticipation he felt:

Every word he spoke would be to me.

It is a fault of nature that fathers do not realize that when the son is young the father is like Jesus to him, and like with Our Lord, the time of his ministry when they crave his words is short and fleeting.

These observations aren’t often enough to become laborious, but they fit well in the telling. At the same time, Thomas also recognizes that his father doesn’t belong in the West, and his brief time there is evidence of that. Thomas can’t help but grudgingly look up to Henry Stands. Henry Stands, with his foreign gun the Native Americans think is magic, swaggers into this story and into Thomas’s life with a charisma that becomes the stuff of legends. Though he’d just as soon be without the burden of a young boy, he also recognizes his duty, leading to one of the best scenes in the book, when Stands faces down a group of men with nothing but a wooden pistol:

What you may make of a man approaching abomination with a wooden pistol in his hands is your faith’s decision. If you are young I hope it does not inspire too much. If you are older you may think Henry Stands foolish, or worse, bitten by madness, or you may yet feel something rising in your chest at the thought of yourself about to stand down four armed men with nothing but your valor and self as your only true weapon. I have given you only a wooden toy.

Though most of the comparisons call True Grit and The Sisters Brothers companion reads, much of Road to Reckoning reminded me of Huck and Jim’s journey in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Just as Huck and Jim are an unlikely pair who do fine with one another as long as they’re on the Mississippi, Thomas and Henry’s tenuous alliance seems sure until others interfere.

A product of the West*, Road to Reckoning fits its setting well while also tempting readers with its story of danger and derring do and the after effects on the young man at the heart of it all.

Add this to your Goodreads shelf.

*Lautner does a masterful job with his depiction of the West, particularly as the author lives in Wales (!).

Review: The Bat by Mary Roberts Rinehart

1st October 2013

bat*I received this galley from the publisher Open Road Media* through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Master criminals. Dead bats as calling cards. A young couple in distress. The Bat by Mary Roberts Rinehart has it all and then some.

Courtleigh Fleming has recently passed away, shortly before his bank closes its doors after money and a cashier go missing. Mr. Fleming’s nephew rents out his uncle’s country house to Cornelia Van Gorder. But The Bat, a master criminal who continually defies the best detectives, is said to be in the area. After Miss Van Gorder receives several threatening, anonymous notes, she is sure the Bat is closing in. But Cornelia Van Gorder isn’t one to back down, and with her maid Lizzie, her niece Dale, the Japanese butler Billy and the various other guests in the house, she is determined to uncover the Bat’s true identity and the connection to the Fleming estate.

A novel based on a play (The Bat) based on a novel (The Circular Staircase), The Bat is a perfectly fun romp. As Ryan says in his great review over at Wordsmithsonia, there is definitely a bit of Noises Off or Arsenic and Old Lace hilarity in this mystery, as mysteriously locked and unlocked doors as well as inconvenient power outages assist the constant confusion among characters. Though I did figure out the villain prior to the last pages, I thought the denouement ingeniously done and thoroughly enjoyed this period novel – complete with gems from Cornelia Van Gorder:

“Sally doesn’t remember when she was a younger generation herself…But I do – and if we didn’t have automobiles, we had buggies – and youth doesn’t change its ways just because it has cut its hair.”

********

“Miss Van Gorder, I confess-I’m very anxious for you,” he continued. “This letter is ominous. Have you any enemies?”

“Don’t insult me! Of course I have. Enemies are an indication of character.”

Add this to your Goodreads shelf.

P.S. They’re not paying me to say this, but Open Road consistently puts out some of the best covers for reprints I’ve seen. I want every one of the Mary Roberts Rinehart collection and would love if they would posterfy (I know it’s not a word) their cover art.