Archive for April, 2009

The alarm clock goes off, and the radio announces “Chrysler is alive!”

Xeno begins throwing up a hairball next to the bed.  I manage to steer him into the hallway for the bulk of the activity.

And then I get to greet the following sentence in a resume:

“This position appears to be both physically and mentally demanding, both of which I am ready to rise to the occassion.”

Later, Leia coughs up a hairball in the hallway.

And, it turns out, Chrysler isn’t all that “alive”.

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“Future generations depend on the ability of society to be accountable for their actions and understand the severe consequences that may result if unchanged.”


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When I sneeze, the sound echos off the church across the alley.

And yet, the weather is so lovely….


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There’s a ‘seasonal stream’ at Elsinore, and at the moment that means things are rather boggy in the side yard.  Yesterday I dug out a space for the new baby Yellowwood tree [note to self: buy more compost!], carving out sod and digging a narrow gap in the ring of dirt to let the water continue on it’s way. But in this weather, all the trenches in the world don’t seen enough to manage the flow.

Somehow there’s water coming into the basement, and it seems to be on the other side of the bulkhead doors, which are covered with a tarp, and seem dry at the surface.  I don’t know what to do to solve that problem, although I think I need to do some serious terraforming in the yard this season:  build a ridge to guide water away, bury drainage pipe, I’m not sure what…

And, of course, some of those ideas aren’t environmentally-friendly.  I should be slowing that water down, not rushing the run-off into the watershed….except I don’t think any amount of slowing is going to make clogged soil absorb more….and certainly I don’t want the excess to come into the house to short out the washing machine or drown the spiders! [At this my Beloved starts to worry about my priorities…]

Maybe I have a date with hydraulic cement tonight?

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I expect there will be copies of William Carlos Williams’s poems in the gift shop, and maybe reproduction photos of the mills that grew up around the Paterson Falls‘ power.  But alas, I do fear some people will visit because of the Sopranos connection.

On a completely different note, go watch the PCR choir from BioRad:


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starmagnoliaclose09Most of them are doing pretty well — I’m listening to the Easter service from St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle — now that I have the mini-speakers hooked up to my laptop again, I can hear the full <whummmmp> of the lowest registers on the pipe-organ.  Very nice.

My students were warbling a bit today as well — some about wanting class outside, some about whether I liked their latest batch of papers, and some about how they’d just as soon do some simpler project than the one I’m making them do next.backlit-daffs-09

Honestly, the ground isn’t right yet for class outside, and I needed to use the projector during this session.  But later, I might be persusaded.

It’s not fair for a rhetorician to always refuse to be persuaded, and I like a warm spring day as much as the next sun-starved human being.

But could we wait for the damned Bradford pear trees to stop polluting the air?

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Today’s first contestants:

“..Issues are escalating, in need of planning well in advance in order to provide a successful outcome.”

“While there are issues with this solution, with [x process], there will always be issues.”

“Will the result be a healthier bottom, despite the initial shock?”

Honestly, doing taxes is less painful sometimes than slogging through reports.

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We’re getting ready for the Festival of Violets here in Elsinore — the pink ones have been here for a while, the yellow ones just arrived, the standard purple should be in later, then the speckled, dark violet, and maybe the Confederate ones [grey] will show up.  But in the meantime, some other friends have appeared:

bleedinghearts09These bleeding hearts came south with us two years ago, and still seem happy with this location.  Nearby are two kinds of Bloodroot, also from the old woods.  I think several other colonies have been started from that stock; I need to get in touch with the recipients to see how those are doing.

The next flowers were here when we arrived, and probably pre-date the last set of owners.  I love how the late afternoon sunlight really makes them sparkle and shine.

orangecupwhitenarcis09Closer to the back steps, and therefore in full, baking sun for much the day, we’ve got some very happy peony shoots coming up.  I don’t recall whether this set of tubers came from my old house or one of the homes Word used to have.  We might be able to tell if it blooms this year; I think last year it was still deciding whether this whole “full sun” gig was for realz.peonysprouts

Back in the shadier area, we’ve got this ever-bushier pulmonaria from my grandmother.  It had been thriving in Vermont, then PA, and now Elsinore is proving satisfactory.  I’m thinking about doing some serious terraforming in this section of the yard this year, to put in some more shade plants and change the drainage patterns from the house next door, which is a foot or two higher than our lot, depending on where you decide to measure.  Word would also like an area for a patio and perhaps a place to grill meat [or maybe I’m the one who wants to grill the meat.  Heck, I’m the one who wants to start growing grape vines so we’d have leaves to use in recipes (oh, and grapes!  Yay!)…]pulmonariaclose09

There’s something else I noticed near the pulmonaria today — what look like the low-growing, mottled leaves of trout lilies!  There were many growing in the area around the pulmonaria back at the old place, and so I guess it isn’t surprising that some of the bulblets might have come along with the rootball I’d brought down, but I really hadn’t expected any to survive.

Maybe I can indulge in a few of the spring woodland plants I’ve been seeing in the gardening center?  If the trout lilies are soldiering on, that makes me hopeful about putting in some trillium or ferns without feeling like I’m setting them up for failure.

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There was a bumper sticker handed out at 4Cs years ago [in the 80s, probably] by Wadsworth Publishing, that said “Support your Local Rhetorician!”

Anyone out there still have one? Bumper sticker, I mean. I had one on one of my Saturns; the remaining one is in my office, still un-stuck.

This evening I got some support from a senior faculty member in the sciences, who was encouraging me, in essence, to “just fail” those students “who don’t really seem interested in doing the work, and who aren’t doing it well”, in part to guide such students towards those activities they were interested in and would make the effort required to do them well.

There are days when I walk into the classroom and announce that I have been deputized by the Clue Fairy.  Tomorrow, though, we have a guest speaker, and I’ll let him do the honors.

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