Saturday, September 25, 2010

Garden Harvest Dinner

What a great idea! Get together with friends and everyone bring a dish from your harvested garden. There was Italian spiced tomato soup, pumpkin pie, zuchini bread, strawberries, grilled salmon and more. I brought a half gallon jar of my garden Kraut 5 weeks into fermenting process. Because it is made at home and has never been heated and canned there are all kinds of healthy creatures as a double bonus for a healthy gut! It is tangy, a bit different from ordinary cabbage kraut and very good for you. I think I like it most because I have eaten so much bad food lately......I mean good food, but bad for you- like Grechens Confections turtles and soft chewy caramels, fudge and chocolate dipped pretzel sticks!!!

Why! Oh why did I eat the whole bag that should have lasted an entire year!!! Let me back track just a bit. I lead this group of 10 and 11 year old girls in all sort of crazy activities, like Red Cross First Aid training, camping in September when it is 30 degrees at night and the dew freezes on your tent, after school meetings where nearly all of them giggle til they fart and then roll on the floor laughing more, and actual badge earning types of things such as finding your way with a compass to a pile of snicker bars in the middle of the woods in which will never be found because the pesky squirrels pillaged them off to their treetop hideouts before our compass and trail signs led us to them. So because of all this crazy service to scouts I was given a bag of treats from a mother who...OWNS A CONFECTIONARY!! ...BLESS HER SOUL!

Previously I had sworn off sugar until I achieve a desirable weight and fit into my pre-pregnancy #3 clothes. That means that I don't care to be the waif that I was before the birth of the first 2 kids which is over 19 or so years ago. I am settling for the third child, strike that, pre-prego #4 will be good enough! Grechen you are amazing!!

Garden clubs are nice because you always learn something new, like how to store fresh herbs so they last longer, or storing tuberous and non-tuberous begonia bulbs and dahlia bulbs? Well that was the topic at the harvest party. I have amazing friends with delicious food and many with handy info.....thanx friends!

Interesting, but more interesting to me is the fact that the last four chapters in the book that I read immediately after the harvest party, "Earthly Treasures" another historical fictions read by Phillippa Gregory, was about purchasing bulbuous flowers all over Europe for the gardens of the Lords in King James' England of the 1600's. It seems that unfamiliar topics of interest seem to sprout themselves to the intellect in clusters near about the same time. I want to see England's gardens now.

Got Bulbs?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What I Wish I Could Have Done Different

This is a difficult prompt for my blog for many reasons. Research papers are hard to begin with, time consuming, and it is extremely difficult to jump in and work on something huge in an hour here or there like in other classes.

Besides all the reasons that research papers are hard, who really knows how to do them? What order? If I had a list of everything to do and in what order it would be easy. That is what this English class did for me. By the end of the course I realized that each lesson was a chunk in the final major project. It shortened the process by grouping it into chunks. Taking on each chunk was was feasible. I couldn't have made it any easier. In the end the paper really came together quickly, very surprising to me actually; even though I write most the time like Yoda speaks, there is some grammar rule that is always backwards. I really don't know what I could have done different to be honest.

What I will do is go back through all the lessons and make a list. The list will be called EMERGENCY INFO FOR FUTURE RESEARCH PAPERS and will have numbers from one-to like fourteen with instructions of exactly what to do before continuing. I work well with lists so this will be a good thing to always have on file. Which makes me wonder how many research papers I will actually have to do for my 2 year degree, my 4 year degree and then my masters. The thought is making me want to eat.......popcorn, ice cream and blueberries and pie...any kind of pie. It isn't helping that I am drinking a stress relief magnesium drink right now.

To end this blog, I wouldn't have done anything different because if I didn't have this class to guide me through the process then my paper would be a disaster...like the last one was in Psychology 101. However, once my blood pressure was down again from writing the paper on the teenage brain, I thought that I had done a super duper job. Looking back, and that is figuratively, I AM NOT ACTUALLY GOING to reread that paper, I think that I would scrap the whole project and cry, on my first paper that is, not the one I JUST did for English 111.

Peace out, I must leave, people are knocking at my door.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My Consultation

It all began with going to my first Chemistry class on Tuesday- after getting four people up and dressed, lunches packed, off to school, the bus stop, plucking my eyebrows, and driving 30 minutes in the wrong direction to take the cutest terrorist to daycare. Then another 45 minute drive to school in which I parked at the lower lot to catch the gold shuttle bus to the Nat Sci building.

While riding the shuttle up the hill I called The Writing Center and made an appointment with the writing center up at Gruehning, that wasn't hard at all, really it wasn't. I really need to finish this English class before all the other Chemistry and Biology homework starts to waterfall into my life so when I heard that there was no lab for Tuesday, I dropped in unannounced to The Writing Center disregarding my appointment the next day. I really really really want English to be over at this point and am willing to buy more coffee to keep myself at it.

I hiked up 5 flights of stairs, figuring I can lose some calories too, to the meet three lonely expert English persons suffering from lack of activity. School JUST started, I am sure they were not expecting someone with a nearly completed research paper to walk in the first day of school. They were nearly fighting over me, well kinda. Ian C. won. This is cool, someone you can hand your assignment over to, to read over, and hand it back and say "nice"...NOT!!

Ian asked me what my assignment was, what type of writing project, what did I think I needed the most help with. Then he began reading while I found the water fountain. I really hiked 5 flights of stairs. He read half and then we began to discuss the correct way to make web citations. We had a discussion with a few other English expert fellows that were consulted because Ian wanted pro backup. I hated to disturb their intellectual dialogue on the 80's transformers, storm and sunbot known to have special UV powers but they were ecstatic to join the consultation. We all learned how to properly make unpaginated web references in a research paper. Cool.

The next part was even better because that previous part, I knew for sure that stuff was wrong. After reading half the paper and complementing my research and two pages of citations, Ian was a little unclear on some of my points, even though I pointed them out to him. He gave me some really good ideas on how to make my points stronger, how to leave one part and go onto the next part stronger. Like making a big entrance everytime someone comes in the door. That was my analogy not his.

We worked on transitions and where I needed more of them. I told him that this was my suckiest part and he disagreed and said that this was the time to work on this part. He said writing is a process and I am still in the process of creating the research paper. (Really without the consultation I was ready to just send it in!) I have put in lots of time on this project, sometimes with tears, sometimes with bursts of tantrums-my husband will celebrate for sure when English 111 is over- and mostly with a lack of sleep.

The last part. Ian suggested that I change up the introduction and gave me reasons why which I will not say here in my blog. It sounded reasonable to me. I will try it.....tomorrow! Rewriting, fine tuning, and editing will make tomorrow a busy day and a great day to end chapter 14.

For any writing assignment due, before it is due, go see Ian or some other unbusy English person expert at UAF on the 8th floor of the Gruening Building for some advice. They are really helpful and nice even when you put yourself down.

Now go eat some ice cream! I know that ice cream has nothing to do with the blog and neither does the fact that all those stairs that I hiked didn't help get me to 10,000 steps on Tuesday.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Summarizing Reading

I feel like a pretty lame summarizer. I am a plain to the point type of person that probably writes in that manner, I don't like to write if there is not a direct compensation in some way personally, and I think I sometimes miss the point totally and can interpret things really wrong at times.

If I were to get paid to do this I would need to really figure out how to increase my skills greatly. I read quite a bit therefore I know what good writing is and therefore I don't think that I am a creative enough writer to make it really interesting, even while summarizing. I can give a basic overview if that is interesting enough, just giving the main points. Sounds easy enough yet I know that I am not a writer, I don't have things floating in my head that are clever and that need to be written down. I must wonder though, how did Virginia Wolf get so clever at writing?

I do understand that effective communication is necessary in life, business and even in Girl Scout meetings with eight preteens in attendance. To put it bluntly, the business of writing is critically important especially in many professional fields. Therefore, if it helps my sales in a business, or my career as a nurse, or a researcher, then I will painstakingly do my best. One thing that comes a bit easier to me is creating simple ads and flyers. Sometimes I can write out things to help out my friends, editing, or even help overcome a software issue. Helping a friend is compensation, doing something nice for someone else. It doesn't mean that I am good at it, just because someone wanted my advice or needed my help. I am sure most people in the world better at writing than me; many of them still in grade school!

It is sometimes like a bad joke that my Cuban/German American friend tells me. It takes me a week to get the punch line if I ever get it at all, not sure if it is his accent or the meaning of the joke. Or like the time I tried to help my daughter in interpret a poem in high school. I told her exactly what I thought about the poem after studying it for half an hour. I thought it was totally obscene, morbid and immodest. Turned out she googled the poem got some others advice, and interpreted it herself quite well. She rejected everything I had to say and got a good grade. It turned out that I was totally off base and nowhere near the enigmatic meaning of the dark poem. My impression was very far wrong and I went further by making it political. I realize I do this, like when I sing the wrong words to songs on the radio. It's the way I hear it though. I misunderstand things all the time, that is why summarizing can be difficult for me.

So anyway, when I have to summarize something, especially something that will hopefully get me and "A" in a class, it really helps me to understand what I read better even though I hate doing it. I don't write creatively, especially if there is not much in it for me, I am blunt, and hopefully I don't get the content all wrong when I am summarizing. However, if I summarize by writing, I usually get the content less wrong, I helps me read better. Let me summarize, I hate to write but I do what I have to; it makes me better.