Archive for October, 2010

Halloween memories

October 29, 2010


Halloween is kind of a dumb holiday, or a fascinating one. I mean, what is it based on, really? Does anyone know? I think part of the reason it is so popular is that it is just fun. It’s fun to dress up, pretend we’re something other than what we are. It’s fun to play. Adults love it because they rarely take the time to play. Half the fun is dressing up your kids, finding them a new outfit every year.

When I think about it, I cannot remember one cool Halloween outfit I had as a kid. All I know is that my mom would never have made us one! They were always store-bought. And I hated the masks. I might have tried it on for pictures, but it always came off during the walk. The heck with that, you can’t SEE. Or breathe.

I can remember Halloweening in snow. It was rare, but something that happens in the north that never surprises you. It’s just part of life you know you have no control over. Kinda ruined some of the coolest Halloween outfits, but you just put a jacket on underneath the outfit…. But usually, it was just a cool, Fall evening. And I know that my parents did not go with me. We went out with our friends and walked until we were so tired we didn’t care anymore. We went as far as we could. There was always more candy just around the next corner. I think we were given limits of distance and streets, especially when we were very young.

I remember being back home and being scared of the older kids who would come to the door “late at night”.

I have better memories of walking my kids around the neighborhood, and always looking for crappy old clothes we could make an outfit out of, or sometimes going to Goodwill. I was not good at costumes. My kids were usually better at it than me, and the main thing they wanted was candy. We bought store- bought ones sometimes.

There is a funny story of our neighborhood on Perrin Ave. in Lafayette, which all my kids know very well, but I will write it. Walking up to one porch which was all decorated, there was a mummy sitting in a chair. Just as the kids would go to ring the doorbell, the mummy would come alive and say, “YOU WANT SOME CANDY??”  Turns out, it was the man of the house sitting out there. Funniest time was when his daughter came out onto the porch with a phone, “Dad it’s for you! Dad– Dad…”  The mummy then responded very irritated, “I TOLD you not to bother me!”



October 25, 2010

I showed my night class my newly published book tonight, & they erupted into applause. I didn’t have the heart to tell them, it’s my one free copy of my book, and no one can afford to buy it because it is overpriced at $108.00! One thing I’ve realized is, things that happen to you, especially things you achieve, can mean more to OTHER people, than they mean to you. Goals that you meet inspire other people! You may just be relieved as hell to reach the goal, and not feel “inspired” by it in the least. But what I have found is, it inspires OTHER people to meet THEIR goals, or to set a goal they have been thinking about. So I may not make a dime on my published book. But it means a lot to my students. And THAT means a lot to me.

new day

October 19, 2010

–this just came to me this morning:

New day, it’s a new day y’all,

Tuesday morning sunshine,

The birds do not yet know

winter is coming,

They sing their hearts out

for the new sun arising,

New day, it’s a new day

Make some noise,

Walk forward

into the Light.

writing a chapter6

October 16, 2010

Okay, so, I finished it and sent it this morning at 1am. I am very relieved and tired. Very happy. Worst fear: they say it is not good enough for the book. In which case, I’ll revise it as a journal article & get it published somewhere else. It’s fine. Learned a lot. Felt fearful I might have a heart attack if I stayed up any later last night, which is how exhausted I was. I am relentless!! Missed my deadline of midnight by 1 hour. Not bad. Helluvalota work in one dang week, will never do that again. Seriously tired now, going back to bed, doing nothing today but eat, relax, sleep, walk, enjoy life…………….

SO HAPPY!!!!!! Book published, journal article coming out this month or next, now a chapter in a book, IN ONE SEMESTER!!!!!!!! Totally rocks. ROCK DA HOUSE, YEAH!

writing a chapter5

October 15, 2010

This feels exactly like when I had to sit down and just start writing my dissertation. You just have to start writing. The rest will come. It is the most excruciating thing. I worked ALL DAY YESTERDAY in my office!! No one else around. It is October break.

There is a breeze today on a day of absolutely rare beauty. All I want to do is go out there and walk around the lake somewhere. I did walk around our pond. Couldn’t figure out what was so great about this day, then realized there is actually a nice BREEZE. Almost felt like the wind off of Lake Michigan, in Chicago.

writing a chapter4

October 14, 2010

I am about to lose my mind working on this but will continue. One more day. It takes so much TIME to do research. Time time valuable time. No other idiot is in their office at the college working today. Only me……. What some academics do is continue this pace their entire career. They are highly published and totally nuts with work. I refuse to become that.

Finished today, finally, going through 51 news articles from a New Bank, all about private prisons.

I really have very little specific and interesting info. on grassroots organizing. Now I see what’s missing and try to somehow fill in the blanks. Totally out of time.

writing a chapter3

October 12, 2010

You know what always amazes me about research, is the amount of stuff you LEARN. I am learning so much, now about private prisons, something I didn’t realize is SOOO much an entire area of research on its own. People are out there rallying against private prisons, which has been only a corner of the market and will probably stay that way. The issue is being debated in every state & in other countries, Articles about Scotland, New Zealand, & many more are debating having prisons run like a business.

I am very tired & stressed, but just going forward to get through all the info. I have, & will then see what’s missing. Tomorrow I do a phone interview at 11am. I will have to take notes, as I don’t have time to record or transcribe, & can’t even locate my recorder at the moment. Tonight I am going through 2 yrs’ worth of articles that came out of a News Database from our library, with a search on “private prisons”. 67pp. I am learning so much from it, though it’s mostly background material. Occasionally I run across something really important for my chapter.

My 7pp. now written is from links and names sent to me on e-mail. Haven’t even finished that material, still need to go back to my online prison reform groups & check them. Even though I said to write me on email, some will just post a message to the online group, so I have to go back & check.

I will have to break at some point soon & grade my last midterm exams, as midterm grades are due tomorrow.

…Meanwhile, the 33 MINERS still underground after 2 mos. are about to be rescued, God willing, starting tonight. I am glued to CNN, tho’ I turn off the sound as it distracts me totally. CNN is running it 24/7 until they are all out. Please God let them all get out. What would you do if you were down there? Would you volunteer to be the last one out?

writing a chapter2

October 11, 2010

As of tonight I have 7 pp of a very boring chapter. I am starting to get down in writing some of the wealth of material I have been given via e-mail, I have accessed their websites and written down facts. I do not have personal stories that add depth and emotion. That is what will make it a good chapter. I feel good to get started writing it, feel like I will turn something in on Friday, but feel very tired and stressed over not having a polished piece of work. Makes me realize how much I learned in my dissertation research that I never would have gained from reading their webpages.

And tonight I feel very, very tired. Started today waking up at 6, got up at 7, proctored 3 tests for our adjunct who was at a friend’s wedding today, at 9, 11 & 12, taught my own class at 1, didn’t have a minute to eat anything until 2:30. The lunch room doesn’t serve lunch after 1:30 (because they’re stupid) so I had a glorified chicken nugget sandwich and some more of the same old predictable and boring salad bar. Mmm, yucky food. Oh well. Worked on the chapter the rest of the afternoon, gave a make up test, gave one early test, then gave the night class…….. a test. The last student took an hour & 1/2. Open book tests mean students take longer, and some still fail. Always amazes me.

writing a chapter 1

October 11, 2010

I think I’ll write a post-a-day to document writing a chapter for a book in one weeks’ time. What other insane person in the world would attempt such a ridiculous thing? I’ve had this assignment since at least last April, but I’m writing it this week. After getting the assignment, I left for Raleigh & was there for a month for new baby. Entire summer was traveling or had grandkids here, and in fact, during that time I revised my book for publication. This is a chapter in another 3-vol. series.

Today, contacted main person who sent me so much info. Got consent form back from him via e-mail. Went thru his long e-mail, got familiar w/ & wrote down all organizations & names in it. Wrote first 2 1/2 pages (intro). And emailed consent form to 2 more people. Some I have to call tomorrow, only have phone #’s for. Worried about whether or not to tape record interview, don’t even know if I can manage to hook up recorder to office phone or home phone. Needs to be landline. Won’t have time to transcribe anyway.

midterms and walk by the pond

October 9, 2010

Grading mid terms for 4 classes, including essay questions which I refuse not to give them, because they need to learn to WRITE, and write CLEARLY. I give the last one Monday night. Almost done grading the other 3.

Took a long walk around the pond today, saw something I had never seen. Somehow the sun was so bright, the air so still, I could view the fish, large and small, swimming near the bank, clear as a bell. The large fish just “sit” very still, in the water. Maybe they wait for a small fish to go by their mouth and just grab it. Didn’t see any frogs, though I heard just a few over at the one end where the water doesn’t move at all. Didn’t see any turtles. The water level is quite low, there is mud all around. Appreciate the sun still brightly shining and warming the day up to about 80 degrees in October….. Still love where I live.

A few kids were fishing off the dock at the picnic table area. Our neighbors’ two dogs both barked at different times today, irritating the hell out of Al and I. (If we had a screened-in porch, we couldn’t sit out back and enjoy it. Neighbors leave their dogs out there and let them bark at every fly that comes around.)

Our son seems to have perhaps risen above a quite low point he was in the other night. I hope it lasts. Life is hard. Always a challenge, always a mystery.