Sunday, September 23, 2012


Today it is my birthday, the first day of fall, and the birthday of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins.  I am reclining on my couch with a stack of papers, which I graded earlier today in orange ink.  I used the orange pen because it is my favorite, and it is my birthday.  On one's birthday, one should grade only with one's favorite pen.  Also, orange is a good color for the first day of fall.

For my birthday, I purchased myself a pair of black platform heels.  I have never owned a pair of high heeled shoes in my life, because I am already almost six feet tall, and it's already hard to hear the conversations way down there when you're so tall.  Why add three inches?  But recently I decided that I'm old and deaf enough now that I'm not going to hear the conversations anyway.  So I would buy a pair of heels.  And then I decided that if I were going to increase my height some, why not increase it as much as possible?  Hence the platform heels.  They add 5 inches to my stature.  When I put them on, I am nearly a whole head taller than Tim.  I can't wait to wear them to church.  They will go really well with my short black skirt and my orange striped tights.

In other news, I am still on the mailing list for Bosinver Farm Cottages, in Cornwall, England.  I received their fall mailer yesterday.  "Have you ever thought about coming to Cornwall to celebrate Christmas or New Year?"  Hmm....  Thinking about it now.  Stormy seas below wind swept cliffs.  Green moors and gray skies.  Warm fire in my farm cottage and a stack of novels to read.  Christmas here is nice, with family and maybe snow and a library card.  But Christmas in Cornwall sounds perfect.

I would even leave my orange pen behind.

But maybe I'd bring the platform heels in case I want to go anywhere posh.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Today, I am feeling super skilled at this parenting thing.  This was a star-on-the-forehead kind of parenting kind of day, so I have decided to write it all here and publish it to the world so that you, World, can go home and put a little checkmark by the box that says:  Artax is a good parent.  For today.

First, I walked Jonathan and his friend over to school.  Star for walking over in the morning.

Second, I was two minutes early to pick him up.  Star for timeliness.  And I brought a popsicle for him to eat on the way home.

On the way home, I gave him math puzzles to solve in his head while we walked.  And he thought about them and asked for more.

When we got home, I asked Jonathan if while he was outside, he would please pick some grapes for dinner, and I handed him bowl and scissors.  He went out and made a huge amount of noise with the whistle he picked up at scouts (come on scout masters, a whistle?), but eventually he did return with the bowl completely full of grapes.

After dinner, I told him if he would please do the dishes for me, we could watch TWO episodes of Avatar: the Last Airbender on Netflix.  He did the dishes.

So I sent him off to get the TV ready to go.  He called me when it was ready.  And then when TV was over, he ran and got his jammies on and brushed his teeth and read for a while, until my bedtime alarm went off, and then he packed himself off to bed with a good night kiss.

What a charming child.  I must be a really good parent, right?  Go mark that little box that says "Artax is a good parent."  Go do it now, today, before we all go to sleep and wake up with a completely new day tomorrow and I lose my temper and forget to do the laundry and have a nervous breakdown and my child turns back into a regular child again instead of a mythical purple unicorn.

I sure love my purple unicorn.  I even love him when he is a multi-headed hydra, or when I am a multi-headed hydra.  Sometimes it's hard to know the difference.

Have you marked that box yet?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

New Office

I moved into a new office yesterday, just next door to my old office.  With the help of a couple of student employees from the department office, I got all my stuff ported and adjusted within about ... three hours.

One reason it took so long is that I took my furniture with me.  And we had to figure out how to get my L-shaped desk appropriately situated.  The window is in the opposite corner in this new office, so the computer couldn't go there.  And if it went in the other corner it would block the whiteboard.  And in either of the other two corners it would block the door.  So I put a leg of the L jutting out into the room, and the other leg near the window, but with enough space that I can still stand by the window when I need some natural light.

It is unfortunate that it took so long to move.  And the other negative thing about the new office is that two of the four walls are wood paneled, which means the room looks dark and cave-like.  But otherwise, it is great.  The window looks east, across the library, to the wall of mountains that holds the university on one side.  I can already watch autumn creeping down into the valley.

And space-wise?  The new office is 25% bigger than the old one.  With that extra space, and my L-shaped desk jutting into the middle of the room, there is a place against a far wall to put a couch.  That, my friends, is all I have ever wanted in a job since I was in grad school:  an office large enough to fit a couch.

Of course, it will have to be a small couch -- less than 70 inches long.  And it shouldn't have any arms, because those waste space.  So I've been looking at options.

Here is one from Ikea:
Nice, eh?  But pricey.  And I would have to buy a new cover, because white isn't really going to work long term with dust from the whiteboard flying around in a small space.

I like this option for a cover:
Casual, yet durable, in light gray.  But it would cost an extra $320, on top of the pricey sofa.  I don't think that's in my budget.  Because I don't actually have a couch budget.

So then I started looking around even more, and found true love:
Perfect!  Arm-free, not too white, but not too dark.  It would add lovely color to a gloomy space.  It's a little short:  just 40 inches, which means only a couple of people could sit on it comfortably at a time.  But the price is awesome:  on sale for just $215 (plus shipping).  And I can buy a matching chair for $139.  Although I don't know where I would put that matching chair.

Actually, maybe I'll move them both into our spare room downstairs.