Archive for November, 2016

Spoons and rain

Okay, I realize I haven’t written for most of November but I do have my reasons.  First of all, I have been busy with student papers. Then next, I have been busy with music and practicing the piano and singing at the same time.  Quite an accomplishment for me since I learned to read notes and to sing and play simultaneously is a stretch.  Next, I started a new series in our local newspaper which puts added stress on me to get things written once a week. Also, I should be researching for the grant that I was awarded about history articles about our area of the state. Finally, we had guests over for Thanksgiving, my family from the Cities and also my folks.

I forgot to mention that we celebrated my parents’ 62 wedding anniversary and so that was part of Nov. 14th that we took them out to a local restaurant. Now I have had papers to grade that I handed back yesterday and today. They were all rough drafts but I needed to put my comments down about their doing APA formatting right or getting their thesis statement done concisely.  My students needed to show their claim about their chosen topic and then also the counterclaim.  Most of my American students didn’t get that concept, my Asian students did.

So, you may ask why am I doing another series for the newspaper? I just finished an 8 week series with my students writing about their grandparent. I had to put that all together but it was their writing and my doing a bit of editing or touchup.  I hear from people that they like to read what I write and that is affirming. However, when I write history, I want to get my facts right and sometimes that is what takes the extra time to get it right and yet keep in readable.

I talk to my students about their voice and about their reading audience. Now I will have them convert their research papers to a 10 minute powerpoint presentation and many of them have done it in their own language. It will be a challenge for some to talk in their second language of English. I’m not too worried about my international students. I think it is my native born American students who have entered our college and the standards from high school have been lowered. Therefore, they have some catching up to do. Some are getting it and writing perfect References pages, others seem to not care.

Well, it was good to have my family over for Thanksgiving during our break away from scholarly pursuits. My nephew, who was adopted about ten years ago from Russia, mentioned that we should play SPOONS. That was after we had eaten to our fill, the traditional turkey, ham, potatoes, sweet potatoes, lefse, etc.  It was a good meal. We then passed out cards and proceeded to have spoons placed on the table minus one of the people sitting around the table.  Once the playing cards were passed after each had four cards to work with, then the fun began. Whoever got the first set of four cards would quietly grab a spoon and at that point then everyone else is grabbing for the spoons.

We downsized and got the table smaller for our next round after my one sister won. That may have been our first mistake because when we had another play 3 rounds later, that is when my brother overreached and broke our table. We all had a good laugh about that and then we realized that was the end of our night. Everyone had to take the VERY muddy roads that the rain had left us.  We played spoons and then my company left in the rain. I followed all three cards heading back into town and they made it through the mud at a much slower speed.

I am grateful to be alive and that my husband is living. Oh, I forgot to mention that this month involved his being in the hospital for three days with a blood clot in his lung. I think that would be ONE more reason why I haven’t written that much this month. I was happy to have him returned home after that scare.  Yes, I have a LOT to be thankful in the aftermath of this Thanksgiving season.



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Amazing November, Semester soon ending!


Sunrise on the plains, this was a murky morning. We are down to Week 12 out of 16 weeks and essentially, after our Thanksgiving in the end of November, then it is a downhill slide to the end of the semester. I’ll have my 35 composition students give their powerpoint presentations on their last research paper and then it is grading time and we are out of here!  The weather yesterday was 75 degrees which is unusual for November but it goes along with our remarkable summer and fall we experienced.  Technically we could be getting snow at any time and it would stay until March or April.  For now the grass is green and the sunsets have been magnificent.


The above is a sunset that I caught about 3-4 days ago. I got a LOT of responses on it from my FB friends. I guess I don’t realize how fortunate I am to capture these scenes in the sky that last almost a half hour. This one did and when I thought I was done taking pictures, I turned around and there were MORE photos to take.  The comments that I get from others is that they wish they could see these sunsets like I do or other “magnificent” or “spectacular” kinds of comments.  One would think people would get tired of these colorful sky photos but that is NOT the case, people seem to soak it up.


So, one thing I learned today was that the heavenlies are looking down to see what we do with the talents that we have been given.  I’m hoping that I can encourage my students tomorrow and let them know they are making great progress in learning how to format APA type research papers.  I just graded 17 of these papers and they are all over the board, not conforming to the rules of APA but I will get them there in about four weeks.

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