Why, Hello!

So, after the Yahoo Password Breach I decided to check in with my ole blogging pal Annie Em to see how she was doing. I haven’t checked in for over a year, so she’s not doing too much. But, despite that, she received over 100 emails, tons of comments (some that are not even spam) and new followers!  It seems she has also had her identify hijacked: someone using Annie Em’s email is posting comments on education blogs.


I probably should just delete Annie Em, but I have such a fondness for her (no, not enough to return, yet). And others do, too: some of my most favorite posts are visited almost daily (you can see them below, including the one in which I diss Twitter–so purely ironic since I am such an active presence there as my real self these days).

Since so many of my favorite bloggers have switched to FB or Twitter, or, gasp!, have started blogging as themselves, I’m not so inclined to bring Annie Em back to life. Besides, just writing this quick piece reminds me how much time/energy/ogida/self I invested into some of these posts (only some, admittedly; others were pure raw and unedited outpourings).

But, truly, thanks for visiting. Visit my blogroll: many of those bloggers no longer blog either, but their oldies are fabulous goodies!

That Damned   “Maiden” Name Thing
Who Knew?
A Real   [Community] College Professor
In Which   Annie Makes Mom Cry
On Teaching   an Online Introduction to Fiction Class: Where are the Funny Short Stories?
Dear Annie   Em
Light and   Uplifting Fiction Recommendations Needed (Sigh)
Introduction   to Women Writers
Running   Skirts?
Summer Fun   for Educators

“Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner”

  I interrupt this Hiatus with this brief bloggy update, aka Random, Amusingly [well, to me] Related Bullets of….. Summer:

1. Yes, it’s finally summer, after the coldest, wettest spring in Pacific Northwest history (or 117 years).

2. A good friend of mine, who retired last year, is rereading Middlemarch. Sudden recognition that I do not have time to reread Middlemarch, despite having the next 2.5 months “off” from teaching.

3. Related to #2 above, finally visited my physician for both my annual and to see if she could figure out why my foot has been swollen for 2 months (two xrays and visits to “specialists” led to nothing). Three results of interest: one, I am not in the midst of menopause despite a variety of symptoms, highlighting the fact that I have many years to go before I can reread Middlemarch; and two, a bone scan reveals I have a stress fracture of one of those metatarsal bones. And three: I am vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D?  Oh, yes, lack of sun. Got it. See #1 above. Soon to be cured: see #4 below.

So the walking and spurts of running I’ve been doing over the last few weeks, with the encouragement of those doctors who found nothing wrong with me, have not been exactly helpful to the healing process.

4. Related to #3 above, I started taking Deep Water Running classes at the gym last week.  I’ve only tried a few classes yet have discovered that with the exception of another 40 something professional, athletic woman with a foot injury, most of the participants have plenty of time for rereading Middlemarch.   And while I push myself to get my heart rate up (sometimes it works), for the most part, I’m still in the stiffling giggles stage: Despite the name, the classes are basically aerobics in the water, but everyone is wearing hats and sunglasses instead of leg warmers and leotards.  I just can’t help thinking of those scenes in Dirty Dancing (remember, 1986ish?) at Kellerman’s in the Catskills where the women do aerobics by the pool.

And interestingly, the instructors always play music from Dirty Dancing.  Which just makes me laugh more.

On Hiatus

Clearly, not a lot blogging going on here these days for various, uninteresting reasons, so uninteresting, and sad, that I do not wish to blog about them.

Please feel free to visit those on my blogroll who continue to blog regularly.

Community College Instructors, Hollywood Style

There’s a new movie coming out (with the very uninspiring title, Larry Crowne) that features a community college speech instructor who clearly doesn’t want to teach, who pours vodka into her yogurt shake, and who falls for a student.

Oy vey. Alcoholism. Anti-intellectualism. Sexual Harrassment. Covers it all.

See for yourself:

Happy St. Urho’s Day

St. Urho welcomes you!

For those not in the know, St. Urho is the Finnish equivalent of that Irish saint: both are credited with chasing unwanted creatures out of their respective countries.

And both require the wearing of the green (though different shades, and with the addition of purple for St. Urho’s Day).

And finally, both saints require the consumption of alcohol as part of the celebration. You know those saints.  Tonight, we should all be  toasting Urho with a Grasshopper, an odd mix of creme de menthe, creme de caocao and cream. Other recipes have vodka or brandy in them.

With a name like Annie, I have Celtic bloodlines running through half of me, but no Finnish. I’m assuming the Finns don’t mind if I celebrate ole St. Urho though: St. Urho’s Day was supposedly invented by a Finnish American who wanted to have two days in a row that encouraged heavy drinking.

Besides, St. Urho’s/St. Paddy’s Days always fall during finals week, a week when even that overly sweet-sounding Grasshopper sounds divine. So, let me be the first to wish you Kippis! which is Finnish for Sláinte!

Crafting Academic Cover Letters: A Reminder

Creative Commons


I know I’ve written about this before, but just a quick reminder for those on the market for the late arriving community college job openings:

  • Please re-read the job description and make sure you meet the minimum qualifications: you WILL be weeded out if you do not, and since HR is overwhelmed, faculty designees, such as myself, are doing the weeding, and it makes me quite grumpy to find several folks a day who think they alone are qualified despite not meeting the minimum qualifications, though I do sometimes enjoy the verbal gymnastics that some candidates go through to try to make themselves appear to meet the minimum qualifications. My advice: if you wish to argue for meeting a qualification that you truly do not have, at least concede in the value of that qualification rather than dismiss it as irrelevant.
  • Please tailor your letter to the position:An eight page cover letter that includes a detailed overview of your current research, and a  list of graduate students you have worked with, by name, with their research project titles?   For a position teaching first and second year students? No. A cover letter that is only one paragraph long is too short; one that is over 3 pages is probably too long (and there is debate about 3). A letter that does not even mention the name of our college, or the position you are applying for, is just not going to make it clear to us that you truly want THIS position.
  • And yes, I know the software requiring you to upload documents is cumbersome, but you may want to double check before you hit submit: one candidate submitted hir cover letter 4 times (instead of including hir CV, for example).
  • You may want to update your reference letters, fyi: one candidate submitted letters that were all addressing a four-year old job opening at an entirely different type of institution. 
  • Yes, this one is a true oddity, so I mention it only for kicks and giggles: a cover letter written in the third person is very funny, and truly bizarro.  I’m curious: what professional fields require or encourage cover letters written in the third person?

Dear Search Committee,

Candidate Archie Simpson is simply perfect for your college. He has years of experience, and an admirable education to boot!  Let me tell you more about Dr. Simpson in as much detail as possible, and, while you read this fascinating description of Dr. Simpson, imagine you are hearing a big, booming radio personality voice reading it aloud to you. Believe me: you WILL hire Dr. Simpson after reading this letter!

It made me laugh at least!

The Gym Guy

I know: you’re picturing a guy who’s about 6 foot tall, dark wavy hair, high cheekbones or maybe dimples. He’s trying to hide his ass in those baggy basketball shorts, but they only set it off nicely.  Sculptured arms and abs. Long legs. You might be picturing this guy. Or this guy.  The Gym needs such guys if only to provide the necessary eye candy while I run, tediously, on the treadmill for 60 or 90 minutes, trying to get the miles in each week. The ice and snow (more coming tonight) outside prevent me from my usual river trail running, so I greatly, greatly appreciate these men.

But, that’s not the Gym Guy I’m referring to. I’m referring to THIS guy.

No, not really Archie Bunker, but someone very much like him.  He’s probably 70-something; an ex-baseball player (really, he was:  he’s told me about his glory years many, many times); retired from some sort of business that allows him to travel to Europe annually, and to Palm Beach each winter for a few weeks.  Let’s call him Bob.

Well, Bob knows I’m an English professor (ah, small town life), so he loves to ask me grammar and word use questions. Today, as I was nearing mile 7.5 on that damned treadmill, sweating despite the ceiling fans, he motions for me to take out my ear buds so he can ask me a question.

I usually try to snag a treadmill where the neighboring treadmills are already taken to avoid just this scenerio. Obviously, it doesn’t always work.

Today’s question: Bob’s friend’s answering machine (yes, answering machine–clearly this crew isn’t into the cell phone age yet) has the following message, and Bob wants to tell him it’s  incorrect usage:  “I can’t answer your call right now. Could you please leave a message after the beep.”  Bob says that the word “could” implies that the caller is being asked whether or not they have the ability to leave a message.  Bob wanted me to confirm that the friend should delete the word “could”.

Of course, wanting to get back to my boring treadmill and get to mile 9 already, I confirmed his opinion (as he knew I would) and quickly replaced my earbuds and raised the volume on my ipod to avoid further discussion.

But people: this happens REGULARLY and it’s quite annoying.  Now, to give Bob credit, he waited till I had run nearly 7.5 miles before finally begging me to hear his question (though he had been trying to make eye contact for at least a few miles).  Really, there’s nothing I can do short of changing the time I go to the gym, something I can’t do.

Sigh. If only this guy would interrupt me on the treadmill. My luck, he’d ask me a grammar question.