Archive for the ‘Fifteen Dollar a Day Habit’ Category


Unfortunate Greetings from the Frozen North

April 22, 2007

What first appeared impossible is now Mission:Accomplished.  My amazing, wonderful husband and I have, for all intents and purposes, completed moving.  I actually trudged through *snow* yesterday on my way to work.  The adage states that April showers bring May flowers, but what about April snowfall?  I am gainfully employed at Barnes and Noble (30% off of books guarantees that I’ll at least bring home part of my paycheck 🙂 ). 

Besides fighting the battle of the boxes (so far the boxes are winning) as part of setting up our new nest, how has this English major filled the leisure hours allocated to her?  By meeting famous authors, of course!

Lemony Snicket

 for all the news that’s fit to print, check out the ironically named Arizona Daily Sun:


Bah, Humbug!

December 14, 2005

Mood: Amused
Song: "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"

I found this online and was quite amused-a pretty amazing feat considering that it's almost the end of the semester and I have 150 seventh-grade essays to plow through before grades are due (next Wednesday).

Imagine the following – you have a very crabby and very wealthy uncle. One day he says he saw ghosts. Not one ghost, but three ghosts. Now he's a changed man. What would you do?You might very well take your uncle to a psychologist.

The following psychological analysis was done in November of 2005 by Karen Eveland, a student at Texas A&M University Kingsville for an abnormal psychology class. Her professor is Dr. William E. Kelly.

Psychological EvaluationDate: January 15, 1844
Patient: Ebenezer Scrooge
Tests Administered: Clinical Interview
Psychologist: Karen Eveland

Personal Data: Ebenezer Scrooge is an approximately 50-year-old Caucasian male. He is single and has never been married. Mr. Scrooge lives alone. He owns his own business. Mr. Scrooge’s closest living relative is his nephew, Fred.

Presenting Problems: Mr. Scrooge states that he has no complaints, however he has agreed to meet today in order to satisfy the concerns of his nephew Fred.
Fred states that he is concerned about Mr. Scrooge’s mental state. He claims Mr. Scrooge has been unusually active and emotional, and that he has been giving away his money in large sums. Although Fred admits that Mr. Scrooge’s heightened generosity is somewhat of a pleasant change; he is concerned that Mr. Scrooge may not be mentally competent. At this time, Fred is requesting that Mr. Scrooge be evaluated for mental competency to determine if he is in need of a guardian.

History: Mr. Scrooge and his nephew participated in providing details about Mr. Scrooge’s life history.

Mr. Scrooge reports that he spent most of his childhood in boarding school. He was often isolated and forgotten by his family. He felt and still believes that his father did not care much for him. He states the only relative that paid much attention to him was his sister, Fan. She was the mother of Fred, and is now deceased. Mr. Scrooge states that he had few close friends during his childhood. During young adulthood, Mr. Scrooge was engaged to be married. However, when his bride-to-be expressed concerns about Mr. Scrooge’s obsession with money, the wedding was called off. After the wedding was called off, Mr. Scrooge, states he turned his focus completely to his business and did not attempt to make any friends or to maintain any other relationships. He does state that he had one friend, Jacob Marley, who was also his business partner. Jacob Marley is now deceased and Mr. Scrooge reports having no other close friends until very recently.

Fred states that in the past he has attempted to visit Mr. Scrooge frequently, but that he generally found him inhospitable. Further Fred, states that the last seven years or so, Mr. Scrooge has worked late on a daily basis, isolating, and depriving himself and his sole employee of even adequate heating at his place of business.

Approximately two weeks ago, on Christmas Eve, Mr. Scrooge claims that he was visited by his deceased friend, Mr. Marley as well as by three other spirits. Mr. Scrooge states that initially he thought his vision of Mr. Marley was a hallucination brought on by indigestion, however, he now believes the event to be have been real. He states that Mr. Marley warned him about being punished in the after life and told him to change his ways before it was too late. Mr. Scrooge states that after Mr. Marley departed, he saw three other spirits who transported him through time and space to view Christmases in the past, present and future. He says two of the spirits actually spoke with him and warned him about living his life selfishly. Mr. Scrooge says that the last spirit did not speak but did take him to visit his own grave. Mr. Scrooge states that upon awakening Christmas morning and finding himself still alive, he determined to change his ways. He says that his sudden generosity is a result of this determination. He also claims that he is happier then he has ever been in his life, and that each new day brings him more joy. Mr. Scrooge is insistent that the experiences with his deceased friend and the three spirits were real.
Mr. Scrooge states that he has never used any drugs and that he drinks alcoholic beverages rarely. Fred, Mr. Scrooge’s nephew, confirms this information.
Current Status: Mr. Scrooge appears to be coherent. He is able to identify place, time, and people. He reports no other delusions or hallucinations, with the exception of the events he reports took place on Christmas Eve.

Diagnostic Considerations: Mr. Scrooge appears to be coherent and stable. Initial impressions of Mr. Scrooge’s symptoms indicate a possibility of Bipolar disorder. These symptoms include sudden onset of extreme mood fluctuations, racing thoughts, increased social activity, and a decreased need for sleep. However, these symptoms are balanced with intermittent periods of deep thought and reflection occurring several times within the same day. Mr. Scrooge is able to remain calm and collected for long periods of time. He also reports no symptoms of depression. Therefore, he does not meet the criteria for Bipolar, hypomania, or cyclothymia.
Due to the sudden onset of Mr. Scrooge’s psychotic like symptoms (hallucinations and delusions) and the extremely short duration of these symptoms (one night), Mr. Scrooge does not meet criteria for Schizophrenia or Schizophreniform. Although Mr. Scrooge’s thinking is somewhat symptomatic of delusional thinking, in that he maintains that the hallucinations he experienced on Christmas eve were real, he otherwise displays no other indications of irrational thought.
Mr. Scrooge appears to have suffered from Brief Psychotic Disorder, without marked stressors. The hallucinations and delusions he experienced two weeks ago evidence this. The fact that he maintains the reality of the events does not necessarily indicate deluded thinking, since the trauma from experiencing delusions and hallucinations of the magnitude reported by Mr. Scrooge could be enough to convince him of their reality. It is common for people to believe such hallucinations are real when the only alternative explanation is for them to accept that they were temporarily psychotic. To accept the notion of psychosis is extremely frightening and it is sometimes easier for some to believe the event really happened.
It is quite possible that Mr. Scrooge did suffer from some type of food poisoning, which in turn caused him to hallucinate. However, after this much time has elapsed it would be very difficult to investigate this hypothesis.

It seems more likely that Mr. Scrooge experienced a brief psychotic episode. Although undiagnosed, Mr. Scrooge appears to have suffered from obsessive-compulsive personality disorder in the past, as evidenced by his hoarding money and extreme work history. People who suffer from personality disorders are more at risk to experience a brief psychotic disorder than the general population. It is impossible to diagnose Mr. Scrooge with this disorder however, since he has no current symptoms.

As for Mr. Scrooge’s current mental state, he appears to be competent. Although he is giving away large sums of his money and is very emotional, he is able to mentally assess the risks of his behavior. Mr. Scrooge does not appear to be a danger to himself or others.Notes:Axis I – Clinical

Disorders: Brief Psychotic Episode (December 24, 1843)Axis II – Personality Disorders: Possible history obsessive compulsive personality disorder (rule out)Axis III – General Medical

Condition: DeferredAxis IV – Psychosocial and Environmental Problems: Stress related to holidays, lack of friends and family support system, and what appears to have been a brief psychotic episode.Axis V – Global Assessment of Functioning: Highest level of functioning in past year: 75; present functioning: 75


Carnivorous Carnival…

November 23, 2005

I realize with some regret that, no, I am not in Torrey anymore. Nostalgia aside…

I always read voraciously (that dratted $15/day habit!) but most of it is "brain candy"…I must admit to enjoying my frequent forays into the world of young adult lit, but what I'm craving is MEAT! A nice, juicy book steak that would make me chew for hours, even days, mentally speaking.

Help! I need a fix, and quickly…any suggestions????


I Prefer the Term Literature-Enhanced American :)

September 23, 2005

Okay, okay…I promise a genuine post sometime in the near future…after all, it is almost my blog's one year anniversary ;).

Until then…

You speak eloquently and have seemingly read every
book ever published. You are a fountain of
endless (sometimes useless) knowledge, and
never fail to impress at a party.
What people love: You can answer almost any
question people ask, and have thus been
nicknamed Jeeves.
What people hate: You constantly correct their
grammar and insult their paperbacks.

What Kind of Elitist Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla


Fleshmarket Sales

August 17, 2005

Mood: Stunned
Song: "Razzle Dazzle"

It's amazing what you can discover when Googling yourself. For instance, I discovered that a review I composed for my Young Adult Literature class was submitted to a respectable journal by another one of my profs and…PUBLISHED! 🙂 From the March issue of the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy:


Reviewed by Juliet ****, *** Arizona, USA.

The woman's screams pierce the air, rising above the doctor, spiraling past the gawking spectators, and lodging in the memory of her young son. One week later she is dead, and the family she leaves behind is altered forever. The time is 1822, and Scotland is still a barbaric place, despite the attempts of men “learned” in the arts of science and medicine to penetrate the darkness and squalor in which the masses grind out a meager existence.

For Robbie, his mother's death after complications from an operation and his father's descent into drunkenness and subsequent abandonment can be laid at the feet of one man: Dr. Robert Knox, the surgeon who mutilated his mother. In the midst of working long hours at a bakery to support himself and his sister Essie, Robbie cultivates a burning hatred for the man he holds responsible for the ruin of all his hopes. Lying down to sleep at night on his painfully narrow bed, Robbie vows retribution.

The revenge Robbie envisions begins to supplant his longing for a better life, including the education and musical training of which he believes Knox has robbed him. Robbie begins to stalk Knox, briefly spending time in jail as a result. Robbie's obsession even leads him to the machinations of Burke and Hare, two miscreant “resurrection men” who make money by selling “freshly dead” bodies of questionable origin to Knox and his medical students so the future doctors can study anatomy.

Robbie thinks he has the situation under control, but he can't suspect the truth about Burke and Hare's scheme. He is overly trusting of his new “friends,” but is Robbie also wrong about Joseph, a medical student with close ties to Knox who seems to offer both Robbie and Essie a future? When given the opportunity to destroy his enemy, will Robbie manage to discover forgiveness before his rancor consumes them all?

Despite the historical setting and the mature themes, Morgan's bildungsroman is readily accessible to modern adolescent audiences. Although most readers will not come face to face with the poverty that Robbie and Essie endure, the issues of losing one parent only to be neglected by the other will resonate. Additionally, Robbie's burning hatred and its consequences are significant issues for readers young and old. Fleshmarket is Morgan's second novel, and her description of life in 19th-century Scotland is so vivid that one can almost smell the stench of narrow, cobbled streets and taste the rough “porridge” on which Robbie and Essie subsist.

Morgan uses precise word choice to carry her message. It should be noted that certain scenes are too intense for younger readers. Early modern medicine was, after all, still primitive. Issues in Fleshmarket are far from black and white, but secondary students will be challenged to analyze characters' motives along with the moral issues raised by the text. They will readily be caught up in Robbie's strong emotional response to his situation, his family, and Knox. If Morgan's work has any flaw, it could be that the plot moves along fairly conventional lines, ending in a fashion that seems more patronizing than satisfying. However, boldly drawn characters and strong imagery make Fleshmarket historical fiction that transcends time and place. Age 14 and up.

Nicola Morgan. 2004. New York: Delacorte. 224 pp. ISBN 038573154X. US$15.95.


Ti-i-i-ime Isn’t On Our Side…

August 1, 2005

Mood: Rushed
Song: "The Time of My Life"

I've been doing some thinking (can you smell the smoke from there?) lately, all stemming from the C.S. Lewis book That Hideous Strength. What should a Christian perspective on time be? Since the advent of our Lord, the church has been told that she is living in the end times. On the other hand, in Thessalonians we are told that "a day is as a thousand years". Premillenialism? Postmillenialism? Old earth or new earth creationism? Where does logic come in? Why does it matter?

Consider this puzzle: why do captors so often begin by removing their captives from any means of ascertaining time? Man is an amphibious creature, destined for eternity but set adrift in time.

First (see how even in this posting it is almost impossible to avoid using time signal words), Scripture is clear that time follows a linear rather than a circular pattern, beginning with the Creation recounted in Genesis 1 and leading towards the second coming foretold in Revelation. What an encouragement-our history has purpose and is moving forward-not constantly progressing, necessarily, as that belief would lead to a dangerous delusion (see below)-in a direction ordained by the Creator.

Here's another thought: our age is no better or worse than any other. Thus, understanding history is crucial. One entire generation (or more) can easily be deceived, but the past can light the way to successfully avoiding pitfalls.

The truth, as always, is both more simple and more complex than a cursory glance reveals. Human beings have such a desire for change, yet stability calls us as well. Even in the church time is divided between sacred and ordinary, feast and famine. Vestments throughout the church universal became green this month; Pentecost is followed by ordinary time leading into Advent. Despite numerous tales of holiday depression, this time of year is truly the most challenging, as we are asked to simply LIVE in a manner that honors Christ. To raise children. To tend gardens. To tell stories.

We were never meant to be chained to time, although time was with us ever since "evening and morning, the first day." In the 21st century, life is scheduled to the second. Historically, of course, it was impossible to measure time to this degree. When should the corn be planted? When the leaves on the oak are the size of a squirrel's ear. When should work be stopped? At sunset. The very body itself was designed as a time regulator.

Thank goodness creation itself still follows this cyclical pattern. It is always a different spring, yet always spring again. A perfect mixture of dynamic and static. Praise to our Lord, who redeems even the time.




July 15, 2005

"Considerate la vostra semenza:Fatti non foste a viver come bruti, Ma per seguir virtute e conoscenza."

Consider your origins: You were not made to live as brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge.
-Dante Alighieri, L'Inferno

My beloved married me, and we are settling into life together, which feels so natural, so right, it only makes sense in light of two flesh becoming one. We rented an apartment in Mesa, Arizona, close to my new job as a seventh grade English teacher. Oh, didn't I mention that before? I have been remiss about blogging.

The reality of our wedding on May 28th far surpassed any novel, and the reality is still unbelievable to me. I expected to grieve my stepfather's absence, but he was indeed present on that day. Don't look for details here-my memory is as misty as the organza on my dress. Such felicity would not have been possible without the tremendous love and support of family and friends. Above all, I remember Charles's hand in mine, steadying me and reassuring me of his love as we pledged our faith to each other. The ceremony (at our request) was traditional, and I even promised to obey my husband under God. Our reception took place at the Farm at South Mountain, riotous with late spring flowers, and we skuttled many of the traditional "reception" activities-instead of throwing the bouquet, for instance, Charles and I presented it to the couple married the longest (my grandparents), in symbolic representation of our desire to achieve their matrimonial longevity. My aunt Peggy orchestrated with true aplomb as our guests dined on high tea fare (my favorite, of course, the scones). My rosy recollections include only snippets of the day, including purple irises, a stolen moment of communion with my bridegroom, a last minute *perfect* bridesmaid dress purchase, my mother's tireless effort, a harmony in the key of "D", and the smiles and well-wishes of our guests.

Yes, there are actually places where the average May temperature is LESS than 120 degrees. The morning after our wedding we embarked on a week-long journey up the Orgeon coast in my father's olive green Titan. You must, I am certain, have better things to do than read the following recollections which I was compelled to live out. Can one ever be fully prepared for: red lighthouse beams, a fragile teacup of "smoky tea" in the hands of an EMT, a future English teacher at the controls of a WWII bomber, a room based on the work of a famous American author, a shrine dedicated to just about every different religion, and a very UNselfconscious 90-year old at an Ashland hot springs?

On our honeymoon, I also received a phone call offering me a position. Exicted? Well, I should have been, but I never even considered becoming a Junior High School teacher, if only because I am allergic to excessive hormones. Even more troubling, the principal informed me that I would have to switch between three different classrooms during the course of the day; unacceptable due to the difficulty in preparing for class and maintaining effective control of the classroom. However, I didn't want to heedlessly turn my back on a God-given opportunity, knowing as I do that such willfullness could never lead to pleasure. I determined, therefore, to set forth a fleece, after the manner of Gideon. If, somehow, a classroom became available by the deadline (two days distant), I would know that the job was providential. Of course, at the proper time the principal informed me that, shockingly, one of the Spanish teachers moved out of a portible classroom and one of the veteran English teachers moved into it, leaving a classroom in the main building available for, you guessed it, the new English teacher.

What, faithful reader, have I gleaned from my nearly two months as a married woman?

* marriage is more work than I could have imagined, but infinitely worth the effort

* whenever I truly love something, I find Charles at my side, caring about it just as passionately

* it is never possible to ascertain every facet of someone's character-new and surprising developments keep life interesting

* make sure a hot springs is not "clothing optional" before going in

*a Shetland Sheepdog can consume an entire Slim Jim with apparently no ill-effects

* it is possible to fit a surprising amount of belongings into a rented Dodge Neon

*Categorize by genre, THEN alphebetize

* If they would only install a shower and a bed, it would be far too easy to live in a Barnes and Noble.

* Jane Austen's advice about relationships still hasn't exceeded its expiration date after 200 years.

* It is possible to write an "A" quality essay in 15 minutes

* Now faith, hope, and love endure these three, but the greatest of these is love