My Day, in Skit Form

Scene:  The magnanimous Professor Key (a pseudonym) and struggling student, Janine (not a pseudonym), have just completed their last classes for the day and meet along a campus path.

Janine:  Can I walk with you?  I need a cry, but I’ll try not to actually start crying.

Professor Key:  Uh-oh, what happened?

Janine:  A couple weeks ago, we had to do a short essay on a poem we read in class.  Nothing major:  2 pages, double spaced, just enough to make sure our writing skills are up to par.  And I think psh! I’m a writer; piece of cake, right?

PK:  Right.  Was this for Professor Choir?

J9:  Of course.

PK:  Go on.

J9:  So she passed the essays back today.  Some of them, though, she didn’t have time to grade, so she read their names and said they could pick up their essays from her mailbox after lunch.  I didn’t get a paper back, and my name wasn’t on the list.

PK:  Why not?

J9:  She told me to see her after class.

PK:  What?! What did she say?

Janine:  Well she got to me first, before any other students could grab her attention, and she was whispering, trying to be discrete, so I couldn’t really hear her.

PK:  That’s good, though.  That means she likes you.

J9:  Earlier, when she passed back the other essays, she said she makes a lot of comments, so if the papers were covered in red ink it didn’t mean they were bad.  Mine was blank:  not one red mark.

PK:  What was wrong with it?

J9:  I have to redo the whole thing!  She said I didn’t use the right format, and asked if I’d even taken English 1A and 1B. (Basic reading/ composition for degree credit)

PK:  Bitch!

J9:  I mean, she was very nice about it, but still.  Damn!

PK:  Do you mind if I take a look?

I dig my sorry excuse for an essay out of my binder and hand it to Professor Key.  It takes her two seconds to identify the problem.

PK:  Okay, I see. [She points to the first paragraph]. You didn’t use the MLA format.  Send me an email to remind me, and I’ll send you some resources to help you out.  Personally, I wouldn’t call this a redo, but I know how Professor Choir is.  Here’s a tip:  ask her for help before you turn it in again.  In the future, visit her office often and ask for lots of help.  She loves a kiss-ass.  And don’t cry!

J9:  *sniffle*  Okay.


Yup, it was a tough day of college for the old broad.  I think a nice frosty bottle of apple ale is on the agenda.


A late coworker, Mr. B., once asked, “If you can be disgruntled, can you be gruntled?”  The answer:  yes.  Yes you can.


You’re welcome.

This morning I feel disgruntled.  I can’t find a good spot to set up my laptop.  Either the sun is in my eyes or reflecting off my screen.  Or the seat is uncomfortable.  Or the room is too warm.  Or my mouse doesn’t like the surface.  I’m easily distracted.  School is already overwhelming, and it’s only been three weeks; that’s bothering me, too.  Maybe I’m just hormonal.

I forgot to post the View Club shots yesterday as promised.  Bad J9.  I’m not taking anymore of the building because it’s done.  Here are my first and last pics, a difference of almost ten months:

Construction site, 11/26

Construction site, 11/26/12

Center for the Arts, 9-4-13

Center for the Arts, 9/4/13

It doesn’t even look l like the same building does it?  But those are the same two trees on the bottom right in both pics.  My angle’s only a little off.

Mountains, 9/6/13

Mountains, 9/6/13

Mountains, 2 hours later

Mountains, 2 hours later

I love those big puffy clouds, so I couldn’t resist taking two shots.  When our humidity is high they look more like that first shot.  The heat abated this week but it’s creeping back up, thankfully without the humidity.

Sculpture Garden, 9/6/13

Sculpture Garden, 9/6/13

I forgot to show you all what else we bought for the yard:

A new lemon tree!

A new lemon tree!

Our current lemon tree was here when my parents bought the house in 1980.  It’s looking scraggly these days, and although I think it just needs a little TLC, Step-Dad thinks it needs to go.  So he bought this interesting specimen:

Technically, a variegated Eureka lemon

Ooo stripey!

It has variegated leaves, a striped peel, and pink inner flesh.

Ooo stripey!

Technically a variegated Eureka lemon

Personally I wanted a Pomona lemon because they’re sweeter and the blossoms smell heavenly, but I’ll admit this one is pretty neat. Step-Dad moved a young mulberry tree so the lemon could go next to my herb garden.  Wasn’t that nice?

Friend Bee

Friend Bee

This is Friend Bee.  Friend Bee has been buzzing around my seedlings all by its lonesome for several weeks, collecting water from the peat pots.  I took a cue from Celi over at The Kitchen’s Garden and made Friend Bee a shallow sugar water tray (here’s Celi’s) with pebbles and twigs for her to sit on so she won’t drown. My pebbles are plain, so I added a drop of food color to make it more attractive.  We have plenty of flowers…lantanas, four o’clocks, duranta, hibiscus…but it was my hope that Friend Bee would bring more hivemates.  Not that I want another swarm



.  but I want to do my part.



I put the tray on an old failed bird bath far away from the house, but it got no attention.  Not even from ants.  So I moved it next to the seedlings.  Friend Bee found it right away.  She started in a nice deep pocket of syrup, but then lost her footing on a slippery glass pebble and couldn’t get herself out.  I rescued her with a redwood frond.  She decided to stick with the biggest twig on the tray

Much better

Much better

and has been a fixture on that log bridge ever since.  She’s still solo, though.  I wonder where her family is?  The beekeeper said the Easter swarm had to come from a bigger colony nearby, so Friend Bee shouldn’t be alone even if she was part of that group.  Maybe she’ll become a queen since she knows a prime spot for food and water now.  😉

Alright, I’m off to finish Beowulf, and maybe some Cultural Anthropology, and perhaps the mountain of reading I have for Modern Drama.  Stay safe!

Gardening Again

It feels so good to have a garden again!  It’s been a long time since I’ve had my own little patch of dirt.  Umpteen years ago I volunteered a nearby botanical garden, in the rose garden specifically, so I became quite the rose expert and had my own little rose garden with space for sunflowers and herbs.

One year my grandfather asked me for advice on his hedge roses.  He planted two varieties under a big front window.   The yellow ones were okay, but the white ones were sad and gangly and hardly flowered.  I discovered that his white “hedge” roses were actually floribundas, which are wonderful and easy to care for, but they need to be treated like floribundas, not hedges.  No, he said, he needed hedges, so they’d just have to suffer.  How dare he.

So I, in a fairly cute summer ensemble that day, kicked off my sandals, grabbed some clippers, and indignantly threw myself into the middle of those big rangy rose bushes, lopping and chopping and pruning like nobody’s business.  When I was done they looked even worse than before.  The following spring, however, my grandfather called in an excited flurry because those rose bushes had exploded with mounds of fluffy white blooms.  Go figure.  😉

My own rose garden is long gone.  If I find a variety I like when bare-root season rolls along, I may attempt to acquire one using the puppy-dog-eye method.  In the meantime, I’m happy with my herbs.

Sage, thyme, and seedlings

Sage, thyme, and seedlings

Look at my seedlings in the tray!  How many weeks ago did they look like this:

Seeds!  Bell peppers, tomatoes, sunflowers, and hollyhocks.

Seeds! Bell peppers, tomatoes, sunflowers, and hollyhocks.

Three weeks ago!  The sunflowers and hollyhocks sprouted quickly.  We planted the tomato seeds after the rest, and they took like weeds.

Tomato seedlings

Tomato seedlings

Tomatoes and bell peppers

Tomatoes and bell peppers

The two small sprouts on the right side are bell peppers.  I thought those would be the first to pop up, but boy were they stubborn!  I had almost given up on them.  Jess had several of hers going, so she gave me a couple.  Eventually some of my own decided to sprout, so now I have eight bell pepper plants going.

Jess’s boyfriend sprouts all of their seeds by putting them in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel, and leaving them in a dark closet.  So I tried it with most of the rest of my seeds.

Empty seed packets

Empty seed packets

I didn’t get much of a result.  After about a week the paper towel in with my sunflowers started to grow mold.  Jess’s boyfriend laughed at me…I was only supposed to leave them for a day.  *sigh*

So I bought a 72-cell seed starter tray and planted the seeds, hoping I didn’t kill them in those plastic bags.  I had space to spare so I also planted marigolds, basil, and more sunflowers.  Less than 24 hours later this happened:

I think it's a tomato.

I think it’s a tomato.

My herb garden will be shaped like a wagon wheel, with my duranta in the middle and eight wedge-shaped sections for thyme, sage, marigolds, peppers (bell and jalepeño), oregano, chamomile, tomatoes, and basil.  Sunflowers and hollyhocks will be planted along an adjacent fence.  Spearmint and peppermint will go into a big pot somewhere.

plants 5

Marigolds, jalepeños, spearmint

German chamomile, variegated sage, and lantanas

German chamomile, variegated sage, and lantanas

Now that school is in session I don’t have as much time to cook, but I still manage to get a little crafty.  Spaghetti always starts like this now:

tomato sauce

Roma and grape tomatoes and fresh oregano in the crock pot

Last time I made tomato sauce I planned to use it for spaghetti and chili, but I didn’t make quite enough.  So I cooked and pureed some forgotten carrots and added that to the chili.  The vegetable haters didn’t even notice.  This week I made cardamom-orange chicken with turmeric rice. I customized the rice recipe, but still. To.  Die.  For.

And yesterday, I made two of these:

Cheddar cheese pie

Cheddar cheese pie

I know what you’re thinking, and you’re probably right.  But two of our number here have Gout.  The rule of thumb with Gout is meat bad, dairy good.  We gave up beef and now include one dinner every week or two with a dairy-based protein.  So you see, cheddar cheese pie is a medical necessity!  A leftover slice with an apple, a handful of baby carrots, and a cup of tea makes an excellent breakfast.

I have View Club shots, but I will post them tomorrow.  For now, I am off to finish Beowulf.  Wish me luck.

I Shouldn’t Be Up

I can’t help it, though.  I promised myself that I’d blog this week, and who knows when I’ll get another minute.

The first week of school was insane.  I would love to take nothing but writing classes, but I still have some general ed classes to knock out if I want to graduate ever.  And since I didn’t take the summer classes I was supposed to, I really need to focus on those GEs.

However, I could only get into one class I needed; everything else was full.  No problem, thought I: I can show up to the first session of a class, and if there is room the teacher will add me.  I’ve never been denied a spot in a class I’ve had to add.

Famous last words.

First, I sat through a 3-hour Biology lecture and took 6 pages of notes.  In the end there were only 3 spots available, with at least 10 people ahead of me vying for those spots.  There was an identical class being held that day, but it overlapped the class I sat through, so I missed it.

The following day I arrived at school for an 8:40 am Anthropology class.  By the time I wound my way from the roof of the parking structure to the building, up the elevator to the 3rd floor and double-back to the wing I entered from, I was dripping with sweat.  Wouldn’t you know, room 301 was the last classroom at the end of the corridor.  As I walked farther and farther down, the collection of students waiting against the walls got thicker and thicker.  By the time I reached the classroom, the hallway walls were like the bottoms of sardine cans: packed tight from the far side of room 302 to the exit doors at the very end of the hall.  The building AC hadn’t quite kicked in yet, so those sardine can walls were closing in on me with every sticky, oxygen-deprived step.  I discovered that 301 was the only room that was dark and locked.  All these sardines were waiting for one room!  MY room!  There wasn’t enough no space in that one little class!

I didn’t even pause. I walked straight on, down the stairs, out of the doors I came in, and back to my car.  I grabbed my sister Shelly and went out for breakfast.

There was another Anthro class at noon.  By now the building was nice and icy, and there weren’t nearly so many people waiting in the hall.  Aaaand, there were exactly enough spaces in the class for the number of students wanting to add.  Score!

My final schedule:  English Literature to 1800; Modern Drama (another lit class); and Cultural Anthropology.  I entertained the idea of taking four classes this semester, but three is all I can handle.  So far my non-school days have been full of school work.  I’m trying to bleed more time for extracurricular things like sleeping and showering, or having lunch with a friend, which I couldn’t do today because I had too much homework.  😦

I was able to do something fun today:


San Gabriel Mountains, 9-4-13

View Club shots! Miraculously I found a spot in the right parking structure.  It’s close to the library so it’s usually full.  We got lucky today.


Construction 9-4-13

The building is mostly finished.  They’re holding classes in there already.  As you can see, we now know what it is:


“Construction” is now the Center for the Arts

All the fine arts classes are there.  At the other end is the Boone Family Art Gallery, to go along with the Boone Sculpture Garden I suppose,


Boone Sculpture Garden, 9-4-13

which looked lovely today despite the wretched heat.

I’m currently sitting outside on the east porch because the house feels like an oven, even here in the middle of the night.  Something akin to a huge flying cockroach just whizzed behind me and landed on the wall.  It’s going to eat me.  I think I’m done typing now.