Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thinking Days

Thankfully this semester I am blessed to have Thursdays and Fridays off. That's huge for me! In addition to allowing time to get chores and housework done, I have two full days for the grad student's trinity -- writing, reading, and research. I call these my "Thinking Days" and I meant it. These two days give me time to breathe, time to work, and time to think.

A photo of Evie from Kallie's iPod. Somehow it looks so tender and sweet. I love it

So, here's some of the things I've been thinking about...

Neil Gaiman's journal is really cool. I've known about Gaiman for a year or so now. I know, his fans probably consider that previous statement unfathomable, but what can I say? I'm learning. If you are interested in writing, writers, or Montana you should really follow this blog. I love to know how other writers (especially famous published ones) feel about the craft. I love to hear about their rituals and habits. If you do too then enjoy!

I am by no means even slightly knowledgeable when it comes to good photography, but like the Supreme Court, I know it when I see it. I somehow stumbled upon this blog, and I LOVE it! I am amazed by each photo, especially the portraits. I love to image who these people were and how they lived their lives. Seriously, add this to your reader now!

I guess this last thing ties the two previous sites together, sort of. Lately, I've become really interested in oral histories and specifically those of Southern women and literacy. The SFA has an amazing oral history/documentary project underway! It combines the things most important to Southern folks, food, people, and stories. I'm going to be beginning a little oral history project of my own. I'll tell you more about that as it unfolds. I'm really excited about it!

I'm using my Thinking Days for thinking about a whole bunch of other stuff, too. But this is the best of it. Gotta go, lots more thinking to squeeze in to the next two days!

Much Love, --J

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mosey-ing into the 21st century

This morning I typed an entire post about signing up for Twitter yesterday then I noticed I’d spelled the title wrong and tried to fix the typo. Somehow, I deleted the entire thing! Crap! I’m going to try to recreate what I originally wrote, but now I’m perturbed by technology rather than excited about it. My commentary maybe tainted.

I like technology. It’s true! I’m always on the lookout for ways it can make my life easier/better. I love that I can keep a family journal, perform scholarly research, stay connected with friends and family, and do a million other things from the comfort of my living room couch. Plus, I’m a nerd and technology satisfies my information cravings like cake to a sweet tooth, but so often technology straddles the line between helpful and wasteful. 

Take Pinterest (no, seriously, take it!). I LOVE the site and the concept – a place to find/post/organize cool ideas for crafts, clothes, and food – but Pinterest is dangerous for me. The amount of self-discipline required to tear myself away from that place is monumental! I have a hard enough time concentrating on all that requires my attention already (can you acquire ADD?) that I don’t really need another distraction.

This is Kallie on the aforementioned couch. It really is a cozy spot!

Enter Twitter. I know it’s not exactly a “new” thing, but I’ve purposefully avoided it over the past few years. That said, no one was as surprised as I was when I opened a Twitter account yesterday! Let me explain. This semester I’m taking a class called Computers and Writing which focuses on considering the pedagogical viability of using different technologies in the writing classroom. I’ve seen a few texts over the past year or so that explore using Twitter in the classroom and they seem really interesting. So interesting, that I’ve decided to focus my research for the class on how Twitter is/can be used in the college composition classroom. Effective research includes experience, right? So now you can follow me @VaughnJennie on Twitter. Fair warning: don’t expect frequent or copious tweets! If it’s anything like my Facebook habits, I’ll be more of a lurker than updater. Also, I’m still figuring out how the blasted thing works, Twitter not Facebook, that is. 

Another thing about technology…it can be overwhelming! Everything changes so quickly. In my previous version of this post I noted that my sweetie just gave me a new iPhone4s yesterday, too. I’m excited about using it, but Siri is a little disconcerting. First, her voice. Y’all, she sounds like what I imagine the robots who will take over the Earth sound like. Second, I hate that she disconnects before I can say, “Thank you”! Obviously, she was not created by a Southerner. I still say thank you, but it feels like our conversation is incomplete.

Well, I’ve told you about my most recent technological overload, but I’m still left with one burning question…If I “tweet” on Twitter am I a “twit”?

Much Love, --J

PS – Since I inadvertently deleted the first version of this post (durn it), I’ve learned one important lesson. I will type my posts in Word then copy/paste them into my blog. Y’all probably all do that already, but like the title suggests, I’m a little slow.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Back to school

It's the first day of classes! That's always an exciting day for me. This semester I've got some interesting projects in the works and I'm NOT teaching. I'm not yet sure how I feel about that. I LOVE teaching, but it's tough to teach classes and take classes, too. I'm looking forward to no grading (yuck!) But, I'll miss having students!

I'm also nervous about the work I will be doing this semester. I will be working as an assistant to two professors. One is writing a book and I'll be doing research for her. The other is Director of the First-year Writing Program and I'll do various projects for her. I'm super excited about the research and the writing program admin experience will be great on the ole CV. So why the nerves, right? Well, it's my skeptical just seems to easy, something's bound to happen. I shouldn't think like that, I know. I'm working to not be so pessimistic. I'm sure I'll be challenged and delighted by this semester like always! We'll see...

Much love, J

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Roll Tide!

Two of the cutest fans in T-town

I know we're still a few days away from the BCS National Championship game, but Tuscaloosa is just plain giddy, y'all! Our house (and others I'm sure) are watching the pre-pre-game coverage. The teams arriving in NOLA, profiles of various coaches and players, anything and everything related to Monday's big game. Of course, we want our team to win and I'm excited to see which of my students gets playing time!

So until kick-off, we're preparing to roll, pre-rolling, if you will. And, in case you're wondering, T-town will be closed Monday evening so just stay home and watch the game. Seriously. RTR!!!

Much Football Love, J

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Dinner and a Movie

I had a date last night. I asked this really cute and sweet guy to dinner and a movie. He said yes! It was so much fun! We saw the movie first -- Alvin and the Chipmunks Chipwrecked, and then we went to Chik-fil-a. Then we brought home some extra nuggets for K.

Me and my cute date

Yes, Holdyn and I had a great Mommy/son date! Hopefully we'll be able to make this a more regular event. Holdyn's almost as great a date as his daddy! ;)

Have you had a great date lately?

Much Love, J

Monday, January 2, 2012

Organizing the Chaos

Yes, I labeled my book shelves. Doesn't everyone?

In preparation for the end of Christmas vacation I'm trying to get this house cleaned out and organized. So far, I've tackled the linen closet, the cleaning supplies, the spice cabinet, and the pantry shelves. Today it was time to reorganize my office. The bookshelves were first. I categorized the books by type: fiction, nonfiction, comp/rhet, reference, and anthologies. I know, I'm incredibly nerdy, but I use all of these books - a lot - and I don't have time to dig around looking for what I need. After the bookshelves (which took a couple hours), I rearranged the desk, printer, and guest bed. Then separated the craft supplies from my sewing stuff. That way, the kids can get to the craft stuff without tumbling through my sewing patterns, fabric, and notions.

So, that's done! Now I need to get the toys and craft area in order. My closet needs a clean out. And when the kids go back to school on Thursday, I plan on a major overhaul of their junk, I mean bedrooms. Wheeee, I'm giddy thinking about how neat our nooks will be for 2012 (well, January anyway)!

What are you excited about for 2012?

Much Love, J

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Goals, not resolutions

This year I'm calling my plans for this new year goals, not resolutions. Resolutions never last (at least for me), but I have some success in reaching goals. So, that's it. This year's goals are: keep the blog current, read the Book of Mormon daily (personally and with the family), do some sort of physical exercise each weekday, write 500 words a day (personal or academic), and take at least one photo a day. I want to remember these wonderful, crazy, whirlwind days!

So today's photo...

Sweet little girl hands with freshly painted nails. Swoon!

I wonder what else I'll see this year? What are you hoping to accomplish in 2012?

Much Love, J

One year later...

Yikes! A whole year since I've updated this blog?! It doesn't seem possible. 2011 literally flew by! We moved "to town" last December (thus the name change) and have thrown ourselves into life here in Tuscaloosa. The kids started the new/old year at a new school and have thrived. I spent the year teaching Freshmen, bless them, studying, reading, and writing my brains out. K spent his days driving back and forth to work in Birmingham, watching Alabama football, and generally being the most awesome hubs and daddy around! In short, it was a fantastic year of busy-ness and blessings. The Country-turned-City Vaughns are doing alright and looking forward to 2012. The silliness, happiness, and craziness will continue (the yuckiness, tears, and heartaches will too) and maybe this space won't be so neglected this year. 

Much Love,