cell phone self-portrait

cell phone self-portrait
things are looking up

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Wednesday, December 14

Yesterday I turned 40 --- wow. Okay, so moving on ... :>)

Today I've: taken my car for a brake job, which is my Christmas gift from my fellow; worked with our VISTA, Cathleen, to set up her reflective "blog" here on Blogger.com. We have a Christmas luncheon at 12:30, and then after finishing the day, we are officially on vacation until Jan. 2!! Unreal. Can't wait to ... what? I'll probably work on my mother's transition from a nursing home in Georgia to one close by me, and I'll probably work on BeautiControl sales.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Friday, December 9

Well, there it is. My motto for the coming year, from Ghandhi. I'll claim it early, for my birthday (December 13), which is a pretty significant one: the big 40. Today, the new VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) and I are going to visit the local Red Cross and invite them to be included in our first annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service (January 16). It's 9:37 a.m., and we have to be there at 10 a.m., so this will be a short first blog. We're off to change the world!

The Change I Want to See in the World

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Long, Angry Wait for Help

The Long, Angry Wait for Help: "
In Jackson, Miss., confusion, politics, and a crush of evacuees and local townsfolk stir emotions at an aid site

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Feeling Crafty

Master craftsman

My tarot card for the day is the three of pentacles, also known as Master Craftsman.

Skills and abilities will be appreciated and rewarded.
Success through effort.
Artistic ability, rank, power, achievement.



sloppiness in workmanship.
Delay of recognition or recompense.
Preoccupation with gain at the cost of craft.

Well, now I know what to watch out for. That's half the battle. It's a lovely, sunny Thursday morning, and I don't have a single appointment with a student before lunch --- so I guess I'll catch up on grading and the like. My allergies are in full force, though, so until the pill kicks in I'll be miserably sneezy.

How about a little music by Shelby Lynne this morning? Well, you'll have to look up the music, but I can offer some of her lyrics:

"Well, this is it
no need in putting it off any longer
just turn around and walk out the door
you thought you had it all figured out
but baby you don't know what love's about

It's time for me to spend some time alone
I'm tired of trying to make this your happy home

Hey --- I'm leaving
and this time it's for good
you should've treated me the way you said you would"

Damn right, sister!!! I am woman --- hear me roar.

I hope everybody has a good day and doesn't put up with any ... you know.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Devil's Play

The Devil

The Devil is in the Details

I've drawn the Devil card today, which might mean

Greed, the monkey trap
Vehement desires, lust
bondage to an ideal
Bad or evil influence or advice
a choice upon which your fate depends


a release from bondage
a rest
a new life's direction

I'm going with that second reading. My friend Susan has a third reading based on her tarot deck, which is more abstract and playful than mine, and here it is:

Devil's Play

Laugh your fears and sorrows away.
Dance and drink to your successes.
Life your spirits by passion and play.
Recreate yourself through recreation.
be aware of risks under the influence of intoxicated madness
Stone blind, you may perform misdeed
out of ignorance, you are the devil. Watch out.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Magician

April is the Cruellest Month

I'm here, but not for long. Too much to do. I still haven't filed my taxes, for instance. Oh, boy. Well, here's a quick look at my tarot card:

The Magician

Opportunities to use talents.
The merging of the four elements.

Or, if I don't respond well and get enough sleep,

bad judgment causes loss

"Always use magic carefully," says my friend Susan, referring to the law of three. I have no idea what that means, so when I figure it out, I'll post it here so we all know.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Two of Wands

Two of Wands

I'm back. Spring Break wasn't much to write home about --- or blog about. I've been sick with a bad cold, lying on the couch watching Court TV and CNN (the Shaivo case). I guess the Tarot is appropriate:

Two of Wands: Watch and Wait

Wait to see if plans bear fruit.
Kindness, generosity, intellect
Well-balanced individual, creative
Good things coming, fulfillment

(Sounds nice!!)

I have a busy busy day with student appointments, so I'll have to freewrite more tomorrow.

Friday, March 18, 2005



My tarot card for today features a woman named "Justice" with ivy leaves in her hair --- scarlet robes with a ruby pendant gathering her green scarf at the center, just below her throat. She carries balances in one hand and a sword in the other.

She represents

Fairness, balance, equality, rightness, legal matters (uhoh), negotations


bias, prejudice, bigotry, intolerance, a bad judgment (legal -- double uhoh), and cruel punishment

It's the Friday before Spring Break, and I'm just too near a vacation to think of anything else. So this is the end of today's blog. I'll try to get back to it in a day or two, from home, with my hair in a towel and sitting happily in my p.j.'s.

Monday, March 14, 2005

queen of wands

"My Problem is You"

Just listening to a little Jackson Browne:

I have no problem with this crooked world
I play the cards I drew
No problem with the changes life has hurled
My problem is you

The song is called "Waiting for You," actually --- if anybody's interesting in looking it up.

I have no problem telling right from wrong
the way some people do
I know exactly where these arms belong
my problem is you

waiting for you --- waiting here for you

I don't worry about the ozone layer
just let those rays come through
when I'm outside I keep my clothes on
my problem is you

I don't worry about Madonna
or the next thing she might do
I don't worry about your Mama
my problem is you

Okay --- after a few days off the blog, I'm back with a lot on my mind. I'm about to read an article from the Christian Science Monitor called "Teens Ready to Prove Text-Messaging Skills Can Score SAT Points." It should be interesting, and I'm hoping it will have some tidbits I can include in an article I'm working on about technology and writing here at OC Tech.

My tarot card for today: Queen of Wands, a lady in a yellow and red dress with cascading sleeves and pictures of the sun. She's got a great smile --- and dimples. Sunflowers in the background. Cool.


A woman of considerable energy
very active, very passionate
fond of nature, generous, and practical


Strict, domineering, jealous,
vengeful. A deceitful woman.
Passion overrules all other concerns
A tendency toward unfaithfulness.

Uh oh. :>)

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Page of Pentacles


I have finally made doctor's and dentist's appointments after a long hiatus. It's been a rough two and a half years, and during that time my health has taken a back seat to all the other demands of my life. Maybe I am on the road to a healthier me, starting with the dental appointment I just made for Friday.

Still on my mind: the art of listening (I'm going to try some new strategies)

My tarot card: Page of Pentacles

Deep concentration
a bringer of messages
a young person makes the seeker proud
a careful child


bad news
illogical thoughts

I had a very scary dream in which I apparently had breast cancer. Thus, the sense of urgency has arisen to go to the doctor and have my parts checked out.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Ten of Cups

Doing the Budget

Preparing a Budget

I'm preparing my first professional budget as the director of the Writing and Professional Skills Studio at OC Tech. I don't enjoy the process, but it is becoming more clear and perhaps more manageable, now that I've received some guidance from the experts.

On my mind today: listening

I'm considering attending a "Deep Listening Retreat" in New Mexico in August. It sounds cool, and they need volunteers to prepare for the retreat --- free room and board. We'll see if I can come up with the money for the flight.

Today I am going to practice the fine art of listening and see how it turns out.

Tarot card: Ten of Cups (Welcome Home)

familial bliss
contentment of the heart
respect from your neighbors

(appropriate and timely, after a weekend visit home to Alabama)


the loss of a friendship
sadness or great disappointment

I've known a few of those lost friendships and sadnesses, but I try not to be indignant about it. "I think it's about forgiveness --- even if you don't love me anymore." (Don Henley)

Monday, March 07, 2005

Knight of Cups

Knight of Cups

I'm a little slow getting back in the groove today after a weekend trip to Alabama to see family and friends. I've been looking at political cartoons this morning, after I read the Writing Center Journal's blog about the importance of laughter --- because I like smart humor. I started the Atkins diet today. That's about all the news.

Knight of Cups reading:

an opportunity may be presented to the seeker
the arrival of a lover
approach, appeal, creativity, inspiration


a person capable of trickery
warning against fraud
competition for a love

Bring on the opportunities!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

5 of Wands

Why Johnny CAN Write

I had a consultation with a student named Johnny today, and it went very well; there were all kinds of light bulbs going off as we talked about strategies for writing, etc. Sometimes I know that I was meant to do this job --- and this was one of those times. He left feeling more confident and capable. That's what it's all about.

Things are more tricky in my personal life, so I guess I'd have to agree with today's tarot.

Today's card: the 5 of wands (Unfulfilled Struggle)

Unsatisfied desires
internal strife



My daughter sent me a quote that applies here: "The next rock in your path may be a stepping stone."

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The empress

Concepts in Composition

It's been a great day for ideas and collaboration so far. I've been sharing with my colleague, Leah, what I've learned from Irene L. Clark's Concepts in Composition: Theory and Practice in the Teaching of Writing, (see below), and she and others have been providing feedback on my first effort at producing a studio newsletter.

Tidbits from the book:

to help students understand audience, teach them the difference between reflection, conversation, correspondence, and publication

to help them understand the basic principles of written and spoken communication, emphasize the 5 keys to rhetoric: invention, arrangement, style, memory, delivery

Our temporary title for the studio newsletter is Entitled. I'll try to attach a copy here when I figure out how to do it.

Tarot card for today: "The Empress," a pregnant lady with a spinning wheel and a female gender symbol (so she's expecting a girl?)

Good advice
Hidden Actions
A competent woman, safe and secure, who is building a future for herself and her family.


Lack of satisfaction
the unraveling of involved matters (hmmm)

I suspect that the reading for me is closer to "the unraveling of involved matters"

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Page of Swords

Drum roll, please

It's Tuesday. I'm listening to Ryan Adams' music and trying to get organized. Really. I am determined to get some things done today that I've been putting off.

Today's card: the Page of Swords, a happy leaping girl with long, wild reddish brown hair and her sword raised to the sun. She's wearing my favorite color, cobalt blue.

Keenness of vision
Service done in secret
The seeker obtains the help of a younger person


Childish cruelty
unfortunate circumstances
the unforeseen
vulnerability in the face of opposing force

It's that unforeseen that gets me every time. :>)

Monday, February 28, 2005


Come Monday, it will be Alright?

I don't know about that, Jimmy Buffett. It's Monday now, and payday, and I've got bills to pay. Not much else to report. I'll post a photo of today's tarot, the 4 of pentacles, but skip the reading since it's all downhill. Suffice it to say that this is not a happy-go-lucky card.

I'm going to a salon later for a facial --- that should be nice and rejuvenating.

Sessions with students (two) have not been particularly satisfying today, either. Both were recalcitrant (I looked this up; it's "stubbornly resistant to guidance"), and I probably find that annoying because I get that way myself --- and we tend to dislike in others what we find in ourselves. It's funny because even when I know I am being stubborn, I do it anyway; it's almost a defensive gesture. If I can pin this behavior down and deal with it in myself, I'm sure that I will better be able to deal with it when I encounter it in students.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Six of Wands

Sunday Kind of Love?

I drew the Six of Wands today, and he looks like the knight on the white horse type --- but I don't see a real one approaching. Well, it's Sunday and I've come into town to feed my friend's dogs and cat again. I'm going to make a phone call to a friend in Alabama and then be on my way back to the apartment to enjoy the last of the weekend in front of the computer with a side view of the television. Woo hoo. I did buy a new CD that I like --- country hits from the 90's, including "Anymore" (Travis Tritt), "Look Heart No Hands" (Randy Travis), and "No Doubt About It (Neil?), three of my favorites.

"No chains
no strings
no fences
no walls
no net
just you
to catch me when I fall
Look heart ----
no hands."

As for that Six of Wands fellow, here's what he's supposed to represent:

Public acclamation
good news (important news)
reward for hard work
great expectations


inconclusive victory
acclaim with no real substance

The most provocative of those is "inconclusive victory." I'll have to think on that. My daughter is reading Great Expectations at school, so I'll have to tell her about the reading, also.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Saturday NOT in the park

It certainly isn't the fourth of July. It's a sunny but cold day and I've been inside working at the computer and alternately napping all day except for a brief trip to the Waffle House where I dined on Texas Bacon Cheesesteak and hash browns. I can't find anything on television to accompany my work. I think I'll go throw open the door and let a little sunshine in. The cats are begging me to at least open the blinds.

Friday, February 25, 2005


Ghosts and Angels

I've just read and responded to the latest blog on "Friends of the Writing Center Journal," and my head is full of ghosts.

I'm just a ghost in this house
I'm all that's left of two hearts on fire
that once burned out of control
you took my body and soul
I'm just a ghost in this house

I don't mind if it rains
I don't mind if its clear
I don't mind staying in
there's another ghost here
He sits down in your chair
and he shines with your light
and he lays down his head
on your pillow each night

Alison Krauss

Fortunately, I have an angel hovering around along with the ghosts. My tarot card today is "Temperance," represented by a golden-haired, golden-winged man-angel dipping his feet in a heavenly stream.


A moderate lifestyle
obtaining security through frugal management of means
all things in moderation (including moderation!)

All of this is interesting, coming on the heels of the party hearty card.


Competitive interests
too much caution
a person with whom it is impossible to work
misunderstanding others

Hoping to clear a few of these ghosts from my head.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

you gotta love Sherman Alexie's work

Nine of Cups

A Jolly Fellow

The Nine of Cups looks like a happy card. It features a large, smiling man dressed in royal colors and apparently balancing nine golden goblets on his shoulders. I'm feeling happier today, too, so it does seem that it's "in the cards." Tonight I get to watch one of my favorite films with my literature students (that is, if I can find a copy of the film today in a local movie rental place) --- it's Smoke Signals, based on the short story by Sherman Alexie called "This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona." I absolutely love the film and the soundtrack.

Here's the reading (Yeah!) --- Party Hearty

Sensual Pleasures
Wishes Fulfilled

or a little bit of this, but we won't think about it much:

an absence of upright qualities
self-indulgent behavior
temporary illness

Here's to a good, productive day with a little partying thrown in. I started off by having a pepperoni/turkey/pickle/banana pepper/Southwest sauce on Italian Herbs and Cheese bread from Subway for breakfast! Yum.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Page of Cups


Since I have drawn the Page of Cups today, I'm thinking about the play on words with "page," as in something to write on or to read, "a leaf, as of a book; one side of a page; to paginate; to turn pages" --- as opposed to "someone hired to run errands or deliver messages; to summon or call a person by name" (all definitions courtesy of Webster's New Riverside Dictionary).

I am turning over a new blog leaf, then, and I am simultaneously delivering a message and paging all readers to respond.

Reading of the Page of Cups:

a helpful youth of artistic temperament, studious and intense
a trustworthy and trusting employee
the seeker that finds a child brings joy
a birth

I find this interpretation hopeful because I have been wanting to have foster children for a long time now. Maybe this will be the year.

alternate reading: (not very encouraging). Self, let's try to avoid these:

poor taste
a lack of discretion
an unpleasant surprise

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

eight of cups

Eight of Cups

I laughed a good bit last night, watching some comedy on television and talking to a friend with a good sense of humor --- and ultimately, it helped to lift my spirits all around. Today, I'm feeling a little brighter than I have for the past few days. I just had a good writing consultation with an English 155 student who is writing a narrative essay about an episode of unforgiveness in her life and the steps that led her to forgive the one who had wronged her. My appointment book is completely filled today, so it should be an interesting day.

The message from the Eight of Cups card is supposed to be --- Enough of This!


abandonment of this phase of life
rejection of material things
a turning toward spiritual things
disappointment in love
a search for new paths

or, alternately:

a search for pleasure
new love
an abandonment of the responsibilities of life


Monday, February 21, 2005

Seven of Wands

Seven of Wands

I'll stay on the tarot theme today and remark that yesterday was a blue day. I'm still not in the most hopeful mood, so maybe the 7 of Wands is an accurate card to describe my current situation.

Some possible readings:

success against obstacles
problems solved or turned aside

or alternately,

misgivings about an outcome
hestitancy causes a loss

I'm thinking of trying a strategy recommended on the Writing Center Mailing List by Margaret Carroll: drawing a picture of my internal editor, that voice that says "That's wrong, you can't write that, no one will understand, etc." According to Margaret, drawing seems to help her and her fellow tutors "be incredibly present, grounded, focused." Oh, to be any of those.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

The Page of Wands

Sunny Days

I love these bright and sunny days. They make me feel as if the world is starting over. I slept until 9:30 today and then headed off to do some chores, including picking up boxes of books from my storage building and bringing them into the writing studio. I breakfasted at Subway -- something healthy (self-applause) and went by my friend Kat's house to feed her two fox-hounds. She's away for this season's Hunting Ball and having a great time, I hope.

Not much in the way of intellectual commentary today. I do have a tarot card that seems to capture the essence of the power of sunlight. I'll post it here and maybe somebody who visits the blog can reflect on "The Page of Wands" and provide an interpretation. Some possible readings from the Robin Wood Tarot instruction booklet are as follows:

a child with too much energy
a faithful or loyal person
a stranger who explodes into the seeker's life with good intentions
a great idea leading to success
a good employee

the reverse readings for this card include:

childish pranks
bad news
the behavior of an acquaintance that leads the seeker to doubt his or her sincerity
a gossip

These are all thing worth pondering.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Out of the ashes


This morning I'm still thinking about Eudora Welty's short story "A Worn Path," which I taught last night, and about the character Phoenix Jackson. I gathered my students around me and had them read the story aloud. We talked about the hunter that Phoenix encounters in the woods, who rescues her from the ditch but also points his gun at her in arrogance. We considered the old woman's journey into town and the obstacles she faces as a Christian allegory --- she, the Christ figure emerging from the thorny bush and arriving at her destination because of her determined love for a child. We also discussed the mythical phoenix, rising from the ashes, and the blend of this myth with the Christian symbolism. Phoenix is so like a small, frail bird, but she rises each year at a certain season (around Christmas) and follows the Natchez Trace into town to the doctor's office to get medicine for her grandson. Though her memory fails her occasionally while she makes the journey, she knows she has arrived when she sees the framed certificate (diploma) nailed on the wall with its golden seal. When we talked about the Christian symbolism in that, one of my students brilliantly pointed out that the golden seal suggested "King of the Jews."

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Hands with Coffee

For I Have Known Them All Already

I've just read and responded to Anne Gellar's blog entry (at Friends of the Writing Center Journal) about how we always think we are going to have more time available down the road. It made me think of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," so I'll copy part of the poem here:

For I have known them all already, known them all: ---
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

It's a strongly visual line --- "I have measured out my life with coffee spoons." I see myself in the kitchen with a can of Folger's and a teaspoon, scooping up one spoonful at a time and tossing it in a cup that has no bottom and thus cannot be filled, or tossing it up in the air, so that it is wasted, like so many minutes of mine. My life grows stale, too, like old coffee, and after all it's only "instant" coffee --- not the real deal, from the bean, ready to be ground kind. I hardly ever drink coffee, in fact, so the can stays on the shelf until company comes. I guess in between I measure out my life with allergy pills. :>)

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

the c.d.

the video

Ophelia was ...

"Ophelia was the circus queen, the female cannonball, projected through five flaming hoops to wild and shocked applause" (Natalie Merchant, "Ophelia".)


That's Not Funny! (as I snicker)

Yesterday afternoon I received a link to the Onion article, "Project Manager Leaves Suicide Power Point Presentation," and I hate to admit it but I laughed heartily at humor that is probably in very bad taste. Who can resist quips like "I just wish he would have shot me an e-mail asking for help"? The article pokes fun at technology-speak and at our complete inability to communicate on any real level about our personal pain. It's nothing new --- look at Hamlet's observations about Ophelia:

"She speaks much of her father, says she hears
There's tricks i' the world, and hems, and beats her heart,
Spurns enviously at straws, speaks things in doubt
That carry but half sense. Her speech is nothing,
Yet the unshaped use of it doth move
The hearers to collection; they yawn at it,
And botch the words up to fit their own thoughts" (IV, v, 4-10)

Natalie Merchant's song "Ophelia" implies that all women are Ophelia. Listen and see what you think.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The book


I love the word "socioeconomic." Last week, I had a friend over for dinner. It was casual, and I sat our plates down in the living room in front of the television. When he asked if I wanted to eat at the table, I said, "No. The table is for fancy dinners. Where you're from, people eat at the table. Here in the lower socioeconomic classes, we eat in front of the t.v." :>)

In her essay, "Pedagogies of Belonging: Listening to Students and Peers," (see the latest Writing Center Journal,) Julie Bokser addresses the socioeconomic differences revealed when many students enter university studies:

"After they are admitted, many students find actually joining the university to be disorienting and even daunting, especially those whose socioeconomic, racial, linguistic, and/or educational worlds differ markedly from the academic world they encounter in college" (43). And how. I'm reminded of This Fine Place So Far From Home, a collection of essays by working class academics that features an essay called "Stupid Rich Bastards." It tells one woman's story of growing up with a father who was a junk dealer and then ending up in graduate school. Funny and too true. Often our parents want us to go to college, but they don't want us to change.

More later. I've got to meet with a student.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Our studio logo

"Come writers and critics who prophesize with your pen" (Bob Dylan)
Posted by Hello

That's me in the middle. These are my colleagues at OC Tech, posing with me in the Writing and Professional Skills Studio.
Posted by Hello

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Blog 1

Dusk --- or, as Alice Elliot Dark calls it, the gloaming. I have so much work to do, but this time of the day makes me want to crash. A bunch of whining guys on the Discovery Channel, some show about building cars. All machismo. I've cleaned the apartment just in case I have a gentleman caller, or any caller. Lonely to the max. It can't be healthy for anybody to spend this much time alone --- unless, of course, he or she is called by God to monasticism. I certainly wasn't.