Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Potpourri No. 34

Life, single-serving style…

Still Waiting on That Thanks
Melanie and I still have not celebrated Thanksgiving. The idea of celebrating it now feels a bit absurd, but we still plan to. At this point, however, we plan to wait until after Christmas. Between now and Christmas time, it seems too busy to deal with making a big feast and spending an extra day in full-on holiday mode. However, the week after Christmas seems like a great time to relax and enjoy being at home together in a spirit of peace and gratitude. That restores my interest in celebrating Thanksgiving, even if it is a month or so late.

Told You So, Redux
I recently posted about my experiences as a TA during the fall semester. I mentioned that although my main job as a TA is to grade papers, the instructor for whom I worked insisted on reading over every single paper I graded and determining their final scores himself. In short, it seemed I was doing nothing worthwhile. Since writing about these things, I have turned over two more stacks of essays to this instructor. While he only altered a few grades in one stack of papers, he adjusted a staggering 38% of the scores I assigned to the other papers. This other batch happened to be the “long essay” of the semester, which was weighted heavier than any other assignment. I suspect the instructor altered these scores so radically as a way to manipulate the overall final grades of the semester. Why else would he adjust some scores by a single point? Conversely, why else would he adjust some scores by as much as 16 points? Surely the paper I assigned a D+ could not have legitimately warranted the B he gave it. Yes, I sense some manipulation of the data. Oh well.

Baby Steps
A few weeks ago, I submitted my first-ever proposal for a conference talk. I probably should have presented at a conference or two (or ten) by this point in my career, but I haven’t. This is my first attempt. I won’t find out the results until January, but I’m proud of myself for taking this step. I was shocked at how much anxiety I felt merely sending in my proposal. I think I was just paranoid that I would overlook something that would botch my efforts, such as a stupid typo that would undermine any and all professionalism for which I’d strived. Alas, if all goes well, I’ll be speaking at Princeton’s theological seminary in early March. Stay tuned!

Love Stinks
For some time now, Edison has lovingly referred to me as “Stinky.” I don’t know what led to this nickname, but truth be told, it’s rather endearing. He always says it with so much love and affection. It’s not something he says if he’s in anything less than a really good, happy mood. And I know he didn’t come up with it because of any of the foul smells that I sometimes emit. The title is meant as nothing other than an expression of love. And that suits me just fine. I love being Stinky.

Hangin’ Tough
For being a four-year-old, Peter is exceptionally good at reading and writing. This is due in large part to his being involved so much in Edison’s schooling. But this doesn’t mean Peter’s youth doesn’t shine through in some of the things he does. Today, I played Hangman with Peter for the first time. I was the one guessing letters in an effort to solve the six-letter word. After incorrectly guessing “A,” “I,” and “E,” I was given a freebie. Peter filled in the middle four blanks with O’s. “Boooo!” came to mind, and notwithstanding the fact that this would require the final blank spot to be filled with an exclamation point rather than a letter, I guessed “B” on my next turn. Wrong. I next guessed “P,” thinking the word could very well be “poooop.” Peter’s quite a fan of poop jokes, and “poooop” seemed as likely an answer as anything. But I was wrong. There was no “P.” After a few more incorrect guesses, I landed an “M.” I then guessed almost the entire alphabet before Peter got tired of the game and revealed that the word was “moooon.” And yes, he dragged out the “O” sound, well aware that he had included more than was necessary to spell the word correctly. In actuality, I’m pretty sure Peter decided what letters were in the word as we went along.

Creegan is very affectionate. Whenever I leave the house, he insists on giving me several hugs and kisses before I go. It can actually get a bit tiresome, as it frequently becomes a minutes-long process. He’ll know I’m leaving and give me hugs and kisses. Then, once I actually open the door, he wants to start the process over again. I get a pre-door-opening series of hugs and kisses, and then another series of hugs and kisses once I actually put one foot outside. I guess that’s better than having him not care at all that I’m leaving, but it can be surprisingly time consuming. He also likes to give me hugs and kisses before I go into our home office to work, often with both pre-door-opening and post-door-opening sessions of hugging and kissing. I can’t take it too personally, however. Creegan does this for everyone. In fact, his latest habit is to walk down the row of parked cars in our parking lot and kiss the hood of each car before he’ll get into our van to go somewhere. He’s basically kissing all of the cars goodbye. Let’s just hope this is a sign of sweetness and not of mild brain damage.


  1. I can't believe Nat changed a D+ to a B! How rude!!!! And I forgot to tell you that Eddie prayed yesterday that he was happy to see Daddy coming home from his walk before we left to the library. He then corrected himself and reprayed to say Stinky instead of Daddy. He then told me that you will always be Stinky to him, even when he is all grown up!