Sunday, September 30, 2012

Farewell, September!

Though fall didn't officially begin until shortly before 11 a.m. on the 22nd, it actually arrived weeks ago, gifting us with a glorious September of cool temperatures and sunny days. Like most Sundays, I had to spend today prepping for my three-hour seminar tomorrow but my husband went off on his motorcycle, armed with his good camera, in search of fall pictures for blogging, and of apples.

He brought back a trove of wonderful apples from our favorite orchard, and there's already an apple pie, made from scratch, in the oven, which will be his reward.

Apparently, the drought conditions that we had in July and August, which were followed by the generous rains this month, were good for the apple crops in Ohio so there's apples galore and they are wonderfully tasty.

I was sorry that I couldn't take a motorcycle ride with my husband today but I'm glad I finished all the reading I had to do for my honors seminar so that my lesson plan will be ready tonight, and I can devote the morning to grade. For the first time since the semester began my office hours are not full tomorrow, so perhaps I will get some quiet time to do work in the office.

This will be another busy week with a Hispanic Heritage Month event on Thursday (I won't be sad to see the celebrations come to a close a week from tomorrow), but we have October Break next week so at least there will be some down time from school work, which I plan to devote to the book.

In the meantime, farewell September, and thanks for having been a lovely month. May October, my favorite month of the year, outdo you both in beauty and in mildness. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Out with the old


Around here, September has been a busy month, not only because the semester is in full swing for me, but also because we've been in the midst of long-overdue household improvements. When we first moved into our old house in the small city, the deck and the backstairs were not in great shape but they deteriorated markedly over the years that we were away, living close to my small college on the hill.

When we returned here in January, we decided (at my husband's insistence) to get rid of the deck and the old stairs and replace them with a patio. I was not convinced, thinking that building another wood structure (another deck or a simple platform) might be better. But I have to say that my husband was right all along and the finished product has exponentially improved the back of the house.

My husband did all the work of dismantling the crumbling deck and of removing all the debris and contracting with someone who came and took it all. Then he also found someone else who laid the foundation for and then prepared the cement (exposed aggregate) patio.

Once the patio was finished, my husband also built our new stairs both from the back door and from the sliding glass door that used to lead onto the deck but now leads to the lovely patio. My husband also saw the $89 patio set that we bought (I had budgeted about $200-$300 for a table with an umbrella and some chairs) at a discount store. It might not be the highest quality but it's functional, pretty, and comfortable and no one's complaining about the price tag.

I've already had a chance to sit outside to read for class preparation and, though we have not had a chance to eat outside yet (we planned to do so today but the rain kept us inside), we're looking forward to getting many years of enjoyment out of the new patio. Tomorrow, we hope to find two evergreens to plant in the two large brown plastic pots I found at Walmart, also for a very good price, to give the patio some greenery.

In addition to the patio, next week we'll be getting the floor of the upstairs bathroom redone, after my husband pulled up the ancient, stained carpet (who puts carpeting in a bathroom?). I've disliked that carpet ever since we first moved into this place in 2004 but we never had a chance to replace it until now. Today, we bought very nice tile for 57 cents a piece (can't beat that price either!) and I can't wait to have a floor in the bathroom that I can actually mop.

This next week it'll be a month since classes began and so far so good. I love my three classes and have really good groups of students in all. The Honors Seminar is fantastic but I also enjoy my 100-level writing-intensive class and I also have a lot of fun with the group of students who are taking my Latin American/Latin@ literature class. It's a work-heavy semester, especially since I'm also up for tenure so I've had to spend a lot of time putting materials together for that, but I've been enjoying being back in the classroom.

I'm glad I have until December to finish the book project because, even though I have all four chapters and the Introduction written, so that I only have the Conclusion to write, I don't foresee getting much of a chance to work on it anytime soon. I don't want to rush the year away but I will not be sorry once my three-course semester, my tenure review, and my book are all done. I can look forward to the start of  2013 when I won't have to worry about at least two of those anymore.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Super cute

This photo of Chiquita taking a nap in the sun on our bed this afternoon is beyond cute.

After finishing the first full week of classes, today has been a picture-perfect day of breezy, fallish weather, spent away from this computer (something rare for me). I've mostly been reading literary theory in preparation for my Honors seminar on Monday. That was after running a few errands, including ordering a new pair of glasses (purple, for my small college on the hill, and pink, just because).

I'm so grateful for such a lovely Saturday (and for my cutest-of-them-all, Chiquita, too).