Saturday, May 31, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 63

Summer School

I've taught now for 17 years, and I've never chosen to teach during the summer...until now.

Last summer, I took an amazing leadership course at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

This week, I began co-teaching a version of that course at Fresno State in the doctoral program in educational leadership, in the Kremen School of Education and Human Development.

I have the incredible honor to be co-teaching with Dr. Jeri Echeverria, former Provost at Fresno State. We taught Thursday and Friday night, and all day today, so I'm exhausted. If you take the time to watch this clip of Jeri, I feel confident you'll see, right away, why I feel so honored.

Friday, May 30, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 62

I'll Have the Combo, Please!

I know it's really old-fashioned, but my Netflix subscription is still for DVDs. I get two at a time, and if I stopped adding movies to my queue right now, I'm pretty sure I'd still be receiving DVDs in, oh, 2016. Seriously. There's a lot of movies in my queue.

So many, in fact, that I rarely know what's coming next; it's kind of like Christmas every time one of those red envelopes shows up, as I don't know what movie (or show or documentary) it is until I open it.

Most of the time, I'll get a few DVDs in a row that are similar in content or theme because, when I put them in the queue MONTHS ago, I really wanted to watch, say, documentaries on Scotland...or movies that Matt Damon is in...or the entire third season of "Big Love."

This week, though, two with no immediately apparent similarities arrived:

A documentary about three ultra marathon runners who ran across the Sahara desert. And a children's cartoon about a boy and his dragon.

I really don't have any explanation for why those both went into the queue at the same time. Was it "Hmmmm...I feel like watching movies about things that are fire-hot!" or "I want to watch movies about things that are completely implausible." Unlikely.

Whatever I was after, they both were good. And Matt Damon narrated the Sahara one, if that counts for anything.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 61

For Bob

Because he loves "The Godfather" movies.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 60

Gettin' Stringy

I think I've cooked more in the week since graduation than I did all last semester. We're still sharing the kitchen duties, as Bob's been doing some killer barbeque, but if not the main dish, I've at least been contributing side dishes. Last night, it was a new twist on preparing fresh green beans. I LOVE green beans, and have been known to stir-fry an entire bag of frozen ones from Trader Joe's and finish just about all of them with my dinner. Mmm-mmm!

This recipe, though just a little more time-consuming than that, was REALLY good, and I'll definitely be making it again soon. It's from the April issue of "Cooking Light." What else?


Cooking spray *I used our olive oil spray bottle -- the only spray chemicals in the house are to keep my golden locks in place*
8 ounces green beans, washed and drained *if they didn't tell you to wash 'em, would you skip it?*
1 1/2 teaspoons butter *One of the reasons I love "Cooking Light" -- they use butter and STILL keep it healthy!*
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon *You can substitute parsley, chives or thyme...I used thyme*
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Heat a medium, heavy skillet (not nonstick) over high heat for 2 minutes. *If you have a fan above your stove, you'll wanna use it, unless you have time to wave a towel underneath your fire alarm for the duration*
2. Coat pan with cooking spray *spray olive oil*. Immediately add green beans to pan, shaking them into a single layer; cook, without stirring, 2 minutes or until beans are very lightly charred. Cook beans 5 more minutes or until crispy-tender and evenly charred, tossing occasionally.
3. Remove pan from heat. Let beans rest 1 minute. *They've had a hard day* Add butter; toss until butter melts and coats beans. Add vinegar; toss. Turn on heat if necessary to evaporate most of liquid. Sprinkle beans with tarragon *Did I forget to mention I used thyme?* and salt; toss. Serve immediately. *And with napkins, as you'll be licking your fingers!*

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 59


I read this article about hand-lift procedures in Sunday's "New York Times."

Yes. The metacarpus equivalent of a face-lift. Apparently, blushing brides have taken to seeking plastic surgery for their hands so that those 'wedding ring selfies' reveal only smooth, beautiful skin.

Granted, I am going to be a first-time bride at the youthful age of 48, which I realize, is vastly different than being a bride in my 20s or even 30s. And please know, I do not begrudge the over-the-top-most-amazing-day-of-your-life weddings that young people plan for themselves. I think it's beautiful, and I cry when I get to share those special days with them.

We don't want all that, though. What's important to Bob and me is that we do something that is personally meaningful to us, big or small; that our family is with us when we exchange our vows; and that our family and friends have a blast at a lively, informal celebration afterwards.

Sure we want to have beautiful pictures...but for goodness sake...real pictures.

We took this shot ourselves, and put it on our 2013 Christmas card, as we thought it would be a fun way of "announcing" our engagement.

According to that NY Times article, I should have been more self-conscious about my wrinkles and veins. Don't get me wrong...I did notice them. But it never dawned on me to have them "fixed" so they'd look better for a picture.

I earned every one of those wrinkles.

Those hands...
...pitched Little League games.
...washed dishes at the Country Kitchen when I was just 11.
...did time sampling for research to earn my Ph.D.
...gripped handle bars while I raced bikes as a Velo Bella.
...graded more papers than I can count at this point.
...typed articles for magazines like VeloNews and Shape. dogs that I adored (Buffy, Salt, Pepper, T-Bone, Bailey, Kezia).
...held onto my big brother's shoulder at the funeral of one of his childhood friends.
...caressed my dad's hair as I cried on his chest and said my final goodbye to his earthly body.

And now, they hold Bob's hands on a daily basis, and remind me that we're together. And will be for a very, very long time.

Hand-lift? I don't need no stinking hand-lift.

P.S. I used a Thesaurus to find "metacarpus."

Monday, May 26, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 58

My Favorite Veteran

On this Memorial Day, in honor of my dad,
thank you to all those
who have served,
who are serving,
and who will serve.

Love and miss you, Dad.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 57

Summer = Salads

Though Fresno hasn't even begun to get as hot as it will be as the summer goes on, it's time to break out some of our favorite salad recipes. I made one to go alongside the chicken and corn-on-the-cob that Bob bbq'd for Michelle, Jesse and me tonight. It's a "Cooking Light" version of that yummy broccoli salad that's usually dripping in sugary-mayonnaise sauce; it's much lighter and tastes fresher and better, I think. You'll have to try for yourself.

"Cooking Light," June 2003
Reader Recipe / Gwenn Larson, Edina, Minnesota

4 cups small broccoli florets (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 1/2 cups seedless green grapes, halved (I leave these out.)
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup raisins
1/4 cup salted sunflower seed kernels
1/3 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain fat-free yogurt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar)

1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Combine mayonnaise and remaining 3 ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Pour dressing over broccoli mixture, and toss well. Chill 1 hour.
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)
Calories 175; Fat 5.7g; Protein 3.4g; Carb 31g; Chol 4mg; Iron 1.2mg; Sodium 148mg; Calcium 44mg

Of course, it might have tasted so good because Michelle and I had built up an appetite during the hula-hooping competition we had in the backyard while Bob was bbq'ing. She's a lot better than me -- she can walk and hula-hoop at the same time!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 56

High School Reporter

When I moved in with Bob and Michelle, the house wasn't big enough for all of our combined stuff. We put a lot in storage, and filled one extra bedroom with all the stuff I thought I had to have in reach.

Now, almost two years later, we've been sorting through everything in that room so that we can actually have some room. One of the things there that needs to be cleaned out and re-organized is a container of mine, filled with all sorts of loose photos, cards, old school things, and odds-and-ends from traveling. The kind of stuff you're supposed to put in scrapbooks and/or photo albums...but rarely ever do. Today, I finally sat down in the middle of the floor of that room, and started looking through the first drawer.

I hadn't gotten too far when I came across this.

It's one of my old high school "newspapers," and I have a stack of them. This is the masthead:

I remember working on our yearbook staff, but I totally forgot about our newspaper. Yes, it's just a few 8 1/2 x 11 pieces of colored paper stapled together, but hell, it was 1981-1984...we still had typing classes, for goodness sake! (Not keyboarding...typing.)

Our editor, Arleen Annett (now Mills, of Hays Street Cafe fame, in Bridgeport) must have been quite the slave driver, as those papers have a lot of articles in them -- and some of them are a hoot. Well, a hoot to 1980's high schoolers.

In the Homecoming edition, I wrote this one, for instance:

Now that it is the year 1982, we high schoolers have discovered two problems concerning money. One, no longer are you able to buy a gumball for a penny. And, two, senior trips now cost in the thousands of dollars instead of only the hundreds. To solve this problem, each class is, basically, going for it: Operation Much Moola.
First of all, but by no means number one, the freshmen, class of '86. ('86?! You've got to be kidding!!) Their story is a unique one: Simply, they have no idea what to do, or how to go about it. In fact, some of them don't even know enough to get out of the way of a door opening toward them. When asked the question, "What is the freshman class doing to raise money for their senior trip?" by this roving reporter, one freshman replied, "Senior trip? I'm not a senior, I'm a freshman." If the freshman class was smart, they'd start saving all the pennies that they have to push across the gym floor. They'd make more money than they're making now.
1985. Sounds far away, doesn't it? But, actually in only two years our little sophomores will be macho seniors. Although as freshmen last year, the class of '85 seemed to be enthusiastic, as of the second week of school this year, they still hadn't found an advisor. It seems that all of the teachers are very hesitant about taking on the responsibility of this class. I don't know what the teachers are afraid of. Jim Sayer stated that the most violent thing the sophomores did as freshmen was ganging-up on a six-foot-180-pound senior after an assembly and hitting him to the ground. No biggie.
Let's face it. The junior class of 1984 is loaded. This is only their third year in high school, and already they have nearly 2,000 dollars. And, there's going to be mega-amounts of money coming in soon, if all goes as planned. The juniors plan on selling t-shirts, as they've done since they were itsy-bitsy frosh in 1981. A rifle-raffle is another project, and they're even discussing selling community calendars. The juniors need to work extra hard this year in preparation for the Junior-Senior Banquet, which, traditionally, the junior class pays for. Seniors, would you settle for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in Hardy Park?!
Finally, we come to the mighty class of '82. (Drum roll, please) THE SENIORS. Not wanting to be sued, this paper will not print the seniors' past history of money-making successes. Unlike prior years, however, senior prez Shelly Benson states, "The seniors are gung-ho on making money. Well, some seniors, not all. We could stand some improvement in that area." The seniors plan on pushing See's suckers and M&M's. They are having cake raffles at football and basketball games, and are also running concessions. What with all the sugary stuff, kind of sounds like they want to leave a school full of roly-poly students behind next year.
We all need money. Support each other, and we'll be able to better support ourselves.
by Kathie Reid

I really did miss my calling as a journalist, yes?!

Friday, May 23, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 55

Finally Made the Grade

With only a few days to spare before grades are officially due, I've FINALLY finished all of my grading, and posted final grades, for the Spring 2014 semester.

The last thing I graded was the final exam for my Middle Childhood class, and, as I did with my Advanced Theory final described in an earlier blog entry, I threw in a "relax-and-breathe-for-a-moment-cuz-you-can't-get-this-wrong" item: "What is the most important thing you learned about yourself this semester?"

Couldn't resist sharing this answer with you:
"I learned that I should really look into what a class actually is before enrolling in it, and to see if I'm interested in it."
Hmmmmm...what exactly was this student trying to tell me?

Thankfully, there were also answers like this:
"To believe in myself. I never trusted my intelligence until I applied myself to this class. Thank you, Kathie. Your teaching style has made my performance as a student increase greatly."


Thursday, May 22, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 54

On a Roll

For the second time this week, I made dinner.

Another recipe from the April issues of "Cooking Light."


1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced leek (about 2 large) (I love leeks...don't you?)
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
7 ounces frozen artichokes, thawed and coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
1 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup organic vegetable broth (I didn't go organic)
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Dash of ground red pepper
4 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
2 ounces vegetarian Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup) (I didn't go vegetarian)
Cooking spray (I used our olive oil sprayer -- don't like all the chemicals in cooking spray)
6 cooked lasagna noodles (I used Barilla's no-cook lasagna noodles)

1. Preheat oven to 375. (It's summer in Fresno, for goodness sake...turn the oven on at the last possible minute)
2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add leek; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add asparagus; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and thyme; cook 1 minute. Stir in artichokes; remove from heat.
3. Combine 1/2 cup milk and flour in a saucepan, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Stir in remaining 1 cup milk and broth. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Simmer 1 minute or until thickened. Add rind and next 4 ingredients (through red pepper).
4. Combine cheeses in a small bowl. Spread 1/2 cup milk mixture in bottom of an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray (olive oil). Cut bottom third off each noodle to form 6 large and 6 small noodles. (The Barilla noodles fit perfectly in this size dish, without breaking them.) In a single layer, arrange 2 large and 2 small noodles over milk mixture to fit pan (2 whole Barilla noodles do the trick); top with one-third of vegetable mixture, one third of remaining milk mixture, and one-third of cheese mixture. Repeat layers twice, ending with cheese. Cover with foil coated with cooking spray (ummm...olive oil). Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.
5. Preheat broiler to high.
6. Uncover lasagna; broil on middle rack of oven for 2 minutes or until cheese is browned. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Serves 6
Calories 276; Fat 10.4g; Protein 16g; Carb 31g; Fiber 4g; Chol 22mg; Iron 3mg; Sodium 575mg; Calc 367mg

Enjoy with a fresh spinach and strawberry salad, a heated buttered roll, and a glass of wine. Oh, and the company of your honey!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 53

Meanwhile, Back in Scotland...

Three years ago today, I ran the Cape Wrath Challenge in Durness, Scotland. My first -- and so far, only -- marathon. And in June, after Bob and I returned home, I had big plans to document our trip on my blog. I did an entry for the first day of the trip, and planned on adding an entry for each successive day, and sometimes, just for an event (there was a week's worth of running and social events leading up to the marathon), but the first entry was as far as I got.

Now that I'm back on here for the "100 Days Project," though, it seems a good time to pick up where I left off. So, to refresh my memory and the memory of anyone else who cares to follow along, here's the entry for the first day.

Over the next week or so, I'll add the rest of the trip. It might not be posted on successive days, as I'll want to give each a significant amount of thought and time, but it will get done before I finish this project. I'm looking forward to reliving the trip.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 52

The Big Screen on the Home Screen

In the last four days, I've seen four great movies. Bob and I watched two of them together, and I watched the other two on my own while stretching after a run and/or while doing a core workout.

We saw these two together -- both are based on true stories:

"Captain Phillips" is gripping, to put it lightly. And "The Monuments Men" is an amazing story about events during World War II that I didn't know much about.

I saw these two on my own -- both are fascinating documentaries.

"The Street Stops Here" is about Bob Hurley, an incredibly dedicated former-parole-officer-turned-high-school-basketball coach. Definitely tough love. And "Prodigal Sons" at first appears to be about a transgendered woman's return to the Montana town where she grew up as a boy, but is really about the search for identity and love that is central to all of our lives.

Check out the trailers:

Captain Phillips

The Monuments Men

The Street Stops Here

Prodigal Sons

Gotta love home theater.

Monday, May 19, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 51

Farther into the Fire

The cooking fire, that is. I actually cooked the entire dinner tonight. Amazing, the things that can be accomplished when I leave the office at 5:00. It's like there's a whole 'nother day I didn't realize I'd have!

Anyhoo, tonight I made some fresh Radish Salad with Avocado Dressing, and took care of the main dish, too: Spicy Mediterranean Meatballs.

No, that's not me, or the meatballs -- just a picture I found on the internet when I looked for "chef" pictures. Gotta love Dom DeLuise...I bet you didn't know he wrote this great children's book that I used to use with my preschoolers:

But, I digress.
I actually took a picture of Bob's dinner before we both dug in, but once our plates were empty, realized I didn't have a memory card in my camera. Duh. So, had to go to the internet for a photo to go with this entry...
but I digress again.

So, Bob found this recipe in a 'Sunset: Fresh Ways with Pasta' cookbook we have. He's been wanting to try it for a few weeks now, so I decided to surprise him with it when he came home tonight. It went over quite well, and if you want to give it a try, here's the recipe:


Herbed Meatballs (recipe follows)
3 tablespoons salad oil
2 medium-size onions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley (I used cilantro, of course)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 large tomatoes (about 12 oz. total), peeled and chopped (I just chopped)
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) regular-strength beef broth
1 beef bouillon cube
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 pound dry spaghetti (I used penne)
1 cup (about 5 oz.) grated Parmesan cheese

Prepare Herbed Meatballs and set aside.

Heat oil in a wide frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until they begin to soften (about 5 minutes). Stir in garlic, ginger, cumin, paprika, cilantro, vinegar, tomatoes, broth, and bouillon cube. Increase heat to high and cook, stirring, until mixture comes to a boil. Add meatballs; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.

Lift meatballs carefully from sauce and keep warm. Add tomato paste to sauce; increase heat to high and cook, stirring often, until sauce is thickened (about 10 more minutes).

Meanwhile, in a 6- to 8-quart pan, cook spaghetti in 4 quarts boiling water just until tender to bite (10 to 12 minutes); or cook according to package directions. Drain well, transfer to a warm deep platter, and top with meatballs. Spoon sauce over spaghetti and meatballs. Serve with cheese to add, to taste. Makes 8 servings.

Herbed Meatballs. Crumble 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef into a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs, 3 eggs, and 1 large onion, finely chopped; mix well. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley (I used cilantro), 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint (Eeeewww....I don't like mint in food, so left this out -- mint is meant for Girl Scout Cookies and chewing gum, period. Well, and breath mints), 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves; mix lightly until thoroughly combined. Shape into 1-inch balls.

Per Serving; 620 calories, 32 g protein, 56 g carbohydrates, 29 g total fat, 152 mg cholesterol, 1,026 mg sodium.

Spaghetti-O's ain't got nothin' on this!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 50

Back in the Kitchen

School's out. Well, kind of. My grades aren't submitted yet because I haven't finished grading some papers and one set of finals. But graduation is over. Spring classes are over. And, though I have a busy summer ahead of me with plenty of work, things will slow down a little. And best of all, my schedule becomes much more flexible than it is during the regular semester. I love that.

I hope to get back into the kitchen a bit. Lucky for me, Bob loves to cook, so he's been doing all the heavy lifting the past few months. I like to cook, too, though, so hope to start taking on my fair share. That started today at dinner, and apparently, I'm easing in, as Bob made steak tacos, while I prepped some of the taco fixin's, and made a Radish Salad with Avocado Dressing.

It's a recipe from the April issue of "Cooking Light," and turned out pretty well. If you wanna give 'er a try, here's the 411:


Place 1/2 cup diced avocado, 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce in a blender; blend until smooth. Combine 1 cup sliced radishes, 1/2 cup halved grape tomatoes, and 5 ounces mixed greens; drizzle with dressing. Top with 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds.
Serves 6 (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups)
Calories 80; Fat 6.7g; Sodium 121mg

Here's to a bountiful summer!

Friday, May 16, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 48

Class of 2014

We had our college commencement today. Our department, which is the Department of Child, Family, and Consumer Sciences, is part of the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (JCAST), and we had our JCAST Commencement today.

I think this cap that one of our Child Development students wore summed things up nicely. (Thanks, Emily Ann!)

It's pretty cool being able to graduate all over again each year.

100 Days Project -- Day 47

Dear Student ~

Yes, I know you're anxious about your grade in the course. And I know you really want to know when I'll have your paper graded.

I'll have it graded just as soon as I get done answering all of the other emails like yours...requesting when everything will be graded.

With the Most Sincere Sympathy ~
Your Professor

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 46

Me thinks I had a few Calvins this semester...

Thankfully, though, I had way more Thomases...

The Thomases keep me going.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 45

Here's Lookin' Up Yer Kilt!

These historical novels... this amazing author...

...have been made into this series...

...and will premier on STARZ on August 9.

Be still, my little Scottish-American heart!

100 Days Project -- Day 44

Oh Dear

Perhaps it's time for me to stop grading for the night.

I'm using a rubric I created in Blackboard to grade papers that were submitted online. After I've entered the scores in the rubric, I leave a quick "See rubric and accompanying feedback" message so the student will know to click on the rubric link.

Right before hitting "submit" just now for a student's paper, I realized I'd typed "See rubric and accompanying hogwash."


Sunday, May 11, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 43


When I met Bob, Michelle was about 17.
She wanted him to date me before he was ready to date me.
When he finally asked me out, Michelle was 19, and she still wanted him to date me.
When we moved in together -- all three of us -- Michelle was 21.
Michelle and I liked each other. And we still do.

I feel really lucky.
I also realize that, even though her dad and I are getting married, Bob and her mom had already raised her long before I came along.
While I love our relationship, and the three of us are definitely family, I would not dare to imagine that she'd ever think of me as a "mom" figure.

I received this, shortly after waking up this morning:

And pretty damn cool.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 42

Reason Enough

Monday is the beginning of Finals Week. Because I'm department chair currently, I teach three classes instead of the normal four-class load, and I gave one of my finals already. I had permission from our dean's office because it was scheduled for this Thursday night, 8:00 to 10:00 pm, which is the night before our JCAST Commencement -- our college's graduation. It's a bit cruel-and-unusual to make graduating seniors hang out taking a final exam until almost midnight when they'd really rather be home hanging out with all the family and friends who have arrived in town to go to their graduation the next day.

So, this weekend, I'm grading those finals. It's for an advanced theory course, and rumor around the department is that students think it's kind of hard. Of course, I don't think it's unreasonably hard. But yes, students do need to know their stuff, and my experience has been that, when I hold them to high (but reasonable) standards, they rise to the occasion more often than not. A lot more often than not.

On their normal exams, given during the semester, I do like to throw in a question or two that might ease some of their anxiety...hell, might even make them smile a little. Like, a multiple choice question that asks

Which of the following is our mascot here at Fresno State?
a. a peacock
b. Sheldon, from "Big Bang Theory"
c. Baby New Year
d. "Time Out"
e. Dr. Reid's pet hamster

On final exams, I like to throw in one short answer question that elicits reflection on the semester. On this one, I asked, "What is the most important thing you learned about yourself this semester?"

Not only does this likely provide them with a few moments to breathe easy, as they realize there is no wrong answer, but it also encourages them to take a breath, in the middle of the anxiety of finals, and think about what they've just accomplished.

Today, I read this answer to that question in one of the exams:

"The most important thing I have learned about myself is that, when I apply myself, good things happen. I'm a horrible procrastinator and this class really pushed me to stay on top of things. It also helped to show that I have the knowledge I need for my future. I don't need to rely on teachers to give me the information or tell me what answers they are looking for because I already know the answers. By applying myself and looking to myself for answers, and the knowledge I have learned...I can do great things."

Reading that a student has gained confidence in her own intelligence and ability to figure out what's important in our discipline? Priceless.

So, yes, another reason I give the students one of these "gimme" questions on the final exam is so that I have lots of reason, during this, the most stressful time of the semester, to do one of these now and then.

Friday, May 9, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 41

Man Cold

Bob had shoulder surgery just over a week ago -- they had to clean out some arthritis, shave off some bone spur, and while they were in there, they found that they had to reattach part of his bicep. He had a similar surgery 5 years ago on his right shoulder, but the rotator cuff on that side was messed up, so that surgery was a lot more serious, and the recovery was a lot longer.

On our way home from dinner tonight, I mentioned that, were it me who had the surgery, he'd know all the time that I was in pain...yet I barely know he's got discomfort. He said, "Well, that's because I'm a man," and before I realized how it would sound, I responded, "Yah, but you don't have to be a man with me." All joking aside, seriously....I barely know he's in pain until I see the bruising and the incisions, or catch him wincing silently when he accidentally moves the wrong way.

I then joked that it's be a lot different if he had a "man cold." And he didn't know what I was talking about. So I had to show him this when we got home.

If this was new to you, too, you really need to search "Man Stroke Woman" on YouTube...always good for a laugh.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

100 Days Project -- Day 40

Which One?

This last one does go quite well with my dad's favorite toast:

"Here's lookin' up yer kilt!"
Perhaps we'll honor him with that one.