Friday, December 16, 2011

things students will do for paper extensions:

make up rap/songs about the class

play the "Zelda" theme song on a violin that hadn't been tuned since last December. (he tuned it right before he played, but warned us that it doesn't hold its tune very well after such a long hiatus. whatevs, kid.)

eat a twinkie in one bite

dress like Jimmer but with two ties.

crochet scarfs for roommates

stuff their mouths (and ear!) with as many gummy worms as possible.

go a few days without a shower

chug a disgusting mix of milk, soda, juice and every other liquid in the Canon Center. (also, there was a gummy worm at the bottom of the bottle.)

eat as many Oreos in a minute as possible

I guess the question is, what won't students do for an extension? (especially superuptight honors students.)

Question: What would you have done?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

things students will do for paper extensions:

Bucket list: see a monk do a belly dance to Shakira.


things students will do for paper extensions:

share with us one of their most embarrassing "slip ups." 

Student Poem of the Day

a seven haiku series
(I'll write the rest soon.)

(by Zach Yancey: one of my procrastinating Honors students.)

Am I just punch drunk from grading? Or does this make you laugh out loud?

extension: totally granted.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Intra-Class-Romance: An Awkward Love Story

photo love story provided by two (really dating!) students who needed extensions and know how amusing SWILUA finds intra-class romances.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Only at BYU

 do you read a paper with sentences like:

"Every student here on campus deserves the right to eat without the distractions of short skirts and unkempt hair."

This place is hilarious.

Back to grading.

In Which I am Very Disappointed in my Offspring

We found this note (scribbled in kid's Crest toothpaste and reading "Your dead Dad") on our bathroom mirror:

Needless to say, I was very disappointed.

I mean, how can I call myself an English professor when my very own children don't know the difference between "your" and "you're?"

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dear Miss Provo: I accidentally got your child

Lily has been begging me to enter her into a pageant. I am an English professor and didn't want to do it. I think there is some sort of law about that kind of thing.

But law or no law, I could not escape the simple fact: Lily's will is stronger than mine.

Lily's will is stronger than titanium. Stronger than reinforced concrete or even any exaggerated idea of the word "stubborn." Postmodernism, Feminism, cultural hierarchies of value: Lily's will surpasses them all. In a way, it's one of the things I admire about her. So much self possession in such a little body.

The pageant was this Saturday.

She won first place. And a bunch of other stuff. Three trophies, two sashes, a cover-shot, a bag of toys, and a queen's crown.

It was amazing, actually. She walked across the stage as if she'd been doing it for years. She waved and blew kisses and held her arms in a perfect oval the way they do on TLC's "Toddlers and Tiaras." She looked right at the judges and smiled, winking like a 25 year old Miss America contestant.

Lily is five and has never even been on stage before. Except maybe in a previous life. Which would explain a lot, actually.

The thing about giving in and the cognitive dissonance caused by my visceral sense of pride--I was so proud of her! and so amazed that such a thing came from me. But how?--well, the thing about it all is that you give in once and you think you're done with it.

And then your baby wins first place and is supposed to go on to finals.

Cognitive dissonance: a permanent condition tied to being Lily's mother? Probably.

Here she is on the program cover:
(Thanks to Barb for the award winning picture!)

Afternoon conversation: In which Sam considers his options

Sam: "omigosh, Mom, I fell down and scraped my knees!"

me: "You scraped your knee?"

Sam: [showing me] "I scraped BOTH knees!"

me: "Do you want me to kiss it or something?"

Sam: "No."

me: "What do you want to do?"

Sam: "Well, I've heard of this thing called 'walking it off.' I think I'd like to try that."

things students will do for paper extensions

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Don't Blink

This morning when I left for work, this tree had all its leaves.

Four hours later:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Afternoon conversation: In which I am put in my place

me: [at grocery store] "I think we should get some grapes."

Sam: "I love grapes."

me: "I know."

Sam: "How do you know?"

me: "Mommies know everything."

Sam: "That's not true."

me: "Of course it is."

Sam: "Well, maybe you know everything about your kids, but you don't know *everything.*"

me: "Oh?"

Sam: "I mean, look at you. You only teach college. It's not like you teach grad school or anything."

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Surreal Morning Conversation

Lily: "Omigosh I really love this lint brush! It's so fun to clean the house!"

Sam: "I know, right?! I keep folding these towels and it's SO FUN. I just want to do more and more of it."

Lily: "I got to fold two baskets of towels."

Sam: "Lucky. But I am luckier because I scrubbed the bathtub."

Lily: "No fair!"

Sam: "Tomorrow, I am going to start doing ten chores EVERY DAY."

Lily: "I'm going to do TWELVE!"

Friday, July 08, 2011

Lily: On Cleaning the Bathroom

Lily: "When you clean the toilet, you've got to really scrub, you know? You've got to get in there. Get it so clean that it looks like a GIRL's bathroom."

Last night this not-so-little fellow ran across Steve's chest

There was only a little screaming.

Copious Google searching leads us to believe that he's a "Wolf Spider." He certainly is wolfish.

Turns out he was living in the window air conditioning unit we just brought in from the garage. Note to self: next time, do not ignore the spider webs you saw on the filter. Where there are webs, there might be wolves.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

It figures.

Sam and Lily made "found items" sculptures for their art class. (Sculptures out of trash.)

Sam made a gun. Lily made something to wear.

You know you've been watching too many 80's movies when...

[we're swimming]

Lily: "Let's play Marco Polo!"

Sam: "Naw. I don't want to play that. Let's play Global Thermonuclear War."

me: "How on earth do you play *that* in a pool?"

Sam: "Well, you find the Russians and you SPLASH them."

me: "Okay, you find the Russians and splash them. But how do you *win*?

Sam: "Mommy, nobody wins a nuclear war."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pool Entry: $10; Mommy's time: priceless

[We're swimming. Lily gets herself in just a little too deep and starts to struggle, panicking as she sucks in a little water before I can snatch her up.]

"Oh, Lily!" I say, balancing her on my hip. "Was that scary? Are you OK?"

Lily: [coughs up some air and water as she nods her head yes.]

me: "Are you sure? That was quite a dunk."

Lily: [looks at me incredulously] "Of *course* I'm OK. I am spending time with my Mommy."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Afternoon conversation: Sam on Self Esteem

Sam: [Artfully wrapping a towel around himself after swimming.]

Lily: "Sam. What are you doing. You totally look like a girl."

Sam: "No, Lily." [Pause so he can look at himself in the mirror.] "What I look like is a GOD."

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Hey look! My chair!

I had some slipcovers made. You can see one of them here.

I heart slipcovers. And also, I heart the girl who makes them for me.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lily: On the Royal Wedding

me: [pausing the reaaaaaallly old DVR tape of the Royal Wedding I finally decided to watch] "Lily! Do you want to come watch a prince marry a princess?"

Lily: "You mean that bald guy? No thanks."

Monday, May 16, 2011

People! End of the World Party at my house on May 21st! (if we survive...)

I saw a big RV drive by today with lots of pronouncements about the end of the world and how it's in a few days.


this was the best picture I could get (I was at a stoplight):

Thursday, April 28, 2011

That about sums up the experience of my class I think.

One of my students just sent me this little poem. I'm a fan.

No words can describe
How much I have learned to plan
From so few deadlines

Friday, April 22, 2011

Things students will do for paper extensions:

just watch this one.

isn't the library scene the BEST?

In which we discover that Lily really does care about the emotional life... of her food

Lily: are you having dinner without me?

Dad: I thought you already had a peanut butter sandwich.

Kristin: yeah it's all over her face.

Dad: where's the rest of it? On what part of the floor?

Lily: no!

Dad: you finished it? And you're still hungry? You're never hungry!

Lily: yeah, but I just have the one sandwich in my belly, so I need to have another one. otherwise it'll be so lonely in there!

Dad: [pause] Okay then. I'll make one.

This is a video based on part of my friend Rick Walton's book. It sort of rocks.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Anyone who reads this a writer?

I need someone out there to bug me so I'll work on my manuscript. My self-discipline has been sucked away in equal proportion to the volume of beta blockers I suck in.

Here's what I want:

I'm making a writing goal. If you want to make a goal too, leave a comment and let us all know what it is. And then use the comment section to report yourself every time you *miss* your goal.

See, I've done the positive reinforcement thing where you celebrate every day that you do your goal. And that way is nice and makes you happy and not filled with self-loathing (the natural state of writers). But that way doesn't work for me at the moment. Hence the new method:


So. My goal: Every day (except Sunday) I'm going to write at least two words in my WIP. (This goal gets more done than you'd think. Also, it's about all I can handle with my heart acting like a teenager and throwing fits unpredictably.) Every time I fail to write two words, I will tell you in the comment thread here. And when my WIP is finished, I'll announce it and THEN we can all brag about how awesome we did with our goals. k?

so leave your goals below. and you know what? you don't even have to be a writer. just make a goal and then leave a comment back here every day you fail. the challenge will last from now until my manuscript is finished. (I only have about 60 pages to go; before the skin-graft turned heart-problem, I could do that in a week.)

Best of luck people.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

That's right, Buddy.

Sam's friend: "I have so many girlfriends. I have, like, twelve girlfriends."

Sam: "But, dude. That is just... wrong."

Sam's friend: "You're right. Maybe it was thirteen girlfriends..."

Sam: "No, no. You're not supposed to have twelve OR thirteen girlfriends. It's just wrong. It's mean. And bad. You're only supposed to have ON... [furtive glance at me as he realizes I'm listening] I mean, ZERO. ZERO girlfriends. None at all. We are WAY too young to even be thinking about having girlfriends."

In which we discover that I am imaginary

Steve: "Your Mommy is a doctor, Lily. Did you know that?"

Lily: "Huh? But Mommy, [turns to me] you don't see any patients."

me: "Well, no. I see students."

Lily: "So you're not a real doctor."

me: "No, I am. I'm just a doctor of philosophy, not of medicine."

Lily: "Like I said. You're not a real doctor."

Steve: "Aw. She sounds like a surgeon alREAdy!"

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

OMG, people. This is PROGRESS.

I just wrote a full scene. 

I haven't done that since before my surgery.

The surgery that made me stupid. And also not able to do anything.

It's been almost seven months since that *&^%$ surgery. They say the pain from the damaged nerves might go away in one to two years. Maybe never.

Have you tried to be creative when you're in pain?

And not just normal pain. Not even "OMG I broke my back!" pain.

Pain like fingers on a chalkboard times a million. Pain so intense that you didn't know there was pain like that. Pain that tears away your anchor. Rips that sacral foundation out from under you and takes away who you were. Pain that over-stresses your heart and literally almost kills you. My mom knows that kind of pain. So do I now.

But today I wrote a scene. Just a half a page. But a whole scene.

It makes me think that maybe I'll come back out of this. Maybe I won't be gone anymore. Maybe there's a teenie tiny light at the end of the tunnel.

I don't want to get my hopes up or anything.

But, people.

I wrote a scene.

Monday, February 07, 2011

And also she says that I'll miss her little hands when she's a teenager and does crazy things like ride her bike in the snow.

me: "What's this on the wall?" [point to Lily's latest artwork.]

Lily: [Shrugs.] "It's signed 'Sam.'"

me: "I know. But it's in your handwriting."

Lily: [Stares at me in a loaded silence.]

me: "Do you have anything to say?"

Lily: "My handwriting is on the fridge, too." [Pause.] "I could take you to see it." [Pause.] "It's there in the note I wrote you so you could remember what I was like when I was little. Where I put a picture of my hands." [Pause and plaintive look.] "My little, little, hands."

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Sam and I, talking over the weather

[wind blows as Sam and I run (well, as well as I can run with my cane) to the car]

me: "OMG, OMG it is so cold!"

Sam: "It's, like, freezing cold."

me: "Like water-turning to ice cold."

Sam: "Like Arctic cold."

me: "Like Penguin cold."

Sam: "Mommy, it is so cold it's almost like we live in Canada."

me: "I know, right?"

Sam: "What do you think it's all [not even a dramatic pause!] aboot?"

Friday, January 07, 2011

Sometimes Having Psychic Children is Super Creepy.

Last night my kids were feeling pretty morbid. 

We were driving home from Auntie Barb's house and they kept obsessing about death and car accidents. Then Lily told me:

"You know what, Mommy?"

"What?" I said.

"I think you're going to get into a car accident tomorrow."

"Honey. That is highly unlikely. And not something you should worry about."

Lily's eyes filled with tears. "But Mommy. You've been in too many car accidents." (True enough.) "When you get in the car accident tomorrow, I think you'll die!"

"Lily. Really. I have no plans on dying. And I'm not getting in a car accident tomorrow."

Then Sam chimed in. "Yeah, Lily. Don't worry. When she gets in the car accident tomorrow, she won't die. She'll just mess up her pretty new car."

Lily started wailing. "But it's a brand new car! It's so pretty!"

Having an un-pretty car is apparently worse than death to Lily. But, yanno. She cares about fashion and stuff.


I guess you know how this story ends because my children already told you.

I got rear-ended on my way to school this morning. I didn't die (or even get hurt at all I think; I'll wait till tomorrow to tell you for sure).

But my pretty new car is not so pretty any more.

So I guess we should all mourn or something.

Monday, January 03, 2011

When it comes to expressing his anger, Sam really thinks inside the box.

A new semester is about to start! Which means I've got to post my backlog

of things students will do for paper extensions!

Decorate the classroom.

Paint their faces with chocolate.

Wear indecipherable costumes.

Give a hand massage lecture that was not awkward at all.

Have rainbow hair and bag outfit and also dress like Pregnant Harry Potter.

Yes, those are robot pants.

That's me!  Made out of Starburst candy!  I even have my surgery chair and multimedia remote!

See how lifelike?

Her nails say "SWILUA"

This student gave herself a "tantoo" of SWILUA's name.  She used that tanning lotion.  She says she thinks it'll come off in about three days, but I am worried for her.

And a classic.  Kissing the wall.  Aw! So Romantic.

Alright Winter Semester.  Bring it on.