December 03, 2007

Back online

Surviving without my computer for three days was surprisingly easy. On Saturday, I went with some friends to a big arts and crafts show that included a booth full of my friend Quilt Artist's work. We all wandered about, supposedly doing our holiday shopping but mostly chatting with everyone there and buying things for ourselves in the name of supporting local artists. I like it when I can talk to the person who made the item I'm buying, whether it's a handmade necklace or an earth-colored mug or a quilted potholder. I don't do a whole lot of holiday shopping because I don't want to support evil corporations, but it's my opinion that everyone in family can always use another locally made mug.

In the afternoon, I ate lunch with Reiki Friend at a new coffee place downtown, a cosy place with funky decor and an incredible vegan menu. We talked about teenage sons while we ate steaming lentil soup, a tofu wrap, and thick carrot cake. I came home that afternoon with the intention of grading papers, a whole big stack of them, but instead somehow ended up building a fire, hanging out with the kids, and then taking a nap on the couch. I just love to sit by the fire when it's cold and snowing outside.

Saturday night, for the first time in about 21 years, Spouse and I had the house to ourselves. The boys went over to visit Quick, the extra who had surgery over Thanksgiving and who is still house-bound. Spouse braved the cold winter night to go get us some take-out food, which we ate in front of the fire. Needless to say, grading papers was not on the agenda.

But Sunday, I was determined. With my husband off doing errands, the boys working on homework, and my computer still broken, I had no excuse. I sat on the couch by the fire and graded paper after paper, stopping only every five minutes or so to get something to eat. By late afternoon, just as blue shadows were creeping across the snow-covered lawn outside the windows, I had finished the whole stack.

As much as I complain about grading student papers, I will admit that I learn all kinds of things from read them. I read about the nutritional facts of the Big Mac, I learned ways that schizophrenia is treated, I read the history of the Endangered Species Act, I learned why willows are an ideal source of biomass. But from all the papers I read, one bit of information sticks out most in my mind. It was a sentence taken from a paper about surviving in the wilderness: "When lost, it is important to be able to distinguish between poisonous and non-poisonous snakes, as the latter is a valuable food source." I am still thinking about the implications of that.

Today, the replacement part for my computer came in, and I raced over icy roads to get the computer fixed. And now I am home by the fire, with the winds wailing outside the window, a cat at my side, and a warm computer in my lap.

Blogging again

19 comments:

Songbird said...

Your couch looks so comfy!

niobe said...

When lost, it is important to be able to distinguish between poisonous and non-poisonous snakes, as the latter is a valuable food source.

This may entirely change my way of looking at the world.

Though, I wonder if, perhaps, on certain days and under certain circumstances, poisonous snakes can be valuable food sources as well.

Rana said...

Make the sofa green, the cat black, and the plants a different species, and that rather looks like me when I'm using the computer at home. Well, and the couch is covered with random crap in addition to me and the cat.

I bet you _could_ eat a poisonous snake; it would be killing it that would be tricky, I'd imagine.

This week I am learning that the students thought that my I-thought-they-were-crappy lectures-with-slides were great.

Who'da thunk it?

liz said...

You look so cozy there on the couch with the kitty.

Anonymous said...

Look at that well behaved cat, sitting BESIDE you,not insisting on being ON your lap along with the laptop. Could she or he come give some lessons over here?

PPB

landismom said...

Yeah, I need to borrow that cat for lessons too. We have that same kind of couch, but the back pillows of ours are totally destroyed, because the cats insist on sleeping on them.

Nadine said...

How do you manage to have both house cats and house plants? I haven't managed to figure that one out. The plants never make it out alive. I've taken to keeping them at the office instead...

zhoen said...

Our cat sits near, not on, as well. Same pewter. Very homey, that image.

ymp said...

I was so distracted by the cat picture, I had to go back and reread to understand the snake comments.
I might be a little pet deprived. Slightly.
And I could probably also use a break from the computer.

sam said...

I liked the "only every five minutes" part. That was me last week, only I was writing proposals, not grading papers.

Sarah Sometimes said...

I liked the way you casually slipped in the part about you and Spouse having the house to yourself for the first time in 21 years. . . . The wind is howling here, too. Much better inside!

Cathy said...

I know one can eat rattlesnake, since we have a Rattlesnake Festival of sorts around here and rattlesnake is on the menu. However, getting it is another story....

I know you are glad to get your computer back and running.

dr zombieswan said...

I learn a lot from student papers too! It's funny. Then, when I assign that topic again in the future and someone does a bad job, I can pretend expertise about the subject because Smart Student from last semester wrote better about it. Hah! They ask "How do you know all this stuff" and I just smile mysteriously.

But this semester, I have waaaay too many papers about Geishas, and Spartans, (ah the film 300) and Chinese New Year. I know those are going to kill me. The bright spots: one on Japanese Kawaii culture and one on FaFafines in Samoa. So those will be interesting. (the assignment: research a cultural practice of a culture NOT your own. It can be interesting what students find).

YourFireAnt said...

Jo(e), for pure coziness factor, this post gets the blue ribbon. I like the mixture of student papers, cat, fire, spouse, snake, weather, kids, snack, take-out, car, snow, etc.... just like a writer's mind.

FA

Magpie said...

But people eat rattlesnakes, don't they??

I have that computer! But your couch is much nicer than mine.

annoying biologist-type said...

I feel compelled to inject here (as a side note to your wonderful readership) that there is a difference between "poisonous" and "venomous"- poisonous is, by definition, something that will be toxic only if eaten. Venomous is the word that should (biologically speaking) be applied to snakes that inject venom into their prey; though poisonous is more commonly used, it's really incorrect. You could eat PLENTY of rattlesnakes and be fine- they're venomous, not poisonous. Your student is using it correctly. It's one of those things (like the difference between "antlers" and "horns") that certain biologist-types can get worked up about.

nimiecat said...

Hi, Annoying Biologist-type, just curious to know if a non-venonmous snake could be poisonous? :)

jo(e) said...

Biologist-type: You sound just like one of my students!

Dance said...

After years of giving gifts with the tagline "and I talked to the person who made it!", it's become a bit of a family joke. My sister reflects it back to me: "and I emailed with the person who made it!"