Thursday, September 29, 2011

All the Bad Stuff in One Day

Last evening my home computer got hit with some malware. I knew that using system restore is the thing to do, after having the same thing happening when  I was in Hungary. But the system restore didn't work quite right and I lost a lot of files. I got back three critical ones between 4:30 - 6:00 AM this morning -- that should give you an idea of what kind of night I had.

Then I went to meeting this morning and found some of my favorite courses may be cut out of the programs. I spent 6 weeks (no pay, volunteer time!) in the summer of 2009 creating one of the courses, and now we are cutting it out! The Dean asked if I was upset and I said it was a $25,000 course, because if I had had more time that summer I could have sold my house a year earlier and received more money for it. The only thing I can say is that is nice to have everything bad on one day.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Walking Adventures

The blog has been quiet for awhile because I was certain no one wanted to hear complaints about my immense workload. Little by little some things get done.

Today I had a meeting in downtown Saint Paul, so I decided the best thing would be to take a bus to the office and then later take the bus again to the meeting, saving a huge parking fee. It takes me about 20  minutes to walk to a bus stop now. I walk about 5 blocks to a place where I can cross Shepard Road and the rail tracks. From there I enter the parking ramp for the Science Museum, take the elevator up 9 floors which takes me to the top of the bluff where the downtown area is located. From the Science Museum it is another three blocks, one of the blocks being walking through a lovely park.

After my meeting in the early afternoon the route needed to be done again. The first thing I saw coming out of the building where I had the meeting was a bit of the  new light rail track.

I kept walking towards the Science Museum and came upon a lovely view of the river framed between two buildings.

Near the Science Museum I saw a sure sign of fall or autumn as it is called in proper British English!
And in the Science Museum a sign of science!

Can't figure it out perhaps? It's a pterodactyl skeleton in the ceiling of the lobby area. The parallel lines are glass inserts in the ceiling.

It was indeed a lovely day for walking about, almost too warm for walking when dressed a bit professionally.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

First in the Nation

The above video is about a new profession, Advanced Dental Therapist. Many of my colleagues worked long and hard hours to make this happen. As the video ends you will see this type of health professional exists in many other nations.

Here a Turkey, There a Turkey

No they aren't on Old McDonald's farm. My older daughter and I went out to do some shopping this afternoon. About a one minute drive from my apartment we came upon a flock of wild turkeys. We are quite used to geese everywhere here, but seeing flocks of turkeys is still a bit unusual. But we weren't done. On our way back to Saint Paul we saw a second flock of wild turkeys in the lawn of the Fort Snelling Officers' Club. Didn't have my camera, but even if I had it, there still would not be photos as these sightings were in places where one could not stop for a photo anyway

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Teacher's Work is Never Done

Looking at my blog stats caused me to see why someone looked this week at my posting from November 9 last year. I went back to that and found I was writing about doing hard work then on revising two course for Spring Semester knowing that would "make next year easier." Well, here's to report that plan didn't turn out.

The two courses I worked on last fall have to be done all over because the textbook publisher brought out new editions of the book associated with these courses. One of these has to be revised, too, to satisfy both master's and doctoral requirements at the same time. And I've inherited a course for spring semester from another faculty member. She agreed the online web site needs to be revised, and in addition I've had to figure out how to do many, many activities differently because the number of students has increased by 50%. And at this same time I'm also trying to develop a totally new course for spring semester. Life did not get simpler.

At work we try to practice what we preach to students -- that nurses need a self care plan to deal with the difficult work they do. Today at lunch we were talking about this a bit. I said my plan was to try to keep my stress level down low enough that I wouldn't take it out on anyone else!

And the students I will have in the "inherited" course in spring are in my fall course right now so it is 50% bigger too than it was last year.

And I just took a burned apple crisp out of the oven because I didn't set the timer. I kept working on the computer waiting for the timer to go off. Well it doesn't go off if it is never set! Oh, well, if not more damage from stress than burned apple crisp, it won't be too bad.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Two things for today. For most of the time since I've returned from Europe my toilet has been "gurgling." I finally got around to calling the property manger and getting a work order put in, but then not much happened. This morning I decided that if no one had contacted me that I would stop at the office and see the status of my work order. The sound has been annoying enough that I've been up in the night pulling the bathroom door shut. Wouldn't you know!?! This morning just after my shower when I was wrapped up only in a towel with a toothbrush in my mouth, someone began knocking on the door. I told him he would have to wait a bit. I went to work with the bathroom occupied by maintenance workers. This evening in the garage one was cleaning up the floor after taking out all the recycling for this week. He stopped me to say that a gasket needed replacement. Finally silence again!

And perhaps also mundane -- today I committed to working one more academic year. Right now we are without a contract, and probably won't have one by the date of October 1 when I would have to put in a letter. So I'm going to wait to see what the retirement options are in the new contract we get. I'm doing so much course revision for spring semester that I want to stay around and teach some of those classes!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

An Evening Walk

My older daughter and I went for a walk along the Mississippi River, just out the door, at the time of the early evening when there was still sun, but the moon was appearing and the lights were coming on. This is beautiful time.

The river boats were nicely framed by the open doors in the "head house" associated with the grain elevator museum which is a few steps down river from my building.

I also got a bit of nearly full moon in the sky with its reflection on the river water.

And finally here's a video of one of the tour boats coming into the dock

Love living where three steps from my building takes me to such beautiful sites.

Monday, September 5, 2011


The past few evenings the view out my window has been splendid with the clouds. Enjoy the view.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Skate Barge Weekend

We've been hearing that the Skate Barge was coming and Friday afternoon it showed up. The Skate Barge is the idea of avid Twin Cities skate boarders who decided they'd done about everything possible on the river except skate board. Finally they pitched this wild idea to Red Bull who said yes, maybe because Red Bull had such a great experience withe Flugtag here in 2010.

When I was driving home on Friday afternoon I practically blinded by bright lights from the barge. The angle was simply wrong as one came driving down the hill towards the river. I parked in the garage and then walked down to discover some one was shooting video and that's why the bright lights were on.
 Saturday I walked down the trail to watch a bit of the action.

The barge left this afternoon bound for the Quad Cities area. It ends up in New Orleans in early October.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Minnesota Nice -- One More Time

Today's issue of the Saint Paul Pioneer Press (and the photo above was copied from there) has an article about one of its reporters taking a Bhutanese family to the Minnesota State Fair. This family is from an Nepali ethnic group that were expelled from Bhutan, lived in a refugee camp, and have been re-settled in Minnesota for only about two weeks.

At the fair they tried the rides, ate the deep-fried foods that seem to be found at every state fair these days, tried the Sweet Martha chocolate chip cookies -- maybe  unique to Minnesota, and looked at the animals.

In the cow barn the mom from the family picked up an empty soda bottle and explained she wanted to collect from calf urine for a Hindu naming festival. Everyone there said the animals were too old. So they went to the Miracle of Birth -- a special exhibit where animals are being born all the time. The vet here said this type of collection could not be done at the state fair. She, however, took information from the family and will go to a farm and collect what they want, freeze it, and get it sent to the family. Minnesota Nice usually means helping people for everything from giving directions to giving a hand to shove a car out of the snow. However, I think this vet moved it to a new dimension.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Adventure with Minnesota Nice

I stopped at Target this afternoon to pick up a couple of things to do better storage in one of my closets. I got out to the car with a big set of drawers and thought I'd put the bag of things in first. I reached for it and there wasn't a bag. I realized I had left it at the register. I had the sales slip in my purse so headed back to the store after loading the storage drawer unit in my car. When I got to the register where I checked out, the attendant looked at me and said, "I'm so glad  you came back. We tried to call to you, but you got away too quickly." How so very nice!

Then when finally back to the car I realized the car next to me was ready to leave, so waited at the back of my car rather than going between our cars to enter mine. The man in the other car waved for me to go ahead.

Often people say Minnesota Nice is gone, but it seemed alive and well today.

Planning More Adventures

My new passport arrived yesterday, so now I can have global adventures until 29 Aug 2021. That does seem like a very long time from now!

However, I have one more adventure started. In May I will be going to Romania again, but this time to a slightly different location, Barlad. I didn't realize how close this was actually to Targu Mures, where I went in 2010, until I got some Romanian guidebooks yesterday.  My goal is to teach English in a school in Barlad for two weeks. I'm very glad to say I'll be trying to help Barlad because it doesn't get a single mention in the guidebooks that I have located for Romania. It is a very good example of the places that Global Volunteers works -- where they are invited and where there is a shortage of skill and labor, but where there are local people who know what they wish and dream to achieve.