Friday, March 18, 2011

Tools of the Trade

When I was younger I bought this electronic dictionary bookmark thingy. It was rather ugly, awkward, and was soon eclipsed by better technology, but I loved it. I carried it with me everywhere.

I also had a plethora of dictionaries. Old ones, new ones; you just never knew what you might need. Of course I had other word books, although interestingly enough no thesaurus. Very odd.

Today, although I still own a dictionary just for form's sake, I use the internet. My favorite online resource for the English language is The Free Dictionary, mainly because I like the layout. When I want to cite a definition in one of my papers I go one over to the Merriam Webster site, since it sounds more professional (to me, anyway). For Spanish, I use the SpanishDict site. The definitions are sound (from what I can tell) and the translation engine (I think that's what its called) at least gives me an idea of what to say/what has been said that I can't decipher.

That information all by itself isn't very interesting, I know. What I find interesting, and what prompted me to write about my non-interesting obsession with dictionaries, is how I go about writing these days.

For Spanish: first move is to open up a tab with my Spanish dictionary. Cannot proceed without it. This is understandable, in my opinion. I'm dealing with a lot of words I don't know the exact meaning of (and I like knowing the exact meaning).

For English: Used to be I could write an email, a blog post, even the occasional paper without having recourse to a dictionary. Now I can't. One of the first windows I open (is it a window or a tab? I have no idea) is the free dictionary site. I don't think it's because I've gotten forgetful; on the contrary, because of my enforced higher volume of reading I'm stumbling across new words and I want to use them, but I have to verify/obtain the exact meaning of the word, so I don't accidentally offend some erudite professor (run on sentence!).

Sometimes I wonder if this is abnormal behavior. Do other students/people feel the need to make sure they have their various dictionaries to hand? Or is it just me?

Anyway, those are my tools of the trade, trade being at this point student.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


So in one of my classes, which is entitled Teaching History, all of the students were put into groups and taxed with coming up with one week of lesson plans, one part of which would be assigned to the class as a whole. Oh, and this is an online class. I can email but I don't have recourse to other types of communication.

My dear classmates have come up with what originally sounded like an interesting project: interview five people who were 15 or older in 1970. Sounds fun, right? And we only have to ask five questions. Problem is this assignment was only clarified this morning (so far, only one group has managed to be clear in their instructions; all others I've had to ask for clarification) and it's due Monday. And just to be clear that I'm not dragging my feet on this, I'll let you know that the project was assigned late Tuesday/early Wednesday. I am not dragging my feet.

So I ask my dad if I can interview him (of course) and if he knows anyone of the correct age. Yes, he says, when is it due? I answer Sunday, and there is a long pause in texting. He then lets me know that that is nowhere enough time, and that in the real world people require more time to respond. I agree with him. I'm not interviewing students, I'm interviewing people who most likely have complex jobs and lots of responsibilities (my dad and his colleagues all work for NASA). I don't think this was taken into account.

So my question for you is: where you born in 1955 or previously? If so, can I ask you five questions? Everything can be done via email, and I will have the questions ready by tonight. As you will already know, it's due Monday, so I would love to have everything by Sunday. If that's too fast, no worries. I think our contact info is somewhere in our blogger profile; if not, just leave a comment and I'll give you my email address.

Thank you all for your time.

Harassed Student.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

More Orclette Sayings.

My daughter has been a goldmine of sayings lately. I don't know if anyone else would find what she says hilarious, but in case you do here goes:

"Momma, there's a sparking pot right there!" (translation: parking spot)

"Momma, a bus has to do what it has to do." (I don't know what a bus needs to do, but apparently she does)

In addition to saying the funniest things, she has learned how to bargain:

"Momma, how about we watch Diego and then Gilmore Girls. Is that a good plan?"

Or this:

"It's ok momma it's ok. I'll fix it." (Anytime I express frustration)

She also lectures her brother, in fine imitation of myself. That's a bit spooky. She has also taken over washing my car.

Isn't she awesome?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I was not prepared.

Today we were driving in the car, listening to music. Or rather, searching for a suitable song to listen to. After not finding any, I turned the radio off amid protests from the Orclette. I explained to her that I couldn't find any "good" songs. She replied, and I quote: "Momma, I like bad songs".

Immediately I thought of her future years when boys would become tempting. Was this going to be a habit of liking "bad"? How could I prevent this?

Then I came up with my solution. Damm has been wanting me to learn how to shoot a gun, and also to buy me one. What if, the first time Orclette brings her eventual boyfriend over, both Damm and myself have guns to hand? You know, the terrifying dad but twice as terrifying. Make that boy run for the woods.

Then again, I'm probably reading way too much into her statement. She likes to contradict whatever I say, and most likely that was her motivation.

I am not looking forward to the teenage years.