My Royal Court

27 May 2011


It has been an exhilarating academic year for me.  It began in August of last year when I had to add a class to my repertoire with a mere week to prepare and somehow managed to do so, and ended in mid-May with the frenzy of packing one cardboard box after another full of books and paperwork, along with dismantling my computer.  I swear there were many days I found myself channeling my inner Tasmanian Devil.  The one mainstay  for me during this time – my office mate, Gina Crace.  She has been the end-all, be-all to the craziness that defines me.

To backtrack for a moment, as those last days of summer edged closer to ending, my apprehension increased with thoughts of meeting the person I was to share an office with on a daily basis.   Would she cringe each day when she heard the click clack of my shoes as I made my way down the hallway?  Would she find my boisterous personality  and vociferous voice too much to handle? 

None of my eccentricities fazed this big-eyed, curly haired, fair-skinned, young lady.  For all of my hyper-energy, she was slow-paced.  For all of my scattered paperwork, hers was stacked and organized.  For my passion of all things Johnny Depp, she matched it with Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. The many conversations we had -- from ramen noodle expertise (she was the Queen of her college dorm) to the stress of grappling with the everyday kinks of life -- filled our shared domain.  Competition would take over on Mondays as we revealed which one of us discovered the best bargain during weekend shopping excursions.  At times, we would both have a student nestled in our respective comfy chairs while other students waited patiently on the other side of the wooden door. 

For these things and many others G.C., I thank you.  As you embark on your new adventure, know that I will never be able to listen to a Cypress Hill track again without smiling, nor will I forget how you told me you despised onions only after eating them in my homemade pasta salad!  TU is losing a wondergirl in the classroom, but her students are better for having had her as their professor.  I am losing a friend at the office, but I am better for having known her as more than a colleague. 

20 May 2011


Of all the things I read on a daily basis, one particular theme recurs -- many students wish to increase their vocabulary.  After much deliberation on my part, I've decided to use my blog for teaching moments. In order for me to do this, though, I have to reverse something I've always embraced during class times.  Yes, I still want you to use Plain English when you write.  Yes, I want your writing to be clear, concise, and coherent.  Yes, I want you to have perfect grammar.  Those things will never change.  What will be different is this.  If you find a way to incorporate new words you learn, whether from this blog or somewhere in your travels, I say just do it (actually Nike says that, but I'm borrowing here and giving the illustrious corporation its props)!  Impress your friends, family, professors, and foes!  Twitter it, Facebook status it, YouTube a video about it. 

Let's utilize the traffic light analogy.   If you think a word is not an appropriate choice, i.e. one that just does not fit the theme or appears odd in the sentence, slam on the brakes for the red light.  Proceed with caution through the yellow light (or perhaps speed up to get through it) if the word has the power to perhaps excite your reader.  And, of course, if the word is spot-on perfect, give it some gas and go.
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