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Archive for February, 2008

Dropping in to say hello!

Hi everyone!  It’s midterms, and I’m swamped again!  :- ) 

Thanks to everyone who’s stopped by this week!  BW, I’m sooooo glad you are doing better! I appreciated your comments so much!

A couple of quick followups: 

I actually SAW a coyote in the woods behind my house this morning.  It was surreal, to say the least.  It was standing over by the log cairns that I built over my huskies’ graves (sweet Nikki and Nina, who passed away about three years ago).  Let me tell you that seeing a sillhouette of a canid, with large prick ears and a bushy tail, standing curiously next to the graves of my dogs was nothing short of seeing a ghost.  Completely eerie.  I called out to it, and it looked up at me, and then quickly turned tail and ran off into the woods.

I’m assuming it was a coyote, because if it wasn’t, then it really might be the ghost of Nikki coming back to check on me.

Which frankly would be just fine with me.  We were the closest of companions in life. 

What do you think?  Do faithful hounds come and look after their people from beyond the grave?  Or should I invest in some humane coyote traps?

 In other news, women gamers made the news today at CNN.   I thought the article was interesting, but as usual, the comments from the readers was even more so!  In fact, I have commented on my recent experiences at the end of the story.  If you check, you should see it there.

And one final note:  grandpa and I started the seedlings for the spring!  Cabbages, brocolli, and peppers!  I have some pictures to post, but no time right now to do it.  Since next week is spring break (yay!)  I’ll be spending a lot of time with grandpa separating the seedlings and getting ready to break ground.  Look for fewer World of Warcraft posts soon, and more gardening posts!  ;- )

Gotta run and finish lunch so I can get back to the grindstone!  Thanks for being out there in the aether!

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Real pals in virtual worlds

I’m sure I’ve said it here before, but one thing that is definitely true about doctoral programs is that they make it nearly impossible to keep up with your non-academically preoccupied friends.  New friendships form, forged in the fires of literature reviews and difficult classes, and as a result you see more of these coursework-comrades than you see of of the people who are near and dear to you.  It’s just the way it is.  And at least it’s temporary.

In the time since I’ve gone back to school, several of my friends have moved away, others have just moved on. 

But your friends never really leave you, and often you run into each other in unlikely virtual places.  With the new Web 2.0 application such as Facebook, My Space, LinkedIn, and yes, blogging, it’s more likely than ever that  you run into your friends, no matter how distant, in the closesness of the ether.

Or maybe hanging around the Elwynn Forest, somewhere on the road between Goldshire and Westfall!

My good friend Wendy and her family moved last year to the Frozen North, also known as Buffalo, and while I’ve managed to keep up with Wendy through her blog and through other shared interests, I haven’t spoken to her husband in all that time.  Which is a real shame, because he is such a great guy.  Really, he’s one of that rare breed we refer to as “the good ones”.

Wendy had shared with him and their son James about my WoW assignment.  Apparently, they have been playing on another server for quite some time.  But, hearing about my assignment, they both created characters on the server my class is using and worked to level-up to a point where they could assist me in my Westfall quests.  [Yes, dayzofrain, I’m at Sentinal Hill…I think I will be for awhile…]

Did you get that?  Two real-world pals, a continent away, created characters in the virtual realm of Azeroth, to help me complete my real-world class assignment. 

I think it goes to prove a few things: first, that real people really are behind those fantastic avatars; second, that friends come to your aid in all kinds of unforseen circumstances; and third, that all the magic in the world is not confined to fictional realms of druids, mages, and paladins, but often bleeds over into our own world and our more earthly relationships.

Oh, and fourth: if you are going to attack the Defias Brotherhood at the Jangolode Mine, it helps to have both a powerful tank and a healer on your team.  Thanks guys!

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Really, it was homework…

and it really was my lunchbreak.  Honest.

Today, during lunch I decided to do something unusual.  I decided to NOT work during my lunch break.  I sat at my desk and ate my soup…

and went up a level in World of Warcraft! 

Uh, uh-huh, yeah… I did install WoW on my computer at work.  But only for emergencies! I mean, what if I don’t make it to level 20 by the assignment due date!  I wouldn’t want to give my professor the impression that I didn’t take the assignment seriously, now would I

You cannot imagine the delight of the Japanese club staring through my office window watching me kill Goretusk bores and flying creepy monsters.  They actually cheered and clapped as I went up a level!  [To those who might care, I’m now level 14!] Some of them stuck their head in my office door to give me helpful hints.

I promise that I will not play WoW when I should be working. 

I promise that I will not play WoW when I should be working.

I promise that I will not play WoW when I should be working.

Because that would make me a WoW addict, wouldn’t it?

But really, it was homework, and it was my lunchbreak…

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Yesterday was an amazing day of wildlife sightings.  First, as I was driving out to work, five deer crossed my driveway in front of me.  Of course, I was late to work and had not planned to sit in my driveway at a dead stop while they decided whether or not it was safe to cross, but somehow, I just didn’t mind.  They moved so slowly and cautiously, watching me with those big, brown beautiful eyes, that my heartrate and breathing slowed for a minute while I sat in the silence and watched them back.  We were all there in that moment together, just me and the deer.  For those few moments, I forgot I was late to work.  Afterall, the deer were obviously not late for some appointment or conference call, so how could I be late?

Within the next five minutes, as I was taking the cut-through in a nearby subdivision and was stopped at a stopsign, I looked over to the sidewalk on my left, and sitting there, as calm as could be, was a red-tailed hawk.  Again, he was unconcerned with the passage of time and seemed to have nowhere else to be at that moment.   Just calm and serene, demonstrating all those raptor qualities that made hawking the sport of royalty.  He looked at me from the sidewalk as if to say, No… you are in my neighborhood.

As often as I see the wildlife out where I live, I never, never, get tired of it or too accostumed to it.  Just the sight of tracks left in the ground are enough to make me stop and investigate further.  An owl hooting in the woods will make me stop whatever I’m doing and listen with keen ears to hear his news.  As I’m sure that Bayou Woman can testify, there’s just something about being surrounded by the wild side of nature that speaks to my spirit and makes me think about my place in Creation.

I had planned on writing about my wildlife sightings when I arrived at the office, but alas, students and faculty were running around with their heads on fire and it seemed like I was the only one with a bucket of water….again.  So the moment passed.  And the further I got away from these serene but brief encounters, the less inclined I was to share them with you.  Once the proverbial manure hit the ocillating cooling device of the workplace, the serenity was pushed aside and just seemed too difficult to recall.

But my brush with wildlife for the day was not over!  In the wee hours of the morning, the serenity of nature was instantly replaced with the wildness of nature, and rather than calming me, it awoke primal fears in me that I had forgotten existed in my soul. 

A pack of coyotes started howling outside my bedroom window.

We have coyotes all over Georgia, and I’m used to hearing them in the distance.   As I’ve stated before in this blog, I actually enjoy the calls of the coyotes and consider it a blessing to hear them in the moonlight.  But last night was something completely different.

Alys, who usually sleeps next to me like a warm sack of flour, stood up and arched her back, growling for all her kitty-self was worth.  Abby alerted to the nearby danger and growled and barked menacingly at the bedroom door, lest the wild canines intruded on our inner sanctum.  And I laid there in the bed, frozen and listening to the sound and almost not breathing.  I had never heard the coyotes so close to the house….

Alys’ hackles were up.  Abby’s hackles were up.  My hackles were up.  I didn’t even know I had hackles.

Was Lia in the house?  Were they always that close and had I not noticed? Was Tony asleep?  Did he hear them? 

They stayed for such a long time, it seemed, calling out to their companions, and I could hear their footpads in the pine straw.  Then, one by one, they quieted down.  The howling ceased, and they moved away, back into the woods where I’ve always known they were, but never truly known they were.

Yesterday, Nature revealed Herself in all her glory.  The sun shining brightly.  The cool crisp air.  I experienced the serenity of Nature in the deer, the royalty of Nature in the hawk, and, as if to remind me, the wildness of Nature in the coyotes.  And in my midnight moments she awakened me, not only to the call of the coyotes, but to the wild instinct in me, so similar to the wild instinct in the animals that share my life.

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Saturday is…

Waking up when I want to, not when the alarm goes off…

…eating breakfast at less than 70 mph…

..hot coffee…twice…

…a chenille oversized sweater and wooly socks.

Hearing the rumble of the washer…

…knowing I’m finally dealing with the laundry…

…and the rat-a-tat-tat of Tony practicing on the drums for church later…

…and the quiet sounds of the blues on my stereo in the background.

Catching up on my reading…

…while sitting on the sofa…

…with a warm puppy on my feet…

…peace.

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Valentine’s Day in Azeroth

I have often considered romantic getaways in exotic locales….tropical islands, Nordic chalets, Xanadu…the usuals.  Afterall, I love my husband, and I love travel, so what could be better?  But never in a million years did I consider the virtual realm of Azeroth to be the ideal Valentine’s Day excursion! 

Yes, true to old-married-people form, Tony and I spent the evening quietly at home…killing Kobold workers and members of the Defias Brotherhood.  And I finally got to see my man as every gal dreams of seeing her man….

Tall.  Strong.  Powerful.   With bulging muscles.  A gleaming suit of armor. 

And a bag full of money!

He rode up on a giant warsteed, whisked me off to distant lands, killed multitudes of creepy creatures that were threatening my life, gave me gifts of love and practicality (armor and bags for holding my loot). 

He sent me a love letter to the Red Lion Inn in Goldshire, gave me 15 gold pieces to spend however I like. 

He even made me a sexy dress using his own tailoring talents and his very own hands.

Well, not his hands precisely…..his character’s hands.

Which only leads me to ask…..Hey, Phred, you sexy level-70 Human Mage,  where have you been all my life?  Come here often?

I think I’m in love.  Don’t tell Tony…

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I am not kidding when I say that I have read about 35 articles on virtual learning environments and task-based learning this week.  Roughly, it translates into about two reams of paper, which I shameless sacrificed to the lesser gods of graduate school as an offering to avoid the eyestrain that comes from reading papers online. 

Also, it’s damned hard to wash the highlighter marks of the computer monitor…..

But when you think of me studying until late into the evening, this is how you should picture me, only I think I drool more than this kitten:

Humorous Pictures
moar humorous pics

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