Sunday, December 30, 2007

A List of Lists

I'm so overwhelmed that I need to make a list, and the first thing on the list is to make several lists.

I'm waiting on a couple things:
My visa. Yep, I sent my application off, and the consulate said they'd have plenty of time, but until it's in my hand, I'm waiting.

A bird book for Asia. I'm okay with the one I ordered, but if anyone has reasonably priced suggestions, I'd appreciate hearing.

A battery for my laptop. I'm one of those naughty laptop users who tends to leave the laptop plugged in, and that messes up the battery, especially after 5+ years. So I ordered a new one, hoping that I'll be able to work without plugging in for at least a couple hours at a time.

I need to take care of some things:
I need to get a pair of decent walking/hiking boots, and break them in. I should go try some on, now, very now. I should also get a pair of walking shoes anyway, with good support and stuff. And break them in.

I want to get a camera. I'd like to wait for the credit card to close, but it's cutting it close for my departure date, and I want to learn how to use the camera, first. I've pretty much decided on a digital Canon Rebel. I loved taking pictures when I was in the Peace Corps, but my camera died from mold or fungus and the repair place declared it unreparable, and I haven't chosen to replace it (for like 20 years, because rent and stuff seemed more important). [Added: I got a camera! And I bought myself a class session to learn to use it, too!]

Taxes. They've got to be done! I'm hoping to get everything I need so that I can do them and get them taken care of before I leave. So I need to run over and get a tax program. (I've used TaxCut in the past, and it seems to work well for me.) Otherwise, I gather that I need to apply for a delayed filing. [Added: I got the program, so that's a start.]

Luggage! I need some actual luggage that will be acceptable on an airline and all.

Prep the class I'll be teaching! Yes. I need to work up everything, the assignments, the readings, everything, so they can be printed out so students can get the course packet. I'm not usually a course packet sort of person, but I need to be this time.

Finish up some grad paper notes. And grade/respond to a portfolio from a class several years ago for which a student took an incomplete.

Clean the offices (home and school). I really made progress with things this year. Serious progress, but I need to have a second go and really take care of it. I put all my financial stuff in organized envelops and stuff, but it's still a mess with research stuff. I need a better way of organizing photocopies and stuffs.

I've decided to get rid of some of my books, mostly novels. I figure most of them I don't want to read again, and won't ever need/want to teach (because seriously, 19th century American novels aren't what I usually need to teach). And if I suddenly decide I really want to teach Billy Budd, I'd need to get a new edition. Happily, there's a free books shelf on my floor at work, and I'm certain that some students would be happy to find some paperback novels there. And books are made for reading and sharing!

I also need to get back to studying language #4, and to learning the writing system.

And books, because it's all about reading!
I'm about halfway through Pullman's The Amber Spyglass, the third book in the His Dark Materials series (which begins with The Golden Compass). I'm enjoying the series in that quick read over vacation way. Growing up, I had a habit of reading tons, but the best reading was over vacation, when I could read late without getting in trouble, or read early, or whenever. It's a real pleasure.

One of the dark secrets about being a lit prof is that you read tons, but not much of it is the sort of reading that brings most of us to loving literature. I read tons of student papers (some of which are great, but the shear amount of reading is overwhelming), texts I teach (which I love, generally), and then there's criticism, historical stuff (including some deadly dull sermons and stuff), and endless committee work. So doing some vacation reading without thinking about how to teach the texts is a pleasure! /End Digression

The Constructivist suggested a couple other books for me to read, and I went and got one at the local library. The suggestions look great, and I'd appreciate more!

The local library catalog system is really counterintuitive. I'm pretty decent at figuring out library catalog systems. At least, I've had reasonable success at any number of libraries. But when I did a search on this system, I had problems. First, it gave me different results with the author and title searches. I wasn't successful with one, but was with the other (and yes, I checked my spelling). Weird! And then the system searched the entire area libraries, and listed other libraries first. Wouldn't it make more sense to list the library where the person actually is first? And then when I looked for a catalog number with the book list where I was, it merely told me that the book was in non-fiction. So I looked around and there's no map of the library to say where collections are. Then I asked a librarian, and she said I need a number. But to get a number, I have to click on the book in the list. Doh, I didn't realize that I could click on it because it didn't show up in the usual way. But I was able to find it.

I think the local library thinks I'm illiterate because I usually just walk around the books on CD area and pick out whatever looks interesting at the moment. This is the first book I've checked out from there. End Digression

I actually feel better not that I've done a sort of master list. Okay, deep breath. If I get a couple of things worked on each day, I'll finish just fine. Right?

I don't even know where to start.


  1. Hey B -- When do you depart? I'm leaving on my grand overseas teaching adventure on Tuesday (classes start on the 7th), and I'm doing much the same as you are. Today I spent a ridiculous amount of time trawling the aisles of our biggest drugstore looking for travel-sized toothpaste.

    Don't even get me started on the shoe issue. Crikey. I think I've got it figured out for the climate and geography of where I'm headed, but I have this sinking feeling that when I get there, I will be *so wrong!

    The saying good-bye to friends part (even if it's just for a term) is the hardest part, though ... I suck at it, as I tend to blubber like a sentimental slob.

  2. I found luggage I love at Sam's club -- and my mom found another great set at Costco -- My favorite is the largest allowable carry on size and was under $100.00.

    I finally figured out that spending a bit more on luggage is worthwhile -- I got some with bigger wheels -- which are key for maneuverability. Also, I found a great hook to hang my smaller bag on my rolling suitcase.... well worth the money if you see one, especially if you have to do public transit or a decent amount of walking.