Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Update from the Front Line

I took mom to visit dad today at the hospital, after speaking with his doctor yesterday afternoon. When I got there, the doctor was in his room. The doctors are so young they look like Doogy Hauser, but they are really good, open, willing to listen, and not arrogant at all.
The doctor said he had been trying to call me, but I don't answer my cell phone while I'm driving, as I have no Bluetooth (the phone isn't capable of it--it's kind of primative for a cellphone). I probably wouldn't answer it even if I had an earpiece as it is too distracting for someone who is rather nervous about driving anyhow. Anyhow, the doctor said that my dad had a kind of a cardiac episode at 5 this morning. He hesitated to call it a heart attack, but that's what it was like, a very small one.
When we got to the room, my dad was sleeping, and the nurse said he had been sleeping all day, not like yesterday when he was walking around, laughing, raring to go. She was concerned, as was the doctor.
It made me feel that he might just not be coming home this time. Or very soon.
On the way home from the visit, I was thinking about whether I was ready to handle his death, just the logistics of it... contacting the mortuary, the rabbi, finding the money to pay for the funeral. Jewish people must be buried within a day of their deaths, unless this occurs on Shabbat (Friday night to Saturday night) or on a major Jewish holiday. And though Jewish burials are supposed to be simple (no embalming or fancy coffins), they cost bigtime. And my father has said he wants a Jewish funeral. Technically speaking, Jewish people are not supposed to be cremated, though they are cremated all the time--particularly when this is all they can afford.
And that's when the check engine light came on in my car. It is the third time this has happened in a couple of months. The first I found out there was a tear in the pressure seal of the gas cap. The second time the gas cap was missing altogether. Don't know how that happened. The third time was today. No one was there capable of diagnosing the car, so I had to leave it till Friday sometime.
Richard rescued us and drove mom home. We then went out to eat dim sum and soup, where the ducks and chickens skewered on the rotisserie reminded me of chorus girls (sans tete).


My dad is still in the hospital. He is feeling well, walking, and impatient to come home. However, his doctor says his blood still shows sign of infection, and so do his lungs. They now do not think he had a stroke, but what else would explain the symptoms he had? I disagree, but it doesn't matter. Today I will have to tell him what the doctors told me, if they don't do it themselves.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hard Day

Yesterday I planned to go to morning yoga class, as usual, but before I went, I called my parents' doctor to make an appointment with her. Then I called my dad's room and talked to Susie, the caregiver. She told me to cancel the appointment for my dad because he needed to go to the hospital, so Richard took my mom to her appointment while I sat in the same hospital emergency room with my dad.
Luckily, the emergency room was empty when we came, a first. My dad got taken right away, and admitted pretty much immediately, but there was no room in the hospital proper, so we stayed in the emergency room area until a room should come up (it didn't, though we were there from 7:30-5 PM. The nurse said she'd have him put into a hospital bed if nothing came through.
Seems that my dad woke up early in the morning in terrible pain. Probably it was a blood clot in his leg, where it attaches to the hip. He couldn't walk, his speech was slurred, and he couldn't see either. Susie wanted to call the ambulence, but he wouldn't let her. He didn't want to go to the nearby Memorial Hospital, but to have me take him to UCIMC. But Susie had the notion that he didn't want me to be called either, though he denies this is what he meant.
Anyhow, when I asked, Susie said to take him to the hospital, which I did. He was limp as a noodle and didn't talk at all until we got to the hospital. I pulled right up outside with my handicapped sticker, and somehow I got him up the ramp.Most of the day he slept. I had to feed him, but he really couldn't eat much, a first for him. But by the evening, he was his old self, sly and manipulative. He wouldn't say whether he wanted heroic measures taken, should something go awry, but put the decision squarely on me, where he always puts it.
I think he'll be okay this time. But it was scary.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Dinner with Mish and Lydia

We didn't go eat at Inka Mama's last night. Instead, my father favored Persian food. He has only had it once or twice, but the prospect of beautiful kebabs and flavorful mounds of saffron rice sounded good to him, so despite the fact that Jeremy hates Persian food ( we had initially thought he would be working anyhow), we went there. The fact that it was less than 3 miles from their house also contributed to the choice of this place, and also the fact that Monster Munching had enthused over the quality of the food at this small, family owned place in Lake Forest.
It didn't start off well. Mom was not feeling well. She had caught the cold and cough we all have been passing around to each other. But the caregiver talked her into going. The thing about her memory is that a few minutes after you ask her, she is ready to be asked again, and this time you might get a different answer.
But she finally agreed, and I handed her a small bouquet of yellow roses and a box of truffles. Mom doesn't eat much these days, but she's a sucker for chocolate, so those were welcome. She, in turn, gave me the gloves that my dad bought for her. They are buttery soft black leather, with a warm lining, very welcome in this uncommonly cold weather. But she wouldn't wear them. Instead she dropped them into the black hole at the bottom of the closet. I didn't have warm gloves, so I told my dad that if she wouldn't wear them, I would! She wanted me to have them, and I put them on immediately.
We found the restaurant easily, and in a few minutes were seated in the cramped space, in a strip mall notable for its diverse ethnicities of restaurant--sushi, Indian, and Persian all within the same little space of half a block. I ordered for everyone, since I know more about Persian food than anyone else. I got soup for everyone but me. I knew that my father and Richard love lentils, and that mom is always cold. I don't like lentils, generally, so I ordered a shirazi salad for myself.
A shirazi is a lovely salad, composed of crisp peeled shards of Persian cucumbers, niblets of red onion, and fresh diced tomato. All of this is topped with a Persian spice called Sumac, and a squeeze of sweet lemon (such as Meyer) and olive oil. The shirazi at this restaurant was extremely bright and lively in taste, possibly the best I have ever had.
Meanwhile, everyone but mom enthused about the soup. Her tastebuds have gone awry, and so she found the soup inedible, much too salty. She pushed the bowl away, so I took it, and shared my salad around with everyone (except mom, who won't eat salad now). A few minutes later, she was looking at me with hurt eyes, asking, "Why don't I get soup?" By then, the soup was gone. It was good, despite the lentils, not salty at all.
Then two great platters of rice and kebabs arrived. We ordered a rice dish full of tomatoes, green beans, and pulverized beef. I don't usually eat beef because of the cholesterol and because I am unused to it now. It is tremendously heavy and doesn't taste right to me anymore. But the rice was delicious. On the side was a long beautifully spiced kebab of soft ground chicken. My parents were to share a mound of cherry rice (sour cherries in saffron rice) and a long long skewer of filet mignon with green peppers and onions, very tender and again, beautifully spiced.
My mom tried a bit of everything on her small plate, but besides squares of flatbread smeared with sweet butter (squares of bread which she initially took for paper), she wouldn't really eat anything, but looked at us hungrily. I guess Persian isn't her cup of tea, though the drinkable tea she was given was deemed acceptable (a rarity for her).
We didn't get any dessert, but instead hustled back into the cold cold car and headed back to the board and care. It was still early for us, but nearly time for the folks to turn in. My dad called an hour later to thank us for the beautiful dinner, flowers, and candy. I'm sure my mom had a boiled egg before she went to bed. She was certainly still hungry.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Boxing Day

Today is the day for after-Christmas sales, but I have no desire (and no money) to shop. It is true I might stop off at Borders, but only to check on their supposed sale on cookbooks. But the truth is, I have nowhere to put more stuff.
I will go to yoga today, then come home and do some tasks, such as working on my syllabi for next semester and reading a friend's manuscript. Then my family and I will take my parents out for their anniversary. We have lost count as to how many anniversaries they have had at this point. I think it is something over 60. Their anniversary was actually yesterday, but we decided that more restaurants would be open today. Plus, yesterday we were having dinner with good friends in Laguna Beach (thanks Robin and Manny for the wonderful feast and good company!). It was cold outside, but warm inside, with a company full of convivial conversation and good feelings.
Today we will probably go to Inka Mama for Peruvian food. My parents like that place, and it is fairly close to their home.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dedicated to Difference

I heard a radio commentator today try to shoehorn Chanukah in with Christmas by saying something like "I wish you and your children the values represented by the holiday you celebrate." I wondered then. Everyone knows the values Christmas represents because there are songs galore we all know that enshrine them-- good will to men, etc. So what ARE the values Chanukah represents? I guess I know that, but don't say it so much.
Chanukah has come to mean, ironically, keeping up the with Smiths, because you don't want to feel left out or let your kids feel left out. This is ironic mostly because what Chanukah REALLY represents is that one needs to embrace his own difference.
The word "Chanukah" means "dedication," and it commemorates the amazing military victory of a small group of ragged rebels, the Macabees, against the mighty army of Syrian Hellanists arrayed against them, soldiers of King Antiochus, a convert to the Greek worship of the gods of Olympus.
We all know that there's no one more zealous than a convert, so Antiochus decreed that the Jews had to convert too, or die. So he forced them to do that. And some went along willingly, even doing everything they could to erase the difference embodied in their flesh, undergoing painful operations to undo or disguise their circumcisions.
But the Macabees defied that, and that's what the holiday represents now, something we need to remember when people have turned against the right of gay people to marry, for example. People need to flaunt their difference, to celebrate it in the face of overwhelming odds. To be proud of it.
And that's a value that we don't hear out there very often.


Since I started doing so much yoga (every day or at least 5 times per week, depending on schedule) I have been much healthier and stronger. But today the fatigue of the holiday season finally caught up to me and I am not feeling very well. In fact, I fell asleep at 7:30 last night and could barely drag myself out of bed at 7:30 this morning. Of course, I was up several times during the night, thirsty and with a sore throat. My eyes look like I have been out on a real bender, although of course I haven't. I'll skip yoga this morning and hope I get over this and that someone steps up to take my dad to the VA this afternoon so he can see the doctor. I've caught his awful cold that I'm afraid in his case is becoming something worse.

Monday, December 22, 2008


I had a hard night. My left hip and lower back are not so great. Standing at the stove and frying/cooking was not good for them, and they complained loudly all night. Consequently, I spent a pretty rough night.
But I was thinking about my mom at the party last night. On one hand, she didn't eat any of the food, except the caregiver's beautiful matzo ball soup, which was as close to perfect as it could get. She even told me to "get the recipe," only to be told by my friend from the choir who attended that she didn't need it because Susie could cook it for her any time! But she was extremely animated and happy, jabbering away about her life, completely lucidly! Everything she said was true, as far as I know, and the tales included no imaginary visitors or events. I haven't heard her speak that way in years, and it was like having my mother back for the duration of the party.
I couldn't push it too far though. When I asked why she hadn't eaten anything I prepared--not the latkes (which turned out good) or the challah (frozen dough, but warm and beautiful when it came out of the oven)--she said that she knew when she looked at the plate that the helping was way too big, so she thought she shouldn't even get started on it because it was impossible to finish! I thought that was so absurd, I laughed. In some kind of way, it had a logic of its own, though perhaps not the kind I accept as logical.
Afterwards, I gave my dad his terrarium of carnivorous plants and gave my mom her outfits from Steinmart. I am not sure she liked them. I will have her try them on, and if they don't fit or if she tells me she won't wear them, I will exchange them.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Tomorrow night is the first night of Chanukah. I will cook a dinner for my parents and the people at the house where they live. Today I will fry fry fry those latkes. I already feel tired!
I'm also looking for a platform bed with drawers. My mother-in-law sent me some money, and that's what I want. Jeremy wanted one too, but I don't think so right now. Maybe another time.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It hits the fan

Not more than two or three days ago, I had a brief discussion with a friend (she will recognize herself) about my son. Jeremy has grown up a lot in the past year or so, working, going to community college, and becoming an independent person in many ways. It was very abrupt because he had been an extremely dependent kid, no doubt because of his history of Tourette Syndrome, ADHD, and OCD. He didn't used to go out much, and hung out with us, seeming much younger than his years.
All of a sudden, when he graduated from high school and got his driver's license, everything changed very suddenly. We seldom saw him. He was out constantly with new friends, few of which we ever met. He stayed out till late at night, and I caught him smoking weed in the house.
When that happened, I decided that to throw a fit would be counter-productive and hypocritical on my part. So I made him promise not to drive stoned and to avoid using other drugs and drink, especially when he was driving, at work, or at school. He assured me he would not.
Well today Richard told me Jeremy got busted by the cops and has a DUI. To make it worse, there was weed in the car. He has to go to court.
Jeremy was very upset, R. told me, and has agreed to forfeit his Chanukah present (which was supposed to be a new queen sized bed and linens) to pay for the rise in insurance costs and fines.
I don't know what to do. I haven't gotten to talk to him yet, but I plan to tell him that I want us all to go into family counseling and that I want him to go back on medication.
In addition to all of this, I also learned he failed his career planning class for lack of work. He lost his syllabus early on, and repeatedly emailed the teacher and asked her also in person to give him another syllabus. I even emailed her. She never sent it. So he didn't know about assignments. Of course, he could have asked other students in the class. He was clearly at fault, but she also had some responsibility for this. She has no Blackboard site and never checks her email, apparently. But for whatever reason, he failed a very easy class!
Things are not going well.

Holiday dessert season

This is the season of grading, of course, and I have bloated research papers going belly up on my dining room table. But it is also the season of holiday potlucks. Yesterday we had our Torah group meeting again, and before that, joined a Jewish education class for a Chanukah potluck. There were all the favorites: two kinds of latkes; applesauce; sour cream; two kinds of brisket (one with limas and one without); two salads; darling cookies decorated with icing; and my assembled almond cake. I found the recipe in one of my fusion cookbooks. It is a virtually flourless torte, made with ground almonds and eggs. On top of it, you put dried papayas soaked in Grand Marnier and orange juice, and various kinds of fruit (quartered pears, green grapes, blackberries,and pomegranite seeds). I added whipped cream to this, slathering it over the tiny cake and putting the fruit on top at the last minute. Then I drizzled the left over grand marnier and orange juice mixture, leaving some on the side for people to add themselves to their plates. It was beautiful! And it tasted good too. Not difficult either.
Last night in Torah group we had some juicy bits to ponder. We returned to the Annunciation of Sarah, where she laughs "inwardly," according to our translation, while in the previous book, Abraham had fallen on his face, hysterical with laughter, with no repercussions. Despite her relative discretion (and who could blame her, since they were both so old?), God apparently fingers her for making light of the whole affair. But the Rabbis, in their wisdom, didn't find that reading convincing. They said that it was Abraham, not God, who accused Sarah of laughing, his male pride coming to the fore. IE: who are you to say I can't get it up anymore???
Interestingly, while God (or his messengers) communicate directly with Hagar, they don't do so with Sarah. She hangs behind the tent flaps and the angels deliver the news to Abraham instead.
This is part of a pattern we see later, when Lot's wife (who remains a nameless pillar of salt) turns to look behind her at the destruction of the city, where two of her married daughters might have remained, and is punished for something she never heard, since the angels told Lot but not her not to turn around.
We also discussed Lot's daughters, who think they are the last women on earth, and seduce their father, immediately conceiving (and bearing two tribes that become Israel's enemies). There is no overt condemnation of their act, but perhaps the fact that their progeny are Israel's enemies is a tacit condemnation?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Rain, Rain

The sound of rain penetrated even my deafness last night. The steady sound is a known sleep-inducer, and seemed even to soothe hungry cats. Whistler let me sleep an hour later than usual! Of course, I budgeted his food so that I could give him a bit of kibble before I went to bed, and that probably helped too.
It's still raining now, as I sit here writing this, and a blank grey slate of sky is visible through the shutters facing my computer. I wonder where my umbrella is? I am sure I am not the only one asking this question right now.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Trip to Another World

Today, perhaps by way of celebrating the car's renewal, after another flat tire yesterday (in one of the new tires, natch!), I took my parents to Little Saigon in Westminster. My dad has been saying for a while that he wanted to go, and trips to our usual spots were lackluster and boring, so I finally girded my loins and took him. When one doesn't drive on freeways, this kind of trip is challenging, but I found a fairly direct route, up Moulton/Irvine Ctr Dr/Edinger, to Bolsa. There was some nasty construction in Santa Ana, but besides that, it was not hard, not even for me, who hates challenging drives.
Dad wanted to go to the A Doung market, which is an amazing and amazingly cheap amalgamation of all sorts of smells, people, etc. The meat and fish section alone is a festival for the senses, not of all of it pleasant. It's like the 99 Market to the 10th power. Then we walked down the strip to a dim sum restaurant (took the elevator upstairs), and had lunch, bargaining for some Hello Kitty pjs on the way. It is tough to eat dim sum when you don't eat pork. My parents still don't, and don't eat shrimp or other seafood (nonfish seafood) either. We ended up with a lot of very tasty tofu. Everything else had pork!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Car, Redux

Turned out the car was more complicated than I thought. The brakes were almost entirely out. They needed replacement. And so did the tires, which were not too old. It was my fault for not filling them up with air when they needed to be filled. I won't make that mistake again. And to top it off, the debit card didn't go through because they suspected someone had stolen it, and I had to go through an enormous rigamarole to get it fixed. But I have my car; I can go to yoga class as well as to a workshop on campus tomorrow (which I would have gotten to by bus if not by car anyhow). Everything I do seems more complicated than it ought to be!
My friend Linda, in Philadelphia, got the dishes from my parents' house and is storing them at her place. It was a long way in the pouring rain, in heavy traffic. What a good friend. It was nice of my old friend Amy to take them out there too. Sometime I will have to go to Philadelphia and figure out how to get them out here.


We don't often think about how crucial our cars are to our lives' smooth continuance. As a person who did not drive until relatively recently (about 8 years ago), I think about it a lot, but even I have come to take my car for granted. Lately, the car is doing strange things. The brake light comes on when the brake is not on, when I am driving. Sometimes it goes off on its own, but sometimes it goes off then comes on again. The front light is out again, for the fifth or sixth time this year. And I worry that the car may be on the verge of dying, though it is not all that old. It does have a fair number of miles on it... almost 100,000, most of which I put on it. But buying another car at the moment is not in the picture, so I hope it holds on for a while.
How did I manage taking the bus? As I recall, not all that well. It was tough because it took hours to get anything done. Going one place was a major project. Now I zip effortlessly from one place to another. Maybe I appreciate that less than I used to. This will be a reminder that I need to be grateful for the car and the ability to drive it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Terrible term papers

I am now poring through elephantine research papers. I am shocked at how little some students seem to have learned about incorporating quotations, citing, doing works cited, and simply creating an argument out of the material they have collected. They seem to have forgotten everything the previous papers have taught them. Oh well! I'm sure making mistakes is instructive too. I've learned plenty that way myself.
Looking forward to the break, if I can make it!

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Supremes

The Supreme Court decided not to hear that case. Whew.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

new worries

Yesterday I was listening to NPR, which is my wont, after yoga class and heard on the news quiz a comment about Clarence Thomas, a scurrulous Supreme Court justice, accepting a case challenging Obama's right to be president because he might not be a "native born American." I didn't know how seriously to take this.
I haven't watched the news all that regularly. I used to be a newshound, but after 9-11 and Bush, I couldn't stand to look, frankly, so I stayed away from the news. It became a habit, and now I watch irregularly. Though I listen to the radio news and scan the paper, I don't always get every little story. The implications of this one though are very large, and when I checked it out, I freaked.
To forbid Obama to take the Presidency, when the US teeters on the brink of a depression, is terrible! What would we do? I don't want to think about it. I kept me from sleeping last night though. That's why I don't watch the news!
The Constitution has not defined this crucial term, "Native Born American." Does it mean someone born in the States, no matter his parentage, or someone whose two parents are both citizens or born in the states themselves, or does it mean someone with at least one citizen as a parent? And what if a person like Obama has one citizen parent and one non-citizen and is born abroad? What does that make him?
These are questions that should be resolved, but for this to come up now is not good, especially when our economy is in such a delicate state, and this is bound to worsen it, if Obama is summarily bounced from the office before he even takes it.

Friday, December 5, 2008


Stuff from my parents' old house continues to affect my life. Of all the junk and valuables in that place, which we emptied out about 3 years ago, when my dad had a stroke, and sold, only the good china, bone china from England, and my great-uncle Isaac's painting of my grandfather are left. The painting has been at my friend Linda's house in Philadelphia since we cleaned out the house (or actually, took what we could and paid others to take the rest away so we could sell).
The dishes went with my friend Amy, whom you will or might remember from a blog entry a few months ago. Amy is now moving away from the small town where the horrible people torment her and her family to another, better place, I hope. However, she does not want to take the dishes with her. This is partly because the house was full of vermin, and some traveled along with us in boxes and other items. To this day, we are still plagued with some sort of mite that is extremely small, not visible with the naked eye, and so no insect control service will spray for it.
Amy's husband is a licensed pest control person, so they sprayed a number of times and finally got rid of it in the rest of the house, but she suspects that the bugs are still in the box of dishes, and does not want them in her new house.
I was not at all sentimental about anything from the house. I had a miserable childhood there, and wanted only to put the whole thing behind me. In fact, I had nightmares for years and years about having to deal with it, and begged my father in the years leading up to his stroke to sell. I even found a service that would help him pack up and sell things from the house, so he could move either out here or to an assisted living place in Philly.
He refused to go, so I was stuck with a horrible, nightmarish task, in a house full of two refridgerators full of rotting food, rats, roaches, etc. In addition, he buried envelopes full of cash all over, and we had to find them. We never found my grandmother's diamonds or other valuables.
But the one thing I wanted, besides the painting and the death mask of my grandfather, was the dishes. I did have wonderful memories of family holidays together using those dishes. And they are lovely. If I ever got them here, they would be the nicest things I owned.
A few months ago, Amy contacted me and told me she would leave them at the house if I didn't send someone to get them. We have become estranged since the episode with the bugs that also infested her house. She and her husband, like me, happen to be allergic to them. Most people aren't. However, she seems sympathetic about my plight.
Linda has said she will go get them, but eventually I need to relieve her of them and of the painting. I have no idea how to go about this. The house and my past just won't let go.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Abraham and the gang

Yesterday evening was the Torah group's third meeting. We discussed two parashahs, both telling the story of Abraham/Abram and Sarah/Sarai/Ishai (Sarah's 3 names)--Lech L'cha and Vayahi. We only made it through the first because there was so much to discuss. In this section, Abram leaves home with his retenue and passes his wife off as his sister (twice). In the process, the old trickster gains a lot of booty and renown. So does his nephew, Lot, his adopted son under the Levirite marriage system that dictated brothers become responsible for their brothers' family after his death, and must marry the widow. In fact, that's why Abram marries Sarai, who is his niece. We also learned that this was not considered incest; nor are father-daughter relations-- under the biblical definition at least!
We discussed the interesting fact that Hagar is thought to be the daughter of the Pharaoh. You'll remember her as Sarai's slave, who bears Abraham's first son, Ishmael, who becomes the father of the Arab tribes--12 of them, just like the 12 Hebrew tribes. Supposedly, according to the Rabbis, the Pharoah was so in awe of Abraham that he thought it was better for his daughter to be a slave in his household than a princess in Egypt! Ha! Fat chance.
She gets a lot of attention in the book though. In fact, she is about the only woman God talks to. He didn't address Eve or Sarah. She, on the other hand, got to look at God's back and to give him two names--both having to do with "seeing." In fact, that is one of the themes of this section of the book.
We also talked about Abraham's bizarre sacrifice, where he cuts up several animals into two pieces and also includes a bird that is not cut into pieces. I noted that the bird has already been associated with God's covanant in Noah, so it is perhaps not so surprising that it makes its appearance here.
We'll meet again in two weeks and discuss the demise of Sodom and Gomorrah and the wonderful pillar of salt. I already asked about the salt, and read an interesting interpretation that said that Lot's wife was punished for the foreign habit of seasoning her meat, but primarily because she went to the neighbor's house to borrow some salt and told the neighbor about the visitors (the three angels) at their place. That's when the neighbors formed a rape mob and came over to rape the angels. Appropriately enough in a book with so much to-do about seeing and not seeing, the angels blind them, and all hell breaks loose.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

End of Semester Gunk

It is almost the end of the semester, and I am feeling my students' pain. I always tell myself it's their problem, not mine, but it doesn't help. I feel the anxiety they should feel because they haven't fulfilled their responsibilities for my class and are heading for a failure. If they only felt some of it themselves, they probably wouldn't have this problem.
This semester I am teaching a class on research and argumentation for the first time in many years. I am a little rusty at this. So I did not plan the class in a foolproof way, that would guarantee their papers would be ready at the end of the semester. Instead, I told them to follow the sequence of assignments I have been giving for a couple of months, which was supposed to assemble the paper a piece at a time--topic, question, research, plan, draft, works cited, final. But naturally they did not follow the time table and most dragged their feet and are still puzzled about what to research. Meanwhile, it is way too late for that.
It's not as if all of them have screwed up. At least a few have taken me seriously and are doing fine. They asked for help when they needed it, and I gave it to them. I even went to the UCI library to help students do some research, though actually they did better at finding sources on the topic than I did! But I suppose it's all something to learn from. Next semester I'll be ready to deal with this.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Growing Up Nicely

As I write this, Jeremy is getting ready to go to school, where he will have a mock interview. He had to wear business attire, so we spent a part of the weekend shopping for, fighting over, and agonizing about a suit, since he didn't own anything remotely resembling "business attire." Neither does Richard, unless you count a suit from 1976 and an ancient sports jacket, neither of which come anywhere near fitting him now. He just hasn't wanted or needed that kind of clothing. Forget ties. So Jeremy had to start from scratch, and it wasn't easy since he doesn't have patience with or understand the art of shopping.

But he looks great. He wouldn't let me take a picture, but I can tell you it's a black thin pinstripe suit with a blue gray shirt (gun metal blue) and I didn't get a good look at the tie. I think it has stripes. I couldn't talk him into anything wilder than that.
It turned out the interview isn't today, and good thing because there's a whole other part to the assignment, a portfolio. I have the feeling he isn't going to do too well because he refused to buy dress shoes, and she specified that she was serious about business attire, and referenced shoes. But I did my best. Sometimes a kid has to fail to learn that college isn't high school.