FW: Minions

“you get five minions for 48 hours. what are you gonna do with them?”


OK look. I know I have mentioned this before and I will reference that FW once I finish THIS one but I would totally have my five Minions grade you Diagnostic Essays. It isn’t that I don’t love reading your writing–I do like reading your writing as i get to learn about you–but i hate, hate, hate assigning grades. This first paper, especially, cuz this is the make or break grade.


If i could send papers back and not put a letter grade (or point value or percentage) on your papers, I totally would. but you are a generation that needs to know HOW AM I DOING? at all times. you are a generation that competes. and needs to know your ranking.


Instead of paying attention to my comments and how to best to improve your writing–or better yet, note the things you are doing WELL–you all tend to look ONLY for the grade to see what you are doing wrong.

WTF? dubba-you, TTTT. efff????

so this is why I take forever to get papers back. usually, they re read and commented on and then I sit on them for like, a week. a week to think, “if i ut this grade on this paper, is this student join to just give up completely or work harder to prove me wrong? or not work at all because they are happy with being just average?”

damn but i hate assigning grades.

So yeah, my five minions would pretty much run around and drop little letter grades all over your papers. pooping out the alphabet in ways that only Minions might do.



FW: waking up famous

so tonight I go to bed and tomorrow I wake up as someone famous. Who am I?

wow. this is a totally new free write for me. OK. i would have to say: Hilary Clinton. I am going with Hilary. cuz she is a total badass. This is a woman with power. a woman with the potential for even more power.


When Clinton ran against Obama in the primaries oh so long go, I didn’t vote for her. I thought she would bring too much baggage to the White house. She had the whole Bill package behind her. But then Obama won and made her Secretary of State and damn, but that woman proved herself.


She made connections. She did the work. She got to know the international community and saw the need for better relations in politics. And as a feminist, I am loving on her policies for women and children. She is a huge advocate for what women need and how much women are a part of our economy. And how much they need to be a part of our economy, worldwide. So if I were to wake up famous tomorrow? it would be Hilary Clinton.


And I would call every political power that I have snogged up with the last few years and get them to support me in getting bills passed that need to be passed that might just change the way we see the world.


we need more women in power. I am not saying that I would vote for any women to be our next president but yeah, I would probably vote for Hilary. I think she has proven that she has the balls to do the job. or should I say ovaries…yeah. The ovaries to get the job done.


FW: Favorite Toy

I am not certain this was my favorite toy but it was certainly one I really enjoyed as a kid. I loved, loved, loved my Lemon Twist.


As silly as it is, this thing not only kept me active but also made me cool. Because everyone had one in the 70s. I don’t remember where I got it or when but I am going to assume it wasn’t for Christmas. I say this because I expect that had it been an Xmas present, i would have been bored with it by summer and I distinctly remember playing with it in the summer.

So here is how it works: you put the loop around your ankle and then you essential “skip” jumping for the lemon end. I know. simple, right? You can see how this might be a favorite toy of the college stoner. But in my 10th year, I loved this thing. The lemon end made a rattling sound when you ran with it. I can remember running down Kathleen Dr. with this thing, well past the Kewecki’s house, three houses away.

I am not certain that this toy would be the same today. I think the closest thing out there is the Skip-it–that sounds familiar.


What made the Lemon Twist fun was that the toy was gender neutral…both boys and girls could play with it since it was yellow and black. Today, the toys would be color-coded for gender since the 80s explosion of toy marketing ruined everything about toys for kids. Now we have this shit:


and this tells kids what they are allowed to play with. Imagine a boy playing with anything pink. Think about those implications. So very different than a girl playing with something blue or green. life for kids was so much easier in the 70s. we didn’t have to worry about this shit. We just had to clear the path so we didn’t kill anyone with our Lemon Twist.

FW: Envy

Envy: is there anyone whose life you envy? who? why?

I had to really think about today’s freewrite. It was a great idea when I assigned it but now that I am doing it, I am wondering what my students might be saying.

Off the top of my head—as this is how freeweirets go, with no real thought—I would envy a hard-core conservative Republican this morning. The day after mid-term elections and the GOP has taken the Senate. It baffles me. with a 10% approval rating across the country, how they managed to pull in 90% of the vote is beyond me.

it makes me suspicious.

But they must be celebrating. a lot of money flying around out there from the Mighty GOP. and yeah, I said it: a good chunk of those seats were bought. they had to be. right?

because our data shows us that so much of this country does not agree with GOP values.

I question how we are supposed to learn Family Values from someone like Sarah Palin whose 17 yr old daughter was pregnant before completing high school


and whose family has been the source of drunken fist fights.

i don’t get it.

so yeah, i envy a Republican today. Because they are celebrating. and I am not certain what they are celebrating. I suspect they are celebrating the win but with no recognition to all the social programs in this country that will now be affected by their choices.

Yesterday, I read a statistic that said if we funded every single college student currently enrolled in a 4 yr program at any college or university in the country, it would cost us less than what we will pay out for Afghanistan in 2015. just Afghanistan.


I don’t identify as a Democrat—I tend to think of myself as more of a Moderate. I am not that cluless to think that we can do without our military. but good god, can we at least review some of this shit?

I mean, can you imagine this generation of college students graduating without ANY student loan debt, what they could accomplish?

FW: Halloween Costume

my favorite Halloween costume?

Back in art school, my posse and i ditched class for the day and decided to prepare costumes for that night’s Halloween Costume Party at a local club. Atlanta in the 80s was hopping with club culture so there was no way we were going to miss this event.

The four of us–Robin, Jane, Colleen and I–hit up Goodwill with the intent to come up with a team costume, something we could all participate in. I don’t who go the idea first but we ended up going as the Living Dead Bridal Party. Jane was the bride, Robin, Colleen and I as bridesmaids.


We bought a bunch of old sheer curtains–more than a dozen–and old nightgowns. Went back to our apartment that day and tore the curtains into strips and began sewing them into the nightgowns. Getting ready once the costumes were complete was the best part.

First of all, it was the 80s so all of us had some pretty wild-ass hair to being with. It only took a few bottles of the Hair Holy Water, Stiff Stuff, to bring our hair to its fullest potential. Once we have hair and make-up complete–properly zombiefied and gaunt, risen-from-the-dead eye shadow, we sprayed ourselves with spray adhesive then rolled int he leaves outside to give us all the Just Risen From the Dead Look.

needless to say, we won First Place.

FW: Procrastination

what am I procrastinating about RIGHT NOW?

this was an easy free write for me. ask any one of my students and they will say: grading. I hate grading. I LOVE reading students writing, especially early-semester writing when students are still excited about their writing and not too busy to complete a solid draft–come later in the semester and they totally put it off and hand in some half-ass crap in the hopes it will fly.

I love taking to student about writing and through comments on their papers, i can do this. assigning a grade, however, is a whole new ball game.


Assessing students writing is one thing. Assigning a grade is another. that grade can make or break a student. I never know if I am going to push a students to work harder to improve on their writing or i am going to shut them down, force them into giving up completely.

for this reason, handing papers back are always a challenge. I can never get to them within a reasonable amount of time. and I am always hurting for it….since students needing prompt feedback for successful growth in their writing, sending back late papers will not help them.


it is my major challenge as a teacher and every semester I enter the first weeks with goals of getting papers back within days. it never happens. and i already behind before i even begin.


FW: Elevator

Who am I stuck in an elevator with for three hours?  Because I am in this kind of mood, it’s this guy:


I love Jerry Garcia.  I am a Deadhead of the finest sort.  I have lost count concerning how many Grateful Dead concerts I have been to.  I am one of the lucky ones that got to see Jerry before he died.  In fact, I saw him several times in concert.

When I was first introduced to The Dead by my friend Russ, i was skeptical.  isn’t this a hippie band?  I had no idea how much of an amazing CULTURE the Grateful Dead have surrounding them—still do, even without Jerry.


Let’s start with the music.  Not only do you have an amazing mess of a fantastic cacophony of beautiful melodies that come from these guys, you have some fantastically unexpected surprises in every concert.  When they start their jam, you never know what you are going to get.  The Dead have this great way of starting out with one amazing song–China Cat Sunflower, for example, that plays out so beautifully–and moves with such an amazing transition into another.  China Cat often moves into I Know You Rider and you cannot help but stand up and dance.

and it is all about the dancing.  Cuz lemme tell you:  you cannot hit up a Dead concert and NOT dance.  You have to.  You feel so inspired to be moving around in the spot you stand in…and people will move you.  the force of the crowd will get you going.


and the people.  OMG.  Deadheads are perhaps the best group of concert goers you will ever meet.  They are always happy and high and just there for the PEACE and the LOVE and the MUSIC.

When hitting up a Dead concert, you had to take a walk down Shakedow Street.  This is the impromptu place set in the campgrounds or the parking lot or wherever there is open space for the music venue.  And here, people sell veggie burritos and tie dye and patchouli and anything else that will make your Dead-going experience amazing.



so yeah.  Would I want to be an elevator with Jerry?  damn right.  and what would we talk about?  I would pretty much just hug him and tell him how much I wish he were here right now…I could use a little Ripple in still water about now.

FW: Parents

If you could choose any two famous people to be your parents, who would they be?

I thought of this free write last week because i am watching the first season of a TV show called Hart to Hart. this is a television show that was popular in the early 1980s and ran through to the 90s with made-for TV movies. The premise is this: Jonathan, “a self-made millionaire” and his wife Jennifer, an author are a wealthy, jet-setting couple who just happen to solve murders. When I was a kid, this was THE TV show that defined so much of my youth.


I just thought they were wonderful.

and I wanted them as my parents.


It’s funny who we think these things as children, wanting things we don’t have, like curly hair if your hair is straight–that was me–or to live on an island in the tropics–also me. Not that I didn’t love and adore my family but Jonathan and Jennifer Hart would have made the best parents.

at least in my childish, 12 yr old mind.

In my mind, I ran alongside them solving murders. We were a team, me, Jonathan, Jennifer and their dog Freeway just flaying all over the globe solving murder after murder.


ah, childhood.


It’s amazing that this is where my head was at, at 12 yrs of age. Nothing like today’s 12 year old girls, I am sure.

todayy’s 12 yr old American girl deals with issues such a cyberbullying, eating disorders, self-harm, sexual violence. I had none of that before me at 12 yrs old in 1979. So you can see why solving crimes with the Harts was something completely possible in my mind.

In watching the series now, I have been reflecting back on how much this show defined so much of who i was as a kid. I was so ignorant to so much of what was going on in the world outside of my little suburban town near Cleveland, Ohio. For me, at 12 yrs old, my head had me living with Jonathan and Jennifer on Willow Pond Dr.


such a simple time.

FW: Library

locked inside for a whole week? oh definitely the library. When I was a little kid, I used to go to the library three days out of the week. i spent hours there. I loved being surrounded by books. omg! books at every turn? yes, please.


i started reading at a very young age–age three, my mother told me–so naturally, by the time i could sign a library book out by myself, i was already reading books that were way older than my age group. by first grade, i was reading the books my sister in fourth grade was reading. by fourth grade, i was reading high school books.


i remember, specially, that the library would not allow me to visit the Young Adult section of the binary when i was in grade school. “Too young” they said. so my mother had to come up to the library and signs form that allowed me to take out an y books i wanted. to read any book i wanted. i remember my mother thinking it was s illy thing to have to do. I imagine that seeing her child as odd–an avid reader at 7 yrs old–was not something she thought out of the ordinary. but she had to sign a letter, regardless.

it was like a birthday present for her to do that. I loved it. any book i wanted to read without any librarian giving me a hard time about it?

yes, please.


i read a biography of Peter the Great when i was in fifth grade. I lOVED that book. it sent me on a life-long passion for reading biographies. by the time i was in high school, i had read through all three bookshelves full of biographies at the library.


so being locked inside for a whole week? omg. i don’t know where i would start. perhaps back in the biography section. so many biographies published since i was in high school so long ago. i think i would need more than one week.


in face, lock me in for two weeks. perhaps then, i might just get my fill. h, make it a month. food, water and the pug and i am good surrounded by books. so yes, please. lock me in.


FW: Fear

what scares me most? at this moment, it’s bears! big black bears! we have a bear that has been “terrizing” our little neighborhood. I put “terrorizing” in quotes since he isn’t really that scary…he is just looking of food.


but this thing is the size of a VW Bug! he is HUGE!


last night, I was out walking Jimmy when all the neighbors were across the street waving their arms and screaming. I waved. I thought they were just saying hi! they were warning me that the bear was RIGHT AHEAD OF US! that’s when we saw him.


well, to be honest, Jimmy didn’t see him. he had his nose buried in a bush. I saw him though. But he didn’t see us.


So I quickly grabbed Jimmy, yanked him out of the bush and started briskly walking away. I have never seen anything so big in all my life.

well, OK. I have seen elephants of course, but up close, this was the largest animal I have ever seen. We have a horse in our barn here on campus that is pretty big. He already made me nervous when I met, even though all the Equine students tell me is is safe, I kept my distance. so you can imagine if a safe animal scared me, how much the Big Black Bear running around ur neighborhood scares me.

This morning when I walked Jimmy, i looked around so much for him, I think I pulled something in my shoulders. getting our of my car today will be a quick move…I will be running to my front door immediately!