Friday, May 19, 2006


I meant to post this much earlier, but the time between returning from a celebratory dinner and discovering the theft of the Neon was about 8 hours. Any way, on May 2, Gina Merys defended her dissertation, "Teaching Freedom: The De-Colonized Classroom, Empowerment, and First Year Writing," and she was hooded yesterday. Dr. Merys joins Creighton University as an assistant professor later this summer.

I finished grading over the weekend and submitted grades on Sunday. For the most part, the final papers were good, and a number of them taught me something about the texts we read, which is always a great thing. All in all, a good class. I'll be posting a wrap up in the not too distant future.

We bought a new PT Cruiser on Tuesday because, as I mentioned yesterday, our Neon was stolen and totaled. While it means having a car payment, and, therefore, me having to pick up freelance work this summer to cover it, we wanted a new car rather than an used one. My mother-in-law loves brokering car deals, so we let her at it. She got us a better price than we were hoping for and other than the color, the car has everything we wanted. While we wanted black, we got magnesium, which was our second choice.

I need to need to reread Heaven's War. With the movie hype going around, I couldn't help but note some echoes of the Da Vinci Code, which isn't to say that Heaven's War has anything to do with the Da Vinci Code but rather that both stories draw from the Grail/Knights Templar/Merovingian mythologies covered in Holy Blood, Holy Grail. I've not read either book, but I know good amount about both, so I was able to pick up Heaven's War's use of Holy Blood, Holy Grail well before I read the notes in the back of the book. I've been told by a number of people that I should read the Da Vinci Code at some point and I probably will. Even if it wasn't enjoyable, and I've been told by enough people that it is, it's medievalism and it's bringing students into medieval studies courses, and that's a good enough reason to put it on a "to read" list. Heaven's War itself focuses much more on Charles Williams than on Tolkien or Lewis, which I found disappointing, but I expected as much. The title, after all, is a nod to Williams' own grail story, The War in Heaven.

The backyard lawn, which we replanted last October is doing quite well. Too well, I think. It needs to be mowed more than once a week and it's so thick it jams up the lawn mower. With this new found lawn success, we're probably going to rent a roto-tiller again and tear up the front yard, which not only suffers from the hard-packed Missouri clay but a steep slope and too much shade. We're also thinking about turning the front yard slope into terraced flowerbeds. We've also got canna coming in and the hostas have grown in. We've filled our screened-in porch with flowers and other plants (including two basil plants), and we've also got a number of moonflower seedlings ready to transplant. I need to build a trellis to put up alongside the porch so we can enjoy the moonflowers when we sit out there in the evenings. I'm also supposed to build a number of bamboo border fences in the Yotsume style. The bamboo has even been ordered.


At 7:38 AM, Blogger cbd said...

Lock down that Cruiser!

Erin is in a gardening frenzy as well: we're going to make another bed in the front yard and then till the front and reseed or sod, and she has plans for a bunch of other stuff in the front. We still have to figure out what we're doing in the back, though, besides growing vegetables.

At 9:19 AM, Blogger John said...

We're trying to keep the Cruiser locked down. The good news is that most car thefts in St. Louis are teenagers looking to go for joyrides and they don't have the technology needed to steal newer cars that are programmed to specific keys.

And Tracey told me last night that she wants to put in a raised bed start a vegetable garden. We've got a dead space in the backyard along one of our fences where we'd kept all the leftover sand from when we put in the patio a few years ago. When we reseeded, we decided not to plant grass in that area.

At 10:41 AM, Blogger cbd said...

I think raised beds are in the cards for us before too long. Erin's plan is to eliminate most grass. I'm hip to that....

At 5:04 PM, Blogger John said...

Eliminating grass. Yeah. The patio we put in a few summers ago helped eliminate a lot of it and the raised flower beds would take out more -- the backyard would have less than half the grass it once did. Still enough, but much less work.


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