Thursday, August 22, 2013

It Is Decidedly So: My Sources Say 8

Yes, without a doubt, it is certain that the Dept. of Nance is eight!  Way back in 2005, I started this site, and I am still here eight years later.  To what do I attribute this Longevity?  Let's see if the Number Eight holds any clues.

8 Parts of Speech--Oh, I do so love marshaling nouns and dynamic verbs, those expressive adjectives and actively precise adverbs.  And while I am not too proud to admit an Unhealthy Obsession With The Semicolon, I still appreciate a well-placed conjunction here and there.  Yada yada yada, and holy crap! (That's an interjection, by the way (prepositional phrase right there), and do you--pronoun alert--see what I did there?) we're done.  I suppose the Defender of The Language would have a few things to say about not using brackets instead of double parentheses, but maybe she'll let me slide on my Eighth Anniversary.

8 Tiny Reindeer--Holidays, and all of my family's Rules And Regulations concerning them, give me great ideas for posts.  My disdain for Halloween; my deep admiration for Thanksgiving; my antipathy for Christmas inflatables (and my hidden desire to be a BB Gun Vigilante and deflate them all); my No Christmas Music Or Displays Before December First Rule; my battles and joys regarding The Perfect Christmas Tree and its upkeep are all subjects I've written copiously of both here and at my now-defunct co-authored blog Stuff On Our List, which Jared and I abandoned years ago. (But you can still read all the posts.)  Imagine my horror when yesterday, 21 AUGUST, I heard my first mention of The Holidays and Christmas Layaway on television.  Outrageous.  IT IS AUGUST.  Please, all Overachievers, kindly refrain from exclamations of "I've already started/finished/wrapped/given all of my Christmas presents!"  Don't make me come over there.

8 Virtues of the Samurai--As enumerated in the Bushido, the 8 virtues are Rectitude, Courage, Benevolence, Politeness, Sincerity, Honor, Loyalty, and Character.  I know, right?  What in the hell does this blog have to do with any of these traits?  The key here should have been in the word "Virtues."  I'm 54.  My days of Virtue are Over.  In all seriousness, however, I am, as I have always maintained, on a Continuous Journey Of Self-Improvement.  In the past, I have, for a variety of reasons, equated Kindness with Weakness.  I have come to realize that this is a serious flaw in reasoning.  I have also tried to become more Courageous.  Loyalty and Sincerity have always been important to me along with, thanks to my father's influence, Character.

8 Rules of Fight Club--Let me say firstly that I really don't care for this film.  (It is, unfailingly, the favourite film of teenaged and twentysomething males.)  The first two rules of Fight Club are the same:  You do not talk about Fight Club.  It's private.  I get that.  I'm a Very Private Person.  Even though I have a public blog, name myself, my husband, and my kids here, I don't identify much else.  At least not much that you can pin down.  It's laughable, really, because there are eleventy billion blogs out there, and who cares who I am?  Or where I am?  It's not like I'm in the Witness Protection Program, or that I'm a secret IRA operative, or that I'm CIA or something.  It's just that I enjoy my privacy.  There are a few people out there who might want to know where I am, and I'd rather that they didn't.  I like an uncomplicated life.  But a few of you have wondered/asked several times about what I look like.  And it's not really a cat with glasses.  So, for those of you who are, as one of you once put it, "painfully curious", I've put up a few photos on a new page tagged "It's Me".  I'll leave it up for a little while.  But no Facebook.  Do not talk about The Facebook. As the Magic 8 Ball would say, "Very doubtful. Outlook not so good."

But, where are my manners?  What kind of Samurai would I be if I were not Polite enough to offer you some birthday cake?  Let's go for something a little lighter this year.  After all, I'm not getting any younger, and those Meno-pounds are getting really tough to lose.

post header image here
delicious cake found here


  1. Happy anniversary! And I must say that cake looks really (really!) scrumptious. It probably looks extra yummy because I just had lunch and I could use a little dessert...

  2. Anonymous3:03 PM

    Congratulations. Good job. I do hope that Signs Point to Yes & that you'll be continuing to post to your blog for 8 more years. I'd miss you, now that I've found you.

  3. That is a gorgeous cake! Congratulations on your blogaversary. I started in '05 as well, though not until November. Well, I posted 1 blog post back in 99 or 00, but gave it all up as stupid, and didn't start again until 05.

    My very favorite virtue of all is kindness. Paired with courage, you can accomplish mighty things. Improving schools is kind. Feeding the elderly is kind. Ending war, wow, that would be kind. Curing malaria, also kind. See? To quote Jewel, which I only do very occasionally:
    "In the end, only kindness matters"

  4. I love your blog. Happy birthday! Did not mean to make you uncomfortable in other regards...just wanted you to feel beautiful and admired. And look at you, offering up my favorite kind of cake! Yum!

  5. Happy anniversary!

    Is it very sad that it has been so long since I have had something like strawberry shortcake? Not due to anything in particular, either...

    And lady, you are gorgeous! As someone already said, not what I had pictured in my head at all! Not that I really had a concrete image.

  6. Happy 8th Blogiversary! (No, I didn't make that up - it's on Urban Dictionary, so you know it's legit.) I'm sorry I only found your blog a year ago, but I've thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to following you for many more. What really strikes me though is that you are only 54 and already retired. I'm only 6 years younger than you are, and - thanks to four interstate/international moves and a big long child-rearing break - am so far away from that idea I can't even imagine it. I am wildly jealous, I think. What's the plan for the next 50 or so? I bet it's interesting.

  7. Ms. Caroline--I taught for 30 years at a public high school. That made me eligible for retirement. I began my professional teaching career at age 22. I was fortunate to be able to plan both of my pregnancies for late spring (March 28, April 28 birthdays respectively), so I could take my maternity leaves and then the summers with a few sick days tossed in. The plan for the future? The luxury of having No Plan At All. Travel when it comes up and I can afford it, spending time with St. Patsy (my mom), writing here, writing anyplace I can, and finally truly appreciating a relatively stress-free life. Thanks for the good wishes, and I'm glad you found me.

    Gina--It is profoundly sad that you haven't had strawberry shortcake in any iteration in a long time. It's so easy to make or put together from store/bakery ingredients. GO DO IT AND BE GLAD THAT YOU DID! Thank you for the compliment. But what did you think I would look like? Hmmmm....

    Carolina L.--My dearest Professor, you did not make me uncomfortable. The idea of inviting comment on a page of pictures is what made me uncomfortable. It reminds me of those poor teens on YouTube with their "Am I Ugly" videos. The only thing anyone could do on that page, really, is to comment on my appearance. That makes me uncomfortable. It seems silly, also. My readers are all mature, kind, and civilized. Who among you is going to say anything unkind? The most you would do is observe The Thumper Rule.

    Having said all of that, I thank you for your compliment. And so does my mother, and someplace, my late father, whom I resemble most. He would be very proud.

    J@jj--Thanks! I really had to talk to a friend about the Kindness Thing. It was twisted up in my thinking. I feel much better now about everything since I got straightened out about it, really. Sometimes I like to think about it as Benevolence instead. That word has more precise connotation for me. Growing up is a never-ending journey for me, to be honest.

    Ally Bean--Thank you, and I'm glad to have been found. I like visiting your spot as well. I've no plans to stop writing here, so please keep coming by. Isn't it great to have a forum for expression and people who care to read and chat? I love it.

    Bug--I'm a huge fan of strawberries and a nice sponge or pound cake with them. I don't even need that crème Anglaise. But it's awfully nice if it's there.

    And thanks for your compliment on the other page. You're such a sweetie.

  8. Happy Blog anniversary, and many more. I've been absent from the blog inverse for a while, due to an unfortunate set of accidents that left realprof with a broken ankle, and humble self with a broken shoulder. I'm referring to our home as the International House of Fractures. I felt the need to reply to your comments on Facebook. I, too, will have nothing to do with it, and although all my students use it, a surprising number of them consider it a huge waste of time, and a source of way too much information..

  9. I am also currently living in a House of Fractures, but they are emotional rather than physical, so my attendance here has been spotty. But I do want to say how much I enjoy reading your blog, and hope to continue to do so for countless years to come. Congratulations on eight years--quite an accomplishment.

  10. LaFF--Thank you for taking time to chime in here and offer encouragement. I do so hope things level out at your house, and that you soon have smooth trails ahead.

    fauxprof--I was hoping you and realprof were away on an exotic vacation, and that distance and fun were the reasons behind your absence from the Dept. I'm so sorry to hear that you both are broken. Be patient, listen to your doctors, and make sure you do whatever wacky stuff your physical therapists order. Thank you for taking time to comment. I recently had someone tell me that while she wished I were on Facebook, she'd be horribly disappointed in me if I were. LOL.

  11. Happy 8th! I have thoroughly enjoyed hanging out at The Department since day 1, which was around 2006, I think.

    And thanks for posting the pics. You look smashing! As opposed to smashed, which is how I often look in photos recently. But I'm 7 years older, and crane my neck a lot, a la Nora Ephron, I feel bad about my neck... speaking of which, you have a bit of her look, too, especially in the eyes and smile; no neck issues at all! :-)

    Sorry I missed the last post. One of our adjuncts quit right before the fall term started, and I haven't slept in days--- I had to re-assign my classes and pick up his heritage speakers classes, each using a textbook I have never used before. I will spare you the grief, but let's just say I hope this guy goes to a very, very hot place for a very, very long time. I just clicked on the Magic 8 Ball link and asked it if I might be finishing the fine/tuning of my syllabi (syllabuses) tonight, now that we are almost a week into the semester, and it said: Outlook is good. That works for me; kind of like Chinese fortune cookies. They are totally believable if you need to believe what they say. :-)

  12. Thanks, Ortizzle! I started blogging here in August of 2005, if you can believe it. I was naïve and really a newbie. Little by little, I refined my perspective and Mission Statement, though, and I think I hit my true stride around 2008.

    So sorry about your academic snafu. Sometimes it's good to be the Queen, and other times not so much. How much longer until you join me in the Ranks Of The Retired?

    Finally, your compliments are much appreciated. Because of Extreme Vanity, I am always careful to be looking my best. Let me tell you, though, I get so sick of the routine of doing my makeup and styling my hair every single day, sometimes just for the cats and Rick and a few people at the grocery store. LOL. But I feel better when I look nice.

  13. Oops! I did know that your blog was born in 2005. "Day 1" refers to whatever "Day 1" was for me, i.e., the lucky day I discovered The Department. I knew little about the existence of blogs or how to set one up until the summer of 2006, so I am guessing I posted my first impertinent comments here around the fall of that year. :-)

    Things are settling down a bit, and my boss, who is The Real Queen, has been a peach and passed on a lot of material for one of the courses which she also teaches. The Dude Who Left--- not so much, but good riddance. I shall overcome. (Appropriate remark for today.)

    You are right on the mark about making the effort to look your best, even if it is only for those who see you every day. I get so wound up about the content and quality of what I am teaching that I often forget that students really do notice how you look, no matter how nicely and precisely you have explained the nuances of the pluperfect subjunctive. And I think it goes beyond mere personal vanity; if you make that effort to look your best, even when you are bone-tired, it sends the message that you do also care about yourself. Students tend to interpret that one step further: you also care about them. (And what they have to look at 3 times a week if you don't, lol!)

    Retirement? For teachers in my state, if you joined the ranks as late as I did, I really need to get to at least 65 in order to get full benefits. Thankfully, I really enjoy what I do, in spite of the occasional pitfalls that can put a wrench in the works in terms of getting more than 5 hours of sleep a night. Nowadays, the most time-consuming part of the job is something most people face in the workforce: keeping up with technology. In education, it is a never-ending learning curve, at least in the foreign language area. Just when you think you have mastered the latest online program that is an integral part of your course (or your ENTIRE course if it is online), they move your cheese and install 50 million upgrades or move to a new edition entirely. In the past, a new edition of the textbook was the worst you had to deal with every 3-4 years. Now, it means the textbook and all of its online components, which, for web students, is really everything.

    Meantime, in between time.... it's "fake it till you make it, baby." :-)

    Unwinding from Hump Day and Looking Forward to Friday

  14. You look so young! Are you sure your sainted mother told you the true year of your birth?
    And I ate up all the eights, truly. Now that I am back on line.

  15. Mary G--Oh, welcome back, welcome back! I have missed you.

    If I look young, I do have St. Patsy and my late father, Bob Senior to thank. Dad greyed very late and very graciously, and my mother continues to have surprisingly unlined skin for an 83-year old. I got the best of both of them in those categories although up close, my hair has plenty of silver. Thank you for your compliment, however; I take it gladly!

    Ortizzle--I hear you about technology. In my very last year of teaching, I suddenly had to use a smartboard and an online gradebook. So annoyed that I didn't squeak past it. Luckily, all of my students knew the intricate workings of the smartboard and helped me immensely. And I had such super colleagues who patiently and cheerfully assisted me with the grading program.

    This week, St. Patsy has been with me recuperating after a small surgery. After I get dressed and fixed up, she always says, "Where are you going?" LOL. I say, "Mom. I look like this every day. This is just my everyday look." She says, "That's nice for your man." She sounds just like HER mother.


  16. Dear Nance,

    Am I too late to tell you that you have the best blog in the World?

    I love going back in time via the YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE feature you provide. The first comments I can find from myself are in 2007 and I have enjoyed every post since that time.

    You are the best and I hope you continue to write for us for many more years.

    The strawberry shortcake was delicious. Thanks!

  17. Nancy--You will never be Too Late to tell me that! Thank you. I--along with many of my Regular Readers, I'm sure--look forward to your comments here. And I'm flattered that you take advantage of the Wayback Widget to randomly read past posts. I am awfully proud of my blog and my previous work here, so it's gratifying to know that it's still enjoyed. Good to see you!

  18. Happy 8th! There aren't that many bloggers that stick around. Glad you're one of them. : )

  19. Lisa/Anali--Thanks so much. You were one of the first regular commenters here when I started out. I appreciated that. Comments are precious to us bloggers, like gold and chocolate. I always like to see one from you.


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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