Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I Heart the Internets!

Holy crap, how have I not heard of this until today? It is the best thing EVER.

Go check out Pandora. Quickly! Go!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Helpful Hints

Pretty A*rdvarks Never Vote Ins!de Crumbling P!nk Arenas!

That little mnemonic will (I hope) help you remember the eight parts of speech. I made it up for my students. Pronoun, Adjective, Noun, Verb, Interjection, Conjunction, Preposition, Adverb.

We also went through some troublesome homonyms and made up our own mnemonics for them. Some of the best:

Your stomach goes 'gr' when it's time to eat. (great)
Grate the cheese on a plate. (grate)
Turn right at the light. (right not write)
A bare bear does not wear any clothes. (bare/bear/wear)
A bear will kick you in the rear. (bear/bare)
Where did you go? Oh, here and there. (where/there/here)
You hear with your ear. (hear/here)
The IRS owns everything; it's theirs (THE-IRS).

And my favorite:
It's a great day to eat grated cheese that I ate. (great/grate)

Ooh, I think we'll tackle lose/loose next week, among others. I forgot about that one.

Anyway, if you forget which words go where, or if you have your own kids or students, perhaps these little tidbits will help you. Or at least that you enjoyed them. :)

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Happy Long Weekend!

I am LOVING the fact that it's Sunday night and I DON'T have to have the Sunday Night Anxiety.

On Friday, there was some anxiety, however. As you know, my online math course began on Monday. And I bought the textbook that evening. The prof assigned a pretest and a couple bulletin board postings. I could definitely do that, pretty easily, in fact. The first chapter was also assigned, which I patently could not do. The book was supposed to come on Thursday night. I figured, well, that's cutting it close, but I can get it done.

So, come Thursday, there's nothing. I checked the tracking, and it said there was no apartment number. Hm, that was odd, but I called and gave it to them, and the woman assured me it would be redelivered the next afternoon. Wow, really cutting it close, I thought, but I can easily come home, do the math all at once, and still have time to get into the city for some fun.

Friday afternoon, when I got home, nothing. I waited around for about 45 minutes, and then called to check that it still was out to be delivered. The person told me that the package was at the warehouse, because it's missing the apartment number. Shit, I thought. They're only open til 5, and it's rush hour on a holiday weekend.

I got in the car about 4, and I was happy to arrive at UPS in about 25 minutes. The traffic going the other way was nearly stopped, and that got me a bit nervous about the return trip, but anyway.

At UPS, the line to pick up packages was actually OUT the DOOR. It took an entire HOUR to get my textbook. I didn't panic; I just read my magazine and tried to be in the moment.

Staying on the local roads, I got home around 6 pm. No problem, I thought, I can still get this done pretty quickly and get on the train within an hour or so.

There were three homework problem sections to be done and submitted online. First I had to set up all the installations and web stuff, then the first homework set took me nearly thirty minutes to do. The second one didn't go much quicker. The third one only took like ten minutes. But I had a quiz to do too! I wasn't sure what it would be like, how long it would be, how difficult.

All this would be no problem, except it turns out the special someone had gotten tickets for a real Broadway show, starting at 8. I was so thrilled and surprised, and then crushed that this STUPID math crap was going to get in the way. At first I thought I'd make it. But it took too long to discuss and decide.

I did the quiz and it literally took me five minutes. Cake.

Then I thought I might try to make it into town after all, and get in during a scene change or something. It was such a nice thing that he wanted to do, and I was ruining it!

It turned out that he got stuck on a train and was late also. So we had a night out, but not the one we were supposed to. Boo, math!

Saturday was an afternoon road trip involving an outlet mall and a very small mountain. And today I slept past 7.30 for the first time in weeks, watched a movie and caught up on grading.

And there's still another day without work! Hurrah!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Hurrah for Productivity!

My friends, the work continues. And it is good!

Today, I FINALLY got caught up on homework and extra credit grading. Then I made a dent (a tiny one, but a dent nonetheless) in grading the poem projects from a week or two ago.

At lunch, bunches of students have been helping me clean and organize my many piles of crap. Among other things, a stack of paper at least two feet high was tossed. I am trying to consolidate and purge to ready for the end-of-year packing that's coming all too soon.

Last night, I finally set up my own computer and office nook for real. I'd kept on using the laptop on my 'portable office desk' (aka my folding kitchen table) until I was done with the thesis and other grad school stuff. Just to keep it easier. But now I have my real computer set up, and it is so great!

So this afternoon, I came home and got started immediately on grade inputting. I'd ignored this all quarter, due to the fact that I've actually had a life for the past two or three months. I was annoyed even thinking about it, and then slightly panicked when I learned the due date for report cards. As such, I had to cancel even the idea of going away for Memorial Day. Grr!

I have completely input two of my three classes. And I haven't done the third just because of wrist fatigue. So perhaps I will try to finish up tonight or if not tomorrow.

The only fly in my productive ointment is that my math book did not arrive today. Apparently they don't have my apartment number, so while they were here, I did not get what I needed. I called and gave the extra info to them, so it will get here tomorrow afternoon. That means I have to sit down and do one chapter of math between getting home at 2.30 and going into the city around 6. No problem!

My mom is coming to town next Wednesday. I'm excited to show her my awesome apartment and get her help with some decoration. And a week from today I will be 'graduating' from grad school! That is very exciting indeed.

You know what else is exciting? I will have a two-day work week next week. Tee hee!

Yesterday, I had students in all three classes read "Who's On First?" by Abbot and Costello. I made sure to pick students who could voice-act and who could read well, and boy, they were great. I laughed every single time; talk about comedic genius! Man. Anyway, Class 3, my slowest, didn't really laugh or giggle audibly. I think some kids were smiling or silent-laughing, but it was weird. Class 2 really laughed and was delighted, as was Class 1 (both classes are much higher-level). It was funny; kids kept looking over at me. It was either to watch me laugh out loud, which they rarely if ever see, or to 'get permission' to find it funny and laugh. Regardless, they all loved it and Class 1 even begged to read it again immediately.

Today, I had them read a readers-theater script I found of Casey at the Bat. I had read it to them last month for poetry, so I suppose they were sort of familiar with the sound of it and the story. I was pretty impressed with how they did.

I think next week we will start drama in earnest. First I will have them perform short plays that I will give them. The next week, I will have them write their own. I found a great site--aaronshep.com--with tons of scripts and other drama tools. One of them is a regular text that the students have to adapt to a play script. That will be excellent practice before they have to write a script from scratch.

We also have to do portfolios. I began that for real yesterday. I'm using that as an excuse to get down and dirty into spelling and grammar even more, so that then they will be equipped to do some real revision. And actually, it's sound instruction, because they'll need to do this on their state exam next year, so there. We win!

It's only six! What on earth will I do with the rest of the evening?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Guess What?!

I'm DONE!!!


I just turned in my tech portfolio, and my thesis is all ready to be turned in. "Class" starts in an hour and a half; the prof is making us "present" our action research to the class. That means we'll probably be here for two hours. Rrr. But at least it will be OVER!

Now I have to turn my attention to my online math class, which officially opened yesterday. Because I've been a bit preoccupied with going out of town, moving, shopping, writing theses, I haven't thought about this class at all, and I didn't go buy the book (online). So I ordered it last night and am crossing my fingers it gets here right fucking quick, because the chapter 1 assignments are due on Friday.

I took the pretest, and it was great. Nothing surprising or difficult. So I think this class--Contemporary Mathematics--will turn out well for me. The online-only thing is weird; I figure I'll get used to it soon enough. There's a lot of different places to go read and check. It's fine.

Woo!! Hurrah!! Finito!! I'm so happy and proud! Whee!!

Hey, now here's another stupid thing. When I got back from New Orleans-a MONTH AGO-there was a huge pile of mail. I didn't look at it because I had to get back to work and start packing. I put all mail and other vital into an Important Box. Wouldn't you know, four weeks into living my new apartment, I finally cracked the Important Box. I saw all the tax documents I got from the accountant, and I found a thing for graduation. It said to return it by APRIL 24. Um, oops...so I filled everything out right away--Sunday night, and crossed my fingers that they would take pity on me. Mama Melancholy is flying out next Wednesday to see me graduate, so I got a little worried that perhaps I wouldn't be in it.

So that was my first stop this afternoon when I got to campus. The lady kind of laughed and sighed but took my application card. PHEW! She gave me the important information, and then I went right to the bookstore and bought the outfit, then got the extra ticket for the department ceremony, which will be after the main one. It's on a Thursday, by the way. Have you ever heard such a stupid thing as a major college graduation held on a WEEKDAY?! Ridiculous! Nice way to get out of school, though.

So I'm all set to graduate, even though I won't officially finish until mid-July. Still, it will be a nice experience, I think. A way to celebrate all the difficult work that has been the past two years, even if most of it wasn't around the actual grad school work.

Ooh, I'm hungry. Think I'll go grab some food to kill some time.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Sunday already?!

It's only one pm, but I've been very productive! Hurrah!

I crashed around 11, and staying up even that late was a stretch for LAME me. I was awake before 7.30 this morning! But I didn't mind because my plate, she is full.

First, I sorted laundry and got ready. At eight, I went down and got two loads started. When I got back upstairs, I started on my portfolio for the tech class. When I looked at the assignment again, I felt, ugh, maybe it's not gonna be as simple as I thought. But alas, I buckled down once again and got to work.

In the last four hours, I obviously got the laundry done, but also nearly all of the portfolio! I need to write out or copy some lessons to include, but it's mostly finished. Hurrah!

I have copies to make for the thesis and I tried to get all that ready and in my bag to get done first thing when I get to school.

I also finally opened the tax stuff that the accountant sent me a month ago. I need to send out all that stuff, plus a bunch of other things. So on the way home tomorrow, I need to buy stamps and also groceries. And then completely finish up both the thesis and portfolio. At this point I shouldn't have to stay home on Tuesday, but I suppose I'll keep my options open if I need to.

My online math class starts Monday night, to make things more complicated. So maybe I need to keep Tuesday for me after all. I don't know how I'm going to cram it all in.

Man, I feel like it's already evening. I don't want to work any more! I'm gonna get bored. I can't wait til it's Wednesday!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Progress! Woo! THREE DAYS...

Today is Saturday. On Tuesday, my master's thesis is DUE. Eek!

Up to now, as you all know, dear readers, I haven't kept on top of things quite as much as I should have. I did do some work, but it was irregular and sporadic at best, because my addled brain just couldn't handle much more.

This week, well, just Sunday, Wednesday, and today, I have gotten some things worked on, improved, and done.

This weekend was my dedicated time to really buckle down and finish this sonofabitch. Yesterday after school, it turned out that there was a last literacy workshop--aka fifty dollars--so I went to that. Then I found out that this morning there was a seminar/workshop thing in the city that would be interesting and also payable, so I went to that too. (It wasn't even a big deal to get up early enough for it, seeing as how I actually fell asleep around 9.30 last night. What an interesting life I lead!)

When I got home, naturally I stalled as long as possible, checking email and seeing what other people had to say about the Grey's Anatomy three-episode-finale. Whew. I very nearly began watching the other three finales I have not yet seen.

But! I am proud to tell you I found that inner buckle and...downed it. Or something. I got to work, anyway. I went to the sections I needed to work on, and I worked on them, and I finished them! For now, anyway; I hope to read through it all at another time to do last minute touchups. I have obsessively saved everything; in fact, I accidentally "saved" this post automatically. Twice. Durr.

I even have all the things I need to put in my appendices. (I love words that pluralize from -x to -ice!) I just need to print out labels and page numbers. There are some graphs that need fixing, but I'll have to physically cut and paste the correct info on them, and then photocopy them.
And I have one more assignment to do for this class, a reflection on my 'journey' during this class.

Of course, I still have that pesky portfolio for my tech class to even start, not to mention finish. Grr. At least I printed out all my pretty assignments already.

Which, ooh! I can't believe I didn't post about this earlier in the week.

This week, some classrooms in the school, including mine, received three resources. Brand new, technological ones. Two of them have monitors and keyboards, and one produces documents. Can you guess what they are? They are gorgeous, is what they are. I am in love with them. The last one is a COLOR instrument with laserlike speed. Oh man, did I mention the love?

The students are also very interested and excited. However, the same day we received them, I gave a solemn talk about the privilege and responsibility we have been entrusted with. We were chosen because we are trustworthy to use them in a good way. These resources mean we can do almost anything (except get a whole class on them at once), which is very exciting. We need to protect them so that we can use them and learn. I actually assigned a homework to write about ideas for projects we can use these technology items for, to get them to feel ownership and responsibility and excitement. I think it worked, because the first afternoon ten kids wanted to type their assignments. Awesome.

I must save and exit. And watch some tv. God knows I'm not capable of working at a computer for more than two hours. Salut!

Friday, May 19, 2006

My Wee Small Engineering Adventure


This was the sound of raindrops splattering onto my air conditioning unit, beginning at four a.m., as well as the gradual cracking of my sanity.

For the next hour, I alternately tried to ignore it, sing along to it, wait it out, and invent solutions to it. By five, I just couldn't take it anymore. So I got up and went to take a look. Mostly I was afraid of me opening the window and seeing the unit fall five stories and shattering, then me having to explain and buy a new one. And me, I am broke-ass and not about to buy a damn thing that's not food.

However, that problem was delayed when the window would not actually open, because the unit was screwed into the actual window frame. Hm.

But I was just too exasperated and exhausted, so I got my screwdriver and unscrewed the three screws, carefully. And nothing fell out, thank goodness. I easily lifted the window, and still nothing fell off the ledge. Phew!

I placed an old shirt on top of the a-c unit. Hm, still noisy. A dishtowel on top of that? Nope. Look around, ho-hum...ah, yes, extra bath towel. Fold it up, place it on top--perfect. I waited and watched the big drops pound the towel, hoping that they wouldn't pile up and make more noise. But it seemed to work, easily muffling the sounds. Hurrah!

I closed the window, rescrewed the screws, and fell back into bed, and blissful sleep.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Home Sweet Home is Getting Sweeter!

This is a "before" picture of the other half of my main room. You'll remember (or see, below) the other part, with the shelf storage and television/media stuff, and the bed is over there. This is the other half of the room. Except that until yesterday, there were at least seven medium to large boxes sitting, piled haphazardly, taking up space. Yesterday I finally unpacked those and attempted to further organize all my crap. (Which I can do, because I have FOUR closets.) And I brought in the other rug to prepare for a real set-up.

This afternoon, I think I completed my big apartment shopping trips. I bought another shelf unit, laundry stuff (because I was all set to do laundry this morning, only to discover I don't know what I did with my previous detergent), food and supplies from Costco, and other random things. Then I came home, and my super had brought up the new computer. And then the rest of the afternoon was spent in set up.

And it is so cool! I had bought this smaller, cream-ish rug on the first shopping trip, three weekends ago. It was sitting in the corner just chilling. Once I bought the other green shag rugs, I figured I'd put the other one in the kitchen or something. Then, yesterday, I had a genius idea: use the rug and turn the desk to create an office nook. Observe!

Isn't it so cool? I love it. The new computer is shiny and pretty. Look at the flat-panel monitor! I feel so lucky and happy.

Two cords were needed, but there were no appropriate plugs nearby. So I used my ingeniosity and got an extension cord behind the bed and under the bathroom door (which at some point will need to be secured down, but whatever), and I got an long ethernet cable, which I cleverly ran beneath the shag rugs. And you can't even tell. But what else is cool is that the two rugs, when put together like that, they look like one big rug. And the rugs feel really neat. We decided that when I finally have a housewarming gathering (second weekend in June, mark your calendars!), it'll be a 'sit on the fun rug and play games' party. Awesome!

I have to go because Grey's Anatomy is almost on. Whee!

I kind of hate Sunday nights, and especially this one, because I feel like now that I've worked so hard on my apartment, I deserve a day to actually enjoy it.

And I totally haven't done any thesis work this weekend. Tomorrow an Ameri-friend that I haven't seen in four years is coming to town, so I'm going to hang with her. And I have to finish a tech project by Tuesday night, so it's going to be a crunch. But Wednesday, I'm gonna work on it a lot. And all weekend, too. I'll even have a backup plan to take off school on Tuesday if I need to.

Hurrah for my new pretty place! Come see it in a month!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Money, Money, Money

Remember how my computer mysteriously stopped working? I've been borrowing a laptop (thank you!! mwah!), but it's time to buy a new one of my own. Someone found the Dell deals, and I ordered a desktop with a flat panel for less than $500. Sweet! It shipped today. Hurrah!

Yesterday the travel deals came out by email. Oh, man. Y'all know that travel is my weakness. Last May my mom and I bought our Christmas tickets, and I'm really thinking about doing that again, this time for London and Paris, since a certain someone has never been to either place. I've been wanting to do Christmas in London for a few years now. Might as well jump at the chance!

Technically, I have the money for neither of these luxuries. But hell, if computers and plane tickets aren't what credit cards were invented for, what is?

School is going well; it continues to speed by.

Yesterday there was a trip to a Brooklyn green space, for two of my classes. I got stuck with my lower/worse class, and they did horribly. About half of them ran around, yelling and playing, not doing the fun pondwater tasks. I was so upset with them all day. Their behavior on both bus rides and at school before and after were equally repulsive. As such, I have punished the worst eight of them (as well as myself, I suppose) by giving them not only Saturday detention, but a week's lunch detention. I will make them sit silently and do grammar exercises. Might as well try to hammer in some basic skills while we're at it.

Next week we'll finish up the poetry stuff and move into drama. Although it won't be that simple, since we're supposed to be ALSO doing grammar work, test prep review, and writing/revision/portfolio stuff. SO fun and easy to do!!

As you know, I have been doing a little grammar stuff. And it's been working! Today in two classes I had them review the eight parts of speech. They did well! Most didn't get all eight, but at least four of the eight they've only seen in the last week on Schoolhouse Rock. When we did them all together, there was no problem.

With one class, they had trouble understanding what I meant by 'state of being' (verbs). So I took the verb "to be" and first quickly explained infinitive/conjugation. I came up with a great metaphor. An infinitive verb is like a toy you haven't opened yet: it's still in the wrapper, there are no batteries, it hasn't been personalized or changed in any way. Then you take off the plastic, flip the switch, brush its hair or put on the stickers, and that's like conjugating the verb: changing it according to your wishes or subject. THEN I tried to say that you use the verb "to be" to tell how you are. "I am happy"--that is the state of my being, that is what I'm feeling. "AM" is just to get between you and your feeling or something. Most of them got it, and didn't stare into space or roll their eyes. Phew.

Then! I challenged them to identify ALL the words in these two sentences: Cotton candy is my favorite candy. And Two girls jumped onto the wagon. We reviewed it super quick all as a class, and they did well! Hurrah! Progress!

I have not made any progress on unpacking, because in theory I have been working my ass off for my thesis...um, yeah. I'll let you draw your own conclusions there. Use your clues from the text, don't forget!

I'm even behind on television, not like I really care. There's just not enough time or energy in the day! All week I've been exhausted by ten. Lame!

Less than two weeks, and this part will be over. I just have to keep reminding myself.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sunday Afternoon Blues

I think it's a gorgeous and sunny day outside, but I don't want to open the blinds and see.

All day yesterday was spent shopping. As you might have seen by the photos yesterday, I bought a television (hurrah for a return to normalcy!), shelving, a folding table and chairs, a great sea-foam shag rug, as well as an office chair. The chair and two shelves have yet to be assembled; I'm saving it for more energy and space, as I still have a bunch of boxes to unpack.

Eventually, most things were put together and it was starting to feel more homey. So my special someone and I settled down to relax. We watched Noises Off!, a movie chock-full of big names (Michael Caine, Carol Burnett, Christopher Reeve, John Ritter, Julie Hagerty, and more) and bigger laughs. Seriously, it's a hilarious movie and if you haven't seen it, do.

Now it's Sunday and I'm tired and want a break. However, the dreaded thesis beckoned. After I had to conveniently clean the bathtub, I began working on this dastardly paper. First I made my references page, while correcting my APA format. Then I updated my methods section, mainly the setting and participants. Next I opened up the lit review. Of course I did the formatting first, but then I finally buckled down and took a look at two of the three sources I need for my intro. I read one article and browsed a chapter. Then I typed out a decent first draft of the intro...it's all bullshit anyway.

I still have to finish up the intro, plus do a few paragraphs and conclusion for the lit review section. I also need to rework the results, write the discussion, plan and add the appendices, and write another section-intro or two. It doesn't seem like a lot, but I think it's deceptive and I'll probably regret not doing more sooner.

But ugh, I just can't care. I can't muster up the will to do much. I'm trying, sort of, to peck away a little at a time. I don't have energy to do anything during the week, and I told myself I would work "all day" today on it....Yeah right.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Ode to My Students in Class 2

O, how you do such great work;
Paying attention, wide-eyed,
Eagerly attempting anything,
Producing interesting work.
O, how I do appreciate it:
Your intelligence and wit,
Your skepticism of
my weirdness.
O students, you are wonderful
And I love reading your work...
But still, I can't wait for the year to be over.


Now read these AWESOME odes my students in all three classes wrote! These kids ROCK sometimes. If you're lucky, maybe I'll transcribe some of the fantastic ballads they wrote.


O, you magnificent basketball,
you complete me
how do you do it
with your bright orange color
O, you magnificent basketball
you are so great
with your five thousand little dots
just waiting to be held
O, you magnificent basketball
you are so perfect
just spinning round and round
on my little finger
O, you magnificent basketball
you complete me


"Ode to My Thumb"

I sing to thee
O mighty thumb
Your armor be impenetrable
O how I love your flexibility
How you allow me to go through doors

O mighty thumb
How you give me strength
O how you push buttons for me
How, when I wake up, you greet me
By letting me up


O my bookbag organizes my books
O how it keeps my books safe
O how it's so special, I use it every day.
It is one of the most important things
I just use it most of the day
O how can I go to school without
My bookbag that organizes
about everything I use for school,
Everyone in school has it
School will just be different
without my bookbag.


"Ode to Rubber"

I love thee
O Rubber
You make my life worthwhile.
You make it able for me to buy boots, sneakers and high heels.
O magnificent O special O amazing Rubber
Never leave me.
Rubber that is on the cushions
On my pen so my fingers will not bruise.
O useful O necessary Rubber
Keep coming O Rubber
The buttons on that tv remote makes it possible for my brain to mush.
O Rubber O Rubber
I love you Rubber
O gracious O useful Rubber
O Please keep coming to me.


"Ode to Chocolate"

O chocolate
how sweet
O chocolate
ranging from white to dark
O chocolate
how you sweeten my life
O chocolate
how you light up my day
O chocolate
what would I do without you
O chocolate
there is no better joy than you

O chocolate
you are the best
will always be!


"Ode to My Notebook"

O, you're so organized
You keep my words
Inside you
Storing everything I write
I look back at you
To put the information
You have
Into my mind
You make me so smart
I just love to write in you.


"Ode to iPod"

O iPod, I do appreciate thee.
Always helping and calming me.
I always go to you when I need help.
I trust you to soothe me,
Always sticking by my side.
I will always appreciate thee.

O iPod, I do appreciate thee.
I can depend on you for anything.
Thank you for your entertainment.
You rescue me from boredom.
Thank you iPod, I do appreciate thee.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I'm Back!!

Hi, friends and bloggers and internet in general!

I am totally moved into my new apartment--since Saturday--and am exhausted, and getting poorer, and getting annoyed with the kitchen roaches....BUT! I do like, nay, love, my place. It is shaping up pretty well. I have some plans for the floors and walls (shag rugs and photos, respectively), and still have furniture to buy. (Right now I have a pile of electronics instead of a dining table.)

Teaching has been spur-of-the-moment stuff, like tests and figlang review and such. Today I showed Schoolhouse Rock. Before I put it on, I told them that this was before their time (and mine, really), and it was cheesy, but it was still fun and good. They reacted well, and when I played songs second times, a good number were bopping and singing along. Ha! Adorable. Sixth graders think they're all grown and stuff, but give them animated songs and they're five again. Love it. The best part, as a teacher, is that they LEARNED stuff. They'd never heard of interjections, and after the song--which is very catchy--they did. I had them read and look for some in their books. There was some confusion, but overall, they got it. Sweet!

There is a ton of work to do on my thesis. It is due in three weeks. Less, actually. I have a decent amount done, but I need to finish the lit review, and do the whole intro, which involves reading three more articles, redo my results, finish my methods, get a consent form, get some tests back from the kids (yeah right, good luck, me), work on the formatting (which I will totally do first, as it's my favorite part since it's not actual work), and do the discussion. And put it all together. These three weeks cannot go fast enough!

Much more later, I'm sure.