2012 in review

December 31, 2012 § 1 Comment

Thanks to the WordPress.com “stats helper monkeys” for putting together this lovely annual report for A.Hab.’s View (2012).

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 8,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 14 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Personally, I think there is some room for improvement. But a new baby and a completed terminal degree will keep a girl from her blog. 2013 will be better! Without having to write the dissertation, I will have more time to blog. Stay tuned for a more-consistently-updated A.Hab.’s View in 2013!

Please Post for Haiti: Pressing Port-au-Prince (via reinventing the event horizon)

January 11, 2011 § 1 Comment

Thanks to Kathryn McCullough for reminding us and encouraging us all to participate in some small way.

As many of you know, tomorrow is the one year anniversary of the Haiti earthquake and accordingly huge numbers of media and NGO big wigs are here in Port-au-Prince to commemorate the event.  The streets, still strewn with 95% of the original earthquake rubble, are more crowded and crazy than ever, which is saying a lot for a city whose roads boast potholes the size of swimming pools and mounds of debris that dwarf the SUVs that try to travel them … Read More

via reinventing the event horizon

Announcing new blog name!

January 3, 2011 § 3 Comments

So, the winner (sort of by default, lol) is my friend A.Mo. who offered the name “The World According to A.Hab.” I tweaked it a little, but A.Mo. gets full bragging rights!

Goodbye, A.Hab.’s blog, you most boring of boring titles!

Hello, A.Hab.’s View of the World! 🙂

Don’t forget to name my blog!

January 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

Remember that I’m looking to change the name of my blog this new year. Submit your ideas until Sunday, January 2nd, and I’ll select and announce the winning name on Monday the 3rd. Winner gets bragging rights that they named my blog! 😉

New Year, New Name?

December 31, 2010 § 6 Comments

As we get ready to embark on 2011, I can’t seem to shake the desire to change my blog’s name. “A.Hab.’s Blog” just seems…weak…lame…pbbt!

But I can’t think of a name for the blog that would really encompass what I’m all about. So, I’m turning it over to you guys. Please leave a comment with your ideas for a new blog name. They can run the gamut from deeply thought-provoking to “punny.” I’ll choose and announce the winner on Monday, January 3rd. Winner gets…bragging rights? Heh. Renaming my blog will not change the address, so let those creative juices flow.

All right, readers o’ mine:

Name my blog! 🙂

Training the world’s sweetest puppy

November 30, 2010 § 2 Comments

I have the world’s sweetest puppy. Perhaps that ought to be capitalized, a proper title.

Ms. Sophie-Anne: World’s Sweetest Puppy.

Annie: My little angel

This adorable little girl, full of sweetness and light, is driving me bonkers!

If you know me well at all, you know that my experience with animals as pets includes cats (since I was 18 months old), a lizard (an anole, to be exact), a hermit crab, two African dwarf frogs, and a turtle. When I married Robert, that’s when I got to add “dog” to my list of animals that have lived as pets in my home. I got Milton after Robert had already trained ‘im up. Yes, occasionally (sometimes more than occasionally), Milton ignores me and defers to his daddy…even if I’m the one giving the command. (He’ll glance at Robert as if to say, “Dad. Do I really have to sit?” Sigh.) But he is completely housebroken. And he generally leaves the two cats alone. And he sits for his meals. All things considered: he’s fully trained.

And then there’s Annie. Annie has been a challenge. A supremely lovely challenge, but a challenge nonetheless. Friends assure me that she is actually quite good for a puppy, especially for a shepherd/cattle hound puppy. She is energetic, but she calms down fairly easily. Sometimes she gets mouthy, but she’s learning “leave it” and “hush.” (Although, I swear she thinks that “leave it” means “cookie.” I believe this because when I command her to “leave” the cat alone, she does so but also runs over to the kitchen and sits primly, awaiting the cookie reward. Oops.) All things considered, I have fallen head over heels madly in love with this girl. Her sweet little face melts my heart. I just want to kiss her snout and soft ears and cheeks all. the. time. I try to respect her personal space (after all, I don’t want to create a monster with separation anxiety), but I can tell she likes the affection.

Taking a moment to reflect

And then there are days like today. We picked up Annie and Milton from boarding yesterday after they had been there for five days. Yesterday afternoon, she had an accident or two in the house, but generally she was fine. Today though? Today was much, much worse. I feel like I’ve shampooed our entire house (which is quite the exaggeration, but tell that to my nearly empty carpet cleaner). All told, she had five accidents this evening. There could be a couple of factors outside of boarding for five days. I had friends over, which might have been exciting and distracting for her. It was also pouring rain, which might have discouraged her in general from wanting to go outside. The two rebuttals to those possibilities are as follows: 1. Annie has learned to ring a bell by the door when she needs to go potty–she rings the bell despite there being one person in the house or twenty. The number of guests has never seemed to bother her before. 2. Annie is really quite good at going outside in the rain–she might need a little encouragement, but she will still go potty. (Milton, on the other hand….)

But, no matter how frustrated I got at her tonight, I couldn’t stay mad. We’ll just keep working with the bell and hopefully the accidents will decrease tomorrow.

Who can say no to this sweet, precious face? Don't you just want to kiss her?

Welcome readers, old and new!

November 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

Hello friends!  If you are reading this blog long after this post was originally published, it might seem odd to find a welcome message so long after the apparent first post.  The reason is simple: I moved my blog from Blogger to WordPress.com.  Because of the move, you may notice formatting differences from older posts to newer ones.  I apologize for the appearance–I myself find it unattractive–but I am working to correct it.

If you’re a reader of mine from Blogger: welcome to the new WordPress.com site!  The move was really a simple decision to make.  WordPress.com has much greater versatility in editing and formatting than Blogger has (at least, for my needs).  In fact, the only advantage Blogger has over WordPress.com for my purposes is that Blogger makes it easier to change fonts (sizes, styles, etc.).  I’m not really a great fan of WordPress.com’s default font (Cambria), but I like working with WordPress.com more, so I can forgive it the font situation.

So, welcome to the new location of A.Hab.’s Blog.  Here you’ll find posts on literally anything and everything that interests me (ranging from married life to our furry children to graduate school to teaching).  Maybe one day I’ll be a little more careful and pointed on my approach to posted topics.  In the meantime, the blog serves as both a way for my friends and family to keep track of my life while also affording me a much needed outlet while I complete my doctoral dissertation.

Thanks for stopping by!

Lazy Blogger(?)

October 21, 2010 § 1 Comment

I’m stunned that my last post was over a month ago! I’ve been fairly busy–October has essentially killed me. Maybe that’s hyperbole, but you get my meaning. This month has been chockfull of financial woes, dissertation woes, conference paper woes, grading woes, traveling woes, health woes, and fitness woes.

But maybe I’m not being fair. I might be coming at this from the wrong angle. My life this past month hasn’t been all bad. In fact, most of my life has been quite good. Although October has been uncommonly busy, and although I have had my fair share of stressors, I can say that generally I’m in good spirits. One of my favorite October stressors (eustress, mind) was that my very good friend A.Mo came to visit us at the beginning of the month! Why is her visit considered a stressor at all (eustress or not?), well, because I got to have a lot of fun running around with her as her photography assistant throughout her visit. And, if you’ve never served that role before, it’s definitely a fun sort of stress. I enjoyed carrying around her ridonculously expensive camera equipment (I was an extremely careful walker during those hours…I knew that if I should but trip…cringe), wrangling adorable dogs into unlikely positions by way of a cookie, and scouting out locations like treasures. We had such fun with her in town, and I can’t wait for her next visit!

Another highlight of the month, albeit a generally stressful one (and only sometimes eustress-ful), was the conference I was fortunate enough to attend last weekend. I presented a portion of my dissertation chapter (a much, much shortened, much, much condensed version of my current chapter) at the Sixteenth Century Society Conference in Montreal. I enjoyed the panel I served with, and I had a great time fielding compelling and thought-provoking questions from our audience. I felt a resurgence of energy and passion for my topic, which couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. I also picked up a book to review in the Sixteenth Century Journal, which counts as a publication if it gets in. This is good for me because publications combined with job experience can only make a candidate that much more appealing to the market in general.

Despite my brief shining moment at the conference, I did fall disastrously ill while in Montreal. On our flight up, a woman carrying what I am convinced to be the Bubonic plague, attempted the entire trip to hack up her lungs either through her mouth or her nose. She was disgusting, at best; and she was tremendously infectious, at worst. Yes, yes, even upon boarding the plane, the woman chose me to speak to–and of course she would choose me since I had had a compromised immune system for two weeks already. (Hence the medical woes I previously mentioned–this is the end of my third week of illness. First, I had upper respiratory issues; second, I had laryngitis, which hurt like the devil; and now, I have a virus that really wants to be a sinus infection and might have been on Saturday.) Perhaps that has been the worst part of October and what has colored it as generally unappealing to me: I have been sick nearly the entire month. I’m sick of being sick!

Fortunately for me, though, I am feeling better by the hour, so I’m hopeful that next week will be perfectly fine.

November still requires a great deal of responsibilities, but most of them are not related to teaching. I may be the only one, but I feel more in control of my responsibilities as a student (dissertation, reading, research) than I am of my responsibilities as a teacher. Or maybe it’s this particular semester…one of my classes is a bit unpredictable. I look forward to November because it brings with it a strong promise of progress and forward momentum.

If October has brought me anything, it has brought me a motivation to graduate so that I can move on with my professional life. And, as one who has so desperately lacked that professional drive in these past several months, I will take my motivation where I can get it.

The anatomy of repetition

September 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

After several semesters teaching multiple sections of the same course simultaneously, I have come to expect certain truths about repeating lectures.

1. One class will inevitably misunderstand an element of lecture that the other class seems to innately “get.”
2. One class will find great disgust with a section of text whereas the other class finds the same section appealing.
3. One class will have greater energy levels while the other class slumps and sleeps.
4. I will ultimately question what changed in myself to make the same lecture so unbearable for one class yet exciting for the other.

These past few weeks, I taught, for the first time, The Ramayana. In addition to feeling like I do not fully grasp the true implications or beliefs or characteristics or whatever of Hinduism, I still believe that I grasp it a bit more fully than some of my students. (I’m being purposefully conservative for the sake of avoiding generalization–I actually believe I understand the concept of Hinduism better than 99% of my students…allowing for a possible “closeted” Hindu student.) My confidence in this borders on arrogance, particularly because I am capable of realizing how very little I actually understand about this complex religious system.


Today’s lecture was the final one for The Ramayana. In my first class, I walk in to a class of highly energetic students who are excited to talk about the last few sections we read. We had a beautiful discussion about a beautiful text. We discussed destiny, emotions, and (to some extent) religion. I felt we wrapped up The Ramayana as well as anyone could have hoped, especially given the massive sections I had to excise from our assigned readings. (With a great deal of care and regret, I should add.)

In my second class, it was a completely different story. First of all, that statement is generally true of my second class anyway. I have a couple of students who are a bit…how shall I say it?…defensive? combative? presumptive? Something along those lines, although none of those words fit perfectly. My first class takes place right at lunchtime while my second class takes place right after lunchtime. I suppose that could account for the complete lack of energy I experience when I first walk in on any given day. Today, however, my students were really quite dead, I mean truly flat-lined, about this epic battle at the end of The Ramayana. If you haven’t read it,The Ramayana is the story of Vishnu coming down to Earth in the form of Rama (think: Christ). Rama is destined to defeat Ravana, who is the king of all the demons (think: Satan). The final book (if you go with the traditional format, it should end on Book Six) describes the war between Rama and Ravana. It’s intense. It’s brilliant. It’s MASSIVE. My second class? Couldn’t give a rat’s ass. Their reason? Because the whole text is about destiny anyway, so you already know that Rama is supposed to kill Ravana from the very beginning. This takes away from the entire story and makes it disappointing. Apparently.

What is one to do with that? I couldn’t excite them about the text in any way. I couldn’t ask them a question that would cause them to tilt their heads with inquisitiveness. They were bound and determined to feel disappointed by this book, by golly, so they were. And I was disappointed by the final lecture.

And now. Now I receive a text message from a colleague saying that she is on the transit with a student of mine, overhearing a conversation this student is having with her mother. Apparently I am not a Christian, and my student is convinced of this because of something I said in class. Fortunately for me, however, she and her mother will be praying for me. Lucky day.

I don’t discuss my religion with my students. Frankly, I learned at the green age of six that you don’t talk about your religion with anyone who isn’t your religion because you’re probably going to just be condemned to Hell. This is the joy of growing up Catholic in the buckle of the Bible Belt. It’s such a joy. (Sorry for the sarcasm, but come on! It’s been nearly thirty years–can’t I just BE?) I can’t conceive of what I might have said in class that would have indicated that I’m not Christian (or that I AM Christian for that matter!)–there are three things I strictly keep out of my classroom at all costs: 1. my religion, 2. my politics, and 3. my sex life. Those topics are off limits so severely that I’m surprised my students can even attempt to nail me down at all.

I suppose it’s a good thing that I’ve got this one girl so confused. I suppose it indicates how awesome I am at being open-minded and willing to entertain different interpretations of the Human Condition. Tsk. My religion should not even be a concern of hers, and I am more insulted that she is discussing my religion with anyone at all let alone praying for me. In the good old Southern tradition, bless her heart.

These are the days I don’t want to pursue this career. These are the days I hate my job and wonder what could possibly redeem this job for me. These are the days I lament time wasted and tremble at the thought of starting over in anything else.

So I know I’ll continue. Despite anything else, I know I’ll keep teaching, and I’ll keep stepping on toes and pushing boundaries and pissing people off.

I’m not sure this is a valiant move on my part, but it is what is meant to happen. And that’s my dharma. So there.

The person my dog thinks I am

September 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

I was taking a brief break from an Althusserian-sized brain fart (think: utterly thought-halting…like, it took me five minutes to come up with the term “brain fart”), and I read a short blog about marriage. In the comments section of that short blog was a woman’s response to her motivation for dumping her baggage that was external to her marriage. She said she was reminded of an unattributed quote (although potentially received from a song of the same title by the Bellamy Brothers) which says that she wanted to be “the kind of person my dog thinks I am.” Like Annie’s when she hears anything out-of-the-ordinary, my head tilted to the side, and I suddenly became curious about what kind of person Annie must think I am.

Well, for one, she obviously sees me as her rescuer. That’s just a matter of course for shelter dogs. Milton looks at Robert with such devotion and gratitude–Annie gives me the same look. But what else does she see in me?

She obviously doesn’t see me as a fat woman. She doesn’t look at my body with disgust and revulsion. Even when she’s asleep, she wants to touch me with a toe or the tip of her nose.

She obviously doesn’t harbor any resentment or disappointment in my stilted approach to writing my dissertation. In fact, when I need to write on my laptop, she is happy to sit beside me or under my feet, as long as she’s nearby.

She obviously doesn’t judge my all-too-often decision just to stay in my work-out clothes all day because they’re comfortable. As far as she’s concerned, my comfortable clothes are comfortable for her, too.

She obviously doesn’t see me as lazy or inconsiderate. I’m not sure she even notices the piles of laundry that have accumulated, or the fact that it’s Robert who cooks dinner most frequently, even on “my” nights.

She obviously doesn’t judge my hair or the fact that I choose to wear it pulled back every.single.day. As long as I give her a good whiff of my hair straight out the shower, she’s happy.

She obviously doesn’t reject my training methods because I am a first-time puppy owner. As far as she’s concerned, I’m an old pro at this. She listens to my commands and respects them for what they are. (Plus, she knows she’ll get all kinds of kisses and cuddles if she follows my directions.)

To Annie, I’m a source of rules, food, cookies (sometimes, especially when we’re learning something brand new), affection (like really awesome tummy rubs), and shelter. To Annie, I am not my baggage. I am not someone with failures worth noting or someone who should be rejected on the basis of those failures.

Perhaps it would be fair to suggest, and I am not attempting to equate my husband to my dog, that Annie sees me in a similar way that Robert must see me. Before we got married–hell, even now I find myself saying this to him–I would tell him, “I just can’t see the woman that you see when you look at me.” And he would respond, “One day you will.” Same goes for Annie. I can’t see the woman that she sees when she looks at me. I don’t look in the mirror and think, “Wow. I am truly awesome, just like Robert, Annie, Milton, Callie, and Beatrice think I am!” (I would wager that most of us don’t do this when we look in the mirror.) Instead, when I look in the mirror (if I look in the mirror), I see the flaws, the failures, the need for improvement, the places to be corrected. I see the shortcomings, the self-disappointments, the rejections.

But I’ll tell you what friends, it’s a waste of my time. If I’m the only one who sees myself this way when I look in the mirror, then it’s a freaking waste of time.

And I’ll tell you another thing. In a couple of weeks, I turn 29. That means next year, I begin a whole other decade. The last time I started a whole other decade (literally 9 days afterward), our country was attacked and my sweet little world was a little bit more jaded and cynical. I feel like I’ve wasted a decade on cynicism and sarcasm (not wit, mind you–sarcasm is a poor second towit).

I will not spend the next decade, my thirties, rummaging through twenty-nine years’ worth of baggage.

I will be the person my husband thinks I am.

I will be the person my dog thinks I am.

I think you all would like her, if their opinion of her is any indication.

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