Saturday, September 3, 2016

43. A Photo A Day: August 2016

August 27, 2016

Cosmo 1

Taken on my walk with Orlando through a Cedar Falls neighborhood. 

August 28, 2016

Prairie in Progress

Spotted on my walk with Orlando today

August 29, 2016
Salsa Heart
My garden haul for the day. 

August 30, 2016
Grading Fuel
Working on grades late into the night. 

August 31, 2016

Missed this post

Sunday, May 1, 2016

42. April 2016 Update

Hello all,
It's been an intense first quarter of 2016. Moving into the second quarter, things have stayed pretty intense but I'm managing to carve out some time to do some writing and other needed activities. If I could sum up April in a phrase it would be: revisiting WWII. For some reason, many of the events I attended and books I read were focused on WWII. I intend for this; it just happened. Here's my April, in a nutshell:

April 9: I went to the Waterloo Community Playhouse's production of Cabaret with friends. It was amazing! There is such talent in the Cedar Valley. The show was very powerful. If you haven't seen Cabaret, I highly recommend it. It's one of my favorite musicals. The movie version with Liza Minnelli is alright, but seeing it on stage (so long as it's done well) is much more profound.

April 12: A presentation proposal was accepted to an online conference. My abstract is below:

College instructors typically have dynamic and busy lives and it is easy to speed through grading student work for the sake of saving time and energy. Speedy grading and thoughtful grading do not have to be mutually exclusive. Through the use of audio feedback on assignments, instructors can save time and provide students with in-depth, thoughtful, and personalized feedback on their work improving the learning experience and increasing student engagement in the course material. Audio feedback also supports multisensory learning, an important component of academic success for nontraditional students (Geertz, 2001). This presentation covers research in the area of multisensory learning and focuses specifically on ways instructors can incorporate audio feedback into the classroom using a variety of tools and practices with the ultimate goal of saving the instructor time while not compromising on the quality of the feedback. Keywords: multisensory learning, adult learners, audio feedback, classroom practices

ReferencesGeertz, G. (2001). Using a multisensory approach to help struggling adult learners. Focus on Basics: Connecting Research and Practice, 5(A), Retrieved from

The conference presentation will be a short 20 minute presentation, but I do believe that this project could evolve into a larger research project in the future. If anyone would like more information, or be interested in collaborating, do let me know!

April 19 - 21: The TCC Hawaii Conference was a great experience. TCC stands for Technology, Colleges, and Community. It is an online conference held annually with a focus on the use of technology in higher education. My favorite panels included a study on working conditions for adjunct instructors and a session on online art makers spaces.

April 21:  In February I joined a local Toastmaster's group. I'm an official member of the Waterloo Speechmasters. This month I gave my first speech--The Ice Breaker. My speech was titled "Three Ways Creativity Shaped Me." So far I have really enjoyed this group. The members are diverse and welcoming and I've actually noticed growth in myself as I polish up my speaking skills and learn from the other members. If you want to work on your public speaking and leadership skills, I highly suggest joining a Toastmaster's group. You can look for organizations in your area here.

April 23: Roommate and I went to dinner and a show. We had dinner at Los Cabos, an amazing local restaurant. They have the best tamales in town. Afterwards, we went to a belly dance showcase at the community center hosted by The Prairie Rose Dance Troupe. It was such a fun night!

April 30: Another outing with the roommate commenced at the Grout Museum's Anne Frank exhibit. The exhibit was pretty good. I found the artifacts in the Iowa's Ties to the Holocaust exhibit the most compelling. They had a pair of prison pants worn by a Holocaust survivor during his time int he camps. Seeing that made me feel a little sick to my stomach.

The museum trip was followed by pizza at The OP and cupcakes from Scratch Cupcakery.

Other shenanigans

  • I'm pursuing another bachelor's degree. The reason is a very long story I'd be happy to explain in person if you're curious but long story short, I'm working on a bachelor's degree in business with a human resources concentration at Kaplan University. I'm in my first term and taking two classes: Professional Presence and Business Math and Statistical Measures. So far it's going well and I'm really enjoying it!
  • Anti-inflammatory eating: I'm trying out an anti-inflammatory diet to see if it will help further reduce pain and fatigue I deal with, caused by Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. If you are interesting in following along with my process, follow me on Instagram where I've been posting about it. 

That's my April 2016 in a nutshell. I'd love to know how you are doing and what you've been up to. Comment below. 

Until next time,
J. d'Artagnan Love

Sunday, January 24, 2016

41. 2015 Year in Review

Hello from Cedar Falls, Iowa!
It’s hard to believe a year has come and gone so quickly. One of my goals for 2016 is to be more loyal to my blogging. I have a schedule to post at least once a month, as that seems to be a fairly reasonable goal. Here’s how 2015 wrapped up, in a nutshell.

This year I managed to get out of the house more and enjoyed many outings with my significant other, noodling around town from dinners out to baseball games (Go Bucks!) and hockey games (Go Black Hawks!) and Irish Fest (Go Irish Stuff!). In July we took a road trip to Longmont Colorado which is near Boulder. It was a long but pleasant drive and we had the luck of being there right when there were bad wildfires in Canada. Smoke was so thick we could only see vague outlines of the mountains and all three of us (the dog came along) ended up with respiratory infections. Though we didn’t do what we had originally planned on the trip, we did eat at a lovely Indian restaurant in Longmont that allowed us to bring Orlando in with us and made a pit stop in a small town named Anita, Iowa which is the quintessential small Iowa town (also the namesake of one of my best friends). We also found that there were truth to the rumors about Nebraska: there is literally nothing there.

I’ve had an artful year and kicked off 2015 by signing a writing contract with WikiHow to work as one of their expert mental health writers. The contract lasted through September and I am happy to be able to say that, since they paid me, I can now officially call myself a “professional writer.” Speaking of writing, in November I completed a first draft of my first novel. I’m currently in the process of revisions and will see where it goes from there. In December I celebrated six years working at my current higher education institution where I continue to teach composition and psychology courses as well as manage the academic success center. Though it does have challenges, I still enjoy teaching and working in this field. My experience as a student at university shaped me into who I am today and, in many ways, saved my life. It feels fulfilling to be able to pay these things forward to my students. Just before leaving for Colorado this summer I also was thrilled to have three of my photos chosen to be displayed at a new local art gallery called The Space 109. The Space 109 features all local artists and I am so honored and humbled to have my work be chosen as three of their displayed pieces.

Orlando had a good year and has come a long way in healing from his anxiety and past traumas at the puppy mill. He is now able to go new places and meet new people without trembling like a leaf (for too long). His vet, Dr. Stevenson has really helped us in figuring out how to handle his anxiety and I am happy to report he is a healthy and well adjusted pup dup. He joined us on the trip to Colorado and won a staring contest with a kid in a minivan along highway 380. He underwent dental surgery in September but made a swift recovery and was back to chewing up his dog treats and plastic clothes hangers in no time. He’s done his due diligence in alerting us when the neighbors come home, or walk their dog, or when he sees a squirrel, or stray plastic bags in the parking lot. One must never trust a stray plastic bag.

Cats (Pi, L, and Cherry)
Cats are busy doing their cat things which mostly consists of eating, sleeping, and pooping with an occasional spastic sprint across the apartment. They’ve enjoyed a year of consistent kibbling and litter box scooping and are in good health.

I hope you are doing well and I've missed you all. Please comment and let me know what adventures you had in 2015. Cheers to you and yours!

Until next time,