Partners in Crime

IMG_1005 (2)Have you ever had a friend who is always getting you into. . . (ahem) “things”? Well, I do.  I’m looking at you, Hype 1. I wouldn’t say she gets me into trouble, but we do have adventures. She has a unique ability to get me to try new things, sometimes dragging me along kicking and screaming because I am essentially a “stick-in-the-mud” kinda girl. Hype has gotten me hooked on various podcasts and persuaded me to get a Kindle years ago. She also introduced me to Goodreads, Twitter, and Pinterest. Part of me thinks that she gets me to try new things just so she’ll have a “partner in crime.”

A few years ago Hype asked me casually, “Are you going to participate in NaNoWriMo this year?” I asked, “NaNoWri Who?” Seriously though, I’m pretty sure I asked, “What is that?” National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) happens every November. It is a national challenge to write a novel in a month, spending time each day in November writing, in an effort to reach the goal of a draft of a 50,000 (an average of 1,666 words per day) word novel by month’s end.

Hype is a literary scholar; she also writes fiction– short stories and novels. So, it’s not surprising that that NaNoWriMo appeals to her. Even though I am a historian, she seems to think I can write a novel because of the funny/crazy true stories about my life and my family.

Although it wasn’t quite kicking and screaming, I have agreed to participate in this year’s NaNoWriMo with Hype. I thought it would be good opportunity to write down some of my stories and get back into blogging. We’re a little tardy to the party, so I’m suggesting that we write from November 3 to December 3.

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo this year, let us know. If you think you’d like to try but need more information, check out the National Novel Writing Month website. Happy writing! 🙂


Wacky Wednesday: My Starbucks’ Name

What does this say?

What on earth does this say?

I love my tall, nonfat-mocha-no whip (skinny mocha) from Starbucks.The least pleasant part of my ordering experience has to be when they ask me for my name. Yes, it’s a minor inconvenience–though sometimes I wonder why they do this when there are very few or no other people in line. Whenever I give them my first name, I inevitably get a puzzled look. And then, “Huh?” I got so tired of having my name mangled that I decided to use a nickname. Since I’ve had students that call me “Doc,” I figured that would be simple enough. What could be easier? I thought. Apparently, I was wrong, using this seems no easier.

I still get the response: “Huh?” And I say, “Doc–D-O-C.” The name on my cup of coffee has said “Dot” and also “Dock” before. But Saturday’s incarnation of my name was certainly new. See above.

Ok. I’m not really sure what this says, but I KNOW it doesn’t say “Doc.” It makes me wonder why people are having soooo much trouble with this name. Are the barristas unable to wrap their minds around my being a doctor of something? No, I choose to put a positive spin on this. They can’t believe someone so young and beautiful could have a doctorate. 😉 And I accept their compliments.

So, 2 Dope Readers, what’s your Starbucks’ Name?


My September 11 Memory

AmFlagWaveThere are those moments that everyone remembers where he or she was. My mother vividly remembers the assassinations of Pres. John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I was in elementary school in 1981 when there was an attempted assassination on Pres. Ronald Reagan. I don’t know if the students were told why, but we were released from school. When I got home, I watched the clip of the assassination attempt over and over on television all day long. I also remember the the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion in 1986. It was difficult to believe it had actually happened.

The collapse of the Word Trade Center on September 11, 2001 was the first national tragedy that I watched as it happened. On September 11, 2001, I was a newlywed. In fact, I had been married exactly two weeks.  I woke up that Tuesday morning and was looking at the Today Show. My husband worked second shift, so he was still asleep.

While listening to the report of the first plane crashing into the World Trade Center, I saw the second airplane fly into the building live. I woke Zachary up so I could tell him about it, but he didn’t seem to fully comprehend because he was so groggy. He went back to sleep. Later, when he woke up, he told me he thought it was all a dream. . . more like a nightmare.

Every year when I celebrate my anniversary, I can’t help thinking about the tragic anniversary that will follow in two weeks. What do you remember about September 11, 2001?


In Memoriam, Michael Brown

Image courtesy of phanlop88/FreeDigital

Image courtesy of phanlop88/FreeDigital

No “Foto Friday” picture today, folks. Today we light a candle for Michael Brown, who was killed on Saturday, August 9, 2014, by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. For Brown–and for all victims of police violence–we will seek justice and we will not forget you. Rest in Peace.

Jaywalking while Black

downloadTo me, jaywalking seems like a minor infraction. At most, it is a misdemeanor violation that might lead to a ticket or a fine, but recent events illustrate that it has become probable cause for harassment, suspicion, arrest, and violence.

On May 20,  2014, an African-American professor at Arizona State University in Tempe was arrested after a confrontation with an ASU police officer (Stewart Ferrin) that began as a result of her jaywalking. According to Assistant Professor Ersula Ore, she was crossing the street to avoid construction. Although others had done the same, she was the only one stopped for jaywalking. In the footage taken by the cruiser’s dashboard-mounted camera, Ore asserts that in her three years at ASU she had never seen anyone pulled over for jaywalking. And I must concur. There are two things I know from all my years on large university campuses: Construction and jaywalking are ubiquitous. I have never seen someone who was stopped–let alone arrested–for crossing the street in the wrong place or at the wrong time. The tickets issued from the constant stream of students, faculty, staff, administrators, and other pedestrians for jaywalking would be enough to keep the campus police busy all day, every day.

The campus officer was clearly displeased with Prof. Ore questioning his probable cause and his authority. Ore seemed incredulous that he would treat a “citizen” and a “professor” in such a disrespectful manner. When Ferrin attempted to put handcuffs on Ore and arrest her, she resisted and the officer slammed her to the ground. After this, she can be heard asking, “Are you serious?” as she is lying in the street.


A crosswalk near my home.

Certainly, there are those who have argued that incident’s escalation was the professor’s fault. But to paraphrase Ore, How is someone supposed to behave when she is being disrespected and manhandled?

Although she stands fast in her assertion that her civil rights were violated, Ore pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of resisting arrest and was sentenced to nine months probation on August 1. Prosecutors dropped the original charges of “obstructing a public thoroughfare,” refusing to produce identification, and aggravated assault on a police officer.

While Prof. Ore’s situation left her physically and psychologically battered, she was not broken. Unfortunately, Michael Brown, the young black man killed by police on August 9 in Ferguson, Missouri (a St. Louis suburb), did not escape with his life. Early reports indicate that after visiting his grandmother, Brown and a friend were walking home when a police officer told the 18-year-old to get off the street. Not surprisingly, the police officer’s version of the events differs greatly from the witnesses, but both sides agree that Brown was unarmed.

I would like to believe that trumped up charges of jaywalking are not the new “driving while black,” “stop and frisk,” or “papers, please.” But these cases remind us that even in this so-called post-racial America we must continue to proclaim both our humanity and our citizenship rights. As W. E. B. Du Bois stated in 1906, “We claim for ourselves every single right that belongs to a free-born American, political, civil and social; and until we get these rights we will never cease to protest and assail the ears of America.” Black communities–in fact, all communities– are entitled to “freedom from fear” that those who ostensibly “protect and serve” in reality have malevolent intent.


See also:

Catherine Calderon, ASU Professor Gets 9 Months Probation for Resisting Arrest in Incident that Sparked National Attention, The Republic|, 1 August 2014.

Emma Lacey-Bordeaux, Arizona Professor’s Jaywalking Arrest Quickly Gets Out of Hand,, 30 June 2014.

Dean Schabner, Witness Says Missouri Teen’s Hands Were Up When Cop Shot Him,, 10 August 2014.

Conner Wince, ASU English Professor Pleads Guilty to Resisting Arrest, The Republic|, 9 July 2014.

Video of ASU Professor’s Arrest


Foto Friday: Big Sweep

I planned to attend a local museum Thursday and take some “new” pictures for this week’s Foto Friday, but life got in the way. Fortunately, I have a stockpile of photos from previous occasions. I took this picture when Da Hype 1 and I visited Denver in 2012.

"Big Sweep," Denver, Colorado, 2006

“Big Sweep,” Denver, Colorado, by artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen (2006)

Artists Claes Oldenburg (1929-) and Coosje van Bruggen (1942-2009) are known for their outdoor sculptures in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Their art projects are often large-scale reproductions of ordinary objects. This giant sculpture of a broom and dustpan, called “Big Sweep,” is outside the Denver Art Museum and is over 31 feet high and 25 feet wide.

Wacky Wednesday: What Fictional Character Are You Most Like?

L-R: Raj, Penny, Sheldon, Leonard, Howard

L-R: Raj, Penny, Sheldon, Leonard, Howard

Have you ever seen “The Big Bang Theory”? It’s probably my favorite show. It’s a sitcom on CBS about a group of friends–Sheldon Cooper (theoretical physicist), Leonard Hofstadter (experimental physicist), Howard Wolowitz (mechanical engineer), Rajesh Koothrappoli (astrophysicist), and Penny (waitress/aspiring actress). While Penny works at The Cheesecake Factory, the other main characters are employed at Caltech in Pasadena.

My husband seems to think that I was separated at birth from Sheldon, who is brilliantly played by Jim Parsons. I am not quite sure how to feel about this. Is this a compliment or an insult? On the one hand, Sheldon is a genius with two doctorates and an IQ of 187. On the other hand, he is weird, socially awkward, and. . . uh. . . crazy.

Sheldon is very particular about his “things.” He doesn’t like people touching them, and he doesn’t like people touching him. So, he is extremely uncomfortable with interactions like hugging. Sheldon has routines that become ritualized–always knocking on a door the same way, always sitting in the same spot, always eating certain food on certain days. He’s a fan of science fiction and comic books and enjoys dressing up as his favorite characters for costume parties, Halloween, and renaissance fairs. Finally, he is always reminding people that his name is Dr. (Not Mr.) Sheldon Cooper.

To be honest, there are some similarities between me and Sheldon. I am a little eccentric. I always say that you have to be a little bit crazy to get a Ph.D. And, yes, I have no problem telling people I am Dr. (not Miss, not Ms., and not Mrs.). While I admit to being “particular” about my things and being an introvert, I blame this on being raised as an only child. We’re a little “different.” Although I have never been the life of the party, that doesn’t mean I haven’t partied (sans costume, of course). Lastly, I do have an aversion to hugging, but my friends and family don’t care. They hug me anyway. On the show, Sheldon is fond of saying, “I’m not crazy; my mother had me tested.” I tend to think everybody’s a little crazy though, even me. I just don’t know if I’m like Sheldon.

So, what fictional character are you most like?

Foto Friday: Flowers

I love flowers. I don’t know how to keep them alive or the proper names for most of them, but I love them. In summer there are beautiful flowers everywhere. Case and point. I found these beautiful flowers growing behind my local bike shop. I stopped to admire them and decided to photograph them as well.


I’m so glad there are people who have green thumbs.

Summer Reads

My first Harry Potter book!It’s summertime! Time for backyard barbeques, vacations, family reunions, block parties, swimming, festivals, fireworks, fireflies, and relaxing. I look forward to summer because I can sit on my balcony and read a good book. It’s my favorite way to relax.

Every now and then, I like to take a break and read something that has absolutely nothing to do with my research or teaching. This summer I have started reading the Harry Potter books. I quickly finished the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and I am already reading book two, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. As usual, the books are so much better than the movies. I can see why the younger set fell in love with these books; they are wonderfully written. I especially like the friendship between Harry, Hermione, and Ron. I am fascinated by this whole “wizarding” world that J. K. Rowling created. She has an amazing imagination.

To be honest, I have read other young adult/teen novels including Twilight and The Hunger Games trilogy. So, far Harry Potter is definitely my favorite.

Well, the cat is out of the bag: I like Harry Potter. So, what are you reading this summer?