The week in review

Work. Graduate work. Sleep. ... Start over.

That's pretty much the drill around here these days. Monday through Friday. ... With a little bit of fun sprinkled between. Thanks to my loving and supportive wife, our wildly imaginative 3-year-old and the exciting environment in which I have the privilege and honor of working in each day.

The highlights ...

* * *

Tuesday night, I did the work-graduate work thing.

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I've made a habit lately of working in my office until 5:30 or 6 each night and then staying there to work on my graduate assignments. Even if it's to finish reading a chapter in my thick-as-a-brick textbook, I can concentrate far better in my office than surrounded by all the distractions at home.

By 8:30, I'd finished my reading for the week. The next step always is to start the infamous weekly paper, in which I must select three points from the week's reading and elaborate on them, citing outside sources along the way. ... For that, I came home. And worked until about 12:30 a.m., when I hit a wall and could no longer concentrate.

* * *

Wednesday, Chaz Bono visited our campus as part of our lecture series.

He's a fascinating figure, or a controversial figure, depending on your perspective. ...  Bono's talk was very simple and straightforward. Just him sitting at center stage and sharing his life's story.

What's more meaningful is that I never cease to be amazed by the willingness of our students to gain new perspectives and be so accepting of others' views. Their questions of our guests at the end of each lecture always fascinate me. Just one of the things I love about my job.

When the lecture was finished, I headed back to my office to finish my graduate paper. I submitted it around 10:30 p.m., 90 minutes ahead of the midnight deadline.

* * *

Thursday night, I served on the judging panel for the university's annual Zeus and Hera pageant -- a ritual the fraternities and sororities carry out each spring as part of their Greek Week activities. It was one of those things a student asked me to do weeks ago, and I said yes without considering my schedule the rest of the week or that a night at home with nothing to do might be nice for a change.

As Thursday night drew closer, I was seriously wondering what I was getting myself into. ... And I ended up really enjoying myself.

For me, watching people perform or entertain -- and do it with pure joy oozing from their faces -- is something that never gets old. It's contagious fun.

The 1990s was the theme for the week -- which meant the night included a couple performances of "Ice Ice Baby" and "Fresh Prince of Bel Air." For another skit, a pair of sorority girls teamed up and did a hilarious "Wayne's World" sketch based on our own campus. And another pair of girls performed Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel" on cello! with a full complement of dancers behind them.

There were a lot of fraternity guys playing on their guitars and singing original songs, too.

But the best part of the night may have been when one of the men stepped to the mic and started belting out Brian McKnight's "Back at One," a cheesy 90s R&B song. At the chorus, he had nearly the entire auditorium standing and singing it with him -- complete with the 1, 2, 3 hand gestures. ... I laughed so hard I think there were tears streaming down my cheeks, and it was the kind of performance that I will be forever reminded of when I hear the song.

* * *

Saturday, we reflected on what we were doing one year ago this weekend ... and enjoyed the day.

With 70s and sun, I spent much of the day outside. I cleaned the cars and the garage and -- best of all -- began to pull some of my yard stuff from the shed. I'm so thankful for the mild winter we've had and can hardly wait to spend long days and nights working in the yard again.

Then, we treated ourselves to a movie -- "The Lorax."

Now, I haven't read the book, and I don't recall seeing the television special, so I have nothing to compare it. Phoebe's preschool class, meanwhile, spent last week studying Dr. Seuss, in conjunction with his birthday. Plus, one of her favorite things these days is to rhyme. Real words or made-up words, it doesn't matter -- she loves rhyming.

The film tells the story of a boy in search of a tree to win the affection of a girl in the town of Thneedville. The town is enclosed, made completely of plastic and ruled by the greedy Mr. O'Hare; (So much of it reminded me of The Truman Show). To find a tree, the boy breaks through the town's barriers and sets out to find the The Once-ler, who can tell him about the trees and The Lorax who tried to protect them.

We thoroughly enjoyed the film -- from all of its vibrant colors to its cuddly animals and sunny songs; I'll be looking for the soundtrack. The cast is great and Betty White is a hoot as Grammy. And the singing goldfish steal every scene they're in.

Entertainment value aside, the film possesses a timeless environmental message, too.

See it for yourself ...

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