Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is a looong month.

Yes, I love fall -- I love the leaves turning, things getting chilly and cooking comfort food.

The end of the month is Halloween -- which is fun -- and this will be our first Halloween with Spock (all black, arches like a perfect Halloween cat!!).

But -- for goodness sakes, why do we need an entire Breast Cancer Awareness Month -- and, if we really need it, why can't it be February?

I'm aware of breast cancer -- really, who isn't? If they made a South Park episode about it - we know about it. I'm just tired of companies selling things by promising a "portion"of the proceeds to breast cancer groups. I have to wonder how big a "portion" is...

So -- go ahead and wear the pink ribbon. Buy pink stuff etc -- and, don't get me wrong -- the breast cancer sorority really appreciates the effort and the strong breast cancer political advocacy -- just don't be surprised when my fake boob doesn't have a pink ribbon pinned to it because I'm freaking aware of breast cancer.

Citation help.. please :).


I use endnote, so it isn't really an issue for me -- but, my students could use some advice..

Do you know of any on-line resources concerning proper citation formats? I don't care if it's MLA or APA...

FYI -- The snarky philosophical response to the question as to why I don't have a preference between MLA and APA is that all the other disciplines split off from us... why should we have a preference, we'll let y'all fight that out. The real reason is that the folks in my grad program didn't have a consistent answer... but, the snarky response is more fun, especially if you put a really snooty voice on it :).

Dang it...

a blog buddy has breast cancer...

Y'all were super supportive of me -- go give her some love.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

yes -- and, good luck with that...

I have a meeting with X today.

X wants to know how to still get a B in the course.

It's possible... but not probable. Assuming X does extra-credit worth 10 points, X can miss a total of 20 points, out of 230 points yet to be handed in this semester.

Yea -- I'm smelling C.... but, I wish X good luck with that...

Sunday, September 27, 2009


The plan for the day includes lots of class prep and making tuna/pasta salad.

Hubby has been asking for it as the 'lunch' of the week for several weeks, so I figured I'd better give in.

First -- a bit of back in bed for a nap... then groceries and prep.

don't you envy my glamorous life?

Law school advice?

I know at least a couple of you have 'done' law school...

So far, Hubby seems to be doing fine -- he's working at it all the time, but he also seems to be loving it.

So -- from those of you who have finished -- care to share your hints & tips?

-- and, spouses, feel free to chime in -- either with advice for me or him :).

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Do it now...

... take a few minutes to send an e-mail to someone who has been helpful to you.

I'm thinking about that because I assigned my feminist epistemology paper to my intro class (yea, it's kind of above their heads, but many of them are sharp and will get it). I got a lot of help on that paper from a person from whom I took no classes. She didn't have to help me at all, but she did and I'm grateful.

So, I decided to drop her a quick note to let her know that I was thankful and to let her know what was going on in my life.

So -- go, do it now...

Oh, the parallels abound...

I have a paper proposal due on Thursday.

My proposal is about electronic means of aggression -- denial of service attacks, etc.

I've been quite vigilant about checking facebook, e-mail and blogs today.

This does not bode well for the 'writing the danged paper I proposed so long ago' stage...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Why be THAT WAY???

The quasi-memorial thingish whatever today was sad, but good.

It was good to be in a space she loved, with people she loved, sharing stories -- mostly complimentary and funny -- but sometimes just funny.

I was mad when I got home and saw that someone deleted SS's 'how I met my Baby' story from her facebook memorial page.

I know SS didn't do it -- 'cuz he told me he didn't, and why would he lie?

I guess I just don't understand it. Why delete something that was part of her life -- and her most recent life? She met SS at the end of July -- and they were tight between that time and the day she died.

Even if SS is remembering Sara with more passion than was there (which I don't think is the case), it isn't as if his loving her takes anything away from the folks who did the deleting.

It's just another aspect of being 'that way' -- and I don't get it. Pam's husband could write as much as he wanted about their life together and all it would do is make me happy that she was happy.

I suppose that's the real rub.... some folks were only satisfied when Sara was unhappy. Every time things would go well for her, they'd drag her down. I just wish it would end with her death.

A secret message to "C"

Dear C,

I really don't know you well -- or, rather I know a lot about you from other sources, but I don't know you.

Today I spoke with you on the phone. I'd hoped that what "they" said was wrong. My hopes were dashed today...

You said that you're upset because you feel out of control -- no, you're upset because something horrible happened to you. I also think you don't like being out of control -- but, the real reason is the horrible thing that happened.

You think people are trying to take charge -- no, they're not. They're in pain as well and they say they can't imagine how horrible it is for you-- and they want to help.

All the money in the world won't reverse what happened. It won't even make you feel any better. Telling me that people are giving checks -- but they aren't giving them to you -- told me all I need to know. This horrible thing wasn't a reason for you to cash in -- although, in the end, it may end up that way, if you have a good lawyer.

From what "they" say, I have to wonder if money will make any difference in your life?

I spent many hours with a close friend of mine who was directly impacted by you. I often had to remind hir that you and s/he weren't identical, that s/he didn't have to follow your path, and that no matter what you said to hir, your words weren't reflecting hir reality.

I'm going to bury that stuff for a while -- because I can. I'm going to focus on the positive pretend the crap you and your minion did to hir wasn't the case -- because, now it's too late.

You see -- I don't see the purpose of making a fuss when there is no way to reverse the misdeeds. The nature of the horrible thing that happened is that you can't go back and apologize, be the person you should have been all along, and generally try to repair the damage done. This is the exact opposite of your theory -- but I think my approach is better in the long run.

So, hang in there -- and, if you can manage it, figure out how to be better in the future. It isn't too late overall -- it's just too late for one person.

shhhh... it's kind of a secret...

We're having a less than formal 'remembering Sara' time today at BNCC.

The administration nixed a formal ceremony -- probably for good reasons -- but, Sara was a very recent student and many current students and faculty really miss her...

... plus, one of her favorite faculty members is a force to be reckoned with... and, she controls the theater space.

So, this faculty member is having an impromptu 'dress rehearsal', and Sara's friends will just 'happen' to be in the area remembering her...

This will be the first of a couple difficult days...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Update on Bunny...

Bunny's cousin is with Sara's sweetie... and he is a sweetie (I know you're reading... and she used to read on occasion... ).

SS and Sara had a short but intense relationship -- and the end of their relationship wasn't their choice, which makes it hard.

I gave him Bunny's cousin --and he's going to continue the Bunny tradition. SS has an amazing sense of humor and is dealing with things better than he probably realizes. I know she's with him all the way -- and that his plans to go back to school make her happy.

Tonight we had a long talk and I know the details of her accident. I'm ok knowing them, and I know that Sara must have been a strong person to survive as long as she did.

Giving SS Bunny's cousin will probably irritate her mom and sister -- and, frankly, I'm fine with that. They had plenty of opportunities to be good to Sara while she was alive -- Sara had a whole host of friends who functioned like family --- when she would have been happy with her own family if they'd just behaved decently.

So -- SS welcome... there aren't many readers here, but the ones who are are my blog friends and they've been supporting me -- just like they cheered on Sara.

Update... SS posted some photos on facebook of Cousin Bunny taking over his house... going a bit crazy, drinking a Monster and smoking... you know, the usual Bunny stuff.

I need 'service' advice... please...

So, I'm on this committee.

I joined because I thought the program was good, but needed a bit of revitalization. I thought the others on the committee felt the same and had some good ideas.

I was right about the others on the committee -- but, nothing is changing. This is kind of because of the chair.... S/he is of the 'this is what we've always done, so it should work again' -- I suspect s/he is getting some release time or something for doing this -- and most of the actual work gets farmed out to admin assistant folks -- so, the fact that this person gets release time kind of irks me.

This chair also seems to schedule meetings on the spur of the moment (like, a full week's notice is unusual) -- and they are usually at times that don't work -- but, he doesn't change them. Last fall I was in chemo every Friday -- and several other folks had regular conflicts as well -- but, meetings were almost always Friday, 2:15. We'd often get e-mails after the fact lamenting the lack of attendance at meetings...

This time I'm really kind of irked -- I this morning I sent out a message about Sara's memorial services... Sara was a prime student 'user' of this committee's function and MOST of the faculty on the committee influenced Sara... I jut got an email from hir, s/he scheduled a meeting for next Friday at 2:15 --- DURING her service. It's like s/he read my e-mail and said, 'that would be a good time to have a meeting'... grrrrrrrrr.

So -- is there any way to gracefully break up with this committee? Is the best way to just be passive aggressive about it and just stop coming to meetings? Should I tell hir that I have other priorities and that s/he should find another member to replace me? I'd be more worried about the latter if we still had the same dean... but, s/he doesn't have the special access to my new dean that s/he had to the prior dean.

Sometimes it's the little things...

The last few months Sara's constant companion was a small, pink, stuffed bunny -- named "Bunny". She'd had a few hard months, crappy things happened to her and Bunny became a fixture... he showed up in photos, he was around for happy times and was even acknowledged by the graduation speaker at Sara's graduation.... Bunny was a thing.

Sara's boyfriend can't find Bunny -- it's like Sara took Bunny with her... literally. He's checked with the hospital, the airlift folks, he's looked in her car, her purse and her cube at work.... no Bunny.

When I went to Florida in February and ended up staying for a week, Sara was cat sitting for me -- thank goodness... it started as a weekend, ended up to be 10 days -- and the cats were very happy when I got home... because Sara took good care of them.

The end of that weekend was Hubby's birthday -- and for a while it looked like Hubby would come home from Red State even though I wasn't there. Sara decided he shouldn't come home to no birthday celebration, so she bought a "happy birthday" banner & decorations, printed some photos of the cats and bought hubby a white stuffed rabbit -- while she was there, she bought Bunny. The two are 'cousins' -- they're similar, have the same kind of "fur" -- the cousin is white while Bunny was pink.

Tonight Sara's boyfriend will come by to get Bunny's cousin.... I think he'll appreciate the cousin bunny much more than we will... it isn't anything close to a satisfactory substitute -- but sometimes it's the small things that help.

Wednesday notes...

  • What a hard week -- losing Sara wasn't something I'd considered... ever. You don't think about a 32 year old woman dying... I really couldn't imagine a time when we wouldn't be friends -- it was just that way with us.
  • In an odd way, it's a good week too. Mom was here for the weekend--- which is always nice. I'm so lucky to have a mom like Super Mom -- and my blog friends who have less-than-Super Moms, make me realize how lucky I am.
  • Today is housecleaning day -- and I love my housecleaner. She's an honor student -- and she was a friend of Sara's... Also, the Minion LOOOOVVVVEEESSSSSSSS her... really, he's such a flirt with her, it's kind of embarassing.
  • I'm seeing the virtues of the 'work at the coffee shop' model. I may do this more Wednesdays.
  • I have a bunch of grading and class prep to do -- so, I'd better get on it...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Update on X...

... the student who wanted to challenge my no make-up policy.

It turns out that my Dean isn't a weenie--- I had that feeling, but I haven't had to settle an issue like this with her -- so I wasn't sure.

She met with X -- and showed X my policy -- and backed me up..

so, YEA DEAN!!!!!!!!!!

So far...

... there are three "memorial" events for Sara. One at the American Legion, one at a church -- and one unofficial.. underground secret-password informal discussion time... because, it's not formal, official or sanctioned. If you were a friend of Sara's, contact me on facebook and I'll fill you in.

... one of Sara's memorial services will be when I was scheduled to go to Red State -- so, my ever patient advisor has agreed to reschedule.

... I've agreed to go to a time-share in Corn State for fall break. It will either be horrific or good... the folks I'll be with have both a high level of sarcasm and good senses of humor, so if it's horrific it will be fun -- and if it's good it will be fun.

... I haven't been able to make myself grade the electronic essays. I need to do that today -- really.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

At little too often...

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

my life is reflected in LOL cats.

People don't change...

I'm a bit frustrated with A and B for being unorganized, a bit selfish, very self-centered, and scatter-brained. Then I realized that they've always been like that -- and this situation only makes it worse.

I had a long visit with an old friend yesterday. She's in the 'when we get together, no time has passed' category. I love that about her -- and that's the way it's always been.

What's (relatively) new about my old friend -- i.e. what's changed about her since high school -- is that she's a mom. She's a single mom raising a boy. This has been her focus for 14 years.

When she had her son, her priorities shifted to being a good mom and giving him every advantage. To that end, she has made every effort to keep him in a good school district for his entire schooling. Her son's father isn't a particularly nice guy -- and his father's family is really screwed up-- so she's mostly kept her son away from them. She also hasn't dated, because she didn't like the prospect of bringing guys home to meet him. Granted, she's had help from her family -- but much of this she's done on her own.

I love this about her -- and I think her son is very blessed to have her as his mother. I'm not sure how someone gets to be a mother as good as my friend -- but I'm very glad both for her sake and her son's sake, that she's doing it.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Escalation doesn't pay...

I had an on-line exam up last week.

The students had 36 hours to access the exam, 45 minutes for 15 m/c. t/f questions and 2 hours to answer ONE essay question. The 5 possible essay questions were available the Thursday before the exam... so, the students really had a week to formulate responses. The exam closed on Wednesday, at 7 PM. I expressly told students that if they had problems with the course management system, they should answer their essay question in an e-mail and send it to me within their 2 hour exam window. Several students did exactly that.

Wednesday at 4:30 I got an e-mail from X, who claimed computer problems and wanted to know what to do....

At 5:00 I replied to X, told hir to answer hir essay question in an e-mail and get it in to me by 6:30... I even copied the question into the e-mail for hir convenience.

crickets --

Thursday morning X calls me. s/he claimed computer death and wanted a re-take.

I asked how s/he could claim dead computer when s/he sent an e-mail? I also asked why s/he didn't follow directions and, instead of just sending me a "my computer sux" e-mail -- and send me an answer to hir essay question?

X -- as predicted -- had no answer.

I looked more carefully at X's t/f, m/c exam and found that X had moved between pages for about 25 minutes, but only saved two answers. In other words, X read ALL the questions but only answered two and claimed a computer meltdown... folks, computers that have melted down don't let you move between pages.

I also asked the course management gurus about any problems during X's exam period. Nothing was reported -- and no other students in the exam at the time experienced problems.

Escalation, step 1 --

It seems that X has some kind of learning disability, as that office both called and e-mailed me to "talk about X". I responded in an e-mail with the details above, and noted that my syllabus only permits make-up exams in case of verified medical emergency. X has no such claim, X gets no make-up.

I'm sure that the learning disability office must have told X that it was a no-go...

I'm quite glad I checked with disability office about my exam procedures -- and the head of that office told me they were fine...

Escalation, step 2 --
E-mail from Dean asking for information on a student with computer problems. X was the only claim of computer problem -- so I new it was hir

In response I copy X's quiz activity record for Dean (shows 20 minutes of access, paging back and forth but no answers)-- and forward the e-mail exchange and explain my syllabus policy. I also send a copy of my syllabus to Dean.

Dean has a meeting with X on Monday.

I'm going to need a VERY good reason to permit X to make-up any portion of this exam.

At this point I think X is either a) a cheater trying to get extra time to study or b) a bully who has used hir disability status to get special considerations s/he isn't entitled to. Either alternative is unacceptable and I'm not going to permit it.

Really, if Dean wants to promote use of the on-line exam process, s/he will have to support policies that don't permit computer death/internet issues to be an excuse. Otherwise, there is no way to keep control of a class.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Goals for today...

... 'cuz if I blog about my goals, that makes them happen -- right?

Already done ('cuz it's my list, and I get to start whenever...)
  • House reasonably clean (we did this last night)
  • Mom's car gassed up and clean -- we've been driving it long enough, it's the least we can do.
  • Prep Virtue ethics
  • Write quizzes
  • I'll grade tomorrow -- really... there are about 85 on-line essays to grade... grrr.
  • Stay off of Facebook -- and Sara's facebook page... it's just too sad.
  • Stop googling (Sara + accident) -- because there will be no new stuff.
  • Check e-mail and see if we can set up Sara's memorial service at BNCC...
3:30, pick up Hubby -- 3:45 ish, pick up Super-mom at airport.

Hubby -- if you want to know why we can't get a kitty...

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Imagine if the Minion had a minion... someone young to train in higher-level evil...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tonight -- junk food and "Community"....

Sara's term for vegging out at home was "sitting around in my underpants"...

For me it is more like hanging out without my fake boob... but the sentiment is the same.

Mom comes tomorrow -- and I'm quite happy about that!! I could use a good Mom hug about now....

Tonight we'll pick up a little (just a bit Mom... no spiffing or dusting...) and watch Community and The Office --I'll take off the fake boob in Sara's's as close as I'm getting to the underpants.

Teaching isn't supposed to be hard...

... in this way.

One of the things I both love and hate about my job is that we're open admissions. BNCC will take you --- no matter what.

I love it because I know that students like Sara wouldn't go to someplace more selective. Sara came to BNCC because she lived down the road -- just the other side of the campus, not much further from school than I live now. She could walk/bike/jog or catch a ride to school -- it was close, and BNCC gave her a chance at a college education.

Sara was 28 when she came back to college... she had her 29th birthday during my Intro to Philosophy course -- and her 30th about the same time as debate nationals her only year debating.

In her 29th year, Sara bloomed. She found her voice -- she transformed from a student who lacked confidence in herself and her ideas to someone who could stand up and debate some of the best teams in the country.

All of you who teach have had your own Saras... and losing one, in her prime, is hard to handle. Sara was 32 when she died.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

death in the digital age..

Facebook has changed the death rituals..

My friend had many far-flung facebook friends. Many of them have used her facebook wall to say goodbye... including me.

We've shared the bad news via Facebook -- and I'll share memorial details that way later.

We've been looking on the news for updates on the story -- and it felt more real to see her name in print.

Just now her death was the lead story on the local 6:00 news-- and folks from far away are now looking for the story to come up on-line.

While some things, like death, are inevitable -- the death rituals are changing... it's kind of weird.

I'm not sure..

.. but I suspect my friend was killed on the way to her mother's house.

Her mom told her to get her stuff out by the 15th -- and her mom lives not far from that intersection. Last night was the 15th.

I don't like to think about it too much -- but, that demand by her mom was one of a long series of demands... and it makes me really sad to think that she might have been on the road at the wrong time because her mom picked an arbitrary date about stuff... especially since it was my impression that the date was picked because the mom was upset.

I know crap happens -- and I've seen crap happen both to me and around me -- I just hate it when icky demands put my pals in the wrong place at the wrong time. grrr.

And then life throws you another curve ball....

Remember my pal/student/tutor/debater and overall great woman?

The one who graduated last spring -- and lost both boyfriend and job in the same week over the summer...

She stayed with us for a while when her life was falling apart -- and a couple of weeks ago she started two jobs and had a boyfriend who really liked her... and whom I liked too :).

She helped me when my life was challenging --- and spent much more time cat sitting when I ended up in Florida for an extra week...

She died...

and, if I didn't know it before, life isn't fair.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

RBO -- a Sunday

  • The Farmer's Market on Sunday is great. Not as crowded, opens later, better parking and just as many yummy veggies.
  • The Home Team won with a shiny new-old QB.
  • Hubby put in a new shower head.
  • Our chef salad lunches next week are going to be great!!
  • Once the dishwasher finishes running, I'll cut up the meat and make the bacon bits..
  • I also need to make our dressing...
  • Sundays are days I'm happy to have Hubby home. It's better now that I don' t have to say goodbye to him anytime soon.
  • I might actually manage to stay in the state for two whole months in a row (August and September)-- only to leave town the first weekend in October to go to Red State.
Also -- an update -- my friend who was hanging out with us in early August -- has TWO new jobs, a boyfriend who seems to really jive with her and a place to live. YEA!!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Academic job market folks..

.. I have a few good thoughts for you ---

May your CV be 'just right' -- both typo free and have the right stuff to catch the attention of the hiring committee.

May your writing samples be brilliant and short enough that they'll read them.

May your letters of recommendation arrive on time.

May your cover letter have enough personality to set you apart, but not enough to make the committee think you're a wacko.

If all of that works -- may you have the problem of scheduling too many interviews...

If all of that doesn't work -- may you realize that you're smart, capable and wonderful -- and that it's academia that's broken if they don't see it.

I understand the impulse...

... of a woman who refuses to leave her home when she was evicted.

I get it, I really do. She feels compelled to try to stay in her home. She thinks the bank somehow acted unfairly. But, she took out an adjustable rate mortgage on the home -- and her payments increased 1,000. She also lost her job -- so she stopped making payments. So -- it's not like she was making her old payment of $1200.... she wasn't paying anything.

Really, what did she think the bank was going to do?

I know darned well that if I stopped paying rent, they'd kick me out. My rent is almost as much as her original house payment. Would I be reasonable in asking my landlord to let me live here indefinitely? Of course not -- and my apartment management knows me much better than her bank does.

She's lived in the house a long time (26 years, I think)-- which means that the adjustable rate mortgage was a re-finance decision. She cashed in her home equity, like many people did - and got in trouble. Welcome to 2009... it's a common story.

On the other hand, I feel for her. I'm sure that some slick little salesperson dangled the cash value of her home equity in front of her in order to slide the horrors of an adjustable rate by her. But, in the end, it doesn't really matter how it happened - -she signed a contract she didn't fully understand. She spent the home equity money on something -- and that alone should have sent up warning bells...

According to the Star-Tribune story, the bank has tried to make offers to settle with her --- but she refused. The most recent one (well after she was supposed to get out) was $5,000 to move out. With $5,000 for deposits, first/last month's rent etc.. she could get a pretty decent apartment that she can afford on unemployment. I don't think it's a bad deal -- really. Even if the mortgage salesperson initially acted poorly, the institution seems to be acting well in a bad situation.

Friday, September 11, 2009

We shouldn't have been able to see...

... the river or the buildings on the far side of Ground Zero...

This was the view from our hotel room in July 09.

9/11 -- 8 years later..

I'll never forget the crisp fall day.

Hubby sleeping, I sat down to grade -- even then I was teaching (adjunct) and already had grading and class prep.

That was the semester I had Tuesdays off -- no classes to teach or take. A whole day to work at home.

I was teaching the usual assortment some combination of critical thinking, intro and ethics -- at an assortment of colleges in the Omaha area.

I happened to flip on the TV --just in time to see the second plane go in via the live camera feed.

I felt the world divide into "before" and "after" in a way that reminded me of the before/after divide I'd felt when my dad died years before. Since then I've had two more before/after divides... at the loss of my sister and my cancer adventure. The difference with 9/11 is that the whole country and perhaps the whole world felt it too.

Since then I've formulated and written a dissertation on the ethics of warfare. I've become more aware than ever that the terrorist attacks of 9/11 were unjust. I didn't need a dissertation to teach me that -- just imagining what it had to have been like to be in the upper floors of the World Trade Center is enough.

In July we went to New York City for the first time. We stayed in a room that used to look at the middle floors of the WTC, and now looks down into Ground Zero. Forever I'll think of NYC as a brave and amazing city.

Tuesday I sent my dissertation to Dr. Advisor -- today we remember 9/11. Perhaps I should have waited until today to mail it -- maybe he'll get it today and read it thinking back 8 years.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

someone on the radio...

.. just said something brilliant.

She was discussing worry -- and she said that she used to worry about breast cancer and other kinds of cancer. She spent a lot of time and energy doing so, having things cut off etc..

She decided that she was going to stop worrying about it. Her reason was simple, worrying about it doesn't prevent it and IF it happened, she didn't want her time 'before' to be wasted worrying about it. Also, worrying about it just increases the pain from something that will already be difficult to deal with.

Dear ITPF...

(paraphrased and translated)

I have a problem with my quiz. The second time I took it, I made the same mistakes as the first time -- after doing "internet research" I concluded that Kant thinks it's sometimes ok to tell a lie and that calling a plumber is using a person as a means only.

subtext -- I don't think you have the quiz answers correct -- that your years of graduate training, multiple courses on Kant and 10 years teaching the stuff is wrong and my "research on the internet" is right.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The question is...

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

which one is the Queen's Minion?

'cuz I'm a rebel..

.. I'm going to rebel against no cats day

The idea is to have 09/09/09 be a day without cats on the internet.

It seems that Blogger and/or my computer are conspiring to prevent me from posting photos of the Queen and the Minion --

maybe later...


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A weird divide...

I love the huge windows in my office -- the let in lots of natural light and let me actually see the weather outside...

They also let me see the smoking section, which can be quite amusing. I've seen more college-student mating behavior than I ever needed to see.

This year they are doing construction in our building -- two floors above me. Much of the construction guys' access is via the smoking section. There is one of those orange, plastic construction fences dividing the smoking area.

Right now it's lunch time.

The students are eating and smoking on one side of the fence.

The construction workers are eating and smoking on the other side of the fence.

Both groups are watching one another like animals in the zoo --- and it isn't clear which side is the the animal.

The real first day of school...

... yea, I know classes started two weeks ago -- but, that was just warm-up for the real thing.

It's kind of like Super-Mom's idea of cleaning the kitchen first thing in the morning, before you're really awake.. lots of quasi-icky things can be accomplished before you're really awake.

But -- today is the first day of the next three years... 'cuz Hubby has his first law classes.

So, I went bag shopping in the closet. I'm using an old favorite -- a black leather bag with front pockets and a flap... I haven't used it in years, probably not since I last lived in Red State-- but, it seems to fit what I have to carry.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Weekend cooking...

Hubby and I like to cook together -- and I think one of the good things about having him home is co-cooking...

Today he made applesauce -- which is yummy!!
I made pumpkin bread and salsa -- both of which are easy and better if homemade.

We also made spicy peanut butter noodle salad -- which was an adventure :) -- I think my modifications will be good -- I added chicken and thinned out the dressing a bit.

So, if you want to know whats for lunch for us -- it will be the salad, maybe some apple sauce and a piece of pumpkin bread.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Thowing versions away...

I'm doing the last set of revisions before sending the first draft of my dissertation to Dr. Advisor..

It's scary. It's going quickly -- which means that it's time for him to read it. I'm not seeing where it's weak, and he's really good at pointing those things out :).

I'm quite happy that a recent book came in the mail -- and that the author (who just won a huge, nationally competitive grant -- like, the kind that makes the news) agrees with me about a particular issue -- thus, both insuring that it IS an issue, and that someone really smart thinks so to... It's also good that I have a distinct take on the issue -- YEA Me... I hope :).

So, I'm on the last chapter. As I've been revising, I've been throwing the old versions away. There's one more chapter to do -- and, the changes are already written on it, I just need to correct the file...

It feels great every time I throw a chapter away.

I hope it feels great (and not just scary) when I print it tomorrow and mail it on Tuesday.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

The end of the long-distance part of the marriage..

When Hubby came home in May, he brought a bunch of stuff. I was happy to see him, and (I hope) took the stuff in stride.

Hubby went to (discipline) camp over the summer -- so we had almost 4 weeks of not seeing one another...

But now -- it's really sinking in. Hubby's home to stay. Had he gone back to red state, last week would have been his first week of school. Instead, he's starting law school and getting orientation lectures on work/life balance from people who were 5 when we got married.

I love the fact that we'll have routines and commitments in the same city!!! I'm even willing to overlook Hubby's comment, "at least when I was in Red State, I got to eat the spaghetti I like"...

So, here's to three years in the same city. We survived 3 years 6 hours apart... I think we can manage Law School.

Welcome Home Hubby --

So when I say...

  • 'you can get extra-credit for any on-campus activity or meeting' -- does that mean, "you can get credit for going to Student Senate or eating pancakes in the commons, but not for a speaker that might actually teach you something"?
  • 'you need to write on applied ethics topics we'll cover in class' -- does that mean "you can recycle your poorly written comp 1 essay on affirmative action"?
  • 'your exams will be on-line' -- does that mean "you'll take quizzes on-line but sit in class for exams"?
  • 'coming to class every day is not enough to pass' -- does that mean "If you come to class every day, I'll pass"?
  • 'I don't care if you use APA or MLA' does that mean "you don't have to use citations"?
If so -- then I'm doin' something wrong when I talk...

Friday, September 04, 2009

ummm... yea...

The Daniel Hauser story -- all that hassle etc.. was about chemo.

He resumed Chemo sometime in late June -- and he was done last week.

Folks, that's only two months of chemo.

That's a lot of fuss for two months of treatments. It may sound like a long time, but my standard chemo for breast cancer took five months -- and I'd do it again if I had to. I certainly wouldn't advise anybody to run to Mexico to avoid it. I know I could hack it -- whether Hubby and Super-Mom could is another story... and, (knock on wood) we won't have to find out.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

My students continue to amaze me...

On Tuesday night (9 days after the first day of classes) I had 6 Logic students do the "I wasn't here last week" dance in my classroom.

I was probably a bit harsh -- I asked "did you contact me?" -- of course , they didn't... I knew that...

I told them to go on-line and figure it out for themselves.

Thoughts on being an administrator...

... not that I'm applying for anything quite yet :) --

But, a seasoned and seemingly highly effective instructor asked me the other day if I plan to go into administration...

Her reason for asking is that I'd given her some good ideas about ways to change her teaching -- and had some creative solutions to a problem she had.

I respect her opinion, mostly because I reviewed her on-line class and it's very good. The material is demanding and the presentation excellent. She's also been around the block a few dozen times and has experienced a wide variety of administrators :).

The thing is, I also really like the teaching part of teaching -- it's fun. Yes, I'm an introvert and teaching drains me -- but, the performance aspect of it is a kick. It's great to see students understand things -- think critically -- and all that.

I'm also seeing how I've impacted students long-term -- one of my debaters is starting grad school in a couple of weeks -- another student who should have been a debater is starting seminary and several old students are back this semester, either in my classes or my office :).

On the other hand, I like dealing with faculty. Yes -- they're a bit nuts, can't reliably follow directions and can be pretty self-centered -- but, at least at BNCC they generally have their hearts and heads in the right place.

Maybe department chair is the perfect position for me? I get to do some of both, but don't have the authority to discipline, so I don't have to do the hard stuff...

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Wish Hubby good luck!!

Hubby starts law school at BNUniversity tomorrow!!

YEA!!!!!!!!!!! Well, technically orientation starts tomorrow, classes next week.

He's been looking forward to this since he was 9.

Today is kind of like the day before Christmas for him...

On late "adds"

I don't sign add slips unless the student has been in class /doing the work. That's easy --

Yesterday I had several students who "joined" the class after the last meeting last week. For some of them this was a MW class, others a M night class.

NONE of them bothered to contact me about materials etc... thus ALL of them have already missed the deadlines for 15 quiz points. Sorry -- It's all on the syllabus -- which was on the internet and available to you soon after you registered for classes. This is what I'd have told them if they'd contacted me.

I wonder how many will complete the course?

I think I'm going to make note of these folks and not count them in the "DWF" statistics...