Wednesday, December 29, 2010

thank you, facebook.

...for showing me the 330+ pictures of me and my wonderful husband, under our "friendship," which chronicles our relationship from then until now.  it doesn't take much for me to be insanely grateful, to the point of almost emotional overload, for what i have, but when i look at those pictures and remember those times when i wasn't sure what musicboy felt about me (does he? doesn't he? does he? doesn't he? oy. it was endless or so it seemed.), i am in awe of how blessed i am.

and now we're having a baby too.

for all of your strangely changing profiles and unfortunate privacy settings, sometimes you really do get it right.  so thanks, facebook, for reminding me just how grateful i am for everything that i have. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

where my head (and feet) are at.

you can read about my particular brand of personal inventory here. basically: i'm gaining too much weight too fast with Baby Girl. it's time to dial it back and relearn all the stuff i already know, like how when i eat too much sugar, even if i'm not eating that many calories, i pack it on.  if you know my long journey with weight loss, you'll know that this news is not supergreat, but you should also know that i am not crazy with this. i am determined to do all that i CAN do and then leave the rest in genetic/divine hands.  nothing else to do, you know? but there's more that i can do.

like, i am beginning to reconsider the contents of Christmas dinner, if only so that i can eat better and so that i won't feel guilty.  i had some good ideas for some good, healthy sides--i think i'll just amp up some other healthy stuff and hope for the best. :)

i believe i am finally going to finish shopping today, if my darling husband gets home soon and we can go finish that last bits of it.  i am hoping. i am rather tired of having a list hanging over my head, and i am rather excited to begin wrapping all of my various things so that i can put them under our pretty tree.

i would have liked to walk my two miles on the treadmill today, but errands and life got in the way. that keeps happening, and it's REALLY starting to bug me. tomorrow, no matter what, i'm doing it. the day after that too.  maybe even on Christmas Eve (what else will i do?). 

Baby Girl is kicking her approval (when i was shopping, she was doing somersaults, so there's that...), so that's a plan.

this post is boring.  read the other one. i think it's good and if you're someone who's done this deal before, you can tell me what's up.

also, the orange i just ate was delicious. buying the bag of the small ones? best idea ever.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

pine and nutmeg.

it's been a busy weekend in our house.

on friday, we decided that we were going to finally organize our house. by organize, i mean find places for all of the things that had been shoved/pushed/manuevered/stuck into various closets without much rhyme or reason. part of this was because Baby Girl's room had become a staging area for all of this extra stuff that had yet to find a final resting place, and i was growing tired of trying to visualize a nursery in the midst of total chaos.

part of it, though, was a need to feel like we had finally settled in and, most importantly, that everything had a place.  i don't know why a naturally, uhm, less-than-OCD-neat person would have such a need for this, but i was feeling it for weeks, perhaps months, before the semester ended.  with no real time or energy to get it done, though, i knew it would have to wait.

color me totally pleased when musicboy also decided that it was time too. when that boy gets his mind fixed on something, it's pretty tough to stop him. this ended up being quite helpful as, after hauling a couple of boxes, i realized that lifting and stretching and bending may not be really great ideas at this stage of the pregnancy.

(you think you're not big when you're 6 months pregnant.  but, uhm, your uterus is and those ligaments don't like you much when you try to do something other than haul the fetus.)

so we sifted and sorted and threw away and moved and it was wonderful to sit back and look at what we'd done.  everything had a place, and there was place left for all of the things that we have yet to acquire for the little one. that's a nice feeling.

but what felt even nicer was that the house felt CLEAN. i mean, i haven't mopped the floors or cleaned the bathrooms yet--things that will come (except for bathrooms--that's musicboy's gig) soon because my mom is coming for Christmas!--but everything feels orderly.

and with that comes peace.

i'm sure it's not the least bit a coincidence that we did this on the day that grades were due, so all has calmed down and i am done, for all intents and purposes, with students and student complaints and the whole host of things that were fixing to make me insane only 48 hours before.

and now i revel in lights on a tree that smells delicious and the smell of holiday baking.

i love to bake.  pumpkin bread and banana bread are nearly done, and then i think i'll make magic bars (never done that before!) and perhaps get ready for the candy making tomorrow, which will involve crushing oreos and planning fudge and figuring out the food processor that mama let us borrow so we can chop up some cherries for some sort of australian treat that musicboy wants to make for our friends.

and so here i am, about to crush some graham crackers into oblivion and feeling very blessed to have a home and a place to be and for everything to have its place. 

it's beginning to feel like the holidays, and i am glad.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


the grading and the grading onslaught. it's just interminable.

and strangely, i'm finding that i no longer really want to work at collegetown u. it's not that i'm not really grateful for the opportunities, or that they don't pay well, but i just hate the bureaucracy of it. i guess it's my rebellious nature, but i like being in control of my classes and having the flexibility to be merciful when i want to be merciful and not constantly feel like i'm looking over my shoulder, wondering if someone is judging me.

i'm a doctor, for crying out loud. i wish i could feel like that there.

but this is all just ranting and raving because the reality is that i'm at a loss for a better gig, and i'll take what they give me gratefully and i'll do my job as well as i can until they no longer want me. and i'm not suggesting that i don't want them to.  i just...feel sort of stifled.

but i think that just could be from the semester itself and how it just seems to go on and on and on.  i just want it to be over.

or i want students to understand that i really do try to be as fair as possible, but that my fair is not always what their fair is.  they seem to think that my goal is to make their lives as difficult and horrendous as possible.  i really wish they'd stop that. i really wish that would stop feeling so unfair.


i just want it all to be over.  now i'm just waiting for the onslaught of whining from people who don't like their grades, and then i can post them, and then i can go away from this and try to be festive and organize my house and start on the Baby's room and all of those things that i've been dying to do but can't manage to do when my brain is constantly wondering what bombs are waiting for me in my email box.


i need to unplug, i think.  how, exactly, does one go about doing that?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

more proof that exercise works.

a few hours after i posted, i got another online class at the institution i most like to work for.  we are blessed.

Monday, December 13, 2010

semester round-up.

i've had more cases of plagiarism this semester than i have EVER had before.  i think i failed at least 7 papers for plagiarism, and that doesn't count the assorted discussion board posts and parts of papers that i flagged but didn't wholly fail because, well, they weren't totally cut-and-paste jobs.

(you begin to get new standards when reality wants to slap you, over and over, in the face.)

on the other hand, i also had some of the most successful online students that i've ever had before. online learning strikes me, especially with writing, as one of the more prohibitively difficult things to do as a student. it's certainly not more difficult for me as an instructor, but i totally understand students who don't have the first clue as to what's going on. it's just hard. 

but these kids? they nailed it. it was impressive.

in one class, i think i had 5 As and 5 Fs.

there's the gamut, right there. they ran it.

(and i don't usually give As in 1101 classes--not because i am philosophically opposed to it, but because most of the time, students don't earn them.)

i could get all morose and woe is me about the state of our educational system when people don't understand plagiarism, despite me being all "hey! don't do it! here's what it is! don't do it!" but here's reality. people are lazy or stressed or don't have the first idea what they're doing. in some cases, they are 15 year old kids in dual enrollment classes, who probably don't have any business in a college class before they know their butt from a hole in the ground (no offense to you out there who successfully completed dual enrollment; i wish i had, and if you successfully completed it, then you are certainly not the population to whom i refer).

and here's the other reality: i'm still smarter than them.  it takes me not that long to find it and, when i can't find it but still have my suspicions, there's almost always some other reason that the paper is terrible. either way, i'm justified in grading as i'd like and i feel okay about that. 

here's one more bracing deal for you: we as teachers in the humanities just need to cope.  instead of railing against the heavens, our fists outstretched and a pressing sense of dread for the fate of humanity as our mantle, we need to cope with the fact that students get the majority of their information on the internet, see the internet as the bastion of all knowledge, and don't understand the first idea about source material and how to use it because nobody's teaching them.

so either we teach them or scare them straight or we do both.

my plan, for next semester, is to do both. 

i find a stiff dose of reality, which comes in a 0 on a paper, tends to do that. 

but i think it's time that we realize that students are writing papers on their phones.  they are writing papers on iPads, and they are not spending time in libraries and reading books to do so.  if they can get it electronically, they will use it electronically, and MLA be darned. 

i don't know what exactly i'm getting at, except that i think there's the ideal academic utopia and then there's the reality that we live in. we have responsibilities to our reality, and sometimes that's the only influence we have.  for example, one of the institutions that i am employed by doesn't have a plagiarism punishment policy. i feel ambivalent about it--i don't like honor courts, don't think they really do anything, and try to avoid them as much as possible--but i think that's an indication that plagiarism, as a whole, is something that can be dealt with in a multitude of ways and with a multitude of strategies, all of which (i hope) have the intent of getting the student where they need to be.

on the whole, a successful semester in the sense that i learned a lot and i think my students did too. i'm not sure every semester goes like that. i will say that i've had more push and pull from students this semester than i have in previous semesters, but i've also found myself adapting differently than i would have before. that's very helpful, because sometimes you can't just be hard line. sometimes you have to give people second and third chances, because they deserve them, and because they've proven that their goal is to learn, not to just get a grade.

and then there are the students who email you after you have sent the email that says "grades are final--don't ask for more latitude" and begs you to give him the 13 or so points that it takes for him to squeak by with a C, singing you a song about having taken the class already and needing it SOBADLY.  and you feel badly, because you gave other people chances, but don't feel inclined to do it for him. and then you realize that he hasn't turned in two assignments (which would have put him well over the top) or taken advantage of the extra credit opportunity (again, 20 points for free) or asked a single question about the papers despite repeatedly getting feedback that he wasn't meeting the goals of the assignment (ie. not following directions).

those ones? those ones you write diplomatic emails to that basically say "waiting until the last minute and begging are the not the way to success" and call it a day.

but now i'm without things to do and my husband is playing Mario and i'm bored and so i blogged for one thousand years. downshifting abruptly is jarring.

(ps to the powers that be at multiple institutions of learning: if someone would just throw me an extra class for the spring, i would have a lot less stress. right now i have 4, but i need just one more. i just need one more.  i know we'll be fine, but goodness.  sometimes faith is exhausting. wonderful, and peaceful, but sometimes exercising it is exhausting.)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

two sizes okay.

so, sometimes i think i'm not a very nice person. i mean, sometimes it's hard for me to let things go and sometimes really random things make me sort of nuts. sometimes i think i should like people more or be kinder to people or be more generous with my heart to the whole world.

but sometimes that seems very hard and i get very caught up in my own world and my own challenges and problems.

but then sometimes i find that, where once there might have been anger and bitterness or even, when that was gone, just awkwardness and feeling strangely, instead there is just a first reaction of excitement and joy for someone else's journey.  regardless of the water under the metaphorical bridge, i'm just jump-up-and-down excited for someone else's happiness. 

that makes me happy.  that makes me think that maybe, just maybe, i'm an okay person after all. maybe i'm not grinchly in my heart at all, but maybe i'm actually the kind of generous that i want to be.

some days, anyways. and that's a nice feeling.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

week 22 postscript.

i got up from the couch, headed upstairs to the bathroom, and looked in the mirror.

i swear in the last 6 hours, i grew A TON.  or, i should say, Baby Girl grew a ton.

how does that even happen?

i'm hoping it's the baby and not the baked ziti, but since it's the round belly and not the round butt, i think i'm probably safe.

(also? baked ziti so good.  and not that bad for you, if you don't eat the whole pan.  and surprisingly filling.  that is your pasta update.)


also, best way to do what i love and not gain 1000 pounds? bake for my students. they eat EVERYTHING. :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

thank heavens it's THIS friday.

five of my eight classes end today.

that doesn't mean that i don't have responsibilities for them anymore (papers come in for four of them today; papers for the fifth come in on monday), because i do, but i don't have to plan or prep or anything for them any more.

just one more set of papers for each of them, some calculator checks, and then grade submission.

i am so glad.

in other news, i want some cake.

musicboy is nearly done as well. he has a few remaining assignments, including a 12 page paper that he's beginning to get excited about because it's about...wait for it...MUSIC, and a few more days of sporadic class (one of his ensembles is done, the other is almost done, he basically doesn't even have to go to class on monday if he doesn't want to [though he will, because he's scrupulous about his attendance, which is just one of the reasons why i love him so], and he's working his list of things to do like a champ.

happily, because collegetown u's football team didn't do QUITE as well as they have in past years, this championship weekend is free of marching band obligations.  which means we can sit around in our pajamas if we want while we work on our many, many pages of things to do.

i can't wait.

also, christmas tree! this weekend!

cake might actually be in order to celebrate this occasion, you know? we made it, or nearly have.  i'm so proud of us, because not only did we make it, but we made it and we're closer than ever.  what a blessing.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

teaching postscript

(i don't know what it's a postscript to, but it feels like a ps.)

sometimes you count down the semester to the end of work. today i realized i am counting down the times when i have to see the most obnoxious student i've ever taught. i have three more classes and a final exam and then, hopefully, i am done. 

i don't want to deal with him anymore. it's to the extent that i want to make sure he does well on his speech so that i don't have to deal with his crap.  but i won't. don't worry. i mean, i'll be fair (i'm thinking of being fairly generous to most everyone), but i won't just give away grades.

but it's tempting.

gah.  one week. 

baby chronicles: week 21.5

the staring has begun.

it's the staring where people are trying to figure out if you're just really conspicuously fat in one particular place or if you're actually pregnant. 

i get it on campus now.  fun times. 

(i'm being sarcastic.)

i now really understand why people start wearing shirts that say "baby!" i didn't get it before, but it's a bit easier than constructing a sign that says "i'm not fat, i'm pregnant, so leave me alone or bring me a cookie" every day.


simply grapefruit.

i bought it yesterday. i told you already that it was a thing, grapefruit, but the juice. i've wanted the juice for a while, but that simply juice stuff is expensive. but yesterday i caved and figured--it's ONLY juice. there's no possible reason that couldn't be good for me.  also, it's not calorie dense, which made me happy.

oh sweet holy craving goodness. i love it. 


not sleeping very well.  between the bruised tailbone, the cold, and the crazy manic dreaming, i just don't feel like i'm in that restful state of deadness where your body totally recovers from the day. i feel like i'm running, even in my sleep, and that's beginning to annoy me.


i watched her kick yesterday.  first time for that, and it was very very cool.  she's becoming much more active on some days, which is cool.  i feel her more regularly, instead of just at random times, but she has her quiet times too. 

i think she's a sweet girl. i think she has her daddy's temperament, which is a blessing for our family.  we'll see, though.


i'm tired. i worked hard today, and now it's finally naptime.