Wednesday, February 20, 2013


I had a brilliant plan for getting through all of my grading this week. It still may work, but the plan is less brilliant and feasible when interrupted by students (which, though the stu who visited me yesterday was lovely and I hadn't seen hir in a couple of months--ze came to "check in on me")--it really set my grading back a notch. It is also less brilliant if one wakes up with a raging headache, must deal with a Stu who think that I need to give hir the 20% of hir grade back for missing so many classes* because Stu wasn't aware of the absence policy until I pointed out, as a courtesy, that Stu had over 9 absences. Um, I'm sorry you skipped the first day of class when I went over this, and I'm sorry that you didn't heed my advice on the second day of class when I stressed that you look at the syllabus and pay special attention to the attendance policy. Furthermore, said Stu and hir buddy have been "working" together on their papers. They are not turning in the same paper, but they are clearly writing them together because they're both idiots and make the exact same content mistakes--they both used pessimistic determinism in their essays and both confused that with determination. Each said, in hir own words that the character was "determined to make the hike, but had a negative attitude about it; therefore he was a pessimistic determinist." Uh, no. Not even close Stus. Of course Stu would just be *delighted* to get a C in my class. Again, uh, no.

Then another person (well say Person 1) whom I did not know as a student, was contacted by a former prof via text because of something a current stu (Person 2) said about a class and hir program, and the other person asked my opinion on this matter--professionalism, FB, whether it's wrong for people to get in trouble for expressing their opinions on FB even if they don't mention names. And whether Person 1 should call the prof who texted hir.  I'm like, even in real life you can't just say something, say it's your opinion, and then think you're exempt from critique or consequences. And if a student came to me and said that my class was worthless, on FB or not, there's no way in hell that person is getting a letter of recommendation for a job out of me. Unfortunately, unbeknownst Person 1, I am FB friends with Person 2 and saw the post (but didn't look at the comments), and Person 2, because ze has done a couple of tours in Iraq, believes that hir life experiences make hir qualified in every field. (When I complained a while back about how some of the people at XFit felt the need to trash professors and my colleagues and offer their "real world" advice on how classrooms should be managed, Person 2 is *always* one of them. And will actually be one of my students next quarter. Sigh). And maybe it is a pointless assignment or course. But you know what? People have to do a lot of shit hoop jumping for your job and stuff in real life, so get the fuck over it. So I tried not to say anything that might incriminate me or comment on anyone's behavior, and that took more energy than I wanted it to, and I told Person 1 to just stay out of it from this point on.

Also, I'm stressed about buying stuff for the kid. We're doing horrible with our budget right now because I'm tired and stressed and money just seems to be flying out the window on food and other stuff that I don't even know. I'm too exhausted to think about it. I think once I get the crib picked out, then I'll settle down. It just sucks not having anything in this small town (except a super expensive specialty store and I'm not paying $700-$1000 for a crib I can get for $400). So I'm just super stressed about that. And I'm going out of town this weekend. And I need this quarter to be over.

Also, I forgot to eat this morning until almost 10 because I got involved in all this other stuff. Under normal circumstances, this isn't a problem, but if I don't eat, I get sick, my headache gets worse, I get all sluggish. And once I get sluggish, it's not like I can get another cup of coffee either. When I did eat, I ate a ton, but I think the damage is done. And I have a stupid thing I have to go to tonight. And another stupid thing I have to go to tomorrow afternoon. I was feeling so good last week, and this week I'm so totally overwhelmed now. One bad day throws the who damn schedule off. Plus, it's the end of the quarter and the time of of "oh my god! Can I pass? Tell me what I need to do in the next two class periods to pass!"

And on that note, I need to get to class.

*on absence 5, you lose your participation points. You won't fail, but it's enough to knock you down a letter grade. Every absence after that, you lose 2% of your final grade. I hardly ever stuck to my "five absences and you fail policy" (which is the standard here), and almost always took away the participation points as a "compromise," so this allows me to stick to my guns and guarantees that stus who miss a lot still fail, which is usually reflected in their grades anyway. But those generally good students who just have crappy quarters get a stay of execution.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Yay for Break!

While I miss the J right now (he's gone for some military school training thing*), I have to say, I'm thankful for this break and this alone time right now. Not that I did anything more yesterday than getting rid of one huge bag of trash from the office and julienne-ing 12 zucchini (which I do by hand rather than by mandolin because I've become so adept at doing it by hand that it takes me less time to just do it that way). And I know I needed this time off (thank goodness for Mardi Gras Break! Yes!!) because my body is acting like one that is exhausted. I mean, I remember when I was in grad school that every Christmas break, within days of the semester ending, I would get this massive migraine that lasted for days, a stomachache, and a cold because once I was not in the fight or flight madness that comes with three seminar papers and all nighters and TAing, my body would just shut down and recover for a few days. And I think after the major grading push I did last week, I think that's what's going on here right now. I woke up with a headache yesterday, a stomachache this morning. So I think clearly I needed this. Plus, I only had to prepare a side dish for a friend's surprise party last night, so I got some dinner I didn't have to put all together myself. And tonight, since the J is out of town, the same friends who hosted the party last night are having me over for dinner again tonight. So that will be nice, too. I really do actually get a vacation from just about everything right now--cooking, tending to people (except the dogs, who are being very low maintenance right now), work (although I do need to do some reading today). I am really trying to take advantage of every single moment I have to myself right now and do very little to nothing because this time next year? I will most certainly not have that sort of freedom.

Now, I know I said I was going to work on cleaning up the office. Yes, well, once I did my taxes this weekend and was informed that because of some educational credit thing that we weren't getting our return until March, which will be after my parents visit in two weeks, I don't need to get the office ready for a bed now. I only need to get it cleaned up enough so that I can get the air mattress in there and they have a place to sleep. So I'm not as gung-ho as I was feeling on Sunday because there's not as big a rush now for this to happen. The tax return has been ear-marked for a king sized bed for us and for baby stuff, which makes me feel significantly better about being able to provide the initial things for the child especially since I'm doing a bang up job with getting the finances in order for the summer. I'm sure this is no small part of my stress.

Anyway, I at least have time to chip away at the office rather than doing a marathon cleaning thing. But, if I can get rid of another bag of trash today and get most of the stuff off the floor, then we might be in business here. Plus the J has so much stuff that he needs to go through, too. And I really need to purchase a filing cabinet. I think that would solve many problems here with our space and where to put things. It would clear out a shelf on the bookcase, too, and eliminate the four or five filing "boxes" and crates that we have.

Ugh. There's just so much to do, and June will be here before I know it.

That's all right. One day at a time.

I think now, breakfast is in order. Then I will read. Then I will clean. And at some point today I'd like to map out my research and academic plans, deadlines, teaching, etc. for the next year since I need to know what's ahead of me in terms of how I'm going to negotiate tenure with a newborn/infant child. I know I can't plan really a schedule for after the kid is born in terms of my reading and writing, but I can make a list of what needs to be read and written so that I can mark things off and chip away, right? Or attempt to. 

*I wish sometimes, because I'm not involved in this, that the military were like the Boy Scouts. While the J does get patches and stuff for the schools he attends, I think they should have to wear some sort of sash with their uniforms all the time with their *merit badges* on it. They already have to wear berets now instead of caps, so what's a sash if there's already a beret?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Lazy Sunday

It's storming here right now. Like a torrential downpour here. And the poor J is out running a half marathon in this. I got to see him at mile 2.5 as he ran past the front of the neighborhood just before the storm got really bad. I went out there in a rain coat, rain boots, and my pjs which are now drying out on the bed. It is a miserable day for a race out there! Poor guy. It's a small race, and he's pretty far up in the pack though, so hopefully he'll get done soon and be able to dry out before he's got to travel a few hours for some military school he has to attend this week. Normally, I'd be running this with him. But pregnancy is the most perfect excuse not to do this. Hopefully the Mardi Gras marathon in a couple of weeks will be nice weather and all that business for me. And I'm just walking it, or rather waddling it might be a more accurate description as to what might be happening there.

Since we have a bit of a break this week, I'm actually sort of at a loss for what to do with myself today. There's the office that needs to be tended to. There's some reading I can do for class, for fun, for a conference paper. But what is throwing me for a loop right now is that I'm so used to being stressed out on Sunday mornings with grading, reading, and prepping hanging over my head, plus the travel time to the g'parents that since none of those things are happening today (because of the J's race and then his having to travel), I'm sort of at a loss. There's plenty to do, but not anything that *needs* to be done today. And I'm hoping to be productive this week with the J gone, although historically I don't get things done with the J gone because I get depressed that he's gone, but I have higher hopes this time because I'm actually feeling motivated! Believe it or not! Or maybe that's because it's still morning time that I am. I'm surprised because I didn't sleep for anything last night.

Maybe it's because I only have one thing, and it's a big thing, but it's only one thing that I want to accomplish over the next three days--working on the office. That's it. I've got to get it into enough shape to be able to turn it into a guest room so that when we buy our new bigger bed, provided that there's enough money from a tax return to do so, although we will have to buy one soon anyway if my parents are planning on spending extended periods of time here when the kid gets here, then we need a place for the current bed to go. So that really does need to get done. It will mostly involve shredding, going through stuff to be trashed or donated (unfortunately around here, recycling is not an option). It will involve some mild rearranging of furniture, but stuff I can handle. But that's it. I don't have some big huge list of things that need to get done. Just the one thing and one thing only. Sure, I have about 50 or 60 pages to finish up reading for Thursday, but that will be easy. I'm not worried. But I do have to make a concerted effort, every morning because that's when I have the most energy (and the J will be gone, I don't have to worry about waking him up) because it really needs to get done so that I can exploit parental labor for when it comes time to get the nursery set up.

And I need to do the taxes, too.

But yay for break! And maybe some sleep! And at least perhaps some relaxing.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Ups and Downs: Today's an Up. Yay!

I hate this up and down stress and energy business of mine. But, surprisingly for nearing the end of the quarter, I feel oddly calm. Monday was awful. I hate going to the doctor. Yes, I know an unavoidable side effect of being knocked up requires that I go regularly. But as I think I've stated before, I'm terrified of doctors. (And while I used not to be afraid of dentists, after my third root canal, which ended in surgery that involved cutting bone and a doctor who couldn't get my mouth numb, I'm terrified of dentists and haven't been in about 7 years now and I think I might have a cavity). Anyway, at my last appointment, they told me they were drawing blood. Then I'd go to the specialist, then they'd do my exam and then the next ultrasound. Ok. Got it. So I thought Monday was just going to be bloodwork and I'd make it to my first class. No. I get there, they see me 30 minutes after my appt time (there's only one nurse and one doctor, and I think that's the problem--otherwise I really like this place), and the nurse tells me that they're doing the full exam today. It took everything in me not to cry. Look, no one likes the girly doc appt, but I was totally unprepared. THEN I had get the bloodwork done. They took 8 vials of blood, and needed more, but I started to clot because my body was like "um, ok. That's enough for you." I'm also terrified of needles and a bit put off by blood. So the phlebotomist kept flicking and squeezing my arm.

I didn't have time for lunch before my 12:30 class. 2.5 hours I spent at the doc when I was expecting a 45 minute appt. Anyway, such is life. I let the noon class go early so I could go eat before my 2 hours of office hours. Plus, the J was hungover from the superbowl, so he tried but was no real help. He did have lunch waiting for me in the student center though. That was nice. But I'll have two more appointments in the next month. Gross.

(Funny: one of my colleagues said, after I was explaining my trauma of the day, "oh hunny, by the end you'll have so many exams that you'll just wonder 'why did I even bother closing my legs today?'" That made me laugh loudly.)

Enough of that. Who cares. it's probably TMI anyway. But Saturday, when we went shopping, again (I bought all of those wonderful workout clothes Friday and stuff), but after another very uncomfortable evening sitting on the couch and another terrible night of sleep, we decided that I needed somekind of pillow for the couch and another pillow for my legs because the one I had I suspected was behind my back and hip problems. So I bought a "husband pillow" for the couch and chair, and then this for my knees.  OMG. It's so wonderful!! I've gotten so much better sleep now! If you're a side sleeper and sleep with a pillow between your legs or side sleeping makes your hips or back hurt, I totally and completely recommend that pillow. It's so fantastic.

Anyway, yesterday, I found that I was surprisingly productive. I brought my own lunch, so I didn't have to leave to go get something. I got about 28 essays graded (out of 48), so that leaves 20 today and then hopefully I can get started on the Lit class's responses and then finish those in the morning. I'm ahead in my reading for the week right now. And for whatever reason, even though Modernism and PoMo are so far outside of my field, the last couple of weeks in the survey class are the best for me because I do really well at teaching those areas in the survey class. I think because they're the movements I'm least invested in and can have fun with them. So I really don't have to do anything for the survey class for the remainder of the quarter but stay on top of grading. Also, 11 people dropped in one section by Friday (a record for me--I told you it was just a bad class), and while it might not look good for me, it's been a god-send because the class dynamic is so much better now! I hate to refer to people as "dead weight," but damn, apparently there was a lot of it, and the other students recognized it and commented on their own about it. There's a ton of grading coming up in the Lit class, which I had some poor timing with the end of the quarter because I'm going to NOLA with the parents for a marathon/half-marathon (the J won NCO of the Year in his unit, and now he has to go to a competition that weekend and can't run), and there are only two days left in the quarter after that, so I have to come back Sunday night. Sheesh. But, and this is fabulous, and why I'm feeling kind of good right now, next week we have a 3 day break. And I'll be ahead! So my plan for break is to get the office cleaned out for once and for all. I'll worry about the nursery business later, like over spring break or something. The J will be out of town, so I'll have about four days to take care of stuff. Hopefully I'll continue to have energy, and I can get some stuff done. I also plan to work on next quarter's syllabus then, too, to get that business out of the way.

The office needs to get cleaned because we're planning on buying a bigger bed by the end of the month and we need somewhere to put the current bed, so we're planning on turning the office into an official guest room/office. As always, I have plans. Whether they come to fruition is a different story altogether.

That being said, I think I'm going to do some reading now. I love that there's no pressure at this moment for me to read, which makes it so much more productive. And I want to finish this book by tomorrow for the lit class so I can get the final novel we're doing read this weekend, so I'm done except for grading with them, too.

Have a great day all!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Thank you all for letting me bitch about my boss and our jacked up conversation re: maternity leave.

She is indeed totally obnoxious, a flake, semi-incompetent in her job, and a general P.I.T.A. But after some sleep and finally finishing grading, and perhaps just an overall better sense of wellness and such, and having had to stop in her office a few times this week, here's the deal: she has a memory like Dori in Finding Nemo. Seriously. I realized this on Thursday when I had asked her something, and it occurred to me that probably if I bring the baby in over the summer before she does the winter schedule and let her coo all over it, I could probably get something decent for winter after the fall schedule is taken care of under the guise of needing to be able to get my book order in order so that I can give it to the woman who needs it.

Also, she really likes me. So, as much of an obnoxious P.I.T.A. she is to deal with, I just have to vent about her and then move on. And, well, I have. So I'm good. It's just always frustrating at the time.

Most of the students pleading to meet with me on Thursday didn't show up. So I emailed one back to tell him I could see him, but after his buddy came in (who I told was lucky he didn't email me because I would have told him no, I didn't have time to see him, but he lucked out because a bunch of students didn't come in who said they would), he just decided to drop. Stu 1, who needed to see me about his midterm had told Stu 2 that I needed to see him. Stu 2 was then worried because he couldn't see his grade on-line and had a higher percentage come back as being similar on the site than Stu 1. Without knowing they were friends or to whom Stu 2 was referring, I explained to him the three different reasons something might come back on the site as plagiarized and that the % didn't mean anything on its own. I told him unless I said "I need to see you about this" that he was fine. Apparently, he relayed this info back to Stu 1 who then dropped. Stu 1 still could have passed the class. He just got a zero on the midterm. I suspect what he did was went to Sparknotes to get info (which he shouldn't do anyway) and took a bunch of notes verbatim. And then when he went to write his exam, he used the stuff from his notes and it all came back. But, he didn't come see me, so there. I understand that here, most of the time, that that's what happens. They go on-line, look stuff up, take notes, and then write their stuff off their notes. I warn them on the first day what will happen if they do that, and that they will get a zero for it. But, some have to learn the hard way. Anyway, it's a shame.

Maybe I'm just feeling better because Thursday I bought two new dresses--I am a dress fiend now! I hate pants. All my maternity pants are getting small now, and my friends, I understand why so many of you wear super cute dresses all the time. I don't like skirts. Same problem as the pants. And I always thought that my cousin's GF was so weird for wanting to be in dresses all the time, even in summer; it seems like shorts would be more comfy. Nope. I get it now. I find that even when I have to wear tights or hose I'm infinitely more comfortable than in pants. I did buy some maternity spanx though because when it's hot, I don't like my legs to touch and get sweaty (I know, TMI there--no one wants to hear about the pregnant lady's sweaty thighs), but even that is more comfy than pants. Sweet belly relief. Sweet comfort! I now have seven dresses. One of which is designated my "weekend dress" because it's long and soft and as comfortable as my pajama pants, which are the only pants I like.

I also broke down and finally bought some new workout bras and workout shorts. Up until about last week, I could wear (not terribly comfy, but could wear at least) the stuff I had still. And I tell you what, just trying on the new stuff made me feel better. The shorts I bought are big enough I think at least to get me though May. I hope. If not, then I'll only get one or two more to get through until June if need be. But I think these should do--they're just regular people work out shorts from Target in a large, and even when I tie them, I can pull them out about a foot still, so I have room to grow. And when it gets too hot for pj pants, these will also be perfect for lounging. So I have new clothes now. I will give them a whirl today.

Yesterday I spent an amazingly wonderful morning reading. I got to all but 10 pages of what needed to be read for Tuesday, and then I finished it up yesterday afternoon. That was just wonderful. It made me realize how much I will be able to accomplish then on my TR off next quarter. (I still had to teach yesterday, but it was a fun group extra credit day, and all I do on Fridays is teach. No office hours). I got so much done before 9 am that it was such a great feeling. So I have very high hopes for my productivity level, and I think if I can show that it allows me much productivity, I can argue for that schedule for me from here on out. I have high hopes. And a bunch that needs to get done by mid-April at that.

And now I'm starving. I must go eat. Have a great weekend all!