Friday, October 31, 2014

FFOT: Fuck you, Blackboard. Fuck you, so hard.

I was grading last night, and suddenly...the gradebook quit working.  I tried four times to enter grades in one student's slot, and I got a "not found" error message.  And then got told to refresh.  And then was informed that there was a managed service interruption. 

What.  The. Actual.  FUCK. 

I am just about to the point of hunting down the admin who are NOT FUCKING DOING THEIR FUCKING JOB, and choking them unconscious.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Just finished one class

It took a lot longer than it should have, but I did it.  I got one class's papers graded.  I'd start the other class's papers, but I'd probably end up pitching the laptop, or screaming, or both.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

badly behaving imps...

No, he didn't hit anybody, today.  He's just been peeping on others in the restroom, and burping in others' faces.  Yes, he has had it explained to him that this behavior is not okay.  No, it hasn't sunk  in. 

I think somebody is going to be spending his evening in the kitchen, between the fridge and the end of the cabinets, facing the wall.  Silent, and bored.  No toys, no books. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Well, what do you know...

I recently found a recipe for powdered laundry detergent.  Thought I'd give it a try, so I got the materials, thinking that if it didn't work, I could sprinkle the borax in some of the places I'd seen bugs coming in.

It worked.  It worked better than the commercial liquid soap I'd been using for years.  Fairly inexpensive, to make, too.  About a third of the cost per load of the soap we'd been getting.  And it doesn't break me out like some soaps can do.

Laundry detergent*
1 bar Fels Naptha laundry soap, grated**
2 c washing soda
2 c borax

1. Grate the soap.  This step will take the longest if your food processor doesn't do it for you.  2. Mix soap, soda, and borax.  3. (optional, but advised)  Run the powder through a blender or food processor to turn it into powder fine enough to dissolve in cold water.

You'll need about 2 T of powder per soiled load of laundry.   Depending on how soiled, you may need a bit less, for less dirty, or a bit more for really nasty clothes.

One batch of homemade detergent will do about 40 loads.  But each box of washing soda and borax will make three or four (or more) batches. 

The interesting thing is that it works better to get whites really clean, when you do a warm cycle with nothing but, than the commercial detergent does.

*This link is to a kit on Amazon that is a bit more expensive, but will show you exactly what you're looking for.  You can probably find the same things at your local Walmart or grocery store for a lot less.

**Or you can substitute Ivory.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Back to normal...

Week before last, the kids had Thursday and Friday off of school for teacher development.  Last week, Friday was cancelled for parent/teacher conferences.  From here on out, all we've got is early outs for a few different things--no issues with no school conflicting with either Odysseus's schedule, or mine. gonna be nice.

The pixie had her P/T conference set up for this morning--the last slot for last Friday would have necessitated Odysseus's skipping class.  So, we scrambled around and got into the school by 7:30...for a conference scheduled for 7:50.  At least it was almost all positive, as opposed to the imp's conference.  The preschool teacher's main criticism is that the pixie whines a lot. 

At home, I give her two chances to use words, then send her to her room if she keeps whining.  Anybody else have any suggestions on how to break a nearly-four-year-old little girl from whining every time she's told that it's time to change up activities? 

As for the rest of my week, I've got workshop to supervise today--peer editing in small groups--and then papers to pick up on Wednesday.  I'll be introducing the research paper, their last paper for the semester, as of tomorrow.  And once I get papers graded and back to them (hopefully by Monday), I've got all of November to use my office hours to write. 

What I'm planning to do is write as much of Detritus as I can.  I've gone back and reread what I have, and I like it, needs redone.  I've been lazy, relying on first person for my characters.  I'm trying to break that habit. 

As for Odysseus's week...yeah, it's not starting out terribly good.  He's got tests in Intermediate Accounting III, and Tax Accounting this morning.  After that, he says it's smooth sailing for the rest of the week, which is a good thing, since that means he'll be able to deal with the kids while I grade papers Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  If it takes that long to grade.  That's going to be the real question, since while this paper is more audience-focused, my students this semester are also very good, and didn't seem to have as much trouble with the concept as past semesters' students have. 

So, yeah.  That's my upcoming week.  Pray for my sanity to remain as it is now, and for it to not fracture any further.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


I am a Christian.  I have never kept that a secret.  Every so often, I feel like writing about my beliefs and observations as a Christian.  Today is one of those times.  I don't particularly care if someone disagrees with me--that's their right as someone who has free will and a brain.  I don't particularly care if someone gets offended.  That, too, is their right.  Just as it is my right to disregard any butt-hurt offended snits thrown by anyone who chooses to.

There is not a single person, living or dead (other than the obvious) that deserves, outright, to get into heaven through their own efforts.  Not one. 

Should God judge us all as we deserve, every last human being would go to hell when they died. 

And we would, but for one thing: grace.  The gift that Christ died to give us.

What is grace?  To put it simply, grace is forgiveness.  We sin, we feel remorse, we are forgiven.  We repent, and we start fresh to try again. 

We are not meant to dwell on our sinful nature, but to try to overcome it.  Dwelling on it and wallowing in guilt, believing that we are the scum of the earth is the sin that ultimately damned Faust in the play: if he couldn't use his deal with the devil to become the greatest, then he would, even given the chance to repent and go to heaven, be the most damned.  He, in his pride, wallowed in his guilt, in his sins. 

That feeling of overwhelming guilt prevents us from moving forward, from starting fresh.  That feeling of overwhelming guilt that we are sinners leads directly into despair, into feeling helpless against our lower natures.  Leads us directly into no longer trying to be better, to try harder to conquer that lower nature.  Leads us into spiritual sloth.

Christ's admonition to those he healed was "Go, and sin no more."  However, I think the translation may have missed nuance.  I think what he means for us to do is to never stop trying to conquer the impulse to sin, to do what we are not supposed to do, or to not do those things we know we must. 

The difference is grace: the forgiveness that permits us to get up and try again to be the people that God wants us to be.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Random ramblings

So, we got through the imp's parent teacher conference.  He's behind.  We knew that.  We also know that he's going to need a lot of work to catch up.

What we didn't know is that he stares off into space and daydreams until his teacher calls him back to earth.  This is not...unsurprising, really--both of us did that.  But it is going to need some work to teach him when it's appropriate and when it isn't.

She also complimented us on his manners, and on his empathy (which I'm thanking God he somehow learned), and on his remaining quiet and non-disruptive, even if he's not paying attention like he should.  And on his math skills.

So, yeah--lots of work, lots of negatives (which we already knew), and lots of positives. 

And yesterday afternoon, while the kids were napping, his grandparents called and asked for an overnight visit.  Odysseus will be picking him up from the halfway point tomorrow.

I had a college friend visit this afternoon.  That was incredibly pleasant, and the pixie just completely adored her.  The cats seemed...not enthusiastic, but not opposed.  They liked her, just not as much as they like TCA. 

Then again, they think TCA belongs to them.  Cats.  What are you going to do?

I'll be supervising a workshop day as of Monday.  Which means that Wednesday evening, I'll be organizing to grade papers, again.  It's the fourth paper in 11 weeks, so...yeah.  

Putting a pause on the writing, as much as I can, for the moment--besides picking up papers to grade, I'm reading the third draft of a friend's excellent work.  I'm hoping to be able to get word back before I pick papers up, but I never know when the muse is going to blind side me--like it did last Sunday in the car, on the way to the next large town over.