Friday, August 19, 2016

Yesterday...

Yesterday was the first day of the new school year for the imp (1st grade) and pixie (all-day kindergarten).  I had them out from under foot from just after eight until just after three.  And the imp was incredible, yesterday.  His teacher actually sent us a message praising his behavior.  

I finally finished my textbooks' first drafts.  For the most part.  The last paper's chapter is still incomplete in the Comp 2 book, because I can't find a good resource to learn science writing citation from. 

And with that, I started to sign into my class site to start setting up for the semester...and our house abruptly lost electricity.  I waited for an hour and a half, then headed into the university--without power, we have no phone, and my cell phone's so flat it took about half a minute for the screen to start showing that it was charging, when I started charging it just now.

I pulled up the electric company's website to go about reporting an outage, and found out they already knew: 3850 people were out, by the company's count, in the northern part of the city I live in, and the bedroom community to the northeast of us. 

They didn't get it brought back up until after 2:30.

I didn't get much done beyond double-checking my classroom to make certain it was ready for Monday.

Thankfully, the kids' school wasn't affected.  It was four miles south of where the area of no power ended. 

The pixie was tired and whiny when I picked them up.  She was tired and her feet hurt.  I don't really blame her--it's rough going a long day when she's used to a two hour block of time where she's expected to be still and quiet, even if she doesn't sleep. 

The imp...the imp didn't come to the pick-up point.  Older sibs are supposed to be picked up with younger ones, at the younger sibs' pickup point, at their school.  The supervising teacher had to go get him. 

We'll see how pick up goes today.

Monday, August 15, 2016

If wishes were fishes...

...we'd all cast nets.

I recently read that one study decided that non-Celiac gluten intolerance is a psycho-somatic thing.  That anyone who said they couldn't tolerate gluten-containing food couldn't tell the difference in gluten and gluten-free products. 

Lots of them can't. 

I'm not one of them.  I'm not gluten-intolerant.  I can eat rye just fine.  It's wheat that's the problem.  All stages and forms.

No, it doesn't cause a standard histamine allergic response.  If it did, I'd just take an antihistamine before eating whatever I wanted.   Instead, I have gut cramps that start within ten minutes of eating something with wheat grass or wheat flour.  Things like Gluten-Ease help some, but not me. 

I wish it were otherwise.

I miss pizza.  Real pizza, with real crust.  Tortillas.  I can do with or without bread, but the gluten free buns for hot dogs and hamburgers...they're awful, and fall apart with the application of any kind of condiment. 

Gluten free pizza...yeah, it exists.  Yeah, you can find some in some pizza places, but the frozen stuff is mostly just enough to be a disappointment.

Gluten-free tortillas are either horrible in texture, fall apart, or they just don't taste right. 

I wish it were psychosomatic.  The fact that I am willing to eat this stuff to not have to deal with the after-effects of eating the things I miss eating should prove that it's not.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Progress

I finished up with the first draft of the Comp 1 text about half an hour ago, as I start this.  I put in a formal email to professors assignment, an assignment discussing spin and how it's created, a research paper, six or eight weeks of blogging, and an opinion essay.  Practical things that will build a foundation for them...assuming they don't just drop the class after they get a look at the course schedule and the textbook.  Tomorrow, I'll work on the Comp 2 text.  I figure if I graft together the persuasive writing text I wrote for previous years, and the researching across the curriculum text I was working on while I was impaired, I'll have a fairly decent resource for my students next semester. 

I had to keep the kids separated, today.  The imp was being as irritating as he knew how to be, and provoked the pixie into biting him.  I heard her asking him to stop whatever irritating thing he was doing multiple times, and then I heard him: "Ow, ow, ow, stop that, [Pixie]!" 

Yeah, they both got into trouble.  Imp more than pixie. 

While I had each confined to their own rooms, I knocked out most of my day's housework to do list.  I didn't get the kitchen floor swept, or the living room vacuumed, but I got the rest of everything mostly done.  There's still a lot to do before I get the house to mostly maintenance cleaning, but I'm focusing a whole lot more on the public areas, and I think I can finish those up the two days at the end of next week where I don't have the kids underfoot for seven and a half hours.  I may even get the master bedroom mostly decluttered, assuming I can knock the feeling like I'm coming down with the flu (again) without respiratory symptoms (again) back before it hits too hard. 

As 'tis, I do believe I'm done for the day.  I'll see what I can get done tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Not much longer...

I took the pixie to get her kindergarten booster shots this morning.  She did great--just wailed and cried, didn't fight at all, despite getting two pokes in each arm.  Next Tuesday is back to school night, where we can take their supplies in to the classrooms.  And then next Thursday is back to school.  I'll have next Thursday and next Friday all to myself from just after 7:30 until just after 3:05. 

The Monday after they start back, I do.  I'm damn near done with my textbook for Comp 1.  I had to nearly totally rewrite it for what I want to do.  I still need to modify the Comp 2 book, but that should be a matter of copy/paste grafting bits together. 

I should be done with my texts long before I start back, thank goodness.  Then, I can focus on getting the house cleaned up to the point that it's just maintenance keeping it that way. 

I am still trying to work the FlyLady stuff, but there are times when I'm down for a week or more and can't get stuff done.  It really doesn't help that when I do get to feeling up to cleaning, I've got two little ones following along behind me, "helping," and more often than not undoing any progress I've made.

I'll have two days next week to work without help.  And then we can focus on maintenance cleaning, and I can teach the kids now what I wish I'd learned a lot sooner than I did: how to keep it that way.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Accomplishments.

I has several, as of today.

It just doesn't feel like it.

We got the school shopping for the kids (mostly) done today.  The pixie still needs some dresses, but she's got some polos and skirts, and enough dresses that are still barely long enough that they'll work.  She's not quite six, and comes up to mid-chest on me. 

I got the clean dishes put away, and the dishwasher reloaded and run. 

My comp 1 textbook is one revised assignment, and one new assignment, from done. 

The living room is a disaster.  Most of the kitchen (other than the dishes) is, too. 

The weather is partially, but not totally, at fault, today.  The pressure (and the temperature) plummeted.  Yesterday was mid nineties with a heat index of around 112 degrees.  Today was 81 degrees with rain all day.  My hands and knees hurt. 

It's not all.  I've discovered that Hashimoto's Thyroidits is an auto-immune disorder, with all of the lovely issues that that includes.  Including flare ups that involve feeling like I have a version of the flu without the respiratory issues, and major, body-wide inflammation. 

Still.  I need to focus on the positive: the kids and animals are fed, comfortable, and relatively happy.  Yeah, I need to pick up and continue decluttering (and vacuuming, sweeping, and mopping), but the floor isn't layered like it was when I was at my worst.  The kitchen needs decluttered, flat surfaces cleared, and cast iron that isn't being currently used put away, but the sink's empty.  Yeah, the textbooks need to be finished, but I have a plan for doing that, and I'm almost done with the Comp 1 textbook (and tentative plans for the class are coming together). 

I'm exhausted and sore, but far from defeated.  I'm gonna beat this. 

I don't have any "give up" in me.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

New ideas in teaching writing

Last semester sucked.  I really shouldn't have tried what I did while I was disabled upstairs.  Trying to do multiple research papers and styles while I couldn't think straight...well, it wasn't an unmitigated disaster, but it was damned close.

I have a better idea how to do it, and do it right, this semester.  I'll go ahead and teach the four styles of argument (definition, causal, evaluation, proposal), but I'll match them up with the styles (Chicago style, Council of Science Editors, Modern Language Association/MLA, and American Psychological Association, or APA).  Pretty sure science would be best matched with causal, and Chicago style (journalism) would be best matched with either a definition or the evaluation (in the form of a movie review).  If you've got ideas, feel free to let me know in the comments.

The main point is this: English and foreign languages are the only majors that use the MLA format beyond basic core classes.  Why is that the only style English departments are teaching?  Neither the CMS nor the CSE styles are remotely similar in anything but the bibliography.  APA is pretty similar, but for the use of copyright dates in the in-text citations.  But even APA isn't more than just glossed over.

I have most of the parts of my textbook done, I just have to assemble it correctly.

And this semester, this fall semester, I have arranged to teach two comp 2 courses...and one comp 1.  I got an email from the new department head asking me to take an extra section.  On the one hand, that's a nice little extra in the income.  On the other...that's an extra two dozen papers to grade every few weeks, and an extra number of office hours.  I think my requirements will be up to 7.5 hours on campus (2.5 office hours per class taught).  So, two hours in the morning every day I'm on campus, and half an hour after classes.  Or maybe an extra 25 minutes in the morning before classes...I'll have to think about that.

And...I haven't taught Comp 1 in about six years.  I need to redo my book.  I'm honestly thinking of two papers plus a lot of other little assignments to add up to about 5,500 words that I grade (one is going to be a unit on how to email a teacher...probably the first one).  I'm planning six weeks of blogging while I do an intro to research unit, and a unit on spin and how it's done (gotta get them suspicious of politics and advertisers before November...).  I may do a unit on how to put together a powerpoint presentation, since I don't think anyone else really does that.

(Yes, I'm sort of thinking out loud, here.)

If anyone has any suggestions on what else they think I should do, feel free to chime in.

This semester...yeah, it's gonna be rough.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Our adorable little Scotty-dog


Don't mind the mess in the kitchen, please.  I'm still working on it.