Saturday, December 31, 2016

Looking back...

It has been a long, long year.  It started--and ended--with death, with a fuck-ton of discomfort along the way.

But.

It's over.

Thanks be unto God, it's over.

I've learned that it wasn't just my thyroid gland messing me up (though that was the root of a good part of the problem).  I've learned that there's no real treatment for me, that I'll never "get over" my physiological problems.  However, I know what they are, now, and I have a better idea of how to manage them then my doctor does, mostly because I have a lot more time to research the issue, the underlying causes, and how to deal with them to prevent them from getting worse.  If I can get the right combo of enough rest when I need it, the right diet, meds dosage, and herbals going together, I might be able to get to 80% of normal function, rather than the 40% I've been living with. 

I've found that I didn't have as good of an idea for changing my composition class as I thought I did.  I'm not entirely certain if it's just because it takes more energy, physical and mental, than I have access to, if it's student preparedness (more on that later), or if it just doesn't work, but it didn't.  Not in the spring semester (when I was off my thryoid meds through February), and not in the fall semester (when I was trying to finish recovering from surgery, and trying to get my blood thyroid levels set where they need to be to feel better when that wasn't the problem at all).  I'll be going back to what I had been doing: 3-4 short papers, and 1-2 slightly longer, researched papers.

I've found that I need to talk about writing conventions--capitalization, paragraph indentation, putting their damn names on the papers--that they should have already learned before they never learned punctuation, how to not do either sentence fragments or run-on sentences, picking the right homophone, or even the major parts of speech (no, they typically can't tell a noun from a verb, thanks).

I've found that Hillary Clinton is hated badly enough by enough people that she can't win an election rigged in her favor by both parties.  And that an orange lizard wearing a Tribble as a toupee is more electable than an honest-to-God decent man who comes across on TV like he might be on the very high function end of the Autism spectrum. 

I've learned that my vote doesn't matter, except in local issues...and then, only sometimes. 

2016 was actually worse than 2015.  I'm praying that 2017 doesn't prove more of the same.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Friday, December 23, 2016

Ink review

Just got my ink samples from The Goulet Pen Company. I've been waiting for them--there was one in particular I wanted to try. For the most part, the Parker Quink inks are good about not feathering in notebook paper, but I ordered a bottle of Parker Quink blue-black from Amazon, and got two very small bottles of blue, both of which smelled like paint, not ink. Shipped from India. Cannot return. I'll be emptying the bottles and refilling with other inks eventually.

However. That rather soured me on Parker bottled inks, and a little on the filled cartridges.

Once my current bottles are gone, that's going to be the last Parker ink I order through Amazon.* But I still need a good, non-feathering ink that doesn't bleed through on cheap paper (which is what I mostly use). 

I ordered a sample of Noodler's X-Feather black through Goulet Pens. As I said, it (and Noodler's Q-E'ternity, and scented inks sandalwood, frankincense, and myrrh from De Atramentis) arrived today. I've loaded one of my wetter-writing medium nib pens (a Hero 901) with the X-Feather, and tested it out.

Little feathering on Walmart brand notecards, but none on legal pads, comp books, loose notebook paper, printer paper, or recycled paper legal pads. It doesn't seem to bleed through on any of it, and only sort of shows through on the recycled paper.  

It's also a much darker black than my Parker Quink black.  I like that.  I like it a lot.  I just need to see if it does what Bulletproof Black does, and leaves solid residue clogging up the works before I use it in anything other than a cheap Jinhao knockoff of a Lamy Safari, or my just-as-inexpensive Hero 901.** 

Needless to say, I've got a new favorite black ink.  And one that's just over $12.50 for a 3 oz bottle (as opposed to $10 for 2 oz, like the Quink).  

*I may order any more Quink from The Goulet Pen Company, when I've run out of the plain blue.  It's my other half's preferred ink for color and behavior.  
 
**I bought my Hero 901 three or four years ago, for just under $3.  
 

Monday, December 19, 2016

AAR for the semester

I've come to a few conclusions:

1. Until I can get my brain with a working de-fogger, I need to go back to the routine I can teach in my sleep.  This past semester was no better than the one before.  I mean, yeah, there is call for teaching more than MLA style, but I'm not sure I can do it.  Not right now, at least.

2. Three classes per semester is too hard on me right now.  I've got too many balls in the air as it is.  Yes, the extra income was nice, but I just can't handle the extra workload right now.  Maybe in a few years if I can get this mess to clear up. 

3. It seems like this semester's classes were far less prepared for hard deadlines than any of the other classes I've had the past few years.  I've had a lot of people simply not turning in stuff, or not participating in workshop.  Zeros are not good.  I had a lot of people simply not paying attention to directions, and a lot more that just...didn't do the work.  I've had more of the bottom half of the grades continuum this semester per class than I've had even in dumb classes.  And these weren't dumb classes.

4. I've also had a lot more NAGGING this semester.  "But...can't I do this to improve my grades?" "No."  "How about that?"  "How about we wouldn't be having this discussion if you'd been paying attention to the deadlines, and/or your grades, and/or instructions on how to turn shit in all fucking semester, shitbird?"  "Can I...?" "No." 

Just...no. 

Just thinking about this is exhausting.  Think I'm going to go make a pot of coffee. 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

New favorite pen

Last month, I ordered a new pen from Amazon: the Conklin Mark Twain.

This is it:



I love this pen.  It's a reproduction of the first self-fill type: the crescent fill.  It predates the lever fill by several years, even though Sheaffer wound up cornering the market with a better advertising department.

In my opinion, the crescent fill was a far better system.  There's a rotating ring with a slot that prevents the crescent from being depressed, squashing the presser bar against the ink sac, thereby expelling the ink.  There's nothing preventing you from accidentally raising the lever and expelling all the ink.

The pen is substantial, hefty without being too heavy.  Comfortably broad for larger hands, or small hands that don't like skinny pens anymore.  Filling is simple: line up the slot in the ring below the crescent, depress the crescent, and stick the nib in the ink up to the feed, and let go.  Repeat a few times with the pen in the ink, and you're good.  Wipe the excess, and start writing. 

I bought this in a fine nib.  It's a butter-smooth nib in stainless steel, and lays down a line finer than my Lamy EF.  The nib is fairly soft, which means if you want, you can achieve a bit of line variation, but it is not a flex nib, so you need to be careful not to spring it. 

It isn't a pen for beginners.  I've seen in reviews that some people have gotten their hands on one with a misaligned nib (scratchy), which needs a careful eye and careful fingers to fix.  It is easily fixable, but it takes a pen owner that understands what's going on.  I've seen complaints that it doesn't like to start writing when they set it down for a few minutes (cap it, you idiots), or that it's a hard starter in general (not my experience, but probably just needs cleaned).  I've seen complaints that it leaks--that leads me to a suspicion that they're inexperienced with self-fill systems, which can burp ink when they're near empty, from a little bit of air expansion when it warms from your hands while you're using it. 

My personal experience of using it, in the (slightly less than a) month I've had it in my possession is nothing like any of that.  It is, honestly, the best writer in my stable, beating out my favorite nameless antique lever fill by quite a bit in smoothness of nib, in the feel of the pen, and in the filling mechanism.

And that leaves aside the entire question of cool: this is a reproduction of Mark Twain's favorite pen.  The one he endorsed in ad copy in 1902.  And his signature is engraved on the back of the cap's trim ring (something not visible in the picture from Amazon).  As brilliant of a writer as this pen is, it's the other features that prompted me to buy it: the fact that it was the first self-fill mechanism type on the market, and the fact that it was one of the first celebrity endorsements in the history of advertising for pens. 

I am very, very glad I spent the money I did, even if I had my doubts about it as soon as I'd hit the order button. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Catching up

So, this week is finals week.  I have just a bit more to do, checking to see if I have any papers for any students whose work I didn't grade, and I'll have everything done (but for turning in grades) for one of my classes.  And grades?  Planning on getting that done and turned in tonight, after the kids go to bed, and hopefully before my colleagues bog down the system at the last possible second.*

Odysseus helped me a bit, over the weekend.  We've got about half the summer clothes packed away, the dishes half done, and the laundry about a third of the way done, if you count clean put away as part of "laundry."  And Odysseus spent a couple hours cleaning up the back room, and sweeping.  One corner that got emptied will hold the off season clothes, once we finish packing them away...

Unfortunately, that is all that got done.  I overdid it on Saturday, and am still paying for it with pain in my legs and back, and weakness in all of my muscles.  And then, I got sick, yesterday...which is why I'm not quite finished with the class whose final exam time was yesterday.  

I've got another class's last chance** block coming up tomorrow, then the third will be on Friday.  After I get grades turned in for all three classes, I'm done.

I'm hoping to get some mental work (i.e., writing or editing a friend's work) done today, sometime.  I just keep fogging over, and can't really think through it well. 



*Nobody's worse about procrastinating than PhDs.  Nobody.  

**Since I am required by the head of the university to do something graded during final exam time, I figured they could use that last two hour block of time to turn in stuff they missed the initial deadline on.  Instead of having to think of something that could stand in for a final exam for a composition class.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Behind.

I am way behind--like, three weeks behind--on grading blogs.  I'm even further behind on the other things that need to be done. 

Thank God Friday is the last day of class, for me.  And I have a two hour block of time on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, that I will accept any late work: one block of scheduled final exam time per class taught.  After those times, I will be turning in the grades for that class's final grades. 

Other than that, the kids are in school, and I am not.

No, I likely won't catch up on housework then, either.  Not at the rate of speed (the speed of the mighty sloth) I am able to work.  But I may be able to catch up on my writing, if I can get the brain fog to clear enough.

That is the question, isn't it, though?  Because that is the reason I'm so freakin' far behind in my grading.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Dear 2016,

So far, it's been a hell of a ride.  We had a nasty election year that sees some potentially good results, I've lost my thyroid, and gained a diagnosis of a chronic disorder I'm going to have to live with for the rest of my life, and done a hell of a lot of research on health disorders (Hashimotos, thyroid hormone levels, adrenal fatigue, and chronic fatigue syndrome/fibromyalgia). 

I've experimented with changing up my research paper/persuasive writing class, and found out that one of the four major styles of research citation has no information on how to actually do it, and another is dying out of usage.  I've found that teaching the research papers is a major pain in my ass.  Overall, in other words, two semesters of experimentation is an utter failure.

I've also found that calling roll is a good way to gauge student understanding, and make sure they're where they need to be in the terms of writing their papers.

We have lost a LOT of major acting and musical talent, this year. 

Thank you, 2016, for trying to make up for everything that's gone wrong, by removing an evil bastard from the land of the living.  I'm glad to hear of Fidel Castro's passing, even if it happened two or three months ago, and it's only just now coming out.  I don't care about the when, just the fact that he's finally dead. 

However.  That said.

I'm seriously not certain that it was worth the collateral damage. 

Sincerely,

HH

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

In spite of everything that's gone on this year, we've been blessed.  All of us.  We still live in a nation where there isn't open warfare in the streets of every city, or tanks in the countryside (despite the efforts of a few absolute fucktards who seem to forget where the guns actually are).  We are, for most of us, sheltered, fed, watered, and clothed sufficiently. 

We still have friends and family surrounding us. 

And what's more, we still, unlike the poor sods in Venezuela, have hope.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Product review: knitting loom

Full disclosure: I've been knitting since just after I turned thirteen, so almost twenty-five years.  Started with a pair of stainless steel size 8, and worked through scarves, blankets, and into socks, sweaters, hats, and other things.  I've used size 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10.5, 11, 13, and 15 needles, in straights, double pointed, and in circular. 

I've been knitting long enough that I can carry on most patterns without paying attention, and have been able to do that for the past fourteen years.  Current projects include a blanket in seed stitch, a washcloth in cotton yarn in seed stitch, a sweater, and a striped scarf in school colors.  The small projects get stuck in my purse, while the larger ones reside in a backpack or next to my recliner. 

Recently, I got curious about knitting looms.  I didn't want to waste a lot of money on one, so I ordered a Boyle brand small long loom.  It has 26 pegs (for 26 stitches), and is a narrow rectangle a bit under nine inches long by about an inch wide.  I read the included instructions, and got started. 

Once I got the hang of it, it was dead easy.  Stupid easy.  Anybody can make something on the knitting loom.  It's quick, too, satisfyingly so.  I've seen these things in many different sizes in stores, from little round ones the perfect size to make a preemie baby's hat, to long ones almost big enough to do a sweater in the round.  I'd say you could probably knock out a hat in a few hours worth of work.

However. 

It does require that I pay attention.

The knitting loom functions by wrapping yarn around the pegs, and making sure you don't miss one, and that the yarn doesn't come unwrapped.  Then, you push the first set of loops down, and wrap a second.  After that?  Take the little hook tool, snag the bottom loop, pull it over the top and off the peg toward the back. 

That takes paying attention to the yarn, to the loops themselves, to the pegs, and to the hook (which is sharp enough to smart if you're not paying enough attention and jab your finger with it instead of what you're supposed to be doing). 

And for someone that's been knitting so long that it's an autopilot fidget?  Not so much fun as it otherwise could be. 

That said, the product itself is great: it's sturdy, it does what it's supposed to do, and it makes knitting go super fast and really simple. 

And, if you shop around, you can find one to try for between five and eight bucks, so you're not out a lot if you hate it. 

There's also the factor that if you've never knitted at all, this is a really easy way to make some of the things you've always wished you could make. 

Still learning my limits...

So, apparently, some of my symptoms that I laid at the doorstep may not be related to thyroid disorder.  According to my doctor, I am bordering on hyperthyroid numbers.  I should not be having the issues I'm having.  The fatigue, the constant low-grade pain. 

So, the doctor threw out a potential diagnosis: chronic fatigue syndrome.  I researched it, and some of the symptoms kinda-sorta fit.

She also offered me a prescription of Cymbalta. 

...

What?

Hold the fuck on.  I am NOT depressed.  I'm angry and frustrated.  And even moreso, at this point because the 'scrip I was offered would have exacerbated my current symptoms. 

So.  Chronic fatigue syndrome: it's the annoying younger sibling of Fibromyalgia.  Some docs have posited that CFS can be alleviated or reversed by graded exercise.  This has not been my experience.  If I manage to stay within my limits, I'm okay.  If I push the limits even a little, I'm not okay, and I'm not okay for DAYS. 

The problem is, I'm still trying to find my limits.  It's really hard on days where I wake up feeling okay: on the one hand, I want to get shit done; on the other, I'm afraid to do it, because I don't know how much I can do without getting laid up with an extra helping of exhaustion and low-grade pain following me through the next three or four days, sometimes bad enough to impede minimal function. 

And further research into the antidepressant?  It does not alleviate symptoms of depression caused by either hypothyroid disorder, or CFS or Fibro.  Antidepressants can, in fact, exacerbate all of the aforementioned conditions.

I have found some things that help, somewhat.  A daily maintenance dose of Aleve helps with some of the discomfort, and I've found, ironically enough, that I wake up feeling better after I've had a bit of a drink before bed.  Staying within my limits, and not doing too much even on days I'm feeling pretty good. 

Other than that, there's nothing to be done.  I just have to deal with it.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

I ordered ice cream, but will try to tolerate what was served.

I've been back on campus since the election, since I teach MWF mornings.  I had an equal amount of gloating in class...and outright terror.  Not anger.  Terror. 

Some of my students are terrified that President Elect Trump is going to do what Democrats have been saying he's going to do: deport everyone with brown skin, make gay sex illegal, roll back rights sixty or seventy years by making birth control and abortion illegal...

Thing is, he can't.  He literally cannot do these things.  Not legally.  All he can do is make sure that immigration laws are enforced, borders are guarded, and actually do the fucking job he was hired to do. 

He does, however, have the precedents set by his predecessor, which aren't good, but...

He legally cannot deport people in this country who are here on a student visa, work visa, or working their way through the process to immigrate.  Nor does he have any intention to. 

He, as President, cannot make law.  He cannot make gay sex, birth control, or abortion illegal.  Nor does he have any intention to. 

He cannot declare war.  He cannot sign treaties.  He cannot do anything, legally, that the current POTUS has been doing for the past eight years, and everybody on both sides hate him enough that he won't get away with trying.  

What he can  do is work with congress to sign laws placed before him.  He can defund executive branch government offices, should he so choose.  He can assess the state and direction of the nation, and suggest things for the legislative branch to maybe think about doing to fix a perceived problem, or right a wrong. 

The things that a president, any president, can and cannot do, must and must not do, are all laid out in very plain language that takes a lawyer to misunderstand.  Same as the responsibilities, duties, and acts forbidden to the legislative, and to the judicial, branches.  

It's all there, in the contract between the Federal government and the American people that he must swear to uphold and defend in his oath of office. 

Friday, November 4, 2016

FFOT: a few complaints

Fog.  Fog can fuck right off with the burning hatred of sane drivers everywhere.  We've had fog for most of the mornings this week.  And when I'm on the road in the mornings, it's come to the point where the sun's not quite up yet, so the fog's thick, and not going anywhere. 

Which leads me to my next complaint: what kind of absolute fuckwad drives without their lights on, pre-dawn?  And what kind of even bigger mouth-breathing maggot-brained shit wit does this in pea-soup fog that you can't see the next set of stop lights a block away, or even the fucking brush on the sides of the fucking road?

And that doesn't count the fuckers who not only have no clue that you DON'T FOLLOW THE CAR IN FRONT OF YOU THROUGH THE FOUR-WAY STOP, but are so busy texting that they DON'T NOTICE THEY NEARLY T-BONED THE PERSON WHO HAD THE RIGHT OF WAY until brakes screech and horn blares, then has the fucking audacity to SMILE AND WAVE as they go through anyway. 

After I pick the kids up from school today, I'm hiding in the house for at least the rest of the day. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Frustrating, part 2

So, I got home from work, then called the doctor's office yesterday.  Went to voice mail.  Hung up.  Noted the messages blinking, and found one from the nurse that the doc wasn't happy with my numbers, and was reducing my dose.  The way she put it, though, was incredibly unclear, so I called back, left a message asking for a call for clarification, then went about fixing the first food that had passed my lips that day (by that time, it was damn near 1:30). 

Halfway through my lunch, I got the call back, the clarification, and made her read my blood test results to me over the phone.  My TSH is low by the old classification, but my T4 within acceptable levels. 

Yes, I said by the old classification.  When I got my first diagnosis when I caught pregnant with the pixie, I went into research mode to figure out what things meant.  Before 2003, the normal scale was .5 to 5 for TSH.  After December 2003, the scale was SUPPOSED to have changed.  The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists have been pushing since then to have the "normal" range for TSH lowered to .3 to 3.0. 

Most labs have not changed what they define as "normal."  I do not know why.

Nor do I care.

My TSH is within the new recommendations, if below the old ones.  I am NOT willing to reduce my dosage when I only barely feel human, and still have most of the nastier hypo-thyroid symptoms no matter what the fucking numbers said. 

I found the article written, and am planning on taking it to my doctor.  I will highlight the relevant section before I put it in her hand, and direct her attention to that section. 

I cannot function at a lower level than I am and keep up even as well (that is to say, poorly) as I have been. 

I am going to be transferring back to my old doctor, costs be damned, if the new one is not willing to update her fucking knowledge.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Frustrating.

I hate doctor's offices.  I really do. 

So, I got home today to a message on my answering machine, from my doctor's office, demanding that I call to get the results, and new orders on my meds.

Of course, I called.  Immediately.  Got the office answering machine.  Waited through the standard orders to call the ER if it's an emergency. 

Found out that the doc's office closes at 1:00 Friday afternoons. 

I didn't get home until a quarter after.  Because my last class runs 'til 12:50, and the last two students--the only two that had stuck around for all of freewrite--didn't leave until five minutes after that. 

FUCK! 

At least on Monday, they don't close 'til 4:30 pm.  I should be able to get answers then.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A matter of taste

Music is, I know, in the ear of the listener, but I have got to gripe about a few bands.  Bands that, I believe, should not be played at all on the stations I listen to.  Those are Green Day, Chevelle, and Limp Bizkit (sp?  Fred Durst was a self-important moron that purposely spelled the word wrong). 

Green Day...I listened to protest music written in the '60's all through my childhood.  Also listened to the roots of punk, and listened to punk.  That was quality music, even when I disagreed with the message. 

Green Day...Green Day isn't punk.  It isn't rock.  It isn't anything but a spoiled brat either whining or screaming protest lyrics into a microphone to a background of something resembling the dregs of punk crossed with standard Christian "rock" music's quality.  I know they're capable of actual music.  There's one of their songs I actually like, because it shows the talent that I was certain they lacked entirely. 

Chevelle...whining, navel-gazing shit.  Their instrumentals are decent, but they need to shoot their lead singer from a canon.  Same with their lyricist, if it's not the same person. 

Limp...whatever.  Yeah, Fred Durst is a whiny-sounding bastard that thinks he's tough.  He's a wanna-be at best, and has no talent at rapping.  The whining...dear God, it didn't used to bother me as much as it has since I had children.  He literally whines worse than both of my kids put together, and I want to slap the words right out of his mouth when I hear him come on the radio. 

He covered, at one point, "Behind Blue Eyes."  He did a really good job with it--his interpretation of the melody and lyrics were well done.  Still whiny, but well done.  He is at least minimally capable of repressing the whiny nature of his voice--I don't know why he thought it suited rap. 

None of this shit belongs on the same stations that play actual music.  I think they'd fit right in on the top 40 pop stations. 

And I wouldn't have to turn my radio off so often to avoid the irritation.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Misses a lot...


1. Manufacturer price does not include shipping, delivery, inventory, staff costs, etc., which the hospital still has to pay.

2. Medicare pays about 60%, and Medicaid maybe 40% of the hospital's cost, not their asking price. And the hospital isn't permitted to deny service to those who can't pay even that much.

3. Those of us who are either responsible enough to budget for medical care (doable for most, even on minimum wage, with a bit of prioritizing needs over wants), or lucky enough to have a job that has decent health care insurance, are stuck footing the bills for everyone else.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Halfway done...

Fall semester for the 2017 Academic Year is halfway done: last week was week eight of sixteen (I don't count finals week, since I'll not be on campus, just accepting late work by email during the two hour block set aside for final exams*).

So, hitting the midpoint of semester means turning in midterm grades.  As requested by my Comp 2 classes, I turned theirs in first, before I graded their second paper. I need to get my Comp 1 class's blogs graded, and revisions that were turned in graded...and papers that were turned in to the wrong slot in BB graded.  Then, I can turn in their midterms.

But first...another pot of coffee is absolutely called for.

*Idiot university president decided that all classes must do something graded for final exam time.  Even the skills classes for which you cannot actually devise an exam.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Stupid blogger.

I actually was starting a post.  Didn't have even the title done.  And the stupid platform assumes I hit the publish button. 

And that's on top of the job of re-creating the blog roll...something I don't have time to do right now, considering I've got to turn in midterms for Comp 2 before I get stuck into grading papers, grade Comp 1 blogs *then* turn in midterms, then grade two Comp 2 classes' worth of papers. 

And in two more weeks, I'll have all three classes having a paper due. 

I think I'm going to have to wait on trying to fix what Blogger's screwed up. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

It's raining.

Dark.  Cloudy.  There's a cool front going to hit around lunchtime. 

The pixie has a field trip to the pumpkin patch. 

It was difficult to get the kids out the door into the rain, and difficult to get them out of the car to go to school.  Hell, it was difficult for me to persuade myself to get out to the car, then out of the car into my building!  I don't like the wet.

And, to compound the day, I've got papers coming in, and Comp 1 blogs to grade.

I also want to write, but that's going to have to be put on hold (though I'm up to 11K words on part 2, with probably 25K to go). 

At least I've got a full cup of coffee, and some music to grade with. 

Best get on it, then.  Even if I'd rather be curled up sleeping.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Back to work!

I've been trying to get back into writing, recently.  Listening to my inspiration for The Schrodinger Paradox.  Reading and editing the stuff I'd had done.  Working long-hand.  I'm working on transcribing stuff tonight, tomorrow, and probably every spare minute through Thursday.  I've got most of it plotted out in my head.  I know where it's going, and I know why it's going there.  And I'm hoping to finish part 2 this month.  I'd like to finish the book in its entirety (part 2, 3, and an epilogue) by the end of the kids' fall semester. 

After that?  I've got half a dozen stories I need to transcribe out of my draft book I carry in my purse for random ideas.  I've got random stories that will go into a collection, and a few that will go into my Modern Gods world, somewhere.  I've got two more book ideas started (a veteran addicted to drugs getting rescuing kids orphaned by a hurricane and getting clean, and a vampire investments agent who recruits a P.I. roommate to help her out during daylight hours), and another two ideas percolating in the back of my head. 

Honestly, where the Modern Gods world is concerned, I've got only one more overarching plot tying a bunch of stories together type novel, for now.  I could be wrong, but I think that's it.  Kinda makes me sad, because those have been some of my favorite characters to work with. 

Any case, I think I've sort of hit my stride with doing three classes.  I don't feel so overwhelmed with the workload, now.  I think I've got things arranged to where I'll only be on campus two days a week, next semester, with three classes in the mornings, and office hours in the afternoon.  I've done some writing in office hours, but not that much.  Usually, my morning office hours are spent downing the coffee I didn't have time to drink before sitting down in the office.  And catching up on paperwork for classes and email.  And grading. 

Oh, dear God, the grading...

But it does feel good to write again.  Relieves a mental/emotional pressure that I'm often not aware is building until after something gives way. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Now, there's a brilliant plan.

So.  ISIS is calling for knife attacks.  In America. 

THAT...that is a BRILLIANT idea.  Especially in the center of the country, and throughout the South. 

I LOVE the idea of terrorists bringing a knife to what ends up a gun fight! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

It sucks.

It sucks big time. 

"What sucks?" you may ask.

Simple.  You have students that you KNOW are plagiarizing.  You have students who can barely compose a comprehensible email (reads like it was written in their native language and put through Google Translate, including the email the paper was attached to), can't comprehend English, and turn in a paper that's an A.  You KNOW they didn't write it.  They aren't CAPABLE of writing it. 

But...prove it.  Prove it, or be called racist and fired. 

I'm not an ESL teacher.  And an ESL teacher is not going to be able to help a student turn something like that out without writing it for them.  Not in four weeks.

It sucks. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Feeling hopeful

But only a little.

I've got a doctor's appointment today.  I'm hoping that she's going to be willing to listen to me, but not really expecting a whole lot considering. 

I'm hopeful that eventually I can increase my endurance to sustain a low level of activity so that I can get everything that needs to be done, done.  Right now, I have high and low energy points.  High energy for me is most people's dragging exhaustion.  I can do things for ten or fifteen minutes, then I have to stop for half an hour or longer. 

Today, I sorted two baskets of clothes, unloaded the dryer (towels and bathrobes, all dropped on the end of the bed), and gathered dirty clothes to start reloading the washer.  Took maybe fifteen minutes to do, an hour to recover from.  Same with gathering up a trash bag of graded kid worksheets, missed wrappers, and stuff from the living room coffee table and floor: ten minutes to do, and I'm still not feeling energy coming back after half an hour of sitting.  I'm actually blogging so I don't go to sleep.  No, moar coffee doesn't help anything but the emotional side of things.  Yes, I'm sleeping eight hours almost every night (last night was the only exception this week, and was caused by a sinus headache that wouldn't let me go to sleep).  That's a bit under 2/3 of my to-do list for today.

Honestly, that's more than I was expecting to get done.  Less than what I was hoping for, but more than I was expecting.

I've felt worse than this for a very, very long time, but kept pushing.  Kept going.  Because what choice did I have?  This is the closest to normal I've felt in about eight and a half years.  And it's still not what "normal" is for most, and isn't what my "normal" used to be.

At this point, I'm hoping for "better" but will settle for "good enough." 

As long as "good enough" is by my definitions, not theirs.

Monday, September 12, 2016

*headdesk*

Two weeks ago:

Student S: I don't understand.  What is annotated?  what is bibliography?

I get it.  I do.  The title of the assignment--annotated bibliography--is scary, but it's really stupid easy.  So, I walk the student (who doesn't understand spoken English well) through how to do it. 

Last week:

Student S: I don't understand.  What is it I am to do for this assignment?

It's the annotated bibliography.  You put together the bibliography, and summarize the sources in six lines or less.  Basically, it goes source, summary, source, summary until you're done.

It was due Friday at midnight.

Today:

Student S: I did not understand.  I did not turn it in.  I am not sure it was correct.  I will bring it on Friday.

No.  Just...no.  It was due last Friday.  It was 15 points of credit/no credit.  It didn't have to be perfect--I did give feedback on what they didn't do right, when they needed me to do it.  Everyone that turned it in got credit.  I DO NOT TAKE late work. 

Can we re-institute a rule that tests the spoken/written comprehension of a non-native English speaker before permitting them to take UNIVERSITY classes?  Please?  I'm getting REALLY DAMN TIRED of this shit.

Especially with Saudi males.  And especially in September.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Okay. New doctor it is.

I was willing to listen.  I was willing to give a fair second chance to the endocrinology practice that had already blew it once.*

Yeah, no.

I had the appointment last week.  Last Wednesday.  The doctor, a man from India, decided that I was no more than a half-wit, and treated me as such.**  Implied that I didn't take my meds often.  Told me that I needed to do the things I was already doing, and told me to do them after I'd told him that they were things I already did.  As if I were lying to him.  I asked him to check my T3 to make sure I was metabolizing the levothyroxine properly, and he refused, and told me that I'd metabolize the T4 (levothyroxine) into the amount of T3 I needed, if I just took the medicine properly. 

I don't miss doses.  I've done that once, since I did it on doctors' orders.  Never again.  I'm more likely to double up now, than to miss a dose.  I'm pretty sure I'd doubled up the day of the visit, and told him that before he sent me down to get blood work done.

Today, he had his nurse call and tell me to take half a dose one day a week.

Really. 

Really?

Really.

I double dosed the day he told me to get my blood levels checked.  And it was a little high but not much.  And he wants me to do a half dose one day a week. 

I can either choose to comply, in the hopes that maybe he'll listen to me, or I can refuse to comply and ask for a new doctor. 

So.  If I choose to comply, which day should I choose to be a non-function halfwit, rather than a half-functioning person who can think almost well enough to do her job?  Because that is the choice I'm facing.

Yeah, I don't think so.  I'm just trying to decide whether to find a new GP or give the endocrinology practice a third chance by asking for a different doctor.




*When I fell pregnant with the pixie, the blood tests were so low in thyroid hormone that they sent me back three times to run the test again, then tried to get me an appointment with the only endocrinology practice in the area.  They said they wouldn't see me until late November (it was early May).  The pixie was due in January, and born in December.  I did research and found that waiting would have been heavily detrimental to her development, and had the labs sent to my GP.  She put me on a low dose that was adequate to save the pixie a painful childhood, at the very least.  

**I've had male doctors from India before.  Without exception, they have treated me this way.  I don't know if it's because that's just the way they are, or if it's institutionalized sexism, but it's unacceptable either way. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

FFOT post

In order of when they pissed me off:

Microsoft Word can fuck off.  It shat the bed and deleted, with no recovery, two nearly-finished course schedules, this morning.  I had to start over during my office hours, and hand write out the schedules of due dates for my comp 1 and comp 2 classes, just to make sure this did not happen again.

Other parents of kindergarteners in the school that the pixie goes to.  The children's kindergarten teacher should NOT have to remind parents to FUCKING FEED THE FUCKING CHILDREN BEFORE FUCKING DUMPING THEM IN THE FUCKING SCHOOL!!!! What kind of LAZY FUCKING FUCKS doesn't even FEED THEIR FUCKING KIDS FUCKING BREAKFAST???

Bicycle riders can definitely fuck off.  They can fuck off with their handlebars held perpendicular to their anus when they FUCKING FORGET that they ALSO FUCKING HAVE TO FUCKING STOP AT GODDAMNED STOP SIGNS.  I FUCKING HAD THE RIGHT AWAY, YOU RANCID TWATSTAIN!!!  Do NOT scream at me with both middle fingers extended because YOU ran the FUCKING STOP SIGN, and vegetation and other vehicles blocked my view of you until AFTER YOU'D RUN THE FUCKING STOPSIGN!!!  May you try that with a city dump truck, because THAT'S THE ONLY FUCKING THING THAT WOULDN'T BE FUCKING TOTALED BY HITTING YOUR GINORMOUS ASS.

Hotmail can fuck off, too.  Changing the privacy and end user agreements should NOT BE CAUSE TO FUCKING GO OFFLINE FOR THE ENTIRE FUCKING AFTERNOON.

Your turn.  Sound off, and have a good Labor Day Weekend.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Running my legs off, here.

I am really sorry about not being able to get anything written, lately.  I've been too busy to think, and not all the way back up to human (though closer to it than I have been in years).  What my weeks look like are as follows:

6:00--roll out of bed, boot the dog out, get the kids up and dressed
6:10--get food in front of the kids
6:20--finish packing lunches, go get dressed
6:25--get the dog fed, get my breakfast ready
6:30--boot the dog back out, sit down to eat, check and answer email
7:00--chase the kids around to get shoes on, hair and teeth brushed, backpacks and lunches collected
7:20--out the door

On MWF, I have from about 7:30 to 1:00 in my classroom, with classes stretching from 10-1:00.  On TTh, I do what shopping is needed, and run the errands that need run, then work on what housework I have the energy for (today's laundry, dishes, and straightening the living room). 

2:45--grab snacks, leave to get kids
3:20--coerce the kids through their homework
4:00--start thinking about supper
4:30--feed the kids
5:00--feed the husband (and me)
6:00--clean up/pick up time
6:30--bath time
7:00--bed time for the kids

I have not had time to think about anything other than the next thing on the list for the past few weeks.  When I settle into more of an autopilot routine, I'll try to blog more. 


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.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Argh...

It's way before eight on a weekend, as I start writing this.  And I am up with a massive sinus headache that hurts from the top of my head, down my face, through the roof of my mouth. 

I know why I've got it, too.  I spent the last three days either cleaning (i.e., stirring up dust), or outside with the kids at the zoo (Odysseus took Friday off, and that's what we did).  Sudafed PE--which isn't really Sudafed, and only sort of works--is about the only thing I can take.  Actually, no, that's not true: Midol Complete works better, but the new bottle is in the bedroom somewhere with sleeping husband. 

The floors, though, are mostly decluttered in the living room and kitchen.  Yes, I still have the back room to do, and I need to find a better spot for the dog food to restore easy access to the washer, but that, and the vacuuming in the living room and sweeping in the kitchen, will have to wait until this headache lets go.  Hurts a lot worse when I'm moving.

We have let the Scotty dog come into the living room to play with us, though (even though we have to send her to bed when she starts questing about on the floor for fear she'll find some crumb of chocolate that Odysseus gave the pixie, and she lost track of).  She loves tug-o-war, shake the rat, and make the hedgie grunt. 

I'm just glad we finally got her to eat.  We brought her home on Wednesday, and she'd only eaten a few mouthfuls before yesterday morning.  It took bacon grease melted and stirred in to get her to eat yesterday morning, and chicken broth (past its best by date on the can, but still good) last night.

Last week, early in the week, I had my new laptop on the table next to my chair.  I thought it was stable, with all four rubber feet gripping the table (and it was), until Cricket hopped up on the table to watch the world go by through the window. 

Cricket.  The stupid and easily startled one. 

In any case, as it so happened, a bird came in to land on the porch railing, pretty much exactly opposite where Cricket sat.  And she came totally unglued.  Scrambled to run away, and managed to dislodge the stability of the laptop's rubber feet on the table.  My laptop wound up kicked off the table to land actually on the cord charging it. 

That did to my new laptop what had happened to my old one (which is what I'm actually working on right now): the charger connects only sporadically, because the prong that the cord plugs onto is a bit loose.

Thank God I spent the extra on the two year protection plan.  I've sent it in for repairs as of Friday morning.

Oh, great.  Now, she's found a toy, and is yowling in the hall.  That's probably going to go on for the next half an hour or so (or until she loses it).  And since the kids are outside, I can't just put my headphones on and ignore the cat.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Adventures in pet care

The plan I had for this morning was derailed by well-meaning relatives: I had planned to go up, have Mom help me wash the dog, then take the dog to the vet's in a nearby town.  What happened was that my mom and aunts had washed the dog by the time I got there to wash the dog. 

I was left with an hour on my hands.

So, our delightful little super-intelligent dog snapped at the vet twice.  She didn't want him handling the hair around her eyes, and didn't want him to pet her after he'd given her three shots.  She ended up costing over a hundred bucks for a well dog visit and weigh-in (19.88 lbs, if you were wondering, in a front wheel drive dog), with a shot package, worm treatment, and flea and tick treatments. 

She loved the little vet tech, though.

I got her home, gave her a bowl of water and let her sleep for a while, while I fixed something to eat and collapsed.  About an hour later, she woke up and whined a bit, so I figured she needed to piddle, and let her out the back door.  I got distracted for a few minutes (no more than about three), and came back to the dog going batshit insane.  Jumping at something, then jumping back.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  I thought, "oh, shit--she's cornered a snake" and ran outside to get the dog in the house so that the snake could get away. 

Nope.  She'd cornered--and pissed off--a box turtle.  I have never, in my life, seen a box turtle as pissed off as the one our dog had spent no more than three minutes with. 

The turtle was hissing.  I have never heard a turtle hiss, not even the big snapping turtles that lived in the slightly swampy area in my maternal grandmother's pasture. 

So, I pulled the dog back by her harness, and stepped in to pick up the turtle--at which point, it hisses at me, probably for taking so long to make my dog start irritating it--and put it outside the privacy fence gate.  It actually sat there and glared at me for about fifteen seconds before turning to turtle off. 

The dog?  Spent the next half a minute while I hunted for something to block under the gate sticking her muzzle under the gate to see what I'd done with her marvelous new toy.  The marvelous toy that was hissing at her, and tried to bite her. 

After that incident, I went to go rescue my mom from my kids.  She'd been wonderful enough to watch them so I didn't have to control both dog and kids at the vet's office. 

And then, after dinner, Odysseus and I heaped indignity upon injury (blood draw to check for heartworms and shots), and sheared a Scotty dog.  Since my family, who grew up around dogs and other animals, are incapable of reading animal body language, they haven't been able to keep the dog's hair cut, and she had four inches or so of hair length over parts of her body.  And mats.  And embedded dirt within the mats.  We took a Walmart bag full of dog hair off the dog. 

Grooming our particular Scotty is a two person job: one to hold her, and one to man the clippers. 

I will say that after the long snuggle while she was being sheared changed her attitude and behavior.  She went from ears and tail down miserable to ears up, and tail acting like a flag, with a happy doggy grin when she went outside for a walk. 

Right now, the dog and the kids have gone outside to play.  I think the dog has calmed down enough (and the kids grown up enough) that she's not scary to them even at her happiest and bounciest, anymore. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Hurrah!

We have a new, six foot tall privacy fence surrounding our back yard.  The gate locks from the inside, and will stay that way, for the most part.  And that means I can boot the kids out into the back yard without having to be out there with them. 

They were out for a little less than an hour, this morning, but I got some housework done (without hearing them fight, or having the pixie come find me, bawling, because the imp "was being mean). 

Tomorrow, I'm going to feed them, dress them, and kick them out for a while early, before it gets hot.  And then, I'll see how much I can get done before they come in for TV.  I'm also thinking of going to find a sprinkler later this week for them to run through, so I can boot them out in swimsuits and water shoes after nap time, see how much writing I can get done in the afternoons.

Last but not least, we need a new picnic umbrella.  Our old one died the final death two years ago, but with the deck in too bad of shape to let the kids play outside, I didn't see the sense in immediately replacing it.  And there is no shade in the back yard until late in the day, so it's time to replace it.

Last week, Odysseus caught a nasty summer cold, then the pixie caught it (and ran a significant fever, the first day of it).  They're recovering, now, but both are still feeling it in their chests...and the imp woke up with a really bad ear ache, and a bit of dizziness (which could be from three trips to the swimming pool with his paternal grandparents, or it could be him catching this crap).  I'm keeping an eye on all three, as well as on myself in the hopes that I don't catch it.

I've got phone calls to make tomorrow.  First, I need to call the city to get their inspectors to come look at the fence, and then I need to call our vet to arrange a stay for the dog to go get wormed (my mom's place has 'em bad, and Mom can't afford to get the meds every time, and wouldn't let us), shots, flea treated, shorn, and nails clipped.  And then, the dog's coming home. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

updates on shifting stuff to new laptop...

I've been working with my new laptop since Tuesday. The first thing I did was use Explorer to download Firefox, then Firefox to download AVG, and created system recovery disks (which took an hour, but actually did work, unlike with the other laptop).  Then Open Office.*  Finally, I started Windows looking for updates.

That...that took from 3:00 pm Tuesday afternoon, until 6:47 am Wednesday morning.  It finished up just after I got up and got settled with a cup of coffee.  There were over a hundred critical updates.  I picked through them for the two updates that create the nag screen for "upgrading" to Windows 10.  They weren't in the recommended updates, so I went ahead and upchecked all of those for download and installation.

The updates that create the nag screen for Windows 10 were in the "recommended" updates.  Those, I rarely download.  And it's easy to pick through less than sixty programs and hide two.

It took the rest of the morning to download and install updates.  The laptop finished the restarts after the updates a bit after the onset of naptime Wednesday (1:00 pm).

Since then, I've gotten the printer set up to run with the laptop (that was a bit of an argument), and played with Open Office's Writer.

Writer runs pretty much identically to Word '97.  I used to know all the ins and outs of that program, but I've been using Word since it actually made improvements that were improvements, and I have to say that I find the interface...clunky.  Word '03 through '10...one of the biggest improvements was in the interface between user and program.  The drop menus were replaced with something that worked better, and was less of a pain to navigate through and find the commands needed.

I have the opportunity, as an employee of a university, to download Office through the university's accounts.  I do want to give Writer a solid chance, though, and will wait until after the first assignment is to be turned in through the course site to see if I actually need Word, or if I just want it.

Regardless of which it is, I do plan to download Office sometime in early September.  Because I do like Word--the current incarnation of such--a lot better than I do Writer.

*remember--I'm testing to see if the course site will open papers turned in online for me to grade regardless of whether or not I have Office.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Dear Microsoft,

I would greatly appreciate it if finding the security updates for a new machine didn't take for-freakin'-ever.

Especially since I'm going to have to sort through and hide a few updates to avoid an operating system that I paid extra to avoid. 

Thanks.  Thanks ever so much.


Saturday, July 9, 2016

It's only been a damn year!

I'm having my computer dying on me, yet again.  This time, it's not the fan, the motherboard, power supply, or anything else.

The little prong that the power cord plugs onto to charge the battery is losing its connection.  I had two older computers--Averatec, both of them--do that.  Both were repaired.  Neither stayed that way longer than about a month.  That particular repair just seems to not hold.

So, I've ordered a new laptop.  Same brand, same model as this one, same operating system (Windows 7) with an additional two year warranty.  It will get here on Tuesday.

I know, I know (TCA), I could transition to Linux.  I'm going to have to in a few more years, if I don't want my OS sending my data to Windows so that they can, in turn, sell it to the highest bidder (or turn it over to the government).  I know course site the university I work for uses even works with Linux.  However, what I don't know is whether or not the gradebook grading will work without using Windows Word.  I am planning on waiting to download Office until after the first assignment gets turned in.  If it does, my resistance to moving to a different, spyware-free OS will be far less.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

I didn't need this.

So.  We've been having some issues with the imp.  Major boundary pushing issues.  Yes, he's closing in on eight, so it is to be expected.  That does not make it any less infuriating.

Several weeks ago, he got some of his Transformers toys confiscated.  One was a complicated blue Corvette.  That one was the core of the issue: two weeks ago, he'd earned it back through good behavior.  All he had to do was wait until Friday evening.

He didn't.

Instead, he got the step-ladder step-stool, got it down, and put another the same color in its place.  And then, he lied about it.

That got both toys put in the trash, and the trash taken out to the dumpster.

Two mornings later, the imp has a Transformer--playing with it on the couch while watching Transformers.  I'd slept in, assuming (like an idiot) that the kids were trustworthy.  He told me Daddy had gotten it down for him, and the pixie told me the truth: that he'd gone outside, dug through the dumpster for the bag it was in, and pulled it out.

That.  That got him in really big trouble.  He got banned from TV for the rest of the day, got all of his Transformers toys taken away from him until school starts, and got him banned from watching Transformers until school starts.  And then that got delayed, because he started nagging us about it.

Yesterday morning, he snuck out of his room a little before five in the morning (against the rules--they're not allowed to get up and stay up until six at the earliest), found the remotes and turned on the TV (also against the rules--they're not allowed to do that until after Odysseus leaves for work around half past seven), and watched an episode of Transformers: Robots in Disguise on Netflix (which we only found out about by checking the history).  When confronted, he lied and denied it.

If he hadn't deliberately disobeyed, then lied about it, he'd have only been banned from TV for the day, like his sister was.

I also told him that the next time he lied to me at all, he'd lose all his blocks, and all of his wood rails.

Guess what got confiscated this morning?

Going by his record, he's going to end up with nothing but his bed, desk, books, lamp, dresser, and clothes in his room within the next two weeks.

I so don't need this to deal with right now. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Visionary.

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded--here and there, now and then--are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as “bad luck."
--Robert Heinlein, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long

The floor is open for discussion.  

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Earworm.

Gotta share this with inflict this on everyone else.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Not on a freakin' lost bet.

About forty-five minutes after we put the kids to bed, the neighbor kids were knocking on our door, asking if our kids could come out and play...

Yeah, no.  Unlike the crotchfruit next door, my children have a very strict bedtime, even during summer.  It isn't just me being a bitchy mommy, either; both children are very cheery little morning people if they're put to bed early.  If they're not put to bed early, they're still morning people, but not so cheery.  In fact, the children become downright assholes if they don't get enough sleep. 

It doesn't matter, either, what time I put them to bed.  The latest they're up is 7:00, and that's if it's a dark, cloudy, quietly rainy morning that absorbs sound.  The usual is more like 6:00, or just after. 

I have tried putting them to bed late, in the hopes that they wake up late.  It doesn't work.  It never works. 

(I really, really wish it would work...)

So.  No, my children are not playing with the crotchfruit next door.  Not unless they get up and come out to play while mine are outside in the morning while I'm drinking my coffee before 7:00, while it's not raining (it's in the forecast until the second of June, on a daily basis in the late mornings on, 'round here) and relatively cool. 

And if they don't want to play because they want to sleep and can't because my kids are being noisy in their own yard?  Tough shit.  I honestly half hope it does wake them up, and that they wake the adults in the house up, because they make it incredibly difficult for my children to actually go to sleep. 

I can't wait to get outside of town where we can have no close neighbors...

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Great.

I noted, just before I went in for surgery, that we have possible poison oak growing in the back yard, and in one of the front beds.  Looks like oak leaves, but on a vine.  Five leaves in a bunch.  I don't have a camera handy--oh wait, the kids just brought me the camera.  Here's the damn plant:



I don't know what it is.  I do know that until I know, I can't take the kids outside. 

And I want to take the kids outside.  At six fucking thirty in the morning.  And let them run screaming around the yard, waking the new neighbors up.  I want to do this every morning. 

Because they're doing this every night, right around the time I'm making my kids go to bed. 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Yet another fucking idiot that can't fucking read

I don't know how widely this has been disseminated, but Justice Sonia Sotomayor has come out and flat-out said she doesn't understand her job. 

Wait, what? 

Yep.  She says she's in favor of forced labor, and is in favor of forcing all lawyers to do pro bono work. 

Where this clashes with her job is that she is currently a Supreme Court justice.  Someone whose entire job has to do with whether a law is or is not constitutional.  Whether or not a law is rendered illegal by whether or not it contravenes any part--original or amendments--of the Supreme Law of the land. 

This...this is not. 

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. --Amendment 13

It seems to me like it takes a lawyer to misunderstand the clear language in the Constitution and its amendments.

Maybe lawyers should be banned from serving as Supreme Court justices.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Done for now.

I went in for a follow-up with my surgeon, today.  He gave me the path report (good--no cancer), a boost on my dosage (50 mcg to 125 mcg of thyroid replacement), and removed the stitches and told me to move my head a bit (but not to tip it back just yet) so that the scar tissue didn't stiffen up.

I go back in six weeks for blood work to see if the new dose is what I need.

Monday, May 16, 2016

updates

Okay, so last Friday, I had surgery.  A total thyroidectomy.  I have family history of goiters and nodules, and my dad and his brother had thyroid cancer.  A couple of relatives on the paternal side have had Graves Disease, and a couple on both sides have had Hashimoto's Thyroiditis (an autoimmune disease where your body starts treating your thyroid like a virus, killing it and causing severe hypothyroidism). And I had nodules, a goiter, and a non-functional thyroid.  So, it came out. 

Side note: I am mildly allergic to morphine (severe nausea, rash down chest and belly, and difficulty retaining consciousness) and codeine (hives and facial swelling).  And Darvocet is off the market, thanks to the FDA deciding it's better to preserve the lives of fools that overdose than it is to alleviate the pain of those who are allergic to other pain meds. 

I spent Friday night through Saturday lunch in the hospital, and came home Saturday with the drain tube still in. 

(Did y'all know that the surgery recovery beds molest you in your sleep?  The nurses said that it would periodically deflate and inflate, but it felt kinda like shiatsu massage.  And with my lack of height, it meant the bed humped my butt every few minutes for as long as I was in it.)

I've been managing pain with ice packs, and Tylenol as best I could until I got home to my useful pain management.  After that, what hurt the worst was the drain tube that was still there.  I was told to empty and measure it twice a day (I did), and come in this morning to get it out. 

That.  Hurt.  A lot.  The tube was one that went under both sides of the thyroid from the middle.  And pulling it out hurt like a bitch.  It's better, now, after Aleve and an ice pack.  But yeah.

Such was my weekend.  And I still have blood in my hair until my other half gets home to help me wash it out in the shower. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Dear God.

Can I please have students not try to insult my intelligence by plagiarizing the sample in the freakin' class handbook? 

Yeah, somebody just failed my class. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

How much clearer can I possibly be?

"You have the two hour block set aside for your class's final exam time to email me anything you didn't turn in over the course of the semester."

"Email things to me.  I will not be on campus during finals week."

"The last day I will be on campus is the last day of classes, Friday, May 6." 

"If you haven't turned in anything over the course of the semester, you have one last chance during [this two hour block] on [this day] to email it to me, because I will not be on campus during finals week."

These things have been iterated and reiterated on a daily basis for the past fucking month, both verbal and written.  I still have students trying to find me on campus, to turn in hard copy, and not during the set final exam time.  I have students sending me things three or four hours late. 

I'm heading into Friday's surgery with a fuck-ton not finished up around the house.  The living room is a fucking disaster, as is the kitchen, and the master bedroom/bathroom.  I do not yet know what time I am supposed to show up for surgery, nor can I find out before Thursday when the hospital calls me.  I have the kids to plan for, the landscapers to watch for, and a whole mess of other things relevant to my LIFE going on.  I cannot handle whiny-ass students who don't fucking listen and fucking pay fucking attention on top of all the other shit I've got going on. 

I'm about ready to turn in all grades, my grade books, and everything, and tell the stupid shits that think they're adults to go fuck themselves with a fucking cactus impaled on a reciprocating saw. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

I know nobody wants to hear the truth about themselves, but damn.

Recently, I was talking to my mother.  She said she was thinking of seeing a psychologist to see if she could get them to figure out why no one liked her and wanted to be around her for long, why people tend to turn against her after a bit of time in her company. 

"You self-sabotage, and sabotage others around you.  You also act like you expect others to bail you out when you do this."

"I don't understand what you mean."

"You bought a new couch.  The old one was perfectly fine--you just didn't like it.  I helped you out with groceries since that was your savings plus your grocery money.  Now, your water heater, washer, and air conditioner have all given up at once.  You had no savings, and asked the church to help you with the water heater (which they did).  Instead of getting your washer, which was still under warranty, fixed, you decided to take your savings, the money from your secondhand toilet you sold, and [sister's], and buy a new to you one.  Your AC is still out.  And now, [sister] can't afford the new mattress she needs without paying financing charges, and can't move out because you've sabotaged yourself and her financially.  And you're helpless to fix this by yourself.  And you expect others to help you out of the mess you got yourself into."

"I still don't understand.  Why won't you tell me straight out, instead of dancing around it?"

I don't think I can use small enough words to get this across to her.  There is not a single shrink in the world that can.  And then she'll wonder why they write her off when they do. 

I wonder how the hell I wound up as sane and reasonable as I did with this for an example.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Think I need a new doctor...

I've spoken with my doctor, as of this morning, requesting a refill on my thyroid meds, perhaps at a higher dosage so I can actually function, and so my dosage doesn't need to be adjusted upward so sharply after my thyroid is removed (and, hopefully, so I can heal up a touch faster, since that is also dependent upon metabolism). 

She said my blood tests indicate my TSH is "normal" and she doesn't want to up my dosage until after I stabilize after surgery.

Yeah...no. 

I've seen my numbers.  Sure, they're in the "normal" range.  The TSH is high normal.  When I got her to order the full panel, the TSH was high normal, and the T3/T4 was low normal.  So, I'm on the scale, but my body's not happy with the hormone levels, and is demanding more. 

Fuck that. 

I want a doctor that is willing to put me in the optimal range--right in the middle. 

I want to feel human again, damn it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Somebody needs a reality check.

Recently, there's been a bit of a local kerfuffle.  Five years ago, we had a GIANT tornado rip through the middle of town, just as the high school graduation was letting out.  There were around two hundred people killed in different areas of the town (there was a six mile swath, nearly a mile wide, running diagonally from one of the hospitals to the far edge of town, angling north as it went). 

One of those killed was a boy who would have graduated this year.  His parents want an empty chair on stage at what would have been his graduation, had he lived.

I can understand their grief, and to some extent, their request, but...

How the fuck dare they?  How dare they demand the right to cast a shadow on the graduation of the kids actually walking across the stage?  How dare they imply that their loss is somehow more important than the losses of all the other parents whose children have died before graduation?  What, are they going to insist on an "empty chair" at the university of their choice when their dead kid should have graduated? 

Why should the survivors' day be spoiled by the reminder that one kid that may or may not have bucked his parents' expectations and dropped out didn't survive to his graduation? 

Why should the other parents whose kids died in the same tornado have to face facts that nobody but them cared?

Why shouldn't these parents have their nose rubbed in that same fact?

This is utter selfishness on their part.  Their kid is dead.  There is no reason for others to coddle them and give into their demands. 

I have a sneaking suspicion that it's going to happen anyway, given the way feelz trump facts in this idiocratic society.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Handicapped. Not disabled.

I am exhausted, this evening.  I busted ass all day, cleaning my living room (which hadn't had a real good cleaning since December).  I probably didn't get as much done as most would, and it took three times the amount of time to do.  Because really?  I didn't have the energy, but it had to be done. 

No, it's not done yet.  Remember, I'm working with no energy or stamina.  That means everything that gets done gets done slowly.  Steadily.  With frequent breaks to rest. 

I can still do it, though.  It just takes a while. 

That makes it a handicap.  I can do things, it's just not as easy or as fast as it is for others. 

The difference between a handicap and a disability is that a handicap doesn't remove ability, just makes things harder.  A disability means that I can't do something. 

Yes, there are things I'm not able to do.  However, in most cases, my thyroid has nothing to do with that.  I can't run a marathon--or even to the end of my driveway--but that has less to do with energy and stamina, and more to do with bad ankles, knees, and boobs that would knock my ass out if I tried.  I can't reach the back of the middle shelves in my kitchen standing on the floor, but that's because I'm four feet eleven inches tall in my socks, and barely five foot even in most of my shoes.  (Five foot one, in one or two pair). 

So there are disabilities, and there are handicaps, but calling everything a disability (like with the whole ADA crap) smacks of excusing laziness.

I am handicapped.  Not disabled. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Cost v. benefits

Okay.  The Friatta I bought at Sam's Club was $12 for 7 servings.  Tasty, and cheaper than many fast food things, but let me break down the costs* for making your own by the recipe I found. 

Great Value sausage: $2.75/lb (recipe takes 1/2 lb), 15 minutes to cook whole pound of sausage
Farmer's Market Eggs: $0.97/doz (buy 2, because the recipe takes all of 1 carton)
Highland Heavy cream (1 cup): $1.94 (recipe takes 1/2 of this, so this makes egg muffins twice)
Great Value shredded cheese: $4.22 per 4 c bag (1 c per recipe)

So, cash cost is $10.47 pre-tax.  For around 2 dozen small muffins, or one dozen big muffins. 

How much time does it take to make this?  Say fifteen minutes to cook the sausage (mix the rest of the things while you do that, and you're taking no more time) and preheat the oven, another minute to pour the mixture into the sprayed or buttered muffin tins, and thirty minutes to cook.  Figure minimum wage hourly cost (what a fast-food worker deserves to make), and you've got about $5.73 worth of time spent.

Your total, for one dozen servings, comes out to about sixteen dollars, cash plus time, or about $1.35 per serving, vs. the premade cost of $1.75 per serving.  If you leave out the time costs (which isn't much), it's under a dollar per serving. 

The other major bonus to making it yourself?  You choose what goes into it, which may well bulk your price, but will also be healthier than the premade (i.e., adding mushrooms, onions, peppers, spinach, etc. costs more for the initial outlay, but...yeah, it adds more, in my opinion than it costs).

*Prices from my local Walmart.  Your costs may vary...on all of it.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Recipe

I ran across something at Sam's Club--Jimmy Dean friatta.  I read through the ingredients, and found that it was basically eggs baked in a muffin cup, so I went looking for how to do that. 

I found how to do it. 

Egg muffins
1 doz. eggs
1/2 c heavy cream or whole milk (using 2% or less might as well be using water)
1 c shredded cheese (your choice--cheddar, mozzarella, pepper jack, etc)
1/2 lb browned sausage

1. Preheat oven to 350, brown your sausage, and spray your muffin tins. 
2. While your sausage is cooking, mix your eggs, heavy cream, and cheese.
3. Mix cooked sausage into the egg, then fill muffin tins to within 1/2 inch of the top.
4. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean.  Try not to scorch the tops.

Depending on the size of the muffin tin, this could make anywhere from six to twelve or more muffins.  My muffin tins were the big ones, so this made six for me.  

I made mine with plain bulk sausage because the imp prefers that (and he actually ate half of one of the giant muffins doused with salsa), but you can use maple sausage, add fresh spinach, mushrooms, onions, or whatever. 

I'm going to be getting more eggs tomorrow, and will make some for myself with onions, peppers, and mushrooms and perhaps bacon. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Mmm...coffee...

Last weekend, we had a pair of contractors come in, tear down the deck, and build us a set of steps up to the back door.  It revealed a lot of slightly dangerous mess under where the deck was.  I've got some picked up, but there's a lot more to do.  Including adding twelve feet of fencing. 

I managed to get the path to the back door cleared, yesterday.   Made it a lot easier to get the back yard cleanup started.  Made for some happy kids, too, both yesterday afternoon and this morning. 

I got the shopping done, with two kids on Spring Break in tow.  That...wasn't fun, for all that they're much better behaved than the majority of children I see shopping with their parents.  I think this summer, shopping's going to be done early Saturday morning, either with Odysseus, or with Odysseus watching the kids while I go do it.

I have a load of laundry in the dryer, and another in the washer.  Once those are finished, I'm going to pull all of my daughter's clean clothes and rewash those--the rash she's had for a month and a half isn't what I thought it was, it's an allergic reaction to the dryer sheets I've been using for about the same length of time. 

I have the dishwasher unloaded, the dirty dishes loaded, and the dirty dishes loaded with the hand wash only done. 

I think I've earned a coffee break.

And after that, I've got the laundry to finish, and the living room to clean up.   And more to do in the bedrooms. 

Fucking yay.