Saturday, February 27, 2016

Random ramblings

No, I'm not dead.  Just...yeah.

A week ago Thursday, I had the appointment with the ear/nose/throat specialist...then got sick with a mild, short lived bout of something that had me aching all over and spiking a fever, but fine the next day.  

This week alone has been horrifically busy: the kids were out on Friday (but I wasn't).  I arranged with my mother in law to meet her at the halfway point between their house and ours, and hand the imp off for a couple days' overnights.  Then Friday morning, I ran the pixie up to my mom's before busting ass to get to my classroom in time to hold class. 

We had a parent-teacher conference with the imp's teacher on Thursday.  She says he will be thoroughly ready for 1st grade this fall.  The pixie's teacher said that she didn't feel a conference was particularly needed at this point, so...yeah.

Today, we buzzed around getting a few things, looking around at a few things (like the baby chicks, ducklings, and guinea fowl at a nearby farm supply store), then Odysseus went to the halfway point to snag the imp.  I managed to get the dishes done (well, loaded--the imp actually put the soap in and started the dishwasher for me). 

Tomorrow?  Last Monday was Odysseus's birthday.  We'll be going up to my mom's so she and my sister can stuff him with pork roast sandwiches, butter and herb potatoes, and chocolate cake. 

The cats have been...well, cats.  Cricket's still nervous and jittery, but incredibly affectionate, and Shadow's still fat and lazy.  Shadow is currently curled up sleeping on the imp.  Cricket's as still as I ever see her, stretched out sleeping on the arm of the couch.

So far the semester has been rather...uneventful.  The students are better writers than last semester, with a few exceptions that aren't so bad as to be notable.  They've reassured me a few times that they love the idea I had to change up the class.

Over the past several years, English departments nation wide have started complaining that the rest of the university seems to think they're...irrelevant.  Horrible thought, I know.*  Part of the reason, I think, is because of how we teach writing: English departments seem to think it's adequate, timely, and relevant to all majors to teach research papers...done only in MLA format. 

I don't agree.  The only departments on campus that use MLA are English and foreign languages.  No one else.  Social sciences use APA, history and journalism use CMS, and the hard sciences use some variation of CSE.**  What are we doing to help the students majoring in other disciplines write better in their own? 

Not much.

I'm trying to change that in my class.  This semester, I'm teaching three research papers--one each in MLA, APA, and CMS.  Next semester, I'll add CSE to that. 

Right now, I'm trying to rewrite my textbook.  I've gotten some of it done, and gotten most of the chapter over how to do an APA paper done.  I still lack an explanation of the different parts of an APA paper, and the sample essay.***

Unfortunately, with the textbook, I've not had time to more than rough out one of the handwritten drafts for one of the stories.  All of my writing time has been focused on trying to fix things for my students, with regards to teaching them what they actually need to know.

*Not really.  As it just so happens, it's actually true.  English departments that do what mine is doing--shoving writing instruction off onto the other majors to teach to their own requirements--are more and more irrelevant.

**APA--American Psychological Association; CMS--Chicago Manual Style; CSE--Council of Science Editors

***Yes, I have to learn three new styles so I can write the chapter for them.  And so I can write a sample research paper actually using said style.  If anyone would like to offer me a persuasive paper in APA, CMS, or CSE for inclusion as a sample in my textbook for my students, leave me a comment with an email addy where I can contact you.

Monday, February 22, 2016


As I last posted, a specialist told me to go back onto my thyroid meds.  Thank God.  I went from foggy, exhausted, and scattered to back closer to what I'm used to. 

And I got my papers, which I'd picked up the week before, finished as of last night.  I'll be handing them back today. 

After that?  I need to start working on the textbook I'll be working out of for the coming years.  Rather than teaching four arguments and then a research paper, I'll be teaching nothing but research papers.  It strikes me as a lot more useful to ALL of my students: most majors work in one of four citation styles, and no one but English works in MLA.  Therefore, I will be teaching each of the four citation styles*...once I learn the last two I'm unfamiliar with. 

I'm also feeling up to transcribing scribbled fiction from draft books into the typed drafts I've been working on.  And feeling up to cleaning.

Speaking of cleaning, I've got some ideas on how to bring more storage into the living room.  Odysseus is on board, so I started clearing clutter last night.  Which stirred up dust.  Which gave me a huge sinus headache, drainage, and sore throat that's lasted through the night and into this morning. 

What I didn't realize was that it had done the same to my pixie.  She woke up this morning with a very sore throat, sick stomach, and just feeling all-around bad.  I gave her a Claritin, and she started perking up a bit.  I'm just hoping it was enough for her to enjoy school, and to behave herself.

I'll be having my non-functioning, actively-harming-me thyroid taken out after semester's over.  As of right now, I'm just trying to get my house as ready for another bout of non-functioning homemaker as I can before that kicks in.  The cleaning and the extra storage will help with that.

*The four major citation styles of which I'm aware are MLA (Modern Language Association--what all English teachers go with by default), APA (American Psychological Association--social sciences, teacher ed, and business), CMS (Chicago Manual Style--used by communications and journalism), and CSE (Council of Science Editors--used by Earth and Bio sciences, and likely as not, all science majors). 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Hot damn.

Saw a doctor today--ear/nose/throat--about my thyroid.  My family doctor wanted a biopsy of parts of my thyroid, but the specialist says between the issues I've been having and my family history, it's coming out sooner or later, so when do I want it scheduled?

In the meantime, I'm back on my thyroid meds (same dose, but after a month and a half of nothing, it's a giant improvement that I can already feel).  I'm to stay on that dose until I get my thyroid removed, and they have to put me on a higher dose to make up for the loss.

I do feel better.  Better enough that I think I can get my classes' papers graded by Monday.

Sunday, February 14, 2016


I feel like I've been running on five hours of sleep per night for the past month, no matter how much I sleep.  I don't have the energy--mental or physical--to do a whole lot.  What has to be done is prioritized by how necessary it is (or isn't). 

Right now, the blog is a bit far down the priorities list.  So is transcribing what I get the time and energy to scribble down in my draft books. 

Last week, I had a thyroid uptake and scan.  I slept through most of it, to be honest, in ten minute chunks.  I was lying down, fairly comfortable, in a dark room, and under a warmed blanket.  I couldn't have stayed awake if I'd tried. 

I'd asked my doctor if I could go back on my meds.  I was told not until she got the scan results. She got the scan results...and she's sending me for more testing of a different type.  Which means no meds until everything is done. 

I'm not sure when that will be. 

I am sure I'm just about ready to scream at the doc to send me to have the damn thing out, already, just so I can start feeling better.

And I've just picked up the first batch of papers to grade for the semester. 

Bloody fucking hell.  

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Still here...

I take the radioactive marker iodine pill tomorrow morning.  Thursday, they do the scan that shows how well my thyroid takes in and uses iodine.

I am so ready for this to be done.