Wednesday, August 30, 2017


I went to a meeting, today.  We were discussing the "learning goals" around research papers.  My department head had a grading rubric with 11 things on it, regarding such.  I'd already gotten this through email, and had skimmed through it thinking "Do that already.  Yep.  Yep.  Yep.  Oh, and that one, too."  I figured today would be a waste of time.

Come to find out today, about half the people in the meeting do half the things on the rubric when teaching the research assignment, and not the same half between them.  Some things were left totally untouched. 




These people ALL teach the same class I teach.  All of them teach research papers.  Nobody mentions other citation styles than MLA in conjunction with major.  Nobody works on integrating source credibility in their lectures.  Few discuss currency and relevance regarding the sources.  Few discuss actually pulling the information together into a coherent argument, or looking at how different sources use and offer different types of evidence.  They all simply focus (over-focus?) on the technical: you cite the source only and exactly like this, but only in this situation, and your bib is called Works Cited, and you must do this, this, and this, in this order, or it's wrong.

I...have just had further illustrated to me exactly why English departments are fading in relevance to EVERY OTHER FREAKIN' DEPARTMENT on campus.

We have ONE job that the campus as a whole deems even remotely valuable.  And we're falling down on it.

We (they) are not doing our damn jobs.  

Sunday, August 27, 2017

First week down

I survived the first week of class.  I skipped office hours on Tuesday and went over to the English department to sign my contract, only to find that NOBODY had their contract, yet.  HR hadn't gotten them together for ANYONE, faculty or staff.  In point of fact, I didn't get the email notifying me that contracts were ready for signatures until Friday afternoon.

Wednesday, I crashed.  I overdid it a little Monday and Tuesday, and just crashed.  I fixed food, but didn't get much else done.  I did notice that the dishwasher had water standing in the bottom.  Again.  And I put it on my ever-lengthening to-do list. 

Thursday, I wound up spending from 8:00 to almost 11:00 up on my feet (for the most part--kinda gotta sit to take roll).  We started their first papers, and discussion was raucous and free-wheeling, in both classes, taking up the whole time.  I was flattened afterwards, but it was so worth it.  Tons of fun. 

Friday, I had a to-do list a mile long: shopping, running stuff up to Mom's, cleaning, grabbing kids, and cleaning some more.  I managed to get it all done, and got home and collapsed to find that email alerting me that my contract had gotten into my mailbox around 4:00 or so. 

The dishwasher is running fine, now.  The appliance repair guy said to run a cycle with no dishes, and add about a quart of cleaning vinegar.  Run so it goes through the pump, pop the dishwasher open so that it soaks in good, run for a few minutes, pop open to soak, repeat one more time.  Doesn't smell bad, and fixes the problem.  He also recommended to make sure dish soap does not go down the sink where the garbage disposal is.  Because then it gets into the dishwasher, and makes problems.

I did manage to get most of my to do list done.  There are just a few bits left--paper filing, yarn organization, and general decluttering from moving in.  Odysseus has most of his accomplished, too.  Including getting the riding mower fixed (which he did himself, and feels accomplished for having done--as well he should, since I don't think he's done anything like it before). 

Kids' homework is done, backpacks are re-packed, and laundry done for them for the week.  The imp's plastic dressers (why get him something nice when he's so rambunctious that he'll tear it apart?) have been put in a more logical place that may see his toys not migrate in amongst his clothes. 

Next on the list is making a couple of lasagnas: one for supper, one for the freezer.

Oh, and dosing the pets with the topical flea stuff. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Musings on a theme

I've been thinking, recently.  (Dangerous, I know.  Bear with me.)

There are certain markers that there will be strife in a relationship.  Lack of communication.  Differences in money-handling styles.  Filing taxes as "married, filing separately."  Not maintaining a joint checking account. 

Most of this has in common a "you and me" (or just "me me me") attitude, instead of a "we" attitude.  Thinking of the family unit as individuals, rather than as a team. 

Notice that most of this is about money?  That's because it's one of the top marriage breakers (just after infidelity). 

If you think "my money" and "his/her money," instead of "household money," you're setting yourself up for resentment, anger, disappointment, guilt (which leads to the rest), and a whole host of other negative emotions that will wind up focused on your spouse. 

Odysseus had a finances professor in college that said that married people filing separately are both being stupid, and heading for divorce.  Stupid, because that's when, where, and how you get hammered with nowhere near as many deductions.  Often, couples filing taxes separately wind up paying in when couples making the same income but filing jointly get back as much as they paid in, if not more.

I can think of one case where it didn't work like that, but that case was a massive clusterfuck, start to finish, and was completely caused by the non-military spouse spending a massive chunk of money that landed in the family accounts by mistake, instead of setting it aside to hand back when the military demanded it back.  In that case, filing separately got them a small tax rebate (which would have paid back about half the debt that was incurred before penalties were inflicted).  Filing jointly would have gotten the entire rebate garnished, with a lot of debt left to pay.

That is, also, the only time I can think of in recent experience where a joint account was a mistake.  Most of the time, the joint account is the best way to handle a family budget with two incomes. Imagine, if you will, a household where you have a blended family.  Dad takes care of most of the bills.  Mom takes care of one or two, but it's not a lot.  There's no joint account, and the bills are all in Dad's name. 

Dad wants to free up some money for a project he wants to do.  All of his income is being taken up, and not much of Mom's is going toward bills.  So Dad asks Mom to pull a bit more of her and her kids' (not all his, by any means) weight by paying some.  But there's no joint account, and the bills are in his name.  Makes sense to him to ask for the money to pay the bills. 

Mom doesn't see it that way.  She screams and cries every time she hands over cash to pay the bills she's been asked to carry.  Call it about a quarter of the monthly budget.  But it's her money, and he's taking it. 

This situation is untenable.  It is going to break. 

Now, if there'd been a joint account set up, things would have been simplified.  Odysseus and I have a joint account.  He has a separate debit account, too, but there's that joint account.  His name is on most of the bills (I have one, just so I can show a utility bill for voting registration purposes).  I am in charge of day to day month to month budgeting and bill paying.  That joint account makes it easy, since my name and his are on the checks. 

If the previous hypothetical situation had included a joint account, with Mom having the responsibility to pay the bills out of it from "her" money and the money Dad deposited from his checks, Mom might not have freaked out.  

Marriage counselors would privately think that the lack of a joint account indicated a lack of trust.  They may or may not say such.  Mom may not trust Dad to deposit the money needed for bills, or Dad might not trust Mom not to clean him out. 

Point of fact, the whole issue revolves around a lack of trust that the other has the family's best interests in mind.  On both parts. 

Like I said.  Odysseus and I have a joint account that both our checks go into without discussion.  Then again, we also discuss money decisions.  I don't discuss the grocery budget with him, because I'm the food purchaser, I'm a miser, and we shop together often enough he's got a good idea of what spending in general is.  No, what we discuss are things that cost more than about fifty bucks.  And we decide together whether the budget can absorb it, if it's something new, or timing on when we can do something that we've been discussing.  Yes, I have the checkbook.  I have the online banking passwords.  I watch the budget, and I do the day to day stuff.  I'm better at details, and making sure stuff gets done on time.  Odysseus is better at long-term planning, and knowing how much we have to save in small increments for how long to do what we want to do. 

It seems, sometimes, like we are unique in this.  I don't think we have any friends locally who do this. 

I don't think we have any local friends whose marriages lasted longer than about ten years, either.

Go figure.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

First days and countdowns

I just dropped the kids off for their first day of school for the 2017/18 school year.  Their private Christian school, known throughout the area for academic excellence on par with the secular private school at a quarter of the annual tuition, starts the first week of the school year on Thursdays to give kids and teachers a slow start to get back into the routine.  Thinking back to my public school that always had a full week to start, I think this is, perhaps, the wisest move for the teachers.  They were always so fried by the end of the week...

I start back next week.  My class site goes open for my students as of Saturday.  I need to go add content to it.  And finish editing my textbook. 

Currently, I'm sitting at the table in the library at our new home.  Laptop is on the table, ergo keyboard on my lap.  This evening, one of the kids will be doing homework at the table in the library, and the other will be doing homework either at the coffee table in the family room, or at the dining table. 

I have a lot to do today (class site stuff, since I'm recovering from a CFS flare).  I have a lot to do tomorrow (groceries, cleaning, and working on the old house). 

I'm pretty sure, chronic illness permitting, I can actually accomplish what I need to get done.  I'm lacking the distraction of having to stop what I'm doing to prevent the kids from further breaking the house,* or fighting with each other. 

Now, I just need to get to it.

I think I need more coffee.

*The imp and pixie managed to snap off one of the arms of her ceiling fan.  Not the fin.  The metal part of the arm.  Which will necessitate full replacement...which they are required to pay for.  I won't, however, require that they pay for the electrician needed to put it up in a house built in 1970, and which lacks boxes for the ceiling fixtures. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Mr. President:

I live in a small town in the very middle of the country.  I have a nasty allergy to wheat.  Most of the stores in my region do not carry food that I can eat, and I totally lack the time and energy to make everything from scratch.  I also lack the knowledge, ingredients, and equipment to make other things. 

Amazon is how I get my hands on some of the things I can eat.  They are things either not carried throughout the region, or are things priced so high I simply can't afford them so that whether I can eat them or not is a moot point. 

I also have problems with the joints in my hands that make writing with a ballpoint pen--or even a gel pen--painfully impossible.  I've found that fountain pens are my best bet.  There is one store--ONE--in the region that carries fountain pens that are not also calligraphy pens.  And they're priced high and use tiny, useless cartridges.  The store doesn't carry bottled ink, nor yet converters for these pens. 

Again, I turn to Amazon to fill these needs. 

My local bookstore does not carry most of the authors who I like to read without having to order in their work--political correctness precludes some, and the rest are independent authors who publish through Amazon. 

Not every store can carry every item, Mr. President.  And not every individual can afford to fill their needs with the few options that are carried...or afford to travel to find the things that they need.

Claiming that Amazon hurts business isn't accurate.  Or, it may be, but it's a limited view. 

Hurting Amazon harms customers like me who MUST shop online instead of locally because of lack of products carried locally. 

Thank you for proving my opinion of you as a shallow, stupid, reckless, narcissistic, greedy asshole accurate. 

Although I'd have been happier to be proved wrong.


Someone Disappointed to Not Be Disappointed

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Here's an idea...

The weekend wasn't pretty.  We had Nazis and Commies fighting each other, causing distress to the rest of us...and death amongst themselves.  Oh, but the martyr--one of your standard, well-meaning useful idiots, as described by Stalin--was a pretty, young woman, so she's been a hell of an image, and her death has been capitalized on by the usual suspects.

I don't feel anything about it.  She was an idiot, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, in amongst the wrong people.  On purpose. 

But the Left needed a martyr, so...

Any case.  There was violence, nastiness, and all of it exacerbated by wall-to-wall news coverage.  Attention seeking spoiled menaces given a camera and a venue.  Used.  The ratings are all that count.

And the Guard...brought in, but ordered to stand by, and information coming out that there were orders to peace officers to not interfere.

Smacks of a setup, in my opinion. 

I have an idea: why don't we, as a nation, pay the air-fare for a whole bunch of these morons to go protest together (and against each other) in, say Death Valley?  With a few companies of National Guard set up around the perimeter, to prevent the mess from spilling over onto those who want nothing to do with either the Nazis or the Commies, and go ahead and give them their arena, and their cameras, and their national attention?  How about we, as a nation, set it up so that they get their wish, and get to fight and/or kill one another without legal repercussions in this circumstance, and this one only?

I mean, after all: the Romans did it. 

And I'm pretty sure it'd clean up a lot of jobless, feckless dead weight.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


I went ahead and took advantage of the sales tax holiday for back to school, and ordered a new keyboard.  An ergonomic keyboard.  It's really comfortable to use. 

I used to have one, when I used a desktop.  Did a lot of writing on them.  Using one fixed one of my worst typing habits (hitting the b key with the left hand instead of the right) that was picked up because of having small hands.  I started writing with the keyboard in my lap, leaning back with my feet up, eyes closed, without watching how it was coming out on the screen.  My speed picked up a bit, doing that, but even more, I could spend longer at the computer, composing fiction. 

By the time I started blogging, I'd shifted to almost entirely using a laptop.  Between needing a machine at work (adjuncts shared a desktop) and having to chase kids around, I've not used a desktop in years. 

I'd never forgotten the ergonomic keyboards, though.  Nor had I stopped missing mine.  However, with a big enough laptop for a full-sized keyboard, I hadn't thought the purchase justified.  Not through using five different Acer laptops, with a standard keyboard arrangement, with a full-sized shift key. 

The Lenovo Ideapad does have a full-size keyboard--in fact, the keys are a little bigger than the other laptops I've had.  All of them except for the right hand shift key.  Which is the same size as the letter keys, and has an up arrow between the question mark key and the shift key.  Bad layout for touch typists with small hands. 

At the moment, my laptop is sitting on the coffee table, off to my left.  Keyboard is in my lap.  I've got a cup of coffee on the small table to my right. 

And I know where The Schrodinger Paradox is going.  I'll have to see how quickly I can take it there, now. 

I just wish I could figure out how to get the iTunes player download and Windows 10 to cooperate and play nice with each other.

Friday, August 4, 2017


I am female.  I was born female.  I'll grant you, I'm not a very traditionally feminine female, but it is what I am. 

I am not questioning that.  I've never questioned that.  I may have, at a few points, wished it were otherwise for the sake of having things a little easier (like a lack of the menstruation and attending labor-intense cramps*), but never had any doubt that I was a girl, then woman. 

I am still not traditionally "feminine," despite my figure and preferring to not waste time and money getting regular hair cuts. 

Does not mean I see myself as any less of, or anything other than, a woman, despite what several people on campus have suggested.**

I do know people who are distinctly otherwise: a woman born into a body carrying the wrong chromosomes, and a man born likewise.

They feel wrong in their own bodies--something I've never felt.  The young man I spoke of earlier...I knew when he was fourteen that he felt not right in his own skin.  Didn't help that the individuals he went to school with as a girl wouldn't let him use the bathroom because he was different, long before he realized that it really was the wrong bathroom. 

One interesting thing I've noticed is that this whole move toward forcing acceptance and approval for everyone who isn't sure whether they are or are not transgender is that it's enforcing stereotypes and gender roles harder than any other social force in the last eighty years.  I've seen women who were not "dressed as women" harassed in women's restrooms.***  I've noticed that, if women don't particularly care for children, their very existence as women are questioned.  I've noticed that women are pressured more to be feminine, to dress, walk, act, and look feminine.  

Ironically, the worst of these offenders are NOT bible-thumping conservative Christians.  More in a bit.

I am still not feminine.  I prefer shopping for jeans in the men's section.  I wear tee-shirts, polo shirts, blazers.  I don't wear makeup.  I don't do my hair--I don't bother with more than a ponytail or braid to keep my hair out of my face. 

I don't get harassed that I'm using the wrong bathroom for my biology because I am your classic hourglass, but I do get questioned.  Others who aren't dressed to the nines, make up and hair done, and have fewer curves, get bullied.  Even on a college campus.

People have attempted to bully me the other way: "You don't dress like a woman.  Why do you insist that you are one?  Why don't you just call yourself trans?  Or something other than a woman?"

I don't knuckle under to bullies.  There is no passive in my aggressive to the point that I have to watch myself so that I don't become a bully.  But I can see how this could pressure others to call themselves something other than what they feel they are...or to try to fit in a traditional, stereotypical mold that they don't want to be bothered with. 

I don't fit the label.  I don't care, but it makes others (mainly the SJW crowd, ironically) that label everyone uncomfortable that I don't fit the label I call myself, and won't label myself as something else.

What the hell happened to "be who you are, and don't let anyone slap a label on you"?  

*Having had children and gone through labor, I can attest that yes, my cramps did get that bad at times. 

**Suggested, then been laughed at by everybody around when I tell them to say that to the two children I pushed from my vagina, or the husband that put them there to begin with.  

***I cannot speak to whether or not effeminate men get bullied in the same way in the men's rooms.