Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Just finished in time to start supper.

I thought I'd gotten finished at about a quarter after four, just after finishing the Comp II blogs, then I checked my email.  One of my Comp I students alerted me that there was yet another participation assignment, this one due more than a month ago, that I'd managed to miss. 

Took another forty-five minutes to finish that.  I was just finishing when Odysseus pulled in with the imp and pixie, after a day at Grandma and Grandpa's house for the pixie (and the end of a two-night stay for the imp). 

Just in time to start the sort-of gumbo I make (only sort-of, because Odysseus doesn't like okra in his).

The kids are eating chunked-up spiral cut smoked ham.  And veggie straws.  Our supper is starting to smell good--which is torture, because I'm starving.

Aw, crap.

I just realized I was a little further behind in my grading than I thought.  I completely forgot that I had a little class participation/mini workshop assignment due for my comp I class last week, which I also need to get graded. 

There goes at least another hour of my time.  The class platform is being a sluggish bitch, today.

I should be done in another hour and a half or two hours, though.  I'm almost done with the blog catch up. 

They're stalking us.

Got another one of those creepy fliers again today.   I think I'm going to go get one of my rifles to sit next to me and keep me company, along with my CZ-82. 

'Cause sending it once is creepy.  Sending it again (just in case the first time didn't get the point across) makes me think I'm going to need the rifle, not just the pistol.

Long day of catching up on blog grading...

I'm going to be pretty out of touch today.  I have about three weeks' worth of blogs to catch up on grading. 

Odysseus will be taking the pixie to visit Grandma and Grandpa, today, and will be picking up the imp.  I'll be staying behind with the puppy, and should have a relatively quiet day.  Perfect for grading.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


My laptop is up and running flawlessly! 

Although, I do have a bit of advice to pass on that wasn't mentioned in the video: make sure there are NO fingerprints on the back of the new keyboard you're installing.  Anywhere.  Or half the keys won't work, you'll have to pull the damn thing back out of the case (BTW, a metal cookie spatula works better than a screwdriver to pop the keyboard out without damaging it), and wipe down the back of the keyboard.  And the cable will pop loose.  And then you'll have to fiddle with it, get the cable stuck back where it's supposed to go and hold it with your pinkie while you try to lock it back in place with a tiny, fragile piece of plastic with the rest of your fingers, while trying not to bend the teeny-tiny metal connector wires that you're trying to lock that little piece of plastic under

I'd say I needed at least one more hand, but it would have gotten in the way more than it would have helped. 

Yeah...never drinking coffee around my laptop without using a travel mug to limit child-induced spillage again.  It's nice to know I can replace a keyboard, but it's a right bitch to actually do. 

My keyboard arrived, today.

The procedure looks pretty simple.  I should be able to get it swapped out a little while later.  It just had to arrive after the pixie woke up from her nap.

I have papers coming due tomorrow.  And my colleague is doing Frost's poetry in his class this week.  I hope to be able to use my laptop tonight to get caught up on blog grading before everything else crash-lands on my head.

Yet another reason not go anywhere without a gun.

You never know when some whacko will ram their car into the wall of a church, and beat the pastor to death with an electric guitar

Given that the attacker became unresponsive and died shortly after the arrest, I would be willing to bet that the asshole was on something that didn't react to being tazered. 

Next project

The next project for the house is going to be expensive: we're going to take the deck down, see about the installation of a porch safe, and re-do a lot of the fence posts because they weren't set properly.

Let's start with the deck: when it was built, whoever did it didn't put any braces between the house and the edge of the deck.  And they nailed it to the steps down to the ground.  The only posts you can see as you look under it are the four corner posts. 

And the deck is about 12' x 17'.  It's sagging.  Badly.  Like a bowl.  And the board nailed to the steps has worked loose under the stress and standing up at a slant, with nails sticking out. 

As for the porch safe...well, we don't really have a really good safe room.  Yes, that's going to be really expensive.  I think it's well worth it for the assurance that we can step out the back door, and go down a hatch, instead of trying to get to a yard shelter with a storm raging.  A basement would be better, but isn't really an option.

Several of our fence posts weren't properly set.  You can straighten them, but as soon as you walk away, the tension on the stretched chain link fence starts pulling the posts over at a slant.  The one right up next to the house is really bad about it, leaving a gap that an adult human can step through, much less a toddler or a puppy.  The posts near the gates are no better, letting the gates gape to where the puppy can get through easily.  And there's no fencing along the outside edge of the deck, meaning pup can get under the deck to get out. 

Odysseus has said that our back yard couldn't keep an arthritic basset hound safely penned.  He's right.  But we don't have an arthritic basset.  We have an energetic Scotty puppy. 

Am I going to force Odysseus to do this?  Not on your life.  We're only waiting until we get the income tax return in probably early March to pay to have it done.  We're not competent to do most of this ourselves.  We'd maybe be able to take down the deck without hurting ourselves.  I doubt we can do much for the fence, other than figure out how to block the gaps, and add about 12' to the gap that will be completely open after taking down the deck.  The rest of it's going to be hired out. 

Maybe, if we're here in a couple more years, we'll extend the fencing up the north side of the house, and around the front yard.  But there's a lot that I'm wanting done in the house before we consider that. 

Monday, October 29, 2012


I ordered a new keyboard for my messed up 15" laptop.  I'll need to find some good instructions on how to switch them out.  It should be arriving sometime before Wednesday--which is good, since that's when the next paper is due. 

The netbook is acting up just a little more each day.  I'm kind of sad about that, but no computer will last forever--especially not computers I can afford.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

If there's anything I don't need, right now...

I'm coming down with something. 


It helps that I'll only have the imp to look after tomorrow after he leaves for his grandparents' for a couple of nights, and that Odysseus will be off work Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Now that the kids are getting a little older...

...I can pick up some of my old hobbies that I'd set aside.  Like knitting.  I've finished a few half-finished projects I'd had laying around, and have undone another to start something else with that yarn.  I've got a multicolored lacy shawl I made with fine yarn and big needles, a few scarves, and I've just started another shawl in a variegated brown, orange, and cream cotton yarn--though that one will be solid (and warm). 

I used to make Gryffindor scarves for sale...and university color scarves.  The Harry Potter scarves I sold for $25 each, but the university colors I sold for $15.  Yes, the yarn cost the same, but college students tend to be able to afford a lot less, and less willing to pay more, than the Harry Potter fans. 

I guess I need to get back into making stuff for sale.  Every little bit helps, and all that.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Poor baby imp.

Sometimes he has to learn things the hard way.  I've been telling him to watch where he puts his feet, and not to step on the puppy (because if he hurts her, she'll bite) for a while, now. 

He wasn't watching where he was jumping down off the couch (also something I'd told him not to do, since it was time to wind down for bedtime), and managed to land right on her.  So, she nipped him, just above the ankle on the outside of his right leg.  Got him good, too--barely scratched him with her teeth, but sure pinched up a good bruise.

Maybe now he'll remember to be a little more careful with the puppy.  It hurt worse that getting scratched by a kitty (even though the cat scratches are usually worse). 

Although, he seems to be cheered by his "stripes"--a neon green band-aid over antibiotic ointment I put on the scratches left by her top teeth, and a purple one over the smaller bunch where her bottom teeth pinched a little hard. 

Creepy junk mail

Got a flier in the mail, today, detailing who voted in our neighborhood in the last elections.  By address and name.

That was creepy, and more than vaguely threatening. 

random ramblings

Both kids got up at twenty 'til eight, this morning.  They've been getting up at twenty after.  I'm about ready to thump the imp, because he turned on every light, woke the pixie and let her out of her room. 

Right now, I have a freshly ground, freshly made cup of coffee in my Coleman travel mug.  I only have one partially-functioning laptop (the netbook) right now, and I can't risk it.  The coffee is making things a little better, but forty more minutes of the kids being asleep would have been better. 

We're going to be having chili for lunch, today.  It's bloody cold, today, and that will be very welcome.  Besides, the kids love it as much as Odysseus and I do. 

I think the kids are both about to head into a growth spurt.  Both of them are eating everything that's not nailed down, and they're napping a bit longer.  I cannot tell you how thankful I am that they're sleeping longer during the day, even though I know it's not going to be for more than a couple of weeks.

The pup has decided that, even if it is only a three foot by three foot play pen, time outside is great.  She digs.  She doesn't try to dig her way out from under fences, just digs holes.  I'm not entirely sure what she does with the dirt, though; for all I know, she eats it. 

We're going to have to loosen her harness again, soon.  This will be the fourth or fifth time we've had to--the fourth or fifth time she's increased in girth by more than half an inch. 

It's hard to write, right now.  I've been having trouble focusing on doing anything besides herding cats (trying to keep a four year old and two year old from destroying the house or each other), or the grading that I need to be doing, but can't without risking a blue screen and restart (the class website's grade book does that, or else it freezes everything up and requires a restart). 

Speaking of...I had a student whining about "How do I know what I need to do for the next paper if the teacher hasn't graded the last paper yet???  It's not fair!!!"

Yeah.  After I'd managed to post an announcement that I'm having major computer problems. 

On the bright side, I had another one of my students tear into the first one, defending me, and wishing student A a professor just as understanding of computer problems as student A was being with mine. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Small change in my chili recipe

The canned seasoned black beans recently went up to as much for a can as for a pound of uncooked, dry black beans--which are approximately equivalent to four cans of beans.

So...I've been getting the dry beans, and making my own seasoned beans for chili.  It starts with the pre-soak: my sister gave me a tip that I'm going to pass along for those who don't know it.

For every 1 cup of dry, sorted beans, add 1 teaspoon of baking soda, cover with water, and warm to just about bathwater-warm.  Take it off the heat, cover it, and let it set overnight.  When you're ready to cook your beans, drain and rinse, then put back in the pan, add about 1/3 cup of dried, minced or chopped onions, about 1 lightly rounded teaspoon of minced garlic (about 4 cloves, fresh), and about six or eight cups of water.  Bring to a boil, and skim off the foam.  Cook for about half an hour, then start testing the tenderness of the beans. 

Once they're about as done as you want in your chili, salt to taste, then drain them.  Make your chili (about 2 lb hamburger meat, 2 cans Ro-Tel, 2 cans tomato sauce, and about 1/2 to 2/3 cup chili seasoning), and let it simmer for a bit.  Then, add the beans back in, and simmer for about five to fifteen more minutes to warm them back up, and get some of the flavor worked in. 

It's tastier than the canned variety, cheaper, and all it takes is a little pre-planning.

Imaginative kids

Both kids have been pretending to be kitties, today--crawling around, meowing, and pretending to take baths like kitties do.  It's so cute it's disgusting.  Especially when the imp decides to shoulder rub the pixie, and she screeches "no do dat!  No knock me down!" while standing at the end of the coffee table, playing with trains.  It was also funny when the pixie realized what he was doing, chased him down, and tried to pet him.  It was only after that that she started pretending to be a kitty, too.

FFOT: Got a few, this morning...

Ted Turner.  I think M Sgt B said it best: "If Ted ever feels like being sodomized with a nail-studded baseball bat soaked in gasoline, I'm sure he won't have a shortage of volunteers. American soldiers love to help people out."  He can, indeed, fuck right the fuck off, and then die a painful death from rectal prolapse.

Okay, the next is closer to home: the guy that owns the house that my newest set of neighbors live in can fuck right the fuck off, for several reasons.
  •  He gave them verbal indication that he'd let them rent-to-own the house, to be paid off at $20,000 (about what the place was worth).  When he put the contract in front of them, the price had jumped to $46,000.  They wanted to walk away, but he told them he'd let them into the house for $100, plus the expectation that they'd start repairs.  That put them over a barrel because that was literally all they had.
  • Not keeping the utilities in his name until they could have gotten the deposits together, again like he'd promised.  They told him they could pay the electric and water bills, but couldn't do that and get the deposits together.  
  • Assuring them, again verbally, that they could stay and just pay him what they could for rent, when they could, then sending them an eviction  notice after they'd done a few hundred dollars' worth* (if not more) in repairs to the hovel he'd cheated them into.  
The broken promises and misleading statements honestly sound like the guy would do well in politics.  He can fuck off with a 6x6" barbed-wire-wrapped, powdered glass coated building timber, lubricated with sulfuric acid, skunk musk, and the rotten ejaculate of pigs.  Assholery like that needs to hurt, so that they can learn to behave better.

*They've rewired the dangerously messed up wiring, fixed gaping holes in the walls, shored up sagging ceiling, fixed some of the plumbing (though there is more to go--they ran out of supplies and money), cleaned up the yard, and put in a range top and installed an in-the-wall oven, neither of which they can use because of the whole lack of electricity thing.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

It's getting cold.

Current temperature is 45, with a wind chill of 38.  Our neighbors are cooking on a grill because they don't have electricity, or a stove to cook on.  Their heat is one of the Big Buddies. 

I just took three blanket pajamas (the ones with the feet) over for their ten-month-old son, with a few pair of socks, and two long sleeved onsies.  I'll pass along a couple bottles of propane (part of our emergency stash, but easily replaceable, and this is an emergency).

And I'll pray.


I think it's wonderful when people out themselves as ass-clowns, like Ted Turner just did.  It's one of the reasons I will fight for anyone's right to express themselves. 

How else would we know whom to avoid?

Computerized voting machines = bad idea

If they're not being programmed to record only votes for one candidate, they're screwing up because their software needs re-calibrated

I am so glad that my district still uses paper ballots, and paper ballots that require a pen connecting the line to the candidate for which an individual wants to vote.

"Goodies." Lord bless 'em.

I've been boxing up clutter to decide what to do with it for a couple of weeks, now.  And I've taken four diaper boxes (BIG boxes--200 size 4 diapers per box) full of stuff over for them to sort through and take what they wanted, three boxes of clothes, and one of kitchen stuff. 

I'd forgotten the kitchen stuff, the other night.  I took it over last night, and the wife squeals, "Oh, look, honey, she's bringing us more goodies!"  And both of their little girls (almost three, and almost five years old) came running over and flung their arms around me, screeching "I love you!"

I couldn't stay long--I needed to get back over and feed my kids--but I talked to her a little more when I walked the puppy.  She said that her husband had commented that we're doing more to help them, less grudgingly and with fewer strings, than their own families are doing.

That's really sad, because all I'm doing is clearing clutter, and giving diapers and wipes, toilet paper and paper towels, a disposable foil casserole pan and a partial roll of aluminum foil.

What they really need is someone to help them pay the deposits on getting their electricity, gas, and water turned on, and maybe some very basic phone service, because literally all they have is the roof over their heads.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The right thing isn't always easy...

I cannot imagine what it's like for parents who have failed so badly, and have it rubbed in their faces like these parents have.  Apparently, their sons have stolen bicycles before, so it's not a shock that they stole a little girl's bicycle.  The rough part is that they killed her to steal the bike, and their mother was the first one to suspect them.  She turned them in for it.

Those kids' parents may have not done enough in raising their sons to be human instead of animal, but they certainly did the right thing in turning their kids in.

More reasons for homeschooling

When a school district hires a woman who was convicted of torturing a teenager to death because they don't do a stringent background check...there's a problem. 

At least they fired the bitch after someone pointed out what they'd done. 

I love my kids well enough not to trust their care to someone I don't know and trust.

False economy

Recently, one of my family members who inherited my late grandmother's property (the only thing she owned).  The place needs some major repairs.  The bricks weren't sealed, and a lot of them are rotting in place.  My grandmother went on a tree-planting frenzy, and didn't really pay attention to how big the trees would get, or to how far apart they needed to be placed, and the now-mature trees really need pruned and thinned out.  One of the bathrooms needs the toilet (and the floor) replaced, and pretty much everything needs at least a little attention.

"Oh, but I can't afford to do any of that!!!"

My grandmother's house is almost three thousand square feet, on twenty-one acres.  It was appraised, during my childhood, at around $350 grand.  It was appraised, last year, at less than $90.

And worse, my aunt also "can't afford" home owner's insurance. 

She doesn't make a bad salary.  She makes about half again more than what Odysseus and I both make put together.  Yet, somehow, she can't afford to pay for home owner's insurance--which nearly had her homeless, last week.*  Somehow, she can't afford to do any of the repairs, none of which are that expensive to do, if you take it one project at a time. 

Somehow, she can't see that by whinging that she "can't afford" to keep up her home, she's not only losing money in the home's value, she's risking homelessness, and risking having to afford to set up a new household somewhere else--a truly expensive proposition, when you consider deposits for utilities, replacing furniture, and buying all of the basics of living from the ground up. 

And somehow, we don't have problems affording the things that my aunt claims are too expensive for her.

*My aunt's home--specifically, a sattellite dish on the roof--was struck by lightning.  It traveled in and blew decorations off the wall behind her television, burned out her television, and burned out the phone and phone jack on that wall.  If my sister hadn't run up and turned off the master switch while my aunt was frozen in indecision, her home would have burned.  There are a lot more repairs that need to be done, now.  I mentioned to my mother that her home owners insurance should cover some of it, and Mom told me that she didn't have any, because she "couldn't afford" it.

She can't afford to replace it out of cash, so she can't really afford not to have insurance. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Addendum to earlier

Heard at the kitchen table at my mother's house, today:

"It's not fair that food stamps don't cover diapers, soap, toilet paper, and things like that!"

Again, it's not race, it's the culture of dependance on government generosity with other people's money.

It's not race, it's culture

I've heard, on campus, a lot of young black people whining about racism keeping them from a better life, that their mommas were left holding the bag by sperm donors not fit to breathe, much less be real daddies. 

Hate to say it, but the reason they're ill-equipped and unprepared for the real world, and the only thing standing in the way of a better life for them, is the dependence on the government that their mommas had, and have trained into them.  It isn't racism, but culture.

Our across the road neighbors have just as many obstacles in their way.  The husband has a bad back--some days he can work, some days he can't--because he didn't use the proper equipment provided by the garages he worked for to pull engines and transmissions.  He's been turned down for disability, and doesn't really want to appeal.  He'd prefer to find a job and support his wife and kids.

A young man raised depending on the government for food, income, and shelter, would more likely whine and fight for what he was "entitled" to. 

The family across the road have nothing.  Their families have really stepped up to help, offering rides (when they can), diapers, and stuff like that.  A family dependent on the government also offers assistance--advice on how to get the best deal and most government benefits.  And that does nothing but mire another generation in poverty that they can't get out of.

It's not race.  It's the culture of dependence on government.

Monday, October 22, 2012


Thanks, Kitty Moore, for hitting that follower button.  Welcome--have a seat, put your feet up, and tell me what you'd like to drink.  If I have it, I will provide. 

Lots of clutter

I've got one great big diaper box full of knick-knack style clutter in the back room, and three or four more boxes of clothes that either don't fit (I'm still losing baby weight from both kids, and Odysseus is losing weight, too, from being on his feet constantly on the nights he works), or that we don't like. 

And, as I was gathering crap up, I was asking myself, "Why did I keep this, again?  I don't even like it."

I'm sure I've got another metric butt-ton of clutter and stuff in the bedroom, but I've done all I'm capable of for today.

On to mental work.

Behind in my grading. Again.

I've spent the last several days trying to get what I need organized on my tiny netbook.  It hasn't been easy, because not only do I not have the blog addresses bookmarked, but I'm having trouble doing a lot between a buggy wireless card that hates Blackboard, kids suffering from allergy attacks, a husband suffering from allergy attacks, and allergies attacking me, I haven't had the time or the motivation to really sit down and get the blogs pulled and graded.  I haven't had the time or motivation to get my papers pulled up and graded.  And I really need to get my colleague's stuff pulled up and graded--which I plan to do in a few more minutes when Odysseus is done with his computer.

I teach for free.  They pay me to grade student work. 

Too early...

The imp woke up at 6:30 a.m. again.  I think it was because he was uncomfortable in a wet pull-up, and because he couldn't breathe through his nose.  In any case, I didn't let him actually get up, whether or not he could go back to sleep, until 7:30.

The pup and the pixie didn't stay quiet for long after that.

So I'm up, working on my second cup of coffee.  The puppy is outside in her small pen, with her food and water dish so that if she should choose to bark her fool head off, she won't wake Odysseus, who took a Tylenol PM to deal with the allergy headache I stirred up for him yesterday in cleaning the back room. 

I'm not real unhappy about the whole husband sleeping in thing.  I need to finish up a few things in the back room, and then do some things in the bedroom; namely, switching seasonal clothes, and dropping the stuff I don't want anymore in a bag for charity.  And I can't really do any of it until after Odysseus wakes up, partially because it would wake him up, and partially because the kids have needed more supervision than usual, lately, so that they don't hurt each other.  Too bad.  And since he's not up, I can put off the decluttering work for another hour or so.

Did you hear the one about the two baby seals that walked into a club? 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Good training + good examples = polite kids

Odysseus and I have been working with the kids, teaching them to say please and thank you.  We set the example for them, ourselves--it's something we've always done.

So, now, when you hand my imp something to eat or drink, he gives a huge grin, and goes "Thanks!"  The pixie is starting to do the same.

It's not a hard thing to teach small children.  I have no idea why more parents don't try.

Much done...much more to do.

I spent the day clearing clutter in the junk/storage room, and found a few things to go to either the neighbors who are down on their luck, or to the DAV charity pickup.  I got enough done that I have room on the shelving in the back to store our cases of canned food, dry pasta, and jarred pasta sauce.

Which, in turn, means that I can clear part of the kitchen floor, since I have the cases that won't fit in the cabinets stacked in a few places on the floor--some spots are sort of out of the way, but not really. 

Because there is jack-all else on...

The kids are watching Tom and Jerry on DVD.  Absolute first season early Tom looks a lot rougher than the later versions, and the earliest version of Jerry...well, let's just say he reminds one strongly of certain stereotypes of a certain racial demographic in the early 1940's--and the impression is reinforced by the lady of the house being a fat black woman with bad grammar, and a predictable reaction to seeing a mouse. 

They watched it yesterday, too.  I think I may have to get more of these.  The kids love them, and I'm a lot less annoyed by it first thing in the morning than I am by a lot of the PBS kids' shows.  I think it's a lack of dialogue, and a complete lack of high children's voices before I've had my coffee.  And yes, that does rather include my own.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Stupid sayings...

I don't ever tell my children to be as quiet as little mice.  Why not? 

Because the little vermin (mice) are freakin' noisy.  If it's not squeaking and squealing, it's rustling and rattling and banging on things. 

Who ever coined "quiet as a mouse" has never spent time in an otherwise quiet house that has mice.

Safest? Really?

The American Academy of Pediatrics must be collectively smoking something.  They recently released a public statement that in their expert opinion, the safest home for a child is one without a gun in it

Uh-huh.  Tell that to twelve-year-old Kendra St. Clair.

Full size keyboards are nice.

I've confirmed that a full-sized USB keyboard does work with my laptop that the pixie poured coffee on.  The mouse works on that one for a little while, but not for long. 

Right now, I've plugged that keyboard into my netbook.  It's much nicer than the teeny keyboard I had to work with.

Random ramblings

The kids are finally over their cold.  I wish I was, too.  They like the soothing vapors bubble bath (thanks, DaddyBear) well enough that they ask for it despite not having their heads so stopped up they can't breathe.  I've been letting them use it, because it helps me to sit beside the tub while they're taking a bath using it. 

It seems like the laptop that the pixie tried her best to kill might work with a different keyboard.  We're getting a USB keyboard today to check that hypothesis, and if so, I've found somewhere that will replace the keyboard for about a third of what it would cost to replace the laptop.

The tablet, on the other hand, doesn't even twitch when the power button is pushed.  It spent a bit more than twenty-four hours sitting in instant rice with the back of the case off.  This morning, I pushed the power button, then plugged it in and pushed the reset button while holding down the power button.  Nothing.  I'll give it a week while the battery runs down, and try it again.  If it stays dead, then the kids have one less toy to play with, and it's entirely the imp's fault.

Too bad.  That touch game taught him how to count, and was helping the pixie learn. 

Speaking of that teaching how to count...I may have to put him in private school, rather than teaching him myself, after all.  He is not willing to sit down and work with me on learning numbers.  He'll sit in my lap as long as I want to read to him, but isn't willing to participate ("Can you find...the cow?" "No, Mama.  Read."  "Can you count chickens with me?"  "No, Mama.  Read.").  He'll do those things with his grandma, but not with me. 

Darn dog woke the pixie back up this morning.  She's usually so quiet while in the house.  This morning, she started barking like an idiot while I was in the kitchen.  I rushed to toss her out the door into her pen so she could bark her fool head off to her heart's content, but it was too late to keep the pixie in bed. 

I've sent The Godshead back to one awesome beta reader, and to a second, volunteer reader.  I may be ready to put it through the publication process by the beginning of December.  I'm still working on Pendragon, slowly.  I should have that ready for a beta reader by Summer Break, at the latest.  And the head of the English Department where I teach wants to be one, because of the way I structured the unique (as far as I know) magic system. 

I'm going to have to steal Odysseus's computer for grading, today.  Just writing this post has got my forearms cramping from using the tiny keyboard, and I have papers to grade.  And blogs. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

I think I need a new travel mug...

Orange spice tea in a cup thoroughly saturated with coffee smell and taste is...odd.

Another child-induced earworm

Awesome original song on The Muppet Show, but damn if it doesn't get stuck in my head.

FFOT: hard lessons

I can fuck off for, however briefly, forgetting that I can't afford to make mistakes around my kids, with regards to electronics in proximity to liquids.  I can also fuck off for going ahead and spending the extra money to get the nicer, larger laptop, when all I really needed was a netbook.


Why parents can't have nice things part II

I woke with the pixie, a bit before seven this morning.  Was in the middle of nursing her back down (part of the whole adjusting their internal clocks early), when I heard the imp get up and go to the bathroom.  No big deal.  I planned to just put him back to bed, too.

He'd wet through his pull-up and pants.  No wonder.  However, I noticed that he'd been daubing water on the screen of the tablet (a Velocity Cruz Micro T301, which has served us fairly well for what we wanted).  I swatted him, and scolded him, put a new pull-up and a dry pair of pants on him, then put him back to bed.  Then put the pixie back to bed again, and went to go use the bathroom myself.

And discovered that the imp hadn't just daubed water on the tablet screen, but dumped the small bowl of water in the bathroom for the post-spay kitten on it.  I picked it up to finish drying the screen off, and water literally ran out of every opening on the case.

It's currently sitting in a bag of rice, in the hopes that it's salvageable. 

My laptop, on the other hand, started yesterday, but neither the keyboard nor the mouse were working.  If plugging a new keyboard into it allows it to function, I guess I'll have a new desktop, because the wireless card on the netbook is still slowly dying, and I hadn't budgeted a new computer until the year after next. 

We'll be doing without a tablet, too, if the rice trick doesn't work.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

I don't know whose idea it was...

I had sent the kids to go play in their rooms, earlier, and they were quietly playing in the imp's room for a long time.  I got up and went to get a drink of water, and sat back down.  Several minutes later, I realized that they were even quieter.  So, I got up, and went to the gate between the living room and the hall where the bedrooms are. 

Only to find Odysseus's and my bedroom door standing open, and the room far brighter, and with a different tone to the light, than it should have been.

The little $#!^s had yanked the curtain and curtain rod down. 

The pixie had gotten her rear swatted earlier in the afternoon for going into Mommy and Daddy's room.  She got sent to her room with a spank, because she does know better. 

Then, I went to the imp's room and spanked him, too--she can't open the door by herself, yet, and I'm not sure she can get up on our bed without help. 

It has definitely been one of those days.  They're so lucky they're my kids.  If they'd been anyone else's, I'd be heading to prison for murdering their parents.

...and this is why parents can't have nice things...

I had poured myself a cup of coffee after the coffeemaker politely let me know the cycle was done.  The imp and the pixie were both still sleeping, so I used my favorite mug.

...and the pixie woke up.  And insinuated herself between my computer cord (which was not on the floor, but hanging in a loop between my knee where it had slipped off the arm of my chair, and the end table, where the puppy couldn't reach it to chew on it) and the end table, somewhere she knows she's not supposed to be reaching for something she knows she wasn't supposed to have.  I told her to stop, and to get away from the table.  She did, but in the process, managed to hook her foot in the cord and yank my two-thirds full coffee cup over onto me and my nice, big work laptop.

...which now seems to have died.

I guess I'm going to be using my netbook (which the big laptop replaced) until and unless the laptop can be fixed.  And I, apparently, need to stick to using nothing but travel mugs, no matter whether the kids are asleep or not, for all hot beverages.  And no matter whether or not I'd prefer to use a different mug.

Shoot me now.

Got an email from a student, last night.  They'd emailed me asking if they were on the right track for the next paper, and I'd emailed them back telling her it looked good, but that they might want to put the Greek terms in italics.  This morning, I opened up my email to find that student had emailed me again.

"What is italics?"

Oh, God help me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Glad to have the imp home...

Since my in-laws are about to leave on a short trip, they requested to have the imp spend a couple nights with them.  He's home, now--and we're all glad about that.  Grandma said he was asking about the pixie, so he was ready to come home.  His first words on walking through the door?  "Hi, Mama!  I love you!  Puppy, don't bite!"

Pixie says, "Hi, Mama.  Stinky-wet.  Change diaper?"

I missed them, today, too, but was glad for the quiet.

Grading...grading...and helping others

I'm picking up paper two from a class, today.  My other class went from a D to B average between paper one and paper two.  Here's hoping the second class does as well.  We'll see.  I'll have something like eight more papers coming in to go with the five I've already received.  So, about five hours' worth of grading, tops.  I should be able to knock that out...just in time to pick up the third paper from the other class.

Other than that, I had an unexpected breakthrough with one of my novels.  I'll be putting it back into the hands of my awesome beta reader probably by the end of the week.  Maybe, with luck, I'll have it ready to go up for sale by the first part of December. 

This evening, we'll probably take the neighbors to Sam's Club.  Tomorrow morning, I'll be going to renew my concealed carry permit.  Next week, on one of Odysseus's days off, we'll take them to re-up for help, and maybe take them to a couple of churches for some extra that the government doesn't give.  Hopefully, soon, we can help them find something that gets better than 12 mpg, so that the missus can get a job and maybe start the family getting back on their feet. 

My mom keeps telling me I have no compassion.  In a lot of ways, she's right--I do have no compassion for people who won't try.  For those who are trying to put their lives, right, though, I will do all I can to help.  Most often, it's in the form of a ride somewhere to start getting their lives in order, rather than in the form of money we don't really have (my mom's favorite method of giving a drunk a drink, instead of actually helping).

I do have compassion.  What I lack is the same gullibility that my mother has in spades for her sisters.

Simple economics

When your income goes down, or your expenses go up (or, God forbid, both at once), what does a normal person with common sense do?

I can't speak for everyone, but we got cable.

I know, I know--my readers are going, "Uh...what?"

Back while I was carrying the imp, Odysseus worked managing a payday lending storefront.  The pay was so-so (a "salary" figured at $10/hour, for 45 hrs/week, with a generous offer of half-time overtime, since it was a "salary"), and the hours creeping up.  By the time he gave notice, they were frequently working him sixty hour weeks for peanuts in pay, and he was missing watching the imp grow up.  He missed the first time crawling, not because the imp did it during the hours the store was open, but because the imp crawled during the two hours he was required to be there after the store closed, calling deadbeats--with no added compensation, praise for doing a good job, or anything but verbal abuse from his boss.

So, he gave two weeks' notice.

About that time, AT&T jacked our internet and phone bills.  Our bill had jumped for phone and internet (plus a cell phone contract) from $135/month to $165/month, and was climbing by a dollar or two every month after that.  I could see us paying half the mortgage payment for phone and internet if something didn't change.  We'd just gone off a two year contract, and when we called and asked if we could get that adjusted back down by getting into another contract, we were laughed off the phone.  They told us "Sorry, that was a special to get customers back.  We can't give it to current customers."

Then we found out that they were also putting a cap on data usage.  Something that, between my work, and Odysseus's habits of watching documentaries online, wasn't going to fly for us. And they did it by claiming that they sent notice, tucked into all the junk mail they sent us trying to get us to upgrade to a more expensive, "cooler," cell phone plan.  Any data used past the cap would be an extra $10/50gig used.  And, no there wouldn't be any exceptions made for that, either.

Fine.  So, we called the cable company.  We were told that phone and internet and cable would be $75/month before taxes and fees, or phone and internet without cable would be $95/month before taxes.

We had to have the phone and the internet--I need high speed internet for my work.  So, we made the decision to get the basic cable package, as well.

Simple economics.  We may not have wanted the TV, but we also didn't want to pay $20/month to not have it.

So, as long as I have my job teaching online, paying for cable is going to be one of those bills we can't cut.  If I ever lose that job (considering the fact my teacher evaluations are one of the highest for a composition class, and the highest for an online composition class, it's unlikely), we'll revisit that decision, but for now, paying for cable makes more economic sense.

For us, at least.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

When is it tithing, and when is it enabling?

My mother, an individual on a fixed, government income, sets aside a tenth of every month's check to help those in greater need than she.  Recently, she's been buying food for my aunt.*  Calling that tithing, because that aunt has no income, no job, and has just gotten out of an abusive relationship (par for the course, for that aunt--she's one of those who feels she isn't complete unless she's married, has a room-temperature I.Q., and no spine). 

It strikes me less as tithing, and more enabling.  Without Mom buying her food, she'd have a job next week, or go hungry.  And it'll take her a while before she starves--she's got reserves to spare. 

I'd be willing to bet she'd find a job awful damn fast.  She's not nearly as broken as she's trying to convince Mom she is.

We've had new neighbors move in on our block recently.  The house they've moved into has been vacant for all but about two or three months of the six years we've lived here.  It's a wreck.  Derelict.  According to the wife, the electricity is FUBAR (the wiring in the house has been bollixed up--and the house doesn't even have a line leading in), the water pipes have been not only messed up, but glued so that it'll take replacing it all to fix it all, and they've been cheated by the owner, who gave them one price to rent-to-own, then had a second, nearly double figure in the written contract.  They're stuck, because they didn't have the money to go elsewhere. 

Tonight, they don't have any food in the house.  Their food stamps arrive tomorrow.  They have a four year old, a two year old, and a nine month old. 

Odysseus and I went to Sam's Club, earlier.  We got them a pizza for tonight, and a ten pound bag of pinto beans.  I'll be taking her to Sam's tomorrow on my membership so that she can stretch her food stamps until they shriek (like a 40 oz can of formula for $20, instead of one half that size at Wal-Mart for the same price), and maybe have something in the house to eat at the end of the month. 

I really don't think its enabling.  The husband has messed his back up to the point where he can't work, and she can't find work.

There's a world of difference between my new neighbor's attitude, and that of my aunt.  My aunt cries when my mom tells her that the money for her food came from my mom's tithing, but from what I've seen, it seems more like it's from injured pride than the gratitude my mom sees it as.  My neighbor has offered to spend some of her SNAP to pay us back for whatever we bring them to eat tonight.

I think, instead, we'll be telling her to pay it forward when she and her family get back on their feet. 

*She doesn't eat pasta.  Or beans.  Or rice.  Or anything else reasonably priced for someone on a fixed income to buy.  I don't see how she has a choice, given her claimed circumstances, but she still turns up her nose.

Not quite chicken soup, but it'll do a better job clearing your sinuses.

Take about half a pound of polish sausage, slice and slice the slices in half into the bottom of a large pan (5 quart at least).  Start warming the pan with the sausage, while you take stock of everything else in your kitchen.  Add whatever sounds good with the sausage.  For me, that's as follows:

1/2 lb polish sausage, sliced
1 13 oz can chicken breast, drained
~1/2 T Cajun seasoning
1/3 c or so chopped dried onion
2 cans Ro-Tel
1 can corn
5 c reserved chicken stock (from 2 crock pot chickens)
1 lg green bell pepper
2 t minced garlic
2 T chipotle Tabasco sauce
2 c or so golden rice

Bring to boil.  Cook until rice is done. 

Were it just me, I'd be adding black eyed peas, too, and okra if I had it.  But Odysseus doesn't really like it when I add that.  So, this isn't quite gumbo.

Go ahead.

I've seen a lot of riot threats if the great zero loses the election, lately.  The most colorful threat in the article was as follows: "If obama dont get re-elected & romney wins..on life every white persons getting pistol whipped and im startin a riot idc."

Pistol whipped, huh.  I can think of better things to do with the pistols I have.  Whipping an attacker is not one of them.  It would mar the finish.

So, I'm going to tell the world what my husband and I will do to prepare for the unlikely event that the riots that will likely occur in places like Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, and New Orleans, among others, reach our small town (less than one in a hundred in this area are niggers, despite having about a ten to fifteen percent black population, and about thirty percent white trash, which are equally likely to be niggers).

First, I'm going to make sure the pantry is fully stocked with staples--canned goods, dry goods, and a couple flats of bottled water, just in case.  I'm going to get a couple months' worth of any needed medications, because I can't see riots lasting that long, if they even happen.

Next, we're going to stock up on ammo.  I've got a good supply of .308, but that's more than overkill in a suburban situation.  Same with 7.62 x 54R.  .223, on the other hand, we're critically low on.  Same with our handgun calibers, though we can't afford to stock up on .45.

Last, we're going to be spending a bit more time at the range.

Riots don't really scare me much.  Not when they can't hit the broad side of a barn with a full magazine of ammunition, and I can put a magazine of rifle bullets through a spot I can cover with the palm of my daughter's hand, and a dozen Makarov rounds into a grouping I can cover with mine.

Monday, October 15, 2012


The mice have moved into the house, thicker than I've seen them in a long time, and earlier than I've seen them move in since we've owned this house (six years).  And this despite having a couple of cats that aren't useless, and a dog that shows signs of also being willing and able to hunt mice.

I've heard geese--barely, and only when I'm outside walking the pup--but they've been flying too high and fast to see, or to hear clearly or for long.  They haven't stuck around.  Usually, there are still a few flocks leisurely making their way south, stopping at every park and pond in the area.  I haven't seen more than the dozen or so that live at the run-off reservoir at the trucking company lot on the south end of town year-round. 

I haven't seen any woolly worms, this year, but I'd be willing to bet that they're mostly black. 

Based on these signals, I'm going to be willing to bet we're going to have a nasty winter. 

Another gas station accepting EBT

As we were driving home this afternoon after purchasing my husband a new pair of work shoes, we drove past another gas station that had up on its movable type billboard, right under the gas prices, "Now Accepting EBT."  I glanced at the front door as we pulled past it, and sure enough, there was a sticker advertising that SNAP benefits were accepted there.

I don't get it.  When my family was on food stamps, the only place that accepted food stamps was the grocery store.  You know, where groceries were sold.  Not candy.  Not beer.  Not instant crap, or pre-cooked, overpriced convenience stuff.  Groceries.  Flour.  Sugar.  Butter.  Eggs.  Milk.  Meat.  Dry pasta.  Canned veggies.  You know, stuff you cook with. 

The federal government needs to revisit what can and cannot be bought with money they take from me to give to those who might need it, but who certainly don't need it more than I do for my kids' sake, and where that money can be spent.  I distinctly, and deeply, resent that SNAP benefits can be spent at your local gas station, and at some restaurants. 

Good for the kids.

A couple of high school students set up a sting on an employee they were getting "creepy" vibes from, by setting up a fake Facebook page for a sixteen year old girl that was just too irresistible for Mr. Creepy to ask out.  He says that he didn't know "she" was sixteen; the teenagers said they made that clear  before he ever started making passes. 

No, the case hasn't been proved against the individual named in the story, but if the kids weren't getting a bad feel off the guy, they probably wouldn't have gone through the trouble to set up confirmation of what they suspected.

Some parents are horrified (and living in a dream world where their kids are always safe everywhere): “That’s disgusting,” parent Missy Vaughn said, according to CBS 2. “How could I send my child to school thinking that my child was safe? They should have told someone. If anything, they should have told the principal, somebody.” 

Okay, Ms. Vaughn, let's take this statement by statement.  First: public schools aren't safe.  Either the school will have a lot of violence (or bullying--the two, while not mutually exclusive, are not the same), or there will be at least one pervert working somewhere in the district where he or she will at least have access to what they consider wank material, and we consider our beloved children.  It's why I won't be sending my children to public school, and why my kids aren't going to be dressed like streetwalkers when they go out anywhere. 

Second...sadly, who's to say they didn't try telling someone?  Most adults, when a child or teen says that someone's creepy, will brush the kid off.  "Oh, you're just imagining things.  That can't happen here."  Or else, the principal is also a pervert, just more closeted about it, and won't take any action.  Or perhaps it's simply that the principal just didn't want to bother with the paperwork of firing the employee, and hiring someone new--until he or she was pushed to it by proof that the local PD considered investigation-worthy evidence. 

Yes, a lot of people go into education because they genuinely like children, but there are also a lot of people that go into education because they're freaking perverts.  And even more than that go into education because it's freaking easy to get into, and even easier to coast and do nothing while on the job.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Something erased all of my stats.  I had maybe a hundred shy of 50,000 all-time views, and then suddenly, BOOM!  Reset to zero. 

What the fuck.

At least it doesn't seem to have deleted all of the comments y'all have left. 

Why is it...

...that kids decide it's the perfect time to act like total shits when they're getting over a virus, and it really starts hitting you, their parent, hard?

I've heard jokes...

...about the stupid person calling in to the police to complain about the placing of the deer crossing signs, and about how it's not a safe place for the deer to cross.

I thought it was just that: a joke. 

Apparently not.  And she's hit three deer by those deer crossing signs that she doesn't seem to understand are there to warn her, not to tell the deer that it's a safe place to cross.


In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. --Genesis 1:1-3
 If we take the Bible totally literally, the earth is only a bit over six thousand years old.  The fossil evidence to the contrary is completely false.  And humanity created civilization (and writing) from scratch within about three generations.

Bull.  Shit. 

I am not saying that the Bible isn't a good guide--it is--just that it is not to be taken literally.  I strongly believe that the Bible does give the history of the universe, just told in metaphor for a people far from advanced enough to understand the physics of the Big Bang. 

God created us in His image.  I think that refers far less to the physical, and far more to the mental and spiritual.  If it is as I believe, do you really believe that He could use metaphor less well than His creation can to get the point across?

I dread the recalibration of sleep schedules when DST ends.

I'm going to start trying to push the kids' bedtimes back now.  The imp goes to bed around 8-8:30.  The pixie?  No later than 7:30, and that's pushing it to the realm of grouchy and too tired to go to sleep. 

They've been trying to get up at around 6:00, lately. 

That's going to suck, and suck hard, when we fall back an hour for standard time.  Because I haven't been able to get them to go back to bed for more than ten minutes for a full week.  And that means I get to bed between 10:30 and midnight, but have been getting up at 6:00, and putting the kids back in bed every ten minutes until 7:00.  Because I will not let them get up earlier. 

So, tonight, I'm going to push the pixie's bedtime back to a quarter after seven, and the imp's back to a quarter 'til nine. 

We'll see what happens tomorrow morning.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ever noticed...

...on those so-called "fun sized" candy bars, they could leave off the -n, and be far more accurate in their terminology?

(Yes, I'm having my lemon tea with honey whiskey.  It's quite good.)

Definitely having a makeshift toddy later.

My headache is a sinus headache.  It's not quite so blinding as this morning, but still pretty bad, and is now accompanied by a sore throat.

After the kids go to bed in about two hours, I'm definitely having a cup of hot lemon tea with Seagram's Dark Honey whiskey added.  Maybe that will help the sore throat, the headache, the stress of sick, grumpy kids, and the inability to go to sleep because of how bad everything in combination is making me feel.

Who knows?  Maybe having a small (or not so small) drink later might make grading my students' blogs more fun.

Heard this on the radio, recently.

I liked it well enough to share.  (M Sgt B, don't let the band put you off--the song is well done, and gorgeous)

random ramblings

The imp sounds like he's coming down with the same cold as the pixie.  I think I am, too--I've got a sinus headache bad enough I couldn't go to sleep last night until around midnight, or back to sleep this morning.

The pixie recently got a new hat.  It's an owl's head.  She loves it--pulls it on herself, and runs around in circles with her arms out to the side, fluttering her fingers, and going "who-who-who!"  Yep, my not-quite-two year old pixie is pretending to be a little owl flying around.  It's so cute it's almost painful.

The imp is getting better at communicating what he wants, and what he doesn't want.  Sometimes, it gets him into real trouble ("Don't tell Imp what to do!" yelled at Mom or Dad gets him time out first, then a couple of swats over the pants for a second offense, and swats on bare legs or butt for a third). 

He's been telling me all week that "Imp had happy birthday.  Had four candles.  I is four.  Pixie will have two candles.  She is two." 

He almost has enough manual dexterity to be able to start learning to write his letters.  I doubt it will be too much longer at all.  Same with starting to learn phonics.  He's going to be reading before starting school.  He counts objects to about eleven--he kind of gets a little lost past that.

The pixie knows all of her colors, and can count to about eight before she gets lost.

The other small child--the one with fur--has had one accident in the last three days, and that was more my fault than hers.  She's such a good dog.

I decided to take a few of the stories out of The Godshead.  I'm going to let it set for a while, then read the newly-edited version for better flow.  If I like it, I may well create a new blog over on WordPress for The Godshead, and related stories that don't really fit anywhere in any particular collection.  I've got tons of short story ideas for that world, that won't really be long enough to stand alone, but there aren't enough of any particular category to turn into a collection.

I'm still working on outlining The Last Pendragon.  I'm also seeing places where I could add more to strengthen the setting and characters.  I'm still looking over the plot to see if it needs work. 

But, like always during a semester, writing is kind of at the bottom of my priorities list, especially when my kids are sick, and I'm feeling none too good myself.  Thank God I'm mostly caught up on grading.  I had a few things due at midnight last night that I need to get graded today if I can.  My head hurts almost too bad to focus my eyes (I'm actually writing most of this with my eyes closed.  Yay, homekeys touch typing!).

Friday, October 12, 2012

I hate feeling helpless.

Like I mentioned earlier, the pixie is down with a cold.  A really bad one that's settling in her chest.  I've done all I can for her--Benedryl elixer dosed out by weight, and Tylenol to help her deal with the discomfort--but she still wakes up coughing and crying.  And all I can do is rock her and sing to her a little, until she crawls back into bed.  Still miserable. 

I hate feeling helpless.  Hate it. 

Cultural education

The imp asked me to turn on the radio in the bathroom a few minutes ago.  I did, and the station was in the process of switching over to high school football (blech!).  "Mama, want music!  Find music?"

So I switched it over to classic rock, and Alice Cooper's "School's Out" was playing.  Imp gets this look of focused concentration for a moment, then his face lights up.  "Mama, Muppets!  Music from Muppets!"

My poor baby

The pixie is sick with a cold.  I have no idea where she picked it up, but she's absolutely miserable.  She can't breathe through her nose very well, and not much at all when she lays down.  She's got an awful cough, too. 

Despite all that, she's still cheerful and playful, so I'm pretty sure a cold is all it is.  She's just extra miserable right now because it's nap time.

FFOT: entitlements

Like every week, I post these FFOT (Friday F**k Off Thread) posts for a couple of reasons: first, to bring down rage-induced headaches on my part (while hopefully entertaining my readers), and to offer the rest of you a forum to vent about frustrations in your lives.

Right now, personal frustrations center around territorial behavior of a young boy, and the whiplash-inducing vacillation between snuggling the puppy when she's sleeping and screaming in terror when she's awake that the pixie has been indulging in.  And I will not tell my own kids to fuck off.  So, my topics tend to be either lists of things that have gotten on my nerves in the news or in my classes.

Like this.  The federal government encouraging people to get on food stamps.  That fucking pisses me off so hard that my eyeballs are twitching.  Here's the money quote: "Everyone wins when eligible people take advantage of benefits to which they are entitled."

Warning: it's not pretty people.  Don't read on if you don't want the F-bomb thrown down every other word or so.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Can I sue for hostile work enviornment?

  • I'm offended by the automatic assumption that I'm an asshole, and must go through collegiality and anti-hostile work environment training to know how to act like a decent human being.
  • I feel discriminated against in the workplace for my political views.
  • I feel discriminated against in the workplace for my religious views.
  • I'm offended by the stupidity of the administration and the alliance of perpetual victimhood (ADA, GLAAD/LBGT, Young Democrats, etc.).  
  • I'm offended by people looking for something to take offense at, and the campus seems overpopulated by such assholes.

The occurrences are frequent and egregious, but somehow, I suspect I wouldn't be taken seriously.

Oh, yay.

I have another time-waster/disincentive for bad behavior* webinar today. 


At least this one isn't taking time away from grading papers.  Although, I will freely admit that I would far rather grade papers.

*"If you act like this, we'll make you sit through more training."

Kate Chopin's short novel of infidelity in the search for self

The class for which I am a teaching assistant is reading one of my favorite classic American novels, this week: Kate Chopin's The Awakening

It was a doozy of a controversial novel when it was first published (1899), because it clearly displayed a woman's quiet unhappiness in her marriage, her realizations that she was unhappy (and seen as nothing more than property by her husband), and her actions following that realization--leaving her husband, children, and home for independence; stepping so far outside the accepted roles society had set for her that she left herself vulnerable to seduction; and her eventual suicide on her realization of how many wrong decisions she made in the process of trying to find out who she was.

Edna Pontellier doesn't seem that sympathetic of a character, at first.  She's quietly unhappy, but oblivious to that fact, for a time.  When she realizes how unhappy she is, rather than try to make the best of her life and create happiness where she is, she takes steps that we see far too often in modern times: the dissolution of her marriage, no matter the cost to her husband and children. 

Then, as we keep reading, we notice something: she's acting out in this way because she literally has no idea what to do.  She has the emotional and mental maturity of a pre-teen, and is trying to live the life of an adult.  She has no real education, her talents have been stifled all her life by the authority figures around her (first her father, then her husband), and she suddenly wakes up to find herself shackled to a man she doesn't want, by children she doesn't know what to do with but loves in a distracted, confused way, and a man she could love just out of her reach.  Every one of the actions she takes are those of a rebellious teen girl who just can't see the future consequences of her decisions. 

By the time of her suicide, I was wishing I could have been there with her, sat her down earlier in the novel, before she'd moved into her own little house, and explained a few facts of life to her.  I was really wishing someone could see the desperately unhappy little girl in the woman acting out, and could have helped her. 

And I was really wishing I could have kicked her husband in the balls for courting her so persistently while she was so very young, and marrying her without letting her grow up. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

If life gives you lemons, make chocolate milk?

Reverend Jesse Jackson seems to be unclear on the difference between homosexuality and polygamy.  When asked about whether Christianity said homosexuality was immoral, he responded

“I’m not all-together convinced of that,” the civil rights leader responded, going on to claim that marriage has “blurred” definitions. “King Solomon had many wives in that culture. Then David had many wives of that culture. The Muslims today have three or four wives of that culture.”

Well.  If that's so, then the only reason he's voting against Mitt Romney is because he's white.  And, if you go by Jackson's reasoning, gay.  

Wow. I feel weird.

I'm caught up with my grading, both for my own classes, and the class for which I'm a teaching assistant.  I've been behind the eight-ball for a few weeks, now, and it feels strange not having some kind of grading hanging over my head. 

Now to start working on the housework.  And maybe my writing, if I can get the gumption together for it. ulterior motives

Ronald Regan once said that the most frightening words in the English language were "I'm from the federal government, and I'm here to help."  Little did he know that local governments would end up as bad or worse.

Florida is refusing to let private citizens feed the homeless on their own dime--it must be done only by the city's government, and only by robbing people who might not want to feed bums.

And now, Glendale, Arizona, is refusing to permit a woman to keep feeding the hungry from a private food pantry she pays for and runs from her front yard.  She's been running this food pantry for seven years, yet somehow, it's now illegal. 

I wonder how close Arizona thinks it is to winning an award for getting people to sign up for food stamps.

Not yet dawn.

Yet here I am, cup of coffee at hand, trying to get some grading done, and trying to keep the pixie from getting up before she should.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I don't understand.

An acquaintance of mine shot and killed his soon-to-be-ex-wife.  While his children were asleep in the house.  Then, he went off and shot and killed himself.  I sort of understand the mother-in-law, but still. 

I don't have the whole story--motives, and such--but I don't really care.  Once you have a child, what you want no longer matters, not in the face of that child's welfare. 

I thought I knew the guy.  I didn't think he was that stupid and self-centered.  I mean, really.

What kind of selfish bastard shoots his kids' mother?  What kind of selfish bastard turns his children into orphans?

It has been a long damn day.

My imp had his four year well-child visit today.  Our doctor's office has moved into their new, post-tornado, permanent location.  It's really nice. 

It was also insanely busy,* this morning.

One of the other patients was a 54 year old woman who was suffering badly after a knee replacement.  She was in an incredible amount of pain, and her husband was griping about how she was sent home without adequate pain remediation.  I mentioned that it was probably worth the doctor's license (and a possible prison term) for him to have prescribed such.  It actually sparked a major discussion among about nine or ten strangers, about how horrible that was, and I pointed out similarities between the war on (some) drugs, and the prohibition of alcohol in the 1930's. 

Richard Blaine wrote an excellent piece about that, yesterday.   As he pointed out,  nobody that pays attention to the war on (some) drugs notices the racial aspect (like how crack is more illegal than cocaine--which is a stronger drug--because of what demographic uses it), or the connection with organized crime.  Few know their history well enough to remember that we've been through this song and dance before, and that it didn't work then, either. 

Fewer still count the cost in human suffering. 

No one in the active enforcement of modern prohibition pays attention to anything other than the fact that someone, somewhere might make an informed decision  to use one of these drugs recreationally (and have a lot of fun so doing), or to anything other than how much cash and/or property they can steal from someone under the suspicion of having some drugs in their possession.

And the ones suffering are the ones in major, chronic pain that can't do a damn thing about it, and the doctors that have to sit by, helpless, while their patients hurt.

*And, as a mark of why we're going to be sticking with that particular office, regardless of the doctor we'd seen moving, the receptionist called with an apology for wait times, and with a compliment for how well the imp had behaved during the hour long wait to get back to an exam room.

Monday, October 8, 2012

"Imp done being twerp!"

Oh, if only it were so.  He tells me "I be good, make Mommy happy"--then turns around and hits his sister.  He says, "I done being twerp"--then yanks a toy or book out of her hands, not because he wants it, but because she has it.

The newest wrinkle in the smart mouth developments is "Don't tell Imp what do!" after I've told him not to do something, or "I right here!" without moving, when I've told him to get out of his sister's room, or to sit down on the couch and settle down for bedtime.

I love the little guy, but sometimes it's all I can do not to stick a bar of soap in his mouth.

Yet another reason to home school

A school district in San Antonio, TX, has moved from using standard plastic ID cards to cards with RFID chips in them, supposedly to better track attendance.  Needless to say, some kids are rebelling, mostly on religious grounds, but a few on the grounds of it being unconstitutional (thank God for that). 

The school is hitting back: kids aren't allowed to do a lot of things that they were told they'd be able to with their old ID cards.  Things like voting for homecoming royalty.  The article doesn't say it, but I'd suspect that they're also probably not allowed to check material out of the library. 

I don't think this is a justifiable use of this technology.  It puts personal identification information out there for anyone to snag using the Freedom of Information Act (*cough*rapists*cough*).  It permits realtime tracking of wherever the ID happens to be--a violation of our God-given, Constitutionally guaranteed protected rights--despite what the district claims about how it stops tracking these things at the edge of campus.  And, if a student objects, they're threatened with exupulsion or transfer, and not allowed to do things that high school kids nation wide take for granted.

Of course, the district is shocked that anyone is protesting.  According to the district spokesperson, Pascual Gonzales,“The kids are used to being monitored.”  Why should they protest one more level to the creepy surveilance?
Q: What does your average federal government bureaucrat think of the San Antonio school district's RFID-chipped ID cards for their students?

A: It's a good start to get people used to the government tracking their every move.

Papers graded

My set of Comp II papers has been graded, now.  This bunch was a ton better than their first papers' first drafts.  I got most of them graded in one day.  I'd have finished sooner, but between computer problems (specifically with Hotmail) preventing downloading the papers, and traveling to grandparents' houses to celebrate a birthday, I simply didn't have the opportunity to get those papers graded. 

Next?  Catching up with the blogs, and turning in midterm grades on Friday. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Another day done.

Another birthday party survived.  We went up to my mom's, today, and she gave the imp something that's going to be carefully kept in the kitchen for him to play with under strict supervision.  If he split his sister's forehead open with a wooden alphabet block, I don't want to see what he manages with a toy wooden hammer or screwdriver. 

I'm relieved to have that behind me. 


If we take the Old Testament literally, they happened often.  If we look at the New Testament, we find that only Christ really worked the big, flashy ones.


I think that the big, flashy miracles, like turning water into wine or healing the sick instantly by simply saying "Be healed," became thin on the ground to remove proof that God exists, and that He loves us.  He wants us to have faith. 

It's not easy.  Not when we lose friends and family to horrible things like Alzheimer's and cancer and car accidents and stupid circumstantial accidents.  It would be so much easier to believe if God didn't let us lose our grandparents and parents and brothers and sisters and friends to things other than age; if He would just heal that illness, or put down his hand and prevent that accident, it would prove that He was there.

And that completely negates the need for faith.

It's so easy to get angry with life, to get angry with God.  It's so easy to turn our backs on Him, with the justification that "He obviously doesn't care about me...if He exists at all.  If He isn't willing to do this little thing for me, it's obvious that He just isn't there." 

I could have gone that way but for the fact that I wouldn't have survived my childhood without His help.  There were so many times I had the crap beat out of me before I turned seven, so many times I was picked up and thrown head-first at walls, so many times my male genetic donor drove drunk with me and my sister in the car, none of us strapped in.  I cannot imagine surviving all of that, relatively intact, without divine aid.

There aren't the big flashy miracles that nobody can deny happening so much anymore.  That doesn't mean that there aren't small, unnoticeable ones happening all around us every day.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Random ramblings

I'm a bit late on this, but that's because we went to one set of grandparents' house today for the imp's birthday.  We'll be going to the other grandparent's house tomorrow.

The imp had a happy birthday.  He's got a new toy train that's very noisy, and will reside in his room (and be played with only behind a closed door) and two new Hot Wheels cars from Grandma and Grandpa, a new Thomas the Tank Engine movie (from his sister), and a 5' x 7' area rug with roads, shops, and other things printed on it (from us).  He spent most of the afternoon playing with his train, and then with the new rug once we got home.  He didn't want to watch the movie until after bath time--and then he watched it twice

The pixie enjoyed her day, too.  She adores Grandma and Grandpa, and has missed her big brother something fierce.  She chased him around, played with him, fought with him, and generally enjoyed being with him.  Oh, and she greatly enjoyed his chocolate cake and ice cream. 

The pup was watched by a good friend of ours, who had to leave about half an hour before we made it home.  When we mentioned who'd been watching the dog, the imp begged to have them come over. 

Pup has started running over and rattling her leash on the hook next to the door when she needs to go out.  Smart dog.

My stupid brain's been toying with an extension of the story I had rejected.  Imagine a weedy, nerdy, semi-Asperger's individual who is so focused on finding evidence that two different cultures just had different names for the same goddess that he woke said goddess up.  Yeah...that's gonna go well.  And how do you get her to go away again, once you've drawn her notice?

I've got a good bit plotted out in my head, and have the ending scene in mind, but it's going to be a while before I'm going to be able to write it. 

I hope plagiarist student drops the class.  That was really stupid of that student.  They write a lot better, even if only in African American Vernacular English (Ebonics), than the paper they turned in.  Their writing flows better, and makes much better sense than the choppy piece of shit they copied and pasted sentences out of order into a loose approximation of a paper. 

I managed to almost finish grading papers. yesterday.  I've got about half a dozen left.  Plus blog posts.  Plus the work I do helping my colleague out.  So, not much out of the ordinary for next week, and then I'll be collecting papers for Comp I the next Monday.  

Grading never stops.

Four years

No, not of Obama.

Four years ago today, at 5:56 a.m., my son was born. 

His first five weeks weren't easy--he was born eight weeks early, and spent his first five weeks in the NICU.  The first day was very hard for me: I didn't see him for almost four hours, and didn't get to hold him at all.  Not until the Saturday after the Monday he was born. 

He was so tiny, too.  He was seventeen and a half inches long at birth, and three pounds thirteen ounces.  But good Lord did he have a working set of lungs!  I could hear him through the locked NICU door while waiting to be let in when he was upset--while he was in a room at the other end of the unit, in a closed incubator!

Today, he's about forty-four inches tall, and thirty-two and a half pounds.  He's a real smartass, and has a terrific, wacky sense of humor ("Mama have blue eyes, I have green eyes!" *grins*  It's actually the opposite).  He runs, plays, has no signs of asthma or hearing impairment (other than typical small child selective hearing), and his speech issues are resolving themselves really quickly. 

I can't believe it's already been four years.  Nor can I believe it's only been four years.  I can't imagine life without him.

If anyone wants to see more pictures, check out the baby pics label over on the right.

Friday, October 5, 2012

I love cooler weather...

...but, Lord, do I hate the transition.  Both hands seem to be developing issues in the joint where my index finger meets my palm.  It's worse on my right hand (I'm right handed).  And I can feel the change in pressure and going outside in the cold and damp makes my hands hurt, and makes grading a real bitch.

And one more...

...because the song, and Cash's voice singing, are just awesome.

In the mood for some music...

 Because I'm in a Johnny Cash mood.

FFOT: bonus

Plagiarists.  Plagiarists can fuck right the fuck off, all the fucking way to the fucking office of the fucking Dean of Students. 

Seriously, there needs to be a Dean of Fucktards for students like that.  Someone authorized to tell a student that they're being a fucking idiot for plagiarizing work that they can write easier themselves. 

FFOT: ingratitude

I am about ready to stop fucking giving any fucking feedback on fucking everything except the fucking papers.  The papers are in my contract--the blogs and the discussion board aren't.  I tell students in the grade book why they don't get the full points when they don't fucking pay attention to the fucking instructions and do the entire fucking assignment fucking correctly the first fucking time. 

And the little fucktards email me whining "Whyyyy didn't I get full credit???  I don't unerstaaaaannnddd!!!" 

Because you didn't fucking follow the fucking instructions.  Go look at your fucking grade book before you fucking bother me.

And those who pester me with "But you didn't grade my stuff and leave me feedback the minute I did the assignment!"  Y'all can fuck right the fucking fuckety fuck off.  Your fucking shit is not the only fucking thing I have to fucking grade.  If you want me to fucking do it NOW NOW NOW, you will not fucking like your fucking score because you CAN'T FUCKING DO ANYFUCKINGTHING FUCKING RIGHT, you stupid, fucking mouth-breathing fucking MORON. 

Those who complain about those who are working full time plus volunteering forgetting one small part of their volunteer work can either turn that volunteer work into a fucking paid fucking position or shut the fuck up when your unpaid helper who volunteers non-existent free time (incidentally, this does not make them your slave, or your bitch) messes something up. 

And to family: I buy you groceries because I fucking feel sorry for how stupid you are.  Your choices have been what's caused you to go hungry.  Do not whine about the fact that those fucking groceries aren't the goddamn fucking name brand.  Or that it's the wrong thing, and you don't eat that.  Grow the fuck up, get a fucking job, and buy your own damn groceries.  Because I'm fucking done. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Back to a low-fat diet, I guess...

I realized something last night.  A lot of my recent bouts of being under the weather have had symptoms in common with food poisoning, but neither of the kids nor Odysseus have had anything like what I've had. 

However, my issues with my gallbladder, something miraculously fixed by the imp (as in: before I had him, I could eat pizza once in a while if I was careful all of the rest of the time, but couldn't eat peanut butter at all), had many of the same symptoms.  I'd forgotten that, until last night. 

So, I'm going to have to cut back, like a lot, on things like lasagna, enchilada casserole, cheese on my chili and know, all the things that taste good. 

Bummer.  At least I know how to cook to make it taste good.  I'll have to experiment with new recipes since I've started using some new ingredients.  If I come up with anything really good, I'll post it.

I'd rather be reading.

Hell, I'd rather be having my teeth cleaned, but there you go.

I have papers to collect from my email, then grade.  It usually takes forever to do--twenty papers to download, and twenty minutes per paper.  One class's worth of papers takes seven hours, minimum, to grade.  And I can't spend seven hours straight doing nothing but grading.  I have housework, kids, pets, and sanity to consider. 

Not to mention a disgusted certainty that about half of the papers that should be revised will not get revised. 

So...I'd rather be reading.  Or writing.  Or cleaning up runny poo, whether human or animal.  Anything but grading papers.

Story of a dog...

I never told the story of how we ended up with a pure bred Scotty puppy, did I?  There's a bit of schadenfreude involved...

Anyhow, my mother has always wanted a Scotty dog.  I don't remember a time when she didn't just love them.  So, when one of my aunts called Mom in May or June with a sob story about a breeder who needed to either put down or give away a breeding pair that hadn't successfully birthed or raised a live litter in two years, Mom jumped at her chance.  My aunt took the male, and Mom went and got the female. 

Mom ended up with the male, too, for a while, twice: once, my aunt's soon-to-be-ex abusive husband made her get rid of her dog because the dog bit him (good dog), and then a neighbor told her that the next time the little guy pooped on his property he'd shoot the dog. 

The female is pretty much half-tame, or less.  She's not vicious, just terrified of humans, despite longing for affection and comfort.  Mom loves her anyway.

Neither adult dog was house trained.  Both were accustomed to a three by six by six foot cage. 

Anyway, Mom noticed at the end of June that her dog was getting fat.  And her teats were swelling. 

Yup.  The dog the breeder thought was too old was pregnant. 

We waited, and she went off and birthed some of that litter stillborn.  We didn't think she still had any surviving, but on July 19, she went and hid and had the rest of the litter.  Three puppies, live, and healthy.  We waited, afraid that the puppies wouldn't survive, while Mom fed the mama dog on table scraps, canned food, and Purina One dog food, as much as she could eat. 

And all three puppies survived.

Apparently, the breeder was overbreeding the little female, and wasn't feeding her well enough to nourish the dog and the puppies. 

So, Mom has a female Scotty that has her papers.  My aunt has a (now neutered) male Scotty that has his papers.  And we have a pup that, did we care to, could have hers.

All for free, thanks to the careless stupidity of a dog breeder who didn't know jack shit about how to treat her animals to keep them healthy enough to breed successfully.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Prices are going up everywhere, but we recently noticed that the unit price on the spaghetti sauce in a jar that I use to make pasta bake, lasagna, and plain pasta (with meat or without) has gone down. 

The amount in the jar went from 24 oz to 32 oz, and the cost only went up a little bit--about a dollar--for the package of three jars at Sam's Club. 

With everything else either going up in price, or going down in size, the spaghetti sauce was a nice surprise.  We got an extra jar's worth of sauce in each three-pack. 

More Joss Stone

Thanks and welcome...

Thank you, j3maccabee, for hitting that follower button.  The coffee's freshly ground, freshly made, and hot--have a seat, and let me know if you like it black, with cream and sugar, or with whiskey. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Not exactly suffering, but...

This has been stuck in my head for most of the evening.

Teenage British chick sounds like she swallowed a forty-year-old black soul singer. 

Well said!

I love Ricki's response to Obama's whining self-pity about being forced to sit for debate prep. 

All I can add is: Mr. President, grow the fuck up.  You are not setting any kind of an acceptable example for the rest of the nation. 

Hoping for a better influence...

Remember that twat in Michigan that won the lottery, but felt entitled to welfare and food stamps because she "had no income," and had bills to pay?  Well, unsurprisingly, she overdosed and killed herself.  Also unsurprisingly, she had the poor judgement to do this in front of her eighteen month old son. 

Here's hoping that, instead of being shunted from temporary family to group home (read: orphanage), growing up in state custody, he's adopted out to a good, solid middle-class family that will teach him delayed gratification and self-reliance, rather than government dependence and entitlement like his mother was teaching him. 

None so blind...

I admire Bishop Jackson for trying, but he's going to fail.  The overseers will keep the rest in line by treating him like they do Bill Cosby, Allen West, Herman Cain, Thomas Sowell, Condi Rice, Walter E. Williams...

It isn't being a race traitor to point out the truth.  It isn't "acting white" to vote for the ones that most closely align with your own beliefs and moral codes.  It isn't racist to say that the Democrat party owns the black vote because of true race traitor overseers like Al Sharpton and the false Reverend Jessee Jackson. 

Somehow, the majority of the black population just refuses to see that.

Monday, October 1, 2012

I am impressed.

The pup is really pretty smart.  She's been going to the door when she needs to go out.  Pretty much every time.  Now, I guess, all that it's going to need to finish her housetraining is for her to get big enough to have more control over her sphincters, and for Odysseus and me to learn to watch for her signals--she tends not to whine or bark unless she's either in her kennel crate, or playing.

We've had her for two weeks.  She's come that far in two weeks.

I miss my on-campus classes.

Nothing causes a better high than seeing the light bulb moment--that moment when a student understands something for the first time, and their face lights up with sudden understanding (and often chagrin, when they realize how easy the concept I was trying to teach actually was, and how much harder they were trying to make it on themselves). 

It's something that's entirely missing from teaching online.  I get it a little bit with the kids, but there's still a major communication barrier, and it's really muffled. 

There is a great joy in staying home with my kids, but that joy has not come without sacrificing the classroom, which was the part of teaching I loved the most. 

Busy week ahead...

I didn't get blogs graded, this past weekend.  I need to get that done by tomorrow evening, because I'm picking up first drafts of paper 2 for my Comp II class on Wednesday and Thursday (the papers are due by midnight Wednesday).

I have my teaching assistant work to do today, and some on Friday (which will be a welcome break from my own grading). 

I need to be done with grading those papers by Friday night, too--Saturday will be the imp's fourth birthday, and I will be out of town and out of contact until Saturday evening.