A new semester begins

I recently discovered – and by recently, I mean last week – that I had the power to open my online classes BEFORE the official start time of tomorrow night at midnight.

The first two weeks of last semester were a cluster. A new text book, new website, nonexistent instructions for how to set things up and how to let students register for the website made for major frustrations on both sides of the desk. I was ready to throw in the towel the second day, to the point where I had to shut down the computer and walk away for 24 hours. I had more emails from students in one day than I normally have in a semester. And let me tell you – students these days are incredibly empowered to say any bloody thing they want to a professor, and take attitudes that I would never have even considered as a student. I suspect, strongly, that they know that we are basically powerless to do much about it, the slightest hint of a snarky reply will ensure an hour or two of discussion with the Dean about being a)unprofessional, b) our students are customers and hence, always right and c) don’t do it again or you won’t have a job because adjuncts are the low people in the college hierarchy.

The chance to open things early, get them possibly registered before the rush of incoming students crashes the website, was like a gift from the gods. I sent off an email to my students, then took the plunge and opened those babies up. It seems to have worked, they’ve started trickling in and managing to get registered on the textbook’s website and dare I hope for a better start this time around?

My hopes are not often turned into reality these days. Maybe this will be the exception

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Books and thoughts

One of my dear friends loves to read YA novels and frequently suggests titles to me. I don’t care who the target audience is, if it’s a good story and well written, I’ll read it.

I started reading a series she recommended and I’m currently on the last book. Apparently I’m oblivious to nuances – it seems that throughout the first three books, there have been “clues” that two of the characters are gay.

I do not need to know this unless it’s integral to the story

It is not

It feels like the author is thinking, “I have to make at least a couple of characters gay or I’ll get nailed by the pc police.”

It’s annoying

I am the opposite of homophobic. I am firmly in the “I don’t care about your sex life, it’s yours, keep it to yourself” club. I don’t care. If you hit on my husband, we’ll have an issue, otherwise, I don’t care.

I sort of don’t want to finish the book now because I feel like I’m being preached at – like, “if you don’t like this book you’re a bad word!”

If only I hadn’t promised to not curse for a day.

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Snowing, blowing, yuck!

Probably within 5 minutes of meeting me, you’ll know how much I hate snow. Yesterday we got about 4 inches of white yuck. I had nowhere to go so I made the Bear take the Benz because it’s the “f you, snow!” car and even though he’s really good driving in snow, other people are not, and we have the driveway from Hell and it was one less thing for me to stress about.

Maverick decided that snow is the best thing ever. Yeah, little dude, pulling the leash out of my hand so you can go running about is not a good thing. He does come back, as soon as I go inside, so that’s good, but seeing him run down the driveway is a scary sight. Because he loved it so, today we let him out off leash for a bit, a more controlled situation than him pulling the leash out of my hand – or so I told myself. He did okay, he went further than I like, but he always comes back when I call.

He does not, however, like to poop at home. Yes, this is weird. I don’t have to pick it up if he poops in the field! So, knowing what the paths are like at the park after it snows, I really didn’t want to go there. People walk, the snow gets packed down, freezes in the shape of footprints, Maverick pulls – a broken ankle waiting to happen.

He didn’t poop while running in the snow. Sigh

Off to the park we went to check out the situation. Mostly the paths were clear except for the parts where the wind was whipping the snow across. And into my face.

Bear bought me a hat that has a built in face mask. I haven’t used it yet because it makes me look like a bank robber. There are no banks at the park. I pulled that baby down over my face and thanked my Bear for his foresight.

It wasn’t a good walk. Maverick wanted to go fast, I was afraid of falling, so it was a pulling contest. But the good news is that he pooped!

Posted in dogs, Maverick, my life, snow | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Joy and sadness

My dear sweet neighbor is in her 80’s. I want to be her when I grow up. Affectionately known as “Momma Joan” to all my friends, she is an amazing woman. Although you would never know her age if you spent a day with her, I know that time, and life, are tricky things, and I spend as much time as I can with her. I take her goodies because I accidentally make too much food sometimes, cookies, pumpkin roll, whatever I can. I check on her every day, a simple text that lets her know I’m thinking of her and her reply is often, “I’m not dead yet!” I adore this lady, she is my adopted mom and I am forever grateful to the dogs who brought us together.

Today we went shopping, because we both love Hobby Lobby. I bought more than needed, as always, and she laughed at me when I told her to talk me out of something. We are not good influences on each other when it comes to shopping

We went to the Dollar Store – the one where everything is actually a dollar – and found treasures. My current addiction is mini binders and they had a small selection for – A DOLLAR! I only bought two, because I only liked two of the colors. 🙂

We went to the Goodwill Store, but didn’t find any treasures there. We did giggle a bit at the things people donate, though!

And then we came home and I played with Maverick and did some training and settled down to do some work, thinking it had been a rather good day so far, having started with one of the best walks we’ve had in a few days and then progressing to a delightful time with Momma Joan.

My friend messaged. Her dad, who is an amazing man, full of life and full of stories, who can crack me up in an instant, broke his hip a few months ago. He’s in his 90’s and a broken hip is bad news for someone that old. He had surgery, and has gone downhill since. She wanted to let us know that the end was near. When I said I was coming to her, and she agreed, I knew it was bad – my shoes were on and I was out the door 5 minutes later. Because that’s what we do, we gather and support each other and love each other and cry together and get through the hard stuff by holding onto each other.

Within half an hour, my best friend had arrived and the three of us gathered around, talking and telling stories. I hope he could hear us, and feel the love. I hope he wakes up and talks to us again, and tells us stories – just for a bit. I pray that there are angels around him and if he must leave us, he goes gently into their arms.

Joy and sadness. Too many memories of other old ones, lying in bed, waiting to move on, too many tears. I am, at times like this, eternally grateful for the blessing of good friends, who drop everything and come running. Thank you, Mother and Poppa, for teaching me how to take care of the people I love.

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I lost the Christmas card list

The dining room table – aka, the black hole – gets hosed off twice a year, maybe three times. (*Disclaimer – housekeeping is not my strong suit) It’s where I study, do school stuff, play on the computer, craft, and pretty much pile up books and cards and stuff. (My husband does the same to the kitchen table.) (We are essentially a couple of slobs)

(Clean slobs, but slobs, with just a touch of hoarding tossed in.) There are 25 unread books in this room currently, 3 in process in the kitchen, and one on the table waiting for me to finish taking notes.

Also on the table is an almost completed blanket – I’m at the point where I’m heartily sick of it and hope to finish it tonight or tomorrow, at which time I will figure out what to do with it.

There is also a box of Christmas cards waiting to be addressed and sent out. I keep a list of names and addresses of those who grace us with a card each year – miss three years in a row and you’re off the list because I’m that kind of person. (Sorry, not sorry)

Two weeks ago, I had said list in my hands. It was in the cabinet with the cards – we have a plethora of Christmas cards because two years ago, the NRA had a huge sale and my husband’s eyes lit up and glorious boxes of cards were soon wending our way, in spite of my protestations that we send out perhaps 20 each year, and that includes the “special” cards I pick out from Hallmark (yes, Hallmark, don’t judge) for special friends, reducing the number of boxed cards to 15 at the most, and that he had ordered enough to last us for the rest of our natural lives. He didn’t care. I did manage to talk him out of ordering more when the next hot sale happened.

I moved the list for some reason which seemed perfectly reasonable at the time, although it currently escapes me. I remember thinking, when I put it wherever I put it, “I’m not gonna remember putting this here when I need it.”

Damn, I hate it when I’m right when I don’t want to be right. I looked in every place I could think today – the good thing was that I found the knitting needles I had also misplaced so finishing the above mentioned blanket will be much easier than I had thought it would be – but that doesn’t get the cards written

I guess it’s good that I have a reputation for always sending cards late. I have a reputation for other things too, but there’s no need to go into that now – suffice it to say that when you stir the pot, you sometimes need to tell someone to sit down and shut up and, although no one will admit it, you know that most of your relatives have wanted to do the same for years. That’s another post, another day.

Meanwhile, where the heck is that list?

Posted in Christmas, family, home, knitting | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Because Maverick insists

In an absolutely shameless attempt to gain followers, I’m going to post this for Maverick

He has his own facebook page so if you’re on that hell hole of daily drama, and you want to get his version of events, please give him a follow at https://www.facebook.com/maverickpuppy/

Today has been a long walk, followed by a rousing game of tug, some ball tossing, and helping Mommah clean. This consists of him walking through the fur I just swept up and trying to bite the broom. I haven’t the heart to tell him it’s not really helping.

He finds it terribly amusing to bite the broom, even though I tell him Mommah is a witch and biting her broom is not a good idea. He just laughs and give me the “you wouldn’t curse me” look. Well, Little One, you got that part right

The semester is nearly over. Just the final tomorrow night, finishing up grades this week and a few weeks off till the next round starts. I am extremely grateful to be done this semester. It’s been more of a trial than some, although not as bad as others. I do believe I’ve typed “IT’S IN THE SYLLABUS!” in caps more times than ever before.

So I won’t miss that, and I will make changes in my online class so I don’t have to keep shouting that “IT’S IN THE FREAKIN SYLLABUS!” And hopefully next semester will be better

Meanwhile, Maverick would like me to take him out to potty

Posted in dogs, Maverick, my life, teaching | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

is it over yet?

Christmas, the semester, the hot mess in Washington? Just be over with all this mess and move on?

Today was “just ignore it all ” day. Maverick and I walked in the rain. We got completely drenched and had the best walk we’ve had in ages. I think we should just walk in the rain every day. Can someone put that request in to Mother Nature, please?

Then we played ball for 1/2 hour till he was worn out, and ready to help with laundry. His help involves dragging the laundry basket hither and yon, getting it upside down over his head, biting the sides, dragging it some more and generally causing a ruckus. (Not really, but I like that word and you rarely get a chance to use it.)

He took a nap. Thank you, sweet baby Jesus.
I read a book about how dogs learn. There’s not a chapter on napping, to my disappointment.

We played tug and then I read some more while he chewed something.

He even ate three meals today. (Maverick does not eat unless the spirit moves him – so this is a very good thing)

The TV has been silent since the Bear left for work.

It’s actually been a rather wonderful day.

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Dear Amazon

you are not my friend

I think I have a problem

It’s not hoarding if you actually read the books, is it? I mean, okay, the TBR pile is 12 deep in this room but I WILL read them all. So what if there are three more TBR piles upstairs? I could be smoking or doing drugs, right?

I can’t describe the joy of finding a book I’d forgotten I owned and realizing I didn’t read it yet, it’s brand new, oh yay, THIS time I’ll read it, I really will!

Lately I’ve been obsessed with dog training books, books about how dogs learn, books about how to keep your dog amused, books that have a dog on the cover even if they have nothing to do with dog training. I find it very difficult to resist that “one click” button. On the plus side, I’m learning a ton about dogs. I seriously think I’ll be a dog trainer in my next career. It can’t be more difficult than teaching accounting, right?

Maverick thinks I’d be better served by just petting him constantly and throwing the ball whenever he brings it to me, letting him run around off leash and letting him eat the books.

This is why I buy training books.

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Holiday blues

They’ve hit hard this year. I’m not sure why this year is worse than others, last year was darkened by the sudden death of my brother in law but even then I wasn’t nearly as sad as I am this year.

I’m missing the old days. We did Christmas when I was a kid like there would never be another Christmas and this one had to be the best ever. I spent hours shopping, in stores and online, looking for the perfect present. We started planning in the summer, crafting began in June or July and there was always that last present that was just finished up Christmas Eve. It was a time of joy, of delight in watching the faces light up and hearing, “where did you FIND this? It’s perfect!” It wasn’t about the stuff – okay, it was about the stuff – but it was also about the joy of giving.

My grandchildren want money. Nothing else. Money. I feel like an ATM. There is no planning, no joy, no happy excitement. My husband makes the Grinch look like a Christmas lover. He also wants nothing. He’s more than happy to buy me presents – if I tell him what I want.

He can’t buy the joy.

Maverick will be more spoiled than normal. That may or may not make me feel worse.

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In my infinite wisdom, I helped the department chair choose a new text book, from a new publisher, this semester. I spent the summer reading and making notes and creating videos from this new text book. When the semester began, I had completed 6 out of 10 chapters. I have one chapter left to do, and a few days before it opens for my online students.

And I have no ambition whatsoever. Maybe it’s because I’m (still) battling this cold. Maybe it’s because I’ve lost my joy in teaching. Many things are going on at my college, and for the first time in 15 years, I wasn’t asked to teach a class on campus next semester. I’ve had several long talks with myself about this, but the feelings of hurt and disrespect have yet to dissipate.

When I was a kid, I was always the last chosen for any team. I was quite unathletic, preferring a book to a ball any day. (My mother would have to shove me out the door in the summer, and I would have my book in hand, searching for a bug free spot to sit and read till she let me come back inside) (She wasn’t meaning to punish me, she just wanted me to get some fresh air) (And may have been tired of working around me, I would be planted in one spot all day unless she forced me to move)

Even then, even though I didn’t want to play on their stupid teams, it hurt to not be chosen. It hurt to hear, “you take her this time, we got stuck with her last time!” I don’t blame the other kids, kids say stupid shit and I honestly wouldn’t have wanted me on my team either. I sucked. But I remember how it felt. And that’s how this feels.

So, I’ve kind of got a bad attitude. And yet, I’ll get it done. And hopefully it will be better next semester. I’m kind of looking forward to it – I’m teaching online so I can spend an hour a day catching up on emails and grading and never have to leave the house unless I want to. Snow days? Piffle, I’m not getting out of my jammies.

And maybe I’ll finally get this wild puppy on a schedule of some sort

Posted in my life, teaching | 6 Comments