Saturday, March 31, 2012

Welcome new ammenities

We have a new ammenities center in our complex. I know it's petty of me, but it really got under my skin when the welcome to the ammenities center email went out. Not only is it misspelled there, but on the big billboard sign down by the dumpster and again on the amenities building itself. Sigh.

The nice thing, though, is that there is a washer dryer combo in there. Two of each, actually. So I had the fun of throwing stuff in the wash and then making a big pot of red beans. I'm going to make red beans and rice, with greens. Except maybe I'm going to have cornbread instead. This is all food I knew nothing about growing up. Actually, I still know nothing about it since I have only had the real versions once or twice and I am making vegetarian versions from my Deborah Madison cookbook.

Anyway, I got to throw laundry in the wash and then force myself to grade a few things (and still have more! argh!) while sitting on the new picnic bench and watching the clouds move in over the hills. Then I ate lunch and started cooking red beans, all the while my laundry was drying. This is nice. I usually use the laundromat over near school, so about 10 miles away, because it does not have a scary population and the washers and dryers work. This makes cleaning and whatnot while laundry-ing hard. Grading while laundry-ing is also hard because it is next door to my cute little rundown bar. And who grades while drinking and chatting with local weirdos who are playing darts? You'd miss all the entertainment.

Ok, update: laundry difficulties. One of the dryers never started, it seems like. Argh. I had to let the one load finish and then do the other in that first dryer, which kinda negates the time efficiency stuff. Is this the most boring post in the world? Well, it's not like the people I follow have been posting much in terms of exciting stuff lately. In fact, you could say there is a dearth of good blogging on the internet right now. What are people doing, their work??? Pffffft. Post something exciting, people.

Oh, the ammenities center. They have put in a half-court basketball and a teeny playground, and a small hole which they are calling a pool. It's nice, but not really anything I'll use. Inside the little building they built, which stinks of fresh paint and other newly-built stuff right now, is a sauna-type room that has been fixed up as a tanning bed room. Complete with a coin-operated timer. That is crazy. Even though I had to sign all sorts of permissions thingies to get my code, I can't imagine using an apartment tanning room complete with a locking door and coin-operated timer. That is just a recipe for disaster.

Round the corner from the scary sauna-tanning room is an alcove that has been stuffed with some free weights, a soloflex-type thing, and an elliptical. Too bad it doesn't have a bike or I might use it. I should probably use it anyway, get back into my exercising habits. In fact, I could even do a gym, tan, laundry ritual now. Heh. You'd think I was in Jersey.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cat cat

My cat is sleeping next to me on the couch and snoring and snorting in his sleep.

All together now: awwwwwww!

Indulge my addiction --- is there anyway I can encourage a cat-pic-posting meme? International Cat Pic Day? El Dia De Los Gatos?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Om nom nom nom


Can I stop chomping on freakin' job applications yet? 

I hope things turn out well. Like this picture. Hmm. Or not.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Go Floyd!

Go, go, go!

Go little Floyd! Go!  Go, you ugly bastard.

Get the hell out of here! I am sick of you. Don't come back until you find at least a strong R&R.

Watch out for those powerlines! Watch out for that ----- ooh. You're gonna want a band-aid on that.

You ok? Ok, then, go!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Backyard procrastination

We are having lovely weather these days. I thought that getting up, dressed, and taking my grading out back on the deck right away would be the secret to getting a lot of grading done today. You know, instead of going to the coffeeshop and getting distracted by peoplewatching. Or sitting on the couch and getting sucked into email and/or a nap right away. I was totally wrong.

Soooo much stuff is happening outside today! First of all, it is so beautiful and springlike that I have to stop grading to enjoy the feel of the air and to say, "ahhhh, what a beautiful day." Then there is all the bird song, which is crazy loud and melodic when you are used to city places that have nothing but mockingbirds. Also, I think the birds east of the Rockies are more "songbirds" while California/desert birds tend to just make a single piercing cry. Plus, there are two cardinals hanging out in the trees beyond my back deck and they are so bright red it is crazy!

Furthermore, no sooner was I out there than a little kitten --- or maybe adolescent cat --- came over to say "dude, how's it hangin'?"

He made a little chirruping noise and hopped right up on my table, rubbed his head against my hand and then hopped onto my lap. Not afraid at all. I didn't notice at first but he also left wet pawprints on the paper I was grading. Oops.

So of course I fed him, as you can see. And he scarfed that stuff up like it was candy and then licked the plate immaculately clean several times. My cats saw him through the window and they puffed up and meowed. He started growling and making moaning noises, which I thought was funny considering he seems to have no fear of humans. He hung out with me for quite a while before traipsing off to find another adventure. 

And the pest maintenance people came by at the same time, and said they have started to see him around, over by this part of the complex, and that pat of the complex. They said it was nice that I was feeding him, but they also mentioned that another woman over that way has been feeding him the past few days. Not sure I need to contribute to our area's abandoned cat problem, but I've become trained to feed cute cats when they come up and meow at me. No clue where that pattern came from, heh.

I still have 2 more big essays to grade to hit my quota for the day, a big stack of homeworks from another class, and finishing class prep for two out of three classes (showing a depressing documentary in the third). Ugh. It's still a beautiful day out ---- but maybe driving out to the coffeeshop is a smarter idea.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


I haven't procrastinated with shoes for a while. Nor have I bought anything lately.

I feel like I should add new and different and weird colors to my wardrobe, particularly my shoes. So on honor of St. Patrick's day or something, I am looking at green.

Unfortunately, the shoes I really really want are 268 dollars. See the end of this post.

Before we get there, though, Seychelles and Miz Mooz have some cute designs this season ---- although I do not necessarily like the green ones best. These make really interesting curves across the foot --- I quite like them --- but I think I would take the brown ones over the green. Hmm. Dunno.

These just look cheerful and cool. I don't think I could handle a wedge/platform combo like this, but I want other people to wear them to my work so I can look at them and feel cheerful.

These are totally different. I liked them better on the page than uploaded here. Not really my style, but an interesting possibility nonetheless.
Also interesting, wearable, and green --- and yet, I'm not really feelin' 'em.

I love this color. The satin is probably too bridal-shoe-y though. I don't really dress formally/expensively enough to rock a satin shoe. Could totally see it though peeping out under expensive black dress pants and paired with some sort of dressy gray and black blazer. Not really working with my all-cotton, all-20-dollar Target wardrobe though.

Sigh. Why must you be so expensive, darling shoes? I love you even though you are nubuck/suede. Oh shoes, come live with me and be my love, and we shall all new fashions prove.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Looking a gift horse in the mouth

Do your students ever give you gifts? I must admit I have never really gotten snazzy things from my students or photos at the end of the class or hugs or requests for letters of recommendation or such stuff. But this past fall semester I had that one Fruit Studies class where it was just love-y love all around. I had students make brownies and coffee one day near the end (and then, alas, top it with cocoanut --- yay, little shavings of anaphylactic death!)

And I had Crazy Retired Man Auditing Classes ---- did I tell you the funny stories about him? remind me to tell you about his rant about aliens. No, I'm not kidding. But he was a sweetheart and as long as you could keep him on track he made a lot of good contributions to the class ---- well, he was taking a pottery class along with mine and he made me a mug!  

See? It is currently decorating my office, but I don't trust his glazing skills enough to actually use it. That's ok; it's pretty. And it makes me want to take cool pottery classes every time I look at it.

This semester I have a different little sweetheart, who is out and proud and not only willing to step up and testify on that front but also bring up issues of race and social justice in the class, which is awesome. And he catches whatever little risque jokes or off-color puns I accidentally make but I don't feel like I'm about to get into trouble.

A while back he asked me some questions after class --- those questions that don't really seem to have a point except for the subtext of "I like you!" --- And I have been there with that awkward I-don't-know-what-to-say-to-a-favorite-teacher-but-I-don't-want-the-class-to-be-over situation and totally love that.

So the next day he dropped by my office hours with a big plastic shopping bag. "Dr. Cog, I just wanted to give this to you!" Awwwwww. So I opened it up, and found ...

Hmm. On the one hand, I totally appreciate this. And I drank them, so it's not like I am worried he was poisoning me or anything. Every day I'd open one and go "sweet! I don't have to spend any money on my caffeine habit!" But I also, because I have to overthink everything, wonder if this is making some sort of comment on me, or on my caffeine habit or weight or something.

But no! Stop this! Just drink your damn gifts and revel in the fact that you were offered them. If they start offering me whiskey to mix with it, that's when I know I have a problem.

Monday, March 12, 2012

I need a post-vacation vacation

I kinda hate breaks. I never get stuff done or get relaxation time. This time was compounded by the problem of getting really bad cramps --- and just a sense of exhaustion along with 'em --- in the middle of completely unscheduled free time. I think I'd rather have energy and a good feeling during my vacation time and use the busy, overscheduled teaching days to distract myself from feeling crappy. It's just too hard to concentrate and make myself work when I'm feeling bleah.

But then today I went back to school and zoooooomed through my to-do list that I had been suffering under all week! Ok, I'm not done, but I have a non-teaching day tomorrow to get back to my job apps and article and whatnot. See? It's like being on vacation is bad for me or something.

In addition to getting another pile of grading done and handed back and a lot of class org stuff done, I worked on the prompt for my comp class ---- by the way, I really don't like how they have set up a proposal/biblio/research paper structure for this class; I feel like I have been hauling ass covering all the ideas that need to get covered in order for them to propose and research a project by the due date time, and now we have the entire second half of the class to expand the completely-researched proposal into a paper that's only a few pages longer. I have all these teaching days I need to fill now! I guess I have to re-teach all the stuff I went over really fast? Meh.

On the bright side, I had a fun time teaching today and meeting back up with my students. Even the comp students, who I haven't really bonded much with this semester --- they're all pretty low-key and reserved compared to previous semesters, and with the way the research comp class is set up I don't learn as much about who they are as people and thinkers compared to the intro class. And I have such sporadic attendance in that class --- today 11 out of 24 people showed up; probably because the draft was due today.

And I brought the hammer down on two more and dealt with a student athlete meltdown as this person has just figured out that being gone on sports trips constantly has put the student behind in all classes. And oddly, I even had fun with all the student confrontations --- I just laughed at the screwups ("what do you mean you haven't started your project and you blew off your conference with me? Get yer ass into the library right this instant and turn in a list of sources by the end of the day!") and mapped out a new, doable schedule to turn in assignments for the athlete, talking that person down from complete panic (though I have doubts that this person will really pull it together). And I handed back two zero assignments with a plagiarism warning in another class, and even that didn't burst my good mood. See how weird I am? It would be a totally different situation if I didn't have alternating teaching and non-teaching days, though. I'm weird, but not that weird.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

To do list update

Yesterday was one of those slow and sluggish days. I tried reading but wasn't into it, I tried knitting but only made a mess of things instead, I skipped yoga ---- by the way, after such a great fall schedule where I was regularly doing yoga and could totally feel it in my limbs and could slowly see progress in my flexibility, I have totally fallen off my good habit and have hardly done exercise at all ... I can feel my knee starting to act up again ---- and only got a little bit of article work done.

But today, TODAY! was a red-letter day. And the letter was L for laundry. I have done laundry, a bit of rewriting the beginning of my article, and also cleaned the entire downstairs of my apartment. And not just cleaned, spring cleaned. Booyah!

Now, of course, I am tired and achy enough that I should have no problem getting to sleep tonight.

And I need to get back on my pile of job applications, grade a stack of homeworks and a stack of essays, and do all sorts of prep for the week back.

Crap. I was feeling so on top of things for a minute there.

Monday, March 5, 2012

On student misreadings of the text

Do you ever have a class happen where a student proceeds to build an elaborate misreading of the text hinging on some word or detail that is not actually present, and then, when this key missing link is pointed out to them, have them stubbornly double down on the misreading like they were going out for an audition for a fire sale?

Yeah, me neither. But mainly because they don't go so far as to actually roll on the ground covered in flames. They really could learn something from that clip.