Monday, November 29, 2010

winter!

Thanksgiving, the true beginning of the winter (or so it seems). We had a nice mix of family time and personal time over the long weekend, and now we're back to the grind. Which for me consists of a veritable mountain of term papers from two different courses, which I've been avoiding by finishing up a small grant proposal and grading exams. Soon there will be no choice. Help.

Assuming I survive the grading blitz, the rest of this month will be NSF GRANT WRITING. Part of me is really excited to be getting back to research-related writing, while the rest of me just wants to sleep. I'm hoping to balance those things with course prep for January, planning my spring-break field trip, and exercising. If I can actually FINISH my first P90X series (lean schedule, which I started in August) by the end of the year, I will be really happy. I think it will happen, since I only have three weeks to go, and now I will probably manage more than 2 or 3 official workouts per week. The next question: start P90X classic, or wait for next summer?

I should probably worry about the grading first. Unfortunately.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

letters

Dear collaborators:

I realize that you are not exactly up on what my field requires, which is why you asked me to help you out. However, you cannot just write down "use big expensive equipment", as per my suggestions at the end of last year's field season, and then stop communicating with me. This leaves us with me just finding out that you intend to use "big expensive equipment" next season, which I do not own, cannot get for you, and actually costs a considerable sum. Next season is also essentially next month, once you count time lost for holidays. I get the feeling that I am going to be the one looking like she didn't pull her weight here, and that annoys me.

Dear students,

"I tried to find out but the person I contacted never got back to me" is not an adequate final project result. Take note.

Dear plumber,

While I'm happy that our shower is now working the way it should, I really wish I could say that you managed to do that without calling me "hon". You leave me no choice but to try another company next time.

Dear cat,

You're a jerk. Please don't attack the plumber or try to escape into the freezing cold back yard, just because you can.

Dear Small Town,

Why did you stop selling organic potatoes? I really don't want to go back to eating pesticide potatoes. You stink.

Love,

LAL

Saturday, November 20, 2010

space

My laptop is yelling at me to remove files from my C drive. This is how old and overused my laptop has become...and a reason why I need to find time to talk to the computer center about a new one. In the meantime, I've been backing up and then deleting a lot of old folders...including my dissertation files. I know, that's ancient history now, and all those papers have been published. Still, it's somehow meaningful to finally press "delete" on that one.

Classes are done and I have hope that I will get a lot of grading finished before we head out for Thanksgiving with Partner's family. I also hope to write a short grant proposal. All this hope, and yet today all I did was rake leaves and cook.

This year I don't have much space in my winter break. Last December I repaired and painted our living room walls. I had delusional visions of doing the same to our dining room this year, but with grants and course prep and student recommendation letters I'll be lucky if I manage to work less than I have during the term. At least we have a mandatory vacation, in the form of expensive plane tickets that have already been purchased. No way am I dragging my work computer overseas if I don't have to.

Tomorrow, to the office!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

cheese

I like that the readers of Inside Higher Education are encouraged to read only those blog posts in which I reveal my inner crazy person and rant about my students. I suppose that should teach me to stop being crazy and stop ranting about my students. Should. You know I really love them, though. Right?

In other news.

I was asked to share the vegan mac and cheese recipe; this was my first attempt, and I used this version, which was actually pretty good. I added broccoli and onion, I used half of a tofu block instead of 1/4, and I cut the garlic powder and salt by half. I would actually suggest cutting the spices to a quarter of the recipe amount unless you are a big fan of garlic and salt (and you can always add salt later). I halved this recipe as a whole, which fed two of us plus leftovers.

If anyone has good vegan mac and cheese recipe suggestions, I'd love to try something else and see how it compares (R.B. I will be trying that one too)!

Speaking of vegan cheese, I highly recommend this recipe for nacho "cheese" dip. It's fabulous and easy, and we have it fairly regularly with burritos or tacos. Don't burn it, though, because it tastes really bad when you do.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

weekend!

Holy crap I cleaned my house. SO AMAZING to have a clean house.

Other things I did: slept, did laundry, ate, completed TWO good workouts, bought groceries. Found a pretty good vegan "mac and cheese" recipe. Finished writing wedding thank-you notes.

Things I didn't do: grading. Hence, my Sunday night of make-up grading begins...now.

Friday, November 12, 2010

more

As I continue to slog through term papers, I've found two more, not as blatant, examples of plagiarism. One student has pages and pages of info with no in-text citation. The other lifts direct text and cites it but without quotation marks.

So. Furious. These fucking kids.

I already have one student in the official system for plagiarizers. These guys are less horrible offenders, but they will be failing the assignment as a result. Maybe it was my fault for assuming that my middle-level class full of juniors and seniors would only need a 20-minute refresher on citation before they wrote a paper. Stupid me.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

the married 15

I read recently that newlyweds often gain weight. Maybe just because they were dieting pre-wedding and then gorge themselves on all the things they had been missing as soon as they don't have to fit into their nice clothes anymore. I like to joke that now my husband will be stuck with me even when I'm fat. Partner seems amused by this, probably because he knows that I have an exercise addiction. If he's lucky I won't get over that particular character flaw.

I am definitely heading in that direction, perhaps as a "married 5" right now, but only because of the necessity of regular late-night grading sessions this term. Around 10 pm I often bribe myself with a snack or a drink, particularly on those days when I never had time for lunch. It doesn't help that this schedule also prevents regular physical activity. So, feeling pretty gloppy these days, in general, and hoping that I won't end up sitting in front of the TV until the wee hours of the morning, out of habit, once this term finally ends.

Monday, November 8, 2010

things I can't post on Facebook

To my students.

Fucking little plagiarizing bastards. I hate that I grade your crap all term and now I get a paper full of straight paragraphs from someone else's book, and I have to fail you and I've wasted how many damned hours this term trying to teach you something. Fuck.

This is college, people. I know you have issues. I know SLAC in particular, and probably most schools who aren't Harvard et al., go out of their way to bend to your whims and make you feel loved and whatever, but this term I am totally burned out on your personal problems and parental issues and if you try one more time to make me feel bad for you I will scream.

Also, when I go out of my way to make concessions for your personal issues, your scheduling conflicts, your whatever, don't even email me three hours before you want to do the makeup activity and ask for the worksheet. On a weekend. When I'm out of town. And if that lack of courtesy on my part pisses you off, great. I'll fail you, no worries.

To the few of you who have shown a real interest in improving your work and actually learning something, thank you. I love you, I really do, and you make the rest of it worth while, even if sometimes I can only focus on the few idiots who make my life difficult.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

burnout

Yesterday I jumped back into work after getting home from my conference late on Tuesday night. Today I couldn't focus on anything, making limited progress on my grant application and doing no grading at all. I gave one class a free day to write their term papers and I pretended to be interested in a discussion section. I am two weeks behind in my grading, and I have more big papers coming my way at the end of the week.

I am debating whether the decision of which NSF division to submit to, given that I could actually choose from two different options, should really be based upon which has the later submission date. I'm guessing the answer is no, but that might not stop me.