Monday, January 11, 2010

Grammar and Punctuation. For Doctoral Students.

I was recently invited to be a guest speaker for our doctoral course in Writing for Publication. "Cool!" I thought. "I love doctoral students!"

But. The inviter asked me to speak on grammar and punctuation.


For doctoral students?

Seriously, what exactly would I cover? And why couldn't doctoral students figure out for themselves, or with the help of their advisors, what their problems are and how to solve them?

And what about the DECADES of research on grammar instruction in isolation, indicating that grammar instruction -- if taught separately from students' actual writing -- has no impact, or even a negative impact on student writing?

If I were a doctoral student taking that course, I would not be happy that my time was being wasted in this way.

I'm sure that there are doctoral students who need some help with their writing, in terms of their use of standard English, but this is not the way to go about helping them.

I declined the opportunity.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

This morning, it's 23 below 0 in High Plains City.

Roxy went out this morning to pee and came right back in, holding her foot up off the ground -- I imagine that the snow got caked in her pad and she was feeling the cold.

On tap for today -- working at home! I'll probably make a bit pot of stew or chili or something, and bake some cornbread.

In other news, I'm keeping up well with my decision to exercise 30 minutes a day and have added on a determination to cut my portion sizes. Result: I've lost 7 pounds! Woo-hoo! Still about 30 to go, but still... progress is sweet.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Mushrooms Growing in the Cabinet

For Christmas this year, my Lovely Mother and Stepdad sent us a grow-your-own-mushrooms kit. Really! At first, I was a little unsure about it, but yesterday I re-read the directions and decided that since it would only take one hour of active work, and then 6-8 weeks of growing in various places (warm, dark cabinet to start with), I would go ahead and get going with growing my own shrooms.

Just in case you're interested, here's where they ordered the mushroom kit. I'm growing Teepee Oysters on toilet paper. Are you intrigued yet? I thought I might document the process, at least for the first little bit.

The first step, of course, is to collect thematerials. For this particular project, I just needed the oyster kit (which included the oyster grain spawn, 7 filter disc bags, and 7 rubber bands), plus 7 rolls of toilet paper, a big pot full of boiling water, a pair of tongs, and some cooling racks.

Then I boiled a huge amount of water and dipped the toilet paper rolls, one at a time, into the boiling water. You would be SHOCKED at how much water a roll of toilet paper can absorb and hold. I ended up having to boil a second pot of water for the last two rolls.

I placed the soaked rolls on a cooling rack (with a kitchen to
wel underneath to soak up the drippage).

After the tp rolls had cooled to the point where they were no longer steaming and I could comfortably touch the interior, I placed each roll inside a special plastic bag (they have some kind of air filter built in) and filled the cardboard of the roll with spawn.

I used the rubber bands to close up the bags, and placed them inside a dark cabinet, where they will sit for 3-6 weeks. There are more instructions to follow once that time span has elapsed, but I'll keep you updated when the time comes instead of writing more here.

I'm thinking that at some point we will have more mushrooms that we can ever use, but I can probably dry them or freeze them, or some such.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Crazy-ass dog

So I just got back from taking Roxy on a walk. Oh, by the way, here's a pic, now that she's all grown up:
Isn't she the cutest? Anyway, we usually take her for a walk in a field not far from our house, where we can let her run off leash. There's a lot of snow there, and she loves running like a crazy thing through the snow. So she's running, and I'm walking, and we're having a lovely time until this crazy Akita shows up. As soon as I saw the other dog, I put her back on leash. Did the owner of the Akita? Hell, no. She just walked up saying "I'm so sorry. I didn't look ahead and see you. I'm so sorry."

Meanwhile the Akita stalked Roxy, hair on end, snarling. And snarled and nipped at me as well. Crazy dog. What are people thinking, bringing their crazy-ass dogs into contact with my sweet, well-mannered one? I mean, Roxy was practically slobbering over wanting to be friends with this dog, taking a subservient position, sniffing the right places, all the right stuff.

Crazy-ass woman and her crazy-ass dog. Seriously.

No Resolution(s)

A few days ago, I made a decision (not a resolution, cuz I tend to break those) to exercise for 30 minutes every day. That's my decision, and so far, I've kept it. It's helping with my sleeping -- I still wake up every couple of hours, but I've been able to get more restful sleep. It's also helped a bit with the hot flashes, but you probably don't want to hear about that.

So, New Year's Eve, we were very boring. Slogger has a pretty bad cold, and it makes him feel much worse in the evening, so we shot the middle finger at the whole ball dropping thing and I went to bed early with him out of solidarity.

Lots of folks are doing decade remembrances, or lists of New Year's Eves past and what they did on them, but my memory is not good enough to detail each year what I did. Here's the best I can do on waxing nostalgic:

2000: I was in my second year of graduate school, living in my cute little apartment, both cats were healthy, and Slogger and I were still in our "weekend" phase.

2001: The year I hiked the Appalachian Trail. Started with teaching an intensive four-week course, then hiked/collected data from March through October, then spent the fast few weeks of the year transcribing. I really hate transcribing.

2002: Wrote my dissertation, defended it, graduated, got married, moved to High Plains University, taught my first university courses on my own. Found out how great it can be to work at a place where people respect me.

2003: Slogger left for six months for his chance to hike the Appalachian Trail, and I busied myself with WORK and putting his journals and pictures online.

2004 - 2007: These years just run together. Somewhere in there, Slogger and I bought our house, I kept on with teaching and research, etc. Oh, and I got tenured and promoted.

2008: This year started off pretty normally, but our lives changed forever when Slogger experienced a devastating heart attack in March. He's still around, which makes my life complete.

2009: We adopted Roxy and bought our T@B, Marty cat died, we traveled through 25 states visiting family and friends, I got to be a co-editor, plus I got a grant for some research I really want to do.

What will happen in the next decade? I'm a bit afraid to think about it too much. One thing is pretty certain: Slogger and I will spent some time on a beach this year.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Baking Day

In an attempt to save some money and not get all commercial this Christmas, we decided to do some serious baking and give Christmas breads as gifts. I baked a practice couple of loaves last week, and they were seriously good. Seriously. We gobbled them right up.

So today I spent THE. WHOLE. DAY. baking Hoska, a Chezch Christmas bread. It's beautiful, it's braided, it has fruit and almonds in it. Yum. Eight loaves of yum. We'll be mailing those suckers out to the family tomorrow and Tuesday.

In other news, I'm finished with my sed/strat class and came out with an A, which feels good. I won't be taking a course in the spring, as I'll be traveling all over the state collecting data for a new study. So... I figured I would miss too many classes to take anything.

Slogger's in the kitchen washing the dishes -- what a sweetheart.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Final Exam

Tomorrow morning is the final exam in my sed/strat course. I'm SO excited to be done with it! Don't get me wrong, I've loved this course, and I have learned more in this one than in any of the other courses I took. Still. I need to study, and the two glasses of wine I've had are getting in the way of that.

I'm thinking that the final exam will be multiple choice, which will MAKE. MY. DAY.

I'll get up early and study, I guess.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Conference Drama, a Forgotten Exam, a Crappy Turkey, and Other News

Conference Drama

Last week I attended a national conference, one I attend every year. (Of course, I didn't go last year, but that's another story.) It was in the City of Brotherly Love, which was certainly nice, except for some HORRIBLE Dim Sum. Really, really bad.

But I digress.

While I was at the conference, I attended a reception -- now that I'm an editor, I'm a bigwig, ya see, and I get to eat cream cheese and nuts on crackers and drink cheap wine.

Anyway, while I was at this reception, I happened to be sitting next to a REALLY BIG NAME, an elderly gentleman, very well respected in the field. So, I started chatting with him, and he started telling me this story about his college girlfriend who dumped him, and how it affected him. With tears in his eyes. That is a story I'm going to remember for a long time!

So, the conference was generally about drinking too much and eating out. I was happy to get home on sunday.

A Forgotten Exam

Then, on Monday, I was headed to my geology class, thrilled to be back in class after missing a week for the conference. I saw one of my fellow students on the way to class, and he asked, "You ready for this test?"

After I picked up my jaw off the snow-crusted sidewalk, I hightailed it to the professor's office and begged for a little special treatment (this after telling the TA the week before that I really hoped she wasn't giving me any special treatment because I'm a professor). She let me postpone my test until Wednesday. So I studied for about 5 hours Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, and I'm pretty sure I finally aced it. Now just the lab project and the final exam. Of course, I'm missing another week of class next week (for yet another conference) so who knows what will happen when that's over.

A Crappy Turkey

Slogger says the turkey was good, but for me -- yuk. Tough, not quite cooked through, awful. The only good thing about Thanksgiving dinner, for me at least, was the pumpkin pie. Oh, and that we didn't have to clean the house, since it was just the two of us!

Other News

* Editing a journal is freaking hard work.
* I have a chapter due next week, and I've only written two pages of it.
* I'm looking forward to spring semester, because I'm teaching an online course and supervising student teachers. No need to go to the office! (Except for the &*(^&^%%$^& meetings)