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.