Tuesday, March 24, 2009


So taking out the old vanity in my bathroom was a four hour job for three people. Evidently plumbing standards were "plumbing suggestions" in 1978. I can hardly believe the mess this thing was. And to get to anything, we had to ooze through layers of mold and rotted caulk. Oh, and the builder used regular drywall behind the sink instead of green board or cement board like someone who is not an idiot. So I also had to patch disintegrating drywall. Now, of course, it needs painted because it looks like patched drywall.

And since we got the old vanity out (in pieces), we see that one of the shut-off valves leaks. We have to fix this before I can start on the floor. Because there is a big vanity-shaped patch of cement in my bathroom, with no flooring. Around it are three layers of flooring, each more horrific than the last. The bottom layer is thankfully past my ability (interest) to dig out. The second layer is bright almost-Williamsburg blue. The top layer is mauve. I don't know why, because it clashes with the pumpkin colored walls. If there were ever a room crying out for a neutral, it is this one.

I just have to thank God that we escaped the harvest gold bathroom fixtures.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring Break

I love hearing my colleagues tell me that they are going to have relaxing spring breaks. For me, spring break is kind of like half-time. There is a break, so I actually *look* at my house.

Then I make a list.

Today, so far, Mea and I replaced one of a pair of really awful track lights. We'll probably get the other one before the day is over. Last night, I took the burners out of my stove and scrubbed that nastiness underneath (which I should have done when I moved in, but avoided until now).

Other items on my to do list:
  • Put new flooring down in the master bath before installing a new vanity and faucet (the old faucet leaks, and the old sink is stained and ugly).
  • Replace the light fixture in the master bath
  • Take out the shower doors in the master bath. They are outdated, stained, hard to use and hard to clean. I am totally replacing them with a bleachable curtain.
  • Paint Miss O's bedroom. Really, green and dark green with a huge border, with chunks missing. Really, really terrible.

I think this is a reasonable list, mostly. Painting is really the one thing that might not get done, because I'll have to clear out her room, then prime, then paint. That will be a two-day job.

And Mea is talking wistfully about a day-trip to Silver Dollar City.

Update: We finished the other light. No more 80s track lights.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Something I have never done...

I did something I have never done before: I dropped a graduate class.

One of the things I have never understood about taking classes in education departments is how the classroom practices are so divorced from the theories they teach (two amazing exceptions to this were Connie Zimmer at ATU and Patty Phelps at UCA). In this class, the instructor kept talking about the importance of a study guide, but he rarely provided them. The discussion board questions were only tangently related to the readings (honestly, I usually did the readings after the discussion board). It is mid-term, and I had gotten zero feedback on the discussion board portion of the class, which was worth 20% of the final grade.

I finally got a response from the instructor, after I dropped the class. I had three spelling errors (letter reversals-- I am mildly dyslexic). So that dropped my score on "Writing." Whatever. It is over. I'll finish up the other class I am in and be done with everything but my dissertation seminar. Then I can worry about more interesting things, like my dissertation. :)

Monday, March 16, 2009


I hate grades. I do. I hate giving them.

Normally, though, I don't mind getting them, because mine are generally good. And by generally, I mean, there is not a dead philosopher involved. (Come to think of it, living ones aren't much better...) Anyway, I got a paper back today with the most bizarre comment:
I am unclear as to your best practice.

organization 4 Writing 4 Thorough 5 Descript 4 Total 17 Weighted 8.5

This is my thesis:
Because of the distance in distance education between the instructor and the learner, either in location or in time, the potential for instant communication is tantalizing. However, in the rush to incorporate the new media technologies into distance learning (DL), there is a danger that the technologies can overwhelm all the other elements in the course. This must not happen. Instead, education must remain focused on instructional outcomes, not just the technology of delivery.

While I will admit it lacks a certain something (like readability), it pretty directly states a topic that the instructor listed as one of our choices.

I even emailed the instructor to ask him to explain himself. I did. And I never do that. I have been known to smother them a bit with questions about the *next* assignment if they gave me a bad grade, but I have not questioned assignments.

I am probably going to drop the class. Over this comment (and the B that goes with it). Part of me feels like a quitter, but I have not dropped a course yet in my phd program. And I don't need this course. It does not count toward anything. At all. I thought it would be interesting, and if I took two classes, then I could get a student loan. And we all know, I need money to pay for classes. Not that I have money to pay back student loans, but I think that is another issue altogether.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


(and Hare Krishna is not a part of this)

My GPS was lost for the better part of two days. How is it that I can't manage to keep up with things? Really, I am not an idiot. My parents did have me tested for idiocy... Really. My dad was working on a masters in counseling. I was a child. Lots of counseling students needed a victim person to try out their testing skills.

So, as a certified not-an-idiot, theoretically, I should not be inclined to lose every single one of my belongings. However, over the weekend, my gps went missing. A couple of weeks ago, my office keys magically appeared in a random location, so that they got turned into the department office.

At least my printer is large, so it is hard to lose it...

Monday, March 09, 2009

Finally! A new post.

Yesterday, I worked in our front yard. Normally this means cleaning up some resistant leaves and putting in some bedding plants.

Not this year.

Our yard is barren. There are two gigantic trees, a couple of shrubs that I don't recognize and two sickly azaleas. Near the mailbox, however, is a little oasis. There, tulips and peonies are just shooting up. No grass graces our yard. We thought about sod, but the affordable sod only grows in sunlight, and the guy at the landscaping materials place said that it was iffy. He recommended hardscape.

This yard is so beyond bedding plants.

So, yesterday, I bought hostas and caladiums. And vinca. And some other random groundcover that I can't identify. I planted the pinks I bought earlier in a pot, so I can move them to find sunlight, along with my herbs.

Mea's regional history day competition was Saturday. She has written a lovely piece on Sargent Shriver. This year, she has done an individual documentary, so she alone is responsible for the script, editing, sound, AND all the paperwork. Paperwork is what she hasn't really done before. Her friends she used to work with did most of the paperwork. This has been her biggest problem thus far. Her bibliography contains only a fraction of the works that she used. She still took third, and this is the hardest region in the state, but she has to improve it if she wants to go to nationals. One of her judges found my parents at the awards ceremony to try to talk to her, so we chased him down afterward. He said that she needs to focus more in her conclusion, and she needs to work on it-- starting soon. No more procrastination.

My dad's band, South Big Creek, played at Williams Family Jamboree on Saturday night. I only made it through the first set. Bluegrass music is an iffy thing for me anyway, and I was exhausted by 8pm-- that and I knew we had an hour's drive back home. So we headed back home before the second set. Mea, who was evidently still on an adrenaline high, stayed and rode home with my brother's family. Of course, she was not faced with driving.

Tonight our 4-H group meets, and tomorrow night is the fashion competition. Mea is threatening to skip tonight's meeting due to homework. And she probably will. AP English is piling it on-- a bunch of questions on Julius Caesar, which is one of my very favorite plays. The questions, though, are ridiculous-- we didn't do this in college lit classes (I did in one rhetoric class). Find an example of an anaphora in Act III; find Synedoche; find syllogism; etc. So she asks for help. Synecdoche, I remember. Part for the whole. Anaphora? Evidently I have aphasia where anaphora is concerned. Syllogism though, I know cold, right? Is is part of an enthememe. Alas, finding a bloody syllogism in a play is another matter. Fortunately, Caesar does have one of the best speeches of all time, so we mine “I come to bury Caesar not to praise him.” Lame as we are, we are comparing them to the classic: All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore, Socrates is mortal. We settle on the bit where he says that Brutus is an honorable man; they are all honorable me. The thing is, I love literature, with a particular love for Shakespeare. This stuff drives me mad. I don't understand how anyone survives this garbage in high school and goes on to major in English. Last year, Mea talked about majoring in English-- not this year. This year, it is sociology, with an eye toward studying rural sociology in graduate school.

My Miss O keeps getting her card pulled at school. She can't keep her hands to herself, and can't attend to her school work. Week before last, she had three “yellows” and last week she had a “yellow” and an “orange.” (That is with the missed two days for the ear infection.)“Red,” I believe, sends her to the office. I should, I suppose, start on the behavior mods-- I know how to do them. Goodness knows, I practiced enough with W. Of course, with him, it was all practice. Because of the autism, he only cared so much about the rewards or even the consequences. We finally found something that he was obsessed enough to hold over him: a laptop. (He's 14 now.) And he can even sull up and go without that-- except that his sisters have access to it when he is grounded from it and he just cannot stand that.

Anyway, I am afraid that Miss O has a bit of an ADHD thing going on. I am almost afraid to get her diagnosed, because with that comes meds. W, of course, is unmanageable without his.