Saturday, January 10, 2015

Misconceptions about the Syllabus

Because I have one more class schedule to put together, I have become very adept at finding things to do instead.
For example: work out and then make a delicious fritatta. Also: attend Son's Lego competition, make a salad, go to Lego after-party. Then: make tea.
So, now I have stolen a blog idea from HTMS's blog, by looking up blog topics on HubSpot.

Here's one:  Misconceptions about the Syllabus (go!)

  1. The damn things write themselves. Truth is: they don't!
  2. Students read them. (Wait! I can't stop laughing! Oh! Ouch! My laughing muscles!)
  3. What they say has a one to one correspondence with reality. For about ten minutes, yes! After that, the text to reality ratio diminishes in direct proportion with the amount of time that has elapsed since it was constructed.
  4. What it says matters. (Again! The laughing muscles! So sore!)
  5. When you write "Don't use your cellphone, idiot!" or words to this affect, students actually take these to mean "Hey, put your cellphone away and pay attention!" No. What they perceive instead is an emoticon of a smiley-winkey face with a voice like Homer Simpson that is saying "Cell phones!" 
  6. I care about them.
  7. You care about them.
  8. Students care about them. 
  9. People in the future care about them. (They are too busy driving their solar powered hover crafts to worry about your stupid class!)
  10. They are the fuel of the academic fire. (If you mean the compost that becomes the fuel, then yes).
Well, I hope this blog post has illuminated the mysterious world of syllabi for you all. 

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

To Do = So Much

I have so much to do that I can not possibly blog, yet here I am, because, people (see? I'm quoting HTMS), the pressure is ON. But one should always look in the mirror and tell oneself, "I cannot possibly keep up with THOSE people, so I will just shuffle on my humble little way."
And then everyone says, "Oh no, little you, we like you!" Which they do, thank god, otherwise they would not put up with my generally pitiful ways.
That aside, (ahem!), so. much. to. do.
And yet...I find myself looking at the internet and the craniumtext and the other things that exist only to make you sad about your productivity/self/lack of more and cuter dogs.
Okay people, it is TRUE that I have a manuscript. It is also TRUE that I do not have an agent, nor do I have any requests from agents, nor do I have any time to whore myself out to agents (right now), but rest assured I will be whoring shortly. I do not have a sabbatical or a grant or a bundle of money left to me by some philanthropist. Nor do I have a summer home or a lean to or a shack that wants nothing more than for me to sit in it and write.
So Boo Hoo!
I have a dining room table and some raw pepper slices and a To Do list that reads like the Grinch's list of all the different ways Christmas came in spite of his having a too-small heart and a soul made of garlic.
You know, we all have a lot to do, I just happen to be the person who quite possibly is the best at complaining about it.
You're welcome!

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

My Dog: Myself

You should feel sorry for me.
I have spent most of the past two mornings trapped in a room looking at information that (pretty much) I didn't understand.
Mercifully, I was released early today.
This is a long introduction to the real heart of this anecdote, which is that I took my dog for a walk.
The minute it became clear that a walk was in his near future, my dog started doing his excited tic, which is that he scratches his neck just near his collar, which causes his metal licences to ring like little bells.
While walking my dog on a trail near Red Butte Garden I began to ponder how dogs are like their owners and vice versa.
One way in which I am like my dog is that we both dislike being trapped indoors all day. With the recent cold weather, I have been a terrible dog owner. One day I didn't even leave the house; therefore my dog did not leave the house. We both get a little stir crazy. I think my response to this was to drink more hard cider and eat more cookies. My dog's response was to form a very intimate relationship with his new Christmas toy.
In any case, I was thinking a lot about this as I watched my dog zip around like he was a puppy. For the record, he is not a puppy. Everyone asks, "How old is your dog?" and then they make that shocked, drop jaw face when I tell them he is 10.
But now he is lying on his bed, responding very slowly when I whisper his name. He seems....I don't know...tired?
I am also tired. See? We have so much in common!
Other things we have in common: our fur is all one color; we are getting gray whiskers on our chins and paws; we like chicken jerky and raw vegetables. One of us likes to eat grass and the other does not. We both like muffins with chocolate chips in them. We both prefer to snuggle with other humans, rather than alone. Neither of us likes it when I do yoga in the living room. We both think it is too cold, yet we both like to swim in fresh water. One of us does so in the winter, despite the fact that the other has told the one it is a bad idea.

P.S. One sometimes meets other interesting dog owners with which one has in common one thing: Dog ownership. Why, interesting dog owner, did you assume because I thought your standard poodles were cute that I would also agree with your views on Obamacare? Those are two non-intersecting circles.

Thursday, January 01, 2015


Okay. The pressure is on.
Both Middlebrow and Hightouchmegastore are committed to this whole blogging thing in 2015.
So I am on board.
However, I have nothing intelligent to say because I am tired and somewhat hungry.
Will someone bring me some soup?
But hey, I'll blog more. Just don't assume it is always going to be interesting.

Monday, September 22, 2014


See how the exclamation point changes everything?
It does.

Remember when I said I was going to blog more? So how's that going?

Well, in the interest of self-preservation, I need to decide not to feel bad about doing things I don't necessarily "have" to do, and yet want to do.
Except also I read other people's blogs and they are entertaining, and my last few posts have been rather self-serving (and this one also?).

But, let's talk GOODNESS: I like rain, and also I like coffee, tea, and wine. I take my dog Gus for a walk, and that's a good thing I do for some being other than myself. I also make food and make sure the house doesn't implode and also laundry.

So, there's that.

I will now walk the dog so that I may feel good/about myself. Also Gus will feel good.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014


I don't have much to say today. Wednesdays are exhausting like that.
I am thinking about the nature of goodness, whether we are, by nature, good, or whether it is only through good acts we can become good.
I don't mean doing something well, being good at something.
I mean doing good. Doing something good for someone just because.

Today I made Son lunch, but then I regretted it, because while he was standing around watching me scramble to get out the door he asked, "What have you been doing for the past 20 minutes?" And then I wish I hadn't made his sandwich and instead had just sat drinking coffee.
So if you regret doing something nice, does it negate the nice thing?

I got to see many friends today and talk to them, and that is always good.
I wish I could say I did something else nice for someone, but I don't think I did.
WAIT...I thought of one!

A student came in and she was almost in tears over her latest writing assignment, which was a summary. I read her draft it was pretty good. Sure, it could use work, but it was good. And she was asking if she should drop the class and take it later because it is so hard for her.
So after I read it, I told her it was good and what she needed to work on was believing she could do it, because she can.
So I think I helped her feel better about her writing, and I hope also about herself, as a writer. Maybe this doesn't qualify as doing good, because it is my job, but I did feel like I made a positive step with that student.
And Monday I saw a former student who I encouraged to apply to the Honors program and the U. She thanked me for the email I sent her, and she said it made her feel good that I believed in her. (Her parents are not supportive of her educational plans).
Okay, so that's two things for the week.
I'm not going to meditate tonight (a good thing for me) because I am so bleeping tired. I am going to drink water (good!) and go to sleep (sleep is good!).

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Back from the Dead (does that make me a zombie?)

Hello blogging friends. If you still exist. Which I know you do, just maybe not here.
The world, such as it is, has got me down. My birthday is coming up (in 3 months) so I decided to do 3 months of good things. And maybe also to give up that other social media thing that is not, in my opinion, GOOD.
I will try to post every day, but if not, at least every other day. And I will talk about the good things I am doing, because I will do something GOOD every day.
What do I mean by GOOD?
That makes me feel good and hopefully is also good.
I have a few goals.

  1. To connect positively with my Son, age 13. This is harder than it seems, but so far has consisted of me asking him open-ended questions and also trying to hug him (harder than it seems!). I will let him teach me a game. I'm also going to take him out for a treat drink and reading in a cafe.
  2. To do "exercise" that makes me feel good about myself rather than feel like a bag full of garbage left out in the rain.
  3. To drink less.
  4. To walk more.
  5. To volunteer. With Son? I hope.
  6. To get outside as often as possible, weather be damned!
  7. To get together with friends more often, for movies, or coffee or walks or yoga or whatever.
  8. To do yoga consistently.
  9. To meditate.
  10. To be grateful every day.