Friday, June 30, 2006
Over the years, I forgot something only once -- it was a totally impromptu trip and I had less than 30 minutes to make reservations and pack. The problem was taken care of by a brief shopping expedition. Unfortunately, if I forget something important for this trip, I may have to suffer for three weeks (maybe I am too gloomy but I don't know for sure, hence jittery feelings and nervous perusal of my bag).
I am checking in one large bag and taking two tightly packed carry-ons. So far it looks like I am within weight/size limitations; huge sigh here. Oh well, the main bag is zipped and I will NOT open it again. If I wake up in a middle of the night and think of something, it will go into my carry-on.
If I do forget something, I will console myself with my laptop, ipod, and novels -- those are definitely packed (I checked!). And, hey, I may look nice in one of those African outfits -- doubt it, though, since I don't really like "flowing" dresses; I am more of "business type" girl.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Clean bathrooms (2) Clean kitchen (empty dishwasher and wipe counters, easy) Change all sheets (2 sets) Do laundry Clear my desk by sorting "stuff" into piles, filing, returning to shelves, or simply throwing away. Vacuum rugs and polish floors (all hardwood so took forever) Dust and polish furniture Pull a cat from one of the drawers where she hid (hates vacuum cleaner and always hides in that particular drawer; don't ask me how she gets there -- she it tiny but squeezing into a drawer???) Took a long nice shower.
- Good night! :)
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
- Why oh why did I buy a portable garage to protect my car if my neighbor's cat can sneak in and sleep on it??? And mess it up??? I was seething mad this morning when I walked out with only a few minutes to spare, thinking it's sparkling clean since I just washed it on Saturday, and discovered that my car was covered in pawprints. Ugh!!! I do not condone animal abuse but I was tempted this morning.
- My students did presentations this morning and most of them actually followed directions and found interesting and accurate information. Yeah!!!
- Of course, we learned a few, um, "interesting" facts: (1) Did you know that people in Mali do not recognize July 4th as their Independence Day?! Instead, they "changed" it to September 22nd. I had to explain the reason, to college students! Another ugh! (2) Did you know that "width of Jamaican Island is 50 mm"? No comments here! Just a tired sigh...
- I am stuck in my office until 3:20 p.m. for office hours. Because the door opens into a busy hallway, I can never concentrate and, therefore, nothing ever gets accomplished. I prefer working at home.
- Although I don't usually worry about packing and can actually pack an overnight bag in five minutes or less, the upcoming trip is different. I will be in Africa for three weeks, traveling from place to place while attending a number of official functions. I hate overpacking but I will need to bring enough casual and business outfits to last even if there is no access to laundry services. And there is a weight limit within Africa (strictly enforced or so I hear) -- no more than 20 kg in checked luggage and two reasonable carry-ons. Twenty kilos sounds like a lot but it's really not that much. And so I worry while I should be looking forward to this experience.
- Clarification: It's checked luggage (20 kg) PLUS two carry-ons, so it's not as bad as my original post implied. I will be creative with my carry-on bags and probably manage to pack another 20 kilos. ;)
- Sorry for being so gloomy today -- hopefully, something will happen (or I find something) to cheer me up. I think I need chocolate therapy...
Saturday, June 24, 2006
I hate those rub-on tanning lotions -- they peel off and look weird. I guess I need an emergency trip to the beach. And I really don't have time. Ooooh, how stupid...
|Your Eyes Should Be Brown|
Your eyes reflect: Depth and wisdom
What's hidden behind your eyes: A tender heart
Friday, June 23, 2006
Mow grass Check and answer email Update Africa site(started as a class project last semester) Review midterm surveys(and jot down some thoughts for a paper)
- Code -- aaaaah, one of these days I will finish
Go to the gym
- Work on next semester course syllabi (two down,
threeone to go) Laundry
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Talking about midterm grades, we have something called Midterm Alert; that's why we have to post Fs and Ds. Students receive a letter warning them about their low averages and explaining the options. And, yeah, they are given the letter grade; apparently, numeric average is not enough:
Student (via email): Will you tell me my actual letter grade in Course Name? I know it's 49. Am I passing the course?
Anyway, do you have a similar system of alerting students?
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
|Your Five Factor Personality Profile|
You have medium extroversion.
You're not the life of the party, but you do show up for the party.
Sometimes you are full of energy and open to new social experiences.
But you also need to hibernate and enjoy your "down time."
You have high conscientiousness.
Intelligent and reliable, you tend to succeed in life.
Most things in your life are organized and planned well.
But you borderline on being a total perfectionist.
You have medium agreeableness.
You're generally a friendly and trusting person.
But you also have a healthy dose of cynicism.
You get along well with others, as long as they play fair.
You have low neuroticism.
You are very emotionally stable and mentally together.
Only the greatest setbacks upset you, and you bounce back quickly.
Overall, you are typically calm and relaxed - making others feel secure.
Openness to experience:
Your openness to new experiences is medium.
You are generally broad minded when it come to new things.
But if something crosses a moral line, there's no way you'll approve of it.
You are suspicious of anything too wacky, though you do still consider creativity a virtue.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
They had one full week to submit attempt #1. As of noon today (deadline), only 6 out of 15 students took advantage of my offer. Judging from the number of corrections so far, others are going to earn pitiful grades. Just wondering, did you ever have a similar experience?
Monday, June 19, 2006
- Came home this afternoon and discovered that somebody kicked down my mailbox; probably stupid kids wondering around looking for trouble. You can imagine my shock when I saw that the post was broken!!!
- The family from across the street waited for my arrival and walked over immediately to offer help; my mailbox was messed up overnight, apparently, but they did not want to do anything w/out my permission.
- The husband fixed the post temporarily while I chatted with his wife. She told me that another mailbox on our street was damaged, probably because it looks different (it's the one with a lock since I travel frequently and don't want anybody just reaching in and pulling my mail out). And I live in a safe neighborhood so there is no way neighborhood kids are responsible... Alas, idiots cannot be contained to their own areas.
- It's so nice to have wonderful neighbors who care!
Sunday, June 18, 2006
For now, I will curl up with my laptop and finish coding some data I should have taken care of like a week ago.
Have a wonderful week, everybody!
OK, getting ahead of myself... :) My mother and I left the house very early this morning and went to the state farmer's market; it was fun walking around, looking for bargains, picking up fresh fruit and vegetables. We enjoyed spending time together and did get some great bargains!
When we returned home, everybody else was up and Mom made delicious pancakes; she has a special recipe like many parents do, I guess.
Then we drove to the lake... It was lots of fun -- enjoying the scenery and each other's company, riding waves (I was soaked wet -- inside the boat -- countless times), pulling the tube (with my brother, I am not that crazy), cooking shish kebobs, eating cherries and having a spitting contest (yeah, silly), soaking sun, etc.
It's late but I am wide awake and actually can appease my guilt and code some data I should have coded like yesterday. Oh, well, I will finish everything tomorrow; life is too short and I was too busy last semester to enjoy it; and I will be good next week and complete most items on my list.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
|You are a Brainy Girl!|
Update: Aaah, caught one thief... Heard noise in the kitchen while I was writing this and found one cat on his hind legs pawing another magnet. Hopefully, he will stay away for now. :)
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Last Tuesday, I spent over an hour going over my requirements and providing specific (both written and verbal) instructions for each assignment. Apparently, she called last Wednesday (my office hours are only on Tuesdays this semester) and cussed out student assistants because I was not available for an immediate "consultation." She was waiting for me this morning -- since 9:00 a.m., according to her, even though my syllabus states clearly that I have a class at 9:00 a.m. and won't hold office hours until 11:00 a.m. Duh -- well, for a normal person!
So we talked (um, she talked and I listened most of the time) for over an hour again, with dept. chair peeking into my office several times to make sure everything was OK (she is aware of the situation and offered to help if necessary). I heard snippets of this student's life (real or imaginary, who knows), heated statements of her brilliance (did you know she is here to benefit her teachers?), excuses for not completing any assignments for this week (several surgeries, complications, doctor insisting on narcotics (don't tell anyone but illegal narcotics), mother dies of breast cancer, mother (apparently alive again) messing up the computer, etc.), and other stuff that about ended my patience even though I am a very patient person. She was loud, too, so several students gave me strange looks as they passed my office.
Finally, I was able to persuade her that those assignments were not "magically" placed online today but were there since the first day of classes; and, yes, they need to be completed tonight by 11:59 p.m.; and, no, I won't sit and "catch" her assignments at 11:59 p.m. Aaaaaaaaaaaah!
While she seemed lucid enough, I insisted on taking at least one quiz. She opened the quiz and then quickly exited, declaring that it was time for lunch and "refreshment walk." You have to stay healthy, you know? Another aaaaaaaaaaaah!
So she is gone, for now... And it's only third week of classes... Five weeks to go...
OK, here is my question for y'all... Have you ever been in a similar situation? Any suggestions on how to deal with Ms. Idiot? And why do we allow students with severe emotional problems take college courses? It's obvious that these students are wasting everybody's time as well as money (I am sure she receives financial aid); yet, IEP requires accommodations and you have to comply. And she can sue us if we don't so we have to be careful.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
- Blueberries -- love them but don't have any now; added to my shopping list.
- Oatmeal -- had this morning (I often add one chopped apple and some brown sugar -- yummy).
- Cabbage -- actually, I like cabbage (NOT boiled cabbage, though); my mother makes a delicious dish called selyanka (rice, shredded cabbage, beef, tomato paste, seasonings-- all that is slowly cooked in the oven, in it's own juice); also, I like cabbage in fresh salads.
- Kale -- can't stand it!
- Sardines -- I will eat canned tuna or salmon but sardines don't usually attract my taste buds; can tolerate, though.
How about you? Do you like/dislike these foods?
Saturday, June 10, 2006
1. Cranberry Juice
5. Grilled chicken strips
5 items in my closet
1. Summer clothes
3. Extra pillows and blankets
4. Old receipts (scared to throw away but probably would never need)
5. My female cat (she loves to sleep there)
5 items in my car
1. Road atlas
2. Phone charger
3. Several CDs
4. My "large" handbag (the one that follows me during the regular semester when schedule is totally crazy and contains all necessary "stuff")
5. Soft boot cover for the convertible top (will I ever use it, though?)
5 items in my purse
3. Lip gloss
4. Wallet with credit cards, checkbook, etc.
5 things in my head
1. It's soooo hot -- 86 F and it's 10:00 p.m.!!! Oooh, for some cool breeze...
2. Grading papers equals to torture but it's necessary evil... and must be done by Wednesday.
3. I would love to do some fun coding -- but can't do it now because of all those papers...
4. Feeling guilty; I really should have worked out for one hour today instead of 30 mins.
5. Hmmm... what do I have in cupboards, fridge, and freezer that can be combined to create a decent but quick lunch tomorrow since some friends are stopping by after church?
I am sponsoring two children from Uganda through Compassion International and send little cash gifts from time to time in addition to monthly support. The little girl (Usuna, 8 years old) always writes back and tells me how she decided to spend the money. This time she decided to buy a little goat! So she wrote this long letter telling me how cute the goat is and how it will soon provide milk and cheese to her family (she is orphaned and lives with her granny). She also included a great picture -- of a goat, course!
Friday, June 09, 2006
One interesting thing happened, though. After reviewing all applications last week, only one applicant appeared to be very promising and several others were "maybes." We invited all of them today for on-site interviews and teaching demonstrations. Well, our top candidate happened to go first and did great, so we felt like she would get the job. Surprise, surprise -- one of our "dark horses" outshined the top candidate!!! Even though she did not have any community college teaching experience. I guess it's another reminder why we thoroughly review all applications and offer on-site interviews to all potentially eligible applicants, even if there is only a glimmer of hope; you just never know.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
- vaccinations (all six of them) -- done
- prescriptions (two, one only for emergency) -- filled
- books (Brandt, Cameroon and Nigeria) -- arrived today and I am already flipping through pages
- gifts for our hosts -- have to compile a list and buy by the end of June
- travel arrangements -- done, mostly by our program director
- packing -- scheduled for July 1, two days before I leave
Our schedule looks exciting; here are some sample activities:
- Meet Senate President, Speaker of the House, Minister of Education, Minister of Culture and Tourism, and Minister of Women Affairs (Nigeria)
- Attend a session of the National Assembly (Nigeria)
- Visit University of Abuja (Nigeria)
- Tour Abuja City (Nigeria)
- Visit University of Jos (Nigeria)
- Tour Jos (Nigeria)
- Visit National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies in Kuru (Nigeria)
- Visit University of Port Harcourt (Nigeria)
- Visit Volcano Site in Douala, Cameroon
- Visit Botanical Garden in Limbe (Cameroon)
- Visit University of Buea (Cameroon)
- Visit Delmonte, Tole Tea, and Semme Mineral Toilet??? (Cameroon)
- Visit Mankon Museum and have an audience (wow!) at the Mankon Palace
- Attend a seminar in Bamenda, Cameroon
Of course, it's mostly "work" schedule; we will have free time for other things as well. However, I am not too optimistic for having lots of options; both countries are pretty dangerous for tourists so we will have to be careful.
Anybody been to Cameroon and/or Nigeria before? I would love to hear from you!
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Remember my "favorite" student, the one trashing me around campus and demanding to remain in my online courses anyway? Well, Unit 1 assignments were due last night. Did she submit any? Nope! Go on, keep digging your own grave. I would love to see you in VP's office again. What's your excuse now? Discrimination will NOT work, believe me.
Here is another one, with our tour director; much more relaxed. ;)
Did you know elephants could play musicial instruments?
Huh, getting confident now! They were sooooo gentle!
They can draw pictures, too!
One student asked me today if I ever had a chance to ride an elephant. Sure! More than once! :) She asked for pics and I decided to share them with you, too.
That's the kind of marriage I want but, unfortunately, it's not on the horizon yet. I guess I am scared of failure. I know that I won't be able to put up with a husband who does not support me when I need him. But I can't even imagine what kinds of scars divorce would leave; it does not have to be ugly to be destructive (in fact, as discussed with someone today, ugly divorce is probably indicative of lack of love to begin with); but having someone to be your soul mate and then giving it all up, that must be so painful. My heart goes out to anybody who is in that position; yet, it takes two to have a successful marriage; what else can you do if your partner is not willing to contribute and/or absconds with your heart?
I had two close calls with a marriage thing but backpedaled when I didn't sense the total committment. Am I being too picky? Or just didn't meet the right guy? I am thinking the latter.
So I decided to join e-harmony -- again. Last time, most of my matches were so not my type; nothing against biker types but I am not looking for one. There were some who appeared to be nice but I am not exactly a model myself so I can't expect really cool guys to be interested (my self-esteem is just fine; just being realistic).
Maybe I will get lucky this time. :) So far, none of the matches responded (for real -- it's only been a couple of hours) but two look interesting; will see, I guess.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Question: Discuss how the world would be different if one important medical discovery of the 18th or 19th century had not been made. Think of Jenner, Semmelweis, Pasteur, Koch, etc.
Answer: "Oh what a relief!!!!!!.Let us all thank Semmelweis for the 20th century dicsovery of hand- washing.The thought of the student and doctors entering the lab without having washed their hands upon just leaving [dead corps] may we all shout praise for such a wonderful discovery!"
Any doctors out there? Did YOU wash your hands? :)
My students are settling down and emailing me less than last week, so I can actually accomplish some of my own stuff. Our program requires at least one first-author article, published in a peer-reviewed journal. Considering my total lack of research experience, that's a major challenge and I am not going to wait until all coursework is done before meeting this requirement. I have several pretty good ideas, I think, and so need to polish them up and conduct at least one research study next semester. One project looks especially promising since it's not well explored yet and may catch editors' attention or so I hope; I just need to make it shine so interest is not extinguished by a poorly conducted and/or presented study.
Meanwhile, I am working with my major professor on another very interesting project; it's pretty cool since I am not only learning the ropes but also really enjoying the project itself. Who knows, I may even add my own twist to it later and see what emerges. I am meeting with Major Prof tomorrow to discuss some things and, guess what, doctorate program is too cool if it allows lunch meetings. I probably sound extremely naive but my Master's program professors would have never endorsed such working plans. Anyway, I have a wonderful advisor and look forward to learning lots of stuff. Thanks, Major Prof! :)
Also, counting days to my Africa trip; going to Nigeria and Cameroon in July. This trip will allow me to meet with many colleagues from their major universities; I am especially excited about learning how they conduct online programs since it's my main area of interest. Of course, I caused a stir in our small town pharmacy last week when I filled my prescriptions (malaria pills to be taken daily and another prescription in case of emergency).
My students are as excited as I am; already have a long list of postcard requests. Last year, when I spent four weeks in Thailand (and made short trips to Cambodia and Laos), they were eagerly awaiting my emails and kept checking for updated photos. I was able to apply some of the things to class projects so it was fun.
Monday, June 05, 2006
Then she mentioned making pelmeni -- Russian dumplings with meat filling -- next time I visit. Mom!!! There should be an 11th commandment: thou shalt not lead your kids into culinary temptations. We made a compromise -- she will make borsht (meat/vegetable soup) instead and I will even add a dollop of sour cream to it.
Here is one:
My name is Student. I'm 36 years old and a mother of 5 and a stepmother of 2. I have a granddaughter who is 9 months old.
Here I am, five years younger, no kids (and don't anticipate any soon); but I am working on my Ph.D. and traveled to many countries around the world while she is only working on her two-year degree and probably never left our state. So, yeah, you can't have your cake and eat it, too.
Seven kids??? Honestly, if I had to choose between having seven and none, I would choose none. :)
Sunday, June 04, 2006
Last semester, one of my good students (one of those few you would like to keep) was involved in a serious accident at work and ended up flat on his back for several weeks. Because his average was fine, I agreed to an Incomplete. Well, the poor guy's car was T-boned several days after our conversation and he is still recovering in the hospital. Again! Can you believe it? And, no, it's not one of those stories students make up; unfortunately, this one is for real.
Should I offer him a W? I did not communicate with him directly (but his mother was sending updates) until today; he thanked me for working with him and said he will retake this course next semester. I just feel bad about that F. Strange, huh? Usually students deserve the failing grade. Am I being too soft? I have never been in this situation before.
Actually, it's not so bad. I can do everything from home and it's too hot outside anyway, right? :)
Friday, June 02, 2006
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Of course, very reasonable schedule helps -- for the past two weeks, I could go to the gym without feeling guilty that something is not getting done. I will need to be creative next semester in order to maintain the routine.
Paying attention to meals is another hurdle. I love salads and have a myriad of recipes; however, most of them are good only while just prepared. I will have to figure out a way to bring/buy healthy lunch next semester. Since I will not have ridiculously early morning classes (last semester, had 8:00 a.m. class in a location over one hour away from home -- had to leave no later than 6:30 a.m.!!!), breakfast should be manageable, too. As for dinner, only Wednesdays will be a challenge (have a night class), so I should be fine.
Last time I slimmed down to a comfortable size, I vowed not to gain even one pound. Yeah, yeah, yeah... Can I keep that vow this time? Will see, I guess...
|American Cities That Best Fit You::|
|60% San Diego|