Wednesday, January 27, 2021

All before coffee

 Not a metaphor, but a thing that really happened: Instead of writing this morning, I cleaned up dog pee, first from the floor underneath the thermostat and then from the actual place where most of it pooled in front of the book case and then from my clothes because I thought the puddle covered a different area, so I knelt in it and also dipped the ends of my long cardigan. All before coffee. Which I probably didn't have to tell you.

Actually, I have been having success writing this year (that was definitely a whisper) because I really have less than 30 minutes every morning by time I extricate myself from my bed without disturbing Minnie and replace myself with a pillow ledge and start laundry and make coffee, etc. I can't set an alarm because of my tiny bedmate, but I have no problem waking up around six. It's the getting up that takes awhile. With less time, though, I have to focus, and the task seems somehow less daunting. I just have to get the people out of the car and into the gym, for example. Or I just need to do this one scene at the pool. It's like an unintentional pomodoro. Ideally, I could have more time for this throughout the day, but I am working on that part.

In other news, my state is THE WORST. Not only is our vaccine rollout one of the slowest in the whole country, but also our legislature just overturned the governor's mask mandate, (well, the senate did, but the house is even crazier, so) at a moment when experts are recommending that we wear TWO MASKS. I cannot even. WHY DO WE EVEN LIVE HERE?? We are just one bad governor away from the Wisconsin Retirement System (one of the most secure pension systems in the nation) being privatized and destroyed, so we won't even be able to say we're bound up in retirement savings. GAH.

It's funny that I look so ridiculous on my walks because those walks are the only time I leave the house and see actual other people. With that frame, I should wear my best clothes.
Dorothy used the kits my brother bought her to make her own spa products-- shower gel, bath bombs, perfume, a face mask-- and had a terrifyingly relaxing little home spa day.
My mom sent Minnie this fabulous outfit because it is hard to resist the pull of the Minnie clothes.
A nap straight jacket.

We got over a foot of snow, and yesterday, the only place that was even a little plowed was the path around school, so Minnie and I walked lap after lap for 85 minutes while I listened to an EXCELLENT audio book.

Today is an asynchronous day. I told the kids they could have phones, iPads, Nintendos, Xboxes, and TV until 9 am and then not again until 3:45 pm. After they finish their school work, we have cookie-making, card-playing, and maybe a round of CLUE on the agenda. I am also hoping someone can watch the baby from 11-12 while I hold live office hours, but I doubt I will get any takers On the office hours-- they will for sure hold the baby). My class this semester has a schedule that is very uniform, but I think will take students a bit to get used to, so this week, their assignment is to explore the class and figure out the online textbook. We start with the actually meat of the course next week, so soon I will be covered up in grading and will have plenty to complain about. Usually, I teach with a TA and do not have grading to do, but this semester, my class is small. I have a grader to help with the papers students write (4 short papers over the course of the term), but the week-to-week grading is my responsibility. I am glad for the chance to see what students are up to but also nervous about maintaining a short turnaround time.

To augment student learning in our large asynchronous public speaking class, we are offering 5 live Zoom sessions with the course directors this semester. I am up for one in 2 weeks, and it is about nonverbal delivery and word choice. Naturally, I am going to use Amanda Gorman, and I crowdsourced a lesson plan on Facebook yesterday and got wildly fantastic input. As I have said here, I DO NOT prep my semester during the actual semester (and this is a tip I would recommend to any aca-parent). As a result, my semester is often not super responsive to current events. I have an attendance question activity that I do every day in real-life classes, and that's where I normally am able to use current events and speeches. Because these live Zooms are brand new and recently grant-funded, though, we are planning them as we go along, and it is nice to be able to keep the content super fresh. But I would still caution any academic parent against planning the semester as the semester progresses. Start the semester with everything fully prepped-- lectures, exams, activities, rubrics. You will not regret it.

**steps off soapbox**

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