Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday Morning, Coming Down...

Well, no, not really.  And it's Sunday afternoon at the moment.  I'm "killing time" before my next online office hour.

I haven't been blogging much because I'VE BEEN WORKING!  Yes, working.  I'm trying to remember everything I've done since Thursday night, but I have to look at my list of "Things to Do" because my memory is shot.

I read a set of essays for my online 226 class, first drafts of their first essay; I've graded a set of writing assignments for my 115 online class and a forum that closed yesterday.  I've read two sets of blogs for my 226 classes, and I've been monitoring the online classes' critiques.  I wrote a lecture to introduce the poetry module for my online 115, and I created a podcast for said lecture.  I've been making out midterms and updating my Moodle course sites, too.

Oh, and I mowed the grass this morning after I raked up some of the fallen branches.  Managed to stall out the mower once, when I suddenly realized I hadn't picked up the water hoses and sprinklers.  Yikes!  I almost ruined my great watering system.

When I look at the list, it doesn't look like much, but then I realized that each of those tasks is labor- and/or brain-intensive.  No wonder I'm so tired right now.  I'd take a nap, but that would probably ruin my sleep tonight, and I need to get up early to go in to the college for a meeting.  I have three meetings scheduled in the next two weeks, all of them are at 11am on a Monday or Wednesday.  I usually don't need to be at school until 12:30pm, but, because of the meetings, I have to leave my house around 9:30am.  Ick.  That means I have to get up early on M/W, and I usually sleep until maybe 8 or 9am those days. Getting substantive work done in my office is nearly impossible because students and colleagues drop by to talk, the phone rings--just pick something. 

And my brother came in from Durango this weekend, so I'll need to drop in at my mom's to visit.  I don't mind this; it's just I wish I could grade papers while I'm driving.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

I Called It...

Didn't I say this was the semester from hell? 

I was eating dinner and reading assignments on the computer Saturday night.  I chewed my food and swallowed, and then realized a cap had disappeared from a back molar.  Oh, geez.  I swallowed it.  I hope I crunched it up; the idea of that porcelain crown making its way through my body is frightening. 

So, tomorrow, I need to find a dentist--fast.

Then, I called my daughter this morning to get some information to add her and her brother as beneficiaries to my insurance policies.  I asked her how the previous week went--she's two weeks into her teacher certification program at UT Austin--and she said, rather nonchalantly, "Well, funny you should ask about that.  I was hit by a car on Thursday and couldn't go to class Friday.  But I emailed my teachers to let them know."

Wait a second--back up.  You were hit by a car, and you didn't call me? 

"Well, Mom, he was only going about five miles an hour.  I was crossing Congress [It's a huge, busy street in downtown Austin] and he came around the corner and knocked me down.  I fell on my bicycle [she was pushing it through the crosswalk, trying to get to her bus].  The bus driver called 911.  The EMTs checked me out.  Nothing broken; I'm just bruised and sore."

Enough to make a mother's heart stop.  She acted as though she was talking about a walk in the park.  She was a bit disgruntled, though, because the EMTs offered to give her a $500 ride to the hospital, but no one offered her a ride home!

If she had called me, I'd have been on the way to Austin Friday before the sun rose.  But, really, what could I have done?  Make her tea, get her ice packs, take her to the doctor. I know, she's a grown person; she can take care of herself.  But that's not what worries me--what worries me are those other people, the ones who come around corners and run into my children.  I can't stop them, and I wish I could.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Slouching into Podcasting

I'll admit I'm a bit of a geek.  But I've had some trouble getting interested in podcasting.  Late last night, though, as I was trying to work out strategies for my latest online classes, I took a tour of the Internet and discovered a site called WildVoice Studio.

The software they offer is free to download, and they also offer space on their site to upload podcasts and make them available to anyone who wants to listen to them.  I've recorded two lectures for my freshman composition and literature class, and recorded them badly, but I'm learning how to use music and sound clips.  I can record my presentations for my podcasts and take that MP3 file, turn on my Dragon Naturally Speaking software, play the file, and automatically "type" a lecture I've already posted.  That way, my students can have an audio and text copy of my lecture.

I'm still a little new to this podcasting game, but I think, if I can get organized, I'll be able to learn what I need to know to do more professional podcasts.  My English 115 class online will be my guinea pigs.  I hope they don't mind.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Hello, Gustav!

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The wind is gusting, and the rain is falling, so I guess that means Gustav is here.  I'm sure this is not the worst of it.

I picked up a few small limbs this morning when the wind started, and I'm keeping an eye on all of these large trees in my yard and my neighbor's yard, too, since their limbs often fall into my yard.  I have one huge limb down in the back; it fell about a week ago after another rainstorm. I decided to wait until Gustav did its damage before I began sawing that one up. 

I just hope the electricity holds out and the water drains away.

Batten down the hatches!  Anchors Away!


I think I'm going to sleep in the hall closet tonight.  The rain doesn't scare me, but the wind does. 

I love my tall, old trees, but, when the wind gusts up to 30mph, they're frightening.  Reminds me of the trees in the Haunted Forest in "The Wizard of Oz."