Monday, October 31, 2011

in which I wear a bowtie, suspenders, a fez, and say "Geronimo!"

blazer: thrifted
shirt: Gap via GoodWill
suspenders, bowtie, and fez: Amazon
pants: New York and Company via GoodWill
boots: via my mum
Sonic Screwdriver: via The Doctor, duh (I am the regenerated River Song? Wish.)

You guessed it. For this Halloween, I put together a costume of The Doctor's 11th regeneration. At the Halloween gathering this weekend full of English and Film grad students, only a very few people understood my costume without inquiry. Their loss! One nice gentleman from my Victorian Lit seminar acknowledged that my costume was "perfect" and that I had done "an amazing job," which did help me feel confident enough to don the disguise to teach in today. Well, teach one class, and be a bystander in the other.

It feels odd. I typed a page of my Adrienne Rich essay this morning all decked out in Doctor-Garb, which means I was essentially being my usual grad student self, only in a bowtie. Bowties are not comfortable, even if they are cool. Sorry, Doctor. But I kept wanting to take pictures of myself going about my daily tasks and caption them:

This is The Doctor eating vegetarian sausage biscuits for breakfast and drinking coffee out of a Snoopy mug.

This is The Doctor writing an essay on Adrienne Rich and the uses of poetry.

This is The Doctor eating frozen yogurt.

This is The Doctor in downtown Iowa City.

You get the picture (ha). In any case, my students did not understand my costume. However, I felt redeemed when a random girl at the yogurt shop introduced herself to me and asked if she could take a photo. Sure! Why not? That made it all worthwhile.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

in which I take a break from teaching

This week begins my onslaught of student-led classes. For the next three weeks, I will only teach class twice out of four periods each week! I broke my students into groups of 3 and assigned each group a date for which they are to be responsible for leading class and discussion. We're reading Eating Animals, and so the requirement is that they must address the reading in some way, but that they could supplement discussion of the reading with in-class activities if they desire.

Hoorah! What does this mean for me? Time, my friends. Time to plow through my Adrienne Rich essay (as of today: 5 1/2 pages single-spaced down!), flesh out term paper ideas for Gender and Language as well as Victorian Lit, and to BAKE. I would like to send R some more cookies, and I would like to have things like banana bread and muffins to snack on at home.

Speaking of baking, I made a pie yesterday:

AND I don't have anything to grade until Thanksgiving break! Less than 3 weeks until I'm back in Austin, eating tacos at Amaya's, walnut scones at Quack's, and pear-grilled cheese sandwiches at Kerbey Lane! (Important note: besides eating, I intend to gratuitously hold hands with that boyfriend of mine who I haven't seen in almost two months).

Friday, October 28, 2011

in which I try something new

If you'll allow me for a moment, I will tell you that I am not a fan of my hips and my thighs. I'm just not. It's the Latina curse, I suppose; I have a tiny waist, and then these ridiculous curves that make half the things I want to wear looking infinitely better on--well, someone else. The first of these things is high-waisted pants. It is just not attractive for jeans to come in tightly on a tiny waist only to BALLOON out at the hips. And even if it somehow didn't look awful, there is probably not a pair of high-waisted jeans in the world that would accomodate a tiny waist that had large hips and thighs attached to it.

So, when I began to notice on fashion blogs and in JCrew catologues that nowadays ladies are beginning to tuck their shirts into their pants, I assumed that this, also, was not for me. When I (very rarely) wear pants, I tend to prefer longer shirts that will go over the hips, as if this would somehow hide them? Tucking a shirt into jeans--especially lower-waisted ones, as high-waisted do not accomodate my body type--would probably draw extra attention to that, my least favorite area on my body.

Today I figured, screw it. Let's see what happens.

hat: antique shop-ed
cardigan: JCrew
top and boots: thrifted
jeans: Gap
belt: via my mum
scarf: found under a couch cushion in college

It's not the worst look ever. Could high-waisted jeans be on the horizon? When next in Austin I'll have to check out a JCrew outlet and see if the impossible is now possible.

In other news: I am working like a maniac on the Adrienne Rich paper. Well, perhaps not a maniac. I'm only slightly panicked. My near future holds very little other than leftover chili and Adrienne Rich/Emmanuel Levinas.

Well, and Halloween...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

in which I get down to business

I discovered yesterday that my Adrienne Rich essay, long incomplete, is due at the end of this semester.For those who were not loyal readers at the time, here's the low-down:

In the spring I took a seminar on ethics in/of art. It was amazing. And... the due date for the term paper was nebulous. My professor, bless her, told us that we could have the summer... even the fall...

And, well, my summer passed. I took French, worked for a realtor, and read outside in the sun. I moved to my new apartment, and went to Boston with the lovely R for a week. Then, suddenly, the semester was upon me and I had to teach for the first time. Gah! Every spare moment while the reading in my own classes was light had to be spent on lesson-planning and syllabus-forming! And now... now, here at mid-semester, I am beginning to do research for my two seminar papers for Victorian Lit and Gender and Language. And I'm no longer simply lesson-planning, but also grading. AND, I still had only 4 pages of the Adrienne Rich paper composed as of yesterday morning.

Upon my discovery, however, that if I do not turn it in in the next couple of months and receive a grade for the course by the end of the year, my Incomplete will become a Fail. So, essentially, I'd like to, you know, avoid that.

So I've stepped it up. Last night I wrote a good 2/3 of a page and this morning I added another 1/2 a page. I'm making progress. "A page a day," suggested a colleague in the grad lounge during lunch yesterday. I think he's right. I don't think I have any other choice.

shoes: boots, gifted
thigh high socks: Sock Dreams
dress and snap-up blouse: thrifted
belt: via my mum
beret: Urban Outfitters, old
blazer: thrifted

Time to buckle down. Or, saddle up, as my outfit might suggest. At the risk of sounding (and dressing) like a kitschy Texas cowgirl, yee-haw 2nd half of the semester, let's do this.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

in which I earn a Strongbow

Yesterday's outfit:

dress: thrifted
necklace and belt: via my mum
cardigan, bracelet, headband: JCrew
socks: Target
shoes: Urban Outfitters

Yesterday's highlight was the absurd moment when my students in the afternoon section clamored for more information on Jacques Derrida, of all people! In Eating Animals, JSF quotes Derrida when discussing the feeling of shame in front of animals; Derrida says that we are naked in front of animals in our shame. So at the end of class, despite my assurances that Derrida is a figure widely considered even by the most intellectual of intellectuals as inaccessible, a handful of students wanted to know more about him. So I broke out Of Grammatology last night for some light bedtime reading after I got off of the phone with R.

I forgot how much I kind of really love deconstruction.

But, then, today happened.

I woke up at 7:30 and checked my email on my phone as I was still coming to grips with consciousness. A student had emailed me about his grade on the speeches from last week. He had come to my office hours during the day on Tuesday, believing that I graded the 20 points of Presentation too harshly; I explained to him that anyone who went overtime was immediately docked 10 points, and that in addition to his speaking for too long, he had read rather than delivered his speech. Though clearly disappointed, he departed from office hours seemingly having gotten the point

But, this email. Epic in length (at least, for a student), he outlined many reasons that he thought might make me reconsider changing his grade. Well, no. But what really truly bothered me was that he inferred that he had complained to someone in the Writing Center, who had then agreed with him that I was wrong, and who then contacted "people" in the Rhetoric department who then agreed that I had been too harsh.

Whose business is it in the Writing Center to tell my student that I was wrong? And to then go behind my back and tattletale to someone in the Rhetoric department? It was unclear as to who had been contacted; it could have just been this tutor's Rhetoric TA friends, or it could have been a professor--even my boss. I was infuriated.

I already had a meeting with my teaching advisor planned for this morning, just as a mid-term check-in. You will be unsurprised to learn that our entire half hour was spent conferring about this student's complaints. The Assistant Director of the Writing Center popped in and spoke to us, and sided with me. My advisor sided with me. Then the gal who had been the tutor to speak with my student came in and tried to, I don't know, provide his perspective without sounding like she disagreed with me? She kept saying that he had seemed very upset--close to tears. And I'm thinking, seriously? How does she think that I felt when I woke up this morning to the feeling that in my first semester of teaching that I had been sold out because some kid couldn't handle getting an 83 on a speech? A B signifies "above average." For going over the time limit and reading a paper aloud rather than delivering a speech, he should have been glad to get anything above a 70 in the first place for not following directions.

So that was the beginning of my day.

dress: thrifted
tights: H&M, old
boots: Naturalizer, via JCPenney
belt: thrifted

I feel like I've earned a Strongbow. I popped down into the grocery store that I live on top of and bought one a couple of hours ago. I'm waiting for a good moment--such as, working on my Adrienne Rich essay momentarily--to drink it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

in which I fall off of a chair

One of my colleagues told me last week that on the evaluations that she has her students fill out about her, she always asks them to describe a memorable moment from the semester in her classroom. Inevitably, the students often list moments that were not learning-related. “If I embarrassed myself in some way, they were sure to take note and remember it,” she told me.

I gave my morning section a moment to remember yesterday.

Quite simply, I fell off of a chair. I was trying to demonstrate various different perspectives, yes? "J, your sitting in the corner gives you a different view from my standing here at the front of the room; now, if I stood on this chair for instance, that would be yet another perspective..." and then, whoosh!

So, that was embarrassing. Red and white checkered skirt in the air, feet over my head, ouch. Luckily, I did not injure myself in any lasting way. My left ankle hurt for the remainder of the day, but much less today. I suspect it will be as if nothing had happened by the end of the week. Except--I'm sure one of my students will be sure to mention it again. Because... well. So it goes.

top: Loft
skirt: thrifted
belt: thrifted via an Etsy shop, years ago
socks: Sock Dreams
shoes: Urban Outfitters
cardigan: gifted, JCrew, old

What a way to start the week, friends.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

in which the orchard is void of apples and the stories are without ghosts

I'm not one of those people who like horror films. I've never watched one on purpose before, the main reason being that I can't even watch Jaws without being utterly terrified.

The suggestion of terror might be what gets me. When we were twelve a friend of mine and I sat out in my backyard after midnight on the anniversary of John Lennon's death with candles burning in a square around us and my stereo between us softly playing John-centric Beatles songs. It was a very calm night--not so much as a breeze. But then one of us--I forgot who--said timorously, "What if suddenly the candles went out?"

And though we both chuckled at the silliness of the young girls who would be scared after such an event, we both fidgeted nervously until we agreed very quickly that we should go inside.

Now, what's scary about that? Nothing, right? Well, I won't hesitate to tell you that I was very much afraid at the time. That's just me.

So when I signed myself and two friends, Monsieur Z and Mistress LK, up to go on a "ghost walk" in the nearby Amana Colonies, it was somewhat unprecedented. But I like going on walks in the autumn, and I like old buildings, and I began to think that it could be fun to be spooked. The three of us decided to begin the day at Wilson's Apple Orchard just outside of town.

But when we arrived at the orchard, the nice woman in the shop told us that "there are no more apples." They had all been picked. What? We ate our fresh apple turnovers in disappointed silence. How can an apple orchard be out of apples in mid-October? Meanwhile, the wasps and yellow jackets were out in full force, and we had to find a bench inside on which to perch and finish our snacks. The tractor was still giving rides down into the orchard, where there were a few pumpkins if that was one's thing, so we took a tractor ride and tried not to be too obviously disturbed when a woman and her small son boarded the tractor and he continuously showed her the very fuzzy very clearly poisonous caterpillar in his hand and she neglected to make him toss it out over the side.

So, no apples.

beret: Fancy Hat store in Madison
sunglasses: thrifted
top: thrifted
belt: thrifted
skirt: Forever 21
boots: gifted, old

We went back into town. I graded for a couple of hours. At dinnertime we scarfed down some tasty BBQ and then headed out into the Amana Colonies, eager for our day to turn itself around with some ghost stories.

The setting was promising enough. We were to meet at the post office, and upon arriving we found some odds and ends scattered about that had some spiritual possibilities.

At 6:30 the walk began. We heard some stories about various buildings as we walked by and stopped in front of them. This used to be the schoolhouse; this used to be the communal kitchens; this was once a horse barn that burned down. But none of these stories had ghosts in them! Not one of the buildings was purported to be haunted! We entered a blacksmith shop and witnessed a demonstration, which was certainly neat. We were fed lemonade and caramel popcorn, for which I was grateful and of which I do not mean to complain. All in all, the two and a half hours spent in the Amanas was an interesting history lesson. But even I, so gullible and easily frightened, was driven home underwhelmed. Where were the ghosts?

So, to conclude: false advertising! The apple orchard was out of apples and the ghost stories absent of ghosts. At least when I sit down in my squishy red armchair today with a mug of tea on the built-in-bookshelf to my right and speeches in front of me on the yellow futon to grade, I will know what I'm in for.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

in which I both love and hate you, Chipotle

"She was humiliated to find herself a mere victim of feeling, as if she could know nothing except through that medium..." --from Middlemarch, Chapter 20

Well first of all let me just go ahead and admit to you that this little quote from Middlemarch essentially captures how I feel about graduate school. During classroom discussions I make effusive remarks with wild gestures, and feel that rather than stimulate my peers intellectually I simply amuse or even annoy them. Should I try to change this? Possibly. Am I going to anytime soon? No. Get real.

beret: Urban Outfitters (old)
scarf: handmade gift from my friend Megan!
jacket: thrifted LL Bean ($1!)
jeans: Gap
boots: Clarks, gifted
shirt: H&M
cardigan: thrifted cashmere
belt: via my mum
Americano: Prairie Lights

It was a productive day full of reading. I read for hours in the morning and for fragmented hours in the afternoon between classes. Highlilght: for lunch, Z and I went to Chipotle where I have been attempting to craft my ideal barbacoa dish. I went for the soft tacos on this particular visit. How'd that go? Well, I was utterly shorted on the barbacoa on 2 out of 3 tacos! I asked my salsa person if I could get some more meat and he said something about how that was the amount they could give and any more would be extra. I was skeptical, because I have had barbacoa in a burrito and in crispy tacos and let me tell you, there is usually more meat than I had in front of me yesterday at 12:35. I replied, "Well, that's interesting. Medium salsa please." I guess the guy felt like I was ultimately in the right, because before when I asked for guacamole on the side, he said, "I'll just throw that in, since you were unhappy about the meat." So, I got free guacamole. Which is good. But 2 out of 3 of my tacos were not barbacoa tacos with cheese and salsa and sour cream and guacamole; 2 out of 3 of the tacos were sour cream and salsa tacos with barbacoa, cheese, and guacamole.

So, the quest for the perfect dish at Chipotle continues! I have high hopes that on my next visit I will not be served "diminutive tacos" as Z later referred to them over drinks that evening.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

in which I begin to reread Middlemarch and find an essential problem with Dorothea Brooke!

Just in time, I've begun to remember how I do love Victorian novels. I love the stuffy preposterousness of the socially acceptable conversations that hide the most passionate intentions. I love the descriptions of little English towns where everyone knows everyone. I love the feeling that there is so much going on beneath the surface of every character, even the minor ones. I love the carefully constructed narratives--I know, I know! How un-Modernist of me! But I can't help it. I'm weak. I love it.

I've got to plough through about 100 pages of Middlemarch in about 20 hours. I can do it. But I've encountered a slight hitch. The heroine, Dorothea Brooke, cannot be my heroine. I can't believe that I didn't remember this from the first time that I read the novel, several summers ago-- (tangent: my afternoon section wanted to know what I had to do for homework so I whipped out Middlemarch to awe them of my reading load; they were not only awed, but absolutely aghast when I mentioned that I had once read it for fun, during my own free time in the summer back when I was their age)--take a look:

Sir James interpreted the heightened color in the way most gratifying to himself, and thought he never saw Miss Brooke looking so handsome.

"I have brought a little petitioner," he said, "or rather, I have brought him to see if he will be approved before his petition is offered." He showed the white object under his arm, which was a tiny Maltese puppy, one of nature's most naive toys.

"It is painful to me to see these creatures that are bred merely as pets," said Dorothea, whose opinion was forming itself that very moment (as opinions will) under the heat of irritation.

"Oh, why?" said Sir James, as they walked forward.

"I believe all the petting that is given them does not make them happy. They are too helpless: their lives are too frail. A weasel or a mouse that gets its own living is more interesting. I like to think that the animals about us have souls something like our own, and either carry on their own little affairs or can be companions to us, like Monk here. Those creatures are parasitic."

"I am so glad I know that you do not like them," said good Sir James. "I should never keep them for myself, but ladies usually are fond of these Maltese dogs. Here, John, take this dog, will you?"

The objectionable puppy, whose nose and eyes were equally black and expressive, was thus got rid of, since Miss Brooke decided that it had better not have been born.

(from Chapter 3, Middlemarch, by George Eliot)

If you know me, and know consequently how much I love dogs, then you will understand that I was quite distraught at this passage! Henceforth, I have resolved not to like Dorothea. To find such a puppy--"whose nose and eyes were equally black and expressive"--so "objecctionable" and allow him to be cast aside so thoughtless! Oh! How heartless must she be! Capital offense. I am not even exaggerating.

In other news, it was quite windy today. I got dressed.

boots: gifted
tights: Sock Dreams
skirt: Anthropologie
belt: thrifted
trench: thrifted
scarf: via my mum
top: thrifted
necklace: thrifted
cardigan: JCrew
bag: via my mum--her high school graduation present back in the 70s!

Meanwhile, my students are giving speeches this week and I am generally impressed. They will all see the midterm averages that I gave them go up, I suspect. I'm waiting to see all the ladies break out the UGGs and sweatpants look. Ha.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

In which it might be unhealthy, but I refuse to turn on the heater

Fall is here! At night it feels like the Texas winter. Iowa City hasn't hit freezing yet, but the low temperatures are in the high 30s, low 40s. This morning I re-set my alarm to get one more hour of slumber, and when I finally rolled out of bed at 8:20 in scrubs and a t-shirt I quickly realized two things:

1. Damn! My down-comforter is nice and toasty!
2. Shit! I might have to break out the wool tights today!

As you may know, I have firmly maintained the opinion that the only way that I survived my first midwestern winter was to refuse myself instant warmth. By this, I mean that I would not break out my winter coat until the temperatures were in the 20s. I would wear layer upon layer of cotton, but I refused myself the wool tights or the wool sweaters, until it was too cold. I knew that if I brought out the big guns too early on, it would only get more frigid outside and then I would be at a loss. I hope it was not an act of admitting an early defeat when I put together today's outfit for a high temperature of 51 and a low of 37:

boots: Naturalizer via JCPenney
socks: Target
tights: Sock Dreams
skirt: Anthropologie
shirt: thrifted
cardigan: Urban Outfitters
blazer: thrifted
scarf: London street vendor

I'm going to have to start wearing gloves, though. When I'm riding Alonso (my bike):

down the steep hill to campus, my fingers freeze painfully in the rushing wind. I don't want to stop riding my bike until it snows, either. We'll see how that goes.

In other news, my students filled out mid-term evaluations yesterday. For the most part they were pretty standard. In general they admitted to liking the class more than they thought they would, and a vast majority described the instructor (that's me!) as "cool" and "smart" and "enthusiastic." A surprising number thanked me for being so enthusiastic because my energy kept the class from being boring. Here are some highlights:

-Do you have any suggestions for improvement for the course?
"Outback. Please. <3" [one of my students mentioned that she works at Outback in early September and now the whole class wants to go on a field trip to there]

-What is your overall impression of your instructor?
"Crazy in a good way"
"Person: execellent teacher: pretty good"
"I love you"

-What are your instructor's strengths?
"not ugly."
"this class, literary stuff, Firefly knowledge, Dr. Who trivia and other sci-fi"

-What are your instructor's weaknesses?
"She's a hipster."
"We never went to Outback or got muffins."
"Too much enthusiasm"

-How would you rate your instructor's knowledge of the subjects addressed? Does your instructor effectively convey this knowledge?
"Yes, she displays her greatness."
"knows knowledge like the back of her hand"

-Does your instructor communicate with the class in a clear manner?
"Yes, speak good texan-american"

Sunday, October 16, 2011

In which my glasses snap in half I've been walking around all day with Gigantic 1970s Grandma Sunglasses on my face--in the bleeding library of all places. Piece of advice? If you're going to break your glasses, don't do it on a Sunday. On Sunday, the eyeglasses stores are closed. And you will probably have to teach on Monday morning with sunglasses on, because your students probably wouldn't make fun of you for that, right?


Not that I'm worried about my students really making fun of me. It can't be any worse than when I started the poetry lesson with my afternoon section and one of the students went to Dictionary.Com on his laptop and played the entry for "poem" out loud to prove that I pronounce it in a strange manner. (Not that I didn't know this! But "pomme" is "apple" in French, and Dr. Crowder used to say "poym," too! So, you know, deal with it.)

Anyway, the moral of the story is that you've just simply got to be fucking kidding me. You know what I don't have time to do? That's right--go buy new glasses frames and have them put my lenses in them. And you know what one thing my grad student health insurance doesn't cover? YUP! Vision.

Hat: antique shop-ed
necklace: thrifted
cardigan: Gap
dress: thrifted
(purple, though you can't tell)tights: new from Buffalo Exchange
boots: Naturalizers via JC Penney
sunglasses: antique shop-ed, almost my perscription(!)
belt: thrifted

Anyway--so, the library. I have to present a critical article about Middlemarch this week, so last night I did a search on MLA for the most rececnt Eliot scholarship. I happened upon an essay from April 2010 of English Language Notes that seems to tie affect in to Middlemarch. I'd tell you more, my loyal readers, but after trekking down to library to get my hands on that issue of the journal (no e-access, apparently), scanning it twice (the first time the quality was very poor), and staying at the library to grade student responses on Adrienne Rich poetry for three hours without a lunch, it would seem that I failed to email the scans to myself.

So, I'll be back at the library tomorrow.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

In which I love love love my new over-the-knee socks

If I have never recommended Sock Dreams to you all, let me do so now. When I was a freshman at Hendrix College, I was introduced to this amazing website by a gal who lived down the hall from me on the 3rd floor of Couch. Oh my goodness. Knee-high and thigh-high socks of every color and cozy material! Leg-warmers! And, as saved my life this past midwestern winter: STOCKINGS. I bought two pairs of cotton-lined wool tights last November and they have been my cold-weather staple. In addition I own I can't even tell you how many pairs of knee-high, over-the-knee, and ankle-high socks (favorite: my mustard cashmere!
!). A couple weeks ago I was looking at the website again in order to send my dear friend Megan a gift certificate for a belated birthday present; she has moved to Ohio from Austin to earn her PhD and I knew exactly what kind of a shock the winter was going to be for her! As I perused the site I found a couple of have-to-have items, as usually happens when I allow myself to "window shop" online, and I went ahead and splurged on a pair of mustard thigh-high socks and a pair of marled navy blue over-the-knee socks, as seen in my outfit today:

boots: via my mum
socks: Sock Dreams
shorts: JCrew outlet
shirt: American Apparel
necklace: via my mum

I am lovin' these socks. They are almost agonizingly comfortable. And let me tell you, it is not easy to find socks that will go this high on my curvy Latina legs and stay there! I love the color. There are itty bitty flecks of mustard and burgundy and cream and forest green amidst the lovely and unique shade of navy blue. I've been lounging around my apartment this morning writing short letters and sorting through the work that needs to be done this weekend versus this upcoming week.

These socks are delightful and accommodating--the opposite of one of my students this past week. Robert departed for Austin back around September 11. This was about the same time that I last saw one of my students, let's call her "N". N was gone for a week--the same week that many of my students were missing one day or so due to a cold that was going around. I assumed that N had had the misfortune of first having caught that cold and then secondly suffering from that cold's evolution into the flu. Then she missed a second week. Then a third.

"Has anyone seen N?" I asked. "I don't know whether the university would contact me or not if a student were hit by a bus or... you know, died..."

They assured me that sometimes they had seen her around campus. It became a kind of joke; "Guess what, Captain? I saw N today!" a student might say at the beginning of class. "I was going into my dorm and I saw her going out through the other door and I even almost spoke to her!"

N did not turn in a paper.

Then, one week after the papers had been due, at long last, I finally received an email from N. She said she had been sick some--and then admitted, point-blank, to having had been lazy. And this was her reason for missing a month--a month!--of Rhetoric. She asked if she might come to my office hours and turn in the paper that she "thought she had emailed" to me. I said that she was welcome to come to my office hours, and planned to recommend that she drop the class.

She did not come to my office hours. She sent me an email, claiming to have gotten lost. I mean, my office is pretty difficult to find. But if you were in that precarious position, wouldn't you have asked for directions from somebody?! I sent her an email and told her that she had missed at least 3 assignments that she could not make up, and that the highest grade I could offer her, if she turned it in THAT DAY, on her paper was a 30.

She waited two days to turn the paper in--via email--at which point it is simply a zero. What do I do with this girl? I am this close to just shooting her an email with the instructions on how to drop a class. Once I've averaged the mid-semester grades, we'll see if it would even be possible for her to pass the class--especially with continued absences? I have participation as 20% of my students' grades, so, good luck, N!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In Which I Remember How Much I Love the Rain

Because, when it rains, the temperature drops.

Autumn is here in Iowa City again! Thank you. When the leaves are yellow, it should not be 80 degrees outside. And after a torrential downpour on Wednesday evening (which resulted in a legit 45-minute flooding of the intersection outside my apartment), the temperature took a lovely little swan dive down into the low 60s, where it has remained during the daytime. I welcome cardigan weather with open arms and the following outfit:

cardigan: Gap
top: thrifted
jeans: Gap
boots: gifted
belt: via my mum
necklace: also via my mum
scarf: ALSO via my mum
blazer: Eddie Bauer, like 6 or 7 years ago

This week I finally finished grading the 38 student papers that had been plaguing me. I haven't actually sat down with a calculator to figure this out or anything, but I would estimate that the average of my two classes together is probably something like a low B. I was a tougher grader than I expected to be--but can I help it if my students often neglected to include a thesis statement in their introductions after we specifically discussed the concept the week before their final drafts were due?

The correct answer is no.

Meanwhile, I have begun my first cross stitch project in years. I'm stitching a nerdy little TARDIS with "TARDIS SWEET TARDIS" inscribed beside it. I've got a nice little spot on my wall picked for it already, above my squishy red armchair and next to the little white cube that my mini-Who resides in. (The mini-Who, in case you weren't aware, is the little Doctor plushie that Zach made for me back in... oh, May or so).

Thia upcoming week shall be my week to get ahead in my classes; my students are giving their speeches on the rhetoric of a song of their choice, for 3 out of the 4 days that we meet. We're beginning Middlemarch in Victorian, which I am so thrilled about that I volunteered not only to offer up discussion questions for Book II, but also to find and present a critical article on the novel. Sometimes I think that my boundless enthusiasm gets me into trouble?

Next week: possible paper topics, student impromtpu speeches and MIDTERM EVALUATIONS, and the season of letter-writing.

For now, here are some photos of me (with a slight glimpse of my new Anthropologie skirt) and my office.