Holden's Sock Monkey Birthday Party

I have A TON of grading to do and I could possibly get some done this morning while Ho-Ho is messing around, but I'd rather update my livejournal. It is a nice way to procrastinate. (All LJers know this to be true.)

Holden's first birthday party was so special. We had about 40 guests--awesome people. The weather was amazing: 65+ degrees. The theme was Sock Monkeys.

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This upcoming weekend we have a neighborhood Halloween party that I said I would make cupcakes for. The frosting on the cupcakes is going to be flesh colored and I'm going to make bullet wounds. There will be a "bullet" inside that you have to extract. The "bullet" will probably be some sort of chocolate covered nut. I'm going to dress up as Babraham Lincoln--a beard, a cardstock hat, a slutty skirt and some fishnets. Paul's going to be a box/silver spray paint robot. Holden is going to be a plush little monkey.

I also have that ton of essays to grade, as I mentioned before as it is weighing on my conscience: 30 arguments (5 page minimum), about 10 process analysis essays, and about 30 midterms. We have no groceries in the house, so tomorrow is shopping day. I don't know how much grading I'll get done tomorrow, if any. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed.

I entered this ModCloth contest: It's to win $500 from Modcloth. So, if any of you feel generous, leave a positive comment on my entry. It's fun to try!  

Christina and Mike's Couples Shower

I'm planning a shower to be held in our backyard for our friends, Christina and Mike. It's awesomely fun for me to plan, so far. The theme is a Romantic-Vintage Picnic, so it's going to be a little bit kitchy.

Here is one shower that inspires me: http://www.loveandlavender.com/2010/08/jodis-backyard-bridal-shower/

The red hearts on twine strings are a keeper. I'm totally doing it. I ordered red and white paper straws and I'm picking up some small Mason jars to use as cups. I think I may get some of that vintage bottled Faygo, as well.

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Here are the invitations I ordered:

Here are the knickers I ordered for Holden to wear to their wedding:

As you know, I freakin' love planning weddings, so I'm in my glory right now. It's a good thing I start getting a paycheck soon, because I have a few more things to buy. Fun stuff!


Friends Only

I have decided to make my live journal, "friends only." If you are my friend and have been reading my journal, please subscribe to a free live journal account. I would be happy to make you my official friend.


A Bad Thing About Teaching

Here is an email that I wrote my department chair this morning, regarding a student who has been a pain in my ass (and continues to be one) all semester:

Unfortunately, I thought I should give you a "heads-up" about a student, XXX, from my Tuesday, 1510-O1522 section. She claims she is going to the dean because I have treated her differently from the rest of the students--which, of course, is not true. She has been a thorn in my side all semester, but I have still given her an equal opportunity to succeed, I assure you.

I usually do not accept late essays, and I constantly remind my students of this rule. The day that our second essay was due, XXXX was not in class, nor did she email me. When she showed up the next period, she wanted me to accept her essay. I took her out in the hallway and explained to her that I expect her to communicate with me, when absent and that without documentation of an emergency, I will not accept a late essay. Anyways, I accepted this essay as a one-time-only deal. She did not have her rough draft, as was required.

When the next essay, classification, was due, she handed in a rough draft of another, different essay. She approached me about this. She always came to me at inappropriate moments, such as, while I am in the middle of a lecture and I break to distrubute a handout. I told her that she could email me the final draft of her classification essay. I told her that I must have it by the end of the day and that this was "the last time." I looked for her email, but alas she did not email me. The next period came and she wanted me to accept it, but I did not.

When an MLA quiz was due, she did not have the actual handout with her, but she claimed to have the answers written down. I said that she should just hand in what she had. As I was collecting an assignment from the class, I noticed that she seemed to be copying off of the student next to her. (In our conversation today, she claimed the student next to her, XXXX, was "reading the questions to her.") I noticed the suspicious behavior of the two students and made sure they noticed that I noticed. When I collected the MLA quizzes from the students, XXXX did not hand hers in, but slid hers in with the peer review I collected at the end of class. This morning I explained to her that I would not accept this assignment.

Finally, as I was sifting through the peer reviews for the argumentative essay, I noticed hers was about abortion--an issue banned by you and me both. I noted that on her essay before I returned it. I have tried to accomodate XXXX.

So, XXXX is now claiming that I have it out for her. Today I explained to her that I do not. I simply have rules and if she wants to operate out of these rules, then she must be accountable.
In short, I have spent way too much time debating with this student. I haven't graded her final essay yet, and I haven't added her total points yet. I just thought I'd let you know about these details.

Sigh. Every semester there's one.

Grouchy Comments

Can anyone suggest any LJ communites to liven my friends list up a bit? I feel the need for stimulation.

I hope someone we know hosts a Christmas party this year. Paul and I have hosted a party for the last two years and this year, we don't want to. We want to be drunk and merry guests. We have nothing holiday oriented planned yet and it's depressing.

Sigh. It's been a long day already: I lectured about the final argumentative essay and also about MLA documentation. It lasted about one hour and forty-five minutes. Lecturing is draining, although it does result in a feeling of accomplishment. It's the real "hands-on" part about teaching. Marking essays feels so passive aggressive to me.

Anyways, I'm tired, so I don't know why I am attempting to write an LJ entry right now. I should organize my shite for tomorrow's class and fold towels.

Festivus For The Rest of Us!

I have to go to the Y this morning, but I'm still sitting at the computer, with my coffee, searching for ways to stay home and indoors just a bit longer. Yesterday I did not exercize. I was slightly hungover from the 3/4 of a bottle of wine that I drank at movie night--it was a small bottle. I stayed home and Paul and I put up a few Christmas decorations.

We were planning on getting a new, bigger tree (perhaps 6'), but we have had some mega-bad luck when it comes to money recently. My grandma's funeral cost us about $400, with flowers, clothing and missed work. My car broke down shortly before then, costing us, again, around $400. Paul has been out of work this week, and he doesn't have any benefit hours left; he used them for our wedding. I had to get my tags renewed, since my birthday is in nineteen days--$79! We are up shit's creek this year and it's frustrating. I'm suppose to inherit some money from my Grandma, but I have no idea when I'll get it. It's only been about a month, so I'm sure I won't get it soon. My mom said something about probate court. It would be so helpful to get that money now.

Anyways, I'm going to make boxes of vegan cookies for a few of our more likable nieghbors and friends: Reese's cups (these turned out awsomely for Halloween), Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies (from the Veganomicon--deliciously chewy), Mexican Wedding Cookies (from The Joy of Vegan Baking), Sugar Cookies and Magic Cookie Bars (both internet recipes that I found last year.) Hopefully, we will have the money for this.

For our other gifts, we are thinking about having some of our wedding photos printed-up and then buying some frames. We have some nice photos of our friends from the wedding.

Paul and I recorded a Christmas song together, during our first Christmas. (Today is actually our four year anniversery for the first time we hung out--my friend Alison's birthday.) So, I've been thinking that we should record another song--or possible three, so that we have one for each year we were/are together. I haven't played guitar in ages, but I haven't forgotten chords, so I think we can do it. I want to record: White Christmas, Blue Christmas and Merry Christmas, I Don't Want to Fight Tonight (by The Ramones.)

I have to get all of this blasted essay grading out of the way so that I can have fun and start being creative. I'm going to try to force myself to spend less time grading essays, this time around. I cannot tell you how sick I am of reading the shite most of my students turn out. I spend far too much time trying to help those who don't want to be helped.

An Achey Thanksgiving

On Thanksgiving, Paul and I went to see The Fantastic Mr. Fox. It was "fantastic," only the sound was f'ed up through most of the movie. There were at least twenty-five small children in the theater, so it was even more difficult to hear. Paul and I, each individually, went downstairs to ask someone to fix the sound. Towards the end of the film there was some crackling and then, POW, the stereo sound came on. On our way out, the ticket taker saw us and gave us two free passes for our hardship. We went home and made our Thanksgiving dinner.

Paul has been sick since Monday. He has a cold, with body aches and headaches. Yesterday, we sat on the couch literally all day and all night. I went to the gym in the morning, but when I got home, I laid on the couch with Paul. We watched the James Bond film marathon on Syfy. I felt guilty for being so incredibly lazy, but the alternative (grading essays/cleaning) did not sound appealing. Paul called in sick for work today; he never does that. He needs one more day of rest. We were suppose to go to his sister's house for Thanksgiving II dinner tonight, but that depends on how he feels.

I am so over my courses this semester. I am mostly over grading. I am also over the bad habits of a few asshole students. At this point of the semester, their constant jerky behavior (chronic tardiness, lies and late essays that don't match the assignment, texting during class) just becomes tired. At first, I "call them out" in a slightly jearing, friendly way, but by this time in the semester I feel like physically wringing their necks.

Yup, I been down in the old dumps. Maybe I can distract myself by concentrating on Christmas stuff. My motivation is low. I need to find someway to be socially involved--besides the occassional party. Paul and I discussed joining a bowling league.

Shopping and Stuff

Paul and I went super shopping yesterday. We needed EVERYTHING! We went to Trader Joe's for big boxes of Barbara's cereal (cheaper there than with Paul's WF discount at his store) and we also picked up my fav-- "Wasabi Wow" nuts mix with golden raisins, almonds, peanuts and wasabi peas. Mmm. Then we hit the Discount Pet store place and bought Bill two whole flats of Turkey Gourmet Science Diet cans (he only likes the Turkey and only eats the small cans.)

Next we went to Target where I bought a winter coat. What I really wanted was a hard-core, I'm-not-going-to-feel-the-cold-in-anyway, full-length DOWN jacket. Obviously, I am vegan, so down is out of the question. I ended up finding a pretty decent, synthetic, 3/4 length padded coat by Converse. Paul and I seem to love the Converse brand stuff at Target. It's just cool and afterall, he's 42 and I'm nearly 35 (genXers like their Converse.) They only had a medium in the coat, and it fits me like a glove. We looked for a large at another store and all they was XL and S (of course.) So, yea, I finally got a warmish winter coat!

We went to Fabulous Footwear and each got a pair of running shoes (New Balance.) Then we went to Whole Foods and we bought our Tofurky dinner on sale for $19.99. It has a tofurky, stuffing, gravy, and a "wishbone."

We consumed yesterday, but we have been just getting by lately, so we needed a bunch of stuff. When we got home, Paul made his very own vegan meatloaf (he is a mad seasoner.) It was pretty good, but I didn't like the ketschup on top. Yuk.

Today, I'm going to the Y and then I'm grading Mid-terms (should only take a little over an hour) and starting to grade Process Analysis essays (these usually are pretty good.) Paul is playing with our friends Frank and Jason at the New Way tonight, in Ferndale next to the Om Cafe. It's a biker bar or something. Hopefully, I'll have the steam to make it out. I've been enjoying getting out lately. It's good for me.

The Cookie Crumbles

Yesterday Paul and I went hiking at Stoney Creek. We went on the "nature" trails in the back of the park this time. The trails were nice--a lot less people and no bikes. We hiked for about two hours. Last week we went to Kensington Metro park. We've been dressing in layers and I wore gloves last week. We talked about continuing to hike for as long as we can through the winter, but we majorly need some gear: BOOTS and long underwear. I think getting outdoors once per week is good for me. I tend to feel the lack of sunlight pretty intensely.

On another note, I feel a million emotions, daily about the passing of my Grandmother.  This morning I feel jealous of my cousin, Emily. Her mom is the executor of the will, so Emily is all up in my Grandma's house. She posted something about reading my Grandma's journal, and you know what, I bought my Grandmother that journal! Emily also choose a couple of quotes to read at the funereal, but no one asked me. I am upset about this. I know that these instances don't diminish the love and relationship that the had with my Grandmother, but for some reason, I want that relationship acknowledged by my family. The best I can do to handle these emotions is to try to convince myself that these things don't matter, and to try to believe that it's not important what they think about the value of my relationship with my Grandmother.  (The LJ program won't let me un-underline "they," and it bothers me.)

Anyways, I guess I'm going to the Y for a bit this morning, and then I have class at Macomb. I am lecturing about their last essay assignment: argument. I'm going to try to just keep it really straight forward, but it's difficult when fallacies are brought into the mix. We are talking about sources next week, so I might save the fallacies for then--since it relates to reading and evaluating sources and ideas. I have a set of mid-terms and will have a set of final draftrs to grade over the weekend.

Tonight is "Movie Night with Stacey and Paul!" We are watching End of the Century: The Story of The Ramones and also Anvil: The Story of Anvil. The two films were my choice. Everyone who regularly attends movie night will get to pick two choices for viewing. (In case you don't know, Paul and I have a digital projector and a makeshift theater in our basement.) So, this should be fun. Paul and I have been broke this week (tomorrow is pay day), so the snack we provide tonight is only going to be popcorn, and not the usual vegan cupcake or cookie treat. I wanted to make vegan sugar cookies in the shape of electric guitars, but no mola baby!