09 April, 2014

come uppance

Whatever you did, Idris, it must be impressive. I've never seen Louhi run that fast, that furiously (bottle brush tail, and pun intended). You do notice she's faster than you, right? And still a little taller? Whatever you did, maybe don't do it again.

06 March, 2014


I'm perhaps 30 minutes from leaving for an ophthalmology appointment in which I anticipate needles shot into my eyelids (well, fluids shot into my eyelids via needles) and my eyelids peeled open and held that way by clamps while an extremely nice doctor stabs sharp things into said lids. This is all a very dramatic way to drain chalazia that have overstayed their welcome and begun interfering with my vision. This has also happened before, usually around periods of stress, and only ever in the right eye. The last couple of months have been delightfully stressful about those things which rate highest on the stress tests (at least in first world countries, where it is assumed you will not be facing bullets or starvation), and lo! the eyelid has responded. 

I had to semi-bully my way into an appointment; evidently the last almost 4 years, in which I have not needed such services, should require my physician (who has seen me exactly once, ever, because other visits are handled by PAs and other relevant specialists) to refer me to the ophthalmologist who I have seen for this on two other occasions. Not that my doctor would have to see me to do so, necessarily, but she'd have to generate the appropriate email and add another 24 hours to the process. I objected to this rather...vehemently. When it takes me 10 minutes to get my eye open in the morning because of the swelling (which goes down, once I'm upright) and I can feel the pressure of the lumps on my cornea when my eye is closed, well, guess what? I don't need any more delays. (And this is with a single-payer HMO, mind you. It's easier here than with most HMOs to see a specialist.) 

The procedure itself is also a source of great stress, which is why I'm not using my precious "free" time to prepare for next quarter's classes. It's a reboot of my Zombie Apocalypse class, plus and minus a few readings, so it's not like I don't know the material fairly well. But really, I'm too twitchy to concentrate. 

My students, meanwhile, anticipating their successful completion of my class, are trying to register for the next level of first-year writing, which I happen to be teaching next quarter. I have been told repeatedly that my sections are already full, sad face, and who else do I recommend, or might third place on the waitlist still work out, etc. I confess. I don't know what to do with this popularity. I'm glad, obviously, that my students like me and my teaching, especially since this lot survived Beowulf and Aristotle and some truly difficult writing. So it's not that they think I'm an easy instructor (which would gall). I am secretly flattered that my sections fill up as fast as they do, and that I have a reputation among students. I'm also weirded out by it, because I don't know what to do with popularity. I know I am a very good teacher. I can own that. Personally likable? I guess. My teaching persona is sarcastic, irreverent, profane, and funny. (Not that different from Real Me, except way more patience on display at all times.) Also: ridiculously helpful in office hours. So I get why the students want me. If I were a student, I would want me (which is why I teach the way I do: I am my own first audience). But it's still weird to be so sought after. And it will be nice to see familiar faces in the classroom next quarter, and have that many fewer to learn. 

So I'm not complaining. Just ruminating on why being good at something, and being recognized for that, makes me uncomfortable. Maybe it's just the eye talking.

16 February, 2014


So, I finished that short story. It's maybe the best I've ever written. We'll see if the editors agree. I have this superstition that I am jinxing it by even mentioning it here, now, before the verdict comes back. I am prepared for the statistical probability. I am hoping for otherwise. Thus it goes with all submissions.

I get a little tired of hearing 'think positively' from people when I cheerfully announce that I'm sending something off for rejection. I am thinking positively. I am positive that I am better than 95% of the other stuff out there. Maybe even higher. But with rejection rates even higher than that, and personal taste to account for, well, there we go. If I didn't think positively, I wouldn't keep doing this.

With the story done, and nothing to comment on from my 60 students this weekend (the flood will arrive on the morrow, unless I get some ambitious early birds today), I am at loose ends. Making granola. Got a sleeve to knit...which I am avoiding, because I don't really like how the first sleeve turned out, and if this one turns out the same way, I will have to go modify the damned pattern and redo two sleeves.

The upside: the way winter's acting on this coast, I won't actually be able to wear the sweater until next year anyway, so no rush.

Idris discovered my yarn. I keep partial skein/balls and projects in two big popcorn tins under the coffee table. He cannot squeeze himself into the tins, but he can dip one skinny arm into them, fish around for Something Cool (tm), and haul it out. Now there are lids on the tins. So far he's igoring the projects ON the table (see above: sleeves). Louhi used to pick a single DP out of a project--never the stitches, just the loose needle still stuck in the ball--and run off to play with it. I am grateful to the yarn gods that Idris hasn't picked up that habit...although one of my 7 DPNs has acquired what looks like gnaw-marks on one end.

 So on that note, I leave you with a shot of the stage from the Amon Amarth show last night (which was crazy-fun, despite the fact I inhaled enough second hand smoke to make my own smog cloud). That's Johan Hegg in the corner, bellowing at the crowd.