sethrak: (Default)
The boys got up and ate their breakfasts reasonably well. My stomach didn't cause me much trouble. We got out the door on time for Mark's scheduled parent-teacher conference, which went well. Then we made brief stops at JCP, to pay my bill, and Whole Foods, to get some dairy-free substitutes for a couple of my fave snacks.

Then we got home, and I started feeling wobbly while making the boys' lunch. I decided to postpone my own lunch, and laid on the couch a while, rousing briefly every so often to put on a fresh Netflix episode of Backyardigans or sip some water.

Just as I was nibbling on my own lunch, Mark, who'd been drowsing on the couch, suddenly let out a small shriek of pain. He bolted upright, ran into the bathroom, and screamed even louder. I checked on him. He'd thrown up massively. :( Gave him an emergency bath and clean clothes, and he went into his room of his own volition to lay back down again.

Cleaned up the bathroom, and am now trying to resume lunch, lest I get another hunger headache.

Not going to make vegan oatmeal-raisin cookies after all. Not feeling up to it, after that cleanup job. ::wrinkles nose:: Maybe tomorrow, if whatever poor Mark has passes quickly.

But dinner shouldn't be a problem. Keeping it simpler than last night's dinner, just grilled porkchops, bread, and some sort of veggie.

Last night's dinner turned out pretty damn good, even if, as expected, the Zodling Duo snubbed half of it. I adapted a fried rice recipe I found online to be Mark-safe (basically, just leave off the scrambled egg step), and it was great. :D :D :D I ate half, and Tom polished off the second half when he come home. All the boys ate was their baked chicken. More for us. :D

Right now, in addition to being just below freezing, we've got snow flurries. Denver is getting a heavier hit than that, judging by Facebook friends. Driving to Jack's PTC tomorrow may be tricky. ::crosses fingers::
sethrak: (Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan)
me, Tom, and Mark's ABA therapist (whom I suspect the special ed lady thinks is not coming as she persistently CCs the emails to everyone else) to discuss a behavioral plan and what kind of active supports we can get for Mark in the classroom.

Also Jack, as it will be 1 pm and he has morning preschool.

Wish me luck.
sethrak: (Margaritaville)
Which was a damn shame, as Tom and I had plans for that night, and the next morning after the boys were in school. (Military gives Columbus Day off; local school district does not.)

Amazing Race, snuggling, and brownies; late leisurely breakfast, more snuggling, and exploring the Rock Island Trail, which has a trailhead within a short drive of here. According to the city's website, that trail is paved, so we were hoping it would prove suitable for taking the boys some weekend.

Well, maybe next time. :( But I've missed SO damn much time this summer from stupid gastrointestinal tricks....

Spent most of yesterday resting. Got well enough last night to think I was out of the woods for a while - then this morning had sudden and urgent recourse to chewable imodium. :(

Partially as a result, I am keeping Mark home today. His class was supposed to go on a two hour trip to Venetucci Farm, a local business that allows all D11 students to bring home one free pumpkin if they come with their class. (Donations strongly encouraged and accepted.) I'm not up to tagging along; we've already established via an observation session with his ABA therapist that they don't have a one-on-one person with him at any time; and frankly the final part of the route is along a highway that I can't drive without panic attacks. :(

I hate the idea of him missing any more school, after his own stomach ailments recently, but there's not really a way around it.

Instead I'll work with him on basic skills like hand-over-hand use of a crayon to make small straight lines, which is part of the school's beginning to write curriculum. He's great at doing wobbly circles, but English needs more than that. :)
sethrak: (Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan)
Stressing, and mildly abusing Dr. Pepper.

There WILL be an allergy-kid table, because while individual classrooms are declared peanut-free if students in them are allergic, the school as a whole is not, and therefore plenty of kids can and will bring peanut-laden foods for lunch.

We absolutely CAN send him with a bag lunch from home, even if he didn't have allergies; the rules about packaged and processed snacks vs. home-made food only apply to treats served to kids en masse.

We can request an attendant for him at lunch, and I certainly plan to. Quite apart from the allergy issue, he won't stay put at his lunch table otherwise.

We can request a paraprofessional to work with him during classtime and help him focus, although getting that's a little less certain. I hope we can. He will do SO much better in class that way.

Aside from that? it's a matter of getting a teacher who fits well. Dani won't be able to attend today's meeting, but she says Jane, a staffer at Friday school whom I've never met, will be there and has worked with Mark a great deal. She also says Mark is in a very good place to handle the academic side of kindergarten, allowing for his developmental state, right now, and despite the issues we've been having with complaints from his teacher, in HER experience, Mark is not a remotely aggressive child.

That made me feel better. Still stressed, and inclined to supplement the Dr. Pepper with chips, dip, and sushi. But better.
sethrak: Yzma rubbing her eyes (Yzma)
Just before noon, as I was pulling out of the driveway to pick Tom up from work so we could get lunch at a Chinese buffet, I got ANOTHER call from Mark's school.

Once again, he was really red as he came off the bus, felt warm, and when taken to the nurse's office, displayed a temperature of 100.5.

Once again, when I arrived to pick him up, he was no longer red, and only felt faintly warm, and once again, he acted totally normal all the rest of the afternoon.

That makes three out of four school days this week he's had a fever spike. Yesterday I kept him home, despite NO fever or abnormalities, due to school district policy.

Once we got home, I called Tricare. We have an appt. for tomorrow morning.

This is getting absurd. I am also deeply annoyed that the teacher and the aide kept asking me if I was sure I hadn't noticed him tugging his ears or acting sick; they think he has an ear infection. I have not noticed any ear tugging whatsoever, either at home or when picking him up from school. Nor has Tom.

We'll find out tomorrow I hope.

Holy cow

May. 17th, 2011 11:40 pm
sethrak: (Bouncing_Panda)
I actually managed to get a B in my writing class. o_o

Found out earlier today. Still hugely jazzed about this, as I seriously expected to barely pass.

On the other hand... Mark just proved conclusively WHY I am taking fall off. >_<

About an hour ago he began screaming and thudding in his room in a fashion that usually indicates minor injury or major bowel issues. Right in the middle of the bake time for the second trayful of a batch of choc. chip cookies I was making to thank Tom's office for giving him extra time off when I needed dental work a little while back....

I ran upstairs, and found him uninjured but extremely pungent. I promised I'd be right back, and ran back downstairs, where the timer had two minutes left. Got them on the cooling rack, ran back upstairs. Mark had NOT had a containment breach, but he did have a majorly nasty case of diaper rash, on top of the recurring and never quite healed cases he already had from previous nocturnal issues, and this necessitated an emergency bath.

During all this, Tom was out cold; his schedule this week has required him to get up at 3:30 am. The few hours that he is awake and at home, it's like having a very cuddly zombie lurching around.

Poor Mark did not enjoy the emergency bath, so after I tucked him back into bed, I laid down and snuggled with him a while. Poor poor kiddo.

He's not asleep yet, but he was calm and quiet when I left, and that's pretty much the best that can be asked for.

This is solid proof that I can't even make a batch of cookies when the Zodlings are ostensibly sleeping without chaos erupting, much less expect to get a decent amount of schoolwork done. >_<

But I got a B! So my academic probation, result of my poor performance back at UWM a decade ago, will not turn into academic suspension. :D
sethrak: (Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan)
I procrastinate hideously. I have long acknowledged this.

Unfortunately knowing this does not help prevent me from doing it.

And really, procrastinating vs. NOT procrastinating does little good when faced with the following:

My next essay, the "problem/solution" topic essay, is due next Friday, with optional rough draft for extra credit due tomorrow. It's worth 20% of my grade. I finally buckled down this afternoon to work on it, since I have the house all to myself.

Normally the prof. posts a lengthy description of what the essay is about, what needs to be included, what format he wants, how many sources minimum are required, minimum word count, and which citation style is to be used.

For this essay? All I have to go on is this: "The problem/solution essay asks students to identify and apply an analytical principle to a particular problem or situation. The essay will establish context for and define both the principle and the situation and will demonstrate how the proposed approach resolves a problem or question. Research on both the principle and the situation will be required."

No word count. No citation style. No minimum source count. No nada.


I spent most of the afternoon poking around the class website hoping to find something, since the 1,200 vs. 12,000 word count debacle proved I am highly capable of overlooking obvious things. I found zilch.

Tom's suggestion is that I find something off of, choose a problem facing the world or country, and go to town on it.

Probably going to be what I end up doing, since all I'm doing on my own is BSOD-ing mixed with panic. But I'm not happy about the lack of guidance.

Oh well.

Once more unto the breach...
sethrak: (Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan)
Davner has taken Jack-jack off to Culver's for some daddy-son bonding time, and Mark is at preschool.

I would love to use this free time to frolic, indulge in my recordings of DWTS, and eat junk food, but I need to get classwork done instead. Alas. ::dramatic hand to head::

At least I'll have some decent peace and quiet for it, and Dav made choc. chip cookies last night. Not Mark-safe, but incredibly delicious, which considering what usually happens when he bakes instead of cooks, is near miraculous. ^_-

Tomorrow we're going as a family to check out Pueblo, and do some recon for a lengthier trip we are plotting later this summer, which may involve an overnight stay. Online searches seem to show housing prices are way better down in Pueblo than up here, so we'd like to do a lengthy visit to check out the area and see if we'd like to retire down there when Dav leaves the AF in about fifteen years.
sethrak: (Bouncing_Panda)

Just barely within the word count - I couldn't pad it without making it obvious I was doing so - and a little past the due time if the prof. goes by Eastern Daylight Savings (location of the main campus) instead of by Mountain. But it's done, and I think it's good enough to get a decent grade.

Now for a decent night's sleep, free of guilt - and tomorrow I work on the next project.

So glad this class is over soon. ::le sigh::
sethrak: (Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan)

Replace 'fic' with '12,000 word essay I am supposed to be writing', and that is me. Except now I have all the laundry done... and am still not writing.

This calls for caffeine and discipline. And possibly Jim Hines' muse.

Why, again, am I trying to do college with minimal attention span, minimal ability to keep my nose to the grindstone, and two special needs kids who are not in school full time yet?

Oh yeah. To eventually re-enter the workforce as something better than a minimum wage slave doing work that kills my soul slowly.

So.... why is this not kicking my ass into gear with more efficacy? ::thwaps self::


Still moderately fucked, as I've only got a few hundred words and a wobbly non-thesis. But infinitely better than 12 hundred words would have been.
sethrak: (Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan)
Wrote over 700 words on that 900-word paper last night. :D

Now I just need to polish a few of the roughest edges off and submit it as a rough draft.
sethrak: (Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan)
Ok. So.

This essay is a critique. We are required to look at a source with a critical eye and assess its strengths and weaknesses. We must incorporate source material into it but also evaluate it. We must take an article from a news magazine or a professional or academic journal. "Offer your critique of the author's position as stated therein. Make sure that you build an essay structure (thesis, introduction, conclusion, body, transitions) and paragraph structure (topic sentences, illustrations, analysis, transitions). Cite hard evidence in MLA format. Analyze the data to demonstrate your views. THREE SOURCES MINIMUM. "

I bought a copy of Newsweek, and went through several potentially useful articles. My original choice was an article on No Child Left Behind and Obama's new version Race To the Top.

After reading the article a few times, interspersed with a ton of procrastinating (at least I am honest) I am mildly at a loss for a good thesis.

Debating switching to an article about a hippie who rowed across the Atlantic because she got bored being a successful business consultant with a decent marraige and no children. At least that one I can get properly annoyed about and thus critical of both content and format. The NCLB article is actually quite well written, hence tricky to rip apart. I have no thesis at all for it.

On the other hand, the article "How to Get Smart Again" looks promising. It discusses how well average Americans did on a basic test of history and civics knowledge, and ways we might improve on current history classes to improve retention of the information. One of the suggestions if replacing large phonebook-sized tomes with web-enabled content.

Right. Sure. The Internet Solves All. Except for the part where web content requires computer and Internet access that not all districts can afford. Somehow I doubt the Piedmont MO grade school has up-to-date electronics.

On the other other hand.... proving that with hard sources seems tricky.

So. Again I am faced with a paper to write and NO THESIS.


sethrak: (Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan)
I have absolutely no idea yet what my grade on that darn paper was, and I'm not going to look yet either. I'm instead going to concentrate on the next paper, and get a first draft prepped for the 31st, which is optional extra credit that I sorely need.

In the meantime - Jack's doing better at food therapy, and Olivia is going to work up a chart from the data she's been taking the last couple months, so Tom and I can get a better grasp of his progress. He IS making progress, but it's in such tiny increments it's hard to see when you're sitting at the table trying to make him eat hot dogs and chili and utterly failing.

Also in the meantime, I wish to express my extreme displeasure with the shenanigans being pulled over the WI anti-union law. A judge issued an injunction against implementing said law until it could be determined whether the maneuvers used to get it passed violated WI's fairly strict open meetings laws. Normally, implementing a law once passed involves the secretary of state publishing the law. Sec. LaFollette was specifically named in the injunction, so could not do so.

The nonpartisan Legislative Reference Bureau was not named in the injunction. They published it last week on a website, and now Gov. Walker is claiming that's all that's necessary to declare the law published and implementable. So new legal actions are being taken to see whose side will ultimately prevail.

These are seriously not-kosher shenanigans being pulled, I have to say. If Gov. Walker and the Republican portion of the legislature really are on the side of the law with how they passed the anti-union law, then they should have no problem waiting for the injunction and assessment of the legality of their actions, before implementing the law legally and with all normal procedures. I cannot imagine any reason for them to have done this other than knowing they're in the wrong and must bull forward so the law's opponents give up to the inevitable.

Skullduggery and gluteal haberdashery abounds. If I were eligible to sign petitions for Walker's recall, I would.
sethrak: (Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan)
So. 927 words out of a required 1k. (No I am not counting the citations page. That would be wrong.)

To get the remaining less than a hundred words, I'm trying to flesh out a paragraph about an art piece that shows a horse adorned with eagle feathers.

I know perfectly well eagle feathers are sacred to many tribes. The books I have also refer to them as 'sacred eagle feathers' multiple times, as does the exhibit website. The books mention eagle feathers, without the adjective 'sacred', in paragraphs describing dances and such.

What neither they nor the NMAI website do is say specifically 'Eagle feathers are sacred to Native peoples and here is why". I kinda need that. :;face-palm::

Googling variations on 'eagle feathers' or 'sacred eagle feathers' mostly just gets me websites that don't seem suited to an academic paper, or websites that are on the scientific aspects of eagles. Joy.

I'm decamping to bed for now and doing more google-fu in the morning/afternoon.

Ha! Just remembered. I have a few texts on Native subjects from my Ethnic Studies classes back at UWM in our personal library still. I'll check those out. If they fail me, I shall be despondent indeed.
sethrak: (Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan)
Emergency trips to libraries with two Zodlings in tow? Exceedingly not recommended by yours truly. :;rubs temples:: Never again if it can possibly be helped. I now have a library card and know where the non-student parking for UCCS is. (And now know they charge 25 cents for nine minutes of parking. Ouch. Next time, bringing Tom's massive coin jar. The meters only take quarters, too. ::wince:: )

But I got some books I needed for my paper, and have now read them, bookmarked relevant passages, and feel marginally prepared to actually write the damn thing now. Also, contacted the prof to apologize and inform him the paper's likely to be a couple days late. Means losing a letter grade for being within 48 hours past the due date - but better than not turning it in, or having it later and losing even more letter grades.

Yeah, definitely glad I only took one course this semester, and glad that Jack starts preschool this fall. Between this stress and the effort to potty-train Mark, I am going to get ulcers before the end of April.
sethrak: (Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan)
Upside: UMUC's online librarian function let me chat with someone who gave me some useful book titles, and informed me possession of a Pikes Peak Library District library card means I can check out up to five books from University of Colorado - Colorado Springs. In future, given two weeks' lead time, I can also order books from the UMUC campus library sent to me, and send them back, for no charge.

Downside: I do not yet have a PPLD card. And both boys are sound asleep - I would say finally as they've been picklepusses all afternoon, but right now it's detrimental.

So. I have, thanks to the UMUC librarian, printed the application for PPLD, and filled it out. I have the transcript of our chat printed, so I can get the right titles easily. I just need to whisk the boys off to the nearest public library, get the card, and if time permits, go to UCCS and get books from them. With Zodlings in tow. Freshly woken Zodlings, most likely, which means highly ill-tempered Zodlings.

Yeah. SO going to be careful what class, if any, I take next fall. Even with both boys in school starting this fall, this will be almost as nuts as it is now.
sethrak: (Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan)
So far? I and Tom noticed a section of the exhibit A Song For the Horse Nation that featured dance sticks in the shape of horses lost in battle, specifically two that were lost by warriors at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. He helped me come up with a loose concept, and I took some notes based on the exhibited art and questions I'd like to answer in the paper.

(It is fiendishly hard to get Wikipedia or Google to give me a firm answer on when the Lakota got horses. I am curious as to just how new an acquisition horses were when these sticks were made, and how this might have affected the amount of veneration horses received.)

Then I checked the online conferences again to see if my prof had responded to my request for help. Heh. Apparently fate wants me to do this paper on dance sticks, because he mentioned the horse aspect too.

Unfortunately fate doesn't want my googlefu to bear much fruit.

I have at least a little stuff bookmarked though, and am decamping to bed. I can't think clearly this late without caffeine.

Yeah. Once this kludged together paper is done, I am going straight to work on the second essay, so I have enough time to work out any and all kinks sooner than three days before due.
sethrak: (Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan)
Just finished the mandatory anti-plagiarism module for my writing class. (Why, yes, I DID do a similar module for the LIBS150 course last fall. According to Tom, just about every course at UMUC requires something of the sort, no matter how far in your studies you are. Joy.)

According to the module, most courses at UMUC prefer APA-style citations. LIBS150 used MLA. The module covered APA more heavily, but made references to MLA and Chicago/Turbian styles.

I can understand that different academic paper styles require different formatting, and different citation formats. Biology versus literature, for instance.

But the fiddly little differences between styles are driving me mad.

WHY does each style have to require its own unique title for the citations page? APA is "References". MLA is "Works Cited". C/T is "Bibliography". WHY does they all have to have their own cannot-be-deviated-from method of citing the author's name? There's initials only, abbreviated first name only, and full first name only. (No, I haven't yet memorized which goes with which style. I intend to rely heavily on the stylebook i was required to buy for this class.)

Why does APA require double-spacing in citations? It doesn't make a particle of difference in legibility as far as I can see, in the examples given. And reverse indentation? Really? Is a line or two of empty space between citations not enough to denote to a reader than you are now looking at a new citation and not an additional line of the previous one?

And why did the module inform us that APA considers footnotes a distraction and should be avoided unless absolutely necessary - in a footnote?

Meh. I need to shower and go retrieve Zodlings from their bedrooms. More homework and ranting later.
sethrak: (Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan)
Ok, enough poking around the newly opened online classroom. I need to head to bed.

Jack's IEP is tomorrow morning. Eeep.
sethrak: Pissed-off Starfire (Starfire)
This district is starting to show a real pattern of not handing out information to parents until the last possible second, like not telling me officially about Mark's transfer until the Friday before the orientation sessions held at his new classroom.

Now the bus company. I finally got a chance to call and ask what they're planning for Mark. The lady who answered said that the special ed preschool rides person isn't going to be calling anybody until Monday, and won't be starting rides until Tuesday.

I did know, from his teacher, that they don't usually do rides on the first day. (Can't imagine why.) But why wait until the day before rides start to contact parents?! Not every family has a stay at home parent who can rearrange their schedules so fast!

I'm going back to watching Muppet videos on youTube... And if the cubicle-crud Davner picked up at work hits too hard for him to stop at the Comm., I am taking the boys out after he gets home. I need soda. Walking a very thin line between sticking to decaf and falling off the caffeine-wagon, but I need soda. If Davner weren't ill I'd go to the Class 6 and get wine coolers instead. But we need at least one non-impaired parent at all times.


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