Friday, December 31, 2004

I'm back!

Well, I'd love to give an update on the family and Christmas and all that good stuff. I'd also love to be on my way to Minneapolis to spend the New Year with my cousins. Instead, I have such a bad headache that I'm sick to my stomach. I don't think I could drive to the store for milk, much less the almost 4 hours to the cities. I'm sure it's just from exhaustion and from sitting in a plane/airport all day yesterday. Why do the two best holidays have to be so close together? I'm going to go take a nap, and maybe I'll update later.

Although, on the student note, I failed two students, but most of them did really well.


Tuesday, December 21, 2004

It is finished. . . .kind of

Well, I just finished printing out paper #5. So now I just need to turn in paper #4 and #5. I also have one oral exam today that I feel like I have not studied for at all. And I'm still receiving
e-mails from students about their grades that go something like this: I know you're really busy and I don't want to argue with you, but just because I have no thesis, make no argument, my paper reads like a 4th grade book report and I used no additional sources, why did you give me such a low grade? Why don't you go back and re-read your e-mail. My professor has the flu, so I may be proctoring the final by myself. We'll see. But at least the end is in sight.

This morning I cleaned my bathroom and I have started little piles of stuff I need to take with me to Dallas. I made little loaves of bread as gifts for a few people, like my friend Beth who is driving me to the airport at 4:30 tomorrow morning. She and her husband, Ryo, asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and I told her nothing, that if they wanted to get me something to donate to a charity or something. I just received a card stating they had made a donation to World Vision, which works with kids all over the world. Isn't that just the nicest thing! I'm lucky to have friends like that.

Well, I suppose I should make sure I have everything I need before I leave. I have to run a few errands before my final. I'm very excited about going home and seeing everyone. Oh, I almost forgot, yesterday I met with the professor I'm TAing for next semester, and she wants me to give the lecture on the Russian Revolutions (yes, there were two) of 1917! That's very exciting.

ok, I hope everyone is doing well, is getting lots of sleep, has finished their shopping (I haven't even started) and that life in general is just good.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Too much to do

By this time Wednesday, I will be sitting on a plane, heading towards the North. Yea, my parents live in Dallas, but for some reason I have to fly to Detroit to get there. That's ok, I like the Detroit airport more than Chicago or Minneapolis. So I'm trying to finish all my school stuff and all the stuff I need to go back to Dallas. The family got together last night and decorated the tree. Normally they would have waited for me, except for the fact that I'm coming in so late. To cheer myself up, I think about where the tree is, and decorating it and the lights and the food in the kitchen and all that. And then I remember: mom and dad moved. This is what's so strange. I wasn't attached to the old house; actually thought it was a bad lay-out, but at least I could imagine my family doing stuff in it. At the new house, well, I've never been there. Mom feels bad, because she'll make a comment about where the tree is, or the guest bedroom (which I apparently will have to fight with my sister for), and then she's like, oh, I forgot, you've never seen the house. I actually had a dream that I couldn't find a bathroom for the entire week I was there. When I told mom, she promised to show me all the bathrooms as soon as I get there. And then, they don't have my Christmas stocking. Which means it's in my basement storage unit somewhere and I have to find time to pull it out before I leave. Yes, our stockings are very big deals in my family. My grandmere knit them the year Elise was born (she actually fit in hers), so they have our names on them and they are HUGE! I think I'm going to have to have two check-on pieces of luggage: between clothes, Francesca's afghan and those final exam's, one just isn't going to cut it. (someone please explain to me why I chose the prettiest afghan that my grandma had to give to my best friend's baby? Now, when I get my Russian babies, they're going to have an olive green afghan). But at least I will get to see my family soon.

So that just leaves these two papers that are due tomorrow and the final I have tomorrow. Yesterday I managed to type up 10 pages of the one paper. It's supposed to be between 15 and 20 pages, so it shouldn't take me more than another 2 hours to finish. I could have finished it yesterday, but for some reason I thrive on stress, so I goofed off a lot. I haven't started typing up the other paper, it's supposed to be 5 to 6 pages, but I do have good notes about what I want to write. I just don't know if it'll be 5 to 6 pages. Today I have to meet with the professor I'm TAing for next semester: I meet with one final student about his paper: and I have a Christmas party to go to tonight. Tomorrow, I will go swimming at noon, treat myself to a good lunch at Chin's and then have my final oral exam for Prof. Hirsch (to whom I owe the 5 to 6 page paper), then I'll turn in the 15 to 20 page paper, then sit through the final exam. Go home, pack, try to clean the apartment. And somewhere in between I need to go to the post office, and pick up some birth control pills (even though I really don't need them for anything).

ok, I should get started,

Saturday, December 18, 2004

More complaints

Today I had the fun experience of asking a student to leave my office. The student didn't agree with my reasoning for giving him the grade he received. You know what, I don't give a flying rat's ass what you think about the reasons I gave you a low grade. The fact is I'm your TA, and I'm grading your final exam, and I get to decide what your grade for the entire semester is. Maybe you should have thought of that before you highly pissed me off. And while I appreciate the apology you sent, you still crossed the line.

So, even though I have my own papers I need to write and a final to study for, this is one of night's when I wish someone was here. I wish there was someone to give me a giant hug and just hold me until I quit shaking. Someone to listen to me gripe about how much this pissed me off. About how I hate to have my competency questioned, especially by some kid who doesn't know half the stuff I knew when I was in high-school. Someone to make me laugh. Someone to make me tea. Someone to rub the tension out of my shoulders. Someone to make love to me until I forgot all the shit with the students this week. Until I forgot I have two papers to write and a final to study for. Until I forgot his name, my name and everything else I know. I would still know more than that little shit student though!


Friday, December 17, 2004


Well, I expected a few people to be upset about their paper grades, but this is ridiculous. Especially since I told them to re-read the assignment, their papers and then my comments before they complained. If this is how fast they read their sources, that might be one of the problems. Someone actually e-mailed me complaining about his grade, stating he would be willing to accept it, but he wants to know why he got that grade. I had criticized the way he used his source, and he said that wasn't fair because I told him he could use that source. Does anyone else see a problem with this statement? Then he ended the e-mail, and I am not making this up, by complaining that now he had to really study for the final. I sent him an e-mail back explaining that if he had been in class when I handed the papers back, he might not have those questions since I discussed for 10 minutes why all the papers sucked and how they sucked. So, I'm just trying to concentrate on the two papers I have to write that are due on Tuesday and not on that fact that I now want to kill several of my students.

ok, gotta get to those papers,

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

How to destroy young minds.

Today I handed papers back. Well, first, I told my students how great a semester it was for me, and how much I appreciated them making this a great semester for me. Then I gave them candy canes. Then we talked about the collapse of the USSR. Then I told them their papers sucked, and for 10 minutes told them why their papers sucked. Then I gave the papers back and said good-bye. It was a little hard, but I wouldn't have given F's, D's and multiple C's if they didn't deserve them. After one of my classes, one of my students, who hasn't done any work this semester, I mean, none, shows up. He didn't turn in the paper that was due last week and worth 20% of his grade. He starts by telling me it would be an insult to both me and him if he pretended that he worked hard this semester. Then he wants to know, even though he knows I can't give him a grade, if I could read his paper and tell him if its a good history paper. He had finished the paper in time, but not the bibliography, so that's why he didn't turn it in, show up to class or e-mail me or the professor. What was that about not insulting me? But, you know, he doesn't expect a grade. So I tell him "It's the end of the semester. I have papers I have to write. If you are really concerned about whether its a good paper, e-mail it to me in January, and I'll read it then." Don't think that's the answer he was looking for. He should have written the damn paper.

So, tonight I will relax, because the rest of the week until Tuesday is going to be crazy with writing papers, studying for finals, trying to get my apartment clean, packing, buying Christmas presents, and meeting with students unhappy with their paper grades. Of course, I did tell them that if they contest their paper grade, I do reserve the right to lower their grade. Yea, I'm a bitch!


Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Three down. . . and how to write a paper

Three papers down, two more to go. I also graded 70 papers this weekend. Some were really, really good. But most of them were not. Apparently, the USA education system sucks. And when students ask you what kind of style you want (Chicago, ect.) they really mean, "show us how to do this, because we will not take the web-page you offered and look it up for ourselves because we really don't care." And it shows. I still have a lot of reading to do tonight, so I will not drone on about how bad the papers are, but, and I never knew this, the USSR collapsed because women were not provided with feminine sanitary items. You learn something new everyday.


Friday, December 10, 2004

Two down

Ok, I just e-mailed my professor that second paper that was due (it's the last paper for him) so I only have 3 papers left. One of them is due on Tuesday, and my professor (God bless her) gave me an extension for one of my papers until the 21st (it was due last Tuesday). I am her TA, so she knows I'm also grading 70 papers this week (might only be 69, one student didn't turn one in). I haven't even looked at them yet. I'm a little scared to. But I'm getting my hair done today, and my eyebrow waxed (it'll be eyebrows after the wax), so then I will feel pretty and like I can conquer anything! This weekend is busy, but good and it's almost over and then I can go home and see Phoenix. Mom said he's taking 2 or 3 steps but then gets so excited that he is walking that he does a face plant. Like she said, it might actually be best if hasn't got walking down until the tree is gone.

Had a great talk with Wes this week. I feel much better about the situation. He's not necessarily looking for anything now, he just wants me to keep my mind open to the possibility that something could happen in the future. I can live with that.

ok, I should get some reading done and maybe one or two papers graded before I go get beautiful.

Have a great weekend,

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Longings of various shades: black

Black, like your hair: thick and curly. Looking good short or long. Above your black eyes and dimples, which made you look more like a little boy than a man. And I still wonder, after all these years (4 1/2 since we broke up) why couldn't you get your shit together? Not for me, not even for us, but for yourself. You thought I was everything and I thought you were everything. If I was everything to you, and I thought you were everything, why didn't you think you were everything to you? You wanted to be my knight in shining armor. But it was your own demons you couldn't save me from. I don't want you back. I just want you to be happy. I want this hole in life to go away. But no matter how good anything looks, it still doesn't look like you.

Stacia: not a damsel in distress

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

To do list

Ok, I was just thinking of everything I have to do before next Tuesday, and thought I better write this down. And what better place than on my blog, because I know I won't accidentally throw this away.

Day by day:
I just realized I haven't read for the class I'm TAing and those sections are tomorrow.
I'm going swimming tonight (stress reducer). I have three classes today and I'm meeting with three students.
Tomorrow (Wed.): Four discussion sections. Get 60 papers from my kids: they must be graded in a week. TA training from 5:30 to 7:30p.
Thursday: study group for final exam for USSR history. This is an oral exam. Two classes.
Going swimming.
Friday: Have to e-mail out topic of response paper for my kids. This means I have to have read about 200 pages for them. Hair appointment in the morning. Paper due on Friday afternoon, and pre-lim study group. TA training from 4:00 to 5:30p.
Saturday: Volunteer at the museum. Christmas party. Hanukkah party.
Sunday: church.
Monday: dentist appointment.
Tuesday: two papers due, plus having read over 200 pages for one of my classes. One of these papers is only using Russian language sources. I have three classes today.
Wednesday: give papers back to students. Study section for final exam for them. Set up office appointments with kids unhappy with their paper grades.

And then, nothing until my 15 page paper is due on Tuesday and my final oral exam and I don't know when that will be. The kids take their finals on that Tues. at 5:00p and then I fly home the next day, grading their exams on the plane.

Actually, after writing it all down, it doesn't look bad. Hope everyone else's looks even better.


Monday, December 06, 2004


Ok, Camille answered and my cousin Amanda e-mailed me her suggestions and questions.

Here's Amanda's:

Movie: Frida
Book: The Bluest Eyes or Paradise by Toni Morrison. I have not read either, but they are both on my list of books I absolutely need to read.
Music: Buena Vista Social Club Presents: Omara Portuendo

1. Do you think that the social downfall of society is linked, whether directly or indirectly to the invention of electricity? Yes. I think all innovations or progressive inventions have the capacity to take us backwards as well as forwards. I still think the good outweighs the bad.

2. What do people dream of, if they have been blind since conception? They dream of colors.

3. What is my favorite color? Blue makes me feel comforted, red makes me feel powerful.

Here's Camille's

Movie: Mystic River
Book: Geisha Diaries, another one that's on my list to read (it's a very long list)
Music: Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway" I'm assuming you wouldn't have recommended this if you were using your real name!

1. What will I name my Russian babies, or will they keep their own names?
I depends on how old they are when I adopt them. I would like to name my little boy after my grandpa, but I want the kids to have Russian names, so I was thinking of Weston Vasily. For a girl's name, I like Katiana.

2. If I hadn't invested all this time in this line of study (Russian/USSR history for those of you who are dense), what do I think I would have liked to do instead? Either working for a international humanitarian group with kids or a photojournalist.

3. What unfulfilled fantasy do I still hope for? Sad to say, but the first thing I thought was Charley. I guess old hopes die hard. The second fantasy was my library fantasy. I'll spare you the details!

ok, I'll be more than happy to take any more suggestions/questions. Now, back to papers # 2 and 3.


Friday, December 03, 2004

One down. . . .

Ok, one paper down, four more to go. One of the four is for a pre-lim study group I'm in, so I think I may ask the professor if maybe I could give him topic suggestions, historiography trends, that sort of thing, rather than writing a paper. I'm not getting credit for this, although it does mean that when I take my prelims, this particular professor will make sure there is only one hoop and that it will not be on fire.

Meanwhile, I have only sneezed about 500 times this morning. I know I need to dust my apartment, but I don't think that's why I'm sneezing (I always need to dust my apartment). This really is not a good time to come down with something. I'm supposed to go out with friends tomorrow afternoon to some Christmas around the square thing. So we'll be outside all day. And I don't want to get chubs sick, since he's just a kid (and a very cute one at that). Hopefully whatever it is will miraculously disappear. Or maybe I'll just scare it away with all the homework today. I'm already drinking my second pot of green tea (from Japan).

Finally, I stole this from Kymmie's blog, as instructed, so here goes. I don't really know how many people read my blog, and not really sure if I want to know, but it might be interesting.

A) Recommend to me
1. A movie
2. A book (if you recommend one I've already read, I'm going to ask for another recommendation).
3. A musical artist, a song, or an album
B) Ask me three questions
C) put this on your blog.

ok, I have about 1,000 pages I need to read today, and the other 4 papers I need to work on. Everyone have a great weekend.