Thursday, October 25, 2007

Happy birthday Kath, Laurie, and Erika

First, let me wish a very happy birthday to Kath, fresh off the plane from Australia! What a way to celebrate! Jet lag! Kidding – I hope you had a great day. Laurie, happy birthday to you, too. I hope you enjoyed your day off. Of course, as with Kath, I forgot to mail your card, and the freebies I found on Yahoo sucked. But I was thinking about you. Erika, you're a teenager. Hahahahahahaha! Happy birthday. Have a good party.

Back to me...

Yes, I do actually still exist. What a busy week, though. I'm glad it's winding down to a less hectic pace. I've had homework stuffed down my throat and up the – well, I've had a lot of homework. The professor even sent out encouraging emails.

We're working on our "individual stories," which is two-and-a-half months of work on one subject, interviewing scads of people, finding reams of primary documents and a puddle of secondary documents and turning it into a mere three-page article of interest to the university population with an accompanying multimedia component. As we work, we hand in bits and pieces. Last week was the primary documents-only story. This week was the first interview-only story. In a couple of weeks, it's the first draft of all of it. This is in addition to our regular homework and lab work. Ain't college a kick in the pants? I really should have finished when I was younger.

This week we finished our "major stories," not to be confused with the aforementioned "individual stories." We took several pages of "facts" – "inspired by actual events" – and quotes (same deal) and wrote a persuasive piece, such as a newsletter story, press release or ad package, and an informative piece, such as a two-minute television broadcast, local newspaper hard news story, or major newspaper feature story. I wanted to do the feature and the newsletter. I ran out of time and went the easy route with the local hard news and press release, which apparently most people did, as well. That poor TA having to read all that crap. Not that it's all crap. But story after story of the same stuff – gawd.

Today we made a newsletter in InDesign. I used InDesign last year, so it was pretty easy. We had to work in groups. The TA put another guy in our group who had used it before, then she changed us around so the two of us wouldn't be together. Darn. The third person in our group got kicked out of the group because she didn't show up for the tutorial on Tuesday. She had to work alone. Technically, the TA could have just given her a zero. If you don't show up on a day that an assignment is made, you get a zero. Damn. Makes you show up to class, I tell you that.

So that's the thrilling tale of school. How about the exciting tale of work? Sure, yes, of course. Then I'll come to the enthralling personal life. Hey!

So, work. Um, the photographer has failed to show up twice in 10 days. It's not like I ask a lot. My predecessor warned me he gets in a snit if you do the photos yourself. So, he said he'd be there, then he wasn't. On two occasions he said he couldn't be there – for one he just didn't want to get up that early – so I planned on photos myself. No problem. But my little camera died a couple weeks ago, and I didn't want to haul my giant camera around. And he said he'd be there. But he wasn't. Irritating. Anyway, in the couple of weeks that I've had so much school work, I've had quite a lot of newspaper work, too. It does get a little dicey. My head and stomach have been in rather sad shape, but I'm still sane.

Now, my personal life.

Me: I shared my personal life with my class. This story made Kayleigh about die laughing. It was fascinating watching her figure it out. We were playing two truths and a lie in lab just to take a break from the stress and reacquaint ourselves with each other. I went first. Can you guess the lie? I am vegetarian, I am 16 years younger than my husband, and I haven't had sex in over a week. We all had a good laugh, and as my classmates started guessing, they laughed more.

Kayleigh has been having a problem in science. She's a quiet kid. She does not respond to strong personalities, especially boys. If she is picked on in any way, she withdraws entirely. So, her team in class is Kayleigh and two boys. One of the boys is aggressive. To Kayleigh, that means he's not allowing her to do any work. She tries, and then he butts in. So after a while, she gave up. Then the teacher started telling her she had to participate, which only further frustrated her.

Last week, she was trying to do something and this boy swore at her, so she just leaned back in her chair and stopped. The teacher came over and told her she had to be a team player. I called him this week. He was "baffled" and "shocked" that she would say such things because he doesn't see that at all. He only sees Kayleigh being aloof. She hasn't done anything all semester, he said. I said, "She's done nothing?" (How does she get all those As on her report card?) He said the only time she's done anything is when he tells her she has to. I told him she will not participate when she's being treated the way she is. He simply does not believe it's happening.

I mentioned that science is one of her favorite subjects, that she gets straight As in school, but that she has given up in his class because she feels defeated. He insinuated she was lying to me. We will see where this goes. I asked him to change teams after this project is done. He said he would but that he doesn't like doing that. I couldn't believe he'd have the same three-person team all year. Why do they need teams anyway? Can't these kids learn to use their brains all by themselves?

I don't think this teacher will ever understand a shy, smart, 13-year-old girl. His whole perspective is alpha male football players. She's expected to adapt to that personality. It's no wonder girls lose interest in science in middle school if that's what they're faced with at school.

Kelsey cried today because she can't eat Milk Duds. She gets her expander off in a week, then she can have Milk Duds. The day after Halloween. She's going to be a witch, named "The Little Enthusiastic Witch." I have no idea.

Eric is off all his mind-altering meds. The ones he was on were making him numb (his back and knees, mostly) and he was walking into walls. Not good. They seemed good otherwise. He was able to concentrate and sleep. He's been off all the PTSD meds for several months and is mostly OK, although not completely. Dealable, though. The side-effects of those are nasty, and he feels he can handle life without them. I think his behavior was better on them, but he just felt too weird. And as I said, he's doing all right without them. I don't know how he can keep going through withdrawal time and again. They want him clean for a month, then they'll try something else. He thinks speed is what he needs. That's what he'll get if this next drug doesn't work.

Tonight he said he feels like he's going back to being himself. And he doesn't like it.

I took my mom to the dentist this week. She'll be getting partial dentures. Two grand. She is happy it's not as much money as she was expecting. Tomorrow we're going to Pedro's for lunch since the kids are off school. I couldn't take her yesterday because of all my stupid homework.

They finally got a good look at my brother's lungs. It's definitely cancer, but a slow-growing kind, and he's probably had it for years. They can't do surgery because his health otherwise is too poor. I'm not sure what they'll do for the cancer. His wife said with this kind of cancer, because it's so slow-growing, something else usually kills you first. How cheery.

There's the news you had to have.


The Rotten Correspondent said...

Good grief. You're really taking it on all ends, aren't you? I'm so sorry you're getting slammed. Deep breaths and hang in there. Sending big hugs.

So which is the lie?

Amy said...

Ah, the lie. Welp, I AM vegetarian, and my husband IS 16 years older than I am. Which Kayleigh knew. So it was fun watching her figure out what my lie meant. In the room right next to hers, even.

Sleepydumpling said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes! (Just catching up with blog reading now). I wasn't jet lagged at all! I will be when I go home though, I bet.

And I knew which one was the lie, you dirty tart!