Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Workplace Harrassment - Bullying - Tara Parker-Pope - New York Times

Workplace Harrassment - Bullying - Tara Parker-Pope - New York Times: "This month, researchers at the University of Manitoba reported that the emotional toll of workplace bullying is more severe than that of sexual harassment. And in today’s corporate culture, supervisors may condone bullying as part of a tough management style."

This doesn't surprise me - especially since it doesn't take physical strength to engage in this type of bullying.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sunday morning

Happy Easter! We did a family mass last night that was the longest any of us has been to - 2 1/2 hours. We definitely celebrated the season. I like the new priest but would prefer one hour increments. ;-)

I am gradually catching up. I hit a melting point on Friday morning and will have to work on how to manage the stress of returning to a pile of work much better - esp. when I sense things are out of control when there was no way I could control them in the first place.

I made good progress on course prep for the online class - now if the grading fairy would just appear!

New York City is just on the horizon and I am definitely looking forward to this week.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Education Policy Blog: Not on the Test

Education Policy Blog: Not on the Test

Great YouTube video as we approach testing season in Kansas.

Back from Vacation

I actually survived more than a week without email. Who knew?

Now, my new task is to learn how to deal with the mountains of work waiting for me at home. . .. .

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Grading and Taxes

Today is filled with finishing my taxes and grading before leaving tomorrow for conference and spring break "out west". The plan is to actually NOT to any work on this vacation - a first!

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Sunday - More Progress

I was able to get another chunk of course prep done yesterday - finally getting some of it done early. Each semester I overwhelm myself trying to figure out new approaches to the requisite topics covered in whatever classes I'm teaching. From now on, instead of teaching a class that is usually almost 90% new each semester, I'm going to tackle new topics and new teaching strategies as I run across them and not put myself under the gun almost every week of every semester. Working smart instead of working too hard, maybe?

The students at my university hosted their annual international food fair. I had some great Indian Behl from the African students and some interesting crepes and Charlotte cake from the Russian students and some potstickers from the Chinese students. And it was fun to see some familiar faces.

Not unusually, I got off to a late start this morning with the time change. I went to the humane society just before noon and the poodle pup was back. He had had to have surgery - not something genetic, thank goodness, and probably just a possible fact of being abandoned. I waited til last to play with him. He's a cute little guy but I'm not convinced he's full poodle - his hair isn't quite curly enough and there's white at the front of his two toes and a bit on his chest and the rest of him is black. I gave all but one of the two more shy dogs treats and stayed longer than I had planned because of the poodle. I called my friend June because I had mixed emotions - he didn't seem to be "it" but I felt guilty leaving him. She reminded me that if he was the right one, I wouldn't be thinking about it so hard. And new poodles do show up every week on Petfiner. As Aaron at the shelter said, he won't have any trouble finding a good home and will go right away. Oh, I did hear back from the Fluffy Butts foster mom but the more I think about it, I'm just not sure about two dogs. I can carry along one dog lots of places that two won't go and my guess is that most dog-friendly hotels will prefer only one per room.

I have some prep for tomorrow to do, work on grading, and my taxes to do for Tuesday. All before I leave.

It was warm enough (51 degrees) to wash the car this afternoon and then I ventured into cleaning out the main component of the garage cabinets. Most of the stuff actually in the cabinets (and not on top) was put there when I moved in thirteen and a half years ago. As I picked up everything, I thought "why am I still keeping this?". And, as I've been learning from research and actually cleaning over the last few weeks, sometimes it becomes very easy to identify the emotional tie of a particular object and remind myself that the tie is not going to go away just because I throw away a thing. I wiped out the cabinets and put a great deal of the stuff on top the cabinets in them - where they should be. Now to get some more mice bait to put at the back to deter them if they get in the garage again next winter.

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Friday, March 07, 2008

One Last Snow?

I headed to the farm and what I initially thought was pieces of hay and other stuff coming from the back of the truck in front of me (who was weaving and driving ten miles an hour under the speed limit - no surprise he was on his phone . . . )and it turned out to be snow. As I turned off the highway to the county gravel road to the farm, I saw a little bit of snow along the side of the road but was surprised as I unloaded some of the small logs I brought from town from the tree I took down there (still cleaning up ice storm damage now that we can get to it) and the snow just kept coming. It's still blowing around outside and looks like it might continue until dark. It will be gone by noon tomorrow. I had thought I wouldn't get to see any more snow this year - except possibly in Denver when we're there for a conference in late April.

I'm still behind on grading that needs to be done before I leave on Wednesday. An afternoon campus email reminds us that mid-term d and f grades are due the 17th so it will give students plenty of time to decide if they want to continue in class. Our students can drop quite late in the semester and many who aren't making As or Bs do.

The major accomplish this morning was going through numerous collections of "stuff" in my office - I can again see my desk and my CDs (data, not music) are primarily in one spot.

I read a recently published organizing book that says clutter means we are too tied to our past. I still like printing out "important stuff" but need to do more database cataloging - esp. so that I can find it again. I'm also in the process of weeding through my various briefcases and backpacks. I'm even going through the recipe books that take up a good third of my kitchen cabinet space - most recipes can be found online except for some longtime favorites from my junior high home ec class and from some high school students when I taught in Carthage.

This is definitely an example of one of my tangent posts . . . .

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Sundown Towns - American Historical Association Blog

American Historical Association Blog: "Are You Living in a Sundown Town?

By David Darlington

University of Vermont sociologist James Loewen has created a web site where visitors can explore a controversial topic in American history: sundown towns. This largely-forgotten practice, which refers to counties and municipalities requiring racial minorities to leave their borders after daylight hours, occurred mostly in the North and Midwest, in contrast with Southern segregation. Loewen, who wrote a book on the subject (Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism), provides site visitors with a database of possible sundown towns (which users can submit additions to), population files for several states for greater research, tips for amateurs interested in contributing to the historical research, and even a newsletter (PDF)—'dedicated to the abolition of its subject'—which explores the topic further and provides additional advice for doing research. And to learn more, check out HNN’s podcast interview with Loewen on the subject in 2006."

And many of these sundown towns are near me I'm sorry to say.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Shadow and Humane Society

Here's one of the last pictures I have of Shadow - he's "out west" with me on our way to Montana. I always thought of him as my little guy and he was always a little trooper about traveling - as long as he was with me, he was happy and content. This also kept him out of the August Kansas heat. And, he was able to ride in the new more comfortable vehicle.

One of the min pin pups went home today. You could tell the young woman adopting them really thought about both of them but could only take one. The other one should go quickly.

Another volunteer said the poodle pup that had been there briefly last week was 8 weeks old and very small. So, someone is looking out for me since it would have killed me not to be able to take it (and it's too soon given my traveling this month).

I worked outside and was finishing the big stuff just as the Disaster Relief truck came by to pick up on the roadside right-of-way. I had just read in the morning paper that they were doing another pick-up but didn't realize it would be today. I pushed the limits of my Black and Decker alligator and did get the biggest parts of some of the downed trees in the back. The biggest problem is the drainage issue is only worse and not better given how much the tractors, etc., behind us pushed dirt into our drainage trench. Will have to get that fixed soon even though the city is working on the drainage further down. Too bad we didn't realize the damage the men were doing at the time - but then there's probably no way unless we stayed home from work to watch over them to make sure they didn't push so much dirt off their property and onto ours. It reminded me of when the lot next to me was empty and a different group of tractors and equipment pushed down all the trees - including about 20 on my property - the big red flag in the middle of the trees signaling the property line didn't mean a thing to them - 6 tractors on one little house lot and they just went to town.

I took some pictures at the humane society but forgot the online access passwords to actually post them so will have to email Aaron for them or send them to his email depending on when I hear back from him about one picture of a dog they think might be eligible for a particular rescue group.

I'm tired - and glad I did the outside work first - it looks like winter outside again after it being spring weather again this morning. I do like the variety that others complain about. Last March I was in a Residence Inn at Michigan State so I'm enjoying this part of March I'm spending around here.

I have some work for tomorrow that I have thankfully have plenty of time to do tonight.

Another winter storm is approaching so I posted a message on ANGEL to students to tell them we'll just have to see how it all turns out tomorrow to know whether we have class or not but not to risk their lives to get there. It's not supposed to be as much ice this time so it may be fine. I would like to finish grading their tests.

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Saturday at the Humane Society

Today was a good day at the humane society. Someone adopted Baxter before I even had a chance to sit with the little guy. A sad story turned joyful quite quickly. A couple brought in a little lhasa apso. Their daughter had moved to TX and had just left the dog behind and the landlord had called them to get it. Sammie is just the sweetest little buy - but no sooner had I put him up on petfinder than a family took him home. Luckily little man! And Molly went to a home that had adopted a beagle from the shelter last year. Xavier the chow/shepherd pup is back - apparently blind in one eye because of a genetic defect - but you can't tell it in how he acts. I tried to walk a few of the dogs and Coby became the lap dog this week - he's an affenpinscher. He actually gave me a few kisses on my hand. I tried to get the scared group - including Dr. Pepper - to warm up to me but I'm just not out there enough. I could tell I really missed being out there last week. I kept meaning to leave and then the rush of people that ended up adopting came just after all but the main worker left. I am definitely a smaller lap dog type of person. I did take Sweetie for a walk - she's a lab/shepherd mix and all her puppies were adopted. Chandler the cat got an earful from me when he swiped his claws at me when I didn't even know he was there - later I had to help make sure a little boy didn't get too close - he was getting down on his level and with this cat, that's not good and definitely dangerous. It was funny when Xavier went over and barked at him more than once. (Can you tell dogs rule in my world? People own dogs, cats have staff . . . . . )

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Saturday Morning

Am off to the Humane Society - am really missing not having another member of the household. Attended the Association for Teacher Educators meeting last week in New Orleans - will blog more soon. We're expecting 70+ degrees today - what used to be called Indian Summer - but freezing rain and ice are in tomorrow's forecast. Will also try to get some outside work done while the weather is this pleasant! And, although I caught up on some teaching chores this morning, am trying to adhere to my "this is a weekend" philosophy to lead a more well-balanced (and less stressful!) life.

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