Saturday, September 29, 2012

mushrooms, magnolias, and way too much schoolwork

So it would seem that despite my best efforts, I only publish seasonally now. Not a good thing, but my writing is tied up in other venues again. School is ON, and it is kicking my ass - in a good way, but nevertheless, I am reminded of all the reasons I dislike being a student, and why I greatly prefer the non-formal education route.

I'm taking 3 classes this semester, because of crappy advising, and should have probably only taken two. A teaching methods class that seems geared toward the majority of my classmates, who are brand-new (as in as-yet-uncertified) teachers in a Master's program. I like the technology and research aspect of it, but I could do without the weekly lectures of the professor on how important it is to have a literature-based program, and how teaching is more than a 7-3 job...they'll find out soon enough, lady, let them be.

My linguistics class is far and away the most interesting. I love the prof, who is very involved in classroom-based research, and whose personal interest is adolescent intertextuality - how teens shape their identity by the things they read and write, and specifically through nontraditional media; internet, fanfiction, texting, and suchlike. Very cool. There is a ton of reading associated with this course, mostly journal articles, but fascinating stuff. I don't mind the writing that the course involves, because it's centered around reading, digesting, and integrating this research. Interviewing, transcribing interviews, and looking at the social aspect of language learning round out the work.

I'm also in a practicum, working with a Burmese refugee family, teaching reading with the mother, and doing some computer work with the father. Really enjoyable assignment, though the ranty professor of the methods class is my field supervisor, so I'm hoping to see a different side of her through this work, because I'm not enamored of her in-class style, at all. The mom reads at about the 2nd grade level, and we're working on navigating the myriad of forms that life in America requires, plus vocabulary and conversation that trips to the doctor and library necessitate.

All this has served to consume my brain-and-body time in a big way; knitting has suffered, and I broke my footman-to-treadle connector on my spinning wheel, so spinning has been nonexistent. I ordered a replacement part from Louet, and it is here, so I just need to do the repair to get back on that horse, but I'm a little afraid of that distraction, right now, as I've always used spinning to avoid work, in my non-academic days, so diving back into that caramel colored silk/alpaca again seems a dangerous thing.

Aidez is finished, except for sewing up the side seams. The sleeves fit, a huge relief, but since we are still having 80-degree days, I'm not in any big hurry to get those done. I DID finally learn mattress stitch, thanks to my sister, who insisted that I use you-tube videos and Knitty tutorials to figure it out, since I'd been avoiding it all these years. Hey, guess what? It's easy and fun, and makes a gorgeous, flat, invisible seam!!

Now I'm just messing around with a Kureyon sock, and trying to knit a little every day, and rediscovering how very comforting it can be when it's a stolen pleasure. House and yard have fallen into disrepair, though the dogs are doing very well. Ella is still on arthritis meds, and a liver supplement, and seems to be feeling frisky at the moment. End of summer, and a break in the profound heat (a week of 100+ days were too much for us both) have revitalized her. Cricket is Cricket is Cricket; funny, sneaky, and utterly unfit for society, though he brings great joy here at the Atomic Lodge.

Around here, we grow our plants big: A magnolia flower from down the street,

 and a great big whompin' mushroom back in the woods...heat and humidity have their advantages, botanically speaking. At least the magnolias smelled great; our street is lined with the trees, so summer evenings are wildly fragrant. The mushrooms, not so much.
This weekend, a much-deserved getaway to St. Simon's island, on the GA coast, with some of my knitters. Ahhhhh...relief.