Sunday, November 26, 2006

Welcome back!

At least it was an exciting game to watch, right?

I hope you all had a fabulous break, with lots of turkey and dressing and whatever else your home-cooked favorites might be.

So, here we are with only a very small amount of time left. I almost wish there were an English 304 part 2... We'd actually implement all your plans for real... =o) But we have pretty much met the goal we set out with in the beginning. The plan itself is good. I truly believe an intern will be in a really great situation because of it.

I have plans for the week posted in BB. Let me know if you have questions.

Grades are updating for the 9:05 and 10:10 section in BB. I will give you your feedback tomorrow in class. I should be able to get all that ready for the rest of you during my two breaks before the 12:20 and 1:25 classes. If not, I will put a box outside my office door so that you can pick up your feedback for Portfolio 2.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Just one of those days...

(...yes - the Fred Durst kind...)

Have you ever had one of those days where EVERYTHING went wrong? And you realized early on it was going to be one of those days, so you just kind of braced yourself and awaited the mayhem?

I'm exaggerating, but it was a bad luck day, lol. I woke up worrying about how behind I am in EVERYTHING because of this back injury. I have a gazillon things to grade. I have to write up several interviews and other reflections for the grant work I do on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I have a whole new section of the Italy Web site to build. I am taking two incompletes in my classes - and they factor those in as Fs in your GPR until you finish the work. (I know it doesn't matter because they will be As... hopefully... later, but that is very hard for nerd like me to accept.) My kids both need me to do tons of things for them this weekend - my daughter's in a pageant, and my son has a big literature project to do. Meanwhile, I think it might be easier to buy all new clothes than to do all the laundry.

As I thought of all this, I felt like I was going to drown under my mental TO DO list. And if that didn't get me, there was plenty of rain outside to finish the job.

I arrived on campus feeling really depleted. I needed caffeine, but I've lost my student Tigerstripe card (the one with money on it), and I tried to open an account with my employee one, but the system was down. I only use my Debit card now, so I never have actual cash anymore. Being the diet soda junkie that I am, I was getting desperate.

Then, I ran into someone who could help me fix the computer we just got at my house as payment for the work that I did with this other grant; but they set it up like an on-campus computer, giving me no admin rights. I found out I have to bring it back to Tillman for them to fix it. Not the end of the world, but I desperately need to get my daughter (whose total cell bill just hit $1200) to earn some money; and I was going to let her use that computer to do transcribing for the main grant I work on. Now, that has to wait even longer.

Then, after I finally scrounged up enough change to get some desperately needed caffeine, my office hours were already over, so I had to go teach without the usual percentage of caffeine in my system, and the topic was my least favorite to teach - grammar. So, I tried to spice it up with a Clint Eastwood PPT, but I am not sure people understood the reference I was making with the slideshow.

I finished the first two classes and went to get lunch, only when I tried to use my debit card, they said it had not been activated yet. Now, I've had it for like 2 years and used it yesterday, so that seemed odd. I called and had to literally REACTIVATE the card I already use. Very weird, but the lady said that a few other people had called with the same problem. Even though they fixed it, that extra step cut out a big chunk of time for lunch, which meant I had to rush back to my 12:20 class.

It was pouring down rain as I drove over to Sirrine, and I got behind a Catbus that stopped every five feet.

Next, I got to my 12:20 class and discovered that the projector bulb was dead. So, I could not do the Clint Eastwood slideshow. We kind of did it with students looking at it on their laptops, but it wasn't as go0d that way; and I felt kind of grumpy because it was such a yucky day, so I probably didn't do it as well as I could have in a good mood.

I saw one of my former students, Brandon (shout out to Leah) in the hall going to the next class, and he cheered me up a little bit.

But then, I discovered that the two emails that I sent to my 1:25 class to tell them the survey results were to move back to Sirrine. And this meant my poor students were in Tillman and would be walking back across campus in the rain. What's more - it was all my fault. I sent the email to my 10:10 class, not my 1:25 class.

Fortunately, they had fixed the podium in the 1:25 room, so that did help. And to help me get over my bad mood even more, Marjorie did her presentation on the 7 Habits, and it reminded me that you shouldn't worry about the stuff you can't control (rain, cold, projectors, etc.). What you can control is your attitude and your reaction to things that happen. So, in retrospect, I should use today's bad mood as a lesson. I could have started with a better attitude about the rain and the caffeine this morning. It would have made the whole day better.

Moral of the story (one that definitely applies to college students approaching finals week): When you have one of those days, don't get all tensed up and imagine breaking something (hope everyone understands my song references in all this). If you imagine breaking something and walk around with you muscles all tense, you might slip a disc in your back or something like that. Take my word for it on that - you do not want that to happen. So, relax and don't worry about rain. Drink some coffee - it has more caffeine anyway. And laugh about the whole thing.

Tomorrow is another day.

It's a day when I have to get my next epidural; I'm NERVOUS. My pain is tolerable right now, but I realize I'm not as cheerful as I normally am because it still hurts most of the time, and I can't sleep. But getting an epidural in your spine is just kinda scary, to be honest. Hopefully they will do it right, and I will feel even better on Friday...


In much happier and way more fun news, BEST OF LUCK to Mark and the soccer team tomorrow at noon.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Beta Version of Blogger

You may get prompted to switch to the Beta version of Blogger. It may be more trouble than it's worth, but it makes it a lot easier to make changes to the template. I decided to go with a Clemson orange, and I guess it's more of a Thanksiving, Fall colors blog now, but that's okay. =o)

Anyway, I wouldn't switch unless you are bored with the current colors and want to do something different.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

More great news!

I have been given access to the lab I used to maintain back when I had my job as media consultant. So, my afternoon classes will no longer have to meet in Sirrine... wooohoooo! (We actually can turn the airconditioner on in the lab. Granted, the ventilation isn't much better in that room, but I promise the airconditioning works better than those little fans.)

Of course, we may be needing heat by the end of the term, lol.

Anyway, this lab has all the software that I used to use when I maintained one of the college Web sites here. So, this means we can spruce up your final portfolios a little bit. This is not a requirement, of course. But for people who want to do something extra special with the design, we can now make that happen without too much trouble. I can probably take the morning classes down there a few times to use this software.

Last semester I would use the lab to do Sunday afternoon help sessions for the portfolios. Back permitting, I will definitely do one of those for the final portfolio.

I'd like to thank you all for making what could have been a much more difficult time much less stressful for me. You all stepped up and did those presentations without me there, and you didn't complain. You were all very understanding and asked good questions about how to get things done in the chat classes, blogs, and email. Meanwhile, you were doing some pretty darn good business writing to keep your projects going. For example, Richie, from my 10:10 class, had to be very persistent and persuasive to get some things done for their project. It took a lot of effort because he got the runaround for a little while. But he didn't stop trying. And because he used good ethos, logos, and pathos as he forged ahead with each new attempt to contact the right person, it looks like they finally did find that person. Another example was Julian realizing how important it would be to find out the details about how internships happen here at Clemson. He basically compiled a report that will guide the Red Cross through the process without a lot of trouble. Things like that appear to have been happening in all the groups while I was at home waiting for my visit with the pain specialist. I am so glad you used your instincts and put your skills to use to make things happen with your projects.

Additionally, you really made me feel appreciated when I got back. I'm pretty sure ten or twenty years from now, I'll be looking back on that time when I had a back injury smack in the middle of that semester where I did my first client-based course, and think, "Wow! If only I could have students like THAT again."


Monday, November 06, 2006

Good news!

I just spoke with Linda, and she told me that she, Ann, and the rest of the Health and Safety group are very happy with our proposals. We have their approval to move ahead with your plans for the rest of the semester. Your plans will be shared with other chapters, and it is very likely that other chapters will use your ideas to help with their own marketing. You did great work!

So, now, we need to finish everything and get a nice, polished plan for them with all the mock-ups of brochures and other items that you described in your proposals. I need the right kind of files to use in my version of the plan. For example, if you used Publisher to create something, you need to export it as a pdf file in order for me to be able to use it. If you created some sort of graphic file, you need to export it as a jpeg or gif.

One of the big things that Linda would like to accomplish is setting up an internship for this Spring with one of you. I know that Julian has been exploring how this might work, so we need to take what he has found and start acting on it when we return to school after the break. I need to know if any of you would be interested in doing this. If so, we need to find out how to make it happen in your particular college. Basically, I think we just need to talk with your college's internship coordinator.

So, if you would like to do this, please let me know, and I'll see what we need to do in order to make it happen.

To everyone - congratulations on having your plans be approved! This is a big accomplishment for you. =o)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Back to work on Friday!!!!

I can't wait for life to be normal again! Tomorrow I will go out to the middle school where I do grant research on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Then, Friday, I plan to be back in our regular class. I'm not 100% yet, but the epidural nerve block thing helped enough to make the pain more tolerable. (Thanks so much to those of you who have had similar injuries. You gave me hope when I really needed it when you shared your experiences. I was beginning to feel pretty hopeless about getting rid of the pain around Wednesday.)

There are so many things to do!!! I feel so behind now. I need to sum up all the peer evals for you guys. That's going to be really important as we finish the project. I don't have a response on our draft proposal yet, so I need to find out about that. Linda was in Florida, so that may be part of the delay. I need to figure out what we will do for the big client showcase at the end of this month. Basically, that's a cool opportunity for a couple of you. It's the kind of presentation you can include on your c.v - which those of you going on to grad school will want to eventually create. (I'll show you my c.v in class on Friday. It's pretty different from a resume.)

Kathy had great things to say about the two classes that she observed. She was particularly complimentary of some of the presentors. Maria K - she said you totally rocked b/c you did the whole thing on your own. She was very impressed with that. I also want to see what the people who were in the 12:20 presentation thought too. I hate I didn't get to meet the Irish scholar. Hopefully I can get his email and thank him for visiting our class.

I would really love to hear those of you from the 12:20 group reflect on that experience in your blogs. I'm dying to know how it went... from all your different perspectives. Maybe it was good that I wasn't able to be there. It gave you a chance to really own your work in your own way. You can let me know what you think about that.