April 2008


I just gave two students a zero on their final paper worth 20% of their grade.

Why?  Why else: plagiarsim.

This is my first year of teaching, so I know that ugly little guy will continue to pop up in my life, but I find myself saddened by this.  One student plagiarized 95% of his/her paper.  The other about 80% (though I think more is plagiarized I just can’t find it).  At first, I kept trying to excuse it.  They didn’t understand the difference between paraphrase and plagiarize–I mean, we only went over it multiple times.  Surely, there’s some excuse.

But, there’s really not.  I want to give them the benefit of the doubt, but this isn’t one paragraph.  This is MULTIPLE pages in a ten page paper.  Sentences upon sentences.  Words I know these students couldn’t even define if they tried.  And, it’s really sad.  I can’t even be angry, because in the end–they lowered their grade 20%.  I’ll likely hear from the counselor and their parents that I’m not being fair.  In the end, excuses will be made for these girls and I will be the bad guy.

Of course, this makes me question myself.  How many other papers have I missed over the course of the semester?  Was this a one time thing–or something they thought they could get away with because they have.  If it was one, I think I could write it off.  But two–right in a row–it makes me question a lot.

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We have been in the house for over a week now.  It already feels like home.  I’ve moved so much in the past 8 years, that my adaptability is fairly quick.  Still, there are some fairly big changes from living in a dorm/apartment to live in a house.

1. When I hear a noise–it is not going to be the upstairs neighbor stomping, yelling, or moving their shit.

2. Not only is there an upstairs, but it is also mine.  (I go for days without going upstairs because our master bedroom is on the main floor.

3.  There is also a lower floor/basement.  It is mine as well.  (I think I’ve been down their twice).

4. Despite having all white walls (for now), I have curtains (not apartment blinds) that liven up a room.

5. Water and ice come out of my fridge door.

6. My cell phone gets service INSIDE!

7. I have to check 3 doors and a few windows before I can go to bed.

Some things that remain the same (for now)

1. Still no garage for my car–all of our crap is taking up my half.

2. Still no yard–they haven’t laid our sod yet.

3. Still have to walk to get our mail–the mail people won’t deliver mail to our mailboxes until the neighborhood is 75% full or something.

It’s another cool, rainy day, but because the past week has been so lovely–this cool is not oppressive winter cool, it’s rainy spring day cool.  Things are green, I smell lilacs, this cool is okay.

I’m curled up on the couch, listening to the Cardinals game, while I mentally tell myself all the things I have to do.  My body replies “I refuse to cooperate.”  So, my brain keeps chugging and my body just keeps “getting tired-er and tired-er.” (name that movie!)

Yesterday I woke up at 6am, then drove the 4 hour trip to Burlington, Iowa with my Mom and 22 centerpieces, 2 alter pieces, 3 bouquets, and a handful of corsages for my cousin’s wedding.

The day was fun (I love weddings–especially weddings I am not actually in) but today I am paying the price of getting up at 6am, and not getting home until 1am the next morning.  Also paying the price for running after my cousin’s son.  I adore him, but he wears a person down.  He is a non-stop 5 year old… I am an 80 year old woman in a 26 year old’s body.

I also got to hold his younger sister (though not in this picture); my Mom told me not to get any ideas–she is not ready to be a Grandma yet.  However, it is hard not to hold a smiley, happy, can-fall-asleep-in-the-middle-of-a-loud-pounding-song baby girl and not feel a little baby tug!

Then, this morning, we moved another load of crap from the apartment to the house.  We have yet to unload it and there is still mounds and piles of unpacking to be done.  I also should be grading my student’s final papers and writing my thesis.  I don’t know where the energy for all of this is going to come from.

I need a vacation.

I am now officially past the quarter-of-a-century mark.  Usually, I look forward to my birthday all month long because I love birthdays, even when they are disappointing, I can always make myself a cake!  This month, with so much going on, I’ve barely given a thought to my birthday.

I think I am more excited about the internet FINALLY being installed at home today than about the steak dinner at Outback and the present R. will buy me with our wedding Target giftcards (he sees nothing wrong with this… don’t you see something wrong with this?)

Best birthday gifts of my 26 years

-keroseen lamp

-quantum leap script bought off Ebay

-necklace from R. in our first year of dating

-giant bouquet of flowers made by my Mom and dropped off to work for me by my Mom

Today would have been my Grandma’s 86th birthday.  Tomorrow is my 26th birthday.  We always shared our birthdays; it was like a special little bond between us–though we had many.

I don’t think there’s been a day in the almost 2 years since she’s been gone that I haven’t had a fleeting thought about her or missed her.  We all have amazingly important people in our lives, and she was mine.  She was the one person who always made me feel special, the one person who never asked more than I could give.  I think the mention of her will always cause me to tear up–I will always miss her immeasurably.

But, I think this month has been especially hard not having her here.  So much has happened, so many big, important things that I always dreamed she’d be here for.  Just the mention of her at the wedding sent me running for the bathroom to hide the crying.  When she first got sick and then passed away, I was afraid I would forget or the pain would fade away.  But, it hasn’t.  It’s still here every day and can’t help wishing she could be here.  I suppose it will always be that way.  And I would rather feel that pain and cry those tears, than lose and forget everything she was to me.

I’ll always look at the sun setting, and think of sitting next to her on the couch, looking out her window, commenting on the colors of the sky.

My Mom always told me to marry someone handy.  My Dad is not and so my Mom does much of the home-improvement type stuff.  Still, my Dad will attempt home improvement and knows the different tools.  He’s mildly handy, my Mom is moderately handy–and I think I lean more towards mild than moderate myself.

And then there’s R.  He’s not even REMOTELY handy, so I failed on taking my mother’s advice.  And now I have to step up and become the handy one.  I started my first handy project this weekend: hanging curtains.  I was a little afraid of taking on this task because one mistake equals uneven curtains and holes in the walls.

Nevertheless, I did it–and the end result was pretty successful.

Bedroom

Bathroom (I loooove these curtains).

Messy Dining Room.  The curtain rod was too big, so I had to take off the ends.  I’ll need to figure something else out in terms of rod before I hang up the smaller curtains.

Just call me Bob Villa!

*Get married and move into a house in the same week

*Have 3 chapters of your thesis due two weeks later

*Put off the thesis that is due two weeks after moving/wedding.

*Assign a 10 page paper to be due on your birthday, one week after your wedding/moving/etc and have to have 75 of them graded within 2 weeks.

*Let your significant other shop at Walmart

*Go to Home Depot for a fridge (curbside delivery, wha?)

*Forget your $100 gift card at home when you purchase your fridge

*Wait until you get the keys of your house to call for TV/Internet hookup.

*Shop for fruits/veggies at Shnucks on a Sunday night.

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