Thursday, December 06, 2018

Up very early

* Didn't sleep well. Woke up around 4:20, debated even getting up to work out (I hurt my lower back a little bit, or it may just be stupid arthritis) and decided maybe a shorter workout would help. So I did a half-hour.

* The weather looks worrisome. Worse to people north of me, with ice being a feature. I have friends who live north of me, but also next week is exam week and I don't know what we'd do with commuter students who can't commute. (I know some people would say "this is why you need to be all online" but no, no, no)

At least it looks like it will get above freezing by Monday.

My biggest worry (other than people's safety out on the roads) is power outages. I weathered one (with no apparent cause) a couple months ago and it was a slightly-tense 3 hours. I suppose if we get one Saturday and it's cold, I just get into pajamas and read by flashlight in bed, I don't know. 

* Charles, I drive what's called a "crossover" - it's like a small SUV. The original tires were 44 as the max (as the door sticker states), and this set - they are Michelins - say "44 psi max" right on the tire, so...I know the sensors aren't trustworthy but the tires were slightly below 30 when I tested them.

* There's going to be chilly rain today and I hope it's not bad enough that turnout for the AAUW party is low because I have 40-some meatballs, and I already have food in the fridge to eat up this weekend.

* I'm just tired. I pushed to do what grading I had (short papers for one class) last evening; there are two more waiting for me in my e-mail inbox but something in me just rebelled at the idea of using my own (bought with my own money) ink and paper to print those out even though it means I need to do them over at work today. (Then again: that's two late papers and one other late paper for another class and a quiz taken by someone who was at the doctor's for the previous one....)

* And yeah, I'm showing mercy even though it wears me out a lot. There were computer-lab issues so people couldn't get things printed, and the one late-late paper belongs to a student with (documented) a parent in the hospital, and the student who was at the doctor's is apparently going through a process of getting a diagnosis that might be scary and....there's always just so much misery. It made me wonder in my early years of teaching if the university here was built on cursed ground, because it seemed so many of our students had truly horrific problems, but then, maybe it's always like this for people who teach and I just never saw my classmates' horrific problems because I didn't have to deal with them.

I remember back when I was a TA in Illinois, a student in my lab once quietly told me, "If I don't show up to class and I haven't called you to tell you specifically I will be absent, please call the police; it might mean my ex violated the order of protection I have out against him"

I hope I never have that situation again but there have been a few times that came close. (That said: given some of the changes to how Title IX is done, there's someone on campus I could call to take care of the student with an abusive relationship. In fact, I have to call that person if a student reveals it to me)

I dunno. Dealing with people makes me so tired and sad because there are so many bad things that happen to people that are out of their control, but then there are also bad things that happen (like: "I lost my license because I got too many DUIs") that are under their control at some level and they do the thing anyway and we ALL wind up dealing with the consequences (like: me having to arrange to do things at different times)

* "There's a dog problem in a local town and police say they are powerless to stop it" - apparently someone lets her dogs run, and they chase people, and...apparently they've fined the owner but the dogs can't be confiscated because "they haven't bitten anyone yet"

Honestly? WHY CAN'T THEY DO SOMETHING? I am afraid of mean dogs. If a dog chased me as I was leaving home for the day, I'd call in sick to work. I don't CARE that no one's been bitten "yet."

I know some people who would - uh, "take care of" the problem themselves, if the dogs were on their property. I wouldn't do that but this is the problem of living in community: some people don't want to abide by the rules and the rest of us suffer. I don't even know what my rights are if someone's dog is on my property and behaving in a threatening way for me. I guess the answer would be: go indoors, lock the doors, call Animal Control, and pray they actually decide to do something for once. I don't know.

I have (had? Haven't seen or heard from them for a couple weeks so maybe they moved away) some terrible neighbors down the street - this was the couple that had a screaming fight out in the street one day where I almost called the police because I was concerned the woman was going to physically attack the man, but he walked away down the street first....but they had a horrible dog that chased and snarled at me one day and scared me badly, and didn't seem to do much to try to contain it.

And, I don't know. I was raised so hard to consider the needs and feelings of other people, and I have TOLD the neighbor that I had bad experiences as a child with mean dogs, and they don't give a crap about that, and it makes me so tired....I mean, I understand that most people don't care about my *feelings* but it's discombobulating when I tell someone "Because of childhood experiences I have this very specific fear that makes it hard for me to leave the house when Thing is happening, and you have the power to control Thing" and the person doesn't care even enough to control Thing.

(And yet: I'm expected to care about everyone else's feelings)

Anyway. The woman in the news story claims she'll surrender the dogs on Saturday. I will believe that when it happens. Lots of times people with mean dogs don't believe they're mean, or feel like their right to have dogs overwhelms their neighbor's right to be able to go out into their own yards without being harassed. (I really do think some people with "mean" dogs don't understand that some people are actually afraid of dogs. People get funny blind spots.)

* Ugh, I can tell I'm in a mood this morning. One of those moods where if something goes just the right amount of wrong, or someone is rude to me in some way, I'm going to start tearing up.

Edited to add:

So yeah, something is going on locally with the power. When I got up, my cable box was flashing red (not a good sign) and I wondered if we'd have had a brief power outage in the night (not enough to affect my clock-radio, which seems to have a slight "memory"). Unplugging it and plugging it back in fixed it, and then later I realized the dishwasher's "hey I'm done" light had shut itself off in the night.

Then, driving up First - so, maybe six blocks or so from home - I noticed NO lights on at the Sonic, which is usually open at 7. (Very briefly, I thought: Huh, did they close down suddenly? That's happened with stuff before here, the franchisees or owners just went broke and locked the doors with no fanfare). But then I noticed there were no lights on at the Love's next door, and the sign advertising the price of gas was off.

Funny, though - lights were on in businesses in the very next block (a former drive-in that is now some kind of "healthy foods" restaurant. I've never been there).

So I don't know.O G and E shows nothing, but they say very small outages aren't shown, and also we have a second power company (Southern Co-op) that some people are on.

But still, feeling not very happy and the crop of e-mails I've had to deal with this morning hasn't helped any. Still have three catch-up papers to deal with. 

* Today is also the anniversary of the École Polytechnique massacre in Montreal. I remember this, because when it happened (1989) I was (a) a college student who was a woman in STEM and (b) I lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan, close enough to get the CBC on my tv, and see their news. It was horrific but you know? There have since been other attacks against women and I think sadly that's just a thing in our culture: that there are a few men who can't just live and let live the idea that women are going to go out and have careers and lives, and they express that with varying degrees of violence. I don't know what the answer is; frankly, I think for these individual incidents of someone using horrific violence there ISN'T an answer, or the "answer" is more repressive of the people who would never do that thing, than we would like (One way to stop hateful speech is to ban everyone from speaking at all, for example, and one of the reason violence erupted in some of the former Soviet states when it had not been before under Soviet rule is that I presume the Party was sufficiently repressive that people didn't express their long-held ethnic hatreds, and those came out when that pressure was released, whereas if it had never been applied, maybe something more peaceable would have been worked out).

And while I've never been in a situation where I feared for my life, I have had a few situations where I felt distinctly dismissed for my gender (usually by students, once by a now-former admin), like "nothing smart can come out of her mouth because she's a woman"

* I dunno. Right now I can tell I'm just worn and tired: too much grading, too many things being asked of me, I am probably being too accommodating of late work, and there's on campus I can't really talk about. (It may ultimately turn out to be fine to even good for us, but, like Garth Elgar, we fear change....)

* And it's St. Nicolas' day, and once again I will state my wish to live in the AU where there is a literal, magical Santa Claus, and, as I opined last year, and everyone who has been sufficiently "good" will get some small token gift - a box of cookies, or an amaryllis to force, or some small craft item, or even just an extra-nice pen....but the idea is you'd get that thing and you'd *know.* You'd know you'd been good enough.

Someone I follow on Twitter posted the St. Nicolas thing their family did (candy in the shoes, as is tradition) and I very nearly retweeted it with the comment "I guess I wasn't good enough this year" even though I really know that what it takes to get a St. Nicolas gift in this hard cold world is to have a significant other who wants to do it and cares enough to get stuff for you. (And no, buying myself a St. Nicolas gift isn't the same; and I've spent too much money this year already)

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