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Since Casper is in public school and daycare is so much cheaper here than it was in Durham, I tend to forget we still pay a huge chunk of cash for child care. But, adding it all up (day care, after school and summer camp at the YMCA) it was still $9500 in 2009. $6000 of that qualified for the child care tax credit, and we are eligible for a credit of 20% of that (I think the % is based on income.)

I also paid $4500 in tuition last year that I won't be paying this year, since I am finished with schooling. (I can't imagine ever wanting or needing another degree, but I suppose one should never say never - maybe 10 years from now I will have a compelling reason to go to law school or something.) Unfortunately we got no tax credit for this since our income is too high.

I haven't filed yet - I need to get the YMCA's tax ID number and mr. flea needs to review things - but we should get a decent amount back again this year. Maybe enough to pay for the roof we need.
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First day of classes at the Uggaversity, so I have spent the first 4 hours of my day directing misguided students to their classrooms. 95% of time it's the student's error, though a redesign of the class schedule printouts could solve at least 75% of the problems. (They read the building # and think it's the classroom #.)

Also weighing on my mind is the mysterious death of a coworker (not in my department, but I interviewed her for something) this weekend. Results of an autopsy are expected today; foul play may be involved. The death alone would be shocking, but the suspicious nature of it is more so. We've already had our annual quota of bizarre murders in town, you know?

And, of course, the entire web site for my master's degree institution - including Blackboard and the intranet - appears to be down. Hmm, their email is through Google - maybe that's up and I can get in the back way.

In domestic news, Dillo was a total pill this weekend, very unlike him. Grumpy and too rough with me and clingy and throwing things. On the plus side, he had a 100% successful potty weekend, and was 3 for 5 on dry days at school last week.

Casper continues to be actually cheerful and efficient at getting ready in the mornings! She cajoled a new pair of jeans out of her daddy yesterday, and wore them to school with a sundress over them. This is her new look, I am pretty sure self-generated - dress over jeans. Whatever, she picks out her own outfit and is happy with it, so so am I!
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The last part of my spring project for library school.

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This spring I did a project about Athens History for my Humanities Resources library school class. I thought others might find it interesting. Below the cut is part 1, about historic cemeteries in Athens.

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I am home for the 2nd day in a row with the Dillo, who is on-and-off feverish but not otherwise symptomatic for anything. I chose to come home at 10 am yesterday with him because I'd been up half the night with him and was exhausted; today mr. flea had a presentation to give and what with prep time we couldn't even really split the day.

Unfortunately I have a final exam for Class A (2 essays written, 1 thought about, 1 not even touched) and my final assignment for Class B (advisory board written, management credo sketched out, resume drafted but needs work, fake job application not touched) due this weekend. So if Dillo is not better tomorrow (he is a little warm now, but not enough that I've given him anything) mr. flea has to stay home, so I can go in and get the assignments done, or mostly done. I might need Saturday AM, too, except we have to grocery shop, and mr. flea leaves for Belgium at 2 on Saturday (plane isn't until 7pm, wtf?). So right after I make the tiring push to get this schoolwork done, I'll have my 5 days of solo parenting. Then Thanksgiving. Then the next week I have to write a 10-page paper and work another Sunday shift.

I'm, like, pre-emptively tired. Must make grocery list now, since I can't do anything that requires actual concentration.
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For my management class, I have the following assignment:

A) pick a personal board of directors --a small set of individuals whose life and leadership you would like to emulate. (You don't have to have known all of these personally and they may be either historical or contemporary figures. But, there should be at least six and no more than ten individuals on your board.)

I am really bad at believing in role models. So far I have come up with 4 people: Barack Obama, Mary Patterson McPherson (who was the president of my undergraduate college and now sits on the Mellon Foundation board), and two former coworkers, neither of whom actually hold any managerial position.

Ideas? Who do you respect and want to emulate? All I can think of are cliches (Gandhi) and people who were good leaders (in some way or another) but not people I want to actually emulate.

72 hours

Oct. 16th, 2008 08:50 am
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For my library management class, we had to keep a time log for 3 typical days, to assess our time management skills. Only the analysis has to be turned in, not the actual log, but here's mine:

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Literally, for my coworker who is getting her wisdom teeth out. Just figuratively, for me - library school midterm.

We went to church yesterday, at the Unitarian Church. I don't know if it's going to be something we can do - I don't know if any church is going to be something we can do. They had a children's service in the community room, which they seem to do every other week, with singing and candle lighting and joys and concerns and about 15 words on the week's topic (forgiveness, for Yom Kippur.) Then the children went to the RE classrooms, and the grownups went to the regular service. There were probably 20 kids in the range of PreK-5th grade, and the RE classes are (babies), preschool, K-1, 2-3, 4-5, with maybe 5 or so kids in each one. It seems a decent size. K-1 was run this week by an assistant at Casper's school. We also met the RE coordinator, who had the classic cheery demeanor of an elementary school teacher and basically ran the service.

There was no way Dillo was going to go to the nursery, because he is so slow to warm up, and Casper was reluctant to the whole endeavor. She didn't want to go in the first place, and sat in mr. flea's lap through the children's service, and didn't want to go to RE. So I sat in the (tiny) quiet room with the kids and mr. flea attended the service. The main congregation seemed to trend quite old - I would estimate 50% retirees, and older-looking retirees (looked older than my mother and stepfather, for example). It's a small place, though it was full, and judging by the calendar seems to be quite active. The music was decent; the main sung piece I heard was a Jewish prayer piece, and the piano at the offertory was very good. The interim minister was an ocean geographer and lived in Woods Hole for 12 years before becoming a minister, and gave a routine lesson on forgiveness.

We didn't really get a chance to talk to many people, what with children and our natures. Didn't see anyone we recognized from elsewhere (except the teacher from Casper's school) which actually very much surprised me - Athens being a town where everywhere you go you run into someone you know, and between the neighborhood, the librarians, and the environmental scientists you'd think there would be Unitarians.

I don't know if it's the right thing for us. I like, in theory, the idea of community and religious education that is broad and inclusive for the children. In practice, attending church makes me feel squicky, and talking about feelings and spirituality makes me feel squicky, and all these nice open-hearted, touchy-feely people make me feel squicky. And clearly I am the one driving this train, if it is to be driven; the children are children, and mr. flea, while he agrees with the idea of going to church, is never going to get us out the door regularly on a Sunday of his own volition.

I am thinking of trying the Episcopalians, who also have the advantage of being in our neighborhood, because I may be better able to handle ritual I do not believe in. In ritual, you can at least go through the motions.

snork

Aug. 28th, 2008 02:52 pm
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I really must, in the next two hours, come up with 250+ words on the definition of information. Yep, school started last week and it's weekly writing on difficult topics with no direction professor again. At least I knew what I was getting into.

I titled this post "snork" because that's what it feels like in my head right now. I've had a cold for two weeks, but I think I was on the downslope of cold #1 and have now contracted cold #2. So I have the big phlegmy breaking up chest cough coupled with a seriously stuffed up head. I am barely awake; happily it is a low-activity day/week at work. But, that damned assignment, which I need to do today, since my in-laws are visiting for the weekend and it is due Sunday night.

Today is Casper's FIFTH birthday, and what a long strange trip it's been. She went off to school in new clothes, sparkly pink sneakers from Keds and a new Hanna summer dress from ebay. We sent in homemade pink-frosted cupcakes, so I hope that goes over well. Tonight we'll have Breakfast for Dinner (her choice) and open some more presents, and I guess the 4 left over pink cupcakes. We invited the neighbors (4 families, yikes) for cake on Saturday afternoon, and I have to figure out a cake and make/buy it, and also figure out what we're going to do with them all. Stand around chatting while the kids chase a soccer ball around the back yard, I guess. It's meant to be very low-key (lord, I hope they don't bring presents) but we don't have any outdoor furniture and few outdoor toys so I am stressing.

I really want naps this weekend. And we have a dinner out gift certificate I'd like to use while free babysitting is in the house. But I fear leaving hapless grandparents with my wild won't-go-to-bed children.
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You let me boss around my group project members, with less actually seeming to do so.

snotty boy

Feb. 18th, 2008 12:26 pm
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The Dillo had a rough night last night, with coughing and snot, and did achieve a decent fever. mr. flea and I took it in shifts from about 1 am on as he rolled about feeling sorry for himself and rubbing his nose on us. Now mr. flea is home with him - and he's actually in a tolerable mood - and I am trying to get through a day of niggly little things at work. Very tired.

I guess this ick is going around - I received a very lengthy email from one of my online professors (greenchick knows the one) detailing the course of his recent flu, including temperatures he registered, the rupture of his eardrums, etc. All of which is like, whoa, oversharing, dude! Also, no excuse for not putting any assignment up for this week, since if you had bothered to plan the entire semester in advance you wouldn't be having this problem.

I miss my snotty-nosed little dude. He's a talk explosion lately, and so sweet, even if he kept slapping me in the face at 6:30 am. (He was angry at being sick, and has the usual 19 month old issues with expressing emotions as he has them...)
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I think I have conquered Title and Statement of Responsibility.

Except for the motherfucking FLIP BOOK in our exercises, which I'll have to look up how to do tomorrow.
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I'm now in the 3rd week of my second semester as a distance education student, and I'm wrangling some pretty nit-picky readings (class powerpoint, articles and book chapters) full of details that I need to know. (It isn't cataloging for nothing, folks.)

Distance education is hard in some respects - there's a lot put on the student to keep up with things. YOU have to go to the CLASS as opposed to just showing up in a place and having things handed to you. You have to choose to learn, as opposed to choosing to fill out the assignments by rote.

Today's newsflash, in Moments of Duh, is that I learn stuff SO MUCH BETTER if I write it down. I wouldn't have said I was a kinesthetic learner, and I do a lot of reading and do okay retaining things. But the best way for me to learn stuff, especially complicated stuff, is to hear it out loud and write it down in great detail. After that I almost never look at my notes (though they can be useful for papers) - it's the writing it that makes it stick.

Since no aspect of these classes happens out loud, I haven't been taking notes. It felt a little silly to take notes from an article or a reading, when I could just go back to the article and look at it again if I needed to. But clearly, getting the stuff into my brain requires me taking notes, so I'm going to do it.

Also, typing notes onto a screen doesn't work. I think I need to buy myself a notebook. Old-skool!
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In Cataloging, I learned that Dan Brown, writing as Danielle, wrote this: http://www.amazon.com/187-Men-Avoid-Dan-Brown/dp/0425215040 (described by a reviewer as "a real girl book.") I have new respect for authority control...
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The interesting thing is, when you Google the above combination, how many of the results *aren't* about the kerfuffle over The Higher Power of Lucky, the 2007 Newberry Award winner that includes the word on the first page.

[They're medical library resources on undescended testicles, the irrelevant-to-me ones.]

hee

Nov. 5th, 2007 01:00 pm
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My Unshelved portion of my library school homework for this week might be interesting: http://www.unshelved.com/archive.aspx?strip=20071104
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The Dillo won't go to sleep. He's been crying for maybe half an hour now. We've tried all the tricks.

I am exhausted. I have a tired/stress crick in my right shoulder. Dillo's slept like a demon all week; he spent most of two nights in our bed, actually, for the first time since we moved him out. Lower canines are coming in.

When Casper goes to bed (soon, fingers crossed, and peaceably) I have to sit down and write the last third of my stupid midterm for my class. (small font: because I am going to the So You Think You Can Dance tour tomorrow night.)

At least I am planning to drop a bomb on the professor. I am writing on 'Libraries as institutions and the effects of technology on libraries' and plan to deal with this (of interest to library geeks only): Peter Brantley saying that copy cataloging is useless and advising that acquisitions departments be moved into centralized University business office, at http://blogs.lib.berkeley.edu/shimenawa.php/2007/09/09/libraries_re_shaping
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My goal is to write a 3-4 page essay analyzing my textbook chapter by 5:30, when I am attending a parent advocacy group event (with FREE DINNER!)

I have eaten a cookie and had coffee to motivate me.

Waits.

So, Dillo is walking pretty well now, and has stopped crying at drop-off in his new classroom. At least for mr. flea dropping him off; since he sometimes cries when I leave the house in the morning, I am sure he would still cry if I dropped him off. The walking makes him seem like a much older kid, now that's he's decent at it. He can stand on the toilet and play with stuff! (Can't climb up there by himself, though he wants to.) It's amazing what a difference a couple of months makes at this age - there are kids in his class who are 2-3 months older than Dillo who are just so physically active and able, and some good talkers too, in the 18 months + group. (Of course, there is also a LOT of variability in skills at this age.)

Casper had a hard day at school Tuesday, though we're not sure why. I neither drop her off (mr. flea does) nor pick her up (Beth does) so it all feels a little distant to me. I do pack the lunches; we are working on reminding Casper every day that she should eat her lunch first and talk to her friends second (they only have 1/2 hour for lunch), and that she should get herself milk. She has money on an account that she can use to buy milk, but she has to go ask for it. We are thinking maybe including a straw in her lunchbox will help her remember about the milk, but that trick didn't work yesterday. Casper has two friends she talks about a lot: Logan and Alejandro. I am amused by her interest in the gregarious and slightly wild (to hear her talk about them!) boys. They are just like Chase in her day care class was. mr. flea has figured out who they are, and reports that they seem like nice kids. We're not sure that Alejandro speaks much English, but this doesn't seem to inhibit communication at all. Casper also really likes Emmett, her after-school buddy. Does not talk about any girls, not even the one who she's known since she was 2.

She got a Melissa and Doug brand dry-ease/chalk/magnetic board with letters as a belated birthday present last night, and took to it right away. She wanted to write "thank you" in chalk, but still only knows a few of the letters. I was trying to help her by finding the right magnetic letters so she could use them as a guide, but Dillo was 'helping' and I was trying to cook dinner, so it was not a great learning moment. She made an excellent T and a good H and then seemed to get mad at herself over a botched A. Then we tried her name - she knows E best, of course. But then I went to fry bacon and she started coloring herself with the dry-erase marker so the moment was lost.

It seems the opening curriculum at school is about "Grace and Courtesy." We are invited to an afternoon snack in a week when the kids will show off their manners. This week is music class, and Casper spent the stroller ride home from Emmett's singing, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all!" Seems like a good lesson.

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