Monday, December 24, 2007

Maya catches a mouse

You may remember that her first fortnight here, Maya Pavlova chased a mouse from the guest bedroom into the (empty) bathtub and I grabbed the mouse in a yogurt container before she could kill it and dispatched it into the great outdoors. (I may not have mentioned that little detail.)

Well, there must be a mouse nest in or behind the walls of the guest room closet, because Miss Maya has been stalking the place again, watching intently.

I came back from church and found a little dead mouse on the bathroom floor, duly chased and killed by the resident feline.

Which reminds me, I never posted my promised post on Rodent Ethics, The Prequel. Too busy in the squirrely groves of academe this fall. (Nota bene: within two hours of my posting course grades online a week ago, no fewer than three students wrote me to complain about their grades.)

In any event, the cat is earning her keep. My cat-sitters didn't say anything about mice, so this may have been my welcome back present.

La Pavlova has also been walking all over the computer and brushing my face with her tail. I'm getting the "Don't you dare go away again" look, too.


johnieb said...

within two hours of my posting course grades online a week ago, no fewer than three students wrote me to complain about their grades.)

Not bad, but for a more accurate assessment, three of how many?

I never had the tenure nor the chutzpah {well, maybe, :-)} to push the curve upwards, but I think aiming for a simple majority may have greatly enhanced student performance. OCICBW.

And, BTW, I hope your posting times indicate some continuing time zone adjustment.

A blessed Christmas season to us all.

Jane R said...

Nah, the continuing time adjustment was great until last night because it's easier in this direction: I was going to bed early (because it's later in Turkey) and getting up early (thus not wrecking my day here). Nice and regular hours and I was getting enough sleep, too, beginning with my lovely stay with Mother and Father of Acts of Hope, who, being 89 years old, go to bed around 9-something p.m. Same deal the first night I got home here. But the student correspondence with explanations of every percentage of their grade and backup with comments took half the night last night. I am not amused.

I have now put the vacation message back on my .edu e-mail and am unavailable to the public till the start of second semester, but this long evening-night of school mail was unavoidable. Anyway, it's done and I am really, really not amused. And don't think these three will be the only three, though it's the first semester I have had so many and so many vehement grade complaints. I know this happens to other people a lot --the grade complaints -- and it's a sign of the times (in my days, she says, feeling old fogeyish, we never disputed a grade) but so far I had never had to deal with it. These were the very same students who were, let us say, very very communicative throughout the semester. To be fair, I hadn't given a couple of them enough feedback on their written work during the semester. But the grades were fair and in some cases generous. Two of them were the B zone (one a B plus and one a B minus), and we don't have grade inflation: at our school an A means "exceptional," a B means "superior" and a D is still a passing grade and I follow school guidelines. The third student worked his way up from a midsemester F to a C minus. Anyway, enough said; I hope my lengthy and detailed replies have helped clarify. I am not sure they will satisfy.

I'm going out to buy bourbon, pecans, and brown sugar for Clumber's Virginia Whiskey Cake recipe, so there.

Also, to balance things out, a present for an on and off homeless friend of our church's who has managed to stay sober through all his tribulations of the past year. Pray for him. His name is Charles.

Jane R said...

P.S. Maya Pavlova produced a SECOND mouse in the evening! There must be a nest. The mice are smallish, not like the big ones of last summer pre-cat for which I had to call in the friendly exterminator (he really was friendly). Maya P. then went into a self-satisfied sleep -- she got more than I did last night and this a.m. Now she's giving me the "I love you" look and purring. I'm off to buy bourbon and Charles's sober present. Maybe I should get him some mittens and an umbrella or poncho, we've had some rain.

johnieb said...

Prayers for Charles, and his strength and well-being. And for Maya, the working cat. ("...for those who work, or watch...this night...")

The poncho is much more practical, as it can be used as a ground cover; it's one of the most important things you carry. H/T Tim O'Brien.

Reading the recipe now

johnieb said...

I think there's been a shift in student socialization which contributes to all this; they have been trained to expect to be praised only; it confuses them and annoys them to not get the level of flattery they have come to expect.

I remember one shocking example of a term paper in an "American to 1876" course; it could have be cribbed from the World Book, and had almost nothing to do with pre-1 876 America. I could have done better in the Sixth grade; he expected an "A". I didn't get a contract re-newed, but there's some s**t one can't eat, as cummings' olaf told us.

It was a risk worth taking.

Jane R said...

Charles arrived late at liturgy, having walked all the way there from the place where he is staying these days. I didn't buy a poncho, just a card and cookies, and planned to ask him whether he needed a poncho and get something he really needed and wanted. Before I'd had a chance to do so, he told me what he really needed: twenty dollars for transportation to get to see his daughter whom he hasn't seen in a couple of years and really wants to see for Christmas. So I gave him that. Yes, I trust he'll spend it on that. And I remember (and occasionally still know) what it is to have no money, really no money, and how much we take for granted the twenty dollars in the pocket that help us to do the most basic of things in our daily lives.

Charles has a serviceable rain-repellent jacket that looks reasonably warm. So weather-wise I think he'll be okay. We are back in drought mode here -- the rain of two days ago was real but it's not clear when we will get more precipitation, though it is looking grey today. It's much too warm for the season.