My god, from the sounds that Trooper is making you'd think someone was either ripping out his soul or pulling out his toenails one by one.  I'm not sure which.  It's a mix between a yak falling down a mountain, and a manatee mating call.  I mean, seriously.  Aruu woo woo ruuuuuu. 

Ah, tis the life of crate-training a puppy.  He's okay if Cosette is in the larger wire crate with him, and he's okay if he's alone in the house (with Cosette in the same room), but if he knows I am here, all hell breaks loose from his vocal cords. 

This week we have to board them at the vet's kennel, which is going to throw such a monkey wrench into my crate-training house-breaking plans.  We will be gone Tues-Sun out of state and have no choice but to board them.  Cosette will be fine, she's stayed there about 10 times without incident.  It's the little one I'm worried about.  And I don't fear for his safety (in fact, not at all), it's that I fear all the bad habits they will most likely instill in him.  Since he is a puppy, he has to be kept away from all the other dogs because he doesn't have the immunity they do yet.  This means that he and Cosette will be boarded separately, which means that the vet's office is in for quite the manatee mating call/yak falling down a mountainside.  And they of course will smother him with attention any time he howls, which only reinforces the bad behavior.  Whatever good I've done over the past week and a half will be undone within a day at the kennel.  Cosette always comes back with bad leash habits, even though I insist they use her pinch collar.  Instead, they tuck it away in a drawer and let her be clipped to little nylon collars and leads for her walks.  She is a Lab, she will pull.  Especially when they are afraid to give her punishment for not heeling.  So, for about 4 or 5 days, Cosette always comes back a little rambunctious on the lead which annoys me to no end.  I expect Trooper will be even worse, especially when it comes to howling and puppy barking. 

Watch out, vet's office.  I'm bringing you a manatee today.

 
 

I received a hearty laugh from all of my students this morning when I was lecturing about verbal versus nonverbal communication.  I said, “For example, a type of nonverbal communication I’m receiving right now is your body posture.  A different message is being sent from those of you who are sitting up straight, diligently taking notes and nodding at me…” I said as I mimed this, “versus when some of you slouch down in your chairs,” and I slouched, “and stare up at the ceiling, or glare at me, or I see your eyes glaze over,” and I paused, “or…I see your mouth hanging open, drool dripping down your face as you retreat to your dreams and let my lecturing become a distant buzz.”  They all laughed and giggled.  

It is interesting being a lecturer.  I can only really speak of my experiences up in front of the college classroom.  I’ve done some grade school classroom lessons, but the past two years I’ve spent just in front of college students.  Some are wide awake, nodding and smiling and me, some are asleep, some are half-asleep in frog pajamas, some whisper to their neighbors or text while I’m talking, others take no notes but listen intently, the list goes on.  It really is a different vibe depending on who is in the class and how interesting the lecture is at any one moment.  I’ve been there before: in the classroom where the instructor could give a shit what they are actually saying or how they are connecting with the students.  I’ve even had professors bring their book to class and READ FROM THE BOOK.  Like, LINE BY LINE.  I’ve had the instructors that insist on forging on through the material when it is clear the class is completely lost.  I’ve had really wonderful instructors that make you feel as if you are having a one-on-one conversation with them, when really you are stuck in a sweaty lecture hall with 200 other freshmen.  So, I try and combat all the problems that I saw happening when I was facing the instructor instead of being the instructor.

I actively approach the classroom as if it is a stage.  I am a performer, and they are my audience.  It may be through the use of humor, of actual body maneuvers through miming, it may be through the use of YouTube videos or DVD clips, or funny graphics, or amusing stories; whatever it takes to connect with students that are in the audience.  I ask for contributions many times in the classroom, which I find really helps students focus on what their peers are saying, and encourages them to be more involved in the classroom discussion.

It’s not all fun and games though.  Despite my best intentions, I inevitably get a few haters every semester: the people that actively look at me while leaning over to their neighbor to talk while I’m lecturing, those that text rampantly even though I’m trying to communicate with them, those who glare at me because I gave a bad example or didn’t explain something clearly.  There are those who mouth “Bitch” at me in the middle of class, like this semester for whatever reason, or those who ignore all attempts for me to help them, and give me poor performance evaluations at the end of the semester.  My personal favorite is a student who feels I have created a non-supportive environment for minorities (gender, race, ethnicity…) and tells me so on my performance evaluations, even though more than 100 other students don’t feel the same way.

Instructing can be a really strenuous, emotionally draining process sometimes.  I feel like I give so much of myself to the class, only to have bored stares and glazed eyes staring back at me.

But then there are the moments that make me treasure being an instructor: the one-on-one that happens in my office, when a student really connects with an idea, or, after class, when a student discovers that I’m actually a really nice person when they come and talk to me.  It is the moment that happens in class too:  the instance when I really nail a joke, or make them smile, or have them give me a really great example and I feel really connected with my audience.  It’s when I put myself as a stage performer at the mercy of my audience, and I slouch down and mime a sleeping student, and I feel we are all on the same wavelength, and they know what I’m thinking and I know what they are thinking, and time doesn’t merely stand still, it whizzes by and I’m amazed to find that I have just spent 50 minutes with total strangers and yet, we feel like we know each other.

 
 
 
 

Last night after Joel and I arrived home from our wine lesson #2 - more on that later - we were both feeling hungry.  Since Joel had to grade a stack of homework, I ordered an appetizer from Applebee's and went to pick it up.  Normally, they have a carside-to-go service, but since it was after nine, I was informed that I needed to come to the bar to pick the food up.
I have a question.  Do I tip?  I feel very strange tipping, but am racked with guilt if I ignore the 'tip' line and just carry down the previous total to the final line.  Especially if the employee is standing there; I feel like I need to write down something.
With the carside service, I at least feel a small desire to tip a meager amount, but last night since I had to park my car, turn off my engine, walk inside, wait at the bar, and finally get my food, I had less of a desire to tip.  It's not that I'm lazy.  I'm really not.  I didn't mind walking in.  But to me, the server didn't do anything above and beyond that would require a service tip.  The kitchen staff bagged the food, she carried it to the bar.  Does that deserve a tip?  I don't personally think so, but I still gave her one to get rid of my guilt and because she was standing there.  Fear of being judged, I suppose.
Why?  Why must they include the tip line for pick-up orders?  It torments me.  I wonder what the employee thinks of me as I walk away.  Are they glaring in hate at my back, or non-emotional, or happy that I even gave them a nod towards service?  STOP IT.  STOP TORMENTING ME!

 
 
 
 

I've been really happy with the way Cosette and Trooper are getting along.  Cosette is making it so much easier to raise a puppy.  Though she can't explain to him why he shouldn't jump off tall buildings, or drink from containers with the word poison on them, she can play with him in a way that teaches him how not to bite hard with his puppy teeth.  She also curls up next to him at night to give him comfort when he's asleep.  She can lead him the right way, out into the chilling, pouring rain to show him where he should relieve himself.  She can also lead by example of not jumping on furniture or counters - not that he's anywhere tall enough to do that, what with his height being right around my knee right now - but she is showing him how to be nice and sit and wait for food.  She also spends an inordinate amount of time playing with him, tolerating his ear biting, and his neck chewing, and how he steals her toys from her and chews on them himself.  She plays tug-of-war at his level, and allows him to climb on her, attack her with his ferocious puppy bark.  She's shown incredible patience to this little bundle of warm, soft, cuddly adorableness, and although I think he just views her as alpha female dog for now, I suspect that in the months and years to come they will be evolve into best buds, into a swirling, energetic mess of black and brown.

 
 

This abandoned house would make a most excellent setting for a horror movie.  Crumbling 2nd story staircase and all...

 
 
 

Trooper

03/23/2009

1 Comment

 

Meet Trooper.  8.5 weeks here.
I put him in the larger crate with Cosette last night and he slept beautifully, and didn't wake until I did.  Such a gorgeous puppy.

 
 

I should begin by stating that I may be overtly sensitive to these types of situations, but what I'm about to describe was what any eyewitness would see, not my personal account of the event.  Joel can verify - he was there.

I'm always interested in seeing what pops up on Craigslist - mainly the furniture section, the pets section, and the "Best Of" section.  Yesterday I noticed an ad for a baker's rack that I thought was just gorgeous.  Wrought-iron, with glass shelves, wine rack, and a stone countertop.   I e-mailed the owner and asked about a price, as they did not have the asking price listed.  I received a very brief e-mail back stating that the owners were in the middle of a move, but I was welcome to call to come look at it.

I called the woman, and she was about to go to work but said her husband might be willing to be around to let me come see the rack.  I agreed and we set a time to meet.  The time came, and Joel and I hopped in the car to go inspect the rack, with every intention of buying.  We came to the house, and after knocking on the door several times, no one answered.

We were about to leave when a small car drove up and parked alongside the house.  A male, mid-thirties, climbed out of the car.  I immediately smiled and said, "Hi, how are you?" and he returned with, "How are you folks doing?" as he was walking up the driveway.  I was standing by my car, and Joel was standing near the edge of the driveway near the grass -- so the man needed to go through the space between us to get to his house. 

The man walked directly up to Joel - not even a LOOK in my direction - and shook his hand and said, "How are you sir, what's your name?"  Joel answered back, and the guy continued walking to the house and brushed past me.  Once he passed me, I held up my arms like, "Uh, HELLO?" and Joel looked over and shrugged.  He fully realized I had just been ignored. 

Then, we went inside to inspect the baker's rack, and I was the one who felt it, leaned down to look at it, and handed the guy the cash.  We started to take off the glass panels to put in the boxes for transport, and the guy took the glass from me (I was helping take it off) and said, "Hey, Joel, if you don't mind, if you want to hold the box here, I'll put the glass in."  Once again I thought, am I even standing here?  I brought the box of glass panels to the car, and I turned around to carry the rack out, but Joel and the man were already moving to the car with it. 

We climbed in the car and Joel turns to me and says, "Well, where do you want to eat, chopped liver?"  I smirked and said, "Yeah, no kidding.  Was I invisible?"

Unfortunately, this type of similar behavior has happened to me before (even at a business meeting, most unfortunately).  I don't know if it is the area of the country where I am living, the type of people who live here, just weird coincidences, or something else, but hot damn, I have never felt less empowered, more invisible, and less valued as a woman since I started living here. 

What is most sickening is that Joel and I study these sorts of things -- very subtle behaviors - such as non-acknowledgment in a meeting - and the further employment ramifications through things like performance appraisal and resulting compensation decisions from a psychological framework.  I know how these things add up; this is what I have dedicated much of my academic career to.  It makes me absolutely sick to my stomach when I am no longer reading it on paper, but instead, experiencing it in real time, in March of 2009, in a country that has taken great strides in many areas, but still has people that refuse to acknowledge a woman simply because she is in the presence of another man.