Saturday, May 06, 2006

Cookies and forget-me-nots

I tried to sign on to Blogger a moment ago and it told me that my brower's cookie was disabled. I know no more about what this means than I know about the contents of your fridge, dear reader (not that I think there are many readers. If any). Anyway, I tried again and here I am.

I feel about computers the way I used, many years ago, to feel about calculus. I could do it, sort of, but had little notion what I was doing. Not that this has caused me any problems in life. And I'm ok with computers while doing simple things such as writing Word documents and emails. And doing this blogging thing, as long as nothing peculiar happens. But I'm no good in a computer crisis.

I have been so busy! A lot of the problem has been work: students who haven't worked hard enough all year are waking up to the fact that the national exams (Highers) are impending, and have been doing LOTS. Of course, as I've been urging them to do so, I shouldn't really complain; but believe me, that's not going to stop me. Grrrr, aarrgghh and so on. It's quite funny, really: the students think they're pleasing us when they produce things for us to mark, and of course we say, "Oh, thanks - you've been working hard," and we think, "*!@^*!*!*! - not MORE to add to the marking mountain!!" It's not so bad when they do things at the right time, since it's easier to mark a whole lot of questions about the same passage. But they produce stuff that they should have done months ago, and this means working out the answers all over again for a lot of separate exercises.

Another problem is that most of our students aren't very able. They tend to have failed Higher English at school, or else been in too low a class to sit it. So neither their answers to questions about the passages, nor their essays, are very good. It's a scoosh to mark good stuff: a lot of ticks and a couple of admiring comments and you're away. But bad stuff takes ages, because you have to keep explaining, in the squishy little spaces that they leave among their (sometimes) horrible handwriting, what's wrong, and what they should have written. The temptation to write "This is utter rubbish and you're never going to pass; please go and get a job in Tesco" is always there. But I don't. I'm diligent and sympathetic and do my best for them.

The other - I hesitate to call is a problem - about my life is the standard middle-aged woman's situation of being at the stage of having both dependent children and dependent parents. There are many good things about this: for example, I feel needed, which is nice. But I sometimes feel consumed. Take the last few days, for example. On Thursday, Son brought his girlfriend to dinner. This wasn't unusual, and was fine, since she's a very nice girl. But I had to stop by the supermarket on the way home from work, since otherwise the meal would have been a bit scrappy (I normally stock up on Fridays so the fridge is emptyish on Thursdays). Then after the meal, Husband and I went with Daughter 1 and her new husband (who are still living with us) to take a second look at a house that they were considering buying. When we came back, I went up to my parents' house to put out their dustbin - they're 86 and 84 and find it too heavy. Then Daughter 2 emailed me her essay to proof-read - she's doing a Master's in architecture. Then I did my marking for a couple of hours.

Friday: work (very busy); big supermarket shop; lots of ironing that hadn't got done earlier in the week because of marking.

Today: potted up lots of cuttings; Husband and I took my parents to Peebles (small town about an hour away) for a little outing and lunch; home mid-afternoon; cut the grass and weeded front garden; tidied kitchen (did dishes, washed floor etc). And here I am. Big pile of marking sitting on my conscience.

Don't get me wrong: I love my family and they're loving and supportive and affectionate back to me. And when I'm a lonely old widow then I'm sure I'll think back on these days and remember how busy and happy I was. And I am, mainly. I'd just like to be a bit less frantic.

And I haven't even weighed myself. But it would be a miracle if I'd lost any weight. Not that I've been particularly stuffing myself, but neither have I been for many walks, or had much time to consider what I was eating.

Still. Life ain't dull. And my garden is a wonderful whoosh of colour. (I must learn how to scan photos into this.) Forget-me-nots everywhere (well named - plant them once and they're with you for ever, but they're such a singing blue), tulips, cherry blossom, daffodils, polyanthus - oh, I love spring!


  1. Hi Isabelle. Thanks for dropping by my blog! I had a read through yours and I love it. You have managed to make me laugh out loud many times! I particularly like your struggle against telling your students to get a job at Tesco. I am in the middle of marking 150 first-year university biology assignments and I would really like to recommend that some of them go back to primary school grammar and spelling classes. The lack of effort put into the essays can be astounding. Oh well. Like you say I can hope there's a few good ones in there that I can whoosh through! Els

  2. It is nice to feel needed by family, although it can make life hectic.

    I also had a bit of a laugh at the marking and your students:)

  3. Hi Isabelle - I also enjoy your blog! You must have have the patience of a saint to be able to deal with all the stuff going on in your life. I reckon anyone these days who dares to take on teaching at any level is deserving of sainthood somewhere down the track.
    I laughed at your comments on the way you feel about computers - everything is fine as long as nothing peculiar happens - LOL! Yeah, I get that cookie disabled message now and again, but as you discovered, if you start over, they just disappear. I must admit, five years ago I NEVER would have believed that I would be able to do most of the maintenance on my PC, but after reading all the helpful websites and one Aussie computer magazine that is geared to us laymen, I have kept my 5 year old PC going fairly smoothly, despite repeated attempts by wellmeaning friends to upgrade to XP from ME. If it ain't broke, why fix it?