Why did I promise…

Why did I promise Section 38 that they'd have their papers back by today? 'Cause I'm a goofball, that's why. Why am I getting four hours sleep to get them graded on time? It's clear that most of them lost no sleep in the process of writing them...

Actually, the papers aren't that bad this time around. They seem to have possibly learned something about argumentation. If I can just teach them a little about style in the last few weeks, then I'll be well content.

I wonder if you can build up a critical amount of caffeine in your system so that you're always buzzed? I had five cups of tea yesterday, over the course of the day. I made them pretty strong, too. I went to bed close to 1 a.m., and woke up at 5 -- and I feel wide awake (though my body is definitely tired). I'm brewing another cup now. Maybe if I keep drinking tea every two hours or so, I'll make it through the day. (Plan for this evening: watch a movie with Susan. Fall asleep, ideally after the movie ends.)

I think I was not at all clear about the paperwhites yesterday. Let me back up and tell you what the nice garden store people told me about bulbs:

  1. Bulbs are easy. To plant outdoors, wait until it's cold out, dig a hole twice as deep as the bulbs are wide, drop 'em in, cover the hole with dirt. The bulb holds all the nutrients it needs, so ignore until spring, when you will have a beautiful harvest of daffodils, jonquils, tulips, irises (my favorites of the bulbs), etc.
  2. You can 'force' bulbs to grow indoors during the winter by giving them a fake freeze in your fridge. I need to get the details of this, since I wasn't paying much attention when she talked about it 'cause I wasn't planning to do it.
  3. Paperwhites are amazing because they don't need to be forced at all. You just stick 'em in a glass and watch them grow. Tall green stems with delicate clusters of white flowers at the top. Lovely.
Okay, it's just slightly more complicated than that. Just barely. See, the bulbs do need water. And you can't just let 'em sit in a pot with water, 'cause if they're soaking in water, they'll rot. So you need to get a tall glass (I use a pretty wineglass), fill it with nice gravel (or those fancy decorative little stones they sell at foofy stores), set the bulb on top of the gravel, and then water the gravel, just enough so the bottom of the bulb stays damp. The gravel holds it up, see? (The Victorians used these fancy glass vases with wide bottoms and narrow tops where the bulbs perched, which served the same function of keeping them out of water, and you can get simple versions of those at the garden store too, but I kind of like the effect of gravel in a wine glass, where you can watch the white roots twine through the gravel). Anyway, very very easy, and they don't seem to need much sun (the one in my south-facing windowsill grew two feet before blooming and the one in my north-facing windowsill grew only one -- but they both made lovely flowers ).

Okay, that's my garden rant for today. Anyone can try this, though, even if they have no outside garden space at all -- you just need a bulb, a glass, some small rocks, and a spot that gets a little sun. I'm all excited about bulbs now, and I really may try this forcing thing. It would be lovely to have irises indoors.

Back to grading. Meep.

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