Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summer in Houston

It is officially summer now, although we have been feeling summer here for at least a month. But unlike our usual summers, it has decided to hardly rain. So our lawn is dying because both Justin and I hate having to mess with watering the lawn. Not to mention that signs have been posted in our neighborhood for voluntary water restriction - which basically means it isn't raining so we are asking you not to water your lawns - if it keeps not raining we will be told that we aren't allowed to water our lawns. I guess we have been helping out over the past month by not watering (even before we were asked not to).

Justin has been busy with work and we are both happy that he has been busy working in the area and not out of town. We really have set a record this year for time spent under the same roof. We are very grateful and are not looking forward to when he will have to head out to his clients in Louisiana again which will most likely be in August.

I am halfway through my first summer term and I am so grateful that in just over 2 weeks it will be drawing to a close. I am currently teaching Calculus II and the second summer term I will be teaching Calculus I. I thought this would be a lot easier than last year when I taught 2 classes at the same time during the first summer term, but now I'm not so sure. At least last year I was teaching classes I was good at - I am terrible at Calc 2!!! I am remembering all to well how much I hated it when I took it about 12 years ago and how hard it was for me. At least being an actuary taught me how to teach myself so I do understand the concepts better (hopefully I am understanding them well enough to teach them), but I really don't know when this stuff is ever used. Everyday I have to teach myself the sections, then do the homework problems I assigned and then figure out exactly how I want to go over it in class. And since class is 3.5 hours a day, I am in class almost as long as I was last summer teaching 2 classes.

Calc 1 will be much easier (when it starts up July 10) - I already know it and won't have to spend a couple hours a day teaching it to myself. But in the next 2 weeks I need to find a better way to handle homework. Homework in these higher level classes is really the bane of my existence. They need to do it to practice and be able to do the problems on an exam - so I have to assign it and have some way of giving them credit for it - however I really, really hate grading it. Grading homework takes hours upon hours. All the classes I am teaching in the fall will have online homework which is fabulous!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The perfect church time?

In many LDS church buildings, the building itself is big enough and has enough classrooms so that wards can overlap, meaning one ward can meet from 9am - noon and another can meet from 11am - 2pm. However, the church building we go to is quite small, so we cannot have wards overlap. And since there are 3 wards that share our church building that means that some wards have to meet at some pretty bad times. In fact, it is even tempting to say that all 3 wards have to meet at some pretty bad times.

When we first moved here, we had church from 8am - 11am. Church at 8am is terrible - it is almost like waking up to go to work during the week. I never thought that an hour made all that much difference, but 9am church is way, way better than 8am church. The really nice thing about having church in the morning is that you can make something really nice for dinner because you have the entire afternoon (you can even take a nap and still make something really nice for dinner). Plus, you can eat meals at normal mealtimes.

Then in 2007 we switched to meet from 11:30am - 2:30pm. This time was much better when it comes to getting ready for church because it was nice to be able to sleep in and lounge around while getting ready. But, if we ate breakfast at 9am, we still weren't hungry for lunch before church - however after being there for an hour or so, we were starving! Even if we put off eating breakfast until later, we were too hungry to eat breakfast any later than 10am, and by about 1:30pm or 2pm our tummies were growling pretty loudly to go home home and eat something. Once we got home we would just eat whatever we could prepare the fastest, or whatever was the most convenient. However, this meant that since we were eating lunch around 3pm, we weren't hungry for dinner until around 8pm and by that time, you don't really want to cook anything. So, 11:30 - 2:30 church is terrible when it comes to a meal schedule.

This year we have the worst church time ever - we meet from 3pm - 6pm. The reason this is so terrible is because you seriously lounge around all day almost. In fact, there have been quite a few times when we have lounged so much, that we lost track of time and were still late to church! In fact, it is my opinion that it is easier to be late to afternoon church than to morning church. But with church so late in the day, it really feels like nothing gets accomplished the entire day. And dinner is a nightmare - we are starving when we get home (usually around 6:30) and unless we have set up a crockpot meal to be ready when we walk in the door (which - I don't have very many crockpot recipes that I really like and I even have a whole crockpot cookbook!) then it is a pain to cook when we are so hungry and have to wait for food to be ready.

Is there a perfect church time? I am tempted to say that if there is, it is probably to have church start at either 9am or 10am. That way you get to sleep in a little longer than usual during the week and take more time getting ready than you do during the week, but meals can still take place at decent times.