Tasmakat Update: Progress!

Okay, so, I must admit that I just took a break yesterday evening and finished the first book of Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation. This reminds me of this joke that I heard back when I was in grad school:

How do you know you’re in grad school? Because guilt is an inextricable part of relaxation.

This was true then and of course it’s true now. I think this is the default position for most writers, probably. How else could we ever get anything finished? Anyway, I did write 4500 words on Sunday, so that was fine.

We are across the Break! We are in the country of sand! We are riding camels. The country of sand has, as I’m sure you’ve realized, a strong Egyptian vibe. We’re going to see pyramids and everything. I mean pyramids the way they SHOULD look, with the brick sheathed in limestone, marble, and gold. And we’ll meet one of the ro-antalet, the rulers of the country of sand, who are — I’m sure you remember this — giant lions with the heads of men. Or women. I think the ruler of this country is a queen, in honor of Hatshepsut. I have a biography of Hatshepsut somewhere on my TBR pile, but I have to admit, it’s been there for years, who knows if I’ll ever read that.

Anyway, this definitely counts as progress. However, it may move more slowly for the next bit because I don’t have a vivid image of the next scene, just a clear notion of where we are going to end up soon plus a broad outline for the upcoming crisis.

Oh, and I also bathed five of the dogs this weekend. That’s a good afternoon activity in hot weather, and for some reason several of them have wanted to roll on the gravel roads recently, like birds in a dust bath. Clouds of dust everywhere! Thus, baths. I still have one dog to do. The outdoor sink is a great item to have if you have a bunch of dogs.

Trimmed 90 claws. Didn’t quick anybody. I’m good at it and they’re cooperative. I just had to do five of them. Naamah didn’t really need hers done because the vet does that as an adjunct to any surgery and she’s the one who had pyometra a few weeks ago. Elli didn’t need hers done yet. Elli isn’t exactly mine, except in the sense that all my puppies are always my puppies. She’s a 13-year-old who comes to stay with me now and then while her real owners handle other things in their lives. I’ve got her till November or December this time around. She’s a very easy dog to have around, no trouble at all, so that’s fine. No heart murmur either. I don’t exactly regret placing Elli as a pet — she’s not very pretty and she’s rather over the size I’d prefer — but if I’d known she’d never develop a murmur … well, crystal balls, still in short supply.

Clipped my oldest, Keya, whose coat gets out of control. She’s losing muscle tone and proprioception in her rear legs, but she can stand well enough if I cover the table with a non-skid surface and don’t keep her on her feet too long. And she’s more than willing to cooperate with all grooming if you just provide occasional treats. Very into treats, Keya. She used to stand like a rock in the show ring, gazing up at me and wagging her tail, utterly ignoring everything because she knew I was the one with the chicken. Her ideal life is to sleep on a cushion and eat treats, so she’s pretty much living that life. She looks just like a puppy when she’s clipped down, but alas, this year she’s definitely showing her age. She’ll be fourteen in a few weeks, which is hard to believe.

So, that was my weekend!

This week: I need to take a careful look at tomorrow’s lab so I know what we’re doing. And the first test is Thursday, so I’ll (sigh) be grading that. It’ll be a harder test than most of these students are used to, probably. If they know the material, they’ll be fine. If they’re depending on guessing their way through a multiple-choice test, they won’t be fine. I very specifically explained the difference between “feeling that a term is familiar when you see it written down in front of you” and “being able to pull the definition of a term out of your own head without Google to help you.” I very clearly described how to memorize material that doesn’t interest you. We’ll see how it goes. There are bonus questions sprinkled through the test, which will particularly help those who are paying attention in lecture. And six essay questions, pick any three, and if they answer more than three, the best three get graded.

I will add, some of these students are going to do great. I can easily pick out four or five or six who are probably going to get As or maybe high Bs. I mean both on this test and probably for the class as a whole. Especially after the dire things I was hearing from instructors last year, I’m really happy with this bunch of students. I already know which student’s test I’m going to grade first and use as a key for the rest. This young woman may not get the top score, but she’ll be up there. She has a lot of positive energy too. I’m fairly sure she’s going to pull the students who sit next to her up about half a letter grade just because they’re sitting near her while she radiates interest and engagement. This is the kind of student who I’ll be telling, at the end of the semester, that if she needs a letter of recommendation in five years, she should ask me. I’ll remember her and I’ll write her a glowing recommendation. I mean, it’s early yet, but I would bet money that’s how well she’ll do.

So that’s how it’s going for me! I hope you all had a good weekend too, and are looking ahead at a good week.

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9 thoughts on “Tasmakat Update: Progress!”

  1. Didn’t the person of the desert folk in Tuyo show up as a human with a jackal’s head? I admit to being behind on my reading – life won’t give me hours of uninterrupted time to catch up, how awful – but which book has them being lions with human heads? Or is that just this one and I’ll wait patiently.

    If you’re interested, a while back, Tor.com had an article about Grandmaster of Demonic.. and story structures and how many rules the author breaks and it works anyway. I think I could find it again if you want a link.

  2. I’m so happy Keya is continuing to do well! Gimli got a bath and all the grooming that goes with it this weekend. The most challenging part of bathing him is that he likes to rest his chin on my arm and fall asleep on it while he’s still in the sink

  3. Elaine, the Lakasha-erra are tall human people with the heads of jackals. But they aren’t the rulers of that country. The *rulers* are giant lions with the heads of humans.

    Camille, you’re making me laugh! Gimli’s mother is the one who still needs a bath. She has so much coat, I’m procrastinating.

    And yes, while Kenya is in decline, it’s slow. Most of the time you’d still mistake her for a youngster!

  4. Aw sweet Morgan! Gimli definitely takes after her in that regard. He’s definitely got more coat than most dogs his age, even some fellow black and tans. Fortunately it’s become more manageable now that he’s lost his puppy fluff.

    That makes me so happy to hear! She’s such a lovely dog. I hope she continues to do well for a long time.

  5. Camille, there’s a lot to be said for the ones with minimal coat, even if that’s not exactly desired in the show ring! One reason I’m longing for RUBY puppies from Morgan is that rubies wouldn’t have the coat of a black-and-tan!

    Keya’s started Ursodiol a month ago — recheck of bloodwork ought to come back today and then maybe she’ll be put on yet another medication depending on how that looks. So … we assume the phenobarb and/or levetiracetam are challenging her system. But none of that shows! She seems perfectly fine! Especially when she’s whirling in circles as I hand out treats. She’s still on just vetmedin for her heart, with absolutely no change to her respirations per minute (24). Two and three-quarter years since the cardiologist told me she’d probably go into CHF within the year. Knock on wood, but that, at least, doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen.

  6. Haha yes, absolutely! Even some of the heavier marked tris I’ve seen can be quite a handful. Plus rubies are just darling, coat aside. I’ve developed a real soft spot for wholecolors!

    Phenobarbital can be a bit rough on the liver so that’s not surprising. It sounds like she’s doing great otherwise! I’m glad she’s no longer as sedated from the seizure meds too. Nearly three years on vetmedin without CHF is *fantastic*. That really speaks to her health and quality of breeding. Hopefully Ish will be able to pass that on!

  7. Bloodwork indicates that the Ursodiol is apparently controlling the problems with the liver, three of four indicators are looking much better. We’ll do another check in three months, but no other medications are being added just yet.

    I know things can change in a hurry, but I honestly don’t really expect her heart to be what gives out first. Plus she’s really held her topline and basic soundness. She’s cute as a button. But this year is the year she went from being able to run really fast to being able to trot briskly. It’s her balance, not her vigor. And she’s had just a couple minor seizures, although she hasn’t gone back into cluster seizures.

  8. Fantastic news!

    That makes sense. Pippa was similar, wasn’t she? I hope her balance maintains for a long time!

  9. Similar, but not the same. Keya is holding onto her eyesight far, far better. In fact, so far, Keya is just much less affected overall. Of course, she’s nearly two years younger, so there’s that.

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