I wanted to sleep in today, the last day of break, but I woke up early anyway and there were the usual anxious thoughts about going back to school and oh well I guess I’m awake now. That was a few hours ago, and I have enjoyed my coffee and the paper and done some prepping and am feeling a little better.
A couple of days ago I did something I haven’t done in quite a long time–I applied for a job. Sort of. That is, I reworked my CV and sent it to someone I know who teaches in GU’s adult ed program to pass along to the director, on the theory that I might like to do some teaching of creative writing to adults again. (I did one semester in an online program but didn’t particularly enjoy the format, about three years ago, and it’s been almost four years since I left NLNRU.)
It’s weird how ambivalent I felt about the whole thing, I think mostly because it reminded me of being contingent faculty and always looking for more and better work. I had to remind myself that I was doing it because I think it’s something I would actually enjoy, because it could add something to my life, because it would keep that kind of teaching on my CV and keep me growing as a teacher. I don’t have to do it, but I think I’d like to, if the scheduling works. It feels a little odd.
Trying to reframe these last three days of break as a long weekend, which always sounds so luxurious, rather than as the last little scrapings of spring break. My horoscope today informed me “You’re not always your own best babysitter,” and advised me to seek help in staying accountable to my goals. Since I’m not above being advised by a newspaper horoscope, I have made a plan to work at the public library with Dr. Tea for a couple of hours this afternoon, and suddenly the rest of the day seems magically planned–I will do just as much schoolwork as necessary to set myself up for a productive couple of hours in the library, and other things I want to do (including work on a poem) will happen in the rest of the morning. I’ll go straight from the library to pick up Sniff (aka Nephew #2, now 9 years old) from a friend’s house–he’s spending the night while his parents go out of town. (Older brother Snufkin is looking at his college choices–like the Snork Maiden, he’s a high-school senior.)
Terrible back-to-school dream last night–I had all new students and two of them used wheelchairs and somehow the new classroom was in an inaccessible tower! Also, as I was getting class underway despite these obstacles, I realized that a video camera had been set up and was recording everything. I turned it off and wanted to demand an explanation for these changes, and particularly for the complete lack of advance notice about any of them, but there was no one of whom to demand.
I’m meeting up with Dr. Tea and the GGE today for lunch at a cafe in my neighborhood–Dr. Tea is coming here and we’ll walk there.
Before she arrives, I’m putting in some solid work on spring break projects, which include catching up on some of the things I didn’t get to deal with at school last week because of the professional absence. There’s also writing, book-launch preparation, and proposing an AWP panel.
The Snork Maiden is away for a few days on a road trip with friends–a sort of preview for Stubb and me of what it will be like when she is away at college, not just because she won’t be here, but because we won’t know much about her movements. She has been checking in occasionally, and we’ve seen a few posts on Snapchat–which is excellent for stalking your teenager, by the way.
Oh hai. I’m still here. Like my friend What Now?, I’m thinking it might be good to get back to blogging more; I could use the reflection time, since politics have me…reacting a lot.. Unlike WN?, however, I’m not on break yet. Two more weeks to go. And an exciting but inconvenient three-day professional-development-related absence right in the middle of those two weeks–so I’m spending quite a bit of this bleary Sunday after the Daylight Savings “spring forward” planning the next several days of grading, prepping, and sub plans.
Before I knew about the absence, I signed up to chaperone a concert right before it, which now seems fairly inconvenient but not quite worth trying to find someone to swap with. So a fairly demanding week is going to end at about 9:30 PM on Friday, several hours too late, if you ask me.
Things in my small world are basically holding steady. One small mercy seems to be that we might not need to hire this year, which, if true, probably gives me 30+ hours back this spring as compared to my previous springs as chair. However, not needing to hire is predicated on the expectation that both of our colleagues on maternity leave–Dorothea, who had a baby in January, and Romola, who had one last week (a while in the making, not quite on the timeline she anticipated when I first mentioned the possibility)–return to school full-time in August. Each says that’s her plan, but would we be shocked if a baby changed someone’s plans? It certainly wouldn’t be the first time.
Just to catch you up, at some point during my long blog absences this fall, I signed a contract to publish my second book of poems! It will be out in September. Those of you who’ve been reading for a while know that I’ve been working on this book all along, and I’ve been sending it out in its current form for about two years, with a few encouraging near-successes and far more generic rejections.
Now we can move on to my telling you about working on the third book (which has been underway since 2013) and, eventually, I hope, into the attempts to get that one into print.
One more day of break–we go back on Tuesday. I am pleased to say that I have managed to recapture the vacation feeling somewhat, deciding that I’m going to be busy anyway when we go back, so I might as well enjoy the time I have now. I wrote today and also finished one of my vacation books (the excellent Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica, by Sara Wheeler). I’ve also decided to plan some specific treats to look forward to outside of work, like yoga class on Tuesday night and watching Sherlock with the Snork Maiden on Wednesday (and maybe something a little more exciting than either of those?). I do tend to let the work week dominate and to make the rest of my week serve that, but why should I? I know what a pleasure it is to look forward to something after work, and how much it will help, going back. Meanwhile, I will do some prep Monday, but I am also having friends over for brunch and going to a museum. (Avaunt ye, end-of-vacation blues!)
I wonder how many of my posts here have been about school breaks. Lots, I’m sure. During breaks I have more time for blogging and reflection, plus I remain obsessed with time and how to use it.
I have issues with winter break and spring break. I generally have grandiose plans and they are never fulfilled as my fantasies specify.
This winter break, we stayed close to home (well, except Stubb, who’s just left for an out-of-town gig). The Snork Maiden dogsat. I didn’t read as much as I expected to, but I did read some. I have been to seven yoga classes so far, an average of one every other day. One museum. A few holiday parties, including an open house we held, and Hanukkah at my mom’s tonight. Haircuts for the Snork Maiden and me.
The grandiose plans this time were mostly focused on “catching up” on school stuff, but “catching up” is a misleading phrase–it would be okay if it were just about the few piles of small assignments I didn’t get around to grading before the break, but in my imagination all sorts of things get attached that can’t actually be acted on when school isn’t in session–conversations, meetings, emails that I meant to have or do or send. I should recognize that with the way my job is currently constituted, I’m unlikely to ever feel completely “caught up”–there’s always something else I could be thinking about. It’s one of the few things I miss about adjuncting–the sense of being done and off the clock at the end of a term. (Even then, of course, there was a new term to be planned for–but in my memory my 2YC classes seem to have just repeated each quarter, with less new prep than there actually was.)
Anyway, today I am digging into some of that stuff so that I can bring my anxiety level down–for some reason it peaked in the predawn hours and I found myself lying awake fretting about some very small potatoes indeed.