Here endeth spring break.  It was quite lovely, really, even though I didn’t write much.  I lived it.  I had two weeks with some relaxing and some maintenance-type stuff (taxes, car, glasses) and some work–for school and otherwise.  Speaking of work, have you seen this piece by the artist Carol Bove in Artspace?  It’s an excerpt from this book.  Bove talks about, among other things, deciding not to use the word work, but instead to name what she was choosing to do–and thereby let go of some cherished notions about the virtuousness of work and the division between work and leisure.  It’s a good piece, you should read it.

One great thing about this break has been being able to step up my physical activity.  I’ve run, done a bodyweight workout, or taken a yoga class twelve out of the sixteen days of break. And I’ve been feeling pretty good–until this morning in the shower, when I somehow managed to tweak my neck in an odd way and now it’s sore.  (I ran this morning and I think I needed to relax my shoulders more.)

I’m reducing–in the cooking sense–my to-do list, rewriting it for the week ahead.

I’m also cooking–preparing a chicken dish and a brisket for a seder we’re doing with Stubb’s family on Monday.  (We went to a cousin’s on the first night, Friday.)

This was last year’s post on going back after spring break, and this was the post in which I learned that we would be making one hire and suspected that it would be two (for a total of three, since we’d already hired Orlando).  Once again, contracts are due shortly, and there may be surprises in store–although I am pretty sure Dorothea isn’t going anywhere (not to this job, as it turned out), and I’ve had a number of pretty explicit conversations with people about their plans for next year.  Sebastian is going to take on a new role as a freshman advisor, but that won’t affect his deployment; Lucinda is pretty confident she wants a full-time contract, and this is good because Orsino will probably teach some freshman history again, leaving him three AP classes.

I’m looking forward to getting some enrollment numbers so that I can plan next year’s deployment, another thing I enjoy that Dr. Tea found aggravating.

I’m looking forward to seeing the students.

I have gone in and out of anxious end-of-break feelings today.  One minute I feel okay and then the next I am all worried about what I haven’t done yet.  I tell myself it is functionally just another Sunday night; I don’t have to have done all the grading of stuff turned in before break–I’ll get it back this week.  I don’t have to have gotten ahead; actually, looking at last year’s post, I realize I have done more planning through the end of the year than usual, and am in perfectly okay shape for this point in the school year.

I hope that both the Snork Maiden and I can get a good night’s sleep tonight!

Pluck and luck

Aaaand yesterday I came down with a cold.  Not a terrible one–a stuffy nose and intermittently clogged ears are the main symptoms, and I’m hoping it doesn’t morph into other versions, as colds sometimes do.  Last night I even had one clear nostril at all times, for which I was grateful.

It came on a few hours after the yoga class–which was otherwise a friendly introduction to yoga, but I did wonder if I’d somehow redistributed my fluids with all those unfamiliar poses in order to wind up with a headful of snot!

I also hope that I didn’t manage to give the cold to my mom, whom I drove over to Stubb’s parents’ house for a little condolence visit.  Or to Stubb’s parents.

Today I rejiggered my to-do list, uploaded some financial aid forms for the Snork Maiden’s music camp (not sure we’ll get FA, but worth applying), handled a bit of SA correspondence, ordered new glasses, and spent far too much time on Facebook.

I also realized that while I’ve been pleased about staying connected with my current book project via a series of Seinfeld chains, I have been moving among poem drafts much more than I did while writing my first two book manuscripts.  This is partly a function of the way this book is meant to work: it has more of a narrative arc (which is its own problem) and so I am sketching in pieces of it and thinking a little less in terms of each poem as a completed artifact.  However–I am generally all about the poem as a completed artifact on its own, and this chain of blurry drafts is disconcerting to me.

Maybe I need to be disconcerted.  Maybe I need to think about whether this is all one long poem–that was one thing that interested me very much about reading Hirsch’s Gabriel, although I think I understand how that poem’s form serves that poem in a way that’s very particular to its subject matter and speaker.

I was thinking, though, that a good writing goal for the rest of the break would be to select a little group of poems that work well together, that could eventually be submitted together and make sense as a group apart from the longer narrative arc of the book, and pull these through to what I will call, oxymoronically, “finished drafts”–not finished poems but a group of drafts that have plausible beginnings, middles, and ends, even if they will still go through more drafts afterwards.

So I think that’s what I will do.  Six days left of break = six finished drafts.  Let’s see what happens.

Help wanted

Oh, I also did a phone interview with a local candidate.  She and this job probably aren’t the right fit for one another, exactly, but I think she’s great.  She left grad school ABD and has taught at her current school for ten years.  She has done so many interesting things at her current school–revised curriculum, started a speakers’ series, contributed to the community in different ways.  She is really looking for a new challenge, probably at a school that’s more open to innovation than her current school, and while SA is moving in some new directions and who knows what might be possible in a year or two, what we probably need and can offer right now is someone who can teach this particular tenth-grade course, and I didn’t feel right trying to entice her to come over and take a look at us–at this point, anyway.  I was pretty frank about this, but asked her to please stay in touch.

Sleeping on the wing

I slept OK last night, just not long enough–about seven hours.  I had scheduled a massage first thing–and it was wonderful.  Lots of deep tissue work–I hope I’m not sore tomorrow.  Today I just had a nice Saturday.  The Snork Maiden and I played arcade games with Bestfriend and her mom and sister for about an hour, then Bestfriend came over and hung out until it was time for the Snork Maiden and me to go to the party we helped make for our friend.  I got in some reading and a little nap.

Spring break is half over.

Windows and stones

Another not-great night of sleep, this time because of noise in the street.  I’m not exactly sure what was going on, but some kind of rowdiness at a neighbor’s house.  There’s a not-very-stable family renting a house on this block, with a teenage son whose friends come and go at odd hours.  When they first moved in, there were a couple of out-of-control parties, and the police were involved.  (Our neighbor in law enforcement is a good person to know.) Things have been quieter since then, but Neighbor C’s hypothesis that the son is a small-time drug dealer, and that the young adults who park in front of the house for a few minutes at a time are his customers, seems sadly plausible.

I looked up the police non-emergency line and sat for a while, listening and trying to decide if it was worth calling, while also thinking that Neighbor C–whose house is right across from the rented house–would likely call if she heard the noise.  It wasn’t constant–it was bursts of loud conversation followed by silence, and cars revving and then shutting off.  Then it seemed to be over, and I went to bed, but took a long time to fall asleep and then didn’t sleep well.

Today was mostly about attending Stubb’s uncle’s funeral, which was all right, as these things go.  He was a very sweet person.  He was 85, he had been ill.  It was good to see Stubb’s cousins, etc.  One of them, just six months younger than Stubb and therefore his special pal in childhood, is moving out our way in a few months, with her partner and their two kids, to have more space and to be near the partner’s mom.  This is kind of exciting news because we always wish we saw more of them.

The spirit level

Didn’t sleep that well last night, oddly.  Maybe it’s Stubb being away.  Anyway, seven-ish hours, I guess.

Today I ran, had breakfast, showered, wrote for a little while (yes!), and went out to a small local art exhibit and lunch with Dr. Tea and one of my cousins.  Then home to work with our friend’s sister-in-law on some last few details about the party, and then drove the Snork Maiden to see a friend who is home from college. Then ate ice cream for dinner.  So, more of a fun-centered day, although a little angsty as regards the Snork Maiden, for various teenage reasons.



Haven’t broken anything today, and there isn’t much time left before bed.  I did track my time pretty closely today.

Sleep: 9 hours

Personal projects: 5 hours*

SA Admin: 2.5 hours**

SA Prep: 1.5 hours***

Driving: 2 hours****

Meals: 45 minutes

Family tasks: 30 minutes*****

Reading: 30 minutes******

Breaks: 30 minutes

Exercise: 30 minutes

Housework: 15 minutes

*Not, unfortunately, writing.  The big project was working on my part of this party for our (temporarily, following surgery) housebound friend.

**Much of this was reviewing and communicating with job candidates.  I am hoping to meet a few local candidates next week, and we have someone from out of the area coming shortly after break.

***Tidying up my classroom, organizing some grading to take home, looking over my Slaughterhouse-Five materials, some stuff for the literary magazine–probably some of this is Admin rather than Prep.

****Good grief, the driving.  I was taking the Snork Maiden to a friend’s anyway, so I went in to SA and did my work, but then she had a sax lesson…I am driving half again as much (conservative estimate) as I normally do during the week.

*****Signed the Snork Maiden up for online driver’s ed; she can get her learner’s permit next month.  Made an online request for the city to come out and look at a tree in front of our house that needs trimming, and reported some fallen and broken branches.  Bank stuff, etc.

*****Slaughterhouse-Five, though I will go to bed now and read something else.




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