Archive for December 25th, 2014

The years (2011)

Christmas Eve and Christmas were on a weekend in 2011, and I liked that. I worked into the first few days of break to clear the decks for our Denver trip, which was fun despite a back/butt pain problem that might have been the first appearance of the butt problem I’ve had more recently. It turned out that we did, in fact, go away over winter break four years in a row–more on that in subsequent posts. I also looked back over 2011, the year in which I finished my second book–or so I thought, since I did put it through another revision this year. Still, that freed me to start work on the next one, which is the big pile of poem fragments and a few finished poems that I have in front of me right now.

I also decided that I needed to start acting like I know I’m fabulous, kind of along the lines of Lenny Dykstra, but, as Bardiac pointed out, without the getting arrested part.


For now

Taking a break from the nostalgia to think out loud about the rest of this break.

I’ve mostly taken the first five days of it off…sleeping, fighting off a cold (it really doesn’t seem to have bloomed yet, but I feel it lurking in my head), reading indiscriminately (not quite the same as last summer’s binge-reading, but some of this and some of that; also a graphic novel recommended by the talented artist who works as an assistant in the high-school office), and spending time with family: a Hanukkah party, our almost-six-year-old nephew’s basketball game (seriously), trivia night, lunch with cousins. A few errands and chores around the house. A bit of exercise.

Started my Seinfeld chain today.  Actually, I got ambitious and started three: writing, exercise, and work around the house (mostly tidying and decluttering).  The goal is fifteen minutes of each every day, always with the option to do more.  So, for example, a regular exercise day is usually either a 25-minute bodyweight workout or 35-45 minutes walking/running; under this plan, I’ll still aim for 15 minutes of something every day (just a walk if it’s a “rest” day), but most days I’ll do more.  There will, I hope, be days when I write more than 15 minutes (Morning Pages and blogging don’t count for this), but 15 minutes is the minimum goal.  And 15 minutes of house stuff is easy, and relatively brainless in the evenings once we go back to school.

Apart from these things, I have some fairly hefty school projects to do.  I’ve decided that grading and prepping will be done in the second week; I want a full week (actually nine days, including the first two weekends) off from that.  I’m thinking of going in to SA on Monday and Tuesday morning of next week, actually–maybe three or four hours each day to do the grading and prepping below.  The school work is as follows:

  • Read three books that are under consideration to add to the tenth- and eleventh-grade curriculum.  Decide whether I am willing to support adding them, or prepare to articulate my concerns to those grade-level teams.
  • Comment on, and assign grades to, thirty-some paper drafts for the juniors.
  • Read and grade a handful (maybe seven) senior papers that came in late last week.
  • Prepare classes for the first week back, including rereading a short novel and reviewing an AP multiple-choice practice section.
  • Create rough drafts of first-semester exams for the juniors and seniors.
  • Thank-you notes to the students who gave me gifts last week.
  • Edited to add: Work on plans for a new approach to second-semester AP Lit.

Then there are the personal plans and to-do lists:

  • Writing.
  • Exercise.
  • Tidying.
  • Time with Stubb and the Snork Maiden, separately and together.
  • Book and get a haircut.
  • Get a massage (already booked).
  • Coffee with Dr. Tea and Theresa (former student, now a junior in college).
  • Pay bills.
  • Birthday present for nephew, baby shower present for Elinor*, etc.
  • Emails, always emails.
  • Edited to add: Summer colony applications, submissions.

It’s not too pressed, really, is it?  I mean, I will have no trouble keeping busy, but I should also be able to have fun and relax.

*Yes, Elinor is expecting a baby, and some of her SA and non-SA friends are throwing her a little party when she visits during break.  I’ll mail the gift to her home, though, so she doesn’t have to schlep it back with her.

The years (2010)

During winter break 2010, we took a trip to the Southwest that gave us time with PymFan and my aunt from Denver, who met us in Santa Fe. This was the first planned “vacation” the three of us had taken in I don’t know how long–maybe ever. We’d traveled a lot, but usually in connection with someone’s work or making visits to family. And the Snork Maiden and I had done some travel for pleasure, but without Stubb.  So this felt like a really significant winter break–and it was made possible in part by the predictability of the SA schedule, which had also become a shared schedule for the Snork Maiden and me (she started sixth grade at SA that year).  In my post about this trip, I also did a Reverb10 prompt, and rereading the results (“Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010”) made me go back and find Project Reverb in its current incarnation.  I should remember this for next year!

I reflected in that post that I had a really terrific group of freshmen that year, and those freshmen have now all finished up their first semesters of college.  Well, almost all–this fellow will be back from China in a couple of weeks; his college has a January term, so he won’t start until the end of the month.  Quite a few of his classmates dropped by school in the last days before this break.

The years (2009)

Before winter break of 2009, I observed that the students were getting on my nerves, and the seniors were poisoning the atmosphere with their college anxiety, and that I was grateful that I didn’t teach seniors.  Now that I do, I am both more sympathetic and more annoyed.

I set a goal of 50 hours of work on my second book during break, and spent 33.  This year, I haven’t done any writing yet except for Morning Pages, but inspired by Clarissa, I’m going to start a Seinfeld Chain today.

The Snork Maiden got glasses, and I figured out that I was most productive when I was able to get up early (duh, for me).

We got new phones, which means that my phone is five years old, which might explain why it feels so obsolete now.

I read a lot over winter break 2009 and decided to share some of what I had read, inspired by reading through the archives of Mimi Smartypants.  Who is now making I-might-stop-diarying noises, which make me sad.