Archive for the ‘weekend’ Category

Shipwreck at the bottom of the world

Okay, the title is melodramatic.  I’m just feeling kind of…Sunday afternoon right now.  And this is just about my immediate surroundings, not the world, which is worrisome too.

It was actually a very cheerful week in some ways–a couple of biggish things happened that I can’t blog about: a very good thing for Dr. Tea, and a midweek off-campus event for me that I’d been looking forward to for a long time.  Oh, and the previous week I went to GU to speak to graduate students about careers in independent schools.  Teaching is going fine–the Major English Poem has been such a delight, and I think I might finally be figuring out how to handle second-semester seniors.  The spring play happened and was terrific, not just as a piece of theater, but as a learning experience for the students and the community.

The little dark clouds hanging over my head are clouds I’ve had before, so I know they’ll pass, but:

  • I went idly to the webpage of a summer thing I applied for about six weeks ago and saw that they have already announced the recipient.  There’s been no email notification to applicants, which is annoying, but of course the really annoying thing was not getting it myself.  Pooh.
  • Despite her earlier announcement, Lucinda’s plans have changed and she actually isn’t going to be coming back next year.  I will miss her.  And, of course, this means we do have to hire at least one person.  I actually have one person I would like us to interview, a departmental spouse, and one person who I might need to interview because Ivanhoe knows and likes her.  Both of these situations are complicated, though, and to know that I will be spending, at a guess, 20+ hours between now and spring break on hiring is not happy news.  On Monday, I have to start talking with people about this–Lucinda just told me.
  • I had eye-rolling moments of impatience with four different members of the department this week: two for jointly bringing forward a potentially controversial novel (language, adult situations) that they think they want to teach–but one of them hasn’t read it and the other read it several years ago before beginning to teach high school (Go back and read it and make the case!), and two for general drama.  It’s Farch.
  • I have a lot of work to do generally, both teaching/grading and otherwise.
  • February has been a crap month for writing habits.  (January was awesome, but it really went to hell after the first week of February.)

The Snork Maiden has to be at school for the play this afternoon, so I’m going to take her and do some work until my sister arrives to see the play.  (I have a couple more summer things to apply for, too.)  Then I’ll take my niece out to do…something, we’ll figure it out…for a few hours, and will get another hour or so while the Snork Maiden is at strike.  That will just have to do.  Then home, for laundry and general prep for the week.  I chaperoned the play backstage on Friday and watched it on Saturday, so this will be one of those at-school-every-day weekends.  I need to plan some kind of relaxing treat for midweek, I think, so that I’m not absolutely cranky and snappish and feeling deprived.

Carry on

I realize you may not find it all that enthralling to read about the obsessive time tracking of a high-school teacher, and I further realize that this blog would be more interesting if I included more concrete detail, as I’m always urging my students to do.  I live in a reasonably interesting place, for example, but I mostly vagueblog about where I go and what I do there.  Sorry.

I was telling MW that I had planned an “indulgent” weekend, and she asked what I was going to do to indulge.  Get a massage, I said.  And some other stuff!  That I hadn’t planned yet!  But I’d been enjoying telling myself all week this was going to be a real weekend.  Maybe I would see a movie!  And if my hip/glute issue–which has flared up painfully of late–could settle down, some yoga!  And sleep and reading the books I needed to pick up from the library!

So it’s Saturday night, and here’s what’s happened so far:

  • At school until 5:30 on Friday for the Snork Maiden’s rehearsal, then home to a quiet evening of reading and websurfing.
  • Fantastic massage this morning which has really helped the hip/glute thing.  (I saw a doctor last week and she referred me for physical therapy, but the first appointment isn’t for another ten days or so.)  Hit the library and Target on the way back.
  • Took the Snork Maiden for a haircut.  She needs driving practice, so she drove us from there to SA, where she had three hours of rehearsal.
  • While she rehearsed, I went to my classroom and did some prep for the week ahead.  I also spent about an hour working on magazine submissions–I haven’t been sending poems out much, and I want to try to place some newer work.
  • Then she drove us to the diner where she was meeting her friends, and I popped into the bookstore to get a book for my sister, then I went home to read and chill out until time to pick her up.  I drove us home because it was dark and she’s not used to the highway, but felt hyper-aware that the time of her needing us to drive her everywhere is shortening–she can take the license test next month.  Also remembering so well the stage she has entered of being a junior and having more independence in her social life (even if she is still dependent on us for most transportation–I didn’t get my own license ’til the end of junior year) and also of feeling more settled in my high school life.  She is having a pretty good year so far, I think.  I am savoring it.
  • When we came home, I wrote an email to a poet friend who had asked for some feedback on a short manuscript.  I’d given her one deadline for getting the thing together and sent to me, and myself another for replying to her, and we both made our deadlines.
  • I had given myself another goal this fall, of drafting a new poem every week for twelve weeks, the draft being due to myself by 2 PM Saturday.  I have produced five drafts so far, but missed the deadline twice, the second time being this week.  There are five weeks left in the plan, though, and I think I would be very happy to go into winter break with ten drafts to work on.  (The plan started in late September and ends a week before break.)

So maybe not a hugely indulgent weekend, especially since I spent a chunk of today on school work and will probably spend another chunk tomorrow (and tomorrow has family obligations as well).  But also not a weekend completely dominated by school things, as some have been and more will yet be (we’ve got that annual admissions open house on an upcoming weekend, and there’s the fall play, too).  A missing piece is spending time with Stubb–he’s working nearly all weekend.  We’ve got plans for next Saturday.

Labor Day

I like the three-day weekend part; the part I’m less fond of is the four-day week that follows.  It always feels a bit crammed.  There are only four days’ worth of classes, true, but it seems as though there are still five days’ worth of conversations, decisions, meetings, etc.

I need to pop in and visit all three of my new teachers’ classes, for example.  And I need to try to do it at times when we will be able to speak for a few minutes afterwards.  Which means that one or two of them will almost certainly be at the end of the day, which isn’t most people’s best time–but then, I am not trying to see them at their best time, necessarily.  One reason for doing this, frankly, is to give them the impression that I am taking their evaluation seriously.  My demeanor tends to express “You’re great, everything is awesome,” so I probably need something as a corrective to that.  I would rather reassure them than worry them, but I also don’t want to come across as if my main concern at this moment is reassurance.  My main concern right now is see how they are teaching in this environment, and where necessary, to help them adjust their practices so that they will have the most success possible in the first year. So they need to see that I am looking to see how they are doing right now.


Not gold

According to my Facebook feed, a lot of people in the U.S. are watching the Golden Globe Awards right now.  I am not.  Nor, I’ve decided, am I going to try to catch up on Downton Abbey so that I can watch tonight’s episode.  Maybe after Stubb gets home (next week!) we’ll find a show to start watching together, as we did The Tudors and Rome at different times in the last several years.  It doesn’t have to be a historical drama, even–it could be The Wire or Friday Night Lights or something else that people were praising to the skies awhile ago.  Maybe I’ll poll my students.  (Castle and American Horror Story are two that I keep hearing about.)  Maybe the Snork Maiden will want to join us, even.

But tonight, I have to finish the financial aid application and the laundry.  My Friday got less pressed because the admissions director emailed to make sure I knew about the FA deadline and to offer that I could take the weekend to finish up this part of the application–I gratefully took her up on this, of course.  I did turn in provisional versions of my exams (not saying that they were provisional, but fully intending to edit and proofread), and I ran review sessions in my classes, and everything went basically OK.  I did some more of the FA application earlier today but then had to leave to take the Snork Maiden to a friend’s birthday fondue party.  I stopped at SA while she was there and did a couple of small things that will make tomorrow go more smoothly, I hope.

I’ve now written Morning Pages for twelve days straight, and I have to say that I think this is a pretty good habit to get into.  It skims the top layer of scum off my mind, and although I don’t think very much during the rest of the day about whatever it is I wrote, I am conscious of feeling calmer and more focused generally.

I started writing them in the mostly-used notebook I had with me when we were visiting Stubb, and I was looking forward to starting a new notebook.  I even had one at hand–a Decomposition Notebook that one of my students gave me, along with some incense and an incense holder, as a holiday gift in December 2012.  (Yes, it seemed like a slightly odd gift, but if you imagine the kind of student who would give you an incense holder and a blank composition book, that’s pretty much who she is.)  I hung on to all three things for a while and finally threw out the incense and the holder–I dislike the smell of incense.  Unfortunately, the book–which I was delighted to receive–absorbed the smell of the incense and when I sat down a couple of mornings ago to write in it for the first time, I could still smell it.

I’m not chemically sensitive in the medical sense, but I am very aware of smells.  I recently spent $8 at CVS on a fragrance I don’t think I will ever actually wear because sniffing it takes me back to eighth grade.  Sometimes I stop at the Lancôme counter to smell the Trésor tester because it reminds me of a friend who used to wear it.  If there’s garlic or onion on my fingers, I have to go rub them on the stainless-steel faucet until the odor disappears.  Anyway, I just don’t think I can use this book.  Maybe the Snork Maiden can.

So I decided to try typing Morning Pages for a couple of days until I could get a new notebook.  Cameron recommends handwriting: “When we write by hand, we connect to ourselves. We may get speed and distance when we type, but we get a truer connection–to ourselves and our deepest thoughts– when we actually put pen to page.”  She also points out that because we write more slowly than we type, we notice more and have more time to anticipate what we’ll say next.  Though she’s probably right, I am finding that I get a pretty good sense of connection when typing if I make the page so small (20% view) that I really can’t see what I’m writing.  I think more about what I’m saying, and I’m more aware of the words forming between fingers and laptop keys, much as the words form between pen and paper when I write by hand.  When I handwrite the pages, I write fast and messily–I rarely make an actual spelling error, but if I tried to reread them, there would surely be words I’d puzzle over.  When I type without being able to read what I’m writing, I don’t correct any errors unless it’s a correction that I make automatically while typing.  And as with the handwritten pages, I don’t reread.

Sex on the moon

Will probably not be happening this weekend!  But what will?

The Snork Maiden just booked herself a sleepover at Bestfriend’s house for Saturday night, which means we’ll probably try to get all the laundry done Saturday morning, and which also means I can probably look forward to almost 24 hours of solo time in which I don’t need to consult anyone’s convenience but my own.

I do have a ticket to a play at SA for Saturday night.  On the one hand, this means that I don’t have to think about whether to try to arrange something to do; on the other, it means–well, not that I absolutely can’t but it’s a lot less likely.  I currently have either a cold or allergies.  It hardly matters which, except I find it less psychologically taxing to imagine it’s allergies, even with the possibility that they might drag on and on.  After the play, I’m probably going to want to come home and go to bed.

In fact, I think I would like to do that now.

Dress your family in corduroy and denim

I wear black pants to school approximately 80% of the time, with…something on top…usually a solid-colored shirt, maybe about half the time with a scarf.  Most of the rest of the time, it’s a black skirt ditto.  For really wild days, I have one brown skirt with a matching cardigan, and I also have a black tank dress that I wear with an overshirt, a jacket, or a cardigan.

And that’s about it.  Also, some of these clothes are a little too big on me now, which is a fine problem to have when one has been trying to lose weight, but there are some key items that really should fall out of the rotation.

If I could add one item to my wardrobe right now, it would be a pair of colored pants that I could wear with a black or neutral top.  But pants shopping…I’m going to spend some of my precious weekend time pants shopping?  

Well, maybe.  And what else will I be doing today?

  • Writing goals for the week and group update
  • Laundry
  • FA paperwork for the Snork Maiden’s summer program application
  • Some form of exercise
  • Grocery/Target (which is where the pants shopping might happen)
  • Prep for NLNRU class
  • Prep for two student meetings
  • Dinner and the Oscars (or some part thereof) at my mom’s

That last one means I have about eight hours for all the other stuff–which is a reasonable amount of time and can also include some breaks, including a nice nap, if I’m feeling so inclined.  I have SA prep and grading to do, but I think the list above is enough for now.  (NLNRU definitely looms over my weekends more now that I’m teaching on Monday nights, and SA is more likely to get back-burnered.)


Bicycle diaries

I’ve been thinking a lot about my pal Bardiac this weekend, because this weekend has featured a lot of, in her phrase, “playing outside.”  I went for a run on Saturday (I’ve been running again, gently and following the Couch to 5k program, for the last few weeks), and I also walked to our weird, shabby little neighborhood bike shop (whose proprietor looks like a tall, wild-haired Jim Croce) to pick up the bike I’d left there for a tune-up the previous weekend.  Stubb’s mom handed it down to me a few years ago, and it’s just been hanging patiently on a hook in the garage since then.  Now it is all ready to ride, and I rode it around the neighborhood for a while today–just playing, not trying to go anywhere special, but definitely thinking about how this expands my range of places I can go under my own steam.  (We live in a suburban area that’s population-dense enough that we can walk to a couple of parks, a supermarket, some small shops, etc., but we have to get in the car to go to school and most other things. )

The weekend so far has also featured a massage, some errands, and a very nice festive dinner out with Dr. Tea and her husband and daughter.  We have a graduation party for a cousin’s daughter this afternoon, and the Snork Maiden has a birthday party, so the things I cannot put off much longer are laundry and grading.  We’re heading into the last week of classes and the start of exams.

One of my colleagues pointed out to me that I could ask for some funding from SA for travel to the second conference.  She’s right–it just didn’t occur to me before.  So I need to do that this week, and also submit some other reimbursement paperwork before the school year ends.  On the docket as well: end-of-year conversations and decisions about some of next year’s activities; work for the first conference; a couple of afternoons’ worth of meetings and administrivia at NLNRU.  Oh!  and finalizing my SA exam.  Ha.  Almost forgot about that one.

Thanksgiving weekend

Historically, I’ve been somewhat obsessive about planning how to use all that lovely time over the Thanksgiving break.  I notice, too, that historically I have often been sick for part of this break, and in fact I am currently suffering from what seems to be the same cold I had in 2009.  It got started on Monday night, but didn’t really blossom until the end of teaching on Tuesday; accompanied me on Wednesday to Starfleet Academy’s community service day and a screening of The Muppets with Stubb and the Snork Maiden; and then pretty much took over for 48 hours, though I did manage to clean up and show up at my in-laws’ for Thanksgiving dinner.

Now, Saturday morning, I still have the snuffles and the cough, but I can focus on other things.  My first task: to get over my childish and irrational sense of resentment that I just lost half my Thanksgiving break to being sick!  How to do this?  Why, take a nice shower and get cleaned up again; then on to my beloved lists and plans.  Some exercise, some work, some loafing, some blogging, and some planned recreation of some sort with Stubb tomorrow.  Oh, and I must also include some planning in the plan: our winter break trip won’t plan itself, you know.

The comforts of home

The Snork Maiden went on, and survived, a class retreat this week.  Today, she has to be at school twice, first to be a host student for an admitted-students event (it’s the day the incoming students take math placement tests and then have lunch and activities with current students), then in the evening to be on the stage crew for the play.  She’s grouchy about both of these things, though she was enthusiastic when she agreed to do them.  (I know what that’s like.)

I’m going to take her to the first event, then hole up and work for a while.  I have grading, planning, and organizing to do, as well as a new submission to make after receiving my fourth rejection so far–this one from another established literary journal that has also published my work before.  Will I write?  I dunno.  Feeling the pressure of the end of the school year–it’s hard to shrug that off and write first.

I’m probably also going to take a break to walk over to the field and watch some of a lacrosse match.  A lot of my students are playing, though it’s certainly hard to tell whom you’re watching when they’re all helmeted and their shapes are distorted with padding!

Stubb and I will get some dinner after we drop her off, then come back to watch the play.  I think that Sunday–aside from a Mother’s Day meal of some sort with Stubb’s folks–should probably be a stick-close-to-home, laundry-and-cooking, sprawl-on-the-couch kind of day.  We all need one.

A view from the bridge

Three-day weekend! Yeah. 

So far it’s been ordinary weekend stuff.  Some work around the house; semi-festive meals; an unexpected sleepover for the Snork Maiden that led to an unexpected night out for Stubb and me. 

Today, more ordinary weekend stuff: LAUNDRY, grocery shopping…  I’ve promised myself a couple of hours to write.  And we’d long ago (well, a week ago) decided that the three of us would see Gnomeo and Juliet today.

I have, at a minimum, an hour’s worth of work to do for NLNRU.  There are, of course, tons of things I could be doing for both SA and NLNRU, but a person needs a weekend.  Thank goodness for a free period first thing on Tuesday!