Yesterday, it took me five minutes to figure out how to put my underwear on. They are a pair of boyshorts and the label on the inside has gone away, and there is no other way to tell which side is which. So I literally put them on, pulled them down, and turned them around about six times before finally just telling myself to PICK A SIDE so I could get on with my day.
Today was the last day to withdraw from courses for the spring semester. As I usually do, I had a conversation with my students about what it means to withdraw from a class: what it can do to (or for) their GPA, how it can affect their financial aid, what it might mean when it’s time to transfer.
However, this time, I did something a little different. I reminded them that getting a D isn’t the end of the world (they will get elective credit, but not gen ed credit). But I also told them that there’s value in staying in the class even if they are pretty sure they are not getting a C–or maybe not even a D–because they’ll be practicing the skills they’ll need when/if they have to retake the course.
I have at least three students who I know probably are sticking it out because I said that, which is, I think, a good thing.
On Tuesday, in my comp 2 course, I was putting in a plug for my fall creative writing course, and one of my students asked me if I preferred teaching creative writing to comp. And I told him, quite honestly, no. Creative writing is fun to teach because most of it is completion based, but the classes are very different. The part I hate about teaching comp, I told them, is the grading.
Anyway, they understood that. I also pointed out that for every paper they write, I’m usually grading 60-80 of them. So.
Then, one of my students came in late, and he looked a little…let’s say out of it.
Me, joking: Are you sleepy or high?
Him, completely serious: Oh no I’m not high. I’m sober four days.
Me, now completely serious: Oh good.
Dual-enrolled student: Wait, I thought sober was just for drinking.
Other student: Oh sweet, innocent, baby [classmate]. She’s so sweet. I love it.
The rest of the class then had a good laugh at the innocence of the high school student. She really is a sweetheart.
According to the Angel Soft ad that keeps popping up in my Facebook feed, today is National Single Parent Day. A quick Google search shows me this is a real thing signed into being by Ronald Reagan (!). I’m not trying to get political but I’m surprised that the person who helped propagate the welfare queen myth actually did something positive for single parents. But I have gotten political, so pardon the digression.
Anyway, I wasn’t planning to post about being a single parent, though to be fair, every post I post about being a mother is about being a single parent. However, my daughter and I had an interesting discussion tonight, which was a true adventure in parenting.
As previously mentioned, my daughter turned 18 a few weeks ago. Since then, she has been itching for more freedom. This all came to a head last night when she told me she thought it would be best if she move out. There is a lot of backstory here that I won’t get into because most of it is her story and not mine, but the final conclusion was that she didn’t want to actually move out: she wanted to experience what it was like to be a grown-up without having to move out. In short, she wanted to try out a roommate situation to prepare her for college, which meant more financial responsibility and more freedom (i.e., no curfew).
So tonight we talked about money, and I showed her what bills (or parts of bills) she would be responsible for. In the end, she said, “I changed my mind. I want to keep being a kid.” And then she asked me if I was going to blog about it for my slice of life post today.
As of this posting, I still have a daughter and not a roommate. But I also have a child who understands a little bit more about what it means to be a grown-up.
This weekend, I had the opportunity to sit with two groups of people, and we spent 20-30 minutes talking about different foods and the gastric distress they now cause us. You know, foods we once loved that no longer love us back.
I was struck by two things during these conversations:
1. Everything starts going downhill at 35 (or 33, I guess, depending).
2. I am officially an old person.
I woke up angry today, which is a thing that happens sometimes when I come off of an exhausting week where I don’t have (or make) enough time for myself.
I was angry that I agreed to make an announcement at church (which meant I couldn’t skip it), angry that I had to prep for school/work, angry that I still hadn’t washed my hair, angry that I needed to wash clothes, angry that I made plans with a friend.
Oh, and angry at the state of the world, too, of course.
It turns out having that commitment at church turned out to be a good thing. First, I always do better around other people, even when I’m kind of crabby to start. I had to turn on some charm for the announcement since I was supposed to be enthusiastic. Then, this line from the call to worship helped: “Be joyful though you have all the facts.” Because sometimes I need a reminder that joy is an act of resistance. [That line, btw, is from a Wendell Berry poem.] And, of course, the sermon was thoughtful and also helped get me out of my head.
So that helped. And then I was crabby again.
But I got home and made a to-do list. To-do lists help me organize my thinking and see exactly what I have to do. That, in turn, makes the day less hectic because I can see how to manage each task. Then I took a nap.
I was angry when I woke up, but that’s just because I wanted to sleep longer.
Then, I met my friend and we had a good talk about making space for ourselves, and I was able to admit that part of my crabbiness/anger was that I hadn’t had enough time to do things that sustain me. Or to relax. And once we were done, I did some prep for class because I knew that would help me feel better and I got pizza for dinner instead of worrying about what to cook and I washed my hair. And I’m going to finish writing this and then write my post for tomorrow, and then I’m going to bed.
I still feel a little disconnected, but I do feel better than I did this morning. The anger, for now at least, is gone.
Well, I attempted this cinnamon pie. It did not turn out well at all. My mistake was not mixing the wet ingredients with the dry BEFORE mixing in the milk. I knew as soon as I looked at the recipe again that I screwed it up. Oh well. I’ll see if putting it in the fridge makes a difference (I’m not counting on it).
No pictures because it is just that unappealing looking.
Today was another long day: up at 5:30 to get my car serviced, off to a six-hour meeting at church, home for a brief (too brief) nap, coffee shop to meet a friend, drop something off to my parents’ and chat with them for a bit, then home for some TV time.
And now I’m writing this to get it posted in time for the challenge.
And tomorrow there is even more to do. I’m trying not to think about it all too much.
In my comp class today, the plan was to finish watching Mulan to prepare my students for their definition argument paper. So imagine my surprise when I get to the classroom and see that they have CHANGED THE COMPUTER. And? There is no longer a tower!
Luckily, a CD/DVD drive was on the now tower-less computer, but it took me a minute to find it. Then, I had to figure out how to start the DVD since, of course, it didn’t autoplay nor would it load in Windows Media Player. The good news is that I had been down that road before in another classroom so knew to look for the VLC player, which was actually there and working.
So, we got to finish the movie, and I got to assign the paper. Whew. Because I really did not have an alternative if the classroom technology wasn’t working. Especially since Mulan is no longer on Netflix, so it’s not like I could have used that option either.
But now I’m wondering if that means I should carry my portable DVD drive with me JUST IN CASE whenever I plan to show a movie in class. I mean.
Yesterday, I put this prompt up on the board for my creative writing students:
Write a scene in which a character standing in an open courtyard filled with people she (or he) knows finds out s/he’s been stabbed in the back by his/her best friend.
After they asked, I told them the open courtyard could be any super public place and the backstabbing could be figurative or literal.
When time was up, I asked how many of them got my literary reference. Two hands went up, but then one student admitted that she only got it after the other student explained it.
So, only one student got the literary reference. One!
Then, I asked if any of them knew what the day was, and a student said, “The Ides of March.”
And I said, “That’s right! The Ides of March!”
And then I showed them the following memes/gifs:
No pie for me yesterday, alas. The pie crust I had in the refrigerator was no good, and I was not going to the store.
So, a couple of interesting things happened yesterday.
1. All but five of my students in my comp class DID NOT do the reading. Now, I know it was the first class session after break (on TUESDAY mind you), but ugh. It makes me so angry when that happens. Especially since the reading and homework were all I had planned to discuss for the day.
This has happened once before, so I did what I did then: I made the students who didn’t do the reading stay in the classroom and write an essay on why they needed to come prepared to class. Then, I took the handful of students that did the reading out into the common area and held class with them.
When I got back to the classroom, I collected the essays and threw them in the trash. (Yes, in front of the students.)
In retrospect, I’m a kinder person now then I was the first time so I think I could have handled it differently. Namely, I would have had them read the essay and finish the homework. The instruction time was lost, but I still could have caught them up.
I mean, giving them an opportunity to see how it feels to waste class time is still a badass move, but it’s not in line with my goals as an instructor.
Oh well. Maybe next time.
2. I was supposed to meet with one of my ministers, but he stood me up. After waiting twenty minutes, he finally contacted me after he realized he completely spaced on our appointment. Later that day, though, I ran into him at the gym. (Small town living, am I right?) Anyway, we then held an impromptu meeting in the swimming pool during my water aerobics class since we were both there and had the time.
Busy people: we take the time where we can find it.
Anyway, next time, I think I’ll remind someone I’m on my way before an appointment, so they can either be where they’re supposed to be or let me know if things have changed.
Today is Pi(e) Day, so I suggested to my daughter that I make a pie to celebrate. She suggested an apple pie, I suggested a cinnamon pie, and we agreed that a chicken pot pie (or even a pot pie made with leftover ribs) would be best. Aw, compromise.
Did I make the pot pie? Well, I don’t know yet. This will post right after midnight, so who knows what the day will bring.
Anyway, this day, man. I went back to work, which was fine. As I was finishing up grading, I discovered that none of my students (NOT ONE) got an A or even a B+ on the last paper, so I am going to have them rewrite it since they really won’t be able to move forward if they can’t master those skills.
I also learned that the more ominous I sound before I pass the papers back, the happier the students will be with their grades. One student was so relieved she got a 70 because she had prepared herself for a “50 or something” because of my warning. Of course, that only works when people actually pass the paper, so I’ll see if that holds true tomorrow (er, today–midnight, you know).
So, yes, work was fine.
However, the big drama of my day is that it rained ALL DAY, which ruined my plans to grill some ribs. I had to oven roast them instead. I mean, they turned out fine (delicious even), but oven roasted is just not the same as grilled.