Today has been pretty chill. My daughter wasn’t feeling well last night, so we both took it easy this afternoon and this morning.
That is, at least, until TV started stressing us out.
It started with Justice League, which my daughter is rewatching on Netflix. She likes the show (we both do), but she thinks Superman is the worst. She contends that he is the most useless member of the team and incompetent to boot. (This is her opinion. Don’t @ me.)
She has actually created a drinking game for the show, and one of the rules is to take a sip every time Superman falls out of the sky or gets knocked out.
Today is the first day I have no idea what to write. So, what I did today, in list form:
1. I woke up from a horrific dream. I blame it on not journaling (in my paper journal) the night before.
2. I called my friend to get some advice.
3. My mom surprised me this morning. My dad asked to use my car last night/this morning to get to work (he works from 5-9; it’s easiest to just do a swap the night before and then immediately after he gets off work), but my mom is the one who picked me up for the car swap.
4. I went to a support group meeting.
5. I came home and ate some cereal so I wouldn’t pass out during yoga.
6. I went to yoga.
7. My daughter and I were supposed to go to the bank so she could switch from her kiddie account to a college student account. She was not here at the scheduled time, so I went and got some lunch at Panera with plans to grade after. (Panera is one of my grading spots.)
8. Did not grade. Went home to take a nap instead.
9. As I was falling asleep I heard someone walking around in the house. However, I had not heard the door open. Went into the living room, daughter was there. Turns out she had been home in time for us to go to the bank–but was sleep. It was too late to go to the bank, so I went to lie back down.
10. I could not get to sleep. I got up and went to the coffee shop to grade.
11. I actually finished grading an entire set of papers at the coffee shop. Yay. I may have taken one swallow too many of the dirty chai. Boo.
12. I got home and performed some emotional triage with my daughter. This may be why I am so drained.
13. I put in a load of laundry and made pancakes for dinner.
14. I watched 1 1/4 episodes of The Great British Baking Show.
15. I fretted over what to write for this post.
Today I had the opportunity to sit in on a Trig class as part of a pilot program called Teaching Squares. (I have also previously visited an astronomy and zoology class.) While sitting in this class, the following happened:
1. I realized (reaffirmed is more accurate, but go with me here) that math beyond algebra is definitely not my thing. Not only did I have no idea what was going on, but I also didn’t care. It was especially apparent because the astronomy teacher (who was also visiting the class) was super into it and solving problems with the class, and I was just sitting there having flashbacks to when I took pre-calc in undergrad and trig in high school.
2. I loved my undergrad experience, but I really wish I had known more about community colleges and/or that dual enrollment was available when I was a senior. Taking a required math class that I had no interest in would have been SO MUCH better in a small class of ~25 students than the lecture hall experience I had.
3. This experience, along with a chat I had with my students a couple of days ago, reminded me how little effort I put into classes that I didn’t care about or knew I just needed to satisfy a gen ed credit. It gave me a little more compassion/empathy for my students who are doing the bare minimum to get by.
4. Visiting the math class after visiting the astronomy and zoology class also reminded me that I could and would be engaged in a class that is not in my area at all as long as I’m willing to listen. Like I said, I tuned out most of the math stuff (this is not the instructor’s fault–part of it is that it’s the end of the semester, so I didn’t have the refresher of some of the foundational stuff I needed to follow along; also, to be fair, I did learn some stuff) but I did learn some things. Same with the zoology and astronomy stuff.
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.