Focus. Focus. Focus. Breathe.

This weekend, writing was a struggle. A number of fits and starts, a lot of crossed out lines, deleted lines, revised lines, cut and pasting, etc. I jumped from drafting on the notepad with a pen to typing on the computer and back again. And in between the moments of inspiration and hair-pulling, I put away (finally) our Christmas tree, packed up decorations, did the dishes, and washed load after load of laundry and then had to fold the damn stuff. This is all to say that eventually Chapter IX of the fairy tale was completed (woohoo!) along with one of those mother/daughter conversation poems that are supposed to interrupt the narrative. I'm not sure how successful either is (again, I'll wait for A.P.'s thumbs up or thumbs down, and my own distanced judgment after a few days have passed between the writing of the draft and my rereading it), but it felt really good to have been productive . . . at least, once I felt like I had been productive, and not just spinning my tires for 48 hours.

I'm afraid that my children didn't find the weekend too exciting -- for the first time since Christmas, we didn't have guests staying for the weekend or some kind of social commitment, and so we were homebodies. But Little Miss Talkalot was happy because -- and you might laugh at this -- we instituted a chore system for her. Yes, she wanted chores. Really, she wanted an allowance. But I wasn't going to just hand money over to the six year old. So we came up with a little list of mutually-agreed upon tasks that she can complete over the course of a week, and a way to account for them all. Most of her "tasks" are really just things she should be responsible for anyway, like laying out her clothes for school the night before and brushing her teeth in the morning, but this system will serve as a good checklist for her, and it'll (hopefully) cut down on My Getting-Ready-For-School Morning Tantrums, during which I morph into a harpy and start shrieking at everyone, including the dog. (When I'm stressed out, his impulse is to stick his 80+ lb frame of dense muscle and hair right in my path . . . or even preferably on my person. I swear, if he could be a lap dog, he would. That dog wants to occupy the same space your own atoms are occupying . . . which is one of the reasons I love him, really, but also makes moving about the house quickly and unimpeded very difficult.)

And I'm hoping that little changes like the Chore Checklist truly make this transition back to teaching more smooth than anticipated. Currently, I anticipate the transition being incredibly, terribly difficult. I'm still so focused on my writing, I'm so determined to finish this monster-length poem (lengthy for me, someone who rarely writes poems longer than two pages), that I just can't focus for very long on school stuff.

This is dangerous, of course, because school starts next week. Next week!

So, my goals for THIS week: (uh-oh -- I feel a checklist coming on)

1. Finish Chapter X of the fairy tale (this may not happen, considering it's a three-part-er, but a girl can dream, can't she?)
2. Finish course outlines for all four classes and send them to the department for copying
3. Order the goddamn texts for my classes ("why haven't I done this yet?" she wails)
4. Breathe

Days Until Reality Sets In: 7

p.s. Oh my god. Only seven more days?


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