One More Week and Then It Begins (Again)

Yesterday I returned to campus for the first time in months.

It feels awesome to write that sentence. I mean, I like my job, but I really needed a good long break. The bad part about taking a big long break is that reentry can be kind of painful -- like when you realize that you have only a week left to prep for your classes.

You know what's ALSO kind of painful? Reentry into your work pants after a summer of ice cream and cocktails. (Not necessarily together, but not always apart, either.)

Nonetheless, despite these shocks to my system, I'm trying to be calm and collected and just keep plugging away at the course outlines, the lecture/activity prepping, the assignment-writing. As with every year, I'm trying to prep as much as I can before the semester begins so that I can grade during my non-teaching hours instead of frantically preparing notes for a lecture or activity right before class. Teaching some of the same texts from year to year helps, but sometimes you have to substitute because you find a story or book is just not working anymore (kids these days!) or you're kinda OVER whatever it is you've been using. And new texts mean new lectures and new activities, which means NEW WORK.

Rocks with aphorisms.
Sometimes I wish I was more of a hack.

It was good to see my colleagues again at the Honors Orientation yesterday, and I even spoke with a couple of students who were surprisingly enthusiastic about taking my creative writing class, which is always morale-boosting, as well as a couple of students who were surprisingly happy to see me again. (I suppose it shouldn't be shocking, but some of our students are so apathetic or ambivalent about school it's a bit of an anomaly to find them smiling and coming toward you with a hug...)

The last few mornings this week have been cooler in temperature, too, in that way that signals autumn is coming. The Boy noticed it when he woke up the other morning and joined me in the sun room, the windows of which are almost perpetually open, so it always feels pretty close in atmosphere to whatever's going on outside. It's kinda cool and weirdly gratifying when your kids notice things that you've noticed all your life, and found pleasure in, like the smell of dew-covered, cool grass on a late August morning. 

My No-Social-Media Month kind of bit me in the ass when I discovered yesterday that A.P. had sent me a wedding invitation via Facebook (!) and I hadn't responded. Ooops! I logged on quickly, RSVP'd, and then got the hell out. I've really enjoyed the silence this month, particularly after all of the shit that has occurred in this country and across the world in the past few weeks. I think -- no, I know -- that my stress levels would be far higher if I were listening to all the political and social e-chatter. In some ways, I'll be really upset to go back on in September, which I need to do because I also manage the CW Festival's social media accounts. But I'm sure that eventually I'll get comfortable enough and start posting too many pictures of my dog and kids again. Because, you know, me.

Anyway. Today is one of the last (penultimate, maybe) days my writing group will meet. Today I'm going to try to resist class prep and focus on my play while I still have mornings like this left. 

And I'm still reading The Prodigal, The Subtle Art, and Drowning in Sand. I'm a slow reader, and I have only two times of the day I can read without Vampire Toddler's little Minnie-Mouse voice in my ear asking me for a snack or what snakes eat or where it is we're going today: early morning and "late" at night (I go to bed kinda early). Also, I tend to look things up when I either don't know the reference or want to understand a reference more completely. It makes reading much different than when I was a kid, when I just plowed through books at a break-neck pace and only gleaned meaning of words or ideas through context, but it's more gratifying, too, to slow down and really internalize what's happening on the page.

So sweet. So hungry.
So I'll leave you now with this picture of The Moo (Mose) who is patiently waiting for me to get off my damn computer and feed him breakfast. (It's not his breakfast time yet, but tell that to a hungry lab.  No comprenderá.)


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