Better today. I have a lot of work to do, but afterward I’m going to jeopardy.
As usual, I call home all in a state and Riv says simply, You just sound tired. You’re doing all this new stuff, you are pouring yourself one hundred percent into it, and when you get tired and stressed out you start obsessing about the completely wrong things. Your stress isn’t going anywhere so you automatically assume it’s coming from a problem you already know is unsolvable. You have not felt this way about yourself in months. You DO NOT currently feel this way about yourself. You just think you do because you’re tired. Make a drink, eat a meal and go to bed. You are fine. And I remember some night years and years ago when I was living at the Calle Serena house, under 5 deadlines in 3 days and working full time at the vet hospital, calling J and freaking out about some bullshit the professor did. And she was like, “when you’re stressed, you’re stressed about the professor. You’re not stressed about the professor, you’re stressed about your deadlines.” And then I made a pizza in the oven, cracked a bottle of wine and knocked out three stories in 5 hours.
I’m fine. I just need some sleep. And probably a hefty dose of the West Wing. Which is good, because that show has like 800 seasons. So I’m locking my doors, turning off all the lights and the internet, heating up some of that RIDICULOUS amazing lasagna I made this weekend and watching Bartlet & co. campaign for reelection. Tomorow is what happens next.
Oh, and: I wrote a BALLER lesson plan for today. It kept the kiddos occupied for the entire class period. My first section was, true to form, animated, hilarious, talkative, engaged, concerned–generally fun students. My second section was…wall-eyed. Just wall-eyed. I play a game with my students wherein while I take roll, I ask them to answer a silly question so that I can begin to learn their names. Today’s question was “What’s your theme song? What song COMES ON when you walk in a room?” Section one cracked me up with their selections: Call Me Maybe, Dixieland Delight, Houses of the Holy–section two, apparently, has never heard of “music”. I feel like the more droll and uninterested they got, the more I jumped around, writing things on the board, asking questions to try to generate discussion, doing everything I could think of to bring the energy of the room up. Didn’t really work. At one point, a student’s phone rang. Twice. When he made no move to turn it off, I leaned over my desk, looked him right in the eye and said Take it out and turn it off. Right now. In front of me. Later, in the same class, one of my students asked if I had an extra copy of the article I had the students read, around which I had structured all my exercises today. So you didn’t read the article? I asked him. Nah, I did. I just left it at home. I carried it over to him and in a very loud and public way handed it to him with the admonishment, “YOU ARE A GROWN UP ACCOUNTABLE ADULT AND YOU ARE IN COLLEGE NOW. BRING YOUR HOMEWORK TO CLASS.” I don’t really know what to do. The first class nailed summary v. paraphrase, got really into the Rhetorical Triangle, filling their handouts with notes as we volleyed ideas back and forth about the interrelationship of the three elements of a balanced speech act (ethos/pathos/logos, OBVS); the second class bombed on the mini summary v. paraphrase exercise I gave them at the beginning of class to make sure they’d gotten Monday’s lesson down, and when I split them off into groups to review an op-ed from the school newspaper they sat in stonefaced silence until I called them back together to show me excerpts from the piece where each facet of the triangle was represented. I know it isn’t that my lessons are unsuccessful — my first section is rolling right along. I just can’t MAKE them give a shit. So I am going to have to change my tactic. Instead of dancing around and writing all over the board and calling on them and trying to draw them out of their hardened little shells, I’m just going to have to try something else. G advocates being a little mean, making them a little afraid of you. Which is the kind of teacher I sort of thought I’d be. But…I don’t know.
ALSO NONE OF THEM DROPPED. NOT A SINGLE FUCKING STUDENT DROPPED. ALL MY SECTIONS ARE FULL.
I can’t think about that today. I’ll think about that tomorrow.
Dark place today. Anxious place today. Less-hopeful place today. A lot of you are still trying to get people who will never love you to love you and WHAT is the POINT in THAT, a lot of feeling overwhelmed by my workload and like I am not doing enough, not performing to a high enough standard, disappointing everyone; a lot of foggy pessimism. I need some cheerleading. I had to cancel my thesis meeting because I am just NOT PREPARED; teaching has swallowed me whole and I can’t get out of it right now. Shame–let’s go ahead and pile that on there too. This is my first time teaching in one of these moods so we’ll see how it goes. I am traditionally very good at putting my emotional torrents to the side in order to work (I CAN ALWAYS WORK THROUGH IT ALWAYS) but 300 pages of reading for fem theory or conducting a BWR meeting is a different animal from performing THE RHETORICAL TRIANGLE! YAY! for a group of wall-eyed 19 year-olds.
Woke up from a dream in which I was testing cosmetics with Kim Kardashian to a house covered in Mama Cass’ sick, so before I even had my first cup of coffee I was wiping, mopping and trying not to grump in front of the dog, who was trembling because she felt so guilty. I pulled her food, gave her a pepcid and her morning meds, made coffee, did the morning internet rounds, stepped into and out of the shower and am now getting ready go teach in a few hours. I am feeling a little spiritless and, in spite of the pretty dress I am wearing, un-pretty. I can’t get my hair right, my concealer is not concealing the blemishes that popped up in weird places all over my face as a result of the course of hormones I took to jumpstart my period; I am still pale and drawn from the start of aforementioned period–just ick. I also have no appetite: combination of nerves (YOU go stand in front of 25 people and talk for 3 hours) and…well, just not being hungry. I was listening to The Streets and St. Vincent and neither of those did the trick, so I’m turning back to an old standard: Erykah Badu’s Worldwide Underground to get me pumped for the day.
I’ll bet you think this song is about you. Don’t you.
Spent the afternoon and evening cleaning up the house, making, portioning out and freezing veggie lasagna for me and ground turkey-and-sweet potato mash for Mama Cass’ food, tidying and burning the candles on Mack’s shrine, watching the West Wing and generally lazing around. I am pretty happy about the lasagna–asparagus, mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, yellow squash, zuchini, red peppers and basil all thoroughly drained and lightly sauteed in butter and basil before I layered them in made them tender but not a soggy mess, the way my veggie lasagna usually is. I chatted online with Riv while I waited for it to cook, talking puppies with her. I am still so excited to get one–though I am realizing that all the breeders I am talking to are expecting in mid-september or early-october, which means the puppy wouldn’t be ready until Christmas which is MADDENING, but I am only going to do this purebred-dream-dog thing once in my life so I need to be patient and do it the right way. I outlined the class schedule for last week but have not yet written up my individual lesson plans. I finally showered (don’t ask.) I have some poems to proof for a publication and accompanying interview responses to write but they don’t come out for some months, so there’s no rush; I also need to saddle up and start submitting again. And then of course, there is the dreaded First Thesis Meeting on Monday.
My intention was to get up early and take a long walk around the neighborhood, then sit down at my desk and start up work. At 4:30 I woke up with horrible cramps like I was being sawn in half lengthwise below my waist. Why was I so desperate to have this back again? I remembered that my doctor urged me to take aspirin or aleve or tylenol regularly for a few days before and a few days after it started to thin my blood so that my period did not completely destroy me, but of course I forgot. So at 4:30 I dug around in my closet and extracted my heating pad, took tylenol, turned on the television and gritted my teeth, trying to lie very still. It took a few hours, but I finally fell back asleep. Only to wake up at 10:30, still gritting my teeth. Whereupon the dog, so excited that I was stirring, jumped into bed with me to be the little spoon. After the morning routine of boiling water/feeding fishies/putting away clean dishes/taking the dog out to pee/making her complicated breakfast/french press coffee/medicating dog, I am back in bed with the heating pad spread over me again and the two texts and reading assignment I gave my students spread out before me and I am outlining a quick lesson for Monday.
Will probably pause to run to the pharmacy and bathe my itchy, itchy girl at some point today, but I’d like to get some serious work done first. And tonight–of course–TRIVIA. It’s a sweet life.
I feel quite certain that last night’s endless nightmares about being broke and driven from house to house, ousted by landlords, unable to find a safe and private space, was influenced by Part Wild, the book I read last night. Half-memoir, half-scientific nonfiction, it is the memoir of a woman who got a wolf hybrid puppy and tried to keep it. I think it also has a lot to do with my anxiety about being done with school and finding a career, but I’ll let that simmer and creep into my dreams every once in awhile, there is too much to do in the here and now to stress about what’s going to happen a year from now. I think it’s also notable that I’m dreaming about houses again–I’m trying to keep the mental images of all the unsuitable dwellings I nearly-moved-into-but-didn’t in my mind; this isn’t the first time I have gone shopping for a house in my dreams, and it’s time to sit down and work on the house essay again. Maybe a new section about the anxiety of homelessness. Anyway, coffee.
Many of the nicest things that have happened to me in YEARS have happened to me this week.