Saturday, January 27, 2007

I am taking a break from measuring my practice against the IRA Standards for Reading Professionals. It is one of many homework assignments for my Tuesday night class. Last week, I finished my assignments at 5:45, just before the class met at 6:30, and I had worked on them for two or three hours every day. This week, we don't have quite as much, but only because one of the students in the class is a pathological talker and, because of that, the instructor didn't get around to showing us how to do this week's major assignment.

I worked with National Board candidates this morning. Let me just say again: GWB has ruined education in this country. I really think I might need therapy to deal with my feelings toward him, because now my animosity toward him has taken a disturbing twist: I now feel animosity toward anyone who supports him. I find myself avoiding people and situations where I might have to hear someone say something favorable about him. I have some very good friends I used to see regularly whom I now avoid because they are Bush fans. I love these people, but I am now so very bitter toward them that I just don't even want to see them. Therapy. Yes.

This morning was one of those times I needed to be able to clone myself. I needed to attend two things at the same time: National Board work and writing project work. That's what my life has come to. I know I have to work the second and fourth Saturdays of each month, and yet I scheduled a writing project staff development meeting for today in the Liberal Arts building at the exact same time I was supposed to be working in the Curriculum & Instruction building. Kim did the wp thing, thankfully. I knew I'd be spread too thin for this semester, but it couldn't be helped.

I got a lead on another part-time job for next year. A friend sent me an e-mail about it Friday. This one is almost as if I were walking down the sidewalk and someone stepped into my path and said, "Here's a wonderful gift for you." But, then, they've all been that way. And, of course, that is exactly what is happening to me since I decided to jump the sinking ship that is public education. First one friend said, "Here's a gift," then another said, "Here's a gift", now another has said , "Here's a gift." There's a story behind this, but it's personal I think. I wouldn't think so except that there are quite a lot of people I know who are jobless and in a mess, and here I am walking away from a job that pays me fifty thousand a year with really good benefits and lots of vacation time. So I don't feel quite right going around saying, "Hey, guess what? I decided to walk away from a good job, but it's okay because right away a whole bunch of other great ones just popped right up out of the blue." Just about the only bad thing is that I had to go ahead and start the part-time stuff now, and my teaching contract goes through June which means I'm overwhelmed with work, in addition to working on a graduate degree.

I need to get back to the homework now.

Monday, January 15, 2007

I emailed the link to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s letter from Birmingham jail to several people today, and I have had the most wonderful time reading their responses. I’ve gotten several e-mails from friends who lived in Birmingham during that time, sharing their own personal experiences. If I had permission to share their responses here, I would. Especially a long letter from a preacher friend who told me some very interesting things about King’s stay in that jail. I was glad to see that Bonnie posted the letter on her blog. I am enjoying reading her blog every day; it kind of reminds me to try to post a little here.

It was a hard weekend, mainly because I never sleep when I’m away from home, and also because several things happened Saturday night that kept me from getting any rest at all. In spite of all of that, it was great to see everyone and to get a good bit of work done. The next few weeks are going to be busy ones, and it’s nice to get some planning behind me.

I have a Tuesday night class this semester if I can ever get officially registered. I’m going anyway tomorrow night; I already have the textbook and everything, even though I’m not registered. I’ve let the instructor know I’ll be there and that I’m not registered. We’ll see how all that works out. I’ve read the textbook already, and so now I don’t really understand why I have to take the course. I learned a lot, I’ll try out all the strategies, so what’s the point of sitting in the class, you know? I know I have a problem. I know. I simply do not know what to do about it.

I saw several friends from the Gulf Coast this weekend. They are still living in FEMA trailers. Good grief. I am almost embarrassed to be around them.

I have finally remembered about "happies" and "purties". I don’t have time to write about them now, but I definitely will soon. Or maybe not. I’ll have to see the course syllabus tomorrow night before I’ll know what my life will be like from now until May. Now that I’ve started working on Saturdays again with National Board candidates, I already have less free time. I’ll have to drink a lot of carrot juice.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The List

Yesterday, before I went to do the grocery shopping, I told Hannah some things I wanted her to have done by the time I got home: hang clothes on line, feed Lizzie, and one other thing I can't remember. So then on the way to town, I started thinking about all those lists Mama left for us when she went to work. Angela brought up the lists on Christmas, and we all had a good laugh. Here's the story:

I always got up earlier than Angela, and I'd go straight to the list, which Mama always put on the counter under the wall phone. I'd read through, and a typical list would look something like this:

1. Wash clothes /hang out
2. Iron 5 of Daddy's shirts/pants
3. Cln bthrms (she'd start to run out of time, and use a form of shorthand)
4. vcm
5. dust
6. swp ktchn
7. swp prchs
8. run btrbean runrs up poles
9. pck tom.
10. ct okra
11. pck snapbeans
12. shell peas
13. Start supper:
bbq chickn
baked pot.

Sometimes the "shorthand" was worse than that. Sometimes it was completely indecipherable. By the time Angela got up, I'd say, "Well, I've figured out all but #4 and #7. You give it a shot." Sometimes, even between the two of us, we couldn't figure them all out. We didn't dare call Mama at work. That was simply not done. So, we'd just split everything up that we could decode, and then when we were finished, we'd meet back at the list and try to crack the more cryptic items. "It could be. . ." "Wait! Maybe it's. . ." "Do you think she meant. . ." "What in God's name have we not already done?"

Mama would come home, and if there were even one or two items on the list not done, she'd say "I guess tomorrow I'll just take that TV cord with me to work." We'd just look at each other. TV? TV? We were in the garden all day. We never got near the TV.

One day, number 17 on the list, under the Supper heading, was "pot. and dump." Pot and dump? What on earth? When Angela got up, I said, "I've exhausted all possibilities. Potatoes I'm pretty sure of, but dump? I give up." So we did the divide and conquer thing, and met back at the list at the end of the day. Pot and dump. Pot and dump. Pot and dump. What could it be? POT AND DUMP!!!!! We were pacing, pulling out our hair, wringing our hands. We'd started the roast, cooked the butterbeans and corn, sliced tomatoes, made the cornbread and tea. There was nothing for it. We'd be pot and dumpless.

So then Mama came home, and when she walked in the door, we immediately admitted failure. "We didn't know pot and dump, Mama. Sorry." Mama just shook her head and stood there looking at us. "Potatoes and dumplings? You didn't know potatoes and dumplings?" Well, no, Mama. We've never had that before. They don't even go together. Potatoes and dumplings? That's two starches in the same pot. How do you even make such a dish? Why would you want to?

Mama acted as if we had potatoes and dumplings twice a week. "You boil the potatoes and dumplings, then make a white sauce. My goodness. I make it every year." Well, not since 1965, I wanted to say. I've never in my life even heard of such a dish.

I really shouldn't be writing about cooking. The heating element in my oven went out Tuesday, and I'm beside myself waiting for the new one to come in. Why in the world should it take seven business days for a heating element to arrive? I can order anything I want off the internet and have it shipped next day. Then, when it finally comes, we'll have to wait for a serviceman to come out and put it in. I never realized how much I cook in the oven. I never cook a meal that I don't use the oven. Suddenly, I want roasted chicken, baked potatoes, asparagus, brownies, pineapple upside down cake, yeast rolls.

I think I am going to set the setting on this blog to private. Invitation only. I switched over to a new version and went into the settings menu, and it occurred to me that that is something I should maybe do.