The past month, in brief

Whew, this past semester has been a bear. Also, it ended last Monday, I turned in my grades that Tuesday, and then the summer semester started that Wednesday. Basically, I was a mess for the past month because not only was I dealing with end of semester stuff, but I also went to a conference and a training and also a friend’s birthday out of town. Yes, that means I make poor choices (just the timing of the travel, not the events [and especially not the birthday trip]), but it also means I will make better choices in the future. Let us hope.

Along with the semester ending and a new semester beginning, I did read some books:

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Five Random Things

1. This past week was Teacher Appreciation Week, and I want to give a shout out to all my colleagues and teacher friends past and present. They inspire me every day and help me in so many ways. I was going to try to list just how they do that, but I realize that it would just be too much to catalog because it’s just that much and that often. I am just truly grateful to have so many awesome people in my life.

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The Teacher Becomes the Student Who Be Clubbin’: January Wrap-Up

1. I went to a club with my friend last week because it was 90s’ night. First of all, the start time for the event was 10 p.m. AT NIGHT. And yes, I said that like the old person that I am.

Her: Did you nap?

Me: Of course! I have to take a nap just to make it to bedtime.

Anyway, we had fun, but the music was not great. We found at when we got there that it was a mix of 90s/00s, and at the end of the night, we both thought of songs that should have been played.

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Patti LaBelle and Step Aerobics

Today is the last day of class before the end of NaNoWriMo, and my students are very studiously working on their drafts, so I figured now is as good a time as any to update.

1. First, let me just say that watching my creative writing students write during NaNo has been such a delight. They come in and get right to it. Headphones on, laptops or notebooks open, and away they go. I have put a prompt up on the board every day (some requested it), but I have no idea if they’re using them–I just know that they’re intensely focused on writing. It is a joy to behold.

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All I can think of is Bob Barker in Happy Gilmore

`I was going to try to write a separate IMWAYR (It’s Monday! What are you reading?) and Slice of Life Tuesday post, but then I realized I haven’t worked on my NaNoWriMo project in a week and also the thought of opening the editor to post again wore me out, so I’m just back to my once a week post instead. It’s probably better for everyone this way.

At any rate, for the past few days, I kept considering canceling my Thanksgiving Day plans so that I could sit on the couch and feel sorry for myself, so I should have known I was about to have/in the middle of a flare up. It has been pretty bad in that it’s not more terrible than usual but in that I had some symptoms I hadn’t had before, which left me feeling pretty awful last night–bad enough that I went to the doctor today. Turns out it’s probably gastritis. So I am treating that (or will be once my prescription is filled), and, if it doesn’t clear up within a week, I get to make an appointment with the gastroenterologist. 

While I was dealing with all of that today, I also got tickets to a taping of The Price Is Right in December, so, you know, that’s one way to turn your day around.

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This has been a week

First, I had an IBS episode, which was not as bad as you might think except it was terrible because I was an emotional, weepy mess. If you know me at all, you know I don’t tend toward the emotional OR the weepy, so I thought I was probably dying (this is not really an understatement as I always feel like I am effectively losing my mind if I cry for more than, like, five minutes especially if there’s no evident cause). Anyway, it turns out my instincts about living to regret the croissant and many cookies I ate last Friday were right on and also the emotional response can be explained by science.

Then, Dana Johnson came to visit our school as part of its writer in residence program. (This is a good thing, btw. She was amazing, and when I asked my students the most important thing they learned this week, quite a few of them said “Just try even if you think you’ll fail,” which was a thing she mentioned in her talk. So! Yay for that!) Right, so that’s good, but her visit also led to me having a slight existential crisis because she’s in charge of the PhD in writing at her institution and while I absolutely am not interested in finishing the PhD in literature, the idea of a PhD in creative writing still excites me. Is it possible? Maybe. But do I want to devote the time to it? Who knows?

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Adventures in Car Buying + Weekly Wrap-Up

1. Okay, so I know I mentioned that I hit a parked car this summer, but did I tell you that I ALSO hit a pillar in the parking garage of my complex? Well, I did. Which means that I have dents on both sides of my car now. Because of that, I came to the conclusion that I must not like my car very much (I mean, I am not this careless in general) so got it into my head that I would sell my car and buy a new one.

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Speedy quick update

This is going to be a rushed post because school starts Monday (aka TOMORROW since I’m writing this after midnight), and I am already behind on everything. Also, my D key keeps sticking, so it’s making writing a hassle. Sigh.

Here’s what I still need to do to be ready for Monday:

  • Figure out if I’m going to have my 1C students blog or not
  • Finish my syllabus for 1C
  • Add the first week documents and assignments to Canvas for my MW 1A and 1C class
  • Revise my first day slides (at least one is out of order)
  • Update the index card questions for my 1C class
  • Prep the index cards with stickers (to put students into groups)

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A post!

It’s getting to the point where if I don’t post, I never will, so. A post!

1. Today is the one-year anniversary of my move to California. No regrets so far.

2. Okay, so here is a weird thing that has happened to me. My alarm is set to go off every weekday at 7 a.m. and is set to play “Order My Steps” by the GMWA Women of Worship.

However, around 5:30 or so each morning, I kept thinking I heard my alarm go off. I would check my phone, nothing. So I decided it was just the fan making a whistling sound and/or my circadian rhythm taunting me with my normal (i.e., during the school year) wake up time.

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It’s Monday & Syllabus has eaten my brain

I’ve finished a couple of books these past two weeks (more on that below), but the one that’s had the most impact so far is Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor by Lynda Barry. In fact, the book has inspired two activities I did in my class the past two weeks.

Syllabus by Lynda Barry

Activity 1: We’re working on poetry and some of my students submitted their pieces for feedback. I found myself making the same comment over and over (needs more imagery!), so inspired by Syllabus and “Variations on a Summer Day” by Wallace Stevens (snippet here), I came up with the following activity.

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