Saturday, March 31, 2007

Marconi Plays the Mamba

Last night, we whisked away to Vail, Colorado, where so far, I have been working on my master’s thesis while gazing out at a gorgeous mountain view. Although I have written 54 pages – that’s up from the 28 I had on March 6th before I got myself a coach and a support group – I am stuck on this part about the importance of space. I look at the heading:


and I just have a hard time starting to fill it in.

There was some sympathy expressed this morning at breakfast about me having to work on my paper while others hit the slopes, but I reminded everyone that I do not, in fact, have to teach school for awhile; so all is well.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

I'll Be Gone, In a Day or Two

Today was the last instructional day before spring break. I told the students that my goal was to keep it together; but during the last hour, when a million kids gave speeches on the same dumb book about a woman's heart-to-heart bond with a baby gray whale, I lost it in a fit of giggles and snorting.

It wasn't dignified, but it was all I could do.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Knight in Shining Armor, From a Long Time Ago

The birthday weekend was a little too much fun, I guess, as it ended with us in the emergency room last night, Shef hooked up to a nebulizer and ready for a dose of steroids.

We were all psyched about the adrenalin neb, as it perked him right up and he started cracking hilarious jokes about Thomas the Tank Engine.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Party Had a NASCAR Theme

Shef turned three today. He was a complete peach for the duration of his party, which we held at Dobby and Doc’s house because of our latest home improvement project that’s running over-time. He shared his toys and said thank you, and everything was dreamy until the very end when, as we were walking out the door, he wound up and smacked me hard across the face.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

I'm Making Good Progress Considering

My high school English teacher was a stoic, new critical, don’t-f&*^-with-me kind of guy. He inspired me to love literature, and despite his ambivalence about spending his days with teenaged girls – “Is this any way for a grown man to make a living?” he moaned in a rare moment of vulnerability one day while resting his head on his podium – he made me want to become an English teacher.

Once, a former student came to visit him over his lunch hour and gave him one of those meditation tapes. You know, the ones that are supposed to help you quit smoking or learn to love yourself by repeating affirmations over and over again?

He was already laughing when he put the tape in for us during an American Lit class. When the soothing, airport public-safety voice started repeating, “Writing is easy and fun for me,” he clutched his stomach and belly laughed for a good five minutes.

The point? Well, duh.

Writing is hardly ever easy and fun for anyone.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Dumps

My week has been in a downhill slide. It's hard to relish the victories because some of the defeats are sort of crushing.

Here's an example of a small setback: when I got home on Wednesday, Shef cheerfully announced, "Daddy is my friend, and you're not."

That made me feel like a real winner.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Justin Timberlake is My Muse

My coach has been sticking my nose to the grindstone, and I have accomplished more on my master’s thesis in the last three days than I have in many months. I didn't even stop for the lockdown drill today, which happened during my prep period. I just locked my door, turned out my lights, and kept on typing. Later, I emailed my teaching pal, Rachel, that it felt a little weird to be working on the outline of my lit review in the dark at my desk with Justin Timberlake on in the background, but she said: "Bringing sexy back is important—especially when writing a thesis. I don’t think there’s a more appropriate backdrop at this point."

She's kind of right about that, I guess.

I think I owe it to myself to give it three solid weeks of work on the thing, and then we’ll see where I’m at. If I work tirelessly, day and night, without frivolous breaks, I think I have a chance of making progress.

Miraculously, the first set of permission forms came through. My advisor says she can expedite the second set. So, it might not be the paperwork that keeps me down, after all.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Tomorrow is My First Meeting With My Thesis Coach. I'll Let You Know How It Goes.

Sometimes friends whom I haven’t seen, spoken to, or emailed for awhile tell me they feel like they know what’s going on with me because they read my blog.

In fact, this is probably the best way to keep in touch with me because I skip writing about the really hideous parts of my life. It’s like keeping up with me, but exempting yourself from 75% of the whining and angst. I know that’s hard to believe given the amount of whining and angst that actually gets played out here, but… there it is.

Anyway, today a friend I haven’t been in contact with for awhile emailed about summer vacation plans and confessed that her sole source of entertainment these days is my blog and

My blog and in the same sentence! Sort of on the same plane!

It’s probably one of the top ten nicest things anyone has ever said to me.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

I'm Going to Concede

You may or may not have noticed that I haven’t written much about My Stupid Master’s Degree™. You might have thought that “no news is good news” on the progress front.

If you thought that, I’m sorry to report that you were sadly, sadly mistaken.

All these months I’ve worried about it and thought about it and kind of done some reading about it. Remember how Dan spent two months in Iowa? That was part of the problem. And other times I’ve frittered away my work time by doing dumb stuff like grading papers and planning lessons and clicking around the internet with reckless abandon.

I was supposed to fill out some paperwork this fall that would make doing my paper legit. It would allow me to actually use the data I collected from my kids. Did I fill it out? No. Not until yesterday, when I realized my school district also has their own set of forms that need to be completed and then signed by various dignitaries. And, I can’t actually submit the former set of forms until I get all those signatures on the latter.

What do you think the chances are that all those forms will be submitted and approved in the next eight weeks? What are the chances that I’ll actually write the rest of the paper in that time?

Yep, I agree. Slim. Very, very slim.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Day Off

Yesterday was a snow day, and I am totally grateful. The sophs and I were testy at each other about Odyssey final assessments. They seem to think that because a sizable percentage of them have ignored the homework board, I shouldn’t make them write essays on Homer’s epic, “a foundational text of classic literature.” I told them they need to suck it up and learn how to fake it.

And then it snowed sixteen inches, and we all got a little reprieve.

It was great, and it was also a reminder of why I can’t hack it as a stay-at-home mom. Before 9:30am, we played chase, Candy Land, trains, cars, hide-and-seek, washing dishes, doing a workbook page on same and different, tromping around in the snow, having hot cocoa, making cinnamon toast, and writing with the Cars pencil. There was one temper tantrum about not getting something at precisely the moment he asked for it and one resultant time-out. I tried to make him watch tv, but he was resistant. When I insisted that a DVD simply MUST. BE. CHOSEN., he picked this infernal Baby Dance thing featuring a grown woman speaking like a two-year-old while dressed in leggings and a tutu.

By noon, I couldn’t keep my eyes open; so I told Shef we could both take naps in my bed. I figured I’d be out for an hour, but instead I woke up at ten-after-three with morning breath and sleep in my eyes.

Daycare will be open on Monday. God bless those preschool teachers.