And We’re Off…

I know time is relative, but it always amazes me that one seven day time span can feel like an eternity, while the next one flies past at warp speed. This past week was one of the former, creeping past slowly, like a Mizpah motorcycle with too heavy a load. Don’t get me wrong, though, just because a week moves so slowly it feels like each day grows moss on its north side, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad week. In fact, this week was quite good. Quite. Good.


School is off to an excellent start, and I am adjusting to teaching high school. I do have some students who I wish I could reach in a more engaging way, but I think that will simply take practice, and some extra effort on their part as well. I’m excited about the literature we’re about to study, so that helps. In American literature, we’re getting ready to read works by people who decided to give up everything in Europe to float across the ocean to the unknown land to the west. Do I think the some of the early settlers were a bit morally corrupt and highly unethical? Yes. Am I still fascinated by their writing and how they perceived the journey and their early days on an entirely new continent? Yes. I cannot imagine what gumption it would take, especially as a young woman, to pack up your belongings and get into a boat, not knowing whether you would ever see your friends, relatives, or homeland again. In British literature, we’re beginning here in the now with contemporary literature. Along with a variety of poems and short stories, we’re reading A Taste of Honey by Shelagh Delaney. I can’t wait to discuss this play with my students. We brainstormed the big ideas on Friday of last week: gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, class, and other cultural concerns. I hope through this text, I can set up some bigger picture concepts that we’ll consider as we travel back in time to the Anglo-Saxon poets. I want so badly to do my students the favor of making them excited about literature and writing.


Because I am trying out my new time-management skills, I am trying to have one day each week where I don’t work on anything, where I take a Sabbath free from anything relating to school or my dissertation. This past week, I got up every morning by 5:30 and was working on my dissertation by 6. A couple of mornings I stayed at home and worked, but that wasn’t as focused, nor did it work as well, so this week my goal is to ride my bike to school by 5:30 after making a cup of cheap coffee at home (no more Starbucks for a while). That way I’ll have two full hours to work on my dissertation before my students show up at 7:30ish. I didn’t stay after to work on school stuff at all this week, and I can tell because I am already behind. This week I plan to start staying at school until 4, then I’ll come home and practice piano for half an hour after I put the dogs out. I’ll end each day by taking a two-mile run/meditation break before making dinner and falling into the chair to watch Jeopardy. This will all work like clockwork, unless I am scheduled to take tickets at a fall sport, unless I am lucky enough to have coffee with a friend, or unless I am unlucky enough to have a meeting at school.

I suppose with each day being packed like this, I shouldn’t have problems sleeping.

Today was my first Sabbath; I feel a little guilty and unproductive.

I hope that feeling goes away soon, so I can use my Sabbath to feel more rested, instead like I should have been working on something all day. I spent my rest day being anxious. I woke up and ran three miles, then Bec and I went to Indianapolis to get her computer fixed. We said goodbye to Elizabeth and then finished cleaning up the stuff she didn’t get to, and I went to school to drop off some of her artwork for my classroom. I then went on a twelve-mile bike ride on my new bike. Since this was only the second time I’ve ridden her, I decided not to go too far, and it was really hot today. The riding position on a road bike is enough different than a mountain bike, that riding her for long distances will take some getting used to. However, I love that bike. I feel like I am flying when I am riding her, but today I was really only going about 30 seconds faster per mile than usual. The ride still felt great and it curbed my antsy feeling. Finally, I settled in after my hot dog and ice cream dinner to watch the NCIS marathon on USA. I guess I have been a bit more restful than during the week, but I am hoping next weekend’s camping expedition in Door County will soothe my spirit even more.


I had my first piano lesson this past week, and it went really well. I am so excited to learn something entirely new and foreign to me. I love music, but I am not super musical, so this is a great challenge. I like the fact that I will be learning some music theory along with learning how to read music and actually play the piano. I was surprised that I remembered some things from when I had elementary education music methods class in college nearly twenty years ago, and I remembered something from when I was younger (nearly 30 years ago) and eventually chose softball over music. I don’t regret it.

The biggest thing I remembered from my little kid piano lessons was that my teacher had dyed red hair and wore 1970s big frame tortoise shell glasses on a chain around her neck. Naomi was the Nazarene Church organist, and I loved her strangely colored, permed, and carefully coifed hair. I didn’t love the musty smell of her house, the way she sat right next to me on the piano bench and poked me in the back if I slouched, or her cantankerous little dogs that would try to nip at me if I ever had to go to the bathroom. I vaguely remember that one reason I didn’t like piano lessons was that I always had to “hold it,” because I didn’t want to have to go past her little dog to go to the bathroom.

I remember how in high school, a beautiful girl—one I likely had a crush on as I look back on it—also went to Naomi for piano lessons. Obviously, she didn’t choose athletics over music. One night on her way to piano lessons, her family minivan was sideswiped and tipped over, breaking the glass into her face and hair. I was never so relieved for someone to come out of an accident unscathed. It was the first time I can remember that weird feeling coming into the pit of my stomach over another person’s welfare. I’m talking about the feeling I get at really sad or romantic—frequently they’re the same, right?—movies, where I feel like I could simultaneously throw up and cry, and I begin swallowing hard to keep from doing either. Well, I guess my point is I have many memories, varied feelings, about piano.


Finally, I have to figure out the food situation for school. My preps are at 9AM and 1PM. If I eat breakfast at 9AM, then I am quite hungry by the time I get home from school. I can’t eat lunch at 1PM, because if I do, I am not hungry for dinner and running on a fairly full stomach is not an option. Since I am a very social eater, I don’t want to forgo dinner with Bec, but I also want to keep losing weight, so I don’t want to eat everything in sight when I get home. I guess I will just continue the trial and error of this past week. Theoretically, with a paleo diet, I shouldn’t have blood sugar issues where I am feel like I am “starving.” I think I just may not be eating enough for breakfast, so maybe that will be my trial this week.  More breakfast.


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