Sunday, January 11, 2015

See Saw, Teachery Style

This about sums up my last few weeks.  Only I can't say I was as radiantly happy as this young woman was on the down stroke, nor was I as exuberant on the up stroke, knowing that the see-sawing over whether or not I'd be teaching this next semester would continue.  Tomorrow schools starts.  Today I found out that (as my Dean put it) "Your Class Is A Go" in the subject header of the first email, with nothing else in it.  The second email was a touch more verbose, with the advice to "get your stuff prepared."  He is the man who hired me lo, these many years ago, and since I know him pretty well I laughed when I read the email.  It's nice to get off the see-saw.

But I'm pretty much in denial that my lovely (unpaid) sabbatical is over.  I have a list of projects as long as my arm in the quilty arena, plus there's those housekeeping chores that need to be done as I have company coming for the next two weeks.  Things are popping, but I have to turn some attention to my class now.  I did prep up for the first day and have my copies, the stuff up on the web, but who knows if I'll have any AV equipment in a class which is in the South 40?  I've already decided I'm wearing tennis shoes the first day, since there will be a lot of hiking around campus.

All of this happened because of budget numbers, those figures that we in middle-education (past K-12, but not as high as a 4-year school) live and die by.  Just before Christmas the numbers were in the tank; now, post New Year's, we can float my half-filled class (having only 12 students in my class has got to be a record).  I chose online ebooks, as I knew the books wouldn't be here in time and the style manual from the class that was cancelled just before Christmas can be transferred over to this class. 

I'm just so relieved to know what I'll be doing.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Happy New Year 2015

We typically celebrate New Year's Eve at East Coast Time, that is, when it is 9:00 p.m. here in California.  This year, a little after 8:00 p.m., I suggested we celebrate it "Halifax" time, four hours earlier.  If this keeps up, by the time we hit that old nursing home, we may toast each other with our glasses of Metimucil at noon, muttering that somewhere in the world (Australia maybe?) it's time to celebrate the advent of the new year.

Celebrating in the future in a rest home, er--Assisted Living Center, is a definite possibility, given what I feel like as I approach a birthday that brings me, as everyone knows, one year closer to death...and the inevitable Assisted Living Center (ALC).  If I were forty years old this idea would seem morbidly uncomfortable, but this year I'm thinking that I'd just better get used to the idea because there are some upsides (I'll find them yet, as I'm a Pollyana if there ever was one) to this sort of arrangement of having your social life at the big table in the dining room with many other infirmed, but not necessarily feeble-minded, and may well prove as attractive the idea of not having to cook the three squares every day.  

My husband's parents wondered why they waited so long to move to their ALC, and after she died (another inevitable component of this stage of life) he found his second wife there.  I'm not saying that I'm going to kick off after I turn my birthday and leave my husband hunting down a suitable widow to move in with, but all I'm saying is that the view (and the array of choices) from this decade is substantially different than the view from 30, or 40.  Surprisingly different.

Perhaps that's why this cartoon caught my eye.  Certainly Dan Piraro (above), a man of my vintage, doesn't look like he has one foot in the grave.  If you looked around my studio with various creative projects scattered every which way, you know I plan to be around for a while.  I'm guess I'm just trying to be practical about how the ensuing decades might unfold, like I have some say in the matter.  At my age, it's the calamaties, the unforseen health problems, the fall, the traveling blood clot that will derail the best laid plans for the future.  So it's a happy sappy birthday to me, as I'm working to adjust my expectations to more closely match my long-range realities, whatever they are.  And trying not to rush Halifax-New-Year's style into what lies beyond.