Monday, July 27, 2009

Just Right

Today is one of those days that was in many ways "run of the mill." Nothing special about the day - gym, grocery store, back to school shopping, doctor's appointment (not planned - more peace of mind than anything else), cook dinner, watch tv - a full day, certainly, but made special because I took the opportunity to revel in my children. We shopped, laughed, joked, talked... and I find myself left with a sense that today was not run of the mill, but rather "just right."

My visit to the doctor prompted a great discussion about how often being a woman means that you hurt, or have pain - one can focus on it, or just learn to live with it and not let it get in the way of everything else. After my trip to Seattle, I came home and found that my legs and feet were both very swollen. Today my ankles and my hamstrings just ached. My brother (the "real" doctor) suggested I go to the doctor rather than worry, so I did. My doctor seems to think it's a combination of my traveling and a hormonal surge, which is what I had figured, too, but the pain threw me for a bit of a loop. I know that the idea of pain being a constant is a foreign idea for both of my girls, but I think the doctor's visit humanized me on some levels. If nothing else, I think it's good to teach the girls that sometimes you need to go to the doctor to make sure your intuition is functioning properly.

Another moment which seemed just right revolves around my oldest getting to move to the front seat of the car. This move is so much more of a right of passage than it ever was when I was a child - we sat up front early on, and certainly didn't wear seat belts or have car seats for forever. It's a wonder we all survived! Her excitement is palpable, and even more interesting, my youngest is excited to have the back seat to herself. She even asked if she could move to DD1's customary side, and I said yes. I watched with amusement as she picked up her booster seat and moved it - I didn't ask her to do so; I figured she would just sit over there without a carseat. DD1 said nothing. DD2 sat there happy as a clam. Both girls got something they wanted today, and that is rare. DD2 also found an unopened pack of gum under her carseat. Treasure!

At dinner tonight - one that I cooked, with the help of a Kroger Rotisserie Chicken (the rest I prepared - strawberries, sauteed zucchini, roasted dijon new potatoes, and butterscotch pudding), the girls apologized for drinking a half gallon of milk today. I looked at them like they were crazy. Apologize? What mother wouldn't want to have this problem?

After dinner the girls were upstairs playing. They so know how to play together - I've tried to join them, but I don't do it right. The sounds were achingly pleasant - no arguing, lots of laughing. Sounds of happiness.

DD2 pulled one of her teeth tonight, too. The look on her face was nothing but pride. She's terrified of losing and pulling her teeth, but tonight, she just decided to do it after dinner.

I love my kids. I never really understood unconditional love until I had them. Watching their joy over little things makes me realize that pure excitement is a wonderful trait to have. I hope to be more like them when I grow up.

Today is also a day where, while I have grading and other work that I need to do, the beauty of summer and the lack of a forced schedule just seemed to surround us.

Grading can happen tomorrow. Today is a day for reveling in being my children's mom.

And that is just right.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Random Facebook Summer

For a very, very rare change, I'm caught up! As in - if it's in, it's graded. I had a 24 hour period of immense productivity - even turned in final grades for my real job!

So what caused this? A trip to Seattle. Yep - I'm outta here in a few hours. Kids are gone again for a week, and in one of the more ingenious moves of this summer - the summer where I have six weeks without my kids - I am living one of many random facebook moments.

What is a random facebook moment? Well, as every aspect of my life seems to have converged upon facebook (high school friends, an elementary friend, college friends, sorority sisters, former students, current students, former coworkers, current coworkers, family members, etc), status updates can lead to things happening. For instance - last November I posted on my status that I was headed to Atlanta. A friend from high school whom I don't ever remember doing anything with responded and said, "hey, let's meet for lunch!" So we did.

Since that time I have met up with people I would not have otherwise - all thanks to Facebook. Examples:
  • Going to a 4oth birthday party of someone I went to HS with and seeing lots of people I wouldn't normally;
  • Finding someone I ran a race with in Eatonton only to have the opportunity to run with him again at the Peachtree;
  • Arranging dinner with old HS friends at fun place in Atlanta;
  • Deciding with a sorority sister (whom I had spent a whopping 2 hours with previously) to go to the beach for four days - she flew down from Michigan and we drove to Florida together;
  • Meeting up with a guy I was a counselor with at camp 19 years ago for lunch, which led to seeing him perform in one of his bands.
Which leads to what I consider to be thus far the most random of my facebook moments:

As I looked at the calendar for summer, I tried to make sure that I stayed pretty busy while my kids were gone. To make the most of it, certainly, but also to distract me from the fact that they aren't nearby. I did great while they were at camp. But this one week... this ONE week - July 18-25 - I couldn't fill to save my life. I tried to arrange beach trips with four different sets of folks... it just wasn't happening. I finally just decided that it would be ok - I could get a lot of work done on tenure and promotion during this week (something I STILL haven't touched, but will, pretty soon).

Then one evening, a sorority sister whose name I know, I know I've met, but I honestly don't know that I've ever really spent any time with her, posted something on her status on facebook about needing to get away. I randomly commented that I could be a travel partner. She took me up on it! We started planning - dreaming big - out of the country, a cruise, etc, and finally settled on five days in Seattle.

So, tomorrow morning, I will head to South Carolina to stay with her an evening prior to us leaving for Seattle on Sunday morning.

Yes - very random. Nothing I could have planned if I had tried. And frankly, it feels really good to be making these connections with people who, by sharing just a little bit of time with thanks to the internet, are becoming people who are important to me.

The only downside is that when I get home, I'll have grading that I need to do.

photo source

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

JUST Made It

When I posted to this blog last night I had three and a half portfolios left. I finished the one that was causing me more difficulty that the others, and decided to go to bed at midnight.

Portfolio 1 - graded this morning after going to the gym. [4.25 miles running this morning! woohoo!]

Portfolio 2 - DD1 read it to me on the way to Macon - I had her make notes for me about what each section would get, and then I skimmed it to double check and completed the rubric for it at lunch.

Portfolio 3 - read over lunch.

Finish time? 11:58 AM

Meeting time: 12:00 Noon

Class time: 1:00 PM

Cutting it even closer than I like to do. Ugh.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Running Halves and Wholes

Ok... so I'm sitting in my living room with an open portfolio on my lap, which I'm grading... and reading it causes me some frustration, so I get on facebook to talk with a colleague about how to handle what I'm seeing. I open chat... yep... there she is... and a few moments later my friend who I met at the first 10K I completed pops in and asks me about how my running has been since the Peachtree Road Race almost two weeks ago. He runs marathons, and since the first 10K he has been trying to get me to do a marathon. I have JUST, and I mean, JUST talked myself into a half marathon [maybe 2! egad!] in November, and the marathon he is suggesting is February 21, 2010, in Jacksonville, Florida. Soooo...... rather than grade the portfolio in my lap, I've been looking at the marathon course, training programs.... oh, for the past 2 hours.

No, not avoiding the notebook at all. Really. Just running away from it.

Notebooks are to be returned to students in 13 hours. 3 more to go.

Monday, July 13, 2009

What is it about a deadline?

Seriously, what is it about a deadline that inspires work? And why do we (I) allow work to pile up so that there is pressure to finish that work? Today I was given a pile of completed portfolios (notebooks) to grade by my graduate students, and I need to get them back to them by Wednesday - two days from now. One would think with such a short turn around time, I would have dived right into them to make sure they are done prior to class.

I've had time this evening to do a little grading, but I don't feel like it. Yes, I taught today, then picked up the kids, bought yet another pair of running shoes, let the kids finish a movie, took them to Golden Corral (DD2's version of "good eats" and her request for where to eat out after camp), completed a sorority conference call/webinar, surfed on facebook... surely there was time in there to do some grading? Remember, these notebooks need to get back to students on Wednesday.

Oh, and not just grading, but the conference proposal that is due on Wednesday, too. Let's not even think about the tenure and promotion notebooks that I've yet to start that only determine, oh, my future. But those aren't due Wednesday. Those aren't due until next month.

This is summer, right? Shouldn't there be a law against grading in the summer?

photo source

I should be grading

If I have taken the time to create a blog, then that is a good sign that I have a lot of work in front of me that needs to be tended to and I'm looking for a distraction. Or two.