Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Before turning the tv off tonight, I looked at the Guide to see if anything interesting was on, not intending to stay up and watch it, just being curious. Unfortunately, I noticed that Reds was just starting on one of the movie channels. I LOVE this 3+ hours movie. It's about Jack Ryan, the only American buried in the Kremlin. He was an American Socialist & activist who gets caught up in the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. Warren Beatty won Best Director for this movie, which he stars in and co-wrote. It's a very literate, intellectual, and romantic movie. I can remember going to see this movie with my then best friend Barbara (in 1981--we were only 17, damn! that was too long ago). We both loved movies, especially the classics, and this movie reminded us of those movies. Diane Keaton plays the feminist writer Louise Bryant who falls for Jack Ryan. Too bad it's so late, I can't possibly stay up until 2:00a.m. to see this through to the end. Oh well, it's on a movie channel so maybe I'll catch it at a more convenient time this weekend. I may have to stay up at least until I hear Jack and Louise say their goodbye line (my mind has gone blank on the content of this line), which becomes a refrain in the movie. If you've never seen this movie, you should check it out sometime.

Post-rejection (Ireland) pondering

This whole school year, I have been saying that I must not teach again next year. Since Christmas break, I have known and said that if I have to teach again that I will not survive, and I believe this to be true. I want to do something completely different. A few months ago, I looked online at jobs for people with degrees in English, and the result was depressing. Without any experience, I am basically not qualified for anything other than teaching. I'm so jealous of my friend Penny who seems to be headed toward living her dream. She is going to grad school with full tuition and a stipend. I'm so jealous of her--well, not when she talks about the chaos of trying to ready her house for sale. ;-)

1. Middle school library job - I've worked with the person who is over the librarians in my district, and she said she would recommend for a job that is supposed to be available for next school year. Of course, if someone who is already certified applies, I will likely not even be considered. Also, the librarian at my campus said the principal at the middle school is hard to work with, but she assured me that I could handle him. I'm not so sure about that, but I think I would be willing to take that chance.

2. Academic Associate at my campus - This is an administrative position with various responsibilities relating to scholarships, testing, etc. I know I could do this job and do it well. I have been thinking since the weekend that I might need to leave the campus, not just the classroom.

3. ?????? - I guess there is always the chance that some other position will come up in the next couple of months, but I'm not very hopeful about it. I just know that I can not teach next year.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Nice ending to an up & down long weekend

Today was a holiday from work--yea!!! It was beautiful, too. I spent the morning in a local cafe grading papers with my friend Valerie, then we started to go to an afternoon movie, but she wanted to apartment hunt. So I graded some more papers, then we went to an evening movie. We saw Off the Map, a well-acted and beautifully filmed movie set outside Taos, NM. The movie is poignant without being sappy, truly a lovely film--much to laugh at too. It's weird because eventhough I did have to do some work, and still didn't do enough, I had a nice, relaxing end to this weekend. I needed it to end that way.

I found out Saturday afternoon that my application to study in Ireland this summer was rejected. I was actually devastated, perhaps even more devastated because until the moment I read the rejection letter I had been having a really great holiday weekend. I had just come from perhaps the best session yet for the essay workshop I'm taking. After reading the letter, I spent the remainder of Saturday in tears and sleeping away my sadness. Sunday morning I was angry at God, myself, the world, everyone & everything, but by Sunday afternoon I had recovered enough to consider what I will do this summer instead.

I'm still not sure what that will be but I think it will include taking a literature course and working on my master's thesis. I have procrastinated on the thesis long enough. I have to make enough progress on it so that I can defend it in the fall. I truly believe that if I have to teach another year that I will not survive it, professionally or emotionally. With my thesis completed, I will have more options. I think I want to become a librarian and/or work on a Ph.D, both of which require a masters' degree. Whatever I decide to do, I have to act on my decision soon so that I don't procrastinate and find that it's too late to act on it. I tend to do that more often that I like to admit.

Now, I have to get ready for work tomorrow, which I so don't want to go to--a refrain I've been singing all year. :-( (I said that to Valerie earlier today when she said she didn't want to go to work tomorrow. I liked it then and I like it now. ;-) Later.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Free Friday

Things I should have a done today instead of just reading & watching tv: clean my apartment, read and critique essays for tomorrow's essay workshop session, write critiques for 2 essays discussed a couple of weeks ago, read the assigned professional essay for tomorrow, do laundry, grade some papers, plan the rest of the semester for all 3 courses that I teach. I did, at least, go to the grocery store, so I didn't stay holed up in my apartment all day (I also went to have coffee & quiche this morning, spending money I shouldn't have spent). But I don't feel bad about wasting the day completely. It's not something I get to do very often. I really must print out & read tomorrow's workshop submissions. I don't want to have to get up extra early to do that in the morning. The workshop only has 2 more meetings after tomorrow. In the fall I was very sad to see the poetry workshop end, but I won't be sad to see this essay workshop end. I haven't enjoyed it as much as I had hoped I would. The other participants are okay, but the facilitator is usually doesn't seem prepared for class. He still hasn't given me a critique for my first essay, which I know he didn't like, but I still want his critique. He's had to leave and go make copies before & this week he had to mail us our reading. I would still take another workshop, but I woudn't take another one with him. And I plan to be extremely honest on his evaluation form, not mean, just honest.

Enough about that, while I was wasting time today, I watched several of those redecorating reality shows. They made me want to fix up my apartment. I've lived here for almost a year, and other than getting a new couch--a cool, burnt orange couch--I haven't done any of the designing things I thought I would do. I need something else to put my tv on--on one show today, a dresser was used, which I thought was a cool idea. I also need at least one more bookcase, and I should really replace my mismatched bedroom furniture, adding bedside tables too. My car will be paid for on Thursday--YEA!!!--and, unfortunately, I need some car repairs now. However, once those are done and I set up a payment plan with the IRS, maybe I can budget my way into some new/used furniture. There are so many antique stores in this area that I should really check them out before I buy new stuff. Alas, all of this will have to wait awhile though so I will not bore readers (like I have readers) or myself with my apartment makeover dreams.

I really should hook up my printer and take care of my workshop readings & critiques now. I can't find anything fun to watch on tv now anyway. Later.

Monday, March 21, 2005

In Limbo

I hate waiting, especially when I'm waiting to see if I've been selected for something. I applied for a National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminar grant. Applications had to be postmarked by March 1 and the winners will be notified by April 1. I realize that April 1 is still 10 days away, but my feelings of anxiety are increasing. I check my work email obsessively when I'm at home. When I'm at work, I get preposterously anxious everytime I see "You've got new email" on my screen. I keep telling myself not to be discouraged, but I am. I guess I had some kind of romantic idea that the seminar director would read my application essay and my 2 recommendations and immediately decide that I was in. He would be so excited that he would notify me immediately. Of course, as an adult, I know this is how things work. So I will spend the next 10 days losing hope minute by minute. I will try to think positively, but I won't do it. I will talk positively to others, put on a brave face, but inside, I will be thinking about how my essay could have and should have been better. I will be thinking about how I'm never going to get anywhere until I finish my master's thesis, which I am beginning to believe will be never. So I will be STUCK teaching forever. I will get more and more depressed, and I will beging planning for my public reaction to not getting the grant. I know my private reaction will include lots of tears and self-talks of how inadequate I am, how I could have and should have done better. But now, I must continue to wait. Actually now, I must get ready for the job I hate. Being in limbo sucks!!! Win or lose, I want to know NOW!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Something Delicious

Damn! I had a good post going, but I did something to make the browser go back and lost it all. I need to go to bed now, so I will have to write about the something delicious anther time. Damn, damn, damn.

Friday, March 11, 2005

A Whiny End to Spring Break

I am having a horrible end to this Spring Break. I’m staying with my dad while my sister Susy, his caretaker, & her 2 children are visiting Susy’s best friend & her family. I wanted to help Susy and give here a break from Dad, but I should have feigned illness or something. Too bad my work trip didn’t last the whole week.

<>My dad is disgusting. Last night, he shit on the floor in the bathroom then tracked it down the hall to his bedroom. He never hits the toilet with his urine anymore. He should be in a nursing home NOW! Not 9-12 months from now, which is when a new nursing home will be open down the street. While I was cleaning it up, I had all these horrible thoughts about him. I realized that I can not love the man he has become. I think I hate him now. That’s a horrible thought, I know. I still love the man he was when I was growing up, but he’s no longer that man--no longer a man of life. I wish that I was more selfish and didn’t appreciate Susy’s sacrifice so much, then I could call her and tell her that I have to leave and she will have to cut her vacation short. I’ve even thought about trying to convince my other sister Kelly & her husband to stay Saturday night, so I could go home tomorrow night. I just can not stand for Dad to be in the same room with me, and I certainly don’t want him to touch me or me to touch him. This morning, he fell, and Kelly & I had to help him up. Just the thought of touching him made me gag. <>

Damn. There he goes into the bathroom again. He absolutely makes me sick. He will come out with his pants wet, and leave the most nauseating smell you can imagine. I don’t see how Susy and her kids live with him everyday. I just want to run out of here and never come back. As a matter of fact, I hope Susy has a great time this weekend, because I will never do this again. I just can not stand it. <>

Well, I guess that’s enough whining and self pitying for now. Maybe I will go to bed early and read some Shirley Hazzard’s The Great Fire.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Day 1 of Spring Break

Breathing Space
I woke up in a pensive mood this morning, feeling a need to write, but I'm on a research trip to look at some schools in San Antonio and Austin that have AVID programs and do teaming. No time to write some of the things floating around my brain this morning, and tonight I'm feeling pretty brainless. The day was actually very informative, and I'm not completely disappointed about having agreed to spend 2 days of Spring Break on this trip. My co-workers have actually been good travel buddies, which kind of surprised me. Except for one person, these co-workers are not people that I would call "work friends," and I was a bit worried about having to spend so much time together. So far, so good. I am glad though that I didn't agree to share a room with the two other ladies in the group. We have stayed in a suites hotel both nights, so there would have been plenty of sleeping space, but bathroom time and space would've been a problem. I figured that I live alone so I could stay in a hotel alone, and I'm so glad I did.

About literature -- On the way to San Antonio yesterday, I read quite a bit of What Was She Thinking? [Notes on a Scandal]. I finally got to the part where the teacher has sex with the 15 or 16 year old student. While the situation may not be funny, the narrator's take on this situation is often times hilarious. I am really enjoying the black humor of this novel, but the descriptions of the 40+ year old teacher sneaking around to have sex with a 15 or 16 year old boy are kind of creepy. I teach high school, & I can't imagine ever wanting to sneak around and have sex with any of my students. YUCK!!

Friday, March 04, 2005

In the beginning

I plan to use this blog as a place to talk about literature, art, politics, work, and anything else I can think of. I want to write very interesting things that people will want to comment on, but I refuse to be disappointed if that doesn't happen.

About literature - I just started reading What Was She Thinking? [Notes on a Scandal]. It's about a teacher who is writing about a co-worker & friend who has an affair with a student. So far, the book is very funny and right on in describing teaching situations. At one point a teacher describes a new teacher's unruly and undisciplined class: "It was Lord of the Flies in there." I laughed when I read this. I immediately thought of the class that goes on across the hall from me. The teacher is just out of college, and she started at midyear. I am just waiting to hear screams of "Help!" from there. I just know it will happen before the year is over. I really don't see how any learning goes on in there at all.

Well, I guess that's enough to begin.