I have two gem classes this semester and they keep me sane and grounded. For the last two weeks I've cancelled 1 full group session in each course so I could meet with each student individually and give them feedback on their papers. Both classes had to hand in complete first drafts before Spring Break. For each student I wrote a letter (about a page or two) giving detailed feedback and encouragement as necessary. When they came to my office I gave them time to read the letter and then we discussed it. I love this process. I especially love it because these students are awesome and have come up with such interesting ideas. They have also really struggled with figuring out how to write these complex ideas into a strong argument. I enjoy reading drafts and trying to figure out exactly what the author is trying to do and then finding ways to help hir do it. But even more fun is sitting down one-on-one with a student and trying to unscramble their thought processes into a coherent argument. Over the past two weeks I've had more than a few "a-ha" moments with my students, and that, my friends, is really why I teach.
If I had time to blog I would bring you up to speed on my "healthy lifestyle" plan.
I went completely vegetarian in January. By February I had added fish back into the diet but I try to keep it to a few times a month. Mostly it comes in handy when eating out. Since January b and I have been on a diet and have been trying to eat out as little as possible. In January I stopped all alcoholic beverages. By February I had added my Guinness back in to my diet. At first I tried to keep it to once or twice a month but that has definitely fallen by the wayside. I've lost around 10-12 pounds. I fit into my clothes and, more importantly, my workouts are more comfortable and I can run without killing my knees. I look fine. I'm healthy. My goal was 5-7 additional pounds. Part of me wants to keep going but honestly I know it is just vanity. I think I'm getting too old for that kind of vanity. Now I am working hard to maintain this weight. Part of my healthy lifestyle plan was also to read literature more often. I bought 2 books at the beginning of the month and I'm only halfway through the first one.
If I had time to blog I would tell you that I went 2 straight weeks without talking to Angel and it actually felt good.
Angel went camping with his fraternity brothers over Spring Break. While he was gone I turned off my iChat, because really I only chat with him and b and b is usually right next to me. By the time he was back I forgot to turn it on and was crazy busy with this grant that I'm writing. It took me until the end of the 2nd week to figure it out. On Saturday he asked b to ask me to turn my iChat on so he could talk to me. He wanted help with a paper. I helped him and then turned it off. Through most of this empty nest process I've been keeping the phrase "a mother has to be there to be left" in my mind and I've been trying to do my part. Lately I've been thinking this is more of the motherhood=sacrifice myth. I'm finding this myth less and less appealing.
If I had time to blog I would tell you about b's boat.
b ordered a new kayak. It is something he has wanted for a very long time. He's been saving for it for months now and he ordered it 2 weeks ago. They built it for him in Canada and it has been en route for almost a week. He's been tracking it daily (really he checks several times a day but it doesn't usually move more than once a day). He likes to update his FaceBook page with its current location. Today it is in the same city as Angel's college and it should be to SouthLite tomorrow. My husband can be very silly but he is also very excited and that makes me happy.
If I had time to blog I would tell you about this big-league grant that I'm writing.
I believe I've mentioned that I use to write grants all the time. It was a major part of my job. I'm talking about big league grants that you worked on for months and then the entire office stays up all night before a deadline (for one really really big league grant the entire staff stayed awake, in the office and working nonstop for a full weekend). They were a major pain but also really exciting in a nerdy masochistic kind of way. I haven't written one of these since I came to SouthLite. I've written some small internal grants and helped with some small external grants but mostly I felt burnt from the big league. Then this grant announcement was released with an impossible deadline and everyone in the country seems to be writing for it. For reasons completely unbeknownst to me I got it in my head to write one. I've been working on it for about 2 weeks now and have been feeling the old glory and the old pain. It is definitely a love-hate relationship but it is oddly comforting to actually want to be doing this again. Of course if I weren't writing this grant I'd have time to blog.