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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Just systemically cranky

The other day I was kvetching in Advisement, and one of the professional advisers said, "Well, you don't have cancer!" True. And she does. So I keep trying to remember to keep things in perspective.

Nevertheless, I was just in a cranky-ass mood all day, and the events of the day didn't help. I was slogging away at papers--and still have too many to mark tomorrow, but I simply can't do any more tonight. I'm on the fence about whether to go for that early alarm again or pray like mad that it's completely deserted in Advisement and I can work without interruption. Or take another "sick" day (as in, "I'm sick of having to grade these papers"). Earlier this evening, right after class, when Paul and I checked in with each other, we both were so agitated we were feeling sick to our stomachs: maybe that's enough justification for a sick day. Fuck, I don't know. I'll decide in the morning.

The main thing is that I'm trying like mad to clear the decks so I can walk into the break with nothing tangling around my ankles--and I'm trying even harder to keep Thursday free of encumbrances, but the encumbrances keep cropping up. I am bailing on a meeting of the Seminar Hours committee--with the gracious permission and understanding of the chair of the committee (whom I respect and admire, and like very much as a person)--but I got a call today from one of the office staff asking if I could join Bruce on Thursday when he meets with a problematic adjunct. It's my job, and it is important that I be there; the only wrinkle is that the meeting is at 3:30 and my class starts at 4, so I won't be able to be there for the whole thing. Bruce knows that, and it's important that I'm there for at least part of the meeting, but it does mean I'll very likely be heading into class agitated.

That's what happened today--and the class was completely leaden and flat. These are the "good" 101 students, mind you; I was truly counting on them to lift me out of my doldrums, but they were all so beaten up themselves, we simply went down the tubes together. I really do need to put them into groups: that particular class still has enough students in it to justify groups, and neither working in a circle nor working just with the students scattered throughout the rows of desks is conducive to the kind of work these students can do. So, Thursday? Groups. I do have to start with a thing on APA style and documentation (BOR-ing), but then, groups.

Shifting gears, I'm slogging through the poetry papers now, and they're the usual mixed bag. A few are very good indeed. A few are a mess. One is the maddening kind of paper where grandiloquent verbosity substitutes for actual thought--and those are particularly difficult to address, as the student really believes that there is an idea in all that murk. I have purposely saved the two I hope will be the best for last, but there's still a bunch in the middle to slog through. There may be some happy surprises there (one can certainly hope), but I'm not expecting much.

Sad, but true.

Oh, yeah, and then there's the fact that I'm supposed to be a participant in a round-table discussion on Friday at a conference and I haven't so much as peeped at the abstract I wrote. I do think I can get by without writing up anything formal (gawd, I sure hope so), but it might not be a bad idea to have some sense of what I actually want to say. Too bad I'm subject to car-sickness, or I'd try to scribble something on the way up to Connecticut.

Well, c'est la guerre, I suppose. "Strangely enough it all turns out well." "How?" "I don't know; it's a mystery."

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