Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Another Year

It is hard to believe that summer has passed and another school year has begun. Back in May, I had all these plans for the three months of summer break. I was going to clean out my closet, weed out things in the kitchen cabinets, garden, and read the books that I collected in a mountainous stack during school last year.

My closet is still a mess. No, in all fairness, it has been upgraded to a disaster. This is because one of the cats thinks that the closet is his primary residence. He is quite happy to nap on the extra blankets that are stored on the upper shelves. The problem comes when the dog, upon seeing the cat's return "home" after a visit to the food bowl or the litter box decides to follow, or chase, him to the closet. This results in a scramble of fur that sends shoes flying and clothes falling from their hangers as the animals navigate through my shirts as if they were an obstacle course.

And then there are the kitchen cabinets . . .has anyone seen the sifter? The lemon zester? The metric measuring cups? I had hoped that Brooke might take part in restoring a sense of order to the cabinets. She uses the kitchen and all that it has to offer more than any of us. * NOTE: The dishwasher maintains itself as too technologically advanced for anyone here. I had hoped that the working conditions around here might be deemed unacceptable and that Brooke might take it upon herself to better the situation. No such luck. I also thought that she might like the perks from this job because she is moving into an apartment this year at school, an apartment that she chose based purely on the kitchen and its amenities. I guess that isn't such a bad criterion to use. She could have chosen her place of habitation based on its proximity to a tattoo parlor or boys' dorm. Brooke does nor leave for another month. If she wants to equip her new kitchen, it may be in her best interest to organize the cabinets here so that she can abscond with all the cool gadgets that I have forgotten I have.

I did garden . . .once, maybe twice . . .this summer. I planted the front flower bed back in May. I watered it . . .once, maybe twice. I thought about dumping the four bags of mulch that are sitting in the driveway . . .once, maybe twice. Both the plants and the weeds are doing well in this flower bed.

I did read some, mostly poetry and not nearly everything that accumulated on the "to read" shelf. In fact, for every book that I pulled out and read, two more made their way to the already overcrowded living conditions found on my personal bookshelves. There is always Christmas break . . .

Despite the fact that I feel like I have wasted my summer, because I can't tell you anything that I accomplished during the months of May. June, July, or August, I am glad to return to the grind of my school schedule. This year it is a little different. All of my three regular classes are at capacity. And this year I have been given an extra class to teach. Preparing for this extra class is no big deal, but teaching it does involve and extra trip to Dallas every week.

The biggest change for me now that school is back in session is the necessity to go to bed at a reasonable hour. Over the summer, 3:oo am is a reasonable hour because the next afternoon always holds the possibility of a nap. A 3:00 am bedtime is a huge mistake when the alarm goes off at 6:00 am on school days. I will miss my middle of the night ruminations on the poetry I am reading, or the daily meditation from my favorite book , or drawing, or writing into the wee hours of the morning. My creative side works on a totally different clock than does the rational thinker in me who knows she needs more than three hours of sleep each night.

So, the new academic year is in full swing. The theory is that when the economy is bad, students flock to the colleges and universities for a place of respite as well as for an opportunity to hone their current skills or acquire new ones in order to be employable during these bad economic times.

To all of you who are involved in education as either a teacher or student, may the joy of learning never escape you. For the rest of you, remember those school zones - tickets for going over 20 mph and more for talking on your cell phone while travelling through a school zone.