Monday, September 19, 2011

Getting Back in the Front Seat

Y'all (I don't know why, but this post just seems to need a collective noun at the beginning).

Y'all. I feel so behind on my blog right now that I don't know where to start. Teaching this semester has thrown me completely out of whack (cliche, I would tell my students). My schedule is off--probably because I'm waking up at 5:45 a.m.

Y'all. This is SO not me. Five forty five, indeed.

Everything still feels so new and so strange in my life right now. I scrub together something that resembles a meal most nights. (Very strange.) I throw in a load of laundry when necessity calls, if you know what I mean. (Kinda strange.) I can't even manage a phone call or an email to those closest to me. (Sorta strange.)

I keep waiting for life to seem normal again. Will it? Or is this strangeness the new normal?

Just in case this is the new normal (and I'm kind of figuring it is), I have GOT to figure out where and how blogging fits into it all. Because blogging is not something I am willing to give up in my life. I've made too many wonderful friends and have had too many fantastic opportunities to give up now.

With that in mind, I am just going to start from here. Right now. I'd like to catch you up on what my life has looked like for the past month or so, but I can only remember this past weekend. Let's start there, shall we?

And then let's move on, pretending like this past 6-week hiatus (oh, o.k., 10 week hiatus if you count the sabbatical in there too) didn't really happen.

So, what have I been up to, you ask? Papers. Grading papers. Lots and lots of papers. I know why I signed on to teach two writing classes this semester--it's the only way I could get a half-time position--but let me tell you, common sense was not my strong suit when I said yes. Oh sure, I knew in my head that having two classes of 21 students would mean a potential 42 papers to grade at the same time. (I know what you're thinking . . . I should have majored in math, right?) I knew in my head that I would actually have to GRADE all of those papers. But did it register in my soul? Where it really counts?

No. It did not.

And by last night my soul and my eyes were hurting.

I got pretty crabby this weekend and I took it out on the people I love. Man, I hate it when I do that. 

But here's the good news. Between grading papers on Friday night, going into work on Saturday, and getting over-the-top-stressed-and-crabby, I had fun with my people.

Saturday was a gorgeous, if not slightly chilly, day around these parts. It was a day for doing something we had never done before--something we had always talked about doing but just never pushed "send" and actually went about doing. We went to my favorite city that just happens to be right up the road and pretended we were tourists.

In case you've never heard, Chicago has a pretty sweet architecture river tour. I know! I had heard of it before, too. And I had heard it was really great, but I had never done it. Neither had B. Or Julia. (Caroline had gone on the tour once in 8th grade, so this was old hat for her.)

You know what's funny? Almost everyone I told that we did the tour on Saturday has said to me, "Oh yeah, I've always wanted to do that." That was us, too, until Saturday. Now we can actually say we did it.

And I'm so glad we did. What an amazing tour. What an amazing day. What an amazing time we had just being together, enjoying a beautiful blue sky day in Chicago.

A peek at my new favorite building to grace Chicago's skyline--the Trump Tower.

Yikes! Look at that waddle! Christmas is coming--can anyone say neck lift?

The Merchandise Mart where Glenda and I visited a couple of weeks ago. Isn't she a beautiful building?

My girls and me. *smile*

So what does the week ahead look like for me? Meeting with students. Teaching classes. NOT grading papers (this week, anyway). It's good. It's fulfilling. And it's lots of fun.

And what about here? The blog? What will that look like this week? Well, I'll tell you, because if I tell you here, out loud, that it's going to happen, I'll make pretty darn sure I get it done.

Tuesday - My final "What I Learned on Sabbatical" post.

Thursday - an awesome book review. Can't wait for this one.

Friday - A NEW RECIPE!!! I know! It's been forever. Partly because my camera broke. (Something about a teenager having an unfortunate incident in my basement.) And partly because I don't cook that much anymore. But this one is a yummy fall treat that you won't want to miss.

So there. Blogging is now taking a front seat again. If it kills me.

Won't you join me for the ride?

Photo credits: B. (Thanks, honey!)



  1. Yes'm. I'll join you. If for no other reason than I want to give you positive reinforcement for having said "y'all" several times at the beginning of this post. :)

    I will tell you this: my ardor for teaching English dimmed considerably when I realized how much grading would be involved. I like the kind of grading that math teachers do, not the kind that English teachers do. Sigh.

    But I'm proud of you! Tote that barge! Lift that bale! You can leave out the gittin' a little drunk and landin' in jail. (But if you do that, get your camera fixed first.)

    Oh, by the way, the architecture tour looks like a lot of fun! Aren't you blessed to live right there just minutes from a city that lots of people would love to tour? Love the pic of you and your girls!

  2. What a gorgeous picture of you and your girls! Just lovely of all of you!

    I can totally resonate with coming to grips that the current life chaos may be the new normal. (remember that baby that was born almost SIX months ago?? Yeah, we definitely don't have the newborn excuse anymore.)

    So fun to get an update from you. I know even though you're feeling frazzled those 42 students are feeling incredibly blessed!

  3. Oh Richella, I so needed that laugh today. Thank you!

    Beth, I love seeing you around here. Thank you for your sweet encouragement.

  4. Glad you're back and excited for new recipes to try!!

  5. That was a fun day . . . our trip to merchandise mart. I took my friend, Anne, (visiting from Seattle) to the pine antique place. She loved it. I bought the green pitcher, that I was really drawn to when we were there.

    I am thinking and hoping that soon your life will feel normal again. Thanks for blogging even when you are busy.

    And, thanks for the sweet mention.


  6. ps. Richella's comment made me laugh.

  7. I hope you are still working on your book, too. I'm looking forward to reading it one day.

    But, no pressure. :)

    You have a great family! Mine doesn't do things together "well".

    Thanks for being real, my friend!

  8. Thanks, Glenda. Yes, that WAS a fun day at the MM. Let's do it again soon.

    No pressure, huh Linda? Yes, that's in the back of my mind. One of these days . . .

  9. So glad you took time Saturday! I'm an architecture nut and still haven't done it! Also need to do the Oak Park Frank Lloyd Wright walking tour. Someday . . .

  10. Life just gets wilder and wilder for me, as well. My de-cluttering project continues to take me away from the things I really want to do. I, too, wonder where "normal" has gone. So, it must be normal to wonder about being normal?

    I know we all try to take on tooo much.I hope you will find your blogging time soon. Your students must love having you as their teacher!

    P.S. Thanks for saying "y'all".

  11. Shelly, I loved hearing what you've been up to. My husband teaches one or two college classes at a time too, and we're they're extremely paper intensive ones (as religion classes tend to be) it about kills him too. I feel your pain.

    Loved seeing your pictures. Breathe girl! Enjoy your girls and breathe!

  12. Woo hoo and welcome back! I know what you mean. Life seems to be so full, ALL THE TIME! Normal. I don't even know what normal is anymore. I don't seem to have ONE MOMENT to myself sometimes. I feel like you. Just barely keeping my head above water and throwing food and clean clothes at my family once in awhile :). But oh, how blessed we are! These are the best days of our lives!

  13. How fun to do a tour like that right in your own backyard! The buildings are amazing.

    LOL to Richella's comment. Bummer about your camera.

  14. Me too, I'll join. It's one of my favorite activities while I eat my lunch at my desk. colette

  15. Beautiful pic of you and your girls!

  16. Grading stinks! That's a part of teaching that I don't miss. Glad you are back!