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The Distracted Woman's Daybook (51)

Wow, I haven't done one of these in over five months -- and *that* one was preceded by a six-month hiatus, too! Am I done "Daybook"-ing? I hope not; it's now my last link to Angie, the fellow Maryland blogger whom I met a few times for lunch (IRL) some years ago and from whom I copied the template. Facebook tells me she's just moved to a faraway state, so I guess we're unlikely to run into each other again outside of cyberspace. *sigh*  Anyhow, it's time to wrap up the summer with a long post, and that's as good an excuse as any to dust off a trusty meme. This one's for you, Angie.

The Distracted Woman's Daybook
(idea based on one by Peggy Hostetler; concept revision by Angie Brennan; other changes are mine)

my 'Mad Men Yourself' iconIn my front yard... the lawn's a tad overgrown, but the Boy has been keeping up with it pretty well all summer, so I'm not nagging him too hard yet. For about four days last week, we were actually ahead of the neighbors, including our super-lawn-proud one.

Around the house... much decluttering has occurred, in advance of Number Two Son's moving back home. He had been living in an apartment with a cousin, but said cousin just got married, and Two is set to do the same in a month, and meanwhile the lease on their shared apartment was up, so Changes Had To Be Made. Cousin and his new wife ended up renewing the lease, while Two and his new wife will stay here until they've saved a little money. Without all the clutter, it's actually a big house, so I'm hoping that things work out and we don't all drive each other crazy.

In the kitchen... things are super clean (see above), and I've discovered that when every plate, pot, and utensil is scrubbed at the same time, they don't all fit in the cabinets! Time to weed down the collection.

I am pondering... my next step. Okay, my next-next step. See, I feel that temporarily taking in my Son & his bride is really a penultimate step for me; the last one before some bigger one that has to occur in the next few years if I'm to have a chance at any kind of a second act (or whatever you'd call it, for a woman of my years).

I am hoping... to have a good semester this Fall. I am a little discouraged about teaching at the moment.

I am learning... some new teaching strategies. It's a consumer-driven jungle out there, and it's no longer enough to walk into your classroom and talk about your subject with authority and passion, confident that if your students didn't want to be there, they wouldn't be paying all that tuition for the privilege. No, now you have to make them want it, and if you don't succeed 100%, someone's mom is calling the Dean.

I'm sorry for being a dinosaur, but even though I know the world has changed since I was young, it's hard for me to grasp that a person would decide to do something as time-consuming and expensive as pursue a college degree if he or she didn't already want to be in the classroom. Under the old model of higher ed, a college professor was an expert who might or might not be a wonderful pedagogue. The student shared some responsibility for getting the most out of the professor as a resource. Now that everyone goes to college, including the people who hated grade school, I appreciate that the pedagogy aspect of the job is more important: you have to meet a lot of your students more than half way. And I'm not unwilling to try. But, like most professors, I'm not trained as a teacher, so I just have to feel my way in the dark. And every time I stumble, someone's mom calls the Dean.

I am thankful for... employment. It really is a jungle out there.

I am wearing... a black skirt and a long-sleeved beige top. I played a funeral today, and all of my short-sleeved things were too casual.

I am creating... syllabi (it's late August!), and also Sherlockian parody songs for some upcoming events.

I am going... to get up and bake my father a birthday cake, as soon as I post this. Party's tomorrow.

I am reading... the novels of Stephen McCauley, an author I discovered at the beginning of the summer. By the luck of the way things have become available through inter-library loan, I am progressing through his oeuvre in precisely reverse chronological order -- an interesting way to get to know a contemporary novelist.

I've been watching... oh, this summer, I binge-watched a number of things. I may have mentioned them in other posts, but I can't remember now, so I'm going to list them all here. First was Jane the Virgin, seasons 1-4. I absolutely loved it, but I admit that it's a real estrogen-fest, so it may not be for everyone (my brother, who's a sensitive soul and pretty feminist for a conservative, told me he could only take it in small doses). Still, if you want to try it, hie thee to Netflix soon: Season 5, which is supposed to be the last and will wrap up all the plot-lines, is set to air in early 2019.

Speaking of girl-power shows, I also managed to consume the entire run of another program with a heroine named Jane: Drop Dead Diva. D3 originally aired on the Lifetime network from 2009-2014; it's a fantasy in which a shallow model comes back to life as a plus-sized lawyer, solving mostly do-good-y cases and learning related life lessons in each episode. Oh, I hear you laughing, but I caught Number Three Son watching with me from the adjacent room more than a few times. Surprisingly engaging.

The third show I gobbled up this summer, and the best of the lot, was Parks and Recreation. Yeah, that's right; I never saw P&R during its original run, which was definitely my loss. To me, a show is funny if I laugh out loud while watching it in the house alone. By that standard, P&R is in my personal pantheon of hilarious. And yes, it's also smart and touching and all that stuff that one has come to expect from anything with Michael Schur's name on it.

I've been listening to... this:

One of my favorite things... is New York City, and I went up four (!!!!) times this summer. During my early June jaunt, I visited the NY Historical Society Museum for the Norman Rockwell/"Four Freedoms" exhibit. It was very well composed and -- from my middle-aged white liberal perspective, at least -- surprisingly effective (as opposed to seeming all relic-y and irrelevant). The exhibit's set to travel, and if it comes your way, you should see it (and tell me if I'm right). Also on the June trip, I popped uptown to see the Met Cloisters Musuem, which I would also call very effective ... as well as very deja vu-ish (even though I'm sure I'd never been there before -- maybe it just felt like Europe?).

In July, Number Three Son and I went up for the annual three-day trip that we call our "official" vacation (though for a teacher and a kid, the whole summer is kind of a vacation). A NY-loving friend came along, and though most of our time was devoted to seeing three musicals (Dear Evan Hansen, Hello Dolly, and SpongeBob SquarePants), we also took a few excursions out of Midtown. In Queens, we had a great time at the Museum of the Moving Image. In Harlem, we ate chicken & waffles, deviled eggs, and cornbread at Marcus Samuelsson's Red Rooster. And we rode the cable car to Roosevelt Island, which was a tad scary (the cable car, not the island). :-)

Finally, in August, I made two single-day hops to Gotham. One was on my own, on a Wednesday, to see a pair of plays (The Boys in the Band and Straight White Men -- talk about your contrasts!). The other was with Sons One and Three (since the former, visiting from Nashville, doesn't get to go to NY much), and we hit the Central Park Zoo, the MoMA, John's of Bleecker Street, and Bryant Park. Oh, and here for an egg cream.

I am looking forward to... Number Two Son's wedding. It's about a month away.

My plans for the rest of the week... include more housecleaning and continued syllabus-making.

A quote for today... "There is a crack, a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in." (Leonard Cohen, "Anthem")

Here is a picture I am sharing with you... of my boys, at their cousin's wedding.

my boys