Monday, June 23, 2008

cultivating my garden

It's been a while since i wrote a non-political diary here, and the honest-to-blog (as Juno might say) truth of the matter is that I've been exhausted.

That's it, bottom line, no fancy excuses, just that: I've been wiped out. At first I think it was simply physical; the end of the school year this time around took quite a toll. Not only did I have my annual Oh my God I have all of this to grade still?!!? moment sometime the week before finals, but on top of that I was told that I had to pack everything in my room into boxes by the last day of school so it could be moved to a new room over the summer.

Now let me put that in perspective for you:

I've been in the same room for about eight years. Before that I was in the same room for ten years. When I last moved, they just took everything from one room to the other. And let me tell you: I've accumulated a whole lot of stuff over eighteen years in those two rooms (not to mention the other twelve bopping around elsewhere). A month before school ended, we were having a department meeting in my room and the superintendent came in.

"Whoa," he said, looking around. "This is the best classroom I've been in." He meant that it seemed to be comfortable, to be lived in, to be real as opposed to some clinical shared space. And I am proud of that, but this was the price I was about to pay: pack those years into boxes. At the same time I was supposed to be grading my finals and getting everything else done.


After eight consecutive school days of desperately working in my room until at least 6 PM (much of it physical labor, too...while I had those grades hanging over my head), I finally got it all done, but the stress was getting to me, and when it was all through I basically came home and crashed. This is not the right way to begin a summer vacation.

Ah, but I do have one of those. And in that I am indeed fortunate: the ultra-mega-perk of being a teacher. Summer vacation. I spend mine with my kids and writing. Some less cash-bereft folks travel. But it's great to have the time to regain some equilibrium after the chaos of the end of the year. It's taken me two weeks to begin to reclaim some sense of my own but it's coming back; I can feel it. Instead of worrying about everyone else in the universe, I get to spend a little bit of time concentrating on this little patch of ground around me: my home, my "garden."

In Candide, Voltaire's characters, having come to the recognition (through horrific experience) that this is not indeed the "best of all possible worlds," decide that what they must do is the one thing they have control over: "We must cultivate our garden." It's a short-sighted world view, I guess, but for a lazy summer day it is just what I need sometimes. My garden was wilting; it was overstuffed with grades and deadlines and room-packing and politics and so many kinds of insanity that I think the flowers were simply choking from want of air. There are still plenty of things to be done and there is still plenty of world to worry about, but the deck is comfortable and there is a nice breeze, and maybe a hummingbird will visit the feeder.

My mental garden needs to be tended; I'm going to lie here and help it to bloom.

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it's your hair that i notice first
streaked with morning
it frames your face
you lying there eyes closed
soft breath not quite there
i follow its path as it bends the sheet
and i can touch you there
touch what i feel is you
in the spark of daylight
you'll rise
pull on the wrinkled shirt from last night
say something you think is beautiful
drink some coffee
from behind my paper
and drive away,
leaving a kiss on my lips
and a hole in my heart
where a fire ought to be

Favorite Films

  • The Wizard Of Oz
  • Amelie
  • The Princess Bride
  • Casablanca
  • Annie Hall
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • All That Jazz
  • Citizen Kane
  • Love Actually
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Big Fish
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Almost Famous
  • Bull Durham
  • Notting Hill
  • Apocalypse Now (Redux)
  • Magnolia

All-Time Favorite TV Shows

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Gilmore Girls
  • M*A*S*H
  • The West Wing
  • The X-Files
  • The Daily Show
  • Ally McBeal
  • Picket Fences
  • All In The Family
  • Seinfeld
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  • Star Trek
  • Firefly
  • Wonderfalls
  • Northern Exposure
  • Get Smart
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show
  • Twin Peaks
  • The Larry Sanders Show
  • Monk
  • Felicity
  • St. Elsewhere

Current TV Shows I Enjoy (in no particular order)

  • Perception
  • Major Crimes
  • American Horror Story
  • Louie
  • Suits
  • The Newsroom
  • Falling Skies
  • Franklin and Bash
  • Veep
  • Scandal
  • Fairly Legal
  • Girls
  • Don't Trust the B---
  • Justified
  • Portlandia
  • Psych
  • The Middle
  • Person of Interest
  • Happy Endings
  • Hart of Dixie
  • Real Time with Bill Maher
  • Nikita
  • Raising Hope
  • Castle
  • Drop Dead Diva
  • Covert Affairs
  • Elementary
  • Rizzoli and Isles
  • Revolution
  • The Last Resort
  • Alphas
  • SNL
  • Revenge
  • Community
  • Suburgatory
  • New Girl
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Grimm
  • Nashville
  • Downton Abbey
  • Smash
  • Homeland
  • Fringe
  • Glee
  • Haven
  • Community
  • Warehouse 13
  • Modern Family
  • Vampire Diaries
  • The Daily Show
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • The Colbert Report
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Leverage
  • Rachel Maddow Show

xkcd - A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and