Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Takes the Sting Right Out of Being on Campus

Tuesdays involve a new tradition this semester. Scott and I used to have lunch together a couple times a week on campus, but for the past 3 semesters my teaching schedule has eaten up any possibility of eating up any lunch together. This time I don't teach on Tuesdays so I get a quick bite with Scott at noon and then go hold my office hours.

Today we ate in a weird little Thai place on campus and were in a room all by ourselves to try to unwind (him mostly, since I had just gotten to work), and hang out where there was no noise. I hate noise. And crowds. Campus has a lot of both.

And then later when I took a break from grading to walk to the library to return my DVDs, Scott was on his afternoon break and we walked there together. That's really all it takes.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

500 and Counting

According to Blogger, this is my 500th post.

It's a random Sunday and the biggest event of the day has been a wave of grief I've had going off and on all day, missing my dad and having involuntary short sobs visiting me out of nowhere.

I've wished so many times that my dad would send me some kind of a little sign that he's around. I know people who have had that happen. I have an email from an online friend I've never met, telling me about a piece of her dad's old army gear showing up in the laundry on important dates. I kept that email and have read it over and over.

From this tiny blog with very few readers in the vast and turbulent ocean of the internet, I dedicate this 500th post to you, Dad. So many hundreds of times I've imagined walking into the nursing home to see your face again, and to hear you say "Where you been?"

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Pre-Dinner Conversation

Scott: What can I do with this chicken to make it more interesting?

Candy: Ask it to read more.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Fall Semester 2.0

When I go back into the classroom on Monday, I will have been away from teaching for 11 days. With the mix of the M/W schedule, Labor Day off, and still being too sick to teach this past Wednesday, it's been a long time of isolation from my students. My nerves are back in a big way. Especially for the first class of the day, which is filled with new faces. 16 out of 18 are people I've never met, since it's an introduction to poetry writing class and anyone can sign up. In the other two classes about half of each are repeat customers.

This is all very exciting stuff to read, I know. I'm trying to get my working brain back on duty and it is reluctant, to say the least. It became too familiar with pajamas, thermometer, codeine, Hall's mentholyptus, dragging to the kitchen for juice, lying in bed and staring at the wall, and abandoning the pile of work when I was too sick to even look at it.

I made my first excursion outside the gleaming sick-bubble on Thursday, sneaking onto campus in my sweats and ponytail to make copies for the week. Everything about this semester feels odd. Since I don't teach in the English building at all (construction) and my closest colleague is an invisible mist, I'm trying to find, as they say, a "new normal." At least for now. At least something I can work with. A temporary life raft until the boat comes back.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Not the Long Weekend I'd Been Hoping For

As it turns out, one of the reasons I was feeling so crappy on my birthday is that I was about to get really sick. Today is Day 4 in bed, and I'm at that charming sneezing/snotting/snuffling stage now.

I was very excited for this long, long weekend with Scott. The belated birthday dinner out, the watching of lots of movies and the eating of barrels of popcorn. Instead I got fever, snot, and flattened into my bed. But I also got homemade chicken-vegetable-alphabet noodle soup brought to me on a tray when I felt too sick to get out of bed. And popsicles and Tylenol and Cold-Eze brought to me from the Walgreen's down the street. And the finishing of the dishes and laundry, which were chores I had to abandon when I did that thing that people do when they proclaim "I will NOT be sick!" All of these acts of kindness are the actions of a man I fall more in love with every day.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Milestones and Lethargy

Today is my birthday. What have I done so far? Laid around like a boneless chicken.

The vicious heat and humidity of the first chunk of the week combined with the new sanity-busting teaching schedule folded me up like a Walmart lawn chair. I toyed with the idea of doing Something Big today to mark the occasion. Scott and I were going out to dinner and now we aren't. I'm too invested in staying away from people. I was going to work on a new section of the book that I've been slow-cooking in my head, but I'm not there yet. I've watched an episode of "Big Brother" and walked around the house in a daze. I had started to be on a regular sleep schedule, going to actual sleep at 11:45 (rare as hen's teeth in a Twinkie for me) and last night I blew it. Let's just say that the birthday lesson is: There's a big difference in how I feel going to sleep pre-midnight vs. 2 a.m.

At my advanced age of 54, it's all about giving my body what it begs for. Well, the good stuff it begs for, with just an occasional dip into the luscious pool of vice.

One great thing: Almost EVERY year I have to teach on my birthday. With my crazy new M/W schedule, and with Labor Day on Monday, not only am I off today, but I don't have to enter the classroom again until next Wednesday. The one dark cloud on that horizon is a faculty meeting I'll have to attend on Tuesday with my former close friend who now will not acknowledge my existence. But the horizon is not today. Today is today.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Recovery and Re-entry

It was mostly in the neck. The effect of yesterday. And in the wildly vivid dreams swirling through my rattled brain all night from the vast amount of information I took in, and spewed out, yesterday.

I use my priceless, microwaveable Bed Buddy every day, but today it has lived around my neck like an albino fox fur chomping its own tail.

Today I played hooky from my office hours, since no one can possibly have anything pressing the first week, right? I go back to the long, long day tomorrow. Those who do not know what it's like to lecture in front of a class for 75 minutes at a time, 3 times in a row, pooh-pooh my work hours, tell me I'm spoiled, roll their eyes when I say how drained I am at the end of the third class. When I'm not  lecturing the whole time, I'm running a writing workshop, trying to maintain the precarious balance between too gentle comments and too mean, not only from me, but from each student in the room, jumping in to save the writer of the moment when he/she looks like he/she might die from discouragement or despair, and jumping in to tame the obnoxious student who jumps in with a cerebral comment like "This sucks," and keeping the whole thing going at a fast clip. Then I go home to start reading, grading, prepping for the next time.

I've worked fast food jobs, retail jobs where I was standing on my feet all day, home health care jobs, magazine editing jobs, and have spent entire days tearing viciously stubborn vines off the side of a brick house. No job wears me out like this one. I do love this job. I am grateful for the job. I love/hate the students. But it's a mental and physical endurance test for an old cow like me, especially the first week of the semester.

Zapping the albino fox again.