Friday, October 19, 2012

This is to help me organize...

I can't. I just. I can't.

Microsoft Word wouldn't save my files last night. I would grade a paper, try to save it, and it would say I couldn't due to filetype. It did this with every kind of filetype, no matter what it was. So, I literally spent the entire afternoon/evening trying to figure out what had happened-- I assumed it was a virus. Spent until 10 pm trying to fix it, and finally figured out what was causing it though I still don't know how it started. I graded seven papers and created a presentation and lay down around 2:30, drifted off sometime after 3:30, got up this morning and delivered the presentation (which went REALLY well, so yay), had lunch with my son and came home. And now.

Now I need to grade the rest of one college's papers: 15 and then grade the other college's papers: 14. You know, 29 papers. No... biggie... Write two discussion posts and reply to four people; then create the presentation for that course by Sunday night.

The plan is to grade all of the papers and do one discussion post today.

Then one discussion post and a presentation tomorrow. Then rest on Sunday.

*complain, whine, complain*  Sorry. Call me a wambulence.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Not depressed, really. Overwhelmed.

This is what I have to do.

1. Grade 21 papers and input midterm grades TONIGHT for one of the colleges I teach for.
2. Create a presentation about which I must present tomorrow.
3. Create a presentation by Sunday night for the TESOL course I am taking.
4. Join in scholarly discussion on the TESOL course and post replies to others by Sunday night.
5. Be mom and dad to the boys tonight... (again?) since Mike has to be with his dad who is back in the hospital.

I'm buying dinner out for the boys and me. I'm going to do my best on the grading-- what else can I do? I'm going to practice my presentation for tomorrow a few times (after I create it, ha).

It's getting to that bad time again. The time when I would foolishly welcome some small surgery, a minor car wreck, anything to give me a chance to stop and actually think about the steps I'm taking and the things people around me are saying.

This is what tired truly is.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


When I think about sleeping tonight, I keep getting these little white hot sparks of fear-- you know the kind, the ones that spark from your heart to your toes and into your fingertips.

It's unreasonable. It's ridiculous. But last night, I broke my record for staying up and not on purpose. I couldn't sleep until 5:30 this morning. Now, I never used to be a person who couldn't sleep-- even at slumber parties or pulling an "all nighter," 4 am was about as late/early as I could go.

I just don't understand it. Is it stress? Is it pre-menopausal crap? I am not that old. Bah. I am not very tired at all today either. Please, please let me sleep tonight... no restless legs, no running mind, please. No staring at the ceiling thinking that I'm fine, I'm not worried about anything, the world is snoring, so WHY CAN'T I FREAKING SLEEP?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

No matter how quietly you whisper

Here is what I promise. I promise that I will listen when you talk. If I am writing, I will put my pen down; if I’m watching TV, I will turn it off; if I’m running from place to place, hurried and busy, I will stop mid-step. I will turn to you, look at you, and hear every word you say.
I won’t change the subject or connect what you’re saying to something that happened to me; I will be comfortable with your pauses and will not fill the in-between air with meaningless words of my own. 
And when you’re finished telling your story, really and truly have gotten it all out, I’ll ask only one question, and I promise to mean it with all of my heart, “How can I help?”
And then I will listen again.


I have a very kind mother. A patient, loving, genuinely kind mom. I spent the weekend with her, wishing I were as kind and thinking that, above all other attributes, I'd love to be remembered as someone who was always kind first.

Even over strong, smart, or talented; over creative, interesting, or well liked, I would consider it a great victory, a wonderful homage, if I am remembered as someone who was kind to everyone, even and especially to those who aren't commonly thought of as deserving kindness.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Farther Away

I can't take as deep a breath as I used to. I don't know if that's age or generalized exhaustion, but everything seems to be a little farther away these days; it all requires a bit more of me, taking the ease of breath and my expected sense of gravity with it.

Yesterday I was dizzy all afternoon and evening. At one point, it was so severe I asked my husband to drive me to the ER, then promptly talked him out of it. Google says there may be some rare disease, and I, in typical hypochondria, want to agree.

It's probably exhaustion. Just being tired. Maybe it's psychological because there isn't enough day right now. The evenings are shorter, the mornings earlier, and really, I swear,  everything is just a little farther away requiring more of me than my body wants to give.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Can I come in through Your back screen door and sit at the table where the light shines in? Maybe we can start from there, if Your door is still open and Your table ready. What else should I do, how  else can I find You once more?

I know, I'll follow these breadcrumbs You left before the beginning of time of Your words, Your deeds, and Your thoughts about me, knowing with each step I'm already there, that we've been at the table from the moment I formed the thought, whispered the words, "I want to come home."

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I am always in a hurry.

Ever since I was a little girl I've hurried everywhere I went. I don't know how it started, this impatient, speed-walking thing I do, never mind if I'm early, or I have no appointment at all; I feel an implacable desire to make the shortest time in the distance between one place and the next. And it later translated to my driving. I'm always going those five free miles over the speed limit and looking ahead to consider the timing of lights and which lane will have the shorter line, and I don't know why.

Maybe, despite my love of maps, I am not as much a lover of travel as I imagine myself to be. Maybe, despite all of the warnings I've been given, I can't stop making it about the destination.

Or maybe, I just think that something is waiting around the next corner, at the stoplight just ahead and crowding the crosswalk, that thing that I never stop looking for.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

On Empathy and Exhaustion

When I was little, my empathy was boundless and always on, attuned to any living thing in the area. I cried over sick, winged things, sighed and sat quietly with cats, and begged my mother to punish me instead of the sisters who were in trouble for something they had done to me. (They would often join in, "Yeah, spank her!" *see my wry smile here*) 

As I grew, I learned to rein that empathy in, store and focus it when the time was right. I stopped letting every broken thing in through the window, and I turned my head when people walked by, because I didn't want to see what was true behind their eyes, at least not every day. My mother says that being upset, whether sad or angry or even excited and happy can exhaust you worse than running a mile. I think she's right, especially when it's not my pain I'm feeling. 

But then someone reaches in past the boundaries you've carefully placed by simply being really sad and in the same space you happen to be in. You say the right words, you make yourself small and quiet, and you hope they don't see you shaking. You shake because when the empathy is on and going full blast, you see how fragile everyone is, they are all brittle bones and weak hearts and shuddering breaths, and you've got to be so careful, so awfully, terribly careful with the wounds they've often unknowingly bared.

And for a few days after an episode like that, I still feel careful with everyone I meet, down to the mere flashing of eyes when I pass them in a hall, because I've been reminded that everyone feels; that there is a world of secret going on behind their crossed arms, and they may need my careful hands and quiet heart today. 

And it's exhausting to be so careful, so aware. I sleep the best after the days that I care.