Thursday, May 12, 2011

Finals Week

This is the time of year that feels impossibly stretched in a bunch of directions. I'm like a sheet of hide (though much, much, much, MUCH thicker), stretched in so many directions and staked out, pulled until I can't breathe. So what am I doing? Writing a blog post. Go figure.

Grading: grading research papers is certifiably one of the hardest jobs in the world. I'll put it up there against most. Okay, okay, I'm rethinking that. What about mining for gold or copper in Africa, coal mining in West Virginia, diving for pearls off the California cost in the 1800s, garbage collecting, sorting recyclables, and dishwashing...Okay, so I'll quit whining. In a minute.

Give me the minute, okay? It's tedious and you cannot lose concentration, have to read for content, argument, support, organization, documentation, lack of plagiarism, and's not fun. Some of the papers are fun, though, and I always learn stuff while I'm reading them. It's just such a huge job. This year, I got some exceptional and creative ones, I'll quit whining.

When I'm done with those, it's a few stacks of final exams. Then figuring and entering grades. Enough said. It'll take me until sometime tomorrow, and I've been at it now for a couple weeks.

Also: the weather warms up (not today; rain streaks my windows) and I want to plant the garden, tune up the garden tractor and mow my hayfield yard.

And: I want to plan a trip to see my kids. Planning takes time. And money.

And: sunshine (when it's out) and the open road beckon me. My legs are itchin' to put miles on my road bike...haven't ridden nearly enough this year (hence the reason the hide is so thick, as noted above).

And: I am leaving for Italy with 12 students on Tuesday. Have I started packing or planning? Are you kidding? Have I had time to breathe? I did read Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling (on tape--no time to read a book lately), and now I want to make some diagrams of the ceiling, so I know what all of the figures represent when I see it this time. That's a task for after turning in grades.

Finally: I want to write! Have these two stories broiling around in my head, and half in the computer, and I want to work on them in the worst way, but if I do, I won't get all this grading done.

So, why, you ask, am I writing in my blog? I have no idea. Maybe it's some latent procrastinating gene that I can't excise. Maybe I felt like I needed to still be connected to the world. I don't know. But now, I'm signing out of the social world and retreating back to my grading desk, perhaps never to return...

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