Sunday, March 30, 2014

Spring Break (By the Numbers)

Number of middle school classes visited to discuss writing career: 3. Number of times asked about favorite sport: 3. Number of times asked if I knew J.K. Rowling: 2. Number of times asked about scar on my arm: 3.

Hours spent at IKEA West Sac with Kelly: 1.5 Impulse purchases considered: 63. Number of very tiny in-store apartments wandered through in amazement: 3.

Sick husbands: 1.

Dog walks: 12. Times dog pooped on walks: 27.5. Times ran out of poop bags: 1. (Sorry about that.)

Books read: 3. Hours it took to recharge my Kindle: 6. (Why, I don't know.)

Pinterest projects attempted: 2. Pinterest projects completed to satisfaction: 0. Time recommended for degreasing burner covers with ammonia solution: 15 minutes. Actual elapsed time of project: 6 hours.

Plans foiled by rain: 2.

Hours spent in search of perfect cage wedge sandals: 3. Estimated weeks before backordered wedges available: 4. Shoes purchased: 0.

Number of nieces/nephews seen: 5. Adorable factor of said nieces/nephews on scale of 1 to 10: 10.

Episodes of Fringe watched on Netflix: 22. (All of Season 2, baby!) Research papers graded while watching Fringe: 19. Number of times I paused to consider the implausibility of a fringe division of the FBI figuring out high-tech problems with 1982 technology: None. (Why ruin a good thing?)

Carpets shampooed: 4.5. Pounds of pet hair dumped from vacuum cylinder: A very disgusting and thought-provoking amount.

Number of mid-terms graded: 97. Number of times students used "bystandard" instead of "bystander": 2. Number of students referring to Claude McKay as "she": 5.

Days too busy/lazy/inconvenienced to shower: 2. Time spent applying makeup: 20 minutes. Times asked if I was tired (presumably due to lack of mascara): 2.

Trips to Yogurt Mill: 2.

Number of paint swatches brought back from Home Depot: 12. Number of paint cans purchased: 0.

Hours spent snuggling with WBD (world's best dogs): Many, but somehow not enough.

Hours until return to real life: 22.5.... and going fast.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dear Stuttering Student,

I've been there.

We've all been there.

What I want to say is -- there's something for each of us. It might not be a stutter or a stammer, but it comes out in other ways. My throat goes dry. Her hands shake. He trips over a word and loses his confidence.

Or it's mental: The words on the teletype in our minds simply disappear, no matter how much we've rehearsed. The guy in the back of the room is smirking, and we assume the smirk is directed at us. We make a joke, and it falls flat. We don't intend to make a joke, but everyone laughs anyway.

We lose eye contact. We lose focus.

We decide we're wearing the absolute wrong thing. We think about a zit on the chin, which appeared only this morning. We didn't sleep the night before, worrying about this presentation.

But what does it mean, really? Am I less of a person for my dry throat, for reaching for my emergency water bottle? Is she to be dismissed for her shaking hands? Are you somehow less knowledgeable because the words are trapped in your mouth, butting up against your teeth?

Of course not.

What I want to say is -- life goes on, and these small failures aren't the things that define us.


Professor D.