Monday, February 15, 2010

the blogs go neglected; facebook goes without status...times are busy, but i at least think about them. wish i could get on them once in a while. at home, i rarely have a working computer at my fingers, though i could go in my son's room and use his tiny mini, when he's busy on the one family one. i kind of don't want to; lately, i've been quilting, and calling family members, especially my mom, whose voice i want to keep hearing. the quilt is now up to 121 out of 192 triangles; this represents progress, and means it may be done in a month or two, but even it is taxing my available time; my wife complains and hopes i'll get to the dishes at some point.

at work, my main class is full; 19 people are crammed into a room that holds maybe 14 max; the last few have to sit right under my nose, without a legitimate desk, but rather with a little metal folding card-table, or a chair with no table at all. a couple of students are kind of tucked back behind the smart platform, which takes up a lot of room, but they don't seem to mind the privacy, and they're good students who seem to understand what's going on anyway. many of them don't. some can't read, even the questions on the midterm; others don't really hear much. the rapid pace has all of them panting emotionally, academically. has me panting too. at home, i quilt - why should i get on the computer? i feel like it's ruined my eyes.

a careful study of grammar-checker has shown that all is not well in the world of grammar learning and general mastery of the language. grammar is the new weak point of all our students and especially those who grew up on the grammar-checker. it may not be as bad as i paint it. why am i putting it here? it has snowed now, off and on, for over a month, unuaually long even for here; however, it hasn't amounted to more than a foot at any given time, and mostly, it's just cold, salty, dangerous, miserable. the side doors of our van freeze up and everyone has to pile in through the front or back, where exhaust can get in; we've forgotten what spring will look like. sometimes the white blanket is pretty; the sun sets its pink on it, and the fields look pretty with their grasses peeking out, exposed. it's a stray dog holiday; the feds, and the schools, took presidents day, but the university did not, and the combined confusion given the history of lincoln's birthday and all, means there will be lots of garbage out on the curb, some of it for a little too long. i almost ran over some of it tonight, right at a corner where, a couple of days ago, i skidded and almost lost control. take heed; hold out, a better day is coming, and even the garbage folks will make it out, eventually, if not sooner.

in the building, students come up to me, trying to find a time to meet and talk; they don't like my office hours, maybe, or are just unaware of them. there are too many; i find it hard to extract myself, enough, to get to the next class. i always swim, if possible, when i'm under this much pressure; but, even that is untenable sometimes, or, i barely get in 30 when i want 48. nevertheless i sleep better, if i get even 10. the long day carries out; i'm swamped; but, i have patience.

when they take tests, i write haiku; when i have a chance, i slip it in, construct it, put pictures under it, and mark off on my sheet so that, sometime, i can count. i'm well over 300. but, many are doubles; they come to my mind, and i write them, but i've thought something just like it, in the past at some point. many of these, i can remove to another state, or just remove entirely. i will eventually have enough to include only my favorites, no doubles, no sloppiness. in quilting, also, i get better as i go along, but am stuck, to some degree, with some of my earlier sloppiness.

in music, we practice for a darwin day gig; i however have not included it on my music weblog; like others, it's gone somewhat untended. bill staines has come and gone, but another good show, february sky, is coming; this would be nice. we don't go much to these things, though; that's the way it is. in my head, sometimes, i'm in the garden - making haiku, fixing links, altering the saturation on some picture; on the street, i'm driving down the usual, sunset or chautauqua; i might have a new or different cd, but it's pretty much same-old same-old...the "snow removal" sign is covered by snow. the geese have stopped yapping and pretty much disappeared. lakes and ponds are frozen over treacherously (not thoroughly, as they would be up north) - and patches of ice checker all side streets starting with our own which has taken on several colors. and, it keeps snowing. a gentle, soapy, airy kind of fluff that doesn't really stick or even amount to much, but nevertheless, a steady supply of fluff. nothing like d.c., maybe, but, more than we've seen for a while. is it global warming? guess i wouldn't know; i've lost touch a little; often i don't even know what the weather says for tomorrow, or, say, the weekend. it all runs together. the chlorine in the pool puts the oxygen in my blood, and makes the poetry possible. but my eyes squint at night, and i find myself saying less. if i have no status, am i robbing my friends? am i hiding? i feel like it. there's no skating on this kind of ice. brakes don't even work, sometimes, and the best strategy is, slow down, and watch carefully. eyes on the important stuff - the family, in particular. but also the icy parking spots, and the corners. where cars have sat, and snow has frozen beneath them.

back in kansas they used pecan shells in this situation, and it was all very organic, and had a cool sound too. but they never had snow, constantly, for several weeks, as we've had, or at least they didn't while i was there. northerners might rue the fact that it takes a while for us to salt any given road, but, in the end, it works pretty well, though it takes a toll on wildlife, and leaves an acrid kind of poison all over the place, especially under the car. makes a person want to stay inside and quilt. at least, the allergies and ticks are gone. tomorrow will be a new and brighter day.

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