Tuesday, March 27, 2007

It was a happy weekend. Simon and I attended the "Look and Believe" tour in the Holy Cross neighborhood of the Lower 9th, where we met many of our neighbors-to-be: Kathy who is renovating her around-the-block shotgun double where she's lived since 1978; Evelyn on Caffin who was born in her shotgun home 80 years ago; Katie and Peter, who bought their converted double from the PRC a month before the storm (Katie is also an England native, and when I pointed out the Union Jack license plate on the front of her car to Simon, he declared, "Now that's what I call diversity); and many, many others.

Later we went to the wedding of some dear friends. The ceremony was idyllic: the evening sun made the bride's veil glow, and the canopy of the Tree of Life in Audubon Park made us all feel protected and loved and so on.

Now, Simon is touring DC with his middle-schoolers, and I am discovering that I have a much harder time behaving myself like a respectable adult without my husband around. Yesterday I let a mountain of dishes stay that way, and I watched far too much TV. ("Dancing with the Stars," "The Hills," "Six Feet Under"... so much and so wrong.)

I'm putting off writing a very important paper that is based on my other, image-based blog, NolaFridge. I'll be presenting a paper on visual rhetoric at the Popular Culture Association's conference in Boston in just a week and a half, and so far, all I have are scribblings on Post-It notes. I have never been very self-disciplined when it comes to writing, which is why, I suspect, I am much better suited to teaching than I am to writing.

Still, even the teaching has been tough. As I think I've mentioned, my students have had TERRIBLE attendance issues this semester, and if I maintain my attendance policy (as I need to), classes with 20 will drop to 10. We are under pressure as instructors/faculty members to keep enrollment numbers up, to recruit, and to keep UNO alive, but we are also of course forced to maintain our standards.

And so yesterday I reminded my students of the attendance policy in preparation for the upcoming final drop date. One student mentioned she thought attendance was poor because "so many people are suffering from PTSD." Another guessed it was general depression and burnout. Yet another student pointed out that "teachers don't get to decide they're too depressed to teach" (saving me from pointing out the obvious). "Everyone just needs to get over it," he said. "It was, like, a year and a half ago."

But I can relate to that "burnt out" feeling. I want a vacation so badly! It's not that I've been doing anything particularly strenuous or demanding, either: it's generally life as usual here. Still, I feel tired a lot; it's a struggle to perform even the ordinary tasks. And my empathy for my students wears thin when I think about the number of days I've shown up and taught when I'd rather stay in bed, myself.

What I'd like is to have more days like Saturday. I'd like to meet new friends and neighbors, and I'd like to feel inspired to do something--especially those things (like the darn paper) that really need to get done. So I have a feeling I'll be neglecting this blog (sorry, Mom). Must. Get. Work. Done.

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