Today was parent-teacher conference day, so we visited two schools and drove past another. All of which were voting centers. I figured there wouldn't be as much hoopla as usual, but I hadn't expected nothing. Not one campaigner, not one sign. The only people we saw in the halls were teachers and parents on their way to or from meeting each other. The only people in the cafeteria, where the voting booths are, were the official monitors and the volunteers heating up pots of homemade chili for the teachers' lunch. Not one voter. It's as if they called an election and no one came ...
So this is what electoral Siberia looks like.
Libraries are wonderful.
With my limited energy, we don't get to the local library as often as I'd hoped. It's less than a 10 minute walk away (one of the key selling points when we bought the house!), but life's been stressful and the kids aren't quite up to going and checking books out on their own. Soon, but not yet.
Libraries have regular book sales. Today, we bought 44 books and 8 videos for $35.75. Madeleine L'Engle and Lloyd Alexander and Roger Zelazny for the Peanut, who is in a fantasy phase, more of The Magic Treehouse and the start of the Anne of Green Gables series for the Bean, William Burroughs, Werner von Braun's History of Rocketry and a book on the Mathematics of Lewis Carrol for Mr. Mochi. Assorted biographies for me. And much more.
There were a few moments of whimsy. The discovery that the history section was mostly composed of books by Bill O', Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh. The Bean's innocent questioning of "why does the picture of a monkey look kind of like a person?" about a book on George W. Bush (I swear, I didn't prompt her, she came up with it all by herself).
I'm wrecked, but smugly satisfied. So we don't get to the library that often, we brought a bit of the library home instead. That's a good day.
So this semester is pretty much sucking. I'm far less recovered from the octopus attack than I'd thought and even the small amount of work I'm doing is kicking my butt. The good news is I'm coping better than I was a month and a half ago when classes started. The bad news is that's still far worse than pre-octopus.
Meanwhile, campus has been hit with the plague. Students and faculty are dropping like flies. And today the Peanut got it. Woke up unable to talk and utterly miserable. It was even one of those teacher-whatever days when there's no school and he would have spent the day at the rec-center. But no, he was too sick.
One of the perks I lost when I stopped being regular faculty was having the scheduler coordinate with Mr. Mochi's department to try to make sure we didn't both teach at the same time. Until now, we'd never had more than a quarter hour of overlap (labs being different lengths than other classes). This semester, even though I'm only teaching one class, it's simultaneous with one of his. So someone, who turned out to be me, had to take the Peanut to class with them.
This didn't start out well. First, the plan to have him watch a DVD at the back of the room fell apart when a random parent who will remain nameless of the male persuasion packed the wrong headphones (yeah, I should have checked, but he swore he'd taken care of it). Which might not have been a problem except that this was the day I was teaching Night by Elie Wiesel. If you haven't read it, it's the most soul-wrenching account of the Holocaust on the market. Great topic for a 10 year old (insert sarcasm). I walked into the class thinking this was going to be a disaster.
My little boy's first day in college was a huge success. Within the first 5 minutes he put his book down and spent the rest of the 75 minutes listening attentively (fie on the teachers who say he has problems with his attention span!) And then there was the magic moment.
Okay, so it was a bit of a inside job, but only a little bit. There's a place in the book where they talk about the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur, juxtaposed with the selection. The Jewish kids in the class took a shot at explaining the meaning of these holidays, and totally missed all the elements of life, death, self-examination, atonement, redemption, etc. that parallel the horror of the selection and the characters emotional struggle at that point in the book. I was about to explain it, when a little, timid hand went up from my baby. And he told a room full of college students about the real meaning of the cycle of years and life in Jewish tradition. And got it exactly right.
My little boy went to college and did good. At 11. I'm kvelling.
Legumes: [being annoying and not getting ready for bed]
Mr. Mochi: Remind me why we decided to breed.
Mochi: So we could complain about our children not supporting us in our old age. And because I desperately wanted stretch marks.
Mr. Mochi: I knew there was a good reason. After all, you do look good in stretch marks.
Mochi: If you are very lucky, I'll let you lick them.
Mr. Mochi: You do realize that you just completely grossed yourself out. I had nothing to do with that, it was all you.
Mood: cynical and suffering self-induced gross-out
This semester sucketh.
Not my class, that is going great. I don't remember if I mentioned, but I'm teaching a themes in modern global history course to an all-frosh class in a critical thinking module. My theme is war crimes and public memory, and the students are (so far, anyway) really involved and enthusiastic.
It's the corporeal being that sucketh, and not in the literal sense. I thought I was pretty much over that octopus attack, but it turns out not so much. Each time I teach knocks me out for the rest of the day plus the next one. At least I'm teaching TuTh, so that's only 4 days a week that I'm useless instead of 6.
I'm starting to feel ever so slightly less than optimistic.
But I did manage to post a cute (imho) bit about Rick Perry's comparison of climate change deniers to Galileo over at thatsnothistory. Which feels like an accomplishment.