Friday, April 1, 2016

On Amusement Park Nightmares and Sleeping In: Spring Break 2016 Day One                 

I have a recurring nightmare where I am at an amusement park that I love (it’s never quite Disneyland but definitely has some Disney vibes), and for whatever reason—long lines, a late start, the slowness of the people I am with, the distance between attractions, someone needing to EAT, for pete’s sake—the day ends and I have hardly gotten to do anything except maybe go on one or two of the gentler rides, and only because the lines were especially short.  It’s a frustration dream, clearly.

I have a similar sensation about school breaks and holidays.  When I am teaching, as I am now, summer comes, and it takes me a couple of weeks just to unwind, and then I have a class to take, and we have a stretch of bad weather, or someone gets sick, and before I know it, summer is flippin’ over and I have nothing to show for it.   I didn’t get my teuxdeux list conquered, my projects done, my books read, a real vacation taken—nothing at all.  The summer just sort of got frittered away, and now it’s time to get back to work. 

Disclaimer:  I do truly love work, in general, and teaching, in particular.  But it requires of me a sustained energy and perpetual state of overwork that I can’t seem to avoid, no matter how carefully I budget my time.  It’s hard to find Sabbath rest during the school year.  I don’t live for my weekends and holidays, but I am very, very grateful for them.

Last year, Darrel and I did a great thing.  We planned a month-long road trip that began the day school got out.  We were nervous about being away from home so long: what if we got to the east coast and didn’t want to drive any more?  Or maybe we’d get tired of strange mattresses and hanging out with friends and relatives that—due to distance—we didn’t really know that well any more.  But we did it anyway, and we had a great time, and we came home really proud of ourselves.  Not only that, but it helped us plunge into summer without the two-week unwind.  We just unwound as we went!  The rest of the summer felt like a bonus.

Anyway, my thought was that if I blog about my spring break, I’ll have a record of what I did—proof to myself that I didn’t just fritter it away.  I have a short memory, I guess, and I need evidence that I actually got rested and revitalized!

This school year has been one of my most challenging for reasons I won’t delve into here except to say this.  Every school break has required me to bring home a pile of work.  Very few weekends felt free of work.  When I was approaching spring break and realizing that I was in a little bit better place than usual, I chose to plow.  I worked late three of four work nights this week so I could get my grades done early and have two weeks worth of planning for my classes after spring break done before the break, and it worked! 

Today was supposed to be a teacher workday to get third-quarter grades completed and to get ready for the new quarter.  But I walked out last night at 6 p.m. with everything finished—even emails to students and parents with some reminders for the new quarter.  In other words, I walked out a free woman (for the next 10 days) and started my spring break a day early.  This is not my usual M.O.  I am feeling, once again, a little bit proud of myself.  The gorgeous spring weather seems a bonus gift to celebrate my freedom!

Darrel and I have never had the same spring break since we have been married.  Since he would be working, I thought about taking a trip by myself to see relatives, but nothing worked out.  (Airline tickets are expensive this time of year!)  Plus, I really wanted to get some creative projects done at home and enjoy sleeping in—the one inexpensive luxury I so seldom get these days.  I don’t exactly have goals for spring break, but I do have some hopes:  rest, spend time with local friends and family, see the tulips, make greeting cards, work on some sewing projects, take care of some nagging household details, get some exercise, make some healthful diet choices, pray, read, write, perhaps a bit of self-care.

So how am I doing so far?

Day One: 

Household tasks:  Did laundry, made soup, chopped vegetables, got a pair of shoes ready to return to Amazon, put new sheets on the bed, put away some miscellaneous stuff that’s been driving me nuts, made a real dinner.

The chopping vegetables part has a bit of a story.  I make a healthful, homemade ranch dip that I really love.  Unfortunately, I usually eat it with potato chips—not so healthful.  We buy organic carrots ten pounds at a time, and I thought if I cut them up into carrot sticks, maybe I would eat the dip with carrots instead of chips.  But making carrot sticks is time-consuming and tiring.  So I peeled a bunch of carrots and used this nifty device I got from Pampered Chef to cut the carrots at an angle to make perfect little single dip carrots slices.  I love problem-solving!

Laundry is a routine, but soup-making happens when I have the perfect storm of a carcass in the fridge, which I did, leftover from a Costco rotisserie chicken dinner from last week, the appropriate vegetables on hand (I did have to ask Darrel to pick up an onion and some celery on his way home from work), and time.  Returns with Amazon are easy enough but still take some time.  I hate to make the bed alone, but I made myself do it anyway; I do love a made bed.

Self-care:  Slept in! Caught up a bit on reading some articles I had saved from Facebook posts (love that new “save link” feature), made some arrangements for a tulips outing with my daughter and her kids and for an extended lunch date with a good friend, took a long shower, prayed aloud (not my usual thing) to sort out some motives, got my hair to look amazing, chatted online with my mother, Skyped with Dan and Cindy who are in Thailand, played two games with my husband, ate carrots!

And now, a mere 13 hours after I got out of bed, we’re both tired and ready to call it a night.  We have a few necessary tasks for tomorrow; I hope there is time to get outside and maybe also start a fun project.

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