Saturday, September 22, 2007

Last Weekend of Summer

I'm spending the last weekend of summer at the lake. Although I had planned to get here more often, it's been mid-late June since I was here. We went out on the boat for lunch and had some great crab rangoon at Backwater Jack's.

The energy of the lake has dispelled from summer since, although it's in the 80s today, we're outside the traditional summer window of Memorial Day to Labor Day. It also means fewer of the neighbors are down so there's not as much random noise. The newbies at the lake, for example, don't realize that playing their boat stereo is heard louder across the cove than where they are sitting on their dock. ;-)

Since TAH grants started, summers just zoom by - and this one even faster than ever. But that may also be a sign of getting older every year.

My students are bearing more of the responsibility of doing their work this semester and although it's taking some gradual condition on my part not to worry about them so much, it is a normal expectation that they can read directions and, more importantly, be expected to follow them instead of just "sorta" doing so. And this is especially true of graduate students. I am trying to redirect my psychic energy into worthwhile directions instead of directions over which I have no control.

My teaching methods class has self-selected down to 4 people - a very manageable group - and much more so who dropped because they sensed it was "too much work". We're expected to meet increasingly higher standards but students are still stretching to see how this connects back to them. My job is not to get them ready to student teach next semester but, instead, give them the opportunity to do so. In return, I am causing much less stress damage to my internal self - both physically and psychologically.

The dirt work at the farm also came into focus late last week which, in return, releases a large dose of psychic energy. Now I can turn to other issues that haven't been hanging over my head for years. I do much better with tasks I can just do myself - but operating dirt moving equipment is certainly NOT one of those. Next on the list is getting rid of the armadillos who have almost taken over both the area around the house and the fields.

Some longtime neighbors are moving. I haven't seen them to ask them to where - although it will still be in town. I will certainly miss them - I watched their kids go from pre-teen and early teenager to all grown up with jobs and families. The newer younger neighbors on the other side fill in somewhat of a gap - but a bit different now that I am the age of my neighbors who are moving when I first moved to the neighborhood. I guess it beats the alternative. And, I certainly appreciate my retired neighbors who always keep out a watchful eye over me - and, more importantly, my mail.

I notice Shadow has deteriorated a bit more since we were here in early summer - and maybe that is because I'm paying more attention. I can't take him on long walks anymore given that that will stress his little heart too much. He had an excitable evening the other night running around and playing with me - I just kept an eye on his breathing, etc., - and he reminded me he still as some "young pup" energy occasionally. He's never been much of a dog that wants to play either with people or other dogs. He sets his own course and I've tried to give him a good life. He has always been a great companion - occasionally needing his space but also understanding the need to "cuddle" and be petted.

Home is where I'll be for another week before I head off to a conference in Oklahoma City with some grant teachers and then, two weeks later, the grant directors' conference in New Orleans. . . disaster tour by a local included.

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