Thursday, September 27, 2007

This week's cookin'!

This week kicked the tush of last week! Yes, last week was a crazy headlong rush of work and anxiety. Read-teach-read-class-read-research- poem torn apart in poetry class- crying jag- teaching-writing-meeting-writing-class. This week, there was still a lot of teaching and writing, but a lot more joy. To be honest, I barely remember Monday, so it couldn’t have been that great.

Well, I remember one thing: My Teaching English Composition course requires us to observe a teacher’s class. Kerstin came to watch mine one day. Monday, a student asked, “So how did the observation go? What did you get?” He thought I was getting graded, and was concerned for my grade. Isn’t that sweet? At teaching class that night, Kerstin gave me a thank-you present. She's so thoughtful! I guess I was telling her about my new cooking ambition and lack of budget for saffron. Her gift was a few nice cooking magazines she had around, a favorite recipe of hers, and ziplocks of spices for the recipe – sage and saffron! (Photo saffron threads downloaded from Wikipedia.)

Tuesday, for the first time a student actually showed up for help during office hours. I had a good time helping her work on an analysis of the spider symbolism in Charlotte’s Web. Then I was dreading poetry class, and put off writing the assigned poem too long, but it turned out well.

Well, I shouldn’t have worried. Class was great! We looked at the similarities between poetry and music using a Chaka Kahn song and a Tracy Chapman song. For class we had to write a poem that has to be read aloud to be fully appreciated. Mine was a funny take on slam poetry. Everyone laughed, which was awesome! Then the teacher handed back a few of our poems with comments. On mine, he had drawn lots of stars next to things he liked, called part of one poem powerful and mysterious, and said I work my closings well. Nadine, one of my professors at Buena Vista University always said the same. She said I should call my first book of poetry “Last Lines.” This praise will make future criticism easier to take, because I’ll know that he likes some of my work (and, thus, does not think I’m incompetent). Yay!

Wednesday I had a great, workshop-style class with my loverly students who are working their way, slowly but steadily, through their analyses. It’s a hard thing to do the first time, but it will make everything else they have to write for college easier. After class, a girl stayed for help. Then I had to read some non-fiction articles for my 19th Century Lit class. The discussions in class were so lively, and I got my paper back (the one I was so nervous about). I got an A-! Yay! I had been afraid I did so much worse. Yay, yay, yay! I have to get good grade to 1- justify my continued full-ride and assistantship and 2- improve my chances of getting into a good DA or PhD program if I need to after I graduate.

Today I had some extra office hours and met with a few more students to discuss their analyses. After that I was exhausted, so I decided to watch my most recent Netflix movie, Love Me if You Dare. Warning: SPOILERS FOLLOW. It was so beautiful and French, but it left me confused. A little boy and little girl met and started daring each other to do things. The dares kept escalated until they were adults. The whole thing is gorgeous and romantic, but increasingly dark. The movie ends with them standing in a form being filled with concrete. But then it shows them as old people still doing dares…but then it shows a pillar of concrete. Were they actually in the concrete, and the old people thing was their afterlife, or did they get out at the last second? I don’t know. I really don’t.

Then I had to get after Bank of America on the phone. DO NOT JOIN BANK OF AMERICA! I’ve been banking since at least high school, and I’ve had more trouble during the one month I’ve been a BoA customer than in my previous decade of banking. It’s driving me nuts, but hopefully they’ve got everything fixed now.

After all that banking frustration, I walked to the store and bought chicken. (Round-trip it took about an hour.) I came home and made Kerstin’s recipe. Risotto…yum! (That's not my risotto at left. That photo's from The recipe was perfect to use up the wine and chicken stock left over from the last recipe I made. (The chicken stock will only be good for another four or five days, according to the box). I threw some browned chicken thighs into the risotto before baking it, and the resulting dish as delicious. Even thought I used boneless, skinless thighs, it came out so moist and tender.

Then I watched the season premier of Gray’s Anatomy. Hooray! It lived up to the usual level of drama and silliness.

Tomorrow is my students’ workshop, part 2! Then, since I didn’t write much today, I’m making the rest of Friday a writing day. And since I usually read on Fridays, Saturday will have to become reading day. Next week is the Old Dominion University Literary Festival. Yay! I’m going to get to meet some great writers (fiction, non-fiction and poetry). I’m so excited.

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