Sunday, December 13, 2009

Monkeys made of gingerbread and sugar horses painted red

As any professor will tell you, the week before finals is not-so-affectionately called 'dead week' for a reason. Zombie madness. The brain is mush. Excuses and begging abound as students realize the end of the semester is here. Tempers are short as faculty field requests for leniency from students.

I was happy to have an evening off from the madness, thanks to a fellow blogger who shared a ticket to this event at Carnegie Hall on Wednesday this week. It was a lovely concert, and I had not been to Carnegie Hall yet, which added to the fun.

But the next morning, it was back to trying to finish reading final papers and create final exams and grade final exams and finish committee work and write letters of recommendation so that I can have an actual freaking vacation for the first time in years -- which of course is frying my brain.

My last final is on the 21st; as long as I have the other three classes done and grades input before that, I should be ok. I can complete the work related to that last course on the 22nd; wash clothes, clean the apt, and pack on the 23rd; and be off on the 24th.

But in addition to that, I am again serving as a peer reviewer for grant proposals to the Corporation for National and Community Service. They are running a special review for summer 2010 projects, and the review begins December 18. So there are conference calls to listen in to at the same time as finals.

And while I get to leave for an actual vacation to Florida on the 24th, I'll be taking probably five grant proposals with me to review over the week (I do have to pay for the darned vacay after all, and the peer review comes with a $700 stipend -- plus I enjoy doing something different from teaching that's still professional). When I get back the first week of January, the team I'm assigned to will do conference calls to come to a consensus on how to rate the proposals under our review.

There are also two all-day conferences, one on December 18 related to human trafficking at Safe Horizons, one on January 7 related to grant writing by the CUNY system.

One saving grace in all this is that for the first time in 30 years of single parenting, I won't have a kid in the house for the holidays -- which means I don't have to bother with holiday decorations. Whooo hooo!

And then hopefully, if it fits with their work schedules, I'll be able to fly to Washington State to see my son -- and for the first time, my new grandson. I really do hope that all works out.

And somehow in all this, I am supposed to get some work done on the MFD*. If you figure out how I can do that, please let me know -- I'm all ears.

I found this very early Bowie album, and love this song. I've been playing it fairly nonstop for days now (I have no idea why the hell there's a cat in the middle of this photo series).

photo mine, taken outside work 10-29-08

*MFD = mother fucking dissertation

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