Sunday, January 18, 2009

I'm feeling ridiculous.

Dude, I always cry during Rocky. Which one? Any and all, though of course I'm partial to IV.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Cat post

I haven't talked about the Kitten in some time. She's hardly that anymore, though--a kitten. It seems to have stuck as a name anyway. It's either that or "hellspawn" and she doesn't answer to either. As cats go, she's fairly nuts, and that's saying a lot about a cat. She chases the big cat around incessantly, and the hours of the night are punctuated by protesting cat yowls. Lately, big cat has learned that Kitten's only fear is the piano, and so she leaps off of the low A and C notes to her corner on the upright, whilst the kitten peels out in her terrified sprint in the opposite direction.

Kitten is happiest when she is biting; she purrs loudly in rhythm with her chomps on your hand, arm, calf--whatever's closest. She has a weird bathroom fetish, but don't all cats? When she hears the shower start up, she races onto the ledge, where she balances between the shower curtains and gazes, curiously. It is quite disconcerting. She can be sweet, as when she jumps onto your chest or shoulder and proceeds to sand your face with her tongue. She aims for eyelids. It hurts.

Vicious as she may be, what with the stalking of kneecaps and chomping on forearms, she is remarkably tender and careful with young children. She didn't leave my niece's side the entire time the one year-old was here and, even when the little girl grabbed hold of Kitten's favorite toys and swished them dangerously, the Kitten only reacted by kindly batting at the object in motion (as opposed to her usual death rattle, etc).

To chalk up a few more points (it almost gets her out of the red, some days) she is quite attentive to me these days. I hate to get overly-sentimental about livestock, but she seems to know things are changing. She also seems to know when I'm upset, or overly worn-out, and she comes to sit with me--something she has never done before.

Today I took her to be spayed, and she's sitting on the couch behind me now, doped out of her mind and trying to remember how to purr. It sounds like she's got a coupla pebbles rattling, but she's happy. I was slightly bothered, taking her in to get her goodies taken out, particularly considering my own scenario. Is it right for the prego pet owner to prohibit the animal from procreating? Well, the answer is yes--particularly when the animal's gene sequence likely contains some mutation from Hell. I can't help but see an accusing look come from her direction every so often...and it's vaguely disconcerting. Then again, what's more disconcerting is the Big Cat we didn't get spayed right away--we couldn't keep any pencils lying around, the way she looked at them...Then she came in the house one day, with her "sex fur" and we knew, but it was seven kittens too late.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Poem hunting

I have a week, roughly, before the Spring semester begins; it is my final semester. I have reason to believe that it may be a slightly stressful one, added to the fact that I'm beginning to feel slightly burnt out and will be in my third trimester for the majority of it *doing third trimester dance*. Forgive me now for the things I may say and do--and those things which I do not say or do that I should have.

That said, Floyd and I got a head start on some baby stuff (note: there's about 2 1/2 weeks between the due date for final grades and the due date for the baby, so anything we can get done now is uhm, beneficial). The room is bluish, light bluish. That doesn't mean we're having a boy. It just means the room is blue. It also has a sun and some clouds, which is pretty darn cute, but not above-board cute--for the record, I find many baby nurseries nauseating. It's like, dude, the baby's cute; no need to overload everyone with smarmy attempts to make everything surrounding the baby cute, too. Although an alphabet was suggested, and fairly so, as one appears on the lil quilt we bought (on clearance!), I think that it puts a lot of undue pressure on an infant. However, it got me to thinking. If I'm going to pressure my little one into being an uber-nerd like me, why stop at the alphabet? This is where all y'all come in.

I would like to hang up a giant-sized poem in the room. Originally I considered jest paintin it up on the wall, but have decided to put it on a large canvas instead (the canvas is also painted sky/clouds, so maybe I can always keep a little bit of the nursery...yep, there you have it. An already nostalgic mom moment. Move along, folks).

Any poem suggestions? Presently, I am considering Langston Hughes' "Dreams" (see below) but it seems almost too negative, in spite of its positive message (the poem talks more about injured birds and barren winter fields than dreams). I am open to ideas, and much in need of them.

Hold fast to dreams

For if dreams die

Life is a broken-winged bird

That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams

For when dreams go

Life is a barren field

Frozen with snow.

In another forum, I was given two other suggestions, which I thought I'd throw out there as well, for your thoughts.

I carry your heart with me (e.e. cummings)*

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant and
whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Note: not entirely sure on the original/correct format, although this was lifted from a fairly reliable .edu website

And someone else suggested a poem from Khalil Gibran from "the Prophet" (he adds that I could probably find a better translation).

And a woman who held a newborn babe against her bosom said,
- Speak to us of children!

And he said:
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the Archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The penultimate semester

It feels like this is my first night off since the start of Fall semester! Since turning in my final papers, I finished all of my student grades and then faced the barrage of familial and holiday obligations. My dear brother came to stay with us for a few days, with his wife and their one year-old daughter. As much as I love them, I think they stayed a day too long, and we all caught the little one's cold. Tonight I'm recovering--feeling much better, I might add, after two days down--and trying to ignore the little voice telling me to work on my syllabus for next semester's comp 2 course. I'll get there. First, a small recap of this last semester...

I had a lot of expectations, and not all of them were met. While my final papers left much to be desired, I knew where my weak points were before they were pointed out to me, and had some strengths brought to my attention that I had been unaware of. Looking back, it seems that I stepped into a different type of paper writing experience--it was lower quality but a different felt rather like the training wheels came off and so, while the ride was rocky I came out of it feeling more empowered, with a vision, albeit a blurry one, of where I needed to go.

Teaching was a double challenge--as in, I taught two courses in addition to my own. Sometimes I feared that this caused my students to get the short end of the stick; on the other hand, teaching while I was a bit unhinged from stress might have been an improvement. Four of my first semester students to enroll in my class this coming semester (out of 20 students, that's a decent percentage!), and two of my comp 2 students have asked me to continue working with them on their final papers next semester. I was hoping that my students would emerge, unscathed, and it appears that some of them were even slightly inspired!

My understanding of graduate school has changed with the completion of each semester. The trend is that as I gain more knowledge, the more of a neophyte I become. Nearing completion of my Master's degree, I don't feel any smarter, despite having read thousands of pages of literature and its accompanying criticism; despite having passed a test that says I'm an officially proficient grad student. I have learned a great deal about literature (not to mention about the capacity of myself, and my marriage)and yet I certainly don't feel that I'm a "Master" of any sort. I feel that there's a lot more of this ahead of me. Despite misgivings, and a disarming fear that I will not be able to find a job in my chosen profession, I am unable to find peace in any other option.