Category Archives: Exhaustion

Still here.

I really, really hate neglecting this blog. Sadly, I don’t have a lot of other options at the moment. At some point when I catch my breath — probably after my kids finish taking their all-important End-of-Instruction tests in a couple of weeks — I’ll give a thorough update that will (hopefully) serve as sufficient excuse for my delinquency here. In the meantime, please know that I haven’t forgotten y’all, and please check back now and then, because I really do expect to have more time on my hands in the not-too-distant future, and I really will have stories and photos to share.

Summer will be here soon. Allegedly. I think. Maybe. I hope. I have a sneaking suspicion that when it finally arrives, I’m going to feel exactly like I did at the finish line of my first marathon, and for the same reasons. But I have a really, really good story for you, full of healing and hope and joy and excitement and adventure and creativity, tinged with a little trace of sadness, seasoned with a big helping of road karma, sprinkled liberally with hugs, and garnished with at least one classic Emily Priddy maneuver.

Stay tuned….


Hell for leather

March has always been a busy month for me, but this one has been ridiculous even by my standards.

Last time I blogged, we were getting ready for an accreditation audit at school. We passed with flying colors and apparently impressed the snot out of the evaluators. It was a lot of work, but I kind of enjoyed the excuse to design some new instructional materials, write some really whizbang lesson plans, and show off for the visitors. Two of my journalism students spent the better end of two days following the evaluators all over the building with a camera and a notebook; you can read their article here.

I got busted rifling our very dignified assistant principal’s trash during lunch on the 14th. It was Pi Day, and I needed a pop can to add to my collection of cylindrical objects the kids were going to measure as part of the lesson. Somebody told me Saundra had just finished a can of Dr. Pepper and suggested I go Dumpster-diving in her wastebasket to get it. Predictably, she walked in just as I retrieved it. Thank God she has a sense of humor and appreciates my gonzo teaching style….

After working an 11-hour day the Thursday before break, I came home and spent another 13.5 hours laying out the Trip Guide. When I finished, I took a nap, went out to dinner with Ron, and then drove nine hours to Illinois to visit my family. Major kudos to the state trooper who saw me changing a tire near Catoosa and stopped to help. (I have now decided I need to buy one of those hydraulic jacks like cops carry in their patrol cars, because that thing made quick work of a tedious job.) Ron wound up meeting me at the next exit and swapping cars, as there was no way I was going to attempt a thousand-mile road trip on a doughnut.

Flat tire notwithstanding, I had a pretty nice trip. I got back from Illinois (locked the front door, oh, boy!) on Wednesday and spent the remainder of my break finishing up the mural at Brews and Bytes, running errands, checking beehives, and writing lesson plans for next week. Looks as if I’m in for another crazy week, as I’ve got a ballgame, a concert, an NHS induction, and a visit from my in-laws planned between now and next Sunday.

Ah, well. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.


Back to school

Once again, I find myself apologizing for my silence. School started last Monday. I had a good week, but it didn’t leave much time for blogging, as I had commitments to attend to every evening and most of the weekend.

The fact that I am still conscious at this point may have something to do with the fact that I can see a soft blue light shining at the end of the tunnel.

My kids are watching Field of Dreams in class. Daydreaming New Mexico, I understand Moonlight Graham’s line: “Once a place touches you like this, the wind never blows so cold again.”

If I close my eyes, I can almost feel the hot, dry wind stirring the high desert air, twisting my hair into a mass of careless tangles, whispering peace and the land’s ancient incantations into my ear as I rest on an old metal lawn chair, drawing strength and inspiration from the eerie songs of distant coyotes and the familiar hum of neon transformers, storing New Mexico in dreams like mental Mason jars to open and devour when life becomes too complicated and I need the scents of pinon and sage and green chile and magic to drift through my mind like tumbleweeds and send my spirit soaring through a cobalt sky somewhere above a timeworn alignment of Route 66 in the land of Baca and Anaya and Hillerman.


Surfacing for a moment

Sorry for the extended silence. Here are my excuses:

Monday: Baseball game, followed by a meeting at church.
Tuesday: Kempo and lesson plan revision.
Wednesday: School. I spent most of the evening writing a math test.
Thursday: School, part deux. I spent most of the evening holed up at Kaffe Bona, grading papers and recording them.
Friday: Baseball game, followed by my annual descent into the pits of hell, a.k.a. laying out the Trip Guide. This round actually wasn’t as bad as I expected. I pulled an all-nighter and got the first draft done in 9.5 hours, which I think shaved about three hours off my old record.
Saturday: Breakfast, feed store run, brief visit to the Blue Whale to make my excuses (the Fins were holding a workday out there, but we all decided it was not in anyone’s best interest for me to be handling heavy objects or wielding power tools in my present condition), and an extremely surreal trip to the craft store. Somewhere around the 38-hour mark, my lack of sleep started to catch up to me, and the bizarre internal monologue that runs more or less constantly in my head when I am in a building full of shiny objects suddenly became a rapid-fire external monologue, which Ron assures me was hilarious. I finally crashed sometime around 5 p.m.
Sunday: Church, nap, Trip Guide edits, taqueria run to ward off the icky dampness of a cold, rainy evening.
Today: Kempo, lunch at Evelyn’s, laundry, Trip Guide edits, and a batch of whoopie pies to celebrate Pi Day.

I’m heading out to Tucumcari tomorrow for a much-needed vacation.

On a completely unrelated note, I found a hilarious Ryne Sandberg card in a multipack of old baseball cards I bought tonight at Target. It’s a 1988 Topps card featuring Ryno with an extremely unfortunate mustache of the sort you probably should not attempt unless it is 1978 and your name is either Ron Jeremy or Freddie Mercury. (I am sorry to report that the card I got this evening was NOT the one featuring Sandberg posing with a rhinoceros and an Indiana Jones hat. It’s the one to the right of it. But if I can find a Ryno-with-rhino card between now and June, you know it will certainly be going with me to Lehigh Valley for the pregame autograph session.)


Busy week

Here are all of my excuses for not blogging this week:

1. Kempo. I had a lesson Tuesday night, and I was pretty wiped out when I got home.
2. School. I have 200 students. Need I say more?
3. Exhaustion. I went to bed immediately after dinner Wednesday night … and stayed there for 12 hours.
4. Tom Petty. He was at the BOk Center on Thursday night. I’ve never really been a big Tom Petty fan, but he puts on a pretty great show.
5. Exhaustion, part two. I thought about going to the ballgame Friday night, but instead, I went out for an after-school snack with several colleagues (something a few of the younger teachers started the first week of school to foster a much-needed sense of collegiality among the faculty) and then came home to take a nap at 6:30 p.m. I woke up 12 hours later.
6. Jogging. I went for a run with my friend Jackie on Saturday morning. We were planning to run eight miles, but one thing led to another, and we wound up going 10.
7. Baseball cards. After a quick shower and some carbo-loading at Waffle House, I headed out baseball-card shopping with Ron. I came home with 284 baseball cards (including 14 Rynos, two Hawks, a Lee Smith, a Big Z, and a complete set of 1992 Topps Kids cards), a Mark Grace candy dispenser for my little sister, a 1994 issue of Beckett’s Baseball Card Monthly with mah-boy on the cover, and a vicious migraine.
8. Exhaustion, part three. I could have done without the headache, but if there’s a silver lining, it’s the fact that I wound up going back to bed and staying there for 18 hours. For those of you playing along at home, yes, that does add up to 30 hours of sleep in a 36-hour span of time. The beauty of this is that I am pretty sure I have finally caught up the sleep deficit I’ve been running since 1992. I got up this morning and made a quiche, cleaned Hedwig’s cage, planned all of next week’s lessons, took a shower, ate breakfast, and still managed to make it to church with ten minutes to spare.

In the interest of finding out what Monday morning looks like to a person who isn’t exhausted, I think I’m going to go to bed now. Hope your weekend was good.


Sorry …

… for the extended and unexplained absence. I plead calculus. And travel (Tuesday through Friday).

Overarching all this is the fact that a character in Greetings from Coldwater has just disclosed some rather disconcerting information that is forcing me to focus on plot rather than merely reveling in the joy of creating a town out of thin air and populating it with interesting characters. I hate writing plot. It’s difficult. It requires planning. It necessitates knowing things my characters don’t know and placing them in uncomfortable situations without telling them how it’s all going to come out. It’s work. Setting and character are easy. They are fun. They demand little of me beyond the ability to translate imaginary scenes into words. But plot? Yecch. It’s a necessary evil, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Anyway, most of my all-too-limited blog time has been focused on Coldwater lately, so I’ve been neglecting my real life. With any kind of luck, I’ll be able to pay attention to life in Red Fork a little more after I get through my calc final (and hopefully the really plotty parts of the novel) this week.



I came home from work tonight, made the most Southern dinner ever (hoppin’ John, collards, and cornbread, with leftover pecan pie for dessert), and fell asleep before 7:30.

This time 11 nights from now, I will be passing Exit 0 on an unavoidable stretch of I-40 between here and Tucumcari, my thoughts on nothing but blue architectural neon and the black vastness of a New Mexico sky.

It’s been a pretty good winter, but you have no idea how much I need a night at the Swallow to recharge my batteries….


Busy weekend


Our jack-o’-lanterns. The one on the left is a Webster High School logo. It looked better when I first carved it, but part of it started to sag as the evening wore on. I swiped the peace-pumpkin idea from my friend Trisha.

My weekend, by the numbers:

1:52:20: Hours, minutes, and seconds it took me to finish this year’s Tulsa Run. For the record, that’s nearly 11 minutes more than my last Tulsa Run, and over 21 more than my fastest. I’m woefully out of shape this season, so I have only myself to blame for my thoroughly abysmal time.
Three: Dollars spent on pumpkins at the church-run patch up the road.
Two: Number of jack-o’-lanterns I carved before the trick-or-treaters arrived.
Thirty-five: Approximate number of trick-or-treaters who showed up on our doorstep last night.
Five: Hours Ron and I spent cleaning the garage this weekend.
Seven: Number of cave crickets I killed while cleaning the garage.
One: Number of pickup loads of stuff we donated to Goodwill.
Nine: Number of contractor-sized garbage bags currently sitting on our curb.
Fifty-two: Ounces of soda necessary to rehydrate me after we finished cleaning the garage.
One hundred forty-nine: Number of trig problems I probably ought to work between now and 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Thirty: Number of trig problems I absolutely have to work between now and 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Zero: Number of trig problems I am probably going to work tonight.

Hope your weekend was as productive as mine.