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Thursday, September 3, 2015

I can never sleep properly before the first day of school. I'm not nervous about work or meeting new students. I think my brain is just trying to make sure that I'm not late and that I prepared all my first day handouts.

My parents came over last evening and stayed overnight since I had to leave by 6:30 and my Mom is watching Tanya. Bear is away until Saturday afternoon. She roped my Dad into working from my place (his work allows occasional work from home days) so he could help out too when he wasn't working. They are also leaving for a vacation in Aruba tomorrow for 10 days, so both were looking forward to spending time with their granddaughter.

I made sure to say goodbye to Tanya before I left because that is a better option that just disappearing on her. She's been waking up between 6 and 7 lately anyway, so I didn't really wake her up. No crying - pretty successful exit.

My commute is pretty long. I need to take a subway and a train. Since I only have to travel twice a week and I can get a lot of work done on the way, I don't really mind it too much, especially in the morning. I got the luxury of reading my book for a few hours. The beginning of the semester, before the grading starts in earnest is pretty nice. Most of my planning handouts are ready and I can read for pleasure guilt free.

I stopped by the corner store to get my bagel with cream cheese, which I eat later when I get on the train and caught the subway. I saw a very gorgeous sunrise this morning. The subway travels above ground for the while and the window across from me was bright pink with the sun disk all dimmed and slightly yellow. Very lovely.

I was reading On the Move , the autobiography by Oliver Sacks. Since his death on Sunday I just wanted to get started on it. I just finished reading Roadside Picnic by Strugatsky brothers, so the timing was right. (I'm still working on the Hamilton biography but that book is long, so I will break it with other books. And I usually read two or three books at a time). I'm almost 100 pages into the book - I read the first three chapters. I find it interesting that he doesn't really discuss his childhood. He starts as a teenager getting his first motorcycle. As motorcycle enthusiast, it is a major part of his identity, so I understand his choice. It is just unusual not to have a general run through of dates/parents/siblings/childhood memories. Some details make their way through the narrative as he goes along but mostly, the early chapters are his late teens/20s - college/medical school/travels. Some of his other books (I read 2 so far - Mind's Eye and An Anthropologist on Mars ) have autobiographical details, especially Mind's Eye which deals with his eye cancer and perception. But those focus more on his later life. This autobiography is definitely surprising in details about his youth like motorcycles or weight training. And there are his travel letters and accounts which are an entertaining read. I'm definitely enjoying the book so far.

I also listened to my iPod when not reading a book. I haven't recharged it in a month I think - there was just no time with looking after Tanya all the time. We listen to the radio at home or to CDs. (On Tuesday, Tanya rummaged through Bear's CDs, found a CD of sci-fi music from movies and TV and dragged it to the living room. So I put it on. She didn't care for early tracks like Twilight Zone but when I put in Halloween, she just started dancing to the scary horror movie music. It was hysterical). Last week, in anticipation of listening to my music again, I made a Favorite Broadway playlist - taking two tracks from all the musicals I have. I wanted to just have one favorite track per musical but that was too hard. Even two was hard but I stuck through it. My 'flaw' in this playlist was adding songs from Buffy Musical - now I just want to rewatch the whole episode (I picked Rest in Peace and Standing), which will lead to watching more Buffy episodes. Other musicals included Aida, Anything Goes, Avenue Q, Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Miserables, Cabaret, Hedwig, If/Then, Into the Woods, Once, Rent, Buffy and Rocky Horror. I should probably add Dr. Horrible.

I got some time in the morning before my classes started, since there was no office hour today. I had to print and photocopy syllabi, reading guides, rosters, writing samples and a lot of paperwork. I also put together the first assignment question. We are starting with Jane Goodall's reading again "In the Forest of Gombe" but I am asking them to see the drawbacks to some of her concepts. New approach. Maybe I can teach some critical thinking!

First class is really easy. I talk about the syllabus and class requirements and then the students write a writing sample. During that time I reread the first essay and prepped my discussion question for next week during the first section and read the writing samples from the first section in my second one. (I teach two sections of Basic Composition). My second section filled up - so it has good number of students. I don't have to worry about cancellation, which is a relief.

After my classes, I stopped by the department and said hello to more colleagues I haven't seen all summer and then started making my way home.

It was very hot today and the subway station tried to boil us all alive, I think. It was so hot with no air conditioner. It was a relief when a train pulled up.

Good first day overall. Now I'm home alone with Tanya for 48 hours before Bear comes back. Then we will travel to Long Island for Labor Day weekend. So still a bit of vacation left before the semester really starts.

On exciting front, Tanya is starting to be braver in walking. Lately she's been holding on to just one hand, but yesterday she did a few steps by herself if I let go her hand several times and even started walking by herself from a standing position. Just a few steps but very exciting.

And in TMI, I really hope my body gets the message soon that I weaned and haven't nursed her for over a week now. My boobs are very uncomfortable. No one tells you these things. It's like postpartum. It sucks but no one really mentions the details beforehand.

And in exciting news my friend Janna is pregnant with her second baby. The first one is turning 2 in a month. I probably won't have the time but I found the birth record cross stitch kit anyway to try to make it for the baby. I'm trying to be optimistic about having the time to cross stitch again. Last time I make anything was Tanya's birth record, just before she was born.

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
scripsi
Sep. 4th, 2015 06:31 am (UTC)
It sounded like a nice beginning of the term.

And your Little one will be running Before you know it. :)
bearshorty
Sep. 5th, 2015 12:54 am (UTC)

She's trying to run already before she can walk properly! It is fun too see her learn.

evelyn_b
Sep. 4th, 2015 11:58 am (UTC)
Walking! By herself! That's very exciting. :D

I hope you have a good semester, and a relaxing vacation before it gets seriously underway.
bearshorty
Sep. 5th, 2015 12:55 am (UTC)

It's super exciting! Watching her learn new things is a highlight.


Thank you.

moongirl24
Sep. 4th, 2015 04:10 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to hear you had a nice first day.

Your list of musicals reminds me of how much I want to watch more musicals! I feel like I've watched quite a few, but there's so many left :)
bearshorty
Sep. 5th, 2015 12:57 am (UTC)

There are so many musicals! I have another list of all I still want to watch. What are some on your list that you really want to see?

moongirl24
Sep. 5th, 2015 11:08 am (UTC)
I guess Wicked is on the top of my list, mostly because of all the references and all the songs on Glee! Phantom of the Opera is also high on my list, and Rent too (I love the movie!). And most of the ones you mentioned (the only ones I've seen on your list are Les Miserables and Cabaret). I really want to see Hedwig now that I've heard so much about it because of Darren :)
hamsterwoman
Sep. 4th, 2015 11:14 pm (UTC)
Hearing about Sacks's death made me want to pick up his autobioraphy, too (but I haven't yet). I also haven't read this one, but the childhood stuff might be/probably is in his earlier autobiorgraphical book Uncle Tungsten (which I also want to read).
bearshorty
Sep. 5th, 2015 01:01 am (UTC)

I didn't even think about Uncle Tungsten, but I think you might be right. I think I will make my way through Sacks' books over the next few years. I'm enjoying the autobiography - his life certainly surprises - he rides a motorcycle, he lifts weights for weight records, he surfs, he takes photos, he travels, he does drugs etc. Not what I expect from a doctor, I guess.

ramasi
Sep. 5th, 2015 02:19 pm (UTC)
Wait, there's an Aida musical? As in, the Egyptian princess, like the opera? Or is it something else? Anyway, I love listening to musicals while traveling.

I never read anything by Oliver Sacks, I really should.

Glad the first day went well, I hope the rest of the semester does too!
bearshorty
Sep. 5th, 2015 02:30 pm (UTC)

Yes, there is Aida musical! Like the opera. About a Nubian princess and Egyptian guy (The cast was deliberately black girl and white guy to have an interracial couple). It's my favorite musical of all time!  It's by Elton John and Tim Rice and I just love all the songs.


Oliver Sacks is great. Makes you really think about the brain. Before I read him I didn't realize that other people can see actual images when they close their eyes and even rotate them. I just get black while understanding the concept. But I won't actually see a pink elephant in my head.


Thanks!

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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