Monday, January 9, 2017

Monday Mix: A Look Back at the First Week of 2017

This past week has been an interesting mix.  Let me capture some of it:

--I have spent part of my Christmas break getting my online classes ready to go, a task made more difficult because the Learning Management System (D2L) has been changed.  It's supposed to be easier to use, and maybe it will be.  But right now, it's exasperating.  Instead of having my class on the first page, I need to go search for it.  There's a way to "pin" it, but I can't figure out how.

--To make the interface truly easier, revise it so that when I enter a due date in one place, it loads across the shell--automatically.  Don't give me superficial "designs" that will make it easier to read on a tablet or phone and try to tell me that it's an upgrade that will change my experience.

--I've de-Christmased the house.  Often my spouse gets tired of waiting for me, and he does it.  But this year, I promised that I would do it on Sunday, and I did. 

--There is an austere beauty to a house that has been de-Christmased.

--Before the Christmas days off, I went to the library which had some of the books which made the Best of 2016 list.  Last week, I read Tim Murphy's Christodoro, which had lots of interesting elements:  how to be an artist, the AIDS saga, why people find drugs enticing, the do-gooder heart. The representations of the intersection of sex and drugs disturbed me greatly. I hope that I also remember the documenting of the years of AIDS and the 80’s, how the disease was “vanquished,” until its next iteration, at least. And it was an interesting way to tell the story, going back and forth in time.  I almost put the book down after the second chapter, which had such a bratty teenager as its focus.  I'm glad that I persevered.

--One book that I did put down was Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple.  I had heard her interviewed and thought the book would be worth a try.  If I had been stuck on a plane, with nothing else to do, I would have kept going.  But I am so tired of reading books that have harried moms with yoga pant level problems as their main character. 

--My spouse is about to spend the next 8 weeks teaching a Tuesday-Thursday night class.  I hope to get a lot of reading done.  Next up:  Zadie Smith's latest.

--I also hope to get some writing done.  I find myself full-to-overflowing with short story ideas.  I've spent time in the last week working on the story told in the voice of a corporate woman.  I also wrote a poem.

--In an odd confluence, I find myself moving on to a new sketchbook and a new purple poetry legal pad this week:  new pages, new hope.

--Our long-awaited cold front has arrived.  We turned on the heat yesterday because we are Florida wimps now.

--I will miss suppers on the front porch.  They will return soon enough.  But I will also miss driving around to look at the Christmas lights, which we did several times in the month of December to raise our spirits.

--This will be the first 5 day work week in several weeks.  Let me remember to be gentle with myself.

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