--A year ago, I reported to work at my current job for the first time. I wasn't sure what to expect. I hadn't even been to the campus, so delicate was the situation with my predecessor. I got there just in time for the costume contest which is an interesting way to begin a new job.
--Yesterday was one of the days that reminded me why I am so happy to be at this campus. A traditional campus would have a department devoted to Student Life--but we're not that campus. We're small enough so that a variety of us get to do a variety of jobs. It can be exhausting, but it's also rewarding. And it works for someone like me, who has ideas and likes being able to just run with them, instead of having to bring an idea to a multitude of committees and other types of gatekeepers.
--Yesterday was our decorate pumpkins day at school. It was a variation of an activity that we did in my old school in 2009. I brought a variety of arts and crafts supplies to a pumpkin carving student event and got good feedback. So yesterday, I brought those same supplies (yarn, buttons, beads, markers, fabric) to school and set up a table in the student lounge. I had both Styrofoam pumpkins and real ones. I had it set up for the break at 10:40 in the morning, and we left it set up through the day. It was neat to see different groups of students having fun with art supplies. Even some staff members decorated a pumpkin, once I saw that my worry about running out of pumpkins was unfounded.
--Why is it hard for people to remember to put caps back on the glue sticks? Why do beads get scattered so far away (rooms away!) from the bead box? Can one have a transsexual pumpkin? These are questions that came up during the day. A more interesting question to me: why do so many people say they aren't creative? I have pictures that would argue that people just need some supplies, some time, and creativity will begin to bubble up. And another interesting question: do our decorated pumpkins say anything profound about us?
--We could ask the same questions about our costumes. If I wanted to participate in the costume contest today, I need to start assembling something from my closet. I could put together a park ranger outfit. I would be most interested in coming as a gypsy fortune teller, but I'm not sure our students would see that as a costume. It wouldn't be as fun as when my grad school friend pulled off a sort of performance art at a children's party by doing palm readings for children and playing with gender and class expectations. For boys, she predicted great careers in dance; for girls, that they would grow up to be surgeons.
--No, I will just go to school in Halloween colors: an orange skirt and a black top.
--I used to decorate more, and I used to bake more. Of course, my work life used to take less of my time. I'm still decorating--it's just for school. Once I rolled out cookies in the shape of pumpkins. I had cookie cutters for a variety of holidays. But now I only bake bar cookies. I don't even do drop cookies.
--Even though I'm not dressing up in costume, I'm still spending Halloween as I often have: with friends. I'll go to lunch with one friend after she's done teaching, and tonight, I'll head over to a friend's house to spend time with neighborhood friends.
Best Essay Collections of 2017 by Women Authors
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