Odds and Sods

I have a test on Monday. I wish I didn’t. I’m too old and seasoned to get “test anxiety,” per se. What I get is more like “test resentment.” You mean . . . it’s not enough that I absorb the information presented in class and texts? You want me to prove it? By regurgitating it back to you? Sigh.

This testing/proof process is probably the hardest part of graduate school for me. I’m used to working long, weird hours. I’m used to reading and writing far more than most people probably do, possibly to the point of obsessiveness. Those elements of graduate school are just like the kinds of night-time based freelance writing and research work I’ve done for years and year.

But there’s something discomforting about having to go sit in a classroom for three hours, in a desk that’s far too small for my body (6’3″, 215 pounds, with a bad shoulder and a back that doesn’t handle non-ergonomic chairs very well), being handed a blue book and issued the same warnings about “eyes on your own papers” that I first heard in elementary school, four-odd decades ago. I understand the need to do it . . . but I don’t like doing it, not one bit.

I am planning on taking a couple of courses over the summer, with the goal of finishing the degree this December. It will be tough, but it’s important to me to finish it . . . and to do so before the testing/proving process gets too uncomfortable and borderline humilating to endure further.

Today, I picked Katelin up for her two week break. We’re going to Asheville, North Carolina for a few days next week to see my mother, my sister and her family. Should be nice. I’ve also been enjoying watching the first couple of days of the NCAA Hoops Tourney. Note well: I picked Winthrop (beat Notre Dame), Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (led by 18 points over #2 seed Wisconsin at one point, before finally succumbing), Wright State (won the MVC, but lost in the first round of the NCAA’s) and Akron (shamefully excluded from post-season play) as my underdog sleepers. At least one of them’s still in play . . . and one of them earned the same sort of “almost did it” respect that Albany got last year when they pushed UConn to the limit as a #16 seed.

Finally, as I look out my home office window at the Nor’easter turning my backyard into a swirling white chaos, I realize that I probably posted the “Thaw” poem too soon. Maybe this is more appropriate for today . . .

Freeze

Outside, we can tell the air itself is thickening,
while we ponder cold weather wear we’re ordering
from fall catalogs, the rate of cooling quickening
with the first frost freezing hard the backyard bordering,
the once green growth succumbing to nature’s savaging,
organic ice orchards wilting first then splintering.
By night, we hear the winds all whistling and ravaging,
and know that before we’re ready, we’ll all be wintering.

(Poem Copyright 2004, JES)

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