Sunday, June 25, 2017

Snuck Into Office to Work On A Saturday. Sort of Found My Desk.

The summer is slowly sneaking into my office and there's a little pathway to my chair where I attempted to to today to work on academic material. It took a while, however, as there were piles and piles of grant materials and summer programming needing to be dealt with; but I knew I couldn't work on it because no one else was in the office and who would I report information to?

So, I worked on writing and materials that needed immediate attention, noticing the storm clouds moving away and blue skies arriving to the scene. That created a temptation to bet out of my office (on a Saturday) so I could actually live like a normal human being.

That would be great, but there's nothing normal about the worlds I live in June, July and August with the Writing Project obligations. It's hold your breath and hope to make it time.

Even so, in the office there is quiet and there is space to think without distraction (which if you look at my office, you might wonder how that is - I know I do). I guess I work best in the chaos.

Today is my brother-in-law's birthday and so I am singing happy birthday to him: MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE
MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE
MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE
MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE
MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE MIKE.

It's the day of him, and with that, I'm heading back to my office.


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Snacks Purchased for the Labs Next Week, Stored, and Now It's the Weekend

Finally, after 6 years, I have a credit card in CWP's name, so I can purchase all the summer goods for our writers without having to put myself in massive debt. It's so good to get through the summer without having to wait a month for reimbursements and to have the paperwork streamlined.

Yesterday, we got the supplies ready and the rooms established. It looks like rain today, so I'm guessing I might have time to do some writing (just need to sneak out of the house before everyone wakes up so I have an excuse).

Last night, an impromptu Scrabble tournament and corn hold game led the way into steak on the grill, pasta salad and waffle fries. The winds kept the mosquito population down, too, even though the fireflies and June bugs were having a bonanza.

I've written this before, but I really don't know how anyone has a large family to feed. Preparation, cooking, and cleaning up can kidnap a night completely...then you simply have to think about doing it all over. I admit, I am good at it for a few months, but I accomplish much more on Triscuits and cheese night....that takes all of 2 minutes to prepare. I did BJs earlier this week and we already wiped out the meals I prepped for. Poof! It's gone.

But it's a good thing. Kanyea asked, "Who taught you to cook like this?" and I could only reply, "It's survival. You live on your own long enough you learn to take care of yourself." I've mastered the low-key, but delicious meal-in-an-hour operation...

I've even mastered the timing of the meal to meet the Ramadan schedule of breaking at 8:40 for Werdi. But, I go to bed thinking, 'breakfast and lunch is what it is, and oh, shit, what about later tonight.'

Pizza's the solution, but Kanyea, it turns out, doesn't eat it - another Edem. So, we shall see how we make do over the next month.

Friday, June 23, 2017

When Your House Guest Wears Magnum Bar Pajamas (Sort Of)

On his first night, Kanyea announced he was cold and going to go put on his pajamas. He returned in full African gown and I said, "Yo. You're dressed like a Magnum Bar," and lucky for me I had the European Magnum bars in my fridge. There you go - you are what you eat.

Yesterday was the first day of Bryan-style campus life and I had to laugh when they through in the towel at 4 wanting to come home for a nap. I tried. I thought I couldn't hook them for another 4 hours of work, but I understand that 12 hour days is more my style and not that of other.

When I came home form work at 8 p.m. they were out (upstairs asleep). It was all good, because it gave me time to pull out dinner from the fridge (after the teacher orientation only left Italian sandwiches, which had pork - total lost for this household).

The orientation went well, though, and everyone seemed to be hooked by the work we're setting out to do with College Ready Writers Program.

Today, though, we're finishing touches with our work, and sad that John Legend got sick and canceled his concern tonight (it's all good - we'll get there later in July).

Phew. These day are blending together as I knew they would. Inhaling and exhaling, making one day make it to the next.

It's Friday. Enjoy.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Well, The Summer Crew Has Arrived and the First Stop Was Short Beach to See The Water

Syracuse met Bridgeport yesterday as the young men of Ubuntu Academy met with some of the CNY crew before next weeks shenanigans began. First things first: the ocean, BJs for dinner supplies, and then Crandall special to break 50% of their fasts.

This will be a pace that I need to catch up on because I'm a little brain-fried pulling it all together.

I am also feeling thankful that CWP-Fairfield has a summer of programs that will showcase the stories of American democracy, writing, education, and hope for a better life.

Mt. Pleasant is a little tight, but it's all for a great cause. Today, we need to line things up for next week (plus do a Keynote visit to an ISI in Florida).

We got this. There's no other choice.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

From Pam's Basement To Chitunga's Bedroom - Just Like Mimi's Doll

While Chitunga was staying at Mimi's he freaked out by a red-headed doll my mom transported from Hamilton, New York. I didn't know there was a doll in the room, but he said it stared at him, freaking him out. He stayed in my room, which is the space my parents converted into a guest bedroom the second I left for college.

When my grandparents' home was cleaned out, the doll came with my mom and I guess is stored in my old room. I never noticed, but the doll seemed to stalk Chitunga while he stayed there.

He turned it so it faced a corner. Mom turned it back around. He turned it. She turned it back around. And then my mom put it in his bed under the pillow. She won.

With all of stuff in the garage, I couldn't help but grab the dirty Shirley Temple doll and send a photo to Chitunga to say, "Look, a doll found your bed in Connecticut, too."

Little joke. The doll is now in Pam's room looking at her. Tunga's room is actually quiet, until the out-of-town guests arrive this afternoon (then the noise and chaos will begin).

In the meantime, there will be mini-nighbares about a plastic doll with bad curly hair and an inability to blink. I can see why one would be freaked out.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Two Weeks This Face Will Greet All Who Enters Mt. Pleasant - Mr. Jake

The out-of-town guests have arrived, including Mr. Jake who has been looking at me with this mug ever since he arrived (I've told Kanyea and Werdi to expect that all of their personal space will be invaded, because the dogs think they are the kings and queens of the universe).

Last night was a downpour, so after work it was a cheeseburger at the Sitting Duck and then retreating to the couch until falling asleep.

The humidity and rain simply wiped us out.

I hate Mondays and yesterday's Monday was too much, especially after a weekend of doing nothing but school work. It is always frustrating when everyone else returns to work and add this SNAFU and this policy and this restriction - come on, people...I've lived in my office trying to make everything possible...can't you but some slack when you return on Monday. CWP IS a part of the University. Why treat us as 2nd class citizens?

That's my rant.

In 24 hours, the Boys from Syracuse will be on a train heading this way and I'll be preparing teacher orientations and students arrivals.

In the meantime? This face. That's what keeps it all going (the pooch-guest).

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Fifteen Drafts Rule - Ready To Hit The Send Button and Move On

I stayed in my office late on Friday (before the haircut), then went back at it all day Saturday (while prepping and helping the Pam Mt. Pleasant move), then hunkered down on Sunday in the humidity, to tackle a chapter for an Exemplary African American Young Adult Novelists book with an aim of February 2018. I received positive feedback the first time, but I have learned from experience that a piece of writing, once completed, needs 15 additional edits.

You can see from the right that I still use ink and hard copies when I get to the final phases. This time, I had to cut 1000 words and de-wording as a love of mine - although I still have 350 to cut. Ugh.

I am somewhat thankful by the distraction, as Kentucky heat came to Connecticut this weekend and it was nasty outside. I walked Glamis in the morning and mowed the lawn at night, but it was a sticky, uncomfortable day - I felt bad for Patrick and Pam, who were soaked in sweat when I went to retrieve their hounds to lighten up their move.

Mae, in thunder shirt, was nervous all day by the rearrangements and emptying of the house. At 10 p.m., her daddy Patrick came to get her and all went calm.

But it's Monday. Here we go...let's the trumpets blow.