because life doesn’t fit in a file folder

Adjunct of the Year & Concern About My Future Career

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At the end of May, I was honored by the English/Philosophy Department at Monroe Community College when I was awarded Adjunct of the Year.

I didn’t expect the award to be a big deal — more symbolic than anything — so when I sauntered into the English Department on the designated day and the predetermined time, I was sort of surprised to be greeted by two Adjunct Coordinators and my Department Chair. They had plans.

First, one of the Adjunct Coordinators, Keith Jay, made a little speech about my service to the College.

Honestly, it was like my wedding.

I barely heard him. I saw his mouth moving, but my brain was all: Whaaaat?

Keith handed me a certificate.

Nice, right?

Honestly, the certificate would have been enough!

But then they gave me flowers.

Pretty, right?

And then my Department Chair handed me an envelope with ninety-six bazillion dollars.

Ben looks good in green, right?

Keith asked me to follow him into the hall.

(At that point, I would have followed him anywhere.)

“Your nameplate will eventually be there.” Keith pointed to a hook on an otherwise empty wall. “The plaque is at the engraver’s now.”

I followed Keith back into the English office where he picked up a white glove.

Because I am a dork, I thought: Oh, this is it. This is the part where I get hazed.

I’m not kidding.

I thought I was going to have to clean out the English office, or perhaps the supply closet where everyone goes to get pens and pads of paper and markers and chalk. It can get pretty messy in there, especially around the end of the semester. I seriously thought someone was going to make me pass a “white glove” test.

(What’s wrong with me?)

The other adjunct coordinator, Professor Yulanda McKinney, pushed a black box into my hands.

Nestled inside layers of white silk was a crystal prism.

“Put this on before you pick it up.” Keith said, handing me the glove. “You don’t want to get fingerprints all over it.”

As I lifted the prism out of the box with my gloved hand, I saw it had been engraved with my name on it.

It’s hard to take a picture of a prism!

And I was overwhelmed.

Because I realized no one was going to haze me Yulanda and Keith and Cathy and all the people in my department view me as a colleague.

I may not have my own office or full-time hours, but the people with whom I work respect what I do.

Which is an awesome feeling.

So I was filled with gratitude.

Professor Keith Kay, me (in the white glove) & Professor Yulanda McKinney

Not long after I received this award, I had a dream. I was on a ship with a bunch of my students. I turned around to call to them, but no words came out of my mouth. A voice told me to leave them behind, that they would be okay.

I’ve been struggling with my vocal cords lately.

A lot.

Obviously, the damage is worse.

I keep thinking about that dream.

I don’t know how many semesters I have left in the classroom because some days I just squeak.

Or cough.

It goes without saying that I will, of course, give 100%, but if this September is to be my swan song, 20 & 1/2 years in the classroom will have been a lovely run.

I don’t know what I will do next.

It’s been a long time since I’ve done anything else.

Especially anything that has required me to be quiet.

Have you ever had to stop doing something that you really love? What made you stop? Were you able to replace that thing with something else? Or do you still miss the activity that you had to drop?

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Ups and Downs & Lessons From the Universe

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It’s been one of those weeks!

Were my life a roller coaster ride, I’ve got to tell you, this week has been positively loopy.

And it’s only Thursday.

On Monday, I showed up at my local grocery store, all showered and dressed at 8 am, to discuss catering for my son’s bar mitzvah with a woman named Karen.

Only to learn that my appointment is actually next week at 8 am.

As I stood there, dejected, I received a text from someone telling me that she couldn’t make a coffee date we’d been strenuously trying to set-up.

For months.

Last night, Hubby told me that we cannot have the Friday night dinner before our son’s bar mitzvah at the location we had previously selected.

I cannot even discuss this right now without feeling nauseated.

Because, seriously, where are we going with under 6 weeks left?

Yesterday, I wrote a guest post of which I was particularly proud. Very few people left comments. And that’s okay, except it left me feeling embarrassed and confused. I don’t understand why that content didn’t speak to people. I re-posted it HERE and, for those who may have missed it, I would still be interested in hearing your comments.

Anyway, I was feeling kind of low.

Then I learned it was National Teacher’s Appreciation Week. I had no idea.

One of my former students sent me this comment on my Facebook wall.

So that made me feel better. I mean, I figure if I’m losing my writing mojo, at least my students appreciate me, right?

And speaking of my students, this morning I tried to log onto my email account at Monroe Community College.

But I was locked out.

Because every six months we have to reset our passwords. Pain in the booty.

I’m currently working through Super Heroes combined with a series of uppercase letters and those annoying keys required for extra security. You know: !@#$%^&*()_+.

Those.

So I had to change my password which took four attempts plus a call to the Technology Services Help Desk.

Because I’d forgotten I’d already been W0nderw0man08! and Aquaman09% and Superman10# P0isonIvy11? And the computer won’t let you repeat any part of any identity you’ve ever been before.

By the time I made it in, I was a little cranky.

But then, lo and behold.

I saw this piece of loveliness. (You may have to click on it to appreciate the font more fully.)

You guys, I was instantly pumped up like Arnold Schwarzenegger used to be when he was on steroids.

  • And I would like to take this opportunity to thank every English teacher that I have ever had. I’m just positively overwhelmed. And…wow…I’m just so unprepared for a moment like this…
  • I would like to thank Laura Ingalls Wilder and Judy Blume. I’d like to thank William Faulkner and and Harper Lee and Kate Chopin and F. Scott Fitzgerald…Omigosh, y’all. You know who you are.
  • I’d also like to thank the unattractive green swivel chair in my parents’ house for letting me sit there for hours, escaping to different lands.
  • And thanks to all my former students who hit LIKE when I update my status on Facebook, even if my status isn’t interesting or funny. I’m just happy you let me know you are still out there and you haven’t minimized me. Yet.
Look, there he is now.

So once again the universe teaches this twit a lesson.

Life will always be filled with bumps in the road.

But.

Somehow, some truck eventually comes along and some hot dude steps out and takes his shirt off and patches the hole with gravel.

It always works out, y’all.

(Except when it doesn’t.)

Anyway, it’s extra nice to have this happen during my blogoversary month.

And don’t forget, it’s not too late to register for a chance to win Elena Aitken’s SUGAR CRASH.

xoxoRASJ

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