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Mimsy and Outgrabe

a record of panic, parenting, teaching, and art making

  • Writer's pictureSarah Gutowski

New Year, New Nonsense, Same Old Me


Note: I wrote this post back in January and it's been hanging out in "draft form" since then. It's no longer a "new" year: we just passed the Spring Equinox. But I feel weird about writing in the blog and not posting it as part of the ongoing record of my nonsense. So... here it is.


New nonsense, in no particular order:

  1. D2L's Brightspace

  2. More jankyness in my giddyup

  3. Resignation (on good days, he goes by the name Acceptance)

Good morning. It's not morning anymore, but it's what my 17 yr old says whenever she enters the house, or comes downstairs from hiding away in her room for hours, or when one of the dogs surprises her by leaping up to get her attention. I'm borrowing it. Trying it out. I like the implication that you can just start your day whenever, regardless of hour or daylight. Good morning, how was school? Good morning, it's time for dinner. Good morning, isn't the moon lovely?

Anyway. I'm five days into the new semester, post-sabbatical. It's terrible only in the sense that teaching has NOT returned to the classroom and we're all still doing the bullshit online thing. It's amazing how, as someone who never visualized herself as a teacher of any kind, I've come to appreciate being an instructor in an actual classroom. Walking around a room, seeing changes on faces when someone speaks, and hearing people laugh or sigh or emit one of those little puzzled "um" sounds is a thousand times more productive in terms of the teacher-student exchange than me trying to focus on a mute grid of 15 faces (which is only, like, one page of faces out of two or three).

Also, the school changed from Blackboard to Nonsense Number One, Brightspace, while I was on sabbatical, and because I was determined to protect my sabbatical time and NOT waste it on teaching-related matters, I only moved about 1/5 of the material I needed off of Blackboard before the college's license came to a close and Blackboard deleted all of the things related to Stuffolk. So now I'm recreating more than half of my lecture/assignment/discussion forum materials from scratch while I'm also trying to answer student emails, finalize assignments and set up *this* semester's course spaces.

Of course, all of this is wholly my fault and it's creating a fair amount of backlog in my schedule. But, perhaps oddly, I don't regret my decision to ignore the transition and play the "be trained to use Brightspace" game during the *one* chance in 12 years I had to take a complete and utter break from teaching at the college.

Which leads me to Nonsense Number Three, Resignation. (Yes, I'm skipping Two, we'll get to it eventually.) There *is* something different about this semester, and maybe this year (since we're at the beginning of both the Gregorian calendar and the Chinese Lunar calendar). It may be that I've finally given up. I'd rather just accept that in order to have genuine rest and break from teaching community college classes, I had to shirk certain responsibilities. (And yes, teaching grad school was most definitely part of the 'rest' — I actually felt energized by it, rather than depleted.)

I'm tired of thinking so much about the way everything's a giant tire-fire and *has* been for the past three years at least. I'm so, so tired. Maybe it's the chronic autoimmune illness talking, but I don't have the energy anymore to be indignant or outraged. I would prefer to just shrug it off. I'm resigned. I'm Bartleby, but far less heroic in my resistance. I'd prefer not to, but I guess now I'm just ... going to. Like the little worker bee I am (albeit a sleepy one).

Which leads me to Nonsense Number 3, my janky-ass body. Part of my resignation-slash-acceptance at work may stem from my resignation-slash-acceptance of Rheumatoid Arthritis, which I was diagnosed with in 2020. I guess I've finally accepted that my body is just going to be like this. All I can do is take care of what *does* still work so that those parts *continue* working. Which means more sleep, including the occasional nap. Less busyness. Less rage. More gentle exercise, not the anxiety-blitzing jogging schedule I used to have. Now I just have to accept a kind of low-level anxiety, because otherwise I'm a depleted mess.

More shrugging of the shoulders, even if they *do* crack like an old, old wooden ship. Because there's only so much a girl can do.

And yeah, I just called myself a girl. I guess I'm not *completely* resigned to everything.

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