Life’s little annoyances

We’ve had a kitchen scale in our kitchen for almost fourteen years now, and we use it two or three times a week. The scale is small, accurate, and attractive. It is also one of the most infuriating things in my life. Most of the recipes I work from use ounces, but this particular scale’s default setting is grams. While it does have a button to change from kilograms to pounds, the button is not a one touch, easy change sort of switch. This button requires a hard, prolonged squeeze that often requires both hands and an odd interpretive-dance sort of shaking float through the air before being convinced that ounces are indeed the preferred measurement. Sometimes it will cruelly flash ounces at me then jump back to grams just to make me scream or cry. No, there is not a way to change the default setting. No, I don’t know why we’ve kept it all these years.

Nor do I know why we put up with the light in our closet. Even though we bought it new, I swear this light had a previous career as the slow-to-warm-up, buzzing, flickering, dim light in scary movies. No wonder I sometimes emerge with wide eyes, a black skirt, and blue shoes. This morning the light decided to take on a whole new personality: disco strobe. It started out with the familiar buzz and dim brownish glow, then went dark again. Then light. Then dark. Then light. Then dark. We had to use flashlights to select our clothes.

My birthday was Sunday, and I kept telling my husband that I didn’t want anything, that I have everything I need, and so forth and so on. Well, retroactively, I want a new closet light and a new kitchen scale. I’m promising myself that this year, I’m going to deal with controllable annoyances to leave more energy for the numerous things in my life that are far, far beyond my control.

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rushing slowly

The end of the school year brings constant conflict.  Not just conflict with students about grades or about their waning energy and effort, but the increasingly difficult battle with myself over my waning energy, effort, and motivation.  Being someone who firmly believes in setting a good example, I’m sorely tested by my lack of interest in anything school related.

I know that I cannot charge my students with study or preparation on their own because character analysis will quickly devolve into BMI charting or the creation of and assignation of attributes to a character called Danny Dorito.  Yet I really, really, really, really want to just let them go while I distract myself.  I’d so much rather be listing the dishes (tortilla espagnola, caprese salad, pasta pesto, etc…) for the party on Saturday. (Why, oh why, did I offer to host a party after being out of town the two previous weekends? Because I’m overly optimistic about my abilities and energy just like my students, that’s why. Oh well, my brother-in-law gave me a case of wine just for the party.) So, while I could investigate this stranger who wants to be my Facebook friend (just say no), or peruse the Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren sale items on Shop It To Me, or see what’s left on Nordstrom Rack,  I force myself to get up and guide a discussion on the how the past affects the present in our three novels.  It helps.  They start to focus their thinking and ask important questions, and I start to focus my thinking to give proper responses that guide them to their own ideas.  Then we move to the theme of atonement in the three novels.  We’re doing our work in spite of ourselves–rushing slowly to June 11.

Wish me luck for the next class.