Saturday, December 10, 2016

Saturday morning things

Sunday school lesson is written. In a few moments I have to get ready for graduation.

I'm....not so much looking forward to it today. It will just be a chore to get out of the way. I don't know of anyone I had recently in classes who is graduating. And anyway, it becomes more routine the more I do it - the first few times I felt like, "Wow. I can't believe I'm getting to do this. I can't believe I am actually a college professor" and I admit a few times around my tenure process thinking "What if I don't get tenure? This might be the last time I ever do this." And a few times it's been exciting or happy because someone I knew well was graduating and I was getting to see them go on to work/grad school/professional school.

I think this year it's just, it's been such a brutal year. The worst part in re:graduation is remembering the student who died. I don't know if they'll mention him; I'm inclined to doubt it as there was no public announcement to the campus community. (I was asked to submit what grades he would have earned at the point when he died, and I did.)

And of course, my colleague who was let go "not for cause" won't be there.

And we're still kind of reeling from all the budget stuff. (I'm still surprised we got a bonus, even a largely-symbolic one).


All the crocheting is done on Minty and she is together, but I need to do her hair and the applique work (face and cutie mark) on her.


I also need to bake some muffins this afternoon for the church meal tomorrow.


Edited to add: graduation was only about an hour. One of the students I knew pretty well DID graduate - an excellent, excellent ecology student who was a Health Sciences major. If the caliber of the work she did in my class is any indication, I would expect she'd have her choice of what professional school she wanted to attend.

There were two air horn incidents - unfortunately, one was in the section closest to where I was sitting so my right eardrum got assaulted (as I've said before, if I ran the circus, I'd throw out anyone who did that and hope people would eventually get the clue)

I also found out that I WILL be teaching Environmental Policy and Law in the fall, the person who currently teaches it is planning on retiring. So there's part of my summer. (And she laughingly said, "There are gonna be a lot of changes to roll with." Yeah....given Trump is president that's gonna be true. I just hope they're not crazy whipsawing changes where I have to correct from week to week what I previously taught)

It was cold today. I was thinking of the graduation some ten years ago, when I was younger and still more idealistic and how I was striding across campus in warmish weather for December with my robes unzipped and billowing behind me, and how I felt happy and excited and realized I was doing what I always wanted to do. Today it was cold and I walked back to my car  with my robes all zipped up and the little tam still on my head for added warmth, and my arms wrapped around me. And I'm still *happy* to be doing what I'm doing, and I still feel good about things like the student I talked about above, but I guess I've aged a little and it doesn't bring up the unalloyed happiness in me it once did - there is uncertainty about our future (BOTH the regent speaker and the graduation speaker mentioned the funding issues for public higher ed in this state) and I'm missing a lot of the people who have retired and all of that.

Walking back to my car a woman who obviously didn't know me rolled down her window and yelled out "Congratulations!" thinking I was a graduate rather than a professor. I just smiled and waved because even if I had wanted to correct her, there was no chance to.

I dunno. Now I just want to finish Minty and bingewatch sappy sentimental Hallmark Christmas movies. I rarely watch the Hallmark channels the rest of the year (other than for re-runs of Murder, She Wrote and the like) but there's something about Christmas and Hallmark specials that works for me. I think there are a couple of things:

a. Familiar-to-me actors I don't see much elsewhere. The one on right now apparently has Derek McGrath (who has aged a LOT since the days of "My Secret Identity") as a sort of senior angel. There are a couple of women who seem to star in a lot of them. I'm guessing it's because either some actors/actresses are deemed "not Hallmark friendly" or else they actively reject the somewhat-square image of Hallmark channel. (It may be a lot of these are US/Canada joint efforts; I think McGrath is Canadian)

b. Generally the specials end happily. The people who are "supposed" to fall in love, do. The person who is trying to find a missing family member finds them. The sad child finds cheer. Nearly every single person gets some kind of a happily ever after (and it's not always JUST finding their mate in life). And because real life all too often doesn't have happily ever afters, it's nice to see them for an escape. It's funny; I don't feel jealous for them or "why don't I get that," it's more of a "wow, I wish real life were more like that" and not even necessarily for me, just in general - that more people had that happiness. (I think I have perhaps embraced the fact that I am meant to be what used to be called a "spinster" - that I am the Margaret Rutherford character in this life, who goes around helping other people out but then returns at the end of the day to her quiet little cottage, and, in a different world maybe, her cats.)

c. Sometimes belief is a little more.....I don't know, a little more obvious or a little more "but of course" than in real life. There are one or two of these I've seen where Santa is a literal being who literally exists and who brings gifts (or sometimes, the aforementioned happily-ever-afters) to people, even to adults. And there are a number of ones featuring angels among us where there's no question that they are angels, that there's an afterlife, that they can intervene in our lives....and there's also no snarkiness. I think that's a big part of it for me. Yes, they're square and corny and everything else that the sophisticated like to make fun of, but I have realized I am NOT a sophisticated person and corniness, especially this time of year, sort of speaks to me.

In a way, they present a world that has an appeal that is not so very unlike the appeal of Equestria for me - it is nicer, people are kinder, things seem less random-bad, there's more magic in the world.

Oh, a lot of times I prefer movies that are less neat and cut-and-dried; I like some books that have ambiguous endings. But also a lot of the time I just like that fairy-tale ending, where "bad" is either defeated or converted to being good, and the good people get happiness.

I don't know why this time of year is a times where not only can I tolerate that kind of "wrap up neatly" stuff in a live-action movie, but I actively WANT it - I don't know if it's memories of childhood, where I really did believe people got happily-ever-afters, or if it's because it's the end of the semester and I'm tired and I'm drama-ed out from things that have gone on with students and colleagues, or if it's a cold dark time of year or what - but I'm thinking, maybe I make a big pot of some kind of herbal tea and put my feet up and just stare at Hallmark channel (or, Movies and Mysteries, which is the one I have on right now) for a while.

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