Saturday, June 14, 2008

Summer Resolutions

It seems fitting to change my blog colors with this post.

I doubt that I'm the only teacher who makes summer resolutions instead of New Year's resolutions. My summer resolutions tend to get done, unlike New Year's resolutions. I think there are several reasons for this. I am just coming down from an exhausting schedule, especially at the end of the year. Teachers, who quickly become accustomed to having more days off than anyone but firefighters, become exhausted by the two long, vacationless periods in the year: from September to November and from Spring Break (which was very early this year) to mid-June. The end of the year involves cleaning and often packing up classrooms, entering final grades, end of the year awards and ceremonies, and goodbyes for students, retirees, and those let go. I have several side jobs, too, and many of them end at the same time as the school year. Paperwork needs to be done, reports filed, letters of recommendation for colleagues written. This is my long-winded way of saying that one of the reasons that summer resolutions get done is that it takes some time to come down from that feeling of constant rushing, so I take advantage of it at first.

There's a weather component, too. Here in San Leandro, near the San Francisco Bay, summers are often mild, causing me to feel like doing things. Those who know me know that as soon as the thermometer hits 80, all bets are off. I am not fit for human company, unless that company doesn't mind spending time with an incoherent, sweaty and miserable lump. But as long as we stay in the 70's (or even better, 60's), I like working. Western culture, with its January 1 New Year, sets us up for failure. Who wants to start exercising or quit bad habits when days are dark and you are feeling like hibernating?

But I think the main reason that summer resolutions can get done is that summer vacation ends, so summer resolutions must end, too. So, the resolutions have to have reachable goals. The typical New Year's resolution is a rest of your life resolution. Too long. Too scary.

This is a rare summer for me, where I'm not spending much of the summer working. So far, I have eleven working days planned. That will increase as we get closer to August 19th, when all of this comes to an end, but for right now, I feel like the possibilities are infinite.

So, here are my summer resolutions. They won't all get done because it isn't possible, but my first summer resolution is to revisit this list of resolutions in late August and blog about how I did (perhaps there will be pictures!)

1. A thorough cleaning of every room in the house (including drawers and closets) along with needed repairs in each room.
2. Start the new school year with a well-tended garden that does not embarrass me.
3. Finish the quilt I've been working on for several years now (there will be a photo if I finish). It has been a long time since I've started a new one, and I'd really like to. And, PJ, I will help you start yours, too.
4. Get my backyard fence rebuilt. Parts of it fell down in a storm this year, mostly because they had rotted.
5. Walk at least two miles every day.
6. Find an activity to do that helps with strength and balance. This was going to say "buy a wii fit," but it appears that the market will keep this from happening. Our sinking economy causes Nintendo to prefer to sell them in Europe instead of here.
7. Paint my bedroom and make it feel less cluttered.
8. Go through my curriculum unit by unit, and attempt to make it more interesting to all my students.
9. Read a lot (this one is purposely left vague because I haven't picked out all my summer books yet, so I haven't decided if I'll spend several weeks on a meaty book, or read shorter books).
10. The one I'm most excited about: Build a Stickley-style trestle coffee table (N, another teacher, is kindly going to help me with this)

We'll see what happens. And I do mean "we" because another resolution is to blog at least twice a week until August 19th.


Patrick J. Vaz said...

I like the blue. It's an interesting shade -- I would have guessed winter, but it works for summer too.

I won't mention Proust, but I always have book suggestions. :-)

You didn't tell me about the Stickley table! Damn! I'm tempted to break my Ikea-induced resolution never to put furniture together.

Unknown said...

Explain to me what a wii fit entails, and I might be able to get you one (stuff that is sold out in the west is often easy to find here. Weird, I know).

Basically, is it something you add on to a Wii that you already have (and when did that happen?), or is it independent and therefore needs its own power cord?

If it needs its own power cord, is it possible to detach the euro one and replace it with a US one? Or would you need a transformer? (in which case I would say don't bother).

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, ask Cameron.

vicmarcam said...

PJ: I have water on the mind this summer. I guess that's the reason for the blue. And, I'll take those book suggestions. I have an Amazon gift certificate burning a hole in my pocket. The coffee table is going to be made from scratch. Either it will be an heirloom or a sad but funny story of failure.

Marin: I got about one sentence into your response, and thought that I'd better refer this to Cameron. I'm not sure if it is the wii system or the fit part or both that is the problem. I don't already have a wii, and had no interest in one until I played with Kelly's after her wedding. It was fun, but still not worth buying until her new sister-in-law told me about the fit package that was coming out. It sounded like a fun way to work out, so I decided to get one. Little did I know that it would be the latest Cabbage Patch Doll/Tickle Me Elmo. Being an American, I just get irritated with shortages. Other people love the hunt. I will ask Cameron if there might be some way for you to help me. Thanks.

CMB said...

By mentioning the Wii Fit you probably just tripled the amount of hits on your blog. Getting a wii isn't too much of a problem anymore. I've helped two people get them already, and I just checked my sources and was again able to find several available, so that's not a problem. (I just wish I could afford one).

The problem is with the wii fit. My mystery sources say that Nintendo is shipping far more to Europe then to the US. The reason: The strong euro has the wii fits selling at a us equivalent of $140, where they only sell for $90 locally. That’s $50 pure profit for each unit sold in Europe vs. US. It seems that every three days there is a shipment released, a couple hundred go to Us stores, and a couple thousand go to European stores.

As for the function, the hardware is battery operated and universal. But the software is regional. (The hardware is called the “Wii balance board” and the software is “Wii Fit”). Unfortunately as far as I know it’s only sold as a package deal, you can’t by the board there and the software here, so it looks as if we will have to wait until the Europe market gets saturated (early-mid 2009??) or the dollar strengthens again (Think 2011ish when shipping costs will increase to the point where production in the US will pick back up. Unfortunately higher shipping costs = higher cost of living = higher minimum wage = more difficult for factories to start up. It’s our “basic human rights” downward spiral)

CMB said...

Oh, and I like the blue, except...Now it's so bright that I can't pass it off as work anymore, i have to click off of it when someone walks by.