On a Winter’s Break

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The Winter Break came at a good time. We’re all tired, overwhelmed with paperwork, and just this week several notices came out requiring us to begin thinking about next year’s courses and students. A perfect storm of scheduling meant my sophomores delivered essays and journals last week while my juniors delivered two different essays this week while my creative writers turned in first draft short stories and movie outlines. So there is a fairly sizeable stack of work to read and grade.Thankfully, I had two very dedicated students stay after Tuesday to rewrite essays allowing me a chance to plow through grading. As a result, the sophomore and creative papers are graded and one quarter of the junior papers are done. Not too bad.The calendar is structured in such a way that, counting weekends, we’re off eleven days which is lovely. It allows us to celebrate Christmas and even have a brief getaway while still leaving me time for Sherlock Holmes, but more on that next post.The one unforeseen variable was illness. First Kate, then Deb, then Mike all succumbed to some horrible cold and fever. Apparently, many members of the church choir all fell ill within a day of one another so something was quickly passed at Sunday’s holiday concert or Saturday’s rehearsal. So far, thankfully, I remain immune allowing me to tend to Deb.We have effectively postponed a lot of the holiday celebrating until next week. Kate and Mike stayed home to recuperate while Deb skipped singing in the midnight mass, huddled under covers, drinking tea, and watching British detective shows. I ran errands, wrote, and prepped a simple Christmas Eve dinner. The one really lovely thing I did was sit with a book.  While I listen to plenty of audiobooks during my commute, I haven’t really had the luxury of sitting and reading a book with pages to turn in a long, long time.Santa was nice, providing me with plenty of new socks, an assortment of casual wear shirts, and some chocolates. It proved to be a very quiet day as Deb recuperated and I kept her company. I made a simple chicken dinner so there was fresh food to keep me from noshing on the goodies all day and night.With luck, the house will be healthy in time to actually enjoy some of our plans this break.

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