Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Books, Bugs, and a Busted Weekend

Greetings on a Wednesday, aka the first time this week I've had any one-on-one time with my MacBook in a week.  Life has been hairy the past week or two, and I am ready for a breather that's probably not on the horizon.  I've really been feeling the mommy squeeze lately.  Apparently, Kiddo's fifth birthday flipped some sort of I-need-your-undivided-attention-ever-waking-moment switch that has left me feeling frayed and frazzled, and I've lost some of my downtime/writing time to my class schedule (not that I'm complaining about teaching, but more about that later.)  So the weekend was looking promising with a church-planned Daddy-Daughter Dance on Friday evening, a lie-in on Saturday morning, and drinks and books with my best friend on Saturday night.  The solitude and adult companionship was soothing, but I was still feeling overwhelmed and overstimulated come Sunday morning.  A quiet morning alone was required if my sanity was to remain intact, and my husband was very accommodating, not returning from church and lunch and shopping until late, but any ground I might have gained in the sanity department was about to slip away come evening.

We are officially the scourge of preschool.  Kiddo got lice somewhere, and we discovered this lovely fact Sunday night.  Cue hours of frantic cleaning, laundry, treating, and combing.  Somehow, my husband and I managed to avoid the infestation, but Kiddo was not so lucky.  She's been a trooper through all the bad smelling shampoo and hours of combing, but I am so totally over the whole drama.  I did somewhere between eight and ten loads of laundry in twenty-four hours, all while still running the household, making meals, and helping Kiddo handmake fifteen Valentine's for her preschool party.  I am so over being Mommy at this point that after one too many pokes and prods and tugs Monday afternoon, something snapped and I actually said, "Stop touching me!"  Of course, Kiddo thought this was hilarious and a game of Poke Mommy ensued.

Okay, not really, but it felt good to say it.

Not all is bleak and buggy, however.  I am now halfway through week two of my Comp 101 class, and it is going so well.  I have eighteen wonderfully smart and engaged students that make me happy every class period.  Their first outlines were due yesterday, and I was so pleased with their work that I feel nothing but anticipation for reading their first papers (due tomorrow.)  I imagine this enthusiasm will flag a few papers in as nobody WANTS to grade eighteen freshman comp essays, but nevertheless I remain optimistic and grateful for such a respectful, well-prepared class.

Gold stars for everyone! (Except you.)

All of this drama and hard work has seriously cut into my reading time.  I'm still only, like 300 pages into 1Q84 despite it being an amazing read.  I did, however, manage to finish A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master.  (As a library book, it got priority.  It's .20 a DAY now for late charges. Yikes.)  I really, really loved this book.  I recommend this book.  Read this book.

Rachel Held Evans writes books about faith and doubts and women and equality and all those things I find so important and interesting and some other "i" words that I haven't thought of yet.  She does write from a progressive perspective, so don't go into her work expecting Donna-Reed-Joins-the-Women's-Ministry.  I love what she has to say about so many things (here's her blog) but I have to admit that after reading the introduction to this book, I was a little skeptical.  Sure I agree with what she has say and how she views women and their roles in the Church, but that doesn't mean I want to read an entire book mocking the beliefs of more conservative women.  The idea of someone outside of the evangelical tradition (though she grew up in it) participating in all of kinds of ultra-conservative practices and roles seemed problematic at best, and cruel and mean-spirited at its worst. Yet, she somehow manages to avoid having any of those issues.  She honestly and openly explores fundamentalist (and even some Orthodox Jewish, Mormon, and Catholic) definitions of "Biblical Womanhood" and spent a year trying to live these different principles, whether she agreed with them or not.

Honestly, I'm not sure how she managed to write about calling her husband, "Master," or refusing speaking engagements, or many of the other things she tried while still managing a mostly neutral (and definitely respectful) tone.  The book was definitely funny as she attempts things like cooking her way through a Martha Stewart cookbook and making her own clothes, but her humor is always self-directed.  With the exception of the cooking, she's just so bad at most of the things she tries.  Her self-deprecating tone lightens what would otherwise be a very serious book.  (If you are a fan of Half the Sky -- the book or the film series -- this book is for you, as well.)  Women are suffering.  Women are being told they are second-class citizens.  Women are being kept out of positions of leadership in the church and undervalued.  Women are being abused and killed and sold.  But throughout the book, Evans just keeps emphasizing that women are not the problem.  Women are the solution.  How can you not love that?  

So, overall, I'd put this title right up there with my favorite, Jesus Feminist.  Okay, Jesus Feminist is still my favorite, but this one is a close second.  Now, I just have to find copies of some of Evans' other books as our library system only has this one book.  In the county-wide whole system.  Don't get me started.

Here's hoping this week calms down and gets better (and quieter.)  I've managed to get caught up on my Downton episodes (I was two behind), and we watched the new The Walking Dead last night, so I should be free to read my little heart out tonight after Kiddo goes down.  Tomorrow is going to be a big day, so I must rest up for the sugar-induced frenzy that Kiddo will be in when I pick her up from her Valentine's Day party at preschool in the afternoon.  But for now, my dryer has beeped, which means Kiddo's sheets are clean and ready to be put back on her bed (again.)  After that it's on to lesson plans, errands, and just being mom.  If you need me, just DON'T.

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