I got home from work at about 2:30 after a nearly three-hour “lunch meeting” on the last day before Winter Break officially kicked in, and I’ve spent most of the time since then in my recliner with a book in my hand. (Which has finally gotten interesting; I was on the verge of abandoning a Tana French novel, the very concept of which hurts my heart.)

I am trying to decide if I want this to be a Winter Break of Great Accomplishment or a Winter Break of I Sat Around And Read Books And Played Video Games. Right now it could go either way. And both would be a perfectly valid way to spend the next two weeks.

Also, I keep looking at that picture of myself I posted yesterday and reflecting on how much I’ve fallen apart physically since 2004. I need to get out of this mood or I’ll end up making New Year’s Resolutions, and those are always to be avoided by sensible people.

On doing nothing of value

Stuffed-Animal-VACATION0616I’ve actually stayed pretty busy the last couple of days– I had the classroom portion of my CPR renewal class to attend yesterday and spent most of the rest of the day scanning dozens of documents and uploading them to the Indiana Department of Education’s slow, overworked server so that I can get my teacher licensure renewed.  This is the first time I’ve ever had to do this, as moving to Indiana meant I could let my Illinois licensure expire and my Indiana license was a 10-year.

This doesn’t change anything, mind you; I still have no plans to return to the classroom, but letting my license expire still seemed like a kind of terrible decision anyway.  I’m waiting for a bunch of recalcitrant ducks to get themselves lined up properly at the moment so that I can finalize everything, but in between now and then there is the World Cup to distract me– I’m sitting on my sofa with my laptop and watching soccer right now– so I’m pretty content.

I am taking next week off from work.  I am not doing this for any particular reason other than five things managed to piss me off in the first half hour of my day on Monday and I get two weeks of paid vacation this year.  I looked at the calendar, this upcoming week hadn’t been claimed by anyone yet, and so screw it– mine it was.  I’m actually going to go in for a few minutes Monday morning after dropping the boy off at day care because I have a pre-established appointment that is going to result in a (possibly somewhat sizable) sale, but after that I’m not going back in until the following Monday.  And frankly, with Sunday being Father’s Day, I don’t plan on spending a lot of time at work on Sunday either.  So I basically have a full shift tomorrow, part of one on Sunday, and maybe an hour on Monday and then I’m off for a week.

Plans include Dark Souls, working out a short story that is trying to pound its way out of the inside of my skull, soccer, and … that’s it.  At some point the family and I will go see Incredibles 2, which I’ve been eagerly anticipating for years.  But that’s all.

I’m pretty psyched about it, to be honest.

In which I am way ahead of myself

510Cy7ZwEHL._SX338_BO1,204,203,200_I am telling this story primarily so that I can find the date I did this a year or so from now when I need it.

I am currently approximately one third of the way through the sequel to Skylightsa book I’m calling Sunlight.  It was originally called Starlight but I decided the new title was better so I changed it.  The series is going to become known as The Johannes Cycle (the Johannes is the name of the ship they fly to Mars on) once the second book is out.

Like I said, I have the first third or so of Sunlight in first-draft form and hope to have it finished within a month.  I also have the first few paragraphs of the third book in the Johannes Cycle written, along with the last few sentences of Sunlight.  I already know what the title of Book 3 is, too.

I still tentatively plan on Casey Heying, who did the cover for Skylights, to be doing the cover to Sunlight, provided that I can afford to pay him what he’s actually worth.  But we haven’t discussed the cover to the third book at all, and I already had a strong concept for it in mind.

Last night, in about half an hour, I sat down with an image editor and created the cover for the third book.  As in, other than some tweaks to text, it’s, like, perfect.  So I have no cover to the book I’m working on and a damn-near completed cover to the sequel to the book I’m working on.

The kicker?  I can’t tell you the title of the third book, or show you the cover, because they both constitute mild spoilers for Sunlight.  So I just have to sit on this awesome thing I did and not show anybody.

Well, okay.  I showed Casey’s wife today.  And she thought it was awesome too.  But not anybody else.  🙂

How to win at King of the Hill

1538942_10152128972078926_1808992687_n…be able to fly, or jump really high.

Wife’s home until noon, when the travel ban goes away; boy’s home all day.  The agenda, in vague order of priority, and not including “interact with and/or care for family members”:

  • Finish BA 5.  It’ll be up tonight or tomorrow;
  • Success groups for next week;
  • Finish the school improvement plan we were working on during our retreat last week;
  • Write 21 days of brief 7th grade Math lesson plans for the run-up to ISTEP;
  • Respond to a whole bunch of email;
  • Various Washington, DC miscellany;
  • Finally log into my retirement account now that I’ve got that PIN I needed (it came in last week; haven’t used it yet, may have lost the paper it’s on);
  • Listen to a whole bunch of new music I downloaded yesterday;
  • Possibly settle For Once And For All who should have won the Grammy for Best Rap Album;
  • Figure out why I care about the Grammys;
  • Do not go outside again, because holy shit;
  • Get as close as possible to finishing the excellent book about World War II that I’m reading;
  • Figure out what’s next once BA 5 is finished;
  • Get a draft of the letter to the state Superintendent written or at least conceptualized;
  • Play with Scrivener;
  • Clean the house a bit.

I have been thinking all weekend that we’d be back to school tomorrow; current projections show that we’re still going to have a temperature in the high negatives at 6-7:00 AM tomorrow, which means that we’re still pretty doubtful.  So right now we’re trying to plan this out as everything in a day.  We’ll see.



Wake up, shake up, hypocrite, look alive

I always love to pretend that summer is going to be some really long time, but the fact of the matter is it’s gone in an eyeblink. Ten weeks feels like it should be an enormity but it isn’t, and three of the ten are already locked away into other school-related stuff (a two-week science seminar, two days of retreat for the fall, and another three-day training) and one more will likely end up getting tied up in yet another science camp. So that’s six weeks.

I am emphatically not whining about this; most people do not get this much vacation, even if I spend as much of it as I possibly can *working* and even if I feel like I make up for it by working fifty-hour weeks or more every single week while school is in session. I bring this up only because I need to figure out how regimented I’m going to try and be with the rest of my time. I am, frankly, shitty at being on vacation. I’m capable of relaxation, but what I call relaxation seems to look like Doing Things to most other people. More than two or three days in a row of having nothing to do and I’m climbing the walls; there’s a reason I hold down two jobs even during the school year.

I’m considering getting up at regular work time during the summer, all summer long, regardless of whether I actually have to work at Other Job or not. I don’t need to do this, obviously, but building some more discipline back into my daily schedule is nothing but a good thing and if I can get myself to the point where I can get up a little bit earlier on a regular basis that would probably be useful. Ideally I’d like to spend some of the extra time either working out or writing or both. The greatest likelihood will be that I will do neither, but it’s certainly worth a try. If I could make an effort to be up at six every day, downstairs by 6:30 or so, I could get a workout in and be in the shower by 7:30, giving me either more than enough time to make it to Summer Job on time or a good head start on getting some words generated in front of the computer. I need to get another novel written. I know I’ve been saying that for forever but goddamn it I’ve done it twice and it’s ridiculous that I’m having so much difficulty generating a third.

I kinda wish I’d been born in the eighteenth century, so long as I’d managed to be born as a wealthy white guy. I look at things like the daily schedules that Thomas Jefferson set for himself (and there are dozens of other examples) and that type of discipline and focus makes me insanely jealous. Now, granted, these guys could set these sorts of schedules for themselves because they had literal slaves doing all of their real work for them. I neither have nor want slaves. I don’t even have any servants. And there’s also the question of whether they actually kept to those schedules or just lazed about all day and wished they were doing what they were supposed to be doing like I frequently do. Then again, they tried, right? Jefferson managed to teach himself six freakin’ languages. Surely I can manage to get up an hour or two before I really want to.