Hello from my office,
It has been a busy morning, but I am going to try to take a break and write to clear my head. It is how I manage my life . . . it is interesting to me that some people run from writing. I, on the other hand, run to it. I was here this morning early for a meeting (6:45 a.m.) and then I ran to the bank and met my cleaning person and we chatted about some things. Then it was back to the office and I have been working with students and making sure they are signed up for appropriate classes as well as their degree requirements or minor requirements are completed. I had another student try to do more of a double-dipping of classes than the 6 credits required. He was a bit exasperated that I told him that was not possible, but this is because he did not planned and he did not stay on top of things. It reminded me again of how I work to understand the process of something. I should not that one of my advisees came in with all her paper work, and very thing was totally in order. She actually noted that she was not like that until she had me as an advisor. Well, she is going into her last semester with needing only 10 credits to graduate. I should note that one of the surrogates I often mention is actually the same. She is so on top of everything and it serves her well. She is more about process than she wants to admit, at least that is what I would argue. While I have been somewhat castigated by a couple of people in particular for my propensity for progress and logic, it is how I have managed 59 years of my life and it has served me most times pretty well. . . . . I am off to my Foundations classes where we are going to speak more about the writing process. Not surprisingly, I am a process composition theorist also.
Oops! I did not realize that this had published . . . I think today’s Foundations classes were some of the more effective teaching I have done this semester and I think the last week in particular were pretty helpful for students. I do think they are realizing that the practice of throwing things together with little plan is not something that works all that well any longer. At least, I am sure hoping that is the case. The ability to plan, research, use evidence and organize and develop one’s paper in a logical and systematic way is essential if the writing, especially in an argumentative paper, is going to be successful. It is now a little at 8:00 and my two Wednesday dinner guests have just left, some food in hand, but it was such a wonderful dinner event again. As I have noted before, the two of them together usually have me laughing until I have tears coming down my face. They have been so helpful and insightful. I guess I should have realized that Maria is not an American citizen by the way she noted some things about her passport. It was interesting to listen to her speak about going to her homeland (which is Poland) and how even though she was born there, she cannot claim to be Polish when she goes back. She noted some interesting things about the strong nationalism that Polish people. It was interesting to listen to her talk about some of her experiences and how a cell phone at one point made people realize she had not grown up in Poland though she is fluent in Polish. The world is such an interesting place, mostly because we are such conditional people as human beings. It is continually amazing to me how we are able to move in and out of circles and sort of discard people once we are finished with them. I got an email from a former student today, actually the first Dominican student I had, and he wants me to write a recommendation for him, but I have not really met with or spoke with him in two years. I told him that he needed to come and see me and bring a transcript with him and plan to spend some time before I would write a recommendation. I have learned all too well as of late that writing a recommendation or helping someone get a job can come back and haunt me. While I certainly want to help him, again there is a process, and merely showing up out of nowhere because things were okay at one time is not a reasonable nor logical thing to do. I am excited to meet him. I know where he was that first summer and I know there have been ups and downs, but I am hoping he has made some good decisions. It would be difficult to say to him that I cannot in good conscience offer you a recommendation at this time, but that would be better than writing something I cannot stand by or support.
Tonight for dinner, we had stuffed pork chops (boneless) and potatoes simmered in cider. The salad was kale and apple and carrot and we had an appetizer and a dessert. It was wonderful. I am realizing that the next couple months are going to be a bit hectic. Between now and the end of the semester I will be in Wisconsin and California. During break it looks like I will be in Salt Lake City, Houghton, and California again. I had hoped to go back to the DR, but I doubt that will happen now. While I am sad about that, mostly because I would love to see the people at El Cocinero, I am okay with where all of that is. I will get back there, but I imagine I will be doing it on my own. I need to work on my Spanish a bit more intentionally again, but I can manage that. This past summer I was scheduled to go to Spain, but decided against that because of some of that other issues, but now I am rethinking that. I cannot take frequent flier miles with me, so I might as well use them. What I realize is that I have some opportunities and, as I have specifically mentioned, I have been blessed. I am fortunate to have met some incredible people this year and to learn a great from them. I have reacquainted with someone I appreciate a great deal, but I am able to keep things in perspective. The last week has been a good week for me psychologically and emotionally and that is an important thing. What I reminded of again is the importance of actions and words.
Today I spoke with my closest friend and colleague. I was at their house last night for dinner and it was wonderful to see all of them. Rosie has taken a real liking to me and I am so pleased. Both she and Caroline some running into my arms and I lift them up and hug them. It is the most wonderful and heart-warming thing. Max lost a tooth yesterday; Grace was lovely, and Mary always amazes me with her wit, her intelligence and her beauty. Mark and Gayle are amazing and they demonstrate such genuine love for me. I am so fortunate they are in my life. Mark and I spoke about how we have forged a relationship that has withstood the test of time, location, and a myriad of changes. He is so insightful and spot-on. He noted we work with each other like a weather phenomenon. The more he said, the more I realized the brilliance of the analogy. I think it is the way that I need to work with almost of my relationships in the future. Something to consider, but what I realized is that it is yet another process and it is both logical and flexible at the same time. That is really quite amazing. I know there is a lot I need yet to accomplish; I need to merely buckle down and manage. It was a good day as far as work and even though it is only not quite 9:00 p.m. I think I am heading to bed shortly. I thought about starting the 5th season, but I think I am too tired to make my eyes watch even one episode. I will probably have that done by next week. I think brushing my teeth, getting things organized for tomorrow and merely going to sleep is a good plan. The house got cleaned today and it was so nice to come home to that clean smell. While I am not messy by any means, the house still needs to be worked on and cleaned. I never thought I would have a house cleaner, but I am fortunate to have a pretty amazing person.
Well, being ready for tomorrow requires a plan, a process. The first step of that process is to sign off here and get it updated. I am feeling a bit brain-dead, so I hope this blog is neither boring or foolish. Thanks as always for reading.
Dr Martin (the process guru)
One thought on “Understanding Process ~ It’s a Logical Thing”
Understanding process has been a strange thing for me as of late. I went into the beginning of this semester telling myself that I would try to apply more process to things than I did last semester. I find that this is not the case. If anything, I have less of a process than I did before. Yet I seem to be keeping things (mostly) handled as of right now, so that is something I’m grateful for. The lack of process doesn’t stem from a desire to throw things together, I usually have some kind of a plan. The issue is that the plan changes as the process of writing (or whatever activity/project/work I need to accomplish) progresses. I have mixed feelings about it, so it’s not unusual for me to oscillate between attempting to be organized and meandering where the work seems to be going anyway.
I made pork chops myself today (dry, but palatable), and between that and shrinking a wool sweater that I didn’t know how to care for (most of my clothes are made of denim, cotton, or polyblend crap), I got to the end of the day feeling pretty incompetent. Spanish is another thing that I’ve attempted to develop with uneven success, and I may need to work on that some more now that my brother’s girlfriend is likely going to be around more. Suffice it to say that my skill set is a bit spiky, in the sense that I am told that I am pretty capable at some things, but there are skills that have remained at level zero. Feeling incompetent is one of those things I struggle with.
When you first mentioned that Dr. Decker was your best friend, it immediately made sense to me. I think my first point of contact with Bloomsburg University was a phone call with him. I was indecisive (Me? Indecisive? Never!) about what major I wanted to declare when I transferred, and he spoke with me about interdisciplinary studies and what sort of things I should consider when choosing. He withstood about 45 minutes of me worrying in his general direction over the phone. I don’t know if he remembers that, but I appreciate it all the same. I got to spend some time with my sisters, and it reminded me that it’s important to try to connect with loved ones when you can. I forget to people when I get stressed, and I already don’t people well, so that’s another thing in my life that is in process.
Thank you for your words, and thank you for your time. The LORD bless you and keep you. The LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you. The LORD look upon you with favor and give you peace.