Friday, April 10, 2015

Five Things Friday: A Movie, A Book, Some Tulips, and an Impending Event or Two . . .

1. I have embarked on the last big marking session of my academic career. Every attempt at complaint, I know, will be met by the reassuring reminder that "You only have x more of those to do and then you'll be done for good!" I will probably still complain, however. As well, I know there will be a few delightful surprises in the pile, and I plan to savour those as well. I will not savour the carpal tunnel pain and the shoulder-neck-lower-back tightness that quickly takes over my body as I work my way through the pile, but, you know, this is the last set of these papers and, next week, exams, that I will ever mark. Oh, did I already mention that? That this is the last set of essays I'll mark before my retirement at the end of June. . .

2. If you don't have Retirement on your immediate horizon or if you've already so settled into that contented state that you now need additional jolts of Happy to keep you smiling . . . I highly recommend Boy Choir:  great acting (by Dustin Hoffman, Kathy Bates, Debra Winger, Garrett Wareing as the young protagonist with a beautiful voice and a big, angry, self-sabotaging chip on his shoulder), gorgeous music, uplifting narrative, and some fabulous settings. The director, François Girard, also made The Red Violin and 32 Short Films about Glenn Gould, both of which I'm now inspired to watch again. So he does music movies well! Here's a trailer to give you a taste. . . .

Have you seen it? Will you? I'm sure it won't be long before it can be viewed at home via iTunes or Netflix or whatever, but I'm glad I saw it in a big dark theatre with a great sound system and no temptation to go to the kitchen for a cup of tea. . .

3. One of the Instagrammers I've been following is an artist, Lisbeth Cort, who's been sharing some lovely watercolours and photos of Washington's magical tulip fields. Check out her Instagram page for yet another burst of happy (a few weeks ago, when I began following her, she was sharing watercolours of Paris and of Nice, where she was holidaying -- gorgeous, cheery stuff!)
Next spring, when I'm retired (did I mention yet that I'll be retiring very soon?!) I hope to drive down with Pater to see those gorgeous blooms up close and personal. Meanwhile, I've been scrolling through some of the photos of our visit to the Keukenhof tulip fields a few years ago. . .

4. Heading home after class yesterday, I checked my mail-cubby on the way through our department office. Instead of the anticipated handed-in-late papers to add to my pile (you know, the pile of the last essays I'll ever have to mark because I'm retiring very soon!), a colleague had left a beautifully wrapped gift with a sweet little tag on which she'd written "Now that you have time to read .... Happy Retirement." So thoughtful. Unwrapped, the gift revealed itself as The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish, by Linda Przybyszewski whom the jacket tells me is an associate professor of history and a prize-winning dressmaker. The book jacket also tells me that the book traces the 20th-century American history of the 'Dress Doctors' (teachers, writers, retailers, and designers) who used to advise women how to dress appropriately. I love reading cultural histories and this one, of course, covers a field that engages me. Have any of you heard of it? read it? I'll be sure to report back later, because, as my colleague noted, I will now "have time to read" because of my "Happy Retirement" -- I told you about that, right?

5. I was going to cheat and offer up Retirement as my #5, but perhaps I've already mentioned that upcoming event. Instead, I think Paris might make a pretty decent fifth item. And I will be heading there for a week with my sister, less than a month from now. Pretty excited about that -- although Pater and I have visited Paris every spring for the past 10 years (and he's a very patient and accommodating guy), I suspect a sisters' trip will leave a bit more room for shopping and for macaron-nibbling and for fashion-focused exhibitions. . .

So there we go -- a Friday Medley. Any big weekend plans for you? Or will you be working hard? Or just laying low and taking it easy. I'm going to have to get out in the garden and tell those dandelions they need to find another spot better suited to their large personalities. . . but meanwhile, those essays . . . the last ones I'll ever mark . . . 

25 comments:

  1. No big weekend plans...but I have 3 new books on my shelf, a garden to potter in and a few things to do before I pack for Paris as I leave in a couple of weeks.

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  2. Oh and congratulations....I hope that you will love retirement...you'll have more to do than you ever thought possible....and with 5 grandchildren, two homes, many hobbies your life will be brimming with goodness :-)

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    1. Thanks, L. Enjoy those new books. I'm hoping the rain will clear away so that I can get out into the garden as well.

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  3. Hi Mater, I wonder what your thoughts and feelings will be when you come to mark that very last exam paper? Lovely post - I've noted the book you mentioned, it sounds interesting. And the tulip photo reminds me of the Tulip Festival here next month - plus, coincidentally, of our dinner club tomorrow evening. We are hosting for the first time and we chose a turkish theme. Of course, there will be tulips (apparently they originated in Turkey).

    Enjoy your weekend!

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    1. A friend is going to Ottawa next month, and she'd never heard of the Tulip Festival! It's so wonderful there once Spring pulls blooms right out of the ground in what seems like hours and you get all that stunning colour. And there are usually some good outdoor concerts as part of the fun, no? Speaking of fun a Turkish-themed dinner party sounds like it could be just that -- is the food built around that theme? what will you serve?

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  4. And have we told you we're so glad you're looking forward to retirement?!?!:)

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  5. I have decided that barring some cataclysmic event I will retire after next spring. I still love most of my students and will miss the bright, fresh minds (no grandchildren on the horizon), but the increasing demands (90 exams to grade in three days per the exam schedule this year) are leaving me close to burnout. I want to travel in spring and fall, not answer e-mails at 10:00 at night and be free to work in the garden and read what I want. Thank goodness our savings scheme over the years will make this possible if we are careful. I look forward to following your experience. I hope its wonderful. Love the stories and pictures of the grands so I can enjoy vicariously!
    Lynn

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    1. The demands just seem to be cranked up more and more every year and although we're lucky in our summer time off, I really want to travel in different seasons, impossible in my current job. And yes, the emails!! And the consumption of free time on weekends and evenings. . . so much that I have loved but I'll give it up to have the rest of my life back and I think you'll be glad if you do that as well. I hope that you find making the decision a relief. . . I'll pave the way with all the fun stuff we can do when we walk out of our office doors.

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    2. I am so looking forward to your freedom and still ever so jealous of the grands!
      Lynn

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  6. Oh! I will have to see that movie. The trailer looks excellent. Maman and I like to visit LaConner in the springtime. Your last papers!!! Reading, watching Netflix and walking about town for me. Enjoy!

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    1. I heard about it on French CBC radio -- I think I was so pleased at having understood a good part of the interview that I just had to go, and we saw it at the Fifth Avenue Cinema which brings in a great mix. I'll watch your blog to see what you end up reading and watching this weekend.

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  7. Thank you for the Instagram and movie recommendations. We rarely get out to a movie any more, but this definitely looks worth tracking down. Best of luck with those papers. I have that Lost Art Of Dress book on my kindle and tried to start it a few weeks ago, but it's a bit too dry for just-before-bedtime reading. I may tackle it on one of our long flights.

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    1. We don't seem to get out to movies often either, Netflix being so very convenient. But in Vancouver, it's a pleasant 15 minute walk to the theatre, and then there's a place with a great pizza oven nearby. . . makes for a reasonably priced, enjoyable date night. I might have known you'd have this book -- I can see it's not bedtime reading, but I agree that it could be perfect for a long flight (in between movies).

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  8. I so hear your joy at your impending retirement. Here I have landed a 6 hr/ week teaching stint - which is lovely - but i'm agitating about whether to apply for 'proper' early career academic jobs ( at 55)... But keep reminding myself that I sm massively privileged to have such choices.

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    1. I started my "proper" early-career ac. job at 50, working half-time ABD, finishing my Doc. a couple of years into the job and moving to full-time. I do feel it has been a privilege, but I did wish the treatment of sessional (part-time) instructors was better so that could have been more of an option throughout. If you can manage financially on the part-time work, you have a chance to savour what you're doing, to give it the time you'd like while still having room for the rest of your life. It's privileged work, you're absolutely right, when there is choice.

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    2. Thank you very much for this insight. Working part time and smelling the flowers is the most attractive path to me but you're right about the treatment and the pay for sessional instructors. But then they don't get involved in the politics and the endless meetings - so nothing is perfect... And how boring life would be if it were.

      I really appreciate your advice on this

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  9. The very thought of a Dress Doctor brings on White Coat Syndrome .

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  10. Thank you for the recommendations. And your joy at your impending retirement is so lovely

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  11. I am just about to start doing work for the upcoming week, having deliberately left it over the Easter break. And counted out exactly how many school days there are until late July when I finish teaching. It is coming ever closer. No retirement on horizon but a change of direction to start to plan. How I agree about the encroachment on life in general and degree of expectation. Your excitement is palpable.

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    1. You really do have to be deliberate about those breaks, if you can. In retrospect, I should have been better about that and preserved energy. I'll be curious to see if your change of direction gives you a big lift. My grandpa used to repeat that "A change is as good as a rest"

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  12. I'm green with envy! And very curious to see what your priorities are going to be once you stop working. I took a clue from your post and told myself that there are some things I can already say I'm doing for the last time. Like the very extensive exam papers I have to correct and mark right now. This particular type of paper will not come up again within the next two years!
    Thanks for the film recommendation. I will look out for it - I love films about singing and I love choirs.

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    1. It does help the tolerance level if you know it's the last time doing something, doesn't it?
      I'll be curious to know what you think of the film. Perhaps reservations about the ending, but I don't want to spoil so will say no more. . . I hope you'll enjoy it.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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