Tuesday, December 29, 2009

How do you FIX something like THIS?!

So here I find myself. Ending the much-too-short break between semesters. Rushing to put together the new and improved versions of classes (plus figure out how best to revive a really old one).

Dear Diary,

How are you? I am fine (-ish). Last semester was pretty disappointing (lame) for various reasons. I really really really really really hope that this coming one will be better. It is the SPRING semester and warmer weather is thereby implied. Days are already getting longer and surely those swirls of powdery cold dust will evaporate by morning's light! Or, maybe by next day's morning light? Please?

There must be something in me that is similar to the loss of pain memory that mothers experience after each birth. Ask them within the last few minutes (or hours) of labor, and you will likely hear, "No f%&*ing way will I ever do THAT again!" But after some time passes, they forget the pain (having survived it) and start planning for the next brat-poop.

Lately, each semester seems to end similarly with me having strong negative feelings. So much effort put into the classes, so little apparent gain. Why bother? Then a mere few days passes when the "ideas" start trickling in again... "Maybe if I were to do this next time?" Or, "I should try saying this next time..." And I start getting all geared up for another mother-load of classes. Until by the first quarter of the semester I realize I am doing it again. Teaching is a cruel bitch of a task-master for me. Or maybe I am just a masochist? Or maybe both?

Anyway - here I am, complaining about the end of a break when I still have more than 10 days of it left! I guess that's because I feel that I have so much to do before then. And my motivation? Hmm, that must be around here somewhere... Let's see... where did I leave that?

Good Riddance to 2009!

Not the best of years. Glad to see it go, but I will miss what it takes with it. Unfortunately, I half expect that 2010 might hold additional losses.

My sister wrote a wonderful obituary for my father. Here it is for posterity:

Wed, Dec 02 2009

Gene V. Paul
PLAISTOW, N.H. — Gene Vincent Paul, adoring husband of Jacquelyn (Hill) (Miller) Paul, dedicated father of Dr. Stephen T. Paul, Pittsburgh, and Jennifer J. (Paul) Perreault, and doting grandfather of Gabrielle J. and Derrek G. Perreault, all of Danville, N.H., died peacefully Sunday night, Nov. 29, 2009 in the comfort of his home with his loving wife by his side.

Gene, longtime resident of Plaistow, and formerly of Newton, was born in Haverhill on March 6, 1941 to the late Clarence V. and Jane H. (Fyfe) Paul. Gene attended Haverhill Public Schools and graduated from Haverhill Trade School. Gene was a proud Mason affiliated with Star of Bethlehem AF&AM, Wakefield, who at one time served as a police officer with the Haverhill Auxiliary Police and the Plaistow Police Department. Prior to developing heart and lung disease, Gene was employed for several years as Lieutenant of Security at Raytheon in West Andover.

Gene, known for his kindness, generosity and storytelling, enjoyed researching his family genealogy, bowling with his league at Academy Lanes in Bradford, fishing with and caring for his grandchildren, watching westerns, crime dramas, and programs about the spirit world. Preferring to listen to country and spiritual music, Gene was an avid collector of Native American decor and memorabilia. Prior to his declining health, Gene enjoyed traveling to Nova Scotia to visit his uncle, and to Pittsburgh to visit his son and daughter-in-law. Gene's greatest joy in the past two years was spending quality time with his wife, Jackie.

In addition to his parents, Gene was predeceased by his first wife of 39 years, Sarah (Sally) A. (Tenney) Paul; and brother, David Paul. Survivors include sisters, Claire (Paul) Hutchinson, Plaistow; Audrey (Paul) McGowen, Dover; and Mary Ellen (Paul) Petit and her husband, Paul, Merrimac; brothers, Redmond (Reggie) Paul and his wife, Sandra, Haverhill; and Donald Paul and his wife, Linda, North Carolina. Additional survivors include daughter-in-law, Cynthia (Kecy) Paul, Pittsburgh; son-in-law, Gary Perreault, Danville; stepchildren, Michael Miller, Exeter, and Terrie (Miller) Clarke and her husband, Leo, Groveland; step-grandchildren, Dr. Lia (Clarke) Sprague and her husband, Matthew, Fremont; Pamela Clarke and Amy Clarke of Groveland; step-great-grandchildren, Kagen Clarke, Groveland, Landon Sprague and Aislinn Sprague, Fremont. Gene also leaves several nieces, nephews, cousins, and dear and devoted friends, including Tom and Ann Hansen, Newton; Ray and Rose Guilmet, Salem; and Sandra and Walter Brown, Haverhill; as well as all of his caring friends in his bowling league.

ARRANGEMENTS: Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to his funeral Saturday, Dec. 5, at 11 a.m. at the H.L. Farmer & Sons Funeral Home, 106 Summer St., Haverhill. Calling hours are from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 4, 2009. Burial will be private at the convience of the family. The family respectfully requests that flowers be omitted in consideration of making a donation in Gene's memory to The American Heart Association (www.americanheart.org), The American Lung Association (www.lungusa.org), The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (www.leukemia.org), local fire emergency rescue departments in Plaistow, Newton, Hampstead, or Danville, N.H., or to the charity of one's choice. Condolences to his family may be made at www.farmerfuneralhomes.com.