In the last few weeks I've been tested.
There are some tests about which I can write, and some I cannot. I will say I survived most of this testing--sort of.
Pat on the back for me.
or not--depending on the test.
Anyway. Last week I spent in Maine, living at my parents' house (my parents are away) with Alina, my kids, and her kids. This is a ritual week for us; we put the kids into day camp, and then spend our free time swimming, reading, shopping, and lunching out. We joke that it's the best week of the year. It's really NOT a joke, though. It truly is.
The week is an indulgent one. On any day I have an extremely hard time saying no to treats, but this week I have a nearly impossible time saying no. An early morning swim followed by a margarita at lunch? Sure? Heavy cream and strawberries for dessert? Oh, but of course... A nap while the children go bananas downstairs--rocking out to blasting tunes while dancing in their underwear? Okay! Allowing the dogs to swim in the ocean and eat seaweed and crab shells even though I know they will stink up the entire house.... Who could say no?
I also had trouble on the shopping front. I indulged by buying myself all sorts of goodies. Andy experiences constant disappointment in me because I fail to contribute to the design and decoration of our house. I want to... I just become paralazyed when faced with choices on the interior design front. I like what others buy--I like others' homes--but I don't trust my own decorative sense. BUT this week I decided I would buy something for our home.
Hmmmmm. Did I fail on this one?
Here is my other contribution (yes, it's possible I have only contributed two things independently)...
I also bought Ernie a studded collar. I know you can't really tell in this picture, but he looks pretty studly, and with a name like Ernie, he has the whole package if you know what I mean.
Still on the theme of testing, yesterday I drove to Billerica High School and took the MTEL English subject test. If I pass than I will be able to get a preliminary certificate in Massachusetts to teach high school English. I am certified as a middle school English and history teacher, but I need a different certification to teach at the high school level in public school. I signed up for the test in a moment of panic and whim in which I imagined I absolutely positively MUST get back to teaching this fall. I have since reconsidered; I will, perhaps, look to fill a maternity leave this winter or spring... or I may wait until next year to begin. This fall is too soon--and anyway, the high school English positions are few at this time of year, only weeks away from the start of the school year. But, in any case, my impulsivity is quite developed, and so I found myself in a sweltering classroom in Billerica yesterday afternoon facing a test which actually required me to THINK. (And this after a week of margaritas at lunch...)
I didn't plan well. I had a good breakfast, but unfortunately failed to consider I might become hungry during the test--or even before it started. We were asked to arrive early for a 1:15 start. Apparently, however, the test actually began at two; they simply wanted no one to be late so they essentially lied, saying we MUST report at 1:15 or we would not be allowed to take the exam. Hence the entryway and lobby of the high school were filled with prospective teachers at approximately 12:45. We were damp and stinky in the heat--grouchy and parched and looking forward to sitting in a fan-less, stale classroom, sitting cramped at a graffiti-laden desk with an answer booklet and a few number 2 pencils.
And I was hungry. And the test, which I had assumed would be three hours max, was, in fact, to be four hours long. (Nice that I even looked at the information sheet, huh?) I did have a slightly curdled can of yogurt in my purse, but I had failed to remember a spoon. Should I eat with my fingers? I seriously contemplated it. But, much like deciding NO, I can hold it, I don't need to stop at the bathroom now... I soon regretted that decision. By four p.m. I was so hungry I contemplated eating my answer booklet. My stomach grumbled so loudly and consistently that other test takers began to give me at first sympathetic looks--and then simply dirty looks.
But the truth is, I like taking these types of tests. And I liked this one. The questions were challenging, but by process of elimination I was able to nail most of them, I'm fairly sure. I would have benefited from a little review, of course. I felt slightly stupid when I saw that some test takers had whole books on what to study and how to take the test. I didn't even know what the test included.
The essays were the most fun. They essay topics are so general you can really take the question any way you want. One question asked us to reflect on a passage by Jamaica Kincaid and the other to discuss quest in a particular novel. EVERY novel has embedded within a quest... so I could chose to write on what what I wanted. I wrote about Lily Bart in The House of Mirth, because she is one of my favorite characters; beautiful and tragic,and fatally flawed.
My final test is that this week I tapered, and next week I will continue to taper. I do. not. like. taper. It makes me feel helpless. My runs and bikes have felt sluggish, and though Kurt assures me this is normal--and in truth I assure others it is normal too--I just can't stand it. It makes me lose confidence in all I have done.
And on that note, I will go out on my meager little ride and run, and hope that the hay which I have accrued is enough, and that next Sunday I will reap the benefits of placing it there.