It's summer! At least if we go by Jarrah's calendar. She finished up Monday with a peculiar half-day schedule (like an afterthought) but I was fortunate to slip in early and be present for the "graduation ceremony." The first thing I saw was all the kids wearing crowns that said "I'M A FIRST GRADER!" around the brim, which got me crying straightaway. Then Mrs. Robl called them up one by one and presented them with an honest-to-goodness gold medal on a stately blue ribbon and made a little speech about their accomplishments. Jarrah's speech was about her stink bug performance, her reading abilities, and how she's always respectful. I was especially proud of that last part, hoping I had something to do with it. Later, I noticed that the medals were engraved with their school, teacher and year, and it was just another reminder how lucky we were to score Mrs. Robl this year, who always gave that little extra for the kids. I think it was harder for me to say goodbye to her than for Jarrah, though I know she will always be up for a chat if I poke my head into Room 42 next year.
The past week has also seen a flurry of preparations for our long hiatus from San Diego this summer. We'll be traveling around Australia, but don't worry, Dear Readers--you'll be right there with me as I do some of my travel live-blogging. Like our last trip eight (!) years ago, we'll be flying into Sydney and out of Melbourne, with a visit with David's folks in Perth in the middle, but this time we'll also divert to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef, which happily has its high season during Australia's winter. We'll also be taking some driving trips outside of Sydney and Melbourne, which we haven't done before. I'm pretty excited, but also nervous about a 14-hour plane ride with Jarrah, and told her "at some point during that flight, someone is going to scream 'Get me off this plane!' I figure it'll either be you or me." David says definitely me, but never fear: I plan to be heavily sedated.
Back at Chez Sam, we'll be getting a spanking new bathroom remodel, which will hopefully (a girl who's never before hired a contractor can dream, can't she?) be nearly complete on our return, since it involves moving the walls of our bedroom. We'll have various friends popping in and out to check on the progress, but we're certainly placing a lot of power in the hands of some people with pickaxes. Sometimes, a girl's just gotta have faith.
I've been struggling the past couple of weeks with my stand-up comedy venture, and it's partly because it's really hard, but mostly because I'm really lame. Meaning, because it's hard, and scary, I do what I've always done in those situations and procrastinate like it's going out of style, meaning I don't labor my re-writes like Tony commands. This week was better than the last--he said I seemed to be paying attention even if the result is still too wordy--but last week I was chagrined when he exploded "You're like a Shakespearean actor up there, declaiming all over the place!" I said "Whaddaya want from me? I was in grad school for like 27 years." But I've realized the bigger issue is having been a teacher for so long. In a way, I don't have the appropriate wincing and self-loathing required for a truly successful comedian--wait, what I am I saying, I have both of those in spades--what I mean is I'm just not as awkward in front of people as I should be. I'm all bluster and confidence after years of trying to make kids care about Walt Whitman. Now I need the material to back up the confidence.