Thursday, December 11, 2008

Time for you and time for me

I was in the institute building's gym last night, happily stretched out on my stomach writing a paper about language use in terrorist texts, when the door swung open and a few of my graduate student friends marched in, single file, with the one in front carrying a pumpkin. 

"Petra," they cried, "come join us! We're going to throw this pumpkin off the roof!"

I needed no more encouragement than that: I jumped up and fell in line, solemnly processing up the stairs to the roof, where we gathered around the edge as E. flung the pumpkin down with all his might.  We quietly waited through the splat on the pavement, sighing with satisfaction, and then just as quietly shuffled back downstairs to our study spots.  

My world goes a little crazy at the end of a semester: I've slept at the institute building two nights in a row now, curled up in chairs with my computer on my lap, trying to eke out just one or two more pages before sleep overtakes me. Normal functioning is forgotten: no dishes, no laundry, no errands, just research and just writing. 

But somewhere in the middle of all that research and writing is time for craziness, time for staying up until 4 am talking, time for kicking a basketball around the gym pretending to be Pele, time for belting out Les Mis songs with other stressed-out grad students, time for testing whether men and women really do walk up stairs differently (yes!), time for giving blood and Christmas caroling and live nativities, and, of course, time for flinging pumpkins off the roof.  

Secretly, I love the end of the semester: it's when everyone else is tired enough to indulge me in wackiness.  If only I didn't have all these pesky papers to write, these would be good, good times.   

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Don't Cha Wish Your Visiting Teaching Supervisor Was Hot Like Me?

I am my ward's visiting teaching supervisor, or at least was, until the bishop got so sick and tired of me lobbying for another teaching calling that I was called back! back by popular demand! into Sunday School. (Okay, so that's not exactly how it went down, but close, at least in that I was whiny.) In any case, in my very short tenure as visiting teaching supervisor I strove mightily to have my calling and release made sure, mostly by sending out very strange, very snarky emails each month asking companionships for their reports. Last month I titled my email "it's that time of the month again!" and threatened to release my hormonal rage on any companionships that didn't report quickly, and so you can imagine the pressure I felt this month: electronic PMS threats are a pretty high attention-getting bar to clear.

Pressure? No problem. Behold the (entire) text of this month's email:

Very critical to the life of a ward
Integral, too, to the plan of the Lord:
Sisters in spirit, sisters in love
In serving each other we serve Him up above.
Talking and teaching and getting to know
Is a time for all to learn and to grow.
No one should slack and no one should shirk
God has called us to this holy work.

Time for the straight talk, time for the truth
Even if saying it's somewhat uncouth:
A visit a month can be asking a ton
Church-assigned friendships are never much fun.
Hell if I learn and hell if I grow
I'm bonding instead with the one down below.
Now that you're listening, I proffer my plea:
Get me your numbers, A.S.A.P.!

I'll leave the question of which stanza to agree with as an exercise for the reader--after you've reported your home and visiting teaching statistics, that is.