Monday, December 7, 2009

Whackamole and Wild Dogs Redux

I have been thinking about whackamole and wild dogs for several days now. These two disparate mental pictures symbolize stress for me. Years ago when my life felt about 95% out of control, I enjoyed going to pizza restaurants with my young daughter and playing whackamole, that game where you have a mallet and every time a head pops up you whack it soundly. I found this activity very satisfying because I named the heads after various projects and also named some after people who I thought were making my life miserable (Take THAT Mr.Ex!).

Another analogy for having too many irons in the fire is the perception that I am being pursued by wild dogs who are snapping and slathering at my heels. These dogs bear the names of projects with due dates closing in on me. The last several days have been devoted to battling these dogs. Today, though, I started thinking about the last time I felt this way. I was pretty sure I even blogged on the topic before. So I just now looked up my previous whackamole/wild dog account and it was dated December 4, 2008! That means one year ago to the very week I was in the same spot! Well, I got through with everything then and I will get through it this time! I hope.

This time the the biggest dog is named IMLS, as in Institute of Museum and Library Services. I am working on our department's third grant...the first two were awarded in 2007 and 2009. Now we are going for a third. No matter how much thought and work has gone into the early stages, the last days of preparing a grant for submission are tedious and hectic. Today I assembled all the documents, with the help of our grants office. They are now on the way to be examined and signed. Am I breathing a sigh of relief? Well, not really. But I am hoping to do so day after tomorrow, my target day for submitting, all of one week prior to the due date.

The next dog is one I wrote about last year at this time...Belltones. Yep, I had a column due this week just like last year. This bad boy has been beaten back again. I sent off my latest column about an hour ago. For this, I CAN breathe a sigh of relief. But Ol' Beller will be back in late January since my next due date is the first week of February.

The third dog is named Digital Native. I was invited to write a chapter for a book about digital natives. I have already had two drafts exchanged with my longsuffering editor, and am hoping to finish up final revisions within days. Then there are two other dogs gaining on me. One is called Portfolio. Our graduates create a portfolio for a final project, and their creations are due today. Which leads me to the last dog, named Grading. I must do my part in grading all portfolios as well as grade all remaining work of students in my Fall 2009 classes. Will I prevail? Will I whack down all the heads and fight off all the snarling dogs? Well I did it last year! Hope springs eternal.

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