Monday, September 06, 2010

Labor Day, 2010

As an online teacher, I cannot say that I get a break from my labor very often unless I choose to take time off and don't go near my computer. As my wife says, all we ever do is stay inside our house and work. The opening weeks of the semester are the least busy because students have not yet started to submit their essays for grading. I still have to check the discussion forums once or twice a day to answer questions and to greet students, but I get to choose when I go online. Last Monday afternoon, when other people were returning from work, I managed to go see a matinee showing of Nanny McPhee, a movie my wife wanted to see. It was our last excursion for the summer. Afterwards, we had our dinner outside on the patio of Chipotle's and enjoyed the open air and the weather. It wasn't until returning home that I got online to check up on my students.

Unlike previous summers, I haven't been making much time to go take pictures. I don't know why exactly. When the summer session ended, I continued to sit in front of my computer to create CD covers, using a CD labeler from Memorex, for some of the music that I had downloaded (legally I might add) over the past year or so. It was a chance to do something different than grade essays during the two weeks that I had off. It was also more relaxing than preparing my classes for the coming semester.

Taking a trip across the state would have probably been enjoyable. Peg at Kansas Prairie described a recent leisurely trip she took to Greensburg with her grandson. I sometimes daydream about flying a kite at Monument Rocks or Coronado Heights. Unfortunately, there aren't many places to fly a kite where I live in eastern Kansas; there are too many trees and too few open spaces. That's one of the things that I find disappointing about eastern Kansas.

Taking walks along the Missouri River is a consolation of sorts. I recently discovered that Parkville, Missouri, about a thirty minute drive, offers a much longer walkway along the river. Compared to where I live farther north, the river in Parkville offers a more industrial landscape, with a view of a power plant and a gas storage container. Nonetheless, the city has spent a lot of money on creating this parklike setting. It had drawn a number of people when I was there recently. That kind of excursion is the extent of my travel this summer.

Despite my complaints, I remain thankful that I have employment. Other people aren't so fortunate. The latest figure, I believe, is one out of ten Americans is unemployed. I am also fortunate that I am able to choose my hours. Not many people have that advantage. In spite of my low wages, the amount of hours that I put in once the semester gets underway, the absence of permanent employment with health insurance, and the time spent without a paycheck during semester breaks, I am apparently one of the lucky Americans.

Pictures of the river at Parkville appear below. Clicking on a picture will enlarge it.