Monday

BASIC MATH and German I. I skip math class today for my German teacher wants to use the time to rehearse for a language declamation contest Wednesday. I learned the poem "Die Erlenkong" over the weekend and I feel confident that I memorized the words pretty well. When the teacher tells me there will be people in the audience who will know what I will be saying in German, I wince. I was going to give the audience a "hint" of the language; this teacher wants me to give "the real thing." On top of that he gives the class a test which I little studied for, having used the weekend time to memorize the poem. Oh, yes, "blue Monday is looking bluer by the minute!

Monday evening follows suit with dinner being too late, Melissa getting to bed to late from her mid-evening nap that causes her to want my undivided attention at 2 a.m. Tuesday

History of Islamic Peoples and English Comp. Ii. I am always late for the hostory class. It starts at 9:30 a.m. and at 9:15 I am dressing Khaliah, yelling at Melissa to get dressed for school (she should have been there at 9), while for the last 15 minutes my husband is outside impatiently beeping the car horn.

I arrive at the history class at 10, breathless, arms about to fall off (you can't imagine how heavy a two-month old baby is in those little infant seats). After settling the baby down comfortably, I slide into my seat and try to ignore the sharp "you're late again" look from the teacher. He is now in the midst of a lecture that has caused the students to use up half their notebooks. I remember what someone said when I signed up for this course in August: "Oh, it'll be a breeze because you're a Muslim." Thanks, friend, and name me all the the battles and dates of all Islamic conquests of Africa and Asia in 60 seconds!

English Comp. should be my favorite class. It's not. Instead of being a class where I could leisurely read the classics and write long, flowing essays, which I love to do, it's a class full of dissecting outlines, footnotes and bibliographies. When my English teacher sees my essays, she's proud of me; when she sees my outlines, she disowns me.

At home, I continue working on the history term paper which has been the extent of my free-lance writing career of late. It is my misfortune to pick a topic that is very limited -- the Shiite Muslim women of Iraq -- and the book I did manage to get was wirtten in the '50s. Maybe if I type the bibliography triplespaced it would look more like three books.

I also run through the German poem before a captive audience of one -- my oldest daughter. She like it, but then she likes mustard on tuna fish. Wednesday

Basic Math and German I. I skip math class again to give my German teacher my "polished" recitation before the constest this afternoon. He says that he likes it and wants me to rehearse it before my classmates. I do, and while reciting I stop right in the middle and forget the rest of the poem. While I stand frozen, waiting for Chuck Barris and the gong to sound, my teacher kindly throws me a few words which helps me get through the poem.

Later at the auditorium, I sit next to my husband and hold the baby while silently rehearse the poem. Every stanza comes out a jumbled mess. Then comes my turn to go up to the podium. I know it is my turn when the mistress of ceremonies takes five minutes trying to pronounce my name, which, after her third try, comes out sounding like a cross between a Chinese vegetable and a curse word. I say a quick prayer to myself, take a deep breath and recite the poem. Then it's over and -- applause! Hey, Mikey, they liked it! I win first place.

That evening is spent with my husband tutoring me in math. A couple of hours later he stops, thinking I understand medians and means, but I don't. I should have taken algebra; I did well in algebra in high school. I flunked basic math in high school. Thursday

History of Islamic Peoples and English Comp. Late again. Teacher says that a final exam in scheduled in history for next Thursday. Great, just my incomplete notes alone look like the rough draft for "War and Peace." English Comp. is no better while I tackle the third revision of a third revised outline. At the end of class the teacher announces that she would like to see again the outlines she corrected earlier in the semester. I wonder if the city dump still has that bag of rubbish I threw away with the outlines two months ago.

At home, I watch my favorite show, "Quincy," while I do no German homework. I can't help feeling a pang of guilt every time I watch "quincy" for I keep promising myself to send off that script I wrote before the show's writers come up with the same idea. Upon watching next week's preview, I see they did come up with the same idea. Friday

To catch my breath, I skip basic math again (it's a self-instructional course and class participation is only necessary for exams). My husband says that the place is beginning to look like a mess. I suggest a maid; he suggest another wife. I clean the house, trying to convince myself that housecleaning is another challenge. Ha!

In German class, my teacher replaces the usual glare with a beaming smile while he tells the class of my performance. I hope he's still beaming when he finishes correcting my exam.

I take a cab home because my husband went to Jumu'a , Muslim congregational prayers. I am not required to go. I relax that evening and look forward to a restful weekend. Saturday

I try to grab extra shuteye in the morning, but Melissa is a sophisticate this morning and mere playing with her toys, reading, even watching TV "bores" her. She feels the urge to tour the downtown stores' toy departments at 9 a.m.

Khalilah has gotten to like being toted around during the school week and wants to continue the tradtion on the weekends. My husband wants a big breakfast, preferably an omelette with cheese, onions and peppers. Melissa wants the same thing, only take out the onions and peppers on her piece of omelette. They get cereal. Sunday

Sunday is difinitely my day of leisure. I take my time and really get into cooking and make amends for the quick meals I cook the other six days. I might even bake a pie to go along with dinner.