Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the tag “stress”

Tis the Month of Maying

April brought showers, daffodils, moose eating tulips (again), a trip to see the First Folio, unprecedented warm temperatures, and a month of poetry. Now we are on to May.

May–yes, may I just say that May makes me tired, and we are barely five days into the month. As I write this it’s 3:30 a.m., about two hours too early to be so wide awake. My head is spinning with how much I need to do this month. May I just stop a moment and reflect what the month of May involves…

  • Complete the Victorian Era unit with my seniors, yet leave enough time for Modern and Post-Modern by end of this month
  • Post progress grades by 3 pm Thursday–today!
  • Create my unit exam
  • Figure out my second semester final
  • Create a meaningful series of activities for my AP students for the rest of the month now that they have taken their exam and are basically done with the class, yet still need to attend. Did someone say film appreciation unit?
  • Speak at the annual Women’s Tea talking about getting a “piece of quiet” which is based on my essay in Chicken Soup for the Multi-tasking Mom’s Soul (I should be nervous but I’m too worn out to be nervous–wait it’s next week? I am nervous)

(Survivor of the nefarious Tulip Moose)
Just thinking about my “get’r done” list makes me tired enough to maybe go back to sleep. May I, might I, may I get it done because all this is going through my head:

Tis is the month of maying:

  1. May I get my gradebook straightened out
  2. May I get my lesson plans written up
  3. May I win against my everlasting match with yard maintenance (Weeds 3, Cricket 1)
  4. May I get caught up on my book reviews
  5. May I get a month of blog posts going
  6. May I send off yet another volley of queries to editors and agents
  7. May I actually find time to pack for my escape weekend–that’s right, I’m taking two personal days and making a four day getaway. By doing so I may survive the outbreak of senioritis at our school.

May I just go back to sleep so that I’m not a zombie impersonating an English teacher… 

Why We Say: #4

Animated sequence of a race horse galloping. P...

Animated sequence of a race horse galloping. Photos taken by Eadweard Muybridge (died 1904), first published in 1887 at Philadelphia (Animal Locomotion). (Photo credit: Wikipedia) This horse could not gallop so smoothly if it were all balled up.

“Calm down. Don’t yourself  all balled up.”

If this is not in your lexicon of sayings, then think about those situations when you get yourself so stressed out you can’t cope anymore. I definitely get there from time to time.

This round of Why We Say is #4:  Just what does it mean to get ” all balled up?”


Back in the day when people relied on horses for transportation there could be some real downsides. Never mind feeding them, grooming them, stabling them and such. One real problem was winter travel. Horses  had to be stopped now and then to attend to the ice that would form in their hooves. Balls of ice would gather in the hoof hollows and this would cause them to lose traction. Having your horse slip on an icy road is much like your car going into a skid–unexpected, unpleasant results could occur.


“Poppa why are we stopping?”

“No worries, Sugar. I just gotta flick out them ice balls so old Thunder can get us on home through on this snow and such. He can’t go no further if he can’t keep his feet under him.”

“Do they hurt him?”

“Nah, but he can’t hardly get where he needs to ifn he’s all balled up.  Just snuggle under that quilt and we’ll be back home where your momma is waiting with a nice bowl of porcupine stew for us.”


Getting yourself in a place where there is frustration, confusion, and some tough stuff which prevents you from getting where you’d like to go can get you all balled up. Now, to be honest, I wasn’t thinking horse hooves when I first  heard the expressions. I was thinking more about this critter:

We called them roly-polys when I was a kid because they rolled themselves up in a tight little ball when they got in a fret, looking a lot like little grey BBs. Now, to my shame, we kids liked to flick them to watch them roll. But they’re tough little guys and would wait out the perceived threat to eventually unfurl and go their merry buggy way. So when I hear all balled up I think about drawing myself inward to protect myself until the stress passes and then I go to my merry way.

My Thoughts

I think it ‘s a personal choice of wanting to approach life as a horse or a bug.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: