Monday, February 24, 2014

Only Three More Weeks

I hate being sick.

I'm not surprise, but I hate being sick.

I have a little cold, which grew from a little cough last week to what seems today to be a full-blown tempest in a teapot.  Coughing, stuffy nose and I'm tired.  Apparently, just in time for Monday.  At least I got all my grading done yesterday! Today I'm glad I made it through teaching my classes; now I'm sitting and drinking mint tea and grading papers.  I walk to work in the mornings and G and I walk home together at night.  This morning was fine, but tonight is going to be impossible. It's still snowing and cold, and while I like that, it's bad for my lungs.  G volunteered to walk home and come pick me up.

****Wait- before I go further, shout out to JOHN in the Academic Resource Commons for reading my blog! Good to see you in the ARC and I look forward to working with you soon.*****

It's been a neat couple of weeks.  For Valentine's day, G got me some chocolates and I got him a vinyl record that he's been wanting.  I waited until Valentine's to get it for him because it's by a group called "My Bloody Valentine".  :-D

We got out of town and headed for Walla Walla for the weekend.  We had restaurant food, went to wine tasting rooms and generally had a good time. I have an astonishingly low tolerance for alcohol these days.  One glass of wine and I can't drive. Two and I'm falling asleep.  We did tastings at 4 tasting rooms and bought a couple of bottles.  After that, I needed a nap. What happened?! I used to be so young!

Oh well, I have more wisdom now- I know not to drink a whole lot and that taxis are not very expensive in Walla Walla.
Lots of cool attractions in Walla Walla.

Anyhoo, we popped over to Dayton on Sunday morning to visit my little family church.  Grey hasn't been there and since that means I hadn't been there in two years, we decided to hop to.  The church has changed since I was last there.  For one thing, there were a ton of people there and it used to be about 1/3 full on a good day. And I was related to just about everyone.  This time, we showed up at 11. I forgot that services start at 10:45. Ah well. We had to sit in the front pew because that was the only space available. There were also more children there, which I like. Except for visitors with children, I was always the youngest one there. Some of the kids got up and sang songs. After church was a soup and salad luncheon and we were invited to go.

The pastor remembered me, and he wandered over during the collection to say hello and meet my husband.  I like him and his wife a whole lot. They've been at the United Brethren Church in Dayton since the early 1990s. That still makes him the new pastor. I remember two pastors before him.  He was very good to my grandparents and took special care with my grandma before she died.

Some things hadn't changed. For one, my Aunt Sarah was there. She'd just had some surgery on her hip and was looking mighty strong. She sort of charges ahead once again, and that's just the way I love my fire-haired aunt.  She's my grandpa's sister, and she's just as stubborn. I loved visiting with her. She and G get along too- not that he's ever not gotten along with people.  It just makes me happy. She bossed us around a bit and told us stories, and re-introduced us to the church.  As it turns out, I'm still related to just about everybody. There is something in me that just wants to help people, so after we ate, I walked around and picked up everybody's plates and refilled coffee. This is the kind of place where they serve homemade pickles and butter on a piece of bread. That's where bread and butter pickles come from, in case you wondered.  There were four homemade soups and probably 10 different types of sandwiches with jello mold desserts and pie and cookies and low sugar options.  Dayton is eventually catching up with the rest of the world.
My Uncle Vernon's chair is still there, in the United Brethren Church, Dayton, Washington

Sarah had G in thrall (she was talking his ear off) and I even had a moment to say hello to my Uncle Vernon's best friend, Morris, and his wife Carol. I like them an awful lot too.  Although, when I saw Carol, I broke out in tears.  I remember how much Grandma loved her and what good friends they were. Once when Carol was sick, Grandma was afraid she wouldn't recover and got a bit teary-eyed herself.  All of this rushed over me as I tried to say polite things.  All that came out was "It's good to see you.  Oh, you remind me of my grandma!" Then I got all sniffy.  She gave me a hug.  I don't know, I'm not much of a cryer, and I certainly don't go around crying in public.  When Pastor Greg came to say goodbye though, I teared up again.  He did too, saying how much my grandparents were loved and how much we miss them.  It was a lovely visit.
My fiery Aunt Sarah. I'm gonna look that good when I'm 90!

Anyway, last week I started feeling a cough coming on, and have had to up my asthma medicine.  This morning and afternoon, it's cough/hack/ick/cough.  I think I'm going to go home and just go to bed. Ride it out. I know what it's from- too much work. I'm overextended, teaching 4 online classes and working for the dean 30 hours a week.

I hate being sick.

Only 3 more weeks, only three more weeks...

Then more adventures!
You can almost see the snow on my hair...

Friday, February 14, 2014

The New Ordinary

I both love and loathe how busy I have been lately.  It's almost 11 p.m. and I gave up grading papers because I just can't muster the enthusiasm to encourage students when I'm this tired.  And my day started early too. I've also had some insomnia lately, so I'm waiting a bit to get sleepy before I go to bed.

So those are the downsides. I'm tired and I don't have enough hours in the day.  My job is stressful and sometimes makes for a much longer week than normal-bleeding sometimes all the way through my weekend.

The upside is that I'm incredibly happy to be doing what I'm doing right now. I know teaching 4 classes is considered an overload here. I've done more. Part of me is like "pssht, y'all don't know what you're talking about".  Then I have to grade 107 papers three to four times in ten weeks. And I go "Oh, yeah. Hmm."

My work for the Dean of Student Success is also highly interesting.  It involves travel, meetings with the research folks, meetings with the committee I'm working on, writing, meetings with students, writing, research and literature reviews and more meetings.  I really think my office hours, when I meet with students, is my stress relief.

I got to have sushi for the first time in what seems like two years.  I love it.  G does not. I can't bring myself to drag him to a sushi counter where he will have a miserable time.  I invited out a former student (now friend) whose husband also does not like sushi and we had a great meal at Oyama in Ellensburg.  The chef drew pictures on our food and carved a carrot slice into the shape of a bunny for garnish.  He even made us a little appetizer and said it would help with digestion.

The food was delicious!

So if I work pretty hard, I can also take time to connect with my "kind and very understanding husband who knows that I'm a workaholic but I can't help it that I love what I do and overextend myself so he's putting  up with me".    The new mantra is that this only for another 5 weeks.

Mantra: as in "It's only 5 more weeks. It's only 5 more weeks. It's only 5 more weeks. It's only 5 more weeks."

I'm sad and happy for my friend Kim.  She was the first friend I made here in Ellensburg.  She's the manager of the office where I work.  She has literally thrown herself in front of students who try to get in to see people without appointments and she does a great job of managing people, resources and time.  She got a new job on campus and yesterday was her last day.  So I'm happy for her and sad for me. We'll still be friends outside of work- we are making an appointment for early morning coffee on Tuesday mornings- but I'll miss her constancy in my daily routine and her ready smile and our silly chats with Joy, the other amazing lady (counselor, advocate, and case manager) who offices next to me.

For now, this is the new normal. Lots of work with periods of rest and periods of insomnia from stress.  Lately it's been sleepless and I won't lie; I'm tired.  But it will get better.  Five more weeks.

In the meantime, Happy Valentine's Day. I brought chocolate and candy and gifts for students and a few sweet people I know on campus.  This weekend, we're getting away for a little romantic trip.  Not really for Valentine's day, but because we have a 3 day weekend.

Peace out.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Catch Up!

Has it really been a month since I've written anything? And here it is, 9:35 on a weeknight. My bedtime is at 10, so I'm giving myself 20 minutes to type like crazy. Here's a quick catch up:

I'm teaching classes (4) and working for the Dean of Student Success.  I really like both things I'm doing but I need about 20 more hours in my week to make it work better.  Always, always busy. But the time flies by like nothing and I look up and it's time to go home.  Mostly because G gets done at 5 and walks over to my office to get me so we can walk home together. I like that.

It's getting lighter every evening.  It was pitch dark by 4:15 last month. Now we walk home as the sun sets. Something else I like.  But it's coooooold.  Like tonight it's -1 Fahrenheit.  Not like Celsius or anything. Like a negative number.  It would be more fun if there was snow. But hardly any precipitation in the valley means that it's just freezing and windy.  Still, it's snowy in the hills and we continue to add on snow pack.  That's important so that the world doesn't catch on fire next summer.

I got a fitbit! I love it. It's a small little dealybopper.  That's the technical term, dealybopper.

It sort of clips onto the center of my bra and does all sorts of recording.  I've got steps in a day, miles traveled, how many minutes I was "highly active", how many calories I've burned, and how many flights of stairs I've climbed that day. At night, I slip it into a little wristband and it tracks my sleep.

Now, my daytime activities are good. Between walking to and from work and working out so much, I average about 7 miles a day.  That's awesome.  I make it a point to climb at least 20 flights of stairs a day and burn at least 2100 calories.  All of those things are fun to keep track of.  Here's the bad part though: My sleep cycles are bad.  I get up several times a night and am a restless sleeper.  It's worse when Eleanor doesn't feel good because I'm up and checking on her several times a night.  I call it just being a worrywart.  I guess the other term is hyper vigilance.  Love the fitbit though.

Eleanor isn't feeling well again.  It's the cold.  She usually sleeps by my feet but ends up wanting to snuggle to keep warm.  Sure, I can snuggle at 2:47 a.m.  Not a problem. And again at 4. Ok.  Now, how do I get back to sleep?

I was invited to the men's basket ball game at CWU last Saturday for Faculty Appreciation night.  One of my students says that I have made a difference in his life so I, along with seven or eight other professors, were pulled onto the court at halftime and recognized.  They even gave me a tee shirt.  My student- a freshman- not only got to play, but he made both of his free throws. I was really proud of him.  He's a good kid.

Other than that, things are going along quite nicely.  I enjoy winter and don't think it's long enough. I love the frozen look of the ground and imagine the roots of all living things snug in their dirt, hibernating until the sun wakes them gently in a few weeks.  Sleep well, because soon spring will come like a lion or a lamb, and the world will bloom.

I have news on the employment front, but I can't say anything yet. Nothing that wouldn't jinx things outright. I'll keep you posted.  In the meantime, I am hoping that G and I can go to Louisiana for Spring Break to see his family. We'll get to meet our niece Haylee Kate for the first time. I can't wait!

Ugh, it's almost 10.  Gotta go.  Back soon!