Thursday, December 20, 2012


I am a grumpy grumperson today!

I've been up since about 1:30 am. I just couldn't get back to sleep. Our air conditioner is on the fritz, which at least thankfully it's winter, although it's been in the god awful 70s here*, at least it's not June that it went out. And at least since we're renting, it's not an unexpected expense for us. I feel bad that it's an unexpected expense for my landlord during the holidays because we really like him, but what can you do? But again, at least it's not summertime.

One of my classes is decidedly a class full of duds. Only about 3 are reading consistently. One for sure. And I feel bad for him because I feel like he's being short changed here, because it's become clear that they expect me to just point out the "important things" and that they can just mark the passages we talk about in class and not actually do the reading. I don't want to give quizzes because a) I don't want to have to go through the trouble of making quizzes for each class period, and b) I don't want to have to grade all those quizzes either. And I feel like it's senseless to create more work for myself when even with a basic quiz, it's still extra work for me for students who should be keeping up with the reading and not just for the sake of the quiz. So instead, I warned them that for most of them the midterm is royally going to suck and some of them will be in for a rude awakening. And on any given day, 1/3 to 1/2 the students don't show up. Already. We've had nine class periods. I have some who have missed 5, 6, 7 days thus far. So it's possible that they will already most likely fail the class.

Not to mention that I have two super annoying students in that class, too. One of whom has only been there twice, thank god. The other is a nice guy, but jeeeeeeeeeeeesus! He's one of those who has an opinion on everything, which is always contrary to what I say, and HAS to talk to me after every.single.class period. I can't just go to my office for 15 minutes of peace. For example, he argued with me in class and then afterwards about how Poe MUST HAVE been stoned while he was writing. No. And I went over some very specific reasons in class why one cannot dismiss Poe's writings as such. And that I've never read anything by legit scholars (or anyone really other than students) that claimed that Poe was indeed under the influence at the time of his compositions or revisions. His argument for why over 100 years of Poe scholarship is incorrect? He writes under the influence and recognizes ALL of the signs, at which point he told me I should try it, that it would make my writing better. Uh, so yeah, in all of that, you insulted Poe, insulted me, and informed me of your habitual drug usage. Thank you. By the way, in case I'm interested, he's written over 10 novels that if I'd like to read them, he'd be more than happy to make them available to me. Some of which are 600 pages. Yes, indeed, in all of my spare time I have, I'd like to read 600 pages of what I am now sure are novels of your stoner delusions. Sheesh. He also tried to tell me that I was wrong about the Native Americans not being one of the 12 lost tribes of Israel. That he had evidence to the contrary.

Good god it's going to be a looooooooooooooooong ass quarter.

And then the one student in the class who is keeping up with the work emailed me to apologize for his classmates sucking and to thank me for still being able to do a good job and keep it interesting despite the class sucking, which has never happened to me before and which was really nice of him. So I thanked him for keeping up with the work and for doing great work and told him that I hoped he wasn't being short changed because of his classmates.

This is really the first shitty class I've had here, and honestly, I just don't have the energy right now to pull teeth. Perhaps if it were another quarter, yes. But, they need to take some responsibility and do the fucking readings. However, I suspect that many of them are not going to do well on their midterms, which is not my problem, really if they're not reading. Fortunately, the 12:30 class is the total opposite, so my mood  and my faith in my students is always redeemed after that class.

Ack, yeah, so anyway. Only two days left. I have a ton of grading to do, but I really don't think any of it's going to get done until the quarter starts back up. I know that's kinda shady, but honestly, I don't want to spend my break grading. I had thought I'd have the energy to get it done by Friday, but I wasn't expecting to be as sick as I've been. I wasn't expecting James to take as much time as he did. And I wasn't expecting the husband's work party to include families (which is this afternoon), so meh. Some of them probably don't want their grade anyway. I guess it depends on how many students actually turned in their first assignment.

Enough of them! It's making me more sour.

So today I'll finish up James. Tomorrow we're watching a movie, so it's a no brainer for me at least. I should consider working out tomorrow. I intended to go today, but not on 4 hours of sleep, not pregnant anyway. So yes, I'm a giant ball of sourness. But whatever. Only two days. Only three more class periods. No more office hours.

I will try to find the positive for something today--ooooh, yes, I get a nice tasty lunch that I don't have to fix. I don't have to have office hours today. I get to do more Christmas shopping. And I only need to show a movie tomorrow. There. There's my ray of light in this right before break darkness.

*look, I know last year I was all "yay for being able to run out doors all year long without wearing 50 layers of clothes!" but this year I am very nostalgic for snow. I want colder weather. I wants hats and mittens and scarves and sweaters, boots, not flip-flops. A roaring fire. Not mosquitoes (still!) and fire ants. No. It's times like this that I deeply long for Grad City, believe it or not.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


I slept in again today. Sorta. I mean, I reset the alarm twice and then hit the snooze. I could not get out of bed. I did not WANT to get out of bed. Apparently for all my complaining about my students already being on break, I have been in that mindset all week, too. This seems to be the problem with quarters. I think their friends at other colleges and universities are done, too, yet we still push on, for another week that's clear no one wants to have to face.

But I continue to feel better right now. I made dinner last night! It was unhealthy by my standards, but it was good, and it was homecooked and I ate too much and made myself a little sick from it, so that's part of why I didn't get out of bed. The nighttime meds make me morning drowsy. I need to work out though because I'm getting stiff here. It sucks.

I have a bunch of papers coming in today and tomorrow. I'm going to try to get them graded by Friday afternoon because I don't want those things hanging around all break. That would be just bad.

But anyway, I need to feed the dogs and get some presents wrapped and ready to be mailed today and eat and get ready and get to school so I can prep and then start to work on those essays. I just wanted to say "hi," and I hope you all have a good day.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Back to "Normal"?? Dare I say, "OMG! I feel good today!!"

I have gone a whopping 24 hours without the morning sickness meds. This is indeed a thing to behold. And I have not had to substitute eating to combat it, either. Yesterday, when my stomach got empty, I didn't get sick or nauseous or dizzy or anything like that. I just got hungry. That was a nice change. Yesterday afternoon, too, when I got home I wasn't dog tired either. I had energy. I didn't just zone out on the couch! That was a welcome change, too! It could be perhaps because I got a lot of rest Sunday night and slept in. But I didn't sleep quite as well last night, but I still feel quite energetic this morning. I still slept in--I wanted one more day of rest before I went back to CrossFit. So perhaps this is the beginning of the second trimester energy bump that I hear about? If that's the case, then damn, I need to start taking advantage of this so I can finally get some stuff done!

If this is that "energy bump," then I'm excited because this means that I will now be able to do some of my work. I might finally be able to get back to research and writing, which has been largely absent from my life this academic year. I actually have ideas that I want to develop! It'd be different if I had no ideas; then I wouldn't feel like my life was empty and pointless this academic year. And perhaps it's the "sophomore slump." But I have things to say that I think are interesting and important and worthwhile. And I know this might sound silly, but damn, I get constant updates in my email from Goodreads from all my smart friends who are spending all of their time reading incredible things and I'm totally jealous! I want to be reading incredible things! I want to be writing smart stuff and be a smarty pants and get my tenure requirements secured so I can start on my book. I want to be able to apply for quarter course releases or sabbaticals so I can spend all my time reading and writing. But I can't do that if I can barely summon the energy to make dinner, so if this is here to stay for a few months, then yes, I welcome the uncontrollable burst of manic energy I feel right now. Because this might mean that I actually get stuff done over our piddly 2 week break. I might be able to read, write, prep, and clean! What?? Could that be true?? To quote my favorite Queen song (before I even saw Wayne's World): "Is this the real life? Or is this fantasy?" I want this to be as real as I always wished Santa were real!

I just relish the thought of getting myself back, even if I know it's temporary, I can work with that. I can set goals for what needs to be done by say March because I hear the 3rd trimester is a bit draining, particularly toward the end.

I mean seriously, can I tell you how good I feel?? I haven't felt this good since August, to be honest with you. (Right, because I was sick all of September and then got knocked up right when I got well). I feel like I could conquer the world right now. OMG. It's so freaking refreshing! After, seriously, what 3.5 months of being sick for one reason or another and then to wake up feeling good?? Hallelujah!

All right. Enough of that.

I think my to do list for the day is manageable. I think I can even manage to cook dinner, and I really want some chicken pot pie. Oh yes indeed do I.

And now that I'm feeling better and feel like I might actually be able to start cooking on a regular basis again, it's time to get my eating back in order. If I can eat without getting sick, then I need to get back on the food train that does the best for my body and will help maximize my energy. I do feel like a poser because since I've been sick, I eat whatever at that moment didn't make my stomach want to turn, Paleo or not. And I'm comforted by other Paleo mom's that I'm not the only one who had aversions and sickness that went against what I felt was best for my body. Anyway, one thing that does actually make me sick is sugar, but damn, sometimes you just have to have chocolate cake. But I need to curb that. Okay, this is boring stuff. What I wanted to emphasize was that I hope that this means that I get to start cooking again because I enjoy it, it relaxes me, and I feel better overall, in general, when I do.

Okay, time to walk the dogs and have breakfast and get ready and then go be extraordinarily brilliant with some James which thank god we're almost done with!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Various and Sundry

Wow it's a dreary day today here at Chez Maude. I had my birthday party last night. It was wonderful. The J cleaned most of the house. But, per S.O.P., everything that we couldn't deal with in 5 hours time when into one of two rooms, so those rooms are yet trashed again until such time as we can sit and deal with them.

But the kitchen is clean. The bedroom is clean. Things are off the floor in the common living spaces, so that's a giant relief right there. However, I VOW to have all of this shit taken care of before the new year, and I'm going to put the J's butt to work over break when he's home.

I wish I could report that now that I've hit 12 weeks that the morning sickness has gotten better, but that's not really the case. It's perhaps a little different now. It's not quite as immediate in the morning. It seems to be hitting later these last two mornings, but it's still there, annoying me.

On our way to CrossFit yesterday morning I was bemoaning the fact that I've already gained 15 pounds (which *all* the books and interwebz say that I should have only gained 5 pounds the first trimester), the J pointed out that it was actually amazing that I had *only* gained 15 pounds. He correctly pointed out that with the way that I've been eating over the last 6 weeks, it should be more like 30 pounds. And he's right. While I'm trying not to be obsessed about my body, my belly is getting rounder; it's getting that "pregnant" shape which is hopefully making me look more pregnant than just flabby.

I know I said that I'd try not to let this become a maternity blog, but I honestly was not expecting this consume my entire life and affect everything that I do. I think I expected some kind of grad school analogy, like this was going to be like coursework or something. You know, something that's time consuming but hasn't quite defined one yet. But this is more like dissertation work. Remember eating, sleeping, breathing the diss? Law & Order marathons to escape the diss? Total exhaustion that even with the best intentions to take care of oneself, which would mean more productivity, goes out the window? Living in piles of books and paper and clutter? That's what this feels like to me. I felt I was defined by being a dissertator in the last years of grad school. Now I find myself defined by my morning sickness, extremely tender boobs (good god, I have never known such pain as what I feel most days in my boobs. If it were cold enough here that I'd be in multiple layers, I'd consider teaching without a bra despite the enormity of these monsters), and the physical limitations of my body*. I didn't think this would happen, like the dissertation process, until much later.

What I have found though, and what I'm thankful for, is that my friends, even the ones without children, are extremely supportive and interested in this whole process. Though like the dissertation, I feel bad talking about it unless others bring it up. So I guess it's been good in that respect.

There's only one thing, thankfully, that I need to get done today: finish Henry James. I should read what I'm teaching in the survey class tomorrow, but I need to read James today. I won't have the opportunity during my office hours tomorrow because at least four students have indicated that they are coming by with drafts of their lit analyses, so I'm assuming that my afternoon will be filled with that. And upon immediately finishing James, I need to jump right in and start on the next thing that I'm teaching after the break. I want to see if over break I can't finish prepping for the quarter for the survey class, and get ahead in the novel class, because at some point I've got to start thinking about that conference paper I need to write by April and those articles that I need to write. So the plan for break will be in getting the place set up and organized and cleaned, thus with the idea of maximizing productivity.

On top of all of that, one of my friends is selling her house. It is by far the first house that we've looked at (on-line at least) that I've fallen in love with. It's within our price range, and they are very very motivated to sell (not that I want to take advantage of my friend, but if they're willing to work with us, damn, how can we pass that up?). I have no idea if we'll even qualify for a home loan right now. But the J is supposed to look into this tomorrow. Plus we need to find out if our landlord will let us out of our lease if we buy a home. I think that the mortgage would be lower than our rent, too. I don't want to get excited because we may not even be able to get a loan, but I love her house. And it would be nice to be settled into our own place before the Magpie arrives than to do it later or after s/he gets here. Even though I'm not excited about the thought of packing and moving, I really want this house. But I want to find out if we qualify for the loan before I even look at it. I'd hate to fall head over heals with it in person and find out we can't get it. But we did qualify for a car loan, so I don't know. Anyway, I want this house.

On that note, I shall go do my best with the James and see if I can't plow through that business today and be done with it for good for the week.

*I hit a PR in my workout yesterday. I've been struggling with overhead squats since day 1, but I squatted heavier and did more reps than I ever had. Safely of course and without discomfort.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Some Much Needed Rest

First of all, thank you Heu Mihi, Sisyphus, Anastasia, and Jane B for your comments on the last couple of posts. The reassurance is helpful, quite indeed, and you tell me the things I need to hear.

I am feeling a bit better today. I slept in. I should have set my alarm for even later rather than hitting the snooze three times, but still. I actually stayed in bed until almost 7 rather than getting up at 5 to read and try to get ahead. I will need to go to campus before class today so that I can skim what I'm teaching--I didn't bring my book home Wednesday night. And I didn't get as far ahead yesterday on James as I wanted to, but I will say this, the day off did me a whole helluva lotta good, so I'm glad that I took it, and I'm glad that I used it to get some reading done and to relax. I thought about cleaning, but that would have worn me out, thus defeating the whole purpose of relaxing. With any luck, I will continue to feel good this afternoon, and I can start on the cleaning when I get home so I don't have to spend all day before my party tomorrow cleaning.

And probably in poor taste, as it's probably never a good idea to email one's boss for a special schedule when one is taking a sick, I did anyway.   The thing that has bothered me so much this year is that, unlike last year, I've not written a single word in terms of my scholarship or anything of the like. I've not even read anything related to research except the first week of Fall quarter classes when I had the abstract due. And that was the last bit of writing I've done. I blame my schedule. And I hate to sound like a whiner, but I want my TR back for myself and my writing.  I am really really really missing that aspect of my career right now. And perhaps that's just adding to my overall crankiness and the like.

Tomorrow marks 12 weeks, the last week of the first trimester, and what I hope is the beginning of the end of all this nausea, although I know that many women don't feel relief until between 15-20 weeks, and my poor cousin was sick and puking every day until the day she gave birth. Man I hope that's not my fate. But it seems that every day brings with it something new, so I won't hold my breath. I've narrowed down the headache issue though to chocolate. Not just all chocolate, but dark chocolate bars specifically, so goodbye wonderful dark chocolate for now.

I guess that's all I have for now. I should walk the mutts and then get to campus so I can prep a bit for today's classes and hopefully continue to have a pretty good day.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Mental Health + Sick Day

Today is the first day in my history of being at Big Little Town U that I've a) taken more of a mental health day than a sick day, although I am sick, still and b) have missed two full entire days of classes.

Because I've been sicker than I had been these last two weeks, I am woefully behind. This is stressing me out, greatly, which I think is adding to my morning sickness. At the very least, I can't imagine that it's helping, even if the two are entirely unrelated. These last two weeks have been the roughest thus far, even with the medicine. I had some bad days earlier on, but they were usually only one or two days a week. Now, I'm sick more often than I'm not.

I am deeply afraid though that I'm turning into *that* colleague or *that* pregnant woman whose only reason for being sick is the result of building a child that she decided to do, and I don't want this to be perceived as affecting my work. I am entirely self-conscious of this. In my defense, I've missed fewer pregnancy related days than some of my colleagues missed last quarter for the flu. Perhaps it's not the same, but I have about as much control over how my body feels as one who has the flu does.

This has been a woefully horrible week. It's the first week really that I've fallen behind and have just been floundering. I don't like that feeling. I don't like feeling like a slacker or a loser here because I'm having trouble keeping my head above water. On top of this, I now seem to be plagued with headaches, and entirely new occurrence here.

While I do so completely want to crawl back into bed, because I know a nice long nap would do me a lot of good, I think what would combat the stress more would be to take advantage of my convalescence and read as much as I can today. It doesn't seem to me like the weekends are enough time for me anymore. And I've even dropped my Saturday work outs for the sake of getting work done.

I think I'm going to request a MWF schedule for next quarter. Yes, it will mean long days on Mondays and Wednesdays, but at least it gives me Tuesdays and Thursdays to recover and work, either prep or actually get my own work done. This five day a week thing is too much for me--I've really grown to hate it. And I've found, too, that I dislike 2 hour undergraduate classes. It takes more energy than I have to expend in one shot right now. But I was thinking about this this morning, and it turns out that I a) do not like late morning/afternoon classes. I thought I might, but I don't, and b) I don't like 2 hour undergrad classes. No. So I've sent off my request to my boss. We'll see what she says. I think I might like that, actually, even if it means I'm on campus from 8:00-4:15 on MW. I can handle that if I have Tuesdays and Thursdays off. And that's what I did at my old job, so we'll see what she says.

In any case, I'm going to take a shower and read and relax. Since I have time to read, I think it will be less strenuous on me. And perhaps I can get ahead. Anyway, I hope no one thinks less of me for ditching teaching in order to destress and catch up.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Yesterday I had my first total and complete pregnancy breakdown. I think this is related both to my hormones, my exhaustion, and my craptacular diet right now which in turn is also a result of my exhaustion and my hormones.

I completely lit into the husband yesterday. To be fair, he did sort of have it coming, but I did it over text message. That's bad. I sent him a courtesy text to let him know I was in a foul mood and mad, and since he said "why?" I used that as a reason to just let loose. He is a good man in that he recognized that all of my complaints were legit, that my yelling at him wasn't unreasonable, and now that the air is cleared, we can move on.

However, because I "emotional ate" yesterday for the first time in seriously like 9 or 10 months, I feel like total and complete crap this morning. As a matter of fact, I'm having leftover pizza for breakfast right now which is so very unlike me.

And I have to confess, I thought I had a good schedule, but it turns out that I hate it. With a passion. And I am, indeed, very much missing semesters right now. Semesters make so much more sense than quarters. One cannot cover the material that needs to be covered in a quarter. Sure, the students probably finish school quicker because the quarter allows them to take 3 more classes a year than on semesters, but I don't think the quality of education is there, to be quite honest. It's like every quarter is a summer session. But whatever. No one is asking me about it.

This is week is not really shaping up to be a good week. I'm exhausted. I'm cranky. I'm having some major digestive issues that I read about but which I was hoping to escape, and it's not like I can take anything for it. So, I just have to deal with it. And while I tried to make the reading for my classes reasonable for my sake at this point, I'm just barely hanging on, and it seems to me like it's just going to get worse before break before it starts to get better.

Look, I'm sorry to be all negative Nancy and all, but right now it's just frustrating. You know? It's like that point when you're sick and you want to get stuff done, you know you need to get stuff done, but your body has completely different plans for you, against which no rebelling is possible? Or if you could just have two days in bed, doing absolutely nothing, so you could totally recharge you'd be better? But alas, that's not possible either? And it's so early in the quarter, and the survey class is already behind, so I can't justify staying in bed today, as much as I really, really REALLY would like to. One and a half weeks left. I can make it.

What I seriously need is that month long semester break. What I long for is that semester break. But here's why it won't happen. This is still a very racist state. And down the street is an historically black university. In the 60s, after desegregation, and I have this on good authority, my school was worried that those students would then try to transfer to my school. So in order to make transferring more difficult, since the other college was on a semester system (and still is), my school switched to the quarter system. Nice, huh? It's so grand to be part of such a racist legacy. And most people suspect that until the other school switches to the quarter system, we will not switch to the semester system. Or, unless we switch university systems as the other major system in the state is a semester system, which I wish it would happen for that reason. Although that might mean a 4-4, but I don't think that's possible if the school is trying to become an R-1. You can't have a 4-4 tenure load at an R-1. Or rather, I can't think of any R-1s with that kind of teaching load. Anyway, that's neither here nor there.

Well, that being said, I should walk the dogs, unload the dishwasher, and get dinner prepped and in the crockpot so I have no excuses for a good dinner tonight. I may cancel my office hours this afternoon, too if I still feel this crappy after my second class.

Have a grand day 'all. I hope your finals weeks are going well!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Take 2

Well, yesterday became a gigantic bust. Hardly anything accomplished at all.

I will try again today. Although my stomach already hurts, but I know why.

This is really what's killing me. As you know, in general, I eat very very healthy and follow a fairly strict Paleo routine here because I feel good when I eat clean. The last 5 weeks have been a struggle though. I try to prep on Saturdays--I've even cut out my Saturday workouts at the box because since I've been so tired, I've found that if I work out on Saturday, then nothing else gets done (they are usually longer, more intense workouts on Saturdays). I had decided then that I would limit my workouts to M-F, use Saturdays to food prep and school prep.

None of this, except maybe one week in the last five, has worked out according to plan. And you know me, I LOVE making plans and charts and lists of things to do and get done. The fact that none of this has worked is stressing me out. I can count on both hands the number of times I have actually cooked in the last five weeks. This can't continue. Also, I've already gained about 12-15 pounds, most of which is food related. I have a super cute belly, but the problem is that I have also grown a ginormous butt and hips, so I really don't actually look pregnant. I just look like I've gotten fat. I wouldn't mind if it were all belly and boobs.

Gluten and dairy make me ill. But what appeals to me most right now? What can I think about without making me vomit? Bread and cheese. Like this morning. And now I feel my belly churning, but at the time, it was the only thing that sounded appealing.

Also, I hate to ask for help. I like to do everything on my own. But finally, last night, in a minor breakdown about the growing size of my hips, crying into my frosty (again, only thing that sounded good--terrible!!), I finally asked the husband to help with the food. So his jobs now on Mondays, since he has Mondays off, is to do the weekly food prep so that the cooking of the food won't take longer than 30 minutes. I can swing that. I can muster the energy to spend 30 minutes cooking. I can do that. Plus, it will leave my Saturdays open for work all day, which I seem to be able to manage only one major task at a time.

 I know perhaps I may sound like I'm being too hard on myself. I'm not really that upset about the weight gain. What I am upset about is that I know that the other parts of my body that are getting bigger are not getting bigger because of the pregnancy but because I don't seem to have control over my stomach and what it averts or craves. It's very frustrating sometimes. I think the best way to describe it would be like having a constant hangover on top of mono. And it's not like when I'm tired now in the afternoons that I can just get a latte or something and continue on my merry way.

On top of this, I feel like a terrible wife. I'm not cooking for the husband. The house is a mess. I don't make his lunch for him, all things I do willingly because my schedule is much freer and open than his. He's often gone from 4:45 am until about 6:30 pm. And I don't expect him to get up at 4 just to make his lunch when I have time to do it and can bring it to him when we cross paths at the box. It's important to note that he does NOT think I'm terrible or lazy or a slacker at all. He is 100% completely supportive of my afternoon naps and lack of cooking, and he's the one that has to remind me where all of my energy is currently going. But I do wish he were more like, "uh, that's going to make you sick. Put it down." He doesn't cook in the evenings because neither of us wants to eat at 8 at night either. However, I've got to figure something out soon, or I predict that my life is going to get more miserable rather than better. And I really really want to enjoy this.

Anyway, this post went miles away from where I meant to start.

Take 2--If I can get to page 120 of this book today, I'll consider that a success. And I am going to go for a run, even if it ends up only being one mile. And the husband should be back early enough before the "breakfast for dinner" dinner gathering that we can go to the grocery today. I've had my daily allowable caffeine, the dogs are fed and walked...

ETA: I have no idea why this got deleted or the finished draft didn't appear. Humphf.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Lots to do this weekend

So far today has been another good day. Or I guess rather this morning thus far has been good. I was up at 5 with the J because he has drill, and honestly, this is one weekend that I'm glad he has drill. I have a ton of James to read this weekend, and let me tell you, I managed about 12 pages already this morning, and they were excruciating at that. But James on James often is, so I'm hoping when I get to the actual novel, it might go a little bit better. But I've got 200 pages to read by Tuesday and then another 100 to read by Thursday, so in all honesty, I've got to try to knock out 150 today and another 150 tomorrow.

Complicating this though is that the house is, in no other describable way, but The Nasty right now. I am so thankful that I had the foresight to move my bday party from tonight to next weekend because a) I have all that James to read; b) the J has drill, so I'd be doing EVERYTHING on my own today--cleaning, cooking, etc., and I don't have the stamina to do the everything. Next week it is. Not to mention that I have a cocktail party to attend tonight. Honestly, I find it rather annoying that I need to get super dressed up for this, which the hostess has every right to want to have a fancy grown up party. I will just get dressed up. It's the best I can do right now. And who has the money to go buy a cocktail party dress? Not me. I'm more looking forward to the "breakfast for dinner" dinner that we're going to tomorrow night. I like low key. I guess dress up is fun, but right now, my primary desire is just to be comfortable at all times.

I feel like this post sounds really grumpy. I'm really not. I'm having a good day so far even for being up at 5 am.

So here's the plan for today.

  1. Try to get at least 150 pages of James read today.
  2. Go for a short, very easy 3 mile run.
  3. Make the chicken pot pie for lunch/dinner.
  4. Do some cleaning.
Part of the reason why I want to get the James reading for the week done this weekend is so that I can, ideally, chip away at the house work during the week, provided I'm not nauseated or exhausted. Which is also part of the reason for wanting to knock out James this weekend, too, because I just don't know how I'll feel later. I have at least gotten the kitchen started. I cleaned the stove, put away some dishes, and then started on another set of dishes in the dishwasher. I've had breakfast. I have some lightly caffeinated coffee. The dogs have been walked twice and fed. I've read the preface to the novel.  I guess it's actually been a productive three hours thus far. 

Ideally, the plan is to read until noon, however far I get. Have a snack around 10 or 11. Run around noon. Make the pot pie, if the chicken hasn't turned into the nasty yet. It's cooked, but I've been lazy this week. (If that's the case, formulate plan B--tomato soup). Then we'll say clean for an hour or two, then read until 5:30. Then get ready for the cocktail party. And then I guess basically wash, rinse, and repeat for tomorrow. Wish me luck!

ETA: Sigh. Alas the day has not gone as planned. I'm only on about page 60. The reading has gone painfully slow. I've napped. I've also been hit with afternoon morning sickness, and it's more than the medicine can handle. Well, one of the meds can handle it, but it knocks me out for about 8 hours a pop most nights, so I can't take that one until it's bed time. Needless to say, I don't think the cocktail party is in my future tonight. I hate to have to cancel/revoke my affirmative RSVP just hours before the party, but I feel like barfing and crawling into a hole. It has completely sapped my energy and totally thrown off my day. This also means that not a damn thing is getting cleaned today either. So there it is. I think I will take a shower and then make some more rice, have a banana, and perhaps just lay down on the couch. I'm not sure if I even have the energy to read any more either. Crap.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Various and Sundry Things...

This week has been a mixed bag. I don't like starting the quarter off so, but I think I'll eventually recover.

Monday was the first day since I've been pregnant that I actually missed work due to something pregnancy related. I was so so very sick. I know, everyone tells me that it will eventually get better, but I feel like my morning sickness gets worse, though it's hard to judge with the medicine. And I have eaten more rice this week than I have in the last year. And I've eaten more bananas this week than I have in the last two months I think. And this is the first full week of the quarter and I missed Monday. I've been floundering in all three classes already, and I hate to begin the quarter feeling this way. Right now, I'm just hanging on until Christmas break.

I also do not like it when I'm sick because it interferes with my working out. I've had to drop down to 4-5 days a week as it is, but weeks like this when I'm really sick, it's more like three days a week. And we all know that I feel better when I work out.

Yesterday was my best day so far this week. It also happened to be my birthday, so it was nice of the little Magpie not to cause me difficulty. Rather s/he waited until my bday was officially over, and at about 1:30 am, I bolted to the bathroom because I thought dinner was about to make an encore (TMI? I'm sorry; I'm trying to be delicate). My nighttime medicine makes me sleepy (hence taking it at night), so another dose at 1:30 am left me unfit to work out at 6 am, sadly. But, this is the second time this has happened after eating at this particular restaurant. We thought last time it was because I ate fried jalapeno poppers and some crab rangoon. We thought it was the fried rich stuff I just don't eat at all. Last night I ate exactly what I ordered last time, minus the fried food and still, BAM! Kerpow! The early morning rolled around and I felt like I was in Alien. So this morning sort of sucks.

However, my birthday was WONDERFUL! The husband took a half day for me, so we went to the movies and saw this, which was absolutely, positively AMAZING! We were expecting it to be good, but holy cow, we were totally blown away by it (man, there's a pun in there somewhere). So that was great. Then we went out to eat. And then we came home and I opened my presents. I got a Thor ornament (from the Magpie), a stuffed animal (I love those beanie baby big eyed larger animals--I know, I know. But the mutts gave me that). And then the J gave me a Happy gift set because I love that perfume, and the Play Station Move pack and Just Dance 4 because I've been pining for that since the summer. And then we watched this, which is one of my all time favorite movies, and which my sis gave me for my bday last year. And the J gave me this really sappy card that made me cry, and then he started to tear up so then I cried more, and it was all so very sweet and lovely. It was a great birthday. Probably one of the best ones I've ever had.

Next weekend is my actual birthday party. There's too much to do around here to have gotten anything ready for a party tomorrow. Plus there's another party tomorrow night--one of the history profs has a holiday cocktail party, at which cocktail attire is required, but a black dress will have to do. I can't be buying no maternity cocktail dress for an event at which I will probably only spend two hours.

Hmmmm, it seems as if there was something else I wanted to mention. Oh well.

I have a ton of stuff to do between now and Friday. At least I don't have class until 11 today, and Fridays are my teaching only days, so it's as close to a three day weekend as I can get.

Really, if I can just make it to Christmas/Winter/Whatever Break, then I'll be good.

Man, and I haven't even thought about the stuff I need to be writing for myself! At some point I've got to focus on that.

Here's to a happy and productive weekend for you all! And for those of you finishing up your semesters, I am indeed jealous of you!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

So Much To Do Today

Ugh, I have so much to do today. And I'm not feeling terribly well at the moment.

We went to a colleague's and her husband's bday party last night. I feel hungover. Don't worry; I'm not. Fortunately, someone brought some non-alcoholic cider (I checked the bottle twice) that looked just like Proseco in the glass, so I was able to keep up the ruse for another week. But, I felt good when I got home last night so I didn't take my evening morning sickness medicine and at 2 am, right on schedule, I woke up sick. Blerg. Now my tummy and my head hurt, and there's so much to do.

Although I'm not a creative writer, which I have a post brewing on that, along with some goals and desires for my life, a couple of my colleagues asked me to be a part of their poetry/fiction group when our friend who didn't get tenure left. I really enjoy this group a lot. I enjoy getting to know them better and reading their work. And it turns out that I am KILLER at titles. That's my talent that I bring the group. Anyway, I had decided that I would tell this particular group yesterday that I was pregnant. I thought that one had already figured it out (I need pseudonyms for these people). I was wrong. She was not the one who figured it out, but Poet Man did! It was actually hilarious. When I told them I was knocked up (because I think it's funny to put it that way as a married person), he nearly fell out of his chair and screamed "I knew it!" and then proceeded to tell me how he had had a discussion with a mutual friend about my recent weight gain (mutual friend already knew and kept his mouth shut to his credit). He said he noticed the other day when I was talking to him that my stomach had gotten huge and couldn't figure out how with all my weight lifting and working out that I had eaten that much over break. I guess writing this down it seems like it might be offensive--why are my male colleagues discussing my body and with their wives no less, but I know them really well, and we and all our spouses are friends, so I found it hilarious rather than weird. Plus, like I said yesterday, it's getting harder and harder to hide. Especially going from washboard to beer gut. I had a nice billowy top to wear to the party last night, and Proseco looking cider to assist with the ruse, but I fear this may be the last of large gatherings in which I'm able to hide my belly around my colleagues. Anyway, they're all going to know sooner or later. I thought I might do something not so subtle like wear the Pregzilla shirt I just order to my birthday party to which many of my colleague friends are invited and let them figure it out that way.

All right, so the point of the post was not about that, although I did find it hilarious really that my weight gain is the subject of conversation because I like being the center of attention. At least they weren't talking about my boobs. Or my butt.

Yesterday I did manage to get a fair amount of clothes put away. And I finally unpacked my suitcase from thanksgiving break. And I did a load of dishes. And I bought new running shoes because I needed something different because of my expanding belly. But the house is still not clean. And neither is one of the other rooms that needs to be clean so I can move the pull up rack out of the den to make room for the tree. I have a TON of reading to do today. And I still have to pay the bills. and go to the grocery. And decorate the house. And go for a run.

What's saving me is that my g'parents are out of town, so we're not compelled to travel today. They have taken my parents and my two aunts on a cruise as part of their Christmas present. So I do have the next two weekends to be able to read and get stuff done. Worse case scenario I have to read and prep for tomorrow's stuff tomorrow morning before class (I don't teach until 11, which is nice in this respect), but I hate doing that unless necessary. And at least I will not be watching football today either. So theoretically, as of right now, I do have time to get things done, but it seems like a lot. I should have moved with more urgency yesterday. Oh well.

So here's the To Do:
  • Novel class reading--uh, yeah, that book, I have discovered is nowhere to be found, so I hope it's in my office.
  • Clean bathroom
  • Pay Bills
  • Get pull-up stand disassembled and put away (hubby's job to disassemble--mine to make room for it)
  • Clean in general
  • Grocery shop
  • Food prep
  • Read for survey class
  • Finish laundry
  • Get tree and Christmas decorations up
  • A small, quick little jog
I don't think this is all possible. Or I don't think the degree of cleaning is going to happen like I want it to. So I guess I should get to it, eh?

ETA: Well, I got a few things done. I guess I have to live with that. I'm ready for class tomorrow and Wednesday. And the tree is finally up, so that's good. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Little Magpie

So you know in September and early October I had the flu, or something, and I was sick all month. That was legit. Like I really did have whatever was going around and around and around. It sucked. Lots of people were out. Lots of stus were out and then coming to class sick because they had used up all their absences.

These last few weeks though are a totally different story.

Maybe you've guessed if you're still reading the blog? I'm pregnant. Holy crap. I'm pregnant! Which really is the main reason for my radio silence because like I said about a week ago, I can't keep my mouth shut. But it's becoming fairly obvious in real life now, so I thought now might be as good a time as any to just come clean. Although if you know me IRL/FB, please don't say anything on my FB because I am DREADING telling my boss. She is an amazing piece of work. I plan on talking to HR first before I talk to her because the little Magpie (hence the blog title) is due over summer, and if we can get our finances together, I plan on taking next fall quarter for my maternity leave, which I know I have every right to my six weeks unpaid maternity leave. But I want the full quarter. Last year, an instructor had her baby over the summer and decided to take her maternity leave this fall, and I found out that my boss was pissed, that she didn't understand why if the baby was born in the summer she needed to take the fall off. So I'm already dealing with an uphill battle here. I think one of my colleagues who sees me regularly and often is suspicious. And I've noticed a couple of students who had me last quarter or saw me regularly last quarter staring. But I avoid my boss like the plague, and she's more likely to think that I jut got fat.

I mean, I think it's pretty obvious. I'm only 10 weeks just today, but my boobs are twice the size they were a month ago, and that flat, nice, half washboard ab stomach I had is big and large. My hips have gotten almost two inches bigger as well. And I've seriously already gained about 10 pounds. Sadly that weight ain't all baby. I've had some wicked morning sickness which is more like a four week constant hangover, so for the first four-five weeks, I was eating every three hours because the moment my stomach is empty I'd get sick. And I've not been a good Paleo girl either, which I'd probably have felt better if I were, but really, I was just like I'll eat whatever sounds appealing at any one time that doesn't make my stomach churn thinking about it. But my lovely doctor gave me some medicine for all of that, and I think things are getting back to normal. Or at least, I should be able to get back to something more sensible and healthy at least. I started off pretty healthy. But once the sickness and food aversions kicked it, well, all bets were off. I'm a giant wuss, and I've been wearing maternity clothes since week 6. I love them. They're like yoga pants you can wear nice shirts with! And sadly, I hate to admit that my burgeoning maternity wardrobe is actually cuter and trendier than my regular wardrobe.  What I found surprising is that it's actually cheaper than my regular wardrobe! Even the "nice" stuff.

I can't promise that this won't turn into "Maude's Pregnancy Adventures" but I'm going to try not to let it become that because one of my biggest fears is adjusting to a new identity that doesn't encompass my entire life. I understand that I will probably change as a person, and I worry that mom stuff will eclipse the other things that define me.

I will say that I am lucky to be where I am though and that our insurance is good. I think on average, it costs, with our insurance, out of pocket, $50 to have a baby. What's even more lovely is that given the J's position in the military, our insurance is included as part of his salary and benefits, so we don't pay for that nor will we have to pay for a child either. We are very fortunate for that. I am also thankful that I have found a good doctor here who does not classify me as being of "advanced maternal age," nor is he an alarmist and intervention happy. He is not test happy either, as far as he'll do whatever tests I want, but he's not like, "well, at your age with all these risks, I require you to go through x, y, & z." That was my biggest fear, actually. So I felt much better after that first appointment with him. He's younger. Clearly up to date. And believes that as long as I'm healthy and nature is taking its course, there's no need for him to impose anything unless there's a significant problem.

I am also lucky that the CF box's owner's wife is pregnant, too, and a couple of months ahead of me, so he's very up to date and informed, and I work out with his wife, so I'm lucky that I have two people knowledgeable and supportive enough in that area of my life that I can safely continue to work out the way I want to. I've slowed down quite a bit already, and I have to take more breaks than I'd like to, but it's good so far. And again, I have two qualified people with me there.

Anyway, so that's it. I'll write more about the start of the quarter and all the crap I have to get done this weekend later.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello folks! Anyone still there? Sorry for the radio silence. And sorry for when I break radio silence it's been to rant lately. Or complain about yet another illness. Needless to say, I'm glad to put this quarter to rest. Although, while I am glad that the quarter is over, I am beginning to miss semesters. Truly. Mostly because I want/need more than two weeks for winter break. But anyway.

So there's some unbloggable stuff going on here, too, which is part of the reason for the radio silence because I know myself, and I have a hard time not keeping my mouth shut, so it's best for me to not put myself in a position where I might say something I should not.

Aside from all the illnesses, I think this quarter has been a decent one. I'm glad to be putting it to bed though and excited for the coming quarter, both in terms of my schedule and what I'm teaching and with renewed energy, at least right now, for some research projects. Our panel for this conference got accepted, so I'm totally freaking and completely geeked about that! I can't freaking wait for that one!

I'm already looking forward for Christmas/Winter break though in having some time during the day while the husband is at work to work on some organizing and cleaning, to spend some time baking and cooking and experimenting with some new recipes, to try to get some stuff sold on the local on-line "garage sale," and read. While I know both of our families are disappointed that we're not going to spend the entire two weeks traveling from place to another (and seriously when has anyone come to see US during the holidays? why hasn't anyone? To quote my sister, "do you know what a hassle that is?" Yes, yes we do, but apparently that hassle doesn't matter if it doesn't affect anyone else, but anyway...), I'm glad to be staying put for another Christmas. And while it would be nice if the J did have two weeks off, too, I'm sort of glad for the time during the days to myself so that I can read and work and try to get stuff done. If he were around, we'd end up watching movies and going to the movies and not getting anything around the house accomplished, which is fine, but there are things that need to be done for once and for all over break. At least I have a real shot of getting things done. What I need to do is make a to do list of all that needs to be accomplished so I can stay on track. The goal is to spend week one doing the house stuff and week two relaxing. We'll see how that works out.

We're in Home City right now for another day or two. The husband gave me the choice of Thanksgiving or Christmas travel, and I chose Thanksgiving a) because I want my two weeks to myself without travel, and b) there's less of a chance of us getting snowed in and stuck during Thanksgiving here than Christmas, and as I mentioned, I really just like staying put during Christmas (especially since I don't get five weeks of break anymore).

I hope everyone has had a nice and relaxing Thanksgiving break, and for those of you on semesters, I hope the remainder of the semester goes smoothly for you when you get back. We start all over again on Wednesday, so I'm hoping for a smooth Winter quarter in these parts.

Have a good weekend all!

Friday, November 16, 2012

A bit of the end of the quarter rant.

I thought I had a really good novel class this quarter...until I got the final essays. So disappointing. The frustrating thing is that I know that these students can do better because they have done better in my class.

I think I might have made a couple of mistakes this time around. One, I moved the proposal date for the papers back a few weeks to give them more time to read a larger amount of works. Second, I dropped the minimum requirement from 12-15 to 10-12 pages.

what did I get?

One 3.5 page paper. Two 9 page papers. One 7 page paper. One zero page paper. Out of 12 students. Almost half of the class decided that they did not need to meet the bare minimum requirements. And like seriously, can you be an English major in a 400 level class and NOT be able to write AT LEAST 10 measly pages? Furthermore, I know these students know how to write research papers. I think I got three actual, for true, essays that would qualify as research essays. The other nine were "This is what I think. Close reading. Part of a quote by someone. Then this happens in the novel." Some didn't bother to cite the work. How do you get to a 400 level class and not do parenthetical citations for a research paper?

And when I ask for 5-7 annotations, including the primary text, I don't mean four annotations and no primary text. I don't mean two annotations.

This is what happens when you adjust the requirements. You get shitty work.

Even though the next two quarters are gong to be busy and a bit stressful and full of lots of stuff, not to mention two new upper division preps, one of which is so far out of my comfort zone, I may as well be teaching math*,  I need to make sure that while it might suck to have a limited amount of texts to write on (one thing that sucks about the quarter system), the proposal needs to be done at midterm, and they will be writing a 12-15 page paper.

Email from the student who turned in a 7 page paper: "I was wondering why my grade was so low in your class. I thought I was doing well. Was it my final paper? Did it bring it down?"

Me: Yes, you failed to meet the minimum requirements for the final paper. It's 25% of your grade, so yes, it did bring it down.

Email from student who didn't turn in a paper: "I didn't turn in my paper because it wasn't done. I was hoping to turn it in today, but you've already done grades. It's been a tough quarter. Any way you could give me an incomplete?"

Me: I have until Monday to fix the grades. You're paper will be docked 10% every day it's late.

Really? It was due yesterday. You didn't bother to talk to me. You just assume I have nothing better to do than to sit around and wait to do grades while I wait for your paper. Meh.

I'm a little bit angry. I expect more out of my majors.

In other news... I've gotten my first entitled football player. I've been pretty lucky all these years. But this kid...
Stu: Are my absences for my surgery going to affect me grade?
Me: Nope. But the other absences you have around the surgery are going to affect your grade.
Stu: Yeah, but the surgery is excused.
Me: The only thing an excused absence does is allow you to make up an exam or an essay.
Stu: Well I didn't know that.
Me: I went over it on the first day. It's in the syllabus.
Stu: I guess I missed that part. Is my grade affected?
Me: You get four absences before you lose points. You have five. You were out for 3 for your surgery and then you took two other days.
Stu: Yeah, but I didn't know that the surgery was going to take three days when I missed the other two.
Me: And??
Stu: It's not fair that I'm going to be penalized for that. I wasn't planning on missing three days.
Me: I don't know what to tell you.
Stu: So now I'm going to get a D.
Me: Are your grades that bad?
Stu: Well, can I turn in some late work because I have that D on one assignment and I wasn't planning on having my grade lowered for absences, so I didn't do a fourth assignment to make up for it.
Me: Nope.
Stu: So what??
Me: I guess you just learned a valuable lesson in planning.

Also, seriously, how hard is it to follow directions. Essay question: "Define X in your own words. Use two texts from X unit to support your definition."

What did I get? A paper on how Poe is actually a turn of the 19th century writer. (Someone's been watching Anonymous for "ground breaking" ideas). And another arguing that O'Connor was actually a contemporary of Twain. Really? Perhaps you should show up to class every once in a while and you might realize how these arguments are ridiculous.

I've have some good quarters. This was a disappointing one as far as most of my students go. Perhaps it's because I've been sick off and on most of the quarter. Maybe some of this is more my fault because I haven't been up on my game. But still, it seems like many just phoned it in.

Maybe it's the sophomore slump.

*it's either teach this class that's out of my zone but upper division and gets me a better schedule, or I end up teaching Spring comp which is historically full of students who failed or made a D comp in the fall and winter and get a bad schedule. I'll opt for upper division new prep and better schedule than a bad comp class.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Nothing Exciting Here.

Wow, it's been a while it feels like since I've posted. Last week? Longer?

The Pedialyte is helping with the dehydration. And for someone who drinks a lot of water, it seems weird to me that I'm not drinking enough. The J even bought me Pedialyte freezie pops (he usually gets them for me when I have the flu). Look, forget Gatorade or Powerade or anything else like that. Pedialyte is what you want when you're a) sick, b) dehydrated, or c) when it's a million degrees out.

My eyeglasses that I ordered are still in customs hell. Did I tell you they were going to replace them--the company--just make me a new pair, and resend them and then if I ever got the other ones to send them back. My frames are now out of stock. I had to pick an alternate. I was PISSED! I got them yesterday. Turns out they might be the cutest best pair of glasses I've ever had. They may be better than the original pair I picked out. I'm still waiting on all my refunds to go through, but now it makes it hard to hate the company like I should because it's just been one thing after another for the month it's taken me to get my glasses (and not even the right pair), but my glasses are perfect. And I look absolutely, positively adorable in them. And I never ever think I look adorable. And I know I do, because I have never gotten so many "likes" or comments on any picture of myself I've ever posted on FB, and that includes my wedding pictures. These are keepers. And I did seriously need the ego boost yesterday afternoon.

The quarter is almost over. I only have two actual teaching days left. I still have six days of class left, but the survey class is basically done. We're finishing up the movie tomorrow. On Monday they have their group review for extra credit, and then Wednesday is the in-class final. In the novel class, we talk about the book today and Tuesday, and then next Thursday we're watching the silent film adaptation of the novel with which we're finishing. However, while the teaching is light, this doesn't mean that the grading is. The grading is on now. Yesterday the last of the lit analyses came in for the survey class. Tomorrow, take home finals should start coming in (I offer them extra credit to turn it in the Friday before it's due because it works out better for me*). Monday is when the exam is due. Tuesday the novel class turns in their last critical analysis. Wednesday is the in-class final for the survey class, and then Thursday, finally, the novel class turns in their research papers. I do feel like the majority of this can be knocked out during my office hours, thus eliminating the need to bring much of this home with me. I've been very good this quarter about limiting my grading to my office hours. It works out better for my stress level. And then, we get to go out of town. It will be nice to get out of town for a week. I can't wait.

Anyway, so that's it. Nothing exciting happening in these parts. And I guess I should go get ready for my workout. Have a great day folks!

*why not just make it due Friday rather than Monday if it works out better to grade over the weekend you might ask? Because not everyone takes advantage of the early turn in, so it means that I roughly get about half of them, and it's less stressful to think about grading 30 exams on a Friday afternoon and Saturday morning than to think about grading 60 of them. It works for me.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

One day, this quarter will be over and I will get some rest

I am, I believe now, officially behind on grading. I've had the novel class's critical analyses for over a week now.

And I took the week off again in the afternoons.

I appear to be getting lazy.

No, I'll cut myself some more slack than that. I had no idea that consistent dehydration would have this kind of impact on my body--the tiredness. I even bought some pedialyte, which seems to have helped, but still.

Anyway, this quarter, when I come home from class, I crash. I don't know what's going on in my immune system that whatever I got in September still lingers. There have been tests run. I have no infection or other things that might cause exhaustion or sickness other than dehydration. And there's nothing wrong with my kidneys either. So even though I think I drink a lot of water, perhaps I actually don't drink as much as I think I do since I keep the house cool. I've had to cut back on the caffeine and alcohol, so whatever. If I'm all dried out, I'm going to get wrinkles. Yes, this is a primary concern. However, no one seems to be worried about this issue, that is a symptom of something more serious. I've just been told to drink more water, and it seems to be up to me to decide if I need to go back to the doctor. So there you have it.

Honestly, I think I just need Thanksgiving Break. We get almost two weeks, and I intend to be done with ALL of my grading except the novel class's essays by the last day of classes so that I can enjoy the entire two weeks. I pick up the novel class's essays that day. Fortunately, there are only 12 of them in the class. My plan of attack is to grade them while I wait for the J to get home (we're going to my aunt and uncle's for the pre-Thanksgiving dinner), and then knock out the rest of them in an hour or two on Friday. If I have to spend another hour on Saturday, so be it, but I don't think it will take an obnoxious amount of time to get through these. I hope. I'm not doing what I did last Fall quarter and having a marathon grading session the day grades are due. No siree!

Anyway, that's what I need. about 12 days or so of not getting up at 4:30 or 5:00 with the J--I'm up now because it's drill weekend. And when it's J's drill weekend, it may as well be drill weekend for me, too. When he gets up at 5 on a Saturday, I'm up at five. I can't go back to sleep. It fucking sucks because I really need to sleep in. And tomorrow is Daylight Savings, and I NEED that extra hour; I need all the sleeping in I can get on the weekends, but nope. Now I'm cranky just thinking about it.

We are going out of town for Thanksgiving. We'll go to my aunt's, come home, pick up the mutts and then head to Home City. I wasn't sure I wanted to travel during Thanksgiving, but if we didn't, then the J would be working, and that means I'd get no sleep during break either. And that means I'd be totally exhausted by Christmas, and that was his second choice to travel, and I don't want to travel during Christmas really (although I might get a white Christmas in Home City and it might feel more like Christmas there), but whatever. The J will still be working, so I won't get much sleeping in, but maybe I'll be able to go back to sleep if he's really quiet.

So that's it. I've got two more weeks of class left. We're watching a film on Wednesday and Friday in the lit class, so Monday is my only teaching day left for that. Next week is final review and then the final. We have one novel left in the novel class. And on the final day of class we're watching the film adaptation of that novel, so I've really got four actual teaching days left in the next two weeks. I can make this. I feel like I should start to feel better soon.

And on that note, I'll grab another cup of decaf and read or something or clean. I have peoples coming over tonight. Happy Saturday all!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I am tired. I'm not officially behind on grading yet, so I'm not stressing about the fact that I've not done any grading in my office yet today and probably won't do any either in the remaining 25 minutes. I'll just grade like a fiend tomorrow during my office hours.

I'm tired today. I woke up at about half past midnight, and I haven't been able to fall back asleep. And I have a bit of a food hangover. I broke the Whole30, shamefully I feel, last week because I got sick again, and you know, I just wanted some tomato soup and ginger ale. I wasn't going to win anyway, so what the hell. I regret it because since I've been sick I've been using it as an excuse to eat things that I would NEVER eat, so I feel like shit again this morning. It's my own fault. I won't complain.

Since I've been sick, and haven't you know, been to any doctor in like 2.5 years, I finally broke down and went to the doctor. She thinks I may have some kind of low grade infection, so we're waiting for the rest of the blood tests and cultures to come back. I am apparently dehydrated though. That's what one of the blood tests reported. I knew this already. My office is dry. My classrooms are dry. My house is dry. I wake up really really thirsty in the morning even if I drink water before bed. So I think she's looking into that. I thought I might have mono, but it turns out mono is rare after age 35. So there. I think that since I got sick with whatever funk was making its way around the second week of school, I just don't think it all ever went away. Now a new wave of the flu is circulating around campus, so I really should go get my flu shot before it's too late. I think I just need the end of the quarter to get here. I need good food and a break from teaching.

So I'm going to make a quick run to the grocery and then go home and get stuff ready for dinner and then I'm going to read or lay on the couch or something. I'm tired. This morning I went through my winter and summer clothes and managed to get rid of two garbage bags of clothes that I haven't worn in at least two summers or two winters. I think that's a good guideline for stuff to give to Goodwill--two years of not wearing, regardless of whether they fit or not. Besides, since I've ordered/bought a whole bunch of new clothes, I need to get rid of some old stuff.

I need a nap though.

I need a good dinner and a good night's sleep, too.

And I think that'll do it. My office hours will be over by the time I shut everything down.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

On Stress

I'm not stressed right now, really, surprisingly so. But I wanted to write a little bit about how much I hate to be stressed.

More so than anything else I do, stress make me gain weight, and not even necessarily from stress eating (although, on occasion, that does play a role). When I get stressed, like most people, the cortisol in my body goes into overdrive, except it really does result in the growth of my waistline. I shit you not. If I am calm, cool, and collected on a Tuesday, say, I can have clothes that fit. Seriously. My pants will fit. But if something happens and I wake up stressed out on Wednesday (even if I've eaten clean), my waistline will literally have expanded so much from the stress that what fit Tuesday cannot be buttoned on Wednesday.

This is what I'm battling with this weekend. The clothes I bought last week, that were loose! and comfortable! were tight yesterday. I think this is why I can maintain a healthy diet and maintain a rigorous workout schedule and still go from a 4 to an 8 during the course of the quarter. There's no reason why clothes should fit one day and not the next. And seriously, you can ask the J--this isn't in my head. And that totally explains why something that fits in the store magically becomes too small by mid week of work. I mean, I'm not consuming 10K calories a day (or even 5K)--there's no way that I could feasibly gain that much weight to cause that. So, I say the J is right. It's stress and cortisol.

The J has assured me though that since I've made some headway on a couple of things that were stressing me out that since those things are resolved that my belly should begin to decrease nicely over the course of the rest of the Whole30. So we'll see what happens over the next nine days.

I do have fewer things to be stressed out about this weekend though. We had a great day yesterday! I did awesome in my workout (deadlifted more than any other female there--2x or more as much weight as three of the other women there; only 40 # more than the other woman, but she was cleaning and jerking 20# more than me, and I was cleaning and jerking on par with 2 of the other women). I came home and had a great brunch after we went to the grocery. I got a little bit of reading in. Most of the rest of my clothes came in (man, they really really REALLY are preppy and middle aged white lady), I took a nap, and then we went to the tailgate at the U and then the football game. It was a lot of fun! I had four former students playing last night (at least), with actual field time. That sorta cool. I didn't have many players in my classes at Grad City U (thankfully--as a Big 10 school, I did not want to have to deal with them; there were more problems than not, but here, it's small enough that it's not bad). It was a lot of fun. It was a beautiful day. Our seats were right on the field. It was nice. Not a whole lot to be stressed about yesterday.

Today, while still behind on my reading, we are not going to the grandparents', so I do have all day to read. I can spend it in my pjs, too. I'm not even sure I'm going to shower actually. I want to just veg with my book and read. It's sad though because I was really looking forward to this stuff and this author, whom I've never read but was just so for sure that I was going to fall in love with her, but I can't get into it at all. It's taking me much longer than I anticipated, so things have gotten thrown off a little bit. But, I have the day to read. I do need to spend part of the afternoon doing the weekly food prep, especially since the J will be gone this week, I won't have him to take over a meal or two, so I've got to be on top of everything right now today. And it will certainly help with the stress and ensuring that my pants fit, right?

And I should be able to relax after dinner then, too. Crap, I forgot. I do have to shower. We are going to a friend's house to watch the Walking Dead tonight, but that's not until 7:30 or so, so I have time to lounge and stuff. Whew, I'm glad I remembered that!

That being said, I'm going to rearrange my fantasy football team and grab another cup of 1/4 caff coffee and start reading.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Willing myself out of sickness

Well, I have just decided to "will" myself out of whatever my funk was. I'm still congested. My chest still feels asthmatic, and my students still continue to sneeze, cough, and sniffle in my general direction. And I have one, who despite being sick consistently (unlike myself who catches it and releases it only to catch it again) refuses to go to the doctor even though he's missing classes and consistently oversleeping due to his illness. I have only missed one class and 2 office hours. No doctor for me.

So Wednesday when I woke up, I literally said aloud, "Fuck it," and decided that I wasn't going to be sick any more. Well, Wednesday's work out was a bit of an eye opener (I haven't had three days off in a row since I started CF at the box in July, even when traveling). But Thursday and yesterday were great workout days! I needed that. Sure, I was grumpy again in the afternoon because I was tired from the intensity, but hey, I had a couple of great days. Am I on the upswing? I have no idea. Am I tired of being sick on-again/off-again? Yup indeed. So yes, I'm going to "will" myself out of this sick business here.

In other news, I mapped out the next three weeks--well, last week, plus the next two, in terms of what needs to be read and when I need to start working on my research and how/when I'm going to work on it.

I have mostly kept with it so far. Thursday afternoon showed itself to be more of a challenging day than I had anticipated and by yesterday afternoon, I felt like I had actually indeed been working almost non-stop all week that I just took the afternoon off. I got done early; the husband got done early. We went to dinner and then watched a scary movie. It was grand. :)

But mapping things out really cut my stress level in half. Even though I have my days pretty packed, my evenings are still open, and it showed me that I do actually have time to get everything done rather than feeling overwhelmed. I'm behind at this moment, but I do believe that by tomorrow night I'll be caught up. And I'll still have time to watch the game.

So, I don't want to say that I'm feeling better because the last time two times I did that I totally jinxed myself, so I'll just keep plugging along. I fear my glasses may never arrive as they are being shipped from Canada and are apparently in customs hell right now, so we'll see what happens. It looks like I will have waited about a month since ordering them before I actually get them. At least they refunded the money I paid for expedited shipping.

And now, I will do some work before I go work out.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Relapse rant that somehow turned into a post about clothes.


I have no idea what is going on here. Perhaps it's stress. Perhaps it's depression. Perhaps it's a combination of the two. But man, the last three days (including this morning), I have woken up with some tummy distress. It's so not cool.

What's pissing me off even more is that it's fucking with my workouts. Don't fuck with my workouts, man. This is annoying.

I have no energy. And I'm not sleeping. You'd think being exhausted that I'd get some sleep.


Which is in part why I'm up at the butt-ass crack of dawn here. The J had to get up for drill. BAM! I've been wide awake since 4:30 in the a.m. on a Sunday morning. How totally rad is that? >:-/

Anyway, it's annoying that just when I think I've found my groove (hahaha I originally, accidentally wrote "grove," like I found a whole bunch of orange trees or something--this made me giggle) this quarter, something seems to go awry. It just fucking blows. I feel like I'm doing everything right this quarter, but damn, I can't seem to catch a break here.

I ordered more clothes yesterday. My wardrobe should be complete with this order, with the exception of the shoes I've been debating over for almost a year now. I think I may stop at the mall on the way home from the g'parents' to see if the store there has them. If not, Zappos, here I come. The reason I've been debating over these shoes is because they're not as dressy as I wish they were; however, now that I have ordered some khakis for work, I can get away with a little less dressy shoe with them. Plus, my black clogs that I normally wear--I've had them since 2003-- I've polished them several times. I've worn them so much that the sole is starting to wear (um, that's A LOT of wear for a Dansko). And, the seam on the side is coming apart. Yes, this is the second pair of Dansko I've owned that I've worn through the seams, so I get my money's worth out of them. I think finally today is the day. You can't tell the seam on the black ones is worn, so I'm hesitant to replace them yet. I want them to fall apart totally before I get another pair of black clogs. And it's true that if I got the ones I want in black they'd be a little dressier, but I want the red. You know, red is the new neutral, and I like the way they look. And I think they'll look nice with my winter coat. So I guess perhaps that is settled then.

I think I'm getting close to middle age here because of where I've been shopping these past couple of weeks. Part of it is my "menswear" obsession/look that I'm trying to accomplish, and really, what I want is a pair of oxfords, but I've not found any I like yet. That being said, I did get some ultra stylish, ultra feminine new glasses (if they'd only hurry up and fill the order and send them to me!) so that I can feminize my look here a bit. Oh, yeah, so where have I been buying my clothes? At the whitest middle aged white lady store known to man, perhaps only second to L.L. Bean--Land's End. Yes. I feel this marks me as actually being my age. But, have you ever gotten their oxford shirts?? They are THE BEST! I may, next time, have to go whole hog and get some shirts monogrammed! Ha! And, they are the only place I can find that sells women's sweater vests! I've been obsessed with and looking for sweater vests for years, years I tell you! By the end of the week, I will be the proud owner of six of them.

So, six sweater vests and some oxford shirts to go with the neck ties I already own. I'm just about set.

I got some cardigans, too.

Seriously, I'm a nerd.

My mother who will be 60 in six months is trendier than I. Perhaps I'm just keeping it old school. My fashion is retro; therefore, it is fashionable.  Right?

And I'm buying a lot of navy, too, which is weird because I've never really like navy that much because it's always struck me as an inferior, less dressy version of black, but damn, I've bought a lot of navy, light blue, and green this time around. My god, I'm going to look so preppy. Hello? 1980s called. They want their preppies back. Yachting anyone?

Oh, I flatter myself.

Oxford shirts, cardigans, sweater vests. Oh my.

I really have become a Plain Jane.

Honestly though, I'm really not sure that there's anything that wrong with that. It's comfortable, crisp, it looks nice, and it's effortless. It also opens up possibilities for some of my accessories which have been long dormant. And, it gets me out of that rut that I have been in for oh so long. I may try to see if the less dressy of the sweater vests can be taken in so they look a little more tailored. But now at least I have nice teaching clothes and nice business casual teaching clothes, all of which are comfortable and nice.

I think the reason why I don't feel the need to wear suits or really dressy teaching clothes anymore is because I feel more comfortable with my professor self, especially here. The students know I'm in charge; they know I know my stuff. I like to look really dressy on the first couple of days just to let them know that while my personality may be one that might suggest I don't take this stuff seriously, I actually do take it very seriously. Dressy clothes help that. (I believe Dr. Crazy posted something a while back on dress and authority in the classroom and teaching in jeans. I'm too lazy to look for it this morning. Sorry folks). However, I think I've gotten my first day lecture composed in such a way as to indicate that I don't give a shit about your excuses, cheaters and plagiarists win no favor with me, and neither do texters, so I don't treat those behaviors kindly, and that if you do these things, you're on your own. Sarcastic and mean as it may sound, I think it gets the job done. Plus, I think after a year, word has gotten around enough that yes, my class is fun and enjoyable and you learn a lot, but that that only comes if you put forth the effort yourself to be an active participant in the class, that passing is pretty easy, but you have to work your ass off for that A or B. So I'd rather be comfortable than MLA dressed to the nines all the time, because I teach better when I'm comfortable.

Or maybe I am just actually getting old. Or lazy. Or both. I did just start finally attempting to style my hair on teaching days. I think it's helped me feel better about myself.

Now, if my hair would just grow out enough so that I could wear it in a chignon off to the side or a french twist, well, maybe by March when I get to purchase short sleeved oxfords. :)

Friday, October 12, 2012



I jinxed myself!!

After finally feeling better, yo, yesterday was partly a bust! And for the first time all quarter, I couldn't sleep. At.All. I got maybe 3 or 4 hours. Not even all together. Our first HERO W.O.D. was at the box today, and since this is my rest week, and I didn't get any rest, I didn't do it--it was a really gnarly one, and I might have done more damage to myself actually if I had tried it on only 3 hours of sleep.

I have a massive headache. I have a major stomachache and an upset belly. I am grumpy as hell. And I feel like shit. Woo-hoo!

My totally BA glasses that I ordered, that I can't wait to get, they had to be sent to the manufacturer for finishing or something. Maybe it's because I ordered fancy lenses and the custom made sunglasses clip thingy (I figured what the hell. Maybe it'll look nerdy or maybe it'll be the coolest.thing.ever!)

That being said, my day yesterday went ok. Class was great. I think, especially this week with the new clothes and the new attitude toward myself, the class as a whole is picking up on my energy, and we've had some really great discussions about the text this week. I'm just more on my game now with the second half of the century I feel like. Both class periods this week went effortlessly the whole time. I had really been struggling with that, but I'm feeling better now. Plus, I think taking that extra 30-40 minutes at the *$ has made a difference, too.

Here's where I think I went wrong yesterday, which was a double-edged sword. Instead of adhering to the goal I set for myself, 15 essays a day, I just plowed through them. 35 essays yesterday. I really thought it would take me 90 minutes to get through half of them, but here's what happened. About half of them really really sucked, as in didn't even do the essay right, like did half of it, so that was easy. And they all seemed to be first in the stack. So I plowed through. I'm glad they are done so I can do the lit analyses during my office hours today, but still, my yesterday afternoon was not as energetic or positive. I was sort of grumpy by the time the J got home, too. Oh well. What's done is done. At least today is Friday, and by the time I leave the office, I will be grading free which means I can focus on cleaning and reading and cooking for the weekend and the J has drill, too, so he won't be home until tomorrow night.

So that's it. I jinxed myself. Now I have to try again.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tide Change

Okay, I think the tide may be turning here once again. Let's hope that it continues to flow rather than ebb for the remainder of the quarter. We're halfway through. Although, I have to say, I do miss the semesters and my 4-5 week xmas break, but whatever. It's fine. There's talk of a move to a semester system within the university system, and as long as it doesn't mean that I have to teach 4 classes a semester, I'm all for it.

I've gotten some more rest. Not just sleep, but rest this week, and as it turns out, increasing the rest has not affected my staying on top of things. Just the opposite, actually. This has been one of the best teaching weeks I've had this quarter (knock wood it continues). I think because I'm rested, I just feel more organized and on top of things. And since my body just hadn't recovered from the monsters that were last Friday's and Saturday's workouts, I've taken a rest week at the box. I am still working out, but concentrating more on form and lifting only a fraction of what I would normally even attempt. And it's really really helped, too. I don't feel as broken as I felt on Monday. Seriously, I wanted to cry I felt so old. So I'm "deloading" this week. Actually, one of the coaches said he was really proud of me for finally ditching my ego and taking rest, so that made me feel better.

While it's taking me all week to get through the take home essay exams, and if I get them done by Friday, seriously, I'll have had them for only a week, and that's not bad at all considering about 1/3 of them are 4 pages long and the rest are between 4-8 pages (x approx. 60 essays), so I feel like that's good. Streamlining them and doing the rubric (which I already explained what I was doing and that we'd go over it on Friday) has helped, too. But we'll see how the students react to it.

I have found that it has also helped with my stress level to grade only in my office. Office hours are for grading, and I've been really good about sticking to that. That means, at any time, I'm not grading for more than 2 hours straight, so it's not exhausting the beejesus out of me like marathon grading to get them their work back would. Does it take longer? Yes. Do I feel better and not like I want to just collapse when I get home? Yes. But I do need to work a bit faster today so I can get them done by tomorrow.

Because of this, I actually had the energy to finish reading yesterday afternoon when I got home! I wasn't exhausted or stressed from the grading, so I was able to grab a snack and then sit and ready for three hours and finish the novel which meant not getting up early this morning to finish. Grading in my office also means that I don't get up early to grade either. Bonus! I also found that sitting at *$ Tuesday morning and taking 30-40 minutes there to prep for class worked really really well, was significantly less stressful than doing it at home or in my office, and was relatively pleasant. So I will do that again this morning. That may be my new thing for the remainder of the quarter--TR mornings I sit at *$ and prep. And if that works well, then I might do the same thing in the winter. I find it to be a neutral place because at home I think about what needs to be done around the house. At the office, I feel like I should be grading or available to students or colleagues. At *$ none of that is an issue.

There are a few other things that I think are factoring into this week as well. One, the switch to half caff. I know, I know. Hopefully that that alone isn't the entire reason why I feel better, but if it were, then I would have started to feel better immediately, and it's only within the last couple of days that I've not just felt like I was falling apart. Another thing is I think that I'm finally at that point in the Whole30 where I'm starting to feel that energy shift. That things are starting to balance out. I noticed that yesterday in that I was able to read all afternoon. Ok, at first I started to doze off, but I chugged some water, and boom, I was fine. No coffee, no tea, no nothing. And that had been what I was hoping for with this Whole30 (I didn't really get that last time). And perhaps that is why I've been struggling with the workouts and recovery. It's common to feel sluggish and broken during the first two weeks, so maybe I underestimated the effect of theWhole30 this time around (since I'm doing it better and cleaner than the last time).

Another, and actually I think this is the big thing, is seriously, new clothes. Clothes that fit well, fall well, look really nice, and are comfortable to boot! There was a new look I was hoping to achieve because it's been a really really really long time since I've changed/updated my look (it's mostly just been variations on the same for a loooooooooong time, or trying to get back to a certain look from an earlier time that I have discovered is now dated and unflattering I suppose, although I was hardly trendy then), and with my new purchases (and I've been okayed in the budget to add a couple more things and then I'm set!), I'm feeling SO MUCH BETTER ABOUT MYSELF! Never underestimate the power of being well-dressed. This is the first time since seriously, like 2004, that I've felt like I had a smart, decent, flattering wardrobe that was comfortable and looked nice. I had to finally let go of what the number on the tag said and go for what looked nice, and that's just a better play. While I do hope that as I continue to work out and build muscle that I will get leaner, I really only anticipate losing a dress size more, which is fine with me. If I could fit well into the 4s still left in my closet, then everything else could go, and I'd just modify the size up if necessary. I've also varied my make-up, too.

So there it is. Perhaps this is a new change that I can maintain and keep the stress down and continue to feel good about myself.

And not to underestimate this, but I think that the stuff I'm teaching for the second half of the semester makes a difference, too. I'm really comfortable with it, and love it. But that doesn't matter either if I feel like crap, so there you go.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Maybe it's just a funk.

I think I'm in a rut. I think I've been saying this for almost a year now. I felt like maybe I had gotten out of it over the summer, but I don't think so.

Maybe it's just stress and a lack of organization, a feeling of a sense of all pervasive clutter, a lack of focus or desire.

Could I actually be depressed again? Is that why I'm feeling really good one day and then horribly stressed out and overworked the next? Is that why my body aches won't go away and why my cortisol is all out of whack? Did I just figure out what my problem is? Is this just my body's way of reacting to the things I'm stressed and worried about? Is this why I keep feeling like I can't keep my head above water?

Maybe that's it. Maybe if that's the problem then I can begin to work on it to fix it. It's better than not knowing what the problem is.

I don't think it's anything big either. I'm just really down a lot of the time right now. Maybe it was my crappier diet than normal last month with the start of school. Maybe it was my ill-timed caffeine abandonment. And there's nothing going on at school or with me and the J that's causing anything, so there's no major difficulties in my life right now. I mean, I'd like to pay stuff off and get the J's car fixed so I can have my car back, but you know, that's nothing to be depressed about. I'd like it if I could finally get my head above water so that I could work on my own stuff. I'd like it if I could figure out what I want to work on!

I did get almost all of the book I'm teaching this week read on Sunday. I had 100 pages more to read than I thought I did because I'm really good at addition apparently, but I've got today's stuff read, and I think rather than prep here I'm going to go to *$ to go prep so it seems less taxing. I don't want to do it here because I'll be thinking about all the other things around the house that needs to be done. I don't want to work in my office because then it will feel like work and I don't want to be working this early. So the coffee shop seems like a nice neutral place.

Yesterday, also, I gave, collected, graded, and calculated roughly 60+ in-class midterm exams and graded and commented on the critical analyses from the novel class. I still have some lit analyses that the students turned in yesterday in the survey class and their take home mid-terms to grade this week. I'm trying really hard to limit my grading to the office. I feel less stressed when I grade at the office rather than doing it here or a coffee shop. Sigh.

Did I tell you that the J took me shopping for some new clothes this weekend? And I ordered a couple of things on line, including some new glasses, so I should have stuff coming all this week, which is cool--it's like getting a bunch of presents and stuff. :) Maybe the new clothes will help. I've been in between sizes for a while now; I've given away a bunch of clothes, and I haven't updated my work wardrobe in two years +. I was trying to go for a new look at the start of the school year, and I hate to say it, but I spent all this money on some glasses that I actually haven't gotten comfortable in yet, but maybe that's because I also didn't like the hair cut I got at the same time, or the fact that my wardrobe just seemed stale. So maybe that's it. Maybe I just needed a complete overhaul? My hair has grown out a bit since the last week of August. I've got new stuff. Maybe that's what I needed.

And more sleep. Or a massage.

In any case, thanks for letting me just brain dump here and work through my morning downness. The mutts are at the door which means they're ready for their 7:30 walk, so I'm going to get to it and then head to the coffee shop. The J made breakfast this morning before he left, so that's already taken care of, too.

Have a good day folks!

ETA: So if I can get 12-15 take home exams graded during my office hours between now and Friday, I can get them all done with minimal stress and exhaustion, rather than going for some marathon grading session. And I will have only had them for a week if they get them back Friday. That's not bad at all. I've also decided to really pare down the grading: 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85, 90, 95. And I've decided that to keep things simple and uniform, thus eliminating the need to write the same things over and over on their exams (which would be only to help them for the final--they can't revise these essays), is to make a sheet/rubric specifically for this exam that says all the things I'd put on their essays anyway, but now I only have to write it once. And I was doing the rubric as I went for this first batch to get a sense of the "norm" and what I'd be writing on the essays. Now that I've gotten all the grades outlined (except the 85), I think it will go much easier now. We'll see how this works after I give them their exams back.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

On the Upswing, Perhaps?

I'm finally starting to feel a little bit better. Of course, I say that now, and it will continue provided that I'm able to get the novel I'm teaching this week finished today. And the food for the week prepped. Fortunately, the football game I want to watch doesn't start until 6, so I've got all day (yes, I did just write that).

After three days of zero caffeine, I gave up. I switched to half caff coffee, which is what I should have done in the first place. I should have started with half caff, then 1/4 caff, then decaf. It was too much for me. Sadly, I feel a lot better now with the half caff. The headaches and stomach aches were too much, on top of already not having felt well for a while, I just, I don't know. It seemed like too much for my body. So perhaps a total caffeine ween is something I should attempt over Thanksgiving Break when I can sleep off the headaches and such. I was doing it for the Whole30 (not required) and for health and other reasons, but the stress of the headaches and stomach aches and not being able to keep up with my work was doing me more harm I felt like than not drinking the caffeine. A body can only do so much.

Also what helped me this week was that I moved up the film that we were supposed to watch in the novel class to this last Thursday. On Tuesday I suspected that the students were having trouble with the reading load (shit, I was), so I decided that we needed a break sooner rather than later. And I think it will be good for all of us, actually. I really should be able to finish the novel today, which means that my office hours can then be devoted to grading midterms rather than prep, and which also means that I won't have to do any of that business at home. And I should be able to get it all finished by Thursday or Friday. Right now, I feel hopeful and positive.

What I need to do is get my stress under control. That has been the biggest thing right now. I didn't feel this stressed last year. At my first job, my second year was better because A) The J was home; B) I had had such a horrendously god awful first year that it seemed like no matter what happened in that second year, it would be able to top the shite that was year one; and C) after the kerfluffle with my now former friend, even though I was unhappy for many reasons at my job, it was significantly less stressful (I had/have great friends, was more comfortable in the job, etc.). This year, it's different. Last year was so stress free, relatively speaking, that I felt great for most of it. Last fall I felt like I was back in grad school's early days. But this year. I don't know. Maybe it's having gotten sick right at the start. And maybe it's the novel class--a new prep with mostly new stuff. I just hate feeling like I'm barely keeping up.

Honestly though, even if it means that my teaching/grading suffers a little bit, at least I have maintained regular workouts through all of this (if I'm really really really sick, I won't go. I do rest when I need it). At my old job, it was easier for me to put grading before my health and fitness goals. Here, I think it's the only thing right now keeping me as afloat as I am, keeping me from a full on stress attack, keeping me from having to go back on meds (I seriously never ever want to have to be on meds ever again).

While I was an utter and complete stress case the other day, since we're not going to the g'parents' today and since I'm already halfway through the novel I'm teaching for the week, and it's a quick read for me, I'm feeling a bit more confident that by about 3, the novel will be done. Then I can go to the grocery, food prep, make dinner, and watch the game. The midterms for tomorrow are already made up, so that's good, and the stuff I'm teaching in the survey class is stuff that I've already taught about six times now, so I feel good about that. There's only one new story on the survey class schedule for the rest of the quarter, and even though some of this stuff is outside my field, I actually feel like the stuff for the last half of the quarter is the stuff I do best. Maybe I'm not an early Americanist anymore. I find that I start the survey later and later now. I don't know. My thought is that if I teach to my strengths the students are going to learn more than if I try to teach them the things I don't know. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe they do need to read stuff outside my comfort zone, but if I can cover the class with the stuff I'm comfortable with, then isn't that better? Oh well. All I know is that at least in the survey classes, even though I have a shit ton of grading to do for them this week, the teaching part should be relatively low stress. And if I can stay ahead in the novel class, I may be able to eek out some of my own work by the end of the month. We'll see.

Oh what a difference rest and a lower stress level makes.