Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I've got a few minutes before my class, and I need to clear my brain out a bit. I'm exhausted, again. I've been grading, I feel like, non-stop for the last 36 hours. Now, it's my own fault. I got these essays 2 weeks ago, but had the misfortune of getting them while I was sick, so I had prep to catch up on first, these got shoved to the back burner, and damn, it's been painful! Most of them are awful. There are lots of reasons why they are awful, and mostly not a result of the students being dumb or lazy. I've got a bunch of students who want to sound smart and who wrote obnoxiously abstract papers that are just abysmal. I addressed this in one class today. Tomorrow we'll talk about it in the other class.

I've got about 22 left. That means I've done roughly 50. I've been grading since 5:30 this morning. I'm moving through them slowly, so I think it's time to step away from them and take the rest of the day off from the grading.

There's nothing really exciting going on except that the last week I've just been really down in the dumps. I'm back to feeling overwhelmed again. A large part of this is because I've not carved out time for myself for my research. And I truly hate that. But I still haven't found my rhythm at all. And I need to. Part of it is that I don't have to as long as my parents are here to pick up the slack, which means I don't have to be too organized and should have all this time to get my own stuff done, but here's the problem. If I want to work, I have to do it in my room or at the office or the coffee house. I can't just sit in my den in my reading chair and read. Not even at 5 am. Someone is always awake. But sometimes at 5, the J is still sleeping, so I can't read or work that early in the bedroom. I think I'm just running out of space and it's getting to me. And I'm stressed about that when I do find my rhythm, they'll be back for two more months and then I'll be right back here. I don't want to sound ungrateful, but I'm just not functioning as optimally as I could.

And it's time for class. Have a good one everyone.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

I am having an exceptionally hard time concentrating right now. Perhaps because it's Thursday and the weekend is so near (for me--today is my Friday), I just can't seem to be productive. Maybe it's the result of a week of trying to play catch up, of recovering from being ill, or perhaps I'm just too jacked up on caffeine, or I just don't want to face what's left for me to do, but I just can't do it. And when I feel this way, there's no point in "trying to push through"--it takes me three times as long to complete a task as it should, and I regret the time spent struggling through the task rather than just not doing it. Sure I might regret it tomorrow or this weekend, but I'm really just kind of done with this week.

I feel like my schedule is exhausting, but here's the thing--every other schedule I could design for myself would be equally exhausting, and I'm always so thankful on Thursday nights that I have Friday off. Getting to Thursday can be a struggle, but at 3:50, I'm done until Monday. I like having a three day weekend every weekend.

I do wish that I had brought the work for my book that I need to have with me. Or I guess I could keep working on transferring stuff from my computer to a flash drive so that I can clean the computer out so that I can have a better functioning computer. It runs really slow because I have like less than 1 GB of space on it. But I hoard. I feel like everything, especially pictures should be at my fingertips, and I refuse to spend the money on a computer with a larger hard drive (especially when I have a terabyte external drive), because why? It's not going to make me any smarter. It will just be a shiny new thing with which to play and avoid work. It's not going to get the proposal written any sooner.

I'm teaching my first on-line course next fall. I don't want to teach on-line. I've been resistant to it for a long, long time. However, an on-line grad class in a subject I care about is preferable to me than a comp class. And it's probably only something that I'll have to do once every two years (or less), and shouldn't preclude other grad classes. Although, we don't get a course release for teaching a grad class, so I'm less excited about the prospect of teaching grad classes than I was. But if I can be online in my pjs in my bedroom rather than here, then that might be worth it.

I feel like the biggest slacker prof. Maybe I am, now that I am all make up free and here in a Darth Vader t-shirt and jeans. The students actually really dig it though. I think I'm becoming queen of the geeks and nerds here, which is fine. It attracts a certain type of student who wants to build rapport with me and means that class discussions get better. I don't mind being the prof that the nerds and geeks gravitate toward.

I guess I should attempt to get myself together a bit before class. Today is just one of those days where I'd rather just be at home in my pjs reading and working from there. I'm not necessarily opposed to work right now, I just would rather be bundled up on my chair feigning intellectualism aspiring toward productivity. Oh well. Such is life. So I will read a bit and do some make shift prep here and then be done with it and make my way through class which will get me that much closer to the weekend.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I still don't have any sort of rhythm. And last week I got hit with some sort of flu-like plague. I only missed one class (yay for Fridays off!), but I spent three days in bed. Magpie brought something funky home from daycare--she was out for over a week. The J got hit with it, twice, and Mom got it once. Last week was a mess. But, it turns out that I just needed three days in bed. I had a burst of energy on Sunday and was able to get breakfasts for the week cooked and got all the food for the week prepped, so that was super helpful and has made the week a bit easier. Monday though I paid for it. I've got some allergy (?) sinus (?) issue right now--my head hurt so bad this morning that my hair hurt, but I finally feel caught up. I'm almost ahead. The only thing suffering right now is the book proposal work and that article, which those deadlines are looming; however, I'm not a total stress bucket at the moment.

Magpie finally, knock wood, seems to be adjusting to daycare better this week. We've discovered the "key" to her not having a meltdown--we drop her off when the kids are outside. She LOVES being outside. Starting her day at daycare outside seems to lighten the blow of having to be at daycare. So the last three days have been relatively tear free at drop off. And since I know how much she loves to be outside, it makes it a bit easier for me, and I feel so much less guilty for her being in daycare. So today we'll pick her up after afternoon outside time, so she's going to start spending about 6 hours a day in daycare.

I did something last week that was very new to me, but which I think most of you did years and years ago. Last Wednesday, I taught without having put any make up on. I'm not one of those people who can't leave the house without make up, but I wear make up to work because it helps me feel put together and professional. Well, last Wednesday we spent the morning at the doctor with Magpie (her cold turned into a massive double ear infection and strep), and I was exhausted and just had the one class and I didn't look terrible, so I went sans make up. And you know what? If anyone noticed, they didn't say anything. The ground did not open up and swallow me. There was no apocalypse. The students didn't shudder in disgust. No one ran running.

Dear God, was it so LIBERATING! I actually have not worn make up to class for a week now. I mean, this is a big deal for me. But I just love leaving that part of my morning routine out. The first thing I do when I get home anyway is to take my make up off and be free. I have found that ironically, I am less self-conscious without make up than I am with make up on. I'm not worried about it streaking or or my face being so oily that it jacks it up or worried about how awful it looks after a few hours. I like wearing make up and getting dressed up, but fortunately I work in a fairly casual department/university, so really, just wow. I may never go back. Now, I'll feel even better when I can get my melasma taken care of, and I might get to start working on that this winter, but for now, man, it's so nice not being made up every day.

Also, we have not only an offer but a contract on the house. I think we even have a closing date. Yay! Baby steps. Baby steps.

And eventually I'll start grading the massive amounts of stuff I got while I was sick and haven't looked at yet.

And the J turned 40.

I'm just happy that I'm feeling a bit better than I have been. Maybe by next week I can finally find some sort rhythm and schedule.

Monday, September 15, 2014

No rhythm yet.

I constantly feel like I'm not doing enough, like there's not enough time. I feel like everyone around is managing their lives--kids, work, projects, exercise, cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. I know it's an illusion. While I'm sure there are people who are hyper organized and have all of their ducks in a row, for me, right now, I'm really really struggling. I keep sacrificing my work on the book proposal and article (now with deadlines looming) to get other things done, but those things get sacrificed for other things like trying to cook lunches and breakfasts for the next week or two, and even just something as simple as trying to handle the stress of a sick one year old (I cannot bring myself to call her a toddler. I'm not ready for that yet). The J came home with a wicked cold. Magpie has been sick for a week almost now--she took her first nap in 8 days yesterday that was longer than 30 minutes, and has had a full blown cold since about Wednesday night. And I'm trying everything that I can to make this baby comfortable. We've got some non drug remedies, snot suckers, warm baths, fluids, tylenol, no school, cool mist humidifier, boogie wipes, lots of love and comfort and an old iPhone (she loves typing messages--don't worry--when she's feeling well, we limit screen time to 10 minutes a day), a nebulizer, organic food, fruits and veggies filled with vitamin C, lots of greens. It's not doctor worthy. It's just a nasty cold. But she is miserable.

The J is finally on the upswing of the cold, but my mom's got it now, and she feels awful. I was starting to feel bad Saturday night and then yesterday I just didn't feel good at all, so it's hit me, but not as bad as it's hit mom. But I don't have the time to be sick right now, so I will just try to keep it at bay through the force of sheer will.

We're in week three of the quarter and I have yet to find my rhythm. Generally by now I have, but the house is cluttered, my brain is cluttered, my office is cluttered. Everything is a mess, quite literally. And because of a summer of excess (I pretended that cyber camp was the summer camp I never got to attend and acted like a preteen with unlimited access to a dessert bar and no parental supervision), my clothes are tight and I don't feel comfortable with myself right now which I think affects my teaching a little bit. But that's an easier fix. As you know, I'm a big fan of paleo "challenges," especially when there's money and prizes involved (I'm doing this with the box and this with my mom and sister and her friend). I think one of the reasons I do these things is because it gives me a forum for my competitiveness, and it actually helps me organize my life. It forces me to prep food and meals for the week (or weeks), and if I've got the meals taken care of, then everything else really is easier for me. It's like if I can organize one aspect of my life, then the other things that need to be organized also somehow magically get organized as well.

I think I do just need to dedicate one day to cleaning things up and out, that's it and that's all. A day when Mom and the J are both here or perhaps this Friday if the Magpie is better and at daycare, then I'll work out  and start early and just knock stuff out, clean, throw stuff away, put Mom to work at the shredder so I can have a clutter free weekend. Okay, that's my new plan.

And babycakes is awake, so I'll tend to her and head out for the workout.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

So Down Today! I don't know why.

I came up to campus before my class in order to try to get some sort of work done. What am I doing instead? Blogging here. I'm just feeling overwhelmed by the quarter already. Everything feels like such a mess now. I hate feeling this far behind, or rather feeling not ahead, this early in the quarter. I worry at this point that having my parents around hinders my work more than it helps it. I mean, I hate to say that because I enjoy having them around and having the help, but my mom's not helpful advice is "well, just go work." It is that easy, and it's not that easy, you know. I'm sure most of you know what I'm talking about.

I've been freaking out a bit lately because tenure application is looming, as in like the beginning of next year and I'm still short on my scholarship and I'm freaking the fuck out.

I found out yesterday that I still have two years. Apparently there was some big miscommunication and we all thought we were going up next year. Nope. Confirmed by the chair, our contracts double checked; I have a stay of execution. Of course that means I still proceed as I planned to this year with what I need to get done and whatnot; however, it means that I've got a cushion next year to get even more stuff sent out. And it gives me two more years of cyber camp to bank money just in case, rather than just one. And I feel better about trying to buy a minivan now. (Yes, I am JONESING for a freaking minivan).

I'm really really depressed this morning for some reason, too. If you asked me to attribute any sort of real reason to it, I don't think I could. I feel cluttered. Everything feels like it's a mess and that I just don't have time to fix any of it. I guess I can only do what I can do, right? But it needs to be more. I have plenty of time, I just don't know how to organize it.

Also, the last couple of days the Magpie has been getting up at 6. On the one hand, a huge problem because that leaves me no time in the morning to get last minute work done. On the other hand, come October when I have to start taking her to workout with me (it's either that or she gets dropped off at daycare at 7 am, and I'm not willing to do that), I'm going to need her to wake up around 6:15, and she's still getting 12 hours of sleep, and I know it's better for daycare because then by 11, she's ready for a nap, so I have to figure out a way to deal with that. Sigh.

But I guess now it's crunch time, and there are things that need to get done now to ensure that I'm still employed in the future, and I was fortunate enough to get to spend tons of time with the Magpie last year, and did very very little in terms of work, so I'm thankful for that. So I guess now it's time to get to work.

I may make a list today to keep everything straight and to feel like I'm accomplishing things when I cross stuff off.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Wow, start of the quarter and I'm woefully behind already I feel like. I had a grand list of things to get done this weekend, and very few of them happened which means I'm not ahead (so I may as well be behind, honestly because it's a short trip from where I need to be to being way back). The Magpie has some teeth coming in so she is not sleeping--no nap on Saturday, only one hour on Sunday, and she didn't quite make 12 hours last night and was up at 6 this morning, so it's really put a kink in what I needed to get done for work and in terms of the house/life.


And yes, it's true. I need to be working right now, but I'm eating, and I've got stuff in my brain to get out before I pick my work back up.

I have placed and enormous amount of pressure on myself for what needs to be done by October. In some ways, that pressure is already shutting me down. But in other ways, it's motivating me. I have a plan of attack. What shuts me down is when the plan has a hitch. I don't adapt very well. But I'm working on it. I'll keep you updated. I won't write down what I'm working on because to look at the list of things to do might shut me down for the day. I have to think about it in the abstract right now.

One of the reasons for the push is that the parents will be gone for October, so I've got to learn to get organized. One of the problems is that I don't have to be organized right now because the parents are still here picking up the slack. Sometimes though the J and I do better on our own when the parents are gone. I think we're going to be okay. It is nice though to have someone else worrying about the dinner and the laundry. At least mom gets a rest now that Magpie is in daycare.

I am looking forward though to us being on our own as parents, even though I'm eternally thankful for the help and support we've gotten from my parents. That's hard to come by. And I'm sure my parents need the break, too. But it might be nice for me, the J, and the Magpie to have some time together.

If everything goes all right, we may be out of our house in Home City by November. Fingers crossed! We got a verbal offer on the house; written one should come Wednesday. Our relator who is working tirelessly on this got us a good deal. We are getting out of the house without paying a dime, so that will be a huge burden off our shoulders and more money in the bank. I'm a little sad--I mean, it marks the end of an era, but it's for the best, and it's really good for us.

I have more to say, but I feel like I'm at a good enough place now so that I can focus on some work until I have to go teach. Have a great day!