Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Working on reframing my attitude and trying to be positive and proactive has been very trying this week (and last).

I am getting things done. But I lost my temper with kiddo last nigh--I sort of yelled at her for not sleeping. I feel terrible. It's not her fault. She's kind of sick, and a dairy issue as we try to reintroduce it, so I've got to work on that. Just because the night didn't go as planned didn't mean that I needed to lose it. And I was hungry. I waited way too long to eat dinner, so I was really just nasty to everyone actually. Frowny sad face here.

And the bank has taken so long on our house that we're trying to sell in Home City that the buyer had to back out. So there's a whole lot of stress there.

My office hours were a total bust. Rather than all the honor society students coming in at the same time so I could register them for the conference, which I thought was the plan, they came in one by one, so every time I sat down to do something, I was interrupted.

Then I remembered I had to write tomorrow's exam--okay, tweak it, but couldn't depend that I could do that during the office hour before class tomorrow. And I had some straggling grading and things to do. It's fine. I can sit and grade take home essays while they're doing their exams, so I'll have a little time tomorrow, and mom, thankfully, is able to get dinner done today.

I've got a lot of grading to do. I hope to get it done by Friday.

I'm so exhausted with today, mostly because of the news with the house, and because no work got done, and I've got 2 hours of teaching yet to do. Which I need to get to.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

As I continue to muse and navel gaze

I guess I'm a blogging fool this week.

I have to congratulate myself for only being 7 minutes late to my office hours this morning. Last week I was 30 minutes late. I got some stuff done that needed to get done before class, so I'm taking a minute to clear out of my head before class and so when class is over I can try to knock out some work in my office hours.

Last night was a real test of my new "attitude." After dinner I went into the back to read. It was about 6:45. I should have been able to get about 3 hours of research/reading done for the stuff due Thursday. Uh, no. At about 8, Magpie wakes up screaming. Massive gas pain. We've been introducing milk to her so her sensitivity doesn't turn into a full blown allergy (and this is excellent milk, too), and well, two days in a row of milk did not agree with her stomach. About 30-40 minutes of screaming ensued, which is exhausting, the least of which is because one feels helpless. Finally, the gas passed, but then she just would not go back to sleep. Another 2.5 hours later, at 11pm, finally, she went to sleep. Which means I did not get the work done that I wanted to, which means I didn't get to work out this morning because I had to try to make up for the lost hours last night this morning.

I didn't get much sleep. I'm exhausted and grumpy. I'm trying to hold my shit together here. And the fact of the matter is that it's not the kid's fault I didn't get work done last night. It's my fault for leaving this until the week it's due, assuming I'd have time, and I should know better. Today is my really really long day--9-4, back to back teaching from 10-2, on the other side of campus no less, too. It's cold, gray, miserable. But I've got good coffee and homemade soup, so you know. There's that.

On the plus side, even with only a little bit of sleep, Magpie woke up happy this morning. This afternoon might be a different story as we get closer to bedtime.

I'm dressed super casually for work today. I just couldn't bring myself to even dress up jeans! So pathetic. I look more like one of the students than a prof. Meh. I don't really care. I teach better when I'm comfortable.

I'm hoping that I have 2 uninterrupted office hours this afternoon to get some reading done. At least, in my third attempt at this novel, I'm the furtherest I've ever gotten! And I might try to get another little bit in in the next ten minutes. So I guess even though I'm tired and I'm grumpy, all is not lost yet. I may still be able to pull this out.

Monday, January 12, 2015

More thoughts and musings

I feel like I actually waste a lot of time. Maybe I should document how I spend a couple of days to see what it is I do do all day.

Like today, I could have gotten some stuff done this morning, but I took my time getting out the door. Perhaps sometimes one just needs to take ones time.

Saturday I had a meltdown sort of because the Magpie didn't nap. Then later that night I realized that I can't plan on getting things done on the weekend during her naps because they are likely not going to happen, especially on Saturdays when everyone is home because she doesn't want to miss anything. Plus, I need to be more present for her on the weekends anyway since our time during the week is not as much as I wish it were.

I'm trying to change how I look at my schedule. I hate my schedule actually, as I've mentioned, but it's the best schedule I could have for what I am willing to do and what I want to do.

Things are kind of hectic right now--J's out of town. My mom has a wicked case of acute sinusitis and hasn't slept in days, and bless her heart is doing laundry and the dishes because she is miserable and feels unproductive, but she's miserable and cranky which is stressful. And I'm trying not to feel ungrateful or overwhelmed at helping to care for her and a kid. Dad's here, and that helps because he can take mom to the dr. and whatnot, go to the grocery for me and stuff. But it's still stressful with all that sickness and misery in the house. I am trying to get better at making the most of my office hours, and although I hate multitasking, I'm justifying blogging because I'm also eating, so this is all part of lunch. I should be able to get about an hour and a half of reading though before class--reading for the abstract due on Thursday on a book I've never finished in the two previous attempts at reading it, but I have a great idea for it, so I want to get it done, but it's nearly 700 pages long. Good grief. It's good the J is gone this week because I won't feel guilt about reading and not spending time with him in the evenings. And since Dad's here, I won't feel bad about abandoning my mom to go read. And I'm doing my best to ward off the infection that caused Mom's sinusitis. I can feel it. Plugged head. Congestion. Headache. Grumpiness. Who has time for that though? Not I. So by sheer force of will, I will not end up with sinusitis. Or a sinus infection. Or anything else for that matter.

This morning I was hit with a brief but overwhelming sadness. I don't know why. I just almost started crying for no reason. I'm fine now, but I don't know what was up.

I guess all in all, things are okay on this end. I was nowhere near accomplishing what I had hoped this weekend or last week, but I've got time this week to do stuff: I just need to sit down and do it.

And now I'm done with lunch, so I'm looking forward to settling down with my book and knocking out some reading before I go teach.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Some Thoughts and Musings

Will it come as any surprise to you that nothing that I had planned to accomplish over break was accomplished? Probably not. Not even finishing the pleasure reading book.

I was complaining and boohooing and woe is me-ing for a while about it. But honestly, I woke up on January 1st and decided that I'd change my attitude about things.

So the baby was sick. Again. That's my life. She had a wicked cough, drainage in her ear which appeared to be painful, and the poor thing had a staph infection in three places on her lip. I get staph infections in response to stress. Maybe she does, too.

I have spent the last almost 2 years actually complaining about how life isn't fair--it wasn't fair that I was super pregnant and got stuck with an overload and couldn't fit in my research. It was fair that I had a c-section and a continuously sick baby. It wasn't fair that I longed to breastfeed and couldn't. It wasn't fair that I couldn't/can't seem to find time to work. It wasn't fair that every time I tried to get a groove going I couldn't and felt like it was nothing but stopping and starting all the time. It's not fair that I can't get a better schedule.

It's true. None of these things are fair. At all. But all I've done is dwell on these things for the past 2 years, and it's gotten me nowhere, really. I haven't accomplished what I've wanted to, and there are very pressing matters at hand (I do feel the sands of tenure time slipping away) that I need to just attend to and do. While I do think it is healthy to grieve and honestly even healthy to whine a bit, I've gone too far. I have plenty of time in the day. Or at least I think I do. What I think might help me is scheduling time to be lazy so I don't get burnt out. But that's another issue.

So here are some decisions that I've made:

  1. The kid is going to be sick. She almost always is, and it almost always happens at the worst time possible. How do I deal with this? Stay on top of my work. Part of the problem is "Oh, I'll do this X day when I have time." No, that day never comes. Yeah, it's common sense, but hello, have you just met me? Have I just met myself?
  2. For my mental health, I must avoid gluten. Seriously. It is like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I don't know why I do that to myself. 
  3. I have to be okay with maybe only getting 4 workouts in a week. Most of the time I might be able to do more, but if the kid is sick or I am just way behind or need sleep, then I have to not beat myself up over only 4 workouts. I *have* to be okay with that.
  4. There are lots of things about my job that I really don't like. The ridiculous amount of office hours for one. The quarter system for another. But would I rather spend 10 hours a week in my office for office hours or that many hours a week doing committee work or in meetings? I'd rather the office hours. For someone in my position, I have very little responsibility and commitments, but I complain and act as if my time is filled with administrative and committee tasks and student commitments. It's not. Why not be happy with what I have? Getting the remainder of my tenure requirements fulfilled is certainly doable. I just have to figure out how to do it.
  5. I don't want to be such a Negative Nancy any more. My life is not as terrible as I make it seem.
  6. Sometimes things will get rough, and that's okay, too. I can cry and feel overwhelmed and angry, but then I can deal with things and move on. 
I've really spent a lot of time over break thinking about some of the decisions I've made and attitudes toward things that I've had, and it hit me hard when I ran into someone at the grocery store and my default mode when into the negative rather than the positive. Yes, Magpie's been sick. Yes, it's exhausting to be stuck at home with a sick toddler who feels horrible and can't nap and won't eat because everything hurts. But you know what is not horrible? Being stuck at home with a toddler and watching her learn to walk and watching her curiosity entertain her and watching her explore and smile and giggle and getting to catch a rare snuggle on the recliner with her. She is a walking and talking jabberbox now who really just about loves everything. How is that bad? It's not. 

The messy house is still stressing me out, but maybe I can get to that this weekend if my mom is feeling better (or maybe I can tackle it Friday when baby is in daycare). 

So the plan for this week academically is to knock out next week's and the week after's novels (both of which I've read and taught before) so that I can spend next week putting together a paper proposal for ALA, jump start the third week's readings and get back to work on the book proposal and article. It's doable. 

I like having plans, but my other realization is that I need to be a bit more flexible for when things don't go to plan because they never do, right?