Thursday, January 11, 2018

some random thoughts

* It's remarkable what a relief some little things are. Driving in to my office this morning, both my ears finally totally unplugged. Often when I have some kind of URI thing going on, they will get plugged - either from congestion, or often if I'm not careful blowing my nose. I always worry about it because I know plugged Eustachian tubes are one way you can develop some nasty ear infections*

(*some years back, my mom developed an infection very deep within the ear - it was actually a mastoid infection. It was scary because the symptoms didn't map to normal ear-infection symptoms; my dad wound up rushing her to the hospital, thinking she had had a TIA - so did the doctors, at first - but after MANY tests, they found the infection with an MRI. A course of antibiotics later and she was fine. The one other bit of good news was that the various tests she had to have ruled out the presence of heart or vascular disease. But it was a scary couple of days)

But also, it's one of those little quality-of-life things. I am aware enough (some might say "Sheldon Cooper enough") of sensations to be really annoyed by things like a plugged ear.

So I feel a lot better right now. I coughed some last night, but I slept pretty well. And I don't have a fever this morning (I had been taking 500 mg Tylenol morning and bedtime to knock back the fever because this one made me feel so crummy). I didn't take any Tylenol this morning and I think I can stop it now, which is good.

Also, the worries I had ("Is this turning into pneumonia?" "Am I just normal-tired, or is this 'dangerously-sick tired'?" "I'm not starting with sepsis, am I?") are going away as I start to feel better. (I am guessing what I felt last night was "normal-tired," considering my traveling-while-sick and all.)

Also my sense of smell and taste are returning (I often lose them - probably lose taste because I've lost smell - during URIs). I often worry when that happens, like "what if they never come back" because then I could never again enjoy some of the nice cosmetic-type products I buy because of their scent (rose is a big favorite of mine these days, and I like mint soap). And it affects my appetite badly (I am quite sure I would lose weight if I lost my ability to taste for an extended period; my feeling during those times is often, "I might as well eat the blah-est but most healthful things because what does it matter?")

* I do need to "put Christmas away" this afternoon. I am in the office for a short while this morning to get a few things together for when classes start Tuesday, but I'm going home at lunch - we are supposed to get sleet and snow and I'd rather not be out in it, and would rather have my car garaged. So I'm going to untrim the tree and put the other stuff away this afternoon. It feels a little sad - as I always feel with Christmas, I feel like I didn't ENJOY it enough, somehow. It will be nice to get my living room back (the tree takes up a lot of space) but I will miss the glitter and the prettyness and the specialness.

I do plan to take all my Christmas cards - most of which came while I was gone, so I need to take time to enjoy them - and line them up on my piano top so I still have a LITTLE cheer for January. (I am also contemplating clearing off the coffee table that sits in front of my non-functional fireplace and putting lots of the bits of pressed glass I have on it, and either put unscented tealights in the glass, or see if I still have enough of the battery-operated fake tealights that work, and have a little flickering display for a while. It helps to have something pretty and sweet in January.

January is my second-least-favorite month. (August is least-favorite: hot, dry, it's been hot and dry FOREVER, no holidays, and usually we have to gear up to start back to school even though it's hot - I like back-to-school, but in mid-August it feels too early). February is not nearly so bad because (a) my birthday falls at the end of it and I use that as an excuse for a day of self-indulgence and things like yarn-buying and (b) by February, we're usually getting close to it being spring, which is probably the prettiest season here. (And spring tends to last longer here than it did in Illinois, where winter can hang on for a long time). January is often cold and has bad weather (ice rather than snow here, and ice is always bad). And there's the "you just had a month of fun stuff and cheer, now put that all away and be serious again" attitude. And it doesn't help that there is the whole "resolution" thing. By and large it seems the cooking channels have backed off of the idea they had several years ago of "Let's show only 'healthful food preps' in January," probably because watching fish poach or broccoli steam is not as interesting as watching someone make bread or Tex-Mex food. But still, it does seem that January is meant to be an ascetic month, and I'm not so sure that seems ideal. (Or: I've noticed an uptick in the ads for online dating where they hint that "finding someone to love" should be a resolution you make. And yes, it would be nice to have someone to love, but it seems to me that's not the same kind of "I can make that happen through sheer force of will" things the way that, say, giving up sugar in your coffee or walking 2 miles every day is - it depends greatly on the other people around you, and I think any resolution that is at least partly dependent on others is probably not a good resolution)

* I'm hoping I'm totally better (or close enough to totally) this weekend to go do something. (And I hope the weather is OK). I feel like I want to do an Ulta run and maybe one or two other things, maybe go to the antique shops in Denison.

* And yes, classes start Tuesday (we get MLK, Jr. Day off, though they are once again trying to encourage us to do volunteer work. I dunno. I feel like I do an awful lot the rest of the time and I feel a bit like I feel about Valentine's Day - if you have someone in your life you truly love, you show them you love them EVERY day, that Valentine's Day is not some kind of "gonna make it up to you" day because it doesn't work that way - that people should try to find some service that suits them and do that on a regular basis, whether it's through their house of worship or an environmental group or a social-services thing....and take just one day out of the year and figure they're now good for the rest of the year. And so, I am telling myself I can feel Zero Guilt about not going and, I don't know what this year's project is, but Zero Guilt because I am helping produce a journal and I do stuff at church and I'm the new Wesley Center rep for my church and I feed the college kids a few times a semester, and so on). And also, I do a lot of those things at times that are not otherwise "big" times.

And you know? there's a slightly-heartbreaking PSA that State Farm put out this year, about not giving up volunteering when the holidays are over:

And yeah. I've heard that - that often agencies have to turn away would-be do-gooders on Thanksgiving or Christmas or whenever (I hear lots of parents griping that they will take their "ungrateful kids" to serve at a soup kitchen so the kids can learn to feel happy with what they have, and I'm kind of sure that grumpy, inexperienced teenagers doing that kind of service are not exactly what the people running the service need....), and that come March or June or whenever, it's hard to find people to help. (Same with giving to food banks and the like. At least here in town the main one puts out regular calls of "we need peanut butter" or "if you can spare some cans of beans or tuna, we can use it" so people don't forget)

* And I am happy to find out that one of our excellent former students (he earned a Master's degree; I was on his committee) is coming back to adjunct for us this spring. He will get the office next to mine which has not been regularly occupied since the geneticist we had before we got the person who is now my chair - for a while, another adjunct used it, then it was empty, then a visiting scholar used it, now that he's gone....I'm glad I'll have Phillip as a neighbor. (We got our excellent TFT person who runs the intro labs that way - she earned a Master's here, worked a bit as an adjunct, then we were able to hire her full-time (and she managed to escape the cuts in 2016, thank goodness: we NEED her for the job she does; a full-time lab coordinator is an important thing when you have many lab sections and she is v. good at that kind of efficient coordination). Maybe we'll get lucky and eventually be able to re-hire Phillip as TFT, which means he would get better pay and some benefits and we could put him on more classes. (I bet he could also do intro Conservation, and free up one of the Fish and Wildlife dudes to teach something else).

1 comment:

Lynn said...

I have never put any thought into what's my least favorite month but if I have one it's probably January.