Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Tuesday morning random

* Holy cow, Friday is the start of my spring break. That sneaked up on me. I still have to do a LOT of laundry (to have clothes ready) and pack. (Wednesday is going to be a lost day: day full of teaching, plus Elder's and Board meetings at church, and I expect Board to be long-ish as Steve was to be the moderator starting this summer, we will have to promote someone into that position. Sigh. And also, we're going to have a presentation from someone who is trying to get a homeless shelter started here - which is a super important and necessary thing, but I also know it will mean the meeting will be long. They're looking for board members and I'd do it except I'm doing too much already. (And I might wind up being called to be vice-moderator if the fellow who was to be vice-moderator after Steve moves up into moderator...and that would mean I'd be moderator in 2019....) I bet, though, that we will have SOMEONE who will volunteer.) But yeah. I have to make time to pack, I guess that will be Thursday night though I might try to get some of the laundry done this afternoon/evening.

I also have to think about projects and books to take. I'm close enough to done with "The Cruelest Month" that I may well finish it before traveling, so I may grab one of the new-to-me vintage British mysteries for on the train, and I might try hauling the soil invertebrates book I bought used (it's one of those dense monographs) to see if I can force myself to read it. Or I take my German books and work on that. I still struggle with some of the abstract vocabulary and I'm slow to pick up how the more-complex sentence structures (like: when you can use what clauses where) work, and I think I need bookwork for that instead of the fundamentally parrot-work that Duolingo is.

I will probably take the 2 pairs of ongoing socks, and maybe some more sock yarn. I MIGHT wind off the birthday yarn for the shawl (I found a simple triangular pattern I want to use - Wing and Wing, bought from Ravelry shortly after I got the yarn). Or I take the Paddington's Garden pattern and the pink yarn ("Suß" by Wollmeise) I bought for it. I don't feel up to dragging along anything big, or that takes eleventy-hundred different skeins of yarn, so neither of the blankets and not the owl sweater....

* My allergies are really bad right now and I'm exhausted. My eyes feel puffy and I'm covered with itchy hives. The ONLY thing I did differently yesterday was to take my soils class out around campus and we did attempts at the double-ring infiltrometer test (measures how fast a known quantity of water enters the soil; it is not entirely unlike the "perc test" you have to do for siting a septic drainfield) and the bulk-density tests. I was down close to the soil a lot and I could smell the molds coming off it.

I will say lab was more successful than I hoped. This is a pretty likeable class, they generally have good attitudes. (Unlike a class of several years ago, which had a critical mass of guys who apparently had NEVER had a woman professor - or never had a competent one and couldn't believe one could be. They were rude to me in many ways and I remember them laughing about the whole bulk-density thing because it is kind of a "butter churning" motion. I did get them back because after demonstrating it once, I said "Now you try it" and handed the sampler to one guy, and I guess he didn't realize it weighed like 50 pounds, and he nearly dropped it. Not that they showed me any more respect after that*....) But at least this time people were like "I want to try that!" and the guys were joking with each other about "try your strength" and how quickly they could get a sample. Also I found that one of our bulk density samplers still works in the sense of you being able to unscrew the vessel (this is a problem with them; they get stripped threads or soil gets caught in the threads and cements them together) so that made working with it simpler.

(*From past experience, I often get mad respect from students after doing something like that; I remember way back when I was a TA and had a jerky athlete - who thought he was God's gift to the university, one of those - in my ecology class, and one day we were out doing forest sampling and a stick insect landed on him and he Freaked. Out. Like, screaming "oh my G*d, get it off me, get it off me" and I just reached over and gently picked it up and held it up for the class to see and talked about them and their camouflage and what their ecological role was, and then very gently set it on the bark of a tree because "I don't want to hurt it" and a couple of the students came up to me after class and were like "that was awesome" because apparently the guy bugged them too. I've also had students here comment on (A) "Wow, you really move fast in the field" (often with some variant of "your legs aren't even that long" if it's someone taller than me) or (b) "Wow, that thing really is heavy" about the bulk-density sampler. (It is, but I take it as a point of pride to haul it if I have to. Usually one of the guys volunteers to carry it part of the way after he learns how heavy it is...)

* CWF was last night. It is kind of an effort to go but I do think sometimes I need to make that effort to be out around people. The devotional part of it was about love (reference made to the ugly, battered childhood toy that a kid hangs on to because of love....and I thought of a particular one I still have, that I keep under a pillow on my bed, that yes, is that very childhood toy). And the person doing the devotional handed out paper and asked us to write, in 25 words or less, a way of saying "I love you" without actually using the word "love" and I was surprised at how many complained how "hard" that was....I immediately knew what I'd say:

"You are very special to me and my life is better because you are in it."

Perhaps a somewhat self-centered description (as an alternate, I wrote, "I want the best for you," which I think is the true definition of love - sometimes wanting the best for a person means you don't get what you want (like: they have to move away to pursue an opportunity in life, or, like with children, you have to see them grow up and leave the nest). But I didn't find it that hard and I realized, as I heard other people read theirs: Could we all have written what we wanted to hear from someone who loved us? I know what I wrote was kind of what I would long for a loved-one to tell me at some point.

The funny thing was, the little "online story" that suggested the activity, said that the one SHE did with a class ended with one person saying things like "I've seen worse haircuts." "These cookies are hardly burned at all" and "Oh honey, cuddle up next to me so you can warm up your feet." More of an action thing. (And maybe that's why I'm disappointed in love? I want or expect high-falutin' romantic statements when I'd probably be better off being satisfied by someone telling me a little white lie to make me feel better? I don't know.)

But yeah. For all of my claims of being "cynical" about love (probably because I have been sufficiently disappointed in it in my younger life) there is still that romantic deep down in there, who longs for someone who will quote Byron at me (yes, I know, but) or similar things. Even though that doesn't happen in real life, and chances are the Byron-quoter is going to turn out to be creepy in some way. (You don't always get what you want, and most often, you should be happy if you get 10% of what you want, I think)

I dunno. I've always been better at friend-love than the other kind. (Maybe we all are?)

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