Friday, November 30, 2018

Friday morning things

* Both the tree guys and the painter guy have been paid. I always feel better about stuff like that after I've paid, I don't like having bills hanging over me. (And the tree guys were really good. They did a good job - oh, if it were just me and I weren't accommodating my neighbor, I'd probably have had them cut the pecan back a little less, but I'm reasonably sure the tree will survive). And they cut some of the smaller limbs on a couple other smaller trees to get them out of the way of the power lines and cable just in case we get ice this winter. AND they went up on the roof and blew all the accumulated leaves off, so now I don't have to, at least not this year.

I do have to photograph the trees and e-mail the photos to the neighboring homeowner so he's satisfied that I actually did it.

* Have been tired and unmotivated all week; don't know why. I've done what I needed to do in re: grading and prepping stuff to wrap up classes, but I haven't been motivated to do a lot else. I would really like more sleep-time but with my schedule it's almost impossible to get during the semester. (I average maybe 6-7 hours during the week. Most weekends I get a little more. My body seems to "want" 8-9, based on my schedule when I'm on break). I think I just get a little burnt out at the end of the semester; probably moreso in the fall when I am now teaching four different classes. (Four classes where you have two sections of the same class for one or two of the classes is easier. Four different classes is almost more cognitive juggling than I can do these days)

* I did finish the current "simple socks" last night; a photo will come later on. (I have a meeting with my research student this afternoon, so this day is also already mostly spoken for).

My thought is now I want to try to finish Augusta if I can - I have the second sleeve NEARLY done, and if I could finish that this evening, I could block it this weekend, then sew it up, then do the button bands....

* My tiredness MIGHT be that I know tomorrow is essentially already spoken for; we are doing a recruitment event. I am apprehensive about it because it's the first year we're doing it, and the standard for planning first-time events on this campus (note: not my department's responsibility or authority, or else it WOULD be planned) is not to plan very much, flail a little, and then ask the exhausted faculty "How could it have been better?" At this point it's not even 100% sure the rooms we're scheduled to be in are the ones we're using. I'm also apprehensive because there's a rumor that a lot of the local area students who signed up did so because a teacher offered generous extra credit for it. (Extra credit needs to die as a concept). Doing "extra credit if you show up" rarely works well. Oh, maybe 5% of the people get interested, but the remaining 95% wind up being a giant drag.

(And I can't believe I'm saying this, but: at least now with smartphones they'll just sit quietly and dink on the phones and either send snarky texts about us that we will never see, or play Candy Crush, or some such).

Years and years ago, when I was in grad school, I did a "high school STEM" thing where I went in all earnest and eager, and it turned out the majority of the students there were there ONLY for the extra credit (and getting out of school for a few hours) and crikey they were rude. Rude to me, rude to everyone else, rude and snarky on the evaluation sheets. I confess I went home and cried a lot about it even as my parents reminded me "They were just teenagers doing stupid teenager stuff, don't take it personally."

Now I'd be angry. Angry at having my time wasted; at having one of my few precious weekend days taken up for something that really benefitted no one.

(The enrollment of the thing dropped from about 120 two days ago to 40 today, so who knows what's going to happen. Maybe the extra-credit kids dropped out but now I wonder if my area of specialty - the conservation area - is gonna have ANYONE coming to it.)

I have told my chair that if interest seems really low, I am leaving at lunchtime (11:30). (I told her I'm leaving at lunchtime anyway - I will come back in the afternoon if needed, but I don't want to eat salty, greasy, chain-store pizza, which is what's on offer. If I'm going to blow my sodium budget for the week, I want it to be on something I WANT to eat. I like my own homemade pizza better these days...). If I'm not needed, I'm telling myself that I can then go to Sherman. I will either go to the bookstore/JoAnn's/Ulta/Target or maybe I'll go downtown and go antiquing and to the little yarn shop. (It's been way too long since I've been antiquing, and I have a mini-tradition of going right before Christmas break every year).

And yeah, maybe I will blow my weekly sodium budget if I go to Sherman, but it will be on good barbecue instead of mass-produced pizza.

* I just want to relax. It seems like every time I go "okay now my work is done, now I can relax" it's like BOOM there's another load of work. I want to watch Christmas movies and sit in my quiet comfortable house and knit and I want to go to bed early and cook nutritious meals for myself and listen to music and take long showers and all the things I don't get to do during the semester.

* I guess Elf is going to be on all day tomorrow? Maybe I catch part or all of one showing tomorrow evening after I get home. I like "Elf," it's become one of my favorite Christmas movies.

The other night AMC was showing "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" on regular repeat and while it's kind a way, an anti-Christmas movie (kind of in the same spirit as that Dropkick Murphys Christmas song about how his entire family is nuts and how he'd be better off "lonely, distraught, and depressed"), there's also something entertaining about it, as crude as it is. (Maybe because "Thank God it's not like that at my house"). Or maybe it's the sheer over-the-topness of it. (And yes, "Holy (bleep), where's the Tylenol?" has kind of become a tagline, though I usually euphemize what is bleeped somehow)

But those familiar movies, you can kind of tune in to them at any point, and it's okay if you missed the first thirty minutes, because you know what happened and can pick up the thread. ("A Christmas Story" is like that, too - and actually, kind of like Lampoon, it's sort of an episodic movie that is almost more little comic set-pieces than a full narrative). And really, you watch them for the gags more than the story. Even "Elf."

Heh - now I remember a couple years ago buying one of those little flattish bottles of real maple syrup at the wal-mart, and the woman who rang it up did a double take and commented, "I was gonna say, 'When did we start selling hard liquor' but now I see it's syrup'" and I made a reference to the scene in the movie where Buddy gets drunk in the workroom because he thought the bottle of (whatever, I don't know what it was supposed to be among the liquors) the guys had was syrup. And she laughed. (I like little moments like that. When I first started in grad school and had gone out to do some fieldwork with one of my then-new labmates, I knew I was going to like him when he got a soil sample - it was very stony soil - and looked at it and said, "'What did you get, Charlie Brown?' 'I got a rock'" (from "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown").

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