Maybe a little. I still can't quite solve the conundrum of "can I figure out a safe way to travel the 700 miles to Illinois?" but news of a *possible* vaccine by next spring or early summer - well, I can take several weeks in the summer, if that's the case, and go visit my mom then.
I got a lot done today and that helps, and also it was my favorite class of the fall (Biostats, and I admit, yes, it's my favorite, both because it's fun to teach but also because I have students in there who have had me for several lower-level classes, so I know them, and it's easier to interact with someone who is all masked up when you knew them from the before-times).
I got the horrific assessment task done and only had to re-run one set of the forms today. And I feel good I got the numbers in to my chair in time for her to get them into the report due in November.
And THEN, I had about an hour and a half before what would be my absolute going-home time (5 pm) and I thought "heck, maybe I can write that third exam for next week." And by, yeah, "recycling" some questions from an earlier exam, I was able to get a whole exam into BlackBoard before the 5 pm deadline (also, some campus resources go offline briefly from 5 pm to midnight on Fridays, not always BlackBoard, but there's a chance it could)
So my exams for next week are done. Tomorrow some time I should grade the homework that is due late tonight (and be flexible in case BlackBoard is one of the things going down) but that's all I need to do.
So I decided: okay, you can have the reward of a quick trip to the bookstore and to Target. I had done a quick Pruett's run at lunch to grab another carton of milk and some more salad greens in case I couldn't get out, but....yeah, I need to be "a different place" and Target has a grocery - so I could get extra foods there (Target has some special things Pruett's doesn't), and make a quick run to the bookstore. Target is open *early* (8 am) so I could go early, and if I don't buy many cold-requiring things (or I can use my little cooler, and I think I have one of those foil lined chiller bags), I could take a quick run into the bookstore for new craft magazines and maybe.....like I said.....look at the stuffed toys.
No, I don't need more, but being tucked up in bed surrounded by stuffed animals seems to help with some of the existential horror.
Also, I came home to a message from the local quilt place - my most recent quilt with them is done! And after months of no Saturday hours, they are going to be open from 10 to 2....so I could run to Sherman early, and then quick run to the quilt place, maybe. (Alternative idea would be to go Tuesday afternoon before office hours and get it, especially since I might have another top done by then - I'm sewing together the "Homebound" top and I have a backing on hand)
It will be good though to have a little time off and a little bit of "different" things to do, and I do feel better for having gotten some big things out of the way - next week I have no evening meetings, and I give no exams the following week, so I have bought myself a little time and maybe I can have some evenings to just relax? That would be good. I do not like having things I must do hanging over my head, especially things I am being depended on by others for (like the assessment data).
Also, in between office hours - or even during them if I can figure out how to make Zoom with audio work on my phone, and have the phone sitting in my lab - I can start on sorting the soil samples for my research.
I will say maybe I need to put "In A Dark Wood Wandering" aside, or intersperse it with a "happier" or lighter book. It's a well-written book and I am, in a way, enjoying it, but....again it's a book with very few sympathetic characters. Maybe Valentina Visconti, the wife of the Duc d'Orleans? But she barely features right now. But the other characters - the French king is unhinged and acts like a child, his three uncles (Berry, Bourbon, and Burgundy) are schemers in various degrees, the queen (Isabeau) is as much a schemer as any of them, Orleans is a womanizer....seriously, you could almost assign one of each of the Deadly Sins to each of the characters, and I don't like that.
(And as for lighter books - well, "SPQR," which I am also reading? That ain't it, Chief.)
Maybe I need to start an Inspector Gamache mystery. At least HE is a good guy, and his wife is a nice person, and if it's one set in Three Pines there are nice people in Three Pines. And there is a resolution where justice is done in some way and there is some sense of restoration at the end (which is why I like at least some detective novels: the fact that the wrong is made as right as it possibly can be)
Or maybe I pull one of the "older" YA novels off the shelf - I have some King Arthur ones, and The Gammage Cup, and The Little White Horse....I just find now I need cheerier entertainment, when the world seems so cheerless.
But at least I've pushed through some big work projects, and after dinner (and my mom's call) tonight I can maybe relax and knit and either watch cartoons or, perhaps - I'm going to cycle through The Good Place - I missed some of Season 3 and most of Season 4, but I now have them on dvd, and I want to go back and start with the beginning and work through it - to catch the jokes and references I missed, and also just to experience it again.