Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Crunch time

As lovely as Thanksgiving was - in particular, the lack of meetings and other work-related obligations - the end of the holiday weekend means that it is crunch time for the end of the semester. I think this is why I struggle with feeling sufficient holiday spirit - in the next two weeks, I need to wrap up the classes I attend AND the class I teach, take two tests, grade three assignments, and (I'm just guessing here) talk a few students off the ledge when their final grades are not what they expected. Oh, and two holiday get-togethers for work, a potential open house for my husband's staff here at our house, not to mention Christmas shopping and cards and...

Maybe I shouldn't think about it all at once. One day at a time. I might get down to one hour at a time by December 16th. I do appreciate that there IS an endpoint. A light at the end of the tunnel. Let's hope they're Christmas lights this year - I want to keep the good feelings from the other night's concert going as long as I can!

On a totally random note, I'm extremely curious about why our neighbors walled off (and insulated, from what I can tell) a corner of their screen porch. Hm. He sided it, too. My husband's guess is pantry. My guess was cold room / canning room. They're too nice for it to be something sinister - although isn't that what the neighbors always say? :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Starting off on the right foot

I'm hopeful that my efforts to de-Grinchify this year are off to a good start. We went to a holiday concert last night - on a WORK night, at 7 pm! (we're such crazy people) - and it was super awesome. There was an orchestra, and some beautiful singing, and then they had us sing along. So. Much. Fun. Now I want the Christmas CDs in the car, so I can sing along when I have the car (which is not that often).

We also managed to catch Gnomeo and Juliet on TV Saturday night, after a full day of watching college football. I could probably watch football or basketball all the time, but my husband is not as enthralled with watching teams that he doesn't really care about. So we try to find a balance. Anyway - he found the movie while I was cleaning up from dinner, and we kept it on. It was hilarious - the perfect ending to a lazy, chilly, rainy day on a holiday weekend.

I have three more weeks in the semester, including finals week. This year will be a bit more complicated, as I have to balance grading and feedback for my own students with two finals for classes I am taking. My students are collectively freaking out about the paper due Friday, and they have another big project due next week. I have a feeling I'll be spending a lot of time answering panicked emails this week. On the other hand, I don't have to teach next semester, so I'll have more time to put into my own projects. And, wow - only three weeks left in the semester. At the beginning of each one, I think we're never going to reach the end. Then we hit week 3 or 4, time speeds up, and before I know it we're posting final grades.

I'm ready for our winter break, but also realize it will be a busy time for me. Catching up on papers and projects that have been on the back burner all semester, and trying to find some time to clean up and organize around the house. Oh, and going to see my family for 5 days. And if I'm going to maintain our momentum for being in the holiday spirit, I should probably think about decorations and lights and a tree and...maybe I'll just start with the Christmas music.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


We had a lovely, quiet Thanksgiving with friends and family, which went much better than I expected. Just goes to show that my anticipatory anxiety over how these sorts of things will go usually doesn't lead to bad outcomes. Whew.

We are still working our way through leftovers - one drawback of not having kids, I think. :) I also indulged my husband and made him a couple of his favorites on Friday that were not on the menu for Thursday. I indulged myself, as well, since one of my favorite activities is cooking, and I didn't get to do nearly as much of that on Thurs as I had hoped.

And now we move into the Christmas season. And I have to be honest, the last few years I have been exceptionally Grinchy. I think it has something to do with balancing the end-of-semester insanity / sleep deprivation / grading with having holiday cheer. I do think that we are at a disadvantage, not having kids. We don't have to put up a tree - the dog doesn't care either way. We don't even have to give presents to each other - in fact, this is another year in which we've already given each other our gifts, leaving nothing to open on Christmas itself. We don't go to church, so we miss out on the Advent build up.

Despite my recent history, I'm going to make an effort to be less Grinchy this season. We are going to a Christmas concert tonight by a big name group. There will be singing along, and a visit from Santa. Given the size of our town, there will probably be people we know there. And there are other fun things starting up next weekend - some of which I hope to actually DO this year.

One difficulty is that my husband and I feed off of each other's Grinchiness. We'll make plans to go to a concert (one for which we do not need to buy tickets in advance; hence, we're not obligated to go), and then cancel them last-minute. We'll talk about putting up a tree - artificial or real - and then time will get away from us and it's the weekend before Christmas and neither of us feels like taking the time. Breaking out of that cycle will take some work, but I think it's do-able. I need to start by changing my attitude, which may be easier said than done. On the other hand, recognizing my lack of holiday spirit in the last few years, and vowing to make an effort to change that, is probably the first step.

Please note, however, that these steps do NOT include going to the mall. At all. I hope. I'm not that nuts.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I've been griping about the Facebook meme in which people post what they're grateful for every single day...but was reminded by my other half that that probably wasn't the best reaction. And, reading their posts, I've seen that we all have a lot to be thankful for. My FB friends, though, seem to be mostly thankful for their children - their children's antics - their children's good health - their children's teachers - etc. I'm sure you can sense a theme there. It can be difficult to ONLY see gratitude related to having children, so I've been thinking about what I am thankful for / grateful for despite my lack of offspring.

  • I'm thankful for my husband, every day. He makes me laugh, he supports me in whatever I do, he makes me rethink my entrenched positions on certain things (ahem, see response to FB meme, above), he reminds me that our lives are full and fulfilled without children. I am a better person for having met him and - thankfully - married him.
  • I'm thankful we are able to live where we do. I love living in a smaller town. I love living in what the rest of the country considers "flyover country". I love living in a University town, and having a commute that 3 short years ago - when I was riding an express bus 45 minutes to and from work every day - I could not have dreamed of. I'm thankful that we're able to get by with one car, thanks to where we live.
  • I'm thankful for my job and the people I get to work with. Even given major organizational changes this summer - the variety of (ahem) personalities that populate academia - the difficulty obtaining research funding in the current climate - there is nothing I would rather be doing. I never thought I'd end up here (both in this type of job and in this particular geographic location), but now I know that it is the best job that I have ever had.
  • I'm thankful for my family, even though they're 1500 miles away and we won't get to see them until late December. I'm also thankful for how understanding they are of our inability to attend the major extended family holiday on Thanksgiving. They make it easy - or, if not easy, at least tolerable - to be the non-attendees among the 30+ extended family members who gather for a day of gluttony. ;)
  • I'm thankful that I get to live in a country with a holiday dedicated to Thanksgiving - that we can all share in, regardless of our religious beliefs (or lack thereof).
I debated writing about my efforts to be less Grinchy this year, or my dawning realization that I think I have body image issues. But I'm glad I ditched that plan to reflect - at least for a few minutes - on how lucky I am, and how much I have to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


No posting for 6 months, and then I decide to do a "what's frustrating me now" post to jump back in? I guess if I can't do that here, then where can I do it? I've noticed that my fuse is much shorter recently, and I attribute at least part of that to the fact that I have stopped writing here - stopped keeping what could be a journal for me to dump my thoughts and (yes) frustrations. In an effort to keep things a bit more even-keeled...well, we'll see. I can't promise posts, but I can try to post more frequently, get out the things that are driving me nuts, and move on from there.

In no particular order...
  • My best friend from childhood. Who works 3 days a week, supporting a family of 5, who makes at least 3x what I make in a year, whose husband can stay home full time with the kids, who has three children she managed to conceive at the exact time she wanted to get pregnant. The last time we talked? She complained constantly about her work schedule, the call schedule, things around the house, holiday coverage, and on and on. And I was tempted to say, you know what? So many people would love to have this life. You make more money than I will ever EVER make. You chose a profession that you hate because your father wanted you to. You have a beautiful family and a cushy life, and you aren't happy with any of it.
  • And then she said the phrase that I hate to hear. First, she asked me "how things are going" with our infertility. I swear I've told her over and over again that we aren't doing anything right now. That we have no plans to go back on path of intervention, that we aren't even trying to have a baby. It's not the right time for us - and I don't think it will ever be the right time. For me, stopping treatment and getting off of that path are essential to my mental health. And I can't figure out how to tell her that without upsetting her or insulting her or I don't know what. So after I - again - told her that we're not actively pursuing anything right now, she said "I just want to say that I really admire how you've dealt with this." Well, what would the alternative be? I can either constantly mourn the life that might-have-been, or I can get out there and live life. I can renew and grow my relationship with my husband. I can figure out things that I enjoy doing, and people I enjoy doing them with, and pursue things that make me happy. Pursuing infertility treatment - even for the short time that we did so - was not making me happy. It was making me a crazy angry person whose fuse was...short. I think I replied with something along the lines of, "Well, you do what you have to do." *sigh*
  • The Extremely Fat Family at the gym, hereafter known as the EFFs. I should step aside here, briefly, and mention that I am not a very nice person. I am judgmental. I can be mean (in my head). I get frustrated when people do dumb things. Knowing that, it does not surprise me that the EFF now showing up at my gym is driving me up a freaking wall. Three of them showed up a few weeks ago - what seemed to be a couple and one of their fathers. The couple is probably 40 something - wife extremely overweight and husband morbidly obese - and the dad is verging on obese. Over the last few weeks, they have continued to add EFF members, to the point where now 6 or 7 of them show up, take over (and break) the elliptical machines, and then move on to the weight machines, where they proceed to SIT without actively lifting anything. In the meantime, I'm trying to get my workout in and get home in a timely manner. Today I bit the bullet and got up 15 minutes earlier (for those keeping track, that means I am now getting up at 3:45. AM.) to try to avoid them. I didn't succeed entirely, but I did manage to get through about 2/3 of my weights workout before some of them were wrapping up their cardio. I mean, I should be happy that they are moving, right? But I get so annoyed when my routine changes (I know, I should probably get help for this), and I'm having difficulty seeing the good in their gym attendance since it's messing with my routine. Anal much? It doesn't help that they are ... well, they're loud and they yell at each other and they talk on the phone and swear at each other and...it's just really disruptive. I'm at the gym to work out, not witness your family drama. Thanks. I hope their zeal wears off in the next few weeks. Holiday seasons are good for that.
  • Feeling one-upped. I hate feeling like others are trying to one-up me or us, and it seems like my BIL and SIL do it without even trying. As in, last year they got my MIL and FIL a trip over spring break. Plane tickets, condo, food while they were there, the whole shebang. We got them...I think we got his dad a book and his mom some crafty things for her home business. This year? We've got his dad covered, and we thought we had his mom covered, but then had to return what we got for her, when we realized it wasn't the right choice for her. Then, my BIL tells my husband on Sunday that they're going to get my in-laws an iPad for Christmas. Seriously. I get that they have a lot more money than we do. And I'm okay with that, most of the time. But ... we are constantly hearing how HARD they work and how MUCH they work, and how much they deserve their (seriously) sixth vacation of the year. Meanwhile, we are pinching pennies to try to take one major vacation every few years. And clearly we don't work hard. *sigh* again.
Those were the biggies for now, I think. I'm sure I'll think of something later. And then I'd like to move on to actually, you know, documenting our lives. Because there are some good things that we are doing - some fun things - and I think it would be nice to remember those down the line.