Monday, December 13, 2010
December 13 – Action. When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step? (Author: Scott Belsky)
I'm not sure. Right now, I feel like I'm just trying to survive day-to-day with The Kid. I'm still getting used to not really having a set schedule, etc. I need to decide what I want to accomplish next year, and whether or not that's reasonable considering that I'm a mom now. I know that I want to continue with Weight Watchers and work on being more active, but other than that, I have no idea what I want to focus on next year.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
December 10 – Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out? (Author: Susannah Conway)
I think the wisest decision I've made this year was to re-join Weight Watchers last month. I'd lost the baby weight I'd gained, but I was still overweight, so I decided to give WW a shot. I'd been a member a billion times in the past 10 years, but this time seemed different. I was (am) more determined. I'm a slow loser, and I've lost almost 7lbs in the past 6 weeks. That works for me. My eating is somewhat under control, so now I need to work on activity. I chase The Kid around a lot, but of course I need something more vigorous and disciplined. I'm considering joining the Y so that I can swim (and take swim classes with The Kid).
Also...I'm considering learning how to run. The only time I've ever run (aside from when I was kid) was in high school 17+ years ago when I had to run in gym class. I've never had a desire to run, and never understood people who did. But now, I want to do it. We'll see.
December 11 – 11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? (Author: Sam Davidson)
Wow. 11 things? Let's see.
1. Clutter. I tend to hoard books, bags, and papers. I'm trying to simplify and get rid of what I don't need. The clutter is starting to drive me insane. I'm also embarrassed to have people over because of the mess. It needs to go away.
2. Extra weight. Losing the weight will make me healthier, but more importantly, I want to be a good healthy role model for my son.
3. Crap from the past. There are several people I'm "friends" with on Facebook whom I just don't like. But I keep in touch with them to know what's going on with them. I'm nosy. I don't want to be. Most of them just disappoint me with whom they've become.
4. Clothing. I have too many clothes. I wear the same things over and over, so I need to donate what I don't wear anymore.
5. Self-loathing. I have to stop hating myself. Because I'm pretty awesome.
6. The inability to say "no." I tend to over-extend myself because I can't say no. That needs to stop.
Hmmm...I'm not sure what else I want to get rid of. I'll re-visit this.
December 12 – Body Integration. This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present? (Author: Patrick Reynolds)
Well, I don't know. I was going to say when I was giving birth, but I was definitely thinking then. I'm not sure I did have a moment in 2010 when I felt integrated with my body. I'm constantly thinking, no matter what I'm doing.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Sometimes I feel that I'm not much different than those around me. But I think that it's my experiences that make me different, or what make everyone unique. I try to always see the best in people and remind them to believe in themselves. When I was in grad school, a friend told me, "Never apologize for who you are," and that still resonates with me.
December 9 – Party Prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans. (Author: Shauna Reid)
I didn't really attend many social gatherings this year. I was too busy being pregnant or being a mom. We did manage to attend some small gatherings with friends this year. Recently, a friend held an obsolete media party, where we watch reel-to-reel films, listened to albums on vinyl, and ate 70's-inspired foods. There were only a handful of people there, but it was so reassuring to look around and see faces of people I cared about.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
December 7 – Community Prompt: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011? (Author: Cali Harris)
In 2010, I explored more online communities -- ones for weight loss, writing, motherhood, and homesteading. I'm a bit of a homebody and rather shy, so it's difficult for me to seek out people in real life. Also, with online work, I can do it whenever I want, which is a plus now that I have The Kid to consider.
In 2011, I'd like to continue to make connections with like-minded people. I don't have anything particular in mind at the moment.
Monday, December 6, 2010
One word for 2010? Change. The biggest change is that I became a mother this year. The Kid has changed my life in so many ways. It's been a challenge to accept that my life is different and that he comes first, no matter what. I'm getting better at it.
For 2011? Simplicity. I'm trying to de-clutter and simplify my life as much as possible. As I've written about before, I want to live a simple life, much like my grandmother did. Cook from scratch, grow my own food, not take pleasure in (too many) material things. Treasure my family and friends.
Prompt: December 2 – Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta)
The biggest thing that takes away from my writing is The Kid. When I'm not working, I'm being a mother. But I need to get back to my writing, even if it's 15 minutes a day. I've had so many poems and blog posts floating around my head the past several months, and I need to write them down.
Prompt: December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)
That's easy! I felt most alive this year when I was giving birth to my son. It was a surreal experience, and I'm amazed that I was able to give birth to a little boy. I'll save the vivid details for myself. :)
Prompt: December 4 – Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? (Author: Jeffrey Davis)
I'm amazed every day by my son. Amazed that I made him, and amazed at how far he's come in (almost) 9 months. I'm so curious about him, and he, in turn, is curious about the world. I'm honored that I'm the one (or, one of the ones) who gets to show him around.
Prompt: December 5 – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Author: Alice Bradley)
This is a tough one. There's definitely a person I'm trying to let go of, but it's difficult. I don't speak to them anymore, but I'm still "friends" with them on Facebook, so I'm aware of what's going on with them. I'm not sure why it's been difficult to say goodbye to them. I certainly know why I have to.
I'm also trying to let go of the self-loathing I've felt for years. I'm 35 years old, and I just want to love myself. How I look, how I speak, how I think -- everything. I'm a pretty awesome person, and it's time I appreciate it!
Prompt: December 6 – Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? (Author: Gretchen Rubin)
Yesterday, I made homemade jams -- peach and black raspberry. I also made chocolate biscotti. I love to bake and cook, but it's hard to make the time lately. I would love to learn how to sew and quilt, and that's one of my goals for 2011.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
I read a lot about homesteading, cooking from scratch, simplifying, etc. and I want to do it all. But I don't. I reach for easy meals, still lust after material items (books and bags, mostly), and didn't prepare the ground for a garden like I wanted to. If I would have spent less time thinking and reading about it, and more time doing, I'd be on my way to the simple life I want.
I'm also worried because I don't have any classes for next summer. I wanted to teach at least one online course so that I'd have income, but the new Dept. Chair didn't give me anything. So, I'm not sure what I'm going to do. Ugh.
The Kid is starting to stir, so I'm going to throw in a load of laundry and prepare myself for playing and cuddling with him.
Monday, November 22, 2010
We're heading into one of my favorite times of year (Thanksgiving --> Christmas), but I'm not so excited about it this year. I think it's largely because I'm tired. Wiped. Exhausted. Frustrated.
The Boy refuses to sleep in his crib. He was fine in his bassinet, then his pack & play, but as soon as we tried the crib, he revolted. As I posted back in September, I haven't had the heart to let him cry it out (when I try, he cries for OVER AN HOUR and it breaks my heart), so we spend each night in the recliner. I know that this won't last forever, and that there will come a day when I will miss being able to cuddle with him, but...I miss my bed. I miss sleeping next to my husband (though I don't miss his snoring). I've decided that I'm going to keep things the way they are until the semester is over, and then devote my winter break to getting my son to sleep in his crib. I hope it works.
In other news, I've gone back to Weight Watchers. It's been almost a month, and I've lost about 5 pounds. I'm totally half-assing it, on-program some days and off-program on other days. My main problems are that I don't plan my days very well, and I'm so focused on taking care of everyone else that I forget to eat and end up overdoing it at night. Not good. I'm so tired of being overweight, though. I'd like to be healthy when I turn 40 in 5 years.
That's all for now. I have papers to grade while The Boy is at my sister's. Good times.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
My colleague, her husband, and I went to see David Sedaris (who was hilarious, as always) last Wednesday. The reading was held at the college I recently applied to. I've been there several times, but this time, I tried to imagine working there. It's much bigger than my current college, with several buildings and parking lots. It has a real theater with a stage! It was a bit intimidating, and I wondered if it wasn't a good fit for me. They just started reviewing applications on Friday, though, and I don't even know if I'll make the cut for an interview.
I love my current college. I loved it as a student, and now as an instructor. Sure, I have issues with the administration, but I adore my students and (most of) my colleagues. It's exactly where I want to be. But even though enrollment is consistently growing, there is a hiring freeze until Fall 2012. I can't wait that long. But part of me wants to.
When I came home from the reading, I popped online to relax a little. That's what I found out about Tyler Clementi, the student from Rutgers who killed himself after video of he and his partner were posted online by his roommate. It broke my heart. I couldn't sleep that night, thinking about Tyler and everyone else who is harassed and bullied because of their sexual preference, or for any other reason. When I spoke to my colleague the next morning, we decided to try to make some changes on our campus. We're lobbying to re-activate the LGBT club and to bring speakers to campus. In our literature classes, we're going to make sure we promote diversity through the readings we select. We have big plans. Our county is rather conservative, and it may be difficult to do what we want to do. But we'll try.
All of this is also making me wonder what my son's future holds. Will kids bully him? What will I do? Is there a way I can protect him? Sometimes I look at him (like I'm doing right now), smiling and playing, and am saddened because someday that innocence will be gone. Breaks my heart.
Today, I have to get caught up on work for my online class. Which means I'll spend hours reading and responding to discussion boards posts and grading. Good times. Watching the NASCAR race at Kansas, hoping that my boy Tony Stewart wins. I'm making soft pretzels for the first time. And I'll be sure to make time for plenty of cuddling with The Kid.
Monday, September 27, 2010
I hate waiting for responses to job applications. Every time my cell phone has rung today, I got a pit in my stomach, afraid/hoping it would be the CC I sent my CV to last night. Because, of course, they would read it first thing this morning and need to call me right away before another college snatched me up. Right.
I think I've been having a difficult time lately because of the change of seasons. The weather hasn't changed that much (though today it's rainy and in the 60's), but the end of summer makes me sad. I'm going to miss the sunshine, fresh produce, not having to bundle up under layers of clothing, and mowing the lawn. I spent most of the summer holed up in the house being a mom, but still there was the possibility of having fun. My fall and spring semesters are filled with work, work, work.
Speaking of work, I'd better get back to the boards.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
I'm still struggling with balancing my time between work, motherhood, home-stuff, and myself. I get maybe an hour or two a week completely to myself. It's really not enough for everything I want to do. I'm constantly on alert, waiting for The Kid to need something, even when The Husband is taking care of him. I really need to learn how to relax because my blood pressure is way up, and I don't want to take medication. And I want to relax!
I'm applying for a full-time tenure-track position at an area community college. I haven't taught there, but I've been there for conferences, and they are light years ahead of where I currently teach. They're larger, and they have more funding. I would still love to land a FT gig at my current college, but they won't be hiring an English prof until maybe 2012. I've been adjuncting for about five years now, and it's time I land a FT position. That said, I'm nervous about it because of The Kid. Right now, I'm only on campus two days a week for four hours each day. I'm not sure how I would handle FT work, but I guess I'll deal with that hurdle if it comes.
The past month has gone by in a blur. My days are filled with prepping for classes, grading, playing with The Kid, changing diapers, cooking, etc. I haven't really read anything, which is adding to my irritability, I'm sure. I really need to make more time to read.
I'm also very, very tired. The Kid generally sleeps from 10-5:30, but he rarely makes it the entire night in his crib. I'm not sure why, but he wakes up during the night and just wants to be held. I can't deal with letting him cry it out, so we end up sleeping in the recliner in the living room. I love the cuddling, but the interrupted sleep is killing me. I'm tired all the time, and it's making me sick. I had strep last week, and I feel a cold coming on now. Not good.
With that in mind, I'm going to set aside the work and take a nap.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
I tend to collect (borderline hoarding, but not in the gross way) things. Books, bags, papers (I will read all of those magazines and scholarly articles someday!), yarn (I have no idea how to knit or crochet), and more. The nursery still isn't ready for my son (he'll be 6 months old soon) because I haven't been able to totally clean out my office. It's been ok so far, since I wanted him to sleep in our room for the first 6 months or so, but it's time for me to be a responsible mom and give him his own space.
I've resolved to get rid of everything before, but it feels different this time. I invested in an e-reader so that I could get rid of all (ok, most) of my books to save room. I've been slowly selling books on half.com, and have made some decent money. I'm either going to finally learn how to knit/crochet, or I'm getting rid of the bins of yarn that I have. I decided this morning that I'm going to have a yard sale in two weeks. Whatever doesn't sell will be donated. I'm tired of living in clutter. It used to comfort me, but now it just makes me feel ashamed. I'm tired of having so much stuff that, in the end, really doesn't make me happy.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
My To-Do List is so insanely long that it's overwhelming me. I have help during the day (thanks to my mother), but it never seems to be enough. And there's certainly no time for me to do anything fun on my own. It seems like my every waking moment is spent caring for my son, the house, or my husband. I'm sure that's the case with all (or most) mothers, but it's still a rather lonely feeling.
My fuse is incredibly short lately, and I hate it. I hate snapping at people that I love. I hate constantly feeling on edge. And I hate that there are moments when I find myself not wanting to cuddle the little boy (whom I love more than anything) because I just need a moment to myself and don't want to be touched.
It's not all horrible, really. It's just by the end of the day, I need a break. And I rarely get one. For the first time, I'm looking forward to the start of school so that I can get away two days a week. I hope it all works out.
The Boy just fell asleep, so I should try to get some work done. He typically only naps for 20-30 minutes, so I have to make good use of my time.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Things I love about August:
1. County Fairs
2. Racing (see below)
3. My Birthday (the 7th)
Things I hate about August:
Summer is almost over, and school is about to start. Ugh. I am so not ready.
We went to the county fair the other day. My mom and I went with my son, niece, and nephew. It was rather humid out, which made for some misery, but we had a pretty good time. I'll post photos this weekend when I have more time.
Today, my father and I are going to the Battle at the Grove. We've gone for the past few years, and even raced in it. It's great sprint car racing for a fantastic cause. It's just a bonus that I get to see Kasey Kahne (the dude is super small and thin), Kyle Busch (the dude has attitude, but he can race like a mofo), and Tony Stewart (*sigh* the dude is the best driver out there, and super super cute) is just a bonus. And I get to spend the day with my dad, which is always cool.
I'm a little nervous about being 3 hours away from my son, but I definitely need a break!
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
I think the other issue is that this blog doesn't have a focus. It certainly needs one, though I'm not sure what direction I want it to go in. I need to think about it.
Charlie and I are starting to fall into a routine, which is nice. The kid hates napping, though. It's as if he's afraid he'll miss something if he sleeps. I can almost count on a nap in the morning, but his afternoon nap is anyone's guess. Sometimes it's a couple of hours, and other times, like today, it's non-existent. I'm envious of those mothers who are able to put their kids down for the night at 7 or 8pm. Charlie doesn't go down until at least 11pm. Sometimes he'll sleep in his crib. Other times, he'll only sleep on me, which means I spend the night in the recliner and wake up with a stiff neck. Sure, I'm probably spoiling him, but I know there will come a day when he won't cuddle with me, so I'm soaking it up while I can.
Things will change in September, though, when I'm on campus two days a week. I'm a little nervous about it, but I know it will all work out.
In bookish news, I just finished The Passage by Justin Cronin. I try to avoid hyped-up books, but I kept hearing good things about this book. So, I caved and borrowed the e-book from my library. Sure, there are vampires in it, but they're far from Twilight-type vampires, which was a nice change for me. I'm still processing the book and will type up a proper review, but overall I really enjoyed it. I actually cared about the characters (though at times it felt like there were too many characters I cared about) and the plot kept my interest. More later when I have time.
Monday, June 21, 2010
I have it "easy" this summer. I'm only teaching one online class, and there are only 9 students enrolled. But I'm having a difficult time getting everything on my To-Do list done. Between taking care of my son and regular household chores, I've been slacking on the teaching. I do the bare minimum, which just isn't my usual style. I'm trying to be OK with it for now. But I keep thinking that in the fall, I'll be teaching four classes -- 2 on campus, and 2 online. I don't know how I'm going to do it. But I have to.
I did manage to accomplish one 2010 goal over the weekend -- I made mozzarella cheese. I was too engrossed in the process to take photos, unfortunately. Next time, I will. It was a mostly successful effort. The texture was a little off (my milk didn't curd as well as it was supposed to), but the taste was there. It was an easy process, but it's important to pay attention to temperature. I'm going to try it again soon, and will post photos and more details then.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Back in January, I posted a list of things I wanted to do in 2010. I've only accomplished a few of them. The easy ones. Yes, I kind of did something big this year in giving birth, but for once, I want to end a year having crossed everything off of my "things I want to do/change this year" list.
I've decided that I'm going tackle one thing every week. Most of the list (I've added lots of things since January) deals with food. So, one day a week while my mother is here watching the kid, I'm going to work on a project.
Next week's project is cheese. I've wanted to make my own cheese every since reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (which I want to re-read soon), and by golly, I'm going to do it. My kit is on the way from Lehman's (oh, how I love that place). All I need to find is a stainless steel pot and I'm set.
I'm in the mood for a list, so here's a list of what I want to learn to do by the end of the year:
* cheese (simple ones at first)
* english muffins
* bread other than plain white
* can & preserve more
* sew (or crochet?)
There's more, but I'm too lazy to get out of the chair and get my list. But you get the idea.
I'll post results, of course, and I'm hoping that keeps me accountable. I'm tired of never accomplishing anything.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
I've been avoiding writing for the past three months. I tend to do that when I'm going through a rough patch. Not smart, but that's just how I roll.
My son was born on March 12th, and my life is so...different. I thought I had an idea of what motherhood would be like, but I didn't. Not at all. The only part I was right about, I think, was that there would be a baby involved. I didn't know how draining it could be. Or how I could love someone so much that when they smile at me, it feels like my heart will explode with happiness.
Things have certainly eased up a bit compared to the way it was right after his birth. The first two weeks, I slept maybe 2-3 hours per day, didn't eat, and at times felt like I was losing my mind. We've settled into a routine(ish) now, and I'm a little more relaxed. A little. I'm constantly on "high alert," waiting for him to need something. My body almost buzzes waiting for whatever he needs next.
I'm teaching online, which is helpful, but my heart just isn't in it anymore. It just doesn't seem important in the grand scheme of things. More on that later.
The biggest struggle is losing the ability to do what I want when I want. Leaving the house is a production -- extra clothes, diapers, wipes, bottles -- and I feel like a pack mule. There are things I want to do that I just can't do with him. Like go strawberry picking. So, I have to arrange for a sitter (my sister), but I hate feeling like I'm imposing on other people's lives. There have been moments when I've felt chained, trapped, and have been angry that I can't do what I want. It gets frustrating at times that things have to be planned around him. I have to wait until he's napping to do anything. And he doesn't like to nap during the day, so that adds to the frustration. It's not like I want to do anything big -- it's usually that I just want to bake something or work outside. I'm trying not to be so selfish.
My family is wonderful and helps out a lot, and they seem to really enjoy spending time with him. But I hate asking people for help. But I guess I should get used to it.
Now, despite all of the frustration, there are moments when I can't imagine not having him in my life. When I can't imagine not being a mother. He smiles at me, and it is the most amazing feeling I've ever experienced. He'll hold my finger as we cuddle and nap, and there's no other place I'd rather be. I'm scared and excited about our life together. He is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.
With that, it's bottle time.
Friday, March 5, 2010
I went to my OB on Monday, and I'm about 3cm dilated. My blood pressure has been a little high, so she said she doesn't want me to go past my due date (March 15th). If I don't go into labor naturally, they're going to induce me. Wonderful. I'm very uncomfortable today -- achy back, belly feels very heavy, slightly crampy -- so I'm kind of hoping today is the day. I'm scared, but ready to get it over with. I've been carrying this little guy around for 9 months, and I just want to meet him already!
I am so ready for spring. Now that most of the snow has melted, there are daffodils and tulips peeking up from the ground. I've started some veggie seedlings (tomatoes, peppers, and various other things), and have ordered some new books on preserving in preparation for the summer.
Today, I'm focusing on teaching, laundry, and packing my bag (no, I haven't done that yet). In fact, I should get to the teaching part now. I have mid-terms to grade, and content to post. Good times.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Here is my list of things I want to accomplish in 2010 (in no particular order):
· Make own butter, yogurt, mayonnaise
· Make own cheese – mozzarella to start
· Learn how to knit
· Learn how to needlepoint
· Make own whole wheat pitas for Chad’s lunches
· Make own white bread
· Once baby can eat solids, make own baby food
· Once spring arrives, dry all laundry outside
· Read 60 books
· Eat out only once per week
· Make at least three vegetarian meals per week
· Kitchen sink must be clear by bedtime every night
· Source & start using only local meat and produce
· From May-September, only local & homegrown produce
· Eliminate use of products with HFCS by end of the year
· Cut monthly grocery bills by 10%
· Use reusable bags when shopping