Not just a hobby, it's a way of Life

Archive for January, 2013

Sixteen Years with My Sweetheart

Sweet Sixteen – and the best is yet to come.

We Now Return You to Your Regularly Scheduled Blog

Okay, getting back on track, I’ve gotten quite a bit accomplished, but it seems like there’s stuff growing exponentially.  I *think* everything is done with the legal stuff – now it’s time for taxes.  Blergh.  Last year, my returns nearly drove me crazy, and I had decided I was going to hand it off to a tax professional.  Now that I’m a part-owner of our family farm, oh yeah, let the CPA do what he does best.

What else is on the menu:

Classes I’m taking – two posts and four responses in one course, one post and two responses in the other.  Be thinking about research projects.

Classes I’m teaching – set up modules for both spring courses, attempt to get at least some of the students back on track, and find some fun learning stuff regarding business letters.  If you have a resource for a fun activity about business letters, please, shout it out.

Blackboard training – this weekend I need to practice using Collaborate, then I’ll set up a time to demo with the CTL.  After that, one module left!

Reading – well, that’s fallen by the wayside, unless you count an enthralling book from 1976 about the profession of English.  After I finish that, it’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Knitting – Yes, there has been knitting.

Top-down Cardigan yoke

Exercise – I did walk two miles yesterday. Today didn’t get above freezing, so no. Tomorrow is snow/sleet/freezing rain, so no. Monday is supposed to be 50 degrees, so maybe.

Six Months

I cannot believe it has only been six months since my mom passed away.  It already feels like a lifetime.

More than it seems

Here’s how today shook out:

  • got legal stuff done
  • called family members for a meet-up this weekend to finish off legal stuff
  • finished module in Blackboard training
  • responded to all email
  • filled out application for graduation
  • bought olive oil for popcorn (I haven’t had oil to pop popcorn since Sunday – I’m not sure how I’ve made it this long)

Well, it’s not the entire original list, but by golly, I got stuff done today.  And that feels good.  So, what’s up for tomorrow?

  • complete another module for training (I’m on a roll, can’t stop now)
  • respond to emails
  • grade one course assignment
  • grade another course assignments (if there are any; this course has been omniously quiet)
  • grade the other course
  • figure out what the heck is going on in the other course
  • renew library book (yes, it’s seven items, but it will be the fill in for the one course in which the students have gone AWOL; also, I have to renew it tomorrow or suffer the consequences!)

Allow me to clarify a bit.  I’ve taken over a course for a semester for another instructor, and it’s weird to be administering a course I didn’t build.  When I was working on that issue from the other day, I told the awesome tech support guy, “It’s like I’m in someone else’s house, and I have no idea where anything is.”  It’s very disconcerting.  I’ve got most of it squared away, but then I sort of found some evidence of other stuff, but not the stuff itself.

In knitting news, I’ve been knitting on a cowl.  It’s a lovely yarn from Dream in Color, made of wool, silk, cashmere, and mohair.  I’m not a fan of mohair, but it’s not spun in a way to be mohairy, if that makes sense to you.

Perfectly Posh Cowl

No reading or exercising today, but the legal stuff did take up about four hours (including travel).  And really, without going into details here, the legal stuff is something that will be really good for the family in years to come.  We basically untangled almost a century of paperwork and got it in good order.  That’s no small feat.

That could have gone better

Eh, so the list didn’t go so well today.  I did get the lawyer’s office called and one Discussion Board forum graded.  No reading.  But I did get in a walk and a bit of strength-training for The Plan.

So, the phone call has necessitated some activity on my part.  In anticipation of tomorrow being a wash, let’s go with these six items:

  • handle legal stuff
  • grade journals
  • complete module in Blackboard training
  • read one chapter for class A (see, I’m learning about the smaller chunks)
  • read one chapter for class B
  • respond to all email

That last item is something I do anyway, but I figure I ought to give myself credit for doing so.  Today, part of the day was spent tracking down an issue a student emailed me about.  That counts as being productive because it’s something I have to do to keep my courses running smoothly.

Some of those items are still pretty large.  The legal stuff will take up the better part of the day.  Grading journals takes a long time because I have a personal goal to add a comment to each journal entry.

My stuff to do is just too unwieldy.  I’m going start counting things like waking up.

The Fine Art of Dividing and Conquering

Hmm, well, my List of Six met with some success.  I actually posted both of my introductions last night.  I graded some things in each of the courses.

And for my final item, I realize that a big part of my problem is reducing things into smaller chunks.  When I see an assignment, I tend to flail, “Augh, 20-page paper!”  Like it all has to be done in one setting.  That’s the way I tackle everything, and I either burn myself out or psych myself out.  Life would be so much better if I could get over that.

So, tomorrow’s List of Six is:

  • grade journals in the developmental writing course
  • grade the discussion board in the developmental writing course
  • complete another module in my Blackboard training
  • Read 100 pages for one of the courses I’m taking
  • Read/scan 150 pages for the other course
  • call the lawyer’s office to set the paperwork process on the farm in motion

That still looks like big chunks but doable.  I think.

In The Plan news, I completed the Bella Hoodie and finished the third book of the Hunger Games.  Exercise . . . yeah, did I mention it’s barely been above freezing?  It’s no excuse, but it’s still stopping me cold.  Pardon the pun.

In the interest of full disclosure

DIC Perfectly Posh January 2013

Yes, that’s what you think it is. New yarn. But it’s not my fault. (hey, my students say that all the time; I just thought I would give it a try) See, The Loopy Ewe changed the rewards policy at the beginning of the year, and I had a credit in my account. That lovely yarn above was the January Dream in Color special club color. As in, not available regularly. As in, colors right in my wheelhouse. And TLE is having a First Quarter Challenge to knit a single-skein project with cables. Now, also in the interest of full disclosure, I could have participated by using yarn from the stash bought from TLE. But what fun would that be? Also because, see picture above.

In other news, the Bella Hoodie could be finished tonight. I *think* I’ve decided on my next aged stash project. And it takes a lot more than a single skein of yarn, so really, I’m still ahead in paring down the stash.

In addition to The Plan, I may be adopting another strategy.  Maya of Springtree Road shared a great productivity idea, and I am in some serious need of productivity help.  Okay, maybe I am accomplishing a lot, but I’m convinced it could be done with less stress and chaos.  And hey, maybe I can share most of my Lists of Six here, and it will be like built in accountability.  Except when I don’t post.  But I’ll work on that.

List of Six for tomorrow:

  • post introduction in my Stylistics course
  • post introduction in my Capstone course
  • grade my business writing course
  • grade my developmental writing course
  • grade my other developmental writing course
  • come up with smaller items for tomorrow’s List of Six

Yeeeah, that’s a lot of stuff.  I might start on it tonight in order to have a shot at getting it all done.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some introductions to post . . .

The first check-in of the year

So, how’s the plan going?

Reading: I finished The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde.  Literary mystery with lots of clever references.  Loved it.  Haven’t started in on a new book yet, but it will most likely be the third Hunger Games book because it’s my Kindle lend for January.  Better jump on it.

Knitting:  Still working on the Bella Hoodie with circa 2002 yarn.  I also finished a pair of Pomatomus socks, but that was with yarn less than a month in the stash, so it doesn’t quite fit the criteria.

Exercise:  In the past week, I did indeed walk two miles a day for three days.  However, there was no strength-training.  Baby steps, baby steps.

Another unnamed part of the plan was just simplifying in general – physically, mentally, emotionally.  I believe The Universe shows you what you need to know and where you need to be.  This week was one of those lessons.  The people who love you do so because of who you are, not in spite of it.  Message received.

Other areas, however, are experiencing an uptick.  I have been approved to teach an additional three courses now that I have 18 graduate hours in English.  I’m teaching a brand-new-to-me section of a course.  Unfortunately, I didn’t find out for certain I was teaching it until the Friday before classes started.  Eee!  Determined not to freak out to stop freaking out, I’ve adopted the attitude that it does not have to be perfect all at once, or even perfect at all; it can be improved in chunks, and that will be more than good enough.

We had a rather drastic temperature change this weekend.  Ramblin smoked pork shoulders yesterday with temps in the 60s.  Today at this moment, it’s 30 degrees.  Whee, ride the roller coaster of weather.

This is not going to make the exercise portion of the plan any fun at all.

Hello 2013

I think we can all agree the less said about 2012 the better, yes?  It was a year of some good things but one exceptionally bad thing, and to get into a discussion right now would just be going over things we cannot change.  So, on to the new year!

I don’t know if I would call them resolutions, but I do have plans for the new year.

Reading:  After I finished up the master’s degree, a huge weight was off of my shoulders.  I started reading for fun again.  The fact that I stopped reading for fun was a mistake, but I felt like if I was reading, it should be academic.  Bleh – never again.  I maintained fun reading while working on the grad certificate and you know what?  I’m getting all As.  So yeah, I’m sticking with it.

  • Plan 1:  read at least four books a month for fun

Knitting:  Of course, I have never stopped knitting.  I don’t even want to know what that would be like, but rest assured it wouldn’t be pretty.  For the first part of 2012, I was actually doing really well at not acquiring new yarn.  In the second half, that got put aside a bit in the name of comfort-seeking.  But I’m back on track and using yarns that have been in the stash for too long.  I loved them when I bought them; why haven’t I used them?

  • Plan 2:  Use at least one aged stash yarn per month

Exercise:  Once again, in the first months of 2012, I was doing great with exercising.  Then everything went off the rails.  I started back in November with walking.  I need to keep that up, plus add my strength-training back in.

  • Plan 3:  Walk at least three days a week and strength train at least three days a week

Those are the main things I want to intentionally focus on.  There are several other things that I would like to work in, but I’m not going to overload myself.  I still have four months of courses to take (but only four months!), and I want to have plenty of space to do those well.  There are several for-fun courses I might look into after that – glass blowing, pottery, and a dance class.  The dance class is the one I’m least sure about because I have no sense of natural rhythm, but hey, anything that makes your body move is exercise, regardless how ridiculous you look doing it.

You’ll notice I didn’t mention travel.  Well, I don’t consider that something I need to ‘work’ on because we are quite good at doing that already.  2013 will see us going to Ireland, Wales, England, and Paris, France.  2014 already holds a Caribbean cruise.  I have an Alaskan itinerary plotted out but not (yet) the date.  Yeah, we’ve got that down pat.

To hold myself accountable, I should report back here each week on my progress.  We’ll see how that goes.