Weeklong potpourri

Oy vey, last week was one of those weeks where by Tuesday, I was wishing it was Friday. And, the work week sputtered to an end that left me wanting to run off screaming into the night instead of trying to dig out from under emails. The registration booklet goes to print this week, so for better or for worse, professors’ schedules are set into place. That will calm things down somewhat, but spring break is next week, so this week there is the pressure to not leave any major loose ends unattended. Oh that and do laundry, so I can hatch my great escape plan for break (ie. pack a suitcase without forgetting anything).

I’ve actually come up with a metaphor for my administrative life. When I first stepped into my role as academic chair of the arts and sciences department, it felt like it would be a mildly crazy adventure, taking me right to the edge of my comfort zone but not completely out of my comfort universe. It was almost as if (the metaphor…) I’d been invited for a tubing trip down a river with an overnight stay in the wilderness. Yep, mildly disconcerting, but I could cobble together all of my life skills attained thus far and complete the journey feeling only slightly uncomfortable. Four years later, the institution has grown quite a bit, and my department has grown right along with it. We added a Communication program that falls under my department, added one full-time member to the department, and added number of new adjuncts to the team. And, emails, lots and lots of emails. If I were to count them… well, it’s just best if I don’t try to do that.

Somewhere along the way the metaphor changed to. Life never feels like a tubing trip down a river anymore. Instead, it’s like at some point, we pulled the intertubes out of the river and walked down a little path. At the end, someone chucked me a helmet and a life vest, and we all shoved off in a giant yellow raft into class 5 rapids. During weeks like last week, I spend most of my time (metaphorically) paddling like crazy and spewing out water while screaming phrases like, “Is there a waterfall ahead?” “Are we going to die?” “Is everyone in the boat?” Sigh… maybe there will be a slight lull in the river this week, but that’s doubtful.

I’ll be trying to race to the finish of my latest quilt project. Ideally, I’d like to have it done by Friday. We’ll see; I’m getting bummed already that I might not be able to make that happen. I did finish piecing the top tonight and did the distressing job of mostly squaring it up. I swear, I was checking the measurements of each section of the quilt as I went, and it still came out wonky. I’m going to need to figure out what I do that makes my quilts so out of whack. I’m going to blame it on the dual problems of my inability to sew a straight line and my rather small rotary cutting mat.  At the same time, despite its issues, I was so excited to see the entire quilt pieced together. I gulped a little in fear though as I realized how large it is when all put together. This is hands down my most extensive quilting project to date.

I did get in some relaxation over the weekend. I spent some time hanging out with my grandma and my mom. I mentioned before that my grandma was diagnosed with cancer with a tumor in her lung and stomach as well as a smattering of tumors elsewhere in abdominal region. It’s been a rough journey, but last Saturday she seemed to somewhat turn the corner. Her appetite is coming back, and she’s slowly regaining her strength. It was good to see her able to make it through the day without napping, and she’s not on meds that are making her foggy now, so she was back to telling stories, talking politics, and admiring my cousin’s attempt to make a Ghostbuster’s proton pack out of spare spark plug wires and VHS tapes. It’s hard to beat a Saturday night just watching a Hallmark movie with your mom and grandma. I hated to leave tonight and drove away wondering if I’ll ever get old enough to not feel a little wistful to leave “home” to come home. In this busy life, it’s hard to soak up enough family time.

And, finally, an update on the goal to try something new. I half cheated this week. I made something new, but it wasn’t new-new. The girls that I shared an apartment with my senior year of college came over to spend some time together on Saturday and to reluctantly say goodbye to our friend who is leaving for Idaho in June. My other friend, Becca, who feeds me every Monday had just introduced me to slow cooker three envelope pot roast. This recipe is amazing. After surviving the class 5 rapids of my work week, racing through some quilting, and cleaning the house (sorta), I had just enough energy to throw four ingredients and a roast into the crockpot at 1 am. I awoke the next morning to the smell of lunch cooking downstairs. Crockpots and this roast recipe are beautiful gifts.