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Blogging about gardening in zone 4, marriage, our golden retriever and life in general.

Monday, January 23, 2012

On becoming my mother

My mom is a pretty neat lady. She's got her shit together, handles stress with more grace and generosity than I do, and is just generally a good person. 

I still cringe at some of the things I teased her about growing up. Especially how cheap she could be. Friends who make fun of DJ and I for our "cold" (64 degrees) house should remember that I'm descended from the same woman who "heated" her house to 57 degrees in the winter because she didn't want to pay the heating bill. The same woman who had her house on the market for $500k+.

But I digress. I teased my mom mercilessly for her janitor-style key ring.

And now I have one too. Let's count the shit on my key ring, shall we?
  1. Car fob
  2. Car key
  3. Gym fob
  4. Key fob for AOII
  5. Key to office at MSU
  6. Key to classroom at MSU
  7. Key to office for the City
  8. Key to room where my Board meets
  9. Key to our house
  10. Key to the lake house
  11. Mailbox key for our house
  12. Mailbox key for my parents house
  13. Key for my parent's house in Bozeman (which they sold last month) (I think that's it)
  14. Key to  my bike lock
  15. Some other mailbox-like key... I have no idea what its for.

Obviously the keys to my parents now-sold house can go. But how about the keys to the places I only go occasionally? Keep them on a separate key ring? Which I'm more likely to lose? Or leave at home on a day I really need my damn keys?

Is my key ring another indicator of being an adult, with adult responsibilities?

And how long before DJ starts making fun of me mercilessly?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A slow Saturday morning...

Wow, what a week. Especially for one only four days long. But I made it; we made it through.

My lectures for class this week were... a push. I can't discuss history without starting at the beginning, which meant the geology of the northern Rocky Mountains. Suddenly on Monday night I'm cramming about igneous and sedimentary rocks. It was a little nuts.

Nonetheless, I achieved what I set out to this week. Gave two decent lectures. Was up at 6:15am each morning, and in the office no later than 8am. Avoided "double dipping"; working on class lectures while at work for the City. Knocked out a couple of important projects at work.

By Friday DJ, and probably the doggie, felt a little abandoned. I barricaded myself into the office on Tuesday and Wednesday nights this week to prep lectures and basically ignored them. DJ has been a very supportive husband while I try to teach this class, which I appreciate so very much.

We celebrated the end of a trying week with a great dinner at Over the Tapas; goat cheese-filled croquettes, bacon wrapped steak, lamb sliders and a steak salad. OMG, we may have a contender for new favorite restaurant in Bozeman. The best part was leaving without feeling that we needed to unbutton our pants.

From Tapas we went to Lowes to pick out tile for the fireplace, a project which is finally happening next weekend. I'd still rather tear out our entire mantle and put in built-in bookshelves and a smaller mantle, but I'll compromise on just finishing the damn thing.

Upon arriving home, I poured a whiskey drink and got in bed with a book. DJ watched "Gold Rush" (yeaaaah, the quality of television ranges widely in our house). By 10:00pm the lights were out and I slept wonderfully until 6:30am, when my internal alarm when off. It was nice to snuggle in our warm, comfortable bed for an hour while thinking through gardening plans for 2012.

Now I'm in the office with a cup of coffee. DJ went downtown to meet friends for the Saturday morning coffee date, but I stayed home to enjoy a quiet house. I'm giving myself until noon, after which I'll start working on lectures for the next two weeks.

How was your week?

Monday, January 16, 2012

A busy three day weekend

I spent pretty much all day today preparing my lecture notes and slides for class tomorrow. The kicker is, I still don't have keys to my office, keys to my classroom, or any certainty that I can turn on the projector in the classroom. I know I can turn on the computer, but I didn't test drive the overhead projector when I as in class last Thursday. Foolish of me, since I've now spent 10 hours or so prepping this lecture.

This week, especially tomorrow's lecture, will be a little tricky. It's a subject area I don't know well, so I've had to do a lot of re-learning over the last 18 hours. I think I'm good to go.

In an effort to wind down and sleep at night, I'm making myself stop working between 8 and 9pm tonight. I'd originally hoped to have all the lectures for the week completed by 8pm on Sunday (Monday, this weekend since we had today off for MLK), but chose to not miss out on the Moonlight weekend instead. C'est la vie; I can work on the lectures Tuesday and Wednesday night. And Thursday's subject area is much closer to my knowledge base, so it shouldn't be quite as much work.

I keep reminding myself of the advice a fellow adjunct in the History department gave me: "Contex, contex contex; why is this important, why are you teaching this to students?"

It's been a busy weekend. DJ's mom worked in Helena last week, and will work in Butte this week, so she stayed with us through the weekend. I worked until 5pm, then ran down to grab dinner with DJ and Michelle. After dinner friends picked me and my cross- country ski gear up so we could say in Moonlight for the weekend with our wonderful friends the Kuntz'es. We've nabbing a weekend at Moonlight Ski Resort since 2010, and I think it's one of my favorite weekends of the year.

Saturday morning we fought hangovers and ventured out for some cross country skiing at Lone Mountain Ranch. It was wonderful to get outdoors in the sunshine, mountains and with wonderful friends. DJ and I need to do this a bit more often.
Kelly (due with their second child, whom A calls "Soucie", in early March), Me and Emily. 

DJ and Michelle came up on Saturday afternoon while we skiied. It was fun to show her the amazing "mountain home," and have her get to spend some time in the mountains with us. DJ made great home made pizzas for dinner, served tapas style. Mmmm, that man of mine, he's one heck of a cook!

Saturday morning we wolfed down breakfast before heading down the mountain to Bozeman, a snowstorm, and lecutres and slides waiting to be compiled. I've been in the office of our house since about noon on Sunday compiling information to share with my students.

It looks to be another difficult week in terms of management of expectations and time. Hopefully I can keep getting up early, making it to work and being productive! At this rate, the spring will fly by.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Good morning moon

I snapped this photo of the dog on Wednesday morning about 7:30am. The moon is in the west, the dog is illuminated by a street light  and the sun is starting to come up to the east. 

Poor doggie. With me so busy, and DJ having late meetings this week too, she's spent a lot of time home alone. Hopefully she'll get a lot of time with her people this weekend, as it's a three day holiday.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A snowy drive and time management

Is today Wednesday? I think it is. Right? Yeah. Yeah it is.

Holy cats it's only Wednesday.

I knew this week would be rough, and it's a doozy. I started setting my alarm for 6:15am this week, and have been in the shower by 6:25am all three days this week. I am not a natural morning person, so this is a big step for me. It's helped me be at the office before 8am, which makes me feel better about getting stuff done.

I need to be particularly careful about tracking my time at work this spring, as I step out every Tuesday and Thursday between 10:30am and 12:30pm to teach. I can't have any accusations of "double dipping" on my time sheet (doing class work while at my work office and calling it work work time).

I think this is a rough week for this. Tuesday morning I had a 3 hour orientation session for new faculty and TA's. The usual "these are the resources available to you and students on campus" and "you must report the following issues even is you just suspect" and "don't ever do this".

Tuesday evening I drove to my favorite city in Montana, Butte, America, to discuss their preservation ordinances with the Preservation Commission.  We were just wrapping up the discussion at about 7pm when a sudden snow squall knocked the lights out. Now you can laugh, but I always have my headlamp in my purse. I use it all the time! And it came in handy last night, when we finished our discussion by the glow of my headlamp.

So I got back into the City's Honda CRV, with all wheel drive, and planned on driving back across the continental divide to Bozeman. Crept down from "Uptown" Butte, onto the interstate and snuggled in behind two logging trucks. I figured I could follow their tail lights, and since they  were loaded down they'd be going slow. I could barely see the end of my headlights.

And then the logging trucks came to a dead stop. On the interstate. I couldn't see around them, so I wasn't sure if the pass was closed? I crept around (I think they stopped to chain up), and no one was in front of them. I happened to be on the phone with my sister at the time (hands-free device), and as I'm creeping up the pass, I remembered the time I drove to Missoula in similar weather, like an asshole. I told my sister I was taking the last exit at the base of the pass and maybe staying in Butte that night. "I have a husband and a doggie who love me at home, I'm not doing something stupid," I told her.

Yes universe, a Kramer actually made a cautious decision due to snowy roads!

I got back into Butte, got gas, and was trying to figure out what to do when the squall died out. I got back on the interstate, with about two inches of snow but no wind, and found myself behind two snowplows about to head east. Perfect.

Now is the part where I lecture to people about being an asshole on a snowy road. You see, at first, it was just the snowplows, then me, then a line of cars behind. Then this Honda apparently thought I was driving too slow of my own accord, so they passed me. I had to hit the brakes to make room for them between me and the snowplows.

And then ANOTHER driver did the same thing. This time in a Dodge truck. Asshat.

Thankfully after that, everyone else seemed to figure out what the deal was, and stayed behind me.

The lesson here? If you're stuck behind a really slow moving vehicle on a mountain pass, consider all the reasons the driver might be going slow. Including the idea that there are two snowplows in front!

I arrived home about 9:30pm, wiped, stressed, and without dinner. And it's only Wednesday, which means I can't sleep in any time soon.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Plans for 2012

It seems funny to set "Resolutions." I don't know why the word bothers me. Kind of like "professor;" what am I "professing?"

The next year holds the potential for pretty substantial challenges and changes. Starting next week I'll be adding 15+ hours a week to my workload by moonlighting as an adjunct professor. I'm absolutely thrilled with the opportunity and so excited to start. The extra responsibility will, though, require careful prioritization and time management. I've recognized that I need to be effective with my time in order to avoid the 2-5am insomnia which struck so frequently over the last year.

Anyway, here's what I hope to accomplish in 2012:

  1. Start getting ready for bed at 9:30pm every night, lights out by 10:15pm. 
  2. Be a good friend to friends and family. I have a couple of girlfriends getting married this year, all of whom were crucial in holding my shit together during our 2010 wedding. I'd like to return the favor.  The deteriorating health of my grandparents holds the potential for heartache in 2012. I'd like to vow to "be there" for my parents in a manner that doesn't add to their stress level. Ie, don't tell them how to do it, just ask how I can help them do it their way.  
  3. Prioritize and make time for what's important. This spring could be pretty difficult for me, unless I manage my time wisely. First comes DJ/ the dog/ family. Second comes healthy eating, exercise, and giving myself a break, which enables me to succeed at the rest. Third comes work. Fourth comes my moonlighting job as an adjunct at MSU. Fifth comes AOII stuff. The rest, after that, is all gravy. 
  4. Save, save, save money. I think I've said this every year, but continue to evolve our grown up finances. Pay off the Europe trip, then start adding to our base savings account and exploring options to expand our retirement savings. The key, for me at least, will be budgeting for "carrots" to keep me motivated. New phones in March, for example. A bedroom furniture bender in July. Finishing the damn garage. 
Those seem like kind of big-picture goals. Nothing specific and cross-off-the-list-able. But things that are important to me for the next year. 

Do you set specific goals, or more big picture goals?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

On to 2012

Hey, look at that, a new year!

 We had a nice Christmas. It was a road trip year. First to Harrison for a night to break up the drive, then on to Castle Rock for Christmas, then late in the week back to Harrison for New Years. It was nice to get to spend time with all of our family members. They're good people. Harlow was spoiled beyond belief, both in gifts and love. She cuddled on the couch with anyone who would let her, ran around the woods, went for runs at the lake, played fetch with the new duckie, and was exhausted when we arrived home. I felt her pain, in a good way.

Before getting into how I want to be successful for 2012, let's rehash my 2011 goals:

  1. Organize the business end of life. I'm declaring this partially done. We've got a decent system for organizing our paperwork. I'm hoping to work on improving our retirement savings for 2012. 
  2. Prepare for Europe. Success!
  3. Pay of the wedding/ credit card. Success! Of course, a week later we started making charges for Europe 
  4. Improve my gardening skills. Success! I'd say that gardening 2011 was way more successful than 2010. I didn't can my own salsa, but I made a lot of fresh batches. I also have a couple of meals with home-grown veggies stocked away in the freezer. This week we're eating a veggie-heavy lasagna from the garden. Made in August, frozen, then cooked on Tuesday night. Spaghetti squash and zucchini, mmm!
  5. Evolve my job into what I want it to be. Dude... I think I'm declaring success on this. Well, I will be a week from tomorrow when I start teaching my first class as an adjunct!
  6. Be a better dog owner. Ummm... well, I think we're better on the dog front, but more likely because she's matured than because of anything we did. She'll be two years old at the end of January, and, well, she's awesome. 
  7. Blog steadily. Again, I fell off the wagon at some points. I'd like to make sure I blog at least twice a week, but with so much going on in my life it's just not a huge priority. 
  8. Ride my bike to work in the summer. Um, fail. I rode a few times in the spring, but in the end, it's just  not a huge deal for me. 
  9. Continue to feather our nest. Success! New bed, bed frame, paint in the office, paint in the guest room and a guest room remodel. Yeah. It's not done, but it's better. 
  10. Sew. OMG, dudes, I went on a sewing bender in October. A blanket for Gretchen's boyfriend for Christmas, new duvet covers and shams for the lake, sheer curtains in the donwstairs area. Yeah. I sewed, a lot. 
  11. Expand my exercise horizons. FAIL. I've stuck to what I know. Running, biking, gym cardio machines. I could evolve this a bit in 2012. Or, just focus on getting ANY stretching in. 
Alright, I'll set 2012 goals tomorrow :)