Sunday, October 12, 2008

Weekends - The Cure for Work

On Friday, I mentioned I was already way too busy at work. It's been an interesting process going back to teaching again after 15 months off for my sabbatical. I forgot that not only is there teaching, but meetings (at least two next week), weekly lectures in my department which I organize (meaning, getting folks on the schedule, getting their titles and descriptions, etc.), weekly meetings with my research assistant, plus I have another grad student working on the King Island gallery and map, and I may soon start collaborating with another grad student on my boob jokes article. Then, there's two grant proposals due here in the next month and I've had to make revisions to a draft of a preproposal and I also had a teleconference related to a project we proposed last year but didn't get funded - we want to try again based on reviewer comments. And, I need to write an academic article to submit to a journal by November 1st.

Yeah right. Uh huh.

I leave in a week to go to Anchorage for a week to work on THREE different research projects: one interviewing leaders in my Alaska native corporation and doing some initial interviews regarding case studies related to Alaska native corporations, another project interviewing Inupiaq elders and leaders that relates to their view of Alaska's statehood - was statehood a good thing for Alaska Natives, and other meetings to continue trying to tie up the King Island placenames map. For the last one, we want to show King Islanders the interactive map that my friend and web designer (Greg Hyatt) has created, get their feedback on the design and ask for input on what to upload into that map. I will also work with our elder, Teddy Mayac, and hopefully others, on the pronunciation and spelling of placenames - last year, we got about 130 of the 165 completed. I've been wanting to finish those spellings and pronunciations for a year - that's when breast cancer came knocking on my door again.

Regarding the boob jokes article, I decided to ask Courtney to coauthor that article because of the work she just completed on her master's thesis, which was on young breast cancer patients and whether or not their docs talked to them about their reproductive options. What she found was that the docs often don't inform them of all of their options because they either don't know or don't have experience working with young (pre-40s) premenopausal women. Something she said in her thesis defense gave me an idea of how to frame my article on boob jokes. At this point, I just have a glimmering of an idea and the two of us need to sit down and chat some before moving forward . . .

Do you see why my mind was spinning? Trying to stay on top of all these projects and students is challenging. I'm out of practice, having just returned from sabbatical. But I'm remembering that LISTS are my friends.

My mind is clear this morning, though. I haven't really thought about work much since Friday evening - so 36 or more hours of not thinking about work really helps to stop it spinning. I needed the break from thinking about it. Scott and I went out for a few hours on Friday, then yesterday, we had coffee and did a bit of shopping, then I drove back towards home and picked Eddie up at Bauman Farms, which is a great place to celebrate the harvest season (lots of activities for kids - hay mazes and corn mazes, big slides and swings in barns, zip lines, apple cannons and slingshots, peddle cars, pumpkins, plus great fall plants and foods for sale in their store). He'd gone there with his dad and it was on my way home so I picked Eddie up there. I think this is the 4th year in a row that one of us has brought Eddie to that place - it's become a tradition, now. It was made even greater by the beautiful, sunny, fall weather. A high of about 60. The lighting, with the low sun, was definitely a fall light - beautiful.

Then, yesterday evening was card night at Rick and Tammy's house. Josh and Amy brought their three-month old son, Steven. What a cutie! He had dark hair and blue eyes. A few rounds of cards, lots of bad (but good) snacks to eat. Let's see, there were fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, animal cracker cookies, jelly bellies jelly beans, red licorice, popcorn, chips, crackers and cheese, beer or other mixed drinks, jokes galore, and a household of people. That 1500-square foot house hosted 24 people (including 9 kids), two dogs, and one cat. It's chaotic and crowded, but no one seems to mind. We played hand-n-foot in one room and another group played Texas Hold'em poker. The kids played on the Wii in the laundry room/pantry.

It was fun. Just what I needed. Week-ends - The Cure For Work!


Carver said...

Wow, I got tired thinking about everything you're doing. I hope your trip to Anchorage goes well and also that all your projects are stimulating but don't totally exhaust you. I'm so productive that I vacuumed and went on a walk today. That's my big activity for a lazy weekend, ha.

Dee said...

Hi Carver,
I think I need to take a cue from your book! I need to just relax more . . . yeah right. I get this little niggling voice in me that tells me that I should clean or that I should work or something. Maybe that's what got me into this mess in the first place. At the moment, though, I think that means that I'm feeling good and actually want to do something. It's going to be a challenge to slow down sometimes and just relax. As Scott just told me on the phone . . . I need to pay attention to my energy levels!

MisAnthropology said...

And our boss-man wonders why I never complain... The life of an adjunct is pretty sweet. I could certainly do with a little bit of the other types of things you have to do, because some of it can be quite fun -- specifically the research and the writing, as long as one is passionate about the subject -- but if I *really* wanted it, there's nothing stopping me but my own inertia.

Scott's right -- watch those energy levels. Balance, balance, balance.

Dee said...

Hiya Mary,
The problem is that the research and writing is often the first thing to go because all of the other busy-work meetings and such tend to get more attention. You are expected to go to meetings - your attendance or absence is noted if you're not there. Research and writing - no one is looking over your shoulder until you get those annual reviews . . .

Luckily, I am passionate about my research - writing is more of a struggle, but I manage to do some. So, that helps.

Teaching itself takes a lot of energy .. .I used to teach almost as many classes as you at once, but I got pretty tired and burnt out pretty quickly. So, I admire those that can do it . . .