Thursday, August 28, 2008

Down by Half!

Yesterday the results of my blood work arrived, and my cholesterol values are CUT IN HALF! IN HALF! I have to say, I love me some Lipitor.

Now for the bad news: my triglycerides are still high. I did a google search on cutting triglycerides, and it looks like I have to cut out all of the stuff I love:
* carbohydrates
* sugar
* alcohol

Yes, alcohol.

I'm bummed. I guess I'll go have a salad for lunch. Cause I'm supposed to eat more green leafy vegetables and lose weight.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Class Tomorrow

Today was the first day of classes. Not mine, which start tomorrow. So I spent today putting out fires and cleaning out files. First fire: the guy from the Benefits office called and left a message that the tuition waiver form for me in their office didn't have the signature from the "appointing authority" -- ie., the Dean. This is something the department secretary should have done. I told her to be sure and send it to the Dean's office before sending it to the Benefits Office; it said on the form that it required another signature. But she didn't. So, I spent a good chunk of today running a duplicate copy of the form hither and yon, getting signatures, etc. Because if it wasn't turned in today, I would end up paying my own tuition. I mean, I could pay my own tuition, but I'd rather not, since the university offers to pay for one course a semester.

I also attended my first (repeat) class of College Algebra this morning. I think the GA teaching the class is about 12.

This evening Slogger and I had salmon cooked on the grill, rice, and green beans almondine. Perfect. But I've been feeling cranky and low. After giving it some thought, I realized that the teaching award I was given last spring has ratcheted up the anxiety level for the first day of class. Now I have something to live up to! Slogger says I need to just approach class as I always have, and that's good advice I'll try to remember.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Not Knocking

I was working in my office this morning when I heard students walking down the hall. The next thing I knew, one of those students were standing in the middle of my office, while the other hung out in the doorway. This student -- one of my advisees -- had walked in without knocking. Without. Knocking. Or even pausing in the doorway.

The shock of it kept me from saying anything about it -- I answered the question and they went on their way.

I have a vague memory of someone doing that during advising week. Now that I know who it is, he will be getting a lesson in etiquette the next time I see him.

Back from Dallas, and some Bullets

I returned home from Dallas on Sunday night, late, and am still recovering. I recognize that it's been over a week since I posted. It's been an emotional week, and I do want to share some of that with you (oh you few) readers.

First, the traveling. I flew from Big Western City into Kansas City, where Sheri picked me up. We then drove the rest of the day to Dallas, talking all the way. By the time we got there, my throat was sore! Needless to say, there are reasons that Sheri is one of my best friends from childhood. She makes me feel like there is someone else out there who gets me. (And she reads my blog, so that was kind of fun -- I would start telling her a story and she would say "Oh, yeah, I read about that on your blog.")

Wednesday night we arrived in Dallas, and Sheri dropped me off at my brother's MASSIVE house out in the country. Did I say massive? Uh, yeah. Huge. Anyway, the triplets had stayed up late to see their Auntie Bad Ass, and that was fun to get little boy hugs all around. My mom and stepdad were also there, and that was great. We were all pooped, so we didn't stay up too late.

The next morning was the funeral service, which was an emotional roller-coaster for me. Needless to say, I cried through the whole ceremony. I think the root of those tears came from several places. First was my concern for JR's family, imagining his wife of 57 years now on her own, his children and grand-children and even one great grand-child making their way in the world without him. There was also this piece of me that was remembering my own father's death, which I've never really resolved. Finally, I was imagining myself in the same situation, hopefully after a very long time, losing Slogger. I guess that feeling makes sense as we have gone through a near-death episode only a few months ago. I was sitting next to my younger brother during the ceremony, and just when I would get the tears under control, I would look over and see him bawling, which set me off again. We are a weepy bunch, my brother and me!

After the service, we grabbed some lunch and headed out to the Woods (JR's 40-acre plot of land in East Texas, where I spent so many weekends as a child) to visit with family and friends. That was a great time, though also a bit teary. It was a time of chatting with old friends, including JR's daughter H, who was my first best friend. I also got to catch up with Sheri's sister D, meet her daughters, and spend a bit of time with her brother (also D, but with no good pseudonym yet!).

I don't have time this morning to do an adequate job of writing the whole week, but I'll provide some highlights of the remainder of the week:

  • pizza dinner at the pool with Sheri, D, D, and their kids
  • bowling with triplets! and the triplet named after my dad won!
  • driving back to Kansas City with Sheri, and never running out of talk
  • pulling into a Sonic for an ice cream, and hearing the Wimbleway song on the radio. [Long story about our Scout troop, singing, and this song.]
  • hearing JR's wife (BR) say how much it means to her that "her girls" came to honor JR

And now, back to my regular life. Still some tears now and then, but hugs from Footslogger help. Yesterday was the dissertation defense for the doc student in geology, for whom I'm serving as the outside member. Way, way outside, as I told the other committee members. Three hours? Wow.

I did manage to finish my course syllabi yesterday, but I still need to get ready for the first day of classes, call the vet and get Marty an appointment (she's limping again, and it's probably arthritis, but I want to take her in just to be sure), unpack my suitcase (!), and get some laundry done. Lots to get to. So I'm off to exercise and get going on that -- more later.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


I found out a few days ago that a man who I think of as my second father (JR) passed away, after a short bout with cancer. I'll be traveling to Kansas City next Wednesday to join up with my friend-since-3rd-grade Sheri, and we'll drive together (in her Prius, thank the stars above) to Dallas for the funeral on Thursday. Can I just say that I'm not looking forward to the weather?

JR has been a part of my life since I was 5 years old, when my parents met JR and his wife (BR) at a Mensa meeting. Their children were approximately the same ages, so the friendship among the parents meant friendship among the kids. Years followed of sleepovers, co-family camping trips, week-long vacations camping on Padre Island, weekends at The Woods (their 40-acre plot of land, with a POND!), Scouting opportunities, etc.

JR taught me to shoot a gun safely, that life in the summer without air conditioning can be liveable (barely), and that dancing the fox trot can be fun.

He was as close to a nudist as it comes -- when I took Slogger out to JR and BR's house to meet them, I warned him that we would likely see JR in the skimpiest of Speedo's, rolled down to a mere whisper of cloth. Slogger laughed, but my prediction was accurate. I'll always picture him tanned and thin, wearing his tiny red Speedo, with a Swisher Sweet hanging from his mouth, laughing.

I can't imagine the world without him.

And, of course, his death has ratcheted up my concern for Footslogger's health, as I imagine JR's wife and children coping with his loss and then picture myself in their place. I'm trying not to dwell there, as both Slogger and I plan for him to be around for many, many years.

After the funeral on Thursday, there will be a get-together for friends and family at their home. I'm looking forward to seeing very old friends (most of whom I haven't seen for years) and to being with my mother, brother, and nephews for a few days.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Of Tiling, Asbestos, and a New Diet Plan

Yesterday, our college administrative person (who is utterly fabulous, so I don't blame her for this AT ALL) (really, I don't blame anyone, I'm just whining) emailed everyone whose office resides on my floor to let us know that after noon today, we won't have access to our offices for a week. Why, you may ask, in the middle of getting ready for fall classes, would this happen? Well, we're getting new tile flooring in the hallway and the stairwells. Oh, and in order to take out the existing flooring, they have to do asbestos abatement. Enthusiasm for this project was sparked when we had our accreditation visit last spring (which we passed! with flying colors!). Part of getting-ready-for-the-accreditation-visit was spiffing up the buildings, which included retiling and repainting the hallway on the first floor, where most of the action is. Third floor? I don't think the accreditation visitors ever made it up that far! So anyway, I'll be heading in to the office early this morning, hoping to finish AT LEAST getting the readings lined up for one of my fall courses (the one I'm completely revising) so that I can work on other stuff at home.

Like the 300-page dissertation I have to read from a field completely outside of my knowledge base. I'm interested in this field, but not knowledgeable at all. Remember the science geek attempts? It's in that field: geology/geophysics. I'm the outside member, as in way outside. Let's just say that the title includes lots of things I don't know about, like "lattice-preferred orientation analysis" and "abyssal peridotites." Whew.

The science geek project, by the way, is still ongoing, but I'm in such lower-level courses at the moment that it feels like one of those dreams where you're trying really hard to run, but your body will not move? Like trying to run through big vats of yogurt or something.

Anyway, in other news, I have been running on my treadmill all summer, and not losing any weight (which is ANNOYING!) so I decided I should probably pay attention to my diet as well. I've downloaded this software, which is still in its trial period. But I'm thinking about purchasing it, because I really like the ability to track what I'm eating and how much I'm exercising. If nothing else, it gives me something positive to do in that direction. And -- other than hiking for six months at a time -- this process of tracking intake and output is the only way I've lost weight in the past. So, I'm shooting for losing about 25 pounds by January.