Sunday, February 28, 2010

Unfulfilled

I've been thinking a lot lately about what I want to do and what I'm happiest doing. Perhaps this is all on my mind because I graduate this summer from Bread Loaf and I always see a chapter ending as a chance to start a new adventure. Maybe it's because I'm feeling unfulfilled at work.
I have never had political aspirations, and find playing political games in the workplace a waste of time. Because of this, I've never wanted to be in administration, aiming for department chair was as far as I ever thought. This has not always stood me in good stead, either in theatre or as a teacher. Standing by my principles has often resulted in me watching others, who I thought were not as qualified or as dedicated, rise above me.

I take pride in my job and what I do and have always felt that should be enough. I have tried my best to be involved in my workplace as much as possible and contribute wherever I can.

However, this year, I find myself rethinking a lot of that. In part I think it's because I don't feel as though I'm being rewarded for all of my hard work, and that perhaps my stress level would go down and my happiness level would go up if I refocused just on my classroom.

Added to this is the fact that I'm looking to where I'd like to be down the road. I'd eventually like to pursue my PhD and teach at the college level. My current professor was nice enough to give me some advice which includes joining the professional organizations/societies I can and starting to attend the conferences that relate to my field. Saving to attend conferences in definitely cheaper than going to Bread Loaf every summer! And I think I would really enjoy it.
I've put my information in with the local community college, with the hopes that when they have an opening I'll be on the list. I'm also thinking of doing the same thing for the local university.

I have doubts- not about teaching at the college level, I think I'd like it more. However, I have a house and a mortgage now and there's an uncertainty with trying something new. It's a chance. What if it doesn't work out? What if I'm looking for a new job in a year or two?

I don't know. I just know that these days I'm unhappy a lot. I'm happy when I'm playing with Nehi or doing new stuff with the house or yard, but not so much with work. Maybe it's just a slump. I still love all the time I'm in the classroom. Maybe it's just that I've spent 9 years teaching pretty much the same thing. I don't know. I guess I'll just ride it all out and do the best I can. I don't know how to do anything else.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Day in the dirt

Today it was 55 degrees, but to me, it felt like the best days of summer after all of the wet and cold the past three months.

So it became a productive day. I bought some red mulch to see if it would look as good as I thought it would as a border around the yard, and it's going to look great when I get the whole yard finished. Right now I plan on a section a weekend.
Then it was fresh topsoil on the raised beds. The dirt I bought last summer for them seemed to be a bit clayey (I know, not a word- DEAL). So, when I moved the beds this winter I made sure to add a lot of material from the compost pile and then put a good 3-4 inches of topsoil on today. I'm hoping that by the time I go to plant in a couple of weeks, I'll be able to mix it up real nicely and get better soil this summer, although the vegetables didn't seem to really care last summer, most did well.

I also was able to cross another thing off my list- I bought and planted two fruit trees, an apple and a peach. I love how apple trees look in the spring, and I have fond memories of the gigantic peach tree outside of my apartment in Brooklyn. I know it'll be a few years before they fruit, but there is something permanent about planting trees and it made me proud to know I could do it.

Next, I dug a trench all along the side walkway. A friend of mine had given me a bag full of tulip bulbs a couple of months ago. And I mean a huge bag, at least a hundred bulbs. They've been sleeping peacefully in the garage. Today they went in the ground so hopefully in a little while the walkway will have lovely tulips flowering in crazy profusion and a disorganized pattern.



















The final project of the afternoon was to finish digging out the rain garden, now that all the water is gone (but a lovely chemical gunk remained, ew. What the hell are my neighbors behind me dumping into their yard that's running into mine?).

Now I'm ready to head to the nursery and get the plants for the rain garden: some ferns, black eyed susans, grasses. Once I plant them I'll lay down a layer of pine needles to help combat the chemical gack and then mulch and finally round off the berms. I'm very excited to see it take shape. Although the extra digging at the end of the day, I'm sure will make me crippled tomorrow!
It was just what I needed after a shit-ass week at work. I felt better as soon as I was covered in dirt and working. It's nice to have some hints of spring after the long winter. It was also wonderful to see small parts of my plan for the yard to take shape in just little ways.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Nehi ate my birthday cupcake!

Mom and Dad brought down a cupcake and candle for me for my birthday when we came home from dinner.
Nehi obviously thought it was for her, as she knocked her head into the plate, sent the cupcake to the carpet. Dad recovered it, and lit the candle, but it was covered in Nehi fur, so I wasn't going to eat it.
Nehi did.
I at least unwrapped the cupcake first. Didn't seem to make a difference, as she quickly snagged the paper and ate that too.
I was able to rescue the Winnie the Pooh candle before she ate that though.

She constrained herself the rest of the time to ripping apart the tissue paper my presents came in. It obviously didn't taste good, as she would chew it and then spit it out on the floor.

She then tried to eat the sweater that Mom gave me.

Happy Birthday me!

What Nehi ate last night

Nehi ate my last regular pillow last night. Ripped the flannel pillow cover right off, was not disuaded by the cotten cover beneath that and promptly started flinging pillow guts all over the bedroom.
That's the third one.
So I had to drag out my remaining down pillow and will have to obviously guard it with my life as I am too broke to buy another pillow if she destroys this one.

In other news, decided the other night that rinsing out peanut butter jars for recycling was a huge waste of water and time, so now I just give them to Nehi. She licks them all the way clean, very generously rips off the paper label and then breaks the bottom of the plastic peanut butter jar so she can get to the peanut butter on the bottom of said jar.

I should rent her out. Of course, the possibilities for damages increases exponentially at that point!