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Archive for the ‘Wife’s Work’ Category

Lin-Winter 2008

Lin-Winter 2008

Here in the fake winter wonderland of my office (fake because it’s indoors but similarities include freezing temperatures and gray overhead, despite multitudes of lights!), I’m decorated, bundled, singing along with my iPod full of Christmas tunes, and waiting for the REAL holidays to begin! Thanks to our president, we will end our Fall term on Friday and we will not return to duty until Jan. 5, 2009, a brand new year! Originally we were scheduled to return to work next Monday and then again on Friday, Jan 2. Don’t ask me; it was senseless. However, saner heads prevailed and the decision was made to release us for two whole weeks of paid leave! Yay!

Not that we have plans, mind you. We’re staying home, at least as far as I know now!, and despite my wonderlust! So, I’ll content myself with looking at pictures of wonderful places we’ve traveled on my desktop and sing carols to the season, here in the work-a-day winter wonderland.

Happy Holiday to all, and to all a blessed day!

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Smokies08On the pretext of a trip to Humane Alliance in Asheville, NC, Ron and I took a few days to drive north, through Eastern Tennessee & the Smokies, leaf-peeping and keeping a sharp eye out for the almost-non-existent birdlife. We traveled mostly state and county highways, avoiding the interstates in favor of small towns, slower paces, and endless beauty. It does amaze me the stress that driving 75 mph down a straight road with thousands of other cars puts on my body; the slower pace of 50 (or slower), less traffic, and so many lovely and interesting things to see was welcome and almost like a vacation unto itself. I do love to drive!

We meandered through small towns, using the Mio as our road-map (sometimes not using it very well! As in the time we drove circles around Newport, TN because we couldn’t figure out how to get the Mio to change cities! Okay, I never said we were good at using it either!). The fun (well….mostly fun) thing about the Mio is that it will take you on what seem like vast detours because it saves you driving an extra 40 feet, i.e., the “shortest” route is not always the fastest or easiest! For example on our way to the Penland School for Arts & Crafts, Mio took us over a mountain on a one-lane goat path rather than take us around the mountain (truly only a mile or two extra — and flat!). But it was beautiful and, fortunately for us, not a very traveled road. Only us goats up there!

Cataloochee Bridge

Cataloochee Bridge

Asheville: home of the hippy sub-culture still, vegetarian restaurants abounding much to the pleasure of our vegan friends Val & Donna, and interesting and beautiful art everywhere on the streets, buildings, sidewalks, cafes. Lovely winding streets, mature hardwood trees, friendly people, and a lively downtown. Oh, there are the usual malls and chain food joints, too, along with a high cost of living and moderate wages, but Asheville truly seemed like nirvana to us last weekend.

Humane Alliance was a surprise but a welcome one! Nice people, committed professionals dedicated to the cause of reducing euthanasia of healthy companion animals through a program to simply cut down on the shear numbers of unwanted pets born every year. Fewer puppies & kittens means fewer unwanted meaning we don’t have to euthanize in shelters. We thought we were going for a “training” but it ended up that it was more like an interview — them interviewing US to see if they wanted us in their program. I guess we passed; the letter of acceptance was waiting for us when we got home! Our High Quality-Low Cost Spay Neuter Clinic will open in Hattiesburg in June 2009.

Meyer Lemon Bounty @ Ronalin

Meyer Lemon Bounty @ Ronalin

Home in the wee hours of Wednesday morning to my happy dogs, my familiar space, my comfortable bed, my shower. Chores caught up on, plants checked on (see Meyer Lemon at left), nap time in the afternoon. Work on Thursday. The end to a short but lovely & serene mini-break. I wish you all had been there!

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I confess I’ve become completely captivated by the social networking sites and have joined both FaceBook (again) and LinkedIn, one presumably all about the “social” in social networking and one presumably more business-focused. So, I’m “on” these sites, have developed profiles for each (remarkably similar), have some common “friends” or “contacts” to both (obviously other networking fanatics!), and now I wonder what it’s really all about.

What do people do all day on these sites? I mean, I could spend all day working on things, tweaking, adding new aps, writing on peoples’ walls, etc., but to what end? Does getting more “contacts/friends” mean I have more friends? No . . . Is it just about keeping score? How is emailing someone in FB different from emailing them through regular email? And, like writing this blog, how much of who and what I am am I willing to share with people who may or may not know me? I confess that I’m spending a lot more time thinking about what I’m writing these days than writing it. But then, maybe that’s good, too . . .

My curiousity got me into this.  I signed up on FB early on in the days of my CA nephew’s college career, and, sure enough, he did, too.  AND, he didn’t disappoint me with his site!  Once that was modified appropriately (thanks to his mother’s intervention, not mine!  After all, he’s just my god-child and I think he’s perfect!), I simply quit visiting, quit checking in.  Now, in the post-graduation glow, I decided to check back in and see what others are up to, how it’s grown, what’s changed….and to see if there’s a place for me on Facebook.

In one of my old jobs (teaching-learning resource development), I might have been led here to explore this as a communication device for class use or as a teaching resource.  But now, although I do think about that as I flip through pages and come across some very cook little aps, I really think its more about the social . . . AFter all, will someone seeing my profile on LinkedIn really call me up and offer me a job?  I’m skeptical.

And I find that there are a lot of people like me — not kids — out there, logging in, setting up profiles, and sharing lots of information about themselves.  What is this about?  Is it a way of connecting with people, sharing ourselves that used to be done in different ways, i.e., church, civic groups, extended families, actually talking to people without cell phones, that we have moved away from?  Or are sharers just sharers and this is one more way to share?  Does the anonymity of something like FB or LI (even though none of us are anonymous if we’ve shared our names, our towns, our workplaces, our life histories, our bra sizes….) appeal to the voyeur in us all or is there some “real” other reason to be doing this?

Tell me if you have a FB or LI account and invite me to join your network.   And tell me why it matters to you.  I’ll come write on your wall and maybe we can talk about this . . . I’m still curious.

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So, I go to work on Monday and have the same conversation with my colleagues there that I’m having at home….How do we turn out more work without sacrificing ALL the quality of what we’re about? How do we streamline our processes from beginning to end without having an end-product that is useless, or worse– embarassing?

I know, it’s rhetorical, but I wonder what the recurrence of this question in all venues of my life means to ME? Is “quality” the real question or is it about “balance”? Balance has always been a quest, a vision for my life, my future, and it’s never been something I’m very good at.

It occurs as I write this that my recent bout of vertigo may be a physical manifestation of this issue, too …..Hmmmmmm…… where am I so OUT of balance? Another thing to think about . . . .and it’s only Tuesday — oops, Wednesday!

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Silver City Refrain

I didn’t get the job. Ho-hum…

The disappointment hit me like a ton of brick when I got the letter, and it took me a few days (during which I was a total b@(**@# to really process what the disappointment was about. I think it was the chance at a new start somewhere where people didn’t know me, the excitement of re-creating who I am, the challenge of beginning anew. All the things that come with life-changing. I had designed a new house, dreamed of a new job, fantasized about a new life…yet still dreaded letting go of this one here. So, now I don’t have to, and I’ve realized that I can still have all the other things, too.

I have a new job that I just haven’t let myself commit to since I’ve been in New Mexico all but physically. Now, I can let go and have some fun right here at Southern Miss. I don’t want to leave all my life here behind and there are still many things I love about this community. Now, I need to celebrate those. AND I get to keep Faye and my house and I can keep slogging towards my 25 at USM and retirement.

So, today, with Martha on her way up from the coast to visit and Ron on his way home from the Audubon field trip, I have an hour or two on my hands to myself. Here is my prayer today (thank you, Jim Burton):

Saint Theresa’s Prayer
May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.

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Silver City Dreamin’

This week I applied for a new job — in New Mexico. What an ordeal! Not in terms of the application, but in terms of the inner turmoil it caused me — for weeks! Should I apply? Should I not? Maybe wait a year? The “what if’s” about killed me!

Do we ever know if we’re making the “right” choices? I don’t want to get all esoteric here, but it’s a question I keep coming back to . . . do our choices really matter in the big scheme of things? Certainly I understand we sometimes make choices that have immediate and long-term consequences, but generally, I think it’s just a choice . . . we don’t have immediate feedback on most decisions. Eating the piece of chocolate cake won’t kill me (today) but it will effect my blood sugar, and in ten years I might die from diabetes or a complication of it. My conclusion is that all we can do is the best we can do every day, every minute, every hour, and hope for the best.

I applied for a job this week — in New Mexico! Wow! I think I need to keep saying it so I can begin to believe I opened that door . . .

To see the job description, look here.

Wish me luck — whatever that means!

Happy Sunday!

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Friday . . .

I am so glad!

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