Well, I'm half-way into my non-teaching term, and, as usual, I'm feeling particularly useless about what I've managed to accomplish. During the year, I long for long uninterrupted blocks in which I can get something done ... and then, when it comes, I find that I'm so burnt out that I can't manage to get anything done. It's immensely psychologically frustrating.
At some level, it's probably normal. I spend so much of the previous nine months of the year moving from urgency to urgency that I need several weeks just to start breathing normally again. This afternoon, I might feel like I'm starting to get to that point.
Part of that distress this time around centered around our buying of a new car. It's not that we didn't know it was coming or anything. But it's amazing how many phone calls you have to make when you buy a car. It's all done now and everything, but it took an immensely long time ... at a time where I was hoping to start finding my way again.
Last term? On the whole, things went pretty well. I taught our Systems Programming course (CS-202, for you Kettering geeks) for the first time here. It was an incredible amount of work ... a new course prep, a course 50% over-subscribed with students, and material that I hadn't touched in ... oh, 20 years? It kept me incredibly busy. But I had a blast. And I think my students had fun with it as well. I haven't seen the formal teaching evaluations yet for the term ... but the vibes in the room were pretty good.
And, at some level, keeping busy was helpful. After receiving that anonymous racist note, it was helpful to be so busy that I didn't have time think about anything else. It still bothers me, but I'm slowly moving on.
For many months, I have been looking forward to the annual AP Computer Science reading (grading) session in Cincinnati. I think of APCS as "my people" ... it's an incredible amount of work, but with great fun and great people. I really think of those folks as a professional family.
This year, I was asked to take on a small leadership role, which means I'll spend a couple extra days at the reading. I feel incredibly honored and gratified to be asked ... especially in a year in which fewer people in general were invited to the reading. I'm not exactly sure what's all involved in what I'll be doing ... but I'm really looking forward to it.
Next weekend is our anniversary ... and, for the first time in awhile, we're not going away. It's sad, in a way ... but between professional travel, kids dance recital photo sessions and concerts, and all of that, it just doesn't look like we can find the time to duck away. Thankfully, my dear wife doesn't really mind. But it'll be a little odd nonetheless.
Well, I'm back on a pseudo-diet again. The latest thing in health care plans are these actively-managed health care plans ... basically, getting involved in preventative care in order to keep costs down overall. Which makes sense. The key issue for me becomes that ... well, my weight is right around 30 or so, which is the line that my health care provider uses to say "we're concerned about your weight, and are going to nag you about it until you get your BMI under 30".
And certainly they're right. I know that for some folks, the BMI isn't a good measure of anything. But I'm definitely overweight, and I could definitely stand to drop weight.
Unfortunately, it's hard to "diet" per se when you've got little kids in the house, and your dining options are somewhat restricted. (I really, really wish my son would grow out of this phase where the only thing he'll eat is a chicken nugget, a hot dog, or a slice of pizza. I know he'll get there eventually, but ... oy.) So, I'm mostly trying to cut back on overall portions of food, going to bed hungry, and such like that.
Which is a shame ... because one of the few forms of recreation we seem to have as a family is eating out. Yeah, I'm learning to try and make good choices off of menus. But I hate having to make those choices based on health concerns rather than "gee, that looks yummy". But I can't eat like I was when I was in college anymore. I mean, I may still be in college, but my system doesn't burn those calories quite the same way anymore.
We bought a Wii Fit for Christmas, and I actually used it a few times ... and then the last semester hit with the new course and all, and I've basically done nothing with it since then. Maybe I can start getting some more exercise in on it sometime soon.
Work life is ... "interesting" right now. Our provost just got a job as chancellor at IU-Kokomo. Our VP for advancement (==fundraising, for those of you who don't speak University gibberish) just got a new job doing the same thing at Davenport University in Grand Rapids. All sorts of interesting campus political fights going on. And the enrollment numbers for next year are ... pathetic. I'm not sure what's going to happen next ... tons of speculation, and almost no hard facts. One hopes that the right changes get made, for the right reasons, to get us through this ...
Well, I'd better get back to doing ... something useful, I suppose.