gearing up for the week

I spent almost four hours today working on email.  Four. Hours. It isn’t just responding to them, of course; most of them require me to do something else in order to respond: look up some information, put together a quick memo, email a second person, skim a paper.  I’m down to 29, after starting with 53, so there’s that.

I went to the gym yesterday and today, after being out of town – and therefore far from the gym – Wed through Fri.  The time away didn’t do me any favors.  I just don’t have the stamina yet; the most I’ve been able to run is 25 minutes at one stretch – which is amazing for me but still not where I’d like to be. Yes, every minute running is better than the years not running that have come before.  And I’ll keep going to the gym.

As for dating, the gentleman of last week’s good dates continues to impress.  We saw each other for a short while Friday and we had a real date last night: out for dinner and drinks.  He’s a really good guy, as in an actual good person – not that I’ve been out with a lot of assholes but he does stand apart.  I like that he’s in education, that he’s inquisitive, that he reads; he does have a tendency to talk at me sometimes but it isn’t mean-spirited, and we do have very good conversations.  He’s nice looking, especially when he smiles and laughs, and well-dressed, which is somewhat rare here.  We’re very comfortable with each other; our second date was us literally sitting on his sofa, working on our laptops, until The Daily Show came on (and then he kissed me, which was also quite comfortable, as was what followed).

So, what’s the catch?  He’s younger than me, which I had sworn off, as we know, so I deferred when he first asked me out.  He lured me out for drinks, however, by quoting ’80s song lyrics – needless to say, he has a good sense of humor.  He’s shorter than me; I’m surprised it doesn’t bother him and perhaps more surprised that it doesn’t bother me.  Most importantly, I suspect he wants something much more serious than I can offer, especially since he has a young child.  For now, though, it would be nice to continue with our dates, if he’s so inclined.  If we have another, he gets a pseudonym.

World Traveler has returned from a week or so away; we have dinner plans Tuesday.  I must admit, I have cooled towards him. We’ve had a bit of back and forth, with him suggesting that he would be free and then being caught with work.  I don’t do well with men who can’t follow through on what they say, even if it’s only implied, even if they have good reasons for doing so.  It may be irrational but I’m willing to own it. So, we’ll see how things go over dinner.

And I had a date this evening, actually.  The gentleman and I messaged for a bit; when he asked to meet for drinks, I wasn’t opposed.  We didn’t have any trouble talking to each other, perhaps because we’re the same age, but we also have similar interests – and he asked questions, which is somewhat rare, as it turns out.  After about half an hour, thought, I thought: nice guy, nice looking, dressed well, pleasant to talk to, but not really feeling any connection, although I could tell he was definitely interested (not because of creepiness but gentlemanly attentiveness). But then, we kept talking, and suddenly it was three hours later.  I’m still not sure if there’s a connection but we’re meeting for coffee later this week. If we have a date past that, he gets a pseudonym, too.

and to confirm that I’m still here


I’m not doing a very good job of keeping up. Having two edited books due within two weeks of each other: not the best timing.  Work with my professional organization is picking up, with our conference around the corner.  I feel like my teaching is getting short shrift, despite how much I enjoy the students and the classes.  I have so many emails in my inbox, I dread opening it, especially when I usually keep it down to 10 or so.  I’ve had to put a co-authored paper on hold because I simply can’t get to it with everything else I’m (not) doing.  Still, I’m slogging through and getting as much done as I can: conference proposal written the other night, chapters returned to authors with feedback, papers graded and returned in decent time.


My mom continues to slip away.  She, Dad and an aunt and uncle visited last week.  It was good to see them (although my father still manages to drive me utterly mad with his evasion of questions and “humorous” answers) but it was hard. If you didn’t know her, I don’t think you’d realize, really; you’d just think she was quiet.  I know her, though, and yet – now – I don’t.  I think one of the worst days of my life will be the day I had to help my mother take a shower.  I cried the whole time.


There have been some serious ups and downs here.  A week or two ago, I was pretty much ready to forget the whole thing.  I’d been talking to a few guys, but those conversations petered out.  The Professor determined he just didn’t feel the necessary spark (but at least he told me instead of simply disappearing).  World Traveler is very interested but also very busy, so I’m consistently losing out to work, which may be logical but doesn’t help with dating.  I made myself redo my profile, though, and stick with it, because, dammit, I have a purpose here! I am getting out there and figuring out what I want!  That lead to a few conversations that quickly led nowhere, a potential gentleman who lost his mind, another potential gentleman who probably lives too far away, and one good date that led to a second good date.  If there’s a third good date, I’ll go into more detail.

dating: gritting my teeth

I was this close to walking away from the online dating thing this weekend.  I haven’t had much activity lately, in general.  The men who have been contacting me are patently not going to work (too far away, too creepy, too monosyllabic).  The men I have interacted with have pretty much all fallen off the radar; despite some decent dates, they haven’t bothered to stay in touch and I obviously don’t care enough to chase after them. This, of course, doesn’t include the one who equated me to Jezebel; we did have  a final parting of the ways, in which he assumed we could stay friends (um, no; why do they think that?).

So, I’m only in contact with two at the moment.  The Professor and I had lunch the weekend before this past; I enjoyed it, as I usually do his company, but I am still left with no clue as to whether he actually likes me. Obviously, if he’s been willing to see me multiple times, he doesn’t dislike me but he’s hard to read in terms of anything past that.  He was also exceptionally hung over at lunch, which I found very funny, perhaps because he apologized immediately and looked close to death for the remainder of our meal. He had a decent reason, so I don’t take it personally; if anything, I appreciate that he kept our date when he would likely have preferred to stay horizontal at home.  He’s been incommunicado for the last week (again, a good reason) so we’ll see if he surfaces again.  I’ve let him know that I enjoy his company, and I’ll likely reach out if I don’t hear anything from him in another week, but past that, I have some pride.

World Traveler was definitely on the rocks the last two weeks.  I won’t go into the gory details but, in summary, there were some communication blunders that resulted in avoidable ill feelings on both sides.  This past Saturday was the last straw, so today I contacted him to say I thought we’d best go our separate ways.  That got a pretty immediate response!

Let me interrupt this for a little ‘splaining.  I was so over men this weekend.  I took Saturday for myself: massage, pedicure, evening out with the girls.  Sunday was work, as usual, but also a lot of thinking.  I realized that, once again, I was settling for much less than I deserved, even with casual dating.  I wasn’t focusing on what I wanted but accepting what men were willing to offer up, which so far has been very little.  The men in this area simply aren’t what I’m looking for, so what sense did it make to force them to fit when I might just be happier going it alone until I can (hopefully) go elsewhere.  So, I started to close on my online account.  But then I didn’t.  Because it occurred to me that I really need to keep doing this.  Much like my efforts to run, I’m trying to reshape myself into the person I want to be sort of late in life, so it isn’t always going to be easy, pretty or fun.  It’s work, actually, and I can’t quit in the middle of it.  So, I did a little retooling of my profile, reached out to a few guys and decided that I have to keep throwing myself out in front of the bus until I actually am perfectly fine with my life the way it is, however it is.

So, back to WT.  Part of my realization was that WT was taking me for granted.  We’d had some great dates (seriously, the best “date” dates I’ve ever had, in terms of food, atmosphere, weather, conversation, flirting) and we do enjoy each other’s company, but there had been no effort on his part to see me lately or respond to my efforts to see him.  I don’t need this, I realized, so I decided to say goodbye politely but firmly.  As I said, though, he immediately came back with the assurance that he wanted to keep seeing me and could we talk. So, we did.  I actually logged two miles as I walked around outside talking to him.

And the upshot is that he didn’t get written off.  We actually had a good conversation, in which he owned up to his mistakes over the last few weeks and I clarified what I was expecting.  In short, I told him that I just wanted to enjoy myself.  We aren’t in a serious relationship; we aren’t anywhere close to dictating each other’s lives; we don’t owe each other anything.  I do enjoy his company, however, and I appreciate our time together.  And that’s all I want: time away from my work, a break from the stress of my life, companionship over dinner or at the movies (and, yes, physical affection, which wasn’t actually the focus of the conversation).  He countered it all with the assurance that he felt the same way, he was obviously horrible at communication, he had handled things badly so far, and he’d like to rectify that.  So, as he’s leaving tomorrow for work, we have a week or two to see how the communication goes. And when he gets back, we’ll go out – already on the calendar – and we’ll see how that goes.

Relationships are work, even casual ones that were meant to be fun.  I’m not very good at casual, I admit, but I am trying.  As part of my efforts to find the awesome person I know is in there somewhere, I will indeed keep trying.

in the end, still one

You know, sometimes it’s really the little things that bring a point home to you.

Like having lost a fair amount of weight.  I know that, obviously, as I can read the scale.  People are kind enough to notice and compliment me, which I obviously appreciate. I’m wearing much smaller sizes in my clothing, so again, I get it.  But I don’t, at the same time, because I still just see “me”.  But then, I’ll catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror and think, huh, I actually have a waist now, that’s just odd.  It’s like the small things are the ones that reflect reality; we pay attention to the details, not the big picture.

Like this evening.  I spoke at a local education event – nothing big, really, but it involved me on a stage, speaking to an audience; that’s rather nerve-wracking, really, so the adrenaline was pumping.  It went fairly well: I seemed to offer cogent points and engage the audience.  (If nothing else, I got the first round of applause, so that’s rather nice for the ego.)

When it was finished, though, I walked out to my car to go home.  I was still a bit keyed up, as well as dressed up, in addition to not having had dinner, so it would have been nice to go out for a bit.  A few friends had come (thank you!) but they were tired or otherwise occupied, so they had already left.  The one gentleman in town who’s still paying attention (although he’s hanging by a thread) was tired.  So, I took myself – in a killer dress and heels – to the grocery store to pick up something edible in order to come home, change into my pjs and eat on the sofa as I watched back episodes of The Tonight Show.

Sometimes, that’s the best kind of night possible.  Sometimes, it just reminds me: alone.

taking my own advice

I am constantly telling my preservice teachers that they have to take time for themselves once they start teaching.  They are in a profession that comes with a lot of work, a lot of stress, a lot of expectations.  If they don’t take a break, they will break.

I’m so much better at giving advice than taking it.

For once, though, I listened.  I needed to sit in front of the computer today; I have more work than I can possibly complete this weekend, even though most of it comes with deadlines that mean I need to.  I’m always dealing with the academic guilt of having work to do whenever I step away from the desk.  It’s hard to get past that, in addition to my own distaste for missing deadlines, not completing tasks, not meeting my expectations, not to mention others.

But then there’s the whole overly stressed factor.  And I was right up to the edge this week.

So, today, I stepped away from the computer and I left the house.  I planned to run my errands and get back early in the afternoon so I could get back to work.  But when I got in the car, it was a gorgeous day, blue skies with puffy clouds, bright sunshine with no humidity, warm enough to leave a coat behind but with that slight hint of coolness.  My friend called while I was out so I sat in a parking lot and talked to her for an hour before meeting a friend for a leisurely lunch.  Then I took my time to do some shopping: exercise clothes, sweater, blouses, replacement pot, toiletries.  Next, to the gym, where I managed to run almost two miles.

I got home in the early evening, took my shower, fixed a light dinner and sat down with the laptop.  I’ve caught up on the Fallon and Colbert episodes on the DVR; I’ve answered a few emails; I’ve organized a few materials.  And that’s it.  I’m going to bed now, where I will read a little bit before going to bed feeling much calmer than I have for quite a while.

go, go, go…pause…go, go, go

This past week has been…let’s say, not so much fun. I’ve spent way too much time in front of the computer, trying to get things done as I watch other stuff pile up. I’ve had more meetings than anyone should have in one week.  I taught, of course, but not particularly well as I scrambled lessons together at the last minute.

Not surprisingly, I didn’t sleep much.  I had early meetings most days, which isn’t the best way for me to start a day.  What sleep I got wasn’t very good, evidently, since I woke up tired every morning.  I did get to the gym on my regular schedule, though, so I had that going for me.  I even went twice on Tuesday; it was a running day and I’m going to a yoga/pilates class with a girlfriend.  Granted, I was awfully sore the next day but I did it!

It took some serious schedule manipulation but World Traveler and I managed to find some time to see each other.  He has a demanding career (which supports the appellation) and I think it’s fair to say I do, too, at the moment, so it’s like a business negotiation when we’re trying to plan anything.  He came by one evening between work events, and we went to dinner last night.  Both were pretty low-key, which is different for us; he’s made quite an effort to wine and dine me on our dates previously, picking some nice places in nearby towns.  That isn’t a complaint, by the way; we were both tired and stressed this week, so staying close by and spending time talking on my sofa was perfectly fine.

In other dating news, I had some qualms over The Professor.  He turned down an invitation to join me at a concert next week and has been rather silent this week.  While doing my best not to read anything into it, I was, of course, reading into it.  I texted yesterday to see if he had any free time this weekend, and while it took him quite a while to respond, we have tentative lunch plans Sunday.  I’m hoping he’s just as busy and stressed as I am since I’d like to think he’d be gentlemanly enough to tell me if he wasn’t interested.  I suppose I’ll check my gut this weekend and see what I think.

Aside from that, I have to work this weekend, although I will take some time to run errands tomorrow. And sleep.  I really, really need to sleep.

slow and steady….and irritable

I made some much-needed progress today on the incredible amount of work hanging over my head. I’m not going to consider how much still needs to be done, because that will just depress me; I’ll just concentrate on the fact that I edited five chapters today. It wasn’t a continuous slog – my brain can’t handle that many hours of detailed focus – but I put in a good nine hours, at least.

To do that, I eschewed freedom today.  Friends made our weekly trip to the farmers market without me; friends went to a community event without me tagging along; friends enjoyed pizza without my scintillating company.  I knew the only way I was going to accomplish my work today was by not leaving the house. I didn’t need to go to the gym, since I’m on an every other day rotation, so there was no pressure to even get in my car.

It was probably better that I stayed away from people, quite frankly.  I’ve been particularly out of sorts this week, which appears to be my theme so far this semester, so I know I haven’t been the best company.  I honestly don’t know what it is.  I feel so out of sync with everything, even though I know how to manage the beginning of the semester by this point in my career.  There’s this low-grade irritability bubbling beneath the surface – which is ridiculous when I was perfectly happy just a week or two ago.

I suppose I could blame it on the manic-depressive nature of dating.  A few weeks ago, I was the popular girl on campus; now, not so much. Sure, it’s frustrating to have guys express interest and then run away; from breaking dates to disappearing completely, it’s hard not to take it personally.  It isn’t, though; it’s the nature of superficial relationships, which is what I have – and want – right now.  Even my version of noncommittal is more committed than most men’s, it seems!

So, yes, I do have to remind myself that I’m still awesome and my life is good, whether guys are interested or not.  I do a decent job, I think, helped along by the fact that I’m still going to the gym (although this week’s session may kill me); I look pretty good in my clothes; I like my students; I have some musical events lined up in the next month; I have good trips planned for the spring and summer; I’m keeping in touch with my friends back in Home State; I’m doing a better job of talking with my family.  Things really are pretty good.

So, I’m thinking it’s stress.  Insidious, low grade stress.  I have two edited book projects due at the same time this fall, and I’m definitely not as far along as I need to be.  I’m collaborating on two articles and I’m not pulling my weight on either.  I’ve already collected papers from both of my classes: my grade book isn’t even set up.  I was stupid enough to agree to write letters for two tenure reviews, which means wading through those materials in the next month.  I’m behind on my duties as journal editor and professional organization chair, not to mention unprepared for committee work that I’m chairing this week.  I’m an experienced professor and I am completely overwhelmed by everything that needs my attention right this minute.

I think I just stressed myself out writing that…