I'm sitting in the airport, en route to a small summer conference, having missed my connection due to air traffic control. Despite a valiant run through a crowded concourse (I'm faster than a slowed-by-crowds airport cart!), I missed my connection and ended up with a five hour layover, long enough for what we might characterize as apples (a black and white cookie, some good coffee, some good pizza, some good beer, time so skype with Politica and Curious Girl) and onions (a sobbing Curious Girl who just wants me home, and a very, very expensive beer, and a rescheduled flight that itself now seems to be slightly delayed, and a missed meal at what was reputed to be a very fine restaurant in conference city). So I'm tired, and feeling working mother guilt. But hey! I'm also blogging.
What am I blogging about? Just musing on some things I've been tossing about in my head this summer, which has been surprisingly stressful. The academic year ended for most faculty, effectively, in May, the month in which finals ended, the month in which the union contract ends and thus faculty disappear. We're not paid in june and July, and most faculty are nowhere near campus here. It's like a ghost town in the main academic building--much more so than any other campus I've ever worked on. They all slow down in the summer, yes, but there are usually more faculty around, sometimes, than there are here.
May for me, though, was chock full of workshops, and then June was full of administrivia--important administrivia, like figuring out how to do my first annual report for my new program, hosting a consultant, and working out a major bureaucratic shift of a related unit into my small unit. That's an unbloggable shift, and doesn't really increase the functional size of my little unit, but it protects the time of my most important colleague and hands-on ally. So lots of political learning going on, and lots of memo-generating. On the home front, lots going on with the house--painting, contractors working on converting a dysfunctional greenhouse into a workable extension of our bedroom, my 25th college reunion, new camps for Curious Girl every week. So lots of transition. (And my office keys: lost. Now that I've blogged you, lost keys, feel free to show up, ok? No hard feelings.)
So I've been stressed: less patient than I usually am, less creative with Curious Girl's emotions than I usually am, and I'm realizing that I've developed some habits I'm not proud of. I often respond to requests from Politica or Curious Girl with "sure, just as soon as I finish X." Now, sometimes I probably do need to finish X before starting whatever they want me to help them with or join in with, but a lot of the time I don't. And I don't want to be that person who's always too busy to pay attention to other people. And I don't think I've been a very good listener around the house of late. I'm hearing myself reflected back in some of CG's tantrums, and it's not pretty. It's good, if humbling, to realize one's own flaws; I'm working on some changes, to get back to being the person I want to be. It's not all bad--I've had plenty of good times making jam and pickles this season (even if my bread isn't quite behaving as I want it to). But it's not quite right.
I'll write more about self-help books when I finish this career-renewal workshop that I'm helping to run tomorrow. In some respects, given the introspection I just described, I feel like the last person who should be facilitating a career renewal worskhop: I feel badly in need of renewal myself. But then, a good faciliator learns by faciliating, too, so I think tomorrow will be good for me, too.
I still love my views of mountains and water: this place I live sustains me, even in a somewhat sad, somewhat stressed out state. I'm looking forward to vacations soon. When I get back from this conference we're headed out into the country to stay with some former neighbors whose family have a summer house in our new neck of the woods, and then we're heading further north to visit with other friends to do some kid-friendly touring. Then a week at home, and a week away, just the three of us. I'm looking forward to that break, to spending time with just the three of us, time away from our home and work routines. Curious Girl has been emotional, but I realized (again!) that with enough sleep, enough food, enough advance warning of routines, enough YES! with the limits, that she's a delightful girl. I want to bring more YES! into my adult relationships too. More YES! all around.
Such are the thoughts swirling around these days.....and now, off to the gate. Thanks for reading and listening. Even when I'm slow blogging, I'm aware of this space, and aware of you, and grateful for you.