The last few weeks have kept me busy and away from blogs, both as a writer and a reader. I've said my apologies for that. Now I owe you an explanation, and I owe myself a moment to reflect.
Professionally, I've been busy with school- grading papers, readying for exams, counseling students and helping them study, not to mention trying to ready my own research for the winter. That means animal care and use proposals, grant proposals, collecting the last of the samples for the year, setting up a behavior room, ordering supplies and finishing my prospectus. I had thought I was done with my prospectus. PROSPECTUS! not dissertation. Just saying what I want to do. Don't get excited, I've still got a year or two before I graduate. Then my advisor decided that I need to rearrange the whole thing. Fun.
In my outreach, I've been busy with some new endeavors, and truly those are what have kept me going, although they have been a source of stress as well. I birthed my first creative publications in a long time- Ken's school newsletter and my departmental calendar. They turned out OK, but not great. I also began serving on the Portage County Solid Waste District Advisory Board. That was a large source of stress. We're looking at possibilities for the future of the SWD, and no one's happy about it. The public meeting was essentially a lynching by the neighbors, with their questions for which we have no answers. It's too early in the process to have the answers they want, and they don't get it. I understand people are afraid of change, but wait until we have some clue of what the possible change is before damning those involved, will you? Yeesh.
Personally, it's been a trying time as well. A friend lost her young child, another became a very young grandmother, another lost her husband, my aunt lost her partner of many years, another friend's grandparents suffered a horrible tragedy, and a one-time lover long-time friend lost his life. Much sorrow is in the air, yet I'm not sure if I'm in the eye of the storm or watching from afar. And Dan, our room mate, adds his share of stress as well. I know I can't solve everything. I know I can't save the world. But I want to try, daggummit. I'm scared by all the death in part because it causes pain to those I love, but in part because it scares me. I'm scared because my father in law will eventually put me in a similar situation. He won't take care of himself, despite multiple chronic health conditions ranging from obesity to diabetes to long term depression. He won't live within his means, so that he frequently goes on and off medication because he's out of money for a month. He won't admit he needs help, and he's technically mentally competent- just makes terrible decisions. His house keeping is atrocious, his apartment manager had to put a Febreeze-sprayer-thingy right beside his door because of the smell. I might need one of those heading upstairs, if I weren't sensitive to perfumes. I love my father in law, really I do, but I'm not looking forward to the time when I have to deal with his death and funeral arrangements, or his long term care situation. But I know that day is coming, sooner or later, and I know it'll be Dwight and I to sort that mess out when it comes.
So how have you been?