Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Finally, A Vacation--sort of...

Yep, it's the calm before the spring storm--um, I mean, semester! Grades are in, I've actually had a couple of days at home (and one day at the bookstore, which I'll get to in a minute), and I've actually managed to alphabetize my cds, dvds and vhs tapes, which I haven't been able to do since I moved into my house. I woke up Sunday and just decided to do it, after sitting on my hands (really!) to keep from trying to work. I've been in work mode for a year and a half, so not doing something is difficult for me.

And, after bending and stretching to get things into place, I felt as though I had been on a stairstepper at the gym. When I went into the bookstore to work on Monday, I was sore, as though I'd been through a tough workout. And, of course, standing for eight hours didn't help work out the kinks. I'm still feeling sore, but I'm sure I'll recover from that just in time to go back to the bookstore Saturday (hopefully, not for the entire day).

My daughter and her boyfriend are heading this way for Christmas, so I'll have company for a few days. That will be nice, since my family 45 miles north thinks it's too far to drive to my house. My daughter is driving from Austin to Arlington, TX, and then to here. I just don't think my family has a good excuse--after all, I drive the distance and back nearly every day of the semester.

This will be a lean Christmas, what with rising gas prices, new tires for the car this summer, and price increases on everything. So, I've done a great deal of knitting, especially slippers, because they are fast! I think I've got most of my gifts covered, and I know my family members love handmade gifts. Slippers, plus cookies, plus biscuit mix, plus muffins=satisfaction!

I hope everyone has a great holiday, whatever you celebrate! I plan to sleep as much as possible and get ready for the new year.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Sometimes, You're the Bug...

Yesterday was not a good day, overall. I'm sure, in retrospect, it wasn't worse than any other day I've had in my life, but it's not one I want to linger over.

There's the whole "end of semester" craziness, of course. Students who panic now when they should have panicked a great deal earlier--they are driving me nuts. How many times can I say, "Don't talk to me about grades during dead week," or "I won't read late work" before they listen? So, all this late work that I won't grade piles up, and they wait until now to mention it. Too late! I have enough to do right now; I don't have the time or the inclination to grade work that should have been graded a month ago.

So, yesterday morning, I went to the grocery store to get what I needed so I could hibernate this weekend, stay in and grade papers and catch up on things I need to do. I'm the "I'll take my groceries out myself"-type of woman; it's not that I don't want to tip the bag person, or anything. I just know he/she won't be carrying my groceries in my house for me.

As I'm signing my name to the receipt, the sacker starts putting my paltry haul into bags for me. I only had two light bags and a big bag of cat food, so I knew I could carry those out. When he asked me if he could take my purchases out for me, I said, "That's okay. I can do it." I came around the end of the check-out stand, picked up my bags, and proceeded to trip over the two boxes the guy had dropped at the end of the stand.

I didn't see the boxes; I didn't know he had dropped them there because I was not watching him while I was signing my name. He did not say, "Watch out for those boxes."

I went sprawling on the hard tile floor.

I guess we react to something like this the same way we react to a car accident--slow motion flashes of our lives up to that moment. I fell on my left side--my butt, my elbow and hand, and my left knee hit the ground in succession. I sat there for a few seconds; everyone and everything in the store stopped. I was soon surrounded by most of the employees, all of whom left whatever they were doing to make sure I was okay.

Well, I was in some pain, but I was more embarrassed than anything. "Are you okay?" I must have been asked that twenty times. No, I'm not "okay," but nothing is sprained or broken, except my ego! I limped to my car with the sacker guy carrying my bags. When I tried to tip him, he said, "No, ma'am. You don't owe me a thing!"

When I tried to get out of bed this morning, I swear I could hear my body creak. I was stiff and the bruise on my knee is purple. My left arm hurts, and I can't type for long before my pinkie and ring fingers go numb. Maybe I should call the store and ask the manager to file an incident report in case I need to see a doctor. But, I'm not the suing type, so I'll just take some more ibuprofen.

Okay, so that took care of the morning. I limped through the rest of the afternoon. When I finished grading, reading, etc., all the papers that my students sent me on Thursday and Friday, I sat on the sofa knitting.

Golum (you know him!) came scampering through the living room around nine or ten last evening, obviously chasing something. I was hoping it was a lizard or grasshopper, but then I saw a brown field mouse hop away from him. He brought a mouse in the house. I don't know if any of the cats have caught it yet, but I hope the mouse had the good sense to run out as fast as it could. I hate mice and rats; they are probably the only animals I don't have sympathy for. I don't mind if they stay outside, but I don't want them in my house. And I really don't need the cats bringing them inside.

I haven't seen the mouse since last night, and I don't want to. My only consolation is that I know the cats will get it if it shows itself anywhere inside. Darn cats.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Something I've Learned This Semester...

Grading papers is more fun when I watch "SpongeBob SquarePants" while I'm doing it.

And bird number five flew around my house for about five minutes before my oldest cat, who I didn't put out with the rest of them, caught it and ate it. This was a sparrow, a baby, and I tried to catch it and put it outside, but it wouldn't let me catch it. I didn't put Callie out because she's old, and I didn't think she could move too fast. I was so wrong about that. I shouldn't underestimate the motivating power of a bird, even on an old cat.