Saturday, November 24, 2018

Thankful

Well, another food-infused holiday is in the bag, and I'm sitting here feeling thankful for that.

It all got off to a bit of a rocky and hectic start. I've had lots (and lots) of work for school, which often means lots (and lots) of stress. Most of it induced by, well, ... people.

They really are a piece of work, aren't they? (Introverts the world over are nodding in silent agreement with me.)

But then, the College closed for the break, which means that everyone-- myself included--logged off and embarked on their merry, meal-focused way.

And for this, I was thankful. Both for the merriness and for the meal.

And because all of the writing and grading and curriculum and policy work that has taken up so much of my time this semester fell quiet.

Finally, I was able to (I'm quoting myself here) "Get some actual work done."

And it wasn't a soul-sucking, mind-numbing, totally pointless kind of work. (I was in a bit of a dark place with respect to work right before the break began--see above re: "people.")

It was a steady, productive, inspiring phase for which I am--as I've said--thankful.

The house (FINALLY!) got cleaned. I don't remember the last time I had a chance to vacuum or clean the kitchen. Let's just say, I would never have gotten away with it if I wasn't a neat-nik who lives alone. You'd have seen the house on TV, with news announcers saying something like, "Tonight, police are investigating a woman found in her home...".

I realize that to many, it probably seems counter-intuitive to clean the kitchen immediately before cooking a Thanksgiving feast, but doing so actually made me feel less stressed about cooking said feast.

I was beginning in a state of calm cleanliness, not one of caked-on chaos.

There was a bit of chaos, however, involving that Temperature Blanket that yes, I am still working on.

I've fallen behind. Way behind.

Which wouldn't be terrible--it's my current state of existence overall, really--except that I've been repeatedly making mistakes when it comes to assembling the squares I've completed because falling behind means it's hard to just pick up where you left off (since you no longer really remember exactly where you were when you left off, but you think you do).

This all culminated in the astounding discovery that I'd actually ended up making one of the same squares twice, thus wasting all the time I thought I'd devoted to "catching up."

Good golly Miss Molly did I cuss a blue streak when I discovered that little mishap.

When the cussing ceased, I came up with a better system for keeping tabs on how I'm assembling the squares so that this "assembly required" phase of the process won't send me into an absolute tizzy.

More importantly, it's a very straightforward system, so that if when I fall behind again, I won't find myself staring at a stack of squares and a blanket that I haven't looked at for months wondering, "Now... what was my system, exactly? Where does go? What month is this anyway?"

Maybe I'll actually be able to post a picture of the thing one of these days. I am enjoying the process (despite all expletive-laden evidence to the contrary). 

I also had a chance to go for a couple of 7-mile runs. I had originally wanted to do one on Thanksgiving morning, but it dawned clear and cold and blustery.

As in 5 degrees Fahrenheit "cold" and 30-mile-per-hour wind gusts "blustery."

Maybe it's because I'm 50 now, but my immediate thought-- as I helped myself to a large slice of sweet potato cornbread with a slab of butter-- was, "Yeah, well, I got nothin' to prove." 

So I didn't do the anticipated Thanksgiving morning run.

I was a little disappointed about that, but quick, repeated checks of the thermometer over the course of the day, supplemented by a hearty meal and a glass of wine, helped alleviate that feeling.

I did go for a run yesterday morning, when it was about 15 degrees Fahrenheit, but no longer (very) windy.

I did not, however, run 7 miles. Only 2. (Last year at this time, when I was struggling to complete a mere mile, I would have stared in stunned amazement at those last two sentences.)

I was even on a bit of a Runners High yesterday morning, I think.

Either that or hypothermia comes complete with delusions of grandeur. Because about a mile in, I seriously thought about just continuing on and trying for "more miles." (I was a bit vague about what exactly I meant by this.)

But then I took stock of the following:
1) people do die of overexposure to cold
2) these deaths are often brought on by ill-advised decision-making
3) I couldn't feel my face
4) I couldn't feel my face with my fingers
5) I was wearing (lovely, hand-knit) wool mittens, so the inability to feel my fingers feeling my face was rather surprising
6) my legs-- which, by all appearances, were doing actual exercise-- were also surprisingly numb
7) I was wearing thermal running tights
And no, I was not running so fast that wind chill had become a complicating factor. (Thank you for thinking that, though.) 

I began to cough, and immediately recalled how, in movies about climbing Mount Everest, this is always how it starts: with an odd, ominous cough. (This is also how it starts in movies about nineteenth-century artists and/or prostitutes with TB, by that is neither here nor there.)

So I turned around, ran the mile or so home, and felt thankful.

And maybe it's just me, but nothing makes me happier to be--or at least more "okay" with being--compelled to sit at a desk and write, than a brisk run through arctic conditions.

All that reading to get ready for school again on Monday?

It has been nothing short of heaven-sent, simply because it took place on a couch with kitties, in front of a warm fire.

For this, I'm thankful.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy."