I need a Healthy(er) Moment!

I know that title is grammatically incorrect.  Deal with it.  It’s for a theme.

I’m farther off base on my challenges than I’d like.  I’ve spent nearly 3 straight days doing nothing but grading, grading, grading.  I had NO idea it was so difficult to read a syllabus and find out when your final exam was, nor how difficult it was for students to submit a link to a web page via Blackboard.

I’ll stop ranting about that and commence whining now.

At the end of every semester, teachers get just as swamped as students. Students feel stressed because they have final exams in every class. Like, 5 of them!  Teachers feel stressed because our Universities often have ridiculous policies such as “thou shalt submit thy final grades within 24 (or 48) hours of the final exam.” Dear Mr. Dean/President/WHOEVER: I have 400 students.  My final exams have essay questions because it’s important.  I have hundreds of blankity-blank emails coming in.  That is NOT a reasonable timeframe for the faculty! We feel stressed, we feel pressured, we stay up all night and grade all day and all night in a desperate attempt to handle this mess.  We cry, have w(h)ine, cry some more, and secretly scream our frustrations.  Okay, in my case, not so secretly.

I colored this mermaid using the FreshPaint app in Windows 10. This is for both my #HealthyMoments challenge and the #28dayjumpstart #fitgirlsguide challenge (they're into mermaids & unicorns).
I colored this mermaid using the FreshPaint app in Windows 10. This is for both my #HealthyMoments challenge and the #28dayjumpstart #fitgirlsguide challenge (they’re into mermaids & unicorns).

My lifestyle for the last several days has been the antithesis of healthy.  What’s a vegetable?!  This exercise thing?  What’s that painfully bright thing in the sky?  Food has been what’s available: read as leftover Chinese delivery, cookies, microwave popcorn, anything I don’t have to cook because I don’t have time.  Add in the departmental and college parties that I don’t have time to attend because of the grading and I start feeling like I should ask Santa for a punching bag for Christmas.

I’m taking a few minutes to write because I desperately need a break today.  I’m feeling burned out and I’m not done.  I got in a 20 minute walk today and really truly did feel vaguely surprised by the SUN.  I’m going to try to fix a healthier dinner and do my planned workout.  During my Digital Imaging class I’m going to do my Healthy Moments coloring challenge for the day (see?!).

Sometimes, you have to manage life.  Sometimes all you can do is desperately hang on and try to survive.  I’m more in the survival camp right now.  Add on to this: experiments, textbook reviews, car needing repair, departmental evaluations and surveys, surveys, surveys, holiday parties… I’m an INTROVERT.  I want to crawl in a really dark hole and stay there.  Can I have that for Christmas?!

For those who need gift ideas for end-of-term faculty, I recommend the following:

  • punching bag (because we can’t vent our frustrations on our students/administrators)
  • wine (in which to drown our sorrows and with which we become slightly more generous graders)
  • red pens (because we’ve probably used up all the ink in our existing ones)
  • Xanax (see above reference for wine)
  • Dinner & laundry service (because we ain’t got time for dat right now)
  • a shoulder to cry on/someone to vent at (we don’t hate you, really we don’t)
  • chocolate
  • fuzzy socks
  • sympathy
  • Your complete understanding that we will, in fact, revert to being normal, sane humans a week or so after this ends.  It takes a bit to resolve the trauma and recuperate.
And this one is my unicorn, also colored in FreshPaint. Different tools, different paint effect. Also applicable for the #28dayjumpstart and #fitgirlsguide challenge.
And this one is my unicorn, also colored in FreshPaint. Different tools, different paint effect. Also applicable for the #28dayjumpstart and #fitgirlsguide challenge.

PS: Not sure if the coloring helped me relax or if it was the combination of beer, Xanax, and coloring. I am not visually artistically skilled and I haven’t colored in a long, long time. It’s also a tad harder to do it on the computer, even with a good N-Trig stylus on a Surface Pro 3.

Evolution for Educators: Week 2 Review

This week in my online course, I rediscovered that I am a procrastinator.  I realized that I had course material to work through that was due and a paper to write.  Needless to say, I started on this extremely early: a whole day before I had to have the paper turned in!

I tackled the material and weekly quiz first. Part of the material was a description of the intent and requirements of the assignment.

The writing assignment required that we select an example given in the course materials and describe how that example is evidence for evolution.  We had 600 words, plus 100 for references (we were required to cite our sources).  On the day my essay was due, I wrote it.  I’m not particularly embarrassed to admit that.  I chose a deliberately obscure reference from the materials: one that was mentioned in passing, but not explored or developed in the course.  That is typical of me.  I never chose the easy topic, I never chose the obvious example.  I seem to like to create work for myself.

In this particular case, I chose to write about cannibalistic tadpoles, and how that trait might fulfil the requirements for evolution: variation (within the species and among related species), heritability, and response to selective pressure; in particular, I wanted to address how a trait that seemed so counterintuitive to survival (cannibalism) could actually be adaptive.  I found it an interesting exploration.

I also discovered that it was nearly impossible for me to write something that short! I do suffer from verbosity, but aside from that, I found it very difficult to explore the topic in as much depth as I wished.  However, I managed to write the (very brief) essay and got it proofread before I submitted it (on time).

I also resolved not to wait so late on the Week 3 material.

2013 and a new challenge

I haven’t blogged in a very long time, but lately I’ve been feeling like writing again.  So I’m going to, for a while at least.

I have a few things that I left unresolved from last year that I’m going to try to finish up.

I have a few new things that start this week, and I want to write about my experiences.  One, I enrolled in my first MOOC.  It’s Evolution for Educators, and it’s a 4-week course.  I’ve never participated in a MOOC before, and I’m curious, and I wanted to document my experience.

The second thing that I want to keep track of is a 6-month diet bet.  It’s an online thing (actually legit), and I’ve bet that I can lose 10% of my body weight in the next 6 months.  I’m desperate to escape the way things are in my apartment when it comes to food and healthy eating patterns because we don’t have any.  Most of my diets have lasted 2 weeks to a month.  This is longer-term, which I’m hoping will help me build actual habits.

So, those are the things that I intend to write about.  I do still have some photos of the week to post from last year, and I will finish those, and I may even write a year-end summary for 2012–what I remember of it, anyway.