Social Saturdays #2 – Fail


I included Social Saturdays in my blog lineup because I wanted to force myself to form a community where I live.  A community of real, live people I see face-to-face on a regular basis.  I have a ton of long-distance friends, but not so many in my own city, my own workplace, etc.  I find it difficult to get and stay involved in group activities.  It is especially difficult because of my schedule, but it is also difficult because being with people who I don’t know very well seems exhausting to me.  I either feel constant anxiety about fitting in or I feel constant shame for not really caring about fitting in (depending on the group I’m with).

So, I have avoided social activities the past couple of weeks.  I’ve had decent excuses, but I’ve missed multiple opportunities for being social with work mates and community groups.  I definitely need to force myself to do some social things.  I did go to church last week, but I don’t really talk to people there other than shaking hands at the beginning of the service.  I plan to go tomorrow as well – and maybe I will force myself to talk to some people – at least ask them a question or comment on something while having coffee before or after the service.  I have an opportunity to go to a crafting group tonight, but I’m a little short on money for the next couple of weeks and I already have huge babysitting expenses for next week because my husband is traveling for work during the middle of the week, so I don’t feel like I should spend even more money we don’t have to go out tonight.  Plus, I have so much work to do around the house and for my jobs (see, good excuses).

I guess if nothing else, having this in my blog lineup forces me to recognize when I’ve been totally unsocial.

How do you all meet people and find people that either (1) don’t make you anxious about yourself and/or (2) you actually want to spend time with?  There are some people who I think I would really enjoy spending time with, but those are never the people who are at these events I go to.  I would like to think of myself as a social being, but I find myself acting more like a recluse most of the time.


Fortune Friday #2 – Second Job

second-jobAs I eluded to in my last post, I have taken on a second job – it is another teaching job and consists of teaching two public speaking classes for our local community college.  I have been thinking about doing this for awhile, but for various reasons, most of them revolving around my inability to get a grip on my life during the last four years due to my daughter’s and my parents’ health problems, I have not done it.  This semester just seemed like a good semester to do it.  I feel like I’ve started to get a grip on my life lately (just a little – but fingertip grip will due for now) and we just bought a new (to us) car and my husband took a pretty big cut in pay this year to be able to be at home more often (he was on the road at least three days a week last year – this year, that will change to mostly only three days every other week instead.  So, the extra job will come in handy.  In addition, it gives me a chance to get my feet wet in the community college instructing, which I’ve never done.  I have taught only at four-year universities in the past.  So, overall, I am both excited and slightly scared about this semester.

I am lucky in that getting a second job was pretty easy for me.  I had connections to the college and was told they needed an instructor.  From there, it was just a matter of getting my application packet together and getting it in before the start of school.  I am also lucky in that I am teaching a public speaking class, which I taught before for a number of years (probably about five total, but with summer sessions, probably about 13 semesters of it total).  So, the prep is not terribly difficult, although it has been six or seven years since I last taught public speaking, so I will have to do a little work on prep.  I was also lucky in the classes fitting within my already established schedule at the University where I teach full time.  So, all-in-all, it seemed like kismet.  The first week was good, hopefully it continues that way.

Second jobs (and sometimes third and fourth jobs) are pretty much the norm with higher education instructors who work as “adjuncts” or part-timers.  My job started out as a contract lecturer position, but because of my unique position (directing the speech and debate team) and the cost of having to advertise the position nationally each contract period, we changed the status to that of part-time.  It is confusing because I actually work full time (I have a full load of classes), but my “status” with the University is considered part-time.  I am what they call a full-time part-timer.  It is very strange.  I have a contract (now three years – woot!), and benefits, and regular schedule of classes.  So, all-in-all I am like any other full-time person, other than my status with HR on the paperwork.

At my second job, I am a true part-timer.  I teach only two classes (a full load would be five).  I don’t have an office on campus.  I don’t have office hour requirements (at my full-time job, I have to hold five office hours each week and I have a permanent office on campus).  I could request temporary office space, but I don’t feel like I need it and I know the space is tight so I would rather have other people have access to it.  I actually teach one of my two classes at a satellite campus, so I really don’t need office space on campus.

For those unfamiliar with higher education and academia, positions such as mine are controversial.  My jobs are already unionized, but here is a recent article about national efforts in that area.  In addition, the biggest negative with adjunct positions are typically the lack of benefits.  But, since my University job is a full-time, part-time position, I have full benefits through them.  Thankfully. The controversy is a tough call for me – the budgets, especially in California, are so tight and so volatile, that hiring long-term tenure track positions is dangerous.  And, the cost to students is already so high that forcing colleges to raise tuition to cover more tenure track positions seems to also be dangerous.  So, part time adjuncts are able to fill the bill.  I also think that there are more jobs coming available around here, so people are getting full-time, tenure track positions.  But, not everyone.  It is a tough call, to be sure.  And I’m not sure what the “right” thing to do is at this point.

Anyways, I’m glad to have the extra work (and especially the extra money) at this point.  I’m also glad to have a full time job with benefits that allows me to take this part-time gig without any discomfort in that area.  Now, if I can just get my budgeting and spending in control, we should be in good shape going into 2014.


Thursday Thumbs Up

Thumbs Up Thursday #2 – Flats, Laundromats and Labor Day

Feet - Juniper LakeFeet are a wonderful thing.  They allow us to get around from place to place without the aid of technology.  They allow us to feel the wonders of a cool lake in the summer (picture above) or the cold ocean rolling in on waves after walking across the hot sand that slides easily between the toes and massages the pads of your feet as you traverse.  But, as a society we have deemed it necessary to cover them up in shoes on a daily basis.  I’m sure there are good reasons for it – hygiene, safety (there are a lot of sharp things out there just waiting to get at us), etc.  And I am okay wearing shoes.  I even like shoes to a certain extent.  But, this first week of  classes, I decided to once again wear heels to add to my “professionalism” for that first week.  And, boy do I regret it.  My feet were KILLING me after the day.  So, I have vowed to wear only flat shoes and to treat my feet well with comfortable shoes.  I am just on my feet too long the days I teach to wear uncomfortable shoes!  I don’t know how people wear those spiky heels day after day…have you seen this about what heels do to your feet?  Seems like a justification to wear only flats to me!  So, a big thumbs up for flat, comfortable shoes.

Our dryer went out a few weeks ago.  We’ve been doing a load here and there – drying them in the garage by hanging them up or laying them out or running to the laundromat to dry them.  But, yesterday we took the piles that were left and went to the laundromat to get it all washed and dried for once and all.  It feels good to have all my clothes clean (I have plenty of clothes that I could have worn even without doing laundry, but it still feels good to have every option open).  The amount of wash we had was a little crazy.  A lot of it was bedding and towels that I didn’t wash during the interim at all.  It would have taken forever to do those loads at home, but at the laundromat, with the big industrial washing machines and dryers, it took less than two hours to have everything washed, dried and folded.  We still have to put stuff away today, but thumbs up for the convenience of laundromats!

Lastly, this has been a really loooooong week for me.  I started a new teaching gig in addition to my old teaching gig (which is full time plus really) to help pay for our new (to us) car and catch up on bills and hopefully get ahead this year.  The week was made much longer by those two additional classes AND the fact that the first weeks of school are always an administrative nightmare for me because my full time job includes a lot of travel planning and paperwork at the beginning.  Thankfully, we have Monday off for Labor Day and I can get a little rest and a chance to catch up.  Monday is by far my longest day of the week, so it is the perfect day to have off and will make a huge difference in my life next week.  So, huge thumbs up for Labor Day this year…more than most years.

So, there it is – My Thumbs up Thursday for this week.  Hope you had a lot to give thumbs up too this week!

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday #4 – Busy Week So Must Use Words

I started back to teaching this week and I have been slammed.  My Mondays are really long – 10 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. then back at it at 3 p.m. until 10 p.m.  Tuesday is almost as bad with office hours from 9 a.m.  – 1 p.m. then teaching at another location from 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.  And today, same as Monday, but with no 7 – 10 p.m. class.  Thankfully the end of the week gets easier, but this will be a rough semester.  Especially on weeks when I have tournaments on the weekends because I will have looooooong weekend days/nights and then come right back to basically a 12 hour day on Monday.  Sigh…

So, I didn’t take many pictures this week.  I took one today at the bookstore to make fun of my hubby, but it is sort of an inside joke so not really meaningful to share on the blog.

I am looking forward to a relatively easy day tomorrow – just teaching from 3:30 – 5 p.m.  But, I have a lot to get done around the house and in prep for the coming weeks.  I will definitely need to stay more on top of things with this schedule, because I won’t have any time or energy to catch up after tournament travel.

So, sorry I don’t have pictures to share, but I will be doing my best to take them more regularly this coming week.  I do enjoy going through my pics and choosing my faves on Wednesdays, but sometimes my phone stays in my bag and we just don’t do much to justify picture taking.


Travelin’ Tuesday #3 – Staying Home…

This Travelin’ Tuesday post is going to focus on the opposite of traveling.  It is going to focus on staying home.  This weekend is Labor Day in the U.S.  It is the holiday that signals the end of summer (even though with new school schedules, most students have been back in school for weeks at this point).  It is also a big travel holiday with people getting in their last “summer” trip of the year.  But, I’ve decided to stay home this holiday weekend.  I could go to the Bay Area and visit my parents and take my daughter to the amusement park in their hometown.  But, I went back to work this week and even though it is only Tuesday, I’m exhausted.  And I feel like trying to do a trip and big fun this weekend will only wear me out more.  So, I’m going to stay at home.

I think that I will take this weekend to do a bit of a Staycation though.  I know that staycations are a bit cliche at this point, but I do feel like there is plenty of fun to be had around our own little hometown this weekend and it doesn’t require a drive, an overnight stay in a bed other than our own and sacrificing any chance of getting some time to clean up and organize my house (the neverending quest of my life it seems).  The University that I work at is offering a bevy of entertaining events trying to keep students entertained without alcohol and huge parties (which turn in to riots when things get out of control – already happened earlier this week when the students were coming back into town), there is a Friday Night Concert, a Saturday Morning Farmer’s Market.  My daughter would love to go to Turtle Bay Discovery Park again (we have not gone all summer long).  We can go shopping downtown.  We can go to the river and play in the water, feed the ducks in the pond in the park, go for a short nature hike…I think what I’m going to do is check one of the Summer Bucket Lists on my Pinterest page and do as many of those things as we can around our area this weekend.  It should be fun,  little less exhausting than traveling somewhere while doing it, and can be scheduled around a little housecleaning and organizing!  The best of all worlds, I would say.

Wordless Wednesday

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday #3 – A week of firsts

First day of last year of preschool

Yesterday we had two big firsts!  It was the first day of my daughter’s last year of preschool.  Crazy to think that she will start in kindergarten next year.  I remember thinking how far, far away it was just a short time ago, but now it is only a year away!  So glad we have another year though.


New PriusI drove home our new (to us) Prius!  It is a 2012, so not “new” but it is new to us and only has 16,000 miles on it, so not bad.  The car buying experience is the worst.  I absolutely hate it because I always feel like I am being “taken” in some way, shape or form.  But, I feel like the price on the car was pretty good after looking around at other possibilities and it will save us a lot of money in gas over the coming years.  I averaged 56 miles per gallon from when I stopped for gas and getting home – which is almost three times what we were getting in our other car.

So, a day of firsts for us yesterday.  Very exciting things happening in our lives!