Saturday, September 27, 2014

Through Her Eyes and By Her Hand

Her art shows ways that she is so unlike me--always drawing girls in high heels and makeup and fancy hair-dos.  But notice: those girls are hanging out in one picture in a coffee-and-ice cream bar, and in the other they are all curling up with books and desserts.  Both visions that I can firmly support!  Those two took her days to draw, and she added details constantly before they felt "done" to her. 

The last piece just happened this morning, I think all at once and rather quickly.  I don't know if you can tell very well from the picture, but it takes up an entire extra-large piece of construction paper.  It's just so very cool.  I'm thinking I'll ask for it in a frame as a home-made Hanukkah gift.

The world of her imagination, through her eyes and by her hand.  I hope she always embraces this originality, and that she may be forever nourished by creativity.  

Thursday, September 25, 2014

This Week in My Kitchen: Breathe

(Joining Heather for the kitchen blog hop)

It's begun...I've been working until about 7:30 or so every night (even on my work-at-home day, Tuesday).  I am hoping to find ways to minimize late work this semester, but there is just so much to learn in my new capacities on campus right now that it's hard to pull back.  Meantime, the kitchen is a place to chill out about the rules and take it a little easier: 
  • Welcome back, leftovers! Even you look better by candle light
  • Comfort food is in order by Friday night, and pancakes were just perfect
  • I continue to be obsessed with--I mean, regularly eat--a quick muesli before catching the train in the morning.  Thank heavens for quick, real food.
  • Greatly enjoyed cups of tea and a quick leftover vegan enchilada while working at home on Tuesday
  • And finally: dish washing makes me think of the bath this week because our dish soap is lavender scented!
Deep breaths, yes?  Hopefully I'll get some good cooking and baking time in over the weekend, even though it's supposed to be 80-ish degrees again (hey, what happened to fall???).  

Here's to hoping for--but not planning on--a saner week next week!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

This Week in My Kitchen: Changing Seasons

(Joining Heather at Beauty that Moves for the kitchen blog hop)

The past couple of weeks have been such a blur of activity--and only some of it in the kitchen. I am back to cooking and baking mainly on weekends now that the academic year has started.  But, along with that has been the transition from summer kitchen to fall kitchen, including the return of several things I love: candle light every night, soups, baked goodies...and the first home made chai of the year!  

I also started a "First Sunday Brunch" this month, trying to get in the habit of socializing away from work, on a regular basis.  Funny how even a few confirmations leads to a full and joyful house for a few hours of relaxed dining and chatting while kids hang out and play.  The cat was most curious about the process of getting ready (even though she hid--as always--the entire time that friends were over).

And another sign of changing seasons in my kitchen is Anya's Hanukkah wish list making its appearance on the refrigerator door.  She's a girl who knows her mind, right down to what she wants for home-made present night.  

What are the signs of changing seasons in your kitchen these days?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Finding My Feet...and Pondering What I Really Want

Every semester, especially in the fall, I struggle to find my feet as the semester begins.  I worry over classes and scramble to find the right pace for them. I rush to catch trains and mourn the loss of my morning walk (I get it in some days, but not often).  I collapse at the end of the day.  This year, I have added administrative responsibilities that have me running from one meeting to the next. Know what I'm really, really not good at?  That's right: running around from one thing to another without a coherent connection between my duties, and especially if doing so offers me no time to hide away and decompress in my office for a while.  

I worry if I don't say enough in meetings.  I worry if I say too much. I feel overwhelmed by the juggle of classes, meetings, train, home, LIFE. I watch as my plans to continue research and writing into the school year quickly turn to dust because other tasks demand my time and attention. 

I wonder, every year--heck, every semester--if I shouldn't throw in the towel and admit that I'm just not cut out for a job that has me wearing so many hats at once, and that has me to deal with large numbers of people  (Did  I mention that I'm an introvert?)

And then, sometime around week 3 (sometime right around now), I begin to find my feet.  I revel in opening worlds of thought and history to my students, and remember why I teach.  I come away from a meeting energized with ideas and determination to follow through on them.  I realize how much I missed my fellow train folk. I remember to cherish the depth of community that I have found at my university.  I encourage a younger faculty member and think back to how others' support helped me to thrive as a scholar, despite having a 4/4 course load.  I figure out getting a real walk into a late afternoon or evening.  I spend an evening baking fall foods rather than prepping for the next class or meeting, and for a brief moment I get off the hamster wheel and breathe.  

Life gains perspective again.  At least, until the grading hits full force, and at least by then I am used to the pace of the semester. And by then, New England fall will be in all  its glory--bringing all the weather and colors and foods and smells and coziness that I love and thrive on.  

And when all is said and done, I will survive the semester.  

Every year the same process--always familiar, always different than the year before.  Every year I wonder if I really can keep doing this job, and every year I come back for more.  For the past few years, I've thought about leaving full-time work.  I agonize over when and how to do that. I can feel something slower call to me.  

But apparently it's not time yet. For now, I will keep finding my feet and trying to remember why I love this work so much, even though it's hard for an introvert like me to handle it all. 

May as well make happy where I am, right?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Interesting that one of the only stray papers lying around on my desk is this one...