Thursday, 29 November 2007

No (new) goals this week

First of all, I wasn't so good at keeping up with my goals last week, so we'll just carry them over, at least one ones that aren't time sensitive. Things for work will just get done anyway, and (second) I'm trying to wrap my brain around some changes coming up.

1) I've accepted the position of Acting Head for next term while the present Acting Head (and presumptive Next Head) is on leave. This means..

2) I will be: Acting Head, Graduate Program Chair, Undergraduate Program Advisor, Clinical and Developmental Linguistics Curriculum Chair, and, um, something else which escapes me.

3) I will also be drafting my grant for september, trying to do some extra recruiting for the gradute program, and orchestrating a land grab, with the help of the Deanlet of Space.

4) The good news is that as Acting Head, I get a course break, so I'll be handing off one of my courses to someone TBD. TBD knows who he is, unless someone pops out of the woodwork, but anyway, this is a new twist in a year of Twisty Course Offerings.

5) It's also Letter of Recommendation season, and I've got my usual dozen or so students who need letters. This year, the twist is that at least one school receiving several letters has a Jan 1 deadline, so I have to really get these things out early thsi year.

So rather than try to make new goals and whatever, we're going to take this week to hold steady. I'll be trying to do my 10 minutes of ASL and 10 minutes of domestic activity every day, I'll try to make it to Yoga, and keep up with the work stuff. But other than that, I just don't have the neurotransmitter to cope with anything new right now.

Except that I may already be renegging on my decision to wait to buy a new computer. I could order one on line for about $500. So I might take some time and actually see if I can walk out of store with one for about that. Which strikes me as a good deal anyway. And I'm just not going to worry about how much fixing my car is going to cost next week--it's making some kind of weird noise, so I'm taking it in for its regular service, winterization, and checking the weird noise. Next week. Thursday in fact.

I think I'll talk to my doctor on Tuesday about upping my dosage tho. Just preemptively.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Well, that was odd

For the last half hour, every time I tried to open my blog, Firefox crashed. This time it didn't. How random. I was thinking it was the long 'status' line in my Facebook badge, or possibly the video I accidentally posted so that it automatically runs, but oh well, it's working now.

So as to this mid-week (in depression management terms) update--I have not been particularly good at keeping up with my goals. I haven't, for instance, been diligent in my 10-minutes a day thing. In either respect. I have tried, but I forgot one day, started but got distracted another. And if I were really on top of things, the burnt-out light bulb in my bedroom would have been replaced by now. But that's going to have to wait for another day as well.

On the other hand, I did read three of the four things I meant to read this weekend. Didn't get to the biggie, which is the review I need to write, the deadline for which is fast approaching.

I did have a good yoga practice today tho.

Unfortunately over the weekend, the inside of my left wrist broke out into some kind of rash. I don't know if I came into contact with something or this is just my periodic, atopic, often stress-induced, skin thing reasserting itself. I'm dousing (or is that dosing) it with Benadryl (thank &deity; for Benadryl spray) and cortisone (thank &deity; for 1% cortisone) as appropriate and hoping, really hoping it goes away.

Because if it's at all stress induced, stress is going to get steadily worse for a few months. I've been appointed Acting Head from January 1st to June 30th next year, while the current Acting Head (and presumptive next official Head) is on leave. I'm hoping nothing too horrible will happen, but it sounds like a lot of little hassle things that I don't really need.

The good news is that I get a course break, if I decide to take it, which is what I'm going to finish deciding tonight. Like Milt Stegall (record-holding football player for the 2nd-place CFL finishing Blue Bombers) I'm 99% sure (in my case, that I'll take the course break immediately and hand one of my scheduled courses to someone else; in Stegall's case that he's retiring like he's been saying he would at the end of this season).

I don't normally follow football, but the Grey Cup was this weekend (as was the Vanier Cup, more in a moment), which is the CFL's championship game, this year played by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Saskatchewan Rough Riders (currently the only CFL team to be called the Rough Riders, but that's a recent development in Canadian history). Saskatchewan one, to the surprise of no one, really, but it was a big deal here. It was a pretty good game, from what I hear.

So congratulations, if not jubilation, to the Blue Bombers. On the other hand, the UofM Bison(s) football team won the Vanier Cup on Friday, which is the Canadian college/university football championship. So go Bisons. Woo hoo.

Okay, I have to go see if I have enough gas in my car to make it to the gas station. And then find some food for dindins. To all a good night.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Things I'm not going to spend money on ... for a while

This is a list of things that I think I am sort of in the market for. Not necessarily immediately, but I'm looking.

The Townhouse. I deeply covet a very spacious townhouse in the Linden Woods section of town. I'll settle for one of the less spacious townhouses a little further south, but whatever. Since I can't afford a down payment of any kind right now, I'm not planning to buy in the forseeable. But Me Wantee. Me Wantee Bad.

The Wii. I sort of got permission to buy a Wii from my endocrinologist. This is after I promised myself that (after the DS) I would never buy another console again. But you can play tennis and stuff on the Wii. On your feet. Full body movement. If your gonna play video games anyway, they might as well almost qualify as exercise. According to my endocrinologist. Thats my story and I'm sticking to it. This could actually happen if a) I get my living room clean enough to play tennis in, if you follow, and b) the prices come down a little (or there's a really good sale before Xmas).

The car. I need a new car. My current car is too big, has no CD or mp3 player, and a couple of weeks ago my last useful cup holder broke. (Late addition that I forgot about, I lost my remote door thingie back in June and have had to open my doors and trunk with the key!) Horrors. But a) I can't afford a new car at this point and b) I'm not sure what kind I want. I want to go green(er), and since 99% of my driving is on surface streets in the city, it makes sense to go hybrid, or smart, or even plug-in electric (there's a Canadian model which as recently been approved for sale in Canada--but the top speed is about 80 km/h, which make sit not-useful for occasional trips across the border, let alone anwyhere else). I'm sort of stuck with GM, since the only trade-in value I'm going to get is from GM, and only out of some weird inverse sense of product/customer loyalty, since my current car is a Chevrolet. If the Chevy Volt ever becomes a real car, I'll have to think seriously about it.

The Internet Connection. I'm on the verge of a) dumping the land line and b) buying internet service from the cable company. Which brings me to ...

The new computer. This is critical. I recently purchased a wireless card for my laptop, which is my only computer at home at the moment. But the wireless card makes it more useful for travel and trips to the coffee house, and since it's perfectly functional I figure it'll last me another couple of years at least. But that means I'd really like to get a real desktop computer for home. Something with some real speed, and plays decent game--er, can run a spreadsheet and a document, and a powerpoint, and print a PDF at the same time. SOmething fast enough to run the internet connection at a speed that's worth having (it). So these two are sort of linked.

But Vista is still a little unstable, if you ask me, and I don't want a Mac. So I want to wait another six months or so before going for the computer. I might buy a monitor and/or keyboard, with Xmas coming up and presumably some decent sales going on, in preparation for a new computer, but anyway, that's the plan.

Just call me Potential Consumer Boy.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

What works, what doesn't

Well, the plan to use this blog as my depression/dysthymia management goal-setting tool isn't working quite as well as I'd hoped. Not because I'm not meeting my declared goals, but because for some reason I have trouble remembering (or finding time) to update my progress and make new goals.

On the other hand, to the degree that I have been keeping up with the goals, at least for the week that I think of them as 'active', it is working. I've also hit on a strategy for dealing with domestic tasks, based on my 10-minutes a day strategy for practicing my ASL signs. I call it "10-minutes of domestic activity and then I can quit".

Here's how this works. One of the problems for me is that I have trouble starting things I can't finish in a timely fashion. So nothing ever gets done, as my attention span dwindles to about 10 minutes. So I've giving up on finishing. Or rather, I'm not seeing finishing as part of the success model. Now I just have to sit down and do something that *helps*--sort laundry, do dishes, take down the recycling, scrub the shower, whatever. I just commit myself to 10 minutes. No pressure. No "I'm not done until this room is clean", "I'm not done until all the books are put away", "I'm not done until...." Being done is not the goal. Just spending 10 minutes doing is the goal. Every day. After my 10 minutes, I have achieved my goal. If I then feel like continuing for any further length of time, that's progress. If I actually get around to finishing something, that's victory. But the goal is small and achievable.

So here are my goals for the coming week:
  • 10 minutes of ASL a day
  • 10 minutes of some kind of domestic activity a day
  • solid second read and begin notes for a review for one journal
  • solid first read of a paper for a review for another journal
  • reading and prep of two papers for the seminar
  • paper notes for the proposed land grab we're planning in the department
  • remembering to take a glucose measurement at least five times over the week
  • finding time (maybe after Yoga on Monday) to update my progress on the above

That's actually a lot of work and not much in the fun and recreation department. I'll have to work on that for next week.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Mid-week (Monday) check

I'm sick. I was not well on Thursday, and while I was mostly functional on Friday I was not at my best. By Saturday morning I was definitely unwell, if not flat out sick. So I spent the weekend lying in bed trying to decide it was worth the effort to get out of bed to take care of basic biological needs (you know, food, drink, medication, bathing, and, well, other biological needs). In the end, biological needs were met (if you count a piece of pumpkin pie as 'dinner' Saturday night). But although my voice is on the ragged edge again, at least that pain in my right eye appears to have subsided. Someday I have to figure out what that pain is, since my one-doctor-ago doctor told me it couldn't possibly be what I thought it was. But anyway, it was not a high-functioning weekend, so one has to wonder what it has done to my minimum functionality plan as laid out in my last post.

To wit, I am pleased to say I'm doing not too badly, considering I was sick. While I got nothing done in the way of work (like getting those readings in), I did get some minimum household stuff done, in the sense of dishes, throwing away dead food, the taking out of garbage, and so forth. So let's see how we're doing:
  1. Practicing my ASL. Did manage to review everything on the list, briefly, once a day, even this weekend. It helps that it's a small list.
  2. Taking care of minimal domestic tasks. Again, going well, in the sense that daily, something is going on at home that makes living slightly easier. Okay, I threw an empty box on the kitchen floor instead of putting it carefully in the recycling, so the net effect is a wash, but at least things aren't getting any worse. And if you look carefully at specific square feet of areas in my apartment, things definitely look better.
  3. No reading for Phonology yet
  4. No reading for JASA yet
  5. Haven't played with my phone enough to discover how to set it to different modes (called 'profiles' on my old phone) like 'outdoor', 'silent', 'normal'. But I did figure out that the background image--called the 'wallpaper' on my old phone, is called the 'screensaver', for some unknown reason.
  6. Did start a book for pleasure last night when I couldn't sleep, since I'd basically slept all day. My intent was to start a new book, but shopping has been curtailed by illness. So I pulled out Thus was Adonis Murdered by the late Sarah Caudwell, a great old stand-by that at my peak I could recite great portions of with limited prompting. In terms of comfort, it's the literary analog of a cozy blanket, hot mulled wine, and a big bowl of mashed potatoes and gravy. I love to read while smiling.
  7. I am not skipping out on Yoga this week because I don't feel emotionally ready to deal with it. I am skipping out on Yoga this week because I think I'm trying to get over a cold, and hiking to the gym and sweating and hiking back with wet hair from the shower is just not in the cards. TMSAISTI. At least it's better than the emotional excuse. If I had my druthers, I wouldn't even have come to work today, but stayed home and gotten well(-er), like I did all weekend.
Anyway, that's the Rob's Mental Health Update for this Monday, 5 November.

P.S. Switching back to standard time a week late is bad enough, but being too sick to actually benefit from it sucks a big rock.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Free wireless hotspots are da bomb

Because I can sit sipping coffee and take care of stuff faster and in more comfort (not to mention cleanliness) on line. I sit now at a table at "Espresso Junction", the coffee place at Winnipeg's The Forks. And the wireless card and the laptop seem to be getting along quite happily, thank you.

I am here a) reviewing some papers and coming up with something to say in my seminar tomorrow, b) reviewing some exam papers from Monday's Language and Gender class, and coming up with something to tell the reader when I hand them off to her tomorrow, c) deciding which is more important--doing the first read of a paper I need to have reviewed in the next couple of weeks, or doing the last read of a revision I've just been sent by another journal (the first read of yet another paper I've agreed for a journal isn't due until early December, so it isn't even on the radar yet), and d) most importantly doing my goal setting for the next week, which I didn't get around to doing last week anyway, so we're off to a roaring start.

So here are my goals for the next week:
  1. Set aside 10-15 minutes to practice/review my ASL signs (being taught to me by my friend Barbara O'Dea in exchange for breakfast once a week--I knew there was a way to continue to have breakfast and a social life while my usual brunch partner is in the Nederlands). Let's say 'every day', meaning at least five times in the next seven days
  2. Similarly, taking 10-15 minutes every to take care of some minimal domestic task--since the completing of actual domestic tasks didn't happen at all the last time I tried this, I'm scaling back expectations even further (in the sense that 'cleaning the kitchen' is no longer a 'domestic task' but composed of any mumber of minimal domestic tasks, including but not limited to doing the dishes, getting the muck out of the coffee machine, taking out the garbage, throwing away at least two items of dead food from the refrigerator, and so on). But we'll try to do *something* of the sort every day. By which I mean at least five times in the next seven days. Starting this morning, when doing something about the dead phone counts, even though it wasn't actually a domestic task
  3. Get a solid read in of the paper I'm reviewing for Phonology
  4. Get a solid read in of the paper I'm evaluating for JASA
And not forgetting the having fun parts of my life:
  1. Play with my new phone
  2. Start reading an actual book for pleasure
  3. Not skipping out on Yoga on Monday like I did this week because I didn't feel emotionally able to deal with it. Which is pretty lame excuse, even for me
So there we go. Back to work now.