Short trip

We spent the last couple of days meandering around DC with some old friends from grad school. Much fun was had by all. There was lots of walking, eating, and drinking. Now I need a nap. Here are the kids in front of the White House. Next time, they say they want to go inside.

Il y a bien longtemps . . .

Me at Indian restaurant, originally uploaded by lorda.

It’s been a long time. I’ve been in North Carolina, and then Paris, Indianapolis and now finally home again. The weather is beautiful here, making the transition back to real life a bit easier. I’m sitting now on my back deck with a beer, trying to recreate the Paris cafe atmosphere. It’s close, but not quite.

I had an absolutely fabulous time, but I am glad to be back home, not living out of suitcases. So, what’s everyone been up to?

Travel day

Today we head back home. It’s been a nice visit but I think we’re all ready to be back home in our familiar surroundings. We have the weekend to recover and then it’s back to school for the kids, back to reality. January for me is filled with a few deadlines. I’m conducting a day-long workshop in a couple of weeks and classes begin on the 22nd. There’s still some prep to do for both. I’m hoping to establish a good routine before classes begin so that I can fit everything else I want to do around the class. This week I need to get my office set up and organized. I have to finish getting my workshop together and I need to finish the class blog and digitizing some of the materials. I also need to set up some appointments related to my business and I’m hoping to get a podcast out this week. And I’m hoping to do all that without stressing myself out. Hah! That’s going to be very important to me though. I need to do enough to move toward my goals and get what needs to get done done, but not feel completely frazzled about it. And that, I think, will be the ultimate challenge and something I’ll be working on this whole year.

Travel adventures

From Geeky Mom

We’ve been attempting to get somewhere today. It started out with a 4:30 am call telling us our flight was canceled and they couldn’t get us on another flight tomorrow morning. We really wanted to get there today so we decided to fly out of Newark. The flight wasn’t until later but we were all awake so we decided to go out for breakfast and hit the road. An hour into the trip, Mr. Geeky got tired so we stopped at a rest stop for a nap. Geeky girl also napped.

Once at the airport, we were selected for special screening. Do you know what a pain it is to go through that process with two kids and lots of electronics? Bleh. So now we wait. I hope we arrive eventually.

— Post From My iPhone

Airport experiences

Bryan blogs that his airport restaurant wiki got picked up by Aviation week: Infocult: Information, Culture, Policy, Education: Airport restaurant wiki gets blogged by Aviation Week

I never seem to have enough time to eat when I’m in an airport, so I haven’t been able to contribute to his wiki. In fact, most often I have an extra tight connection that causes my luggage to get lost. Bryan has been witness to one of these incidents. My last tight connection, however, was altogether different. I was flying United and was connecting in Chicago from Denver. We were late getting out of Denver because the original plane broke down and we had to take a different plane. We were kept informed the whole time. Once I got to Chicago, I bolted from the plane, since I had only 5 minutes until takeoff time. As I was searching for the screen with departure information, I heard myself paged over the loudspeaker, telling me to report to the gate immediately. I ran. At the end of the hall, a United clerk was standing there, and he said, “Are you Laura?” Yes, I panted. He sent me on my way. When we got to Philly, I went to baggage claim, fully expecting to walk away empty handed. But after about 10 minutes, my bag appeared. I honestly think that’s a first.

Putting everyone else first

Mr. Geeky called last night–as he has every night since he’s been gone–to check in. He asked when I was planning to leave for the funeral.

Well, I said, I have a meeting at 3 and students coming at 4, so probably not till 5:30 or 6.

Are you crazy? he said.

Well, it’s the students’ first paper. I feel bad.

Look, he said, you’re always putting other people first. Reschedule the meeting and the conferences and leave early so you’re not driving in the middle of the night.

Okay. You’re right.

And then we talked about some other things and we hung up.

He was right though. I often have a tendancy to put others first, especially in a work environment. I need to stop that. For one thing, I don’t think it actually benefits anyone. I get frustrated because “No one appreciates what I’m doing for them.” I don’t have time to be proactive and put programs in place, etc. And then I’m burned out and resentful and I don’t even *want* to be proactive. It’s ugly.

Actually, Mr. Geeky does this sometimes too. The difference for him, though, is that some of that has paid off–in terms of getting tenure, a nice grant, and other rewards for his hard work. But some stuff doesn’t always pay off. Spending hours with students is not always rewarded. All the little administrative stuff he does, the email lists where he helps people well into the middle of the night. The thing is, we both care about our work. We care about it in selfish ways, sure, but mostly, we want to help people and we want to make a difference, whether that’s locally or globally. And so we keep at it.

But sometimes, you have to let go of that and take care of yourself and your needs. You have to put your own oxygen mask on first. I need to do that more often.