Please keep in mind that my average annual income for most of my adult life was in the $10-$20K range, and that the only reason we can afford this house at all is that a) Kevin is a saver/investor who has also consistently made a lot more money than I have, and b) Kevin's parents are very kindly and ridiculously generously helping us out by passing along a goodly chunk of his inheritance early. I am very grateful, but also have a hard time having any of this make financial sense in my brain. I had no idea I was picking a rich boy when I picked him (he certainly didn't live like one :-), and there's still a fundamental disconnect between the ramen-eating, holes-in-his-t-shirts Kevin I've known for seventeen years and the one who has access to a substantial amount of money. All of which we're now contemplating spending on a house, with nothing left over. Eep.
So there's that. And then somehow I got into a long comments-thread discussion on Jed's blog, which is on one level about introverts and extroverts, but which I ended up responding to on another level altogether, and which left me extra-anxious and stressed all day, checking the net every five minutes to see if anyone else had posted a comment. Feeling like a) I was fighting with my friends, and b) somehow I'd ended up in a position where I was coming across as the bad guy, the big meanie extrovert who just doesn't care about her introvert friends. And I don't really think that's what was going on, and I'm going to stick by my analysis of the situation, but it's very tense-making. I really am very conflict-averse.
It probably didn't help that my sugars have been messed up for a few days -- I ran out of glyburide, and the doctor's office and the pharmacy failed to communicate on Friday, so I had to go three days without it. Found that just carb-counting is definitely not enough for me to maintain good sugar levels, so there was stress about the spikes (hitting 153 at one point almost sent me into a total panic, until Kevin looked it up and figured out that it wasn't as bad as it seemed), and in general, I didn't feel so great physically. Lots of highs and lows, I think. Thank goodness I have the glyburide again; I actually had a long dream Sunday night where I was explaining, at great length, to some doctor that yes, glyburide really was an effective and worthwhile protocol for treating gestational diabetes, making him look at my little log book for proof of this, and chiding him for not prescribing it for his patients.
And then there's the teaching. I got my evaluations from last spring back yesterday, and for the most part, they were really good. Very good's and excellent's across the board, and a lot of nice comments from students who loved me and loved my class. (The lit. class did pretty uniformly say that there was too much reading and too many books, so sorry, guys -- I'll fix it when I teach that class again in the spring. They also really appreciated it when I grounded all the post-colonial theory discussion in a) history and b) concrete textual details from the literature, which I did some, but need to do more of. Message received.) So all reasonably good, right? And there was just one student who gave me 0s and 1s across the board, and I was willing to shrug that off, because there's almost always one student who's just having a bad day, or a bad semester, or expected something different from you, or from the course, or something. You can't take that kind of thing personally, not when the rest of the comments are reasonably glowing.
But then I read his/her written comments, and s/he referred to me as 'that bitch'. And I just lost it, sitting in the department common room, trying not to burst into tears. So hey, spring semester student, if you were trying to be mean and make your teacher cry, well, congrats. You succeeded. Hopefully, though, you're not actually reading this, but have found something better to do with your time, because that kind of comment? Really not useful to anyone.
The whole thing shook me up badly, but I managed to calm down, between reading some more Josephine Tey, prepping for my next class, having a productive meeting with my new boss about the admin work I'll be doing for Asian American Studies, and making a second sketch for the stained glass class. I came up with a bougainvillea pattern that a) I actually like, and b) is of a manageable size. (My first attempt was over-ambitious). Will scan the patterns in when I get a chance, in case anyone else is looking for bougainvillea stained glass patterns. And then I went to class itself, and got to talk about plot structures, and active vs. passive protagonists, and layering in motivations for your character's decisions, and figuring out who in the story has the most at stake, and that was all good. Very good, really -- 'cause y'know, I love this stuff. And the students seem enthusiastic, and excited about starting work on their first stories, and I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with, so that's all good.
And then I drove to River Forest (right next door to Oak Park) for my stained glass class, and had a brief meal at a new sushi-Thai restaurant that just opened there, hoping for deliciousness, but it was sadly mediocre. My salmon sushi was okay, but not great. The steamed shumai were fine, but the sauce was over-sweet and bland. The green curry chicken smelled good, and they managed to make it a little spicy (I asked for extra-spicy), but the sauce was watery and underseasoned. Sigh. So far, the restaurants in our new neighborhood have been very hit or miss, the Asian food in particular. Disappointing.
Then I had stained glass class -- choosing glass, which was super-fun, cutting out the pattern (tedious), sticking the pieces to the glass with tiny pieces of double-stick tape (extra-tedious), starting to cut the glass itself (hard work, finicky, easy to mess up, frustrating, but also sort of satisfying, in its own weird way). Next class will be finishing cutting the glass pieces, and then wrapping them all in strips of copper foil (again, tedious). But then comes the fun part -- soldering them all together into a beautiful whole, watching the pattern emerge from all the pieces.
This is what it seems my life is like right now. Many small frustrating pieces, occasional moments of pleasure or even joy, and the hope of a beautiful whole emerging out of the whole mess. At the end of this -- a nice house, a baby boy, a good semester of teaching and administrative work, and maybe someday I'll write again. That would be nice.