or, "From Crazed to Dazed"
In our last episode, Miss Chef and I had returned from a memorable trip to parts north--New Jersey suburbia, and the bustle of Manhattan. Our return flight was Friday morning, to allow Miss Chef and I to get back to our busy work schedules. Our flight was delayed, so almost immediately upon arrival, Miss Chef changed and headed back out to work. Yep, that's right: she's a workaholic.
My plan was to spend the weekend re-working and tightening up my syllabus, and maybe writing some conversations to introduce each week's topic. I really should have started it the week before Christmas, since school was out and my evenings were free. I wasn't looking forward to cramming all that work into the last weekend of my vacation.
But our last day in Jersey, I was thrown for a loop. I got the following email from my department head:
Alison,The subject line read "Schedule Change." Change?!? That's like saying death is a change in living status. Hmph. I had a hard time deciding how I felt: shocked, relieved, disappointed, excited, worried. "Hey, glad I didn't spend all that time before Christmas working on an unneeded syllabus!" "Damn, I hope word hasn't spread throught the student body that my class sucks." "Wow, I'll have plenty of free time again." "Shit, what the hell am I going to do with myself?"
I hope you enjoyed a nice holiday season.
Yesterday we closed the FRE101 course for the winter term due to low enrollment. We’ll try again for spring!
And, as Miss Chef pointed out, "I bought you that nice briefcase for Christmas, and now you don't have any use for it."
I feel about half as bad as I would have if I'd been fired. I mean, it's not like they're going to go through the headache of finding another (well-qualified, happy to work part-time) French instructor. And I assume there will eventually be student demand for a French course again. Still, there's a sense of rejection there--probably more so because I'm female. (Is that sexist?)
Anyway, my point is supposed to be that I'm feeling a bit at loose ends. Add to that Miss Chef's absence this weekend, visiting her family and some of our friends in Alabama. For various reasons, I opted not to dip back into my vacation days to go with her, though I would dearly love to see Mobile again.
Just as I was coming to terms with missing out on the fun, near the end of the week, I realized I had Monday off. A three-day weekend? Double drat! Not only was it too late to change my mind about those vacation hours, but now I had three whole days at home, Chefless. *sniffle* *pout*
I have never felt so negative about a day off in my life.
Maybe I should explain a little. I lived alone for five years in graduate school. I made some friends; our department was small, my program even smaller. We all knew each other, for better or worse. But, between being alone, being single and in a years-long dry spell, and, as it turns out, going too far down the wrong path, I ended up in therapy. Nothing serious, in fact most of the people I knew in grad school had been or were going through counseling. Suffice it to say that, in spite of how important those grad-school years have been to my mind and my career, they were probably the worst days of my life.
This weekend alone, without a course to prepare, was starting to feel like my endless, dreary weekends alone in my apartment. And I know that depression is not something you get over like the flu; it's always ready to come back into your life. So I got proactive.
I emailed some friends, explaining my predicament. One couple apologized, saying they were going to be out of town. The other never emailed back. Oh dread...I started making up a list of projects to keep myself busy: get my oil changed. Hair cut. Trim shrubs.
Miss Chef left Friday morning, with my admonishment to call when she got home. (I never used to worry about people traveling...) That afternoon at work, I placed my cell phone on my desk, so I could grab it when she called. Around 4:00, it buzzed with a text message...but it wasn't from Miss Chef: "J & J are coming over to have some adult beverages. We'd love it if you could come by."
Sweet! My going-out-of-town friends had decided to have a happy hour at their place, partly for me. Not only would that keep me from moping around Friday night, but if things worked out right, I'd have a great excuse to drag around the house Saturday morning!
So my weekend is turning out to be only half-bad. Friday was wonderful fun, and I did spend Saturday doing absolutely nothing, even though I felt fine when I got up. My other friend called this afternoon to accept my suggestion to see a movie. (We saw Up in the Air, with George Clooney. I'd love to hang out with that man for a day. He seems fun. And yes, hot.) And it turns out I have a doctor's appointment Monday afternoon I'd forgotten about.
And so, feeling not so bad off, I'm spending the evening doing something I haven't had much time for: cooking. I'm camera-less too, this weekend, so I was unable to take any pictures, but I'm making an easy Coq au Vin. Do you want the recipe? I'm using this one I found at Epicurious.com. To summarize: in a heavy dutch oven, brown some bacon, pull it out; brown some chicken, pull it out. Brown some onions, garlic & carrot, add some wine and cook a few minutes, then put the meat back in with broth, herbs and more wine. Simmer 45 minutes, serve over egg noodles.
One pot; what's not to like? And baby, I gotta tell you--it smells good in here!
And yes, Miss Chef did eventually call me...after I called her and left a message. Humph. I may make a point of eating all this coq au vin before she gets home.
Today's post feels especially self-absorbed to me, especially considering the plight of Haitians this week. As I mentioned in a comment to Liz, I've been wanting to write about the earthquake and its aftermath, but I have no idea what to write. Only that I feel terrible, and I hope that we--the rest of the world--don't get bored and turn away when it doesn't get better in a week or two. I wish I could hold someone's hand, but all I can do is send some money. And I feel good that I have money to send, thanks to my crazy, two-job schedule the last several months.
God bless Haiti--they need it more than America.
Oh, and the picture...well, I told you I'm camera-less, so I thought I'd repost my fixed-up photo of the whale at the Museum of Natural History. Just 'cause...he's a pretty cool whale, I think.