Making it Through the Week

What a crazy week. The start of the semester at NAU always throws me for a loop. I work in a tech support department that assists NAU faculty. It’s been insane this week. Due to our budget cuts we’ve lost some of our student worker help and that means a lot more work for us full-time folks. Thus, a crazy week. We made it though.

I stayed in bed until noon today — a well-deserved sleeping in, if you ask me. I only had one thing to deal with today and that was cleaning the house. I was having visitors. Paw Placement was coming over for a home visit. I’m adopting a dog named Duke and this was the first visit to see how Duke got along with my dog Spencer. It went well — no fights, no growling, and no unseemly behavior. Spencer wasn’t a love puppy, but he wasn’t obnoxious. That’s a victory to me.

Now I’m just sitting back in my clean house, watching some of season seven West Wing episodes. Hey, I made it through the week, I’m allowed to relax.

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Pay Raise Equivalent?

I’m looking forward to July. A new fiscal year begins at work and more money will be showing up in my paycheck. No, not because of a raise, but because I can stop taking leave without pay (sort of like furlough time) to help our department’s budget survive the cuts.

I may still have to do furlough days in this next fiscal year, but our department head has said we should hold off until we know exactly what the university policies will be regarding furlough time.

My paycheck going back to what it used to be is a good thing. It’s almost like a pay raise… a rather sad one.

Ellen DeGeneres at Tulane University

Dawn tweeted the link to this wonderful video fo Ellen DeGeneres giving the commencement speech at Tulane University. Funny, yet poignant. Watch it and see:

Destry Rides Again at NAU

Tonight’s movie in the NAU Film Series was Destry Rides Again. I do love this movie. Marlene Dietrich getting down and dirty, Jimmy Stewart outsmarting bad guys, and a fun story.

I still laugh at the whole concept. I’m trying to imagine the studio honchos who said “Let’s put Marlene Dietrich and Jimmy Stewart in a movie together… and let’s make the movie a Western!” Yet it works. Exotic and dangerous Dietrich with gangly and sweet Stewart. What a combo.

Heading Home Early

I’m here at work, but not for much longer. The big snowstorm is beginning to dump a chunk of snow on us. I’d sent out an email to co-workers announcing that I’d be leaving by 3:00 due to weather wimpiness on my part. Then the administration at Northern Arizona University, where I work,  announced it would close at 3:00.

Whew! I’m not the only weather wimp.

Good Week; Bad Week

The Arizona Cardinals winning the NFC Championship was phenomenal. Seeing Barack Obama sworn in as the 44th president was great. Feeling healthy and active is exceptional. Unfortunately, the week hasn’t been made of just those things. Some things are sucking the big one.

My mom refuses to be active. Hearing that she is getting weaker and unable to do much is hard to accept. My poor sister is feeling so down as she is the sibling taking care of Mom. There’s still hope that Mom can discover the will to do what needs to be done to get herself active again. We’re hoping.

The other bad thing? Budget cuts. Arizona is hurting badly. As an employee of the state of Arizona and working at one of the state universities I don’t expect much from our state legislature, especially now that Janet Napolitano left to take charge of the Homeland Security. We now have a governor who is liking many of the other conservative yahoos in our legislature: a tax cut aficionado and higher-education hater. The announced budget cuts to the state universities total $600 million over the next 18 months. Lovely.

Our department could have possibly survived those cuts with lots of belt-tightening, but what really hurts us is how we are funded. Most of the funding is based on a program from state sales taxes. Arizona’s economy is spiraling downwards and the projected funds are disappearing fast. To make ends meet we are voluntarily cutting our hours. So instead of a 40-hour a week paycheck, I’m now getting a 38-hour paycheck. We’re now hearing that we may have to do something more drastic. It could end up as a non-voluntary eight hours a week cut. Goodbye discretionary funds for fun.

If we have to do it, I can go back to scrimping again. It just pisses me off. I’ve been working hard at getting some old nasty debt paid off and I’m not close, but I’ve made tons of progress. Now I’ll have to cut back on the debt payments, which means a longer time frame to pay them off, and living without a large amount of savings. That’s all I want — more than $1000 in my savings. I want to put more towards retirement too. Of course, I’m lucky. I have $1000 in savings, a regular paycheck, a financial plan, and I’ve seen that debt go from five figures to four. There are no debt collectors calling at all hours, no maxed out credit cards, no children to clothe and feed (though the way I keep losing weight I’m going to need some funds for clothes in smaller sizes!).

Anyway, good week; bad week. I like the good, hate the bad, but life is more than just a lifetime of average weeks.

Whoa Baby, Dilettante Has the Moves!

I sit here shocked. I did something I never thought I could do. It was a feat of strength and endurance and I did it. In my Crossfit Bootcamp class I pulled off 50 sit-ups, 50 push-ups, and 50 squats. Whoo hoo!

We were doing an age-adjusted physical performance test as a baseline for the semester. When I heard what we had to do I groaned. There was no way I could do it. At least I had to only do 50 of each, but the other students, who are young whippersnappers, had to more (subtract your age from 100 — that’s what you had to do). I helped a sweet young student named Katy, who managed to get through 81 of each exercise. My mouth dropped at how well she did the test. Now it was my turn.

I flew through the sit-ups and only began to feel them during the last 15. Then came the push-ups. I could modify it and keep my knees on the floor, but I expected that I’d get about 12 done and then fall apart. Unbelievably, I whipped about 25 off before needing a break. Then it was a slow and steady process of doing a few and taking breaks to finish them up. As I’d been working on squats  in my workouts  I thought I’d be able to get  through them and, yes, I did!

So when I get my time for completing them it was 9 minutes and 50 seconds. The teacher was near when I finished and he let me know that what I did was excellent — a sub ten-minute time for this is awesome.

My regular workout is based on the Crossfit warmup exercises, which took me the last several months to build up to. Push-ups and squats took some real work on my part. I found the Crossfit Ozone site incredibly helpful in working up to something more difficult.

A year ago this would have been impossible. Shoot, a year ago I would never have signed up for the PES class on campus. Now today I sit here with jellied arms and mushy legs feeling quite proud of myself.