Whiling away my break

Wow, I can’t believe I’ve been out of classes for a week and a half already. And I still have lots more break to go. In some ways that’s a wonderful, glorious thought. In others, downright depressing. I need a job.

Anyway, during my break I have managed to accomplish a few minor things. In terms of productivity, that would mostly revolve around getting the spare room/office organized. Why I insisted on a two-bedroom condo is beyond me. The second bedroom usually turns into a gigantic walk-in closet. But it’s actually functional now that the crap has been sorted through and the ancient computer tossed in the basement. I (well, my mother and I) finally hung stuff on the walls in here… which goes quite a ways in toning down the brilliant red walls. But once you can see as much of the floor as you can now the cream-colored carpeting also offsets it nicely. It’s turning into the office space I envisioned. When (if?) I have money again I think I might need to get another bookshelf to house all the nursing books that are collecting in toe-stubbing piles around the house.

In less productive accomplishments I watched the entire first season of Gilmore Girls on DVD. My friend has the first four seasons and loaned me this set. I will have to beg her for the second season. I watched the series off and on during the network run, initially because I had to see if it was true that a main character was named Rory, then because it was so darned funny and charming and touching… I seriously want to move to Star’s Hollow. But being able to watch the series in order has filled in a lot of gaps and cleared up some of my Gilmore Girls questions. Important stuff. Like, now I now why people ask if my name is really Lorelai (in the show Rory’s real name is Lorelai, her mother named her after herself, and thus Rory is a nickname… but no, my name is Rori, just Rori).

I also got some books from the library and have been going through those. For those who may remember my post ranting about my choice of “anti-escapist” fiction during my last break, you will be relieved to know that I was more successful in my search for escapism this time. I read one book called Addled which was a bit tough for me to get into at first… not hard to read, I just wasn’t sure I liked it, but by the end I found it quite entertaining… and I enjoyed the way the author wrapped up the story. I also read–don’t laugh–Anne of Ingleside, the sixth book in the Anne of Green Gables series. I have the first five and had reread 2-5 recently after seeing the PBS/CBC movie of Anne of Green Gables on TV. The fifth one didn’t do so much for me, but I thought I should read the sixth to find out “what happens next.” What happens is more of the same Anne from book five. The formerly spunky, independent, strong-minded girl/woman gets increasingly more boring the longer she is married and the more children she pops out. Of course I try to keep in mind the era that the book was written in and about and the fact that it’s probably hard for an author to make an older married woman interesting to an audience of young girls, but for heaven’s sake, did she have to turn Anne into such a mush-pot? She’s barely even likeable, and I wonder if Lucy Maud Montgomery herself got sick of her character since she focuses a lot of the book on the different children and only at the end adds a little reality to married life when Anne worries that Gilbert has fallen out of love with her after fifteen years of marriage… a concern which is neatly wrapped up when Gilbert reveals that he’s really only been concerned about a patient of his, but he found out that his hunch was right and the patient will be cured of whatever it was that ailed her, to which Anne remarkably becomes cheerful and happy once more. How nice that a couple married fifteen years only suffered one week’s worth of marital strife. How nice, and how utterly unrealistic. Anne, you let me down, dear girl. I’m not sure I’ll ever feel up for reading 7 or 8. But we’ll see.

Currently, I’m going a little more anti-escapist (can’t let the brain turn to mush, you know), reading Opting Out? Why Women Really Quit Careers and Head Home. So far it’s an interesting read, particularly because the author actually did research on the subject where scant research had been done before. She points out that this “trend” of women leaving successful careers to be mommies isn’t necessarily the trend that the media is making it out to be, in fact more women with children are working today than in the mid-80s, yet there are many highly-educated women who have left successful, high-powered careers to stay home and this book explores the reasons behind it. I haven’t gotten too deeply into it, but it seems that she’s hinting at the significant role of workplace inflexibility in this trend and pointing out that employers will have to work harder to retain their talent than they currently do. In my experience of corporate life I can definitely see how this is true… and I think it goes beyond making nice little policies and touting them to the employees. My employer did make some strides that were positive, especially in light of the policies of other organizations. For example, anyone who became a parent was given 4 weeks of parental leave; for moms it was added to their short-term disability leave, for dads (or non-birthing partners) it could be taken any time during the first year… which was a huge improvement over the former one whopping day of paternity leave, and also allowed adoptive parents to take parental leave. But, you know, what happens when leave is over and you come back to work? For those people who do make their kids a priority they get the sneers of “oh, you’re coaching another sport, eh?” or “leaving early again, hm?” yet, conversely, the people who are all about work are sneered at for being uncaring parents. You really can’t win the game no matter how you play it. I couldn’t blame the women I knew who were powering their way up the ladder who stepped off and said, never mind, I think I’ll push the stroller around the suburb instead of putting up with you lot. Anyway, I’ll be interested to see what else the author has to say on the subject.

Besides that… I got my stats book and attempted to start reading it, but I’m not feeling it. For one thing, I was disappointed at the lack of problems in the book. I really wanted to do some nice math problems. And, no, I’m not kidding. I find math relaxing and fun. I love the medication calculation worksheets we have to do for school. Hey, some people do sudoku, I personally like algebra. Phooey. Stupid book. I might have to go find one on my own.

In other news, the monsters are keeping me busy. I attempted to booby-trap the kitchen counter with packing tape today. I think rather than dissuading them from getting up there, though, it’s just compelling them to be smarter about jumping with enough oomph to get over the tape barrier. However, one of them did manage to get stuck to three strips of tape. The nice cat mommy would take the tape off. The mean cat mommy (me) rolls around on the floor laughing like an idiot while the cat tries to figure out how to get her limbs unstuck from one another. Hee hee.

I think I’ll head to Philadelphia this weekend to visit my Boston roommate. She’s on her break from vet school and I haven’t been to see her since she moved down there three and a half years ago. It should be a blast. I’m still bummed that I won’t be able to get out to Michigan. I talked to one of my friends out there today and could hear the new baby making noise in the background and it made me sad that I’m not going to get to meet her for a while yet. She sounded so cute. Grumph. And I could be so useful… I’m good at diapers and the like. I made the older baby laugh the last time I was out there, and she’s not much of a laugher. Grr…

The monsters are getting restless, time to go supervise!

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