Thursday, November 1, 2012

Reflections on Things That Make Me Happy :)

October has come and gone...and what a great month it was. We started a savings account, I was a bridesmaid in my friend Lauren's wedding, Brendan and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary of dating, and we got into the halloween holiday spirit.

Dressed up for Halloween party last weekend: Skeleton and a Rabbit 
I also graded 175 midterm papers in the past two weeks. WOW! It felt like a huge accomplishment, as I have never had that many papers to grade in one "round," and I'm proud to say that no student waited more than two weeks to find out his or her grade :) Just call me super Professor!

In other professional accomplishments, Brendan and I gave a reading at Midland College this past Tuesday. Brendan read poetry, and I read a short story. We had a turn out of about 70 faculty, staff, and students, and we were very happy and honored to be asked to read. There was food and refreshments provided and a jazz band that played before the readings. We extend much thanks to Dr. Diane Allen for planning the event and to all that attended (and also to the jazz band under the direction of Mr. Raybon Bwley).

I wrote a new short story for this event, and that was a great feeling. I always feel like I can't write during the hectic schedule of the semester, but now I know it's not true. Not only did I write the story (and revise many times--a big thanks to Bren for his insightful comments), but I didn't fall behind on any of my grading or teaching. By working harder during the weeks, I was able to take off the weekends to work on my own writing. This realization has increased my happiness tenfold!

All set up for the event
Now that it is November, the months of giving thanks, I've already found much to be happy about in just this first day of the month:

  • Today was payday, and now that we've both been paid for the month, I was able to pay off credit cards, contribute to savings, and pay our rent. Doing these tasks makes me feel empowered because I know we are making responsible decisions about our spending. Also, every time I pay a bill, instead of looking at it negatively, I think about it positively and feel thankful that we can afford a place to live, etc.
  • Even though I wasn't feeling 100% yesterday or today (sinus pressure headache stuff), I still stuck with my workout schedule (which has me working out 4-5 times a week). I did my new workout schedule the entire month of October (worked out twice a week during the month of September)...I am so proud of myself and cannot wait to share the results after I finish stage one of my plan (there are 7 stages). My goal is to be fit and fabulous on our wedding day, and I feel well on my way!
  • Today, our cleaning service came. Since we both started working full time, they have been coming every other week. This has been a wonderful thing for us; they do a great job, and I notice that we have more time to spend together. The apartment also looks cleaner than we can ever seem to get it ourselves. As a final bonus, coming home to a clean place just makes me feel wonderfully happy and relaxed!
  • I read two books in the month of October, and I'm looking forward to writing reviews on them.
  • I had a department meeting with my colleagues today, and I really like working with them all and am excited about some initiatives we are taking to improve the English department. 
As you can see, overall, October was incredibly productive and my November is off to a great start. I attribute much of this to being able to adjust to the semester and my new job, and tactics that gave me more energy in general: getting plenty of sleep, eating right (and lots of protein), and taking vitamin B12 (I'm serious, I believe it has made a difference). I also think another secret to our success is that Brendan and I are productive together. We encourage each other to work, write, grade, and rest and have fun too. We take turns cooking healthy meals, and we let each other rest when needed (our schedules are quite different this semester).

What made you happy in October & what are you thankful for or looking forward to in November?
Here's to that!
<3 S, B, L&Z

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