It’s all very exciting

Yesterday we went live with Moodle for all courses. This replaced our ten year old homegrown course management system, as well as our school intranet. This is tremendously exciting because it represents the culmination of two years of work for me. My coworkers and I, especially our programmer, have worked our asses off for months in preparation for this announcement, and I’m terrifically relieved that it has gone as well as it has so far. As I said to SB last night, it feels wonderful to have been an integral part of a substantive improvement to the way we teach and learn. The next few weeks will be a trial by fire as we work with instructors and students encountering this environment for the first time, but I’m encouraged by the response we’ve had so far. I’ve also recently realized that I really, really love training instructors.

A few years ago I was really lost, lacking direction in my professional or personal life. I was working a job I hated, and was in a relationship that was on its last legs. Three years later I have a job that I love and a wonderful relationship. The good thing is that I seem to have found my place after a lot of struggling – the bad thing is that in the next few months, we’re going to have to make big decisions about future things like jobs and relationships and where we’re going to live. Part of me really hopes that SB can find a job here, even if it’s just for another year or two – but part of me is excited about the idea of starting over in a new city with the man I love. We’ll see!

What have I been up to?

  • Finished up the semester on the 10th, making me a Master of Science. I have one paper to finish for my doc sem, which I haven’t touched since the beginning of the month. Don’t tell Boyd.
  • Spent a week and a half testing, tweaking, and training on our new CMS, which, after two semesters of piloting, goes live for all classes in t-minus 17 days. I’m anxious about the training issues, but cautiously optimistic.
  • Drank a bunch of barium and saw my insides (looking for an ulcer), but haven’t heard anything back yet. The whole procedure was more miserable than any pelvic exam I’ve ever had in terms of the uncaring touches, the lack of explanation for what was going on, the discomfort, and being left uncomfortable, cold, and alone on a weird table for an extended period of time.
  • SB went to Ohio for almost a week to visit his family. Solo time was nice but unproductive, and I was very glad to have him home.
  • Sid continues to be sick. She’s been on antibiotics for 10 days, but they don’t seem to have done much. Baby kittens with their crazy bugs!
  • Went to Rockford for Christmas, spending most of the weekend chilling with my family. I came home with a pile of cookbooks and a new food processor = yay! Photoset here
  • Received a beautiful necklace and perfect stationery, among other fun gifts, from SB. I gave him a Slimmy, a couple of books, and a few other things.
  • Carrie was here for a few days/ It’s always nice to have her around, even though we mainly just veg out. We went to yoga on Wednesday, and I was pleased with my flexibility, though I’m wildly out of shape. She left yesterday afternoon, and now I owe her a visit. She lives in Brooklyn, which I’m sure is wildly more interesting than Champaign.
  • SB and I rode in our first Critical Mass last night. Only six people (including us) came out, but it was nice to start small and be able to ride at a normal pace rather than going v slow with lots of people.
  • SB and I have been taking advantage of a quiet break to do a lot of cooking – some from new cookbooks, others from books we had lying around. In the last two weeks, we’ve made:
      Bourbon Cranberry Sauce for a vegan Hanukkah. We ate this over soy ice cream, but I’m sure it would be equally good over turkey or regular ice cream.
      – Plantain and Corn Soup and Lamb Tagine with Sweet Potatoes from The African and Middle Eastern Cookbook. My first experience working with lamb, though SB did most (OK, almost all) the work. The tagine was incredibly tender and flavorful. The plantain soup took almost no time to make, and was even better the second day.
      Roasted Pepper and Goat Cheese Sandwiches and Zucchini Pancakes from The Barefoot Contessa at Home. I added the Barefoot Contessa cookbook to my Amazon wish list primarily so I could remember to buy it for Mom. Instead, she bought it for me, and I’m really glad she did. Roasting the peppers was time consuming but easy, and the payoff (in sandwich form) was awesome. I made the zucchini pancakes for brunch yesterday, and they only reinforced my new love for zucchini – simple, relatively low in fat (a total of 1 T butter and 1 T oil used for the whole recipe, which made 12 pancakes), and very tasty. I’ve marked about half the recipes in the book for later cooking. 🙂
  • I start a work-study at the yoga studio next week. One hour of cleaning per week in exchange for one free class per week. I’m hoping to take two classes this winter/spring, so that will help me save some money!
  • Still not sure our exact plans for New Years, but I’m hoping they’ll involve a few parties and lots of friends

Today I was reminded of why I love my job.

I spent most of the day in meetings, making decisions (or decisions about decisions) about the future of our existing tools, and about what happens next as we go from pilot to production with our new system. The next few months are going to be very busy and very stressful. I’m really concerned that we’re not going to be ready – the technology may be, but I don’t think the faculty and students will be. I was looking forward to a relaxed break and going to ALISE in January, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be here working instead. I got home from work exhausted and stressed out, and ended up crying for a solid twenty minutes.

So why am I reminded that I love my job? Because I’m not worried that I’ll be crazy busy or stressed out over the holidays or will have to work long hours – I’m worried that these changes will keep me from doing my job effectively – that is, helping people teach and learn.

After years of crappy jobs, I have a rewarding job that I love. How great is that?

a happy crazy person

Oh man, I wish nothing was happening. The last couple of weeks have been INCREDIBLY busy, so I’ll just give you the highlights:

Work: rolled out Moodle for the LEEP kids on or around 9 June after a long week of really intense work. Two training workshops (led by me), a number of forum discussions, and a couple of live sessions later, things seem to be going smoothly, and we’re “cautiously optimistic” for fall.

Work: turned in my notice at Aroma – my last normally scheduled week will be the week of 31 July. Feels like the end of an era. I said I’m fine with being on-call, but with my fall schedule (whatever it will be – 40/2 or 20/4), I just can’t do it anymore. Oh, and we changed the menu, which has made things needlessly complicated.

House: keys have been delivered, and I’m headed to Rockford this weekend to meet with a realtor, do a ton of yardwork, and generally figure out what needs to be done to the house to get it on the market. The ex has been cooperative, which I really appreciate. This is hard, but it could be a lot harder.

Adventures: spent last weekend in Chicago at Intonation and visiting Amanda. Good times all around, even though the festival was so-so, and it rained part of the weekend. Bloc Party was awesome, so was Jose Gonzalez, and I enjoyed seeing/hearing a bunch of new bands, including a lot of fun hiphop. Shane and I did some shopping downtown and at IKEA, both of which were fun. I got a gorgeous dress for Sarah’s wedding on consignment, and we looked at things for an imaginary shared apartment (code name: Basil Land). Pictures here.

Adventures: spent the weekend before in central Tennessee at Bonnaroo, which is/was an experience that can’t be summarized in a short paragraph. More on this later, but in brief, it was four days of dirt and sun and music and food and friends. I was relaxed and happy and very dirty, and coming back to the “real world” was difficult. I saw Andrew Bird, Radiohead, Beck, Rusted Root, The Magic Numbers, Buddy Guy, Cat Power, Matisyahu, and a bunch of people I’ve already forgotten. Pictures here.

General: things are good – exhausting, but good. I’m running around like a crazy person, but a happy crazy person, and that makes a world of difference.