Running, researching, sabbatical-ing, brain shunting, and kid-dragging to the ER. It's been busy since my semester has ended.
|I ran about five miles with a girl from Nebraska. |
The running community is always so encouraging.
I'm thankful I got to run a week ago in the OKC Memorial Half. It was some of the best weather we've had in a few years, especially for the halfers. It got pretty hot for the full marathoners and relay runners in the last two legs. I was pretty sure by mile 6 or so that it wasn't a PR race, but I was able to finish with a 2:08 so I was satisfied (kinda). As always, the crowds were great and it was awesome to see my friends Jaryn and Tasha several times along the route cheering. Especially because I was tired. I think doing three half marathons in 8 weeks was a neat experience, but it wore me out. I have plans to keep plugging away this summer, trying to get my speed up, and I'll hit another half marathon at the end of the summer.
Over the past year, I've begun thinking about new ways to try to grow professionally. I've never supervised undergraduate bench research, partly because bench research has always been challenging for me, and it seems so daunting to come up with the original ideas. The other reason is that I've taken the summers off completely until the Oxford program a few summers ago. Last year, with the kids older, but I wasn't spending a month away, I decided to work part-time in the summer trying to get some reading and writing done for my philosophy of science research. Josh and I found a great nanny who is still with us, helping with after-school pick-up now and soon more summer days. Part of the sabbatical magic was that I had the headspace to tackle a bench research project idea. I spent some time at the beginning of my sabbatical reading and writing a proposal for undergraduate summer research. I received institutional funding, hired an undergraduate research assistant (RA), and we started on the project two weeks ago. The project isn't anything too elegant, but I'm hoping it can be developed for one of my classes I teach. We're hoping to extract a certain chemical from sugar beets and sugar cane that is used in self-tanners. I've been pleasantly surprised that I didn't hate writing up the proposal (I actually kinda liked it), and so far, it's been a good experience thinking through ideas with my RA. If someone could have told graduate school Amanda that she'd one day be supervising an undergraduate on a bench research project, she probably would've laughed. Hopefully, my RA and I will have success on the project (aka that the science works).
I just took my auto-reply off my work email. The one that told anybody who emailed me that I was on sabbatical so I would be delayed in responding. I'm sad my sabbatical is coming to a close. It's not quite all over yet, or rather, I’m not ready to completely lose it yet. I'm viewing the summer as a continuation of the sabbatical life, just on a smaller scale, reading and working on the writing projects.
|Three kids @ a hospital are crazy.|
They're fighting over the "good chair" here.
|One kid @ a hospital. Much calmer.|
H and I visited Immie before ballet.
I'm thankful for running and the work I love. Especially when other parts of living an adult life are not quite as fun. Mom ended up back in the hospital two weekends ago after she had another cerebral fluid leak (she was about one week post-brain surgery). While Mom has a great medical team, hospital life still isn't perfect. It was hard on Mom not being in her own bed and having to eat hospital food for a week. Residents and an on-call doctor with a slight God-complex made for some moments that were reminiscent of Grey's Anatomy. I did feel the love from family and friends that week who continually sent texts, called, and visited. But I sure am glad Mom is home now recovering. I know we are all ready for her to be feeling well again. We are praying that the shunt will do its job, and there won't be any more brain surgeries in her future.
|Spring brought shelter-cleaning (thanks Josh!) |
Josh had professional training out of town last week so of course that's when Liam fell carrying a glass jar of marbles. I walked into the living room because C was yelling for me (he was in an intense game of Fortnight and couldn't stop apparently) and H had come to get me out of the toy room. I saw a frozen Liam screaming, broken glass, blood dripping, and marbles rolling around everywhere. I figured we needed to go to the ER when I saw how deep the gash was, and I'm no medical doctor, but it seemed to be bleeding a lot. I loaded everybody up and started driving. Liam was calming down, but saying, "I don't want stitches!" That's when big brother offered his words of wisdom, "If you don't get stitches, it'll get infected, and then they'll have to cut your WHOLE arm off!" As the nurse practitioner was about to start on Liam's stitch, H decided it was a good time to share her surgical skills with the room based upon a superhero doctor game she plays. She acted out in large movements and dramatic voice how to use a scalpel and then sew somebody back up. I told her to be quiet when I saw Liam's face go green as he's preparing for the stitch with no anesthesia (since he only needed one stitch, and would've needed two shots of anesthesia, we didn't go for for the shots). I was glad the accident wasn't worse, and I was especially relieved when the kids were in bed asleep that night.While I'm sad that my sabbatical semester is over, I'm glad we're done with some of these post-parts of recent life events. And I love this time of the year. Campus seems to be recovering from the semester like all of its employees: quiet and reflective. Summer days are arriving.
|Post-stitches: tough boy|