Healing Power of Doing Nothing

I have done almost nothing over this 10-day recess break period, and this year especially it’s been a blessing I needed more than I knew.  Having this break is a major perk of working in academia. Some years I fly to Texas to be with family, but honestly, I miss them for about 30 min on Christmas morning and the rest of the time I’m happy on my own without the stress of holidays and expectations.

I slept until I woke up most days until I finally feel rested and my eyes look less bruised from lack of sleep.  My time was my own.  I did limited shopping, got a pedicure, had my hair cut and colored, and took Tessie to the vet.  I drove out to a consignment shop an hour away that I’ve wanted to go to for months, and did genealogy research for my 95-year-old neighbor. I bought furniture.

I went through drawers, boxes, closets and shelves to weed out what I don’t need/want to take to my new apartment, lugging bags and boxes to Goodwill – and even more bags to the dumpster or recycling bins.

But mostly I spent the time alone with Tessie and it was just what I needed.  I enjoy being with people but it tires me out, especially in the chaotic bustle of the holiday season.  I brought some work home but kept it in my bag without opening it – which made me really happy.  More to do when I get back tomorrow, but emptying my head of work was necessary.

I hope I can remember all the codes I need to know tomorrow.  But at least I will go in rested and ready to take it on.

Winter Quiet and Solitude

Dorothy's Red ShoesWhat do you think of when you see heels clicked together three times?  Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, clicking her heels to go home.  It’s iconic.  So when I saw a commercial with people doing the heel clicking thing, even without saying anything, I knew it had something to do with home.  Imagine my surprise when home = Pillsbury crescent rolls.  Since we only had them at my house for special occasions (since Mom never served bread with meals), it wasn’t an obvious leap for me.

Work was crazy this week with lots of meetings, snow, system down time, and playing catch up.  Yesterday I took off a bit early to take Tessie in to have her claws clipped.  The poor little sweetheart was not happy with me, but it was over fast and we came home to her favorite stinky wet food and mommy as a mattress for her to knead out her stress.  I actually feel happiest some days when I’m laying down and have her on my tummy, and I don’t care if I’m covered with cat hair.  In my house, it’s a condiment.

Things have been very quiet and solitary today.  We slept late, having stayed up last night to watch Letterman’s tribute to Great Moments in Presidential Speeches.   It was soooooooooo nice to sleep until I woke up – it’s amazing how much better I feel after getting 7 1/2 hours of sleep.  The kitty and I just snuggled into the covers and slept and dozed.  There’s something healing in not being a slave to an alarm clock.

I watched some TV, called and had a long chat with a friend in Vermont, and piddled around the house for most of the morning.  This afternoon my errands were defined and short — a stop at Shaws for carbonated water, filling the car with gas (have you noticed that the price goes up every time now?), getting the car washed to get rid of that icky white road salt, and finally a stop at the other grocery for a short list of things.  No Peapod this week; I didn’t need that much.

Tonight I had a rude shock when I worked on my taxes only to discover that I somehow owe almost a thousand dollars.  Gaaaak.  I need to talk with the HR folks at work to get my deductions changed on my W-4 form.  I thought something looked kind of odd but had gotten a raise plus there were different state taxes here, plus I filed differently last year because of moving expenses.  I’ve NEVER owed this much before and it definitely takes a unexpected cut out of savings.  I guess that vaguely possible trip to Paris that I’d been thinking about is out, at least this year.

I feel a bit as thought I’m hibernating.  I hate the bitter cold weather, the late sunrise and early dark.  Although I talk to people all the time, my circle of friends here is pretty small.  So I’m a little lonely – but really more solitary than that.  Sometimes I think I should feel more lonely but my constant communication with people via Twitter, IM, Facebook, blogs and phone calls fills that need.  At least for now.

It’s quiet and  Tessie is asleep on the couch.  We’re getting more snow tomorrow, probably not much but I don’t trust the weather people.  It’s nice to have another day to stay in bed and snuggle in.