Heading Out

Seeking the winds that help to sail on Shakespeare's tide.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Slowly getting there

This has been one of the more brutal beginnings to a semester. Starting out just a little behind,I have encountered one of those cumulating crises months where nothing is major, but everything takes just that little bit too much time. I dare not list all that has to be done, but go in every day with only the most critical burned into the daily brain.

And then we get days like today. We started at 7 am with a meeting of 30 people, that should have really involved no more than 5. But I confuse getting things done with political correctness. Two of us had identified an opportunity for funding - and had done the underlying paperwork - today we sat and watched for 2 hours while the Dauphin and his "interesting' Philosophy blew that idea into a bureaucratic idiocy. To have the idea work we had to get something out this week, and at most it had to be short enough that a CEO could read and understand it in 5 minutes. A page and a half at most. We left with the document being about 20 pages long and as much realistic use as . . . well never mind, but it's white and comes in a roll.

Then the senior graduate student wanted to discuss job offers. For half an hour - he just does not understand basic body language - maybe I should escalate to an occasional gentle throat massage with both hands.

And then I locked my door, and for 2 whole hours wrote and actually got to the "conclusions and recommendations" part, which needed a bit of thought, so I opened the door to walk and think - well I did get that two hours.

A meeting with our professional fund raising department, then an interesting conversation with a possible donor, that left us feeling that someone had just just tried to take us to the cleaners but had been deflected at barely the last minute. And now we are moving into the afternoon and there is another meeting to decide a new contract budget. I cut our estimate in half - what the heck, it would be a fun thing to do and a realistic cost would drive the customer away (haven't I been here before - yes many times - have I learned the lesson - what lesson? This is why I live at the University, dear friend). Another graduate student comes in - where did the doorkeeper go - oh! Don't ask!

We had some unbelievable number of visitors to TOD today (55,000 hits) - and so guilt demands I post something short there. We get to meet the new Taoiseach (the Tsar is dead and all that - I would call him the Ard Ri but then those of us who can claim some lineage to the Dal Riada might get accused of prejudice. The leg is sort of getting better I can actually sit in my old chair for an hour now with little bother ( but no longer).

Mum now gets a glass of sherry in the morning and a tumbler full with supper at about 7 pm. She takes a little longer to warm into a conversation than in the past, and I have yet to schedule a visit this semester.

Yet another friend died this week, somehow it puts a lot of this into a different perspective. I will try and write more. Be patient the academic year is young, ' tis only I who am old, and watching a scenario in which I have unofficially resigned, but the only folk who have received it are acting as though it never happened. But it did, and in reality while last year did not feel right, this time it does. Sayonara and all that. (Oh, and the new Taoiseach is older than I. Ain't that odd.

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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Operating under automatic pilot

On Tuesday after lunch, but just before my scheduled class, we left on a trip to find some money. The party included the Duchess, the Dauphin and I. We reached our hotel about 11 pm and had just got in when the remnants of Katrina blew through and took out the power. Fortunately it was before I set the clock, but it killed internet access (though the hotel emergency generator functioned as designed). So up we got at 5 am and after getting lost twice found our meeting, some hundred miles away. My role was somewhat nebulous but I managed to do the "Gloom and Doom" during the day that the rest of the world found out how bad NO was (we did not being in the meeting all day). On our way back we stopped for dinner at the same place John Major and Bill Clinton had dinner, and stared down on an empty Ohio river. The internet still did not like me, and so early bed since we were back up at 5 am today to catch the plane back. Getting lost in fog on the way to the airport was interesting, and losing two of the team in the airport even better, but finally we got back home.

Being a tad tired I did little but listen to gossip until it was time to go home. And had just got home and poured the relaxing toddy when the phone rang. The husband of a colleague had died, and she was still at work. That sort of a day - we came back for dinner here, but she still has to start to do all those detailed things, and was due to make a major presentation Tuesday. So we will work on that in the morning - after class. (The story of my class, now 16 strong) will unfold in its devious way over the next week or so.

And so, since it is at 8 am, another rearly morning before a full day. So much to say, so little time.

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