50,000 word Nanowrimo novel, hosted Thanksgiving for 30 or so of my nearest and dearest and then launched into Christmas preparations -- all the usual, plus heaps of knitting and new design projects. New Year's included a week long trip to see my sister and her family in Grass Valley -- and more knitting -- and then January launched me right into editing (which involved multiple student conferences) and publishing the 12 novels for my Creative Writing Class. That was a fantastic, but exhausting experience. Now that I know the routine, I'm hoping it will be more efficient next semester. This first experience though was definitely challenging.
As soon as the novels were published and our signing party/exhibition over, my kids (and I, as volunteer Mom) had production week for Peter Pan. Daily rehearsals in the big theater (an hour away) were fun, but kept us hopping and during that same week I had to prepare all 6 of my new classes for Huck's spring semester. The final performance of Peter Pan ended this last Sunday night -- we made it home by 11pm and headed out bright and early the next morning for a full day of new classes at Huck.
During this same basic time period, the kids performed in 3 holiday concerts (see here, here, and here), broke a finger, stepped on a gi-normous piece of glass, bled from the ear (that was actually last night -- more on that below), had a birthday, caught colds, including a nasty sinus infection and kept on track with all their homeschooling work. I suspect you're starting to see why I'm about to fall over. My primary way of de-stressing during this period was to read -- and read I did -- as evidenced by the multiple book reviews I've posted here. Reading really is my favorite way to relax -- well, that and knitting. It would be awfully hard to choose one over the other -- mood is an important determining factor. Best of all is when I'm able to combine both -- knitting, while listening to a book on tape. But, this isn't always possible -- some patterns are just too persnickety (complicated charts and vast amounts of counting) and apparently listening and keeping careful count are just not skills I'm able to combine. And of course, given the thousands of books that line my shelves, not all my books are on tape.
Some nights, after the kids were in bed, I'd just sit on the couch with a good book and a cup of tea and spend a peaceful hour trying to re-establish my sanity. I'm extremely introverted by nature (teaching aside) and desperately need time alone to re-charge the old batteries. And this is what I was doing last night when my older daughter, unable to get to sleep, came downstairs for a drink of water and one last good night hug. It was nearly 11pm and she'd been trying for over an hour to get to sleep and was frustrated. As she bent down to me on the couch for a hug, our heads banged together (and yes, if you're sensing this is where the ear bleeding comes in -- you called it). This was really frighteningly disturbing. Our heads hadn't banged all THAT hard -- it definitely hurt, but I didn't think we'd hit hard enough to give my daughter a concussion. She was actually crying from our "head-bang" and I thought she was over-reacting a bit, right up until the moment she looked up and I saw blood dripping from her ear. She was understandably rather distraught at seeing this -- to say I was too would be the understatement of the year, though I tried to stay calm and calm her too. The bleeding stopped within a couple of minutes and I had her lie on her side to drain any blood still in the ear. I called her doctor who thought it was bizarre, but said that since the bleeding had stopped we should sleep and come see her first thing in the morning.
I was slightly soothed by the doctor's calm attitude, but wasn't about to go right to sleep after a head injury (especially one that caused bleeding FROM THE EAR!!!! -- yes, I'm shouting now, but I really did strive to stay calm at the time for my poor kiddo). Anyway, I did calm her down and we watched a little show on DVD. I planned to have her sleep in my bed (not that I thought I'd actually sleep) and we were about to go upstairs when I thought I'd just take another look at the ear with a flashlight. Once I did, it became quite clear what had happened. While it was bleeding, it was impossible to see, but now that it had stopped I could see a little nick, just inside her ear, that had scabbed over in the intervening hour. It was obvious that the bleeding had been caused by a scratch from her earring. Because she was leaning down to hug me, when we collided her earlobe (with the wicked little earring) had bent upwards causing the stone in her post earrings to nick the inside of her ear. Whew!! Can't begin to describe the relief. Bleeding from the brain wasn't a prospect I'd enjoyed contemplating.
So, I'll stop today as I started, with that collective "Whew!!!" -- grateful to have made it through the last few months relatively unscathed and with promises to post more frequently now that life has slowed a bit. After all, I must set a good example for my blogging students and in 2 weeks my 12 new authors will begin facing weekly word count deadlines for their novels and I plan to be right there in the trenches with them again (writing the 2nd half of the novel I began in November). So... Whew!