Monday, July 9, 2007

a fantastic no-work-allowed day

I had originally planned to take a day off about a week and a half ago, but have been straight-out busy instead. The Office Space Follies had devolved into utter madness. I've been advising my summer student counterparts like mad. Finally, I was scrambling to get a journal paper submitted on which I was first author - super-exciting, but as it's my first first-author paper with Dr. Superwoman, I've been very very anxious to do a top-notch job. But on Friday the office-space situation finally got sorted out and the more demanding summer student, Chill, finally hit her stride and bopped of to do a bunch of work on her own. And yesterday I clicked "Submit" on my paper! WHEW! On top of that there have been lots of minor tiffs and snafus with research, my office, TB, and my upcoming move, and I've been working away on my latest presentation which is coming up in a week and a half.

So today was no-work day - the first REAL one I've had in what felt like years. (no work-related emails, no presentations or papers written, and I even stayed away from looking at new journal articles)

I woke up and actually managed to get myself out for a long run (4 miles - for me that's long!) I got myself my favorite granola bar flavor and yogurt for breakfast (everyone go get a Dulce de Leche Luna bar - makes for a healthy part of breakfast and it tastes better than most candy bars). I put on my Anne of Avonlea DVD and worked on my latest crafty project - I'm not a big craft person, but I'm pretty decent at hemp jewelry, and I've had an awesome bead sitting in a drawer for months that I've wanted to make into a necklace.

The major highlight of the day for me was getting a massage. I've had exactly two massages before this one in my entire life, and they were student massages from a health center near my undergrad campus. But I LOVE them, and I swore I'd get myself one once I had my summer pay and some free time (I know that TB will be pleased that I've started outsourcing the whole backrub deal - I harass him for them endlessly whenever he's around). After two straight hours of office hell finally got resolved on Friday, I finally just picked up the phone and called the awesome-hippie spa my adviser had told me about for an appointment.

I was totally amazed. I got a robe and shoes and the best tea I've EVER tasted (licorice root and mint - SO GOOD. Go get some!), a foot bath-and-massage, and an AMAZING full-body massage. They even give you a little aromatherapy thing in the massage room, along with the sort of meditation music that I love to listen to, no matter how much people make fun of me. And a swanky shower afterward with all of their fancy (way-too-expensive-to-actually-buy) products available. And the whole thing came to less than $100 - or would have if I hadn't bought a big jar of their tea. Worth it.

It took me a little while to get over feeling slightly guilty about the whole experience - there was this woman about my age rubbing my feet and holding up little aroma bottles for me to sample, and it just felt ridiculous at first - I kept trying to remind myself that I've had the month from hell and paying for a pleasant experience once in a while doesn't make me a pampered spoiled horrible person. Nobody I knew growing up ever went to a spa - they were ridiculous places for detoxing celebrities or stuck-up women whose kids were being raised by nannies. So I felt weird going to one - I got along just fine without a fancy spa visit for 23 years, so there was no getting off on "I NEEDED this". I wound up asking my masseuse how she had gotten into this field and why she did it, and it was very cool to hear her answer - her biggest bonus was how portable her job was, and she was telling me about being able to find work in places like France and England and Alaska (random!) because, as she puts it, "my hands go wherever I go!" Eventually I started feeling like a client instead of an entitled snob, and was able to really REALLY enjoy the experience.

I left with my entire neck and back feeling like butter and my feet feeling amazing. I went to my favorite coffeeshop and got my usual sandwich and read, then came home, messed around with my hemp twine projects some more, and re-read part of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (I've got big plans for a complete reread of all six books by July 21st - less than two weeks away!!!) I had some ridiculously-good tomato-basil quinoa that I had never made before for dinner and finished my book. Which brings me to now - I made myself a mug of that tea, and I was happy to come across one of my favorite, if slightly silly, programs on Animal Planet - it's the one where the Australian guy is basically be Steve Irwin transported into pre-historic times. I know it's a slightly strange program, and not entirely great from a conservationist point of view (at one point he tries to feed a Miocene-era herbivore a 21st-century apple, that sort of thing), but I love it - yay wacky prehistoric animals!!!!!!

Tomorrow it's time to get back to advising, presentation-writing, studying, and the whole rest of the mess, but I earnestly do feel like taking a day to actually take care of myself is going to make me a better student, in addition to a happier person. Living by myself has the simultaneous benefit and downside that, when I go home after a day of work, there's nothing much to do except more work - come home, eat dinner, and sit back down in front of the computer. I get a lot more done, but I start to feel extremely unbalanced, doing nothing but thinking and sleeping and thinking some more. So today I finally took a chance to take a break from the academic end of things and take care of the rest of my life a bit.

1 comment:

DancingFish said...

Sounds like a great day!