New job, new projects, new creativity!

I’m in the middle of the 3rd week of my new job. So far it’s been a lot of things: exciting, overwhelming, stimulating, intimidating, freeing, and most of all, scariest of all, most exhilarating of all, NEW. Besides planning to teach courses, almost every other aspect of this new job is completely different from my old ones. Phew! At least I can never say my job is boring or routine or not challenging me – I don’t think I will ever will have a “typical day.” I like that a lot.

What is this? A piano for ants?

1. Baby grand piano I made to learn CAD software. 2. How the piano looked fresh off the printer. 3. After support plastic was removed: semi-finished product.

An incredibly wonderful upside of my job is the new things I’ve been learning. I’m now laser cutting, 3-dimensional printing, designing (in the engineering sense of the word), and accidentally attending lunches with safety goggles on her head. (I blame my husband for not noticing.) Soon I’ll be delving into the world of mills, lathes, welding, mold making, and more. I’ve been learning a lot about CAD software, machine shop equipment, and the engineering design process. These are all things that, 3 weeks ago, I wouldn’t have known much about at all.

Maow.

Good Kitty helping me move stacks of physics and math textbooks. With an entire office to fill, I can finally clean out my apartment of this stuff!

The ending of two old jobs was hard. My heart still hurts a little when I visit my other university home or the old labs where I used to teach. I got teary when I cleared out my old desks and moved into my first ever office. I usually take things like this pretty hard: big changes, separations from an old way of life. So, I continually remind myself this is my chance to make a bigger difference, to grow, and to learn. Already in these first few fly-by weeks, all three of these things have been happening. Worth it? Yes!

It will never be this organized again.

My new office. Office warming gifts from family and friends made it feel much more like home – keep this in mind!

My current big task is to design three project based courses, roughly described: 1. An introduction to the design process and basic building/prototyping skills, paired with visual and graphic design skills to attractively promote and communicate designs.  2. More advanced design. We will be designing and, ideally, implementing sustainable energy projects on campus. 3. Intro honors physics lab focusing on circuits and optics. I think we will build solar powered light fixtures. I am pumped, I am nervous, I am working long days. Loving it!

 

Busy Times

Well, I’m sitting on the verge of some potentially big professional life changes. This process has definitely been keeping me busy on top of my teaching jobs and friends & family stuff! So, no crafty updates as of the last month or so, unfortunately. But…

I’ve been interviewing for jobs (sorry for the crumby photo quality and the dirty bathroom mirror)…

We’ve been trying out new and delicious meals (pineapple chicken with peanut sauce)…

And the four of us have been enjoying the new warmer weather out on our balcony.

Hopefully things will cool down a bit in the next several weeks as the semester wraps up and then I can get back to some crochet-y sew-y goodness!

Overdue Post! Valentine’s Day 2013

I apologize (to you and to myself!) for not posting for awhile! Lately, I’ve had a bunch of extra work to do at the university and so have been trying to keep up with all the normal stuff on the side. Gah! Talk about throwing a wrench into my crochet blanket plans. ;) Needless to say, that got put on hold for a bit. In the meantime, Valentine’s Day came and went! My husband and I decided to hold off celebrating until Friday, but he did surprise me with some beautiful flowers on Thursday…

I didn’t used to be a flower person, but there’s a lot to say about how much having flowers in the apartment brightens and livens up a room! Aren’t they beautiful? Due to owning two Kitties Who Eat Plants, the bouquet had to live in the bathroom (the one room that can be blocked off from kitty access without any inconvenience).

Friday night, my husband surprised me with dinner at one of my favorite places we don’t visit very often – Mai Thai in Omaha. I’m terrible and get the same thing every time we visit: fresh spring rolls with peanut sauce for an appetizer, and garlic chicken with veggies for the entree. Everything is SO delicious! By the end of dinner, it had started snowing some giant sticky snowflakes. So pretty.

All in all, a wonderful Valentine’s Day with a wonderful husband! <3

Cocoa, Kitty, and Crochet

This week has absolutely flown by! Partially, it’s seemed short due to the university being closed on Monday, but the rest of the days were really quite a blur. Each semester begins like this – all of the planning and getting used to a new schedule means I’m bouncing between lots of different work activities. Right now one of my biggest challenges at work is getting my students to “open up.” It’s tough on them to participate openly in a new class (let alone physics/astronomy, which most students are afraid of in one way or another) with 90 classmates. It’ll take them some time!

Luckily, after especially exhausting days, I know I have the sweetest husband to come home to! Yesterday I was feeling really crumby, and he surprised me with some caramel hot cocoa in my favorite mug and “made” me curl up on the couch with some snuggly blankies. He’s just the best!

The kitties definitely help after a rough day, too. Unconditional love from a little furry creature is one of the best feelings, I think. Especially when that creature will sit on your lap and purr while you crochet… Oooh, heaven! Surprisingly, Bad Kitty (shown above) is the one who will behave around yarn (mostly). Good Kitty doesn’t like to sit on a lap that’s moving around in any way. He’s very picky. ;)

I mentioned in my last post I’d be working on a new project at nighttime, and it’s going pretty well. Unfortunately, the first attempt at this new project was a failure – the pattern seemed like it would work out, but various aspects of it just didn’t look right. So I made up a new plan & pattern, have made a few of the pieces (you can see above), and will soon be working on putting it all together. I’ll let you know how it works out! :)