Sucked into a book, that is. That's a lot of what I've been doing since I got home from Seattle, catching up on reading. I got lots of good books for Christmas, for one thing, and for another I just know I won't have that much free time to read in a couple of weeks. I signed up for my classes yesterday--and paid for it all. Even with my free tuition, ouch! But I turned in Shane's tuition waiver at the same time, which made me feel good. No more student loans is always a plus.
Shane's still in Soldotna at the moment, hanging with his family, playing hockey, and doing some work for his dad. He said he'll probably get back here next week sometime. While a little part of me is enjoying the solitude, mostly I'll be really happy when he gets back. Besides, our roommate will be moving out at the end of the month, so it really would get lonely without someone there. At the moment Chris is just sociable enough that I'm not lonely, but mostly he's staying in his room so I can do whatever I feel like in the rest of the house. Which, it turns out, is really just lots and lots of reading. (Three books in three days? Why not?)
Work has actually been pretty busy this week, since Katherine is taking vacation time to hang out with her family and I'm trying to get all of the reserves done. We don't have a lot this semester--yet--but each book has a decent amount of work involved. And I have nice things to look forward to: my boss goes out of town tomorrow and Monday is a paid holiday. I know it sounds heartless to be happy that my boss won't be here, and she really is very nice. I like her, but she has two tendencies that drive me nuts: 1 is that she can never, ever remember how to do things in office 2007, either Excel or Word. And she always asks me for help. 2 is that she always manages to bring up something else I should do or look into when I'm in the middle of something. Or eight things. Usually there's only about five minutes of one task left, and I just want to finish that before even thinking about something else. But she has to mention something that's odd, or ask me about something that there's no earthly reason I'd know the answer to, or give me another task. And it kinda drives me crazy. So it'll be nice to be able to relax.
My animals have been so funny this week. Zap keeps pestering Pepper, who keeps pestering me. In a way, once I realized what was going on, I could really understand what Pepper has been doing. When she's with me, or if I'm paying attention to her, Zap leaves her alone. But she's been pestering me to the point of running out of sympathy. Zap's pestering is just funny. He desperately wants to go outside, but at -30 it's definitely too cold for him to do so. And I admit, I haven't been letting him play with the laser pointer every night. So he's taking it out on Pepper, by pouncing her and batting at her (claws in). But she's not enjoying it and gives him warnings every once in a while by snapping toward him. (I say it that way because it's obvious she doesn't actually want to hurt him, just to warn him away.) She did that to him the other night when he was particularly feisty, and he jumped back, then they sat staring at each other for a few long seconds. As I watched, one of his paws slowly...crept...up...and then BAP BAP BAP! He hit her on the shoulder, she lunged at him, and he raced off. It was so amusing, I couldn't stop laughing even when Pepper came over to me with an injured air like, "Mom, make him stop!"
The days are getting noticeably lighter, which is fantastic. We're back up to five hours of daylight. I keep having to remind myself that the darkness isn't all that bad. After all, over the summer I'll be pining to see the stars and the Lights (which actually haven't been out that much this year) so I'd better enjoy them while I can. But the lighter days tend to mean it will warm up soon, which means more and longer walks. My short little walking breaks at work can't make up for all of the exercise and peace of mind that I'm missing out on.
One last word about the pets: I've been trying to feed Pepper less because she's quite chubby. So far, she's resisted all of my efforts. The other day I went into the kitchen and it took me a moment to realize that, yes, my dog was standing on the kitchen table devouring the rolls I'd made earlier.