Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Semester is Underway

My brain started doing Sudoko last week for the first time in a very, very long time. Sometime before surgery, I lost interest, and until we were on the trip home from France, it hadn’t returned. In an airport waiting room, the puzzle in a newspaper caught my attention.

It took me four days to solve it.

In my defense, my experience is that the British puzzles are more complex than ours, whether they’re crosswords or number problems. Still, it got me started and I can do Sudoku puzzles again. The difficulty of the puzzles I can solve is at a lower level than they were the last time it was possible, and I’m hoping that practice will increase it over time. Still, it feels wonderful to be able to tackle them, much less to have the interest in doing so. It seems to me that the interest and ability to tackle them are heavily interrelated, though the exact mechanics of this peculiar chicken-egg problem are mysterious. In any event, one more thing that we thought might be gone for good seems to be creeping back, so I’m taking it as a good sign.

Meanwhile, I’ve been working on my own conundrum and come to the conclusion that it’s not all up to me, and that (please excuse the expression) there’s more than one way to skin a cat. One of my biggest failings, I know, is that my scale for my own conduct is a trifle rigid. Striving to find a way through this maze, with principles arguing either way, has been stressful. Larger events are moving and I hope that the path I’ve chosen will eventually prove to be a prudent and wise one. Time will tell. As Doctor Donnie would say, we’ll know more next week.

Monday, the first meeting of my main class this semester was terrific. Some groups have wonderful chemistry and augur well from the beginning. This was one of them. While it doesn’t always pan out that way, it does more often than not, which makes the semester to come feel exciting and hopeful.

The bureaucratic snags are, one by one, getting ironed out. After weeks (if not months), it looks like my appointment has finally made it through the system. The computer in my new office is, after some effort and several re-dos, recognized and permitted to run on the local network. Still to go: the missing summer pay and the files deleted from the law server by mistake, for which they’re having trouble locating a backup. Following a local mini-trend, we gave up on campus parking, and I’ve been walking to and from my new office. The bus routes have all changed, so figuring those out comes next.

All in all, if (when?) the university acquires some new trustees and they take up their duties, it will be a semester of new beginnings on many fronts. I hope they’re all good ones. Yours, too.

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