I haven't been posting much lately for folks to read, and I haven't had time to take any pictures. Apologies for that, but I'm having a busy start to 2012 at work and at home -- that is, when I''m home.
We were all set for our regular trip down to see Aimee's folks in Harrisonburg, VA, before Christmas. That trip is normally plenty of travel for me, and once I get down with it, I'm usually happy enough to hunker down and not go anywhere except to work and back for the rest of the winter.
But this year I'd signed up to take students to a conference in DC. This is a great conference for students, the National Council for Science and Environment annual meeting, and for one reason or another no-one had wanted to do it this year, so muggins of course said he would, and I did and even enjoyed it.
But while we were still down in Harrisonburg I received the news from my sister that my mum's condition was worsening, and on the drive back home Carol called to say that she'd passed away. So then there was the flurry of activity, more or less routine at this point since we've done it so many times, that accompanies these emergency visits back to the UK, and then the visit itself and the funeral, all described in earlier posts, and then the trip home, which was pretty bad since I was delayed for twenty four hours in Dublin and then landed at Boston in an ice storm, and the worst one of the season so far to boot. The bus ride from Boston to Portland was delayed, and the two-hour drive from Portland to Jackson took four.
Five days later there was the conference.
So, having arrived back at work essentially a week late for the start of the semester, this last week has been one big catch-up, and about seventy hours work total. Luckily I get up early, and so there are usually an extra three or four hours available. Following a few of these early morning sessions, I'm now more or less back on track in all my classes.
This process of catching up is complicated by the fact that I've signed up to teach an extra class in renewable energy over the next three weekends, at our local community college, Kennebec Valley, or KVCC.
This class is part of a multi-class program that is itself part of the current federal government effort to provide "retooling" for mid-career professionals in the energy business, to enable them to make the transition from conventional energy management to renewable energy and energy efficiency, and I'm quite tickled to be invited to give what is essentially the overview class.
Yesterday, after a slight delay because of another ice storm, I taught the first eight-hour class, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. My students are all established professionals, including two engineers, a manager for a large local HVAC contractor, and two more with experience in support tasks for the energy business, back-office and sales and so on. I also enjoy KVCC because of the tech school atmosphere. It reminds me of my first college, Number One School of Technical Training, RAF Halton.
It's a knowledgeable crowd, my favorite topic, and a great setting.
But I don't think I'll have much time for this blog these next few weeks!