This week in numbers

0: Minutes I watched of the premiere week of “American Idol: Season 11.” ... Our interest in
Idol has dropped off big time -- with much of America, it appears. Last year, Kates and I watched a few early episodes, and the finale. I picked out Scotty McCreery and his million-dollar country voice the night he auditioned and proclaimed then that he'd win it all. Lesson learned: Investing three nights a week in those two-hour drag-a-thons of half-hearted critiques and mostly decent music just isn't worth it.  

1: Number of U.S. senators I met this week. Sen. Roy Blunt paid a visit to our campus Wednesday.

3: Number of crazy, Inception-like dreams I had between Wednesday and Friday nights, which featured everything from swimming across Lake Michigan to get to downtown Chicago to enduring a violent earthquake in an underground subway station.

4: Number of days I worked, thanks to Monday’s holiday.

5: Number of times I ate pasta for a meal between Tuesday and Thursday. Kates whipped up a delicious mix of meat and noodles for dinner Tuesday night, and I could eat the leftovers for several more days if there was more to be had. But that number also includes an awful bowl of something served up at our weekly church dinner. It quite possibly might have been the worst thing I’ve tasted in my life. It smelled like the remains of a fire-charred house.

6: Hours of sleep, on average, I’ve had each night this week.

7: Temperature Thursday night. It was been bitterly cold this week.

10: Hours I spent in graduate class this weekend. But it was one of the most engaging class sessions we've had yet, complete with designing organizational charts and board games based on the history of higher education.

12.5: Percentage of state funding our university will lose next year as proposed by the governor this week. It would be a drastic cut to our university, which is already “doing more with less” amid cuts each of the last two years. Programs will be erased and people will lose their jobs because of this.

12:30 a.m.: Time Phoebe awoke Thursday night/Friday morning to give me a hug. ... I had stayed at my office late to work on some of my graduate research, and my mind was too wound up to sleep when I arrived home around 11 Thursday night. So I stayed up a couple more hours, catching up on some TV. At 12:30, I heard someone coming down the hall, and as I listened closer I realized they were the footsteps of Phoebe. When I turned around, she was standing at the top of the stairs, cuddling her blanket. She looked at me and mumbled, "Daddy, you weren't here to give me a hug." My heart filled with pride, I got up and gave her a hug. Then I scooped her up and took her back to bedm and she promptly fell back to sleep. Arguably the highlight of my week.

14: Years since I was a journalism student taking the university's professional media writing course, which I've been asked to teach Monday.

103: Pages of text I read in two nights to prepare for my graduate class this weekend. … This is the kind of the number that I tease Kates about, saying she could read that many pages in about 20 minutes. I, on the other hand, am a notoriously slow reader.

1,807: Total number of words I wrote Thursday for two significant pieces explaining our university’s stance on issues, recent accomplishments and upcoming initiatives. I used quite a few of these words in the process, but I'm quite proud of how the articles turned out.

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