It is finally here. 2019 and January have arrived. I love the start of the new year: new plans and new goals, reflection on the past year and things that went well or could be improved on and excitement about the new year. But for all my anticipation,  January is typically a slow month, so I have agreed to do things that I normally would not agree to do.  In my head, when I agreed to speak for the University Women’s group, I had six months or more to prepare my talk. Note that I enjoy teaching so much that I enjoy speaking in front of groups.  And my life is exciting enough that I really tell stories or teach which is quite easy to do.
Now I am not saying that it is two and a half weeks before the presentation and I have not done anything on the presentation, but I certainly have not gotten the slides together.  I don’t think it will be difficult.  I am giving a talk on my trip to Africa.  I have given informal versions twice before right after my return. While I was in Africa, I was careful to get many photos of things that I knew would go into my talk.  My two traveling partners, Barb and Ellie, heard about ‘the talk’ so much that Barb asked me to record it so that she could see it.
When I agreed to talk and suggested my trip to help with the rabies prevention efforts, I assumed that I would be talking about the animals on my trip.  I’m certain that they will be a big part of my talk, but the profound part of my trip for me was the people.  People who go to work and go to bed in hunger.  People who sleep on dirt floors in mud huts with no doors to close or windows to let in air or light. And yet those people are more generous and helpful than many of us are on a daily basis.  Regardless, I have a lot of work to do, and I don’t know if I am talking for twenty minutes or an hour.
The other talk that I agreed to give is on bee diseases.  This has some clear guidelines and should be incredibly easy to do.  I know and like the subject. Well, I like bees, and I know a bit about the bee diseases, but I don’t actually like bee diseases.  Especially since some of my hives have succumbed to a few of those diseases. I have even gotten slides from two different speakers so that I have plenty of material for the talk.  The major problem I am having with that talk is preparing it with incompatible technology.  My PowerPoint access has long ago expired.  Google slides doesn’t seem intuitive on the slide building.  Canva Presentations is free, powerful and easy, but it won’t talk with the dropbox slides from the other two presentations.  Now I did manage to get a third of one set of slides into Canva, but it would seem that I am going to have to write in three different segments and merge PDF files.  Needless to say, I don’t really know how to merge PDF files anymore. But it is okay, because I have a week and a half to figure it out.
Except I don’t.  Typically we go to Missouri to see my aging parents over the Thanksgiving break.  It is a long hard drive, but it minimizes the time off work. It also allowed time for The Teen to work on a project that was assigned over the break.  This year we said we would go later and then later became January.  Actually, it is in January before either of my two talks. Which means I have less than a week for the Bee School talk and less than two weeks for the Africa presentation. And while I could, in theory, write on the interstate (as the passenger), I don’t really need to write as much as I need to put together slides.  Slides that are on my computer in my office or on the internet, neither of which travel well.
Still, I could easily pull this off by working late and pushing a few planning or admin things later in the month, but there are a few side trips in January. The Teen returns to college for the start of her third semester of away college.  On the following Monday, a classmate will be buried in Arlington, and I want to be there.  The Academy classmates were like family, and it seems I should go.  We also have Christmas with friends that has to happen before the school drop off. Meanwhile, a veterinarian quit at the Animal ER, and I will pick up a Saturday afternoon shift to help out.
I tell people that if you want to get someone to speak, you ask them six to twelve months before the event.  There really is no reason for them to say no because they have plenty of time.  Then remind them they are speaking, three to six weeks before the event.  It is not like they will have thought about it much between the time, but if you wait to ask three weeks before the event, they will say they don’t have time to put something together.  Six months ago and six weeks ago, it seemed an easy thing to agree to speak. I even volunteered to speak on bee diseases.  Now, I am beginning to miss December, which I think flew by way too quick.