Category Archives: life in progress

Completely Disheartened

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I just found out that my dear friend here, my best friend here, has been denied tenure. Ze more than had the required publications and conferences, had the student evaluations ze needed, and service out the wazoo. Ze was given no explanation, no “you’re tenure was denied due to budget cuts, etc.,” just a form letter stating that the university has decided against ze’s tenure application. Which now the school is going to need to spend money to replace hir, so we are all a bit stunned and confused.

This has me questioning my move here then. If someone who has met and in some places exceeded the tenure requirements is denied tenure, then what does that mean for the two of us who were just hired for this year? I already have 2/3 of my page requirements for tenure. By the end of the summer I’ll have almost all of the new page requirements. I still have yet to find out what my teaching evals look like though, but there seems to be positive buzz in the hallways about me. And no one has complained…yet. I won’t hold my breath.

I’m beside myself with grief over this.  I mean, I don’t want to make this about me, but I’m full of doubt now about what I’m doing here, and how I’m going to be able to make tenure. In many ways I’m much happier with my job here although I I feel like my timeline for what I need to accomplish just got moved up.

I feel like what I’m looking at here, then, is that in order for me to be able to put in a successful tenure bid, I’m going to have to not only exceed the requirements, but I’m going to have to double them. I mean, I had always planned on not doing just the minimum because I wanted a safety net, but it seems the safety net isn’t even good enough here. Granted, things can really change in the next five years here, but given the state I’m in, it could also change for the worse because our governor isn’t really a huge education supporter, at least not when it comes to forking out money for it.

Again, I know that I have made this about me–it’s just seems that ze’s tenure denial means that the rest of us are on much shakier ground than we were a week ago. While I know that my stress now is nothing compared to the stress and uncertainty of my friend’s situation now, it means that I must really map out my research goals and plans here and quit dicking around in the mornings.

It means that I have to make good on my plan to get the smaller article done–I must now do it by the end of this month. Less than 2 weeks to do that. At which point I’ll then have to figure out a research plan that allows me to use the stuff I’m need for the conference paper for the larger article that now must be completed by the end of summer. At the very least, the rough draft of the article needs to be finished by the time classes begin in September. This also means that if I am indeed going to write this book that I want to, I will need to have a proposal written by the end of Winter quarter 2013 and at least a chapter ready by the end of next Spring. Those of you who have written books, is that a reasonable timeline? I need to secure the page requirements for tenure before I start trying to work on this thing. I’ve got to at least have a solid article to send out to something well-placed. I know the possibility of rejection is high, so I need plenty of time to work on revisions and the like.

Or is this a bad plan?

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So I continue to contemplate moving over to blogger. And I’m contemplating having a blog that is not for academics although this blog hardly addresses issues of an academic nature. And maybe that’s the problem? I think too that I’ve been missing Maude a lot lately as well, that “Nola” seems like something that I’ve “accomplished,” since my goal was always to return home. I’m not exactly “home,” but I’m close enough. Maybe what I need is a blog that is personal, where I discuss the crap in my life and one where I work through the academic stuff. I have academic things planned. I have research goals. Maybe I just feel centered on that right now, like since I’m still in the early stages I don’t have much strife with these projects so I don’t have much to write about? Maybe I’m just not that into all the ins and outs of academia in the larger picture beyond what concerns me in my little corner and that I wish I were.

Maybe it’s just that time of the month. I usually feel like I’m having some kind of identity crisis about once a month I feel like.

Maybe it’s just still trying to feel like I’m back on track after spring break.

Actually, maybe I *am* having a crisis about my research. The ideas are there. I just don’t know where to start. How I’m going to reign this all in. And I need to get back to the theoretical part of it. And I need to really focus my MWF mornings on research. This means that I’ve got to do what I did in the beginning of February–when I want chocolate, I bake apples. I know sugar is sugar, but apples don’t keep me up at night.

I’m going to toodle around on blogger for a while. If I move or add anything, I’ll let you know.

HOpe you all are well!

 

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I’m up early this morning. I should have slept in. But I had trouble sleeping last night. I was totally wired after the Walking Dead season finale. Plus, the J made a zombie cheesecake (I’ll have to post pictures)–awesome, and of course, even though I’m trying to cut back on the dairy and gluten, I had to have some of that, but the sugar… oh boy.

But I decided to call the g’parents and not go to their place yesterday. I didn’t get the week’s worth of reading I had planned done, so I’ve got to readjust my schedule here. I’ll work through that in a minute. But I did get my bathroom thoroughly cleaned and the bedroom. Holy mess batman. I did about three loads of laundry. I vacuumed and steamed cleaned the floors in the bedroom and dusted the furniture. And I got ALL of the crap up off the floor. Even when the Red Rocket walked in the room last night he looked around with a “where did all the stuff that was by my bed go” expression. And I washed the dogs’ beds. Then I took a nap. Then I worked out for about 90 minutes. It was a hard workout, but it felt great. I so needed it. Then I made almost 2 dozen hamburgers for our Walking Dead party last night. My standard “Black and Blue” burger and what I now call “The Shane” (it’s stuffed with andouille–so it’s very meaty). We rewatched some episodes and I cried again over some deaths, and I’m totally pumped and stunned by the finale, and it’s going to be a long road to October now.

While I didn’t get as much done as I had hoped I would, I’m glad that I got my bathroom and the bedroom done. That was a huge task in and of itself. Now I have to keep plugging away at the laundry and work on the office space here. And at some point this week we’ve got to shave the dog. He’s a miserable boy right now with all that fur. But at least a lot of that fur is off the bed and off the floor in the bedroom.

So hmmmm, this morning. I either read some stuff for the rest of the week and do some prep or I get a jump start on some grading here, but I do have all of the freshman class period on Wednesday to sit and grade while they write. And I think I am taking this afternoon off from my workout. Thankfully we have a bunch of leftover hamburgers so dinner for tonight and tomorrow is set. All I have to make is a veg or two, so that will be easy. Or I can go back to bed and take a nap here before I have to get ready. Or sit and blog. Or do some research, which is what I should be doing on MWF mornings.

It’s hard to get back to that research mode after an entire quarter of not doing so. I think I need to try a mid-morning teaching schedule for the fall and see how that works see if that gives me time to not get up at the crack of dawn, time to get reading in and time to work out before class. I’ve been toying with this for  a bit here.

Well, anyway, I’m babbling now. I should go read. and make a to do list.

I should add too that one of my classes this quarter is a lot of fun so far. They’re really engaged, and even if they’re not keeping up with the reading, they’re engaged and paying attention during class discussion. Or they appear to be. It’s a good vibe. The freshman class is a bit more difficult. It’s a little like pulling teeth. They don’t want to talk, although a couple of them are really trying. It’s just a bit exhausting. And the TR lit class is o.k. The 8 am lit class is usually just o.k. It’s just such a long class.

All right, I’m going to figure something out now.

Oh, p.s. I’ve tried commenting on lots of your blogs out there–I’m having trouble, still, with blogger letting me comment even logged into my wordpress account. So I’m not anti-social or wrapped up in myself (okay, I am but that has nothing to do with the issue here) that I can’t be bothered to comment. I keep trying. So I think I may have to sit and figure this out or switch to blogger or do something. Just wanted to let you all know.

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I’m having a bit of a rebellious morning.

I have time; I could start looking at the first set of lit analyses. Here’s the problem with the rebellion–I should be prepping for the brief thing that I need to do in a colleague friend’s class today. However, I left my book on campus. I could have started reading for next week’s classes, but I left my books on campus. Since I’ve been reading on Saturday mornings and getting my prep work done, I’ve been leaving my books in my office so I don’t have to schlep them back and forth. This has been a great idea all week except this morning. So I guess I read some poems while C-F’s stus are watching the video I’m showing for the first 43 minutes of class.

Here’s the other problem. I got up early to work out because i thought we might have plans this afternoon, but I don’t think we do, so I’m up but postponing the work out because I don’t want to, and I’m tired because I took yesterday off and we ate poorly because I was exhausted from it only being a week of classes and I’ve already taken up freshman drafts, and I’m trying to set a good place for the class, and their final drafts are due next Friday and I did NOT want to get up early to grade this morning so I worked furiously yesterday to finish commenting on the drafts after I had only picked them up on Wednesday. It’s the first draft of the first essay which is the most exhausting because they need help. That was a horrific sentence. I took a nap and felt like I had run six miles after I woke up. So I put on my pj.s and commented on drafts. Because we ate like crap last night (which we try to limit to once a week although last week and spring break were anomalies in that new pattern), I slept for shit. Well, not really. The sleep was fairly restful; it just wasn’t very long.

So honestly, I’m just being kind of whiny. That’s what happens when I don’t get the endorphin rush of my workouts. I guess it’s better than meds which I am off again, I just realized that. I had started taking them again over Christmas because I was stressed and not handling our financial situation well which was really making a mess of things. LIke it had gotten to the point that if I didn’t take the meds, I’d have a panic attack about my ability to cope with the day. And then in February I started doing this,(a very scaled down version and on top of the other things I was doing already) and I just unconsciously stopped taking them. Like it really wasn’t a conscious decision at all. So much so that I didn’t even realize that I hadn’t taken them in six weeks until just this very moment.

I have a long two days ahead of me. After class this afternoon I have my workout. Then while dinner cooks, I need to deflate the air mattress in the guest room and clear a space so that I can finish going through my clothes tonight and tomorrow. I need to clear the pile of clothes out of the bedroom and put them in the laundry room so that they can be washed — they just haven’t made it from the laundry pile to the laundry. Argh. And I need to put away the clean laundry. Tomorrow I’ve not only got to read for next week’s stuff but I’ve got to get a week ahead because next Saturday I have to proctor some sort of exam for some high school students. I don’t know. So that Saturday morning will be gone. Work out. Then finish the cleaning. Tomorrow will be a spring cleaning day that will start tonight. I’ve got so much stuff I need to get rid of. I think a trip to Goodwill tomorrow afternoon is in order, too. And this has to be done by tomorrow because Sunday we’ll be at the g’parents’ and then it’s the season finale of The Walking Dead for which there is a party. It’s going to be intense. And I have to make some foods for it. Whew. I’m tired just thinking about it. But it’s cool. It’ll get done and I’ll sleep very well because of it.

 

Happy Friday all!

On the Schedule for the Spring Quarter

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I’ve been thinking about how I’m going to get stuff done during the Spring quarter. I had thought that since I have a later class on MWF that I would try to move the work outs to the morning and then do my stuff during the afternoon.

Then I thought, “why change what’s obviously working for you? That’s a recipe for failure.”

So since occasionally it’s still a bit chilly in the morning to go run, and now that it’s spring forward the mornings are much darker now and for longer, I don’t want to work out in the morning. At least I’ll acknowledge that. I don’t want to do it before class. I feel like I should, but I have a plan that worked for a month, successfully, so why change it before it needs to be changed?

What I’ve decided then is that that extra morning time I have now I will use that for my research that I need to get done. It may only equal 1.5-2 hours (depending on when I roll out of bed and get started) but consistency is better than bulk. And I’ll be up anyway, so rather than dicking around, then I should do something productive that I enjoy. And I like the quiet reading time I’ll have in the morning. I won’t get that in the afternoon. It makes more sense to take care of scholarship in the a.m. before the husband and the dogs get up.

Here’s the other part of my schedule that’s been working for me that allows me to get the work outs in in the afternoon. Starting about the second week of February last quarter, I started to read every thing for the lit class that week on Saturday morning while the husband slept. That was an amazing decision that one day that I did it, and I’m glad that I recognized how smoothly the week went as a result. Much better than getting up at 5 and using that hour to prep. 4-5 hours max on a Saturday morning and I’m set for the week! So I’ve been doing that every since. And for me, it WORKS! BEAUTIFULLY!! For many reasons:

  1. Since I’m starting the prep so early for the week, I’m not rushed.
  2. Since I’m not rushed, I’m enjoying what I’m reading.
  3. Since I’m enjoying what I’m reading, I’m doing a better job of prepping the readings (of course it helps that I’ve taught these things now a few times, but I’ve found that my notes from last quarter are abysmal or non-existent in many cases. Blerg).
  4. Since I’ve done good prep about which I feel good and confident, my weekend becomes worry free and that extra four-five hours of work on a Saturday morning makes the rest of the weekend so much better and open!
  5. Since everything is done on Saturday morning, my office hours open up for grading and student issues and what not.
  6. Since the office hours are open now for grading, that’s a whole helluva lot less grading that I have to be bothered with at home.
  7. Since I don’t have last minute prep and grading to do at home, I have my afternoons free to work out and cook dinner and hang with the hubby which makes me less stressed.

On one level it’s sad to think that Saturday a.m. is a “work day,” but man, the benefits are just amazing for me. And I need to add the freshman class’s readings into that prep, too, which might add another hour, but still, just the freedom of not having to think about it or worry about it for the weekend/week is what counts.

So, obviously today I won’t do the research because I just decided this this morning; however, beginning Wednesday I will. And then I’ll give you a progress report this weekend.

Happy Week Everyone!

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Well, after all my hemming and hawing and whining about my eating over Spring Break, I didn’t gain any weight. I didn’t lose any weight either, I don’t think. Unless I did and then gained it back through the course of this week, but I didn’t bring my scale to Home City, so I’m none the wiser and therefore, without documentation, it didn’t happen. All that can be confirmed is that I did not gain anything back when I did my weigh in yesterday.

When I did my measurements last week though, I had lost another 2.75 inches, so Score! there.

This week though was/is a different story. Still, no loss, but no gain, which really is a miracle here after this week. And I did not do the measurements. I’ll do them next week.

This past week though has been a rough one. I didn’t work out Monday because of the thing I haven’t told you about yet (forthcoming), and when that was done, we had to go right to the eye doctor’s office for our appointments. Tuesday was travel day–which took for.ev.er! We left later than I had wanted to. The wind was so horrifically bad that it tanked our gas mileage. I went from 32/mpg to 20 mpg! Because the car was working that hard against the wind. Which meant that we had to stop three times (on the way to Home City, I stopped once to fill up for gas a little bit more than halfway through the trip. That makes a HUGE difference). So we get home around 10. I’m exhausted and still not totally ready for classes to begin the next day which means I can’t really sleep in because I’ve got stuff to finish. I’m crabby when I get up because I didn’t sleep well either. I spend Wednesday exhausted to the max. I come home and crash on the couch for about four hours. Completely wiped out. And I still haven’t figured out the TR schedule of assignments yet! Up early Thursday morning to finish working because Wednesday’s office hours were also devoted to helping J with school and where to go, getting lunch, etc. Then we get some horrible news Thursday morning, so there was that. Finally Thursday afternoon I get to work out, but damn, it wipes me out. And then we went out with friends where I just drank water all night, which despite losing about 3 inches in my waist and about 2 in my belly, raises suspicions as to why there is no booze in front of me (I drank so much during spring break, I thought I was a frat boy in P.C.B.). Blurg. And I still don’t have the lecture I need to have for Friday done, nor have I prepped for the freshman class. Up early Friday morning to finish all of this and I’m late to my office hours. I hate rushing around and being unprepared my first week! It stresses me out! I get home Friday to work out and as I change to put on my work out clothes, I’m so exhausted by changing clothes that I put my p.j.s on instead and nap on the couch. And yesterday I was still feeling like crap.

Lots of the J’s family had been sick while we were there. I think I picked up a twinge of something, coupled with the horrible eating and the traveling and the drinking, and I’ve been out of whack for a week. First of all, I hate going more than a day without a work out. I need it for my mental as well as my physical health. Three days in a row nearly killed me. And then to miss Friday. Argh. But I’m at least thankful that whatever it is/was, it’s not hitting me full force. And my poor g’parents just called to tell us not to come over today because they’re sick again, too. They’ve been battling this stomach bug for nearly a month now. And the people who are getting sick are getting sick for extended periods of time. I’m trying really hard to balance things then so that I don’t get worn out and become susceptible and also maintain being able to work out. Though I’m sad we won’t get to see the g’parents, I’m glad to not have to travel today. I need to work out. It’s supposed to storm here all afternoon, and some are supposed to be bad, and I want neither to drive in it nor leave the dogs alone during a terrible, enduring storm, so it works out. I can work out, read a bit, and rest and read for tomorrow’s class. Again, I’m sad at not seeing the g’parents, but it is like a whole day has opened up for me.

I also made out a calendar/plan for the next two weeks of the work that I need to get done, since I already have drafts and papers coming in next week, I want to make sure that I am able to get done what needs to get done, and establish that early in the quarter so that I can continue to work out regularly and start incorporating some research in here, too. I’ve got a conference paper to research and write and an article due–both by the end of May.

So without further ado, I’m going to take out the mutts and then go to the grocery before the storm begins. Then the workout, then reading, then a nap most likely.

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I have a really cool thing to tell all of you, but I need to wait a couple of days to make it a little bit harder to triangulate my position and identity (although many of you who still read this know who I am).

But I can’t wait to tell you because it was really, really cool. And I was on the news for it. As was the husband. So stay tuned…

 

In other news (hahaha, pun intended sort of), there are few things more humbling and than seeing oneself on camera. Wow. I cried after I saw myself on t.v. I seriously did. I shed tears because I thought I had been making all this progress, that I looked good. That I had made some updates to my look, that my skin was starting to look better and that I had actually updated my haircut in a way that you know, took some years off. Not according to how I looked on t.v.! Last night was my first meltdown in a month. Wine and ice cream. I feel like crap this morning, and we have a 10 hour drive in front of us today. So why am I blogging and not packing? Because I feel gross this morning, and it’s taking me a while to get moving. I know this week will be spent trying to work off the damage I did Sunday and Monday night. Which has me a little bit down. And because we had a full day yesterday and I still had a syllabus to work on, I didn’t workout yesterday. And I won’t have the opportunity to today either. This is the first time in 6 weeks that I’ll have taken two days off in a row. It’s not the end of the world, but something about Home City just unravels me. But, I was much more successful this time around. If there is any weight gain from the vacay, I can’t tell because my clothes still fit. Historically, it’s been entirely possible for me to come to Home City with clothes that fit and leave a week later with clothes that are too tight. At least that didn’t happen this time.

Part of the problem was that it was COLD! Colder than the weather had predicted. And I did not bring running clothes for weather this cold, which means that I’ve had to wait until later in the day to work out, which while I have a nice schedule at BLT, here it was kind of a problem saving the workouts until the afternoon. Normally the cold wouldn’t bother me, but since everyone is getting sick and still sick, and I don’t want to get sick. Plus, it’s the recovery week for one of the programs that I’m doing, which is fine, and I need the rest, but I think I’ve got to keep doing the other program because I have found that I feel my best about myself when I do the second one with the running.

Here’s the other problem–I have been spending too much money the last couple of days because I have just been feeling so ugly! And it’s bad. I don’t have the money to spend on my looks. I mean, my looks need some updating. I’m in a rut. Totally. It’s bad. But I also need shoes–I just wore out my second pair of Dansko’s ever! Like I have worn through the seams! You know I got some use out of them!

But this is what happens when I come here. I don’t know why. It’s weird because I consider this place home, but I’ve been on shaky ground since having beers with my friend, the pixie in human form. I think once I get home and get back to my routine and have control over what’s being cooked, and getting back to my environment will help.Of course that doesn’t solve the immediate problem of my spending this past week, but I did get a new outfit for yesterday’s event which will double as the first day of class outfit. The biggest purchase was for the J–we finally went to the eye doctor and he got new glasses for the first time in 5 years! But of course we’re out of network, so we had to pay for those. And I’m out of contacts, so I got six months worth of them with the hopes that by the time I need to replace them the J will have some income. I couldn’t justify $200+ for a year when six months were $100 less and the J needs glasses.

Anyway, now I’m complaining. But thanks for listening. I’m off to pack now and get stuff cleaned up here so we can hit the road soon.