Saturday, March 29, 2008

Maybe a Decent Ending to March Madness

Things are looking up. There's the possibility that I'll be working at not one, but two jobs in a few weeks. The SAT place has a class that isn't filled yet, but they offered and assigned it to me, so if it runs, it's mine. Yay! Also, my dad's business partner had the idea of offering me some part-time work at the office -- and since their accounting is all in some sort of mess and I've done that work before (granted a zillion years ago when I was fresh out of college), it sounds really good because it may well include insurance -- and insurance that would allow me to go to a nurse-midwife and birth center rather than have to go to the county hospital and deal with whatever OB-GYN I can get. I'm a midwife sort of person. I want to be seen as a person, not a piece of physiology with a medical condition. Of course, beggars can't be choosers, but if this works out it would be awesome. So please resume crossing fingers, toes, and eyes, dear friends.

In other news, I'm back in Camperland, and it feels good to be home. Mr. Tabby is sitting on my lap, drooling on my hand. Everything is not totally resolved between Absurdist Lover and me, but we have plans that I think will help AL figure out what he wants to do. This is good. With the baby coming and everything, I just can't be in limbo too terribly long. And I know that I've not taken care of myself and gotten depressed -- and now that I'm freshly back from feeling stronger, I hope I can get into some habits that will help me avoid getting depressed and overwhelmed and then taking it out on AL. (This is not the sum-total of our troubles, of course, because there are situational factors and things he's doing and not doing that help me get depressed and overwhelmed too, but my getting depressed is not all his fault either. And we certainly can't work out our copious differences when I'm depressed and angry, and he's freaking out.) So things are better. It's strange, but we were only apart for a week, but it felt as if I hadn't seen him for a month. He says it's because we've spent every day together for months.

One thing that I need to do for my own mental health is to get back into work. I feel so distant from the academy now! Thank goodness for all my academic blogger friends who remind me of things terrible and funny, like diss committees and writing articles and all that. But I need to get back into my work, especially since I'm planning on going on the market again in the fall. As luck it would have it, I have a conference paper due -- though I sent an email to the panel organizer a month ago that I wouldn't be there and that I wanted to send my paper to her early, I have not done a damn thing, of course (computer problems have been my latest and greatest excuse), and now have to turn it around this weekend. OY! So that's what I'm supposed to be doing now, though of course instead I've read other people's blogs and done this. Oy. No wonder I never get anything done that's not on a strict deadline. I have no discipline. Bad. Very bad.

So I'm sure I'll have boring accountablogging posts for you. Ooh boy!

12 weeks pregnant, friends and neighbors. Bloated and having very unhappy stomach problems. Ain't pregnancy grand?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

And Now for Something Somewhat Different. . .

It's not that I have anything brilliant to say right now, but I have to push that totally depressed and depressing post down the line. It's just too much. And it feels a bit too "look at me! look at me! my life sucks, and I'm not saying why. feel sorry for me" for my taste.

So what's going on? There's a bit of trouble in Camper-land, and I'm staying at my folks for a few days. I've been trying to sort things out, alternating with wanting to hide under the covers. There's just a lot going on. I'm underemployed (I'm certified to teach the SAT but I haven't yet been scheduled for a class -- it's a slow part of the year, but will pick up during the summer) which means that I need to get another job, pregnant and in need of pre-natal care (12 weeks on Friday -- this is nuts), and homeless. Now, the homeless thing needs a bit of explaining. I have family and friends in Urban Home City, none of whom would ever knowingly let me take to the streets. I am not without a place to stay. There are couches and extra rooms aplenty -- and I could probably do a rotation of several days here and there for a long while. That's not what I mean by homeless. I have resources. What I mean is I don't have a home, a space that is mine and has my stuff in it. The camper is the closest thing to having my own space to be comfortable in and have some privacy, but it's not mine, I don't have my stuff, and it's prone to trouble. When I left Grad City, I put most of my stuff in storage to take off to Adventure U. When I left Adventure U, I took about half of what I had to Camper-land. So I've been living with a tiny fraction of my voluminous and much-loved stuff. (As in, I now have only two shirts that fit.) Both Adventure U and Camper-land represented these big adventures. Well, I'm adventured out. I need to nest. I don't have my stuff in which to nest nor an apartment (it's also getting super-hot in Camper-land) in which to put my stuff. What about getting my stuff? It all comes back to the same thing: money. And since I need an apartment and pre-natal care, getting my stuff from 2,000 miles away -- well, that's not a huge priority. So I'm not sure I'm going to have my stuff by the time this baby is born in October. I realize this is more emotional than practical, but hormonally and situationally, I think I'm prone to more whining than usual.

I've been thinking a lot about the future. Since this kid is going to want to pop out at some point October-ish, I feel pretty stupid trying to get adjunct teaching for the fall. Who wants someone to start the semester and then be out? If anyone has any advice about pregnancy and adjuncting, please please please let me know. I'll probably try for it anyway on the off-chance that maybe I can get a sub for two weeks and then be back. Would you believe that my undergraduate Alma Mater is accepting applications only now (for about a month) for the adjunct pool for next year? Nightmare.

I also think that I really must prepare myself for going on the market in the fall. I mean, it's fine to be underemployed and artsy and everything for a while, but I'm going to have a baby. I need a serious, somewhat dependable, somewhat well-paying job with insurance and benefits. Which means I need to get myself to work on publishable articles. I probably won't get any teaching between now and then, but I've taught at least a 2/2 for 5-1/2 years, so that should be enough, no? I'll have to work on my materials as well. At least I have them. If there's anything else I should do to prepare myself for the market, well, I can't think of it.

Finding a job and working on my conference paper and getting some stuff into publishable shape is all on hold at the moment. Why? My laptop won't boot. I've been having problems with it for the last two months. At first we just thought it needed a new battery. That helped, but didn't fix it. Now we're getting a new adapter. If that's not it, then there's something wrong with the intake board or something. My dad ordered the adapter, and it's due here in a couple days. The early draft of my conference paper -- that is, the relevant crap from my diss that I put in a new file to be worked on -- is on my laptop. I even left my flash drive in Camper-land. Not good. It's just so stupid.

So between the emotional stuff and the overwhelming amount of practical stuff necessary for me to get a life and provide one for this new life who has taken up residence in my body, I'm exhausted and overwhelmed and want to hide under the covers. I don't feel strong at all -- strangely, both Absurdist Lover and I look at when I was in Grad City dissertating as a time when I felt stronger (is that screwed up, or what?) and handled things better. And, of course, I need to feel strong to deal with all this crap. Vicious cycle. Plus, I want to have some fun. Enough of all this crap! I want to have some fun! Both the pursuit of fun and escapism and throwing off all the crap enough to get small pieces done and make things better would be much easier with more caffeine than I should consume, more alcohol that I should consume, or anti-depressants. I guess I'm growing. Growing more likely to hide under the covers and whine. (Oh, wine and the inevitable hangover where one's focus dwindles to two things: the pain and feeling stupid. Oh, the promises never to do it again. Sigh. Pregnancy is for the birds. Even the birds are smart enough to just sit on the egg and not try to grow the damn thing inside them. It does somewhat cramp one's style.*)

Anyhoo, that's what's going on with me. So hurry up and blog folks, 'cause I can't drink or go out and raise hell.

*Oh, I know that 40 weeks isn't that long in the scheme of things and giving up really drinking and the caffeine IV and (whimper, whimper) sushi isn't so bad in light of the miracle of a new life growing in my body and coming into the world. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. And I give up the stuff because I want my baby to have the best chance to develop. Yadda yadda yadda. I know I'm supposed to be all glowy and transcendent about this magical process. Yeah whatever. My mother drank coffee and alcohol, ate crap, smoked, and did drugs when I was in utero. (Of course, she was much younger, and the environment wasn't as polluted. Have you heard about the pharmaceuticals found in the water all over the country? I saw it on Democracy Now. It's pretty terrifying. Estron, a HRT found in the area of the country where breast cancer is at its most prevalent? Duh. I guess it's not just PG&E causing trouble for the S.F. Bay Area anymore. This is really not deserving of a parenthesis in an endnote.) Yes, I want to be a better mother. But I also want to complain. And if I suddenly got all saintly about what I'm giving up to give my baby a better start -- well, y'all'd know I was full of shit.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

My Memoir

Life in chaos. No firm ground.

Maude tagged me for the memoir meme,encouraging me to sum up my life right now in six words. I'm sure I've never been so succinct. I never thought about it before, but Munch's screamer is screaming so he can't hear anything. I'm too worn out for screaming. I'm trying for movies and books to drown everything out. Suffice it to say, life is shit, and I almost wish I were dead.

Here are the meme rules:
  1. Write your own six word memoir.

  2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like.

  3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere.

  4. Tag five more blogs with links.

  5. And don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

Who to tag? Hilaire and Medieval Woman, who've both had bad news this month and could maybe use the diversion, Sisyphus,whose sense of humor and command of metaphor may just cheer me up, Khora, who needs an excuse to blog more, and T.E., just because.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Certified and Certifiable, with a Rant on the Pregnancy Industry

Thank you for all your good wishes. Despite that my teaching demo today was not so hot, I got fully certified, which may be nothing short of a miracle brought on by all y'all's good wishes and crossed fingers, toes, and eyes. So thank you all very very much.

I was so exhausted today. I slept over at the folks' house -- and was so stressed about whether or not I was going to get certified (and probably just hormonal as well) that I was totally unable to deal with them. There was actually a moment when I was getting pregnancy advice when I put my hands over my ears and said I couldn't take anymore pregnancy advice. Not my best moment. Then I came home and Absurdist Lover and I got in a total fight about money -- I'm tempted to say because now that I have a job we can fight about money, but I don't know if that's really true. We're both stressed beyond our limits and in our tiny camper . . . well, who else can we fight with? Have I mentioned that my hormones are raging? Not a great combination, because I end up crying about everything. Oy vey.

So I have a job! Yay! I didn't relearn geometry and other scary things like functions and factoring for nothing! So now I can finally turn my attention to other things -- like the fact that I really need to investigate why the pregnancy industry and their incessant advice (no sushi, second-hand smoke passes through the placenta barrier, pregnancy diets, make sure to work out and eat well or you'll be prone to a list off bad things as long as my arm topped with post-partum depression) pisses me off so much. A friend of mine told me that when she was pregnant, she sought out advice. I find it thrust upon me -- in every book, on every website. Now, of course, if I really didn't want some information, what am I doing looking at the websites and books? Well, of course I want the information, but I'm not a great fan of its presentation. Here I guess I'm talking about rhetoric. Most of the time it's implicit (though I found a shocking website that said this outright) that if you don't follow all the guidelines, eat properly and not too much, stay away from certain foods, stop drinking completely, and work out all the time no matter how shitty you feel in the first trimester, you are a bad mother.

Of course being careful is a good thing. Eating well and working out are good -- if you can manage them. (Hello!!! Some women are throwing up everything in the first trimester -- or even throughout the entire pregnancy! Luckily, I am not one of these poor women, blessed merely with constipation, queasiness, exhaustion, and tummy upset and the occasional bout of insomnia.) But what pisses me off about most of these books/websites is that they make already scared, hormone-addled, exhausted women who can no longer judge what their bodies are capable of feel even more deficient. And that is just plain wrong. Women have been having babies forever -- or else we would've died out long ago. Do we really need the part of the pregnancy industry that thrives on making women feel even more alienated from their bodies, making women feel less confident in themselves, making women feel more like shit? To modify Bridget's statement to Mark Darcy: they really needn't bother. I already feel like shit most of the time anyway. With or without the fireman's pole. (Okay, I just threw that last line in there because it makes me smile.)

Can I just say how many people don't know that you're "advised" not to eat sushi during pregnancy? My dad didn't know! (My stepmother telling me this as if I hadn't heard it a thousand times and have been in mourning since the first time I heard it was the thing that made me put my hands over my ears.) Of course, Dad doesn't have to know. He never has to give up his favorite food in the world for something that feels most of the time like a bad knot in one's middle. (Bastard.) Absurdist Lover quite reasonably says that giving up sushi for nine months is a small price for a baby -- that having my life turned upside down for about a year isn't so bad. Of course, he is being totally reasonable. Blech. It wasn't until he admitted that the world does indeed harangue pregnant women -- everyone thinking they know best and totally disempowering the mother -- that I felt I could even deal with someone so insistent on being obnoxiously reasonable.

What can I say? I'm totally hormonal and crazy most of the time. I know my responses are out of proportion with the stimuli. As you might guess, the knowledge that I'm being unreasonable is not usually enough to get me down from the walls.

Lest you think that I'm just a crazed freak, the hormone pendulum does swing the other way -- and then I marvel at my pooched belly (okay, probably just with the ice cream I now let myself eat) and thickening waist. Since the pregnancy is at ten weeks, Absurdist Fetus is like an inch long. According to those week-by-week websites that I can't stop myself from looking at, AF looks like a baby and has even developed his/her reproductive organs and things. It's pretty amazing. I saw myself in a full-length mirror this morning -- and I kind of thought I looked fecund and beautiful. Beautiful like a very full rose, not a bud. Sort of brimming with hormones. I can't describe it.

Anyway, later on when a young woman in my training class asked me if I were showing, I could've kissed her for just thinking that this pooching tummy could be just the way I was built. (I realize now that I shouldn't be so happy at this thought, but I'll be showing in minutes -- minutes, I tell you! so it was kind of neat to think that when I walk around people still can't tell. I feel so thick. Of course, when they see me going straight to the bathroom in Whole Foods, they can probably tell -- but at least strangers are not putting their hands on my belly like I'm a Buddha statue and they need some luck -- not yet.) Being pregnant makes me feel so different in my body it's not like I often forget about it. And with the glow that family members insist I have (not to mention the annoying whiteheads on my face that I was so happy to grow out of at nineteen), I kind of feel like everyone can just tell. Of course, other times I want to tattoo it on my forehead and on the bumper of my car: I'm pregnant so stop being an asshole and play nice. I'm fragile.

I think that's enough ranting. I swear I will come up with something else to write about soon. Like maybe annoying high school students (exciting!) or how writing a conference paper sucks (woohoo!).

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Note to Explain Blog Silence

So what's happening now is that I'm totally caught in the thick of this SAT prep training course. We have our final teaching assessments on Sunday -- basically, how I do on Sunday's teaching will determine if I get hired or not. We (that is, Absurdist Lover, Mr. Tabby, Absurdist Fetus, and yours truly) need for me to get this job, so I'm spending a bunch of time stressing studying math in general and especially the methods this company advocates and sections I have to prepare, which, thank goodness, include other things besides math. Basically they want to feel comfortable with me in one of their classrooms. May I add that applying for a TAship wasn't this thorough?


So basically, I'll get back to y'all on Monday, when we will likely go back to our usual fare of kvetching about writing because I have a conference paper to write. But before I can even think about that: SAT. Please cross your fingers, toes, and eyes for me.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Waaaaaa! Math!

I know I totally suck. I have updates galore since my last post, including that it turns out the GCU did give two diss awards this year -- one was in the sciences. So I stand corrected. I've thought about the difference between research and scholarship a zillion times since that post -- about how dissertation scholarship demonstrates mastery of a certain body of scholarship and then builds on that in a way that I don't think creative writing necessarily does and that GCU doesn't require in a scholarly intro or anything, blah, blah, blah. I'm sure I'm just getting in myself deeper with all of you who are offended by this discussion. (For the record, I do think of creative writing as research, just not the painful kind of demonstrating mastery and building on of scholarship that a traditional dissertation necessarily is.) But anyway, I don't care about any of that, because I have math homework! That's right! Math. I'm in this SAT prep training course so I can hopefully get a job -- and I totally have to study my geometry formulas and assorted crapola! Bah!

Did I have all week to do this math homework? Of course I did. Did I do it then? Why no, of course not. This week, I rested (totally necessary after 16 hours of training and 5 hours of taking the damned SAT over the course of three days), went to the store (something I hadn't felt up to for weeks), bought more Agatha Christie's since they are the only reading I can concentrate on, fulfilled my new fruit smoothie fixation (is it too early for cravings?), spent the day with my mom and grandmother (Grandma is doing great after her lumpectomy), obsessed over a totally unbloggable situation that has me reflecting on what friends are and should be, then yesterday I did some depressing internet research (did you know that even though there is a law that says that insurance companies can't consider pregnancy a pre-existing condition, there are so many loopholes that they undeniably do, especially for those who are trying to get individual rather than group insurance?) and just crashed completely, spending most of the day sleeping. So that leaves today for doing homework and reminding myself about stupid things I thought I'd never need again like square roots and factoring. And preparing for my teaching demo, which this time is on reading. Thank goodness.

In good news, I think the training course is good for my mental health. It reminds me that I'm a person with a brain, rather than a gestating lump with tummy upset. I'm a wee bit isolated here from academic intellectual discussions -- and found myself looking longingly at those with community college parking stickers. But now more than ever, I want this job. Cross your fingers.

***Update 1:35pm***

This is terrible. I may want this job, but my attitude toward homework -- especially geometry -- is please no. I have six different items (some of which are fifteen pages long) on my homework sheet in my SAT book. (I think there might be some reading comprehension stuff too on there -- and sentence completion stuff, but I'm afraid of the math only -- and there's a lot of it.) I have done a good chunk of one, yes one, of these six items/assignments. And then there's the teaching prep I need to do, though I don't feel as icky about that. I looked at it already, and I know what to do. All I really need to do is to practice a couple times. Absurdist Lover is gone -- working for his dad and generally running into town -- so I can practice without feeling stupid. (Though I did teach him last week's teaching demo, but I'd rather do it when no one is here.) I really want a fruit smoothie from Whole Foods in the worst way. But it's time (at least a half hour to get there and a half hour back), gas, money. I want to go. I probably shouldn't. And it hardly matters because instead of using my desire for a smoothie as motivation to get my work done, I'm browsing blogs, checking my email, seeing if anyone has commented on my blog, Maude's blog, other people's blogs. Catching up on my blogreading. Very bad. So I think we're back to accountablogging. Here are the things I want to get done today:

  • Take shower and wash hair. (I realize that anyone else in the world up at 1:45pm has already done this, but my shower is tiny and I'm increasingly klutzy, so I don't generally do this until I'm awake. Plus it feels like a hassle, and today I may run out of propane/hot water even earlier than usual. So I have to be pretty energized to do this.)
  • Do at least most of my six assignments.
  • Practice teaching prep a couple times.
  • Take a nap. I woke up really early and couldn't go back to sleep and have been up and dragging myself around ever since.
  • Read.

Looking at all this, perhaps I'll try half-hour installments. Maybe I'll even just allow myself a half-hour for each assignment -- let's face it, I'm not likely to finish all of it. So I'll start with homework, then I get to do something else for a half-hour. If I had more energy right this second, I'd do the teaching prep first because it's the most important (it's these teaching moments that they base their decisions on who gets certified/hired or not). But I'm tired and think I need a slower transition in. I gotta stop blogging -- my back is killing me.