Tuesday, December 30, 2008

End of Year Meme

As seen at Hilaire's and Dr. Crazy's:

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?

-Had a baby!
-Taught the SAT
-Taught at a community college
-Lived in a travel trailer at a campground for five months.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't think I made any resolutions last year. For 2009, I'd like to keep up some daily or near-daily or at least regular progress (darling baby makes daily anything impossible) on my research/academic writing. I'd also like to get into writing essays, a long-promised goal.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
ME! In addition to me there were blogfriends, somewhat distant but very loving friends, and family of friends who all gave birth this year.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My folks' family cat.

5. What countries did you visit?
Shockingly, none. But after 2007's adventures, staying in one place was enough.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
Money. Much more regular income. And enough of it.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
October 22: Absurdist Baby's birth!
October 10-11: his due date

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Is having a baby an achievement? Really just getting through the incredible stress of working so hard for so little was a huge achievement. Not getting more depressed than I got after my c-section was a huge achievement. Somehow managing to be on the market and teach two classes while pregnant and then in the first weeks with a baby -- I really don't know how I managed that.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not being more gracious.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had a minor form of preeclampsia. I also had an unplanned C-section. I did have a terrible cold at one point that taught me that you can cough so much you throw up. I went in to check out a breast lump.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I did not make any fabulous purchases this year.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Absurdist Lover, at least in the five or so months. The world's: we received a lot of needed items like furniture through the whims of fate. One Tired Ema, whose mailed gift makes my continued working life possible. My sister, who has been fabulous.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Judgmental and Rigid Former Friend. When a very good friend of mine told her about some of my life's developments, JRFF said some really hurtful and terrible things, the kinds of things that you don't say about a friend and call her a friend. These things inevitably got back to me (especially since I told my very good friend that I didn't feel I was a good enough friend to JRFF), but when she wrote to me, she was all kindness. Yet I know what she really thinks of me. I've thought often of addressing it, sending her an email telling her I know what she really thinks. But I haven't.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Rent and bills. Vitamins and supplements for pregnancy. Medical expenses.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Oh the baby, what else? And that I got four interviews at MLA. Christmas.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?
Probably the MASH theme song, just because I watch that show virtually every day.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
happier, I think, thinner, poorer

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
I wish I'd written more.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
I spent Christmas cutting fudge for presents, being with Absurdist Lover and Baby, and then went to my folks and ate Christmas dinner.

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?
Only with Absurdist Baby.

22. How many one-night stands?
Zero, thank you very much.

23. What was your favorite TV program?

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Judgmental and Rigid Former Friend.

25. What was the best book you read?
I've read very few books this year. Early on in the pregnancy, I could only focus on mysteries -- so I reread Agatha Christie's and read an Elizabeth George. Then I started Middlemarch and was reading it for six months in tiny drips. But I listened to both Steve Martin's Born Standing Up and Barbara Kingsolver et al's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Kingsolver et al get my vote -- yes, even over Middlemarch. (I prefer nonfiction to fiction. I don't mean to. I wanted to be a novelist, for goodness sakes. But there it is.)

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I am totally behind the times and made no musical discoveries this year. In fact, I listened to classical music throughout the pregnancy.

27. What did you want and get?
A very healthy baby. Interviews.

28. What did you want and not get?
Financial stability, though with Absurdist Lover having gotten a full-time job recently, I think our financial position is changing.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?
Would you believe that even though Sex and the City and Mamma Mia came out this year, I have not seen either. The only movie I saw in the theater this year was The Dark Knight.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
36 (gulp). I took care of the baby and then went out to dinner with the fam.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Financial or romantic stability.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
As long as it covers me up, it's okay.

33. What kept you sane?
IMing Maude.

34. What celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
Local farming/eating.

36. Who did you miss?
Maude. Jane D. All my friends in Grad City.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
My midwife. I also felt like I met my sister all over again.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
Nothing happens the way you want it to, but that's okay. Also, having a baby puts you more in touch with your own childhood and sense of wonder.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Quickie Post

I'm sorry, everyone, for being the worst blogger ever. It's been bedlam. First it took me forever to finish grading -- I was so behind and behind and behind -- then Absurdist Lover got a full-time job so I went on full-time baby duty, which meant that on good days I got a shower and on bad days I didn't even get to eat.

I've been lucky even with this horrendously bad job market (probably search committees realize that I am the type to drive myself crazy staying up all night after overcommitting myself instead of being a sane balanced person who knows how to say no) and had a couple of phone interviews. Today, we're going to MLA for in-person interviews. Traveling with baby? Oy gevalt. Wish us luck. Last night, Absurdist Baby was completely inconsolable for the first time. Wailing, he refused my breast, fell asleep to a bottle of formula, then woke up and wailed again, ate again, wailed again. He finally accepted my breast again and slept, but it was awful to hear him cry the piercing cry, the one that I can usually stem by breastfeeding him. He's only two months! He's not allowed to wean himself, especially when I want him to have breastmilk antibodies for two years. (That's a lot of pumping.)

I'm nervous about these interviews -- I have a good number of them and I saw that even today an interesting job in my field was posted -- but it feels like we have so much on the line. We're really just waiting, struggling along the best we can here in Overpriced Urban Home City, until next fall when I hope I'll be chugging down the tenure track. But I'm a dork in interviews. And the only way we make it now is by assuming that everything will be different in the fall. Gulp.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

From Grading Jail

Psst. Can you sneak me in a book? A blog? Anything?

Today is the last day of classes -- and because I was gone and never really caught up with anything, I've been grading, grading, grading all week. Now it's Thursday of Grading Jail Week -- and after four projects, I just had to stop. I realize I have about two hours and way too many projects to do. I realize that this is also prime time because Absurdist Baby is sleeping on the couch nestled in his boppy -- and won't be for long. But I just can't. I can't, I tell you. I've graded and graded. I just can't grade no more! Not to mention, I'm not going to be done. I still have a big project that there is no way I'll get graded today in time for class. I just have to think of something else.

Absurdist Baby is growing by leaps and bounds. He's huge now. It's weird to think he's only seven weeks old, when to me he seems like such a person. He's very strong. I half expect him to leap up and start walking. Or at least crawling, because he kicks his legs so much. He's incredibly active and not just by couch potato standards. (Absurdist Lover is one of those can't-sit-still people -- and he's surprised by how active AB is.)

The job market. Ah the job market. Well, I only managed to send out 23 applications. The baby has made it pretty near impossible to get to the computer, so it's been very hard to put together job letters and materials. I've been incredibly lucky this year though -- I have a totally respectable (amazing, considering that the economy has been getting departments to shut down searches right and left) number of interviews, both phone and at MLA. In fact, I have one phone interview tomorrow -- and if I could I would actually focus on that for a second instead of all this grading, grading, grading. And then there's the work for the office that I am totally behind on. I now realize that being a parent really does mean feeling bad at everything -- I'm a bad parent, bad bookkeeper, bad teacher, bad scholar, bad interviewee. Though I really better spend some time preparing for this interview or I'll be a bad parent and teacher because I won't have a decent job! And the one tomorrow is one of the better ones I'm interviewing for. Sigh. I never know what to say to some of those canned questions. I'm a thoughtful and reflective teacher. Really. Pay no attention to this swiss-cheese brain and this tongue-tied babble. I'm smart! Really!! I have ideas.

Nice talking to you out there again. Lately I've barely been able to put together a coherent thought, let alone a self to actually write from out into the world. I read blogs a little to assure myself that there is actually a world out there beyond babyness. Though I confess I'm looking forward to a couple days of no grading and no thinking about interviews (not until late next week, alas, when it will be my birthday) to sit around, watch movies, and nurseplaynapbe with the baby. And

Christmas is coming! Christmas is coming! Christmas is coming!

(I love Christmas. I really do.)

I think I'm going to bake presents this year, because I have no money for anything else.