Monday, November 30, 2009

The Times, They Have A-Changed

Who wouldn't want an even longer Thanksgiving vacation? Me, that's who.

Back in my grad school days it was totally conceivable (though pretty unlikely) that I would have cancelled class (though not on the day after we got back from a break) because I wasn't done grading a set of projects. Now, bright and early on a Monday morning, all my projects are graded except one, which I could easily grade at lunch, and I'm awake and alive before the sun's come up. But Absurdist Lover is really sick and obviously unable to take care of Absurdist Tot, who got his first real cold over Thanksgiving break and is a real handful. So here I am, awake, alive, feeling moderately okay, all done grading and ready to teach -- and I'm needed to stay home.

Though I've been dragging my butt this whole quarter and have started counting the days until it's all over, this morning as I was contemplating what's best for the family (in the dark, listening to AL hack and cough), I realized I actually want to go to work, am eager to get my students on track to finish everything up, could do with getting out of the house and being an academic after days of staying in and sharing care of a runny-nosed grumpy AT. But I'm staying home.

I wish I didn't feel like I were falling down on the job, but I keep reminding myself that many academic moms cancel class and stay home when their childcare falls through when their kids are sick. (Of course, my situation is a bit different, since AL is the one who is really sick, but it's close enough. And don't think I don't sympathize with AL, because he's super grumpy-sick, but man, he's grumpy! He must feel really awful.) And cancelling class today makes us behind a day, which means I have to change dates and stuff and I haven't figured out exactly how I'm going to do that yet. This isn't one of those days where I could bring in a sub or tell students to do the day's activities without me. Sigh. I guess this is what academic motherhood is all about.

I've been reflecting a lot lately on the job and how Absurdist Lover and motherhood has changed me. I hope to blog about these soon, though I'm not sure today is the day.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ready for the Holidays and Nothing Else

Rather than regale you with my realizations about applications and search committees, let me chime into the chorus of people saying I'm ready for this term to be over. I've got grading this week for all my classes -- and I don't wanna do it! I didn't go in to campus today nor do I plan to tomorrow. Instead I want to spend even more time looking at turkey and stuffing recipes.

After the Great Move of 2009 and all the weirdness not to mention lack of funds, we're not going "home" for the holidays. (I write "home" in inverted commas (as the Brits say) because my folks' place does not feel like home, was never somewhere I lived as a kid or felt comfortable in, and is not in a family configuration that is anything like it was way back when I was a kid.) Instead, we're spending all the holidays here. And what this means is that I've been spending my free minutes away from Absurdist Tot thinking about turkeys! I got on the stick too late to get an organic/sustainable one from a nearby farm, but I did find a hormone-free free-range one at a local meat shop. Today we did the shopping. Now of course I wish tomorrow were Thanksgiving instead of another prep day when I'll make my first-ever pumpkin pie (from organic pumpkin pie mix, I'm afraid -- I'm told the organic pie pumpkin harvest was dismal). If all goes well, maybe I'll post my first-ever turkey pics here. Right now, all I care about is staying in, eating, and sleeping. Like my students and many of my colleagues, I just want it all to be over. I need a vacation like nobody's business. I haven't had one since May 2008.

Note to self: schedule nothing but feast-making and feast-recovery for Thanksgiving weekend. Next time. Now I've got to wrangle Absurdist Tot to bed.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I swear I have interesting things to say

  • Like, what I'd like to say to about 2/3rds of the applicants for our search.
  • And what I've learned to not do in an application.
  • And what I've learned I care about in an application and a colleague at my university.
  • And that I have so much passion about this pet subject of mine (not a scholarly one, though I keep trying to bend it into a scholarly pursuit, without much success because of the passion part) that AL recommended that I find some venue in which to speak/write about it. Even though we couldn't immediately think of a good venue, I'm thinking about it.
  • And that I want to say something about things I think I've learned about freshman's preparation for college in writing and life.
  • And that I haven't had any real time off since before May of 2008. I did have exactly a month between teaching gigs, but since AL and I were packing up our whole lives in a big truck and driving it across country with a seven-month old, I don't really consider that time off. So the next time that someone who has all the time in the world tries to be a lazypants and tries to cut corners by asking me for the fruits of my labor, my answer is likely to be one big roll of the eyes and a forgetaboutit. And that's if I'm feeling cheery.
But alas there's no time for any of that because 1) we got an obscene number of applications I'm still sorting through, 2) Absurdist Baby, who now walks so I suppose he's graduated to Absurdist Tot, has been very challenging lately partly because 3) we all have small colds not to mention the usual money problems so unsurprisingly 4) we are cranky. So now I'm a cranky crank crankpot.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I poufed the post I had here because I was starting to get paranoid. If you missed it, suffice it to say I was sharing a situation so I wouldn't feel so isolated, with no one here to talk to about it who wouldn't end up in an awkward position. I thank those of you who commented and reminded me I was not totally insane and who helped me see the bright side of the situation. I'm sure I have more to say about how being annoyed in a work situation has made me feel even more isolated, but I just saw Food, Inc. and though I knew about most of it -- the CAFOs, Mon$anto, the horror, the horror, being a big organichead myself -- I didn't know about the 2-1/2 year old who died from E. Coli and Kevin's law. I just wept and wept to see that mother, working to keep other people safe after her son died. I was nursing when she told the story.

I swear there are some people in this country who don't care whether people are sick or healthy, live or die because it doesn't eat into their overhead. I'm too messed up to post. I need something comforting right now.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Deadline Looming!

While everyone else is flexing their creative muscles for NaNoWriMo and whipping out words so fast the internet word meters are crashing, I committed to writing an article for a CFP by the end of the year. Being tenure-track means signing myself up for such little fiascos. I should be able to write 8,750 words by the end of the year, right?

In other news, AB wouldn't fall asleep last night, so Absurdist Family is very grumpy this Sunday morning. And I still have five more projects to grade. Alas!

While everyone writes their novels, I'm reminded that I too used to write creative stuff. I should send stuff out. Of course, the stuff I'd send out would be at least three years old now (two years of hectic life and one year of writing the diss). I know I should bother, but it's embarrassing. I should do it anyway. I should put that on my to-do list.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Grading at Home

Today I'm trying to do the impossible: jump-start my grading, which has been languishing. I'm still well within the time I told my students, but I know I've just been sitting on these papers for way too long. Not good. And I'm trying to do this at home. Sitting on the bedroom floor, pretending I'm at work. So of course I'm blogging.

I'm also trying to remember Boice and moderate emotions. I don't want to hate grading, and I want to grade happy both for my students and for me. I'm trying.

By the end of today, I really need to have graded six projects (they're big). So let's see how it goes.

***Update 9:11 pm***

I got immediately distracted and barely got things done this afternoon. But this evening has been better. I got five projects done. Not bad. In fact, just fine and I'm not going to feel guilty about it, though I feel stupid that I didn't bring home more projects. (I was planning on going in today, but didn't because the entire family is feeling sniffly.) Piffle.