So here are some of my crochet projects, which I wish counted for tenure:
You'll see that the two on the left are similar -- potholders done in Tunisian crochet, a special kind of crochet that is sort of a cross between crochet and knitting, so there's a special long hook with a stopper on the end like a knitting needle. The one on the right is actually not a potholder, but a coffee cozy that I designed myself in single crochet. What is a coffee cozy, and why would one ever need one? Well, we have a French press coffeemaker, but because Absurdist Lover and I often get up at different times, the coffee often gets cold. We know we need to buy one that has the heating guard thingie on it, but we don't have the money, especially to replace something that is perfectly good but annoying. (We need to buy a vaporizer and new immune-boosting supplements for Absurdist Tot -- let me know if anyone has any recommendations on that -- he's been sick once too often for me. Anyway, we have to buy the stuff we don't have way before we ever get to upgrading the stuff we already have.)
This is the Coffee Cozy at work:
And as crazy as it sounds, it actually does keep the coffee warm.
I'm also excited about this new and super-easy potholder pattern, so I made two of them. Ironically, I think these were both the easiest and the most professional looking:
I'm even thinking that those friends of mine who are newly married (ahem, Maude) might want to tell me what colors they prefer in their kitchen so I can make them a bunch of handmade-with-love potholders (from this last pattern that looks so good and is so easy, of course).
I love crochet because unlike teaching or writing, I can see the progress moment by moment. I realize this is probably not what an untenured academic mom should be doing when not teaching, but this gives me such happiness, as does the bread I just taught myself to bake (no bread machine, no Kitchenaid to do my mixing for me). I just love these homey things. And hope everyone I love in the world wants potholders and scarves!
Just like Susan Gubar describes quilting as the thing that helped her to do the difficult work of working on Poetry after Auschwitz, an amazing tome on Holocaust poetry, I bet everyone has their own coping project for the tenure battle. So far, the tenure track process does not seem like dissertating: there are so many different aspects of the process and no one is eagerly awaiting my work, ready to comment on it, stamp it as good enough or not. I'm on my own. My own illness-addled brain has put together this idea about where I need to focus my energies lately: I'm doing the teaching, though maybe I'm not doing as well as I'd like to, I'm doing service, but research is where I need to focus, because that is what I'm just not getting done enough. I'll get them all on track, then work on improving each one. What do other people do to help them cope with the rigors of the tenure track? What other coping projects/hobbies do people have?
I also have pictures of my bread, but maybe I'll forego that project right now. I also have thoughts I want to share about being on the other side, being on the search committee, but I'll save that for another time.