Monday, November 10, 2014


Don't be ridiculous.  I can't get a half hour in every day to write and move things forward.  But you know what?  I'm getting things done.  I'm writing a bit and making deadlines.  Every few days.  But not every day.  Some days I need to veg out, just get away from myself. (I've been having these fits of grumpiness lately.  Absurdist Partner asks me what's wrong and I have nothing, just nothing to say.  There's no particular reason for it.  It's terrible.)  Often I'm working at night  There's been a lot of madness lately:  today Absurdist Child had a friend over (first time ever for both of them and me as resident mom), last week I managed huge gardening feats of bulb-planting goodness (I hope to have gorgeous pictures to show come spring, cross your fingers), the other day we went shopping for a wood-burning stove and opened a savings account for AC, yesterday I seriously cleaned the house in preparation for guests.  Meanwhile, enough homeschooling is going on that AC is speeding through two different math curricula, getting better at and more willing to read (since there's a timer involved -- it's always numbers with him), and engaged in his projects, the most recent of which was the spending of his birthday money.

Everything feels like it is happening so slowly sometimes but really each week we've accomplished something and moved forward.  That's more important than moving everything over for writing right now.  Still, I can make my deadlines.    

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Not NaNoWriMo, but Similar

I'm not doing NaNoWriMo because I'm not interested, at the moment, in writing a novel, but I am going to try to write daily and move my Secondary Field work forward every day in November.  I've been thinking I want to kick myself into overdrive, and this is the best way I figure I can do it.  (What do people do about Thanksgiving???!)  There may be some accountability posts coming up.

For today, so far, I have done nothing, nothing, but that's because it's early yet, and I have to be on campus for a service thing.  And despite that it's good work and should be relatively painless, though who knows, service thing = waaaaaaaaaa.  There are times I hate being a professor.  Any time I have to be out of my pajamas on the weekend before noon and have to be on campus, yes, I hate it.  And on that note, I better get myself all gussied up.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Ponderings on Why I Have Little Motivation to Engage in Primary Field at the Moment

So today, I should be spending the day going to an event in a city within driveable distance related to research in my field, but I'm not going to.  Instead I'm going to do a whole list of other things around the house.  (Halloween snuck up on me!)  I feel a bit bad, but I also know that there are a lot of people excited about this thing (my not going is not screwing anything up or preventing anyone else from going), and that I'm not.  I hate leaving my home and family (though if it were for Secondary Field, I'd probably have left by now, I'm so starved for community around that).  Even though it's research and I realize many people are so motivated and excited about research that it doesn't feel like work to them, to me it feels like work.  It's in an area that I've been interested in for a long time but I don't really know what I would do with it.  So there's that.  There's also that I'm burned out, probably.  Going up for tenure and all that.  I think it's also that I'm excited about Secondary Field (aka One True Beloved Field once, the field I entered graduate school to study and then moved away from during my program) and just not really interested in even neat peripheral-to-my-work goings-on in Primary Field, for the moment.  I was reading Dr. Crazy this morning, and I wondered how much this has to do with the fact that I teach in a service department and therefore have no students in my field, no one who really cares about Primary Field (except a couple colleagues who are the type who would do scholarship in the absence of any support:  they love it) and that is also somewhat disengaging to me.  Left with the question of what I truly love, I love Secondary Field.  I'm trying to engage in it regularly, as in every day.           

The beautiful gift that going up for tenure has given me is the freedom to focus on what I love.  I may never get to Full Professor, but I'll do what I love and live out my dream (which has always been about Secondary Field).  That's enough for me. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

This Week's Top Left Quadrant Check In: with Additional Homeschooling Notes

Is it too crazy for me to try to get in some writing-related work every day in November?  30 minutes?  That would be beautiful, as I haven't been writing this past week barely at all (though I did print things out today, which is the next step in my process).  It's definitely worth a thought. 

Last Week's Goals and How I Fared:

1. Live through it.:  I barely made it but I did -- a zillion student conferences, child's birthday complete with party, and a whole grant-related thing that turned out to be terrific but so so early.   
2. Take super care of self this week, including getting foods that will keep me from eating really bad food. Sleep. Get the best sleep I can.:  Getting the best sleep I could sometimes meant precious little sleep.  I ate terrible food this week, yet still Partner is talking about how thin I'm getting.  (I'm nowhere near thin -- this purely a comparative term, though sweet.) 
3. 3 30-minute sessions with Beloved Field:  No.  No, did not do.  Not even close.
4. Turn in assessment plan and get student papers graded.  I did get these done.

And I also got these major things done, which represent a major move forward:

5.  Went to the dealership and test-drove and put a downpayment on my car, which they have to find.  I'd been putting this off forever.
6.  Took up the black mulch from the front garden bed.  Partner had a brilliant idea of putting the raised garden bed there instead of the back -- and it totally works, though that's a place that is absolutely sun-drenched most of the day with light colors behind it.  I think that the crops that love the warmth will love this place and everything else I can shade with big giant umbrellas like film starlets.  Partner loves the idea too so we can devote more of the back to chickens and blueberries.  And I love the idea of an orchard in this back area we have. I'm about to buy a leaf blower so I can shred our fallen leaves for mulch.  I love it! 

This Coming Week:

1.  Continue gardening momentum.  Pick up leaf blower.  Use leaf blower.  Get wire mesh for bottom of raised bed for garlic.  Get lawn and leaf bags.  Work on the front bulb bed.  Gotta hurry up.  Snow's coming!

2.  Take care of self with good food and good sleep.  This is especially important as I have very achy sciatica.  Take mental discipline seriously.  Be kind to self in mind and body.

3.  Plan workshop early in the week instead of going crazy at the last minute.

4.  Work in as much homeschooling as I can while I'm home several days this week.  Today the little bugger, my darling child, had the audacity to ask for Life of Fred!  After I was so proud of learning my lesson and moving on to Singapore Math!  He says he wants to see if there's a number bigger than vigintillion.  What can I do?  He actually moved forward in both curricula today, but then didn't do his reading or handwriting.  We did, however, start some literature:  Kipling's The Jungle Book.  I can't believe I've been so neglectful of his exposure to literature.  I mean we did read Peter Pan and Stuart Little but that's it.  That ends now.   

5.  Start work on getting Great Class proposed to the Curriculum Committee. 

6.   Do as many 30-minute sessions on Beloved Field as I can.  Maybe I'll do my own version of NaNoWriMo.   

Have a great week, everyone!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Early Morning Kvetch and Notes on Homeschooling

Good morning, I think.  I'm so tired.  So I'm teaching a night class which totally messes with me sleep-wise, and I've been meeting with each of my students for the last two weeks.  And then today I have to be on campus at 8:30.  You know, like in the morning.  I just get grumpy when I look up at a clock on campus when I'm already tired and wearily note that though I'm still not able to go home yet, I have to be back in 12 hours.  Anyway, as Winchester said in M*A*S*H about a slightly different hour:  I only recognize on 8:30 per day and this is not it.  But the worst part is 8:30 is not 8:30, it's really 5:30 in sheep's clothing because that's what time I have to wake up to get to campus at 8:30.  All told, this means I've had precious little sleep.  Oy gevalt.  I hate this. 

House projects are continuing, due almost exclusively to Absurdist Partner.  The last few days I seem to specialize, when at home at least, in panic and jibbering.  We've had two frosts, at least, but have I managed to get the raised bed together?  No.  Planted the bulbs (which is a huge project where I have to take out hostas planted on a ridiculous sun-filled southern exposure -- oy, I will never understand that one)?  Of course not.  Nor have I put the composter together, though I did order it, which was on my list.  I think I'm only getting items off my list that I can do on my computer.  Maybe this has something to do with the fact that my left hip aches and I get these pains all the way down my left leg.  I assume it's sciatica, but oh!  it hurts more when it's cold.  I did my favorite workout and did not push it or anything and was so sore, not in my muscles, which felt fine, but in my joints.  I'm old.  What's more, I did not take care of myself when I was young.  Meh.

So we got a late start with homeschooling because of when Absurdist Partner stopped working and all the craziness around here, but start we did.  And Absurdist Child and I would do things, but it never seemed official, never seemed like enough, like I was supposed to provide school for 6 hours.  Then I decided to look to the wisdom of the interwebs about how much "seatwork" a first grader should be doing:  about 1-1/2 hours.  (Absurdist Partner reminded me:  they do a lot of things in school that are not academics, so the focus on at-home academics can be pretty short at this age.)  So it turns out, everything's fine.  And instead of really needing to make sure he covers all these subjects, the important things are these:

  1. Reading:  Especially with his eye problems, reading can be a challenge, something he doesn't jump up and do.  But he needs to practice.  
  2. Writing:  He loves to write lists, but there's always on unlined paper and in full caps.  He needs to work on his handwriting, and we have a great book for this:  Handwriting without Tears, which is especially good for left-handed children.
  3. Math:  We started with Life of Fred, which is this narrative about a five year old professor at KITTENS University.  I find it charming, and they sneak in all sorts of cool info about Archimedes.  But I learned a very important lesson:  just because I'm into it doesn't mean my kid's going to be into it.  AC loves numbers and, crazily, computation, so Life of Fred's narrative style with very few problems was just not really his thing, though he'd do it occasionally because he knew it made me happy.  So when I finally figured all this out, I went researching different math curriculum because I'm a bit concerned that his knowledge is too piecemeal.  (For example, he knows how to carry and, less reliably, how to borrow, but is confounded if you ask him where the tens place is.  He is clearly gifted in math as well as logical reasoning, our little litigator-in-training, and gifted kids often just know things without knowing how they know, but I do want him to be able to answer those kinds of questions.)  I got Singapore Math.  He sailed through the first assessment test, but then had problems with only specific aspects of the second, so we got him the books for 1B, and he's been sailing through it.  Honestly, I think I'm going to let him skip the repetitive stuff.  I can't wait to be able to sit down with him and go through this one particular workbook lesson, but with all this busyness, it hasn't happened yet.  
And then the rest of "school" is following up on his interests and going to nature education classes, which AC loves.  We've been getting lots of books about animals, his current obsession, from the library.  I did start him on some history, and so he wanted a book on Stonehenge.  I do the library trips but I don't often get to do the reading with him; I've never cracked the Stonehenge book since we got it.  And that's a significant source of crankiness at the moment:  this feeling that I'm not at home enough, not connected to the family enough, which makes sense since I just had my long day, when I was gone from 10-10.

It will get better, I tell myself.  And in any case, Dory's always right:  just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

Have a great day, everyone!  And a lovely weekend. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Goals for Keeping Sane This Quarter

So I'm doing Top Left Quadrant this term because I do so much better with constant reflection and planning and accountability.

I just spent the last month pretty jazzed about my renewed engagement with Secondary Field, my original field that I love.  I need to blog about that actually. This is a huge priority for me, though I find it difficult to find time during the day for it.  (But I proved to myself that I really can manage to do a lot at night or even in the morning if motivated.)

So here are the big goals, most of which feel impossible at the moment (but I didn't get enough sleep either):

-Keep up Secondary Field momentum.  How best to do this is something of a question.  (Just do it.  Any old way, some part of me begs.)

-Schedule and be firm about making enough time to properly prep and grade for the intensive classes I have this quarter.  (My family is very home-based, and I plan to be at home more this quarter, but this means doing work at home, which is sometimes very difficult for me to do.  I just need to be firm about it -- not angry and panicked because I'm already too far behind.  This really is my problem rather than the family's problem.)  Next step:  figuring out times when I can regularly schedule work time.

-Stay engaged with my child's homeschooling (though my partner is definitely going to have to pick up on that).  To make that concrete, I'd say that I should make sure to do at least two sessions with him a week or take two classes together per week (which are already on our scheduled actually, though as the weather turns, I imagine we'll want to stay home more).  This should be okay, but since I've never balanced work and homeschooling before, I'm nervous about it.
-Maintain gardening, composting (order that composter!), and holidays/family traditions through the term. 

-Take care of myself:  get enough sleep; eat good vegan food as often as possible (and no going to work with no food!); take supplements; exercise at least twice a week; try to catch up with the doctors, especially the eye doctor -- also find new doctors since the move; consider meditation or use writing as meditation; let loose sometimes (go out for drinks with Mentor).  Take that yoga class already?

-Keep up minimal research in my Primary field enough to not have to go insane right before a conference.  This means getting some reading and some notes done.  Next step:  schedule??  I really only need an hour or so per week for this.  (I want to focus my attention on Secondary Field for a while, which I get to do because I've already turned in my tenure dossier.)

-If possible, write some notes about intensive classes I'm teaching.

This is already really helpful as I think about how to make these ideas and goals concrete.

With the rest of this week?

-Prep for Monday.
-Exercise once between now and Sat.
-Do at least one more homeschooling session between now and Sat.
-Take care of self re: food, etc.
-Do 1/2 hr at least two days between now and Sat.
-Order composter.

And now I have to get up and get myself to work.  But this is good.  After working until midnight last night, I feel much more calm and centered going into my day.  I really want to avoid panic as much as possible this term.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

No-Shampoo Update

I've done the whole baking soda and apple cider vinegar routine twice now.  I don't do it every day but like every third day.  The worst part is combing out my very long hair.  The first time I did the routine, I lost a lot of hair and afterward my hair felt lighter and seemed to dry more quickly.  The second time I lost a lot less hair.  (I have tons of hair -- I have so much hair that when I used to go and get layers I'd give them an extra big tip because it took so freaking long.  Hair dressers across the land have said that I don't have course hair, just so much medium hair.  Suffice it to say, even if I clog up the drain with hair, I still won't notice it on my head.)  It seems backwards to me that putting on the vinegar should feel soft and conditiony to my hair, but it does after the harshness of the baking soda.  (I have not yet managed to make a slurry out of it -- so far, I've just put too much water in.) 

The whole thing is a bit of a pain.  But Absurdist Partner said that my hair has never looked better -- it looks all lustrous and gorgeous, he says.  And I love anytime I can save myself from buying some extra product that I think I need.  So I'll likely continue on this.

The vegan thing is also getting good response from AP, though he's pretty sick of my cooking only vegan things.  He's been calling me "skinny," which I definitely am not.  I can comfortably wear jeans I couldn't put on about 6 weeks ago.  So his calling me "skinny" is very motivating!

I do also feel better in general though I'm fighting off a cold at the moment.  And today was crazy.  I'm looking forward to tomorrow, when we can relax.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Why I Need Soothing Novels

Nicoleandmaggie over at Grumpy Rumblings (the best blogtitle ever) read my mind and asked their readers for ideas for "soothing novels."  I don't know why they are asking for this, but I know why I am interested in this.  The entire world seems to be obsessed with pedophilia, and I need a break.  First, it was this awful Prime Suspect I saw where Ciaran Hinds, who is so fabulous in Persuasion, is this awful man in charge of all these kids and he does awful things to them and he's in league with all these others and it's just terrible.  (I don't usually watch Prime Suspect so I had no context for this, but I know now if someone says they've been transferred to Vice, I need to turn it off.)  There was this one scene with a young man who had lived through it who refused to testify because they'd already ruined his childhood and didn't want them to ruin the rest of his life -- and the guy was a great actor.  He looked so tortured.  I'm a soft touch, but I was haunted by this stuff for ages!  Then I was reading Elizabeth George's Believing the Lie (spoiler alert) which includes among its stories a screwed-up teenage boy who sells himself into pedophilia because he wants to die.  This was me trying to give Elizabeth George another chance after This Body of Death, which included the grisly murder of a baby by children.  I love the Lynley mysteries and think George is a pretty good writer, but did she save the teenage boy before the sodomy?  No, she did not.  Instead, right after.  I don't know what I'm going to do because there is already a new Lynley mystery out.  And I don't think I can give any more of my life to being disturbed and distraught over some fiction meant for entertainment!  And I thought I was safe with Endeavour, but no.  Another pedophilia ring with doctors and others who are entrusted to take care of children and instead are awful.  Just awful.  It's gotten to the point that when I was watching Saving Mr. Banks, the movie about P.L. Travers and Walt Disney, I kept waiting for something awful and inappropriate to happen to Helen, when her beloved father being a terrible alcoholic who dragged his family to the ends of Australia and then died, leaving her with her inept mother, was really bad enough.

I understand that within the context of a murder mystery, which is not exactly focused on the best in human nature, people entrusted to take care of children who violate that trust are perfect villains that the audience will cheer to see dead or caught.  And certainly pedophilia rings are the lowest of the low -- the terrible other in our human imagination.  Yes, I get that.  But I also worry what it means when we unearth this terrible fear we have in service of entertainment.  And as a parent, well, I already want to wrap up my child in bubblewrap.  (Ever see that Simpsons where Homer becomes some child safety guru and changes the swimming pools into jello?  I get that.)  I don't need anything stoking my fear.   

I realize I'm probably alone on this.  What do you expect in murder mysteries anyway?  (I'm glad Miss Marple is back!)  And most people don't watch or read something and then have terrible terrible dreams and loops in their heads that intrude when doing something innocuous like sudoku.  I'm super-sensitive to these kinds of images, and they live on in my head long after the movie's over.  (The Accused screwed me up for a long time. Prince of Tides.  Leaving Las Vegas yucko.  You name it, I probably can't deal with it.  AP wants me to see Natural Born Killers.  Maybe it's a great movie.  Maybe it has terrific themes.  But no.  Just no.  A person I trusted long ago told me I couldn't handle it, and you know what?  It may not be worth the risk.)  This is part of me figuring out my limitations.  I can't just watch movies and enjoy the thrill ride and be done with it when the lights come up.  

So "soothing novels."  I like that.  (Also, a big part of my research and teaching includes reading/teaching about some pretty awful stuff.  So I think I can only deal with the disturbing in that context.)

So:  go over to nicoleandmaggie's and check out the list!  Happy Friday!  Or leave your own suggestions there or here!

(The weather has definitely taken a turn toward the gray and chilly, which is wonderful but it makes me want to stay in all day and think about books when really I have to get AC to his hair appointment.  And today, I promised him and me some Starbucks, which I've been virtuously eschewing in my veganness.  Come on, Earnest!!)        

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Away from Work, I'm Focusing on Homeschooling and DIY Hair

So I don't teach until October, and I've told my chair and others so many times that I'm taking some time off before then that it's clear that I'm the one who really doesn't believe it.  I really need to just put the vacation responder (or whatever they're called) on my email and be out.  I did just hand off a responsibility I've really hated for a while now.  Maybe not the best moment to discharge the duty -- right when my tenure binders are being reviewed -- but I'm delighted anyway.  I do need to prep my fall classes -- the coursepack deadline is absurdly early now that another change has been made for financial reasons at my university.  I haven't decided what I'll do about it.  I know there is another company that could put together a coursepack.  Or should I just place the frigging articles on electronic reserves at the library?  Why shouldn't I do that?  Any opinions?  Obviously, I'm missing something here because I think that might be for the best.  We do coursepacks usually because we want students to have a physical copy to bring to class, right?

Frankly it strains my brain to think of work right now so I'm out of step with most of the academic bloggers I'm reading -- that is, probably, you.  Instead of work, I've been looking a lot at different homeschooling resources around our new town.  I don't want us to spend all our time in the car, but AC is really going to need to see his friends and make new friends.  He already said he missed his old school -- and when I asked whether it was the teachers or the friends, he said the friends.

So now he is with me during the day when most kids are in school.  People we encounter ask him whether he's been to school today, and he's figuring out to say that he homeschools.  But people seem to pick up that he is bright, probably because he is so articulate.  A 20-year teacher took one look at him and said he'd be very advanced.  It's funny to me in these moments when people see me as a homeschooling mom and don't know I'm a professor.  But it seems weird to mention it.  Just like I'm now on these various online groups -- and it seems rude to introduce myself to other homeschooling families as a professor somehow but it's also a big part of who I am and shapes my orientation toward education and what I believe is important to student learning.

Similarly, I feel weird writing this here -- and I rarely say this to other parents, but AC is gifted.  I wish there were another word, I really do, because it doesn't always feel like such a gift.  He's stubborn and smart and articulate.  (I love these things about him, but he is also just exhausting because he is on all the time!)  He loves numbers and is obsessed, I think to an unhealthy level, with the racing cars of the movie Cars.  He memorizes long strings of dialogue and repeats them back to himself and us.  And at time he seems way above himself in understanding, but then he is also confoundingly a five year old and clingy in ways that he probably should've outgrown, showing his asynchronous nature.  He barely eats anything but peanut butter and grilled cheese and various snacks, including popcorn, but knows to refuse anything that's not organic.  Parenting and leading a child to learning (clunky but better than "schooling" with its Foucauldian and hidden curriculum overtones -- I distinctly do not want to "school" my child) who is gifted comes with its own special challenges.  So I'm on a bunch of gifted and homeschool and local groups now.  AC's classes start the week after next, and AP will be home then, so the homeschooling will really start then.  Right now, we only do things on and off.  I'm really encouraging AC to read to me -- he can read, but I think because of his eyes (convergence issues that we hope to address very soon with vision therapy) it's difficult, especially if the font is too small or the words too close together.  He read five pages of Frog and Toad to me, so that's pretty good.  I told him if he did one more page each day that he'd be reading whole stories in no time.  We'll see if he's motivated by that.  And we also did a chapter of Life of Fred, this wonderful story-based math book.  (AC is already advanced in math and loves it.  His math is about two years ahead of his grade.  We just started LOF so it's not at all challenging to him and he is not very interested.  I try to remind him that if we go faster, we'll eventually catch up to his understanding.  It doesn't motivate him much.)  But most of the drama in the house this weekend has to do with AP's amazing handyman abilities, fixing a door, buying me a nozzle thing, doing other stuff, but ultimately not being able to get the kitchen sink back into order after I-have-to-admit-I-don't-really-know some kind of project.

Even this and a beautiful 70-degree day after many hot humid days with no air conditioner did not get me out there to get the weeds out of the garden bed.  I just cannot get up the energy and I can't figure out whether it's physical (I'm taking a bunch of supplements, eating pretty darn well except for portions, and have exercised several times in the last 10 days) or mental (maybe my outlook just sucks and my setpoint is miserable which is why I'm reading The Happiness Project.) 

In any case, I'm going to have to take pictures of these plants that are here and post them for a second opinion because I think they are hostas, but that just can't be because no one would plant hostas in a Southern-facing garden bed with the house right behind it keeping it hot and nothing to block the blazing sun except the occasional summer thunderstorm.  Right?  There are hostas right next to some kind of succulent flowering thing.  I'll have to post that too.  It's very confusing.  My tomato and purple pod bean plants are not doing well.  They are basically just burning up with all the sun.  I've always rented and borrowed shade gardens (except at the apartment, where I had the problem of no way to shield plants from too much light, like here), but now, here I am, on my own land that is basically just flooded with light.  Today I discovered that there are some shady parts of the backyard beyond the pond, but there's still a big sunny area where a number of raised beds could go, all lined with wire because our place is studded with holes, and we've seen a number of whistlepigs (AP's favorite name for groundhogs) just lolling in the grasslands that our lawn has become.  (We're waiting to hear back from the lawn guy I found because we are obviously not going to be able to get a big riding mower this season, and anything else would take an impossible amount of time.)  And we have to think of how to irrigate those raised beds because that's a far way from the house.  What I was thinking of doing is something like having the chicken house back behind the pond and then we could do a rainbarrel or two off the chicken house roof and then we irrigate with that, even using drip irrigation lines, if that will work, since doesn't a rainbarrel work through gravity?  Oh I don't know.  I'll have to learn all about this stuff.  What lovely problems to have.  I'm very lucky.

So I'm thinking that this weird time, when I'm still eating vegan (but not losing weight because while mountains of tortilla chips may be vegan, they are certainly not healthy), is the perfect time to experiment with no-poo.  Y'all know about this, about the arguments against chemicals in shampoo, and the no-shampoo method of washing your hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar?  My hair is so full of muck right now (just residue of this organic shampoo I use) that in a different life, I'd be thinking VO5 Hot Oil Treatment.  Do you remember how messy that was?  In fact, I rarely did the whole VO5 thing -- I remember a bag was involved -- instead I did some other VO5 product that sort of refreshed my hair.  Anyway, whether I go no poo or not, I'm thinking a baking soda and apple cider vinegar wash and rinse would be good for my hair right now.  Something!  Anything!  And I'm so sporting the Jewish frizz 'fro halo in this humidity.  I don't know that baking soda, etc. will do anything about that, but it's worth a shot.  A friend of mine posted a pic of her hair after going no-poo and even on Facebook it looked gorgeous and soft.  Now I'm not one who can just hear baking soda and apple cider vinegar and know exactly what to do, so I'm grateful that there are bloggers who spell everything out, like this one.  But my hair has never been hair that can keep a style for ten minutes much less two days (lucky people out there!), so I also looked at this one and her alternative herbal conditioner that seems heavenly, since I'm often one of those freaky people who don't fit in, especially if it has to do with hair.  (Must be my mongrel background.)

I may engage in this mess-making experiment tomorrow or the next day.  The blog says to have the baking soda in a mug, but then where is the apple cider vinegar when you're washing your head, not hair?  It's fuzzier on that.  My apple cider vinegar from the local organic apple orchard is in the fridge.  Is it still good enough for my hair?  I guess it should be in a small bottle since I'm only to use a couple teaspoons, it seems.  New project.  I will report back.

Rosh Hashanah is coming up, which bends my brain.  I can't find challah anywhere near here, much less a round loaf for the High Holy Days.  Should I bring AC into some kind of celebration?  Rosh Hashanah is not important to me for AC to experience because it's such an adult holiday with its introspection and reflection.  I better get on that actually.  Time has just whooshed by.   Really I'd just like to do Shabbat properly, with a challah and wine in our new house.  At some point.  But pushing to do things for Rosh Hashanah may be too much.  But it totally wasn't even on my radar until I saw a Rosh card in Barnes and Noble (which I'm grateful to see as a minority in these pretty-Christian parts) and then What Now really reminded me.  I will try to keep it in mind.    

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Update from the Other Side

I opened this blank post and am confounded.  So much has changed.  And I feel like I can only speak in declarative sentences -- telegrams really -- because I finished my tenure materials today.

Yes.  Done. 

Thank goodness.  I don't ever want to see those binders again.  I know I will -- responding is, of course, part of the process -- but I don't want to.  You know what?  People will promise you letters and then not deliver on time, even a week late.  I didn't realize that.  I thought mostly people did what I did, which is do everything -- or at least way too much (notice that I finished my tenure materials on Sunday afternoon, not late the day they were due, partly because I just had to finally finish the damn thing) at the very last minute.  But when presented with a reminder, I'd haul a** because I don't want to screw anyone else up.  Anyway.  One person is someone who regularly wants something for me and wants me to jump like right now and could I please have this thing done in two days even though I'm swamped with other work?  Such is the BS that a tenure-track person puts up with.  Has to put up with.  Ugh.  Well, I may not be available for that anymore. 

We're in our house, and Absurdist Partner is just a wizard at getting us moved in.  We didn't have internet until yesterday, so that was troubling -- and I kept on thinking of blogposts that right now totally escape me, of course.

But here we are!  Finally!  At the beginning of a thousand home projects to get this place to what we wanted it to be -- somewhere between a farm and a very productive kitchen garden with chickens.  It's lovely here.  I just stare out the window at the pond and feel so at peace.   

Absurdist Child had his last day of camp -- and it was sad because it was the last day of the school he's been at for the last two and a half years.  We're going to miss them -- and they are going to miss him.  He's a very special kid.  They're constantly noting how smart he is.  (And no one could miss him because he talks all.the.time.  He comes by it honestly.  I was like that too -- so much so that my mother played me a song that went "you talk too much.  You worry me to death.")  Now, he and I are going to be together for the next five or so weeks before my quarter begins.  We'll see how that goes.  For the record, AC just addressed his letter to Santa because he wants to make sure that Santa knows what he wants.  (This is because we won't get AC absolutely every Pixar Cars and Planes toy ever made.)  We're also watching Finding Nemo, which I think is far and away the best Pixar film.  It's about parenting.  And Ellen Degeneres as Dory, who I take as my personal guru.  Just keep swimming, I've been telling myself through buying a house, moving in, and tenure madness.  (When I am totally depressed and really need to laugh, I watch Ellen Degeneres' stand-up.  Even knowing all the jokes, I find myself laughing so hard it hurts.  I recommend this to anyone who is sick or down.)  And did you know that there will finally be a sequel?

So expect that there will be posts about homeschooling and homesteading/gardening.  And tenure as my materials move through the process.  Ooh, and I want to write about Wild Kratts! 

Happy Sunday!  Happy first day for many of you, Semesterites. 

I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine and he shall be my Squishy.          


Monday, August 11, 2014

Can We Panic Yet?

Tenure stuff due in two weeks.  Big move to our new house in six days.  Absurdist Partner is a wizard with packing, so we'll be ready for the movers, no thanks to me.  But each day this week is a jumble of tasks from both lists -- and then there's all we don't know, like when exactly the sellers will move out.  Tenure wakes me up in the morning.  It also makes me incredibly grouchy and short-tempered.  Just tenure me already.  Or don't.  I no longer care.  I just have to get this dossier into some kind of shape, and once that's done (which includes an emergency shipment from Amazon because it turns out I can't find a particular journal with a piece of mine in it -- even with AP's amazing packing and repacking abilities), I get the infinite joy of wrangling with tabs and printers and making things look nice.  The printer in my office decided that after I bought new ink cartridges (four!!) was the perfect time to develop a hiccup in printing, so now I have this big hulking thing on my work desk that is good for nothing.  When I see it, I want to hurl it out the window Julia-style.  (Lillian Hellman was so frustrated she threw her typewriter out the window.)  So I'm bringing in our home printer, which is small enough to be portable.  This brings up the good question of why I need to be on campus in the first place -- after all, being on campus during the summer makes me grumpy, but it's another half hour back home (at least this week -- next week it will be longer), and I need that hour. 

To show for this summer, I will have tenure binders and a new home.  But so far I haven't prepped my fall classes, and, sadly, I haven't been able to take any real time off.  (I've taken off a day or two when I've felt too awful to go on, but what I mean is the very image of summer:  spending the day reading or watching TV or doing something else that has nothing to do with being productive and everything to do with just being.  Oh dear angels of tenure, please let me get a day or two like that next week.  After next week, Absurdist Child is home and we'll have to figure out how we're going to homeschool while giving Mommy some time to prep her classes.  We will have a couple weeks off -- two or three -- before his art and music classes kick in, so that's good at least.)  I really would've liked to have felt refreshed before the term started.  Maybe the new house will magically make me feel refreshed rather than inundated with tasks.  Here's hoping.

Have a good week everyone.   

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Long Dispatch from the Summer of Change

This is the summer of change.

First, a house update:  we bought a house!  I'm on the title and loan and everything.  It's crazy.  Two years ago, I couldn't qualify for a home loan.  I felt like they were wagging their fingers at me and saying yes, you can do the bills, maintaining Absurdist Partner's good credit rating, and work your ass off as a professor and do all the mom stuff on top of it, putting all your own needs and writing on the back burner, but still:  no house for you.  So this year it was amazing when I found out I qualified for a loan.  We did finally see a house that wasn't totally hopeless, though it had no fireplace, which is huge for us, and. . .get this. . .bought it.  It wasn't that easy, of course, and we were walking on eggshells every moment the underwriters were staring at our accounts (though the most amazing thing happened and my credit card limit got doubled, so that saved us), but finally we closed on it and everything.  We're homeowners!  AP and I look at each other and say this occasionally just to remind ourselves.  And we need reminding because we have not been able to move in yet.  When we closed two weeks ago, the word was that they would probably have more news in a week but we haven't heard one word.  Our agent is on the case, so it's not hir.  The sellers just haven't even gotten back to us  -- even to say they are not sure.  I mean, I'm sympathetic -- moving is tough and they are moving out of state and it's super-hard to arrange all that, having done it myself several times.  But picking up the phone and saying sorry but we don't know isn't that difficult.  Luckily it's unnecessary to like the previous owners of one's house.  I'll be smudging the place with a super-powered smudge stick to get rid of their mojo anyway -- they had some sayings on the wall that I find completely wrong-headed.

No matter:  we will eventually move in and the house and its land (two acres with a pond) will allow us to indulge our homesteading fantasies!  It's also small enough to keep us from getting too crazy.  We probably can't keep sheep, for example, which I was totally thinking about because I love to crochet (poorly).  (And I LOVE lamb, though I think I'd have a really difficult time killing any animal I'd raised, which is why we're really focusing on laying hens, super-gardening, and self-sufficiency issues like solar powering some of our power use.)  So coming soon on Absurdist Paradise:  adventures in homesteading!

All this just in time for Absurdist Child's transition from Montessori to homeschooling!  So expect more on that as well.  (Believe it or not, I got really into reading about homeschooling gifted kids and gathering resources and stuff last year, so I feel pretty prepared for this.  I'm excited about this adventure.)

So last week, I finally finished moving into my new office at work, complete with windows!  And I'd been listening to David Allen's Getting Things Done for two or three months already so instead of moving the way I usually do -- throw it in a box and deal with it later, an unspecified date that doesn't necessarily exist in this reality -- I was inspired to organize all the loose paper in my office into one alphabetized reference file.  So basically, excepting the usual piles of student papers and the file folders of individual classes I've taught (what can I tell you:  I love file folders), my office stuff is completely organized for the first time in five years.  It looks pretty nice (though it could use a rug and some nice wallhangings and a couple very long cords for routing cords along the wall rather than through the middle of the floor where someday I will klutz out and trip and fall and break my neck).   

Then, in the evenings after AC was asleep when I usually do a whole lot of nothing or watch the same movies over and over, I decided I wanted to organize all the papers at home, which had been accumulating into a pile.  It took me three nights, but I finally organized three years of bill stubs and random papers into a file folder box.  My organization level has reached insane proportions.  I think I have earned a proficiency in file folders.  (For the uninitiated into such geekdom:  that's a D&D joke.)

Oh, and I've been vegan for a week (and plan to continue) to detox my system because of health issues.  I had gotten to the point where I needed a couple chai lattes just to manage normal life and still felt awful -- and I'm sick of feeling awful.  I'm super pudgy now and uncomfortable in my body.  When I was in grad school, I did Marilu Henner's Body Victory, which is actually very health-oriented, and I went from pudgy to svelte.  I went vegan because I'm concerned about these chest pains (Tietze syndrome, but scary just the same), and I saw Forks over Knives and thought if there is any heart/circulatory issue (suggested by this terrible leg pain I'm having that could be neuropathy, but may also just be tarsel tunnel, which I had two years ago) I'd be best off giving up meat and dairy and most processed foods.  But this is not permanent, and I know it.  I will definitely eat Ben and Jerry's again, especially now that they've gone GMO-free.  For the first couple days, I felt awful, but then I got through that and now I just find it difficult to find things to eat considering that I live in let's-put-cheese-sauce-on-everything-and-get-fat midwest.  There are just few Cheesecake Factory kinds of places (yes, the cheesecake is verboten, but just one of their salads would make me so happy) here.  It's all cheese and meat and heaviness here food-wise.  I saw a wonderful organic place close up shop in the time I've been here.  There'll be even fewer food options when we move because we've moved to the country where the liquor store closes at 7.  On the other hand, we'll have the ability to grow our own fabulous salad -- and we'll be close to two organic farms as well.         

Finally, there's going up for tenure.  With all this other stuff going on, it feels a bit like another hoop instead of a momentous fraught event I should freak out for.  My materials are due soon, right when Absurdist Child's camp ends, so I'm highly motivated to get everything done early so I can have a little vacation of my own.  I really need it because I've been working so hard and would like to feel refreshed before classes start again.  I've been thinking and working on tenure things for six months, so right now it mostly feels like just putting things together.  I do need to write up some important stuff too, but I have a draft and some ideas still in my head.  Some of the things I'd wanted to do that are not required I've given up on.  There are a number of factors for my present feeling about tenure stuff:  with all this other stuff, it's just one more thing I need to get done; I kind of rocked the last year and everyone I talk to seems to think I'm a shoo-in; even I, who am afflicted with low self-esteem and a lifelong abhorrence of counting my chickens before they're hatched, sort of feel like they'd be idiotic to not award me tenure because then who'd they get to do all this crap; but finally I've been thinking a lot about writing and how I picked this career so I'd be able to write more but after five years I still haven't gotten the project done that I want to, so I wonder if I wouldn't be better off -- more fulfilled if less financially secure -- if I don't get tenure.  All this is keeping me from panicking, which is good, because I'm prone to panic.  (I'm not so crazy that I'm shooting myself in the foot though, not to worry.  Something in me loves hoops, loves the feedback, so unlike writing where the only feedback you get is cold businessy rejection letter.)  So tomorrow I embark on cranking out everything I can crank out with the hopes that in a week or two I will soon be able to hang out and watch TV until I'm sick of hanging out and want to get back to something real and important.  For now, I'm just tired.  AP is rocking the packing, and I am just sitting here writing.  How lovely.

Hope you're all having a lazy Sunday!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Grades Are In! What's Next?

So. . .grades are in.  I do have a bunch of end-of-year stuff to do, including my annual report.  I also got too busy and didn't do Committee Report, so I can't forget about that. And then after that:  go up for tenure.  Wow.

We're also, it seems, in the process of buying a house.  But those of you who have bought houses know that the process is so long and arduous and a zillion things can go wrong along the way that it seems courting disaster to even really talk about it as if it's going to happen.  So stressed.  Absurdist Partner and I keep freaking out, even over good things, and wonder what's going on with us, and then one of us reminds the other:  oh yeah, this is one of the most stressful things that can happen to you.  No one ever says, hey I can't wait until I buy a house -- being in escrow (no, not yet) just sounds like so much fun!  In fact, Absurdist Partner had a teacher in school who had a pin that said something like:  Be kind.  I'm in escrow.  I want that pin!  I'd like it on my car also, since I've spent the week driving to Faraway Upscale Suburb of Super Sprawl City for a special camp for Absurdist Child.   

Part of me has been working so long (I taught during summer last year) that I haven't tapped into my deep and abiding laziness. . .yet.  So I'm still in work mode.  It's probably tenure staring me in the face.  But another part of me has already made the shift, the part of me who wanted to give everyone As rather than actually grade -- and wants to get back to writing.  Which is good, because I haven't been writing much this entire year.  I'd love to be really productive this summer, but I think I'll be happy if I can just get back into writing.  Or maybe I should have lower expectations because I have important things to do this summer:

  • Move office
  • Write annual report
  • Write Committee Report
  • Go up for tenure
  • Move
  • Prep fall classes (am really reworking the class with new texts, so this will take time)
  • Research and write paper for Cool Conference 
  • Act as shuttle service for Absurdist Child, who has cool camps he's going to 
  • Get back into writing
Uh yeah.  That's plenty.  Next week none of Absurdist Child's camps are open, so any ideas I have about getting things done in the next week are ridiculous.  So of course the page proofs of a chapter I wrote have just been sent to me!  I should add that to the list.  All my lists and organizational tools are out of date.  I guess that's what I should do.  Then I'm going to read.

I'm reading a lot of your blogs -- in fact, that is part of what gets me through the day lately.  Thank you for writing.  Also my newest obsession:  sudoku. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Househunting Adventures

Dear lord.  We've been running around looking at houses -- six in two days -- and I feel like I'm neglecting everything.  I'm at that point where I've had so many distractions that I really long for a time when I can sit and just focus on some. . .oh I don't know. . .grading. 

But it's been a nightmare.  Absurdist Child is full-on all the time.  He wants to run around, he wants to explore and ask questions -- and when we're trying to look at houses, it's just quite stressful for me.  I can barely hear the real estate agent's discoveries and explanations while I have to reprimand AC for basically just being himself.  All this after work when I'm tired and potentially short-tempered.  (I've mellowed recently.)   We go to the zoo tomorrow, but really I'd like to sleep.  I should sleep.  Probably right now.

The real estate agent did something I don't find to be very principled.  (Yes, I'm a stickler.  An idealist.  What can I tell you?  I teach ethics now.)  He tried to upsell us and wasted our time.  And from that I realized that this is just super-stressful on me to try to take care of AC during these outings and I also resent the missed family and relaxation time.  So we're thinking of having Absurdist Partner vet them first and then we'll bring the whole family to see the more hopeful properties.  (We've seen one after another of unworkables.)  I don't really feel great about that solution, like I'm copping out on the process, copping out on the work.  We'll see.  

Lots of work.  Lots of changes afoot.  My quarter isn't over, but we're near the end.  You know, it's slog time.  And Absurdist Child's graduation.  Craziness.  It is truly amazing how the days are long and the years are short.  I hate to end with a cliche, but end I must.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Conference and Career Musings

So I've been at a conference.  During the run-up to this conference, like the run-up to all conferences, I didn't want to go.  I started thinking about all the excuses I could manufacture to avoid going.  (Certainly with the death in the family that has caused the Great Family Implosion and Ensuing War, the only place I should be on a plane to is City of My Birth.  The fact that I, a decision-maker, am not there causes no end of trouble.  I will have to go there when the quarter is over.)  The fact is that I, who used to love to travel, hate leaving Absurdist Family.  I just hate it.  It leaves me fearful and shaky.  I always feel this way, which is why I've gone to so few conferences recently -- none last year, for example.

And then there are conferences themselves.  And I think if I'm honest and I dig through this blog, I'll find that my first posts were about going to Big Dreadful Interview Conference and hiding in my hotel room.  I'm just a hider.  Especially at the big conferences where I feel like I don't know anyone and everyone's on the make trying to sound smart with big words.

But today I feel pretty good about this conference because last night I presented and then our little group had our business meeting.  And so I'm leaving on a high note, full of panel ideas for the future.  I think I just have to make sure that I have some social element that draws me out of my shell as early in a particular conference as possible -- a real moment where I feel I can be some version of myself, not someone trying to network and all that crap that I hate.  I'm writing this here for the world to help me remember.  And, note to self, talking with new people is not bad.  I got two great ideas/sources from a woman I sat next to at the luncheon where I knew basically no one.  It was great.

Here's a more important thing I want to reflect on:  when I look at my Starbucks cup recently, it says things like you need the courage to live the life you want.  And when I think of the life I want, I don't think of academia, much as I love my students, sometimes, and I enjoy, sometimes, doing my scholarship.  I get a more writing, homesteady picture when I think of the life I want, the life I dream of.  And so I don't think of myself as very ambitious.  I want tenure because without it I won't have a job.  So I jump through its hoops (at first I wrote "hopes"), substitute for people on university-wide committees, am nice to people who should be flipped off (okay, I do that also because I begrudgingly admit that it's better to be a nice person than a shitheel, though not everyone at my institution seems to think so).  So I want tenure and then, I think, especially at my institution where full could only come with university leadership, I'll probably be one of those people who stall at associate while I pursue writing more in line with my dreams.

So it's a strange thing to me when I'm sitting there at a business meeting and we're talking about this task we need to delegate that would help the delegatee get his/her name out there, which, of course, is part and parcel of developing that national reputation so important in going up for promotion to full.  And I'm sitting there thinking, I need to do this, I need to do this.  And luckily my natural reticence kept my arm down and my mouth shut.  Also that it was framed as something that would be good for a new faculty member (and I'm not!!!  in a few years, I'll be considered mid-career!).  It occurred to me later that I don't need to take this on because a national reputation and full is not my goal.  My goal is to write the various projects that I want to write, whether scholarship or otherwise.  I have things I want to say in multiple venues.  I don't want to be a big name in my field, however much I love some of the big names in my field.  But I seem to have this amnesia about that in the moment.

So all that to say, I'm naturally ambitious.  If there's a hoop ringed with fire, I'm drawn to it.  This is why I have a PhD that I managed in normative time.  This is why I work pretty hard and engage in so much service.  This is why the only person at my institution worried about my getting tenure is me.  But what I really haven't done so well is pursue my own goals.  Wait, is that true?  When I have a goal to learn something or do something for Absurdist Child or whatever, do I struggle?  No.  I think I'm really talking here about my own writing.  I just don't pursue my writing goals with the same kind of driven seriousness.   Part of this is low self-esteem and my own crazy-making about writing.  ("I don't have the publications or connections or luck that X has.  Maybe I'm just fooling myself.  Maybe I don't have it.  If I cared about it more, of course I'd get it done.  Maybe maybe maybe.")  And truth be told, I don't pursue my scholarly goals in a dogged way either, though I'm dogged about the research.  I've an article I've wanted to get out since I finished my dissertation, and though I've started working on it several times, it hasn't gotten done.  Yet.  I don't want unfinished projects to be the story of my life.  I think maybe those hoops ringed with fire are just more knowable, less scary (other people have managed them; so can I, while in contrast no one has put forth my ideas in the way I want to yet, though if I don't get going someone may beat me to the punch here).

So here's what I want to say:  I get caught up in the promotion to full requirements because, assuming I make tenure, that's a tangible goal that is knowable and supported by my community.  Perhaps what I need to do is try making my writing goals (all of them) more tangible and supported by my community.  But I think I also need to think about the issue of knowable requirements.  I know what the tangible requirements are for promotion.  But what are the tangible requirements for my projects to be successful?

All this is good to think about, though summer is still a month away and that summer will be taken up with other things like putting together my tenure case (for associate -- talk about putting the cart before the horse!) and, hopefully, buying a house!    

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Catching Up: With Blogging and Myself

This time of year always makes me grumbly, as most academics on the semester system are finishing up or done and starting in on their beach reading.  I envy you!  I'm on the quarter system (grumble, grumble).  Graduation, which I have to attend so I'm thinking about it as the end point even though I won't be done with grading by then, isn't for another month.  I have stacks and stacks of grading, not summer reading with sand stuck in the binding, not mission impossible research and writing plans scented with the promise of overseas research sites and fusty libraries.

But!  After that terrible winter, Spring.  Sun.  Warmth.  Growing things on my balcony.  Yes, I put in the peas too late and the chard will probably bolt, but I don't care!  Somehow I'm made calm and happy just looking at my seeds coming up, all that new growth.  I really think there must be some chemical released into my brain when I see them.  Even though the sliding glass door.  I could stare at them for hours.  

Despite all the busyness, which has been intense and is dying down just as the quarter, after Memorial Day, starts working itself up to fever pitch, I've managed to be really productive in the area of conference proposals, which is something I often fall down on.  (Case in point:  I've done only 4-5 conferences in the last 5 years.  That doesn't seem too shabby written out like that, but I can't tell you how many times I've thought I should propose something for Big Conference in My Field or Smaller Conference in My Field or Neat Small Conference in My Area only to find out that I just missed the deadline by days.)  Today I'm having a difficult health day -- I woke up with a migraine -- so it's easy to be negative.  (I'm so lucky it was today rather than yesterday, a big day for meetings and helping others, or tomorrow, a day I'm spending with Absurdist Child.)  Actually, I've been really productive in many areas, but it never feels like enough, never feels like I've been productive when I have some of the same impossible sticky notes up on my computer day after day, week after week.  Of course, some of this is just that long multi-step projects are just like that.  And I know that.  Some of this is just self-image based.  The truth is I'm at the early stages of two incredibly stressful things that everyone in the world knows is incredibly stressful, going up for tenure and buying a house, so I must be kind to myself instead of down on myself when I don't feel good.  

To help with getting more organized, I'm listening to David Allen's Getting Things Done in the car and reading Steven Covey's First Things First, incredibly slowly, at home.  These, at least at the big-picture level, couldn't be more different.  Allen is all about organization of tasks and projects and developing a system for all that, including his five-stage process.  He often uses such business-y language that I'd forget all about it except that he talks about "stress-free" and "balanced" productivity.  Since I've often used my stress and anxiety as the motivation and energy to get things done -- with not-so-great effects on my overall health -- the idea that I could get things done and not be a stress case about it keeps me listening.  He makes it seem as though getting on top of things is possible.  I can see how motivational speakers make a living -- just giving people hope that they can handle what's in front of them really is worth something.  (Though I'm not sure it's true; do we ever get on top of something?  Don't we just find that something new comes to topple us?  That what we really need is to learn flexibility and resilience and peace that we're not in control?  I don't know.)   First Things First is much more my speed, focusing on what makes life worthwhile in a big sense and then, I suspect at some point since I'm not there yet in the book, drilling down to what this means on a daily or weekly basis.  

Are you getting the feeling I'm avoiding something?  So am I.  And so I am.  It's that I'm going to a conference.  Here's the thing:  I hate leaving.  I'm always afraid of something terrible happening.  (You understand -- I can't say what exactly I'm afraid of partly because I'm superstitious and partly because it's just so so dumb and unreal and unrealistic because the truth is I just don't want to go and am manufacturing reasons to match my feelings, not the other way around.  But you know -- the plane.)  I just don't like to leave home anymore, which is kind of crazy because I used to love to travel.  Maybe I'd like it better if the family came with me.  And then there's the usual reason:  I hate networking, hate having to try to sound smart, hate thinking on my feet.  Luckily, this conference kind of forces me to not hide in my hotel room because they have luncheons and things -- so I end up meeting people which is great.  (People used to sort of take pity on me because I was a grad student, but now I'm just a shy faculty member -- will people still be as kind?  Probably, I hear a wise part of myself saying:  so much of it is just attitude, Earnest.  You'll be fine.  Meet people.  Talk to people.  You have interesting things to say.  Half the time you won't shut up.  Jeez, get a grip!

Did I mention that I was diagnosed with Tietze Syndrome, which are chest pains and inflammation of the breastbone cartilage?  I can tell you it's pretty scary to have chest pains.  I keep going in for EKGs and they find nothing nothing!  But what I notice now is that sitting here on my bed, the first day I haven't had to go into work in weeks, just being mellow and stress-free and alone. . .no chest pains.  Interesting.  I have things to do (the laundry is going as I write), but I think I'm going to have a nap.  I never get enough sleep.   

Wow, this post is all over the place.  Just finding my footing.  It's more difficult to start blogging again than I thought.  I'll get the hang of it again.  I hope.

Saturday, May 10, 2014


It's alive!  Absurdist Paradise is alive! 

Yes, it's been almost three years.  Did I plant those seeds and start new blogs?  Yes, I did.  But they didn't take.  And now that I'm preparing my tenure binder and heading up this committee and sitting on this university committee (only subbing, though, thank goodness) and seeing if I can qualify for a home loan while AC has a problem at school and has been lying and drawing on our couch meanwhile my birth family has completely imploded over the terms of my grandmother's will?  Well, it feels as absurd as ever.  And lately as I've been literally running from one thing to another not eating and stealing time to run to the bathroom (things have calmed down, but this was one day this week and two days last week), I've thought how great it would be to come home to Absurdist Paradise.  So here I am.  Who says you can't go home again?