Monday, April 25, 2011

Research Monday

Thank goodness it's Monday. The weekend sucked. AL has been super-stressed about some work things going on early this week and has been really ill as well. I've been stressed because AL is stressed and because the work things may affect some immediate plans we have -- so we've been in limbo and still are for the next couple days and that's just never a good feeling. Even though I told myself a zillion times that there was nothing I could do and so should let go of the stress and try to be there for AL, I failed utterly. Tot is making an on again off again transition to his toddler bed, which means that going to sleep is a new kind of ordeal. (It always was, of course, but now it's a new ordeal.) I think Tot also felt the stress or is just exploring and experimenting because he crayoned over some toys and then the walls. They're washable crayons and everything, but you can't just act as if it's nothing, can you? Because then they won't know what's right in the future. Parenting is hard. Sometimes it sucks. Like when Tot steals the bed so that I'm smooshed in the middle of the bed between two restless sleepers. Needless to say, I woke up and got up early for a change.

And it's no wonder to me that some part of me that would usually rather sleep wanted to get an early jump on today because I am simply Deeeeeelighted that both of my boys, whom I love dearly, are taken care of for hours upon hours and I can be alone and focus on me. (No making dinner or taking Tot out on walks or going to the children's museum or whatever because I should. No shoulds!) Mondays I'm scheduled to do yoga and go to therapy. I doubt I'll do either today because I need to take care of me. I don't want to go to therapy because I don't want to rehash the weekend of suckage. And yoga is in less than an hour and my back hurts and I just don't think I'm going to get there. I actually have tons of things to do today, but what I really want to do is research. The entire weekend, actually starting with Friday, I wanted to work on my research, perhaps because it belongs only to me and I have control over it unlike the various reasons that made the weekend of suckage what it was. Partly also because Thursday, which is supposed to be a lesser but still significant research day, was almost completely taken up by this service document I had to crank out. And I really missed not getting to work on my work! (This feels like a really significant difference from the version of me who had to basically cajole myself into writing my dissertation and thought I might be perfect for a job that required little research. Now I know that's I love research.)

So work-wise, I want to
  • Write up an abstract for a conference paper and send it to the panel organizer.
  • Work on article. Accomplished.
  • Possibly finish the email I'm carefully crafting to a contact asking for help on a project.
  • Stage a creative work submission so all I have to do is print and mail when I'm at work before the window closes at the end of the month.

Other things I have to do:
  • Do laundry. Done.
  • Do the bills. Done.
  • Pick up Tot's favorite seed butter across town at the only place that carries it which happens to be on a street that is now under construction and is just a major pain to get to. Done.
  • Call and reschedule therapy appointment. Done.
  • Figure out dental insurance, find a dentist, and make an appointment so I can stop living with tooth pain.
I also have daydreams of things like watching a movie and napping, though I doubt that will happen. I also wish I could go and help out at my friend's farm, though that's not even on the radar for today.

Can I just say that I love being invited to do things by other scholars in my field? It just makes me feel like I have something to say and have some expertise for someone somewhere even though I work daily in an institution that merely pays lipservice to the necessity of the skills I teach and I teach things that not only are not my specialty, but are things I don't value to students who on the whole wish they didn't have to take such classes at all. And when I do get to have wonderful scholarly conversations with my colleagues, it's usually not on anything I really know anything about -- though I tend to love having them anyway. It occurs to me now that going to conferences can be a lifeline for some of us, probably most of us, because most institutions hire people to cover certain areas, which often means that when you get right into the fine detail of your field, there's no one right across the hall to talk to (unlike grad school). I didn't go to the Big Conference this year because I don't like to be gone from home a lot and I already went to a specialist conference and am going to a workshop, then two conferences in the fall (one is local). That's a lot. But I think from now on I'm going to make it more of a priority, even though in the past I really haven't liked Big Conference all that much. It's too big, for one thing. And I find going to conferences and sitting in session after session really difficult, so I tend to go to too few sessions. But maybe I have to look at it more as a chance to slurp up new ideas that I can then digest for the rest of the year.

Knowing that a senior scholar that I respect is asking me to do something (or if I'd like to do something) also makes me more careful in my work, wanting something to be good rather than merely done. I'm going to enjoy writing my annual report this year since I've had some rather good luck. In fact, I admit I often go to sleep thinking about the good luck I've had research-wise.

(By the way, the reason why I'm not inundated with grading and counting down the weeks until summer like most of you is because I'm on the quarter system and so am getting my first boatload of papers tomorrow. Worse than that, I'm teaching right though the summer -- with maybe three weeks off at most. So while I'm not in grading jail right now, I am off the normal academic calendar, which means that while you're all writing about your summer plans and then lightblogging because you're out having fun, well, I'll be doing the regular thing, same bat time, same bat channel. Being so far off the academic calendar is another thing that makes me feel really. . .well, alienated from my academic colleagues. The final cure for all this is obvious, but wouldn't do anything immediately for my headspace. So instead the real cure for all this is research. Who knew?)

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