Friday, May 27, 2011

Playing Catch Up

My dear friends, I'm sorry I haven't blogged recently. There's been a ton going on. In the words of Inigo Montoya, "let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up."

  • I had terrible tooth pain for weeks, finally went to the dentist, waited for three more weeks for my appointment to roll around, and then had a root canal. Icky. I feel diseased. (And I have not yet had the usual cleaning and diagnostics to tell me what other nightmares await me in the teeth realm.) I'm still on pain meds. It absolutely ruined our weekend last weekend along with. . .
  • AL has been on call at work. It's over now, as of today. But he's gotten up in the middle of the night so many times I swear he works more at night than during the day. This made root canal weekend even worse because he was too tired to take care of Tot. Even still, he tried. We managed.
  • My sister fell off a horse and actually fractured her spine. She had to have spinal fusion surgery. She's at home now, trying to manage the pain. She's going to have to wear a brace for six months. It's awful. Which has also led to. . .
  • My mother came back up from the deep to send me text messages about my sister. The latest ones are all about whether I know whether my sister knows the recipe for my late grandmother's "Miracle Soup." As if I would know. As if my sister, at home alone because her husband and kids are at work and school, respectively, should be making herself soup rather than having someone else make her soup. As if my grandmother's soup was anything more than Whole Foods vegetable soup powder with an awful lot of vegetables in it. Finally, I stopped texting back about that one because it's just so stupid. I really liked it much better when my mother wasn't talking to me for reasons I'm not sure about but can guess. I'm sick of the hot and cold with my mother. It finally occurred to me, because I'm incredibly slow, that not only have I been putting up with the same kind of BS from my mother for my nearly 40 years, but that I'm tired of it and have no more energy to invest in relationships that merely drive me crazy and don't pay off in any way; in fact, I'd be stupid to invest what little time I have that way. As AL said so well, our lives are so busy with full-time jobs and an active toddler. My mother could be a support, something that adds to our lives. Instead she takes away. I'm no longer going to invest time in the minus column of my life.
  • I've decided to start Tot in Montessori in July. We've observed the class, we've talked with the director, and I, at least, am looking forward to it. Tot, on the other hand, seems to love his current daycare, though all I have to do to firm up my resolve is to come in at snack time when some deranged parents think it's a good idea to pump their kids full of donuts and cupcakes. (Sorry if this is insulting to you, dear readers. AL says I shouldn't judge. But really: sugar, fat, and likely trans fats and GMO. Oh, and I realize this is a trivial consideration: no actual nutrition for kids' growing bodies. I'm not against the occasional fabulous dessert, but donuts from a coffee place as a kid's everyday snack? Bringing in a giant cupcake snack for a whole room full of early preschoolers? I feel especially responsible for bringing tasty and healthy snacks when it's my turn to feed the entire room. Am I the only one?)
  • Tot has started asking to be with "other kids." Which means that I'm concerned that this long weekend isn't going to be as fun as it should be. AL and I are determined to do nice things for ourselves beyond the usual laundry, dishes, trash. Unfortunately, it looks like it's going to rain all weekend, when the things we want to do involve being outdoors and eating outdoors. We might try to take Tot to a restaurant, something we've really stopped doing because he is so active.
  • The Farmer's Market started up last weekend. Thank God and Hir's wee angels. It was rained out the day it was supposed to start.
  • I hate the quarter system and especially my Uni's academic calendar that makes me way off of every other academic's calendar. The good news is that I have today off, though it's only week 8. Which means. . .
  • That today is the day I.simply.must.make.amazing.progress.on.the.article I now owe to Grad School Colleague and will soon owe to a professional workshop thing I'm scheduled to go to (but can't quite imagine since I have to leave AL and Tot here) AND to my regularly scheduled writing group.
I've decided that there is no earthly reason why I can't write two articles per year if I just put in the time. I've been doing other really useful reflection, like that I really do feel like teaching, which I value amazingly, does get in the way of my regular work on my scholarship and I find that annoying. Which is how I've come to realize that while I really love teaching and would love to be in a place where I'd be able to teach courses across the range of an English generalist, I'd not like the heavy load, unless class size were really limited. So while there are lots of things I don't like about my job -- the calendar, the lack of majors, the focus of my bread-and-butter teaching -- the teaching load is certainly one of the amazing perks. Another thing I really dislike is the lack of an academic community where people discuss things. Now I realize there are plenty of big and small departments that for whatever reason don't foster a sense of intellectual community. Mine certainly does not have intellectual community because most of the people in my department live elsewhere and commute in (which amazes me in the winter, but I grew up in a place where people start driving wonky in the rain -- snow would be impossible). I need to go seek it out -- at conferences and other schools around the state.

But you'll notice that none of this is helping me get my article done. So here's what I'm going to do:

  • I'm not going to panic.
  • I'm going to take my outline and dump in the various discussions I've been working on into it. Had to do a course correction, but done!
  • Then I'm going to print it out and do some handwritten revision. Thwarted! Our printer is so close to out of ink that it's giving me very choppy unreadable pages. GAH! Okay, I could go to work or I could go to my friendly nearby Staples. Since I have laundry in the communal laundry room, I suppose Staples is the smart choice. Done.
  • My goal is that I'm going to get one of the five sections of the piece written through today. Done.
  • But before I do any of that, I'm going to read that blogpost from the day I calmly wrote that article. I have done it before, and I can do it again. But I just need to remind myself how. Done.
I hope y'all have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! And if you're already done with your academic year, well, remember that there are those of us who are not so fortunate. It is your responsibility to have more fun, read for pleasure, be nice to yourself, and take more soothing naps and, above all, as my professor grandfather said and AL last night quoted: don't should yourself to death.

ETA: I just figured out that my organization is not going to work because, as always, my points are intertwined with one another. Instead I'm going to group the discussions together differently, which of course means I've spent some of my productive time on important discoveries that don't yield actual pages. Sigh. Back to it.


Renaissance Girl said...

Um, I probably have the recipe for your grandmother's Miracle Soup.

Earnest English said...

Ren: please bring it on. I know it had lots of squash in it.

Renaissance Girl said...

And cabbage?

feMOMhist said...

eeekkk what a few months. Hope Tot loves montessori, fMhson flunked out, which I do realize is theoretically impossible, but there you go -- he is that good. YES on the damn snacks of crap. The good news is that in our elementary school NO treats are allowed to celebrate :) All the other moms complain, while I quietly gloat. Article yes it is possible you can do it!!!!!!

Anonymous said...


ZOMG, it's chaos over there. I'm sorry for all the not so good stuff and happy that you are having moments of clarity re: relationships and scholarships. Sprinkling some pixie dust over all, which is known to calm things down...and make them sparkly.

Renaissance Girl said...

Hey! On a different point: Have you seen The Adjustment Bureau? You should. And then we should talk about how it's really just a shiny update of Xanadu.

Earnest English said...

RG: I'll check The Adjustment Bureau out.

And I don't remember cabbage in Grandma's Miracle Soup. But it was probably in there. I think a little bit of everything was in there!