Thursday, March 29, 2012


I'm exhausted, yo. I'll get to campus about 8 am today. I will be there until 5 pm today. I anticipate more exhaustion.

That is all.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Crappy Morning and a To Do List

Those freshman essays? STILL working on them. I should be working on them now. I had planned to sleep in, but I awoke to find a text from my bank saying my rent check bounced. WTF? Am I in grad school? In any case, I immediately emailed my landlord expressing my horror, offered to have the husband drive cash to him if necessary, but assured him it would be rectified by Friday (I have to do a wire transfer--you'd think I was some high powered lawyer or accountant or something with multiple accounts). Zoot allor! Who goes to bed after that? I think we accidentally used the "bill" account for groceries or something over spring break and then forgot to transfer the money over to it to make up for it. Crap.

So, freshman essays. I can't seem to get my shit going together for that one. I actually was on a roll yesterday, but, and I HATE this, but here's what slowed me down:

Winter quarter evals.

They were stellar across the three classes. In a few cases I was well above the department and uni average. BUT, one kid, one bad comment, and I cried. It destroyed my day.

As unconventional as I am, NO ONE has EVER called me unprofessional. EVER. That is the one thing I pride myself on. While I may be a total dork and a complete goofball in front of the class, while I even may occasionally curse (things like "yeah, this character totally called bullshit on that character"; or, "so and so character totally got his ass handed to him in this scene, and rightfully so."), I am not unprofessional. Unprofessional means that I degrade students. That I don't give feedback. That I hang on to their stuff. That I don't do my job. That I penalize them for not sharing my opinions. I try to be as transparent as possible, and I know I go above and beyond most of my colleagues with the revision opportunities I give them (even for dinky assignments), and go beyond what I should be telling them pretty much exactly what's on their exams without actually giving them the exam to study. It also indicates that I'm doing something inappropriate which I associate with something along the lines of harassment or something of that nature. I tell jokes, but they are clean and 99% of the time involve some sort of bad pun (a clean one). My students know nothing of my sexual life, my drinking life--because those are inappropriate and unprofessional topics-- my non-academic life beyond that I have a husband and that I am old enough to get into bars. If alcohol ever comes up, I give a PSA about not drinking until it's legal and to always be safe and have a DD. Clearly, obviously, this has totally shattered me. But the student, if I remember the comment correctly though ended with something really passive aggressive (or at least to me) like, "but I guess you can tell that she really enjoys teaching." WTF?

That comment totally shut me down pretty much for the day. It took me 30 minutes to get through the essay I was grading (which didn't warrant 30 minutes--it seriously only needed about 12 minutes), got in the car, told the husband, immediately began crying and then took a nap, and kind of slogged and pouted through my workout, and then just moped through the rest of my work for the night. Completely shut down over that.

I should focus I guess on the fact that for 99% of the other students, at least the ones who bothered to comment, I am doing something right.

I'm still kind of down about it--clearly. It's ridiculous because I can't let it interfere with my work, because that would be unprofessional.

****************Switching Gears*****************************
Here's what's left to do:
  • Grade 4/8 Freshman essays as soon as done blogging.
  • Grade last 4 Freshman essays during office hours. I was on a roll! I finished them! Huzzah! I'm so glad that's done!
  • Finish prep for lit class during remaining office hours.
  • Work out.
  • Go to thing on campus tonight.
  • Call eye doctor and find out where contacts are.
  • Get in touch with landlord again.
  • Do work out early before class.
  • Prep for Friday's class during office hours.
  • Grade lit analyses that come in today.
  • Meet with students during the afternoon.
  • Meeting.
  • Crash from exhaustion.
  • Meet with students during office hours.
  • Do nothing after teaching.--this may be modified for working out because  nothing happened on Wednesday; nothing's happening today.
  • Hair appt.
And then hopefully by Saturday we'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming, and I'll be able to get my reading done Saturday morning and have a much less stressful week.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I Don't Even Feel Like I've Had a Weekend

I'm still working out the kinks on this thing. Obviously, the blog is a bit bare. But, I'll keep playing around with it. I've been messing around with the identity and playing with google and blogger for almost an hour already this morning (it's not even 6:30 yet) because I couldn't sleep. So I thought, what the hell? Since I can't sleep and won't be productive anyway, now's the time to play around with this. So I have been. I feel like I should be much more computer savvy than I am, but I'm not. I feel so dumb. But alas, I think I've got it figured out.

Anyway, I'm sad to report that I've accomplished very little this weekend. Like surprisingly little. After not doing much last weekend, I have developed a bad habit already! And of course I'm blogging now instead of working, but damn, I couldn't sleep, and the last thing I wanted to do after not being able to sleep is to work! I am just being a baby about the grading. I know better. If I don't start grading the moment the essays or whatever come in, then it just takes forever for me to get going on them. I got through five yesterday while I was proctoring an exam. I was supposed to get through all of them since I was going to be stuck in a room for nearly three hours. Nope. Instead I booked our flights for our trip to Cali at the end of May for my conference. I booked our hotel room for my cousin's wedding in Cali at the end of summer. Called my dad in between exams when no kids were in the room to tell him that I got the hotel room booked (the only way we're able to go is if we split a room with the parents). Then I read an essay or two. When I came home I worked out, and then when I was finished with all that, I had about 30 minutes before we were to go to a friend's for dinner, and voila! An entire Saturday passed without my doing anything. And I can't cancel on the grandparents this weekend. I did, in all fairness use last Sunday, after canceling on them productively--the bedroom and the bathroom were in dire need of being cleaned, straightened, and stuff being put away, laundry being done, etc. What will most likely happen is that I push back when the revisions for Essay 1 are due a few days. I mean, I did just pick up the drafts on Friday. The things that really need to be graded are the lit responses. I will have had those for a week on Tuesday. That needs to get done tonight. Which I should do them now but I'm not going to because damn, I just don't wanna.

I've also got to come up with a new plan. For whatever reason, I seem to have fallen apart this month in terms of organization, productivity, overall health goals. I was reluctant to change my work out schedule because what I had started doing mid January had been working. But since the quarter started, either from illness, allergies, poor diet, a schedule I thought would be better but isn't, or d) all of the above, I don't seem to be able to do what needs to be done, primarily keeping up with the workouts in the afternoons after class, even though I'm going in later but getting home at the same time. I get up at the same time as I did last quarter, too, so I'm not sure why I'm exhausted all the time right now, although I do suspect that my diet has a significant role in this issue, so we'll have to see how this is going to play out. I think this means that I need to start working out in the morning before class. Or at least getting 2/3 workouts in before school, and then running in the afternoons after class. Since the husband has homework now that he needs to do in the afternoons, I can get my work done then, too. This is the new plan which I'll give a test run this week. And then we'll see.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Getting There

Well, I am still not done with the lit response papers for the TR class, but as I had promised them they'd be done next Tuesday, I'm not behind on them yet. Rather since the freshpeoples turn in their final drafts today, I'm going to take attendance and then let them go I think, and then I'm going to sit in my office and try to plow through as many of them as I can until it's time to teach the lit class. I don't want the essays hanging over me. Plus, I want them done ASAP so that those who want to revise can do so can set up meetings with me to discuss the essays next week and can turn those things back in the following Monday. If I can keep on pace with the freshpeoples class, then I can stay on top of things here and the grading in the other class won't be so bad. I do, however, have to make more of an effort next time around to grade those things as soon as they come in.

March seems like it has been an abysmally crappy month compared to February. I felt on the ball and healthy in February. Not so much this month. And I just saw a picture of myself, another one at a bad angle admittedly, and well, I guess rather than depressing me, it's somewhat motivating. Plus, I finally worked out again yesterday after missing three days (a rarity), and I slept sooooooo well! Minimal gluten with dinner, and not only did I fall asleep early, but I slept solidly for 8 hours. Like 8 non-stop hours. Not even a 3 am wake up as I had been having. So I feel pretty good this morning.

A few of us had a lovely night last night with my colleague who will be leaving us at the end of the quarter. I imagine this is how my friends in Fancy Town felt last year, though I left under different circumstances. And it's fairly true that this was not a town that ze liked at all. And while it's clear that the administration did not like hir, I'm comforted by the fact that hir friends in the department are sad to see hir go. But I won't dwell on that. It's not my story to keep telling.

Still though in my anxiety over this, during the meeting I had yesterday, I told the administrator what I already had, in terms of publications, and this seems to be the deciding factor regardless of teaching and service--it's very much a publish or perish environment, but on a smaller scale here, but I get it--the uni wants to be an R1. And I knew this going in to the job, so I'm fine with that. However, I wanted to make sure that the little things that I already had were going to count toward that. And that the plan that I have for the one more smaller one and then to place something in a mid-tier journal, at the least, is a solid one. I was told flat out that if I accomplished that, I would be set. The only thing that could hurt me was if I managed to do all of this by next year and then stopped and made no attempt to even try to place anything else anywhere. As long as I can keep up my momentum, I'm okay according to the higher ups. Actually, right now, I'm better than okay because I'm ahead of the curve, so it's important for me to maintain that momentum. And it's reassuring to know that for once, I have a solid academic plan.

Actually, if I want to be honest, this is the path that I had hoped I would take in my academic career. While it's true that I have aspirations to be at one particular institution (a pipe dream, but not like Harvard or anything like that, no offense to anyone, that's so *not* what I want--it's more about truly going home, but I digress). While I wanted to excel as a grad student and while I had hoped to shine in my program with the hopes that that would land me a great job, I saw pretty early on that even the "stars" of the program, with very very few exceptions, were landing their dream jobs. And I don't mean this in a negative way. Was I bitter that I never got a fellowship or anything like that or any award for my work? Yes. But I was also equally afraid peaking during my program. I was okay with being middle of the pack as long as the race was still being run. I think I've always been more interested in being at the top of my field rather than at the top of the class. So while I know that many of my friends and peers came out the program (and some who are still there) with well placed publications going into the job market, I'm okay with where I am, academically (personally, financially, physically, well those are different stories...).

Now I'm going to work on that research plan and map out the next two weeks of school work/class prep so I know what I'm looking at and what needs to be done so I can a) get back on track with the workouts and cooking with the hopes of kicking whatever cold or allergies I have going on right now and b) so I can spend some of my free time working in that office I'm supposed to have that is really just a storage room for bills and things I don't have a place for right now and c) use the other part of the free time to finish putting away the winter clothes and going through the stuff for good will.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Back on Track

I'm bringing Maude back.
Maude is now back!

I have missed Maude a lot lately. A LOT. I was sad she had such a sad ending, but she never left me.

I need a fresh start. When I feel as if the other blog has become a smorgasbord of whining, it's time to move on. I think.

Perhaps Nola needs to remain an academic personality. And I need to focus my academic issues somewhere and the other things I want to do somewhere else.

I feel like one of the things bothering me lately (aside from my friend's tenure denial, which is new to the list of things bothering me), I have been feeling lately like I want to create something. I mean, I haven't written in over a decade. Closer to two almost at this point. And I think this is behind my working out--it sounds weird, but I do feel like it's a creation of energy, a constant recreation of a newer me that comes with every work out. Does that sound nuts?

I have felt, for a while now, since before Christmas, that I'm in a rut in my life. In every way possible. I cut my hair, but I still feel like I look the same. I've bought a couple of pieces of new clothes and I've been able to get back into some of my favorite clothes, but not all of them, and I've tried to change up my make up and my accessories, but still, I feel in a rut. I've even changed up some stuff in my syllabi--it's gone *that* far. I bought new sheets and changed the look of the bedroom this weekend. I've switched daily coffee mugs. I've spent a stupid amount of time looking at new phones (it's time for my upgrade) because I feel that the iPhone has become part of my identity, and if I want a change, that needs to change, too. Nuts, right? I bought a bright new mug for my protein fruit shakes. I have even been wearing my contacts more rather than my glasses because I *always* wear my glasses and usually only wear my contacts for when I'm working out. And here I am, changing blogs, changing venues, changing my persona.

I was comfortable with Maude until I got to Fancy Town. I was happy with her in Home City. So perhaps it's not about changing into something new, but trying to recapture or return to something that worked.

Don't misunderstand, I'm pretty happy with my life (money issues aside), but for the most part, I have rediscovered a love for my job. I find that even though my friend's tenure denial makes me question my own academic mortality this early on, and perhaps that's a good thing--I can either take ze's experience and try to learn from it, try to make sure that I have more than what I need in all areas of the tenure package and push for transparency in my own process rather than look at all of this as an exercise in futility and spiral into depression and despair, and make sure I get my own self together since I constantly struggle with getting things done. Not that I do actually really honestly think this is in any way about me. It is just making me think.

So while I've been wallowing since Spring Break--letting my diet slide which makes my body feel sick which affects my sleep and my ability to work out how I want to, letting my scholarship slide still, I think affected by my diet and health--when I'm a work out beast, I am a grading, prep, and teaching beast as well. Seriously. It's time to get back to business.

This is what needs to be finished this week, that is by Friday afternoon so that I can a) get back on track and b) get ahead:
  • Grade all the lit analyses from both classes (I've been sitting on these things for three days and haven't looked hide nor hair at them). Actually, I've got to get the one class's essays done today.
  • Get caught up on this week's lit class readings and try to get a head for next week for those classes (really this one and the above are the two big things for this week).
  • Map out a specific research and writing plan with a not too terribly flexible timeline, but get things written down and mapped out.
  • Get one third to half of the freshman essays graded by the end of office hours on Friday.
  • Do some meal planning.
  • Keep up with workouts.

For this weekend, I've got to start prepping the veggies and stuff for the week ahead after we go to the grocery. I've also got that testing thing for HS stus that I have to show up for. I wonder if I'll be able to get work done during that time. That will make the cooking easier during the week and keep us from reverting to total laziness. And at some point I've got to get into that office of mine here and fix it up so it's a workable space for the both of us so that I don't have a computer sitting on the table all the time in the kitchen and so we can eat there more regularly which will make a difference in a lot of ways.

Well okay, so I have a plan.

Oh, and if you're wondering where the blog title and the blog address come from, it's from one of my all time favorite songs: