Thursday, January 31, 2013


It has been a very very long week. So long that on Monday, I thought it was Wednesday. On Tuesday, as a friend was looking down and stressed, I said, "Hey, at least tomorrow's Friday! Oh wait! Fuck! What the hell? Today's only Tuesday. Shit."

By Monday night, I just broke down and started bawling. And then I passed out on the couch at like 8pm.

I finally finished all of my grading that I've had yesterday afternoon. Of course it took twice as long as normal because the one day I have actual work to finish in my office is the day I had more students in my office than I've had the entire quarter. And there are several more who want to meet with me today, and I had to tell two that I couldn't see them because I was already booked solid with appointments. I don't know if I'll have time to pee even. Or eat. And no, I will not make last minute appointments outside of my office hours today or come in early or stay late tomorrow because students waited until the very.last.minute. I have 10 freaking office hours a week, most of which are empty. So, no. I'm sure the honors student is going to freak out, but well, she's had two weeks to see me. I'm also a bit annoyed that these two particular students emailed me between 10 pm and midnight telling me when *they* can meet and asking for appointments outside my hours and to please let them know soon. Yes, because I lie awake at night waiting for students to email me with their meeting demands. (Ok, they weren't that rude, but I'm still annoyed).

I'm exhausted. My hips are killing me. My back is killing me. And because I'm exhausted, my morning sickness has returned.

Also, I told my boss on Monday that I was officially taking fall off for maternity. Her face went from a smile to see me to an intense, ferocious scowl. I'm not kidding. (Yesterday when I went into her office she said, "every time you come in here my life gets more difficult! *Chuckle. *Chuckle.--yeah, I didn't find that funny at all. Whatevs). I pointed out this scowl to her when she said, "well it's good you'll have time to bond with the baby, but I'm not happy about this." Me: "Yeah, I know. Your face and body language told me that immediately." Boss: (shocked I would notice this)--"Oh!"

This is why there are FMLA laws. She kept insisting that she had no idea what she was going to do with my classes if I wasn't there to teach them: "I'm in a real bind now. The dept. is probably not going to get money to give people overloads to make up for your absence. That this puts me( again) in a real bind, and the fall schedule is now going to be difficult for me to figure out, and are you really sure you can do this? Is HR really sure that you can take maternity leave in the fall if the baby is due in June? Are they aware that the baby is due in June. Because last summer the dean didn't think that maternity was possible or should be possible for a baby born in July let alone one born in June. I mean, it's during the summer. You already have time off for that. And well, the dean isn't going to be pleased with this at all. I guess I have to break the news to him because he doesn't know that's what you were planning. There just aren't enough people to cover your survey classes. I guess we just won't offer them. Do you know what you're supposed to be teaching in the fall (uh, no. How the fuck would I know that??)? You're going to use up all of your sick days. That's not very smart. What if you get sick in December then? You won't be able to miss any classes because you won't have any sick days left. Have you thought about that? Did HR think about that? I just can't even believe that it's possible for you to take maternity leave so late."

Uh, yeah, your guilt trip is not going to work. I'm sorry that it makes your life difficult, but I let you know in December this was a possibility. And I know you've been working hard in trying to guilt me into not taking maternity leave because it's better for the fall schedule if I don't. But really, I have given you ample time to do the job you get paid for. I'm not the first person to go on maternity leave. And not recently either. You had to deal with this last year. And seriously? I'm not going to take maternity leave on the off chance I might be sick one day in December before I can build up another day of leave, so I should just not use any of my sick days for that? Really? I tried to point out to her, as I brought up in the grad faculty meeting, that there was a giant hole in the course offerings every other year that excluded classes in my field. There is nothing required in my field (or even as an elective for that matter) on the scheduled rotation for fall. As proof of this, I brought her the schedule yesterday. "See, there's nothing in the course rotation for me this fall." Boss: "where did you get this? This says Fall 2011." Me: "I got it at the meeting. Remember, Rob said that Fall 2013 would look exactly like Fall 2011, that this was the rotation set in motion for next academic year." Boss: "Oh yeah. That's right? Are you sure? Is *this* what he handed out at the meeting?"


"Oh, but see Af-Am lit is being offered in the fall. You teach that right."
Me: "No. I can. I have, but it's been over a decade since I have. And if it's going to be in the fall rotation, then I'm more than willing to pick it up in 2015, but it's not a required class. It's on a line with several others, so if it's not offered, the class I'm teaching this spring counts toward that set of requirements."
"Oh, sure, I guess it doesn't have to be offered. I don't want to teach two classes in the fall. This job is hard enough only teaching one."

I had to work really hard to control my eye roll.

Anyway, I feel as if I'm going to be punished for this in the winter. In the same breath she says, "There are just not enough people to teach your survey class. But I think I'm going to give you a comp in the winter next year."

That makes sense. There are not enough people to teach the class I teach, but you're going to take one away from me and give me comp. Along with a brand new, first time ever teaching grad class, grad class. Thank you. That's not punishment at all. No way. Not at all. I can't wait.

So that has soured me a little bit this week. Because seriously, do I honestly think that if I make this sacrifice and not take maternity for the good of the department, the students, and the university that this will be rewarded or remembered one day? Do you honestly think I believe the university and the department have my back especially given yearly budget cuts and a governor who is anti-education, and has taken millions out of the budget every year for the last five years, that this is something that's going to go in my tenure file and help with my job security?? Fuck no. I'm not going to do you or the department a "favor" boss by not taking maternity leave. But it's done. I'll submit all my paperwork and stuff to HR next week, and put all of this behind me. Because I'm so looking forward to being off from mid-May until December.

In some ways I do feel better now that the decision has been made, but part of the reason I put it off so long was because I knew I was going to have to deal with her and her passive aggressive comments for the next four months. But I can make it until May. I can make it. I will make it. It's only three point five months. That's all I have to endure. And then in December I'm sure I'll have to hear how the department had to cope in my absence, but whatever. I'm fortunate in that HR is supportive and that I get the time off I want for this.

Now I need to go get some stuff for dinner prepped so that I don't have to do it this afternoon when I get home late from my meeting. I really just want to go back to bed for another hour, but I need to go do this.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


That's what I have to say to this day already. I'm just super stressed and a bit overwhelmed right now.

Since last winter, when I finally figured out my "system" for my survey classes, it has not taken me this long to get through grading. Generally I'm done with the midterms within two or three days of collecting them, even if I'm only grading them during office hours. But damn, I have just had essays and papers and everything else forever it seems like. I never even got this far behind when I had a comp class thrown into the mix! I just cannot seem to get my shit together this quarter at all. I blame my schedule; therefore, I blame myself. Teaching this late in the morning is not working for me at all. I just have to hang in there and make it through this quarter. I have high hopes that next quarter will be better. I have to. I expect my reviews to be awful this quarter. I thought the second trimester was supposed to be better, but I guess I started the quarter still in the first, and that just kind of set the tone for the whole shebang.

Which brings me to my next bit of angst for the day: I'm attending a baby shower for a friend in a couple of hours. Yes, it will be nice and lovely and all that. Why is it causing me angst? Because she has had like the most perfect pregnancy on the history of the planet. She is only just now, in month 8 starting to have backaches and get tired. She describes her pregnancy thus far as a wonderful and amazing experience. They cry during ultrasounds. Not to mention that I'm larger than she is at my piddly 4.5 months. Look, I know I sound catty. And I'm so so so very happy for her that she has had the best pregnancy and gets sleep, didn't have morning sickness or nausea or anything like that. Has been able to maintain working out 4-5 times a week, still. Can still do a pull-up and can still run. Am I bitter and jealous? I am not ashamed to admit that I am. I totally am. While I have more energy and am feeling better and will admit that I don't mind being pregnant, it has not been the "oh my god! I'm so happy! What a miracle! How wonderful!!" experience of some. It's not been as bad as others' experiences I'm sure, but today is week 18, and I still have morning sickness. I have already gained 30 pounds because my diet is jacked up. I hate pants (except pj pants)--although the unintended side effect of this is that I now have a ton of cute dresses and ironically dress nicer now that I'm pregnant than I did before. Am I a terrible human being? Is it wrong that I'm totally jealous that she had the pregnancy I hoped for and that I just feel sorta sidelined by my body? Sigh. It makes me feel terrible. She's my friend. I hate being jealous of my friends. But I am. At least I admit it I guess and can move on. The shower will be fun though. I like baby showers. I hope there are games. I rock at the games. Especially the baby mad-libs. I actually won a game at a shower I helped give once. :)

In other news, I went to HR yesterday to talk to them about maternity leave, and I am happy to say that I will (financially!!) be able to take off the whole of fall quarter! That means that I'll get from roughly June 29th until December 4th to be with the baby! Yay!! How much of my paycheck I'll get depends on if they only count my teaching days as leave days and base it off of my spring schedule, which I hope will be my permanent schedule for a while, or if they want to be jacknobbers and base it on a five day work week (which hardly seems fair if I'm teaching MWF). Three day a week schedule means between my leave and the shared sick leave pool, my entire quarter is covered with paid sick leave. If they decide to do a five day a week schedule, then it only covers 6.5 weeks of the quarter, and I'm out almost a month's pay. However, if this is the case, then I use up my paid leave first, and then the unpaid kicks in. So if this is the case, then at least I have a month and a half to make arrangements here (plus the J's paycheck), so that's more manageable. And we had decided that if I have to have unpaid leave, as long as it was no longer than a month, then I could go ahead and request the entire quarter off. And since my boss has been actively trying to discourage me from taking maternity leave in the fall ("I don't understand why you need fall off if you're having the baby over the summer. I don't have anyone to fill your classes."), I asked HR if she could deny my leave, and she said that the FMLA request protects me legally and that it doesn't matter if my boss is pissed or not. She can't deny it, and she has to deal with it. Now, I'm totally aware that she may decide to punish me down the road with terrible schedules and horrible classes, but I'm not giving up maternity leave for the sake of making her life easier or for the good of the department. I'm giving her ample notice (as a matter of fact, I told her in December that I was planning on taking fall off if it was financially feasible for me) so that she can do what she needs to with the schedule, which I think is totally fair on my part. It's not my job to find someone to teach a class that she may assign me for the fall when she hasn't even made the schedule out and doesn't even know what, if any courses, they are going to offer in my area in the fall. That's why she gets paid the big bucks. However, I take comfort in knowing that she can't make me not take it, and she can't deny my request.

That being said, I guess I'll take a less than ideal pregnancy if the trade off is that I get to stay at home with the baby for five months and a week. That's way way waaaaaaaaay more than most get, and at the very least, most of it should be paid leave (although, with a 3 day a week schedule, all of it should be paid leave). Then, winter quarter, my parents are coming in for the quarter to provide childcare for the quarter for us, so I won't have to worry about finding a day care or babysitter until about March of 2014. So I'm thankful for that, too.

Well, in any case, I'm feeling better now that I got that off my chest. Also, I had a good cry in the midst of all of this already this morning (I'm really stressed about how far behind I am, what I need to grade this weekend, and how much needs to get done by 10 am on Tuesday).

So I'll have something to eat and then get ready for this shower business.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

(Not) Grading Crappy Midterms Through Exhaustion

I should be grading right now, but I just don't wanna. There's just too damn much of it to do. And I'm exhausted. Just plain, flat out, tired. I need another snow day to sleep and do nothing. Yeah, yeah, we had MLK day, but the J and I spent that together. That was nice. We went to lunch, saw a movie, came home and vegged for a bit. It was relaxing.

But oh those midterms hang over head. I am having a hell of a time getting through my terrible class's essays. They're just awful. And I'm going to have to spend part of tomorrow grading if I expect to get this all done by Monday. And I need to. Because a) I don't want them any longer, and b) I need to just finish them. I may have to cancel on the g'parents' this weekend in order to get everything done on top of the reading I need to do. Ahhh, it's that time of the quarter again. Midterm to the end. Thankfully in a couple of weeks is another break, and I just looked, and I actually only have nine teaching days left for this class. There are two group work days and then the final in there, so I only have to teach this 11 am abomination, well, ten more days including tomorrow.

The exams are just awful. The essay exam was in two parts (and this was take home, too. They had an entire week to work on this). Part 1: define Romanticism in your own words based on the power points, the extended definition we went over in class, and class discussion. Then using two texts from the unit, support your definition with the texts to argue that these are Romantic texts. Part 2 was to do the same thing with Realism. A tough but simple assignment. Here's what I got for a definition: "Authors used symbolism, images, and characterization to prove their points." Really? I also got a paper that gave me lots of Civil War history. One of a mini biography of Stowe. A handful of plot summaries. A student who turned in hir exam seven, that's right, SEVEN days late. (I guess a 19 is better than a zero). 7 students who haven't dropped who haven't turned in exams. 25 of the remaining 30 showed up for the exam, and of the remaining 25 in the class, 17 showed up yesterday. Most of whom slept or texted throughout the lecture. I only called attention to it when one student dozed off, almost fell out of his chair, and knocked all of his books of his desk causing a clamor that was hard to ignore. I started out with 35, btw. This is what I'm dealing with in this class. The 12:30? Maybe 1-3 students miss a class on any given day. No one with extreme absences. And only 2 drops. The 11 am is just full of duds, with maybe 5 who are attentive and are trying, and I'm trying to teach to them because they deserve it. They're putting in the effort. But the whole dynamic is just making it hard for me to maintain my smile and my energy. Sigh.

And I'm trying my best to balance my pregnancy stuff with all of this. On a good night, I get about 6-6.5 hours of sleep. It's hard for me to really function if I go multiple nights without 8 hours. I have one or two bad nights a week where I get maybe 2-4 hours. And it's not like I can pump myself full of caffeine either. I have backaches, stomach aches (morning sickness/nausea still), headaches. I have trouble focusing. On top of that a class that takes all of my energy and I'm just done with this quarter.

I think one of my problems is just the schedule I have. Anticipating being pregnant, I thought that I would want the later classes because I thought I'd be tired and want to sleep in. I didn't anticipate NOT being able to sleep in (go back to sleep after waking up mid night), so I'd be better off if I just started my day sooner. But right now, say I'm up at 2:30 and can't get back to sleep and my first class isn't until 11 am, well, I've been up for almost 9 hours already. It's at that point that I'd like to go back to bed. So by the time I'm done with my second class, I've been up for 12 hours already, generally that's when most days end or when people settle down to dinner or something. Then I have office hours after that. And do the same thing every day. So my thinking for spring was that if this continues, then I should just start my day sooner. If I'm up at 2 or 3, then why not teach the 8 am class and the 9:30? At least that way I won't be totally exhausted yet and 2/3 of my classes will be done. Then I'll have a break and teach at 12:30. I'll still be in my office until about 4:30 on MW, but the trade off is having TR off to recover, rest, read, and write (and cook). I'm hoping this works out better next quarter.

I suppose I should get myself together here and get to campus to knock out some more grading. Ugh. But the faster I get it done, the faster I don't have to think about any of this shit any more.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Ugh. I'm looking around the house and feeling totally overwhelmed by house work today. At least the J is home and he is going to help with this business. It's a holy hot mess in here. It hasn't been this bad in a looooooooooooong time.

I'm worried that there are not enough hours in the day for me to accomplish what needs to be done today. My only consolation is that at least we have Monday off.

I just find it hard to keep up with my life right now. I know, that sounds pathetic really, and it's not going to get any easier in when the kid gets here, and it freaks me out because if I'm struggling this much some days and it's not even here yet, then WTF am I going to do when it actually is here? My eating/cooking has suffered tremendously (though slooooooooowly, and I mean slowly getting back on track. Although glaciers move faster than I do right now), my ability to stay on top of even the smallest tasks has suffered. Because my eating is off, that means that my sleeping and my working out is off, and it's all one big giant ass cycle that I can't get a hold of. I use all of my spare time right now to get ahead in my classes, except that even though I'm always ahead now, I don't take advantage of the free time I have since I'm ahead and use it to get further ahead. So everything is a mess.

I still have morning sickness. The positive thing may be that it seems to be more diet related now, as in things that made me feel not good before I got knocked up are back to making me feel crappy now, although that's not a hard and fast rule. Sometimes apples and almond butter upset my stomach, but it's like the one thing I feel like eating in the mornings, so you know, it's one helluva catch-22 here.

I'm officially at week 17 today. I'm bummed that my hips seem to be growing faster than my belly, and I know that that is for sure about 75% diet related. How do I know? They are expanding in the ways they did when I was overweight and eating like crap. I expect them to expand. But the problem is now that since my eating sucks, I'm having the problem with clothes that I had when I was overweight. It takes forever to find something that fits my hips and the rest of my body. This is especially frustrating pregnant. It's hard enough sometimes to feel cute or nice or well dressed, but add to that ill fitting maternity clothes, and well, no wonder I'm stressed out this morning. I can say all I want that I've got to get my shit together, but sometimes life right now is just so freaking exhausting, that I really think the reason why I have been working so hard to get ahead on my reading for my classes is that it takes the least amount of energy of all the things I need to do. Grade? Reading is better. Laundry? Reading is better. Cooking? On-line delivery apps + reading = better. Of course all this means I feel like crap most of the time now. The massive amounts of reading has its drawbacks. Lately I've been plagued by back spasms and headaches.

In short, I don't feel like I'm taking very good care of myself. I took better care of myself before I got pregnant. It seems so wrong to let myself go now. I just need to suck it up, really.

So thanks for listening to my little ranting pity party. I'll post positive things later. But I think I'm going to go take a nap and then try to start this morning over again on a more positive note.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I got my evals from last quarter this morning! Yay! I'm always a little hesitant to read them, and I was worried this time around because I felt really off my game in the fall because of the whole, "oh my god, I'm pregnant." And I am worried that this quarter's evals aren't going to be as good just because of the first part of the quarter and because I have a terrible class right now.

Anyway, I'm happy to say that they were great! The only negative comment this time around for the survey classes was that they don't like that I have a participation grade and that I make them talk because "some of us are just too shy." Well, get over it. Or take your C in participation. You don't have to participate. You only have to participate if you want an A or a B in participation. You get a C just for showing up every day. So I'm quite pleased. It has put me in a good mood. It's just really nice to have a series of great evals after having shitty ones at my last job and some good and some crappy ones in grad school. Which, duh, I hadn't really found myself as a teacher yet--and perhaps I hadn't found myself as a professor yet at my previous job, but I still have the same personality here as I did in those other places. However, here, it works in my favor. My students see my enthusiasm and fun with the material as evidence that I love the stuff and take it seriously, rather than before where my students thought it meant that I didn't take anything seriously. One comment was "She makes me want to read more." Wow! And I didn't have a single major in the survey courses at all last quarter! One student gave me an A++++. Anyway, it's just nice to feel like one is doing something valuable and productive, especially for non-majors.

The major class, last quarter's lit class, loved the idea of the notecards for discussion questions (a tip I learned from Dr. Crazy), and really felt that the relaxed atmosphere helped them to learn and participate more. So that's nice to hear, too.

Yesterday I accomplished very little. I graded 6 exams and read one short story. Then I took a 90 minute nap. After that I decided that I *must* need the rest. So I went and got ice cream in my pjs (you know, because the Magpie had to have ice cream), and the computer at the store was broken, so I couldn't pay for my ice cream so I got it free! Yay!

And today, I am tired. After teaching, meeting with a student, talking to a colleague, and eating lunch, I have only 30 minutes left to my office hours. Not enough time to get any grading done. I just have to rock 'n roll tomorrow with the grading while the students are taking their midterms. I did get up early this morning and cranked out some reading. I just did not feel like working out. I was going to go this afternoon, but I'm really really tired. I just want to make some peppermint tea, but on my pjs, and get even further ahead on my reading. That's all I want to do. The grading will get done. It has to get done. Therefore, it will get done.

So there it is. I'm tempted to set my alarm clock on my phone and put my head down on my desk and nap until it's time to go. In all fairness, I've been up since 4:30 and working since 5 am. I got three hours of reading in before I even had to teach (wow, it took me a long time to get through that stuff! Yikes!), so I've had a full day already. Sheesh.

I'm afraid the moment I sit on the couch to read that I'll be out for the count though.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Snow Day!

Well, it's not really a "snow day" per se, but there was legit concern yesterday about the interstate icing over (parts of it were closed down yesterday), and the weather was to continue last night through noon today in some parts around here, so the campus is closed today! Yay! I needed this extra day off this week. I was going to use to it start grading the midterm exams that are coming in today, and I did actually start on them bright and early (about 6:30 am), and I've already given up. I'm annoyed with them and with that class.

For example: When I went over the take home exam a week ago, I said, "don't turn in two separate essays. Put it all in the same document. The submission system only allows one submission. If you break the midterm into two different essays and two different documents, you won't be able to do both. Does everyone understand?" Class: "Yes." Then every class period after that, I reiterated this point. "Write part one. Then double space, put 'Part II' and then continue all in one document." Last night I get several emails from my problem class--"I don't know what to do! The system will only let me upload one of my essays, and I don't know how to get the other one up, and please help me now!" ARGH! I have no patience with this class whatsoever.

I think I had mentioned that only five of the the thirty students had read Douglass, right? I don't have the time or energy for quizzes, so for their midterm essay, I required that they all write on Douglass as part of the exam. On Monday a student asks me to go over how Douglass fits into the exam question. I said, "No. I will not go over that." Another student (the super annoying one) says, "well, the reason she's asking is because there are a lot of us in the class that are really struggling with this." I said: "Yes, I know you are. You know why? Because most of you did not bother to read Douglass during the time it was assigned and when I went over it in class. I spent over a week discussing *exactly* how Douglass fits into the exam question. I even pointed out quotes in class where some of these moments happen. Had you read it when it was assigned you would not be struggling. But that ship has passed. That unit is gone. Find someone who took good notes then. But I'm not reteaching Douglass because you didn't read it when I taught it when it was assigned. Good luck." Four whole days I spent on Douglass.

I graded six exams. And truthfully, I told myself I'd grade for an hour, and I did. Now, I'm not going to blow off my lucky school closure day. Don't worry. But I think I really need to compartmentalize my work and actually stick to grading during office hours. Grading at home makes me grumpy, and I told them not to expect these exams for a week. Sure, maybe I should then spend the equivalent of what I'd spend in my office grading today, and perhaps if I'm feeling motivated I will, but what I'd really rather do is spend this lovely wonderful welcome mid-week day off reading for next week's Lit class. That's where the action needs to be. And this will do more for my sanity and making sure that I can use my office hours for grading only if I get all that stuff read. My ultimate goal for the day is to get at least Tuesday's stuff read and then spend an hour or two cleaning this madhouse. It's a mess, but I've been trying to focus on staying ahead in class so that I can keep my stress level down (and grade in a timely manner during my office hours), so that I can do things like, I don't know, get enough sleep so I can work out, stay on top of the house work, things like that. We just finally took the tree down and put the Christmas decorations away last night! I teared up a little. I don't want Christmas to be over. But alas. I can wait 11 more months.

So anyway, I will spend this much needed day lollygagging around with my book and enjoying the solitude of the day to spend most of it reading. Unless I read today, I won't be officially "ahead" any longer, so I need to get ahead and stay that way. But what I was going to say is that now that I'm ahead, which is the first time this academic year, I am enjoying reading for class. And maybe it's because I'm feeling better. Maybe it's because I'm doing stuff in my field and I'm discovering new things, but this is the first time in a while that I prefer to spend my time reading anything than loafing on the couch. And again, maybe it's because I'm finally feeling better. And maybe it's because I'm not stressed out by the prep work right now. But I really wanted today off to read and clean. So forget the midterms. I have plenty of office hours tomorrow to get to them. And I'll have time during the students' in-class midterms to work on them. So I'm not going to stress about that. But right now, I'm off to my chair by the fire to enjoy some great stuff!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

I feel like since I've been sick and unable to work out like I like to that I'm falling away from my XFit community. Or rather that since I don't have the energy to be the cheerleader non-stop* that the friends that I made over the summer are not so interested in really being friends anymore. Now, it may be that once I'm able to work out again regularly and am back to my old ways this will change. And it may be that I'm just being me and over sensitive, and in truth, I suppose it does seem that I'm pulling away, but only because of physical limitations right now. I don't feel very supported. And I feel like it's because I was one of the most gung-ho people who started with the box. I still want to compete one day. I was hoping it would be this year (even though I wouldn't make it any further than just our own little box), but I feel like since I can't, I'm regarded as a fraud right now by some. Again, perhaps I'm being over sensitive. I have invited people out. I have extended invitations to my home. And I've yet to have any of these offers reciprocated. And again, it's not about that. I don't invite people over with the expectation that I should receive an invite in return, but it's part of a larger pattern that I see right now. It can be exhausting to give of oneself in order to build a community that one believes in and feel taken for granted. Do I sound like a snob? Or do you get what I mean here? I don't want anything in return except perhaps to feel like I'm doing some good for someone or is that really selfish and asking too much?

The other problem I think, too, is that while I don't post anything political on FB, I "like" a lot of my same minded friends' political posts which I know shows up in the feed bar to the side, and my views are antithetical to just about everyone at the box. And the stuff that some of these people post, I just can't even wrap my head around, especially regarding gun control and birth control. Some of this stuff is borderline hateful and misogynistic (and also uneducated, even though some think they are highly educated, and the owner was an econ major and there are lots of science and engineering students and people who work out there, and do you know how many times I've had to listen to them talk about how pointless it was for them to have to take English classes and that their English classes were borderline worthless and I listen to them trash my colleagues because they're "assholes" or "boring" or "feminists who hate me" --that one astounds me because every single female in the department is married in a hetero relationship, so not a single one of them "hates men." That is exhausting, too. But they're all white men who know more than little ole me with my vagina and Ph.D. because it's in English). It's just starting to grate on me, all of this noise, and while the owner and the other coaches are great coaches, I have a hard time reconciling all that (especially since my competitions plans are on hold for at least another 8 months).

Is it that I just don't feel like anyone respects me? I felt respected as a hard working XFitter, as someone dedicated to one day competing, as someone dedicated to learning the skills and being my best me, as I did feel like my best person at the box over the summer at least, but I feel like, by necessity, I don't that have competitor's drive at the moment (well, I do, but I cannot act on it), that as a person outside of the box, I don't have the respect of a lot of the people there as a human being.

I will keep going, as upsetting or distasteful it may seem to me to support the owner right now (which probably isn't fair, but my god, how can I take someone seriously, especially a man who is about to be the father of a daughter, who doesn't believe that reproductive rights for women are actually rights???? Ah, but in the same breath is pissed off that his insurance is not covering over $2000 of his wife's birthing expenses. I don't get it--you can't have it both ways--you can't complain that it's not a right and then complain about your having to pay for it when you're arguing that health care is a joke and that women, and no one else, should be responsible for their reproductive care out of their own pockets. Fine. Don't complain about your $2500 girly care bill, and thank your insurance for not covering essential care for your wife and make her pay it since it involves her vagina and no one else's then.), but I believe that I am my best person all around when I am XFitting, and I want to continue. I will still continue to cheer and to high five everyone after every workout and do my own thing the best I can, and do my best with what I'm able to do right now.

Do I just sound like a whiny selfish baby here? Am I being too sensitive? Maybe I'm just a tad depressed from the lack of working out lately and upset with myself for not being able to do what I want to do with my body (while trying not to feel guilt over that anger/sadness), but whatever. It's been on my mind a lot lately, and I just needed to get it out. Thanks for listening all. I hope I didn't sound selfish and bitchy.

*I am really the only one who cheers *everyone* on. People cheer for their friends, and I do it in the hopes of getting others to rally and embrace one of the essences of XFit that I love--those who finish last get the loudest cheers, and what I so often see is that most people, when they are done with their workout, leave, even if there are still people struggling. That's not how it's supposed to be. The beauty of this sport is not every man for himself. I cheer for people I haven't even met yet, and try to learn names. But rarely do I receive the same. It's not about other people cheering for me as well, per se, and since I'm not there like I was to cheer every day, I am feeling a bit shunned.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Trying to get ahead.

The thing that sucks about being sick and pregnant is that I can't work out while sick. I mean, I guess I could, but I won't allow myself to work out in a less than optimal condition because I'm afraid of getting *really* sick. It sucks that I'm averaging maybe one workout a week right now. I don't like that. But I guess one is better than none; however, I'm losing my strength and tone at a rapid pace which would be less so if I weren't pregnant. I feel guilty both for being pissed that I can't work out because I'm pregnant (pregnant and sick that is, the pregnancy does not preclude my working out) and also guilty because I know working out is good for the little Magpie, and I feel like I'm not taking very good care of her/him because I can't seem to take very good care of myself. I also feel guilty because as a result of being sick and not being able to work out, my appetite has plummeted. It's like a normal person's appetite, as in a non-active, but non-sedentary person. It's less than what it was before I got pregnant. I was starting to get concerned because I've actually lost a couple of pounds this trimester already, but the J said that since I a) consumed so much food the first trimester and b) gained nearly 30 pounds already, that I shouldn't worry unless the weight loss continues. I'm just hoping it stabilizes because damn, I don't want to gain 30 pounds each trimester.

Here's the thing, too, lest some of you may be worrying about the weight loss and why the J talked some sense into me. Since I don't have such bad morning sickness anymore (it lingers, but nothing like it was even a couple of weeks ago), our diet has gotten somewhat back to closer to what we're used to, closer to the Paleo life we like and on which we thrive. And I'm cooking more meals now and bringing my own lunch to school more often than I was. I cook about four nights a week now up from none to one. Our fast food consumption has plummeted. When we do eat out/get carry out, it's Vietnamese food or Mexican food (fajitas without the fixins, except guac, are very Paleo), that where most of the weight loss has probably come from is bloat. I'm nowhere near as bloated anymore. And now that I'm feeling better, my appetite is increasing again, and I'm sure as soon as I am able to get back to the CrossFit, it'll get right back up there.

Anyway, that's not really so much what this post is about. I just needed to get that off my chest.

You know what I did yesterday and this morning?? I finished two books! Yes! I did! Since I haven't been able to work out, or really sleep for that matter, I've tried to take advantage of the time I have in the morning to read. And even though I was too exhausted to grade yesterday afternoon, I spent the entire afternoon reading things! It felt so wonderful!! I finished the novel the Lit class is finishing next week, so that's a great relief. I'm ahead!! And this morning I finished a novel I had been reading for pleasure, and that hasn't happened in a while! Yay! It's just been so damn pleasant to sit and read! This is why I have such high hopes for next quarter's schedule, and I hope I like it enough to have that same schedule every quarter, because look what I did in just one afternoon and morning! I finished things!! I haven't felt this good in a long, long time. Obviously I still need to get the grading off my plate, and I had vowed to do that this morning, but I think I'm going to start on next Thursday's readings for the Lit class instead so I can really get ahead. I want to spend the weekend working on that so that way in the novel class I'm caught up for two weeks worth of readings. Next week is midterm week in the survey classes, so if can get ahead with the readings, then I can focus on grading and knocking everything out next week. This will help me sleep knowing that's not hanging overhead. It means I won't have to play catch-up in the mornings and can actually go to a workout, so I'm feeling good right now. I hope I can maintain this pace.

So, I think for this morning until I have to teach, I'm going to read for the next couple of hours. Then tomorrow morning, since I'll be up at the crack o'dawn with the J since it's drill weekend, I'll spend one hour grading the lit class's critical responses and then an hour on Sunday morning and then finish them on Monday. The rest of Saturday will be devoted to reading, and part of Sunday morning devoted to reading (then off to the g'parents), and then with any luck I'll be in good shape come Monday morning.

I think I have a plan. Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I think after my whirlwind of work yesterday, I am unfit to really accomplish anything today besides teaching, even though I'm woefully behind in the Lit class's grading. And I really hate that I basically keep telling them that the reason it's taking me so long is because the survey class took a long time and that it's also basically because I'm sick and pregnant, therefore slow. And the truth of the matter is that they're not done because I didn't want to grade over Christmas Break. I absolutely positively did not want to, so I did not. But I also did not want to be mean and try to avoid that problem by making it due right after break, which means they would have had to work on it over break. Alas, it's one of the plagues of the broken up winter quarter.

So, that being said, I think I'm done for the day with anything related to grading, prepping, and what not. What I'd like to do is just spend this dreary rainy spring like afternoon reading various and sundry things. I'd like to go ahead and finish the novel for the Lit class that we're finishing next week and finish the mystery book that I'm reading right now, too. I know I need to grade, but I think I'm going to work on those papers in the morning after breakfast, even though it goes against my I-try-not-to-grade-at-home rule which is really a "avoiding grading at home unless totally necessary" guideline more or less. Sometimes it's a necessity. And I need to get that off my plate, but just not today. As it is, I'm passing my remaining office hours writing this blog post.

In other brighter teaching related news, I got the MWF schedule I asked for for the Spring Quarter! Oh happy day! It means long days on MW (because we hold a ridiculous amount of office hours a week--10! I've never been anywhere that requires that many office hours, but whatever), so it means in order to only come in on MWF, I've got to make MWs kind of long. It looks like I'll be on campus from about 7:50-4:30 on those two days. I know, I'm exhausted now with my six hour days on campus. However, I'm willing to do this, and I think it will be better to have two 8.5 hour days and one six hour day with two full and complete don't go to campus days off than two 6-7 hour days, two 4 hour days, and a 3 hour day. I can handle the long days if I don't have to get up the next day. I think this will help with my exhaustion. At least if I'm really really tired or don't get enough sleep one night, I have TR to sleep in and work in my pjs all day. I think this means I'll get some work done. I think this means I'll get more cooking done. And even if I weren't pregnant, I think this is a better schedule just for writing and researching, especially since I'll have so many office hours to prep and grade on campus. And to be fair, I do most of my grading and a decent amount of prep work when I'm not grading during my office hours. I do actually make fairly good use of those 10 hours I have to be here.

Here's what the new schedule for Spring looks like: 8:00 am Survey Class; 9:30 am Poetry Class; 12:30 pm Survey Class. Since most mornings, even when I want to sleep in I get up at 4:30 or 5 with the hubs, I may as well get up at 4:30 and go to CrossFit with him at 5 and then get right to class rather than go to the 6 am class, and then not have to teach until 10 or 11. I thought I would like that, but I do not. I have found that while it may sometimes be a pain to get up for an 8 am class, I'd rather be almost done with my teaching day by 11, than to have it start at 11. I thought, since I'm usually more productive in the mornings that I'd be able to use the time between 8-11 to get my own work done. Not so much. It's a terrible schedule for me. Even if I don't work out, I can't switch gears like that. So, I'll have office hours between 10:45-12:30 and then from 1:45-4:30 on MW and then just 10:45-12:30 on F. And TR are MINE!! ALL MINE!! The J will be at work and I can come home from my workout and put my pjs back on and read, read, read, and write, write, write. Ah. I'm so freaking excited. This also means that if I can keep this schedule if I like it, the J can take care of the kid on Mondays, and then s/he will only have one really long day at daycare or whatever. And until we're ready to put the kid in day care for more than two days a week, I'll figure out how to read/write in between naps and attending to the little person, but I'll worry about that later. I can't think about that right now. But for now, I'm just so super stoked at having an extra two days off a week that I can barely contain myself!! To just not have to be on campus is just, ah well, just going to be so so very nice.

And the department owes me a course release, but I've decided to delay it until next spring because it won't benefit me in the spring because I'd end up with two preps, one totally and completely new in an area I'm so not comfortable with (poetry), so what good will time to write do me if I'm figuring out something brand new? And even if I am not able to take all of fall off, the kid will be so young still that I don't think it would benefit me then either dealing with a little infant and teaching. I know I won't be able to make use of it. But if we at least plan for next spring, then she can plan not to put anything that only I can teach on the schedule and I can have the two classes/one prep, by then the kid will be 8 months or so, and even if s/he is not in daycare every day, at least prep time will be nil for the survey classes and I think by that time I'll be able to come up with some sort of schedule by then for what can/needs to happen. Of course, I'm talking out of my ass because I don't know what it's going to be like to balance this with a kid, so oh well. At least that's my hope/plan. We'll see. But I've made it clear at least to my boss that a course release will only benefit me during a quarter where I have just the one prep.

So that's about it. I'm tired. No more work will be done today--except finishing the novel the Lit class is finishing next week because as a class we're really really into it, and I'm loving it! And I'm so close to finishing it it's not even funny. And it'd be so nice to finally, for once, be ahead in that class so that I can keep my head above water.

Oh, on a totally unrelated note: my brain has turned into such mush that I had to put an alarm reminder in my phone calendar to remind me to take my vitamins after dinner because I cannot remember to do something that has been a habit. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


I'm finally on the upswing here with my cold. I knew I was on the upswing better when I was getting angry at being sick. That's usually a sure sign that things are getting better.

I made a good faith effort yesterday to grade all those things I took up before break. I got through four. Oh dear lord. These lit analyses were abysmal. And this was from the good class. I seriously wonder how some of the people made it past 102. The second essay I read was plagiarized. This put me in a seriously bad mood, from which I did not recover until the afternoon. At which point I was exhausted from back to back teaching and couldn't bear to read any more essays. So I didn't. I read 4 out of about 25.

However, today, since I'm feeling better (yay for the nurse finally calling me back and telling me about a better OTC medicine I could take!!), I am determined, come hell or high water, regardless of whether the essays continue to be bad or not, to finish those damn things during my office hours this afternoon. I'd be more upset with my teaching if a) the classes were actually keeping up with the reading; b) the students were paying attention (I see lots of cell phones out and texting happening in both classes); c) students showed up to class; d) the vast majority of the essays were not on just the first text we read of the quarter. As this assignment is a successful assignment, and as I have not changed my teaching, which has historically been very successful for this class, I feel like I'm upholding my end of the bargin here. It's probably time for a come to Jesus speech for them (something I've not had to do since the first quarter I taught here), but it seems that after four quarters of great classes, I've finally gotten some survey duds (not counting the abysmal 101 class from last spring, but everyone was struggling with comp last spring).

I'm thankful though that I've gotten the reading and the prep for the survey class for the next two weeks over and done with. And it will be easy to get ahead next week before their exams come in (the rest of th quarter in that class is cake for me--my favorite stuff and the stuff I'm really good at teaching--ironically, half of which is not in my field). So I'm happy for that.

Okay, I promised some accountablogging.

Now that I'm on the upswing with this cold and I'm starting to get a little more energy every day right now, I've got to take advantage of this. And I've got to get things organized. And I've got to come up with Financial, Academic, and Research/Writing plans for the next 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. I think I mentioned on my New Year's post that we were trying to buy a house. Yeah, that fell through, and we're not going to try again until next year. While in the long run it would have been nice to be settled into a permanent place, be able to paint a nursery, have a bit more space, trying to move, write, and stay above water during this quarter might have been too much anyway. So, since the goal is to try to get a house where our mortgage payment is lower than what we're paying for rent (entirely possible, even without a down payment), I am going to spend this year cleaning up our credit so that we can get a really good loan next year and refinance the car and get that payment lowered. But I need a plan. It sucks, but it needs to be done anyway.

I've got a conference paper and an article to write before the kid gets here, so I've got to come up with a plan of attack for that, too. And I've got to be more efficient with my office hours and force myself to get the grading done in there even when I'm grumpy, exhauted, and unmotivated. It will work out best for everyone, including myself. And I'm really hoping that I get a MWF schedule next quarter, too. I think that will make things significantly easier for me and my ability to work and get the rest I need.

And I've got to get organized. The ever allusive organization. I've got to take advantage of the J being gone for drill on Saturday.

So here's the to do for the next two days:


  • finish the survey grading come hell or high water during office hours today--I'm giving it my best shot. I've gotten through 18 already, but the task may be too large for me to finish during my office hours today. I may have to finish them up tomorrow before class, but damn, these things are TERRIBLE! Seriously! Some of them have things in them that didn't even happen in the text! I just don't have the energy for this! I have 10 left. If I can get through four more, just four, then I'll be happy, and I'll finish them up tomorrow. Sheesh! I mean really. I'm on the bad class now, the class that refuses to read, and it's apparent they're not as they're just making shit up about the text. I finally finished those damn things on Wednesday.
  • set up gradebook for said grades (I know, I know, almost at midterm and I haven't done that yet)
  • clean kitchen and make dinner I did that on Wednesday morning.
  • read for novel class Finished that up on Wednesday.
  • Finish the novel class lit assignments during office hours
  • finish Thursday's reading 
  • work for one hour in the office cleaning/organizing That has yet to happen because I'm exhausted from the grading.
  • easy dinner for dinner
  • get readings together for the short stories for the novel class (I know, it's not really a novel class, but I guess it's just as easy to call it Lit class rather than novel class)
So that's it. Not a long list, but I feel it's a hefty one. Now I'm going to eat and try to get to campus early to grade. Yay!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Cold, Cold, Go Away.

Oy. I'm still sick. But I think I'm getting better. I took some medicine (safe medicine), and I think it's working. It's working slooooooooowly, but slow progress is better than no progress. I can blow my nose out of both nostrils at the same time. There's still a little headache, but it's not terrible. It's more from the constant nose blowing than anything else. And the neti pot is finally making some progress for me, too. So that's something at least.

Of course, I've been up since about 1:30 this morning, tossing and turning due to the lack of ability to breathe through both nostrils. I was afraid my floundering around might wake the husband, but fortunately he slept through it. I would have felt bad if it had.

I did manage to get some reading done today. I finished what I need to read for Tuesday's class. I need to keep reading, but I'm kind of tired of it and I want to rest. I enjoy the novel. Or rather, I'm totally enjoying the novel, but I'm just a tad bit tired. And I need to once and for all get the food prepped for the next few days. Or at least for tonight so I can make a nice meal tonight.

So a couple of my aunts are driving me nuts. Thank god it's not my mom. She seems to be the only sane one right now regarding this pregnancy. Aunt One is obese, on about 20 different medications, have never exercised a day in her life, and is incapable of cooking vegetables without massive amounts of cream, cheese, and bread. She about blew a gasket when she found out I still lift weights and still work out pregnant. That I need to not work out and rest. From a woman who knows nothing about health. Who is obese herself, has three obese children, and three obese grandchildren, one of whom is only about 10 and has cellulite and a pot belly. I mean whatever, I'm not trying to sound judgmental, but she is the last person who need to be giving health advice. Also, I'm apparently too old to be working out. TOO OLD!

Aunt Two drives me nuts in different ways. For example, "just because the OB gives you medicine for your morning sickness doesn't mean it's safe. You need to do your own research. You can't trust what the doctor gives you." My response--the OB is the ONLY person I trust right now as far as medicine is concerned. But in the same breath, since I'm supposed to second guess the doctor by doing my own research on the internet (because that's *always* a trustworthy and reliable source for medical advice), I also cannot trust what the pregnancy books  or the internets say are safe OTC drugs to take either. Now I should trust what my doctor tells me. Well, it doesn't help me if the doctor's office doesn't call me back. And I'm going to be in worse shape if this turns into a sinus infection. Also, she doesn't think it's safe for me to lift heavy weights either, and that I only should be walking. So my doctor isn't to be trusted when he's prescribing medicine, but he's the ONLY one to be trusted when it comes to cold medicine. I don't get it. It wears me out. Like I would seriously honestly do anything to jeopardize the health of the fetus. ARGH! I try to ignore all of this because I know once I start to look more pregnant than just fat, I'm sure there will be no shortage of advice from women in their 60s about what I should or should not be doing. For the record, I don't mind any of you guys' advice. I solicit it. So consider that an open invitation. But I like to think that I'm well informed and that I know my body and that I'm good at listening to my body. And what I should do with my two aunts is just nod and say what they want to hear and go on my merry way. I'll never learn. Aunt Two still freaks out on every big occasion about what I might be wearing for her fear that I would wear something inappropriate or something that might embarrass her, which I've never once dressed inappropriate for big occasion in my life! So this is what I'm dealing with.

Anyway, now I'm just complaining. I think I'm going to rest a bit now. I need to read some more later and do some veggie prep. And I also need to start thinking about my research plan for the remainder of the quarter and figure out something for next quarter. But that can wait until after my nap.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Crappy Day, but I have a new iPad to play with, so that's something. :)

Oh my god! I feel AWFUL today!! I woke up because I couldn't breathe. Ugh. And with a terrible headache from the congestion. The headache is gone, but my head is so congested that I haven't been able to take a nap either even though I'm totally exhausted. I have a call into the nurse at the OB's office to see what I can take to get rid of this mess. I need to get some sleep tonight. Oh, and I need to be able to breathe, too. It's fine. It's not like I have to teach tomorrow, but it is inhibiting my ability to really read and concentrate on the reading, which is a shame, because I'm actually enjoying this novel that I'm teaching next week. But I need to make more and better progress on it. 

You know, if you had told my 20 year old self that one day I would not only be teaching American Realism and James and Howells and the like, but that I would enjoy these texts, I would have laughed so hard at you that I would have peed and then passed out from the asthma attack I would have laughed myself into. Part of the reason why I went into the part of the century I went into was because I didn't want to have to anything to do with Realism. But now. Wow. I'm actually really digging this stuff and really enjoying teachng it. The reading of it is much slower than other texts, but  if I can knock this book out by Saturday, then I'm doing good here. And then I can spend Sunday working on the stuff for the survey class. A bit behind schedule, but I'm trying not to beat myself up for my lack of speediness. 

I feel like I've been reading for hours, but I think it turns out I've only been reading for like three or four hours. It feels like way longer than that because I've been up since about 5:30 this morning. I did a lot of putzing around while I waited for my headache to go away, and then I tried twice to take a nap, unsuccessfully. But I feel like I should have gotten more done today, but unfortunately, I think I might be done with my reading. When I'm done with this, I think I may just lie down for a bit before I start chopping veggies for tonight's dinner.

But, I'm super geeked that I'm doing this whole blog post on my iPad and the new keyboard that I got for it. It's actually kind of cool, the keyboard. It isn't attached to a case, but it comes with its own carrying case that folds into a computer stand for the iPad. We used my birthday money to put toward the iPad for my Christmas present from the husband (there's no way I could justify asking him to spend $499 on even the "cheapest" one for a Christmas present). But I feel like my reasons for wanting one were/are totally silly. I got it, with the intent of getting the bluetooth keyboard because I thought it'd be easier to work with, FB, read blogs, read, surf the web, with a sleeping baby in my lap than the laptop, even though my laptop is great. I love that thing. I also got it for a budget app and for the gradebook pro app. I thought these things might make my life easier once the baby gets here, and again, I thought the iPad would be so much easier to fiddle with than the laptop. 

Turns out, while the kid is nowhere near here yet, I might be right. I love that when I open the case, the internet is up. There's no booting or start up process. Everything is right there. I thought I'd like it, but I didn't imagine that I'd LOVE this thing! I've got a magazine on here already, which is nice because the last thing I need around here is another paper magazine that's going to end up in the trash.  The battery lasts longer. It's so easy and convienent. I like blogging on it, to be honest. This is easy, comfortable, and perfect. This little keyboard is amazing. And the hardcase means it will travel well. Now, this may all be a totally different story when the kid gets here, but for now, OMG, I'm in love with it. And to try to justify the cost of this, I'm totally trying to make this as utilitarian as possible. So I've got the Pages app, which seems to be ok for the test drive I gave it. I can store all of this on the cloud or in Dropbox or GoogleDocs, so hopefully very little will stay on the actual iPad. So we'll see how that works. I want to try to use it for word processing and in trying to get myself/research organized. I ordered a highly recommend stylus that I'm supposed to be able to write on the iPad with that got great reviews for it's writing function, so I'm going to try to take notes with it. We'll see. This may turn out to be one big disaster, and it may turn out that I can only end up using it for minor word processing or no notes or for just reading, blogging, and FBing, but for now it's fun to play around with this thing and see what I can make it do.

Anybody out there with an iPad use it for writing/organizing/note taking? Any good apps you can recommend? Or any issues you've run into? I would just love to be able to *use* this for stuff other than entertainment. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Gratitude for the Year and the New Year's Goals

I would say all in all it's been a pretty good year. I met some of my goals from last year, and honestly, if I hadn't gotten pregnant, this would be the first year that one of my New Year's goals isn't "to eat healthy" or "to get into shape." Why? Because I actually did that! Successfully! This year! First time in a loooooooooooong time that I haven't started off the year with a weightloss goal or a fitness goal. That's nice. But I guess I should review the year before I start with the goals.

While I wanted to get three articles written this year, I only succeeded in getting one written and published. I'm still in really good shape for tenure right now. If I'm in this exact same position next January, I'm going to start to panic. I presented at a major conference for the third year in a row in a branch of my field. I also got a paper accepted for a major conference in another field that I'm trying to work my way into (which I see as being related to what I'm already interested in) and was asked to join another panel in this field but had to decline once I found out I was pregnant because the conference is three weeks before I'm due (which also means that I'll miss my annual major conference, too, but at least I have the one in April). So I didn't get everything done I wanted to, but I did get *something* done. And when I compare that to where I was two years ago, that's a lot. However, compared to last year, I'm behind the ball.

We survived a summer of no paychecks with the help of one of my retirement accounts from my old job, though not as smart with it as we should have been, it did allow us to get things we needed for the house, buy new shoes, pay bills, and I could get to my cousin's wedding. And then shortly after that the J got a full time job. A permanent full time job, one from which he can one day retire. I miss having him around all the time and being here when I come home, but the best part of this job is that part of his benefits package is that his insurance is paid for, or rather our insurance is paid for, and then soon so will the Magpie's insurance be paid for. If we were covered under my insurance, I think we'd be looking at close to $500/mo for the three of us come July, and for my little paycheck, that's a lot. We are grateful and thankful for that. While we spend more than we should probably, we are able to keep ourselves well fed with good food, and though perhaps it seems trivial or a stupid thing on which to spend a large portion of our disposable income, I am thankful that we are able to order grass fed beef and free range chickens and wild caught fish to have delivered. I am thankful that we made that commitment to ourselves last year to do that, and I'm thankful to have a husband who has the same values toward food and health. We are able to keep a roof over our heads, feed and care for the mutts, buy the things we want when we want to (most of the time). Do I wish we were doing better? Yes. But we can pay our bills and eat every month, so that's better than a lot of people out there.

Our families are healthy, relatively, for their ages and conditions. The J's grandmother survived breast cancer this year, so we were grateful to be able to see her over Thanksgiving.

Health & Fitness
In the fitness and health category, I do still have goals though. Because of my morning sickness, I have not been able to maintain the strict Paleo way of eating that I like. Up until this point, I have had to eat what doesn't turn my stomach thinking about it because everything just about made me sick at some point. Which, I guess on the one hand, if I'm going to get sick anyway I should eat good things that adhere to the Paleo way. However, I'm not able to force myself to eat something that is making me gag at the sight or thought of it. Sometimes, it got so bad that mid meal I'd find myself repulsed by what I was enjoying four bites before. I digress. Since I am now experiencing the second trimester energy bump/boost/whatever, I feel like working out and eating homecooked meals again. The main goal here then is to get back on track. We've been walking more parallel than perpendicular to the track the last couple of weeks, but now that I'm feeling better, it's time to start undoing what the last three months did.

Why not just continue with what I've been doing since it's easier to just eat canned soup if that's what I want? Because while I know a lot of how I've been feeling is pregnancy related and beyond my control, I believe it's at this point that nutrition and what I eat becomes more and more important from here on out to the fetus. And since I'm finally feeling better, now is the time to do this. Sleep is going to become more and more elusive, and if I can do things like get closer to my Paleo eating and work out more consistently, then it's going to be better for me, for the Magpie, and for the J because what I do affects him. Poor guy, he's getting some sympathy pains, I think in part because our diet has been off. But at least it's not like we're starting at square one.

I was also planning on running the half marathon in February. However, running is already uncomfortable. Not painful, so don't worry, it's just uncomfortable enough that it's not enjoyable. And I'd rather lift. So I'm going to walk it. I can handle that, and I'm actually looking forward to it now.

We have been looking at a house. It's my friend's house (they've already moved into their new one). It's the only house I've seen here that's in our price range that is nearly exactly what I want. We had started to work on getting pre-approved then got bogged down with the VA and red tape and she told us that they had gotten a second offer on the house. It fell through. Again. This is the second time they've gotten offers and the people's banks didn't come through. We had decided that if this offer went through we were going to abandon our house hunting and concentrate on getting out of debt and getting rid of the house in Home City. But last night when we found out that the offer fell through, I think the J felt that the universe was saving this house for us. It's in a great location, the price is phenomenal because they want to get rid of it, it's a GORGEOUS house, and only 10 years old at that, and people want it, but everyone's finances keep falling through, so really, this house should be sold already. When I told the husband, he said, "really? Well, I will get back on the loan stuff." So the immediate goal is to try to buy this house. The other immediate goal that I'm working on is getting enough saved up for the summer so I don't have to work and so we're not living on the J's paycheck to paycheck because while that's fine for the two of us, we'll have a kid now in right under six months. At the same time, I need to be chipping away at our bad debt so we can get rid of that business. I feel like this should be easy. There's no reason why this can't be done. It's just a matter of making the commitment, like we've done with our health and fitness, and doing it.

On the table immediately is to get to work on the conference paper that I'm presenting in April. I also plan on getting that final article that I need for tenure at least drafted by the time the baby comes. I know that is easier said than done, and I know it will involve taking advantage of this 2nd trimester energy boost. My schedule sucks ass right now, so one of the things I've got to do this week is figure out a research and writing plan for the remainder of the quarter. If I get the schedule I want next quarter, then Tuesdays and Thursdays are research and writing days. It's just a bit trickier this quarter. So this week I'll work on that.

My other academic goals are to get ahead in both of my preps. I would like, this week, to get the novel that I'm teaching next week read and prepped and start on the next one. And I'd like to get everything for the survey classes read and prepped. I think that will be key in being able to get my research and writing done this quarter. The J goes back to work on Thursday, so that gives me time, but really it means I need to start working a bit today. That sucks, but it'll work out for the best in the end.

My other goal is to take off Fall quarter for maternity leave. We'll see if that's even a possibility.

Organization. This really means weekly food prep. And I'm going to try to do a monthly or at the very least bi-weekly menu. And this time I'll be smart and work in easy go to meals on the days I know I'm tired. Like Wednesdays. Mondays are long and so are Wednesdays, and by Wednesday afternoon when I get home I'm done. The J will be in charge on Mondays. So if I can cook T, Th, F, S, and have another easy meal or "must-go" night on Sundays (or maybe that'll be our eat out night), then I think I can manage that. As long as there are lunch leftovers then we're good.

I've got to continue chipping away at the office and eventually what will become the nursery. I had big plans this break as you know, but I tell you what. It's been so pleasant not setting an alarm and not doing anything but lounging around in my pjs that I actually am not worried about what didn't get done last week and what still needs to get done.

I'll bullet point these, and I saved it until last because I know for some, these are probably the least interesting.
  • Have as natural a birth as possible. I don't want an epidural, and yeah, I know, everyone says, "Oooh, you say that *now*" but I'm terrified of needles more than I am of labor. I'm actually not scared of labor at all. I saw Lamaze birthing videos when I was 12, and I know it's not the same as experiencing it, but of all the things about pregnancy that scares me, labor is, oddly, not one of them. I'm more worried about being in the hospital (I'm also afraid of hospitals), than I am about a creature splitting my crotch in two.
  • Breastfeeding. While I know it's possible it might not happen, this is the goal. And if it doesn't happen, then we sacrifice stuff for ourselves so I can buy non-GMO, organic formula.
  • Get back to my workouts as soon as the doc says it's safe, postpartum that is (It's safe for me now). The J and I have actually already come up with how will we handle this so we can both workout. 
  • Get the nursery in order before the kid gets here.
  • Try to get the full fall quarter off for maternity leave.
  • Enjoy the rest of this pregnancy.

Happy New Year's All!