Thursday, December 8, 2016

So the doc changed my meds and upped the dose. This does not seem to be working. I am back to where I started, I feel like--completely unmotivated, depressed, apathetic. I've gained about 7 pounds. Whatever confidence I had had in myself or my work is gone. I don't think that's how it was supposed to work. I did better on the half dose, so we're going to try that.

I think I've hit like rock bottom again, so like twice now in a matter of months. I mean, before, I just didn't care. I'd go through the motions, whatever. My mom was still around to clean and do laundry, so it didn't matter really. And it's not like then I didn't feel good about myself; I just didn't care, so nothing bothered me. But now, it's different. I don't feel good about myself. We were all running late today because I felt ugly and couldn't get my shit together this morning. It's just straight up foolishness. I've not done any work on the chapter. I've not worked out. My diet is the pits. All the things I've worked so hard on in the last few months have just slowly deteriorated, and I'm frustrated and angry about it now, which I guess that's better than not caring I guess. I guess that's more motivating, but only if it doesn't make me feel like shit about myself, which is where I'm at right now. Ugh.

Maybe it's just anxiety? Maybe if I actually start working out again I'll feel better? I feel like there are a lot of maybes right now.

Oh well, I thought I had more to say. In my head there was a lot to work through, but now there isn't so I guess I'll just read until class starts.

Oooh, okay, here's a positive thing. I think, finally, even though it does mean five days a week of teaching, I think I've got a schedule that works. I'm done by 1pm every day. This gives me the afternoon to work at least four days a week (or do laundry or grocery shop, whatever). In theory, it also means that if I don't work out in the morning, I can in the afternoon, although that hasn't happened yet. But I've been getting work done in the afternoon and sleeping in in the morning and not stressing to be caught up in my classes, so that's something, yes?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

I started this post on Saturday. I've been trying to process still a lot since then.

It's a time of transition right now for many of us because of this election. I have found myself, like many other, profoundly saddened not just by the election, but by the response of the country, by the expectation that, unlike the haters of the last eight years, I must "buck up Buttercup" and respect the president, that I am expected to be silent because we don't want to cause any more division in the country, that there is the expectation that I must go quietly into that good night, and I'm wracked with anxiety about what Thanksgiving at my family's this year will be like. Thank god for valium. I will not allow them, their house or not, to spew hate speech in front of my daughter.

It is also a personal time of transition in the Nerd HQ as well. My parents have moved out permanently, which in many ways has been freeing and liberating for me and the J. My sister had her baby (yay!) early apparently, but the kid is so fat and so healthy, we think that she and the doctor were about a month off in terms of the conception and due date. Of course, we can't not have drama about it: "She's having trouble sleeping right now." Um yeah, she's 12 hours old. Of course she's fussy. Newborns fuss.  However, the Magpie was expecting her grandparents to be here at least for a few more days after they left to go home for doctor's appointments (the intent was to return here, stay for a day or two, pack up their stuff and head up to my sister's), but it all happened abruptly, so she's dealing with it in her own toddler way by being fussy, clingy, indecisive ("hold you!" and upon being held "leave me alone! go away!"), and not really sleeping well. Because she isn't sleeping and because I'm not sleeping, we both have colds. And the J is sicker than all of us right now, which is rare.

In the last month, I have been battling TMJ which has been awful not just in terms of the jaw pain, but the valium makes working out tough. But on top of that and the cold, I've also had a painful and enduring urinary tract infection, in part because I was on the wrong antibiotics for the infection I had. They make me sick when I work out. I'm not eating properly. I'm not sleeping properly. And we've gone through so much wine.

While the zoloft and valium are helping, right now, maybe it's PMS, maybe I'm just freaking exhausted AF, but I'm just sad, again. I think I just need some down time.

I think the poor Magpie has been battling her own exhaustion and anxiety as well. She's not sleeping well, and hasn't been for the last two weeks. In part because of this persistent cough (which we are going to the doctor for today), but because things are different around the house for her now, too. she got to see her Gramps this weekend, and he'll be here in a couple of weeks to babysit, but I think she is trying to adjust to her new normal, too. That being said, things are much quieter and much calmer without my parents here. They can't just let her sit and be. There constantly has to be something going on. We get out of the house earlier in the morning and with much less fuss now that they are gone. Granted, the house is messier and it's harder for me to get dinner on the table (but that's in part to my schedule right now, and sickness, and just overall exhaustion and lack of movement) without them here, and it's harder for me to go work out, but we have a calmer child for the most part (when she's rested). And a sort of less whiny child. I mean, we've had some crying episodes every day over things like "go get my x-toy" and I say, "no, you know where it is, you go get it if you want it that badly" which usually results in a meltdown of some kind because she doesn't want to do it, but eventually she will go get her own thing and I don't have to worry about my mom or dad saying, "I'll get it Magpie. Just tell me where it is." No. This is teaching her to take responsibility for her stuff.

As much as I love my parents, and as much as I miss them (and the often convenience of having them to do things like cook and clean and watch the kid--god, I sound awful), and it's been fun and really wonderful reconnecting with my parents after so many years, and I'm thankful for the three years I got to hog them for myself, but the truth is, the J, Magpie and I have never actually been our own little unit. And it's been nice having the J all to myself in the evenings, to be able to do things on our schedule or watch something without waiting for mom and dad to get ready. What's also nice too is knowing that when we do get settled into more of a routine that in three weeks, it's not going to get disrupted again. So hopefully, we'll get some consistency in our lives and things will get better for her as well.

In part of my ongoing search for the best schedule ever that makes my life as balanced as possible, I am playing around with it again, much to my boss's chagrin. What I need is something that allows for flexibility and contingency. Right now, I based everything on working out in the morning, watching a film and reading at night, doing research and grading during office hours. None of that worked out. If I have to work in the morning, then there is no chance, especially if mom is gone, for me to work out. My days are long and exhausting, so I don't ever feel like working out in the evening anyway. And I never take in to account not working out in the morning as a possibility in my schedule. I know, I obsess over my schedule ridiculously. It annoys the J. I know he's tired of it. But I am hopeful that this will not leave me exhausted. It will allow me time to take care of myself and gives me the option of a noon work out if I can't work out in the am. I think it will also allow me more time for food prep and stuff during the week, too. I am cautiously optimistic. We shall see. I just hate being rushed in the mornings and the evenings.

I have other things on my mind, too, but this is way more than enough for now. I want to write more about the election and about my students and how I feel about it. I'll save that for later, which is where this started, but kind of went in a whole different direction.

Friday, November 4, 2016

I need to vent about my annoying student for a moment.

On Monday, I had no reading planned. It was Halloween--I usually show some stupid movie just to give us all a break as we head into the home stretch of the quarter. Everyone is usually pretty stressed, so it just helps us all chill.

Stu: I accidentally read Wednesday's stuff for today.
Me: Great, you're ahead of the game.
Stu: So we're watching a movie and not discussing the story.
Me: Yes.
Stu: But I read already for today. Why are we not discussing the story today?
Me: It's scheduled for Wednesday.
Stu: Yes, but I read it for today.
Me: So, everyone, we're watching a cult classic that's a hilarious Halloween movie.


This morning stu tells me that ze was hoping that the syllabus was wrong and that I do have afternoon hours on Friday and that ze emailed me because ze wanted to come in this afternoon. I didn't check my email yesterday because I was home in bed with a painful UTI (oooh, more on that in a second RE: my boss).

Stu: I know you have class after ours, so I was hoping that you'd stay and meet with me after your other class. I emailed you. This is really early for me to be up. (It's 9 am.).
Me (in my head--FUck you!): I never have afternoon office hours on Friday.
Stu: I was hoping the syllabus was wrong.
Me: No.

Ze also asked me to come in on a day I don't have office hours because ze wouldn't be finished with hir draft in time for that day and it wasn't fair of me to schedule something due on a Friday and not be in the office on Thursday. Me: Well, as I told you guys in the beginning of the quarter, there are a couple of things due on a Friday, and I do not have office hours on Thursday. You need to plan ahead.

So, Wednesday morning, pardon the TMI, but I woke up with an extraordinarily painful UTI. I knew it immediately. I went to my office hours because my doctor doesn't open until 8:30, so I couldn't call before then, and if you've had a UTI, then you know that's not something that you just you know, wait out or get to the doc whenever. I had few appointment choices, so I had to cancel two classes (because my doc is out of town), but made it back for my third. I'm still here for my office hours in the morning. I email my students. I put the signs up myself. I take care of all the things I need to do. I go to the office to inform them that I will be leaving to do to the doctor because I woke up with a painful UTI, and needed to get to the doctor ASAP. My boss, when she thinks I'm out of earshot says to the office assistant and THE FUCKING STUDENT WORKER! "I've never in my entire life canceled a class for a doctor's appointment." And then mumbled something else I didn't quite catch.

But seriously. You're going to trash talk me in front of a student??!! Congrats boss on being such a fucking martyr that you've taught through illness and everything else. Good for you. So if I'm running out of class every five minutes to go fucking pee, that's a better solution for you? I guess she was expecting me to get some depends and just pee in a diaper all through class and then go to the doctor on Thursday because you know, UTIs don't go from uncomfortable to awful without treatment or anything like that.

I wanted to punch her in the face.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

I am feeling an "out with the old" impulse. One the one hand, it's good. On the other, it means I want to replace old things and have newer, nicer things, albeit fewer things, but I feel a need to just purge and sort of start over.

Perhaps this has to do with the move and getting rid of a bunch of things and enjoying having space and room to move. Perhaps this has to do with the pretty much permanent move of my parents to my sister's--all the other "moves" home have been intended to be permanent, but have always only been semi-permanent as they cannot stand to be away from the Magpie for any length of time. I really, honestly though, do not know how the Magpie is going to handle this move of my parents away from her as they have lived with us for the last three years. We've already had a complete potty training regression. I am worried about sleep and language regressions now, too, which probably aren't likely. Rather tantrums and anxiety and its as of yet unknown manifestations may be more likely. I am looking forward though to getting into some sort of regular routine. My mom can be so manic. So can my dad in that they cannot let the child just sit. If she's quiet they have to go talk to her or disturb her and they cater to her every whim which makes things difficult when it's just me because she expects an immediate response. But I need routine, too, and my parents make it difficult for me to have one because I don't have to, or we get into one and they disrupt it, and it's like starting from scratch every time.

Anyway, back to the shedding of the old...

I have cut off all of my hair. It's about an inch or two all the way around. I wish it were just a bit longer because now, once it's dry, it stands straight up and looks like an 8 year old boy's growing out buzz cut. It has progressively gotten shorter over the last 8 weeks, and I just wanted to be done with it. I like it. I think I'll love it in about two or three weeks. But maybe it's the CF, maybe it's body building, maybe it's the weight loss, maybe it's finally being comfortable with being 40 and having gained a little bit of confidence in myself and I just don't give a fuck, but for the first time having short hair in about 20 years, I actually really love it. I haven't cried over it yet. This is huge for me.

I think part of this too is the depression and the anxiety. I'm trying to settle into a concept of myself who I'm comfortable with. Part of the hair cut, the purging of stuff, the body building (which man, valium makes that hard to sustain right now), is about trying to get to a confident me, a happy me who can set a good example for my kid. Admittedly right now I do feel like crap because of the sluggishness of the valium--it has depressed my appetite and my work outs, when I make them, are like in slow motion, 100% and impossible to get through if I even get through them. I haven't really finished one yet since this whole mouth thing started.

It's odd though. The new meds are helping, if in no other way than I feel good and confident about myself (most of the time, which is a newer sensation for me). I actually give a shit about this book chapter that is going to be a hot mess, but that I know will eventually come together at some point in time.

As I am still on a quest to try to figure out what works best for me and my family in terms of work and my health (working out, make sure I actually cook dinner and go to the grocery), I'm going to go back to teaching five days a week. I wonder if having the work spread out more will be less of an energy drain if it means earlier days every day than if I work three long days and one half day and have a day off. Right now I really need that extra day off, but I think it's because I'm just so exhausted with life that I just need that day right now. While it is affecting my work out schedule, because I do prefer to work out in the morning before everything else, right now it makes more sense for me to work early in the morning. I can get more reading done during that 90 minutes than 90 minutes at night before bed. It makes it harder for me to work out in the afternoon, but right now, work is more important than some future body building competition. I would like to start doing yoga again, too. I would like a life that I love.

It helps having a house that is our home. True, we do not own it yet, but we will, and that makes all the difference right now. There's a lot to be said for having a place of one's own, for feeling rooted and committed to a life (as imperfect and difficult as my job and this part of the country can be, and even though I long for a life for my daughter that extends far beyond this region). It makes me thoughtful and hopeful. It makes me want to care about life.

I'm sure I have more to say on this, but this is it for now.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

I feel as though the storm clouds have lifted a little bit today.

First, I have TMJ, which really sucks. My face really hurts. I can't wait to see my massage therapist on Thursday and have him work my upper back, neck, head, and face. He'll get in there, too, and straighten all that mess out. I went to the doctor (not just for the depression) in part because I thought I had a double ear infection. Nope. TMJ. The physical pain, however, is almost a welcome distraction from the psychological pain right now. My doctor and I both feel that this is a symptom of the depression and anxiety from which I am currently suffering. He gave me steroids and valium, so that should be interesting. The valium certainly helped me sleep last night and helped me to relax my face and my jaw. And it took the edge off the anxiety a bit, so I'm feeling better this morning than yesterday. Yesterday actually quite frightened me.

We also changed my antidepressants. Though I know they cannot work as fast as one morning, by the time I got home last night from the doctor, I felt infinitely better because I knew that there was at least a new plan in place that was going to help me, and for the first time I felt a bit motivated to do things, and I was more pleasant around the kid and was able to be more present around her. Plus, I also think this morning the valium still in my system has taken some of the edge off of my anxiety, and I can focus a  bit more today and just feel like there is some hope, like I might be able to get back to a point where I can thrive rather than just function? We'll see. Hopefully I can get some more work done the rest of the morning in my office and that should help my mood, too.

Having a prescription for valium though makes me feel like a bored bourgeois housewife from the 80s.

Monday, October 10, 2016

I had a bad weekend. I am headed to the doctor this afternoon.

My depression, which seemed to have been under control last spring, and the beginning of the summer, has resurfaced (as I mentioned I think in my last post). I am overwhelmed with uncontrollable sadness. I am also overwhelmed with apathy, and this is the thing which concerns me the most. I am functioning in as much as I shower and go to work. I am not doing my job particularly well. It is a struggle for me to be in any way prepared for the 400 level class. My energy in my survey classes has tanked. I am not even making the slow progress I was 4 weeks ago on the giant project due in three weeks. 

I cannot focus. I cooked for the first time this weekend in like six weeks? Mostly my mom cooks, but I at least go to the grocery and give her the menu, and this has not been the case in the last month. We've been eating out a lot, or she's been eating tuna salads and stuff. The kid eats hot dogs and sweet potato fries and broccoli. So I am not even doing a very good job in taking care of her. Fortunately, others are around to pick up the slack. I go to functions without make up (which is a sign of apathy for me--I just don't have the energy to take the extra five minutes). I cannot work at night because every single ounce of energy I have goes toward holding myself together for the day.

I am concerned because I don't care if I flake out on this chapter, even though it would be like the biggest betrayal of friendship and mentorship and professional decorum I could think of, and a huge slap in the face, stab in the back, and whatever awful cliche of betrayal you can come up with toward the editor. Generally, wanting to not disappoint this person is motivation enough to get my ass in gear, but I cannot even bring myself to deal with what I need to. I cannot care about anything, let alone myself. 

I cannot deal with stress, major or minor. This morning, I was not going to make it to work as early as I wanted to. I had a complete fucking meltdown in front of the kid who understood the heaviness of my sigh and the immediate headache that formed between my eyes, and she started crying a cry of fright and insecurity and fear of the unknown and I had to hold her all throughout her breakfast to reassure her. I am hurting her with my depression and anxiety, and I cannot have that. I cannot do that to her and the J. He feels the weight of it, too, but is too aware that telling me that I am hurting him will do me more harm than good. Hopefully there is some relief on the horizon this afternoon. 

Wish me luck.

Friday, October 7, 2016

I have a super annoying student, and I have to vent somewhere about it.

The gist of the issue is that said student is an English major and therefore thinks ze is entitled to an A simply because ze is an English major, and that the roadblock in hir writing is not that hir writing needs improvement, but that it's my fault because "every other professor says X is acceptable and I'm the only one asking for Y instead of X, and I'm unreasonable for not accepting X for Y."

If you're an English major, and as good as you think you are, you should a) know the difference between an arguable thesis statement and just a plain statement about the text, and b) know the difference between plot summary and analysis, c) and understand that to simply write your opinion about the text and state it as a claim and not back it up with either appropriate support and analysis of that claim is not analysis at all. If you believe the problem with your writing is because I haven't told you exactly what to think, therefore the grade is my fault because I should have told you exactly what to write, then we are going to have some problems.

Try spending less time writing what you think I want to hear and spend more time actually constructing some sort of argument and supporting it appropriately.

Also, this assignment is 2-3 pages long. If you're as good an English major as you say you are, and as great a writer as you think, you should be able to knock out two pages in your sleep.
Ugh. Today is just one of those days, I think?

I'm depressed. Like super depressed. Like the level of depression I felt this time last year. I do not feel like the anti-depressants are working anymore. It's affecting my ability to get through this project that I must do. I'm not taking very good care of myself at all, either. I'm functioning enough that I show up at my job, I bathe, I do the work I need to to teach, but aside from cuddling with the kid, my mom is pretty much doing everything right now--bathing, school, lunches, etc. I just do not feel like doing anything. I've been sleeping through alarms. Ugh. In short, I do not want to face reality. At all.

I think my poor diet right now is contributing a little bit to this. I cannot seem to gain control here of anything.

I'm frustrated. I hate feeling like this.

Now that a lot of the stress has been eliminated regarding the house (except hopefully a few minor things), there's still this large financial stress looming at the moment, but the stress either triggered a massive downturn in my depression, or it masked it, or both because now I just feel so meh. The energy I have goes toward basic functioning, and that's it.

I have everything to be happy about right now. But I cannot find any joy at all.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


My request for a one year extension for tenure has been granted!!

This is significant not just for me, but for others as well because I am the first one to try to use this new policy, so I have set the precedent here for others. This doesn't quite make up for all the shit I had to go through last year, but it at least gives me more of a fighting chance.

Because that piece of stress has been eliminated, and that mine and my family's life does not hang in the balance anymore and I won't spend the next 8 months filled with anxiety, I can breathe and get to work now. I can focus on the tasks at hand. I feel much more hopeful now that I'll actually not flake the eff out on this book chapter. Perhaps some of this will rub off on the Magpie and she'll feel less stress, too.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

In the depths

I just sort of feel like my life is falling apart right now.

I am completely overwhelmed by the project on which I'm currently working (and for which I've already gotten a month extension) because I am foolishly trying to cram a year's worth of work into about six weeks. Or I guess rather had I begun chipping away at the project when it fell into my lap, I'd be done already. I finished the other one. The editor hated my idea, seriously, and to be honest, it wasn't that great anyway, but he really hated the idea, so that required some major revisions which meant time away from big project because he wanted them in two weeks. I got them done in a week, and I have no idea if they are good enough yet, so that has me on edge. Also, under our new university policy, because the Magpie has been ill since birth, and then ill again this summer (that e.coli really fucked things up for me this summer--she's fine, I didn't mean to sound as horrible as I did because obviously her health comes first), which is the primary reason that this stuff isn't done yet as it should have been, I can apply for a year extension for tenure. So, I would go up next year. Except... 1) No one has applied for this before, so no one knows what to do, 2) I spent a week working on my letter to go with my request, 3) It's been over a week since I submitted my request and I haven't heard anything yet, and this is a problem because 4) if I get denied, my portfolio is due by 10/3. But since I have this huge awful project looming, I don't want to devote hours of research and writing time to the tenure portfolio if I don't have to. I've got my stuff all gathered, it's the writing for it that's not been done, and if I have to, I can knock it out in a weekend, but the portfolio is going to look rushed, and I'd rather it not. I've been told at the department level, I'm fine. At the college level, probably not because not all my stuff is in print and letters from the editors for the forthcoming stuff probably won't be good enough, which I think it bullshit, but whatever.

In the meantime, like this week, I have my sister's baby shower out of town, and then we move Sunday, and we're spending this week trying to get as much packed as we can. I'm more worried about tenure than I would be if we weren't buying a house. It was too good of an offer to pass up, especially if we are staying, and the house would not have been around for a month, let alone a whole year. On top of all of this, my very heightened stressed out state has had an impact on the whole family. The J is on edge, my mom is freaking out (and it does not help me for them to tell me to stop freaking out and to calm down--that just seriously pisses me off more), and then there's Magpie. She was potty trained. We were doing great. Now? Complete regression. She has decided that she is not going to be potty trained any more. We've talked to the pediatrician about it and her daycare, and we are trying our best (I'm not sure that the daycare even believes that she was actually potty trained), but there we are. We all understand that this is her way of coping with the stress. She has made a decision not to use the toilet. And she wants the comfort of babyhood because she's stressed out, too.

In short, I feel like my incompetence in my work is destroying my family. I know in part that the mere act of being in the new house on Sunday is going to make a difference simply because there is 600 sq. feet more of breathing space and a giant fenced in outdoor space, so I'm hopefully just the lack of crowding will make a difference.

I meditate every day, too, to help with this. I can tell it's helping, but still.

Until that letter comes back and I know how to focus my energies (on my research or on the appeal, because all hell will break loose, actually if it is denied. The J is ready to go to the mattresses), I feel like I'm drowning. I am going to crash in November, and it will not be pretty.

I just want to scream to the universe. I want the universe to help, to open the heavens and put forth light and warmth on me.

Every fucking day is a struggle. I have no energy for my research right now (though I chip away as I can almost daily) because I feel like all the energy I have is in holding myself together so I can function, so I can teach (though that takes way more energy than I have--I'm using up the reserves here, quick), so I am not a fucking broken down mess at work.

I never never ever want to be in this position again--academically, emotionally, physically, and financially. Ever.

Thanks for listening, y'all.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Full Panic Mode

Our house issue is resolved.

Since the short sale is the hindrance to any kind of legit loan (which took a while to realize, sadly, because neither of us are financially savvy), so the sellers agreed to do a lease to purchase with us so that we have time for the short sale to go away, time to save, and we still get the house, and they do not make two mortgage payments. So for all intents and purposes, we are buying the house. We move this month.

What the fuck am I doing??!! Moving while trying to write a book chapter due at the end of September (which, um, yeah more on that below), tenure portfolio due in October, and since I foolishly perhaps thought that I'd be done with all of this stuff before now, I radically altered a course and am teaching a bunch of new stuff, which in March seemed doable and like a great idea! On top of this, I do not like my hair. Yes, I know, it's hair. Who cares. But if I feel ugly in my hair, then the world crashes around me, my self esteem plummets, and it begins a downward spiral. Fortunately, really for the first time ever, I've identified exactly what it is I do not like and why, and I am not waiting out of fear of hurting the hairdresser's feelings to get it fixed immediately. Unfortunately it will probably cost me, but it's my fault in the first place (he did exactly what I asked him to do, and it's a lovely color and cut but blah, blah, blah). Normally I wait a couple of weeks to see if I'll settle in to it, but I won't this time, and I know why, and rather walk around for two weeks feeling like shit about myself and not getting anything done, I'm fixing it tomorrow. At least I can get it fixed before school starts.

And then there's that. The start of the quarter. Meetings on Tuesday. Classes for me start Friday. Ridiculous.

I have a naive hope that the new house will help me to be more productive. (Although the time I need to be super productive is right now,this month, a mad dash for all the things). Why? There's more space, for one. In theory I should have a place to actually sit and work. Two, our hope is that as we move, we are getting rid of things that we do not need, do not want, have no place in our lives, including the storage unit. Also, the hubs has a storage cage at work that we can use for a while, so we can store stuff there and we have easier access to it to go through stuff and cull our possessions. This is helpful because we are going to start moving stuff today to make room in the house. So maybe perhaps as there is more room in here as we begin the moving process, the more I'll be able to get done because there will be less clutter here.

Because we're not draining our savings on a bad loan, we will be able to hire actual furniture movers this time, so that's wonderful! That is going to be the best thing ever!! So when it is time to move, that will make moving day go so much faster and less stressful on us.

Anyway, there's the haps y'all. Have a great weekend!

Friday, August 26, 2016

House Saga, Episode II

I really want this house. However, it's really hard for me not to feel like the universe is telling me through the difficulty of buying this house that this means that tenure is out of my grasp and we need to be able to cut and run. 

My mom thinks no, this all has happened to make sure that the house didn't go on the market and that it is being saved for us.

The J says, "this is house is so awesome, we just have to work to earn it." 

I wish I were that positive. I'm trying.

The FHA Loan... well, while I'm sure there's a legit FHA loan out there, and I'm sure ours would have been somewhat legit, and the guy has been super thorough and nice, but damn, we got the final loan estimate thing yesterday, and holy f*cking sh*t. Between closing costs, fees, insurance, and some other stuff, the total due at the closing would be nearly 10% of the loan. If I had that sort of money to begin with, I wouldn't be in the situation I'm in. 

Obvs, the first lesson is don't try to buy a house unless you really have the money in savings for it, and don't depend on a VA loan. The second lesson is to be not so irresponsible with money and spendy. 

In the meantime, the J has been trying to find a VA loan from another lender. So now we are back to square one, and starting all over again. I did at least double check with this woman to make sure that we are not going to be hit with over $11K in closing costs, which she said was excessive for the home we are trying to buy. Anyway, what's embarrassing is having to go to our friends, yet again, and tell them we are back to square one. 

I think I've decided though that unless they text us for an update, until we have something concrete from the new lenders, and somewhat of an estimate of the closing costs, then we'll decide how to proceed. 

Last night I was beside myself again. This morning, I was super negative still. Now, I've had a chance to work out, I've looked into the lease to purchase option which might be something they would consider (we really want this house), although we understand if they don't want to, because the house will sell, and will sell quick, so we'll see. My pride is hurt. I'm embarrassed. I'm actually as angry at the second loan people as I am the first because I feel like I was on the point of being hoodwinked (although, the guy working with me is probably in the same position I was in when I sold pools for a shady company--you try your best, and it's the other people that are the swindlers), but we are in no way forking out that amount of money, and in no way asking the sellers to try to cover that either. It seems shady and unfair. So, we will not do that. 

Anyway, there it is. I will get some work done on an article today. And I'm guessing by this time next week, this will in some way just about be over. 

Sunday, August 21, 2016


So our bank fucked us over.

Our house that we're buying may be in jeopardy, even though we were preapproved.

As we went to finalize the application, they missed that our house in Home City was a short sale, thus rendering the VA Loan unapprovable, even though they had already approved us. What we got was a "oh, we're sorry this happened. Someone will get feedback on this mistake. If you have $12,000, we can get you a conventional loan." If we had 12K, we wouldn't have applied for the VA Loan. And as I'm sobbing on the phone, "well, I hope you have a nice weekend."

It took everything in me not to say "fuck you and your weekend."

I then spent the rest of the afternoon and part of the evening trying to get another loan. The problem? The VA Loan does not require a down payment. All other loans do. Did we put money aside for a down payment? No, because the VA Loan doesn't require one.

What we have now is an FHA Loan, which, well, apparently is a pain in the ass for sellers to deal with and requires a minimal down payment, but the guy who helped me worked very hard to get me even this. The J cannot even be near the loan because the house was in his name and thus the short sale affects on his part of the application, so it's all me.

Now, because we know what a pain an FHA Loan may turn out to be for the sellers, who are our friends, I will talk to them tomorrow, and the J and I agreed that if they wanted to back out of the sale, we would understand and allow it to happen. He doesn't seem to think they will because they are anxious to get rid of their house so they can move and relieve the commuting burden on the wife, and the J seems to believe that the FHA inspection isn't going to be any more of a pain than an VA Loan inspection would be, but it may be a mess.

I have never felt so poor and so incapable of being an adult as I do now. I know the stigma attached to an FHA Loan, and I feel the pain of embarrassment of my financial incompetence and our lack of planning (because, duh, no down payment for the VA Loan), and I am swamped in grief and sadness at the possibility of the home we want slipping away when it was so close.

It's really in the hands of the sellers now. We will understand if they want to go a different route, and there will be no hard feelings on our end, but it just has me really really sad and stressed that this may all be gone in a matter of 24 hours. I will probably try to pop over there sometime this afternoon if they are home. So we may know something by tonight. Sigh.

I have done very little other than cry and drink since Friday night. It's all very distressing because I'm one to think of things like this as a sign from the universe. If the house falls through, then that means that the universe is indicating that I won't get tenure and we'll need the mobility to move. But the problem is if we stay in this house, with its high utilities and rent that will actually be more than the mortgage (not by much, but on top of the utilities being lower at the house which is significantly better insulated, and we wouldn't have our storage unit anymore, we're looking at maybe about $3200 a year in savings, which isn't much but adds up over time), it means that our ability to save is far lower because just that extra $272 a month that we could save is wasted. So, it all just makes me want to puke, because that $3200 a year over two years would be part of a down payment on a house in another city if he have to move. It also means that if I don't get tenure and end up unemployed, that extra $3200 a year may make the different in living off ramen or you know, being able to feed the kid while I look for work. I know this is all worst case scenario stuff, but please don't say "maybe it's not meant to be." Because that means worst case scenario in the future.

Oh well. We'll see what happens. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Haps

Well, my major thing that I'm supposed to be working on? Okay, I haven't started it yet. And classes start in about three weeks. Yikes. Oh, and I've not even started thinking about classes. Or my tenure portfolio (although if the bulk of it is tracking down materials, I've got all of that already). The major project, due at the end of September. Tenure portfolio due mid October. I've actually taken a couple of weeks off. My one week off turned into about three. Ooops. Even my training schedule has faltered a little bit.

OMG. I can't even believe we are doing this, especially since tenure is so tenuous right now, but...

We're buying a house. I know. On the one hand it seems so irresponsible to do so, I think. But here's what happened. The wife of one of my history colleagues got a job in a city an hour away--a great job doing what she's supposed to be doing at our university. Believe it or not, her boss is worse than mine. Anyway, her job is 8-4:30, which means she will leave here at 6:30 in the a.m. to get to her
M-F job (they also have a 14 mo. old). So colleague's schedule is obviously way more flexible, thus they are moving to be closer to her job, and obviously they are selling their house. We have been half ass looking for a house. He texted me: Bro! I ran into so and so! You're looking for a house. We're selling our house. We're very motivated sellers. Want to come and check out the house?

We did. It's about 600 sq. ft. more than we have now. Still 3bd. 2ba., but there's a bonus room off the garage that will be the office/bar. A nice sized kitchen area with a separate eating area and a kitchen bar that overlooks a nice sized living room. The master bedroom is larger than what we have now. Three walk-in closets. A screened in patio area and a fenced in yard. All at the absolutely low end of our budget (which, if we were responsible people, should really be the high end of our budget). We looked at the place at 1. We had a loan and an acceptance of our offer before 3pm. It's also in a very nice, lived-in neighborhood with lots of trees and cul-de-sacs. And, four of my history/poli sci colleagues live in the neighborhood as well, one of whom is a very good friend, and one of whom is becoming a good friend. We are hoping to close mid-October. I am crazy for doing all of this now!

It's a lovely house. They actually don't want to give it up. But they are happy for us to be buying it.

Because this place is what it is, for many, this will look good that I'm buying a house pre-tenure because it will indicate to them that we're now rooted to this spot. For others, it will look like I'm arrogantly expecting tenure. And yet for many of those people, in both camps, there may be some blow back as to the neighborhood we bought in--we bought in the history neighborhood. My boss, and two of my other colleagues, have been lobbying for five years to get us to by a place in either of their respective neighborhoods. But I do not want to live next to my boss. No. No. No. Plus, she lives right downtown, in an older part of town, with houses that haven't been updated since the 60s, and have no yards whatsoever and no place safe for kids to ride bikes or play or whatnot and is surrounded by college students, apartments, and businesses. No. Another colleague, no, I just don't want to live next to her. I know that's terrible. And the neighborhood of the other colleague backs right up to one of the fraternity houses with whom she is constantly having trouble. So, no thank you there. It's a little ways back, but it's so cute and lovely. I wish there were four beds and three baths, but given our debt and no down payment, there's no way we can afford that. But it's a great size. The yard is big (front and back), there's lots of natural light (which is a must for me), and well, it's just the perfect little house for us (at the very least, for now). Anyway, it's exciting. I think.

The kid finally moved up to the next room. She started back on Wednesday. She is so much happier now. Totally different kid than we saw six weeks ago the last time she was at school. For real. No finger crossing. We only cried on Wednesday, not yesterday. She's in a fantastic mood when we pick her up. Not the "release me from this prison" as before. Wednesday we couldn't get her to leave. So that it really great, too. She's been happy the last two days when she's come home. And it hasn't been a struggle to get her to school either. She had been acting out in the morning. But this week, so far, none of that.

So there's that. It's good. Now I just need to get my shit together and start working again. It's crunch time. I can do it. I know I can. Then when we get into the new house, I can just sit and enjoy it through the holidays.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

This is the year I go up for tenure...

I go up for tenure this fall, as most of you know, as I have been bemoaning this for the last two years.

Inspired somewhat by Historiann's "Hannah" guest posts, and for the sake of my my own sanity, I thought I'd document the tenure process here, mostly because I feel like things really could go south for some of the same reasons that we saw with Hannah (though I have nowhere near the scholarship chops she has; however, no one in my department has that level of scholarship either). I feel like there are lots of similarities between her dean and mine and my chair. My chair has, repeatedly, over the last year, tell me how no one respects the scholarship I'm doing, which, from someone NOT in my field, someone NOT with a Ph.D. in English, from someone who writes for an on-line magazine about local art festivals (and claims that as scholarship, and has for years), it is not only insulting, but discouraging (as it is meant to be). Now, would my publications carry weight on their own at an elite institution? As the Honors Director put it, "We're not at Harvard. What you're doing is more than adequate for here." Okay, not the most ringing endorsement, and not a slam at my work either because he did say there was value in what I'm doing, and that people have been tenured by citing blog posts as their scholarship (with that being their ONLY scholarship).

Anyway, I digress.

I feel like as the female of the two of us going up for tenure this year, I'm going to be under way more scrutiny than my male colleague, regardless of the strength of my tenure portfolio. I'm worried that everything I do, from the way I dress to the way I teach is going to look like politicking, which is what my boss and dean and other colleagues want me to do, but which I'm going to be penalized for despite this being their wish because I am afraid they will read it as "for show" all of sudden. Basically, right now, I feel as if I can't win. I have people rooting for me, but I'm not sure it matters.

Look, if I have to smile, and look pretty and play nice this year and agree to everything to get tenure, when I get tenure, the gloves will come off, and I will fight to make sure that the next female junior faculty who gets hired will not be treated the way that I have been treated, because it's stressful and bullshit, for one thing, but mostly it's just straight up WRONG. There's a reason, clearly, why I'm the ONLY female junior faculty in the department. And if we didn't have a kid, if the J didn't have a job (and was just in school here), I would have been outta here a long time ago. But that's not the case.

So, there it is. On Monday I get back to my research schedule and try to get as much done as I can before classes start after labor day. The kid will probably still be home all the rest of the month as well, so I've got to balance work outs, research, life, and time with her, as well as class prep.

I am also waiting for the other shoe to drop. I just have a gut feeling that I'll be taking over wayward colleague's upper division class in the fall. Nothing will convince me otherwise, not even the start of classes (because that is usually when I get the call--after classes have started). I will not be convinced until we make it through the second full week of classes either. That feeling is just settled, gnawing in my gut. Every time the phone rings, I immediately assume it's my boss calling to ask me to take over the class.

I have decided that not only am I going to gleefully accept his class for the fall, but say, "why don't you just give me all of them for the year!" Seriously though, why the fuck not, right? Make them pay me an overload all year. Anyway...

And now, I go back to trying to clean and declutter to make my room a more work conducive environment  for the time being. I have spent a year trying to get rid of things. And it seems the more I get rid of, the worse it gets. Oh well. There it is.
I did it. I actually finished an article. Or rather, I finished the book chapter that was due on July 15th. I turned it in a bit later than that, but for the first time in four year (sheesh, that's an embarrassingly long time), I saw a project from start to finish. It's crap. It will probably need many revisions, unfortunately, but I hope it's good enough at least for the editor to accept it with revisions. We shall see. But the key issue here is that I finished it.

Now on to the next project.

Things have been tense, off and on here on the sun, which is seriously how hot it is where we are. Brutally, oppressively hot. Like the only place you can be outdoors in is in the pool. Not even the dog wants to go out to walk or pee. He'll hold it until the evening when it's cooler. And there's a general advisory that one should not be outside during the day for more than three hours, with only two hours being the general advice. The real feel today is supposed to be 114. And it stormed last night, so that means it will be muggy. Why I am telling you all of this? Well, Magpie is still at home. We are still basically boycotting daycare, and the heat means we are limited by what we can do, aside from the pool. She's going a little stir crazy here, and she misses her friends, and I've spent all week trying to get the daycare director on the phone, but it's going to mean my tracking her down in person tomorrow when Mag's tuition is due. We have decided that if they insist on keeping her in that room, then we will go to the other school to see if there are openings and take her out of that daycare. She is supposed to start gymnastics on Tuesday, so that will help with a lot of things, I think, and dance registration begins on Thursday, so I've got to get on that for her too. Really, we'd like her to play soccer, and I'm not trying to be one of those moms who has something scheduled for her daughter every day and is trying to overload her with activities, but we want to try a couple of different things to see what she likes, AND this kid has so much freaking energy, that she needs something to burn it off, and something that gives me and my mom a break from trying to be the ones who help her burn her energy. And we feel like dance and/or gymnastics is going to help her with her confidence and coordination, so we'll see.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

I have been laid up since Wednesday with some horrible cold. I went to the doctor, got a couple of big shots, and while the ear infection went away, the asthma flared up and the coughing was uncontrollable, and I've had to take some serious cough medicine to make it through the night which has left me feeling in many ways worse than without it (but sleeping through the night through the coughing is worth it). However, this means I've spent a lot of time napping and foggy-headed which means that I've done no work since Wednesday. Now I'm panicking. The plan I had worked, until I got sick.

But this is the problem with the time crunch, isn't it. The time crunch only works if one does not get sick or if the wheels are well oiled and there's no hitch. And I've put myself into this situation, so I've got no choice this summer but to make it work, but after reading EE's blog about The Slow Professor (sorry that I'm too lazy to link you Earnest--feel free to link yourself in the comments if you want), I think I'm going to check out that book and perhaps change my approach to my life (which I've been struggling with for some time). I work well with a schedule. But what I believe my problem is is packing that schedule so tight that when one thing goes off, I cannot adapt. And then EVERYTHING falls apart, and rather than just having to fix one thing, I have to fix all the things.

I'm going to keep this in mind when I schedule my office hours for next quarter, and when I schedule other things.

There is some crunch time though this week. I've got to get some massive amounts of reading done today so that I can plow through a couple of things tomorrow, and start drafting some of this article that's due Friday. I hope it can be done. But this morning is the first morning I don't feel foggy-headed and grumpy, so there's some hope. And I think I can get a fair amount done in the morning so I have the afternoon to spend at the pool with the kid.

There it is. Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Some goings ons.

I have been working steadily this past week on the book chapter that was due tomorrow, but for which I got an extension until next Friday. I still think this is possible. I've still got a lot to plow through, but I really feel like I can get through all the rest of the research by Monday and spend the week drafting, writing, revising. It'll be a crunch, and tough, but I know I can get through it.

That being said, yesterday was a bust though. I have an ear infection! Like a full blown, ear going to burst out of my head, ear infection. I went to the doctor (that's how I know it was an ear infection and not a sinus infection or cold or whatever), got a massive and a little shot in one hip, another shot in the other hip, and needless to say, I was out for the count yesterday. I spent most of the day in bed. And I felt really bad because the kid just wanted to play, and I think she sort of understood "Mommy's really sick," but not really. Anyway, that was tough.

So here's what's going on with her. She's been having some lower GI problems. Intermittent diarrhea, but no fever, no dehydration, no weight loss (she's been gaining actually), no abdominal pain, no loss of appetite. Aside from the intermittent diarrhea, she's healthy. But this has been going on since April, and she keeps getting sent home from daycare, which during the quarter when it's just me is a real problem, and would have been a real problem this summer had my mom not been here. (There are other things going on at her daycare that are really stressful that I'll get to in a minute). Back in May she tested positive for this. We treated it. Next go round of tests, negative. That was gone. But still, the problem was there. Maybe it just did a number on her system? Whatever. Sent home from school. More tests. She's had this, since probably April. It's a relatively easy fix with the right antibiotics. But still. Hopefully this will be the last of it. What we think happened here is that she got this from the zoo, specifically the petting zoo. She had been sick the week before we went, probably a virus at school that caused the initial diarrhea, and then in a weakened state, her body was prime for these things to enter. I know it wasn't my cooking (and she doesn't eat out because of her allergies), because none of the rest of us got sick. So that's my best explanation.

Her daycare. There's one teacher, and just when we think the Magpie is out of her room for good, she moves up to help in another room. Look, and I understand that Mags is going to have personality conflicts with her teachers throughout her life and that it doesn't mean that every time she is in conflict that we need to move her. But she's three, for starters, so she cannot really advocate for herself. But anyway, that's besides the point. The very first day, at 14 months when she was in, let's call her Miss A, Miss A's room, after four hours, Miss A suggested that there was something abnormal about her because she didn't feed herself and wasn't orally fixated (wasn't trying to chew on all the toys in the room) and that we needed to look into occupational therapy for her because she doesn't know how to use a spoon. Well, we never taught her that, and we were told it would be several more months before she would even get a spot in the room, so we were going to work on self-feeding then.  Okay, so Miss A moves up after a couple of months. Magpie gets to her room when she turns 2. Third day in there, Miss A: "you know she doesn't talk like she should for a two year old. The fact that she says these big words, that's a sign of autism." Now, I understand she's been doing this for a long time and has seen a lot of kids and has more experience around 2 year olds than I did, but um, no. Neither of our pediatrician has ever suggested that she is on the spectrum or should be tested.** She treats the Magpie differently. And Mags picks up on that. And hates to be in her classroom. Another ongoing issue is her food allergies. We've had her tested. By a specialist. We have a doctor's note. We are asked at least once a week: "Are you sure she's really allergic to these things? How do you know for sure? Have you tried feeding her these things?"And when it's not that it's: "You know she feels different right? You know she understands that she's not normal like the rest of the kids and she wants to eat the things they have." I'm going to address that first. When we go have their picnics with them, we NEVER see Magpie looking at another kid's plate, trying to take food off another kid's plate, crying because her plate looks different. She eats her fruit and the snacks we bring her. In short, she could give two shits about what the other kids are eating. And don't fucking tell me it's weird not to give my kid juice (she doesn't like juice anyway, and don't tell me that's fucking weird either, that there's something wrong with a kid who doesn't like juice. No. It means my kid's teeth won't rot and she's not hopped up on sugar all morning). But Magpie hears things like "weird," "not normal," "wants to be like the other kids," etc., and she picks up on this negativity, and she doesn't want to be with this teacher.

And if I need to prove beyond a doctor's note that my kid's allergies are legit, then fuck you.

Another recent instance: "She doesn't nap anymore. Maybe she has a sleep disorder."
No, she sleeps like 12-14 hours a night and has a good diet. She doesn't have a sleep disorder. The pediatrician said she has just outgrown naps. "Does she really sleep that long? My kid doesn't go to bed until 9. How can she go to bed at 6:30 and sleep until 7 am?" (In my head: well, don't keep your own kid up so fucking late if you're going to judge me on our early bedtime).

She cannot move up to the 3 yr. room until she's potty trained. She's potty trained. We've spent the last week and a half on this and we've deliberately kept her out of school until she is confident and can get her clothes off and on by herself (we've never taught her how to do that, so that's on me for her being 3 and not dressing herself). Here's the problem with the room now. There are about 4 her age in there. The rest are two year olds or almost two year olds. She knows she is with the babies. She does not want to be with the babies. When we get there and her friends are not there, she cries when she sees the room full of babies. I think the other parents are unhappy with this too, because though her friends's names are still on that room's sign in sheet, we haven't seen them there. So they are either there and being brought to the big kids room, or they are not going. And, if they have accidents, they will send the kid back home in a diaper, and this will destroy Magpie if this happens. So, we are keeping her home until they are going to move her up, basically. We're  afraid that she will have accidents because she'll be stressed and depressed about being in the baby room.

All of this is emotionally draining. We are trying to get her into the Montessori school. One of the problems here in this town is that a) we don't go to church, and that is where nearly ALL of the major networking happens, so we are by default excluded from a lot of stuff, and it's a small town; b) there's only one. There are no options, and the good options all have waiting lists a mile long (unless you know someone from church), so we're sort of stuck right now.

Sigh. But, life goes on. I'm enjoying my time with the Magpie, it just makes balancing work and meeting deadlines and working out a little bit harder, but we're trying.

So there it is, y'all.

**I am not saying that there is a problem with autistic kids at all!! Nor am I in denial about my child. What pissed me off was that if it were true, she was using it negatively as a way to label the kid to get her out of her room. Does that make sense? It wasn't "let's get her what she needs so she can be successful." It was "you're kid is handicapped and it's not my job to accommodate that if you're in denial." Which is wrong.

Monday, July 11, 2016

The new schedule does not work.

We were going to try a new schedule.

It turns out that it doesn't work for me. At all.

Here's what I was trying to do: get up at my normal workout time and instead of going to work out, read/write during that time. Then after my mom got back from her work out and the kid got up, then I'd go work out and then be done with everything by like 11 am.

So far, that has not happened for various reasons.

1. I think the reason working out first thing in the morning works for me is because even though I like getting up early, it takes me a while to get going. So by working out first thing, that is the time that I need to "get going." It also sets the tone for the day. I come back feeling energized and ready to go.

2. Attempting to use this time to work has not resulted in 2-3 hours of work. No it has resulted in me still getting up early, taking seriously like 45 minutes to settle in, getting an hour of work in, but still by the time the kid gets up I've been up for three hours and not been very productive, and I still have a huge workout in front of me. So here it is already 9:30ish, and we are taking the kid to the pool early in the hopes that she'll have a nap, but that means I don't get to the gym until after 12. That just screws up my whole freaking day.

3. My body does not like being up early and inactive. Seriously. But I feel bad because this means that my mom doesn't get to work out with her friends at 6 if I go early. I've got to overcome my guilt.

4. Because I don't work out early, and because I feel terrible after getting up early and reading (but not being productive really), that makes me grumpy when the kid gets up. It also, even though this schedule was supposed to allow me more time with her, has actually meant less time with her, and that has led to a slight regression in her potty training because she is feeling neglected by me.

5. I think for the sake of everyone, I need to be able to work out early in the a.m. This may also mean that I do actually need to go check out the 24 hour gym so that I can get to my workout early enough so that it works for everyone.

I have also learned this weekend that tequila mix does not work for me at all either. Actually, one thing that I've noticed over the past few weeks is that alcohol in general does not agree with me anymore. I had one mild margarita last night, like not even 4oz margarita, and I had the same on Saturday, and let me tell you, yesterday and today have found me in foul moods, exhausted, despite lots of sleep both nights, and just grumpy and annoyed with the world. I hate that feeling. It's not productive. It doesn't help me. I hate having a scowl on my face. I'm seriously mad at the world right now.

I've made some pretty healthy lifestyle changes this summer. I've done pretty good. But lately, sugar and alcohol (both of which I have little of) seem to be affecting me disproportionately to what I'm used to. I'm done.

I'm trying not to see the rest of the day as a whole shitty day ahead of me. But seriously though, I wish I were done with my workout already. And my head hurts.

Saturday, July 9, 2016


I had made some progress on work, and now I'm back to overwhelmed again.

I am nearly paralyzed by my fear of failing this summer with my work. Granted, I've gotten more done this summer than I have in the last three summers combined, but that's not saying much, really.

I addition to being overwhelmed, I'm angry, which is also unproductive. I'm angry at myself for putting myself in the position I'm in. I'm angry at my boss for her lack of support and her creating a hostile work environment for me which had me shut down for most of the academic year. I'm angry that I got taken in by her, and let her feed into my insecurities. I'm angry that most of the year I've just been basically blackmailed with getting tenure, and I'm still super worried, because I'm still working on stuff, that it won't happen. I'm angry that I've got at least 10 months of worry and anxiety ahead of me because of her, that the blackmail will continue until a decision is made around March or April of next year.

I know there are two things I can do: Nothing, or Get Shit Done.

I know that anger and hatred are not productive. I know that. Sometimes I need to grit my teeth and express that.

I feel paralyzed right now too by the need to get things done, to finish the articles. I feel like I can do nothing else until that happens. I cannot clean, gut, plan, do anything that will take up any more mental space than what I need to work on. I resent though that since my daughter is home right now that I have to spend time away from her to get work done. I keep telling myself that next year it won't matter--I'll either have tenure or I won't, in which case I'll have time with her. But next year will be different than this year. I don't want to fail her though. I don't want to be unemployed. I don't want to be the one who didn't get tenure.

I will get my stuff done. I am working on my stuff. I am making progress. I guess the fear is that it won't matter really, because my boss, for all her "I want you to get tenure" doesn't ring true to me. I feel like I have the unconditional support of one solid person who may or may not end up on my committee. The gender discrimination over the last year has me so out of sorts with my department, the "rules" that have been enforced upon me--don't miss work, don't even post stuff about the kid or even non work related stuff on FB, be better, smile more, look nicer, etc., it's almost too much to bear at this stage in the game when I have stuff to do and need to do more. Oh, I was also told that, too, that the minimum requirements for me were "the minimum," that I needed more than the minimum if I wanted to be successful. Well, then, that's not the minimum requirement is it? And I've been told that the "minimum" is flexible depending on who you are. And if I don't get tenure, then I cannot help to change any of these things: I cannot work to change the climate of the department, the discrimination in the department, the lack of support in the department. There is nothing that I can do because my boss just dangles that carrot in front of my face.

In part, I hate myself for being so fucking spineless.

I dream of the life I want. I agonize over the things that are on hold. Both of which are somewhat counter-productive at this point, except that when I get my work finished, when I do what needs to be done, I can focus on those other important things. I can suck it up until September. I can. I can make time for the kid amidst work. I will not fail. I will not fail. I. WILL.NOT.FAIL.

And on that note, I'm off to sneak in what little work I can before the kid gets up.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


I find myself somewhat at a loss. I vacillate between hope and fierceness and hopelessness and despair. In the beginning of the month I felt like my goals, ambitious as they were, were actually doable. Now I'm in full on panic mode. I do not want to give my boss the satisfaction of my having failed. And that fires me up; however, I am also so very overwhelmed.

I think what I need to do is just concentrate on one thing at a time. One project, not all four of them. That is the issue. I need to crank stuff out, and the problem has been not only cybercamp but also a sick kid, lack of sleep, doctor's appointments, and the like, and next week are several doctor's appointments, so that's a chunk of stuff not happening next week, or rather I'm losing a lot of time.

I need to focus. I know I can do this.

Also, Magpie turned three. I cannot handle that. At all. She's a spunky wonderful child. But she's a child now. A toddler. A kid. I want her to be my little baby. I don't want three years to have gone by like this. Last summer seems like yesterday. I do not handle the passage of time well at all.

Friday, May 20, 2016

And now I'm bitter and pissed the fuck off.

Sixty-nine other students figured out when their exam was. One didn't. Now I'm back on campus.

I gave them the option of taking it today, at 11 when it was scheduled. Or they could have taken it Wednesday at 11. Or if they wanted to take it Wednesday still but wanted a few extra hours, they could take it with the 2 pm class. At no time did I ever mention 2 pm on Friday. No one else apparently understood that as an option either.

Here's what I think happened. I posted Stu's grade of an F because no exam. Stu thought she'd still pass. Now I get a call from my boss--"why did she think that? It must have been something you said. And it's not a good idea to give the test two days."

Me: "it's clear from the students' grades today that they didn't get help."

Long story short, I thought I was done. Nope. Now I'm back up here because I don't have tenure and can't tell my boss to tell the student tough luck because she didn't think she was going to fail the class.

Now I am no longer sad about the end of the year.

My entire afternoon has been shot. All of the shit I had to do this afternoon? Not getting done now. Fuck off stu.
At this particular moment right now, I'm sort of at a loss.

I'm done with grading. My office is a mess, and I usually clean it up before summer break, but I don't feel like it this time.

I'm surprisingly depressed that the quarter is over. I guess that's why I'm down? I don't know. Maybe it's because my baby is turning THREE in a month?

One of my graduating seniors who was my advisee gave me this giant gift basket of stuff as a thank you, which was like the most touching thing ever. It was so incredibly sweet I almost cried. She didn't need to do that at all.

Meh, anyway. I'm done. I guess I'll go home.

Maybe I'm just nervous about the summer ahead. Weird, right?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

I have two things to write about today that have been on my mind.

1. Bodybuilding is a lot like academia. It's shocking how much the similarities between the two are. It became pretty clear by the fourth day that I have entered into another academic like occupation, for lack of a better word. It is focused and solitary. There's a sense of "do I even belong here?" hovering over the workouts. Judgmental in that way of putting your work out there for students, colleagues, whomever, to evaluate. It's both performative and isolating. I miss the more community aspects of CF; however, to keep the analogy of academia going, CF is more like the wine reception at a conference and bodybuilding is more like all the research and writing that goes into the article.

Part of my desire to do this though (and to start it now which might seem counter-intuitive given what needs to be done this summer) is because I know in October, when I turn that tenure portfolio in, I'm going to be somewhat lost as to what do I do next? I will still have things to write, but I fear that turning that file in is going to lead to something akin to postpartum depression, and I will need something to focus on while I wait for months for a decision. If the summer goes even halfway as planned, I should be fine, but I also know that my boss is terrible at communicating and allaying anxieties, so it will be months of "you're fine" with "well, I don't know."

That being said, we are at the end of our quarter here, and if anything has taken time away from my own work it's been the end of the quarter grading. Which I'm not as far along as I usually am at this time, but that's probably because I have a MWF this time and still have tomorrow. The grading is done except for one paper and a handful of students who are taking their exam tomorrow; it's mostly the tedious work of calculating everything at this point.

2. The quarter is not even over, but I'm already having the "OMFG! Summer is already over!" panic anxiety. I've got a lot to do between now and Wednesday. I've got a lot to do this summer. In true Maude fashion, I've pushed things off that I should have been working on because of the illusion of time, and now I'm panicking. It's not even June. I haven't even posted grades, and already I'm panicking about the summer being over and it's stressing me out and giving me a headache. Part of me feels like I have time. Like I can accomplish a lot in five hours a day during the week and grabbing an hour here and there on the weekends. Like that should be time to get things done, right? But I worry. And worry. And stress. And worry. My goals are always ambitious, and I've not met any of them yet. My track record makes me nervous.

So there it is. Focus and discipline in the one should translate to the other. Maybe what I need to do is map out the night before what I want to do the next day, like I do with the body building. I have a plan. I know what needs to be focused on for that day. I'm going to try that. I don't know why I don't do that already.

Monday, May 9, 2016

As you know, I have to have something physical to balance out the mental, and when I am working out, I tend to feel better about myself which in turn makes me more productive on the academic side. I think better. I'm more focused. I have a clearer sense about what needs to be done. And I'm generally more hopeful about what I can do. Plus, it's become a habit for me to maintain getting up at 4:30 to workout by 5 this quarter (when I work out later is actually when my research suffers--I get up, get the workout out of the way, and I'm done with that for today). Like this morning--up, at the gym by 5, and between 8:20 and 9:05, I knocked out 20 lit responses already, which will most likely leave me time today during my afternoon hours to work on research because that time has been freed up. Though I oddly, at this moment feel like I'm having to justify my working out to you guys. It's weird.

What this is leading up to is that after four years of CF, I'm setting aside some of my CF goals for other ones. Part of my problem this last year has been that despite the fact that I'm strong, and in shape, I still have body composition issues. And though the antidepressants have made this a little bit better, it's true that when I feel like shit physically, the writing that I need to do seems pointless because all life is hopeless.

I'm starting a new program. I will still do CF 2-3 times a week simply to maintain that aspect, but I've decided that something that will help me stay in the place mentally that I need to be in this summer to finish the massive projects I have (and will NOT cut into my research time) is that I'm going to begin to pursue something that I've wanted to do since I was a kid.

I am going to be a body builder.

I already have a coach.

Of course, any sort of serious training that involves competing cannot and will not happen until October after I turn in my tenure portfolio. So there is no worry there that I'm doing something foolish here that is actual sabotage to my work. No. Rather the work that needs to be done will not take up any more time than going to CF at 5 am will.

I view the connection here between body and mind as compatible. I am hoping that the discipline and focus in the one will strengthen the discipline and focus in the other (my former undergrad advisor and current mentor told me to look at my research in the same way I view my workouts, so to me, it makes sense). In any case, I'm looking for anything positive to help me get my work done this summer.

I am super excited about this. As excited as I am about my projects that I'm working on.

Project update:
Since things have been somewhat hectic with the return of everyone, my time at night and in the morning (I've been skipping workouts in favor of catching up on work which has made me feel bad physically all last week) has been used to get caught up on my reading for class rather than research. But I feel like by tomorrow I'll be back on schedule somewhat with my article. The article version of the conference paper will be done by the time I leave for the conference come hell or high water. I'm a week behind already, but that has to get done, and I'm giving myself just a month for the next one (since I'll be out of class and can devote more time) so that way I can spend the remainder of the summer on the big project. It's doable, but will take some work.

Anyway, last week I felt like all was lost. This week I think I have a better handle on things, so we'll see how that goes. I am hopeful though.

Friday, May 6, 2016

I'm having one of those mornings where I am just having a hard time focusing.

I was all set to come in and do some work here, knock some stuff out, but some sort of stupid ass billing problem for the honor's society's t-shirts has wasted a ton of time and thrown everything off, and now I'm just bleh. I'm tired now. My body hurts. I want to just go home and take a nap. I'm jealous of everyone who's done already. I've got two weeks left. I'm in need of a haircut, a tan, and a total summer recharge.

With any luck (and man, I hate to say this), but with any luck we are not traveling this summer. I'm  traveled out. We will be going to my aunt's just a few hours away for the Magpie's birthday, but once I go to SF for ALA and then right to AR, I'm done. I don't want to leave my house. I've got too much research to do. I've got too much cleaning and culling of the things to do. I just don't want to go anywhere. I don't want to kennel the dog for weeks to travel. I know it sucks for the J's family, but they can come visit. I know it's difficult for them to, but it's expensive and somewhat difficult this summer for us to, too.

Am I being selfish?

I'm just so done. I don't want to share my summer with anyone but the hubs and the kid. That's it. I need now to do what I've been saying I was going to do for the last four years. Wow, that's a sad statement right there.

I just have things that I want to do; I have things that need to get done. I work all of June this summer and will have to work in the research during cybercamp. The J has his annual training almost all of July, so that leaves August for us to have any time together (and for me to finish up two major projects), and well, I just don't want to spend it in the car. I don't want to be rushed and hurried and stressed trying to finish my work. I don't know. Maybe I am being selfish, but if this work doesn't get done, then I'm basically out of a job.

Now I'm off to go teach.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Adding to my list of failures as a mother, my kid has this. My poor kid. On top of that, also on my watch, my dog became Private Tickbait. Five ticks my husband has found on him since he's been home. I mean, I cuddle with the dude, I pet the dude, I scratch the dude's neck and shoulders, and I did not feel them (their impossible to see because of his fur). Good lord! Was I just so focused on myself and getting myself through the month that I just completely failed everyone else? My God. It makes me so sad. I mean, this thing with the Magpie is treatable and usually goes away on its own, but it's been lingering in her for longer than it should. She's on the mend, but how could I be so careless? I assume that she got the food borne thing from me and not school since I send her lunch with her. And I wash my hands with soap and nearly scalding hot water after diaper changes. Man. I just don't know.

I feel like I totally just suck.

Monday, May 2, 2016

One thing that I really struggle with is consistency. When I don't get immediate results, I give up. This goes for all areas of my life--work, research, fitness, parenting, whatever. I expect everything to be immediate and perfect. When I hit a plateau, I give up.

I'm at a plateau right now. Just when I feel like things are looking up, they settle down and stay where they are, and while it may be that I am making progress and forward motion, if I don't see the "right away," I fail to see the big picture. Or if I get some good momentum going and something thwarts it, then I have a lot of trouble picking up where I left off and moving forward again.

This last month has given me so many opportunities in one area but halted a lot of momentum in other areas. Overall, I'd say it was a great month, but I did not reach the goals I had set for myself, and I'm having trouble seeing that just because I didn't meet the goal doesn't mean I give up totally.

The time I've gotten to spend alone with Magpie has been just amazing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking for this to be a permanent arrangement by far--her dad comes home tonight, and I'm ready for him to be back. I mean, in many ways, I'm a total failure here on my own. This house is a mess. I mean, it's so embarrassingly messy and only quasi-clean, that I'd rather drag the kid to the airport with me than to suffer the embarrassment of having someone sit over here with her while I go to the airport.* Anyway, no cleaning has happened other what my aunt did when she was here. I can get the dishes washed and laundry done when I run out of underwear and workout clothes for my morning Insanity. The bathroom got a spit bath basically this morning as I cleaned the shower while I was in it, and just wiped down everything else with a clorox wipe. I haven't cooked in almost a month (Did I mention that I was ordering food from a local service for all our meals? I am. It's been a lifesaver, actually, though I still order pizza once a week). The den is an unorganized mess of toddlerdom as is Magpie's room. My schedule as it is allows me absolutely no time to do anything, especially if she is home sick on a T or Th, as she has been home at least three times in the last 2 weeks. And it's not even like I've kept her well, either. She's had some sort of GI issue for the last 2.5 weeks, enough that we have to get stool tests done. I feel like it's because I've been a shitty housekeeper for the last month, that this is probably my fault.

My research has dwindled dramatically during this time, as given a sickish kid, and tech issues at school, when she's not home, T and Th have become about catching up on what I can't finish during my office hours. So there's that. I was far ahead at work and on track with my research, now I'm struggling to keep my head above water in both areas.

I was hoping to be more consistent with my with my health, sleep, and research.

My failures in these areas aside, I have had an amazing month with my little girl. She has so much personality and spirit. She is so freaking sweet; I can't even believe how adorable and loving this kid is. And I made it through the month on my own (with help here and there, but for the most part, I was on my own for the month). We had a couple of rocky nights, but all in all, man, it was great. And fairly easy, given the circumstances. I learned a lot about myself (and her, too), and I'm going to be honest and say that I needed that month with her. Though I fell short in some areas, man, I needed to know that I am a good mom, and that I can be a mom, that I don't need help (except when it comes to babysitting). We did good. We made it. Magpie and I are a great team. I have a really good kid.

She is, however, so, hmmm, happy does not describe how she feels about her dad being home. Ecstatic? I don't think that covers it either. In love? Maybe that's better. The sheer joy she expresses around him since he's been back Saturday night is overwhelming. She will not let him out of her sight. She wants everything to be him. Right now, I do not even exist. And that's okay. I got a whole month with just her; she needs that focus on her dad. It's so wonderful to see. **

I though I could put into words how amazing this last month has been, but words fail me. It has been the best time of my life.

*I asked Prince Colleague if he could go get the J for me (especially because he owes me a couple of favors--always, "I owe you big time for this!"--however, I am never able to cash in, hmmmm) so that I wouldn't have to bring Magpie for an evening flight after she goes to bed, and which I offered to pay him in wine and gas money, and he said he'd get back to me, and well, here it is Saturday and he hasn't. I think he would have rather babysat, but I've never left Magpie with a non-relative, ever. It was hard enough two weeks ago for me to leave her alone with my sister!

**I'm glad in all honesty that it didn't work out with PC picking up the J. Magpie did wonderfully, and from the moment the J got in the car, she did not stop talking to him until she feel asleep. She described her whole world to him on the trip home from the airport.

Friday, April 29, 2016

We are nearing the end of a mostly good, but very long month.

I've not met the deadline I was hoping to, but I've made more progress than I expected.

The kid has some sort of gut thing. Either her tummy is just out of whack, or there's something else going on, in any case, we have to get a stool sample to the doc as soon as she poops during business hours. I don't understand though how if a kid poops through their diaper they have to stay home the next day, but if a kid poops in his underwear, which is uncontained, then why he gets to stay there. I know accidents happen, but the kid has like adult sized poops because she doesn't eat crap like the kids at school. Anyway, enough waxing on the poop...

I show up to every single fucking department event. Every single one of them. I haven't missed an event or meeting yet (unless the meeting was in conflict with another meeting). I even showed up to the faculty research thing in the middle of a fucking severe thunderstorm and flash flooding warning, and was one of the three people from the entire department there. I could not attend the poetry reading last night. The first fucking event I've missed since I was pregnant. LET ME SAY THAT AGAIN: THE FIRST EVENT I'VE MISSED SINCE I WAS PREGNANT, so the first event in FOUR FUCKING YEARS I've not been able to attend--

Boss: You were not there last night. You missed the poetry reading last night.
Me: Yes, it was impossible for me to make it. I couldn't be there. I let [event organizer] know that I would not be able to attend. (I was careful not to mention childcare or anything).
Boss: Yes, but you weren't there. There were no students there. [uh, okay?]. Many people noticed that you were conspicuously absent.
Me: Well, I couldn't make it. The email was only sent out last week.
Boss: We've had posters up for two weeks.
Me: Well, I couldn't make it.

I'm kicking myself for not thinking fast enough to point out that I've not missed an event in FOUR GODDAMN YEARS!

It's clear that whatever I do is not enough, and whatever I do not do is as damning as if I had held a kitten sacrifice for a Satanic Ritual during the speaker's presentation.

I know stuff like this shouldn't shut me down, but it does. And it makes me want to spit at my boss. I know that's hostile, but whatever. Yes, I understand as an untenured junior faculty member up for tenure next year means that I must attend everything, but I do attend EVERYTHING. More than Prince Colleague and other colleague up for tenure this year. My list of attendance at functions like these over the past five years is one page single spaced. Which, yes, I know that given that in my tenure portfolio, it will over shadow the one event I didn't attend, and if whoever is looking at it goes, "well, she missed that one event last year, denied" then they had no intention of supporting me anyway. I know no one even three weeks from now will remember that (or maybe a vindictive person will), and it's probably true that my absence will be more of a focus than my male colleague's absence, but whatever. It's still demoralizing and it shuts me down when I have shit to do.

That being said, I'm really going to miss my alone time with my kid. I by no means want this to be anything permanent (we both miss her dad lots!), and I have more to say about this, but I don't want all the good things about my month to be thrown in with my boss's asshattery. Perhaps I am unjustly hard on my boss, but Boss makes it very hard for me not to be.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Unlikely support

Remember last week when I was saying that I wanted more time with Magpie? I got it!

She had to stay home from daycare on Wednesday, and then I kept her home on Thursday because I had to make sure that she was able to go on Friday.

But the nights were rough. Since she's had not really bouts of diarrhea (sorry), Saturday was really the only day it would classify as that, she's clearly had some stomach issues, and I had been letting her stay up about 15 minutes past her bedtime in the hopes that she'd work stuff out, so to speak, before bed. Mistake. Those 15 minutes meant that it took her an hour and a half to settle down, which means that I went ape shit on her. Twice. I'm not proud of myself. I redeemed my psychotic mom tendencies last night though when I let her work it out on her own--she just couldn't get comfortable--and normally I'm in there checking diapers and what not. But I left her alone, and we both had better nights.

Except this pressure from the rain is giving me a terrible headache. It hurts so bad I can hardly keep my eyes open. I'm sure it's also the stress of the last two weeks, too.

I have some more good news? positive news perhaps is a better word that has made me feel significantly better about my place here. First, the written review that my boss put in my tenure file seems to indicate a positive push toward tenure, even though what she tells me leaves me feeling iffy. However, I was talking with the Honors Director on an unrelated topic and he asked me how my eval went, and how I was feeling about going up next year. I told him that I don't feel that confident, like it could go either way. He asked why, and I told him about the research issue, and told him some other comments my boss has made (which was then later corroborated by another colleague in another department, not that the HD needed it, but just confirmed things he had been suspicious of for a while anyway). Long story short, even though he's not on the committee, he told me that there are problems with the administration (chair and dean who no one really off of our floor likes and/or trusts and are disappointed in, etc.,), but that he felt I should be fine, and if in the unlikely event that something does happen, he said to let him know and he will go to bat for me with the President (and indicated that another colleague who is close with the President would back me up as well). And you know, whether it has any effect (and I think it would because they have pull with people other than the dean and chair), what I need to hear is that someone supports me, and that someone in power recognizes that I am being treated differently by the department because I'm female (which he told my other colleague who said he also felt this was the case). Basically, it does, in this case, turn out to not be me that's the problem.

I will note, too, that the HD has been, since I've been here, the one person in administration I've felt I could trust, and when I have big questions, he's the one I ask (not the chair, not the dean, not my colleagues in my department--I will go to colleague in other department), not the least of which is because I know whatever I say to these two does not go directly back to the chair or dean. I have found some real solid support in perhaps a couple of unlikely places, but they are places that can have some powerful support in my favor. And that's nice to know. (It also means that I don't have to get cozy with a dean who stares at my chest and oggles me every time I see him. I am not comfortable in the dean's presence at all. HD? Totally).

Anyway, a giant weight has been lifted, and my anxiety levels have dropped considerably, which is important because I get more work done when I'm not battling anxiety and depression all at once. I feel now that the work I'm doing does have value, that it does count toward tenure, and that someone supports me within the college, and that now I might really be able to get some stuff done. That's a nice thing to have happen. I feel better now. And it's also good to know that I have really at least three sounding boards of level headed people who see the things I was worried were just in my head.

That is a relief. Really.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

More all the stuffs, Pt. 2--The Positive Stuff

Everyone has been gone since about the 3rd of April. It's been just me and the kid. I was worried. I was worried that she was going to be missing everyone and it was going to be stressful.

It has been AMAZING. Oh my god. We had the best week last week. And the best weekend. And if nothing else, this past week and weekend has actually made me want tenure more because that will mean more time with her. I was bemoaning that if I didn't have so much to do on the Tuesdays and Thursdays I have off we could play hooky and do more stuff. That is my goal. Seriously, our time together has been so wonderful that it brings tears to my eyes. Yes, I know that makes me sound like a WE movie, but still. Sadly, for me, it will be our only weekend alone, just the two of us. My sister is coming this weekend to watch Magpie so I can go to a meeting most of the day Saturday and not have to take Mags. And last week I told her she could come up every weekend if she wanted to (because her husband will be busy and not home), and I hate to say that I regret that now because I want my alone time with Magpie. I thought the weekend was going to be rough, and it wasn't. At all. I had such little faith in us.

My aunt is coming in next week to watch Magpie in the evenings so I can attend the faculty research thing and go to the Shakespeare day keynote, and not have to have the Mags tag along.

And I was a little stressed out for myself last week because I was worried about working out and the food situation--with my schedule that my boss gave me, it's hard to cook on the days I work. There's no time between the time I pick up Mags and the time she goes to bed, and it's especially difficult if she needs a bath. Also, there's no time for me to work out five of the days of the week with no one to watch her (I work out at 5 am MWF, but can't do that now). However, I had forgotten that our box has a food service thing and you can order healthy meals and pick them up on Mondays, so I did that for this week. And then I forgot that I had In$anity! For three years I've forgotten about this, which would have solved many things for me. So now I can just work out at home! I might lose some weight in my lifts, but it will help with the cardio and body weight stuff, so that's good. I was worried about going a month without anything.

There's more positive stuff I think, but the kid is up. The big one though is just how wonderful it has been with just me and her. It melts my heart how so fantastic these last 10 days have been.

All the stuffs, Pt. 1--The Negative

Here's an update on life:

1. Annual Eval. In some ways, one of the better ones I've had. Boss must have been in a good mood. However, there are a few things about the meeting that bothered me. When she asks what I'm working on and I tell her, these are the two responses I get: "That's a lot. I don't think you'll have time for that." (Wow, thanks for the encouragement and support). "That's probably not really worth working on unless you have something else because people are going to look down on that." (Oh, I'm sorry I'm not writing for an internet magazine like you. Again, thanks for your support). "Well, X is the minimum. You're going to need more than that." (Really. So for the last four years when you've been telling me all I need is X, I now need more). In response to "this will put me over the minimum"--"Well, yeah, but only if you can do it." (Again, thank you for the encouragement and support).

There's nothing like being excited about your work and having a plan and your boss indicating that a) what you're doing is unreasonable while exerting pressure about how much you have to do and that b) what you're doing isn't worthwhile anyway. And I should point out that her degree isn't even in English anyway and is removed from literature and totally and completely ignorant of my field. However, I understand that she probably knows the the feeling of the committee, so I'm not discounting what she says, but some support by way of encouragement would be nice.

Another thing that is bothering me is the comment she made on how I've "done nothing" since having the baby and how that's going to look and it doesn't matter if she's been sick the last 2.5 years or not. Because I guess a sick child isn't given the same weight as all those people who miss work to care for their aging and sick parents. I digress. First of all, that's a loaded statement on her part. It's true that I've not gotten anything published since having the baby, but to say that I've done nothing is disingenuous. Unlike the other person going up for tenure, I present at the major conference in my field every.single.year. No, it doesn't have the same weight as publications at all, but it's not as if I've just been sitting back not doing anything. But that's not even the part that really bothers me about all of this. Prince Colleague has the minimum because he has a publication from grad school that they're counting. And only one work since he's been here (if you want to look at page count, mine's higher total regarding work here), albeit in a nice journal (the other pub from grad school isn't "high end"). But of course that makes all the difference. However, what bothers me is if people are going to judge me based on what I haven't done post-baby, why is no one saying "Why hasn't Prince done more? He's single. Not married. He should have a much more solid publication base." If my lack of work is going to be challenged/penalized by my family status, that should his not be?

I think the assumption is that a) he puts so much energy into teaching and b) publishing is hard! he's probably been trying.

This angers me.

I'm busting my ass with little encouragement and support (not to mention that my boss and my "mentor" look at me sideways when I mention my research as if I'm making stuff up--seriously. My boss's eye starts twitching when I talk about my work. Her eye twitches when she's angry or displeased), and Prince gets one nice pub (three years ago) and they're ready to honor him at the faculty research day (to be fair, he didn't make the cut, and hasn't failed to mention the research day at all, like 5 times I've heard about this and how's he's soooo happy he doesn't have to participate).

Perhaps I'll be less antagonistic when I actually get my stuff finished. But I feel like my boss has set up a hostile place for me where I see everything as antagonistic. I'm trying not to though. I don't want to shoot myself in the foot.

2. Boss has mentioned a couple of times how popular Prince's and Other Colleague's (who is way super supportive of me, so I have no beef with him at all) classes are, indicating that mine are not. I think it has less to do with me than the group of majors that thankfully are getting ready to graduate. I have a couple of students who are loving the stuff in the women's lit class right now. But the one's who are Prince's groupies mostly just zone out. For example, one emailed me yesterday to tell me that she is going to miss my class because she not only hasn't bothered to read for my class but she's skipping my class so that she be prepared for her other class (offered by Other Colleague). So not only are you telling me that you haven't bothered to do anything for my class but you're emailing me the night before to tell me that you're still not even going to try to get anything done for my class, but you are going to skip my class so that you can keep reading for your other class? I don't know what it is. The first group of students I had were great. This group just has no respect for me at all. I don't know. Maybe I am less engaged post baby? Maybe it's because my boss has me so stressed and anxious that that is carrying over into my teaching? I don't know. Oh well.

Anyway. I can only do what I can do. I actually think the class I'm teaching right now is one of the best classes I've taught. I'm never struggling for stuff to say. I've got all of this material to talk about. I'm better at breaking the supplementary material up so it's not like a whole hour of lecturing. I think it's pretty amazing. From my end. The students seem to be the ones aggravated by the class. So why take it? I love this stuff. And I'm super excited about the class I'm doing in the fall. So I will teach to those who are excited about the current class and who are getting something out of it.