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.