Archive for the ‘Whining’ Category

So today, as with every Tuesday, I was back on campus less than 12 hours after I left it, because I have The Most Awful Schedule Ever for the Third Semester in a Row.  That’s not news.  And yes, most Tuesdays I end with me feeling depleted.

But I’m especially exhausted today because it was the Big Deadline for an internal grant for which I applied.  I also had a couple of other things to apply for internally – one by the end of the week and one by next Monday, so I bit the bullet and completed all three applications (which all required just slightly different information and formats, so it was a total pain in the ass) today.  Depleted doesn’t begin to cover it.

The Big Grant application I’ve been working on for a couple of weeks.  And I’m in no way certain of getting it, even though I was very diligent in formulating the application and making sure I hit all of the items on the rubric that they use to evaluate it.  (Side note: it is SO MUCH BETTER, if more time intensive, now that The Committee that Decides on Internal Grants actually explains what the application requires, what projects can be funded through this grant, and what criteria are used in evaluation.  When I first arrived 10 years ago, there was little to no concrete guidance about what the applications should include, which was… problematic.)  But anyway, even with that diligence and investment of time, why am I unsure about my prospects?  Well, first off, people in The Humanities rarely get this particular award.  I’m not sure if it’s because people don’t apply or if it’s because they don’t understand how to write grant applications or if it’s because there is a gigantic bias against research in the humanities because my colleagues across campus don’t understand it or value it.  Probably some combination of the three.

But I had an idea for the Big Grant (by big I’m just referring to the application in relation to the other stuff I applied for – it will give me personally no actual money, but if I get it then it will pay for some software/work that will buy me time, which would be grand) that I thought I could sell to people outside the humanities, which they would understand as research and not “clerical work” (which let’s note constitutes a lot of what “research” in the humanities involves but no level of explanation seems to penetrate the brains of my colleagues outside of my discipline or the brains of my administration, who value research involving labs and co-authors much more highly than they value the kind of stuff that people in single-author fields do). So I feel like I’ve got a 50/50 shot.  But if I get it, then I will totally write about it here and tell every single colleague who cares in the humanities in my institution about it, because I might have discovered the One True Way to get access to this money.  Maybe.  But it definitely ain’t a sure thing.

And then I submitted another application for professional development money from my College, which I think has a pretty good shot, depending.  Depending on what?  Depending on how many people apply.  Because I got this money last year, and I can imagine them denying me if there were first time applicants in the pool if there were more applicants than there was money.

And then I submitted an application for a course release, which I’m about 99 percent sure I will not receive, mainly because the only reason I was “allowed” to submit the request was because a colleague of mine was told by the provost to submit one, and my chair (kudos to my new chair!) wanted to be equitable and open up the opportunity to others who had expressed interest.  See, my dean has basically said to the chairs (“basically” meaning that all of this has happened not as a policy matter that is in writing but rather as an ad hoc thing he has “told” them and they’ve gone along with since 2010) that course releases for anything other than administrative purposes won’t be considered.  Because, you know, he can’t be bothered to read and to reject applications for release time for other things, I guess.  On the one hand, this is about the budget, and I get it.  On the other hand, how are you going to fight for more money in the budget if you have no clue what faculty are doing and you have no evidence that more resources are needed?  (Note: course releases are available for research in other colleges at my institution).  My dean is “stepping up” to faculty after this academic year (don’t you love that euphemism?).  I’ll let you infer how I feel about that.

So basically I invested about 20 hours of time in composing applications for institutional support for my research, support that would ultimately benefit my institution in a host of ways – student success, getting a woman in my department fully promoted, institutional reputation – and I might end up with nothing for those efforts.  But hey, you can’t get support if you don’t ask for it.  And you can’t bitch legitimately if you don’t get denied the support that you need.

All this work isn’t for nothing, even if none of it works out.  It’s prepared me for external grant applications for next year, and it’s got me started thinking in a systematic way about my THIRD book project (even though I’m not done with the second one).  This is all good.  And it’s also good to do these things because it makes me recognize the quality of my ideas and the high esteem in which my work is regarded outside of my institution, mainly because such applications require you to self-promote.

That said?  I am exceptionally pleased that I don’t need to write anything for a while that waxes poetic about how important I am.  I hate this fucking genre, though apparently I’ve gotten a hell of a lot better at doing it in the 10 years I’ve been on the tenure-track.  And I’m feeling satisfied, because even if I don’t get diddly from all of this effort, at least I know that I’ve communicated what I am doing and the value of what I am doing without apology.  I’d rather dare them to say no than anticipate rejection and fail to try.

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Let me go on the record and declare the Summer of 2013 as the Most Fucked Up Summer Since 1999.  I noted this a week or two ago in a conversation with Medusa (who weathered the Summer of 1999 with me), and she responded, “What?  Were we dealing with lunatics with God complexes and cowards with anxiety disorders in 1999?”  In fact, yes we were.  But that is neither here nor there.  The point is, I haven’t felt so at loose ends and so colossally fucked up since that summer, lo, 14 years ago.  And let’s note that the fucked-up-ness of that summer pushed me into a terrible 3-year-long live-in relationship with a guy who was So Fucking Wrong For Me, just because I was in such need for stability.

So what is wrong, as this summer of 2013 draws to a close?

I’m heartbroken, my book project is stalled,  I am not speaking to one of my “best” friends, A., the bookstore lost (or just failed to place?) the book orders that I went out of my way to give them IN APRIL for my fall courses and didn’t alert me to the problem until this week, I got my first speeding ticket in my life (after 22 years of driving, and speeding, so probably I was due, and I most certainly deserved it), and I’m about to turn 39 (which isn’t a surprise or anything, and isn’t exactly bad in itself, but with all of the other things that are WRONG, let’s just say that I’m feeling like perhaps I am DOOMED to have a fucked up life, and I will never get my shit together, and I will never find a way to be satisfied and happy).  Oh, and my person who cuts my hair overwaxed my eyebrows so they are way too thin and seem like they would be appropriate to 1999, and I have a balance on my credit card for the first time since I dug myself out of credit card debt (and yet, I keep spending), and I fell off the wagon on diet and exercise and so have gained back the weight I lost on WW a couple of years ago, all of my friends who were supposed to visit me this summer bailed, and I am sure there is more, but frankly, I can’t be bothered to list anymore because it’s all just too depressing.

In an attempt to present a silver lining to you, I will note that my hair is looking great these days, for it has finally grown into a passable bob after a year and a half of growing it out from the VERY short pixie cut, and my living room is no longer the dirty-looking green-cream-color-that-makes-everybody-look-bad that it has been since I moved in, and I finally got a bench for a blank space of wall, and in a month I will have a new sectional-sofa to replace my actually dirty and worn out sofa that I’ve had for 9 years, and I did the Great Book Migration so my downstairs is no longer the Sad Place of too many disorganized books.  And yes, I have good friends, and I will be an auntie to HS BFF’s coming baby.  But you know what?  Other than the friends and tiny human news, all of this is kind of superficial shit, whereas much of the bad shit is actually bad.

At any rate, to get to the title of this post.  My mom came this weekend, and she helped me paint the living room.  I am entirely grateful for her help with that, and I’m grateful for the fact that she helped me mop my floors, and I’m grateful just for the time I got to spend with her.  And for the fact that she bought me the bench. But.

From just about the moment that she showed up, it was an exercise in her pointing out my flaws.  Let me give you an overview: my clothes aren’t flattering or age-appropriate, I have a zit on my face, my eyebrows look weird, I’m a terrible housekeeper (although my house is just about in the same state as hers is), why isn’t my book written?, I love my cats too much and I will never have a relationship because of my cat-love, I shouldn’t be in contact with The Dude but I also shouldn’t be fraternizing with online dating people who are “weird”, the mop that she made me buy three years ago, because the mop I had was BAD, is BAD, I am a terrible hostess (even though she refused to allow me to plan fun things for us to do), I make her do stuff for me (which I don’t) and then I want her to get out “as soon as the work is done” (which isn’t true), when I tell her that I want us to just spend time together, she says what she wants to do is to reorganize my whole house in the way that she wants to do it, and when I express an opinion I am ungrateful, even though I thanked her profusely for everything she did, and even thought it is MY FUCKING HOUSE and my opinion is what matters!

The bad news is that after three days of this, I finally had a major meltdown (precipitated by the MOP) in which I cried and yelled at her, and she decided to leave early.  The good news, I suppose, is that at least she is no longer badgering me and making me feel like shit.  Though, of course, I totally feel like shit because she left.  Which she knew I would.  Because I told her it made me feel bad.  Additionally, she was all, “I’m just not going to come visit you anymore.”  Which, what the fuck?  I want her to come visit.  I don’t want her to show up and treat me like shit!  The point isn’t that she can’t visit!  The point is that I am an adult and that I expect her to treat me with just a tiny teensy bit of respect!  And to stop fucking pointing out every fucking thing that is wrong with me and my life!

We have been having a version of this fight since I was about 14 years old.  I’m tired of it.  And, frankly, the only reprieve I’ve had from this fight was when I lived with that terrible boyfriend from 2000-2003 (one of the few bright spots in that relationship, honestly).  It’s like because I am not partnered or a mother I don’t get to be a grown-up for her.  And it’s fucking bullshit.

Look, I know I’m not perfect, and I know that my house could be cleaner and I could weigh less and my yard could be more pristine and my book could be written and my life could be less fucked up.  But, that’s just it: I know all of that.  I really don’t need her to point it out.  I need her to fucking accept me as I am and stop trying to fucking fix me.  Because the fact of the matter is, I am pretty sure I’m never going to measure up to her ideal of what I should be.  And part of the reason I’m sure of that is because I never have.

And so, I am about 16 years old right now, emotionally.  And I hate my mom (even though of course I love her), and my life fucking sucks (not only because I think so but because she has asserted that it does).

Note to all y’all bloggy readers who are mothers of daughters: when they get to be 38-going on 39-years old?  And when they tell you to stop riding them like they are fucking teenagers?  Listen before they burst into tears.  Listen before it becomes a big THING.  Because you know what?  They will be grown ass women then, and this sort of drama sucks balls.  And your daughters really want to spend time with you.  They just hate it when you act like motherfucking assholes.

In other silver lining on the big dark angry cloud news, the Man-Kitty snores beside me looking very kittenish.  Which, of course, means I love him so much that I will die alone.


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So, this is basically a nothing post, since I’ve been too busy in the past couple of weeks to have an idea that is unrelated to scholarship.  I head off to a conference in a few days, so that has me preoccupied, plus I’ve had friend-related things going on – with friends near, far, and soon-to-be-far – plus I have a fucking boyfriend, which seemed awfully great when that whole thing blindsided me in November, but, in a surprising turn of events, it turns out that I hate having a boyfriend in the summertime, when in theory I should have time to have one.

No, seriously.  It’s easier to go out with him when my time is so structured during the semester, because the things that structure my time then are easy to transition out of.  It’s easy to compress grading.  It’s easy to bring a novel I have to read for class over to his house.  It’s not easy to compress writing, and it’s not easy to do my scholarly work while also attending to another human being.

Oh, I love him and he’s great and whatever, but seriously?  Making time for him has caused a severe uptick in my stress levels about accomplishing things this summer.  Because, you see, I am used to being able to be a workaholic in the summer.  You know, with weekend visits from friends and family thrown in for good measure, but how I’ve handled my professional life in the summer, oh, forever, is that I work like a maniac and then have fun when I have visitors or when I travel.  Only now there is this “person” who expects to see me on the weekends – EVERY WEEKEND – even on HOLIDAY weekends, like Memorial Day Weekend, which is some awesome thing for him who doesn’t have a whole summer stretching in front of him, but which historically for me has been a great time to get a lot of writing done while all of the generica [grad school term coined by my grad school BFF Medusa for guys who wear dockers and work at dumb office jobs] of the world are busy cooking out, and while in the abstract I am totally on board with that, in practice, dude, it’s cramping my workaholic style.

And that makes me cranky.

And it also makes me cranky that he thinks I’m having “fun” when I go to the pool to read, when I’m reading shit for work.  Even though I know that I’m unreasonable because pool>cubicle in terms of fun, and, of course, I am ostensibly “picking” what I read while I lie in the sun and take breaks for swimming.

But for serious, people: you will the majority of the time find me with a stack of journal articles or a theoretical tome or a novel I HAVE to read at the pool (which, an aside: please all of you go read Adam Thirwell’s first novel Politics, and probably everything else he’s ever written, though I haven’t actually done that yet, so I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure, as is Granta, that he’s a genius), as opposed to with some fucking pornographic best-seller.  My pool time is serious business, and I want people – i.e., The Dude- to recognize that the pool is my office.  An office with SAHMs, kids, teenagers, and senior citizens, but my office nevertheless. Which of course he can’t because I’m being an unreasonable asshole, given the fact that he’s trapped in a cubicle.

Honestly, though, I’m feeling pretty good right now, precisely because, taking practical factors into account, I begged off seeing The Dude tonight in favor of doing tons of work, even though in theory I’d have loved to have seen him, and even though we’d had plans all week long for me to see him both today and tomorrow.  (Now we’re just seeing each other tomorrow.) Honestly, I just am having a hard time negotiating the time commitment that he seems to require (which, let’s note, is very small, as boyfriend time commitments go, which is probably why things have been good).

If it weren’t totally crazy, and if I wouldn’t hate it (as I know I would), I would really like it for us to break up this summer and to get back together on August 12, when I’m back under academic contract.  Not because I want either of us to go out with other people or because my feelings for him are in any way in question – indeed, the feelings grow and grow, annoyingly: just because I’d really like to be dating my book right now.  And the fact that he lives 40 minutes away from me means that I can’t just take him for granted and work on my book all the time, expecting him to just show up periodically when I’m feeling uninspired.  No, because of where we live, we need to have “quality time” in the dating.  And I’m tired of dating him and of all the effort that takes, when I want to date my work, and to put my effort in there, which I know isn’t what you’re supposed to say, but seriously: I just want to be able to procrastinate without feeling guilty, and I want to be able to procrastinate without the consequence of not getting my work done because I am obligated to make time for somebody else!

Don’t get it twisted: I totally understand the irony of the fact that I am bitching about being in a relationship when that’s exactly what I want and have wanted; I totally understand the irony of the fact that my bitching originates with a desire to do more fucking work, even though my whole point with continuing trying to do the dating thing was to stop being a fucking workaholic!

And let’s note: The Dude is totally supportive of my work!  The problem is me, and me alone!  Well, except for that in my fantasy version of my life he wouldn’t just be supportive of my work he would totally sacrifice himself on the altar of my work, because, you know, I’d rather be doing that right now.  And then he’d stop sacrificing himself on the altar of my work, and not be resentful, the moment that I didn’t want it.  Because I’m a Giant and Unreasonable Bitch who can’t sustain a reciprocal relationship with another adult human being, and who expects people to read her mind and to coddle her, even when, especially when, her demands are entirely unreasonable.  So in that way, the problem is also him.  Ha!

Look, I was an only child until I was 20.  And I’m a Leo.  And, apparently, my Enneagram personality type also indicates (according to CF, I haven’t done the weird pop-psych research on this) that while I am the most fun person ever, I’m also entirely unreasonable, in search of what I think is fun.  And in numerology my main number is THREE, the CHILD!  Thank goodness The Dude is a Middle Child and an Aries (though I’ve not investigated the other fake personality things for him).

So anyway, all is good.  You probably won’t hear back from me until like June 12 or 14, because I shall be busy with my conference, nursing my jet-lag, and nursing my motherfucking relationship (I say that to be funny – I really do think things are grand).  But let this be a lesson to all of y’all who are desperately alone academics and whining about your desperate aloneness: you get much more work done, even when you’re not getting anything done, when you don’t have a significant other to consider.  And sometimes, what you really want is to work.  Be careful what you wish for :)

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It all began with an attempt to respond to about a thousand emails in an expeditious fashion.

You see, I’ve been trying really hard not to do email on the weekends.  Because, you know, the whole trying to have a meaningful personal life thing.  (By the by, I met The Dude’s parents, and it was very nice indeed, and so that particular bridge is now crossed.  That’s all I’m going to say about that, as I’m still processing, and as I have other things that are in the forefront of the analysis-prone part of my brain, so I’m not processing quickly.  Suffice it to say, it’s all good for the moment.)

And then, because I was trying to respond to email expeditiously, I committed, totally accidentally, the one true sin of email: I hit “reply all” when I meant just to hit “reply.”

Now, you might be thinking, did Crazy write something outrageous?  Did she insult somebody thinking the email conversation was private?  Did she go off on a crazy rant?  Did she tell a secret, or pass along gossip?

Nope.  All I did was accidentally hit “reply all” when I wrote back to my chair, nominating myself for Important Committee.  See, the members of the Important Committee are elected – except for the chair of that committee.  The chair of the committee rotates alphabetically, and I’m due to be chair of it in a couple of years.  But I thought to myself, “Self, it might be good if you got yourself elected so that maybe you would have some experience on Important Committee before you are the chair of it.”  And when I wrote this fateful email, I wrote just that: “I nominate myself because I think it would be good if I’ve served on the committee before I chair it.”

I intended nothing passive-aggressive, and I said nothing outrageous.  I just explained why I was nominating myself – with no ulterior motive other than that I feel like when you run for something you offer an explanation for why you’re running.  And I thought that I was just replying to my chair.

Little did I know that this innocuous email, which yes, went to everybody in the department but said basically nothing, would light a spark that would turn into a full-on three-alarm fire.

Approximately 875 emails later (some to the department as a whole, some directly to me personally, some secretly forwarded correspondence, some BCC’ed), I do believe that it now looks like *I* am the person who has turned this into a Thing, and that I did so on purpose for some nefarious reason.  (Remember: just last April a group of my colleagues decided they needed to get together to start a secret “group” – don’t call them a committee!  they aren’t a committee! Even if they are doing things committees do and the department administration gave them the go-ahead to do these things! – to wrest all of the gobs of power I have from my fascist hands… even though I’d already quit the [incredibly time-consuming and mostly unrewarding] service position that made me their target.)

On the whole, I’m fairly philosophical about this situation.  First, I am not the person (people) who has pressed this into a Full-On Thing, and I had no intention for it to become a Full-On Thing.  And I am confident it will blow over, as all Crazy Things That Happen in April, the Cruelest Month in Higher Education, ultimately do.  (Seriously: So. Much. Bullshit. comes to pass in April.  I can’t think of a single April in the past 9 years in which something fucked up has not come to pass in my department.)

But I am annoyed by the fact that I appear to have started it.  (I mean, I kind of did start it, but without any knowledge that I was starting it!  I don’t deserve the blame!  Yes, my email was the first shot, but it was friendly fire!  It wasn’t on purpose!)  And I am annoyed that subsequent emails to the whole department (from my chair) seem to insinuate that this is My Issue, when it’s not really, even though the people who have turned this into An Issue are totally right! 

Here’s the thing: doesn’t everybody realize that I am doing everything in my power to be affable and to check the fuck out?  That I am not interested in the political maneuvering for power within my department?  That I just don’t care about that right now?  And, in fact, I never really have?  I mean, sure, I like to accomplish things, but I don’t care about being in power!  Caring about that seems stupid to me!  Maybe I need to announce to the department at the beginning of our meeting in 10 days’ time that I am too busy being in love to start shit about the department handbook on purpose?  (My department would probably burst into a round of fucking applause if I did, but no, I’m not doing that, in spite of the advantages that it would afford me.)

I’m also annoyed, conversely, by the fact that I’m sure if I’d intended to start something, people probably would have just blown it off.

But, so, whatever. Let this be a lesson to us all.  Be vigilant about the “reply all” thing.  It’s a motherfucker.



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It occurs to me that when I planned my courses for this semester I wasn’t entirely in my right mind.  I would like to blame The Dude for this, but, really, it’s not (entirely) his fault.  If anything, part of my problems right now are that I had decided that I was going to check out of the dating scene until summer, and that was when I decided what books I would make my students buy for the four separate preps that I teach.  Frankly, if I were not dating, I would have a lot more time for reading.  As it is, I am under a lot of Reading Pressure.  Like, imagine reading for comps while also doing all the duties of a tenured professor.  This is my situation.  I do at least partially blame that Phil Collins guy I went out with before I went out with The Dude, because if that date weren’t so horrible, I might not have made these silly choices.  But who am I kidding?  The Blame rests with Me.  Sigh.

That said, part of how I designed my courses does have to do with the fact that I constructed them during the initial Lovesick Phase with The Dude, where I felt like Anything Was Possible.  Now that we have settled into this Thing of ours, it occurs to me that Anything is not, in fact, possible, and reading takes a fuck of a lot of time and energy.  Ah well.  I shall soldier on.  Only 10 more weeks of the regular semester to go.

But this week is especially rough.  I gave a test today (although, huzzah, those tests are already graded because of the stroke of genius I had (in spite of my Lovesickness) that I should design a 1-hour test and screen a movie afterwards), three batches of papers to arrive tomorrow.  One of those batches of papers I need to do some assessment-related stuff with, too, which reminds me that I need to design a release-form for students before I collect them (the next time I teach the course there will be IRB approval, but for now, I just need to make sure they are ok with me collecting the assignments with names taken off for a thing related to a grant; also, I need to design an assessment rubric for how some other non-important assignments relate to this assignment; active learning turns out to be a pain in my ass, at least for the purposes of fulfilling the terms of the grant). Plus we’ve got a not-pre-scheduled department meeting tomorrow (related to a Very Important Topic, so I’m not comfortable missing it, even though I don’t plan on saying a word), plus I’m giving a talk tomorrow evening.  Plus I’ve got 14 individual student conferences scheduled for Thursday (though to be fair, they are only 10 minutes a piece), plus I’m finishing up a novel in one class and starting a new novel in another.  And I’ve got two other appointments scheduled for Thursday, too, plus I’ve got an MA thesis to read and respond to.  Plus it’s motherfucking Valentine’s Day this week (though, thank goodness, The Dude was totally amenable to making Valentine’s Day for us happen on Friday, though it’s also the case that I’m cooking, which means the need to go grocery shopping and to chef up a delicious meal (though, to be fair, the level of difficulty of that meal is totally my decision, for he would be happy with something much easier than what I have planned). That said, though, by the time that Friday arrives, I might be a zombie.

I don’t know why I do this to myself.  There is no reason why I should think that I can do All The Things at the same time, or that I should do All The Things at the same time.  But I think that maybe this is just who I am.  S0.

Ok, enough complaining and whining, though.

You know what’s great about The Dude?

  1. He has been totally cool about the fact that I’m busy and overwhelmed and, following that, blowing him off a little (although, of course, that initially made me freak out on him, though it turns out that his coolness does not mean that he’s a jerk but rather that he is supportive and I am ungenerously suspicious).
  2. He is not a guy who thinks flowers are an appropriate present for a holiday (for, as he and I both agree, they DIE, but I also don’t love flowers because of a whole sordid story from my parents’ divorce in which my mother, after she’d kicked my dad out, received the bill for the flowers that my father purchased for her, AS WELL AS THE ONES THAT HE PURCHASED FOR THE HOME-WRECKER WHO WOULD BECOME MY STEPMOTHER, for their closely spaced birthdays, so I tend to see flowers as insincere and fucked up, as such things go, though I didn’t get into all of that with The Dude when he announced I would be getting two fun presents, as opposed to flowers, but rather I just enthusiastically agreed that he was entirely right in his antipathy to flowers as anything but a spontaneous occasional offering for a non-gift-giving time).
  3. EVEN The Man-Kitty has accepted him.  For true.  It all started when The Dude somehow convinced The Man-Kitty to PLAY like 3 weeks ago (which The Man-Kitty does with no one, not even with me most of the time), and this weekend The Man-Kitty ran up to him for petting when he arrived PLUS when we were hanging out The Man-Kitty totally rolled onto his back, baring his furry, furry belly,  in a snoring sleep In The Same Room with The Dude.  This is UNPRECEDENTED.  The Man-Kitty does not make himself vulnerable in this way when Visitors are in the vicinity.  EVER.  (The Man-Kitty’s usual M.O. is to entice people with his fluffy self, while glaring at them and planning their deaths, and then when they try to pet him, he bops them on the hand, which, let’s note, he did with The Dude for a good couple of months.  But now, apparently, he has decided that The Dude is One of His People.  Also, let’s note that he only has three people: me, G. my stepdad, and FL.  And there’s no rhyme or reason to his appreciation of G and FL, given the fact that he only sees them on random visits and he apparently took to them on sight.)

So, sure, there is still the Problem of The Dude’s Old Dog, Little Mama (I love her, and she loves me, but he is entirely unreasonable about her, I think even more so now that it is clear that she loves me), and sure, there is still the Problem of My Relationship-Phobia, but all is well with The Dude, in spite of the fact that it is really interfering with the many hours that I appear to need this semester for reading.

On that note, I need to sleep, because dude, I’ve got a motherfucker of a week ahead of me.  (And let’s not even talk about the writing I should be doing but have no time or energy to do, because if we talk about that, I might cry.)

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So, I had all these plans about what would happen during this break, and some of those plans have happened, and others of them, well, they have not.  I was thrown a curve-ball by a nasty cold involving (this is gross, just skip to the next paragraph if you are a delicate flower) a great deal of mucus.  Gross.  And inconvenient.

I am a little concerned about the way that writing has fallen by the wayside, but it’s really hard to write when you’ve got a head-cold.  Because, you know, writing involves needing your head to be in the right place.  (You might want to note at this point that what I’m doing – in between blowing my nose and whining – right at this very moment is writing. But this isn’t real writing, in the sense of needing to think terribly hard.  It’s just one long complaint.  It seems that is all I can manage with a head-cold.)

So, while I’ve not been writing, I have been doing some other things that are worthwhile.  I’ve gotten the letters of reference that I owed to students done, I’ve finished two books – the David Foster Wallace biography (not terribly illuminating, but I did enjoy reading about his friendship with Jonathan Franzen) and Gone Girl (FUN FUN FUN!!!!) – and I’m nearly done rereading and annotating The Marriage Plot, which I’ll be teaching for the first time this spring.

I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking about the shape of the book, and about how the whole thing works as a complete document, as opposed to thinking just about the parts of the book, and this is work that I’ve needed to do, and frankly it’s not work that is easy to do when you don’t have a big block of unstructured time.  And so I’m trying to be kind to myself about the lack of words getting written, because I can definitely write words during the academic semester, but I can’t really do the kind of deep and wandering thinking that I’ve been doing (while in an over-the-counter-drug haze) when I’m also doing teaching and all the other day-to-day commitments of the semester.

And I also need to be grateful for the fact that I am not at MLA (even though I’m jealous of everybody who is at MLA) this year, because having all this time is a direct consequence of the fact that I’m not there.  And also: how much would it suck to have this cold and to do MLA at the same time?  Totally.

Another thing I’ve accomplished this week is that I made tons of appointments – doctors, dentist, vet, car.  By the by: it seems this is a great time of year to make such appointments, as I’ve been able to get all of these scheduled for within the next two weeks, which I feel like is wonderful.  Something I really hate is making appointments.  I also hate having to go to them, but it’s the making of them that is really my biggest problem.

So, the plan for today is that I’m going to try to buckle down and do a good deal of writing, work out (as I am feeling a bit better and I can at least go for a walk or something), continue to rest up and take care of my evil cold, and do some laundry and stuff around the house.  Will I be able to do all of those things?  We shall see.  I feel hopeful, given that I did wake up at 5:30 this morning with energy and have already accomplished more today than I’ve accomplished in the past two days.

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I can’t believe that it’s only Wednesday.  I can’t believe all of the grading I have, all of the meetings with students, all of the committee work, the prep….

I know that you’re all feeling it, too.  This point in the semester is just… well, it’s brutal.

I probably should be reading or grading right now, but as I look ahead to the nine hours that I’ll spend on campus today, well, I just can’t get it up to work another two hours at home first.  And if I’m not going to do that I should cook for my committee meeting tomorrow.  I promised them food – it’s our last committee meeting of the semester and it promises to be a long one.  I wish I were meaner.

In other news, the downside of being an approachable professor is that you are an approachable professor, you know?  That said, I’d rather be the sort of professor who has students in and out of her office all day than be the sort of professor who doesn’t, and so with that comes some conversations you’d rather not have and feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of face time and attention that you have to give to other human beings.  Honestly, I do not know how introverted people survive this career.  Even as an extravert, I am utterly and totally exhausted by the people.

And I can’t fathom that I have to do this all over again next semester.


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RBOC: End of the Week Edition

I don’t have it in me to write a coherent post, so here are all the things:

  •  As of this week, I’m back in touch with the older of my two brothers.  It is very, very good.  What is not good is that he just got in a car accident and his front teeth were knocked out!  NOT GOOD!  But he’s ok, which thank goodness!
  • While doing mandatory conferences to give back papers, which I did with my freshmen this week, is grueling, and don’t let me or anybody else tell you that it isn’t, the awesome thing about it is that all of those papers, which I got on Tuesday, are already graded and recorded and returned (well, returned to all except the three who missed their conferences).
  • I still have another full class of papers that I’ve got to grade, and I must get those done tomorrow, for I get another batch of papers from another class on Tuesday.  Ah, the semester.  It crushes my spirit.
  • In the midst of all this, committee work.  The less said about that the better.
  • Oh, and did I note that my NEH summer stipend app is coming due?  And that the deadline for a summer fellowship from my institution is due just after that?  Um, yeah.
  • ADNWG check-in is tomorrow.  No, I haven’t written a lick since last Friday.  Once again, I shall be writing my week’s worth on the day of the check-in.  Sigh.  That said, maybe this is a good thing, as I do feel “committed” to getting my 3 pages done in order to check in, whereas if I didn’t have the check-in responsibility, well, I would just not write this week.
  • I have it in my head that I’m painting my bathroom this weekend.  I’m beginning to think that perhaps I am taking on too much with that, but I really want to paint my bathroom.  And next weekend probably isn’t good either…. Le sigh.
  • I also have dinner plans with some virtual friends by association (people who went to grad school with BFF, who is currently off being glamorous in Washington, D. C.) who’ve moved to town.
  • Oh, and I decided this week was the week to get back on the plan with the Year of Dating (inspired in large part by my aunties and uncles at the wedding this weekend noting that they hope I’ll “be next”).  On the plus side, I slapped a pic of me taken at the wedding up on my internet dating profile and interest was immediately generated.  That’s nice for the ego.  On the minus side, I don’t have time for this shit.

I guess that’s everything, although it doesn’t seem like much when translated into bullets.  But I am t-i-r-e-d.  Exhausted, really.  Oh, and I probably need to do laundry, since I’ve not done laundry in weeks.  Thank goodness I have a large stockpile of underwear, or I’d be in dire straits.


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Slow Moving

It is so wrong that I’ve been up for about an hour and it’s only just 6 AM.  I’ve been drinking coffee, but it’s not making much of a difference, which is a problem as I really need to grade my ass off between now and teaching.  And figure out where my copy of a text with my notes is for my one class, and do some prep for my other class.  Sigh.

The only thing that is getting me through is the fact that I’m showing a movie in one class this week.

Only 3 more weeks until finals and then the semester is over.  Yes, I am counting the days.

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