Sunday, September 30, 2007

Random Tidbits of Fluff...

I have had a thoroughly productive weekend! First, I went to the grocery store and have bought the ingredients for a big batch of mushroom risotto and spaghetti, both of which will warm up nicely for lunches. Also, Advisor brought a bottle of wine and a lovely boule of country bread with her from a bakery in Grad School City, so I bought some roast beef and jarlsburg cheese for sandwiches. I already feel like I'm detoxing!

Advisor's visit was truly fun - she's very low maintenance and completely understand if my need to work and plan classes this weekend. After all, she's the one who was goading me to maintain a work ethic all these years - I think she was secretly pleased when I said I needed to do work. I met some of her old friends and then last night we watched "Hannibal" on TNT and laughed at all the gross parts. We also talked a bit more about my project - I told her I needed to work up my book proposal and she looked at me quizzically and said, "You already have one!" - "That two page thing I used for the job market??" I asked. "What else???" she laughed. I guess I just need to send the thing out...

Also, I got accepted to the small but totally germane to my project conference I'd applied to and finally finsihed and submitted my proposal to the NCS 2008 conference (and not a moment too soon I might add). I'm trying to stick to 2 conferences this year and only proposing things that directly relate to my book. Finally all the grant apps and paper abstracts are in - woo-hoo!

I also spent practically the whole day doing The Activity - at first I was resentful about the rehearsal time, but I actually enjoyed it - it was like my panicky, tenure-track-addled brain could shut off for 8 hours.

I'm trying so hard not to get over-excited about TD's job opportunity close-by. I'm still applying for the position at Dutchman U and we're still keeping our eyes open for other positions together - we're pursuing all options until one of us signs on the dotted line! But I feel at peace about our situation for the first time in several years (not about things between us - that's always been fine - but about when we could move forward with our lives together). I realize how lucky we would end up being if this works out...and then I deliberately think of something else...

And last but not least: should I buy a gorgeous cashmere sweater that I saw? It's black and exquisite...

Friday, September 28, 2007

Total Detox

Okay, I don't think I've ever been such an apostate blogger. I just haven't been in the mood to be honest! I've been keeping up with everyone else's, though, which is good.

I've been cleaning house for the past couple of hours - my old advisor is coming to stay with me for the weekend (she's not only coming to see me, but needed to be in town and asked if she could stay). So, it's a good excuse for me to clean up around here - and, sadly no, a clean house doesn't seem to be enough of it's own reward for me to do it without a reason. But it'll be nice to see her and catch up!

I've been so busy with other work that I'm a little crazed! I have the first official performance of The Activity on Sunday, so I need to prep for classes this weekend. And at some point I really do have to start writing The Article That Will Not Die again...

Blah, Blah, Blah...

But, as to the title of this post, I've been eating such crap for the last two weeks that my body is about to turn in its notice. So much fast food I can't even think about it! I just am constantly grabbing something as I dash somewhere else and I need to take the time to make myself lunch rather than just grabbing something on the road! I've had heartburn almost constantly for the past fortnight (happens when I eat too much sugar and too much fried crap).

So, I'm going to the grocery store tonight to stock up on decent food - i.e., something green that isn't a lime sour gummy worm! One thing I would love to do is make a batch of something and eat it a couple of days into the next week. Does anyone have any recipes like that? Something that keeps or freezes beautifully?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ohmigod! Don't Jinx It!!!!

Holy cats! Excellent news from Medieval Woman HQ! Today (this very day) TD got an email from Awesome Local University Hiring In His Field #1 and they want him to come give a job talk...this fall. Like whenever he can get here. Like now. He hasn't even sent in his application for the position yet! No interview at the yearly conference before getting a flyback - nuttin'! This is based solely on the hiring committee taking a look at the CV sent over by the administrative folks at my Dream Academy (who will now all be receiving fresh baked goods from my Brownie Gnomes). They looked at TD's website (which has his working papers on it - it's how they do things there...) and were like, "bring him out!"

I'm trying not to get too over-eager here, but allow me a moment of self-indulgence: if all goes well (i.e., they dig him, they continue to dig his work, etc.) TD could theoretically get a job offer before Xmas. Yup. That quick. They do it all the time in his department.

Please please keep your fingers and toes crossed on our behalf!

P.S. Everything is going fine in my semester so far. The end.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Leaving on a prop plane!

Hola Bloglets! I'm sitting in an airport on layover in between legs of my flight to see TD. They have wi-fi (that you have to pay for) and cold Miller Light. I'm happy and medicated to the gills. I need to find a place to get ear plugs because those damn prop planes are so loud! Forunately it's only a 30 minutes flight...

Hope all's well!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

State of the Medieval Woman Union...

We have downgraded to MedWomCon Level 2 - "Guardedly Optimistic with a Side of Slightly Cynical"

First off, I have finally killed the junky asshole mosquito who has been biting me for 2 days. It bit me on the sole of my left foot, dammit! Who the hell ever heard of that?? But, he has gone the way of the dodo. And I did the savage dance of joy when he went down.

I also have found a new, local, totally extra-curricular, non-university related Activity (taking the nomenclature from dearest Hilaire) - it's not the same Activity as Hilaire's former Activity, but it's fun and it's 2 hours every Tuesday night and during said Activity I can think about nothing but the task at hand (i.e., no fretting about work, teaching, etc.) And it's done with other people and there's no TV involved. I feel like such a joiner - I love it!

TD and I have planned a trip to the mountains nearby in December - it's only for 3 days, but I am inexplicably giddy about it! It will be a totally decadent trip - we're staying in hands down the most gorgeous Bed and Breakfast I've ever laid eyes on and in one of their poshest, most glorious rooms. They have scone french toast, peeps! I'm all aglow. And the locale we're visiting is lovely and will be so beautiful around Christmas time. I envision much staring at the fire, walking in the woods, sitting out on the porch with Christmas lights twinkling and hot cocoa. Siiiiiigh. I feel relaxed just thinking about it. I think this will keep me going through this long semester!

Now, I must plan class for tomorrow and eat sour gummy worms.

Monday, September 17, 2007


God, I'm busy. But I'm also strangely not busy. Does this make sense? It reminds me of a line from my Favorite Movie of All Time: Cleopatra. When Liz Taylor a.k.a. the Queen of the Nile says to Marc Antony,
"There are never enough hours in the days of a queen, but her nights have too many."

This is exactly how I feel (that and the fact that I happen to be wearing my gold lame pantsuit at the moment). I need to schedule a billion meetings and lunches, etc. but there aren't enough hours to do it. However, at home in the evenings, it seems like I have tons of time and nothing to fill it up. Now, there's always stuff to fill it up, like writing that book I've been meaning to get to before tenure time! But...well, you know what I mean. I will not allow this post to become another moan about long-distance marriages. So, to break that pattern, I'll give you the rest of my busy unbusiness in the tried and true bullet format! Here goes...

- I have finally found the perfect setting for Toaster Strudels. Level 4 on our toaster with the defrost option. Alert the media.

- I finished what I consider to be a damn good draft of my grant proposal yesterday. I'll give it to a colleague on Wednesday.

- I bought new sheets and a gigantic bag of sour gummy worms the other day.

- In keeping with this new theme of eating poorly while the Dutchman is away, the other night I made stuffing for dinner. No chicken, no veggies, just stuffing. My thighs still haven't forgiven me for this...

- I leave to go visit TD on Thursday afternoon - joy!

- After that, it will be a month before we see each other again.

- I have been surreptitiously looking for houses for us to buy in the area. Then I remember that whole saying about the cart before the horse...d'oh!

- I need to find a way to blog about work and the department without blogging too much or innappropriately!

That's about all the news that's fit to print! Hope all is well with ya'll!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Meet the Players

Okay, so I'm avoiding work at the moment. I'm also avoiding blowing up the air mattress that Medieval Pop will sleep on when he visits this weekend (starting tonight). I'm avoiding thinking about research or the lack thereof. Avoiding thinking about the job market.

But it also occurs to me that it's getting a little crowded over here at Medieval Woman HQ (what with all the magical creatures I've employed for various nefarious purposes). So, I thought I would post something frivolous for a change (yeah, right!) and introduce everyone to...everyone:


Medieval Woman: Your Host; medievalist, action movie enthusiast, 80s music obsessed, Coke Zero and Twinkie addict.

The Dutchman: husband, lord of the alien spacecraft cum mini-grill flame, eater of raw herring, inhabiter of places far away, bringer of general joy and silliness, drinker of much beer.

Furball #1: The boy-half of the Wonder Twins; likes tuna and yogurt; sings The Mournful Water Song to his water dish. Likes to drool on my shoulder.

Furball #2: The girl-half of the Wonder Twins; generally of spherical shape, likes to sleep on my face, has one kidney.

The Gnomes: a.k.a. "Job Market Gnomes" now tentatively christened "Article/Research Gnomes". They will do a little light housekeeping (i.e., pushing clutter out of sight under large pieces of furniture) if they're bored and Judge Judy isn't on. Eat chicken McNuggets and Yoo-Hoo. Handy at making voo-doo dolls of one's enemies so that revenge will be swift and satisfying. Since they've been falling down on the job lately, I've sent gnome detachments to both Sisyphus and Heu Mihi for job market purposes.

MW's Band of Ninja Warriors: Built low to the ground for quick, discreet, interventions. Specialize in assassinations, over-throwing small governments, and children's birthday parties. These warriors are sent all over the world procurring my "Heart's Desire" (i.e., Coke Zero, Twinkies, and Tostitos). They are fond of Haribo Fuzzy Peach rings and Sprite. They don't do windows.

MW Death Ray: Recently taken out of mothballs for the new school year - I've made some new modifications (i.e., the "student mind control" setting that will simultaneously microwave me a Hot Pocket).

Newly Acquired Unicorn: Brought in specifically for the purpose of getting TD and I jobs together. Not sure I'm keeping this - we'll see after this job market season. It keeps nibbling on my ficus tree. Looked after by my Lucky Leprechauns (who did NOT bring me the pot of gold they promised!)

That's all for now - perhaps a run-down of occasional cast members and cameo appearances later: including various members of the Medieval Clan and the occasional big nasty bug that invades MW HQ before being summarily dispatched.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Thoughts on New Professordom

I'm entering my 4th week of classes here and I thought I'd take a little moment to reflect on the nuevo job. I guess I'll split it up into the Holy Triumverate of Academe: Teaching, Service, Research.

1) Teaching:
The students here are truly lovely - and I mean that from the heart. Some of them don't talk as much as I'd like and I have a feeling that if they've already read some of the canonical texts we're reading this semester, they're not re-reading them for my class, but for the most part they're engaged and interested. This has to do largely with the demographic of student here - a different one than I've ever taught, actually. Many of the students here are paying their own way through college - working, taking out loans, etc. They're not getting full rides from the folks (not that that's better or worse, it's just different). As a result of that, I've seen a level of personal responsiblity from these students that trumps pretty much anything I've been used to. There are always slackers of every ilk anywhere you go, but they don't stand out as much here.

Another interesting thing about the students is that many of them already have children. They're maybe only a year or two older than the typical undergrad, but I have a lot of married and pregnant students (all of whom have told me their due dates and are on top of things should something unexpected happen). Also, a lot of women have husbands or boyfriends in Iraq or Afganistan. This area supports a lot of military and it's interesting to hear that the reason why they missed a class wasn't because they were upset or having a hard time because of a hangnail, but because their husband got an unexpected leave from Iraq and they took their kids to the base to see him for 48 hours before he was deployed again. They're not asking for special consideration, they're just letting me know that they respect my time and want to tell me why they weren't in class. Wow.

So, I guess the sense of entitlement that has been present in various ways in all the schools I've taught at previously is really not an issue here. Especially after last year, where I had so many ridiculous whinings and petty complaints that it became one of the most tedious parts of my job, this is a breath of fresh air. (See, for example, this and this...)

A particular joy about this job is that I get to teach classes entirely in my field (and some in Medieval/Renaissance). That's a blessing - no comp! The one difference for me with teaching is that I'm very aware of the fact that these classes "count" now - i.e., my ride on the tenure track has begun and now the evals and word of mouth and enrollments, etc. count in a way that I'm very aware of. I don't know if I'm more worried about making my classes awesome or not, but it's just my face now. If I teach a good class and I don't wave a firearm around in class, I know that will be enough on the teaching front. I don't have to be the most popular teacher, but I've been pretty popular in the past and I need to shed the need to maintain that level of intensity I think. I have other fish to fry now!

2) Service:
This is fine so far. I'm new enough so that the meetings are more exciting than tedious; I'm on a job search committee, which is also exciting for me (ask me again in two months when I'm slogging through applications), and I'm on another fluffy committee that doesn't need to do much.

3) Research (the Big Kahuna):
I need to figure out how to balance teaching and research, that's for sure. I've heard about a lot of different strategies and I need to find one that works for me - I'm positive that it will involve me scheduling time each week. Once I get a grant application done and one more paper abstract out, I can finally turn back to the Article That Never Dies.


I guess when all is said and done, being a professor is pretty damn great for me. I've had friends who got jobs last year who have said, "Oh MW, it's not all it's cracked up to be, pressure, meetings, teaching, etc...." But I never expected that it wouldn't be all those things. Maybe it's because I had a few years without a job that having one puts things into perspective. I have a job; it's mine until I hear otherwise.

I'm reminded of a friend who told me that when you see the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, it's a big disappointment because it's actually pretty small and there are crowds, etc. But when I was standing in front of it this summer, all I could think is: "I'm looking at the actual Mona Lisa."

Wow. That's pretty damn great.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Here's the Skinny

I clearly need to get into my blogging groove again! I feel like I've been falling down on the job! Buuuuut, I'm teaching four days a week this semester (due to a last minute change that had me sacrificing one of my T/Th classes for a M/W one). I'm still teaching only 2 courses, so I'm in the classrom a grand total of 75 minutes a day, but I forgot how tiring this schedule can be (because I'm a cream puff. I don't work in a mine 8 hours a day! Why am I complaining?). At any rate, it's psychically taxing to have it drawn out in little bits over the week. Friday there are always meetings, etc. going on. I haven't been sleeping well with TD gone - it always takes me about 4 days to get back into my solo sleep rhythm.

But, here's what's on my mind at the moment: rectifying this perverse "living apart" thing. It's looking like this year will be make or break. All the planets and attendant satellites are aligning; my oracles are emailing me constantly. Even the Lucky Leprechauns I flew in especially for this purpose are working overtime to make things happen.

I've spoken to my dept. chair about the job openings in nearby universities for TD - there is a "regional component" to the spousal hiring policy (and I use the term loosely!) in this state university system. We've made spousal hires for folks who've gotten t-t jobs at neighboring unis. Happiness will ensue if this could be reciprocal. But, every spousal case is different and brings its own unique challenges. In TD's case, they're already doing hires (which is good) so we wouldn't be asking them to create a position out of thin air. But, how to approach this? How do you nudge lovingly and not have it be taken as an obnoxious, unwelcome poke in the ribs by the other school? dept. chair didn't know, so it was tossed up to the Dean to see what he thought. He didn't know exactly how to broach the subject either, but decided to call the Provost right away (!). The Provost said he would be delighted to talk to the Provosts at Neighboring Uni. 1 & 2 - can we forward him TD's CV and the job ads? Holy crap - sure thing! As it turns out, the Provost and Dean are completely pleased to help with the whole thing - and the Dean is even speaking to the other Dean of TD's field about maybe a position here.

Now, my uni would be a bit of a challenge for TD to fit into. He does theoretical models of cattle-herding, whereas this dept. would be more the practical, applied side of cattle-herding; the care and feeding of the cattle you intend to herd; strategies for making money with the cattle you herd, etc. It might be hard for him to find good cattle, I mean, colleagues to talk to here and this is important for his work. But, ya know - as many cow patties as we can get on the fire, the better, huh? Bad continuation of that analogy, I know...

So, all this Bodes Well. My leprechaun-team and job market gnomes are happy to have Deans and Provosts on board. Many hands make light work, they tell me.

In other related, highly ironic news, TD's Univ. (where I taught last year), is hiring in my exact field. Um, let's work on our timing, folks! Buuut, I feel that I should apply for this job. Because once it's filled, it ain't coming around again for a long time and then that window will be closed for us. I've known about this for a while and I've been debating about whether to blog about it. But I can't keep much from you bloglets - except, MY INDENTITY! - and it's pretty easy to wheedle that out of me by emailing me. I must say, however, that all things being equal, my personal and geographical predilections mean that I'd like to stay here and have TD get a job nearby. But, we want to be together and get our future in forward motion (which includes a house and a Medieval Baby at some point soon). TD declares that this is priority #1, so it's pretty much "together anywhere that will hire us both".

So, is it now clear why this is looking to be a *magical* year? When in Zeus's name will our mutual job markets ever again align themselves "just so"? And then I think - oh shit - what if even with all this cosmic, administrative, and magical creature help we still fail to procure employment together? Back to the drawing board? What drawing board??? Argh.

Nope, nope. I'm pulling a Scarlett O'Hara. Not gonna think about that. Something tells me that all this isn't chance, we haven't ended up in this position (career-wise, a good one) that has opened up a number of opportunities all for naught.

But just in case, I'm getting a unicorn.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


This is from Hilaire!

Four first names of crushes:
1. Jim, second grade. Held my hand at our school's Halloween carnival. Sigh.
2. Darin, first love, first time, first everything. He ended up marrying a bank teller from Jersey...
3. Blake. Obnoxious name, no? Long hair, sensitive, early 90s, college.
4. David, grad school soccer player...what ever happened to that guy?

Four pieces of clothing I wish I still owned (or that still fit):
1. My cutest Old Navy jeans that are now way too small (sigh!) - they were the most comfy things on the planet. I still own them and I'm still hopeful...
2. My black shiny, PVC pants - very Catwoman!
3. Along the same lines, my thigh high black "fuck me" boots. I went through a dominatrix phase in college.
4. (riffing off Squadratomagico) My old prom dress, which was a white brocade sheath with off the shoulder tiny sleeves and a ginormous white satin bow in the front. Ca. 1990...

Four names I’ve been called at one point or another (in chronological order):
1. Throughout my childhood: the "love bug" or "pickle" depending on which of my parents was talking to me.
2. Lil' Rebel (sorority nickname. Yes, I was in a sorority!)
3. Bandito (to heighten the obscurity, this rhymes with a certain version of my last name)
4. Bunny

Four professions I secretly want to try:
1. Pastry chef
2. Kept woman
3. Cruise director
4. Astronaut

Four musicians I’d go on a date with:
1. Sting, hands down.
2. Michael McDonald (of the Doobie Brothers!)
3. Mozart
4. Madonna

Four foods I’d rather throw than eat:
1. Lime-green jello with nuts suspended in it
2. Pickled beets (yuck!)
3. Celery (anti-christ)
4. Any food, no matter how delicious, if the target was Dick Cheney (I'll have to stick with Sq. on this one!)

Four things I like to sniff:
1. Unleaded gasoline (am I the only one who thinks this smells good?)
2. The Furballs
3. Really good wine
4. TD's cologne

I tag anyone and everyone!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Life is so good

Went to Denny's this morning for a late breakfast. Yum.

TD went to the library to get some work done and I just woke up from a nap (pathetic, I know). Now I'm watching one of my all-time favorite movies: The Natural. I still get gooosebumps when the main character knocks the cover off the ball. And at the end when he hits the lights and they throw sparks down onto the field. True bliss (that and the fact that I'd watch Robert Redford do anything, including fold laundry) At the party last night, we got to talking about American sports. I've always liked going to baseball games (rather than watching them on TV). There's just something about keeping score, drinking a flat beer and eating a hotdog on a sunny day. But my favorite truly American sport has always been (American) football. I grew up in a big football state and I can remember the sound of my father sitting in the den and watching one football game on TV and listening to another one on the radio. It always seemed like the epitome of fall to me: the weather was getting a little crisp, the college bands would play, the leaves were changing. Very fun.

So, I'm a happy Medieval Woman - tonight TD and I are indulging in a dinner of appetizers: cajun crab dip, taquitos, and baby egg rolls. TD says (jokingly) that I eat like a four-year-old: Coke Zero and Fruit Loops in the morning.

Okay - back to the movie!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Random Update

So, I haven't been trapped under a large piece of furniture - I just haven't been at all in a blogging mood for over a week. Maybe it's because the semester has begun and I've been launched into an odyssey of trying to balance work and teaching (more on how to do this later...if I figure it out at all...). Also, TD has been in town and I've been spending my time swinging between total happiness in having back my domestic bliss and arguing about all kinds of things (welcome to the world of "long-distance luv"). This most recently consisted of us talking about adding TD to my bank account (i.e., making it a joint acct.) when (not if) we move back together. He said he also thought it would be nice if we had a joint acct. and then separate individual ones. Of course I flipped out and read all this as him not trusting me with his money, wanting to keep things secret, etc. I know, I know...paging Dr. Overreaction. Other than that, we've been spending some time with my new colleague friends (who are lovely and delightful) and watching a lot of TV (which is no different from what I usually do).

So, here's he deal. We looked at TD's joblist (the beginnings of which are being posted) this afternoon and two of the local universities are hiring in his field! These are extremely good schools and I'm hoping that another one is also going to be hiring (one that is very comparable to where he is now). But, this bodes well and I would like to request that my bloggy friends please keep all appendages crossed for us! I know that these are only job ads and that there's still a long row to hoe, but at least there are local openings.

Other bits of random fluff:

1) I have Santa Claus in one of my classes. He's a spherically-shaped older student (much older than me) and he has the tendency to "ho-ho-ho" at my lame jokes. We'll see how the semester shapes up, but I have the feeling that he has my two front teeth and I want 'em back by Christmas, dammit!

2) They clapped when I chanted Old English.

3) I have purchased a water fountain for the Furballs - TD thinks this is crazy, but I've noticed that they've been drinking more. Since we moved in, they've been drinking out of the bathtub because it drips. So, the fountain (a.k.a. our "water feature") is meant to interest them in a healthier way. But they're so cute they go up and bat at the water a little with their paws and then drink a little. TD says it sounds like an old man taking a leak.

4) I have two conference abstracts to write this weekend, but I bet only one of them gets done (the other isn't due for a month).

5) I met with my first grad student yesterday and it was fun - I'll be advising part of their thesis.

That's pretty much all the news that's fit to blog! My life continues on at break-neck exciting speed!