Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Oddities and Fluff

1) Yesterday in one of my classes (my favorite - these kids rock) one of my students had accidentally left her phone on and got a text message from a friend. These guys are pretty great, so I don't sweat it if a random phone goes off once every couple of weeks (like I said, they're cool - they really do turn their phones off!). I ignored the "beep" as she looked contrite and mouthed the word "sorry!" - as I turned to write something on the board, I heard an audible yelp come from the back of the classroom. Everyone stopped and looked at the student who was looking at her phone. She announced, "The stock market just plunged 670 points. They say it's still dropping." It was silent for a couple of beats and I just said, "Well, I hope you guys like this class, because it looks like I'll never be retiring."

2) Every time I sit down in front of the tube with a really good piece of coconut cream pie (which we have here at Medieval Woman HQ), a stupid Weight Watchers commercial comes on.

3) With all of the crazy financial stuff going on right now, the credit limit on my one credit card has actually increased $2000. WTF?

4) I am in grading jail from now until Christmas. I have so many blue books in my office, I could build a fort.

5) I have mailed off my first job application.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Quick Question

So, if I'm married to a Dutchman and I used to live in Canada, aren't I really the better qualified vice presidential candidate?

Who am I kidding...the heel of my left shoe is better qualified...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008


Damn, I've been "nit-pickily" productive today.

Wrote two exams, graded quizzes, finished up curriculum proposal, made copies of writing sample, revised job letter, mailed off packages...

And now the only thing standing in between me and continuing research on my last book chapter is revising a grant application for re-submission, which I'll do tomorrow!

And then it's just me and my chapter. It's all about us being us together. I'll take it out for a nice dinner. Maybe some dancing.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Structure or No Structure??

During a symposium I attended this weekend, we were talking about how we worked best. It reminded me of discussions I've previously had in the blogosphere (I especially remember T.E., What Now, Heu Mihi, Hilaire, Squadratomagico, and Sisyphus El Cog being part of it; but there were certainly more!). We were talking about the mechanics of how we worked: which pens and paper we liked, how we organized our thoughts, how we took notes, to outline or not to outline, which new computer programs helped, etc.

But this weekend, the conversation moved toward whether you worked better when you were teaching or not - i.e., did the structure of teaching help you structure your research time as well? This is definitely true of my friend A, who deliberately teaches summer school because 1) it pays well, and 2) she gets tons of work done having the structure added to her day.

I used to think this was true for me as well - until this year. It seems like I got SO MUCH work done this summer - I had no trouble imposing deadlines on myself and I loved just writing and researching at will. Lately, I have to constantly stop whatever bit of research I'd started and do some work on some service-related thing (i.e., curricular reform, blah, blah, blah) or I have to go over my SGGK notes once more for class. These are not hugely time consuming, but there's a lot of them. It's like a dense cloud of buzzing gnats - one is no problem, but a million of them is gross.

We have recently been told that we will get jr fac leave here at the Dream Academy (thanks to my and my friend's proposal, actually) - and I can't wait for that semester the year after next when I can take off and do some great, unimpeded research with a summer tacked on (either to one end or the other).

My remedy for now will be to find a way to dedicate at least one day a week to research and only research. I'll prep my classes early (I've taught them all before anyway), I'll grade, comment on theses, write proposals 'til I'm blue in the face, etc. all in the service of giving me that one day off.

What say you bloggys? Do you find the school year gives you better structure for research or not?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Let me see if I have this straight...

As seen around the interwebs...

I'm a little confused. Let me see if I have this straight.....

*If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're "exotic, different."

*If you grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, yours is a quintessential American story.

*If your name is Barack, you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.

*Name your kids Willow,Trig and Track, you're a maverick.

*Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable.

*Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.

*If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, sp end 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.

*If your total resume is: local weather girl,4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second-highest-ranking executive and next in line behind a man in his eighth decade.

*If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.

*If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and then left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a true Christian.

*If you teach responsible, age-appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.

*If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.

*If your wife is a Harvard graduate laywer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner-city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's.

* If your husband is nicknamed "First Dude," with at l east one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

OK, much clearer now.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Crawling out from under my happy rock...

I'm still here and kicking. I've not felt like blogging for a while because of a whirlwind early September, which is just now calming down a bit. So, this will be a kind of miscellany...

1) I arrived at the first class post-pill-popping and was asked by one of my students: "Do you have your buzz on again today, Professor?" But apparently I hadn't done anything stupid...

2) The JIL has come out, as many of you have noticed, and there are a fair number of good medieval jobs - Heu, what do you think?? There are a couple so far that coincide with options for TD, so I'll apply to them. I'm NOT looking forward to revising my job materials, but there it is. Nothing for it. Suck it up, MW.

3) TD has been moved into an official professor's office in the Dream Academy's Dutchman Department, so I'm hoping that they will see how perfectly he fits there and will hire him. He's still very involved with the department here for someone who has no official affiliation - they've been delightful. Please have all blog-fingers crossed that they will have a line open for his specialty this year!!!

4) One of my very good friend's tenure cases isn't going well. This is very, very sad. This is the person who got me involved in the Activity here and I can't imagine what it would be like if they're no longer here. Maybe the tenure gods will be kind.

5) I sent off my recent article (Spawn of the Egg) to a good, old school journal last week, so that was satisfying. I hope they feel the same way! In related Incredible Edible Egg news, I have just had an EPIPHANY about my last book chapter. It's a bona fide epiphany, folks, and those are few and far between here at Medieval Woman HQ. As I bask in this glow for a moment, I'll try to keep up the momentum on researching it.

6) Tonight, swordfish on the grill!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Random Bit of Stupidity

This morning as I'm leaving my house at about 9, I stop and dig into my bedside pharmacopia to pull out some of my prescription allergy meds (somethin's blooming around here!). Apparently, I actually took TWO of those sleeping pills that start with a big "A". Yes. I took 2 of them.

I realized this as I was driving to school and I stopped to get my usual Rte. 44 diet coke - "why am I feeling so wonky suddenly", I thought. That's the answer. I believe that I was weaving a bit in the hallway of my office. And I still had to teach my 10am class! So, I simply came clean - I told them, "I wasn't wearing my glasses this morning and this is what happened, folks!" I think I was probably okay during class, but I was seeing double at first. I don't remember much about the class, actually, except we didn't get through everything I wanted to - I remember students raising hands and talking, etc. and then after class, I ran into one of them at the elevator in my office building. She asked how I was doing with having taken two and I asked if the class was okay or if I'd begun talking in tongues. She laughed and said I'd been fine, but that I just seemed very chill.

Oh god, I hope I didn't do/say anything stupid.

I still had to meet someone for lunch who I'd never met before. I'd left my wallet in my car b/c I was so out of it that morning, so he graciously spotted me and said, "Amb.ien can do that!" And then I taught a fairly normal afternoon class. I remember being okay for that. Then a late afternoon grant writing workshop and finally home and a 4 hour nap.

So, now that all that's out of my system, the shame sets in. How should I play this? Should I play this at all? People just noticed that I was "out of it" all day - when I told my friends and colleagues who asked they laughed and said they understood now. But I hope I didn't do something truly awful - do you know how sometimes with sleeping pills how you can have blank spots in your memory? Try taking two and then teaching.

My plan is to act like nothing ever happened. I'm going to have so many more meetings with that partocular class that I'm sure I can make them forget my total goofiness today. I hope.

Ugh. The embarrassment!