Monday, April 26, 2010

You said what??.....

I went to go see Dr. Canadienne on Friday - got to hear both heartbeats (which was cool - are they both still in there and doing okay?) - and then she told me something that knocked me flat - and, no, I'm not having triplets!

I've lost 8 pounds in the last couple of months. I'm still getting steadily more spherical (in fact, I'm as big as an 18 week pregnant woman as opposed to the 16 weeks that I really am - in 2 weeks, I'll be the size of someone 24 weeks along...blech). But she noted that (sweet, dulcet music to my ears):
"You really need to gain weight."
No one's ever said that to me before. It sounded as good as I always dreamed it would. In fact, she said that I need to concentrate on gaining weight. Try to consume as many calories as I could. And obviously I need to eat the right things, blah, blah. But still, I asked if she would say that again, speaking clearly into the mike, so I could record it and play it back periodically throughout the rest of my life.

So, I have been to the store with J, my friend who knows all about protein and gaining/losing weight 'cause she's a boxer. I came away with tofu cubes for pad thai, carrots and sour cream dip, Hot Pockets, bananas, cheese and crackers, almonds, and full fat, cream-on-the-top yogurt (which I inhale at this moment). She's teaching me the art of grazing throughout the day. When TD gets here on Friday, we're going to get a blender and make fruit smoothies with whey powder in them - 30 grams of protein!

In other news, TD made it home a couple of days earlier than he planned b/c the airline came through and rebooked him. Because he's a smart guy, he apparently had purchased cancellation insurance for the $3000 plane ticket, so he got it refunded! That money's already spent, of course, so it's nice to have it back.

This is the last week of school and should be a chill week.

Finally, I leave you with the funniest student comment I got on last semester's evals (which were very, very nice overall):
"Professor, this is a literature course, not a history course. There's no need to teach everything chronologically."
The only thing I taught chronologically for that course was doing the ANGLO-SAXON material before the MIDDLE ENGLISH material!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Would that this week were over

Tomorrow is hump day - and not in a fun way. I teach two classes and have to give a short faculty brown bag presentation of my work (which is stymied at the moment). It's no biggie, but I'll be glad when it's off my plate. Thursday and Friday are no less busy. But this weekend promises to contain NOTHING but a lovely minor league ball game outing on Sunday.

Here's the rest in bullet form:

- I've reconciled myself to the fact that the Egg will not launch until the end of next month rather than at the end of this month. I can't turn my addled brain to it until classes are over.

- This weekend I had to look at proofs/provide corrections for two separate articles that are due back to the journals tomorrow - when it rains it pours.

- TD is still stuck in Dutchmanlandia and finally today bought a THREE THOUSAND DOLLAR one-way ticket from there to close to where he lives now. He'll still have to take a 3 1/2 shuttle from the airport where he lands back to the city in which he lives (not for much longer). And his car is still parked in an entirely different city's airport (from where he originally took off) another two hours beyond the city where he lives (not for much longer). Does that make sense? But if he waited for the airline to rebook him on another flight, he'd probably be there another 3 weeks. So, he had to cough up the dough and buy a separate ticket on another airline. And he still won't be back until this Saturday b/c all the earlier flights are full. F*CK THAT VOLCANO!!!

- I am growing more and more like a sea lion every day:

Saturday, April 17, 2010


So, TD is stranded in the Real Dutchmanlandia until further notice - he was supposed to fly back today, but that ain't happenin'.

He's actually incredibly lucky not to be one of those poor people stuck in transit in some airport - at least he has free room and board and can just relax at home. I've told him to go drinking with his friends...

(and I know at least one of you reads this blog, so W and F - take him out!)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Recalcitrant Student Tailz

I realized that I haven't blogged much about my students this semester - for the most part, they're awesome and totally funny and I dig them. There hasn't been any major ridiculousness lately (although I'm always on the look-out).

But as the semester winds down, I'm getting more and more annoyed at their laziness - it seems more pronounced this year. I don't think any of them want school to be over more than I do - I'd really just like to sleep all day and gestate Thing One and Thing Two in peace, thank you - without the hassle of having to, you know, shower, change out of my holey pjs, leave the couch...

But they're so dropping the ball that I had to shriek at them yesterday - how can they not eat Milton up??? Why were they looking at me like tranquilized wildebeests? Oh, they haven't read it. Even after I gave them a full sheet of specific passages and points we'd be discussing. People, you might be able to read a Donne poem on the fly in class and have something intelligent to say, but you can't do that with Satan's speech to Beelzebub in Book I!!!

But that's not the thing I've been thinking about most lately - I've been talking to a few friends/colleagues of mine who also teach early Brit Lit and we've been returning more often to the increased reticence of students to take and enjoy early Brit Lit courses (medieval and early modern for the most part). One of my friends got an eval last semester that just dripped with anger at having to take the early survey course - they wrote: "I didn't become an English major to read medieval literature."


I don't know what these kids think comprises an English major, but it sure as shit starts with medieval literature! They think Keats, Shelley, Eliot, etc. are literature. And sadly, some colleagues perpetuate this stereotype - i.e., that early Brit Lit is something to just suffer through as quickly as possible and then get on to the real stuff.

Another trend I've noticed more and more in my evaluations and those of friends and colleagues in similar fields is this comment: "I totally didn't expect to like early British Lit. at all - I've never liked it. But this professor made it interesting and fun."

Now, I'm extremely happy that I helped change their minds about the literature I teach - I don't expect them to change their concentrations, but I do consider that to be a small victory - I would have loved it if I had a teacher who'd made Algebra interesting and fun. But I didn't.

But what strikes me most is the fact that students feel like it's okay and necessary to use their prejudices and dislikes of medieval/early modern literature as a starting point. I'm willing to bet that no one writes, "I never expected to like modern British poetry..." - maybe they do - I never teach those classes, so I don't know. But more and more I get the sense that students think that 19c and on is the "real" literature and everything that came before is just tedious religiosity, brutish warfare, and the Oppression of Women (I exempt Shakespeare from this b/c many of them feel like they have to like Shakespeare - I like Shakespeare, too). I personally wasn't hugely interested in modern literature when I was in school - I found Faulkner et al. terribly boring. But I would never have begun my comments on an evaluation with a phrase like, "I've always hated this literature, but now I find it okay."

So, in the end, it seems more and more like I and my colleagues (and I only say this for the places I've taught - not in general) start consistently in the red and must dig ourselves out of the basement. I mean, I guess I'll take an evaluation that reads, "I didn't feel like poking my eye out with a fork when we read Margery Kempe, so she's a good professor" - but why can't we begin on the first floor an go from there? Does it mean that I'm a better teacher than others because they don't want to throw themselves in front of a bus? I don't compare myself with my 19c or modernist colleagues based on evaluations (because I honestly don't know what their evals are like) - but departments certainly use them as way to assess performance in relation to others coming up for tenure.

Does an "excellent" rating of a medieval professor count for more, less, or the same as one for a modernist? Are they assessing me and my specific way of teaching the literature I love and study or are they just saying, "She adds an extra spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down"?

What experiences with this situation have you all had??

Monday, April 5, 2010

F*ck Yeah, Baby!!!

TD got the job at Think Tank!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3 years of commuting ends!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm so happy I could bust - he's having to take a bit of a pay cut, but it'll not really be a cut when you factor in the thousands of dollars we'll save not buying plane tickets and having two households. Plus, there's the unquantifiable mental and emotional toll of commuting that will now be alleviated.

It's going to be so weird living together again. Who is this stranger who's here all the time? Wait, and what are these other two strange things????


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Random Bits of Cottontail Fluff

It is going to be 79 glorious degrees today - spring has sprung! Dogwoods blooming, daffodils emerged, azaleas starting to bust out, Bradford pears in full show...

And I will be in my office today working on Egg - at least my office has a big window to look out and see the various species in nature...I just wish I could open it.

So, here's what's what:

1) Uno and Dos are well - I'm into the second trimester now and seem to have a touch more energy.

2) Egg chapter revising continues to swim along - in re-reading this, I'm thinking it might actually not suck.

3) Yesterday I went and looked at a FIVE BEDROOM house that I believe we are going to rent for next year. It's for sale, but the market is slow and the seller is willing to take it off the market and rent it to us for a year. If we like it over the course of the year, we might be able to buy it (it's actually very reasonably priced). It's an awesome house, built in 1925 with tons of potential. The kitchen needs a bit of a re-do, but it's fine for a year. We will have our bedroom, manatee room, TWO offices, and a guest room! Some of the rooms are small (one of the offices especially), but really - how much room do you need for an office and guests? Anyway, tons of windows, great big living and dining room. I want this house.

4) There might be some good news with TD and Think Tank. I do not say it's definite or even likely, but it might potentially maybe bode well.

Give me your thoughts on this: Think Tank group leader sent an email on Thursday with a new subject line of "Think Tank Job Opportunity" and wanted to set up a time to chat on the phone with TD either the end of last week or early next week. She asked TD to send her a bunch of times and they'd coordinate. So, he did and they're going to talk Monday morning.

Now, doesn't this sound positive? If they were going to tell him that he didn't get the job, would they perversely set up a time to tell him? Would they use that subject line in the email? Or would it just be something like "Update"? Keep in mind that TD has gone entirely through the interview process, so they are no longer doing final interviews or anything. This is decision time, folks!

So, whaddya think?