Thursday, August 30, 2007


I've never "memed" before, but since Supadiscomama tagged me, I'll give it a shot!

4 Jobs I've had
--cashier at TJ Maxx
--underpaid and abused admin assistant for film production company
--slide room assistant (yes that is where I met my art historian husband)
--grant writer

4 places I've lived
--Military Base in western state (where I was born)
--Home State (where my parents still live)
--New England College Town

4 favorite foods (I love to eat and to cook, so this is a tough one!)
--Crab Cakes from my favorite restaurant in Home State
--really good mozzarella sticks (I can't resist fried cheese!)

4 places I'd rather be
--on the beach with S and C
--Seville, Spain
--Home Town, but only if I can go there without having to deal with any of the typical familial obligations!

4 movies I can watch over and over (This is apt to change given my mood, but here's what I could watch right now.)
--Out of Africa
--Love Actually (Liam Neeson's character and his son make me smile.)
--Little Miss Sunshine (I love, love, love this movie!)
--To Kill a Mockingbird

4 TV shows I like to watch
--Sex and the City, Seasons 4 and 5 especially (I have them all on DVD I must confess.)
--Big Love
--What Not to Wear (I desperately want C to nominate me for the show, but he won't do it!)
--Little People, Big World

4 websites I view daily
--my blogroll
--For Better or For Worse strip fix (I've read it since I was a kid, so don't mock me too much.)
--The Edith Wharton Society (since I'm trying to write my Wharton chapter, I go here for inspiration)

4 computers I've owned
--the Compaq Presario I bought in 1998 when I started my MA
--the laptop I'm using at this moment
--that's it!

4 people to tag
--Lilian at Mama(e) in Translation
--kate at a k8, a cat, a mission
--Working Writing Wailing Mama
--Jennie at My Handful

Rejoining the Blog World

I just learned that my friend, Supadiscomama, has rejoined the blogging world! We're so happing to have you back!

Another Realization

Last night, C and I talked about my work for a change. Rather than discuss the job market for art historians, I said, "I want to talk about what I did today." So I started talking about two characters from two different novels that I'm writing on. One of my chapters is on Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth, but I also want to discuss The Age of Innocence. My discussion of The House of Mirth focuses on Lily's longing for home and how this longing conflicts with her refusal to marry. I argue that Lily places herself in an interstitial space as she is neither able to accept her societal position and marry for money nor is she able to reject her position and support herself. Lily wants both the financial security that marriage can provide and personal freedom, which marriage doesn't guarantee. Her only viable option to escape her interstitial existence is to make her own money, an endeavor at which she repeatedly fails. Her refusal to come to terms with the circumstances of her class and her life trap her in an interstitial existence. Unable to transgress the interstitial spaces (both physical and metaphoric) in which she lives, she is unable to achieve what she really wants: a home and an identity of her own.

I've thought for a long time that Lily and Ellen Olenska, of The Age of Innocence, are a lot a like. Both live in interstitial spaces, and like Lily, Ellen has the means to escape hers, but actively chooses not to. But Ellen is not as doomed as Lily, and it has taken me a while to figure out why. Last night as I was telling C that I wasn't sure I could discuss these two novels in the same chapter, which bothered me because I think it makes more sense to discuss both Wharton novels in the same chapter, I suddenly realized that Ellen has been married. She has experienced the life that Lily has so ardently avoided. Her knowledge of marriage and its failings allows her to support herself in a way that Lily cannot. Granted, Ellen supports herself by convincing her grandmother to give her an allowance not by working, but Ellen doesn't compromise herself in the ways that Lily does. I haven't completely figured it out, but my hunch is that Ellen's first hand knowledge of marriage and the fact that she's been rejected by New York society enable her to embrace her interstitiality rather than fight against it as Lily does.

So I'm feeling better about work, and I'm beginning to feel inspired again.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Getting Work Done

So after the week's earlier post, I'm getting more work done, although I'm not over my frustration and I don't know if I will be. I have finished rereading and taking copious notes on one of the primary texts I'm writing on though, which makes me feel better.

I had something of an epiphany last night, but as with most of my epiphanic moments, I'm not sure what to do with it. I suddenly realized that C is done with his dissertation--seems stupid I know, as I've been posting about his completion for weeks. But now that he's finished that means I actually have more time to work than I have had. Rather than trying to cram everything into the week, including teaching, grading, and writing, I can now work on the weekends. I haven't done much more than answer emails on the weekends since S was born primarily because C used every available minute to finish his dissertation. I've spent the weekends occupying S so that C could work--this, of course, wasn't true of every weekend, but it was true of a great many of them. That realization is equally liberating and frightening. I no longer have C's dissertation as an excuse for not getting my own work done.

I've also discovered that I've spent so much time talking about C's work that I'm out of practice talking about mine. In an attempt to correct that problem, I am not going to ask C about his day this evening at dinner as I typically do. We're just going to talk about what I did today. I have to get back into the habit of thinking of myself as an academic. I like being an academic. I want to be an academic. I just have to remember what being an academic feels like.

S's first birthday

I just learned that in addition to my mother and brother C's mother and sister will be visiting us the week of S's first birthday. Need I say more?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Annoying Parents

When I dropped S off at school this morning, I was told that one of his classmates had a fever of 101.5, and that the teachers were unable to get in touch with her parents--i.e., the parents weren't answering their cell phones and weren't returning class. These parents make me so angry because this isn't the first time they've done this. How can you take your child to school with a fever? And I could look at the little girl and tell she was sick. She had the glassy-eyed look babies get when they have a fever. I don't understand this model of parenting. Her parents often do this, and their excuse is that they can't take time off of work because they just bought a house. I understand the financial need to work, but I don't understand not wanting to care for your baby.

Dissertation Frustration

I'm experiencing Dissertation Frustration. Last night, after a great weekend (S & I threw C a surprise graduation party, and we truly surprised him), I had a long cry. I've been struggling with some feelings the past few weeks, and last night was the first night I let myself talk about them. Here's the issue: I'm not getting as much done as I'd like to be getting done. I have a million reasons why not: I taught a summer course; I haven't read enough and don't feel ready to write; we moved; and I could go on I'm sure. But I'm having doubts, not about my ability to complete the dissertation and to get a tenure-track job, but about my desire to do so. Every week day morning, I drop S off at school, and I feel miserable leaving him. It isn't the same visceral misery I felt when he first started going to school (yes, it is a total euphemism for daycare, but it makes me feel better), but it is there. I'd simply rather be with him. I get enough work done every day to justify having him in school, but I don't get as much done as I'd like. Altogether I've written about 20 pages, and it doesn't all go together and none of it is particularly good at this point. I find myself daydreaming about staying home with S all the time.

I expressed these fears to C, and he was a bit baffled, to say the least. I'm the ambitious one in the relationship; for a while, he actually thought I'd finish before he did. But somewhere in the past few months, I've lost my motivation, and I'm not sure how to get it back.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Pet peeves

Like everyone, I have lots of pet peeves, and I've just had to deal with two big ones this evening--both connected to my husband.

C had several make-up softball games tonight, so I was on dinner, bath, and bedtime duty by myself. The evening went smoothly until I started nursing S before his bedtime. As usual, he instantly fell asleep, although not soundly. After about 15 minutes of nursing on one side, I switched him to the other, as I typically do. For some reason, tonight he woke up screaming and screamed for 15 minutes. This in itself is not unheard of although it is somewhat unusual. I managed to get him calmed down and nursing again, but every 10 minutes or so he would thrash and cry for a few minutes. I tried walking him, I tried rocking him, and nothing worked. So after 45 minutes without any luck, I finally gave in and called C, as I knew both games were over and he was likely drinking beer in the parking lot of the softball field, and told him the situation, and asked him to come home and give me a hand. The first pet peeve: I do not like to ask for help. I especially do not like to ask for help when I know my husband is surrounded by a bunch of other beer-drinking men, many of whom do not have children. I know a lot of these guys--I used to play softball with them myself--so I can only imagine the hard time they gave C about being called home. I know that is all macho crap and doesn't really mean much, but I still hate that I had to call him to ask for help.

So he came home, and he was able to do what I couldn't--he successfully rocked S to sleep in about 15 minutes with minimal crying. For some reason, S refuses to let me rock him to sleep. It's nursing until he's asleep or nothing. Once C was done and fairly certain S wasn't going to wake up, I told him if he wanted to go back out that was ok with me. Second pet peeve: he said you don't want me to, do you? Well, dear husband, I wouldn't have said it was ok if it wasn't. He then proceeded to say he didn't want to go, and then he decided he did after finding out if one of his friends was still at the ball park. Then he asked me at least three more times if it was all right with me if he went, which increasingly irritated me. He eventually did go back out, but only after he had really annoyed me. I hate it when he doesn't take me at my word. When I asked him why he had to question me, he gave me a very lame answer: "I'm stupid." I hate that sort of response as much as his need to think I'm not telling him the truth.

I try very hard not to be the sort of wife who makes her husband figure out what she means. If I wanted him to stay home and hang out with me, I wouldn't have told him to go drink beer in a parking lot, and I would have asked him to stay home.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

To be or not to be. . .

Yesterday while finalizing his fall syllabi, C faced a problem he's never faced before: what does he want his students to call him? Now that he has finished his doctorate he wasn't sure what he wanted to be called: Dr. C or Prof. C. I voted for Dr. C, but he is partial to Prof. C, as art historians are more often called Prof. While this isn't a serious dilemma, he is in an interesting position with his students. C is fairly casual in the classroom and has often let his students call him by his first name--something I never do. I love that we can have this conversation because it means he is FINISHED with his dissertation!!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A new semester

We're now officially moved, and surprisingly, most things are unpacked. S proved very helpful over the weekend; as long as he had his own box to unpack (which means he pulled things out of the box and put them right back in) he was happy. This activity enabled C and I to get quite a bit done.

Now I have to get ready for the upcoming semester. I'm teaching an on-line technical writing course again, so I'm beginning the annoying process of updating the course website. I haven't done this part of it before, so I'm hoping it doesn't prove too irritating.

On the blog front, I've been thinking about several posts, and I hope to have them up in the next few days.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


I have moving, but I do love the prospect of having a completely organized house. Of course with S, I'm sure that organization will last all of a week--or less. Today is the big day, so I'm off to get moving.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

"How Much Jail Time?"

In her most recent column in Newsweek, Anna Quindlen poses the compelling question: "How much jail time would we give a woman who had an abortion if abortion were criminalized?" I find the question compelling for the same reason Quindlen does--when ani-abortion activists are asked this question, they are wholly unable to answer the question. It seems they haven't thought beyond the act of criminalizing aboriton. As Quindlen rightly points out, if abortion is criminalized, then women who nonetheless seek abortions are criminals and should face jail time, yet the people arguing for criminalizing abortion miss this logical flaw.