Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Still here

I'm still here. I'm just consumed by class prep, article revision, birthday party planning, and parenthood. I've been thinking about a few things I want to post, but I've got to find the time. . .

Saturday, September 19, 2009

37 jobs

I've spent a significant amount of time in recent days pouring over MLA's job list. After searching the list in every way I can think of, I have found 37 jobs that I may be able to apply for. 37 is not bad in a year in which some of my friends have less than 20 jobs to apply for. But when I think that 2 years ago, well before I was ready to go on the market, they were over 70 jobs in my area, 37 is a bit disconcerting.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dr. English

Yesterday I received a very surprising email from Dr. English, the head of CU's English department. I first want to say that Dr. English rates right up there with Dr. Nice Guy, who, if you recall, is the head of C's department. Here is some background.

Last December, I emailed Dr. English to set up a meeting. I did this for several reasons. I knew the teaching opportunities in Women's Studies were going to be reduced and that CU was going to be cutting the number of part-time instructors it hired. I also wanted to meet Dr. English because I eventually hope to get a partner placement in his department. He graciously agreed to meet with me, and we had a lovely meeting. In fact, he seemed really interested in my research--even more so than in what I might teach for his department. We chatted for about 40 minutes, and he promised to contact me when the part-time jobs for his department were posted. He kept his word, and I am currently teaching a full-year course in English. Dr. English has also emailed me throughout the summer to congratulate me on defending, on graduating, and to discuss various other things. He is a really nice guy.

Yesterday I received another really nice email from him. He asked me if I had any opportunity to meet many others in the English department. He then listed the other Americanists in the department and asked if he could help facilitate any meetings with them. I immediately emailed back my appreciation and expressed interest in meeting all of them, specifically on professor who is organizing a conference that I am presenting at in November. I also took the opportunity to ask if I could list him as a reference on my CV as I'm going on the market this year in search of a tenure-track job (hey, I didn't think it would hurt to remind him that a t-t job is the ultimate goal). He graciously agreed and told me he'd email the professor I'd mentioned to see if he could set up a lunch for the three of us. What a really, really nice guy!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bear, 12 weeks

Bear is 12 weeks old today. Here is a fairly recent picture of him. As you can see, he is growing fast. At his 8 week check up, he was 13 pounds 4 ounces and 24.5 inches long. I estimate he is now at least 25 inches long and over 14 pounds. My triceps and biceps are getting some serious definition from carrying him around! He is cooing a lot and is on the verge of laughing. He is sleeping 4 hour stretches at night, waking up long enough to nurse and go back to sleep. Life with Bear is really good. As I said to C last night, it is hard to remember life with only one child. It feels like Bear has been with us forever.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


C is embracing his new domestic role. On one level, it's great. He made breakfast this morning, put dinner in the crockpot, and washed 4 loads of laundry. This week alone he cleaned, took care of Bear, and reorganized the kitchen now that he's got all the cabinets installed. I'm feeling a bit out of sorts about all of this, however. This morning he informed me I was putting something in the wrong place in the kitchen, and I had no idea what to say about that. For various reasons, the kitchen has always been my domain. I do the majority of the cooking, so I have always organized the kitchen. I feel like I'm no longer in control of my home, which I know isn't accurate and is a response to going back to work. I'm going to have to remind myself that C can do things just as well as I can, and that there is nothing wrong with how he does things. Except, of course, that my way is better.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dr. M

I just realized that I am teaching for the first time as "Dr. M." That has made my day just a bit easier.

So it begins

Today is my first long day away from Bear. After dropping Wild Man off at school a bit later than usual (my Thursday teaching schedule necessitates that I'm on campus until 4:30 meaning I won't be able to pick Wild Man up until 5:00 so we decided that I would drop him off a bit later than usual on Thursdays), I am now in C's office hiding out. Why am I in C's office? Well, I currently have access to three offices in various locations on CU's campus. However, I share every single one of them. I have no desire to try to figure out how to pump in offices that I share with a minimum of three other people--one office is, in fact, a desk in the Writing office. I share that space with about 12 people at any given time. C has his own office, so I'll be using his office to pump.

Right now I'm doing last minute things before trekking over to the English department to make copies and then to Women Studies to check on some other things. I want nothing more than to go home and snuggle with Bear. He was napping in his crib when I left, so here's hoping he had a good nap and that he and C will have a good day. It'll be a long 6 hours until I'm home again. And given his current response to the bottle I fully expect to spend the afternoon and evening nursing him.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Header update

I finally got around to updating my header. Let me know what you think.

Seriously, this is enough home improvement

Usually I love having a handy husband. I love that when something breaks C can usually fix it and fairly quickly. He is not the sort of person who puts off home repair. Things get done fast. But right now our office is a disaster as is our kitchen. Why? Because this week he's decided he has to finish all the projects he started before Bear was born. So last week he put another coat of paint on the downstairs hallway and decided to prime the office. Today he finished installing the kitchen cabinets. Now we have to purchase countertops and have them installed. He also have to finish painting the office so I'm no longer working on job materials and planning lessons at the kitchen table. I told him a little while ago that he cannot take on so many home improvement projects at one time ever again. Seriously, this is a bit ridiculous.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


I'm completing the last of my syllabi while C works on the kitchen and Bear naps. I'm still feeling rather "Blehh" about going back to teaching, but I'll deal. I'm trying to work out office hours so that I'll be away from home the minimum amount of time, but right now it's looking like I'll be gone Mondays and Fridays from about 8:15 until 12:45 or 1:00. Tuesdays I'll leave the house around 8:45 and be home around 1:00. Thursdays I'll go in later, around 9:30, but I won't be home until at least 5:00. Wednesdays I'm not planning to go in at all, except for the occasional meeting. I'm trying to squeeze in office hours on the days I'll be on campus, but I know I'll have to be there longer some days. I'm feeling a bit sick to my stomach by all of this, but there isn't much I can do. I have to teach. I have to stay visible in order to stay in the good graces of the powers that be if we're going to make a case for partner placement this year, which is the ultimate goal. Oh, and on top of all this teaching, I have to work on job materials and revise a chapter to submit for publication. Blehh.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Reading lists

I've been working on my reading list for the lit course I'm teaching this fall. It is a special topics course on Women's Lit. Since I fairly short notice for this course, I designed around the themes in my dissertation. Unfortunately the reading list for the course is much, much longer. You see, Canadian universities run courses for the entire year, and this is one such course. I'm here to tell you trying to figure out reading assignments 6 months in advance is weird--and tricky.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Something else

A few moments ago, as I was snuggling Bear through an afternoon nap (he was napping while on the boppy after nursing as I read for classes next week), I suddenly had a flashback to Wild Man's first day of day care. C was teaching that day, and as I recall he taught at 8 am that semester. Thus, I got Wild Man ready and dropped him off myself. He had no idea what was going on, but as he was happy in the arms of his caregiver I essentially dropped him off and fled as quickly as I could. I drove to campus, parked my car, and promptly walked to the office of one of my best friends, Supadiscomama. I then proceeded to cry for the next 15 minutes or so while she rubbed my back--she'd gone through the same experience a few months earlier with her own son. Being in her office and knowing she (and my other friends Sarah and L) knew how I felt helped me get through that day and the next few that followed until it got easier to drop Wild Man off.

When Wild Man and I leave Bear with C next week at 8:30 or so and don't return until after 4, I will drop Wild Man off at school and then go to my office--the one I share with 4 other people, none of whom I know (or like) all that well. I don't have any place or any one to go to who will rub my back while I cry. I know I can call any or all of these wonderful friends the minute I get to my office, but I also know that won't be quite the same. That makes this whole experience just a little bit harder.


Today's title reflects how I'm feeling about returning to teaching next week. I have been off since April 10th or so when the Winter term ended (yes, in CU-speak, the terms are Fall, Winter, and Summer; there's no Spring term here). In that time I defended, revised, and filed my dissertation. I spent lots of time with C and Wild Man. I gave birth to Bear. I graduated. I helped C redo the kitchen (which is still a work in progress). And I've done remarkably little in terms of work. I have managed to plan my Fall courses and start revising a chapter to submit for publication. I have also pulled all of my job materials together and started thinking about how to revise.

Usually the beginning of the semester brings a certain level of excitement to our house. But this semester C will be staying home with Bear while I go back to teaching. C is appropriately excited not to be teaching for the first fall in about 7 years, but he is, admittedly, uncertain how he will handle being the primary caregiver to our 10-week-old (it seems unreal that Bear is already 10 weeks old). He has a list of things he wants to get done around the house before the weather turns cold as well as some writing and research he wants to get done. I keep telling him to be prepared to get nothing done some days and very little on others. I'm not sure he is listening, though. As for me, I want to stay home. I am experiencing a lot of the same feelings I experienced when we put Wild Man in day care. I said this to C, and he was a bit hurt, I think. After all, Bear isn't going to day care. He is staying home with his dad. But I will still be leaving him for a significant amount of time each day. I will still have to return to the daily task of getting work done at home while caring for him. I will still have to figure out how to find time to pump during my office hours. I will still be away from Bear.

I've spent a lot of time the last few days thinking about why this bothers me so much, and I think I've finally pinpointed the primary source of my anxiety. Aside from feeling all the "normal" going-back-to-work-and-leaving-my-infant feelings, I also feel like I'm leaving Bear just as we've really started to bond. If I'm being 100% honest, I've found it harder to bond with Bear than I did with Wild Man. I predicted this a few months ago, but I didn't anticipate how guilty it would make me feel. I've found it hard, almost brutally hard, to balance the needs of both my children, and in the first few weeks of Bear's life, I found myself passing Bear off to C quite a lot to attend to Wild Man's needs. I rationalized this to myself by saying, "Bear is an easy infant. He nurses, and he sleeps. He is rarely fussy, and he needs to bond with C as much with me." In contrast, Wild Man is so vocal and verbal. He can express his needs, and he struggled a bit with Bear's arrival. He seemed to love his brother instantly, but he didn't like sharing me. Thus, I found myself feeling a bit disconnected from Bear. That began to change when Bear had his stint in the hospital. I stayed with him in the hospital, and I was the one holding him as he got poked and prodded. I was the one asking the doctors the hard questions, and I was the one talking to the nurses. C took care of Wild Man and things at home (with some help from Pita and my sister, who needs an equally descriptive nickname), and I took care of Bear. I figured out lots of little things about my youngest son, and I really started to get to know him then. Since then I've made a conscious effort to spend more time alone with Bear as well as encouraging Wild Man to get more involved with Bear's daily care. I'm amazed how different they are, yet they are similar in so many ways. I'm also loving seeing them interact, although that is a little heartbreaking as well (I need to write a separate post on the love a younger sibling has for an older sibling). Suffice to say, I don't want to go back to work. Right now, I'd love nothing more than to stay home for foreseeable future, but that isn't in the cards for a variety of reasons. So I will enjoy my final full week at home with my littlest guy.