Thursday, January 28, 2010

Random Chaotic Notes

My life is a whirlwind right now, so here are some random things I'm thinking. And some of this may explain why I feel like I'm screaming silently.
  • Wild Man is enrolled in Junior Kindergarten, which will begin in September. After 3 weeks of research and talking to various people, we finally decided to send him to a school that is affiliated with his daycare. We chose this school for several reasons. First, it is a great school, in the top 5 elementary schools in our province. Second, he can continue in the daycare; in fact, as we're out of area, he can only go to the school because he is enrolled at the daycare. He will be walked to and from school by his daycare teachers. Third, putting him in JK buys us some time to make further decisions about his and Bear's education. Ultimately, (assuming we stay in Canada) we want the boys to go to French Immersion school. We feel like they would really benefit from that experience for lots of reasons. But we have recently discovered we're not in the school district we thought we were in, so to send the boys to the "right" FI school, we have to move. Wild Man has to start FI by grade 1, so enrolling him in this school for JK and SK gives us 2 years to do that.
  • I'm continuing to apply for jobs off of the spring list, which has even slimmer pickins than the fall list. I've applied for 3 jobs and 2 post-docs. I have 1 more post-doc to put in for and 1 visiting position. I'm not remotely hopeful, but whatever, I'm doing it.
  • C has an interview at his field's major conference in a few weeks. As I may or may not have written earlier, he went on the market this year as a bargaining tool with CU Land. The school that wants to interview him is something of a big deal, so he's excited and he's not. Further the conference is about 3 weeks away, so he could get more.
  • He met with his chair, Dr. Nice Guy, to keep him apprised of the situation. He was very clear: he'd prefer not to go to the interviews, but he'll go unless CU Land can make me some sort of offer. So now it's in his chair's hands, and this is a guy who has also become a good friend of ours. Dr. Nice Guy is not only committed to keeping C here, but he is also committed to helping us anyway he can. He is going to the dean with this information, and we'll see where that goes.
  • Given this there is an outside chance I might be offered something more permanent that what I have now. We'll see what we see.
  • Before all of this transpired, C and I had a lengthy discussion about me, the job market, and his reaction to me being on the job market. This discussion was very necessary after my less than generous reaction to finding out he got an interview. Let's say I had to leave the room for a few minutes because I was upset and more than a bit jealous. In that moment, I realized how upset I am by this year's search and how much I want this for myself, not for anyone else. I remembered that I do have ambitions of my own and I do want to fulfill them. As I told C, I'm not jealous because I think any of his success is unmerited. I've been with him through this entire process. I know better than anyone how hard he has worked, but I also know I've worked that hard too. I want my work to be recognized somehow.
  • Talking about these things was good, although hard. We came to the conclusion that we could actually be happy staying in CU Land permanently. On some level that would be a relief. I find that, more than anything, perhaps even more than a tenure-track job, I want a sense of stability for my family. I want to be able to stop thinking, "Well, if we're still here we'll do this. . ." I want to know. I want to be able to commit to this community and to the friends I've made. I want to stop feeling like I need to hold part of myself back so that I don't get too attached if we just move next year. I want to stop worrying about how Wild Man and Bear will deal with a potential move. I want to establish roots for my family, and if staying here means we can do that and I get to start my career, then I want to do that, very, very much.
  • I also know that I can stay at CU, teaching part-time, if that is what is best for my family.
  • C talked to him mom about this yesterday, and that conversation, even though I had no part in it, left me angry and in tears. He explained all this to her--focusing on the possibility that I may be offered something more permanent here. Her reaction was expected, but still upsetting. She apparently paused and said, "So you'd stay in Canada then? Permanently? Why?" She never said how great that would be for us or anything. Once again, she made it all about her. Her reaction isn't remotely surprising, but for some reason, I though she might be happy for us, even just momentarily. I don't know why, but I need that. I need her to know that this would be good for us, while fully understanding that it means she has to give up on the dream that we'll live in Home State.
  • I decided to call my mom after C spoke with his, and for once, my mom came through. She was very positive and hopeful and kind. She said, "I know how hard you guys have worked to find jobs in the same place, M. This would be so great for you and your family. I'll keep my fingers crossed." And she even got something that Yetta didn't. She cautiously asked, "Does this mean you'd have more money to come home more often?" I said, "Yes, we definitely would. It would actually enable us to rent a beach house for a few weeks in the summer in Home State if we wanted to." My mom was definitely excited about that.
  • Now I'm waiting. And I'm reminding myself that this likely won't work, that nothing will come of it. I'll be in this same position next year. I'm not usually so negative, but now that this possibility really exists, I know how much I want this, how much I want all of this to work for us in CU Land. And I can't let myself hope too much.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sreaming silently

That's what it feels like I'm doing lately--screaming long and loud without being heard. I'd like to elaborate right now, but I've got a million other things to do.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Junior Kindergarten, Wild Man, and Canada

I may be sick to my stomach. Wild Man may have to start Junior Kindergarten next year. And if he does, I have 3 weeks to figure out which school we want him to go to and to register him.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Last week I posted about an odd conversation I had with the director of the Writing Program, in which she made it clear she'd like to hire me. A day or so after that I met with a former student who is applying to grad school, and she asked me to write her letters. I quickly agreed as she is quite bright, although not the best writer. She then asked if I could supervise her thesis if she is accepted into the MA program in Women's Studies at CU. It seems the Canadian system is quite a bit different than the American one. When students apply to grad programs, they must have a project in mind for either their thesis or their dissertation, and many schools, including CU, require students to specify who they want to work with on their application. This student wants to work with me, which is great but really isn't.

I'm part-time. Sure, I teach in three departments, but I'm still part-time. I don't even have a term-appointment (which is the equivalent of a visiting position), although apparently that's been discussed. I know I can't supervise this student, and that annoys me for a few reasons. First, this is a project that she conceived of in one of my classes. Right now it's a bit big, but it has real potential. Second, this student also has a lot of potential, but she's the sort of student who will need a bit of hand-holding. She needs someone who will push her but who will also give her the room to grow as a scholar. As I said, she isn't a great writer, but she is willing to put the work in to improve. In the two courses I have her in, she's already improved a lot, but she still has a long way to go. I'm worried that no one else in the program will give her the attention she needs.

From a completely selfish standpoint, I want the powers that be to know that there are students who want to work with me. I am managing to carve a niche out for myself within this university. So I have a meeting with Dr. Feminist later today to discuss this student and to let her know that she wants to work with me. I think this gives me some leverage, but who knows?

Monday, January 11, 2010

A lazy Monday

C pointed out to me that we really need to be more organized on Mondays or else neither one of us will ever be prepared to teach on Tuesdays. This is the second Monday of the term, and it has been rather lazy. As I pointed out to him, I'm having a hard time caring. Here's what I've done today.
  • Woke up with Bear at 6. C actually got up with us for a change which means we had an organized morning.
  • Took Wild Man to school while C got Bear to take a nap.
  • Reread the first chapter of Borderlands while nursing Bear.
  • Took Bear to Waterbabies. (So I know that Mondays isn't the best time for a Waterbabies class, but whatever. I wanted to do it at a time when we could focus all of our attention on Bear. Next week, Wild Man starts a pre-school dance class, and we've already decided that only one of us will take him so he gets some uninterrupted Mommy or Daddy time.)
  • Had lunch.
  • Reread the second chapter of Borderlands while nursing Bear, who then fell asleep, enabling both C and I to work for about an hour.
  • Downloaded a recipe for dinner (which I write about if it turns out like I'm hoping it will).
Not bad. I still have some prep to do for tomorrow, but since I've taught Borderlands before, I'm not too worried. My point is that I want to enjoy my time with Bear since I feel like I've had so little of it devoted completely to him. Oh, and I refuse to feel guilty for it.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

I really should be . . .

doing 18 other things, but I'm facing a serious lack of motivation. In fact, I don't think I've been this unmotivated since I was pregnant with Wild Man and working on my dissertation proposal. I have not motivation to do anything. I have a long list of things I need to do, and a lot of those are even things I want to do. But I don't want to do any of them. So I keep asking myself why am I not motivated?

I think some of lack of motivation is due to the disappointment of the job search. Part of me thinks, no one was interested in me, so why bother? I know there is a lack of logic to this statement, but it is how I feel. I also think some of it is due to the lack of deadlines. I have to do teaching prep and I have to grade, but I do not have to write a grant proposal or an article. Again, there is a lack of logic to this rationale, but it is how I feel. I can think of a million things I'd rather do than revise my chapter into an article, even though I could likely have the revisions done in 2 weeks. I am fully aware that adding a publication to my CV would greatly improve my chances on the market next year--or hell, even this year. But I am not motivated. I'm trying to figure out how to get motivated, but so far it isn't working. I really just don't want to do any of this right now, and I also really don't want to analyze why I don't want to.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

A Very Odd Conversation

Yesterday I stopped by the Writing Department, which is one of the three departments I teach for at CU Land. I had to do some administrative stuff, including submit grades and sign a few things. I literally had 10 minutes, so I was hoping to get in and out without any lengthy conversations.

As I was heading out, I was stopped by the head of the department, a very nice woman who reminds me of someone I worked with at Southwest College. What followed was a very odd conversation.

Dr. Chair: Dr. Nice Guy (the chair of C's department) tells me you're looking for permanent work.

Me: Yes, I'm on the market.

Dr. Chair: I hope that you will keep me informed of the status of your search, especially if you'd get an offer. Dr. Nice Guy and I want to work on keeping you here.

Me: Oh.

Dr. Chair: Yes, but for negotiation purposes, you'll need to have another offer in hand.

Me: Oh, well, unfortunately, it's been a really bad year.

Dr. Chair: Yes, I know, but still, I hope you'll keep this in mind.

Me: I certainly will. In the meantime, I hope I'll still be able to teach for you part-time.

Dr. Chair: There is no question of that.

Me: Thank you for taking the time to tell me that. I appreciate it.

Dr. Chair: Feel free to stop in and see me anytime.

Now, this conversation was odd for a lot of reasons. First, I've only spoken to Dr. Chair a handful of times, so for her to stop me to have such a pointed conversation about wanting to hire me seemed a bit odd. Second, I enjoy teaching in the Writing Department, but I don't know if that is where I want to be hired on. None of my research is in writing (and I don't think it ever will be), and I do not want to teach Technical Writing for the rest of my career. I can teach composition courses, but that's about it. My doctorate is in Literature, not writing, so I don't feel like I'm equipped to teach there--at least not anything more than the intro courses I'm already teaching. That said it was nice to have someone openly express an interest in giving me a permanent tenure-track job at CU.

A list

I feel like my life is verging on boring, as our focus is on routine right now. But, as C reminded me the other day when I voiced this complaint to him, routine is essential with two kids. Even with the focus on routine, though, I somehow forget to do things, so I'm putting together a list of things that I have to do in the next week. I used to be much better at list making and at actually getting things done. Not so much anymore. I don't think my brain has recovered from pregnancy and my dissertation yet. Or at least that's what I'm blaming it on. . .
  • Write a proposal for major conference in my field
  • Work on several post-doc applications
  • Submit applications for summer teaching+
  • Wrap up a bunch of course prep stuff+
  • Set up a virtual meeting with my old adviser to discuss a grant that I want to submit
  • Brainstorm ideas for said grant
  • Make travel plans for February
  • Make some adjustments to my syllabus+
  • Complete revisions on dissertation chapter and get it submitted
  • Contact publishing rep who had shown interest in my Wharton chapter oh so long ago
  • Do some minor shopping for Bear, who keeps outgrowing all of his clothes at an amazingly rapid rate+
  • Read for tomorrow's class
  • Prep a coherent lecture for tomorrow's class
  • Buy 3 baby gifts and have them shipped to the appropriate people
Ok, I think that's all, or at least that is a start. I'm going to strive to mark off at least 4 of these today. But first, I have to write one more post. . .

So far, so good. I've actually marked 4 things off the list.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Random Updates

As usual, I'm thinking 18,000 at one time, and none of the thoughts are coherent. Here are some random things floating around in my brain right now.
  • Bear had his 6 month check-up today. He is 27.5 inches long and weights 18 pounds, 6 ounces. His head circumference is 18.5 inches. He is in the 75% for height and weight and in 90% for his head size. Yes, he takes after his father.
  • Wild Man was very happy to return to preschool today. In fact, when I picked him up, he said to me, "Mommy, I love school."
  • I return to teaching tomorrow, and as usual, I'm only moderately prepared.
  • I teach a night class on Tuesdays this term, and neither C nor I am remotely excited about that.
  • I began revising on of my diss chapters into an article before last term ended. I'm hoping to have the revisions finished and to send it off in 2 weeks.
  • I just did a quick search of the "Spring Job List," and it is a bit sad. I found about 8 jobs I can apply for, most of them post-docs. I'm still on the fence about post-docs. I didn't apply for any off the fall list primarily b/c we won't leave CU for a post-doc. I also doubt that a post-doc will give me much negotiating power with CU. That said, several of these are at fairly prestigious schools, so I'm rethinking my former take on post-docs.
  • Since it seems unlikely I'll have any on-campus interviews before mid-February (I am still waiting to hear on several jobs I applied for off of the fall list, so it could happen), we're planning a trip to Mexico for Reading Week, which is CU's equivalent to Spring Break (except it is the 3rd week in February, which is most certainly not spring in CU Land). C was awarded a curriculum grant, and he needs to go to Mexico to take some photographs. I think the boys and I will join him and hang on the beach while he goes off photographing various locations
  • That's it for now. I think I will head to bed early. Bear had several immunizations today, so I except he'll be up in a while.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Happy 2010!

I've taken a break from everything the past few days--except my family. Classes start tomorrow (although I don't teach until Tuesday), and I'm not remotely prepared. I haven't done anything to prepare at all, and I do not guilty at all. Tonight I will enjoy my last evening off by ordering some holiday photos and going to bed early. I lead a rocking life, I know!

Happy 2010 to all my bloggy friends! I hope your holiday was a wonderful as mine was.