Thursday, November 22, 2012


I have lots and lots to be thankful for.  But today is not Thanksgiving in CU Land.  Thanksgiving was in October here.  Wild Man had school today.  Archer had to teach.  Bear, George, and I went to the park.  We had chicken, broccoli, and mac and cheese for dinner.  We didn't even have dessert.  For us, it was an ordinary day.  And that is okay with us.  I have had to explain this to every family member who called today though.  I was happy to talk to everyone, but after the fourth phone call it was a bit annoying to have to explain yet again that "Nope, it isn't Thanksgiving here."  We've lived here for 3+ years.  I think people would have figured this out by now.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


It is the time of year at CU where faculty are required to submit their CVs to be reviewed on their annual performance.  Although I'm on leave I am submitting my materials because I've heard that people who don't submit materials (even though they aren't required to for a given year) are often given bad scores.  I accomplished a lot last year, so I don't want a bad score. 

As I was stealing a few minutes to work on these materials I received an email from one of the admin assistants in the department in which I was formerly appointed (you know, the one that screwed me over).  The dean informed her that I am to submit my materials to that department to be reviewed for last year.  Um, excuse me?  Why would I want to do that?  How is that supposed to be fair?  Seriously?  So I will do as I'm told, but I am also very familiar with the grievance process.  And I am more than prepared to file a grievance if I get an unfair review.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The sun is out

I'm sitting at my kitchen table while George naps (have I mentioned that I finally have a baby who will put himself to sleep) on his activity mat, and the sun is streaming through the kitchen window, casting a lovely pattern on the floor.  I've had coffee and breakfast (both accomplishments given the way the last few days have gone for us).  I've answered emails.  I've done some research on Christmas presents.  I've started drafting a CFP for a panel I want to propose for a major conference in my field.  I've finished an editing task that was hanging over my head.  I'm feeling better and more like me today.  Who knows how long it will last, but I will enjoy it while I can.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I'm not good . . .

at asking for help.  I've decided just to throw that out there.  I've been struggling the past few days, for a variety of reasons.  I'm not sleeping well (even though George is); I'm getting over a cold; I'm stressed out about work and extended family issues.  On top of that, Archer was out of town all weekend.  My niece, Brown-Eyed Girl, came to help me, but still, I was doing most things on my own.  I'm currently weepy and edgy and have been for a few days now.  Archer's immediate response is to ask if I have PPD, and while I do appreciate that he is aware of that possibility, I do think I'm entitled to a few bad days.  I managed a longish nap today (about 1 1/2 hours), so I'm not as edgy.  But still, I'm not feeling like myself. 

There is something about November for me.  I seem to go through something like this every November, which I'm only realizing as I type this.  November in CU Land is horrible--grey, dark, cold.  With the time change, it is getting dark around 4:45, which is just terrible.  We've not had much sun for weeks, and George and I have been cooped up in the house most days.  I think I need to be more proactive and find things that will get the two of us out of the house a bit more, and I definitely need to get out of the house on the days that Bear is home with us.  I don't think this post is particularly coherent, but oh well.  I'm not feeling particularly coherent today.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Job Frustration

I met with the chair of one of the departments that I am appointed in.  Although I know her, she is new to the chair's position, and she was on leave when I was appointed.  Thus, we hadn't spoken since I'd been appointed as my leave had already started by the time she got back from her leave.  It was an interesting meeting.  She gave me some tips on securing tenure, took a look at my CV, and reassured me I don't have to change my research area.  She then told me what I more or less already knew: I will be teaching the huge introductory survey often.  I'm not thrilled with this, but whatever.  I can handle it.  I then told her about the travel course I designed and received $17,000 to run from a grant that I worked on for several months last fall.  She was pleased, but a bit taken aback.  There is, apparently, no way the class can work in this department.  Long story short: the class is an underwater basket weaving class, this isn't an underwater basket weaving department.  In fact, I am not appointed in a department that teaches underwater basket weaving.  It seems that neither of these departments is particularly interested in me teaching this class.  It also seems I will be having a long conversation with the dean about this particular situation. 

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Do it!

Go vote!  I could say that I don't care who you vote for, but that isn't entirely honest.  I do care more that you vote!

Fixing things and getting tenure

At the conference I attended several weeks ago, several panelists addressed what they see as major problems in the academy.  The biggest issue seemed to be how does one address these problems and still get tenure? The problems are many, as many of you know.  In a single conference, I attended panels considering the problems of a specific kind of scholarship, digital publications, and service.  Each of these things is particularly relevant to me as I want to get into the specific-kind-of-scholarship, I have submitted an essay to a digital journal, and I do a lot of service (my two departments are small, so this is a necessity).  Often these things aren't given a lot of merit in the academy, for a whole lot of reasons--some valid, some not.  Everyone I spoke with agreed that these things need to be considered/addressed differently.  Essentially, the academy is outdated, and we're all operating under two models, so to speak.  We work under the more modern model in our daily lives, but when it comes to getting tenure, we then operate under a model that is about 15 years out of date.  Promotion and Tenure committees are outdated across the board.  We all want to get tenure, so we play the game, even though we disagree with the game.  There weren't a lot of ideas about how to fix the game.  The primary one was this: get tenure and then start advocating for your junior colleagues.  I appreciate that idea, but it isn't the most expedient solution.  It also seems that once many of us get tenure we'll be ready to do the things we want to do rather than take on advocacy roles (this was an issue that was brought up in at least two panels).  So this leaves us with no real solution. 

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but I have been thinking about it a lot.  I am in a non-traditional appointment, so I'd like to think I could do some non-traditional research.  I think that would be valued within my home departments, but I'm not sure how it would be received within my faculty and university at large.  It seems like there must be a way to get everyone on the same page, but that also seems to be a rare thing within an academic institution.


In the last few weeks, I've been labeled in at least three different ways.  My mother-in-law reminded me that I was not born in Home State, effectively labeling me an outsider (she did not use that word, but given the circumstances of the conversation and our complicated relationship, I feel certain she was subtly reminding me that I am different than her, that I am still an outsider in the family).  A few weeks later a blog friend Lilian labeled me as an immigrant, which I am, but I had never really considered my immigrant status before (in contrast to Yetta, Lilian didn't mean to offend me in any way, and she didn't).  Finally, Archer told me I present myself as less American, as more comfortable raising our children in a "foreign" country than he is (I placed quotations around foreign because I struggle with seeing Canada as completely foreign to the U.S., which is likely a subject for another post).  I've been considering all three of these labels as well as why we need to label one another.

First, I want to say that I understand why labels are necessary, to some degree (and while I could theorize about this till the cows come home, I'm not going to).  I do not, however, like to have people attempt to define my identity for me.  As my blog description states, I see myself as a work-in-progress. 

*I'm going to publish this now even though it isn't finished, as I'm not able to finish posts as quickly as I'd like lately. . .