summer plans

So, my London-less summer. I didn’t have enough students interested in the fall and, given the trauma of last summer’s program, I decided to call it early enough not to stress myself out. I had a great time with the students, don’t get me wrong, but the admin and the personal really took a toll on me. So, I’m stateside this summer for the first time in five years. 

What to do!

Well, the obvious answer is get my ass in gear to do some writing. I have a book to pull together by the fall, so editing the authored chapters and writing my own should keep me plenty busy.  I have a manuscript hanging over my head that just needs to go. If I could get that submitted, I would be a happy woman. 

There’s some admin work scheduled for May which, luckily, I will be paid to do. It won’t cover the mortgage but every bit helps in a paycheck-less summer (no London, no salary). Here’s to actually asking for something rather than grinning and bearing it – another reason I love (one of) my department head: make a case for something and it’s taken seriously. 

I have a conference in July, so that means prepping two presentations. Since I’m the chair of the organization, that also means lots of admin work to make sure everything is set before lots of face time at the conference itself. I’m going to be exhausted afterward but I like this conference so it’s worth it. 

I might plant some tomatoes. I was thinking about getting two big planters to put by my patio for aesthetics and tastiness. Maybe I’ll plant some okra, too; I love that stuff. Neighbor Friend and I are going to replace our fence – well, we aren’t but we have to coordinate with the people who are. I need to clean out my flower beds and wash my windows and find someone to paint my trim – because let’s face it, I’d rather not. I have a list a mile long of books I want/need to read so it would be nice to work through those. 

And I will be returning to Home State several times. I’m already scheduled for a week in May that includes Mother’s Day, my birthday and Cool Friend’s birthday. I just bought tickets to a concert there in June for a band I adore. July is Newest Niece’s birthday, and she’s already asked me to come to her birthday party (of course I will!). Going back in August is pushing it, given the start of the semester and the other trips back, but three times is pretty good. 

Yes, I freely admit TA is driving the frequency. We aren’t in a relationship, by the way, and we definitely aren’t dating but we do enjoy each other’s company.  Maybe if we saw each other more frequently (and we didn’t have so much fun in bed), this would have burned out by now but we don’t (we do) and it hasn’t. So, there’s that. 

The funny thing is, I would totally date other guys if I had the opportunity. PRU is a wasteland when it comes to eligible and/or interested guys so there’s no dilution, as it were, of TA’s appeal despite the distance. That may sound awful – I do like the guy! – but I really would appreciate the chance to enjoy my single-ness while I still have some appeal to the opposite sex.  

So, a full summer, even without London. The key is getting work done. It needs to happen so that’s the focus. TA is the bonus inbetween. 

am I done yet?

The semester may not be finished but I certainly am. I want to sit on my sofa to read fun books and watch tv and take naps and update FB. Don’t worry, I’m not depressed; I’m tired. It’s been a long semester, with a fair amount of ups and downs, and I’m ready to be done with it. Not because it was bad, mind you, just very tiring. 

Does this mean I’m getting old? Heaven forbid. 

fun has definitely departed

Cool Friend and I had a good weekend.  We laughed lots; we talked into the wee hours; we pampered our toes; we watched a romantic comedy; we shopped; we drank wine.  We also went to a fantastic concert that had us both dancing in the aisles and singing at the top of our lungs.

Today, it was back to the grind.  I managed to get through a set of papers, a few scholarship applications and a student’s methodology section – which should really amount to much more, given the number of hours that took.  Grading just takes so long; I can’t keep myself focused and I write too many comments and I agonize over the grade.  Really, if I could just plow through papers, I think I’d be a much happier person.

On the personal side of things, I had an optometrist appointment this morning.  My eyes are slowly leading me to reading glasses but I’m not quite there yet – and I’m in no hurry to get there, I assure you.  I did, however, decide to get new regular glasses, and I found a great pair of frames that will make it easier to choose them over the contacts.  I took the time to write and mail some correspondence this evening: birthday cards, note to my sister, postcard to my niece.  I’m usually dashing something off as I stand by the door to the garage so I can mail a card the day before the actual event, so this is a huge step for me.

I went to the gym this evening, too.  I won’t say that I enjoy my time on the treadmill but I do appreciate that I’m making myself do it.  I suppose there’s a sort of satisfaction in the accomplishment.  Whether my irregularly completed 30 minutes on the treadmill make any difference to my weight, they certainly can’t hurt my general wellbeing.

fun has arrived 

I just got home with Cool Friend in tow! 

Thanks to a really late flight, we have two full days together; weekends are a little ill-defined when you have the jobs we do. Tomorrow (or today, as it were), we plan to have lunch out, wander about downtown and get pedicures, as that’s our thing when we’re together. Tomorrow night we’re going to a concert, ostensibly the reason she’s here (“Hey, I got us tickets to a concert this spring! Now you have a reason to come out here!” – yes, I’m reason enough but I don’t live in a particularly visitable place). Saturday, we might go to a movie or go shopping or watch tv or eat ice cream out of the container: anything goes. Then it’s back to the airport Sunday. 

Too short but it’s quality over quantity. Plus I’ll see her again next weekend. And three weeks from now. I hate to admit a man is somewhat responsible for these frequent visits but it’s true. She introduced us, so my visits to see TA are natural extensions of my visits to see her. It’s kind of nice to have an excuse to spend more time together!

is it the end of the semester yet?

April is indeed the cruelest month, because you can see the light at the end of the tunnel as you realize just how far away it still is.  I have much to accomplish in the next month, and it’s simply not going to be pretty.

Tis the season of defenses.  Yesterday was the first; I have another tomorrow and two more next week, with another one postponed until the summer.  I’ve realized, working with my various students, that I’m a pretty good advisor – if you’re a proactive student.  If you’re not, I suck.  There’s just too much going on to keep track of all my advisees’ needs; if they schedule meetings or send emails or catch me in the hallway, I am nothing but helpful but they simply can’t expect me to keep track of them when I’m barely keeping track of myself.  I’m split down the middle as to whether to feel guilty about that or not.

We have three more weeks before exams, and it shows: the natives are restless.  Why it takes until the end of the semester for them to worry about their performance in class, I don’t know.  Again, I try to keep tabs on which students are falling behind and I’m typically pretty good about giving the swift kick in the pants when needed but I haven’t been at my best this semester.  I don’t know if it’s a matter of teaching new-to-me classes or working with different students or being too busy.  Regardless, I have a handful of students who are just now coming to the realization that the odds are not in their favor and the resulting conversations have been excessively tearful.

Grading.  So behind.  That sums up that situation nicely.

My book project is coming together nicely: The contract arrived today!  It’s quite exciting, while also being somewhat terrifying, as I realize how much work needs to happen in a relatively short amount of time.  I have chapters to read and authors waiting on the chapter feedback, and I need to finish that sooner rather than later to maintain the necessary schedule.  I’m lucky, in that this is really interesting work – because why would I propose a boring book? – so I do enjoy reading and commenting, but it’s still work.

Obviously, this is front and center, but I have other projects that could use my attention, too.  I haven’t done any writing in at least three months.  The will is there but the flesh is weak: I just can’t muster the energy to start working with data after everything else that needs doing.  And I really shouldn’t say I haven’t been writing; my email output surely equates to a Dickens-sized novel by now.

And the departmental admin wants my book order for the fall.  Surely, you jest.  Ask me in two months and I might have a clue.  Right now, I need to finish reading the two books I’m teaching next week.