Saturday, June 3, 2017


So, I don't know whether I'm done blogging or not - I seem to come back to it every once in a while. And yet I have failed mightily this year.

I have been on sabbatical! It rocked. And was way less productive than hoped. But! I got certifications and permits re-upped, I wrote some stuff, I got some data, I fixed a lot of software/equipment crap, I cleaned my lab. I finally have a "recommended for funding" from NSF, so hey, even with nothing else accomplished, that is a win. I need to work slightly harder this summer to make up for some slackage, but it was overall very good for me and my sanity at the very least.

I have maintained my goal of getting back into a workout routine - every day that the kid has been in daycare and I haven't had to spend the entire day in something like a training workshop or a car-buying trip, I have exercised. And I am feeling a lot better as a result, with the hope that I can continue to prioritize this thing that has been missing since I had a baby. Also I have slept a lot more, and that helps a lot. I don't think I quite realized how much having a kid totally destroyed me. Until now.

Also, the kid is 3.5. If we all survive this age, I hope there are better things to come, because man, 3.5 is not a joke. 3.5 is keeping my alcohol consumption at levels higher than I would like. 3.5 is rough. And it doesn't help that the kid has been sick off and on recently, making all of us more miserable. She sleeps, at least. In ways that involve kicking me or randomly screaming, but sleep.

And now, family vacation week, because what says "you didn't really get as much work done as you should have this term but now it is summer" better than spending the entire week with a 3.5 year old who throws tantrums because of things like not going through a door first or wanting you not to have moved objects last night?*

*3.5 can be pretty cute, especially when "we are best friends".  Also of course I love my kid, but she has her moments.

Sunday, January 1, 2017



The fall was rough.  There was the election, which was its own thing.  But I was also doing extra teaching, stressing extra hard, sleeping as poorly as ever.  I made it through, but it was not the best few months. 

Since the term ended I've been either dealing with the kiddo (sick for a full week early in the month, then recently at home for break) or grant-writing.  And now that I'm almost done with both of those things I want another break just so I can get some down time.  Partner and I did get to a few movies and had a dinner out, so I can't complain too much, but I certainly don't feel either rested or prepared for January.

2016 was not as bad for us as it has been for many, but I can't say it was particularly good either. We're keepin' on: Partner is finishing up some school soon and moving on to a grad program if he has his way; our cat now has a permanent health issue in her old age that requires some maintenance and planning of travel on our part; and the baby isn't a baby any more, especially now that she's been pottying successfully for several weeks (and also 3 very soon!). 

2017 is going to be the me-year, if I get my act together.  I need to wean the kiddo, because our nursing relationship has become more antagonistic than beneficial.  I need to spend the time on myself to exercise regularly, because that has always been my sanity and my body-maintenance (and this was the year I finally got fed up with letting that slide).  I need to get some work done, finish some projects.  I have a sabbatical coming so that should be doable.  I also have a decent teaching schedule this winter, so no good excuses for staying up too late to work.  The kid is starting to finally sleep some of her nights all the way through, and I should be able to spend less of my free time catching up on naps for myself.  It's time to shift my schedule, enforce some boundaries.  I hope I can make it happen.

I would like to feel more connected to things I can do in the wider world, how to fight the general sense of foreboding for the planet and the country, but I somehow am still feeling too tied-down, too inward-looking.  I think that will change as we move into 2017, but I'm still searching for how I want to fight what I think is probably coming.  We'll see how that evolves.

Happy 2017!  I hope it has more to offer us than we anticipate. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

parent fails

The moment you realize that your child's insane behavior over the past day or so is completely explained by a physical ailment that you could have solved for them if you had been observant enough to realize the problem when the walk-in clinic was actually open.

Then of course this keeps your kid from sleeping, on a night when you are already exhausted from the last few nights when the toddler didn't sleep plus the basic weary Friday night blahs; the week was long and way too busy and the tired goes beyond the physical now.  So you are not as empathetic as you should be, or as patient, or as gentle.

And this is why I find myself, at least on this particular week, failing at parenthood.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

reflecting on stress

Hello, internet!

I basically fail at blogging these days, but I'm ok with that, because I find that having a job and a 2-year-old at the same time is a feat all alone, and I've been learning not to expect too much more of myself.

There was a summer.  It was productive in "learning instrumentation" ways but not in "writing articles" ways, and that second way is pretty important right about now.  I've been reflecting on the gap in my CV that has been staring me in the face for the past few years, and is even more noticeable now; I have a middle-authorship thing coming, lots of conference abstracts, an encyclopedia article.  Nothing all that useful.  And while I initially was like, yes, I have this baby, so too bad to my publication record, I have been thinking more recently that baby alone does not explain it (at least not for more than about 1.5 years).  I think having the kid when I was coming up for tenure was a fabulous plan that worked out great for my career stability, but the flip side is having a baby right when the megaload of service responsibilities hits you post-tenure.

Perhaps I have been thinking about this because in any given week I spend approximately 5-6 hours in meetings and then do prep work for meetings and then sign paperwork for students and organize shit for other people, all of which takes additional hours; I might estimate my admin load at 10 hours minimum, and more at some times of the year.  And to be honest, these are all activities that, individually, I do not hate.  The committees I am on and/or chair are useful, in my opinion, and I love the students, and I am type-A enough to enjoy organizing and being in charge of shit.   But then it all adds up and it's too much, because I also have to prep lecture and teach and spend time with my kid and eat food and sometimes use the bathroom.

So, I blame the combo of tenure and baby for the recent publication gap.  I have hope of clawing my way out of it, but of course as the term moves forward my chances seem to get slimmer and slimmer.

This term I had made myself some resolutions, primarily along the lines of eating better and finding time for exercise (both in need as direct repercussions of above-mentioned stress, which eats my workout time and leads me to psychological crutches).  I was doing ok for a little bit, but I think it's going to take some serious will power to make it happen from here on out.  I am not giving up quite yet, but we shall see.

Also, perhaps, I will stop neglecting the blog.  Again, who knows.  Stay tuned?

Friday, June 3, 2016


"I should get some kids so I can avoid doing service work!"  Ha ha, tenured white guy, Ha. Ha. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

spring sprung


April was crazy, with zero time to reflect.  The past week has been a little better, at least.  I've been teaching an immersion term, which has been a time killer.  This week grandma is visiting, which has been a nice shift and helpful in many ways (not least in the presence of her expert flower-arranging eye for belated pot-filling).  Kiddo is loving the extra attention, both from immersion term students and grandma.  I think next week when she is deprived of both (our time in residence is over for the immersion program) she will probably be cranky.

Kiddo is entering an annoying stage, in which a nap pushes bedtime to almost 11 and no nap leads to cranky afternoons and about 7:30 as bedtime.  Daycare won't keep her awake, so we can't just drop the nap entirely, and in any case she usually needs to nap the day after an early bedtime due to the earlier wake-up.  I'm sure this is a common thing at this age, but I am not a fan.  It's a pain that we can't plan activities since we don't know when she'll be sleeping, and I often want to go to sleep before she does on the later nights.

Kiddo also does not sleep through the night yet (parents, that is a YET, right, like...she will...right?  Some day?).  So.  There is that to contend with.

As the academic year winds down I think we are really hitting the "Partner has been a student for three years and we have a toddler in daycare" financial burn in a way that we did not before; I'm not sure why, maybe because daycare was part time prior to last summer and it got harder after that?  Maybe because a lot of things have come up recently that I would have liked to do (a friend's wedding abroad, going far away for Xmas to see my family, an extra conference panel) and I'm sad to have to keep passing.  Maybe because Partner is finishing up and looking at grad school.

I am glad he is doing stuff he loves, just like I got to do.  I don't want him to not do that.  I just wish I didn't let our inability to do things and pay for things get under my skin and make me feel so unqualified to adult. 

Friday, March 11, 2016


Break, it is upon us!  We have a giant list of things we have been neglecting, but they are mostly small, so I hope to have several days of down time.  I've already exercised two days in a row, and we haven't even started yet.

Last year this was our period of most intense baby illness, with a cold followed by UTI followed by intense antibiotic-related yeast and diarrhea.  It was the beginning of the end for cloth diapers, since the yeast took months to defeat and the kiddo's poor bum was so raw we went to cloth-unfriendly ointments to keep things manageable.  Kiddo was home from daycare for weeks last year, including the break, so we didn't get much down time at all and thank the gods that grandma visited early in the month.

This year it looks like we might actually be relatively healthy (all of us!) as we head into the break, and while I don't want to count too many chickens at this point, perhaps I will get to speak to my husband for more than 5 minutes when we are not also entertaining a toddler.