Wednesday, September 29, 2010

calmness resumes

A friend of mine was intuitive enough to figure out that the straps on the dress brought it up just enough to make it tighter (held around a slightly wider portion of my ribcage). I'm having some friends bring the necessary equipment to chop the straps if I decide I don't want to deal with them. It should still be ok. Maybe I can tuck them in - they're fairly small/thin.

My temporary bridal insanity has ended. Note to future brides: don't let alterations people put straps on a strapless dress and then send you home without a final fitting, even if they insist that "they shouldn't make any difference".

I finally got an evening with Partner today, as he got back at a reasonable hour for once I didn't have any evening responsibilities. I even got in a workout. A good Wednesday, as long as I can avoid thinking about the fact that I have one more weekend to clean my house before both of our families descend upon us.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Tonight Partner asked me if I was "going to be like this" until the wedding. He said it half-jokingly, as if asking that question might make it not come true. He said it knowing that it was true and his only defense was sarcasm.

Tonight we tried on the wedding clothes, and I found that a dress I picked up on Wednesday night and which seemed fine at the time is now kinda tight around the chest. Not necessarily visibly, but definitely from the standpoint of obtaining adequate oxygen. I'm wondering WTF this means, as I did have the lady put on straps post-fitting (to guard against my inability to wear strapless without pulling on it) but otherwise have done nothing different.

Semi-panic: do I have it taken out? Do I assume that it will be fine, since it was a few days ago? Do I try to lose approximately 1/4 inch between now and then in order to have enough space?


Saturday, September 25, 2010


I have survived this week - we'll see how it goes next week. Today I had all kinds of plans to work on my grant, but it looks like instead I caught up on some sleep and will now be in grading jail for the rest of the day. I'm loving this cooler weather that has finally rolled in, and at least I can work at home with the windows open and take care of some laundry.

Saturday is also nice because it means I get to see Partner no matter what his work schedule. Lately he's been rolling in with just enough time to eat and get to bed, and often I've missed him completely because I had to be somewhere in the evening. It sucks to live with someone and still only see them when one of you is asleep. Hooray for Sundays - even if next week will probably be the same lame pattern.

One of the students in my freshman class referred to a "General Custard" in an essay. Hilarious and depressing, all at once.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

in which my body begins to degrade

I will never get a six-pack pre-tenure.

I haven't had the time to work out since Sunday, and it looks like Friday will be my next window of opportunity. Unless you count mowing my lawn, in which case on Monday I did get some exercise. I'm particularly peeved because I've been doing this P90X thing, and I was really doing well keeping to the schedule (plus getting results, so I don't like being set back by life). Boo academia. I knew this would happen, but that doesn't really help me deal with it.

I am officially taking on too much crap. A friend of mine suggested I learn how to say no. My Chair suggested I might want to say no. I did not say no. I'm an idiot.

Monday, September 20, 2010

making grades

Stupid cable networks, changing their late evening schedules so I can no longer grade papers in front of hours of Scrubs reruns. Damn you!

Today is the first big return of graded papers to my freshman class. I'm sure some of them will no longer be as happy with me as they have been. Yippee.

This past weekend: Oktoberfest. This past weekend: didn't get enough work done. Coincidence? Hmm.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

students and email

I know a lot of people have off-limit hours during which they don't respond to student emails. Many people only email a few times a day. I'm more of a "see what's in the box every time I switch activities" kind of person, which I know is not as efficient but sometimes lets me jump on things that come in, in time to help someone out or benefit myself. I'm not so much worried about my time spent on email as I'm thinking about the fact that I generally respond to student emails whenever they show up, and I wonder if I'm cultivating this "immediate gratification" attitude in my students as a result.

My reasoning is that I tend to lose track of email if I don't respond within a reasonable amount of time (a few hours, at most). Things otherwise get buried and I never get back to them. I want my students to feel valued, and one of my personal pet peeves is people who don't reply to/who lose track of emails, so I try to respond in a timely manner. Often, that means I have to do it as soon as it shows up.

People tell me that I should just make email folders and sort things to be dealt with later. I really think that I spend the same amount of time replying to a student's question as I would filing that email into a folder somewhere, so I figure I should just reply and get it over with.

What it all comes down to is that I just wrote back to a student at 11:45 at night...and I can imagine that some other professor someday will be cursing me when a student shows up one morning complaining that their midnight emails had not yet received a response.

Am I the enemy?

bits of today

I'm secretly hoping that one of my potential honors students changes their mind, because I didn't anticipate three, and I think three might kill me.

My office is right across a small hallway from my Chair's office. This means that even when my door is only open a crack, I can still hear what's going on at Chair's office. I've noticed that students who come by looking for Chair tend to knock on the door, wait a few seconds, and then TRY THE DOORKNOB. Seriously students? So, if the door is shut but the knob turns, what, you're going to walk in and apologize that you opened the door when the occupant of that office had obviously already ignored your knock? WTF? I'm tempted to unlock my door and leave it shut, then pretend to be in the middle of something like putting on my shirt when a student barges in. I won't really do this, but it would serve them right.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

to publish

The Chronicle has a short summary, "Let's Stop Publishing Research Papers" of a paper making a version of that argument (maybe more accurately "let's start supplementing research papers more rigorously"?).

Don't these people go to conferences? Isn't that the point of said conferences? Maybe my little subfield is weird in the fact that it's small enough for me to keep up with most of the major things going on - arguably not the case for everyone.

Also, I think there's something significant to be said for a plea to the scientific community to review in a timely manner, or refuse to review in a timely manner. My last paper was almost a full year in review due to people not doing reviews. Say no if you don't have the time. This wasn't the highest-impact journal in the land, but it was something well respected in the field; well enough that it should have a much faster turnover rate (and yeah, the editor wasn't particularly great, but there can sometimes be some room for improvement in our collegial contributions).

I should probably just be grateful that I'm not working on stuff that changes on a monthly basis.

pleasantly surprised

I expected this term to be the worst incarnation of a Term of Doom. Here is what I'm doing:

- teaching a half-credit overload
- teaching a new freshman writing class
- getting married
- co-coordinating a conference session (but it was combined with something else, so my workload went down significantly)
- supervising two honors students and two senior research students
- supervising three independent study students
- writing my first NSF grant
- stupidly expecting to get any data analysis done
- serving on three faculty committees
- stepping back into my role as the primary household member who does all the cooking and shopping and cleaning, as Partner goes into his overtime-heavy portion of the year
- trying to actually exercise 6 out of every 7 days

I'm probably just being overly optimistic at this point, but so far...not as horrible as expected. Why? Well, mainly I think it's because my lecture course is a repeat (lectures are already written!), and my new freshman class is CAKE compared to writing lectures for a technical science course. I can handle discussion and writing review; much less effort than putting together lecture slides. My overload is also a repeat, mostly discussion and grading.

Considering that the grant-writing is just beginning, I'm probably still going to suffer this term. But now I have a little bit of hope that I might survive the experience.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I had forgotten, stupidly, that I can't expect to be able to print anything after the working day is over, as the building printer is a piece of crap that jams immediately upon being left alone without the faculty secretary. And then the queue of print jobs just sits there, waiting, all night long.

So glad I need to print about 60 pages of stuff before 9 am.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


- Was informed of some "unspoken" pre-tenure "expectations", with no idea whether the source of this info is correct and no way to verify it. These expectations are not particularly terrible things to have to do, but still annoyingly unspoken and unverified.

- Was advised by some first-year students that my bike lock is far too flimsy, as they've "heard that there are a lot of bicycle thefts around here!"

- Was invited to serve on an admittedly extremely minor committee in service to one of my primary academic societies.

- Found out that I can buy a poster commemorating the publication of my recent article. Really? Do people buy these things?

- Successfully obtained our Marriage License

Saturday, September 4, 2010

it begins

The first faculty meeting, the first advising meeting, and the annual "feed your freshman advisees" night are now past: officially the beginning.

Wedding dress alterations: officially almost as expensive as the dress itself. Leave it to me to buy a dress with four different layers that need to be hemmed (and to not notice this feature beforehand).

Also leave it to me to start having field trip cravings, particularly for the far western US, just as the term is beginning. At least the weather is finally nice in Small Town!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

this n' that

I have paid the wedding photographer.... and thus begins the great "emptying of the savings account" of 2010. At least we are pretty much set in terms of wedding stuff at this point. My dress even arrived a full month early, along with a friendly "come get your damned dress right now" email from the store, where they apparently can't tell the difference between September and August.

I have also just about finished my contribution to our bathroom remodel; once Partner puts up some woodwork there will be a little more painting, but otherwise it's all him, and it will therefore probably wait until December as he goes into super overtime for a few months. Super overtime that will pay for our wedding, so I'm not complaining.

What else is new? I'm baking cupcakes, at 10 pm, for a new student event on Saturday just because I couldn't think of when I'd get another chance to do it between now and then. I'm still completely unprepared for next week, and I get to spend half of tomorrow in meetings before partaking in some enforced socialization with my peers.

Oh, beginning of the term, no matter how long it takes for you to show up, it's always too soon.