Saturday, February 26, 2011


Dear students: you are awesome for blowing off today's field trip, in numbers just significant enough that I didn't have to drive (I was the overload driver). I know I should probably not be happy about this, but it meant I had time to clean my house and do a billion loads of laundry, so, thanks!

While cleaning, I made our vacuum cleaner emit smoke, so I suspect it will be next on the replacement list. For today, however, new dishwasher = awesome. Thanks to Partner for his installation skillz.

When I get free return address labels, they say "Ms. Liberal Arts Lady". When Partner gets free return address labels, they say "Partner Lastname". What gives?

My mother-in-law (hello mother-in-law!) is passive-aggressively trying to get me to have a baby. Today's was in an email to Partner, in which she noted the importance of multivitamins to the pre-pregnant woman. Sigh.

Friday, February 25, 2011


Perhaps I should be more specific when I tell students that I can only meet with them at the beginning of a period. As in, let them know that I will be leaving at a certain time and they really need to be here before that time. Since I failed to do so today, I guess I'll sit in my office a little longer and share the following:

I recently published a book chapter, and this week I received a copy of the book. I like this system - my previous book chapter was in a conference proceedings and not only did I not get a copy of the book, I had to hunt down and borrow a copy of the book in order to make my own pdf of the final version of my paper. Apparently, official series are totally the way to go. This is probably not surprising news.

I'm running a field portion of a class this spring and I've already totally screwed my budget (or, more specifically, weather and gas prices have totally screwed my budget) to the point where I might not get paid very much in the end (my stipend comes out of the field fees). I'm not super pissed about this, since it is sort of a trial run and I'm excited to do the trip anyway, but if I can't standardize my budget I might not be able to feasibly run similar trips in the future, and that stinks.

Monday, February 21, 2011

to blog

One of the things I enjoy about keeping a blog is having the ability to read back through my own past. I was never very good at journaling, and I probably wouldn't write things down if they were just for my own benefit, but the creation of a personal archive has ended up being one of the primary motivations for my blogging. In some ways I don't care if you people out there are reading, because it's for me. And if reading this helps someone else along the way, that's a bonus.

Not to completely dismiss my readers. The other major reason I've kept the blog is its function as an entry-point into the blogger community, which has done a lot to make me feel less alone over the past few years. It's really nice to hear from people in similar situations. But that's a different post.

In my usual state of late-night uber-reflectiveness (hooray for post-weekend insomnia), I read through some of my posts from this time last year. I am particularly ashamed to note that I have been more negative recently, and that I was much more reflective regarding my job and academia in general a year ago. Some of this might be due to my being here longer - things become normal instead of bloggable and interesting. I think some of it also reflects dissatisfaction with our current state; Partner had hoped to find something more suitable by now, and I get to feel guilty for being the one with the satisfying work. But our timing was also pretty horrible, so we should probably just be happy he has a job at all... which also makes me feel guilty, since I obviously am not appreciating what we have when I'm worrying about finding something better.

Guilt spirals are my specialty.

Does this count as negativity? Maybe. I should try to be positive. Like focusing on the fact that I get to take my students West next month, to one of my favorite places. There's a job perk! I should also stop venting my frustrations onto the internet, most likely, unless they might be useful or instructive to others. Which is probably not the case very often.

I will say that I have been impressed by current events both abroad and domestic, as I am generally a pessimist and have very little faith in humanity's ability to do what is best for itself. I like that I am being shown that I am wrong, in many different places.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

to the pain

Oh, late 80's movies, I will always love you.

Tonight I made it all the way though the P90X Plyometrics workout, by working at approximately 2/3 the speed of the crazy DVD people whenever the activity involved both feet leaving the floor at the same time. Considering that my first attempt left me light-headed, I think this is significant progress. We'll see how the resulting pain (tomorrow) compares to my first attempt, before I call this a true success story. At least I now have a worthy fitness goal: complete Plyometrics at the demonstrated speed without passing out.

Speaking of pain, I was recently informed that I may need a new roof. Given the youthful nature of my current roof, this is sad news, and I'm awaiting proof of replicability before moving forward. Still, I am braced for some painful information in the near future. Savings, I quite enjoyed our time together, and I hope that someday I may have the pleasure of your company again.

Friday, February 18, 2011


My google tells me that at this time of year, lots of people hit my site because they're looking for advice on campus interviews.

I've previously given some advice based on my experiences with search committees regarding job letters and on-campus interviews at small liberal arts colleges, but you should also check out the job search advice aggregator over at Fumbling Towards Tenure Track. Not all relevant to SLAC jobs, but a good resource nevertheless!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Last night Partner and I realized that, between our two schedules, this coming weekend would be our only completely free weekend between now and early May. Seriously. I know that running field trips accounts for a lot of this, but Partner also has his mandatory six-day weeks during certain times of the year. Therefore, because we are good little children, we will be driving to see Partner's family. If giving up my only weekend for months doesn't get me daughter-in-law points, nothing will.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


It's hard to believe that so much can go wrong before 9 am. Today is not a good day.

To the editors of the online journal where my manuscript is still in limbo: please find new fucking editors when old ones retire. Thank you for convincing me to never write for "educational" publications ever again.

To the previous owners of my house: I hate you for making cheap decisions. I want to hunt you down and punch you in the face.

To an institution (you know who you are): Please make your fucking hiring decisions already, so I can know whether my husband will be unemployed next month, which will determine a number of decisions that I need to make soon.

To my readers: I hope you're ok with a lot of cursing today. If not...well, too late.

Monday, February 14, 2011


The snow, it melts! I'm not ready for Spring. At least in the sense of the academic schedule. No! I need more time!

Partner wins at Valentine's Day, since he got me a very sweet card and I am still trying to decide what to run to the store and buy for a hopefully fancy-ish dinner. The fact that I am bad at making up recipes and I did not prep anything means that I am fairly limited in my options. I hope he will be happy with a good dessert.

I've been good lately about getting in whatever exercise I can manage - like the half-hour I talked myself into this morning. Better than nothing!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

travel dilemmas

Part 1.

I already have the entry-level elite status on airline A. Do I fly airline A, given the small chance that I might be upgraded for free during the long international flight, or do I fly airline B, given that this trip would push me into the entry-level elite status on airline B?

These are the questions that arise when you are forced to fly the cheapest option, no matter what, every time you fly.

Part 2.

Do I cancel one more day of class, making it a full week, if in doing so I get one more day abroad and time to adjust prior to a very short workshop? Keep in mind that I'm the only -ologist at SLAC, and I'm teaching entry-level -ology, which means I can't really get a guest speaker. I could show a movie, however helpful that might be.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


I finally had time for a run this weekend, and discovered that my lung capacity is in the crapper. I guess that's what I get for traveling so much, and for adding so much weight training to my schedule prior to the travel.

I had a paper published last week that grew out of my undergraduate thesis, and therefore represents more than ten years of (sporadic) work. Here's hoping that it remains my maximum field-to-publication span.

I cleaned my desk in my home office this weekend, and cleaned out our home filing cabinet. We now have a giant bag full of shredded paper to recycle and I can actually use my desk without reaching around piles of random stuff. I feel so productive!

I'm almost unpacked, and only have one more load of field laundry to do. That might be a record.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


For the first time, I feel traveled-out. Too much movement. While on the plane this time around, I was thinking about how ten years ago I would get a rush from seeing new places, I would feel awed and grateful just to be standing in country X. I don’t think I’ve felt that in a long time, in at least two years, and my two-years-ago awe was the result of seeing a particular place that had been on my list since I was a little kid. A place where I now take students every year; a place where I’m no longer excited to go and which is starting to seem like a chore instead of an opportunity. How sad that having the chance to see something amazing every year is now just a thing on my list, like attending a faculty meeting.

This year in the field I was forced to clean out my GPS unit, which is completely full. This was my first field unit, the one I used throughout my dissertation, and since I’m currently working in my dissertation area I’d like to keep those points available. I was therefore dumping things from other projects, like my summer field work, which will be getting its own dedicated GPS unit. However, a few of my points are from places I went as an undergrad, or as a grad student, and I took the points just to be able to say “I was here!” A lot of these places were my first “I can’t believe I’m standing here” moments, and I may not visit many of them again. I will probably be keeping them in my GPS unit, for now, at least. I have to wonder when I’ll be so jaded that I erase them in order to record one more piece of research-related data.

This process of GPS cleaning just made it more obvious that I’ve traveled too much. Free trip somewhere? I have to check my schedule. I may say no, just because I’m feeling overstretched. And I’m a bit tired of monthly jet-lag. Everywhere new just seems like a variation on places I’ve been before, or it’s a belt-notch. If you count the last eight months, for example, I’ve been on four continents. I think I finally understand the frequent flier mile-junkies; after too many miles, you have to find SOMETHING to keep you interested.

Realizing all this had made me really sad. How do I get back that love of place, of standing on dirt I’ve never been connected to before? My current trip home has not helped, since the process of getting out of the field and getting home has not been easy. I'm not all that excited about my next scheduled plane ride.

Perhaps most importantly, can I use all this ennui to justify a cruise to Antarctica? There’s a place that has always been on my list, and which I suspect would at least temporarily topple my bad attitude.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I was forced to leave the field early, but am now stuck due to crazy blizzards. I have, however, made it back to the States, and hope to get home at least a few days before my original return date. Crazy blizzards, you suck. Also, I'm amazed by how shitty big US airports are, in both customer service and navigability/signage, compared to European airports. Go Europe! I'm also currently working with the European carrier that brought me to the states to pay for my stay until I can fly on. I'm not sure that would happen with a US Carrier - but I hope I don't have to find out!