Friday, April 29, 2011


Partner is home from work again with back issues, which is something I can't help him with at all and is therefore hard for me to handle. It's also frustrating that this is exactly why he was planning to quit his job, but he isn't quitting quite yet and so he just has to wait it out and then go back to work. Or, at least that is the current plan - enough of this and retirement will be coming early. Says I.

I've been a little depressed lately by my research progress. A few projects have been started and then fallen through, others are well on their way but not at publishable stages yet. Yet others are in the planning stages. I've maintained a decent publication rate thus far, but I think it's going to be falling off soon if things don't start panning out more quickly - and given the fact that my summer fieldwork has been canceled for this year, I'm not sure how likely that might be.

I think part of my problem is that my comparison point is graduate school. What had I accomplished by the end of year three? I know that's not the best comparison, but I also don't think it's so horrible for the first few years considering that my first few years of grad school were spent taking classes. And from a publication perspective, I'd be behind right now.

I just have to keep reminding myself that having the summer at home is a benefit, since I'll have the time to write and solve this problem before it even begins.

Monday, April 25, 2011


I'm trying to wean myself away from instantly answering student emails, especially when they come in at night. I'm ok with being available, but I think that after-dinner responses go a little too far, and I don't want students to start expecting me to be available whenever they want my help.

This of course breaks down in so many situations that it barely exists as a rule: if it's the night before an exam or assignment due-date, if the student is already doing so horribly that I want to try to help them, if the student is awesome and therefore deserving of my help, if I know I won't be online until late the next morning, etc. etc.

It's the thought that counts, right?

Friday, April 22, 2011


I'm having a snarky Friday. Therefore I can provide this list of my very favorite things from this week.

- Students blaming me when they leave work so last-minute that they can't possibly finish it on time. Specifically, being asked, "It's kind of last minute for that, isn't it?" I AGREE, student! It IS kind of last minute for that. Indeed.

- Being asked to work for free.

- Not receiving responses to time-sensitive questions.

- Having to walk across campus in the rain.

Luckily I have some awesome upperclassmen who have been, unknowingly, making my week a little bit better by actually appreciating their education. Thanks awesome students.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I really, really, really need to figure out why I'm having trouble falling asleep at night. I don't wake up much, but of late melatonin and some post-midnight time-frames have been necessary for me to fall asleep in the first place. And because I try not to work too close to bedtime, the extra hours are not increasing my productivity. I've decided that for tomorrow I will be ditching my attempt at a morning workout (at least I got one in today!) and instead will be sleeping in a bit. Damn you, insomnia.

I have some funding that I need to finish spending, and I'm having a hard time narrowing down my purchasing needs. Am I better off buying things that would make my life easier yet are expensive and are not completely necessary, or should I buy equipment I don't yet have that may or may not end up being necessary for side projects in the future? It's a tricky question, and one that will probably be determined by my mood whenever I happen to be flipping through equipment catalogs, and/or current sale items. It's a good problem to have, I guess.

We recently booked ourselves a vacation in Las Vegas during this coming summer - given that we are usually drawn to camping-based vacations, this is a new one for us and one encouraged by some friends who really love Vegas. We figured we should at least do it once. Anyone out there who also loves Vegas, we would appreciate suggestions of where to go and what to see.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

workin' it

I had a really good three days of hard workouts, plus yard work, late last week and into the weekend. I was even riding my bike to work since the weather was decent. This week we're back to winter weather and I've been way too tired both in the morning and after work to try to exercise. I hate going more than one day without a workout during the week, but there are times when it can't be avoided. I've been wondering whether this trend of hard weekends and slacker weeks is somehow a bad way to exercise - presumably doing something is better than doing nothing, but am I mis-training my muscles or otherwise doing harm with this all-or-nothing cycle?

It probably doesn't matter - if I had the energy or the time for a 20-minute run, I would be doing it, so there's no point in wondering what if.

Monday, April 18, 2011

vendor fail

Our wedding photographer was great pre-wedding, and did a good job the day of as well, as far as we were concerned. Since then, he's been less than fantastic, notably post-payment. A few months back we ordered some prints from his overpriced gallery, and waited two months before finally asking him why our order had not moved past "submitted". He fixed it, and we got prints a few weeks later. Ok, arguably his statement that his automated system had failed us might have been the truth. I was not overly annoyed.

Today I emailed him to see when we might receive our disc of images, the final thing we've been waiting on. He claims to have sent it months ago, and wonders why the postal system has failed. Granted, he does say he'll be making us a new disc, but two crappy excuses make me think this guy is no better than my slacker students, who are so positive that they sent me their papers via email and can't imagine why I haven't gotten them yet. Get your shit together dude, at this point I would be calling my students into my office.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


I did not get enough work done this weekend - in fact, most of the work done this weekend is the work I'm about to start. However, I did clean my house, which was at a point where sinks were about to start moving around on the power of their bacterial hordes. I also got some yard work done, stocked up on herbs from the local garden store, and planted lettuce and tomato seeds (I know, I am late to the gardening party, it being mid April now).

Good weekend, over all, including a lot of time with Partner even though he worked half of Saturday.

The past week has been fairly good to me - I caught up on grading and, more importantly, found out I received a fellowship I had applied for that will pay my way out of the country during my pre-tenure sabbatical next year. I'm hoping that Partner will actually enjoy living in a foreign country for a few months - we will have internet access, at least. I plan to get myself some language tutoring, which he may join in on just for the fun of it.

I have a lot of little things to get done that are not super important or very time-sensitive, and so they have been falling to the end of my list every day. Soon I will be swimming in a to-do list made up of tiny little obligations, which itself is an intimidating thought. I need to start crossing things off, even if they are annoying and minor issues.

Monday, April 11, 2011


I just graded a paper that I'm fairly sure was written under the influence of some sort of hallucinogenic drug. I can only hope so, for the student's sake.

I have a million hours' worth of grading to do; instead of grading yesterday I did yard work. Yard work that really needed to get done. But I'm paying for it now, and will probably keep paying for it all week. Exciting times.

I am officially not going to be in the field this summer. Partner is happy about this, and I am looking forward to SLEEPING during the summer and having a regular shower, not to mention air conditioning. But I haven't had my summer to myself for years, and I've forgotten how to manage that much free time. Right now I'm busy planning trips and deciding which parts of my house to paint - I need to back off those plans, probably, and schedule in at least one manuscript and maybe a grant rewrite, plus lab work. I think I need someone to make me a schedule, because I don't want to make myself work that hard now that I have the summer open!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

home again

I made it home, despite numerous delays. Good thing I didn't actually plan to help my TA today, because I would never have gotten to lab on time. Now, ten billion potential plans for the summer, to be decided right now! It should be a fun weekend. To recap the past week a bit:

- This new continent I had never been to is pretty cool - the few hundred km I visited, at least. I'm sure that's representative.

- I was approached by residents of this country TWICE and asked questions in a language I don't speak, apparently with the askers fully expecting me to know what they were saying. This doesn't happen anywhere I do fieldwork, so it was kinda fun.

- Networking is fun when there's no pressure to do so and everyone around is from a similar institution with similar goals.

- I had a lot of fun with people 15-20 years older than I am. I think this officially pushes me into the category of "adult" and is both interesting and terrifying.

- My cat actually missed me. It's a miracle.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


I fly out of Medium-Sized City, most of the time, where there always seems to be one business guy who thinks he alone of everyone on the plane is actually going somewhere exciting or flies at all frequently. This time Mr. Big Shot made a point of loudly explaining his foreign itinerary to his seatmate, then asking the stewardess for gate connection information, being sure to note that he was going to a Foreign City and he didn't need a map of the airport, thanks, because he flies there all the time.

Once I connected, for some reason my Really Long Flight didn't seem half bad, and I actually fell asleep for a few hours. I'm still completely wiped out today - I'm not a fan of arriving in the morning when I fly abroad. I'd much rather get in around dinner time, stumble my way into some food, and go to sleep. Today I got in around 9 am, and even with a bus ride and checking in to the hotel I still have to wait around for several hours, then go find dinner, THEN go to sleep - but at least I got a shower and am starting to feel human again.

Hooray for being here!