Acade(me)

The dissertation was only the beginning.

People & Places
T: Amazing Husband
ST: Three-year-old Wonder
Prof. G: Advisor I
Prof. C: Advisor II
Julie: Stylish Sister
Rob: Awesome Brother
Belle: Our Cat
Bill: Grumbling BIL
Rita: Uncomplicated SIL
SMU: Smallish Midwestern University
Doctoral University: where I got my Ph.D.
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Quote of the Day
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Rationalization
Last week, ST and I made Monster Cookies. They have oatmeal, peanut butter, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and mini-M&Ms in them and they are, as one could expect with such an illustrious ingredient line-up, divine. After ST, T and I had each eaten one, T wondered aloud how many calories were in each cookie, since they're pretty big (even "monstrous"). I looked it up in my cookbook and gasped in horror.

"Umm, it says here that there are 328 calories," I said, finger on the page.

"Per cookie?" T asked in disbelief.

"Ummm, yeah. Per cookie."

"That's it," T said, "I'm not eating another one of those cookies. Ever."

I was astounded by the high calorie count, too, although with the ingredient list I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised. I'm usually fairly health-conscious -- I doubt I'll make these cookies again in the near future because they're so sinful and because we all have a serious sweet tooth in this house (or is that "sweet teeth?").

T and I left the cookies alone for about three days. ST forgot about them.

On Saturday, I caught T sneaking a Monster Cookie out of the cookie box on the counter. "What are you doing?" I asked, reminding him of the calories.

He took a bite and said, "Well, I looked at that recipe again, and I don't think there are 300 calories in your cookies."

"How do you figure?"

"Well, the recipe says that each cookie is 1/4 cup of cookie dough. These cookies aren't big enough to be 1/4 cup of dough. Right?"

It was true. I didn't use 1/4 cup of cookie dough. Maybe just a very, very heaping tablespoon (and by "tablespoon" I don't mean the wimpy measuring spoon, but rather the "big" spoon in my flatware set, which is more... well, shovel-like).

T took another bite of his cookie, an M&M popping out onto the counter. "So, I figure there are only about 200 calories per cookie."

I agreed and had a cookie. Then I didn't have one for a few days until I saw T have one yesterday after supper. "Feeling better about 200 calories?" I asked.

"I bet these aren't even 200 calories. You used reduced-fat peanut butter, right?" he asked.

I nodded. I always use reduced-fat peanut butter because I like the texture better than that of full-fat peanut butter.

"I'm thinking these cookies are more like 180 calories per cookie," T said as he polished his cookie off, sweeping a pile of crumbs into the sink.

I ate the last 328, 200 or 180 calorie cookie this morning with my hot chocolate. It's better to have no monster cookies in the house at all than to have to hear the pathetic (but hilarious) rationalization of a man with a sweet tooth.
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 1/31/2006 10:04:00 AM   6 comments
Sunday, January 29, 2006
All Greek To Me
I've been at work on this stupid chapter all weekend long, it seems. It is seriously kicking my butt. I thought I could finish it on Friday, but then realized that I had about 50 pages of debates to read in a foreign language before I could write anymore, complex legal debates that took me forever to understand in English, let alone in another language. I worked for a few hours yesterday while T and ST played, and then have worked some more today. I've written ten pages over the weekend, which is good. It's not nearly what I hoped to write, however, since I was stymied by this whole foreign language thing. I'm hoping to add a few more pages tonight, to get through the thickest debates, and wrap this thing up no later than Tuesday.

Whenever we're at a function or a party and someone asks me about what I do, I tell them about my dissertation (the bare minimum - don't want to put them to sleep!) and then the inevitable question is: "Wow, so you must speak Foreign Language?" Without fail, T always chimes in with: "Yes, she's fluent!" And then, every time, I have to correct him to say that I'm not at all fluent, that I can read most anything and understand most anything I read or hear, but that I'm still clumsy when I speak and write. Not fluent. Proficient -- even highly proficient -- but certainly not fluent. It's a frustrating thing to be highly proficient, actually: even though I score really high on standardized language tests, and even though I've mastered several ability assessment interviews, I still feel so inadequate when I encounter the language I need to read/use in my field and for my dissertation. I read the scholarly articles and primary source material without a problem, and then suddenly realize that I've probably misinterpreted something, that some word I thought I knew actually means something entirely different. It's frustrating because, when it comes to complicated arguments in another language, I feel so handicapped.

But, I'm slogging through the material and I'm happy with my progress this weekend nonetheless. And I'm learning more and more about this language I've studied since 8th grade, learning to appreciate more of its nuances and regional variations.

Aside from working, I did make time to do my usual Sunday chores: clean the sink (scrubbed! disinfected! sparkling!) and make my Meal Plan for the week beginning January 30th. This week's plan only includes four days, since T and I are leaving for our mini-vacation to New Town on Friday and I didn't plan the meals out for my parents.

For a treat, I'm going to repeat the Chocolate Almond Biscotti I made from The Good Cookie (page 186) a few weeks ago, since I know my parents will really enjoy them, and I'll probably make Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from the same book (page 68) to use up some overripe bananas sitting on my counter.

Back to work for me.
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 1/29/2006 07:51:00 PM   1 comments
Friday, January 27, 2006
Mother Work
Like every other kid in my second grade glass, I caught the chicken pox. I don't remember much about being sick, except that the worst and itchiest pox were on my back, in that one place you can't scratch yourself. I would wake up in the middle of the night and get my Mom up to ask her to put some calamine lotion on my back, and every time she would get up for me, apply the milky, peach-colored calamine lotion, and then sit with me on the living room couch. I would drape myself across her lap so my back was right in front of her, and she would gently, through my pajamas, run her fingers across my itchy back. The motion of her fingers swirling on my back was just enough to satisfy my urge to scratch, but light enough not to do any further damage. I would eventually drift off to sleep and she'd slip off the couch, cover me with a soft blanket, and return to bed herself.

As her fingers moved across my back, I distinctly remember thinking, "Gosh, she must be so bored." I remember wondering how she could stand it, how she could just sit there and make that repetitive motion with her hands. Wasn't she tired? Didn't she have anything else to do?

ST does not have the chickenpox -- he isn't sick at all. Quite the contrary, actually. Tonight, we had "Movie and Popcorn Night," where ST got to pick out the movie at the video store (Madagascar, even though he's already seen it once) and T popped fresh popcorn on the stove and ST, who usually is not allowed juice, had a glass of juice. ST was in paradise, dancing along to the songs in the movie and piling handfuls of popcorn into his little mouth, savoring every drop of juice. By the time the movie was over at 8:00pm, ST was pretty wound up. Although I read him two stories before I put him to bed, and although he kept rubbing his little eyes, he was not tired. He kept getting out of bed and wandering around the house to find me.

While he was supposed to be in bed I got a phone call from my aunt, who is less than ten years older than me and who had her first baby, a girl, on Monday morning. I loved chatting with my aunt, talking about breastfeeding and caring for a newborn, and I told her that, for the next few weeks at least, everything (e.g., housework) can be set aside -- the only thing that mattered was a happy baby and a happy mother. I told her that she should learn from her new baby girl and just take the time to give her what she needs. For the next few weeks (months?), it is ALL about the baby.

When I got off the phone I went to check on ST. He was still awake, tossing and turning in his bed, arm tucked characteristically behind his head. I asked him if he wanted to rock in his chair, and he said that he did. I set up a pillow for him on the arm of the chair and he draped himself across my lap while I covered him with his favorite napping blanket. We chatted for a bit and then I could see his little eyes start to flutter. I stroked his cheek and then ran my finger along his forehead, down his cheeks, around his chin, and up the other side of his face. When I stopped for a second, he opened his eyes and said, "No, Mom, keep doing that." So I did. I caressed his little face for a long time until I was certain he was fast asleep.

I wasn't bored at all. I didn't think about anything else. For those moments, it was ALL about the toddler. These are the times I enjoy being a mom the most, when I can see elements of my own mother coming out in me, when I'm taking the advice I give to other mothers. This is the work mothers do. It is quiet, it is repetitive, it is soft. And sometimes, for me at least, it is the only work worth doing.
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 1/27/2006 10:35:00 PM   4 comments
Happy Birthday, Wolfi!
I am taking some time today to listen to a little Mozart on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of his birth. I'm here at my desk, mug of hot chocolate and cinnamon bun cookie in front of me, enjoying James Galway playing Mozart's Concerto for Flute and Harp. I forget about Mozart, to tell the truth -- I get stuck in a Gershwin or Ravel rut (pleasant ruts though they are!) and leave my Mozart, Wagner, and Beethoven on the shelf, gathering dust.

Hearing the music of Mozart, no matter where I am, instantly transports me to his birthplace in Salzburg. I was there in 1995, touring the city during a break from my studies in another Austrian city. Mozart was the soundtrack of my visit, from the moment I stepped into the Mozarthaus and even as I passed the line of people waiting for the Sound of Music Tour to begin. I remember strolling down Linzergasse in the rain, hand-in-hand with the adorable Austrian medical student who would, in just a few months' time, ask me to marry him. (I refused, of course, but I was oh-so-tempted. But that's another story.) I remember stepping in to the store where they sold traditional Austrian Trachten and trying on a gorgeous navy blue Dirndl that was far out of my price range but too beautiful to ignore. I remember the smells of fresh pastry, cappuccino, and rain on ancient cobblestone streets.

I was fortunate to hear a portion of Tom Ashbrook's "On Point" radio program yesterday, an entire show devoted to Mozart. Ashbrook spoke about how some people are just geniuses, and yet some people are such geniuses that their genius is impossible to comprehend -- it's almost magical. I am certain Mozart belonged to the latter group. I'm hoping that, as I struggle to finish this chapter today, some of his geniusness will inspire me to greater things.
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 1/27/2006 11:07:00 AM   5 comments
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
It's Alive!
Inspired (as always) by the lovely Dr. Mon, I am having a great writing day today. By "great" I mean that I actually am writing and enjoying it, rediscovering how fun it can be to write a detailed case-study. This chapter (Chapter 5) is technically my first case study, although as I mentioned before I'm still not sure if it will be a stand-alone chapter or part of a larger chapter that includes another case-study (which is partially written already, the benefit of writing up a piece of a chapter for a conference paper). I had a hard time starting it because it just didn't "feel" right -- I felt like I was heading in a direction I didn't want to go, and I didn't feel like I was doing the case justice. After some major overhauling in the last few days, the chapter is taking shape in a way that is satisfactory to me.

Additionally, I'm re-reading some of my foreign language primary source material, and it's been fascinating. Although I spent a lot of time researching this case while I was in Europe, there are a bunch of little nuances I'd forgotten -- and nuance is vital to a good case study. So although I'm taking more time re-reading and re-translating some of my documents, it is time well-spent.

My goal: get this Chapter to my advisors by Friday evening. I think I can do it. (Of course, if I were Dr. Mon, I'd say "Get this Chapter out by tomorrow," but seeing as I am not nearly as awesome as she is and seeing as how I have a full day with ST tomorrow, Friday will have to do.) After this chapter is finished, I will have a nice blueprint for writing up the others.
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 1/24/2006 02:44:00 PM   2 comments
Monday, January 23, 2006
Fall Semester Unfolds
So exciting -- I just got word from the department secretary at SMU about the courses I'll be teaching this fall semester. Course numbers and everything! The first semester is the only semester that the courses are chosen for me; after this, I'll choose the courses. At any rate, it looks good: two sections of the intro course in my major field, and then one specialty course in my field. The best thing? I'll teach only M-W-F, the courses start at 9:00am and end at 2:00pm. Nice! Even better: since I'm teaching M-W-F Fall semester, I'll teach T-Th Spring semester. Off to check their course catalog to see if my name is listed yet (probably not, but curiosity WILL kill me if I don't check).
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 1/23/2006 11:18:00 AM   2 comments
Sunday, January 22, 2006
The Weekend in Numbers
Number of Rooms Painted: three. T and I painted our bedroom (finally -- we've been meaning to do it for years but could never decide on a color because we couldn't decide on bed dressings. We finally bought new linens last year and could, at last, paint the room), the master bath (which is so not "masterful" it's not even funny -- it's more like a closet with a shower, but it's cute), and the guest bathroom. Everything looks awesome, and it didn't take us long at all. (Most of Saturday afternoon.)

Number of Times ST Commented on Our Color Choices: innumerable. "Oh, Mom, that's a beautiful color!" "Dad, that paint is kind of ugly." "Mom, that is the color of my pants!"

Amount Dropped at Lowe's: $258.00. New hardware (towel bars, toilet paper holders, etc.) for both bathrooms (who knew it was that expensive?!), a new light fixture, some cabinet hardware, and a new cabinet for above our toilet in the un-masterful bathroom. Despite the expense, I love Lowe's. A funny thing about me is that I have no problem spending $45.00 on a new towel bar but I hate parting with that much money for a shirt for myself.

Number of Accidents: pooping accidents for ST, that is. Two. Grr. Once at his friend's birthday party, and one at our neighbor's house while we were shopping at Lowe's. Double Grr. He knows better.

Number of Articles Read: three. Good ones, and in a foreign language. I love it when the articles I read in another language are actually worth my time -- sometimes they aren't, and then I feel cheated.

Number of Pages Written: zero. I just don't get anything written on the weekends because T and ST are here, and because the house calls to me. Mostly the kitchen, but you know how it is. Actually, mostly that sink: "I'm dirty, I'm dirty... please shine me!"

Number of People Who Asked If We Were Moving: seven! We haven't told anyone (aside from our families who live out-of-state and our best friends, a couple who live across the neighborhood) about my job offer and our impending move, and yet everyone seems to know that we're leaving! I went to a birthday party with ST on Saturday, and all of the moms there were asking me how much we were planning to list our house for when we sell this spring/summer. I pretended that we still weren't sure if we were going to move. I told them that hiring decisions wouldn't be made until April, which was hard to do when I had my signed contract sitting on my kitchen counter, ready to mail.

Number of Friends Who Got Jobs This Week: one! One of my pals in the department just accepted a job and he's really excited about it. We're all excited for him, too. Now there are just three others to place and the department will be beaming. (Actually, after reading ABDmom's recent post, maybe this should be TWO friends who got jobs this week!)

Loads of Laundry: four. Two still in progress.

Amount Spent on the Week's Grocery: $84.00, excluding meat, which I buy at our local butcher shop because it's fantastic there and they cut it the way I want it.

That's the weekend in numbers, friends. And now, as promised: the Meal Plan for the week starting January 23, 2006:

  • Ravioli "Lasagna" (from The Simpler the Better, page 84)
  • Black Bean Soup (adapted from Everyday Food, my favorite magazine)
  • Rotini with Broccoli, Ham and Cheddar (from The Simpler the Better, page 168)
  • Beefy Wild Rice Meatballs (left over from last week's list)
  • Crispy Chicken Sandwiches (at ST's request, adapted from a newspaper recipe)
  • Mom's "Swiss" Steak and Rice (family recipe)
  • Chili (T has decided that he will cook on Sundays, and this is his signature dish)

Desserts: Monster Cookies (again at ST's request, from the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion, page 256; ST thinks they will look like Cookie Monster) and some biscotti (also from KAFCC), but I haven't yet decided on the variety.
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 1/22/2006 09:16:00 PM   1 comments
Friday, January 20, 2006
Small Milestones
Not a very exciting day in this house, I'm afraid, but there are a few things to report nonetheless.

First, I finished sorting through all of the information I collected in Europe, which was a monumental task not because there was too much of it, but because it was all in a foreign language. Sometimes my brain works really well in another language, and sometimes I feel like I'm thinking through toothpaste. Today was a relatively clear day, making the sorting task a million times faster. Today was also one of those days where I thought to myself, "Why on earth did you choose a dissertation topic where 90% of your research is in a foreign language? Stupid, stupid, stupid." (But fun. Well, sometimes.)

Second, I made the Big List of Stuff to Return to and Check Out of the Law Library. I've been meaning to get over there for the past few weeks, but it's mighty hard to coax me out of my comfy home office, especially when it's blizzarding outside. I'm finally reaching that point in the research where I'm coming full-circle: you know you've read everything you need to read when your last source refers you back to your first source. It was funny when yesterday I started to re-read an article I've had since the summer and I thought, "Man, this sounds familiar!" and then I realized it was an article by one of the people I interviewed in Europe.

Third, I finally bought new sheets for our bed. I hate spending money on sheets, even though I love to sleep on nice ones. We have a king-sized bed (fast fact of the week: T is 6'5" tall), so the sheets are not cheap. Penney's was having a sale today, though, and so I found sheets to match our comforter that were 50% off and of a decent thread count. Other sheet-buying motivations: 1.) the elastic on the fitted sheet of my favorite set of old sheets snapped last week; and 2.) when my parents come to watch ST while T and I head to New Town, they'll sleep in our bed (fast fact of the week, part II: my Dad is also 6'5" tall -- my Mom, on the other hand, is 5'4" tall).

Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, ST is officially potty-trained. This is Day Three of no accidents and no diapers. He is doing awesome -- even staying dry through his naps. Now we just need to figure out how to night-train him and we'll be set. I don't think I can fully express how blissfully wonderful it is not to have a bag of stinky used diapers in the house. I think we should have a party. (ST is thrilled, too: "I'm going on the potty and now I can go to school and ride the bus with the BIG KIDS!" Not so fast, ST. Not so fast.)

Fifth, I received my contract from Smallish Midwestern University (SMU) today. Signing it felt really... surreal. Sure, I've had to sign acceptance letters for other things before (e.g., fellowships), but this one was BIG. School starts September 6 at SMU -- hard to believe that I'll be the one writing all of the syllabi, I'll be the one holding office hours, I'll be "the specialist" in the department (I'll be the only one doing Major Area in my discipline). I've told myself that once Chapters 5 and 6 are completed (hopefully in the next two weeks) I will allow myself a few days to write a syllabus or two. I have one mostly written, but it definitely needs some tweaking and I think I'm going to shop around a bit for another textbook. A real job! Me!

Sixth, and least importantly, I received an order from Silver Jewelry Club today, my second. That site totally rocks. I ordered this gorgeous oval-cut garnet ring that is simply breathtaking and fits like a glove. Not bad for $5.99. I ordered a mother-of-pearl bracelet from there in August and I am always receiving compliments on it. If you've ever hesitated ordering from the site, thinking it's too good to be true, don't worry. It's true, and it's good.

Time to clean up the kitchen before tomorrow, when T and I will likely take on the task of painting our bedroom. We've painted so much together that the bedroom will be a cakewalk, a project to fill a few hours of the afternoon. It's a big room, but there aren't a lot of doors or windows to paint around so it will be an easy one. If only I had my digital camera, I could post Before and After shots, but alas... it is still missing. St. Anthony? Can't you hear me?
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 1/20/2006 08:52:00 PM   1 comments
Thursday, January 19, 2006
It Begins With a Single Step, And After 1:00pm
You know what they say about long journeys -- they begin with single steps. For me, they also apparently begin after around 1:00pm.

I've been working on Chapters 5 and 6 of the dissertation this week, trying to sort out all of the information I collected while in Europe and also trying to determine if these two chapters should actually be one mega-chapter, or if pieces of each should go into two completely different chapters along with the other data, thus making the dissertation only six chapters instead of the previously planned eight. Anyway, it's been a busy few days and I'm actually making progress, albeit slow. Today I wrote five good pages (well: 7 so-so pages - 2 crappy pages = 5 good pages). I hope to reach the 10 good-page-mark tomorrow (gotta have goals).

Something I've known about myself for a very long time is that my brain is not fully functioning until around 10:00am. Truly, I am useless before then. Even after that, I can never write until around 1:00pm -- that is when the creativity starts to percolate in my brain, my fingers fly along the keyboard, and I start to remember why it was I chose this dissertation topic. I can write rather effectively until around 4:30pm, when I have to leave to pick ST up from daycare, and if he doesn't totally zap my energy after dinner I can pick up and write again after he goes to bed at 8:30pm. In the past, my best writing has actually occurred very late at night and into the wee hours of the morning, usually between 8:00pm and 2:00am. I would keep that schedule now, but with a toddler in the house who gets up at 6:30am, that doesn't allow me much time for sleep. Once ST is up, the whole house is up, and I am not an effective napper.

At any rate, I feel good about today's accomplishment, albeit small. This thing is going to get done, and it's going to get done in the next few months. That is, it's going to get done in the afternoons and evenings of the next few months.

* And for my new friend MusicalMom, I saw your tag and here's the link to my answers, done several months ago but still valid!
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 1/19/2006 07:32:00 PM   3 comments
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Quick Fix
Our kitchen, 7:35am.

Me: Good morning, ST! What do you want for breakfast?

ST: Nothing. I'm too sad to eat.

Me: What can I do to make you un-sad?

ST: I think we need to make muffins.

If only it were always so easy.
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 1/18/2006 01:34:00 PM   2 comments
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
New Year, New Look
I've been wanting to use a new template for this blog for awhile now, but I could never figure out how to do it or find a design that I really liked. Last weekend I overheard someone talking about reconfiguring their blog and finally all of the pieces clicked in my head: so THAT'S how you do it! So, in about 25 minutes, a new look for the new year was born. For the curious, this blog template was found at Beccary. I wanted something a little more "me," and this is closer than the generic Blogger template.

(I can't quite figure out how to do a few things, though: 1.) I'd like to have a space between my listing of the blogs I read and the "Blogwise" button, for composition reasons -- they look too close together now; and 2.) I'd like to alter the blog so that the word "comments" under each post is changed to something else. If anyone can answer my questions, I'd be thrilled to hear from you.)
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 1/17/2006 12:13:00 PM   10 comments
Snippets
T and I have been subscribers of Money and The Atlantic for several years, and every now and again we flip through the magazines together before bed, reading some of the shorter pieces out loud. Last night T and I came across two snippets that are worth passing along here.

"Talkin' 'bout MySpace Generation" (Money, Feb. 2006, page 27):
I thought this article was particularly relevant to this academic blogging group, since it discussed the potentially harmful consequences of popular websites like Facebook.com and MySpace.com. No doubt a lot of our students have profiles on these sites, and the profiles usually aren't too... well, flattering. (My brother Rob, a college senior, forwarded the Facebook site of a guy from his school who wrote: "I am majoring in partying and f____ cute chicks.") This article urged parents to caution their children about entries on these sites, because they could be used as a sort of "shadow resume" after the child leaves school and applies for jobs. The article cited some employers who, in addition to Googling potential job candidates, have also been checking their profiles on Facebook and MySpace. Maybe we should start mentioning this to students, too?

"Blog-aholics" (in "Primary Sources," Atlantic, Jan-Feb. 2006, page 52)
According to Advertising Age magazine, where the original results of the study were published, Americans now waste more time than ever at work. Why? Blogs! Statistics indicate that "one in four U.S. workers reads blogs regularly while at work, losing, on average, some nine percent of the workweek." NINE PERCENT! Even more interesting, and perhaps more motivating to those teachers among us, is the fact that 34% of workers surveyed in another study reported wasting 30-60 minutes per day trying to interpret "ineffectively" written email messages. Writing, then, is harmful on both ends of the spectrum: really good (or addictive) writing on blogs leads to workers wasting time reading, and really bad writing leads to workers wasting time reading.

Tonight I think I'll tackle the Atlantic article on Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. But only after I've tackled the dissertation-related articles sitting on my desk right now.
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 1/17/2006 09:59:00 AM   3 comments
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Organization Station
Inspired by my recent list of distractions, I set out this weekend (and particularly today) to get eliminate them so that I could be ultra-productive this coming week. I am proud to say that nearly everything on my distraction list is almost fully eliminated, except for the reading thing. I couldn't come close to finishing Vollmann's book (heck, I'm not even on page 200 yet, and the book is over 700 pages long, I think), but that's OK since fiction reading is a nice way for me to end a day of reading dull dissertation-related articles and books. And of course the blog-reading thing is difficult to eliminate, and I wouldn't want to, anyway*.

So, what did I accomplish this weekend? I am happy to say that, with the exception of the two loads of laundry that are in the washer and in the dryer, all of the laundry is DONE for this week. There is not a scrap of dirty clothing in this house, all the sheets are clean, the towels... even the old towels T uses to dry the cars after he washes them. Placemats, towels, washcloths, and sponges are also clean. And the famed sink of mine, you might wonder? Sparkling. Germ-free and absolutely radiant after I polished it. Without dirtying the sink (much) ST and I also made a batch of Chocolate-Almond Biscotti from my new cookbook, The Good Cookie. (Fantastic!) That takes care of my kitchen cleaning, baking, and laundry distractions.

In addition, T washed the cars and swept, vaccuumed, and mopped the house. I cleaned the kitchen top to bottom (even washed out the silverware organizer, yes I did) and then completely cleaned our master bathroom (right down to washing the vinyl shower curtain liner). I am happy to note that this house is soap-scum free. Then I made a master grocery list and our six-day meal plan (I usually do seven days, but T isn't going to be home tomorrow night and ST and I always have baked oatmeal and applesauce when T isn't home for supper) and went grocery shopping. Because I was (at last) really careful with my list, I didn't forget a thing and we are fully stocked until next Sunday. I like to make everything from scratch, as you'll notice, so stocking up for the entire week takes a lot of forethought.

I do a meal plan every week, but I often forget to keep a list of the week's meals after the week is over. That is, I go through all the trouble of making a list of meals, preparing and eating the meals, and then I toss the list so I never see that neat weekly "plan" again. That is stupid, since part of the "work" involved in making a meal plan is having a huge list of weekly plans you can rotate and mix up. So, a new feature of this blog (more for my benefit than yours!) is The Weekly Meal Plan, which will be posted on Sundays. Here it is for this week:

So, I'm feeling good and feeling ready to tackle the work tomorrow. Wish me luck.

* Does anyone else think of fellow bloggers as pals you have to check up on during the day? Sometimes I'll be working and think, "Gosh, I wonder how Mon is doing? Is ABD Me stressed out today? Will ABD Mom be able to get on that plane?" etc. and then I feel compelled to check. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that all of my very close friends from graduate school are now all gone -- putting in time as Assistant Professors all across the country -- and my academic blogging friends seem so much closer because I can check on them during the day. I can only correspond with my other close friends via email, as 1.) they do not know I keep a blog; and 2.) they do not keep blogs themselves, as least as far as I am aware.
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 1/15/2006 07:59:00 PM   10 comments
Friday, January 13, 2006
Driven to Distraction
Articulate Dad * started a new meme, one that asks bloggers to list five things they do to distract (or amuse) themselves. Little did AD know that he was asking this of the Distraction Technique Expert, me.

Five Things I Do to Distract/Amuse Myself:

1.) Read blogs or write blog entries. I don't write nearly as much as I read. I simply LOVE to read about other people's lives, other struggles, other successes. I like to start with the site of someone with a huge blogroll (like Brightstar, Profgrrrrrl, or Jo(e)) and then pick one random blog each day, something I've never read before. This is great fun, but it also leads to further distraction. Sometimes I find blogs that I really like and then feel compelled to start reading them regularly. (I sense this is happening with Russian Violets.)

2.) Laundry. I freely admit that I like to do laundry, and I think that's because, unlike writing this stupid dissertation, I feel like I've achieved something when I've done even a little bit of laundry. I like the way it smells, I like the sight of empty clothesbaskets in our linen closet, and I really like to fold clothes (especially ST's small clothes because they're just so cute). This love of laundry also explains my newfound obsession with this candle scent: Clean Cotton from Yankee Candle. It honestly smells like awesome laundry detergent, and I could smell it all day.

3.) Read. I will read anything and everything, and I really like to do it. And if it's not related to the dissertation, I like it even more. My current read is William T. Vollmann's Europe Central, and although it is taking me ages to get through and calling on all of my knowledge of history and music, I am thoroughly enjoying each page. I don't usually read fiction until I'm in bed, though, so reading is only a major distraction for me when I'm supposed to be working at night.

4.) Bake. T can always tell when I'm really stressed because I stay up late and bake. For example, I returned from Europe on November 30 and left for campus visits December 4. During that short time at home I baked almost all of my Christmas cookies (four varieties), two cakes, a loaf of banana bread, made a dinner-to-go for some friends, and a batch of orange-nut biscotti. I did all of this not only because I was a nervous wreck, but also because baking is a fun thing to do with ST (he tastes each ingredient, right down to the baking powder!). To feed this baking obsession, I just joined a cookbook club (you know, sort of like the 12CDs-for-$1.00 type club, but for cookbooks). Of the five books I got for $1.00 each, three of them were baking books: The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion, More from Magnolia, and some book devoted to biscotti. I justify this cookbook obsession in a few ways: 1.) time with ST is always good; 2.) T loves treats and so do I; 3.) I give a lot of what I bake away, so I'm building social capital everytime I bake; and 4.) someday I want my kitchen or dining room to be decorated like this (click on "View in Room" to see what I mean).

5.) Clean the kitchen. Because I cook and bake a lot, my kitchen is the center of our house. If I am not in my office, T and ST know that I will be in the kitchen. And since the kitchen is my favorite room, I like it to be in perfect order at all times. This means that I cannot reasonably be expected to work on my dissertation if the kitchen is messy or if the sink, especially, is dirty or has water-spots on it. I can easily distract myself, then, by doing dishes, polishing our dining room table, cleaning the sink (I have a sink obsession, as I've mentioned before), disinfecting the counters, doing kitchen-related laundry (see #2), sweeping or mopping (which I hate to do, but heck, both are more fun than dissertating), or making a new meal plan or grocery list. Because T knows of this method of distraction and how I have turned it into an art form, he usually helps me clean the kitchen every night after dinner.

That's it. Now I have to work. (Yep. Work!)

* Articulate Dad, thanks for your email. I really appreciated the information!
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 1/13/2006 09:26:00 AM   4 comments
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Moving On Before Moving Out
{I wrote this post last night when I couldn't sleep.}

Aside from getting to spend the entire day goofing off with ST, another thing I like about my Wednesdays is that I feel free to fill my head with things unrelated to the dissertation. Today, I've been thinking about my house. I love this house -- we built it in 2001 and have spent a lot of time personalizing it. Sure, there are a lot of things I'd change (e.g., our bathrooms are tiny and we have no formal entryway), but overall this has been a fantastic place to spend our lives, a great place to raise our child. I am sad that we will be leaving it, but I always knew this day would come.

We'll probably move in late July or early August, depending on when we are able to sell this house, how long T will stay at his job, and when we can move into our new house in New Town. Nevertheless, T and I have been doing a lot of thinking about what we can do to make our house appealing to buyers, and also what we, as buyers, will be looking for in our next house. We both love to watch the show "Designed to Sell" on HGTV when we actually remember to turn the TV on, and so we've made a list of things we need to do to this house to make buyers swoon over it. It's a difficult task, since our house is in a neighborhood filled with houses that look a lot like it, in an area where a new house goes up weekly. How to make our house, which is (if I do say so myself) tastefully decorated and nicely landscaped, stand out in an area where, for just $10-15K more, people could buy a new house with a blank slate?

On our list are things like "upgrade towel bars in bathrooms" and "paint family room and fireplace surround." We're also getting rid of some hand-me-down furniture, now in the downstairs family room, that no longer serves our purposes or fits our style. It's been fun to look at our house and realize that we DO have a certain style -- there are several rooms in our house (notably the living room, dining room, and kitchen) that are perfect as they are. And then there are rooms like our bedroom, where we have the furniture and bedding we want but the rest of the room is still boring (white walls, no curtains). Looking around, we realize that there's just a lot of stuff we should pack up before we even think about putting the house on the market, stuff that would be distracting to a would-be buyer. Loads of books, lots of framed photographs, lots of kitchen stuff, lots of clothes in the closet we never wear but make the closets look small, etc. Today, I took down my old Aiwa stereo that I had in the kitchen. It's over 10 years old and we never really used it, so we're going to donate it. It felt good to get rid of some of the "clutter." The kitchen already feels more open. A few glances at houses for sale in New Town on Realtor.com confirmed that the houses that present themselves the best in photographs are those that are relatively sparsely furnished/accessorized. De-personalized, I suppose.

While the whole prospect of clearing out and moving to a new space is thrilling for me (I enjoy moving, quite honestly), it's also a bit upsetting how it's making me feel NOW. I just got the job, just accepted it, and I feel like I'm already pulling away from this life, losing my attachment to this community and this house. I am not good at dealing with incremental changes in my life -- this is something I've always known about myself; when I've made a decision to do something, I want to do it NOW. For the past few days, and notably today, I've felt like this house, this space I've put a lot of energy into over the past five years, is already part of my past. As I've been working in my office or cooking in the kitchen, I've started to makes piles of things to pack up "for the move." "The move" is still six or seven months and a long dissertation away, and yet my brain is acting like it's next week. My brain is yearning to move on, to get out of this place I've loved for so long, to start fresh somewhere else. But my life and my work is still very much here and waiting for me and my attention.

This week, I am praying for focus. Focus on the things I need to do here and now. NOW.
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 1/11/2006 07:39:00 PM   4 comments
Toddler Talk
Last night, after I put ST to bed and went down to chat with T before settling in for some evening reading, ST got out of his bed and wandered downstairs to where we were. He grinned, looked at me and said, "Hey, Mom! Don't you think we should rock before I go to bed?"

He loves to rock in the recliner in his room before he falls asleep, mostly so he can talk and know that he has my undivided attention. We don't do it every night, but if he can't fall asleep within ten minutes of us putting him in bed, I know that he'll come to find me for our evening chats in the recliner. The routine is the same: he comes to find me, I sit in his chair, he grabs his favorite blanket, he lays across my lap so that his head is resting on the left arm of the chair, and he plays with my fingers as he chatters away. We always have the nicest conversations while we're rocking in that chair, and our conversations always amaze me. It is astounding to realize how much a 2.75 year old child knows about his world.

Last night we talked about using the potty. ST has been a real champ for the past week -- he goes in the potty all day long and only wears a diaper when he's napping or going to bed. We've always told him that he wouldn't be able to go to school or ride the bus if he wore diapers, because only big kids go to school and ride the bus.

"I'm peeing in the potty now, Mom. So I'm a big kid," he said last night.

"Yes, you are a big kid." I stroked his little face.

"So now I can go to school with the other big kids. Are there toys at school?"

"No, school is for learning to write your name, learning about numbers, and learning to read."

ST looked disappointed. "But they have toys at the bank, Mom!'

Whenever I do the banking (I usually don't -- that's T's province), ST comes with me. There's a Lego table in the lobby of our bank, and the tellers know his name and always give him a butterscotch sucker when we visit.

We talked more about the bank and people who worked at the bank. "Mom, will Dad go to work tomorrow?" ST asked me. I said that he would.

"Well, good. Because Dad has to get some money at work so we can buy more toys!"

Last week, T and ST had a chat about money, and about why we use money to get things like clothes, books, gas, food, and toys. T explained that Mom and Dad go to work so that we can get money to buy things. This confounded ST at first, but he's clearly understanding it now. When T left for work this morning, ST said, "Bye, Dad! Get lots of money for toys, OK?!"

Today, ST and I went to our local children's museum, which is fantastic. (I am always at home with ST on Wednesdays.) At the museum there is a child-sized grocery store, complete with small cash registers, carts, and tons of fake food on the shelves. I stood behind the little checkout, making a "beep" noise every time I scanned the items ST had brought to "purchase." After scanning everything (mostly toy brownies, yogurt, and about 20 plastic tomatoes), I said, "OK, now you have to pay me $25.00 before you can take this food."

ST looked in his pockets and looked in his cart. He didn't have any of the laminated toy money I'd given him when we started playing. "Well, Mom, I guess I'll wait for Dad. Dad's getting my money at work."

I anxiously await tonight's "rocker talk," because I never know where it's going to lead me.
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 1/11/2006 02:39:00 PM   2 comments
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Get Out of my Brain
Yesterday, while I was reading an obscure article for the dissertation, I had a brainstorm: the obscure article pointed me in the direction of a source of data I hadn't thought about before, a little-used procedure most people don't even know exists. The data, provided I could get ahold of them, would provide another interesting angle on my dissertation topic and a huge complement to my case studies. Brilliant! This morning, I set off in search of the actual data for the case studies I'm writing about, eventually dismayed by just how difficult this information is to find.

I decided to Google a few key terms to find other possible ways to get the information. Among my Google hits was the name of a professor at Well-Known University, a man who does the same type of work I do but who uses a different methodology. He's published all over the place -- it was after reading one of his articles, in fact, that I came up with the idea for my dissertation.

This guy drives me a little crazy, to be honest. I feel like he's always two steps ahead of my thinking. He's really good at what he does, his work is first-rate, he's a nice guy on top of it... but can't I come up with a good idea FIRST for once? In my Googling this morning I uncovered an unpublished, recent (i.e., written in the last few months) article by him using the EXACT same obscure data that I was just thinking of using in my dissertation. Granted, he doesn't use it in the way that I want to use it, but he does use it to prove a similar point to the one I'm making. This is not the first time this has happened. Throughout the prospectus and dissertation process, I have continually found that this man is on my same wavelength, making similar arguments using a different methodology. And he's FAST about it. This guy cranks out articles like pancakes.

Sure, he's a tenured professor with lots of experience. Sure, I'm a nobody professor-to-be who is just getting her feet wet in a very, very complicated subfield in which I've had no formal training (in that my graduate program had no one specializing in this subfield while I was taking classes). Sure, it's nice to know that my ideas aren't wacky, and that someone of his stature is onto the same things. But just once -- just ONCE -- I'd like to do something novel that he hasn't already done. And I'd like HIM to say -- just ONCE -- "That Prof. Me is just so doggone clever... why didn't I think of that?"
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 1/10/2006 01:24:00 PM   4 comments
Monday, January 09, 2006
Child-Free Weekend
There was an article in our newspaper yesterday about couples who have chosen to remain childless. The article featured a few couples who had known since they were in college that they didn't want children, as well as a few high school seniors and college freshmen who were sure they didn't want kids, either. The article was careful to point out that all of these people liked children -- they just weren't compelled to have any of their own. Instead of raising children, these people devoted their lives to their careers, their pets, or their hobbies (e.g., one couple enjoyed flying in their spare time, and not having children allows them to get flying hours in when they can, also also allows them to spend money on their airplane and hangar space).

When I was in high school and early into my college career, I was fairly sure that I didn't want children. I couldn't imagine myself as someone's mother and I never had a strong desire to cuddle or hold a baby. I liked elementary school-aged kids because you could actually talk to them and reason with them, but toddlers generally drove me nuts with their incessant whining and questions. It wasn't until I met T that I knew I would have children -- in many respects, he changed my views on a lot of things because, for the first time, I really wanted to be part of something bigger than myself. For the first time, I saw myself as the future co-head of a family. I was excited when I found out I was pregnant with ST back in 2002.

Now it's difficult to imagine life without a child, life without this little being who copies whatever I do and wants to know my reasons for everything. It's difficult to imagine foregoing the late-night cuddles, the soft little kisses on the cheek, the impromtu basement hockey games or the invented "tackle frisbee" games in the backyard. Last night I put ST to bed at around 8:15pm and then came into my office (right across from his room) to read. After about an hour, I went to check on him and he was still awake, lying quietly in his bed with one arm behind his head. "I can't sleep. Let's rock a little," he suggested. I agreed, and I sat down in his rocker while he retrieved his "napping blanket" and clambered onto my lap. I love these times, love these conversations. "Dad never rocks with me," ST said, yawning. When I asked him why, he said "Because Dad's too big. I like that you're little, like me, so we can rock together." I cannot imagine missing out on statements like that.

I don't always love being a mom. Sometimes it's really frustrating and it's far and away the hardest thing I've ever done. Sometimes I get angry at him because I don't get to do all of the things I want to do -- I wanted to bake a loaf of braided challah bread this weekend, for example, but kept being interrupted -- and I get worn down because I don't have a lot of time for myself or time alone with T. T and I get short with ST when he won't leave us alone for a few minutes to talk or cuddle. ST is not good at playing by himself -- he never has been. That's taxing on a parent when there are no other children in the house. And it's emotionally heart-rending when your toddler tells you, "Mom, I'm not your friend today because you won't make me hot chocolate." Sometimes, I can really understand the appeal of child-free living.

At times, T and I feel like we're at a breaking point -- when we have a lot to talk about and no time away from ST to talk about things, and when we're both working insane hours to get things accomplished and don't see each other often, we both start to go a little crazy and get short with each other and with ST. I can feel that we're getting to that point now.

Fortunately, relief is in sight. T has decided that he and I are going to go, alone, to New Town (home of Smallish Midwestern University) in Midwestern State. We're going to find a nice hotel to stay in, have dinners out, take long walks together, and scope out potential neighborhoods. We're going to have fun while my parents are here at our house with ST. T called my Mom last night and hashed out all of the details and surprised me with the mini-trip idea this morning. I cannot wait! We're going to be away the first weekend in February.

We might not have an airplane waiting in the hangar, but it's nice to know that we can take time to get away in our own fashion. Although life with ST is generally fantastic and we couldn't ask for a more wonderful child, a few days to remember what it was like when it was just the two of us is definitely in order.
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 1/09/2006 01:20:00 PM   9 comments
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Five Weird Things
As requested by ABD Me:

1.) Unlike ABD Me, I have an uncanny ability to remember numbers. It drives my husband nuts that I never write down my purchases in the checkbook but can just rattle off how much I spent at various locations, right to the penny. He can read off a random number from our checkbook and I'll remember where we spent that amount. I'm also good with phone numbers, social security numbers (used to freak people out when I worked in HR!), addresses, and dates.

2.) I can almost guarantee that I will fall asleep during any science fiction-type movie. The Matrix? Snore. Any of the Star Wars movies? Never got past the first fifteen minutes. Lord of the Rings? Nope. Harry Potter? Never made it past the opening passage. There's just something about movies whose themes are things that can't really happen that bores me to death, I guess.

3.) I did not wear jeans to school until I was in 11th grade. Although I wear jeans at least twice a week now, I still don't like feeling "grubby."

4.) I have a small collection of city maps, mostly European city maps. I could look at maps for hours, memorizing the street names and how to get to different places.

5.) I still have my original toothfairy pillow. It's pale yellow with lace around the edges, and has a little pocket in the middle with a rosebud on it. My Mom made it for me. I found it yesterday when cleaning out our basement -- there was still a tooth in it!

I'm tagging whoever hasn't done this yet -- notably ABDmom and BAIT.
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 1/08/2006 01:26:00 PM   3 comments
Friday, January 06, 2006
My 1-900 Voice
The only advantage to having this nasty cold is that my usually quite high-pitched voice has been transformed into what T calls my "1-900 number voice." I used to get this comment when I worked in retail, too: when I have a cold and a sore throat, my voice becomes a little... well, sexy. My co-workers at Barnes & Noble, where I worked as an undergrad, used to think this was hysterical, since I'm your typical goody-two-shoes-Catholic-schoolgirl, and my co-workers used to relish in hearing me say, "... and is there anything else I can do for you today?" in my throaty voice. Once, as a customer was writing a check at the cash register for a book he just purchased from me I asked him if all of the information on his check was current and he looked up, grinned, and said, "You just gotta look up when you hear a voice like that."

So today, as I organize some notes for Chapter Five and pull together some of the interview data I collected in Europe, I'm listening to my iPod and singing along, enjoying my new vocal range. I can actually sing the line from Incubus' "Drive" that includes the words "... haunting mass appeal," which I usually can't. Good times.
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 1/06/2006 02:40:00 PM   1 comments
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Toddler Hockey
The new playroom is finished -- T and I installed the carpet this evening, and ST was thrilled. As a special surprise for ST, T brought home a minature hockey goal, two little hockey sticks, and some small yellow balls for "pucks." ST was beside himself: during our Christmas trip, ST played indoor hockey with his two little cousins and they had an absolute ball, so naturally ST couldn't wait to play hockey in the new room with his Dad and me.

I was the goalie. ST kept taking shots at the goal, making "swish, swish" noises with his mouth as he pretended to skate around the room. ST and T passed the ball around, ST missing it more times than not. We were about 15 minutes into our hockey game when ST announced:

"OK, time to clean up!"

T and I were puzzled. Why would this child, someone so jazzed about hockey and finally having a place to play it in, want to clean up? (What toddler EVER wants to clean up?)

"Can't we play anymore?" T asked ST as ST came to retrieve T's hockey stick.

ST shook his head. "Nope. Everyone off the ice. The Zamboni is coming!"

T and I literally fell on the floor with laughter. How our child remembered the word "Zamboni" is totally beyond us. A few seconds later, ST pranced back into the middle of the room and handed our sticks back to us.

"OK," he announced. "Game on!"
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 1/05/2006 10:03:00 PM   4 comments
Random Updates
I actually got a full night's sleep last night -- hurray! -- thanks to a lot of medication, a smear of Vaseline inside my sore nose, and a vaporizer right next to my bed. I feel a bit better today. The headache and sore throat are gone and so I'm only dealing with a nasty, gag-inducing cough and more pflegm than you can shake a stick at. (Lovely.)

Day One of potty-training went reasonably well. After two pairs of wet training pants and wet jeans, ST finally got the idea that if he went in his pants, it meant a full change of clothes and a bath or at least a wipe-down with soapy water, both of which he hates. So he started telling me he had to pee about every 20 minutes (!) -- the day goes fairly quickly when the majority of it is spent in the bathroom cheering for your peeing toddler. ("Good work! You actually got it IN the potty this time!") We took a big step backward, however, after T came home and ST went downstairs to play with him. Playing on the train table was far too interesting to take a break, and so playtime ended in a very messy accident that required a full bath and another explanation of how using the potty actually takes LESS time than changing a diaper or changing soiled clothes. He'll get it, though. He was very proud to be wearing underpants, especially his new Bob the Builder ones. After his mega-accident while playing with Dad, he was very sad that he "pooped on Bob's head."

I am going to officially accept the position at Smallish Midwestern University today. I negotiated with the Dean on the salary, travel costs, and moving expenses yesterday, and he has been very accommodating. Although it's hard to "pull the pin" on something this major, especially when it has such far-reaching implications for my entire family (mostly T), it will feel good to just have it settled.

Now I'm already starting to think about the classes I'll be teaching next year. I have a bunch of book catalogues I've been saving here in my now-clean office, and I'm eager to take a better look at the books I've circled in those catalogues to see if they'd be appropriate undergraduate texts. I don't even know how to go about getting examination copies, though. I suppose I should figure that out. Are they always free?

But before I get ahead of myself, the dissertation awaits.
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 1/05/2006 10:16:00 AM   2 comments
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Dayquil -- Not Cutting It
The very first time I took Nyquil for a cold I was in my teens. My Dad poured a medicine cup of the nasty green liquid for me as I stood, miserable, in the kitchen. I drank it fast, plugging my nose as it burned down my throat. That's all I remember, because I passed out almost immediately after that. Dad said I didn't even make it down the stairs to my bedroom. I slept hard after several nights of sleeplessness and woke up feeling a million times better.

I am miserable again. I have the worst cold I've had in a very long time. I actually started to get sick during my interviews at the beginning of December, but that bout with illness passed rather quickly. As of yesterday, I have something bad: headache, body aches, sore throat, stuffy head and nose, nose that (although plugged) will not stop dripping, nose that is sore to the touch because of all of the tissue that's been on it lately, no appetite, and a nasty cough. This morning I sneezed TWELVE times in a row. That can't be good. ST was shouting, "Mom, stop sneezing! I can't talk to you if you sneeze like that!"

I took some Robitussin last night but it had no effect. I took some Dayquil this morning and that allieviated the headache somewhat. Anyone have any suggestions on what I could take to get rid of this plague?

What's worse, ST's potty training began today. Two wet pairs of toddler training pants, two wet pairs of toddler jeans. (They didn't have the plastic training pant covers at my Target, ABDmom!) He did tell me when he had to poop, which was good. He's napping now in a diaper. We'll see what the afternoon brings for us after he awakes.

I'm going down for a nap, too.
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 1/04/2006 01:25:00 PM   2 comments
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
2006: The End of the Beginning
It just hit me that I am now in the year I will cross two of the biggest items off of my Life's "To Do" list: 1.) earn a Ph.D.; and 2.) find a job as an Assistant Professor. I have waited for this year for so long, dreamt of it since I was a nerdy high-schooler who had little idea of what getting a Ph.D. really meant. My whole education thus far has been preparing me for this year. This year is the End of the Beginning of my career in higher education.

This year is also the End of the Beginning of Professional Life for T. This is the year he will make a huge career move to another state, filled with new challenges. He is no longer a "green" professional, prone to rookie mistakes, but rather a seasoned and savvy professional ready to answer questions from anyone.

Additionally, this year is the Beginning of the End of ST's Daycare Career. He will be in daycare for about six more months (less if I can help it!), and after that he'll be a preschooler. He will turn three in April of this year, and by the time we move to our new location I want him to be ready for preschool, at least half-days. He needs the structure, needs the stimulation. He is not a baby anymore. He is too smart for his own good.

This year is a significant one for our entire family. Although I am a bit nervous about how it will all pan out, I know that it is the start of something big and something permanent. That is a good feeling, one I've never had. When we moved here to Midwestern University Town in 2000, we always knew that it would be temporary. When we bought a house here, we knew that we'd have to leave it. We knew we'd have to leave every friend we made here if they didn't leave us first to pursue other opportunities. T always knew that he'd have to leave his job someday. Now, with my job at Smallish Midwestern University on the horizon, we have the chance to make a permanent life somewhere else. T can start a new job without thinking forward to the day he'll have to leave it. We can find a house we'll stay in for a very, very long time. We can build friendships that we can maintain with ease. We can plant trees in a new yard and actually be around to see them grow tall.

But, in order to get to that more permanent life, a lot must happen. I must formally accept the position at Smallish Midwestern University. I must finish the dissertation. T must wrap things up at work by the summer and jump through the hoops necessary to secure employment in another state. ST must be potty-trained. (This last one is probably going to be the most difficult.) The house must be ready for sale.

Time to get the ball rolling. It's already January 3!
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 1/03/2006 08:58:00 AM   4 comments
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