Friday, April 25, 2008

Some days, the life of an academic just can't compete!

I finished the first of a series of final papers and exams today. I wish I could say that I felt better now, or at least in some part relieved--instead, I'm only experiencing the horrible doubt and self-review of what I said in the paper, and then the wrenching feeling in my gut as the full weight of what's due next week sinks in. Of course, I've got some things prepared and I've been thinking ahead, but the bottom line is, there's a lot of work to be done in a short amount of time. Then again, Dr. Who is on tonight. Mmmm...David Tennant. Speaking of men whom I am desperately attracted to, my hubby completely trumped my success story today (first final done, 'member? I know, Tennat throws me off, too) when he announced that his company is on the news because the owner's son has been kidnapped--ransom note n everything. I thought that just happened in the movies--and, according to the FBI my impression is just about right, these things don't really happen that often. The poor kid is 26 years old and has been missing since April 1. Just when I thought life as a gradstudent was getting exciting...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

On Recommendation Letter Etiquette

As noted in previous blog entries, I am still fairly new at the ins and outs of Grad school. The latest curiosity I have encountered involves the existence--or lack thereofof some secret system of etiquette surrounding the request of letters of recommendation; more specifically, once requested, how does one gracefully inquire after their progress? On the one hand, you don't want to haggle the prof kind enough to write one for you (lest they use some faculty code on the letter to indicate "student was impatient"--ala Seinfeld's Elaine Bennis, the "difficult" patient); on the other hand, its not going to do you any good if the recommendation doesn't meet its destination in a timely fashion.

If there is anyone out there reading this, please feel free to leave advice.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

There's a different me inside this student

I'm new to this bloggy world and, in some sense, looking over the blogs of other academics, I am slightly terrified. Those ahead of us in academia--farther down the road, however you want to put it, tend to be rather intimidating. It's frustrating that even in a pseudonymous world I am likewise intimidated. I don't know where this complex comes from, but it must be part of the mandatory bipolarization of a graduate student--to be completely humbled by our professors and published authors, yet able to enter in and converse with them intellectually; to be confident and sophisticated in front of our students so we don't reveal how unqualified and untrained we are (I often feel like quite a fraud when it comes to grading time); and finally, to be cavalier and brash wtih our colleagues and cohorts while we commisserate in the trenches. I think that list actually requires us to be tripolar, but lets not get picky.
What I'm trying to get at is that I'm fairly new at this whole game and just trying to learn the ropes. I don't want to sound whiny and overwhelmed but, well, its the end of a very long semester. I will be a much different person by next wednesday when I receive my grades and figure out if I managed to pull this semester off.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

please allow me to complain, just for a moment

Tuesdays are very long. At the end of them, I find myself needing to vent a little bit. They require my presence on campus from 8 am, when I teach Composition, through my three classes for the day--no biggie, really, except that the last one lasts from 7-10 pm. The 14 hours on campus is, to say the least, harrowing. To be fair, I could go home for a little while, and I have done so a few times. The bottom line is, however, that between getting out ot my car, home, and back to a parking spot--its not worth the hassle; particularly becuase in my time at home in the afternoon, my time is hardly spent 'relaxing'--I am still completely in 'ON' mode. I have learned it is actually less tiring somehow to just stay on campus and use my time gap between 4 and 7 to catch up on research, homework, grading, etc.

Normally, when I get home, I fix myself a snack and do some light reading. If the day has been rougher than usual, I watch some TV (though usually while folding laundry, my favorite pasttime while watching TV, besides the actual sitting and relaxing part). Tonight I was not afforded such luxury and, I write this blog because I feel that lately, apart from typical end-of-semester stress, my life in 'OFF' mode has been just as harrowing.

The garbage cans were still in the front yard; they had not been taken in. I do this. The dog needs food. I run up to the grocery store and buy him food. While I let my soup simmer, I empty the dishwasher and throw a load in, press start. While I am doing dishes, I call my renegade roadtripping friend (who, although otherwise fairly tame, today spontaneosly up and drove to Bosstown for a campus tour of LastChance University--more on that later). I'm not listing all of these things to demonstrate how awesome or diligent I am, or how much I am like my mother in my use of lists; I am voicing some frustration that when all of this busy-bodiness was going on, between 10 pm when I arrived home and 10:30 when I sat down (after the 14 hour day), my husband was picking at his new guitar with leisure. Granted, he had just gotten home himself only about an hour before, but as I have just shown--I got a number of things done for the benefit of the household. Had he contributed a bit before resorting to his own relaxation, we could have divided the time and the work, and saved any of you reading this froma legthy blog about a loing daythat doubled in length in just one half hour.

Monday, April 21, 2008

There’s not a term for post-menstrual syndrome

But whatever it was, I was all kinds of out of sorts today. I was moody and loopy and my feet hurt. Damn shoes. They wouldn’t have hurt so bad except that I had forgotten my comfy tennies in my office, and so the image of the velvet converse kicks sitting there, empty, haunted me and somehow made my toes pinch even more. What also made my toes pinch was walkign back and forth to the bus stop, becuase it was one of those days. Perhaps explains my mood.

I am uber-sensitive about all thigns car related and you would be too, if everytime you fixed one thing (by you, i mean my husband) another thing went wrong. Its just plain embarassing. at least its predicatble, ill give it that. Also i have learned a lot about diagnostic noises and smells by driving pieces of shit (by this i am not making a humorous scatological reference. I am using the word ’shit’ to notate that this vehicle is less than par).

I used to have a van that I adoringlly called the ’bomber’ van--no exhaust, dented and scratched to high heaven, the whole bit. It had character, pizazz...above and beyond everything else, I was nineteen and I had a car. Now I try to wear a business suit and that suit, albeit a monkey suit, was expensive and now has rust stains on it from brushing up against the jimmy.

in other news, i was gettin gmyself very worked up about the state of my car, my house, my life and finding myself thinking things that i have heard come out of my mother’s mouth my entire life, things that always made me cringe, but never so much as when i understood them today. she would say very bitter, negative things and frankly, i always thought--blow things otu of proportion. by this i mean, for example, we never had people over growing up, becuase she was so preoccupied with the state of the house. i am often embarassed by my house, my car, my life, but I would like to welcome people in, [ir]regardless. if its uncomfortable for you, leave, and tell your neighbors what a filthy car, house and life i have.

fuck you betterhomesandgardens.

but the ending is happy, becuase my sister called, and we both had that deflated tone of voice that we get when we realize that we are being just like our mother (in the negative sense, bc theres lots of admireable qualities about the lady). transmetropolitan areas we were inthe same rut,and i think we got eachother out of it. well, i know htat i felt better when i got off of the phone.
dorothy wordsworth’s got nothing on Mrs. Scarlet.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

its come to this

I invited poison into my house.

all myhusband and I have done htis week is fight over channels, making snide remarks about each other's choices.

I have been invited to par-tay at wesley's pop explosion bu i let the answering machine play it out while I watched Dustin Hoffman yell through the big window in the finale of "the graduate"

the three gigantic projects comprising my final grades for this semester lay unfinished--yay, untouched--in my bookbag while I figure out how to work the DVR recorder.

but now i have to stop this blog because Karate Kid is on.