Sunday, December 31, 2006

More end of year reflections

Another end-of year meme, last seen at MaggieMay's.

1. What did you do in 2006 that you’d never done before?
- Interview for a tenure-track job (and be offered it)
- Navigate a very complicated breakup
- Blog
- Meet blogfriends in person!
- Visit a number of new places

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
My New Year's resolution for last year was to give running one more go by trying new shoes, and it worked. The knee problem is fixed! For this year, my resolution is to be better about remembering friends' birthdays. Also, to read more novels. Also, to lift weights again.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes, my friends K & J. K had a baby in October after a long time trying with artificial insemination.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?
US, UK, Germany

6. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?
Stability (sadly, until at least the last third of the year, that's no gonna happen.)

7. What dates from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
November 5, the day GF and I had the conversation about the end of our relationship.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Convocating with my PhD, winning an award for my dissertation, publishing two articles, getting a job offer.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I failed to be a very good daughter to my mother.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had a stupid, annoying injury in March - I stepped out of a taxi and skidded on black ice with that first stepping foot. The other leg wrenched grotesquely, resulting in a horrible knee injury that required six weeks of physiotherapy and interrupted my running for two months.

Also, the dog-pulling incident happened, resulting in cut-up and badly scarred knees.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
This fantastic pair of black swingy culotte things, that look absolutely fabulous with heeled boots, are cut like a dream, and are the most comfortable thing ever. Just a few weeks ago.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

14. Where did most of your money go?
Credit card payments and travel.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Camp-for-adults. Great new friends I met in last year's Uni City, where I am visiting now. The job I have this year. My students at that job.

16. What song will always remind you of 2006?
"The Ring," by Sarah Harmer. "A Case of You", by kd lang.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
Sadder, same weight, richer (?)

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Talking on the phone with friends, as Maggie says. Seeing friends. Step classes. Writing.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Crying. Eating sugar. Being angry at GF.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
This year I spent it in New York. But does this mean next year? In that case, I imagine it will be at my mother's in Home City, where I will be visiting from afar.

21. Did you fall in love in 2006?

22. How many one-night stands?

23. What was your favorite TV program?
The L Word (for the train wreck of it all) and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. And the perennial favourite, The National (what a geek).

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

25. What was the best book you read?
None stand out. That's awful, isn't it. It was a bad reading year.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Sarah Borges.

27. What did you want and get?
A PhD. A job. A brown belt.

28. What did you want and not get?
Nothing that I can think of.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?
Stranger than Fiction.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Yesterday, I turned 32. I did a meme. I hung out with my mother and my favourite aunt, and there was a Family Christmas party at my aunt's house. I watched twentysomething cousins and cousins-in-law get plastered and cut a hole in the ice on the lake and jump in naked. I had a couple of awful conversations with GF, and cried.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Getting a TT position at current, Dream Uni.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006?
Classic with a twist. And necklaces.

33. What kept you sane?
Blogfriends. Regular friends.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I don't really fancy any celebrities, I have to say. It is ever so. It's pathetic.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
The government's decision to suspend funding for...anything to do with women, essentially.

36. Who did you miss?
Lots of people. Including my dear friend who lives in Vermont, whom I usually go to visit every spring or summer - but I didn't make it this year. I last saw her for a few brief hours a year ago. But absolutely most of all, my best friend, who has moved to London.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
Medieval Woman!

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006.
Sometimes loving each other isn't enough.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

When the days close on the memories that you’ve acquired
And your body cannot hold your soul inspired
You are here and not alone
Everybody has come home
There’s a bed made up upstairs
If you get tired

All the heaviness around you will get light
And your worry lifted up into the night
Left with nothing but pure love
Left with all you are made of
Can I stay around awhile
Is that all right?

Oh lives don’t end
We're goin’ out to be brought back again
Our lives don’t end

- Sarah Harmer, Goin' Out

Happy New Year, everyone!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

An end of year geography meme

I saw this at Sarah's and wasn't sure if it was intended as a meme. But I'm making it one, because it's my birthday, and all I feel like doing until I go out for a long run with my much younger cousin, is end-of-year memes. I have had a very long string of highly unhappy birthdays, for some reason. (Last year's really took the cake - it was so bad it is almost funny, in retrospect.) This time I'm doing what I want ( at least until the 28 family members descend, mid-afternoon).

One of the nice things about having a birthday at this time of year is that it allows you to really deepen that "reflecting-on-the-year" thing. I like that - expect lots of that over the next week, since it's been such an incredibly eventful year.

Anyway, Sarah's meme was a list of the cities in which you have spent at least one overnight in the last calendar year (aside from your hometown(s)), of course. I'm going to make that "places", since cities is a a not-qite-accurate description of many of the places I've stayed. There are quite a lot, for me! It has actually been such an unsettled year that part of me almost wishes for a smaller list next time. I spend so much time dragging bags around! Although, be careful what you wish for...

London, England
Berlin, Germany
Ottawa, Ontario
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Tucson, Arizona
Cold Spring, New York
New York, NY
London, Ontario
Kelowna, British Columbia
North Bay, Ontario
Kipawa (area), Quebec
Guelph, Ontario
Plymouth (area), Massachusetts

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Major error

The other day, in a bookstore in New York, I came across a brand new book in exactly my field. Concentrating on some of the stuff that I will be looking at in my book project. The kind of book that simultaneously excites you and makes you go cold...will it make my project irrelevant? you wonder in a panic. Having glanced at it after I bought it, I don't think it nullifies what I am trying to do; it can just be delightful and fascinating.

The other thing I noticed in giving this book a once-over is a huge mistake. The publisher is a big-deal university press - one of the biggest and best known and respected. It's a lovely hardcover first edition. On the back of the jacket are three blurbs from other scholars. Including one by the most prominent North American in the field. The name of this scholar is spelled wrong. And it's not just a minor mistake, like McAuley instead of MacAuley. It is missing one third of its letters. It is such a mess that it's shocking to me to think that this got by copy editors, editors, the author. How does this happen?

Update: I've just been sent the proofs for the article I am having published (yay!). My name is spelled wrong at the beginning of the article, where it's all bold and capitalized, and is also wrong when it appears at the top of every second page. At least I am catching it. But again, how does this happen??

Blogging to the world

Good lord.

It's funny how you forget that your blog is actually publicly accessible, and that you might want to, uh, think carefully about what you put on it.

Yesterday I got 9 times more blog visits than my average. When I realized in the morning that this was happening, I was completely freaked. I traced the visits to a post on a site with what is obviously very high readership. The author had posted something about one of my posts, and thus was driving all their traffic to me.

There was debate. And all manner of impassioned emails to me. There were implications.

I took the post down.

It's not that I am upset with the author of the post that directed readers to me, not at all. After all, this is a public forum. That's just it, though - I forget that what I write here can be accessed by anyone. I chug along, imagining that I am writing for my loose little academic-blogger readership - for some kind of virtual community. Sure, my site counter tells me people often find me when they are looking for banana muffin recipes or academic lesbians. But somehow that doesn't translate, in my mind, into much of anything.

A good reminder to be careful.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Random update

We had a fabulous trip to New York overall - got back late last night. On Christmas Day, we had yummy brunch, then lingered over tea and coffee in a coffee shop, then walked for three hours, then went to a movie (Stranger than Fiction - what a delight!) and then a really, really good dinner. What a great way to spend Christmas - I'm all about the getting away...though now that I've been away two Christmases in a row, I know I'm going to have to spend the day with my Christmas-mad mother next year.

I'm feeling predictably overwhelmed by the task - organizing and packing to move - that confronts me over the next ten days. I am moving out on January 6. So I'll blog, instead! I don't have anything much to say, just thought I'd like to say something...So here are some things I'm thinking about:

- I am wrapping my head around the job. After some anguish, I've decided that I can't pass up the opportunity. (Favourite job, which asked for a writing sample, won't be shortlisting till sometime in the new year, of course - I need to just get on with the offer I have, can't wait around for that possibility...) I need to get my career really started (I have a book to write, dammit, and feel as if I could do that much better with the support - financial and otherwise - that a permanent job would give me), I need to have some security, I need to not be on the job market next year, I need to not be unemployed over the summer, I need to throw myself into the admin work it will entail and get really experienced and good at it so that I'll be able to go on the market again in a couple of years bolstered by that - with a view to ending up back in my part of the world.

I have to recognize that it is a great opportunity, partly because of the university - even if it's in upheaval - and partly because of the role I'd have, which would give me more freedom and pull than most junior faculty members get to have. Of course, there are hidden perils in it but I could learn from it all, I think.

- A straight woman I was talking to recently asked me, "What is it about you lesbians and your breakups?" She was referring to the famous tendency of lesbians who are splitting up to be so enmeshed even through the breakups...or to not be able to really break cleanly at all. I guess that GF and I are a textbook case of this. But I guess that it is the only way I'd like to have it. It makes intuitive sense to me. We'll see if it bears out so successfully in the long run. But for now, I'm happy to make a plan to have a bite to eat with to-be-ex-GF every Monday evening, when she comes over to pick up our Divorce Child, Mr. K., for the week. (I will have him Friday-Monday, she will have him Tuesday-Friday, when I'm in Uni City.)

I'm happy to have her plan to come and visit me shortly after I move for this job. Of course, there will inevitably be complications if either of us ever becomes seriously involved with someone else, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it. To me, it doesn't seem to make much sense to cut someone so important out of my life when there's been no transgression or betrayal.

- I have to go away again, on Friday, to last year's Uni City. I have some relatives there, and friends, and my huge extended family is having the Family Xmas Party there on Saturday. Which is also my birthday, and I'm really freaked out at spending my birthday and New Year's without GF for the first time in five years. I don't know why so much anxiety is settling around just is. Anxiety is also being caused by the fact that I will have to answer lots of "Where's GF?" questions, and do not feel like explaining anything, and so will have to make up excuses and lies. Ugh. Anxiety is also coming from the fact that I have to travel there with my mother, and spend a lot of time with her there, and I'm just not good at doing that well, am I? Um, why did I decide to do this, again?

- I wish all you MLAers the best of luck, and much fun at blogger meetups, etc.!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The letter G

GF and I are in New York, for the end of our relationship! As I suspected, it is turning out to be lovely - we are able to rise above what has gone on these last 6 weeks or so and, in a sense, honour the 4 1/2 years we've spent together. And be good to each other. This is the fifth Christmas holiday time we've had..and the first was, in part, also spent in New York. Fitting that a city that both of us love so much has bracketed our relationship...

Today we ate diner breakfast, walked for a total of three hours, much of it through Central Park, spent four hours at the Met, had tea at Lady Mendl's, and saw the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater perform. These are all things we did together on that first trip here. They have all been wonderful. The sun even came out to break up the gloom, this afternoon. The weather is pure spring - 57 degrees today!! (Outrageous, in fact - but it sure is nice!)


Maggiemay has graciously bestowed the letter G upon me, for this meme that everyone in the blogworld has already done, wherein you list the top ten things you love beginning with this letter. I am late to it, but here goes:

Gorgonzola...Such a fan of cheese I am...the stronger, the better. This one is very near the top. And when it's all melty...oh god...

Greens. Of all sorts. They are a life staple for me - see the "subtitle" of my blog. Mmm...greens and gorgonzola? Heavenly.

Gelato. I am a fan of the fruit dessert, much more than chocolate or anything else. The simplicity of fruit gelato does me in. They have a frutti di bosco gelato at a famous gelato place near where I live - I've never tasted anything like it. And last night I had a homemade cherry gelato that made my eyes pop.

Gin. This, with tonic, will forever be my favourite drink.

Gillian Welch. My favourite musician, the only one I've really traveled to see. (GF and I built a weekend in Pittsburgh around a concert of hers there about 3 years ago...)

Graciousness. Sorry to get maudlin. But if only people could treat each other all graciously...imagine what life would look like.

Galleries. Pure aesthetic indulgence. Almost always like a tiny holiday.

Grand Central Station. As a symbol of New York. But also just for itself - the bustle, the grandness, the ceiling...

Gaylords. Love 'em...As in, effeminately-masculine gendered folks...

GF...Speaking of gaylords (truly)...It may be the end of this form of us, but she will always be in my life and I love her very, very much.

There are other thingsthat belong on this list: guacamole, ginger, grilled cheese...but 10 will have to do...

Happy Holidays, blogfriends!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Universes colliding in blogger meetups

So I've been seeing bloggers lately, after having met my first, grumpyABDadjunct, in October (and seeing her again last week).

Also last week, Sarah and I had a truly lovely mid-afternoon tea at a luscious place; it was grand and she was delightful.

And on Monday and Tuesday, Medieval Woman and I met up - for meals, drinks, furniture shopping, campus visits - when I was visiting her city. It was fabulous!

So I've been thinking about what it feels like to meet these folks. Sarah noted that it felt like a blind date; it does, except that we already know so much about each other's lives. So I've been noticing what I feel like in the few moments before a meetup. It's the oddest feeling. It has an element of the paradox about it - like this approaching joining of two spacetimes. I have noticed that I resist it, just for a moment, and I think it is because of this weirdness. Like, " doesn't make head and the world are going to explode! Can the hyperreal be real?!"

That passes, of course, and all is instantly well. But it's a funny discomfort that marks me, I think, as a member of a transitional generation, one that is comfy with the Internet but still maintains that separation, whether intentionally or not...

At any rate, here's to blogger meetups!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Ooh, god

So I'm being offered a TT job at the place I interviewed at a couple of weeks ago.

Thing is, I don't really want it.

I cried the whole plane ride home, precisely because the interview had gone so well and I knew an offer was a very real possibility.

It was: The city - oh god. The fact that the university is in upheaval. The fact that I'd have a huge - and potentially exciting, but really just a lot - service role in the midst of a university in upheaval. As a very junior faculty member. The Dean telling me, in our short meeting, that I'd have to come in there with my eyes open. Its huge distance from anyone I know; that means a lot for a person who values connection, and has many connections in my part of the world. All these things combine to make it seem terrifying.

The university that was my favourite of the five I applied to - and the one that I also supposed was the longest shot - has asked me for a writing sample; they wanted me to get it to them asap. By yesterday (which I dutifully and excitedly did, of course). So there is the potential that I will be considered for that position. And last week, after I was back from the interview, I asked my Chair at current Dream Uni - where I am on full-time contract - out for a drink, and we talked about the possibility of securing a two-year contract for me there. I would, I think, be willing to stay for a multi-year contract. Am I crazy? Anyway, it probably doesn't matter if I am, because though Chair would like to keep me, it's unlikely the administration would come up with such a thing.

Anyway. Algh. I should be happy, I know. A TT job! But I only feel apprehensive. The job freaks me out. And the thought of trying to juggle and push at departments and people makes my stomach lurch and turn.

I need a drink. A big one. Now.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Grading lessons learned

Okay, so there have been lots of lessons learned on the grading front this term. As you regular readers know, it has been a great teaching term. But, boy, have there been some mistakes in terms of evaluation strategies and my own lenience.

I gave take-home examsn for the first time. In two classes - in one, it was the final exam, and in the other, it is the mid-year exam. I knew it would be a delicate task designing these. And then it turned out that I was madly rushing and preparing for an interview when I should have been carefully doing that. The result? One that is way too easy - it is essentially what I would have given as a closed-book, regular examination. And one that is too hard - grad school level. Oy. I haven't graded the difficult one yet, but I've done the easy one, and the average is too high. Right now I'm thinking, never again with the take-home exams!.

The other thing was that I didn't explicitly put in the syllabi that I wouldn't accept take-home exams after the due date of 3pm on Thursday, December 14. It didn't even occur to me that students would think it was acceptable to hand in an exam late! And yet, oh yes, there are at least a couple who think that's perfectly acceptable, and, I suppose, assume that I'm just going to dock the standard 5% per day that I indicate in my late submission policy. Damn them!! Without having spelled out that exams won't be accepted late, I think I have to accept them. Perhaps with double the penalty.

This gets me to the question of my lenience. At the top of my list of goals for a new academic year, I put "stop being a pushover". No such luck, I'm afraid. I watched myself give in until now I feel completely taken advantage of. The thing is, I don't mind giving an extension if a student asks for it well in advance of the deadline. That has never been a problem before - last year, I had 2 1/2 times the number of students I do now, and didn't feel that was abused. But this time, oh lord! I can't even get over the ways people in my Theory class have been pushing me. One of them had an essay due on the 29th of November. She asked me if she could have a 2-day extension because of grad school application deadlines, and I said sure. Have I seen the essay yet? NO. So on the weekend, I emailed her asking about it, and she said "oh yeah, my Berkeley application is taking longer than I thought. I'm going to be able to get to the stuff from [our class] soon." This means she hasn't submitted the exam either! No apologies, just a "Thank you!" at the end of the email. The audacity!! I didn't give you a three-week extension, you twit! I gave you two days, and now have had to spend my time chasing you down!! Frankly, how dare you?

I am going to have to start the new year with a stern speech about how I feel my flexibility was completely taken advantage of, and there will be no such flexibility this time around.

Sigh. I don't like this role.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

End of term

It is 15 minutes to 3 on the last day of my term...classes ended last week, but I am waiting for the last of the 43 take-home exams - for two different courses - I am expecting by 3pm! I expect I will have the remaining 20+ people all show up in a panic at 3. Sigh - students and their time management issues!

It has been such a great term...I am sorry to have my fourth-year seminar on Precise Area of Research ending - though very happy that I will see almost all of those students back in another fourth-year Special Topics course next term. And I am so happy that my Theory course is continuing after the break.

It has been so nice to sit here and have students trickle in all day, and chat with me. One brought me a black scarf that she had crocheted for me! One brought me a card that told me she admires me because I am "classy and sophisticated" - haha, surely the most important qualities of any academic! All of them bring in smiles and well wishes. As difficult as this term has been personally, I am so thankful that I've had these absolutely fantastic groups of human beings as my students...They really saved me.


Some half-formed thoughts about ambition...

I didn't really have any, for the longest time. Or at least not much. And I think I frowned on it, to some extent, since so many of the very ambitious people I saw around me were either really unethical or really unhappy.

Early in my PhD program, I remember talking with a guy who was poised to be the next Derrida. I told him that I could sense that he would be a star, and that he would be good at that - that profile would fit him. And I said that I'd hate to be a star, that I'd rather just be somewhere quietly where I could teach, and be well thought of. That's all I could imagine wanting, asking for. Not long after that, I remember declaring to someone that I'd be just fine teaching at a community college. (Now, this means something different where I live from what it means in the States. It means a vocational college, essentially. Where nobody majors in Humanities, they major in plumbing or nursing or graphic design or whatever. And a few Humanities courses are just tacked on as breadth requirements - writing courses, critical thinking courses, etc.)

No longer would I even consider teaching at a community college in Canada. And, while I don't want to be a star by any means - too much pressure! too many politics! and I'm ultimately too shy - I would like to have my work read by a few people, recognized. Yesterday I gave a talk at a small conference here at Dream Uni, a conference showcasing the work of some of the uni's researchers in the Humanities. I was happy to be well received, to have my work recognized here, to think it might have an impact on someone. I want that. I think all this translates into ambition. (This all reminds me of MaggieMay's post, a few weeks back, on how nice it is to achieve recognition at her college...)

So of course, I rethink my feelings about ambition. I see that for me, this just means recognition of the thinking work I do. The time and care that goes into it. My ideas. And with my excitement about collaboration lately - on two panels, on some other stuff - I see that ambition also means, for me, achieving the respect and regard that means people will want to embark on projects with me.

I am also ambitious in the sense that I want to able to be taken seriously where I work (wherever that is!). I want my contributions to matter in the university. Again, I want my ideas to matter - in a service context. This is about voice, I guess. I am ambitious in the sense that I want my voice heard.

That makes me realize how much academia has changed me, especially over the last few years. I've written about this before - about how teaching has brought me out of my shell. I once barely knew I had a voice that could matter. Now that I do, I think that for me, ambition is about respecting that voice.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Early resolution

I just registered for the half-marathon* in the famous race day in DadCity. Even though it's six months away.

I was going to wait until the New Year, to make that my New Year's resolution, but I figured, why not do it now? Why not commit myself to that, so that I can't back out?

The last time I ran a half-marathon was in 1997. It was near the beginning of my time as a runner. About 5 weeks later, I developed an undiagnosed knee injury that prevented me from running, pretty much. Even with a brand new pair of shoes. Nobody could figure out what it was. I would run occasionally - a few times a year - but mostly had to do other stuff (fitness classes) because my knee would flare up with running. I even had an MRI in the summer of 2005 - nothing could be found. Then about a year ago - last year's New Year's resolution - I thought I'd try to give it a go one more time. I went and had myself fitted at a truly expert place, for different shoes. And what do you know? That seemed to do the trick, and I have been able to run all year with no problems. (A good lesson there on the absolute necessity of properly fitted shoes! I thought the ones I had before were good...but no...)

I had said initially that I didn't ever want to do a long distance thing again because I worried that my knee couldn't take it. But if it's held up thus far - and I don't run miniscule distances - then I'll bet it will be fine.

I seem to want to push myself. I am running pretty fast these days, and quite often finding that joyful plateau, that runner's high. I am sure that this has something to do with the craziness, the upheaval, of the rest of my life. Running is truly good for my soul, at the moment. More than anaything, it makes me feel strong. And I need that.

*I really have no interest in running a marathon - a half-marathon is it. The way marathons break people's bodies doesn't look like fun to me. And I just don't want to take on the time commitment that training for it would mean, either. I am not that disciplined.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sunday random list

Lots of up and down - I am really trying to just give in to that as the structure of my life right ride the waves, essentially...Some bits from the last few days:

- My interview went extremely well. But there is, complication around that, which I will no doubt post more about if an offer materializes.

- Oh, the roller coaster with soon-to-be-ex GF. Right this very minute we're okay...But it honestly changes day to day. The next challenge for us is to spend Christmas together in New York. That's right, folks...we are spending four days there, just the two of us, from the 22nd to the 26th. Good lord. This is, of course, a plan that predates the meltdown of the relationship over the last five weeks. But I actually have some confidence in us - that we'll be able to weather it and spend some bittersweet but good time together at the end of our relationship. Sound crazy?

- The thought of moving out of this beloved place in a month exhausts and terrifies me.

- Saw a close friend, S, last night. We drank way, way too much red wine at an obnoxious art gallery opening and then a noisy bar. S is an old and dear friend; I always say that she is the closest thing to a sister in this only child's life. That is, we drive each other crazy in a way that I wouldn't tolerate with anyone else, but love each other to pieces. Anyway, we were out with her boyfriend, as well. This was the first real time I've spent with boyfriend since he was exceptionally rude to me over a year ago, and then proceeded to break S's heart by being a first-class ass. I was not feelin' the love for him, you know? But now he's come back to Canada (he's from the UK) and they're trying again, so what can I do but be supportive? I didn't know if I had it in me, but we spent a very long evening together last night, without incident. I like this; I like being able to let go of that anger. It is cathartic and necessary.

- I have coordinated a panel that I am so proud to propose, for Congress 2007 (for those of you US folks who don't know what it is, it's like an academic super-conference that happens every spring at a different university; the meetings of 70+ different scholarly associations over 10 days). This is with my colleague Flake and good friend, M. I mentioned it here when it was but the germ of an idea. Now it's a full, ready-to-go proposal that I've drafted, and the other two are really behind the way I've framed it, and I'm so damn excited. It's a great panel, I think. Yay! I can't wait to go hang out on the prairies with them, too.

- My birthday and New Year's loom, a day apart. I will spend them without GF, for the first time in five years. That makes me really, really sad. But I have hatched a plan to spend a quiet country New Year's with my friend M, and that makes me happy. He is having a brutal time right now, and we have found each other a good source of support lately. I think it will do us good to spend New Year's together.

- I love bloggers. Tomorrow I'm going to go over to grumpyabdadjunct's to look at some furniture I may be able to take off her hands, to use in my new, furniture-less life. Later this week I am hoping to have a meetup with another blogger, Sarah, whom I've not met before. And next week I'm going to have a visit with Medieval Woman. I would never have imagined, when I started this, how wonderful a source of support and friendship you would all be. Thank you!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Annoying food words

So I'm at this hotel alone, waiting for my interview tomorrow and Friday.

So I got to dinner at the hotel restaurant, which fancies itself as quite snazzy. Because I'm sick of looking at job related materials, I read the menu descriptions are fun.

But this menu committed some food writing crimes. The number one word I hate, in food descriptions?
It's always "X nestled on a bed of..."

Ugh. That is gross.

Coming a close second is "zesty". A lemon tart? Zesty? No!! Who'd have thunk it?

On a related note, my most hated fashion-and-lifestyle word, the scourge of fashion writing, is "flirty" - as in a "flirty dress". Retch.

Any food or fashion words you hate??

Monday, December 04, 2006


How much does it bug you when students can't even get it together to spell your name right on their papers?

I get this so often. It pisses me off! I may have a name that's a little unfamiliar to you, but come on!! It's there on the syllabus for you to see, and in any number of other documents I've given to you.

Today's example is a travesty that bears so little resemblance to my name, aside from the first letter, that I feel like failing the student just for that.

It's just such sloppiness, such direct evidence of a lack of effort.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Woman in a yellow skirt

I bought this painting last night. It's called Woman in a Yellow Skirt.

I was the high bidder at a fundraising auction for a queer institution.

I hadn't seen it in the preview, because I was distracted and inattentive, I suppose. It came up during the raucous, alcohol-saturated auctioneering (hosted by the guy who was my first aerobics instructor, 10 years ago - that was weird). And I fell in love with it, and bid. And won.

Why does this matter?

Because it's been four weeks to the day that GF and I decided to end our relationship. It's been four weeks of trying to hold it together, to "be good to each other", so that we could stay together until the summer, loving each other well.

And last night, aside from my buying the painting, GF and I decided that this is the end. Now(ish). I will move out in a month or so, probably into the home of a close friend of mine, A. For six months or so, until I sort out where I'll be next. It hasn't been easy - the last month has been hell. Every Thursday night, I would come home from Uni City and hope it would be alright this time. It never was - I've lived this last month in suspension, floating numbly above my life while I was away, and descending into pain whenever I'd be back in Home City. I guess that's no way to live.

I don't have any furniture of my own anymore, besides a few odds and ends - an old table, some bookcases, a dresser. No bed, no couch, no chairs, no desk. Also, it makes me sad to think of leaving here because I've lived here longer - 3 1/2 years - than I've lived anywhere in my life. I have lived in about 25 places in 32 years. I am tired of moving and tired of having nothing of my own. Everything feels completely ungrounded right now and I guess I was hanging on to this place as the one thing, you know? The one thing I have, even if it's not really mine.

But what I do have is some art. Including this new painting. I guess it will always remind me of the end of this trying. But overall, somehow, it makes me hopeful.