Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Multiple ughs

Okay, so it’s my first day back at work in Uni City and I’m.freaking.out. Too much paperwork! Too much unfinished business from last term! The toll taken by the last six weeks or so is now apparent to me – I guess the emotional and logistical drama really did me in. So that I headed back to Uni City this morning with a few ungraded pieces of work from last term, which I rushed to grade so that I could submit my grades (due today). There are all sorts of confusions, all sorts of bits of paper and information I haven’t successfully kept track of. This is not my style, not at all. It is making me hysterical.

Tonight I start a new class. My fourth-year class on Precise Area of Research was just one term (whereas my Theory one continues for the rest of the year). It is being replaced by another fourth-year seminar. I was thrown into teaching a version of this course last year, at Last Year’s Uni. It is outside my area of research, but there are theoretical connections I make to my own theoretical interests and agenda, and I had the kind of cursory familiarity with the literature and issues that many people with a PhD in the general area have. I ended up having fun with the course, and it was well-received. But it was at a second-year level, so it was easy to seem very knowledgeable. Now I’m teaching it as a fourth-year seminar, and a little nervous about my lack of true expertise in the area. I think it will be one of those courses where I function as a catalyst and an experienced – and theoretically oriented – reader and researcher. A kind of facilitator. Fortunately, it’s a topic on which I suspect students will have a lot to say. And I’ve got some great readings that are sure to draw people out (I think). I sure hope so.

Other Random Bullets of Life:

- Mr. K was attacked by a Great Dane yesterday at the dog park!! Mr. K had been bugging this dog a bit – he loooooves the big dogs, especially Danes, and gets barky in their faces, trying to get them to play. But the Dane hadn’t seemed particularly bothered. A couple minutes after he stopped bothering her and wandered away, they were standing about 30 feet apart, ignoring each other. Mr. K had his back turned to her; I think he’d forgotten she even existed. The Dane’s walker extracted a hockey puck she’d been carrying around in her mouth, and the Dane went berserk and charged Mr. K – who didn’t see it coming, of course. He screamed! Thankfully, the walker got the Dane off immediately. I thought at first Mr. K had just been screaming out of shock and fear, but I realized a few minutes later that she had actually bitten him in the corner of the eye! It bled a little, but nothing too serious. Should be kept under control by antibiotic cream. But my god – he could have lost his eye! That’s so bad, randomly attacking a dog in the face! My poor guy.

- Speaking of Mr. K, ex-GF (how weird to now call her my ex) came over late afternoon yesterday to pick him up and take him until Friday morning. This is to be our routine. We’ll have a bite to eat together every week this way. It was so sad, though. Ugh. As much as I want us to be in each other’s lives, and Mr. K demands that we be, it does make it really hard to disentangle. If there were a transgression or a betrayal, it would be almost be easier. I could turn to anger and bitterness.

- After ex-GF comes over on Monday nights, I am going to an adult beginner ballet class at Very Prestigious School. I went to the first class last night. It was so nice to be dancing again; after fifteen years of other forms of dancing, my body is attuned to having the kind of relationship with my mind that listening attentively and moving to music demands. I liked the instructor a lot; she was high-energy, young, a sweetie. And she is a very experienced and accomplished dancer. But the class was chaos. It’s an hour and fifteen minutes, and we did – I kid you not – at least a dozen things!! As someone who has danced forms that demand precision and care, I found it really disconcerting to whirl through so many things. There was no attention to detail; she’d explain something for, literally, a minute, and then we’d do it. She wouldn’t generally go around and coach people on proper positions, etc. But ballet is all about tiny, fine distinctions of position! That felt really unsatisfying. Even if this isn’t going to go anywhere – I’m obviously not about to become a serious ballet dancer – I’d like to actually learn a skill well. Yes, fun is important…but it’s not enough…

- I went for my first run in my new/old neighbourhood yesterday. It was totally depressing. I think I went the wrong direction…I felt like I was breathing sick, dead air…everything was grey. I felt out of place.

- And I do wonder about ballet and running at the same time. I’d imagined I’d spend this fifteen-week ballet class doing barre exercises that required little exertion. If last night’s class was any indication, though, it’s a lot more than relatively sedentary barre work, and it will be harder on my body than I expected. And I’m in good shape! So we’ll see how I do, training my legs to do ballet-type things at the same time as I train for a half-marathon.

- On the job offer front, I spoke to someone interesting on Sunday. A person my ex-Supervisor knows – and writes references for – actually was offered the position I am being offered. Last year. There was some hard negotiating, and in the end, she turned them down. Ex-Supervisor had urged me to talk to this person, and I finally did. She had tons of interesting – and alarming – things to tell me. Well, not so alarming, really, since I’d gotten a sense of the, er, challenges the institution is facing. But, gee, negotiating with them is just going to be a bowl of cherries. Great.

How whiny I’m being. There are good things:

- My schedule at the Uni is better this term, which means I’m in Home City more: I only stay over in Uni City Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

- The L Word, Season 4 started Sunday night. There will be Monday downloading (as it only aired in the US, and anyway, we don’t have cable) and Monday night watching. The premiere, which we watched last night after the ballet class, was satisfyingly over-the-top.

- I have lots of fun dates with friends planned for this weekend.


What Now? said...

I'm glad to hear that you only have to spend two nights a week at Uni City; that should make for a more settled feeling in your new digs, I would think.

Earnest English said...

I'm so jealous that you're taking a ballet class! (Though this class sounds a bit odd.) I have long wanted to take a ballet class, but as my weight has gone up and down throughout grad school, I just never starting taking class on one of the down swings. WHAT a great thing to do! Very inspiring. Though instead of doing my yoga tape, I am going to eat a baked potato. Can't help myself. ;)

Tiruncula said...

Hilaire, I'm sorry about all the various stresses. You've got an awful lot to process at once. I hope Mr. K wasn't too traumatized.

On the ballet front: Your experience is really interesting. In my last semester before leaving SCC City, I took a beginning adult ballet class with the hopes that I could very systematically build up muscles and regain stability in joints that had been damaged through repeated injury in Obscure Dance Form. I really wanted to focus on mechanics and solve some longterm bad habits. The class, though, was just as you describe: a huge variety of things in one session, and lots of center work. I think the idea was to expose adult beginners to the range of how much fun ballet can be, but it was definitely not what I needed. I've been thinking of trying to find a place where I can do just a floor bar to work on range of motion and core stability, and meanwhile try to observe some other classes to find somewhere with the approach I need - though options are probably limited where I live now.

Sfrajett said...

Wow--a lot going on in your head these days! I thought your description of taking a jog was very telling. I totally pictured how it felt, and it feels to me like you are ready to move on. You are tired of living in the past, and your eagerness about wanting more challenge in ballet is part of that. You are brave and optimistic, and you will definitely be ok as you make all these changes. Good luck with all of this, and I am keeping my fingers crossed for smooth and fruitful transitions for you.

Hilaire said...

Thanks, all.

Earnest, sometimes something physical is exactly what you need to prevent writing/dissertation myopia. Crazy as it seems, perhaps now(ish) would be the time...

Tiruncula - that's exactly it!! I think it's as you've decribed. The instructor was trying to make us have *fun* (in the manner of five-year-olds - I'm surprised I liked her, given that!). But I would venture to guess that most people are not there for the kind of fun she has in mind. Ballet's connections to elegance make it so. Adults learning ballet want some of that. Or they have an agenda like yours - or like mine. By the way, how about pilates for you? Ever thought of that? It sounds like it might do what you need for your body.

Thanks, S. Thanks for having faith in me. Yes, I am optimistic, weirdly. I think I'm the kind of person who has no choice but to be. I think you're right about the run - it was really symbolic.