Saturday, January 30, 2010

Q, X, and Y

These are the letters that I have no headwords for in my index. I know, because I finished it last night.

And with that, barring anything unexpected, the book is DONE.

Totally unrelated linky goodness: my favorite new word for today is mansplainin'.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

In Praise of the M.A.

Oh, fer fuck's sake.

fig. 1: possibly a metaphor?**

So, some of you may have missed the comments on the post responding to a correspondent. What was supposed to be a completely minor point in my post ended up sticking in a lot of people's craws. But what got to me was that some people seemed to think that I was disparaging the M.A., when nothing could be further from the truth. So, rather than trying to write tidy prose, I'm going to present my encomium in bullet points. Perhaps some of you can add to them?

  • For several years, I was a faculty presenter at my department's "So you want to go to grad school?" talk for undergraduates. At one of these, a colleague in another field told the students that the separate M.A. (as opposed to the one that's folded into Ph.D. programs here) was only for people not intending to go on to the Ph.D., and that if they were serious, they'd just apply to Ph.D. programs. I disagreed with him right away, but the main point is that this may vary by field. For subfields where you don't need extensive technical or linguistic preparation, jumping right into the Ph.D. might be feasible. For the rest of us, it's a ticket to almost certain failure.
  • Time to consider is important. As at least one of my commenters pointed out, a couple more years makes for a more emotionally mature grad student. It also generally means that the person in question has really given some thought as to what they want out of grad school, why they want it, and what they're going to do to get it. The M.A. might also be a way to "try on" grad school, to make sure that you really want this. One to three years is a small investment to make in this regard. And if you can take a year off before the M.A., even, all the better.
  • Ah, redemption. This was the main concern of my correspondent, and one that I can identify with. Maybe you want to get a Ph.D., but your undergraduate record isn't going to get you into the program you want. Maybe you had a degree in one discipline, but only discovered your true passion in your final year, when it was too late to change majors. Maybe, like me, you slacked off, and realized too late what you should have been doing all along. The M.A., for me, gave me the opportunity to rehabilitate my grades and reputation.***

There ya' go.

**Or possibly just the lens cover on my trusty point-and-shoot finally giving up the ghost.

***You know, I had to do the same thing just to get into a four-year college, too. Hm. Makes me wonder what hole I'm digging for myself now....

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Too Nice

fig. 2: that other picture, for Dr. S.

Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I've never been a confrontational person. In fact, I will contort myself into knots worthy of Squadratomagico's circus to avoid confrontation. There are childhood issues involved here that I just won't get into, but let's just say that I understand where it comes from.

Every group needs at least one peacemaker, someone who endeavors to find some common ground with everyone, but it's usually because we can't bear to be mean or disagreeable. We are, as a group, highly attuned to emotional tension, and usually have been since we were small children. We are targets for department bullies (since we're usually the only ones who will still talk to them). We tend to let our romantic partners walk all over us for a very long time.

So sometimes, it's a relief to write a post like I did yesterday, where I'm just blunt and put speaking my mind before preserving other people's feelings. And on an intellectual level, I understand that statements of opinion are going to provoke disagreement. As they should -- I want this blog to be a conversation, not a monologue. And yet, there's the impulse to explain, retract, retroactively edit my opinions so not to offend. So I can be the person who is agreeable to everyone, all the time.

Not gonna do it. But I wish I didn't feel like doing it anyway.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sugarcoating Costs Extra

fig. 1: a soothing photo, to blunt the impact of my words

[UPDATE: check the comments section for some views dissenting from mine.]

[SECOND UPDATE: comments closed b/c of persistent spammers]

So, I received an e-mail from a would-be Ph.D. student. It's not often that this happens, because I'm not an advice columnist, and anyone who reads my blog will know that I'm pretty confused most of the time. In other words, I DO NOT encourage e-mailing me for career advice. That's what Ms. Mentor is for, and I believe that the Chronicle pays her for her column. The best I can tell you is: be very, very good, and very, very lucky.

But I did open myself up for this one, what with the post that actually offered (unsolicited) advice on how not to write a grad app. So here we go, bearing in mind that you get what you pay for. This student had dug h-self into a hole as an undergraduate by clashing with a senior seminar professor, and had dropped the program, choosing instead to finish a degree in a related field. Now, s/he wants to return to grad school, but wants to know if the past is going to come back and deliver a bite in the ass. Like many people who write to complete strangers for advice, s/he seems to want reassurance that everything will be all right. Unfortunately, reassurance is not my job, and sugarcoating costs extra. Which is not to say that there aren't some serious issues to be discussed here. Some flava from the e-mail:**

Now, I’m in a pickle. Or maybe (hopefully) not. I’ve been accepted to a History MA program at an internationally respected and well-known UK University, where I hope to undo the wrongs of youthful folly. I think that my time away from the academic environment and some thoughtful soul-searching have led me to be less hotheaded and more mature than I was a year ago when I graduated. I have a sharper understanding of what it is I want to get out of my academic training and of what my scholarly goals are, and also of where my strengths and weaknesses as a student of history lie. I have no interest in pursuing a philosophy graduate degree, but want nothing more than to be a college professor. I caught the “lecturing bug” early on in college, TA-ing for professors in the Spanish department, and would love to be able to do it about a subject I’m genuinely passionate about. I love researching, investigating, debating, and writing, of course, but I think teaching is the part of a scholarly career that motivates my decision the most.

I’m uncertain about whether the blemish on my undergraduate record can ever be eclipsed by whatever I may achieve as a master’s student. I’m mostly just worried PhD programs in history (in the USA, Canada, or the UK) will take one look at my application and file it away under “D” for dilettante, desultory, and denied and leave it at that, regardless of how well I do in the MA.

What do you think? Will my patchy past get the better of me or is this just a momentary setback?

First things first, correspondent: ditch the pretentious language. Seriously. It makes you seem like a blowhard. You may or may not actually be a blowhard, but you need to create a good impression at all times, and that means developing a professional voice that doesn't sound like a nineteenth-century dandy. (In that same vein, you might also consider dropping the use of All Three Names.)

Now, to the substance: I myself clashed with my senior seminar advisor. Got a "C" in the class, if I remember correctly. A "C" can hurt you, but if stacked against a pile of much better grades in the major, it won't sink you completely.

The real mistake here was quitting. Anyone who's ever completed a Ph.D. or D.Phil. knows that getting in requires a certain level of Very Smart, but the main component in getting out with the degree is persistence.

That said, you've been accepted into an M.A. program, so have a chance to redeem yourself. This was also my plan (though in the U.S.), and it worked. M.A. programs in the U.K. were basically developed as remedial programs for students who wanted to go for a Ph.D. but didn't yet have the qualifications.*** Which is not to say that they're not difficult. It requires going in with the determination to be excellent. You don't complain, you don't backbite, you don't argue: you just work. You accept the fact that you will more than occasionally feel like the dumbest person in the room. You will work harder than you ever have before. Your starting point doesn't doom you; it just means that you now have no margin for error. And your earlier missteps may actually help you here. Looking up from the bottom of a hole you've dug yourself has a marvelously clarifying effect, as I've discovered on more than one occasion.

But here's the part of your letter that I find problematic:

"I want nothing more than to be a college professor."

Sorry, friend. That's probably not going to happen. And that's not meant to be personal; it's just the facts. Even if you do finish the M.A., get into a good Ph.D. program, and finish the Ph.D., there aren't many tenure-track jobs out there. Those of us who do have TT jobs, and who are honest with ourselves, recognize the HUGE role that luck played in our employment. This year, I think there were eleven or twelve for medieval history. That's for the entire country. Half of those were shared with another field (ancient/medieval, or medieval/early modern) or regionally specialized. So that leaves about six jobs for medieval history in general. Nationwide. And a pool of about 90 applicants.**** Numbers differ by subfield, of course, but I'm fairly certain that the proportion of jobs-to-applicants is comparable in most fields: better in some (Asian history, right now), worse in others (20th-century U.S.? I'm looking at you...) Even a humanities major can do the math there.

While we're at math, here's a bit more: Most of the jobs that do exist for humanities Ph.D.s are adjunct teaching gigs that pay about $1,500-$3,000 per semester-long course. Patch together five of those a semester (sometimes this requires lots of zipping around from one community college campus to another), plus three in the summer and you've got an annual salary of about $20-30K, before taxes, for about a 50-hour workweek. While you're paying off student loans. So make sure to marry rich while you're finishing that degree.

Yes, you've heard this speech before, I'm sure. And you, like me, are probably confident that you will be the one to beat the odds. Who knows; you might be. But there are unemployed Ivy Ph.D.s out there who thought the same thing. And the real problem lies with a combination of ambition and motivation. "Catching the lecturing bug" suggests that what you really enjoy is holding forth for an audience about what you know. Nothing wrong with that, in principle. And gods know, there are worse motivations for going to grad school. But grad school and an academic career are more about what you don't know than what you do know.

Who knows? Perhaps a year or two in an M.A. program will help you discover a type of motivation and set of goals that will sustain you. On the other hand, working on an M.A. might help you see other career options more suited to your interests. Can you write well? Maybe you should be a novelist or an author of popular nonfiction. If you love the classroom, perhaps an M.A. and a job in a private high school might be for you. Maybe you'll fall in love with the library and decide to follow that as a career path.

In a nutshell: There's nothing wrong with changing fields or making a youthful error. Those things can be remedied, though it takes a great deal of work. But think of your motivations. You may discover something along the way.

See? This is why you should write to Ms. Mentor.

**If you e-mail me, those e-mails are mine. I won't post your name, but I reserve the right to post snippets.

***And, because they usually offer absolutely no stipends, they are also what our U.K. friends refer to as (I believe) "money spinners."

****Anyone out there run a search this year able to comment on this figure, which is based on the year that I went on the market?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Second Projects: Fear of Commitment

This is the second-project post, so expect some rambling.

Many years ago, even before I had finished my dissertation, I had a second project all mapped out. It happened just the way you're always told it would: In the process of researching your first project, you stumble across a cluster of intriguing documents. You pop out an article to help you think about it and to stake your claim, write up a description, and put it away as the "next project."

Except that, two years ago, I found out that someone had stepped on "my" project. Two someones, actually. And so I was stuck, because I had only been looking one project ahead. Silly me.

So the past year, I found myself trying to figure out what came next. And I came up with three ideas. The problem is that I don't have a clear front-runner, so I'm having trouble mustering up the commitment it will take to really get going on one. All have their obvious advantages and disadvantages, and so none is really jumping up and shouting "Pick me! Pick meeeee!!!"
  • Project Mnyeh: Happened the same way that Former First Project did: I kept running into mentions of certain semi-obscure-yet-important individuals in a couple of underexploited local archives. Their lives linked in with a bigger set of questions that historians had been asking, but as far as I know, no one had worked on these particular figures before. The problem was that it was a field of inquiry that bored me silly, and the field itself seemed played out. But I had materials. Location: regional archives, mostly an easy commute from Big Research City.
  • Shiny New Project: A microhistory. Super-interesting case. Lots of potential. Fun to research not one but many new things. Possibly problematic as a second book (I'm feeling like I need another traditional monograph before I go off and do something fun), but I went ahead & did some work on it in the archives this past summer. Problem: a large part of the research is prosopographic, meaning that I'm leafing through a couple hundred un-indexed notarial volumes looking for random mentions of two dozen names. It's going to take forever. Location: Big Research City.
  • Nifty Title Project: Seriously, this is one where the idea came to me as a title. It's somewhere between a traditional monograph and an innovative format. I know where some of the bodies are buried. The scope of what I have to look at is manageable. The problem is, I don't know what the central question is. Location: I can do the core research in Big Research City, but since I don't have the question set, Nearby Town regional archives might yield more info.

I thought that I'd have pretty much all of January to sort through all of this, before I left for my trip to Big Research City in early February. But all I've discovered is that I really don't want to write Project Mnyeh. So, here's the tentative plan, which I'm submitting for your approval:

Spend bulk of time in Big Research City. Mornings will be devoted to SNP research, since that's when the notarial archive will be open. Afternoons will go to NTP. If I have a little time towards the end of my trip, head to one Nearby Town archive to explore possibilities for NTP, in the course of which I'll collect enough info on one of the figures in PM to churn out an article.

UPDATE/ADDENDUM: More concretely, my goal for this trip should be to make progress on long-term research for SNP, while gathering enough info (plus a little margin) to write one article each on NTP and PM. At that point, I'll have a better sense of where everything is, and I can really commit.

It's a lot, and a lot more diffuse than I'd hoped I'd be by this point. But it's a starting place.

Opinions? Anyone out there more advanced than I am encounter this same issue in their own research program?

Friday, January 22, 2010


Last night, I polished off the grad exams. They were fine. Lacked a bit of depth, but fine. Also had a breakthrough on the "Which project?" dilemma, which I'll post about tomorrow.

Then, I got to work on the page proofs. Did the intro. Here's the "system" I worked out:

First, find the spots in my computer file where I did copy edits, and make sure they got incorporated.

Second, choose a short section (about 5 pp. at a time) and read through it out loud, stopping whenever I see a problem. Write notes in pencil in the right margin. Control urge to fix clunky prose (too late for that!), limiting myself to correcting obvious grammatical errors, and noting places to do one last check on dates.

Third, while doing the read-through, be alert for potential index entries. Note these in the left margin as they occur, so I have a basis for the real index.**

This method got me through 15 pp. of text and three of endnotes (dear gods, but that's a snore!) in about two hours. I think. If I do that twice a day from here on out, I should be able to finish*** by next Friday.

**So far, I've only got about 8 entries for 14 pages. That doesn't seem like a lot, but then again, this is the introduction, so there's probably not a lot that needs to be indexed. Right? Right? Somebody please reassure me here!

***I've already arranged with the editor that I'll be e-mailing the index from my trip. No way is that getting done before I go, not with taxes and a book review to do.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Grad Exams: Tales from Both Sides

Hey, grad students!

First of all: sorry about the job market. Seriously, it sucks, and it's a piece of dumb luck that you got stuck coming out this year. Or last year. Or -- as I suspect is true in many cases -- both. I was a lucky, lucky woman to have come onto the market in a year that was as good as it was -- the applicant-to-job ratio in my field was 3:1, and while that seemed like some steep odds at the time, I know it's paradise compared to what you all are facing.

But for those of you who don't have to face it quite yet, there are other hurdles to be negotiated. For me, the worst was not the dissertation, but the exams. I'm cursed by poor recall. I think of my brain like a big filing cabinet drawer: I have all the information filed away in neat little folders, and once one of those folders is in front of me, I have a cascade of information and interesting insights. But the process of going through the files and pulling out the right folder seems to be missing. So I have become an obsessive note-taker and organizer.** But the one exam I had to take in the room with no notes and no time to prepare and outline? Bad. And my orals? Well, let's just say that I passed them on the strength of my writtens.

Don't believe me? At one point, while being questioned about continuity and change in religion between the medieval and early modern eras, I forgot the Protestant Reformation. Not something about it; I forgot the whole thing. Kept babbling on about the Council of Trent. The person questioning me finally gave up trying to jog my memory, and we moved on to the next person.***

Now that's got to make you feel better about your own exams, right?

Now, here's the thing: I'm giving a grad exam this weekend. Yup: one of my M.A. students is taking an exam this very weekend. Normally I wouldn't administer an exam over break, and especially when I'm trying to do page proofs and an index on my book, write a book review, and somehow prepare for a three-month research trip. But this student is on active duty in the army, and has been deployed twice since starting the program. We worry about her when she's away (once to Afghanistan, once to Iraq), and we worry that if we wait until I get back from sabbatical, she'll be shipped off again. So this weekend, she's writing two ten-page historiographic responses to questions I gave her.

So guess what I've been doing all week? That's right: I've been reading the materials on her reading list. Because, you know, I need to know this stuff, too.

Now, some of my faculty colleagues are likely goggling in wonder. Why, they w0nder, should I be giving exams in subject areas I know little about? Well, here's how it is at Urban University: I am the one person in my field, and feel like the M.A. students should get to study something they're passionate about. So usually, I pick one question that I know about or think is "important", and the other I tailor to their interests. I won't do the one or two subject areas that I find intensely irritating, but other than that, I'm open.

So here I sit, hoping I can finish the reading on my student's list by the time she turns in her exam. And I'm learning a great deal about medieval queenship in a relatively short time. And I hope she does well, because she's reasonably bright and a hard worker and just damned persistent, in a good way.

But I still wish this weren't on my to-do list.

**Note to grad students: If you suffer from some similar problem, you probably were able to get accommodations under the ADA as an undergraduate. You probably still could in grad school, but think of this as the time to develop your own strategies for coping, because in the end, you not only have to do the work; you have to do it better than 90% of the other grad students around the country doing the same work. Even more, you have to convince your professors that you are better than 90% of the grad students around the country doing the same work. This is just one of the many ways in which grad school ain't pretty.

***Even better: 5 minutes into the next questioner's turn, he said something that tripped a switch, and I turned to the previous examiner and fairly shouted, "Oh! The Protestant Reformation!" For real. I am a sad, sad case.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Things are getting interesting a dullish, academic way. And I'd be writing about them more, IF I HAD A FREAKIN' HOME INTERNET CONNECTION!!! ARRRGGGHHH!!!!

((breathes deeply, several times))

Okay, I promise that I'll try to post something of substance tomorrow. In the meantime, a picture:

I'm thinking of calling it "Nighthawks at the Cleaner."

Friday, January 15, 2010

Saying no: good or bad?

Today, the page proofs for my book arrived.

It's very cool to see your book all laid out and looking like a book, for real, with page numbers and fancy chapter title fonts and everything. But it also represents another boatload of work to do in a very short time period. I'm going to blog the process as much as I possibly can, but I just want to mention that page proofs and indexing are two things that I need to do by the end of the month, along with:
  • read books related to a grad student exam
  • read and grade said exam
  • read and comment on a colleague's draft of her book introduction
  • read a recently-published monograph and write a book review
  • prepare a work plan for research trip
  • clean and organize office in preparation for trip
  • do taxes
I was also supposed to write a draft of a paper for Kalamazoo, but that's just not gonna happen.

So, here's the deal: I'm saying no. No more committees. No more last-minute meetings with students. No more dinner parties. I'm not happy about this, because it seems like I'm starting off my year already breaking my resolution to find more balance between my work and my life. But what can I do?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Zipping By

The days, that is.

I leave for my research trip in three weeks or so. And although I haven't been keeping up my "three things" sidebar widget (as noted in the previous post, I have no home internet for the time being), my "to do" list is impressive, and intimidating. I had totally forgotten about a graduate exam, and a few other rather big projects. I think I'm going to stick everything in the sidebar for a while.

I'm looking forward to having several months in the archives, and even more time off. I'm actually planning two vacation-y things for the time I'm back: a post-K'zoo road trip to a neighboring state, and three glorious weeks in Puddletown, to celebrate both my brother's wedding and another decade where I haven't died. But somehow, I need to get my shit together before I go.

By the way, it was great to finally get a chance to meet two of you at AHA. And welcome to the new readers who have joined in since the Daly post. I promise that I'm usually more interesting than this. Not always. But usually.

**Photo note: I think my camera is overcompensating for the halogen streetlights: all my night shots are turning out orange.

Monday, January 11, 2010

This is not an AHA report

Yes, I went to the AHA. No, I'm not going to blog it, except to say that I had a delicious breakfast with a fellow blogger and a long-time commenter, met up with friends who I see only a few times a year, grinned about my book being in the catalog, actually saw (but did not speak to) one stunningly handsome historian (!!!), ate too much, spent too much money, saw a few good papers, and contacted someone about big project.

Nope. The big thing on my mind is the recent departure of my fabulous neighbor. She & I moved into our cute little apartments right next door to each other within the same month. We were both new hires in our department, and over the years, we shared walks, soups, baked goods, frustrations, and the agony of the book & tenure process.

Fabulous neighbor is now engaged, and so this weekend, she finally took the plunge and moved in with her intended. I am happy for her, and it's not like she's died or anything. But anyone who's ever had a neighbor like this knows that the easy cameraderie and friendship is a rare and wonderful thing. It's the dilemma of the adult single woman: your friendships are precious, so rejoicing when one of your friends finds "the" person is always tinged with a sense of loss. I know how selfish that sounds, but I'm gonna let it stand, because it's true.

On a less personal note: I am also grieved to report that she was the local hub for a shared internet line. So my posting (and replying to others' posts) is going to be sporadic, at best.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

It's that time of year again

Well, I'm getting ready to spend several days in San Diego. How did a year when I wasn't going to go to any conferences turn into one where I went to three? ::sigh:: Well, at least I'll get to see some old friends, and meet some new ones!

If I've got access to internet, I'll be blogging from there. If not, blogging will be light, so you guys all behave, you hear?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Goodness, Gracious!

My, but blog traffic has gone up since I posted on Mary Daly. Thanks to Historiann for the shout-out. And thanks to the commenters for a generally civil and thought-provoking discussion. I haven't seen this many visitors since last March's roundtable on Judith Bennett's History Matters. Apparently people who proclaim the death of feminism aren't really paying attention. I'm enjoying reading a diversity of thought-out opinions. I just want to underline that this blog and its component posts welcome critique and dissent, so let's keep our responses to each other respectful.

So far, the only states not to check in are Alaska, Arkansas, Hawaii, Rhode Island, West Virginia, and Wyoming. So all you feminists from Barrow to Brown U., stop in and say hi! Come for the feminism, stay for the academic discourse...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I Wish I Could Stay In Today

I have so much of my Three Things list that I could do, sitting right on the couch.

And yet, a couple of months ago, my doctor called and informed me that I was abnormal (I knew this) on the cellular level (this part was news). Her office reassured me that it was not cancer, nor was it the other typical culprit for this type of abnormality. Could I come in again in a couple of months for another test? My nurse friend tells me, "Oh, hell -- even a cold can throw that off." So I'm not really worried.

But I'd really rather stay on the couch.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

R.I.P., Mary Daly


[Note: comments to this post have been closed while I'm traveling.]
I read a little of her work for a feminist theory class in grad school. It didn't really speak to me, and I thought there was plenty there to criticize. But her influence on gender studies was undeniable, and truly transformative. Her works were also those rare books written by an academic that went out and transformed the lives -- yes, I do mean lives -- of women and men outside the university. She was an unapologetic radical feminist who put women first and never backed down from a position in order to avoid alienating men or women less radical than she (and face it, that's most people), a woman who once described herself as a "positively revolting hag" -- and meant it in a good way.

And that brings us to the other thing about Daly: the language. Mary Daly took the words of the English language, moved them around, combined them creatively, capitalized whatever she felt deserved to be capitalized, redefined terms with wild abandon, and just expected her readers to keep up. Reading her prose was a bit like being caught in an avalanche, and I was known more than once to roll my eyes at what seemed like lexical excess. But there was also something delightful and playful about all of it. Read one of her paragraphs, perhaps something from her middle or later work: Gyn/Ecology, or the revised preface ("reintroduction") to the second edition of Beyond God the Father. Don't worry about understanding it as you go along; just let the words bubble off your tongue. It's wild and delirious, like something by Ornette Coleman. It's also the language of someone who knows that seriousness of purpose shouldn't -- in fact, must not -- stop you from taking real joy in what you're doing.

That is what I'd like to take away with me.

Indexing Bleg: Recommendations Welcome!

So, the page proofs for the book are scheduled to arrive in about a week. And one of the things that I will need to do is make an index. I'm determined to do this myself: I've heard horror stories from people in my field who hired out the job, and even if I wanted to, it's by now too late. So: do any of you humanities-types know of good guides for how to do this? I've written Esteemed Former Advisor, who indexed *all* his massive tomes, save one, and was hoping that he'd have some suggestions, but the man has had the temerity to slack off on e-mail correspondence in favor of enjoying the holidays with his family. The nerve!

Seriously, though: any pointers from those of you who have been there?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Open Letter to the Commenter Who Posted Identifying Information about Me

Dear Person,

Yes, I did get your e-mail a couple of months ago, with a long paragraph detailing how you'd figured out precisely who I was, where I worked, where I researched, etc. It felt like an invasion of my privacy, but I do understand the satisfaction that comes from solving a puzzle, so yes: you got it right.

But I am still an anonymous blogger, so I need you to respect that if you'd like to continue visiting. Do as my long-time friends who comment here do: refrain from posting even vaguely identifying information in your comments to my posts. I've deleted them, and will set up moderated comments as necessary, but it will be easier for me (and for my other regular commenters) to manage if you simply make a decision to respect my privacy.

Thank you,


Friday, January 1, 2010

Would you believe...

...that I'm still grading? I have one more paper to read, and then I'm done. In the meantime, my New Year's resolutions are:
  • Take more pictures (new DSLR!)
  • Read more for pleasure (the stack on my nighttable is reaching a dangerous height)
  • Volunteer in the community
  • Pay off credit card debt
  • Draft one new article or book chapter
  • Find a local yoga studio that I like, and take that up again
  • Crack open those cookbooks and try one new recipe a week

Some of that will have to wait until I'm back from my research trip, but the rest looks like a decent list. In general, the theme this year is: "Finding a way to do my job well without feeling like it's devouring every other part of my life and bellowing for more."

Happy New Year, y'all.

PS: Also, I've been working around the corners of strategizing my research trip. More on that this weekend, along with a bit of a bleg for ideas and input.