Friday, November 28, 2014


That is, unfortunately, what my e-mail inbox looked like on Wednesday.

2996 messages.

1088 unread.

Yeah. If you haven't gotten a reply from me, it's not that I'm ignoring you. Apparently I'm ignoring everybody.

Part of this has to do with the fact that I've been writing. Focusing on other things. I've been going on these 10-week "write-every-day-even-two-sentences" binges, and while it's been really productive, it's also been keeping me hopping.

Part of it is that I don't have home internet anymore. But let's not kid ourselves -- I was bad about this long before. 

What it really is is that "keeping up with correspondence," never among my top talents, has become more difficult as the e-mail proliferates. And as the junk e-mail proliferates, the real stuff gets buried. And I think "I'll get to it later." And then I get busy again.

So, this holiday weekend has been a process of digging out. Wednesday I resolved to myself that, for every day this week, I'd shrink each of those numbers by 50%. Yes, I know -- those of you who do math, or even those who know the story of Achilles and the Tortoise -- will tell me that, at this rate, I'll never get there. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. But this morning, I'm at 600/50, and falling fast.

I really think that "keeping up with my correspondence" needs to be my major resolution in the upcoming semester.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

OGs of the Blogger World

Today I got to have a Very Special Lunch with two long-time bloggers: Historiann and Comrade Physio-Prof. Neither of these two live nearby normally, yet the stars brought everything into alignment, and lo, a lunch was arranged.

And yet, a week before the event, I had backed out.

As the Comrade might say: What the ffucke?

And I realized that sometimes, dedication to work needs to take a backseat. That I could be here in my office from sunup to sunset every day, just in case some student wanted to see me, and that I'd probably see maybe one more student a week. That while I enjoy my job, and have been really proud of how well I've been doing, it's okay to relax once in a while. It's okay to opt out of a meeting rescheduled at the last minute, even if your "appointment" was with the couch and some reading you really needed or wanted to do. That it's okay to tell a student that you're just not available for a special meeting at that time.

I'm about halfway there on this. The halfway that has learned to say "no" retracted my retraction and got my ass to the out-of-town-but-not-by-much venue and had a fun lunch, full of foods I usually don't eat, swearing, stories about college drinking, and lots of inappropriateness with a bunch o'bloggers (CP and I noting the moribund-but-not-quite-dead states of our blogs). The other half had to bail after two hours because I had office hours at 4:30. Two days before Thanksgiving.

From left: Comrade Physioprof; Notorious Ph.D.; Historiann (with spouse)

I totally forgot that I had that "work less/live more" tag. Maybe that needs to be something I work on.

Friday, November 21, 2014

It is that point in every semester...

... where I have given up any dreams that I will finish the semester well, and now am concentrating on merely surviving.

... when I have realized that my brand-new class has lived up (?) to my usual bit of sardonic advice for good teaching: "Never teach a class for the first time."

...when I am spending too much money on restaurants because my fridge has been empty for a week and I am too worn out to go to the grocery store.

...when I wonder what I was thinking taking on as many commitments as I did, and patting myself on the back for saying "no" even a few times.

...when I eyeball yet one more grant application and wonder whether I can squeeze it in...?

...when I can't even think about the holidays, and am perversely glad that I don't live near family, because I so desperately, desperately need the entire Thanksgiving holiday to get caught up.

Yeah. It's that time.