Thursday, January 31, 2013

My writing looks beautiful in print! And... passion doesn't matter in academia.

All right, let's get that gloomy post out of the top of the blog for now, shall we?

added half way through postand let's replace it with another passionate gloomy post, why not? Because today is the day in which "the touch of gloom" is upon me (hahahaha) and nothing I write can be truly cheerful even though I do feel pretty cheerful, not overly gloomy, right now. ;)

Isn't it ironic that the first page proofs for my article that is to be published in a prestigious journal in Brazil (and which was the final positive impulse I needed to "cheerfully" submit my application last year) was emailed to me yesterday?

I looked at it today and it's just so beautiful! Real print (even through a PDF) is just gorgeous, seriously! The essay made me feel like I should just sit down and try to write more, but only about the things I love.

I have so much passion for so many things! So many authors, so many subjects, about literature and knowledge and history!

Passion doesn't really matter in academia. OK, it does to a certain point, but not centrally, and not really if you think it through. And does passion matter anywhere else in the workplace nowadays?

Being really smart, outstandingly articulate, exceptionally well-read (the right things, mind you!), learning to follow the rules, thinking and writing rationally, absorbing what came before (theory, especially) and spitting it out in eloquent language, building up on what cam before you and demonstrating rationally that you are adding to it and how, following prescribed theories and current buzz words, fitting in, doing what's "on" and deemed relevant to the consensus of learned scholars in your area, etc...

THESE MATTER in academia and I don't value some of those things as much as others. I mean, sure, I will read the literature, but I may not agree with it and... of course, I now know that I have real, physical trouble engaging with some materials (my ADD). Oh, and I didn't "tackle" the subject I wrote about in the traditional way, so that was a big "sin" right there.

The problem is that passion alone -- being passionate for teaching, having students be passionate about your teaching, being passionate about the authors and issues you care for -- does NOT count, not for a TT job. It only counts if you're wiling to sacrifice that passion to requirements I listed in the paragraph above and I didn't do that. It's partly my fault and partly the problem Anastasia describes in this post (which I want to comment more on later).

If you have the passion, the intelligence and the drive, but you do not package it the right way (bathed in theory that is accepted and current and in "fashion" even) and... in my case, if you don't go to the right phd program and study with the right people.


So... I do not fit in (my scholarship itself is unusual) and I never really have fit in. It doesn't surprise me in the least when they don't call me for interviews and in the only interview I ever heard the first question was, with a quizzical look: "why is your dissertation about this topic?"

The only reason I applied for the job at my current institution is that it would have been total foolishness not to. What if the starts aligned or something and the unthinkable happened -- they liked what they saw on paper? (ridiculously convoluted writing ahead: though I suppose that this would be really really hard for this group of men because they had seen me in person very often what good would the "looking good on paper" do when they knew what I looked like and was like in person? I think that's definitely a factor, even though it should NOT be).

I feel that a passionate person like me is destined to go through life receiving multiple huge cold water showers or splashes (that comes straight from Portuguese in which "um banho de água fria"-- a cold water shower/bath -- means a really discouraging event). I am slowly becoming jaded and less passionate simply because I'm getting tired of getting wet and shivering...

In academic circles, passion and originality don't matter as much as eloquence (or being articulate and fully conversant in complex opaque theories), relevance to what the founders of the field consider important, and the right key words and subjects do. I urge you to convince me of the contrary, I really do. In fact, being genuine, warm & passionate is sometimes the opposite of what many scholars are like because the field makes stiffness and smugness (and unapproachableness!) the proper behaviors.

Oh, yeah, and I think that this post is much more helpful in convincing me that in fact a TT job is not for me than the previous one, and that I should simply become an advocate for more stable and reliable lecturer work (which I will, that's for sure). And... if someday something (tt) comes up, I'll gladly take it!

There, this is not gloomy anymore, is it?

The Upside of Not Having a TT Job and MORE Angst! ;)

I hope I didn't sound like an insufferable whiner in those previous posts.

Of course there's very positive upside (for me at least) in not having a tenure track job (particularly a TT job at a "prestigious" R1)! I will attempt to list the most important things in this post, feel welcome to contribute in the comments or to correct me if you think that a TT career does not involve all that.

1) Not having to deal with the "tenure process," which, in my husband's words, is a "meat grinder." This process & the pressure I would be under would probably stress me out too much or even "break me" (I'm really too sensitive to being evaluated).

2) Not having the overwhelming pressure and be required to do research and publish, especially considering that research in some areas of the humanities is not essentially useful to anything and anybody, really, especially in my field: literature.

3) No need to serve on countless committees, advise graduate students (I think I'd enjoy that, though), advise undergraduates, and do other "service" duties, etc.

4) Having more time for my family, for my children, having a more "carefree" and unstructured life (which is my style again, ADHD me).

Sigh... I can't think of more reasons now. I keep thinking of all the things I'm missing (conferences, intellectually stimulating work, sabbaticals, etc. This continues to be hard, even in this post in which I'm trying to convince myself of the contrary).

I know that there are more reasons and I really love to live carefree, but at the same time, I LOVE researching, I really do. Even more than teaching. Maybe if I were diagnosed and did therapy and sometimes medication for my ADHD I could be a more productive person?

I can do all that without the "need" to be more productive in the TT job, obviously!

All right, please, dear non TT academic peeps who read this blog, can you help me out finding even MORE reasons not to have a tt job? Because I'm clearly not doing a good enough job of it.

Angsty Postscript

Do you know what the bottom line is in my case, perhaps? If I were to pursue other possibilities, other jobs, etc. it would be easier, but if I continue working alongside TT and tenured and professor emeritus people, I will continually, perpetually, for as long as I am in academia, feel the difference.

Because, as my dear friend Anastasia wrote just yesterday, maybe a bit aggressively in her angst: tenured or people who have tenure track jobs either believe (that's her word, not mine) that they are somehow superior to those of us who didn't OR, as I see it, they may not believe it, but lots of them behave and act as if they were superior BECAUSE THEY ARE!!!

(and I read all the comments to Anastasia's post and I understand your point of view folks, I do -- please , there's no need to feel attacked, and I know that some of you don't believe that and do not behave like that, but many other people do behave like that. It's part of the job!)

Hierarchically speaking, Anastasia, they ARE superior, even if they don't believe they are. They get the funding, they get the offices with the windows, they go to meetings and make decisions and we...

(even if we are fairly treated to full time positions, albeit temporary)

... we teach. We do the work. And go home and feel grateful.

ha ha ha

and full of angst and sometimes anger.

OK, that's it for now. I did warn you that I was going to be writing lots about this and I feel ridiculous for attempting a positive post and ending up on this somber note. Sigh. Post PhD Blues indeed! that was the great title of my dear friend Articulate Dad's blog before he changed it to One Foot In, One Foot Out and gleefully jumped OUT!

I'm not jumping out, I don't think. So I need to process all this. Over, and over, and over again. That's why I blog.

Closing Tomorrow! 2.65% 15 Year Fixed!

Wow, even I can't believe that our refinancing is finally going to happen! It was confirmed on Nov. 28, but it is only taking place two months later.


The closing is tomorrow at 9 am and I have to sign the stuff as fast as I can and be on my way to teach at the other university (I only have to sign the title documents, my name is not on the mortgage, which is fine with me. My credit is still amazing even without that. ;)

The awesome thing is that we only have to bring around 7K to closing, so all the money that we've been saving & borrowing & keeping in the checking account (and charging most everything -- good to get miles, bad for getting into more and more debt) will go to start paying the credit cards, woo-hoo!

I truly hope that we can be debt free in less than six months (this week it has been confirmed that I'll have a summer class, I wanted/needed that to try to get back into shape financially. I just have to advertise it like CRAZEEE! so I can have a few students & get paid an OK amount).

I hope everything goes on smoothly! We're getting the cashier's check today so we'll be all set in the morning. I'll keep you posted.

Losing Sleep

I've been waking up on my own before 6:45 for the past two days (after going to sleep at my regular time of 1 am or later).

Unfortunately this whole job situation is taking its toll on me. I just can't stop stressing about it. :(

I have a meeting with one of the coordinators in the department, one of the people who interviewed me back in the Fall. I spent sometime yesterday with my office mate after our yoga class discussing what I should say to him... sigh.

And last night I was just rehearsing in my head what I should say before falling asleep. No wonder I can't relax and wake up extra early.

Prayers & thoughts are appreciated!

P.S. I haven't even written the post in which I share the interesting development of my "tele-teaching" adventures! My unexpected success in this area (and the other stressful situations I blogged about) is one of the things that pushed me to try to make a stronger case for myself to the department. I'll try to share more later... it's exciting, but I also feel angsty about it for other reasons (my desire to be an "adjunct activist").

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


That's what my class enrollments look like today as compared to 13/13/13 two weeks ago. More students joined my classes!

The full enrollment is actually 14/16/16, but what I have in the title is what's officially on the roster now since one of my students had to request an overload and his request hasn't been processed yet.

Oh, and the first two classes have a cap of 18 and were full last semester, but some students didn't return, which is normal.

I'm really excited about my students and the teaching and I hope I get to continue next year... that is all.

I know I'm not a failure, but this (adjunct life) is hard

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Brightstar(B*) for the really encouraging comment.

I know I'm not a failure, in fact, with the exception of that P.S., my previous post was an attempt to demonstrate that now I know my value because I have been externally validated (more on that in the next post) very significantly in the past six months. That validation is giving me the courage to become more "activistic" about my situation, I just have to figure out how to do that smartly without burning bridges, without being too pushy. I don't want to accept being meek and humble like most adjuncts are forced to be given our circumstances of utter dependency on the whims of the universities. (and last night, my husband was actually defending the university and saying that there's no money, that that's the way it has to operate... blah blah. Really, REALLY? OK, maybe, but still... something SHOULD change -- is it really impossible?).

I'll be blogging about that a whole lot from now on. I guess this is about to become a space for adjunct activism. ...  Blah...

Anyway, why is this (being an adjunct as compared to my bloggy peers) so hard for me on a personal levels as a very active blogger?

Because when I started  blogging eight years ago I found several other ABD moms (and one dad!) out there just like me -- trying to finish their dissertations and juggling caring for young children/babies. Most of them have gone on to tenure track positions (some in roundabout ways like M) or moved on to other pursuits like Articulate Dad (I actually MET HIM & his family years ago, what a thrill!), Geeky Mom and Anastasia. Right now only one of my blogging friends is an adjunct like me (AcadeMama). OK, there are others I am no longer in touch with, so there could be others, in fact.

So... it is hard. And it's not their fault or my fault, it's just the way it is. Like you said, B*, some fields have much more need of people with PhDs than others, but humanities PhDs are just almost a waste of time, seriously! If you've been reading for a long time you know that I have NO REGRETS about getting the PhD. I have TONS of angst and qualms about academia, etc, but I love what I did, I'm passionate about it and I wish I could pursue it.

Do you know what's the most heartbreaking thing for me? I feel like crying very often because of this, especially now that I am teaching literature (I don't know if I can blog about that, I'll be a blubbering mess).

I will never ever be able to pursue the research and scholarship that I want to do.

Because you can only do so in a Tenure Track position. Which I won't ever get because I didn't prepare fully for it, because my area has too many degree recipients and nearly non-existent demand, etc, etc.

I won't do it also because I have trouble with my ADHD and lack of motivation.

And then... Why would I do it? (engage in complex scholarship) for NOTHING? Not being paid for it? Trying to carve out time out of grading tons of tests and exams (part and parcel of teaching language)? And driving 76 miles each way to go teach? (OK, not valid, circumstantial problem, I admit). Why do it if I don't have anyone to pay for me to go to conferences?

But I do think about it often, walking to and from my building at the university... and sometimes there are a few tears as well. I have many ideas for research, but research in literature is basically really really lonely hard work on one's own that doesn't payoff in any way if you're not in a TT position.

OK, that's it for now. I'm not a failure as a person (maybe as a scholar yes, partly my fault), but my ALL TOO COMMON circumstance is really hard and there isn't a solution in sight for us. There really isn't.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Roller-Coaster is Back! :(

Seriously... I was ready to continue to have a relatively stable, uneventful life, but I guess it's not meant to be.

After the past six months of relative calm (I only stressed out a bit about that pesky job application & dead laptop), but I thought it was over.

Nah! Not just yet! :(

This morning I was shocked when the chair of the search committee asked me for my syllabus so that the interviewees could teach my class. What took me completely by surprise was that they are going to be teaching the language class, not the literature one (not to mention that next week we have an exam and I'm going to have to change the schedule in order to accommodate these visits*). Blah...

* Have any of you experienced this type of hassle, probably not, right? Good for you, she says, dripping sarcasm and a tad of envy and anger... (I'm sorry, I'm going to become a bitter blogger again until this is all resolved, please bear with me, OK?).

You know where I'm going next now, don't you?

Well... this made me start stressing out BIG TIME regarding whether they will keep me or let me go (we aren't called CONTINGENT faculty for nothing, right?).

In any case, there's something else going on (I'll write the post today and schedule it for tomorrow morning or the glut of posts tonight will overwhelm my non-existent readers) and this afternoon I saw that the department chair was in her office and decided to go share my news with her after I had an interesting conference call.

She didn't seem very impressed, but then, again, this is who she is. Very matter-of-fact, few words kind of person. I did tell her that I needed to know whether I'd be rehired because I need to plan alternatives (going back to teaching all my classes at former university where I now teach only ond class) and she said there was no way to know until the search was over.

THE SEARCH, again!

That made me even more upset than finding out the candidates would be teaching my class. I began to feel frantic with worry about not having this job I've loved so much anymore come fall.

I could go on and on about my thoughts, but I won't keep going. I will just say that I was very angry and bitter when I called K on my long drive back home. Thankfully our conversation helped me a lot. I am ready to fight for my rights at both universities. Particularly trying to pitch one against the other for my advantage.

I know I have no real leverage and that as an "adjunct person" I'm basically a doormat, BUT... I will try. I need to value myself and to make my case for either school. History and the academy itself are against me, but I'm ready to become an activist. I seriously am. Students love me at current university and my work "tele-teaching" at former U. is being recognized in unexpected ways (subject of the next post)...

Most importantly, I have nothing to lose because I don't have anything to begin with!

(I mean, I do earn a modest amount of money, but my plan is to find a way in which I can still make that money and feel less trampled upon).

I don't know whether I will continue to have the stamina and the strength to go on, but right now, I am ready to fight!

P.S. I write all this, but when I think of my friend Articulate Dad & his long painful journey until he left academia I feel a little discouraged. I wish I read more "adjunct" blogs because I feel very lonely right now since most of my blogging friends are either tenured or getting tenured which always makes me feel like a HUGE failure. And now that I know it's almost certain that I'll never have a tt job I feel helplessness and bitterness taking hold of me. BLAH! If it would all just go away!

My Student Lost a Friend in the Brazilian Nightclub Fire!

When I heard of the horrific news of the deaths in the Santa Maria nightclub fire in Brazil I immediately thought of my student. She spent a year in Brazil a couple of years ago in the Southern state of Rio Grande do Sul and I was pretty sure she must have been close to Santa Maria.

The first thing one of my students said when I arrived in class this afternoon was:

"Did you see what happened in Brazil?"

"Yes, I did, what an awful tragedy!"

And then I saw her and she looked absolutely stricken, so I knew at once. I said, "C, I thought of you as soon as I heard the news, did you know anyone who was killed?"

She just nodded, trying to control her tears, trying not to fall apart completely (I'm crying just writing this). I could just say "I'm so so sorry!" over and over again and go give her a hug.

We couldn't talk because I had to teach the class, but I asked whether the town where she had been was nearby (it was right next to Santa Maria) and whether she had ever been to that nightclub (she had not) and then I asked whether she had called her friends in Brazil (she had, that's how she had found out).

I am going to write her an email and let her know that she can talk to me if she wants to. I had never been in such a situation -- knowing someone who had been directly affected by a huge tragedy that had been in the news all over the world.

Has that ever happened to you? How have you dealt with it if it were one of your students? Please let me know.

Pride & Prejudice's 200th Anniversary!

Let's start with the fluff, shall we?

I was so excited to find out this morning that today is the 200th anniversary of the publication of P&P!

As long time readers already know, I am a true "Janeite." Take a look at my previous posts about her (I have a Jane Austen label!):

Back in 2006 I outed myself with the post "Oh Jane, dear, dear Jane" (not subtle at all, right? ;-) in which I praised the new Pride and Prejudice movie adaptation.

Then, over a year later in 2007 I took this fun Jane Austen quiz (see at the bottom of my side-bar) and blogged about it saying it was "For Jane Austen Lover Only :)."

On January 13, 2009 I began a series of post on the new & recycled PBS/BBC Jane Austen adaptations (" 'The Complete Jane Austen' Begins Tonight" and "New Persuasion Adaptation - My Verdict."

In the next two weeks I live blogged the new Northanger Abbey adaptation and reviewed the new Mansfield Park.

For whatever reason I missed watching the new adaptation of Sense & Sensibility and I have recently found out that one of the actors was the now famous Downton Abbey "Mattthew" so now I will want to watch it (though I'm not sure how good or bad it is, especially compared with the Hollywood movie).

My next few posts in 2008 were short (because of the Super Bowl) and then I wrote about the pretty lovely Becoming Jane.

My last post is from 2011 when I read Persuasion for Valentine's Day (it is my favorite Austen novel!) . I'm reading it again this year, this time the Annotated Version (thanks, sis!).

In any case, maybe I should also re-read Pride & Prejudice to celebrate its anniversary! I also have the annotated version, but it's so think I think I'll take forever to read.

Well, Happy Anniversary, P&P!!

Warning! heavy posting ahead

I need to write at least three or four posts today, some very short, but I still want them to be individual posts.

You've been forewarned.

(and I hope someone reads them! ;-)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Classroom Teaching Etiquette Complaint

New semester, new classroom, new annoyances...

Why, I wonder every day I arrive in class to teach (in a newly renovated classroom, yay!), why can't the professor who teaches right before me erase the blackboard full of notes from his class? (s/he is also much taller than me, so I can hardly erase the top part of the board...)


I think this is one of the most basic classroom etiquette requirements, isn't it?

When I leave, I not only erase everything I've written on the board, but I also make sure I lift up the screen and turn off the video projector, the lights and the window air conditioning unit (unless there are students from the next class and they ask me to leave the AC on).

It's a little thing -- the board full of messy writing in another language -- but it does take some precious time from my 50 minutes of class!


Should I try to find out who s/he is and ask this person to do hir part? What would you do?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Out in the open

Suspense's over.

In the hallway this morning, almost late for class, search committee chair, on his way to a meeting, apologized for not interviewing me.

"Many people applied," he explained, "and two are coming to campus."

"That's OK!" I amiably, almost cheerfully, replied, and went on my way.

I think I can see these people now or at least know who they are. For some weird reason I'm hoping for Anglo men, again. Maybe I'd feel better & more valued (since he wouldn't ever be able to have my experience & perspective). A woman from my country or a man from another country would be fine, but a guy from my country... I don't think I'd like that at all!! I haven't much liked the ones I've encountered at conferences...

I'll let you know more as soon as I know! It should be fun!

Seriously!! ;-)

P.S. And I'm fine! I really am. (I kinda knew all along ;-) #benefitsofpessimisticrealism

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Utter Joy & Angst

I wish I were a better writer or that I at least had the time to craft beautiful & thoughtful blog posts, but this one will have to do. I just need to get it written down or else it will never be recorded for future reference (the journaling function of this job is pretty important to me).

For the first and, potentially, the last time in my life* I am teaching a class on the general subject I specialized on. An upper level class, in my native language, with really interested students who are there because they want and chose to (this, believe me, is HUGE!). A heterogeneous group to be sure (in terms of language ability/proficiency), but highly motivated and open to learn.

This, my friends, is mind-blowing, ground-breaking stuff for me. I cannot get over how great this is or... (remember *) has the potential to be! it's literally a dream come true. Of course that comes with a bit of weight on my shoulders, I don't want to mess it up, but I surely think that it's hard to go wrong with a great group of students like that. In any case, wish me luck, I'll keep you posted!

The caveat? Once they hire someone at the end of this semester, this and other upper level classes potentially offered by the department will be taught by the tenure track person, not me. It's the issue I was struggling with when I wrote this other angsty post. There is a very clear hierarchy at most (not all, thankfully!) universities. Graduate students teach the lowest level classes, lecturers teach mid-level classes and professors teach upper level and graduate courses.** That's the way it is.

I haven't been called for an interview & I know that campus interviews will be scheduled soon (I know that they will probably try to avoid awkward situations with me, so I don't know how they will be announcing those to the faculty, I will just try to hide as much as I can when those interviews take place). I'm just praying and hoping that the person they hire is older and much more experienced than I am. Or else I will just feel pretty awful. In the end, I just hope it's a nice person because technically he or she will "supervise" my work and directly benefit from it teaching the upper level type of class that I am teaching this semester... (and I also HOPE that they hire a person from my country too, because they might not!).

I have a feeling it will all be all right in the end. Maybe they'll hire my friend? She's a bit younger than me, but she's my friend & I'm sure we'd enjoy working together (I'm just assuming she has applied, I should email her). Nah... maybe not, we come from the same institution and the place where I work now mostly wants people from really prestigious schools. BLAH.

yeah, that title doesn't even make sense with a snarky/whiny ending like this. I need rebelliousness and snarkiness to try to bring some lighthearted humor into the situation or else it'll be bleak for me ( because of *). In the end I think it's pretty accurate, though. The title, that is. That's who I am, alternately joyful and angsty. Hopeful and frustrated. Elated and despairing. All at once.

I hope you don't mid! ;-)

* I know, I should try to be the "positive," "cup half full" kind of person my husband wishes I could be, but I'm just the old "realistic pessimist" (or the other way around) me. I cannot be someone else. I need to prepare for the worst so I can live with whatever comes my way.

**and here one could go on and on about how this system is perfect to create tons of highly qualified, but basically unemployable phd recipients that will go on to be adjuncts, but this is not the subject of this post.

Monday, January 14, 2013

13/13/13 (Class enrollment)

It looks like I'll have even more students, but this is what my enrollment looked like today, exactly 13 students in each class. (I had 19 & 18 in the lgg classes last semester, it is normal that some students don't come back because of scheduling conflicts, etc.)

Yesterday I emailed past semester's syllabi to the department coordinator and she emailed me back saying that she was thrilled to notice the "robust" enrollment in my classes!!! (insert my happy dance here :)

I didn't miss a beat and replied that I was excited about my classes & students and thrilled to be teaching one of the classes in particular (more about it later) and that I hoped that my contract would be renewed. Sigh... much more on that later as well.

I am still really really happy teaching there. Still "at the margins," but fairly paid and having the chance to work with fantastic students.

Commuting the 76 miles each way only three days (MWF) and then teaching a class at the closer university in the other two days also feels extremely relaxing compared to last year's crazy schedule (teaching 5 days a week, 3 classes a day). I'm looking forward to this semester & hoping I'll get to continue teaching there next year & beyond... (sigh!)

Sorry for the Silence

Everything is going well, I've just been very, very busy.

And I had a lot of pent up stress because I had to start teaching today & didn't feel prepared, but it all went great! I want to write a separate post about that, though. I hope I can write a lot of post in the next few days, I feel really energized...

... energized, but worried about the crazy warm weather in January. It feels wonderful to walk out to nearly 70s outdoors, but it also feels very very wrong. :(

I was happy to quickly chat on skype with my mom today after not having talked to her in a week -- they were at the beach in Brazil without phone or internet (they had cell phones, but my voip phone service charges for that). I talk to my mom, over the phone or email or computer chat nearly every day.

what else? I had a bit of a sore throat last week but didn't get sick! YAY!

I have even more things to add to the 2012 news post & I'll try to post those soon, promise!

ok, I hope that's enough for now. there are some bad feelings regarding the application I sent, but I'm just ignoring those & hoping that it'll all be gone in a few months. sigh...

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Pending 2012 News!! - Updated Edition

originally posted on 01/04/13, updated today.
I have to write a few posts (maybe two, maybe more) to share some exciting news that I was unable to share before the end of the year.

After I write the posts I'll come here and include links to them:

1) SUPER exciting family news!

2) K's Christmas Surprise.


3) We have finally moved into the 21st century!

4) Granted!!

one more 5) More musical instruments!

... and there might be more that I've forgotten

Monday, January 07, 2013

Things That I Always Forget To Do (a post in progress)

... this post will be "in progress" because I often forget which things I always forget to do. ha ha. I wish this could be funny. :-p

Please, add your own to the comment section!

I always forget to...

... 1) Take all the plastic bags (which I dutifully collect and stuff inside one of them, stretching it to the limit) to recycle at the stores that have a collection bin up front. Sometimes I put them in the car to help me remember, but they just sit in there for weeks. More often, they just sit it in the garage.

... 2) Finally decide on a doctor and make appointments for a checkup that is nearly three years too late.    (this one I actually "forget" if you know what I mean).

... 3) Take calcium supplements. I think I do that once or twice a week at most!

... 4) Where I stored wrapping paper or reusable gift bags + tissue paper, so I always end up buying more when needed. Oh, yeah, and birthday candles bought ahead of time.

... 5) Buy some non-essential items that end up being badly needed/wanted.

Do you think this post will help me to remember to do these? I hope so!!

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Downton Abbey is back!

And, of course... just because I'm a fan, we have an antenna now, but it won't catch PBS's signal!

Thankfully a friend on facebook provided me with a link that is allowing me to watch it online so I can keep up with my blog+facebook friends!

I should go to facebook and twitter to see if people will be posting comments, that should be fun! Gone are the days when we "live-blogged" things... Sigh... I still prefer blogging to all other "social media!"

Recent Discovery: Kurt Elling

During our trip we had the privilege of visiting A, one of K's many awesome and musically gifted second-cousins, and his family. A was raised in Germany with his brothers and he and his wife are true "kindred spirits."

A is an experienced and world-known audiophile (for his excellent reviews of stores and equipment)and while showing us his AMAZING high definition speakers he introduced us to Kurt Elling and I'm 100% in love!

I am only getting started, but I just heard this on Spotify and I'm planning to buy a few albums on itunes. 

Listen to the gorgeous Moonlight Serenade:

Friday, January 04, 2013

It's a GIRL!!!! :-)

On 12/19 our family received wonderful news (that those of you who are my friends on fb already know! ;)
I am going to have a niece!!! 

My only brother got his wish and their next baby, who's due in April and who will be only 18 months younger than my cute nephew, will be a girl!!! A blue or green-eyed, curly-haired little girl!!!

Funnily enough, my friend in TX whom I see every few years and who never reads my blog wanted to confirm the news and visited my blog, but couldn't find anything here! (I was so busy with my sons' school Xmas program and then with grading that I never got around to sharing this/these[?] momentous news!). She should have gone to fb instead, I told her! ;-)

Before we found out, I had already bought some baby girl clothes at the request of my mom and sent them to Brazil so in case it was a girl my mom could surprise them at Christmas! In the end she gave these to them as my presents! ;-)

I snapped these cute 3-6 months matching items at Gymboree for around 10 dollars!
 And this super cute newborn outfit is from Target:

I just couldn't resist this blue onesie (my SIL loves blue):
(I have yet to find a "Big Brother" t-shirt for my nephew, if you know who sells one, PLEASE let me know!)

Today I couldn't resist and bought two more adorable outfits. I will have to budget clothes shopping for my niece, that's for sure! I just wish I knew when I will meet her and my nephew. :-( I'm still happy, though, particularly for my brother. I had no idea that he wanted a girl so much and (like me) had been disappointed the first time around. He deserves to have the most beautiful daughter in the world!

Thursday, January 03, 2013

1/3/13 - I wanna be labeled

a few minutes late, as usual, and lots to say, but no time.

I have a bunch of very depressing thoughts regarding the new year that slowly seeped into my mind during yesterday's long trip back home. I just couldn't help them. I tried to ward them off and whisk them away, but driving back home reminded me of going back to work and going back to work...

... well, I will open that can of worms at a later time, OK?

I just thought of another "resolution" I want to share for the new year and promptly forgot about it!

Oh, OK, I remembered! (and then went and wrote the second part of the title of the post).

This year I want to be labeled. OK, not correct word, should I say diagnosed instead? Yeah, I need to know for sure whether I have ADHD or not (has it been re-named ADD in the last book?). Spanish Prof. should know. I think I'll keep calling it ADHD because the hyperactive part is definitely 100% me. Sigh...

The truth of the matter is, the condition, that I'm almost 100% sure I suffer from, has been bothering me more and more as days go by. Oftentimes I feel like can't really function or do anything useful at all! I could just go on and on about this, but won't.

Thinking about it right now just makes me a little sad. If I do get labeled/diagnosed, I want to seek treatment. I really and truly need help.

So, there you go. I never even planned on writing this post and making this a resolution, but here it is.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

2013... hmmm?

First, I started writing 1913... wrong century! That's part of the weirdness of being "from last century" like me (until now, most of my life was lived last century, 29 years of it).

Second, it is hard, very very hard to try and look ahead into the next year and think of "big things" when I'm so immersed in the minutiae, the here and now of a road trip and, until yesterday, spending time with wonderful people I love.


It was a wonderful, wonderful trip, no sightseeing whatsoever, just lots and lots of thoughtful conversation, and good, average, but plentiful, and tasty, food. And delicious home-cooked meals too (thanks to Marc & Bev)!

I barely thought, if at all, on what I was missing and of my family in Brazil, particularly my brother and my nephew. That's exactly why I needed this trip.

For 2013 I want surprises. Maybe to travel to Brazil at the end of the year even though it's a really bad time for our family to go (not enough days off and airfare sky-high). Maybe other trips (I'd LOVE to go to New Zealand, meet my nephew and my niece who's coming in April), I don't see how that one is happening, though.

So... I do want to go to Canada for sure and anything else that comes our way (maybe Florida in August?) will be great.

I want to work hard (including teaching in the summer) to begin to pay our debts in earnest.

I don't think I'm going to get the tt job I applied for (MLA interviews begin shortly & I haven't heard anything), but I hope I can remain OK in my current position. I just pray that the person that is hired will be nice to work with (and not much younger and brighter than me, that would be tough, I imagine) so I can keep this job. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

What else? I'm so happy with work and I want it to continue like this. Maybe I'd like to go to another conference this year (having University 1 pay for it, the one in which I only teach one class, they've got money, though, because of all they save with horribly inhumane adjunct workers). OK, I should just stop that, but it's the truth.

It would be great to try to write more academic pieces and send them out, even though with the intense teaching schedule I have, this is really hard. (that's why it's nearly impossible to do "real" academic work without a tenure track job).

Family wise? Well... again, spend more time with my husband and sons. Less time online, particularly now that it's all so easy with a smart phone.

OK, I will try to come back with more new year resolution stuff later. I can hardly believe that my brother is going to have a daughter and I hope everything goes well in this baby's arrival.

I like new years, I just wish that classes didn't start next week already! :-(