Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New crib

I'm moving to a new place to give myself a fresh start. Send me a note or leave a comment if you want to know the forwarding address. :)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

So... long time, no write

I'm thinking I should start writing a bit more. Now that I'm past the highly-uncomfortable-pregnancy bit, finished with bedrest and baby boy's stint in the NICU. And since I don't have a job anymore - I was "let go" at one month postpartum, called in for a meeting to be told this since I hadn't been to work in many weeks due to bedrest, delivery, etc. I have a lot of bitterness and anger and frustration about the poor way it was all handled, but I'm trying not to stew over it since it gives me heartburn and headaches.

But now I have this adorable baby boy, and I'm thinking I should write more, about him and his two fabulous siblings, and maybe that can help me work through what I'll do next, besides being a wife and mother (which is a lot of wonderful work, but the financial benefits are even worse than adjuncting). I'm thinking that making writing a regular routine for me would be good mental exercise, keeping the mind sharp in between episodes of Team Umizoomi and The Deadliest Catch (favorites of my children and husband, respectively). So I'm going to set up a schedule and some expectations for myself, to get in the habit.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tappity tap-tap...

The lad in my womb likes to tap dance in the wee hours. He really gets dancing during the midnight to two a.m. time frame. Alas, this means I have not been getting a good night's sleep - having bronchitis and coughing so much would be complication enough.

Three was very active like this during my last pregnancy. I'm guessing this guy will kick off his blankets and socks when he gets out, too.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Pseudo-late-night musings

Not really that late, but the whole house is sleeping (except me, obviously). I had a performance review at my job earlier this week. It was even more unpleasant than I had imagined - the head o' staff never seems satisfied with my work, despite the fact that he doesn't really have a lot of first-hand knowledge or exposure to my work. And I kind of resent that - but that's a separate can of worms. I also don't handle performance reviews well, at least not when I have them with this guy. I don't like criticism (who does), but beyond that, I'm probably a little more honest and blunt about my beefs than I should be.

My immediate supervisor (not the head of staff) asked me where I saw myself in the future - say, five years out. And at the time, my answer was "I don't know." Maybe not the most politically-savvy answer, but I was being honest. And I've thought a lot about that question over the days since. I'm too young to be having a mid-life crisis. I think it's more a case of not knowing what I want to be when I grow up, since figuring out that my initial plan did not match my expectations and priorities.

Back when I started graduate school, I thought I would end up teaching college. And I still do that, sometimes, as a vastly-underpaid, irregularly employed adjunct. One or two courses some terms, and nothing others, and never anything during the summer. I could keep at that, and try to line up positions at more distant colleges and universities, but for the measly salary and total lack of benefits, it's not worth it. The amount of time and energy required to do a good job is significant, and I can't not put in that time and energy, but then if the time spent teaching, preparing, grading is compared to the per-course pay, I'm really underselling myself. And I'm not making much of a contribution to the family income, for all of the hassle and difficult involved in adjusting my family's life to a teaching schedule.

But I love teaching. And - while I love to work with the kids in my current job - I don't think that this particular job at this particular place is going to be satisfying for me, intellectually and spiritually, for a long time unless there are a lot of changes - changes I'm not sure are realistic or desired by my employer(s), given the current economy and the priorities they seem to value. So what to do?

I've thought a good bit about trying to get certification so I can teach in public schools. It looks like it's rather involved - I would have to take a number of education classes, although I'd say I've got the content aspects (English lit, composition, rhetoric, grammar - that whole bag) mastered fairly well. I was tempted a few times by some course descriptions for education courses while I was in grad school but never got my act together to actually register for any of them. I'm fairly confident that I could do the work required. I'm just so fuzzy on the right direction for my life that I don't know if that will really be what I want to do.

I know I need to do something that affords some creativity. I need to find a place where my reading, writing, analytical skills are valued. I need to find something that gives me a sense of purpose, because I don't want to get tied to something that my heart rejects. I could give writing a try, I suppose. I could probably do good work with non-fiction, various subjects and contexts. Sure, I'm the great procrastinator when it comes to writing that languishing dissertation, but I think the sheer size and overwhelming scope of that project is a big part of my trepidation there. I could edit - I'm good at it, and comfortable with it. I enjoy working with people, most of the time, so a solitary profession wouldn't necessarily be a good fit.

But nothing's dropping in my lap. No flashing neon signs, saying "Here's your vocation!" "Stop here for your profession and purpose in life!" I'm not in a hurry to move. I enjoy much of my work, and I still have a lot of challenges in my current job. And it's not like I'd be in high demand if I waded out into the job-seeking pool just now. Everyone's clamoring to hire a pregnant English nerd right now. What does it mean that my kindergartener knows what she wants to be when she grows up (an astronaut - this has been her plan for over two years now - sometimes she tosses in a second career as a princess and/or a mother, too, although I've had to promise to look after her kids while she's in space) and I don't? I really miss that clarity I had in my late college, early grad school years. I had a Big Life Plan then, and since then I've made so many changes and revisions and notes in the margins that I can't even figure out what the plan says. If you're out driving, and you see one of those neon signs and you think it's an answer to my question, let me know, okay?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ummm, yeah. I'm still around.

As usual at this time of year, my life has devolved into an exhausting series of chaotic activities. I finished with grading finals and papers, turned in my final grades, and all of that jazz earlier this week. I even had to turn in my office and building keys - as happened last spring, I don't have a teaching assignment lined up for next term, and while I may be called in at the last moment, there's no guarantee. So they'll take up my key and send it back to wherever keys go for the next three or four weeks, so that, if they decide to call me back to teach next term, I will then have to wait at least a month to get keys again. It would seem sensible to have me keep the keys until classes start again in January, and then return them if I won't need them, but no. I jump through the hoops of higher ed bureaucracy like a good trained pup.

The kids are abuzz with various holiday parties and activities. Big Girl danced beautifully last weekend in The Nutcracker - her first performance in it. I was rather surprised by how nostalgic and sentimental I felt seeing my girl dance in the same ballet that I once performed. And yes, most of the choreography is virtually unchanged from the steps set on me and my peers so many years ago in the first local performance. When I heard the music for the roles I danced then, I felt my feet and arms respond instinctively with the appropriate gestures and movements. It's been sixteen years, but I still remember (although I know my pregnant, out of shape body would look ridiculous if I actually attempted to do the steps, and I don't even want to think about how impossible it would be to dance on pointe now).

Big Girl and I also got to ride in the local Christmas parade, on a float with her scout troup, earlier this month. It was extremely cold but fun. As the sole pregnant parent among the adults there to supervise and accompany the kids, I got to ride on the float while the other parents walked along beside it and tossed candy to the kids watching the parade. Three and his granddaddy watched the parade, and both Three and his sister were THRILLED to see Santa riding on a fire truck at the end of the parade. Well, almost the end. The horses came last, because, well, who really wants to walk or drive behind them? Aside from a cleaning crew, perhaps. I couldn't believe how excited the kids got about Santa. My boy is still talking about Santa on the fire truck, and I expect that he will question the jolly guy about it if we go to see Santa at the mall.

Commercialism has reached Big Girl. Sigh. She's always wanted great toys - fun kid stuff, that requires imagination or active play - but thanks to the influence of her school peers, she's asking for a DS and a remote control car for Christmas. Both things are completely out of character - I know it's just a matter of hearing the kids at school discuss such things. Unfortunately Santa plans to give her things she will actually enjoy, as opposed to those other beyond-his-budget-and-likely-less-fun-for-her-anyway items.

My boy, fortunately, remains blissfully unaware, and his wish list this year is the same as last: tractors. Since he already owns almost every John Deere toy tractor that I can find in this town, I've had to get a bit creative with him, but hopefully he will still be pleased.

And the bebe? The one moving around in the womb while I type? I should find out whether said baby is a he or a she next month. I am so excited to find out! And then, of course, I'll be able to obsess about baby clothes and accessories and gear - but I'm trying to wait until after Christmas.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sotto voce

Laryngitis - I haz it. Thanks to some lovely germs which briefly affected Big Girl, but decided to linger much longer with Hubs and me, my voice is, at best, a quiet croak today. I'm staying at home and drinking lots of hot fruit tea. It's a variation on stuff that the women in my family make, and it's not really tea, exactly, but that's what I call it. You could add some tea bags to it, which some of my relatives do, and it would be delicious, but I often omit that step. My mom adds mulling spices when she makes it, but today I'm sticking with the following simple recipe since I have these ingredients on hand:

In a monstrous pot on the stove, combine a gallon of apple juice with half a big can of pineapple juice, and/or same amount cranberry juice. Toss in some cinnamon sticks and/or cloves. Simmer for a while until flavors come out and get mixed, then ladle into mugs and drink. It's nummy, as my boy would say.

I'm making some now.