Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Officially, and Totally, DONE

I submitted my grades, I attended the final meeting on a last-minute committee assignment, I cleaned out my mailbox, and I put a sign on my office door that reads "Dr. Crazy is on sabbatical until January of 2011. If you need assistance, please go to the English Department Office." I have updated the outgoing message on my university email similarly, including a caution to people who email me that they may need to wait up to a week for a response to any email that they might send me. Let the Wild Rumpus Begin! Sabbatical is HERE!

Well, I suppose it's more accurate to say that my summer fellowship is here, and it will be followed by my semester of sabbatical. Seems like splitting hairs to say that, though.

Today, I continued with the Painting of the Nook (of ideas? of motherfucking Jameson? Of Ideas and Delicious Whiskey? That last one sounds absolutely delightful, although it is true that ideas had while drinking whiskey are often quite disappointing when viewed in the sober, bright light of day....) and I went to a 2-hour-long meeting, still somewhat paint-spattered, but at least I did change out of the clothes in which I painted. Because Comrade Physioprof lacks patience, I will reveal that the color of the walls is "dusty plum" - and I'm really loving it and I feel like it's going to be utterly fantastic (though I am sad that I was advised to buy what still seems to be an excessive amount of this paint color, for I cannot have the rainbow bright house of colors, as it would make me sad; ah, well, you live and you learn). In other news, I'm fairly certain that I shall paint my dining room a color called "California Roll," and I'm still undecided on what color I shall paint the room that will ultimately become my bedroom. I'm leaning toward a color called "June Morning," even though I'd thought I'd want a color called "Sea-Salt Blue." It turns out that Sea Salt Blue really reminds me of toothpaste. I'm taking the painting of the Nook slowly, as I've had other things I've had to accomplish as well and it's not like the house is on fire for me to paint the room in one day. Tomorrow, I'm going to spend most of the day packing, but I also plan to finish up with the parts of the Nook that require a ladder and I'll do the windows and ledge thingie (you'll understand this when I post pictures once the room is all finally done), and then Thursday afternoon, I'll do a second coat on the entire room, and then it will be finished.

Also on Thursday I'll clean the bathroom and the kitchen except for the fridge (in the morning), and then I'll go have lunch with Fantastic Former Student. (This is my first student whom I loved and mentored in a real way, before BES. This student went to a top-25 MA program, but then chose, against her grad school mentors' advice, not to go on directly to the PhD and instead to go and coach a college softball team, which I think was a fantastic choice for her. Actually, I feel like one of my greatest accomplishments as a mentor of her was making her feel like it was totally ok to make that choice, and not to go on to the PhD. And she's totally happy and great, and I'm so excited to see her, for while we've kept consistently in touch, I haven't seen her since she graduated! And I love where we're going to lunch! Yay!)

Anyway, though, while Thursday will be dominated by the new house, tomorrow, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday will be dominated by packing. Though tomorrow I also need to call on some things (accountant, making sure all of the phone, cable, lawn care stuff is set, as well as to cancel on my July conference). My goal is to get nearly the entire shebang packed by Sunday, so that I can do more cleaning (the fridge, mopping the floors downstairs) and preparing stuff (getting somebody in to restretch and clean the carpets before I've moved in, primarily) early next week before I MOVE on Thursday. Can I tell you how excited I am to move? There are no words.

But so then I'll move next week, and do what necessary unpacking I have to do, and then I shall begin working in earnest on the conference paper that is looming in the ever-nearer future. Once that's done, my mom's coming for a week to help me paint two rooms, to help me with shopping stuff, and just to spend some quality time. Once THAT is done, I can begin working on research in earnest for a few weeks, and then in the second week of July my cousin is getting married so I'll go to Hometown for that. But wait. There's more to that than it seems. I think that FB is going to go to the wedding with me. Like he'll come see me for a couple of days here, then we'll drive together to Hometown and I'll show him the sights and introduce him to my parents and stuff, and we'll go to the wedding, where he'll meet my entire extended family on my dad's side, which is pretty crazy as there are a lot of them but not really crazy as it will be fun and low pressure because he will so not be interesting compared with the event itself, and then come back here. Is this a good idea? Dunno. But whatever. He's been hanging around for 3 years and he should meet some people. I'm more excited about him seeing my new house than about introducing him around, though :)

Anyway, once all of THAT is over - say, in mid-July - I'll REALLY be in research mode, and I'm really looking forward to that. I've been lining up a writing group with some of my colleagues that will begin then, and I'll be completely free to focus on the Next Book, about which I'm excited but on which I've not really been able to focus with all of the real-life things that I've had going on.

So on top of all of this, I want to write something about Dean Dad's post today, but I can't get it up to give it its own post. So. Suffice it to say that I think that I think of thinking of certain subjects as "serious" vs. others as "frills" is, at its heart, anti-intellectual. Now, this is not to say that we will all excel in all areas, or that we all should. Rather, I think that it makes sense to realize that all subjects - all disciplines - are valuable and important to becoming a well-rounded person. No, I never really loved science in the way that some people I know love science. But that doesn't mean science was a "frill" I could do without. The idea that subjects at which we don't excel or in which we aren't innately interested are in some way a "waste of time" is totally one that comes out of a business model for education, in which the only subjects that matter have a clear connection to a narrowly defined career path (and, at an institutional level, the ones that make money, through enrolling students pursuing those narrowly defined career paths). I think the job of professors is to show students who come in resistant that even that thing that they think is a "frill" or a "waste of time" is meaningful and "serious." I think finding a subject "boring" or "hard" is more about a lack of engagement than it is about anything else. (Note: I found some subjects boring (calculus) and hard (physics). But I blame myself for that, and maybe even the teachers that I had for that, but not the subject itself.) I think when educators (administrators or faculty) start talking in terms of "serious" subjects vs. "frills," as if these are actual categories that we've totally given up on what education is supposed to be about, which, at least for me, is learning even when learning is uncomfortable. Note: I taught a general education course in literature this term to students who were primarily outside of majors anywhere near to English. The vast majority of these students communicated to me that they came into the course "not liking" reading or thinking that they "sucked at English" or thinking that "literature was boring." You know what they came out saying? They came out saying WOW! I never knew that literature could be so cool, or that I could analyze it, or that many interpretations were allowed - and indeed encouraged! I would be shocked if any of these students became English majors. That's not the point. The point is that they learned that something they thought was lame can actually, for them, be something that is enjoyable and cool. Is that a "frill"? Something that isn't important, or a serious moment in their intellectual development? Even if it doesn't lead to a job? Really?

I guess you can imagine how I'd answer those questions.


I'm a lucky, lucky lady. And I am so excited about what these months hold in store.


PhysioProf said...

Dusty Plum? I'm not saying a fucking word.

Rhonda said...

I made the mistake of googling "dusty plum."

Dr. Crazy said...

Omg, people. Well, clearly the people who name paint colors are not familiar with slang for things that I will not discuss here. This is a family blog. (Also, let's note that I have learned something knew from going to google after reading this comment thread. Because apparently I am very, very sheltered.)

human said...


The idea that subjects at which we don't excel or in which we aren't innately interested are in some way a "waste of time" is totally one that comes out of a business model for education, in which the only subjects that matter have a clear connection to a narrowly defined career path (and, at an institutional level, the ones that make money, through enrolling students pursuing those narrowly defined career paths).

...made me want to stand up and cheer.

That is all.

Clare said...

Erm, sometimes you can guilt/bully the home-store people (if they are not mom-n-pop-ish) to take back the excess. Not that I have ever done this.