The Academia Nut

Tales of a thirty-something, tenure-line, struggling, teacher, scholar, writer, mother, partner... (who used to be a twenty-something graduate student, teacher, writer...)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Third-year review

I'm in the process of third year review which is intended to assess my progress towards tenure. At least, that's what two people told me. Three others prepared me for a possible dean's decision to discontinue renewal of my contract. Five people believed they helped me with my portfolio, but only two really did. Four people voted against me, and the other thirteen, well, they didn't vote against me. The thing is due on Monday and just tonight, I slipped in another publication to list as "under review."

Despite a month of disappointments, which really shouldn't have been disappointments because I knew they were coming, I'm most disappointed to learn that the book title Writing for Your Life is already taken. I guess I knew that too.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

The Secret to Avoiding the Stomach Flu

The entire house is sick with the stomach flu. It's a bitch--vomiting and epic diarrhea. Earlier, I described it as "a deficiency of nutritional retention."  I'm proud of that.

About an hour ago, after folding two loads of laundry (I had nearly double because my toddler kept vomiting on me), emptying and refilling the dishwasher, and bleaching everything (including the skin on my hands), my dearest husband descended the stairs and asked me if I had any ideas about what he should do after vomiting for the second time in an hour. Mind you, this is after I delivered Emetrol, flattened ginger ale, rubbing alcohol for sniffing to eliminate pangs of nausea (look it up), toasted french bread, crackers, Immodium, and cottage cheese (look it up).

After all this, do I have any ideas about how to make him feel better?

Well fuckface, I noticed people around me getting sick three days ago and so I stopped eating. Yep.  I just stopped eating altogether.  I figured that if everyone around me was in agony vomiting up and shitting out everything they ate, that if I didn't eat anything, I couldn't get sick. And I've proven myself pretty damn smart.  I have nothing in my stomach, and so I have nothing to vomit and nothing to shit out. You, dearest husband, ate plenty of the from-scratch-comfort-food I made. There were four side dishes to accompany the slow cooked, expertly seasoned pork roast. You had respectable portions of all four.  I cleaned up your dishes.  I showered with your kid, three times, after he vomited on himself (and on me).

You're sick.  I'm exhausted.  Now what?

Forget all that.  Here's the secret.  If you don't want to vomit, don't eat.  Bonus secret: if you want wrinkle-free clothing, iron the crap that comes out of the dryer. Take this knowledge and promise to use it for good....

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Don't call me Mrs.

You may call me Dr. M.  You may call me professor.  You may call me by J, my first name.  You may acknowledge my academic degree or status, or you may acknowledge me more personally.  And while I should be more bothered by it, I don't care if you privilege gender and call me Ms.  It's up to you.  I realize I occupy all of those positions -- educated, educator, and person, and "other."  (And for the record, I'd prefer you call me Dr. or Professor.  Yes, I realize it's elitist, but I can't help it.  I spent nearly a decade working for whatever-it-is that's been reduced into those titles -- Dr., and Professor.)

All of that is unimportant.  You can call me J if you want.

But please, don't EVER call me Mrs. M. Please don't acknowledge my marital status above my education, my position, or whatever it is that I believe is "me." 

Friday, November 26, 2010

And so it goes

And so it goes.  Vonnegut, right? 

In my very first post, I admitted that I'm not so good with this "dear diary" thing. After five years of silence on this blog, I think I've made my point.  I'm not so good.  Point made.

So let's recap the past five years: I married a fellow grad student in my field who shares my areas of expertise. He graduated and got a decent job. I finished my diss during my pregnancy and went on the job market 8 months pregnant. Despite splitting my pants during a presentation and and suffering a split pelvis during a particularly fast-paced campus tour (I was 8 months pregnant and stomping around the campus overcompensating for the noticeable "family way" in which I found myself), I landed a great TT position at a university just an hour drive away from my husband. Our son was born one month after I accepted the position and one month before I defended my dissertation.

Fast forward two and a half years: I'm a mess.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

End of my Grant Funding

The grant funding that's allowed me to work outside of my home department (the English department) ends next week. Translation? Back to the English department, about which I am less than thrilled. Sure, I like teaching and all, but the department atmosphere leaves something to be desired.

Besides that, I really don't like the beginning of any new semester -- the next of which is rapidly approaching. Fall semesters always bring a swarm of new graduate students -- eager, bright-eyed, somewhat uneducated, and delightfully full of themselves. Sure, I was all of those things too when I started grad school. When you're new here, the world really does revolve around you. You get to know all the other new students, the professors and staff are as friendly as they get, and the second year grads are willing to take you under their wing.

As a new graduate student in such a large department, the only strange thing you might notice are the ghosts. You'll hear a graduate student's name floated around a little and you'll get the feeling that person is important, accomplished, or otherwise notable. Perhaps, you find yourself dropping that person's name into conversation too for some reason. Strange thing is, that by the end of the year, you've never met, nor seen, this notable graduate student ghost. The ghosts are legendary for their "work" (or lack of) but altogether absent.

Does she even take classes any more? Does he teach composition? She's probably off writing her dissertation. He's studying for his exams...

Friday, April 15, 2005


I'm a third year Ph.D. student. I have more education than 95% of the U.S. population...

I'm stuffing envelopes and being paid by the hour.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

EPA CHEERS Study Cancelled

According to Stephen Johnson, acting administrator to the EPA (and Bush's nominee), CHEERS "was designed to fill critical data gaps in our understanding of how children may be exposed to pesticides (such as bug spray) and chemicals currently used in households." Families in Duval County, FL would receive $970 in payment, a camcorder, and children's clothing in exchange for their participation. Critics of the study were quick to point out that the study was in a low income area and feared families might expose children to pesticides in order to participate.

Apparently, CHEERS has been cancelled. John Heilprin (AP) attributed the cancellation to Sen. Boxer and Sen. Nelson, reporting that the senators would block confirmation of Pres. Bush's nomination for EPA leadership if the study was not discontinued immediately.

Nelson said that the study used "infants in my state [Florida] as guinea pigs" and questioned the involvement of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), calling their financial investment; "a dangerous potential conflict of interest."

Heilprin's article
Kirkpatric Article with great Nelson quotes
Statement on CHEERS website
EPA Press Release