Monthly Archives: August 2017

Time To … Thursdays: Time to Help Out!

I just got paid today (faculty at my institution are paid monthly, on the last working day of the month. It’s strange, but I’m getting paid so I try not to complain.) I sorted out all our bills and we have just a tiny bit left over. Normally I would apply this extra to our savings, but in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, we will be donating to a charity.

If you aren’t particular about where your money goes, you can donate to The American Red Cross – it may not directly help Hurricane Harvey victims, but it will help, since they respond all the time to disasters that get less publicity. And despite recent scandals, they have an excellent accountability and transparency rating.

If you want to get a little more specific, however, Business Insider has an excellent list of charities, with Charity Navigator scores. The New York Times has an even better list, with local charities making up the bulk. Finally, if you want to do the legwork yourself, you can always go to the Charity Navigator website and choose for yourself. They’ve created a special page just for Hurricane Harvey, but of course, all the information for lots of other charities is there, too.

 

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Working Wednesday: Kicking My ASS!

Have I mentioned yet that basically from the word go, work has been kicking my ass this semester? Some of it is scheduling difficulties (see this post about how much my Wednesdays are sucking.) Some of it is just a truckload of back to school stuff that happens every year (setting schedules, weeding the serials collection, catching up on e-mails and making sure that I haven’t missed anything while I’ve been out, preparing for my normal continuance review.) Some of it is that I have decided to try to get tenure early.

Some of it is good, though. I’m writing a presentation on Hemingway that several people have already shown interest in. I’ll be giving it tomorrow, and then that stress will be out of the way. I have three classes scheduled to teach, and another four that we’re trying to nail down schedules for. (That will be a new record for me if they all end up happening.) I might end up teaching my first Friday/Saturday class this semester (and that isn’t in the above count.) I’m going to dinner with my boss and a potential presenter to gauge a feel for if he wants to come talk on my campus.

Still, it’s tiring. And Baby Girl is sleeping through the night approximately every other night. And refusing naps. My husband has been picking up the slack on the dishes and the laundry, though, and for that, I’m grateful.

I feel like this whole stress-wave is going to break and I’ll feel much better – I’m just not sure when the break will happen. Maybe after this presentation? Or maybe after my continuance review? I am supposed to have until the end of September to put together my tenure portfolio but I’m trying to get a rough draft done by the 10th.

Until then, I’d better keep trucking on, and try to work in some self-care where I can.

Together Tuesday: Together While Apart

I have been lucky in that most of Baby Girl’s milestones have happened while I have been home. I helped her roll over, crawl, and walk. Her first word was mama – when I came home one day (and then she started whispering dada, so maybe that actually happened first and we didn’t realize? The world will never know.)

My husband has also gone out of his way to make sure I am involved even when I am away, by using his phone to take pictures and video to send me. The latest videos have been Baby Girl attempting to jump!

So I’ve always felt “together” with her even when I have to be away. If your caretaker is amenable, you should have them take video or pictures for you too- especially if it’s dad! Those pictures are the best!

Menu Monday: Trying not to Repeat!

First of all, let me apologize to any of you who were waiting with bated  breath for my Sunday Savings post. I forgot, until it was dinner time, and then by the time we were done with dinner, I had forgotten again. I was so sure of my topic and what I was going to write that my brain convinced me I had written it already when I had not. Unfortunately, you all are just going to have to wait until next week to see what I would have written about.

Now, on to today’s post.

I like a lot of variety in the recipes I plan and meals I eat, so I’m always on the look out for new ideas. I have a very robust Pinterest account that can attest to this. I’m also not one to shy away from a challenge when it comes to ingredients or technique, so between the two of these things, my menus tend to be quite varied.

Unfortunately, these two things are actually converging to be a problem for me right now. As we’ve talked about before, I have to work late on Wednesday nights for the foreseeable future. This means I have to make a crockpot meal or something that is easy to make ahead and reheat. My husband is a man of many talents, but cooking  isn’t one of them (and he freely admits this.) I don’t really have a lot of easy meals like that saved, because I like to cook. And most of the ones that I made for the new baby freezer meals were fairly tame – or had way too many vegetables for my husband. He is a quintessential meat and potatoes guy. I tried some of them out again last time I had a schedule conflict at work, and he wasn’t thrilled.

I already feel like I’m repeating myself because my crockpot/make ahead meals tend to be so similar. This week’s Wednesday night meal came down to pizza bombs or chicken taco bowls, when we’ve already had homemade pizza and chicken fajitas.

The taco bowls won a narrow victory because my husband wanted more Mexican food. But this conundrum means I am going to have to use some of my precious free time this week coming up with new, unique meals for Wednesday night.

Wish me luck!

Self-Care Saturday: A Little Bit Selfish

Today has been a mixed bag kind of day. I had a pretty good time yard saling, but I also fell down a couple of stairs. I’m pretty sure one of my tomato plants is dead (or maybe just on its deathbed.) And I’m super stressed about something else I’d rather not talk about here.

So, I’ve been a little bit selfish today. I mostly only bought things for my myself at the yard sales. (Though I did snag an adorable raincoat for Baby Girl.) And I asked my husband to do more chores than usual so that I could a) try to salvage my tomato plant and b) rest and relax a bit. He said yes, because he’s a sweetheart.

Sometimes you have to be just a tiny bit selfish to make sure you’re getting what you need.

Flashback Friday: The First Time My Coworkers Saw Baby Girl

So, yesterday I did a thing that I hate. I took my daughter to work with me for about an hour and a half. I have a weird work schedule, and I’m usually only at work for about two hours after lunch, so when she refused a nap yesterday, and I could see my husband had been really, really counting on that nap to give him a break, I gave up, packed her up in the car and went back to work.

My co-workers are perfectly fine with this, because they think she’s precious and adorable and every single one of them with kids under 15 have had their child here at some point. Some more than others. I hate it, but I’m not getting in trouble for it, so I suppose I should be thankful. But it got me thinking about the first time I took her to work, and that’s where this Flashback Friday is going:

Technically I took her to work before I was officially back from maternity leave, but she and I stayed in the car and my husband ran in to deliver the paperwork – my student worker (and friend) had offered to fax some documents for me that the main campus needed so I wouldn’t have to go all the way down there. I had this weird giant zit on my face, made worse by a reaction to an OTC acne medication, and I just did not want to deal with everyone, but if the paperwork didn’t get in, I was going to be forced to stay on maternity leave another several days. Seriously Did Not Want.

But the first time everyone actually saw her was in April, when she was about seven months old. We have fun events every year for our students, where we watch a sports game (football in the fall, baseball in the spring), grill food, and generally have a good time. It was a work event, but I wasn’t expected to be working, and families are encouraged to come, so it felt fine to me.

They all doted on her and told me how precious she was, but even so, I felt the entire time that it was weird to have her at work (even a work-sponsored event). I really, really feel like my work life and my personal life should never, ever meet.

Since then, they’ve seen her three times. The Fall 2016 event, the Spring 2017 event, and yesterday.

 

Time To … Thursdays: Time to Apply For Tenure

In the interests of professionalism and because the tenure process is just beginning for me, I am going to keep these remarks brief and vague. However, tenure has been on my mind since I began this job, it is something I am working hard for, and this year I have decided to try to apply early. At my institution, there is no penalty for applying early and I can withdraw my application at any time.

Being a mom and a career woman with this type of pressure both scares me and relieves me. Scares me, because it can be a difficult process and not making tenure next year would mean the termination of my employment. But getting tenure means a certain amount of stability in my job, so getting through the process will be a relief, because I know I’ll be able to provide for my family.

It’s not a blank check to do whatever I want, and the budget  could always get severe enough to make my position untenable, but it is stability nonetheless. Our guidelines even say that stability is one of the purposes of tenure.

I never worried about losing my job until I had Baby Girl. I still feel pretty confident that with my experience, I could get another job and life would go on. But the idea of struggling with the job search, worrying about money, and providing for her at the same time -not to mention the extreme likelihood that we would have to move for whatever job came next – terrifies me. So the option to go up early for tenure, however unlikely it may be, is a blessing. Even if the process is stressful.