Monday, May 14, 2018

Five Minutes of Good Things

In no particular order:
  • My grades are turned in.  I don't have to teach again until AUGUST 28. 
  • Justina Ireland's Dread Nation, which will appear later in a book reviews post, but it was SO GOOD.
  • I went and planted, no joke, four dozen flowering things at Sweetpea's preschool today, and am looking forward to seeing them grow.
  • My mother is coming tomorrow just to do fun things with me.
  • I'm still transcribing things for the Anti-Slavery Manuscripts project and it's neat and I feel I have a valuable skill to offer (I am actually trained in reading holograph letters!)
  • This summer I am taking the children to the beach; none of them has ever seen the ocean (we lived in the Midwest, y'all) and it will be exciting!
  • I finally got my serger working and then I sewed myself a dress from a comfy knit and it was sooooo fast.
  • I BOUGHT MYSELF A TREE PEONY!!!!!! (They were tragically out of the stripey ones but clearly this means I should go back next spring and get another.)
  • I helped a good friend re-design her front yard and we planted it all and it already looks amazing. 
  • I learned of this delightful nursery which sells about 700 varieties of irises.
  • I put together an order of fancy daffodils for me + front-yard-redesign friend.
  • I planted some lovely heirloom beans!  My perennial onions came up and are growing!  (If anyone has an Ito'i onion to sell me.... I tried to order one and they sent me bunching onions instead!) And so are my cucumbers!
  • All the garlics I planted in the fall are growing with great enthusiasm.
  • Someone asked me about what fruit trees to plant and I was able to give them good advice!
  • My apples and my Nanking cherries have set fruit!
  • All my flowers are flowering all over the place and it brings me joy.  I'll post a picture some time.
  • (If all of these seem like they're about plants it's because I really, really love plants.)
What's good with you?

Monday, May 07, 2018

The Usual Miscellany

I don't even know what to say, so I haven't been.

I applied for a job!  I was very well qualified for this job!  The college had decided whom to hire before posting the job, and readers, it was not me.  HRs of the world, please revise your stupid policies about this? Surely there exists a reasonable policy that does not require a farce of an open search.  (It is not a state school, i.e. they can do whatever they want.)

Thanks to my dear spouse stirring the pot, Mountain U's Other Science Department chair has now emailed me about maybe teaching there?  Next spring?  Meanwhile, Yet Another Science Department also has emailed me about the same.

As it never rains but it pours, it also transpires that at My U, the intro bio courses are being handed off to the newest faculty member ('You've won the complainer's penalty!' I said), who would very much like to re-design the whole darn thing.  I would also like to do this thing, and I am bored.  So!  We are now writing a grant (even better, an internal grant) together.

None of these things are permanent or predictable or guaranteed to alleviate boredom.  On the other hand, doing nothing surely won't alleviate boredom, so I may as well...

I am finishing up the grading (ugh) and then don't have to do anything for three whole weeks (yay!) except I signed the kids up for swim lessons spanning an hour and a half, twice a week for the rest of May (ugh).

The spouse and I are ditching the kids for two weeks to go to Australia, though!  It's one of the few highlights of academic life (for me).


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

On the Division of Labor, Again

Since I was last extremely irritated on the subject of the division of spousal labor:
  • I asked the spouse to take Child #1 to his yearly checkup.  This required four (4) reminders despite being on the family online calendar, but it was then accomplished without my intervention.
  • The spouse volunteered to a) come home early twice a week and b) take Child #1 out to play basketball, so that said child might actually sleep on the regular.  He has done so twice! 
  • We came to an agreement about children's swimming lessons, wherein we are both inconvenienced, but not terminally so.
  • We have been swapping off, once a week each, putting the kids to bed alone.  This way the free-time-available-per-parent is more favorable.
I realized that part of what going on was that the spouse was taking my time and organization for granted... but I was also going along with the default that had come along after many years of habit, where I arrange and then follow through on all appointments, repair persons, medical needs, and summer camps.  

I will probably continue to organize at least most of these.  However, I don't mind organizing this, because the spouse organizes such things as trash, investments, and car repairs.  I mind doing all of it as well.  So if we continue to split the actual, inconvenient carting-of-children, I think I can be more satisfied with how it goes.  I do need to ask!  And he needs to continue to be cheerful about it.  

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

An Extremely Irritated PSA

There is NO SUCH THING AS UNCURED BACON. It has nitrates in it. It has nitrites in it! But as long as you don't eat cured meat every day, you're probably fine.  Just, 'uncured bacon' is no better for your colorectal health than cured bacon.  Really.  Don't be so gullible, humans.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Brief Book Reviews Returns!

My strong preference for reading books by women continues!

A Study In Scarlet Women (Thomas): A truly excellent alternate-universe Sherlock Holmes.  I have read hundreds of trad-published SH pastiches, and this is one of the best I've read (this fanfic is also a favorite). Sherlock Holmes is a brilliant woman stuck in 19th-century London, who becomes a brilliant consulting detective anyways. 10/10, would read again, sequel already on hold.
Besieged (Hearne): Short stories.  Okay, but not great, and a lot less compelling than the Iron Druid books.  
All Systems Red (Wells): Novella about a sentient android who develops both a conscience and a love for soap operas.  Highly recommended.

Invisible Library series (Cogman): Another installment in the Magical Central Library genre, but quite good and with nice character development.

Pocket Apocalypse (McGuire): Cotton-candy Australian adventure, with love, betrayal, and cryptids.  Enjoyable. 

Court of Fives series (Elliott): [MILD SPOILERS] I liked the first one quite a lot because it had a strong female character who didn't succumb to Twoooo Wuuuuv.  The series ends without making the main character succumb, and has an interestingly anti-colonialist theme.  I find the armed-rebellion-by-underclass slightly implausible in terms of relative armaments and so on, but hey, good for them.  

Dark State (Stross): Another give-you-nightmares dystopian surveillance state.  The plot in this series continues to advance with frustrating slowness, but at least one can tell it's going *somewhere*.  

I also, finally, have a copy of PROVENANCE and I'm saving it for a rainy day.  (Don't tell me what happens!)

What have you been reading? 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

One More Thing to Balance

Lately we've had a series of ridiculous snow days (did you know that if it SNOWS a single QUARTER INCH the school must close for the whole day?  because the South).  In general, the spouse and I trade off on who takes the children, but I almost always have to take them in the mornings if school opens late.*

I'm starting to feel a little... what's the word?  Oh, yes.  Resentful.  It's not really because my spouse feels my job is less important than his job; my job is less important than his job.  It's that I feel my time is being considered as less important.  He is never, ever willing to interrupt his precious work day to leave early, or take a kid to the doctor, or come home before 5:30 unless I am deathly ill.  (When I got influenza I had to time my urgent care visit to fit in with his work schedule.  No, really.  I couldn't breathe, but god forbid the cells didn't get fed, sooooo important, how dare my breathing interfere.)

I resent the idea that all the things I'm doing - my online class, learning more programming languages, all the errands and little things I do when the children aren't with me- are all less important than the convenience of my spouse having uninterrupted work time.  Maybe some of those things are, in fact, lower priority, but are they all lower priority?

And this, dear friends, is why sometimes I long for a full-time job, solely so I can tell my dear spouse to take his uninterrupted work day and shove it.

(And now, following a discussion of What To Do Tomorrow Morning When School Opens Two Hours Late, my spouse asserted that he would toooootalllly help next week while the kids have break, if I just asked, and then my head exploded. Clearly we have some work to do.)

*If it has snowed, naturally school must open late, in case it might be ICY.  WE CAN'T DRIVE IN ICE IT'S THE SOUTH AAAAAAH IT'S LIKE GRITS IN A FAAAAAAN.

Monday, March 12, 2018

An Informative Picture, and Other People's Children

Figure 1: An accurate summary of my life at home.  Featuring a rug, a faded couch, an elaborate train track, and a magnetic-tile edifice with Pokémon figurines inside.  Also, many books.  

There's a delicate balance between work and everything else. I've been pretty good at maintaining it... until school's out. (Usually because it snowed a QUARTER INCH and the roads are A LITTLE WET so everyone must panic. I'm about to write a strongly worded letter to the school board.)  Anyhow, my kids have been enjoying building things (see above).

I had a somewhat-related realization today.  I expect my children to entertain themselves, for age-appropriate values of this.  Sometimes I have to do laundry or grade or whatever, and they can help with the laundry (quite popular!), or I can make cookies with them in ten minutes, but in the meantime they're on their own.  Likewise, if they whack a toe on something, I'm willing to comfort them, but I'm NOT willing to listen to twenty minutes of top-volume screeching.  I expect them to develop self-soothing skills in an age-appropriate way as well.

I've been realizing that I find other parents who don't do this intolerable, and their children too.  Mostly I find it intolerable when I am forced to listen to someone else's child lose their entire mind over a) hearing the word no or b) something that in no way calls for that much screeching and/or parental response.  (I am speaking here of a group of neurotypical children who really, really don't need to scream that much over waiting five minutes for a turn...)