Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween

I am going as "Stucco'd with quadruped and birds all over" from Leaves of Grass. Or, as my nephew Cameron says--a zoo.
Zoe is a lamb, or maybe it's a bunny, but she's definitely a quadruped.

I love Halloween.

Erik's going as KUTV's gift from god. I thought a bit obnoxious but funny nonetheless.

Today--the job letters are mostly done.
QW meeting tomorrow to see why we still don't have more money.
Begin new business.
Start a new novel.
Figure out what to do about my Walmart boycott--see, they've gone "eco-friendly"--minimizing packaging, cutting energy costs, buying clothes made from organic cotton (although also made with a 9 year-old's organic fingers). It's probably all a marketing ploy but what if it does effect some consumerist consciousness? Will I have to enter a Walmart? I'm afraid of getting hit on the head with falling prices.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


I'm giving up the ambivalence about going on the job market by remembering:
I need an adventure.
I want my own students. There's something about TAing and working for peanuts that makes me feel a bit removed from my students--like there's always a graduate director in the room.
I need a 401K.
I get summers off.
Erik doesn't want to do camerawork for news the rest of his life.
Erik might start working nights.

Erik always has a somewhat awful schedule but when he works nights, I go crazy. And as those of you with babies know, the baby is one kind of creature by day and another more scary creature by night. I know that will change but it's A LOT easier at nights.

I'm not so good at getting it together in the morning either. By the time I read the paper, walk the dog, check the blogs, make breakfast, it's time to make lunch. I'm more of an afternoon worker and if Erik leaves me with Zo right at the time I usually sit down to work, I won't be able to get anything done. Plus, it's just depressing being home alone every night. The last time he had this shift, my friend Steve was still in town and we went into deep debt drinking red wine and going out to eat at every good restaurant in the Valley. Steve and I went to restaurants far and wide--out in Draper at some huge French gig, out west to a great barbecue place, up canyon for good salmon. Mostly we went to Greenstreet. But, the point is, Steve and I went out more than Erik and I ever did--I don't have that Steve friend because he's got one of those jobs I'm thinking about trying to get. And, even if he was here, I don't think Zoe could go with us.
So with Zoe and sans Steve, the idea of Erik being gone every night instills me with a deep panic.
Say what you will about professorships, no one has to get up before 7 or work after 5.

As I think about moving, I allow myself to watch "Sell this House" where Roger and Tanya Memme go in to people's houses and fix, in a weekend, what's wrong with a house so they can sell it. Usually it involves paint and new linens. But it's an amazing transformation. The hard part for me to swallow is the price of the houses. One in Scottsdale AZ should sell for $700,000. One in Glendale, CA, $650,000. And these are nice, but normal houses.
Who can afford a $700,000 house? The average appearance of the potential buyers make it appear that everyone can. Our housing market, though booming, isn't skyrocketing like everywhere else in the rest. I'm not sure how Erik and I could make enough to buy a house anywhere in, say, California. I guess this is how the Midwest will lure us. Or even the East Coast.

So. One more pass over the job letter and touch up the CV and call it a job search. I already feel the job thing has taken me away from what I want to do:
Hang out with Zoe.
But this writing of the letter and imaging all the consequences of the is the lame part--anxiety-making, self-doubting, and time-robbing.
I still plan to cook Chili and bug Zoe.

Update. The current episode of Sell the House has a house for sale for $125,000-well, it's a townhouse.... I am grading while I watch. Well, in between blogging and checking my email too....No wonder it takes me all day to grade.

Friday, October 14, 2005

job market angst

Before I launch in, I want to register dissatisfaction with Blogger. Why name each post? I like the idea better of a daily log. Now I always feel I have to be "on point."

Anyway--the angst.
I don't want to have it. I went on the job market last year with some success but I hated the rigormorale--the mock interviews and the angst of my friends, amplifying my own, and the desire for external approval, and the fear that I might actually get a job and have to do something about it.
This year, although I thought because I'd suffered it last year, I'd feel old hat about this, is worse. Nearly all my friends are going on the market. Competition and friendship bite. And nothing else is new this year--I have no book. I have a few more publications, thankfully in Nonfiction, but so do my friends.
The truth is, my ambitious streak, at least in terms of professionships, is kind of thin. I always wanted the job that supported my writing. Somehow, I think I misunderstood the likeliness of this happening. With the market such as it is, I'd be lucky to teach 3 classes a semester. Which is one more than I'm teaching now, plus service, plus administrative work.
Full time. The thing I'd spent my life avoiding.
The truth is: I want to write. But. I want to write in a community/atmosphere that supports/appreciates writing. Hence the teaching idea. In retrospect, maybe I didn't commit myself properly to the professorship project. Publications and Editorship are not enough. I think I needed a bit more work on--well, what? Scholarship? Academic papers? Talking with my professors about Donne? Fellowships? Teaching more diverse classes?
I fear it's my nature to care more about liking my days rather than shaping them to advance my prospects. But, if I suffer for that lack, am I actually liking them?
Ah, the suffering is short, the days of wine and song are long.....
OK. I'm off to drink some wine and forget about how I screwed up my career.
If I did.
Maybe my real career is something else.
Or maybe this is where everyone's at.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

on babies etc

Babies: Much recommended. Most fun thing ever. Zoë is pretty squawky. I think she spends too much time thinking about her bowels. She expresses herself mostly through farts and burps but she's also been known to slug you across the face with her wild swinging arms. Her main talent--snarling. Everyone else says she smiles but I'm pretty sure she has nothing nice to say about the state of the nation, and, more pointedly, the state of her bowels. She also does not like it when Box the cat tries to sit on her. Which he tries to do every day. This also makes her squawk. At her age--2.5 months--she could be cooing. I consider these squawks coos. Though again, more an expression of gas than joy.

Since having Zoë I have gone mostly blind and have contracted MS. My arm falls asleep every night but Erik attributes that to me trying to nurse with my left hand and scroll through Blogs with my right. The blindness--I've heard your eyesight changes, but really, I walk into class and just blink at my students until they come into focus.But that's the only drawback. Zoë wakes up at 2 and 5 and then 7:30 (basically)--which is about how often I used to wake up anyway. Now I just have to feed a tiny barracuda for 20 minutes each time. And I go right back to sleep, unlike my insomniac wakings of before.Bonus to having two parents--two separate babysitters--one on Friday night, one on Saturday.

Erik is pretty goreat about the wee lass. I'm trying to convince him to take Fenugreek. Apparently men on the Mormon Trail took fenugreek and could actually breastfeed the baby. If he could breastfeed, well, I'd take Wednesdays completely off. As it is, I pump, then teach, then work on the Mag then drive home as fast as the stop sign-heavy Avenues will allow and drag my forty pounds of drooping milk into the house. Invariably, Erik will have just fed her, so I pump again.Evenings, when Erik usually has her, if Zoë makes the slightest peep, Erik apes for Zoë: "Mom, can I have some milk?" Helarious. Also, any time I sit down to eat something, she decides she's starving. I try to convince her that for milk, I must eat mucho, but she doesn't care. She looks at my fat butt and says, I think you can probably stand to skip a meal or two.I'm almost back into my regular clothes but I think it's a lie that you can eat anything and breastfeed.