I am sitting in my office, on the shitty blue Ikea couch, with my feet on a decent rug we got on sale that is all reds and blues and curlicues. At the rug store, we really immediately fell in love with this crazy rug that was all pink and blue and teal and psychedelic medieval iconography but it turned out it was a vintage hand-made Persian rug and it was $600, so even though we obviously didn’t buy it, we felt very validated by having such good taste.
Next to me is a big, black, smelly dog, who is licking his own foot. The inside of his mouth smells like death but as long as he keeps his mouth shut he smells like chips and dirt. Now he’s done licking his foot and he’s resting his chin on my shoulder and breathing hard. We got him an additional bed for downstairs, so now he has somewhere to hang out while we eat dinner or watch a movie. He is no longer allowed on the couch since we got a nice couch. It makes everyone really sad but it just has to be this way. I don’t know if it will be this way forever but for now god bless
Whenever you go down the stairs in our house he comes with you, and takes them (the stairs) in these ungainly bounds. It is only a matter of chance, which of us falls down the stairs first, but I bet it will be me. I have already stubbed my toe on everything you could possibly stub a toe on in the whole house, including a dog bone that somebody left right in the middle of the floor when he was done chomping it. I remember stepping on jacks as a child, what a legendary pain that was, and then my mom telling me about stepping on jacks when SHE was a child. Now I truly believe no child in America owns a set of jacks anymore, thus my childhood was more like the childhood of the 1950s than it is like the childhood of current young adults, which is how you start becoming old.
We are fighting some pre-semester panic and blues. I’d say we are doing an okay job in this fight, although there have been some defeats and setbacks. I have had a couple truly bad days and then some days when I was able to buck myself up with yoga, coconut macaroons, or large wines.
The week or so before the semester starts is always terrible. You’re afraid of what the future holds–what if this time all my students hate me? What if this syllabus, which seems so awesome, is actually full of holes and problems I’m not noticing somehow? What if I can’t figure out my schedule or when to do my course prep? etc., stuff like that, but also you’re just sort of overwhelmed at the major, epic transition from Summer Time to School Time. The two types of time have literally nothing in common and switching between them is jarring and difficult. Even switching from School Time to Summer Time, which you’d think would be joyful! It’s difficult. You get the blues and you mope around and you don’t know how to start all the looming enormous projects you’ve been putting off for seven months. Like you turn in your final grades, slap your hands together in a “that’s that” gesture, then turn to your summer to-do list, upon which you find “READ MARX’S CAPITAL” and you’re like “eeeetttthhhhhhhhhhhpppttt” (sound of a balloon deflating in a loose, farty, and uninspiring way).
So yeah. As much as I love the weird academic schedule, the in-between times are challenging. But added to this usual angst is the fact that this is a whole new job in a whole new institution in a whole new state, and all that that implies, and added to THAT is the fact that it’s my first Real Job, and so the list of things I’m worried about has at least doubled. Not only worrying about my students and my syllabus but, you know, “how to make everyone in the department like me” and “how to figure out what kinds of longstanding political issues are simmering underneath the surface of the department” and “who is mad at who” and “who should I be scared of vs. who should I befriend” and “which committees should I join” and “what if I forget to do something that means I don’t get tenure in five years” and “wait where’s that form to get reimbursed for this airplane ticket” and also I have GRAD STUDENTS now so I am trying to learn all the arcane shit they have to do to get their degrees so I can make sure they graduate, etc. And I also want to do things like take piano lessons but I just feel like, how can that happen?? Meanwhile some of my colleagues have small children and yet are also finishing books and planning conferences and I feel like a heel.
It is just one foot in front of the other, of course, one thing checked off the to-do list at a time. But by this point in the summer the to-do list has become shaggy and unclear. There’s a lot to be done but I’m not sure what-all it is. I feel confused. I haven’t socialized with a living human aside from my husband in a month. Oh, Julia came by with her mom awhile ago, that was awesome.
I am turning 37 in three days. 37! An unremarkable age. That’s fine.
We went to a local village and popped into a truly shitty bookstore where I found a novel based on Mork and Mindy.
We also ate at a vegan cafe that was textbook 90s Portland. I felt so at home in it. And the food was spectacular. I am very pleased to be biking distance from this town. There’s also a copy center that is actually a worker cooperative, and you get free copies if you need 3 or less. WTF? And you can also buy morroccan body oil there, and fair trade coffee, and books on politics by local weirdos.
My office is truly pleasant, goddamn! I can’t wait to see what it’s like in autumn, with the leaves outside and the crisp air and the woodsmoke and the radiator burbling. I bet it will be cozy as hell. I am very excited to be in the thick of things, mid-semester, because it will mean I have gotten at least some kind of a handle on my duties and my routine. I am excited to be grading like normal, in my cozy office, with the blizzard coming down outside.
I am having trouble figuring out what is interesting about my new research project, and I don’t know if that means it’s not interesting or if I’m just not seeing it correctly.
Now this big dog is having a dream and slapping me with his tail. It’s one thing after another in this crazy life!
Also I tried making a sourdough starter but I feel like I failed and now I am bread-dejected again. I’ve tried so many times to make a sourdough starter! It’s so fucking simple! And yet it doesn’t work for me again and again.
Well, that’s about it