Archive for the books are bliss Category
i have a friend who used to be a roommate (hi friend!) who just moved to begin a grand adventure in a faraway state. she just packed up her car and went. i am incredibly proud of her chutzpah. i am not going to write about chutzpah, but i bring up this friend because her most recent blog post had the most magnificent title: “the days are long but the months will be short.”
(her titles are always wonderful and deep. unlike mine. but that’s okay.)
i love that title because that, in short, encapsulates my life.
i have suddenly woken up with the very real, very visceral realization that i am getting married in 38 days.. i have less than six weeks left. you know, the six week mark where you’re supposed to start all of those bridal makeover plans, where you stop drinking caffeine (done…like 15 years ago), start eating vegetables and fruits in rich abundance (i’m now in love with spinach salad, fyi…why is it so good?), and start exercising your face off (me and the gym are now friends again. i missed it. i really did.).
this is the time when all the stuff you’ve put off because it was just too far away to do actually needs to get done.
this is also the time when i have started teaching. i really like my class. a bunch of people dropped, so i only have 26 students, but they’re intelligent and insightful and have much to say about jane austen already. i usually find that austen either creates not much conversation or a strictly reactionary discussion about plot and character. that’s not the case with these students. they are making really rich connections between cultural expectations and character development, discussing thematic elements, and demonstrating a great deal of independent thought.
i really like them. i think they’re a different kind of class.
(it strikes me that i may be a better teacher than i was, but that’s neither here nor there.)
but this class requires me to make use of every moment of my time effectively. for the past few days, i have been coming home and taking a quick nap after class, aiming to keep my goal of getting eight hours of sleep each day. if i can’t get it at night, i try to catch up during the day.
i just can’t do it. there isn’t enough time, it seems, to do all my preparations for class (which includes about 100 pages of reading a day), to go to the gym for about an hour (which i won’t give up. i refuse.), to come home and prepare dinner, to spend time with the bff, and to get the other things done that need to get done. it just…i need like six hours more a day.
i literally and sincerely have no idea how everything will get done. i really don’t. the bff, bless him, has made it his goal this week to make my life easier. he has told me that i need to give him tasks to do and he will do them. so, i did. and really, the way i feel is that all of the important stuff has been done. the rest is just a series (a long series, to be sure) of little things that need to be done in order to ensure that things turn out the way that we imagined. but if things are different than we expected? oh well.
(i say this now. but i still really want things to be done and get done and all to be as we imagined. but i’m trying to be chill.)
my mind is just crammed, but not coherently crammed. if it were an actual to-do list in any sort of cohesive order, i think it would be easier. instead, it’s really just a big puddle of things that need to get done, often with an accompanying sense of urgency which doesn’t make much sense.
for example, i feel REALLY impressed that i need to get rid of all of my extra books, like, yesterday. that makes no chronological sense. but there you go. it’s fairly indicative of where my head is at.
so i go about my days, which seem long and packed with running here and there and trying to finish everything that needs to be done each day.
and i look up and clap my hand over my mouth and realize that in one month, i will be moving into our new apartment. and one week after that, we will be married.
it will fly by. it really already has.
i only hope i can make the most of each of those packed days. i’m sure trying.
1. the blinding, pit-soaking heat.
i’m really sorry if that’s too much information, but it’s the honest truth. i have to mop myself up before going to class. and that’s just with a 7 or so minute walk across campus. at 11 a.m. i love florida summers, she says to herself.
upside: it’s training me (and my sweat glands) for august 8th, when i’ll be all decked out in satin and crinoline and hairspray, taking pictures. at 11 a.m.
2. the blank stares of students on the first day of classes, when they stare at you as if you have the answers to all of life’s problems. or at least like they’re a tiny bit afraid of what you’ll do to them.
upside: when they laugh for the first time? it’s like a zing of success. i love watching them visibly relax when they realize that i am not in fact satan.
3. how hard it is to fill time in a 75 minute class. you can either plan for 50 minutes or you can plan for 90 minutes. i find it incredibly difficult, especially EVERY SINGLE DAY, to fill 75 minutes. i was rather surprised at how quickly i got through what i had planned for the first day. my syllabus schpeel? took like 4 minutes. hello speed talker.
upside: i am not a clock watcher, so i go with the flow. we’ll probably always get out a bit early. they’ll love me for that.
4. needy students with complicated questions. class hadn’t even started when i got an email from a student. then i had two fairly complex issues to deal with straightaway after class ended. yeesh.
upside: i am apparently approachable. that’s not a bad thing.
5. the panic i genuinely feel when i start reading a novel and wonder how on earth i am going to find anything of substance to say. i have read jane austen’s persuasion probably at least six times, conservatively, at this point. i know the novel backwards and forwards. i still find new and interesting things in it, but i am sometimes awash in panic that i am either going to come up with topics too mundane to suit the needs of a 3000 level literature class or too obscure to suit anyone but a phd teaching one of the novels in her dissertation.
i really do worry about this stuff.
upside: it makes me a better teacher, i suppose. and usually about the time that the panic starts to set in, the ideas start to trickle in. i’ve been scribbling them down on the title page in yellow highlighter the whole time i’ve been reading. i think it’s a hodge-podge of simplistic and profound. i guess that’s pretty good.
at least i’m not depending on them to guide the class. although they’re supposed to…
we’ll see how it goes.
i’m rather tired already.
with all the angst about job searches in the fall and all the different, but the same, angst about job searches in the spring and all of the part time teaching jobs that seem to keep falling out of the sky (or, i should say, the potential of multiple more part time teaching jobs that may in fact kill me but that i would still do anyways because hello MONEY and we could save some and that would be brilliant), you would think that preparing to teach on monday would not be nervewracking and slightly scary.
you would be, in fact, WRONG.
the classroom? haven’t set foot in one for an academic year.
there are lovely elements of being on fellowship. that’s one of them. and, in theory, it’s the perfect time to, you know, FINISH your dissertation but let’s not talk about that and instead talk about how i lost 40 pounds and found the love of my life instead.
still a pretty productive time, i’d say.
but i’m back to the thing i love to do most on monday. i’m teaching. and not just teaching, but teaching an upper-division novel course. in six weeks.
let’s all say WHEW! in unison, shall we?
(i’ll wait. go ahead.)
i’m excited. oh, i’m EXCITED. but i’m also nervous. i find myself thinking about all kinds of things–what will i wear? should i worry about wearing professional or worry about not dying in my walk across campus in the death hot (and if today is any indication, it will feel like a tropical sauna)? how will i interact with my students? are my teaching skills rusty?
but strangely, at the same time as all of these thoughts about what to do comes a kind of oddly idiotic detachment. have i started reading the first novel? nope. did i intend to? heck yes. have i done my syllabus? yes. have i completely finished my first day’s lecture? nope. and, while i should be freaking out about it, i feel a strange sense of zen.
i’m not sure it’s zen, actually. i think it might be denial.
nevertheless, come what may…monday brings the teaching. i’m kind of excited.
and i should kind of do some work.
sometimes i really hate being a girl.
or maybe i just hate recognizing that once a month, like clockwork, i go irrational. completely, fruit-loopy, mood-swingy, irrational.
before, maybe i just did it and didn’t realize it. now i recognize it, am completely self-aware, and yet seem to have little power to pull myself completely out of it. so lately, i’ve just been trying to internalize it and minimize the collateral damage.
funny thing about that. it causes this whole internal drama that nobody really knows about. they think everything’s fine. i feel insecure, crazy, and ready to lose my mind.
for about forty eight to sixty hours. then it blows over.
but in the meantime, it has the enveloping power of blindness. let me explain. AMAZING things have happened in the last couple of days. all of them are answers to prayers.
perfect apartment found and applied for. check.
bff got two job interviews, both of which could be amazing and both of which he’ll be stellar at. check.
i randomly sent my resume to a private school in the area and got an email back saying that they think i would be a perfect match for their school and while they may only have a part-time position open (three classes), they’d very much like to meet with me. money? a job? people who want me and think i’m qualified? check.
and yet…i feel meh. i cry about stupid crap that doesn’t matter, disappointments that are so ridiculously temporary. i worry about things that are stupid and irrational. i beat myself up for not following through on my insane plan to get up after 4ish hours of sleep and go do megacardio at the gym at 7 a.m. i don’t cut myself any slack while at the same time i get selfish. i stop being grateful and start being greedy for what i want when i want it.
(that’s never a good sign, by the way.)
and for all the attempts to shake myself out it–and i am good at it most times–i find myself having to do it over and over and over again. it’s exhausting. i’m very tired.
i’m ready for the crazy to leave again. but until then, i may find a little patch of sunny grass, a blanket, and a book and stay there for a while.
so, not like i’m around here that much anyways (sorry! sort of! i really do want to write more! i promise!), but i’ll be off during spring break. going to orlando tonight, then to miami for a wedding with the bff’s family, then to north carolina for some snow excursions (possibly tubing, possibly just enjoying the mountains…we’ll see…we’ll only be there for a day, so there’s not much time for me to try to learn to snowboard and not suck at it) and meeting my family and doing some other fun things, then back to florida for a bff family gettogether at their hunting/fishing property up north. i may or may not get the chance to drive/ride on a four-wheeler this weekend. that’s exciting.
i have been praying steadily for lots of confidence, peace, and assurance lately. i need to not be nervous this weekend–i need to just be myself. that’s hard when you feel like a fat blob, which is how i’ve been feeling lately, and like a giant failure. so this week, i’ve been working at being confident. let me tell you what’s happened thus far.
- on wednesday, i went looking for shoes for the wedding outfit (i think i originally thought about getting some dressy flipflops because of my toe but BEHOLD i can wear certain shoes! hooray!) and i found these. you can’t tell me those aren’t awesome. and the best part? they actually DON’T HURT. and they’re sassy, tall, but don’t make me taller than the bff. YES.
- i went to old navy on that same day to take advantage of the $19 jean sale. i went in there thinking that i would be buying one size, but then they were way too big. i tried on the next size down and originally thought that they were too small. but then i sat down…and they didn’t ride down (which on me is the surest sign that something is WAY too small…doesn’t contain my butt) and then i looked at my butt in the mirror. and sweet heck if it didn’t look GOOD. heaven bless some snug-fitting jeans. i think maybe it’s been so long since pants have actually fit well on me that i’m not sure what it looks like anymore. oh, and i found a cami for $5 that i’d been looking for/needing and a pink shirt that’s ADORABLE and looks amazing with the jeans. on the clearance rack.
- i finished the draft of the dorothy wordsworth chapter. it’s short, but it’s done and i’m glad. when i sent it to the director? sweet woman that she is congratulated me on finishing before spring break and didn’t once mention that i had set an original deadline of A MONTH AND A HALF AGO. i love that woman.
- remember the job in Jax? the commute four days a week for a decent amount of money? guess who just got offered a job to teach a British novel course during summer b HERE in g’ville? yep. that’s right. i get to teach it. and i don’t have to commute. and i will probably get paid more. and, given the crazy that will be going on this summer, it is the hugest blessing ever.
- i kicked the gym’s trash this morning. got up at 7:30. got there. crossramped. ran for about 8 minutes on my foot. could probably have gone longer but i had tons to do this morning to get ready to go. burned 600 calories. got outside and got a parking ticket but didn’t even care very much because today? i needed to feel like i could conquer the world.
i think it’s going to be an amazing week.
“Nothing contributes so much to tranquilizing the mind as a steady purpose – a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.”–Mary Wollstonecraft.
one can only hope.
amidst the fits and starts, plagues and conferences, i am having reentry problems into my life. my focus has been split between job applications and letters and all manner of nonsense that took my focus away from the dissertation. now that i have this big and grand goal, it is taking me more time than i’d like to readjust and refocus.
my aim is to do so this week, mainly by knocking out the vast majority of these job applications. gosh, i will be glad to be done with them, come what may.
(and please, please, please…let interviews come.)
i need a steady purpose. i really, really do.
yeah, steadiness wouldn’t suck. bring on the steady.
lots of apologizing for not writing going on on the blogs i read.
(thank heavens for google reader. truly.)
not that i am hating on the apologizing, because you know i do the same usually. but strangely, i don’t feel badly at all for my sporadic writing. i use my blog for what i need it for–venting, keeping myself on track using the sidebar widget which is now doubling as a to-do list/accountability check-in, purging my brain of the things that i’ve been mulling over so that i can move on, etc.
and that’s okay.
so…what’s new with me?
not a whole lot.
everything’s basically the same. i’ve made some progress–finally turned in those stupid encyclopedia entries, excerpted 2000 words from a chapter that’s about 6000+ (it was beastly! difficult! but sometimes, you have to murder your darlings). i’m gearing up for another week of insane hibernation in the library, as i have oodles of things to read, some of which is on microfilm which oddly intimidates me. oh well. i’ll get over it.
i’m kind of excited to see where this next chapter/conference paper goes. i have a feeling that it’s going to be all kinds of awesome. i’m also sort of excited to
i am participating in my first 5K this saturday. it’s a walk for breast cancer, so it’s not competitive at all, but it’s the longest athletic event i’ve ever participated in, and i’m pretty excited about it. but i’m pretty sure that my next big fitness goal will be actually training to actually run one. i was going to try to start training in january, but i’m feeling fairly compelled to start soon. so that might happen in the next week or so.
and my secret dream is to do a half-marathon, which my pal lindzml was talking about on her blog. but none of them are ever on a saturday, and i don’t do stuff like that on a sunday. we’ll see. i think that’s pretty ambitious anyways, but who knows? i look back at the progress that i’ve made in the past four months and i’m pretty astounded.
as if i needed more things to do…but i need a new challenge. i’m getting bored.
i found something called newton crisps. they’re like a cross between a mixed berry newton cookie and streudel. they’re sort of crispy and awesome and only 100 calories for two. i love them. and i love walmart because honey bunches of oats is always 2.50. i live on that stuff.
speaking of, i want some.
so, all is well in drbolte land. i’m tired but persevering. i’m excited about and dreading the things that i have yet to do. it’s a weird combination, but it is what it is.
i’m still on the hunt for some cute brown flats that won’t tear up my feet, as well as some adorable cardigans that are versatile enough to be worn with lots of different options. apparently cardigans are for old people. oh well. maybe i am.
but i’m still hecka cute, and i take solace in that fact.
if you’ve been around at all recently, you know that mondays don’t tend to be good to me. i don’t know why. i’m veering towards insufficient sleep based on what has become the ritual of sunday naps in the afternoon, which leave me more inclined to watch army wives at 1 a.m. than actually go to sleep.
but yesterday i was quite excited to tackle the day. i’ve made my schedule in my handy dandy blue notebook and although it’s already required modification, it’s okay.
there’s lots to tell you–about minor and major miracles in my life*, about things that are coming up that both freak me out and excite the HECK out of me so i don’t think about them in too much detail**, about how this week’s madness is the fruit of my procrastination, about how excited i am that the west wing is coming back on bravo and how even though i really have no business adding two more hours of daily TV to my world, i will tape them and be glad of it*** and about how utterly joyful i was to find a marathon on on friday when i got home from work****, about how i had a dream that my birthday went by and i was the one who totally forgot about it and how that was more funny than sad, and about how i miss my family and thought briefly yesterday about finding a time when i could just drive up there and surprise them. i may still do it. maybe after the detroit conference.
oh, didn’t i mention that i’m going to the motor city?
so, i have all of these things to tell you but no time to tell you them. but they’re on the back burner, just waiting for dead time at work or frustration with writing or brainfried break time to reveal themselves.
hang with me.
but in the meantime, it’s monday, and i’m trying to make it work.*****
have a wonderful day!
*do you ever have those times when you are completely stressed out about something(s), and you don’t think to pray about them because they seem like problems that you will just solve later and so you don’t want to bother with them now because as much as they are subconsciously really freaking you out, you have bigger fish to fry? and then all of the sudden out of the clear blue sky, problems get solved without any intervention on your part but entirely because Heavenly Father is merciful and kind and loves you and decides to help you out, as any parent would, just because He knows that the problems are there?
yeah. those happened. two of them. this weekend. maybe three. actually three. i am a blessed girl.
**not limited to but including job search. but mainly…other things.
***i live in way lower middle class land. no tivo for me. i work it old school, with a VCR, a timer, and some seriously recycled tapes. that’s how i deal with fall TV. every day has a schedule. i tape them and watch them when i have time, when i have a break, or on sundays when i don’t work. we’ll see how long this lasts.
****oh president santos/jimmy smits, i love you. but i love josh more.
*****if kenley doesn’t get kicked off of project runway soon, i will do damage to some inanimate object in frustration. she’s so…annoying! who saw that coming? i sure didn’t.
the job list came out on friday.
i just looked at it now. had to make my own username and password, as if i somehow have the right to be perusing jobs.
twenty-five of them fit me pretty well. if i expanded my borders, a few in canada might have as well, but i like america and would like to stay here.
about five of them were MADE for me.
and not a single one of them is in north carolina. my mom will be horrified. i suppose i can placate her by telling her it’s only one of the job lists.
now i get to gear up to send pieces of my heart and hope in envelopes headed from sea to shining sea and prepare myself for the results.
also, i REALLY need to finish my dissertation.