Tuesday, February 27, 2007

slow but sure wins the race

I managed to get some work done on the diss yesterday. Not as much as I would have liked, but enough to feel good about the effort.

--I developed a new outline for the lit review
--I put my existing lit review into the new outline
--I added comments on what I need to add to the lit review based on the second committee member's feedback
--I addressed about half of that committee member's comments on the existing lit review
--I added in a section describing the three policy frameworks from which elements are utilized in the lit review

Not too bad, but I need to step it up if I'm going to have the proposal done by the end of March for an April defense. As long as I can keep having that one vacation day per week, I should be able to do it. I could have done more this weekend, but that job interview took most of Saturday, what with the commute, and Friday evening as well, preparing for it.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

last chance saloon

I can count on one hand the people who still read this blog: pooh, hotchic, curious, wistful, and infini. Thanks for sticking around, ladies.

I had my final job interview today -- it was the one for the 'premier urban community college.' I think I like this place the best, believe it or not. It doesn't matter to me if it's a community college and not 'prestigious.' I suppose, though, that since I really want this one, my luck will run counter to my desires. Ain't that always the way it is.

At least they're going to make a decision soon about who goes to the next round, so I don't have to wait on pins and needles for long. I should know by the middle of the week. They're going to pick the three top candidates, and those candidates will be interviewed by the VP and another top official at the college. There doesn't seem to be a presentation phase at this college like there is with others, which I like. Those presentations are major high stress.

Now I have to get a thank you letter out, and I think I'll have to do it via email, because snail mail won't get it there before a decision is made. I'll write one up and email it tomorrow.

Other than that, I'm taking a vacation day Monday, and the next two days are intended to try to get some serious dissertation work done. I really hope I can buckle down and get focused.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

In the summertime

There’s a commercial about flu medications on the telly that uses the music from a song I remember. It’s one of those songs with a deep meaning that, as soon as you hear it, takes you right back. Not the lyrics, they have no meaning (and aren’t all that good) – it was the tune that caught my ear in the moment and hibernated there forever.

For me, the memory is vivid, like a photograph taken at the most crucial moment in time. It was the summer of 1970, and her name was Randi. Randi was vivacious, beautiful, blond and tanned. Randi was cool. Randi was a bit of a hippy. She was a college student and was babysitting us for extra money. And we loved her, worshipped her, and mourned her when she left.

That afternoon, the one etched on my mind, we (my brothers and I) were all in her convertible cabriolet, the ultimate girl car. It was warm, the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the breeze was blowing through our hair. This song was playing on the radio, and Randi was singing along to it loudly and happily, wiggling her body in a semblance of dancing as she drove. And we were laughing, actually and truly laughing, as we drove along.

The song: In the Summertime, as recorded by Mungo Jerry.

And Randi: Randi was our babysitter. And the best thing that ever happened to us. I was 10 years old, and we’d already had so much pain and abuse from parents and babysitters that we pretty much believed that’s what the world was all about.

But Randi blew our view of the world apart. Randi of the happy smiles, and warm hugs, and never a sharp word. Randi of the sunshine. My eyes are tearing up as I write this and remember. I can still see her in my mind – the image is permanently ingrained. Our first experience of kindness, gentleness. The first time we felt true happiness – and safety – in the presence of someone charged with our care. She probably never had any idea just how much she impacted our little lives that summer.

But Randi – let me tell you now how much you meant to us, how thankful I am still today to have had you in my life for that one brief summer. Thank you for being you.

- written by Ray Dorset
- as recorded by Mungo Jerry

Chh chh-chh, uh Chh chh-chh, uh
Chh chh-chh, uh Chh chh-chh, uh

In the summertime when the weather is hot
You can stretch right up and touch the sky
When the weather's fine
You got women, you got women on your mind

You can find the rest of the lyrics here.

I think I just realized what my next cd purchase will be.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

on the job front

So, first, the dog-and-pony-show interview...it didn’t happen. It didn’t happen because I cancelled. Remember, this is the job that I initially cancelled on the second interview because it wasn’t feeling right, it was a two-hour one-way commute, etc. To back out gracefully, I had told them that I wouldn’t have my dissertation done in time to start on July 1 as they wanted. Well, they called me back and said they’d be willing to wait for me to start September 1 if I could finish the diss in August. I felt so guilty hearing that they were willing to work with me that I agreed to go ahead with the interview after all.

However, they called me last Thursday (the interview was this Tuesday) to let me know that in addition to the interactive presentation I had to give and the group interview following that, I also had to stay in the city after the interview, until they’d finished three more interviews. Then I was to take a taxi to Staten Island for an evening interview with some students. Given that I was on public transport, it would have been midnight before I got back home. Basically, I was feeling very stressed about this uni and the whole process, sort of like there were red flags that I couldn’t quite identify, but I could feel them all the same. As a friend said, ‘if you have to keep talking yourself into it, then it isn’t right for you.’

But my other interview, yesterday (yes, I had an interview on valentine's day) went great! A smallish public college, with a brand new master’s program in my field (and an established undergrad program). Five faculty and the director interviewed me. I felt comfortable with them all, and there was enough head-nodding from the faculty that I knew I was right on in most of my responses to their questions.

On a funny note, yesterday was our big storm, so the roads were horrendous, and floors were slippery. I walked into the building and promptly slid on my heeled ankle boots (but they looked so good, lol). I went down hard on one knee, and I now have a bruise on the knee and pulled muscles on the front of my leg just above my knee. Luckily, no one who was interviewing me saw it, and the one student who did see had just about fallen coming in his door, so he was very sympathetic and asked if I were alright. What a grand entrance, huh!

And more good news, I received a call last week from the community college I applied to, and I have an interview scheduled with them on the 24th (yes, it’s a Saturday, but who am I to complain – I’ll take them however I can get them). Even the community college would be a great start – I’d get more teaching experience, and after a couple of summers spent writing and getting published, I might be able to find something more up my alley then. Although I have to say, students attending community colleges deserve a decent education too. There’s a part of me, with my advocacy stance regarding the low-income with limited college access, which says I shouldn’t be at all ashamed of teaching in a CC. So who knows, maybe I’d stay there.

Now I have to get back to trying to write that thank you email to yesterday’s interviewers. I find the thank you note to be particularly challenging, and I hate doing them, but know I have to.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

the best fucking news ever

Just got the results from rugrat's latest pap.

If you really want the background, you can read about it here, here, here, here, and here -- in order from oldest to newest.

For those of you new to my blog who just want the synopsis, she has the HPV virus, has had it for a year and a half. That has meant paps every three months, which have been positive, which has meant a biopsy to be sure cervical cells are still normal.

It's a painful procedure, and then there's the psych factor in waiting for the test results. It's basically been this heaviness hanging over us for so long that the stress has come out in other physical ways, like stomach problems, headaches, etc.

Well, the latest pap results...

drum roll, please...


That means no biopsy this time.

We still have to go back every four months for a year to be sure, but if the pap tests continue to be negative, after a year she's not high risk anymore and we can relax a bit.

Now THAT'S something to celebrate.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

on the job front

Well, now I have THREE job interviews this month!!!

I had the one telephone interview with the distance learning college, and then I decided to beg out of the running, because it was clear I wouldn't be able to finish the dissertation before July 1, which was the unusual start date for that position. I wasn't too concerned, because it was far enough away to require a nearly two hour one-way commute.

Then another four year college, more local, called to schedule an interview for the 14th.

Then the first college, that I'd begged out of, called and convinced me to keep my interview with them on the 13th. They said that if I could finish the diss in August, they could start me September 1 if I were to be hired. So against my better judgment, I said yes. After all, they were so accommodating, I thought -- how could I say no.

But today I spoke with the rep from the first college, the one I had planned to drop. It seems that I am supposed to plan a 30 minute interactive presentation for the first half of the interview, then stick around in the city until after they've finished all the interviews (which won't be till about 7 pm), then head for Staten Island to meet with students from the college that night. I just think that's way too much, and I'm going to bow out again.

Also today, I've heard from the community college I applied to, which is also closer to home geographically than the first college. That interview is on the 24th (yes, that's a Saturday).

I have the other two interviews to fall back on, and either would be a good fit for me. I'm just worried about looking 'flaky' to the first college if I beg off a second time.

After work I'm headed to the mall to find an interview suit. I haven't needed one for almost five years, and that was when I was 30 pounds heavier, so my old suit is now at goodwill. I hope I can find one that isn't too pricy.

Monday, February 05, 2007

it wasn't about the why

That wasn't the point of the movie.

I saw Children of Men yesterday. I'd heard criticism of the movie because it didn't tell the viewer why there were no children and why the infertility rate was 100%.

But the why of it doesn't matter -- it was making a point. A point about how humanity in general views children in this world. The world in general would appear, given current standards of living worldwide, to view children as disposable -- a nuisance even.

They are the first to succumb to starvation and disease, lack access to medical care, are ignored casualties of war, are sold into slavery, are abused, and if all that doesn't get them, natural disasters will. Children aren't generally able to protect themselves -- that's what adults are for.

As a collective, humans (and I include myself in this), while we may be outraged when we hear about the massive deaths of children, may even protest the horrendous situations in which children live -- well, very little ever really happens in response. So we throw up our hands in despair, and children still suffer.

What the movie is showing us is one view of what life could be like if we continue to place such little value on the lives of our children.

It wasn't a coincidence that in the movie, a child hadn't been born in 18 years. Think about it -- 18 years, the time from birth to adulthood in many societies.

And the world had to be without new births for that long, to learn to rejoice in the first birth in 18 years. For the world to finally see the importance of the children that we previously took for granted, to treasure them for what they are -- our future. For without those children, humankind would eventually cease to exist.

So, you see -- it isn't about the why.