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It was darn hot today.  The weather says it hit 106, but my house was a trooper!  We never really needed to turn on the AC, though it was 88 degrees in here by the peak of it.  We got new blinds installed a week or two ago, and it’s amazing how much keeping the sun out of the windows does for the temperature inside.  I’m very pleased!  Plus I washed and cleaned all the front windows today before it got hot, so it was looking particularly nice and sparkly when we finally got to pull the shades back up.

I’m doing an excellent job of wasting my break away, which I suppose is one of the activities I actually intended on accomplishing.  I do wish I could put myself to task a little better doing school work in addition to the projects and gardening I set up for myself.  It’s hard, because if you start the day with school work, you end up wasting the whole day sitting at the desk or table, and then by dinner time I feel like I’ve gotten nothing done, and that I’m a dope for having not left the house all day.  However, if you start the day in the garden or doing some housework, like I prefer, you end up spending the whole day doing not school work.  Definitely sub-optimal.  Perhaps I’ll have myself better put together when we hit July.   It really has only been a could of weeks since class ended.  I’m always too hard on myself!

I’ve been cooking so much, it really makes me happy.  This week I’ve mastered the Denver omelet (why did  it take me so long to figure out how to cook an omelet?) and I made red beans and rice for dinner today.  Mmm.   We’ve got so many delicious left-overs in the fridge, and lots of tasty salad stuff we haven’t even dug into.  For all that cooking more means eating well, it does sort of obliterate one of my better excuses to get out of the house.  But we’re doing a good job of saving money, anyway.  And it means I get to try out a bunch of new ideas – ricotta pancakes, mozarella chicken panninis, baked sole…

Money is still too much on my mind, but I think that’s always the way of things.  We did our budget for next year, and calculated it a few times over and came to a very sad conclusion: there’s really no way to pay for car insurance.  I’m feeling very deflated after this decision… I was really looking forward to having a car, and having a car of our own we could take places more guilt-free and easy-like.  The prospect of Davis without a reliable car next year is rather daunting, though do-able.  I guess it’s the first thing we’ve really had to cut out in the “you can’t afford that” category.  We’re just going to be barely scraping by next year – we’re already making so much less money than we were when we were both working, and our appointments next year (and the loss of the one-year-only fellowship Lewis had) means we’re making almost a third less than that.  We’re canceling all the extraneous costs (our veg box, our carshare dues) but that really leaves just a smidge of an emergency buffer after our necessary budgeted expenses.  So unless car insurance is magically rather affordable, we’re sunk.  And that means a few things for me, the spelling out of which seems so trite.  It means I’m probably giving up the gym, because I can’t seem to muster the gumption to bike there (particularly in 90+ degree weather), and it means I need to start shopping at the Co-op weekly or more often.  I’ve been getting so spoiled by the ability to drive to the store and bring home all the bottled water and cat litter my heart desired.  Now it’s back to the ol’ cubic feet calculations.  Whine, whine.  I know.  Like I say – it’s just the first of these “we can’t afford this luxury” things, and it’s a cranky one to let go.

Playing Along

I love the way my room smells.  Sitting in here gives me comfort.  It feels so real, so present, so manageable.  Timeless, in a way.  Regardless of the day I’ve had, this is the room I come home to, this is the bed I sleep in, and this is the last thing I see before I sleep, and the first thing when I wake.

It is very difficult to reconcile this immediate reality with the multitude of possibilities of my future lives.  Tonight I made the mistake of realizing the internal fellowship application is due in two weeks, and that I might need letters of recommendation and all that.  There was a comfort in thinking (though falsely) that getting in to graduate school was the last proving of myself that needed to be done.  Instead, here I am, faced with again trying to convince someone that I’m a worthwhile student who ought to be given something now for the promise of belated glory upon our fine institution.

Sadly, fellowship applications are really a minor worry on the road of an academic career.  I read the suggestions and guidelines for applying for academic positions in my field tonight and the journey sounds long and difficult, but in some small way, also enticing.   Applying for academic jobs is such a long way from my comfortable bed in my calm home that it’s impossible to think some day that might be what I’m striving for.  There’s not a lot between being a first year graduate student and being a last year graduate student hoping for a job.  That job might take years to get, might involve several successive one-year appointments in a variety of schools, and may in the end be a frustrating and unfulfilling exercise in realizing academia is not where you want to spend your life.

At some point you must learn to believe in yourself and your work to such a degree that you could spend years shopping yourself and your doctoral project around and get nothing but rejection after rejection.  I hope I reach that point.  I have a hard enough time writing a statement of purpose and pretending that I’m a worthwhile graduate student.  I know a few things about myself:  I’m an enthusiastic learner, a good student, and a dedicated teacher.  Truly, teaching is what gets me all fired up.  I enjoy reserach, but the vision of my future is not the ego-wielding research jewel in some school’s cap, but a beloved professor who loves and understands the subject and inspires her students, and who gets to do research on things she loves on the side.  I’m not sure this is the right focus for someone who hopes to make a go of academia.  I’m seriously considering what other educational opportunities might be out there for me to participate in.  Could I teach at a community college?  A prep school?  A high school?   Who knows.

I do know that I should really get this fellowship application done, though like all applications (except this UCD one) I know in my bones it’s all for naught.  I just do not come off well on paper, and I’m sure it’s at least partly a function of me feeling that way going into it.  This is a thing I do not know how to fix.  Tonight, I’m going to take refuge in my bed.  And tomorrow I’ll wake up ready for my last holiday party, on my last free weekend before the start of a very busy quarter.  Good night.

Not What She Used to Be

It’s 2 am and while I can’t say that I’m “wide” awake, it should be obvious at any rate that I am awake. And for no good reason.

Lights were out at 12:30, and tiny, insignificant noises were happening outside. Mostly involving the fact, I can only assume, that our party-havin’ neighbors were having a party. Not even a loud one. But here I am, 90 minutes later, still on the internets, still awake, and still listening. It’s been pretty quiet out there for the last little while, and I’m starting to feel myself winding back towards sleepiness. I must congratulate myself at least a little for being determined enough to get out of bed and read blogs rather than stay in bed and worry about noises. The world always seems a lot less scary when there are blogs involved (also included in world-is-less-scary category: music, tv, radio, news, Lewis, kitty – external validators of normalcy).

I don’t even know what it is I’m up about tonight. Sometimes as my day is getting on, especially as I’m in the zone of last-things-before-bed, little disruptions can really put me off sleeping. I usually ignore them and try and sleep anyway. But it can be something as simple as Boo being loud or seeming especially nervous, or a loud noise hours ago, or something haven fallen over or spilled, or whatever… For me tonight it started with the neighbors having a stranger party than usual – they put up bright lights, and had a big fire (on their deck? in a barbeque, i suppose..) and were playing ping-pong. Totally innocent, but it felt like that meant tonight was going to be troublesome. Like they could put lights up and play ping pong in some sort of challenge to the rest of the neighborhood. Like the whole neighborhood would be feeling irreverent and hazardous.

It probably doesn’t help that I slept so long last night so I’m probably more well-rested than I ought to be. Or that we were packing and junk all day. I’m definitely feeling unsettled having our rooms in disarray as such. Boxes everywhere. And real moving on the horizon. I imagine that’s the truth of the sleeplessness tonight — I’m nervous about moving, and I’m really wishing we were moving ASAP (as in, tomorrow). But I’ve got to be calm and patient as possible. Being pent up doesn’t seem to be getting me any further than being awake. And that’s a stupid thing to be at 2 am when Lewis and Boo are sleeping so soundly so near me.

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