Friday, June 23, 2017


I am about to haul all three children off to visit N. and her critters.  Hopefully we will all survive the actual travel and my nostalgia for The Land of Cheese and Sausage will not overwhelm me on my return!  The spouse is looking forward to two very peaceful weeks (except for his undergrad research students, who are basically toddlers with knives as far as lab is concerned).

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Someone I know here had some major surgery a few weeks ago.  Her family is far away; her spouse had to go on a trip that couldn't be moved.  So I brought them dinner yesterday.

They just got new license plates:

  I have regrets.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Very Brief Update

I have nothing interesting to tell you about so here:

Health: still iffy but somewhat less so following some minor surgery and lots more drugs
Job: doesn't exist in the summer, but my last paycheck deposited last week.  I like money.
Children: all home for two weeks until camp starts and they are going to SO MUCH CAMP
Plant habit: still going strong (a bay-leaf shrub, a particular rugosa rose, a penstemon and... something... are the latest acquisitions). I've also started propagating stuff from cuttings, so there's a wee nursery going by the side of the house.  It's quite satisfying.  Some of them, I've forgotten what they are, so it's also an exciting mystery...
Spouse: is in exceedingly poor humor lately despite getting a paper published and being awarded not one but two grants, which come with a virtual guarantee of tenure.  I don't even know.
Travel: I am taking the children to the Land Of Cheese And Sausage in three weeks, to visit mostly N. and maybe see a few other mom-friends (the ones I do actually like, though not enough to go 900 miles only to see them). 
Children: did I mention they're ALL home?  Three kids is still a lot of kids. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

FMB: Jobs, Part 2

With respect to the previously mentioned diagram: I don't think one's job necessarily can or should fulfil all the desirable qualities at once - it's labelled 'a reason for being', after all.  Ideally, 'get paid' should be included: that's what jobs are for.  (Please don't start with parenting is a job because it is but no-one is paying me for this nonsense. For the purposes of this discussion, 'jobs' are 'things we do in exchange for money', as opposed to, say, 'work'.)

So... what is lacking in *my* job?  Change.  Opportunity to learn or do something different. 

And what do I love?  Gardening.  Explaining how science works in the real world (it's all chemicals! let me introduce you to... the liver!).  Sewing, canning, making things.  Having a tidy house, though not actually tidying it.

It is no coincidence that the things I love are the things I do the least: I am the primary caregiver for a two-year-old, and I only have childcare while I'm at work.  (For many complex reasons, starting with finances and ending with small-town-with-only-one-daycare and did we mention holy hell it's expensive, 'just pay for more childcare' is not going to work.) 

Next year, I will have twelve hours a week of child-free time when I'm also not teaching; this includes lunch.  Six hours go to class prep.  At least an hour goes to lunch.  The last block will be between classes - so gardening is probably out - and I expect medical appointments to take up much of it. So the main problem is I just don't have time to do anything I want to do.  (For health reasons, I also haven't been strong enough to do much, either.) 

Next up: how can I make room for these things in my life?

(It took me 30 minutes to write for five minutes due to children arguing, the phone ringing, and numerous requests.  Argh.)

Monday, May 15, 2017

FMB: Jobs, Eternally

This image (from here) floated through my life a few weeks ago:

Aaaannd I suddenly realized exactly what's wrong with my job.  I'm good at it, I'm paid for it, and probably the world needs someone to teach intro undergraduate science, but I don't love it.  It is not challenging, I do not find it a wonderful or stimulating use of my intelligence and skills, and I do not (in the grand scheme of things) find it delightful.  So, yes, I'm comfortable, but not satisfied. 

(There are many worse problems to have.  I could have a job that is useless, hateful, and ill-compensated!  However, I have the luxury to not love my job, and I don't.  All the Misery Poker in the world won't make it so.) 

Still, eternally, working on an exit plan.  The expiration date is when Sweetpea goes to school, in three years - coincidentally, also when Dr. S goes up for tenure* - after which I will, so help me, be doing something else. 

*probably; he may go up a year early, For Reasons.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Grant Me Strength

No, plastics do not leach plastic into your garden dirt.  Plasticizers maybe.  No, copper in the soil is not toxic, in those concentrations, unless you have a rare genetic disease.  No.... I'm pretty sure that the antibiotics in cow manure pretty much are gone by the time it's done composting.  Manure that you are putting in the dirt.  Not eating, right?  Right. 

No, I'm really not interested in your fear of 'contamination' and orthorexia, but here's a plant to enjoy.  Bye! 

(This post brought to you by my inability to be rude to a friend-of-a-friend in public.)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Lack of Focus Time

Right now, I have a great many hours with nothing particular I have to do.  As most of these hours also contain small children, however, what mostly gets done is laundry, going to the park, and feeding everyone. 

On the other hand, I have extremely few (3) hours per week when it's during daylight hours and all three of my children are elsewhere and I do not have a roomful of undergrads who all want my attention, preferably at once.  (I work after bedtime a little, but not much, because yea verily, Those Who Want Full Time Hours Must Pay Full Time Wages.)

Next year, Sweetpea will go to daycare/'preschool' three days a week and both boys will go to Actual Real School and it will be glorious.

Until then, accept this as a placeholder for 'my life is full of all the things and all the scheduling and all the children and all the gardening'.