Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A tribute

My father died last week. 

I have sometimes seen academics sighing about family members who don't understand what they do. My dad always seemed to get it, and not because he was also an academic; he was raised on a farm and spent most of his working life selling agricultural equipment. But he and my mom sacrificed so I could go to the liberal arts college I wanted, and cheered me on throughout grad school. He was one of the few people in the world who have actually read my dissertation. He never expressed disappointment with my various part-time and temporary jobs, only sympathy and support. He was thrilled when I got my tenure-track job offer. 

Dad was not always easy to get along with; he could be stubborn and easily angered, and he grew more conservative as he grew older. But I will always be glad of his unstinting support. I'm sorry I never got to show him around my college campus, and I'm sorry he'll never be able to see my book, should I manage to get it published. 

This has been a hard few weeks; I'm not planning on further posts until sometime in January.

Friday, December 4, 2009

December already?

Ugh. That was a longer-than-planned hiatus. I lost much of November to bronchitis.

Two weeks of class are left. Classes are going fine, the only hitch being a class full of shy, introverted first-year students who are afraid to say anything in class. Stimulating discussion, or even getting them to ask basic questions about assignments, is tough.

My college is hiring in an important campus-wide position, and all of the interviews will be in the next two weeks, so I need to fit in going to those presentations / receptions / Q&A sessions to get a sense of the candidates.

I'm also trying to finish up an abstract to submit to a conference within the next week, and finish up with the books I borrowed from interlibrary loan before the librarians come after me with sticks.

Add in getting ready for the holidays, illness and other drama in the family, and it's been a hectic few weeks.