Saturday, June 30, 2007

One Door Closes - Another Door Opens

Today was my last day at my crappy library job. I couldn't help but feel a little choked up as I gave and got hugs and promises for future lunch dates. It is hard to believe that I've been there five years (and two months). Of course, my practical side hates to give up the steady paycheck, but it is time to move on. The reason I took the job in the first place was so that I could go to school, and I've been there done that - stick a fork in me. There is no future for me at the library, and even if there was, I have never had the intention of becoming a librarian.

Even before leaving, I have been blessed with a number of new opportunities coming my way. I am taking on a larger class load in the fall, and I have recently accepted a part-time gig as the Executive Editor over at Creative Weblogging.

The hardest part of leaving the library is saying good-bye to so many good people who I really consider to be friends now. One of the younger women who works there even made it a point to tell me how my encouragement has made such a difference with her choice to continue onto grad school after she gets her four year degree. How can that not bring a tear to a teacher's eye?!

Well, shoot, I'm getting all goofy about it again, so I'll just leave it at that. The door is closed. Now time to walk through a new door.
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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Riding on Handlebars

With the heat here and the rain coming in the late afternoon, we are definitely in the throws of summer.

The other day I was driving back home from the vet after picking up some more insulin, syringes, and cat food, and I noticed various group of kids traveling down the side walks.

One group had the signature kid riding on the handlebars of another kid's bike, and I couldn't help but feel nostalgic. It probably didn't hurt that I was listening to the oldies station: "Bye, bye Miss American Pie..."

It was nice to see children out and about and doing dangerous stupid crap instead of glued to the TV or video games. I remember summer days when we'd head out and be gone all day, running around barefoot, riding our bikes, drinking gallons of Mello Yellow (none diet of course).

I found the song on YouTube:

So bye-bye, miss american pie.
Drove my chevy to the levee,But the levee was dry.
And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
Singin’, "this’ll be the day that I die."this’ll be the day that I die.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Bad, Bad Shoes

Starting in the fall, I will be back in the classroom. All summer I've been teaching, but it's all been on the web, so my normal teacher attire has been casual to say the least. Though my official return to teaching started last spring and I did have to actually enter a classroom in person, I managed to get by, but the shoes were starting to become an issue.

My "teacher shoes" (as in not my beloved Birkenstocks) are on their way out. When I was teaching full-time about 5 years ago, I invested in an assortment (black, white, navy, brown, etc), and they are now ready for retirement. But, I so dread shopping for shoes!

I know. Who doesn't enjoy a new pair of shoes? My fear of shoe shopping dates back to Catholic school when we were limited in what we could wear, and with a size AA foot, that didn't leave me many options. If I could have worn tennis shoes or sandals (which either tie or buckle), I could have managed, but of course, both were no-no's.

One year my mother ended up buying the the ugliest shoes on the face of the planet. I wore them to school one day, and my friends asked me why I was wearing "retard shoes." They reminded me of the shoes you used to see poor kids who had suffered from polio wearing along with their leg braces. So, I never wore them again and spent months getting written up for wearing tennis shoes (which were denim and suede - hey, it was the 70s). I tried to convince Sr. Rosetta that they were actual shoes, but she wouldn't buy it.

Fall semester starts in about two months, so I have to get my courage up and venture out soon. Ugh!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Virginia Woolf, You Are Not

Though it may seem to some people like my various part-time jobs are unrelated, they really aren't. For example, I'm a part-time English instructor and I'm also a part-time blog recruiter/trainer of sorts. In many ways, my tasks at these jobs are very similar. I have to help people write. This often requires that I tell them how not to write.

Very nicely, of course, I have to point out grammar problems or organizational issues in their writing and try to explain the correct way they should be writing the essay or blog entry or what-have-you.

Sometimes my student/trainee takes my "help" the wrong way, which is understandable. No one likes to be told he/she is doing something wrong. But, sometimes they try to support their wacky writing by telling me things like, "It's my style" or "I was trying to be funny."

I'm never really sure what to say to something like this. If writing comma splice after comma splice is style, then I'm at a loss. To me, when a nobody (in terms of writing career) writes like this, it means you simply don't know when and where to place a period. Learn the rules first. Then when you become a wildly famous writer and say that Dr. P in your ENC101 composition class taught you everything you know, you can write in whatever style you wish.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Feels Good!

I can't help it, but that song is going through my head. Who sings it? "I feel know that I would now....doodle doodle doodle do"

Any way, I turned in my letter of resignation at my CLJ today! Since it's Sunday, and I am one of the few pathetic souls required to work Sundays (every Sunday for the past five years mind you), I was able to sneak it into my boss's office without anyone knowing. He'll find it when he comes in the next morning. I know. It sounds chicken, and while I am a chicken, I had to do it today because I won't be back there until later in the week. I wanted to be a good employee and give them a full two weeks notice. Thus, it had to be today.

The gal I was working with knows, and she was freaking out: "Whose going to work every Sunday? OMG, they will probably try to make me do it! I'm not going to do it. Yada yada."

Maybe I am putting them in a bad way about the Sunday thing, but it is really time for me to move on, and I don't think they will be all that surprised. This CLJ was perfect when I was going so school, but now I'm not going to school, and I have so much work as it is, that I really had to decided to cut something. This was my first choice, obviously. be a fly on the wall tomorrow :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Early Mornings at the Vet's

As we continue to get the whole diabetes issue figured out for one of our three cats, I've been making bi-weekly treks to the vet. We are trying to figure out the correct amount of insulin to give him, so this requires a glucose curve test, which basically means they take and test his blood over a period of hours (I know, poor baby).

After doing this about five times now, to say that we are both sick and tired of going is an understatement. Because he has to be tested soon after he eats and then throughout the day, we have to get there between 7:30 and 8am. Then I wait for the first test results to see if they'll keep him that day or not. If it's too high or too low, we go back home.

So, this means I'm left sitting in the waiting room with no cat for about 15 to 20 minutes as they give him his first test in the back. I've seen other patients come and go and have learned the main reason why they have us come so early in the morning - these are the problem patients. They all have something majorly wrong with them or worse. They hobble in with little casts on their limbs or cones around their heads or maybe they can't even walk so their owners carry them in.

I've seen people leaving there and crying on their way out. Yesterday morning as I was waiting for Nee-Nee (a nickname of this cat), I saw two people bring in a very old dog. She was thin and had white all around her snoot. I was so tempted to caress her nose, but I held back because it always pisses me off when people approach my own animals there. I'm worried they may stress them out even more and end up getting bitten. I'm not even sure if she could really see me because of the cataracts in her eyes. But, it made me think of all the other old dogs I've cared for over the years.

So, Nee-Nee's glucose was actually low for a change and they were going to feed him some more and keep him for the day because they thought they could complete the test even though he was on the low side. I felt badly that maybe I hadn't given him enough to eat, but like his mother, he tends to be a bottomless pit, so he's never really full. As I left, I saw those same people leaving as well, sans the old dog, and they were crying, and I realized - crap - they just had their dog put down! Maybe I should have touched her old white nose!

Monday, June 11, 2007

I Have This Great Idea for You

Right now, I'm working on a few book proposals. One is for my dissertation that I hope will turn into a fabulously popular text in the academic book market, the other two proposals are for my bread and butter jewelry making thing. Proposals are tough to write for me because you basically spend a lot of time on them with no real assurance that all that work will turn into a book....that you'll get paid for no less...some day.

So today when I was talking with a friend, it was really hard for me to know what to say when I got the, "I have a great idea for a book for you" comment. This is something that as a writer you get used to. Same with jewelry making. Everyone has a "great idea," but they want you to carry it out.

It's very difficult for me to know how to handle this. I try the ol, "If it's such a great idea, then you should do it." But, oh, no, they don't have the time, and hey, I'm the writer! I should do it. They don't mind giving me their great idea. It's all mine. Just remember them when I get those big royalty checks.

Hell, people...I'm full of "great ideas!" I've got them coming out of my ears and other parts of my body. What I don't have is time to do them all. I've actually been seriously considering taking on a part-time assistant because I have so much work, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that it would be just about impossible for me to do. I basically need to just clone myself.

As I spoke with my friend today, who was very insistent that I should drop everything and write this book...she went on and on with one idea after another...and yes, it is actually a good idea for a book...I kindly told her that I thought it was a good idea but I just didn't have the time right now. But I so know this is going to come up again when we talk in the future. So, what do you say to these people to get them to shut up about their great ideas?!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Black Hole of Academic Writing

Since graduating, I have tried to be a good little post Ph.Der and send out academic articles for possible publication. The trade writer side of me is still not comfortable with all of this writing for no money, but I know this what I'm supposed to do. I write articles about boring stuff that no one really wants to read, it gets peer reviewed, and if anyone does decide to publish my boring article, I'm supposed be totally thrilled because I can add it to my CV. This whole process is supposed to validate me in the academic community. "See, folks, I've been published by Prestigious Journal X,Y,Z, so I'm super duper important."

So, okay, all of that I can live with. Even if I don't get paid and even if the average person would think my academic writing is a yawn-fest, I, at least, still enjoy the research and writing process. But what irks me about all of this is the black hole that my articles seem to enter. I've got 2, going on 3, articles floating around out there, and I have yet to hear boo from these prestigious journals. If it's crap, then tell me it's crap and be done with it, but to sit on my work for months, even close to a year for one article, is just (I think) outrageous.

Now, I have heard a few peeps here and there from them, but usually I hear back when I've totally forgotten about them in the first place, sometimes as long as 3 months or more. Then I'm thrown a crumb: "We are still working through the review process. Thank you for your patience."

For my third article, I sent out an abstract, and honestly, I'm to the point now that this will be my last attempt to publish any more academic articles until these three articles either pan out or fizzle. With the amount of time and energy I've spent on them, I could have published a book or two. If this is how academic publishing normally operates, it's amazing anything managed to get into print at all.