RBOC: Early summer edition

    • Hey, my blog got me a (future) publication! I’ve been invited to do a very short, personal essay on managing down-time in academia; it’s for a collection of essays on life in the humanities. I know the editor knows of me mainly through the blog (though he knows my real-life identity, too), and it’s the main reason why he invited me to contribute. OK, so it’s not that big of a publication (not scholarly, not peer-reviewed), but it will be easy and it’s not due until next year. Also, some of the other contributors on board are VIPs, and I think it’s important that not *all* of the contributors are VIPs at fancy R1 kind of places. One of the things this blog has always been about is what life is like at a regional public university, and a collection of essays about the life of humanists should reflect the diversity of careers and institutional affiliations we have. So, I said yes. For those reasons and more.
    • Wait, it’s summer, right? Well, technically it’s not yet “summer” (as in the season that begins later this month), but on the academic calendar it is, and it is strangely cold today! Brrrr, it’s 60F outside!
    • Just how small (for a city) is Rust Belt? This small: my dental hygienist is in the same running group I just joined. And my dentist lives in my neighborhood (according to the hygienist — I actually haven’t seen the dentist about).
    • Oh yeah, I’m trying to get back into the running groove. I joined a 5K training group, organized by the running store in town. I’m in the second slowest group, where once upon a time I would have been in one of the two fast ones, but hey, at least I’m running again! They have a marathon training program, too, and I may do that later in the year. If only they’d had these programs back when I was training all on my own. First of all, it’s a *lot* easier to do tempo runs and speed workouts with others than by oneself. Second, if I’d had faster people to run with, I might have gotten faster. And third, if I’d paid for training and had a group to meet even just once a week, I might not have dropped out of running like I did. I got so bored doing it by myself, especially once I met my goal of qualifying for and running the Boston Marathon. And hey, maybe I’ll meet some new people outside of the university.
    • Speaking of meeting new people, I had the funniest interchange with a neighbor the other day. I was out gardening (my other, newish hobby — I need to post pictures here for those of you who aren’t my FB friends) and she stopped to say hello, introduce herself, and tell me she was on the way to a “Chip Off the Old Block” party (apparently other neighbors had rented a chipper and were inviting everyone to come use it). She said she’d “heard about” me from one of the other neighbors. (Really?) And then she said something about not knowing any of the other neighbors except the “old people” — her words. (Our neighborhood still has a lot of original owners, many of whom are of the grandparent sort.) She kind of encouraged me to come along, but not very directly. I still had a lot of gardening to do and I was all grubby (from an earlier run *plus* gardening — I was a stinky, dirty, hot mess!) or otherwise I might have joined her. It wasn’t until later that I realized that she was kind of awkwardly trying to make a new friend — she was roughly 30- or 40-something, I think, and maybe was looking to connect with someone who wasn’t one of the “old people.” It was a little like a playground interaction when someone’s parent says to the kid, “Go make a new friend.” I could use a neighborhood friend, but now I don’t know what to do — I don’t even know for sure what house she lives in, and even if I did, what would I do? Knock on the door and say, “Can the nice lady come out and play?”
    • Speaking of our neighborhood, besides friendly neighbors and dentists, it has a surprising abundance of wildlife. For instance, our yard is often full of these guys:
    • Frog! This guy was in our backyard, but they're all over the place. I frequently encounter them when I'm gardening.

      Frog! This guy was in our backyard, but they’re all over the place. I frequently encounter them when I’m gardening. I don’t think Pippi ever sees them, since they’re well camouflaged and stay still when another creature is near, so they’re safe from her.

    • And a few weeks ago, we had visits from a pair of these turkeys. No, I mean *actual* *turkeys*:

      Wild turkey! He and his mate or buddy were in the neighbor's yard, just on the other side of our fence.

      Wild turkey! He and his mate or buddy were in the neighbor’s yard, just on the other side of our fence. Pippi treated them more like interlopers than prey — she barked at them and patrolled the perimeter to make sure they didn’t come in our yard.

    • Other critters in the yard include the usual suspects: chipmunks, a cardinal pair nesting in our viburnum, a robin pair who first tried to raise a brood in our holly (but the eggs all disappeared, alas — presumably taken by predator birds, since they seemed to disappear without any disturbance to the bush around the nest) and now are building a nest in the lilacs, and big, fat bumblebees who love our flowers. (So frogs and bees are doing fine by us!) There are lots of other bird species, too, but I’m terrible at bird identification.
    • I’m really enjoying the show of flora and fauna in the yard because Bullock and I finally got deck furniture (other than my little bistro table and chairs, which I’ve had since I moved to Rust Belt, and which sits on the lower deck with the grill). Until today, the weather has been so gorgeous and perfect that I’ve been doing a lot of work outside on the deck. Poor Bullock, who is now chair of his department, has not been able to enjoy it until evening. He’s a little jealous.
    • Here’s our upper deck with our swank, retro furniture (which I think fits the lines and colors of the deck perfectly and makes the 80s style of the deck suddenly seem as mid-century modern as the furniture):

      One end of the upper deck. Someday the near end will have a dining table and chairs. The coffee table is actually an ottoman -- it's two things in one!

      One end of the upper deck. Someday the near end will have a dining table and chairs. The coffee table is actually an ottoman — it’s two things in one! Since taking this photo, I’ve put a big planter with impatiens in it to the right (in this picture) of the chair with the green pillow, which makes the whole area seem a little more finished. I think there needs to be a colorful, funky end table at the near end of the couch, though.

    • In the evenings, we’ve been enjoying a number of different seasonal, regional, and microbrew beers on the deck. Around here, Bell’s Oberon always says it’s summer, but my new favorite of the moment, especially with the chill still in the air, is 5 Rabbits’ 5 Vultures beer. It’s a nutty brown ale made with ancho chilis in it, and has a kind of chocolatey or molasses-like quality. It’s kind of like what a mole sauce would be if it were a beer, if that makes sense.
    • And finally, to bring it back to work-related news, I’ve finally got a 21-page working draft of the article I’ve been toying off and on with for WAY too long, and it finally know what it’s going to be when it grows up. Huzzah! This baby WILL be finished by the end of the summer. Must be all that inspiration I get while sitting on the deck!
    Advertisements

4 thoughts on “RBOC: Early summer edition

  1. Cookies! Ask someone else in the neighborhood where she lives, and then make up a batch and take some over, since you had just too many and thought she might like some. Then ask something about her garden, and you’re off. (Cookies are my great icebreaker and thank you for the many kindnesses my neighbors do me.)

  2. Hey, thanks for the update on the new house. Turkeys and frogs! Well, I never.

    Congrats on the article and the new publication opportunity. But be forwarned: once you write about blogging for one outlet. you’ll be asked to write more, asked to take the show on the road, etc.. I believe all of the conference appearances I have scheduled for 2014 are so far to talk about academic blogging! (I need to start saying “no.”)

  3. Bardiac — After reading your comment, Bullock said, “Does she mean, ‘Have Bullock make cookies?’ Doesn’t she know who makes the cookies around here?” 🙂 But that’s a good idea!

    Historiann — I thought of you yesterday when I saw zinnias at the garden center at Lowe’s. They have them in bright colored pots and I just may have to get some. You may have started a summer tradition for me when you brought me those zinnias last summer! … As for the article leading to more things related to blogging, in this case, at least, the article is not about blogging per se. It’s about managing down time in academia, so I might make it about running (especially now that I’m getting back into it). It’s just that the editors know me — and my running! — through the blog. But who knows, maybe I’ll next be asked to write a column for Runner’s World! 🙂 (Ha! As if!)

  4. Pingback: Confidence? | Quod She 2.0

Add to the Discussion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s