What’s doing?


When I was in college, I spent a summer working at a camp up in the Poconos. I hadn’t spent much time in the northeast, so I wasn’t really conversant with the regional idioms up there. One day, the girls’ camp director, Lois, asked me, “What’s doing?” I had to ask her to repeat herself. “What’s doing? What’s up? What’s going on?” she explained. Duh. Super self-explanatory.

So … what’s doing? Sorry to have abandoned the Downton Abbey recaps so unceremoniously. I got busy. Here’s how busy I got:

Jan 9: Interviewed for job, wasn’t too impressed with my performance in the interview.

Jan 14: Started spring semester, adjuncting at Concordia and St. Edward’s.

Jan 23: Offered a book contract from the History Press based on a proposal I’d written up over the winter break. Deadline: mid-July. (!!!!) Look, I even have a fancy blog button for it:

Image

Jan 25: Offered the job I’d interviewed for on Jan 9.

Feb 11: Started new job (still teaching my one class at St. Ed’s, but departed Concordia, which was AWKWARD).

Add to that the SXSW juggernaut and the start of the Big Kid’s baseball season and the Little Kid’s dance classes and my “I WILL lose 30 pounds before I get any further into my 40s” regimen, and you’ll understand why I haven’t been blogging.

So, briefly, the book is called Historic Austin Restaurants: Capital Cuisine through the Generations, and it’s a history of Austin told through its iconic restaurants. Some of it is really fun, because I’m getting to visit restaurants that I’ve not been to ever or in a very long time (The Tavern, Joe’s Bakery). Some of it is really depressing because I’m writing about restaurants that I loved and have been replaced by stupid corporate chains (Les Amis, Mad Dog & Beans). It’s really fun to have a research-based food-writing project that isn’t a dissertation (and that people might actually read!!!), especially now that I’m entering the interviewing-subjects phase.

So, in short, back in December, I was really depressed about the state of my career and decided that 2013 was going to be the Aways Be Writing year. In a staggering case of “be careful what you wish for,” I’ve now got a job that has me writing every day (maybe not within a context I find particularly interesting) and a book project that (ostensibly) has me writing every day.

The downside of all this writing (and everything else) I’m doing is that I haven’t been doing much cooking. I’ve been occasionally outsourcing dinner to the Soup Peddler with middling success. This weekend I’m attempting the “cook a bunch of stuff on the weekend and set it by for the week” approach. We’ll see how that goes.

So, that’s what’s doing with me. What’s doing with you?

Huh


So, we got back from Seattle on Sunday night to learn that the shower and bathtub (two different bathrooms) were backing up and that my mother-in-law had been unable to bathe and was rapidly unraveling as a result. Poor thing! Plumber came on Monday, did some snaking and some other stuff, and now we are moving smoothly. That night, I stayed up laaaaate to grade papers, then was so delirious that I was convinced that the plumber was coming back to rob us. After all, he’d seen my laptop! and our two cheap TVs! and … my books! We are targets! I hid my laptop in my dresser and my purse in the closet when I finally went to bed, then lay in the dark, twitching at every creak and rustle. (I should also mention that I barely slept on Sunday night as well, due to jetlag — yes, totally lame to get jetlag going from PST to CST, but I somehow managed to do it.)

Finished grading last night — of my 20 students, 2 got Ds and 3 got Fs. I have second- and third-guessed myself on these grades, but every time I attempt to reconsider, I see all the glaring flaws all over again and can’t bring myself to change the grades. I know there will be tears in my office over these grades, and I am facing some really hard truths about my teaching. There is absolutely no reason why a full quarter of my students should be turning in below-average work. Obviously, mistakes have been made on both sides of the gradebook; it’s now up to me to do some re-tooling, pedagogically, and evaluate how I communicate expectations and ensure that I’m properly equipping my students with the tools they need to write successful papers in a lower-division undergraduate rhetoric course. (You might hear some eye-rolling in that last sentence.)

I am really behind on the reading for my Thursday-night class, called Rhetoric and Identification. I didn’t read any of the material for last week, as we were in Seattle, and now I realize that everything we’re reading from here on out is based in the Freud I didn’t read last week. Also, I have to revise my second paper for the class, which was handed back without a grade with the edict, “more, more, MORE!” Gah.

You can’t get blood from a turnip, is all I’m saying. But somehow, I will find that “MORE!” Who needs a life when you’ve got Kenneth Burke, Sigmund Freud, and Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen to keep you company? I’m sure Matt won’t mind another night alone in the bed while I toil in the livingroom.