Sunday, October 3, 2010

Random bullet points of "I'll get the hang of sabbatical yet"

  • You'd think that because I'm on sabbatical, I'd be posting more. Well, clearly that's not the case. And it's bumming me out a little because after I kinda, sorta, not really came out at NCS, lots of people told me that they liked my blog and wished I'd post more and I promised I would. And I meant that. So what's up? Well, there are a couple of factors, too long for a bullet point, so maybe I'll write about them in a full post. And maybe *that* will get my blogging engine started again.
  • I feel like I'm frittering sabbatical away. That's a post in the making, too.
  • I really need to start exercising again. I'm trying to get back into it, and lord knows there's no time like a sabbatical year to do it, but I need to find a new thing or find a way to make running new again for me. After the Boston Marathon in 2007 I got really burnt out, plus I no longer had any more goals that really meant anything to me. That's a post brewing, too. But I'm riding my bike. Today I rode 12 1/2 miles and every time I have to go to campus, I ride it there, too. So that's something.
  • The frittering, not-blogging, and not-running are part of my time management anxiety. Sabbatical is slipping away!!! Only 10 1/2 months left!!! (See counter to right.) Oh noes! Yeah, ridiculous, isn't it? But that's how I feel. WTF? What's wrong with me?
  • On the positive side, I *have* been reading stuff for fun. Finally finished The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which I liked a lot. As a fan of crime fiction, I especially enjoyed the mash-up of various sub-genres, and the way it kept switching things up. Also, I think I need to emulate Blomkvist's schedule in Hedeby for his research routine -- it would work for my rhythms. So see, the pleasure reading may have had a therapeutic effect on the sabbatical anxieties. Maybe.
  • I'm also re-reading The Iliad. At first it was because I thought I'd be teaching our European Lit to the Renaissance class next year for the first time, so I set myself a schedule to re-read all of my undergrad great books syllabus, but I may now be needed for Shakespeare. So now I'm just re-reading it for fun. Shut up! It is *too* fun! I may even continue with the plan since I might still teach that class in the future, and there's no time like sabbatical, right?
  • Also, I've advanced to the Budokan concert in Beatles Rock Band and have 5-starred every song up to that point on the bass. OK, so I have to keep it on the Easy level, but I'm still pleased with myself.
  • My research? Yeah, don't ask about that. The first rule of Dr. Virago's research is that you don't talk abut Dr. Virago's research.
  • Seriously, it's going. Sloooooooowly, that is. Here's some advice: don't apply for a sabbatical when you're at the beginning of something. Apply for it when you have something to write -- as Dr. Crazy smartly did. Her productivity is both inspiring and also, yes, anxiety-inducing.
  • If only my research were as exciting as Blomkvist's. Or that I were stranded in a small, northern Swedish town with nothing else to do. Huh, do you think Bullock would mind if I took off for Sweden for six months?
  • And now, for Eileen at In the Middle, a random picture of Pippi, "the super model of dogs," as I called her at NCS. (Yes, that's right, Pippi came up in the discussion at the blogging panel at NCS. She's famous!) Here she is, hittin' the road at the end of summer (photo by Bullock, dog wrangling by me):


Anonymous said...

Do NOT let anything going on with me cause you anxiety! I only have accomplished what I'm accomplished because of MY anxiety about the fact that I have to go back to teaching in January! The day after I return from MLA! (In other words, any productivity I am currently experiencing is fueled by anxiety. And what you're not hearing really is all of what I'm *not* accomplishing - of which there is much - because one of my rules for sabbatical is to try to limit the negative self-talk about work (although admittedly I don't always succeed))

On a slight tangent, have you read Tana French's novels, and if so, did you like them? I like them a lot, much in the way that I liked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and I like them as a group much more than I like the Stieg Larsson trilogy in its entirety....

Notorious Ph.D. said...

I know you want to get a lot accomplished on sabbatical, and that's all well and good. But remember that it is also supposed to be (by definition) a time of rest and renewal, so try to let go of the guilt for having some time for yourself. You've earned it with years of 60-hour workweeks. When it's time to buckle down, you will know.

Dr. Virago said...

You're both right, of course. I know that *rationally*. Telling the irrational anxiety-ridden part of my brain that is a whole 'nother thing. I'm working on it, though. Hence the Beatles Rock Band and bike rides.

And Crazy, I haven't read Tana French. Should I? I'll look into them!

Anonymous said...

Well, I really like them, and they satisfied the itch left by TGwtDT while I was forced to wait for the next two books. They're set in Dublin, and so I like that about them, and also she does a neat thing where she takes a less central character from the previous book and makes that the lead character in the next book, so you're still in the same context but you're not stuck with the same protagonist book after book. Sometimes I like that, and sometimes I don't, but the books themselves are, I think, fun and escapist and interesting.

Sisyphus said...

The Iliad is awesome! Point of evidence # 1: Sarpedon's death!

(now go kick ass at Rock Band, sabbatical research, invasion by the Greeks, and anything else you may encounter!

Another Damned Medievalist said...

I really want a sabbatical. But first, I have to get the first project out of the way. And at least one article. I'm seriously going to try to get some sort of fellowship so I can take the full year (although I don't come up for another 2-3 years...).

And what everybody said. Pippi is so sweet. I really wish I could have a dog, but then I would have a dog.

Bardiac said...

Pippi's got a GREAT smile :) Such a happy looking pup.

Is she taking good care of your dog walking needs on your sabbatical?

TriPartite Academic said...

I find that I do badly with unstructured time, so on my sabbatical I had to set lots of mini-goals to make myself get stuff accomplished. Simply saying I was going to "take notes on the new project" or "work on the article" was too broad for me and I'd dither and procrastinate--I needed more focus--e.g. "I will take notes on book x today" or "I'll write 500 words today" was better.

Also would like to second the plug for Tana French. Just finished her third book. First one (In the Woods) remains my great reads.

Your dog is adorable.

Anonymous said...

I hope Girl with a Dragon Tattoo reminded you of your time in Stockholm so many years ago (especially since so much of it is set in Sodermalm). If you want a Swedish house without any distractions (including no internet, phone, or television), we could always give you the keys to the summer house. So maybe Bullock is willing to let you go off to Sweden for a little writing vacay? -The General

Dr. Virago said...

TriPartite Academic -- That's exactly my problem, too. And so I'm going to follow your tricks and give myself mini goals for the next day at the end of each current day. Thanks!

General -- Aw, that's so nice of you! As tempting as your summer house is, there's the whole expense of getting there plus the "colder than a witch's tit" issue coming up soon! :) If I really do need to lock myself away in a cabin, there's always Bullock's sister's place in the woods, to which I can drive. But I think I really just need the mental version.

As for memories of Stockholm, the geography isn't clear enough for me any more, especially since I was navigating myself (mom liked cabs there), so I don't think I even realized some of it should be familiar to me! Clearly, I need to go back!

Bardiac -- Yes, I'm getting *lots* of Pippi time!

ADM - I think you should definitely take the whole year if you can. I just saved my money for mine. Last year, instead of just saving for this past summer, I saved for next summer, too, and then saved an additional 300/month in case I couldn't make ends meet on the reduced salary. But I'm finding that doing fine on 2/3rds of my salary. But if a full year had been only 50% salary, I think I'd be dipping into the savings.