Confessions, Volume IX: The birthday edition

Well, we’ve arrived at my favorite day of the year, second to Christmas. The day where I can excuse cake for breakfast, fondue for dinner (yessss), and being (slightly) imperious* because… it’s my birthday!Harris Ranch fruit tart makes a divine birthday breakfast, fyi....more

10 ways to celebrate the end of grading

Like most college professors the day after finals week, I should be grading. The paper piles, more than half-vanquished but still huge, stare up as I type. Ignoring them, though, I’m sitting at my desk, vacillating between a state of shock that my first year as a tenure-track professor is already over, and fantasizing about what my end-of-grading celebrations should entail....more

Teaching professionalism one email etiquette lesson at a time

Years ago, I conducted research about the strategic uses of email at work. My colleague and I interviewed a bunch of folks about how they employ the “power CC” (aka copying an authority figure on an email) and the blind copy function, and of course, the irritation and mortification of mis-sent Reply-Alls. It was fascinating to dig into a mundane but pervasively annoying topic....more

I Broke a Major News Story and Became Known as Twitter Girl

I tried not to be offended when my student ran out of class in the middle of what students usually describe as the most engaging lecture of the semester. When he came back awhile later, his smirk from the back row unnerved me. But I shrugged it off, avoided his gaze, and finished my talk. When he stopped me after class, I bristled. But he apologized for leaving so abruptly, disarming me with: "I just had to call my guys. I can't believe my professor is Twitter Girl!" ...more

A Foodie's Take on Freezer Meals: Don't Believe the Hype

Cutting to the chase on freezer meals: Except in limited cases, no. Just, no.First you should know who you're dealing with though. I'm a home cook who has gotten good enough in the kitchen to put on airs and alternatively, throw fits when dishes do not come out just right....more
I'm in agreement about the frozen veggies. Not good!more

When workhorses say stop

A few years ago, one of my mentors described me as a Clydesdale–a creature that is capable of accomplishing a tremendous amount of work until it hits a limit, at which point the heels dig in and productivity stops.Now, I’m not sure if that description actually fits the Clydesdale temperament–I’ve only really seen them in beer commercials–but it certainly resonates with this workhorse, especially after toiling 12 days in a row....more

Struggling to Finish a Project? Form Your Own Writing Team

I love the stereotypical image of a writer: A solitary figure, holed up somewhere chain smoking and drinking buckets of booze coffee, surrounded by piles of books and articles and balled up manuscripts. Or enigmatically penning the next great American novel in a coffee shop, maybe in a black turtleneck, but definitely all alone. Loneliness. The part about writing that sucks the most. Or not. ...more

Love: If you're happy and you know it

“Aren’t you happy that I’m happy you’re home?”“Oh yeah. I’m happy,” Mr. T deadpans, without looking away from his computer screen.A few seconds go by.I watch as he then claps twice and gives me a curious little side-eye.A beat passes before I burst into laughter.Image used with permission....more

2016 theme: ‘Bitches get stuff done’

Over the last couple weeks, I’ve spent a good number of days at the airport with my father-in-law, Ray-Dad, wrenching on airplanes. The Cessna 182 I fly is months overdue for its annual inspection and as a Christmas gift, Ray offered to assist me in completing the examination and repairs....more

Exam time: I'm not "giving" grades

“Where did you see the score??”“She just posted them.”“When? I just looked awhile ago.”“No, like just posted.”I listened as awareness and surreptitious online gradebook checking rippled throughout the room before class started.Damn. Our first meeting in 10 days and the atmosphere felt dark and pensive. Not the way I wanted to begin the semester’s last hurrah....more
Songs of Home Frustrating. While I appreciate their ability to keep track of grades along the ...more