27 April 2007

Working for "The Man"

I work for "The Man."

Of course, as an academic librarian, I'm not working to make some godlike CEO a profit, since academic institutions are nonprofit. But I still feel like I am part of that culture of profit, slaving away at a job while giving little thought to my actual life. I talked with my mother the other day about this, about how we spend most of our waking hours at a job that we may or may not like. I admire self-employed folks who use their talents to support themselves. An artist has an opportunity to do what s/he loves and make a wage for it. Granted, these folks usually have to take a vow of poverty, but why is it that we are so afraid of simpler lives and automatically shudder at the thought of living on less?

With all of the talk about Linda Hirschman's latest New York Times article, encouraging women to go back to work after having children, I have been wondering if this is "the" answer to female equality. Some of the talk on feminist blogs has centered around how arrogant Hirschman's manifesto is, that many women do not enjoy their work and would rather stay home with the kid for a couple of years. Or that many women do not make high enough wages in the first place to justify a regular babysitter, so they are actually saving money by staying home with the kid for a couple of years. Or that many women really don't even have an option to stay home with the kid for a couple of years, because they are a single mother, or because they need the health insurance, or because dad doesn't make enough to support the whole family because minimum wage in this country does not equal a living wage. Is our current work model broken?

Considering someone like my brother, I think it is. At times, it seems to me that my brother is nothing more than a wage slave to his family. He has three small children, with his wife staying home to take care of them. She could go to work, but with the three kids, they would likely lose money in the process, and they see no point in working for the sake of working. That's a respectable choice. Nobody should be a wage slave. Not in this country, and not in 2007. But we all are.

I work in academia, and plan to do so after my radical life change. I am lucky, because college campuses tend to be more progressive, and are more flexible with family emergencies. It is not uncommon to see a professor's children running up and down the halls of an academic building or quietly read at a table in the library, something which can brighten up my day in an instant. But you would not see that at a for-profit workplace. There is a strict divide between work life and family life. Family matters do not belong in the workplace, yet we have no problems bringing work matters into our family lives. Blackberry, anyone?

Being a woman who wants to have kids someday fairly soon, this is something that is at the forefront of my mind, because the idea of this either-or choice scares me. I am lucky in that I will most likely have a family friendly workplace at that time, and will be able to combine a comfortable professional life with a thriving family life. But I think of the other women and men who are not as fortunate. Where is their safety net when the kid comes down with the flu and needs a parent to stay home and make sure s/he doesn't dehydrate? Currently, we don't have one, and the Hirschmans of the world don't really care. Because we should be striving for that cushy lifestyle that we see advertised endlessly on TV while neglecting time with family, or working our collective asses to the bone to outsource our childcare, for what I'm not exactly sure.

The work structure in this country needs to change. Don't force dads into the wage slave role, which in turn disengages them from family matters, simply because they are the traditional breadwinners. (Pay equity would be a good start.) Don't just give women the false "choice"* between a) staying at home and being castigated by feminists for "opting out" of the workforce or b) working and being castigated by fellow mothers for neglecting the children. Part of the solution is to drive society toward a less materialistic lifestyle of power-hungry over-consumption and to place more value on relationships with our families, friends, neighbors, pets. Make the public and private spheres less divided, and start to allow real life circumstances to be considered in the workplace. Not only will this make people happier and possibly cut down on anxiety and depression, but it will also make our way of life more environmentally sustainable. In the end, women will have a real choice about what to do with their lives. There are a whole myriad of other problems to sort out in the meantime, such as health care, living wage, and pay equity, to name a few. But change starts in the grass, folks, which is why I wrote this post.

* I don't think women really do have a choice, because cultural and financial pressures usually force women to make these "choices".

23 April 2007

Kids get caught, lie, planet somehow doesn't implode

This story is really hilarious, once you get past the utterly ballsy bigotry. Yeah, I could go on and on about the father's bigoted views of homosexuality, particularly those dirty lesbians, but I won't. That would be too predictable.

Instead, I'm going to laugh my ass off. It is so clear that these kids were looking for this book, or at least were goofing around the "naughty" section instead of doing what they were supposed to be doing. Which was looking for information on military schools. And what teenage boy isn't going to look at pictures of HOT LEZBIONIC SEXXX?

I'm a librarian. Granted, I'm an academic librarian, not a public librarian, but the gig works pretty much the same way. We have shelves of books which are catalogued and arranged in a way to make them easy for users to locate. Academic libraries usually use the Library of Congress Classification System, while public libraries use the Dewey Decimal System. So, there is very little chance that The Whole Lesbian Sex Book was shelved near the military education books. I'd say that this book would be shelved in the 600's, while the military books were shelved in the 500's. Close, but no, um, cigar.

Unless the book magically flew off the shelf and assaulted the boys into reading it, I don't buy it. And to think the father is just so outraged that his sons learned about a very real sexuality just tops it. I can guarantee that these boys knew what lesbians were, and probably what they did together, so Dad just seems to be grubbing for money and attention.

20 April 2007

I didn't think I'd react so strongly

As days went by this week, my reaction to the Virginia Tech shootings has grown stronger and stronger. I live about 50-60 miles from Blacksburg, which is close, but enough distance to feel insulated initially. I never feared for my safety or for the safety of my geographically local friends. To do so would be a waste of time and a waste of energy, because we can't live our lives in constant fear of what might happen.

By Wednesday, I was really starting to feel the anxiety well up in me, and was desperately hoping that my panic disorder would not be triggered. I think it was the fact that NBC had received the "packet" of materials from Cho that played a large part. Every time I turned on a TV, tuned a radio, checked my webmail, I was confronted with either a photo, video or audio clip of Cho and his painfully disturbed pleas for help. I was starting to feel overloaded, not with grief, but with anxiety.

Thankfully, a TV station out of Roanoke (which is near Blacksburg, but also broadcasts to my town, since we have no station of our own) made the excellent editorial decision to cease all broadcasting of Cho's photo, video, or writing. Not only did they pull these materials, but they did it for the right reasons: because airing these materials is painful for the community and is catering to Cho's desires and disrespecting the victims. I will be getting my news from WSLS from now on.

I don't get very emotional from events that don't affect me directly. I don't know anyone at VT, or anyone who lives in Blacksburg. I'm acquainted (barely) with folks who have children there, folks who are alumni, folks who have friends or partners that work there. None of them were victims, so I feel no real loss. So why have I missed so much sleep? Why did I have nightmares Wednesday and Thursday night about Cho's face? Why do I have such a strong reaction to the gun control debate currently circling the blogosphere?

I'm no therapist, so I don't know, I can only speculate. Maybe it's because I work on a college campus in a sleepy little town much like Blacksburg, so insulated from the evils of the outside world. Maybe it's because I've taught students who are very much like Cho in that they have antisocial tendencies, but I tried to see the best in them and let them be free citizens. Maybe it's because I know of a few mentally disturbed people who own guns, some of whom wear them constantly. Maybe it's because we can all identify, just a little bit, with the pain and frustration that Cho was feeling.

Those calling Cho a "madman" or "psycho" are only describing the troubled persona he manifested on Monday. This man was confused, in severe emotional pain, probably suffered from a psychiatric disorder, and was living in a society that values rugged individualism and shames those who reach out for help. Who among us hasn't felt like the world had turned against us? Who hasn't felt like we were suffering from institutional neglect? Who hasn't suffered grief? Who hasn't suffered a broken heart?

We can't, as a society, keep expecting people to solve these problems alone. Cho didn't have a good support system working for him. I have yet to hear about his family. He had no friends. Therefore, it is up to society to take care of people like him for the good of the rest of society. Right-wingers call that the "nanny state." I call it common sense and decency.

Friday Cat Blogging

You're getting very sleeeeeeeepy . . .

18 April 2007

"Partial-Birth" Abortion Ban Upheld by SCOTUS, Slippery Slope Predicted

This is just really fucking scary. From what I understand, through all the medical and legal jargon, is that this procedure actually doesn't exist. The anti-choicers have mangled the language of late-term abortion to appeal to those who romanticize the fetus, and the ban was written vaguely enough to create that slippery slope into a full overturn of Roe.

I was just talking to a friend the other day about how I think all anti-choicers are basically assholes. While he agrees with me and my stance on reproductive rights, he argued that some anti-choicers are good people. He was specifically talking about a woman he knows who had an abortion as a teenager, and when her family found out, they called her a murderer because they believe abortion is murder. (For the record, he is very close friends with the woman's brother, and grew up with his family and says they're otherwise good people. I've only met the brother.) My response was that, setting aside the argument about reproductive rights and when life begins, they were assholes for not being supportive of her. She made a legal decision. I'd like to stress that: LEGAL.

The anti-choice culture is not about protecting life, it's about controlling women. Rather than seeing this woman as a human being with what is possibly the most difficult choice a person makes, they simply shamed her for her "mistake". And they are assholes for it. I have an impossible time wrapping my brain around the idea that a person can deny science and not see the hypocrisy in the anti-choice rhetoric. If a blastocyst is a potential life that is morally wrong to terminate, then why aren't the morality police punishing women for flushing ova out of the womb by menstruating? After all, an ovum is a potential life, an even more solid fact considering scientists can now create sperm from bone marrow. What about women who cannot conceive because of a uterine condition? A blastocyst could form through natural fertilization and not implant because of a medical issue, and then just exit the body with the menstrual flow without a woman even knowing. By the anti-choice logic, these women should be punished for this. If you take anti-choice logic to it's conclusion, it means that non-procreative sex should be illegal. That would include the following: fellatio, cunnilingus, anal sex, sex with barrier/hormonal birth control, sex during infertile times (this means you, natural family planning gurus), sex in sterile couples, sex with a post-menopausal woman, and of course, homosexual sex. (Although the anti-choicers probably wouldn't have a problem making that illegal, either.) This sort of attitude may also mean that it will be difficult for a woman to have a tubal ligation, or for a woman to have a hysterectomy during her fertile years due to an illness. (Remember, the new ban does not make an exception for a woman's health.)

It is absolutely crucial for women (and men) to retain the fullest of reproductive rights, and not feel shamed for doing what is right for them at certain life stages. This ban has more repercussions than most realize. We must fight this!

Virginia Tech Shootings: The Misogynist Angle

There's been a lot of talk about gun control in light of the VT shootings this week. That's highly understandable, and it's a necessary discussion to have. I do not want to address that because I am terrified of guns. As a girl, spending the night at a friend's house, I had a gun pointed at me by an intruder that forced his way into the bedroom while we were sleeping. That pretty much turned me off from guns, considering there was no way to defend myself. So I am not going to address that issue here. (Others are doing a very fine job.)

I do want to address how misogynist this act was and how our society rarely acknowledges the danger stalkers present to their victims. Lifetime movies and romance novels will describe stalking as a form of flattery, often with the woman either giving in to pressure or ending up maimed/dead before anyone pays attention. Unfortunately, this reflects real society as well.

Part of what triggered the VT shooter was rejection from a female love interest. I have no doubt that it played a major part in his rage, acting as a tipping point in a life filled with disappointment, confusion, and despair. But these feelings do not form in a vacuum. Obsessive thoughts/feelings are a product of enculturation, or, rather, what you obsess over is determined by your culture. Our patriarchy sends a rather clear message to men that they deserve the affection and attention of the women of their choosing. Just read any MRA or Nice Guy's blog post or comment. Now that I'm reading reports* that the other victim in the dorm (aka "Stack") may have been the love interest's SO, I can't help but think that a hefty sense of entitlement was at play.

I'm quite certain that other factors triggered this rampage. Could the shooter have "snapped" in the same way if the situation with the love interest had ended differently? I'm sure he could have. But we have just seen, not only through the rampage itself, but through the violent writing and stalking behavior of the shooter, just how much he valued female life. That would be not at all.

Another point I'd like to make is that the campus and Blacksburg police did not deem a "domestic shooting" urgent enough to lock down campus. That sends a very clear message to victims of domestic violence, or, females**, that when a partner physically harms them it isn't as serious as if a stranger had harmed them. Some have argued that in a domestic dispute, the perpetrator rarely targets anyone outside the relationship. That may be true. But if the police had locked down campus, they would have had a better chance of catching the shooter because he would have had a much harder time escaping. What all of this tells me is that the police simply were not that concerned about someone DYING because it was the result of a domestic situation. He only killed his love interest, and apparently that doesn't count as a real murder. Because we all know the pain of unrequited love, right? RIGHT?

Sisters, we have a long way to go.

* I'm very reluctant to believe much about the personal histories of the victims, especially the dorm victims, at this time. Our media are too quick to get the story on the wire to really check facts, thus creating a vicious rumor mill.

** Before you send me a nasty message arguing this point, YES, I realize that men can be victims of domestic violence. However, the overwhelming majority of victims are female, and I am working with generalizations here.

16 April 2007

Tragedy in Virginia

Today has been a violent day in Virginia, as 33 people have been shot dead at Virginia Tech University. Please keep the victims and their families in your thoughts.

13 April 2007

Clos du Bois Sauvignon Blanc

This week's wine is Clos du Bois Sauvignon Blanc. It's another reasonably priced wine (otherwise I probably wouldn't be blogging it) although a bit pricier than the Meridian. (Yup, still lusting after that one, and the local market is out!)

A bit sweet for a Sauvignon Blanc, but still enjoyable. There is a strong bouquet, which I can appreciate, but I'm not sure I want that with an SV. I'll have a Pinot Grigio for that. But, all in all, it's a delightful wine, and would compliment a fish or chicken dish well.

(Image from closdubois.com)

Friday Cat Blogging

Taking a trip? Ha! We'll see about that!

12 April 2007

Singledom, or Single-dumb?

I am a woman who is single. In fact, I'm a woman who has had a divorce, but consider myself more single than divorced because I don't want my past relationships to define me. I'm not sure I want my current relationship status (single) to define me either, but considering the fact that this status affects many aspects of our lives (think taxes, employment, social standing, insurance rates) I'm willing to use it in some cases. I don't mind being single. I don't mind not having a man in my life because I know the work and tedium involved in keeping one happy. (And, dammit, next time I refuse to be responsible for his happiness! *Furiously taking down notes for a future post*)

I mention all of this because there is a cultural construct in our society that favors coupled people over single ones. Or, more accurately, favors heterosexual couples. I have firsthand experience with this, especially since moving to Virginia.

The place I live isn't exactly rural, but it's a tiny town surrounded by rural areas. There's a definite downtown and definite suburbs, maybe even exurbs. While I'm most comfortable in large cities, small towns have benefits, too. But, one thing I've noticed is that this small town isn't friendly at all to uncoupled people. Many of the social activities are geared toward families, children, couples. People seem very isolated from one another, except in their tight-knit and seemingly impenetrable families/cliques. You can imagine how difficult it has been for me living here as an uncoupled woman who knows nobody.

But I've also had some very blatant "single-dumb" experiences. The first was a dinner at a college administrator's house. I received an invitation in the mail, it seemed lovely, so I responded that I would attend. I understood that it would be a very small gathering, about ten people total. I was actually quite excited since this would give me a chance to speak with colleagues I don't interact with very often while probably eating a good meal.

I showed up at the administrator's house, eager for the evening's events, and was struck by what I saw as I entered the door. One of my colleagues was standing in the receiving room with an unfamiliar man. I'd never seen him before, and I wondered if he was a new professor, so I worked my way over to introduce myself. It turned out that he was the husband of my colleague.

Okay, that's odd, bringing your SO to dinner at an administrator's house. "Party foul!" I thought, imagining myself spilling the contents of my wineglass over her head. How unprofessional, right? As we talked, the rest of the guests arrived, each with a spouse. I started to get the hint, so I walked over to the host of the dinner and asked, "I didn't know we could bring a guest, how foolish of me!" I was thinking that I could have invited my (then) current flame, although I would hesitate because he'd probably be bored. "Yes, we have a list of everyone's spouse in our directory, so we invited them as well. But since you aren't married, we only addressed your invitation to you."

This next thing actually happened, I shit you not. The room fell quiet. The only reason my face blushed was because all eyes were on me, burning my skin. (In case you haven't noticed, I don't like attention and prefer anonymity.) Well, that, and the fact that I felt like a complete troll since someone thought it was appropriate to point out that I'm not married, and this is supposedly a bad thing. The colleague mentioned above broke the silence with, "I didn't know you weren't married." Thus began an interesting night.

When we sat down to dinner, I was the odd person out. Everyone was talking about their spouses, so I talked about my (then) current flame as though he were sitting at home feeling left out. I wish I hadn't done that. I wish I had the confidence to relish my independence in front of these people, who were so smug with the fact that they had someone to go home with and argue about the kids' homework/messy house/walking the dog/not being in the mood. Instead, I felt singled out, and bullied. The colleague quietly said to me, in a very passive aggressive way, "I don't think I could come to one of these things alone." Well, I can't imagine bringing a SO to such an event. Why would I bore him with the tedium of academia?

The second instance of "single-dumb" might be better classified as "singlism". Yesterday, I was looking at the website of a semi-local zoo. I clicked on the "Events" link to see if there was anything interesting coming up. There was, so I clicked on "More Information" to see about getting tickets. For me, the tickets would have cost $15. Not much. But for a "couple" they would only cost $25. So, if you happen to be one of the preferred "coupled" folks, you get a $5 discount on the event. I cannot see any reason why it should be cheaper for a couple to attend than for one person alone. I can understand advance tickets being cheaper, or tickets purchased online, simply because of the overhead required to sell tickets at the event. But is it really cheaper to feed a couple than it is to feed one person? Does the couple get a smaller plate? Or maybe they don't get salad or dessert? Somehow, I doubt it.

I know that many charity events sell tickets this way. I think it's repugnant. If I ever organize an event for charity, I will be strongly tempted to make the ticket for the single person cheaper than the ticket for the couple, considering that the single person probably only has one income to work with and has probably payed for being single in the past. (Okay, I admit it, I'd really just like to stick it to all those singlist assholes.)

To top all of this off, homosexual couples are almost invisible in many parts of the US. Do I think that the college would have acknowledged a homosexual couple and invited the SO to dinner at an administrator's house? Hell no. I know many people who love the homosexual folks in thier lives, but just wish they'd "get over it" and settle down with an opposite sex partner. Because, you know, being in a homosexual relationship doesn't count. You can't get married and have kids, and we all know that the planet needs more kids!

It's amazing that more than half of all women in the US are single, but we still treat coupledom as an ideal. Maybe when more than half of the men in the US are single, people will start looking at relationships differently, because THAT would be a crisis. Right? RIGHT?

08 April 2007

Bell's Palsy, The Chronicles, Part 8

As I stated in other posts, I was in Florida for a week for my cousin's wedding, which I was nervous about because I felt like I still looked weird from the BP. I'd had some progress, but my smile was still crooked and my bad eye looked like it was bulging.

When I met my mother at the airport, she kept studying my face, trying to see the BP. You know how mothers are, but I hadn't seen her since it started, so she was going by what my face normally looks like. She said that when I blinked, she noticed that my bad eye didn't blink as much. It was late at night, and my face was tired, so I decided to give it a good rest before really thinking about it.

The next day, after almost 12 hours of sleep, it was dramatically better. I don't know if it was because I was in a warm environment or what, but my eye was almost normal. My smile was another story, but the muscles were certainly strengthening. A couple of days later was the rehearsal dinner, and I was terrified. I was about to see most of my extended family and meet a bunch of people I didn't know. For better or worse, I tried not to smile too much. I wore my glasses so that a) people wouldn't notice my bad eye, and b) to protect my eye and keep it moist. Just about everyone in my extended family knew about the BP, and said it looked fine or that they didn't notice it. One of my brothers said he was expecting much worse, and told me everything looked okay. The wedding was the next night, and was much the same.

Friends of mine said they noticed a little something, but it was not ugly or disfiguring. Maybe they're a little more honest than my family? All I know is that, now that I'm back in Virginia, it seems to be regressing a bit. We had a very cold snap the day after I returned, and I wonder if that is making things worse. Maybe it's being at work again, staring at a computer screen all day. I'm not resting as much as I was in Florida, so I spent most of yesterday (Saturday) horizontal to give my eye a break. This week we're expecting warmer weather, so I'll see what happens. In the meantime, I'm exercising my smile and trying to blink my bad eye while holding my good eye closed. I may try some moist heat today.

It is day 61 of my BP.

06 April 2007

Love and marriage, or something

I think the topic of women and love has been studied to death, but I can't help my fascination. I know how some women feel. I met a man when I was in college, when I was 20 years old. He was two years younger than me, and was perfect for a scared little virgin like me. (To be frank, I dated a lot in college, and was known to be a partier, but was very aware of my sexuality and knew I wasn't ready to have sex, so I didn't.)

We totally fell in love, and after six months we slept together. And it was perfect. We stayed together for the next three years until I (finally) graduated, and then broke up. I was devastated.

I spent almost a year nursing a broken heart while pouring myself into grad school. I didn't date. I had zero confidence. And then my mother reminded me of something.

When I was a little girl, I never daydreamed about my wedding day or scribbled a make-believe married name in my notebook. My mother reminded me that my daydreams were about being independent, about having my own place and career. About living an exciting life where I was in charge. Remembering that really changed my outlook, and I realized that I could still have those things. The future, in my mind, was not tied up in a man.

Now, when I start feeling lonely, I stir up some of those girlhood fantasies (some involved an artist's life in London, others involved a dancer's life in New York) and take comfort. Do I ever feel lonely? YES! Do I ever suffer from a broken heart? Of course. In fact, just recently, I ended a several months long relationship with someone, and it hurt like hell and I really miss him.

The difference this time is that my pride and confidence didn't take a beating. I know I'll keep going through my life, and I'm making some major changes in my life soon which I might not have done if romance had clouded my vision. People ask me how I handled my divorce so well, and I tell them that I didn't define myself by my marriage or my husband, so I wasn't losing a part of my identity.

This past weekend, at my cousin's wedding, a female cousin (actually, the groom's sister) kept saying that she wanted to get married so badly. I finally asked her if she had someone in mind, a boyfriend, and she said she didn't. My heart just sank. I don't want her to wait for something that may never happen. Too many women put such value in marriage that they often don't care who they marry, just so he wants to get married, too.

And we wonder why marriages fall apart. I firmly believe that marriage changes the dynamics of a relationship. Ex and I lived together for a long time before we married, and we were perfectly happy just cohabiting. As soon as we were married, things changed, because we knew that we had submitted to an outdated institution that really wasn't right for us. I married him because that was what we were "supposed" to do if we moved away. And then all that indoctrination came flooding in. I forgot my dreams and ate up all the bullshit the media and society feeds us about blissful married life. What a crock. Weddings are only fun if you are not a participant.

Yes, it's possible that I'll get married again someday. But he'll have to be out-fucking-standing, and he'll have to be willing to sign a prenuptial agreement. I can dream, can't I?

Friday Cat Blogging

Miles loves to hang out in the bathroom. He spends a lot of upstairs time sitting in the doorway to the bathroom. He likes to hang out in the bathtub. He likes to lick up water splashes.

What an idiot.

(And anyone who comments on the rust in my sink can kiss my ass!)

05 April 2007

Meridian Sauvignon Blanc

That's right, suckas! Wine blogging is back!

This week's selection was inspired by the warm weather in Florida and allows me to temporarily escape the cold gloom of Virginia's winter snap. Meridian Sauvignon Blanc has been nicely rated by several food and wine magazines, and the price was excellent, so I thought I'd give it a try.

A beautiful bouquet greets the nose that is sweet, but fresh. The taste is crisp and slightly tangy. No tartness and little aftertaste. In sum, it's a lovely and light refresher. I'll likely purchase it again, and possibly try some reds.

(Image from meridianvineyards.com)

I'm Back!

My mini-vacation is over, the wedding went smoothly, my cousin is now married and off in Paris with his new spouse. I had never met her before Friday evening at the rehearsal dinner, and she really seems like she's got her head on straight. I think they'll be happy, since my cousin isn't a misogynist and she seems like she can handle her own. It's that damn power dynamic that breaks up a lot of marriages, so I wish them the best in fighting that.

Meanwhile, I started to feel very blue on Sunday. I knew that I had to return to Virginia on Tuesday, and I wasn't ready to leave Florida. Not only was the weather wonderful, but I was seeing my friends and family, playing with my nieces, and absorbing some much thirsted-for culture. I really miss my hometown, and I finally admitted to myself that I wanted to come back for good.

I know I've said it before, that I want to leave here and move back to Florida, but I needed to say it out loud to another person. So on Tuesday, when I just couldn't take it any more, I burst into tears when my mother asked why I looked so down. I was afraid that I was giving up, quitting, being a baby, being fickle. My mother reassured me that I had given this town the old college try, and that after a year I should know if I can live in a place or not. And clearly, I cannot, which I will try not to feel bad about. Of course, both of my parents want me to move back to Florida, partly for selfish reasons and partly because they know I'll be happier and have a more immediate support system.

But now comes the really hard part. I think I'm going to leave in August 2008, which gives me a little over a year at my current job. I said I would wait until I got tenure, but I don't think I can take it that long. Yes, this town is that bad, what with it's constant gossip and exclusivity and not a fucking thing to do. I also want to start a new career. I want to get a graduate degree in Sociology (with a concentration on feminism, of course) and teach. The only time I've felt truly fulfilled is when I had a regular semester course load, so that's what I need to pursue. I have to tell my department head that I'm leaving, which may make his head implode. I have to figure out my financial situation for once I get back home. I'll probably live with my parents at first, but I don't really want to since a) they can drive me insane sometimes, b) they live kind of out of the way from the university, and c) no matter how much they would disagree, they don't give me the kind of privacy I need. My father thinks I should stay in their guest house, which would be better, but it has it's own problems.

I feel much better after actually talking about it and having a plan. It has somehow made me more driven at work (even though I'm writing this post while I should be grading) to know that I have goals to accomplish in a year. So here is what I need to accomplish before August 2008:
  1. Tell my department head I'm leaving "for personal reasons"
  2. Tell my assistant I'm leaving, but give her more detail
  3. Send in my proposal for an article that I really need to get published before I leave
  4. Visit the Sociology department when I visit Florida again in June
  5. Take the GRE
  6. Apply for the Sociology graduate program, which I think will be painless since I've already got a graduate degree from this university
  7. If accepted, apply for a TA position
  8. Finish up one of the long-term projects I'm doing at work (this will be extremely difficult)
  9. Try not to piss off too many people in the process
Think I can do it?