• College Ready Writing

    A blog about education, higher ed, teaching, and trying to re-imagine how we provide education.


Disappearing Act

Sometimes you willingly take a little break and other times, you’re forced. 

July 10, 2013

Ten days ago, I was staring down a very busy July; I am giving a webinar on Academic Blogging, I have to prepare another one for August 1 on Twitter for Academics, I am attending DH2013 - the conference for Digital Humanities, working on turning my dissertation into a book manuscript, participating in the Postcolonial Digital Humanities Summer School, and finally participating in an intensive week-long workshop on editing. And then school starts for me.

So much for my leisurely summer vacation.

I recommitted to getting to my office early and working throughout the day, but making sure I didn’t bring my work home with my once I left my office, in order to be able to spend quality (and guilt-free) time with my family. But then I got sick. Rather, I got sick, got better, and then got sick again. I figured out pretty quickly that my office (housed in an old building slated for demolition) was what was making me sick. It hadn’t been too bad because I had windows open, but now that the heat has intensified, I couldn’t open them anymore. Whatever is festering in the building was making me physically ill (probably intensified by an ancient air conditioner) and I kept going back, oblivious to the correlation between the two.

(I’m supposed to be getting a new office before the fall semester, so I don’t have too much to complain about. I’m actually just upset that I lost a whole week of productivity because I didn’t figure out quickly enough what was making me ill.)

Needless to say, I wasn’t in any shape to blog.

And then my family went on our long-awaited family “vacation” for this summer: into the city for the weekend to visit the zoo (not sure what my kids were more excited about: the zoo or staying in a hotel). I also got to go to a concert involving two of my favorite bands, even meeting the members of one of them. My body is clearly not as young as it used to be, as spending a day walking around the zoo and then standing (and dancing) for four additional hours made me ache, and I literally hobbled around for two days afterwards. I am, however, just as young in spirit, turning into a blubbering teenager when faced with meeting the band, but also felt young again watching them perform as I had so many times during my youth. It helped that I was still one of the youngest people in the crowd (which was weird in its own way).

I got to know my kids a little bit better; my son was happy to watch a baby gorilla or elephant dancing or manatees kissing for an extended period of time with me, while my husband and daughter dashed from place to place, satisfied with just an extended glance. Also, don’t drive on back-highways that twist and turn with my son first thing in the morning. My six-year-old daughter can use “lame” in the correct context (as in, “this is lame, can we go somewhere else?”). My four-year-old son does “research” and announces his “findings” proudly, prefaced with “did you know?”

They are kind, intelligent, and funny kids and I am just grateful that I took time this summer to spend together. 


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