In all its glory, my October 2009 12 of 12, with pics taken using just my iPhone. It’s good to be back.
I apologize in advance if you fall asleep before making it through my day. Boring doesn’t even begin to describe it.
I promise that my next 12 of 12 will be much more exciting. I’ll be in Germany; so the way I see it, at the very least, it should be scenic!
Yesterday’s snow storm caused UML to cancel classes for the day. So, after just one class day, I had another day off. Yeah, I know, life’s rough sometimes. But, I was actually hoping for school NOT to be cancelled yesterday. We had a long layoff for winter break and I am itching to get back into the daily routine of teaching and planning and grading. (OK, maybe not the grading part.) The way I see, the longer the semester is delayed, the further away summer seems to be, and after these ridiculously cold temperatures this winter, I’m looking forward to thawing out and enjoying some fun in the sun without the risk of hypothermia, pneumonia, or frostbite. So, I’m ready: bring on the semester!
Yesterday was the first day of the spring semester at UML. I’m usually a bit nervous before the start of the new semester, and the two nights ago certainly was no exception. I didn’t get much sleep the night before, about four hours, due to my mind’s inability to relax and also to a fear of oversleeping. I had trouble falling asleep last night, too, again because my mind just couldn’t settle down. Among the various subjects my mind contemplated were:
- The new semester: I hope I teach well and I hope my students are receptive to my methods.
- Relationships: past, present, and future; platonic, romantic, familial. It was a long weekend, to say the least.
- The first six measures of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”: I’m using that as an example in class on Friday, so I transcribed it into Finale Sunday afternoon and haven’t been able to get it out of my head. Along with…
- “Get On Your Boots,” U2’s new single: I’ve lived with the song for a week now and I can say with full confidence that I like it. It’s a new direction for the band, which was their intent on this album. I was reluctant to write about the song until I’d listened to it enough. I have, and it’s a keeper. Like the rest of the U2 fans out there, I’m very excited for No Line On The Horizon.
- The impending snow storm: I hope my tires don’t get flat again. I’ve spent a pretty penny getting them changed; I’d really hate it if I had to through the hassle of changing yet another tire. On the bright side, Oreo will have more snow in which to run around.
- Travel plans for Spring Break: My mom wants to go to Vegas, Mike is hosting FriendFest ’09a in DC, and I’d like to visit Houston again. Three place, one week…something’s gotta give.
- My country ’tis of thee sweet land of liber…DAMN IT!!
- The Australian Open: Djokovic has all the talent in the world, but no heart. I realize that court temperatures of 142 degrees are torture, but he’s a professional with adequate time to prepare for the conditions. It’d be different if this was the first time he retired, but he’s developing a trend of quitting when he’s down. Federer, the game’s gentleman champion and ambassador, even called him out. Not a good sign, Novak.
- Nashoba Valley Chorale: I sang with them for the first time last night and the music was tough. Of course, I was rusty, but a lot of the music was in French, a language I have trouble with.
So yeah, the way I see it, it was impossible for my mind to shut down while all this crap swirling around. I’m not sure how well I’ll survive averaging less than five hours of sleep a night. Here’s to an early bedtime tonight!
Click here for “Insomnia” (pt. 1).
My “grown-up” life as a full-fledged faculty member of UML has carried on now for a week and I can safely say that life is good. I’ve got a pretty cushy schedule, only teaching Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings at 8, 9, and 10. When I first learned of my schedule, I was excited at the prospect of being “at work” only three days a week. But as I soon found out, that’s not quite the case, as there are meetings and receptions and convocations and recitals scheduled throughout the week at all times of the day. Also challenging about this schedule is the fact that I’m teaching three classes back-to-back-to-back, so I’ve got to be prepared with my lesson plans the night before as there’s no time between classes to plan for the next. True, it’s only three hours of classroom time, but it’s three hours straight. Being in front of 30 undergrads for that much time with no break is exhausting. Add to that the fact that the copy center isn’t open before 8:30, so I’ve got to plan way ahead if I want to give a quiz or make a handout.
All in all, however, the job is great so far. I know it’s still early, and I know that there will be days that don’t go well or weeks that are jam packed with extra-classroom events. But the way I see it, until those days and weeks get here, I’m going to enjoy my free time while I still have some.
It’s official: I am now a full-fledged resident of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I know, I know. I’ve been living here a month now (I still can’t believe I live here, by the way), but it all became “official” last week, when the last vestige of my life in Florida went by the wayside: I got Massachusetts license plates. I’ve discovered many things about this portion of the country, some good, some not-so-good. My last entry was about the things I’ll miss about Tallahassee. And sure enough, those all still hold true. But rather than dwell on the negative of no longer being in a place I liked, I thought I’d make a list of the stuff that has impressed me about Lowell and the surrounding area. Here goes:
1. The weather at this time of year is absolutely gorgeous. I mean, for the last two weeks, it’s just been stunning. Highs maxing out in the low 80’s (and by low 80’s, I’m talking 80, 81 tops.), bright sunshine, clear skies, light breezes. And I live right on the Merrimac River, so it’s a pleasure walking Oreo (except that she still gets a bit crazy when other pets are around). I know it’s only a matter of time before the weather gets miserable, so I’ll take as many perfect days as I can get before Old Man Winter dumps all over the place.
2. I absolutely love my new apartment. It’s bright and clean and spacious, thereby making me more fastidious about keeping it up. I haven’t left dishes in the sink, I make my bed on a daily basis, and have been pretty good about not letting clutter build up. Hopefully it keeps up once the school year starts. Plus, I have a little balcony so I can enjoy the nice weather even more.
3. I have ready access to a major city (Boston) and its airport (Logan International). Now, don’t get me wrong: I loved Tally’s airport and it’s ultra-low stress level, but it’s nice having travel options and seeing affordable flight prices out of an airport that’s less than an hour away. Plus, I have access to Manchester’s Regional Airport, too, which gives me even more options.
4. I live two miles from school. Literally. My commute takes 10 minutes, tops, and that’s only because I have to deal with traffic crossing the Rourke Bridge.
5. The view from my UML office is great. I’m on the fourth floor of the Fine Arts building, on the side that overlooks the Merrimac. Here’s what I see when I look out the window:
6. The drive up to Nashua, NH (where I do a lot of my shopping) is scenic and low-stress. It follows the Merrimac for the majority of the tree-lined 7-mile ride. It’s going to be beautiful in the fall with all the leaves changing colors, and even in the early winter, with a light snowfall filtering through the canopy.
7. Since this area is so old, the streets are not organized very well (read: no grid and poor city planning), which can be interminably frustrating. But instead of looking at it negatively, I’ve tried to see it as a challenge to learn a new part of the country. I got to know Houston because I lived there for so long. Chicago was very easy to get a handle on because the city is on a grid. Tally was small enough that it didn’t take very long to know my way around. Lowell is small, too, but the city’s one giant spaghetti bowl. Learning my new digs will take some time, but the way I see it, if I can learn this place, I can get along anywhere.
It’s only been a month. That month, however, has gone by rather quickly, and time is sure to fly once the school year gets rolling. I can’t wait to discover more about Lowell and Boston and New England in general.
Well, it’s official. The wait is finally over. My job search is complete. I am the newest faculty member of the University of Massachusetts Lowell Department of Music. More than anything, more than happiness or joy or elation, the biggest emotion I feel right now is relief. I smiled a lot when I accepted the position, but the big sigh of relief I let out afterwards is perhaps the most memorable reaction.
It’s been a strange process, this whole getting-a-job thing. I was so excited last fall because it seemed like just about every school out there had an opening and my chances of landing a gig were great. So I applied to numerous places, thinking I had a shot to land a pretty good job right off the bat. But as the school year wore on, and I didn’t hear from anyone, I started to get a little worried. There was a little lull in job openings, but kept my eyes and ears open, sending out my materials when I could. Then, one weekend, out of the blue (while I was in Maine with Amy, of all times!), I was forwarded a job posting for a position up in Massachusetts. “Lowell, MA??” I thought. But I looked it up and it sounded great, so I sent off my materials. Lo and behold, after a couple of phone interviews, they wanted to see me live and in person. After scrambling for two days getting together a lesson plan, I flew up to Lowell, gave my teaching demos, met with the Dean and the search committee, flew back to Tally, and waited.
Now, it was only about a week and a half that I waited to hear from them, but it seemed like much longer than that. I thought I nailed the interview, and since their school year was coming to a close, I knew they didn’t have that much time to interview other candidates and needed to fill the position. Plus, I’m an impatient person by nature: I wanted to know, and I wanted to know ASAP. So I waited (not so) patiently until the phone rang last week. Awesome.
I think the most relieving aspect about this job is that it’s tenure-track, so I won’t have to go through this whole interview process again at least for a few years. *WHEW* The way I see it, I got lucky. Very very lucky. UML was looking for someone and one of the profs just happened to be talking with a prof at FSU. My name was among those mentioned, and a month later, the job is mine. The saying goes, “It’s better to be lucky than good.” Amen. I mean, I think I’m pretty decent, but in this case, Lady Luck was on my side.
Go River Hawks!!