Mid-semester This and That

Work has been crazy and I am definitely old. What I mean is that I feel the fatigue of increased workload the way I never used to when I was young.  A week of 12-14-hour days for a proposal crunch? These days it takes me a week, if not more, just to physically recover. (Incidentally, S5E10 of Scrubs hilariously shows how binge-drinking affects people of different ages.) I feel groggy and slow and the body just craves pampering and soup and Bollywood movies. (Bollywood comedies are among my go-to recovery binges. Young and pretty actors, vibrant colors, hilarious and  wholesome storylines — what’s not to like?) 

Anyway, this semester has been busy and productive, a bunch of papers out, several more in the pipeline to be out later this year, some exciting proposals in and some new leads for collaborative work, all in all, I am cautiously optimistic about the next couple of years, at least.

Fiction writing has been on the back burner, which is fine. I wrote like crazy in 2020 and it paid off. I’ve been a member of HWA  for a little while, and am now qualified for a SFWA membership. The goals from a couple of years ago, fulfilled; it feels really good. The next steps include some sales of longer stories, perhaps a flash-fiction collection and, if the proposals are funded this summer, I will be able to devote some time to a novel (or novels). There are a few options I would like to explore, which were received really well in short-story form and might work well if expanded.

A month of teaching left, and then into another pandemic summer. I’ve been fully vaccinated, and we’re hoping hubs will soon be, too. I think the kids are counting on us traveling somewhere, but it’s really hard to project anything. We definitely need to get away, but it doesn’t mean that we can. (Pandemic aside, I kinda hate summer; it’s too hot, and it’s such an extroverted season, the season for people who want to be outside, doing things, with others. I’d thrive in a temperate climate with gray overcast skies and plenty of rain. Alas, hubs doesn’t like rain.)

Anyway, the semester is in full swing. Teaching masked students in person hasn’t been too bad, especially with mandatory saliva testing. It has felt  almost normal, with the added benefit of me not having gotten a cold or the flu all winter (likely because of masks, too_.

I’ve had a bunch of interesting ideas for posts in this space, but there’s never time to write when the spark emerges, and then  it’s gone.

So, for now, this.

How’re you holding up, blogosphere? 


  1. I agree that teaching in person in a classroom with masked students feels better than the completely online mode of a year ago. The in-person thing is by choice, BTW–several colleagues are teaching remotely and in inventive and engaging ways.

    Also: I’d be interested in some of your Bollywood picks :).

  2. Repeating my annual spring cycle:
    Me, the week before APS March Meeting: I must really be mega-talented because teaching is barely stressing me and I’m getting plenty of sleep.
    Me, every week since: the semester needs to end NOW!!

    I agree teaching masked in person has been more fun than I expected after a year away from it. But still…. balancing building my research group with teaching is a challenge for me and by the end of the semester, I’m ready to think more about research again.

  3. My university wants more in-person classes this fall, and so do I. But I do the class scheduling, and so I understand the ways in which various rules make it harder to get more in-person classes. Partly because, you know, if we ran all of our classes small we’d go broke. And partly because if you’re going to spread out lab equipment between multiple rooms (sometimes feasible, sometimes not) you’d better either get more rooms or teach fewer lab classes.

    Alas, the administration does not get this. So they announced a few rule changes that won’t actually alleviate any of the constraints that matter. And now they’re scratching their heads and wondering why we aren’t going to increase the number of in-person classes this fall.

    But they’re pretty sure that with some more central planning they can more efficiently offer more in-person classes. They don’t get why I call them Госпла́н.

  4. Looking forward to your posts and congrats on all the writing! Northern Clime will be back in person in the fall; I’m vaccinated and should be more excited about this than I am. If we could still have all meetings by Zoom, that’d be fine with me.

  5. To clarify: I’m excited about being vaccinated but less so about trekking to campus all the time, 3 hours roundtrip for a 1-hour meeting.

  6. The current plan is to pretend there’s no pandemic in the Fall. No social distancing, no masking, no requiring vaccines, no online classes. But also that may change. Basically we were told one thing (social distancing, 50% online), and then after all of the scheduling had been done we were told to tear that up and we would get new instructions. But then the date for new instructions passed and it hasn’t happened yet.

  7. My college is going to require vaccination for everyone and hope there’s *enough* less pandemic that they can go back to normal-ish. The next college over has, no joke, infected enough students for herd immunity (I KNOW).

    Personally, I am so burnt out after all this that I want to just hide in my room for a month.

  8. Please let the fall be in person…we are all going slowly insane here. I kind of love the idea of a few days a week working from home, but even introverted me is missing people.
    Higher Ed has no priority in my state…there will be a serious free for all on April 19!

  9. Most recent update: No social distancing, no requiring vaccines, no online classes. But they will let us know in summer about masks.

    I am not missing people! I have become a total hermit. DH and the kids are plenty of interaction for me. Teaching in person once a week is more than enough for me!

  10. @Maya LOL, I am no Bollywood connoisseur by any stretch! I liked the new release on Netflix, Ginny Weds Sunny, it’s super cute. Indoo Ki Jawali (also new) is hilarious. Some classics I liked are Om Shanti Om (so sad 😦 ) and Dilwale. Lust Stories is really good movie. This is all on Netflix.

  11. Not midsemester here—just finishing week 2 of a 10-week quarter. I did get a few days break between quarters, so my wife and I (both fully immunized) took public transit to visit our son for a couple of days.

    University classes here are still fully online, but we’re returning to half-capacity in-person in the fall, but I’ll be retired, so I don’t think about it much.

    Teaching via a combination of asynchronous video lectures and synchronous Zoom at-home labs has gone better this year than I expected, but I wouldn’t call it ideal.

  12. Thank you for the recs–I know I’d have given “Lust Stories” a hard pass based on the title LOL.
    Really LOVED “Queen” “Zindagi Na Milegi Do Baara” “Three Idiots” “Dil Chahta Hai” “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai”

  13. @gasstation
    Happy almost retirement! I hope you are able to celebrate with friends/colleagues. We’ve had a lot of retirements in the last year (U offered incentives) and it has been hard to see folks disappear when everyone has disappeared. Rather akin to remote graduation parties. Nonetheless, it must be amazing to look back on an entire career and I wish you many perfect vegetables (or your hobby equivalent) in the seasons ahead!

  14. More Bollywood recommendations on Netflix: Piku, PK, Paglait. Not Bollywood but fun are: The Serpent. An Israeli serial Shtisel is also very enjoyable.

  15. Yay! Thanks for the recs! I did see Pagglait! I also saw Tuesdays and Fridays, and it was adorable (also more modern and thus slightly less wholesome than a typical Bollywood movie). A few on my to-see list are: Sir; Ajeeb Daastaans, Once Again, Mumbai Delhi Mumbai. Honestly, I follow Netflix recs after I movie I’ve enjoyed; it’s not the worst way to find new movies I like.

    Btw, not Bollywood, but I love dark+funny movies like All My Friends Are Dead (a raunchy Polish horror/comedy) and Mr. Right (falling in love, with a high body count).

  16. Definitely feeling that end of semester crunch over here. Thank goodness that a bunch of companies started releasing caffeinated sparkling water!

  17. Since this is Indian-movie thread, I highly recommend “Sir” on Netflix. Excellent drama, with superb acting. Tillotama Shome is a kick-ass dramatic actress and I will be sure to seek more of her work. Female screenwriter/direction Rohena Gera did a fantastic job.

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