-- Heat and hormones have turned my brain into mush, so I fear I don't have a coherent essay in me. What I do have is a pair of totally epic cankles that scream "36 weeks pregnant!!" and a wedding ring that I can no longer take off; a friend called me a Rolie Polie today, for realz. Also, people keep telling me that I look very cute -- I am 6 ft tall, so cute is not exactly an epithet that people usually apply to me (at least not since the 2nd grade). But I guess I will take a cute Rolie Polie over a waddling peach-colored elephant, which accurately captures my appearance.
-- I had a very bad mommy moment yesterday. I completely lost my temper with my eldest son (age 11) and swore at him, CPP style. He was completely flabbergasted. Not that anything justifies my outburst, but a bit of background information may be warranted. My son is an extremely picky eater. He calls himself a junkivore: essentially, he does not eat without protest anything that's not pizza or hotdogs or just plain carbs. We have been battling over food ever since he was little, and while he always ends up eating what I cook, it is never without constant eyerolling and protesting. Ne-ver. He does not like anything I make and it drives me up the wall. Yesterday, he took one look at my roasted potatoes and chicken, accompanied by stir-fried vegetables, and proclaimed that he would rather just eat apples than "that stuff." I totally lost it and haven't spoken with him until tonight. While I am a champion grudge holder, I cannot stay mad for very long at any of my kids. He looked so sad, moping around as I ignored him all afternoon. We made peace at bedtime, as I didn't want him going to bed so blue. But he didn't make a peep about dinner tonight. Aaaaah. Maybe I will have some peace at dinnertime in the next few days.
-- I performed a little experiment. I have two papers in the final pre-submission stage, which means that the back-and-forths between the students and me have resulted in steady-state manuscript forms, however they are still not totally acceptable so I simply have to completely rewrite some parts (OK, a lot of the text). I have told myself that I don't get to work on the papers until I have completely cleared up all of my pending service obligations. (OK, so maybe I am procrastinating a little.) I was wondering how long it would take me to plow through my to-do list of doom.
It took me nearly two weeks. Two weeks (!) to go through all the stuff that I mostly don't even get paid for. Numerous paper and proposal reviews -- when did I agree to do this many, I was under the impression that I rejected requests a lot? I am organizing a fairly major conference in my specialty next year, so there is a lot of logistical planning that needs to be done early, as in now. And the department is going through some sort of accreditation process that requires enormous amounts of book keeping and sifting through papers. I am apparently a sucker for punishment by service -- it's so very easy to let it totally get out of hand.
I remember a post by Cath@VWXYNot? where she saw on a guy's board something like "Review papers and book chapters are for people who don't have data! Never say yes!" I have to come up with a similar cautionary yet catchy phrase pertinent to academic service. We totally need an appropriate demotivational poster.