RBOC

  • Few of the women I most admire are people pleasers.  As I head through middle-age, I should remember that.
  • So… they’ve updated teaching schedules and I am one of the few teachers listed as teaching in person.  The other people teaching sections of stats this semester are all teaching online, even though they’ve added another section (from a guy whose elective didn’t make).  All of a sudden people want to get into my 8am class instead of avoiding it.  I am not particularly happy about this.  I mean, is it worth risking my and my family’s life?  (Plus the new section only has 3 people in it, though I imagine he’ll just teach it the same way he does the online asynchronous section he teaches in the summer.)
  • Looking at who is teaching online and in-person doesn’t seem to correlate with anything that would be health related or helpful to students.  The (childless) people who hate being on campus are all teaching online.  The people who care most about the students, even those in the at-risk age categories, probably did what I did and said, “Whatever is best for the department,” which, maybe I’m regretting? If I get Covid from a toilet plume I am going to be so unhappy about all of this.  Especially if I get DH sick.  [Update:  some of the over 60 folks did switch to online, which I’m happy about because I like these colleagues! and also even if I didn’t it’s not worth that much risk.]
  • How is it that cheese puffs are always good even when they’re not actual cheetos?
  • I feel like I’m turning into a Los Angelean (though I think I have to lose 50 lb to *actually* be accepted)– I keep trying various vitamin cocktails to try to fight this fatigue that I seem to keep getting.  And… the vitamins seem to work.  I HAVE to take vit D (doctors orders), but even though my B12 levels were fine the last time I had bloodwork, sometimes a little B12 pill will pick me right up (especially during certain points of my cycle).  I seem to be able to take iron without throwing up, but it doesn’t tend to help any more than the B12.  Sometimes I really crave B-complex (usually the smell of the pill nauseates me), and that seems to help with my thinking, though not the fatigue.  Finally, when all else fails, magnesium seems to help.  And when I get leg cramps, I always eat a banana right after which makes  me wonder if I should get a little potassium.
  • I DO take a multivitamin many days… alternating with a Rainbow One prenatal and a Centrum, but I sometimes seem to need more than that.
  • I would also have to start drinking kombucha without wanting to spit it out if I became an Angelean.
  • Vitamin-induced fatigue is scary during a pandemic.  So are allergies.
  • I wonder if I’ve always had this many allergies over the summer or if it’s the extra wet we’ve been having keeping things alive.  Or maybe it’s more dust mites.  Whatever it is, I tend to freak out a little bit and then take a Zyrtec and 20 min later I’m completely fine.  [My sister suggests I’m allergic to the Saharan desert.]
  • Zyrtec is my second best friend.
  • I have nothing under review which SUCKS.  I have several papers that are close to a completed first draft that have to get done before school starts, but I don’t know how it is going to happen.
  • OMG so many people are sending so many papers this summer.  Everybody who does reviews seems to perpetually have 5 papers to referee, including me on top of my editing responsibilities. This is SO HARD.  I need to go through the new crops of graduate students at schools whose training I trust before the semester starts and I get completely overwhelmed again.  [What I do is I have a drive document called “Victims-Journal Name” and then I have a Graduate Students section and then I put the name of a school and then the name and (if I’m being good) email of their further along students and a few brief words about what they study as they relate to the journal(s) I’m editing for.  They tend to make excellent referee #3s (I try to get the other two to be experts who have published on the topic, but the third can be more of a generalist who does related work or who is working but hasn’t published yet)]
  • I’m one month into my first month of editing the journal I said I could only handle 1 paper a month for and the editor in chief just tired to send me a fourth paper.  I was like, no.
  • Why does Gen Z say Weary when they mean Wary?  I mean, I’m tired too, but it’s a different word.  (Also tail end of Millennials do this AND I caught my Millennial sister who should know better doing this, though she claimed she was also weary.)  I’m not ready for language to change this definition because I need both words!  Tired isn’t descriptive enough!
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38 Responses to “RBOC”

  1. Foscavista Says:

    I (and my taste buds) don’t understand the kombucha craze either.

  2. Steph Says:

    That first point is a good one. I don’t know if it’s true for all the women I admire, but certainly for some of my favorite mentors. I have social anxiety that leads to people pleasing, so, hmmm.

    I have some questions about whether in person is really “best for students”, anyway – if students have to be masked, socially distanced, and talking on zoom to someone 6 feet away from them…why is that better for them than staying home safe and talking on zoom? Or watching a lecture on Zoom? But also – I’m the youngest prof in my department and I was the only one who flat out refused to teach in person, because the risks seemed too high. Everyone else was willing to do distanced teaching (until the school switched to online, thankfully).

    I also hope you don’t get sick!

  3. Michael Nitabach Says:

    What wld happen to you as tenured faculty if you just refused to teach in person in the classroom?

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Well, some international students would find it difficult to have an in-person class, but that could be worked out. I would burn a lot of personal capital because I should have just said something earlier before deadlines passed.

      • bogart Says:

        … personal capital, really? I mean, I don’t (actually) doubt it because I know academia but —
        (a) it’s likely the numbers have changed (for the worse) since you made your decision;
        (b) we have new information aerosol spread
        (c) you have new data about your colleagues’ approaches — why should you be different;
        (d) surely teaching virtually, from the departmental perspective, is easier, not harder, to switch to? And you may have to make that switch anyway, if the numbers (continue to) get worse.

        I have to admit that I am pretty flabbergasted that we are not, collectively, trying to — you know — reduce/minimize the spread of coronavirus by, um, staying home. I mean, I get that many people cannot (they have to work in jobs that cannot be done remotely). I get that there are real and serious costs for the K-~12 (and under) set and their parents. But … universities? Are supposed to be where the smart people are. And can be done virtually. I am truly mystified. And concerned.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        They need a certain number of courses at each level in person for International students and we’re supposed to be 50% in person by department…currently less than that.

        Politics don’t make sense these days. This is 100% trump.

      • Lisa Says:

        As a people-pleaser, the personal capital thing often causes me concern. But one of the things I’ve learned over the years is that no one ever remembers the vast majority of the things I do “for the good of the department” because someone has to. And I’ve not yet been hassled for saying no to (or even backing out of) something I decided I hate (curriculum committee, I’m looking at you). My point is, would you really burn a lot of personal capital by backing out? In a year from now, will people really remember that you had initially planned to teach in person and then changed your mind? And if they do remember, will they still hold a grudge (seeing as how most of them taught online as well)?

        Also, the government backed down on requiring international students to take in-person classes. It’s only new international students who need a percentage of in-person classes to get visas now. I’m a little concerned about our new international students being able to get a visa at all because our embassies have all been closed (I hear they’re opening up again but have huge backlogs).

        I’m with bogart and am completely mystified that universities weren’t able to make this call much earlier and just go online. Clearly, it’s not ideal and some universities stand to lose a good number of students this year. But the larger, well-established universities shouldn’t be trying to play this game. I don’t know that history is going to be so kind to those who waffled til the last minute or tried an in-person semester and ended up with a big outbreak.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Given that I forced the dept head to lower class sizes for all in person classes in order to keep me in person and given a number of other things that would seriously put her in a bind if I switched, yes, I would burn personal capital. I wouldn’t have if I’d asked before the deadline because I wouldn’t be the one necessary for the delicate calculations they’ve already made about how to get international students to have at least one in person class.

        My two sections are a required course for new students. The other three sections are online. The dept head is teaching a different required core course in person as an overload. This is a real thing and not the overturned international students can only have one online course. Which is good because I don’t think we have 3 courses that make sense for most students to take in person given how few of our required courses have an in person section.

        And yes, we’re still waiting to find out about visas—they’ve been trickling in. We won’t know for sure until school starts.

      • bogart Says:

        Yes … I get it. Definitely not blaming you, blaming politics and the system (including academia).

  4. Jess Says:

    I am very entertained that in California a common thing at bars is alcoholic kombucha, or “Booch Bev.”

  5. omdg Says:

    I love Zyrtec. I never thought I had allergies, and mostly started taking Zyrtec in residency as a sleep aid instead of Benadryl, and now I find it doesn’t even make me noticeably sleepy anymore, but if I don’t take it, I sleep poorly and have a stuffy nose all night and the next day. Can’t tell if I wake up because I have a stuffy nose, or if I wake up and happen to notice a stuffy nose because of it. If I cared enough I could do an n of 1 trial! But I don’t and just keep taking a zyrtec every night before bed. That was probably WAY more information than you wanted.

    I just had a very productive zoom research meeting, and I continue to believe that virtual is as good if not better than in person, as long as the group stays below 7-10 people.

  6. Teresa Says:

    Don’t worry, to be a proper Angeleno you’d need to show up to a clinic at least weekly insisting on B12 *injections*

    Kombucha is everywhere though and disgusting everywhere. Although I can’t remember seeing alcoholic kombucha anywhere but grocery stores.

  7. Cloud Says:

    My guess on the last one is that they’re combining wary and leery and the meaning of weary is just going to change in another generation.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Ohh that makes sense! It seems to have come out of nowhere a few years ago and now everybody is doing it. I need weary to mean weary! It describes my current feels with so much.

  8. xykademiqz Says:

    I also need vitamin D (take it intermittently, when I remember) and love my multivitamins (chewy, ’cause I’m a toddler, obviously). I also take chewable Airborne.

    One of my many language peeves is people constructing conditional perfect with the past simple form instead of past participle of the verb. Reading or hearing (and OMFG now you can hear it in shows all the %^&%!!&*! time) “I should’ve went” fills me with murderous rage.

    Cheese puffs: the union of the corn puff and cheese is holy, and thus impossible to ruin.

    I’ve got about 20 kids in my late-afternoon in-person section. The assigned classroom in gigantic. At this point, I’m less worried about corona than my vocal chords.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I’m ok with “I should’ve went” along with some things that DH does (ex. “That needs done”) by telling myself it’s just a different dialect. I spent some of my formative years with an Appalachian home daycare owner and still use “might ought” or “should ought” as constructions, which seems perfectly valid to me. So why shouldn’t these other verbal things I’m really not used to be ok so long as they have their own consistent grammar. (I also took linguistics in college and almost all linguists are free-love language hippies.)

      I’ve been wondering if we’ll be getting mics because I have no idea how the people watching via stream are going to hear anything. And we just found out that the classrooms we’ve been assigned don’t *actually* have streaming technology yet, and won’t by [5 days/3 business days before classes start] but we’re required to come on campus to test out the streaming technology in some other part of campus before then (but not on a weekend because we don’t have access to those buildings). I am going to continue ignoring that email for a while.

      • xykademiqz Says:

        Dunno. I probably have a somewhat different relationship with English, being that I’m a nonnative speaker, plus I write and publish fiction. My DH says “I should’ve went” and it’s like nails on a chalkboard; he’s from the same country as me, so doesn’t have the excuse of being from someplace with a regional dialect.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        It has taken a lot of meditation and hard work to get to this point of acceptance for me. And I still cannot handle when people use less vs. fewer incorrectly (even though more works just fine for both opposites, countable or not). Or when DH says pin instead of pen (he’s got the kids doing it too), and that’s just a pronunciation thing. But I was raised with Midwestern broadcaster English so am naturally always “correct” and he was raised in a part of the state colonized by people from the rural Southeast.

        So… not the native-speaker thing (since it took conscious effort on my part) nor the fiction writing thing (Scalzi seems fine with language changnig, as does much of sci fi and romance twitter!). Just a personality/training thing. (Seriously, linguistics 101 is full of brainwashing.)

      • xykademiqz Says:

        I hear ya,, but there is a such a thing as standard use, especially in print. I understand that, at some point, frequent nonstandard use simply becomes adopted as a new standard (the accusative “I” still kills me every time, but I know it’s a lost cause; the same with people using “comprise” as a synonym of “compose”), but I can’t help my irritation in the meantime. AAAAARGH!

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I am also… weary of it all. (But not wary!)

      • Katherine Says:

        I had never heard “needs done” before I moved to the midwest, but it’s everywhere here, including on the radio. I’m starting to get used to it a little bit. I think it’s definitely a dialect (sort of like “waiting on line,” which I had never heard before I moved to NYC but sort of picked up myself after 4 years there).

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        #notallmidwesterners
        #butdefinitelymyDH’sfamily
        #YouWannaGoWithForLife

  9. Debbie M Says:

    Reality changes (which I hate). If we don’t roll with it, we suffer (also no fun). Are there any good synonyms you can use? Drained? Fatigued? Worn out? Exhausted? Bushed? Tuckered? Bored? Suffering tedium? If we can find synonyms for common denigrating words, we can do it for this, too, eh?

    In other news, I have had cheese puffs that were too salty. But fortunately, that is rare.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I mean, these are all synonyms, but none are quite same. Bone-tired is close, but doesn’t really capture the angst nor the capitulation to the angst aspects. Weary is an excellent word with no exact synonym. (Unlike Wary and Leery which are pretty darn interchangeable!)

  10. Susan Says:

    When I used to be a migraine sufferer, a can of Coke and a bag of Cheese Puffs (we pronounce that cheez-ee poofs) would often be enough to let me drive home and take real meds when the aura of lights would start. Magic.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Migraines are the worst. For me it’s half a cup of coffee that does the trick to let me sleep. (Though I don’t get auras… my DH does though. I feel so sorry for our kids getting migraines from both sides.) I mostly don’t get them these days so long as I stay away from strobe lights.

      • xykademiqz Says:

        I haven’t had any migraines since the quarantine started. Part of it may be that I have drastically cut all sugar (it really messes me up, as does most alcohol) plus I sleep and exercise more. But it might be the absence of work and especially the absence of kids’ extracurriculars. I have anxiety dreams about my middle kid’s sports (basketball last night; tackle football, which he isn’t even allowed to play, last night).

  11. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    One of the young childless guys who is teaching online for the fall (not Colorado guy– someone I don’t know well enough to know if he has an ADA reason) just cancelled a meeting because he’s “come down with something”. Which I guess means he can’t have been social distancing all that well from home. Looks like his church is still having indoor meetings, although they request (but do not require) masks.

    I mean I guess it’s safer for students to have a vector teach online. I’m only going to be infecting my students if they infect me first (or I pick something up at my root canal/followup dentist appointment next week).

  12. Alice Says:

    The weary/wary thing drives me crazy, as does loose/lose. And peak/pique. I don’t think it’s a Gen Z choice and I don’t think it’s restricted to Gen Z. I think it’s people not knowing how to spell the word they want or typos.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I have a lot of students who I don’t think know either wary or weary using weary as wary a lot. And only recently. It must have caught on as a slang thing somewhere. Lose/loose I think is intergenerational and timeless. I don’t think I know anybody who tries to use pique (even misspelled) IRL, other than like my humanities PhD mom (in a fit of). I think either is acceptable for “my interest” or curiosity because peak actually makes sense in that context, even though pique is used traditionally, but YMMV.

  13. nicoleandmaggie Says:


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