Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Post-holidays roundup

    • Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
    • Turning into a cooking and cleaning machine for a couple of weeks is my favorite part of Christmas, except for seeing family, which is, of course, the reason I do it. Honest.  I love seeing people eat what I cook and bake. I love doing laundry and picking up.  I love the idea that if I don't bestir myself, there'll be hungry people milling around the kitchen wondering where dinner is and that nobody can get out of the driveway if I don't shovel it every day.  They offer to help, but I choose to do it. There's a beginning and an end point to it, and it's just very satisfying, probably because I can go back to wrestling with writing refreshed at the end of the two weeks. It's a good workout, too--I am really tired at the end of the day-- and, unlike the also invisible work of administration, people are grateful that you do it. 
    • You can think about all the foods that you don't have to make or eat any more when you sing holiday songs. "So bring us a figgy pudding"--uh, no thanks. 
    • It's easier to ignore the news and (justifiable) endless outrage on Twitter, if you're too busy to look at it. 
    • Ditto for ignoring email, which I've been happily doing for more than a week. Grade-grubbers? Contact me in January, for you are not getting a response to the email you sent on December 24. 
    • Sometimes I dance a little happy dance at the thought that I am not going to MLA this year. 
    • Speaking of MLA, it does not have good tidings of great joy this year. From Inside Higher Ed:
    "The MLA's annual report on its Job Information List has found that in 2014-15, it had 1,015 jobs in English, 3 percent fewer than the previous year. The list had 949 jobs in foreign languages, 7.6 percent fewer than 2013-14. This is the third straight year of decline in jobs listed with the MLA. And those declines have reversed the gains made in English and foreign language jobs after the severe declines that hit the disciplines after the economic downturn that started in 2008. The low point for jobs in that economic downturn was 2009-10. But the job totals for English this year are 7.7 percent below the English positions of 2009-10. The job totals for foreign languages are 7.3 percent below those of 2009-10."

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