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New Year's has turned into a difficult holiday for me the last few years. Instead of a happy taking stock and striving for new accomplishments in the coming year, it tends to be "sum up all your failures of the year, and oh by the way the things you plan to resolve are exactly the same things you resolved and failed at the last 4 years in a row." What the hell kind of holiday is that?

It's exacerbated by the fact that most of the most active people I follow on twitter (classics and digital humanities types) are currently attending national conferences (AIA/APA, MLA, and AHA are all this weekend) and I feel like a professional failure. I know that in the long term the odds of my career continuing and being satisfactory are good, but I am having a hard time keeping my eye on the long term. On a day-to-day basis I am keeping busy (personally), and keeping an oar in professionally (I attended two by-invitation professional meetings this year, was asked to review grant proposals for a prestigious funding body, and have been asked to develop a summer week-long course). But every couple of weeks I have panics that I don't actually have a JOB and may never again. Work and busy-ness is nice, but so is money, everyday feedback, coworkers, and professional esteem.

The year overall was good. The kids are attending a school that is better for them than last year's, and they are doing well. They are good kids. mr. flea is happy at work and seems well-regarded, and this year managed to become An International Expert in His Field (was invited to lecture in China.) Me not working means less stress on me and everybody, and we've dealt just fine with the lower income. Our house in Georgia is rented through July, and maybe it will sell this spring. We've set up 529 college funds for the kids, thanks to some family generosity. We have nice things, a safe and warm and fairly pleasant place to live, plenty to eat, and more wealth and security as the average family. I am not a failure; I am doing my best to balance what's good for my family and myself in the face of a challenging economy and the stresses of middle-class life. Right?
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Today on the (25-minute behind schedule) ride home, there was a woman on the bus with Tourette's. Not that she could help it, obviously, but there's nothing like a woman hand-flapping and screeching, "sweaty vagina!" in an odd, high voice to let you know you're on a public conveyance.

ION I started 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles,' and then went and spoiled myself for the plot via Wikipedia, and I'm not sure I want to go on. Maybe I will only read 19th-century novels written by women, since so far in the ones I've read written by men the women are all Symbols of Pure Womanhood and/or Connected To Nature (or actually named The Vengeance.)

IOON, week two of moving books 4 hours a day and I am not any less sore at the end of each day. Nor is my butt smaller. I suppose this is a consequence of being 39.
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I've reduced my hours and my duties at my job to 4 hours a day, shifting the journals (a complex back-to-front flip in tight space, with the need to leave room for growth for some titles but not all, the need to shelve in oversize titles (resetting shelves as necessary), and the need to integrate a formerly separate modern Greek journal collection.) This allows me to put the kids on the bus at 8:45 and pick them up from the bus at 4:10 and it feels so luxurious not to be rushed and exhausted all the time.

The bad part is, I am taking the public bus to and from work now (instead of driving with mr. flea.) Day 1: I caught the AM bus and all went as scheduled. I expected a 3:32 pm bus; the bus actually came to the stop at about 3:50. This was late enough that I was in danger of missing the pickup from the school bus. I called mr. flea and it turned out he got to the school bus stop right as the kids got off. I didn't know that, though (we only have one call phone and I had it), and saw the bus turn down the next block as I ran to the stop, and saw a kid I took to be Casper looking out the window, and saw the other family walking away from the bus stop, and didn't see mr. flea or my kids. So I kept running home, now sobbing, thinking nobody had met the kids and they'd been taken back to school on the bus. That sucked, even though everyone was fine except me.

Day 2: I caught the AM bus. Less than halfway into the 4-mile journey, it broke down. The driver didn't actually make any announcement for a few minutes, so we just sat there. Then he said there wouldn't be another bus for half an hour, so I got off and walked at top speed and was only 7 minutes late to work, although somewhat sweaty. The afternoon bus (I shifted my schedule to take a bus 45 minutes earlier, so no matter how late the bus was I could make it), worked as scheduled.

Either The Gods don't want me to do this job, or the Cincinnati public transit folks suck. And people wonder why everyone drives everywhere.

Baby name: Cyril Ray, big sister Petra, parents Heather and Niclas. Nicknames already include Cy and Spy-baby.
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1. I had to leave the room while in a meeting at work, because I didn't trust my ability to keep my temper.

2. I spent most of the day working on a big spreadsheet. I've had students work in it at various times, and at some point somebody - I sure as hell hope not me - sorted one of the columns but not all of them, so that the data are now mismatched. In good news, some of it is still okay - it doesn't all have to be done from scratch - but in not so good news, you can't necessarily tell by looking whether the data in a given row is right or not. So I really ought to check everything. All 1200 items.

3. mr. flea had to call the mortgage company again. They accidentally paid $4000 from our escrow account to a random county in which our house is not located. They have been remarkably remiss in clearing up this error, and our statement for payment, due tomorrow, asks us to pay an extra $500 to start rebuilding our escrow. They said we should go ahead and pay the old amount, and they will send us a new statement eventually. My distrust of the company is such that I worry that this is some trick to declare us delinquent and make us pay huge fees.

4. Casper has been having homework fits all week. Tears and procrastination and the whole thing. Tonight is no different. Tomorrow a book report is due.

5. The uptight downstairs neighbor pounded on the ceiling, at 7pm on a Wednesday, because Dillo was dancing around in the dining room (which is uncarpeted because, hey dining room, with messy kids at the table). Dillo wasn't even wearing shoes. This is not the first incident of ceiling-pounding, and the other weekend said neighbor had a freakout at mr. flea because the children were running to and fro. At noon on a Sunday. Being, you know, kids. It makes me feel like we don;t have a right to have actual lives.

I miss our own house and my old job and our lives.
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I've taken a job, on a temporary basis, at the Classics Library at UC. (It was sudden, and is temporary, because it was the result of the unexpected death of the incumbent; I may not apply when it is advertized as a permanent position as it is not a librarian position.) So the kids are in before-school and after-school care, and we all leave the house at 7:20 and return at 5:40 (both basically in darkness at this time of year.) The kids are doing fine, but returning to the grind of the two-career family after even a few weeks away from it is a shock. Our lives are just so much more relaxed when I can put them on the bus at 8:45 and pick them up at 4:15 off the bus and we can do a little homework before dinner, or play, while I make dinner. I was indeed sometimes bored and depressed alone at home all day between 9am and 4pm, but the luxury of doing laundry and cleaning and running errands casually and occasionally as opposed to in a rush on evenings and weekends was nice. We could probably get by without my income now; mr. flea got a raise when he took this job and I don't have to work for us to keep things going at the lifestyle level we're at now (assuming our house sells within a year or so).

Boy, I wish I could have a meaningful, well-paying when broken out by the hour, part-time job in my field. Basically, none such.
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I went to put flannel sheets on Casper's bed and discovered the ones I had in my hand were the ratty old double bed flannel sheets. Which means the really nice 3-year-old Garnet Hill flannel sheets for Casper's bed were probably given to Goodwill. (The sets are basically the same color, but I though I kept them in separate places.)

Then I went to start my afternoon's task and apply for a job - at a law firm, but the ad speaks only of general reference experience and not of law library experience. Unfortunately on this read-through I noted that they require a valid driver's license and the ability to drive between regional offices as part of the job. So, no.

I think I need to go bake brownies in an attempt to salvage this day.
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Actual chat from today:

Caroline: are you free? i have an important question to ask you about cake
2:17 PM ok, i will just leave the question here for when you get back. would you rather have a pretty, classic cake or one that had cincinnati chili/spaghetti on top made of candy and icing?
thank you!
[I saw the message, and then laughed and laughed]
2:19 PM me: the office has voted, and we vote Chili Cake!
2:22 PM Caroline: ha ha!
i thought i'd better ask!
ok we will see what our mad scientist [baked colleague] can cook up. i am sure it will be amazing
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Stuff coming up:

Friday: Casper's dance recital.  We are to have her at the theater for the dress rehearsal tonight at 5, in costume and makeup (pink lipstick and blush), hair "half-back and curly."  Well, it will be half-back, anyway. She is doing a tap routine to Elvis.

Next week: Casper's school musical; Girl Scout overnight camp in co-leader's back yard; Mother's Day.

Then: May 17 is last day of school; taking 18 and 19 off; possibly family camping trip.

June 1: mr. flea has a job interview in Dublin, Ireland.  He wants me to come too (on our nickel) and make a nice trip out of it.  My mother has vaguely offered to come down and watch the kids (who are signed up for camp that week - June 1 is a Wednesday).  I am resistant because of the price of a plane ticket (currently well over $1000) and general stress and hassle factor.  Dunno.

(June 10: minor one-day conference in Atlanta that nobody has talked about yet.  Must ask colleagues.)

June 24-26: American Library Association annual meeting in New Orleans.  I have been invited to present my bibliography project to a group of classics, medieval, and renaissance studies librarians.  We have no travel funding in the library; the classics department has offered me $300.  Registration for the conference is $215 (plus $60 membership), and I need to think about transportation and lodging and food.  I haven't pulled the trigger on actually going yet, but I am probably going to.  Again feeling overwhelmed by hassle and expense.

I don't know why I'm feeling so overwhelmed by all this.  Maybe partly because it's the last week of the semester so all the students are basically insane.
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The Joe Hill's will song, learned in Girl Scouts as a tot. http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/File:Joe_Hill_will.pdf

I didn't learn "I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night," though.

Bread and Roses, learned at Bryn Mawr.  (Okay, that's at least as much feminist as socialist.)  Here's Joan Baez and Mimi Farina: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYRcCa-ddOo

This post is brought to you by the Reacting to the Past game Greenwich Village 1913, and the fact of Jane Addams' awesomeness.


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I'm better enough to go back to work tomorrow, but tired and tottery enough to be overwhelmed by the things I have to deal with there, notably the 35 high school students showing up Wednesday morning (until this afternoon, I was expecting 20, which is much more manageable). Then it's Girl Scout cookie delivery week, and planning for next week's meeting, and houseguests next weekend, and the 25th I fly to Texas for a wedding.

I ate protein today, though!
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Posted to a list-serv for Aegean prehistorians:
Can someone send me a bibliography of freshwater snails in Greece and the
wider region (English, Greek, major scholarly languages)?
I bet you dollars to donuts he gets a good response, too.
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Dillo has a full-on, can't stop crying meltdown an hour ago. Over our refusal to take him to Chik-fil-A for ice cream right that second. I was sure we'd get dinner in him and get him to bed by 7.

Now he has peed, eaten, done a puzzle with me, and pooped, and is excessively cheerful, counting to 21, and looks poised to go on all night.

I meanwhile am exhausted.

Also, there is a Classics Librarian job open at Yale. Salary range $51-78K. Freestanding classics library of 32,000 volumes, position manages 5-8 students, union environment, liaison to the department, manages web pages, etc. And here I sit in Georgia, with a house, a spouse whom I trail, and children.

the future

Sep. 8th, 2010 11:17 am
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mr. flea's contract is up in 11 months. So he's sensibly starting to apply for jobs. Our first pick would be something permanent here, but things are not trending strongly that way. He's applied for one job at the EPA in Cincinnati, and today called me to ask if it seemed like a good idea to apply to a job with IBM. In Dublin. (Ireland, not Ohio.)

That would be interesting. Note I am already mentally selling furniture and renting out our house. Dear brain, please stay in one place.
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Here are the things stressing me out today:

-my hair (still not cut, not sure what I am doing about it; worrying about a new haircutter right before an event.)
-the weather in California this coming weekend. I expect San Francisco (which my fingers obdurately refuse to spell correctly every single time) to be mid-60s and foggy. But I thought Santa Cruz was in California! Yet they are predicting partly cloudy and high of 70 for this weekend. This is completely messing with my packing plans. It is hard to travel light when you are going someplace cold. (Yes, I am from Georgia. 70 degrees is now cold, in summer. Yes, mid-May is now summer. I am from Georgia.)
-Children's birthday parties for which we receive the invitation less than a week in advance. I knew about Thomas' birthday Friday, and we got a present last weekend. But then yesterday I got an email saying don't bring a present, bring a book for a book exchange. Argh. And yesterday an invitation to Eliza's party on Saturday morning appeared in our mailbox. When are we supposed to get her a present between now and Saturday morning? Advance notice, people!

I should be stressing about the conference paper I am giving in 2 weeks which I ahave not really begun to write. I have a meeting about it in an hour. It's just at the low simmer stress level right now though; my hair and possible sweater purchases are much, much worse.
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I've got enough going on right now that I'm a little overwhelmed and paralyzed with it. I'm also really tired; I worked last night and had trouble falling asleep (was the sweet tea at lunch super-potent?)

We did get the license plates and registration transferred to the new car yesterday, so we are officially completely done with car stuff. We are still deep in the bathroom plumbing project (plumbing is done, but closing up the wall in the bedroom is next, and then we need to deal with taking down and replacing the ceiling in the downstairs bathroom), and we still need to decide what to do about the roof and porch projects we got estimates for. I have been doing more research on the house and that is interesting but also distracting me at work.

At work I am giving a presentation to a staff organization the week of May 17, and then giving a talk at a state conference May 28, and neither of those things are fully developed yet, and I'm having trouble getting them developed, due to inability to focus. Part of the problem is that I could totally wing the first, if I chose, and sections of the second (demonstrating a software which I have already trained groups on 3 times and written up a training manual). I need something to give me the urgency to nail it all down.

I am going to SF next Thursday and need to plan my packing & hem my dress, do some further planning for while I'm there, and worry about how everyone will manage without me (fine, of course, but I still need to worry!) SF-istas, my current plan is to visit the Asian Art Museum the afternoon of Thursday May 13, and would welcome a companion, and I have most of the day Friday May 14 unplanned, though I may want to sleep late. I've never been to Golden Gate Park, but wonder if that is too big a project given transport issues and my potential tiredness.
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From a recent potluck:
Ivy Louise
Sophia and Ezra
Daisy and Victor
Miles
Luna and Ansel
Penny and Lucy

Born lately to a similar tribe: Juniper, big sister Vivian.

There's a barista at the coffee shop in my building named Altair, with a diaeresis over the a. I think the diaeresis should technically be over the i, but it's his name. It's Arabic, meaning eagle; also a star.
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I'm thinking about starting a blog for professional purposes. In one way, this is an incredibly dumb thing to do - since even in the creaky realm of library blogs, which runs a good 2-3 years behind the regular computing public, blogs are starting to be sort of "over".

On the other hand, I have things to say, and saying them in public would help me force myself to bother articulating them and writing them up. And it could potentially be a positive thing in a professional development sense. Especially since there's no money for travel to conferences or anything.

My current thinking is to document my experiences developing into my (still relatively new) role as the library liaison to the classics department. I would review print reference works (as a way to acquaint myself with our collection), collect classics-related web sites and blogs, and comment on what resources work best for which patron groups.

What say y'all? Not worth it? If worth it, preferences for platforms? (Is it worth it to learn Wordpress - again could be a development opportunity?)
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I'm working every Wednesday night this semester, which is a serious pain in the ass at 9pm, when I'm starting to feel ready for bed but have another hour of work, a half-hour walk home, and a half-hour cool down before I can sleep ahead of me. But it's wonderful on the Wednesday morning, when everyone else leaves the house at 7:38 and I have five whole hours ahead of me before I need to leave to walk in.

This blog post (http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/19/where-does-a-mothers-time-go/) and the WaPo article by Schulte it draws heavily on (which I recommend if you're interested in this issue, which honestly doesn't just apply to parents, IMO) made me extra-appreciate my five hours this morning. I was busy the whole time: did a load of laundry, spent more than an hour priming trim in my bedroom, dusted the stairs (yuck!), cleaned the top of the tub surround in the downstairs bathroom (yuck!), made a lasagna, cleared off the coffee table, cleaned the dcat litter, but Dillo's comforter back in its case after washing it last weekend when the cat barfed on it, and 20 other minor tidying and cleaning things, most of which my dear husband would never think of doing. But for all that, I would mark this time as "leisure" (in addition to "housework") because oh, the freedom of my MIND as I was doing all this! I was full of productive and planny thoughts of a happy and non-stressful nature, a state which continued on my walk in to work. It helps that today is one of the gorgeous Southern winter days (65 and sunny), but it's a wonderful thing, to know that I and only I am in control of my time 5 hours a week, and if I choose to spend it painting and cleaning, that is MY choice.

I should also walk to work more - I miss the exercise, and I really do my best thinking while walking. I came in full of ideas for meeting friends and professional career plans.
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But in some ways I would love to, and I think I'd be reasonably competitive.

POSITION ADVERTISEMENT, PLEASE POST

COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT LIBRARIAN FOR THE BLEGEN LIBRARY IN ATHENS

The American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA) invites applications for the position of Collection Development Librarian for the Carl W. Blegen Library in Athens. The American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA) is one of the world's leading research and teaching institutions dedicated to the advanced study of all aspects of Greek culture, from antiquity to the present day. Founded in 1881, the ASCSA provides graduate students and scholars from over 180 affiliated North American colleges and universities a base for research and study in Greece. The ASCSA operates two major research libraries in Athens (the Blegen Library and the Gennadius Library), supports archaeological research and excavations in the Ancient Agora of Athens, in Corinth, and elsewhere in Greece, and disseminates information about its research through an active publications program.

The ASCSA is a primary resource for American and international graduate students and scholars in Hellenic studies, from antiquity to the present day. The Blegen Library is a non-circulating library dedicated to the entire field of classical antiquity, with special emphasis on the language, literature, art, history and archaeology of Greece, with over 93,000 volumes, ca. 700 print periodical subscriptions, and ca. 400 electronic subscriptions. The library primarily serves a constituency of North American students and scholars, and there is a large group of international library users, including many Greek scholars.

Key responsibilities of the Collection Development Librarian of the Blegen Library are as follows:

* Undertakes the selection and acquisition of materials and the development of the collection in all languages and all formats.
* Classifies library resources in accordance with a unique classification scheme.
* Manages the Library's approval plans and publications exchange program.
* Provides research assistance to members of the American School of Classical Studies and visiting researchers who are library users.
* Works closely with colleagues to ensure timely and accurate cataloging and processing of materials.
* Advises the Head Librarian on all matters relating to collection development, maintenance and preservation and participates in the development of relevant policies

Position requirements:

* Advanced degree in classics or classical archaeology (PhD preferred).
* Appropriate experience in an academic research library highly desirable.
* Fluency in English and Modern Greek and knowledge of Ancient Greek and Latin as well as the languages of scholarly research (German, French, Italian, etc.)
* Familiarity with bibliographic tools available for researchers and knowledge of the American and European book trades.
* Demonstrated skills and experience in relevant information technology, including its use and management, and possessing a comprehensive understanding of the technology-driven information environment.
* Understanding of unique needs of a graduate research library and familiarity with current issues in academic librarianship.
* Strong organizational and communication skills and the ability to work both independently and as part of a team.

The position is full-time. Salary commensurate with experience. Generous benefits package. Successful candidate will be expected to live and work in Athens, Greece.

Send a letter of application, a curriculum vitae, and three letters of reference to Karen M. Bohrer, Head Librarian, Blegen Library, American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 54 Souidias Street, GR-106-76 Athens, Greece or email application to kbohrer@ascsa.edu.gr. Review of applications will begin on January 20, 2010 and will continue until the position is filled. ASCSA is an EO/AA employer. Website: http://www.ascsa.edu.gr.
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I got into work at 8:20 feeling like I'd already put in most of a day on the home front, although I only got up at 6:15. (I did get to hear my mother prowling around the house from about 4:30 on.) This is what it's like to have family staying in the house, and disrupted routines.

And then I got in to find faculty fulminating outrage over a lost book in my email. Not without justification - the book in question is both enormous and valuable, and I agree should probably not circulate. It wasn't lost while I was employed here, but I do feel some obligation to address the concerns, and have begun to do so. But the *tone* of the emails is so exhausting at 8:30 am after a trying morning. Nobody can make drama like faculty. Several things lately at work have reminded me of the various reasons not associated with writer's block and the two-body problem that caused me to leave my academic career path.

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