Also the half-assed plans of mice and men...

The theory was that I'd take a few minutes today, in the midst of start of term chaos, to say something a bit more positive.

I was thinking as I drifted off to sleep at 3 am this morning (am I still the only one who can't sleep the night before school starts, lo, these many years in?) about how in the midst of one of the worst times I ever had, some very dear friends (shouts out to N. and T.) managed to keep two of my wheels on the track by continually, gently nudging me to look for and mention things that were good over the course of any given day until that day itself seemed brighter for it.

As recent blog posts - what few there have been with my recent visit home - are pretty good evidence that I'm in a funk. And so I was going to make sure to mention three things today that seemed so perfectly formed in their own moment, that the day would be better whatever came. I still will, mostly because I'm stubborn, but having started through the beginning-of-term madness, there are madness - other than mine, which no doubt can be thoroughly chronicled and dissected at our leisure, here and elsewhere - that need mentioning.

First, this morning's e-mail of doom, from one of my freshmen, informing me that she has to withdraw from the University because she can't afford our exorbitant tuition. I should note that I found her work to be senior level (and in fact, I mistook her for one the usual senior stragglers one finds in an intro course), and I was upset to discover we had a senior doing that quality of work I'd not met before. I'm choking on the irony of having had her e-mail followed immediately by a note from the coach of one of our major athletic teams about how we could get the star player with a well-below 2.0 GPA set so he could continue with his scholarship this term (i.e. "Don't tell me improve his work and bring him back. " (what I told him)). I won't even mention how this actually manages to conflict with the mission/goal/theme expressed in the University's vision statement about working with the community's less fortunate.

Then, the paperwork disaster. Somewhere in the labyrinthine systems of the school, my super bright Honors student's paperwork allowing him to be enrolled as an honors student had vanished over the break, leaving the student at less than full-time status. I've been working to get the paperwork dealt with since the break: try getting five signatures from administrators via long-distance e-mails and calls over the Christmas holidays. It wasn't until today that I got the last one needed and could try to get my student back on track. We turned in the paperwork, and explained the situation - if he's not full-time, he loses his scholarship; his other financial aid is affected; he loses his work study, etc, etc - and handed the paperwork over, receiving the statement, "Thanks. We'll get to work on this later in the work once our own student worker situation stabilizes."

I didn't attempt to hide my displeasure and was told, "I've got a lot to do. I mean, is this urgent?"


So what three things am I thinking of as I wade through this day?
  1. Belly's "Full Moon, Empty Heart" (sorry, you'll have to go find it yourselves as there's no good clip to link to that I've found): first song off the .mp3 player with sage advice ("sleep in, now now...") and just a gorgeous sound
  2. the chill in the air as the dog and I went to find a frisbee spot this morning: no bitter winds, nothing wicked sailing in, just enough to help wake you up and make you think of Spring without actually hating the season you're in
  3. an explanation of how to make pumpkin pie for vegans so I can try one that one of my colleagues could eat


4 Responses to “Also the half-assed plans of mice and men...”
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AliceAcademic said...

Hi Dr. C,
Any luck on the vegan pumpkin pie? Did you try making it? I'm not vegan, but I am vegetarian and I generally do not eat eggs. This thanksgiving, I very guiltily had to buy eggs just to make a pumpkin pie. I haven't found a good enough eggless recipe. Let me know if yours turned out any good.

January 18, 2008 at 12:01 PM
Dr. Curmudgeon said...

I haven't tried it yet - that's hopefully on the agenda for the weekend. I'll definitely let you know how it comes out.

January 18, 2008 at 12:05 PM
Breena Ronan said...

It's nice of you to think of your vegan friend. I'm allergic to dairy and no one seems to remember it. As a grad student everyone is constantly going out to pizza or ordering pizza. I hate being a downer, but I get tired of either not eating or feeling sick.

January 19, 2008 at 2:18 PM
Dr. Curmudgeon said...

My time out West gave me a lot of sympathy for vegetarians and vegans. And the number of lactose intolerant friends I have is reaching epidemic proportions, so that helps, too.

But sadly, no joy getting to that this weekend, since I'm stuck at the office and am making slow progress. Perhaps tomorrow....

January 19, 2008 at 2:33 PM