Ownership and Self

Ownership and sense of self… I think I have connected my mother’s things to my mother and held onto them to hold onto her. But she is always going to be part of my life, even if she has died. She is always going to be part of whom I am and how I am. I only hope that in some small way I can be more like her in terms of loving people and being open to getting to know folks.

I read a paper that said 50 to 60 years after you die, no one will remember you anyway, and I think that may be accurate, if you live to be an old person. If I live to be 70 and my grandkids are in their teens, they’ll live another 60 years and then they’ll be gone. It really shocks you into a sense of the ephemerality of this world when you have already lived 50 years and you think about all the people who will be forgotten when you die…. My Grampa Ben, my Great-Uncle Charles, Uncle Ward… None of my siblings or children met those people, knew them, and loved them. So they will leave the world, too.

And that is part, I think, of my need to hang on to possessions that belonged to family—to keep holding on to that family that is gone. In a real sense they don’t exist anymore.

We have given lots of things away this last three years, as we have moved, inherited goods, and moved some more. I am okay with having given those things away.

But I know that I have held on to many things simply because at one point I could not have afforded to replace them. And some of those things I may never use. … Or by the time I got around to using them they might not be usable.

Since I own all I need (and most of what I want) I really need to start thinking about paring down. What can I give away or get rid of that is just sitting around taking up space for no good reason? Yes, there are even some pieces of furniture I have that I kept because they reminded me of something when I was a girl. But I will always have those memories and I don’t really need that furniture.

I have also told myself that part of the issue is that I don’t know what the boys may/will want. Well, I asked Micah and I know what he wants. And I asked Elijah and he says he doesn’t want anything. I know that he might take some things eventually, but he doesn’t want anything. So I need to stop letting that idea enable me to hold onto items that I don’t need and that are filling up my space in a less-than-useful way.

Work and Working

Just some thoughts from the last couple of weeks.

How much time?
Three weeks ago I filled out a form for a higher education survey. It asked me how many hours I worked, besides teaching, in a week. I wrote 9-12, because that was how many I had done that week. For the last two weeks I’ve done 40+. And for the next two it will be like that as well.

It looked like I had less work than I actually do and I knew it at the time, but I am not particularly good about figuring out how much time something will take or how much time it does take unless I am purposefully taking note.

Tenure questions?
All along my boss has said I have plenty of publications for tenure. Now, though, as I begin creating my portfolio, he mentioned that I need more and I need to argue that the ones I have gotten in the last two and a half years are sufficient. This is stressing me out.

I have let the publications get slower because I have been trying to do my teaching at a higher level and that takes more time. Also, I’m having trouble doing the last formatting for my dissertation -> book (which is long overdue if I am going to do it).

Probably, also, I haven’t paid as much attention to getting published because he said I was good.

Now, that’s at issue.

In total I have one book, eleven journal articles, one chapter, seven reviews, and eleven creative pieces. Since I started here, though, it is two articles, one chapter, two reviews, and five creative pieces. The creative pieces won’t count at all. The reviews don’t count much. That leaves one chapter (not in my actual field) and two articles (in smaller, lesser known publications).

My boss was actually surprised to learn that they are both peer reviewed. He said I will need to mention that in my portfolio. Okay. I can do that.

Boss also asked about publication from a grant I received last year. I said I hadn’t published because I didn’t find what I expected to… He said I should try to get it published anyway. So, in addition to working on the conference paper and my portfolio, I will also have two articles to write. Where will I submit them? I don’t know. That’s also a problem.

Really I should get the stupid dissertation book formatted, printed, and sent in. That will be one more thing done. (But it’s hard, I whine.)

Foot Revelation

Today at the gym I was trying to do some exercises the trainer wanted done and I could not do them. When I walk, I put all my wait on the balls of my feet. I’ve had people tell me before that you are supposed to strike the heel when you walk, but I’ve never really done anything about it.

Today, though, I realized that the reason I couldn’t do the work is that I always put the pressure on the front of my feet–and maybe that is why the doctor said I have arthritis in my feet. The arthritis was bad enough this last summer that I couldn’t walk, so I went to the doctor to find out what the problem was. I thought I might have broken a bone, but it turned out to be arthritis.

When I asked the dr what arthritis was, just to give myself some breathing room, she basically explained it as exactly what happened with my jaw. So I’ve had arthritis since I was 16, at least. That actually makes sense to me. It explains why, even though I’ve given up nightshade foods, I still get aches in the joints. My allergy to nightshades gives me that, but so would arthritis.

Back to the gym:
So I was talking to my trainer and I said that in grade school, I remember being told I should not walk or stand like I did. Back then I would stand on the sides of my feet (the outside of them). That and the way I walked would wear out the shoes on the sides, while the rest of the shoe’s sole would look almost brand new. I can’t remember why I went to a doctor, but they said to quit doing that.

I am postulating, and I think I am correct, that sixth grade is when I started walking on the balls of my feet–instead of on the sides. So I’ve been misusing my feet for 40 years, not just the last three with the five-inch heels.

Maybe that’s why I was so likely to fall and sprain my ankle.

I need to start walking on my heels.