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Tenure track, twins and prenatal loss

Life of late has been crazy busy. Technically the tenure clock is paused this year as I toll, yet the 2 year NHRPC grant kicked off last September as I returned from maternity leave, and I continue to make a stab at research and writing in the interim. But my life has changed quite a bit (and as such, the intermittent absence of the blog).

We welcomed twins last May, who are currently inches away from walking and continue to keep me on my toes in a daily whirlwind of activity. They came into this world exactly a year and a day after our devastating full term loss in 2015. Life is strange and odd, and often I find that I am still reeling when I think about the unexplained loss of our first. It has been difficult to move on, and feel a huge part of my heart remains with that baby. There are constant reminders- friends who had successful births around the same time remind me of the huge, gaping hole in our lives when I see their little one, or walking by the tree my amazingly thoughtful coworkers had planted on the campus grounds near the library in his honor. I continue to wear a necklace with some of his ashes contained in the black onyx heart and his name etched on the back. In the midst of all these emotions, there has been the looming job expectations of a tenure track position that don't give much room for complex grief and little ones.

I have had a pile of things on my bed stand I have wanted to read in the last year, which seems to grow a little taller every week. I'm often too exhausted or not interested in reading after the marathon that is getting 10 month olds to bed every night. But, I did have a recommendation recently from a colleague on the work/life balance that I somehow managed to read in just a few days (in part, thanks to the recent snow day!). It's called Professor Mommy. I found it to be a very real, honest look at academia for women who find themselves with two jobs- at home and the university. I skipped over the teaching bits, since that doesn't apply for me, and found alot of useful information throughout the book (particularly on really being selective on what you spend your time on!). And even a few tips on how to get some writing done when time is sparse. The one part of the book that I really simply did not agree with in the least was a short passage on selected citations in your publications. The authors feel that at some point in time, you must cite practically every top academic in your respective niche, mainly for the idea that they could be reviewing your file down the road. I'm sure there is strategy in this mindset, but maybe I'm more a purist when it comes to this issue. I only want to cite when it's relevant and exciting work- not as a means to complement someone's ego. And to echo an amazing 1 credit course at the University of Washington I found out about recently, entitled 'Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data', I'd like to also call BS. Not to say there's some great work from these folks that I would cite, but I also wouldn't cite without reason.

Anywho- This was way off the usual digital projects banter, which I will return to shortly, I promise. Besides the grant work, we are also about to wrap up the student newspaper project in the coming months. I am very excited to have this project almost wrapped. Newspaper is quite tedious in bulk. We had been scanning primarily from the bound volumes in the past batches, but for preservation reasons, sent microfilm out for the earlier issues this time around. More on this later.


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