Archive for: August, 2011

On being half-naked in front of undergrads

Aug 30 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

WELL! That title got your attention, did it not?

First, though, my apologies for recent delinquencies in posting. As I described in the last post, the early days in NJC were mostly uneventful, and then J and I departed for a much needed week at the beach, so there's been little to report. We're back, though, and it's time to get READY! To be a PROFESSOR!


One thing that's always been critical to me feeling happy and generally good is the ability to exercise on a regular basis. I have more energy, I feel better about myself, and I eat more healthily when I'm working out. All good things! I was quite fond of my gym in New York--really fond, actually. As in, that may not have been sweat I was wiping from my eyes after my last spin class.  Sadly, NJC doesn't have the same chain, so I've been shopping around a little.

Gym 1 was sort of bare bones, and a trainer made me do a plank with my hands on a medicine ball (VERY HARD) in the middle of the sidewalk before he would give me a free week trial pass. Isn't there enough public humiliation involved in gym-going already, without broadcasting to the entire city exactly how pathetically weak your core is? I'm pretty sure I was being filmed. The gym is relatively affordable and is walking distance to my apartment, but they have very few classes, which I imagine will be packed once the students get back in town.

Gym 2 was FANCY. Naturally, I loved it there. Everything is beautiful and shiny and they have Kiehl's products in the locker rooms, which is pretty much reason enough for me to sign away a significant portion of each month's paycheck for the privilege of doing crunches on their well-maintained workout mats. They have a ton of classes and it's downtown, so there should be fewer students there (if any).

The third option is, of course, the NJC gym, which is half a block from my lab and it's my understanding is very nice, although I wouldn't know first hand because they WON'T LET ME IN YET. The gym costs almost nothing to go to and is certainly convenient, but here's the big question: will it be weird?

Starting in spring semester, I will be teaching undergrads. If I go to their gym, I'll not only bump into them all sweaty and whatnot or embarrass myself in yoga when I topple sideways doing the warrior pose (this has happened!), but will see them in the locker room, where at least one or all of us will probably be naked!  I'll be frank, I have never been one of those modest girls who use the bathroom stalls to change. In fact, I resent them when I have to pee.

I'd like to hear your thoughts, dear readers. Do you or would you work out in a gym where you could run into your students? Students, do you see your profs at the gym? Everyone, is it weird? Like, bad weird? And perhaps more serious than a little awkwardness, is there a chance that seeing my students in a gym-like scenario could alter the way they see me as an authority figure?

Take my poll, and please do elaborate in the comments!


32 responses so far

Filling the days in NJC

Aug 10 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

When I graduated from college--after, of course, I traipsed around Europe for a few weeks on the money I'd scraped together from tending bar junior and senior year--I moved to California by myself. I literally stepped off the plane with a backpack, a duffle, and my goldfish, Mack the Knife, whom I'd insisted on bringing and who survived the journey but died several days later, I imagine due to mineral content differences between east and west coast tap water.

What do you do when you're alone in a new city, with no job, no friends, nothing to ground you or give you a routine? The days kind of float around without meaning, and while I waited for my application at Starbucks to be processed, I rode my bike (a Huffy! LOL/sob) all over, sometimes went to the movies or bars by myself, and handed out my phone number to pretty much everyone I met.

Even though I've now relocated twice since then--once to grad school town and once to NYC for my post-doc--the move to NJC has me thinking more about those early days in the Bay Area than it does the more recent transitions, and I'm not sure why (though the memories are certainly entertaining). Because I DO have friends in NJC, quite a few, it turns out! Amazing what happens when you announce on the facebook that you're moving to NJC--suddenly, people you haven't spoken to since high school are all, "I live in NJC, too! Let's hang out!"

But of course, easier said than done, amirite? We're not 22 anymore; people have lives. Many people have children. So it's not like my social calendar is booked solid, you know? So, what have I been doing, now that the apartment is pretty much set, J is back in New York, and when I don't officially start work until the end of the month?

1. Visiting NJU. I've been a couple of times now for various meetings, and it's been great. Both the chair of the department and the head of my subdivision have been incredibly helpful and nice, and seem genuinely interested in doing whatever they can to make my transition go smoothly. Sub-head even helped me start my cultch pile--yesterday we looted the lab of someone who just left, and he gave me space in his own lab to store it while mine is still under construction. Speaking of.... here's a sneak peek!!

It's obviously just a gutted space right now, but the light is amazing, and I cannot get over the exposed brick. It's going to be the industrial loft I wish I were living in!

2.  Making a scene in Home Depot. J was here this weekend, and we took a Zipcar to Home Depot in anticipation of a little DIY home improvement. Waiting to check out, I remembered one last  thing we needed, and I hopped out of line to run and grab it. Picture of grace that I am, I tripped on the corner of a magazine rack, stubbing my pinky toe, and immediately uttered a string of colorful expletives before composing myself and going to get the thing. A few minutes later, I looked down and noticed that there was an impressive-looking pool of blood accumulating in my flip-flop. "OH MY GOD I'M BLEEEEDING!!" I shrieked, and seriously? It wouldn't stop! I had no idea a pinky toe could have so much blood in it. So much blood that was now not in my pinky toe, but on the floor of Home Depot. The cashier gave me a paper towel, but it was no match. A nice man who'd been waiting in a nearby line and apparently heard the ruckus came over and handed me a band-aid. Well played, sir! Anyway, I'm OK now, if you were worried.

3. Getting to know TiVo. My cable company apparently has a partnership with TiVo, which, for the uninitiated, is supposed to be like, Your Friend the DVR. Not only does it make all these "cute" beep-boop-boop sounds when you click around, but it records stuff that you didn't ask it to, because it thinks you will like it. Now, I don't know what I did to taint TiVo's impression of me, but so far it's recorded nothing but the trashiest of trashy reality TV: Pawn Stars, COPS (!!), Top Shot (I had to google this, apparently it is a show about guns!), Bridezillas, Judge Judy, and the show about the exterminator. WTF, TiVo?? We have a long way to go in this relationship.

4. Cultivating a chocolate addiction. On a total impulse buy in Trader Joe's, I bought this, 70% cacao chocolate bar with caramel and black sea salt and it is ROCKING MY WORLD.

The chocolate is bitter, the caramel sweet and buttery, and the salt is...salty, and....ahhhhhh. It is the best. And at $1.99, I am in deep, deep trouble.

5. Paperwork. For hiring a tech, getting protocols approved, etc. But that is boring to talk about.

12 responses so far

The first few days

Aug 02 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

....and we are LIVE in New Job City!

Holy hell, you guys, does moving suck or does it suck? It sucks, right?  It's amazing, really, the way in which you can look around your house/apartment and think, oh, I don't have that much stuff, really, just some pictures and candles and a few pieces of furniture, and then you try to put it all in boxes and you tape up a box, and then another and another, but the stuff doesn't go away! And then you the movers finally get all those boxes inside your new house/apartment and you think, God, I have SO MUCH STUFF! How on earth am I going to find a place for everything? But  you put stuff away and you put stuff away, and then you look around and say to yourself, Well! I guess I really don't have that much stuff after all! This is like, a Cuisinart away from monastic living. Give or take.

Anyway, that was my inner monologue over the course of the last 3 weeks or so. I'm happy that it is at least over-ish, insofar as I don't have to interact with awkward movers who "recommend" you tip them 20% on a $2000 move, and insofar as I've gotten almost everything out of boxes and into an enclosed space of some sort. I built a kitchen cart. I tried desperately to scrub mysterious stains off the walls of the bathroom and kitchen in New Apartment, as it is apparently not customary in NJC (as it is in NYC) to paint an apartment in between tenants. I reassured myself that I will get used to the pungent aromas that make their way up from the dumpsters directly below my living room window.

But grimy surfaces and odoriferous emanations aside, New Apartment is totally fine. It's in a nice neighborhood, and I can walk to New Job U and other local attractions. It is not the regal brownstone/repurposed industrial loft I imagined my professor self would inhabit, but it's got good light and is in fact the first apartment I've had in over ten years with a window in the bathroom and on-site laundry. So there's that! At any rate, it's only for a year, after which (fingers crossed) J will have found a job and we can afford a proper grownup apartment.

In other news, I'll be stopping by NJU this week to check on the progress of my lab's construction, and I am SO excited! I'll snap some pics if they let me. Or even if they don't let me, maybe I'll just be super clandestine about it. Sorry, just a text message...or something. Right now, here in the lab. Yes, it's very important.


11 responses so far