Saturday, February 2, 2008

Yes, there was Friday cat blogging (and various things on illness, ordination of women, Brigid, Candlemas, et al.)

Scroll down beyond the lament post below. Mrrrrowwww.

Me, I have been sick and stressed out. (The former doubtless influenced by the latter. Stress has been there for several weeks. Sickness crept up on me a day or two ago.) Not too badly sick, but trying to fend off something coldish or lungish or fluish. I have been taking homeopathic remedies and I slept all morning. (The same morning I was supposed to spend working to meet a major writing deadline after canceling a diocesan meeting I usually chair. But first things first.)

We have three finalists coming to town for a position in our department (Religious Studies, very small department, three and a half people, the half being an adjunct, so only three full-time tenure-track people). One came this past week -- intense visit as these always are (the poor candidate has to give a talk and be interviewed by two or three groups and about six or eight individuals one on one; my colleague Eric and I remember this all too well since he is only in his 4th year here and I in my 3d) but very good. All three candates are excellent. The next arrives Sunday night. The next the following Sunday night.

The position is in Islamic Studies and Social Ethics. We are a small department and everyone does more than one thing. But we are weighting the Islam training and teaching more heavily here.

Mercifully, classes are going well, much better than last semester. I know the material much better, I'm not hopelessly behind on returning written work, and there are fewer, um, challenging students. (Don't you love it when I understate? Must stay diplomatic. I do love my students but some absorb more energy than others.) But there is too much going on and unfortunately I cannot tell any of it to go away. The closest I came to that was deferring this morning's diocesan Anti-Racism Committee meeting till later this month - but that came at a price since I don't make such decisions without my executive committee and then one has to contact people (just writing isn't enough, you have to confirm everyone got the note) and make sure they don't show up at a church in the middle of the state and find no one there, etc etc. So that all takes time, though I had some help. And then I decided to take care of myself, and there went the morning. I am better but still not a happy puppy.

I also had to stay up writing a few little things because last night at midnight was the deadline for recommendations for applications to master's degrees at Harvard Divinity School and four of our best students are applying and I'd only finished one of the recommendations. And this is not something on which one does a sloppy job since we're talking people's lives and education here. I am very proud of my little darlings - not just of these but of the ones who are headed for service projects and nonprofit work after they graduate this coming spring. We have an unusual number of altruistic students at this college, many of them in our department. Some of them, in fact, are the same applying for further study; they want to use their education to serve others. So I stayed up writing essays about how fabulous and creative these youngsters are, and fortunately these days you can upload the essays and fill in all the check-this and rate-that part online. But it's still work.

So I have been a little overwhelmed. Those of you who pray, please send a few prayers my way.

P.S. Maya Pavlova acted like a hellion this noon after I woke up and tried to apply her monthly dose of anti-flea stuff. I have the scratches to prove it.

P.P.S. Happy Candlemas! And happy Brigid Day plus one! I have fallen down on the job in the saints department. For a fine Brigid reflection, see here. Some scholars and several tellers of stories (sometimes the same people) view Brigid as an ordained bishop. Abbesses and abbots had authority often equal to that of a bishop. So either answer may be correct :-). Most recent thing I have read in this general area is by the eminent scholar (and all-around great guy) Gary Macy in his recent Santa Clara Lecture, which I just got in the mail recently. His related and latest book (from Oxford University Press, if you please) is on the ordination of women in early medieval Europe. (You read that right.) But I have to go have some herbal tea. Talk amongst yourselves.


johnieb said...

Miss Scarlett wishes to thank Miss Maya Pavlova for encouraging her human servant to post on the benefits of cat TV, which has gotten Miss S's human to re-arrange the study in a more fitting manner, so as to observe the birds and squirrels from both sides of the nest. Also, she notes that flea meds are a disgusting human invention, at least in their manner of application. Poppa's left wrist still, after six months, bears testimony to this obvious fact: Hmmmph.

I am grateful that there is some ease (classes) in your demanding schedule, and continue to pray for your well-being and for your coming examinations.

pj said...

Hey! I'm glad you weren't too sick or busy to ogle my literary hunk! :)

We've got sickness here, too. PJ jr. has strep. Officially. Fortunately they've given him the orange-flavored medicine, so all is well. I've got a scratchy throat and some mysterious aches myself. And, while I'm not as busy as you, I do have work to do. Bleh.

Take care of yourself, Ms. Jane!

Dennis said...

it is pretty amazing to see faculty who work hard on student recommendations like that.

I really hope that they appreciate what you are doing because with so many students needing rec letters lately many faculty just do a slapdash job, even for their good students.

FranIAm said...

Jane how are you feeling? It is very moving to see the dedication and love you have for those in your world and in your care. Peace to them and to you.

Shannon said...


I would love to be a student of yours, even if just for a week. The art and history and food and the wonderfulness of it all... sigh. One of these days.