I said I’d catch people up on how it’s been for me here in snowy Appleton, WI since Betty left on the 10th – more than two weeks ago. Mostly, I’ve been busy teaching. I’m somewhat convinced I do more homework for my classes than my students do, whether in preparing discussion questions, in-class lectures, or even reviewing readings or documentaries I want them to watch.

Other than that, I go outside on the front porch to smoke, since I can’t smoke in the resident housing, and that’s definitely been interesting. I find myself a little less able to focus with the huge decrease in nicotine consumption, actually. But so far I don’t seem to be eating more, & that, at least, is a good thing. It’s also a good thing to smoke less because the air is so cold; asthmatics must have a time of it here. The one thing I am sure of know is that if I could ever keep my habit at about 5 a day (which is what I’m smoking here), I wouldn’t bother quitting.

It’s quiet – other than today’s fire alarm that got triggered when my next door neighbor burnt his lunch – and the daily scraping sounds of the snow plows and shovels. I’m not complaining, by any means; as long as I don’t have to shovel, they can make as much scraping sounds as they want, and at 5am if need be.

Teaching itself is really interesting work and I’m a little amazed at how good a job it is – teaching two courses, which is what I’m doing, is considered a full-time teaching load – but also how time-consuming. I enjoy watching the lighbulbs go on, the same as I do when I’m giving a workshop for trans people at a conference.

And in fact I met some local trans people just this week, & I’m hoping to meet some in Milwaukee in a few weeks as well.

In some ways it’s a break from New York, a trade off: instead of high densities of crime and people and ethnicities, we get an awful lot of snow, an awful lot of Packers fans, & an awful lot of fish.

But in either place, mostly I spend my free time reading about gender: more on some of the new stuff I’ve discovered in another post.

3 Replies to “Catchup”

  1. Oh yes, the smoking outside thing. I tried to quit smoking and did a pretty good job of it until we had to go to a wedding with the whole entire family and I picked one up and haven’t stopped since. We don’t smoke in our homes, so going outside in this cold weather does seem to make one cut back on the actual process to get dressed, put your shoes on and walk out the door.
    I take it fish isn’t something you care to eat? I’m originally from Florida and ate so much growing up, that I can’t eat another bite. I do love to go fishing. I do the catch and release method, so not to have to clean it and cook it.
    Your a great teacher on the subjects at hand. It’s amazing how much information I’ve received just in these few short weeks along with the different view points of others.

  2. oh, smoking! i remember it. listen, i only smoked 1 cigarette a day & my husband extracted a promise from me to quit, about 3 years ago now, which i’ve actually kept. he’s what i like to call a health nut. he hasn’t had a french fry or kernel of popcorn in decades. me, i like it all, from high cuisine to the lowest of the low. boy, i do miss smoking, though.

  3. Helen:
    Yes, two courses are definitely a full time load! Most university professors figure four hours of prep time for every one hour in the class room if one is dedicated to your discipline-subject and your students. So if you are teaching two courses that are “three (3) semester hour” courses, a dedicated professor will spend twelve hours outside class each week for each class just to get ready for the lectures. Thats 24 hours a week just in prep time for two three hour courses! Then there are the lecture times themselves and “office hours” for the students. Its a busy job!

    Yet, when one of your students comes secretly to you and says, “you have changed my life.”…. Your heart soars especially considering the content of your course.

    It will happen Helen, especially considering the love you bring to your “curriculum”. 🙂


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