Well, the semester is…

Well, the semester is wrapping up. Time for a status update:

  • Academia: I have a big pile of papers and portfolios to grade in the next few days, and then I get a blessed week of vacation before my summer teaching start. I'm only teaching one course, a four-week intensive from May 18 - June 18, and after that I get two months free from teaching. It's hard to imagine right now; much as I love teaching (and after ten+ years, I still, amazingly, do), it will also be lovely to have a long stretch of vacation.

  • Kavya: is mostly a delight these days. I'm still sort of astonished by how much easier and more fun she became, starting around 18 months. She'll be two years old on May 18th, and while I could wish that bedtime were less of a struggle, and that she would reliably sleep through the entire night, aside from that, she's just a little bundle of charm and joy these days. Also, she has discovered that she likes things that are 'pretty' and will preen ridiculously when we put her in an outfit that she thinks is 'pretty'. It's a little scary to see her be so girly, but also very cute, especially when she starts twirling to make her dress flare out.

  • Pregnancy: Oh, my god, the second trimester is so much better, I can't tell you. I'm at seventeen weeks, three days at the moment, and the nausea is gone (except when something smelly (good or bad, esp. bad) is within three feet of me, at which point I come very close to hurling, every single time). The exhaustion is greatly reduced -- oh, I'm still a bit more tired than normal, but compared to the first trimester, it's barely noticeable. I'm a little clunky getting out of bed, but just barely still. If I laugh too hard, I tend to pull stretched muscles in my lower abdomen. I need to be careful about lifting heavy things. But my appetite is mostly back to normal, and in general, pregnancy symptoms are minimal. I could wish that I were a little more obviously pregnant, so I wouldn't feel quite so fat, but another month should take care of that. I do like that my belly is nice and firm to the touch now. Looking forward to 'quickening' -- I want to start feeling this baby move! Another month or two...

  • Exercise: I did twenty minutes of prenatal yoga yesterday. That's something, right? Also, going up and down the stairs a ton lately, what with all the packing up of stuff. But need more exercise -- I think I can deal with the pregnancy weight gain if I feel more toned, healthy, and energetic overall.

  • Writing: Several folks have written in with positive comments on AP -- a few are even glowing. Which is a huge relief. I secretly love this book, I think, although it's taken me a while to get there, and I was afraid that I was the only one who would. Memoirs are particularly weird that way, I think. Why should anyone else care about my life, after all? Do I really have anything that interesting to say about it? I think so, but, it's good to have some reassurance that yes, people are interested. I haven't gotten comments from my agent yet; hopefully by next Monday. I've also got some good suggestions for revision -- nothing radical, but helpful comments that will let me sharpen the book overall. Unsurprisingly, the most polished section is the first third, which has been workshopped and revised several times now. But some of the best material, I think, is about dating Kevin and Karina, which is mostly in the last third. So there's some balance there, anyway. :-) My tentative plan: finish revisions to AP by mid-June, get it out in the mail, one way or another. And then, mid-June - mid-August, rewrite YA fantasy novel. Should be a fun summer project.

  • Housing: We're definitely putting this place on the market. The buying plan is a little less clear -- Oak Park is still likely, but there's also still some chance of other possibilities, even maybe not in Chicago. Depends a lot on some complex stuff with the university. We'd like to stay in Chicago... But regardless, we hope to sell this place either this summer or next year. Selling this summer would be better, even if it might end up with us renting for a year while things are uncertain job-wise, because it'd be a lot easier to pack up the place without a new infant in the mix. Cross your fingers for us...

  • De-cluttering: The next two weeks are mostly going to be de-cluttering, moving stuff into storage. So far this week, the living room is almost clear -- need to put away the stereo, find a storage place, and put the stereo table and a bunch of boxes of toys into storage. I also started on our bedroom (at the opposite end of the house), putting away most of my non-maternity clothes, which gives us packing material to cushion all the framed family photos I took down from the stairwell. It's a good opportunity to give up on some clothes that I haven't worn in years and years, so someone else can enjoy them. I also went to Target and got some beautiful cherry wood hangars at a surprisingly cheap price, so the few clothes that will be left will look quite lovely in our half-empty closets. That's a tip from one of the home staging shows. :-) I've only done one section so far, but it does look amazing. Really, how many shirts does one girl need? Fifteen-twenty should be plenty, right? So why did I have close to a hundred? (Most of which didn't fit anymore is the real reason -- that's three different sizes of shirt we're talking about: size 8-10 (hah!), size 10-12 (sigh), and size 14-16/maternity, which is what I can actually wear right now.)

  • Garden: The garden is coming along nicely. More of an update once I take some photos.

  • Yarn: I finished my cousin's baby gifts, except for sewing on some ribbon. Ditto more detail with photos soon. Next project: put aside my sister's long-overdue birthday present as it is now too warm to wear it and make her something else entirely that she can use this summer. Is bright blue too intense for a market bag? I have this cool yarn...

  • Kriti: Coming along nicely -- need to add a few more confirmed panelists, start finalizing programming line-up. Starting to ramp up into high gear -- a little more than a month until actual festival. Eep!

  • Citizenship: I had my citizenship interview yesterday, where they didn't actually ask any of the history questions they'd told me to study. Maybe the interviewer figured that a professor who'd lived in this country for thirty-six years would probably know these things? I don't know, but I was relieved anyway. I was pretty sure I'd remember that Roland Burris and Dick Durbin were my senators, that Luis Gutierrez was my rep., that there were 435 representatives in the House and 27 amendments, that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and James Madison co-wrote the Federalist Papers, but since I didn't know any of these things last Friday, I wasn't quite sure. Oh, so the upshot was that I've been approved for citizenship, about $1400 poorer than when we started the process. One application filed incorrectly almost doubled the total cost, sigh -- thank god we can afford it these days, I feel so sorry for poor people with English as a second language trying to deal with the confusing, stressful, anxiety-laden process, even though the all the actual INS folks I talked to were very nice and clearly trying to streamline it all as much as they could. They're going to send me an appointment letter for my actual oath-taking ceremony. As you know, I've felt somewhat ambiguous about this whole citizenship thing, but I can't deny that walking out of their offices yesterday, I felt really astonishingly happy.

One thought on “Well, the semester is…”

  1. I read your citizenship post from when you spoke at the Voices of Resistance in September. Aside from never wanting to spend the money, because really, it’s not about the money considering I’ve spent and lost it 5 times over in the last 7 years, the reason I’ve not become a U.S. citizen is that I don’t want to renounce my country – Canada.

    The Canadian national anthem says, “Oh Canada, my home and native land”. It IS my home though not my native land. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished I was born in Canada and not Trinidad. My first memory as 2 yr old was of the plane ride to Canada. I hate that my green card says Trinidad and not Canada. I’m not a citizen of Trinidad. I feel no allegiance to the country. And I am pretty sure they don’t think much of me, either.

    Someone with dual citizenship told me you just lie and say yes you renounce your former country of citizenship. It seems wrong. And I just have problem with that.

    I always knew that if I committed a felony, I could be sent to serve my time in a Canadian prison. Which, quite honestly, is like a country club to American prisons. But I have no plans on committing any felonies. I didn’t realize it was any crime that could send me packing. With 2 children, I should really do this. And it has happened so quickly for you. I thought it would have been a much longer, drawn out process. Thanks for the info!!

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