1. To the odd recent overabundance of male midlife crisis novels: 

  • Spending by Mary Gordon. No longer a new novel, but the first one I’ve found in my stack that provided just what I needed. The Times reviewer concedes that the sex scenes are “prettily written” (!), but they are truly erotic. And the novel appeals not just to the physical, but to the emotional and psychic desires of a middle aged woman (writer, artist, intellectual)  reader, too. 

2. To the heat of the day:

  • 7am runs along the river (with, finally, a lightweight water bottle that is easy to carry).  I had no idea how much I see that early: interesting couples (who probably don’t want people to know they are couples); groups of mothers and strollers (try that on a single track trail); runners in their pjs (really–they are not in running clothes); lots of dogs (off leash of course); oh, yes, and deer, rabbits, fish, osprey….

3. To lugging the laptop to do work elsewhere:

  • A 10.1″ HP Netbook.  Ok, so some of my antidotes are a bit consumerist, but really, the netbook is light, fits in my purse, and at least the version I have has a keyboard that is 90% full sized, so I can really type on it.  I’m using Open Office on it, not storing anything important on it (so no Quicken), and it’s much faster than my 4 year old laptop.  It’s been a treat walking downtown to one of the many local coffee or tea houses; and I can’t wait to try flying with it once conference season begins this fall….

4. To a messy, dusty, disorganized, full of 10-year-old files,  office:

  • Being forced to pack everything for the big move (in 3 weeks!) to my NEW, larger office.  I’m going lite: trying to get rid of paper files that I rarely look at, and all those versions of the Norton and Heath anthologies that I have (because I don’t want to lose the NOTES I have in each version).  All being discarded.  My blue recycle bin overfloweth (much to the custodial staff’s displeasure).  New office: a bit further up the hill on campus, but it has THREE windows, on two walls.  Hanging plants may actually survive…(thus, this is also an antidote to claustrophobia and lack of oxygen during the school year).

5. To the high cost of student textbooks:

  • On the quarter system, we currently have 3 quarter-length required writing courses (soon to be downgraded to two, but that requires an entire blog whine to write about).  Students rarely take the same professor for all three courses since professors rarely get the same time block or teach all three courses fall, winter, spring.  As a result, students end up buying three textbooks for the year—and it’s nearly impossible for an instructor to make full use of an entire textbook in 10 weeks. So, this year I found 2 texts I”m using for Composition I and II: Faigley’s Backpack Writing 2nd, ed., (Longman, 2010)  and Graff/Birkenstein’s They Say, I Say (Norton 2006) (other instructors use both texts, so I am hoping that at least some students will benefit). Of course, I’m now totally revising my syllabi (or should be: see below).

6. To the need to balance solitude time with social time:

  • I don’t have an antidote to this, yet (unless I actually replace all social face to face contact with Facebook since most of my friends are there, too). I’m really quite social–I LIKE seeing friends regularly. I love when they drop in or call for a get together. But then, the next day after a long run (something I obsessively never give up) I regret the lost hours of reading and writing. 

7. To peri menopausal/hormonal sleep disorders:

  • I do NOT sleep well, and when I do, I toss and turn. I regularly get up after midnight and read on the futon.  This, as you all can imagine,is somewhat disruptive to our wedded bliss.  Hubby and I (who are not large people–sort of on the smaller size at 5’3″ and small framed for me  and thin despite the beer belly 5′ 10″ for him) are considering getting a king sized bed.  I have great reservations about this for a variety of reasons: a. our bedroom barely fits the Queen sized bed, so the dresser will probably have to go somewhere (where?) else, and b. the floor heating vent is in such an odd location that it would have to be moved to fit a king sized bed, and c. it seems so damned decadent. 
  • Does anyone else have a king sized bed? Wanna try to convince me that it’s going to actually allow us to sleep together all night long?  Or should I just wait another 5 years or so until menopause arrives and passes?

8. To life’s little things:

  • Blogging about them here or on FB.