Sunday, November 30, 2008

November Peregrinations

As noted in the previous post, this has been a brutal and busy month. It started out on November 1 with a trip to Mar*us Fest (the annual party thrown by one of TH's colleagues and his German wife on the occasion of their son's birthday as a really good excuse to lure people up in the foothills to drink. So far, Mar*us seems to be okay with this.) It was fun a night, lots of good food and drink and company, including a very cool cat. Alas, the next morning brought news that my FIL had died entirely unexpectedly the previous night. This was an unbelievably bad smack in the gut for TH, who wrote his dad's obituary all day Sunday and for the next few days helped to coordinate arrangements or a Friday memorial service. We spent ridiculous amounts of energy making arrangements to leave town--organizing MP2's flight, our own flights (bereavement fares are a good deal, but the limited hours of flight aren't so good), hotels, etc. Then, we had to get our classes squared away--and for me, my absence from the first meeting of our associate dean search. My dean was really decent about that, and kept me on the committee and in the loop. It was a tough five or six days, with some bitter sweet moments of getting to visit (and engage in serious gossiping and catching up on my alma mater's academics) with my FIL's colleagues during the reception following the memorial service). We were also able to see my mom, which was really good for us and for her.

Back here in mid-November, the three search committees I am serving on this semester are on full speed ahead--hoping to bear fruit before the semester is out. We interviewed our long list at the AAAs and came away with several really good (but entirely different!) canidates for on-campus interviews. The meetings always fall on my birthday. I used this as an excuse to get TH to come in for the last two days--but the truth is that he is still in a funk and freaked out over his dad's death and I didn't want him to be home alone for 4 days. I did Chinatown with the gals on Thursday nite and with him (again) on Saturday (we had both lunch and dinner at Cafe de la Presse--YUM). Sunday we toured the Ferry Building and bought all kinds of good food and drink after checking out of the hotel. Having spent 5 or 6 days in a hotel earlier in the month, I was not all that happy to be in another one for the latter part of the month (although I had excellent roomates down the hall on both sides, who provided wine and roses and late night laughs and gossip:). Nonetheless, I have probably never been happier to get the hell out of a SF hotel, than I was this year. The weather was gorgeous and made for some great city walking. The last week has been filled with two of the searches (the one I'm chairing and another one for a t-t asst. prof in another program). This last one will conclude this week. But this means only a tiny bit of new down-time, since ours is ramping up for the short lister visits, and then during finals week, I'll be holed up in the associate dean interviews. I'm really curious and crossing my fingers over that outcome. (I was participating in the last meeting of this committee by conference call during the AAAs, and by some bizarre fluke of logic and numbers that is still not entirely clear to me--only three of my own--and at least 4 other peoples'--top four candidates made it onto the short-list of four). In truth, I feel like there are only two people who could really step right in with minimal pain/maximum gain for the college. We shall see.

At any rate, job searches have taken over the better part of my waking hours as we, in California so-called higher education, race against the legislature's lousy budgeting and the governator's "I am an entrepreneur, I can balance the budget" naivety and hatchet-lowering.

TH and I went walking along the river yesterday and 6 (six!!) deer crossed the trail a couple hundred feet away from us: a buck, doe, baby-buck and 3 baby-does). It was a beautiful site to behold in the city.

Sorry to say that our university restaurant actually had this "centerpiece" in a private dining room during a search committee luncheon. I had to photograph it with my phone just to prove how bad it is (but I was too embarassed to stand still so the photo wasn't equally bad!).

Late 19th/early 20th century Maori cloak KM and I dragged down from the loft.

Historic place-making on the Embarcadero--across from the restored Ferry Bldg.

No caption needed; welcome to San Francisco.

Pier 39

Father and daughter buying morning sweets in the Ferry Bldg.

A private school in Chinatown.

A cool building that a night-time iphone photo simply cannot do justice.

Our view from the restaurant where we had Sunday lunch. Yup, that's a rabbit in a dress.

The Bay Bridge and Treasure Island from the Pier near the Ferry Building.

Wine and roses on the occasion of the birthday.
Champagne the next night. Someone knows how travel.

(Above) Macy's window dresser trying to make Xmas happen.

Just liked the sign--that's all.

Ye olde campus quad.

Kiddies at my favorite shopping mall--we choose our hotel back home based on proximity to it.

TH indulges in dessert the day after the memorial service. He couldn't finish it. For once.

MP1 and MP2 do a sound check before the service.

FIL's on-campus home for nearly half a century.

On campus, before we left for home, Prop. 8 opponents and proponents squared off the day before the election. At least the presidential outcome was good.

Mar*us Fest (above and below)

No photos of Thanksgiving, but let it be said that there was lots of good food, toasting of a certain associate professor I know, and a miraculous win (by me!) of the card game. Now to the grading....