...to make an announcement: 4 August will be my last day at work as a manager in the DVC(E) portfolio at Sydney University. Sandra West and I have a Big Trip planned until early October, then I will be a Lady of Leisure or housewife or retired person or writer or casual education worker, depending on the time of day or day of the week or whatever I feel like doing. This is mega big for me, but it feels right. Mostly. I will be very sad to leave a workplace that has supported me for 12 years, but I'm ready for different challenges now. Phew! Now I've told youse all I guess it must be true.
Here I am. Still working at the University of Sydney in the same position - but the position has changed. How has it changed, you ask? I laugh hollowly. Who would know? We are in the middle of a restructure, so there is much that is not clear. This includes the identity of our new Director.
But I have decided I've had enough of this uncertainty, and am now working only three days a week. This decision has meant that I have been able to get some health issues attended to, which has been great. I am not as pressured in the work I do for the Knitters' Guild as the membership secretary, and i get to smell the roses more often. I am very happy with this arrangement.
Last weekend I spent a day at the Writers Centre in Rozelle, listening to loads of people who make their living at writing. This has encouraged me to think of myself as a writer again - since I completed my PhD I haven't found it easy to write systematically. The day was organised by Ben Law, and he did a fine job of selecting writers who were prepared to be honest about the joys and frustrations and practicalities of writing for money. They made me think.
One thing that was really interesting was that most of the panellists (broadcasters, publishers, writers, performers) were under 40, and most of the audience was over... I'll be charitable and say 55, but many of them were much older. There were some younger audience members, but not many. And nearly everyone I spoke to was writing, or wanting to write, a memoir. I suppose when you get to 60 and you've lived through very fast-moving times, as we have, you might feel you've got something to say. But whatever it was they didn't seem able to sum it up for me, so I'll not be holding my breath waiting for their books. Harsh? Maybe. But when someone trundles out a list of grievances that they feel sum up their interesting life I don't feel inspired to make a note of their name. When someone feels that the experience of growing up in Canberra in the 50s should be enough to swing a whole book deal off, I'm not excited (especially when a random person at a festival says "Oh! It would be interesting to reflect on how and why it changed later!" and are met with a blank look). If someone had said that their memoir was going to have a theme of [pretty much anything], I might have stopped to talk. They didn't.
Yes, I'm writing bits of a memoir. And yes, it does have a theme, which I will reveal when I've done some more thinking. And reading. And writing. Which reminds me: One woman asked our lunch table of random strangers whether they were writers or readers. I was the only person who claimed to be both. How can you write if you don't read?
And of course there is knitting. I made a pair of socks for my supervisor, and heres a picture of them.
A group of ten of us (including Sally) spent the afternoon at High Tea which was spectacular - both service and food. Highly recommend. It was a great and easy way to celebrate. And, in the usual way of things, it turned out that Sally's sister's ex-husband used to teach with my supervisor at a College in the UK. World, small.
I've done my emendations, my thesis is presently at the printers, and I will be graduating on 8 November. In the meantime, you can dowload my thesis "Living in Liminal Space: The PhD as accidental pedagogy" here if you'd like to read it.
Last week I was in NZ, visiting family and attending the HERDSA conference. I arrived back on Thursday night, the soonest I could get back, by which time Sandra was in hospital waiting for a knee relacement on Friday morning.
Her op went well, and she put her feet to the floor this morning for the first time. But she won't be home for another ten days or so as she's going to rehab for a few days first.
It feels like we've hardly had any normal time together for weeks - actually, we haven't. So I'm looking forward to a return to a more normal pace very soon.
I am finally feeling better, as of two
weeks ago when i was given a different antibiotic. Memo to self: don't see
registrars at the GP practice. They are kind and well-meaning, but they don't
know you. One of them actually refused to look at my history, and took
me off on a completely wrong track for a week. I still have a squarky voice, but I feel I am recovered.
Sandra has been teaching in Sao Paulo for two weeks. This is the same gig as she had two years ago, except that was in Palma de Majorca. This time I couldn't go for various reasons (including not having any leave), and I'm not sorry. She found it quite difficult – they were staying in a fairly ugly and slightly dangerous part of town, there were demonstrations every day which completely blocked all traffic, and she didn't find Sao Paulo in general to be the loveliest of cities. But I did miss her a lot.
I have had a chapter accepted for a book on women's experiences of supervising PhD students and being supervised. The editor said very nice things.
Next up - trip to NZ at the end of next week to visit family and attend the HERDSA conference, at which I am presenting on my PhD research.
The day I get back from NZ Sandra goes into hospital to have a knee replacement.
Work is insanely busy, and my boss has been told to organise a symposium on MOOCs to be held as soon as I return from NZ. Of course, I am the person he has delegated to actually organise it. Which is fine, but why can't people read what is written in their emails?