Well, we are now two weeks into teaching at the University of Maryland j-school, which is situated in an absolutely lovely, modern, glassed-in building with a decent coffee bar on the ground floor on one edge of the campus. The first week was a tad rocky as I had not done this sort of thing in 10 years but this past Wednesday flowed a bit better, I thought. There’s been all sorts of details re class books, assignments and even the balky AV equipment to work out. After the first class, I knew there was no way I could lecture for nearly three hours straight again so I contacted several religion reporter friends and asked them to show up as guest speakers just to give the students – and me – a break. The first one shows up next week as we discuss ways to cover Catholics. The staff are as nice as can be and I even have my own mail slot in the faculty lounge as well as a skeleton key of sorts to get into the rooms. I attended a pizza dinner for all the adjuncts just before the term began and there were quite a few from all manner of media outlets. The college could not run without us, that’s for sure.
The downside is that I’m actually losing money by working there. When I get a check every other week, it knocks out the money I’d ordinarily get for unemployment. Yes, am still on the government dole as I am working various part-time gigs but nothing full-time. When you’re honest and actually report that you made a bit of money here and there, the system punishesyou by subtracting that from the little amount that you get each week from the feds. And yes, the unemployment check is sizeably more than what one gets as an adjunct. And so when I got handed a whopping bill from the vet this afternoon after taking my elderly tabby in for some teeth cleaning (her breath was really smelling bad in recent months and my other cat nearly died last year because I had delayed getting her teeth done), that alone took up two weeks worth of adjunct pay.
It’s been amazingly warm here and we’ve only had a touch of snow once. The days are already getting longer. Veeka is taking pottery and swim classes. Even though French fries are a major diet staple, she is still a thin little thing so she shivers in the water during lessons. And so I found a kiddie wetsuit for my little mermaid which she tried on tonight and just loves. I am thrilled to see her getting the kicks down; now if she can only figure out what to do with her arms.
Today’s photos are courtesy of Joey Marguerite, a Seattle-area friend who swung by last fall and who hopefully is soon to release a wildly popular best-selling CD of her music.