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2009-12-18 - 10:34 a.m.

...eventful week...

Herr Whiteside packed up his bags and left on Tuesday, 12 hours after my, "So what are your plans for getting an apartment?" conversation with him. He took a less-desirable place (there were several less-desirable places, it seems), and will move into one of his preferred options on the first of January. He left in Whitesidian fashion, asking me a host of mumbled questions just as I was racing out the door to get to my student's thesis defense on time.

I know that my impatience with him was justified, but I still feel guilty about his being alone on Christmas, and for how he wound up leaving. About the fact that he does not know anyone in this city, and that he does not seem to have a clue of how he alienated his hosts. I think I learned something for next time.

And speaking of student first student defended this week. It was a very close call. I was horrified to learn this fall that this poor student couldn't write his way out of a box. Furthermore he's careless rather than meticulous. Not a good mix with his current supervisor who gets antsy when she sees that a 't' has not been crossed properly. I spent a LOT of time during the past two months wading through incomplete and run-on sentences, misplaced pronouns and prepositions, awkward formulations and vague phrases. Fifteen drafts. I can tell you that I spend many many moments on the dangerous edge of implosion.

The defense was far from a cakewalk, too. I think that my student is a very smart young man, but he tends to err on the side of hubris. Other students in the audience thought that his committee members were 'brutal.' But I think that we asked fair questions, and we made sure that he was aware of what he does not know, and what he needs to learn. So it was about as much fun as getting one's teeth drilled.

Speaking of which, I've also had the first of my poor teeth drilled and filled this week. Ugh. It seems that when my wisdom teeth were removed in my late 20s, the surgeons yanked too hard on my jaw and injured the joint. Combine that with overdeveloped muscles from extensive grinding, and I simply cannot open my mouth. The dental assistant was using a jaw block (the little rubber thing that holds the jaw open) that they normally use on their three-year-old patients. Not a party.

But on the positive side of things, it looks as though my back is finally healing. I've intensified some core-strengthening exercises and the daily stretches really seem to be helping. And that is super news. Nothing like a back injury to make you chronically cranky.

And so, on the Friday before Christmas, I have lots of overdue projects sitting on my desk. I've gotten through the first half of the admin stuff (bank, transit office, re-imbursements, defense paperwork), and now I need to deal with my future travel plans (such as how does one actually leave a city quietly during the Olympics??), paper reviews, etc. Merry Happy everything.

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