A Few ‘Quick’ Updates

I know the blog’s been quiet.  Here’s what’s been going on: 

1) My cat has lymphoma. After several weeks of stress as he went in and out of the kitty cat hospital, it’s good to have a diagnosis, but it’s not a good diagnosis to have. Right now we’re treating him at home and he’s tolerating chemotherapy well, but treatment of feline lymphoma is about slowing the progress of the disease and giving the cat a good quality of life in his final months or years (and, yes, there’s no way to know for how long the treatment will be effective), not about curing him. And, for the record, handling cytotoxin at home is a pain in the derriere, but I’m thrilled that we can do so.

2) I’ll be defending my thesis on Friday. This isn’t that big of a deal, because it’s a creative thesis and, really, anything wrong with my research can be dismissed with, “It worked better for the story that way.” But, nonetheless, it’s a bit stressful.

3) I’ll be taking the comprehensive exit examination (an all-weeked, take-home essay test covering all the literature I studied in the program plus all the “canon” novels and stories I should have read as an English major) the following weekend. Unlike the thesis defense, this is a major source of stress, because I’m really not looking forward to the prospect of writing 25 pages about, for example, Madame Bovary, and  there are quite a few of those “canon” books I never actually made it through.

4) For those who’ve been following the drama regarding a job for next semester, I’ve been approved at the college where I’m supposed to be teaching in the spring provided my degree formally posts before the 12th of January. Pending successful completion of #2 and #3 above, I will have done everything I can do to make that happen, but I can’t make any promises about Fresno State’s data entry practices. Meanwhile, I have syllabi to write, including trying to figure out how to teach both a three-day-a-week and a two-day-a-week version of the same class.

5) The college I was teaching at this semester and where I’m supposed to be teaching this summer still hasn’t told me whether or not I’ve been approved down there, even though the committee was supposed to make a decision almost two weeks ago.

6) Meanwhile, I’m trying to finish up my final semester of my own coursework and stay on top of the creative writing class I’m currently teaching.

7) On a non-academic note, I got cast in a production of Tosca. I’ve really missed singing with the opera chorus (I had to give it up while in grad school), but, oh my, has my Italian gotten rusty. I don’t think I’ve sung in Italian in 15 years. To make matters worse, due to communication SNAFUs I won’t know whether I’m a tenor or a baritone until the first rehearsal, so right now I’m staring at all the parts with no idea what to prep.

8) And in writing news, Fantasy for Good featuring my first fantasy story, “Man of Water,” is due out in just over a week. Piers Anthony’s November 2014 newsletter called out my story as one of the more memorable from the anthology, which, frankly, made my head spin for about three days. I grew up reading Piers Anthony. That was a real treat.

9) Oh, and in case anyone hadn’t noticed, it’s the holidays.

10) And, just in time for the holidays, we’ve been the victims of identity theft and are without a credit card until the bank can get us a new one.

Hopefully, (ir)regular blogging will resume when life stabilizes. Meanwhile, I hope your lives remain happy and productive.


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