24 April 2007

The Twelve Days of Four

April 22 through May 3 are very special days around here, viewed through the eyes of a four-and-three-quarter-year-old, because we match. We all have a four. I am 44, Curious Girl is 4 (and three-quarters), and Politica is 40.

May 4, Curious Girl gets a 5, and we will no longer match. (Although in a few months, I'll match with her, turning 45, and that is a happy-making prospect.) In honor of these very special days, I'm going to use the experience of four-ness as an invention strategy, with a series of posts inspired by four. To open, I'll catch up with three sets of four, and we'll see how the series develops:

Four Things I Like About Being Department Chair
1. Curious Girl says that I am the apartment chair.
2. I get to work closely with our new faculty, who are just so much more accomplished and polished than I was when I left graduate school. That polish doesn't mean that they know their way around the institution or that they know everything there is to know about being successful, and I'm enjoying working with our assistant professors to help them make connections in the discipline and on campus. This is probably the most rewarding part of the job.
3. I get to think about what is not being done. This part will fade, I suppose, when I'm not a new chair anymore, but I like being in a position to think about the structures and systems of the department. I don't want to add a lot of work in the department, but I do want to know that the work we do is important, and that the work we do is the work we want to do. (There are lots of parts of university life that people do because they think They require it, when in fact, They don't.) I hope the department is working a little smarter, not harder, by the time my term as chair is finishing up.
4. I have a view. In my more than a decade at my university, I've never had a window. Now I have tons of them, and when I come back to the office after my night class, the downtown skyline twinkles. It's beautiful.

My Four Favorite Food Markets
1. The Adelaide Central Market
2. The Ann Arbor Farmer's Market (I know, the Madison market is supposed to be better, but I've never been to Madison...)
3. The organic dairy on the north side of the city which makes me forget I live in the midwest on a soft summer evening.
4. The produce stores in New York that have wonderful produce spilling out onto sidewalks.

Four Surprising Things
1. I was quite taken by life in west Texas when we lived there for a while.
2. I had no idea how one's first job was geographically predictive.
3. Imaginary people are really quite entertaining, and I think I will miss our imaginary baby, dog, big sister, and friends when they fade into reality.
4. When I was a child, I decided that I didn't like cherries. What was I thinking?!?! Now I am making up for lost time, and already looking ahead to the arrival of Queen Anne Cherries at our local market. The cherries won't be local, but they will be good.

Wishing all of you fourfold happiness as you contemplate your own fours.....


S. said...

Markets, markets, what a great idea for a list! I lived in Madison for two years without going to the bin farmer's market there because it was only open on shabbat and I was a doofus. (I make exceptions for other things if they are once-in-awhile occurences, which the farmer's market wasn't, but then we weren't in Madison forever....) We did often go to the smaller Eastside one on Tuesdays.

My list would be:

Eastern Market, in DC; Reading Terminal Market, here in Philly; the itsy-bitsy, 2-stall farmer's market on my corner in the summertime, because I love the neighborhood market initiative; and I can't think of a fourth one.

Happy 4-ness!

Arwen said...

"one's first job was geographically predictive."
Can you elaborate? I am unsure of what this means.

Ianqui said...

I'm enjoying working with our assistant professors to help them make connections in the discipline and on campus.

Wow....I wish my chair (or my past chair) thought this was an important part of his/her job. I wish our chairs even acknowledged that junior faculty exist in my department. I wish they didn't completely ignore our suggestions on the few occasions that we offer them.

Good for you.

Greg said...

I saw your post about your dad. Would you like to contribute a story to my new book about father-daughter relationships? Details are on my page. Thanks!

Gregory E. Lang

susan said...

Arwen, what I meant there was essentially that I'm surprised about how much time I'm spending living in the midwest. I went to Michigan for grad school and thought "hey, it'll be fun to live somewhere else for a while, and then I"ll move back east." Ha! Three jobs later, I'm still here, and my only professional excursion out of the midwest was to west Texas. I guess it's not literally true that one's first job determines the next in terms of geography, but that's what it feels like.

Songbird said...

Your fours are a delight, and I hope you enjoy your special days!

Virago18 said...

MMMM-MMMM-Madison!!! Only 5 weeks until Wiscon (www.wiscon.info) and our Saturday morning at the market. White cheese curds and Amish sweet rolls and pepper plants that have to be babied for the whole week until we come home. Politica loves speculative fiction--am I remembering that right? Maybe next year you all could join us in Madison!

Arwen said...

Thanks for the clarification, Susan. I essentially did the same for school - although the geography was part of my choice. I really have gotten tied to this geography, so I relate.