A new semester begins

Well, technically, the Winter 06 semester - as it is known here at University of Michigan, lest you get coddled into a false sense of meteorological security by the notion of a Spring semester -- began last Thursday. And in that time, I've been to a total of zero classes. I should note that this isn't entirely due to ennui, as one might (understandably) presume. By Saturday, I was struck down with a nasty combo of a massive cold and a fibromyalgia flare-up. Thus, I spent most of the weekend barely able to stand up and move let alone move our things into the new home.

Fortunately, that Chris is a tasky boy and he did the majority of the work without complaining. Actually, come to think of it, he could have complained the entire time but I was asleep for most of it, so I wouldn't have known. We did, of course, have plenty of generous offers to help us move but considering we hadn't packed and didn't really have any idea how to begin tackling it, it didn't seem fair to subject anyone to all that. Now we're in our new house which is closer to campus and equipped with charming hardwood floors and a wondrous old clawfoot bathtub in which I plan to spend the majority of this semester. However, it's also a tad...buggy. The place is inundated with these little box elder bugs which are, according to our renter, completely harmless and just a bit of a nuisance. She clearly has a more liberal and tolerant bug policy than I.

However, she apparently has a strict policy against microwaves (there isn't one) and TV reception (there isn't any). I'm not sure how people live in these spartan conditions! But one day, when our boxes are all put away and we can find our underwear and toothpaste (not together, one hopes) again, I'm sure we'll just laugh and laugh about it.

I never thought I'd miss the old Brady Bunch split level but, dammit, I do!

Back to Tuesday & Thursday seminars this evening with a presentation entitled "Women in the Media" given by Susan Douglas, Chair of Communication Studies here at UM. Since I am a woman and I have been in, consumed and created the media, there should be something in there for me.

I'm also working out my class schedule which I think will include a lecture course on Women & Gender in European History, focusing on the way World War II changed the roles of women. During my past few visits to Scotland, I've spent a great deal of time talking to my grandmother about the blitz of the Clydebank in Glasgow during WWII and how it changed her life. It's something I'm circling around writing about, dabbling a bit here and there and I think this course could prove very useful.

As we've been strongly urged to take a class with near-legendary-status UM lecturer Ralph Williams, I'm going to be taking his Great Works of Literature English course on Primo Levi and the Memory of Auschwitz.

Chris and I are also hoping to take a class in the nonprofit segment of the business school (yes, there is such a thing) on Grantgetting, Contracting and Fundraising. Seems like something that might come in handy....

As for the Frederick Busch class, I wasn't feeling well enough to show up and harass him last night at the first meeting - and to be honest, I'm having some major second thoughts. As much as I think trying fiction after a 15-year absence might be a lark, I'm not sure doing so in a closed, masters-level fiction class would be the most beneficial way to approach it - for me or the students. I've got a note in to Birgit for tips on getting admitted but if it doesn't happen, I'm pretty content with the course load I have.