Bat Fit, My So-Called Academic Life, Texas Adventures, Updates

Where Is the Curious Professor Z?

July 4, 2017 … a fitting t-shirt

Hello, my lovely readers! Hello! It’s been months since I last blogged and I’m sure many of you thought that I probably wouldn’t ever blog again. I have to admit, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to blog anymore … for a number of reasons.

For the past year I’ve been struggling to keep up with all of the responsibilities associated with my first full-time teaching gig here at Texas A&M. I never taught on-line classes before. I needed to quickly learn how build and maintain the classes, provide effective and engaging teaching via the on-line platform, and keep some semblance of personal time and sanity. On-line teaching has been one of the most challenging and time-consuming things I’ve done thus far as a professor. I’m getting better at it every semester, so much so that I’m revamping my courses for the fall … but that’s for another post. I’m also teaching very large classes: my on-line courses have 70 students and I’m teaching my first 150 student class in the fall. faint I’m currently working on pedagogical strategies that will make a large classroom feel smaller, more accessible, and student-driven.

Besides teaching, I’ve been juggling my LiveLab (committee) work and personal research/writing/publishing, while desperately trying to have some sort of downtime. I failed miserably last school year and this is why my blogging, like other creative outlets, was pushed to the side. This semester I’m making an effort to carve out time for my own work, creativity, and downtime.

How’s Texas? Well … I’m not sure. I really like my job, the people I work with, and my students (oh, my students! GUSH!), but I’m not fond of the state, its politics, or where we live. Oh don’t get me wrong, my house is awesome and it’s always wonderful to be home with Ed and my fuzzy kids … but Texas. Let’s just say that this NYC gal is having a really difficult time adjusting and, from what my doctor says, it’s showing up in my health and well-being (more on that in a future Bat Fit post). I knew adapting was going to be challenging, but I had no idea just how difficult it would be. Going back to NYC for a month this June made me realize just how homesick I really am. It also made me realize how much of a “city girl” I am. I actually thrive on the pulsating, chaotic energy! I love being able to walk or take public transportation everywhere. I love the diversity of NYC … everyone is from everywhere and the food reflects this diversity. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll get used to Texas? Maybe I won’t. The summer heat and relentless sun isn’t making it any easier.

I also haven’t been blogging much because I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching. I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m happy being truly and utterly me. I turned 45 this June and it’s true what many women say: you reach a point in your life when you dress for yourself, you do what you want, you say and think what you want, and you are who you are without the labels that others put on you or that you take on for yourself because there aren’t any other words to describe the kaleidoscope that is you.

My 45th birthday was magical for me. I’ve come to realize that I don’t owe anyone an explanation, an excuse, or an apology for being unabashedly myself. I don’t owe anyone an explanation of my decisions, desires, wants, needs, changes, growth, etc., and I certainly don’t owe anyone an apology for taking up space and living my life the way I see fit. Hell, I don’t owe anyone the right to have a conversation about my life choices! I’m ever-evolving, ever-changing, ever becoming more of who I am deep inside. I’ve stayed away from blogging in order to cultivate this very powerful energy because I didn’t want to discuss it with anyone. I wanted it to build and grow organically from solid roots. I’m heading into a new phase of my life and I’m ready to share it with you, dear readers.

Onwards and upwards!


8 thoughts on “Where Is the Curious Professor Z?”

  1. I’ve only ever been to Houston so I’m not much of an expert on Texas, but I’m pretty sure NYC wins hands down any old day! I feel like Texas is very much as redneck as a lot of rural Alberta tends to be. But I’ve heard Round Top is an absolutely amazing market – maybe you should go to that and it might help change your mind about the state. Probably not. 😉

    Nice to see you back blogging … I think I’ve given up. My muse (the insomniac) seems to have deserted me. But never say never, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, Texas is … well … Texas. One of the problems is that things are so far away from each other! Round Top is a little over an hour away, which isn’t necessarily that bad. We’ve traveled 85 miles to the nearest Apple Store for my new computer. I’m just not used to all that driving!

      Aw, thanks! I’m inspired these days, but in different ways. We’ll see where this blog goes and what I decide to focus on.


  2. Glad to hear you had a wonderful birthday ❤
    I used to live in Austin and struggled as well. It was the heat, mostly. It seemed no matter how much SPF, hats, or parasols I employed, I was usually hot, felt sick, always getting tan or even sunburnt. Texas grows on you though; it took me about two years before I really began to enjoy it. These days I live in Chicago but still miss Austin from time to time. Stay cool, Franny!


    1. Thanks Ivy! I’ve been slathering on SPF 50+ everyday and I’m still tan. The black dye in my hair barely made it a week before it turned this nasty reddish brown. Awful. That’s why I’ve taken the black out and now I’m a strawberry blonde. I’m hiding inside and staying home a lot, which is really foreign to me. Ah well, let’s see what happens.


  3. Spent a couple months in San Antonio many many moons ago, so I’m far from a Texas expert. But my company’s home office is in Houston so I deal with Texans every day and I can see why someone born and bred in NYC would feel a bit like a fish out of water. But you love the school and the students, so give it some time. The accents may change, but there are good hearts to find all over 🙂


  4. I grew up in Portland, OR. I spent my first several years as an adult on my own, living just south of Seattle, WA. Then I was uprooted and moved to Louisiana for a few years, followed by the choice to settle down in Oklahoma City. I knew going in that I would hate it. I HATE the extreme heat. I hate conservative politics. I hate Tex-Mex. But, for family reasons (namely my husband’s first two children), it was best for my entire family to come here instead of moving where we actually truly wanted to live (my husband LOVES the PNW). It’s been interesting, trying to make things work for me personally. I truly do much worse, physically and mentally, in the summer.
    As I grow older (though I’m only in my 30s), I’m learning to live for me, because I can’t take care of my family if I’m not taking care of me. That means that I hoard Christmas candles and burn pine scented things all year long (the smell of pine sap is the smell of childhood). It means that while I might cook biscuits and gravy for the hubby, I’m definitely not eating it myself.
    I’m sure I speak for most of us when I say that I’m glad to see a blog post, but we’d rather have sporadic posts from a happier and healthier Dr. Z than regular posts from a miserable one.


    1. Thanks Stephanie! I’ve been burning Apple Spice and Harvest candles, keeping my blinds cracked (not open), and keeping the temperature really low … so low that I need to wear a hoodie. It’s helping. Hey, at least I’m trapped inside with my research, reading, and writing! 🙂 I just need to refocus and see what happens.

      As for happy and healthy, I’m definitely getting healthier — more on that in another blog post — but happy? Would you settle for somewhat content, but ever searching?


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