Academic Flexibility 

There’s a flexibility myth in academia. It goes like this: Academic mothers have it much better than other professional mothers because of their flexible schedule—a luxury women in business, journalism, law, and medicine don’t enjoy—which allows them to set their own hours, and chart their individual paths to success.

It’s not a myth; it’s the truth. I just talked to a woman who is a lawyer at a big firm. She has a 4-year-old and she’s 6 months pregnant. And she has to fly out of state for work yet again next week. This is on top of having to be at the office 10 hours a day no matter what. 

Compared to this, my schedule that only requires me to be on campus 2 non-negotiable days a week and only between September and May is a miracle. Yes, I get paid 5 times less than the lawyer. But for me that doesn’t matter. I can spend tons of time with Klara, and it’s very important at times like right now when she’s going through a vulnerable period. It isn’t easy but if I had took be out of the house every day for any job, I’d be a wreck. 

I have no idea why academics so love to pity themselves and can’t recognize obvious advantages. Or at least not try to deny them.


Not Podunkville

We are not a total podunkville here, folks. One of teacher aides at Klara’s daycare is a young woman from Saudi Arabia who is working on her PhD in educational leadership. I hate educational leadership but it’s fantastic that a woman from Saudi Arabia is getting a degree in any sort of leadership. It’s also such a joy to have a person with an accent at the daycare. 

In Need of Solidarity

And . . . I was right. Colleagues are actively and passionately denouncing our sister institution for being a money pit and turning us into an unwanted step-child who is not Daddy’s favorite (I kid you not, that’s the language that is being used). There is not a single peep, however, against the person who is actually to blame for this disaster: fucking Rauner.

People, people, people. We resent our brothers and sisters and not those who divide and conquer us in the process. This happens in families and in large communities. Instead of placing a laser-like focus on the culprit, we allow our energy to get dissipated and weaken ourselves by engaging in petty internecine struggles.

Diamond Haddock

I was looking for a haddock recipe and the first one I found informed me that “haddock is a cheap and affordable fish.” The author of the recipe has definitely never been to the Midwest where haddock is a far greater luxury than steak. I unpacked my haddock with my eyes closed because I didn’t want to see the sticker with the price and feel bad about buying something so extravagant.

In the end, I took some olive oil, crushed some garlic (mostly because I wanted to use my new and fashionable garlic crusher than for culinary reasons), mixed in some herbs, poured it all over the haddock and put it in the oven. Let’s see how this fish – that, at least, is somewhat cheaper than diamonds – turns out.

P.S. I remember back in the USSR my great-grandma would cook me soup with this fish. It was super delicious. And obviously not even remotely as expensive as it is here.