Thursday, September 07, 2017

Never wake a sleeping baby

shhhh
Korean cooking is still ON, but there were two developments in my life that required some adjustment over the last ten days and here they are:

First, I started a master’s program in English. Back in February when I took Owen to look at colleges it dawned on me that my future might also need attending to. In addition to writing, I thought I might want to be able to teach high school or maybe community college in my golden years. I applied to some programs. I got in. I started. I might actually get to write about cookbooks as part of this program, which is exciting.

I thought because I’m old and settled that it would be easier to do school than when I was young, but I got it backwards. It’s going to be harder. I'm still trying to figure out how I can make it all work.

The second development was so poorly timed it's funny. I mean, textbook idiocy. The geniuses among my readership will have guessed what that second development is, but for the rest of you: A few days after I started school, we fostered a puppy. 

Fostered. If we had adopted, I would be crying too hard to type.

She is the sweetest, squirmiest, most adorable little dog you would ever want to meet and, as puppies go, ridiculously easy. She was one of the animals evacuated from a shelter in Houston during the hurricane and I guess they don't like to keep puppies in the same facility with big dogs, hence the call for foster homes.

She follows me everywhere. She can be sleeping peacefully on the sofa next to me, as she is right now, but should I get up to refill my coffee cup in the kitchen, she will immediately spring to life and trot after me. When we return to the sofa forty-seven seconds later, she feels it’s necessary for us to have a joyful reunion that she initiates by climbing on my lap, squirming, wagging her tail, and licking my face until I acknowledge our deep bond and love for one another, at which point she will settle down at her end of the sofa to chew on Mark’s slipper (she is a slipper/shoe dog, not a ball dog) or go back to sleep. This routine makes me think really hard before going to get another cup of coffee or even walking across the room to retrieve my pen.


She’s wonderful. This was the wrong moment to foster a puppy.


33 comments:

  1. Dang. That is a lovely pupster. I am not very far away, should you need a break. Although you'd have to cross water. And best, best, best of luck about grad school. Go Bears?

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  2. I think this is the nicest thing I have read in months. And I think you need to adopt her (maybe all of your faithful readers can chip in to keep Mark in slippers).

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  3. Back when you first admitted your desire to adopt a dog, I was immediately concerned and annoyed. I'm such a cat person, and have always thought dogs were difficult and needy. How could you betray us cat people. But over the last couple of years, I've grown to appreciate dogs in my "yes, but" sort of way. I don't want a dog myself (yet--who knows) but, boy, have I started to coo over them. Maybe it's our age. She's adorable. What a great thing that you've found a calling to pursue your career as a teacher! I couldn't imagine a better avenue for you! You have such a great writing voice; pitch-perfect and witty, but with that certain self-deprecating grace that makes you a spokeswoman of our middle-aged, inclusive, irascible, feminine point of view. Congratulations. I selfishly hope this will mean I can read more of your work. But if not, I am grateful for what you have already done.

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  4. You are definitely going to end up adopting the dog. How could you turn her back in to get adopted by someone else?!?! As an unabashed dog lover whose last pup is a sweet little dog who was born blind and lived as a stray, I am all for adoption. My little guy was (somewhat) of an impulse adoption but he is the happiest, sweetest, most loving dog in the world and every day I think about how he is exactly what I didn't know I needed.

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  5. The dog is yours. Kismet. Congratulations! Who doesn't need a bit of love in her life?
    And grad school! Congratulations again. I taught high school English for 21 years and loved it, except for marking essays at night. That did me in eventually. But you will love your degree and all the reading and writing. I'm hoping you will post about that AND Korean cooking, but I suspect you are going to be busy busy busy. That'll be tough for those of us who adore your blog.I'd love to hear what you are reading! Good luck with all.

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  6. My dear departed cat used to do that. I would be working on the computer with him sound asleep in his chair next to me. I'd get up to make a cup of tea, plug in the electric kettle, and there he would be, watching me from the rug just outside the kitchen door. Isn't it the best thing ever? I hope you get to keep her and I hope the cats learn to love her.

    Way cool about getting a master's degree, something I should have done too. Your students will be so very lucky to have you!

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  7. Oh, Jennifer, she's precious! I am unabashedly a dog lover, but she really looks sweet. I have 2 that follow me around everywhere I go, and they always give me all the unconditional love I can handle. How is Mark with this? I know people who foster dogs then give them up, but I tried and ended up adopting that dog. I get attached quickly. I hope it all works out well for you either way. You have done a good thing.
    Graduate school? What a great idea! You are smart to stay engaged and plan for your next phase of life. Like Kristin, I hope this means I get to read more of what you write, but if not, I hope I continue to get to read your blog. If you can manage it, please continue to post. I love everything of yours I have ever read. Any students would be so lucky to have you, but for now just enjoy the hell out of your school experience. I loved graduate school. I hope you do as well. Good luck with everything!
    I made the Korean sloppy joes last night, but have not yet eaten it. I cut way back on the chili paste since my husband does not like fiery dishes. I plan to taste and add more after it sits. It smells wonderful! I am thinking that carrots would be good to add to this to get some veggies. Opinion?

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    1. So, who knew this post would inspire so many comments!!! Is it the puppy or the going back to school? :)

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  8. Yay! A dog in your life, however temporary. I'm guessing folks will be trying to match dogs to owners back in Houston eventually.
    I was an adjunct instructor in math at our community college for 10 years from age 40 to 50 and loved it. I have been full-time for the last 17 years. I say go for it!

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  9. Congratulations on both new developments.

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  10. I saw the dogs getting off a plane on the TV news; the report said that these dogs were already in the shelters ready for adoption and these dogs were flying to other cities to make room for pets separated from their families because of Harvey flooding. They needed room in the shelters for these lost pets.

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    1. By the way, what's her name? Is she part greyhound or what? She looks so adorable.

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  11. I have a Masters in English...it was a love/hate experience. I loved the reading. I hated the literary criticism--I confess to finding most of it utter bullshit. But no amount of post-colonialist critique can ruin Blake. Or Dickens. As for the puppy, there is no bad time for a puppy. Congratulations on both!!

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  12. I feel for you - I once fostered a pet and felt like I was being being held hostage by a well intentioned kidnapper. Sometimes you just want your lap to yourself. It completely contradicted my memory of what having pets was like - though of course our family pets didn't have separation anxiety.

    Congrats on your new studies!

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  13. I can beat your timing,,,,after a total hip replacement followed by a revised total hip replacement 3 weeks later, now 3.5 months post op and getting around slowly, very slowly, I managed to see 3 little maybe 2 week old kittens curled up in the storage compartment of our hot tub. I hadn't been able to get down the stairs to our patio for 3 months, 3.5 months to be exact. I had seen a cat lurking around in our backyard, but just thought our neighbors had a new cat......no, this was a stray cat, not friendly. As of this moment, they are all in our warm basement in a cozy big, big dog crate with food, water, and a litter box for the mom and a soft warm bed for the kittens......I won't tell you about the epic capture of the mom cat, but considering I can nearly put weight on my OR leg I think I should apply for a job on animal planet. They are staying in our "playroom" in our house (warm, safe and totally broken in by my sons who are now in their late twenties. What was I thinking?

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  14. I hope you come to enjoy school. I returned at 44 and absolutely loved it. I switched from my English major at 18 to science and ended up liking chemistry best. Go figure. Now I can adapt recipes using the factor-unit method and figure out how to change the size of a cake pan calculating the area myself!

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  15. Congratulations on your master's program! Dave LOVED being a student again, although it was a little tricky in the beginning to find a way to fit it all in. I have complete confidence in you.

    That puppy. One billion percent yes.

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  16. Good for you for the MA program -- I went back to school for my MLS when I was 40 and though I'm not working at the moment, it was one of the best decisions of my life. And HOW CUTE IS THAT PUPPY!! If I were in the US right now I'm pretty sure I'd have at least one more pupper in my house -- I hope you get to keep her!

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  17. Before you make a commitment to teaching either high school or community college, I highly recommend you spend some time in a high school setting so that you can evaluate with some clarity whether it's a place you want to be. I taught high school for 13 years and found out that classroom management was not my strong suit. 95% of my students were wonderful, and wanted to learn. But, unfortunately the 5% that were hell bent on disrupting the environment prevailed. That being said, maybe YOU are the type of person who can manage students. I had many friends/colleagues who did well, and thoroughly enjoyed their experience. In retrospect, I wish I had gotten a masters as opposed to a teaching credential. I am of the the impression that behavior management is not much of an issue
    In community college

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  18. Longtime reader and--except for some questions about pancetta details a few years back--first-time commenter. I write in wholehearted support of your becoming an educator. I worked in IT for a couple of decades and, in my mid-forties, quit to become an elementary teacher. I now work much harder, for a lot less money, and it's absolutely the best decision I ever made. From years of reading your blog, you seem like a patient, thoughtful, and reflective person. And those qualities - not love of children or love of any one subject - are what could help you grow into a great teacher. My two cents: find a school with a culture of risk-taking and improvement, and never look back.

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  19. Congrats on your new developments!!

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  20. It is never the wrong time to foster a puppy.

    Also, you may want to check job postings at community colleges in your area. Teaching in the humanities at the college level is incredibly competitive and the CC system in California offers great job benefits and stability so it's not as easy to get a job at one as some people assume. Did you look at the job placements of people graduating from your MA program? You will be a wonderful teacher, don't get me wrong and I don't want to be all Debbie Downer over here. And on the plus side there's a growing shortage of teachers at the K-12 level across California. Good luck and enjoy your program-- and puppy!

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  21. AS someone who went back to school to do another degree after becoming a mom, I can tell you that your first instinct was right: it will be easier. You know how to work and to manage your time and you don't stay up all night hanging out with your friends. The fact that it seems harder probably reflects the fact that you now have higher standards for yourself. For instance, you may now be unwilling to bullshit your way through a paper on a book you haven't read. Have fun and be organized (which you now know how to do) and everything will be fine.

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  22. Miss you! Come back soon!

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  23. Jennifer, I hope all is well with you and your family and home. I have been thinking about you.

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  24. I miss your blog!! Just thought you should know there are still people coming by to visit:) Hope your studies and dog ownership are going well!

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  25. Miss you! Hope all is well with you and yours. /Gretchen

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  27. Your bond with your pen is really amazing I like your last pearagraph Online Rummy has become a daily dose of entertainment!

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  28. Echoing the above. Miss you, your thoughts and humor. Hope all is well.

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