Pandemic Malaise Recovery

Something exciting happened in the last few weeks. I started to feel energized rather than absolutely drained at the end of a teaching day. I’m excited to prep a new class for fall. Research has called out again. My thoughts have turned to long-term projects. In sum, the pandemic malaise has lifted. I wrote about…

20th Year of Teaching

Fall 2021 marked the start of my 20th year in the classroom. (Thank you, Penn State, for trusting a 21-year-old with her own public speaking classes.) The classroom is an unpredictable, enchanting space. In these almost two decades, I’ve amassed quite a collection of cringe-worthy, hilarious, and memorable teaching experiences. I welcome you to feast…

Boston Marathon Race Recap 2021

After placing my old maternity leggings in the clothing donation pile, I trotted across the starting line on October 11th, 2021. It had been just over 900 days since the last Boston Marathon. The 125th Boston Marathon was electrified with community spirit and support. I ran through the Wellesley scream tunnel, waved at Mandalorian and…

Burnout Recovery

At the end of June, I was a marshmallow aflame. I was 1993 Michael Jordan. In other words, I was burned out. The many months of additional childcare responsibilities, changing expectations at work, and heightened anxiety about health and humanity definitely took their toll. The loss of in-person connections and social support made it even…

Binge-Watching Christmas Shows

Does it count as binge-watching if the content doesn’t have a continuous storyline? I can’t answer that question definitively. However, I know that it feels like my family has been binge-watching Christmas stories. The four of us have been around each other for roughly 24 hours straight, 28 days in a row. Holiday classics have…

Weird and Wonderful Fruiting Plants

This is the third blog post in my gardening series. Modern victory gardens are sprouting up in response to COVID-19, and plants are in high demand. This post focuses on some stranger options, which may be easier to find at this time than well-known varieties. Serviceberry: This native plant has beautiful white flowers and tasty…

Best Value Edible Perennials

Gardening has been an important hobby of mine for about a dozen years and a newish teaching/service interest (check out Merrimack_Garden on Instagram). Gardening provided a sense of peace, food, and all-ages activities when I was a new mom. I’ve needed gardening more than ever during quarantine to give me something meaningful to sink my…

Growing a Garden

With the world turned upside down right now, people might be thinking about picking up a) a fun, social-distancing friendly hobby that b) helps them provide sustenance in a way that is c) soothing and d) educational. This spring could be a great time to start or expand a fruit/vegetable/herb garden. I’ve done my best…

On the Tenure Track…Again

“Welcome to the Hotel California,” one colleague notoriously said to folks who earned tenure. The foreboding lyric “we are all just prisoners here, of our own device” indeed has some resonance. But some faculty do take that risk and leave tenured positions. I saw friends go through the tenure process a second time. It wasn’t…