Wednesday, May 29, 2013

June Excursions and End-of-Semester Reflections

Well, I almost never update this blog. But I'm going to update it today. No special reason, though things have been pretty busy around here. I've ended my first year of teaching, and I am more than pleased about how it all turned out. I got a very positive teaching evaluation in December, and was teaching two sections this time around, with a bit more room to breathe now that I wasn't writing and teaching the class at the same time quite as much! I also just finished writing a chapter for a guidebook my father is preparing, on the geological history of the Grand Canyon-Zion region; I contributed some anthropological insight on those pesky little archaeostratigraphic deposits that seem to clutter up all of the Holocene layers. The research was a lot of fun, and I've stumbled across quite a lot of holes in the data set as I go, which makes me think that I know where I'd like to devote further research and maybe even publication to in the future. We were down in Tucson visiting family last week, a good trip all around, and I took worthwhile advantage of UA's vast southwest studies library one of the days we were there.

The guidebook is tied to a professional tour we are running out to those locations this coming week. It will be cutting a circular path through the familiar stomping grounds of the Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce Canyon, closing the circle at Las Vegas. I'm coming along as a driver and guest lecturer. The participants are mostly oil geologists and their kin, so hopefully they will tolerate my nattering on about anthropology. :) It makes for a busy June. A week after we get back from that we'll be leaving again, on the school's annual geology field trip. It is focusing on the northern Colorado Plateau this year, and I'm looking forward to seeing some places I have never been (Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Goblin Valley) and some that I have spent much time in but miss dearly (Ouray-Durango). No official archaeology component this year, so I guess I'll provide my own entertainment in that respect :)

Otherwise, things are okay. The Central California summer is never especially fun, but we're on the road so much that it hasn't had a chance to get too monotonous so far. In January our dear friend Meaghan moved to a nearby town along with her little guy, who recently learned how to crawl; being able to spend time with my "nephew", and pestering everyone with photos and videos of his continuing development, has been a consistent source of joy in the last few months.

Photo I took at the San Joaquin Wildlife Refuge last month

Not all news is unstressful. There's a rather troubling (literal) hole in the roof, and I am effectively unemployed until August, so if we ever stop traveling around my "backyard" there may be some slim months ahead. To say nothing of moving into our own place again. I'm keen to do, but with the job I have occupying a tenuous place to begin with and no nibbles yet on additional applications, it's hard to guess at when I'll be in the market again. I got turned down for a job at Yosemite that I was really hoping for and was moping around for a while about that, though there are still plenty of jobs out there to try for. Meanwhile, the loans eat up most of my current salary, and the "deals" offered by the loan agencies to make them easier to pay are inevitably predatory in character. Oh well! If I'm going to be underemployed, I'm glad I'm employed doing a job I actually like! And if May was any indication, unemployment certainly isn't dull, I feel like I've barely had a moment to catch my breath! I'm sure I will be updating again after the trips, hopefully with pictures.