(brushes away dust and cobwebs)
Suddenly today I felt like journaling. I don't know who all still reads the various journal sites, but what the hey.
I guess I should update where I am. So, Our Hero, Becca Stareyes, having spent two satisfactory years in the wilds of California academics, received an offer of employment from her alma mater, the University of Nebraska at Lincoln as an Assistant Professor of the Practice of Astronomy. Basically that means I don't get tenure, but it's intended to be a permanent position (as opposed to lectureships, which in theory are temporary as the demand waxes and wanes*). Basically, UNL wanted someone on hand to teach upperclassman astronomy classes and help students with research projects.
So, I started that last fall. This spring, I am on teaching release (which is another perk of being a professor: your first year, you are on a half load so you can set up courses and research and so on), which I am spending on improving what I hastily put together last fall for courses, trying to get my dissertation work published and so on. UNL has basically three astronomers: Mr. S, who is the lecturer who handles our general course, Dr. L who has been working for the National Science Foundation for the last few years and is mainly interested in education**, and me. (Dr. L has been around long enough that he taught me Intro Astronomy.) Plus the Lab Manager, who helps handle telescopes, and Dr. S-Emeritus who is retired and occasionally helped out.
Next week, Dr. L and I need to sit down with the Undergrad Adviser and finalize course plans for next year. The main problem right now, was that since everyone but Dr. L retired or left***, the department made a lot of the astronomy courses count as electives, which lowers enrollment, and now that they can teach them, they have to figure out how. (And presumably once we start teaching them, they can go back on the books.) Well, that and figuring out if Dr. L will be back next year. (He likes the NSF, but the federal government has a hiring freeze so who even knows if he can stay.)
As for family stuff, I continue on as I have been. I am the aunt to two nephews now, and I can see them more than once or twice a year. I am slowly regaining my ability to pursue hobbies, as full-time work really burned me out. I have also read a lot of books. Like, seriously, a lot.
* In practice, not so much. Lecturers are cheaper than professors. ** And has a sort of weird appointment with the university. *** Basically, it is hard to get tenure-track posts at a university that doesn't want to take astronomers as grad students. Creating a Professor of Practice position that was explicitly undergrad focused was seen as a way to have astronomers who aren't going to get penalized for having few to no graduate students.