I suppose it’s now more or less summer, even if the summer solstice is still a few weeks away. The weather here in Sleepy Southern Town apparently didn’t get the memo that it’s not actually summer, but that’s nothing new. When I talk to my colleagues and friends in New Job Town who have never lived in the South, I explain the weather here like this: “You know those occasional really bad heat waves we get here in late July or early August? Imagine that for 4-5 months a year, but even more humidity and it’s hotter at night.” I’ll miss many things here, but not the unrelenting heat and humidity that saps one’s productivity (and indeed, the will to live).

In light of it being summer, and that fact that I’m heading back north in a week (sigh), I’ve decided to put together a list of things I want to do/accomplish between now and when classes start in late August. I’m doing this in part to keep myself on track, but also as a means of public accountability. I’ll post somewhat regular updates on my progress, and I would be happy to maybe start some kind of academics’ accountability group (or join one if one is already in progress).

So, in order of importance, here are my summer objectives:

1. Find a place for the Spouse, the pets, and me to live beginning August 1. (Accomplished 6/11!)

2. Get at least one new article written and submitted. (I was really hoping for two, but with teaching 4 days a week and moving two households, it seems a bit much.)

3. Re-tool my job search materials: Cover letter, research statement, and teaching philosophy.

4. Gear up for data collection that I want to do in the fall (get questions prepped, apply for IRB approval, etc.).

5. Exercise at least 4 days a week for at least 45 minutes at a time. (I’m trying to lose 10-15 lbs by the end of the year…More on that in a bit.)

6. Create Prezis, quizzes, and exams for my newly re-worked Intro to Culinary Psychology Class

7. Add to my course evals summary spreadsheet to include Spring courses. (On second thought, I think I’d like to get a job one day. Just going to leave those out, I think.)

I think this is all very reasonable and achievable, if I pace myself and stay disciplined. I’ve basically had 5 weeks off, save for a few days of grading. It’s time to get back to the grind.

About #5…I’ve started to realize that over the past 6 months, my weight has gotten out of control. At my last trip to the doctor’s office, I weighed one pound shy of my “Oh hell no” weight. I’ve always had a number in my mind that was the weight I never wanted to be unless I was pregnant (and that won’t happen if I have anything to do with it). That number is unfortunately not much more than my current weight. After some research, I’ve concluded that I’d be much better off weighing at least 10 pounds less than I do now, but ideally 15 less. I’m not fat or overweight, but the combination of stress, depression, constant travel, self-medication with alcohol, lack of exercise, steroids, and a terrible diet has not left me in my best form. I hate how I look, and the idea of buying new clothes or going out in public in a bathing suit rather horrifies me.

Over the past few days, I’ve tried to eat much healthier and limit my alcohol consumption to one drink per day. My intention is to develop healthier patterns that will in turn help me to lose weight. I think that once I’m alone again and on a regular schedule, I’ll have no choice but to exercise and cook healthy food to keep my mind and body occupied. A friend and I have talked about running a half marathon in Philadelphia this fall, which would force me back into training. Living with the spouse again will allow us time to cook, go on walks with the dog together, and do other things besides sit around moping on the Internet. Living apart has been harder than we’d anticipated, and it has resulted in some pretty unhealthy lifestyles for us both. We hope to turn things around quickly and move on to better things.