Thursday, October 24, 2013


It's official: I don't have to be quiet about it anymore: in 78 calendar days I will enter the world of the "retired." Without employment and at least for a while (maybe forever) without looking to reenter the job market.

I have worked and earned money every single year of my adulthood. And my jobs have been varied! Oh, have they been varied!

I landed in the United States at 18 for reasons of work (I was an au pair). And even though I was also going to school and taking care of a young child, I took on additional jobs: shelving books at the library and then, my favorite -- being a cashier at an upper westside bookstore. And all those endless research assitantships in college! Getting paid to code data, collect data, all that data -- where has it gone? Who made use of it?

Right after college, I moved from New York to Chicago to go to graduate school. But not without jobs! I was a research assistant there too. And on the side, I was the receptionist at the U of Chicago Hospital -- collecting stool samples on the weekends from those who had to bring them in. Later, I worked at the Community Center, playing guitar and taking preteens to various recreational places.

The move to Madison brought with it the first full-time job -- teaching sociology courses to college kids in Milwaukee. Then the babies came and I entered Law School and still I worked: I clerked for legal offices at the university -- one, then another. Paid work. We needed the money.

After Law School, I got the coveted job at a large law firm. Unfortunately, it was in Milwaukee. We moved, my (then) husband commuted and then lo! A job opened up at a non profit that was affiliated with the Law School and I came back to Madison and to academia -- and for the last twenty-five years, I have stayed put, first, supervising students in legal clinics, then teaching classes. Many many classes. For those in the legal world, you may be surprised to know how broad my range has been: I've taught classes in Family Law, AIDS Law, Poverty Law. Courses in Professional Responsibility, and in Comparative Law. I have also taught the required Torts and the required Property curriculum. And most recently, I've added Trusts and Estates to my repertoire.

And when money was tight and I wanted to travel more, I added jobs to my job: some ten years ago, I joined the evening cooking crew at L'Etoile, our high-end restaurant and after a few years of prepping appetizers and desserts, I switched to foraging for them at the local markets. More recently, I boosted my income a bit by moonlighting at the French cosmetics chain L'Occitane.

I have worked an awful lot of hours! And I'm ready to stop.

Of course, there is the official date (January 10) and there is the more fluid timeline. The semester ends, exams begin, holidays take place, trips will be taken, grades for 150 students need to be posted, letters for students need to be written. Even so, on that date it will be a real turning of the page for me.

Let the countdown begin!

In other news -- there is always other news of the farmette, news that takes you right out of yourself and reminds you that seasons change and life goes on and you must react, or hide, or take note. I take note.

Breakfast, fixed in the kitchen, eaten in the sun room.

DSC01365 - Version 2

A commenter asked about the glass porch roof in the Fall: yes, it's managing to collect a few leaves, but there aren't trees directly overhead and it does have a slight slope so most of them will, with time, wash off. I was very tempted to go up there and sweep off fallen leaves, but Ed held me back. There's beauty in the occasional leaf, and in the drops of dew in the morning, and eventually in a snow cover come wintertime.

But we surely look up at the roof a lot. This, while I do my school work at the kitchen table.

DSC01367 - Version 2

I had a morning errand to run and so you get, too, a photo of the cloud cover pushing through...

DSC01371 - Version 2

In the late afternoon Ed and I hoist up a few "cages" for the fruit trees in the new orchard. It's a complicated process of building structures to protect the baby trees from deer. We've been far too lax in this and as a result, we've lost a large number of young trees.

Today, we salvaged (I hope) a half dozen fruit trees and cried tears (pretty close to that) over many that probably cannot be saved.

DSC01375 - Version 2

And then? Well, I wish I could have done more to secure the farmette for the winter season, but I had to work. And Ed? He had Isis to .... attend to.


And I count: so many days of work behind me, 78 to go.