Saturday, February 27, 2010

path of less resistance.

on wednesday, i met with the dissertation advisor, aka the nicest and coolest woman alive. or at least alive and working in my department. she never ceases to amaze me with how much she gets done and how easy it seems for her to do so.  and how chill she is with my own process.

she's obviously been doing this a while, for which i am exceedingly grateful.

i was a bit worried, going into the meeting, that she would somehow need/want/demand me to completely tear apart the chapter i had just given her (The LAST One) and revise it, thus taking me from light at the end of the tunnel quickly back into the murky abyss that was the darkness. 

she did not.  not even close.

instead, she thought that i could get a complete draft together in something like two weeks. after telling her i was teaching six classes, we quickly came to the common agreement that such an idea fell clearly within the auspices of CRAZYTALK and moved on to discuss the timeline for graduating in august.

me likey much more.

although i am beginning to wonder why all of the major life events lately have to occur in the first weekend of august.  i will graduate the day before my first anniversary.

no cruise or something fun for me.


but i was surprised, honestly, by how easy the meeting was, by how little resistance i encountered. several weeks ago, i was sure that i would encounter resistance from my director for my choices regarding my career--that adjuncting would somehow not be enough for her, that she wouldn't be down with my reality, which is that if i don't finish this now, i will likely not finish because life is going to happen and seriously cramp my style.

she didn't.  didn't even come up, really, although she did sort of push me to consider keeping my foot in the door of the tenure-track job search by publishing articles and giving papers at conferences. it's something worth considering, especially the conference thing, but i don't really see it happening much.

i am happy with what i am doing, and i expressed that to her.  i don't think she believed me.

when she heard that i was teaching six classes plus working on the dissertation, she uttered an epithet that i won't repeat (since i love and respect the name she took in vain). 

for a moment, i realized "hey. maybe that is quite a bit." but somehow, on the slippery slope of real life, i manage to keep adding things to my pile and muddling through.

it gives me hope that maybe i'll be able to handle life and all its curveballs since i'm getting good and trained right now. 

lately, all of the things that have been worrying me, logistically, about Future Life have sort of...been working themselves out.  it makes me pleased. it makes me happy. it makes me worry much less about what is to come. 

once i figure things out, even just in my head, it's all a bit less scary. 

it also makes me feel quite clearly that good things are headed our way.  for the path to become so much more clear, for things to seem so much more doable, it almost always means one thing.


and, for once, i'm not that worried about it. come what may, i will love it.  i'm looking forward to working for it. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

as i was walking to class on monday, i saw a flock of geese flying in a v.  actually, there were multiple flocks, but the first one that i saw stopped, circled around in a weird rotation, and only then did i see the other flocks, that they were apparently waiting on.

i immediately thought "oh! they're going back north for spring! it's spring!" but then i realized that they were flying east, and i didn't know what to think.  but what surprised me most was that the first, leading flock knew enough, cared enough, to circle back and do what they had to do to wait on their friends. 

the rural cc offered me the job yesterday.  actually, she called me while i was at the gym and left a message on monday night.  by then it was too late to call her back, and i wanted to speak to musicboy about it again anyway, so i decided to wait until tuesday.  tuesday came, and i called her before my class at rural cc, but she wasn't there.  so i thought i'd call her on my way back to collegetown.

instead, i ran into her outside the building where i teach.  she had me follow her back to her office and offered me the job.

i turned it down.

i didn't feel particularly bad doing it, although i felt a bit bad that they would have to go back to the drawing board. (my mom assures me that they already have a 2nd choice lined up, so i need not fret.)  i didn't feel anything other than fine about the whole thing.  it was the wrong job at the wrong time and in the wrong place.

i told her that in another life, i would have taken it.  and that is true.  i would have been able to build something and i like doing that.  i would have been able to tinker and tweak and watch things get better and better. i dig that whole process.

what was more interesting to me was that i had to make the choice, consciously, to choose the life that i want over the life that may seem more logical.

i had to choose.

it was a good choice. it was a choice i made right after the interview, so i sort of assumed that they wouldn't even offer it to me.  since i had already decided, i figured that they would be equally inspired to choose someone OTHER than me. you may think that silly, but often decisions in my life are precipitated by closing doors.  i don't close them--they are closed on me.  that may seem harsh, but it really does make directional planning infinitely easier if there is only one door, the right door, that is open to you.

when i move through those open doors, i am accompanied by a whoosh of the Spirit, the confirmation that the choice that i am making is right and good and inspired.  sometimes i don't feel it until i have passed through that door--faith wouldn't be faith if it was easy--but often i know a door is the right one because all roads have led to it and all the ts have been crossed and the is dotted.

things in my life just seem to fall into place right about the time that i desperately need them to.

this time was a little bit different.  there was a preponderance of logic on the side of not taking the job--the salary and the hours and the drive would have made making ends meet quite difficult, even before anything changed in our family--but there was the ingrained need for stability that weighed heavily on the other side. 

but those pro and con lists didn't really have much to do with the choice that i made.

i chose my family over my career.  i'd do it again in a heartbeat, and that i had to do it, in person, unapologetically, and that i felt so peaceful and calm about it says much to me about the exercise of faith.

sometimes, even though you've already made the decision, you get to make it again, out loud, in person, on paper, in black and white.  sometimes, you make the decision over and over again in your heart when you realize that your days will be fuller and harder and more uncertain, except for the strong sense that you will be taken care of and that good things are happening.

as i pulled away from rural cc yesterday, having had the conversation and been very honest about my reasons to the woman who offered me the job (and who appreciated me being upfront, honest, and honorable about the fact that i couldn't commit nearly as long as they wanted me to and that when circumstances changed i would likely need to leave), i felt a great deal of peace. 

i texted musicboy and told him what had happened. he was nervous about the news at first, for the same pragmatic reasons i was despite our conversations about it.  much as we talked about it, and much as it was a decision that would affect both of us, this was ultimately my decision. not because i wanted to exclude him from it, but because i think it was about me.  as musicboy said, he trusts me fully. someday, the reverse will be true--it will be his career and his choice and he will follow the promptings he receives and i trust him fully and support him the same way he supported me.  but his nervousness was soon gone.  he said he soon felt what he called "a wave of awesome" about the whole situation. 

sometimes you only feel it as you're walking through the door.

on the way home that day, i saw a red-breasted robin just standing by the road.  i was surprised that i saw it, speeding along at 65 miles an hour, and that it just stood there.  i passed by it and it didn't budge.

and i thought, once more, that spring was here.

Monday, February 22, 2010

i don't like mondays.

i found an apartment that i really want for us.  we're looking to upgrade so that we can stay in a place for longer than a lease term, so that we won't grow out of it immediately when we have a kid. 

i almost typed if but it's not really an if but a when, so i changed it. you're welcome.

it's a ridiculous steal. it's in a rundown little neighborhood, but rundown in a i put my car on blocks and don't rake my leaves, not a i shoot you for your gps kind of way. it's steps away from a grocery store and a target, both of which could be very bad.  or very good. i'm not sure. 

it's something like over 1000 square feet, which would literally double our living space.  it's cute, even though i haven't seen it in person except from the outside. i couldn't bring myself to park and nose around the open windows even though i did manage to skulk by driving, stopping to just gaze at it longingly.

i want it.

with it comes a vision of the future that seems just around the bend.  we should probably hear about musicboy's admission news in a few weeks--i'm guessing by the middle of march. that's when real decisions get made.  that's when leases can be signed and plans can be made and classes can be agreed to.  i look forward to those days.

i'm not the kind of girl who likes to wait around. i like to carefully put my ducks in a row, plan until i can't plan anymore, and picture the changes that are coming before i have to make them. it helps get me over the hump sometimes. if i know that things are changing, it's easier for me to deal with the here and now. 

new things are always exciting. 

in the meantime, we wait.  there's absolutely nothing we can do now except wait.  musicboy did very well, and the feedback he got was very good.  all signs point to good news, but you never can tell.  surprises have been the rule in my life, so anxiety and nervousness and excitement have all coalesced into one big pit in my stomach.

whatever happens will happen, and it will be to our benefit.  i am not at all unclear about that. 

so much is changing, and so much is not.  that's so true in so many things right now. 

Saturday, February 20, 2010

sometimes you just need to sit down with a calculator.

holy moly.

i've written 178 pages of a dissertation.

wow.  25 or 30 more and i'm done. 

now to convince them to let me pass...

tales from aisle 15.

i'm still at it: slow and steady and all that jazz. slowly but surely my to-do list is whittling down, or at least morphing and changing to add some variety. but i'm tired of thinking about it, so you must be equally tired of hearing about it.

let's move on, shall we?

so, for the past three weeks, probably, off and on, i have been telling musicboy that i really want a buttermilk bar.

(wow, random and hasty transition.  hang with me.)

he had no idea what a buttermilk bar was.  i guess people on this side of the country, populated more by the giant donut conglomerate with the alliterative name (actually, either one will do) than by little shops run by families of various ethnicities (ours was run by an Asian family--i don't know how they knew how to do what they did, but boy did they).  i tried to explain what a buttermilk bar was and what it tasted like.  i'm not sure that you can really explain the density and taste of it, but i tried by saying that it was sort of like four crullers smashed together.  when he didn't really know what a cruller was, i sort of gave up.

fast forward to last night, when we went to the store.  most of the time, i go to the store without musicboy because i usually go straight after class, when he is at work or at school.  it's less crowded and i can do it on my time.  but this time, we went together.

things you should know about me. i am a power shopper. this means that i rarely enter with a list--i just have, in mind, things that i need to get and things that i usually get every time (milk, bread, vegetables, fruit, ice cream, etc.).  and then i shop sales. if i'm interested in buying yogurt, it better be on sale.  if i'm interested in buying canned fruit/applesauce/insert food item here, it better be on sale.  this is how i try to control our food budget, and so far it's worked out pretty well.

being a power shopper, however, means that i often forget things that i need because a) i didn't write it down and b) i'm moving so fast through the aisles that it's easy for me to forget something.

i was doing my power shopping thing last night, which musicboy didn't really understand. so we slowed down.  while i was looking at something else, musicboy found the display of alliterative named donuts.  you know--the ones that are different than the ones you can find in the actual store, and are sometimes better? he seized upon a cruller box and was sure that he had found the promised land.

but he had this twinkle in his eye.  it reminded me of a little kid, trying to convince his mom to let him buy the frosted chocolate sugar bomb cereal when he knew that she was likely to say no. it was almost like he wanted to see if i would buy his line of reasoning, which went a little something like this.

me: what the heck?  really? donuts? (we had just eaten a HUGE dinner...his more huge than mine.)
mb: (putting them down) no.  i guess not.
me: i mean, if you really want them, then get them i guess.
mb: no! they're for you! see, they're just like buttermilk bars!
me: in no way are those like buttermilk bars.
mb: babe, they're CRULLERS.  just like you said.
me: yeah, they're like four year old crullers from alliteratively named donut company. in no way are those like buttermilk bars.
mb: but you've wanted buttermilk bars for SO long.  this would solve that!
me: (pausing.  his reasoning wasn't far off.) yeah, no.  it's not worth it.
(i start to walk down the aisle, as he's still at the display)
me: (calling over my shoulder) but get them if you really want them.
mb: you really don't want them?
me: no. not really.
mb: hmm.  okay. 

he looked sort of dejected. i should have probably let him buy the dang donuts (and would probably have been fine if he did, except for the fact that i would have eaten them and it would have derailed two weeks of progress) but the whole thing was mainly just hilarious to me.

(here's a little digression about those endcaps and displays. OF.THE.DEVIL.  i rarely look at them anymore, unless they are large displays of the things that are on sale, but they will convince the susceptible and unarmed (namely my musicboy) to want to buy everything.  it wasn't long before he was staring lovingly at the beef jerky endcap, which was topped with some sort of party tray of already sliced salamis and meats.  i laughed, especially when i looked at the price.  for a guy whose favorite food group is sausage, i wasn't surprised, but it just makes me glad to be as well-armed with knowledge as i am. i don't love being the budget nazi, but sometimes it's necessary.)

i still really do want a buttermilk bar.  but i won't settle for less than the awesome that i remember--which means, unless i find a small donut shop that actually makes them, i won't be even trying.

perfection's hard to mess with, though i love musicboy for trying.

(he's auditioning today for big collegetown u's music program. he's worked so hard.  he's practiced so hard. he's READY. send good thoughts, prayers, and whatever else you can his way. i have a lot to do today, but for much of the morning, i'll be distracted with fervent prayers sent heavenward that it will go well. we really want to stay here.  he really wants to go there.  please let it work out.  please please please let it work out.)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

so when they say plyometrics, do they mean sitting and eating ben & jerry's? because that's a workout i can get behind.

so the other thing that concerted, steady, constant effort does?

burns out your brain like an old lightbulb leftover from a previous tenant. what's that? you wanted effort? flip the switch, then.  go ahead. do it.  it'll just happen, right? like magic. it always does.  go ahead.  POP! ahahahaha.  i mock you. now go find more lightbulbs.

see? my metaphors even suck.

i've spent the last two hours, probably, doing nothing whatsoever except waiting to see what would happen on facebook because i can't make myself move enough to get going on planning tomorrow's class. i have no earthly idea how i'm going to be able to finish everything else that i have to get done this week, unless it's just little by little.

i hate that.  i want it done.  but the list keeps getting longer because HELLO this week is almost over and so the stuff to do for next week begins.


spinning bruised my butt and made me realize i have a long way to go before i am well and truly fit. it also fairly constantly made me think of a friend's husband, who is a competitive cyclist. i've met him maybe twice in my life, but the whole time i kept thinking "how does he do this? how does he DO this?"

my rear end continues to ask that question.

(sorry if that grossed you out.)

shaun white needs a haircut or else i will continue to assert that he looks like a woman. most overrated olympian thus far=lindsay vonn. nobody cares. get over it.  nbc is brilliant in their ability to milk the most popular events (hello figure skating) for 4 hours of primetime programming by wrapping it with stuff i couldn't care less about normally (supercombined? already know what happened...).  also, olympic ads are quite awesome. my favorite is the mom and dad racing home from mcd's.  score one for moms!

i'm going to kickboxing today.  that ought to be humiliating and horrible, but it will burn calories and then maybe i'll be able to eat dinner then.

i continue to ask myself if i care about tiger woods's apology. i think not, really, except in the sense that i listen to sports radio on my longish drive to rural cc, and maybe it will be more interesting radio fodder than the nba trade deadline.  sweet heck, he's a skeez.  everybody knows it.  his wife should take him for all he's worth.  but the question is: if i'm home, will i watch it if it's on tv? 

the answer is: probably. good thing i'll be in the library, huh? 

oh library.  oh how i pray you give me brain mojo. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

a procrastination ps.

i just looked at a bunch of pictures pre-last round of weight loss, and i was almost startled by the difference. this begs the question, in my mind: will the same thing be true when i lose this last 25? will i look back at pictures in which i think i look amazing later on and only see how much heavier i was?

i sort of hope not.  i hope i remember that i looked good. 

it's like the experience i have in the group exercise room at my gym. some days, when i'm standing there with walls of mirrors surrounding me, i am surprised at how thin i look. at other times, i am horrified by all of the lumps and curves and rolls in places where i wish there were no rolls. 

i'm beginning to think it has nothing whatsoever to do with the mirror and everything to do with my mind. 

i sometimes wish that i could see myself as others see me.  i think i would be pleasantly surprised.  it would at least be a nice relief from the history through which i see myself every day.  we are all our harshest critics, and i am trying very much to celebrate every small victory that comes my way since the scale is nothing if not completely slow and obnoxious, but sometimes it's exhausting to filter everything through 30+ years of body baggage.

now back to grading (i did grade something inbetween there. i promise.).

fortune favors the brave.

i love my red coat.  it makes me feel so bright and cheerful. i wish it was warmer, but i love it anyway.  it's been chilly lately here, so much so that the heater is on and i am covered up with a blanket right now.  the first thing i did when i got home is drink hot chocolate. those are good days.

my husband is a rock. last night, in the shower, i found this strange lump on my back (best way to describe it is to say that it's on my back, a few inches away from my side, and along the lower bra line--sorry if that's TMI, but i feel like it's important).  with the family history of breast cancer in my family, any strange lump is cause for epic freakout.  of course, it's nowhere near my breast or anywhere scary, and it just suddenly appeared (in the general vicinity of all of my back muscles) after i worked my back and trunk muscles seriously in body combat.  it doesn't hurt, except when i keep pushing on it (which i do, because i'm a freak who needs to assess it every five seconds), and it's more than likely some sort of muscular something because it now feels like a muscle knot (although it doesn't FEEL like a muscle knot...too hard and soft at the same time...) at about the same time that the rest of my back and trunk muscles are sore.  i don't know. it's weird.

i'm keeping an eye on it and am now fairly obviously okay about it (and before you freak out and yell at me, i'll go to the doctor if it's still around in a couple of days), but last night? i was upset.  i was scared. all i kept thinking was "i don't want anything bad to happen. i don't want anything bad to happen." when things are happy and good, i worry that something bad will happen. 

and i am so happy.  despite the crazy busy of our life, and the dishes that won't ever stop collecting, and the fact that the interval between laundromat visits are annoyingly short, i love my life.  i love my husband.  i love the future that lies before us, and i so want that future.  

he just held me.  he let me cry. he told me that he thought it was fine but that even if it wasn't, now was not the time to worry.  he is my rock in the storms of life.  i don't know what i would do without him.

also, lesson learned: don't google your symptoms. the answer will always be cancer.  or imminent death by spontaneous combustion. or something. it's never like "hey. you probably have a strained muscle. why don't you watch it for a couple of days and see what happens?  then you should probably go to the doctor." the world would be a better place if we were all a little less extreme.

i'm trying spinning today.  i'm scared of it, really, which is why i haven't done it.  i'm afraid my fat carcass won't fit on those tiny seats. i'm afraid i won't be able to stand up and pedal. i'm afraid that i won't be good at it.  but no matter how much i am afraid of it, there comes a point where you just have to do it anyway.  so i'm doing it today. wednesdays are usually days when musicboy can come home for dinner, but not today, so i have an extra three or so hours.  i'm hoping it will turn out well.

i am finding the olympics oddly compelling.  are you?  except johnny weir.  good grief almighty.

i've been pretty happy this week by how quickly i am catching up. of course, i have spent the last two hours doing a whole heap of nothing, but it's amazing to me how quickly steady, concerted, focused work pays off.  piles and lists start diminishing, and a light at the end of the tunnel begins to glimmer.  i am quite hopeful that by the end of this upcoming weekend,  i will be in a position to begin the 6th class i'm teaching this semester ahead rather than behind.

but that will require me to stop blogging and start grading. 

onward, intrepid ones! onward to the upward slog through the daily grind!

Monday, February 15, 2010

slowing down.

this weekend, i decided to put away the piles of papers that i had to do and focus on being the wife i wanted to be.  there was no mandate from musicboy that i do this--far from it, actually. he would have been quite pleased to have me spend my time doing what would make me less stressed.

but it was valentine's day weekend, and i had plans.  and for those plans to work out as i imagined them, the house needed to be neat and tidy, a place where peace could reign and where we could spend time together without me getting twitchy over the mess. the kitchen had to be clean so that i could bake and cook.  there needed to be time for me to make little things for valentine's day and for me to get ready for musicboy's concert/dance.

so i did all those things. i powercleaned, task-oriented as all get out, and i baked and i went to body combat and i felt amazingly powerful and i went to the dance and stayed the whole time even though i thought that i might leave early to wade back into those piles of papers.

valentine's day dawned and i had french toast for breakfast, courtesy of musicboy (seriously--add nutmeg and cinnamon. AMAZING, even with light multigrain bread).  we went to church.  we came home and i began cooking.  i made lamb and roasted red potatoes and broccoli and french bread rolls (the lamb was pretty good, the potatoes were awesome, broccoli was good, and the rolls came out well enough and fast enough that the recipe will now go into my cookbook) and the most amazing dessert ever.  devil's food cake with chocolate covered strawberries and a melted chocolate topping.  it was YUMMY, but i made a small enough one that it wouldn't hang around for years. 

(i just ate the last of it.  sigh.)

it was a lovely day.  musicboy wrote me a song and, as he sang it, i cried. somehow he managed to say, in that song, everything that i needed and wanted to hear.  we watched a movie last night, ending  a day that we spent entirely together.  there were no pressures, no worries. just us together.

i woke up this morning still loving the day and wanting more of it.  i definitely did not want to go back to real life after having felt so utterly successful at the wife life i lived this weekend. 

as i was walking back to my car today after class and office hours, having to hobble along because my shoes were giving me a blister, i realized that that peaceful, fulfilled feeling from the weekend came back. the weather was chilly but the sun was out, and there were very few people around.  it was lovely and i was taking the time to actually pay attention.

and i realized that maybe that's something that i need to remember, that maybe that's what i need to strive for.  perhaps slowing down, regardless of the chaos that surrounds me, is the answer.  perhaps slowing down is what allows me to get back in touch with all that seems to slip away when i'm so task-oriented. 

maybe slowing down, even for ten minutes as i walk across campus in the winter sunshine, is what lets me get everything else done.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

slogging through mud.

such is a teacher's life, i suppose, that the weeks following due dates feel like an unending jillian michaels workout featuring one very large mountain and her standing at the top with a firehose, pointing it directly at me as i try to climb upward ever upward.

in short: frustrating, futile, and neverending torture.

it's really not all that bad, or it must not be, considering i keep coming back for more.  unless i am a masochist, which i don't think i am, but i guess we all have our own personal brand of masochism.

the frustrating part of this whole deal is that i was completely caught up. AHEAD even.  before we headed up to the arctic north, i was SO on it.  of course, i was procrastinating my dissertation, but even when i was working on both, i was managing to juggle quite well.  balls were up, balls were down, and not a one fell on my cute face.

cue this week, where i feel like one of those stupid hamsters in the wheel.  moving moving moving but never fast enough to really get anywhere.

i'm grading, but i'm also having a week of "it's awesome to be a girl! yay!" that has led me to be in more pain than usual.  i'm usually pretty suck it up tough about such things (being in chronic pelvic pain for almost two years will do that to you) but this time has more difficult than usual, leaving me drained and, today, a little bit teary eyes. nothing is more frustrating than when your spirit is willing but your flesh is oh so weak.

(i also have skipped two days at the gym this week for the same reason. i don't feel guilty at all, but it will likely set me back.)

it's such a busy time right now.  a time when i need to be on my game.  musicboy has a really busy week or two coming up, with a megaimportant admissions audition, a performance on saturday (yes, that's the day before valentine's day...), a big performance the week after which will require lots of rehearsals.  typically, during such a busy time, i try to be a rock for musicboy.  i fill in the blanks for him so that life is easier.

unfortunately, it looks like my life is going to be just as full.

it is times like these that i would like a little miracle, a pause of some kind, so that i can make up for lost time.  i know they'll be there when i really need them. 

in the meantime, i'll keep climbing i suppose.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

a very clear PS to this whole discussion, which is really just my musing and pondering.

(but for which i really appreciate your input because some of you know much more than i do.)

straight up, please don't be offended or think that i am in ANY way casting judgment on ANYONE'S choices. the reality of every person's life is different, as is what their family decides.  it's personal. it's guided by, most of the time, the best intentions and the desire to do what's right and best for the entire family.  were circumstances different, i really might be considering something else entirely. there may come a day when those decisions are presented to me.  i am down with considering everything equally. 

one of the major annoyances of my life is what i call the flip side of feminism, where people don't support equally the decisions women make. there's a lot of judgment on both sides of the stay at home/work outside the home/be a hybrid mom debate (okay, that's three sides but whatever).

there's no judgment whatsoever here. please know that. 

okay. i feel better now. 

it's not always rocket science.

telling my mom about the topic i wrote about yesterday led her to break it down accountant style which, while it is not an awesomely geeky dance move, was still fairly awesome.

essentially, using a complicated hourly wage/gross income/expense breakdown that made my head hurt a little but that i followed at the time, i would end up paying them to work there.

thank you, no. i would end up making less than i was making as a tutor with no responsibility except to show up, hopefully dressed somewhat decently (i.e. not in my pajamas and clean), and share my brilliance with those who came in.

i think not.

but what the past couple of days have taught me is that what you really want, you get. 

i have been praying since sunday to know the Lord's will for me. i'd been feeling fairly disconnected, like i was going about my days and tackling my to-do lists fairly successfully, and making and keeping goals pretty well, but that i wasn't really seeking to align my life with the path that He had for me. sometimes it's that coasting phase, where you know you're where you're supposed to be and you're good with autopilot for a while. i think those are built into life to give you recovery time. 

everybody needs time to breathe and find their footing again.

but that hasn't been enough for me lately. we're coming up on some big stuff in the teachergirl/musicboy household--moving, new programs, changes of all kinds--and i'm not good with coasting through those. they're too important.

i knew the problem was me.  i was too complacent, too okay with phoning in prayers and reading the bare minimum so as not to feel too much guilt for not doing what i needed to do. but i was also really okay with going to sleep on the really sleepy days without saying those prayers or studying the scriptures.

cue sunday, when my one day off from hanging out with the 18 month old crowd found me in a class about scripture study. 


i was resistant at first, even though i KNEW that it was for me. i knew it.  i just didn't really want to hear it.  except what i heard wasn't all "you're wrong, do it better, spend more time, do better, you're wrong." it was more like "make it more meaningful."

so i've been trying.  and i've been praying more. i haven't been doing it a lot differently, to be honest with you, but i've been doing it a lot more consciously and with a lot more thought. 

and what happens?

a whole lot of direction. a whole lot of discoveries. a whole lot of thinking.

and while thinking sometimes makes my head hurt and makes me stress about things i have very little control over, most of this thinking has just been...thinking.  pondering.  figuring out what the best course is. 

and when i see it, it's been trying to figure out how it all will work out.

and when i don't see that, it's been thinking about how this whole process isn't about me figuring out what's most logical. that wasn't my goal. my goal was to know the Lord's will for me.

so when i get the idea, pretty much over and over during the past three days, to shotgun my resume to the community college in collegetown, i do it.  when i get the response that i need to jump through a whole lot of hoops to finish that application, i'll do it.

when i see a bunch of available apartments that are less than what we wanted to pay and have more than we were hoping to get, i see it for the enormous blessing and answer that it is.

when i worry about how things are going to work, about what's going to happen, about how the dollar signs and the price tags and the things we want and need to do will all work out, i remember that His path is not the one i necessarily understand completely.

it's just the one that i want to be on.  it's the one that always makes me happiest.  it's the one that brought me here, to the place that i always dreamed of.

so i keep walking, hopefully a little closer today to that path than i was yesterday. 

i feel like that's a good direction to be headed.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

choosing your life.

so i interviewed for a full-time job yesterday. when the posting came out, i thought it sounded somewhat intriguing, but by the time i sent in the application, i was more ambivalent.

it sounded a lot like running a tutoring center which, while not a bad gig, wasn't enticing enough to make me choose a 40 hour a week job an hour from home over the adjunting gig that allows me MEGA flexible hours and a career of teaching. 

i got called for an interview the day before we left for the arctic north, which i wasn't surprised by since i am ridiculously overqualified for this job. lest you think i am being cocky, the requirements were a BA in english or english education, with the preference being a masters.  i am an entire six year and dissertation process removed from that, so there you go.

i felt still ambivalent about it but figured, unlike most of the interviews that i go on when i am just begging people to take me on, that i would go and probe them, see what the position was, and then make a decision.

the position seems a lot more interesting than i thought it would be.  basically, i would be working with a team to help developmental writing students succeed and to develop a program of support for those students.  it's right up my alley--planning, building, coming up with and evaluating processes, etc.

but here's the thing.

it's a rigid 40 hour a week job, with some nights.  the money's not that much better than what i am making now, although it is better.  it's steady and it's stable and there's no question that i would be employed, should i get it, for several years (if i did my job well).  there would be benefits, though i'm not sure the degree to which i would have to contribute to pay for those benefits.  i like the school, as i already adjunct there. it's a 50 minute one-way drive, which would tack on an additional 2 hours to my day.

that's 10 extra hours away from home.

for people who are planning, at some point in the relatively near future, to have a baby, that's a whole lot of hours to have to pay for someone to watch my child, when i really don't want anyone else to watch my child.

this potential situation, all of which is very hypothetical since i have no idea if i a) impressed them in the interview; b) am in any way a frontrunner; or c) will get the job, brings to mind several questions, all of which i find perplex me in very different ways.

the first one is purely economic and makes me rage at the system and wonder how on earth anyone does this whole working and being a parent thing.  child care is outrageously expensive.  the math simply doesn't work.  if i was to get this job, and we had a child, and that child needed to spend, let's say, 4 hours a day in daycare, we literally could not afford it.  not in traditional day care anyway. i'm totally up for the whole find someone you know and hire them to watch your child, but even that would cost megabucks and i don't know where it would come from.  i simply wouldn't make that much money.

how do people do it? why are there not more affordable child care options out there? why isn't anybody really talking about this?  is this just some sort of burden parents are supposed to carry and suck it up?  that's lame.

the second one, and the infinitely more important one, is whether or not we want to choose a life where i work like i am now, so that i can be home.  this prospect will require a great deal of work on my part, as i will be trying to cobble together a decent living here there and everywhere as an adjunct while also being a mom. it will require self-discipline and i will probably not see musicboy much, at least while he's in school, because i'll be home when he's not home and vice versa, except for those few precious hours when he gets home at night.  enter a baby into the mix, and who knows when we'll have a decent conversation again.  after sort of discussing this possibility, i kept saying "but you'll never be home" and he looked at me and said "but you will."

i'll admit--this is what i want.  but it seems, contrary to what i would expect, the tougher choice.  on a lot of levels, to choose to keep my schedule flexible, to choose to plan for a future where we raise our family on our terms, to choose a life that is perhaps much more crazy busy but where we are putting our family first--it is the harder choice for me. 

it's not because i particularly want to do something different or want to have a 40 hour a week job.  i definitely like the flexibility of my schedule and i LOVE teaching. the job i interviewed for is not in the classroom at all, and i believe i'll begin to miss that a lot.  but i think the reason that considering this option is difficult is because i somehow feel responsible for making our financial life easier. i am in a position where i can support musicboy and our little family as he goes to school. someday, the tables will turn.  we always knew that and we always planned on that.  but right now it feels like my responsibility to do what makes logical sense, even when i feel impressed that it's not necessarily the right choice right now.

i feel like a fork in the road is coming soon, and we're going to have to choose what our priority is.  when you're choosing between two amazing things, that's a very difficult prospect. 

Saturday, February 6, 2010

i dreamed last night...

...that i was pregnant.

i'm not surprised. there are like sixty-five people that i know that are pregnant, and one person just had her baby.  i see facebook status updates all of the time about morning sickness and maternity clothes and ultrasounds and heartbeats.

last night, though, i had this dream that i was pregnant. the baby grew abnormally fast, and somehow i could x-ray vision and see her (it was a girl baby) little bones. she was all curled up against my right side, head up, like you would hold a baby in the crook of your arm.  it was sweet and i remember feeling really, really happy. even though she was growing at alien rate. 

i just wanted to write that down so that i ddn't forget. 

chocolate graham crackers will save me.

have you had them? they're awesome.  seriously. AWESOME. and i am no lover of crap chocolate (well, that's probably a lie...but they're really good the end).

so, here's the 30 day update on my 180 day goals.

meh.  it's not awesome news.

weight: down 3.4 pounds.  in like 5 weeks. i could scream but all that would do is probably make me retain more water, so there you go.  i went down 3.6 pounds the first week, then gained a pound or so back, then lost that pound, then went to the arctic north where i mainlined sugar and carbs, and then came back and didn't want to exercise that much.

the upside is that i am most definitely gaining muscle, especially in my legs, and my cardiovascular fitness is off the charts better. i think i'm probably losing an inch here or there, but until that results in me fitting into my jeans differently, i don't usually count it.  i am going to the gym at least 5 times a week most weeks, and am trying to mix it up with classes and cardio and doing different things, so that's a success considering i hadn't worked out more than 10 times since the wedding.

dissertation: i angsted and fretted and really came to grips with the fact that the reason i didn't want to write anymore was because a) i was afraid i had nothing to say and b) i didn't really care.  the b part has trumped the a and, somehow, realizing that i don't really care much and am not very invested in this project (and, thus, it has very little power to dictate my self-worth if i don't let it) has been liberating.

after i came to this realization (anyone who tells you the dissertation/PhD process is not one big carnival of psychological self-evaluation is a LIAR of the lowest caliber), i started writing. it started as a paragraph here and there on an afternoon, and then i went to the library yesterday and cranked out the rest of it. i think i wrote/cut and pasted existing conference paper material/revised about 8 single spaced pages yesterday, making my total 12 and a half.  double spaced that was 27 pages, which is awesome for the first draft. 

so, relative success there.  and at least i've figured out that i can get junk done.

money: didn't get paid yet for my main job, so right now i'm just grateful that we have savings so that we can live on it until they decide to pay me. good heavens.  so...not going so well, but i have hope that it will resolve itself soon. i will say that i am trying very hard not to buy the things that i probably do desperately need (new workout shoes? please? my feet are DYING) until i get paid.  that's progress.

prayers: the morning thing is just not happening lately, for a host of reasons that include being gone to various other states and being apart and being exhausted and all of the lazy reasons that shouldn't matter at all.  in general, i'm not doing too hot on this end of my life, but i'm still trying.

there you go.  that's my update.  accountability and all.   sigh.

Friday, February 5, 2010

because i am a book nerd.

it's funny.  if you've read the book.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


i fell in love with the arctic north, as we drove around back roads covered in snow and saw houses with basements and pitched roofs and i walked out onto a lake that was frozen solid.

it was the first time i walked on water, musicboy joked, and i quickly said it would be the only circumstance when that would happen since i am far from the perfection necessary to truly achieve that.  there was peace in that snowy expanse that i didn't expect. 

i fit there nicely. i also didn't expect that.

things went pretty well, all things considered.  saying goodbye is always hard.  i think the thing that affected me the most was seeing the love that surrounded this family. casseroles magically appeared in a warm oven, big bowls of salad and crusty bread to accompany them.  rooms at the visitation and funeral and the graveside service were full despite the piercingly cold weather.  flowers were sent not only from friends, but from musicboy's dad's family and their good friends.  that touched me more than anything else, i think. it was extraordinary to see so much love.

that is a life well-lived.

we are back now, after a ridiculous travel experience that at best can be described as comical and at worse could be described as punctuated by the absurdly inept.  we are slowly readjusting back to normal life and trying to catch up--on sleep, on work, on all the things that didn't really exist much for us while we were gone.

i am so grateful for the opportunity to have been there for musicboy and his family. i made food and made sure people were fed, i put pictures on collage boards and held my husband's hand. we looked at a dozen or more photo albums, learning more about his family as we did. i got the chance to have conversations with people i only briefly met at the wedding, coming to respect and like many of them so much more. 

sometimes just being there was enough. it's a blessing that i was able to do it.