Monday, May 31, 2010

...and then sometimes your prayers get answered immediately.

i just logged into the bank.  i hadn't logged in in a couple of days. i had a hunch to check, though.

i got a surprise last paycheck from rural cc on the 28th, which means OIOHL can stuff it.  (until they give me another class, that is.)

we will be just fine. (stop worrying, mama!) maybe sometimes it is a lot easier than i thought.  sometimes slogging through the beginning of fall for a month and a half with no paycheck really does pay off in the end.

i love the Lord.

hello, monday.

it's been one of those days.

nothing exceptionally bad has happened. it's just uphill kind of day.

my class at OIOHL was canceled without me knowing about it. while this is not the absolute end of the world by any stretch of the imagination, it does make for leaner times than i was anticipating going into my course at Collegetown U.  it makes musicboy's jump to 29 hours a week at work, however, VERY fortuitous for our family.

i'm hoping they feel badly and throw another course my way. of course, who knows if that will happen. perhaps this is just another walk of financial faith.  i have a feeling it is, for a while. we'll be fine. it will be fine. but...i like it to be easy.  it just isn't.

had a mini-meltdown this weekend about health-related issues. mainly, i have felt myself slowly slipping back into not so good eating and exercise habits, and asked musicboy if he could please help me out. i told him i couldn't do it alone, and he said he would help rather than resist. his young male metabolism notwithstanding, i think we could all use a little more broccoli and few less cookies.  in the words of the cookie monster of the 21st century, "cookies are a SOMETIMES food."

went to the gym tonight with musicboy (i had literally just decided that i was feeling puny and crampy and didn't want to go when musicboy decided it was time to go...and so we went...and so it's clear that he is a huge help to me). it was a struggle.  i don't like when it's a struggle.  i mean, i was walking slow. but i did do one 1-minute sprint faster than i ever have, so there's that.

and the fact that i went at all.

so there's that.

i'm about 600 pages into the truman bio, in case you were wondering. he was my favorite president before, but now he definitely is.  flawed and foibled, but so admirable in so many ways.  i'm hoping, however, to finish it soon. it's hard to read a 995 page biography.  it is quite slow going.

i've decided, to revisit the health issue paragraph, to incorporate at least two strength classes into my gym regimen.  i haven't been doing anything with strength training, and i think it's important and i haven't been doing it and i want to do everything to rev my metabolism in the next few weeks, so that's what i'll do. and i've decided that, right now, i am just not cut out for individual workouts. i can do them sometimes when i have to, but when i have something that i really like and i have the peer pressure of the classes, i do better. 

especially when i don't want to do anything. all i have to do is show up and bam.  game on.

i was going to whine a lot in this post, but somehow i didn't. that's a good thing. 

i'm hungry.

the end.

well who wouldn't want one after this?!?

(i have never wanted a minivan. ever. anything else. a great big '72 station wagon? fine. a massive SUV? fine.  but it seems fairly clear to me that if we are going to have more than 2 kids, which we probably are (i hope!), i'll end up with one. so, oddly, this comforts me.)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

i spent most of my night tossing and turning, fighting through dreams that involved me somehow having left musicboy, though he was clearly still around, and dating other prospects for marriage. 

my conscious mind was struggling with my subconscious mind all night.

i am exhausted.  contrary to popular worldly belief, i get absolutely no pleasure in any sort of world where musicboy is not my number one guy. in fact, i don't really understand how women can fantasize about other men. i mean, i understand, but i don't at the same time.  in addition to feeling like a skank with no loyalty, i can only imagine it would work to split two people apart.

that's not to say that i don't recognize and appreciate the aesthetic beauty that are some celebrity men, but i honestly can say that i'd much rather have musicboy than any one else.  ever.

so when my subconscious wants to say otherwise, i get a little peeved.

in other news, i'm speaking in church tomorrow about the role of teachers.  it's part of my (other) calling as a literacy instructor for the education committee.  i have very little idea what to say. i have some ideas, but they keep swirling around and around in my brain without much discernable focus.  i am hoping that will change before tomorrow, but it's possible that i'm going to go up there with just a few ideas and let the Spirit guide me.

that freaks me out, but i've done it before, so...there you go. 

i should go work on that, probably. 

have a good weekend, all.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

a rolling stone gathers no moss.

but a butt that sits in a chair all day really might.

i am very much enjoying my time off, but i think i'm getting bored.  i'm not sure what to do about that, since every time i think about doing something productive, i cringe and watch another episode of bones.  i just can't really make myself do anything. 

the flesh is weak, i guess, even when the will is slightly more muscular.

yes, once i figured out how to stream netflix onto the wii, it's all been downhill into slothfulnessarama up in here.  my musicboy goes to work every morning, and i get up with him. i eat a bowl of cereal and i start up the bones.  i'm watching season 3 now, but i've seen so many of them already that it's really just like background noise.  so i end up doing something else--usually crossstitching--until it seems like the hours just speed by and musicboy comes home.

for a moment when he walks in the door, i feel a little bit like i used to when my mom would come home and i had done nothing whatsoever all day.  there's some guilt, although there's no accusations whatsoever coming from musicboy. 

but lately, i've not really left the apartment except to go to the gym.  i stay inside and i think i'm getting bored.  i'm beginning to feel that stircrazy feeling that i get when i don't have a purpose.  i don't like being bored.  i love my crossstitching project, but it feels like at any moment i could start to mold into the furniture.

today, i tried to feel a bit more like a normal person by dressing in real clothes (instead of those awesome shorts i told you i got at sam's club). i got my OIOHL work done, and may try to get ahead of the curve for the course that's starting on tuesday.  i'll probably try to clean a little bit, because that makes me feel less like a major slugbutt.

but really...i have three something more weeks of this.  and we're poor-ish (or trying not to spend too much money until we both get paid again).  i'm trying to think of cheap, fun things to do. i'm thinking of a picnic one day at our park, but other than that...i'm out.  maybe we'll go hiking at a local nature area.  maybe i just need to make a list, because maybe i actually have ideas. 


i'm bored a little and my brain isn't working well anymore because even though i'm getting up earlyish, we're not going to bed until like 2:30 and 3am. 

hey, here's an idea.  maybe i'll take a nap.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

flour and oil.

do you know the story of elijah and the widow?

that's how i'm feeling right now. 

i don't like money.  i don't like it at all. i don't like dealing with it, i don't think i'm especially good at it, but i am in charge of it in our family, mainly because i was already paying most of the bills for my entire apartment before we got married (everything was in my name), so when we got married, it was pretty easy for me to just keep doing it. 

but it perplexes me, the slippery nature of money.  i don't like the way it pretends like it's there and then it's not, but it is at the same time.

let me explain.

i am not one of those inexperienced people who looks at their balance on any given day and says WHOOHOO I'M RICH.  far from it, actually. i'm incredibly cautious because i have been in DEEP debt before (and only got out of it because my mom is awesome and helped me get out of it...really, she got me out of it) and refuse to get there again. in fact, since my mom started helping me, i have not carried a balance on a credit card for more than a couple of months. i am vigilant about keeping us out of the red and am really committed to saving as much as humanly possible.

with a few really large expenses on the horizon, that's important to me.

so when i look at my balance on any given day, i don't think a thing about it. instead, i consult my handy dandy notebook, where i keep track of bills and expenses and what we actually have is there in assorted shades of ink. 

but the slippery nature of money is this. just about the time when i think i'm going to be able to put a sizeable chunk of money into the savings account, it's just gone.  that is frustrating to me, because one of my primary goals for the last five months has been to build up the savings account.  it has grown, every so slowly, but not by much. 

(if this reminds you of how the weight loss thing is going, the parallels are clear to me too. what i think i want is not happening--but that's not to say that things aren't happening.)

because even while the money seems to slip through my fingers far too easily, it's going to things that are awesome--like being able to pay off a $700 unexpected and unplanned brake job in one fell swoop, or being able to pay back tithing that somehow slipped through the cracks without worry.  i know that that sounds like we are rolling in discretionary income. we definitely have sufficient for our needs, so please don't think i'm complaining.

i'm definitely not. in fact, as i think about money, i think about the widow. 

i think about that story because it's miraculous in a completely not-like-you'd-expect way.  the widow didn't get a big basket of fruit and grain on her doorstep after she followed the prophet's counsel. she didn't suddenly find herself rolling in money.

she didn't GET anything that she could see.  she just never ran out of what she needed.

and that's the way we've been blessed since the day we got married. in somewhat lean times, when i'm worried about how we'll manage until the next paycheck, the food just lasts longer. i can make more with less, or i get creative. or i drive less, so there's no need for gas. or we find ways to entertain ourselves with what we have or we make use of the free gift stuff we still have access to. somehow, it just all lasts or the time seems to go quite quickly. 

in the times when it seems like we'll get way ahead, when i do occasionally look at the balance and think WHOOHOO!, the problems and challenges that we can deal with them.  and we haven't had trouble dealing with them, even though i know that in other times in my life, such expenses would have knocked me flat.

at times, i still wish i could build that savings, that i could rest knowing that we had more than sufficient to buy a year's worth of health insurance without cleaning out all of our bank accounts, or so that we could have enough never to have to worry about anything if somehow the jobs dried up. 

it's one of the reasons why i work as much as i do. while i can work this much, i keep thinking that it's preposterous to not take advantage of every opportunity. if it means that i have to work a little bit harder or do a little less pleasure reading and a little more discussion board moderating, who's to complain about that? because i see every one of those jobs as a blessing, and i take them as a way of signaling to the Lord that i am aware, that i am appreciative, and to keep them coming.

never look a gift blessing in the mouth, to take and butcher an idiom.

but even as i do this, and even as i worry about upcoming expenses, and even as i pray for more classes and for things to work out, i know that the flour and the oil in our lives will never run out.  i know that the Lord's promises are sure, even when i don't see them at work. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

adjunct a-go-go.

so, i have another job. i think the adjunct "interview" process is hilarious. as in, there isn't one. you send in all of your stuff, they make sure that you're qualified, and then when you show up to the "interview" you get assigned classes and get books.

there's no real weighing and measuring and horrors of the interview process. you're essentially a cog in a large wheel of labor, and so it's just a negotiation about how many classes you want and when you can teach them.

i muse on this because it happened to me, again, today. it happened the same way with rural cc, and now it happened again with what we'll call local cc.  it's the feeder school, in lots of ways, for Collegetown U, so it's good for me to work there.  but that's another story altogether.

i just find this whole process so different from the Collegetown U interview process and the rumored tenure track interview process, which i have never experienced and yet am not sure i want to experience at all.

i like this whole "you are qualified, thus you may TEACH" deal, but then again...that might let some bad apples into the bunch.

but since i am a lovely, delicious, not bad apple, i will take it.

i'm excited. i will be teaching 7 classes, at least, in the fall. my dissertation committee thought i was insane girl for doing 6. 

ha! take that!

i just have to rant for a minute.

so, there was a big finale last night. if you've been living under a rock, lost ended after six years of crazy puzzles and time traveling twists and mythology and yeah.

now, granted, i only watched the last 45 minutes. BUT that 45 minutes included the ending, which is what i hated.  i could have predicted it six years ago, and i think it was a cop out. a sweet cop out, maybe, but a cop out nonetheless. 

and for a show that claims to be appealing to the highest common intellectual denominator, that frosts my cookies.

but what really bugs me? is when people act like i didn't "get it" because i didn't like it.

well, here's the thing. i don't sit around (anymore) pondering and pontificating on the lost mythology. i don't have time and, right now, the inclination to spend that kind of time on something entirely fictional (unless it's something i'm going to teach...and if i could somehow teach lost, i totally would).  so maybe i didn't "get it" in the sense that i didn't see how it connected to a million questions that didn't get answered.

(and before you're like HEY. YOU DIDN'T WATCH IT ALL SO YOU CAN'T JUDGE. i'mma watch it today when it hits online. i had other stuff to do last night.)

but don't act like i'm an idiot because i don't share your opinion. don't ask me what's wrong with me, don't imply that i'm less smart than you, because the reality is that i am probably a lot better and more adept at interpreting texts (and tv shows like these are most certainly texts) than you are. i have years and years of practice and a couple of letters after my name that say so.

just because i find something unsatisfying doesn't mean that i am an idiot.

it just means that i disagree with you, and there's nothing wrong with that nor is there anything wrong with my expression of that opinion.  maybe i'm right and YOU'RE wrong.  ever thought about that?

or maybe it's just that i'm older and i've been around this block before and i've seen this copout before (hello dallas, mid 80s, how do you feel about a somewhat recycled storyline?) and it's ANNOYING.

if you're going to write a show that's intelligent and puzzling, make your ending be that way too.

and answer some dang questions.

that's not to say that when the whole thing comes to netflix, i won't sit there for a two week period watching episode after episode, knowing the end from the beginning, to try to make sense of it. oh, i will.

but don't you dare, people who loved it, act like i'm stupid for not liking it.  don't you dare.


Friday, May 21, 2010

refrigerator tales.

you can tell i am by myself this week simply by my eating habits. yesterday? i ate probably 1/2 of the big batch of broccoli salad that i made the day before.  (the other half i ate the day that i made it, so it's gone now. good thing there's more broccoli in the fridge...).  i ate strawberries and hummus and more strawberries and some dirty blondes (they're like blondies, but with more chocolate) and some leftover bread.

you know what i DIDN'T eat?


at all. haven't eaten meat since musicboy left. 

i am fairly certain that's all he's eaten, along with bread, since he left. although he did tell me he ate broccoli last night. he went to some place where they sell food by the pound, which he thought was a really good idea. 


what did i eat today?

too many banana waffles (really--too many. i feel a little blech.).  i will likely make more broccoli salad and perhaps some more pasta salad and call it a day. 

but still no meat. 



also, i finally got my books from the library. this is what i checked out with: two DVDs (party!), a 995 page truman biography, the great gatsby, ramona the pest and ramona the brave. 

if that's not an eccentric library trip, i just don't know what is.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

i wasn't jealous at all...

...and then i saw pictures of musicboy posted on facebook in nyc. he went to the empire state building! there are pictures of him posing on an nyc street! 

it's not that i'm jealous. i just wish i could be there to see his face when he gets to see all of these things he hasn't seen before. i've seen them. he hasn't.  well, until today.

is that jealousy?  i don't think so.  i'm just so excited for him. 

and the pictures made me miss him. 

that and the fact that he won't answer his text messages. what is he doing?  oh.  sightseeing.  practicing.  right.  DOING STUFF.

yeah, i miss him. i'm a silly.  now i really want a present. :)


i went to sam's yesterday to pick up some broccoli so that i could make broccoli salad (sweet goodness it's delicious and so colorful and good grief) and lettuce so that i could make green salad and i walked by the clothes and there were these bermuda shorts made of like cool sweatpants material. what is that? it's sort of like yoga pants.

they are the most comfortable thing i've ever worn in my life. i'm trying to decide if i can get away with going to the volunteer assignment i have (serving food for church at a home for families of cancer patients undergoing treatment--hence the need for romaine and baking bread today) or if i need to wear more reasonable clothing.  i'm really leaning toward wearing them.


i think i have found a book, since the library is taking 9000 years (really, it's been like a day and a half, but in vacation time, that's AGES) to get my massive truman biography.


excuse me while i eat freshly baked bread.  and then...musicboy will be jealous! haha! my evil plan is complete!

(i'm just kidding. i probably won't mention it.)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

sometimes, little blonde haired curly kids teach me stuff.

if jessica can do this, so can i.

i may not climb on the counter though, because i would hit the ceiling.  the sentiment's still the same, though.

conversation in the hallway and bathroom.

me: i swear i'm going to clean. probably while you're gone.

musicboy: whatever. it doesn't matter to me.

me: i feel strangely torn about it. part of me is all responsible wife, who thinks "oh, i must clean and make things neat and cook and do all of those wifely things and i really want to do it!" the other part of me thinks of those things and says "suck it. i'm reading a book and doing nothing."

musicboy: you know, that's really the two sides of you.

me: the responsible and the suck it?

musicboy: yeah.  that's really who you are.

me: i know. 


the responsible side is winning today, only because i have to grade. but lately, it's a supreme struggle to try to get anything productive done. it's not that i don't want to do it, because the state of my house right now really requires me to pay attention to it soon. it's that...i can't make myself do it. i try, but i have other responsible things to do (i.e. laundry yesterday and buying things like toothpaste and then grading and participating in the online workshop that i'm required to participate it) so that when the time comes to do the other responsible things, all i can muster is an unenthusiastic meh.

musicboy leaves tonight for nyc, where he will be (i am NOT kidding you right now) playing in carnegie hall.  the smaller stage of carnegie hall, but carnegie hall.  my husband is such a balla. 

what will i be doing this weekend, you ask? i'm so glad that you did.  i will be staying home, working out, venturing off to the library and such.  i will be doing my online teaching thing and i WILL clean this house.  i may, however, not go out much.  i feel hermit-like but not in a bad way.  i may take naps and try a new muffin recipe.  who knows? the world is my oyster, if by oyster you mean a small apartment and a desire to not spend copious amounts of money.

wish musicboy luck and send him and his jazz band good wishes.  they will have an amazing time in NYC. i am not the least bit jealous, although i do hope i get a little present. :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

dear tuesday... can take your late-for-work-and-upset-about-it morning musicboy, your i-looked-in-the-mirror-at-the-laundromat-and-looked-like-a-barge noontime teachergirl, your massive-midday-headache-and-scarfing-down-lunch-before-body-combat late afternoon teachergirl and musicboy respectively, and your continuing-backache-which-is-wearing-down-my-ability-to-do-anything-but-cry teachergirl...

...and, quite frankly, you can suck it.

(you may, however, leave the managed-to-make-it-through-body-combat-though-it's-been-two-weeks strength and the made-up-a-pasta-salad-recipe-by-substituting-stuff-and-throwing-it-together creativity, though.  that would be fine.)

the end.

Monday, May 17, 2010

defending your life.

it was actually really fun.

i know you're supposed to tell horror stories about the phd defense, and the tales my director have told me tell me that it varies widely from institution to institution, but mine was genuinely fun.

it didn't really start out that way.

as you well know, the few days before the defense were a horror.  i was trying to finish grading, and i had been grading for EVER it seemed, and my brain was quite simply fried. on monday, when i was finally finishing some of the grading that i needed to do before i could well and truly move on from the grading part of my life to the preparing for the defense part of my life, i just couldn't imagine thinking anything smart, sharp, or successful for that day. 

my brain felt like swiss cheese.

my wonderful husband gave me a blessing (which is a special prayer specifically for me that offers guidance and peace from Heavenly Father; others can be given in times of sickness--they both work amazingly) in which he said the following (or something darn close): "a defense is named a defense for a reason. you'll be asked to defend your ideas.  don't shy away from them--have confidence and defend them."

you know, i hadn't really thought before that about going in there expecting to be challenged and finding that exhilarating, but the blessing really made that happen for me. i suddenly shifted my thinking, seeing those challenges as not something to be afraid of, but as opportunities to show what i know.

so the day before and the day of, i baked goodies for my committee. i reread my dissertation (SO BORING when you've read it 900 times in the last month already as you were doing revisions) and at 8 the morning of my defense, i got a long email from my 2nd reader with a series of questions that he would ask.

at first, i panicked.  but then i realized that here was a LIST of ideas that i knew that i needed to cover. it really helped me crystallize my ideas, to put down into words what i needed to put down into words for my opening statement.  my director and i had discussed what i needed to cover, but until i went through his questions (which were both big and small in scope), i didn't feel capable of reining in my thoughts.

once i had those notes down, i felt ready.

so i started getting ready. i was out of the shower and blowdrying my hair when i realized it.

i had forgotten to pick up my paperwork.

now this may not seem like a big deal, but getting four professors in a room together at the end of a semester is like herding cats sometimes.  it's challenging, requires energy, and is almost impossible to replicate, especially when one of them leaves the state for the summer, the other is retired, and another is about to go overseas to adopt a baby. 

if i didn't have my paperwork, i would have had to find each one of them in turn to get them to sign it.

i panicked, hyperventilating a little bit.  i paced the floor of our small apartment for a minute or so, saying over and over to myself "i can't believe i did this. i can't believe i did this."  my husband, poor soul, didn't quite know what to do with me.

a minute passed, and i came up with a plan.  i'd call.  no one would answer. i left a message, then called my director, who reassured me that if i couldn't get it we would figure it out--but to try.

my leisurely preparation time, when i envisioned that i would do my hair and makeup and relax a little bit, turned into a frantic hair straightening, makeup slapping rush to get out of the door so that i could hunt down the paperwork. musicboy drove me, and when i got up to the office, there she was.  no problem.  paperwork in hand.

chaos reigned just a little bit, but that's pretty standard.  by the time i got to the defense, the adrenaline was pumping. my legs were shaking and i was nervous. 

the first thing they have you do is leave the room.  i love the geographical politics of that and the symbolism.  they, the committee, the symbolic gatekeepers of the phd club, have you leave the room so that they can convene and discuss what gauntlet they are going to run you through.  i was nervous because i knew that i had to do my opening statement after that, and i so desperately wanted to sound intelligent. i wanted to be able to encapsulate my argument and clarify some questions about the relevance my project has to scholarship.  it's been the hardest thing for me to articulate, and it's the big question that my readers were left with after reading my draft.

they called me in and we began. i was sitting at the head of the table, the four committee members surrounding me.  the worst part of it was that statement--and that's because i was still shaking and still so nervous.  but i had my notes and something took over. i was able to explain and i think i did a really good job doing so. i could see heads nodding as i would make certain points, and i knew that i was addressing questions that they had.

after that, and after the first question, i thought to myself "i've got this."

and i did.  question after question came, and the challenges came from my second reader.  he called me on a few ideas, and i found myself confidently explaining where i was coming from.  each time, he commented that he could see my point.

when it was over, when the questioning was done, they had me leave again.  i wasn't gone for long when my director came out and said "congratulations, dr. marriedlastname."

it was nice.

what was nicer, though, was their comments after i returned. now that the gauntlet had been run and i had been victorious, they told me what they thought--that i was as articulate in person and in the oral defense as i had been in what was a well-written and thoughtful dissertation. my second reader, specifically, thought i was poised and confident in those moments of defending my ideas, and they all commented that they thought that i would do well in interviews because of my demeanor--i listen to others' ideas but stand firmly behind mine.

what a huge confirmation of the guidance i got in my blessing.  it was an amazing thing to behold, how prayers were answered and my testimony grew of the power of the priesthood in my life.

and the best part of all?  no changes. other than the errors that need to be fixed, they didn't think i needed to make any changes at all at this time. they had quite a few suggestions for when the manuscript becomes a book (yeesh!), but not for the dissertation.

that surprised me i think most of all. that and the fact that i wanted it to keep going.  i was a little sad when it was over.  all of this work, all of this preparation, all of this anxiety, and i rocked it.

i left the next day for vacation with my mom, and i entered what my mom called my zombie phase.  i was quieter than normal, didn't have much to say, was impatient, and was in general in what musicboy calls my "backup brain." i thought it was because i was apart from musicboy (and posted re: that) but i realized only on thursday, when i started coming out of it, that it was decompression from the months and months of incredible stress and pace that i'd been keeping. 

now that i'm coming out of that zombie phase, and am trying to come up with plans for the next few months and for fall, i'm wondering what i'll end up filling my time with. suddenly my schedule seems so very free, and i'm not sure what i'll do with myself.  maybe i'll get the chance to revisit some of my old hobbies (hello, crossstitch) or pick up new ones.  maybe the Lord will see fit to bless me with things to occupy my time most constructively. 

nevertheless, the defense is over.  last up is those few revisions, which i may expand a bit to include the justification portion that i sussed out for my opening statement but which i don't plan to have take a long time, and submitting it to the graduate school. then i get to decorate my cap and graduate in august.

and then i'm really done. 

it's a really strange feeling. i feel a bit lost in some ways. i've been in school straight for eight years, and for so long it's been the way that i've defined myself.  but in the hours after the defense, when the glow of my accomplishment was still shining brightly within me, i realized that i am so happy that i finished.  more than anything else, i knew in THAT moment that i would have regretted it so much if i hadn't. i don't know what i'll do with my dissertation or with my degree. i don't know that i will ever be a professor in the tenure-track, traditional sense.  i'm okay with that.  but what i do know is that i did it. not only did i do it, i did it on my terms and i did it with my ideas and in the process i earned the respect of the people that i respected most in my department.  these were the people who i learned from, who inspired me to do my best work, who helped to develop me into a thinker.

and in my thinking, i won their respect.  and i won my respect too.  i used to start a lot of things and not finish them.  the carnage of my craft box is evidence of this fact.  but i don't think i do that anymore.  now i know what it's like to take something important, to set my sights on a goal that seems almost unattainable and to work through it until i reach it.

i learned a lot about myself. i'm still learning, of course, but if i could encapsulate my phd process in a few words, i would say this: i endured to the end, and i endured well.

really, i don't think there's anything else i could ask of myself.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


i miss my husband.

that was not unexpected.

what is unexpected is the way that it manifests itself.  i thought it would be something like a poet would describe--a deep ache or feeling like the other half of you is missing in some physical way.  i do feel like part of me is missing, but it is manifesting itself as...


do whaaaa?

apparently i am not alone, as musicboy said that last night he inexplicably got really cranky.  i had an explanation, navel gazer that i am, for it, as i had already figured it out about myself this weekend.

being away from your partner, at least for me, is an emotional stress. it's subconscious, it's underlying, but it's nevertheless there. for me, it means that things don't happen the way they normally do--my routine is off, i'm doing other things, and i'm not doing the things that destress me (which is mainly just being around musicboy...he is deeply soothing). at the same time, i am doing things that are fun and are relaxing.

but all of this underlying emotional static makes me more frayed than normal. it's like something is always off, so it's difficult for me to navigate anything else.  i am, at times, more prone to bouts of crankiness and impatience.  it's strange and it's odd, but it's what i do.

i'm glad to know it, as it helps me to be aware of what's going on. but it's still unexpected.

other things that were unexpected:  my insanely emotional connection to the mock witch trial we attended at colonial williamsburg.  i need to write more about that at some later date.

Friday, May 7, 2010

out of office reply.

oh hi.

sorry to leave you all hanging there.  though, of course, if you're my facebook friend, you already know that the defense went brilliantly and i am now basking in the glow of vacation with my mom. 

this consists of chilling with cats, hanging out with my family, and watching tivo.  (i'm now caught up on lost. when i watched this past tuesday's episode, i sobbed. could it have been more heartwrenching? i don't think so...) i read too (i finished a fabulous non-fiction book in the airport and am about to finish another book). it's the epitome of lovely. 

i will be back to tell the stories of chaos, chipped plates, spilled champagne (i don't drink...and i'm not was funny) and missing paperwork of my defense day, as well as my impressions of how much fun it was (surprising!) and a few of the personal realizations i had as i was sitting there. 

but right now, i'm just enjoying not having to do anything except the bare minimum for my online class. don't tell anyone, but they're kind of getting the shaft a little this week, if not in actual practice at least in angst and attention. 

it's a nice change.

but i do very much miss my husband, who is home playing video games, working, and reading tolkein.  i just love that guy.

i'll be back.  hang out until then.  talk amongst yourselves. or, if you have questions that you want me to address about the defense, post them. or, you know, any questions at all. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

just when i need a little burst of confidence...

...i read this gem in my introduction:

In these works, we see female authors closely scrutinizing, and unintentionally replicating, the tension inherent in the term "domestic" as they explore the power of both physical and imaginative travel.  As they do, they begin to narrate their own journey as female authors--a perilous, powerful, and often liberating tale of social aspiration and limitation, of negotiation and alienation, of imagination and emancipation. 

if i can come up with some junk like this for my ten-minute introduction, i might not have to rely on the muffins.


(but i have to say...i've read this diss so many times, it's sort of boring reading it straight through. shhh...don't tell.  let them think it's brilliant.) 

put together.

my director is so put together.  everything she wears is completely matched to her jewelry. she's one of those walking advertisements for ann taylor or talbot's or [insert expensive classy store here].  i like her style, though it's a little bit more...rigid...than mine.

what's my style, you ask?

i'm so glad that you did.

i can be found, nine months of the year, wearing footwear that you might use to avoid foot fungus. that's right, the old navy flipflops. i love them. they are the singlemost comfortable shoe ever created.  i don't care if they're ugly. in fact, most people that i know own multiple pairs of them and love them just as much. 

but the rest of me feels a bit frumpy of late.  perhaps that's because i'm going through some sort of crisis, but i don't think so. i've always felt like i'm about two steps away from having a style.  it's always a lack of shoes, or a lack of cute jewelry, or a lack of funds to create these things. 

it's somewhat frustrating, being two steps away, but then i wonder if people like my director are the exception to the rule rather than the rule itself. maybe everyone really feels a bit like they're still trying to define what they are.

i would like to say that someday i will either no longer care or i will have the funds to pursue my ultimate style, but i think neither of those things are true. so i will try to muddle through, as best i can, picking up pieces on clearance racks (hello adorable blue earrings i bought today) and on sale (white summery skirt, green summery dress, white peasant-y shirt) in the hopes that maybe, one day, i will look in my closet and see style.


the defense is tomorrow. 3:30pm.  i'm told it will take an hour and a half to two hours, that i am now the expert on this topic, and not to be nervous.  all three of those things seem distinctly absurd to me, but that's okay.

i'm supposed to speak for no more than 10 minutes at the beginning of the defense to articulate my argument. i genuinely believe that if i can get through that, i can make it through the rest of it.

plus, i'm making blondies with swirly chocolate and my slammin' apple cinnamon muffins, so if nothing else they will bow before my baking greatness. 

do they give a phd in baking?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

i have survived.

something like 56 papers graded in about 22 working hours.  that's pretty decent, considering those hours include breaks for video games, food, and gym.

today, our internet decided to crap out because the cable went out, so i had to venture out in search of a wireless internet connection so that i could download the papers that i needed to grade and keep going.

i am now done, save 1 paper that i idiotically gave someone an extension until monday to turn in.

stupid. never again.

but after i get it, grade it, and put in the grades i will be done with 5 of my 6 classes.  the other class, at online institution of higher learning, will end on monday and will bring with it another substantially less stressful round of grading.  another online class at OIHL begins on tuesday.

so i guess i'm not DONE, but i am done. 

i feel twitchy and short tempered and tired and not at all relieved.

i am hoping that the first three will go away and the last will come soon.

but i have survived my first semester teaching six classes.  if i can do this, i can do anything.

26 of (a possible) 63, but more likely 26 of 54.

the worst of it was when i posted. for some reason, just like exercise, it's the getting started that kills me. the fact that it was afternoon didn't help.  that's the time my body likes to tell me that my bed is better than anything else in the whole world.

i managed to find a rhythm, and soon it was just about getting through one class.  i use blackboard, so my online students submit their papers into what's called a digital dropbox. it's essentially one big folder full of files, so when i can begin to see the end in sight of that (although those were just the papers that had been turned in early--the deadline wasn't until about 5 minutes ago), i started feeling less like i wanted to die and more like i could actually do it.

when i had cleared a class, i played mariokart.  bowser is awesome.  i'm usually yoshi, but bowser is awesome.  i unlocked a car and a new cup under my name, even though musicboy had long unlocked all of the possible cups and many of the cars under his name.

it felt like a triumph of a kind.

then i ate copious amounts of frozen pizza, baked in my wonderful convection oven, and did eat some frozen cookie dough, and got back to it. i'll admit that i slowed down substantially tonight.  but i kept chugging--another class, i hoped, i would wipe clean.

i did.

of course this was all very temporary because, true to form, the procrastinating student population started tossing papers at me around 10pm.  once a class was wiped clean, more papers would pop up.

that's okay. i don't mind.

i've been finding my rhythm.

it helps that musicboy is in full support mode. we ran out of salad and fruit, and i desperately wanted some.  and pizza. so he made that possible by going to the store for me. when he came back, he brought flowers.

he's a prince. i'm a lucky girl. and i'll admit that i'm in full book nerdgirl heaven to see him reading the lord of the rings (his idea, not mine) on the couch while i patiently wait for 12:30 so that i can officially say "your paper is late.  tough."

given the storms that have passed through tonight, i'm sure i'll be making exceptions, but the last thing i want to deal with is a bunch of stragglers just sticking their papers in my digital dropbox and expecting special dispensation. that drives me nuts.

i have one more day to finish this stuff. i did 26 in about 10 hours.  i most assuredly can do 30 in 14.

i hope.

gah.  six classes is hard.