Friday, November 13, 2015

I think I've figured out the structure of the article, and I think I've figured out how to work through some sticky spots.

Also, I've gotten sleep.

And I've worked out the last three days.

Actually working out, sleeping, and working on the article is really helping. Having a plan for the article is really helping. Having a couple of days off from work has helped me to be less stressed and less sad, too. So that's a good thing.

Hopefully I can get some stuff done this weekend, too, including sleep.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

I'm so thankful that the quarter is coming to a close and what I've learned from all my failures this fall.

Even though I'm still behind on all.the.things, being able to relax a bit more has helped.

I've figured out, after nine weeks, that I can't make this kind of schedule that I gave myself this quarter work for me on any front. At all. I had a two week burst of productivity, and that's it. Since then, I've spend as much time complaining about work and not having time to do everything as I have actually doing things. Everything has made me extremely depressed this quarter, and who can function like that? And the problem is I keep taking breaks, and the breaks end up being longer than the work stretches because I've exhausted myself. Steady productivity is a better pace for me than mad bursts and then periods of checking out. So, here's what's changed:

  1. I hit rock bottom, finally. I declared that I was going to work on a weight gain goal and try to hit 200 pounds, buy elastic pants, and give up. I was serious. And Monday I was all stressed about cleaning and everything and about my parents coming in, and I just finally admitted defeat and gave up on everything. Surprisingly, that helped.
  2. I cancelled my office hours yesterday and cancelled classes today. It sounds shady to say that I did it in part so I could work out, but I'll explain. Today is usually the one day where I actually just lecture on the stories rather than hold class discussion. And it's a lecture that I've pulled from a couple of different places, and which I usually post the note on the discussion board anyway. So, I gave them the option of having them come to class with me reading the lecture to them or cancelling class but they had to read EVERYTHING I posted on their own with the understanding that they were still responsible for the material for the exam whether I went over it or not, and if they weren't comfortable with that, that I would come in and deliver the lecture. They opted not to have class. I'm actually okay with this because the ones who were there Tuesday have had near perfect attendance and I could see the look of despair and anxiety and tiredness in their eyes. If they are anyway near as stressed as I am, then the ones who always show deserve I think to take take responsibility and have the day off. They may regret it during class time, but I did make it clear that I would have class and give them the lecture. That means that I've worked out two days in a row, had some time to myself, and gotten the laundry done. I also have tonight's dinner already made. So just taking that breather to get some stuff done has now put me in a position to get through the quarter without just keeping afloat.
  3. My parents are back in town. I was stressed out after a while with them here, and it's been a great time just the three of us, but the division of labor is now easier with mom and dad around. Help in the kitchen, help with grocery shopping and meal prep, all of that means less stuff for me to do and more time to get other things done like work. And my mom declared that they are coming back to help until I get my articles written for tenure so that I can spend more time working and less time doing household stuff, which wow, I mean, that's nice. Plus, they just want an excuse to be with the kid. As as I clean and declutter, there's slowly more room in the house which makes a big difference with four adults and one child. 
  4. My schedule this quarter has helped highlight what doesn't work for me, so I know how to adjust next quarter and spring quarter. 
What I've learned:
  1. The school year is not the same as summer. Sure, that sounds like a no-brainer here, but I thought if I got used to a certain schedule over the summer and replicated it during the quarter it would work, but that's not the case. I guess I always forget by the end of summer just how exhausting the actual teaching part of my job is. In the summer, it does work better for me to work out first and then get to my own stuff after I drop off the kid. During the year, it does not. It seems to work better for me if I get up and get 45min to an hour of work in early morning and then work out after kid dropoff. I seem to be more consistent that way. That is the plan for next quarter: 45 min to an hour in the am, and then the goal is to get another 45 min to an hour of reading done in the evenings before bed. I think that will lead me to a more productive quarter in terms of my own work and my health/wellness.
  2. The one different thing I am trying is having a full day at the office on Wednesdays. If I do the bulk of my office hours on Wednesdays, then this means that Wednesday gets to be my mid week off day in terms of getting up early to do work and working out. That leaves me MTRF (with MF off from the office). I'm hopeful that I can use that time for class prep/grading and article work since I'll have a nice full day there. We'll see how that goes. Again, I'm hopeful here.
  3. I am a nicer person all around when I can get things done. When I've worked out and gotten my writing done, I'm a nicer and more even wife and mother, two things I actually like being. I think we've all suffered this quarter because of me, and I don't like that at all. I want to fix that. Fortunately I've fixed the remaining week of the quarter to benefit us all in that way, and things will be okay, I think. I already feel better having worked out yesterday and this morning and knowing that I'll be able to work out tomorrow morning as well. My desk at home is cleared off; the bedroom is straightened (for now); I've got a little space in there to function, so that should help for the next week or so.
Today I'm going to spend no more than an hour grading and then I'm going to work on my article and see what I can't try to unravel of that hot mess.

ETA: Grading done. Also wrote for 20 minutes on the article. I'm overwhelmed by it, but I think I now have a sense of how it needs to be organized and how to deal getting my notes and draft to make sense. I'm a bit stressed and anxious about it, but I at least feel like I know where it should go. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

I've been able to catch up on sleep, and I've got a handle now on the rest of the quarter, both in terms of the grad class and the survey classes. That feels good. Last night I goofed off a bit after the kid went to bed and let the husband do the kitchen (that's now his job anyway). It took me longer to fall asleep than I'd liked for it to have, and I didn't get as much as I wanted to, but at least I was somewhat relaxed. That's a plus.

The focus still, for the remainder of the quarter is to just survive and do good enough. I've already got the final exams made, so that's a plus. I only need to spend about 5 minutes at the grocery getting a couple of things today, so that's good. I've got to go for a run and spend some time writing. I can write in between cooking batches of bacon, actually, when I get home.

What I need to do is finally finish that article. I can spend my office hours then for the rest of the quarter doing the syllabi for next quarter, setting up on the on-line class for next quarter, and writing. And then grading as things come in.

Sleep is the big thing. My attitude has shifted so much in the last couple of days because I've gotten more sleep. I still feel like I'm on the verge of just crying all the time though, but that's other stuff I guess. I'm sure once I eventually get caught up on sleep that will help.

In terms of sleep, this is what I've decided to try because I have actually really screwed myself over with this article that was due two weeks ago. I'm two articles behind already at this point. But I was getting less sleep than I should, waking up to try to squeeze work or cleaning in before class, then working or cleaning at night after dinner, trying to work out, getting up at 4:30 for that, and I think what I did was just exhaust myself. Now, I still should be reading at night rather than watching tv, but I've decided, at least for the rest of the quarter to focus on at least 8.5 hours of sleep. If that means not getting up early to work out or work, then so be it because I feel like I'll get more done during the day if I'm rested than if I'm trying to squeeze more work in. And I'm going to commit to 20 minutes of writing a day until the article is done. Seven days a week. It can be revision work or new words, but at least 20 minutes a day for the writing.

Rather than feeling hopeless about all that needs to be done, I realize that if I'm getting sleep, there is enough time to do stuff, and if I'm rested, I can get it done faster. I can focus better on the grading and stuff, too. I'm still worried about how bad this article sucks though.

And I've gotten sucked into this horrible body image thing the last couple of days. It feels like all of my clothes, even my new ones and stuff that I love and have made me feel good about myself in the past--it feels like everything is ill fitting and frumpy. All of my make up feels wrong and dated. I don't know. It's somewhat disheartening.

Anyway, the skies are a little brighter today. And I'm going to go run some errands.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

So I am frantically trying to get caught up on my grad class. In many ways the on-line thing has been great in terms of not having to be in a room for an extra three hours a week and when I'm behind or not as fully prepared as I should be, it gets masked by the nature of the class which is much more student led and student responsible than if I were in class. The downside is that we are all behind because nothing is forcing us to get to a certain point each week. And that lack of structure has me stressed out a little bit, too.

The work those who are left in the class are doing though is for the most part outstanding. I got a good group who can self-direct, so that alleviates any guilt on my part for lack of guidance. It is forcing those who really want to get something out of the class to get it. If that makes me a poor professor this quarter, then so be it. I'm okay with that.

What is more pressing though is that I just feel like I've failed this quarter. Just about every goal I've set for myself has not been met. Not even close. 

However, what is most distressing is that my stress level and anxiety is affecting the kid. She's displaying some signs of anxiety that seem a bit more than what a two year old should (at least her separation anxiety at school has abated), and that bothers me. I know she's feeding off my anxiety, and I don't like that. So I've started meditating again. I hope that helps me even out a little bit more. And I am going to make a commitment to 8 hours of sleep a night. I got almost 9 last night, and it's already made a difference. And if that means I need to adjust my workout schedule, then so be it. I need the sleep. That will help with the weight loss, the stress, the anxiety, the depression, and really just my ability to function and get things done. As far as meditation goes, I like the Headspace app a lot, and they have a new "depression" pack, also ones for anxiety and stress, but I'm going to give the depression pack a go first. 10 minutes a day for 30 days. I can easily commit to 10 minutes of meditation. I am also, in conjunction with this, going to work on my caffeine consumption, too. 

I'm hoping these lifestyle tweaks will help me even out a bit more and get me closer to my writing and teaching goals. 

Now to knock out some grading!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Not that I really think I necessarily need to apologize, but I want to apologize for my "Fuck All the Things" post yesterday. It was unnecessarily negative, and I don't want to spread that around. So, I'm sorry. Sometimes though (although it seems more often than not lately), things just seem so bleak and like "what's even the point?"

I didn't get much sleep last night because I stayed up as long as I could to watch the World Series. Seriously. It was such a tense game that I woke up with a headache, and I didn't even know the outcome until this morning. The only reason I could get away with watching as long as I did was because I only have office hours today.

I'd be less stressed if we weren't going out of town this weekend. Don't get me wrong; I'm very very much looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to seeing my aunt and uncle, to get a break from laundry and cooking, to having an extra hand with the kid. And it's not a long drive either. Four hours max. But it's just, whew, a lot to get done between now and tomorrow night.

So why I am blogging then? I have to clear my head, get some focus on what needs to be done, and then get to it.

Fortunately I've got a fridge full of leftovers, enough so that I don't have to worry about lunch or dinner for the next two days, and enough that I believe I can freeze some and will have dinner for Sunday night when we get home, and I have stuff for the crock pot for next Monday, so that will alleviate some stress at least on that front.

All right, so there it is. I'm going to do some work for a bit and then call it a day and get done what I need to.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Just kind of frustrated.

I'm still just so meh. Ugh. Honestly, I think it's sleep. I think that's the biggest culprit right there. I got maybe almost seven hours of sleep last night which isn't enough. At least not with several days of less than seven hours, and in some cases less than six. I can't function that way. And it makes me depressed. But it also makes me long for a different life, which I think is in part related to my depression. But would I like a different life more, that is one in which I had a different job? Probably not.

It's just past midterm, and I'm done. I am at the point where I could not care less about the remainder of the quarter. That's pretty much the nature of the beast where I teach. Not only are we on a quarter system, but we teach semester hours. So the MWF classes are 75 minutes each and the TR classes are 110 minutes each. That in and of itself isn't that terrible, especially since I'm used to it and still run over. We have a 3/3/3 load. What is time consuming is the 10 office hours a week on top of this. TEN! That is ridiculous. The school labels itself as a "research" university, but even at the "teaching" college I was at where we were expected to focus on teaching and attentiveness to students, we had 3 hours per week of office hours. Even if it were five office hours, that would be fine. But 10 is highly burdensome and exhausting. Of course, most of my male colleagues don't even come close to holding that amount of time. And they get away with it. It's almost like it's expected that they need not be there. I think if I were to just not show up for five of my office hours each week, I suspect I'd get a good talking to. I think I'd be so much less exhausted (we all would) if we had more time in which to do other things in our lives during the day like cook, laundry, attend to kids/personal stuff rather than having to squeeze it in the time frame between 4-6 in the evenings. I actually think faculty might be more inclined to show up at uni events if the burden of the 10 office hours a week were lifted. But seriously, if I'm here from 8:45 until 4 pm two days a week and then from say, best case scenario 11-4pm the other two days of the week, the last thing I want to do is come back after being here 7-8 hours already for a 2-3 hour event. No. It's unreasonable. And I don't think I'm being unreasonable in saying such.

It makes me cranky. Yes, in theory I can use those 10 hours to get research done, but my office is not where I do my best work. I get my grading done here and some prep. If I want to be generous, if there are no students showing up, then yes, it's a forced prep productivity time. And maybe my problems would be solved if I were able to do my research and stuff in my office. Maybe I am being a whiny-pants. But whatever. I don't know anyone else at any other institution who much hold that amount of office hours.

The expectation is that we can cram a semester's worth of work into 10 weeks. How is that even possible in the humanities? I mean, there is no way I can cover 16 weeks worth of material in 10 weeks. I cannot have my students read 1.5 novels a week to cover the same amount of reading. And in classes like Am lit 1865-WWII I get to spend 2.5 weeks on three different movements? It's like an, I don't know, fancy survey class. Put that up against someone on semesters and my students fall short in terms of reading breadth, depth, and material understanding. It's one of the reasons why I think most of our students end up still in our program for grad school because they just can't compete, at least in American lit, with other students. It's frustrating, demoralizing, time consuming, and sucks the life out of my soul sometimes, especially post-midterm.

This fires me up in part to try to get my work and such done so that I have more opportunity for mobility. But then the other part of me is all like "what's the use?" But then there's the issue of tenure, so I need that work done, but I'm less inspired to do stellar work.

However, that's all I want to do. I just want to write. It's the only thing I've wanted to do since I was like 4. And sometimes I get really quite depressed because that's not what I'm doing. I don't know how to make that a priority though. I love academic writing actually as much as I love creative writing, but I can't seem to justify making it the number one thing. Every other thing seems so important. Ugh. I don't know. I struggle with this and struggle with this, but I just don't know what can give. I have to do some soul searching.

Really what I want to do is just say "Fuck All the Things!" and do what the fuck I please and what will make me happy.

And now I'll grade for a little bit more before class.

Monday, October 26, 2015


Y'all, I feel like I'm spiraling out of control here! I am missing deadlines on the grad class. I'm behind on the grad class now. I had planned on reading the text I needed to this past weekend (I have to give a working title for the chapter, but I've never actually read the text or seen the movie, but I didn't expect I'd have to give a title this early! It's not due until end of Feb), and it was just a book on criticism and my copy of the text was in my office so I ordered it for the kindle, and damn, I cannot read serious stuff on the kindle. I can read light reading on there, but when it comes to something "deep," nope. I could not follow. So now I'm behind on that because I have no idea what the story is about.

I'm behind on the book for the grad class. I haven't read that one in about 18 years. Yikes.

I'm behind on the grad class grading.

I'm behind on the article.

I'm behind on the book proposal.

In short, I'm behind on life.

I'm now stressed about money and tenure.

And I'm having trouble sleeping, which of course makes the stress worse.

I'm am having trouble keeping my $hit together and being successful at anything here.

I did get the food for the week prepped, so at least I don't have to worry about that. Cooking should be easy. I've got a load of clothes in the washer that need to go in the dryer, and once I put the clothes away, the laundry room is empty, so that means the laundry is finished.

I'm plagued by headaches because of the stress. Having the internet go out on campus that one morning really set me very far behind schedule. It sucks. I'm overwhelmed, and I hate that feeling. And I know the way not to feel this way is to get things done, but there are so many things to get done. And everything is both urgent and important. Yesterday I had to take a nap. Both the hubs and I were so snippy at each other, and I pretty much abandoned the kid to him yesterday. She didn't seem to miss me--she got lots of daddy time which she doesn't get during the week, but still. Argh.

I feel like I'm simply in survival mode right now. I hate that feeling. I don't want to be in survival mode. I want to be in thrival mode (I'm going to just make up words here).

All right, well anyway, I'm going to make a to do list of what I need to get to work on for the next few days, set up some goals, and then try to get a little bit done before I leave campus and go home.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

In which I just spill out everything that's in my head at the moment

In theory, the schedule that I made for myself this quarter should have worked. It really should have. I mean, all summer I was able to get up at 4:30 am and make the 5 am CF class, come home, shower, get the kid off to school and then do some work. The schedule I set for myself for this quarter should have mirrored what I was doing this summer. So far it has not. I have not been any more productive than before. My working out has dramatically decreased. Perhaps it's the actual "going to work" and not working from home that has made the difference and why I'm so tired? I thought this schedule was going to allow me more time to work on my own stuff and leave room open for food prep and grocery shopping during the week so that I didn't have to spend my weekends doing that stuff. Again, none of that has happened. Rather, I find that I am way less productive, have less time to do things like cook and grocery shop, that that stuff still gets stuck to the weekends in which I still drain myself cleaning, doing laundry, and trying to prep for the week, and because I get so tired on the weekends, I still don't get all the food prepped which means that it falls to during the week when there are other things to get done and then food gets wasted because between the time the kid gets home and she needs to eat, she gets the left overs and the good food because she can't just eat anything, and we get take out or something. Waste of money, time, and food. Then that stresses me out, then the whole cycle starts over again. And I've got a month of the quarter left to go still.

Right now I'm just a holy hot mess. Part of this stems from my desire not to have the kid at daycare at 7:30 am five days a week. She gets there at 8:30 am right now. She also sleeps until 7. So for me to teach earlier or try to have a different schedule means that I would also need to pack her a school breakfast in addition to her lunch, which would be a big hassle. Plus trying to get her there so early. I wonder if I might be less tired actually teaching five days a week and spreading the workload out rather than what I'm doing now. If the folks are going to be around for the spring for a while, this might work. And it will give me some rest. Sigh. I suppose it depends what I'm teaching as well.

My goal for the rest of the quarter is to just make it through. That's it. Just make it through until Nov. 19th.

I feel like I complain a lot lately, make a lot of plans, don't follow through, and that in turn is a source of stress. Because I want to be able to spend my weekends with the family. I don't want to spend the whole weekend working or cleaning. The kid is getting older. She loves to be outdoors. I don't want her to be cramped inside all weekend watching Elmo simply because I have a bunch of stuff to do that I couldn't get done during the week. And I'm worried that next quarter will be almost as bad, although I do seem to have been able to free up more time, but we'll see how that works.

And honestly, this issue of clutter. My god. I find that I now cannot function if there is a mess, so I'm still, even though I said I was going to take a break until I finished my article, I haven't been able to. I just so tired of moving crap from one spot to another to make room. I mean, the good news is that once I make room for something and declutter an area, it stays that way, so I'm not not only constantly cleaning and decluttering but also doing the same spots. No. Once a place is done, it's been staying done. That has to be considered progress. But I am impatient, and I wish I could do all the things at once. One of the few upsides to my parents not being here is that I can move everything to the guest room to get it out of the way and go through it as I can. It's a staging rather than storage area. But to make room to clean and declutter, one needs space, and the guest room has been a big help there with giving me a place to go through things while keeping other spaces clean and organized. If only my article were working like that. I had what I thought was a great breakthrough, and in some ways it is. It's just all the rest of the stuff that's a problem. I will see this through. It's just taking me longer than I anticipated.

I feel like perhaps this is another reason why I'm so drained--between the cleaning, the grading, and the writing and the trying to exercise and eat right, I feel like I've exhausted myself, and that does no one any good, least of all me. I mean, if the kid could eat pizza and processed foods, that's what she'd be eating right now and she'd be eating the crap school lunches (so if there is a blessing in disguise here, at least her allergies are forcing me to do something and keep her healthy and eating well, even if we are falling by the wayside--but then, if I'm cooking for her, I am cooking for all of us).

I feel like I complain a lot lately, too. Oh woe is me and my tired life. If I had more time/space/energy and less stuff (work, cleaning, possessions, life choices, debt) then things would be great. And that's true. They would be. And I know a lot of people who have it far worse than me would tell me to suck it up, it's not that hard, just do it, other people have it harder than you,  [insert condescending inspirational cliche' here], and in some ways those things are true. However, when one is stressed, overworked, emotionally overwhelmed, somewhat depressed and exhausted, getting out of bed *is hard.* Prepping food for the week and cooking seven nights a week *is hard.* Keeping a sick child healthy *is hard.* Is it single mom hard? Is it fighting cancer hard/battling debilitating illness hard? In the grand scheme of things, no, it's not hard like that. But do daily challenges sometimes become insurmountable battles? Yes. I know most of you guys who still read this blog get that. I know I'm preaching to the choir here. At some point though, I do have to deal with all of these things and figure out a way to be successful.

Goals for the day:

  1. Catch up as much as possible on the rest of the grading.
  2. Eat a decent lunch.
  3. Make a quick dinner (tonight will probably be bacon and eggs especially since the hubs won't be home until about 10 pm.)
  4. Do some reading. 
  5. Fold some laundry.
Maybe that's what I need. Little lists of little goals that lead to bigger goals to not get overwhelmed. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

I thought I was further along in this article than I am: only 4983 words. That's not a whole lot to show for as long as I've been working on this thing I think--and that's counting the conference paper as well.

I got close to 400 words already this morning. I woke up with a headache, did some pleasure reading until the headache went away, showered, and then sat down to try to work through some stuff (yeah, I got up at 5:20 am or so).

I think I'm at the point to where I need to try to start putting the article together, to organize my notes and see what kind of shape I'm actually in here. At least I got some stuff written this morning so that when I get to my office, I can focus on the grading I need to do. Then I'll come home, run, shower, print everything out, and yes, I know I said I wasn't going to do any more "tidying," but I am. I have to. What needs to be started on next is in the back of my brain and I can't focus on anything until I start trying to make headway on that business. And since I already worked on my article this morning, that will be my "reward" for doing so. Also, the food for the week is prepped, so all I have to do is cook it, which is a nice thing to have done. I had a busy day yesterday in terms of food prep and laundry, though I didn't get anything done for the article, but I took care of a bunch of other things. 

That being said, I'm going to start working on the breakfasts and lunches for the day, and then it's off to campus. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

One of the things with which I'm struggling right now is the desire to do all the things all at once. There is neither time nor room nor practicality for this. I think if I were getting more sleep I'd be getting more done during the time that I'm awake. I got decent sleep last night, but I woke up with a terrible sinus headache this morning. The kid was running a tiny temperature yesterday afternoon, so I'm trying to ward off all sickness from befalling us.

Today's to do list:

  1. Food prep for week (most important)
  2. Knock out another load or two of laundry (least important for today)
  3. Run
  4. Work on article (tied for most important)
It's a small list, but the food prep is monstrous. But it's the only way that I'm going to be able to ensure proper eating this week.

The article--sigh. I just, I don't know. I feel now that I'm into the article, it's just not a great idea anymore. I'm working really really hard to make the argument here--maybe that's the problem? Maybe I'm trying to make too literal a connection here when there doesn't need to be one?--and maybe after all this writing and reading, there's just no argument there to make? Or maybe it's because no one is making this argument, so I have to do all the stuff here? I don't know. In any case, my confidence in it is dwindling. That also might be because I haven't written anything in two weeks. Sigh. I just hate feeling stuck. I know how to get unstuck, but for some reason, it's frightening. 

I feel like a lot of this is a rehash of my dissertation writing anxiety. This is very familiar territory. 

That being said, I'm going to get over myself and do some writing before the kid gets up.

ETA: I'm happy to report that in the time since finishing this post and the kid starting to wake up (right now), I busted out about 600 words (I thought it was waaaaaay more than that), but they were good words I think, and I think I can keep working on this same line of argument this afternoon when the kid goes down for her nap. I will say this--I'm feeling a whole lot better now than when I started this blog post. Working on that article helps. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Frustrations mount over here.

My biggest problem right now is sleep, as in even when I do seem to get enough, it's not enough. I am completely out of sorts. What doesn't help is beating myself up over it especially since I started off so well in the beginning of the quarter. Then we take Magpie to the doctor, have an exhausting day, and I freak out about her allergy diagnosis, take on the burden all on my own, and emotionally drain myself and then physically drain myself with the cleaning and organizing and stuff.

The problem with this? (Aside from the obvious--) even after weeks of cleaning and organizing and donating and trashing, I am still overflowing with stuff. Seriously. Let me preface by saying the stuff that I have done--the closet, the bathroom, the chest of drawers, and the couple of sections of the kitchen look great and are super easy to maintain. Seriously. So at least I've got that going for me. I mean, the KonMari way is fantastic. Getting there though,which she admits is about a six month process, and we all know how amazingly patient I am. But still, like seriously, like a dozen bags of clothes later (counting this summer's haul), and I'm still busting at the seams.

I'm frustrated, exhausted, and overwhelmed again. And there's a ton of stuff to do.

I'm also angry and annoyed at some things. I am becoming disillusioned with some things/some people, and maybe that's the hardest thing right now. I'm taking some things personally that weren't meant for me personally, but the sweeping generalizations made by my "friends" often include me in that category, and it's bothersome. (Could that be a more cryptic and passive sentence?). I think what I need to do is step back for a few weeks. I need to take a break from some things, readjust, and find my focus.

A couple of things I noticed--my happiest this past month? Those two weeks I was writing along with reading/researching and doing stuff. This reaffirms what I know: I'm happiest when I write. I need an almost daily writing goal, even if it's only 15 minutes.

CF, for whatever reason (in part because of some of the people above), is not working for me right now. And you know I'm a huge fan and love lifting. I need a break. My form is suffering because I'm not into it right now, and well, I need to step back. It's a golden sin in CF to talk about how I much I miss running, but I miss running. Right now, I just want to run. And do yoga. I think what it is I crave is the meditative qualities of those two activities for me, and since I feel so out of balance in all that I'm trying to do, that's what I need. I need to be active, but I need to be active alone. I have a feasible work out plan/schedule that I feel will be beneficial. Also, I'm either pushing too hard or something during CF because I don't leave feeling invigorated like I usually do. I feel beat, and being wiped out at 6 am makes for a long, unproductive day. Perhaps that's part of the problem. I'm working too hard at it, and that's not the best thing.

What will also be beneficial is for me to finish the damn article. I'm still shooting for Wednesday to get it to my mentor. It will need work. I feel it's forced and clunky and in the end probably not as good an idea on paper as it is in my head, but for what it's worth, I'm going to see it through.

There's a lot to do today. So, I need to get to it. Here's to a productive and happy weekend to all you out there.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I feel like I've hit a lull here. While it's true that I have a ton of grading to do, as the internet in my office and our building was down yesterday, that put me further behind the grading than I should have been. My downfall was that I did not grade the essays as they came in last Thursday, and I feel like the universe is punishing me for my not being prompt. Since the internet wasn't working, I also had to wait until I got home to do the class's on-line exam since I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow and it was a pain to find people not teaching at the exact same time I am to proctor the exam. That took me 2 freaking hours to do! Ugh. That was a giant pain in the ass, but at least it's done, and it's one less thing to create for the on-line class version next quarter.

There are many many other things that I need to do today, none of which involve work because I feel like now I can't finish up this article with all these other little things looming, and I want the stuff that I started to be done. (I promise not to start another big decluttering category until I submit this article first!), but my sister is coming in on Friday, and as the guest room has been the staging area, that needs to be finished today. I should have time to run some errands and stuff after my doctor's appointment tomorrow as I've set up the exam for both classes on line and won't have to come to campus at all. We'll see how that goes.

But, my time here is up for the day. I'm going to go home and get to some cleaning work.

Monday, October 12, 2015

In seven short weeks I will be 40. Sigh. I'm not ready to be 40.

1. I'm still struggling with the baby weight. Should it bother me? In an ideal world, no. Does it bother me? Yes. Intellectually do I understand that it is proof that I've done this amazing thing and used my strong body to create another human? Yes. Does that mean that I'm superhuman and can dissociate what my mind knows from what my eyes see and how it makes me feel? No. The toughest part is breaking the cycle of fatigue and depression. I know what I need to do. I know how to do it. Getting there is what is proving to be the toughest part. But, seven weeks from now I don't want to be bemoaning the fact that I'm 40 and still feeling this way.*

First things first: I took care of my hair. For the last six weeks I've felt horribly bad about myself, and it was a result of my hair. I knew that. But I was trying to deal with it. I got that fixed on Friday. All is well with the world now. I have one less thing about which to worry.

Thursday begins (I hope), the fixing of my face. I have horrible melasma. It's one of the most damaging things to my self-esteem and one of the biggest reasons why I am dreading 40. I think once my face is clear, I will feel better about myself and my age.

Also, after a decade, I have finally made a dentist appointment. Now if I could just get my sleep, eating, and working out under control, then we'd be making more progress.

2. The scholarly stuff: The article I've been working on will go out to the reader by next Wednesday at the latest. The other article and the book proposal will be done by my birthday. Those are my goals for 40--to have that done by my 40th birthday so that I feel like I have accomplished something.

3. The house: I have found the house of KonMari and I worship at the alter of it. It is an exhausting ordeal though, but I can't stop. Seriously. Everything looks so good and it's so easy to maintain that I just can't not finish what I've started here. The best part is that it's creating so much space, space that's been there but that I haven't had access to. But the balance between working on that and other stuff is hard. I so wish I had found this over the summer because I'd be done by now. What is stressful though is that I think about how much time I've put into this that if I'd put that same amount of time into my work, I'd have two article written by now. Seriously. But this is tangible, immediate, orderly. It gives me control that I need right now as I feel all other areas of my life are a mess.  But there must be balance. It won't do me any good to have a tidy house and no job.

4. In seven weeks I intend to have our finances under control so that I can be 40 and feel responsible and solvent and not like a clueless 20 year old.

That's where I'm at. If I can turn the tv off long enough and do what I need to do, I can get this stuff done. First though is breaking that cycle of fatigue and depression (that is fueled a lot by my diet right now). When that is clean, every thing else just seems to fall into place.

But now since my office hours are over, I'm going to go to the store, take care of a few things at home, have a good workout and then work.

The end.

*Yes, I know 40 isn't a death sentence and lots of you are loving being 40 or loving being in your 40s. And I have often thought that life truly starts at 40. My other issue is that 40 is bothering me so much. I know I should embrace it and love it. And in seven weeks I will.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Your official invite to my Pity Party

I will be 40 in two months.

Oh dear lord.

I don't think I'm handling it very well.

Things that are bothering me:

  • My overall health. Okay, I'm actually quite a healthy person. I'm active, and I eat well for the most part. But there's the problem: "for the most part." What I have been discovering is that an almost perfect Paleo way of eating is what is best for my body--as you know, I'm a huge Paleo devotee because it's what's best for me. And what I'm finding, especially as I approach forty, and particularly after having the baby is that physically, emotionally, and psychologically I cannot handle an 80/20 plan. It's got to be near perfect. I think there are some real reasons for this:
    • 1) my stress level with work and a toddler is out of control. Sugar and grains and soy in particular cause a downward spiral that I honestly just cannot handle. Moderation isn't key for me here. I seriously cannot handle it any more than an alcoholic can handle one drink. I know that sounds extreme, but it's true for me, at least at this moment in my life. The downward spiral is almost immediate. It affects my sleep which just further affects my mood and ability to get things done. I have a short temper. Things that shouldn't bother me, bother me in the extreme. I have to make a permanent shift here. Furthermore, Magpie cannot have any of those things either (and my god, how guilty do I feel eating like pizza in front of her! That's just mean!), so I shouldn't have them in the house as it is. It affects my hormones, which in turn affects my mood swings and my sleep, and I'm worried that the hormone disruption might actually be causing some reproductive issues. And I can't live like that. Who can? Plus, I think the mood swings and the lack of sleep are causing anxiety for the kid because she's picking up on my own discomfort. I think I also need to cut back on the caffeine, too. In short, my body just does not feel optimal right now, and I don't like that feeling at all. (Like today: headache and a stomachache. And I'm neither sick nor pregnant).
    • I know this isn't going to change until I actually finish that first article and get it sent to my mentor, but even though I've been working steadily (though not enough), I just don't feel productive at all. There are little things I should be happy about--already consistently getting all the grading done the day it comes in and making more progress on the article in the last two weeks than the entire summer, but I need to actually get what's in my head down on paper. I spend a lot of time thinking. A lot. But you wouldn't know it by my lack of productivity. This is true for my on-line grad class as well. I was ahead. Now I'm behind because all the lectures are still in my head. I feel like the world is miles ahead of me, and I know that's the danger of comparing oneself to others--I won't measure up. But a large part of this is directly related to the issue above. I don't feel good, and it's hard to focus when you just feel like crap.
    • This is going to sound so vain, but my hair is just, wow. I mean, the effect it has on my self esteem right now (which affects so many other things) is just mind boggling. I HATE what my hairdresser did the last time. I HATE IT. And now I will have to cut a significant amount off to get it to a point to where I don't feel bad about myself every time I look in the mirror. For real you guys. For the last six weeks I've been trying to come to terms with this. I don't feel like I look like myself. I don't like the way it makes me look. I just hate seeing myself. This, however, will be fixed Friday. I just have to hang on until then. I'm going to be pissed off about losing about three inches off my hair, but it has to be done.
    • The clutter. Oh man the clutter. Part of it is because I have undertaken this huge decluttering project. I have found this, and it is indeed life changing. Holy crap it is. But it is a HUGE undertaking. It's like a six month process, at least. But the idea is that you never ever do it again. I believe it's true. What I've been able to implement works. Like seriously. And I'm the type of person who tidies up and cleans then two days later it doesn't look like I've done anything. Not so this time. It's just a matter of getting there. The clothes are taking a long time. Part of the motivation behind this undertaking is to make my life easier in the long run since we're dealing with a major environmental allergy for the kid. I know I can't control the issue once we leave the house, but I can do my best to make the house as comfortable as possible to keep her as well there as possible. Plus, I just have too much stuff anyway. And I despise the amount of time I spend cleaning and recleaning and organizing and reorganizing. I wish I had discovered this this summer rather than just a couple of weeks ago. And eventually we are going to move into our own house, and I'd rather not be going through stuff or packing stuff I don't need/want to go through later when we do move. Plus, it's just so much easier to have less to clean. I think this is related to my long struggle in trying to figure out what I want and what I want to make important and what I want to have time for. If I'm always cleaning and organizing, then that takes away from time I can spend with my family; it takes away from time I can spending reading and writing; it takes away time from myself. And I'm tired of wasting money on stuff; I'm tired of feeling like I'm trapped. But it's a little stressful because I just want to be done, and it's not something you can do quickly (I might could if the husband and kid and dog went away for two weeks and left me to myself, but I don't want that either!). Not to mention that my campus office needs some serious work, too!
So there's that. We're back to fear, feelings of inadequacy, lack of sleep; welcome to my pity party. 

I think now though what I'm going to do is some work before I go teach again. I feel like that will make me feel better. 

Friday, October 2, 2015


I'm still feeling somewhat hopeful even if overwhelmed. I'm just having a bad day. Not for any real reason either. I'm grumpy and stressed.

The reading is slow going. And I didn't get anything written at all yesterday, but I did succeed in grading 26 lit analyses yesterday (and they even came yesterday!) so at least those are off my plate and not hanging over my head. It was worth shunning the writing to get those done.

I did get about an hour, maybe 75 minutes of reading done, and I just spent about 30 minutes or so typing out some of the notes I took this morning and afternoon and tried to flesh out those ideas and banged out about another 560 some odd words, so I'm at about 1600ish words since Tuesday? That's not terrible.

I can't think any more because lingering in the back of my brain is the cleaning/decluttering I need to do.

Before you say it can wait, one of the results of the Magpie's allergy test was a severe allergy to dust mites (in addition to wheat and soy, and we're waiting on some tree nut tests), so that means in order to keep her out of the doctor's office, off of antibiotics, and in school (so I don't have to miss work), I've got to ramp up my decluttering timeline a bit. It's the allergic reactions that are suppressing her immune system that leaves her susceptible to everything which is why she's always sick. Anyway, it gives me an excuse at least to do the stuff I need to do because now this makes it harder to keep putting it off. But it also distracts me and makes me mad to think about how much crap I really have and how much of it I don't need and don't use and that it's just cluttering my existence.

But I digress...

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

My workout goal for the week is still four days. That leaves me tomorrow through Sunday to work out. I think that's doable, still.

I seem to have trouble writing/research and working out at the same time--I mean, not at the *same* time, but the weeks get skewed--I either consistently work out  or I consistently work. This week though, like two weeks ago, I've just been plagued with some bad sleep. I have though, in the last two days, written 1099 words. And that feels pretty good right now, let me tell you.

I can't believe I've never done this before, but I've started writing well before I am ready to and as I'm re/reading the background stuff I need for the article. I know. I feel like this is how just about every other prolific and successful academic does things, and honestly, my grad school papers might have been less stressful to write had I done it this way, but I'm a bit slow in the process. (Seriously, I feel like a decade behind everyone else). I know none of the secrets which is why I guess I am where I am. In any case, Karen over at TLQ was right--some of the writing I did this morning helped me to identify an area I might need to look into--not spend a lot of time on, but work checking out to make my argument stronger for this article.

One of the things helping, too, is that another publishing opportunity came my way this weekend. Like a big one. Huge. I will be part of a major project by a huge academic press. Even though more and more stuff keeps getting added to my plate, it's ironically relaxed me a little bit. I think one of the reasons why is because it has helped to re/validate me as a scholar. The last two years my identity has been solely that of mother. Which is fine. Don't get me wrong. I love being a mom. I love that little girl more than life itself, and while her illnesses are not serious in anyway, they are consistent and persistent and it's exhausting, and everything else gets put on the back burner, as it should. In the process though, I've never made the transition back to, even at least partly, as scholar. Teacher, yes. That took me about a year, but I finally found my grove there again, and the quarter is going rather well thus far, even after the first grades have been given back. But I haven't yet been able to re-enter my scholarly identity/life, and that stuff makes me happy. In my professional life, that's the part that makes me the happiest. So this grueling timeline, the six articles/proposals/book chapters I have to write by next September--the first three or four which will be drafted by end of December--has actually made me feel like I have a purpose as a scholar. Like there is hope here. Like I may actually succeed in putting together a successful tenure portfolio and application. And right now, that possibility is what is keeping me from the abyss of despair. It'd be nice to land a big article, and I still need to, but I do have a little bit of wiggle room here I think. (Or at least I'll find out in February if I'm totally f*cked).

I hope to do a little bit more writing today, but at least I've got some written already and under my belt. I can at least feel better at taking some time for the grad class and reading perhaps.

For the moment though, I'm going to hang out with the hubs before he has to go to work and start getting the lunches ready.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Finally emerging from the sludge.

I am exhausted today. I met all of my goals yesterday except bathing the dog.

My only goal for today, as I have already graded 17 essays, if you count the five for the comp meeting tomorrow, is to just read for an hour tonight. I'm going to try to squeeze an hour in tomorrow, but we'll be at the doctor all day with Magpie for her big allergy tests, and the doctor is an hour away, so we are also going to take care of things we need to while we're there like update my expired mil id, stop at super target, etc. I am tired. And I don't want to grade anymore. 17 is a lot of essays for one day.

Also, another publishing opportunity came my way. It's another book chapter which will help me meet my page requirements; however, it would be nice to have the refereed article as well just for the extra security. But it does at least alleviate some of the pressure knowing that's in the pipeline, which actually relaxes me enough, I think, to be able to stick to the monster timeline I have and finish that work by the end of the year.

I actually would have gotten more grading done had the printer software for my computer not been stupid and slow. It took way longer than it should have. I'm a bit mad about this, but oh well. What I've gotten done isn't too bad in any case. I will say that grading has been much better on this nice big, 25? 27 inch screen. I think 27. It's lovely.

In any case, I'm off to teach my last class of the day. I'm glad I have Fridays off. I'm just totally beat by Thursday afternoon.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Life Lessons from Elmo

Thanks to JaneB, I joined Top Left Quadrant, which while for some reason I was resistant to that type of structure over the summer, it's clear that I need it. Also, I sent an email to my dear friend and mentor and senior scholar in my field asking him if he'd look over stuff if I sent things to him at X date, and he said yes, but shot back a really compressed timeline of what he wanted and when, which is not unreasonable, but will require focus and dedication between now and the end of January. However, I trust him, and if that's what he wants, and if that's what I need to do to make sure I get that last article published (which I know means there needs to be like three or four in the pipeline), then I will do it. I don't want this next summer to be a mad dash because I'd like to take a family vacation. I am terrified and intimidated by this timeline, but I know I can do it. He has never steered me wrong, and he wouldn't have given me a schedule that he didn't think I could handle.

That being said, it feels good, honestly, to have that kind of pressure knowing that he's depending on work from me, that's he's making time in his schedule to look at these things in this short period of time, and the pressure of not wanting to disappoint him. No matter what I give him, even if it's not up to par,he's going to help me get it to where it needs to be and won't just throw it back at me telling me it's crap. I think that pressure and support will be helpful.

Right now though, I feel like I'm taking all of my life lessons from Elmo in Grouchland: The Queen of Trash's song, "Life is all about your point of view." And the wise words of the Stuckweed's song: "Take your first step/Soon you will see/Just how brave your heart can be./Look on up/To the sky,/Take your first step,/And kiss your fears goodbye." Those two songs are stuck on an endless loop in my head these days as we have a short list of movies that the Magpie loves: Elmo, Mary Poppins, Babe which is a favorite on any given day. Then sometimes we can sneak in the George of the Jungle movie with Brendan Fraser and Leslie Mann and Babe: Pig in the City, both of which I adore. She loves live action and won't sit still for cartoons, but will watch nature shows. The kid has good taste.

So yes, life lessons from Elmo. The Stuckweed and Vanessa Williams are wise beyond their years.

My goals for today:

  • Set up new office computer
  • Read for at least three hours
  • Bathe dog
  • Make dinner

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


I've been struggling a lot lately with being overwhelmed by the looming specter of tenure. I don't go up until next year, but I'm still short on my scholarship. I think that's what happened this summer. Rather than just getting it done and being done with it so this year didn't become a horror research, writing, and stress, this year is looking to become that horror. And I don't function well in that kind of environment at all. And wanting to get it done because I want tenure isn't enough.

I'm just not a good worker. I have a terrible work ethic. Maybe it's not as bad as I think because I am able to get everything for my teaching done that I need to do; however, I can't apply that same sort of urgency and motivation to my scholarly work. Because if I'm being honest with myself here, I didn't get anything done this summer because once I realized that I couldn't get everything done, I freaked out about what should/needs to be done and just imploded and nothing got done.

So here I am, the year before tenure hoping that I don't fall into classic Maude and flake out.

Here's the other real problem. I've not actually ever written a full length, fully researched article. Ever. I've written seminar papers; I've written short articles and short book chapters; I've written conference papers. But I've never undertaken article writing. Ever. And I'm scared that I can't do it. That I have forgotten how to research. I'm scared that I can't be a professor, scholar, wife, mother, and person. I'm scared that I will actually make a valiant effort at tenure and still fall short.

My fear has left me paralyzed. My paralysis has left me unproductive and stressed and depressed. If I spent the time working on this that I spent worrying about it, I might be done. But I'm having a hard time moving past that.

I know I need to face my fear. I know I need to devote more than an hour a day to this and stop congratulating myself for getting an hour of work in. I need to  make the research a priority for this year, even if it means my teaching falters a little bit because that's good enough for that end, and make this the number one priority. There's too much at stake for me not to.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Now that I've had my little pity party (and, I also started my period, so you know, that actually leveled the hormones and angst and sadness a bit because um duh, now I had a reason this week for feeling the way I did rather than it being completely unidentifiable), I've been thinking a lot (again) about both what I need and what I want this year to look like for me both as an academic/professor and as just me.

I go up for tenure next year, so I feel like this is the year that people will remember--not the good or even the mediocre stuff that I've done up to this point, but this will be the year freshest in everyone's memory.

But I need to figure out what that's going to look like for me. I have ideas. I have plans, but as always, how to enact them is the issue.

It seems to keep coming back to the same issue though--I have too much stuff! My office is cluttered; my house is still cluttered; my life is cluttered. But how do I make space when there's so much else that I need to do.

Case in point--Sunday morning--five hours in the damn kitchen cleaning and emptying cabinets because there are ants somewhere. I have only seen a couple since Sunday, and it needed to be done--the pantry is now totally organized. I moved some stuff into the cabinets so overall the kitchen looks and is less cluttered; however, in those five hours, I could have finished all the assignments and tasks for the grad class and could have been using the time I've been working on those things since then reading and doing research. On top of that, I've already got to start thinking about winter quarter, and we're only in our second week of fall quarter (book orders are due obnoxiously soon).

I'm desperately trying to be organized, but not anal, trying to eat right (so that I sleep better and get more things done), still workout regularly (so that I'm not a stress case around the Magpie and cause her to be stressed)--in short, keep my shit together and get things done. This morning was a helluva morning, and I'm not handling it terribly well, but I still made it to my office hours only 5 minutes late. So there's that.

On a positive note, I might not have a new or newer computer anywhere in my future, but the cybercamp director had leftover funds so he bought a couple of us who needed them huge new monitors! Because our department has no money (and I've been asking for a more functional computer every single year since I've been here), I'm cleaning out my old mac mini (still newer than my office computer) from home, and bringing that bad girl up here. This is great news because the bigger monitor will make grading and reading the online class stuff so much easier. It'll make more room on my desk, and overall I think streamline some things. So, it's a start. I'm excited about that. It's just taking a painfully long time for all of my photos and videos to upload online because I have so much crap on there, but I'm going to wipe it clean like the laptop and start over so it will be like new.

That being said, I'm going to organize some stuff for the survey class and get on my way here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Exactly what I didn't want to happen this summer happened this summer.

I flaked out.

I totally did.

I got stressed. I got depressed. Then I got stressed out about being depressed. Then I gained some weight and feel awful both physically and mentally. I took a vacation to recharge. It helped briefly, then I got super depressed again (like just crying depressed, and crying over everything depressed), and then I don't like the way my hairdresser cut my hair so I feel even more awful about myself. I put off everything that needed to be done by tomorrow for this week, and on our way home, Magpie got super sick and is out of school this week from whatever virus she has. She's feeling better today, but it inhibits my ability to really do things. So I feel like this is the universe punishing me for putting off every thing that needed to get done this summer.

I'm not very good at taking care of myself in terms of what I need to get done. I appear to have a good work ethic, but I don't. And I can't work when I'm depressed.

At some point I've got to stop trying and actually do. Classes start tomorrow and I'm more unprepared than when I came back two years ago from having a baby. I don't know what my problem is. Anyway, I guess the stuff I need to get done will get done by tomorrow. What also needs to get done today while the kid is sleeping is the food prepped for the remainder of the week since I'm at school tomorrow.

Enough complaining. I just needed a little bit of a pity party to clear out my brain and to get going.

I think my real problem is that I want to be lazy. I've been lazy, and I'm pissed that I can neither continue to be lazy nor actually achieve anything whilst being lazy.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Well, I am not making the progress I'd hoped to be making at this point. I'm slowly plugging away, but I've got to up my game on all fronts here. I'm just so slow at everything I feel like. And I've been super depressed. Like almost shutting me down during the day depressed. Okay, actually a couple of times last week I just laid in bed all day in the dark and did nothing.

Tomorrow is July 1. That means I have less than two weeks to put together my article and get it sent off before we head out for my sister's wedding. The thought of it makes me want to just lay in bed in the dark, again.

It just feels like my entire life is just one slow process right now. Five weeks ago, everything seemed possible and doable, and now I'm confronted with how little time is left of the summer and how even less time is left if you take into account traveling and family and whatnot.

I guess that means I should make the most use of the time I do have, right?

And I hate to say it, but my sister's wedding is really stressing me out. First of all, as the matron of honor, I got shut out of the shower planning. Supposedly my sister's fiance's sister in law had been trying and trying and trying to get a hold of me and never could (I call bullshit--not one FB message or voicemail or text or email or anything like that), so our sister in law is helping plan, which is disastrous. But whatever. My sister also wants another shower the night before after the party she has planned for the afternoon but doesn't want to do the shower at the party and wants to do the shower later which is going to be a pain for the people traveling because they'll have to get up early because the shower on Friday is at 10 am, and it is not the brunch that was originally planned, so everyone will have to scramble for food before the shower. So I know the old people like the aunts and mothers aren't going to want to come to a shower that starts at 8 pm after a day of traveling and then having to get up early, and those are the people my sister wants to attend. She doesn't want to do it early for that reason and because the other bridesmaid won't be able to make it. But if we do it after the party, I will miss a good portion of it because the guys are staying at the party for a brewery tour, so at some point I'm going to have to point my child to bed and attend to her. Plus, a party, a shower, another shower, a lunch, and then the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner between 5 pm Thursday and 8 pm Friday? That's a lot of stuff packed into 27 hours.

Or maybe, per usual, I'm just being an unreasonable bitch. It's just ugh. I'm terrible at planning things. I hate planning parties, even for myself.

Enough with the negativity. Here's something positive--
We're going to become minivan owners! I'm so excited. Fingers crossed we'll be making this wedding trip in a minivan. Woot!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Everything is cool again, both literally and figuratively.

And I don't know, maybe it's PMS, burn out, stress (it can't be tiredness; I am pretty sure I'm getting enough sleep), but whatever it is, it has me totally depressed. Like crawl under the covers and weep all day depressed.

But I suppose I shall sally forth and get some work done.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

In which there are many expletives

OH MY GOD! I am seriously ready to start punching people.

First of all, the AC is out. That is horrific for the area of the country I'm in. It's at least 80 degrees in the house, and I can't stand to be hot. Not to mention, it's not good for the kid who was sweating just running around the house this morning. On top of that, as if I would fucking forget to call the landlord to ask him to come fix it, especially when it's supposed to be like 100 degrees today. Do not keep reminding me to call the landlord to fix it. I don't fucking need to be micromanaged. And then don't get pissed off at me when you ask what the landlord said and I say "I left a message, but I will let you know what he says as soon as I hear from him so you don't need to keep asking" (because you've already reminded me twice and called me from the fucking car to remind me again, so I'm assuming you're going to ask like every time I come out of the room) and then don't sit there and pout because I've hurt your feelings. On top of my parents annoying me, my aunt is all worried about the Magpie because her inflection in her voice seems off which means that I need to pop in at the daycare to see if all they do is yell at the kids because she doesn't seem to know volume control (uh what fucking two year old does??) so something must be off at daycare. Um, no. I've never heard or seen a teacher yell or be cross with a kid there at any time I've ever gone there. "Isn't the doctor worried about her words and her hearing? I just don't think she understands anything. Now, don't get defensive..." Um, no. For the third time of this phone call, the doctor said as long as she is showing consistent growth in her speech and understanding, then she is fine. Do I need to repeat that again? three new words since Saturday. I don't give a shit that your trainer's 16 month old can repeat everything you say. Good for him. The kid has only really been able to hear clearly for about 6 months now. Give her a break. Her hearing test was perfect. And her teacher who was convinced that there was something wrong with her just can't believe how much she's blossomed and improved, so if she's not hounding me about her language and she likes kids who are textbook, then just back off.

And if I hear one more time, "oh, it's not like your working this summer..." I'm going to go ballistic. I've been doing this for almost 16 fucking years now. All I do is work over the summer (except when I had that baby you know). I'm not sitting around doing nothing here. I mean, it's summer and I don't have to be at campus, but I get up at 4:30 and go work out for 5 am so that I can maximize the amount of time I have during the day to work. This morning I worked out, stayed late at the gym with the J which sort of pissed me off because that meant that by the time we got home, kid was up, so I didn't get to shower because as soon as Mom got home, she got in the shower, and 2.5 hours later, I'm gross and sticky and sitting around in dirty workout clothes. In the meantime, I've fed the kid breakfast, wrangled her, made her lunch, got dinner ready, changed her, walked the dog (twice) meanwhile Mom spent an hour on the phone and Dad sat and read--"what's your problem? why are you so grumpy?" And I didn't want to be in the shower and not be able to say good bye to the kid, so yeah, I'm fucking grumpy.

Meanwhile, Me: "Heard from the landlord. AC guy will give me a call."
Dad: "No, no. I don't want to know. Don't bother telling me. I don't want to know."

Me: "fine, I'll just be in the back continuing to be a bitch."

Also, and I'm sure this will sound bitchy, but my sister's getting married, and my god, it's driving me nuts. I was going to do a surprise shower for her since everyone is out of town and have the gifts mailed and then surprise her with a bunch of shower gifts. No, instead, she wants two showers, two days in a row that I'm supposed to plan out of town in three weeks in a place I've never even been to. I've got no guest list. No times. Two people who live in the town who are supposed to call me (but hey, I'm not working, right? I should be the one on this), but who haven't bothered getting in touch with me (whose numbers I don't have but they have my info), and people are getting antsy with me because I don't have any information. Not to mention my sister is planning everything for the evening, which okay fine, but I also have a toddler to deal with and no babysitter so I don't know how I'm going to do all this. All the while, since my parents are still here, seems to indicate I feel like like I'm incapable of raising a child on my own, as evidenced by their constant micromanaging. My mom's infamous "Well, you really need to do this..." I like having them around, and I appreciate their help, but I don't appreciate the micromanagement. Yes, it's clear that I suck at life, so whatever. Thank you for the constant fucking reminders that I'm not good at anything.Because you know it's not good enough that in the process of the great purge of 2015 I've organized my closet and my work space and I've got five, yes FIVE fucking bags of clothes, shoes, and purses plus a bag of fashion jewelry to donate and a trash bag in progress of old makeup and nail polish (not to mention the emotional fucking toll of purging that much stuff at once), no it's not good enough that I've done that, rather it's "so when are you going to get around to Magpie's room? And when are you going to go through this stuff and that stuff? You know, you really need to do that." Oh, really? I do? Oh, thanks, that thought hadn't occurred to me at all. Thank you sooooooooo much for pointing out how much more I have yet to do because what I've started doing isn't good enough. But nooooo, now I'm just ungrateful.

Plus, I had a shitty fucking workout this morning, body image problems, and no coffee. A toxic combination at best. And my dad is going to fucking pout and be impossible until I fucking apologize but would he ever apologize? Fuck no.

In short, if this day ends up sucking for everyone, it's going to be all my fault.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Sometimes research really excites me.

Sometimes it just shuts me down. The task seems insurmountable and I wonder, why bother? There's too much to read and not enough time. I see the amount of reading that goes into even a short article and I think, how am I going to come close to this kind of thoroughness?

I am also a bad researcher. I will waste time on reading through stuff that isn't helpful just in case something 300 pages later might turn out to be helpful, but usually never is. This shouldn't surprise me considering I can't get rid of clothes "just in case" they come back into style or fit me magically wonderfully one day when I finally lose the 20 pounds I need to. I guess I "hoard" research in the most unproductive way "just in case." I've not developed the fine art of skimming; I don't know when to quit because what if someone challenges me on page 345 of the book I stopped reading at page 344? That will be the thing to make or break the article and I'll be doomed. At least this is how is plays out in my head. It's also an easy excuse to avoid the writing of the thing--I can't! I'm not done reading yet!

Today, I've only read two articles, which I feel is completely pathetic given that tomorrow will involve cleaning and the weekend is Magpie's SECOND birthday and family will be in, so there will be no time to myself AT ALL, and there will be no chance to work. Of course, it's my fault for not being more organized and planning better or being more diligent. But when the WHOLE family is here, I need space to myself and time to myself (and EVERYONE will want to be here early so they can maximize time with Magpie, which is fine), but I'm just filled with anxiety about this. Family gatherings do stress me out.

However, I will go get the dinner prepped and ready to go, and then when the parents go pick up the kid, I'll spend some time trying to make some sense out of what I read today and write a little bit in order to feel like I'm doing something toward this article and tenure. I have much much more to say, but I need to get the dinner going so I can do some writing later. And I need to move around and get out of the bedroom, too.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Great Purge of 2015

The Great Purge of 2015 has begun.

I think I have come closer to figuring out the sources of my discontent.

I have too much stuff. I do. I spend so much time cleaning and organizing only to find my stuff multiplying (it seems) and collecting dust and I look around my house and I feel stifled and trapped. So, I think part of the problem is the excess amount of stuff I have.

I have hoarding tendencies. I do not want to become a hoarder.

I'm done "organizing" stuff. I'm ready to get rid of stuff.

My ongoing discontentedness is making me depressed. It's prohibiting me from work, from weight loss, from getting things done. I just sort of sulk and I have found that I don't really like being around anybody except my husband and kid. But I've found that my temper is shorter with them, and I don't want to be one of those parents who loses patients with a toddler simply because she's a toddler (like last night). This just makes me feel guilty and worse and perpetuates the problem.

I feel cluttered. My existence feels cluttered.

I am going to work toward a kind of minimalism, a rational or practical minimalism. I probably won't purge my DVDs or books. And I will continue to hang on to much of the Magpie's stuff (if/when there's a second kid, that will probably change). But for me, papers, clothes, shoes, junk, things from old boyfriends, things I've attached meaning to but actually have no meaning, that stuff I will be purging.

It is hard though. On Monday I went through some clothes, knick knacks and jewelry (fashion jewelry, farmer's market stuff, too) and oh my god. It was hard. I cried three times. It's difficult to let things go. I kept asking J if it was okay to get rid of x or y or whatever. And then I stuffed my face at dinner. I totally emotionally ate after my first "purge." I knew why I was eating, too, and there really was little I could do about it. (A large part of this as well is I think PMS behind the scenes here).

I'm reserving Mondays for this type of cleaning during the summer. I may add Friday this week to the list too because we've got people coming in for the Magpie's SECOND birthday (2 years! Oh my), and I'd like to get some stuff in the den and in the kitchen taken care of.

I honestly expect that it will take me close to six months to accomplish this.

I'm hoping the purging of the useless things will help me to have better focus on my health and my work. I think it will help my attitude towards life, too. And we are hoping to buy a house here within the next year, so the less stuff we have to move, the better that will be. We'll have more space when people come over. We'll have less to clean, wash, whatever. Really I just want more space. There's just too much stuff.

I think if I have a cleaner, less cluttered environment, I'll be able to focus better on work because I won't be thinking that I need to clean or straighten or whatever.

I've also decided that even though it's summertime, I am going to workout early--like the 5 am class (it's really small right now, too), so that way, by this time of day I can get be working. I have a July 15th deadline (which needs to be July 10th since I'm going out of town on the 12th), so that takes priority here. But again, I will be able to focus so much better once things are less cluttered and crazy here.

On that note, I will get the laundry started, meditate, then get to work until lunch time.

Friday, June 12, 2015

A Host of Complaints and Gripes

Please indulge me some more as I continue to whine here.

I'm in a rut. Again. It seems like my life is a rut. Honestly, I think this is in many ways the result of camp. I like the camp; I like my colleagues; but there is no down time whatsoever during the week, and while I can be fairly social, the constant barrage of people gets to me. I should go hide in my office for a bit during the week; however, if my boss knows that I'm hiding in my office, then it won't solve my hiding problem.

Part of the problem, too, is that I appear to be moderately depressed right now. All the time I spent cleaning before camp just seems like a waste as we're back to clutter because there's no time to maintain anything which means that Monday again becomes a sort of wasted day because I have to sort of "redo" everything so that I can work again and while it's a minor thing, that just gets me down. Even though I feel like I'm trying hard, I don't think I'm trying hard enough, so there's that anxiety to deal with as well. I have the time to do the things I need to do, but I'm overwhelmed by the possibilities and summer seems like it's slipping away (although I know that yes, it's technically not even really mid-June--almost, but not totally). And maybe I should have just slept in. I might feel better then.

I realize that there has been a dramatic shift in my attitude in the last two weeks. In part I recognize that that's camp. While I do have the option of a break or two to come home for lunch and dinner on camp days, I'm at camp for over 12 hours most days, so even when I am trying to be productive, it's hard to focus on my work. The others seems to be good at it, but when they all leave to go do stuff, someone needs to man the fort. And again, to go to my office means risking getting snagged by boss which would guarantee that I not get any work done. At night I don't like to be up on the second floor at night by myself.

Furthermore, I know that the kid is struggling with my being gone and not spending as much time with her.

However, I think at the heart of my kind of malaise right now, which is always festering at the back like an academic sore, is if I want to stay here. I know I wrote back in the beginning of the year about how I needed to and was working on shifting my attitude toward my job. Don't get me wrong; it is a good job. I know the grass isn't necessarily greener on the other side, and there are lots of reasons for me not to even attempt to look elsewhere, most especially because of it's location near my family (at least many of them are between a few hours to a day's drive away), and that makes a big difference. Believe me, I know and understand the privilege I have in having a t-t job, too. And there are hardly any options whatsoever in my field right now.

Herein lies the problem: how do I do what I want to do with the options I have? I can't figure out how to make my life work. I have some idea of how it should be, even in its messiness. But that's my problem with everything just about--implementation. I can see the big picture; I can see the very narrow, focused picture, but everything in between in the problem for me.

Another problem I know I have right now is the focus on things, the material, that if I had x, y and z and all the rest of the alphabet would fall beautifully into place and solve my problems (right? which is the fantasy of looking for/getting another job--it would be magic!) and I recognize that and struggle against this. If I were happy with my appearance, then I could focus on my work. If I had a bigger house, then I could focus on my work because everything would have its place and we wouldn't be tripping over each other. If I could pay off bills, I would have to work over summer and could focus on my work.

It seems the obvious solution then is to actually focus on my work. In my head there needs to be this magical time when all the stars align and things are perfect that allow me to settle down and focus, when the solution is to fuck everything else and just settle down and do it.

And so I wait. I wait for Monday to arrive when the duties of the weekend are over, when there is no camp to rush to, when I can actually sit for a couple of hours and read some stuff I need to for my article. I bide my time until then.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I don't know what it is, but I am super duper depressed today. It really started yesterday, like I spent the whole day just trying not to break down and just cry uncontrollably in front of my colleagues. And even when I got home, I just didn't feel like I could break down. I have nothing about which to cry. And today I feel the same way. Just so much doom and gloom. Maybe it's because I'm tired and stressed. Maybe it's because I'm really jonesing to do my own work and not camp work. Maybe it's because I want to be outside, even though it's like a bajillion degrees outside, I'd still like to be out in the sun roasting. Maybe it's because I haven't seen my family a lot lately, and that's what I'm craving. 

I think I have a plan at least for balancing some stuff so that I can feel productive both in terms of my own work and in terms of the work I need to do for part II of the camp.

This afternoon will be devoted to Camp Part II work. I'll get anywhere from 2-3 hours to work on that. I think I can get a lot done. Then tonight while the kids are watching the movie, for the first hour, I will go to my office and work on my research and then try to get some more Camp Part II work done the second hour of the movie. I think if I do that today and tomorrow, I'll feel like I've got something accomplished. Then if I can get more Camp Part II work done Friday afternoon, I should be able to make some progress here on it. 

And maybe that is the root of the general malaise here. Not getting things done. I think for non camp weeks I will have a solid work schedule down. And I've got to get my other calendars set up so that I can have the deadlines right there so I can see the big physical picture of what needs to be done by when, and then I need to learn how to break the big task down into the smaller tasks so that I don't shut down from such giant undertakings and so I can see the progress with the smaller completed items chipping away at the larger ones. 

Before I had the kid, I had been pretty free from depression for a while. Especially with the changes in my diet. I think I'm still struggling a bit from some latent PPD, and it might not even actually be that, but definitely hormone related, and I feel like it probably will take another month maybe for my hormones to figure things back out. I don't think it's been a month yet since I took out the IUD, so that may be a large part of it, too. I think I've had some foods that have had traces of gluten and soy in them, so that's not helping--they're just building on an accumulation of that stuff that's in my body right now. And I'm doing my best with my time and resources with the camp this week, which I why I keep looking forward to next week, a week when I'll have time and that time will slow down a bit, too. I'll be able to get up, work out, see the kid, and then spend the day at home working, cooking, resting, etc. 

While I have a lot of academic and scholarly work to do this summer, I need to heal myself in many ways. I need some rest. I feel burned out from my life, from my career, from my exercise routine. I need to mix that up a bit. I feel like I can do the work I need to do if I am recovering at the same time. The stuff I want to write and work on feels more therapeutic than trying to do that and think about classes and everything else at the same time. I have a July 15th deadline for one article. It's totally doable, if I get serious next week about it, when I can focus on it solely and not have anything else to think about. I'll have time to menu plan and cook. Basically I'm hoping that for the next month I get to have the type of summer I envision having and get as much done as possible, taking a break for my sister's wedding and for Camp Part II, then spending another three weeks getting to work, getting the courses for the Fall ready, and then hopefully being able to take another 2 weeks off before the quarter starts again. 

That's the goal anyhow. We shall see.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

I know I'm sounding like a broken record here, but I'm exhausted. It's only Tuesday of week 2 of camp, but damn, I'm wiped out already. And the Magpie is just missing me a lot, so this has been a long day on that front, too. And then she sort of cried herself to sleep. she didn't actually make it to sleep. Sigh. I like the paycheck that comes with camp, and it's only a week, but I always forget how really exhausting it is. And this isn't even the long camp, or rather the super intensive camp.

However, as the only female of the camp, I do feel excluded from a lot of the stuff. The men are kind of cliquish. Meh. I'm not here to bitch about that though.

One of the things I am most looking forward to camp being over is getting back to my own work. I think I've come up with a plan/schedule for the summer after this camp is over. I'm already behind. I've not been able to get my own work done like I had hoped. That is basically due to my spending all of last week, and I mean screwing around with this computer. I had to erase it and reboot everything. It seriously took almost 15 hours to get all the OS crap redone and get most everything set up. I still don't have the printer reset. It runs okay. It runs well enough to keep me from buying a whole new laptop. I actually don't need one. This one is nice and clean now and I've got everything stowed away on various drives and stuff. Now it's just a matter of getting organized.

I have been working hard here (harder than I need to) on trying to change the way I am approaching my weight/body issues. I need to return to the basics. Keep it simple. Quit trying new things. As much as I wish I were, I'm not an elite athlete, in the least. And I want to be shredded, but whatever I'm trying still just doesn't seem to be working. It's disheartening. What I need to do then is shift my thinking back to health and performance and let the rest of things fall where they may.

But right now, I'm dying for  twix.

And dying to get back to work on my own stuff. Oh Monday, I long for you. I'll find something positive to post about soon.
In theory, I love the summer time. In practice right now, it has me totally stressed out.

If I can't make my summer go for me like I need it to, then next year is going to be stressful and difficult.

I'm in this weird place between being totally hopeful and optimistic and completely despondent. I feel both confident and on unstable ground lacking in all confidence in every way. I feel both happy and entirely depressed. I just don't know what's wrong with me.

I am entirely focused on my body. This is a large part of the problem. I'm back to being obsessed with it. This is not healthy. I know when I focus on health and fitness the weight comes off. Right now, I am utterly obsessed with the scale, which makes me hate myself for being focused on that, and that's not healthy either.

I feel like I have somehow developed an eating disorder (and I don't say that lightly) in the last few months. This is why I cannot get anything done, and cannot be like anybody from Frozen and just "let it go."

I have to think through this. But first, the kid is awake, so to be continued...

Continued, a day or so later..

I am really really struggling with body image. So much so that it's taking up a lot of my mental energy and actually preventing me from being able to get some stuff done. I've had to do a lot of rethinking about what I'm doing. I mean, in the last three months I have become obsessed with trying to lose weight and in the last eight weeks, I have obsessed over food, had much more food guilt than I normally do, and I weight each thing I eat in terms of "okay, if I eat this, what will the scale say tomorrow? If I don't eat this, it will be lighter."

That is not healthy. Not at all.

I've gotten a bit better in the last few days about this though. It's just that I look like a linebacker in the bridesmaid's dress. For real. I'm not feeling very confident about it.

I hate that I'm so focused on my body/appearance. But, like I said, in the last couple of days I've gotten a little bit better about it.

I'm tired though. I've spent too much mental energy focused on this. I want it to stop.

Friday, June 5, 2015

I'm going to continue to air some grievances here. I am the only female in this camp. All of the guys have been invited out to whiskey night. Guys. That is, everyone but me. I'm a bit irked and feeling a bit shafted. I wouldn't have been able to go anyway; however, the invite would have been nice.

Even though it's only June 3rd, somehow I feel that the summer is already over. Ugh. As much as I love the money, I am feeling the pressure and anxiety of how much I'm not able to work on my own stuff this week and next week. Although, even though it didn't amount to much, I did get a little bit of reading done today during the camp (I will remember to bring my headphones tomorrow), but I have been able to work on getting some pictures and stuff uploaded to another online drive site and put some of the photos on another external drive (I am a HOARDER!) because I'm deathly afraid of deleting them and losing them, but my computer is so full that it is not functioning anymore!

Even though I just bought a new desktop, I now want a new laptop. I was looking at some touch screen laptops online earlier.

I think the desire for new things is tied to a desire to reinvent myself. I've not done so for a while. I feel like, and I believe I have spent a lot of the last two years or so blogging about how I feel like I'm in a rut. I have lots of ideas and stuff, but I have produced anything aside from conference papers since I got pregnant. I'm considerable unhappy still in my post-pregnancy body, and I really wish I weren't. And I just feel irrelevant, in my job, my life, to my friends. I know I'm not to my family, but I do sort of feel that way. I mean, I love, absolutely LOVE being a mom, and I would give my life for that child, and I wish I were a SAHM (although I only wish that so I could have the freedom to read and write most of the time--I'd still actually put her in part time day care), but I feel like for everyone around, that is all that I am. I feel like I am no longer seen as a scholar, professor, athlete, person. And maybe that's it. I think my students, upon learning that I'm a mom, somehow think less of my abilities (uh, they should think more--I created a human, a smart and funny one, too, and I still have a career!). Maybe it's all in my head.

Maybe I just needed some sleep.

So I've had to also, this week, which has been an enormous time suck, but I think in the end has ended up being worth it, but I had to back up everything in multiple places on the laptop because it just sort of has ceased to function properly because I only had like 330 MB of free space left on it, and it seemed that the more that I deleted, the space available decreased with it, oddly. So I just wiped out the entire thing. Now it's like a brand new five year old mac air. It's kind of nice though. Nice and clean. It's almost like having a new computer. So I think I'm going to go buy a new thumb drive for this and the new pc at home to keep everything clean and organized.

But since I've not got this computer mess to deal with, now I don't know what to do with myself during camp. It is the last day. I could try to work/read or something, but maybe I'll just blog all day.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

I've started so many posts the last few months and then have either not published them or deleted them or they're still floating around in draft form somewhere.

In part it's because I have a lot of gripes, and I just don't want to air them all publicly. But the alternative is that I've let them fester and stew and that's no good either.

Most of it is just personal and stupid stuff like: is the house ever going to sell? is the kid ever not going to be sick? how am I going to make it through the summer when everyone else seems to be relaxing? will I get my minivan this summer? will I be as productive as I hope this summer? how am I going to do everything? will I ever get these bills paid off? will we ever be able to buy a house here? do I want a house here? do I even have any mobility any more? are these 30 pounds ever going to come off? is it too late to have another kid or by the time I'm ready, will it be too late? do I seriously have to go on another diet? why can't I just go to bed at 8pm every night? why do I have to be so damn vain about my appearance? why can't I get rid of all this crap I have that I don't use and don't need and don't want?

These are the things that seriously keep me awake at night and basically shut me down for part of the day.

I'm back to my "life isn't fair!" bullshit, and I have a crappy attitude that I try to hide from my parents and husband and kid.

However, I know that part of this attitude and quite likely a large part of the weight issue is hormone related. I hate hormonal birth control. It does not work for me, but I'm willing to try things once. The IUD is supposed to be very low and localized. Not even a blip, supposedly, on the hormonal radar. Not for me. I gave it six months. After six months things seemed okay. Then, right on schedule at about 9 months, things just went bad. Weight gain (that won't budge, and that should budge. I am doing everything, and when I say everything, I'm doing everything I'm supposed to for my body to lose weight), major cramps, symptoms that mirrored an ectopic pregnancy and/or cysts, major depression and just a general "fuck you all" attitude. In short, the thing basically fucked up, and the doc said that it is not doing what it's supposed to, things are going on that shouldn't be, and well, at least he confirmed my suspicions rather than making me feel dumb. At one point it involved a 4.5 hour trip to the ER, which is never convenient but even less so the week before the end of the quarter and then another 3.5 hours of doctor's visits in the remainder of the week. Grrrrr. I'm fine, it turns out,  now that the thing is out, aside from the clock ticking on baby #2 (but so many other things have to happen first--Home City home sold and gone, bigger house here, tenure--I'm not having two kids and no job security or a house for that matter). That has me really stressed. We'll see now if the weight will budge now that my hormones should be leveling out a bit. And what also stresses me out is that you know, technically, I'm really not overweight. I'm in a healthy weight range, at the top of it, and I'm pretty stinking fit. But I am not comfortable at this weight. Societal pressures or not, but I don't like myself or the way I look at this weight. There are things that I can't do physically in my workouts because I'm at this weight. And while my legs are strong, it's not the best weight for my knees and for running. And I hate that I want to be thinner, but I do. But it's not just that. I want to feel better, to move better, and to not have baby weight still hanging around me. But I hate my vanity.

In any case, I feel enormous pressure now this summer to get things done. I've made a list. It seems like a doable list between now and October. I have deadlines set. I have some sense of what needs to be done and when. I've sort of got a game plan for how to get the things done. The hardest part for me though is the research and figuring out what I need. I've always been able to "get by" with my shitty research skills, but if I actually want to produce any sort of meaningful scholarship, I've got to actually do research. A little secret: I've never been to our university's library. Yeah. How am I even employed?

And this is all totally related. Obviously, when one feels better about oneself in any one area, then it's a bit easier to the other things to fall into place. Meditation helps. I need to start doing that again. Regularly.

I'm hopeful about what I can get done this summer. I'm also hopeful that I'll have the follow through I need, too. And perhaps I'll be organized enough in such a way that I can put more things on the blog to work through them or even just get to work.