Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

My Head is Full

April 23, 2019

Like so full.

So much stuff in there.

I have a touch of a headache.

This sometimes will happen when I have been trying to shove too much information into my brain and it just can’t take any more in.

Over the weekend I had to address a lot of homework and do a lot of research.

The research went well, the paper got written, eleven pages thank you very much, but I was still behind.

Not by a lot.

But by enough to make me a feel a touch chagrined with myself.

I had completely missed out a weeks discussion in one of my classes.

I figured out how today when I realized I had read all the chapters well in advance of the discussion and some part of my brain just thought I was totally ahead of the curve.

Plus.

I had met with the professor of the class last week and I just presumed to myself without checking into the actual syllabus that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

I think unconsciously I let myself do it.

I tend to post well thought out, referenced, worded well, well supported, thoughtful post.s

I am typically one of the first people in my classes to respond to a post prompting and I am pretty open and transparent with the work I do, how I am in the world and what is happening personally.

My cohort knows I went through a break up two months ago.

My cohort knows I had shingles.

My cohort knows I juggle a full-time PhD program with full time nannying and a roster of clients, I’m seeing ten this week.

I’m busy.

I dropped the ball in one of my classes.

I can also see that I had a stupendous busy week last week nannying.

The two older kids were on Spring Break and their grandmother has been visiting.

I did not have any time, none at all, to spend on my homework.

I really do rely on getting in at least a couple of hours of work done during the week, sometimes, like today, I can actually even get in two hours of homework a day.

Not always, but anything helps.

Not having a spare minute or moment to do classwork last week put me behind and I didn’t even realize it until I was sitting in a cafe on Divisadero before my Saturday commitment this past weekend.

I literally thought I was going to burst into tears.

I had totally missed the deadline and I didn’t have the book with me that I needed to reference to have posted a discussion.

I made damn sure that came with me today.

I also had to just let it go.

I had to do research for the paper I wrote yesterday and I had to also do a big post for my Creative Arts and Leadership class.

I had to acknowledge that I wasn’t actually going to be able to do the discussion until today.

On top of that.

I have another paper due on Wednesday of this week.

So.

I got lucky.

I got really lucky at work.

Not only were the kids back to school, they had after school activities, I was basically alone the whole day with the littlest guy.

He didn’t have the biggest nap, but he had a long enough one that I did a 1,300 word discussion post with six references to the book in it and I responded to a classmates work as well.

I started looking over the work that I needed to gather up to do the next paper, the one that is due Wednesday, and I could feel my head getting a bit spun.

So.

Lunch break.

Sat down.

Looked outside.

Watched the sky.

Ate a nice meal.

Made some tea.

Got back in it and then the little guy woke up with one of those cries that says I’m not quite awake and something woke me up and I want to sleep more but I will need cuddles to do so.

You don’t know that one?

I gathered him up, snuggled him into my arms and he slept in my lap for another half hour.

It was enough to let my brain simmer down a little bit, but the pot is still dangerously full of stuff.

I went to a cafe in between work and my commitment tonight and I tried to do some more work and I managed to eke out a bit, but really, fuck, my head just said no way, no more.

It is at times like these that I do question what the fuck I am doing.

I know it will pass and I already feel like I have committed myself to it to stop now, but stopping, whoa, it might feel really nice.

When I get stuck I do tell myself to just focus on what can be done today, just today, that’s all I have anyway.

Today.

I did well.

Really.

I did and I need to acknowledge that.

I got caught up and I did the work that needed to be done to prepare for the next paper.

I have my books and notebook packed already for tomorrow with high hopes that I will get another good few hours without interruption at nap time.

It’s a smaller paper, just six pages, but it’s on theoretical framing, so, um, yeah, hella dry.

If I get two hours tomorrow I should be sitting really well.

I also had a client cancel tomorrow night, so I just have one after work.

I’ll lean into it and I’ll get it done.

In the mean time.

Fuck me.

I am tired.

I am in need of tea and a good mindless few minutes of a video that has nothing at all academic about it.

Seriously.

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Love Letters

March 19, 2019

To a ghost.

That’s what he feels like now.

Ghostly.

It is still painful, I just teared up thinking about him as I was having dinner.

Being ever so careful to make sure that my musical selection to accompany dinner was nothing that we ever listened to together or music that reminds me of him.

Let me say there’s a lot I’m not listening to.

Somethings are pretty safe and I have absolutely no affiliation with the music to him.

Mike Doughty, which is cool since I’ll be going to his show this Wednesday at the Great American Music hall, is one.

My French house music app Bon Entendeur is another.

Although occasionally, as it happened to me tonight, something will just drift in and remind me of my love.

Cue tears.

I’m not crying unless I’m writing about him or talking about him.

Or thinking about him.

Sigh.

I know it will pass but it still feels raw and sad.

I have been wanting to write him a letter, nothing that I will send, but I have this notebook full of love letters to him that I had hoped one day to give him.

A great big full hard bound notebook full of love letters.

I thought about sending it to him in the first week that we broke up.

But I told on myself and it was suggested that I not do that.

That would, in effect, be courting contact when I said no contact.

And yes, I’m not going to lie, I wish he would contact me.

But I have motives and desires and specific wants and he wasn’t able to give those things to me.

I can’t imagine that really has changed in three weeks and one day.

But yeah, sometimes, too  frequently to be attractive, I do have this dream that he calls me up or shows up at my house and tells me things have changed and we can be together.

It’s stupid and it just hurts my heart to entertain the thought, so I don’t, or I don’t try to let myself entertain the thoughts too often.

I have wanted to write out a letter though in the notebook, but I wanted to have passed through the anger and hurt and grief and betrayed feelings I have and just have it be a sweet and final goodbye.

Sure.

Not one he’ll ever see, but just the process of closure for me.

I also recognize that there is still this flame of hope that things will change and he’ll come for me and if I was writing in the notebook I’d be somehow flaming that fantasy.

He’s not coming back.

Move on.

I haven’t been able to write poetry.

I think it would just hurt too damn much and I’m barely hanging in there.

Of course.

I have to mention I’m tired and the grief sneaks in when I am tired.

I was up this morning at 5a.m. to take my car over to Berkeley to get an oil change at my Fiat dealer at 7a.m. and I wanted to make sure that I had enough time to get over the bridge with traffic.

I got there with plenty of time to spare and ate my breakfast and drank coffee in my car waiting for the dealership to open.

So it’s been a long day and when it’s a long day and the tired hits the emotions do too.

Plus, I didn’t really have a day off yesterday.

I had to grind hard on a big paper that I’d been working on for a few days and really get it done.

I can’t remember a paper that I’ve spent this much time working on before, but such is life while pursuing a PhD.

Big, tough, all-consuming papers will happen.

I got it done, my laundry, met with a ladybug, met with my person, did food prep and cleaned my house, finished the huge paper and sent it out.

I did not have a day off.

So just diving right into my week by having to get up at 5a.m. to get the oil change was not how I wanted to start my week, but I am grateful its done.

I didn’t want to risk going too long with the oil change light coming on and the dashboard lighting up and telling me I needed an oil change every time I started the car.

It’s done.

The big paper got turned in last night and I’m already at work on another paper for another class that’s due this Thursday.

Fortunately, this second paper is more in align with what I like to write and I was able to get a lot of it done at work and I spent an hour in a cafe after work writing too before I went to do the deal.

And all along.

He was in my mind.

I stumbled upon an old text chain I didn’t realize was on my phone.

Said text corresponded to when I started writing him the love letters in the notebook.

He told me in one of the texts he wanted to read those letters.

(God damn his texts were always so freaking sweet)

Honestly.

I want him to as well.

They are beautiful letters.

I write a nice letter.

Not to brag, I just do.

But no contact means no contact and they’re just going to sit here on my desk for a little while yet.

I have written him a lot when I think about it, heaps of cards, post cards, love letters, poems.

I could probably put together a chapbook of the poetry I’ve written about him.

Maybe one day I’ll figure that out.

Right now though.

I’m not writing him any letters, outside of the ones I compose in my heart and keep in my heart, to him.

I can’t bear to yet.

I just can’t.

I want to stop missing him first.

Otherwise I’ll just keep breaking my heart over and over and over again.

I don’t think I can handle anymore broken heart.

I’m too damn tender right now.

Too heart sore.

Too sad.

I miss him too much.

Too damn much.

 

Fifteen Minute Blog

March 1, 2019

That’s about all I got tonight.

Fifteen minutes.

I almost decided to not write, but then I thought, when am I going to have the opportunity again?

I mean.

PhD full tilt boogie.

38 hours a week at my day job.

I’ve also clocked 13 hours at my internship so far this week and I have a client tomorrow as well as three on Saturday.

This is it.

Take the moment.

I could, sure, do some homework.

But.

Well.

I’m pretty on top of it right now.

I wrote a paper over the last two days at work as I was left pretty much alone during the afternoons at work with the baby (who’s really not a baby anymore, 26 months tomorrow) who has been taking these great big fat three-hour naps.

I can knock out a lot of work in three hours.

It’s been a huge gift.

When people ask me how I’m doing it, that’s really the key right now, homework while the baby naps.

Of course I do homework at other times, but the three hours really gives me a way into staying abreast of the work.

I have plenty to do the next couple of days as well with school work, new module’s opened in one of my classes, which means obligations to post discussions and respond to others.

I have done the readings so it shouldn’t be too bad and if the baby naps well tomorrow and the mom’s out of the house, I’ll get it done.

I’m staying busy.

Maybe, sort of, on purpose.

I will say I was a little surprised today to not be as upset and sad as I thought I would.

Then again, when I have slowed down from school, work, clients, dealing with my car being in the shop for six days, OHMYGOD do I love having my car back, I have broken down pretty quick.

I’ve been very careful since the break up to not listen to certain music.

I’ve gotten caught once or twice when I was in a ride share on my way to work and the driver had something come on the stereo that knocked me for a loop.

Cue wearing my ear pods on all drives to and from where ever I was going.

As well as making sure to listen to music at work that’s very upbeat.

I’m sure there’s more grief to grieve.

I lost my best friend and we have a no contact agreement.

I have felt lonely  and lost and sad.

I have also felt some freedom I wasn’t expecting and some relief that it’s done.

Walking around last week for five and a half days knowing that I was about to break up was harrowing.

Just the relief of not having to do that is tremendous.

I haven’t looked at photos either.

And I’ve not gone looking through texts or emails.

Maybe I’m packing too much swaddling around myself.

I don’t know.

I just know that the first time we went through a break up it was so horrendously sad I walked around for days, weeks, feeling like I had been beaten.

And I couldn’t stop crying.

I have had a few moments of unbearable crying jags, but just not to the extent of last time.

I was also not practiced at the breakup.

He and I have gone through it two times officially from my side and once, in a sort of conditional way on his side.

Third times the charm I guess.

Oh.

I do sort of still hope that something miraculous will happen.

That he will decide to alter the things I asked him to alter and we’ll be together.

And I know I can’t wait around for that, it probably won’t happen, and I can’t live my life hoping.

I have to live my life in faith, I know that.

The situation I was in was untenable and I went on in for almost two years.

I’m lucky to have known the depth of love that I had but I also went through a lot of pain.

A lot.

Things were just never quite what I wanted.

Fuck.

Now I’m teary.

Shit.

I thought I’d make it through.

Oh well.

My person reminded me that it wasn’t that there was a lack of love if anything that was what made it so terrible to do, we were so in love with each other.

We’d frequently call the other the One, or soul mate, or magic, or love of my life.

So, it’s rather heartbreaking that we couldn’t get around the issues that broke us apart.

I could wish it different, but I couldn’t make it happen.

And man.

Did I try.

I really tried to be super flexible and not look at things with black and white thinking but in the end I wasn’t getting my needs met and he and I both knew it and he was guilty and sad for it and I was upset over it and it wasn’t working.

God I wish it had.

Ugh.

Now I know why I wasn’t wanting to blog.

I knew that I was going to process emotions doing this and now I’m typing and crying and the heart ache is there and it doesn’t matter what I’m playing on the stereo, it’s all love songs about him anyways.

Well, that was fun.

I just precipitated a crying jag with my head on my table.

Ugh.

I can’t really avoid myself and my emotions when I’m writing, they just naturally come up.

Sigh.

And I can have some compassion for the part of me that doesn’t want to feel and has kept mighty, mighty, mighty busy not thinking about it.

I am sad.

I am tender.

I miss him so much.

Fuck.

I miss you darling.

I miss you so bad.

Ready to Fly

February 15, 2019

I’m at work.

The baby is sleeping.

The rain is falling.

The dad is home sick.

It’s Friday.

I have one client after work tonight then…

Three day weekend!

I’m so ready to be done.

I’m flying out tonight on a red-eye to D.C. to spend time with my best friend in Georgetown.

I do find it rather funny actually that I’m going to be there over President’s Day weekend.

Just sort of how it worked out.

Originally I was supposed to go before school started, but our schedules just did not sync up.

So.

Here I am officially into the month of February getting ready to jettison off for a much-needed mini-holiday.

And!

I’m done with my homework.

In fact, I am a touch a head of it.

I have been assiduously reading, writing, posting discussion posts, responding to discussion posts, et al.

I’ve actually finished the reader completely for one of my classes.

This is not to say that there isn’t work to do.

I’m in a fucking PhD program, there is always going to be work to do.

In fact, I’m sure my guilty student self-will arise any moment now and say something like, “you could pre-read for your other two classes too.”

But the fact is.

I need a break.

And sometimes that is just as important to acknowledge as it is to budget time to do the homework.

It’s been, well, stressful isn’t the right word exactly, but challenging at work this week.

The dad has been home sick every day.

EVERY DAY.

The whole family has gotten sick, and I as well, although not to the extent or severity of the baby or the papa.

For this I am so lucky.

Very happy.

Very grateful.

I caught it last week Thursday, tried to pretend I didn’t have it, had it land pretty solid Friday, spiked a fever while at my office seeing clients on Saturday.

Fortunate for me I had some clients cancel and no-show and I was able to chill out in my office after seeing two clients.

That actually helped me a lot in my advancement through my homework this week.

I wrote a paper and did a bunch of reading.

I wrote another paper on Sunday.

And then have read and posted discussions all week.

I’m just about past the point of feeling awkward with the dad around.

But, yes challenging.

I find I do as much work as I possibly can, but you know, I’m extremely efficient and Fridays the family traditionally orders in food, so I have no food prep or dinner planning to do.

The house is spotless.

I can’t access laundry since it’s next to the sleeping baby.

So I’ve done my homework and then realized, good lord, I still have another half hour or so of not having anything to do.

Somehow sitting on the couch trolling Instagram seems like a bad idea.

I figured if I was writing, it would at least look like I’m working on something.

Dad doesn’t need to know I’m writing my blog.

Plus.

Since I’m flying a red-eye tonight I am going to try to sleep on the plane rather than do homework.

Maybe, ooh, I could even watch a movie.

Ah.

That would be nice.

I do know that I will be happy to hit DC running, my friend will pick me up at the airport, drive me into town and then we’re going to do breakfast, coffee, and doing that infamous deal at a clubhouse near DuPont Circle.

After that I am checking into an Air BnB in Georgetown.

That I was happily given access to for early check in.

Super grateful for that.

Originally the check in was listed for 3p.m.

But I asked if it was possible to get in early and I got a sweet affirmative response last night.

So.

Napping.

And.

Napping in front of a working fireplace.

Yes.

I won’t nap too long, there’s only so much time I get with my friend.

I think we might do a fancy pants dinner out somewhere that evening and then Sunday really just hang out and walk around Georgetown, hit some cafes, grab lunch somewhere, maybe do some shopping.

You know, girl stuff.

And I fly back super early on Monday.

So early that I actually will have most of Monday available to me for life stuff that needs to be done.

I have to drop my car off for some maintenance and I’m hoping to get all my laundry done.

So.

Here’s to there only being two and a half hours left of my work day, one client, and a quick drive home to pick up my suitcase and travel bag.

I’m already packed.

All I have to do is remembered to bring my power cords for my computer and my phone.

God only knows l will likely check into my school work at least once.

Maybe twice.

I’m too paranoid about falling behind to not do that.

But really.

I do hope to take it easy and let myself gently off the hook.

I feel really good at where I am currently in this semester of work.

Sure.

That could change the next week.

But for now.

Well.

Here’s to a three-day weekend!

 

Sneaky Blog

February 12, 2019

I really should probably look at my homework.

But.

Fuck.

I have done a lot in the last couple of days and I also really should let myself off the hook once in a while.

I wrote a paper yesterday as well as attended a three-hour training in Berkeley for my internship.

Day off, what day off?

I also did laundry and roasted a chicken for food prep and packed up my carry-on for a trip this weekend.

I am going to do a quick zoom in and out of D.C.

A friend gave me some miles and I’ve booked an Air BnB with a fireplace in Georgetown.

We’re going to hang out, go to coffee shops and eat nice food.

I might not even go out all that much.

Sit in front of the fire-place and toast my toes.

I am going to do as much homework as possible this week so that I can actually enjoy my time there.

The trip was originally supposed to be before I started up school again but my friends schedule got wonky and we had to push it out.

So.

I will have a quick two and a half days and I’ll be right back in it.

Next weekend will be my weekend off.

Of course it does mean staying on top of things and as of such I did read 65 pages of an article today.

No fucking article should be that long.

Just saying.

Thank goodness the baby took a long nap today.

Poor little guy.

He’s been sick.

Went with the mom to the pediatrician today and it turns out he’s got an eye infection, a sinus infection and an ear infection in both ears!

He’s going to get a whopping big dose of antibiotics in the next couple of days and hopefully it will all get knocked out.

And yes.

I do actually have his cold.

I suspected I was coming down with it on Friday.

Sure as shit, Saturday I was running a fever.

But there was really nothing to do about that.

I got up, I did my morning routine, I went and saw my clients.

Fortunately it never really got anywhere as bad as the little guy’s had.

I’m a tiny bit sick, more like a light runny nose and some yuck congestion in my nose and throat when I wake up in the morning.

It’s like I got the diet version of his cold.

It’s enough to be a little annoying, but not enough to knock me down.

I will admit I was in bed pretty early last night, just to make sure that I was getting enough sleep.

That is the thing I constantly have to do for myself, get enough sleep.

Other things are getting dropped.

Socializing.

Blogging.

My blogging has been slight and I’m not excited about that, but I have to address homework pretty much every day and there is just so much to read.

My God.

The reading is heavy.

I am so very grateful I knocked out three books before the semester started.

I’m also 3/4s of the way through one of my class readers, which is going to be really helpful as I move forward.

But there is just always something else to read.

And I am constantly being sent stuff to read as well.

I can’t do it all

And I can’t blog as much as I would like, but I feel like I’m in a good place right now, turned in that paper yesterday and today did a substantive post to one of my classes.

I need to check into the other two and see what’s on the agenda, but I don’t have to do anything quite yet.

Aha.

I actually did.

And I just did it.

Hopefully I didn’t screw with the flow of the blog, but yeah, I had an inkling there was something I needed to attend to in my Arts and Creativity in Leadership class.

And there was.

So.

That’s done and now I can say I checked in and took care of it and between that, the discussion posts, the responses to others I made today and all the reading, I’m pretty good with my efforts today.

Really.

As long as I stay sober today, ultimately nothing else matters.

But I do want to do the work to get this PhD.

It does feel really important.

I have had some people in and out of my cohort as well exhort me to do a book about what I am writing on and to have it full of photographs of my tattoos.

I am actually thinking about that quite a lot.

I do know some photographers.

I should start asking around.

Of course the two that pop up in my head first are professionals and would probably be a lot to use, but it may be worth it to start engaging in looking.

I would like to document my tattoos anyway and since I’ll be writing about them and my experiences I am also leaning very heavily towards adding them into my dissertation as well.

Which is something I can do with the methodology I’m using.

Things to think about.

I also have to remember I’m meeting with one of my professors next Friday, pop that on my calendar.

My online program piece uses a lot of Zoom meetings, but I can’t make most of them wtih my schedule.

I actually had one this Saturday, client cancelled, and I checked in with one of my professors who lives on the East Coast.

We had a great talk and he gave me some of the best compliments.

I mean.

I was really blown away.

He said, “Well, Carmen, I just think you’re brilliant, I really do.”

And.

He added a little later that he had something else to admit to, “I save your papers until the last to read, that way I have something to look forward to.”

OMG.

Best compliment.

I was so very flattered.

I really want to let myself enjoy this compliment too.

In the not so recent past I have used compliments like this to stress myself out, I better perform even better, I can’t disappoint now!

So for the last couple of days I have really held that for myself.

Of course.

The paper that was due yesterday was for his class and the first of the semester (for this class, not for the semester, I’ve already turned in two other papers thank you very much).

So.

Yeah, I had some anxiety writing it.

But overall, I think it was a good paper and he’ll like it and it’s ok if he doesn’t either.

I know that I have skills.

Maybe not mad skills, but I do think I have some writing chops.

Grateful as hell for that.

And with that.

I bid you adieu.

It’s time to attend to a few more school things before winding it down for the night.

Sweet dreams.

Sleep tight.

Don’t let the bedbugs bite.

(I have always wondered how one does that?)

Heh.

I Need Off Canvas

February 5, 2019

And its only just begun.

I made myself take a break today (I was at work and the baby took a long nap) after two solid hours of writing, engaging and interacting the three different classes I have on Canvas with CIIS.

Canvas is the tech platform the classes are set up on and why yes, not a single one of my professors uses it the same as the others.

Every single one of them does it slightly differently.

And once again I had the feeling of being on top of things to only realize that I hadn’t checked into one of my classes in a few days since I was so busy posting up to the other two.

Sure as shit.

I needed to post and post pretty immediately.

I wasn’t exactly annoyed, but I was tired and I don’t know that I put up the most relevant post, but what I came to understand from last semester is that it almost doesn’t matter.

I just have to constantly be posting something.

Either a substantive post on an assignment or reading, or responding to one of my classmates.

Pretty much every week I need to be in Canvas posting and replying.

I almost didn’t want to write my blog tonight, I just wanted to come home, warm up, eat a hot dinner and crawl into bed.

But if I’m not going to do school work, and I still might do a little more tonight, I am also not going to get into bed and watch hours of Netflix, as tempting as that may be.

I will watch some.

Just not a marathon.

I need to keep that and social media to a dull roar.

The blogging is going to be helter skelter.

I have no clue when I will have time, but I figure, it’s good to stay as close to it as I can.

It’s good for my brain to unload the day and it’s good for me to have something that is not academic writing.

Besides, I’ve said it many times.

The process of writing the blog really keeps me sharp for when I need to write papers.

And boy howdy, the papers are already coming.

I have two due by next Monday.

I also have a training for my internship in Berkeley on Sunday.

I will need to be careful with my time so that I can do all the things that need to be done and all my life stuff as well too.

When I go on trainings I’m gone for half the day, 45 minutes to get to Berkeley, three-hour long training, and then on average the traffic back has been an hour and a half.

By the time I get home I need to eat lunch, which is late as it’s around three p.m. and I need to go to the laundry mat.

I am still not happy about having to go to the laundry mat.

But I am making the best of it.

For instance, this Sunday while the majority of the country was watching the Super Bowl, I was doing laundry and read 46 pages of material in my Varieties of Scholarly Expression reader.

I also did a paper on Sunday as well.

First one of the semester.

And cooked and organized things and went birthday shopping for my oldest boy charge who turns nine tomorrow.

And.

Oh yes.

I took myself on an Artist Date to Cliff’s Variety in the Castro and I bought art supplies for my Arts and Creativity in Leadership class.

I had a lot of fun.

I probably also spent more than I needed to, but honestly, I really think I needed to do it.

It felt good to say yes to myself and to splurge a little.

I mean, it’s art supplies, not crack.

Although when I was checking out I couldn’t help but giggle at all the glittering supplies I had gotten.

Glitter glue.

Glitter markers.

Glitter colored pencils.

Glitter stickers.

Plus some fancy origami paper (I won’t be doing origami with it, I just liked the paper), watercolor markers, pastel markers, and tiny colorful clothes pin holders.

No idea what I’ll do with the latter, but they were so fucking cute I had to buy them.

It was a nice splurge.

I also yesterday, had a Zoom session with one of my TA’s.

This was good, clarifying, and really just sunk it home, I’m in a PhD program.

I really have a lot of work to do and keep doing.

This is a long haul program.

But.

I am hoping to follow my TA’s cue and do some work the summer after I finish my course work so that I can get a head start into that next semester of work where I will be independent.

She told me what she did and it was basically to not take the summer off and work on her proposal for her dissertation so that as soon as the first day of fall semester hit she turned it in to her dissertation chair and was off and running.

She will likely be done in three and a half years as opposed to four and a half.

I’m all for doing it that way.

Get it done.

I am excited, more and more, as the process becomes clearer to me.

Yes, so much work, but rather fascinating work and I’ll be writing about something I am very interested in.

So, yeah, Canvas.

I have gotten three notifications while I have been writing this blog that something new has been posted in my classes, so I will likely hit it up for a few more minutes before calling it a day.

It’s how I managed to get through last semester without falling behind.

The horror stories of people in my cohort who fell behind is enough to keep me active.

Or.

The people who just dropped out completely or disappeared.

I think we lost five people?

I don’t want to drop out and I do want to get my dissertation through, I want to have a PhD.

I want to be Dr. Carmen.

I really.

Really.

Really.

Do.

Get It While

January 22, 2019

The getting is good.

I don’t have much time left.

Just a few days before my next semester of course work begins for my PhD program.

Which means, many, many, many books, articles, discussion posts and who knows how many projects, tears, yelps of frustration, and ranting there will be.

I am assuming there will be much.

There will be moments, I already know this, where I will question, what the exact fuck am I doing getting a PhD?

And there will be moments when I know beyond a doubt that I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing.

Showing up will, as always, be the most important thing.

I have been showing up first and foremost by doing the reading already.

I am nearly finished with my third book of the semester.

I haven’t really taken a look at any of the syllabi, well, one, a tiny bit, but there wasn’t a sequence of reading listed (I sense it will get revealed at the intensive our first day of class), so I figured, just read as much as I can while I can.

That really helped me last semester, I stayed on top of the reading by having read a couple of the books before the semester had gotten underway.

My suggestion, always start in on the reading as soon as possible.

Always carry some reading material with you as well.

I don’t know when the kids are going to be in school, out of school, sick, napping, not napping, or whether I will be doing pick up or drop off.

My schedule at work is fairly consistent but surprises always happen and the times when I thought, surely, not today will there be any time to read, there’s been time.

And, of course, the converse has happened.

I have really needed/wanted to work on something and I show up to find a home sick from school monkey.

Today was all about the monkey.

I had all three of my charges today as it was a school holiday.

The dad was home and that was nice, he took one of them and I had two of them and we sort of swapped back and forth the whole day.

I did baths, he cooked, I ran two of them up and down the hill to the playground, he did Lego models and took another out to lunch.

It worked well and it was a nice day, especially to be outside after all the rain over the past week and this weekend.

I didn’t get any reading done at work, but I did have a nickel of time in between work and my evening commitment.

I ran to the grocery store and did some shopping and then hit up Tart to Tart in the Inner Sunset for a quick half hour of reading and studying.

I feel like this is going to be a better semester from the stand point of having made it through the first one I know I can do the second.

I got all “A”s and I’m still a little overwhelmed by that and sincerely grateful to have earned them.

I do feel like I really did show up for the classes and did what was necessary and then some.

I figured when I got home that I would do some food prep and write a blog to settle myself down.

I feel like I want to do 18 different things before now and bed time but there really isn’t a lot to do.

I have to get through the next few days of work and I get to see clients tomorrow night and Wednesday.

Thursday morning I have group supervision bright and early, 8:15 a.m. so I’ll be up at 6 a.m. to get ready and be there on time, but after that, I don’t have to do anything but get my butt to the intensive and check in at 3p.m.

I’m out of supervision by 10:15a.m. and my nail salon opens at 10a.m., I’m going to go and get a mani/pedi and then treat myself to some Marnee Thai for lunch–I’ll be staying at a hotel in Burlingame which means hotel food, for the intensive, I figure one nice meal before I jet is needed.

I’m thinking I’ll be packing day of the intensive.

Burlingame is super close and won’t take me that long to get to, maybe 40 minutes depending on traffic.

It is far enough away that I will pretty much be staying there to make an effort to connect and hang out with my cohort and be present for the experience.

Although I did consider what it would be like to just stay at home the entire time and commute back and forth, I figure, I’m paying for the intensive as part of my tuition and it’s required that I attend all the classes, it will be a lot easier to just stay there the whole time.

I mean, Pacifica was where the last one was and that too isn’t too far from me in San Francisco, I could have stayed at home, but I know I would have missed out on a part of the bonding that I think is necessary to doing the classwork.

Plus, it’s good to put names to faces and I’m already thinking about a few of my classmates that I am excited to reconnect with.

Funny enough, there are a few people who at the first intensive I wasn’t much enamored of, but after witnessing how they showed up for the classes I want to touch base and let them know how much I appreciated them being in class.

And you know, it will be good to commiserate with others about the work and life and there’s not a lot of folks out in the world working on a PhD, so it’s community that I will want as I continue to do the work.

It can be a little isolating.

I do, also notice that I miss some of my cohort from my Master’s program.

So.

Yeah.

Two more days in town and then I’m out.

I’ll likely do some blogging while I’m there, but I am not committing to anything.

Last semester was a doozy, I expect that this one will be too.

Good too.

I predict it will be good too.

God lord.

I am really getting a PhD.

Crazy!

The Good Enough

January 1, 2019

Paper.

I got a message yesterday as I was winding up the laundry and gathering it from the dryer at the mat up the way on Balboa.

It was a message from one of my professors.

I have already begun reading for the next semester, three of my text books have landed in my mail box, and I wasn’t really thinking anything about the message other than maybe he’d gotten my grade in early.

That was not the message.

No.

Fuck my life.

The message basically said it looks like the final paper you sent in was a draft and not the final copy and it is full of typos and ends abruptly and doesn’t answer the questions that I wanted answered and makes me wonder if you understood the scope of the material in the course.

Holy shit, what?!

I was flummoxed.

First, that I had sent in a draft?

I never do that.

I am scrupulous about doing a spell check and when he said “typos” I was really curious about what it could be.

I was also pressed for time as I was supposed to go meet up before doing the deal in the Castro and I had only so much time, not enough, surely to look up the paper and see what I had sent in and remedy it.

I scrambled my laundry home to my house, I had fifteen arguments in my head with my professor, I got upset with myself, I started thinking about the paper I had written and internally I knew, the prof was right on at least one point, I hadn’t really written a paper that was outlined in the directions.

I had deviated and written something that I wanted to.

My professor had also noted that though it was “fascinating” it didn’t address a lot of the topics that he wanted covered.

And that bit about me not understanding the scope of the material?

Well fuck off.

Did you not read all the freaking discussion posts I put up?

I mean.

Fuck.

I did substantial, 1,000 word plus discussion posts, on a weekly basis, two, three, four times a week.

I understood the scope of the fucking material.

I was mad.

I was also mad at myself.

How could I have sent in a draft?

What was I thinking?

I also had a vague recollection of actually being rather proud of the paper I had sent in, though no, it was not written in the way he wanted, it was well written and I felt that in my own way I had actually answered all the parameters of the paper.

I sent him a message and apologized for the paper, told him I had a standing appointment to meet up with my person and I had to do the deal after and then I’d get right home and get on figuring out what had happened.

I teared up a bit, I imagined I was going to have to do a load of work, my brain went right to the worst thing ever.

I was failing the class and what the fuck was I doing even bothering to try to get a PhD?

I was in over my head.

I was tired.

I didn’t want to re-write the paper, was I going to have to re-write it?

But I loved my paper, I really had liked it and I had spent more than one day on it.

Quite often I will write a paper in one shot and then edit it and send it out.

I did this one in two days, I felt like I should have been getting a pat on the back and a “how clever are you?” comment about my paper, not some insinuation that I didn’t understand the course work.

I was incensed and upset.

I cried big raccoon eyed tears when I made it to the Castro and basically wet down the table at Firewood Cafe with my weeping.

I couldn’t believe I had actually worn not just eyeliner, but also mascara and not the waterproof kind.

I looked a little beat up when I left.

I got down to it though with my person and came to the conclusion that.

1. The professor was right, I hadn’t written the paper the way he had assigned it.

2. I was being arrogant.

3. I didn’t have to get an “A” in the course.

4. All I had to do was pass the course.

5. I was fucking tired and overwhelmed and I didn’t have a whole lot in me.

So after a lot of getting humble and admitting that I may have turned in not the best paper I could, whilst also admitting that I was beating myself up a little too hard, I left the Castro, came home and looked up the paper.

OHMYFUCKINGGOD.

It was like the draft of the draft.

It was awful.

I don’t have a clue how that got past me.

All I could think was that I had updated my computer at one point and maybe that was it.

But it was true, the version I had sent to my professor was a hot mess, typos, misspellings, the last page was missing, the paper ended in a super abrupt way and I had also pasted the directions in the paper so that I could refer to it when I wanted to.

But you don’t send that in to the professor!

Ugh.

I spent some time trying to find the final draft and there wasn’t one saved on my computer.

So.

I made the decision to not re-write the whole thing, I still was holding onto the idea that I wasn’t that in the wrong with the content of the paper and he had said it was fascinating.

I cleaned it up, re-arranged a few pieces, wrote out the last page that had been missing and sent my professor an e-mail apologizing for the draft that had ended up in his e-mail.

I also defended what I wrote, but admitted that yes, he was right and I hadn’t done the paper by the guidelines he’d given.

I said if there was anything else I needed to do for the paper I would happily do it.

I sent it out and crashed out early, I was wiped out emotionally and mentally.

There was nothing in my e-mail when I woke up.

I spent much of the morning thinking that I might be spending my New Years Eve writing a ten page paper on a topic that I had basically shelved eleven days ago.

Then.

OH!

Sweet relief.

I got an e-mail this afternoon saying that he’d gotten the new copy, that he understood that it was a mistake getting the first one, that further, he understood why I had written the paper I had and that I didn’t have to do anything else, and happy new year.

HAPPYFUCKINGNEWYEAR!

Sweet Jesus.

What a freaking relief.

I don’t even care what the grade is that I get.

I am certain I will pass.

The paper was good enough.

And I can now say, with finality that this semester is over.

Which is good since I’m doing reading for the next one at this point.

Not tomorrow though.

Tomorrow is a holiday and I will treat it as such.

Grateful as all get out that I made it through this year.

It was one hell of a ride.

Seriously.

Today I Ate

December 25, 2018

An entire book.

I mean.

I consumed it.

I chopped it up and snorted it down like it was some sort of happy drug.

I haven’t read fiction in so long it was an aphrodisiac.

I still feel a little high.

I did just like I said I would and I slept in this morning.

I woke up at 9:45 a.m.!

Holy Toledo.

I cannot remember the last time I slept that late.  I mean, maybe the ARTumnal Airpusher after party silent dance rave I went to in November, but even the day after coming home from a night of carousing and dancing I was still up by 8:30a.m.

I think.

So this morning was nuts.

I believe it was partially, at least this is my excuse, not that I need one, that it was so clouded over.

Dark and stormy.

Grey and misty and wet.

True San Francisco winter weather, not exactly rain, but mist and wind and rainy and all-pervasive.

San Francisco rain doesn’t really always come straight down, it seems to enwrap you and get everything soaked.

Without directly raining all that much.

So I slept in.

I might have even slept longer were it not for the siren song of my bladder yelling out about the big mug of tea I had before I went to bed last night.

I got up and was leisurely.

Like in a major way.

I think it was 11:30a.m. before I actually sat down for breakfast.

A phone call from my best friend was partially the reason, but mostly, I was just going slow and easy.

I enjoyed my late breakfast and wrote a ton.

A lot.

It was lovely.

And though I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, I did know I was going to need to make a run to the grocery store and maybe see what was playing at the Balboa Theater, which is just up the road from me.

Unfortunately I’d already seen one of the movies and the other I am planning on seeing tomorrow.

But.

La Promenade Cafe was open and so I took my book and settled into a big leather arm-chair by the front window and sank into my story.

I bought this book last summer, a few weeks before I was to start my fall intensive for school.

A day before I got my first text-book in the mail for said intensive.

I only read a few of the stories, it’s a collection of shorts from A.M. Holmes called Days of Awe.

I really like her work, I’ve only read her novels and was happy to find that the shorts were just as compelling and in a way very interwoven, so it felt like I was reading a novel in a way.

I read at the cafe and listened to music and people watched and thought how nice it was to actually be in a cafe in my new neighborhood.

The first time since I’ve moved here since mid-September that I actually did something other than laundry in the neighborhood.

It felt a little like getting settled.

I did another first today too, this one may surprise you, although it shouldn’t considering how busy I keep myself.

I went for a walk around my neighborhood!

Yeah.

I know.

I really haven’t done any walking, unless it was from my car to the house or from the house to my car.

I had gotten back from the cafe, unloaded my groceries, roasted a chicken, made a late lunch, sat on my couch, watched the rain, ate brown butter brussels sprouts and hot roast chicken and listened to Coleman Hawkins.

It was delicious.

The food.

The music.

The rain on the windows.

It felt outside of time, I couldn’t remember what day of the week it was, Sunday, Monday, it all blended together.

My tree looked pretty, I lit candles, it was so cozy.

Then the sun burst out for a few minutes and I thought I should go for a sunset walk.

I quickly bundled up, there was only a few minutes before the sun was going to set, and I walked out the door on 48th and down Balboa towards the sea.

As I got closer, I realized that there was a path that I hadn’t seen before and what do you know, it’s actually a little park!

Sutro Dunes!

I had no idea.

Sweet little wood slat path along the base of the grass and flower covered dunes.

In the twilight it was deeply moving and full of divinity.

It felt really good to just do a little stretch around the neighborhood, to see the Cliff House hanging like an ornament over the ocean, to smell the fresh washed air, to just be.

I am pretty lucky when I think about it.

I live by the ocean.

It is literally a block away from my house.

Although I don’t get down to it as much as I would like, it is always a solace to me and I see it every day when I leave in the morning.

I always say hello.

I am in perpetual awe of its beauty.

And I am not often home at sunset to ponder it.

It was a really lovely little gift to me.

I got back to the house right before the rain began again and settled back on my couch, my first day of really sitting on my couch too!

My first day really using my coffee table like a coffee table.

I drank a second homemade cafe au lait, so decadent to have two in one day at my house, and I read more of the book until I left to go do the deal up at 7th and Irving.

Which was also just marvelous.

Ran into some much-loved fellows and heard exactly what I needed to hear.

Came home, heated up dinner.

And yes.

Yes I did.

I ate the rest of the book.

I read 288 pages today.

It was not a chore.

It was the best feeling.

And guess what?

One of my text books for the next semester did come in the mail today.

I did not read it.

I was tempted.

But I realized, did I want to leave the A.M. Holmes until next summer?

Or was it actually ok to let myself have Christmas Eve without homework?

It was ok.

And it was so lovely.

Exactly the kind of day off that will sustain me for many weeks as I marshal my way forward towards this next milestone of learning and life.

Gratitude this Christmas for all the gifts in my life.

There are so many.

The best, I dare say, may be my relationship with myself and the life I have been given.

Grace.

That’s what it is.

Grace.

I have been blessed.

And may you be as well.

Merry Christmas to all.

And to all.

A.

Very.

Good.

Night.

I MADE IT!

December 22, 2018

Not only did I get through a very hectic week.

I finished all my papers!!!!

I’m fucking done!

I’m gloriously happy.

The relief is serious.

Though for a moment today I got pretty upset when I saw an incoming e-mail from one of my professors asking people to just send the paper to his or the TA’s (teaching assistant) e-mail.

I was like, what?

I turned in that paper on Canvas, which is the online platform the school uses, on Sunday.

Time and date stamped that fucker too.

Sunday, December 16th at 5:16p.m.

I message my professor immediately and asked if he had not received my paper.

And he had not!

I was blown a little off course.

Here I was doing the happy dance of joy for having finished a 10 page paper, a 12 page paper, and a final project with two original poems, an essay, and two recitations of said poems, in the last four days.

Four days people.

I did that all in four freaking days.

Ok.

That’s not necessarily true.

There was some work that was done last week for one of the papers, but the final project and the twelve page paper had been done in the last four days, plus finishing and polishing the other paper.

I was miffed.

Fuck.

I had turned everything in on time and here was the professor who basically created this PhD program saying he’d not gotten my final paper.

Bah fucking humbug.

I sent him a message and let him know where I had submitted it and that I was at work sans computer.

The only freaking time this past month that I haven’t brought my computer and books and notebooks to work.

I went to work, having submitted my final paper yesterday (I was too kaput to post my happy dance blog last night, I barely got myself into bed with a cup of tea and some Peaky Blinders….mmmmm Cillian Murphy, happy to have you tuck me into bed, ahem).

So it was really nice to not drag my book bag and books and notebooks and laptop to work, I didn’t have to.

In fact, I realized later that my load was actually a little too light, forgot my lunch in the fridge.

But.

My.

It was really fine to go into work so unencumbered and not be thinking about what article or book I needed to connect all the dots on my final papers.

I floated into work.

Literally.

I also had the dream commute.

There was no traffic.

None.

And I went into work early, during what would be the worst commute time, but nada.

It was a freaking cake walk.

I got to work in less than twenty minutes.

I sat in my car and listened to French House music and sent off a gratitude list to a friend of mine.

It was such a nice mellow way to start the day.

I also went to my charges private school holiday music show.

It was so, so, so sweet.

It was just such a lovely way to ease into work.

And then later to drive back, have naps, and big snuggles and make homemade chicken soup for the six-year-old with her favorite alphabet pasta and to just have a fairly relaxed night.

Plus.

I had brought the kids their presents for Christmas and I got to watch them open them and all the gifts were met with resounding happiness.

I was quite pleased.

All three of them really liked their presents.

And the family was very sweet with me this year too.

A big bouquet of roses and tulips.

An Amazon gift card for $350.

Hello school books for next semester.

I’ve already spent $149 on one class.

And

I also got a $150 gift certificate to Peal Spa.

OOOOH.

You know I am all about it.

I haven’t been to a spa since, well, let’s say it was sometime in the early part of my second year of my Master’s program.

So, um, a bit.

I’m going to see about going next Saturday.

This Saturday, aside from not having any services available, I’ve got my holiday house-warming party happening.

I am excited.

I’m happy to have a place big enough to host a small gathering.

It’s not huge, so it will be cozy, but I figure not all the people who RSVP’d will actually show up at the same time.  I’ve had eleven people say yes, so I’m assuming half that number will actually show and maybe two of the seven people who said maybe.

I’m going to have a nice little spread.

Homemade chili with cornbread.

Veggies and my secret homemade dip (it’s so good I’ve been bribed for the recipe before).

Cured meat, salami, prosciutto, pancetta.

A variety of cheeses, really good Blue, since I like a nice blue–a triple cream-French Agur being on the top of my list, some gouda, a soft goat cheese, and a pecorino tartuffi that my person dearly loves.

Crackers and olives and pickles and salt and vinegar potato chips.

Tons of bubbly water and stevia sodas since I don’t do any sugar stuff.

Hot mulled cider.

And last, but certainly not least.

Homemade apple and persimmon pie with vanilla ice cream.

I think that will make the folks happy.

I haven’t asked anyone to bring anything and I didn’t say anything in the invite that there would be food, but I figure it’s nice to have a spread and with the exception of the pie and ice cream, cornbread, chips, and crackers, I can eat all of it.

I love some leftover chili, thank you very much.

I sort of doubt that there will be.

Anyway.

So that’s not happening, no spa day for me, but I will make sure I get it in soon, I will have a month break from school.

Not from work though I have the next four days off, aside from seeing a couple of clients int he morning and early after noon, I’ll be free to do whatever I like.

Christmas Eve I’m thinking of going to the MOMA.

And.

Christmas day will be with my person at a matinée, I’m planning on seeing The Favorite, at the Embarcadero Theater with him, then dinner in Chinatown with him and his person and another fellow and maybe another movie after, though I’ll probably bow out as they want to see Mary Poppins.

Please.

Sounds like paying to watch a movie about my job.

Anyway.

Me and three gay boys in Chinatown in San Francisco going to movies and eating Chinese food sounds like just about the perfect Christmas day.

Easy.

Oh!

And it turns out, my professor did find my paper, he just hadn’t looked in the right spot in Canvas (and I thought it was anti-intuitive, nice to have it confirmed by one of the professors having issues with it).

So that’s it.

I’m done.

I made it through my first semester of a PhD program.

Hooray!

 

 


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