Holy hell, where is this year going?

Sooooo I haven’t updated since January.  And I don’t know how that happened.  But you can have bullets!

- I am mired in thesis hell.

Yes.  This is pretty much summing up my life lately.  I’ve done three drafts of my introduction/literature review.  I’m hoping this was my last draft.  I cut it from the original 35 pages, to 23, to 17.  My adviser, Dr. LW, is on her way to Ireland at the end of this week (the lucky duck) and we won’t meet again until the end of the month.  Which is when the edits to the body of my thesis are due.  My actual thesis is due to Dr. LW on April 10th, then any corrections and the COMPLETED thesis are due to my editor, Dr. W, on April 14th.  The anniversary of the day Lincoln was shot.  Let’s all pray that’s not an omen.

- I am sick.

I talked briefly before about having chest pains and shortness of breath.  I thought it was pneumonia or bronchitis, one doctor even thought it was asthma.  Imagine my shock, kiddies, when I went to the hospital on February 25th and discovered that it wasn’t bronchitis, pneumonia, or asthma, but a pulmonary embolism!  Yee haw!

So I’m on Warfarin (Coumadin) and Arixtra (shots in my stomach, what joy is mine) until further notice.  I get blood tests every three days (joy!  Rapture!) and I’m seeing a hematologist next Friday.  I have difficulty sleeping at night, the gym is out of the question, and my lungs hurt.  But the good news is, I’m not dead!   Hopefully we’ll find out the cause of the embolism next week, or shortly thereafter.  Fingers crossed.

- I finished Book 1.  No, seriously this time.

As in, I printed out the complete manuscript yesterday, complete with the cover art and illustrations that Jess drew, and bound it.  I sent it to beta readers last night.  Guys, this is terrifying, and amazing, and exhilarating.  My baby — OUR baby — has finally seen readers, has seen the light of day.  And I am so, so proud of it.  And scared.  Holy crap, this is our baby and now I wait and see what other people think.  I mean, I love it.  And I know not everyone is going to.  But…I want them to!

- I am not going to June Wildfire.

Due to the aforementioned blood problems, I’m paying $40 a week for the great honor of putting those shots in my stomach.  And with ticket sale date for June Wildfire in a little more than two weeks, there is no way I can scrape together the $120 for a ticket right now.  I’ll be going to the one in August, if I have to take money out of my tax refund to buy the ticket.  As one of my friends said, Wildfire is my thing.  And I want to do my thing.  But it’s not practical or affordable right now.  So I will do the adult thing and suck it up.

 

All right, that’s enough for today.  Going to try and write more than once a month!

Makeup survey

Yeah, I’m bored.

Eyes:
What is your favorite mascara?
Buxom Lash Mascara — non-waterproof.
What is you favorite eye primer/base?
Urban Decay Primer Potion
What are your 5 favorite eyeshadows?
Stila “Kitten” is what I wear every day.  I have the Too Faced Romantic Eyes Palette and Stila In the Light.
What color eyeshadow looks best on you?
Neutral shimmer.
What color eyeshadow looks bad on you? 
I’m not sure?  I don’t really do smoky eyes.
Do you define your brows?
Hell no.  I’m Sicilian.  They don’t need definition.
What are your favorite liquid, gel, & pencil eyeliners?
I don’t wear liquid or gel.  My favorite liner is by Cover Girl.
Do you curl your lashes before applying mascara?
I always forget to curl my lashes.
What drugstore eyeshadows do you find the best?
Don’t know, don’t use them.
Do you wear false lashes?
Nope.

Lips:
What is the lip color you wear the most?
Bobbi Brown Shimmer Lip Gloss in Rose Gold.
What lip color do you wear on special occasions?
See above.
What is your favorite lip balm?
Blistex.  I’m allergic to beeswax so I can’t use Chapstick or Burts Bees or anything like that.
What is your favorite lipstick?
L’Oreal Color Riche in Nourishing Nude.
What is your favorite lipgloss?
Bobbi Brown Shimmer Lip Gloss in Rose Gold.
Do you prefer lipgloss to have a flavor or no?
No preference really.
Do you like matte finish or shimmer finish more?
Shimmer.
Do you wear lip liner?
Ain’t nobody got time for that.
What lip colors look best on you?
Nude, pink.

Face:
Do you wear blush/bronzer?
Yes to blush, no to bronzer.  It always makes me look muddy.
Do you wear face primer?
Only on special occasions.
Do you wear highlighter?
Yes
What is your favorite liquid foundation?
Josie Maran Tinted Moisturizer in Fair.
What is your favorite concealer?
Right now I’m using NYX in Porcelain.
Do you wear powder to set your liquid foundation or concealer?
Yes, I use the Sephora Translucent Powder.
Are you warm-toned or cool toned?
Cool
Do you wash your face daily?
Twice daily.
Do you exfoliate when needed?
Rarely.
What is your favorite moisturizer?
Lancome Energie de Vie, only I’ve recently run out and I’m trying to be good and not drop the money on the full size.
Do you prefer shimmer finish or matte finish?
Shimmer.

Ones that aren’t categorized:

What is your favorite part on your makeup routine?
All of it.  I love putting on makeup.
What do you bring in your makeup travel bag?
Eyelid primer, concealer, foundation/bb cream, one eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, finishing powder, blush, highlighter.  And brushes.
Who is your biggest inspiration makeup wise?
Lisa Eldridge.
What are your favorite makeup brushes?
I have a really nice one from Sephora that I like.
What is your your favorite makeup brand overall?
Stila or Bobbi Brown.
What is your one product you can not live without?
Eyeliner.
What is your favorite makeup look?
Natural face, little bit of shimmer eyeshadow, black mascara and eyeliner, and neutral lips.
When did you start using makeup?
I started using eyeliner in college.  I started doing full face makeup when I was 29.
Your everyday makeup routine?
Wash, spot treatment, eye primer, concealer, eyeshadow, foundation, setting powder, eyeliner, blush, highlighter, mascara, and lip gloss.
What is your favorite makeup remover?
I use the Maybelline eye makeup remover.
How often do you wear makeup?
Every day.  The exception is when I’m staying at home to do research and I’m not going anywhere.

I want the world to know I burn for you

OK.  So here we are, almost a month in to 2014, and I feel quite behind.  Not behind where it counts, on my thesis (157 pages and counting) or on my books (finished the rough draft of Book 3, Book 1 is almost finished and ready to go to beta readers, and Book 2 is in its first round of edits), but on self-care, and setting my goals for this year.  Last year, I made a list of 10 goals, and I achieved six of them.  Not too shabby!  In the last month or so I’ve realized that I’m definitely a person who needs something to strive for, something to drive my nature.  2013 was SUCH an amazing year.  As soon as I got over the hump of my divorce and setting massive goals for myself, I went on to hit most of them — and feel really good about myself in the process.  So without further ado:

Goals for 2014:

1. Graduate.  Well, this is a no-brainer.  Right now I’m slated to graduate on May 15, 2014.  I’d say “fingers crossed”, but I don’t believe luck has anything to do with it.

2. Complete my Master’s thesis.  Obviously this goes along with 1.

3. Get a second job.  Ah, this is the toughie.  My hopeful plan is to start shopping my resume even before graduation, in the hopes of getting a summer job.  I’d love to be teaching this summer, and hopefully I’ll score a teaching position by fall.  But even if I don’t, I’ll need to find a second job to pay for my student loans.  Even if I have to work retail, I’ll have to grab something.  I’m fortunate enough to have a really great, secure day job right now that pays enough for me to live on (but probably not enough when the student loans start rolling in, come June).

4. Finish C25K.  I was doing SO WELL with this last year!  I made it all the way to Week 7 before arthritis sidelined me, and between school and the book, I gave up on it.  I restarted C25K this week, this time with a 1.0 incline, so I didn’t feel like I was completely back at square one.  So far, so good.  I’m doing Week 1, Day 3 today.  We’ll see how this goes.

5. Climb Bear Mountain.  I climbed Mt. Washington in September of 2013, and it was an amazing, amazing experience.  And one that I will never repeat.  In hindsight, with my physical issues, it was dangerous and foolhardy and I was in no way prepared for it.  But that doesn’t mean I want to stop climbing in general.  Drea suggested Bear Mountain in CT for this summer, and I think I’ll go for that with her.  Could be fun!  And at 1/3 the height of Washington, it isn’t nearly as dangerous.

6. Work out an adult budget.  *sigh*  I am so bad at this.  I’m great at paying my bills, I’m great at putting money away, I’m not so great at avoiding skidding into payday with minimal money in my checking account.  This needs to stop.  ESPECIALLY with the possibility that I very well may be living on my own come May, with student loans rolling in.

7. Stop having kittens over it and send the book out to more beta readers. Drea read Book 1 and she loved it.  She keeps asking for more.  I need to get over my ridiculous fear and send it to other people.

8. Get over my fears and ship the book to a publisher.  Damn right.

9. Work on my fire spinning, get more prolific with staff and flow wand.

10. Lose at least 10 lbs.  I’m on MyFitnessPal and I’m back to three times a week at the gym.  Hopefully this sticks this year.

I think that’s quite enough to be going on now.  Obviously I’m allowed to add goals as I go.

 

Not how I wanted to start off the year…

I’m manic today.

Two of my books are missing for my thesis.  Two.  I ordered them from Barnes and Noble a week and a half ago, and as of last night, I hadn’t seen them.  They were delivered by #$(#&$*(@&$ UPS to the BACK door of my apartment building, which is someone else’s private residence.  Usually, when this happens, they put the packages on the back steps leading up to my apartment.  Not so much this time.  I fucking hate UPS, I really do.  And they didn’t even really respond to my complaint, just said that I had to be a registered UPS user to file a complaint.  Fuck you very much.  I’m hoping that one of the boys who live downstairs is home this afternoon and that they have my package.  If they don’t, I’m well and truly screwed for my deadline for next week.

I have double- and triple-booked myself for this week, which is also bad.  I don’t want to spend every waking minute doing thesis but that might just be exactly what I end up doing.  I’m on my fourth cup of coffee today, that should carry me at least until 1 AM.  Lunch was nonexistent — the soup that I had in my car apparently froze and then thawed into sludge and was inedible.  So I’ve had toast and coffee all day, whee.

I have to spend tomorrow afternoon at Verizon (my phone contract with David is up as of today and I need to go on my own plan) and Wednesday afternoon at the DMV (have to register my car in my own name).  What joy is mine.  Yes, I would love to spend something like $1000 this week.  I don’t even HAVE that money in my account, I’m going to have to chip into savings, which really upsets me because I have more in savings than I’ve ever had and I HATE chipping into savings, but at the same time, I knew I would have to do that when I got the car signed over to me ANYWAY, so it’s not the end of the world.  Hoping that I can get a decent phone with my free upgrade through Verizon and that I don’t have to pay for anything really up front.

I do have SOME good news.  After a fruitless six weeks of trying to have my lung issues diagnosed, I finally went to Urgent Care in Newington and they took care of it.  All of my tests (EKG, chest x-ray) came back negative, and I apparently have the heart of an 18 year old (which is awesome), but my cough is horrible, really raspy and hacking, and I’m having trouble breathing.  So the doctor is treating me for pneumonia, bronchitis, and asthma.  I’m on prednisone, a z-pack, and an inhaler.  And I’m happy to say that this battery of meds is working.  I made it through the night on Saturday without choking or gasping for air, and my lungs don’t feel quite so heavy.  So SOMETHING is working.  And that’s great.

I am nine days away from the deadline for my lit review and my perfectionism has resulted in procrastination which has resulted in panic attacks.  The three p’s of being a Virgo.  Amazing.

Work is insanity.  My boss’s email got hacked, and we’ve been inundated with phone calls all day about it.  One of my coworkers is even more manic than I am, and I just got sniped at by a woman who misunderstood me on the phone.

Is it Friday yet?

Peace and love to everyone

Merry Christmas Eve.

It is so hard for me to believe that the holiday is already here — or will be, in just a few hours.  When I was a child, I wished so fervently for time to speed up, for Christmas to get here.  I remember my father laughing at me and saying, “When you get older, you’ll wish time would slow down.”  He was right.  He was so right.  Because now I find myself here, on Christmas Eve, wondering…where did this month go?  Where did this year go?

It began in darkness, a darkness that lasted from Christmas Day last year (which I won’t recount because God did that suck), through to July.  And then everything became bright and beautiful again, as I rediscovered who I was…and began a whole new chapter of my life.

Yule was fun.  We had some issues but it ended up coming out all right in the end.

Now it’s Christmas Eve.  And the day is going to be jam-packed with excitement and family and church and festivities.

I had planned for a few weeks to maybe print out a hard copy of Book 1 for Jess.  She’s expecting it at some point, but I don’t think she expected it by Christmas.  A few months ago, when I asked her what she wanted as a gift, she joked “A finished book.”  Never let it be said that I do not try to get everyone what he or she wants for Christmas.  Now.  It’s not a complete copy by any stretch of the imagination.  Jess wanted a hard copy because it’s her turn to edit, and she is finding it too hard, with her ADD, to do it on the computer screen like I do.  So I thought…print it out, give it to her for Christmas (she got other stuff too on Yule).

I printed it this morning, all 188 single-spaced pages of it.  When it was done, I held it on my lap, just for a minute.

The book.  My book.  I wrote it.  There it was.  A finished book.

Sure it needs edits, but…that’s a book.  A book I wrote.

I realized as I held it in my hands that this Christmas?  Is perfect.  Because I unwittingly gave myself the best Christmas present in the world.

 

Merry Christmas to you and yours, and I wish you nothing but light and love :)

Reflections on this winter

I am not at home.  I am at a friend’s house, having escaped the storm and coming straight here from work, rather than wait for aforementioned friend to get out of work before coming here.  Nope.  I may be a New England girl, but I do not chance the snowstorm.  Said friend was justly rewarded for my intrusion by a straightened bedroom (I was bored, Yule is Saturday and there are only so many days and so much time left) and a cup of hot white chocolate peppermint tea (still obsessed) upon her arrival.  Life is good.  Very shortly, we will bake — bread (me) and cookies (her).  I just love the week leading up to Yule.

Yule, for those of you playing the home game and who may not have been here last year, is a very special holiday that my friend Jess has thrown every year since 2006.  Well, to be fair, 2006 was a hastily thrown-together joint year.  The five of us who attended were all horribly poor, our fare was a pork roast that my mother had charitably given me, and we gave each other the smallest, barest Yule gifts because that was what we could afford.  We made up lyrics to Christmas carols and decorated a Charlie Brown-esque “Yule tree.”  It was wonderful, and I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything.

In the eight years since then, Yule has become bigger and better, as we’ve become older and wiser.  Since Yule ’08, the Yule party has always been held at Jess’s house, and she acts as hostess.  I pitch in with the cooking (which we maintain is the best part of Yule), but it’s Jess’s show.

The point of Yule is a non-denominational celebration of friendship, the holidays, and the return of the light.  I am Catholic, and Jess is pagan, and our friends come from all walks of life in between.  Yule does not align itself with anything other than the winter solstice.  We do not have rituals, and religion is not forced on anyone.  We celebrate each other, our friendships, our triumphs and struggles, our love for each other, and the return of brighter days.  We eat food, play games (mostly horrible ones like Cards Against Humanity) and exchange presents.  Dinner is always as sumptuous an affair as we can make it without breaking the bank.  2010 was the infamous “Turducken Yule” — and yes, Jess did make a turducken.  It was masterful.  This year is going to be beef Wellington (Jess) and roast chicken, for those who don’t like beef (I am providing the chicken, but she will be seasoning it).

Yule is wonderful, it is exciting, it is exhausting — it is my favorite time of the holiday season.

Last year’s Yule:

Clockwise from R: Sam, Jess, Tina, Drea, Christina, Joe, and me.

Four more days.  I can’t wait.

Nope Nope Nope

Well, that was a kick in the teeth.

My adviser was stunned, and pleased, when I dropped the final 62 pages on her desk yesterday. Work clocks in at 122 pages (two more than necessary, how about that?) and I was kind of…thrown? I mean…don’t give me an assignment that you don’t expect me to finish. I am a force to be reckoned with.

What stunned me, and upset me, was when she told me that, even though I am AHEAD of schedule, that wonderful six week Christmas break she promised? Not going to happen. Because in order to STAY on schedule, I need to have the 10-20 page literature review finished by January 15th.

Which is BEFORE Christmas break ends.

That six week Christmas break? Is going to be about one week.

enter image description here

I’m all right. I’m disappointed, but really. In the great scheme of life, is this really that bad? No. I’m dog-tired and I’m frustrated as all hell, but…it is what it is.

I thought about starting today, but even looking up sources made me want to flip my desk, sooooo figured that was a bad idea. I’ll start on Saturday. The good news is, I already have part of it done because I needed to write a lit review for my prospectus, so that’s a good thing.

The OTHER good news: I no longer have to pay tuition. To stay as a continuing student, working on my thesis, I have to pay a $40 “matriculation fee” (translation: please give us more money and we’ll continue to provide you access to the computer lab and parking lots. Dickbags) per semester until I am done. Which will be one semester. It will be. I refuse to believe that I will be doing this a year from now.

Class of Spring ’14 or bust.

 

In happier news, once I got over my frustration and rage yesterday, I had a lovely evening Christmas shopping with Ryan and Jess.  We went to Blueback Square in West Hartford, ate at Cheesecake Factory (and yes, I have a whole lunch in the fridge at work because damn those portions are ridiculous), went shopping (I got two presents yesterday, one for Drea and one for Christina, and I am done shopping for both of them now), went to Meriden Square to get cheap wrapping paper, and then to Hubbard Park to look at the Christmas lights.  It was a fun evening, which was just what I needed after the disappointment yesterday.

Today: more Christmas shopping (I have switched from debit to credit card, not necessarily thrilled with that but running out of options) and tomorrow is just going to be a nice, easy wrapping and tea evening.  This weekend we’re supposed to get a blizzard, so I’m planning on bunking down wherever and getting some knitting done.  I have only one real Christmas knitting project left, so there’s that.

Sure, it’s not going to exactly be the relaxing Christmas break that I thought it would be, but…it’s STILL a Christmas break, and it’s not the worst thing that’s happened to me this year BY FAR.  So there’s really not much to complain about.

So this is Christmas

As of 4:30 PM (approximately) today, I will be on Christmas break for six weeks.  Six lovely weeks.  And they are already jam-packed with excitement and plans and I just know it’s going to fly by as if it never was.  But I don’t care, because it will be delicious, every minute of it.

The funny thing is, I love Christmas, but I can’t remember a time when I was less in the Christmas mood than this year.  And it has nothing to do with my mood; I’m happier than I’ve been in years.  I just have my brain going in every single direction lately, and it is impossible for me to pin it down and turn it into a Christmas mindset.   I can pretty much chalk that up to two things:

Time: I haven’t had any.  I’ve been so incredibly focused on thesis and just GETTING IT DONE, I haven’t even thought about Christmas or the fact that it is now two weeks away (*shudder*).  I haven’t baked, I haven’t even played Christmas carols in the car, I’ve seen two Christmas movies (“The Holiday” — which was okay — and “Home Alone”, which I love), and my Christmas shopping?  Well, I made a list today.  That’s progress, I suppose.

The book.  Or books, really, as there will be five eventually.  Two are finished.  Well, finished in the rough draft sense.  Book One has had two thorough edits done by me, and is waiting for Jess to get through it with her own editing.  Book Two is on the shelf for now until I finish Book Three, which is in progress.  Book One was written from August – October, Book Two was written (in part) for NaNoWriMo, though I had some chapters done already when I started (that I didn’t count towards my word count, lest any of you think I cheated at NaNoWriMo — I will assure you, I won on my own merits).  I am so thoroughly wrapped up in this series, it has become a massive part of my day-to-day life, and I’d much rather listen to the “book soundtrack” on my iPod than Christmas music (do other people have this?  I’ve heard it’s a thing, but I definitely do it — pick out “perfect” songs and put them on one playlist).

But I am seriously behind on Christmas and that ends today.  After the thesis meeting I am doing some serious Christmas shopping.  And I am doing more tomorrow.  And Christmas crafting is also happening.  Every year I tell myself that I am not doing Christmas knitting, I am not, and somehow, it always ends up happening.  I have two projects, both about three-quarters done, that need to be finished by next weekend.  Piece of cake, really.  And then a couple of other projects that need doing.

For those of you playing the home game, my lungs are still shit — I woke up gasping in the middle of the night last night, which is new and different — and all tests have come back normal.  Sweet.  Of course, I’m happy that there’s apparently nothing horribly wrong with me, but at the same time, it is frustrating when people say you are “Fine” and you feel anything BUT fine.  I’m on a new anti-inflammatory so I am hoping that does the trick.

I’ll leave you with a picture of the first Christmas tree I’ve had since 2011, and my little Fontanini creche from the early ’90′s.  I’m missing a couple of ornaments, which bums me out, and I need to search the house a little better, I guess.

IT IS FINISHED (for now)

IT. IS. DONE.

120 pages in eight weeks. I never thought I’d see the end of it, but there it is. At approximately 8 PM last night, I typed the last words of Chapter IV of my thesis. It was done with a little less than 48 hours until deadline.

I am exhausted, but I am thrilled.

katy perry dancing

footloose

brad pitt

Let the six week celebration commence. I did it.

Start of the Holiday Season

I keep pinching myself every time I realize that it’s actually December.  I don’t know where this year went, I really don’t.  Looking back, I realize that I was intensely, insanely busy for most of it, so it’s not all that surprising that the last eleven months just flew.  But it’s hard to believe that in just four weeks, it’s going to be January and 2014.  Considering how crazy jam-packed this month is, I just know it’s going to fly.

It’s strange; this is technically my first year divorced, but it is my second round of holidays without David, since we stopped doing the family holiday thing last November.  David worked on Thanksgiving, and we were already living apart.  The last family events we went to together were David’s family Christmas party and his nana’s 80th birthday.  But we missed everything else, so fortunately I got all of that out of the way last year.  I was anticipating perhaps feeling some sadness on Thanksgiving — and let me tell you, there was no shortage of people saying “now, don’t go letting yourself get upset now” beforehand — but there was nothing.  Honestly, on Thanksgiving morning, I hugged my mom at one point and told her I was “so damn happy”.  I think she was a little surprised, but I know she liked hearing it.  Because it’s true.  I am happy.  I reshuffled my dreams and I’m working it out, and making the best of the hand I’ve drawn.  I think I’m doing more than okay.

The only real blights to my happiness right now are both things that I really can’t change.  The first being — I am fed the fuck up to HERE with my thesis, and with less than 30 pages to go, I’m just exhausted.  Really, done.  I know I have to do it, I have until December 20th but my own personal deadline is December 18th, and I’m just…done, guys.  I’m done.  I’m tired.  Finito.  I’m going to get ingloriously drunk the night that I finish the damn thing.  That’s a promise.  I have a bottle of riesling in my fridge and I’m not afraid to crack into it.

The second would be my stupid lungs.  Which still haven’t improved, despite a battery of steroids.  Jess keeps nagging me to call the doctor and I think I’m going to have to.  I’m still having trouble breathing, get winded ridiculously easily, and get chest pains most evenings.  Bullshit.

Right now I’m trying to balance thesis, work, social life, and Christmas shopping, all while trying to spend some time with myself.  I got some beautiful Dream in Classy yarn for FREE yesterday at WEBS — my dear high school friend Rob gave me a $30 GC for my birthday, and the yarn was $30, so score!.  And I’m planning on making myself a pair of fingerless mitts with it.  Just something small for me.   I’m foregoing most of the Christmas knitting this year.  I’m making a single hat for someone, but everyone else is getting other stuff.  Every year I kill myself with the Christmas knitting, but with school I just do not have the time to dedicate to it.  It’s all right, I’m going to be fine with other stuff.

The yarn, for those of you who like yarn pron, is Dream in Color Classy with Cashmere and is incredibly soft (merino/cashmere/nylon) and I love it.  This is the color: Chocolate Night.  LOVE.

I’m getting there.  Just two more weeks until the end of the semester.  This, I can handle.