There you go again

My moods are like a pendulum lately, or a metronome.  Back and forth, back and forth, ever-changing.  Today (thus far) is a good day.  I am done with classes for the week, I have nothing on tap for this afternoon except for cleaning house a bit (including changing the litterbox, blech) and having girlfriends over for knitting.  And pizza.

Some pictures my BFF Kim and I took of us at the park with her husband and three little munchkins (Mary 5, Anna 3, and Lily 1) last Friday after Thanksgiving:

I don’t want to put up the pictures of Kim’s kids because, well, they are her kids and she should have the right to decide who sees their pictures.  But I have to share this one.  Her husband Tim was hiding in a tire (there was a hole in the bottom that dropped him to the lower half of the playscape), and he kept popping up to smile at Baby Lily, who is really already over a year old (!) and couldn’t get enough of Daddy being silly.

It was a good day.

Had a really good session with my therapist, Crazy Bruce, yesterday, that really helped me hammer out how I’m feeling.  One of the things that Bruce does (metaphorically of course) is take the scrambled, convoluted jumble of thoughts and emotions in my head, and sets them out, nice and orderly, like cards so I can read them.  I definitely didn’t feel 100% happy when I left, but I felt…calmer, more ready to handle what’s being thrown at me.  Thanksgiving was difficult, I’m worried about Christmas being worse…but I think I’m going to be all right.


When Being Strong Is the Only Choice

I didn’t expect to feel as raw as I did after this holiday.  I didn’t expect to fall apart.  I didn’t expect so many people around me to fall apart.  I didn’t expect my views of people to change.

I miss my happy little life.  The least productive thing I could do is daydream about waking up, and having it be Christmas 2010, and none of this has happened, and oh, somehow I’ll be able to prevent it from happening.  At the very least, I have time to prevent it.  I would think of some way.

My husband is a shadow of his former self.
My MIL tried not to cry on the phone over Thanksgiving.
My mom and dad are on the outs.

I’m just…lost.  It’s so hard.  And I miss the joy, the love, the happiness that I used to have.  I miss it.

But I don’t have the luxury of falling down and crying and waiting for someone else to pick up my pieces.  That’s life.

I just keep hoping and praying and trying to trust that there will be an end and a peace and the right decision made.

Bing Bang Bong (Another Post About Grad School)

Two pieces of awesomeness happened within the last 24 hours and I’m sharing them here.

1) I got an A- on my paper draft for 501.  For those of you playing the home game, 501 is the only “required” course in the CCSU history grad program (besides thesis/capstone, of course), and to pass and be considered a matriculated student you must pass it with better than a “B”.  An A- on the draft means that, as of right now, if I hand in this paper as-is, I already have this course in the bag.  IN THE BAG.  I was ready to dance in the streets last night, sing it from the mountaintop.  I am going to nail this course!  YES!

Of course, I am not going to hand it in as-is.  I want it to be an A, not an A-.  Going for a 4.0 GPA this semester!  OMG, can you imagine?  My goal was always to boost my GPA up that final .14 that it needs to be in order to take thesis in the fall, which would require a GPA of 3.75, but why not go for the perfect 4.0?  I will try not to be too disappointed if I don’t achieve it, but at the same time…I think it might actually be possible!

2) I received notification today that my independent study has been approved by the Graduate Studies Office and is on my registration!  This is the first official step towards my thesis.  Even though I knew that it was approved by my adviser and the Head of the History Department…it’s amazing to see it in print.  It’s finally happening.  Writing my thesis and graduation…it’s not just a “someday” goal.  It has a discernible end time.  It’s going to happen!

Sorry.  I’m a little over-exuberant.  But considering that I first embarked on this goal to get my M.A. in 2007 and here it is five years later…can you blame me?  For so long I wondered if it was even really going to happen…and now I know that it is!

It’s been a very long, uphill road…and I’m not there yet.  But I’m getting there.  And that’s what’s important.

My New (Little) Digs

So!  Who wants to see pictures of my new place?  You know you do.

Little bitta backstory — my parents lived in this apartment when my sister Christina and I were born in the 80’s.  The apartment is in the backyard of my parents’ house, and at the time the house was owned by an old lady in her 90’s named Mrs. Craig, who let my parents live for a greatly reduced rent (might have even been no rent) if they would agree to check in on her and be her emergency contacts.  My dad lived here from 1978 or 9 until 1986 when he bought his first house — my mom lived with him from 1980 on.  I can’t believe that they fit themselves, two kids, and two cats in here.  It’s perfect for one person, though.  And it’s a little comforting to know that this was my first home.

This is the main room, facing in from the door.  The big armchair is from my parents — they had no more use for it.  The little table and chairs to the right was my Aunt Nancy’s that she left behind, they are perfectly sized for this room.  Unfortunately the big woodstove on the left is just for show, it’s nonfunctional, so I figure I’ll put my little nativity on there for Christmas.  The couch is UGLY AS SIN but it’s covered in the quilt my mom made me as a gift when I graduated from college.

Facing the door from the couch.  My (thus far) useless TV, empty bins and a cat carrier that I have to return to Jess.  My dad’s antique desk (which is going to be my craft corner as soon as I get my sewing machine and my yarn stash from David’s apartment).  The built-in bookshelf holds my DVDs and videos on the top two shelves, and that pile on the third shelf is my research notes — ALL OF THEM.  The bottom shelf is going to be my collection of Alison Weir histories — a point of pride (I own most of them).  I need to get curtains for those two windows.

This one came out a little dark, but this is the big window.  Not-so-fun-fact: my dad got hit by lightning standing in front of this window during a storm when my parents were first married.  The basket on the little bookshelf there is Tempest’s favorite spot.  I’m so glad I remembered that basket, she’s found it very comforting during the move.

I wasn’t kidding when I said that the kitchen is TINY!  It’s okay for one though.  I haven’t tried cooking a really intense meal here yet but I will.  There’s a deceptively large amount of storage, I haven’t nearly filled up all of those cabinets.  The only unfortunate thing is that there’s no silverware drawer — I keep my silverware in a tray on top of the fridge.

Looking in to the bedroom.  That huge and rather ugly wardrobe is actually a godsend, since the bathroom is tiny and has no storage or electrical outlet, so I can’t do my hair or makeup in there.  The closet is to the left (obstructed by the door).

Tiny bathroom!  Behind the corner there is a tiny little cabinet that holds all of my medications, aspirin, body lotion, etc.  It’s a full tub, but the water heater isn’t large enough to have a full bath, so I just take showers.  It’s very light and airy.  You should have seen it before my grandparents renovated it about 10 years ago.  All wood like the rest of the place, and ugly as sin to boot!

The one thing I forgot to put in was a picture of the outside of the house.  But I can take that easily another time.  It looks so cute from the outside 🙂

So that’s it!  My teeny little house on the edge of the woods, just small enough for me and my kitties.  It’s small, but cozy, and it’s keeping me content and happy and feeling snuggly and loved.  It’s a good little place.

Next steps

Ever since I turned 29 and made the concrete decision to turn my life around, I’ve been trying my damndest to check off each step as I slowly attain them.

1. Maintain A’s in graduate school — check (so far)
2. Separate (however willingly — it WAS the right decision) — check
3. Achieve (and maintain) a positive outlook — check (so far)
4. Learn how to apply “grown-up” makeup — check

Now I think it’s time to face the music for 5. Lose the weight that formed as a result of two years of eating my feelings.

Like many women in my family, I am an emotional eater.  I have tried to control it.  Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail.  I made a conscious effort to only buy healthy food when I was grocery shopping the Friday before I moved in…only to buy a box of Ring Dings on Sunday night.  In my defense, I have only eaten two packages since then, and no more than one in a day.

I am right now about 30 – 35 lbs. overweight.  It’s not terrible, and because I am 5’9″ the additional pounds don’t hang on me the way that they would on a shorter person.  But I’m not happy with the way I look.  My breasts, belly, and thighs are way too big.  I am a size 14, and I don’t want to be anymore.  I look at my frame — my rounded shoulders, my wide hips — and I know that, even if I starve myself, I will never be a size 2 or considered “willowy” or “waif-like”.  But I would like to lose that extra 30 lbs. and fit into a size 12 again.  I don’t have a timeline for this; I’m not going to set myself goals that are unreasonable and right now I’m not going to give myself a hard time.  I just want to lose the weight.  And stop eating my emotions.  End of story.

So I joined Fitocracy today (all the cool kids — my friends — were doing it) and the plan is to start tomorrow after I get out of work.  It sucks living further away from the gym than I did when David and I weren’t separated, but oh well.  I mean…it is what it is.  The gym is still only about a five-minute drive from my office.  And I need to come up with a fixed schedule.  Tuesdays and Wednesdays are, until the end of the semester, right out, because I bounce from work to class immediately during the day and I’m not free until it’s quite late.  But I can do Mondays and Thursdays, and possibly Saturdays.  If I can do even two days a week I’ll be happy.  David’s going to set up my Wii at my apartment as well, and I can at least do that during the day.  It’s certainly not going to make the pounds just melt off or anything, but at least it’s there, and it can’t hurt.

I feel like this is a journey I have started again and again and again.  I just really need to stick with it this time.  I need to lose the weight.  For me.  Not for anyone else.

History Tattoo Inspiration — WDYT?

I’m obsessed with Tudor history.  Not in the “OMG I LOVE PHILIPPA GREGORY” kind of way.  I mean that I read nonfiction about them, I pretty much died of joy when I went to London (and the trip to France my sister and I contemplated for my 30th birthday next year is pretty much scotched in favor of going to London again), I got to teach a class on Tudor England last week and it was one of the high points in my life…you get the picture.

In any case, I’ve debated getting a tattoo for a while, but I wanted one with historical significance, and one with significance to me.  I have an idea, and I’m trying to feel it out.

…This is not the tattoo idea.

Anne of Cleves was the fourth wife of Henry VIII (he of the six wives).  They were married in January of 1540 and were annulled (not divorced) six months later, in June.  Henry was reportedly displeased with Anne’s physical appearance and moved to dissolve the marriage on the grounds of non-consumation.    Anne, seeing before her eyes the examples of what happened to Henry’s former queens when they defied his wishes — the first, Katherine of Aragon, was banished to die alone in misery, and the second, Anne Boleyn, was beheaded — quickly capitulated, and agreed to the dissolution of the marriage.  Henry, pleased with her agreeable nature, gave her a generous pension and three lovely properties, so long as she remained in England, and gave her the rank of first lady of the court behind any subsequent Queens, as well as the title of “King’s Beloved Sister” (Henry was just a tad odd).

Rather than return to Cleves (an insignificant German duchy) under the thumb of her severe brother, the Duke, Anne chose to remain in wealthy splendor in England.  A return to Cleves would consign Anne to a place in the European “marriage market” as an acceptable bride, to be married off to an eligible suitor according to her brother’s will and not her own.  Anne chose to control her own fate, which she could only do if she remained in England.  Free to choose her own husband, Anne remained single to the end of her days.  She spent her time at one of her three residences, learned to dance and play cards, kept an impressive retinue of cooks (her table was renowned in England at the time) and kept good relations with the King, his subsequent wives, and his three children, especially Princess Elizabeth, whom she regarded as a sort of adopted daughter.  She attended court for holidays and coronations, and was always very much admired.  Alison Weir, the British historian, says that she was “certainly the luckiest” of Henry VIII’s wives, and perhaps the wisest.

What does this have to do with a tattoo?

I admit that I always felt a little sad for Anne of Cleves when I read about her.  Poor thing, unwanted by her husband, controlled by her family, her only outlet to live by herself, unmarried and alone.  But I will admit, for all it’s inaccuracies, I loved The Tudors’ depiction of Anne.  Not so much in Season 3, when she’s frightened and alone and worried she’s going to be decapitated.  But Joss Stone as Anne in Season 4!  Magnificent.  She’s happy.  She loves her life, she loves how far she’s come and what she has.  She’s beautiful and confident and radiant…and happy in herself.

“I never used to drink wine, or play music. Now, I do all these things. And I like to do it. I am free, and I like to do it.”

She is…fabulous.  And it’s not about “I DON’T NEED A MAN, I’M BETTER OFF, WOMAN POWERRRRRR!”  It’s about being happy with yourself.  Loving yourself for who you are, not for what someone else makes you.  And that’s something to embrace, both single and married.

And I thought about it, and I thought maybe I would just get…a tiny Roman numeral four.  No idea where, probably on my foot, just the side, a tiny four.  For fourth wife, for Anne of Cleves, for all she stands for.  Loving life, being happy with what you have, embracing yourself.

Like this. Only smaller. And not on my torso. I’m too fat for that.

Opinions?  Am I crazy?  Would this just be weird?  Sometimes it’s difficult for me to tell.  I am a crazy history freak.

If you just believe

It was as rough a weekend as I thought it would be — the toughest part was moving my kitties, one of which cried the entire time — but it’s over now, and I felt this morning that I am okay, truly okay.  And I will be.

We first attempted separation back in July, which was horrific, especially for me.  I felt shell-shocked every minute of the day, I cried constantly.  The hardest part of the adjustment was that I could not bring most of my furniture, or my books, and worst of all, no cats.  It was too hot, I cried all the time, I wanted to go home, my heart was sick.  The house (my recently deceased grandfather’s) was old, musty, unclean, and out in the boondocks, at the end of a dirt road that my BIL aptly described as “a place where horror films happen.”  Did I mention that I cried all the time?  I lasted a week.  A week.  I fell apart and ended up moving home.  Plus my aunt decided to buy the house and so they needed me to vacate so it could be prepped and cleaned for sale.  In any case, I didn’t last long, and my husband and I renewed our ambitions to “fix” what was broken.  It didn’t work.  And I’ve always wondered what would have happened had I stuck to my guns and tried my damndest to make the separation work, be tougher, handle it better.

I feel like I’m getting a second chance to do that.

Living in “my new place” is interesting.  Last night was a little difficult, mainly because Tabitha was crying all over the place and I missed Ollie (David’s cat) intensely).  But I tried to adhere as close as possible to my original routine, and I slept through the night and felt really brisk and chipper this morning, despite the cold (holy crap 32 degree mornings in November?  Unreal).  And I don’t feel the same way today that I did the first morning of our separation back in July.  I feel normal, not shell-shocked.  I feel confident, not miserable.  Whatever comes of this, it will be the right decision.  I will be okay.  We will be okay.

This week has a lot going for it.  Lots of family, lots of friends, lots of happy busy-ness.  I’m looking forward to every minute of it.

Friday Bullets

It’s a Friday, and I don’t really have enough going on to do a really sequential, in-depth entry, but I have the itch to write, so you get bullets.

  • Twenty-four hours from now, I will be the somewhat-proud, completely-nervous renter of my first solo apartment since that month I lived alone when I was 24 years old.  I went over there last night and began preliminary organization/assessment of space and what I need.  I also went to Target and bought a whole bunch of boring necessary things (like wastebaskets and a dish drying mat.  No matter what my mother says, I do not need a $17 toilet paper roll holder.  Ridiculous.  Those things can sit in the tiny cabinet in the bathroom.  Or on the back of the toilet for all I care.  (Yet I can totally justify a $12 cosmetics organizer.  Priorities, people!)
  • The douchebag who moved in above us has finally cured my last little bit of sadness over leaving my apartment (other than, you know, missing my husband and his cat), when he decided to obnoxiously let his alarm clock go off six times this morning between the hours of 4:20 AM and 6:30 AM.  I hate him.  Sincerely.  His roommate works with David, and I hear he is a really nice guy, but this douchebag sloth can DIAF.  I didn’t say anything because I’m leaving tomorrow and there doesn’t seem a point in making enemies when you have 24 hours to spend with these people.
  • I’m moving out tomorrow, but spending my first night there on Sunday, since I’m going to an “old people sleepover” on Saturday night.  Do I think this is a good plan?  Um, yes.  We’re going to eat comfort food and watch Netflix and knit and stay up late.  I am immensely looking forward to it.  I think it’s pretty much exactly what I need this weekend.  And I must make my mac and cheese to bring up to it.  This is critical.
  • I’m really glad that the move coincides with the busiest, most fun weeks of November.  Monday is the only day that I have nothing planned besides work and I really think I will be okay.  Tuesday I have my paper conference and tea with my good friend Jim.  Wednesday is the annual day my mom, sister and I kick off the holiday season by playing Christmas music while baking our Thanksgiving pies.  Thursday is, of course, Thanksgiving.  Friday is recuperating (I don’t “do” Black Friday) and Saturday is Drea and Sam’s annual “Friendsgiving” or “Thanksgiving the Second” or whatever they call it.  So it will be a nice, busy, occupied week, and hopefully I won’t be too weepy or miss my therapist, Crazy Bruce, too much.
  • Due to the aforementioned douchebaggery this morning, I woke up extremely overtired, with puffy eyes.  Because I am a sucker for samples, I decided to use the tiny packet of Clinique Even Better Eyes Dark Circle Corrector this morning.  HOLY SHIT does that stuff work!  My eyes looked bright and alert and de-puffed afterward.  Sold.  Except for the part where I looked up how much it cost online for the real thing.  $39.50.  THIS IS WHY YOU ARE SNEAKY, SEPHORA.  You get in with your samples and make people fall in love with your stuff.  I can’t justify $39.50 right now.  Period.
  • I have to go through Ravelry and pick out presents for my friends for Christmas.  Yes, I knit them stuff.  They appreciate it, being knitters themselves.  I have a lot to organize!

That’s pretty much it.  I wish I had a more scintillating, cohesive journal entry for today, but that’s kind of where I’m at right now.  I’ll probably have more  later this weekend when stuff is moved in and I’m done sorting it all out.

Peace and all that.

In Which Planning Ahead Paid Off in Spades, and I Fulfill a Lifelong Dream

Two weeks ago, I legit thought I was completely insane for booking myself to hand in two early drafts, one for each class.  It kept me chained to my computer, to Zotero and to my research for two straight weeks.  It was agony.  It was excruciating.  Plus I had to follow that up with a presentation for one class (which was last night; more on that later), so that included constructing a PowerPoint presentation.

But now those two weeks are over, and guys…I have nothing to do for class.  Seriously.  I don’t have class next week.  I have a half-hour meeting with one teacher to go over my draft, but I seriously don’t have anything due until December.  December.  It’s amazing.

A lot of people want to put off getting their stuff in until the last minute, so they have more time research, write, polish (procrastinate).  I used to be one of them (especially on the procrastination point).  But not anymore!  Seriously, knowing that I can go through Thanksgiving week and ENJOY myself, and not have to freak out about writing or tweaking or researching…it’s great.


As for my presentation.  Guys.  Lifelong dream realized last night.

I got to teach a lecture on Tudor England.

And it seriously was everything I dreamed it would be.  I was into it, I knew what I was talking about, I was talking about what I LOVE.  It was epic.

Except for the part where I stumbled over some Latin.

But then again, nobody’s perfect.

News of the week

I managed to finish my 25-page draft yesterday on my day off.  Thanks, boss, for giving me that.

My mother told me on Sunday morning that I can move whenever I want.  I have class tonight and tomorrow, so I’ll start moving things over on Thursday, furniture on Saturday, and cats on Sunday.  My first full night sleeping in the apartment will be Sunday night.

I’m having difficulty teasing out how I feel about all of this.  While I know that it’s necessary and that nothing in my life is going to change as long as we’re still living together, I’m sad, and I’m scared.  My main fear is that I’m going to crack and break the way I did back in July when we first attempted separation (I’ll spare you the sordid details, but I made it two nights before I came home).  My therapist (affectionately referred to as “Crazy Bruce”) says he has confidence that this won’t happen this time.  I wish I had the same confidence in myself.

I’m just tired of being in pain all the time.  I’m tired of hurting, because of all of this.  I’ve been in pain and dealing with this for over a year now…and while that was my decision to try and stick this marriage out and make it work, it’s taken a larger toll on me than I ever considered possible.

I’m also going through a friend breakup right now that isn’t helping.  Granted, when it happens it’s going to be my decision, but at the same time I’ve been pushed to the breaking point by someone who has been incredibly callous and insensitive during these entire proceedings, while demanding that I must be there and happy for her 24 hours a day.  She’s rude to my sister, rude to my friends, and rude to me behind my back, and I just can’t tolerate someone in my life who is that immature when it comes to how they handle their relationships with people.

All of this is adding up to me feeling very low and sad this week, which is unfortunate.  Because the holidays are coming and I AM excited about that.  I’m happy and grateful that I’ve (thus far, knock on wood) received nothing but A’s in my classes, that my paper drafts are done, that even if the move isn’t what I wanted, it’s definitely what was necessary…I mean, these are all good things.  I just feel a little rough and fragile this week, which smarts, but it is what it is.

Hopefully I’ll perk up in the next day or so.