Whoa! When did that happen?!

How did I let two months slip away from me?  Is anyone even reading this thing still?

Yesterday, November 18th, marked one year since I moved out of the apartment I shared with my then-husband, so I was feeling a burst of nostalgia and that urge to look back and see what’s changed, what I’ve accomplished in the last year.  It’s not an anniversary I ever thought I wanted to commemorate, but it’s one that I’m glad that I have.  Because when I look back on the past year, I see…a lot of joy, a lot of growing, a lot of learning.  I hadn’t lived by myself or with roommates other than David since 2009, and that’s quite a long time.  But I learned that I am still financially independent, I’m doing well, and even though I still don’t sleep alone as well as I did when there was someone else there, I sleep just fine.  I have no regrets about my conduct or my behavior in the past year.  I think I’ve done all right for myself, for the most part.

So what’s happening in the life of me?

School: I have 75.25 pages completed in a rough draft of my senior thesis.  I originally had hope that it would be completed by Christmas, but I see now that this was a ridiculous goal.  Although I technically am ahead of schedule (with two and a half completed chapters of four), my professor does not think that the editing process will be complete before the spring.  There are two pieces of good news that came along with this.  The first being, I don’t have to defend my thesis (which is AMAZING), and the second being that Dr. LW promised me that, if I complete all four chapters by December 20th, she won’t give me any work to do over Christmas vacation.  Which means FOUR glorious weeks off.  I can’t even imagine.  I may just be inebriated for most of it.
Dating: Well, I’ve gone on a couple of dates.  None of them really panned out.  That’s okay.  I’m awfully freakin’ busy.  The right guy will come along eventually.  Right now I’m not trying to push anything.
Writing: Would you believe that, on top of my already crazy thesis writing, I’ve undertaken the task of writing fiction?  I have!  My friend Jess and I pulled out the notes we had on a series we’d thought of writing back in 2007, dusted them off, and rebooted the whole thing.  And would you believe that the rough drafts of the first TWO books are finished?  There will eventually be five, but I’m really surprised (and psyched) that they’ve been coming along as well as they have!  I’m also doing NaNoWriMo (because I am completely, utterly insane) and I’m already at over 43,000 words with over two weeks to go.  I’m a writing machine, guys.
Holidays: I am so, so psyched for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.  Last year’s holidays were rough at best, between the separation still being fresh and the question of divorce still up in the air.  This year, there’s nothing standing in the way of me and a wonderful holiday.  I couldn’t be more excited.  Plans are underway to decorate the apartment; Sam inherited a fake tree from one of her friends and I have to get my ornaments and creche from David’s basement.  I even managed to find Advent candles, so now I just need to pull together a wreath.  As for Christmas shopping?  I’ve barely started.  Not even thinking about it right now, guys.  Not even a blip on the radar.  I just paid my credit card bill (almost in full — the rest will come on Friday) and then I can use it for holiday shopping or emergencies if need be.   The only person who is “set” (as in, I know what I’m getting for him and just haven’t bought it yet) is my father.  Everyone else?  Well, it’ll come in time.  Always does.
I leave you with this hilarious photo from Halloween.  That’s me and Drea in the foreground.  Can you spot Jess?
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Little Victories, Week Nineteen

For 2013, I’m going to have a Friday post every single week, for positive victories in my life.  They may not be big things, but they will be things that I am proud of, things I did in the past seven days.  I’m hoping this will keep me focused on the positive, all the good things that are going on in my life.

(It is blowing my mind that we are almost to the mid-point of the year)

– MOVED.  That seems like a massive victory, not a little one, but damn I am proud of it.  I now have my new place, in a bigger, brighter apartment, closer to graduate school and my friends.  And I couldn’t be happier with it (well, that’s a little bit of a lie.  I would be if we had a washer and dryer that were completely plugged in — landlord is coming this weekend to check and make sure there are no leaks — and doorknobs that weren’t loose).  But still.  Power is on, cable is on, move is all but finished!  Pictures hopefully after this weekend.  We’re almost done unpacking!

– Finished my last two papers for Dr. S and submitted them.  This means that I…

More than likely finished my last class for my Master’s work!  As long as I get an A- or higher in Dr. S’s class, I should be golden for being finished with my graduate studies classes.  All I should have left is thesis in the fall…but I won’t find out for an undetermined amount of time whether or not my prospectus has been accepted.  (Which reminds me…must finish prospectus edits this weekend…)

– Successfully convinced my friend Drea to buy a ticket to June Wildfire!

– After a week of inactivity (well, of gym absences, since, as my mom puts it, I was working my ass off carrying furniture and boxes up and down flights of stairs), I went to the gym on Thursday and completed Week 3 of C25K.  I think I am ready for Week 4, Day 1, but we’ll see tomorrow.  If it’s too difficult, I’ll redo Week 3, Day 3.  Slow and steady.  I am determined to do this!

On tap for the weekend: finishing my final paper for the semester, gym, meeting up with Drea for knitting and a little introduction to spinning (if the weather cooperates, which I doubt it will).  Then Mothers’ Day on Sunday — church, lunch with Mom, and then volunteering for work in the evening).

I think next week I might just take the whole week off to relax.  This has been a crazy busy month, and it isn’t even half over yet!

So many updates…

Well…I moved!

It was just about as exhausting an experience as one can imagine, and I’m still sort of trying to catch up.  I lost three days last week (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) to moving, and I’m still not done getting everything out of my parents’ in-law apartment and over to my new place.  I have (mostly) unpacked, though there are still two garbage bags full of clothing on my floor (that I need to sort through) and the kitchen is still a (mostly) unpacked wreck.  We need a kitchen table (we have chairs, just no table!) and a couple of bookshelves.  We’re getting these from Ikea sometime soon:

We also need a living room rug (probably going to get one soon too).  But the place is really coming together.  The kitties LOVE it.  And Samantha seems to love the kitties, which is good.  I overheard her and Tempest “talking” to each other today, and it was so damn adorable.

I finished both of my final papers for Dr. S yesterday and sent them in, so TECHNICALLY I am finished with classes for my Master’s degree (so long as I get an A- or above in that class).  I should only have my revisions for Dr. LW (due next Tuesday) and then I’m done done DONE for the Spring ’13 semester.  Holy crap, this went by fast.  Sometime over the summer, I’ll find out if my prospectus was accepted or rejected, and if I’m graduating in December like I hope, or in May (wouldn’t be the end of the world, but I don’t want to be in school for another year).

I also (with the help of Matt and David) convinced my friend Drea to buy a ticket to Wildfire in a few weeks!  I’m so freakin’ excited that it’s Wildfire season again.  Time for firespinning!  I don’t know how we live through the winter months, I really don’t.  I haven’t burned since August and I miss it.  Introducing a new friend to the spinning arts is seriously exciting.  I think we’re going to have the best Wildfire yet!

 

It’s all coming together.  It’s taken me a long time to get to this point, but things are finally coming together.

Stressed?! Who is stressed?!

One class left.  One week left until my last papers for said class need to be handed in.  Two weeks until my thesis prospectus is due into the Graduate Studies office.

Five days until I move out of my parents’ in-law apartment and into my brand-new life.

My caffeine addiction has reached new heights.  My bank account has reached new lows (not really, I have money in savings that I’m attempting to NOT tap into, but considering how fucking EXPENSIVE moving is, that’s starting to look less and less like a possibility right now).

I shouldn’t complain too much.  Because I have amazing friends who are willing to help me move, I don’t need a moving truck, so that negates a big bill right there.  And I don’t begrudge them the takeout and beer that I will be paying for on Saturday night.  Much of this week is going to consist of taking drives over to the apartment and bringing my things over little by little.  Friday night, D and I are bringing over the furniture that’s been in his apartment ever since I moved out in November.  And Saturday is the big move itself.  Sunday Samantha moves in, but at that point (hopefully) all of my things, my cats, and I will be settled in, and the internet will be set up (I know, right, priorities!).

I’m meeting with my thesis adviser this afternoon to discuss my prospectus.  Which, of course, being me, I have already envisioned as a negative, with her telling me that my prospectus is garbage and I should just quit the program now.  My mind is such a wonderful place to live at times.

Went to IKEA on Sunday with Samantha, and got some stuff for the apartment.  I needed a new bedding set (well, I guess that’s more ‘want’ than ‘need’, but whatever), and this is the one I got for $30:

And I got these (not from IKEA) for my bedroom:

Love.  I want the apartment to be filled with candles.  I think it will be.  I have enough Partylite stuff to last a year, haha.

There are still a few things I need to get for the new place — a set of sheets, a shower curtain rod (the former tenants took the last one — I KNOW) — but we’re almost there.  By this time next week, I’ll be in the new place, the papers will hopefully be done (they’re due Tuesday, May 7th) and I’ll be on my way to going full-tilt into summer.

I can’t wait.

Little Victories, Week…Fifteen. We’re On Fifteen Now.

(It’s been a REALLY long time since I did “Little Victories” so I could not even remember what week we were on.  It’s the end of the semester, cut me some slack.)

For 2013, I’m going to have a Friday post every single week, for positive victories in my life.  They may not be big things, but they will be things that I am proud of, things I did in the past seven days.  I’m hoping this will keep me focused on the positive, all the good things that are going on in my life.

– Pulled myself (within 24 hours) out of a slump that I felt last weekend.  It may not seem like that big of a victory, but I’ll tell you, divorce wreaks havoc on your sense of self-worth, and if you can get out of a semi-depressive slump in 24 hours, that’s a damn good thing.

– Reached (and passed) the anniversary of the day D first told me he wanted a divorce, without theatrics, without getting (too) upset.  I realized I’ve definitely turned a corner, and that corner is acceptance.  And that feels pretty damn good.

Got the green light from my thesis adviser to start my prospectus for my thesis.  Rough draft is due on April 23rd.  (In regards to the link, my teacher also pushed back the research paper, which was a huge relief).

– Best news: WE GOT AN APARTMENT!  I feel like this should sort of be an entry in and of itself, but…yes.  Samantha and I got an apartment.  It’s about five minutes from school, 12 minutes from my work.  Second floor of a three-family home, doesn’t look like much on the outside.  But inside, oh, inside.  I wish I had pictures, I really do.  It’s gorgeous.  Hardwood floors, windows everywhere, the cutest bathroom, big bedrooms, a washer and dryer (definitely my favorite part of the apartment!) and off-street parking.  I’m a little worried about living there, because it’s only two blocks from where I lived a few years ago (worst couple years of my life, even tops separating and divorcing, really, but that’s all I’m going to get into since it was so long ago).  But friends of mine straightened me out, and said it was practically criminal to give up such a beautiful apartment that was literally everything we were looking for, just because it happens to be near my old place.

Rent (split with Samantha) is only going to be $50 a month more than I’m paying now.  Plus I’ll be splitting the utilities, which will also be a load off.  It’s gas heat (the apartment D and I lived in was oil heat) so that will be pretty cheap.  I’m  excited.

So excited, even, that I even went back to that devil’s social network, Pinterest.  Samantha definitely started it.  She created an apartment pinboard and we’ve both been working on it the past few days.  It really helps that she and I have the same basic loves when it comes to decorating.  We’re both very French country.  These are some of the things we’ve pinned this far for ideas:

NO idea if we’d be able to pull this off for the living room, but isn’t it gorgeous?

The walls of “my” bedroom are sage, so this is the palette I’m thinking of. Less purple, though, more creams, roses, and greens.

 

The bedding set I want. It’s a little pricier but eh, I’m a single girl now!

Sam’s color ideas for her bedroom.

 

I love Monet — hell, Impressionist art in general — and I want to have “Waterlilies” on the wall.

Moving in is going to suck (second floor walk-up, after all!), but decorating and unpacking is going to be great.  And laundry — there’s laundry!  I have to say having a washer and dryer is my favorite part about this new place.

It’s going to be a good weekend, I think.  After work today I’m going to Jess’s house for a bit, and then it’s off to see D’s cousin Amy for the weekend.  We’re very good friends and I haven’t seen her since Christmas, though we talk about once or twice a week.  I’m seeing MIL tomorrow, which is going to be rough, but I’m glad that it’s happening.

Happy weekend, all!

The next step

Back in April of 2011, I remember logging into my FB account and seeing my SIL posting (after a night of drinking with her friends) that she was “ready to take the next step!”  She meant — as many of us who have been married for awhile and are either closing in on or in our 30’s do — that she was ready for kids.

Today, I said “I’m ready to take the next step”, and it meant something wholly different.

When I moved from my apartment with D, to the in-law apartment behind my parents’ house, that was a big step.  The first step.  Sort of like “the college years” of getting divorced.  College is, in my mind, the perfect first step to becoming an adult.  You live on campus, your bills are all prepaid, you go to the cafeteria for your meal plan, you have an RA making sure that you’re not hiding booze and strippers in your room.  But you also are living without your parents for the first time.  You don’t have to make decisions like “shit, am I going to eat this month or pay the electric bill?” but you do need to learn (sometimes the hard way) that a diet of Coke and Lucky Charms does not bode well for your figure, and that staying up until all hours of the morning playing Halo and eating cheese pizza is not going to result in straight A’s.  Also, in college (in most cases), there’s a “glass floor” — you can fuck up, but (usually) you can only fuck up so much.

That was what this apartment was for me.  It was a month-to-month lease that I could quit at any time, it was behind my parents’ house (in case I cried relentlessly and needed support — thus far, hasn’t happened, and doesn’t look like it will), and I knew that I could leave (either to go back to D or to move on) any time I wanted.  And in a lot of ways, it was exactly what I needed.

But I don’t want to do it forever.  And lately I’ve been feeling ready to take that next step.

A friend of mine, Samantha, broke up with her long-time boyfriend back in December, and asked me the other day if I wanted to move in with her.  She’s living with her mom out about an hour from campus, and she’s graduating this spring.  So it wouldn’t be for a couple of months.  I had to think about it, because I really don’t want to give up my ridiculously cheap rent.  But if we get a two-bedroom apartment for $850 a month (feasible), then it’s possible, it really is, to leave my current place without my bills going too high.  And it would mean someone who would help with the utilities…and someone who understands what I’m going through, both financially, educationally, and emotionally.

And this morning I emailed her to confirm that this is something she really wants to do.

Sometimes I feel like the world’s biggest chicken.  Like it has taken me FOREVER to get to this point.  And people in my life (my family, especially) have been asking, over and over again “What are you are waiting for?”

For this, guys.  For the ability to take a step and know that I am ready, know that it is the right one.  To be comfortable with the choices I make, to have some sense of control, instead of resignation.  Yeah, the process is slow, but at the same time?  When I make the choices, make the steps, they are the right ones.

I’m ready to take the next step.

Now The Days Seem To Fly

I am DONE with this semester!

(Happy Rapunzel gif totally appropriate right now)

I’m not 100% bouncing off the walls because I’m nervous as hell about my grades.  I never got a grade in one of my classes, and I never got a grade in the other class that was below an A-…but I’m still freaking out.  I have NO IDEA how this is going to pan out.  Especially when, in both classes, the final paper counts for 60% of the final grade.

I have no idea when final grades are due in to the registrar, or when they’ll be posted, so THAT’S FUN.

I will be okay with straight A-‘s.  I will be fine if I get two B+’s.  If I don’t get a B+ in 501, it means I have to retake the course this upcoming semester.

…I can’t find a gif for that.  There is no gif labeled “crawl into a hole and die.”

But this one?  Is pretty close.

ANYCRAP.  This means that I have from now until January 14 for blessed, blessed freedom.

(Side note?  What is this January 14th shit?  Since when do colleges and universities open BEFORE the MLK Jr. holiday?  I miss undergrad.  For more reasons than one.)

I’m moving out of my apartment in three days.  My grandparents are coming up to spend Christmas with the rest of the family and they’re going to be staying in my place, with my girl kitties.  I’m moving into my parents’ house for the duration.  I’m trying not to be too apprehensive about this.

Tonight is going to be dedicated to shopping, wrapping, baking cookies, and watching “Home Alone.”  I am so excited about the next few days.  This week is going to be fantastic.

2012 In Review – Part II

This is the second of four recaps of the 2012 Review Extravaganza.  I’m joining up with other bloggers, recapping the last year, three months at a time.

April: On April 8th, Easter Sunday morning, my husband D told me that he wasn’t in love with me anymore, and he wanted to separate.  For the first time in our marriage, he took his wedding band off, which to me really said volumes.  I went through the motions that day, which hurts doubly because, as I later found out (and couldn’t have known then), this was to be the last holiday with my grandfather.  My last memory of him is of him sitting in my parents’ den, watching golf on the TV, blissfully happy…so I guess I can count myself lucky.

I think I reacted about the same as anyone will.  I can’t say that I didn’t see it coming.  Our marriage had never bounced back from the crushing blow it took in September of 2011, and although we had been seeing a marriage counselor, DS, since then, things hadn’t been as productive as either of us had liked, and I think D got tired and decided to throw in the towel.

The high point of April was going to Boston (a week after Easter) and meeting some fabulous friends from an internet message board that I’d only spoken to.  They were as wonderful in real life as they are online, and it was a great get-together.

I spent about a week lying in bed watching TV and crying all the time, and then something happened that jolted me out of it:

I got an A on my first major graduate paper since going back to school.

This was the wakeup call I needed.  I had to do well.  I knew I had to do well before all of this happened, but now it was even more critical.  It wasn’t even a case of “I won’t let him take this away from me.”  Because in the end, D couldn’t ruin my graduate career.  Only I could do that.  I couldn’t let me take this away from me, if that makes sense.  What good would it be to let my studies fall down?  Then I’d be divorced and a failure.  No.  So as difficult as it was, I threw myself heart and soul into being the best student I could be.

May: May was another difficult month.  D didn’t want to tell his family until we actually, legitimately separated, and I was having a difficult time finding an apartment.  We lived in a college town, and the housing market is ridiculous (affordable apartments are rarely on the market for more than 24 hours).

On May 12, I was a bridesmaid in my friend Tina’s beautiful wedding:

I spent the first three weeks of May tearing my way through my papers, and took three days off at the end of the semester to go to May Wildfire retreat.  I really wish I could find the video online of me spinning fire poi, because it was awesome.  But I can’t find it.

I came back from Wildfire, and found out that I had gotten an A and A- on my report card for Spring 2012 semester.  Which gave me a 3.85 GPA, the highest I’ve ever earned.  It was exhilarating.  I’ll admit I teared up at my desk.  I couldn’t believe that I had done it, that in spite of it being the most difficult few months of my life, I had rocked it.

I wish I could say that May ended on a high note, but it didn’t.  In the same week, my grandfather passed away at the age of 90 from what the doctors believe was an embolism.  And two days after that, my guinea pig, Milo, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly.

June: I found an apartment, and at the last minute, I let it go.  My parents told me that my aunt, as executor of my grandfather’s will, would be willing to rent me his house, out in the woods, until it got a buyer.  With trepidation I agreed, because the house was so remote and out in the middle of nowhere (as my BIL said when  he saw it “People commit murders in places like this”), and I tried to find something else to occupy my brain.  I signed up for a five week course, starting the first week of July.

 

Okay, I wish I could say it gets better from here!  It doesn’t, but Week Four will, at least I hope, be slightly more uplifting!

Living (Not So) Single

In celebration of my last class session of the Fall ’12 semester (although I still have two papers and one “class” — potluck dinner — at my teacher’s house), I decided to make a real meal for dinner last night.  It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that I had sort of given up on cooking real food for myself when D and I separated.  It’s difficult to cook a meal for yourself when you live alone.  Most recipes are geared towards lots of people and multiple servings.  I also come home late most nights of the week (between 7:30 and 8:00 PM) so it’s difficult to get up the desire to actually cook a “real” meal.

But last night, class got out at 6:20 PM, and I was home by 7:00 PM, with a bag of chicken breasts (really big, plump, I-can-get-four-pieces-out-of-each-of-these chicken breasts) and I decided to go to work.

I breaded each of the breasts with an egg wash and a mix of breadcrumbs and parmasan cheese, and baked it in the oven at $250 for about 20 minutes (10 on each side).  It came out a little dry, so I won’t be doing that again.  I also sauteed some carrots in butter and garlic (OMG DELICIOUS) and for my starch?  Well.  Frozen pierogis boiled in water.  I haven’t been keeping potatoes in the house because they’ll go bad too quickly.  Plus I’ve been cutting down on my starches.  Or at least trying to.

First adult meal in the new place?  Success.

 

This weekend is going to be weird…D and I are finally splitting our finances on Saturday.  We have a joint bank account, so of course it seems logical to split that and split the money.  We met on Tuesday afternoon to write it out on paper, and came to a very quick and amicable decision as to who gets what.  It’s definitely a surreal experience.  I think back to how much time and attention planning the wedding took, and this is…just so fast and heartless, I guess.  I keep getting twinges of sadness, but at the same time, it will be a relief to have my bank account in my sole possession again, after Saturday.  Plus I can really bunk down and finish my Christmas shopping!

And Christmas knitting.  Which is what Knit Night is for!

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.