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!

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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?

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.

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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.

Happy (Little) Gratitudes

I feel compelled to write one of these.   It goes without saying that I’m grateful for family, friends, etc.  But these are just the little things that are making my heart happy, these last few days.

Google Docs.   How did I never know this gloriousness before?  Special thanks to my friend Lyndsey who introduced me to it.  I have all of the drafts of the Fallen Beyond Salvation series up there, along with the rough drafts of my thesis chapters and my Christmas shopping list.  Seriously, being able to a) access from any computer and b) not worry about my own computer crashing?  Gold.  Pure gold.

Homemade sugar scrub.  I did this last night and my skin feels bangin’.  Going to make sugar scrubs for friends this holiday season, I think.

Teavana’s White Chocolate Peppermint Rooibos Tea.  YES.  You can pick up this liquid herbal joy here.  Jess and I bought a tin of it the other day, splitting the cost (at $40, it ain’t cheap), and that’s going to keep us from spending our money at Starbucks when we get together at her place, at least for a while.

Lancome Energie De Vie.  I got this as a 100 point sample from Sephora and I LOVE it.  It makes my skin feel incredibly soft and smells very familiar, I’m wondering if my grandmother used it when I was little, because its scent instantly transported me back to being a little girl spending the night at her house.  Of course, the full size retails for $55, so I won’t be getting THAT, but I’m enjoying it while it lasts.  Much like the holiday season.

This week at work.  I have only a day and a half before I’m off for a wonderful four and a half day weekend.  I can’t wait.

Good friends.  ‘Nuff said.

Prednisone.  Lucky me has a lung infection…but at least I have steroids to clear it up.  And at least it’s not pneumonia.

90.5 completed pages of my thesis.  One chapter and 30 more pages to do between now and December 20th.  I CAN DO IT.  And then I get a month off.  Thank God.

Little Victories, Week 47

Welp, we haven’t done one of these in a while!

Reached 75 pages on my thesis.  Over halfway there, with about 45 pages to go before the chapters are completed!  I can do this!

Finished the rough draft of Book II of “Fallen Beyond Salvation”.  Guys, I am so in love with this book series.  You don’t even understand.

– Started hard editing Book I.  Editing SUCKS.  I’ll tell you that for free.  I get myself through it by telling myself, over and over again, that it will be worth it, that after the hard edits are done, I can send it off to beta readers and we can actually START getting feedback.  I’m nervous as hell, but hopefully it will go well.

– Completed NaNoWriMo!  This is something I’ve wanted to do since I first heard of it in 2006, and I managed to do it!  I hit 50,000 words yesterday.  So very happy with that.

– ALMOST finished a baby hat for a shower I’m going to tomorrow.

I’ve done pretty well this week, guys!  I’m getting stuff done, and I’m making myself happy.  And as a nice change from the last, oh, month or so, I’m sleeping a lot more and drinking less coffee.  That realization, a few weeks ago, from Dr. LW, that I was not going to finish my thesis by December (and that it was insane of me to ever think that I would) was really a wake-up call that I could not keep putting myself through this.  I needed to slow down, try to enjoy life and take care of myself a little better.  Fortunately, I’m learning, and it’s getting a little easier.  I’m going to be great.  Gonna get it all done, balance everything in my life, hit every deadline, and make it all happen.

I’ve got this.  In the end, my grandfather was right.  2013 was my year.

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?