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!

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 🙂

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.

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.

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.

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?

Midsummer update

I haven’t really been writing lately, and I don’t have much of an excuse, except that I’m suffering from burnout in a major way.  Anxious people will know what I mean: you know that feeling after you’ve had a massive, massive panic attack, where you feel like you have absolutely zero strength left in your body, and you just want to sleep for, oh, a decade?  That is how I feel right now.  Seriously.  It’s like we got through the divorce, and then my body said “You know all that tension and nerve you’ve been carrying for the last 22 months?  Yeah, we give up now,” and just fell apart.  I haven’t done the horrible keening crying, or “fallen apart” per se, but I just emotionally have very little to give right now.  The things that used to not bother me, or at least, didn’t bother me so much?  Send me screeching into the night, lately.  I’m tense, I’m exhausted, I just have nothing left to give lately.

Which lead me to asking my boss for a vacation week.  I’ll be taking it from August 31st to September 9th.  And I could not be more excited.

I don’t really have any plans right now, because a) I’m broke and b) who would I even go with?  But it’s really exciting to know that I have that option, that I’m going to have a week to sleep in, relax, take some time for myself.  Maybe get a massage, maybe visit some friends out of state (if I want to), and then top it all off with my trip to New Hampshire that first full weekend in September.  Yes.  It is a little over a month away, so I have plenty of time to plan ahead.

 

In other news, Wildfire is THREE WEEKS FROM FRIDAY OMG.  I can’t believe it came this fast.  I still have to buy a sleeping bag and start going over stuff I need to pack.

I got an email from Dr. LW, and my master’s thesis prospectus was approved and signed off by the Graduate Studies’ Office ON THE FIRST TRY.  Wahooo!  The good news is: three rewrites and edits before submission apparently did the trick!  The bad news is: omg, it’s time to actually write this thing and I am scared to death, here, let me spend another six months on research because actually writing it is scary.

But people who don’t write their Master’s theses don’t get Master’s degrees, and therefore don’t go on to become Ph.D.’s.  Or something like that.

I joined a fantasy football league, too.  That’s a thing that happened.    My transition from “Ew, football sucks,” to casual Patriots fan, to rabid Patriots fan, to rabid football fan, is nearing completion.  Look at my life, look at my choices.  I regret nothing.

Things are going pretty damn well.  I’m content.  Not ecstatic, not euphoric, but content, and that’s a pretty good place to be at 29 years and 10 months 🙂

Little Victories, Week Twenty

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.

– Finished moving everything out of my apartment.

– Revised and handed in my thesis prospectus.  It got an A 🙂  I’m meeting with Dr. LW on Monday to discuss the revisions necessary for the Graduate Studies Office, and working on my thesis for the summer months.

– Pushed through and finally, on the third try, completed C25K Week 4, Day 1.  It was an uphill battle but I did it.

– Completed Week 4, Day 2 today and felt fantastic.

Plans for the rest of the weekend involve: um…knitting and watching Kitchen Nightmares.  I think this is the plan 🙂

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!