Purgatory

These last two days have been just as I assume purgatory might be: boring, frustrating, pointless, but unable to leave.
The new GAs have had to be in training all last week and through Thursday this week. Thankfully us returners only have 3 days this week, but knowing I have to sit through one more day of pointless sessions, makes me want to scream and then run away.
Yesterday was just angering because they told us we are mandated to use four different kinds of software programs and their duties overlap and it’s pointless to have to keep attendance and grades in four different places.
Also, they couldn’t get their act together and have the same answer on anything and it was just ridiculous.
Today was just so incredibly boring. It was basically how to use a computer.
Would you have thought that if you can’t remember your password that you should click the “forgot password” button? You did? And you didn’t have to sit through a two hour training session? You must be smarter than a room of graduate students.
There were also the stupid and repetitive questions that made things just drag on even longer.
I’m fairly certain my eye roll skills tripled today.
Tomorrow will be the sexual harassment session, and after last year’s explosion, I may have to bring popcorn this time. Then again, I would imagine most people don’t want a repeat so they will probably keep their mouths shut. Bummer. Would be the only excitement of this three day torture marathon.
Tomorrow is also the meet and greet with faculty. I signed up and then realize it wasn’t mandatory and basically no one is going. Not excited but looks like it would look bad if I didn’t show. Meh.
So if anyone has any Good books to recommend, I would appreciate it because I have another 7 hours of awful tomorrow that I need something to keep me occupied.

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Filed under Grad School?, Teaching in College, WTF

Back on Track

Today was the first time I had to hang my head and send an e-mail to a professor that I am embarrassed of.

For those that have been around, you know I’m starting my second year of grad school for my master’s. That means that I am working on a thesis since I want to go on for my PhD and most schools want a thesis, not comps scores.

Middle of last spring, I was super motivated and typed up a big long thesis proposal. The professor I wanted to work with is going on sabbatical this fall, and I was a little nervous he wouldn’t want to take on another project. However, I had a little edge over others.

Mr. A graduates in May. That means we could be moving who knows where for a job for him. So unlike many other master’s students that could possibly stretch this out for an additional third year, I don’t have that luxury. I HAVE to be done in May. That means a thesis written, revised a million times, and defended by May.

So I have an extra push to get this business done.

So after hearing my proposal, some discussion, and realizing that I would not be wasting his time by dragging this out any longer than necessary, he agreed.

I should also mention that I adore this professor. He is brilliant and kind and encouraging and studies/teaches the same subjects I’m interested in. I feel honored that he agreed to be my thesis director, and also a bit nervous and do not want to disappoint him.

But, as you all know, this summer was…not ideal. Stepmom did that terrible thing that I try to block out and any sense of normality for me went out the window.

I was still having tot each my summer class, be a student in a very intense 4 week summer course, along with all the other responsibilities an adult has. Add in the additional stress of that event, and any spare time I had I was trying to relax and regain sanity.

Well, since professor is going on sabbatical, we had agreed that I would have a very detailed, 8-10 page outline for him by the start of the semester.

Guess who doesn’t have that, or even anything remotely close to that?

*hangs head in shame*

So I emailed him this morning to apologize and ask if he wanted me to send it to him once I got one done, or to just meet with my second reader and get her input on it all and we would meet again in the spring.

He hasn’t responded yet and my stomach is in knots because I feel like I let him down. Mostly, I’ve let myself down.

Motivation to do anything more than absolutely necessary has been minimal and I need to get my act together. I have only one semester of classes left and then a semester of thesis hours and I have to be completely finished in those two semesters.

Hopefully he understands and isn’t regretting working with me. I WILL have a lot to show him when he returns in January and hopefully he is impressed. Hopefully.

So any thoughts of motivation and encouragement that you can spare, would be greatly appreciated. Mostly so I don’t have to hide from him come January. And so my husband doesn’t kill me for not being ready to graduate in May.

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Weeks Ahead

Hello again. The last week of the summer session was crazy busy on top of some added family stresses. I then left the very next day to go visit a good friend of mine in Wisconsin, so I’ve been gone.

Of course, the day I got back, I got emails sharing both our pre semester training schedule and my new teaching schedule.

As for the training, well, it’s……special.

It will be three days where an office mate and I will sit in the back, try to contain the rolling of our eyes and find other ways to stay awake. Plan is to brainstorm lesson plans and to print short stories so we look engaged.

Now, I am typically a rule follower. I take a million notes at trainings and am actively engaged.

But when I looked over the schedule for the three days, there is only ONE session that looks even remotely helpful. The rest are being run by either people that have no business training others or about subjects that will only help/affect about 5 of the 95 GAs. Add in that last year was a total cluster, and I’m just trying to do things to keep me from quitting in those three days. I love my job, but this training will be pure torture. And not helpful.

I even have to help lead a session, but there are 3 other people on the panel for a 45 minute presentation and none of the other three will get with me or talk about what the hell we’re supposed to be presenting. Doesn’t help that 2 of them are from a group of girls that can’t differentiate between business and personal and if I won’t have my head up their ass in the personal, then they will screw me over in any way possible in the business. OH, and one of them hasn’t even taught the class we’re presenting about. Her section got cancelled. Again: cluster.

My plan is to be quiet and if someone asks me a direct question, answer as best I can. I can tolerate anything for 45 minutes. Or so I hope.

As for my new teaching schedule…it’s good and bad.

Good, because I no longer am teaching sections at 2 and 3 on MWF. NO one wants to be teaching at 4pm on a Friday. Certainly not me. No wonder they had to cancel those sections. When I last checked there were only 5 and 6 students registered for them.

Bad, because now all of my classes both taking and teaching are on Tuesday/Thursday. On Thursdays, I go from 9:30am-7:30pm with only a 1.5 hour break. I’m guessing on Fridays I will be SUPER unproductive.

Also, teaching 101 instead of 102. I have mixed feelings about this. 101, strangely, allows more variety in writing assignments, but the theme for this year is TERRIBLE. 102 is basically all research and can get tedious VERY quickly, but there isn’t a set theme.

Overall, I think it’s a better thing. Yes, it will be rough to have 5 classes those days, but then I can work on my own stuff the other three days. It will be a change from what I’ve been doing, and for my last semester of classes, I think a change will be nice.

Training starts Monday and then school starts the following week. Not a whole lot of free time left, so I’m trying to enjoy what I have left. That is a little more difficult since our mattress which was supposed to be delivered by today, won’t be delivered until late next week. Sleeping on the floor isn’t nearly as fun when you don’t have any other choice.

BUT, positive thinking on my end. I have a week and a half to relax and try to enjoy the rest of my free time, which will involve lots of kitty snuggles and fun reading.

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Filed under A little More About Me, Grad School?, Teaching in College

Can’t Keep My Mouth Shut

Holy hell.
I am so angry tonight.
The tragedy in Colorado has been nagging me all day. Not in a “I’m trying to insert myself into the tragedy for attention” sort of way. I really haven’t talked about it except on social media and to express my condolences. (and complete outrage at a company that tweeted that Aurora must be trending based on their latest dress style).
But in a “I can’t wrap my head around this” way.
Now, I love social media. I have been able to interact with some amazing people and even meet some of them and they have become close friends.
But on a day like today, I nearly deleted all accounts.
It wasn’t buy a few hours after the terrible news was breaking as Americans all across the country were waking up, expecting reviews of the summer blockbuster, but finding that we were hit with yet another senseless act of violence, that the insensitive tweets began.
Statements about his possible political affiliations began. Jokes about its relation to the election.
The usual gun control debates started, just as they do after any tragedy like this. (not saying I disagree, just another piece of this day long puzzle)
But then a certain strain of commentary just rubbed me the wrong way.
As the news began to discover details, it came out that a 4 month old and a 6 year were in the theater. Mixed reports as to if they were hot or not and I don’t want to spread false news.
But instead of expressing grief for the parents that (may) have lost their children or at the very least, were traumatized by the event.
No, people were blaming the parents for taking their kids with them.
In a normal situation, questioning this might be reasonable. If the baby started crying during a midnight showing of a movie I was eager to see, I would be annoyed.
But this is not in anyway a normal situation. The parents were probably traumatized and horrified and terrified.
For people to then criticize their parenting choices is tactless. This is not the time. It hasn’t even been 24 hours.
For all we know, they had a babysitter that bailed. They were given last minute tickets and believed their child would sleep through it. Maybe it wasn’t the best decision, but they are probably already upset and grieving and hurting and they don’t need strangers pulling the “holier than thou” card on them.
Why do we feel we have to judge and criticize others’ decisions, especially during an event such as this.
Stop it. Just stop it. Shut, wait 48 hours before critiquing the victims. I’ll still be mad in 48 hours, but at least there would be the smallest amount of time for the shock and grief to move past.
Yes I’m on a soapbox, but I can’t take the rude, insensitive comments anymore. Be human. Have a heart. Sympathize for others’ pain. And maybe, for once, keep your obnoxious comments to yourself and think how you might be affecting others.

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No Words

Keeping the victims, their families, and all affected by this tragedy in my thoughts and prayers. Hoping we as a country can keep what’s important in the forefront and not turn to politicizing this tragedy or blaming anyone except the man that decided he knew better than anyone else an that he had the right to destroy innocent lives.

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Dancing the Liberal Line

So, this might make people mad. Who knows. But I believe people should be able to disagree and be nice about it. And this has been bugging me for a while, so I’m blogging about it. Just like I blog about nearly everything else in my life.

I am in a very liberal department. I think most English/literature departments are probably the same. It comes from looking beyond what is right in front of us to the meanings behind everything. We look for connections and motivations and reasons.

I would also consider myself to be pretty liberal, especially with social issues. I believe in equality for all, not just those that fit into a box that some people feel everyone should fall into. It’s something I’ve always believed and worked hard to demonstrate in my own life.

That being said, I also feel that some people get their panties in a bunch over nothing. Some people feel the need to find an argument or a fight in nothing. Also, people are fully capable of disagreeing about a topic, but still being respectful and considerate. A thoughtful discussion can happen with the understanding that neither party is trying to tell the other that they are wrong or trying to persuade the other to change their opinion. I love discussions like that. Discussing ideas and opinions and ideologies in a respectful manner.

However, in my department, many of my colleagues seem to believe that we should all think and act in the same way.

In my department, I’m a bit of an outlier.

See, I don’t fit the typical liberal master’s student mold.

Many that I am in school with equate liberal with feminist. And in a lot of ways, I agree with many of the feminist ideals. Equality. Reproductive rights. Not being forced into stereotypical social positions simply based on gender.

But I don’t seem to garner the same respect.

I married young, which tends to go against the ideas a lot of my classmates have. A lot of them don’t want to get married or tend to put their nose in the air when they find out that I married at 23.

Also, I want kids. I have always wanted to be a mom at some point. But I believe that I am also in a field that will allow me to be a mom and have a career that I love. As a college professor, I will get a whole lot more freedom in arranging my schedule so that I can still be with and raise my kids.

I also want a house with a yard. I want to be able to paint walls and hang things up and if I screw something up, not being terrified that my landlord is going to be pissed. I won’t be happy that I messed it up, but then I can fix it, or not, because the house will be mine.

For some reason, I’m the odd man out. Last year, I can’t even count the number of times that I was made fun of by “friends” when these topics would come up. I quickly learned that I would not be able to discuss these things with these people without being ridiculed both to my face, and more than likely, behind my back.

However, the most recent barrage of loaded questions and side glances is that of what I’m not doing right now.

I’m not applying for PhD programs.

You see, my husband and I graduate next May. As many of you know, the legal job market isn’t great. A lot of job markets pretty much suck right now, but the legal one seems to really be struggling. So many young people went to law school because they didn’t know what else to do, so there is an influx of lawyers in a job market that was hit just as hard as anyone else.

Because of this, I’m not applying for PhD programs since we have NO CLUE where we will be living next year. We don’t know where Mr. A will be getting a job and how much he will be making or how long it will take us to get settled.

So, I’m making the smart and, in my mind, commonsensical decision to hold off. I don’t want to apply to some school, love it and get my hopes up, to only find out that my husband got a job 3 states over.

I have no problem holding off a year, waiting to see where we will be, then applying for schools in the area. I will get more time to take the GRE and really decide where I want to go. I get to apply for jobs and hopefully get a bit of a break from being a student and just work for once. Only have work responsibilities and not also stressing over papers and such.

But to the super liberals in my department, I am an alien. Also, I apparently don’t care about feminist issues and only wanted an MRS degree since I’m waiting to see where Mr. A’s career takes us.

If I hear one more time, “Well why doesn’t he follow you?” or “Why can’t he find a job where you get into a PhD program?” I might scream.

Had I been in a program that say only 5 schools in the country had, then Mr. A would be all about looking for jobs in those places.

Because we support each other 100%.

But I’m not. Most big or decent size schools have my program. Possibly even close schools would allow me to do it via the internet. So I’m waiting.

I don’t even like to call it compromising because I don’t feel that I am giving up a thing. This is what I want. I’m in a very supportive marriage. My husband was the one pushing me to do this and will do what he has to in order to make sure that I get to finish out my program, like I want to.

Just because I’m not immediately moving from my master’s into my PhD, doesn’t mean that I’ve reverted to a 1950s housewife that cleans in pearls and has dinner on the table at 6pm every night and is satisfied with a slap on the ass as my thank you.

That’s not me. That’s not the woman Mr. A married and it’s not at all the wife he wants. He likes that I have career ambitions and am educated and am not satisfied yet, that I’m striving for more.

I just hate that apparently I can’t have a career and thoughts AND a family. Why do those have to be separate things? Why can’t I have both without feeling like I am on the defensive all the time? Why can’t I give them a hard time for moving straight into the next program, for sleeping around, for never wanting to own a property because “it’s so much easier for someone else to be responsible for it”, for never wanting kids?

That’s right. Because I am a believer in each person doing what is right for them. One of my good friends never wants kids, so maybe I don’t send her pictures of cute/funny kid things I find, but she also jokes about kidnapping me for girls’ nights once I do have a baby. I know she will be happy for us, but I also won’t try to push my ideas about motherhood on her. To be honest, I will be happy to have a friend that doesn’t want to talk about breastfeeding and poopy diapers.

I just want some mutual respect for my life decisions. I’m not out doing heroine or stealing things or hurting others. I’m following my dreams, and those dreams comingle a career and a family life.

Sorry for the rant. I’m just so aggravated with all of this right now and I just want to feel like I’m doing the right thing. I KNOW I am. But I hate feeling like I have to defend it or that I’m being talked about since I’m not out at the bars 4 nights a week.

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Filed under A little More About Me, Grad School?, Life After College, Married Life

Newest Member

If you follow me on Twitter, I apologize.
All I have talked about since Saturday is our newest member if the family and.
We have a new kitten.

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This is Truman. He is 3.5 months old and born on my birthday.

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This…was not planned. We were not under any circumstances considering another kitten.
For years now, Mr. A and I have enjoyed going to pet adoption drives at Petsmart. It’s something we’ve done on Saturdays or Sundays for a long time. When we couldn’t have a pet, this helped fulfill our desire since we got to play with all the animals and ooo and ahhhh over them.
As much as I love soft and cuddly things, and as much as I wanted them, I was logical and went about my business.
So we went to our favorite pet store while home this past weekend. Mr. A went to the restroom so I went to go look at the animals.
I walked past the kitten with a stub tail. Past the boisterous little guy that was reaching his paw through the cage and tapping the kitten next to him to get him to play. Past the all white little girl that was shy but sweet and super pretty.
I walked all the way down the aisle and there was a little black kitten in a cage on the end. He was napping but as soon as I walked up, he lifted his head and was looking me in the eyes.
I reached in to scratch his little head and then asked if I could get him out to hold him. As I picked him up, he immediately snuggled into me and was a purring machine.
I felt an instant connection to the little guy that I didn’t feel with any other animal except Scout. Of course I read the info sheet and saw that he was born in my birthday. He had all his shots and already spayed. He kept snuggling and purring and I just knew he needed to come home with us.
Long story short, after some discussion and thought, we went back and made the little guy ours.

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He is a snuggle bunny. He loves to be held and played with and wants to be with us all the time.
Unfortunately Scout isn’t sold on him yet. She isn’t violent to him, but hisses and then runs away and hides. We’ve had a couple small breakthroughs and we’re planning on putting them together a lot more this weekend to make her realize that he isn’t going anywhere.
So for now, if we aren’t home, he stays in the bathroom but he’s allowed out as long as we’re there. We keep him from going upstairs for now so Scout feels like she has a safe space and Truman isn’t just taking over all of a sudden. I sleep on the couch at night and check on him periodically. Our hope is that by this weekend we can leave him out all the time and that he and Scout will be friends.
So any good kitty vibes you want to send, will be much appreciated.

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Filed under A little More About Me, Home Sweet Home, Kitteh, Things I Love