Category Archives: Learning More

Awareness

It’s become a common trend for groups and charities to promote awareness for their cause. You can get ribbons for your social network pictures. Some even believe goofy statuses about where you put your purse will raise awareness for breast cancer.

The biggest problem with these awareness campaigns is just that- it makes people aware, but nothing else. Awareness is great if followed by action and results, but a silly status isn’t going to raise money or fund research for cancer cures.

However, I believe there needs to be more awareness about depression and other mental disabilities in order to get rid of the stigma surrounding them so that those with them, can get the help they need before resorting to drastic measures.

More and more young people are facing depression and severe anxiety due to the world in which we live. Jobs are hard to find. Bills don’t get paid. There are social, political, and cultural issues facing us at every turn. Our country can’t seem to get out of wars quickly enough before joining in another one. Children are being assaulted. People are starving. Healthcare is too expensive and people are dying.

It’s stressful and depressing.

But there is still a stigma in our society about mental disorders, especially for those seeking counseling and therapy. Add is prescription drugs and the entire topic becomes taboo.

But why? Many people face these issues and it should be something we can talk about. Maybe if more people talked about it and their struggles with depression, others wouldn’t feel so alienated and might find solace and peace in simply knowing they aren’t alone.

This is one of the few causes that awareness and understanding can actually make a difference.

I’m not asking for people to donate money or to call their congress representative, but simply being more willing to understand that some people’s brains are wired differently and they have difficulties. (Now if you want to donate or call Congress, please do so, but awareness works too.)

I, personally, have struggled with depression and anxiety. Any of you that followed me last year know this. I was a wreck. I had previously been in counseling during college. and while we decided medicine wasn’t necessary at the time, counseling was amazing. Getting to talk to someone unbiased and who would simply listen without judgment was the best thing ever for me. She would tell me when I was looking at something from the wrong perspective and help me to realize where my issues were and how to cope with them and fix them.

Currently I am on a medication for my migraines, but it’s actual intended purpose is as an anti-depressant. Now, I really was prescribed it for my migraines, and it has done a fantastic job with them, but I am much calmer and easy going. Mr. A could tell a difference within about two weeks of my starting it.

I still have bad days. I still get stressed out and cry and rant and rave. But those are fewer and farther between, and they are shorter in duration. I can also see logic and reasoning through my anger.

I am a big supporter of therapy, and if necessary, medication. I also believe that the two should go hand in hand so that the medication doesn’t become a permanent fixture in a person’s life. I won’t be on this medicine forever, mostly because it has side effects for pregnant women, and I would like to have children eventually. I may have to start again if my migraines return with a vengeance, which is fine by me, and I will enjoy the calming side effects of it.

I just hope that as a society, we can be more accepting of those struggling and lend a supportive hand or shoulder to lean on instead of shunning the person and treating them like a leper.

We all have difficult times and it’s time for us to quit alienating others and work alongside them to help them through their trials.

 

[Edited]: If you can also keep my undergrad in your prayers. A student, presumably, jumped from one of the campus’s building in an apparent suicide. I didn’t know the student, but I am heartbroken for the community, especially since it’s a small school and this will probably affect many people.

**This post was inspired by Mr. A’s classmate who, presumably, committed suicide last week. I wish he had gotten the help he needed instead of feeling like, as a future attorney, he couldn’t ask. Still praying for his friends and family.

***If you are struggling with depression, please get help. You are loved and cared for and we all want to see what amazing things you will do.

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Filed under A little More About Me, Learning More

Game Plan

So you remember when I wrote this post? (The same misspelling rules will apply for this post. Sorry in advance.)

Yeah. It’s happening.

Tomorrow.

I just want to scream.

It’s never-ending. People are angry on both sides. The e-mails keep coming. Overt threats from superiors keep happening. It’s a nightmare.

Of course, I’m on the side of the quieter group. We’re not going on strik. But we don’t personally dislike anyone that is. It’s fine. Whatever. I will still be more than happy to work with you and talk with you and I will still say hello to you in the halls. Basically, nothing changes about the person in my mind.

HOWEVER, the other side seems to have no such consideration. AT ALL.

We keep getting e-mails basically saying that if we aren’t on strik, then they want nothing to do with us.

It has gone so far as to threaten our grades, degrees, and jobs. Yes. I actually got an e-mail saying this. Shit is exploding all over the place here.

Luckily, I’ve had a couple conversations with f@culty and 98% understand that as TAs, we’re in a weird position and will in no way evaluate us differently or affect our grades based on what we do when tomorrow comes.

But really??!?

For one, it’s illegal. Illegal on so many levels.

Also, they refuse to see our side.

Our side that needs our paycheck. That can’t afford to get our pay docked. The fact that I signed a contract and I agreed to work. I KNEW WHAT I WAS GETTING. Why are you complaining AFTER your signed the contract? You can read. You knew. This just baffles me to no end.

Also, WE ARE TEMPORARY an PART-TIME. We, in no way, deserve the same benefits that full-time f@culty receive. We’re transient. And no, the school should NOT be paying for he@lthc@re for our familes. WE ARE PART TIME.

Basically, I do not agree with what the TA uni@n wants. I don’t.

And I will reiterate- I am not anti-uni@n. I FULLY support the f@culty and their complaints and they should strik since the administration seems to ignore them.

But as a TA, I have a job to do. And I’m not going to strik for things that I am opposed to.

And f@ir sh@re?!

The uni@n goes on and on about how much fees are and how unfair the administration is, but then they take stipend increases off the table and ADD f@ir sh@re to our fees?! They are just hurting the people they “represent”.

And if I get told that I’m only complaining now since the strik is tomorrow, they are wrong. I, and others, have sent numerous e-mails and attended meetings to tell the uni@n how we feel and we are shot down, belittled, told we are wrong and dumb and have no morals.

Oh yeah. The administration has offered pretty good deals. The uni@n has never once brought it to the members to vote on. They aren’t looking out for anyone. They are just as money grubbing as the rest, only the administration isn’t telling me that I have no right to talk and that if I even have a question about something that I am “espousing anti-uni@n rhetoric”.

Sure has been all sunshine and rainbows around these parts I tell ya.

So that’s where we are.

My husband will be walking me and my friends to class on Friday. We’re a little nervous because of the combative and hostile environment that has been created. We don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m sure I’ll be called all sorts of things. Too bad they don’t have a dictionary, because I am NOT a sc@b. I am not covering anyone else’s classes. I am just doing my job and what I believe in.

So we shall see.

I’m fairly anxious and edgy. I can handle being screamed at when I’m doing what I know is right for me. My professors know that I support them. My friends know my heart and know why I’m doing what I’m doing. I can only hope this ends well. And without Mr. A punching someone. He gets a little defensive.

I’ll keep ya posted. Too bad all my anonymity is about to be thrown out the window… Le sigh.

 

**Again, apologies for the spelling goofiness. Trying not to end up on the uni@ns radar. They already keep calling and showing up in my office to harrass me. I would like for my blog to be left alone.

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Filed under A little More About Me, Freak Out Much?, Grad School?, Learning More, Life After College, Teaching in College, WTF

I Haz Smartz

Some days, I feel like a total idiot.

No, not some days. Most days.

Here I am, in a graduate program in literature sitting in classes with Ph.D. students that have written books that the History channel has bought rights to and made into a series.

REALLY?!?!

I have to be in class with you and do presentations on my research in front of you when you have been a college professor for 10 years and decided to get your Doctorate?!?

Cue panic.

Granted, there are also undergrads in the class, but they don’t have to do the same research presentations that the graduate students do. Lucky kids. Oh to be in undergrad again and having hardly anything to worry about.

Just this morning, my friend M and I were being silly in my office before class and rocking out to Queen and reading about Resse Witherspoon getting hit by a car and talking about where we wanted to get margaritas this weekend. And then I hear some people down the hall having a heated discussion about the feminist leanings of writers in the Victorian era and about all the sexual repression in the literature.

Yeah. These actually happen. These conversations take place daily in our hallways. All the time. With very smart things being said about very smart topics that make my eyes glaze over and wonder if they were speaking French.

I don’t know if it’s just that I’ve been out of school for a while, but I feel like I am just not even close to being as smart as these people. It crosses my mind that maybe I’ve somehow fooled the admission committee and I’m really not cut out for this program.

And that, my friends, is a terrifying concept.

What if I really am not going to be successful at this? I went through not having a job. I’m taking out loans to help cover what my assistantship doesn’t. And I don’t even know if I’m going to be good at this.

Yes, I enjoy the teaching part. My observation went well. But do I have what it takes to be a successful master of literature?

Who knows.

It’s all a bit intimidating.

My plan for that scary research presentation is to just go first, that way if I bomb, at least I was first and won’t have to see how awesome they did before I go up there and look like a 5 year old.

Yes, I’m sure I’ll be fine. Yes, I’m sure I will get into the swing of things. I’ll figure it out and do what I need to do.

So for now, I’ll put my headphones on as I watch the End of the World video and wonder what Beyonce will name her child and put a smiley stamp on my students’ assignments. Hopefully if one of those super smart people come into my office, it will be one of the times I’m not on twitter or drooling over Kate Spade things. Hopefully.

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Filed under A little More About Me, Grad School?, Learning More, Teaching in College, What to do?

Only comment.

I have not whispered a peep about this trial. Not one. My husband and i discussed it, but beyond him, I have not expressed one single opinion.

And I still won’t. Only one social media friend knows how I felt/feel and that was through private messages.

I knew that no matter which side I was on, someone would disagree with me, and it was not that important to me for me to get involved.

Even more?

I have no legal background. None.

Even more reason for me to keep my English degree mouth shut.

Yes, I do know what beyond a reasonable doubt it. Yes, I do know about circumstantial evidence and things have to be proven.

But I remained silent.

Except that I’m friends with A LOT of lawyers/law school people in social media. I actually got into this whole world through Law School Wife, so naturally, that’s who I have originally made friends with and connections with. And I’ve loved it. Law has always interested me so it’s fun for me to talk to people on the other side and hear their opinions and just how it all works.

But today.

Today a rift has formed.

Between lawyers and non lawyers.

And it’s probably not even a big deal. And the things being said are probably just over generalizations. But for some reason, they have deeply bothered me and hurt me some.

I understand many people who don’t understand how the law works and who had their own verdicts made years ago are ranting about everything. I get that. it’s annoying. Especially for the lawyers who truly understand how this works. even those who thought she was guilty knew that they did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt, so they were glad that the justice system worked how it should. We don’t want to lock people up just on mass opinion.

But the comments that ALL non lawyers are ranting and that NONE of them understand how this works bothers me. Yes it’s dumb. Yes, I’m taking something personal that has nothing to do with me.

But I have been quiet and I may be a “non lawyer”, but doesn’t mean that I’m dumb or ignorant of the justice system and the process that is involved.

No, this isn’t earth shattering. And should I care? Probably not. But if people are going to get all riled up, so can I.

So this non-lawyer is still keeping her opinions to herself. But the next time a non-educator talks about our education system, I won’t be biting my tongue.

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Filed under A little More About Me, Blogging, Learning More, Pop Culture, The Others, WTF

An Amazing Year

Today, I celebrate my very first (and only first) wedding anniversary.

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I married my absolute best friend.

To this day, I still wouldn’t change anything about our wedding day. I get all smiley and nostalgic just thinking about that day.

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It was a beautiful early summer day.  Blue skies. Warm, bordering on hot, weather, and all our friends and family surrounded us as we committed our lives to each other.

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But that was a year ago. And believe me, A LOT has happened in this last year.

Those of you who have been reading since then, you’ve been following my journey and seen all the ups and downs.

There are times I think that we experienced more than other newlyweds, but then again, I think I just wasn’t expecting all the new challenges that were to come.

We moved to Ctown in July since Mr. A would be starting law school in August. This would be the first time we, as a couple, had a place. I had basically lived with him since January, but I still had my own apartment for those days when I was stressed or upset or just needed some space. But moving into a small two bedroom apartment kind of eliminates the chance for separate space.

This was also the first time Mr. A had moved away from his hometown. Since he attended undergrad in Mville, he had always lived close to his parents and family. Now, I’m in no way saying Mr. A wasn’t independent, but he was always used to having that family support system no more than 5 minutes away. When weather was rough, or he wanted a home cooked meal, or even just to do free laundry, he could always come home. So it was an adjustment for him as well.

Our relationship has always been strong. We talk about problems and we work through them. But poor Mr. A is kind of a neat freak and he just happened to marry a girl who was used to living out of duffel bags and was a little messy. Clothes in closets and drawers was a bit of a foreign concept to me. We had more roommate issues than anything. Cleaning up. Doing chores. Those kinds of things.

During all of this, I was looking for a teaching job. I had some experience, not much, but some. I had glowing recommendations. And I was eager and new and ready to work. Unfortunately, I graduated with an education degree at the worst possible time.

So I moved on. I figured, okay, teaching isn’t going to happen this year, but I’m smart and have a good resume, I will find another good job easily.

Yeah, not so much.

I was unemployed for nearly 5 months. It was a terrible 5 months. I won’t go into it all, you can read all those posts if you want, but it killed my self esteem and I was a wreck.

All the while, Mr. A started law school and could really have used a wife that was in a better state to be more supportive. I tried, and I was good at it at first, but quickly it all unraveled, and he was trying to keep me from falling apart.

I finally found a job, but not a good one. I was underemployed and working in retail, which is the worst possible job ever. (Might be exaggerating, but it’s definitely the worst job that I’ve ever had.) I was happy to be working again, but that quickly faded when I was being treated like crap. I have a new found respect for anyone working in retail and I am as nice as possible to all of them.

Mr. A then got pretty sick during his second semester of law school. This involved lots of doctor’s visits, 5 small surgeries, and one horrible night in the emergency room. Luckily, he is doing great now, but it was a lot to handle at the time, especially when he was still a first year law student.

Finally, he finished his first year. And not only finished, but has two truly amazing summer positions that will give him such fantastic experience and connections that I can’t even express in words how proud of him I am.

And while, yes, I am still currently working in retail, my last day will be in early July. And in August, I will start working on my M.A. in English literature. And not only that, the school has offered me a graduate assistantship that has me teaching two English 101 classes and in exchange, they pay for my graduate school. I am finally working my way back to being proud of myself and I cannot wait for this next chapter of my career to begin.

And through all of these ups and downs, my husband has been there for me. We have grown as a couple. We are closer and have learned to rely on each other. We support each other 100%. We stand by one another and give words of encouragement on those days that it seems impossible to keep going.

My husband is everything to me. And no, this doesn’t mean that I just do whatever he says or that I can’t have a life without him. Believe me, he will be the first to tell you that I do not give in easily or without a fight. And I’ve actually enjoyed having some time alone. Everyone needs time to themselves and I’m using this time to rejuvenate before the fall.

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But I do miss him while he’s gone and I couldn’t be more excited to spend many many more years with him. And while this first year was a doozy, I think this next year will be great for us as we learn even more about each other and grow together as a couple.

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Happy first anniversary to us. I think we will toast with a well deserved glass of champagne.

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Filed under A little More About Me, Learning More, Life After College, Life in Law School (even if I'm not in it), Married Life, Pictures, wedding

Domestic Goddess in Training

I am not domestic. I’ve said it a hundred times on this blog. I hate cleaning. I can cook, but I don’t really enjoy it and I’m not good with just making up recipes. I would love to decorate, but since I knew we were leaving in a year, I didn’t put much on the walls here. So apparently nesting isn’t my thing either. I’m a little messy. Not dirty messy, but clothes and such messy. I don’t go on cleaning binges. Cleaning doesn’t help me relieve stress. I’ve always loved to bake, but I have to be in the mood and sometimes get flustered when I don’t know what a recipe wants me to do.

But, I’m working on it.

Last semester (and yes, because of law school, and soon to be grad school, I still count our lives in semesters. Can’t wait for THAT to end), while I was unemployed, I tried my hand at meal planning and cooking new recipes. I had the free time and thought I should do it since Mr. A was in school.

I liked it sometimes, but meal planning was hard for me and such a pain in the butt. I wasn’t good at creating a meal plan that contained similar items, so I would end up spending a small fortune on ingredients that i would use for one meal and then it would go bad. And we were on a limited budget, so spending $150 a week just on groceries wasn’t going to work.

But I enjoyed cooking some meals. The beer braised beef recipe was delicious. Melissa’s bruschetta recipe is still a staple in our house. (Add some goat cheese for a different twist. But her directions are flawless!) Life of a Doctor’s Wife guacamole is fantastic. Spicy turkey sloppy joes are one of my favorite.

But then I got a job. Worked weird hours. And so meal planning and extravagant meals ended. Lots of frozen things were cooked.

But now, that I’m home alone most days, I have this weird desire to cook again. My husband is a really fantastic cook. He created an amazing curried chicken penne dish from scratch and without a recipe. I think I might want to try new recipes again when I’m home alone so that I don’t feel the pressure to make something wonderful for him. If it’s bad and it’s just me, then I can make some mac and cheese and move on.

Also, I’m trying to eat healthier. I know I can’t cut out carbs, at least not entirely. When I tried the first two weeks of South Beach, my husband said I was the meanest person ever and very quickly wanted to shove a loaf of bread down my throat so I would calm down.

But I’m making small changes.

Like tonight’s dinner. It’s whole wheat hamburger helper stroganoff with ground turkey. It’s really good and cutting out a lot of the fat and other things. I still shouldn’t eat the whole thing, but it’s a start.

And a small tip from me: As soon as you scoop out as much food on your plate that you should eat, immediately put the leftovers in a container, even before sitting down to eat. This way, you can’t easily get seconds when you don’t need them and you won’t be tempted to snack, or pick, at the remaining food. It’s helped us a lot with portion control.

Tomorrow’s breakfast will include Greek yogurt, fresh blackberries, and granola. Might even add some protein powder to make sure it fills me up for work.

I’m also feeling more of a need to clean around here since I’m alone. You would think I would be more tempted to clean when Mr. A was home, but I’ve been neater since he’s been away.

It’s all very strange. But maybe it just shows that I’m finally coming into this whole being married thing. We’ve had the relationship part down. I just needed to work on realizing that I no longer live in a dorm room. Basically, I needed to grow up some.

But don’t worry. I would still eat popcorn for dinner if I wasn’t so aggravated with my pant size.

Also, what are your favorite recipes? Tips? Ideas? Were you always a domestic goddess, or did you have to work at it like me?

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Filed under Home Sweet Home, Learning More, Life After College, Married Life

Migraines: Might hate them more than spiders. Maybe.

Last week sucked. Big time.

I had 5 days straight of migraines. Bad migraines. And I still had to work. Under fluorescent lights and music that sounded like it was blaring in my ears. It was pretty much terrible. And my pain meds didn’t do anything for it.

My migraines started in 5th grade. I had a teacher who, for some reason that I still don’t know, really didn’t like me. And while this is going to sound totally douchey, but I was a very good kid and had straight As until the 5th grade. Again, we cannot think of any reason that she picked on me, but she did. (Also, as a teacher, I very rarely think teachers are actually picking on a student and I know there are times I was a pain or deserved a teacher to get on to me, so know I’m not being subjective.) My parents never had parent teacher conferences. They didn’t even go to the ones that the school gave days off for because they just didn’t need them. But they had 7 with her in one year.

I didn’t find this out until recently, but apparently one of these meetings, my very calm and level headed dad was yelling at her and such. I would turn in an assignment, she wouldn’t really grade it, give me a D or and F. Even if I got everything correct. My dad demanded to see tests along with the grading guide and had proof what was happening. All very dramatic for a 10 year old who hated getting in trouble and was terrified of her teacher getting back at her.

So the migraines were stress induced. I missed a lot of school. There was an embarrassing incident where I got a migraine, went to the nurse, and at the time I was prescribed codine, took my meds and then went to P.E. where we were doing our track unit. So I had to run a bunch and didn’t know my medicine caused muscle weakness and I collapsed on the field. Middle school was a blast, ya’ll.

As I got older, I got them every so often. Maybe 4-6 months apart. Not often.

Until college. My sophomore year they picked up. I was waking up in the middle of the night with excruciating and nauseating pain. I was having headaches a lot and I finally went to the doctor when I had 9 migraines in 3 weeks. They put me on a medicine that lowers blood pressure to take daily and prescribed me a migraine pain medicine. The daily medicine worked and all was fine in the world. I would still get a migraine occasionally, but the other medicine would work if I took it early enough. Add in a dark cool room with a cold wash cloth on my head and it would go away.

All very manageable. Until 2 months ago.

2 months ago the migraines started picking up. Headaches were coming almost every day, and if they started in my eyebrow area (where my migraines are when I get one), I would take something for it. Before last week, I had about 10 full migraines in the last two months. Then, last Sunday I believe, I got a migraine that wouldn’t go away or get better no matter what I did. For 5 days, it was constant pain and trying not to get sick and taking medicine to at least try to stop the headache where it was instead of it getting worse. 5 days of working in my own personal hell. 5 days of coming home right after work, eating toast, and going to sleep at 7pm. 5 days of my husband’s last week before he left for his summer associate thing and all I could do was moan and cry and sleep in hopes that I would wake up and it would be gone.

In one crying fit before work, I joked that they would make a Grey’s episode about me because my head was either going to explode or I was going to perform a self lobotomy when I tried to cut out the front of my own forehead. I told him that he had to make sure Derek Shepherd performed the surgery on the show and that he acted very sad when I died since no one survives either of those options. Then I cried more because it hurt to cry and all I wanted to do was scream, but since blinking hurt, I figured that would be awful.

(Wow this is already longer than I mean for it to. Hang in. )

So I went to the doctor on Thursday. (Which was really hard to find on my insurance since my insurance people apparently think when I ask for a general practitioner I really meant a sleep disorders specialist and an optometrist.) She was lovely and nice and we talked. She performed some neurological tests. Which if you haven’t been put through them, are highly amusing and I wish I knew what different ones told them. (Like, what does my ability to run my heel down the back of the opposite leg tell the doctor?)

She then told me that my right eye droops a little. Talk about making someone self-conscious. Since I had never had a CAT scan before and with the slight eye droop, she wanted me to get one. She also gave me a prescription for an anti-depressant that also works to prevent migraines and she also prescribed Imitrex. Thursday I still had a migraine. Friday, my head still hurt, not a full out migraine, but still annoying. Saturday I still had a slight headache, but I didn’t take anything except my preventatives in case I had created rebound headaches. And yesterday, not a headache at all. Didn’t wake up with anything and it was glorious.

Today I went for my CAT scan. Much less of a big deal than I thought. I thought a CAT scan was the whole in the tube thing, and it wasn’t. They gave me an IV of contrast that gave me a weird taste in my mouth, but not a big deal. They said my doctor should call me within the next day or two.

So that’s what i know. My new preventatives seem to be working. I still have a slight headache today, but I think that’s lack of sleep and staring at this computer screen longer than I intended to. Hoping the migraines stay away and I can continue without the awful pain.

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Filed under A little More About Me, Learning More, WTF