A Little Lost & A Heartfelt Thank You...

As a new semester at Tarleton State University dawns without me, for the first time in eight years, I can hardly help but feel a little bit, well, lost. Eight years is a long investment, I feel like Tarleton has become a major part of my life, and without it I feel a bit like I don't know who I am. Without class work, term papers and exams, thesis chapter deadlines, even the teaching assistantship I did as a grad student, I'm feeling a little bit forlorn. It's a bit like the feeling I had when I graduated high school. I couldn't be happier about never having to go back, but I also couldn't figure out what, exactly, I should be doing with myself, either. I cried on and off for months after high school graduation and though I've managed to avoid that particular malady this time, I still feel the same emptiness that, if anything, is magnified by the time and effort I've invested in getting this far.

Me with Dr. Mallory Young - August 2012

But, more than the loss of Tarleton as my safe harbor, I'm feeling a particular loss at the realization that I'll never attend another English class with some of the most amazing professors I've had the pleasure of knowing. In particular, Dr. Mallory Young, who I was fortunate enough to take many classes with as an undergraduate and who was endlessly patient with me as my graduate committee chair. There are, if we're fortunate, a few people in our lives who provide us with sources of endless inspiration and encouragement. For me, that person is Dr. Young and without her I truly believe that I would not have made it through my undergraduate education, let alone my amazing years as a graduate student. Without her encouragement, I might never have attempted graduate education, which has been among the most fulfilling experience of my life.
Her unwavering patience, unyielding willingness to be completely honest when honesty was necessary, and her constant availability were invaluable to me throughout the course of my education. She has been so influential to my education, in fact, that her scholarly pursuits in women's literature and popular culture--with both Chick Lit & Chick Flicks--were a very influential in inspiring my thesis's subject matter. I respect her immensely and am saddened by my lack of future opportunities to learn more from her. Yet as I move forward, I also feel certain that the education I've received from Tarleton's English department, and from Dr. Young, will see me through whatever the next chapter might happen to be.  I know with certainty that as long as I live, I will never feel like "thank you" is sufficient for all she has given me and all she has inspired me to do.

Yet, it's all I have, the only even somewhat adequate sentiment available. So, thank you, Dr. Young.

Je vous remercie de tout cœur.

Thank you.

Since graduation...

Man, I have been a terrible blogger since I finished school. I've hardly touched this thing, which isn't a good thing. I really enjoy blogging, it has been a part of my regular routine for more than ten years, so to neglect it makes me feel a bit like a failure. Crazy, right? I just graduated with my MA, yet not blogging makes me feel like a failure. I seriously need to reevaluate my priorities. The thing is, however bad it makes me feel, there really hasn't been that much to say, or I haven't felt like saying those things there are. I've been pretty dull of late.

The most important thing I've done since graduating, oh, three(ish) weeks ago, was to go to the dentist. I had a tooth surgically removed, three fillings, and a debridement. That was not a pleasant experience, but I lived. I really, really loathe dentists--for a number of reasons--so this has not been my best month and that was a lot of work to have done all at once anyway. My appointment was almost two weeks ago and the place the tooth was removed is still bothering me. There's a huge hole in my mouth where my tooth once was (thankfully, it's not a noticeable tooth) and every time I swallow or kiss Matt I feel suction in the hole. Yuck. I'm really starting to be aggravated with my mouth always hurting. First, it hurts because I have some bad teeth, now it hurts because I had the teeth fixed.

The issue is, all the work I need done isn't done yet. I go for a cleaning on September 25th and then I have to have a root canal on a top tooth. After that, I need a bridge to fill the gap the surgical extraction left. Then I need to have two wisdom teeth removed, I need more fillings, and I'm going to have to get an old crown reset (which is going to require a specialist) because it's abscessed and has a fistula (which is allowing infection to seep out through my gums--um, yuck!!). If I get all of this done and have spent less than $10,000, it'll be a miracle and, sadly, I don't have that much. We're working on it slowly because it's going to be expensive and painful, and work I'm not looking forward to.

Other than my tooth drama, I've been doing almost nothing. I've dabbled with my book, but can't seem to find the motivation to finish it. Hell, I can't seem to get motivated to work on it at all, which is not a good thing considering I'm supposed to be doing that in lieu of working outside the house. I just can't seem to do it. But, I think it's because I'm to a place where I'm a bit stuck. I've thought through some work arounds, talked to Matt about them, and think I might know where to go next. Seriously, anyone who says writing a book is easy is either crazy or motivated in a way that I'm not. Though I think I'd be more motivated if I felt like what I was writing was good. The fact that I don't have much faith in myself is problematic because this story has been floating around in my head for, oh, years!

I'm also planning to do NaNoWriMo this year, but that won't be for another few months yet. Oh, and I'm planning to go back to grad school, but it's not something I want to discuss until I find out whether or not I'll be accepted (which isn't a problem) and whether or not the program I want to do is going to require leveling (which might be a big problem). Finally, the tooth issues have had one pretty awesome side effect. That is, I've lost about 15 lbs since the week before my tooth was pulled, since I can't eat much. Mostly, I've been subsisting on Special K Protein Shakes, pudding, and potatoes. Though I can eat a bit better now, so we'll see if that trend will keep up. I hope so because I'm down to a weight I never thought I'd see. Feels pretty good, actually!

Alright, enough rambling. First, I'm gone for three weeks, now I'm going on and on. Seems like all or nothing, maybe I could stand to learn some moderation. But before I do, you'll probably notice that I've changed my theme to something more seasonally appropriate. I know it's still the end of summer, but I'm really dying for Fall to arrive! So, I've prepared for it just a tad bit early. Hope you like it!

Okay, good night (yes, it's 2am here). ~.^

Done, Done, & Done...

I'm done!! I've graduated!! I have my MA in English!!

I worked my tail off on my classes and thesis...


Which has finally paid off...


Here're Saturday's highlights...



Finally!!

Now what?!