Sunday, January 27, 2013

Wherein I Ramble about Grad School

I'm trying to do my Organizational Behavior homework, but my mind keeps straying. Perhaps I need a break. Okay, more than perhaps, considering I've been doing homework since I woke up this morning. I did my finance homework, which is accounting right now and which took me four hours to complete. Then I read a chapter (about 60 pages) in one of my Organizational Behavior books and took the quiz for that chapter, for which I scored 50/50 points. Now, I'm trying to read the first section of a book called The Ropes to Skip, The Ropes to Know and though it's interesting reading, I can't seem to keep focused, which means I can't seem to remember what I'm reading from sentence to sentence. Ugh, my brain is fried and I still have to finish reading that section, at least, tonight so I can write a synopsis/review.

Yes, graduate school is back and yes, I'm back to stressing. The thing is, I'm not sure why I'm stressing except that it's what I do--I wasn't the least bit worried before the semester started. True, all of this material is completely new to me, but I'm getting it and it's not overly difficult, for the most part (though I am worried about passing Finance with a decent grade). It's also really, really interesting. I feel like I'm learning a practical skill to go along with my human skills and it feels good. I had no idea when the semester started that I could actually enjoy business homework, but I do. I really, really do. And while some of it may feel like common sense, I can certainly see where it's laying the groundwork for more complicated work to come. I mean, one of my management classes and my finance class are both leveling work since I don't have an undergraduate degree in business. It's completely understandable that they would require these classes.

But, that doesn't make me any less worried about doing well in them. Particularly my finance class. So far, I've done well on the quizzes and homework, but the homework is such that we can check our answers and so far, many of my answers have been wrong on the first go. So, I worry that I won't do well on the test, where I won't be able to check my answers. But, hopefully, I'll do well enough on everything else that my test grades won't completely sink me. It's just that this finance class sort of stands between me and all the rest of the program's work, which I know that I am more than competent to undertake. I just have to get past this math-like stuff with a B or better to get there--and who really wants to make a B?

So, I work on homework all weekend right now, but am planning to focus on trying to spread it out and get more work done during the week. I just have to convince myself that working Tues-Thurs and doing homework Fri-Sun isn't the most ideal way to work. Hmm, of course, right now, when I put it like that, it seems to be perfect. I suppose, as the semester proceeds, we'll see. Matt's schedule dictates a lot, particularly where finance homework is concerned because we've been trying to work on it together/in tandem so that if I have issues, I can get help with them because he's much more mathematically inclined than I am. This wouldn't be a problem if he didn't work every other weekend--which leaves me to my own devices and him trying to squeeze homework in between 12 hour shifts ever other week. Ah well, I'm sure we'll work it out. For now, I'm off to find something to eat, watch a bit of TV and then get back to my Ropes to Skip book.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Gone Shooting. . .

So, Matt and I replaced our guns this last week. What happened to the old ones is a long story for another time, but we replaced them with something very similar to what we had. I got the Magnum Research Baby Eagle (.9mm). The one I had previously was all steel, this one is polymer with a steel slide, and it feels great. We went shooting this weekend, at a range outside town, and we both had a lot of fun shooting this baby. Very easy to hold, very easy to load, very easy to shoot, very little recoil, very accurate. Matt got the Magnum Research Desert Eagle Mark XIX (.44 magnum), in steel. Both guns are black. I don't have a picture of his, but here's mine. . .

Sorry for the bad photo. I took them inside, at night, and the light's not really good. Since I still have the iPhone 3GS (no upgrade until May), my camera has no flash. So, for now, that's the best I can do. I intended to get some pics at the range this weekend, but I never got around to it. Maybe next time. Anyway, we went in to the gun shop in town on Monday, expecting to have to order them, but instead they had them in the case. Since MRI's guns are so difficult to come by, we considered it serious good luck to find them there, just waiting for us. They ran a background check, which took about twenty minutes, and we went home with our new babies. Together with a bunch of things like ammo (yikes, seriously pricey right now!!), targets that look like zombies, a cleaning kit, cleaning rags and gun oil, and ear protection.

I've actually been procrastinating about this post because of the huge anti-firearm outcry of late. It seems, even in Texas where guns are prevalent, that everyone with a gun is automatically labeled a psychopath, nut case. You wouldn't expect it here, but that's how it goes. It seems to be so divisive lately that no one's on the rational side of things. Everyone's either screaming that guns are evil and should be taken away or they're screaming that the government can have their guns when they pry them from their cold dead hands. I'm actually getting really tired of both sides. Guns are what they are, more regulations aren't necessarily a bad thing, and the government isn't trying to take away all guns, I just wish the Facebook crowd would shut the hell up about it already!

Our primary motivation is, of course, home defense. I'm home alone at night quite a lot, we live outside of town, and just behind our fence is a rodeo barn that attracts people from all over the state. So, I feel unsafe without a gun, which is ironic because when I moved in with Matt years ago--in 1999--I felt incredibly uncomfortable with the idea that he had a gun, in a box, beside the head of the bed. It was a .357 magnum revolver (I believe it was a Colt, but I could be wrong). Then, when it came up missing, I was particularly freaked out, but we filed a police report and several years later got a call out of the blue that it had been recovered. We went and picked it up and it was filthy, but Matt was able to clean it up. Nice when the law works to help and protect you.

So anyway, I'm planning to get another gun in the near future and so is Matt. While he has his eye on a Colt (or Magnum Research) 1911a, I'm looking a bit smaller. I'm going to get myself a Charter Arms .38 snub nose revolver. Though I like the shamrock green, I'll probably get the Pink Lady. I've always wanted a .38 special, ever since before I got my first gun, but Matt talked me into a semi-automatic pistol instead. Still, the desire to have it never went away, so I'm going to get it in the near future, maybe when our tax refund comes in (assuming it's enough, that is).

Anyway, I set out to talk about something completely different when I started this post, but I erased that stuff and left this topic because this topic is plenty long enough, I think! I'll write about how my job and the semester is going so far another time--probably next time, which should be soon.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Busy, Busy, Busy . . .

Wow, that last few days have been so busy! I suggested, a few days ago, that I was stuck in this sort of cycle of sameness where all of my days were a clone of those that came before them and a mirror of those that would come after. Maybe I didn't put it exactly like that, but you get the point. Then, Wednesday, the whole rhythm of my days changed. And they changed for the better. Getting a job, which starts on Tuesday, has been a huge change and because of the nature of the job, it's been a lot of work preparing. But, you know, I'm happy to do it. I'm happy to have something significant to do again. I've needed this.

So, yesterday, I went with Melanie and we turned in all of our paper work, with a transcripts and copies of driver's licenses and SS cards. We found out how many sections we'll each have (two sections each) and where we'll office. Then we had lunch with our husbands. When Matt and Joey went to work, we went clothes shopping. I got four pairs of pants, two tops, a knit cardigan with shorter sleeves that I'll still be able to wear in the spring (even though it's orange), four cami tops, five new pairs of earrings, and three new pairs of shoes--I gave the sweater dress an honest shot, but they look terrible on me! After shopping we went back to Melanie's where we worked on our syllabi, talked about our classes, and made some decisions about assignments (like peer review). When I got home, after 1:00 a.m., I worked on my syllabus some more, then I spent a half an hour boxing up all of my work clothes that're a size or two too big and hanging up my new clothes so that I could see, reasonably, what I have.

By the time I went to bed, around 3:00 a.m., I was exhausted. But, it was the happy kind of exhausted that comes along with having had a really fulfilling day! Of course, that's not even the beginning of the last of it. I have a lot of assignment sheets and slide shows to update/work on this weekend, while I watch the playoff games (Go Broncos!!). Then, on Monday, I have to go in to make copies of my syllabus for my students (which I suppose I could do on Tuesday morning, instead), go to the help desk and get my password problems sorted out, go to Wal-Mart for supplies and dog food, get a hair cut, and get my nails done, pick up Matt's financial aid check because I forgot to set up direct deposit for his checks until it was too late this semester. Then, when all that's done, I'll have to work on class work for my own classes because I'm a student again, too. Monday's going to be busy, too!

Then, Tuesday, classes begin. My classes are at 1:00 p.m. and 2:25 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. Since Tuesday/Thursday (TR) classes are longer, but there are fewer of them, I'm going to have to make some adjustments. I've never taught a TR class before. I'm looking forward to the challenge, because filling an hour and fifteen minutes will be pretty different than trying to fill 50 minutes, for sure. It seems like, right now, half of my classes are meeting in the lab, but I'm probably going to make some adjustments so we only meet in the lab every other week, or something. Not sure yet. Okay, that might be something you don't really care about, but if I can't use my blog to ramble on and on about things only I care a whit about, what good is it?!

I don't really see a moment to breathe in my future until, maybe, Wednesday, but then Matt has to work so we won't be spending much time together. No wait, we have to go to the eye doctor on Monday afternoon, which will take up most of our afternoon. THEN Matt has to go to work. By next weekend, I'm going to be exhausted, but like yesterday's kind of exhausted, I'm hoping it's because the week has been a fulfilling one. Okay, for now, back to working on my assignment sheets and class materials! I hope y'all are having a nice weekend!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Got the Job!!

I got the job!! If we're friends on Facebook, you may already knows that, but it warrants saying, anyway. I couldn't actually be happier right now. One of my New Year's resolutions was to get a job and here I am, 10 days into the new year, with a shiny new job! Go me!! And the best part is, it's not exactly a job I sought out, but rather one that sort of came to me, which again, is awesome. The job is an adjunct instructor position at the university where I did both my undergraduate and graduate work. I'm going to be teaching English again!

I'm wondering at what point I'll start to actually feel like a teacher? I taught English for two years while I did my graduate work, as a graduate assistant, but I never actually felt like a teacher. At least, not in the traditional sense of the word. Maybe it's because I associate teachers with primary and secondary education. Now, I won't be a graduate assistant anymore, I'm actually faculty now. Maybe that's the ticket, that I'm not exactly a student--at least not in the English department, anymore.

So, I don't know yet how many sections I'll have, but it'll probably be just two for this semester. I'm teaching English 112, College Composition and Research, a course I've taught before. If it works out, I'm hoping to keep adjunct teaching and get more sections in the future. I'm not yet sure how it works from semester to semester, I'll let you know. But, for now at least, I have a job and one I'm actually looking forward to going back to. I have a ton of work to do, of course, but I think I'm up to the challenge. I'll have to update my syllabus and assignment sheets, decide on paper topics, find readings, update PowerPoint slides, make copies. Lots to do and very little time to do it, particularly since school starts on Monday.

Melanie and I were both interviewed today and both offered a position, so we're going to be doing this together, which is particularly significant since she and I have pretty much gone through the entire process together. We were undergrads together, then grad students together, and now we're adjunct teaching at the same time. We may even share an office space! We've always been close, she's been my best friend for eight and a half years, so this is amazing. I mean, we say the same things at the same time, we show up to work dressed in the same outfits, we're definitely on the same wave length--as a matter of fact, when I told her what I was planning to wear for my interview, she told me she would have to change some so we didn't match. Today we were joking that we're soul mates. I'm so pleased for us!

So for now, I'm off to do the stack of employment paperwork we were given. It's a mountain of signing, but I think I can get it squared away tonight. That should work. Good night!

PS. I might even have something interesting to talk about again. Yay!! (~.^)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

An Interview!!

I have a job interview tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m.  It's not for the job I had previously applied for, but it is at Tarleton! I received and responded to a job lead I didn't expect this morning, which was a pleasant surprise, to say the very least. Since I'm in the market for a job now, I'm hoping to get this one.

I'll be sure to write again tomorrow and let you know how it goes, one way or the other--with more details about the job, of course. For now, cross your fingers (and toes) and wish me luck!! This
could be is exactly what I need right now. :)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Control, Acceptance, & Risk Taking

I was folding laundry tonight when, quite out of the blue, it occurred to me that it's a new year. Now that may seem like a duh moment, particularly since we're a week into said new year, but it was kind of huge for me. New years feel like a fresh start, to me. They always have. They feel like a time when it's okay to make goals and changes in your life. I suppose they do for everyone, right? That's what new year's resolutions are all about, after all. But, I feel it deeply. I have this issue where I get stuck in a rut, doing the same things over and over. But not any more!!

Of late, my life has been a bit like Groundhog Day. You know, the movie where Bill Murray (bleh!) keeps re-living the same day, over and over? Yeah, while I'm talking much more figuratively than that, it's how I've been feeling. Every day it's the same exact thing. Since I'm not working, and because we only have one car, and because we're very much on Matt's schedule, I'm stuck. I'm telling you, every day it's the same exact thing. It is incredibly frustrating. But what's more frustrating is that I'm feeling like my life is out of my control. Every single aspect of my life is predictable and I can't seem to break the cycle.

I'm bored and I can't seem to do anything about it. I'm stuck in a repeating cycle of sameness and I can't do anything about it. I'm stuck feeling frumpy and I can't seem do anything about it. It's hard, but the year is new and maybe it's time for me to try. Bored I can try to rectify with a job, which I'm looking for. A job will also fix my repeating cycle of sameness (or at the very least exchange it for a new cycle of sameness). And frumpy, I think I can fix that, too.

This is where my laundry-borne revelation comes in. And follow me on this because while it starts out pretty shallow, just thinking about clothes, it becomes something much more. So, I've always dressed for comfort. In high school I wore jeans and tees. When I got older, I also tried to dress to flatter my figure. I've worn what I like and what I think looks good on me. Some of my clothes are awesome, some of them aren't, but now that it's a new year--and I'm planning to go shopping with Melanie next week--I'm thinking 2013 is the year for more risks. Maybe I'll buy a few things that I wouldn't normally wear. Maybe I'll buy skinny jeans (not likely, they're not flattering), maybe I'll wear more dresses or skirts. I don't know, but I need to do something.

But it has to be more than that. A lot of my clothes don't fit because in 2012 I lost weight. About 40 pounds, in all. I dropped two sizes. I need new clothes, but clothes aren't really the root of the problem. I've always struggled with my weight and I think, this year, in 2013, I'm going to take the biggest risk of all. I'm just going to try to accept myself for who I am. I'm not skinny. I'll never be skinny. I didn't lose 40 lbs because I was dieting or trying to lose it, I lost it because I cut sugary carbs out of my diet. That simple. And I'm healthy. I'm really healthy, at least physically. But it's not good for my mental health to feel horrible about my weight all the damn time. I've got one life and if I'm going to try to be happy, it has got to be in the body I have.

So this year, no talk about dieting. This blog is officially a no diet zone. See that, over there, on the side bar? Yeah, it's a no diet zone now, no diet talk here anymore. I'm not talking about losing weight, I'm not dieting, I'm not getting down on myself for being fat. Watch this, ready? Okay, here goes...

I accept myself.

And right now, at 3:30 a.m., I mean that with all of my heart. I mean it with everything I am. I really accept who I am, weight and all. It could be the tired talking. I could wake up in the morning and not feel this way, but I don't think so. This is my first step toward making a change in the new year and taking control of my life, at least a little bit. In 2013, I'm going to stop being a bitch to myself and give myself a break. I am who I am, I need to be okay with that. And if that means shopping for what I like, rather than what hides my figure, then I'm going to do it. If it means wearing colors (gasp!), then I'm going to do that too (though I already wear quite a bit of pink and orange). All this from folding laundry. Who'd have thought? ^.^

Good Health, Job Hunting, & Going Back to School

Looking back on it, it seems like last month I couldn't shut up. This month, so far, not a whole lot to say. I suppose that's because nothing's really changed. I have a few things, but mostly I feel like I want to write. I have the urge to blog, but not much to say. So, I'm here anyway and blogging because I can't seem to ignore it, because it's a new year, and because if I don't blog then it gets harder and harder to do so later. It's a vicious cycle.

So I suppose the first thing is that my cheer around Christmas time that I was giving myself a clean bill of health for the holidays seems to be spot on. My doctor sends out a notice about labs, I got mine, and everything's perfect. All of my labs came back looking as good as they can look. Great, in fact. Cholesterol is good, thyroid is good, blood sugar/A1C is good, girl physical is good, my blood pressure was good and I'd lost some weight since last time I was at the doctor. All is good! When I read it to Matt, he said, "Bitch!" He was grinning, so I'm thinking he meant it in the nicest possible way. He's got a touch of labs-envy, it seems. The man wishes his labs were as clean and shiny as mine. Truthfully, I wish they were too, I worry about him sometimes.

Otherwise, not a whole lot going on. I've started the job search by applying for a job at Tarleton. It's a student records specialist job and I hope I'm considered, I'd really like to work at Tarleton again. I've also come to realize something problematic about job hunting. My social anxiety issues seem to be affecting my ability to look for work. I have no problems looking for jobs, but when I find an opening I have a very hard time bringing myself to apply for them. Extreme fear is the only way I can explain it. Of what, I have no idea, but it's so extreme at times that I simply can't do it. There have been times I've actually filled out the application and then not submitted it, though none recently. I googled it to see if I was alone in this and it seems a fairly common problem for people suffering from SA and agoraphobia. I contemplated therapy last year, but decided I couldn't get up the nerve to actually go. I'm back to contemplating it because it's seriously affecting my ability to function in the real world right now.

Let's see. That's all I've got other than getting ready to go back to school. The books for our classes are going to be about $650 for each of us, so I'm hoping that we can just share. One of them is $530 all by itself, which is insane. All in all, I'm feeling pretty calm about going back, but Matt's pretty nervous. I'm chalking that up to already having gone to graduate school, where he hasn't. Also, I figure if business doesn't work out for me, I've only time and a little bit of money to lose. I already have a master's degree. Matt doesn't, so he's got more to lose and further to go then I do. Last I heard, Melanie is having the same response I am, she's completely chill about it. Probably for the same reasons. But, I'm looking forward to the three of us (me, Matt, and my bestie Melanie) all going to grad school together--and in the case of me and Melanie, together again! That's going to be awesome!!

Alright, now that I've blabbed on and on for almost five paragraphs about the mundane things going on around here, I'm going to go do laundry and catch up on my TV programs. I'm already planning my next post, which will be about Star Wars: The Old Republic. I would have put that post here, but I didn't want a post about an MMORPG to be the first post of the year, after my new year's post. That just seemed wrong. Until next time, good night.