A PhD Obviously Doesn’t Guarentee Intelligence

Have I mentioned how much I really, really, really don’t like this professor?  Ugh, I could just scream.  I got my second paper back today.  I worked on this paper, man.  I really liked my argument.  I took my time and did a way better job on it than I did the first one for this class.  At least I didn’t write it in two days like has been my habit lately.  Anyway, she didn’t think I developed my argument at all.  She said it didn’t make sense and wasn’t supported well.  That’s just total crap, and I’m not just saying that.  It’s like she didn’t even read it.  At one point she refuted something I said.  It’s footnoted, lady!  Look it up.  I took that fact from the weekly reading assignments.  If she doesn’t believe it, don’t fault me.  Take it up with the historian who wrote it.  And the big thing she took off for was a thing I fixed according to her comments the time before.  She didn’t like how I led into quotes.  Although it’s correct according to the citation source the course provided me at the beginning, I did it her way.  Now she says I should have gone back and done it the way I had been doing it.  Aahh!  I want to pull my hair out.  I’ll write however she wants me to if only she knew what that was!  One of my biggest pet peeves is professors who can’t separate their personal preferences from what’s actually acceptable.  I don’t care if she doesn’t like full sentence quotes when she writes.  I’m still allowed to do it if I do it correctly.  And I did it once!  Just once!  Does that warrant the mini novel worth of comments she had to leave it about it?  I have no confidence in my final for this class now.  I don’t know how she even wants it, which I should have some clue by this point in the course.

This is not what I wanted to think about right before bed.  I’ve developed a cold I think, so that’s making me uncomfortable, and the internet connection at this “lovely” establishment is spotty.  Thank goodness it started working finally.  I couldn’t have waited until tomorrow to find out that little tidbit.

Mini Vacation

Yes, I know it has been quite a few days, but I’ve been busy.  Honest!

I had a paper due for class.  It’s one of the last assignments and it comes at a horribly busy time with everything else that I’m doing to wrap up.  It’s never fun.  I think I did well on it though.  Hopefully better than I did on the last one.  I should be finding out in a day or two, so we’ll see.

DH finished his training and had four days of leave.  He came out to visit last Friday, another reason I was feeling rushed about the paper.  I hardly do any work with him around, so I wanted to get as much done as possible beforehand.  We had a great weekend.  We went to a state park on Saturday that has a lots of trails along a major river.  I called DH a billy goat because I think he spent more time climbing the rocks over the river than he did on the main path.  It was (and still is) unseasonably hot, so that took a little wind out of our sails.

Sunday was Shakespeare’s birthday celebration!  It was really hot, so we didn’t stay the whole day, but it was really fun.  It’s at the Folger Shakespeare Library.  They have a fabulous reading room with the largest collection of original Shakespearean works and an elaborate stained glass window.  Gorgeous.  It’s only open to approved Ph.D. students for research except every year on Shakespeare’s birthday.  I’ve been dying to go but have never had the chance.  I made it this year.  There was a lot of stuff to do for kids–drawing, scavenger hunt (which I did even though I was a bit too old), quill making, paper pressing, costumes, skits, and medieval sword play.  Plus there was plays in the theater, the gardens to meander through, and the two reading rooms were open as well as the museum hall.  There was food and music and all the actors from the theater were wandering around in full costume all day.  There was even birthday cake!  It’s a shame it was so stinkin’ hot, but it was very cool even so.  I highly recommend it if you’re around next year on April 26.

DH had to report to his final training on today, Tuesday.  I planned a little mini vacation for myself.  I drove out to his reporting station with him and planned to stay the week.  I was going to piddle with homework while he was busy, and in the evenings we could explore the area.  I had made billeting reservations over a week ago because there’s a huge event in the local area, and I knew hotel rooms would be scarce.  We got here and his and my reservations had been canceled and his reporting time moved until the 14th of May.  I should know better.  I should expect this stuff.  I know that, but I was so upset.  It might have been the day and a half stuck in a car or the fact that pollen has exploded since the weather’s been so hot and my allergies have gone haywire.  The 14th is three weeks away.  That’s three extra weeks of leave where we could have stayed at my house instead of the flea bag motel they put us in because it’s the only thing under the government per diem rate.  That’s three weeks of restaurant meals.  It’s so frustrating.  It only takes a phone call, but the military seems to boycott those sorts of courtesies.  I swear, one day I will be in a place where things like that won’t sent me into instant fury.  It’s just that it’s Every.  Single.  Time.  I’m just glad we don’t have kids to be shuffling while all this is going on.

So here I sit, lached onto my Kleenex box for dear life.  I’m itchy and snotty because of these allergies, but I will enjoy my mini vacation.

If I expected these waves, I would have learned to surf

As you can tell I’m trying to post more often.  When I started this blog, this is more how I envisioned it going, only maybe with slightly more exciting commentary, but I underestimated how busy I was at the time.  Live and learn I guess.

Lately, probably for the last week or so, my emotions have been yo-yoing like crazy.  I’m not quite sure what’s up.  My increase in gym time has definitely reduced the extremes of my emotional changes.  I still fluctuate, but the peaks and valleys haven’t been as drastic.  In the past, the space and time between the spikes might have been high, but they weren’t close together, relatively speaking.  (Writing that gives me horrible flashbacks of middle school science class and learning about wavelengths.  Yikes!)  This past week they’ve been sudden and often, like several times a day.  I don’t know what my deal is.  It’s not fun at all.  Nothing changed in my routine to bring this on, but once it was here, my eating has gotten out of whack, my sleeping schedule is getting worse, and my motivation for even daily, petty things is erratic to say the least.  I’ve been bouncing between begging for help and ignoring all contact with people.  The emotional swings are exhausting.  Hopefully it levels out or I can get to the bottom of it soon.

Other than that, I don’t have much.  My class is in the last few weeks, so it’s work, work, work.  I bought some lingerie in anticipation of DH’s training break coming up.  It came in the mail this past weekend, but it’s too big.  Boo.  It’s hard to find that stuff for smaller people.  For some reason designers must think all women are built like Hef’s Girls Next Door–small everywhere but the boobulous region.  I was motivated to alter it this week in my free time, but now I’m not feeling it so much.  Maybe I’ll scrap the idea all together.  I think I’d be more disappointed in myself about not getting it done than DH would be.  Guys don’t really care about the frilly outer garments.  They’re all for the ladies to feel cute.  On second thought, maybe a mental vacation weekend where I feel pretty and special and loved is exactly what I need.

Added Thoughts

I got to thinking about my post from yesterday, about feeling like “a book that can’t be read.”  I guess it sort of applies to being a military spouse in the civilian world right now too.  Nobody really gets what I’m going through, and civilian view points especially are shaped to a large extent by the media.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but in a small way, who cares?  The media can say what they want about the war or the troops, but it doesn’t even begin to describe the mountains of gear that military families have to deal with in their homes, the day to day frustrations with being apart from loved ones, and dealing with the turtle-slow bureaucracy associated with every aspect of military life.  Long distance relationships are tough, and many days I just don’t feel understood no matter how sympathetic someone seems.  Ideally, I’d like to have my personal book reader home all the time, but at least on post I can have other military people who can translate my book instead.  Right now I don’t have either.

Obviously I’m still feeling crummy today even though the weather is gorgeous and I’ve been bustling around all day.  Poo.

“I Feel Like a Book that Can’t be Read”-Blow Away by Staind

Like I said before, DH and I are pretty into music without actually being musicians ourselves.  I really think people can really connect with music if it’s right for them.  Some of most amazing poets are really song writers, and they get overlooked because they set their words to music.  I say this because I’m having a crummy night tonight, and I’m turning to one of my favorite cds for comfort.

Blasting away on my ipod right now is Staind‘s cd, 14 Shades of Grey.  Aaron Lewis, the lead singer of Staind, is simply amazing.  He has a way of articulating my internal struggles in a way that I can’t imagine doing myself.  It makes sense to me, and I always wonder if people who have never gone through depression understand it better having really examined his lyrics.  His voice is a whole nother story.  It’s effortlessly full of emotion.

Staind is pretty serious rock music, borderline metal, but I think that’s pushing the definition some.  Please don’t misunderstand Staind to be some of these bands in the news that sound like they’re encouraging suicide and violence.  The lyrics are actually the exact opposite.  They stress that depression is incredibly hard but beatable, that addiction robs people of life without ever fixing the problem, and suicide is a personal failure that can be avoided.  In all the hard, edgy, loud music I hear hope.  I hear a fellow sufferer that was in so much pain that he tried many of the same solutions I have.  I hear the same failures that I have.  And I hear ownership, acceptance, and hope for an inner peace that is eventually possible.

All this is wrapped up and packaged in a format that helps me deal when I’m feeling bad.  I get the anger so I can internally range for awhile.  I get the pain and the desperation that makes me sink into a hole for awhile.  Then I get the smack in the face that says ‘if I give up it’s not because it was too hard but because I quit trying.’  I hear that I’m not alone and that there are people just like me silently struggling.  Personally, I think that’s one of the most important thing for people with depression to know and remember.  They are not alone.  Other people feel just as hopeless and scared and desperate and angry.  But when we can’t articulate that to others and we can’t understand when someone else attempts to reaffirm that, loneliness seems like the only conclusion.

Music helps me go through the range of emotions associated with depression without acting on them.  I don’t have to harm myself anymore.  I don’t have to contemplate suicide.  I don’t have to revert back to my safe, solitary mental cave.  I do like giving myself the time, whether it’s an hour or an afternoon, to let my soul cry though.  I think it’s important to give those feelings their space and recognize them.  It lets me think about if there’s a cause and what I can do about getting better.  In a way, too, it feels like grieving.  It feels like recognizing and remembering parts of me that are past.  I’ve found a way to put some parts of me on a box on a shelf.  They’re not gone forever, but I don’t need to carry them with me every day.  Most of them aren’t fond memories at all, but I still spent so much time with them and warped them into my safety net that putting distance between them and me was very hard.  Putting on my music and letting all that old stuff wash over me gives me some time where I don’t have to be strong.  I don’t have to resist every thought and impulse for that stuff to come back and become my priority again.  Now I’m strong enough to open the box for awhile and be able to put the lid back on when I choose.

Master’s thesis

Eek!  I just submitted my proposed topic for my Master’s thesis.  I’m so nervous.  Like more nervous than I was at my wedding.  It didn’t help that the guy in charge of it all sent out an email a few weeks ago saying that this was our “opus,” something that will follow us forever and speak for our education and academic abilities when we were unable to.  Uhh…no pressure though, right?

I’m going to be crushed if it’s rejected.  This was the best I could come up with, and I’m really getting excited about diving into it.  If I have to think of something else before the deadline in two weeks, I’m going to just cry.  I really shouldn’t have put all my hopes on this so soon, but I couldn’t help it.  I’m all fidgety right now.  I hope he gets back to me soon.  The suspense is killing me already!

Sigh…Over Too Soon

DH has come and gone already.  It was an extremely short weekend that attempted to recharge both our batteries.  I don’t know if we quite got there.  Just too much we wanted to do and not enough quiet time.  Easter dinner turned out great; the peach pie was my personal favorite, but it was all delicious.  I made sure to grab on of DH’s t-shirts.  It’s one of the best medicines for a lonely night.

I found it ironic that I’ve been tossing and turning most nights because the bed feels too empty, but once DH finally got here, I wasn’t used to such a blanket hog!  Ha ha ha, I grumbled both nights he was here.  I’m pretty sure if he stayed just one more night, I would have remembered our routine.  My body’s so confused!

DH has two weeks left of his current training.  He’s going to try and swing through afterward because he’s got three or four days off.  We tentatively planned on me going out with him for the second round of training for a week or so.  Long car drives are just better with two people.  I’m needing a change of scenery on top of it, and it might be a long summer apart if he can’t get leave.

I’m just bored.  I looked into volunteering today.  Many of the local places require several sessions of training and long time committments though.  Plus I have the the reaccuring transportation issue.  Sigh, if only this would go faster.

Love According to Journey

My DH is coming tomorrow!!  I’m so excited.  He’s flying in just for the long weekend.  I get the jitters every time this happens.  I’m always so nervous  no matter how long he’s been gone.  It’s silly, I know, because I have nothing to worry about.  And I’m not even sure what I’m nervous about.  How much can I really change in a month?  It takes us about ten minutes to fall into the old, comfortable routine, but we’ve been lucky so far and he hasn’t had to be deployed yet.  It’s quickly approaching, and I already worry about how we’re going to interact when he comes home from that.  Sorry…getting off track.

So, yeah, he’s getting here tomorrow, and I’ve very, very, very excited.  I’m not going to beat around the bush, it’s the honeymoon phase that I love so much.  If you’re looking for a silver lining about frequent absences, that’s certainly one of them!  In my opinion, it keeps the spark there.  I haven’t exactly been married for a long time, but it doesn’t take twenty years of marriage for two people to fall into a routine that gets more automatic than romantic.  These short interludes of cheesy, sloppy, high school giddiness in a relationship are a nice refresher.  I was rocking out to Journey at the gym tonight (Hey, don’t judge!  The tempo is a great motivator on the treadmill.), and their song “Faithfully” really says it all.  “Two strangers learn to fall in love again/ I get the joy/ Of rediscovering you…”  I know it’s odd, but I do feel really lucky that I get to do that rather frequently in my relationship.  It’s the part of a relationship that people always miss and hop from person to person trying to keep.  I get to keep the best person in the world, the one that’s completely perfect for me, AND I get to replay the beginning giggles and head-over-heels infatuation part of our courtship over and over again.

Maybe they should put that in a recruiting brochure instead of marketing the job skills and college money angle. 😉

Washington Post article

There was an article in the Style section of the Washington Post today.  I tried linking to it, but you have to have a membership to the Post’s online edition, and frankly, I don’t need one, so you’re going to get my version.  It’s about the end of the Guerilla Queer Bar movement, which was created by a group from Washington, D.C.’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) community.  Once a month or so, this group “liberated” a straight bar somewhere in the city.  Seeking more to unify rather than protest, the peaceful group sought a good time around the city regardless of sexual orientation.  The article states that in the five years since it started, Guerrilla has crashed 43 different straight bars in the local area.  The founders are ending the successful event because they’re just getting older, in committed relationships, and too busy with life, family, and work to organize the event regularly.  Instead of passing the torch to someone else, the chose to go out on top and let the movement start up again spontaneously in the future.  Their motto was “We’re here!  We’re queer!  We want a beer!”

I’ve never participated in or even heard of the Guerillas until I read the article in the paper this afternoon, but I was oddly saddened at the ending.  It sounded like such a pure, fun event with the most genuine of intentions.  I loved the spontaneity of crashing an unsuspecting establishment and how by the end of the night it didn’t really matter anymore.  People seemed like they were enjoying themselves and the company without limitations.

I wish I had been able to experience the Guerilla Queer Bar movement.  I wish I could have felt as included as the participants did.  I wish I could have enjoyed the sense of abandon that a really good night with great people creates.  And I wish I had known what it was like to be part of something bigger and meaningful like the Guerilla’s were.  I find it odd that I’m so sad about it, but the feeling of an end is quite strong.  Hmm…

Do professors know anything?

Is disliking your professor inevitable at any stage of education?  Grr… I got my paper back today, and I’m not happy with the comments the professor left on it.

It’s not really the professor, it’s the nature of online programs.  Since I’m not in a physical class, face to face with my professor, it’s hard to build a relationship.  They really don’t know mystyle, strengths, or personal voice.  With the particular online format that I’m using, I just log on and post, similar to the blog atmosphere, answers to several weekly questions related to the reading.  I have to respond to several other people’s answers, and at three points during the class I have to write papers.  Simple.  No tests.  Fairly structured to keep me on task, but a lot of freedom to work around myschedule.  Seems great.  BUT…when it comes time for grading, all the professor has to go on is the uploaded document I wrote.  There’s no wandering into the professor’s office to justify your words, support your argument, or contest an unfairly or uninformed mark.  That bugs me.  Maybe most people could care less, but I’m invested in this!  I pay a lot of money, spend crazy amounts of time and energy working on it, and I want to feel like I’m understood.  If I deserve the grade, fine.  But I don’t want any grade, good or bad, if it’s based on a misinterpreation of my thoughts.  Technically I can correspond via email with the professor, but I have found that to be frustrating and slow.  It sometimes takes days to get responses back, and several times my question is not answered at all.  Grr…

I think I’m ready to be done with this.  A year and a half didn’t seem that long when I signed up, but I think my brain may be reaching it’s overfull point.  Seeing as how this was not my first choice of a Masters program, my patience occastionally runs quite thin with the quirks that it presents.  Deep breaths… I’ve only got to make it until November.

Previous Older Entries