Ambivalence

Aug. 2nd, 2010 11:39 am
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I have been sleeping and sleeping, and feeling sick, and making todo lists in my head. I feel behind in so many areas, People notleast. I have been dreamy, wandering through the world unstressed but unmotivated. I have been worrying about money, and about the unsteadiness and limited respect and challenge involved in my current work choices. I have been fretting about whether I what I give to the world is equal to what it gifts to me. I have been excited and terrified of new adventures. I have had limited successes at being Grown Up (tax = done!) while failing at times (dentist = unvisited, pay office = unemailed). I have been failing to organise things that I really need to organise. I have been snacking irregularly. I have been delighted by the sunshine and the rain. By the people in my life and the things they teach me and the safe spaces they create. I have been writing small stories in my head and leaving them there. I have been worried about my awkwardness.

Updates

Apr. 5th, 2010 11:53 pm
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* This week will be horrific, because I have two overlapping batches of marking to do, as well as the usual (teaching, greek study, research assistant work, bluestocking, etc). Next fortnight, I hope, the marking will have eased off and life will be better.
* I have made friends with our house cat. By which I mean, now the cat shouts at me and I do what it tells me, and I get a warm fuzzy glow from doing so.
* I learnt a new and terrifying tense today in greek class. Also, my greek teacher says that there's very little chance that I will pass, which I find comforting.
* Easter was great. I went to church and we had a big family thing, and Γιαγιά made tsourekia and mayeritsa, which are delicious.
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At this stage, I am willing to concede that it is uncomfortably hot.

So, you may have noticed that I am posting approximately every 14 seconds. I'm on holiday (kind of)! I have time to tell everyone everything! Sorry. It will probably slow a bit when I get real job, or as I wean myself off my Internet addiction. Right now it's particularly bad because there's the carrot of email-from-J being dangled, in addition to all my usual curiosity about possibly finding out what's happening with People.

Luckily for you guys, I have no camera so I can't take photos of all the stuff I want to show you, like our backyard and my filing. I did my filing! I also stuck brightly coloured paper over all the badly-written labels from yesteryear on my file-o-stuff. And then brightly coloured paper over the file itself. And also in the inner door of my cupboard. And also on blank pages of my journal.

I feel like I'm laying in colour for lean days, when I get a job and have no time again and go back to rushing between bluestocking and work and greek and all the other things I want to fit in.
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I didn't do the work I'd planned to today. Instead, I went to the little asian grocery store, and the supermarket, and cycled to the markets. I cooked new recipes for people that I love, and made myself soy chai, and finished reading a book about Nicaragua.

I felt better for it.

And last night I went out with friends to see a band. I insisted that we cycle there, and it rained on us, and my back brake cable came undone. And we failed to appreciate the band. But I still felt much better for having gone. (I fixed the brakes this morning, and was proud of myself for managing it.)

Life feels much easier and more satisfying when I am going places and getting things done. Tomorrow I will do my best to catch up on some work, but I will remember to do some music practice in between, and drink soy chai, and eat fruit, and feel loved.
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It feels like there's a lot going on around here. The last week or so has been slightly less rushed than usual, and I've felt like I've had a little time to catch up with a few of the many people on my to-see list, and do a few of the things on my to-do list. Sadly, today I've taken stock of everything that needs to happen over the next month or so, and have realised that it's rather daunting.

To do:
* Read over my conference paper and check that it makes sense (reviewer #1 seems to think so).
* Prepare two lectures, with enough time for practice/quiet reflection that I am unlikely to freak out beforehand.
* Keep up with reading for the classes I'm teaching at UWA.
* Start teaching new "Intro to the Internet" course at Curtin.
* Make (minor) changes to thesis draft suggested by SupervisorfaceOne, and (more extensive) changes suggested by SupervisorfaceTwo. There will be a Deadline for this, as one of my examiners is very busy and important and therefore needs to know the exact date on which she will receive the manuscript. Eep.
* Organise speakers, format, publicity, etc for our next Bluestocking event.

I feel relatively calm about all of this. I have no idea how I will get all of this done...in fact, just thinking about finishing my thesis is very daunting, it feels like there's so much concentrating to be done and so much holding-of-the-shape-of-it-in-my-head. But I'm going to break it all down into small chunks, and keep up with the relatively healthy patterns that I've managed to build up, and I think it'll be okay.

Some things that are nice:
* I have been cycling to new places, and to places that are much further than I would usually go. On Saturday my bicycle tyre went flat, so I had to walk home from Subi with all the shopping - it was actually not too painful. I fixed it (and got grease *everywhere*), and was pleased that the repair held for a 26k round trip. But inexplicably it went flat again today, sitting around in the back yard. Why? So strange! So I walked home from Greek class tonight, and although it is much further than I would usually walk it was quite lovely.
* I have been having good, though limited, people-time. My family is pretty awesome, I think I have mentioned this before. And I have a lot of ridiculously lovely people in my life. And this weekend is crafternoon, and I get pretty excited about crafternoon!

That is enough for now, right? Right.
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I've finished writing my fourth (and last) chapter, and my supervisor's read it, and he only has two significant changes that he wants made to it. Which means that after everything going along at snail's pace, it feels like suddenly everything is happening all at once. I'm going to make the (smallish) changes required to each chapter over the next few days and (hopefully) get the whole lot to my supervisors by Friday for them to read over. I've chosen a title, and written the abstract. Yesterday we chose examiners, and my supervisor's started emailing them to see if they will do it.

I have no idea, at this stage, how much further there is to go. It might be nearly finished, or it might need a few more rounds of edits. Doing the layout might take me a day or two. Same with the bibliography. Rewriting the introduction and conclusion might take a day, or it might take a week. But it seems like I'm nearly there? Maybe?

I can't really imagine being finished. I can't imagine that one day I will have a whole thesis, and it will be officially Grown Up, and it will pass, and I will be a doctor and be able to do something else.

Apart from being freaked out by this whole thesis thing, I have been doing some other stuff. I have been cycling a lot, which makes me very happy. I went all the way to Maylands! And to East Vic Park! (I like crossing the river, it makes me feel like an adventurer.) I gave blood, which always makes me happy. I have been enjoying Greek class, although haven't been doing as much homework as I should because of all the other Doing. I have darned my socks!

Also: all you guys who I haven't seen for a while, I am sorry but I probably won't be able to see you for a while more. This week is going to be a rush to finish the thesis edits, and I suspect the next few weeks will be similar. I still like you and think you're awesome, though!
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There have been some unusual events since I last posted, not all of which I feel comfortable posting about here. Some summaries of the less private stuff:

Work:
Teaching: *sigh*
Thesis: *sigh*
Conference paper: *sigh*
Job search: *sigh*
I have been making progress in some areas, but it is all slow going and difficult. I feel good about the work I've been doing but at the same time I think I need to get some boxes ticked fairly quickly.

People:
Oh my! Some of you are awesome. The last few weeks have been hard, and I have felt very appreciative of people's attempts to look after me and make me smile. Sometimes it is good knowing that people talk behind your back and what they are saying is, "to the rescue!" There are many gestures, large and small, that have reminded me that I'm part of a community and that even when I don't see people for a while the connections are still there. I have also been overflowing with love with my family, although I haven't had as much time to spend with them as I would have liked. Due to Sad Circumstances I have spent more time than usual with J's family, which I have appreciated.

Doing:
I have been thinking up stories. I have been writing snippets on facebook instead of telling everyone what I had for breakfast. I have been writing in my journal with my fountain pen, and finding it satisfying. I sent a letter or two. I have been tidying, and baking a lot. I have been giving baked goods to strangers and workmates and friends. My bicycle is in for servicing (I know! But I don't have time to do it myself right now, you see). I have been discussing ideas for poor neglected bluestocking. I have been reading a few pages of fiction, now and then.
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Things I did last week:
* Jason and I found a phone charger in a box, so I can now be contacted without going via the Interwebs.
* Put in a job application for a Grownup Job, which a) would be pretty much perfect since it's part time so I could keep teaching, and b) it will take a miracle for me to get. Still, I feel better for applying.
* Battled my way through more of Chapter 4 rewriting. I have banned all not-thesis Internet at uni now, and instead when I feel like I need downtime I read an article or drink tea. I have been drinking a lot of tea.
* Had a very intense Greek lesson.
* Had some good time with the Think Tank and at Crafternoon, which has helped a lot to keep me sane.
* Went to Barcamp.
* Crocheted and baked.
* Talked to my head of department about new teaching stuff.
* Watched RiP: A remix manifesto.
* Had a lot of conversations in my head.

It has been a rough week. I have been finding uni hard to deal with, both making my way through the work (because I am so anxious about it) and spending so much time alone in an office. It is a very isolating experience. Still, I feel like I've been dealing with it reasonably well, working hard to look after myself and do things that make me happy.

Things I need to do next week:
* By next Friday: write a paper.
* By next Thursday (probably): read a 600 page book for the class I will be teaching. I think it will be a level three class, which means it will be a two-hour workshop instead of the usual 45 minute classes. I am a bit nervous about this, and a bit excited.
* Soon: finish Chapter 4, which will (ihopeihopeihope) be the last major part of rewriting/research necessary.
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* I babysat Miss Z, who is around one-and-a-half, yesterday. She hadn't had an afternoon nap and was pretty traumatized when her father left, and burst into heart-breaking sobbing. When I stopped hugging her and put her down she walked over to the front door and held her hand against it, like maybe if she could get it open he would come back. Oh my. In the end I put on some jazz and we listened to it together, and then she pointed at some things and made little-mammal-snuffling noises. I gave her my XO to play with, and she tried very hard to destroy it, but mostly just made it sticky.
* I have decided to go to Newcastle at the end of next week for a one-week change of scenery. I have been getting more and more frustrated with my thesis, and I think I was starting to feel like it was just going on and on. Even the thought of working in a different place for a while makes me feel a bit less anxious about the whole thing.
* J has been ridiculously lovely, and when I had a little Panic last night about not being able to concentrate on my thesis he did a good job of back-patting and plan-making. Today I actually got some work done! Not a heap, but enough that I feel a bit more on-track again. I also called N and received further reassurances, and had a nice lunch with my father, and am generally feeling cared-for.

Also: I need to buy some elastic for my crochet-skirt's waistband. Can anyone recommend a place to do this that isn't in the middle of nowhere?

News:

Jun. 19th, 2009 03:22 pm
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* I was awfully pleased with myself for managing to fix my gears, despite Things needing to be shifted and Crucial Screws looking rather ill. Then I cycled to South Perth one night, and halfway through the trip there was some unidentified squeaking. I looked down and the screws had fallen out entirely. *sigh* So now I will have to go get a new dérailleur mechanism and do it all again.
* I am starting to feel like the thesis of doom might finally be coming to an end. I have close-to-final drafts of three out of four chapters written, and the rest is written but needs edits. I am getting a lot of moments of panic as I realise that this means examination is approaching.
* I've been having a lot of very nice people time of late, including Cameron dropping in unexpectedly today. Weirdly, though, a lot of my people-time has simultaneously been lovely and rather nerve-wracking. I have felt edgy and paranoid a lot, and have come away from a lot of people-time feeling like I have somehow done the wrong thing. I am putting it down to being a bit stressed out by thesis etc.
* No word back from Possible Employer, which I think at this stage means I didn't get an interview. I am trying to be proactive about this whole needing-a-job thing and have been looking at government jobs and NGO jobs and academic jobs. I also emailed the unions today and asked what was up with their constantly-empty 'vacancies' site.
* Yesterday Jason prodded me into practising keyboard, and although I am quite terrible at it I enjoyed it a lot. I will have to remember to make more time for that, and for accordion-practise at sensible hours.
* We have the Internet at home! Finally! Except, now I can't remember what to do with it.

Happiness

Jan. 27th, 2009 09:31 am
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I'm still feeling a little overwhelmed by this year, but I'm really enjoying being home and Getting Things [...] Done.

Some things:
* Seeing people! I still haven't caught up with family, or lots of the lovely people I would like to see, but I have at least seen N and K and a variety of other initials. Yesterday I saw the Think Tank, which involved a lot of hanging out with Tiny People on the beach. Tiny People are adorable, but also kind of gross - sand is not a food group.
* Getting places on my own steam: on Sunday I cycled home from J's, and also to Subi markets and back. Yesterday I cycled to Cottesloe beach and back. I love my bicycle, and how independent it makes me feel.
* Cooking: I missed vegetables a lot while I was away. It felt good to get a whole heap from the markets on Sunday, and since then I've been cooking for people as much as possible. I made a stir-fry on Sunday night, and yesterday morning I made a big hippy rice salad to take to the beach. Last night I made some vegetarian cottage pie. I am so very excited about all of these things.
* I have been reading about baobabs, and vikings.
* Pottering around the garden: weeding and watering and sweeping and tending to my compost.
* J gave me his old ipod, which had stopped following instructions. I put rockbox on it, and now it is a pleasant way to listen to my podcasts. I've also been fiddling around with my XO, and am rather pleased that I can now listen to lastfm on it.
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Mexican Wedding: tick, done!

The wedding was pretty crazy, as expected. It was set in beautiful gardens (unbelievably green grass, lots of well-trimmed hedges, a tiny stream with a tiny bridge). Lots of women with shiny hair and shiny dresses, and impossibly high heels that kept getting stuck in the grass. A big catholic ceremony, and then lunch, and then dancing (hurrah!) Lots of drinks, and Spanish.

Today we didn't get up to much, since everyone was recovering. This evening was just about my favourite so far, though. J and I went into Cuernavaca and walked around the plazas, and ate corn smothered in chilli. I really liked it - teenagers sitting and kissing, families, bands everywhere. We sat in a cafe for a while and a band started playing, and people were getting up and dancing between the tables, and in empty corners, and in the plaza outside. I love watching people dance salsa; I love that the women mostly look motherly, and are wearing jeans and t-shirts, and that the guys spin and fling their arms around.

After we left, we walked around and found some hippies playing drums. There was a girl doing african dancing, and a guy doing capoeira. I had to screw up my people-courage for a while, but I eventually went over and asked the guy if there was any more capoeira happening..there wasn't, but I'm glad that I asked.

Now, (overdue) questions answered:
* New Year actually turned out fairly quietly. We hung out with M's family mostly, which was fun. There was a band playing outside the apartment, and everyone danced around on the patio. We ate grapes to make wishes at twelve, and afterwards we found a party (actually, the fanciest restaurant on the marina) and crashed it, and danced until they shut.
* We've been doing fine at vegetarian food. Most places seem to have something, although there don't seem to be many vegetarians here. I'm getting a lot of practice at saying '¿sin carne?' and 'somos vegetarianos'.
* We're going to Cuba tomorrow! Hurrah! Today several hours were spent on the phone to Mexicana airlines, which was a frustrating experience for all concerned. We get back to Mexico City on the 16th.

Some favourite images from today:
* A tiny grandmother reaching up to ring the bell at a house, on tiptoes.
* A guy, huge muscles and a tatto on his bicep, working in a florist, wearing an apron, arrangin flowers.
rhyll: (Default)
* Two accordion practice sessions squeezed in (*giggles at pun*),
* Chapter draft finished, cleaned up, sent off to give other people nightmares,
* Some attempts at (non-panicked) thought about how to write three pieces for New Job while I am away,
* Exercise everyday! Cycling Monday and Tuesday, gym with Jason on Wednesday, walked with Nath on Thursday, cycled again this morning,
* Sorted out my files for learning Greek, and did a reasonable amount of practice,
* Some progress made on preparing for my masterclass thingy next week,
* Lovely inside-cleaning by Liz and Tim (thanks!) plus two hours of outside-cleaning means our house is now lovely and sparkly,
* Spring peas! Baby pumpkin! Tomatoes!

Also, quite apart from my achievements, I have had Much Spoiling from many lovely people.

I feel like it's going to be ok. Now, I just have to convince myself that finishing-chapter-draft means it's time to start working frantically on all the other things (priorities: next chapter draft, masterclass preparation, articles for New Job, 'treats': accordion, christmas presents, greek practice, fiction), rather than time to have a little lie-down.
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I was listening to (or reading? I can't remember) a Thing about journals a while ago, and was rather heartened to hear (read?) that quite a large proportion of Virgina Woolf's entries were about how she really should write more. At least I'm in good company.

Part of the problem is that much of my life goes on as usual (thesis, thesis, thesis, gardening, fretting, family, friends), so while every day seems unique and exciting at the time, and I am often bursting with News, once I sit down to write the things that seemed so exciting to me seem likely to be less exciting to others. And then, the Gossip and such isn't really suitable for (public) lj content, at least not right now.

Nevertheless, updates:
* Thesis: goes on, continues to make me fret. The chapter I'm currently working on currently feels like a terrible mess, and is moving far more slowly. On the plus side, I have a wonderful new office-mate, PokMcFee, who is doing a good job of helping me to stay on track while keeping the office pleasant.
* Garden: a moment's silence, please, for the spring-beans and the broccoli. The surviving plants are definitely not as vigorous as BrotherDear's, but are nevertheless verdant enough to cheer me.
* People: I feel utterly spoilt by all of the wonderful people in my life, although as usual there are many people I haven't seen in far too long. Still, I'm keeping People-Time at that manageable middle-ground that keeps me sane.

Also: I still love bicycles, I have been excited by a variety of books, and there are many other things that I will probably be dying to tell you the second I click 'post'.

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