The Waiting Room

This could take a while...

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Clean Slate

Posted by Seeking Solace |

I'm officially on summer break. And for the first time, it's truly a break. I have nothing really occupying my time or sending me into my usual state of being stressed about what is not happening. Last summer, I was in this anger/depression mode that kept me from doing what I needed to do and enjoying the time off. I was disappointed in myself for wasting that time. This time, I'm in a much better place mentally and emotionally. I think it helps that I spend some time working through some of those emotions. I've wiped the slate clean.

This fall, I will be an official grad student. No more worrying about taking the GRE or applying for grad school. I'm registered for nine credits (three classes). I will spend some time reviewing for quantitative methods, but that will only take up a small amount of time. I have a study schedule in place that will start after the holiday weekend. I am excited about moving forward with the PhD, especially after earning an A+ in my most recent course. Yes, it will be a little more challenging taking three courses instead of just one. But, I believe that I am ready and up for the challenge.

I have one class to teach at HBCU this fall and it's on ground rather than online. It turns out that the powers that be hired someone for Dream Job, without giving me a chance to interview. I was pissed off about it for a day or two, but I've just chalked it up to the continued chaos and disorder that goes on there. I did get a chuckle out of a report from the director of strategic planning that indicated that there are too many professors who are just there for the paycheck. Whatever, dudes.

As far as looking for other jobs, if something looks interesting, I'll apply for it. It is hiring season, but I am not going out of my way to find something. I'm just not feeling it right now. Also, the sooner I finish the PhD, the better chance I have to finding something more permanent. Once I get the fall semester out of the way, I'll be eligible for graduate funding, so that will help.

Husband and I ran a 5K last week. I finished in 37:50, which is a new personal best. We are training for another race in June, which includes working on our speed. And yes, my RA doc is still OK with the running. Junior is helping with the training...he's always up for joggies.

We have a couple of trips planned, a vegetable garden to manage, and some home improvement jobs that I can handle. I am also focusing on some self care. I have restarted yoga practice, which has proven helpful over the past couple of months. I'm reading for pleasure, something that I probably will not be able to do again for a while. And, I'm thinking about starting a new blog that focuses on my progress with the RA.

I feel like the slate has been wiped clean. It's a second chance to enjoy the Summer of Seeking Solace.. This time, I won't screw it up.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

It's a sad, sad situation...

Posted by Seeking Solace |

Long time readers of this blog may recall that I have not seen or talked to my brother since 2005. The Reader's Digest version is that because Husband and I acknowledge and have contact with his son that was the product of an extra-marital affair, we were ostracized. This also meant zero contact with my three nieces. My bother's wife is the architect of this banishment.

This past weekend, Husband and I traveled to Redneckville for my aunt's funeral. At the viewing, my brother was there with his wife and one of his daughters. When Husband pointed him out to me, I almost didn't recognize him. Granted, people change, especially after 10 years. But, this was different. My bother looked old, haggard and defeated, not the vibrant and handsome man that I knew. He had the classic Prednisone face that anyone with RA or other autoimmune disease knows all to well. I could see by his difficulty in walking that RA was taking a toll on him. He looked as if the last 10 years took almost every once of energy he possessed.

I took a deep breath and decided that I should say something to him, even if it is only a "Hello". I was a little nervous because I was worried that his wife would make a scene; something that she is know for doing.  I walked up to him, tapped him on the shoulder and said "Hello".  He said "Hello" back. I followed up with "It's been a long time". We exchanged an uncomfortable hug; one of those hugs that one gives when you just want to get it over with. Someone else approached my brother and started talking to him. I turned to his wife and said "Hello". She acknowledged my hello. At that point, Husband and my cousin motioned for me to come over to them. I was shaking. I don't know if it was out of shock of what I had seen or fear that his wife was going to flip her shit right there in the chapel. Husband later told me that once my back was turned, my bother's wife was giving me a look that could freeze hydrogen. 

That was it.  No other words were said.

 It's been a few days and I am still at a loss of what to think. A few relatives and friends who know what is going on, provided some comfort and support. But, I just can't seem to shake the shock. disbelief and overall awkwardness of the situation. Even as I write this, I struggle to find words to describe how I feel. All I could think of was this...

It's sad, so sad
It's a sad, sad situation

And it's getting more and more absurd

Thursday, April 23, 2015

It's all good

Posted by Seeking Solace |

With the semester almost over, I feel like I am in a good place. The Project from Hell is winding down nicely. My group presented our project the other day, and it was very well received. All that is left is to put the finishing touches on the group paper, which my co-editor and I are working on right now. Also, there is a short reflective piece that I must write about my group and self experience. I can crank that piece out in an afternoon. I am not taking classes this summer, mainly because there isn't anything being offered in my program. But, I do plan to do some reading and studying for quant methods, which I am taking in the fall.

I got good news from the RA doc this morning. All is well on that front. No inflammation markers or joint damage. She wants to decrease on of my meds, mainly because of the weight loss, but also because I've been doing so well. I think this will go better than the attempt by my primary doc to decrease my depression/anxiety meds. That started out OK, but ultimately failed.  We'll see how it goes with the RA meds. Any decrease in my walking pharmacy status is a good thing. The RA doc is still fine with my running. In fact, she is excited that I plan to run in the local arthritis walk.

Running is going well. Still keeping the weight off. Junior is happy. Husband is happy.

So, I'm good...for a change.

I am trying to embrace this feeling of "life is good" rather than looking for something to bad to happen. Live in the moment, if you will. This is hard for an eternal pessimist whose mantra is "yeah, but..

I'm trying. And that's the first step.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Slower than the speed of smell

Posted by Seeking Solace |

There are so many things that I love about living in Elsewhere. Great weather, proximity to the beach and the mountains, well-known colleges and universities, and lots of things to see, do, and eat. But after living here for almost 6 years, there is one thing that I cannot get used to.If you want something done or get a response about something, it happens at the speed of smell.

I suppose if you lived in Elsewhere all your life, you wouldn't notice it. In fact, if you traveled to other places in the US, you would probably wonder why people are in such a hurry. So, I get it...really I do. And, many experts and gurus have said that as a society, we should slow down. Sure, sure...

But, there times where things move so slowly here, that I swear a kite or a snail blew right past me.

All of this leads to my never-ending search for more work, either adjuncting or full-time.  I send stuff, get the customary "Do not reply to this email" message, and then I wait...

And, wait....and wait...
Oh, look! There's a kite flying by...

In my 20+ years of looking for a job, any job, I've never experienced such a long wait time for any job response. Even when I am able to speak with a live person for follow up, there is no sense of urgency to fill a position. What are they waiting for?

I guess I just keep waiting and looking for other opportunities....

Oh look, another kite...

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Doing What Works

Posted by Seeking Solace |

After two months of trying ween off of my medication for depression/anxiety, My doctor and I concluded that the best course of action is to continue where I left off before trying to ween off. Although I was able to get through the brain zaps, which feel like static shocks, only inside your head, I just could not get enough of a serotonin boost with diet and exercise.  And, I had some anxiety producing events where I did OK overall, I still had some trouble with being able to dial down from high anxiety or deep depression.

OK...that's cool.

It would have been nice to get rid of one of the numerous medications I have to take for my assorted ailments. It does get expensive, even with health insurance. Also, I still have concerns about going through my PhD studies without it. At the same time, I'm glad that I did attempt to go off the medication. I know what to expect if and when that time comes.

 But, now is not the time. I am not sure if and when there will ever be a time that I won't need the medication. For now, it seems that the best course is to go back to doing what works.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Perception and Pink Elephants

Posted by Seeking Solace |

Yesterday, I attended a function at PhD Uni. I didn't want to attend this function, as its timing created some logistical issues for me. But the topic was related to the class that I am currently taking, so I thought it would be in my best interest to attend. I also knew that several professors from the department would attend. I saw it as an opportunity to put on the charm...and gather intelligence. I need to know a little bit about the inhabitants of the island where I will be taking up residence.

I ran into Laid Back Professor, whom I took two classes with and have a good rapport. I told him that I was accepted to the program, albeit provisionally. He told me that he knew all about my application and was party to the discussion of my application. I remarked that I had heard through the grapevine that the discussion was a rather contentious one. His facial expression took on a look of "Seriously?" He smiled and told me that the discussion was really not that bad and that my 4.0 and other work spoke volumes about the type of doc student I am. He went on to say that he wanted to talk to me about it, but he didn't want to get into the whole conflict of interest thing. I told him that I completely understood and appreciated his support.

Well, alrighty then...

Perhaps it is Current Professor who has/had the issue with my quant score. Rather than come out and directly say it, which would be a huge no-no, my professor used the committee or some anonymous person to express her own concerns.  I'm not saying that doing this is wrong. She cannot come out and tell who has the issue. I totally get that. I have confidential secrets from my lawyer days that are way more intense that this. But, the conversation with Laid Back Professor does put my current professor's comments into context. Laid Back Professor's perception is that my quant score is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Current Professor's perception is that score is the pink elephant in the room. For Current Professor, the pink elephant is just too big to ignore. For Current Professor, it's all about perception.

I am a realist. I deal with what is, rather than what might be. What is is that I will knock quant out of the park, along with the rest of my PhD work. I also know that there are folks who don't see past the pink elephant. There may be nothing that I can do to have them see past the pink elephant. And, it is not my job to do it either. I just keep pushing forward....doing what I do best...

Knocking out the pink elephants. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Un-ringing a Bell

Posted by Seeking Solace |

Last night, I had a conversation with my professor about my provisional status with my PhD program. She informed me that there was quite a contentious battle between the department and the powers-that-be regarding my Forest Gump-like score on the quant section of the GRE. (Remember, in the movie when Forest's mother tries to enroll him in school, but his IQ score is just below normal? Yeah...that is my quant score on the GRE.)  She also said that there are some folks out there who think that I should have been denied admission, despite explanation for my scores being linked to my disability and the difficulty in obtaining accommodations. There are some who think I am going to blow it with my provisional status, or worse, not even finish the PhD.  Then, my professor suggested that there are ethical issues in allowing my provisional admission.

I said that I get some of her concerns..really, I do. In this world of increasing scrutiny, her concerns have some merit.  But, my counter-enlargement is that perhaps the whole is other than the sum of its parts. If we look at this holistically, the score on one part of one measurement is not the be all and end all of who a person is. I ended the conversation ensuring that I am looking into pursuing remedial measures over the summer to prepare for my quantitative methods course in the fall, and that I confident that I would continue to succeed in the program. I said that I've never backed down from a challenge, and I wasn't going to start now. I've fought for everything I have.

I left class feeling sick to my stomach. angry and hurt. I really wish I hadn't heard all of this. Have you ever wished you could un-hear something? It's next to impossible, isn't it?  Although, I know that there is probably some folks out there that feel I do not belong in the program, somehow it's worse hearing it. And once you do hear something like that, you can't erase those words from your memory.  I feel so unworthy right now. I also feel like I have a target on my back. And, it will remain there until I prove that I am better than my quant score.

There is part of me that wants to take the test again, earn the score that I need and let that be my "fuck off" to the naysayers. There's a part of me that just wants to move forward, do the extra work over the summer, and let my future work speak for itself. Husband wonders if all of this will blow over,. Someone or something will come along that will be the new face of chaos and drama, and no one will give my situation a thought.

I don't know what the answer is. I think I have to let me emotions be what they are for now. Then, I'll make my next move, with a clear head. I'll push through somehow. I'll fight and rise above this.

Like I always do.