At the half

I took the hardest two classes of the program (or so I was told – my new textbook that I received today gives me doubts) at the same time this summer.  Thank God it was only for one summer.  I don’t think me, the hubby, or the kids could do it again.

I feel guilty because the hubby postponed his own capstone project to help me with my classes.

I’m trying not to feel guilty about taking a break and just working and doing “stuff” over break.  My house is a bit cleaner, a few books were read, and we traveled out of state to visit family.  Yeah, there are some things I probably should be doing (cough cough – Google Analytics certification), but I really want to just work, chill, and try to do all the personal stuff I can so I can focus on my three classes this fall.

I am doing a digital detox though.  I’m reading articles and deciding whether to keep or trash them.  It’s the chapstick of the Internet  – I have articles everywhere, but can’t find one when I need it.

I have about three weeks to go before Fall term.  I’m hoping my pre-vacation, house-cleaning, get sh!t done mojo returns.

I stepped back from one of my jobs and the Avon gig for now.   It’s just too much.  I need to put my health up a little higher on the priority list and I know I just can’t do it unless something has to give.  The kids and the hubby can’t give much more.

So, I’m stalking the college bookstore list daily so I can order my textbooks from Amazon and get a sneak peak.  Two classes down, one to go.

Other than that, I’m just–what’s the word — recovering.

 

 

Summer Construction Zone

 

 

 

Photo by Matthew Hamilton on Unsplash

 

I knocked down the final projects and exam with wrecking ball intensity.  Yes, I was up until 3-4 in the morning for more than a few nights, but it’s over now.  I’m waiting on my final grades for the summer.  I will be amazed if I keep my 4.0, but I really don’t care right now.  I just want to collapse.

But I can’t.   I have to work, my house is a mess, my finances are a mess, etc.

I am going on vacation soon.  Well, if one counts visiting family as a vacation.  I love my family – don’t get me wrong.  I just need time to rest and rejuvenate before I can “people”.

So, I’m putting my life in a construction zone again.  I don’t want to jinx it, but there may be big news coming. Either way, renovations need to be made.  I made it through the summer, but it wasn’t the way I wanted to do it.  I neglected several people and things I value because I was too busy with work and work and work and school.  I said I’d catch up on the to-do list over break and that’s logistically, physically, and emotionally impossible.

I’ve already decided to reduce my workload starting next month.  No new projects, no new commitments unless my heart and mind say “HELL YEAH!!!”

I have a list of about 20 areas to go through and I’ll be reducing my to-do list as well as my digital footprint.  If it doesn’t light me up, it’s off the list.  If it lights me up, it’s going to get done.  I may throw prioritization out the window and just pick something and go with it.  The main thing is that it needs to be something that builds me up, makes me stronger, feel better, or look better and that I’ll feel better for having done.

In order to do that, I’m putting up barriers and things will slow down along the path towards my degree.  There may be detours or even temporary road closures for awhile until I can make things stronger, smoother, faster and safer.  However, like most construction projects (except the Big Dig in Boston and I-69 in Martinsville), the end result will be worth the delays.

A few words:

Albert Schweitzer once said,

“Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.”

This past year would have not have happened without the steadfast love and support of my husband and kids, but especially my husband.  Joe is my rock and supporter.  He has taken care of me, the kids, the house, and everything else.   I can’t do this without him.

 

 

Current status

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After staying up until 1 – 2 a.m. for the past three nights, writing four papers in four days and working 25 hours I can honestly say – I have hit a wall.  Evidence:  I’m watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – the movie – not the cartoon.

I need to write two huge papers – preferably by Sunday night.  I have neither the desire or energy to start either.    My weight has ballooned.  I can’t seem to stop eating or spending.  And the thought of exercising exhausts me.  There’s a lot of external negative energy around me that I can’t control and it’s draining me as well.

One bright spot – I’m such a nerd.  I’m looking forward to Saturday.  Why?  It’s July 1st – the first day of my new planner.

I need a GST (Get Sh!t Done Day) or two.  I also need a retreat.  No tech, no homework, no agenda.  Just a chance to get away, sleep and recharge – maybe with a nice walk or hike followed by a bubble bath.

These things come and go.  This one just seems to be hitting me hard right now.  I’ll be fine.

It’s not time for a wrecking ball, but I think taking some time to patch some mortar is in order.

 

(image: unsplash.com)

One year down, one to go

It’s been a busy semester.

At this point, I still have my 4.0 GPA.

I have three jobs – one with the state, one freelance client (the other went out of business), and I sell Avon.

My health is decent, although I’ve gained 10 pounds.

I shucked my to-do list over break and read three books, went to the gaming store, and tried to chill.

Summer break?  Let me drag my redneck out – Hell nah!  I’m taking the two hardest classes in the program.  That sound you hear is my GPA going down the toilet.  That’s why I tried to stay pretty chill over break.

I have discovered three things.

  1.  I must have at least 6 hours of sleep a night, preferably 7. Otherwise, I get “slupid.”
  2.  I need to take either a nap, a sauna session followed by a cold shower, or a walk each day
  3.  Between work and school, nothing else will get done.  No sewing, no home improvement projects, no intense diets.

Looks like the only rays I’m catching over the summer will be from the Macbook screen.

Let’s do this.  At least to get it over.

 

 

 

No Yen for Zen anyway

My goal:

sakura.jpeg

I’ve been dreaming about going back to Japan – specifically to spend time at a town or village with an onsen and ryokan.  I remember staying at a ryokan when I was 13 and it was otherworldly.    As good as life is right now, I know I need to recharge and escape a bit to relax and rejuvenate.

Even if I had the time and means to make the trip, it would be wasted.  Put me in yukata and on a futon, I’ll sleep for a week.  I’m so used to eating fast to get to the next assignment, chapter, thing on the to-do list, that I would not taste the delicate and exquisite flavors of the country.  And put me in a hot spring and would I enjoy the scenery? Nope.  I’d be like this little fella.

monkey

I’ve had a week of the new position, working at home, and managing other stuff and adjustments need to be made.  Time to rebalance and equation in my favor.

 

GSD DAY

My to do list exploded.  I’m putting things into ASANA as best I can.  Still, I need to cull the lists, the notes, etc.  So, I’m having a

GET SH!T DONE DAY.

Am I working efficiently? No.  Am I in a “Distraction Jackson” mode?  Oh yeah.  I’ve done about 10 things that were a nuisance, but at least they are done and there’s less clutter for it.  Currently, I’m starting at the bottom of my email list and working my way up.

I finished two Udemy classes (and enrolled for a third – very cheap).  I won’t take the third class until probably spring break, but I got a great deal on it.  Plus I learned a few things from these classes that will help me with other projects already on the list.

See – I even got a certificate.  Feels like Kindergarten again.  Honestly, I’m just posting here because I still haven’t figured out my new website yet and I don’t want to lose these in the process.uc-jy2r0zv3uc-r2rug0c5

Back to the lists of lists!

No longer a GA, and I’m okay

I haven’t blogged anything because almost every aspect in my life has been unsettled since Thanksgiving.  My constants have been the love from God and my family and friends.

Short version:

  • I had a cancer scare.  I’m okay.
  • I had to have surgery over break.  I’m still healing.  I’m okay.
  • I resigned as a graduate assistant.  I’m okay.
  • I’m still enrolled in classes.  I’m okay.
  • I have professional opportunities in the pipeline.
  • I have supportive friends, family, fellow students (see friends and family), and professors.
  • I have more time to take care of myself and my family.
  • I’m going to be better than okay.

Long, disjointed version:

Let me first say that, looking back, I kicked ass last semester.  GA work had been either feast or famine.  I had a heavier workload than normal during the week before and the week of finals.  I didn’t do as well as I wanted to on one of my final projects.   I underestimated the scope of the project and ran out of time.

That being said, I accomplished the following:

  • Worked my hours.
  • Got all final projects in early or on-time.
  • Made it to my daughter’s winter concert (worked on final exam in the lobby)
  • Got everything done/in/packed up for my first biopsy the Thursday of finals week.
  • Got straight As.

A  b lump in the road.

I normally do not do breast-self exams.  I will never skip them again.

By sheer luck, I noticed a large, marble-sized lump on my upper left breast over Thanksgiving break.  I was able to get in to the breast center within the next two weeks to have a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound.  After three docs looked at my boobs and pics of insides of my boobs – they came to the conclusion that… they couldn’t agree.   The mass was was large (robin’s egg) and in an area that my normal mammogram probably missed last year.  So, they wanted to perform a needle biopsy just to be sure of what they were seeing and to, quite frankly, cover their butts in case it was cancer.  The earliest they could get me in for the needle biopsy was the Wednesday of finals week.  I asked if one day made a difference because I would be on a travel restriction for four days afterwards.  (It didn’t.)  So, I scheduled the biopsy for Thursday.  I’d work my 20 hours, get all my schoolwork done, and be free to get poked and get ready for the holidays.

The biopsy took more out of me than I thought it would.  Not only was it emotionally and physically draining.  Sticking a needle in it inflamed the area – the lump doubled in size and started pressing on my chest more than it already was.  I also had a horrible allergic reaction to the dressing and broke out in blisters that looked like chickenpox/shingles.

Then, the results came in.  Inconclusive.  The tissue type didn’t match what the mass looked like and where it was.  I was sent to the surgeon the very next day and a lumpectomy was quickly scheduled for Dec. 30th.   I don’t remember much about the surgery or the couple of days afterwards.   The surgeon called a week later and said that the tumor was benign and that she would talk with me at my follow-up appointment (which was this past Wednesday).

Fast forward.  I’m getting to where I’m not in pain all the time, but I still have problems sleeping and bending over – and a sharp pain at times.  I didn’t call the doc because I already had the follow up scheduled.  It’s now time to go back to school.  I drive to Muncie on Monday  morning and by the time I get to school, I am wiped.  I felt every bump along I-69 and every pothole on SR32/67. I need a pain pill but I can’t take them because they make me sleepy and loopy.  I e-mail to request a meeting about the GA.  I’ll meet with the doc on Wed and give them an update.   If nothing else, thank them for their help and give a status update that I will have some appointments to work around.  I come back on Tuesday and Tuesday night, I’m in tears.  I’m hurting, I’m exhausted.  I can’t focus on studying.

Wednesday – I found out why I’m not back to normal yet.  I’m okay, but I’m not healing properly.  I have pulled stitches, a hematoma, and deep tissue damage from the surgery.  Oh, the sharp pain is a popped stitch.  It will dissolve, but it feels like a sliver of glass right now.  The tumor was the size of a small chicken egg and very deep.

On Thursday, it took me three hours to make the drive to Muncie and get settled.   I had to pull over due to nausea and was so shaky and sick when I got to school that it took me about 45 minutes to get to a point where I could work.

The meeting was quick and gracious.  I can’t do the commute, at least for a bit.  I can’t work from home. I can’t, unfortunately, “volunteer” my services  (there was no way I was going to let my profs get behind on projects – pay or no pay).  I was going to need to work more anyway to pay off my medical bills and I have some opportunities to pursue. We agree that I should resign – effective immediately.  It was a difficult conversation, but a good one and I have nothing but admiration and respect for our department chair and administrator.

Filler:  Changes

If everything had stayed stable at the time I started the program, I’d still be there.  Things just got more complicated.   My ex ran all of the logistics for the kids last term and has a new job with retail hours.  When he got the job, I changed my schedule so I would not be on campus three nights per week – even though it got me off schedule for my own research and degree.  That’s okay—I filled up with practical, online courses.  I also reached out to my network about possible opportunities after spring semester and I may have a part-time job offer (in the field), with benefits.  AND—the company did a report on last term wants me to do some work for them too.  I need the money because we have a high-deductible insurance plan. So, my having my plan B, C, D, and E in my back pocket, I think I’m going to be okay.

So, today, it’s homework and sleep catch up, grocery shop and celebrate my baby girl’s 12th birthday.

I’m going to be better than okay.  I would not have traded the last semester for anything – even more sleep.  I can’t wait to see what’s on the road ahead.