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The first day felt like two days, the second day felt like a few hours…

Today was a go-go-go-go kind of day.  My buddy and co-TA Ariel emailed me last night to say that she had gotten food poisioning (boo!) and asked if I could take over her sections today.  I have my Friday section at 9, and she teaches the 10 and 11 sections… so that meant three straight hours of teaching this morning.  It actually went really well, and it was the last week of section for our Friday kids, so it was kinda nice to know I wouldn’t see these folks again.  I had to bump my office hours back an hour to accomodate the sections, so by 1 when I was finally free, it had already been quite a long day.  Tried to grade papers over lunch, and then I had my three-hour typology class… by then I was pretty spent but I hadn’t even started on my own work, let alone finished grading for the day.  So I had Lewis come pick me up and take me out to dinner (I had to be driven to school this morning because my bike tire was flat and I didn’t have time to fix it!) and then I came home and got right back to work.  Now it’s 10:30.  And it’s bedtime.  But i got so much done today, even if it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing.  Kids taken care of, essays graded, classes attended, and I’m ready for my weekend preparing for the big presentation Monday.  I’ll try not to panic about that too much between now and then… but damn if I’m not a bit nervous.

gibby gibby

I’m one exhausted but satisfied Laurie!

Met our professor this morning at 7:30 and made it to Stanford in two hours flat.  Stanford is a really nice looking school in a very pleasant little town.  The conference itself was really enjoyable.  The talks were nice, the company was good, the food was tasty, and we met lots of interesting people.  Got a ride back to Oakland and took the train home from there.  All in all, a really enjoyable day.

Perhaps I’ll have more to digest from it in the next day or two, but right now, I’m just so tuckered out and ready for bed.


Yoga. So tired. Sadly more grumpy than relaxed. Going to bed now. Section tomorrow at 9. Then a long, but hopefully relaxing day?

On with the show

It’s 8:30, and I can barely keep my eyes open.  I didn’t get up particularly early or any such thing, but I guess it’s been sort of a long day.

I had my first section this morning at 9.  It both went well and sort of crap, which seems to be how section always goes.  The atmosphere was really great.  The kids asked a bunch of questions, some clarification, some curious, and I had good participation in all the questions I asked of them.  That’s the good.  The bad… my computer wouldn’t work with the projection system for some reason, so I couldn’t use all the web resouces I had prepared.  But we didn’t even end up getting that far, because we spent so long on the really basic (and reallllly boring) consonant chart.  It’s good if it was helpful, and it seemed to be so, but I definitely felt like I wasn’t quite on my game, and couldn’t entertain the kids like I wanted.  We’ll see if I can’t spice it up next week.  And hopefully I can think of some way to improve Friday’s section so they don’t get stuck with this same boring task!

Skipped over to the Center to get into my cogneuro class (late, since my section conflicts) which had a guest lecturer today.  I got there only about 35 minutes late, which was good, but the lecturer didn’t seem to know how long our class was.  We got out about 45 minutes early, which means I didn’t get much of the matieral at all!  It is, however, always a nice treat to get out early.  Walked home with Lewis (sans bike), recombobulated myself here, and then headed out to the Center again to meet with my fMRI partner from yesterday.  She was too busy to discuss data or anything, and our lab professor is in Hawaii, so there really wasn’t anything to do.  Thankfully the Center is right next to the gym, so it wasn’t out of the way to drop by.

Gym was good.  It’s ridiculous how easy it is to get my heart rate up to near max, so I always try and make sure I’m staying at a reasonable rate and not working too hard.  I’ve been trying to aim for something like the suggested 30-minutes of vigorous activity a day, and that’s pretty managable.  I’ve never worked out regularly before, but I’m really surprised how big of a difference it makes in my stress levels.  I was chuckling to myself in the lockroom today when I realized that I’m one of the lucky people there who achieves their goal every day.  Very easy when your goal is “do any exercise”, and not gaining strength or losing weight or learning to do stuff.  Whoohoo!  I’d like to think the regular de-stressing exercise has something to do with my lack of migraines so far this month… and I’m still major palipitation free since spring break too!

Just Keep Moving

Blurg.  Too tired to post, per usual.

It’s Tuesday.  It’s our first day back from San Diego.  The trip was wonderful, the train trip back home was fantastic, and I’m exhausted.   Tomorrow’s my first of my worst days – Wednesdays I teach section at 9 am, and then I have to jet myself over to the CMB for my CogNeuro class, which inconventiently starts at 9:30.  I’m really not looking forward to missing the first 45 or so minutes of class every week, but it’s only one day a week, and I’m trying not to stress about it.

I’ve been good about the stress level lately.  Went to the gym this morning and worked out for a while, which seems to leave me feeling more able to cope than days when I don’t work out.  I have no idea why that is, but I’ll take what I can get.  I also skipped my only class today (Ling 1 lecture) so I could get some sleep, cause 9 am was feeling way too early after getting in so late last night.  I also got my first trip to the Imaging Center to shadow an fMRI run-through.  It was neat, and useful, but not quite as exciting as I was anticipating.  Maybe I’m just tired.  I did get some good advice from the girl running the study, who also has worked in our lab for the last few years.

There’s a lot more I’ve missed out on blogging… but right now I’m just nervous and ready for bed so I can get through my big day (morning?) tomorrow.  I’m sure it’ll all work out fine – I’ve got a million things planned.  Fingers crossed.

I can’t get that sound you make out of my head

Yeah.   It’s one of those days, I guess, though I feel like all I need to do is decide it isn’t and my day will pick up.   I feel like I’m tired of work, tired of thinking, tired of planning, tired of doing.

And I’m also feeling lonely.  I listed to the mix CD that Steeny sent me for my birthday last year, and it made me really homesick.  Or maybe timesick, if that’s possible.  There’s this freedom of movement and being that my life has had in only fits and starts since I left Seattle to go to college.   Exceptions being the very last of my time in LA and roadtrip to MIT… but otherwise I feel like my life is used up in minutia and jostling for security.  It makes me wonder, at what point does responsibility bring diminishing returns?  And at what point does responsibility overtake my ability to relax and enjoy the fruits of my labors?  I’ve never been the type of person that is able to relax while skirting my reponsibilities either, so I’m not sure there’s a win to be had.  I don’t know what makes a person as high strung or meticulous as I am, so there’s really no getting around it, but it does strain my heart some times.

It saddens me to find myself daydreaming about hopping in my car and screwing around in Federal Way with my friends, only to realize that I gave that life up in the name of ambition.  Ambition is not all flowers, all fun, all successful.  On nights when school seems hard, when my advisors are being difficult, when my projects aren’t taking off, my papers aren’t flowing… on these nights, the trade-off seems dubious.  Did I give up all my friends and lazy good times for this ephemeral, ill-defined, completely unattainable… something?  It’s odd, I feel as though by my own 8-years-ago measure I’m more successful than I ever thought I would be.  I have everything I wanted (and indeed, want): a successful education, a wonderful husband, a happy family life, a nice place to live, and I’m getting my doctorate… which always makes me feel like a whiner.  Or an Icharis-like fool.

So I’m spending my Monday night, my holiday night, watching television I couldn’t care less about.   And trying really hard not to think about the b-level work I could be doing instead.

Nutation, n. (1a, obs.)

Deep breath, Laurie, deep breath.

It was a wonderful day.  I’ve been inordinately cheerful lately, a most unusual occurance in my normally staid life.   I liken it to the rush of endorphins you get when you spend the proper time eating well and exercising.  Instead of my body being filled with energy (though that too is true) it’s as though my mind is getting all the mental nutrient and exercise required and it’s just ready to go, all the time.  This is a good thing.  I just can’t help but feel really optimistic about my life and my studies.  That post this morning about job prospects was meant to be more tongue-in-cheek than it came off.  To be honest, I just can’t bring myself to care much about the job market.  I like what I do, I’m going to keep doing it, and I’ll work better under my own direction and with fewer outside pressures than I would work with an eye on the future.   Like I said, I think linguists just like to talk about how doomed we are!

It’s almost awkward to write about what a cheerful day I had when I find myself so exhausted at the end of the day.  Unlike the last few entries, tonight is one of those nights where the body is awake and the mind started dragging its feet and snipping tiredly hours ago.  This is entirely due to having slogged through a massive neuroscience paper I just finished reading.  My brain is now completely done.  I couldn’t do more work if I wanted.  I can barely speak English.

Other great things that happened today.  Had a fantastic semantics class.  I really, really enjoy computing truth conditions and mussing with the combinatoric denotations.  By gum, I’m even a little jazzed about this Boolean alegebra business.  It’s not often you hear the word “septuple” in a linguistics class, let alone get to talk about this much math.  I like math.  I think that’s the only academic thing I got done today, actually, besides this triumphant finishing of neuro paper.

It seems quite distant now, but I also took several long walks and got a lot of life-administrata done today.  Saw the doctor for a general check-up; all is well.  I’m feeling like I’ve just been tuned up, having been to the eye doctor last week, and the doctor doctor this week.  I’ve even got a dentist appointment next week!  I’ll be in ship shape.  Better than new.  Anyway, speaking of optometrist, I also picked out my new frames with help of Lewis today, and had a grand time at Dr. Guerreri’s office per usual.  It’s so handy to have family friends who are doctors and dentists.  And as a special treat, Lewis took me to get some delicious frozen yogurt after we made it through all our chores.  Lovely day to sit in central park and have a little chocolate-peanut butter frozen yogurt.  Mmm.

Ever since then I’ve been sitting here, in my desk chair, ticking things off my Tasque list.  And lo, that list is done.  It must be time to retire.

Cliff diving

Tuckered out, that’s what I am.

Went home tonight after dinner with Lewis and his madre, though we were supposed to go to the high school jazz band concert.  I just came home and vegged out, and watched some TV, and generally chilled out.  I’ll profess to doing some linguistics reading in the middle of watching a documentary on Prince Charles, but that’s life!

Spent the afternoon TAing and talking about dirty words in my sections (our reading this week includes euphemism and taboo) and it sort of creeped me out.  I think maybe I shouldn’t have gone into that topic with them, but in all three of my sections the kids were very engaged and hopefully we had a fruitful discussion about hurtful words and turns of phrase.  I think it’s just scary to swear in class, especially when we’re talking racial epithets.  I guess we’ll see about that one.

Anyway… I think it’s an early-to-bed sort of night.  I’ve got a date with an awful lot of essays to grade tomorrow.  Woot.

It Varies from Season to Season

I’m sitting here, listening to the ‘Cab, wearing my Sonic Boom shirt, and thinking about a place far away.  This has been a hell of a week… I’m really sort of starting to lose my “everything is going fine” shine and feel like worry is setting in thick and strong.  I sort of finished grading my essays today.  Finished in that I have the initial grades done, but they need to be looked over again and compared against the other TAs grades to make sure we’re on the same scale.  I also maybe got the microphones for Sunday secured… lets hope so.  I’m going to sign up for classes next week.  Next quarter is sounding really great to me these days.  Three classes… no TAing.  Phew.

There’s a part of my soul that feels cowed.  Like I threw my hat in the ring, and now that I’m in the ring, I’m not sure what I’m doing here.  I feel like I’ve spent the last 6 years working for this moment.  And I’m not feeling very exuberant.  I’m feeling scared, and stressed, and cowed.  I hate to think I’d give something up solely because it seems to hard, but I’ve been called a quitter before.  And it would be disingenuous to suggest I never quit things for being hard.  I’ve done it pleanty.  But I don’t think this is one of those times.  I worked too hard to be here, and I really don’t have anything without this.  This time, there is no “normal” to go back to.  Trying harder is really all there is, because my whole life looks like chaos without grad school.  I don’t think I could ever stomach failure on that grand of a scale.

But god I’m tired. And I feel so inadequate.  And nights like this, part of me sees going home to Seattle as an easy escape.  A place where people don’t have expectations of me, and everything is familiar and calm.  How ridiculous that I feel like I fled Seattle because people had expectations of me I didn’t want to deal with.  Life isn’t always very straightforward.

Blink Blank Blunk

This whole week has been ones of those where at the end of my day my whole body just shuts down.  I sit down to blog, knowing I have lots of stories to share, and my eyes slowly close, I sink in my seat, and my brain starts to run, run….

The last several nights I’ve had a hard time getting to sleep despite being as tired as I am now.  At some point work tapers off and exhaustion sets in, but my brain never stops worrying about what I’m doing, or need to do, or should do, or might forget to do.  There are so many tiny pieces of input into my day I really need a better way to organize them.  I like to think I’ve got a good short term memory, but with as much reading and learning and the all-exhausting taing I’m doing, there just aren’t any neurons left to fill that purpose.  Things just fall right our of my head, like a sieve.  It reminds me of laundry day, where at the end of the day you’ve folded so many socks you can’t carry them all at once, but you try to anyway.  No matter how big of a handfull or armload you think you can carry, you inevitably drop a bunch of socks on the way to the drawer.  Those socks are my thoughts.  And they keep spilling on the floor.

Wednesday has to be my worst day.  I know Fridays I teach more, but they have this added bonus, a character of flippancy almost, because they’re Fridays.  I know that all I have to do is make it through that two hours of teaching, and I’m really off free for almost three whole days.  Nevermind that I do more work in those three days than the remaining four, but there are no social obligations which takes the pressure off quite a bit.  Except, of course, this weekend.  But sociolinguistics just wouldn’t be what it is if I didn’t have to do something as partially terrifying as asking pointed questions about strangers’ lives.  And this is the one and only time I have to do this.  In the forseeable future.  Ish.

I don’t really feel like talking about class today.  I did a lot today.  I’m now two-thirds done grading essays.  I remembered (whoo!  remembering anything!) to print out a bunch of papers I need for my 260 project.  I even read half of one.  I got my section done, and it went pretty well, despite my total lack of semantics knowledge.  I did a million tiny tasks this morning… tried to set up an email list, sent some emails I needed to do, and this evening I got my schedule for next week up. My schedule for next week looks, if at all possible, scarier than this weeks.  But I think after this, it levels out.  I present in 260 on Tuesday, and that’s the only thing I need to do (officially..) besides the final project in any of my classes.  Phew.

But really the only major happening of my day was that my tire was again (arg!) flat when I got out of section.  And I put new tires (actual tires, not tubes) on my bike just two days ago!  Anyway, it did make it obvious that my 5-times-patched tube was inadequate, and I was meaning to get new tubes anyway.  So I took it to the bike shop (by which I mean Davis has about nine..) and they had just enough time to change my tube before they closed.  Yay.  My bike always rides so well with properly inflated tires, and it turns out I was way under inflating the new tires.  My old ones were 65 psi, but the new ones go up to 100, which is way firmer than I’m used to.  Rode home like a dream.

Came home to my wonderful Lewis, who hugged my stressful day away.  And then made me delicious dinner.  The ol’ quinoa stuffed baked squash bit of heaven.  So tasty.  And I am so ready for bed.  Here’s to tomorrow, an easier day than today.