Good Decisions, Bad Reasons, And Consequence

So, a lot of people know I went back to grad school this past fall.  I’d tried bad at math birdto go in 2013, and ended up leaving due to what I thought at the time was just bad headspace brought on by a lot changes – job ending, cat dying, trying to start a new job, etc.

So I was trying again.

This was a horrible decision.

Not because I’m not smart, capable, etc.  I know I am (even when I don’t feel it.)

Not because it was a bad program.  Wayne’s MLIS is a great program with many fine and fantastic grads.  Through both times I tried it, out of 5 teachers, I only had one bad experience.  Granted, she was spiteful, punitive, and singlehandedly brought me to the edge of a nervous breakdown, but she’s also adjunct, and thus hardly representative of the faculty.

But it was absolutely, without a doubt, the absolute wrong place for me.  For a lot of reasons.

  1. Wrong format: This was the primary pitfall, for me – the program is almost entirely online.  I have never been good with interacting with people online.  There are a lot of introverts who are better with online interactions than in person, and I am absolutely not one of them.  Chat I can manage, but asynchronous interactions like discussion boards – I am total crap at this. I forget to check, I forget to post, I glaze over too often when reading things by people whose faces I cannot see.

    As much as dealing with people is not my favorite thing in the world, I  need to be able to see people – see the way they talk, they way their eyes light up, the way they move their hands – and hear them – the modulations in their voice that indicate confusion or excitement – to really connect with a discussion.  Lack of people-contact also makes lectures extraordinarily difficult for me.  Watching a powerpoint slide show go by and listening to someone just doesn’t cut it – I end up focusing a *lot* on all the wrong things, and getting very little out of the lecture.

    For me, discussion is where it’s at.  That’s when I learn best, when I can talk out ideas and concepts.  ADD can make reading textbooks difficult – discussion helps me understand what ADD causes me to miss in the readings.

  2. Bad preparation: I struggle with depression and anxiety.  I don’t use that verb lightly.- it is a literal fight, with myself, every damn day.  It’s all documented, but I have never asked for accommodation – I never thought I needed it, in college.  In hindsight, I know that’s not so, and I’ve known for a good long time that high school would have turned out very differently had I had accommodations, had i known what I even needed.

    That, right there, is the issue.  I know I need accommodations, I know I’m eligible for them, and I know how to go about asking – I’m just not even sure what I should be asking for.  I’ll be talking to someone about that, eventually, to help identify strategies that would actually help.  I think one of them would be time to talk to either the teacher or a tutor, to talk out the readings and make sure I understand them.  Beyond that?  THat’s something I need to figure out, most likely with the help of someone who can ‘see’ my deficiencies with more objectivity and scope than I can.

  3. Wrong time: Library and Info Science is a great discipline, and I can see an alternate version of myself – maybe younger, maybe older, I don’t know – being very happy and fulfilled in this.  But the reality is that it’s not what I’m interested in right now – it’s what I’m good at.  Being good at it already is not enough for me, and the challenges that it presents are primarily trivial (as imposed to interesting – that is, they’re not unimportant, they’re just not particularly vital, to my mind,)  And the reality is that, with my ADD, if it’s not interesting to me in an immediate and vibrant way, I’m going to struggle.

    (I can’t discount that maybe it’s the way the program handles it, either, There’s always the chance that somewhere down the road I may go back to the discipline in another program. But at present, I doubt it.)

  4. Wrong discipline: a.k.a., I’m a great big fat hypocrite.  I realized, at one point, that all of my language about doing this was ‘it’s a useful degree,’ ‘it capitalizes on knowledge and capabilities I already have,’ ‘I’ll be able to take it anywhere,’ and worst of all: “it’s practical.’

    Here’s the thing: I already have practical skills.  I have 20 years of admin and database experience.  I will always be able to find a job – as an admin.  With an MLIS, I would move up a few rungs, maybe change environments, but it would still be similar work.

    That I don’t really want.

    What use getting better and more sophisticated at something that doesn’t, in itself,  make me happy?

    None.

 

So, what’s next?  I have some ideas.  I have some plans, but for right now, I need to take a step back and grieve my failures.  I think it’s important to do that, so that when I do move forward with my next project, I can do so without the spectres of this experience haunting me, dogging my steps and biting my heels until I fall again.  I don’t want to have learned nothing from all of this.

So for the next little while, I will couch it up with my cats, read a library’s worth of fiction, knit until my fingers fall off, binge watch Person of Interest, and actually see real people who I adore and have conversations with them that aren’t about my own misery and guilt.  That should be a nice change of pace.

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Halfway between whining and ranting, with a dollop of rambling

So, there’s this chiropractor’s office on the way to school that someone gave a lettered sign to. I’m not really sure what the prope name for them is, those signs with three or four lines that you slide the letters into.  Marquee signs, maybe?  Anyway, not entirely relevant, really.

A few weeks ago, they had the following saying up: “Worry is interest paid on a debt you don’t owe.”  Or something very similar.  I’m not sure, because every time I saw it I started getting too irritated to think straight.

I don’t mind platitudes, aphorisms, sayings, whatever.  I find them useful from time to time.  Even the ones found in the chiropractic propaganda publications (likely found in every chiropractor’s office; if you’ve seen them, you know what I mean.)  I cut one out from one of those publications a zillion years ago and kept it for a very long time: “Some people grin and bear it, others smile and change it.”  I like this saying.  It avers to proactivity in a relatively non-normative and non-dismissive manner.  Good saying.

Another one, of my own: “It never stops needing to be done.”  Non-normative, non-dismissive, just a reminder that even when the last thing I want to do is X, of it needs to be done, it *needs* to be done.  No way around it.  Want is want, and comes and goes, but necessary tasks don’t go away.  You do them now, or you do them later, but there is no not doing them.  Some people find it a little too negative, and that’s okay.  It’s my saying, and I’m not getting one of those signs anytime soon.

Point being, it’s possible for sayings to say everything they need to without getting into that problematic little area of nuance.  Which never seems to fit on those signs.

What I don’t like are sayings that are patently false, normative, demeaning, and in this case, simplifications ad absurdum.   Worry is often non-fruitful, it’s true.  But this saying diminishes the concept of worry by being dismissive of a singular facet of worry.  A husband worrying over his wife in surgery is understandable, and the emotion must be given its due.  Dismissing the emotion is demeaning.  If I worry about being able to pay my bills, then I probably need to worry about it; worry keeps the matter fresh in my mind, so I can look for ways to assuage my worries, either by confirmation of my capacity or creation of said capacity.  Telling me not to worry is *counter-productive,* because without that stimulus, I may ignore my obligations.

Another one that I see from time to time that makes me want to stab my eyeballs is: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result.”  Apart from the spurious attribution – it’s often credited to Albert Einstein, sometimes Mark Twain, but in reality has no identifiable source – if you have ever actually met a person suffering from any of the mental illnesses that are dismissed as insanity, you generally know that it’s a good day if they can summon the attentional intention to do the same thing even twice and recognize any result whatsoever.  In general, I refer to people who do the same thing expecting different results either scientists, or deluded optimists.  Occasionally, there is little distinction between the two.

Getting back to my point, I think sayings like these do more harm then good.  They spread a kind of disinformation that is insidious in its resistance to logic and rational acceptance of human qualities.   A good example of this is someone having said to me – I was a senior, and made some comment about being stressed because of upcoming finals, a musical opening, etc.  The person I was talking to said blithely “Oh, you’re too young for stress!”  That dismissal stuck with me, for a long long time.  I know better now, but it did its share of stress in the interim.

Maybe that’s why I’m so sensitive about these.  Who knows.  But this isn’t psychoanalysis, it’s ranting.  Right?

Now, I’m not knocking the signs themselves.  It’s what their owners choose to do with them.  There’s an Adventist church I pass every day that regulary has things like “Prayer?  We have an app for that.”  Of course, they’re also guilty of “When you can’t, God can” which I take exception to because the question is so much more nuanced than that.  Based on the standard conceptions, of course He can; it is the matter of His willingness to do so that has some serious theological meat on it. 

 I remember one church on the east side that had a pre-Easter sign that read “Not once in history has a rabbit ever died for our sins,” which I STILL find hilarious, if only because they obviously know nothing about the history of pregnancy tests – Aerosmith could help with that one.  Or maybe they do, and don’t think sex is a sin, in which case, maybe I should go hang out with *them.*

But that’s not what this is about…

Two oatmeal raisin cookies and a cup of weak coffee for breakfast.  Breakfast of champions.  But that’s not what this is about.

I’ve been writing more.  Fiction.  Some puff fiction to get things out of my head, and one story that has a lot of potential to be decent.  Good thing for me to do, though I think, if anything, it makes me even more misanthropic and grumpy.  But, again, not what this is about.

This is supposed to be about prison work.  But it’s not going to be.  That post may or may not ever get written.  We’ll see.

We moved recently.  Not moved-moved, just to another building in the same complex.  Smaller apartment, lower rent.  Third floor.

Fun fact: you have to give 30 days notice to move out of an apartment, but if you’re switching apartments, the complex can give you two weeks to get ready to move, and only 3 days in which to do it.

Now most people reading this will have had, at one point or another, the distinct (dis)pleasure of helping me move.  So, most of you know, I do not move well.  My writer skills fail utterly at expressing how monumental an understatement that last phrase is.  No matter how much or how little notice I have, how near or far the move, I get all kinds of freaked out.  This has nothing to do with where I am moving from or to, and certainly nothing to do with the people who are achieving guaranteed-sainthood-even-if-you-don’t-believe-in-that-sort-of-thing by helping me to move.  My…  sense of place is somewhat borked (oh, look, the place is just lousy with understatements.  Watch out for them, they hide under the carpet and bite toes,) and so I am trying to learn to do the things I can do to make moving me easier for the people kind enough to do it, and then go hyperventilate quietly in a corner that is out-of-the-way.

This time around, I got a little better at the latter half of that, but not so much better at the former half.  Mostly because I’d been working 10 hour days since Memorial Day in order to keep all my paychecks at 40 hours and still be able to take a day and a half off for moving, all on crappy no-CPAP sleep while the Monroe heals.

It’s alright, though, now.  I can never move again, because Brian is moving out-of-state.  Okay, that’s just me being melodramatic, but I have decided that even if I have to work three jobs and prostitute myself, we are hiring movers from here on out.

Also I will be getting rid of things, but that is neither here nor there.  Unless you are interested in a cedar chest that weighs approximately 48.7 tons, in which case maybe we can talk.

But, getting to what this actually all about, if I have been an asshole to you in the last month-ish — and chances are good that I have — this is, in part, why.

Oh, there are other reasons.  There are always other reasons.  I’m battling the depression monster, again-still-as-always, which makes me incredibly myopic about the fact that people, you know, make plans with or around me.  I should name it, really, that monster.  Have a nice cozy euphemism that no one understands for the giant suck that is depression, like the twee girls call having your period a visit from Aunt Flo.  I’d call it the Wrestling the Black Dog (not melodramatic at all, really,) but I like black dogs.  Maybe I shall name it Frunobulax, and forgo getting a toy poodle to go with the name.  There is something vaguely appropriate about my depression being a giant black poodle, one that terrorizes villagers.  But I digress, and those of you who haven’t hit the back button yet are probably confused.

I came across a bit of information, recently, one that’s not really mine to talk about (sorry to be all emo and mysterious, I really don’t mean to be, for once,) that got me thinking about friendships, and how I’m not very good at them.  Which was accidentally compounded with some other bits of information along the same lines, and…  well, damn, but that’s a lot of suck to be thinking about all at once.

So, I’ve some fences to mend, and some directed navel-gazing to do, and more wimpy coffee to consume.  I’ll probably be in touch, soon.  Sorry for being a jerk.

That First Post That Everyone Does

So, yes.  Hello, world!  How are you?  How’s the family?  How’s the arthritis, still giving you trouble?

 

I started this blog, as blog, last night, then got overwhelmed by the prospect of writing the intro post, because seriously, where do you start?  Then I ate a calzone, and went to bed.

 

Now, however, in the light of day, with a nearly sufficient level of caffeine in my system, and the sheer joy of watching a very fat dog play in the snow-cum-mud (Pure Michigan!), I feel about up to beginning at the very beginning.  Only not, because I really sort of hate “The Sound of Music” despite the fact that I love musicals, and beginning at the very beginning would entail a level of detail that I do not wish to go into, because that would sort of obviate the need for further blogging, really.

 

Fun, yet possibly apocryphal, fact:  When performing “King Lear” at the Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontario, Christopher Plummer needed to get really, really angry to get in to character.  In order to get there, he would have the other cast members stand in a circle around him and shout Sound of Music lyrics.  Awesome, no?

 

I am a fount of fun facts like this one: great party chat fodder, if only I were better at small talk.  Or getting invited to parties, for that matter.  Which isn’t to say I am lacking in self esteem or friends, just that I am not canape-and-small-talk-parties sort of people.  I have one that I go to on New Year’s Day that is filled with awesome people, and that about fills my need for that.

 

So, what ‘kind of people’ are you, exactly? I hear you asking, I mean, for an intro post, you’ve nattered on a great deal but not said any of the things that intro posts are supposed to say.  Get to it, already!  If you’re going to talk about rifle maintenance or the proper preparation of puppy-hides for use in the fashion headwear industry, we’d like to know now, so we can go watch TV, instead.  Sheesh.

 

Fine.  Be that way.  Things I will likely talk about include, but are not limited to:

  • Food. I am not entirely keen on the term “foodie” but let’s just say it would not be entirely inaccurate.  I am mostly vegetarian, except for a period early in the year when I become flexitarian.
  • Theatre/Drama.  I am a little bit theatre nerd, a little bit actor, a little bit writer.
  • Philosophy.  I study philosophy, currently on my own, but hopefully soon in a master’s degree program somewhere.
  • Feminism.  Oh, the dreaded and deeply misunderstood F-word.  It’s not always what you think it is, and I find it both academically fascinating and actively important.  Also under this category fall the fat acceptance and Health at Every Size posts I may do from time to time.
  • Art, Arts, and Crafts.  I occasionally do things that I will want to talk about, or show off pictures of accomplishments of which I am unreasonably proud.  Also under this category fall the remnants of my Art History nerd-dom.
  • Reading. Once in a while I might do a review of books read.  Not a regular feature, but occasionally possible.
  • Self-exploration.  Seems a little redundant on a personal blog, but there are a host of smaller issues that fall here, and not really anywhere else, like the adult-with-ADD stuff, fascination with personal organization/productivity stuff, fiction writing, and personal journal keeping revelations.  Also, possibly a few high-level examinations of the multifidelitous/polyerotic relationships.

As for the rest…  Well, let’s play it by ear, shall we?  I have snorking kitties to pester.

Why It Makes No Sense for Me To Do One of Those “Soundtrack of My Life” Memes

So, many of you are familiar with the irony it is that I – someone with neither taste nor direction in music – am married to a musician with reasonably discriminating (listening) tastes.

Also, I just got an iPod Touch. [Aside: this was in lieu of buying a netbook style laptop, and is mostly so I can do email, play games, and have easy access to useful info like shopping lists.] I am very much liking it, and Mr. The Jeef, being the wonderful husband that he often is, immediately installed iTunes on his laptop, and began loading music. At which point, this conversation repeated itself in various slightly different, but remarkably similar iterations:

Mr. The Jeef: Would you like some (insert probably famous artist here)?

Me: Sure!

MTJ: What would you like?

Me: … ?

MTJ: ::sigh:: Why don’t I just give you a random sampling?

Me: Okay! Oh, and give me that song!

MTJ: Why? Do you know it?

Me: No, but the title is really cool!

MTJ: ::Despair!::


Me, to co-worker: I think I’m listening to a love song to a blow-up doll.

Co-worker: … !

Me: Cool!


In news that is not really other, but still different, the Apple Genius playlist utility? Still no more comprehensible to me than Pandora, but equally useful. Except that it’s wierdness is restricted to stuff you already have, so there’s less “WTF? Cold Play? Why? Die you miserable bastard!”

Oh, and cariad? “The Weeping Song” by Nick Cave is my new favorite song of ever.

This is what happens to memes who don’t look both ways before crossing the street

Just as a disclaimer, this is not to knock anyone who fills/filled this meme out. I was just in a strange and contrary mood one day… I didn’t do the whole meme, either, since my witty-well ran dry. If you actually want the whole meme to fill out in earnest, I can provide it to you, but it seems unlikely that anyone suffers from a lack of available memes… Anyway, enjoy 🙂

1) What would you like to say to the first person you kissed this year?
Does anyone really take this opportunity to open up a can of spank-my-ego on some poor schmuck they’ve broken up with? “Why, yes, you’re a douchehound, Elbert, the baby is your sister’s and your dog is a better lay!” Isn’t this question really an underhanded attempt to test the quality of my personal judgment — one point if I can remember it, 2 points if I’m still happily dating them, -(4/month) if I’m not, -5 if the comment involves parentage or children. This way Strangermouse the Random Reader can assess my dateability by reading what I have to say to some random pair of lips at a New Year’s Party.

2) Why is the last reason you cried?
Because WordPad sucks Cthulu weenie smothered with atomic crap sauce? If I’ve cried, and Strangermouse thinks it’s a stupid reason, I’m a sentimental bag of wet shrimp chips. If I say I don’t cry, I’m either emotionally stunted, lying, or suffering from an extreme case of machismo brought on by testosterone poisoning.

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