Jazz and Chai

Once you’ve posted a title like this, what more can you say that wouldn’t be overkill?  But I guess I can try to swing with it and release a few small thoughts that are rattling around.  Tonight’s the night.  After the kids drift off into dreamland, I’m putting in my application for KSU.  Well, more accurately, I’ll do it after I search a bit and ensure any other programs that I’d like to apply to as well.

Yes, I’m chronic and perhaps that hope really does spring eternal.  I’m going to keep on trying until that last little bit of oomph seeps out and all that’s left is the memory of what I thought I first intended to do, way back when.

I don’t know that I’ve ever really been sure of anything.  At least not anything beyond the whole motherhood thing.  Maybe I would have been good as that 50’s housewife… but then I think about that image and have to laugh because I’m no housewife.  I’d be really good as the rich woman with the maid and the housekeeper who live in.

Nah.  I suppose I may not be really good at being me, but there really isn’t any other option.  Everything else sounds weird and foreign, as if it were playing counterpoint to what is mostly just me – I’m a searcher without much to go on – no clues or map.

I should just hang tough with my books and my shreds of sanity, held together with little boy hugs and big guy mocking.

I don’t think I’m going to be finding answers any time soon.

But the jazz is smooth and the tea is hot.  For tonight, that and those sweet soft goodnight kisses will be enough.

moonfire out.

So this is apathy.

There are times when a person has to retreat, whether it is mentally or physically, even emotionally.

I suspect this is a protective mechanism, something that allows a person to heal from whatever it is they need to get over.  The difficulty is expressing this in an understandable way to those around that person.  No matter what is said, someone will interpret it in some negative manner.

I understand this.

I’d like to hide out in my home for a week or two, regroup and come out a better person.  At least that would be the plan.  Obligations of various natures don’t allow for this, so instead, I feel a sense of disconnect that is growing steadily.  My little family is my safety line, keeping me tethered to reality and normalcy.

The question that lingers just below the surface of this gray feeling is this:  how do I manage what I need while still taking care of the things that I must?

It’s intriguing from a distant, scholarly point of view.  Living it?  Not so much.

Perhaps it’s nothing more than fatigue.

I had the chance to peruse some really interesting writing the other day.  It made me wonder what it would be like, being able to bring together words like that.

I suppose that’s a thought for another day.

For now, the evening is here and I’m very glad.  It was a long, long day of relative nothingness.

moonfire

A busy day after a stressful week

I have about 20 minutes before the next stage of our busy Saturday continues on.  Todd is doing “Code Camp” and we’re running about being social.  Today is another movie day with the herd of children.  Luckily mum is coming along, so I won’t have to worry about the kids in the theater when I’m working the “potty” runs.

My spirit has taken a beating this weekend, for many reasons, many of which are strictly internally generated.  At breakfast this morning, I told my friend that I wish that I could just be satisfied with what I’m doing day to day and not looking ahead.  I said that I wish there was a pill that would make me simply content to be where I am, with no seeking beyond that.

But I think about that and I have to be honest, it would be sickening to have your motivation and drive stripped away.  This doesn’t lessen the fact that I need to find some internal peace, but at least I have enough cognitive function to realize that the answer needs to be found within, not in some ridiculous pill or notion that I should be other than who I am.

Right now my world feels like that carnival gopher game – you try and try to hit those damn gophers, succeeding in whacking one or two (or maybe more), but ultimately you either don’t get enough points for a prize or you only get enough for a really lame prize.

Time to switch games or maybe stop with the damn games, that all feel rigged, anyway.

Not sure what it all means, but there it is.

Gotta go – early arriver.  Will write more later.

oh yeah, that hurts

This employee fitness program is probably the best thing I’ve done for myself in a long, long time.  But damn.  It hurts.  Nutrition is being managed via a football-type game (6 fruits/veggies in a day is a 6 pt TD, 3 high fiber foods is 3 points, and so on).  Fitness is being taught to us in increments and we’re doing circuit training twice a week.

All I can say tonight is OUCH.  I have sore muscles from head to toe.

I will fully admit it – I am the biggest wimp on the planet.  My physical fitness health is so bad that I am truly embarrassed to even mention it.  Joining this program was a stroke of luck for me.

But yes, at one point today I really wanted to go sit on the pretty young woman putting us through all the pain.  I’m quite sure my pudgy ass would have flattened her into a puddle.

I’ll survive and in 9 weeks I’ll be glad I went through it AND I suspect I’ll be ready to sign up for the next session, if one is offered.  Of all the programs they’ve offered at the university, this is the one that has the potential to make a huge difference in my life.  Nice benefit, isn’t it?

I’m now going to cringe my way into bed and some recuperating sleep.

cheers from one hurting moonfire

oops

Should have clarified off my last posting, I’m not stopping my education but I think I’ve found the path that I need to take.  The current path I’m on isn’t going to work, for several reasons and one of the big ones is the financial issue.

I have to make this quick, as I’m sitting here on a “coffee” break and need to get back to cleaning out old files (yay me!)…

I’m working on putting together a plan that will work with the limitations we have because I’m running out of financial aid and it will work with my staying on permanently at university where I work.  I’ve even got a *cough* back-up plan that I can set in motion if things don’t work out.

But here’s the thing:  Everything does happen for a reason.  I had to know.  I had to try something and see if it felt right.  It wasn’t and hasn’t been feeling right since last September, but I wasn’t willing to give up that easily.  What did happen, instead, was that it held me together until I got where I needed to be and then I found something that I didn’t even know existed as an option.

Even then, I had to dig around a bit.

I make no guarantees that this is the right tack I’m trying, but things have lined up for it, so I’m going for it.

So here’s the message to my kids:  Please hang in there another 18 months, ok guys?  We’ll get through this.

If I have to go with my back-up plan?  Well, that’s a whole ‘nother thing to ponder.

But at least I have one.

For now, though, I’m taking my break and I’m going to give some time to my family.  I’ve got application materials to submit.  I’ve got the two reference letters arranged.  I’ve got transcripts to request.  And, just in case, I’ve got a GRE score to send over.

Yes.  I’m probably nuts.  You just never know until you try…

moonfire out.

it’s a good thing I’m not an accountant…

Pulled up the national student loan data base and checked out my standing.

Ouch.  Not good.

I’m rapidly reaching the end of my federally funded education, not that it’s a bad thing.  But the problem that has come up is being able to sprint for the finish line before that funding is maxed out.

My calculations were off.  And now everything is in a state of flux.

It’s more than that, of course it always is, but life is taking a few twisty and unexpected turns.  I’ve got a fantastic support network that is helping me maintain some sanity while I navigate my choices.  Even as I type this, my head hurts and I feel the pain in my left eye that seems to crop up whenever I contemplate my adventures in academia.

I want to say that I’m a good candidate for all of this.  I love research and I love writing.  I just hate, hate, hate being told what to do.  I hate being boxed in – feeling claustrophobic.  I know who I am and what makes me tick, but so far I’m not doing a great job in letting that out where it can bloom and flourish.  I’m really good at making mistakes, in fact I think I’ve got it down to a finely tuned art.

Suzicate commented a while back that I HAD found my niche and I think she’s right.  In fact, I’m thinking about creating a blog posting just specifically for her because I think sitting down with her over a cup of hot tea and having a kibitz would be a great thing.

But I am digressing.

Yes.  I have my niche.  I love being a mom.  I love anticipating how to help them grow.  I love watching their discoveries and feeding the passion for whatever it is that they are exploring.  I love the milestones that are reached.  I love the way they are unfolding into these amazing people.

I’d be hard-pressed to find anything else on this planet that I love even half as much as I do those two boys.

I can expand on this feeling.  I love helping people find solutions.  I have to be careful, though.  I get tired.  People wear me down to the nubs and I have to get my “recharge” time away by myself.  I can’t do it 100% of the time.  I need to be able to retreat.

Why do I love studying information systems?  Easy.  I want to know the “why” of it.  How do you take something apart and make it work?  I love that.  I love the elegance of something being pulled together – whether people or resources or machinery or software or parts – to make a whole, a working whole.

The question that then comes to mind is this:  Do I want to work with this?  Or is it a case of simply enjoying learning the “how” and “why”?

I don’t know.

Some day, and it will come more quickly than I can imagine in this tired brain, I will be old.  I will likely still be working, because that’s just how it is.  I’ve run this scene through my head a million times since last fall… trying to imagine what it’s going to be like and where I will want to be, what I’ll want to be doing.

In my last interview, my future boss asked me where I wanted to be in five years and I told him that I want to be in a professional position on campus.  Given my studies trajectory, I explained that I’d like to be a database administrator or some sort of ISM.

When I let myself relax and project forward all those years ahead, to that time when I’m (hopefully) a gramma and still working, I don’t see myself working with systems but with people… specifically I see myself talking to young people, explaining why higher education isn’t just about a better job or crafting a future.

It’s about exploration.  It’s about learning more and more about this amazing world we live in – a guided “tour” with people who really love what they are touring with you.  It’s about expanding your mind beyond the expected in your life and opening it up to the possibilities.

It’s also about being an educated voter and a citizen who understands more and more about what came  before.  It’s about math and English, art and music, science and philosophy.

No, it’s not necessary to go to college to gain all of this.  But how often are you going to have fellow travelers to talk to about a subject like Western Writers, Cellular Biology, or Differential Equations?

We have these short little lifespans and can’t even begin to scratch the surface of all there is to explore, but if you have a chance to go for four or five or six (or in my case 20+) years on one of the greatest trips there is, wouldn’t you go?

I will never regret my education.  I regret my time being taken from my children right now, but I’m figuring that one out too.

I have been –

– a traditional student, fresh out of highschool… arrogant, intimidated, and lost

– a non-trad, married with no kids and working full time

– a non-trad, married, pregnant and trying to juggle studies with morning sickness

– a non-trad, married, with a small child while trying to complete an undergraduate degree

– a non-trad, married, with one and then two children while trying to work on a graduate degree and working full time

I’ve been in the sciences, the liberal arts…

I’ve had illness wipe me out a semester.  I had to drop out when I had a miscarriage and grief overwhelmed me.  I lost my gramma during a semester.  I learned about life and how it keeps going on, even when the ebb and flow of semesters keep up that familiar rhythm.

I belong here.

Now I just need to find my place in the middle of all of it.  And I need to do it without putting my kids through too much more of the unstable life we’ve got right now.

…deep in thought,
moonfire

At the end of the day…

I’ve heard the phrase “at the end of the day” used many times by various folks in the business world.  I’m sitting here, thinking about a really stimulating and intriguing conversation I’ve been having with my old boss from the software company.  We’ve been discussing the business/work world and how there are many times when we act from a place based on our own personal values, sometimes to the detriment of our careers.

So I think about this phrase and I think to myself, there is another way to view that phrase.  You can break it down and think about it in terms of your life…  when you get to the end of it, what will have mattered?  What will be the value that you brought and what will be the memory that lingers with you as you pass from life?

I highly doubt it will be the television show you “had” to watch, or the things you bought.  Maybe a cookie or too will pop in there, but probably it’ll be associated with the time you baked cookies with your mom or dad or maybe it’ll be the first cookie your child gave you.  Maybe that last thought will be remembrance of a smile or a look in an eye.  I don’t imagine it’ll be a pang that a promotion was lost or some whispering thought about how your credit got tanked when you lost your job.

I imagine there could be regrets, but for the most part, isn’t it more likely you’ll remember the highlights of life?

At the end of the day, the things I hope to remember are the feeling of my hand on my sons’ backs…  the kiss when Todd and I got married…  playing dress up with my little sister… baking a cake for my mom (even though it was inedible).  I hope I forget all about the sense of failure I feel in the workplace or how I have never really found my niche.  I hope that all that fades away and all that remains is the essence of what was really important to me.

For now, though, we could say I’m still in the middle of the day, just slightly past noon and looking at a nice gentle afternoon before evening comes with cool breezes.

cheers,
moonfire