Thursday, April 28, 2011

Musing of the day

The torment that so many young women know, bound hand and foot by love and motherhood, without having forgotten their former dreams.  ~Simone de Beauvoir

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

See why I love him?

Jedi wrote me a poem. He said I could share it.

Je t’aime

In the morning I adore you,
When you are getting ready for work.
Your red hair up in the style that I like so much
I sneak a glimpse of you in front of the mirror
When you don’t think I’m looking.
I know you think you need lipstick or eyeliner,
But you look breathtaking without their help.
My life has changed dramatically
Since you came into it.
I don’t know if it was serendipity
Or divine intervention,
However we found each other
I am very thankful. 
When I see your smile after I make you lunch,
It brightens my day.
And after a long and tiring day of work,
I know that I get to curl up
With you on the sofa and just relax
And I can tell you what happened. 
Tu es mon tout

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I'd rather have a kid than a doctorate. I think.

I went to visiting day at one of the schools I'm applying to yesterday. I'm applying to two programs at the school-- one an MA in counseling and the other a PsyD.  (At a different school I'm applying to an Ed.D.)

One of my HUGE motivating factors in getting a degree in counseling -- whatever that ends up being-- would be to open up a private practice so that I can have a lot of flexibility in my life.  One of the reasons I want so much flexibility is because I want to be able to provide for my (potential future) family while still being able to spend time with them.

After going to the visiting day, hoping it would provide some clarity -- really thinking that I was leaning toward these two programs, but not sure which one-- I now am more conflicted, but finding myself leaning away from these programs and leaning toward the Ed.D.

One the one hand I felt good when the admissions people told me I'd be a good candidate for the PsyD program (This is not true for MOST PsyD programs ... it's complicated, but essentially my academic background isn't in Psych and so most schools wouldn't consider me since I don't have the pre-reqs.  This particular school specializes in adult learners/non-traditional students so their reqs are more flexible-- but it's still accredited & all that.)  I liked the school, I was impressed with the faculty I met & the facilities.

One of the reasons I was originally drawn to the school was because of their flexible program model-- a full day of classes 8am-7pm on Mondays and Tuesdays.  My hope was to continue working Wed-Fri, and it sounded like my workplace would be flexible with that.

Well, after talking to students who were there, it turns out that you have to do 20hours of practicum during the week-- and those are during business hours.  There's really no way to work a traditional office job doing that. The other students I talked to either lived off their loans (Gulp! all $200k of them.) or worked flexible jobs like waitress.  Essentially, that ends up being pocket money/gas money, because there's no way to support yourself on that. A lot of the students had spouses who worked full time and were able to support them.  *sigh*  It's nothing against Jedi... but I know that's not a possibility for us.

Additionally, I realized that even after I would graduate (assuming it took me 5 years, though it takes many students 7 or 8) I'd still have a 6th year of supervised work to get licensed and then at least 5 years of working for the government to pay off loans... That's 12 years from now.  Which would make me 42.  Not exactly prime childbearing years, huh?   Oh, sure, I could have a kid in the middle of doing the program... after all, as another student pointed out, there was a student in her class who was pregnant! With Twins!

Oh god. Kill me now.

Sure, of course it IS possible to do that with kids... but would I want to? NO THANKS. Plus, I know there'd be no way I'd graduate on time if I did that.

(So do the MA, you may be thinking... well, it turns out the MA is not really as flexible as advertised either. Sure, classes are on Tues & Wed... but  you have a practicum on Mondays.... and then the second year you're expected to do the internship full time, during regular working hours.  No way I could keep my job under those circumstances.  The students I spoke to also advised me to do the PsyD over the MA if I chose to do any of the programs.  The MA also requires a full year of supervised internship before being licensed... so essentially 3 years of earning no money)

In the case of both programs the admissions folks and professors were pretty clear that their graduates don't go into private practice in most cases, and those that do do so 10 or 15 years after they start practicing (working for clinics) and have built up a client base.  I.E. Not the flexibility I'm looking for.

I know other people are able to make it work-- my friend supergirl for instance is one of those women who can "have it all." But! She's also a freaking genius, has a husband with a great job and salary, has a 2 previous degrees in Psych, and was able to get a full scholarship + stipend.  I'm really happy for her for all those things-- she made decisions in her life that allowed her to do that.  If I could turn back time I perhaps would go back and get a degree in Psych (which would make me a more attractive candidate, which would potentially mean more scholarship $$) and fall in love with someone who earns good money . But I obviously can't change my undergrad major and I wouldn't change Jedi, because if he hadn't been living with his parents when we met, we never would have met.

So, all that to say, what is the answer?  I'm now thinking that the Ed.D makes the most sense and offers me the most flexibility.  It's a really tough because I think I would really enjoy the PsyD and that I'd be good at it.  If I won the lottery tomorrow and didn't have to worry about money, and could go to school and get a babysitter as needed-- absolutely. And don't they say that's how to measure what you really want?

But at the same time what I really, REALLY want is flexibility and to have a kid (not now, but like 3 years from now... but certainly not 12 years from now.) And for those goals I think the Ed.D might be a better fit.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Keep the old

This article from Salon touches on something I've been meaning to write for awhile. Though the author of that particular piece seems a little blind to her own privilege (money, college, nuclear family, following convention in marrying college sweet-heart at 23) that led to her relationship with her friend drifting apart, I recognize how painful it is.

I was never the type of girl who put whichever guy I was dating ahead of my friends. (Partly because I never dated anyone for long/seriously, I admit).  However, this was still a VERY conscious choice. I saw firsthand in my parent's divorce that friends are there for you when the "love of your life" isn't.  I swore I would never put myself in a position where I depended solely on a "significant other"-- I'd seen often enough how those types of relationships ended up. The woman ended up both without a relationship and without any friends.

I also swore that I would never cancel plans on my friends because some guy came along. I promised myself that I would continue to make time for my friends-- after all, they'd been there for me long before some guy came along, my first loyalty was to them.

What a hurtful surprise it was to realize that my friends would make those choices for me, and start cutting me out of their lives.

Not all of them, but some I considered a very good friends. And it hurts. 

We used to talk for hours on the phone, hang out, go to movies, shopping, dinners out-- the usual. We were at the same points in our lives We would commiserate over jobs we didn't particularly like, over school work, but especially over being single and what crappy dates/choices we had.

We graduated from school. One particular girl struggled to find a job in her field of study. I got a new job I love. She's been on bad date after bad date, and had several short lived relationships. I met Jedi. She's bemoaning getting older and being single. She didn't acknowledge my birthday.  Her phone calls come less and less. She doesn't answer when I call her. I find out later that she made plans, to something she would know I'd love to do, with friends I introduced her to, and she didn't include me. I find out this happens a lot.

I made a point through all of this to continue to invite her to things, things she would blow off. I would be very conscious of asking about her life, talking about things that were important to her, mentioning Jedi only incidentally, never talking about the wedding. When I do talk about my own future plans I can see the pursed lips, the barely contained eyerolls, the judgement.  It seems she's no longer the person I became friends with.  There's a way to disagree with my choices, (as supergirl has done), while still being supportive.  This friend and I used to support each other. I wanted to continue to support  her. I don't feel like she feels the same.

It makes me supremely sad. Female friendship went beyond the bonds of male-female relationships for me. It was supposed to transcend them. That's what I was taught, and that's what I always believed, and that's what I was prepared to show.

I wasn't always nice to Jedi as a result of this. I made it clear that he took second place to my friends. I was wrong to do that. They should at least have been at equal footing. I know there are those who say I should have/should put Jedi first.  That still makes me really uncomfortable... but I recognize that if Jedi were "just" a friend, and not my partner (key word there), he would have proven himself to be the most loyal friend in the world, over and over and over again.  Why then would I put a friend who has proven herself to be unsupportive ahead of him, regardless of our relationship status?

There's a song I remember singing in girl scouts-- "Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other's gold."  I desperately wanted to keep the old. Who knew that it would be them who would shut me out?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I am inordinately fond of my hair. This is probably because, as my sister would say, my "hair is [my] one good feature."  I would say that it's also the only feature I feel confident about as it's something I get complimented on at least a few times a week. This has been going on since I was in middle school-- people used to just randomly come up to me and start petting my hair.  Having grown up feeling fat, ugly, and just generally harassed about my appearance since I was in 7th grade, I always knew that at least I had good hair. (And my otherwise gorgeous & skinny sister didn't. Bonus!)

So, all that to say that my hair is as important to me as my dress. I've been obsessing over hairstyles and I have yet to find anything I'm in love with! So frustrating.  I had originally wanted my hair up, but I've been told that it should be down for a variety of reasons. I'm compromising I think with a half-up do... but, it's surprisingly hard to find a half-up-do that doesn't look like "prom" hair or super trashy with stringy tendrils that are supposed to be romantic yet look like someone just as an awkward case of bed head. I really want something that's more structured than not.

Here are the contenders so far: (And if you have any suggestions, please feel free to send them my way!)









(Now, it is very hard to judge without taking the attractiveness of the models into account... ;-p... so, just picture me, who has a very round (slightly chubby) face, wide forehead, and reddish hair.)

Which do y'all like best?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Feeling groovy

The past few years were kind of rough. (Job uncertainty, crummy job, crappy love life...) Most of these things were not just for me, I know, but for the entire country. Hopefully we're on our way to better times?

The reason I bring it up is because I'm actually feeling pretty happy and content these days, which is a novel feeling.  I couldn't ask for anyone better than Jedi-- and amazingly, he seems to feel the same way.  I have a job that I like with coworkers I like. I feel like my job makes a difference, and I feel like I'm not only pretty good at it, but that my contributions are appreciated.  I'm feeling hopeful for the future.

Thinking about applying to school has been stressing me out. Thinking about not getting into any programs I want to get into has been stressing me out. Thinking about how to PAY for school has been stressing me out more. I've decided to stop letting it. Yup. Just like that.  Don't get me wrong, I still plan on applying, but I've decided to stop letting it be a barrier.

Hell, I'm not a senior in high school wondering if my life will go kaput if I don't get into schools A, B or C.  My life will be perfectly fine if I don't get into any schools. That's kind of a liberating thought.

I had a conversation with a great colleague the other day and I was expressing my anxiety around having a new boss.  My greatest anxiety was around the fact that I've successfully pulled of lots of big programming this year, which my current boss has seen and appreciated.  That means that I've kind of got "credit" in the bank with her-- e.g. if my next project goes kaput she won't say, "Well, see now-- I knew Hypatia was an incompetent idiot. This just proves it."  Instead she'll say, "Hmm, this isn't typical of Hypatia, this must have been an anomaly."

THAT I think is the most stressful part of having a new boss. (and I've had about 13-16 in the past few years depending on how you calculate it.) Always having to prove yourself again, and again, and again, and always being on your guard.  Phew.  No wonder I want to work for myself! Hopefully one of these degrees I'm applying to will let me do that. Fingers crossed.

What my colleague said to me when I expressed this anxiety was kidn of liberating and eye-opening in a Duh-Moment (no Aha- Moments for me!) kind of way.  She said, "Even if your new boss thinks you're an idiot, that doesn't mean that you are."

Oh. Really? Oh. Are you sure? Really? Oh.



That's pretty profound.

Even if it is kind of glaringly obvious.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Personal statements

I fucking hate personal statements on school applications. I hated them 11 years ago when I was applying to undergrad. I hated them 3 years ago when I was applying to grad school. I hate them even more now that I'm applying to grad school again.

Look, I get why people ask for them. I've read admissions forms. I know how indistinguishable candidates can be from one another when the grades and coursework are pretty much the same.

It still sucks though.  How can you be "authentic" (and still tell 10 different schools that they're your number 1 choice!)? How can you be original (and yet stay within these strictly confining guidelines)? How can you give an exhaustive accounting about yourself and why you're passionate about this particular degree (in only 500-700 words!)

These things SUCK. SUCK. SUCK. SUCK.  And I have 4 different ones to write and the questions/programs are all just different enough that I can't really recycle the answers.

And I'm totally procrastinating about it. And I should have finished a week ago.


We're going on a honeymoon!

So, I have been chided for not keeping up with posting. I won't even try to defend myself-- I'll just say, "Yeah. I know. Lame. Super Lame-O."

One nice update I do have is that Jedi and I are going on a honeymoon! Whee!  Really didn't think it would be possible because, have I mentioned?, we have no money! Whee.

A nice aspect about where we live is that while it is nowheresville, it is also prime vacation spot for the good-ole-USofA. Tourism is one of our main industries. One of the super annoying things about this is that it makes this nowheresville super expensive to live in, but we also have some great vacationing options close by.

Not needing to fly anywhere is a nice bonus (as is not getting groped by overzealous TSA agents) and a money saving highlight.

"So where are you going", I know you're just dying to ask!

We're going here:

Not bad, huh? My most important requirement is that I be near a beach.

We got a good deal on and are going for a week for only $1000.  (Ha! "only"! Well, a week's vacation for 2 people, $1000 isn't bad... but it still makes me wince a little!)  Sure there will be incidentals, I'm sure, but I'm guessing overall we can do it for about $1400 total including gas to get there.

Fingers crossed for nice weather!