Staying In and Getting Real Night, Part 8

It’s cold.

Like real cold.

Like real real REAL cold.

When it gets cold like this, everyone’s spirits are down, even mine. After I came home from school today, as much as I wanted to go back out and do something – go to the store, return something I bought, go to the mall – but once I was inside, it was like…the door is closed and it ain’t reopening until winter is over. Or at least that’s what it feels like, even though I have plenty of responsibilities and life and stuff to do and next week’s not looking to be much warmer.

As far as my writing goes, I’ve been plodding along. It’s been more slow and steady, getting things in here and there. I’m scared I’m not going fast enough, or that I don’t have enough information, but I am feeling that with each dissertation chapter I write (I’m in the middle of Chapter 4 now) I am more satisfied with the output. I’m definitely happier with my current unfinished chapter than I am with my previous chapters.

Class started this week, and while I’m of course so grateful to be employed, and doing something I enjoy, it’s still a lot of work. I thought it would be somewhat easier than last semester, but going back to the beginning feels like more of a struggle than it was. I keep asking myself, how did I do it last semester? Hopefully by this time next week things will be a little smoother and it’ll feel more like it did last semester.

I feel like I’m also taking less time to reflect, since everything this year so far has been so go-go-go for me. But since it is time to get real, let’s get real and reflect on something for a sec.

This should be the time in my life when I’m meant to feel the most free. I live my life, do my thing, have free time to pursue other activities, and have more of a degree of autonomy than ever before. It’s weird; I’m not sure what I’m trying to say, but something along the lines of – things are calm for the most part, but I feel the need to calm down is even more important. Not to screech to a stop, but somewhere in between. My apartment is nice and quiet, but my thoughts are definitely racing, and in so many different directions.

The real truth of tonight is that even though it’s quiet outside, you don’t know how loud it is on the inside.


Only Human

This might just be among the weirdest posts I’ve ever made, but I’m wondering what it is that makes you feel human.

Call me materialistic, but for me, there’s something about sensations that makes me feel so much…like me. None of these things are too shameful in and of themselves, rather they’re indulgences, but for some reason, they make me feel like a person. I don’t know how else to explain it, but maybe…that feeling when you do something wrong, but it’s something that doesn’t really matter in the long run (nobody is hurt, no one died), and you shrug and say “I’m only human,” and you’re right. And then you go back to feeling like yourself and wait for the next thing to happen.

For me, it’s my favorite scents:

  • Most anything from Crabtree & Evelyn
  • Nautica Aqua cologne (or whatever it’s called)
  • A brand-new bar of soap (tonight I opened a bar of Waterlily and Jasmine by Asquith & Somerset
  • Lavender
  • Orchids
  • Coffee

It’s certain sounds:

  • Rain falling at night
  • A dryer
  • The clicky sound whenever you download a new app on your iPhone

And certain sensations:

  • Scrubbing with a loofah
  • Getting into a warm bath
  • Picking up a piece of garbage from the ground (this is probably the weirdest one)
  • Putting my nose inside my shirt, counting to ten, and then the cool sensation when I take it out (okay, this might be weirder)
  • Rayon
  • Quilts and duvets that are slightly on the heavy side
  • A fan blowing lightly on my skin
  • Other things I probably shouldn’t share in a forum as public as a blog…

What about you?


Is It Time Yet?

Time is a tricky thing, you know?

We all know that it flies when you’re having fun, and stands still when you have those moments of fear or tedium. But it does keep going on.

I admit, I have not been keeping myself on the strictest or most efficient time schedule these days. My sleeping patterns are way off, I’ve been eating random things at random times – for example, I just had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and am defrosting some chicken – and self-care has definitely fallen by the wayside. On Friday, I went to the gym for the first time in a few weeks and although I didn’t feel gross or sick afterwards, I definitely felt weaker. I’ve actually missed any exercise for the last few days, other than worrying, because of my dissertation proposal, which I turned in at 2:00 this morning, and my immense stack of grading, which I should probably be doing now instead of typing this blog and pretending like I have more time.

But anyway, real talk. It just seems like time is never on one’s side. I know that I’m not the only person who has grading and work pile up at the end of the semester. Yet there is this feeling of an avalanche that’s either falling or about to fall, right on the edge. Or something like that. And it seems like my time is just measured in increments of activities, deadlines, and due dates, and then…well, I don’t know exactly what, but if I don’t find some employment past June, I guess I’ll find out, and then maybe I’ll look back with fondness on times like this when I can’t even stay on the same train of thought because I’ve got so much going on in my mind.

And it’s only Monday. Three days of grading, teaching, and meetings are ahead of me, followed by a relatively free Friday, then a busy Saturday, proctoring an exam in the morning and doing Salsa Saturday at night. Then, next week is my dissertation proposal defense…I can’t even think about that right now…and then I can at least attempt to shape the rest of my time, at least for the summer…

How do you deal with time?


Staying In and Getting Real Night, Part 6

Another Sunday night, another Golden Girls marathon. It’s the episode where Stan becomes attached to a toy monkey, so mute goes the television. Time for staying in and getting real.

So what’s new with you? I’m stressed, as usual, and there’s noise coming from the hallway which will become a real problem if I feel like going to sleep anytime soon. I had a bad week last week in terms of healthy eating, so I skipped the dance team dinner at Great Dane, yet managed to come home from Whole Foods with not only almond butter, protein, and veggies but also a container of gummy stars to reward myself for…well, nothing.

Which brings me to my next topic, or lack thereof. Dissertation. I have a meeting coming up in 2 days to talk about it, and I still have no idea what “it” is, or will be. I’m pretty much at the same place I was four years ago. I thought I’d have it all figured out by now. I feel like I’m probably going to end up googling “how to pick a dissertation topic” because yeah, I should probably start working on that idea sheet. I mean, I have a few ideas, but nothing really concrete enough to gel into a game plan. Granted, it’s still (closer to) the beginning of the semester, and I guess if all else fails I can change my topic. I do know what I don’t want to do; even though I really enjoyed researching the Romani of Central Europe and their performance practices, I feel like I’ve probably exhausted 95% of the sources available to me. Probably very few new books on the topic have come out in the last few years, if any at all. I was even surprised to find one article of interest, in a Canadian journal. Even though language barriers are tough to overcome, ethnic barriers are nearly impossible, and I honestly think that there’s a certain point that I, as a white American, cannot penetrate, either for ideological reasons or because there’s simply nothing on record.

I really want more gummy stars but at 11 PM I said to myself, no more for the night.

Dinner was a lazy salad – threw together some lettuce, onions, cucumbers, Craisins, and tomatoes in a tupperware, tossed it with oil/vinegar/lemon juice, and called it dinner. Not too satisfying, but I’ve got some sparkling water to hopefully sate myself.

I know these posts are super boring and totally against the original purpose of this blog, but what are you going to do. At least it’s real talk and not just pointless word vomit, a la LiveJournal.

Oh, and in other news, I got some reading done today, outdoors even, and I’m close to finishing two books, and I haven’t even finished a single one since February started, so that’s something.

Okay, time to zen out and meditate in order to dissertate. Ommmm….


Staying In and Getting Real Night, Part 5

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted anything – duh – and by the way, where are your funny comments on the generator? – but it was a long tiring day, I’m super sunburned, I chased a dog, I read for the first time in a while, and I went to the gym.

So yeah, find a seat among the piles of books and folded laundry, and make yourself at home, because it’s Staying In and Getting Real Night.

Last night kind of sucked; I was kind of lonely and just feeling totally down. I’m better today, after some socializing, sunshine, and exercise, but still kinda meh.

Basically, the banes of my existence at the moment are my prelims (self-explanatory), people on the street, and anything that emits smoke.

People on the street. Just because I am also walking on the same street, does not meet I want to or need to talk to you. Why me? Why is it always me, random guy on the street, who you approach? No rudeness intended, but I do not have food, change, or cigarettes to share or spare. Now that I am helping a legitimate business sell quality products on those same streets, it’s become even more apparent as to why I should not give you money. I mean, I’m selling things and sometimes I feel guilty, and most of the profits are not even going to me personally. And when I tell you to leave me alone, do it. And mind your own business while you’re at it.

And speaking of cigarettes, stop it. Just stop. It already smells bad enough outside, why do you have to make it worse. I can’t walk ten steps on State Street without getting a whiff of something foul. At least I’m allowed to tell you to back away from the booth when you’re holding a cigarette. Now I have to wash my clothes again, and I’m starting to smell you in my apartment. And no, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a regular cigarette, cloves, or a vape, it all smells terrible. It’s been hours, and I’m sitting in my apartment alone and I can still smell it everywhere.

How’s things out there for everyone else?


Staying In and Getting Real Night, Part 4

Since I don’t have the energy or an idea for a fun post, and I looked back and saw that it’s been almost three months since I did one of these, come join me in my living room for a Staying In and Getting Real Night. I’m actually still fully clothed and in a knock-off Snuggie, but you can be in pajamas if you like.

So how are you? I want to know. If you want me to know, skip to the comments section and write about it. I’ll still be here for you when you get back.

I have been thinking about a few things lately. First, why does celery have such a ridiculously bad aftertaste, and second, I wonder what the germiest object I touch every day is. I would say, either my phone or my computer, since I take both of them into the washroom occasionally and while I wash my hands, I don’t wash my electronics. So, think about that whenever you ask to borrow someone’s phone or laptop.

Another thought I had: I don’t like doing dishes, but if there’s something in the kitchen that’s on a timer, like the microwave or oven or coffee maker, why am I compelled to wash and dry as many things as I can before the timer runs out? Interesting.

Like my previous post of the same nature, I actually was not a shut-in tonight; I went running at the gym, and then to dance class (although I did leave before rounds because I was hungry and had some salmon defrosting which turned out to be delicious) but still, I’m in, the TV is off, and it’s so quiet that I can hear the refrigerator running. Last night I even got to bed almost before midnight; hence, why I did not blog, because by 11 PM I already had bed on the brain and was fighting staying awake, and ended up getting in bed and falling asleep by 12:30 or so, which is early for me these days.

Some questions to ponder:

What if God was on YouTube?

Why do I keep going to the State Street Starbucks even though it’s the one Starbucks where I can’t get wi-fi for some reason, and there’s always bums and other weird people yelling all the time, while I could walk either of the two Capital Square Starbucks, or drive to the Blackhawk Starbucks, or get coffee elsewhere?

And…can you quit something “cold turkey” if you’re vegan, or do you have to quit something “cold potato?”



Staying In and Getting Real Night, Part 3

And again, not too much of a shut-in tonight, as I actually went to the gym(!) and a 2-hour dance class, but I’m idea-less at the moment (other than needing to spruce up some of my half-finished recent posts) but I thought I’d just take a break and say hey and all that.

I cleaned my apartment this weekend, well, a good deal of it. I can’t say that everything’s off the floor, but my apartment is pretty walkable now. The countertops and tabletops are piled with things, but that’s another issue for another time. The recycling is really piling up, I don’t know why I don’t take it out as often as I take out the trash. I guess it’s because I can just toss the trash bags down the trash chute, but I have to take the recycling box down and actually put everything into the recycling dumpster (recycling bin? dumpster does not sound too correct).

Dance class today was pretty fun, but I still feel like…I don’t know, that I got cheated out of dancing as a young’un. I know that not everyone started dancing as soon as they could walk, but some people grew up in families or in places where it was more acceptable/encouraged. My exposure to dance was basically doing the hora on Simchat Torah and maybe some line dances at a bar mitzvah, or doing the middle school slow dance-type-thing. We had a pretty good dance teacher in high school, but I don’t think our abilities (or at least mine) were quite up to par, and only having dance class once every other week didn’t really help. For some people, dancing just kind of sinks in a little more naturally; I’ve known people who’ve told me that they’ve only been dancing for the last few years and they’re already miles ahead of me. Granted, I don’t practice as much as I should, and for my first year, I wasn’t too serious about it because I was settling in and still finding my way around and stuff. I can’t remember if my parents ever offered to send me to a studio, or for classes, other than the occasional performing arts summer camp for a week, but if they did, I should’ve taken them up on it. I don’t think that they did, though.

So…work to do. Other than finding something resembling a summer job and doing more than thinking on my prelims, the workload’s kind of leveled off. I have one presentation next week, and then another the first week of May, but other than that, it’s just teaching (and I’m almost finished grading, only about 20 papers to go). I have a huge stack of library books due, and I’m kind of getting tired of them just sitting there, unread, taking up space and constantly renewing them (having constant renewals is a blessing and a curse) but for some reason, when it comes to reading, I think of something else to do. I hope grad school hasn’t completely killed my love of reading. Even today, I actually scanned a play into my computer rather than reading it, because it was an interlibrary loan and it was overdue (fortunately, they don’t care enough to charge you unless it’s been recalled, so I came out in the clear). I did manage to write and send letters 5 and 6 in my 2016 Blog Friends Pen Pals Challenge (which, if you’re reading this, let me know if you want in because I still only have a few more addresses in my list).

And so that’s tonight. Here’s hoping tomorrow’s classes go well and that this week ends up being a good one for blog-spiration.