Saturday, April 29, 2006

One week down

And believe me, I won't miss it. Let's see... so Tuesday was a day spent working in my office, which sucked (except for Tai Chi... this instructor I'm working with is really too amazing). Wednesday, however, definitely topped it. First, there was colloquium. No problem... sat through, it, stomached it, whatever. Then I grabbed a quick lunch, changed clothes, and went off to teach my women's self defense workshop. There were five girls who came in for the workshop, and I was surprised to see how pumped everybody was about what I had to offer. In the end, I think I even managed to get a couple of them eager to pick up martial arts on a pretty serious level, which was my primary goal. After that, I went to my office for more work, then went to fencing to coach a couple of my guys. From there, I did about an hour on the eliptical in the gym, then... wait for it... headed back into my office for more awesome fun work stuff. And that's where I stayed... that's where I stayed until 8:30 the next morning. It was either an all-nighter, or my Thursday presentation just wasn't happening. Anyway, I got it done, then went home for a nap.

A couple of hours later, I was back on campus, back in Dealy Hall, back in the psych department. I gave my presentation, which went pretty well, then went to my philosophy of psychology course, which I always love. Then it was dinner with Miraj before heading home to collapse... but not before writing my abstract for my thesis addendum, which was due on Friday morning. On Friday morning, I got to Rose Hill campus, turned in the abstract, hopped on a van to the Lincoln Center campus, and finished my last day of teaching lab. Afterwards, I went downstairs for a meeting with Dr. Wertz, Dr. Ponterotto, and three students from the philosophy of psych course who also want to get involved wit my little scheme... Miraj, Nava, and Marie... and I told them all my vision for this qualitative conference I want to throw next year at Fordham. Everyone was extremely happy about everything I threw at them, and the contributions and suggestions I got from them were unbelievable (keep in mind, this is a pretty energetic, super-enthusiastic bunch of academics who are popping at the seams to talk abot qualitative research in psychology... and stuff). I walked out of there with some amazing ideas, as well as the charge to put together a two to three page proposal for the structure of the conference. Then it was time for recording in Brooklyn with Craig... and we laid down the last song for the CD, which is apparently Craig's favorite, and that made me feel pretty damn good. When I got home, I got an email from Dr. Hogue, who runs a program at CASA, and who I'd spoken to a few months ago about an internship... it looks like he wants to talk to me about working on an initiative for a treatment program for adolescent substance abusers (hopefully, it'll be a paid internship... that's what we'd discussed before, anyway, but who knows). I responded, confirming the date he suggested for our meeting at the end of May. Then I crashed, and it was pretty damn good. I must have slept for... jeeze... seven hours? That's, like, a record for me.

So next week will be a little different, but hopefully not as jam-packed with things I have to get done. I have big things to do, of course... finish up a presentation for a class on teaching, get moving on my papers, complete my survey for my thesis research, apply for my IRB (that's so I can give my survey to people and be ethical about my research at the same time... weird), and... um... other things that I can't remember. Sorry... I've pretty much checked out for the semester. I mean, it's gorgeous out here! The campus is covered in, like, tulips... no, seriously... and trees exploding with flowers... and the weather is absolutely perfect... it's gorgeous and sunny, but not hot... it's... what's the word... um... springlike? I don't think I've ever really had a spring, to be honest. That's what happens when you live in Texas... you don't get actual seasons... just names of seasons demarcated by times of the year, but lacking any kind of climate indication on seasonal shift. Anyway, given how perfect things are in terms of flora and fauna out here, it's pretty damn near impossible to be productive. Hell, I even had a picnic lunch on campus with a couple of philosophy guys after Tai Chi on Tuesday (which was held outside, of course)... so yeah, I'm pretty much done with the semester. At this point, it's all auto pilot. Good luck getting me to do anything inspired for the next couple of weeks. I mean, I'll do my best to fake it... just don't tell anyone I'm not exactly... um... fully invested, you could say. It'll be our little secret or whatever. Besides, who the hell reads this thing, right? Yeah, I think I'll be okay.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Waterlogged weekends and sweet serendipity

Friday was a recording day in Brooklyn... after I'd finished teaching, of course. Got a lot done. In fact, I think I'm well on my way to being finished with the album. At least finished with it in a pre-mastering sense. There's more work to be done, so for those that are being impatient and won't leave me the hell alone with all their gripes, chill out... I'm getting there. Trust me... I'm not slacking off or anything. There's a lot of work going on in what I'm doing to these songs, so back off already.

Saturday was weird. I was asked to sing as part of a chamber ensemble for a soundtrack to a documentary on the life of St. Xavier (of Jesuit fame). Basically, it was me, my friend Cat from choir, a couple of other girls I didn't know, and a bunch of Jesuits, taking turns in and out of recording booths in a studio in midtown Manhattan. We laid down our individual vocals, did a couple of sectional takes, and we were done and out of there in something like two hours. Not bad, really, especially when you compare that to the hours and hours I'm used to spending in one studio session on my own crap. At least all I had to do on this thing was a bunch of vocals, which was a nice change of pace, believe me. After we got out of there, Cat and I were off in search of a Barnes and Noble (which we never found, strangely enough), on the way to which we stopped in at a martial arts supply store that we happened upon. There, I picked up a few things in preparation for the women's self defense workshop I'm teaching on Wednesday... some focus pads and a neat little book on Capoeira workouts. Then we walked around for another six hours or so, looking for that damned Barnes and Noble. Incidentally, it was raining buckets the entire time. Funny how rain doesn't seem to stop New York pedestrianism. My jeans were stemming water all the way up my leg, sure, but that didn't mean I should... I don't know... get out of the friggin' rain. No, I had an umbrella (or, as Cat pronounced it, to my chagrin, an UM-brella... silly northerners), so I was technically fine. Even after we gave up on our search and found ourselves at Chelsea Market, we were still good for another few miles. We did stop, though, for a gelatto, before calling it a day and swimming for the subway stop and a train to the Bronx.

The next day, I had a choir performance for some sort of incoming freshman event... that went smoothly enough. Easy music, quick little concert, done and done. From there, I spent the rest of the day locked in my office, taking a crack at the work that I knew lay before me. My Monday presentation was about half way finished when I left, as was the beginnings of my Thursday work. I even made a dent in some research for one of my other papers, which I swore I'd try to avoid at this point. So yes, there was still so much to be done, but I'd at least spent about seven hours on getting some of it out of the way, so there wasn't too much to beat myself up over at that point.

Then, this morning rolled around. I still hadn't finished my presentation for this evening, and I was a lost cause when it came to the work I needed to do for Thursday. In addition, I had a statistics class today, during which we were to hear the dreaded final exam test date. This is when my day started to get a little better.

Dr. Lewis told us that we wouldn't have a statistics final after all, but rather a make-believe methods section to a research project, in which we would be expected to incorporate the different methodological elements we'd learned over the course of the semester. This, in case anyone's wondering, is extremely good news. I'm already doing exactly that for my thesis, so all I have to do is add a little extra here and there, and statistics is done. I can't help but smile just thinking about it, even now. Ahhhhh... no statistics final. I wasn't looking forward to reliving the stress of the midterm, especially in the context of everything else that's on my plate right now.

This evening's Teaching of Psychology course, the one where I had to give my presentation, started an hour after statistics was over. I barely cranked out the materials for my presentation, but felt pretty scetchy about how the presentation ought to go. Apparently, I wasn't the only one... not only did the other students no understand what we were expected to do, but the professor didn't have a clear idea of who was supposed to present. My presentation, then, got bumped to two weeks from now, and I have plenty of time to thoroughly prepare, especially now that I know what I'm supposed to be doing. I'll say it again... Ahhhhhh.

So now I'm getting a little more work done in the office... just a little more. Tomorrow, I'll be on the phone with people, trying to get things finalized for my evaluation proposal presentation on Thursday... that one's going to be a hayride, let me tell you. I've also just found out that I have a meeting with Dr. Wertz and another professor at Lincoln Center on Friday (between my last bit of teaching for the semester and my recording studio time in Brooklyn that night) concerning my proposal for a qualitative conference at Fordham next year... apparently, I'm being taken more seriously than I thought, and they want to hear what I have to say so they can get in on the action. That's a pretty big deal, so I have to prepare for that meeting, or at least practice sounding like a little less of an idiot. Either way, I want to be ready. Of course, we can't forget the women's self defense workshop, which is definitely going to happen this Wednesday. I have to get my agenda together for that thing, which shouldn't be too hard, but it still needs to be done, and no later than tomorow. Speaking of which... why am I still in my office? I have to go to the gym and work out before I go home for the night. Ugh... why they won't just put an eliptical machine in my office, I'll never know.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Momentum... where'd I put it?

I'm sure it's around here somewhere...

Things are just zipping by now. I mean, no sooner do I land back in New York than I'm completely inundated with crap to do. I have two major presentations next week, two major papers theweek after that, and a statistics final to cap it all off. Oh, and let's not forget the quantitative thesis component that I have to submit a proposal for in that same span of time. And, lucky me, Ihave a women's self defense workshop to teach next week, one I haven't exactly put together completely at this point. Good times.

No matter... it was high time the tension ball got rolling. The semester was already churning along, sure, but it wasn't trying to kill me yet. I was starting to think things were getting easier, or that maybe I was even getting better at managing my time and my choices. Stupid, stupid girl. I think I'm ready for the hammer to drop, though. I'm feeling rested enough, I'm no longer sick with the plague, and I at least have a running timeline of things to do, one I can look at and freak out about in a nice, structured, orderly fashion. Perhaps making these weird little to-do lists is the only talent for organization that I possess, but it's at least proven to be a pretty handy resource. Okay, so first we have the presentations... two of them, twenty minutes a piece. One of them is this coming Monday. that one will take a few hours to put together, but it's nothing I can't handle. In addition, I have to put together a fake syllabus for a course I would hypothetically teach on learning and behavior, and that might take a little chunk of time, too, so i have to plan to stick that in somewhere as well. then there's the second presentation... a power point thing about the program I've been pseudo-evaluating all semester. that'll be a doosie, but at least I can do fluffy things with the power point.

The papers are barely a thought in my mind at the moment. I refuse to let them be. Let that be next week's headache, I say. For now, I'll let the presentations be the source of angst that I contend with. Ugh... fun.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Deep in the heart of it

Here's my official statement, if anyone wonders: I no longer miss Texas. Not at all. It's balmy down here for Eastertime. Just thinking of the sixty-something or seventy-something degree weather I'm missing back in New York is enough to make me not mind airplane rides. Ah, well... not much longer. besides, I'm at least with John, getting some much needed quality time with him. His recent acceptance into Fordham's Classics PhD program has been the cause of a good bit of excitement around here, and he's finally warming up to the idea that New York might not be such a bad place after all, so I'm not gonna complain too much these days. I'll just sit in this heat, sweat for a while, and count the weeks before John and I are romping around in New York together. Screw you, Texas, for being so infernally hot, even for Texas standards. I'm already missing the winter, which is something I never thought I'd say.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Sick of sick

I had a good run... I haven't been sick like this for, like, months and months and MONTHS. Typically, back in Texas, this sort of thing was a monthly occurrence. Left and right, I was beset on all sides by criticisms that I simply don't take good care of myself, that I run myself into the ground, that I'm to blame for my ever declining health. Well, screw everybody. I've been doing more here in New York than I ever did in Texas, and I've never been so healthy for so long.

So now I'm sick again. Mind you, it's not as bad as it's been. Yes, it's a bronchial infection, but it's not typical... it's not in my lungs, just up top, and I have the sqweaky clean chest x-ray to show for it. I caught this stupid thing from one of my students, no doubt, or from one of the philosophy bastards who have been running around spreading coughs and colds and pneumonia and bronchitis and mono like it's going out of style. At any rate, I came down with this thing last weekend, and now, at long last, it's dwindling. And yet, in spite of my great track reccord, here come the criticisms... I'm not taking care of myself... I don't do enough to stay healthy... I work too hard... I must not be eating well... ENOUGH! Friends, family... Romans, countrymen... get off my back. I'm doing fine. Even really healthy people get sick from time to time. And now, for crying out loud, it really IS from time to time with me. Give me SOME credit, will you?

Well, I can hope, at least.

Nothing spectacular going on otherwise. Schoolwork is chugging along, recording is almost done, laundry is still the devil, and I'll be back in Texas for the Easter break. I did see a nun in full habbit rollerblading in central park the other day. Oh, and last night, on the bus in Queens, I saw a pimp and his ho have a fight and start slapping each other. That was fun. Otherwise, though, nothing to report, really. Just looking ahead these days... finishing the recording process means starting the mastering, and I want more than anything to get it out there and get on with it. John moves here in August and starts his PhD program at Fordham, which makes me smile every time I think about it... so I smile a lot, basically. For now, though, I'd love to get a break from all this coughing... that, at the very least, would be nice right about now. In the meantime, I had a concert series last weekend with choir, I have a concert this afternoon with the women, and then I'm outta here for a week. Let's just hope I don't cough my way through the concert... not a solo I think anyone would appreciate.