Thursday, June 12, 2008

When the other shoe doesn't fall...

My mother says, "Don't just talk to me when something bad happens to you and then never tell me when it all works out." Now, I don't listen to a lot of what my mother says because I've heard everything so many times before that it's been playing for years like a constant soundtrack in the background of my head which I've put on "Mute". [Editor: too long of a sentence here and be nice to your Mother!]

But she does have a point. I remember writing a journal (briefly) when I was younger and when I'd go back and read it, it was just filled with things I was angry about and couldn't express to the people around me. Just from reading the journal, you'd think I was a prime candidate for Anger Management classes.

Now, I don't want any reader to think my life is endlessly filled with woe. So, here is an update on the parts of my life were making me miserable over the past two weeks:

It's gotten below 90 degrees and we have a nice breeze going. I have finally stopped sweating in my sleep (overshare?).

I got my car started without it stalling out about two days after it broke down. Still have to take it to get looked at but so far, so good.

The cat seems to be doing just fine. She's eating, her spirits are up (i.e. she bites me) and she's even begun dragging her toys around from room to room like she use to (Cue bad webcam picture of cat):

So, while I haven't finished my dissertation revisions or found a job, life doesn't completely suck. After four months of interviewing the most motley assortment of people to respond to a Craig's List ad for housemates, I've found Kate, a costume designer, who seems refreshingly normal. She won me over when she mentioned her boyfriend was allergic to cats and then said, "I'll keep my door closed and he'll have to get use to it!" Here's the lease, just give me your deposit check and the rooms are yours! When can you move in?!

Just a reminder for me to write not just when things are awful and I need to vent but also when life is running smoothly.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

To be me or not to be me....

I haven't been blogging much recently because I have spent enormous amounts of time (for me, at least) reading other people's blogs and connecting with people via social networks (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). So far, it's been an overwhelmingly positive experience albeit rather time-consuming. I haven't encountered any creeps or stalkers or people with poisonous negativity. In general, folks have been friendly and helpful which is remarkable to me because they don't know a single thing about me.

Among the many wonderful links that have been shared have been several analyses of blogs, what makes a good blog, how to get more readers for your blog, how to make your blog "better", etc. Reading this all at one sitting was, I have to say, overwhelming. I realized that I had no conception of "who my audience was". I guess I am writing for myself but I read other people's personal blogs so, who knows?, maybe there are people interested in reading about my problems finding a housemate or having writer's block or looking for inspiration and finding it in unexpected places.

I was feeling a LOT of pressure (by whom? I haven't a clue) to have this blog provide something meaningful, to make it more "helpful" to the reader and less like an episode of Seinfeld (without the punchlines). Less anecdotal and more substance.

Yet, I created this blog as a place to come and write about the stuff of life or, at least, my life however narrow that is. My dissertation fills up most of my life and has for the past few years and it is where I try to make meaningful statements and, as they say, "contribute to the literature." Although I might talk about my cat being sick (which I think was completely misdiagnosed), this blog was intended to be a place for interior thoughts, silly observations, great quotes, lingering frustrations, maybe a nice picture or two or even a video clip. It was not meant to be WORK, another job.

When I start thinking, "I need to write another blog entry", it becomes an unpaid job and I tend to write less. When I can share things I delight in or I find maddening, then it becomes a pleasure.

As the NY Times article about Emily Gould reveals (and the letters it provoked), this smacks of narcissism to a lot of people. Me, me, me. But, right now, I'm my primary resource for ideas along with a lot of wonderful new websites that people have introduced me to over the past three weeks.

I've decided that there is probably another blog in me, someway I can share all of the years I've spent in higher education with other people. But as for Spiral Scratch, that will just continue as a personal journal. I might update the stodgy template some and reduce the numbers of widgets to give it a cleaner look, but the message will remain the same. And for those of you who wander in here for wherever in cyberspace, I hope you will feel at home.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The week that was...

...was absolutely terrible. Hence the gap between posts. The 3 big Cs hit the fan on the same day: my cat, my computer and my car, three things I rely upon. Serena is seriously sick (according to the vet), the OS on my 2 week old computer got corrupted and so had to be reinstalled (all my data and program files deleted), and my car kept stalling.

The car is 12 years old and hasn't had any major problems so it's not a total surprise that it needs work but I wasn't expecting my young cat to have cancer or a new computer to fail so soon after I got it. I must have spent three days trying to "work around" the OS failures before I finally threw in the towel. After installing all of my programs, transferring folders, bookmarks, etc., it was demoralizing to have to start again from scratch. But, what are you going to do?

The cat situation is the worst. She has never even had a sneeze before so I haven't quite accepted the doctor's diagnosis. It's not like I'm going to put her through chemotherapy (if I could even pay for it which I can't!) so it's going to be wait and see if she gains some weight back or gets worse. I feel so helpless, I can't imagine how I'd fret if I had a sick child, it would be ten times as worse.

June has to be better...I think I say that at the beginning of every month.