Final Thought Tuesday, Aug 19 2008 

This is my final post as The Senior Senior.  Since I’m no longer a senior, and since grad school is chock full of semi-oldsters such as myself (more than a few of whom I count among my friends), I decided to start a new blog, which will be added to the Blogroll, Grad School Diaries.  Pretty self-explanatory.  I’m also taking up a new nom de blog, to more accurately reflect my place in life.  I have yet to decided if friends, coworkers and the occasional frenemy will be referred to by their previous monikers, or if I’m going to clean slate it.  Time will tell.

And my final thought as the Senior Senior?  It would have been cool if it had involved an epiphany on the bus, but you can’t have everything (as I think the universe has taught me time and time again).  I was at my job (not The Hated Job, which I have done quit [thank heavens]), entering valuable student data (all the better to obtain grant monies with, my dear).  To do this job, I was given access to a boatload of data – data on my coworkers, on all the students we see.  And unlike those who have been caught peeking at medical records and passport information, I was pretty put off by it.  In fact, one might even say that I had the heebie jeebies about being able to poke around in people’s files (and poke around I had to do sometimes, and I felt distinctly weirded out about the whole enterprise).  This strikes me as interesting, because I have never considered myself a saint; when it comes to information, even if it isn’t any of my business, I always assumed that more was better.  And you would think someone of that disposition would be itching to see people’s grades, what their financial aid packages are, etc.  But even when I had a perfectly good reason to get that information, I felt like I was trespassing, not to mention not having any real temptation to sneak a peek at information I did not need.  I didn’t even want to look up my own file (just to see). 

And oddly, it had nothing to do with being paranoid about someone being able to look into my file.  I know what’s in it, and it isn’t that interesting.  I simply felt weird about having that much information.

Imagine that.


Murky Monday, Jun 9 2008 

Yeah, I kinda called it – The Young Man and I were unable to meet up before his departure.  Early last week, I shot him a casual little e-mail hoping that things were going well.  Eventually, he responded, and it was nice to hear that he is having a good time, both socially and academically.  I also got out of the house, KSP and I went out for a beer and some chitchat, and were later joined by her beau 2A.  We talked bad movies and ran into a large portion of our social circle.  We all shot the shit, and it was fun.  Out past midnight, which is quite the rarity for me.

KSP, God bless her, can be a known meddler.  And I say this knowing full well that she is a semi-regular visitor to the blog.  KSP, you are a known meddler.  Yes, I may have asked for some meddling input, and I do encourage the meddling when I am a spectator to it.  She made a suggestion, and I gotta say, my first impulse was to say, “er…no.”  But, I’m nothing if not introspective, so I revisited my first response, just to make sure I wasn’t being too hasty.  After careful consideration, my considered opinion is…””  But I would recommend the gentleman in question to someone else, should they ask for my opinion.  But this was my reasoning.

Why I Won’t Date Within My Social Circle
(by The Senior Senior)

  1. Our social circle is borderline incestuous already.  While it makes gossip an enjoyable constant, I prefer to be a spectator to the gossip.
  2. When it all goes kablooey (and the odds are always in favor of kablooey), the awkwardness is palpable.  Divisions are almost necessary, and friend custody is trickier.
  3. In adulthood, one’s social circle tends to contract, rather than expand.  Dating outside the herd is excellent for staving off that process.

And that pretty much sums it up.  Now certainly, many of my friends have seen or are seeing someone in the circle, and more power to them.  I would never talk anyone out of seeing someone for my reasons.  They’re mine, and are applicable only to me.

I realize that for someone who is, theoretically, interested in pursuing some sort of romantic relationship, I may come across as perhaps a tad picky.  But I don’t care.  I have gone back on my self-imposed rules in the past, if I have been interested enough in a particular man.  But my flouting of the rule in question has always, and I mean always, bitten me on the ass.  So I say no more.  If I have to be in my mid (to late) thirties, I might as well benefit from the foolish, drunken, short-sighted or just generally ridiculous errors in judgment I have made in the past.  I’m not saying I’ll never make any foolish, drunken, short-sighted or just generally ridiculous errors in judgment; I just hope I won’t make the exact same ones – stick to new mistakes, that’s my goal.

Faster or Farther? Friday, May 23 2008 

Late last week, after I turned in all my intellectual chores for the semester, I realized that, for the next 15 weeks, I will not have a 50-lb. backpack to lug all over creation, as I did this last semester.  Oh yes, hooray – but the lugging of that 50-lb. backpack is more than likely the root cause of the loss of 20 pounds since January.  And that ain’t bad, let me tell y’all.  But this means that I have to replace my primary form of exercise during the academic year.  With actual exercise.  But it’s finally spring, I finally have some free time and that means I can actually do things other than read beaucoup de phonologie ou syntaxe and get out there and move.  And getting out there and moving is what I’ve started.

I’d thought to start small, but it turns out that lugging a 50-lb. backpack all over creation is excellent for building up endurance, and my intial workout of taking 5km at just below a jog is exercise, but well below what I can feasibly do.  So, since I’m all about pushing myself, I need to torque it up just a bit.  Which brings me to the slightly existential question:  faster?  or farther?

If I go faster (running instead of walking), it might be a short-run (no pun intended) improvement, but will it really get me to where I want to go?  And last night, I heard an alarming clicking noise in my left knee.  That said, I had the opportunity to run a little bit yesterday, and it felt great, almost like flying.

However, if I go farther first, I don’t necessarily eliminate the possibility that I can, eventually, pick up the pace; when I do, I will be prepared to do so much more, right?

It seems a little metaphoric, this debate, because it relates to what I’m doing graduate-school wise.  This masters’ program may not be the most obvious next step; but I think it will push me further down the road than any of the other options I considered.

As long as my left knee doesn’t crap out.

D-U-N Done Sunday, May 18 2008 

While clearly I haven’t been writing here, I have been holed up at the library, putting together all my wisdom in Syntax, Phonology and Bantu Morphology (assuming I had any wisdom) for grading purposes.  Finally on Friday evening, I was finished.  And really, I mean finished, as this is the end of my (second) undergraduate career.

True, I start grad school in the fall (staying here, by the by), and I don’t feel particularly done.  But I am.  And so the summer begins.  I have this week off, and I have a lot of errand-y things to do (since I let many things slide these past 3 weeks).  One of my goals over this summer is to carve order out of the chaos I let build up over the semester.  Hopefully, my adored job (which I am retaining for summer session) will promote me to instructor status (with my newfound degree), which would not only mean a serious bump in pay, but would allow me to quit hated job guilt-free.  So I wait.

But I’m more than experienced at that by now.

Wow! You must be psychic! Thursday, Apr 24 2008 

Since it’s spring and all (and finally feeling like it, at least for a couple more days), they’ve been having various activities on campus to celebrate.  They had free coffee and donuts (missed it – had to work), and I’m pretty sure that was the only one I was interested in.  Today they had a sort of a mini-carnival, and they had a psychic giving free readings.  Of course, I stood in line.

What was she going to say?  “You’re going to be taking a trip?”  That might be nice.  “There is a dark, handsome man who does calculus for fun in your future?”  Hey, no complaints here.  The line creeped forward…and then it was my turn.

I sat down.

“Show me your hands.”  Okay, I hold my palms out.

“First of all, I see a good, strong life line.  You have many good years ahead of you.”  Well, that’s nice, although it seems an unlikely business practice to scare the crap out of someone by saying, “You’re going to be run over by a #16 bus next Tuesday.”  But I digress.  She mostly said that I was strong and open and loving, but sometimes people took advantage of me.  She also said that something happened three to six years ago that changed my personality – that I was stronger, but less open and less gullible, that I was more aggressive and looking out for myself more.  She told me that I was generally in good health, but lately I was not eating well and sleeping poorly (you don’t say).  She also told me that I had lower back problems (you don’t need to be psychic for that – you just need to get a load of my backpack).  She then told me that I was thinking of going back to school or getting some training in my career, and my future was in that.  And that in three to six months, I would need to start taking care of that.


She then asked, “Anything else?”

Well, you know how it is – I am more than a little curious about my love life.  After all, who isn’t?  So I said, “Well, I’m a little curious about my love life.”

She looked at me.  “Look,” she starts, and the very tone of her voice becomes more than a touch ominous, “we’ve had a good reading, and I don’t want to mess it up by talking about your love life.”

“Oh,” I say, more than a little disappointed.

“You’ve been hurt.”  She adds.

And, maybe my dose of Sarcasma was wearing off, because my first thought was, “Ya think?”  But I kept that to myself.  Instead, I thanked her, and went on my merry way.

And, even though I wasn’t going to put much stock into a free 5-minute psychic reading, I was a little disappointed.  I mean really, she was already a little vague – why couldn’t she have thrown me a bone?  So, for fun, I poked holes in everything she told me – the things that seemed accurate, relatively speaking, one could interpret as playing the odds; there weren’t many way off-base remarks, but really, “I was thinking of going back to school?”  Aren’t I already in school?  And I’ve never been the doormat she hinted that I once was.  I think she took a look at me, played the odds and figured I was someone other than I am.  I entreat you, oh friends of mine, what do you think?

And anyway, who ever heard of a psychic with an iPhone?

My Crappy Career as a Cougar Monday, Apr 7 2008 

I have not posted, as you can well see for yourself, in quite a long time.  I keep meaning to, and then I remember I have to read some Syntax or some such.  Besides, it would be just a post wherein I bitch about my shabby shabby life.  And I don’t want to do that, not so much because I don’t like to bitch (because I do, franchement); I just feel like a world class fool, and if I don’t poke at that with a stick, maybe I won’t feel like a world class fool.

But it’s too late for that.  I am a world class fool.

This is what I’ve been avoiding bitching about:
After GSS and I came to our understanding, things became really nice.  Now that everything is established, we have a nice, easy-going friendship (and, truth be told, I find it much more enjoyable than the flirting – though that had been fun).  I had claimed that I wasn’t going to flirt with The Young Man, because he was age-inappropriate, because I didn’t want to be a cougar, because I wanted a grown-up relationship, because my ego was still a little battered, because blah blah blah…That lasted until I actually saw The Young Man at work.  Then I flirted with The Young Man, because he smiled a great big smile when I came in, because I was in a good mood, but mostly because he is really, really good-looking.  And flirt I did.  I laid it on a little thick, as Spring Break was the week after, and I thought it might behoove me to make a stronger impression.  We went over some things for a paper he was writing, and I gave him some pointers.  I offered to proofread it when he finished, and he asked me for my e-mail address.  That weekend he sent me the paper, and I gave him some notes, and he thanked me profusely.  Having established e-mail contact, I kept up a light little e-mail correspondance – nothing big, and he responded.

All was good at this point.  I thought I was damn clever, and quite sassy to boot.

Back at work, I flirted when I had the opportunity, and I thought I was doing well.  After we finished, we walked out together, and reaching the point where we were to part company, I gave him A Look, ran my hand down his arm and said:

TSS:  So, I’ll see you soon? (Subtext:  if you were to ask me out, I would say yes.  You should ask me out.)
You know in cartoons, when something happens and they put in the sound effect of tires screeching to a halt, usually followed by crickets?  I could have sworn I heard that.

TYM:  Yeah, I’ll see you soon.  (Subtext:  We work together, of course I’ll see you soon.)

Humiliated, I slunk off to the bus stop, hoping beyond hope that I hadn’t made as giant of an ass of myself as I had previously thought.  But my instincts are that I did.

The next night was Bad Influence’s birthday, and there was a bash.  I recounted my tale of woe, and while KSP tried to argue that maybe The Young Man didn’t quite catch the overture, and while another friend (an actual straight male, so definitely an important resource) tried to argue the same thing; once I gave the play-by-play, all were agreed that I had, indeed, been blown off.  I had sent a couple of breezy e-mails, the kind he usually responds to, in a feeble attempt to cling to the tattered remains of my dignity – alas, no response.  This is a bad sign, even when I try to tell myself that GSS always maintained e-mail relations (even though he had no romantic interest in me), so e-mailing is not a foolproof yardstick.  I have since seen The Young Man in person, and I still get the wide smile in greeting that I always have, and he still is always ready to chat, and all in all, his demeanor toward me hasn’t seemed to have changed.  But again, that’s nothing to hang my hat on.

So I think it’s safe to say that my career as a cougar is over before it began.  What mystifies me was that I was so sure I correctly read the signs.  And apparently, I did not.  So what do men do when they’re interested in a woman?  I thought I knew.  I do not. 

And what cheeses me off (other than making an ass of myself with such shocking regularity), is while I am not one of those women who always needs a man to get validation, I am getting increasingly nerdier and nerdier.  I don’t need a man to validate my worth as a woman; I need a non-linguistic outlet, and a man would do nicely for that.

Just me, my non-drowsy cold formula and La Revue de Neuropsychologie Friday, Mar 21 2008 

I have spent most of this spring break not scrubbing toilets (good) and not reading up on negation and syllabic structure (bad) and not trying to come up with a semi-respectable noun classification table (worse).  I have been felled by an evil bug, which has caused me to sleep often (if often poorly) and wander around my apartment in my jammies.  I have not been very productive, which is making me feel guilty (and stressed).  Plus, my cold medicine gives me a tummy ache.  I’d stop taking it, but I prefer to be able to breathe through my nose; I also don’t like feeling my pulse in my head.  Picky, I know, but what can you do?

I have been lightly flirting with The Young Man via the Internet, although I’m not altogether sure if he realizes I’ve been flirting with him.  Since I put most of my eggs in the GSS basket, I need to backtrack and make it not look like The Young Man is sloppy seconds (which he is not).

Which leads me to my reluctant cougardom.  I keep telling myself that a) The Young Man is fond of me, though it is unclear how fond of me he is (and quite frankly, I have not earned the right to trust my own judgement again) b) I do not look like the stereotypical cougar (wardrobe by Forever 21, caked-on makeup), nor do I even look my age (as I have often been told) c) my squeamishness is more about a fear of being perceived as a creepy, cradle-robbing hag rather than a squeamishness about acting like a creepy, cradle-robbing hag.  As for The Young Man himself, he does respond with what appears to be enthusiasm, which is nice…but I bitch too much, don’t I?

I do need to make up for lost time, as I really thought I would have gotten much more studying in.  I did go to the library today and picked up a boatload of books, but I got a headache and took the books and my phlegmmy self home.

As for La Revue de Neuropsychologie…I hear the consonant clusters did it.

Chronic Irregularity Thursday, Mar 13 2008 

(I admit it, the title is in questionable taste.  But I assure you that I will not be discussing my GI tract.  I promise.)

The saying goes that there is a lid for every pot, but what if there isn’t?  What if there are some lidless pots (or worse yet, potless lids)?  What if I am one of those lidless pots (or, worse yet, potless lids)?  It is a thought that I haven’t wanted to dwell on; however, I have been trying for over a year to try and get myself adjusted to the idea.

I’m not trying to sound all, “woe is me,” or anything; if anything, I’m trying to be rational and logical.  I’m hurtling towards 40 with what seems to me to be blinding speed (actual results may vary), and quite frankly, it seems to be getting harder, not easier.  The sooner I can reconcile myself to the idea, the sooner I can liberate all this energy I expend on thinking about it, worrying about it, etc.  Hell, I can finally relearn Polish with all that extra time!  Or not.

You see, the issue is not finding men I’m attracted to physically.  I have that in spades.  The difficulty seems to be finding a quality rapport.  And that is what I consistently rolling snake eyes on.

Maybe as a pot (or a lid, I haven’t decided which one I am), I’m just a millimeter or two shy of being a good fit with a lid (or pot).  Hell, maybe I’m a (lidless) crepe pan

Giving Up The Ghost Monday, Mar 10 2008 

This weekend has been…edifying.  I do value clarity, even if it may not be the clarity I seek.  Put another way, crappy clarity is always better than optimistic ambiguity.  Because optimistic ambiguity plays with your judgement, and you spend a lot of time staring at the ambiguity, trying to make sense of it.

As I have already hinted, I received some news.  It wasn’t bad news (nor was it good news); however, it was news to me.  And it functioned as sort of a code – all of a sudden, things that were mystifying made perfect sense.  And that was good.  But I have a little void in my life, and that isn’t so very nice for me.  I have been wandering around my apartment, at a bit of a loss as to what to do next.

It is official – GSS and I are resolutely platonic.  And while it would be a lie to say it wasn’t disappointing, neither is it a tragic thing.  He was very deft and kind, and everybody is hunky-dory (or, more accurately, hunky-dorky).  Because what is causing the void isn’t that we won’t be getting together (because that never happened, it isn’t really something one can miss); it is more the loss of the possibility that I feel.

If everything had worked out exactly the way I wanted it to (which would have been the first time in the history of my life, I’m sure), it ultimately would have been a letdown.  He would have done something that would have annoyed me, and I would have done something that annoyed him.  There would have been quotidian difficulties, and eventually, I’d move on to wherever I’m to go (which is still a mystery [and very annoying] to me), as would he.  The only truly perfect incarnation was in the possibility.  And while a real, grown-up relationship is the real goal, this never felt like that, so it wasn’t that great a loss when nothing came of anything.

However, that little charge I got when deciding what to wear, or composing a clever little e-mail that was flirtatious, but not overtly so; I’m going to miss that.  The anticipation, as they say, is always better than the realization.  Discounting the real thing, a real, feel-it-in-your-soul connection, that honest-and-for-true love (which is so potent, it seems to be the only reason to go through all this nonsense sometimes), the anticipation is usually better than the realization.  Though the realization would be nice, too.

So I need myself a new hobby.  And by hobby, I do actually mean a new man to try to seduce.  Alarmingly (for me), I seem to be ready enough to go once more into the breach, dear friends.

And this is what interests me.  Because even though my original emergency back-up plan involved flirting with someone else I already know (e.g., The Young Man, The Younger Man, maybe even The Would-Be Homework Buddy), I’m thinking no.  While all these men have their charms, and could possibly be a pleasant enough way to while away the rest of the semester, I think I’ve turned some sort of corner.  The sport of the last five months was often entertaining and certainly instructive, but it was always just sport.  And I knew that, so when it turned out to be just a decoy, I was okay with that.  But now I’m after bigger game, not smaller.  My flirtation with GSS was always for a temporary fix.  And, as I’ve said before, it fixed me (but good).  No really, I honestly feel it pushed me to move on after having my heart broken.  So I’m sanguine about the whole thing.  But, instead of moving on to smaller game – men I am less, not more, interested in – wouldn’t it be something if I instead moved on to larger game – love?  This is a radical departure for me.  And I’m not sure what to do next.  You’re supposed to stop looking, the conventional wisdom says, and you’ll find it.  And that had happened to me, so I know that it’s partly true.  But maybe, just maybe, if I meet more people, I’ll improve my odds.

But none of that on-line shit.  I’m going old school.

Ohhhh, I get it now… Saturday, Mar 8 2008 

It is such a cliché to cite the story about the four blind people who describe an elephant.  The crux of the story always is that if you focus on only one thing, you miss the big picture.  Yes.  Right.

It is true that lately I have seen only what I want to see, but I have (very) recently received what I will call a perspective adjustment, which, in the non-euphemistic sense, is a big heap o’ news.  The details of said news isn’t important, since it isn’t really my news to share (even pseudonymously on a blog); but it has shifted my mental furniture, so to speak.  To say that I’m caught off-guard is a bit of an understatement, but I won’t worry about that; I’m nothing if not adaptable.

Hindsight is 20/20, or so they say; it is true that with my new perspective, things are less confusing.  But, for the time being, they will be slightly less fun.

For the time being…

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