The Scamp and the New Year

With three days into the new year, I don’t think it has really sunk in yet that it is 2014. The last year went by in a blur of good, bad, and everything in between. I got to live in Scotland, fell in love, got my heart broken, and learned how ask for help while I heal. I earned a degree, wrote my best piece of academic writing, and started the process of earning a doctoral degree. I made a lot of new friends, got the chance to reconnect with old ones, and learned to let go of a lot of negative energy (and people for that matter).

I’d say 2013 was pretty darn good to me.

I have high hopes for 2014. So far it is off to a good start. I got to start the year bowling with the boy and our friends, and then lay by the pool and soak up some sunshine while they nursed hangovers. I am more relaxed then I have been in awhile, and although I have not gotten as much homework done as I should have, I am feeling quite accomplished. The only thing I have yet to tackle is the financial aid issue that has been plaguing me since October. By Monday I hope to have that resolved. I have a teaching job that will hopefully lead to something more permanent, and fate is being kind to me while I don’t have health insurance.

In an effort to keep this year in the positive, my mother and I have taken up a challenge.

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At the end of the year we will crack a bottle of rum and read all of the funny/wonderful/memorable things that happened to us. So far my notes have yet to be awe inspiring, but since it is only day 3, I am optimistic about the quality of notes that will go into the jar.

In the meantime, ,I will continue to drive my parents crazy, drive the boy crazy, and work my butt off in my program and with my students and get ready to embark on my crazy research adventure. I look forward to all that 2014 has to bring.

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The Scamp at Christmas

This time last year I was giving up my family traditions to stay in a failing relationship. I spent Christmas day driving to San Diego to spend the day with the weasel’s family. This time last year I was locked in a viscous battle over a Christmas tree, and whether or not it was really necessary for me to pursue a doctoral degree. This time last year, I made the choice not to apply to stay in Scotland.  To top it off, at this time last year I was being robbed. I lost books, a necklace of high sentimental value, and my laptop. The laptop had three years worth of research that had been sorted, coded, and parceled out to make changes for my dissertation. This time last year I was trying to figure out how I was going to write a final in two days that I had been working on for a month. I had no money, no job, and no clue how to deal with all of the stress.

This time last year, I was miserable.

What a difference a year makes.

This year I got to spend Christmas with my family. I didn’t have to look at a clock, didn’t have to force myself to drive to someone else’s house, and did not have to give up any of my favorite traditions. I decorated a tree, was vastly inappropriate at the dinner table with my cousins, and didn’t have to skip on seeing a movie with my parents. This year I was able to get a teaching job on top of my library job, and successfully completed my first semester of the my doctoral degree.  This year I was not stressed about money, about deadlines, or about making someone else happy.

This year, I got exactly what I wanted for Christmas.

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My hope is that the people around me are getting exactly what they want for Christmas as well. I have more than 7 readers this year from all over the world, so I hope that everyone is enjoying their day, however they choose to spend it.

Happy holidays everyone, from one wanderlust filled scamp to all of the amazing people that interact with my ramblings.

 

The Scamp and a Christmas Tree

I’m procrastinating.  I have a final in 2 days, and I can barely focus on the outlines, notes , and other materials I have compiled to aid in my studies. I know that I should be locked in my office, blocking out the noise of my parents and really focusing on the study material, but I am still bone deep tired and weary, so it makes it hard not to fall asleep in the middle of the California Master Plan. I’m stretched out on my couch (a couch that I tend to fall asleep on more often than not), and I have the nasally rant of Adam Carolla in the background to comfort me while I try to figure out how I am going to remember the difference between SB 1440 and SB 440, and how the Student Success Act of 2012 actually helps students. The ranting doesn’t help with any of that, but since my own rant on why this is pointless is not going to help, I will find solace in someone else’s problems.

To further help my procrastination, I decorated the Wilder-Davis House of Chaos Christmas tree. For the last ten years it has been my job to string the lights, pull out everyone’s favorite ornaments, and make sure the tree is decorated in such a way that the kitties cannot get to any of them. This year I was home alone when I decorated the tree, and even though I chose the exact moment to decorate in order to put off studying, decorating the tree this year was really important to me.

Last year at this time I faced the possibility of not being able to decorate a tree ever again. He who shall not be named is a strict conservative Jew, and his mother was completely against the idea of a Christmas tree in the household during this time of year (completely disregarding the fact that the tree is a pagan tradition and has nothing to do with Christ, and that my Christmas ornaments are not Nativity scenes or little baby Jesuses). At this time last year, the rat and I were discussing traditions that we would have as a family, and how we would divide our time between families. His mom’s birthday is on December 25th, so that day was always going to be spent with her, no matter what I had to say about it. I was fine with that for the most part since my family has been celebrating on the 24th, but I was sad about having to give up the tradition of going to the movies and having popcorn for dinner. He informed me that there would be no Christmas tree, and that his kids would not partake in Christmas related activities. His kids would be Jewish, and a Christmas tree is not Jewish.

I was raised Jewish. I consider myself to be Jewish (although I am by no means a good Jew or very religious). My dad (and my biological father for that matter) are not Jewish. Neither is overly religious, but they celebrate Christmas, so we have always had a Christmas tree in the house at Christmas time. It is how I grew up. It is not a religious symbol, and it basically becomes a little mini forest for the cats to sleep under. I like the tradition, and I was looking forward to it no matter where I lived. When he took it off the table, it hurt me. This was an argument for weeks. I cried on a date in the middle of San Francisco.  I ultimately one the debate because I asked what else I was going to have to give up to be with him. I was already giving up school in Scotland, living in a place other than San Diego, and my family tradition on Christmas day, and I wasn’t sure I could give up one more thing. He only agreed to end the argument.

Right after we broke up, the only thing I could think about was that I would get to have my Christmas tree. I would get to have my family traditions, and I no longer had to give up things that I enjoyed to be with someone. It seems silly, a pine tree decorated with lights and funny ornaments from places we’ve traveled, or representing interests and hobbies. This tree is a small victory. While I decorated the tree this afternoon I thought about all of the other small victories I had this year. I have been extremely lucky, even with the sucky bits, and this tree is a small victory that I get to stare at while I lay on my couch and try to muster some energy to study for my final. I may be tired, but the multicolored lights and Scooby Doo ornaments are there to remind me of how lucky I am.

Bring on the education legislation. I’ve got my Christmas tree.

A Scamp and a Jet Plane

I have become accustomed to travel. I’ve been on more long flights in the last few months than many people take in their entire lives. I’m lucky that I have parents who can afford to help me out and bring me home for a visit, and tomorrow at 4:30 pm Pacific time, I will once again get on a plane to return to Scotland. I’m ready….kinda. I’m ready to get back to the grind of school, ready for my 20 minute walk to campus in the morning with my Adam Carolla and Joe Rogan podcasts  to keep me company. I’m excited to start some classes in subjects that are in line with the other degrees that I have, and excited to have some time to do some travel (funds permitting). Most importantly, I am ready to see all the lovely ladies and gents again. I learn more from them than I do from textbooks, and I look forward to seeing what I can learn from them this semester.

There are a lot of things I am going to miss though. I am going to miss the food. It is strange to think about some of the funky food things I miss while I am there, like American mustard or salsa, or string cheese. I miss hot Cheetos, but it is probably a good thing that they don’t have those in Scotland because they are sooooooooooo bad for me. I will also miss being able to cook (okay, having someone cook) a meal of my choosing. Options are limited in the dinning hall, and I find myself eating a lot of salad and potatoes….pretty soon I am just going to be one giant carb. I’m going to miss meat I can identify and things being served hot. I am hoping that a new year means some new options.

I think the thing I am going to miss the most is my family. I like sitting on the couch next to them and watching bad TV, or playing Scrabble. I will miss hiding in my room for some quiet time and hearing the TV blaring downstairs because my parent’s can’t hear. I am going to miss being in texting range with them. I love sending and receiving cat pictures or text messages and get them in realtime. I can still get text from them, but I have to be at my computer, and between that and the time change, I don’t talk to them nearly as much I can while I am here.

I am going to miss my bed. The dorm bed is like a bad camp bed complete with lumpy mattress and thing pillow. My bed here has a lot of pillows, my favorite zebra print sheets, and all of the blankets that I have managed to collect over the years. I know the creaks and the squeaks that it makes, and it is low to the ground, just the way I like it. The most important thing that I will miss about my bed here is the David in my bed. There will be no David in my bed in Scotland. I like snuggling up against him and rolling him over in the middle of the night when he starts to snore.

When I was a kid I slept with a stuffed rabbit. He was always hugged up close to me in case I had bad dreams. The rabbit went with me when I went to college, when I moved to San Diego, and when I moved back home. He currently sits in a place of honor at the foot of my bed, and every so often when I am sleeping alone and have a bad dream, I still reach for him. David has become my stuffed rabbit. I fall asleep clutching and curled around his arm, and I sleep a lot better when he is around. I will miss the comfort of him.

He is not the least bit happy about me returning to Scotland. I am hoping the old saying, “absence makes the heart grow fonder” is true because when I leave tomorrow we won’t get to see each other for six months. By the time we get to see each other he will think I am a goddess…..I’m totally okay with that.

A Scamp and the New Year Pt. 2

I have to say that as grumbly as I was in my last post, I enjoyed the new year. The party wasn’t too bad, and I was home warm and snug by 1:30. The start of the new year though means the end of my vacation. In two days I will get back on a plane and go back to Scotland. I am excited to go back. I miss all the ladies and gents that I have been lucky enough to meet (ok, well not the English people who live near me or the ones that live on the third floor and like to terrorize me) and look forward to being around them again. I think the next few months there will be interesting. I’ve never really lived anywhere cold before, and having to walk to everywhere in the cold should be fun. I hope that it snows, but only once, so that I can say I have lived in a place that snows.

I am sad to leave Brea. I was not nearly as good as I should have been about seeing my friends here. I was down in San Diego for a week and I spent most of the time asleep or trying to recreate my papers. I’m not a very good friend. I realize that, but so far have been unsuccessful in changing that. It will be easier in 6 or so months when I am home and have a car again. I will make time for everyone and stop being a recluse. For now, I will enjoy a little more time with my family and spend a little more time with my family watching  football and eating junk food. I have to build up a good winter weight to help carry me through the next few months of dorm food. My mommy is coming to visit for her birthday in April, so if I can make it until then, I will be able to enjoy real food with her.

A Scamp and the New Year

It has been a long time since anything was written. It was not entirely due to my laziness though. I was robbed on Christmas. My laptop, my library books, all my notes and research was stolen. David lost his TV, laptop, all his back-up files, and all of the cash and gift cards he had been saving for years. His roommate lost his computer and a very nice watch he had been given as a present when he graduated law school. I have spent a lot of time trying to sort out what I lost since they took the bags I packed from my parent’s house I cannot remember what was in any of them. I do know that I am going to have to pay really high replacement costs for all of the books that were taken. I know that I lost all of the pictures that I have taken in Scotland, and that I lost an assignment I was working on for school. At the end of the day, it is just stuff, all of it can be replaced, but I have lost a week of working, and I have to start over and piece things together as best I can. I would say that I would check out more books on CDA when I get back to Scotland, but they all got stolen, so I am sorry to anyone in my classes who might have needed them. I got a new computer, and have started trying to get things back in order, but in all honesty, I have been too much of a mopey puppy to want to work. I have no desire to finish the papers, no desire to even go back to Scotland except to get back to the routine that I have built there.

I feel like I have been cheated a little out of my vacation. David was stressed trying to fix everything,and I don’t have the money to replace what was taken. David bought me a new computer and I already feel guilty enough about how long it is going to take me to pay him back. Tonight is a fancy black tie party to ring in the new year, and I am sure that I will have  fun once I am there, but right now, I sorta want to stay in my jammies and watch old episodes of CSI on Netflix. I will sleep most of the day tomorrow and then start to think about the complete reworking I now have to do to a paper due in less than a week. I also need to start gathering things up and repacking.

The good thing about having all the books stolen though is with all the weight and space free in bags now, I have more room for shoes, peanut butter and trail mix. Maybe being robbed on Christmas wasn’t such a bad thing after all…..

I hope that all seven of my readers have a happy and healthy new year and continue to glance at my words every now and again.

A Scamp and the Holidays

Christmas is fast approaching. The tree is up, presents are wrapped, and holiday stuffies fill the couch. I should be happy. I like presents, like giving them, like getting them, and I like spending time with my family (which only seems to happen around the holidays). Instead of being happy though, I have a major case of the sads. The only thing I want to do is lay in bed and sleep all day. Not having a job is depressing, trying to finish and fill out scholarship applications so that I don’t have to take any more loans for school next year is depressing, and realizing that I will have to go back to Scotland is a little depressing….okay not depressing because I have to go back, but depressing because I know it means I have to say goodbye to everyone again. I feel like I just got home. I have only seen my friends a couple of times (and some of them I haven’t gotten to see at all yet), have only been in San Diego once, and haven’t finished all of my finals yet. I feel like I have nothing to show for all of the time I spend cooped up in the house. Today I made Kelly take me out shopping just so I could get out of the house. I hadn’t really left the house, or gotten out of my pjs for the last few days. At one point my dad even checked on me because he thought I may be dead.

I figured if I am feeling like this, than maybe other people are too. All the shootings, the looming financial meltdown, and a host of other things are sure to be making people crazy right now. There are two things that make me smile at times like this: puppies and stories of awesome tiny humans. David sent me a link he knew would make me laugh, and sure enough, it worked. I especially love the kid who is walking the dog and the kindergarten class that vogues. According to the internet, the picture with the president is real, and it is nice to see him having fun with the children of the staff.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/expresident/absolute-best-kids-of-the-year

I can only hope that my future tiny human is as cool as one of these kids.