The Scamp and the Gratitude Challenge: Week 6

The city that I live in.

La Habra, California is a city with more Pitbulls than people and a liquor store on every corner. When I came back almost two years ago, it was the first time I had lived here in almost ten years. The city covers 3.376 square miles and has a little over 60,000 people. It is in the Northwestern corner of Orange County, which means I can pretend I’m Orange County cool without being Orange County ditsy.

It is hard for me to be grateful about the city that I live in since I have been trying to get out of it since I was 18 years old. Don’t get me wrong, there are way worse places to live, and La Habra did provide me with an education that was good enough to get me to a good college. The city provided me with my first job shelving books, but most of the people who live here grew up here, they work here, and they will die here….and they are perfectly okay with that.

I feel like a caged bird here. I am a flamingo in a flock of pigeons here.

While that seems to go against showing my gratitude for the city, I am in fact grateful. If it was not for the caged feeling that this city gives me, I would never have gone away to college, never moved to San Diego, and never ended up in Scotland.

Everything for me always comes back to Scotland. Scotland is the one place that I could see myself living for more than 3 years, and the one place that I really felt at home. I might never have gotten to Scotland had it not been for La Habra. My wanderlust has taken me far outside of the city limits, and has exposed me to so many great places and so many great people. I am grateful for La Habra for showing me the type of life I want to lead, and the type of place I want to live, and for being full of students that I can help with grammar and writing until I can get back there .

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The Scamp and Jazzonia

Langston Hughes - sentado a la maquina de escribir

In honor of Langston Hughes’ 113th birthday, enjoy a little Jazzonia 

Oh, silver tree!
Oh, shining rivers of the soul!

In a Harlem cabaret
Six long-headed jazzers play.
A dancing girl whose eyes are bold
Lifts high a dress of silken gold.

Oh, singing tree!
Oh, shining rivers of the soul!

Were Eve’s eyes
In the first garden
Just a bit too bold?
Was Cleopatra gorgeous
In a gown of gold?

Oh, shining tree!
Oh, silver rivers of the soul!

In a whirling cabaret
Six long-headed jazzers play.

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The Scamp and the Gratitude Challenge: Week 5

The gratitude challenge this week is to be thankful for something that someone has given me.

I was trying to think of something really meaningful to write about, something deeply personal that is super important in my life. This week though, the thing that I am grateful for is a bag of gluten free Girl Scout cookies.

There is really nothing special about the cookies. They are tasty, true, they are on the list of approved foods, true, and they are not going to make me feel sick later, but the reason that I am grateful for them is the simple act of caring that went into the delivery of the cookies.

Beatriz, the woman that sent the cookies to me, has been friends with my mom for a long time. Her daughter is a Girl Scout, and being that it is cookie selling time, my mom tries to help out however she can. When they met so my mom could pick up the order form, Beatriz sent the bag of gluten free cookies home for me to try. My mom had made a comment awhile ago that I am on a crazy restrictive diet, and Beatriz remembered. While that doesn’t seem like much, to me, that was a really nice pick-me-up during the week. I am grateful that she cared enough to remember, and to send the cookies, and grateful that I am able to help her daughter out by buying some of the gluten free cookie options.

I happily enjoyed the cookies while I graded papers and filled out job applications today. It is impossible to give a student a bad grade when their are chocolate chip cookies in your tummy.

The Scamp Whats and Ifs

Tomorrow I have to go back to work. I have been off for 6 weeks, and I am not sure that I am ready for the vacation to end. The last 6 weeks have been tough. Since I cut ties with the EDD program, I have been trying to figure out what is next for me. The community college Gods are smiling on me and there are an abundance of full time English positions opening for the fall of 2015. There are 250 people applying for each of these positions, but I am hopeful that my application will stick out to someone on one of the hiring committees at one of these community colleges.

Of course, talking to a lot of my friends who are also applying for these positions, I am starting to worry a bit. A lot of them have great relationships with  their professors and with the people that they teach for now. I do not have this. I have a very strained relationship with the college I last attended, and I am too new in my job for anyone to really know my name. I’d much rather that my application was judged based on my skills, qualifications, and relevant teaching experience, rather than what someone who I worked for a couple of years ago. This further showed me that I am not good at the game of politics that exists in the field of higher education. I just want to be in a room teaching students how to write and help them progress in their academic career. The application process, the way I have to “sell” myself is very hard for me.

This whole process, and the last 6 weeks has caused me to utter two words over and over: What if?

As Romcom Letters to Juliet notes:

“What” and “If” are two words as non-threatening as words can be. But put them together side-by-side and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life: What if? What if? What if?”

what
(h)wət
pronoun
  1. 1.
    asking for information specifying something.
    “what is your name?”
  2. 2.
    the thing or things that (used in specifying something).
    “what we need is a commitment”
determiner
  1. 1.
    asking for information specifying something.
    “what time is it?”
  2. 2.
    (referring to the whole of an amount) whatever.
    “he had been robbed of what little money he had”
adverb
  1. 1.
    to what extent?
    “what does it matter?”
  2. 2.
    used to indicate an estimate or approximation.
    “see you, what, about four?”
if
if/
conjunction
  1. 1.
    introducing a conditional clause.
    synonyms: on (the) condition that,provided (that),providing (that),presuming (that),supposing (that),assuming (that),as long as,given that,in the event that

    “if the rain holds out, we can walk”
  2. 2.
    despite the possibility that; no matter whether.
    “if it takes me seven years, I shall do it”
 Noun
1.
a condition or supposition.
“there are so many ifs and buts in the policy”
What if I do not get one of the full time positions? What if I do not get a position in Scotland? What if I never get to finish my PhD? What if I do not make enough money each month to pay all my student loan payments? What if I can’t find full time work and have to live with my parents for the foreseeable future?
These what ifs are starting to stress me out. They are keeping me up at night, making me doubt myself, and keep me in the doom and gloom that I have been trying so hard to get myself out of for the last two years.
Tomorrow I get to go back to the job that I love. I’m excited that I get to spend another semester doing what I love, and once the papers start coming in, I know that it will keep me from all the crazy “what ifs?” that are floating around in my head.
One thing that I would like to note: I was able to take the countdown of my time in the program off of my phone. I feel like I’ve been released from prison, or that I have been rescued from a deserted island. Deleting that countdown from my phone allows me to put countdowns for fun things, like my upcoming trip to Boston and the summer trip to Spain.
Celebrating the little things.

The Scamp and the Gratitude Challenge Week 4

I’ve got a nasty flu that seems to be going around, so my want to do anything other than lay in bed with DayQuil, tissues, and Netflix has been next to nil.

The theme for the gratitude challenge this week is a family member. I have decided that this coveted honor (okay, I am pretending that all of my family and friends would like a mention on my blog of awesomeness) is going to my sister-cousin, Mckenna.

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This 20 year old stunner is my oldest cousin on my dad’s side of the family. I remember when she was born. My aunt and uncle lived down the street from my dad, so my sister and I used to go over to their house and play Barbies or run around outside. When they moved to a bigger house, I remember playing in the yard, and playing hide and seek in the house while babysitting. As long as I can remember, Kenna wanted to ride horses. My aunt and uncle paid for lessons, leased a horse for her, and drove her all over the place for horse shows.

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When she was getting ready to apply to college, she asked me to help her with her admission essays. She got into the school of her dreams, and moved 3,000 miles away on her own to pursue her riding career and study business. She is getting ready to graduate soon, and I cannot wait to see what she decides to do after college.

She is the focus of my gratitude this week because she is like a second little sister to me. We text and laugh, and Skype, and when I was living in Scotland we talked a lot. When David and I broke up and I was miserable, she let me cry to her on Skype and made me laugh with pictures of her pup. We share the common plight of the single gal, and she has already pledged to be a cat lady with me. She makes me laugh, she’s fun to hang out with, and I know that she is destined for great things.

I am one lucky sister-cousin.

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I go back to work next week, and while I am ready for that, it feels strange to no longer be a student. As happy as I am to be free of the misery that was the EDD program at Cal State Fullerton, it is a bit strange to have all of this free time. I feel like I should reading more, or doing more research, or working on applying to the large number of full time jobs that have suddenly presented themselves to me. Instead, I am watching bad reality TV, and trying to find pictures of my family that are suitable for the internet. I’m hoping that once I get back into work mode things will settle into a routine, but in the meantime, there are so many options for bad reality TV, I can keep myself pretty busy.

The Scamp and the Gratitude Challenge: Week 3

Week 3 of the gratitude challenge is one that I can write pages and pages and pages about: my family.

I make no secret that my favorite people in the entire world is my family. It is the easiest thing in the world for my to be grateful for them. For the last two years I have been struggling at California State University, Fullerton. The program has worn me down, and as of yesterday, I am no longer a part of the program. While I was in meeting after meeting listening to how I was academically dishonest and emotionally unstable, my family was there to make me laugh and remind me that they loved me whether I was a cheater or not.

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My brother eloquently reminded me that sometimes in life you have to have to play the game to survive. He told me:

“Sometimes in life you have to suck a dick. You don’t have to like it, and you sure as hell don’t have to swallow, but sometimes you just have to suck a dick.”

My sister and brother-in-law took me out, sent me cat pictures, and reminded me that the people in the program are the misguided racist people, and that what I put up with in their presence is not the real world. They joke with me, and don’t let me wallow in my misery. We talk, text and hang out with each other all the time, and although they usually have to drag me out kicking and screaming, it is always a good time.

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The rest of my family has been equally as supportive of my journey. My aunt, uncle, and cousins have been  outraged on my behalf and supportive of my journey. We are lucky enough to get to spend a lot of time together, and I love hanging out with them.

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I know that everyone says that they have the best family, but I honestly believe that my family is the best, We laugh, we joke, we support each other, and we are lucky enough to live near each other.

This week the gratitude for my family goes a little bit deeper. Today is the anniversary of my grandma’s death. This is a hard day for my mom. She has spent the last 19 years without her mother. I think of all the times I have cried on my mom’s shoulder, gone out to dinner with her, watched movies with her, cooked dinner, gone on vacation with her, and driven her crazy. I have the luxury of always having her in my corner.

My mom does not. She doesn’t get to cry to her mom when she has a bad day, or go out to dinner, or even just have phone conversations. I know that my mom misses my grandma every day. Their relationship was far from perfect, and my grandma had a lot of daemons, but she loved my mom, and I know that she loved us too.

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My grammy was a stunner. She was born March 19, 1938 in New York. She was a lover of big hair, big glasses, and big purses. I remember the crazy large glasses, the outrageous purses, and the long painted nails. She was killed in a car accident January 16, 1996 because she refused to wear her seat belt. For a woman who wouldn’t put her key in the ignition if one of us was not belted in, she was careless about her own safety. Having only been able to spend a limited amount of time with my grammy makes me appreciate my mom that much more. I’m grateful for all the time that I get with my family, but a little extra grateful today that I still have my mommy around.

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The Scamp Without a Catchy Title

Hello, my name is Kim and I am addicted to Eos and yoga leggings.

Today all six of the Eos that I have somehow made it into my purse with me.

Today I bought another pair of yoga pants. I resisted the urge to buy neon print (you’re welcome world), but settled for a black leopard print.

Today I drank a beer that was as big as my head.

Today I quit grad school.