The Scamp and the 28th of February

February 28th is fast becoming my favorite day of the year. Exactly one year ago today I listened to my supervisor Mark as he told me that he would be more than happy to offer me a fully funded position in the Department of Learning and Teaching at Edinburgh Napier University. That Skype call literally saved my life

Today I got to hold my nephew for the first time.

He’s perfect. He sounds like a goat when he cries, only wants  to be with his mama, and I swear, he already knows how to smile. While I have no desire for one of my own, I am totally in love with this little tiny human. I cannot wait until he gets the all clear from the hospital to come home so I can teach him the finer art of snark.

I can’t wait to see what the 28th if February brings me next year (hopefully it is a puppy).

The Scamp and the Writing Challenge: Week 8 and 9

I’m currently sitting in my sister and brother-in-law’s living room in California. It is warm. I’m in shorts and a tank top. I have a belly full of Mexican food.

I am now an aunt.

Since I am a bit behind on the writing challenge, I thought now would be the perfect time to catch up. Week 8 is dedicated to a person that I love.

Let me tell you about the new love of my life Brandon Davis Rodriguez. He made his debut on the 26th of February at 2:22pm. He was 7 lbs 7 oz, and absolutely perfect. He held my hand, and I am pretty sure I melted into a puddle of goo.

He is perfect. He looks like his daddy. Because he decided to cook an extra five days, he was born with some fluid in his lungs, so he is being monitored by the NICU just to make sure he didn’t contract an infection. I haven’t gotten to hold him yet, but him holding my hand for a bit is enough to get me through the 17 hours I waited for labour to work it’s magic, and for all the work that I have put off doing for the last week while I have been in California. I wish that I had more time to spend in California to be with him, but for now, I am going to wrap that baby up in a moby and carry him everywhere with me.

Ughhh. I’m hopelessly in love with this little Branmuffin.

Week 9 is dedicated to something that I would like to learn.

There are a lot of things that I would like to learn. I want to learn how to get past my PTSD. I want to learn how to be a master of SPSS and knock my data analysis out of the park. I want to learn how to be a good partner in romantic relationships, and a less selfish person in friendships. I want to learn how to speak Spanish fluently, and be able to use it in conversation comfortably.

Most importantly, I want to be able to really get a handle on my depression and stop feeling like I live day to day not knowing when or if I am going to fall into a funk. People keep telling me that happiness is a choice, that I can just wake up every morning and choose not to be miserable. I wish it was that simple. I mean, duh, if I had the choice, I would much rather wake up happy and carefree. I like getting out of bed, being productive and enjoying life. I hate that not everyone understands the seriousness of my depression. The one thing I do know is that while I cannot necessarily erase my depression, I can learn how to keep the dark and twisty at bay, and learn to find more joy in the everyday. Therapy will be a big part in that, and daily photo updates of the new love of my life will also help. Once I get a handle on this nonsense, you can best believe I am going to tackle the rest of my list.

On the plus side, since I have been in California I have not felt the least bit out of place, the least bit lost, or the least bit upset. I’ve slept better than I have in months, am getting plenty of family time, and am avoiding people and things that might make me feel bad. I’ve also taken the last week off from anything academic related, so I am feeling pretty relaxed. I like the feeling of being here on vacation, but still feeling like I am part of the day to day happenings with my family. This trip definitely came at the perfect time, and will make me feel really really good when I get back to Scotland and can start kicking ass on my research and data collection.

The Scamp and the Gratitude Challenge: Week 25 and 26

Week 25 is all about education.

Everyone who knows me knows that I put high stock in the value of an education. I’ve been in some form of school or another since I was 5 years old. Even when I wasn’t a student I was a teacher, and looking into PhD programs.  Even when I got expelled it did nothing to taint my love for education. The thing is, I now understand the importance of the education that you cannot get in the classroom. The real world education I got from the program, from the people that I have met along the way, and from the massive amounts of therapy taught me as much, if not more than all of the classes I have sat in combined. I learned a lot about politics, about sticking up for what I believe in, and what it really means to be a citizen of the world. Week 24 of this challenge will also give some insight into the way that education has turned me into the sparkling gem that I am today, but what I am really grateful for is everything I learn about myself and others while I travel, research, and have the chance to interact with others.

Week 26 is an important one. Week 26 is a person that I have had the pleasure of meeting. There are a lot of people that I have been able to meet and interact with, but right now, the one I am most grateful for has not even been born yet.

That’s right. This Scamp is about to be an aunt! The wombmate is pregnant with her first child.

World, meet little Gizmo

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That’s right, I have named my future niece or nephew (I’m hoping nephew) Gizmo, although the sister is strongly objecting to that, so I call him Gizzy. Now, while looking at the inside of my sister’s uterus is not what I would call a good day, being able to see this little guy (or girl) and the little tiny heart is truly one of the coolest things that I have ever seen. I cannot wait for February. Despite all the anger and stress of the visa issues, the research questions that still need to be written, and the ethics application that is in its second round of editing, I am excited that I will soon be able to impart my wisdom and sass on the next generation of Rodriguez children. I am already making a list of noisy toys that need to be purchased, of Scottish themed clothes and toys that need to make it to the States, and a playlist of the best songs of the last few generations to be played. While most of this education will have to be done through Skype, when the kids is old enough, I am going to start insisting that it spend the summers in Scotland with me. Lord knows that someone is going to have to teach the kid how to eat right, how to dress with some spunk, and how to think of a witty comeback on the spot. Plus, the kid needs to learn about the great wide world, and who better to show him (or her) that than the perpetual Scamp?

 

The Scamp and Squishy

With only one day left in 2014, I decided to try and end the year on a high note, so I made a new friend.

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World, meet Squishy. Squishy is the son of one of my dear friends from the cohort. She has known my mom for years, but I got to know her while she was my study buddy last year. I was beyond excited when she announced she was pregnant, and even more thrilled when she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Thanks to my own personal hell, it has taken months for me to finally be able to meet him, but let me tell you….it was well worth the wait.

Squishy sleeps like an angel, barely fusses when he wants to be fed, and burps like a well skilled frat boy. He puked on me after I fed him, so I am choosing to see that as a sign of acceptance.

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Squishy was a great distraction from graduate school applications, and the never ending hunt for funding. The good news: there are plenty of options to fund my entire study. The bad news: I may have to start over and do the full three years. At this point though, if it means I get to finish a degree and research that I am passionate about, then I am all for it.