Call Me Dr Scamp

That’s right. I am now a doctor. 4 years of blood, sweat and tears. 4 years of edits, research, interviews and data analysis. 4 years of projects, jobs, networking and conferences. 4 years of hard work. I’m not sure how I did it, but I survived the process and might just be a better person for it.

The viva was a gruelling process. I had gotten sick the week before and went through the viva with a fever and no voice. My examiners hated my thesis….and I am not exaggerating. They told me it reads like a jumbled, confused mess and it was hard to figure out what my original contribution to knowledge was. They did not understand the way I positioned my work in relation to the literature. They told me I have six months to rewrite it or they have the right to change their mind.

I am not ashamed to say that I cried in the middle of the viva. I was horribly ill and felt like crap, but I was also so upset that all of the things that the examiners hated about my thesis are the things I battled against with my supervisor….the same supervisor who was not in the room to hear that he had screwed up my work. The same supervisor who decided that I was not worth his time when I sent an email saying that I was upset that his lack of planning for the scheduling the viva could cost me my job. I was also very embarrassed. The examiners don’t know how badly I struggled. They don’t know how much of the thesis was dictated to me by said horrible supervisor. They only read the product of a less than stellar time….and the only name on the work is mine. I am the one who looks like I turned in horrible work. I am the one who now has to rewrite it in 6 months.

That’s not to say that the examiners were wrong though. That work is a jumbled mess that is a product of my experience. The feedback they gave me will make my thesis a better piece of work. It will also allow me the chance to discuss my work in the way that I want to. I have a better message and have really good things to say, and now I get to say them. My due date for resubmission is on my grammy’s birthday. I am taking that as a sign of good luck.

The only downside of this is that I still have a lot of work to do, more so now because I have a full-time job. I am having a hard time separating my bitterness about the last four years and the rewrite that I need to do. It has been more than a month and I have barely made any progress. That, in turn, is stressing me out….which is not helping the writing.

On the bright side, finishing the PhD means that I was able to book a ticket back to California for Christmas. I get to see my favourite people for a whole month. I am thinking that the change of environment and the time with my family will help me tackle the PhD as well. I have not seen my family in almost three years or been in California, so to say that I am excited about this is an understatement. I cannot wait to see how my parents have changed the cabin they now live in, I can’t wait to finally meet my nephew in person, and I cannot wait to sit around a table with my siblings while we play games, drink beer and tell each other to fuck off while we laugh so hard our sides hurt. I can’t wait to drive a car again.

I can’t wait for all the yummy Mexican food.

And mojo. Hopefully, I can find my mojo. I’m still looking for it.

The Scamp and the Writing Challenge: Week 51

Day four and my love affair with Budapest continues. Today is the very first Christmas that I have spent on my own. For the last few days I have had very very limited contact with other people, and tonight I sat in an Irish pub and had a burger and some stew with a large glass of wine and watched tennis. The world around me swirled and twirled and danced with lights and mulled wine, but I sat in a balcony in a pub watching tennis.

I hate tennis. I have no idea how the flippin sport is scored, and there was no sound, so it was really just an odd series of interpretive dance.

The day wasn’t all bad. I spent most of it walking around the Christmas markets with a hot chocolate and a muffin. When the rain got to be a little too much, I wandered back to the hotel and watched bad Christmas movies. I went back out at sundown so I could see the menorah at the Great Synagogue lit. I wandered down to the Danube so I could see the castle lit up. I couldn’t figure out what was being served in the market (and I don’t eat pork) so that is how I ended up in a trusty Irish pub with my red wine and tennis.

My beacon in the night. Plus, they had a menorah outside. My friends and family text me through the meal, so I wasn’t exactly alone either.

The writing challenge for the week is to write about something that I’ve created. I’ve had almost a year to think on this….and create something.

I’ve come up blank. I think in the last year I have created a lot of good memories. I’ve been to weddings, birthings, new countries and new cities. I’ve met some amazing people, let go of some not so amazing people, and have tried to work on creating a better me. I guess for right now that is the best I can do.

So, my lovely readers, family and friends, have a Happy Hanukkah, a Merry Christmas, and happy almost end to 2016 and that however and whatever you celebrate, you do it surrounded by love and happiness.

The Scamp and Christmas

It is not really Christmas at the Wilder-Davis-Rodriguez House of Chaos until someone says fuck at the dinner table. That honor went to me again this year. I’m going on a four year winning streak.

This year’s winning phrase: Bill Fucking Murry.

This photo sums up Christmas for me.  I'm entirely sober and hyperventilating over a joke my brother told

This photo sums up Christmas for me. I’m entirely sober and hyperventilating over a joke my brother told

Happy Christmas from the Wilder-Davis-Rodriguez House of Chaos

Happy Christmas from the Wilder-Davis-Rodriguez House of Chaos

My sister and her husband took a "couples" picture, as did my parents. I took a "couples" picture with the most important male in my life

My sister and her husband took a “couples” picture, as did my parents. I took a “couples” picture with the most important male in my life

15 years of photos like this. Typical Wilder Children

15 years of photos like this. Typical Wilder Children

My Christmas present this year was two tickets to see the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and a plane ticket to Spain. Needless to say, it was a very happy Christmas

My Christmas present this year was two tickets to see the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and a plane ticket to Spain. Needless to say, it was a very happy Christmas

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Happy Christmas everyone. I hope that you are as lucky as I am and get to spend the day surrounded by people that you love.

The Scamp and a Christmas Tree

Christmas is in three days.

This year I was able to buy Christmas presents for everyone without making my credit card cry. That’s huge for me. It has been about four years since I was able to do that.

It feels pretty darn good.

Earlier in the week I got to partake in one of my favorite traditions: decorating the Wilder-Davis House of Chaos Christmas Tree. I do it every year, and it is something that I almost gave up (2013 Christmas Tree). I love decorating the tree. I have a routine: I untangle and string the lights; I find all of my favorite ornaments, and make sure that mine are displayed in the front of the tree, and that there are a good representation of everyone on the tree. This year, my brother and I picked out the tree (because he doesn’t trust me to drive his truck), and I decorated it while watching a Newsroom marathon.

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My 93 year old grandpa enjoying the Davis tree at the annual Davis Family Christmas

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The Wilder-Davis tree. You’ll notice all of the penguins, Dr. Seuss, and cat ornaments on the tree.

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The Grinch tree topper. He used to sing, but the cat tried to eat him one year, so he is now silent.

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This is the best ornament on the tree. It is a little red suitcase that matches the big red suitcase that take on all of my adventures.

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Every year I think about not packing this one in a box and hanging it in my room.

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I love this one. It is a small snapshot of our life in 1995. It was handmade at Knott’s Berry Farm, and has all of our names, plus, my kitty Simon, my rabbit Bun, and Kelly’s cat Socks. This one goes on the tree every year.

The kitties have been drinking out of the tree stand, but so far, the only ornament that has been broken was one that I dropped, and not one that the kitties were playing with. That is a major step up from the four that we lost last year. The one armed Barbie ornament just looks sad now.

This is one of the first times in a long time that I do not have papers to write, presentations to prepare, or papers to graded. I’m excited to have a few days off to watch Christmas movies on Lifetime, cook meals with my brother, and torment my sister about wrapping presents.

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.