The Scamp Makes a New List

It’s that time of the year again where we all scramble to pretend that we are still going to meet our New Years Resolutions, and we pretend that we are going to follow the ones we plan to make for the next year. I made one of those lists. This time last year, sat in the downstairs area of my parents’ house and I made a list. I was stressed beyond belief. I was officially no longer a part of the living in the US. I had finally asked my dad to adopt me. I had three months left to finish a complete rewrite of my PhD. I made a lot of plans for what I was going to do in 2020.

This was supposed to be my year! I was going to graduate. I was going to start being social. I was going to travel and go on adventures without having to take work with me. I was going to be slutty. I was going to kiss strange boys in public and go on bad first dates. I wasn’t going to be lonely anymore. I was going to be happy and reduce my stress. So I made a list.

Then March happened. The day after I turned 33 I got adopted and changed my name. I told the world about it and only three people understood. I turned in my thesis edits and the next day the world went into lockdown, and with it, all the things I wanted to do got flushed down the toilet. I did manage to get some of the list crossed off, and to be honest, some of the ones that weren’t crossed off were not crossed off because I lost focus. That list looked like this:

  1. Visit 3 new countries
  2. Present at an academic conference
  3. Solo author a paper
  4. Lose the 20lbs I gained in the last year due to bad choices and stress
  5. Do yoga at least twice a week
  6. Write at least one new post a week that has nothing to do with work
  7. Make a dent in my student loan
  8. Finally get my UK driving license
  9. Participate in No Screen Sunday and stay off my phone and all social media on Sundays (starting today because I have not done it at all this month)
  10. Keep the toxic people from returning to my bubble
  11. Ride in a hot air balloon
  12. Go camping
  13. Celebrate passing my viva
  14. Improve my Spanish proficiency
  15. Meal prep to help balance my diet (and to help with number 4)
  16. Get on an academic committee
  17. Officially change my name on all my documents without crying
  18. Go a full 48 hours without being negative
  19. Don’t cancel plans with friends once I’ve made them (especially not the day of)
  20. Finally get my artwork from California to Scotland (although not through FedEx)

Being that I make these list so that I can feel accomplished when I cross things off them, I’d say I am less than satisficed with the way the 2020 list turned out. That’s the problem with making lists, when you can’t cross something off, you feel unfulfilled or like you failed. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel like a failure because I didn’t lose any of the weight and that I didn’t manage to stick to simple things like doing yoga twice a week, or making time to write about fun things, random things, anything that is not related to my work. These are things that require focus and discipline, and to be honest, that is not something I much of since I finished the PhD. It is hard for me to stay motivated when I am all alone and stuck in solitary confinement. 45-60 min of outdoor time a day is not enough for me, but it is the best I can do right now. At least with the vaccine out now there is hope for a light at the end of the tunnel. I really hope 2021 finds a new normal that allows me out of the house a bit more…oh and allows me to hug people. I am going to hug the shit out of people when this has all settled into a new normal.

And that brings me to the list for the new year. I’ve thought a lot about what that list should look like, what things should be on it…what I wanted to accomplish. The thing is though, I am starting wonder if making a list like this is just setting me up for failure. What if I don’t lose the weight? What if I fail the driver’s test again (and WHY is it so difficult here?) What if I only kick the toxic people out for a little while and then let them back in? I don’t want to make any promises that I can’t keep.

So there isn’t a list yet. but I still have one more day to think about what will go on it….

The Scamp Tries a New Writing Challenge

It is 2018. 2018 is the year that I finish my PhD (hopefully). 2018 is the year that I get a career instead of just a job. 2018 is the year that I finally get to Israel. 2018 is the year that I win $5,000,000 and pay off all of my student loans and buy my sister, brother-in-law and nephews a house, and pay my parents back for all the money they have spent on me the last few years (Ok, that one may be wishful thinking, but I’m putting it out into the world and I hope that it comes true).

Last year I was awful at writing for fun. I spent a lot of time dedicated to my PhD and had some trouble with the dark and twisty. I’ve been doing yoga every day though, and painfully cut all cheese and dairy out of my diet, so I am hoping that the dark and twisty will be a little less noticeable this year.

So, new year, a new challenge. I started a few years ago with a gratitude challenge as part of my therapy. I’d been kicked out of school, accused of racism and bullied. I was miserable living in the US and needed the reminder that there was a lot of good in my life, and a lot of good in me. That was a challenge I did faithfully every week, but last year, well, that didn’t go so well. I am going to try and be really good about it, just like writing my thesis and being finished by July.

So…..the challenge for this week is to write about something funny I heard today.

This one is great…it also makes me sad for the future. I went to campus to print a bunch of articles for teaching this week. I decided that while I was there I should look at the data for my thesis because I really need to get my ass in gear on the analysis. While I was in the library, I sat across from a guy and a girl who looked fairly young. I had my headphones in and originally thought that they were speaking German.  I could not for the life of me understand what they were saying. At one point I got up to get my printing, and when I came back, I didn’t put my headphones back in. Turns out they were speaking English. Most of it still sounded like mumbled gibberish, but out of the blue, the guy says, “I wonder how the throat works? Like, does it go up here (I couldn’t see, but I’m assuming he went up his neck and to his forehead)? The girl answered, “Not that high.” Then they went back to the mumbling language that I am still not convinced is English, and I decided that it was time for me to leave before I gave into the urge to tell them that maybe if they spent more time studying they would know simple things like the way the throat works.

On a less cringy note, the best thing I heard today was a video my sister sent of her oldest running around at the park while her youngest babbled in her lap, almost as if he was narrating the scene. She sends me a lot of baby videos and they never fail to make me feel better about everything.

The Scamp and a New Writing Challenge: Week 1

I survived 2016!! I am no closer to world domination, but I am in one piece after stumbling home at 5 am on the first….all that proved is that I am old. I slept for three days after.

I’m hopeless.

It was a top night though filled with rum, amazing girls, and a handsome bearded man who did not try and get in my pants, but did appreciate my sarcasm. I may not have really kissed anyone at the New Year, but I actually made some new friends, I didn’t do anything to embarrass myself in public, and I did not think about deadbeat boy at all.

Although he is sneaking in here and there and it makes me a little sad.

So, new year, new writing challenge. I’m having a hard time finding one that I like, but I think I am going to pick through a few and answer prompts that catch my fancy. I’m also going to start the year by saying I will complete each weekly challenge on time, but we all know that that is going to be real touch and go. The first prompt of the new year is: What are you most excited about in 2017?

I started with an easy one. I think I am looking forward to everything about 2017. I have some good trips planned, I now have a good social circle to do fun things with, and by the end of this year I will have some good solid draft chapters of my thesis written. I really see this year being all about getting healthy and becoming a better person.

I will also turn 30. Finally. I know that for the last couple of years I said that by the time I turn 30 I will have all my shit together and be an adult, but now I just think that when I turn 30 I will be starting a really great phase of my life….possibly the best years? I’m just really excited about my 30s. I will complete my studies, hopefully get my career in full swing, and get a dog (I’m putting that on the list. I want a dog more than most girls my age want a child). I’ll get to be an aunt again.

I’m hoping that 2017 is the year I finally really get a handle on my depression as well. The last few weeks have not been bad, but that was traveling, having a good night out and hiding from reality. I eventually have to go back to the office, I have to finish editing this damn paper, and keep my motivation up for this round of data collection and report writing. I see a lot of cups of tea in my future and a lot of written kitten to get me through that.

In the meantime, I think I am going to enjoy the way 2017 started and hope that it keeps on just like this.

The Scamp and the Gratitude Challenge: Week 37

This one is a good week for me. This week is all about being grateful for something that I created. Brace yourself, this post is about to be sappy as hell.

You’ve been warned.

I’ve created a lot of things that I am proud of, but I think what I am most grateful for is the life that I am currently creating in Scotland. I have finally figured my shit out.


The last month and change has been really good for me. There was a bit of time there when I was trying to sort the visa out that I thought I was never going to actually get to come back here and live. I was really good at going to the dark and twisty. When I got here, and lasted a week, before I had to go back to the States, I was sure that the university was going to fire me and that I was going to be unemployed and sad on my mom’s couch forever.

Luckily, none of that happened. I had a drink with a colleague, and someone fast becoming a friend, and after hanging out and talking about work and life, and having some really tasty drinks, I walked home and realized that I was ridiculously happy. I can’t remember the last time I was this happy. I forgot what the feeling was like. At first I thought it was just the last shot of Sailor Jerry, but it when it didn’t go away the next day, or even today, I finally figured out what it was. I’m freaking happy. Really freaking happy.

This comes at the perfect time, as tonight marks the start of Rosh Hashanah, which means the Jewish new year is upon us. It is strange because I don’t really remember celebrating last year, other than using it as the perfect excuse to leave class early. There really isn’t a temple around here, and really no Jewish people, so this year I am going to enjoy my apples and honey, and really think about all the crazy shit that has happened, and what I learned from it. So, while everyday isn’t perfect, and some days I get a little sad, or I feel extra tired, on the whole, life is pretty fucking great for me right now.

I’m going to enjoy the happy feeling. The really great happy feeling.

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.


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.