Lin-Manuel Miranda quotes galantine's day

“I think a lot about trying to meet the moment as honestly as possible, because I don’t pretend to have any answers. In fact, I have infinitely more questions than answers.” I can generally not get enough Leslie Knope, but on this Galentine’s Day, I’m all about feeling Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Galentine’s Day Spotify playlist he made for us ladies. It’s even better than when I came across an artist’s renderings of Leslie Knope quotes. Talk and dance about this is chock full of fantastic, empowering, and energetic songs from strong and sassy female artists and it’s all girl power.

Today is a day for ladies to celebrate ladies, and while my ladies are north of the border, so there’s no rose sipping and bruschetta noshing. But, thanks to international data plans and What’s App, I still was able to access some of my lady loves’ therapy sessions. I love my poetic land mermaids and rule breaking moths.

I firmly believe one of the reasons I don’t struggle with loneliness, despite an almost constant run of “Singleness,” is because of my epic circle of friends. I date, often, but rarely meet someone worth investing deeper into the sacrifice of my personal time to be with him so I generally choose to be alone. Fact is, there’s not yet been a single person I’ve been with romantically in which I feel like I received a net neutrality or gain compared to the sacrifices I had to make to be in the relationship. That’s not what I want…. I want to be with someone because my life is more colorful, peaceful, enriched because of what I share and experience with him. Not to miss time I could be spending doing other things because of what I’m giving to him. And that’s how I know I’ve never met my “lobster.” But Galentine’s Day is a fun day for celebrating my friendships.

It’s also an excellent day for me to not ponder so hard about a particularly confusing romantic “situation” (see some of above) and just enjoy… Oh, and write… and write, write, write. Always to write. Even though I cry – a lot – about my dissertation challenges, I know… I just know it will feel so good to be done. And it will feel good to give a smiling “fuck you” to my naysayers. There’s a list.

And because I’m having a particularly rough time of rewriting and reanalyzing my research data and I want to quit it all so close to the end, another push for stick to itness and perseverance. Anytime you write something, you go through so many phases. You go through the I’m a Fraud phase. You go through the I’ll Never Finish phase. And every once in a while you think, What if I actually have created what I set out to create, and it’s received as such?”

Pop a bottle of pink tinted wine, crank up your speakers, and enjoy this day – if you want, you can join me in a virtual dance party. Oh, and as a matter of fact, living deep in Mexico is not helping me improve my dance skills any better than sleeping with textbooks under pillows helped my knowledge of calculus in high school.

Centro Cultural San Pablo Oaxaca Mexico

By the way, what do you think of my new hat? I picked it up last week at Mercardo Benito Juarez. Hat hair for days. Which is beneficial being that my dueña can’t get the hot water to stay on in my apartment and hair this thick and long is a miserable washing experience in cold showers (I’ve been going over budget and visiting a salon for washes and blow outs). We’re also working on the pest situation because I found a scorpion in my room the other night operating as my head board.

Happy Galentine’s Day!

XO, Jennifer

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Man Crush Monday | Bob Dylan

“Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.” Bob Dylan received the Nobel Prize in Literature this past year. While many people responded with shock and awe, and his own reaction appeared to be more ambivalent, I was happy. I love his music and poetry, and even though I’m too young to be considered in his generation, much of his music spoke to me when coming of age as it did our parents. He is the first musician, ever, to receive the award. When Rolling Stone can catalog 100 of an artist’s “greatest” songs, that is a massive contribution to art.

My favorite song is one of his more critically acclaimed, but I love it even if that makes me not as cool. It’s not really a love song. At all. It’s wistful and disappointed. But NOT disappointing.

I also recommend this small sample if you are in need of an introduction:

Blowing in the Wind: made popular by the band Peter, Paul, and Mary, this sweet ballad may be one of his more popular songs. I’m including it because I feel obliged to do so. :o)

Simple Twist of Fate: is really so heart wrenching! If you look at the lyrics he tells the story of a seemingly perfect relationship that ended for reasons neither person can explain. Ugh. All the sad feels. One of the top songs to replay when feeling love worn.

Like a Rolling Stone: Yes. Just… Yes! And, yes, I’m obliged. Happy to do so…

Abandoned Love: super simple…. No chorus. With a lot of “ouch” in his punch. Kind of like how some break ups hit you… you know?

Well, good day and good night. I’m really excited. Not because my edits went well. They went okay. Not to mention the massive change my chair wants me to make – I cried to my mom and then took her directive to go have a glass of wine. I’m such the achiever I had two. But I literally did cry when I saw what he wanted me to change. It’s just part of the process even though the rewrite is massive and I don’t really agree. But — although the PhD dissertation is a massive undertaking and body of work made by me, I learned a while ago it is not at all about me in the eyes of my university and the process is political and bologna, but it’s the price of admission to the “doctor” club. And, I swear, if I hear one more person tell me that a PhD is “not a ‘real’ doctor” I might become physically violent. I’ve actually had men tell me that thinking I would find that endearing and agree to go on a date with them. Seriously, WTF does that???

So, today it’s my dissertation, Dylan, and me.

Who is your #MCM?

XO, Jennifer

Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet. Bob Dylan

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Today is the final day of the first month in our new year. How are you checking in with your goals? I could be doing better, myself. But I refuse to let me berate and abuse what hasn’t been done (although my personal gap review is long – that’s the inveterate MBA in me speaking). Fact is, when reviewing my own goals check in this morning (yay for insomnia m while my progress is not as fast or far as I wanted, I’ve covered a lot of ground during these past 30 days. I have wins! And not of the tiger blood variety, either. I feel good enough to be encouraged but not cocky.
~My dissertation, all five chapters, is written. Fina-f*cking-Lutely! It’s a hotter mess than my sweat saturated ponytail after a #parytonabike spin class, but it’s written. I’m not saying I haven’t cried during edits. But it’s written!
~I went out on an limb and displayed great vulnerability at the expense of almost painful emotional discomfort in effort to break a haunting pattern. Twice. Wait… three times. In the moment of one particular ignorer of boundaries, instead of my usual pattern of annoyance > frustration > total devolution into emotional anger, I felt unf*ckwithable and held my boundary. Fact is, while a troll doesn’t deserve your kindness, you don’t deserve the emotional fallout of meeting him (or her) at that same level of petty disrespect.
~I relocated and am settling into my new city with lost in translation embarrassments every day.
~I marched in the Women’s March on Washington in my new home city and stood with other US expats among our Mexican neighbors in solidarity. We expected approximately 300 people to show up and march. Over 2,000 US and Canadian expats residing in Oaxaca along with tourists from other nationalities visiting the city who heard of the march showed up and marched with us. It was beautiful.

And there are more. But these… I’m most proud of and I’m not going to let energy spend dwelling on what wasn’t done. I’ll review and reset my priorities for February.

Because we get to start over every month, day, hour, minute. Every breath – in and or out – is an opportunity for a reset. There’s no rule stating when your revolution must begin. Isn’t that beauty-full?

Jack Keruoac - I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page - goals check inNow, how are you checking in? What are your January wins?

XO, Jennifer

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The Sweet Solitude of House Sitting

 

I love house sitting. It feels much less mooch-like. I can wake up, resume former underwear wearing uniform, and stream music as loud as I want. This morning’s pick is the rather dreamy, streamy, and somewhat steamy, beats of Lost Frequencies ~ Are You With Me. Love it! When house sitting, I have a purpose, here, instead of merely occupying breakfast nook space with stacks of papers, books, computers, a screeching printer, and Edie barking. At. Every. Thing. Incessant barking.

I’m, essentially, living with a second set of parents. Might as well be, for I’ve known them since I was 13. While that was sufficient for me for the anticipated month it would take me to finish my data collection, I’m feeling the stress of how much longer I’m living here than was originally expected. I cannot accurately – sufficiently – express the deep, deep, gratitude and love I feel for being allowed to spend my final weeks in Phoenix in such a positive and supportive space…. But — I am ready to goooooo………..

Doctoral Writing research draft house sitting

I managed to condense six banker’s boxes’ worth of documents, software, and random papers into two. Which is progress I’m rather satisfied with for the morning. This afternoon, after drafting entries for my data collection journal to submit to my dissertation chair for review, I am hosting a shredding party. Party of two. Edie and me.
Why did I make the symbolic sacrifice of no wine until my data collection is complete? Well, with more luck than I seem to be due, I hope to have the focus group completed August 6. While I do not want to make the hard – and $$$ expensive $$$ choice it will be to get the focus group done. If I manage to facilitate a successful focus group, I can at least pack up and head to Alabama. The last focus group attempt did not go so well.
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This morning is another one of those mornings. Up at 4. Not by choice. Laid in bed until about a quarter to 5, then decided to make an effort to capitalize on the early day. A few cups of coffee on the patio and several mosquito bites later, Edie and I are taking refuge in the air conditioning, listening to the din of the washing machine and dryer with laundry loads # 2 and 3 complementing Matt Simons streaming on the iPad. Grading is already complete for the week, I checked in with my class and all is seemingly well with my students; I will check on them again tonight, but for the day, my work is mostly done. Well, of course there is more dissertation editing. I know, right?! ALWAYS dissertation editing. It’s a grind, my friends! If I cannot interview, I can edit. I can transcribe I can work more on building the database to prepare for analysis. Seriously, only mega jerks get their PhDs! I swear it!
 manchester terrier mix, Oh edie
I have the house to myself for a couple of weeks and am celebrating my reunion with my solitude in rather appropriate fashion: underwear and a too-small tank top, the back of which is completely damp from my hair. Even though I aim to have no interpersonal interactions today and intend to not dress for anything other than the walk to the mailbox to send off a consent form for another participant for a skype interview, I  was overdue for a hair wash, so in the spirit of the early day, I even already managed to shower. If I were willing to face people, I almost might be adultable, today.
But I’m not.

I’m tired. Restless and agitated. Emotional. Tired. Too long spent, too much trying to do too many things at the same time. It’s possible multi-tasking will be the death of me.

Truth be told, I feel like I am walking through deep mud. I’m trudging, but with an exhaustive effort. Unable to make the progress and distance I aim for, and the exertion… well, without muck boots, it’s even more… muckier. I understand, now, why so many people leave their PhDs when they are so near the end. Before, I couldn’t understand how on Earth someone could make all the way through the pain of the course work, the heinous torture of comprehensive exams (that is time and energy in my life I will never get back and I am certain the stress I experienced during that two week period of time took years off the end of my expiration date), and walk away. Now, though, I can get it. Obstacle after obstacle after obstacle. Roadblock, puzzle, solve, solve, endure, patience, patience, perseverance, obstacle, regroup, redirect, over and over and over. It’s exhausting. I cried again, last night. From the emotional and mental fatigue. Perpetual disappointments. I’ll have a breakthrough and success, then another complication. A PhD is not for the weak or wearisome, I tell you, that much. I have been broken so many times throughout – and by – this damn degree… there’s a cargo ship’s volume of irony I see, right now, in reference to a PhD being a “terminal” degree.
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