Learning to Take a Leap (A Flying One, That Is)

Learning to Fly – Tom Petty w/ Stevie Nicks : Does it get better than this? I got a little tingle feeling on my arms that I recognized as goosebumps.

Well, if I were slightly less tired from last night’s party (my ass is old; I cannot stay out that late anymore!!), being less tired would be a great start. Being finished with these papers looming over me (I can practically feel the executioner’s ax on my neck). However, attending the Junior League of Phoenix White Party was awfully fun last night! Any opportunity to don a new dress and pair it with vintage treasures from inside my closet is alright by me (and this made for the seemingly one time per year I can bring out my fluffy fox stole – relax, it was already an estate piece when I got it). Rooftop dancing at Casablanca Lounge among suspended flower arrangements and a grooving DJ on a Saturday night in January — and NOT feeling cold? Yes, please!

Well, and although my ass may be old, the cutie 25 year old from one of the stops last night actually reached out to me and asked me on a date. I figured why the hell not, and so Saturday night will be a puma (I think that’s what I would be called). All I have to lose is some hairspray, lipgloss, and I can chalk up the night at the very least to one of an experience!  I’m not yet sure if this means this young buck has a thing for older women (Dear Lord, I hope he doesn’t think I’m a cougar – I don’t like being aged upwards) or if I maybe am not quite the picture of the little old lady I see in my mind?

But either way, although I do not view, with any seriousness, a possible romantic connection with someone more than a decade younger than me, this is an opportunity for me to get out and have a new experience with someone new. Truth be told, I have been so completely shut down to the idea of dating — ANYONE — perhaps a date with a quarter-centarian might help me find the fun that I used to have dating again. This is my flying leap. Hey, I generally don’t date men younger than me (not by design or choice; it’s really just worked out that way), and this fellow is so significantly younger than me, to call it a leap is not much of a leap. Hell, that I actually agreed to go out on a date – with anyone – at this point is a leap!

Oh, and maybe I took a little inspiration because today’s Kiss a Ginger Day…. 😉

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The Ferris Bueller I’m struggling. Quite a bit right now. I have about 17 pages to write by Monday at midnight. And I’ve been spinning because I don’t know what to do, what to think… and frankly, although I’m — LITERALLY — a dissertation away from my PhD, I want to quit. You know, if I had a do-over, I probably would have — oh what the hell who am I kidding, I would have — gone to another school where I was a little bit more naive, a little bit more insulated, and less of a maverick, risk taker. There, I “said” it (hell, I wrote it for all the webosphere). For many reasons, for many complicated reasons, for as many complicated and deep reasons I chose my school of study, at this time, I’d change my school of study, if I didn’t have so much to lose…… But I wonder how much I lose compared to the gain by staying? How many PhD students leave at the end of their coursework and abandon their dissertation? I already know I wouldn’t ever put PhD/ABD on ANY salutation – that just calls me out as a giant quitter. But what about the reasons one decides to quit?

I stay up so late (12:30 – 1:00, 1:30…, wake up either 2 or 3 am and I either can’t go back to sleep or I oversleep and then am frenzied for the entire day — I totally “get” the frenzied, absent-minded professor schtick, now – because I’m it — but I’m only a part time faculty member and a yet I’m full time frump at work (and I don’t think, in general, objective observation, that I’m an ugly woman; I’m just apparently that capable of making myself so incredibly frizzy and pallid in person, I guess) . Like, really… I get complimented on my hair on days that I actually brush it. BRUSH IT! It happened yesterday. Because taking a brush to my hair is an improvement form how I normally appear…..  And the irony of that s how much money I spend on an annual basis for my absolutely genius hair stylist to give me really good hair (if I actually took the time to regularly style it) but instead I either put it in a day-three-post-wash-ponytail, day-one-post-wash-headband/barrette, day-of-wash-french-braid/bun-because-I-dont-have-time-to-dry-it-and-look-professional. Oh my GOSH, I AM the librarian, I AM the school marm… I even have the darn (can you make a hybrid word darmn??) big, dark, glasses (because when I wear them I think people won’t notice I’m not wearing makeup).

I also have boyfriends (okay, okay, ONE) who break up with me because I’m too busy with my work and school to spend an adequate amount of time with him — the hypocrisy is this was a partner in a law firm!!!!! But the truth is I drink wine more nights than I roll out my yoga mat for stress relief and I’ve subsequently bought two larger sizes in my pants since I started in 2009. And I’m obsessed over the studies that are out there reporting on the number of women in academia who sacrifice their family lives (and by that, including ability to have families) because of the stress and the toil of advancing their higher education — am I becoming — wait — have I become part of the statistic of professional and academic women who spent so much time trying to figure out a way to make a sustainable career that wouldn’t render us to depths of social security and welfare in retirement that I am setting myself up (I’ve looked up the definition of spinster – I don’t match that… yet).

But, I really wonder what is the worth of my quality of life? I have to let go of the past, but there is the matter of my present happiness (or general anxiety – hey, when you have multiple care providers offering you meds you start to wonder) and then that of tomorrow. Because =, when you’re sitting at your laptop computer on a Friday night, nonetheless and your face is lined with Biore pore pulling strips you really feel a very strong resonation about the state of your personal union… or lack thereof.

Which brings me to reminiscing of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Art Institute of Chicago, and why right now I am SO certain I know why Cameron had a mild freak out staring at that little girl in Georges Seurat’s painting.

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My flight to San Antonio leaves Wednesday. I can’t believe the time is here…. Last year, the week before what was supposed to be my first professional presentation for my preliminary dissertation research, I lost my dad. I’d be lying my face off if I denied that the association causes me paralytic grief with more than a little degree of self sabotage in my writing efforts for this year’s presentation. By this time next Sunday, my plane will be crossing over the Texas/New Mexico border, bringing me back home from across the Chihuahuan Desert to the Sonoran Desert. My days by the Riverwalk will be over, and more notably, my conference presentation with AAHHE will be complete. I keep editing my presentation, and spending so much time adding to or taking away from it, wanting the slides to be so “relevant,” and “valuable,” that I haven’t practiced it, once. I need to be confident that I’ve done good research, I know this subject, and I will be okay. 
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This goofy little group is probably too young for me, but their sounds are definitely too perfect for a Tuesday night spent writing cards and notes to mail, snail mail style, to friends around and out of town. 
I can’t be part of a minority who loves to receive handwritten cards and sweet letters instead of APS and Discover Card statements, right? I’m telling myself that grading papers for my grad students tonight is not a “better” use of my time than inscribing thoughts on cards I hope will make some ladies smile. 
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Very cool. I’m glad my distracted, wandering mind brought me upon a page that had this clip. Talk about a flashmob. Back to school work. Nevermind that I started work work 14 hours ago, and will be back there in less than 10. The dissertation… right… I was told, this is where the work begins. No freaking joke. 
But, until I return to work (either kind), Ode to Joy. 
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