Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Blog break

It has been a long semester. Two deaths in the family this year (albeit people far away from me) and one diagnosis of re-curring cancer have nevertheless taken their toll. My course this semester just about did me in. (In fact, it still may...) My knee is better, but my spirit feels broken.

I need a break from blogging, but I didn't want to just disappear, so I thought I'd put up a post letting you know that you may not see me around for a while.

In case I haven't mentioned it lately, I'm grateful for the new "blogger buddies" this medium has allowed me to connect with. Wonderful, inspirational people you are!

For my friends and family who check in (and never leave comments - you lurkers! ;-), I'll try to call over the holidays.

Happy holidays to you and yours. Peace and joy for 2007.

- Sarah

Friday, December 15, 2006

Just past meltdown

I'm marginally past the meltdown point, it seems. It's funny how these things take time to pass when really, you just want it to be over.

The final exam for the course I'm teaching happened this week. Now I just have to correct them and submit the final grades. There were a few issues with students, but they sorted themselves out. In one case, a student went to see the Department Head. He, bless his tough little heart, thought the student was a lunatic and sided with me 100%. There are times when I truly appreciate my superiors. That was one of them.

Speaking of which, my Ph.D. supervisor has also been a fountain of support for me this week. We met on Thursday and I handed in the outline for my thesis proposal that was due. When I got to his office, there were two small cups set out with a bottle of my favorite beverage on the table (a gift from a visiting Mexican professor, which my supervisor felt it was appropriate to crack open, given my meltdown.) I sat there thinking, "I am truly lucky. At this particular moment, I do believe I have the coolest supervisor on campus."

We had a good meeting. He told me not to worry and that whatever happens, we'll deal with it. But still... not to worry.

I will not rest until I know if I have passed the Stats class. At this point though, there's not much I can do about it, so I try to think of other things.

I actually got a few Christmas cards written and presents bought this week, which felt great, too. Most of the cards are off in the mail, though the parcels may be a bit late. Oh well... They'll get there eventually.

What has been keeping me more or less sane is getting regular activity. Running three times a week and doing weights on the off days has kept me from going completely over the edge. I am happy to report that my knees are happy and I'm adding a few minutes of time each week to my runs.

Last Saturday I got outside for the first time in a few weeks. I did a total of 6.5 km. I know that for some of you ultra runners, that is a mere warm-up, but for me, it's pretty much a personal record (well, except for the running I did in high school, but that was 20 years ago - literally!) I'm so very glad to be back running. It has been my salvation and my sanity. God bless my chiropractor!

All in all, I'm still fairly overwhelmed, but in general, life is better this week. Amen to that.

Friday, December 08, 2006


Hey folks, sorry I've been away from Blogland for a while. I had sort of a meltdown this week.

The Stats course nearly got the better of me. It came to the final paper and I thought, " I can't. I just... can't. I don't have it in me. I don't know what I'm doing. I'm going to fail..."

Asked for an extension. Didn't get it.

And the meltdown began.

I was going to withdraw from the course. Take it next semester again. (Next semester is the last semester I am allowed to take classes, according to my program's timeline. And this is a required course for me.) All sections of Stats for next semester are full.

I thought about my options:

  1. Withdraw from both the course and the Ph.D. program.
  2. Try to pass Stats.
  3. Avoid failure and shame by ending my life.
The last of these options was considered at length and ultimately discarded, leaving the other two.

I consulted with my Ph.D. supervisor who basically forbid me to withdraw from the course. "Do the paper... You'll likely end up more or less intact."

I thought about withdrawing the whole time I was writing the paper, trying to turn the endless internal recording of "I'm too stupid for this!" to happier, positive thoughts.

Didn't really work. But I tried anyway.

After 3 nights of not sleeping and not being able to turn my brain off all night (punctuated only by tears, and waking up crying after I did get to sleep), last night I downed four shots of tequila and finally got some sleep.

Oh yeah, and it just makes matters so much better when people you know look at you and say, "Gosh, you look like hell!"

Thanks. Now, bugger off!

The time limit to withdraw from courses was today at 4:00 p.m. I e-mailed my paper (31 pages) to the prof at 3:55, a few minutes before the deadline to hand that in, too.

So, the paper is in. I am not hopeful about passing.

But at least it is out of my hands.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Hello, goodbye ... and life in between

Life is moving at lightening pace around here.

Gord moved in on Thursday. I've seen him twice since he moved in... and only to pass by to say hello and wave. I've dubbed him the "Stealth Roommate". I come in. I see boots at the door and a closed bedroom door. I get up in the morning. I see a bedroom door that is slightly ajar and no boots at the door. Nary a sound or sight in between.

Today, Leah told me she's moving out at the end of the month. She knows I'm thinking of selling and became pro-active in finding a new home. So, it'll be hello to one new (temporary) roommate this month, and good-bye to another.

So in the meantime, the house is a bit chaotic, but we'll survive. I will continue with my own downsizing and sprucing up of the place once school is over for the semester. Can't wait to get rid of more stuff! (Hey, I was serious when I said that all I wanted for Christmas was my two front teeth! Really, don't need more than that...)

The next two weeks are Hell on Wheels. I have oral exams to give, compositions and projects to mark, a test to give on Wednesday and the final exam to give the following Tuesday. I so wish Those in Power wouldn't require us to do so much correcting at the end of the semester. I hate correcting. Most teachers hate correcting... Uggghhh...

If I take off my teacher hat and put on my student hat, the next two weeks are still Hell on Wheels... My final paper for my Statistics course, and another smaller assignment are also due in the next ten days. I believe I will pass the course, but I am not hopeful about getting a good mark. Sometimes, passing is the best you can do.

And coming from a Type-A, goal-driven, pathological perfectionist, that should tell you how desperately I have struggled with this course over these past four months. One word: gruelling.

I just keep telling myself, "This is your last course EVER. Just get through it... Last course EVER!"

A week after I've handed in my final paper for the class, I have to submit my thesis proposal outline so my committee can read it over the holidays. (Yeah, like they have nothing better to do...!) Anyway... that is the idea.

On a happy note, my thesis committee is officially "signed on". The paperwork is done and so, that's one less hoop to jump through. One of my committee members is someone I regularly see at the gym. At this time of the semester, neither of us likes to miss our work outs as they function mostly as stress relief, more than anything else. (But he's much smarter than me. He doesn't try to stand on squishy balls. No wonder I admire him...)

Another happy note... Three (count 'em: 1, 2, 3!) successful 30-minute runs last week! Yaayy! Now if it would just warm up a wee bit, I'd get outside with my handy dandy Garmin and get some REAL statistics!