Sunday, January 30, 2005

It seems as though the Nude Squirrel may be regrowing its fur! The all-over pink has that grey "pre-fur" look the past few days. I'm very happy that he or she had a strong enough immune system to fight off the mange organism during the dead of winter. I like to think that my peanut offerings contributed to his or her survival.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Probably a great number of factors left out of this, but what the heck.

I've done it: I've downloaded the Google beta desktop search. I couldn't help myself. How could I not want something that can search the content of all my files instead of just the names?

I always name files weird things anyway. (Although I generally don't notice that until later when I'm trying to find something very important and it's named "FlapJack24_Feb" instead of "buckwheat pancake recipe" or whatever.)

Anyway, my searchables are very small but I'm still excited about being able to search them.
Last night TheLimey and I stopped by a nearby bar "just for a few minutes!" to say hi to a number of my colleagues who had gathered to celebrate the birthday of one of our number. Of course we ended up staying about two hours, but got away having only consumed one beer and half a burger each.

I was very happy to actually spend some time with my friends. This past year I've seen them extremely little since our classes together ended, and we've all been so individually busy with our requirements. We really only have a few months together remaining. It seems like this four years has simultaneously been a lifetime and like it's gone by in a flash.

As the founding cohort of PhD students in this program, I've always thought we ought to start some odd tradition that all subsequent students would do, but I have had a hard time coming up with anything. Some things I've suggested included: carrying kids' lunchboxes (which actually caught on for a while there), calling each other by our last names (partly motivated by the multiple first names in our ranks), feeding squirrels (of course), and a few other things. It may be that the only thing that lives on is an as-yet-unformulated drink called a "Tight Goat".

Don't ask.
Found a "blog disclaimer" (see at right) on Bacon, Cheese, and Oatcakes. (Ironically, after reading B, C, & O, I feel like I know the author!)

If I keep finding items to add to my sidebar, it's going to look like a teenage AOLer's pretty soon.

Experiencing incredible resistance to doing the rewrites of my dissertation proposal. I don't want to ever do anything again! Anything.

Friday, January 28, 2005

One kind of odd phenomenon in therapy is that all one's clients on a particular day may be doing the same thing. Maybe they're all having the same issue that they're "stuck" on, or they're all late that day, or tired, or they're all experiencing hopefulness about the future, etc. etc.

Last week all my clients were having big emotional breakthroughs--I would say that three out of five cried during their sessions. And what happens after a big emotional breakthrough? You retreat for a while to digest it or lick your wounds, however you want to view it. So this week all my clients were much less emotionally forthcoming.

I guess some of this can be attributed to external factors, like elections or weather or the beginning of the semester. But as a therapist, I recognize that my psychological state affects what happens with my clients. If I am in tune with myself and feeling grounded, then things go much better. I think last week I was really in a state where I had the strength to challenge and support my clients to really look at some difficult things face-to-face, as opposed to continuing to report them to me in an intellectual fashion.

One quote (from someone I can't remember) is that "in order to be a good therapist, one must be well-fed and well-loved." I would add to that "...with a good night's sleep."

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Well, this goes a long way in explaining this week! (Random bloghopping got me there.)

I imagine that it's not a dichotomous state, but rather an ebb and flow, so we're still low-ish, but on the upswing towards a feeling of general well-being.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

This one is for Eric, whom I promised a while ago to send some recipes for Norwegian treats. Now that I have a scanner all of my very own, I can create pdf files! (Note: this one is 30 pages long, so it may be a long download.) I tried using the OCR, and it was surprising how much it recognized (even included the little illustrations of cakes and things). However, I didn't have time to scan and then edit 30 pages of recipes, so a pdf file it is. The original book is very nice and Norsk-like and can be found on Amazon, if used.

I scanned all the recipes in a foot-high pile of Shape magazine so now I can Freecycle them, since I was vaguely imagining that I was keeping them for the recipes. (Did I already write this before? ...Note to self: make list of extraneous stuff to post on Freecycle!)

I have also been randomly scanning any of my own recipes that I wrote on an index card and stuffed into my recipe books, too. Oh, and I also scanned the lovely Library Squirrel cookies recipe printout I brought home in...December? November? I guess I could have just waited to download the message onto my jumpdrive and bring it home, but I was busy having a scanning frenzy. Also a throwing-things-out frenzy. It's fun!! It's January!

Wow, that Singulair really is the magic bullet for asthma--at least my asthma. I took one yesterday and have already reduced my need for any kind of inhalers at all by about 75%.

Also realized that I hate being a patient. I often tell my clients that while I am an expert in terms of being a clinician, they are the only person who will ever be an expert on their own lives. This doctor visit reminded me not to let that concept slip away.

I have been thinking about how many things are probably dust mite havens: my futon, for example, is probably one giant 80-pound dust mite colony at this point. Plush toys would be another one. Considering that exposure during the first year of life is an important factor in developing dust mite sensitivity, I suggested to TheLimey that any potential offspring of ours would have to be kept well away from dust mite repositories during their infancy. "Ceramic cubes," he replied, "instead of soft toys* they'll have ceramic cubes." Later he softened this idea to "ceramic cubes with smiley faces drawn on".

Of course, there's always the "giant plastic gerbil ball" idea, too.

*Perhaps they could have the kind of soft toys that can be thrown in the wash on a weekly basis.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

ARG! Just when I was beginning to trust Blogger again. I hit "publish" and got the "page not found" page, and when I back-arrowed, all the huge long post I had just typed in had disappeared, and only a big blank "post your entry" field waited. Dammit.

Anyway, the post basically consisted of a description of how contrary I got to feeling at the doctor's office when asked to describe my asthma for the five million and one-th time to a new doctor so they can come up with exactly the same prognosis as the previous five million. (And after I described in lurid detail the way in which I felt stress has been contributing to my current asthmatic state, the first doctor pointed out that stress is something that can contribute to asthma.)

So, they did give me what I asked for (Singulair) but acted kind of like I was insane for wanting it. And I couldn't come up with a rational reason for why I didn't want steroids, and my reason for not wanting to take things (Advair) with Serevent in them (deaths) as well as steroids, too, was politely pooh-poohed. So anyway, got both things (Singulair and Advair) as samples, so at least I get killed for free, for now. Hopefully my ability to get 8 hours of sleep a night will reduce my need for any and all of this.

Also have replaced my 3-year-old bed pillows, as TheLimey heard on NPR that 2-year-old bed pillows can consist of 10% dust mites/dust mite excrement, by weight. Not only is that allergenic, it's downright revolting!
Spent the weekend cocooning at home (my home) with TheLimey and my new techno-toys, and doing such domestic things as grocery shopping and trying out tofurky. (Initially turkey-like, but then becomes non-turkeyish after a while). We also spent one morning working on our laptops at a nearby cafe, which turns out to now have wi-fi (though we were out of cash after the coffees, so didn't tap into it.) One highlight of the weekend was watching The Village in bed, with popcorn.

Now that I have a printer at home and have fewer meetings, I have less reason to venture onto campus at all. It turns out that even if I therefore neglect my email entirely for a weekend, nothing explodes or disintegrates, although it feels weird, like ignoring a compulsion. I think I enjoy the less-Internet-interaction mode.

In fact I find I've really been avoiding going outside at all, now that just stepping outside my door results in a giant asthma attack. I have an appointment in about half an hour at which I will request Singulair, which has worked well for ArgotNaut. I haven't had asthma this bad since I was a kid, and I don't think it's ever lasted this long. I attribute it to all that stress since summer, and hope it will diminish as my routine returns to somewhat normal...

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Received my printer today, but have not yet opened the box. I'm awaiting cartridges before I even try to set up. (I already know there are no starter cartridges in it, because the seller said so.) Oh, heck--I probably won't be able to resist when I actually go home, though.

Luckily for me, I was actually working at home when the shipper arrived!! I was foiled in my rantery, for it was DHL, not UPS. I imagine all the same things apply. This semester I actually have the freedom to do somewhat more of my work at home, which may invalidate my previous rant.

In looking up "mangy squirrels" online, I discovered that it is apparently BAD to feed mangy squirrels! (Poor cold, hungry things). This is because the food may attract other squirrels, who might then catch mange, too. However (wait for the it comes...), since that tree is so near to where I already throw so many peanuts, it hardly seems to matter.

I think that by not carefully preparing my lectures* around the text chapters, I have already spent all my really interesting stuff for class in about two sessions. That is, I know what stuff is interesting and surprising (race is not a biological matter but a social construct, and ramifications. Sex is way more ambiguous than we think, and ramifications, etc.) and I can just stand there and talk about it and get people to respond. I notice they seem more likely to write down the boring stuff, especially lists. Anyway, now I expect that the entire rest of the semester will bore the poor creatures to death.

Today: removed the algae from the bamboo vase in my bathroom, and also severely trimmed the bamboo itself. It's about 18 months overdue for its annual maintenance. But at that time I couldn't, and then recently I ... also couldn't. So there it is now, waiting at home in my bathroom, all clear and pristine and lovely.

Tomorrow: I get to stay home all day, although this will entail finally doing those dissertation proposal revisions to which I agreed a week ago. However, it will also allow me to do some more throwing out, as well as receive my shipments of ink cartridges, and cardigans, and--yes, okay!! Also some really nice orange-smelling shower gel from the Body Shop. Geez, give me the third degree. What?! No, I'm not defensive about spending money!!

Maybe the scanner will arrive, too...I can't wait to scan all the recipes in three years worth of Shape magazine, so I can Freecycle those glossy fakey 20-something never-lifted-over-a-5-lb-weight hides.

Still like the recipes, though.

Note to self: cancel Shape subscription, get Mother Jones.

*This is not a blindingly wonderful site or anything. It's just to allow them to get their assignments and to see their grades. However, the current background photo does display the most squirrel-rich area on campus, which is always a plus.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

I was supposed to rewrite my methods section over the weekend, but in fact did bugger-all. In fact, I felt like I could barely move, except to roll over onto my other side. It was my first free weekend since early June. (Well, okay, we did go to Portland over Labor Day weekend, but that’s different. Travel is fun, but surely doesn’t count as stress-free.)

I have been forced to completely neglect everyone and everything in my life in the way that one does when there is a huge push to get some urgent task finished, gobbling up early mornings and late nights, usually lasting a few days or maybe a week. However, for me it’s lasted for months and months and months!

I have a strange feeling of unreality when I look back at this past academic year. I know I already reported the things I did, but I keep feeling compelled to actually write them out in explicit list form.

So here it is,

What I accomplished in somewhat over five months:

*Attended (and presented my research at) my first APA convention
*Wrote and defended my thesis, then rewrote (from the hypotheses up) and redefended my thesis (still resentful about that one, BTW)
*Wrote my Giant Comprehensive Qualifying Exams

*Underwent the grueling process of internship applications
*Developed my dissertation from the concept stage up through selecting my committee, research, designing, and writing the proposal stages, all the way through to scheduling and successfully presenting the proposal defense
*Undertook the actual internship interviews out of state

…and I did all these things while simultaneously:
*Teaching my first class for the first time
*Maintaining 10-20 clinic hours a week
So, no wonder I haven’t sent out holiday cards this year, or written letters, or even read my mail from September/October that was still sitting on my coffee table, or cleaned out my refrigerator, or …everything, really.
My Shipping Rant or Why I Hate When Online Sellers Use UPS

Since I love the Virtuverse so much--and also because I am without a car in an area that is set up for car transport only--I tend to buy a lot of stuff online: Amazon (books, used movies) , eBay (stuff), British Delights (Marmite, Twiglets), Nordic House (Gloegg, chocolate), Newport News (inexpensive clothes), etc.

Thus, obviously, the whole point of having items sent to my home is to get them at my home, rather than having to make the three-hour bus trip to a (relatively close) shopping location. Because I ... do not have ... three extra hours ... to sit on buses these days.

Now, the thing about my apartment building is that it has a security door. This was very nice when I was concerned that a certain internet stalker might seek me out in the real world, for example, but it makes receiving shipments of things a helluva lot more difficult.

The US Postal Service is fine, and great, and wonderful, and I wish everyone would use it! The mail carrier has a key to our building and can leave packages either at my actual apartment door or in the locked package bin that I have provided for precisely that purpose (I felt guilty at his having to climb 3 flights of stairs to give me a new turtleneck or old VHS tape).

Any other shipping service...fuggettaboudit. UPS won't leave packages in the foyer outside the security door because of our neighborhood, and the tendency for homeless persons to avail themselves of our radiator in the bitter cold (understandably!). UPS won't even leave packages at our building if you sign the slip and leave it for them. Have a neighbor sign for it? Oh, come on, this is a poor working class/student area. Nobody I know is sitting at home during the day every weekday waiting to sign for my various packages, at least not reliably.

So here's what invariably happens when I get a UPS shipment: first I receive email notification that whatever I ordered is arriving via UPS, along with a tracking number. I swear a whole lot, and then wait for UPS to come to my house and leave a post-it stating "DELIVERY ATTEMPT", with a red ballpoint circle around the phrase "to pick up please call 1-800-whatever" (as though in mockery of my carless status.)

Now, it is supposed to be possible to change the delivery address online, on the tracking page. This would be very useful, because then I could change the address from work, as soon as the delivery attempt was made, without having to physically be there. However, the tracking page has never, NEVER given me that option in the years I have been trying to make it do so. I'm not a dumbass, and I'm also not online-dyslexic. I am not just overlooking something obvious, I swear. I don't know if it has something to do with my particular address or what, but I can not change the delivery address online.

So, that evening, or the following day if I'm too tired by the time I drag myself home in the middle of the night (and after a great deal of additional muttered swearing), I call the number and have the shipment changed to the psych department or maybe the psych clinic. Naturally, the UPS 800 number is answered by a recording that urges me to visit their website if I want to change the shipping address, before it allows me to go on hold to wait for a real person.

Since this change in shipping address takes more than one day to "go through", I always get to come home the following day to the same post-it: "DELIVERY ATTEMPT", only this time the ballpoint circles around the "please come to the UPS station and pick this up yourself, dammit" are more numerous and desperate. As though I have purposely had items delivered somewhere that I know I can't receive them. Knowing that my awaited items were this close and then taken away again--twice--always makes me fume impotently.

Now, having had the shipment diverted to my workplace has already subverted the intent of having them delivered to my home, since at this point I have to add whatever it is to my already textbook-overloaded cart and drag it home through the snow. (At least it's marginally downhill.) So that's a strike against the workplace delivery idea.

The other thing is the long, long wait: typically, I have to wait until the following week to get whatever was delivered, since UPS only delivers on weekdays. Usually, the first delivery attempt is on a Tuesday or Wednesday, and I end up getting the shipment on the following Monday or Tuesday. So there goes a large chunk of the "convenience" aspect.

Recently, I ordered some books I needed when I was so desperately writing my dissertation proposal. I tried having them delivered to the department just to save time--even had them put a rush on it. However, all four ended up being delivered weeks later, after I had already turned the proposal in, since the department and the clinic were closed for the whole week between Christmas and New Year, and you can't change your shipping address until a delivery attempt has been made!

Believe me, I have tried. It doesn't matter if I have the tracking number or anything. The rules are, I must first come home to that magical, infuriating post-it that says my stuff was there and I wasn't. Then, and only then, am I allowed to change the damn address. (And wait two more business days, i.e. four or five more actual days).

So, aside from the part about dragging stuff home in my cart, why don't I just always get stuff delivered to my workplace? Well, for one, it's my workplace, and having all these random packages from eBay coming in kind of feels unprofessional. But more importantly, there are a lot of sellers who will only ship to your credit card billing address, in order to circumvent fraud. (Understandable, yet infuriating.) Also, I rarely know beforehand how a given item will be shipped, so I try my luck at having it sent to my home if given the choice.

I think there has been one place I lived during the past 10 years to which UPS would deliver by leaving things at the door. Other than that, I have been frustratedly doing this ridiculous delivery dance the entire time.

Obviously, UPS is great for businesses, which are likely to be open during the day, weekdays, and thus to have someone to sign for everything. But how can UPS be useful for home delivery to individuals, when this has to be happening all the time? I guess it's fine for people who either have a car to go to the UPS station, or who have the hours and hours to make use of the incredibly inefficient public transportation. Once again, it all comes down to this being a Car Nation.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Michigan has become "finger-splittingly cold" as Library Squirrel pointed out regarding her own town. This morning I saw that the Nude Squirrel has divested itself of even more hair, and is now almost entirely bald. TheLimey says this is simply a ploy to get me to deliver its peanuts directly to the foot of its tree. If so, the ploy is working.

An old friend from Norway recently emailed me to say that he checked out my blog, and then fell asleep, supposedly with no direct connection. (Huh! I'll bet.)

I am far too excited about having my own printer and scanner for the first time ever. Setting them up this weekend is what I'm most looking forward to! Mmmm....fresh technology.

I definitely have New Year's Throwoutitis. I even subscribed to my local Freecycle in order to not feel guilty about the stuff I'm getting rid of. Now that I have my PDA data backed up [twice over], I am free to remove the PC that Frinkenstein and ArgotNaut gave me about ...what, 4? 5? years ago (all sentimental attachment aside). Last night I completely took it apart, and a Freecycler is coming by this evening to pick up the Syquest drive. He sounds very excited about recovering some files somewhere.

I think I will have to list my library cart as well, as much as I liked the idea of it initially. It's just too heavy and big for an apartment, and currently resides stuffed into a closet with shoes and a big toolbox on it. I still don't really know how I got it up three flights of stairs by myself.

One thing I don't understand is why I have lately been having so many hits related to UTI treatment. That post has been up for months. Why the sudden interest in the past few weeks?

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Today I finally bought a printer and scanner. On eBay. I ended up getting the printer cartridges on Amazon, though, and they cost as much as the printer (and more than the scanner).

I also received the Palm IIIe I ordered from eBay primarily to get the desktop software, so I can finally Hotsync with my laptop--I mean, Clu. I can't tell you how much fun it was to finally back up everything onto him. Unfortunately, Clu wouldn't read the CD, which freaked me out a bit, but then TheLimey loaded it onto his computer, and then transferred it to Clu via his WiFi. Very complicated, but made the victory all the sweeter as it was dragged from the jaws of defeat.

This also means I now have a spare Palm IIIe, which means that I still don't have to update. Since I was also fantasizing about getting a VHS player for the bathroom, TheLimey envisions a room full of outdated technology, all multiples of the same item. (And a lot of VHS tapes). It would be called "Liz's '80s room", although strictly speaking, most of it wasn't invented until the '90s or later. However, the potential for mockery is still valid.

(I'm also supposed to mention that leg warmers will be available at the door for those who could not otherwise conform to the dress code.)
Written at home a few days ago, forgot to bring it in to post:

At this morning’s peanut toss, I could see that some of my squirlies are already pregnant with this year’s winter-baby batch. How they can raise a family during February inside what is basically a wad of dry leaves crammed into the crotch of a tree, I don’t know. Seems like those hairless squirlitos/-as would be awfully chilly. Maybe it selects for genetically cold-hardy squirrels?

Turns out that squirrels do not like salted peanuts. I suspect that a lot of salt is bad for them, as it is for us, but I didn’t know if they would know that. I received some salted peanuts as a (squirrel-feeding) gift, but they only went for it for one day. The following day they would sniff at the salted ones and move on, only taking the bait if I tossed out some unsalted ones. I would guess they OD’d on the salt and then decided “never again!” even though I put them out on a melty day with plenty of liquid puddles. I thought if they were hungry enough salted peanuts would be better than none, but apparently the squirrels don’t agree.

Now I have all these salted peanuts…

Saturday, January 15, 2005

After the "Provisional Pass," I was too exhausted to even be excited about it. I went home, broke out in several spots, and tried to sleep but found all the thoughts I haven't had time to process for the past 6 months rattling around in my head every time I lay my head on the pillow. Then I had a long day at the student clinic, and had to use a cartload of Albuterol when the walk home proved too cold for my lungs. So by 5 this morning, I awoke full of stimulants and newly giddy from lack of deadline and lack of sleep, in a practically hypomanic state.

It was as though my brain, having been wearing a brain girdle for so many months, was suddenly sprung loose. I actually had a pot of tea ready before TheLimey's BBC alarm went off. (Then I harassed him with my general awakeness until he was forced to wake up, too.) I've been giggling for no reason at odd moments, like in the shower, and am suddenly remembering all the things I've meant to do since...oh, September. Not just do, but even the momentary thoughts I meant to pursue, the food I meant to eat, the movies I haven't seen...

Now, don't get me wrong, I still have plenty of work to do. It's just that I finished all these ridiculous deadlines that I had to do in order to finish my degree and go on internship.

Now must go to Home Depot for brunch. More later.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

I'm now awaiting the verdict on whether my committee will approve my study or not. I'm kind of concerned about one member that my advisor really wanted, but whom I had only met once, maybe 2 or 3 years ago. I think he's not hip to the circumstances forcing the collective hands of the students in my cohort ("approve now, then fix before sending in to the grad school")! I think he wishes I would be more fluent in speaking statistic-ese. (Compared to most people, of course, I am, but not next to a Stats Master...)

Now that I think of it, in the past 4-1/2 months, I have: defended my thesis (more than once), written my comprehensive exams, done internship applications and interviews, and developed my dissertation proposal from the ground up. Which is really a honkin' big lotta work.

Hope it's approved, even provisionally! [crosses fingers] ... [crosses other fingers]

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Tomorrow: dissertation proposal presentation.

(If it ain't one big life-eating task, it's another.)

But now, must go set up rudimentary website for my prejudice class, since WebCT gave my students such a hard time last semester.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Thursday morning as I was getting ready to leave, I had the news on because I was following the Snow Tsunami that was hogging the exact route I intended to take to Pennsylvania.

I saw a brief
news clip regarding the shooting death of a (relatively) nearby recording studio guy, and it crossed my mind that his name sounded familiar. I wondered if it might be someone who was somehow related to my musical circle.

A day or two later, I received the following email from a recording-days pal of mine, whose name I have omitted (just to maintain his privacy):


My friends,

Tuesday of this week I learned that my friend AJ was murdered in his recording studio, probably sometime over the weekend. We know little else.

For two days after I felt physically sick and I'm still in disbelief, it just doesn't seem possible that this could happen to such a wonderful person. I had only known AJ for about a year and a half, and every time I saw him he had a smile. When I first met him I just could not believe that he was for real. No one is that positive and upbeat ALL the time! I have met way too many people in the music industry who will, for instance, ask you how you are doing but then get annoyed with more than a two word answer. When AJ asked how you were doing, he really meant it and eventually I realized that.

Just a few weeks ago we had spent a Saturday night roaming Metro Detroit checking out bands that he knew or had worked with and even stopped by Greektown Casino for a bit to play the slots - which I never do because I never win. I won about $30, which is a lot of nickels and paid for my night out (I'm cheap)... AJ pointed out that it was a good night. We stopped for dinner at a restaurant in Greek town and he shared some of his octopus with me so I could try it - these little things seem meaningless until you look back on them.

I was supposed to see him early this week to consult with him on work he wanted done at his studio. I left him a message on Monday after I left work, but he didn't answer his phone so I left a message.

AJ was a percussionist in addition to being a recording engineer and he was currently playing with Jody Raffoul's "Like a Star" band. Do me a favor, please go to Jody's website and take a moment to see why the Detroit music scene is so choked up this week:



I spoke with RecordingGuy later on the phone and he told me that the bit about stolen equipment as a motive is BS and appears to be an afterthought (just a couple things that weren't screwed into racks). Furthermore, it was someone he knew, as there was no forced entry.

The moral?

I guess it's the usual kind of message that seems so sappy when we see it on a greeting card, but suddenly seems so profound when we're confronted yet again with evidence of how fragile we all are: love one another; you never know how much time you have. Also, don't wait, do whatever it is you want to do with your life now, because life is way shorter than you think.
Here's the best thing so far to come up when I did a Google search for "topless squirrels": the Roadkill Museum. (Hey, it's a lot better than the Janitor on Scrubs killing and stuffing his own Squirrel Army.)

Speaking of Scrubs (which reminds me just a bit too much of our grad school program), here are a few TV shows which you may be surprised (or horrified) that I like. I know I'm horrified as well as surprised. Also keep in mind that I don't have cable, so this is all viewed* via rabbit ears on a very small screen.

Dr. Phil: Y'know, I really apologize, but I do sometimes like this show. (Although I'm bored by the weight loss episodes, of course.) Some of my more-behavioral colleagues are upset that this show gives the impression that someone can be "cured" in half an hour (instead of the weeks and months that the interventions really take offscreen). However, I have approved of a lot of his interventions. Furthermore, I like the way in which he confronts people with unpleasant truths about themselves in a straightforward, open manner that says "We're friends here, but you gotta stop doing A or B, because it leads to X." I also like that he does therapy in a way that makes it seem more accessible to "average" guys, who are the ones we find staying away from therapy in droves, drinking, and driving their wives into it.

Nanny 911: For similar reasons. This is basically family therapy, with really basic, simple, behavioral interventions. However, as the women are not therapists but nannies, I do notice that they are a lot more judgmental and personal in the way they approach the confrontation. (I.e., we would be skinned alive if we dared to roll our eyes at something a client said or did!) Still, the show does a good job of showing the reason why I don't specialize in children: parents want their "naughty" kids "fixed", while they want to maintain the environment and behaviors that are causing their kids' misbehavior in the first place. (Also shows how parents completely misunderstand the behavioral basis and the whole point of "Time Out" and therefore misuse it, then claim that "we tried that and it doesn't work with our kid".)

Medium: It sounds terrible, but I like Patricia Arquette. Also, I like supernatural-y shows as well as detective shows. So there you have it. I have always had a soft spot for weird shows like this (Remember Millennium, with Lance Henriksen? Or even Profiler, with that woman with the maddening eye-quirks?)

Boston Legal: Now, how can I dislike a show that features James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise as well as Chief Security Officer Odo of Deep Space Nine, now as attorneys?! (But Shatner is actually acting in this one.) It has some of the quirkiness that dumb Ally McBeal had, without all that infuriating borderline-personality anorexic-manhunt teen-girl BS. (Now, also includes Candice Bergen for added grownup appeal!)

Charmed: No redeeming quality whatsoever. I have no excuse for myself here. I just like shows with "magickal" stuff in. (And I like to fantasize on days of overwork that if I just showered and put on some makeup, I could look sort of like that, too. ) You would think I'd like Buffy for similar reasons, but have instead had a hard time getting into it. I think I prefer the sisterhood aspect of Charmed.

Okay, now the truly guilty one--Blind Date: (Don't confuse this with Elimidate, which in my opinion is simply a staged catfight and they might as well just do it in Jell-o.) But I am interested to see what weird things people do and don't like about each other in a face-to-face context. (I especially liked a recent episode in which a woman tried to get her date to act like a vampire, since vampires turn her on, and another episode in which a very religious woman tried to read the Bible to her date in the hot tub, and then angrily accused him of lusting after her instead of listening since she was wearing a bikini.)

And of course, reruns of X-Files.

Ones you probably won't be too surprised that I watch:

Canadian Air Farce: Canadian TV rocks. Especially Canadian comedy. Thank heavens I get TVO (Ontario) since I'm in Michigan.

Heartbeat: I know, but I can't help it. I'm all involved with the characters now, even though they are from the '70s. It's new to me!

Rosemary & Thyme: The name of the show is terribly affected of course, but I like the lady detectives. (Add to my list of ever-so-brief British detective series.)

Frasier: Again, little redeeming quality, though it makes me feel temporarily highbrow if I get the jokes.

Oh, pretty much anything Nova or otherwise on TVO or PBS . (Except for Lawrence Welk.)


*[When do I have time to watch TV? Well ... I don't usually "watch" it so much as have it on while I'm working, especially late at night. (Feels like someone else is also awake, so it keeps me awake, too.) This association has grown so strong that now it's difficult for me to simply put on a movie and watch it, unless I'm also working. Also, serious TV is hard for me to watch, because my brain is already fried, so it's best if it's something that is very fluffy and can be ignored for most of the program. Once I graduate, I'll get back to TV that I have to work to understand.] So it's not like I sit around waiting for any of these to come on, (or even know what day of the week they're on, to be honest) but I do occasionally watch them when it turns out they're on.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Just wanted to let people know I made it back to Michigan with no adverse events. There was another snowstorm on the second day of interviews, but things were cleared up by the time I got on the road.

I liked the Ohio location a lot better than the Pennsylvania location--Erie seemed like a town that was crushed during the Depression and never came back, whereas Kent* seemed like a cool small town with University-town features. However, both places seemed like they would work a person half to death, as apparently is typical for consortium sites. (A consortium site is one that uses interns kind of in a time-share way with rotations between two or more treatment centers/clinics/whatever.)

Also found out from a current intern that one can still get student loans during the internship year! (One of the few unmarried interns, so she knew what she was talking about.) Which solves my financial crisis for next year, although of course it would have been nice to get interviews at one of the higher-paid sites so as not to increase my already-staggering student-loan balance.

*Yes, that is Kent as in Kent State University, home of the student-shooting National Guard.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Just a quick post to mention that I made it to my motel in Penn-syl-VAY-nee-ah [thunder crack] ...ah ah ah ah ah...

However, instead of the optimistic 4.5 hours suggested by Mapquest, it took 9 hours. A couple extra hours for weather, an extra hour for when I was somehow shunted onto the I-80 instead of the I-90 (I swear, normally I am an above-average navigator), and an hour for driving around this stupid secluded hilly area looking for the actual motel, since Mapquest gave inconsistent directions. (At one point, I actually pulled in to the parking lot next to the motel while looking at my maps, and then went on driving around for another half an hour.) There was some easy, light-out, no-traffic, dry driving, and then later there was some scary, dark, truckfull [or lorryfull], icy-shiny, and dark driving, but I didn't have any close calls, and I made it.

Now my main concern is that I'm very tired and cranky (as opposed to what--how I normally am? Ha!) And this evening was supposed to be my cram/review time.

Well, actually, this entire autumn was supposed to be that, but it was other work instead. And then last week was supposed to be that, but was proposal-writing instead. And then the past couple days were supposed to be that, but instead were taken up with things like --OOPS! Still haven't updated the syllabus nor written a 3-hour lecture and my new class begins tonight! And so on and so on.

So here I am, 14 hours before the interview, with a giant pile of hardbound texts--15, to be exact, wishing it was 4pm instead of 11pm. I could have gotten so much more cramming done!

Also, if I hear anything like "Oh, don't worry about it--if you haven't learned it during the past four years, then you wouldn't have learned it this afternoon, either" I have to say that is dead wrong. Last-minute cramming does work, and can make a huge difference.

Kind of funny--here I am out in the utter boonies, in the howling dead of winter in a cheap(ish) motel featuring a country band, but I'm using free wi-fi, and talking to TheLimey (who is in Florida right now) on my cellphone. ( And making Peach Apricot Honeybush tea in the in-room coffeemaker.) Très new millenium.

Okay, off to cramming.

(Perhaps in the bath...ah, the DSM-IV [Text Revision], the Comparative Interventions for Adult Disorders, the Guide to Managed Health Care Systems, and some nice hot bubbles.)
Also, apropos of nothing, why in the universe did someone have to find my site (through Italian MSN, no less) with the search terms "mistress strap on clips"?! Is it just to make me puzzled/upset/disgusted?? And while I can fit some of those terms together to make some kind of fetishy concept....what the heck is the deal with "clips"?! No, please don't actually tell me.

In other news, the mangy squirrel has lost all the hair on its front half. I can't tell you how pathetic a half-naked, half-pink squirrel looks hopping through a foot of snow. I placed a pile of peanuts at the foot of its tree, in hopes of reducing its foraging time just a little bit. Poor little scrawny topless squirrel.

(Great, another likely search term! "Topless squirrels".)

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

If anyone has any psychic powers, prayers that work, good vibes, or whatever it is you do, please send them my way tomorrow. Tomorrow is the day I drive all day to Pennsylvania in a borrowed car, and tomorrow is also the day that we are due to be hit by a giant snowstorm that will supposedly close everything down.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

I just didn't want to leave that ranty post as my last entry. I'm still kind of crabby, but I know from experience that something will work out, somehow, darnit.

At least I did find my other required committee member "from outside the department" today, (ridiculous requirement that it is)...

Well, must go home and sulk, or else get to reviewing all the material I've learned for the past 7 years in preparation for these interviews coming up. Or, heck, why not do both, sulk and review? I think I'll do that.

I did wear my new suit today, as a kind of test drive (my new client no-showed, so there was no need to dress up after all), and received numerous compliments. So, at least I look prestigious, even if I'm heading for "dirt-poor". (Is this what is known as genteel poverty?)

Oh, and also, I finally replaced my 12-year-old boots that sadly wore out last year, as well as my 7-year-old "gym shoes" that also wore out last year but I've still been wearing anyway. I had reluctantly, guiltily decided that I would likely spend $60 and get 3 pairs of shoes (needed interview shoes), but in fact spent $50 and got 4 pairs of shoes.

So those things are good. (The shoes will probably last through the internship year, anyway.)
Okay, this is going to be one of those entries in which I complain and feel sorry for myself (despite all the really wonderful things in my life for which I am truly grateful.) So, CAUTION! RAMPANT COMPLAINING AHEAD! (Avoid if you're already depressed, because I am going to get full-on cranky.)

When I applied to internship sites, I really didn't even look at the pay rate (or "stipend", as it is termed), because students in my brand-new program can't really afford to be choosers, due to our still-pending APA-approval status.

So now that I have two interviews, for which I counted myself lucky, I did finally look at some of those things. It turns out that my two interviewing sites are in the $11-12,000 range. This is already a drop from my current graduate-school stipend, and I can (obviously) no longer supplement it with student loans once I am no longer a student.

So, let's just say for argument's sake that I get the slightly lower, $11,000 position. After taxes off the top of my check, this will mean approximately $780 a month.

Now, where I currently live I kind of lucked out in having not only a relatively low rent for my place, but also kind of a scatterbrained (and kindly) landlord who hasn't raised my rent in the four years I've been here, so it's still $525. Let's just assume that I will be even luckier and miraculously find a place for the exact same amount in my new circumstances.

$ +780 <---(fat pay)
-525 rent
- 70 phone
- 30 lowball estimate of electric or whatever utilities I may have
= 155/month

...for everything else: food, clothing, dental and medical expenses (god help me if I get--oh, I don't know, bitten by a dog, or have an asthma attack or something), membership fees for the various psychological organizations I pretty much have to be in...

So, while I was kind of excited at the beginning of the week, this facet of the experience has been sinking in over the past couple of days. I considered how everyone else in my cohort might be dealing with this, and realized that for pretty much everyone else, they are either married or LTP (Living Together with Partner).

And also for pretty much everyone else, they have parents who have been helping them out in concrete ways such as: buying or fixing their cars, taking them grocery shopping from time to time, helping out with medical expenses, and just generally being parents. (Realistically speaking, this is probably also a big factor in my being car-free, although I'd like to claim it's entirely because I'm very environment-conscious.)

I guess I imagined that once we were into the internship phase, we'd start being treated like the professionals we're meant to act like. However, it looks instead like I will be expected to do all this high-level, sophisticated output and functioning, in a suit, for 60 hours a week--and then go home to write my dissertation on nights and weekends--all while receiving even less input than before. (Basically, the resources of a teenage runaway working illicitly at Burger King.)

I've literally been making myself sick with work for years on end, and the circumstances just keep getting harder, and harder, and harder. It just feels like every freakin' step of the way there's been this carrot dangling in front of me: "if you just push a little bit harder, work a little bit more just to get over the next hill, then things will finally start to be better."

Instead, every snowy hill I get over, there's a bigger, snowier hill on the other side, and generally someone takes away another piece of my equipment at the same time. Whoops! There go my snowshoes. Yoink! No coat and hat. Come on, you can travel at night, as well as during the day!

I spoke with a colleague this morning about internship sites. His lowest-paying interview site is $15,000. And he's married, and both he and his wife have parents who help them out.

Why did he get better-paying offers? Two reasons: 1. I only applied to sites within about 400 miles, while he applied to sites all over the country, and; 2. I got a lot fewer practicum hours/assessment hours last year than others in my cohort (for personal reasons that some of you know), making even more strikes against me in the competitive internship lottery.

So there is really no stick in this situation of which I don't have the short, sharp, pointy end.

(Well, I did warn you there'd be rampant complaining!)

(There, I feel better.)

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Just sent the draft of my proposal to my committee members. I hope they are extremely tolerant and will still schedule for January 15th or before, in order that I might meet my deadline and be allowed to go on internship next year!!

Am irrationally angry right now. Or I guess I should say, diffusely angry, because I'm angry at everything in general, but it makes sense. I was very excited this morning (I even put on music and was dancing!) and thought I was all done, but then when I got to the clinic to email the draft, I realized I had forgotten to do the references section!

Yes, blah blah [rolling eyes exasperatedly], I normally do the references as I go (as not one but several people have now very helpfully mentioned) but this document was a real bitch as far as continuity. It was all I could do to make the arguments flow in an understandable fashion, without stopping every five seconds to go to the bottom of the document and write some giant arcane reference. I'm telling you, it was too hard to do it this time.

I kept thinking I would do the references at home one "free" evening and then paste the section in. Well, guess who never has free nights?

I initially thought, "Oh, it's okay--this will only take maybe an hour, and then I can actually take the afternoon off for once and relax, or clean my apartment, before I start doing all the other work I need to do tomorrow." So ... here I still am NINE freakin' hours later. Who was I kidding? I've done this kind of writing before! (Apparently before, I always did the references as I went, so I guess I didn't notice the 9 extra hours.)

I guess that makes sense when I chance to notice that I have an 11-page reference section. It didn't seem that big when I was writing the text! (And of course it will grow when I actually do the study.) So with references, I sent off a 47-page proposal.

Haven't heard from my advisor all week (she's probably even more sick of this than I am), so I just sent the darn thing off to all my committee members anyway. If I get in trouble, then so be it.

So, anyway, that diffuse anger... yep, a nice change from diffuse weeping and sobbing, I guess. (That was earlier in the day, when I still imagined I could leave the clinic while it was light out.) Now merely a light hate, modest animosity, or extreme irritation towards everything in sight. (Damn this piece of dust on my fingertip!!)

Luckily for me, some kindly friends stopped by and brought me some food in the middle of the day. (A turkey burger, if you must know, which is coincidentally a term TheLimey is very fond of repeating out loud, for some reason.) some bills online, if I can think straight long enough to do that, then maybe I can go home and watch Tron on Clu. (Finally!)
Oh yeah, BTW, who bought the Victoria's Secret Very Sexy eau de parfum from my wishlist ... and then kept it for themselves?!! (The drawback of that list: things disappear from it if someone is inspired to buy it for themselves while looking at your list.)