Tea Joy!

With all the problems going on in the world, I feel like adding some joy to it. Recently, I put in an order to resupply and add to my tea stock.

In there are two types of tea cookies, Irish Breakfast tea, a free filter for my water pitcher, a free sample pouch of Earl Grey Lavender – which I try to gather to delay needing to actually buy more, more Amber Sugar Crystals, and new tins!

I love Adagio’s storage tins. I love the colors. I love how they function. Until the shipment arrived, the blues – Earl Greys – were a tin higher than the others. When I decided to get the Irish Breakfast tea, I realized I needed another red tin – my Breakfast teas – but you can’t buy just one. You have to order a 3-pack. So I ordered my third set of the variety pack – red for the Irish Breakfast, green got my all-green Far Out blend, and yellow is empty because I don’t have a straight black that needs a tin. There really is a method to my madness. 😀

Then there is the wonderful Amber Sugar Crystals. I was down to this:

Now I have this, again:

There really is a simple joy in having so many delicious teas to choose from. Sometimes I just sit there and look at my teas. Also, by using my former desk/coffee table as my tea table, I have to sit calmly on the floor. It turns making tea into a conscious pause in my day. A wonderful, sometimes zen-like pause in my day. It’s been meditative at times. The other day I sat and watched tea and pieces rise and fall in the water as it brewed. I reached a meditative state for a few seconds. It was really cool.

I guess the point of this whole thing was to share some joy in these times of stress. We need to remember to take joy in the small things and take care of yourself. Between hurricanes, earthquakes, politics, and whatever is going on in your life, it’s easy to get burned out. Take time to watch a show or movie, read a book or magazine or comic or blog, listen to music, make some tea or coffee. Do something to take a break from everything. Self care is important! Do it!

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De-cluttering

Lately my drive and focus have been lacking. It’s like I’ve had brain fog. This happens from time to time. It’s annoying, but being aware of it has its upside. It allows me to try different ways to get it to clear. But sometimes it clears on its own.

Like this morning. I was struggling to want to get up because I had nothing I needed to do until 1p. Then I remembered I have a bunch of dishes to do. So I got up, got a dent in the dishes, and got some tidying up done in the apartment. The tidying continued into the office.

There have been many different people saying that being organized in your life means you’re organized in your brain. It’s true for me. The more I clean up, the more clear my brain feels, the more focused I feel.

Here’s to de-cluttering! Both physically and mentally!

Look Around List

“Look around! Look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now!”

“America the Beautiful

Listening to these amazing ladies sing, while getting to see it beautifully signed? Where are the tissues?

Cooking. I got back to my apartment tonight and did dishes. It’s hard to cook if you don’t have clean dishes. I cooked up a very tasty dinner, and that always feels good.

Groceries on sale. I’m on a bit of a budget right now. So when I got to the store to discover that I could get over 3 lbs of boneless chicken thighs for about $1.50 a pound, as well as peppers and mushrooms for $1 each? I was so happy! I was able to get everything I needed as well as a few wants and got change!

Media apps. I do not have cable. It seems so silly for me to have it since I bought a Roku last year and have had Netflix and Hulu the whole time. But, networks are pulling their stuff from Hulu, which is frustrating. So today I made a couple of changes. First, I finally got CBS All Access. It’s the only place they are going to be showing Star Trek: Discovery, and hubby and I have been discussing getting it for that reason. Luckily, most of the TV I watch is on CBS. So it’s a double bonus for me. Second, I figured if I’m going to get CBS without commercials, I should upgrade my Hulu so I don’t have to deal with commercials, too. That will actually be useful when teaching because I only have 50 minutes to show something. Take out the commercials? It fits!

Technology. All of my love for the fact that I don’t need cable is such a privileged thing. The fact that I can afford to have a Roku stick with all these apps on them and a television and to be able to pay the monthly fees to keep using some of them is privilege. But I’m still grateful for that privilege.

Teaching. As I’ve mentioned many times lately, I am grateful for the opportunity teaching gives me to make a difference in the world. I know that might sound cliche, but it’s true.

Pure Leaf Raspberry Iced Tea. Sometimes it’s the little things. Being able to go to the store down the road to get this instead of giving in to pop…something I am very grateful for.

My hubby. I am always aware of how lucky I am to have him in my life. But this weekend he went above and beyond. He not only set up our haircut appointments, but he sprung for me to get my hair back to red. My hair is now not only shorter, but a lovely shade of red. I love it! Of course, that’s not the only reason, but right now it’s a big one.

Teaching is Activism

teachingisactivism

I know I wrote about this recently, but it’s a very important topic for me. I am friends with a lot of people who go out and do things. They go to protests. They organize rallies. They make speeches. And sometimes it makes me feel like I’m not doing enough. I make sure information is shared on my social media accounts. I lend my emotional support to them and anyone who is out there doing things. But I just can’t. I’m sure if I actually went to something, I would get swept up in the emotion and the energy. But the problem is getting over the anxiety of thinking about going.

Even when it comes to teaching, I sometimes feel like I’m not doing enough. Like I should be directly including what is happening in my class. But I haven’t found a good way to do that. There are certain things that need to be covered in this class and I am determined to cover it all. But because there is so much to cover, I can’t spend too much time on any one thing or else something else may not get covered. The joys of teaching an intro class.

Also, there are theories and history that need to be covered at the start of the semester. It’s not easy to include what is going on right now in those lectures for me. Soon, we’ll be moving on to the other topics which will be much easier to include current events in. Last spring my day on ethnicity (I know, I know, a day is not enough!), we watched “Formation” and discussed it. It worked really well. I’m honestly worried about focusing on just one thing and excluding others; there’s just so much happening!

But, it will all come back the fact that there are undeniable facts that I can teach. Focusing on those facts will always be my go-to. There are opinions and there are facts. Knowing the facts makes it easier to discuss opinions. If everyone knows the same facts, they have a shared knowledge base which allows them to discuss.

And when it all becomes too much, just sit back and listen to the amazing playlist Lin-Manuel made for the world. It really does help one to get re-energized.

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Music

I had made a point of avoiding any news on Tuesday. I have enough on my plate that watching the results would have done nothing but added to my stress. As it got closer to midnight, I checked in on Twitter on a couple specific users (@JMunozActor, @Lin-Manuel, @Kelly_Carlin) because I knew that if anything definitive had happened, they would say something. That’s as close as I got. When I woke up on Wednesday, I decided to check Twitter again.

When I saw people talking about Lin thinking of moving to Canada and his response (both of which I posted yesterday), I knew something did not go the way I had voted and was hoping. Considering I teach a class with 35 students, I knew I needed to know what the result was. I found out. I taught class as planned, partially out of wanting to not have a debate, partially because I knew I would not be able to stay calm about it.

Since we have no class because of Veteran’s Day today, and I have no class on Thursdays anyway, I had a drive home ahead of me. I usually listen to music on the way home. Sometimes it’s an audiobook/radio drama. But this time I knew it needed to be music. So I put on my “Pump It Up” playlist and sang along loudly:

  1. Get Your Rebel On” – RuPaul
  2. My Shot” – Hamilton
  3. Raise Your Glass” – P!nk
  4. La Vie Boheme” – Rent
  5. The Click” – Good Charlotte
  6. Sissy That Walk” – RuPaul
  7. It’s My Life” – Bon Jovi
  8. One Week” – Barenaked Ladies
  9. Don’t Fear the Rabbit” – Frenchy and the Punk
  10. Fe Fi Fo Fum” – Frenchy and the Punk
  11. Caravan” – Frenchy and the Punk
  12. Make Out” – Frenchy and the Punk
  13. Steampunk Pixie” – Frenchy and the Punk
  14. The Doctor Lies” – The Ken Spivey Band
  15. Get the Party Started” – P!nk
  16. Born Naked” – RuPaul
  17. Responsitrannity” – RuPaul
  18. 2112 Overture/The Temples of Syrinx” – Rush
  19. Closer to the Heart” – Rush
  20. Follow Me Down” – Seanan McGuire

It really helped me feel better. The playlist ended before I got home, so, before switching to my Filk/Steampunk playlist (populated by Frenchy and the Punk, Seanan McGuire, Professor Elemental, The Ken Spivey Band, and a few others), I had to listen to a song that has had a place in my heart since it came out, and it’s message is more important than ever now:

Music has a way of healing us. Music has a way of making us feel better. Make a playlist. Put an album on repeat. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself. Music helps!

Together

A lot has happened in the last few days. Everyone is still trying to process what has happened. There have been many different reactions, but I am choosing to take strength and inspiration from some people who are using the megaphone that they have.

First, that image above. That. No one, no matter who you are or who you voted for, should feel afraid right now. Unfortunately that is not the case. I have friends who are international students, and they are reconsidering staying in this country after we graduate in May. There are people who are afraid to go outside because of the bullying they may receive. I will not make myself or my space a place where people need to be afraid. Whatever space I have, will be a place of care and understanding and open to anyone who needs to take refuge.

Second, there are a lot of people talking about moving to Canada because of the result of the election. But let me ask you this, if you move to Canada, who is left in this country? Do you really want to take advantage of your ability to move out of the country and leave those that cannot behind? Do you want to give up on the fact that you have a voice in how this country is run? We still have plenty of work to do here, people. If we go away for four years, what will be here when we decide to come back? If you have no say in how things happen, you have no room to complain.

When you have time, watch the entire thing. It is wonderful.

Lin’s response:

Third, this is important to remember:

The voters selected Hillary Clinton. The electoral college selected Donald Trump. Take from that what you will.

Finally, if you are despairing, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Just search online. In these last two days, there have been gatherings of love and support.

This happened today at BGSU. A “Sit In for Love”. It was a space where people were encourage to come to if they were feeling scared or worried or just not good about the results of the election. It got a lot of positive attention from the news. I am friends with the amazing human being who organized this in about 24-hours. From all accounts, it was successful and peaceful. This is happening all across the country. Which makes me think that we need to adopt the following as one of our theme songs right now:

I think the next few days are going to be full of posts of quotes, videos, pictures, music, whatever I have found that helps me be calm, hopeful, and energized. We are going to be fine. We do need to unify. We need to make sure that everyone is being treated with the respect that they deserve as fellow human beings.

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The Other Path

Yesterday a thought struck me. I try to live my life not obsessing over the other path. You know, “the road not taken”. Everyone has one. There are constantly little trails that parallel the path we are currently on. So many decisions create these trails. But every once in a while, there are paths that branch off. Those are the moments where we made life-changing decisions. Those are the moments that we sometimes wonder about.

Some people like to play the “What if?” game. They like to try and think about what their life would be like if they had chosen the other path. I’ve come to dislike that game. I’ve seen many people get hung up on speculating about that other path. Maybe it’s because of loving Doctor Who, but you would not be the same person you are right now. And that’s why I don’t play.

I like who I am right now. Granted, my brain starts to wander toward the edge of my path every once in a while, trying to get a glimpse of that other path through the trees. But I gently steer myself away from it and focus on where I am right now. It’s the only thing that I can be certain about. I can speculate all I want about what life on the other path looks like, but I will never know. And I am fine with that.

I am happy with who I am and where I am right now. I have an amazing husband, a wonderful assortment of friends with whom I can talk with just about anything, and I am enjoying what I am studying and BGSU. I like to think that the theory of parallel universes is on to something, and there is a parallel me who decided to go ahead and go to Gallaudet who is wondering what life would have been like if she had decided to go to BGSU. But we’ll never know.

Unless the TARDIS comes along and we accidentally go to that universe…

Adjusting

Adjusting to life in as a graduate student has been a challenge at times. I’ll probably have it figured out the day before I graduate. 🙂

Being a graduate student is very different than being an undergraduate student.There are times where you have to read an entire book for class. Sometimes you have so many chapters and articles to read that it feels like you’re reading a book. Sometimes you have a week to do it. Sometimes you only have a few days. Many times you have to write something about what you’ve read for the week. Every class you need to be prepared to talk about it.

And then there’s all the added responsibilities of being a Teaching Assistant. You have to go to the lectures with the rest of the undergrads, take really thorough notes on the lecture, and read what they’re reading. You have extra class times where you meet with the professor, talk about readings for that class, and get things ready for the recitation that you’re teaching. You’re doing all of this so you can teach the class yourself next semester.

On top of all of that you have to keep your thesis in the back of your mind. The big papers you write for class can become part of your thesis, so you think about how it can fulfill the requirements set down by the professor while still working toward your personal goal.

That’s just at school. There’s also life off of campus. You need to keep these two thing in balance, which is hard to do. Even harder for me with my hubby and friends two hours away. Also going from having a space that only my hubby and I share to having a space of my own and space I share with three other ladies who have been living there longer than me.

It can be overwhelming at times. Especially for an introvert. But I wouldn’t give it up for the world. I’m finally continuing my education and doing it in a field where I feel at home. I can talk with other students and staff and rarely have to explain things. This past Wednesday, after chatting about various things, one of my professors handed me three of his Daredevil trade paperbacks so I could read them. It’s not just for enjoyment either; it’s research! As I’m reading them I’m putting sticky notes on pages I want to scan so I can refer back to them later.

Adjusting takes time. I’m sure I’ll be adjusted just in time to work on a Ph.D. 😉

Busy! Busy! Busy!

Grad school orientation. Grad school starting. TA for two classes. DragonCon. A lot has been going on in these past few weeks. There’s a lot that happened at DragonCon that I want to share with you guys. Some of which I’ve already wrote about over at Cosplay Notes. I just haven’t had the time to sit down and get it organized in my head. I’m managing to get a balance of school and life again, so hopefully there will be posts soon.

For now, enjoy the pics I took of some awesome costumes:

Wacky weeks

Last week was Graduate Student Orientation. It was exhausting. But I found out that the IT department here works with Dell and can do any repairs needed on a Dell. I took in my laptop to have them fix it. Hopefully I’ll have it back by the end of this week. At least I have other computers I can get on and use, but I really, really miss my computer!

Now I’m going to go take advantage of having nothing else to do on campus for the rest of the day and get off campus! At least I have my TV and Roku stick to keep me entertained until the computer gets fixed!

Ah, the life of a grad student.