The Wringer 

Today was one of those days that put me through the wringer. A few people know I have been struggling with financial aid hoops. Well, at the library, I wrote a detailed letter explaining how I planned on completing my work, then I had two professor's sign it. It took awhile to track down the professors in their offices, and then of course, with each prof. I launched into a self-deprecating story of the troubles I had, but the determination to finish my outstanding work.

So, with the two signatures in hand, I walked the fifteen minutes it takes to get across campus to turn those papers in to the financial aid counselor. He said that I also needed signatures from two more professors for the following term, so I went back across campus to get them (going through the same professor tracking down experience as before), and then walked back to the financial aid office to hand these new signatures in. (For those keeping score, that's approximately 45 minutes of walking. Most of it, by the way, in the pouring rain.) Of course, the second time I got the signatures in, he said that the other thing he now needed was an e-mail from each professor confirming my current work completing strategy. I felt the strong desire to kick the chair out from underneath him, but I smiled and thanked him for taking the time to meet with me. I probably wouldn't be so miffed if I hadn't already been through a similar process the week before. Most of the first week of school has been spent in meetings or organizing meetings with the various campus resources I need.


But on a positive note, I am fairly certain that all of this work will actually pay off. I do believe that my petition will be approved some time next week, and then I won't have to worry about paying rent or affording groceries On top of the back and forth on campus today, I drove across town and had my driver's license renewed. The experience at the DMV was not all that excruciating in that I was in and out in less than twenty minutes, which gave enough time to buy some food at the grocery store. But, after the walking, the rain, and the driving, I was pretty tired. I plan to not really do very much tonight except read the assignments I have for Thursday's class.

I could say more about the meeting I had with the professors: one, in response to my description of the difficulties I have had the last two years, said "Life is full." I think it was his attempt to say something profound about the nature of life's problems, or the inevitability of suffering, but while I appreciated the sympathetic gesture, I found it a little corny. The other professors seemed somewhat surprised that I was still hanging around working on the same problems I had discussed with them last year. I feel like a barnacle on this institution, desperately clinging to rock. Like I said, I could say more about the professors, but I think I might save that for later. Suffice it to say that I feel that this is my last best chance; now I need to show some work for it.

17 January 2006

Plans and Trips 

There may yet be one more chance for me to avoid moving. It involves a couple of well-written letters and about another week of waiting, but if I can actually turn things around rather than just talk about it, then it will be worth it. By tuesday, questions about my short-term housing plans should be put to bed. And, after spending so much time worrying about that and seemingly everything else, I am pretty sure that I will feel somewhat better either way.

Of course, I could have avoided this current pass of circumstances several times before, but for various unwritten and unspoken reasons, I didn't. I try not to be overly critical of myself, but it is hard to stop doing something that one is so accomplished and practiced at. So far, it has been like trying to un-bake a cake. At this stage of my life, I think I am beginning to truly appreciate the importance of honest and sincere emotional support, both the giving and receiving of. Although I am far from perfect in either regard, I have learned that it is okay to ask for it when you need it. I tell myself it is okay "not" to chain myself up in guilt so much.

Depoe Bay

The holidays were rather nice, but the best part were the few days that I spent at the beach with a friend. The picture above is from our second day at the coast. Shortly after taking this picture, we could see the spray plumes of a pod of whales several miles out in the calmer seas. We did not see any sea lions during this trip, but there were a couple of nice walks on the beach that I enjoyed as much. I did not take many pictures, but I am glad of the few that I have.

11 January 2006