fersakyn: (Default)
Here we go again... )


Nov. 12th, 2009 06:56 pm
fersakyn: (Happy)
Good news! -- at long last! Click here for details... )


Oct. 25th, 2009 04:18 pm
fersakyn: (sad kitty)
Click here for long rant on dysfunctional parents... )

Wigging Out

Oct. 5th, 2009 11:31 pm
fersakyn: (WTF?)
So I have two video-conference interviews... )
fersakyn: (Toilet-trained)
Just a few things that've been on my mind... click here if you're interested )
fersakyn: (sad kitty)
I had a fairly social day. I went down to Irvine, had lunch with a friend from grad school (different department) and her coworkers, ran some errands, and attended an informal get-together in memory of a friend's wife. He didn't want to do an actual memorial -- he's already done several in Germany with her family and has one more to go later this month in San Francisco with her friends from college -- so talk of his wife was fairly low-key, and it was more a catching-up with old friends session.

My friend, the one I had lunch with, and I had discussed how we'd be bored out of our skulls if we ever opted to be stay-at-home moms/wives. She said that she just felt better with paid work that let her socialize, gain skills, and learn more things. I replied that without work, I get hyper-critical of myself. Nothing is good, everything needs improvement, and on and on. I start obsessing over how every minute detail, from my nails to my getting the PhD (took too long! should've been finished sooner! so-and-so only took SIX YEARS to finish! I should've been more like her!), is just wrong, wrong, wrong. She was kind of horrified to hear that the self-criticism extends so far. I even start to think that I'm fat (intellectually, I know I'm not at all overweight; in fact, I'm probably slightly underweight since I don't exercise enough -- not enough muscles versus flab -- and see, there's another example of self-criticism!).

I need gainful employment.

The friend, whose wife passed away this year, and I talked after the get-together about this and that. He, in reference to the above-conversation with the other friend, said that living at home probably demoralizes me further since my mom is hyper-critical of me, and I most likely have internalized all the negative judgments. I told him that I already knew that, but that her constant habit of cutting me down has led not only to my internalizing those opinions, but also aping that very hyper-criticism itself. And the eighteen years of that kind of behavior means that my habit of being all doom-and-gloom about myself is a pretty entrenched habit. Just recognizing it doesn't mean that I can stop doing it. I fall a little too much into OCD to just stop. It's easy for me to be obsessive/compulsive, and therefore brooding on how much I dislike this, that, and the other about myself and my life is really, really easy.

Working and keeping busy help a lot. I'm less likely to be obsessive, at least in a negative fashion, when I'm too busy with other things. *fingers crossed for job offer*
fersakyn: (Toilet-trained)
Today started out fairly well. I got a call in the afternoon from a university for a one-year visiting professor/lecturer/instructor position (ad wasn't very clear on the title of the position) out in Minnesota. We scheduled a phone interview for next week. It's specifically for Asian American studies/ethnic studies, so it's right up my alley. My nieces came over for their weekly visit with my mom -- grandma babysits on this particular day as my sister-in-law rotates taking my nephew to piano lessons and then the girls to dancing lessons. I hugged them, marveled over the haircut of the youngest -- which makes her look JUST LIKE a china doll!!! Super cute, but also so stereotypical (both the style and of my sister-in-law).

Then... the drama. My mom calls me in during the early evening to help her with something in the kitchen. Before she can even tell me what it is, we got into it. I merely asked if the rugrats had gone home since I didn't hear them running down the hallways or yelling down the house. My mom joked about what a lousy teacher I'll make if I can't even handle my own nieces. I pointed out, calmly and factually, that I have no training nor background in child development. I teach college-aged students, that means people eighteen years and older. She retorted, what students? I was completely aghast. She just erased the last eight years of teaching at the university I did grad school and the other universities for which I had been an adjunct/lecturer.

I was so angry. I told her, point blank, that this stretch of nearly six months has been the longest that I've been unemployed since I could legally work at the age of sixteen. She responded by rewriting my employment history. According to her, I only started working when I started undergrad at UCLA. Oh, I love how much attention she obviously paid me during my high school years! I had worked at an after-school program in my local school district (meaning: supervising the safety of the children as they waited to be picked up by busy parents after school ended for the day). I did this for two years. My mom kept insisting that I hadn't worked during high school. I pointed out that her lack of memory merely meant that she obviously hadn't paid an iota of attention to my comings and goings during high school, NOT that I had false memories as she kept implying, and I walked away.

I was still so angry that when I left the house to run some errands, I scraped the side of my poor, poor car when I parked it. I now have even less money -- or will have less money since I need to repair my poor, poor car. Ugh.

When I got home, she confronted me. She told me that I needed to rethink how I spoke to her. She might be a mediocre parent, but I was wrong in speaking back to her with such anger. I told her that she was the one who should weigh her words. I spoke to her factually and calmly in the initial part of the argument. It wasn't until she got snide and derisive that I got mad. And to that, what was inappropriate about being angry when she was being insulting and offensive?

I vented to an old college friend afterwards. My friend lamented that neither of us had good childhoods or supportive, loving families. We would be completely different people if we'd had even one adult in our lives, nurturing, supporting, and encouraging us. We would be less prone to depression and feelings of not having any worth, and we would be more self-confident and positive. I had thought that my mom and I had gotten passed the way in which she ignored me in favor of my brother (the prodigal son!), but really these moments only underscore how little she values what I have achieved, my goals, and my abilities. I used to think that it was just because my work is esoteric to those outside of academia, particularly the humanities, but these arguments point to something else at work. I think my friend is right; it's about how she sees little to no worth in me as a person and as someone in academia.

I'm so sick of living here with her. I'm grateful for the financial assistance of residing somewhere rent-free, especially when I was finishing the diss, but the psychic and emotional costs are too high.
fersakyn: (Up-Close)
Well, we got back Friday night from a week-long bus tour through Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Vegas, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, and Jackson's Hole, among a few other stops. Up at fricken 5 am everyday, to the hotel/motel at 8pm every night. Get on the bus, get off the bus to go to bathroom, back on the bus, repeat. It was nice to have time with the family. Kind of. My body doesn't thank me. My knees especially did not like being cramped up for more than 12 hours a day. There were little spats among family members. And I (of course!) got bitten by mosquitoes in Yellowstone. I'm virtually a mosquito magnet.

The tour guide jipped us on meals. She offered a package of 8 meals for $80 per person. Seems like a good deal, until we got to each restaurant and realized that she was paying less than $10 per person (and of course, with such a large group of people she no doubt also got a group discount on top of that!). Ugh. There were also spats between her and my mom over seating arrangements and whatnot.

My sister-in-law, her kids, and her parents left a day early, taking a flight from Las Vegas back to LA. She left two suitcases of dirty clothes for us to take care of when we arrived back in LA. Of course, despite numerous messages, conversations, and assurances on her part, she wasn't at home to pick us up when we arrived. Then, there was (stupid!) weirdness on her and my brother's part about getting the luggage. Of course they need the luggage NOW (despite not being there to pick us up when we arrived)! Don't we understand that it's a lot of dirty laundry that must be taken care of RIGHT AWAY??? Dude. If it's that important, then why the hell didn't she just take the suitcases with her when she hopped on the plane???

Then after that mess, we rushed to get bentos from Tapioca Express to eat at the Hollywood Bowl. The boba place had to switch our orders to ones that were quicker to make because they hadn't made them when we had ordered them to be done by. Oops. The show at the Bowl was good, especially the fireworks. They had some guy named John Fogerty for the second half of the program. Seemed like a lot of people knew his music, but too country for me. I'm all alt-rock.

Still tired out, even two days after the trip ended. Also back to writing job app stuff. Joy.


Jun. 23rd, 2009 07:22 pm
fersakyn: (Awww)
Today, I drove my mom and my uncle to the airport so that they could fly back for the funeral. It was weird. No one wanted to acknowledge the elephant in the room (car?). The two of them just acted so normal, or tried to. So weird. I suppose I'm too indoctrinated by our media culture. I guess I assumed that my mom and uncle would act like people do on television or in the movies when someone dies. Obviously, not.

I sent off seven job applications yesterday. One had to be next-day posted 'cuz the deadline is Friday, and the post office couldn't guarantee timely delivery with any other service. Oy. So costly. I also applied online to several community colleges in the area. Just spamming my info out there, hoping for some academic fishies to bite. Blegh.

I had the shortest job interview EVER today for a part-time teaching position at a private learning center. Five minutes, in then out. The person who interviewed me looked younger than me! And she dressed way, way WRONG. Short, short skirt, low, low blouse, high, high heels, and very heavy make-up. And of course, big hair. When we arranged the interview on the phone, I thought she was the receptionist. She just sounded too young to be the manager.

I dunno if I got the position. I can't start immediately. My mom has already booked this big bus tour thing with my uncle, aunt, cousin, then my sister-in-law, nephew and nieces, then my sister-in-law's mother and father, and of course my mom all going to Yellowstone Park. We're supposed to leave on Saturday, and we won't be back until July 4 or 5. Blah. I hope I still get the job. It pays well -- starting wage at $27/hour, with a chance to increase depending on student enrollment. It would be nice to have money going IN to my bank account instead of OUT as has been the case for the last six months. Nothing to do but wait on the call.
fersakyn: (sad kitty)
My mother's brother and his wife are visiting for a month. It's been pretty good so far -- taking them around staves off my growing sense of isolation and loneliness. I'm just a big barrel of laughs.

My maternal grandmother's been in the hospital since May 2008. My uncle and aunt told my mother and me that the doctors don't think she'll last much longer. My mom was pretty angry -- at the doctors. She's a nurse, and she said that they did too many invasive procedures that weren't really necessary, and these procedures contributed to my grandmother's deteriorating health in a significant way.

Yesterday, my cousin pulled me aside, out of the hearing of my uncle, her father, to tell me that grandma had passed away. Initially, I didn't really know what to feel. I can count on two hands the number of times I've seen my grandma in my life. I have a weird family history of divorces, bitter family squabbles, the whole works. It's like a soap opera sometimes, so I never really got to know my mother's mother. I know that my mother really missed her growing up, and that she never really got over how, in the Chinese system, the father gets custody of the children in a divorce. But they didn't really have a great relationship since my grandma remarried, and her husband didn't like that his wife had children from a previous marriage.

Today, I feel it. I feel sad that she's gone. I think my mother's still kind of in denial. I haven't seen her express grief yet -- she's keeping busy with work. I think it'll really hit her when she flies out to go to the funeral next week. It's not really real for her yet. My uncle started grieving last night. He ambled in from the guestroom pretty drunk and looking for more booze to get more plastered. I felt pretty bad seeing him like that. It was also weird since for longer than my mother or her sister, he had a great deal of bitterness toward his mother about the divorce and "abandonment".

Plus, I got another rejection letter today. Wow. It just keeps coming. I thought I would at least make it to the first round of interviews since I just got my PhD, and the posting is for a community college. What use is the PhD if it has no value for even a CC??? I hope I get something by September. Otherwise, I'll really feel like the PhD is worthless, and I wasted my time and energy (and money!).
fersakyn: (Up-Close)
Yes, it's a play on Waiting for Godot. Hopefully, my wait won't be in futility as it was in that play. I'm waiting on the last hold-out on my dissertation committee to sign the damn approval forms. Sigh. Everyone else has signed (whether or not they read all -- or any! -- of the dissertation is up for debate, but meh). But this guy... Geez. He replaced the troubling-troublesome previous committee member, and now he's causing trouble -- or at least inconvenience. And money if I have to file during the summer!

I tried to "nudge" him by alluding to applying for tenure-track positions with deadlines in the middle of June -- just a few short days after the final submission deadline for Spring '09. No joy. He said that submitting later shouldn't impact my job applications. What. The. Hell. Where has he been??? Having a degree in hand when applying to t-t jobs always looks much better than not having it. I'm pretty sure that the first cut on competitive jobs is based on whether the candidate has the degree yet or not, especially in today's market where budgets for schools are being slashed right and left. Argh.

In other news, I've internalized the realization that I am a total bitch when I'm as stressed as I was only just a week ago. Now, even with this lone hold-out on my committee, I'm feeling less likely to commit homicide if anyone asks about my dissertation progress. I'm very mean to my poor mom when I'm that stressed out. Of course, her weirdly inappropriate light-heartedness whenever she asked me about my dissertation provoked bitchier responses than would be normal -- i.e., ratcheting up from a stink-eye to a tantrum.
fersakyn: (sad kitty)
Sigh. I'm sooo tired. I finished chapter 4 last night -- it's the shortest of my four chapters so far. Only 25 pages double-spaced. Blah. Hopefully my committee is similarly tired, and they'll just pass me without too many needed revisions. The deadline for submission is Friday, June 5.

I'm taking the weekend to relax a bit and finally sleep -- hopefully. I haven't been sleeping or eating well. I either wake up with my jaw sore from clenching my teeth all night, wake up periodically throughout the night, or just wake up feeling like I haven't slept at all. Then, I get stomach cramps and faint nausea when I think too much about my dissertation. Well, on the plus side, everyone's noticed that I've lost weight! Of course, either that means my clothes fit better or they don't fit that well anymore. Eh.

Anyway, a few days after the road trip to San Francisco, my mother casually remarks to me that I'm going to be done soon, right? That the dissertation only needs a few more pages? I lost it. I was so angry.
fersakyn: (Oops)
So... In January, my troublesome (and troubling) committee member offered to step down if I so wanted - after she excluded me from a meeting to discuss my progress. And where she kind of badmouthed me (I heard later from my adviser). Nice. I replaced her with someone my adviser found amenable, who is not in my field at all, and who has not met with me in the last four months despite several requests on my part. Whatever. As long as he doesn't pull the same shit that the previous member did, I'm fine.

Well, I finished revising chapter 2 and submitted that to my adviser in February, and I just finished chapter 3 at the end of April. Now chapter 4 is on the table, and I'm sooo tired of this. I really don't have a clear plan for chapter 4 - not like I did for chapter 3.

I attended two conferences in the last few weeks, presenting the same paper - which just happened to be excerpted from the chapter which started that committee member on her demand that I start my project from scratch. Nice to be validated. I met up with several people I hadn't seen in a long while from grad school who were a few years ahead of me in the program. Everyone agreed that the last chapters of their dissertations were totally thrown together, and so I shouldn't stress over chapter 4. One of my friends confessed that her chapter 4 was approximately 20 unpolished pages.

Right after I emailed chapter 3 to my adviser, my mom dragged me off to San Francisco despite the fact that my filing date is June 4 and I needed to start chapter 4. Nice, eh? She has a pattern of doing really inconsiderate shit during the milestones of my grad career. When I was taking my qualifying exams, which were spread out over three days, she called me to have me arrange a graduation party for a friend of a family. So considerate. One of my other friends in the program had her mother over, volunteering to take care of her during her quals. My mother wanted me to put together a party FOR SOMEONE ELSE during my exams. Now, during the last leg of my PhD program, she wanted to carpool six hours to San Francisco to see another friend of the family. Said friend confessed to me after our mothers were asleep (her mother came up with us) that she didn't even want to host us since her newly purchased condo wasn't ready for guests, but of course my mother INSISTED and the rest of us gave way. God.

In other news, since I'm so stressed out, I've been indulging (too much!) in retail therapy. So, so bad. I really shouldn't be buying things, draining my savings account. I'm currently unemployed. This economy is kicking my butt since I can't apply for full-time positions while I'm under the gun to finish in a month, and there aren't very many good part-time positions, particularly in the education field.
fersakyn: (Oops)
I had a busy day today. I got up, got ready for the day, and drove 45 minutes down the highway to get to a job interview for a community college. Right after that, I drove another 30 minutes to Fullerton to do paperwork, get my office, turn in some stuff, and kill time on the internet until the official orientation for new part-time faculty. I've been gone since 11am, and just got back at 9:30pm. Ugh.

And my chin's been a bit sore today. I think I have a bruise. Yesterday, I spent some time with my nephew and nieces, and my nephew nailed me in the chin with an exuberant greeting in which he jumped up and down like a maniac (or a hyper 6-year-old, same diff), nailing me in the chin on the "up" part. I remember the last time he hit someone in the face sort of like this. He was around 3 years old, and we were all in Taiwan staying with my mother's brother and his family. My brother and sister-in-law were sharing a bed with my nephew, and he nailed my sister-in-law in the mouth. She had braces at the time. It looked like something out of a horror film, all that blood coming out of her mouth and down her chin. *shudder* Thankfully, I didn't have my tongue between my teeth or anything gruesome like that when he nailed me yesterday. That would've been very, very bad.

I also caved into the pleas of the program assistant coordinator to take on another class. Thankfully the same class, so I don't have to create a new syllabus, but it's at 8:30am!!! I am NOT a morning person. Any of my former roommates and my family could tell you that. Well, maybe it will convert me to a morning person. *fingers crossed* Despite being a night-owl since I hit puberty, I actually think my schedule is bad for my health. It'd be better to go to sleep at a decent hour, and get up to do stuff during the day. It would also bother my neighbors less.


fersakyn: (Default)

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