Create-A-Day: Missy/Philly

January 30, 2012 § 1 Comment

Sometimes it’s funny to me how much can happen in one week, even in one day. Makes you wonder where to start when you try to update a person on your life, or in this case, a blog. We’ll start two weeks ago, when I took the train to Philadelphia to visit one of my oldest friends and one of my absolute favorite people: Missy. She’s pretty unusual, which of course is why I like her. My favorite people have an element of unpredictability in their characters which is endlessly interesting to me. Missy currently works in NYC (yes she commutes from Philly) in a photography gallery while she is figuring out what to do with her time while she anxiously awaits word from various med schools about whether they want her. It’s a tense time for her and it reminds me, somewhat painfully, of how I’ve felt the last two years, first when I applied to PhD programs (rejects all around) and later when I applied to Master’s programs (when I was accepted to GW). I know Missy is worried, but I just can’t bring myself to worry about her. She’s resourceful, resilient, and determined to do *something* with her life, so I know that no matter what happens she’ll be fine. And I’m worried I secretly don’t want her to get into med school because I think she has so much to offer the world in a more creative, expressive capacity. On the other hand, I really want her to be happy. No matter what happens, I am fully confident that she’ll be just fine whether she gets into med school or not. She’ll figure it out.

My visit to Philly this time was much more enjoyable than my summer visit last year. For one thing, taking the train is about 500 million times better than taking the bus. Absolutely worth the money, worth every damn penny if you ask me. So that made a huge difference. Also, even though it snowed 3-4 inches, sleeted, and froze over, I found the cold more enjoyable than the suffocating heat of the summer. Bizarre, right? Who knew you would ever hear that from me? Insanity. I also go to see a lot of Philly that I didn’t get to see last year, lots of little shops and their big market. I feel a twinge of guilt about not going to the museums, but come on, I can’t force everyone on the planet to take me to museums! And I really enjoy going to museums alone. I’m learning that more and more about myself.

Missy’s current apartment is somewhat odd in its layout and size (the living room is nonexistent, but the kitchen is a nice size and Missy’s room is huge!), but it’s in the most adorable little collection of houses. Totally picturesque and New England-y. Even cuter in the snow!

I’ve been trying to use my camera more and Photoshop less, so I took some shots of Missy’s room as a camera-learning-experience. I’m mostly happy with the results, although some of the photos are still kind of noisy. Almost all of these are SOOC and the few that aren’t were simply cropped or corrected for lens distortion. There are two where I edited out the edge of an object cluttering the photo, but everything else (lighting, contrast, etc.) is SOOC. I hope you’ll notice how incredibly creative Missy is. I love how asymmetrical and scattered her belongings are arranged, yet they still seem unified in some way. I’m so literal and symmetrical in my decorating and arranging. It gets boring. It’s so refreshing to see originality expressed in simple aesthetic appeal at the hands of one of my dearest friends. I hope you enjoy the photos!


the following photos are of a famous sculpture garden in Philly, made of found objects mainly but also mirrors, metalworks, etc. It was visually pretty overwhelming for me, but the snow helped see it a little better. Also, the garden has multiple levels, so we might go back and explore a bit more at some point in the future.

Another of my favorite things about Missy — she doesn’t mind stopping and waiting for me to take photos. It’s wonderful to have that. I wanted to take more photos, but I still get weird about taking photos in public. I’ll grow out of it. Maybe.


Grow Up and Stop Whining

January 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

Got my rejection letter today for the fellowship I applied to. Coincidentally, I also got a reminder in my inbox today about applying for 2012-2013 student loans. Life is funny sometimes I guess.

My advisor told me to apply for the TA position next year, even though I’ll only be considered if none of the incoming students are chosen for it, or if the girl who has it now from my class gives it up for some reason (if her grades drop, she would have to give up the position, but I would never wish that on her! not even for full tuition!). But he’s sympathetic to my situation and I do have pretty good grades, so you never know. It couldn’t hurt to apply, anyway.

So let’s run down the positives:

– I can apply for the TA position since there’s no reason not to.

– I can apply for another fellowship for students “who intend a career in public service or government and will be working in a job or internship, paid or unpaid, for at least 15 hours a week.” I’m pretty sure museums are included in public service, so I think I qualify for the fellowship. It’s only partial tuition (about $10k total) but it’s more than nothing! And I can get it whether I’m full or part-time at school, so that’s great.

– There’s still a chance that the department will let me carry over my fellowship from this year and there’s a slight chance that they’ll give me even more funding than I have now, so really you never know what will happen.

I’m talking the financial aid office now about when I need to apply for loans to take summer courses. That’s my official plan — to proceed like I’m going back to full-time at work and down to part-time at school.

I’ve also talked myself into being more reasonable about my living situation post-alec. I’ve been looking at my ApartmentTherapy website, checking out how other people have made tiny apartments more cozy and homey. It’s totally possible! And it’s only going to be for another year anyway, so who cares if I’m living in a basement or a tiny apartment! It’s not like I ever have people over. And if I can live in a cheaper apartment in a safer neighborhood, then it’s a win-win really! I would like to spend as little as possible on rent, I’ve decided. It’s more practical. I’ve also been thinking about investing in a really good sleeper sofa. I’m not an IKEA fan, but they have a really great sleeper sofa that has storage for pillows and blankets underneath it, so that’s nice. Space-conscious, that’s for sure. ANYWAY, I’m open to whatever apartment so long as it’s a safeish neighborhood and is a good price.

And for god’s sake, I have GOT to stop complaining. It doesn’t make anything better, people have it way harder than I do, and it’s just unattractive. No whining, kiddos, no.more.whining.


January 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve met with my advisor and I’ve started my internship, so I’m well on my way to forming an official plan for 2012. My advisor was really understanding about my financial situation (which was a relief!) and he said he would try to keep an ear out for any funding opportunities, but he couldn’t give me a definite answer on whether funding would or would not be available. He said he would check with the graduate school to see if I would be able to keep my current fellowship or not, so there’s still hope I suppose. If I don’t go back to full-time at work, though, I’m going to have to take out about $10k to help cover rent. BUT he said I’m doing really well in school, so it’s likely that I’ll be considered for more funding than I have currently. So there’s still hope, but I can’t rely on hope so I’m going to go ahead and follow-through with a plan based on going down to part-time at school. I’ll need to apply pretty son for $7k in loans to cover two summer courses, since the full payment of tuition is due May 21st. I’ll register for summer courses in March. If things turn in my favor, then I can withdraw from the courses and get my tuition payments reimbursed, which I can then apply to school in the fall (I think. I may just have to cancel the loan… not sure). Guess I need more details! But I have some wiggle room for now, so I’ll get to it. It’s on my list.

I started my internship this past week and I have to admit I’m not super excited about it. I’m not really learning anything. Mostly I just sit around doing nothing at the gallery, which I hate. But maybe my resume needs it…  and it’s only until May. Couldn’t I tough it out? Sigh. I suppose I should. Between you and me, though, it feels like I’m wasting my time. It’s only four months. I should just stick it out.

My advisor also said not to worry about keeping my concentration in Museum Training, which means I won’t need to do an internship for credit next year. This is good for two reasons. One: internships for credit are 20 hours per week, so I’ll have a lot more free time without doing an internship! Two: he said it would be better to take more courses because it will expand my knowledge while improving my research and writing skills. Woot! I’m glad I talked to him, he was really helpful. I also asked him about writing a thesis and he said I don’t need to write one. He said to treat my Qualifying Paper as my thesis, to try and get as much original research in it as possible, and that will be enough for my PhD applications.

So, my to do list:

January: wait to hear if I’m a semi-finalist for the fellowship

February: apply for loans for two summer courses;

email BVB about taking her undergrad seminar for graduate credit;

get ready for the show I’m curating at C102

March: register for summer courses;

find out about registering for summer language courses;

open C102 show (!!)

April: finish up internship;

figure out something for C102 summer shows

prepare my Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts seminar paper as my Qualifying Paper

May: end internship;

end classes;

go back to work full-time;

start summer course 1;

start language course 1;

start seriously looking for apartments

June: finish up summer course 1;

start language course 2;

move into new apartment

Hopefully my parents can come up to help me move. They’re travelling in June anyway, so it would be great if they could head just a bit farther north to add DC to their list of stops! Plus I can’t move my furniture on my own. I have alternatives, of course, because Two Men and a Truck charge something like $60 an hour and really all I would need is for them to move a few of my heaviest items. Shouldn’t take too long at all!

I always feel better when I have answers, know my options, and can make a tentative plan of action. We’ll see what happens!

The Waiting Game

January 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

We had a really long strategic planning meeting today at work which has assured me that I have a job in the future (yay!). There’s a lot to do and a lot in development, so that’s all very promising. What’s perhaps most exciting is that it’s almost all stuff I haven’t done before, so I’ll really get to branch out, learn new skills, take on new responsibilities. I love change, new challenges.

I’ve resolved myself to going back to work full-time since I probably won’t get the fellowship. I emailed them to ask if they can at the very least notify the applicants if they’re semi-finalists or not (which will be decided at the end of this month), but I haven’t heard back from the fellowship/assistantships office yet. I’m meeting with my advisor on Friday to discuss any possible opportunities from the department, but I’m pretty sure we’re going to have to act from here on out like I’m definitely going down to part-time at school and full-time at work. I’m SO excited about being more financially stable, though. If I got sick right now and had to go to the doctor, I’d be in real trouble. I don’t like having that kind of stress. It’ll be better when I’m back at full salary.

I guess my main hesitation is that I’m worried my advisor will be upset with me. My advisor last semester was not particularly helpful and hardly sympathetic to my needing to keep my job while I am in school. And she told me what classes I should take which really irked me. But that’s besides the point. The point is that I’m worried my new advisor will be upset/annoyed/disappointed when I tell him I need to go down to part-time. I’m still graduating on time though! That’s got to count for something! I’m worried he’s going to say it’ll hurt my chances of getting into a PhD program, too, which would be a big downside. I need to put together a list of topics I want to discuss with him before I meeting since things will be awfully busy once school starts.

I tried to get a jump start on the semester by getting my presidential duties started. I’m co-president of the student gallery at school, so I sent out an email to the other co-president and the secretary so we can all meet up before our first official gallery meeting of the year (feb. 1st) but of course no one has responded to my email. Not to be whiny, but I’m not interested in being the co-president with someone who doesn’t do shit. Erghs. Whatever. I’ve also tried to do some preliminary reading to prep myself for my classes this semester, but it hasn’t gone very well. I’m just not super-motivated and I’m kind of trying to hold onto my last few days of “vacation” (just work!).

I start my internship tomorrow. I feel so stupid for being nervous! I go into new situations all the time not knowing what to expect. I’ve had multiple internships before this one. I know it’s not going to be anything particularly unexpected or challenging, but I find myself fretting over what to wear my first day. Silly girl, I know. Then on Friday I will be interning at my first gallery opening for this gallery. What to wear for that… who knows. Professional, but attractive, but not too fancy or girly. Bah. Doesn’t help that I haven’t done laundry in months. :/ Bah. I’m just being ridiculous. I’m probably just displacing my anxiety about other things onto this internship. Ah, displacement. How like me.

Things are about to get really busy, exhausting, stressful. Calm before the storm and all that. I wish I could prepare myself better, but there’s really only so much one can do! I’m looking forward to May, let me tell you. Unquestionably, I’ll be working full-time. It’ll be better.

Create-A-Day: Dr. Alexa Hayes?

January 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve been fantasizing about getting a PhD all weekend. It’s somewhat silly, I guess, since I have no idea what my chances are of getting in anywhere, but it doesn’t hurt to dream big, does it? Plus I need to start really thinking about which programs I want to look at so I’ll be ready to go visit campuses in the fall. I don’t want to apply to more than five schools, to keep my application process manageable but also because there just isn’t a good reason to apply to a big number of programs. There are only a few programs I *really* want to go to, so why settle? If I don’t get it, I’ll live. I didn’t get in last time I applied to PhD programs (when I was still an undergrad), and you know what? I survived. So I’m not interested in settling. All or nothing, that’s the kind of girl I am, to a fault sometimes.

I love looking at what courses are offered per semester. I guess I just like seeing what cool topics different schools come up with and it gives me an idea of what my options would be if I got into that school. Of course I try to weigh how many courses in my declared interest (19th c American & European) are offered compared to the other courses, but I also like to see how many courses are offered in Ancient art, which is another of my interests. And 17th c Dutch art… and maybe some other fields…. I have a lot of interests in art… Anyway, I like to geek out over course offerings. I think it really gives you a read on the school and how seriously they take their Art History department. You know me, I take things seriously and expect everyone else to too. I’m also taking into consideration which schools allow students to take courses outside of the department. I like to branch out, so I tend to lean towards schools that allow more courses outside the department, mainly because I think it shows that they realize the “point” of a Liberal Arts education, which is by nature interdisciplinary. A great education is one that draws connections between its focus and the outside world. Makes findings/arguments more relevant and developed, yeah?

I’ve got six schools on my list right now, but I’m probably going to end up ruling out the ones that won’t give me funding or teaching experience. I don’t want to be in any more debt than I am now. I’m pretty determined about that. And I don’t want to go to a school that won’t give me some room to grow, and I really think teaching experience would be good for me. Anyway, planning for PhD applications means I’ve got a lot on my plate this year and there’s a lot of pressure to keep my grades up at school (like that would change, PhD apps or not, but it’s still good to remind myself). So, the plan: keep grades up, build resume (internships + applying to conferences to present papers), take language course (for reading German), and maybe a thesis instead of a qualifying paper? Meeting with my advisor later this week, so hopefully I’ll develop a more solid plan.

For the non-nerdy part of this entry, how about some more photos?

and my favorite outtake from the photo/hr challenge the other day:

Create-A-Day: Photo/Hour

January 5, 2012 § 3 Comments

8:00AM: waiting for coffee to brew after alec left for work

9:00AM: walkies with cleo. she gets super-excited about her walks!

10:00AM: watched US Marshals and DC police in bulletproof vests arrest a guy in the house across the street (the guy who was arrested is against the silver car in the bottom right corner)

11:00AM: drank all my coffee. retired to the bedroom.

12:00PM: lunch! my favorite cereal (I never got sugary cereals as a kid, so I really love somewhat bland breakfast foods).

1:00PM: back in bed, relaxing by snuggling with my kitty!

2:00PM: first workout in ages! I did a pilates/yoga routine I found on netflix.

3:00PM: time for more coffee. I love my keurig so much! currently drinking dunkin donuts dark roast.

4:00PM: snack time! naked left-over pasta with a little butter, olive oil, salt, pepper, and my favorite cheese — parmesan! delicious.

5:00PM: laundry. nitelite was so bored watching me that she fell asleep.

6:00PM: getting ready to go meet alec downtown for dinner. nothing says january like flannel!

7:00PM: cheese, tomato, and bacon panini with turkey chili (=yum)! alec got some kind of chipotle chicken panini.

8:00PM: home in time for a beer and 2hrs of Bones! perfect end to a pretty good day.

most of these photos were SOOC because I’m trying to really learn how to use my camera to get good photos. some of these aren’t great, but I really like all of them but the last one. there just isn’t an original way to photograph a beer bottle. it’s all been done. anyway, I hope you enjoyed the break from long monologues of text! I really enjoyed this exercise and hopefully I’ll find more time to take photos in the near future. things are about to get really busy, though. today was basically my last day of “vacation” since next week I start my internship and then the following week school FINALLY starts. not so you’d notice, but I can’t wait for school start. I forget how bored I get when I’m not in school, and I really love having a reason to constantly be thinking about the next thing I have to do, the next thing I have to color-code on my calendar, the next thing I get to ponder on my train ride home. I know I bitch and moan about school, but I really do love it. it’s a kind of stimulation I simply don’t get anywhere else!

Create-A-Day: Heads up!

January 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

Just wanted to give y’all, my few readers, a heads up that I’m trying something new today! A couple blogs I follow do a “photo an hour” challenge, where they take a photo an hour for a day (you know, while they’re awake). I figured I should try it, in the hopes that it’ll 1. get me taking pictures again and 2. make me do something more than what I did yesterday (a hint: absolutely nothing). It’s only 10am here, so I’ve got a ways to go, but I thought I would announce that you’ve got some pictures coming your way!

Where Am I?

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