Before I begin, I want to thank everyone who commented on my last blog, who wrote me emails, and who reached out on Facebook. I am very grateful for your kindness, empathy, generosity, love, and support! What I found most surprising is how many women my age are going through this flux and change … are we becoming who we truly are? Are we surveying our lives, taking stock, and moving into the second half of our existence without compromise or regrets? Or is there something in the air this year? Who knows. All I know is that I’m in good company and, for that, I am grateful. What shall we call our coterie? BaBE? Badass Babes Emerging? WWR? Wild Women Rising? We’ll figure it out later. Some of you asked me to keep writing about what I’m going through and to do so in my usual transparent, honest way. Have no fear, I’m not going anywhere! Matter-of-fact, you just might be seeing more of me in all of my messy, weird, sensitive goodness.
I’m starting to find my rhythm, my daily routine, my … way. It took a while, but I’m starting to figure out how to step out of “professor-research-committee-no time-I’m drowning-and-hate-my-life- mode” and into the “LIS grad-student-research-writing-make art-enjoy-myself mode.” I’m still spinning, but I’m able to focus on things here and there. I can “see” what I’m doing and the million-and-one possibilities spreading out in front of me. The big question at the moment is whether I want to pursue a path to an academic library with archives and special collections, or if I want to head out to other institutions like government archives (American Art Archives, National Archives) or museums, historic institutions, public libraries, or athenaeums. Right now, it feels like pursuing an academic archivist-curator is a step back; but maybe that’s because of where I’ve been. I’m keeping my options open and getting as much experience as I can in the meantime.
Experience? Yup. I volunteered at the NYPL in the Wallach Art and Architecture collection to help them sort through and file their ever-expanding artists’ papers collection and start sorting through and organizing their pamphlet collection. I think I start Monday … or at least I get my ID card on Monday. I’m also volunteering at Queens College to catalogue and archive the Africana Department’s book and ephemera collection. There’s more to this last gig, but I’m not at liberty to talk about it yet. There’s a lot of things in motion that will hopefully result in a part time archivist job or a fellowship. More on this as it moves forward and develops. And finally, I’m waiting for the Berg Collection at the NYPL to post their page position.
As for my research and writing, I’m giving up my shelf at the Wertheim Room at the NYPL on Friday. I’m focusing on my classwork for the next few weeks and don’t have time to pursue my own work. When classes end I will revisit the projects I currently have in the works. I hope to get at least two articles out before the end of August, but we’ll see.
So what have I been doing for the last 20 days?
Reading, studying, and doing assignments for my classes. So far, so good. I have As in both of my classes and I intend on keeping those As. It’s midterm time and I’ve been making sure I know my stuff backwards and forwards. Granted, both exams are take-home — one is two essays, the other all cataloguing and MARC (RDA) — but that’s no excuse not to be prepared!
I’ve been cooking almost nightly, which is a good thing. Not only have I lost 8 pounds since January, we’re saving money, which is good since I’m not working at the moment. I know that 8 pounds doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s better than nothing. My doctor advised me to go “slow and steady” with a life-style change — this way the weight will stay off and bad habits will be replaced by good ones. She told me to aim for 1-2 pounds a week, which would be about 4-8 pounds a month.
I’ll admit, I haven’t really been trying to lose weight right now. Instead, I’m focused on getting back into a routine of daily meal prep and movement. My stomach muscles are still not quite healed from my hysterectomy. As a result, I’m finding some exercises and movement to be difficult. I have to keep reminding myself that a hysterectomy is major surgery and that it takes a while to heal from it.
Ed and I have been going to the opera. We focused mostly on Mozart throughout the Fall — The Magic Flute and Don Giovanni — and this Spring we’re finally seeing Wagner’s The Ring Cycle! FINALLY!!! I’ve only been trying to get tickets for over 25 years! We were either too poor to afford them, or too late to snag them. The fact that the Metropolitan Opera only puts on The Ring Cycle every four years makes matters worse. Ah, but this year I lucked out. I was purchasing our season package the same time The Ring tickets went on sale. This year was our year! We saw Das Rheingold two weeks ago; next week we see Die Walküre. I’m completely thrilled. And yes, it’s better than I imagined!
I haven’t been buying much except essentials … though, I did splurge and get this fabulous bee sneakers. They’re not real Converse, but they have the cutest bee and honeycomb pattern on them. I bought them from the Sock & Shoe Company. They’re a distributor based out of California. Their products are manufactured in and directly shipped from China. They remind me of ChicStar, but for shoes. In general, the shoes are nicely made and the design is clear and well-done. However, they don’t have a real sneaker insole. Instead, the insoles remind me of those in “Chinese slippers” — flat with no support. I’m going to need to put orthopedic insoles in these.
Finally, I stripped the black out of my hair … again. The vitamin C and Head & Shoulders concoction didn’t work this time; maybe because I’ve already done it and then dyed over it with permanent dye? I used Oops to lighten it, left it to rest for a week while I washed it with purple shampoo and conditioner to tone down the brassiness, and then used a semi-permanent dye to even it out. Unfortunately, it’s still pretty uneven, but it looks good. My natural hair color with all the grey and white is growing in. At this moment in time, I have no desire to dye my hair with permanent dye … hell, I’d like to move away from dying my hair all together. I’m getting about two inches chopped off the length and some shaping done next week, leaving me with a short, 1920s “shingle bob.” It’ll be perfect for the Spring and Summer months.
Change is in the air …