Category Archives: académico

Who Is Mija? Playing on ello.

Ello

This was originally blogged as my first new content post for ello

Where is Mija? Who is mijita?

Can I even introduce her anymore?

It’s funny how I can be seduced by something new and shiny. I’m exploring ello and suddenly want to write about spanking and kink again. This is new. Or maybe renewed.

Life has been good lately, filled with work that I love, and I do mean love. The research, the writing, even the grading. Everything about teaching what I teach to whom I teach is a joy. But it’s also very grown up, very responsible. For years my spanking kink has been an escape back into childhood (for good and ill and all the baggage that carries). For years I was a school girl getting thrashed for not being responsible. For not writing her dissertation. But now it’s written.

Now I am responsible. Really. The people who know my college professor self wouldn’t recognize the girl thrashed for ignoring her research. I’m not sure I even recognize her anymore. I love my research, horde the hours I get to lavish on it. Love preparing my courses, am working devilishly hard to land an elusive tenure track job so I can keep doing this thing I love so much.

It all feels terrifyingly fragile. Like if I let go at all I’ll wake up and this thing I want to badly will have slipped through my fingers. Time feels so precious. Yet kink, my kink anyway, needs time, needs space. Physical and brain.

Add to that the medications that keep me sane also dampen (ha! like salt peter) my desires, making my fantasies quieter and tamer than they’ve ever been and, well, basically I’ve been de-kinked. A prospect that in my early 20s would have made me happy. Now it feels like part of me, an important part of me that I love, is numb.

And yet today, September 28, 2014, doing the things I do on new social media like defining spanking, and posting an old story, I find I’m thinking more and more about my kink. Wanting to say something, wanting to find room for Mija. I even got my old usenet name, “mijita” which thrills me a surprising amount.

Not really sure what I want to say.

But ello.

A Day Full of Syllabi: Advent Blog: Day 6

Advent bloggers so far (go see them!):

padme & Anakin - Journey to the Darkside

Marie - Life, Lemons & Spanking

EmmaEnchanted - This Kinky Life

Quai  -  Spanking Discussion

Poppy St. Vincent - Poppy's Submissions

Sharon - The Evolution of a Pin-Up Model

Tiger - Innermost Me 

And as of today: Indy – Not So Submissive

You can join anytime — think of it as getting your calendar a bit late so opening a couple days all at once. This is fun, not a holiday stress!

-0-0=0=0-0-

As some of you know, I'm applying for academic jobs right now. This means getting materials ready to send off to various universities in the hope that one (or maybe more) will want to interview me in January. It's stressful and not fun.  Except what I did some of yesterday and most of today is fun.  I wrote up sample syllabi for a specific university.  The idea is that they want to see what how I'd teach specific courses in their catalog. I've found I really enjoy going and looking for books, seeing what's new and remembering things I've read already (or been meaning to read). It's a joy.

Like all tasks though, it's time consuming and the devil is in the details. I swear I was 80% finished at 8:00 PM and just put the final touches on the second one a few minutes ago.  I was going to skip blogging tonight but Serenity suggested I blog about writing my syllabus. So i am.  I wish I could share them on here, but I'm trying to keep my academic persona seperate from my Mija self.  It's not that I'm ashamed in anyway of what I write here, but it's too much personal information to have my students stumbling over when they search my vanilla scholarly self.  But I will recommend a book (it would be a good Christmas present) — The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea.  It's a lovely bit of magical realism and beautifully written. 

In other news, I've done very little calligraphy this week but, barring some disaster, I'm going to calligraphy class tomorrow. 

Um, that's about it. Maybe there will be a better entry tomorrow. 

Happy Halloween & the Best Laid Schemes

jack-o-lantern

But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

Happy Halloween everyone! I’m writing this in preparation for going out in search of a pumpkin to carve. (Oh wait, that’ll have to be tonight — forgot to get money from Paul.)

So, if you were following my plan to blog daily this month, maybe you’re wondering what happened.  It wasn’t just having my post eaten (though God knows that’s discouraging) — the past week has been sort of rough. As my (new) therapist remarked last Friday, I’ve been anxious and depressed for the past few weeks (her saying this prompted me to burst into tears – doh!).  In addition to all the usual stress plus the added mess that is the academic job market, I’m in the middle of changing one of my medications.  Lexapro wasn’t doing much and is muy expensive — I’m now on Zoloft — much cheaper though it’s too soon to know if it’ll be any better. Oh, and I had a touch of a cold. It all came to a head this weekend and all I wanted to do was sleep.

I didn’t just sleep. I went to a calligraphy playdate on Saturday — bringing with me Pan de Muerto (mmm)  which I bought at the lovely La Monarca Bakery rather than making it myself.  It was well received. I thought I was doing okay, but after a couple hours all the other women started asking me if something was wrong — apparently I was being too quiet compared to my usual self.  I told them I was just feeling thoughtful, but realizing that others could notice how I was feeling shook me and took some of the pleasure out of the day. But my italic lettering is getting better and I was glad I went and got to practice. I’ll post some samples soon. We’re just starting capital letters.

Yesterday I worked on revising one of the chapters of my dissertation to turn it into a writing sample.  It had to go from over 100 pages down to just 20.  This took a while and was painful, while also tipping my anxiety (everything about the job market does that). I haven’t looked at it yet this morning but Paul, in addition to caning me for being one gym visit short for the week, bought me a Magnum ice cream bar to be a reward when the cutting was finally done.  That and a good night’s sleep and this morning I feel better. Thank goodness.

So the experiment with daily blogging wasn’t a total bust, but not a complete success either. I do like writing daily, but I suspect if I do it again it’ll end up being more of a mood chart than a series of essays on kinky thoughts.

Whelm Level: High

stress
I’m not overwhelmed. Not quite, not yet. But life is causing my whelm meter to creep up

As those of you have been reading here for a while know, I’ve got some mental health issues (manic depression and anxiety disorder for those of you who are catching up).  The medications help, but not surprisingly they don’t make me feel perfect. I still get anxious and depressed (manic, not so much).  Meanwhile my old therapist can’t see me anymore and I’m having to get used to a new one. (Stress)

Someone I had a disagreement on Twitter with decided to no longer count me among his friends. (Stress)

My parents are both staying with Paul and me, engaging in their loving but crazy-making behaviors (Stress)

I’m not working so not earning money and am leeching off Paul. (Stress)

I’m not living up to my promise / challenge to myself to go to the gym three nights a week. (Stress)

But the biggest source of stress (or WHELM) is that I’m on the academic job market in literature this year. That means preparing a lot of job materials about myself: CV, research proposal, teaching philosophy, sample syllabi, writing samples of varying lengths (so far they’re 20 – 40 pages —  more than I can do with margins), and a cover letter tweaked and tailored to each university post and post-doc fellowship I’m applying to. I have help — my Ph.D. department offers a job workshop that meets weekly. We share materials among ourselves and talk about how we can make the documents better.  It’s helpful but also stressful in that I find it hard to share my writing in a group setting, however much I need their help. I don’t write much about my academic work here, but I care about it a lot. I’d like to find a job as a university professor, ideally in the UK as Paul wants to return there. But to get there I have to jump through a lot of hoops, submit myself to a lot of judgment and, hardest still, be lucky.

I’m not overwhelmed yet, but I’m getting there.

School Ties

school-ties
Eight days from today I’m going to be hooded by my Ph.D. advisor.  The ceremony marks my official leaving university as a Ph.D. myself.  It’s been a long time coming and I’m very excited.

While I’m going to be wearing a very cool vintage dress for my party the next day, thanks to the wonderful Lucy McLean of Northern Spanking fame, on Thursday, under my robes, I’m going to wear a black pleated skirt, white stiff-collared shirt and a tie striped in my school colors.  Though I am wearing black sling backs rather than saddle shoes, the idea of wearing bits of my school uniform under my doctoral robes while I’m being hooded just feels right.

I got into the scene with my first halting delurk back in 1997, just when I was starting my M.A.  I’ve worn school uniforms in some variation to vanilla Halloween parties and even some graduate seminars. So I’m going to wear bits of it next week on the last day I can ever think of myself as a “real” student.

As to the question, will I be wearing school knickers or simple plain white panties underneath it all?  I haven’t decided.  Maybe I’ll let Paul pick.

Back and all that stuff

great-britain
Paul and I got back on Thursday from our travels.  Where have we been?  Vegas where we attended yet another amazing Shadow Lane party.  Northeast England, where we visited Paul’s family and I got to attend a wonderful conference.  London, where Paul attended a counter protest about the Pope’s visit and finally Paris, where we spent far too little time.  Through it all we got to play in hotel rooms.  I feel like my mojo got a lot of love.

Someday I may blog about all that travel and play, though given my track record I understand if you doubt it.  I’m honestly not all that convinced myself.

But for now, I’m home and it’s hot.  113 today in Los Angeles, 103 in Santa Monica.  A new record high.

I like this one…

side-effects
As I wrote a while ago, I’m bipolar 1.  For eighteen months I was a good girl and took lithium twice a day — had bloodwork for it on schedule once a month.  The drug worked, in so far as my mind and body were quieted by it. And goodness I slept well.  But maybe it worked too well.   My body gained 40 (yes, FORTY) pounds, something I was not happy about.  But worse still was what it did to my mind.  I lost the ability to think in a complex theoretical manner.  My then doctor, a very nice older man, seemed to think this was a valid trade-off for sanity.  I didn’t and stopped taking my medications.

My body, my science experiment, right?  Okay, yes but maybe not a great idea.  Without a mood stabilizer, which is what lithium is, my moods were, well unstable again.  The anxiety and fear began to creep back.  My sleep was disrupted.  And the feeling that the inside of my bones were buzzing came back too.  Even though no one around me complained (Paul is good that way), I could also feel the rise of mania.  It comes with the warm weather for me.

After 6 months I realized I couldn’t keep living like this and went back to talk to my doctor only to find he had retired.   I was given a new doctor.  At that point, before my first appointment with her, I almost gave up.  I’m so glad I didn’t.

My new doctor is great. I love her.

She’s younger than my first doctor, about the same age as me actually.  No judgement about kink stuff, just wanted to know how it made me feel and how I see bipolar disorder in connection with kink.  They do connect for me, and that’s fine.  Even more importantly, she understood that my academic work matters a lot to me, that not being able to think in a theoretical manner or read philosophy wasn’t a trade off I wanted to make for sanity’s sake.  So we’re trying a new drug called geodon.  Three months in and it’s looking good.  It’s not ideal — I feel achingly drowsy on it sometimes and it costs a lot, even with my insurance — but I can take it and still write, still focus, still feel like myself.

These are good things.

Now to try and do something about these forty extra pounds of me.

Bryson and the Doctor

bryson2

For those of you not following me on Twitter, I’ve had an amazing time during April (and part of May) which explains the radio silence here and elsewhere.  Here’s my attempt to explain it all in one fell swoop though I suspect more news will come out as time goes on.

First, and honestly the most wonderful and exciting, after two months of being lost, Bryson Bear was returned to me twice over this past month.

He first returned via eBay where, once we had identified him as of the Wuzzy clan (many thanks to Doug of Doug’s Bears for his help in communicating with GUND to identify him), an identical “new” Bryson was located in Glasgow, Scotland (as some of you pointed out — many thanks to all of you too!).

My mom purchased him for me since it was important that Bryson came from her as you probably guessed from the LOST post, The new Bryson flew across the ocean, braving volcanic ash and the U.S. Postal Service to arrive with much fan fair and packing in a large-ish cardboard box.

excellent-defense
I was naturally very glad to see him — he was clearly the right bear with the right intelligent expression.  But as my Doctor Who friends will know, like the new incarnations of the Doctor, while I knew the bear I was looking at was Bryson, because he very much felt like Bryson, he also very much wasn’t Bryson. There was, however a difference.  I could hardly remember Bryson ever looking so new.  Bryson yes, but not yet my Bryson.

Still, he snuggled close in the night and talked to me in a comforting fashion as Bryson always has.  And I needed Bryson and a great deal of comforting because my life had become insanely stressful — more so than I’d ever experienced.  You see, I found out in mid April I had to finish and defend my dissertation before the term ended the second week in May.  If I didn’t, there was a good chance I might not get to finish at all.  I wasn’t sure if I could do it (in fact, I was pretty sure I couldn’t) but after ten-plus years of graduate school, I couldn’t quit without giving it a try.

bryson1

So, I dropped out of life in order to cope and do what needed to be done — Paul handled all things social, phone, email and Twitter related.  I just worked.  I worked at my university job and I worked on my dissertation, ultimately writing more than one hundred pages in less than four weeks.  Given that ten pages a week is my normal “working very productively” speed this is pretty amazing.  It was actually liberating though, as said, very stressful.  I don’t ever want to experience it again.
Less than two weeks ago, five days before my defense, I was writing my final chapter (or “coda” as my chair called i)t and I got a phone call from a number I didn’t recognize.  Though I hadn’t been taking calls from anyone, I took this one for some reason.  The call was from LAX Marriott’s housekeeping supervisor.  She believed had found my bear.

The picture I had sent to everyone at Marriott (or so it seemed) had worked.  He had been recognized, even though, as I was told, his “timeline” was off.  More than two months after he had been lost, my original Bryson had been found at another hotel, having been sent there from the laundry.

both-brysons
Or that was the story that made sense to the hotel housekeepers.  I had my own which involved travel across both time and space, but either way, his being found and returned was a very good omen.  Someone a week from her defense is looking for omens.

Anyway, Paul went and claimed the Bryson the next day as I prepared to print out my dissertation and give it to my committee. The distraction of knowing he was coming home kept me calm enough to compile the document (well, almost). So Paul brought him home, leaving me so overwhelmed I couldn’t stop crying.

Part of me was a bit worried about new Bryson.  Naturally he was insecure, because still having his tags his tags on some 15 years after he was made, he seemed a bit worried he was about to be put up on the shelf again now that Bryson 1 was returned.  I reassured him that there was always room in the bed for another bear and he and Bryson 1 shared a Coke and seemed to become friends.  That said, Paul did point out that the Doctor never gets along very well with his other selves.

What I Think Happened

It seems clear to me that somehow, during Gallifrey, Bryson did have the opportunity to travel in the Tardis.  It being a time machine, I’m sure he figured he’d be back in literally no time and never be missed from the bed.  In the manner of time travel though, the Tardis brought him back a month late. By then, the sheets had been through the laundry many times and were far from our room.  He ended up at the wrong hotel and it took him a while to both figure out what happened and make his presence known.

Thank goodness Maria recognized him from the picture.  Of course he felt terrible for having abandoned and worried me.  Just make sure you always take pictures of the ones you love best.

He’s back now, living a quiet life among The Animals of the Bed.  But there’s an extra twinkle in his eyes.  You can tell he’s had an adventure.

Oh, and my defense went well.  A few revisions and I’ll be a Dr. Mija.  Imagine that.

the third eye is on The Punishment Book

too-much-curveToday my blog entry “Submitting to Correction” is on the Punishment Book.  It’s a bit of an introspective ramble on how I take criticism and correction differently in different circumstances, specifically lettering class as opposed to my writing.

Excerpt:   The degree to which I’ve taken the criticism on board and am pleased and excited by it surprises me.  This is not the way I generally react to correction (especially in relation to my academic work).  My usual reaction is either defensiveness and / or anxiety, with both being most common.  The hardest thing anyone can do is try and help me by critiquing my academic writing as I will defend my text to the death as though each word was somehow a child.  Even being aware of this reaction only helps a bit.  With my advisor I feel utterly chastened when she points out the holes in my arguments and I have to struggle to hide the hurt.  With Paul, who is brave enough to do it, I feel misunderstood, angry and defensive.  This is why writing workshops, with their group criticism sessions, have always been a special sort of agony.

Read and discuss (over there)?

Not a RefWorks Review

v-signThis entry is not about spanking or anything fetish related.  Well, except for that sentence.

Mostly this is a bit of a gripe. If a company is trying to sell me their product, it would be really great if they didn’t act like my choice not to use either the computer or software they want me to is the problem.  We’ve all had, I assume, the experience of being told by a website that we can’t access all the functions because we aren’t running say IE or FireFox or whatever other browser  they’re demanding. I’m not complaining about little websites either.  My bank does this, United Airlines did and goodness knows how many other companies.  As Paul said, why not just put a running banner at the bottom of each page saying “I am a crap web programmer who can’t be bothered to make this site fully functional”?

So where is this rant going?  My university is encouraging students (especially graduate students) to switch from other computer-based bibliographic software to a web-based service provided by RefWorks.  Even though I’ve hated EndNote for years (it’s ugly, clunky and has a steep learning curve) I’ve resisted because RefWorks charges $100 a year for their service.  While it would be free while I was affiliated with my current university, I didn’t want to deal with having to either change or be charged once I leave.  So I stuck with EndNote, ugly though it may be.

Last week I heard from our librarian that we should consider changing because RefWorks had started an alumni program which would allow those of us who use the service now to continue using it for free as long as our university had a subscription.  This renewed my interest so I started investigating the service more closely.  I could import my reference libraries — great.  The interface is pretty nice (though it’s got some ugly, clunky features as well — maybe there’s no helping that with reference software).  But I couldn’t figure out how to insert citations while writing.  Neither could the librarian, so we checked with RefWorks who directed us to something they call “write and cite.”  Great — it works pretty much like EndNote’s “insert citation” feature.

Except that unlike EndNote, on RefWorks the citation feature only works with Microsoft Word.  Not so great then.

Like a number of other people in my field, I don’t write in MSWord, I write using Pages (part of iWork) and convert to Word or pdf if needed.  Word has a number of bugs when doing footnotes (it randomly pushes them onto the next page and forcing them back is a lot of work) and my research writing is heavily footnote dependent.  For that reason, Pages is way more suited to my academic writing needs.  RefWorks, despite literature comparing themselves favorably to EndNote, doesn’t support the insert citation / write and cite function in anything other than Word.

They wrote that they believe iWork (and OpenOffice) users are too small in number for them to develop for.  There’s no work around other than inserting the citations manually, something which rather defeats the purpose of using citation software in the first place.    The librarian that gave me the bad news said this news about iWork and OpenOffice would be considered when the university is discussing renewing our subscription — for which they pay in excess of $10,000 a year — that students and faculty shouldn’t be forced to use a specific word processor to use a university-provided subscription service.

It seems EndNote wins by default.  Bah.  What a waste of time.