One Month Down

After my lab tonight I have completed 4 weeks of grad school. In some ways, it feels like it’s been longer because every week has been so busy but also it’s gone by so quickly that I feel like I’m always catching up.

The reality of my workload really kicked in this week and it’s got me hella shook. The lack of sleep is messing with my perspectives and priorities and I’ve been on the edge of tears all day because I’m just so tired and there isn’t an end in sight.

It’s been overwhelming but so far it’s rewarding. The things I’m learning are immediately applicable to what’s happening and what I’m interested in which is very different from my undergrad experience. There were some really challenging aspects to my studies at UNC but generally the expectations were low and the work was doable. But despite the work and imminent mental breakdown I feel generally okay about my academic future.

Personally am not feeling so sure about anything right now. PLEASE TAKE EVERYTHING BEYOND THIS POINT WITH A GRAIN OF SALT KNOWING HOW EXHAUSTED I AM AND THAT I AM ONE KEKETINI IN*. I just feel so sad and like I’m going to be alone forever and I hate saying that because it feels contrary to my commitment to self sufficiency. But there it is and I said it. It’s hard being out here on my own without someone to lean on and that I have never been able to find someone like that makes me feel like I have some huge flaw that everyone can see but me. I’m not looking for pity or a peptalk or anything, I just have had that feeling weigh on me for a really long time and I’m tired of holding onto it. Also when I was fatter I always had my weight as my default excuse for why I’m off the radar but now that I’ve lost (and am continuing to lose) weight it’s becoming less valid.

Annnyyway, thanks for reading my little update. I’ve got to get back into the books and finish one thing on my to-do list before I can reward myself with sleep and hope I feel better tomorrow.


*a Keketini is a glass of pinot grigio with a shot of tequila in it.

I said I would do it so I did it

Have been meaning to write this all week but there hasn’t been a great opportunity to just sit down and write about how things are going.

In short, they are okay. I’m having a lot of feelings about many things, about 60% are stress related. I think the stress is the worst part because it’s coming from so many sources that it doesn’t really seem like it can be contained and it’s a big distraction from my work and enjoyment. When I was working, I could easily check out of the work I was doing to figure things out and de-stress, but I cannot do that in class. Working part time jobs and being an admin turned my brain into sand so being back in a classroom and having to pay attention is a challenge in and of itself.

In general, I just feel as though I’ve already fallen behind. I feel like all my peers know so much more than me and that I’m certainly the dumbest one in class because it takes so much effort for me to keep up and it’s just the first week. It’s been going by so quickly and I’m worried about all the things I’m missing because I’m going in circles trying to understand what’s happening.

I’m also going a little crazy from not having a job right now. I’m happy that I left the restaurant and I don’t regret it, but it kills me to spend money without anything going in my bank account. I have a TA job, but it’s only 10 hours a week. On the flip side, I’m already feeling overwhelmed by my coursework that I don’t know how I could be a student, a TA, and have a part time job all at once. I think I’m just going to have to put off thinking about it until later in the semester when I have a better routine.

I also just miss home a lot. I miss my old job where I was well liked by my coworkers and I was hamster wheeling. I’ve made some friends here but it’s hard to start from scratch after spending all my time with people who know all my baggage and still choose to associate with me.

One thing that has been going consistently well is that I’ve continued to lose weight since arriving. I was worried that I would stall because I was not able to go to the gym regularly since getting here. I just bought a gym membership to a private gym a couple days ago because I cannot deal with the crowds at the student rec centers.

THAT’S ANOTHER THING. I don’t do well with crowds at all and everything here is busy all the time. I’m at a Starbucks 20 minutes out of town right now and there are still students everywhere. My anxiety levels are skyrocketing because there doesn’t seem to be anywhere that’s off limits and no where is actually quiet or chill. I’m not used to it. Also my apartment is still infested with ants and so I feel like my anxiety about the ants and the people are overlapping because being overcrowded or invaded is a feeling I can’t escape.

Anyway, I need to get some work done. I wish I could write a post without it seeming like a list of complaints because things aren’t really bad here. I just miss home. I feel so disoriented here and it’s been really frustrating trying to adapt to a totally new place. I wish I knew how to branch out and meet tons of different people but I have no clue what I’m doing and I’m not brave enough to try anything.

I’ll be updating as I go along so hopefully soon we will see an upswing.

Math Camp

So math camp has altogether been a miserable experience.

As you may remember from when I was studying for the GRE, math is the most frustrating topic for me, so to have it for 5 hours a day for 5 days is truly the worst.

The first two days weren’t terrible because I knew what I was doing and I could keep up but yesterday we started on things that were totally new to me and everything fell flat. I can’t understand where the instructor is going most of the time but there is no time for me to figure it out on my own before he’s moved on so I spend the rest of class just trying to catch up based on what’s been written and discussed without me.

There are 2 TAs there to help after class, but I’ve had to work during their office hours. Also my work has been preventing me from completing the homework so I’m already behind when I get there in the morning.

I don’t know how I’m going to do this. I can’t even manage math camp, how am I going to handle a full course load and work and my TA position? I feel so stupid when I’m trying to do the work on my own and now I’m so far behind that I’m trying to figure out what we did 2 days ago and while trying to work on what we did today. It’s so hard and I can’t make it make sense to me. I feel like I don’t deserve to be here and that I’m not going to be able to do the math work in my courses.

It’s also making me cry a lot because I hate feeling this stupid.


Colorado 6, Indiana 8

So I am almost totally moved into my apartment in Indiana. I still have quite a few boxes to unpack but things are coming together pretty well.

I got a host job in a restaurant and had my first day this evening.  I liked working in the Tavern before I had a mental breakdown, fell into a deep depression, and had multiple suicide attempts so I think I could do it again. And this time no one can work there under 21 so I am working with other professional adults and not high schoolers. I accepted the job on the understanding that I can move to a serving position in 2 months. Otherwise I can make the same or better money at Starbucks with consistent hours and tips.

Since my brother left I feel like I am truly alone in my new place and it feels weird and sad.

Me start math camp on Monday, excited to be in a class and meet people around here.

Very distract right now. Me write more when me more to say.

Last Week in Colorado

I disembark from Colorado a week from today. Right now, it still seems far enough away that I can think about it without falling into a complete panic but I am also totally aware that I'm fooling myself. My stress level is averaging at a high 7. I've sent out at least 20 job applications, I've only heard back from one (and I have an interview which is good but still nerve wracking af.) I have to get my license plates this week but I don't have an address or any money to pay for them.

The money thing is killing me right now. I wish I had stayed an extra week at work because then I'd be in a relatively good place to move but I didn't and I was too proud to ask to stay. Also my hair is falling out again, which I believe is a result of telogen rest but I don't know because I'm not a doctor.

Also confronting the sadder parts of moving. I've been trying to connect with people for the last month knowing that this last week will be too busy for me to make individual appointments for all the people I want to see and none of them would make time for me. Now the same people are saying they want to see me before I leave. I'm sorry, I can't do it. Part of me regrets it, but also it does hurt to realize that people don't care about you as much as you thought.

Maybe me just being whiny baby and overfocusing on things to distract me because I'm about to leave everything I'm familiar with to go to the place that elected Mike Pence with absolutely no money and have no idea what to do once I get there.

Moving On

I moved out of my apartment and out of Littleton this weekend. It feels weird and sad because Littleton has always been homebase. I am the last one of my family to leave and sever the tie to the community.

I think it’s annoying and insensitive of others to tell me that my feelings of sadness from leaving my home and state are somehow invalid because I’m going to better places are broader horizons. Of course I’m excited for grad school, but I can be happy to move on and still sad for what I’m leaving behind. Interestingly enough, I am capable of more than one emotion at a time.

There were a lot of pros and cons to my apartment. Obviously the roommate was a huge con. As fond as I am about all the great anecdotes I have, I would have definitely preferred a good roommate over this chapter of my memoir. I liked that it was close to downtown Littleton but I don’t feel like I got out as much as I would have liked. I thought it was a good community, more expensive than my ideal but manageable.

I am still working on finding an additional part time job in Bloomington. I’m thinking that I can manage my finances and studies well between my 10 hr/week office job and a 20 hr/week additional job. Has anyone received financial aid through tuition remission? I’m not sure how it works. I just took out a loan that covers my cost of attendance exactly without any extra to help with rent and whatever and I did get merit-based aid in 3 credits worth ($3400 value) and I want to know if it’s dispersed to me or to the school. It would help me out a lot to have it on hand so I don’t have to worry so much about my rent and car payments.

Am currently sitting in the first of two 5 hour layovers and this family is by me and one of the young kids is screamcrying because his iPad has to be plugged in and he wants to be able to both run and watch a movie at the same time. He’s also eating peanuts off the floor and no one is stopping him. I am at the airport because I’m flying out to see my Big and I’m so excited. I haven’t left the state since my semester abroad and I’ve only left the city 5 times. 5 times in 2 years. I haven’t taken a day off of work since I started working a 9-5 (granted, I still put in 4 tens.) Remembering that I wasn’t at work yesterday and I won’t be back until Wednesday is the best feeling ever. Gertie is with my mom and her best friend Obie and I’m not worried about her. It just feels great to step away. Except for I cannot step away from the crushing reality of how much money I’m spending to keep my car parked in the lot and that I’m waiting to hear back about the cost of damages in my apartment. If anyone wants to donate to the “Keke is struggling financially and I think it’s pathetic” fund, you can hit me up on PayPal

I have a lot of books to add to my list- I think I’ve hit 40 books since April. It’s the best thing ever. I got my mom to start listening to them too and she agrees that it’s life changing.

This fucking kid is wailing because he can’t see his mom’s screen. He’s throwing a tantrum in public and she just soothed him and he’s on her lap. I’m not a parent and I know nothing about parenting but I have (kind of) trained a dog and isn’t that reinforcing poor behavior? At least he’s not running around anymore though.

I have to check in at the desk so I am out for now.

What Up Me?

I realize I’ve been posting less frequently and without much content lately.  No one really care, but me care.

I’m so tired of my job. I’m sure that if I wasn’t leaving I’d still like it, but lately every request has been irritating and I’m a grumpy goose. It’s senioritis for sure and most of my office knows so the fun of keeping it a secret and pulling an Irish exit has vanished.

I’m also crazy stressed about my grad school finances. About a week ago, it occurred to me that I might not receive enough aid to cover my tuition, much less my expenses. I never thought about it at UNC because it was in-state with comparably low tuition and I received enough aid for housing and I could work part time to cover the rest of my living expenses. Now, I don’t know how it’s all going to work. I just bought a car and I’m finally on my own insurance- how can I afford these things plus rent if I don’t receive enough financial aid? So now I’m coming up with alternative routes but they’re not super helpful. Like, I could move to Bloomington but defer my enrollment until I can afford it. Or I could move to part-time status so I can work full time. None of these sound appealing (though I recognize it’s a reality for many other people.) I’ve talked to my temp agent here about connecting me with an agent out there so I might be able to get a part time job in an office. I’m guaranteed 10 hours of academic office work as part of my scholarship but I can probably work in 20 hours off campus and still do my school work. And then even at minimum wage I could afford rent and my car payment.

I just don’t know. I wish I had considered all of this before I applied- all I was thinking about was the cost of tuition.

But more about my car-

I love driving it and a lot of it is very familiar of my family’s old smart car, but there are some things I totally forgot about. For example, road rage.

I’ve been driving it for three days and have almost been hit twice, have been cut off within an inch of my car, have been flipped off, and tailgated almost constantly when I’m in my car. It’s like people have something to prove- or like, this is the driving equivalent to when tell someone I’m vegetarian and they react with something like “oh so you think you’re better than me?” Eye roll emoji. It’s a little scary but it goes as fast as other cars. My only complaint is that when it’s in automatic transmission mode it takes a little over a second to switch gears. I haven’t yet tried to drive with it in manual. (For those of you that don’t know, the smart car is both manual and automatic.)

Other things on my mind-

My current apartment is the only place I’ve rented where I feel the need to worry about damages and repairs. Gertie, though normally a very good dog, ripped two wholes in the carpet. I am having them patched for about $100. There’s also a crack in the paneling of the microwave so I bought a replacement door for $140. And there are a few other things I can’t predict they’ll notice when I check out. Also, what if they fuck me over on cleaning? Like how can they prove how much time they’ll need to clean it or that  they cleaned the entire time? They have a whole list of typical charges so I know what they look for, I don’t know if they’ll be honest. I’m doing the repairs on my own so they can’t overcharge me to replace the microwave door or the carpet, but I really don’t want to spend more than a month’s rent in repairs. I also could not find a line in the lease that says there is a cap to how much they can charge me at once. Super stressful.

And what is complaining about my apartment if I don’t talk about my roommate. Last Monday she said she’d be moving out that Saturday and insisted that I should prorate her rent because the apartment building prorates. First of all, she’s renting from me and not the apartment. Secondly, she’s moving out before the end of the lease but she’s still obligated to fill the terms of the lease. Third, she gave me fewer than a week’s notice that she was moving out early so I could not make arrangements regarding the internet plan and other shared costs and her lease stipulates one month’s notice or 2 months rent. So I explained this and that I would prorate from the 18th, which to her credit she eventually understood. And now, 4 days after her claimed move out date, she is still in the apartment. Nothing of hers has been packed. She’s made literally no effort that I can see that would suggest she is moving out anytime soon.
So where does that leave me? No matter what time she moves out, she will still be under a month’s notice. My original plan was to prorate her rent plus fixed costs until the 18th but prorate the variable costs (water, electric) until she leaves. But not knowing when that will be makes me wonder if that’s the right way to go.

I’ve packed up a fair amount of my stuff. I’ve donated a few bags of clothing, I boxed up my DVDs and games (Also, I have so many fucking DVDs. How did I get so out of control?) and I’ve been going through my personal items and donating/tossing a lot of it. It’s taking a lot of time because I have to give myself permission to either throw away or donate for each thing because I feel so intensely guilty about rejecting gifts given to me over the years. It feels like a betrayal somehow. But my hope is to be all packed up a week before move out with the exception of my big furniture.

ALSO am thinking of having a cleaning party that involves bagels, tequila, beers, and pizza to offer an incentive to help me clean. Nothing will be gross, I’ll have a whole list of things to do and I am awesome at delegation. Also if anyone wants to hold onto some crap for me for free….


I’m going out to Bloomington in the next few weeks (15 hour drive) to tour apartments and see the campus. Living with roommates is getting less appealing by the day and it seems like in a lot of places a 1 bedroom isn’t much more than a 2 bedroom. There’s one I am particularly interested in, however the move in date is the first day of my mandatory math camp. Am thinking, maybe my family can move me in while I’m there (but that’s douchey). I don’t know how else we’d do it. I am also looking for places that are open earlier- I’m sure something will work out.






Books I’ve Read since 4/2017

*Updated 12/21/2017

Also according to Sher, listening to audiobooks doesn’t count as reading. This post should technically be called “Books to Which I’ve Listened since 4/2017. I agree that listening to books doesn’t produce the same effects as sitting down to read them, however as a graduate student it would be nearly impossible to read all these books. I think audiobooks have their own merits, like hearing the book narrated by it’s own author or hearing the narrators speak with passion to emphasize passages in the books. I also know that when I’m reading a physical book, I often miss a lot when I phase out without realizing it. I’m a better listener than a reader, so I’m going to continue doing this.

Also sad that I didn’t make it to 100 books this year. But I got pretty close at 87 + the 2-3 books I plan to listen to while on break. And this is since April so I didn’t even have the full year.

1984 George Orwell
A Dance With Dragons George RR Martin
A Feast for Crows George RR Martin
A Full Life Jimmy Carter
A Long Way Gone Ishmael Beah
A Storm of Swords George RR Martin
A World of Ice and Fire Elio M Garcia, Linda Antonsson, George RR Martin
Abraham Lincoln Lord Charnwood
Against Empathy Paul Bloom
Alexander Hamilton Ron Chernow
Alone Richard Logan
American Heiress Jeffrey Toobin
American Lion Jon Meacham
And the Mountains Echoed Khaled Hosseini
Angela’s Ashes Frank McCourt
Anne of Avonlea LM Montgomery
Anne of Green Gables LM Montgomery
Are You Anybody? Jeffrey Tambor
Autobiography of Mark Twain Mark Twain
Big Girl Kelsey Miller
Bossypants Tina Fey
Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert
Evicted Matthew Desmond
Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence Daniel Goleman
Following the Equator Mark Twain
Girl With A Lower Back Tattoo Amy Schumer
Go Set a Watchman Harper Lee
Gone Girl Gillian Flynn
Good Clean Fun Nick Offerman
Gumption Nick Offerman
Guns, Germs, and Steel Jared Diamond
Hagseed Margaret Atwood
Hamilton Lin Manuel Miranda
Hard Choices Hilary Clinton
He’s Just Not That Into You Greg Behrendt
Homeward Bound Peter Ames Carlin
I Am Malala Malala Yousafzai
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Maya Angelou
Into the Wild Jon Krakauer
Invisible Man Ralph Ellison
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me Mindy Kaling
It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken Greg Behrendt
Lean In Sheryl Sandberg
Little Women Louisa May Alcott
Love, Lust, and Faking It Jenny McCarthy
Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention Manning Marable
Missoula Jon Krakauer
Modern Romance Aziz Ansari
My Beloved World Sonia Sotomayor
My Own Words Ruth Bader Ginsburg
My Story Elizabeth Smart
Notorious RBG Irin Carmon
Our Revolution Bernie Sanders
Paddle Your Own Canoe Nick Offerman
Road to Jonestown Jeff Guinn
Roughing It Mark Twain
Scrappy Little Nobody Anna Kendrick
Seabiscuit Laura Hillenbrand
Seriously, I’m Kidding Ellen DeGenerous
Settle for More Megyn Kelly
Steve Jobs Walter Isaacson
Stranger Beside Me Ann Rule
Talking as Fast as I Can Lauren Graham
The Audacity of Hope Barack Obama
The Bassoon King Rainn Wilson
The Case for Impeachment Allen Lichtman
The Gift of Fear Gavin de Becker
The Giver Lois Lowry
The Goldfinch Donna Tartt
The Great Gatsby F Scott Fitzgerald
The Hoarder in You Dr. Robin Zasio
The Innocents Abroad Mark Twain
The Kite Runner* Khaled Hosseini
The Monster of Florence Douglas Preston
The Opposite of Woe John Hickenlooper
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich William L Shirer
The Universe in a Nutshell Stephen Hawking
Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power Jon Meacham
Under the Banner of Heaven Jon Krakauer
What I Know For Sure Oprah Winfrey
White Trash Nancy Isenberg
Who Killed these Girls Beverly Lowry
Wild Cheryl Strayed
Yes Please Amy Poehler
You Are a Badass Jen Sincero
You Are Now Less Dumb David McRaney




First Two Weeks of Keto

So tomorrow I’ll have been doing official keto for two weeks. I’ve lost 10 pounds since I started (all water weight) but now I should be dropping more fat.

I did a cheat day because I started this kind of out of the blue and I wanted it to be gone, but it was really unsatisfying so I don’t think I’ll have many problems sticking to it from here on out. I’ve been combining it with intermittent fasting and I want to do it for at least a month and compare it to when I just did IF.

Seeing the water weight go away was a huge encouragement. After I got my IUD, I gained 10 pounds of water weight in one day and I read so many discouraging articles about IUDs and I was worried it would never go away. So that was a good start on getting motivated to continue this for the longer term.

My energy levels have been pretty much the same except for two days where I was so tired that I went to bed at 6 and slept for 11 hours.

It’s made cooking a challenge, but that isn’t to say that the challenge isn’t welcome. At first it felt really restrictive and limiting but now I’m getting it to work and finding more and more things that are keto-friendly. If you are unfamiliar with keto (and you’ve made it this far) it’s a diet based on eating very few carbs (under 25) and very high fat so your body goes into ~ketosis~ and starts using fat as it’s primary energy source rather than carbs. By heavily restricting carbs, I’ve also reduced my average sugar intake to under 15 grams and that’s including added sugars. I’m keeping a recipe list here if you want to follow along.

My skin has cleared up a lot also which is an unexpected positive. I’m spending 15% of my time peeing because I’m drinking 1.5 gallons per day.

Overall I’m pleased with my discipline. I haven’t felt this self-disciplined in a really long time and it makes me feel like I have more control over my life. There’s something to be said about obsessing over carb intake and measuring every food that I eat.



In other news I can’t wait to leave my job and move to Bloomington. I haven’t seen any of my friends in weeks and it kind of feels like they’re already moving on without me. I don’t mind, but I also mind a little.

I maybe found roommates and am hoping it all works out and that none of them hide the dish soap and clean their dishes next to the toilet.

Recipe List

Here are the recipes for the foods I’ve been posting on my insta. Usually when I want to make something, I’ll google a few recipes first to figure out the basics and then frankenstein them to what I want. This is where I’m going to keep a running list of the foods I make:

Zucchini Chips (Keto)
-2 Medium Zucchinis (180 grams)
-2 Tbs EVOO
-2 Tbs Parmesan

Thinly slice zucchinis (I used a mandolin slicer.) You can slice them by length or into chips, I don’t care. You’re the boss of you. Lay them on some oiled parchment paper on a pan and brush the olive oil on them delicately. Then sprinkle the parmesan on them sweetly and evenly. Bake at 220 for 2 hours or until crispy, flip them once. They’re going to shrink a lot so if you use salt use very lightly. img_4202












    Vegetarian Lasagna (Keto)

Vegetarian Lasagna
Because I’m already lazy.

Preheat that motherfucking oven to 350.

Slice the eggplant into slices that are maybe 1/4 of an inch. You’ll need as many slices as it takes to cover the bottom of ya lasagna pan. The first time I did this, I did not cut my ‘plants to fit the pan. In the future, I’ll probably do that because it will be so much easier.

Also slice your zucchinis in a similar fashion.

Crack the eggs in a dish and swish till mix.

Mince onion and garlic together.

Squish your tomatoes all together and put in a saucepan with some olive oil.

Measure out the sausage and spinach.

Get that tomato sauce started. Heat the tomatoes in a saucepan while sauteing the onion and garlic. When those go soft add them to the tomatoes.

Heat the sausage in a pan with a little olive oil to give it a little textcha and when it’s ready add to the tomato sauce and season it however you want. This is your creation.

While that’s cooking down, brown your butter in a pan. If you don’t know how to brown butter, google it real quick. When it’s browned, brush on the eggplant slices and place them on a lined pan. Sprinkle some parm on them and set them in the oven for ~40 minutes.

While those things are going, saute the spinach and set aside.

When the eggplant is in a good place, line them up in an oiled casserole dish so they mostly cover the bottom. At this time, use those eggs to make 4 very thin omelettes (like crepes) and set those over the eggplant.

Now is the time to spread your sausage-tomato layer all over in an even layer. Then, very very carefully, add the ricotta.

Cover the ricotta layer with the zucchini, then spread the pesto over it. Cover the whole fucking thing with mozzarella and sprinkle some more parm if you want.

Put the fucker in the oven for 40 minutes, covered with foil.

I cut mine into 12 pieces because of portioning but I don’t care what you do as long as it makes you happy. If you plan to freeze it, cut and separate it BEFORE freezing it because it’s the logical procedure.

These are the two I’m doing now but I’ll update this list as I make and experiment with more things.