Saturday, July 19, 2008

There and Back $5

So I won a prize over at Brunhilda's. How cool is that? Although she wants to envision us Texas wimmin as all having big ol' bleached blonde bouffant hair and bright red dragon claws, I just don't fit that pattern. My makeup is pretty minimal. Hair and nails are both cropped short and the closest thing to bleached blonde as I get are the highlights The Girl talked me into awhile back that I am allowing to grow back out and the -ahem- "natural platinum" that's growing in as I get older. I own a tanning bed but plan to sell it because I haven't used it in a couple of years.

I promised a juicy, newsy post, so first things first: I survived the oral exam but won't know until around Labor Day whether I passed. The problem with the oral exam is that examinees are given ten minutes to formulate a case and talk about it for an hour with two examiners who have no knowledge of the examinee's clinical skills. They know whether or not examinees have passed when they allow us to check out, but we have to wait six weeks for the "official" letter from the state. There are only one or two other states that still do the oral exam because of the lack of reliability and validity, partly because examiners only receive 3 hours' training and the outcome is highly subjective, but Texas still hangs in there because that's the way it's always been done.

I have some misgivings about my outcome because my anxiety level was through the roof. Ordinarily, I can talk about neuropsych all day long, but Saturday I didn't feel like I could construct a coherent thought to save my life. First of all, I like to think deeply when I'm formulating a case and take into consideration as many of the potential variables as possible. That just can't be done in ten minutes. Second, the people I've trained with over the years were genuinely down-to-earth people that you wouldn't know were psychologists if they didn't tell you. My two examiners acted the psychologist stereotype. It was creeeeeppyyyy (*shudder*). We were seated in a very tiny stark white room with a table, tape recorder, a black file with my name on it, and a 2-way mirror. The examiner seated closest to said mirror kept trying to look into it to see if anyone was on the other side - either that or he was checking his hair, or to see if there was something in his teeth, I don't know. Then, he kept checking his fucking BLACKBERRY throughout my exam!! Goddammit, if I had to leave my cell phone turned off and in the waiting area, he should have been held to the same standard.

The worst part though was the questioning. I had only ten minutes to review the case, which by design, contains only limited information. I could take notes for that ten minutes but that was all. Bet your ass I filled a page in that time. Then, instead of asking one question at a time, the questions were embedded - like 2 to 4 questions all in one shot. By the time I'd get finished with the first part of the question, I'd forgotten the rest and had to ask the guy to repeat the next part - of course, he repeated the whole fucking thing. Then, they started reading the questions e - x - c - r - u - c - i - a - t - i - n - g - l - y s - l - o - w - l - y, as if they were thinking , "Wow - this one is really stupid. How the fuck she got through doctoral study is beyond us..." Either that or my mind was racing so far ahead that there was a warp in the spacetime continuum and it just seemed that way. Then, they asked me what I'd done to enhance my professional skills in the last few years. Um, duh? I just cranked out four degrees in ten years? Finished 231 credits toward a 135 credit PhD in clinical psychology with a neuropsychology concentration as the cherry on top? Did ground-breaking research in the relationship between geriatric cognitive functioning and affect? All those CE's I've taken in the last 4 years? Teaching a doctoral level hands-on Halstead-Reitan lab? Did I mention that I did all of this while juggling work AND a family AND community activism? Does any of that count? Because really, I'm not so sure because my cogitator is really fucked up right now. At any rate, we'll know by Labor Day. Meh. I'm just glad to have it over with - at least until January if I failed the goddamn thing. Fuckers.

I learned yesterday that I'll be presenting my research in geriatric cognition and affect at my state psychological association's annual convention in November. Tragic that they misspelled the title of the research on the website. Gotta remember to call them Monday to correct it. It's Dysphoria, not Sysphoria, fools.

In other news, my intro psych class is over. They were awesome and everybody got an A. I doubt I'll ever get a class that good again. The developmental psych class I was scheduled to teach for Summer II didn't make (even though I worked my butt off getting the course ready to go - upside is that at least it's ready to go next time), so my finances are looking beyond bleak right now, but I'll make it. I always do. I applied for a full time position at the community college but they wait until the last damn minute to make a decision over there, then expect you to be ready to go - like - yesterday, so I probably won't hear anything from them until mid-late August (classes start August 25).

In the interim, I've been selected to take the faculty training for a big, giant corporate university and will start this Tuesday. The recruiter wants me to teach undergraduate and graduate level courses online. We'll see how it goes. In my research though, I've noticed that they advertise for faculty pretty regularly and that there are over 20,000 - yes, kids - twenty thousand - online instructors for this school worldwide. My entry level faculty trainee class is about 250. Jeez, Louise. I can't imagine the management structure they must have in place to keep track of that many people - and that doesn't include the on-ground people or administrative staff. The picture at the top is one The Girl took the other day for my faculty profile. She said that of the dozen or so pictures she snapped that day (actually sitting on the edge of the pool with my feet in, but I cropped all that out), this one captured my personality the best. See? I told you I don't have big hair.

The Girl worked at Sonic for about 2 weeks after drum major camp and never got a chance to work more than 2 hours at one time, even though she got a "promotion" to carhop the second day. By the time we factored in a gallon of gas there & back and taxes, it wasn't worth it for her to work there. Sooo, I talked to The Man and pointed out that sad little fact and that she would never be able to save for another car if she couldn't get any hours. We agreed that she would be better off at her old job, where she could at least work a full shift and get tips from being the best little tableside guacamole girl ever. Of all the guac I've eaten there (which would be approximately a shitload), hers stands out as the best, and I'm not just saying that because I'm her mom. People she doesn't even know request her specifically to make their guacamole. She's started doing this thing she calls "Guacamole Theater," where she acts out bastardized scenes from movies with the knife and the avocado as the main characters and the other ingredients and tools (salt, lime, tomato, garlic, onion, cilantro, molcajete, pestle & spoons) play the bit parts. (Knife: "I am Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." Avocado: "Ayudame! Ayudame!" After a mighty duel, Knife slices into avocado with a great squishing noise as the other ingredients shriek in cetera). That Girl is a scream, I tell ya. She's happier there, having loads more fun and making a lot more money, so everybody's happy. She even has a new car, 2 years newer, 4-door & white which we found for exactly the amount the insurance company settled back in April. All's right with her world.

The Man has a job interview Monday for a job which he is totally overqualified but it's close to home and since, despite my efforts, I'm not making shit for money, and the weather's been too dry for his hay business to get any work, somebody's gotta work around here.


Anonymous said...

Tableside guacamole. I knew you did things differently down there, but seriously.

Dr. Brainiac said...

Yes ma'am. The kids come around with a little wheeled cart and make it to your specifications the traditional way in a stone molcajete, which is really just a giant mortar & pestle. It's only $9 on the menu, but The Girl gets $10 tips out of it all the time.

Loving Annie said...

You passed, Dr. Brainiac - I have inside knowledge :)

What assclowns. Sheesh. The Oral as it stands is way outdated and not a good/accurate indicator of skill/ability.

And the girl sounds great. Custom-made tableeside guacamole with simultaneous on-site theatre acting - yummm !


Slick said...

I'm ashamed to admit this but I've never even tried guacamole.

Don't tell nobody...

I can't help it if I'm sheltered.

So, the dude should've turned his Blackberry off before he even entered the "interrogation" room. That was crazy!

I got faith in ya Doc. I do.

Brunhilda said...

Awwww . . . Doc is cute! I'll have to get my ass in gear and go fetch your shirt asap.

I'm sure the exam went fine. You're just stressing. That guy was a total asshat to be checking his Blackberry.

I love the Princess Bride scene. Classic. Alas, I've never had gucamole either. I'm scared of it.