Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The List

It’s been more difficult than I’d expected to read everyone’s exuberant posts about the Red Sox’s win. (Congrats, you guys. It is fun to see your team win!)

I love the Rockies, I genuinely do. A. and I travel to Denver to watch quite a few of their games every season. I’ve grown to know the players, their strengths and their weaknesses. I love Coors Field.

The truth is, the Rockies have played better than they did during the World Series. Their run in early September was awesome and really demonstrated how talented they are. But part of the challenge of the Series—besides the grueling journey to get there—is that athletes step up to the plate and play their best when it counts. My Rockies didn’t do that. *sniff* I still love the Rockies, regardless of their loss.

And I still have a crush on Troy Tulowitzki. In fact, my crush spawned the creation of “The List.” You know, the list of famous people you are “allowed” to sleep with if the opportunity should arise? Tulo is on my list, as well as John Corbett. Maybe Matt Damon. Natalie Portman is on A.’s list. He has a huge crush on her. Our lists aren’t final, and we haven’t discussed whether they must be considered final or are of a fluid nature. We are working on the logistics, being List Newbies and all.

Do you have a List? Who is on it? If you don’t have a List, who would you have Listed?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Is It Freezing Yet?

A. and I took off and spent some time in the Medicine Bow National Forest yesterday evening. It is about 15 miles from our house, so it doesn’t require much planning to fit a trip in. The dogs had been bouncing off the walls, and we both thought a good long walk in the mountains would be just the thing to wear them out. Also, they love running around up there SO. MUCH. There are so many smells to be sniffed!

It was a lovely evening. It was crisp but not cold. Buster and Belle were happy as clams. Well, Buster was until he heard the gunshots. The shots were from target practice, but Buster is such a baby; it freaked him out. He practically dragged me to the truck. Poor little chicken.

A. had an ulterior motive, I realized as I saw what trial we were on. We were wandering around a series of beaver ponds. Why would A. want to investigate beaver ponds, you ask? Why, because. They are the first thing to freeze over; they signal the beginning of ice fishing season.


P.S. THANK YOU for all of your enthusiastic and supportive comments regarding my journey through hell, er, The Thesis.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Trying Not To Barf, Part 5

So, right across the hall from D.'s office, with his door open, was S. The "Trying Not To Barf" thing? It was quite literal there for a bit. But, with your support, I stood up straight and walked into my department with my head held high. And tip-toed around S.'s office before he know I was there. Damn, that was close.


You guys!!!!!* Thank you for your advice and support. And for continuing to drop in now and then as my blog becomes overrun with neurotic, pain-in-the-ass posts about The Thesis. (And welcome, Melospiza!! I am glad you left a comment; your advice was good. And Black Sheeped kicks ass, doesn't she?)

The meeting with Potential Thesis Advisor #2 when so well!!!! He didn’t hesitate or bat an eye when I asked him to be my advisor. He just smiled broadly and said yes.

I said I didn’t want to be an additional burden on him and he interrupted to say:

“This isn’t a burden. It’s my job.”

But wait. It gets better.

“Besides, this work is really the cream of the crop. This is what I really look forward to.”

HOLY SHIT!!!! Oh, why didn’t I ask him to be my advisor earlier?

I caught him up on where I was with my data collection and my writing, and chatted about my initial thoughts on what I was seeing in the data. He perked up immediately and he thinks that I already have enough info to do some really fun analysis.

Yes, I really just typed that. Fun analysis. We chattered for quite a while, and it turns out I am not as far up Shit Creek as I thought. I really like D.’s approach to the subject matter, and god damn if I am not excited to get working on this again.

I am really excited to work with him, too. Shit, I understood what he was talking about. There weren’t vague references to sites and themes that have nothing to do with my prospectus. There wasn’t a blank stare and minutes of silence when I asked for some references.** I walked out of D.'s office knowing what direction to go next, what steps to take. With Nearly-Former Thesis Advisor #1 I would walk out of a meeting with him and think to myself, “Now, what the hell am I writing about?”

This is awesome. Now, I am going to wrap up some stuff at work, head home and cheer for the Rockies. It has certainly been an auspicious day so far!

Oh, I am so happy.


*My baby sister, A., used to call T. and I “guys” when we were kids. It was so cute. “Wait for me, guys!” “Hey, guys!” “Guys, were are you?” She was sooo cute when she was little. Now she is stunning: tall, blond, big brown eyes and has boobs. Lucky lady.

** Guess who just had an article about greenbelts accepted for publication? Guess who just presented this paper at a national conference? Guess who has been living and breathing all things greenbelt? If you guessed Nearly-Former Thesis Advisor #1, clearly you’ve maneuvered the tricky halls of academia before. While I am not worried that he stole any of my material, *snort* I am a bit miffed that I never had a helpful e-mail that said something like, “Here is a good list of resources for your lit review on greenbelts.” Or even, “I thought you’d be interested in the article I just wrote. It might help you, my advisee, with your thesis about greenbelts.” It is a good think I was freakin’ euphoric from D. saying he’d advise me, or I would have hit the roof.

Trying Not to Barf, Part 4

Ever since my alarm went off this morning I've been having what Tessie calls a "nervous tummy."

Today at 2:00 p.m. MT (4:00 p.m. ET!), I am meeting with Potential Thesis Advisor #2, D. I hadn't heard from him for a week since I'd e-mailed him with a request to meet. I'd made up my mind to call him on Wednesday (yesterday) if I didn't get a reply. To be fair, I do know that D. is not obsessed with checking his e-mail like, say, I am.

Yesterday, when I opened up Outlook, I found the following message waiting for me:

From: [Potential Thesis Advisor #2]
Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2007 8:16 PM
To: [Artemisia]
Subject: RE: Thesis

Hi, [Artemisia] --
I'm sorry. I really dropped the ball on getting back to you. Needless to say, I would certainly like to chat about how to proceed with your M.A. work. I'm a week late, but are you free this Thursday, assuming you haven't written me off? I have a meeting from 12:30 to 1:30, but how about after that? Probably to be safe I should suggest 2:00. If that doesn't work, I could meet on Friday. Let me know.
Hope to see you soon.
[Potential Thesis Advisor #2, D.]

I was so ridiculously, hyper actively elated that I nearly hugged my male officemate and I ran out into the hallway and did a happy dance, complete with an accompaniment of song. The song was something like, "He's so different than S., I can't believe it! He knows I'm alive, wooowowowowooo, woooo, wooo. yeah, yeah yeah." Or something. My neighboring co-worker came out of her office to see just what the hell was going on. Then she gave me a high five.

Do you see how nice and thoughtful D.is? How willing he is to work with me? OH MY GOD. I am still walking on fucking air.

I feel so relieved. I am pretty sure he knows I am going to ask him to be my advisor, and I am also fairly certain that he has an idea of what my experience with S. has been like. I am probably not the first grad student who exercised this particular brand of poor judgment. I think he'll agree to work with me. I do! And I am really pleased to be working with him, and not just because he acknowledges that I am, indeed, alive. (But, that is super awesome, I must say.) It has been his advice, suggestions and input that have gotten me as far along with my thesis work as I am. My former classmates that worked with him all have great things to say about the experience. Regardless of the poor advising from S., it makes more sense to have D. as my thesis advisor. Period.

You guys, I just know I am going to get The Thesis done. And I am so happy.

But I still have a nervous tummy for today's meeting! I don't want D. to think that I just disappeared and ignored my thesis for seven months. But I also don't want to sound like I am blaming S., either. After all, it did take two of us not to talk to each other. I mean, I suppose I could have camped out in front of his office for days until I finally caught him and forced him to interact with me, but I didn't. Though, I don't think I should have to do that. That isn't a good situation.

Now, since I am pretty sure D. has an idea of how difficult it is to work with S., do I just not bring it up at all? Do I just say, "Seeing as how S. is on sabbatical, will you be my advisor?"

I know I should resist the urge to sneak in a little passive aggessive crap, but what I really want to say is, "I've heard through the fucking grapevine that S. is already on sabbatical and will be leaving the county at some point. Will you be my advisor?"

Any advice?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Um, yeah

That last post?

Didn't work. So I deleted it.

And then I baked some cookies. Also, in the bottom of the fucking fifth inning, I realized I was wearing the wrong pajama bottoms. Imagine my horror!

The Rockies are just letting Boston build up some false confidence.... And, my man Tulo definitely showed up for the game. Let's hear it for whom should rightly be the Rookie of the Year!!! (Who also happens to be cute as a button!)

If the Red Sox were playing any other team, I'd be cheering for them. I have a special place in my heart for New England, and Red Sox Nation is awe-inspiring (just because, and from a folklore standpoint!). Good job on game one, but you need three more...

Monday, October 22, 2007

In Queue

I've spent most of my morning checking on my Firefox and Explorer browser windows, in a vain attempt to get Rockies World Series tickets.

I hated standing "in queues" when I lived in England, and I have just as much distaste for them with my butt parked in front of my computer. I would say that at least I had a cup of coffee to keep my happy today.


I spilled the entire contents of my coffee mug on my lap with my very first sip.

But, I don't think The Universe is trying to Totally Fuck With Me. I think it is Only Kinda Fucking With Me. I am wearing brown slacks today, so you can't tell I am wearing coffee.


So, seeing as how I am Only Kinda Being Fucked With, please keep your fingers crossed for me! I shall not give up hope, even as the evil queue tries to suck my soul away!

Knitting Titties

This weekend, I ventured downtown to this darling little knitting/fiber shop called In Sheep's Clothing. It is a great little shop; I've chatted with the owner on a couple of occasions, even though I haven't "knit" since my mother tried to teach me at the coordinated and patient age of 12. The owner doesn’t mind that my attempts at crocheting a baby blanket for my first step-nephew (now 2 and a half years old) have been thwarted with my inability to relax my death grip on the yarn. She thinks crocheting is difficult, anyway. So, ha!

I’d heard of an event called “Knitting for Knockers” that was taking place at the shop on Saturday. A bunch of ladies were getting together to knit breast prostheses for women who’ve had mastectomies. I thought I’d swing by, purchase some soft and pretty yarn to donate. I also wanted to see who these generous ladies were who had such a fantastic sense of humor.

Before I could finish protesting that, No! Really! I don’t know how to knit! I was whisked away to the downstairs studio. Happy, chatty ladies flocked around me and within seconds I was learning how to knit, purl, increase a row and knit an I-cord.

I came home with a pattern for the boobie, and will go back to the shop on Wednesday evening to get some help. Because! It requires three! double-tipped! Needles! Oh, my. Also, I really don’t know how to read a pattern just yet.

But guys – I think I am hooked. All weekend I’ve been practicing, happily passing time in the living room rocking chair. Knitting three rows, then purling two. I have made some interesting and overly-complicated attempts at increasing a row. But I am really proud of myself for remembering how to cast on and cast off.

Woo hoo! I know a couple of you are knitters. What was your first project? How long have you been knitting? What would be your ultimate project to complete?

I am very determined to see this through. I really want my first knitting project to be a boobie! Then, maybe I’ll try and tackle a pot holder or two.

Also, I have to admit it is really gratifying, in a selfish kind of way, to know that maybe this little project will help a woman make what must be a very difficult and frightening transition after a mastectomy. It feels like I am knitting a hug for someone.

Here are some patterns and the web site of Beryl Tsang, the woman who started knitting tits. The disclaimer about wearing a TitBit on an airplane is PRICELESS. Enjoy!


There were three ladies at “Knitting for Knockers” that I’ve known for years. One of them, M.F., offered to get together with me once a week, with another dear friend of ours, M.D., to help me learn to knit.

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am. Not only will I have the opportunity to learn to knit with someone rather than by staring at a book, but I get to spend time with two women whom I hold in very high regard. When I was still very active in the Catholic Church, I spent a great deal of time with both of these women. They are strong and actively faithful. They question things and force the problems they see in their faith and with the Church out into the light of day. They love the people in their lives unconditionally. I don’t feel the slightest bit uncomfortable around them, even though I haven’t been able to bring myself to attend church in the past few years. They know why I have chosen not to, and they even agree with my concerns. They are amazing, and I just really feel well, blessed to have a chance to spend some time with them again. It is these friendships that I miss most about my former church community.

They are also a helluva lot of fun; they are the women who named the event “Knitting for Knockers.” What a hoot.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday Five

1. I just got my flu shot for the season. I hate needles, but I remembered to breathe and everything this time. No stars! No passing out! Just one sore left arm. And hopefully no flu.

Get your flu shots!

2. I think I am going to rename this Friday feature to: Friday Five, An Occasional Series. I didn’t post last Friday, and it was only the second Friday of the feature, for Pete's sake. I just can't be confined to a regimen like that, dude.

Also, I’ve been inspired by Swistle’s continued posting about environmental stuff. I’m thinking of creating a series were I chat a bit about the individual elements of foodscapes that get my heart racing. I need a title for it, though. But it will also be “an occasional series.” I am not about to pin myself down to a schedule. Pshaw.

3. A wasp just flew in from my office window and landed on my arm. It has snowed twice already; it is COLD already! Why the hell is there still a live wasp buzzing around, spreading terror? It certainly isn’t spreading happy little pollens around this time of year. Bastard.

4. A. and I stayed up really late last night. We were talking about my mother and his father, both of whom passed away over 10 years ago. It was one of the most intimate experiences I’ve had in my life. I said things out loud that I never admitted to anyone before. We’ve talked before about our parents, but for some reason we crossed into very intimate territory last night.

I wish I could take all of A.’s loss and pain away and just let him breathe, even if just for a bit.

5. A. will be at a conference in Park City, UT from Sunday until Thursday night. Wahoo! Time to myself!!!! So, instead of getting some crappy work done at the office, I am daydreaming about how I want to spend Sunday and what meals to plan for the week. Avocados will definitely be involved, since A. won’t be around to wrinkle his nose up at them. As well as whole-grain deliciousness.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

This Is Such a Girlie Post, I Have Surprised Myself

It dawned on me yesterday while in the locker room, changing my clothes to go running for the Second Day of Artemisia’s Modified Week One of “Running,” that I am in desperate need of some new bras.

It is embarrassing, the state of my bras. EMBARRASSING. PITIFUL. MORTIFYING, EVEN. And yes, the state of my under things is so poor that the copious caps lock usage is totally validated and appropriate.

The thing is, bras in my size (i.e. itty-bitty) apparently require runt elves to make them, as normal human hands are entirely too large for such tiny, intricate and obviously magic stitching and constructing. And elves? They charge A LOT.

For those of you who have boobs that are discernable from the rest of your chest, are you regularly asked to spend upwards of $75 or so for a bra that looks like it is for a grown woman, and not a 12 year-old in training for future lingerie wearing? I might be little, but I like pretty things, too! Seriously, how much do you spend on a bra? Do you were pretty bras every day? Sexy ones? Plain ones? (If you, too, are blessed with Little! But! Perky! Girls!, and have any hot tips on where to find cute bras, let me know!)

On a related note, I’ve never been a matching bra and undies kind of girl. That is a lot of thinking and planning first thing in the morning. But now that I am regularly changing clothes in front of people in the gym locker room (ha!), I might reconsider. Are you a matching kind of gal?

I am also not the kind of girl that can say the word “panties” without gagging or giggling, depending on my mood.

Note to my Two (?) Infrequent (?) Male Readers: This is a rather girly post, I know. I am surprised, too. However, feel free to de-lurk and leave a comment if you have thoughts on the matter! To match or not to match? Panties or underwear? Keep it clean, please.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

We Are the Jones and We Bake Cookies

First, A. asked me to share with all of you the following (yes, he wanted you, my Five, er, maybe Eight? Faithful Readers to read this):

The other night, I was making "Mrs. Fields' Cookies," a recipe from A. (Super yummy but VERY labor intensive cookies. I'll send the recipe over to Maybe Painted Pink soon.)

I had the audacity to question whether or not the delightful little morsels of heaven really needed to be in the oven for only the stated six minutes. So, I kept an experimental sheet of cookies in the oven for seven and a half minutes. They were still a bit gooey in the middle, but looked like they had actually been in the oven, unlike the super-duper goopy six-minute batches. I thought they turned out just fine. They were still yummy cookies.

As it turns out, in order for these cookies to remain soft and lovely and heavenly the next day, they must only remain in the oven for six minutes. (A. refuses to believe that putting the heel of a loaf of bread in the cookie jar keeps cookies moist and chewy. Try it. It works, I swear!)

Now, the important part: A. was right, I was wrong.

EDITED TO ADD: A. is the (self-proclaimed) Baker of this Household.


Now on to what I want to share:

I have more than just joy and jubilation to thank the Colorado Rockies for! See. Since those kick-ass baseball players have gotten themselves to the World Series, the World Series that will be broadcast on Fox, Fox that is a network channel that is not a part of our Dish package, that our measly little antenna cannot pick up too well, A. upgraded our package (for the bargain price of an additional $5 a month) to include network TV. So we can watch the Rockies in the World Series.

Woo hoo! NBC! ABC! FOX! CBS! CW or something! I can finally read your posts about show reviews and know what the hell you are talking about. Yippee!

But I am still a NERD. What excites me most about all of this? That now, because our local PBS channel does come in clear as a bell with the antenna, we have two PBS channels as the Dish package includes the Denver PBS channel.


We might even get a DVR before we enter the second decade of the 21st millennium. We are sooooo the Jones you all want to keep up with, aren't we?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Do You Know Where That's Been?!?

Very delicate, precise red text surrounding the "L" on one of the dollar bills in the office money jar caught my eye.

It called to me: Where has George been? 

The bill had been stamped with a web site to track paper currency.  I thought this was a cool idea, though it doesn't tickle me the same shade of pink as the Bookcrossing site.  

Immediately I thought of how grossed out A. would be knowing he could track the many, many hands that touched the bills he handled.  He shudders at the potential traces of all the germs, residual bodily fluids, etc. that stick to money.  He worked at a truck stop just long enough for the dismal hygienic standards of the truckers to leave him with such vivid impressions of total grossness that only the special effects on CSI can come close to adequately expressing his imagined fears. 

(On the other hand, my mind should have been employed by the art team for the CSI shows, as well as the X-Files: I have visions of blood and goop and parasites and general craziness every time I handle meat, clean a toilet, walk up a dark stairwell ...)

Oddly, money doesn't gross me out nearly as much as it does A.

Trying Not to Barf, Part 3

I just sent off an e-mail to Potential Thesis Advisor #2, D., requesting a meeting to "discuss my thesis and the best way to move forward."

Oh, he is going to think I am a Lamo Lazy-ass, I just know it.

Am I a Lamo Lazy-ass?

[full-on, tsunami-grade waves of nausea crash over me]

Second Attempt

I did it! I went "running" last night!

Yes, yes. I know. I am now on my Second Attempt at Artemisia's Modified Version of Week One of the Couch-to-5K running plan. I ran for one minute, walked for a minute and a half, then ran again, blah, blah, blah for 10 whole minutes.

Walking over to the gym was not the difficult part. The difficult part was the locker room. You see, my office is located on a university campus. And classes have resumed since my Last Attempt.

The locker room is full of toned 19 year-olds, all skinny and tan, wearing the latest in workout fashion, smartly highlighted hair in adorable high ponytails. Who knew there were such snazzy tank tops for the gym? Coordinating not-quite-sweatpants? Matching iPods for Pete's sake?!?!

Once I fought through the flashbacks of middle school gym and managed to change into my workout clothes, (including a t-shirt that fits like a t-shirt and a giant red Discman), I headed up to the track. I am too stupid and fantastically uncoordinated to attempt this run/walk combo on a treadmill. To my complete horror, the track was unbelievably crowded with all these young whipper-snappers whizzing around the track.

I froze. I thought, "There is not a chance in hell I am going to "run" and WEEZE and JIGGLE my way around this track in front of these kids." As I debated whether or not I'd just walk for a bit or head over to the bar in the union next door because at least I am old enough to drink, dammit, I watched the kiddos.

Guess what!?!?! Every single one of them was doing some variation of the run/walk method!! Although, their intervals of running were considerably longer than those I had planned for myself, but still.

So, yes! I went running!


After running, A. and I curled up on the couch to watch THE ROCKIES WIN THE NL PENNANT and it was AWESOME.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day: Foodscapes

Regardless of the fact that this little morsel of Environmental Insight isn’t hitting the World Wide Web until approximately 6:30 p.m. Eastern, this entire day has been Blog Action Day.

Because I have a wee brain that has a tough time following the complicated science and implications of pollution, land-use, global warming and whatnot, my doorway into thinking about, talking about, and doing something about The Environment involves my foodscape. Oh, how I love that word: foodscape. So utterly delicious and descriptive and captures everything I am going to muddle up here.

I am certainly no expert when it comes to Environmental Issues. I don’t know much, but I know enough to be concerned that we are causing unnecessary and irreparable harm to our human and non-human neighbors as well as to the intricate systems that are responsible for life on Earth as we know it. I think the notion that we reign supreme is ungrateful and fatal for many species, including our own. (And not just someday down the road, but right now.) Indeed, I think the idea of the dichotomy between Us and The Environment is perhaps the most damaging idea humans have ever latched onto.

But it is all so overwhelming! Whenever I let myself sit down and really think about the state we are in and the health of our system, I find myself consumed with anxiety. Also, I feel so guilty when I see how I live my life is a direct contradiction to these concerns, these ideas of connectedness. That I crave and too-often buy anything that is all shiny and new (and usually entirely unnecessary) sends me spiraling into a pit of despair and self-loathing. I wish I were exaggerating. And yet, I still really, really want an iPod.

When I am not wallowing in guilt, then my head threatens to explode when I try to understand the ramifications of losing a local breed of mosquito or some such critter, and what that means to the ecological web. It is too intricate, too complicated, and far too frightening. My little wee brain can’t handle it.

Rethinking the most basic aspects of my life seems to be my only avenue into the difficult ideas around the state of The Environment. Lately, where I am able to enter into these ideas is through food. This shouldn’t be surprising, as of course my interest in food is powerful enough to overcome my fear of Seeing How Bad Things Really Are. As well as my fear of The Ever-Expanding Thighs and Butt.

Really exploring where my food comes from, and the food that feeds my community, and just what the hell is in that food has opened up my understanding and concern for The Environment in a wholly unexpected way. The awesome, complicated, and intricate connections between our actions and the resultant Environment are made much more understandable to my stupid ass when I consider my meals. I am (just barely) starting to understand the social, cultural, and economic circumstances that have created that dichotomy of Us and The Environment through the web of food. On these cultural and economic maps, the locality of structures (and Structures), such as of the availability and variety (or increasing lack thereof) of seeds as well as animal feedlots and grocery stores, are beginning to come into distinct, sharp relief.

At least I am finding a way to engage with my concerns, rather than just freaking out and saying, “Oh fuck it. A., make me a drink.”

So, I think about my foodscape. Where is it? What is it made up of? Where are the local boundaries, and where is it global? How can I be a part of it? Change it? I am beginning to really consider growing some of my own food. (I have little business doing this, as I can’t even keep my little basil plants alive. But think of all the misadventures I can post about as I find my way over the learning curve!) A. and I are members of our local food co-op and encourage the group to supply products and produce from our regional foodscape. At least it is a start.

After all that rambling, this is what I am trying to say: I am starting to get to know and participate in my foodscape. The more I explore foodscapes, both regionally and globally, the more convinced I am that engaging here, as just one little person, I can start to bring about the change I so desperately want to see.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Lurking Near the Second-Floor Vending Machine

Dear Mr. Vending Machine Man:

You are well aware I must—no less than twice a week—eat Pop Tarts for breakfast.

I have always appreciated your discretion. If word were to get out that I crave this overly-processed concoction, even with its one daily serving of “fruit,” my reputation as a hard-ass health nut within this community nutrition organization could be compromised.

I am writing to request that you stop stocking the machine on the second floor, far from my department, with Pop Tarts of the Apple Strudel variety. Have you noticed that it is always that Pop Tart waiting to be distributed when you come by to restock? I do believe this is because no one likes the Apple Strudel Pop Tart, and once the first one appears to be dispensed all Pop Tart sales stop immediately and do not resume until something more suitable, such as Frosted Strawberry or Frosted Cherry is available.

The thing is, the Apple Strudel crumbles apart and isn’t very yummy straight out of the foil. It must be warmed up to be palatable.

I can’t be seen at the company toaster with a Pop Tart.

You understand, don’t you? Please stop stocking the Apple Strudel Pop Tart. Perhaps extra Frosted Blueberry Pop Tarts would be an appropriate substitute?

Thank you for your time and consideration in this delicate matter.



Thursday, October 11, 2007

Trying Not To Barf, Part 2: The I'm Not a Predator Edition

So, while I work up the nerve to speak with D., who I hope will be my new advisor, I decided to distribute even more surveys at the greenbelt. I guess I am hoping that if I have loads of data collected I won’t look like such a total train wreck to Advisor #2.

The thing is, I feel so predatory when I am distributing surveys to folks. I see parents eyeing me as I approach them. Their eyes none too subtly communicate their concern with my approaching them, what with their precious, precious children, the hope for our future, so near and all. I clearly have something in hand and a purpose in mind. I feel so icky. Thankfully, this look of anxiety or accusation usually falls from their faces as soon as I explain I am a lowly master’s student, who is just trying to finish her goddamned thesis already. So! Harmless! So! Ridiculous!

(I can immediately tell if I am speaking with someone who has worked on an advanced degree; they usually grin, snap up my survey immediately and promise to return it as soon as possible, as they’ve gone through this hell themselves. It’s funny, and a bit sad, that there is such an instant camaraderie.)

Happily, I’ve had amazing success at getting these surveys returned, (somewhere around 67%) and I chalk that up to the fact that I approach these folks myself, complete with batting, pleading eyes and because I’ve included self-addressed, stamped envelopes with every survey. Look! You don’t even need a stamp. Please just complete the absurd survey and help me move on with my life!

If this process sounds half-assed, it is because this is totally crack research. WHATEVER. But, my advisor and committee—including Potential Advisor #2—approved it, so I place full blame on them. Hmmff.

But I still feel kind of crappy every time I go out to shove my surveys onto unsuspecting joggers, strollers, dog-walkers, bikers, and, you know, those adorable future Nobel Prize winners.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

OMG, IDK, my BFF -- WTF?!?!?!

That AT&T/Cingular commercial? The one where the daughter mistakingly assumes her mother is congratulating her for 3,000 text messages and Grandma is all busy texting her BFF Rose?

I just realized that I completely, totally and unequivocally rely on the subtitles in that little advert to understand what the hell is being said.

Oh, lordy. The next post just may be asking you all if you know of any hair coloring tips.

Trying Not To Barf, Part 1

On Monday, I met with the K., the head of a department outside my own, to discuss the situation with my thesis advisor. She listened while I explored the best way to gracefully end my relationship with S. as my advisor while maintaining my friendship with him. All in all, I like S. quite a bit.

I was so proud of the professionalism I displayed in this meeting. Not once did I pound my fist on her desk and yell, “For the love of all things cheese, I just want the fucker off my committee!!” So. Much. Restraint.

Guess what?!?! She agreed that I have every right to want to finish The Thesis and to do so with some feedback and guidance. I know I shouldn’t feel so fucking relieved to have these desires validated this way, but I am. Oh, how I am.

(And what the hell does that mean?! Dammit, grad school has given me The Crazies in more varieties than anything else in my life.)

K. thought it best to first approach D., the committee member I’d like to ask to be my chair. Once I am assured he is on board, then I should set up an appointment with S. to ask him to step down. Seeing as how S. is on sabbatical already, she suggested using that as my reason and just moving on from the situation. (The part of me that thinks this is wussing out and missing an opportunity to educate S. on the finer points of advising could be easily talked out of giving a shit.)

(OK, but so how scary is all of this!!!??? D. could say, “Hell no! This thesis is a Pile-0-Crap! I don’t have time for this shit!” S. could say, “No! You should have finished this despite any obstacle. You are no academic! Too bad!” And there really could be this many exclamation points. Yes, there could. No, I am not being melodramatic and unreasonable. Oh, my tummy hurts.)

I am still worried about how to bring up why I want to change advisors to Oh-Please-Be-My-Advisor D. I don’t want to come across all whiny, but I do want him to know why there has been so. very. little. progress. over the past seven months. It doesn’t seem to be the most advantageous to open up my relationship with D. as my advisor letting him think that I just forgot I had a thesis to write for half a year.

So, I am currently trying to work up the nerve to set up an appointment with D. On the plus side, he knows S. and is well aware of how this man over-commits and stretches himself waaaay too thin. It is no secret that S. is a procrastinator and is completely disorganized. On a different day, I’d describe him as the epitome of the absent-minded professor.

But not today.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Please Help: A Family of Four

I am asking for a favor on behalf of a really, really dear friend of mine, L. The Short One, from DC. She and her absolutely adorable husband, J. The Tall One, adopted a darling little boy, J. The Tiny One last year. They have been ecstatic being a family of three. They would love to become a family of four. They are in the process of adopting a sister for J. The Tiny One from Guatemala. They have already started this process, and under normal circumstances expected to bring their little daughter home sometime in late February or early March of 2008.

However, Guatemalan President Berger has stated that all international adoptions will be halted as of January 1. 2008. He has also stated that there will be no “grandfathering in” of adoptions already in progress. The international adoption community is trying to get an agreement that will allow all cases that are in process to finish.

As you can imagine, they are very concerned that they will not be able to bring their daughter home.

This breaks my heart into a million little pieces. These are some of the kindest, funniest, most generous people I have ever known in my life. L. The Short One has been an incredible role model to me. I don’t know if my word means much, but I do hope you’ll consider helping them out.

Here is what you can do to help. (Most of this info has been provided by them. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions or concerns.)

It involves contacting your members of Congress. The first time I ever contacted my representatives about an issue, I was nervous and a bit intimidated. So! Silly! Please believe me when I say that you have every right (and I’d dare say, responsibility!) to contact these folks and expect them to listen to you with respect.

Please leave a comment if you decide to call and let me know how it went. Woo hoo! Citizenship in action!!

Anyway... back to the work at hand:

Below is what you can do to help and some information to make this easier.
  • If you have time on October 9, 10 or 11, please call or write your Congressional Representative and Senators to ask for their help. Ask to speak with the Legislative Director or Chief of Staff. If that person isn't available ask for the staffer who works on adoption issues.
  • If you aren’t sure who your Senators are, please click here.
  • If you aren’t sure who your Representative is, please click here.
  • It will be helpful to find out if your representatives and senators have a special interest in adoption before you call. (http://www.ccainstitute.org/memoc.php)

Here are some things to say:

  1. Thank them for speaking with you. If their boss is a member of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, thank them for working for adoptive families.
  2. Inform them that you are calling regarding Guatemala 5000.
  3. Inform them that the Guatemalan government has announced that all intercountry adoptions with the U.S. will be suspended on January 1, 2008.
  4. Inform them that the President of Guatemala's (President Berger) announcement also indicated that there will be no ‘grandfathering’ of adoptions already in process.
  5. Ask them to sign the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) sponsored letter to President Oscar Berger.
  6. Ask them to sign the Joint Council on International Children’s Services sponsored letter to UNICEF.
  7. These letters ask that all adoptions in-process as of January 1 2008 be allowed to process to completion under the existing notorial laws.
  8. Thank them for their time.



Monday, October 8, 2007

Like New

I came home Friday night after a loooooong week of work battling a snotty, disgusting cold and too many impossible deadlines to find that A. and completely and utterly rearranged the entire house.


It is great; the furniture has been rearranged to take better advantage of the sunlight streaming through the windows and artwork has been hung to catch our eyes again (or for the first time, it seems).

The house also feels a lot more spacious. Because! Not only did A. rearrange every room of the house, he also threw away loads and loads of useless shit.

Halleluiah! Praise the Lord!

A. is very sweet, very gentle, and very sincere. He genuinely treasures the people in his life. This is one of the qualities about his soul that not only attracted me to him (along with his Super-smart Hotness), but keeps me with him. It also means that he is very sentimental. This, by extension, has meant that he attaches sentimental value to every last thing that can be associated with someone he cares about. Including mugs, pillows, various stuffed animals (both of the teddy bear variety and the deer head mount variety), old board game boxes, a giant stand-alone Star Wars display.

(Please don’t misunderstand me to think that A. is a hoarder or anything. I am on the other extreme end of this spectrum; I don’t even have a high school yearbook from my senior year. So, what I consider to be piles and piles of junk is probably completely acceptable to everyone else.)

Once A. reassured me that he truly believed that the stuff he tossed he didn’t need or want, I wandered around the house in an uncluttered daze. The clarity! The space! The organization! The light! Oh, the light! It is like we live in a new house.

It is so awesome.

Do you know what else makes something old seem new? Shoe polish. I just polished my black Danskos and holy shit! It is like I have a brand-spanking-new pair of shoes on!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Friday Five

I am swamped at work, swamped at home, and am only now starting to feel like I am getting over this damn cold. So. Much. Snot.

So, to help my mind organize some thoughts, I am going to try out a feature I am very creatively calling
"Friday Five." (I'd love to call it the Friday Fabulous Five, but that might get everyone's expections up a bit too high.)

This is inspired by Lisa's Thursday Thirteen feature. I am scaling my Friday version of this down to five, however, because my brain cannot come up with 13 relevant things to say in any one post. This may, or may not, become a reoccurring feature. You lucky readers will just have to wait and see!

So, here we go:

1. This is my 100th post! I kind of feel like, "So many posts, so little said." But in the course of these posts, I've stumbled upon some great bloggers and all of your writing styles and topics inspire me. I am looking forward to fine-tuning the style and content of this humble little blog over the next 100 posts. 100! More! Posts!

You don't know how to contain your excitement, do you?

2. A conversation between A. and I last night:

A.: Artemisia, I have quite a dilemma on my hands. Would you mind sitting down and talking with me about it?

Me: Absolutely! [In my mind: Awesome! This is what healthy relationships are about! He's asking my advice! Now I get to give something back for all the patience and generosity he has shown me over the past three years. Woo hoo!]

A.: So, I was at the store tonight and I was thinking to myself, Hmm. We are out of bread. I would really like some bread. But if I buy a loaf of bread and come home with it, Artemisia is going to think I don't like her homemade bread. And I do like her homemade bread. A lot. But she won't think I like it if I come home with store-bought bread.

[Pauses. Grins.]

Me: [Oh. Not quite the conversation I was expecting.]

A.: However, I can't very well come home and say "Woman! Make me some bread!" now can I? You'd kick my ass.

Me: Yes, yes I would. Without hesitation.

A.: Do you see the dilemma I am in?

Me: I know what to do!

A.: You do?

Me: Yes! I'll teach you how to make bread!

A: [Cackles loudly as this is so obviously absurd.]

Me: [I rub my chin as I scheme up exactly how I am going to accomplish this, as I don't think it is absurd at all but rather brilliant.]

3. Check out the Tomato Nation Fall Contest 2007. If you can spare even a couple of bucks, the schools, teachers and students will be grateful for your support! It is truly awe-inspiring to see how much money this group has raised since October 1. If you don't have funds to spare right now, please just spread the word. The contest ends on October 31. (Thanks to Bibliodiva for getting the word out!)

4. I am beginning to wonder if Buster is really in pain or is just a very anxious, nervous dog. The other night A. just pet him
(no scratching or vigorous pets, you know, just real mellow-like) when Buster wasn't expecting it and he flipped around and started yelping. Is it possible he is just really high strung? If so, what the hell do you do to make a tightly-wound dog feel better?

5. My current feelings about The Thesis:

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Instead of Standing Still, I'll Be Running to Meet that Bus Head On

Supposedly, my thesis advisor, who is also head of the department, has not left the country, and won't do so until sometime in the Spring. The department administrative assistant didn't really know when, because he's never told her. Or to what country he is fleeing.

He is on sabbatical already, though, and is thereby unavailable for my thesis committee.

He has not had the courtesy of letting me know any of this, of course.

I have not heard from this man in SEVEN MONTHS. I am not lying, nor am I exaggerating. I've sent e-mails, complete with extensive passages of my thesis and specific questions regarding my methodology. These are questions I need answered. If I employ the wrong or flawed methodology, I'll not only have to re-write four chapters, I will first have to re-evaluate all of my data. I'd like to at least try avoiding that scenario. I've left phone messages. I've stopped by his office, but I always manage to miss him. None of the e-mails or voice-mails have ever been returned.

So, about five months ago, I quit trying to reach him. I quit working on my thesis entirely. It was really hard to stay motivated after a nine-hour workday only to come home to work on a thesis that I had absolutely no feedback on.

My motto quickly became: Who gives a fuck? Clearly, not my advisor.

I almost started laughing out loud when the office administrator told me he is available by e-mail this fall.

This has not been an easy process for me throughout. My advisor is scatter-brained and never really offered me any helpful criticism until I was in a meeting with my entire committee. This made me feel so stupid. So unworthy of the project ahead of me. I felt under-prepared in front of my committee, and certain they thought they'd agreed to take on a trainwreck.

I didn't need these extra (not to mention, public) blows to my academic self-esteem. Throughout grad school I suffered mightily with consuming thoughts that I wasn't good enough and certainly not smart enough to be in this program, attempting to complete a master's degree. Everyday I'd beat myself up for what I thought (and still do, honestly) was an utter lack of creativity in my approach to the subject matter and a woefully inadequate capacity for critical thought.

I had never doubted my mind or my ability to meet a challenge until graduate school. Needless to say, I didn't (and still don't) know how to deal with this new and devastatingly crippling self-doubt. A. has been witness to more than one very messy and extremely mortifying meltdown. (I mean, he has really seen me at my worst. And here he is. Staying.) I would so thoroughly convince myself that I was mediocre and utterly inadequate that I'd become completely paralyzed. I wouldn't even be able to construct a complete sentence.

So, to be dismissed like this is really disheartening, to say the least. So many thoughts run through my mind. "Dr. BadAdvisor is scattered and over-commits; maybe he just doesn't remember I am trying to finish my thesis." "Maybe he knows I don't really have what it takes to finish this and he's hoping I'll just sort of forget about the thesis and will disappear." "Maybe he thinks I am too stupid to understand my topic." "Maybe my e-mail address has been filtered to his junk mail folder."

Well, capable or not, I've decided this is bullshit and I am moving forward. (Finally! Black Sheeped, J should have hollered at me over and over!! Tell him thanks for believing I deserve something better. That means a lot.)

I have a meeting set up next Monday with a department head/professor from another department that I respect very much. I am going to ask her advice on how to best maneuver a change of advisor, both politically and so that I get the support and resources I need. Then, on Wednesday, I'll be making the switch.

I'll be asking the second person on my committee from my department to be my chair. He has already been the most engaged with me and my project, recommending readings and discussing my methodology. He seems excited about my topic. He's at least heard of the authors in my lit review. He would seem like an obvious choice, no? Then I'll ask the only female professor in my department to replace him as my number two member. She is going to kick my ass regarding my writing and will really bring me to task with any assumptions I make in my arguments. Just knowing she'll be reading this inspires me to try harder.

Also, I think it will kick ass that 2/3 of my committee will be women. Awesome.

Hopefully, as I rearrange my committee to better suit my needs, a clear path will begin to emerge. Much like these new telephone (?) poles being constructed a couple of miles from my home.

Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Betting Window is Open Until 12:00 noon, Mountain

So, here's the bet:

Did my thesis advisor leave the country for the next full year with or without notifying me, at all, in any form of recognized communication?

Later this week, I'll be calling my department to find out.

Monday, October 1, 2007

I Heart Troy Tulowitzki


The Rockies, at the bottom of the 13th, finally pulled ahead of San Diego to win the Wild Card. Woohoo!!

Although, I just don't know if Holliday touched home plate or not...

Weekend Photo Album

Bleh. I have been sick for a couple of days. It hasn't kicked my ass until today, and I am starting to really feel crappy. Of course! Because I have to be at work as I have nine - yes nine - miserable deadlines this week that require a miracle for me to meet even if I was feeling tip-top. *sigh*

I've been going back and forth for some time now about whether or not to post pictures to this site. I am a fairly private person (who decided to create a public personal blog?!?!?!). Some of you have even pointed out that I don't actually post many personal-type posts that often. One of the main reasons I started this blog (hate. that. word.) was to keep in touch with friends far away from me in this Big Red Square State. Updates on the ins and outs of my personal life are the kinds of things I'd like to keep these folks updated with. And everyone likes pictures, yes?

I suppose my main reason for anonymity on this site is the fear
of future discrimination when A. and I are trying to get new jobs. In our location (that I haven't kept super secret, anyway), it wouldn't be too hard to do a search for our real names and locations and find us. Also, I'd hate for something I say on this site to cause any kind of problems for my friends and family. I suppose I am a little nervous of stalker types, but really I don't harbor any illusions to being so magnetic and mesmerizing to really inspire any stalkers. But, why chance it?

I've tried not to scream out which state I live in too loudly, and I don't think I've said what town I am in. (Though, some piss-poor detective work would make it pretty clear where I live.) I am comfortable with using initials when I mention people, though sometimes that gets confusing and even a bit dull. (Also - if any of you are ever inspired with a great nickname for A., please share!) When (yep - when!) I post photos I'll make sure that even the files names are anyonymous so as not to have anything show up on Google image.

I know that Black Sheeped has posted a couple of times about how she juggles her desire to share and her instinct to keep some level of anonymity. How do you guys feel about
anonymity? How did you come to your own decisions about photos, names, stories? What are those decisions? What other precautions do you take? That you think I could/should take?

I'd like to balance my near-pathologic desire for anonymity with enough personal and friendly details to keep in touch with friends and also develop friendships with those of you who have stumbled across my site and have decided to stay for a bit. (Oh, and thank you! These blossoming little friendships have started to mean a lot to me!)

So, to dive right into sharing photos, here are a couple from my weekend. Including one of the most unflattering pictures of me ever to be taken. Enjoy.

Even though I didn't feel great, it was a nice weekend.
First, as I was driving home Friday n
ight, I caught the moon rising up over the hills behind our house.

Then, we woke up (very early! Boo!) to snow on those same hills on Saturday morning.

On Sunday, we watched the Rockies beat the Arizona Diamondbacks to tie for the NL West Wild Card. (I am the silly lady in the obnoxious green vest and the forehead that won't quit. A. is the one on the far left, looking at the camera, cute as hell. Even when not covered by a ball cap, his forehead is proportional to the rest of his body.)

The Milwaukee Brewers needed to beat the San Diego Padres yesterday in order for the Rockies and the Padres to tie for the Wild Card. It was so fun watching the scoreboard for the updates on the Brewers-Padres game while watching the Rockies at the same time. So! Fun! And it was gorgeous in Denver, although there was some snow on the tops of the northern-most Rockies.

P.S. Do A. and I look like what you thought we would?