Friday, December 31, 2010


Yearly recap: 2010

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?
Spread ashes of loved ones.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Resolutions for 2010:

  1. Floss daily.- Achieved! Flossing truly kicks ass, folks.
  2. Finish thesis. - Failed. However, I finally made progress and there is momentum. So, let’s call this 50/50.

Resolutions for 2011:
  1. Do not let any produce that I buy go to waste.
  2. Finish the god-damned master’s already.
  3. Make some changes to my lifestyle to benefit my health and well-being, whatever they need to be.
  4. Listen to music and enjoy myself more.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Unfortunately, yes. We have lost a lot of people this year, and it really has been difficult. My favorite uncle died alone and it still haunts me every day. Both of A.’s best friend’s parents passed on within months of each other after long and painful declining health. And just a few days ago, A.’s step-great-grandmother passed away. She lived along, good, feisty life of 102 years, however. It is still strange not to have her here, though.

5. What countries did you visit?
None, unfortunately.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
Some forward momentum. Most especially, I would really like for A. to have a job in his field. 

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I don’t have exact dates, but there are some moments that will always be with me. Realizing my uncle was alone when he died. Looking out the car window on one of our trips to support A.’s friend as his father’s death was around the corner. Spreading the ashes of J.’s parents. A. making breakfast in the cabin during our fly fishing trip.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I faced some really icky issues in therapy. I met them head on. I am stronger than I realized. Also, when I started to slip into another depression I tackled that shit straight on and took care of myself. I am so proud of that. And so thankful.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Finishing the god-damned Thesis.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Yes; falling in the shower like a dumbass. Thankfully, no illness found its way into our household this year.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
The lazyboy recliner loveseat thing. It is pretty damn awesome. 

12. Where did most of your money go?
Bills, unfortunately.

13. What did you get really excited about?
Our second annual fly-fishing  trip in western Wyoming.

14. What song will always remind you of 2010?
I used to listen to music ALL THE TIME. Now, I hardly ever listen to it. Um, Bad Romance by Lady Gaga?

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? Happier.
– thinner or fatter? Fatter. And in even poorer shape and health. Wow. Typing that is one helluva wake up call.
– richer or poorer? Smidge richer. A smidge.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
I wish I’d done more yoga and fly fishing. 

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Eating like crap and stressing about the Thesis/Masters bullshit. 

18. How did you spend Christmas?
This was my first Christmas at home. A.’s folks, his stepbrother, his younger sister and her boyfriend, 4-year-old son, 2-year-old daughter and 6-month-old puppy celebrated with us in our tiny l little home. It was actually pretty awesome. It was humble, but awesome. I cooked my first turkey, and holy hell did I ever knock that one out of the park! 

19. What was your favorite TV program?
M*A*S*H and The Walking Dead.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?
Oh, geez. The entire Sookie Stackhouse series. I am not going to apologize for that, either.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?
I heard “A Prayer of Desmond Tutu” by James Whitbourn on NPR’s All Things Considered and just cried for loving it so much.  

22. What were your favorite films of the year?
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 34 and it was a pretty low-key day. 

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A. getting a job in his field.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
I actually started to give a damn! I bought more clothes for myself in 2010 than in all my adult years combined. I’d say I was shooting for classic and tailored, like Diane Keaton or Audrey Hepburn. I didn’t really hit the mark, but that was my inspiration.

26. What kept you sane?
My honey, A. And fly fishing.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.
Life is comings and goings, and all of them are divine and blessed.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Well, hello

Things have been busy and I haven't felt like adding any extra minutes in front of the computer.


Yesterday I didn't need to wear a jacket while outside. This morning, within an hour and a half, 3 inches of wet, heavy snow have covered the ground and visibility is pretty damn short. This is only our second snow! The first was hardly a dusting a few weeks ago. It has been a strange, but pleasant, fall.


I meet with my committee next week. My adviser and I have been in steady contact (whoa!!). I could make myself miserable, as well as my committee, and try to finish The Thesis by December 3. That means the defense and final changes and submission to the University and everything.

I decided I didn't really want to do it that way. Yes, it would be done, but I would feel like shit.

So, I am doing a Plan B. It is no less rigorous, really. My current paper will need to be rearranged a bit so it reads as an 80+-page essay rather than chapters, and I have a bit of wrapping up and cleaning up to do. Otherwise, it is in great shape. My arguments are sound, etc. So, that feels pretty damn good.

Then, I have to come up with a reading list. This is primarily why I am meeting with my committee as a whole. I've submitted a proposed list that they felt was too centered on my non-Thesis topic. They are going to help me round it out a bit, plus add some key texts from the last few years in the field and American Studies Association Presidential Addresses and such.

I am actually really excited about the reading list. I get to read about all the other stuff that drew me into this field of study to begin with! It has definitely reignited my love for my degree and the field. It will be nice to branch back out.

Then, in the beginning of February I will defend my paper and write three exam essays in response to quesitons from my committee. It is set up almost exactly like comps. I will have three categories with three exam questions each. I pick three, and have three days to write essays. I will defend those essays as well, in February.

And then I am done!

I feel really, really good about this.


A. and I are buying our first piece of Honest-to-God furniture this week. We found this on sale for over 60% off, and it is soooo comfy. ((t is the loveseat the model is sitting on._ I am not a huge fan of the puffy furniture style, but damn. It is comfy. Each side of the loveseat rock and recline. It is pretty damn awesome. Our current rocking chair still reclines and rocks without so much as a squeak. It, too, is a Lazboy. It is 34 years old. The upholstery and cushions are totally disintegrating. It might be nice to reupholster it, but we are spoiling ourselves. This is our Christmas and birthday gifts to each other. I can't wait till it is in our living room!

I can't believe I am splurging on such a thing, but I am pretty tickled.


What is new with you?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Five

1. I met with my "adviser" on Tuesday.

He thinks my current paper would be a "really, really good" plan B paper (not a thesis) with very little work. However, I would then need to present a 24-item reading list in the field of what I consider American Studies and present it to my committee. Then, I would have to basically take comp exams over it (three questions from my committee with three days to write/respond), and defend both the paper and my exam to my committee by December.

I don't know that I am familiar enough with any 24 readings to do this by December. Thoughts? It is "open book," but to do this at the level required I would need to be very, very familiar with these readings. I have about 15 items I feel that comfortable with, but that is it.

The other option is to continue with The Thesis. He is mostly pretty happy with it, actually. My analysis/synthesis section would have to be substantial, which I think it will be.

I think I have a better chance of wrapping up The Thesis, though I am not at all opposed to a Plan B. finish.

I am to email him today with some thoughts on my analysis section and potential reading list and we are meeting again on Tuesday to hash it out.


2. Last night, A. and I made lamb chops for the first time. We seared them over high heat and then moved the pan into a super hot oven for 10 minutes. It was smoky (as was expected).

What wasn't expected was the dogs reactions. Before A. and I could discern any smoke, the dogs both started acting super nervous, fidgety and scared. We let them outside. A bit later the smoke detectors when off and it took a while to get them to stop screeching. The dogs were still outside for this.

I went to let the dogs in and they both skidded to a stop at the threshold. Their noses were sniffing and were wiggling in overdrive. They REFUSED to enter the house.

We finally coaxed Buster back in with the promise of treats two hours later, but Belle refused. She refused ever invitation, and slept outside. She still wouldn't come in this morning. When she finally did come in, she was literally walking so close to A. that she was touching him at all times.  She curled up with me for a bit. She was shaking the whole time. I have NEVER seen Belle shake before. Never.

We totally, utterly tramautized our dogs while making dinner.

But the chops turned out fantastic.

But I still feel horrible!

3. I feel even worse because this afternoon I am dropping them off to the kennel and that freaks them the fuck out for a good week after we've picked them up. 

4. It is kind of hard to feel excited for my trip to Portland knowing the dogs are miserable. I am trying to keep perspective on this, but I am stupidly empathetic with the dogs, so who knows.

5. I can't believe Gretchen got to advance on Project Runway. Team Mondo forever!

Happy Friday to you!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mindless Monday Morning Babble

So, I am trying not to worry about what my "Adviser" is going to say tomorrow, because it will not help the result in any way. He will tell me what he wants and I will have to deal with it, regardless of whether it is rewriting the entire Thesis or not. If it involves divining what the fuck he really means in his comments, I have another professor in my department lined up to help me decipher his notes. (Really, I do.)

Do you 'spose I will have to rewrite the whole damn thing?

God, I hope he just keeps in mind I NEED TO FINISH. No one is going to read this pile of BS. It will have no impact on "Adviser's" career or reputation in the slightest. It will mean more to his colleagues that he enabled me to finish than any of the actual words in the stupid document. No one is going to unearth this thing to see what kind of content was created under his "supervision." No one gives a damn. It is just a moving hoop in the total bullshit world of academia.




I have to get up at 3:00 a.m on Saturday so that I am on the road by 4:00 a.m. to make my 9:00 a.m. flight out of Denver to Portland.

I really, really, miss living three miles from Ronald Regan National Airport in DC/Arlington. Before I lived outside of Wyoming, it used to be totally normal to have a three-hour drive to any major airport. That is just par for the course when living in Wyoming. But after living five minutes away from a convenient, small airport, the trek to Denver feels positively uncivilized.

3:00 A.M. PEOPLE.


What has me most nervous is being on the road at this time. It is when all the critters, and by critters I mean 700-pound elk, are on the road.


Do you suppose I could operate a log spitter by myself? I am going to have to help out considerably more this fall in the firewood department if we are going to be ready to go by the first (major) snowfall.

I think the most challenging part will be keeping up with the split wood and not getting buried in it.


I made homemade bread yesterday for the first time in months. It is too hot to bake in the summer. (I also miss having AC and baking with abandon in the summer. Oh, DC. How I miss some things about you.)

The house smelled soooo good. I think I successfully substituted the sugar in the recipe with agave nectar. It isn't quite as sweet as usual, but I prefer it that way.

I can't wait to have a sandwich for dinner tonight! Yummy!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Five

1. I wore my Big Girl Panties all week.

I am terrified of needles. My imagination just goes too far when I think about the needle puncturing my skin, piercing through the different layers and densities if tissue and into my skinny vein. I am convinced that there is weird suctioning going on when in fact, it is just the force of my heartbeat pushing blood into the tube, but still. Skinny, weird suctioning of a needle in my vein! What if it sucks up the other side of my vein INTO the needle?!?!?

I am not kidding. I missed my calling as an artist for X-Files or one of the many CSI shows.

On Tuesday, I got my flu shot, all by myself. I am less worried about suctioning with shots than I am about the whole piercing thing and fluids being forced into muscle tissue. Dear God.

Usually, I am embarrassed to admit, my co-workers escort my wussy ass to make sure I do not chicken out and hide in a hallway. This year, everyone was out of the office when shots were being offered, so I went by myself. I did not even freak out! I know! My heart did not race! It is like I am a grown up woman who can slap away irrational fears or something.

Then, yesterday, I got my blood drawn for a blood chem test. And I only broke out into a small sweat! My heart did not really race. I did not hyperventilate or pass out. And unlike the last time I had my blood drawn, I did not lose my hearing in my left ear as my system went into Super Anxiety Mode. Amazing! A co-worker did go with me and we got our blood drawn at the same time. She told everyone how proud she was of me. I am so ridiculous.

I have always hated needles. I passed out when I got my MMR shot for college. I cried for days when I got, what -- five stitches, when I had two small moles removed. I was a fucking mess during the procedure, and cried for about three days everytime I thought about the stitches. They were at my waist, and I was certain my skin would stretch and then pull the stitches out and ohmygodIamgoingtobarfrightnow.

Maybe I need to amend that sentence up there? Maybe I used to be terrified of needles, but now I just have the normal dislike of being poked and prodded. Huh. I mean, I did pretty damn good when I got my eyebrow stitched up a few months ago, and I never once freaked out about the stitches while they were in.

I think I need to go shopping for a new size of Crazy Pants!

2. I had my annual wellness physical a week or so ago. The PA gave me three recommendations/reminders:

a. Exercise. Exercise. Exercise.
b. Keep wearing my seat belt all the time.
c. Wear a helmet in the shower.

3. A.’s hunting partner called last night and had to cancel this weekend’s hunt. A. is really bummed out. I am bummed because that means he really will have to go hunting next weekend, the last weekend of the season, and can’t join me in Portland for my friend’s wedding. I know quite a few people going to the wedding, and I actually enjoy running around a new city, exploring it on my own. But, still. It would be nice to have A. there. A. has not met any of these friends, and I feel like something is missing. The groom and another couple of guys at the wedding were a big part of my life in college, and I’d like them all to know each other.

4. I am going to read fun books, have drinks with a friend, and knit this weekend. All of this “having a life” sort of stuff is going to come to a screeching halt once I meet with my “Adviser” next Tuesday to discuss the next steps in the completion of The Thesis.

I am pretty fucking grumpy about this. Especially because it coincides with the baseball playoffs. This is yet another reason why I handed it in in August! I wouldn’t have minded missing the Rockies tank.

5. I think I am also going to bake some bread and try my hand at apple pie. It has been in the 70s and 80s for the past two weeks, and I loved it. However, Autumn arrived today and I will try to make the best of the chill in the air.

What are you doing to welcome/make peace with Fall?

Happy Friday to you!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I think Bill is An Asshole and Has Bad Hair

Well, hello there.

It seems, since turning in The Thesis, I have relaxed. So much so, that I could not put in the energy to write a blog post.

Nothing interesting is going on, anyway. I have done little more than read four of the Sookie Stackhouse vampire mysteries and watched the first two episodes of True Blood.  I hated the character Bill immediately, in both the books and the show. The opening credits to the show are fucking brilliant. These stories have been the perfect escape from all the stress I carried on my shoulders until I turned in The Thesis..


Do you recall that my adviser said he would get back to me in two weeks upon receipt of The Thesis? I turned in my thesis on August 31.

I got an email from him today, October 5, saying he just started reading it.

The good news is that he thinks it is a significant improvement from my previous draft. The bad news is, he has not yet read the shit new sections I threw together on August 31.

Regardless, we are meeting next Tuesday to discuss if I still want to graduate by December. “Because if so, we need to talk.” Talk about what? How it is October 5 and graduation is December 4? How it sure would be nice to have three months to revise and edit The Thesis instead of two? That this is going to be a tight God-damned deadline?

Boy, I sure wish I could have had this talk mid-September!

I am fuming, but ready to move on.


I am trying to lose weight for the first time in my life. I have lost 5 pounds, maybe. I am still tracking calories and stuff on Sparkpeople, and have started tracking workouts, too.

I miss being 20 and having a metabolism that was sky-high.


I am going to Portland in a couple of weeks for a dear friend’s wedding. I am anxious to meet his bride; I hope we like each other. It will totally break my heart if we don’t.

Other than visiting and purchasing a couple of delights from Voodoo Doughnut, I have not made plans. Andy will most likely be hunting (he made a commitment to a friend before we got the wedding invite) so I will be prancing around the city on my own. Too bad; we could have eloped at a doughnut shop. That is about the only wedding I think I can truly get behind! I am, however, actually quite excited about the idea of a little adventure, all to myself.

Any suggestions as to what I simply must see or do while there?


I missed you guys.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Help! Need Suggestions


A good friend of mine was in an accident a few days ago. A pop-up trailer disconnected in front of her car and blew threw the windshield and broke her face is six places. She is being released tonight. Thankfully, her hubby and 18-month-old were in the backseat and were unhurt.

I would like to do something for them, obviously. I thought about making a lasagna and putting it in their freezer. What are some other dishes that would be from the "freezes beautifully" section?

What else can I do? Offer to come over a couple nights a week after work to get dinner started, a load of laundry done? Take an afternoon off and take her little girl to the pool so she can rest?

Thoughts?  You guys are of the awesome sort. Any suggestions would be great.

Boy, I am going to party my ass off when it is time to wave goodbye to 2010.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Status of The Thesis: Turned in to Advisor! Ack!

I turned in The Thesis, as is, to my adviser at 9:17 p.m. on Tuesday.


It was a “directive” from my therapist. To just get The Thesis out into the light of day and for me to quit navel-gazing. She MAY have a point.

I think the draft is crap and that there will be CONSIDERABLE revisions, but dude - it is on my adviser's desk and not mine!!!! It is HIS problem to figure out how to fix that shit. considering he has been totally absent from my thesis journey, I don’t feel too bad about making him earn his paycheck.

I am sooo relaxed right now, let me tell you.

I spent all of Tuesday at the university library, surrounded by young whipper-snappers studying for their Spanish 101 quizzes. I felt old, but thankful I am past those silly early years of a bachelor’s degree. I hauled in all my main sources, I packed a lunch, snacks and dinner, and my laptop. I had on a cute pair of fuschia sweats and cute top, my hair was in a braid. I wore my glasses and didn’t wear any uncomfortable jewelry. I was set for the day.

And it was great. I sat down and just worked away. Tweaked the intro to more closely fit the rest of The Thesis, and wrote the final two chapters. I think having the stress of the quality of the work off of me helped considerably.  I just needed to turn in words on paper. The goal was simply to turn the fucker in, come what may. I just worked steadily without anxiety. It was awesome. Now, there is nothing you can say that will convince me that what I turned in is not total shit, but hey, I just don’t care right now.

Then I promptly caught a cold from all the germy whipper-snappers. Now, if you will excuse me, I need to concentrate on not gagging on my menthol throat drop.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Five

1. I am so flippin' relieved to know I will not be making a mad dash to be on the road by 6:00 p.m. to start an epic road trip. I am full of energy just because I know I won't be trapped in the car this weekend.

2. A very good friend of mine sent me some good advice about my current stand off with The Thesis. (Thanks, MT! Have an awesome weekend with all things Disney!) I am going to tumble around in that advice over the weekend.

3. The students are all returning as university classes start on Monday. It really sucks to live in this town this time of year. SUCKS SO HARD. I am planning to do my grocery shopping at 11:00 p.m. Saturday night. So. Annoyed.

4. Buster has taken to the idea that he cannot go outside to pee in the morning until after he's had his breakfast. A. deals with this nonsense every morning. Buster does his weird staring/backing up thing in A.'s line of vision until he relents and fills his food bowl. After snarfing the food down in 15 seconds (I wish I was kidding), he then prances around nervously, because, DUDE, he has to PEE.

5. Dogs. They are ridiculous.

Happy Friday to you!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Decided. Well, One of Many Things, Anyway.

I wrote this post once today. For whatever reason, it feels positively epic to have try and put it together again. (Also. Blogger, where the fuck did my post go?)


I have decided not to go to the memorial. While it would be nice to see my family, a 24-hour road trip over the course of 60 or so hours just doesn’t feel reasonable. I think I will write a letter and ask my other uncle to read it at the ceremony.

I feel so much better, so unburdened, since making this decision. Maybe I am selfish jerk, but I just couldn’t face this long trip this weekend.

But, you know what? I think I am finally okay with making decisions now and then that take care of me.


I am still wrestling with how to proceed on The Thesis. Do I just write 500 words a day and turn it in on Halloween, no matter what? Maybe.

The thing is, The Thesis has just turned into The Fucking Miserable Thing That Needs To Get Done. It isn’t about studying a topic I am interested in, it isn’t even about getting my master’s. I am trying to remember what motivated me to pull up my roots and leave all the people I love in DC to go back to being dirt ass poor and in school. What was it I was looking for? What was my goal, my dream? I didn’t do this because I had a specific career goal necessarily. I want to work in community development in non-profits, but I honestly could have done that without this degree.  If I started an entry-level position in a community development agency I am sure I would have moved up the organization’s ladder and would be doing fulfilling work right about now. (Though, I love my current job.) School kind of got in the way of that, in a sick twist of fate.

Why did I do this?

Maybe if I can rediscover my original motivation I can use that as the reminder I need to just sit down and write every day. Then it might be less about just getting something done, which has very little payoff for me, to accomplishing a larger goal. Instead of finally losing something (the thesis would be gone, finally) I would be gaining something in the form of a larger goal/accomplishment met that means something to me.

Does that make any sense?



I have been pining over a sewing machine for quite some time, now. I think I have narrowed my choice down to this one, a Janome 8077. I think it would be good for a beginner (ME), but that it would allow for me to grow into it with more elaborate projects for many years to come. From reviews I’ve read, it is a good workhorse.

And speaking of projects, I already have a number of them lined up!
  • Winter curtains for the house
  • Summer curtains
  • Curtains for the camper thing that sits in the back of the truck that can’t go anywhere. Might as well be pretty!
  • Handmade everyday napkins
  • Handmade holiday napkins
  • Handmade special occasion napkins
  • Handmade neckerchiefs for both A. and I
  • A super cool Christmas present for A.’s mom and a couple of friends. (email if you want to know what it is, but you might be one of the recipients! If I get my ass in gear.)
  • Kitchen apron
  • artist apron (for when I paint)
  • fruit and produce cozy’s to protect them in my lunch bag or purse
  • Silverware pouch to take silverware along for homemade lunches away from home
  • New seat cushion for A.’s grandpa’s cool wooden chair in our living room
  • New seat cushions for the couch
  • New throw pillows to accompany the new seat cushions on the couch
  • New throw pillows for our bed and the guest bed
  • Hem the two shirt dresses I have hanging in my closet to accommodate my short legs
  • Hem pants to the proper length
  • Hem skirts to the proper length
  • Hem, take in, re-purpose old or thrift store clothes. (Currently, I am obsessed with this blog.)
  • Eventually start to make my own clothes

So, I think I could get some use out of the damn thing. That is, if I knew how to sew. I don’t really know how to sew. I used to sew a little bit as a young girl, and could sew a mean pillow when I was 12. But I haven’t sewn since. I think tracking down a sewing class or mentor would be pretty easy, however.

Thoughts? Do any of you sew? Do you have any machine recommendations?


Happy Thursday to you!