Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Here. Stare at my face!

Not really. I am not posting a picture of my face here. But, I would like your input on a project I have bouncing around my head.

Like many of you, I am sure, I have hundreds of pictures of friends and family. They are stored on my computer, my back up drive, my phone. It is great that we can catch just about any event in our lives, both ordinary and special.

I never look at these pictures. And if I thought to, the last thing I would want to do is park my butt in front of a computer or squint on a tiny phone screen in order to take a trip down memory lane. I never see the faces of the people I share my life with and I am not reminded of the goofy situations or fun trips captured in those digital tidbits.

I, personally, would love to have little albums - actual, physical albums -  chronicling each year.

It is so! revolutionary! It is like a photo album or something.

I bring this up because I am really considering sending out a small, annual photo book to family and a few friends. I imagine these little codices as a picture-book-holiday-letter. I would carefully select the photos and keep it to a small, tasteful size so that it can easily be stored in the bookshelf. 

I swear I would make these little guys ABRIDGED versions of our year.

Is that a weird gift? Does it seem - pushy? Conceited? All, "Hi! I am assuming you would like the opportunity to look at my likeness on paper! And have said likeness occupy space in your home! Here you go!"

Originally I was thinking of doing annual photo books of my little family (A., Buster, Belle and myself) and our year, so that we always have something to look back on. Because, come on. I am NEVER going to print off a bunch of pictures and make a traditional photo album. EVER. But, I'd like to have an annual catalog of our years together.

Then, I thought, that seems like a nice thing to share with family. (I would love books like these from family and close friends! HINT, HINT.)

What do you think? Would you want a photo book from a family member or close friend each year? Or would you groan and then be filled with anxiety/guilt about whether to keep it or toss it?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Five

I spent a weekend in Hermann, Missouri a few weeks ago to attend a wedding. I ran around with the bride throughout college, then again for four years in Washington, DC, and AGAIN in my current location. So, not only was it super fun to be at her wedding, it was like a mini reunion with friends from college and DC. You guys. I had SO. MUCH. FUN.

Hermann is a positively delightful little place, by the way. It was purposefully settled by Germans and turned into wine country. No, really.

I can't say I'd recommend every wine produced in the region, but I wholeheartedly endorse the 2007 Norton by Hermannhof Vineyards. It is not too dry and is spicy. Love it. In fact, I liked it so much that I checked my carry-on bag so as to bring a bottle home with me. (They don't ship to Wyoming.) It became a rather expensive bottle of wine in my case, but is otherwise modestly priced.

It was fun to run around wine-tasting and socializing and dancing. It was a nice change from ice-fishing, and even fly fishing. I need both types of cultural experiences in my life.

Boy, I miss having close friends near by. Everyone I am close with lives between 600 and 2,000 miles away.It is so different to share the trivial moments of daily life with people you are close to than with acquaintances.

How the hell do you make friends as an adult without coming across as CREEPY and DESPERATE?

Am I just a sorry case?

Things have been busy and hectic. A. and I bought a new (used) truck. It is awesome and pretty and it is not falling apart. We had to control ourselves during test drives, so as not to blurt out, "This is cool! It rides so smooth! You don't We were planning on this purchase happening in the spring, but we got a gentle nudge from our old pick up:

Happily, no one was hurt when that wheel took off on its own. My stepmom was delighted in the fact that we "drove the truck until the wheels came off!"

Indeed, we did.

I am itching to knit. The weather is coooold and another storm is moving in. It seems the perfect time to snuggle up in the rocking chair with a bunch of soft yarn in my hands.

Knitters - what are you working on? I am going to make some leg warmers for a friend's granddaughter, and then I am open to anything. Suggestions? I am actually anxious to knit on some single pointed needles. Every project I've done so far has involved 4 or 5 double-pointed needles. I am not in the mood to wrestle with a pointy, kraken-like object.

I broke down. I renewed my contract with Overcharging National Wireless Provider and got myself an iPhone.

This is one of the most exorbitant purchases I've ever made. I had it all planned out - I was going to dump Overcharging National Wireless Provider and save $35 a month.

But then I saw how stinkin' fun it can be to use an iPhone for all sorts of things while in Missouri with everyone. I made up my mind then and there.

And it is pretty damn fun. Although, Jess is KICKING MY ASS at Words With Friends.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday Five

Buster is consistently doing "fake jumps" before he finally jumps up onto the bed in the morning. These scrambly, hoppy acrobatics are like false starts, like he has to convince himself he can do it or he is warming up his hips or something.

It is breaking my heart. 

I find myself thinking about when it is time to give that ultimate gift: mercy. To let the dogs go when they are old and in pain. I am so afraid this is coming soon. 

I can't believe how hard this has been on me, actually. I guess the last time I had a dog put down I was a kid. I cried for days. But I was crying for a loss. Now, I am crying from carrying that wonderful burden I took up when I decided to care for these creatures. It is an awesome, horrible thing.

This morning, as I was driving into town, I thought to myself, "Oh! I bet it will be easy to get parking space today. I am sure a bunch of folks are taking off to go hunting."

I was right. Delightful!

It struck me, as I parked in my easily-found space, how different regions of this country are so very unique in the patterns of the everyday minutiae. Indeed, it is everyday life that jolts me the most deeply. It makes the big, obvious differences between the western Rockie region and DC seem like exibitionistic performances. A staged play that we are all in on. But the everyday moments demonstrate how totally different it is to live in the Rocky Mountain West from the East Coast, and especially DC.

I am grateful. I clearly took living out here, in this way, for granted before I moved to DC. Now I get to delight in it. I was able to revel in the differences while living in DC, but it was DC that shook me. Now it is the West's turn to speak up and demand my attention.

Winter is rapidly approaching. This weekend we are supposed to have super crappy weather: wind, rain and snow. Gross. But we've had a bit of a discernable fall, so I will try not to complain too much. 

Although I am not looking forward to EIGHT MONTHS of winter, I have kind of enjoyed the winter preparation activities. Draining and rolling up the hoses, moving the patio furniture to the shed, getting the windows and doors ready. It feels a bit like some kind of ritual to recognize and usher in winter. 
I am planning all sorts of indoor projects, too. I am going to try and sew some totes for our camping chairs. Start baking bread again.  Knit something and FINISH it. I would love to knit a few baby blankets, but that may be setting an "unrealistic goal."

How are you all? How has autumn been treating you?

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What If

Last night, as I was drifting off to sleep, I wondered what my life would be now if I'd decided to wait just a bit longer to leave DC and move to Wyoming. What if I'd put grad school off for one more year?

Maybe I would have dated that cutie pie named Derek. I met him at a post-kickball gathering at The Irish Times. I think we were both wearing our "umpire" red t-shirts that night. Yes, I think that is why we started talking. He was sweet. He lived in Maryland. He traveled to Baghdad frequently for work. He was a Republican. But he sure seemed nice. I met him a month before I moved.

Maybe I would have traveled to one more country before being land-locked. (Flying from Denver is SO. MUCH. MORE. EXPENSIVE. than traveling from the East Coast!) Maybe I would have finally gone to Turkey. Or Morocco.

Maybe I would have continued sinking further into my dysthymia depression. Somehow, I think that living alone in that city with this illness would have turned out much, much worse for me. I wonder how depressed I would have become. I wonder if I would have had someone there to tell me to get help. I think there are a couple of people who would have, if I gave them the opportunity. But it was so much easier to hide in the city. I am afraid I would have just hid from everyone and slowly faded away into something grey.


As it turns out, I met an incredibly genuine and honest man who has never traveled to Baghdad. A. doesn't just seem sweet, he is sweet. He is a Socialist. I met a man who taught me how to fish and who wakes me up with turkey calls. I met the right man. I met my companion for this life.

I have seen so much of the Rocky Mountain West in the past six years. It has done my soul good to be in the mountains regularly. I love being in the water; standing in a mountain stream is a true joy and seems to remind me of my connection to the Divine. It has been a pleasure to get to know the valleys and creeks and critters. To get to know the rhythms and patterns of the natural world. To know a place intimately, rather than just flirt with it for a few days. (Though flirting is fun and I will never turn down a trip!)

I have been gently led to my path of sanity, led back to my right mind.


I am so thankful I had the guts to leave DC in 2004.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


The week spent fly fishing was so, so wonderful. The area in which we fish every year is one of my most favorite places on this earth.

The trip was also quite therapeutic. I did not think I was overly stressed out, but judging by just how damn good I felt when we returned home, I must have been wound pretty tight. 

It was great to just hang out with A. Usually, our friend MG joins us, but was unable to make the trip this year. I felt so content just hanging out, fishing, cooking over a campfire, etc. We were able to enjoy each other and spend our days and evenings however we wanted. 

As usual, I fell even more in love with A.
AWWWWWW. I know. I will shut up now.
About that.

There was a morning that I positively wanted to maim A. Oh, yes. Or at least throw him down the damn mountain we "walked" along.

An unending stream of perfectly articulated variations on the "Come to Jesus" theme ran through my head as I bumbled my way across TWO hills and down a goddamn mountain. (I swear it was a MOUNTAIN.) No, no, this is not a usual state of affairs between A. and I. No, this ugly tirade fills my brain whenever A. wants to "walk" (i.e. hike, climb, FALL) to a fishing spot that is promised to be "just over this hill" (over the hill beyond the hill we are already standing on plus another hill we can't see yet).


HA HA HA HA.  I loooooove this. In river sandals. It is my favorite outdoor activity! 

(I admit that I am really an asshole about this. I don't say any of this out loud to A., and I think I did a better-than-average job of keeping my attitude in check.)

You guys. I wish I would have stopped to take a picture of the absurdity I went through to get to this particular stretch of river. Never mind that I caught a 15-inch cutthroat trout. (That was fun.)

I skied down the mountain. Yes. Skied. I am positive the decline was at 45 degrees or higher. It was INSANE. Well, for me it was. A. only grumbled a couple of times and that was usually in response to my melodramatic grunts from Extraordinary and Ridiculously Superhuman Feats of Mountain-side Gymnastics. 

Much of the mountain side was covered in dense vegetation, lots of aspens, pines, and other Sturdy Mountain Plants. I basically just let myself flail downward, sticking a foot in front of me and hands raised in front of my face to keep from getting whipped by all the plants. I was simply propelled by gravity. It was useless for me to really get any kind of footing. I was wearing my Chaco river sandals (kind of bendy, and I was hurting the hell out of my toes) and couldn't see the ground regardless. So, I just slid along the shrubbery and trees in front of me, grabbing hold of Sturdy Mountain Plants to stop my fall. 

I was being utterly ridiculous, but it worked. I made it down the MOUNTAIN.

I will let you imagine how fun that was. Oh, also: I had to keep up with A. who was Moving Ahead with Purpose. You know, way too damn fast for my bumbling idiot self.

Good times! 

This really was the least steep and vegetated section of the MOUNTAIN side in which to travel. Half of my whimpering may have included the phrase (with variation), " I cannot fucking believe we have to go BACK UP THIS later."

Yeah, I was a real treat to be around that morning. 

Don't get me wrong. I genuinely hated that half hour or so. But otherwise? It was heaven. 

And I am genuinely glad I was there with A. He was thoughtful enough to scout out a much less steep area upstream for us to climb back up at the end of the day. Maybe next time I can try not to be such a brat.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Five

A. and I are packing and planning for our 3rd Annual Western Wyoming Fly Fishing Trip. I am pumped.

We both managed to take an entire week off of work so we can really just get away. Our friend, MG, who normally joins us for this trip is unable to make it this year. I am sad he won't be there, but it will be really nice for A. and I too have this little getaway for just the two of us.

I love, love, love this part of the country that we will be in. It is so gorgeous. We will be high in the mountains. I don't feel claustrophobic in the mountains, even when we fish our way up a narrow canyon. I wonder why that is? When we stopped and wandered around the Salt Flats, however, I felt weird as fuck.

Last night A. and I were watching the third Pirates of the Carribean while planning our trip. Maybe that weird sequence in Davy Jones' Locker contributed to my unease at the Salt Flats?

I am a bit stressed about work. I am really, really busy and this trip is poor timing. Or great timing, as it gets me away from my desk and out in the real world for a bit. Regardless, I am shutting down at 5:00 p.m. on the dot.

I finally met my best friend's baby daughter this week. You guys! It is a wee JelBel! I just fell so, so very in love with her. I am so sad they live in D.C.

What are your plans for the weekend?

Happy Friday to you!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sugar and Cream?

It was nice to see family last week. I am quite sure that the reality of Noni's passing has not hit me yet.


I get to meet my best friend's baby daughter for the first time tonight.


Things even out in the best way, don't you think?


I drank my coffee black this morning as I forgot to buy half-and-half at the store last night. I am not minding this.

Are you a coffee drinker? How do you take yours?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Life has been full the past few months.


The fullness and richness of life is especially apparent to me this week. Monday we lost Noni, our grandmother. She had been in the hospital for some time, and her passing is ultimately a blessing. However, it does not make it hurt less to say goodbye.

Noni is part of a pair: Noni and Popi. I am so sad for Popi. They were just short of their 61st wedding anniversary.

She was a fantastic quilter. She is actually my step-grandmother, but truly I make no distinction. I only mention it because of my favorite quilt from her. Noni made nine quilts for all of her grandchildren for our first Christmas together as a blended family. My sisters and I all received one.


There is a young man who is frequently in front of a building at my workplace. He is always trying to flip his skateboard and land on it. I do not know the name of the maneuver. it is a pretty basic one and probably has a name.

He has been at this for months. I have yet to see him succeed.

And yet, he is there, out in a very public place, trying and trying again. Usually around the noon hour when there is plenty of people around.

He inspires me. It is time to put myself out there.


I am going to start applying to jobs I want, not just that I think I am qualified for. I am going to apply for a position in particular that kind of terrifies me, but would also be a dream come true.

I am going to start painting again, and show my work. I will not hide it in a closet.


How are you all? I have missed you.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday Five

Last weekend, A. and I worked on the little brick patio we are putting in the front yard to accommodate a small fire pit. 
I learned I hate any kind of DIY-project related to home maintenance. I would love to spend my time and money on just about anything else. Removing an old washer and installing a new one? Positively a pain in the ass. Painting? Painting? Quite possibly the worst way to spend one's time. Yard work? For the love, I'd rather work on the household budget. Which is, you know, icky.

Seems, for me, that household cleaning has become a permanent item on that list of hated past-times. I cannot, for the life of me, work up the energy to give a shit about cleaning the house. I want the house to be clean, I just don't want to do it. I would much rather read. I really need to do something about this. Tips? What motivates you to lift yourself out of a state of filth? Christ.

It is not that A. is not willing to help. In fact, if it weren't' for him, we truly would be buried in dirty clothes and dishes. And that isn't fair.

I don't think this total apathy toward my household is depression related. I think I am just being a lazy turd.

However, in a total contradiction, I really enjoy doing the maintenance stuff on my car myself. Perhaps this is because I know I am saving myself a few hundred dollars. Before our recent trip to California, I changed my own spark plugs, checked and maintained all fluids, replaced my air filter and cabin air filter. (A. helped me.) I also rooted around and checked all my hoses and belts. Take that, dealer mechanic! I am using you for your lift, bud, and that is it. In fact, I am planning on flushing and replacing the transmission and radiator fluids myself.  I bought a copy of the Haynes auto manual that shows how to do everything to maintain and repair the car. My dad always had these manuals for his trucks, and boy they are awesome. I've been reading it as a recreational book, for Pete's sake.

I should be honest. The savings are only part of why I don't mind putting my time into maintaining my car. The smug sense of virtue I get wrapped up in also has something to do with it. My goal is to own this car FOREVER. Well, at least for 300,000 miles or 15 years. I've owned it for about 5 years and already have 103,000 miles on it. I get pretty full of myself when working toward this goal. I will not be caught up in ridiculous, wasteful, unnecessary consumerism. No way. I am way too smart and disciplined for that, yes siree. I will be resourceful and responsible and frugal. 

Feel free to slap me.

Both A. and I are job-hunting with renewed vigor, now that I don't have the masters hanging over me. Boy, talk about activities that suck up time and totally suck. Any tips and words of encouragement would sure be appreciated. Job hunting is totally demeaning. 

We are headed up to A.'s folks' place in northern Wyoming for a family reunion-y gathering. All aunts and uncles and nearly all cousins on his mom's side will be there, about 30 people. We will be camping on their large lawn. I am really excited to see everyone. It should be fun. I hope the dogs don't lose their shit with all the people and kids. They may have to hang out in our tent more than they'd like. 

Happy Friday, and Happy 4th!

Monday, June 27, 2011


The other night, I dreamt that we had to put Buster to sleep. I do not remember any specifics, only his big brown eyes, a cold linoleum floor and the crushing heartbreak.

Both Buster and Belle have many happy, comfortable years in front of them. Yet, I have not been able to shake that heartbreak. No really.

Do you ever experience lingering fear/sadness/vague offness from a dream? When this happens to me, it tends to color everything a hazy gray for a day or two. Sometimes, if the dream is scary I will feel slightly wound up and fearful for a few days. Tell me, have you ever had this happen to you?

This has been especially acute since going on Crazy Meds. It is certainly not enough of a pain for me to consider getting off meds, but damn. Sometimes it sucks. If it keeps up, I am scheduling an appointment with my therapist. I want to make sure this is not Crazy showing up in a different pair of pants.

On the other hand, I tend to carry the happiness of a fortunate dream with me, too.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Five

Hello? Hi.

Since defending, I have not done much other than stuff as much goofy, lighthearted fiction through my eyeballs as possible. 

Free time is AWESOME.


A. and I have been on the road sooooo much already this summer. This is our first weekend home in...just over a month? 

A couple of weeks ago we spent the weekend in Denver with A.'s folks, siblings and kids. For our birthdays, his folks bought us tickets to the Rockies-Cardinals series and we went as a family. It was so, so fun. Plus, we got to see all the nieces and nephews on his side of the family. They are growing like weeds!

(Jess - sorry we didn't call. The weekend was crazy packed with so many people, and it was like herding cats. I didn't think I could handle another obligation. We will see each other soon, I promise! I need to meet Callum!)
Last weekend we traveled to my sister's to meet my brand new niece!!!! New Niece was only two weeks old and just an awesome bug of a person. So snugly and ridiculous. New Big Brother was a stinkin' adorable as ever and seems to be handling the changes ok for now.

My family on my mom's side were all gathering in the same city that weekend. I got to see my favorite aunt and uncle and all my cousins. It was a really fun weekend.

It has been so great seeing so much family! I really wish we all lived closer together.

And we are on the road again next week for a 28-hour round-trip to California. A.'s friend is getting married in Sacramento, and my babe is in the wedding. I have to admit, I am pretty excited to see him in a tux.

Plus, I need to get myself a ticket to DC as soon as possible. My best friend, Jel-Bel, had her first baby a week ago!! Lil' V arrived perfect as can be. 
While I am excited to meet Lil' V, I am even more anxious to see Jel-Bel. I am having a really hard time being separated from her while she transitions into this new life. We've done so much together that I can't believe I wasn't there to welcome her into motherhood. I mean, that is sacred, as far as I am concerned.

Speaking of which, I am not quite as confused about Baby or No Baby, but it is still on my mind. When I held my niece, I was not overcome with longing. I did not need to breathe her in. I was delighted by her, and couldn't get over her tiny ears, and am so, so happy for my sister. But...yeah. No "I MUST HAVE A BABY" episodes.
So, still confused. And getting older my the day. What bullshit.

Our trips have not been dog-friendly, so the mutts have been in jail quite often. I never know at which kennel to board them. 

Kennel A is our vet. I love our vet, she is pretty awesome with our dogs and readily recommended accupuncture for Buster. Meaning, she recommended services from another vet in which she will make no money. Not to mention that she is recommending an entirely different sort of treatment. I like her a lot. Also, these kennels have connected outdoor dog runs, so the pups can be outside as much as they want, which they prefer.

Kennel B is a really nice, new facility. It is also connected to a great vet practice, but the kennel section was specifically built to be a large kennel service. The staff are great with the dogs, and the dogs come back in the same state of anxiety as they do the other kennel. (They freak out when we leave, but settle in. Then they act like spazoids when we pick them up. It is kind of embarassing.) They get taken on three walks a day at Kennel B, but do not have access to a dog run.

The dogs come home smelling like a kennel when they stay at Kennel A, but do not stink when at Kennel B.

It also seems that the last two times they've been at Kennel A that they have come home with kennel cough (even though they are inoculated). 

I am leaning toward Kennel B, even if they don't have a dog run.

Thoughts? Remember, these are my babies.

We had Mountain Bluebirds nesting in our box again! And again, The Asshole Sparrows kicked them out. They tossed their eggs to the ground.
I was so sad. Furious.

Is there ANY WAY at all to deter sparrows? 

I am so fed up with this little shits that I DID NOT shoo-away a neighbor's cat when he came lurking. I looked the other way. I never do that.

I am going to make some meals and snacks to take with us on our trip to California. I am going to make homemade Chex Mix, popcorn popped with only oil infused with chilies (that way it stays crisp), and perhaps homemade granola bars. I will bring some cherries, grapes, strawberries, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, and string cheese.
I would like to have healthy foods available, both for health and budget. I feel so horrible by the end of most road trips, thanks to all the soda and crap food. I only eat this way on trips. With as much as we are traveling this summer, this baloney has to stop.

Do you have any other suggestions? I would love to hear them!

Happy Friday to you!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Five

1. Buster was running around and playing hard with Belle yesterday morning. They wrestle and tussle and run. This is normal.

Last night he was walking funny. He would do his walk-around-to-get-the-bugs-out-of-my-den thing but would not lay down. He didn't jump up on the couch, he old-man creeped up on it.

This morning, he did not jump on the bed to join us as he does every morning at 5:30 a.m. sharp. A. scooped him up to put him on the bed and he yelped and was super anxious. (he is a 55-pound dog, so it was some serious scooping.)

He did jump off the bed quite happily when A. shook his food bowl for breakfast, however.

But he is still walking funny. Once he gets laid down he doesn't get back up. Something is really wrong with either a back leg or his back. I am convinced his back is broken somehow.

We have a vet appointment at 3:40 p.m. I am heartbroken that my baby is in pain. 

2. So, yeah. I defended my non-thesis paper and research (still bitter) and am done! (Almost - I have about an hour's worth of revisions to the paper and then re-submit it to my chair. I also have two more books to read and discuss by Monday for my independent study. But this is a piece of cake.)

I gave a really horrible presentation; I am soooooo bad at presentations. I get ridiculously nervous. I act okay during the presentation, but my brain just stops and I don't remember nearly anything I am supposed to mention. Horrible. I had some pretty interesting stuff to share, but of course shared the obvious and boring shit instead. Even with note card cues. Gah. But everyone liked my slides, so, eh, that is a plus.

But the private defense with my committee went much better. They gave me two hard questions and then it turned into a really fun nerd bull session. (One question was from the committee member outside my department, and DAMN. It was difficult.)

3. My two favorite things about this whole defense bullshit:

a) My committee member from outside my department told me she loved reading my paper and that I opened up the spaces I was discussing to her in a way she had never experienced before. She told me she learned something.

That right there made it worth it.

She is no lightweight, either. She is one of the most genuine people I know, and was very involved with my research all along the way. During the defense, she asked me how to describe my understanding of space via postmodernist perspectives to an essentialist. Ha, ha, ha, ha. That was no cakewalk, at least not for me.

b) My second committee member, who is from my department, saw me the next day as said, "Yeah. I really enjoyed the conversation yesterday. I am still thinking about it."


4. So, apparently I am not as stupid as I have convinced myself. Grad school + Depression really does a number on one's confidence as a scholar. Gah. 

5. THANK YOU for letting me freak out and get angry and scared and excited and everything else. Thanks for reading and supporting me. You all were important to my completing this thing, whether you think so or not.

Happy Friday to you!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I presented my research and defended today. I have been deemed fit to be a Master of American Studies.


I have been so fortunate to have incredible support down this long and convoluted road. You guys have been no small part in the network of caring that helped me do this.

Thank you.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Laptops are kind of awesome.

So. I turned in the last of my three exam essays last night. I might have written that last essay on a laptop sprawled out in front of the TV, watching the Rockies play the Cubs.

Happily, that was probably totally appropriate. American Studies is fantastic that way - as theory-laden as you can make it (if you want), it is still an act of creative exploration.

Throughout this hell, I've come to remember why I entered this program to begin with. American Studies really is a kick ass field.


I am trying to wrap up my final revisions to my paper so I can toss it to my committee and fly to DC on Thursday with only my defense (ONLY!?!) and presentation hanging over me. Sweet jeezuz, this is kicking my ass.


How are you? What else is going on in the world? I cannot wait to rejoin you all.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Would it be tacky to include Lexapro in my Acknowledgements section?

Because holy hell, I would not make it through the next three weeks without it.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Five

I turned my paper in to "Advisor" earlier this week. He actually read it and sent me feedback within three days. THREE DAYS. Usually I am pumped if I get and recognition of my work within three weeks! And good news: I have some changes to make but they don't seem unreasonable or impossible. My committee should have my paper next week!


APRIL. Sweet Jesus.

April 8 - 14:
Finish paper, send to committee
Finish all University Bullshit Paperwork to graduate
Finish reading books and articles from my Reading List (about 8 items out of 30 at this point)
Try to finagle two or three days off form work to prepare for...

April 15 -17:
My exam! I will get six questions, two from each member of my committee. The questions are based on my reading list. I have to write three essays in response to three of the questions (my choice) over three days.

April 19 - 20:
Out of town for Spring meeting for work

April 21 - 25:
Washington, DC!!!!!
Also, will have to work on presentation for Master's (bummer)

Sometime April 26 - 29:
Present and defend my paper and essay questions.

April 30
Drink heavily

May 7:

Oh. My. God.

How the fuck this paper is not A Thesis I do not know. It features primary research. It is just re-arranged in "article" format rather than chapter format.

I shall stop wondering why this is not A Thesis. It is making me bitter.

I dreamt the other night that I WAS KATE MIDDLETON.


Yes, I may have purchased the issue of Life about William and Kate. But I really do not think I am obsessing over The Royal Wedding.

How embarrassing.

How does your April look?

Happy Friday to you!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Jerked Around

I finally realized just how much I have to accomplish before the first week of May. Actually, the last week of April. Also, I am traveling or in day-long meetings for 13 of the 30 days in April. Needless to say, I am obsessing about finding every possible usable moment in my day. It makes for an anxious time.


The writing is going very well and is nearly finished. I have yet to set up my exam, but that shouldn't be a problem. My main hurdle with the exam is I still have about 12 articles to read. Again, doable but oh my goodness.

Oh, and there is that tiny matter of my Independent Study. I've kept up with the reading quite well, but am not sure if I incorporated enough of it into my paper to constitute not having to write a separate paper. Please let our significant (and brilliant!) chat-age about the reading be enough to satisfy Dr. J's requirements. PLEASE.


Saturday was windy as all hell but we reached 70 degrees ABOVE zero! There was jubilation! Dancing! Delighted prancing in the front yard that is finally clear of snow!

Sunday I woke up to about four inches of heavy, wet snow. It continued to snow throughout the day.

It was 8 degrees (ABOVE ZERO!) when I left the house this morning.

Enough said.


I am so very ready for summer, for baseball, for fly fishing, and nothing else.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Five

1. This giving up added sugar thing is HARD. Sugar is everywhere! I really could not tolerate black coffee so I have been using xylitol to sweeten it. The word sounds so scientific and man-made, and yet it is totally natural. And it doesn't leave a weird aftertaste like stevia. And since it does not require insulin to be digested, I am hoping it won't wreak havoc on my body the way other sugars do. It is still a cheat, though, as I am not retraining my palate to enjoy less sweet foods.

However. Tis the season for Cadbury Mini Eggs!!

Clearly, I did not think this shit through.

2. I slacked off on Masters Shit big time this week and am in full-on PANIC MODE about getting all the necessary reading and writing and testing and paperwork done. I have no one to blame but myself and I have been doing that faithfully. I should quit beating myself up and instead focus that energy on working, yes? I just might learn something yet.

3. For the first time in three months, we can park the truck at the house, instead of halfway down the lane to the road. Almost all of the snow drifts have melted, and it is so awesome.

This may seem lame-o to you, but after being drifted in ALL WINTER, this is some exciting shit around here!

I am trying not to get too damn excited, though, because I know a Spring Storm will eventually blindside us. But, I am going to run some of my errands on foot today and enjoy the weather.

4. A band of sparrows have already been eyeballing our bird house that we keep for Mountain Bluebirds. Bastards. I don't know how we'd try to keep the sparrows away without scaring off the Mountain Bluebirds, too.

I haven't seen the first Mountain Bluebird of the spring yet, but I hope to soon. We usually see them in March.

5. When I fly out to DC in April for a friend's baby shower, I kind of hope I get picked for one of those ridiculously intrusive full-body scans.

I want to see if my IUD and ankle hardware show up in the scanner! That would be so cool and so weird.

After my curiosity is satisfied I will be self-righteously pissed about the intrusive scanners.

Happy Friday to you!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


So, Lent.

I haven't been to church in I don't know how long. The Church (Catholic) proceeds to make me more and more angry, more indignant of the blatant hypocrisy in living as decent human beings, much less as Christ's example. I will always miss the culture of Catholicism, though. I've written about this before.

I still appreciate the season of Lent. Of changing something in the routine of my life so as to bring values and actions into sharp relief. Do the values and actions line up? What about those values - re they mine, or am I wearing someone else's' morality? What do I need to do so my actions back up my values?

All the while, forgiving myself for my many shortcomings. Taking the time to forgive others' theirs. I think this is the best product and practice of Lent.


I am giving up sweets for Lent, and trying to reduce the amount of added sugar my diet generally. Also, I will practice an evening meditation every night. I am better able to keep things in perspective when I faithfully do this evening mediation.

So far I managed to drink my coffee black and bought plain, salted cashews for an afternoon snack. Success!


Are you giving anything up for Lent?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Five

1. My doctor and I have been mixing new med cocktails. I think we have hit the right combo, but damn. In the meantime, I have been having such vivid and realistic dreams. I've asked A. about three times about this thing we did/talked about/saw that never happened. I think he is wondering which kind of crazy with which he prefers to live.

2. Also, if I hit snooze, I still go straight into these dream/semi-conscious things. Like mini-dreams, but not REM-like dreams. It is EXHAUSTING. And very disorienting. 

I suppose one way around the mini-dream marathon is to quit hitting snooze and just get up. 

3.  We have had gorgeous temps in the 40s all week. That means the 5-foot drifts are all melting. We've only had about three spots in the road turn into mud pits, but boy. My little Civic has a hard time.

The last time I attempted to drive it to the house I thought I'd be sneaky and avoid one of the mud traps with the deep ruts by driving on the snow to the side of the dirt road.

Uh huh. 

I should have known this was a very, very bad idea. As soon as I hit the snow bank that looked deceivingly like a simple, shallow layer of snow, the bank sort of collapsed under my tires, because it was all melty and unstable inside. And also much deeper than I thought. And more stupid. My car violently sunk down into the  snow bank. The snow bank that had no structural integrity. A great situation to be in. 

I know how Lois Lane felt when her car fell into that horrible, sandy crack in the first Superman movie.  

I should have been stuck and high-centered, except that my poor little car crashed down so damn hard that it bounced back up. Bounced. Boingy. Like I had hydraulic shocks installed and was listening to some norteno music. I need a flashier paint job to really pull that off, though. But I am totally bad-ass enough. Totally.

I gunned it while in the air and caught some new snow. Basically, I  was off-roading in a civic. The view outside my windshield never stayed the same for more than half a second. I was all over the place. Just bouncing and revving and swerving and it was ridiculous. It was even more bouncy and jolty that when A. drives the truck on rutted two-track roads and sagebrush while out hunting. RIDICULOUS.

You guys. I looked like an idiot woman driver! I gave credence to that infuriating stereotype!  

My car seems to be running fine. Tough little thing. It is now parked at the highway and we take the four-wheel drive truck that has clearance to the highway from the house.

4. Everyone near and dear to me are having babies and it is starting to mess with my head. 

5. Prior to this little warm spell, I bought Buster a coat to wear. He doesn't get nearly the undercoat that Belle does, and he is not a fan of the cold.

Now, every plan I've had to improve the quality of these dogs' lives, every attempt I've made at establishing new routines have all gone down in a pile of flames. For instance, when I replaced some of Buster's food with green beans to help him lose weight, Belle ate all the green beans and nothing else, while Buster ate both of their regular food. So he was getting more food and Belle was happily eating veggies. (Seriously - she LOVES carrots. She steals peeling out of the trash while I am cooking. She just does this casual walk-by thing and doesn't even slow down. Little shit.) 

These two find ways around my plans every. single. time.


You guys! I totally won! I won this round!! Buster loves  his coat. I think he actually understands that it keeps him warm. He just hangs out and wags his tail while I put it on him. He doesn't even squirm or act like an idiot!

Dogs: 19, Artemisia: 1

Happy Friday to you!

P.S. Isn't Buster a cutie? EARS!

Monday, February 28, 2011


Things are the same and boring. I am still working on Master's crap, A. is still job hunting, We have ridiculous snow/ice drifts that may never melt away, and the dogs are still adorable idiots.


I am surprised at how much I care about this, but I want to share. I started using Too Faced's Shadow Insurance and it is AWESOME. If you want your eye shadow to stay put and look really, really even and silky, use this stuff. At $18 for a tiny tube, it is a splurge. But I use an itty-bitty, teeny-tiny dot of the stuff on each lid and that is it. I expect it will last for a year or longer. It works so, so well that I don't regret purchasing it in the slightest. And I am not really into make up, you know?

I can't believe I am this excited about make up, but this is really a snazzy little potion.

Do you have a beauty tip that just makes your day? 
Also, does anyone actually wear lipstick on any kind of regular basis? Everyday to work? Out grocery shopping? Just wondering.


This last hill toward The Completed Master's has been kind of crazy, but for the most part I am holding up. So far. I am reading all the fucking time: for my paper, my exam, and my independent study.
Have I told you I have to take an independent study to have enough credit hours for this Plan B bullshit? I cannot remember. Well, I need three more credits, so I am doing "guided reading" with Prof. D., whom I should have had as my advisor all along. (It is soooooo hard not to slap myself silly over this. I really, REALLY should have had Prof. D as my advisor all along. Jesus, I was so stupid. Let this be a cautionary tale for all of you: Fuck loyalty and do what is best for you.)

Prof. D. and I are reading about food and foodways and whatnot. This is totally the stuff I read about all the damn time anyway, and is a topic near and dear to both of us. The first few readings  are to help with my Plan B paper, and so far, I have been able to incorporate them. (Hopefully this means I won't have to write another goddamned paper for the IS.) I love what I am reading, I am just reading ALL THE TIME. Currently, I am reading Taste of Place: A Cultural Journey into Terrior by Amy B. Trubek. I highly recommend it. Trubek approaches the local/organic idea around food with more nuanced approaches than what the popular "foodies" have offered. It is rather theory-heavy, but worth it.

I am also reading Alice Waters' The Art of Simple Food. This isn't on my reading list. A. gave it to me for Christmas. It is so good! And is actually a wonderful compliment to Taste of Place. I recommend it heartily!

I need to be writing more, and hope to really put away some pages tonight. I have a good momentum going, and truly see the light at the end of this ridiculous tunnel. Finally.

How are you all?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thick Wool Socks

Lame as it is, the weather is the big news around here.

We didn't get snow (or even wind! THANK GOD!) but we had cooooold weather. Yesterday, as I left for work, it was -40F. (If it had been windy, the windchill was expected to be -65F. WTF!!) All of our hot water pipes had frozen, so I took a shower at the gym over my lunch hour. Jesus. Today, it was only -5F and it feels GORGEOUS outside. Ridiculous!

While on the one hand I am all proud of how tough we all are (or stupid"?), I do wish they would have canceled school. I can't believe that kids were outside waiting for the buses in this weather.

It was a bit of a zoo in the morning. Our friend, MG, stayed with us instead of driving to his home 60 miles to the south. We didn't want him traveling in a less-than-dependable truck in this kind of cold, and he had enough sense to feel the same way. His truck didn't start yesterday. Nor did my car. So he, A., the two dogs and I all piled into our pick up and I proceeded to drop everyone off at class, work, or the kennel. Today the pups are home, as it is supposed to get over 30 degrees ABOVE ZERO. Buster is sporting his new coat, however. I still had to drop A. and MG off at their respective locations. It is kind of a cozy routine.

I totally used the excuse of no hot running water to get out of making dinner. A. picked up pizza for dinner. Score!

Strangely, I am not pining for summer just yet. What the hell?

Stay warm, everyone!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

What's Your Status?

Winter has certainly moved in to stay. We have enormous, solid drifts that keep us from parking in our driveway. We simply park in the lane and walk the rest of the way to the house. I am just pumped that the lane is clear enough that I can drive my little car and not have to sacrifice my schedule to A.'s all the time, or vice-versa.

It is 35 degrees outside and feels positively balmy. In fact, I drove in to work with my window completely down. Because it is so warm outside.



Things are moving along very well with the Non-Thesis-Bullshit-But-Masters-Crapola. I am taking an independent study with my favorite committee member, J., and the difference in how we work together is staggering. I don't feel like a goddamned idiot or nusuance; I feel like I have some really good ideas and questions to offer and that I come up with some pretty good prespectives. In fact, he's asked me to teach a couple sessions of his Fall food ways class. It is nice to remember I am bright and have something to offer.

For the independent study, I am looking at urban farming and the locavore movement. Pretty fun shit. This is what I read about on my own all the time, because I am a nerd. NERD. I am in good company. My professor, J., stole two books I brought in as suggestions for the course!

I am taking these 3 credits to have enough credits to finish a Plan B master's instead of a thesis. So far, I am very, very happy with my decision to switch to a Plan B and things are moving along a steady clip. I am busy as all hell, and read every night and should still be reading more somehow, but it is going well. I am enjoying the material again. I don't think our field is bullshit. I remember why I came back to grad school.

I working on revising my thesis into a 30-page, publishable essay. It is hard to rip out so much work.

My adviser is still mostly unhelpful, but I am working around him.  I plan to plop the essay in his lap after working with my IS professor on it. For my sanity. I deserve that much.


I went to the doctor a few weeks ago to reevaluate my meds, as I was slipping. I am feeling better, but not 100%. I am trying, and I think have been successful, to remind myself it is a process and not to feel discouraged.


The dogs continue to be lovable idiots, and A. is still my rock star.


How are you all?

Thursday, January 13, 2011


This morning, after I dropped A. off at work, I slowed the truck down because I saw a black lab running his damn heart out in the field to my right. As I'd feared, he indeed ran across the road without a thought of the traffic. Happily, everyone else had noticed him and slowed to a crawl as well.

I watched him as he got to the field to the left and noticed that he was REALLY RUNNING. I mean - as hard as he could. He wasn't just running around, enjoying the snow and what was clearly his newfound freedom.

He was chasing a heard of 12 antelope. In the middle of town. Across two major thoroughfares. (As major as they get in a town that has a 12-head herd of antelope in it.)

I turned to follow him, to try and get him to back off and see if he had owners I could call. He was pooped out, and turned around and began trotting back in his original direction. The antelope just stared at them, not even out of breath. I could catch up with him, but called Animal Control. I didn't want the pup getting hit by a car, and I didn't want the antelope to be stressed further.

I was wide awake by the time I made it in to work, that is for sure.

Happy Thursday to you!