Thursday, January 28, 2010

aren't you supposed to fly SOUTH for the winter?

going north, to say goodbye to musicboy's gramma.  he wants me there, as he'll be gone for longer this time by a couple of days and i want to be there for him.  i began to think that maybe his family wouldn't want me there, but then i began to think that i've done this before.

gone through the process of saying goodbye, i mean.

and even if it means that i make pancakes in the morning and do dishes or keep musicboy occupied or play cards and watch movies, i can help.

sometimes, i think you help by just filling in the blanks.  it's the things that you can just do without asking if they need to be done that can be truly beneficial.  it is those needs i hope i can meet.

i just checked the weather, though, and it's going to be 2 tomorrow night.  as in there's not anything before or after that number. it stands alone.  there's been talk of walking on a frozen lake as well.  all of these things i hope i survive.

but mainly, i hope to be of use.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

rambling wednesday edition of this here blog.

[if you're my facebook friend, you've already seen this, but there's an expansion, so keep reading. KEEP READING, DANGIT.  not that i'm needy or anything.]

it's insulting to me that all of the action movie underground/vault shows with stupid hosts who give you background info from the dvd that you could just watch yourself if you were at all interested have male hosts that are mildly attractive/basically unattractive nerds and female hosts with plastic breasts and no clothing.  do they really think women don't watch these movies?  why aren't they pandering to me too? it's like when men assume that women don't know what things like the spread offense are. 

that actually happened.  picture it.  student x comes up to ask me about his speech topic. i am standing there with student y, who is a football player for big collegetown u and who knows of my love for football because we have discussed it before (in an attempt, i think, to lay the foundation for me being kind to him and his might work. i don't know. i sure like them. but mainly because they are good students and participate, not because they cater to my love of big collegetown football). 


student y says he wants to do a speech on the spread offense and proceeds to ask if he should back way up and explain things like what a quarterback is for people who don't know football, then gestures toward the middle of the room and says something like "you know, for those girls up there."

i just stared at him for a beat and said "you mean, because girls don't know anything about football?"

at this point, student y started laughing because he knew that i probably knew more than student x.

these are the kinds of things that drive me nuts. don't assume. it's annoying.

also, why are the humane society commercials like taking the aspca commercials and making them WORSE? i don't want to see a crate full of puppy mill puppies!  i literally have to avert my eyes.  but the makes me want to look...and it's not even sarah maclachan.

evil.  they're all evil.

i very much want to try out my new cardio playlist, which i tinkered with yesterday and downloaded new music that seems like it will excellent to run to, but i'm not sure if my knees and feet can handle it.  i need new shoes desperately. but i need a paycheck first. 

i think saturday will be "gym clothes buying day," a holiday celebrated the world over.  if i'm going to go to the gym every day, sometimes twice a day, i really need more clothes.

and shoes that take the impact away from my knees. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

real writing day in twitterspeak updates.

1:36 pm
hmm. that paragraph wasn't so bad. as in i said "burkean aesthetic" and didn't sound pretentious. did it make sense? I. DON'T. CARE.

1:49 pm
so i've decided that if i could write like tracy chapman, this whole dissertation deal would be a breeze. unsung psalm = genius.

2:36 pm
when did i buy britney's "circus"? and why am i not running to it every. single. time?

3:13 pm
three paragraphs. that's decent. now i get to go to body combat and rue the day i thought body combat was something i could do. woot! 

reformulating tuesday's existential question.

maybe this dissertation thing is no longer about the topic.  maybe this finishing the dissertation thing is about me caring enough about myself to follow through.  just like i care enough about myself to work out. i take that time because i know it's important.  maybe i need to reformulate the question.

maybe i really don't have to care anymore about the topic.  maybe i don't even really have to care about how good it is ultimately.

maybe the larger question is whether or not i care about myself. 

[the original question was going to be whether or not the little engine that could is a baldfaced liar.]

Monday, January 25, 2010

quick update.

i want my life back.

my husband is back, but i have yet to spend much time with him because he got back at 2 am and brought a houseguest with him who is still on my couch. 

yes, i am snarky. mainly because after he got home at 2 am, i didn't get to sleep until 4 something, and had to be the first one up and out of the house (although musicboy probably had to leave 30 minutes after, so...i can't hate too much...except he definitely fell asleep before i did).  i am so tired and i just want my rhythm back.

of course, in order to have that, i would have to have found one first, right?  still haven't, so i feel constantly off-kilter.  which is annoying.

because it's not even the kind of off-kilter that burns calories or builds muscles. it just makes me tired and feel like a failure for only keeping on top of my five classes that i teach instead of doing that plus the dissertation.

so i'm just putting this out there because if i don't i'll explode.

i have no idea how to do this dissertation. i am desperately afraid i have nothing left to say.  or that what i have to say has no relevance or importance.  i am not sure that i really care anymore, but i have to run the gauntlet of the committee, and they apparently do.

i'm wondering if i can somehow convince them to just let me graduate if i finish the dumb thing, even if it's not great. i just want to be done.

i just want to be done.

also, though i think i am shrinking, i have lost the same amount of weight since week 1.  which means i lost 3.6 pounds, then i gained a pound, then i lost it again. 

i find this incredibly frustrating, although i know i am building muscle and losing fat. i want to lose numbers too, you know? 

gah. i'm taking a nap.  mondays suck.  that nap plus four miles on the treadmill better get rid of this attitude, let me tell you. 

Friday, January 22, 2010


i'm finding it hard to downshift from teacher brain mode to scholar brain mode now that i am in desperate need of serious outlining/drafting/researching time on my chapter.

the chapter is in good shape, i think, although my thoughts are quite muddled. i'm hoping today, as i outline and sketch out ideas, my ideas will begin to become more clear.

but all of that assumes that i actually work on said chapter, which in the midst of teaching five classes (and now, from necessity not from true desire, it will be six starting in late february so that i can keep my active status at one job), is more difficult than you might think.  it seems like there is always something else to do.  my online classes need attention. i need to plan for my on-ground classes. i want to keep up with the grading so that i don't get behind and buried, as i was apt to do last semester.  if i stay ahead, so says my brain, i will have more time to work on the dissertation.

but when staying ahead requires me to spend EVERY day doing teaching work and NO days doing dissertation work, you can see how this could be a major problem.

with musicboy gone and my dissertation schedule about shot to hades because of teaching and life taking precedence, i decided to do all that i could do this weekend to catapult myself back on track.  but i'm having trouble downshifting.

i'm sure it's because i am afraid that once i begin to work, nothing will come. i'm sure it's because i am more accustomed to teaching now than i am learning and writing myself (not a bad thing, i think, considering teaching is my chosen profession). i'm sure it's because these muscles are just not in shape yet, so it's always painful to begin working with them.

i'm going to consciously choose, from now until monday, to not work on school.  at all.  to ignore it is odd and painful as well, but ignore it i will.  i think it's the only way that i can teach myself HOW to downshift, so that i can begin to do it more regularly.

i feel hope for a fruitful, productive weekend. i think i can, i think i can, i think i can.

also, i miss my husband.

the end.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

i think i'm getting it.

in the book of mormon, there is a chapter (mosiah 18) that discusses the commitments that we make when we are baptized into the Lord's church.  one of the key components of that commitment, besides keeping the commandments, is extending yourself in charity and love to those around you, or being "willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort."

i thought i understood that. i really did.  when people were hurting, i did my best to be there for them. i listen.  i care.  i give advice (oh probably too much, you know).  i make efforts to serve in whatever capacity i can.  i thought i understood what this meant.

but i think i'm only really just learning.

musicboy's gramma is dying.  he's leaving today to go up to the seriously arctic north to meet his mom, who has been up there since the beginning of the year, with his dad and sister.  he's going up to say goodbye.

straight up, that's scary to write. i don't like the word dying--not because i fear it, or because i don't understand it, or because i lack an understanding of what comes next. i don't like it because of what it means--not for her, who has struggled so much for so long but especially for the last few months, but for those she will leave behind.

her children, her grandchildren, her husband. 

my new family.

when my Mimi died, i saw firsthand how hard it is. i experienced it, certainly differently than musicboy's family will because every experience is different, but i went through it. a grandma who was so important to me, like musicboy's has been to him.  a grandma who was instrumental in my raising, like musicboy's was.  a grandma who loved me like only grandmas can. 

every day,  i feel like i learn a little more about what love is.  love is doing the dishes when you're annoyed that you have to.  love is pushing past the fear that you'll fail to do something that the other one believes you can do and wants you to do.  love is laughter and mariokart and silly but very fun poker games.  love is thinking more about the other person than you do yourself.

love is also heartbreak--not because the other person has done anything, but because you love this person so much that he is an extension of yourself, and when he hurts, you hurt.  not the helpless kind of hurt that frustrates because of helplessness.  the kind of i will sit here and cry with you and understand how you feel because your heart is my heart kind of heartbreak.

i will mourn with you and i will comfort you when you need comfort kind of love.

it's easy to say, but surprising to me to feel the depth of it.  when did that happen? when did my heart grow large enough to do this?

i haven't known musicboy's gramma long.  she is a lovely, strong woman who raised another lovely, strong woman who raised the man that i love more than life.  i mourn because they mourn.  i mourn because i know what it's like.  but mainly, i mourn because they hurt and because i love them.

so i do what i can.  i cut his hair.  i pack his bag. i make sure that he has the stupid travel sized ziploc bag he'll need on the plane and toll money for the roads.  i make sure that he eats and that he has something to do during his long waits. i make sure that i hug him more and hold him tighter.  i make sure that he knows that i'm here.

but other than that, i just mourn because he mourns.

and, somehow, i think that's a huge blessing.  even in the heartbreak.

(keep my musicboy and his family in your prayers, if you don't mind.  the pain of loss can be very difficult. we'll be fine, but blessings are good.  the Lord will keep them all in the hollow of His hand, but good thoughts are always good to send.)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

reasons why "merciful" is not one of the attributes people list when they think of me.

it's the first round of grading for my three online classes. 

if everyone turned in their papers, i would have to grade 87.

i am secretly thrilled when i get through a class and there are a bunch of zeroes. it means that there are less papers for me to have to read and evaluate now.

in other, related news, i have no idea how people expect to pass classes if they don't turn work in.  and if they can't follow simple directions. 

one class down, two to go.  then i get to punish reward myself with zumba.  that'll be four classes in three days. i think i'm going for some sort of warped, painful record here. 

speaking of painful...back to work.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

couldn't have said it better myself.

"Some mornings you wake up and you feel like right then, in that moment, you've figured everything out and if you just execute what is in your brain life should be pretty smooth from then on. Then breakfast happens."--a friend of mine, on her blog.

lately i feel like, while i am planning like a beast, my days rarely turn out exactly as i plan them.  so far, that's been okay. i feel like i'm dodging and weaving pretty well, and also keeping my nose to the proverbial grindstone.  why i should think life would be any different than this, when unexpected has been the rule, i don't know, but there you go.

i went to this insanely hard mixed martial arts class at the gym (it's called body combat, if that helps you envision it, and i feel like someone beat me a little) and she kept saying to be light on your feet.

(i wasn't, really, but that's neither here nor there.)

being light on my feet is how i feel like i will be successful in anything this semester. it's not about rigidity, sticking resolutely to a plan that may not work anymore. it's about having a plan, working the plan, and then dealing with life when it inevitably happens.  too often, i look at what i haven't done instead of what i have given the circumstances.  i think life is about how you react to the circumstances thrown at you--whether that be a deluge of needy emails from students, a husband with an (obviously) unexpected bout of food poisoning, or a former student who fairly well shouts your name out at the local grocery store and is so excited to spend 15 minutes catching up with you. 

it's about being light on your feet. 

so far so good. 

Monday, January 18, 2010

sometimes i really like me.

i woke up this morning, rather excited to get on the scale. i always face the scale with some degree of trepidation, because really i still don't understand why my body chooses to do what it does.  full moon? birth control pills? irrational anger over my intake of strawberry yogurt? who knows why the flip it decides to do what it does. it certainly does not always follow the mathematical formula that says that when you eat this and burn this you should weigh this. 

(of course this sometimes works the opposite, so i can't hate too much. i'm just saying--i do not understand.)

but this time, i was sure. well, that's kind of a lie. i think i KNEW that it would say what it did. 

yes, i gained. not much (.6 lb) but this is MATHEMATICALLY IMPOSSIBLE.  why, you ask?

because i have freaking eaten less than i needed to maintain my body weight, plus have consistently worked out five days this week.

but tada there you go.  so for a moment i was all IMPOSSIBLE! and thought that i would check again tomorrow morning blah blah blah can't be right blah blah blah i don't accept this result blah blah blah doesn't this happen on the biggest loser blah blah blah.

(let's be real. even if i gained .6 pounds, i'd still be down 3 in two weeks...which is freaking awesome the end. but am i satisfied? of course not.)

so i was all WOEISME and then i said suck it, body.

and i went to two classes at the gym and did 30 minutes on the elliptical.  burned 1086 calories.

take that you freaking metabolism and tell me if you won't lose weight next week.  that's right, sucka.

(and that's why sometimes i love me.  wallow in self-pity? no way. i just tell the world to suck it and prove them wrong.  now to find a way to do this with dissertation...)

the end.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

i would post more often, but it would be more boring.

here's what i do everyday.

wake up.
eat breakfast (usually, unless it's tuesday or thursday, and then yeah right i'd rather sleep).
go teach some people something.
come home. check emails. eat lunch. do some stuff related to dissertation or all those classes.
go to the gym.
cook dinner. hopefully try to balance, in my mind, megavegetable intake with what musicboy will eat without wanting to die. (bless him, he never complains.  i make him eat salad way more than he'd like because he really doesn't like salad, but it's easy and goes with things better than, say, broccoli sometimes.  yes, spaghetti, i'm looking at you.)
do some more stuff, hopefully, related to dissertation or all those classes.

sometimes things get shuffled (gym after dinner, no stuff after dinner, some assorted activities thrown in there), but that's pretty much it. 

it's boring, but hopefully it will continue to work. i haven't quite found my rhythm yet. i haven't quite found my routine. what this means is that while my classes are humming along nicely, i'm behind a bit on my dissertation.  i don't like being behind.  i don't like not meeting my goals. but like i said--i haven't found my rhythm. i think i'm still in delusional dreamland where i can get work done at home.  home makes me want to take a nap or do the dishes or bake something.

home is not the seat of dissertation efficiency. 


i have to go plan this week now.  here's hoping for more efficiency.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

excessive mush ahead. fair warning.

one year ago today, i kissed him for the first time. 

every time i kiss him now, it's a gift. 

i love marking milestones with musicboy. i can't wait for more.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

where my head is at.

it feels less like the arctic north here and more like the wintery south, so i'm more able to deal with life. this fact is indicated by my choice of slippers. instead of my massive fleecy boot ones, i'm wearing my cute little giraffe slip-ons.  i'm a little bit cold, but i think i'd rather turn up the heat and pretend.  we're told the warmer weather is on its way. bring it, i say.  when it comes, i'll worry about making my legs presentable again and wear skirts again. 

speaking of my fleecy boot slippers, which i wore to chili's last night for dinner because you can't make me wear real clothes, they make me understand uggs. and want some. if there were black uggs (or fake ones, because i am so not paying for real ones), i would buy them and wear them and not apologize.

but i would not tuck my jeans into them. because i think that's weird.

today is supposed to be a dissertation day, but after working pretty steadily and successfully (despite the yucky day overall) on class planning and grading and stuff, i'm inclined to just do more of that instead of waiting until tomorrow to do it.  i feel like fragmenting my focus might not work so well.

of course watching elmo when i'm 32 probably won't help me with my focus either. but it's better than judge pirro and doesn't take as much brain power as lost, although i'd like to watch season 5 before season 6 begins and i can get it on demand on netflix (and apparently on hulu now as well).  the likelihood of that happening is...not good.

(elmo just made a messed up washing machine that throws clothes out into an attraction for all of the grouches.  oscar and his pals are thrilled.  elmo's a freakin' entrepreneur.  i can't believe it.  also, we counted and learned about hexagons and wrenches and had the big, important lesson about reusing and recycling.  yay.)

i should really get to work.  but first i have to put on my big black slipper boots. it's just still too cold.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

on a day like today, those 31 calories are like a gold medal.

today was a rough day.

i managed to navigate my way through it pretty well--at the end of the day, i'm not ashamed of anything that i said or did.  well, maybe a few moments of less-than-patience and my lack of motivation to get everything done, but otherwise, considering, i think it went pretty well.

i don't want to talk about the details--all is well, now, so there's no need, and i feel like a blog is as much about what you don't say as about what you do--but i just wanted to record here three things:

1) today was a rough day that began way too early and had roughness.
2) i dealt with it pretty okayly.
3) i didn't eat my way through it or give myself permission to do anything else self-destructive except not to go to the gym.

these things are good.

now i will try to finish my planning for rural cc classes so that i can keep myself on my carefully crafted schedule, and crawl into my warm, comfy bed.  i think i will be surprised if that crawling doesn't happen before musicboy even arrives home from class.  i now give myself permission to read my book, the one that has nothing whatsoever to do with my dissertation or my job, when i do and to fall asleep when i feel so inclined.

these things are also good. 

Monday, January 11, 2010

because sometimes i resist the urge to overshare on facebook.

the application to big collegetown U for transfer program for musicboy is in.

please let him get in.
please let him get in.
please let him get in.

and get big fat scholarships.

but the first one's most important.

please let him get in.

we really want to stay here.

please let him get in.


so sometimes i watch so you think you can dance. when i do, mostly i just follow my gut and determine, in my i'm-sitting-in-a-chair-and-have-no-expertise way, which of the couples did well and which were cringeworthy. most of the time i'm right, according to the alternating shrill/debonair/intelligent judges. 

but sometimes they start talking about partnering and i'm lost.

i mean, i know from my own experience how having a good partner can bring out the good elements in your own dancing, but i guess i never realized what a skill and art it is.  most of the time, the partnering is in the background--it's the stuff you don't see immediately that allows for the shining things you do to happen.

i think this is true in marriage as well.  if you haven't been accustomed to having a partner--if you've been a soloist for a while--sometimes it takes some time to learn how to be a partner.  i've been learning that lesson, of course, as one does when one is newly married, but mainly i've been learning how much of an art it is.

sometimes your partnering in the little things is what makes life bearable.  when your partner makes dinner because your back hurts.  when your partner lets you talk, nearly endlessly, about the potential pros and cons of the job you might apply for.  when your partner plans with you, when your partner stays longer at the gym with you because you are trying to reach a goal, when your partner can read your moods and your thoughts on a bad day and meets your needs before you can even articulate them. 

it's these little moments, that let me be successful when i don't think i can be, that let me shine. 

i'm glad to be learning and recognizing those moments, so that i can appreciate it even more than already do.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

vague confessions for a saturday morning.

while i know it's not happening, somewhere in my soul, i don't think i have ever wanted anything more.  that feeling doesn't go away. it just seems like it's on periodic repeat.

it's a good thing. it tells me a lot.  but it's scary at the same time, and i wish i could turn it off--or at least put it on pause.

or i wish that it would just happen.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

dream a little dream.

i have been having the most vivid, realistic, narrative-driven dreams EVER lately.

normally, when i dream, it begins with a narrative but then convolutes into something strange. they're usually entertaining, but they're usually so odd and strange that, even when they feature people from real life, i am never in doubt that they are dreams.  even in the midst of them, i know they are dreams.

it's not that i don't know that the recent ones are dreams--because i do--but they're more harnessed to the narrative. 

for example, night before last, i dreamed that i was being deployed.  the way that they were determining assignments was by putting these weird old-people sunglasses that were representative of each of us into the slots for the assignments. essentially, they were letting us decide. i didn't want to go, though, because i didn't want to leave musicboy. i thought that maybe if i just didn't put my representative sunglasses into a slot, i wouldn't have to go.  then i realized that if i didn't do it, they probably would make me go anyway, but i would get a crappy assignment.  i remember being afraid of going somewhere that i would be hurt. 

[i have a friend currently deployed in iraq.  i just emailed him, so it makes sense that this would be on my mind, i guess.]

last night, after posting on facebook that i was having vivid dreams and having someone ask me if i was having weird food cravings or nausea (suggesting that i'm pregnant), i had a very vivid dream about craving tuna. i distinctly remember considering how to make tuna salad--add celery? add grapes? and i remember very much looking forward to it.  it was odd.

[obviously, this makes sense given the question.  but the recipe thing?  i can't remember if i actually considered eating tuna or if that was in my dream.  i may have, but in that detail? i think not. and i definitely do not feel the passion about eating it the way i did in my dream. no way no how.]

but the biggest dream was about my grandaddy. it seemed like a very long dream, focused on waiting on some test results about his heart.  i remember distinctly watching through a window between the doctor's office and the place where i was and seeing the doctor's mouth moving, reading his lips as he said that the news wasn't good. at first, in the dream, i was tough. but then suddenly, i was sobbing uncontrollably.  it was an incredibly vivid dream.

[my grandaddy is already sick, but has been for many years. there's no real reason that i should dream so vividly about a health problem, especially a health problem that he wasn't that worried about. he was very stalwart and strong about the bad news in my dream, which...isn't always the case in real life.]

what's different about these dreams, other than the subject matter, is the fact that, even in their length, they don't vary much from the original narrative. even when other things intervene, it always goes back to the original storyline, pulling me back into the story as well.  the focus is odd.  the details are still characteristic--strange, very oddly placed details (sunglasses? tuna? a theatre?)--of my crazy dreaming past, but the frequency and difference of these dreams is somewhat strange.  it doesn't matter if i'm sleeping well or sleeping fitfully, i am dreaming all of the time--and i'm remembering them in detail. 

weird. i don't mind it, especially. it's just different.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

magic gloves don't have that much magic.

my trip back down south from the frigid north apparently brought with it the weather.

it's COLD here.  i'm really so completely cold all of the time that my throat hurts. i'm not sick--it's just every single time i venture outside, my nose runs, my throat closes up, and my body screams out in frustration.

we went to walmart last night, to get some milk, and the whole world was there.  and two lanes were open. but that's neither here nor there.  what was more indicative of the weather was the glove aisle.  they were CLEANED out. completely cleaned out.

i got two pairs of magic gloves (they fit everyone!) for $1.40.  i'm hoping it will help.


Monday, January 4, 2010


on the last night at mama's house, with the heater running constantly because of the frigid weather and the holidays officially over, it felt deeply like the end to something.

i didn't understand it then and i don't understand it now.  it just felt like things were changing significantly, and i'm still not sure how that is.  nothing really is any different.  i am working at the same places, though i will be finishing the diss. this semester.  it really isn't any different. 

but it feels like it is. 

it was a bit of a fleeting feeling, though very strong. i've learned to listen to those feelings, so i'm waiting for what is coming. 

i have no idea what it is.