Sunday, November 30, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree...

I am sure I will post a gazillion random lights pictures this year. I heart Christmas Lights. Sometimes I like the pictures that blur more than the ones that don't, sometimes I blur the pictures on purpose.

My Day Off

So, Friday was a day off for me. I intended to do a little shopping, and then come back home and crank out some serious productivity, both in terms of cleaning and studying. Alas, this was not meant to be, due to my own idiocy. After hitting up Target (and getting the best smelling hand soap in the history of Christmas by the way), I stuck a leftover potato in the oven for lunch. I took it out, ate half of it, realized the center was still cold, and stuck it back in. The second time I went to take it out, I picked it up with my right hand in an oven mitt, turned around to put it on my plate, and promptly grabbed the 400 degree pan with my left hand, for no apparent reason. Ow!

The skin instantly blistered. I of course immediately put it under cold water, took my wedding ring off, and called me Dad. With it under cold water it did not even hurt that much. I asked my Dad if I needed to go to urgent care, or could just keep it on ice. (For those of you not in the know, I value my parents medical advice for good reason - my mom is an RN and my Dad has a doctorate in physiology, not to mention their loads of personal experience and common sense). He, of course, sent me to urgent care due to the blistering. Next came a lengthy call with DH figuring out where I should go, how our insurance worked, etc. By this time my hand was on ice, and it still did not really hurt. I drove myself to Polaris Urgent Care, and after signing in, and getting an ice pack from them, sat down for a lengthy wait. At least I remembered to bring a book from school to read while I waited. Ultimately, I was at urgent care for 4 hours. I discovered as I waited that taking my hand off the ice made it feel like it was still on fire. The doctor prescribed codeine and Silvadene creme. The pharamcy was another hour long adventure that grew more and more painful and frustrating as my ice pack melted. In the end, I got home around 4:45 PM, five hours after I burnt my hand. I spent the evening being pathetic, holding an ice pack, drowsy from the codeine, and goingto bed early.

I was very pleasently surprised to wake up in the middle of the night, moving my pillow with my left hand, and it not hurting! Wow! What a drastic change! The human body is an amazing thing. I still kept my hand on ice the rest of the night, and in the morning reapplied the cream. I have some blisters on my thumb, and first three fingers (the pinky is fine). I decided, since it no longer felt like my hand was on fire, and I no longer needed ice, we could go get a christmas tree as planned! I put my hand in a plastic bag inside of a mitten and we headed out to Timbuk Tree Farm. It is a really great tree farm, so big, so pretty, bustling with Chrismas activity. We cut down our own white pine and it now is in our kitchen, fully lit (still lacking ornaments however).

I think being in a plastic bag all morning with Silvadene actually really helped the hand out, kept it moisterized and all. By the evening I was using it (carefully) to help hang lights. It did eventually say "stop!", so I did. More Silvadene and relaxation the rest of the night. This morning it still is a little sore, but I am using it to type right now. I was also able to put my wedding ring back on today. I am waiting to see what these blisters are going to do.

And that was my day off... not exactly as relaxing, productive, and enjoyable as I had hoped. The timing sort of sucks. I was planning to use this weekend to get BACK on track as far as housekeeping and studying, and instead this injury pushed me farther off track. But, as I already said, I am amazed again by the human body. How could something that hurt so badly two days ago be usable today? When I said this to DH "the human body is amazing", his response was "that is probably why your Dad studies it." So true.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Belated Thanksgiving

My Thanksgiving post is a little late, but that's OK, since really we should recognize what is good in our lives everyday, and not take them for granted.

The reason my post is late is because I procrastinated. So, Wednesday night found me on my way to the grocery store on one of the busiest grocery days of the year. I was lucky. The store was only busy, not insanely busy (though I did have to hunt down a cart), and they were only out of pecans and pie crust. I spent the rest of the evening cooking - green bean casserole, pumpkin pie (in a Graham cracker crust), pecan pie (Aaron spent the evening shelling pecans for me), and two kinds of cranberry sauce. Then, Thursday I got up early and did the double-baked potatoes. With many many foil covered dishes in tow, we headed up to my Grandma's and joined the celebration. My Aunt Karen, Uncle Bob, Uncle Curt, Cousins Becky and Eric, and of course my Grandma, all enjoyed a good holiday together, with way too much food to even describe. Or maybe I can describe the excess - 8 people, 8 pies. I got what I have been craving for weeks - Maple Pecan Pie. Also known as a slice of heaven, especially with a generous dollop of fresh whipped whipping cream on top. mmmmmmmmmm.

I love Holidays, they are great. I love everything about them. It was so nice seeing everyone and just relaxing together for a day. As many of my blogging buddies have done, I think its only appropriate that I take some time to reflect what I am thankful for in my life - these are things I should be thankful for everyday.

(1) My husband - sweet, smart, and as goofy as me
(2) My family - also as goofy as me, and thats the way I like it
(3) My Pets - who keep me honest, cheer me up, and generally make every day happier
(4) The health and happiness of everyone mentioned above
(5) Our first home, and the money to pay the bills for it, put food on the table, and decorate it for Christmas
(6) Modern convienences. Read The HERetics Daughter and you will realize how lucky we are to have things like a refridgerator, showers, etc.
(7) Modern government. Read The HERetics Daughter and you will realize how lucky we are to have things like comparative advantage, a global food economy, seperation of church and state, a rational legal system, and a social safety net.
(8) Planes, so I can go to Duluth in December and also to see the ILs. Do you realize how long that trip would take in a wagon?
(9) Education and the ability to learn
(10) Opportunity. That is something everyone who will read this has loads of, and something we don't see or think about often.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Banana Leaf

Last night we had the great experience of dining at the Banana Leaf. It was a unique experience and very tasty.

This is a great restaurant for people who...
  • Love Indian food
  • Like Indian flavors, or want to try them, but do not know where to begin
  • Want an authentic experience
  • Are vegetarian or Vegan
  • Like understanding what they are eating
  • Like trying new things
  • Like great service
  • Want a leisurely and luxurious meal
This is not a good restaurant for people who...
  • Hate Indian food
  • Are super picky about ingredients
  • Want to get in, eat, and get out
  • Don't think a meal is complete without meat
  • Hate talking to the owner/service staff
  • Are overly concerned with ambiance
  • Hate trying new things
Banana Bean is an Southern Vegetarian Indian Restaurant, a hole in the wall type place on Bethel road (across from Micro center). Its not much to look at, just a thing slot in a strip mall. The decor is bright and modern, but very modest. Upon entering we chose where to sit and sat to wait for the rest of the party. The owner came over, explained to us how the meal worked (it is a whole meal, you do not order off a menu), and brought us samples of their various Lassi flavors (a yogurt drink, they had Mango, Rose, Citrus, sweet, and salty) while we waited. When the rest of our party arrived we moved to a bigger table and he explained how the meal worked again, giving us printed versions of the various customs and descriptions he had told us about.

The meal started with Lassis, which were unlimited throughout the evening. Once we had tasted the various flavors and each chosen our favorite for a bigger serving, he started bringing us freshly prepared plates of Chaats. He described this as the street vendor food of southern India, bite size morsels packed with flavors. We had a Vegan in our group who requested non-dairy, and they brought him seperate plates for any appetizers that are normally made with yogurt. In total, the meal includes seven Chaats. Some hot, some cold, some spicy, some sweet, some were crunchy, they all were delicious. Following these appetizers, we moved onto the buffet itself, which included three more appetizer style items (including the very popular battered and friend hot peppers), three curries, a soup, and of course a wide variety of chutneys and sauces. This course also included a variety of fried breads being brought to the table, some to eat with the buffet items, and others that were stuffed with potatos and onions. Considering we were all pretty much full after the appetizers, we were certainly stuffed after sampling the buffet.

Everything I tasted (which was pretty much everything) was delicious. The buffet also was vegan friendly, with only one non-vegan item. When we had our fill, they then brought us chai tea to finish off the evening (a variety of desserts are also available upon request, we were too full to partake).

The food was amazing and fresh, the owner and other workers were exceptionalyl helpful, friendly, and accomodating. They explained what everything was, what chutneys are usually paired with which foods, how they make things, even their "secret" recipe for the tea. The owner repeated several times throughout the night that we should feel like we were at home and that anything we wanted we would get. He encouraged even those who were not paying customers (DH came to socialize but does not typically like Indian food) to try a few dishes, allowed (and even encouraged) us to take home a to go box from the buffet, gave us a free to go box for someone who could not make it, and made sure we were satisfied with every course.

I strongly recommend trying out this resteraunt. It was a really fun and unique experience, and a great value at less than $15 per person. 5 stars!!

Banana Leaf
816 Bethel Rd.
Columbus OH 43214
(614) 459-4101
Open Tuesday-Sunday, 11:30am-2:30pm and 4:30pm-9pm

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Owie mama, Owie!

Its not a good sign when you start off the day wishing you were just a little sicker. I know, strange phenomenon. Why would anyone want to be sick? But when you have a migraine that is making you slightly nauseous, and you really want to stay home but know that a migraine is no good excuse (especially when you are likely to have it for two or three days), a low grade fever or sore throat sounds really appealing. Just enough signs of illness to justify laying in bed all day and nursing your headache. Alas. Besides the pounding behind my right eye and the occasional wooziness that comes with it, I am healthy as a horse. If I ever remember, I will make a doctors appointment and get a new prescription of Imitrax - slayer of migraines.

But here I am at school. Trying to get myself to stop messing around on the internet and write up my econ homework. I am going to dinner tonight with my cousin, so I won't have much time to do it then. I am off to do that now... but wish me luck in vanquishing the headache.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Busy Bee

The weekend flew by, just like I expected it to. That's what happens when you don't leave a spare moment to breathe.

Friday night we hosted a rock band party. It was tons of fun and completely hit the spot. We even got a few people to play that were originally reluctant. People can claim they don't want to play rock band, that they will not like it or they will embarrass themselves, but if you can get someone to play it, they will realize how great it is!! One of the people that was originally reluctant even started asking me about prices and such.

Saturday we got up early and headed off to hang out with some friends before walking over to the game. If you are in Ohio, you would have to be under a rock to not realize I am referring to the OSU-Michigan football game. It was pretty cold, my toes especially did not appreciate it, but the game was so fun. The crowd was revved up and weird play after big play after weird play kept the intensity high, even after the score made it clear we would be winning. To give you a few examples, on the first drive of the game OSU threw an interception that was returned to the 10 yard line or so. OSU then proceeded to give Michigan negative yardage for three plays running, and then Michigan missed the easy field goal. OSU had something like six plays for 40 yards or more. We recovered our own punt. We ran big, we threw big, it was a blast.

We were invited to go out to a German resteraunt on Saturday night but passed it up in favor of a quite night at home, I got a little studying done, though not nearly enough.

Sunday morning I got up early to meet some friends and head down to the Jeffersonville Outlet center for some christmas and clothes shopping. Since I start teaching next quarter, I am actually going to need to start dressing appropriately. I would consider the trip a success, even though I only got one piece of clothing I got a jump start to my Christmas shopping, and after 8 years with a really cheap cloth wallet from Deb (or some similarly teenage-esque store), I now am the proud owner of a leather wallet from my favorite purse brand - Fossil. It is even orange, and it was cheap cheap cheap.

When I got back to Columbus it was a twenty minute stop at home before heading out again, this time up to my Grandma's house. My cousin that lives in Seattle is in town, and I also got to see another cousin and his kids who live around here but don't head to Grandma's much. It was fun, but complete chaos. Hopefully I can see my cousin from Seattle again before he leaves, in a situation where there is not complete chaos so we can actually catch up.

Oh! And in all this running around, I did manage to see atleast a big of the MLS championship game, which was won 3-1 by the Columbus Crew! Go Crew!

I have to go now and start all the work I should have been doing this weekend and failed to do. I know there are other little things to say, but alas.

Until later...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Why do I overschedule my weekends?

I actually managed to wait until Friday to post my Geography Quiz! Go and take it at Quizzes for the Well-Informed

I had my first presentation in dissertation workshop yesterday. Its not a formal thing, we just turn in whatever we have, whatever we are working on for people to read and comment on. It went very well. I got lots of fresh perspectives from it and my adviser thinks I may be on to something.

When you tell people you are going to take 4 years to write a dissertation, they look at you like you are crazy, especially if they do not have much academic experience, but I see more and more how four years is actually entirely reasonable. I have been working on the dissertation now for just over two months, and what I have is a topic that might work, and I am the fortunate one. Some people don't have a topic that might work yet. And note, that is a topic, not a specific question about that topic.

Anyways, life is chugging along. I really feel like I need a day to regather, and that is just not coming anytime soon! My weekend is packed (which is my fault). For some reason I have issues taking down time even when I need it. I prefer to be throwing Rock Band parties and going to football games, despite that fact that will perpetuate the chaos and stress in my life. Maybe the Friday after Thanksgiving I will take the time I need to regroup - organize, plan, run errands, sleep, etc. But then again, I have a lot of studying that needs to happen in those three days. We will see.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I've been Tagged...again!

Apparently people like me! And I am only too happy to oblige when it means I get to post random facts about myself. Tbonegrl at tagged me.

This means I should list seven random things about myself. In honor of tbonegrl, I am going to make them all about music!!

(1) I started playing violin when I was in Kindergarten because my Grandpa had a violin he wanted to leave to a grand child and I was the only one who was interested.

(2) I consider said violin, made in 1928 in Ohio, my most valued material possession, and wish I had more time and energy to use it.

(3) In 5th grade I started learning Baritone, and then in 7th grade switched to Tuba. Unfortunately I did not have the stick to it/devotion to keep up two instruments, so that didn't last long. I am pretty sure the only reason I even got into it was because my sister played the trombone, and I constantly tried to be like her... but not identical. LOL.

(4) I can sound out pretty much any melody you want, no matter how complex, on either piano or violin

(5) I have a secret desire to learn to play the harp, but the start up cost is so high it probably will never happen.

(6) In high school my orchestra played string versions of "Jeremiah was a Bullfrog" and "Crazy Train". It was really fun.

(7) When I was little, I sang everewhere we went. All the time. Ask my sister, I drove her nuts. Shopping, waiting for school, I just made up songs.

I am not going to tag anyone... I already tagged people last time and don't know who else to tag! But, if you haven't been tagged and want to, go ahead and let me know!

List Five (Happy Thoughts)

I find it amusing that a post with only pictures and no text, and no real substance (its about the WEATHER) gets five comments when I have had post after post about real, juicy substantive issues go by with little or no response. I guess its just that everyone has something to say about the weather... eh? I was getting close to posting a post complaining about not getting enough comments when Google analytic tells me plenty of people are reading. But, since I just got five, I will save the sermon.

The rest of this post is a Meme. Feel free to steal it for your blog!


List five...

...things you like to see.
snow falling (the harder the better)
people being kind to one another
little kids
large bodies of water

...things you like to hear.
Wind in the Trees
Vivaldi Concertos
The score to Harry Potter
White-throated sparrows

...things you like to taste.
spicy sweet buffalo wings with bleu cheese
coconut curry sauce
Greek salad

...things you like to smell.
autumn (dying leaves)
spring (mud and rotting leaves and new plants)
sauteing onions in bacon grease

...things you like to feel/touch.
Aaron's arms around me
cool skin
cool fresh water
snowflakes on my face

...things you like to do.
watch football
pet animals
lay in the snow

Monday, November 17, 2008

Making My Day

Human Nature

Its 8am and I have already been on campus for an hour and a half. DH has an hard deadline coming up and needed to get to work early. I could have driven myself, but I figured it might be good for me to have more time at school, and parking is no picnic without a parking pass.

I just finished reading my book club book, The HERetics Daughter. I did not realize that the title had strange capitalization until just now, which certainly gives it additional meaning. Its about the Salem witch trials. As that topic would suggest, its less than cheerful, especially when one is already a cynic, prone to skepticism depression concerning human nature. I have never given way to full out misanthropy, but I know how one could end up there. Anyways, I was reading this book at my Grandma's last night, and mentioned to her and my other relatives how depressing it was. My Grandma's response was "aren't you glad you did not live in that time period," to which my all to jaded response was, "yes, but humans still do things this to each other now, though they don't tend to call it witchcraft." My cousin said, at least we don't burn people. I am sure I could find recent cases where people have burned each other. The recent anti-immigrant riots in South Africa come to mind. And, if your thinking "oh, but that's a savage third world country, we don't do stuff like that in America, read about Marcello Lucero's murder in New York City, where a group of teens set out to "kill a Mexican" (Lucero was Ecuadorian, but this differentiation did not save him from hate and prejudice). Of course, he was not burned to death, but Aaron Taylor, a homeless man in L.A. was. I know, I am a cynic. But the worst thing, the most depressing thing about the The HERetics Daughter, or the Salem witch trials in general, is not that they were horrible in and of themselves, which they were, its that this sort of crap goes on all the time in the world. People kill people, in the harshest ways possible. Humans can't just live in peace, they have to form groups, they have to hate someone, as if somehow that makes living more worthwhile. This is also my main complaint about the book. One of the "catch phrases" being used to advertise the story is "Life is not what you have, or what you can keep." The problem being, I take no message from the book of what life IS, besides perhaps suffering, which in my attempts to not give in to jadedness I cannot accept. Maybe someone at book club on Thursday will enlighten me as to another interpretation to take away. The alternative interpretation is probably about family and the parent-child relationship, but its hard to pay attention to that when much bigger things are thrown into question.

In another twist of fate, this very same morning I am thinking about all of these things, a mistake in my past is brought once again to light. I did not do many stupid or bad things during high school, I was a goody two shoes. (I can only hope my little sister is following in my footsteps in this regard). However, I was also an egotistical know it all, probably your typical teenager, and in my "infinite wisdom" I did some cruel things (I can only hope my little sister is not following in my footsteps in that regard). Not cruel like Carrie, but emotional cruelty to my friends. Strange, isn't it, that I can say that. How can I classify them as friends if I was so callous towards them? But I can, its the only way really to describe that time. Its as if I was looking for drama, or at least embracing it once it was thrust upon me. I did not want to be understood, I wanted to be utterly complex and misunderstood. Every time we had a new idea we thought it certainly was the right idea, no matter how many ideas we had were proven wrong. I have made my apologies for those years, at least all of them I know needed to be made, and learned a great deal from all of it. But I was reminded today that even though I have been forgiven and everyone has moved on, that our past shapes us, and what I did back then is still impacting people's lives, if only as a memory that haunts them. They say the teenage years are formative, and just as they were formative for me and I learned from my mistakes and observing those around me (I realized in 11th grade that the vast majority of drama in a person's life is self created, and this knowledge has served me well), but I also put a stamp on other people's formative years, a stamp I wish I could take back. Too late now, eh?

(PS - Don't feel bad for making me think about these things, its a truth of life, eh? And this post is a lot more pessimistic than I actually am.)

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Little CaesarOk. So his name is not finalized, but it will probably stay as Little Caesar. Since he came he has also been called Frankie Hejduk, Playstation, Spaz, Rotary, Hermy, and the dreaded "Skippy". Each of these has an explanation, well, at least sort of, but I won't get into that here. The name Little Caeser was a compromise as we struggled to agree. As DH puts it, its a good name because "It sounds good. And pizza is really yummy. And the company Little Caesar is owned by the same guy that owns the Red Wings Tigers, and it mirrors the term 'Little Emporers' that is a phenomenon in China relating to how the one-child policy has lead to spoiled brats." Its a good name, but we will see if it grows on him. Anyways, this orange beauty is very loving and attention hungry, but at the moment at least, extremely flighty. He bolts whenever anything moves pretty much, though he gets better every day. When you can get him to calm down, sit on a bed with him or something, he will roll over for a belly rub and purr his heart out. I think once he gets settled he will fit right in.
Oh, and here is an example of him being a spaz. This is the first picture I took of him, before he figured out the camera would indeed not eat him.


Yesterday was the 15th of November, and today is the 16th. Its hard to believe its already mid-November. Time has been going so fast, which is both a curse and a blessing. I am looking forward to the holidays, and a break, but at the same time I am not ready to be in 2009 quite yet. Curse or blessing, time is flying!

Last night we went to a game night with a different group of people than we normally hang out with. It was loads of fun! We played Cranium, Trivia Pursuit 90s Edition, Taboo, and Catch Phrase. For some reason, these people have the impression that I am some sort of genius, which is very flattering. I have a good head on my shoulders, but its not the kind of smart that will help me with trivia questions or tell me what the definition of the word callipygian is. (It means "someone with beautiful buttocks" by the way.) It is the kind of smart that can help me spell words backwards. We enjoyed spending time with a new group of people and I even managed to win catch phrase once. I may have to get that for my family, they would enjoy it, especially with Simi's special rules.

This morning I took Grim to Highbanks Metro Park for a good long walk. I meant to go yesterday, but it was raining. Today the rain had turned to flurries, much more pleasant for a hike. The trees have all lost their leaves, though grass and low lying bushes remain a strangely bright yellow green. The weather was nice and cool. The forrest looks strange this time of year. Things that are hidden when the leaves are out or their is snow on the ground lay fully visible, especially fallen and twisted wood with its own unique beauty. We stopped at a babbling brook, extremely picturesque, shallow rapids over thin stones, and Grim sniffed around in while I just lay my hand on the cold water, utterly refreshing. I discovered that the best part of the trail, the part that is most like a hike, is the section I skipped last time. I will not skip it again. After passing a dog off leash, a little black schnauzer that was terrified for Grim, I decided to let Grim off leash for the deepest interior loop of the trail. I knew we would not encounter another person on that loop because the way the trail loops back on itself, they would have been just kind of hanging out in order for me not to have seen them. She very much enjoyed that part. Back on leash, entering the last field, a bluejay swooped low over the trail. It stood out so beautifully against the brown and grey back drop. I stopped to watch the birds for a few minutes, eyes upwards to the trees. There were two blue jays and one small red-headed wood pecker. It was just so peaceful watching them, the cold wind blowing on my face. Grim waited patiently until I was ready to move on.

Last night at the party there was a short discussion of who amongst the group was a "country boy". I grew up on 40 acres with horses and a haybarn, but it was not a full working farm. My family used to, teasing, calling me a city girl. It was true in comparison but not objectively. That is, I was a city girl when compared to my older sister or brother, but not when compared to someone who actually lived in the city. My older sister spent 10 hours a day at the stable and then came home to feed our horses and muck the barn, all with a smile. My brother would rather be driving a big truck through a mud pit than almost anything else. Me, I never was quite as into that stuff. I hated hay season (at least the handful of years I was expected to help). I hated going out in all weather to feed horses. I hated dealing with horse manure. I hated the dirty, dusty feeling that came from being at the stable. However, I am not really a city girl either. I was never really in a big city in any meaningful way until high school, when my Math League team went to the state competition and our awesome coach/teacher arranged for us to have the morning free in the Twin Cities to wonder around on our own. The next place I really explored a city was Europe. I have been in more big European cities than big American cities. (Munich, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Prague, Warsaw, Berlin, Brussels, and London versus Chicago, the Twin Cities, Columbus, Memphis, St. Louis and New York City). I love Chicago. I like being in big cities, but I can't imagine living there. I am not a city girl or a country girl. I am something strangely in between. I know how to ride and take care of horses, climb trees, I love spending time outdoors, hiking, exploring, I don't mind most bugs, I am not afraid of wildlife, I don't mind getting dirty. But, I like convienence. I like being near the store and movie theater and having friends within a few minutes rather than a half hour away. What does that make me?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Still Bruised

I have to leave for class in 10 minutes, but thought I would stick something up here first.

I had one of those mornings where despite the fact I woke up when DH got up, as he sat on my feet and called the dog off the bed, five or ten minutes later when my own alarm went off I was already so asleep again that I thought it was his alarm, and was very annoyed he wasn't turning it of, and rolled over to hit him only to find he was already gone. The sudden realization that I am supposed to get up sucks.

Its 3 days after my Krav Maga class and I still am quite sore, though not nearly as bad as yesterday. I have some serious bruises, though the ones on my knuckles are gone. This extreme soreness makes me think that despite the fact I have been going to the gym at least twice a week, I have not been doing all I should be doing. Part of me wants to rev up my workouts, and other part is (1) aware I will never get as good of a workout alone as in a class and (2) worried my workout buddies will abandon me if I suggest a harder workout. Also, with the end of the quarter rapidly approaching, things are getting busier and busier, so I have less time for the gym, not more.

I am trying to decide how to cut my hair, or whether to cut it perhaps. I think I want bangs again. Any opinions? Maybe over the weekend I can post a picture with and without bangs side by side.

Thats all for now folks.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Reverse SAD

SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder- is a very real problem wherein people do not get exposure to the sun enough in winter month and this biologically causes depression, loss of energy, etc. You can read more about it here. It would suck to get depressed every winter just because it was winter.

That said, and not trying to make light of the issue, I think I have reverse SAD. Instead of getting blue or depressed in the winter, a sleety, rainy, snowy, chilly, blustery gray November day makes me feel alive. Very alive. Its an instant way to cheer my spirits if I have been sitting inside all day being unmotivated or depressed.

I am going to go try this cure right now instead of making a fourth blog post in a half hour.

(The second blog post was on my other blog, Quizzes for the Well Informed, shameless ad here).

Movie Reviews

To say I am unmotivated would be a gross understatement. I am beyond not motivated, I am in a down right school rut.

So, instead of working on my class work or dissertation stuff, which definitely needs more attention than it is getting, I am going to review movies for you.

Traitor, starring Don Cheadle, was our choice at the dollar theater Friday night. It is a political thriller. It is very hard to write a review for because its hard not to give the plot away. Besides some major plot holes, it was quite good. I really enjoyed how it portrayed both sides of the "war on terror". I am not sure I would watch it again, but it certainly was worth seeing the first time. I wish I could say more... but I don't want to spoil it for you.

Dead Again, from 1991, was the movie we watched with friends Saturday night. It came highly recommended by our good friend T. It is about a women who is found trying to sneak into a nunnery in the middle of the night and she can't remember who she is. It is about past lives and hypnosis and karma. Although it is quite strange, I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it. It made me wonder what my past lives may have been... I think the last one was probably a rebel in communist Russia... Anyways, it is worth seeing. Two thumbs up (one on each hand).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Black and Blue

I can beat you up and I have the bruises to prove it.

This evening I joined several other Columbus women for a self defense course. Unfortunately, at this moment I am being reminded of why we were inspired to do this, since I am watching the local news and they are reporting the 7th victim of a serial rapist.

Tonight was an intro to Krav Maga. I learned to punch hard, kick hard, elbow hard, flip people off me, and most of all, be aggresive. It was also the best cardio work out I have had in a long time. I never knew how tiring elbowing or punching hard for a minute or two can be. I never knew how hard it could be to hold up a pad and brace it for someone else to hit. I am sore all over, and have four new bruises that I know of - two on my knuckles.

And I can kick all of your butts now.

Tuesday? Already?

Time has been flying! I feel like this past week hardly existed. I turned in my "to do" list on Wednesday, then all the sudden it was Monday and I hadn't done any of it. It does not help that my busiest days schedule-wise are Thursday and Friday, so nothing gets done on them. Its my fault I did not work over the weekend, but that is something I am finding it increasingly difficult to do. In general, I just have been incredibly apathetic towards a lot of things lately, and I am not sure what to make of it.

The University is closed today, but I was foolish enough to make appointments anyways, so now I am meeting a number of students to discuss paper topics at Starbucks today. I also have a study group late this afternoon, so I will pretty much be around campus all day despite it being a holiday. Poor planning on my part.

Soon to come - a post about our new cat, which we did indeed get on Sunday.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I love my animals...

I started the day off by washing all the pets. Grim stank badly, Gandalf was starting down that stinky road, and while I was at it, I three Nox in their too. I am either extremely lucky or extremely talented, as bathing all of these animals is quite easy. I have never been scratched or bit or hurt or had one of them run through the house soaking wet, or any other sort of disaster, so that's nice.

After washing three animals,the bathroom is a complete disaster. OK. In reality, after washing Grim, the bathroom is a complete disaster. As in, I have to wipe down the walls because there is dog hair EVERYWHERE. Once I finished with that, I bathed myself (as I was also covered in animal hair), and headed out on some errands.

See, we are getting a new cat! Hopefully tomorrow, though that has yet to be arranged. He is orange. My cousin, who is very into animal rescue, accidentally caught him in a live trap and he is a complete sweety. We have yet to come up with a name for him. DH has been vetoing pretty much everything I think up, and especially anything even tangentially related to Harry Potter (which is admittedly the majority of what I think up). It is unfortunate, as I think "Weasley" would be the perfect name for him with his orange hair. Meanwhile, DH wants to name him "Skippy" from the movie Boondock Saints. If any of you have seen the movie, you know why this is a horrible name... lets just say that in the movie Skippy meets an unpleasant end. If you have any ideas for a name for an orange cat, certainly suggest them. We have been trying for a week. Anyways, because we are getting a third cat, we need a second litter box, a new collar for him, etc, so I went out on errands. When I got back, instead of studying I promptly fell asleep on the couch with my clean puppy for two hours, and bu the time I woke up it was practically evening and we had people coming over to watch a movie.

Movie reviews are in order then... but perhaps another time, since I think this post, with its ridiculous concentration on my animals, is perfect just the way it is.

Friday, November 7, 2008

New Blog!

I am starting a second blog, just for trivia fun. Go check it out! I hope to post a new quiz each week, mostly Geography to begin with just because I think its fun.

Quizzes for the Well-Informed

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sleepy DH

When DH goes to bed early I end up with lots to stay and no one to say it to. You see, our nightly routine is to hang out, watch TV, study, sometimes together, sometimes separately. Even when we are hanging out in different rooms, whenever I think of something, hear a news story, etc, I run to wherever he is and tell him and we chat about it. But sometimes, like tonight, I have a million things to tell him and I run to do it, and then he is asleep and I have no one to tell. And then I just want to chat and chat and chat and there is no one to chat with!

So... consider the rest of this post the random things I was planning to tell him.
(1) My fantasy football team is already rocking it! The game tonight was Browns vs Broncos. I had Eddie Royal of the Broncos, along with the Broncos kicker. Two players, one of them being my kicker, and I already have 32 points. That is REALLY good for those of you who don't FF it up! Too bad the Browns had to go and lose it. They were about to pull a win out, but couldn't quite hold onto it. I am not very attached to the Browns... but I still would like to see them win.

(2) Watching the local news is bad for a sense of safety or pride. Top stories? A man got shot in the middle of the street in East Columbus. It was gang related. The scene was so dangerous the newsman was desperate to get out of there. Second story? A man who is burning down houses to hide his murder (and possibly rape) victims bodies a county or two away. Third story? Serial rapist in Hilliard. Wonderful. That last story has inspired me to join a group of other Columbus women in a self defense course next Tuesday. Can't hurt, right? I grew up in a rural area near a small city with a low crime rate... this is a big change.

(3) Boondock Saints has a Blu-Ray release date! The first five Harry Potters are also being released together on Blu Ray soon! I am psyched!

(4) Should I have people over tomorrow night? It would only be two or three people, but it might be fun. I am undecided. Quite night in or social quite night in?

(5) I got a compliment for being really nice to a friends new girlfried on election night. She is conservative and felt a bit out of place. I am glad I could make her feel welcome! I am trying to decide whether to admit my uncharacteristic social outgoingness was ouzo related... hmm...

(6) My class schedule is horrible tomorrow. I have technically been registered for overlapping classes all quarter, but this is the first time that the second one actually decided to use that particular time slot... now I will miss part of it tomorrow and have no time for lunch.

That is all.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Halloween Capers!

I had a great October and Halloween. We had about 50 trick-or-treaters come to our house, which was very exciting. It was really the first time we handed out candy. (We used to have Trick-or-Treat night in the dorms but I don't think that counts). Anyways, when trick-or-treaters came to our houses here is what they saw:

Pumpkin 1: The Skull

Pumpkin 2: The Castle

The Front of Our House

Detail of the Lanterns

Detail of the sidewalk lights
So, where did I get those beautiful pumpkins? I drew and carved both designs. The pumpkins themselves came from a real live pumpkin patch! Thats right, for the first time ever, I actually went to a pumpkin patch!! My friend, Sarah, and I took a nice Sunday morning and picked our own pumpkns. The picture I took of me that day just reminded me how much weight I should be trying to lose... so I will just post this one picture of Sarah, gazing longingly at her pumpkin! After all of that debate, I ended up going to the party dressed as Bristol Palin! There are some much better pictures that capture the costume on someone elses costume. Since DH did not want to be Levi, our good friend Tracy played him. We also had a Sarah Palin and Todd Palin at the party. I will post those "family" pictures when I get my hands on them! Until then you are left with this one. The facial expression is intentional... the pregnancy belly is being hidden by "Trig", which is the point of the costume but is also unfortunate since the fake belly was pretty great. Oh, and Trig, played by my childhood doll Stephania, fooled at least a couple of people! (They thought I was carrying around a real baby!)
Meanwhile, Aaron was a beer bottle. It was actually a great joke, since he was the designated driver and I was pretending to be pregnant and drinking... nice irony!

This side of night, still bright!

Perhaps I should clarify my admitted drunk-blogging. I feel like I really witnessed history last night, and it was amazing. Both the acceptance and concession speeches last night were the best speeches I have ever heard. I did not vote for Obama because of his race, in fact, it hardly ever even crossed my mind during this election, but seeing the crowd last night made me realize just how big of a deal it really is. We have our first ever non-white president. As the BBC put it , "the American people have made two fundamental statements about themselves: that they are profoundly unhappy with the status quo, and that they are slamming the door on the country's racial past."

I have tremendous respect for McCain (ok... It comes and goes, but it was completely reaffirmed by the speech). I hope he returns to the senate with the same independence and passion he has had in the past. I think his leadership in the senate will continue to be a great asset to this country.

For people who were disapointed last night, don't spout doom and despair. So much of this campaign has been about fear mongering and there is no reason to make yourself miserable and buy into it. Obama, if nothing else, is an extremely intelligent man. He can process changing information and come to logical, thought out conclusions, which is perhaps a quality we can all agree would aid a president in performing his duties. But more importantly, remember that democracy works not because people are always happy, and not because its "the popular will" or a mandate to rule, but because in two years, four years, etc, if things are not improving, you get another chance to put your woman (or man) in power. Republicans will come back into power, its just a matter of when.

I personally however hope that Obama can really accomplish what he wants in office, turn this country's economy, international reputation, and polarization around and that the Republican eventuality does not come for a long time!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Perhaps I will regret this tomorrow, but I am so proud right now to be witness to such a historical moment. McCain's concession speech was music to my ears, not because he lost but because both men in this race had such respect for America. I never want to forget how I feel tonight, or how much hope and potential their is in this country. We truly are the land of the free.

bless America


Barack the vote!!

Election Day is like Christmas for Political Science majors. Even though I am not an Americanist, I certainly am enjoying the excitement surrounding election day, especially on campus where people are exercising their right to free speech all over the place. I am just so excited and energized by it all! Of course, I was excited and energized in 2004, and we all know how that turned out... Lets hope tonight is different!

Tonight? Election party! I made red, white, and blue Apple Pie! What is more American than that?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Actual Metro Parks Post

The day after I finished the written portion of general exams I took the day off and did whatever I pleased. I got up at a reasonable hour, loaded Grim into the car, and headed off to have my second experience with the Metro Park system, large parks around the outskirts of Columbus. (My first experience was a disapointing one, but I did not have the same information as I did this time). Grim and I headed out to Highbanks with the plan of walking a three mile loop called "Coyote Run". As we got out of the car, I was pleased to see the trail started out going straight into the woods. It was amazing to be out in nature again. Going so long without much nature around, it was like a reawakening. I can't describe how refreshing and beautiful everything seemed.

I love getting up close to things to get pictures. Grim was an angel, very well behaved. She sat and waited while I fooled around trying to get a good picture of these berries. With my camera being what it is, it can be difficult to focus correctly, but I think this picture turned out quite nicely.

There were some beautiful examples of fall colors that I tried to capture the beauty of on film, but I am afraid I failed.

After going through about a half mile of trail in the woods we emerged into a huge meadow full of beautful yellow golden rod. Most of the trail looped around the edges of these meadows. It was quite pleasant. Very relaxing.

After we got back from the walk, I decided I should have gotten a picture of Grim, so I took one near the parking lot with golden rods, the theme of the day, in the background
The second Metro Park I visited, a week ago, was called Glacier Ridge. I have to admit, with a name like that, I was expecting a whole lot more. It was a beautiful, cool morning and my walk was refreshing, but this is what the trail looked like:

It was very much farmland. In fact, the trail came within a few hundred feet of old farm buildings, a shed, old rusty farm stuff, etc, with a farm house still obviously occupied by private residences. Also, the vast majority of the trail was within earshot and vision of roads. Its hard to stop and enjoy nature with the vroom of an engine every couple of minutes. It still, however, was fun for Grim, and had its small beauties, like the pretty yellow tree behind Grim, and these purple flowers that stood out so beautifully from the surrounding brown.

What I am really getting at with the Glacier Ridge comments is that despite the pleasure these trails gave me, there was still something seriously lacking, almost like they awoke a yearning they could not fulfill. I would call these parks "nature light". Highbanks had woods and overgrown meadows, and momentary seperations from cars and modern noises, but it still was about a 1.5 mile trail each way. It made me realize how lucky I was to be so near true wilderness growing up and how much I miss it! Every time I go home I try to take a day to drive up the North Shore of Lake Superior, and its wonderful.

The following are images of the area I grew up hiking in, the North Shore wilderness, the Superior Hiking Trail and the like. Loads of state parks with miles of hiking trails and millions of acres of wilderness. Bordering Lake Superior, with hill after rocky hill, endless lakes and creeks and rivers and pine trees, the chance of running into a moose or a bear at any time, leaving the trail being a serious endeavor because getting lost is no joke...

Image from jwartman59
Image from The Botanizer

(Image from Jeff Carver Music LLC)

I am not trying to belittle the Metro Park system, its great! I really enjoyed both my walks and plan to continue to use them and support them. Its just, that sort of wilderness, wilderness light as you might call it, is what I was able to walk out my front door into when I was growing up. In fact, Glacier Ridge especially reminded me of my parent's back fields more than it did of real, raw nature. I guess I am a nature elistist. I probably am romanticizing my use of the Minnesota Wilderness as well. I took plenty of hikes on little "nature light" trails in state parks, many more of them than I did of the real hikes I speak of, but it was always available.
There are of course other options in Ohio for wilderness. I have been to Hocking Hills once, and while it was really nice, it still is broken up into all these little pieces and you still are hearing cars etc. Ohio is so agricultural, and there is not nearly enough lakes to go around. Does anyone know of what the nearest real wilderness area is? Somewhere that you could actually get lost in a dangerous way, somewhere that people would go backpacking or hike five miles or ten miles without seeing a sign of civilization besides the trail in front of you... something like that sounds good right about now.