Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 World View

Being a politics person I also wanted to make a post about important news stories of 2008. Here is what I came up with.

I think, by far, the biggest American news story of the year is the Presidential Race. It dominated the media for the first 10 months of the year - first the amazing comeback of McCain against his republican foes, then the highly contested battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, both with strong supporters, both historical candidates, and then of course the race itself - positive and negative adds, the ridiculous introduction of Sarah Palin, Joe the Plumber "real America" fear mongering... I watched all but one of the debates. Looking back, most the things I remember about the campaign were nasty or stupid things that the McCain campaign did. I hardly remember any of the Obama ads or strategic moves.. I just remember the out pouring of hatred, fear, and ignorance from McCain's campaign. I guess slow and steady won the race! I worried and stressed, got mad at the media, got mad at the candidates, did my research, and went out and voted, then sat back with my friends drinking Ouzo and watched the results role in. Amazing. Breathtaking. America has elected the first African American president. America has voted to stop supporting a party that is falling apart at the seems, unable to uphold its own everly increasingly conflictual values.

Of course, tangential to the election was the incredibly massive collapse of first the housing market, then the lending sector, then the entire economy. The only good side to all of this? Oil prices dropped. At least we don't have stagflation people!! We managed to buy our house just before the mortgage industry really went berserk - meaning we got the low prices of the housing declines but were still able to get a great mortgage rate before they clamped down on lending. Good timing us! The economy cycles, that is just the way of it. We have had unprecedented streaks of growth, so this was bound to happen. I hope though that society has come far enough that despite the similarities of this to the Great Depression, things will not be the same.

Perhaps the most depressing story of the year was the terrorist attacks on Bombay. I don't think most people in America realize how big this attack was, how many people were involved, how many people were killed, how many landmarks of day to day life for the people of Bombay were destroyed, and how much tension and fear it has caused. I have a professor from India who sent us an email saying that a week before the attack he had been in India visiting family - he chatted over coffee at a cafe where many people were killed, strolled casually down the street past two hotels that were destroyed, to lounge on a beach where people were massacred. The death toll was not as high as the World Trade Center, but the psychological effect is similar. And, the terrorists there are probably getting what they want as tensions between Pakistan and India escalate.

Some other majorly depressing news stories from last year involve mother nature - the earthquake in China that claimed so many homes and lives, the typhoon and following starvation in Myanmar, hurricane Ike, and more. According to the German company Re, 220,000 people died in natural disasters this year, well above previous years. It seems like there are more and more natural disasters every year.

And of course, the wars. Iraq continues to boil, Afghanistan flares, Russia and Georgia squabble, Kenya falls into disarray, millions flee the fighting in the Congo. Humans never ending quest to kill each other continues. South African natives violently attack immigrant encampments. Israeli and Palestinians go at it again. Men fight with bow and arrows in a land dispute in Kenya. Zimbabwe's leader won't step down and violence their increases. Tibetans clash with the Chinese. And these are just the conflicts I can list off the top of my head.

On a more positive note, there were lots of good sports stories, my favorite being the Olympics. What a great Olympics it was! Amazing opening ceremony, 8 medals for Phelps, everything was just really fun to watch. In other exciting sporting stories, Eli Manning beat the patriots in the Super Bowl! That was an amazing game, it seems so long ago. The Devil Rays created excitement even for me in MLB, and the Columbus Crew won the championship this year in MLS! A man tried to cross the Pacific ocean in a row boat and made it most of the way (he was 60km from Australia when they picked him up). People can be amazing.

Thats all I got right now. I am sure there is some huge story I am missing, but I decided to do this mostly from memory rather than go research and link to other sites etc.

It was an eventful year people! Hope this coming year brings more good stories and less bad stories, but somehow I doubt that.

Her Life, in a Nutshell

It is hard to believe that it is the last day of 2008. I have no big plans tonight, Aaron requested a quite night in and, feeling very exhausted, I am happy to give it to him.

My 2008, In a Nutshell

January, February - I was in school, taking an independent study on India, an independent study in Chinese, and the first half of time series. The first was the most useful class I have taken here at OSU, the last two were the least useful.

March - We chose, bid on, and closed on our first home! There were several nice runner ups, but I think we made a good decision. It is really the sun porch we could not get out of our minds. In the middle of that process we also snuck in a week long trip to the west coast, my first trip west of Wichita (pathetic, eh?) My ILs were living in California for six months and we took full advantage of it. I was surprised to like LA (or actually, the area north of it, around Oxnard). I never realized the mountains would be so close to the ocean, and there is no denying how much I enjoy being around large bodies of water. Whale watching was also amazing. I think seeing whales mating may be a once in a lifetime experience for most people. We also drove from LA to Tuscon. As expected, I am not a big fan of the desert.

April - What a crazy month it was. I, in my spring quater, was in Time Series and a very difficult game theoretics course, so very busy with school. Aaron was spending every spare minute at the house painting. Even with a full month between closing on the house and moving in we struggled to get everything done that we wanted.

May - We moved into our house on May 3rd, with help from good friends. May 4th we got our dog, Grim. It was amazing how quickly Gandalf got used to the dog. I was worried he was being too brazen and would get himself hurt. Everyone settled in so quickly. Shortly after that, our friend Ben moved in with us. I know I was busy in May with school. Aaron took me out for my Birthday and he burnt his mouth on a chipotle pepper... thats pretty much all I remember. LOL.

June - School ended, my friend Tracy threw a Birthday part for several of us. I planted my garden. My parents came and visited. I successfully hosted a BBQ at my house for my Dad's side of the family. We went to my Cousin Rachel's wedding. Michaela stayed with me after everyone else went home and she fell in love with Easton.

July - We spent July Fourth in Michigan with Laurelyn - Grim's first road trip. It went smoothly. We introduced her to Joey, LEKs horse, and just generally enjoyed spending time up there. I started studying more seriously for generals, which was an unecesarily lazy process. Summers are horrible, lazy times of year that never seem to go as well as they could.

August - My family came to Ohio again! We went up to Cedar Point for two days. I had forgotten how much I loved roller coasters, such a sense of Freedom. It was so great seeing them and spending time having fun with them. In the middle of August my sister in law (SIL) visited. We had fun playing Rock Band with her. At the very end of August N&N, my ILs visited. It was great showing them the house and other fun things in Columbus, like the giant corn cobs.

September - 100% misery, undescribable stress and helplessness. We also had the wind storms in September, which delayed my general exams by a few days. Some people went without power for a week! We were lucky and only lost it for around 24 hours, but that was still enough to force us to throw out a lot of food. I finally took my oral exams, but that just sent off another round of stress with preperation for oral exams and the beginning of class. I felt like there was no way I could accomplish everything that was being expected of me, especially with regards to my economics course and oral exams.

October - At the very beginning of October we found out about DH's impending job loss, which was bad news when I already felt like I could take no more. I finally was relieved of the burden of general exams on October 13th, (10/13 for you X-files fans), when I passed my generals. The feeling of relief from that seemed to flow through all parts of my life and things were looking up.

November - I chugged along, the excitement of earning my masters slowly fading, slipping back into the duldrums of day to day work. We got a third cat, Little Caeser. He was SO incredibly flight at first. He still is, but he is improving. I wonder if he will ever be 100% comfortable in our home. Some of my Cousin's visited town. Chris and Casey stopped in on their way to moving to California, Ike came right before Thanksgiving and we ate at a great Indian resteraunt. We spent Thanksgiving at my Grandma's house with extended family.

December - The last couple weeks of the quarter were very stressful, partly just life, partly my procrastination. I got to take a wonderful week long trip to Duluth, spending most of the time snowed in. Then, Christmas in Kansas, and a brief relaxing day in Saint Louis. I am spending the last day of 2008 in my office alone, finishing the syllabus for my first course - Political Economy of Development. This coming quarter should give me a lot of insight into what direction I want to take in the future.

One thing I am sort of not happy with is the ammount of reading I have done. These past few days have reminded me how much I enjoy a good story. Not counting the last three days, I can count on one hand the books I have read for fun this year - The Amber Spyglass, The Last Lecture, The HERetics Daughter, The Middle Place... that might be it for recreational reading before Twilight, and that is downright pathetic. I did not even choose three of those four books, they were for book club! I shall reflect upon this pathetic pattern in my New Years Resolutions.

Despite the fact I spent much of July-October miserable, I would label it a good year. I did things in 2008, I had new, fun experiences and made good memories. I know that at the end of 2007 I felt like the year had passed me by and I did not want that to happen again, and I don't think it has.

Life is good.

Monday, December 29, 2008

End of the Year Reflections 3

Another Meme, of course. This is pretty much the last one, though I will no doubt post again on the ending year.

Here we go!

1 minute ago... I was looking at pictures on my Dad's blog
1 hour ago... I was walking the dog
1 day ago... I was enjoying a relaxing morning in St. Louis, watching Sydney White and reading Twilight
1 month ago... I was trying to get everything done for the quarter, study for economics, write for dissertation workshop, etc
1 year ago... I was getting back from Minnesota where we spent Christmas
1 decade ago... I was 14, a brooding 9th grader, probably running around, enjoying all my christmas gifts, beating up my brother
(2 decade ago... I was four years old. I am sure I was running around enjoying all my Christmas gifts, driving my sister nuts)
1 lifetime ago... I think I was in communist Russia.

5 minutes ago... I was reading an online message board
5 hours ago... I was sound asleep having stayed up until 4am reading
5 days ago... I was in Columbus for 24 hours, and then flying out on Christmas eve to see DH's family.
5 monthes ago... I was stressing out about generals
5 years ago... it was the end of 2003. I was a Sophomore in College, probably pining for Aaron who was at home with his family for Christmas.


Its 3:45am. In the last 28 hours I have

(1) Opened Christmas presents with DH's family, recieving many wonderful things, including the first two books in the hotly popular Twilight series.

(2) Slept 7 Hours.

(3) Ate Breakfast with the ILs and socialized

(4) Watched most of the movie Sydney White

(5) Gone out to a late and extended lunch with friends from college (and got horribly turned around/lost on the way there!!)

(6) Repacked all my scattered belongings

(7) Flew from Saint Louis to Columbus,

And... most significantly, inbetween (or during all of these things), read the first two books of the Twilight series. 1000 pages worth.

Hmmm. I think we can classify this series as addicting. Readers, beware!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas! Its a day early, but I will not have a chance to post tomorrow, so today will have to do. Here are some Christmas pictures!!

Me (in the orange hat), LEK behind me, Mom infront of me, Dad in the very back center, Michi infront of him, then Max on the right, and his girlfriend Kelsey, who fits right in! The entire Duluth Keener clan!!

Aaron and I, infront of our Christmas tree on December 23rd. We had just finished opening gifts. Of course, as usual. Gandalf had to sneak into the picture!!

In about two hours I leave for the airport again, headed off to Kansas (then Missouri) to spend the Holiday with Aaron's extended family. It should be really fun! Now, if only the forecast would be wrong and we could get a White Christmas in Witchita!

Hope everyone's travels are safe and the holidays are filled with joy.

Monday, December 22, 2008

101 Posts

Unbeknown to me, the last post was my 100th on this blog. Perhaps if I had known it would be something different than a meme, but no biggie. At the rate I am going I will soon be celebrating my 200th post.

I cannot believe it is already my last full day in Minnesota. I fly out very early Tuesday morning. So, now you are saying "geez, if this is your last day, why are you spending it writing us a post instead of enjoying the time with your family?" The answer is simple enough - I am "home" alone. I put the home in quotations because while my mother and sister are both on the property, they are out playing with (feeding) the horses. They will be in shortly, and then my Dad will get home from taking Michaela to school, and we will all head off to town for some Christmas shopping and to have lunch with friends, but for now I am alone in my parents house, the sun beaming through the kitchen windows, with Radio Heartland, the offspring of the recently retired morning show, playing in the background. The snow is glistening so brightly in the sun it hard to even look outside, but if you can, its beautiful. What a nice morning, despite the -12 degree temperature.

Last night my sister LEK and I wandered outside around midnight to look at the stars, not letting the subzero temperature deter us. We turned off the outdoor lights and walked down the drive, eyes skyward. LEK took an astronomy class in college and thus was able to point out a number of constellations I have never been aware of - Draco the Dragon, Cassiopeia (the winter W), the amateurishly named "mini dipper" that is actually a tiny galaxy very far away. I miss the stars, its not so much something I cannot get in Ohio, just something I cannot get in Columbus. If anyone who reads this that lives in Columbus knows a good place to go to look at the stars, let me know.

By the time we came in, my face was getting numb (the only thing exposed to the cold), and the moisture on the bottom of my snow pants had frozen solid, making then clunk against my boots. A lot of people do not like cold, they hate it in fact, but there are many things that most people do not understand about snow, I think, that contributes to this dislike. I have been meaning to post about it, perhaps a top ten list of things people do not realize about snow/winter that is what makes it wonderful to me. I have spent a lot of time in the last few days outside playing in the snow, enjoying it, trying to absorb enough of the joyful feeling that it gives me to take back to Columbus and store up for the rest of the gray, rainy depressing winter that awaits me there. I will take deep snow and cold temperatures over slush, sleet, rain and temperatures constantly fluctuating between freezing and not, any day.

When I get back to Columbus I will post more - more pictures, more stories, now I am going to go enjoy being here.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Holiday Meme Collage

My sister loved the meme I posted with the pictures so she wrote another one, and I must oblige!

To do this, go to your favorite image search (I use Google) and type in the answer to each question, then go to Mosaic Maker and put them into a collage.

1. Favorite Christmas Carol?
2. Favorite Christmas cookie?
3. Favorite holiday tradition?
4. What do you hope to receive for Christmas this year?
5. New Year's resolution?
6. Memory from 2008?
7. How do you celebrate New Years?
8. What's for Christmas dinner?
9. Favorite holiday activity?

Can you guess what my answers were?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Today my Dad and I were given the assignment to go out and pick a Christmas tree. I love this activity in any circumstances, but especially here in Minnesota where it means a healthy romp in knee-deep snow. Life is good.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thoughts from the Air

For some reason, being on an airplane always inspires me to write. Here are the results:

It is December 16th and I am flying from Columbus, my immediate home, to Minnesota, my home home. I am gaining more and more landmarks to search for as I fly out of Columbus, really getting to understand the geography of the city. Today, when the plane took off, I immediately identified where we were, what direction we were turning, and what I might fly over that I would recognize. I managed to see the house of a friend, somewhere I have only been twice but has distinct geography, and also the whole northern length of high street with the OSU campus, which seems so far from Worthington when you are on the ground, right in plane view.

The ground slowly faded away and for sometime we were in greyness, then emerging, the clouds took on a sea-like quality: smooth and whispy navy blue below us. A thin veil of clouds still above us, and when I say veil, I mean as transparent as tulle, really noticed only by its movement. It made me wonder how windy it is out there, and what it would fell like to be suspended in the air this high, breathe in, breathe out, feel the cold air on your skin.

Minnesota has been preparing for me - trying to cram as much Minnesota goodness into my time as possible. On Sunday it snowed 10 inches of beautiful, white powder, and then the temperature dropped. What more could one ask for in Minnesota than plentiful snow and subzero temperatures?


Same day, many hours later, different plane. My flight from MSP to DLH got cancelled, so I was put on a later flight. I used the lunch voucher they gave me, then spent the next three hours playing DS, listening to Christmas music, and kid-watching. The family sitting near me was coming from Australia, headed for Grand Marais. Quite the trip! A four year old girl and two year old boy who were remarkably well-behaved did not seem to mind the wait, or even realize it was unusual. I guess that is ignorance as bliss.

In the meantime, between when I should have arrived in Duluth and when I actually would board a plane, snow started falling, and not exactly light snow. By the time our flight rolled around, the runways were caked in white. The captain informed us we would be taking off, just as soon as we get de-iced. We roll out onto the runway, and sit, and sit. I don't even know how long. There is this lingering, growing dread that each minute of stillness increases the chance that we will get the announcement that the airport is shutting down. Tick tick tick. I do a sudoku, doze off, wake up, and then finally the plane moves forward and the pilot announces we are getting de-iced, and then when thats done we will get in line to take off. While this is precisely what he said before, I don't think we understood the time frame when he said it the first time. Trucks pull up beside us and the plane is given a bath of what must be thousands of gallons of de-icing agent. It is vaguely pink as it washes over the windows. Then we return to waiting, this time slightly more confident we will be allowed to proceed. The plan in front of us takes off. It is amazing how clear the actual runway is, given the condition of everything else around it. It should be our turn. We turn towards the runway and stop. The engines kick on, but we don't move. I imagine the cockpit, "Ready for takeoff", "You are cleared for takeoff". Then finally, we go. Faster and faster, rushing by planes being de-iced and snow covered buildings. I feel as if the passengers should cheer when the wheels finally leave the ground, but no one else seems to agree. Perhaps such jubilation is better saved for a safe landing.

The flight to Duluth is extremely short, 25 minutes from lift off to touch down. We don't reach crusing altitude, and so we never escape the solid grey enveloping the aircraft. This is not the normal varied greys and whites of flying through a cloud. It is nothingness. Tiny waves of de-icing fluid make their way across the windows. The flight is so short, a normal beverage service is not possible. Instead, we are given tiny childish plastic cups with foil across the tops. As I slurp mine down greedily, realizing only when the liquid hits my mouth how dry the air is, the plane makes a noticeable shift in direction as descent begins. The lights of Duluth appear, and the flight lasts no longer than it takes me to hurriedly write out these two and a half pages.

Here is too a safe landing.


Obviously, since I am typing this in my parents kitchen, the landing did go well, as did the drive home (though slow due to lingering traffic issues from the weekend's blizzard. It is zero degrees and snowing, and absolutely beautiful. So refreshing. I don't understand how people could not like cold, I feel like it brings out the feeling of being alive, but perhaps more on that another day.

Good night!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Another Quarter Conquered

I just sent out my multilevel modeling paper. Although it did not turn out as well as hoped, it's submission means I am done for the quarter!! This means a lot less than it did in years past, even less than it did just a year ago. It used to be that when I was done for the quarter I could turn my attentions completely away from school work and focus on whatever I felt like for a glorious week or two. Now that I am past generals, and school is more about completing my dissertation than actually taking courses and such, break does not mean doing entirely what I want and forgetting about school. The dissertation is a burden I have to carry with me, home to Duluth tomorrow, then to Kansas to see DH's family, then back here for the last week of break in Columbus. Additionally, due to my own procrastination, I do not yet have a syllabus prepared for the class I am supposed to be teaching next quarter. It is due Friday, January 2nd, and must be strictly followed by me. I am not sure how I am going to get it done.

Despite all of this, I am still very glad to be done with my classwork and grading for the quarter. I still am spending the rest of the day here on campus though, which means I can clean my office, send out the stack of Christmas cards waiting to be sealed, and perhaps get a start on that syllabus. Then, tomorrow, I am headed to Duluth!! I do not intend to do much posting over break, so you will all have to survive without my random thoughts, movie reviews, and boring accounts of day to day life. I am not sure if you will make it, but thats a risk I am willing to take.

In other news, I entered into anumber of free book giveaway on Good Reads, and was delighted to be selected to recieve a free copy of the book The Help by Kathryn Sockett. I think the idea behind these book giveaways is that the book is new (just released or soon to be released) and they want to create good buzz. I will very willingly be the guinea pig if it means free books!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

End of the Year Reflections 2

A second reflection for the end of the year, just the standard survey version. I think one of the best things about doing these year to year is getting to look at all of last years answers as you replace them with this year.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before?
paid a mortgage instead of rent
planted my own tomato plants
owned and cared for a dog
owning and caring for THREE cats
earned a masters degree
saw the pacific ocean
saw the desert

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I had many resolutions last year, like working out, watching less TV, treating school like a job, reconnecting with old friends, practicing "honesty is the only policy", improving my housekeeping, and travelling somewhere new. I kept some of them. I went to California, I started spending 8 hours a day at the office, I go to the gym twice a week, I reconnected with some old friends (but not with others). My housekeeping is still abysmal (but DH has picked up the slack). I have practiced "honesty is the only policy" and have been much happier for it.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Nope, but there is some new babies coming in the new year!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Very thankfully, no. Many people I know right now are dealing with deaths of loved ones and I have been very fortunate to not have that as a challange yet.

5. What countries did you spend time in this year?
Just America, but I got to see a lot more of it!

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
A more clear idea of what from my career.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
May 3rd, moved into our first home. May 4th, got Grim. October 13th, (10/13) I passed generals, the most stressful time of my life ever.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Passing generals. Did I mention it was really stressful?

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not deciding what to do with my life.

10. Did you suffer any serious injury or illness?
Nope, thanfully!

11. What was the best thing you bought?
The house! Of course!

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Everone who passed generals with me deserves some serious recognition. (shout out to the third years!!) The American people voted for change, both from the last president and from history, which I think merits celebration.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and/or depressed?
Corporate America, congress, the president, you know, the usual suspects.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage and bills, pet care, car care, furnace parts, a new bed, food. We spend a lot on food.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Holding a BBQ for family at my house in June
Going to California/Going whale watching in California
Getting a dog
Getting a third cat
Visiting our families at the Holidays (I AM currently excited about this)

16. What song will always remind you of 2007?
Anything from Rockband probably, lets go with "Won't Get Fooled again" by The Who.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? as happy
b) thinner or fatter? fatter
c) richer or poorer? richer

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
I wish I had done more things outdoors, had more fires on our deck, took more hikes, etc. I also wish I had written more, and read more for pleasure.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Worrying, studying

20. How did you spend Christmas?
We will be in Kansas with Aaron's family.

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?
I already was in love, I fell more in love.

22. What are the main websites you used?
Gmail, Columbus Nesties message board, facebook, blogspot, livejournal, BBC, NYtimes

23. How many one-night stands?
This question is useless, the answer will eternally be NO. I should write a new question.

23.5 Did you write anything worth reading this year?
Maybe a poem or two, thats about it though.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
I enjoyed Top Chef, America's Next Top Model, Project Runway

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I try to avoid hating people, it never brings anything good.

26. What was the best book you read?
Lets go with The Amber Looking-Glass. Really I did not read much this year.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Pink. I know, she has been around forever, but I never realized I like her style until this year.

28. What did you want and get?
I wanted and got a dog, a house, a third cat, a garden, lots of visitors, and a lot more I am sure.

29. What did you want and not get?
Nothing pops out. We got so much this year, I cannot complain.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
Just trying to remember what I have seen in theaters this year is a challange. I know I very much enjoyed Kung Fu Panda and The Dark Knight, so we will go with those.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Aaron and I went to Banana Bean Cafe and he burnt his mouth. I turned 24. There was also a group Birthday party for several of us in my cohort hosted by Tracy, which was loads of fun.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If DHs job was as secure as we thought it would be when he accepted it, we would be so much happier.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006?
Whatever is comfortable.

34. What kept you sane?
Aaron, Laurelyn, other friends, walking the dog, jokes, laughter, and insanity... wait...

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Didn't do much new celebrity crushing this year.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
The election of course.

37. Who did you miss?
Many, many people. Anyone who doesn't live within an hour of me, and some people that do!!

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Some of the wonderful nesties! I don't know when I went to my first get together, but I have been to many this year and always am meeting new people.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008
Life is what you make of it. You cannot blame unhappiness or boredome or stress on anyone but yourself.

40. What sums up this year? (a word, a quote...?) Segmented. It does not seem like one cohesive unit. There is BEFORE the house, and AFTER the house, BEFORE generals, AFTER generals. Its not dates that determine the pace of our lives, it is big events.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thirteen on Thursday?

The morning show boys just got the entire live audience to meow like cats incessantly. Did I mention I will miss these guys?

I just joined Good Reads and strongly recommend it for anyone else out their that loves literature... granted I am going to be adding a new book every three or four months with my schedule, but it is still fun to see what other people are reading.

I should be either grading or working on my multilevel model paper. I am sure you guys are sick of me saying "here is what I SHOULD be doing". The problem is what I should be doing rarely aligns with what I WANT to be doing. Do you know what I really miss? Writing fiction. When I was growing up (think fourth grade on), I wrote fiction all the time. In high school I won a short story writing contest, and my senior project was about writing and publishing fiction. But, as I got into college I sort of left it behind to pursue "more realistic" or "more stable" things. Now I really miss it and wish I could get back to it.

That is all.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

End of the Year Reflections 1

I mentioned I have several end of the year me-mes to do, and as I am very busy procrastinating on my write up for dissertation workshop, I thought I would do the first one.

The instructions are simple:
Post the first line sof the first entry of each month of the past year.
Because this blog was created in August or something, I will be using my old blog for the first half of the year.

Happy New Year!!It was a low key, but fun New Years Eve. I invited anyone who was in town and had no better offers over, resulting in Will and Miryam coming. Of course I made enough food to feed an army - Crab Ragoon Wontons, apple wontons, and I intended to make pork wontons, but they never got cooked (until this morning).

Thats right, its the first day of February, and its raining. And its the second time this week it has rained. I have decided that places where it gets cold and warm and cold again give a bad name to cold. Of course the first day that its 15 degrees it feels cold! But if we were farther north, after a couple weeks of 15 degree weather, we would be used to it and enjoying the winter. But here, it gets down to 15 (or lower) and feels cold, and then after 2 or 3 days the temperature goes back up, and we never get used to it being cold.

I cannot believe how delinquent I have been on keeping this up. Please forgive me, I hope to be better in the future (as usual, always trying to improve). Lets see. The last time I posted was three weeks ago, and we had just had an offer accepted on the house. That seems SOOO long ago. Ages and ages.

Pictures of the House!

Tomorrow we move! Crazy times here in Columbus.

I have this bad habit of delaying posting about things until I get the pictures uploaded, which can take a really really long time.Here we go!!Wow. A month ago I went to my cousin Rachel's bridal shower. It was a LOT of fun. Lots of laughs. I did not get very many good pictures, but here are a couple:

Its already been over two weeks since I posted! Crazy! Its hard to keep up with this when I am busy out having fun. Michaela was here for a week after my parents left. I took her shopping, we went to Easton, a big outdoor mall area here. I think she fell in love, she is such a girly girl when it comes to shopping (though not when it comes to most other things).

I have not been posting much because not much has been happening. For the most part, I have just been studying during the day and playing video games at night. We went to see Batman and liked it very much. We also have enjoyed having some people over to play video games and watch project runway.

"What's life without a few dragons?"
- Ron Weasley, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Welcome to my blog! Its title and theme, Life without Dragons, is inspired by this quote from the Harry Potter series.

I am cat sitting for a friend for the next five days. That means we have four cats in the house, 8 living beings in the house total. It has been less than 24 hours and already this has produced interesting situations.

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.

Strange to think that in 31 days it will be 2009. December is always a time of reflection for me. I will try to hold off for a week or two at least, but I have about five end of the year blogging me-me's to do, that I always find quite amusing.


I think that its clear that the first half of the year shows why I moved my blog, I was hardly every posting, and constantly apologizing for it. I needed a blogging change, and although I brought some of my audience with me, I like my audience over here much better.

Its weird to think we have only lived in this house for six monthes and that I spent so many weeks this year (maybe months would be more appropriate) being miserable and stressed about school. hmm.

Farewell, Morning Show

Tomorrow morning the radio show I grew up listening to, the Morning Show with Dale Connelly and Jim Ed Poole on Minnesota Public Radio will put on its last performance. This is a very sad thing for many Minnesotan's, and I am sure very hard for anyone who did not listen to understand.

This show was one of a kind, not to be reproduced. They played music that no other radio shows play, and always entertained in a goofy, unpredictable way.

Today, on the second to last day, my father managed to get a request played. He recorded it from their online archive and sent it to me. I do not really have a way to play it here, but you can go to their site and listen to it if you want. His request was played at 7:52 this morning, so if you want to hear it you can open up the 7-8am hour and skip to 50 minutes and thirty seconds and listen to them talk about my Dad any my family both before and after a great song he requested, an old family favorite.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I think I might have passed...

I have cleared another set of hurdles standing between me and Christmas Vacation - the administering of the exam to the class I TA for and my final exam in ECON 804.

The econ exam went surprisingly well. I went in not knowing nearly as much (or at least not understanding nearly as much) as I would have expected was necessary, but I came out thinking I got a lot of the answers right or partially right, which is a big accomplishment in this class. I mean, the average on the midterm was 50, so if I got most of the questions, that is above average, LOL.

In the meantime, another shameless plug - go take my geography quiz!!
Quizzes for the Well-Informed
"There is no shame in not knowing something, but there is no reason not to find it out." That is my new quote, think its catchy enough? I want to write a whole entry on it, but alas, time is of the essence.

Finally, my friend bought me one of these, and it rocks. Guess she gets added to my list of people to buy gifts for!!

Monday, December 8, 2008


It has been probably three or four years (at least!) since I was last too a dentist, and in the meantime I have chugged soda after soda, eaten every sweet that crossed my path, and been delinquent in my flossing (though I do brush religiously). So, with a sore spot or two amongst my teeth, and expecting a reprimand, I headed into the dentist today.

I went to The Gentle Dentist in Worthington, five minutes from my house, which was great. Apparently I was deprived as a child (or times have changed, or things are just different in bigger cities due to increased competition). This dentist has (1) seat warmers (2) a TV in each cleaning cubicle (i.e. - you could watch TV/have it on while they worked on you, channel of your choice). They also offered me six different flavors of polishing agent, but being boring I just took mint anyways. If they had had strawberry, I might have gone for it, but alas. I was tempted by the cookie dough flavor, but the hygienist made a joke about it being for kids, so I didn't. Anyways, everyone who worked there was extremely nice. They asked me frequently if I needed anything, and were very efficient. Oh, and did I mention, as I am paying out of pocket, this dentist had a significantly lower price tag for this introductory appointment than any other dentist I called? Luxurious, friendly, competent, and cheap. Can't beat that.
And the conclusion? My teeth are healthy, very healthy considering I haven't seen a dentist in so long. No cavities, no decay, a few gum issues, but those are easily (and cheaply) remedied. I think some people are just more inclined to teeth problems than others. My sister flosses everyday and is still told she should floss more. I have friends who have had 40 cavities despite brushing everyday etc, and here I am, 24 years old with one minor cavity ever. Yay for healthy teeth!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Ohio was listening...

Ohio must have been listening when I lamented being here instead of Minnesota, as now the view out my office window as I slave away over economics is this:

And its still snowing at a decent rate!

Also, Little Caeser has decided to keep me company while I study and has also discovered the joy of our cat bed. I recieved a cat bed free from a friend a long time ago. Nox and Gandalf never used it, but apparently now we have a cat that loves it!!

Finally, while I am at posting pictures, yesterday I saw a hawk on campus! As in, this huge hawk was sitting 15 feet away from the sidewalk, inbetween the sidewalk and my building, picking at some sort of dead thing. I have never seen such a large hawk this close up in the wild. The chest of this bird was the size of a basketball! If I had my dad's camera, this would be amazing, but alas, these are the best shots I got with my little point and shoot.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Dreams can stink...

Last night, the rerun of House I watched at 9pm, along with my friends trying to tell me my chronic cough is Asthma, slipped into my dreams in a disturbing way.

I dreamt I was at a class reunion in Europe. Yes. Europe. France to be specific. I am not sure what level of school. The only specific person I remember I went to both elementary school and high school with, and traveled to Europe with, so she is not a good determinant. I am sure there were other real people there, but I don't know who. The whole time we were on the trip I felt sick, I was coughing, etc, and the doctors were trying to figure out what was wrong with me. When I got back from a particular trip the leader was waiting at the door and told me, in a very depressed/serious tone that the doctor needed to see me. I went to find the doctor (who, incidentally, was the detective from House), and when I found them, they told me I had two days to live (the exact prognosis on House last night). Well, that was some fun emotional stuff!

My dreams are too flipping realistic. I don't need to spend the first two hours of my day depressed because the mood my dream put me in. I would rank this among my most intense dreams ever, though not nearly the worst. I had one dream during undergraduate that's emotional content undid an entire spring break of de-stressing. (i.e., I had it right after spring break and felt as stressed as I had been before the break!).

For the record, I think any death that comes on relatively suddenly, where you don't have time to ponder your own mortality, is preferable. I wonder what the general probabilities are... am I more likely to die in an accident or from some protracted disease where the end is imminent for months? Its not death itself that is scary, its the idea of death that has the power to terrify. As humans, we have a built in self-defense mechanism that allows us to ignore the idea of death the vast majority of the time, because if we spent all of our time dwelling on it we would not live, we would go insane. Some peoples arsenals are greater than others. I am afraid mine is relatively weak, which is why my dreams do not need to be waging war on it.

DH said I should hire a bouncer for my dreams. Anyone know any good imaginary temp agencies?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I lost my moral high ground on housework. OK, its not actually "moral" high ground, but sometime in the last six months we switched from me doing most the housework to DH doing most of the housework. I don't know quite how it happened. I think it had to do with generals... as in I used that as an excuse to not do housework for a while and then never got back into the habit of doing it. Not that I do NOTHING. Its just, I have no right to complain about what does or doesn't get done. I am mainly posting about it because I feel sort of guilty about it. Perhaps I should try to chip in more.

On a related note, yesterday, after Aaron did the dishes, cleaned the kitchen, and started the laundry, I went downstairs to change the laundry, only to discover the dryer was unplugged. Upon further inspection, the plug of the dryer is completely corroded. Very scary! I don't like electrical problems, especially not when they involve a nearly new (less than year old) dryer that cost $500. I don't think we have a warranty... and even if we do I am not sure its the dryers fault. What could cause a power cord to corrode like that? Anybody? Any clue? I will be trying to sort that out in the next couple of days.

In other news, I have started the countdown to the end of the quarter. Five days until my ECON exam, ten days until my Multi-Level modelling paper is due, 11 days until grades are due and I am officially done for the quarter. Wish me luck!


Every morning when I am getting dressed I cross my fingers and peak out the window hoping to see beautiful, white snow covering everything. I don't even demand that much - just an inch or two. Every morning I am sorely disappointed and part the blinds to the same gray and brown ugliness.


Oh Minnesota,

How I miss thee? Let me count the ways.
I miss thee in July when its too hot,
And when humidity is all we've got.
Oh, how I long for your cool summer days.

If you could only know my hearts dismay,
When in December it just rains a lot
The elegance of snow Ohio knows not
For your soft white blanket my heart doth pray.

Thousands of lakes can cheer me from my grief,
These many rivers are just children's toys.
Palisade head is my sweetest relief,
When flatness here has power to annoy.
Your absence to me is just as a thief,
Stealing that which brings me the greatest joy.


Hmm. Not sure how that happened. I did not open this empty blog page to write a sonnet, but once I typed that first line, I knew I had to. Not my best work, but it will do pig, it will do.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Fun Mosaic Meme

I may get addicted to this.
(1) Go to Google, or the image search site of choice, and type in the answer to each of the following questions
(2) Copy the link of the pictures and paste them into the mosaic maker
(3) Save your picture, and post it your blog. Its your choice whether to tell people what the answers to the questions are!

The questions:
1. What is your nickname?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. Where did you go to high school?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. What is your favorite drink?
7. What is your dream vacation?
8. What is your favorite desert?
9. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
10. What should you be doing right now instead of this meme?
11. What is one word to describe you?
12. What is the name of your blog?

Can you guess me answers?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Welcome to December

Strange to think that in 31 days it will be 2009. December is always a time of reflection for me. I will try to hold off for a week or two at least, but I have about five end of the year blogging me-me's to do, that I always find quite amusing. I changed the background of the blog to be a bit more wintery, but am still seeking out a good winter theme. Messing around with blog layout can be extremely time consuming and at times frustrating. I spend a half hour on a new header, only to try it and realize it is too small for my layout, and I do not have the HTML coding skills to change the layout itself that much. I used to... if only I remembered more of high school Computer Science.

If you have been anxiously awaiting it, my new quiz is up. Go test your geography knowledge at Quizzes for the Well Informed.

As soon as I finish this post it is time for me to get back into the swing of things, an unfortunate position to be in when I was hoping this weekend would help me solidify study habits. There is only one week of class and then its finals week. I will have loads of grading to do, and of course I need to study economics if I expect to pass that class. My dissertation work has been very slow the last two weeks, despite my own high expectations, I am just not getting much done. This is unfortunate since I present again to the workshop next week.

Time to kick my butt into gear!