Friday, January 30, 2009

“So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their ending.”

I found the quote the titles this post while browsing Tolkien quotes. I think thought it was fitting for this blog in general, though I wish that I had something more specifically relevant to post under it as a heading. Because while this post is about snow, I don't think its really about the end of any dragons (unfortunately). I will have to keep this quote around though.

Anyways, its been a couple of days since I posted, and I have no excuse. I had time to post. I had ideas of things to post. I just flat out did not do it. Not sure why. But now I am posting so lets end the apologies and move onto the substance.

It seems that here, in my third winter in Ohio, mother nature has finally decided to give me a proper winter. First, the subzero temperatures, now some real snow. We had a three day storm that dropped about eight inches. The city does not know how to handle it, so the roads are still a disaster, but I still enjoy it being wintery out. I even would have gotten a day off... if it had not been the day I stay home to work anyways. Now they are speaking of a "Ground Hogs Day Storm" , that will bring complete chaos. I think its about time I posted the much promised list I planned to make so long ago: what do I like about snow and cold that most people who do not like these things do not know or realize. I started thinking up this list the first time that someone accused me of only liking snow and winter because of the bragging rights it afforded me (like when I can say, "10 degrees, thats not cold! Cold is -60, or windchills of -100! Cold is jumping through a hole in the ice when its -40 outside! 10 degrees ABOVE zero is downright tropical!"). But there are a lot of reasons I love winter, and a lot of things people do not think of when they proclaim their hatred of winter.

Top Ten Things that People Don't Realize about Snow and Cold
(Or, Why I Love Winter)

If you dress properly, you will not feel cold, even if its -40 degrees. I spend more time in Ohio cold than I do in Minnesota because in Minnesota I dress properly, whereas in Ohio I just wear whatever. Just because its cold outside does not mean that you have to be cold when you go outside.

(9) Similarly, snow does not make driving inherently bad. If roads are properly plowed, graveled, and salted (salt should be used SPARINGLY, it is not a cure all!), and drivers are properly prepared (snow tires and proper caution) then driving in the winter or even after 4, 6, 8 inches of snowfall overnight is not a big deal. It does not have to shut down schools, it does not have to cause a million accidents.

(8) Cold weather, especially extreme cold, offers itself up for all kinds of amazing science projects. Did you know boiling water can actually freeze faster than cold water? Did you know that if its cold enough, you can throw boiling water up into the air and watch it come down as snow? For the curious mind, winter is a laboratory.

(7) Snow is beautiful. Very beautiful. I know it is cliche, but snow paints the world white, a soft pure blanket. It covers up dirt and imperfections. Icicles hang like Christmas ornaments off trees and houses.

(6) When you come in from being outside in the cold and snow your cheeks tingle. It is a wonderful feeling, the process of snuggling in and warming up being made that much sweeter by the temperatures outside. Sitting on your couch inside a warm blanket with a loved one, watching snow fall outside, brings a wonderful sense of security and comfort that is not possible during the summer months. Who wants to be physically near someone when it is 90 degrees outside? Much nicer to cuddle in winter!

(5) A big thing to realize about winter is that it brings variety to our lives. Humans have a tendency to take things for granted, to forget how nice something is if its around all the time. In this vein, Winter is what makes Spring enjoyable. If it was always nice out, we would never appreciate the way that flowers poke up through the snow and bring color to the whiteness. We would never stop and notice the wonderful scents and sounds of the world thawing. We would pay less attention to the beauty that is outside us because it would always be the same. The first snowfall is made beautiful by the fact we have not seen snow in several months and it has its unique beauty. The first robin in the spring is made beautiful by its absence during winter.

(4) Deep snow is like a giant adult ball pit. When you have 18+ inches on the ground, you can run around, wrestle, fall down, trip, and it doesn't matter. You won't get hurt, there is serious padding there that breaks your fall. It provides a freedom and carelessness that becomes harder and harder to obtain in other manners as we grow older.

(3) Snow gives us the opportunity to act like kids again, to propel ourselves down giant hills on sleds or skis just for the sure joy of it, to throw snow balls, build snow forts, and whitewash friends as they walk under trees. It leads to shrieks of surprise and laughter. I challenge you to put on a snowsuit next time there is a foot of snow on the ground and go out and chase your kids, chase your dog, build a fort, have a snowball fight, climb a snow bank. It rocks.

(2) Cold air and the cool touch of snowflakes on your skin is incredibly refreshing. It invigorates the senses and reminds us that we are alive.

(1) The blanket of snow on the world is like a giant mute, muffling all the noise. When it gets really cold, the sky is as clear as it ever will be, and it is as silent as it ever will be. Being outdoors at night when there is snow and subzero temperatures is the most tranquil place you will ever be, the most still and silent you will ever experience the world. It is truly peaceful.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dreaming of Music, Living in Snow

This morning I woke up with a song that does not actually exist, as far as I know, stuck in my head.

The lyrics that were stuck in my head went "Bridge over water, you are my ecstasy, my ecstasy". Hey. I never said my subconscious was a GOOD Lyricist. There was also a melody to it, but I can't really put that on my blog. Does anyone know if these lyrics came from any where? I am pretty sure they didn't. This might be a first. While I definitely have dreamt about songs that don't actually exist before, this is the first time I woke up with one stuck in my head! What a strange way to start the day.

Meanwhile, it snowed overnight. Not that much, perhaps four inches, but enough to send the city into chaos. It took us 50 minutes to get to OSU today, that is a half hour longer than usual! Are you serious? Really? Four inches and (1) the city can't clear it and (2) people can't drive? PA-thetic. Complete pathetic. Luckily DH was driving so I could spend that extra half hour on a nap. Unluckily, I had an 8:45 class to get to (that I was teaching), so when he did drop me off I had to go straight to that instead of having time to print out my lecture and gather myself. Oh well, the lecture went fine, and now I am back at my office trying to get some work done. Obviously, since I am blogging, that is not going so well.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Its midnight.

I became productive about forty-five minutes ago (and really dug into cleaning my office) after wasting time/not getting stuff done since I got home at 9:30pm.

I have to be up getting ready for school in seven and a half hours.

I don't want to sleep. I don't feel tired yet. I want to clean/sort articles/write my lecture. But, I have to try to sleep or I will be worthless tomorrow.

The perils of being a night person.

La sigh.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Book Club and "Poli Sci" Club

By popular request (OK. So, in all reality, by the ONLY request), I decided to write an entry about book club. However, about half way through I left and went to my event for the evening, a belated bridal shower for a member of my cohort. The stark contrast between the two events is unignorable, and had to become the topic of my post. Allow me to start backwards and talk about tonight first.

Tonight I headed over to a friends house for a belated bridal shower. After getting their early and helping set up, people began to trickle in. It was nice seeing people at first, a couple girls who I have not seen in quite a while were there. Unfortunately the turnout was pretty bad. There were five of us their before the "surprise" occured. The unsuspecting victim walked in, we all yelled surprise, and we gave her her card. Then, her and the two people she rode with came in and ate. The rest of the evening? As in the next 2 1/2 hours? We sat in a circle and talked about graduate school. We repeated every used-up, old story that has been told before about various parts of graduate school. We repeated conversations we have had a million times, and most of us acted like they were new. We repeated conversations that annoyed me the 1st time we had them, let alone the 2nd, the 3rd, and the 200th. They talked about how bad our first year, first quarter stats professor was, and I defended him - a conversation we have been having for TWO YEARS now. I spent a lot of the evening, besides some choice moments that were actually great stories and I will have to share with you at some point, wanting to gouge my eyes out in boredom (or less drastically, wanting to leave).

I understand that we keep very busy with school, I live it just as they do.
I understand the need to talk about how frustrated we are with whatever stage of the process we are at and get it out there.
I understand that we all know the same people.
I understand how entertaining departmental gossip can be, I am not one to pass it by if its new and juicy.
I understand that not everyone has heard the same stories, and that we had one girl who was entirely new to the gathering there, who had heard nothing.

But, can we ever put that aside? Can't we spend an evening talking about what movies are out or what we watch on TV or *gasp* politics (you would be shocked how little political scientists talk about actual politics when it comes down to it), or the news, or how our families are, or what travels we have done, or what we are planning for spring break, or philosophy, or, here is a novel idea - the guest of honors wedding/husband, or weddings in general, or ANYTHING besides dissertations, exams, and professors? Can't we spend an evening playing Apples to Apples? I brought it. We did not touch it.

Don't get me wrong. I have friends in the department. I enjoy spending time with many of my cohort members. But, that time is invariably more pleasant when we officially ban anything school related as a potential topic for discussion, an event which occurs far too infrequently. I do not want to spend my life obsessing over everything school related. I want variety, I want new, interesting ideas and things. I want to laugh at jokes that I have not heard twelve times before. I do not want to be able to guess what topic or what story or even what sentence will come next in a conversation because its been said so many times before. Is that too much to ask?

Pause the movie. Rewind.

Thursday night I went to book club.

I am in a book club that was formed on an online message board for Columbus Womenv which I frequent . (I know. *GASP*. I went to meet people that I met on the internet?! How did I not get abducted? Raped? Murdered?). The fact is, this message board is a great resource. I know so many more people in Columbus then I ever would have had I not found it. I go to quite a bit of "real life" get-togethers with them, and have been doing so for probably two years now, though I don't know the exact date when I first took that leap (it was lunch with a couple of the ladies who work at OSU).

Anyways, Thursday night book club was at the house of one of the "nesties" I have known for a while (she has her own blog over at Bouncing Baby Buckeye if you would like to check it out!) She has a nice house, and I want to steal her Kitchen. She has it painted orange and I absolutely love it. So, I went over there after a long day and kicked back with a massive spread of food and about 11 other women. We were their for over four hours, and it seemed to pass just like that. We did discuss the book, though less than usual. That was fine by me. It was not a very deep book. I did not particularly enjoy it, but I am glad some people did. The book, which involved billion dollar fortunes, cheating husbands, divorce, crystal meth use, social climbing, tennis partners, rampant feminism, mother-daughter fights, bankruptcy, lying, pot, movie star exes, drunkedness, teen sex, teen pregnancy, miscarriage, escapism, media manipulation, and of course, born again Christians, inspired some very interesting conversations. We talked about the show Intervention and had some very amusing imitations of various types of addicts. Those of us who had read Twilight tried to convince those that hadn't that it was worth the time. They made me laugh until I cried, until I coughed (OK. Everytime I start coughing around a new group of people I feel like making the disclaimer: I AM NOT SICK. I AM NOT COUGHING GERMS ALL OVER YOUR HOUSE. Its a chronic cough, maybe asthma, maybe not, but really, I am OK, and I will not get you sick. I did not have an opportunity to make that disclaimer that night, so I will now.) I laughed really hard. I made them laugh really hard. I heard new stories and new jokes about topics and things I knew nothing about. They did not ask me about my dissertation. They did not spend the night verbalizing their stress and spreading those stresses to my shoulders. They did not expect me to reassure them or affirm them or justify them. And it was so much fun. I had a blast!!

The conclusions? Two fold:

(1) I need to do something about the constant repetitiveness of conversations with cohort members, or its going to start hurting my friendships as I grow increasingly frustrated.

(2) Book Club Girls... YOU ROCK!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

I choose YOU, MotivationCHU

I have like 12 things I want to post about right now, but only the time and energy span for one of them... so what to choose? Ideas include book club, the book for book club, the book The Help I read AFTER reading the book for book club that shares strange parallels and not with the book club book, the meeting I went to with a visiting scholar this morning, motivational issues/patterns (might be entering an up swing) both related to school and housework, interesting observations about the blogosphere, Twilight, the way my brain works, a new years resolution update, or perhaps something else entirely.

So, what to pick?

I will go with, motivation. There are two things I am noticing about patterns in my motivation to get things done.

(1) It moves in cycles. I am talking about your basic sine shaped cycle. (OK, here is a picture of a sine cycle for you non-math geeks out there).

This relates more to school/dissertation stuff than to housework, though really it fits both. I will go through a month or two or intense motivation where I am extremely productive and want to move forward and am interested and purse ideas etc, and then I hit a downturn in the cycle (a trough in economic terms), when I can't get motivated to do ANYTHING, I don't want to read or write or think about what I am supposed to be thinking about, and I wonder intensely if this is really the path for me. Then, eventually, whether it be time or some other trigger, I start to regain motivation.

Let me tell you. Most of December, and clearly all of January have been the bottom of the trough. But perhaps, just maybe, I am seeing the light of an upswing coming. I actually felt motivated to read stuff this morning. OK. I did not actually read it, but I felt motivated to! Thats a big step in the right direction.

(2) When it comes to housework, I always want to be doing it when its not possible. Right now, I want to clean out my fridge. It is nasty and gross and there might be stuff growing in there. (OK, I will admit it, its not "might be", there IS stuff growing in there, but its all in sealed containers, so I tend to put it off). It needs to be cleaned out. Whenever I am home I am just tired or distracted, but then I get the urge to take care of it, feel the will to deal with the smells (I have serious smell issues, really I should just make DH clean it out), and I am not even home. I wish just once and a while I would get that motivation level up when the chore was closer at hand.

I have to run to class. Comment if you want to get me to post on any of the other potential topics..

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Off the Deep End...

So, there have been two nights in the past week or so where I just did not sleep well, where I could not fall asleep properly, I tossed and turned and half-slept all night. I wake up after a night like that feeling more tired than when I laid down to go to sleep. Its not good. I am sort of... how should I say... HORRIBLE at dealing with sleep deprivation. Ask DH, I do not do well at all. I get extremely grumpy and hard to deal with.

In this case, the sleep deprivation is also manifesting itself as extreme goofiness. I spent yesterday afternoon in my friends office (the same one I rescued the bat with), talking nonsense and slowly shredding a coffee filter I found. To some of you that sounds like I have had a mental break I am sure, but for those of you who know me well you are probably just thinking, "OH, I know exactly what you mean, of course you were doing that." The fact is, when I am around people I know well, I don't really bother trying to censor the randomness, and when I am worn out or sleep deprived, that randomness is quite extreme.

Anyways, hopefully I can catch up on my sleep this weekend, though as usual, I have already filled up big parts of it - Rock Band on Friday night (with a smaller group this time then last week), a Wedding Shower/Party on Saturday night, and my Grandma's on Sunday.

In other news, after being publicly shamed, I finally met with W. You know, that guy my adviser yelled at me to meet with over a week ago. The public shaming took the form of a blog post that looked like this:



Did you contact W yet? Don't make me hunt you down!


Yep. Public shaming. Pathetic part is I prefer the public shaming to the face to face discussion about it. LOL. So, I met with W and things are in order in that regard, no more need to hide from my adviser. I also turned in my first economics assignment. They are much easier this quarter than last quarter. I think that about sums up all the random stuff on this end of things.

Oh, and cheers to President Obama for stopping U.S. torture and starting the process of shutting down Guantanamo Bay! I am glad to see things changing for the better so fast with him in office!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama's Inauguration

I watched Obama's inauguration today in the room in our building where talks are normally given. They streamed it from online and projected it onto the pull down screen. The room was filled with a haphazard gathering of those who could not make it home or to a party to watch (I am sure there were plenty of people in this department that were at parties for it).

It was amazing to see all the people gathered there infront of the capital to see him sworn in. This is history in the making. The vow he takes is simple and has lasted hundreds of years.

"I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

And thats that, he is the commander and chief! Its hard to wrap my head around. It is a very good feeling to have Obama officially in office. No more of this "president elect" crap, Bush had been so lame duck for so long, it was getting ridiculous. And now we have a President with a clear goal and a clear mandate, that is making history just by taking this oath. I am sure that fifty years from now my Grandchildren will study in school that Obama was the first black president, and I can tell them about the night he was elected and the day he was inaugurated. But more than anything, more than this giant step forward in equality, I hope that President Obama is remembered for much more than the color of his skin. I hope he is remembered for changing the course of history and bringing a new period to American politics. It is a lot to ask for, but I think he might be up to it.

Na na na na na na na na Na na na na na na na na, Bat Rescue!

So, before the inauguration happens today, and before I tell you about various other things going on in my life, I want to be sure to record the adventure that I had yesterday morning. As the title would suggest, it involved rescuing a bat.

When I got to campus on Monday morning I talked to my friend. The first this she said was "I suppose you did not get my email, there is a bat across the hall from your office, did you notice it." She went on to explain that there was what looked to be a dead bat, or perhaps a mouse, wedged under the door of the office across from mine. We of course went to investigate. While it certainly was a bat (very small), it certainly was not dead, as it was in a different position than she had seen it and watching it for a while it was moving a little now and then. She talked about taking it outside. I pointed out it probably hibernates in winter and would freeze to death, so we googled it, and sure enough it was hibernating. Our theory was that it had been hibernating somewhere up in the depths of the building/air system and had fallen down/gotten lost and ended up coming out a nearby vent.

It was Martin Luther King day, so no maintenance, and even if there had been maintenance we were not sure we would want to take that route if they would just kill it, so we googled "OSU bat" and came up with the Ohio State Bat Lab that studies bats and echolocation. Unfortunately no one answered the phones there since it was a holiday. As I googled various versions of "bat rescue" "wildlife rescue" and the like, more people joined us. Everyone was fascinated and wanted to figure out how to help it. Eventually someone decided to call the OSU Veterinary Hospital, and then while we were on the phone with them, my google results turned up the Ohio Wildlife Center. The veterinary hospital, as expected, said they could not help us or even give us advice since they do not treat exotic animals. We tried the wildlife center but there was no answer. All the people that had come began to leave and told us to figure out what to do and take care of it. My friend called someone she knew that does wildlife volunteering and we were given the wildlife center again and told to keep trying it, as it was for sure open. We eventually got a hold of them and they told us how to catch the bat and where to bring it.

So, we got it into a coffee can using a piece of cardboad. It was so neat to see its little feet and wing hooks clinging to the carpet! It was not so thrilled to be being caught, lots of chirping. We wrapped up the can in a blanket to keep it warm and then drove up to Dublin and took it into the Wildlife Hospital. It was really neat in there! You could hear all the caged songbirds singing, and when we got their they were treating a Great horned owl, so big and beautiful. Then they treated a song bird of some sort, and then it was Jack the Bat's turn (he is named after the guy whose office he was found in front of, in fact we joked it might actually be that guy since he seems a little vampire-esque). He turned out to be a very small "Big Brown Bat" (that is the species). Anyways, they tried to warm him up from hibernation and feed him and such. They will hang onto him until Spring and then release him. I am sure he is in good hands!

That is my Great Bat Rescue Adventure, and also why I am way behind on work this week.

Monday, January 19, 2009

She's Got the Skills

After I fed my sister donuts on Sunday morning I put her to work, organizing my office closet. My office closet had become a disaster through the dumping of all my old stuff my parents brought me from their house into it. It was NOT PRETTY, even after a friend and I attempted to weed it all out.

My sister has a certain knack for cleaning and organization, and she doesn't seem to mind doing it. I would say she is near magic. Basically, when I say Laurelyn helps me clean something, what happens is I sit around, perhaps looking at pictures or sorting papers, while she rifles through the massive ammounts of stuff I have accumulated asking "what is this?" "do you need this?" "can I throw this away?", and putting it in the appropriate spot. I really wish I had gotten a before and after picture. The weirdest part about the whole process is I don't really feel like I threw anything out, yet there seems to be so much less stuff. Also, what would take me ten or twenty hours of work to do takes her two or three. Very Strange.

Now, if only she could have stayed longer and also done my desk, bookshelves, and then the rest of the house!

Unfortunately she had to go, though we went to my Grandma's on her way out of town. We spent the hour drive their listening to music and finding songs we wish they had on Rock Band. The top contestant? "Last Resort" by Papa Roach.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sisters are Different Flowers from the Same Garden

My sister, LK, is visiting, just overnight. She had an interview up in North East Ohio and decided to swing down here to hang out. So far I have fed her Mexican food, taken her to see Twilight (my second time), introduced her to Rock Band (she likes a lot of the same songs as me), let her sleep with my dog (she is jealous she does not have one), shown her Stephanie Meyers web page and all the Twilight Extras, shown her the Harry Potter 6 trailers, and am currently in the process of feeding her donuts.

I love having family visit!!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

You Tube Distractions

While I was supposed to be working on my lecture for tomorrow, I got distracted and ended up watching this short film on YouTube. It was amusing, and I love the actor TJ Thyne, so I thought I would share. Enjoy Validation, and remember to smile!!

I like to ROCK!

Last night we had a Rock Band party with sort of a new group. Not a new group of friends, but a group of friends who hadn't really be exposed to Rock Band much yet. It is always fun to see people's reactions. We had a lot of fun. I rapidly got a reputation for singing, as one friend put it, "death metal". That is not an accurate description, its not actually death metal. The songs I like to sing, like all of those listed in my last entry, are loud, fast, and have depressing lyrics. But, they are a huge stress release.

They have lyrics like
"You could have been all I wanted, but you weren't honest, so get in the ground"
"Open up your hate and let it flow into me"
"I'm an indestructible master of war"
" I cry when angels deserve to die"


There are plenty of other goods songs, and I enjoy a lot of other songs, it all depends on my mood, and typically I am playing Rock Band on a Friday night after a long week. So, that explains my preferences. Hopefully I did not scare any friends away :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sleep Deprivation in "Arctic" Temperatures

According to our car's external thermometer, it was eight below when we left home with morning. seems to agree with that assessment. While this is par for the course in Minnesota (where my hometown is currently reporting temperatures of 22 below), it is somewhat of an event for Ohio. The coldest it has gotten here since I lived here was around 8 degrees above, and that was considered very cold by everyone. People simply are not prepared for the cold weather here, they do not own the appropriate winter jackets, gloves, hats, socks, and long underwear. They do not own ski masks. They do not plug their cars in at night or put heating blankets on them. Therefore, it is not surprising much of the city, especially anything involving kids, is shutting down.

Even Grim vetoed her walk last night. Well, that's not an entirely accurate statement. My theory on walking the dog is that as long as she wants her walk, there is no excuse not to take her. Her morning and evening walks are her only time outside on a typical day, and her main form of exercise (though she does get running inside the house frequently as well). They are also her favorite part of the day. So, come rain or shine, extreme heat or negative temperatures, we take her out. The main problem with this theory of course is that sometimes Grim does not realize she does not want to be outside until half way through the walk, and then both of us are stuck on a walk we do not want to be on. This is exactly what happened last night. About 3/4 of the way through the walk, she decided the snow was too cold to walk on, and started refusing to put all four feet down, alternating at random which one she kept up. Then, she decided it was too cold to walk at all, and started running. While I certainly CAN stop Grim if she bolts/starts running, it is not exactly an easy task, and knowing the likely reason behind the burst of energy, I went along with it and we ended up jogging/sprinting the last quarter of her walk. This was quite the feat with snow and ice on the ground, and me wearing snow boots and a scarf. But we made it, and back in the house the heat confirmed that her limping and random behavior had been due to cold. Having sprinted in a jacket rated to -20F, I returned to the house sweating.

With all this in mind, I do not expect many people to be around campus today. While campus is open and classes are on (the university assumes 18 year old freshmen can take care of themselves better than 18 year old high school seniors who do not have high school today), many of my friends are staying home today and I am assuming that will be a trend in general, especially since it is Friday, a light day anyways. One of the advantages of being a student is you have a lot more flexibility about taking a day off. The consideration isn't "is it worth the vacation time or lost wages to take today of?", but rather, "is it worth missing class to take today off?", and sometimes you don't even have class to miss, just office time.

For me, the use of that assessment puts me on campus today. Missing economics recitation would be a bad idea, especially when I spent yesterday's economic lecture in a stupor due to sleep deprivation. I had no reason to be sleep deprived, I just didn't sleep well. I do not do well with sleep deprivation. It makes me extremely grumpy and difficult, and also at times makes me feel like whatever is going on, for example, someone giving a lecture on the second fundamental theorem of welfare economics, is not actually real, like there is a piece of glass between me and reality. So, do you think I am crazy yet?

Needless to say, I went to bed early last night, though not early enough to truly catch up on the sleep I was missing, at least I got enough for one night. Tomorrow I may sleep in until noon! Also needless to say, Grim did not get a walk this morning, and will not get one tonight. Hopefully we can expend her energy within the warmth of the house.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Reality TV

I have never been ashamed to admit that I am addicted to reality TV.

Okay Okay... It has been a very long time since I was ashamed to admit I am addicted to reality TV. There were those times, back when it was first starting, that I claimed to denounce it. Then there was the period where I would choose one show and watch it and say "everyone has a guilty pleasure" and pretend its only that one show that had caught my interest. Now I am a full out addict and not at all ashamed of it.

So it should not surprise anyone to know I spent last night flipping between American Idol and Biggest Loser, or that I spent tonight watching American Idol, and then flipping between Top Chef and Real World (mostly watching Top Chef, but MTV filled in the commercials nicely for me).

So, why do I bring this all up you ask? (Yes, I heard you thinking it). I bring it up because I apparently have what is a politically incorrect or something view about one of the contestants on American Idol last night. If you watched it, you know the last contestant they showed last night is visually impaired. You also know they made a HUGE deal out of it, used it as a hook before every commercial, and then acted like it was a big sob story. And here is where I get politically incorrect, and you may think I am unsympathetic for saying it, but I was almost offended by the big deal they made. It was like "oh, look at this poor blind man and how he can do things like normal people, isn't it amazing."

I spent a summer working with visually impaired kids. They are not incapable. Some of them are more independent and capable than perfectly "normal" but lazy kids. I am not saying that the blind contestant did not overcome adversity, I am saying that visually impaired people are perfectly able to do most things. We should not be surprised or amazed that a visually impaired person is able to succeed, and that is why the story bothered me. It shouldn't be an interesting story that he was able to do this, of course he could do this.

And when people are voting (assuming he makes it through Hell week), I hope they don't say "oh, the blind singer, what an amazing story, I am going to vote for him," I hope they say "wow, he has a great voice, I think he was the best singer this week."

That is my reality television tirade for the week.

That, and why oh why could they not kick the silver team of Biggest Loser? They are annoying.

The End.

As Long as You Love me So...

Let it Snow, let is snow, let is snow.

Mother nature has certainly done its best to cheer me up. What more could a girl ask for than temperatures in the low teens paired with all day, big fluffy flake, snowfall. It started snowing shortly after I arrived home from Grim's walk this morning, and has continued since.

It is Wednesday, so that means another day at home. This week hardly seems to exist as a working entity when I get to spend so much of it in my home office. I really need to clean in here, it is a complete disaster.

I think I burnt my finger on a pan when I made nachos for lunch. I was trying to flip them out onto a plate and bumped my right pointer finger into the pan, between the middle and top knuckle. I say I think its burned because perhaps since my blistering second degree burns, anything else seems sort of pathetic to mention, but it does hurt quite a bit despite the lack of blisters. I am sure it will be fine.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I shoveled snow shortly after noon today, and it was quite pleasant. Grim enjoyed bouncing around the front yard as I worked. She was very obedient, which is good, since normally we are only leashless with her in the backyard. I like shoveling snow. It means I get to be out in the snow, its a good break from studying, its a good workout, and it makes me feel like I have accomplished something, even if there it is snowed back over again three hours later. I mean, you can still tell where I shovelled, but it needs to be shovelled again.

Oh, and thanks everyone for taking my geography quiz. Maybe I should be pathetic ever week when I do my shameless plug so everyone is guilted into taking it. Just kidding. Being in a horrible mood is so not worth it.

Another type-by Tagging

Another tag game is going on, perhaps more amusing than the last, at least to me, and I have been tagged by Lori over at Musings from a VERY Random Mind
. So, I happily play.

Directions: Go to wherever you store your pictures and go into the fourth folder and take the fourth picture. Post it here and explain it, then tag more people.

Here it is. It actually is from the fourth folder that is MINE from the fourth folder of pictures (we have a lot of ILs pictures on this computer).

I was very fortunate that this picture came up. It is one of my favorite pictures of myself in college. It was taken in 2003, Freshman year of college, in my dorm room. I stole this hat from a friend, and DH (then BF) liked it so much we did a mini photo shoot with it on. This picture in color is a little goody, since its a red plan hat and I am wearing a yellow tank top, etc, so I changed it to sepia. It was my profile pic for a really long time.

So, who to tag, who to tag?

I tag Laurelyn and Allison

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


To say that I am in a bad mood might be an understatement. It might be more accurate to say that sometime last night an invisible cloak of doom and gloom descended over me and I am wearing it around and flaunting it like it is going out of style. Sometimes bad moods are logical, you are in a bad mood because something bad happened or because you did not get enough sleep, or a number of other justifiable catalysts. Other times bad things happen and they don't affect your mood. And other times, times like right now, you are just in a bad mood and looking for a reason to justify it, even when nothing does. This is the kind of bad mood that makes everything in the world seem just a bit gloomier, and is really hard to lift, mainly because I had no urge to lift it. Perhaps if I seize onto some scrap of clear cut goodness, like the fact Columbus is trying to act like winter (there is pretty snow on the ground, more coming, and tomorrow is supposed to be cold, like single digit temperature with negative windchill), I could shake this mood. But, is it really worth the effort? Wallowing in self pity and miserableness is satisfying sometimes.

No. I am not depressed. Its just a mood, this too shall pass. Maybe this afternoon when I walk the dog in fresh falling snow. Perhaps tonight when DH smiles at me. Or perchance it will last longer and be lifted when I have a game night on Friday with friends (yet to be planned or scheduled, but it sounds good right now), or it could lift when my sister confirms her travel plans for next weekend. No telling.

For now the cloak is here and as tangible as ever. Stupid everything.

Insert Shameless Plug for Geography Blog here... maybe if enough people take it, it will cheer me up. LOL.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Another Morning Treat

Due to Southern (or less jargon-like, the annual Southern Political Science Association conference), my class today was canceled, and therefore I get to stay home and work here. So, I was out walking the dog this morning. The ice of yesterday has been coated in 2 inches of snow, which is quite to my liking. It was not at all quiet like yesterday, tons of people out and about - dogs being walked, kids waiting for the sch0ol but, neighbors shoveling snow and heating up their cars, but my neighborhood had another treat in store for me: cardinals.

A mating pair of cardinals was flitting around a leafless scraggly bush, the male's fury red and females softer red accents contrasting beautifully against the fresh fallen snow. I wish I had had my camera with me, though even if I had I probably could not have gotten close enough for a good picture. I was about 5 feet from the male when he realized I was there and flitted to the other side of the bush. As I stood their watching them flutter branch to branch, wishing I could take the image with me, a pair of squirrels ran under the bush and up a nearby tree chasing one another. The whole scene was like something out of a Disney movie. Its a great way to start the morning, now if only I did not have a pounding headache.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Great Morning

When I walked out my door at 8:30 this morning to walk a very anxious Grim (she woke me up this morning, that is unlike her), I was taken aback (in a good way) by the silence I found.

Not that I live in a noisy neighborhood, but I am in the city. Noises of cars, if not neighbors etc, are all to be expected. But this morning, it was so silent. Not "Minnesota on a January Night" silent, but more silent than perhaps I have ever heard it. I listened to the birds. It was really nice. It was so peaceful out, I actually doubled the length of Grim's normal walk. I wonder why it was so silent, its not just because it was Sunday morning, I have been out then before. I think it likely had something to do with the thin layer of ice that was coating everything. I had to be careful when I walked, but I only slipped once, and Grim caught my fall (as usual). You would be surprised how useful holding onto the leash of a 90 pound dog can be to catch your balance.

Back inside I took perhaps the world's longest shower, so long that when I came out DH went to take one and complained he had no hot water. That has never happened to us in this house before. Then, I made myself a big breakfast. Bacon, Eggs, and rye toast with rediscovered raspberry-jalepeno jam. So tasty.

So, the morning was excellent. Unfortunately, I never made the transition from that wonderful relaxing morning into productivity. Unfortunately, I got sucked into bad television for an hour or two, and then into a nap, and then into football, and now we are going to dinner. I have officially done nothing for school since Friday, and what I did on Friday was not very much. I am certainly struggling to reform work habits. One thing is clear. I am hopelessly addicted to fiction. Books, movies, TV. Fiction sucks me in in a way that is bad for school, and I have been seriously indulging that addiction lately (especially the book part... I perhaps have been taking my "read more for fun" resolution too far). Sometimes I wonder if I have the commitment that it takes to do a PhD. I have never been one to narrowly focus on one topic. I never had a favorite class in high school because I liked so many different things, and here I have put myself in a situation where I am supposed to be thinking about the same topic for hours and hours each day, and at this moment its just not happening, not even close.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Inappropriate Songs

Love is a many splendid thing...
All you need is love.

All you need is love

A girl has got to eat

All you need is love

Or she'll end up on the street!

All you need is love, love

Love is Just a game

I was made for loving you baby
You were made for loving me.

The only way of loving me baby,
Is to pay a lovely fee.

Just one night, just one night.

There's no way,
Cuz' you can't pay

In the name of love,
One night in the name of love

You crazy fool,
I won't give into you

Don't.... Leave me this way
I cannot survive
Without your sweet love
Don't leave me this way.

You think people would get sick of silly love songs

I look around and I see it isn't so, no.

Some people try to fill the world with silly love longs

Well what's wrong with that
I'd like to know
So here I go.... ye-es!!

Love lifts us up where we belong
Where eagles fly
On a mountain high

Love makes us act like we are fools
Throw our lives away for one happy day

We could be heroes,
Just for one day.

You, you would be mean

No I wouldnt!

And I, I'd drink all the time.

We could be lovers!!

We can't do that!

We should be lovers
And that's a fact!

Though nothing would keep us together

We could still turn,

Just for one day

We could be heroes, for ever and ever
We could be heroes, for ever and ever
We could be heroes...

Just because I, will always love you
Can't help lovin...

How wonderful life is, now that your in the world...


I got sucked into Moulin Rouge tonight, and as usual, couldn't help but sing along. And I couldn't help but type it up for you here. DH and I used to sing this song ALL THE TIME when we were in college. It was like, "our song". How inappropriate is that? Our song implies I am a hooker. Charming. This is why when it came time for our wedding we struggled so much to pick a song to dance to for our first dance. All of "our songs" were inappropriate. This was the main one. The other one that we considered our song was "Marilyn Monroe" from the musical Blood Brothers. Besides the lovely chorus, which I always used to hum when Aaron and I danced around my dorm room ("we went dancing...we went dancing"), the song tells the life story of a women who got romanced at a dance, ended up pregnant out of wedlock, then kept popping kids out, can't feed them and her husband doesn't take care of her/dance with her anymore. Charming, right?

We sure know how to pick them.

Rock Band Release

Last night we played some SERIOUS Rock Band. I was in the mood to just scream out lyrics, so we did songs like:

Indestructible - Disturbed
Down with the Sickness - Disturbed
Chop Suey - System of a Down
Welcome Home - Coheed and Cambria

With DH and Ben on Guitar and me singing. It was loads of fun. Then, we switched it up and I played guitar while Ben sang. I have never been a big fan of the guitar playing, because I always felt like I was hitting notes when it said I was missing them. I found it very aggravating. But Ben bought a Guitar Hero guitar for me to use, and it has a different feel. It is easier for smaller hands/shorter arms, and the feel when you strum it is more defined (it clicks when you hit where "counts".) So, now I am learning guitar more. I am still pretty bad, and I don't plan to spend tons of time practicing, but at least now when I do play its fun.

I am hoping to go see Twilight the movie later today. I am still addicted, even though I have read all four books and pretty much all the available extra materials (outtakes, short stories, etc).

Thursday, January 8, 2009

First Lecture

This morning I gave my first lecture ever as a university instructor. I am teaching Political Economy of Development. Today's topic was "What is political economy?" I wrote it yesterday.

Was I nervous? Yes. Nervous, but not anxious I would say. I was not worried about flubbing, or it going extremely poorly. I did not practice it, and felt like it would go just fine. I have always been a decent public speaker, so there was nothing to be afraid of. The nervousness was more about the question of whether I would like it.

The results are in. The lecture went as well as I imagined it would, and I found it quite likable. Even though I am using a lecture format, the students (or at least some of them) seemed very engaged. Also, the lecture I wrote was nearly the perfect length. I really had no idea how long it would be since I did not practice it and have no experience, so I am lucky how spot on it was (I let them out at 10:05am, 13 minutes before class ended, meaning if I write lectures this length I can give them a ten minute break in the middle of class).

In other news, you all will have noticed my new theme, again. I will call it winter dragon. Much less glitzy then the ice dragon theme, more my style I think. let me know what you think!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wednesday's at Home

So, how do you like the new icy dragon theme? I think its OK. I am constantly torn between a background that reflects the name of the blog (i.e. Dragons) and a background that either reflects my mood, or something, through pictures I have taken. We will stick with this for a few days and see if it grows on me. Otherwise, I will be switching to some sort of wintery pictures.

I successfully established today that I can spend the Wednesday's this quarter at home. In a rare alignment of the stars, I have no classes or obligations on Wednesday that would drag me to campus. That left only the question of whether I can work at home, and today I established that I can. Having a desktop in my office is really helping out with that, a surprising and pleasant side effect of our laptop dying.

In other news, I don't like meeting with people. I do not like setting up meetings. I do not like going to them. I do not like talking. This is largely with regards to "for school" or "for work" and has come up in conversation multiple times in the last few days. First, when my friend mentioned she is thinking about joining a professional mentoring program (as a mentee) and wondered if I was interested. I politely pointed out that having to email/call and then meet with a near complete stranger, no matter how nice they were or how much they wanted to help me or how good it would be for me, sounded like pure hell to me. Even if it wasn't a stranger, that sounds so miserable to me. Then, a day later, it comes up again when my adviser asks me if I have scheduled a meeting to talk about my dissertation with someone. The conversation went something like this.

Him: "Did you schedule a meeting with W?"
Me: "No"
(I make a sheepish face)
Him: "Why not?"
Me: "Because I don't like meetings. I don't like scheduling them or dealing with them..."
(he looks at me like I am crazy and waits)

"Especially when I don't know what I am going to say"
(he nods with a bit of understanding but still seems puzzled)
"In other words, there is no good reason, just my own nonsense"
(he suddenly seems to understand)
Him: "I don't like scheduling meetings about my own work. I will schedule meetings will the end of time about other peoples work, but if its about my work... "
(he seems sympathetic)
"So, I'll tell you what. You are going to go back to your office and email him asking for a meeting. I will give you until Thursday to tell me when the meeting is, or that you are having trouble scheduling it"
(I nod in agreement, but he does not seem satisfied)
"And if you say you are having trouble scheduling, I can check with him"
Me: "Well, I wouldn't LIE to you about it.
(We both laugh)
Him: "I know you wouldn't..."
(He says, but still continues on with a strange look on his face)
"But some people just have weird little quirks"

If this is a weird little quirk of mine, it is not one that involves lying. Maybe exaggerating, maybe omitting the truth, but I certainly would not tell him I had a meeting scheduled when I did not. So... what did I do after this meeting? I went back to my office, thought about sending the email, balked at the idea of having to word it, and did not send it. Then, I thought of it this morning, balked at the idea of having to explain my ideas to him, and did not send it. Then, I thought of it during the dog walk this afternoon and balked at the idea of trying to not sound like a fool at the meeting, but promised myself I would send it when I got home, so I could say I sent it Wednesday afternoon (not night). Then I forgot about it for an hour or two... and now I just sent it, hating the wording of it. Now, once he schedules it, I will spend the next three days (or whatever), dreading it, worrying about what I am going to say, feeling like a complete fool. Thats just my "weird quirk" I guess.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ice Dust

DH and I came in really really early today because I taught my first university class ever at the charming time of 8:30am, and had not yet printed my syllabus. As we took the Hudson exit off of 71 I absentmindedly caught a warning on the radio "winter weather watch... be careful drivers". It was very confusing at the time. The roads were perfectly dry, there was no precipitation what so ever. DH dropped me off, I headed to my building, printed my syllabus, and was preparing to head off to class when I overhead some people talking about how slippery it was. Strange, I thought.

8:05, I had been inside, away from windows for less than a half hour. I head outside to walk to my class, and see that it is indeed precipitating. Very strange precipitation. If I had to call it something, I would call it sleet, but it was not falling like I normally see sleet fall. It was as if someone had scooped out the remnants of ice from the bottom of an ice crushing machine and was slowly sprinkling them over the city - you know, that gross grainy snow-like ice that hangs out in your freezer. A maintenance man was hurriedly spreading salt around the exits of my building. I walked across the salt, and then hit the unsalted sidewalk, which appeared wet with rain, but was actually wet with ice. Slick! Slippery! The weather today is just so odd.

Anyways, my first class meeting was uneventful. Not very many people were there, but its hard to blame them when its an 8:30am class the morning after a huge OSU football game and the weather is terrible for walking in. I handed out the syllabus and talked through it. My first lecture is on Thursday. I should probably get on with writing that... wish me luck!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Back to the Grind Stone

I don't think coming back to "work" is supposed to feel like this. It didn't for DH. He did not mind coming back from break and heading off to work Monday morning a week ago. He was almost cheerful about it, except the getting up early thing.

Me, on the other hand, not so much appreciating being back at work. I was dreading it... or more accurately, avoiding thinking about it because I would dread it if I did and I wanted to enjoy my last few days of break. Normally I conceive of stress as being this thing that builds and builds as time goes on, that can be released by taking a week or two off and starting fresh, but that's not how stress roles here. Here stress is a giant ball of nastiness that hangs out in my office and as soon as I am there trying to get work done, interacting with who I need to interact with, thinking about what I should be thinking about, it jumps right back on me, as heavy if not heavier than before break.

Boy, I sure am writing a cheerful post today.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Years Resolutions for 2009

Its January 2nd, and while I am still fighting a cold, things are looking up. I have not put as much thought into my New Years resolutions this year as in past years, but I still have a few in mind. As usual, these are more of quarter resolutions for me. I try to reevalutate my goals for frequently than New Years, and the school system conviently breaks things into three month chunks for me.

Here are the actual resolutions:
(1) Menu Planning - Start using it! Stop eating out so much! Cook more!

(2) Work Out - I already work out, so this is more about continuing old habits when school starts, returning to the gym, and hopefully increasing either the frequency or length of the visits.

(3) Read more for Pleasure

(4) Stop Chewing my Nails

(5) Figure Out what I am Doing with my Life.

Thats about it. Now its in the execution. For menu planning, I plan to start this weekend and plan two weeks at a time, minimize grocery store visits and not eat out more than twice a week. Working out, well, as I said, I already work out! I want to either increase duration or frequency of my visits to the gym this quarter, and maybe start doing some crunches and free weights at home. Last year I read like 3 or 4 books truly for pleasure (not counting my new years binge). My new years binge reminded me how much I CAN read, and now enjoyable it can be. I hope I can read at least 1 book a month for complete pleasure (of my own choosing, not for school or book club). The last two are self evident.

Wish me luck!!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Welcome to 2009!

I intended to post my resolutions today, but I am not in the mood to do it today. New Years Eve was pleasant, a nice quite evening in. We watched the ball drop, said cheers to the New Year, and called my parents from the future (they were still way back their in 2008).

I stayed up to late last night reading and awoke with a cold that has been lingering for a day or two accelerating into something quite unpleasant, so I have spent the morning in bed. I am not nearly as good at taking care of myself as I used to be - its hard for me to just stay in bed, and I can't seem to get any extra sleep.

When I feel better I will post my resolutions. Wishing everyone a 2009 full of good surprises!!