30 January 2011

A Good Sign

Today, I got up off my arse and did some things around here. "Oh", you might say, "And why should we be so impressed by that?" Because I haven't done anything around here in weeks.  So today, I got busy.
  1. I did 7 loads of laundry, including two down jackets, all the dog beds, my sheets and blankets, my gym clothes and towels, and the normal laundry.
  2. I took stock of my food situation and made a meal plan for the week.
  3. I made soup and stuffed peppers .
  4. I dug out around the sump pump so it will work properly when this big rain/sleet storm begins tomorrow.
  5. I ran the dog.  Twice.
  6. I downloaded pictures and dealt with them.  I answered emails.
  7. I vacuumed the whole house.  
  8. I had to dicker with the clothes dryer because it was acting up.
  9. I blogged.
  10. I filled up the bird feeders. 
  11. I took out the composting.
  12. I did mountains of dishes and put them all away.
  13. I made my lunch and set out clothes for tomorrow.  My gym bag is packed and ready to go.
  14. I gathered up some things to take to the food pantry and more clothes to the Goodwill.  They are in the car trunk and ready to go next time I swing by.
  15. I cleaned the bathroom.
I also managed to relax and get ready for my work week.  :)

26 January 2011

I don't think anyone reads my blog anymore

I guess I should post more regularly.  Maybe readership will pick up again.

Boo.  :(

22 January 2011

Massive Procrastination

Things I should be doing:

1. Running scent samples.
2. Cleaning sequencing reactions.
3. Laying tile I bought back in July in the utility room.
4. Going to the gym.
5. Making chicken salad for Eagan's birthday party tomorrow.
6. Going to the grocery store.

What am I doing instead, you ask?

Wasting time on the internet watching stuff like this:

and this:

Seriously. Can you believe it takes over 5 minutes to teach someone how to fold socks? When it only takes 38 seconds to teach them to fold a t-shirt? I love that the intro to this video says "Guys, Impress the girls!" Because I know that I'm impressed by a man's sock-drawer neatness. Although, now that I think about it, I'd probably be a little scared if I snuck a peek in a man's sock drawer and it was all organized like that. I'd be thinking "OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE", which, I might add is something I would never think about a woman based on the neatness of her sock drawer. Double standards suck.

So I decided to try it because, you know, my drawers can get as messy as the next person's. And because this blog is all about me, you, my gentle readers, are coming on the campaign trail with me as I run for mayor of Obsessive-Compulsiveville.

This is how I normally fold socks. One goes inside the other, so I always have a pair without fishing through a bunch of random socks.

And this is my sock drawer.

I'm actually quite proud of this because I have a sock problem. It seems that I never met a pair of socks I didn't like. So I got this little organizer one day and committed myself to having no more socks than would fit in the organizer. There are 32 slots in the organizer. What about it? The side trays hold my knickers as they say, another holds bandanas (more a summertime thing), and the drawers to either side hold dress socks and brassieres. Pantyhose, tights, slips and stuff I only wear to dress up events or Halloween are kept in the bathroom closet .

And here's the sock drawer after.

Now this looks nice, but is actually quite dangerous. The sock folding created space for more socks! Danger. Danger. Danger.

T-shirt drawer before.

This actually isn't bad. Just last week I went through and did a major purge of clothing that I don't wear and an entire laundry basket of clothes is sitting in the den waiting on a trip to the Goodwill. But hey, I'm going with this project, so I'm following through.

T-shirt drawer after.
It used up half the space after the Japanese folding technique. Damn! OK, so this is dangerland, too. I'm tempted to go get some of that stuff out of the laundry basket in the other room and put it back in the drawers.

What the hell am I going to do with all this real estate? The bottom drawer of this massive antique dresser is already just holding odds and ends like an empty jewelry case, some packing cubes, some stuffed animals, etc.

Took me about 20 minutes to do the whole deal, including watching the videos, learning the techniques and re-folding my clothes. Granted, I didn't go to great lengths to deal with wrinkles and what not, but hey! At least I accomplished something this afternoon.

Aerial Exploration

I admit it.  I love winter.  I love the way snow accents and highlights and draws the eye to things unseen in summer.  Oh, the cold gets to me sometimes, but the older I get, the less I find myself wishing the time away to more pleasant seasons.  The day we took these pictures over the Rio Grande, the wind whipped at our coats.  The bridge was largely empty.  It was viciously cold up there.  But when I look at these pictures and I think of the company I enjoyed that day, I'm glad the memory of the stinging cold stays with me.  I'm glad I can remember the way the sun made me squint.  I'm glad I remember two expectant dog faces in the car windows welcoming us back and wondering why they couldn't get out this time.  When I think of Liv's incredible focus on roadside plants when we crested that gorge, as if there was nothing more interesting up there than the place she parked to gather scent one day in late summer, I laugh.  Up there.  Where the world opens up into a high, lonesome plain, made all the more amazing by the knowledge that a crevice in the Earth awaits the one who stumbles around in the dark.  It was blissfully amusing. 

And then there was this view.  And the angle of the shadows.

 And the glow of the waning sun on the water.

 Honestly, it was magical. 

And this is also what I remember. The one who brought me here.

Liv, you have a gift for transforming people's lives.

One gorge at a time.


21 January 2011

Plateaus suck

So when I actually look back at my weight log, I did okay in 2010.  I even survived the holidays.  Between 11/19 and 12/31, I actually lost 9.8 lbs.  However, in the first 3 weeks of January, I have lost only 2 pounds.  Since I did a little bit of cheating around the holidays, and survived my big New Mexico trip without gaining any weight, I consider this a bit frustrating.

The only difference between December and January has been my level of exercise.  While in NM, I twisted my knee and haven't been in the gym like I usually have.  In fact, I think I've only been to the three times in January.  However, there were extended closures of the gym in December and days that I couldn't make it there during the 3 hours they were open.  So I can't believe that exercise is the big difference here.

I think I've hit my first plateau.  Time to re-examine the diet.  Have I gotten lazy?  Have my portion sizes increased?  Am I cheating here and there?  Yes, I had a piece of chocolate and a coffee-flavored hard candy yesterday that I failed to track.  Oops.  So time to hunker down.  Time to be obsessive about tracking my food intake.  Time to go back to measuring everything.  Ugh.  I can't believe that the margin of error is so slim.  I'd rather get back in the gym and dedicate myself to an hour of extreme exercise than have to measure EVERYTHING.

So, on this cold January morning, I'm off for an hour of elliptical.  Research isn't going anywhere. It will be waiting on me when I get there.

19 January 2011

A Lifetime in a Year

Today, Eagan Blain turns the big One.  What a lifetime it's been.

A mere 8 hours old
Proud Mama

Brand new baby parts


Memorial Day (May)
New Year's

18 January 2011

Old Dogs

I've spent a lot of time over the last half a decade with old dogs.  I have a certain admiration for them.  I know this might sound unusual, but I miss them.  That's why I have a special place in my heart for this girl.

Mags is a great old dog.   She is slow, purposeful, and fun.  She runs and keeps up with the Jacks, but she is sore at night. She sleeps hard.  She carves out a place on the couch and no one would think to move her from her perch.  Except maybe Jack.  Those youngsters, they just don't get it.

Don't get me wrong.  Puppies and young dogs are great fun, but old dogs have lessons to teach.  They watch where they step.  The don't rush in blindly.  They teach us the value of taking our time.  And you don't even know how it happens, but one day you just realize that there's no need to bark orders or give instructions.  The two of you just know the other's ways.  They know what is expected and they do it.  And if they don't, so what?  A couple of extra treats at night?  What does it matter?

Mags is a great old dog and a classy lady.

17 January 2011

A Year in Pictures

My Ten Most Memorable Moments of 2010

1. Saying hello to Eagan Blaine for the first time.

2. Saying goodbye to Jake for the last time.

3. The day I met this guy and realized we were meant for each other.

4. Watching my dear friend take her first steps in a new life.

5. Finding this on the side of the road not 30 miles north of the Mexican border and being stopped by border patrol every 10 minutes, having my car illegally searched, then being buzzed by a helicopter...all for daring to stop and smell the Abronia.

6. Laying eyes on the Grand Canyon for the first time.  Magnificent. 

7. Saying so long to this one and having to face the reality of my last year of grad school alone.  Not that I hold a grudge, mind you. I think a closer call would be that I envy her.

8. Realizing that this.....
is not preferable to this.

Even if this isn't the end of the road.

9. Getting one of these to bloom in the Midwest.
And finally......
10. Ending my year in a better place than where I started.

What a difference a year makes

January 17, 2010 and January 17, 2011.  Can you guess which pictures are from which year?

Oh yeah.  And I totally get the I need a new hairdresser thing.

13 January 2011

Life Lists

So, I have a life list. And skiing was on it. And Liv and D-ennis and I took care of this one-word entry on the list. And it was an interesting thing, skiing. For instance, I learned that the guys who load you on the ski lift are called "Liftees" not "Lift Technicians" or "Guys Leading You to Your Death with a Smile". I also learned that D-ennis had actually been employed as a Liftee in the past. I learned about teleskiing although, honestly, I was too tired to watch Liv when she actually demonstrated any of it.

And we got these beautiful pictures. Honestly, I didn't spend all my time flat on my back. Sometimes I had my skis in the air while traveling downhill, backwards, at a high rate of speed, ski poles twirling in the air above me like I was stirring an imaginary pot, while I worked on developing an impacted snow wedgie. Damn, it was exciting.

Thanks to Liv and D-ennis for:

1) not allowing me to wipe out on the chair lift exit.
2) not allowing me to break any bones.
3) giving sufficient instruction and support so that, even if I didn't actually master skiing, I felt like I'd done well.
4) taking pictures that captured a beautiful day in the sun and the snow.

I will totally be doing this again. Just as soon as I heal up.

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01 January 2011

Sayonara 2010

Here is the obligatory New Year's post.  Without further ado, I bring you my New Year's results from 2010.  The objective was, as I recall, to lose weight.

I lost 35 lbs.


So, in 2010, I have two resolutions.

1.  Lose the rest of the weight and maintain a healthy weight, exercise program, and lifestyle.
2.  Graduate and find a job.

Let's hope that I have as much success in 2011 as I had in 2010.

Now, the more important thing to me, are the things I resolve to leave behind in 2010.

Those are:

1.  SIU and Carbondale.
2.  A graduate student career.
3.  Alvin M.
4.  Internet dating
5.  All that extra weight.

I find myself on New Year's Day wishing for something that isn't.  I'm extraordinarily tired of being on the outside looking in. I get that I don't fit in with the other graduate students and I don't fit in with the faculty.  I don't fault them for shunning me, but I don't have any friends my age here.  I really, really, really, really miss having someone.....anyone who relates to me.  I am tired of discovering that all my college "friends" had a wonderful evening of drinks somewhere or a great time at a party to which I wasn't invited.  The last several cohorts of students in particular have made me feel unwelcome.  It is what it is.  But honestly, I am tired of being considered overbearing and outspoken just because I'm not afraid of faculty members who are younger than me and I'm not as timid as my 23-year-old colleagues.  I am tired of wishing I had someone to join me when I go hiking, or confide in when I have a hard day.  I am tired of living in a town where I can't seem to meet anyone to date.  I am tired of having to look online for companionship.  I am tired of being all alone all the time.  I wish that things were different, but they will only be different when I leave here and get back into the workforce in a larger town.  I have to get out of here.

I don't even care if I graduate anymore.  I just can't do this place all by myself anymore.  I resolve to leave this feeling behind by changing my life now.