Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Congratulations Sean!!!

My friend Sean defended his Master's thesis today. And passed. He did a great job and I took him out to lunch. Sean is a fifth year graduate student, and technically, you're supposed to defend your thesis in your second year and take your pre-lims in your third year. No one does that though. They finish the thesis in their third year and pre-lim in their fourth year. Either way, Sean took his own sweet time. But, his committee was impressed with his work and want him to expand it into a dissertation. The problem: Sean hates his thesis topic. Hates it: despises it: never wants to have to deal with it again. The other problem: his committee is right. He's spent so much time and effort into this, it would almost be stupid not to. So we'll see. Next up: Sean is pre-limming with me.

I feel like crap. I think it's more of a sinus crap (with drainage, because I know you all wanted to know that). I'm tired with runny nose, sinus pressure and upset stomach (because of aforementioned drainage). All I want to do is take a nap, but I have a ton of studying I really need to do, so I think I'll just go to bed early tonight and since I don't have anywhere I have to be tomorrow, I'll sleep in too. This is not the time to get sick. I did go swimming today, though, after 2 weeks. I swam 30 laps without stretching before or after, so now I'm sore and stiff too. I won't forget to stretch again.

Wes is out on ship this week. He's also supposed to purchase my engagement ring. It's an Edwardian style Sapphire and Diamond ring. It's beautiful and it's one of a kind. I'm afraid to look at the web site because I'm afraid it'll be gone and I won't know if Wes bought it or someone else. If you want to see it, go to Ok, I don't know why this stupid link won't work. If you type it in, it'll take you right there. Stupid computer crap. It's #30-1-1539, under the aforementioned description (I think aforementioned is the word of the day). If it's not there, I don't want to know.

Over thanksgiving, at Wes's, I read that Jessica Simpson and he hubby split up. Now, I don't really care about them but it caused Wes and I to have an interesting conversation. I made the comment that I don't understand why celebrity marriages break up, especially when they use the excuse that their careers just kept them apart. Aren't these people multi-millionaires? Do they really have to work for a living? He responded that their priorities are just really messed up and that we will work really hard to make sure that doesn't happen to us. I'm sure these people don't get married thinking, when you get in the way of my career, I'm ditching your ass, but you do have to wonder sometimes. I liked the fact that Wes is aware that it has to do with priorities and hard work. He has said numerous times that all his career decisions would be made together, especially since they would probably involve moving, sometimes to another country (when we live in Italy, I invite you all to come visit and stay with me!). He is aware that the difficulties of navy life was one of the factors in the demise of his first marriage, and he wants to make sure it doesn't happen again. But it makes me happy that he realizes that regardless of how much you love someone, life is never easy and it does often come down to your priorities.

ok, on to that aforementioned studying (there's that word again).

Monday, November 28, 2005


I figured I should update. The weekend was a huge success!!! I loved VA and the kids and the kids loved me (or at least liked me). I even got some homework done on the plane.

I got to VA on Wed. evening. Wes and I went grocery shopping and he drove me around the base. We went home ate and went to bed.

Thursday was a beautiful day. After going grocery shopping again (we forgot stuff), we went to the beach. And I think we walked for more than 2 miles. But it was a beautiful day. Then we ate, went home and played computer games until late.

Friday, we got up early and drove almost 4 hours to pick up the kids. I met the ex (she is very pretty), the ex's boyfriend (kind of dweeby looking ) and then put the kids in the car and drove back. After 15 minutes, the kids starting asking "are we there yet?" They were pretty good though. Wes told them everytime they asked if we were there, the road got longer. They actually had to think about that. When we got home we had our Thanksgiving dinner: ham. After dinner, I played Age of Mythology with Wes's son: he now loves me. Wes told his daughter that we might get a cat after we get married: she wants us to get married next week. We put the Christmas tree up. It is very beautiful: blue and silver, just like I've always wanted.

Saturday, we went to the aquarium. We had a great time. They had a 3D Imax movie about sharks. At one point, they show thousands of jellyfish, which look like bubbles. Every kid in the place was trying to grab the bubbles: it was hilarious. Then we went out to eat. Two different women told me that my daughter was cute. I just said thank you. That night we played Clue (I won) and Scene it, by Disney (I did not win). Then, time for bed.

Sunday, Wes dropped me off at the airport and then took the kids home. He said they both said they wish I lived closer. So, I guess the weekend was a success.

Overall, the kids were very well behaved. They fought, but they're brother and sister, so they're kind of supposed to. If you want to see pictures, leave a comment and I'll send you the link.

One last note: Charley must have a sixth sense. Wes said he hasn't heard from Charley for weeks, yet Charley called 3 times while I was there. What are the chances?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Almost time

I leave tomorrow for Wes's. I was supposed to work today, but the professor decided to cancel my classes. I can't really be angry with him. I spent all day trying to catch up on my own work. Do you think I did? No, because books also take at least three times as long to read them as you think they will. But I do feel better and at least a little closer to being "done." (I'm not sure what "done" means for a graduate student: we are never "done" there is always something else to do). I might try to do a little bit more tonight, but probably not. I have other stuff to do.

I get to Wes's tomorrow. We're going to get me a cell phone so I can talk to Wes for free. And that means I get to spend all my minutes on Camille!!! I'll e-mail you my new phone # when I get it, since I know you screen your calls ; ) Then we have to shop for my temporary ring and I made it very clear that this will be a temporary ring. We have to shop for Thanksgiving dinner. And we have to shop for furniture for Wes, because he only owns a bed (the ex took everything and he figured owning a bed was probably more important than owning anything else). We go pick up the kids on Friday. I'm not sure what happens after that. I know we'll have our Thanksgiving (with ham, not turkey) and we're also going to go to the aquarium. Then I leave on Sunday and Wes takes the kids back. I'd be nervous, but I've been spending so much time on homework, that I don't have time to be worried. I'll let you know how it goes.

If anyone has a favorite low-fat recipe that tastes really, really good, and is easy to make, and most importantly, only serves 2 or 3, please send it to me. My cholesterol is 268. High cholesterol runs in my family, and the medication I'm on raises it. I do swim and eat healthier than most, but I don't do enough of either. I guess that'll probably be a New Year's resolution. The reason I want the recipe's to only serve 2-3: it's just me and after a day or 2 I get really tired of leftovers and I hate wasting food.

Ok, I'm hungry. I think I'll go eat an apple. Have a happy thanksgiving everyone!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

I hate homework

I never get enough done. I hate feeling like that. And I think I'm fighting a cold, so I feel like crap and I'm having a hard time focusing.

Yesterday, I went and tried on dresses. Then I came home and tried to find the one I liked on the web, and I think it's already been discontinued. How sucky is that. But, there were several others that I liked by the same guy. Jim Hjelm. Camille, look him up and tell me what you think.

Then, I went to a baby shower. Several people asked me about Wes and marriage and if we would ever have kids. I responded yes, we had discussed adopting. This was the response: don't you want to have your own kids? I guess that's the difference: I think they would be my own kids. There wouldn't feel any differently about adopted kids than I would from the parasites that grew in my own body. I don't think I would love them any less because they don't have my DNA. My DNA sucks, by the way. Well, at least it's not any better than any one else's. It may have a higher IQ, but that's about it. I just find it out that people question my womanhood because I have no desire to be pregnant. Someone needs to love all those kids.

Well, I should do some more reading, but I really don't want to.

Hey Queenie, where was that Persian place? I might want to check it out when I'm home.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

How sweet is that?

I talked to my mom today. And a friend of mine. And I talked to my advisor yesterday. And I ran into someone I kind of know. And they all had the same question: are you officially engaged? Well, the answer is no. I don't have a ring and I haven't been asked yet. And Wes is telling everyone that we are engaged, but he knows it's not the same. So tonight, he asked me if it would be ok if he got me an inexpensive temporary ring for now, until he can get the ring I really want. I guess he wants it to be official. I think this will probably happen over Thanksgiving. He was very cute because I can tell he's planning something, but he doesn't want me to know, but he wanted me to know that this wasn't the "real" ring. He asked me what type of ring to get. I told him either a ring from a bubble-gum machine, because it's cute and people will understand, or an aquamarine ring, because it's my birthstone. I guess I'll find out next week.

I'll be home for Christmas. . .

I just bought my plane tickets home for Christmas. Ok, actually, my dad's credit card just bought my tickets home, but either way, I'm going home. I'm very excited and would be even more excited except that there's only 5 weeks of the semester left and about 2 years worth of homework to do. But, I'm still going home. And for a long time. I'll get there the 19th, and I'm not leaving until the 30th. Mostly, that's just because I want to see family and friends without stressing out, but also because, after I get married, I probably won't be able to spend that much time at home. I'll have other families and obligations that I will have to attend to as well. I guess that's just a fair trade-off. So Camille, let me know when you're free.

I leave next Wednesday to go visit my man for Thanksgiving. We won't get the kids until Friday though. That's ok, because I haven't seen Wes since Sep. 30th, and he doesn't have any furniture, so he wants us to go furniture shopping. We're also going to buy my ring. I have one all picked out. I'll try to get a picture of it. I felt funny picking out my own ring, but like Wes said, it's not like it's a surprise and since I'm going to wear it the rest of my life, it would be nice if I actually liked it. There's also a sale at a wedding store here in Madison, so I'm going to try to go to that this weekend and maybe actually buy a dress instead of just looking at the pretty picture on the computer.

I don't remember if I blogged about this already or not, but, Wes told me his son has been in therapy for about 8 months. I guess he is acting out towards his mom and then asked her if Wes and she were getting back together since he was moving there, and when she said no, asked if Wes wouldn't be his daddy anymore since he was getting married and since she lives with her boyfriend. This worried me, because I was afraid that he would be hostile to me as well, since I'm competition for his dad, but Wes says that he only acts out against her and not him, and that he seems very excited to meet me. So I'm very nervous but excited. I've never dated anyone with kids before and I know how important this is to Wes and to me. The kids could live with us in the future. I must have a good relationship with them. And, if Wes and I decide to adopt more kids, I want his kids to know that they are not being replaced. Hopefully it will all go well.

Went and saw my advisor yesterday about school stuff. (I should really write Ph.D stuff because it makes me look smarter, but I still think of it as school stuff). Here's the schedule for the next couple years of my life. April 2006: take pre-lims. May 2006: defend dissertation proposal. June 2006: visit archives in Russia. July-Nov. 2006: apply for funding. Oct. 2006: get married. Nov. 2006-June 2007: work on dissertation in USA: probably visit the Hoover institute, Harvard and various other universities that may have stuff (sorry, nothing in Dallas). Jan.-Sep. 2007: Wes may be out to sea. Sep. 2007: I leave for my 9 month research "trip" to Russia. (yeah, these last two were supposed to correspond: the Navy didn't get the memo). June 2008-whenever: write dissertation. So, now you will all know exactly where I will be for at least the next three years.

Ok, I think that's about it. I also think I have a cold because I feel like crap and can't breath (is it really that important anyway?). I don't have to go to campus today, but I would really like to catch-up on stuff. We shall see. Hope everyone is doing good.

One last note: had a dream about Amanda last night. It was a good dream. Things had worked out and you were happy. You were very, very happy. Please e-mail me or call me. I miss you.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

My brother rocks!!!

I have to extend a giant congratulations to my brother for several reasons. This November marks my brother's 4th anniversary of being "clean and serene." I'm so proud of my brother for all the hard work, hard times and difficult situations he's been through to reach this point. I know it's been difficult, but I know he's determined to stay clean this time, especially for his son. And. . . .my brother started college this year. He's taking quarters instead of semesters. He works full time, his 2 year old son lives with him, and he still managed to get a 4.0. That's right, my brother, who couldn't read until he was 13, earned a 4.0. I am so proud of him.

And, since we're talking about brilliant people anyway, I finally (on the third try) passed my German reading test. I'm one step closer to being finished with everything except that pesky dissertation. That feels good.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Weekend paper grading

Well, my dad was here this weekend, and he just left. I took him to class with me (the one I'm TAing) and he picked up more in that one lecture than most of my students have in the entire semester. But we had a good time. He went swimming with me and then he took me out for cheeseburgers. They were really, really good. I made him look at all 550 of my Russian pictures. That took 3 hours. We didn't do much exciting, but it was nice. He asked a ton of questions about my program and when I'm doing what and if I'll ever be finished. Yes, I will eventually finish. I just don't know when

I went and saw the professor about the papers and had him read a few. He's pretty much on the same page as I am. So, I starting grading them, for real, this morning. I've done 10 out of 37. Hopefully I can finish the rest tonight, but I have a huge headache, so we'll see. Also, dear anonymous, thank you for your concern for my job security. However, the semester is over in 6 weeks anyway, so I'm not really worried about it. I usually get the highest TA ratings in the department as well. I may bitch, but I am a professional.

My dad help me set up a spreadsheet, so at the end of the semester, all I have to do is plug in the students grades, and their final grade is figured out for me. That will save me hours.

Well, maybe if I eat something my headache will go away. Back to those crappy, crappy papers, where my most common comment is: Have you read any of the material?.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Paper hell

These papers are driving me crazy!!!! Mostly because they fall into three different categories: 1) absolutely rocks, 2) they read but don't have a clue, or 3) didn't read and don't have a clue. I don't think my professor will let me give 10 A's and 10 C's, 10 D's and 10 F's. I could be wrong though. And I have this one paper that I know the student didn't write. But I've googled the hell out of it and can't figure out where he got it from. All I know is, this is the kid who started the last paper with "history repeats itself" and this time he's using words like semblance, ephemeral, and anomie. I can guarantee he has no idea what some of these words mean. Hell, I don't know what some of these words mean.

One final funny from an American history paper:
The old west is where the livesocks used to roam. (I guess they went extinct from over-hunting).

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

History 101

I've read more of the papers. They are pretty bad. But some are good. I decided to do a semester review in class today, because it was pretty clear that a lot of people are completely lost. Although, I would always suggest that you actually READ the people you write about in a paper. Since I'm grading papers, I've been swapping horror stories with other TAs. Here are a few lessons of history that I bet you never knew.

Because we are white, we feel a whitman's burden towards the former colonized people. (reading Whitman is indeed a burden)

Russians have a pheasants problem. (probably not, the peasants probably ate them all).

Otto von Bismarck was the creator of the Otto von. (say it outloud).

Artisans in the Middle Ages were organized in guilts (apparently by their mothers).

And my absolute favorite:

Women are oppressed because we have volvos. (where can I pick mine up?).

There are a lot more, but if you're not a Russian history buff, you probably wouldn't find any of them funny.

If you find out where to pick up those volvos, let me know.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Just shoot me now!

I got the mid-terms from the students today. This has ruined the rest of my week. These kids are idiots. Ok, that's not fair. Most of these kids are idiots. Some are very intelligent. And, I didn't get two mid-terms. And I didn't get papers from these same two students either. They just need to drop now, because they are going to fail. At least I'll get some satisfaction in that. On a brighter note, when I went to see the professor I'm TAing for, he referred to the students as dickheads. I thought I was going to cry from trying not to laugh. We teach because we love the students. Oh, and another example of the students high IQs, my friend is TAing for the USSR history course and he graded those mid-terms this past weekend, and he couldn't believe how many people wrote about those hard-working, long-suffering Russian pheasants. (I hear they taste great too!).

If I had a Russian bride, could she grade the papers for me?

I talked to Wes about the kids last night. It was a good talk, and I found out that his son is asking his ex some very serious questions. First, he wanted to know if she and Wes were getting back together since Wes has moved closer. Then, he wanted to know if since Wes is marrying me, and the ex lives with her boyfriend, if that meant that her boyfriend would be his daddy now, because Wes would start a new family with me. Wes is getting the kids this weekend, so he's going to have a talk with them about how we'll all be a family. This actually makes me feel better, because at least I know what the kids are worried about. And since I'm a grown-up, I'm not worried that the kids are in competition with me for Wes. I hate women that don't like it when "their" men spend time with their kids because it takes time away from them. That just doesn't make any sense to me. I'm starting to look forward to Thanksgiving and maybe starting new family traditions with Wes and his kids. Any suggestions?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Are we there yet?

My thoughts are all over the place today. We'll just go in a random order, and hopefully I can keep up.

Did you see that I got a spam comment the other day? It was from a mail-order Russian bride site. I guess it picked up on the Charley reference. I asked Wes if we should forward the link to Charley, but he didn't think that would be funny. I thought it would be hilarious. Although, most people don't get my humor.

I got a ton of homework done today, which is good, because I get the student's mid-term exams tomorrow. I do not look forward to grading those. Guess I don't have a choice though, because that's what I get paid (poorly) for. I saw this one blog with ads all over it, and yeah, it was tacky, but she said it helped pay the bills. I thought about doing something like that, but since I think only three people read my blog, I don't think I'd make a lot. Maybe you would all like to check my blog at least 100 times a day so I can make money? Yeah, me either.

Wes moved into his new place this weekend. He has no furniture except for bedroom stuff. He's turning the second bedroom into a study and will have the kids sleep on the couch (which he hasn't bought yet). We're talking about getting a 3 bedroom place when we get married, that way the kids can have their own room (and I'll have a place to put my furniture). I think that just makes sense. He gave up everything in the divorce, and I was looking at all my stuff (kitchen stuff and furniture) and I think by next year, I'm going to need all new stuff too. But we're not going to register anywhere, because we've both been married before, and I don't really want anyone to buy us gifts. Money would be ok, but we're adults and we're not broke (like we both were the first time we got married).

I think Wes and I are going to have to talk about his kids and discipline and child rearing. We've talked about it a little bit. We both believe that there are many better ways of disciplining a child other than spanking them. We believe children should eat at the table, not play. Stuff like that. The problem is, whenever I try to discuss the topic, he just insists that the kids will love me and not to worry about it. He admits that there might be problems in the future, but we'll just deal with that when we get there. Otherwise, he just says that he'll back me up with whatever I decide. I know he means we'll decide those things together, but he's making me feel like I'll have to be the disciplinarian and he'll agree with me no matter what. I know he disciplines his kids now. I don't think he realizes that he's not reassuring me, that he's actually making me more worried about the situation. I want to do this together with him, not do it myself and then him pat me on the back. I think once we talk about it, it'll be fine. I'm still nervous though.

My dad is coming to visit on Thursday. I'm going to take him with me to class on Friday. It's the class I TA for. That should be fun. Other than that, I don't know what we'll do.

Am I the only person who finds it odd that "blog" is not in the spell check dictionary?

Friday, November 04, 2005


The plan was, I would go see Wes and meet his family over Thanksgiving and he would come and meet my family over Christmas. Normally, I go visit my grandparents over Thanksgiving. But I decided I'll just go see them over my winter break. Not seeing them at all is not an option: my grandpa's mental and physical health is failing rapidly. Wes hasn't bought my Thanksgiving tickets yet. It's not because he's a procrastinator or anything, it's just that he doesn't report to his new "job" until next Thursday. He wasn't sure when he would have off. But it appears that he will indeed get that time off and that there are still some relatively cheap (by that, I mean expensive but doable) tickets left. I would fly out Wednesday and fly home Sunday. Almost five days. After discussing this, Wes said that he'll come into Dallas on Dec. 16th. But I won't be there until the 19th or 20th. Well, he's going to go visit family in the area and then come back on the 19th or 20th. And then his dad will pick him up on the 24th and they will leave. I was very disappointed. He doesn't have to be back until the 28th, but he should go see his grandparents in East Texas: they too are suffering bad health. I just thought I would be able to see him a little longer. And I'm not sure that we'll have time for him to meet all my friends. Well, mostly I just want him to meet Camille. And most of my family works, so I don't really know how much he'll get to spend time with some of them, like my brother, if he's not actually there for Christmas. I know I should be happy that I get to see him, I'm just a bit bummed.

Meeting his kids is starting to stress me out. It's not the fact that they're kids: it's the fact that their mother is raising them very differently than I would raise my own kids. I don't want to confuse the kids, or make them think I don't think she's a good mom, but I don't want my kids to act that way. Wes says the kids are good when they're with him, but that doesn't mean they'll be good for me. And what happens when Wes and I have kids? Do I just hope that at that point his kids are so old it's not an issue anymore? And now, his ex-wife is talking like we might swap the kids every few years or something. I just think that might be too confusing for them. I guess I'll just cross that bridge when I get to it. Sigh.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Adventures with food

Thursday I don't really do anything except homework, and sometimes even that is difficult. Today was no exception. It was beautiful today, at least it was for that 30 seconds when I took the trash out. We were supposed to set a new record high today. And, like I said, I left my apartment once. I was doing homework. And yes, I got a lot done, but no, it wasn't enough. It never is.

This afternoon I was snacking on some dates. Dates are normally a food I would not buy, but I needed them for that exotic apple crisp I made a couple weeks ago. Now, I think dates taste really good, and they're really good for you, but, they look like giant cockroaches. I don't know about you, but I really don't want to be eating a food that reminds me of some nasty bug I would normally flush down the toilet. Then, for dinner, I had soup. This is what the label said. "Vegetable Classics, Green Split Pea, with bacon." Now, I'm not a vegetarian, so the bacon doesn't bother me, but I'm pretty sure that most vegetarians don't consider bacon a vegetable. I wonder when we'll be reading about the lawsuit brought against that company.

Yep, that's been my fun day. Now, back to the books and the roaches.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Girl's night out

graduate style. I just got back from girl's night out, at Nick's. They have the best pie. I can't drink right now because of this stupid medication I'm on, but I can still eat pie. We had a blast, just gossiping and stuff. I hooked up two of my friends, so that's pretty cool. But if it goes bad, it'll be weird because I share an office with one of them, and I'm really good friends with the other. It was just nice to get out for a couple of hours.

This medication is driving me crazy. First my nose itched constantly. Now, it's my eyebrows. Do you know how creepy it is to see someone who is constantly scratching their eyebrows? My entire body is getting itchy because it is so dry. Except for my face. It's still nice and oily. But it's also dry and peely. Could someone please explain this to me? Hopefully I'll only have to be on this stuff for a couple of months. Swimming is making the whole dry thing worse too. I guess I should point out to myself that since this is acne medication, it is supposed to make me dry, but I don't like the itchy stuff.

Yes, Camille, I got the wonderful bed stuff. The memory foam is really cool! The pillows are nice too. The sheets are definitely soft, but I had to iron them, so I'm not sure if the trade-off is worth it. I hate to iron and I'm really bad at it. I only ironed the pillowcases and the top half of the sheets. I'm lazy too!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I love days like today

My students are brilliant. Now, if you read my blog just last week, I know I indicated otherwise, but they have redeemed themselves this week. They read, they discussed, they asked questions. This was some of the semester's hardest, most difficult, and one of them, the most unenjoyable readings. But they did it, they thought about it and they discussed it. It was a great day. I love these days. It makes me glad I'm a TA and decided to be a professor.