Monday, May 29, 2006

And the packing continues

While most of you are enjoying your day off, I'm going to be packing up the rest of the kitchen, and then, heading to the library to check out a ton of books, most of them in Russian, so I can work on my dissertation proposal. I'm also having coffee with a friend (ok, not coffee, probably tea: I hate coffee). I've also already cleaned the bathroom this morning and translated a Russian book for an hour (it takes me about an hour to directly translate a page: I need to use several Russian language books and articles for my dissertation proposal, which is due in Aug. Does anyone else see the problem here?). Friday I carried as much stuff as I could from my basement storage unit to my apartment. Saturday, I know I did stuff, I just don't remember what. And I met a friend for drinks and a little window shopping. I'm sure going to miss her. Yesterday, I packed up more than half the kitchen. Today I want to finish it and start wiping out the cabinets. I also had tea and desserts with some friends yesterday. That was a blast. We're all in the history department, so we dished the dirt. I'm going to miss those girls too. Good-byes are so sad.

In other breaking Navy news: the Navy already hates me. How do I know this? Well, Wes called me on Friday to let me know that due to a schedule change he may not be able to make it next weekend. He is currently begging and pleading with everyone who likes him (which is apparently everyone in the Navy: it must be me they don't like). We're going to pretend that everything will be fine. EXCEPT: he also has the flu and pink eye in both eyes, which is highly contagious. Why would this affect anything? Well, if you took off sick for a week and then requested a week of vacation, do you think your boss would give it to you? I guess we'll find out. Or else there may be a boat where everyone has pink eye. How much fun would that be?

Well, I need to get to packing. I hope everyone enjoys their day off and please take a moment to remember those who have died for us and our country.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Tidalwave Tour

Every since I got back from my grandparents I've been seeing someone everyday. I'm leaving sooner than I expected, so I have a lot of goodbyes to say more quickly than I anticipated. It has also been raining. Alot and often. Wednesday night I was going to go out with Venus. It had been cloudy all day, but nice. At 6:15p I took a shower (I'd been packing boxes all day) and when I got out, I noticed it had gotten pretty dark outside. At 6:30p the wind started to pick up. At 6:35 God declared his anger and opened up the heavens. The radio interrupted whatever song it was playing to tell everyone we had a severe thunderstorm watch and to stay inside. At 6:45p Venus called: from outside my apartment. I live in a low-lying area. My skirt is supposed to be all one color. You see the dark grey at the bottom? That's because in the 10 minutes it had been raining, the water was already several inches above the gutter. It was mid-calf. When I got into the car, I was soaked. And we just laughed and laughed. By the time we got to the restaurant, it wasn't raining as hard. Within ten minutes, the sun was back out. That's ok. We had margaritas and ate and talked (we stayed so long they started turning the lights off) then came back here and kept talking. Out of all my friends here, I think I'm going to miss Venus the most (well, and my other friend Tiffany too). But I know our friendship will continue with e-mail and things like that.

Last night I went out with my other friend Meegan. Today I have lunch plans. Tomorrow night I'm going out for drinks. Sunday I'm having tea with a couple of people. Monday it's coffee. Tuesday night dinner with a group of friends and I still have 3 people I'm waiting to hear back from. At least I don't have to worry about buying groceries and not finishing them! I hate good-byes though. I'm not really that good at them. I have loved my time here, but it's time to move on to a somewhat different phase of my life. School will still be a big part of it, always will, but now I have a husband and step-kids too. It's about time.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Never let me go

That's the title of the book I just finished. It was written by Kazuo Ishiguro. I don't know what I think about it. I think I'll have to think about it for several days. Then I'll have to put it aside for a time, maybe even years and then reread it. Then I'll be able to tell you what I think about it. It's definitely thought provoking. And well written (although the beginning style drove me crazy with all the "first I guess I should tell you about this, but to tell you that I really need to tell you this" passages). When I read Waiting (and I feel bad, I can't remember who wrote it, but he also wrote Crazed, an excellent book), I hated it. Just hated it. I thought it was awful. And I sold it. Now, I want to reread it. I took a class on the PRC (People's Republic of China: I hope that's right) and realized I needed to reread it, that it would make more sense. I don't hate Never let me go the way I hated Waiting, but I do feel I will better understand it with time. Towards the end I started feeling the same way I did when I read The Time Traveler's Wife. When you want things to work out, but you know they won't. Although I kept thinking, just don't go back. Anyway, I would recommend it. It was a good, easy read and I couldn't put it down. I guess in the end, that's the best compliment you can give a book.

I spent today at the library. I got stuff done. Enough said about that. I had lunch with Sean and we talked about dissertation stuff. I'm having dinner with Tiffany tomorrow night. I'm going to miss her so much. Why can't I just take all my friends with me? This isn't as hard as leaving behind Camille when I moved to WI, but it's still hard. I guess that's it for now. Everyone go to your local bookstore and buy that book, read it and let me know what you think.

Monday, May 22, 2006

A is for. . .

Have you ever really looked at a dictionary? That thing is filled with utterly useless and archaic words. However, I did manage, in the first two pages, to find 7 words I thought were useful and/or interesting. It never hurt anyone to know more. But at 2 pages a day, I'm never going to get through the dictionary.

This weekend I packed. Almost all my books, except the ones I need right now, are packed. I think it ended up being 37 boxes. Less than I thought, but I did pack them pretty heavy. Now I'm trying to get rid of some of my furniture. If a friend told me three weeks ago she wanted some of my furniture and asked me to hold it for her but has not contacted me yet to tell me when she would pick it up and has not returned any of my attempts to ask her, can I sell the stuff to someone else? I need the money and I want to get rid of this stuff. I need to get rid of this stuff so I have more places to put more boxes. I figure if I do a little each day, especially after packing so much this weekend, I should be done when Wes gets here. At least I better be.

I'm starting to work on my dissertation proposal today too. I'm excited about it, but also a little stressed out. I've never done this before so it's all new and exciting and scary. But I want to get as much done as possible before I leave so I can turn some of these library books back in. Actually, that's what I should be doing now.

I had to force myself to e-mail Andrea yesterday. I e-mailed her my new address and that I've just been gone and too busy to call. It's not that I'm still mad at her, it's just that I don't care. I'm not interested in her as a friend or a person. I guess I'll just send her the thank-you note for the wedding gift and then let that be the end of it. When I e-mailed her, I told her I didn't know my new phone number yet. That's a lie, but I really don't want to talk to her. Time to make new friends and appreciate the old ones.

Well, I guess that's about it. I should be reading and/or packing and cleaning my apartment. Hope everyone has a great week.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Start packing

I meant to post before I left, but then it took longer to grade the finals than I expected, and I lost one and had to tear through several bags looking for it. I also needed new windshield wipers because it was raining and mine were shredded. That was a wise move and made the driving much more pleasurable. But anyway, I just didn't get around to posting. So, here goes.

I met with my advisor before I went to my grandparents. She told me the reason she had asked me those questions during the orals was because my written work was so good she had to find something else to ask me about. And, I could tell she was not happy with the questions the other woman asked me. So I feel much better about that. She also said that I can take my short research trip in November instead of July, which makes my life much easier. She wants me to enjoy being married and wants me to have plenty of time to work on my dissertation proposal. I am getting very excited about my dissertation. So is she, which is nice. Right now, the academic aspect of life is looking good.

However, I realized my vocabulary has actually shrunk and my grammar has gotten worse, so these are two things I will be working on for at least the rest of the year. Therefore, you might visit this page to see interesting words defined or an little unknown grammar fact. Well, it will probably only be unknown to me. I'm sure the rest of you will already know it!

The student's finals. HA!!!! They had to identify a map. The map had Italy on it and then the countries to Italy's east (the former Yugoslavia). I had someone identify Bulgaria as Italy. How do you do that? Doesn't everyone know that Italy looks like a boot!?! This same person also put Germany and France in the former Yugoslavia. But this has also made me aware that I don't know enough geography, so I will also be working on that. Also, some good tidbits from the finals: Stalin inherited Lenin; because the Russians lost WWI they renamed themselves Communists; revolution in Russia was so easy because communist ideas were floating all over it (like balloons?); and my favorite: tampons are feminist products. Apparently only feminist have periods. They had to talk about feminine hygiene products because they were not consistently produced under communism, and how valued can women be if their governments don't even make tampons (or tampoons as one man spelled them) and pads. I had several male students who also said that cotton batting was used to make tampons, instead of being used as pads. I gave them the benefit of the doubt (as I did the feminist guy). Most of them are freshman and probably really don't know.

Then, I drove 8 hours to visit my grandparents. My parents were also there, as was my aunt. My uncle Steve lives there. My grandparents moved from their two story with basement and two car garage house, where they've lived for 25 years, into a two bedroom, one car garage, no basement, but only one floor and entirely wheel-chair accessible, apartment. I'm sure that all of you with grandparents know immediately what the dilemma was. Stuff, stuff and more stuff. But wait, it gets worse. My grandma loves her rummage sales. And for most people, this stuff could just be put back out on sale, but nooooooo, not grandma, because even though every single family member has been there several times and picked through everything, there still might be some unknown family member who decides they want it. And furniture. Since when does furniture that was bought either at rummage sales or at stores, 20 years ago, count as sentimental items? Add to that, my grandpa is exhibiting signs of some sort of early dementia. So sometimes he couldn't figure out what was going on and he's meaner than usual and he doesn't want to get rid of radio and TV equipment from 50 years ago (he owned his own repair shop until color TV became popular: do you guys remember how long ago that was? Yeah, me either). We all actually managed to clean the house up quite a bit. We all took completely full cars back to wherever it was we were going. But the garage is still a mess. I stayed an additional three days after everyone else left, so I managed to straighten out the house and vacuum and clean the bathrooms. It looks so much better, but there's still a ton of stuff in it. I guess my uncle will just have to deal with it.

My grandparents have been married almost 60 years. My grandpa is a disabled WWII vet. He got hit by shrapnel in Okinawa and is partially paralyzed from the waist down. The doctors gave him 5 years to live and said he would never walk (he has a hole the size of a fist in his lower back). Well, he's still here, and he still walks, but he's in a ton of pain. But, this means my grandma has been a caregiver for almost 60 years. Now he can't take care of the bills anymore. My grandma has never done any of that stuff. And like I said, he's exhibiting signs of dementia and is getting meaner. My grandma feels like he doesn't love her and just needs someone to take care of him. This isn't true. I know my grandpa loves her, but I don't envy her position. She is deeply depressed and kept saying, when do I get to retire? When do I get my own life? She wants new furniture, but they live out in the middle of nowhere and he doesn't like to drive places (he doesn't drive anymore) and she doesn't like to leave him alone too long. Stuff like that. I finally talked to her about it, about talking to her doctor about maybe getting medication. She didn't like the idea, but she did admit she was depressed and I think that alone helped. The new place they're in doesn't have stairs, so she can leave him alone more often and take walks. And talk to neighbors and maybe start going to church again. Things that get her out and about. That make her feel like she has a life of her own. And now I'm moving farther away. I feel like a bad granddaughter.

I'm moving in two weeks. I'm terrified. I'm excited to be living with my husband, but scared of making new friends and of trying to find an academic circle of friends. This will be state number six for me. And only the second state on the east side of the Mississippi. I'm excited about all the history in the area. I just hate making friends. I'm not good at it. Wes laughs about how uncomfortable I am in new situations because he is so outgoing and such a people person. He promised to help without pushing. I have a ton of stuff to do in that two weeks. And we are so broke right now. It'll be better come fall, but right now, things are really tight.

Anyway, I hope everyone is good.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I passed

and I'm pissed. Two of my committee members asked good questions and prompted me when I needed it. They even helped me out when the questions from the other members flustered me. Two of committee members asked me questions beyond the scope of my pre-lim lists. That really pissed me off. But I passed and I'm over it. Time to move on. I'm meeting with my advisor tomorrow to discuss dissertation stuff. I've got to get that out of the way. I hope she doesn't yell at me about my orals. But, the graduate advisor for the department said that the professors told him my written exams were very strong. So that's probably what saved me. And it's over. Moving on.

The navy won't move me. We have never lived together to therefore, this is not his stuff and they won't move it. If we had lived together before we got married they would move it, because then it would be his stuff too, but not just because we're married. Makes total sense. So if you see me at the side of the road with a piano and 100 boxes of books, please have mercy and pick me up.

The students are taking their final today. I will then grade like mad because I'm leaving on Saturday for my grandparents house, where my parents will be also. That will be nice.

Ok, I need to get stuff ready, like, myself. Hope everyone is feeling just a little bit better than I am.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I feel. . . random

First, I'd like to point out that I added new friends so go read their blogs!!! These are people I've been reading for a while, but haven't gotten around to adding them, mostly because I was afraid I would have forgotten how. Thank God for copy/paste!!! Also, I changed Clarity's link, so now it takes you to her photoblog, and you don't need a password. So check her out too. Wes promised me that he would help me create a new template this summer. I'm thinking of a picture of all our bookshelves with me in front. He's a computer guy, so he can do just about everything. I have problems adding links. What's really nice about his offer: I still refuse to let him read my blog. He knows I have one, but doesn't know where it is. (At least he claims that.) It's my blog. It's where I blow off steam and talk about my feelings. And if I'm mad at him, I'd like to be able to vent my frustration without making the situation worse, by actually calling him all those things. He seems cool about it, especially since when I write good things about him, I read it to him. He's such a great husband.

Today. Today I am going to buy a mother's day present. I will actually see my mom next Sunday, so I should have something. I am also going to try to look up a few book reviews about the current state of historiography for USSR history. I hope I can find enough that I don't look like a complete idiot. Also, checked ticket prices yesterday and I think I will be going to Russia this summer. Exciting, yes. Stressful, yes. I also have to call the navy today to find out if they will move me to VA for free since I'm married to Wes. Cross your fingers that the answer is yes. Otherwise, I will be hitchhiking across the country with a piano, a bed, 4 bookshelves and 100 boxes of books.

I'd also like to point out that I have finished reading A BOOK FOR FUN!!!! Yes, it was The Historian which makes it a bit ironic, but it was a great book. A great book about researching in libraries, archives and different foreign countries. How could a book get more exciting than that!?! I should add, they were looking for Dracula. It was a really good book and she left it open for a sequel. First, I look forward to that. Secondly, this book would make a great movie. And I never say that about books. I usually hate movies based on books, but this one, it would be good.

Ok, off to the library webpage. You have to love the convenience of the www. You can do research in the comfort of your own home, dressed in sweats, without having brushed your teeth yet. That's progress.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Why do they hate me so?

The phone in my TA office rang today. It never rings and it's almost never for anyone in my office (all the TA offices share one line), but for some reason I answered it. I wish I hadn't. One of my committee members forgot he is going to be out of town tomorrow which makes an oral defense really difficult. Thus, it's been rescheduled for Wednesday. It's just a pain in the ass. I wanted to feel like that part was done and move on. The professor did, however, promise me a beer to make up for it. My advisor is finally back in town. She said my pre-lim essays were strong and mentioned a few things about what she would ask me about during my orals. Of course, I don't know any of it, but I guess I now have an extra day to figure it out (does anyone know about Russian historians: I mean the ones who live in Russia, not just study Russia). Anywho. She also asked me how my summer plans (ie, trip to Russia) were going. Um. . . . kind of on hold. But, I just checked expedia a minute ago, and the prices are still cheap, so maybe I'll still make it. Boy, this is going to be a busy summer.

Anyway, I was going to post picture of the hot-pink wig, but now I'm in a foul mood, so you'll just have to wait!

Saturday, May 06, 2006