Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Camille wanted to know why I consider Lenin motivational. I'm going to answer this question in a very long, round-about way, and I may never actually answer the question. I hate it when people ask me why I study history (even though I do it to others). It's like asking someone why their favorite color is blue instead of green. It just is and I just do. Even though I constantly bitch about what I do, I love it and can't imagine doing anything else. I'm lucky. I'm in a position where I know what I want to do and I can do it. There are certain things we will never know about history, no matter how much research is done. Example: how did Hitler manage to kill 2/3 of Europe's Jewish population? And no, I don't mean the mechanism: we know that. What I mean is: how did he come to the conclusion that beyond just "regular" anti-semitism it made perfect sense to actually try to exterminate a population? How did he manage to gain popularity and finally convince the rest of Europe that it was no big deal? There are hundreds, if not thousands, of books about this. None of them will ever be able to adequately answer the question. Also, it's pretty clear that there are evil people in history. Hitler and Stalin and Mao and Pol Pot instantly come to mind (in addition to those dictators in Africa). But Lenin, he's in a gray area. He was brilliant. And he believed Marxism. Yet he was pragmatic. But was he power hungry? Did he really think Russia would reach communism and lead to world revolution? Would history have been different if Lenin had lived? We will never know. He gave such hope to people. Hope that their lives would be different than their parents and grandparents. Hope that their children would be educated and have living wages. Hope that the future would be heaven on earth. And yet, Stalin happened. How, why? And, would Lenin have actually been any different? So maybe it's not Lenin himself that inspires me as the hope he gave to people. And he had to grace to die before the worse parts of socialism could be attached to his name. He is a mystery in a way the evil of Stalin or Hitler is not a mystery. That's why he fascinates me. Because we will never really ever know.

Sometimes I hate this blog. I've been trying to post pictures for 2 days, but it's not working. Sucks. Maybe I shouldn't even blog. Frustrating. I don't know what the problem is. Finally, I got one picture to post. About time. Anyway, I just e-mailed my advisor a copy of my dissertation proposal. I'm really nervous about that and I hope she likes it: but I doubt it. I miss sharing an office with my friends, so after an event like this, we can sit around and they would make me feel better. And we would laugh. I miss laughing with Tiffany and Nadia and taking walks down State street with Holly. I miss Madison.

I do have a new friend, Stephanie, but she's leaving at the end of November until the guys return in May. That sucks too. I did talk to the captain's wife about crazy Dee. She said I should try to talk to Dee when she's not drunk and just tell her that I was very uncomfortable with her behavior. Then, when I have to get rude the next time I see her because she'll still be insane, I won't feel bad, because I would have already tried to talk to her in a calm and rational manner. Fun times. But please, how many adults physically grab another adult and demand to know "why don't you like me?" Crazy.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Crazy Dee

She's baaaaaaaaack! Yesterday one of the three Stephanies decided to have brunch at her house for the officers' wives. I really like Stephanie (and the other Stephanie) but they're both leaving in December for various reasons and that kind of sucks. Stephanie had already asked me and the other Stephanie to stay after everyone was gone to just hang out. I showed up right on time and start helping with stuff because she has got a spread going. Her place is also beautiful and I'm jealous, but that's something all together different (think place with character, not cookie-cutter). Anyway, Dee shows up about a half hour later and promptly starts drinking. I had taken a 1.75L bottle of vodka over for bloody marys. I took a shot right away (I needed it) and then used a cup for the drinks. That was it (remember this point in a moment).

Anyway, the brunch started out very well and everyone had a great time. There was a screened in porch that was just so relaxing to sit in and talk. But someone kept interrupting and talking and being, quite frankly, rude. Stephanie finally left because she couldn't take it anymore. The other Stephanie, who couldn't leave, was clearing annoyed and ready for "everyone" to leave, because when the other Stephanie left, it was just me, her and Dee. I acted like I was going to leave too, hoping that would encourage Dee to leave. Stephanie even said, oh, it's too bad everyone has to leave, it was such a nice party. It was also three in the afternoon. Dee looks right at Stephanie and says, Don't worry, I'm not leaving. Since she wasn't leaving, I stayed too. About 20 minutes later, Stephanie flat out stated she had a headache and she needed to put her baby down for a nap. Dee stayed another 25 minutes. And it gets worse.

Thinking about this now, it was bad, but still, what were we to do? Dee got right into my face and blocked my path from leaving (I was pretending to go). She demanded to know why I didn't like her and why I couldn't come to her house right now to hang out with her and get drunk. She reeked. Later I looked at the bottle of vodka, and it was half gone. She even grabbed me though. And when I tried to explain that I have stuff to do, like a dissertation proposal, she blew it off like I was making it up. She then went on to tell me how much she respects me and what I'm doing before she began trivializing everything I said I needed to do. I finally made it out to my car, only to have her get between me and the car (after my car door was open) and do the whole thing again. I had to promise to call her this week so we can get together next weekend. She finally left after that. I got in my car, drove around the block and then hung out for another couple of hours. But I did go to bed really, really early, even for me, because she drained me so much emotionally.

What do I do? She seems to really like me. But she has to be better, richer, prettier, smarter, busier and have had a harder life, than every one else. And she trivializes everything everyone says. She scares me. Do I call the captain's wife and talk to her about it? I know Dee is drinking and driving (that's the bad part I was talking about) but she scares me so badly I didn't know how to address the situation (I also hadn't really thought of it until after she was gone, because I was trying to get away). I will have to see her again. She had asked me if I like her and I told her she was very overbearing for me. She went into a rant about that's who she is and she doesn't care what anyone thinks of her, only it's very clear that she very much cares what other people think of her. I'm afraid I'm going to blow up and tell her off. She's one of those people who can't take a hint and gets offended when you say it straight. I do not like this situation at all.

But, I had a great time with Stephanie and I am getting together with her again this week. She has an english degree and she loves history (and her husband is Russian, real Russian, like only lived here since he was 18), so she's agreed to go over my dissertation proposal with me. And my husband said he will try to e-mail me everyday so I don't feel bad. So, that's about it. Any advise?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Lenin's ghost

I need to start by saying a gigantic thank you to some truly remarkable giving people. I don't think I could have gotten through this time without Camille and Sarah. Thank you guys so much for all the help and understanding you've given me.

This is my 350th blog.

Observation about this area of Virginia. This area has 6 military bases (maybe more). I've discovered there are two type of guy haircuts: military and mullet. Someone please explain this to me. Please. I saw a guy the other day with feathering that would have put Charlie's Angels to shame. And he was wearing a muscle shirt. I felt like buying him a calendar so he could see that it was 2006.

I finally heard from my husband. He wanted to let me know he was ok, so not to worry. I wasn't worried: I was pissed. But he said he hasn't even had time to check e-mail. Um-hm. He's going to have to work on that.

I am inspired, motivated, excited about finishing my dissertation proposal. Not really, but I'm trying to get that way. Here is something that truly inspires me.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I'm frustrated

with school, with my husband, I guess just with life. Every time I feel like I've taken a step forward I end up going five steps backwards. I don't know if I can do this dissertation thing. I don't know if I can do this marriage thing. I just don't know what I was cut out to do.

Sean doesn't get what I'm writing my dissertation about. Total frustration because I thought the whole thing was getting more clear, not more confusing. I'm mad because I can't articulate myself the way I would like. I'm mad because I don't understand "simple" things like historiography. I'm mad because my advisor is not doing her job. And I'm mad because if I were in Madison, this would be done by now.

I still haven't heard from my husband, but other navy wives have heard from theirs. I feel like e-mailing him and telling him there is a reason his last wife cheated on him. It's because she felt deserted. I feel deserted physically and emotionally. How hard is it to just hit reply and say "I'm really busy, but I miss you a lot and I love you." Really, how hard could it be?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

One day down

Today I cleaned 2.5 bathrooms (and found a half empty Dr. pepper can in the guest bathroom) and I washed the guest bedroom sheets. So at least I feel slightly more clean and organized. I also went to the gym and swam. I revamped this page too, and instead of just transferring all my stuff, it erased all my links. So if you noticed that your link was missing, or not working correctly, I apologize. I think that maybe they're all fixed now. At least I hope so.

Today I feel like I got a lot done, but yet when I look at it, I didn't get that much done. I reorganized the dissertation proposal and I rewrote the introduction. The introduction is a little over 2 pages. It took me two and a half hours to write. Hopefully I can re-use the majority of my proposal without rewriting the entire thing. Since I rewrote the introduction and the outline, I'm hoping the thing will practically write itself. (yeah, whatever.) I do feel more focused though, and that's important.

I still haven't received an e-mail from my husband yet. Now, this could be because the system on his ship is crappy. It's bad enough that he's going to be (eventually) gone for six months, but then not knowing when I'll be able to hear from him makes it worse. Although, I have to admit, that today, I kept thinking, "school stuff was so much easier before I was married. The library was right there, my friends were right there, and my advisor was there." I do miss my husband, but life is so much more complicated being married. I could do without the long visits from the in-laws. It's just too stressful, especially when the father in law is obviously from the generation where men sat on their asses and women did all the work. I've slept so good the past couple of nights. Although I'm still stressed out, it's a dealable stress, a normal stress. Sometimes I just wonder if I was cut out to be in relationships.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Smell that?

Yesterday I went to William and Mary university (college? I don't remember which), in Williamsburg. I want to work there. It is beautiful, well designed and planned and gorgeous. Unlike some campuses (cough, UW, cough), this one had obviously been planned even when it grew. All the buildings were made of the same type of material, (red or orange brick), same style (elegant) and I'm sure none of them were rumored to have been designed for Florida instead of WI weather (humanities), that the building was accidentally built upside down (humanities) or that the building was so hideous the architect commit suicide (humanities). (Yes, I was in the humanities building, by far the ugliest and most poorly designed building I have ever spent time in.) The campus felt peaceful and comforting. And it smelled like Christmas trees. It was just amazing. And the surrounding community was also beautiful. The library, likewise, had a huge computer area. Every individual area had enough space for at least two computers next to it, but the school decided not to crowd the students. And, (this is amazing to me) there were stacks of toilet paper and papertowels in the bathroom, but no one had stolen them!!! (yes, I thought about shoving a few toilet paper roles into my bag: graduate student habits die hard.) It was wonderful. I loved it.

Now, I have an empty (still filthy) house, but I have to calm down enough to figure out the best way to finish my to do list. Wes is getting back on Nov. 10th. The house needs to be majorly cleaned. I want to have my advisor approve (or at least say I will be able to finish by the end of the semester) my dissertation proposal. The main grant proposal is due on Nov. 15th. And of course, getting holiday plans and plane tickets and shopping and bills and all that other stuff. Thanks to Sarah and Sean I'm pretty sure I can get the dissertation proposal done. But it is hard work and sometimes is a little paralyzing. And I need to get back into a routine again, now that everyone is gone. That includes cleaning on a regular basis and exercise more often. I think that's about it.

It got cold last night. Really cold. I had to turn on the heater. That sucks. But, if I were in Wisconsin, I would have had to turn the heat on a lot sooner. So I guess life isn't all that bad. Well, I should get started on some reading that Sean suggested. A student's work is never done.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I'm alooooooone!!!!!!!

I can sleep with my door open again and walk around naked if I want. I can sleep in late or go to bed early. I can eat when I want and what I want. I can shower for 45 minutes and take all the hot water. If I need to go to the library (like today) I can be gone until 9:00pm and not worry about cooking dinner for anyone. I can sweep the kitchen and not have to worry that when someone comes in from smoking they won't wipe their shoes. I can quit pulling cans out of the trash to transfer to the recycle bag (right next to the trash). Basically, I have the entire house to myself. The entire, absolutely filthy, house. It will take me all week to clean it. If I were actually going to clean it. I have stuff to do people. Lots and lots of important stuff that needs to be done NOW!!!

It's not that I wasn't glad that Wes's dad could visit before he left, it's just that he was here for a long time and I have a lot of deadlines for school right now. Wes kept saying, don't worry about dad, he doesn't care if you do homework and then everynight told me I wasn't spending enough time with him. I think my school work lost an average of 3 to 4 hours A DAY (add that up for an entire week) which really cost me a lot of work. In addition, my husband is not always the brightest of fellows, and so, when they returned from playing golf with the kids on Saturday, me staying home for those two hours to do laundry and clean, I did not appreciate that pretty much the first thing out of his mouth was that I needed to quit riding the kids and everyone thought I was an evil step-mom. EXCUSE ME?!? Apparently his dad didn't like the fact that during an hour and a half monopoly game I asked the kids a total of four times not to fold the money in half. And Victor was upset because that morning, after he had asked the same question five times in five minutes and had gotten the same negative answer AND he had tried to bang the door into his dad five times, I told him to go to his room and stay there until told. But for some reason Wes thought this had to be brought up because I was upsetting everyone. Then he got upset because I started to cry and told him I wasn't leaving the room until everyone left, if that was the way they all felt. Would he have been happier if I had said "Screw everyone, I am a bitch, get used to it?" He admitted later that it was stupid on his part to have brought it up that way, especially since he had defended me to his dad and Victor. He better have. And it was stupid of him to bring it up. (It also made me mad because Wes's dad had yelled at the kids in the car because he thought they were being too loud but they were only talking AND he told Victor several times to be careful with his legos so he wouldn't lose any pieces. How is that different than asking the kids to treat a game with respect?) So, I'm glad the weekend is over and everyone is gone. Well, I wish Wes was still here. He's gone for three weeks too and I miss him.

I wish Sarah were my advisor. I sent her a copy of my proposal and she wrote back promptly (which I'm still trying to figure out since she had been on a plane to go half way around the world). Not only promptly but she gave me good, solid advise (not, I don't like it, do it again). And she was encouraging. I actually feel really good about the whole thing, because I hadn't had any imput in such a long time I lost focus and she really helped me get back on track. And, this is funny, she pointed out several things that really didn't need to be in my proposal, things I didn't think needed to be there either. Only, my advisor wants them there. I think I'm going to write two drafts. One organized how my advisor suggested and the one suggested by Sarah. We'll see which one my advisor actually chooses.

Well, I really need to get going. I slept 10 hours last night (which was nice since I've had insomnia for more than week, averaging less than 5 hours of sleep a night) and I have a house to clean (it will wait) and a library to get to (doing that today). Hope everyone is doing well.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Dear Creepy Fat Gym Guy,

I would like to start by pointing out that I am a grown, adult, mature woman. I am not 6 or 9 or 14 or even 18. Therefore, while I was swimming approximately three times as fast as you, I was not impressed with your pathetic doggy style swimming where you had to stand up every three feet to breathe and then looked to see if I were watching you. If you had been one of my children, I would have clapped, but, you are not. I do not appreciate that, after only swimming three laps, you got into the jacuzzi and watched me swim for a while. And then went to the locker room for about 5 minutes, I'm praying to go to the bathroom, and then came back out. I really do not appreciate the fact that you then dove into the pool, even though there are multiple DO NOT DIVE signs posted. The splash did not impress me. And I do not know what you were thinking when you asked me if I wanted to race. We both already knew I could outswim you. Thankfully, when I said no, you went away.

However, you decided that when I was having a discussion with another grown up about a possible teaching position open at a real university in the area, which she was encouraging me to apply for, that you ran up to talk about teaching. I'm sorry your "friend" is such a crappy teacher that he may be fired and that he is apparently too stupid to figure out how to handle the situation. As the woman pointed out after you left, since there is teaching shortage, your "friend" must be the world's worst teacher anyway.

I REALLY do not appreciate that you were sitting in your truck when I left the gym and that you began to follow me. That kind of freaked me out. I do, however, appreciate the fact that when you realized I knew you were following me, that you did an illegal turn to no longer follow me. That was a smart move.

In conclusion, dear creepy fat gym guy, if you ever see me again, it would be in your best interest to ignore me since my husband, who works with weapons all day long, did not appreciate your attention towards me either.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Fall festival (now with goats!)

Since it was Victor's birthday this weekend, we went to the Fall Festival (ok, we probably would've gone even if it wasn't his birthday, but it made him feel special)

They had a petting zoo, where we got to feed the animals.

They had goats, llamas (which were really soft) sheep, chickens and other stuff.

They also had rides. I didn't go on the ferris wheel because we didn't have enough tickets. Yeah, that's my excuse.

afterwards we came home and the kids played with the new toys. Which means legos. It was a great weekend. Now I'm tired and my father-in-law is here so I am trying to be a good hostess while still working on my dissertation proposal.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The good, the sad, the silly and the totally unrelated

Wes managed to get a chunk of time off in November, so we will be able to have the kids the week of Thanksgiving and the weekend before that. Wes is very happy about that.

My friend Rene lost her baby. She didn't even know it until they did another ultrasound and found no heartbeat and the baby hadn't grown in four weeks. She said that it's kind of creepy that she had probably lost the baby three weeks prior and still thought she was pregnant. Her and her husband are doing ok, but upset. Hopefully when they get to try again it won't take very long for her to get pregnant again and everything will go smoothly.

This is the third one of these that has grown in our "yard" area. Every time we look at it, we giggle and laugh like the mature adults that we are. I'll let you draw your own conclusion as to why we giggle.

Tomorrow is Victor's ninth birthday. I'm picking the kids up today. The presents are already wrapped, but when am I supposed to bake the cake? Their mom lets them stay up, on school nights, until 10:00pm. They are in first and third grade and Wes and I can't figure out for the life of us why they're up that late. But the point is that I always go to bed at 10:00pm, so I don't think I'll be making the cake after they go to bed. Maybe tomorrow morning??? And, Wes's dad may be appearing sometimes this weekend as well. Our place is spotless and you can get into, and walk freely, around the office. It is amazing. So I guess things are going well.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Reality smashes in my head

Last night Wes and I sat down to look at the calendar to figure out when his days off in November are. He is currently here until October 23rd and then leaves until Nov. 10th. They were told they would be here for 20 days in Nov. with a total of 12 days off. But they're leaving on Nov. 27th (for six months). That's only 15 days. And, Wes, unlike the rest of the crew, who will have 12 days off, will only have 8 days off, none of them on the weekend. That's fine for us, but that means he won't be able to see his kids before he leaves. Needless to say, neither one of us is happy. We'll have the kids the next two weekends and Tuesday (today is a holiday so he is home) Wes will discuss this with his boss and try to fix it. It's Navy procedure to have a total of 30 days in port before leaving and 14 days off. That's not going to happen. They weren't supposed to leave until next July. But, he should be able to see his kids. This just blows. We were supposed to have our wedding ceremony and reception last Saturday, but he was at work all day (we also lost our deposit). I guess that was ok because it was raining anyway. It just really sank in that time is moving fast and he'll be leaving soon. We may only be able to see each other once during that 6 months (his dad and I are going to go see him). Welcome to marrying someone in the Navy.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Sometimes I feel sorry for God

And sometimes I wonder about God's sense of humor. I mean, if he is God, the only God, the absolutely most powerful and all-knowing being in the entire universe and all the others universes as well, are we really the best he could come up with? Look at us! We are pathetic, apathetic, violent, angry, depressed and self-centered, just to name a few unappealing qualities. We were created to want to be united with him, yet even those who most loudly proclaim to love him and follow him commit the most inhumane, horrendous crimes, both imaginable and unimaginable. Why would God want to have anything to do with us? We slander his name, his cause, his love and we're destroying his creation, the earth and each other as fast as we possibly can. I really hope we are the very rough prototype and he's still working out all the kinks. I hope he sent whoever came up with the ideas of humans to hell. I hope next time it works out better. I hope God doesn't get mad at me for criticizing him because I'm angry with my own faults, apathy and insecurities. I hope God isn't lonely. I hope he's still willing to work with us. I hope he hasn't given up. I hope he can help.

I should add, I don't think God has a gender. I'm just too lazy to type he/she.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

La di da

Not much too exciting going on. Just life in general. The weekend was good. Wes bought me a plant because I hadn't been feeling good. We went to the Farmer's market on Saturday. That was nice. He had to work again on Sunday. I went to the doctor for my headaches and they referred me to a neurologist because they couldn't find anything wrong. So I'm waiting for insurance to approve that. Monday I felt great and so, I think I overdid it. Tuesday, I was tired, sore and drained. I took it easy. Today, not bad. Still have a halo around my left eye, but my head doesn't hurt that bad. We finally started cleaning out the "office". It would more correctly be termed "the room that all of Wes's stuff got thrown into." We would like it clean by the time he leaves for his "cruise." (Yeah, they call it a "cruise"; isn't that funny!) Overall, things are going pretty well.

Until I read the news. I try to stay updated on the news because I don't like to be ignorant. But this week's news really just make me want to curl up in fetal position and stay that way. What the hell is wrong with people? Are not enough of our children starving to death so we need to weed them out by lining them up against chalkboards and shooting them? It's a good thing both those men commit suicide because it makes me feel better to know they're already burning in hell. How can anyone do something like that to a child? It depresses me. It scares me. It makes me angry. Let's not even get started on the Republicans who keep trying to "meet" with underage children. Maybe I should just quit reading the news.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Run, don't walk

to your nearest bookstore or to amazon.com and buy this book;
Catfish and Mandala, by Andrew X. Pham. This is one of the most amazing books I have read in years. It is rich, beautiful, well written and haunting. I've had a hard time putting the book down, and I'm going to try to find other works by this author. This book tells the story of a Vietnamese boy, whose father fought with the Americans, who comes to America when he is 10 years old. He tells the difficult story of his past in Vietnam and of his family's future in America. As an adult, he decides to return to Vietnam to discover what, if anything, was left behind of him, his family and their identity. Pick up this book immediately. I guarantee you will not be able to put it down and you will recommend it to others.