Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Beyond stress

Sunday I e-mailed several places in VI to visit for the wedding site/reception. One of the places I wasn't all that excited about, because since I live out of state, and Wes is a guy who eats Navy food every day, there isn't a lot of opportunity to get a good caterer, and this place didn't provide food, just the room. And, they were morons in their e-mail. I had previously told them I lived out of state and then when I e-mailed them this weekend, I let them know I had contacted them previously and lived out of state. Their response, we don't do appointments on the weekends, how about Thursday. I sent a rude e-mail back. So that narrowed our reception/wedding site down to one. And the place sounds really good, and provided a ton of stuff. And I really liked it: until I got down to the part where in addition to the per person meal charge, decorating charge, set up charge, fuel surcharge, cake charge, administrative fee per person and all of this plus tax and 20% service charge, there is also a $2,000 room rental charge. That put us $2,000 over budget. If my family lived in VI and I lived in VI and my friends lived in VI, I would just rent the Legion and find a cheap caterer, because our families don't really care. But, since I don't live there, and Wes doesn't have the time, I actually suggested to Wes we cancel the wedding. I was a mess yesterday. I told him that with my pre-lims, I just don't have the time or energy to worry about planning a wedding. He asked what was the worst thing that could happen if I failed the pre-lims. They could kick me out of the program. That would be it. My academic career would be over. I would probably never be a professor. I guess he didn't realized that, because when I told him, he said he would be stressed out too. So, we are going to the above mentioned place because maybe in person we could work something out, and we can spend the extra $2,000 (even though I don't really want to). But he doesn't want me to worry about any of this until my pre-lims are over. So now, I'm just going to worry about that.

I have a paper due from 2 1/2 years ago that I have got to finish this weekend. It's keeping me from working on pre-lim stuff. Once that is finished, I will feel much better. I have one other incomplete I need to finish, but the professor keeps changing her mind on what she wants me to do. I have to finish the Russian language requirement. That also really worries me. Then, the readings for the pre-lims. I'm going to out-line the previously asked questions, mostly because professors always ask variations of the same question. And I have to write a syllabus. After pre-lims, I have to write a dissertation proposal and defend it. Then I have to go to Russia for a month for research. Then I have to write grant proposals, most of those due in October. I'm moving to VI and getting married, but that will happen in between the Russian trip and the grant proposals.

I also talked to Wes about the stupid Charley dreams. He suggested that maybe I contact him and talk to him, but I don't want to. I'm just going to hope that as time and my new life go on, that he will fade into memory. I don't know why I feel any sort of obligation to him: he obviously didn't feel any towards me. But, I'm going to try not to think about it, and focus on my pre-lims. So now, I'm going to go work on that paper.

Monday, January 30, 2006


Recently I've been having a lot of weird dreams. I had a weird/disturbing one about my parents, I dreamt about hippos, and other strange stuff. But, I've also had several dreams about Wes and Charley. I guess now that we're engaged, it's to be expected. In the dreams, he is upset because it's Wes. You see, he once asked me to promise him that I would never date Wes and I did promise him that. But he also promised me he would quit smoking pot 24/7 and he didn't do that. Does that let me off the hook? In the dreams, it's not that I'm getting married, it's that it's Wes, well, and that I'm getting married. And I feel bad and guilty, but I don't offer any excuses or apologies. Because I'm happy and I love Wes. And I'm going to marry him no matter what Charley thinks. I don't know if Wes has talked to Charley lately. I know that he never called back at Christmas time, when Wes tried to see him. I wonder if I would feel better if Charley knew we were getting married. In the dream, part of the guilt is that I didn't tell him. But, I'm not calling my ex-husband to tell him I'm getting married, why should I call Charley? I know I probably have unresolved issues with Charley. But, as I learned with my ex-husband, sometimes things just stay unresolved, and sometimes the only closure you get is the closure you make yourself.

Saturday, January 28, 2006


I was just reading my monthly issue of Smithsonian (I'm almost 2 years behind in my reading: talk about pathetic). But, one of the articles was about scuba diving and sea life and such, and a wave of gratitude just flowed over me. Why? Because both Wes and I want to learn to scuba dive. And it just reminded me about how lucky I am to have him. We are so similar. We have similar goals for our lives. We enjoy the same things. We love to travel, learning new things, cooking, art. It's just a good fit. But it's also more than that. Wes would consider it an honor to HIM if I changed my name after we got married, not a gift to me that he is allowing me to use his name. Wes wants a baby with me because he wants to see what MY baby would look like, not HIS baby. Wes wants me to succeed because that's what I want, not because it would make him look good. He is entirely selfless when it comes to me. His goal in our relationship is to make me happy. His goal is to love me more than anyone else has ever loved me. His goal is to make me feel like I'm the only person on the face of earth who he even sees (well, except his kids, but that's different). I'm so grateful for this because I wasn't sure if such a love truly existed or if I would ever get to experience it. He once asked me if I took him for granted because he was so selfless. My answer was that I've been with enough men that I would NEVER take for granted someone who treated me so well. I want to make him happy. I want to love him more than anyone else has ever loved him. I want to make him feel like he is the only person on earth I see. I love him so much. I am grateful.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Week Two

It appears I owe an apology to my largely freshman students. They aren't brilliant, and their comments are somewhat superficial, but they read and they discussed. Usually there's only 5 or 6 students in each class that talk. Not this group: they almost all talked. I was very impressed and I'm starting to look forward to this semester.

On another note, I had typed out a nice long blog and then the stupid server went down. And I'm tired, so I'm not doing it again. So, I miss you Camille. I wish you were here.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Week one

The first week of the semester is over. It went well, I guess. I got to see everyone and show off my ring. Everyone thinks it's beautiful. I met my students. One of the (four) classes I teach is at 8:50 in the morning. I have 18 students, and 14 of them are freshman. Only one student in that class is a history major. I'm sure this will be my favorite class ever (heavy, dripping, thick sarcasm). I have a ton of freshman. I told them that if they want good grades they have to do the work and come to class because if they didn't and then whined about a bad grade I would seriously hurt them. I'm sure they were thrilled with me. But, I didn't get much work done this week. This weekend, I'm going to plan everything and write everything on my calendar. Pre-lims start on April 3rd. That means I have to read all those books on those previously published lists and there was one list I still haven't posted because it's really, really long. I'm also still working on an incomplete, but that should be finished by the end of January. That leaves 2 months to finish all that reading. I can do it. Why? Because I have no social life. Oh, wait, I meant: Because I am amazing. Actually, this is when it's good that Wes isn't here. That leaves me lots of time to study.

Speaking of Wes, one of my friends asked me if we were going to start a family right away. This really bothered me. Was she commenting about my age (31) and therefore, the fact that my biological clock must be loud (it's not)? Turns out, that no, that's not what she meant. Had more to do with her current relationship problem and what she wanted out of it, than what I want out of mine. But I realized I should probably brace myself for all those busybodies who are going to ask about our reproductive plans (we're going to go to the mall and steal the cutest kid we see). Now you know and you don't have to ask.

Alright, got to get to all those books. Hope everyone has a happy weekend. If you're bored, let me know and I'll let you read some books for me ;)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

center pieces

This is what my sister made me for Christmas. If you can't see them, they say faith, hope and love (it's a Bible verse). She chose those colors because Matisse is my favorite artist. (About five years ago I took her to an exhibit of Matisse and Picasso; thankfully she enjoyed it: it made me feel like a successful big sister). When I got them to my apartment, I looked at them, and liked them so much, that I called her and asked her to make a bunch to be the center pieces at my reception. They will be different sizes and fall colors instead, but they will still say faith, hope and love on them. The best thing, it's about a fourth of the cost of my budget for the center pieces. And, they can double as the wedding favors. I think we'll fill them with real fall leaves and maybe some seed packets or something. My sister is so excited that I asked her to do it, and I have one less thing to worry about.

Thank God school has started!!! Why? Not because I enjoy the stress and the uncomfortable library chairs, which I think are still the originals bought in the 1890s, but because it brings structure to my life. And I need structure. And it's not just me. All the graduate students I talked said the same thing. The strange part: I'm actually only in class 10 hours a week. But, that gets me to campus, and then I stay for 6 to 8 hours a day doing all the other stuff I need to do. Tomorrow I meet my new students. I can't wait. (that last part was utter sarcasm)

I guess that is actually it right now. I was hoping to go shopping yesterday, but I twisted my knee on Sunday, and could barely walk yesterday. Thankfully, it was sore today, but I could walk. Now, it's feeling much better, but I still can't do stairs. I hope it's completely better soon, because I wanted to start swimming this week.

hope everyone is healthy and happy.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Spring semester

Classes start on Tuesday. I am so unprepared. I have to meet with the professor I'm TAing for this semester. There will be three TAs because it's one of those large history courses that all liberal arts majors have to take. Since my Ph.D. is technically in Modern European history, this is a good course for me to TA because I will probably end up teaching something similar someday (if I ever get out of here). But I wanted to get a lot of other school related stuff done over winter break. I have a paper to finish that was due two years ago (and yet I'm a hardass about students turning in late stuff). I wanted to really read a lot of Russian language stuff. I wanted to read a ton of stuff for my pre-lims. I wanted to work on the syllabus I have to write as part of my pre-lim process. I wanted to begin working on my dissertation proposal. I didn't get any of it done. First there was that killer sinus infection. Then Christmas and a ton of family and friends. Then that stomach bug. Then the cold from hell. Then the trip to my grandparents. Once I got home, I cleaned and organized. I did start the rough draft for that overdue paper. So far I have 5 pages (I think the paper was supposed to be 20-25 pages). I will have it finished before the end of January. It's a crappy paper, but at least it will be done. I'm trying not to feel stressed out, but it's not working all that well.

Wes is also stressed and frustrated. He is currently working 16 hour days. He hasn't had time to do anything at home. He feels like he's not getting time with his kids. He can't check out wedding spots. And he's usually so tired when he gets home that we talk for less than a half hour before he collapses. He says next week should be the last week like this. I hope so. He starts classes soon too. Unfortunately, he will be at sea during my spring break. That really sucks. But, he should find out today if he gets a couple of weeks in September off. If the answer is yes, I think that will at least put him in a better mood. I know that most of his frustration comes from the fact that I'm not there. Just a little while longer and then I will be.

Thank God for Andrea. She is my matron of honor, and she got married this past summer, so she knows what she is doing. She sends me stuff everyday and has given me some great ideas. I ordered a couple of invitation catalogs yesterday and have started e-mailing places about the wedding and reception. Once school starts, a lot of this will have to be put on hold. I guess that's ok.

I put all my Christmas pictures up on-line yesterday. If anybody is interested, let me know, and I'll e-mail you the link. They're mostly of my nephew and Wes and I. There's some really cute ones of my nephew. He's just adorable!

Alright, it's almost 10 and I haven't done any school stuff yet. Hope you all have a great weekend.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Where's my sunshine?

This is what it looked like in Minnesota.
Yes, these pictures were taken during the day. This is the amount of sunshine I have gotten since I returned to Wisconsin almost two weeks ago. Now you all know why I am depressed. At least here, we don't have any snow. But, the snow is pretty. It didn't snow while we were driving, which was good.

On another topic: my mom needs help. My parents have been married for 28 years and my dad calls my mom three times a day. He is obviously in love with her. Yet, all she could do is worry whether my dad is still happy with her and if he will leave her for someone else. She gets all depressed and sad. I think she needs counseling. She has been like this practically since they got married. Now, her first marriage, to my biological sperm donor, did end because he cheated on her, but for heaven's sake, it's been 32 years. Get over it. I just worry about her.

I feel like I have so much to do that I know I don't even know where to start. Today I got groceries and went and spent some of my Christmas money on books, CDs, and DVDs. I got the Postsecret book. I haven't looked at it yet, but I'm excited about it. Tomorrow I'm going to clean my apartment, because then maybe it will be easier to know where to start. School starts in a week, and I haven't done anything: I didn't write a paper, I haven't read any Russian, I didn't work on my dissertation proposal, I didn't read anything for my pre-lims. I feel a bit overwhelmed. Hopefully after tomorrow I'll feel better.

I hope you're all doing well and having fun.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

All over the place

That's where my brain is. I'm still sick, but do feel a whole lot better. I slept until 5:30p yesterday and then got 11 hours of sleep last night. If I didn't feel so god-awful, I would think I was slipping back into depression. But, I leave for my grandparents tomorrow, and it's a 7 hour drive, it's supposed to be snowing, so, I can't afford to be sick tomorrow. That's it, no more sickness for me!!! I talked to mom, and she said the poor little man has the flu again and is throwing up all over the place. Phoenix is already in the bottom 3% for his age in regards to his size. He's 28 months, and wears 18 months clothes, with the legs rolled up. I would love to post a picture to show you how incredibly cute his is, but I don't think my brother would really appreciate it. Back to the point: he really can't afford to be sick. The poor little man.

Wedding stuff. We have a budget. Now we just have to make everything fit into it. Not a problem. I thought, that since I originally told Wes "not in a million years" the preacher could start with a joke about how time flies, or something like that. Camille gave me this beautiful purse for Christmas. It's one of those fancy clutch purses with beading all over it. It gave me an idea. I can always put some beads on the dress I get myself, just to make a little more special. Also, as none of you know, John Donne is one of my favorite poets, so I thought about having one of his poems read. How about this one:

The Good-Morrow

I wonder, by my troth, what though and I
Did, till we loved? were we not weaned till then?
But sucked on country pleasure, childishly?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers' den?
'Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be;
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, 'twas but a dream of thee.

And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone;
Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown;
Let up possess one world; each hath one, and is one.

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;
Where can we find two better hemispheres
Without sharp north, without declining west?
Whatever dies, was not mix'd equally;
If our two loves be one, or thou and I
Love so alike that none can slacken, none can die.

Would I be the only one there who would appreciate it?

I need to clean my flat. I thought the cold meds were non-drowsy, but after a second look, they're not. No wonder I slept all day yesterday.

Finally, did I tell you they changed my wonderful radio station into a country music station? Just ask Camille what I think of country music.