Meet Sophie-Anne

August 29, 2010 § 1 Comment

On Saturday, Aug. 21, Robert and I decided it was time to take the plunge and adopt the puppy we had been talking about for a very long time. Through the course of that day, we visited several different locations within about a 50 mile radius of each other. The first place we went, we found no little puppies. The second place we went was closed. The third place we went didn’t seem to exist (our GPS dropped us in a parking lot of a business center). The fourth place was extremely depressing and reminiscent of those ASPCA commercials. Finally, the fifth place, which we visited as a last ditch effort, proved to be the most wonderful place of all. The humane society was clean, air conditioned, well organized, and well managed. Our little Sophie-Anne (Annie) was in the puppy room, eagerly awaiting someone to love on her.

I knew she was our dog the moment I laid eyes on her.

Milton wasn’t so sure that she was “the one” when he first laid eyes on her….

When we adopted her, they estimated that she was three months old and guessed that she’s an Australian shepherd mix. Now, for the record, I have always wanted an Aussie–they’re good with children and cats, and they’re extremely intelligent. Finding a sweet little Aussie baby was ideal for us.


See the line that’s circled in this picture? That’s a tattoo to indicate right away that she’s been spayed.

We took Annie to the vet the next Monday for a couple of reasons. Although the humane society had already spayed her, vaccinated her, dewormed her, microchipped her, and given her an overall wellness check, Annie was still feeling congested. I thought it would be wise for her to have one more wellness check. Our vet prescribed Clavamox (amoxicilin) for her because he surmised that she had tracheitis, which is essentially kennel cough. We’re going back in two weeks for another wellness check and for a booster of the vaccinations that she was previously given. Our vet isn’t so convinced that she’s definitely an Australian shepherd. He guessed that she could be Australian cattle hound. I guess we’ll see when she grows up!

Although I can see the resemblance to the Australian cattle hound, that’s a remarkably shepherd head, to me.

It’s not featured in any of these photographs (but may well be in the future, as it could be a growing concern); Annie’s tail was broken early in her life. Our vet does not suspect foul play, but rather believes it could have been a result of her mother gnawing off the sac a little too aggressively. Apparently this is fairly common. Annie’s tail has grown into a strange little Q shape, which causes her to “spin” her tail when she wags it. Myself, I find it endearing and adorable. Unfortunately, it could cause a bit of a hygiene problem, since she can’t lift the entire tail up off the ground when she’s pottying. Our vet has said that we have an option here either to keep the tail as is or to amputate it. Because our vet is so conservative (meaning, he never recommends unnecessary tests or surgeries), I was a little surprised that he would be supportive of an amputation. This suggests to me that it might end up being the best move for us. We’ll see. He said we have some time to think about it, since her tail does not cause her any discomfort or immediate risk.

Oh, and yes. Our little Annie was named for my favorite vampire of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, Sophie-Anne Leclerq, queen of Louisiana.

Welcome to the family, little Annie girl! 🙂 She has been a wonderful addition this week, and I am so looking forward to spending the rest of her life with her.

Family Time

August 15, 2010 § Leave a comment

This weekend my parents came to town. We had a great time with each other, but I think we’re all still trying to figure out what it means for them to visit without having to plan a wedding or go to meetings with vendors. See, we’ve been planning weddings since Dec. 25, 2007 when Robert and I got engaged. My sister got engaged a few months before our wedding, and her wedding was this past June. (Our poor mom.) In fact, I think this was the second visit we had without wedding plans being on the docket. It’s wonderful to be able to relax and enjoy each other’s company without a sense of rushing.

Yesterday, we decided to spend our family time by seeing a couple of movies. The girls went to see Eat Pray Love, while the boys went to see The Expendables. I have to say that 1. I am grateful I got to see this movie with my mom, my mother-in-law, and Robert’s grandmother. (My sister is a pharmacy student who, a week before classes start for the rest of the university, is already working her buns off for a class that had an early start. We missed her at the movie.) 2. I am relieved that my dad and my sister’s husband were interested in seeing The Expendableswith Robert because now I don’t have to go see it. I had absolutely zero interest in seeing this fast-paced shoot-’em-up. Yes, yes, I know who’s in the film; and, yes, yes, I understand the important implications of that. But I just still can’t work myself up to develop any interest in seeing it. When Robert and I reconvened after our movie, the first words we said to each other were, “You would have hated it.” Sometimes it’s nice to know your partner well enough to know better than to torture him or her with a movie they’d hate. And it’s even nicer when you have someone else to go with instead who will appreciate the movie.

Confucius said, “When father and mother are alive, one does not travel far;
and if one does travel, one must have a fixed destination” (The Analects, 4.19).
Another translation I’ve seen reads “…if one does travel, one must leave an address.”

I believe this portion of The Analects paints a clear picture not only of filial piety but of the path toward the Right Way of Being. It’s a matter of respect, love, compassion, and (sure) duty. It’s a feeling I myself have been grappling with as Robert and I start to consider our options for where we might like to settle. Soon, probably this month, we’re going to sit down and create a hard and fast list of schools for Robert to apply to–he wants to get his PhD as well, but we can’t afford for us both to be students simultaneously. Once we have that list secured, I’m going to create a list of schools in those areas that I’d like to look at as well. So far, though, our list does not include the states in which our parents live. And I am grappling with this on a level.

We live five minutes away from Robert’s parents–in fact, he grew up here, so no wonder he’s eager to fly away. We live about two hours away from my parents–I moved out of my parents’ house when I was 18, but I’m not sure how eager I am to be a plane ride away from them. Of course, I want my husband to be happy, and happiness is key when choosing a PhD program. It is a 4-6 year commitment, and settling for a program that’s not a good fit can be like torture for those several years. Fortunately for me, I didn’t start to feel outgrown for my program until these past couple of years. But I also think that’s more of a sign that I’m ready to complete the program and move on with my life than it is a sign of anything else. But if going to the other side of the country is what will make Robert happy, then I will do everything in my power to help him achieve that happiness.

With that happiness, though, does come a level of sacrifice on my end. But, as Confucius says, not traveling far from one’s parents is more of an ideal than anything else. His advice does not end there. He continues to say that if extenuating circumstances require that we travel far from our parents, then we owe them at least a fixed destination (or an address). Our parents have to be able to reach us in some way; they have to know where we’re going. It’s much easier in this day and age to offer a fixed destination for our parents. Our world is a great deal smaller now, and it’s not just to do with the convenience of flight. That thought does offer some comfort.

After this weekend, though, I just realized how easy it was for us all to get together to watch a movie and have dinner. There were no plane tickets. Sure, my parents had to drive two hours to get here, but it’s not a terrible drive. And it’s one that Robert and I are able to make easily as well. If we end up on the other side of the country, we won’t be able to do this sort of thing on a whim. Seeing our parents will take more planning, both in selecting the appropriate date as well as setting aside money to travel. The same will affect them.

I am grateful for the time we got with our parents this weekend. I am eager to know what our future will hold and where Robert and I will find our true happiness. But I will also hold Confucius’ teaching in my heart: if you must travel far, at least tell your parents where you are. And I will be comforted by knowing that although the convenience and our activities may change, our world is a lot smaller than Confucius’ was. We will not disappear into the wild blue yonder, never to see our families again.

In the meantime, though, we will take advantage of our close proximity and of the time that we do have with them now.

Showing up for work

July 17, 2010 § Leave a comment

Elizabeth Gilbert, writer of Eat, Pray, Love, gives a TED talk on her impressions on genius and the creative process.
Gilbert describes herself as a mulish writer–the kind that is mired in the laboriousness of the creative process. The hard worker, the grunt, the slave. Other creative minds she interviewed describe themselves more as vessels–the entities that creativity just magically passes through and imposes itself upon.

I’m neither of those.

My creative process is more likened to a clumsy, self-loathing, utterly obsessed treasure hunter. I’m the bumbling old man in Hawaiian shirt, khaki shorts, black socks, and Birkenstocks on the beach with his heavy and unreliable metal detector. Or maybe I’m the truffle pig, snuffling around the base of myriad trees until I finally locate the true gem I’m searching for. Creativity does not come naturally to me, nor does it come like a bolt from the blue. I have to sniff it out, believe it’s there, fail at finding it, and stubbornly keep looking.

Writing a dissertation is no different.

Every two days or so, I have some sort of “breakthrough.” And those “breakthroughs,” while exciting, fizzle and melt away into the ooze of fear. What if I’m wrong? What if everyone on my committee thinks my “breakthroughs” are naive, immature, unimaginative?

I feel awkward, heavy-footed, ham-fisted, bull-headed, and dogged. My argument feels delicate and fragile, as though a single touch could disintegrate the whole thing. It doesn’t quite exist in its own body yet, and that is terrifying. I’m afraid to handle it for fear of ruining it, but I’m also afraid that not handling it will guarantee it will flit away into the cosmos.

So, here’s my plan. I have been recording my thoughts and general observations on notecards and in outlines. Bumbling as I am, I have no other option than to make every attempt to cultivate these little “breakthroughs” into bits of genius, these little well-developed points. But I have to take them one at a time.

There are moments

July 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

There are moments during a young teacher’s barely budding career that lead her to question, reconsider, or even despise her career path. I actually and quite literally am not at liberty to discuss my most recent moment, despite my itch to do so. Instead, I want to discuss the ramifications of this moment.

Someone may or may not have done something bad. (See what I mean?)

I feel like my heart was recently broken (just a little) and is in a state of repair. Every new day (hell, every new hour) has been revealing and healing. In these moments trust becomes a huge issue, and I have found myself approaching the classroom with a relative timidity. The funny thing is: I’m not the “someone” in the overly vague statement above. I’m not the one potentially in trouble. But because I’m a tender-hearted sweetie (sigh), I feel every bit as culpable as the person in question. I also feel betrayed and a little insecure about extending trust again to others in my classroom. It’s a horrible feeling, and one I’m sure more seasoned vets would mock (at least a little bit).

Immediately after my moment happened, I told several people that I hated my job. But I don’t hate my job! I love my job! I frankly have more fun at this job than at my other one (as a student), and I think it’s because I’ve mentally moved to a place where I am ready to be the teacher rather than the student. Mentally. Realistically, I still have another gigantic hurdle to jump before anyone else will agree with me about my readiness as a teacher. It was the simple fact that this moment led me to question my love for my job that really has gotten under my skin and made me a bit gun-shy. Perhaps it’s for the better, but I’m not sure that I’ll approach my job with quite the same amount of open-armed excitement and joy.

Also, I’m embarrassed. The moment could have been avoided if I had been more careful. And I do blame myself for that. However, I also know that despite my own lack of preparation and caution, I did not force this particular moment to happen. So, if there is culpability (and for now that’s a big ol’ IF), I am not the one who will be wholly responsible for it. Consider the lesson learned, though. I’m already creating new, stricter policies for my new policy statement.

And now, some words of wisdom from Kong-fuzi (Confucius).

“Zai Yu was sleeping during the day. The Master said: ‘Rotten wood cannot be carved; dung walls cannot be troweled. What is the use of scolding him?’ The Master said: ‘There was a time when I used to listen to what people said and trusted that they would act accordingly, but now I listen to what they say and watch what they do. It is Zai Yu who made me change.'”

This is the lesson I feel that this recent moment has beaten me over the head with; too bad I couldn’t just seem to learn it from “The Analects.” Maybe next time.

The mind-body disconnect

July 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

The subtitle to this entry could be something along the lines of “the weight-loss trap.”

Losing weight, if you’ve ever done it before (and, really, who hasn’t?), is extremely tricky business. In addition to the ever continuous motivation battle (“I should get up and go work out…but I’m really tired today…but working out will wake me up…”) to the ever continuous dietary battle (“I’m really craving more…but I know it’ll make me sick…but still, it looks really good…”), there’s the herky-jerky progression through the mind-body opposition. Overall, I’ve emerged the victor of my individual motivation and dietary battles. I’ve lost 23 pounds since February, which is a fairly obvious indicator of the work I’ve done.

But then there’s that herky-jerky problem. At the ashram, we learned about the distinction between the mind, body, and spirit. The speaker explained that when we describe a physical experience, we often use the phrase “I.” “I’m sick” instead of “my body is sick.” “I’m really sore” instead of “my muscles are sore.” “I’m tired” instead of “my body is tired.” You get the idea. The mind is distinct from the spirit because the mind is what gives us limitations. “I can’t stretch like that.” “I can’t lose the weight.” “I can’t succeed in my career.” The spirit is a bit quieter, but it’s the spirit that initiates the desires in the first place. We have to reclaim our spirit’s influence by silencing the mind and acknowledging the body’s needs.

At least, this is what the ashram teaches.

Here’s my struggle with the mind-body disconnect. Last night, as an example, we went out to dinner with Robert’s family to celebrate his mom and grandma’s birthdays. (His mom was born on his grandma’s birthday.) Before we left, we had to run a few errands, which meant that we got home later than we needed to, which meant that we didn’t have a lot of time to get changed. Getting dressed in anything other than workout clothes is the most dreaded part of my day. And I had to do it twice yesterday. The frustration with losing weight is making it to the in-between. My clothes from last year no longer fit well and hang loosely off my body. I look dumpy in them. Occasionally I can shop in my closet for smaller clothes, but there are still times when shopping in my closet proves fruitless.

I can only explain the paradoxical phenomenon with the phrase “mind-body disconnect.” Surely something is happening upstairs that refuses to allow me to see myself for the way I truly look. Robert constantly reassures me and points out my mini-successes. We’ll even stand in front of the mirror together so that he can literally point out the differences in the hopes that I will see them, too. He’s such a patient, kind soul. Right now I’m in a place where my mind is truly attempting to sabotage me. I struggle to see the success I know I’ve made. I know I’ve achieved because the clothes literally don’t fit anymore. But when it’s just me in front of the mirror, no clothes to use as a true indicator, I don’t see it. I see the same problems, the same obstacles, the same disappointments.

My greatest hope is that with time, I’ll eventually see the successes on my own. My greatest fear is that I won’t.

Enjoying the little things

July 4, 2010 § Leave a comment

Lately I feel that I’ve needed a reminder of how to enjoy the little things. Below is a list of this week’s little things. Although it’s intended primarily as a sort of note-to-self, I do hope my readers are inspired to remember their own enjoyable little things.

1. First week of school
Deceptively stressful, but subtly enjoyable. My previous entry recounts the butterflies I felt ten minutes before walking into my classroom for the first time this summer. Two hours after that post, I left campus feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and unsure. My confidence was shaken because I spent the full ninety minutes yammering on and on about classroom policies. Our room was uncomfortably warm, and I could tell that 45 minutes into the class I was losing them. I worried. On the second day, we discussed The Epic of Gilgamesh, and the day was only marginally better. By Wednesday, I was answering “I just don’t know about this crew” when asked about my class. We’ve completed a single week, and I know about this crew. This is a good group. It’s a strange semester, a grueling workload, and an uncomfortable classroom. But these are good people. This is where I find the enjoyment. My students are working with a new class project (they don’t know they’re actually piloting it), and it’s going incredibly well. I hesitate to reveal it on this blog, but suffice to say they are writing a great deal more (three times a week) and interacting with each other’s writing a great deal more than my students ever have in my previous classes. I’m enjoying this because their writing is slowly improving; it’s insightful, funny, entertaining. I feel like I’m getting to know them better than classes in the past, and we’re only five days into the semester.

2. Dissertation accomplishments
One of my friends, who is also ABD and slogging through her own dissertation, made a great point the other day: “ANYTHING being done is awesome!!!!!!” No, I didn’t write an entire chapter in a single sitting. But I wrote. I made progress. I feel I’ve misrepresented myself in an alarming way through this entire process. I came to this realization when talking to my mom last weekend. She sounded concerned with whether or not I was getting work done. This is a fair concern, considering I haven’t really explained what I’ve been up to these past few months. The work I’ve been completing has been substantial (to my standards at least), in spite of the fact that I haven’t been writing much. Instead, I’ve been researching. I’ve done a great deal of research in the past several months, and I hope that once I sit down to compile it all into a cohesive chapter, that research will be evident. I’m proud of the work I have done and excited for the work to come. I’m learning to look at the dissertation as pieces of a whole rather than as a single 300-page tome. As I said, I enjoy that I’ve done work, and I’m learning to pat myself on the back.

3. Learning to relax and have fun
Sometimes when I’m overwhelmed with the stressors of graduate school or of teaching or of life in general, I have to make a conscious effort to relax and have fun. I actually do believe it’s something I have to learn to do. Today, Robert and I spent the fourth of July at the lake with his family and my cousin (who’s dating my brother-in-law). Before everyone arrived, Robert and I hung out with each other on the floating dock. I dipped my feet in (I’ve shrunk out of my bathing suit and haven’t replaced it) while Robert swam around…until the little fishies attacked him one time too many. He also talked me into riding the SeaDoo with him. In the three years that we’ve been together, he’s attempted to get me on the SeaDoo every single time we’ve gone to the lake. For two of those years, my herniated disk and subsequent surgery were reasons enough to keep away. Today, however, I realized that I as all out of excuses! So, I hiked up my skirt, straddled my husband, and clung to him like a koala bear while screaming like a little girl on the SeaDoo. I have literally never been on a jet ski in my life, so I didn’t know to expect the bumps and banks. I eventually stopped screaming and started squealing and laughing (although Robert wasn’t able to reach the speed he really wanted to because I begged him to slow down). We finally agreed that I just needed to learn to relax and have fun. I think it’ll take practice. Maybe the next time he takes me on the SeaDoo I won’t be as scared.

4. Cleaning out my closet
The clothes, towels, shoes, and sundry other items had slowly and steadily sieged my once walk-in closet, to the point that I could only open the door wide enough to stick in an arm to reach in and hope I grabbed what I was aiming for. Yesterday, it needed to be handled. I was surprised that it took me only an hour and a half to tackle the beast. Now that it’s finished, though, I am happy to walk in my closet, stand there to look for a specific outfit item, and feel relaxed while doing it. I’ve always been a believer in the concept that one’s home is a reflection of one’s state of mind. My mind has been cluttered, overwhelmed, and generally inaccessible. Now that my closet is clean (and the rest of my home is clean and organized), I feel like my mind is relaxed and ready to think through other, more important matters (like a dissertation).

5. A new dishwasher and the cleanest dishes ever
Our dishwasher, the one that must have come with the duplex itself (and therefore could be around 15 years old), officially went kaput this past week. It basically stopped flipping the soap dispenser open…so our dishes were sometimes cleaned and sometimes weren’t. We were wasting soap and water on multiple loads just to wash a single load of dishes. So, when we felt like we couldn’t stand it any more, we talked to our landlords (Robert’s parents) about investing in a new duplex dishwasher. Thank goodness there’s a tax credit right now, too! Our new dishwasher isn’t the bottom-of-the-line, but it’s not top-of-the-line either. But it’s a good, sturdy, large capacity Kenmore and we’re in love. It’s super quiet, cleans our dishes the first time, and is extremely easy to use. We are so completely grateful that his parents were able to help in that way, because lord knows we couldn’t have done it on our own. Yet another benefit to renting rather than owning a home in the first couple of years of marriage!

6. Getting back to basics…in the kitchen
For the past couple of months, we haven’t been able to cook as regularly as we had been. We have been blessed with family gatherings and vacations because of graduation, our anniversary, and my sister’s wedding. It has been a month just absolutely chock-full of wonderful food and meals provided for us. And, trust me, we have been so grateful for every moment and every bite. Our finances are tight this summer, so the less we spend on groceries, the easier it is on our budget. But now that our schedules have slowed down, we realize that it’s time to get back to our previous cooking schedule. Robert taught me how to grill last weekend, which really opened my culinary horizons. We’ve felt better because we’re back to our previous diets (meaning daily dietary consumption, not prescribed and prohibitive eating schedule). I enjoy cooking with my husband because he teaches me little tricks to boost my confidence, and he’s always so complimentary about my meals (which also boosts my confidence). I love him. And I love being in the kitchen with him. It’s my second favorite room to be in with him. 😉

7. Getting back to basics…in the gym
Now that I’m back home and back to a schedule, I’ve resumed my previous workout schedule. I’ve had to make some alterations to allow for class in the middle of the day (for instance, I’ve had to stop going to morning yoga on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which actually makes me sad), but I have been able to resume my RPM classes as well as my personal training. I’m still losing weight and have made a new goal for myself. I would like to lose 20 more pounds by my next birthday (September 20th). I’ve already lost a total of 21 pounds, which would put my overall goal by my birthday to be 41 pounds. I believe in myself and my goal, and I’m so happy I can get back to the gym. My muscles actually felt good to be pushed again–my heart especially. It feels great to sweat and to feel the heart pump hard. It’s a beautiful thing, and I’m grateful for my body’s strength and ability.

So, those are the little things that have given me enjoyment this week. I’ll admit that it was a little bit of a struggle to come up with seven (one for every day of the week, you know), but I was able to think of something when I gave myself a moment to think. I truly encourage you, my readers, to pay attention to the little things that give you enjoyment. Especially if you find yourself overwhelmed or in a place of depression right now. Remembering that we’re blessed even in little ways can help us all refocus our attention on what’s truly important.

Making choices

June 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

Just a fair warning, although I have generally avoided topics of sex and sexuality on this bog (realizing that I could potentially have readers of any age or sexual comfort level), I will be tackling a particular issue that has plagued my mind for quite some now. The idea of an open marriage.

This topic does not come without a source. Actually, I blame it entirely on watching Talk Sex with Sue Johanson (before she retired the show) and reading Dan Savage’s column “Savage Love” with regularity. I like to consider myself a sex-positive person in many ways. My philosophy is that what a loving, neurologically mature adult couple chooses to do in their own bedroom is none of my business. Just as what my husband and I choose to do in our bedroom is no one else’s business. And, as I’ve promised you all as well as myself and my husband, I will not be divulging intimate details in this blog. As I said, it’s none of your business. But my point is that I do have a fairly sex-positive attitude. Sometimes, though, that positivity has limitations. And those limitations fall upon open marriages. Now, I would never condemn a loving, neurologically mature adult couple for choosing to live in an open marriage, if that’s what floats their boat. It’s just something I can’t quite wrap my little neurologically mature mind around.

Dan Savage recently devoted an entire column to answering questions from people who are either curious about open relationships or who are themselves in them. This is what he had to say about that. Dan Savage is also a very sex-positive fella, but he seems a great deal more positive than I am. He not only “doesn’t condemn,” but he outright approves open relationships. He even suggests them for some people. That’s where his sex-positive attitude leaves me perplexed. Are there no other ways to spice up a couple’s sex play in the bedroom? I would offer that there’s an entire industry dedicated to it, chockfull of toys, videos, “sex aids” and the like. Surely there are more options before a couple chooses to invite a third or fourth to bed. (Yes, yes, I also know that not all open relationships result in a ménage-à-trois, but Dan Savage does discuss that possibility as well.)

In the column I’ve linked to above, Dan Savage refers to the book Sex at Dawn, which refers to potential biological proof that humans are naturally disinclined toward monogamy. I get that. It makes sense to me in the most fundamental of senses. However, it’s the “struggle with monogamy” that I scratch my head over. When I talked to my own monogamous partner about this, trying to discern what precisely this “struggle” could possibly be, I ultimately decided that I’ve never had this urge for variety. I’ve never felt trapped or scared or doomed in any monogamous relationship, and certainly never in my engagement before Robert and I were married.

And then, I stumbled upon this blog entry called “So this is what 30 looks like” on Peripheral Perceptions. It’s written by a woman who celebrated her thirtieth wedding anniversary a couple of days ago; her blog reminisces on lessons she learned over the first few years they were married. Although the blog is humorous in nature, she does admit to her marriage having its pitfalls in the course of thirty years (as, I’m sure, they all do). She ends her blog with this little gem:

“Finally, marriage isn’t all about the mushy feelings during the ‘honeymoon period.’ Emotions change. People change. Entrepreneur and I aren’t anything like we were 30 years ago. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes not so much. Marriage isn’t a feeling. It’s a decision. A decision to love ‘in spite of’ as well as ‘because of.'”

I think this is why I have the feelings I do in regards to the concept of an open marriage. Because Robert and I always made a choice to have a monogamous relationship and marriage. That’s why we can’t conceive of anything other than that. So, although some people do pursue open relationships because the flame starts to die, it does make me wonder about the choice they made when they entered into that specific relationship. Were they honest with themselves and their partner? Did they enter into a monogamous relationship despite misgivings that suggested they would have preferred some level of sexual freedom? Were their psychological fingers crossed when they chose to stay faithful to a single body?

The point that “[m]arriage isn’t a feeling. It’s a decision” truly resonated with us. We had a long conversation about the choice we made and what that meant for us. Yes, we entered into our relationship based on a feeling. We entered into our marriage, though, because of a specific decision we made. I want to maintain a sex-positive attitude, but I just don’t think I would be able to accept an open option in my marriage.

Anyway, this is the sexual controversy that has recently plagued my mind for the past couple of weeks. Thoughts?


June 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

On my very first day of kindergarten, I got to walk to the bus stop with my mom and wait for the “big kid” bus. I was assigned a fifth-grade helper who walked me to my classroom from the bus. As we walked to the bus stop, I felt this exhilarating sensation in the pit of my stomach that felt both like I wanted to burst out laughing and like I wanted to go back home. I asked my mom what it was.

“Butterflies,” she said.

Now, nearly 23 years later, I am awaiting another “first day” of class (one of so so many), and I have butterflies. Who are these people I’ll meet in ten minutes? What challenges will they present to me? What will I learn from them? How will our short, five-week semester go?

There’s something comforting in these anxious, fluttering butterflies. It’s reassuring, familiar, a sort-of ritual. I have never not felt butterflies on the first day of class. I wonder about the day when they’ll stop, and I hope that day never comes.

What I’ve been up to lately…

June 27, 2010 § 1 Comment

Here’s a picture recap of my summer thus far.

1. Robert’s graduation (5.14.10):

Tim Cook, COO of Apple, Inc., addresses the graduates.

2. Robert’s graduation trip to Las Vegas (5.15.10-5.19.10):
Standing in front of the Hoover Dam, 5.18.10.

3. First anniversary on Miramar Beach in Destin, FL (5.21.10-5.24.10):
No oil or tar balls on our beach…yet. It was perfect weather and absolutely gorgeous while we were there.
A delicious slice of the top layer of our wedding cake, which we enjoyed on our anniversary. It was amazing! 🙂

4. My sister’s bachelorette party (6.5.10):
To celebrate the week before her wedding, we took my sister and her friends to a delicious new Mexican restaurant, a fun painting place called Sips n’ Strokes, and finally to a sleepover party at my house. We had a great time, and I am indebted to my cousin for her wonderful help!

5. My sister’s wedding day (6.12.10):
Her wedding gown, hanging in the bridal room at the church. I have been obsessed with this dress’s train ever since she first bought it. I love this dress and she made it look even more spectacular! 🙂
Their wedding cake! It was a delicious cake topped with the most adorable topper I’ve ever seen–lovebirds! 🙂 (That’s my matron of honor bouquet, front and center, hehe.)

6. Sivananda Yoga Retreat, Bahamas (6.17.10-6.20.10):
As a special treat, two of my dear friends and I went to Paradise Island, Bahamas for a three-day yoga retreat. In the middle of June. In the height of mosquito season. Despite the heat and bugs, we had a wonderful time and feel much more capable in our yoga classes back home.

Our ashram, in the jungle. Although we had the most basic accommodations, we had plenty. We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful get-away.
Sunset on the Bahamas. This is not a trick of the camera, and this photo has not been edited. The Bahamas seriously looked exactly like this at sunset. It was amazing.
The more typical Bahamian vacation: The Atlantis resort. We were just down the beach from this decadent hotel. We were sure that people were drinking all kinds of rum concoctions…and eating steak…and chocolate. And probably watching the World Cup. But we were very happy in our ashram. (Although, I’ve decided that the next time I go to the Bahamas, I’m staying at The Atlantis.)

I think the most amazing thing about the Bahamas was that the water was actually cool. In the Gulf, where I’m used to visiting, the water rarely offers a great deal of relief from oppressive heat. In the Bahamas, though, the water was refreshing and calm, even at the most oppressive hours of the day. In fact, I spent so much time in the ocean that I got a fairly horrific sunburn (despite my application of sunblock)–this sun is a bit stronger than the Gulf sun. Which…leads me to the next picture.

My very favorite plant in the world: aloe. One of the guests of the ashram gave us a couple of small bottles of 100% aloe (without alcohol, of course), but I’ve worked my way through them at this point. Robert and I went to Publix yesterday in search of a larger bottle of 100% aloe sans alcohol, but we could only find aloe leaves. Which is what we got. I love this plant. LOVE. 🙂

My summer is coming to a close now. I start teaching tomorrow and will teach every single day of the week until August. No complaints, though, because I love my job very much and am grateful to have one. This semester will be particularly interesting; I’m taking a slightly different approach to teaching World Lit I this summer, and I have my fingers crossed that this approach will yield more enthusiasm from my students.

Two days and counting!

June 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

Hard to believe that my sister will be getting married this Saturday, June 12th. I am so proud of her and happy for her! She’s been dating her fiance for seven years, so I know they’re ready for this day, too. 🙂

Our schedule for the next couple of days will be fairly intense, but also fairly typical for two days before the wedding. It’s very similar to the schedule we had for my wedding last year, so I know what’s coming up. In fact, I’m awaiting a phone call from my mom right now to join her and my sister to run errands, eat lunch, and then have our nails done. This morning, I spent the first three hours of my day in the gym. I went to an earlier RPM class than I normally go to, met with my personal trainer for half an hour, walked on the treadmill for half an hour, and then attended my normal yoga class. It was amazing, and now I’m feeling really exhausted. I actually fell asleep during savasana (corpse pose–final meditation) and dreamt. It wasn’t until my instructor’s gentle voice entered my dreams that I remembered I was in yoga. I’ve never fallen asleep during savasana before, so I think it’s fairly obvious how exhausted I am.

Last night we celebrated Robert’s birthday with a bunch of friends, a lot of grilled meat, and a brand-spanking new kegerator with Yuengling on tap. (This was my graduation/birthday/anniversary present to Robert.) We had an amazing time; I am truly grateful for all of our friends who came out and helped us celebrate his birthday in style! 🙂 We are in love with our kegerator; I have a feeling it’ll serve as a sort of social beacon for our friends for years to come. 🙂

Well, my call to run errands has arrived, so I’ll cut this short for now. Likely the next time I’ll update will be after the wedding. 🙂

Love to all!

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