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Originally from Texas, I am a reader, writer, pseudo-gardener, baker, record collecting student working on my Ph.D. in the Midwest.

Tuesday, November 30

And then we went to Indiana

For those who subscribe: You may be better off coming to my website and viewing photos. Who knows how wonky this will look. Love!
Since our anniversary falls near Thanksgiving, we made a trip of our trip! We left Chicago (sadly) on Wednesday and headed to Indiana to spend the next 3 packed days with my aunt, her daughter and son in law, and their three tiny (awesome) humans.

Tiny humans are amazing. They bring so much joy to everything.  And noise, let us not forget the noise.

Monday, November 29

Chicago Trip

I don't have any fancy names for our anniversary trips.  I think, though, we've established a tradition with them. For our honeymoon, we road-tripped our way back home from Texas and it was a ton of fun.  This year, we spent a day and a half in Chicago to celebrate our anniversary.  I'm sensing a tradition forming: take off the week of Thanksgiving and spend the first few days celebrating our marriage and then the next few days celebrating Thanksgiving.  I can get on board with that.

Highlights of Chicago:
1) Traffic is insane and I felt shell-shocked after not being in traffic for over a year
2) We are destined to stay in hotel rooms by air conditioner things
3) We walked at least 10 miles on Tuesday
4) We rode the giant Ferris Wheel (ahem, Devil in the White City)
5) It's been established that I looooove architecture while the husband appreciates the science behind the buildings
6) Still not a huge fan of blues music and no one can make Chicken Fried Steak north of Texas
7) We clearly need way more time in Chicago

Saturday, November 27

Vacation and Back

A week off of blogging has actually been nice.

I mean, not because I was away from the internets (that kind of sucked) but it was nice to sit and think and be away.

But, I will be back with regular posts on Monday telling you my fantastic stories of Chicago and Illinois, new camera and black friday and my life list.

Get ready :o)

Wednesday, November 24

Thanksgiving v.2010

Happy Thanksgiving from the husband and I to you!

I have lots of wonderful and obnoxious and humouros stories from our anniversary and Thanksgiving, just for you.  You'll like them, I promise.

For now, here is what I am thankful for:
-a husband who is willing to cook delicious pies and food and let me be the official taste-tester and the storyteller
-the ability to travel
-friends abroad and at home
-being a husker and a bearkat
-exploring new cities
-working on my ph.d.
-the excitement of putting up christmas decoration in t-minus 5 days
-family coming up for the holidays
-getting a new camera on black friday! no more black dots!
-health, money, and life

Happy Thanksgiving, dear internets! I know you wish you had this pie in your tummy, mainly because I do.

Friday, November 19

TGIF {1}

Today on Ordinary Courage we readers were asked to think about our TGIF (Trust, Gratitude, and Inspiration).

So, Today I am:
Trusting myself as I make some professional changes and advances.

Grateful for my marriage - we're celebrating 1 year of marriage on Sunday and 4 years of dating today!

Inspired by those people who see the glass half full and notice the amazing and beautiful design of the glass.

Dear Internets: What are your TGIF's?

P.S.: If you don't know about Brene Brown, she's amazing. Go to her website and watch the video below. Worth every bit of your time.

Thursday, November 18

Rock, Paper, Scissors....

Did you know there are Rock Paper Scissors tournaments?

Some things to remember when you play:
Males have a tendency to throw rock on their first try, inexperienced RPS players will subconsciously deliver the item that won previously, and paper is thrown least often, so use it as a surprise.
Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, November 17

Book Thoughts: Dirty, Sexy Politics

Because I love reading, and I can never actually remember what I thought of books, I've decided to blog my opinions about them.  Here we go! 

by Meghan McCain
   Meghan McCain came to prominence as the straight-talking, progressive daughter of the 2008 Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain. And her profile has only risen since the election ended in favor of the other guy.
   What makes Meghan so appealing? As a new role model for young, creative, and vocal members of the GOP, she's unafraid to mix it up and speak her mind. In Dirty Sexy Politics she takes a hard look at the future of her party. She doesn't shy away from serious issues and her raucous humor and down-to-earth style keep her positions accessible.
   In this witty, candid, and boisterous book, Meghan takes us deep behind the scenes of the campaign trail. She steals campaign signs in New Hampshire, tastes the nightlife in Nashville, and has a strange encounter with Laura and Jenna Bush at the White House. Along the way, she falls in love with America--while seeing how far the Republican Party has veered from its core values of freedom, honesty, and individuality. In Dirty Sexy Politics, Meghan McCain gives us a true insider's account of life on a campaign trail.
That's what the inside of the cover jacket reads.

Now, when I saw that, I though, "hmm, this could be really good. talking about the future of the Republican party, how they're missing out on moderates like me; i could get behind this."

Then, I read the book. I re-read the cover jacket and thought, "what a crock of bullsh*t."

This book has definitely been reviewed enough, and mainly to the tune of: "oh my, that was bad" (and a bit more negatively). Because, you know what? It is.

If the point of the book is to discuss what the Republicans need to do to be able to bring in the moderate vote and analyze the direction of the party... it didn't do that. I mean, maybe for a total of 5 pages out of the 208 did she actually talk about what the Republicans need to do, and that was mainly focused on her crying, "you're doing it wrong! you're doing it wrong!" which isn't all that effective.

But, if the book was marketed as a daughter-of's journey on the campaign trail to support her dad and all the shenanigans, meetings, time and dedication that entails... well, then this book did it.

Meggie-Mac (as she likes to call her public persona) is not a bad writer. And to be honest, I really knew nothing about her prior to picking up this book. I think that where the publishers and her marketing failed was that this was a get-it-all-out-book about her time on the campaign trail, not an analysis of what needs to go down for the Republicans to catch us independents and toe-the-liners.

Highlights of the book: She has a good voice.  A good writing voice that is quick to read and captures stories well.

Lowlights of the book: Her constant talk of how her dad is actually a moderate who just had to fit into the Republican ideal to get the votes. Honey, if your dad is for that Arizona bill and against Same-Sex Marriage, he is not a moderate.

Tuesday, November 16


I have baby fever right now, although it's quieted down a lot in the past few months.

It all started about a year ago.  I started inexplicably dreaming, thinking, and obsessing about babies. Oh, and pregnancy. Whenever I see a baby, I can't help but coo and wave and talk to him or her.  In church on Sunday, I had a mini conversation with a 4 year old. I often price baby items, like strollers, cribs (don't you love those 5-in-1's?) etc.  And don't forget thinking about names! So many: Aveline, Grace, Marie, Mia, Sophia, Fiona, Josh, Avery, Ezra, Hugh among others.

But you know what? We won't be having kids anytime soon.  Some reasons include: We have difficulty staying in the black on a monthly basis and diapers are expensive. We really enjoy not having kids -- going to the bar on a whim, watching loud tv, sleeping in late.  Oh and crying. Let's not forget crying. Husband says he doesn't want kids until her can walk through Target and not want to do what they're doing. That's legit.

The biggest reason for why I do want kids right now, though, is my parents.  My parents will make amazing grandparents.  Fantastic grandparents.  The kind that everyone hopes for.  But, I'm realizing more and more that my parents are older {not old, people, just older}.  Husband and I have been considering trying to get pregnant around 26/27.  That'll put my dad in his late fifties and my mom a few years above that.  And that's not old, and it's only a few years away.  I worry, though, about the amount of time they will get to spend with my kids. 

And more than that, the time my kids will get to spend with them.

And that is my only reason to try for kids now.  I don't think it's good enough, though, to overwrite all the reasons we do *not* need to have babies.  For now, I'll just play with other people's.

Dear Internets: Do any of you have baby fever?

Monday, November 15

Lost Photos Found!

My husband got our back up system, back up and working (like that pun?).  On said back up, are photos of mine, some dating back 5 years. Wow. 

Below are some of my favorites.

This is a really photo heavy post, just as a warning.

Friday, November 12

Disappearing Act

Have you ever thought of just disappearing?

The kind of disappearing where you start a new life -- probably not the grandest life, but something away from your troubles and somewhere that you want to be? Perhaps Mexico, making tequila, or Italy creating wine (I do like to drink).

Thursday, November 11

a thank you today and everyday

And, on the flip side of that, I'm going to post this:

Thank you. Whoever you are, wherever you serve, thank you.

DADT and Veterans Day

Proud to Serve from Jo Ann Santangelo on Vimeo.

A powerful video.

We'll just ignore for a moment that we are referring to humans, who help protect our country. Apparently, the Government Accountability Office found in 2005 that the cost of discharging and replacing service members fired because of sexual orientation totaled at least $190.5 million. That monetary point should be enough to repeal DADT.

I'm clearly not a fan (at all) of DADT, but I think it's a shame that people have to hide who they are in order to serve their country. Especially at a time when we *need* service men and women.

Why is this a good idea? Please, tell me.

Wednesday, November 10


Something that I have struggled with recently is creativity.  I have my hands in so many pots of ideas... well, not so much my hands as my brain. So, I posted a question on facebook asking what people their creative outlets were, and some awesome responses came back:
Writing, guitar, conversation, inventing, scrapbooking, sewing, belly dancing, cooking, baking, piano lessons, meeting new people, drawing... the list goes on.

I want to do a whole bunch of different things as a way to feel more creative, and as a way to take care of myself.

I want to paint. I want to write. I want to relearn the piano. I want to sing. I want to read. I want to dance. I want to garden I want to take photographs. I want to decorate. I want to learn typography. I want to build. I want to bake. I want to learn French. I want to learn composting.

I want to, I want to, I want to.

What I have been doing is my 365 Project which I've been using facebook to chronicle. But that ends on 11/22, after husband and I have been married for 1 year. Now, I need to figure out what I want to do with myself as an outlet, because I need something.

What do you do?

    Tuesday, November 9

    Sounds like I'm not ready

    Kid is climbing onto a school bus and steps on his jacket on the stairs, leaving a nasty brown stain.

    me: ugh, stupid kid.
    husband: hahahahahaha, hope our kids are smarter than that.
    me: i'm clearly not ready for tiny humans.

    Monday, November 8

    Living our Values

    I bought a book recently, called "Meditation for Therapists and Their Clients." It's a fantastic book, actually. So many wonderful things in there.

    But I bought it at Voldemort.

    Mm hmm. If you hover over that link, you'll see where I had to go to purchase this book.  I have not shopped there in over 2 years.  Since moving to Lincoln, I basically shop for books only at Indigo; if they don't have the book I'm looking for, well, they can just order it for me.  So, why didn't I do that? Well, I needed the book on Saturday and Indigo does not carry it. 

    I felt dirty shopping at Voldemort, by the way.  I looked on their website at first and it just felt wrong. So, so wrong.

    But, I had too. I couldn't wait for this book and the local stores didn't have it.  It's like shopping at Target for shoes -- I don't really want to {ahem, shop there, I do want the shoes}, but there isn't anywhere local to shop.  And if I do find somewhere local, or somewhere that does awesome things {Toms!}, I can't afford it.

    And that's where my values and my wallet collide.  Or my values and my body collide. 

    Most often, I can do it.  I can spend the extra money to shop at a local grocery over Wal Mart, because it's just better.  But sometimes, I can't.  I sometimes I have to go to Wal Mart for razors because razors at our grocery are $35 but the same at Wal Mart are $18. Or, I have to go to Voldemort because my favorite bookstore doesn't have the room nor the income to store books that don't move very fast.  Or, I want to ride my bike everywhere, I do.  But it's cold, and it hurts, and I'm normally running behind so let's get in the car and go! And it sucks. Straight up, but I don't know what to do about it.

    How do you live out your values?

    Friday, November 5

    Primetime Rape

    I found this article about primetime rape, and it pretty perfectly states my feelings.
    Last nights episode. KaDee Strickland did a beautiful job of portraying a rape victim*. Beautiful. They showed her having to comfort Coop (her fiancé) at one point and I know from my research that was spot on. They showed Addison trying to be close and then backing away as Charlotte described what happened (granted, Charlotte seemed to be trying to get her to back off, but that's another topic). They showed a re-traumatized Violet. It was beautiful.

    I stand by, though, what I've already said. A violent, stranger rape is not the most common form of sexual assault. Mad Men depicting Joan being raped by her fiancé, that's the most common form. Did you know that research tells us that a person most often knows their perpetrator for 6 months? And, a good chunk of men would rape a woman if they knew there would be no consequences? And that's terrifying, I openly admit it, and that's why we shy away from talking about it or depicting it. I also think that it's important  that they are putting the rapist in the light of a "crazy man," thus furthering the stereotype that only crazy people do this.

    A final thought: I've been watching the Private Practice fb page, because I've been curious to see what people say.  Most people are judging Charlotte.  No one blames her (ahem, violent stranger rape), but most people are judging her character.  Why didn't she say it was rape? Why isn't she stronger? Why would she comfort Coop? Why would she lie to the cops? Why didn't she report it? Why wouldn't she have a Rape Kit done; it's just like a pap smear."

    And that, dear internets, is a fantastic picture of our society and our tendency to question rape victims.

    *Victim: I fluctuate between victim and survivor in my work. I have seen victims who are still daily dealing (or not) with and hurting from and deeply affected by their assault.  I have also seen survivors, the people who have stepped to the other side of their assault.  For me, Charlotte is clearly a victim at this point.

    Thursday, November 4

    Rape on Private Practice

    Tonight, Private Practice will be airing an important episode. It's an episode where the strongest female character (in my opinion) is raped.

    I don't know how I feel about it.

    I'm a sexual assault researcher. I know the rape statistics, I know the narratives. 

    I know that we, as a society, shame rape victims/survivors and place almost 100% of the blame on them (e.g., her skirt was too short, she wasn't wearing panties, she was drunk, she was walking alone etc.), and those survivors/victims do the same to themselves (e.g., why didn't I walk with a friend, why did I drink so much etc.).

    I also know that the most common rape is an acquaintance/date rape, and it's non-violent. {hello shame and blame}. And that's not what's going to depicted, which just reinforces stereotypes*.

    I'm concerned about how all of her friends are going to be depicted. How is her fiancé going to react? Are they going to pity her? Or are they going to be the perfect support system?

    Clearly, I have yet to see the episode, so it could be done beautifully. But currently, I'm afraid for what it will just reinforce. 

    *By the way, I didn't even bring up the shame and blame that happens when a man {especially a straight man} is assaulted.

    Wednesday, November 3

    Midterm Elections Aftermath

    As of 12:40 CDT

    Yesterday was midterm elections. They went as I thought they would. I didn't vote; Chet did.

    We are, though, incredibly blessed to live in a country where we will not end up in civil war or violence because of the elections. Rather we wait patiently, though not quietly, for the next time around. And we remain friends with our friends, even if we have separate beliefs.

    I'm almost afraid to look at facebook today. My hope is that my democrat friends will be classier about the losses last night than people were with Obama's win. So far that's sort of been the case.

    For now, I'm excited to see what these next two years have in store for us.  With every election we get some new people and it propels us to change in one way or another.  Here's to hoping for two years with some solid change*. 

    As I heard someone say: I believe we've had red for too long and we never give "purple" a chance. The more people believe in the power of red vs. blue we are screwed. I don't believe in the red or the Tea Party agenda. Even though the blue is not doing things as fast as I want them to**, I'm not going to sit around and bitch about them and call them socialists (which they AREN'T). I'm not about fear tactics and propaganda to sway people for my votes.

    What was good for LGBT/Progressive voters
    We're soooo Post-Racial (This source is linked because I cannot find one article about this madness)
    GOP is humbled and ready to work!

    *I realize this is my blog and I can be as political etc. as I want.  However, I'm attempting to remain positive mainly because I don't really have a party affiliation.  I would have voted for Rick Perry in Texas.  And, I would have voted against the personhood amendment in Colorado. I would not have voted down the Iowa judges.  I strongly believe that people took what they knew and applied it to the elections and now we need to work with what we've got. 

    **Okay. Now, now. I think my generation has been a bit too hard on "the blue." I think we've forgotten some of the things which have been passed.  And we aren't all aware of how this whole government thing works. 

    Tuesday, November 2

    Being sick and Voting

    My husband is so good. 

    First he voted:
    Which makes me super proud of him. We're both really civilly minded and so it makes me happy when he votes. Well, when anyone votes, no matter how you vote. It makes me happy. As our pastor put it on Sunday, "Some people risk their lives to stand in line and vote; you can stop at a polling place and do it without that risk. Why wouldn't you?"

    Me? I'm not voting.


    I know. I know. First, I'm not a Nebraskan citizen, so I can't vote here. And, I didn't feel right voting in Texas since I'm not there and those decisions are not going to immediately effect me. {yes, yes, I'm well aware that those decision can eventually effect me, don't make me feel worse} Also, I am not in the midst of the politics down there and being removed from it makes me too anxious to vote. So, I chose not to. And, I'm quite ashamed for it. That's how it rolls sometimes though.

    But don't use me as an example. Go vote!

    Next up --> my husband is good because this is what he said to me as we're leaving this morning:
    I will come home and take care of you if you just call.
    Seriously, how amazing is that? I woke up sick, and still feel awful. I rarely get sick, so it's icky when I do. I'm sitting at school currently because I had to come to a research meeting, but once this post goes live, I will be walking to my car and sitting on the couch for the rest of the day, being ill.

    Have a fabulous day, dear internets!