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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.

Wednesday, August 25

Familes and Marriage and Weddings, oh my.

Half the time when a mom is screaming, “But I don’t understand! The pink flowers are so much PRETTIER and also why are you doing the flowers yourself what a disaster and d*mn it I said we should go with this florist and I’d pay and I think this centerpiece idea is the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen and I said I liked the PINK flowers,” what she’s really saying is, “You’ve always been my daughter and our family has always been your first family, and now you’re getting married and you’re going to have your own family, and I’m excited for you and I love your fiance but I’m scared and this is hard. At least the flowers are a concrete thing to fight about.”
via Meg at A Practical Wedding*

I love that she wrote that out, because it's worded perfectly and it makes so much sense. And it's true, I think. At least it rings completely true for me.

Weddings are hard. And marriage is hard. But I think the hardest part is when a couple is creating their own family. I mean, you take two people who have their own set of ideals and beliefs and who were raised in different ways (no two families are ever going to raise kids the same, ever) and then merge them.

No wonder that's tough.

It's like in that movie, "The Story of Us" when Michelle Pfeiffer and Bruce Willis are talking with the therapist, and she describes how there are actually 6 people in your marriage bed: you and your spouse, your parents, and your spouses parents. I never realized how true that is until I got married.

And it's not to say it's bad. I wouldn't have wanted to marry someone who is exactly like me, with my experiences, and my family, and my understandings... that would just be boring (and possibly illegal). But it does complicate things. Which makes us human, and makes us *work*.

I'm just rambling really, but it's the best way I know to work out my thoughts.

*Yes, I still read this blog. It's the only wedding(ish) blog which survived my deleting of all things wedding related. Mainly because she's balanced and like talking to the best friend ever.

Tuesday, August 24


So, husband and I watched Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

It's weird.

I thought it would be super cute. You know, like the book? Which I loved, by the way. But this movie is just ridiculous.

I mean, I know that the book is a bit of a suspension of reality, but the movie? It's woah ridiculous, and a bit scary as well (dancing turkeys? hot oil? killer peanut brittle? gummi worms destroying the world?).

That's really all I have to say, it just kind of freaked me out.

And I don't think I will ever watch it again.

Give me Finding Nemo or Anastasia any day.

Monday, August 23

This weekend

Husband and I lounged around. I was supposed to go through some boxes, clean a bit, and prepare for my folks coming in over Labor Day.

But, I didn't. I sat on the couch and read pieces of my multiple books. Drank some delicious wine. At some tasty homemade pizza rollers.

It's been super quiet which is to prepare me for the coming year.

Friday, August 20

Baker's Dozen Hours

I have an assistanship!!!!!!!

In a graduate student world, an assistanship is like the Holy Grail.

An assistantship pays for all of my tuition (except the fees, like library, computer usage, etc), covers 95% of my health insurcance, and finally, the pièce de résistance is that I also get paid xx a month. And all I have to do is work a few hours a week.

Now, these assistantships come in two forms, full time and half time. This doesn't make any sense to me because assistantships are 20 hours or 13 hours a week. I can get behind the 20 hours being full time, especially when you consider classes and clients and such.

But 13? Half time? Wha?

Half of 20 is 10, right? Not... 13. Right? I'm not losing it?

So, I am rechristening my assistanstship (which is half time) to "Baker's Dozen Hours."

We'll just call it Baker's Dozen for short.

Thursday, August 19

School's Starting


I'm excited, yes. But I'm also tired. I don't feel like there was really a break for me at all.

Which is accurate. I worked 40 hour weeks, took classes, and hosted many, many visitors.

So now it's the end of the summer and it's time to get rockin' again. We bought my school supplies on Wednesday (I find I'm much less needy in that department now... wonder why?). New legal pads, sharpie pens* and a fantastic orange pen. I wanted a 3 hole punch, but dang those are expensive.

It also means that it's time for meetings and trainings. Lots of 'em. I'm meeting with my boss tomorrow to talk about my assistantship (more on that later).

So... that's what I'm doing. It's not interesting, but it *is* my life.


Tuesday, August 17

Ick. Cleaning

That sums in up nicely.

I mean, I don't really know anyone who enjoys housekeeping, but I think that husband and I take it to a whole new level (without it being icky-you know, bugs crawling around and such, you know like this).

Husband and I are piss-poor housekeepers. There, I said it.

It's not necessarily that we can't. We can. And we do when we have people coming to visit. And it's not even that we're necessarily dirty -- we just have lots of stuff.

Ahem. *I* have lots of stuff. Husband just goes along with it all.

Case in point, laundry. We send our laundry out to be washed, dried, and folded. This is mainly because we both loathe doing laundry, and we don't have easy and clean access to a washer and dryer*. So, we pay someone else to do it for us. And we usually do this ever other Friday (i.e. every pay week), which was this past Friday. Today is Tuesday. Our clothes are still neatly folded... the bags they came in and living in the dining room.

Such is our life.

How do you guys find the motivation to clean your houses/rooms/apartments?

*Ours are in storage and the ones on-site are... well nasty.

Monday, August 16

Love is and isn't

"Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being "in love" which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two."
-St. Augustine

I think that St. Augustine, as usual, is completely on the ball.

That doesn't make me wish that those fantastic, euphoric feelings of being "in love" weren't still applicable. Or that having those feelings means that my marriage is doomed*.

See a common thread which I am finding amongst my readings into healthy, long lasting, successful relationships is that relationships are serious. And I mean serious. I mean be on the same page about paying bills, schedule your date night, and talk about kids seriousness. Those all have their place, trust me. We really do need to be on the same page about paying bills, or it's just going to get bad.

But what about those giddy feelings? That, "is he going to kiss me?!" feeling. Or the, "Aww, he brought me home my favorite candy..." feeling. Those are fantastic, and I don't hear about it enough. Or how to cultivate it. Or how to keep it happening.

See, it's all about balance. There does need to be seriousness (again, I say bills). But there has got to be that fun, carefree attitude as well.

So, I'm wondering, how do you guys keep those giddy, awesome feelings going in your relationships (dating or not!)?

*please insert a big, loud, male voice saying "doomed"

Saturday, August 14

I heart Nebraska

...and feel quite protective of it, which was really intense the first time I felt that.

I have now lived in Nebraska for a year (today!). And I find myself being oddly protective of it, in a way I never really have been for Texas*.

Most people are quick to rag on Nebraska. It's flat. It's boring. It's cold. It's boring. There's only corn. It's boring.

However, after a year here, I have decided that Nebraska is not a bad place. There's tons to do here, and some really wonderful people. Plus, our hippie side has grown a lot. We live downtown now so we bike/walk to most places. We also shop at local stores, with the exception of the occasional Target trip. As y'all may know, husband works for a local bookstore/coffee shop too, so that definitely keeps us grounded and local. I'm also creating a kitchen/relaxation garden behind our apartment, which has been fantastic to plan out.

I would also argue that being away from Texas has been really good for our relationship. We have a chance to grow our baby family away from our parents and other influences, which is great. Our parents are wonderful, thoughtful, considerate, and kind... but we needed to *grow* and have been able to.

So, all of these things make me very protective of my second home state. When people start ragging on Nebraska (even those who live here) I get quite annoyed, and promptly challenge them.

So, on my anniversary of living here for a year (husband's anniversary is next month), I give you a list of some of the things I love about Nebraska:

The scenery is amazing here**.

And corn! One is never wanting for corn**.

We have multiple farmer's markets, which are all fantastic with amazing stuff. Produce, goods, plants... it's all wonderful

We have some amazing local goodies. Like bookstores, creative outlets, ice cream shops, and eateries.

We have fantastic community events almost every weekend during the summer (um... Special Olympics were hosted here!)... for example, the chalk walk that happened last weekend.

There is an incredible local music scene, like Ember Schrag and The Clawfoot House and Duffy's.

Nebraska also boasts some excellent architecture.

And, of course, we have the Telephone Museum.

I really do love it here. Do I want to stay here forever? Not particularly. I miss Texas something awful, miss my family and friends. But, Nebraska is a fantastic place to be for now.

*I suspect that my protective feelings to don't venture to Texas because Texas does *not* need protecting.
**These photos belong to my friend Dr(!). Sharon Z, but I love them so I borrowed them. All other photos are mine.

Friday, August 13

Prove it.

inspiration and challenge all in one.

how do you prove it?

Thursday, August 12

Dry Winters and Hot Wind

I live in Nebraska.

And one of the first things which a Texas girl asks when moving to a new location is about the weather. What are the winters like? What are the summers like? Seasons? What are those?

I was told to expect mild winters and pretty warm summers. But, don't you worry, the winters are dry, so they won't be as bad. And there's always wind, sometimes it's hot, but it will still cool you down.

When I moved here about a year ago, it was a cool 85 degrees with a lovely breeze... the kind where you want to sit on your porch and enjoy lemonade type breeze. Now, I thought that this was what summers would be like. So lovely. So temperate. So beautiful. If this is what the summers are like, winter can't be too bad....

Then winter came. With the first snowfall in October. October!

And I don't care what you say, "dry" winter means absolutely nothing once it gets below 20. Or even 32. It's still frickin' cold! There were mornings where it was -14 and stayed that way throughout the day. Towards March, when it would get to about 10, I was sweating.

You read that right, sweating.

But, then, winter left (Thank you sweet baby Jesus!) and we got Spring!

So.. this is what seasons are.... It was so beautiful and was re-instating my trust in the Nebraska weather. Lovely 70 degree days, cool nights, windows open for about two months. Ahhhhh

But now. Now we are in summer. And where I remember a refreshing breeze, all I now feel are hot winds. What is a hot wind? Well, my friends, a hot wind* is one in which the wind is blowing at about 40mph (hello Nebraska!) and it feels about a hundred degrees. Rather than cooling you down, it just feels awful and sticky.

Did I also mention that it gets into the 90's here? Oh, I know what you're thinking, "You're from Texas. Really, whining about the 90's?"

Au contrair, mon ami.

Yes, it's in the 90's, but this past Saturday, the heat index was 116. And we don't have central AC.

I am counting the days until fall...

*as defined by moi

Wednesday, August 11

Color Choices

Husband and I are picking paint colors for our bedroom and our kitchen. We have spent many cumulative hours standing in front of the Behr Premium Plus stand at Home Depot looking at colors and we probably have every single one of those free things and two little paint colors and test samples on the kitchen walls. Colors like, mocha java and morning burst.

And all I get from husband is, "I like the yellow one." Which is why this comic is so perfect.

Tuesday, August 10

Why is it all about the Wives?

So, husband and I spent a lot of time at our library on Sunday (can we say, free AC?). And, I wanted to check out the book, The Commitment by Dan Savage because of this which I won't be a part of physically, but I can definitely read the book and create my own thoughts.

Now, his book is non-fiction marriage so it's labeled 306, which is conveniently by all the other marriage/couple self help books.


Alright, alright. That's a bit of a hyperbole. There was one for men.

This doesn't necessarily surprise me, I mean, really that's just what it is. But it sure does annoy me. And make me feel all snarky. Because this just implies that men don't care about their relationships/marriages.

And I don't like that. At all. Because I simply don't believe that men don't care. I do believe that men show their concern in different ways. That they are much more quiet about their issues. But I just don't believe they don't care.

I also simply don't believe that, as all the books imply, that "it's the wives fault." Or that they (we) are the only ones which can fix "it." For example, one book I picked up (and checked out) said, "We've [sic: wives] have put our marriages on cruise control, without any real plan as to how to take charge of our relationships again, short of waiting for the kids to grow up."

First, it takes two, count 'em two, people to put a marriage on cruise control. Second, why do *I* need to fix it. Why don't *we* need to fix it?

And finally, why the hell do we not talk about our marriages? I'm completely guilty about it as well, and want to know why.

Monday, August 9

Sunday, August 8

oh Anne Rice...

picture found on tumblr turned into a polaroid

Okay, okay. You have probably heard about Anne Rice and her quitting of "Christianity not Christ."

Now, this has been written about a billion plus times, and I don't particularly have anything new to say. I'm still a bit on the fence about it all... but wanted to share this person's opinion, because I think it's absolutely perfectly written.

Spunk and Spirituality: As We Are or Are Not What We Ought to Be

This was what I personally thought was the best:
I wonder at times what God thinks of our assemblies, offerings, and songs--if He is ready to spit us out of His mouth for being neither cold nor hot but merely lukewarm. Somehow, the petty bickering and divisions that so plague the Western Church seem to have little to do with worship or righteousness. They certainly pale in authenticity when compared to the rest of the world where believers in Christ bear testimony to their Savior despite threats and persecutions, peril, slavery, and the sword.
Here we go. This is crux of things. And, I (though deeply ashamed to admit it) am entirely too guilty of being "lukewarm" in hundreds of ways.

Q: Accepting of people?
A: Well, maybe. I mean yeah, but only if you're right.

Q: Be kind to people?
A: Well, that's so much easier if you're just handing me change... if I have to work with you, erm.

I'm entirely to quick to judge other parts of Christianity, but be completely accepting of other religions. How is it fair to be so critical of my spiritual counterparts when I claim to (very strongly) believe that there are multiple paths?

And on and on it goes. Ultimately, I think that Rice has a brilliant idea* but I do think that it probably should have been a much more personal (thus quieter decision). And there goes the judging again.

And, if you want Rice's thoughts on this click here

*I could never do it. I find too much peace and comfort in my practices.

Saturday, August 7


wake up.

mmm maybe not.

try again.


9:00 am.

bathroom. brush teeth. check hair (shower? yes? no? no.)

lie back down.

read book. i mean whole book. yay!

shake husband. then sweetly kiss.

get up, get dressed. 10:00 am.

lie back down. poke husband. kiss cheek.

fine. i'm up. trudge to living room. wait for husband. 11:00 am.

farmer's market. husband's work. coffee. check facebook. read more.

6:00 pm.

husband off work. yay!

home. dinner? hmmmm.

tv. dinner. drinks. friends. laugh. dance. sing. joy.

1:00 am. bed.

Friday, August 6


This was a lot of fun! And, I think you guys should fill out "U" for me!

A is for Age: I'll still be young in December

B is for Body: short and fantastic (remember my challenge for the week?)

C is for Career: perpetual student. loving it

D is for Dad's name: Jerry

E is for Essential items to bring to a party: Chips and Salsa

F is for Favorite song or music: Cop out answer is... totally depends on the day. I wake up with a new song in my head every. morning.

G is for Goof off thing to do: talking with my husband anywhere in the house... or reading.

H is for Hometown: Austin, Texas

I is for Instrument you play: I'm relearning the piano

J is for Jam or Jelly you like: Raspberry Chipotle or Grape!

K is for Kids: Nada

L is for Living arrangement: a fantastic 40's style apartment

M is for Mom's name: Carol

N is for Name of best friend: What a tricky question. Ashton and Lindsey. Plus new best friendships forming

O is for Overnight Stay in a Hospital: tonsils out in '93.

P is for Phobias: well, there's always the failsafe bugs. But seriously? I hate, HATE showers which haven't been used before me.

Q is for Quote you like: Oh man. Let's go with: And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. - Max Ehrmann from Desiderata

R is for Relationship that lasted longest: mine and my parents!

S is for Siblings: a half brother and two brothers-in-law

T is for Texas, ever been? Ummm yes! Miss it all the frickin' time.

U is for Unique trait: you guys should fill this in for me.

V is for vegetable you love: broccoli

W is for Worst traits: umph. being aloof when I first meet people. It gives a terrible impression

X- is for X-rays you've had: wrist when I broke it many, many moons ago.

Y is for Yummy food you make: mmm lots of great sweets

Z is for Zodiac sign: Sagittarius

Thursday, August 5

Bicycle! Bicycle! Bicycle!

Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride. ~John F. Kennedy

I didn't learn how to ride a bike as a kid.

I know, I know. sacrilege. But, don't blame my parents. Nope. My whole family looooves bike riding. They did things like the MS-150 and the Alamo Challenge. My grandmother even had an article written about her.

But I had no desire to ride. If you know anything about me, you know that I can be a bit ornery. That's kindly put. And I, I was *not* going to do anything that my family loved (stupid, stupid, stupid).

Now, I want to ride. I got the bug a couple of years ago, when Husband, Best (boy) Friend and I all moved in together. I really wanted to learn. So, they taught me. And, I loved it. But we never really had the chance to ride. We just couldn't do it in Huntsville -- too many early mornings and too many late, late nights. Then, husband and I moved to Lincoln, then we moved downtown. And it's perfect. I just have the bug, and I want to ride and ride and ride. We live about a mile from campus... perfect! Library? .5 miles. Grocery? 10 blocks.

We started riding. And it was fantastic. Then, his pedal fell off. Oomph. A month later we finally repaired it, only to have my bike become this ridiculous pile of stuff.

Why? Because I'm short. Okay, that's not the whole reason. But, I am short. And that means that I need a little bike. Which meant the kids section at Wal Mart! Which meant a crappy bike. Which meant that it's a pain to ride and sucks.

Which means I need a new(er) bike. And, I've been looking.

Straight up, I love these bikes:

(click on photos for link)

They're gorgeous. But not cost effective. Instead, I'm saving up to buy a refurbished, older bike.

See, I just need something simple, single speed but with hand brakes, not the ones you pedal backwards on. And the older bikes are perfect for that. So, by mid-August, I will have the perfect (for me) bike.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 4


Husband and I watch a lot of TV. A lot.

Monday: How I Met Your Mother, House, The Closer
Tuesday: Hell's Kitchen, The Good Wife
Wednesday: Morgan Freeman's Show
Thursday: Bones, CSI, Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Royal Pains
Friday: Ghost Whisperer, Numbers
Saturday: Catch Up
Sunday: Catch Up

Granted, some of these are summer and some are fall/winter. But still. That's a lot of TV.

Most of this is because we're bored. Last Lent, I gave up TV. Well, I allowed myself an hour a week of TV and one movie.

And it was fantastic.

Husband still watched his ridiculous amount of TV, but it was wonderful to come home and talk.
And eat together.
Read together.
Listen to records (oh yes, real records).

But, I also really enjoy TV. I just hate it being on for background noise.

What do you guys watch?

Tuesday, August 3

You Are Beautiful

No really. You are. You really, really are.

I mean it.

And my challenge, this week, is to stand in the mirror every morning and tell myself that I was made in God's perfect image and likeness and that He made me beautiful.

Do you have any challenges for yourself?

Monday, August 2

Extended Family

Marriage has many side effects. Weight gain. Sheet stealers. Better food then I would ever feed myself. Wedding gifts...

But one of the most fantastic side effects was gaining my new extended family, or my family-in-law. And this week, they are visiting us. We haven't seen any of them since the wedding about 7 months ago, so the fact that they all* made the trek up here is wonderful.

And while I can already tell you the little things which are driving me crazy (namely adding four people to my house, four loud people, when I really, really enjoy my quiet [maybe *this* is why famous people whose family units are comprised of 3 buy super large homes!]), having his brothers call me "sis" and joking with me make up for it.

*clarify: only his nuclear family, mom, dad, and two brothers.

Sunday, August 1

In the Garden of Eden

I don't know how many of you who read this are religious/spiritual/searching/questioning/atheist/agnostic/whatever. I am spiritual, though. Not sure about all that other stuff, but that's for later.

Have you ever heard something that just sticks with you? I mean really sticks in your heart and you can't seem to shake it? Last Sunday, I had that experience. It's been a really long time since something spiritual has been stuck with me, so I've been thinking about it all week.

The sermon was about losing our innocence, in a non-sexualized way. It was about that moment that we realize that things just aren't what they seem. And that this moment can be when we're little kids or when we're adults in our 20's, 30's, 40's etc.

We made our way to the Garden of Eden as most Biblical discussions of innocence do. But here's where things were switched up on me. The pastor first stated that this story is not literal (I know, I know. woah. But you need to hear that before you hear the rest). He then posed the idea that God removed us from the Garden of Eden to bring us closer to Him.

Okay, okay. I need to repeat that.

What if God removed us from the Garden of Eden to bring us closer to Him.

Here's the rationale. When we were in the garden we didn't really have freewill. We loved God because that was all we knew. Outside of the garden though. Wow. Look at all of the options we have. So placing us here allows us to choose God or not.

That is just an intense thought process for me. What do you think?