Category: - Labradoris
How is it that I have not updated this site in more than year?  I am not sure what happened.

I am considering reclaiming this space again, because it is important to me to be able to look back and see where I have been.

The BIG updates since we last spoke...

-I got engaged Jan/2011
-I started my career June/2011
-I (we) bought a house Aug/2011
-I (we) got married Oct/2011

I am also not sure if I wrote about the (re)addition of Ringo to our family.  It's a very long story, and I will have to go back and check to see if I already wrote about it, but long story short -- we have a 3rd doggie in the house!  He's a German Shep/Whippet mix and he is 16 or 17 years old.

My job has prevented me from spending much time doing anything else but working and then recuperating from work, but I will try to dedicate myself back a bit to this site.  I have enjoyed skipping around and reading my old entries.

Saturday afternoon, we went for a quick trip to the grocery store to grab a few supplies before the arrival of a friend for a visit.  We split up in the store, with Joel grabbing ingredients and LG and I picking up some toilet paper.  LG and I were walking hand-in-hand, our winter jackets creating more rustle around us than necessary, walking at a comfortable pace for a six-year-old.  LG was happily telling me all about this claw toy he had in his hand, and I was obliging his story by holding the claw and pretending it was his hand.  Just then I heard quick footsteps behind us come to a rapid halt, and there was also a grocery supply cart in front of us that an employee was wheeling through the aisles.  I pulled LG aside to let the cart past us, and the owner of the rapid footsteps behind us sighed loudly and made a dramatic display of stepping around us and continuing on with her hurried pace.  While I was waiting for the cart to pass, I took a quick glance at the person that was in a hurry.  She was in her thirties, glossy brunette, dressed in a black sweater and a short skirt with black leggings and black ankle boots.  She had a silver necklace that was bouncing around wildly as she sprinted past us.  I kept following her trajectory because after we grabbed our item, we returned to the main aisle and waited on Joel, where she was bouncing back and forth grabbing last minute supplies.   I simultaneously felt annoyed, wistful, and happy.

Annoyed because it was 2:00pm on a Saturday afternoon, and couldn’t she see how silly she looked?  Brushing past people without a second thought, too consumed with her own plans and in a hurry?  Wistful because I could totally identify with that.  I used to do that.  I used to make a big display, all dressed up with somewhere to go, ensuring that other people knew how busy and important I was by hurrying past them in my high heels and a suit.  Now I was walking at a slow pace, in the company of a sweet six-year-old, oblivious to the world around him other than his current adventure he was on.  I was dressed down with an unfashionably big coat on, far from chic.  Happy, because I felt that even though I might return to that life sometime in the future (big and important and with places to go), I recognized that I could also feel the same way but be kind in the way I was displaying it.  It does nothing to brush past an elderly person in a hurry other than to probably hurt that person’s feelings.  It does nothing to sigh loudly and presumptuously at the person in front holding a child’s hand, other than to make that parent feel demeaned.  A person can be big and important with places to go and people to see, and be nice and courteous in their actions.  After all, under the guise of acting big and important, you may fail to see the bigger moments and the more important people that are around you.

Just some thoughts as I am feeling myself transition into different roles and ideas. 

I'm in a bit of a ...tempestuous...mood.
The work I'm doing isn't exactly what I thought I'd be doing right now.
It's a conglomeration between my new life and my old life. 
Sort of good, but sort of frustrating.

On my desk, "The relationship between pay and job satisfaction: a meta-analysis of the literature."  Love reading this kind of thing.  Want to DO this sort of research.

Where's an employer when I need one? 


Yesterday it rained in the afternoon, so I decided to bring the dogs outside to enjoy the slightly cooler temperatures with a good game of fetch.  After nearly an hour of retrieving, Trooper decided he was hot and done.  He walked over to a puddle in the yard and laid down and splashed around in it.  He couldn't be convinced to get up and play fetch anymore.  That's when I decided to grab the camera.  So, may I present:  Splish Splash!
I was trying to keep my voice down, because I wanted to keep going through the mechanics of the disagreement.  I wanted to stand there and make it exuberantly dramatic.  But I didn't, because there was someone in the aisle with us.  A young college girl, picking up school supplies for the summer semester.  She kept stealing glances our way, trying to figure out if we were actually having an argument, or if I was just being silly.

The truth is, Joel loves to catch me unaware as I debate over a decision that some might roll their eyes at.  You see, I haven't learned to be imperfect yet, but he's teaching me to roll with the punches.  He's teaching me to just shrug and not take myself so seriously. 

Because in MY world, it has to be perfect.  It has to go according to plan.  And when it doesn't, a tremor of anxiety runs through me and I become irritable and/or visibly upset.  I used to get upset - and he may argue that I still do - when he points these things out to me. 

I could bring up the example of how we each determined how we should be going though Paris' Louvre.  How I fumed and pouted until he gave me the map, and allowed me to lead.  How we walked every square foot of the Louvre that day.  It's one of our more famous examples of how we both like to control situations - but I'm much more set on it than he is.

I can deal with things that are unplanned or unexpected, but if it is *I* who has a plan in mind, and that plan does not go, well, as brings a raincloud right on over my head.

The longer I date Joel, of course, the less and less this becomes an issue.  Sometimes I have my bad days, sure.  But I'm becoming better at it (at least I'd like to think so).  I'm rolling with the punches more. 

So when he caught me yesterday afternoon, having a white girl dilemma about what kind of cash box I should buy for an upcoming garage sale - should I go with the $10 box with no room for bills on the top drawer? or should I go with the $17.99 box with the roomy dividers on top and space below for assorted items like checks - when he caught me doing it, I was embarrassed because he was totally right.  And I knew he was.  I'm only going to use this cash box once.  Just get the cheap one.  But I still felt like I had to prove my point, so I made it a little more dramatic than it really was, just to pretend I hadn't learned my lesson and changed my mind.

You might be surprised to learn I'm not an only child - I'm the eldest of two girls.  Sometimes I don't act like the older sister, and I totally know it. 

In the end, I picked up the $10 cash box.  But I held my ground on the price labels.  Doesn't everyone know that the best way to label garage sale items is with masking tape?  DUH.  ;)

I explained my multiple reasons for my masking tape decision, right there in the aisle.  And then it was his turn to pretend I was being silly (even though I was picking up the cheaper item!  on my own!), and our voices carried through the next few aisles, I'm sure, as we continued to poke and prod at each other's mental sweet spots.  We know each other well.  We walked out hand in hand from the store, cash box and masking tape in hand.
I haven't disappeared anywhere.  I haven't gone anywhere cool.

I am just writing my dissertation, and desperately spreading my survey link around to working professionals.  Data collection needs to happen fast - and my writing has to be even faster.  It's a good thing I know how to type correctly!

Did you know the best way to learn how to type correctly (i.e., not looking at the keys) is to work on a computer typing program and cover your hands with a towel?  Yep!  I'm very thankful that my elementary schools knew to do this.  We'd spend 45 minutes every day on our little computers with towels over our hands.  I quickly became proficient and I've never been so thankful.  It's a hard skill to learn, and I know a lot of people who hunt and peck - or at least look at their hands when they type. 

Did anyone else learn a different way?
I'm happy to report I'm feeling much better!

Joel and I even ventured to the gym this morning, something which I've been unwilling and somewhat unable to participate in the past few weeks.  Last week my ear infection was resolved, only to find out that I still had fluid retained in the ear, which was making irritating popping sounds and made one side of my head feel heavy.  It also made me feel dizzy and somewhat off-balance.

This week, I am back to normal and high-functioning.

Yesterday I started the day by delivering my dissertation prospectus document (bound and beautiful!) to my committee.  On Monday, May 10 at 9am, I will prospect the dissertation and move on to the next phase.  Throughout the rest of the day, I was busy making phone calls, grading my students' last homework assignment for the semester, celebrating our research lab's hard work with a pizza party, and then more work in the afternoon.  Afterward, we came back at 4pm and took the dogs to the lake behind our house for some awesome water retrieving.  Trooper has grown like a tall weed, and those tall, luxuriously long legs propel him off the dock and through the water like a pro.  Cosette has her work cut out for her now!

Then I cooked dinner, and Joel sat out in the front cleaning his wine bottles for his bottling this week.  I'm still waiting on my wine to finish on the oak, and then I'll rack it several more times and we should be good to go. 

In other news, I've started working at a local winery that I love!  I work in the tasting room on the weekends, and last weekend I helped bottle a batch of wine.  So much fun.  One of the best things about this job is the hands-on learning.  I'm pretty familiar with the wine-making process, but I'm far from an expert on the topic.  This allows me to learn - very quickly - what it takes to succeed in the business.  Maybe someday I'll be in a position to direct energy to my own winery.

For now, though...dissertation.
My sinuses are all clogged, my throat is scratchy and my voice is hoarse, my eyes are watery, allergy season is here...and I know what you are thinking.  What a fantastic day for an interview!


That's not what I thought, either.  But, because I booked this interview a week ago, I can't reschedule so I'll tough it out.  But I hope they won't mind me snorting and sniffling through my interview.  I'm sure that will make a positive impression...right?

During the month of January 2010 (um, does everyone else keep typing 2009 automatically, or is just me?), I felt like someone kept grabbing me by the shoulders and saying, "Now turn here!  Look there!  No, over here!" and flinging me around - quite violently I might add - until I was dizzy and disoriented.

Hello, February.  The month of no travel for me.  Don't get me wrong.  I love to travel.  But holy crap, 120 hrs on planes just about filled my travel quota up.  Qatar.  Jordan.  USA.  Singapore.  USA.  Las Vegas, USA.  Back home. 

BLAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.  I didn't know how many more magazines I could read to entertain myself.

Well, where should I start?  I'll do a bullet list.  That seems easier.

1 - weight loss.  Started in Singapore and have been watching my caloric intake since.  Have dropped 20lbs in three weeks.  First exercise started today.  Sick and tired of being overweight just because I'm in graduate school.  My goal is to get down to my college weight by the time I graduate (August).  Wish me luck.

2 - LADY GAGA was the bomb.  Except, we had the unfortunate pain of sitting behind three girls that were not there to watch the show, only to act like it was a dance at a frat party.  They were exactly the kind of people that would have hated me in high school (hey, the feeling would have been mutual), and I'm not sure they could have been more obnoxious or their dresses any shorter. 

3 - Who knew you could still get dehydrated and a minor case of sunstroke when it is winter in Jordan?  Well, now I know. 

4 - Singapore quite easily fits the bill on a place I would not mind living.  Will know more later.

5 - Las Vegas was exciting at first and then became boring quickly.  Also, I lost 2lbs while I was there through sheer force of will at not STUFFING MY F'ING FACE at every buffet.  Saw as many Cirque shows as we could.  I even got to yell during the opeing of Cirque du Soleil's "O" by the invitation of the clown.

6 - The Amazing Johnathan (saw him in Vegas) is pretty f'ing fantastic.  He even threatened to shoot a rubberband in my eye. 

7 - Dissertation prospectus is nearing the finish line.  Meeting with the advisor on Wednesday to discuss what else needs to be done.

8 - Cosette is fine.  Trooper's tail has had an open wound (super tiny) on it for 2 weeks now.  The problem is, he wacks his tail so hard against the walls that it is breaking the skin repeatedly and bleeding.  A LOT.  You should see my walls.  Vet appt. today.

9 - Weight loss comes hand-in-hand with being cold again.  When you are fat, there is a lot of insulation against the cold.  Now I am starting to become cold easier.  Pain in the ass or proud of myself?  You decide.
Right around this time of the year I always want to clean out.  I believe it may be the opposite of spring cleaning. 

I have an urge to throw open all my windows and doors, shake out the rugs, air out the house, clean everything, and sort through things; then, lock everything back up, nestle in, get warm and cozy, and enjoy the winter. 

I love my surroundings to be clean.  The problem is, often I have no inclination to clean up after us most days.  But, the past week was different:  we all pitched in and cleaned the house, LG included.  Room by room, we vacuumed, scrubbed, sorted, cleaned, organized, re-folded, and tucked away.  The house feels so much cleaner, but the nesting instinct that seems to fire for me right now is still yelling loudly at me.  Clean more!  Throw out more!  Donate!  Do it!  It's highly distracting because I want to work hard on various work projects, but the urge to clean is deep-seated and tempting.  So, in order to reward myself for working with little breaks, I allow myself to do a little cleaning in between my projects.

After all this, at least my house is clean.  =)