Sunday, February 24, 2013

Week 23 Thunder Snow 2013

I think most of you are quite aware of the snow storm that hit a good chunk of the Midwest this week: Thunder Snow 2013. Our area was graced with about 9-11 inches (more or less depending on where you were). Most of you have probably heard my rant or particular story, either through Facebook or just my talking to ya, so I won't go into that in detail...except through pictures! I had my camera with me on Thursday during my 2 1/2 hour, inch-by-inch drive home so I was able to get quite a lot of photos. And of course I have been taking photos ever since. I will try to share some of the best ones here. I guess this post will be more of a photo journal sort of thing:


From the top of the parking deck

Do I look cold here?

Time for the 2 1/2 hour, 3 mile drive home.

Lots of cars were abandoned...and rightly so.

Made it- but not gonna make it into our parking lot (especially as, in this picture, you can't even see that I'm taking a picture of the parking lot; the lot has since been cleared, but Granada hasn't- it is a lot of slush now)

Dominic, after a 3 1/2 hour walk home.

REAL icicles in his beard!

The rest of these were taken either Friday or Saturday

Shadows and the moon

I know these two are pretty similar, but I couldn't decide which one to I posted both...

Saturday night we had a Lazer Tag night! We had a really great turn out and it was an absolute blast. We had enough people for a team of 5 and a team of 6. These pictures aren't great because of course I didn't think to take any until after we had run around the arcade for probably 2 hours or so and played our round of Lazer Tag, so these are all just after the adventure ended. I am totally looking forward to doing this again and was so glad so many people made it out! It was so much fun. Of course the one group picture I got is mostly everyone's back...

Just imagine it looks something more like this:

I am hoping I will have some exciting news to share this time next week- or some news one way or another, so fingers crossed that I hear something soon! We are also supposed to get some more snow Monday night into Tuesday...5-10 inches? It all seems pretty uncertain, so we will see how it goes...

Enjoy your last week of February 2013 everyone!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Week 22 Undone

I will admit...I was very tempted to skip blogging this week (and nearly did, but I still have one hour til Monday here in Missouri). I haven't missed a week (despite an inconsistency in the particular day of the week I post) since I started, 22 weeks ago. And ever since Friday I've been thinking about posting...I just haven't been able to drum up the gumption needed to actually do it.

That general mentality pretty much sums up the past few weeks for me. I am feeling extremely unmotivated. I have no problem thinking about what I need to get done, which I do almost constantly; I just can't bring myself to do any of it. What is this? Winter woes? A general sense of being overwhelmed? Thinking too much about what's next rather than what's now? I can't be sure. I just know that I can only get about 20 minutes worth of motivation out of myself before I just want to take a nap or veg on the couch or eat something.

I've been tired almost 24/7, which is nothing particularly new, it is just more profound than usual. Even if I get enough sleep I can't manage to keep a normal energy level throughout the day.

Yeah, yeah, yeah "You should work out!" some of you will say. I know all about that technique. And sure, I could probably use a regular workout schedule, but it is hard to get motivated to work out when you feel exhausted all the time. Plus, I am not an exceptionally inactive person- sure I don't run or lift weights- but I do a lot of walking on a daily basis, so I am not entirely convinced that inactivity is the crux of my problem.

I just feel generally...undone. Like every little thing I need to do (specifically and generally) is lingering over my head, incomplete. Certainly if I would just work on all these things they would get closer to why can't I work on them?

I think perhaps it is, at least in part, because of my dreaming. I have not been having the most relaxing, fluffy cloud kind of dreams lately. I've been having much more unpleasant dream sensations, including all out nightmares (having dozens of Jack the Rippers chopping at you with axes in a parking deck is quite terrifying). The most disturbing ones, however, typically center around someone important in my life (typically from my past) telling me something extremely important that I have to remember when I wake up and I just can't. For the life of me I can't remember what they are trying to tell me.

Maybe it is something I am trying desperately to tell myself, and I really just don't want to know. I am a generally happy person. I have had my dark moments in the past, as have we all, but I like to think I have learned from them at least one little thing: If you wait to be happy, you will spend your whole life waiting. Just be happy now. (I think there is a John Lennon quote that sums this up quite eloquently). Things are going to go to hell in a hand-basket.  Oh it is going to happen- not a single one of us is immune to the sad and bad things that inevitably happen in life. But being sad or upset or depressed when those bad things aren't happening- when things are actually going pretty darn well- is just a waste of time and energy. Enjoy every little moment of life that is calm and quiet and gentle and not heart-wrenching.

Anyway, maybe whatever my inner-self wants to tell me is something my outer-self doesn't want to hear because I am way too busy being genuinely happy with my life. There is so much to be happy about! My friends, family, and boo, my "job" as a graduate student,  my professors and all that I'm learning, having colleagues and getting to know other new friends in Columbia, and just having fun doing the little things I enjoy everyday, like spending time with my critters or watching a favorite TV show or drinking coffee. Oh sure, there are things to be unhappy about, but those things don't need to be listed- they aren't worth the time or energy. The good greatly outweighs the bad.

But I suppose I am still young enough (I know I'm plenty young...) to be missing something key and massively important, and whatever it is that I'm missing I'm just too stubborn to get. In the meantime, I am going to give myself a big fat boot in the butt, remind myself that laziness is a wicked, wicked thing, and remember that all I want to do in life is "a good job." When I get to the pearly gates or wherever it is I'm going (dinner with Ganesha maybe? I always thought he was a pretty groovy god type fellow), I just want the first person I see to pat me on the back and say "You did a good job." The specifics don't matter, and I don't really want to be "great" like all those folks in the history books. Good is good enough for me.

Well, this blog was probably tangential enough to whatever you were thinking to find here that I'll wrap it up now with a few photos ;)

This is the longest my hair has been in about 8-9 years, so I took a selfie to share. Plus that was a really good hair day!

On Wednesday Quynh and I Skyped and made cupcakes "together." She made something like 40 mini-cupcakes! I made strawberry ones with almond kisses on top.

Sunrise Rainbow on Valentine's Day

And there is the Sunrise itself

Have a wonderful week everyone! Don't worry, be happy!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Week 21 An Unexpected Journey

This weekend-or, rather, this past week- has been an interesting one, in a mild way. Things have not really gone as expected, in both "good" and "bad" ways, one could say. But that is the product of life and living and taking chances, however small. Unexpected things happen. I won't get into all the details, of course, but may as well give a brief summary of things this week that stand out in my mind...

Last Saturday Dominic and I went to see a movie for the first time since we moved (thanks to a gift card from Dominic's mom). The last movie we saw was Prometheus, during the summer. This time we saw The Hobbit. I really enjoyed it and those are just the kind of movies to go see in the theater: great visuals. It really made we want to reread the book- there was a ton that I had forgotten. I think my favorite part [minor spoiler] was when the dwarf king woke up and the first thing he asked was if Bilbo was okay. So cute! The casting was great- and who doesn't love Gandalf?

On Monday I lost my Eye of Horus pendant- I reached down to touch it like I tend to do throughout the day and it was gone. The chain was fine, the pendant just gone. I have had it for years and wear it constantly so I was very bummed to lose it. This is actually the second one that has been lost- my first one, which I also wore almost daily, I gave to Dominic to put on his dogtags while he was in the Navy. He left it in a drawer at a hotel we were staying at and it was stolen along with his tags. It is as if I can hold on to these for a certain amount of years and then they just move on to someone/somewhere else.

It was also early in the week when Dominic and I went to bed but couldn't sleep...every 30 seconds we could hear a beep. It sounds just like a smoke detector low on batteries. It is not coming from our apartment or from the hallway...we are pretty certain it is coming from our neighbor (it is loudest when you put your ear to the wall). And I say IS because it is STILL BEEPING. We sleep in the guest room now. That neighbor is seldom home but I've seen her around so I am not sure if she is just ignoring it or...? It isn't the easiest thing to ignore.

Dominic and I also spent some time with some new friends. I went to an unexpected Happy Hour with some people in the department and enjoyed listening and just getting out. I watched another excellent Indian movie- Sholay- a "curry" western. If you like westerns you would definitely like it, but it also had unique cultural aspects to it that made it different. I Skyped with Mom and Darrell for the first time. And just when I thought my streak of good mail was over, I got an unexpected letter and article from Dad. We had a guest lecturer, Dr. Wayne Brekhus, in my Ethnographic Methods course which I really enjoyed. He is a professor from the Sociology department who does ethnographic work. He wrote Peacocks, Chameleons, Centaurs. I always enjoy hearing people's ethnographic/field experiences. I painted my toenails RED for the first time, ever, and was surprised how much I liked it. The book club is actually REALLY helping me keep reading fiction, even more than I anticipated. It provides a friendly deadline.

Some other things are going on that will carry over into next week, but I will share that next time...

Last night I watched an EXCELLENT documentary. Perhaps one my of favorite documentaries to date. I definitely recommend it. It is called Craigslist Joe and you can watched it on Netflix.

My productivity level has been really low, despite staying busy in meetings and classes, but I KNOW I am going to get stuff done this week...

Oh also, my phone has been somewhat fickle lately, and I've noticed that it sometimes neglects to ring and just goes straight to voicemail. So if you call me and want a call back don't forget to leave a message! USUALLY it notifies me of a voicemail but not always, so if you call me and don't hear back from me in a decent amount of time, let me know. I've noticed this has happened a couple of times and I don't want people to think I'm ignoring them.

I haven't really taken any photos this week- or done anything that warrants taking photos- so I took this one during Ripley's bath tonight, just for you.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Week 20 Mocha the Fish

This week our elderly fishy finally went on to the fishy afterlife. That fishy had been through quite a lot and he lived quite the fishy life! Quynh and I "won" Mocha and his buddy Mochi at Mason Day in the Spring of our junior year of college (in actuality, it was toward the end of the day and they had a lot of fish left over, so they pretty much just gave them to us...). He, along with his "brother" then went home with me for the weekend and hung out at my mom's for a while. Then they lived with my dad while I finished up college-did they ever live with us at Mason? I honestly don't remember! Where is my mind. In 2010 they moved in with Dominic, Ripley, and I to the Masonic Lane house, where we lived for two years. Mochi got sick and died, along with an algae eater I got later, but Mocha hung in there. He survived cold winters and hot summers, a new dog and then a new cat. He survived the move all the way to Missouri. After almost four years he has gone up to another fishy journey! He was quite the goldfish.

Here is a photo of Mocha and Mochi the day we got them. Mocha is on the right, Mochi on the left:

Ah memories!

Well, I don't have a lot of other updates. It has been a surprisingly exhausting week considering it is only week two of the semester and I've been spending this afternoon recovering; I even ended up taking a two hour nap when I got home today which I almost NEVER do. I've been in class and then other meetings, working on another language school application for the summer, and just generally trying to keep up. Lots and lots to do. Now that I have a reasonable idea of how the semester is going to go I think I will be able to manage my time better, but I definitely won't have a ton of free time. I just need to increase my motivation and follow the golden rule: everything ALWAYS takes you longer than you think it will take you! If I can remember that maybe I can avoid late nights simply because something took me longer than I expected...

Also, it always helps me to get motivated when I do two things: 1) Remember the people who have supported me and helped me get where I am- those are the people I do not want to disappoint. 2) Look up motivation quotes. Like this one: "People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents." ~ Andrew Carnegie

And "Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal." ~ Pamela Vaull Starr

That's all I have for this week, readers. And you know, if there is anything in particular any of you would like me to write about, feel free to let me know! Some weeks I flounder a bit (like this fishy pun intended), so I definitely wouldn't mind some feed back if you have any ;)

Have a great and motivated weekend everyone!