Thursday, May 25, 2006


You people inspire me. You internets, you who really do share your really personal struggles and trials and thoughts. I want to be more like you.

(And I was going to link to your posts, you people who inspire me to be more open, and then I decided not to, because then I would feel like " hey, I'm NOT totally personal with the whole internet world, but these people, in these posts, ARE! So while I remain safe and protected in my little self-protective cocoon, come check out their tender, personal, vulnerable moments!," and, uh, I didn't want to do that. But in a "thank you for inspiring me" kind of way, I want to say, you know who you are. coughcoughlaurencoughcoughnantiemegcoughcough)

I've been working to overcome fear, and part of that is fear of who I really am, or am not. I know that I am not perfect, but while it is easy to say that, it is a LOT harder to look at the specific things about me that aren't perfect. I want to fix them, and yet I have to see them, really SEE them, in order to do so. And that is sometimes painful.

Today, for example, I got mad at one of my dear friends and co-workers. Really mad. Like I wanted to ... well, we'll just leave that unsaid. ;)

But it really bothered me that I was so annoyed. What is it about me, and about him, and about the way that we communicate, that makes me SO MAD sometimes? 'Cause the thing is (Alysha - be proud) - I know it isn't just his fault. I know it's at least partially me. So I need to get down inside myself and figure out what it is that gets all bugged by him, and then change it, or forgive myself, or him, or whatever, and make it so that he doesn't avoid me out of fear that I'll freak out whenever he expresses his opinion.

ooh, dang self-analysis.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Sometimes answers to prayers...

...come in the shape of a busted laptop.

My future brother-in-law's busted laptop, that is. See, here's the story.

I have this laptop. Well, it isn't mine, it belongs to the university, but as the manager of the lab where I work I have been the primary user of this machine for the past 5.5 years. And since I have been using it for the past 5.5 years, and since I am graduating :) :) :) and being replaced as manager of the lab, the laptop is being retired at the end of the summer and replaced with a new one. (Why we couldn't get a new laptop while I was still working, so I could enjoy it, after suffering with this one, is the topic for another post. Which I may never write, but nonetheless, a topic for another post... ;) )

So when the power cord started shorting out, I knew there was no way that we were going to spend the money to get a new one, not for a 6-year-old machine that is being retired in 2 months. So I limped along with it. (I had to fiddle with the cord until it connected and then prop it there so it wouldn't move, 'cause if it did - no power. And, uh, the battery, being the second or third one we have purchased for this machine over the years, lasts about 15 minutes, and see above where I said we're not putting any more money into this machine.) So this worked for about a week, and then two days ago - no dice. Couldn't get the power cord to give the machine any juice at all. LAME. Especially since I am leaving tomorrow night to take an 18-hour train ride to CA to help my sis and her family move. I was counting on being able to WORK on that train ride, but, no power cord + no battery juice = no work = LAME. And = STRESS. I have TONS to do, and was counting on those 18 hours.

So for the last two days I have been calling every office on campus that I could think of, trying to find out if ANYONE had a laptop like this so that I could borrow the cord, either just for this trip to CA or for the rest of the summer.

No dice.

So then I went on ebay and found a few possibilities, but still - what about this trip this week? None of the options on ebay would have been available WHEN I needed it, which was NOW.

So last night I considered sending out a mass email to everyone I know, saying, "Does anyone have, or know of someone who has, this particular laptop so that I could use the power cord?" I mean, please, people, surely in all this wide wide world of my college town there is SOMEONE with a power cord that I could use.

And sure enough, my sister's fiance. And even WITHOUT sending out that mass email. Behold the gChat of today:

Chris: hey, I got this rad shirt from China
me: from amy?
Chris: It says "United horses: we should get acquainted"
me: whoa.
that's, uh, awesome?
Chris: yeah.
it's in this gothic medieval english font, too, which makes it even more bizarre.
me: a.w.e.s.o.m.e.
Chris: y.e.s.
(Edited to add: Check out my "whoa" pun about the horse shirt that I didn't notice until after I copied that conversation here and posted it. I am soooo funny!)

Oh wait, wrong piece. :) Here it is, with slight edits (yes, I am OCD and have to mention when I edit things):

me: really?!
are you not using your laptop at all?
Chris: yeah. no, it's pretty much dead.
me: is it a latitude c600?
me: is the plug square?
are you in your office?
is it with you?
Chris: yeah, I think it's square.
it's upstairs
me: can I come right now and check it out?
Chris: yeah.
fo' shizzle.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, a happy ending. :) And on a serious note, it really is amazing to me how Heavenly Father sometimes gives us things, little eensy-weensy things, like a power cord from an unexpected source, just to remind us that, no, really, HE is in charge.

I love that.

Friday, May 19, 2006

I think I am in shock.

Please note the date of this post.

Please note the date of my previous post.

Please note that I have just sent chapter five to my chair.

Please note that while I recognize that there is still a whole section of chapter five, all the time and money discussion, that still needs data to back it up, I need some serious guidance from my chair to know what to include there because of some special circumstances, so I felt like I could send it on to him without that section complete.

Please note that I am now writing the fifth of five one-sentence paragraphs and that I am only doing that because while one-sentence paragraphs are fine in blogs, they are not fine in theses.

Nor are sentence fragments.

Please note that this is not my thesis.

I think I'll go have a party.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Can I get a "woot woot" ... please...?

I just sent off chapter four to my chair. That's chapter four out of five. That sounds SOoOOooOOO close to being done. But as I spent more time today than I think it should have taken to check up on a few APA formatting things, I got nervous for all the work it will take to get the whole dang thing into perfect APA format. So far I have been so focused on getting the content written that I didn't spend too much time checking formatting things.

So there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but is it a bonfire fueled with copies of the APA manual? I can only hope...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Thesis update ('cause that's all that's goin' on these days)

So having successfully recovered from the blind date stand-up fiasco (wow, that makes it sound WAY more dramatic than it actually was! Hey look, traumatic events DO happen in my life!...wait, what?!), I was having dinner at my parents' house on Sunday, my mom having arrived home on Saturday from the visit to my new niece!!, and my phone rang.

And oh yes, it was Blind Date Boy. I will spare you the play-by-play, but basically, he lost the piece of paper with my number and address, and so couldn't call me and tell me he didn't know where I was. And he got a new job and is moving an hour FURTHER away from my town this week. So we probably won't ever go out. Whatever. Or, as Lauren put it:

Lauren: "I lost your number. AND I'm moving away."

Yeah, pretty much. To which my response was:

me: if only he'd ever MET me, THEN I could take it personally. :)

Moving on...

The thesis is going REALLY well! Thanks to a pep talk / counseling session from Jeremy last night, I broke through the chapter 4 "wall" that I've been beating on for the last four days or so. Yippee!! I still need to fix a few things, and write an intro to the chapter, but...SOO close to being done with it! And then I just have to write the rest of chapter 5, and do revisions of all the chapters, and defend, and do revisions, and publish, and then I'm DONE! :) And yes, that does seem like a lot of work still, and it IS a lot of work still, but I can't even DESCRIBE how good it feels to be even this close!

I have realized recently that the good feeling is NOT that I am working on my thesis. The good feeling is PROGRESSION. The purpose of my life is NOT to finish this dang thesis, THAT is not why I feel so much better when I work on it. The purpose of life is to PROGRESS. And I have NOT been doing so the last I-refuse-to-admit-how-many months - I was allowing my thesis-writing, or lack thereof, to be exact, to hold me back, to "damn," or "dam," my forward progress. But, as with ch 4 last night, I have broken through that "wall" and can now move forward. And right now, moving forward means getting the thesis done. Here I go!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

In which I get stood up

So I think I am getting stood up by my blind date. Right now. As we speak. Er, as I type. And it's an interesting feeling. Yes, I've been looking forward to this since the guy called me a week and a half ago. (I mean, I teased him about his school and he teased me right back about mine, what's not to look forward to?! :) ) Yes, I planned - and refrained from planning - other things in my day around this. Yes, I dressed cute. Yes, I curled my hair. (I know, we're talking MAJOR sacrifices here, people. ;) )

But ya know - whatever. I was ten minutes late getting home - maybe he gave up on me and thought I stood him up. Maybe he got lost - my house is like the Isla de muerta - impossible to find unless you have been here before. Maybe he decided that anyone who would talk trash on the phone about the rivalry between our universities was not worth taking out. Maybe he decided he couldn't take out someone from my school. :) Whatever. It's ok. So even tho I was nervous and feeling stupid, I decided to act like a normal person would act if a friend didn't show up. I called him 30 minutes after he was supposed to be here, he didn't answer, I left a message.

"Hey, this is Margaret, we had talked about doing something tonight, but I got home ten minutes late and was relieved that I hadn't missed you, but am now afraid that I me if you have a minute."

And yes, I feel a little stupid. But I look good, and I'll go find some fun, and if he calls and has a legit excuse, then we'll see what goes down.

End of Margaret's therapy session. :)

And blog out.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Pained brain, new 'do

So I wanted to post this last night, but sometimes, blogger is retarded. So when you read this, pretend it was posted last night, because that is when I wrote it. OK? Moving on.

So my brain hurts. I am writing chapter four, outlining what I did to evaluate my materials, describing the feedback I got from my evaluators, and detailing the changes that I have made because of the feedback I received. And it's making my brain hurt. I forgot how much harder writing is than editing. I have been editing ch 2 for so long that I forgot that it really takes much more time and effort to create something in the first place than it does to fix what you have already churned out and received feedback on. I'm sure there are really deep implications and meaningful analogies to be drawn from that, but I am too tired to think of them.

But, uh, I have a new 'do. I got my hair cut and colored today. I got about 6 inches cut off, and layers put in, and LOTS of color change. It feels very drastic to me, but I like it, tho I think it will take me a while before I don't double-take whenever I see my reflection. And yes, the double-take is 'cause I look s'dang good :) but also because I forget that it's so short and then I see my reflection and I remember again.

Anyway, here's the hair. These are 2 before pictures, from the Cinco de mayo party, and two after pictures, taken, uh, yesterday. You like?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Good feeling NOT gone, Dorie! (or does Marlin say that? Dang, get your Nemo quotes RIGHT, girl!)

So I am just ending day 3 of the new "no, really, I'm working on my thesis now, thank you very much" push...

Quick "time out" to say that it was just 12:34 am, which so SO COOL, because it's 1-2-3-4 in a row, and that's just cool. And ... "time in."

..and it's still going well! YAY! Neither Tuesday or Wednesday was quite as productive as Monday, but hey! all three days were productive, and I feel GREAT about that!

And I talked to my dad tonight, and in telling him about the progress on the thesis I said that I have not clocked a lot of hours at work this week because I've been spending so much time on my thesis. The conversation went, you guessed it, a little something like this:

Me: I haven't clocked a lot of hours at work this week because I've been spending so much time on my thesis. (sound familiar? yeah, that's cause I just wrote it above. go check it out. But that's really what I said, so it goes here too. Deal.) I need to figure out how to balance that.

Dad: Well, the thesis takes priority.

Me: Well, I have to work so that I can, ya know, EAT.

Dad, quickly: Oh, we can help you with that.

Me: A moment of grateful silence in which I consider if, at age 30, having supported myself financially for the last 5+ years, I would accept money from my parents.

Dad: Yeah, just let us know and we'll come over and help you eat.


Uh, that's great, Dad. Thanks so much.

And then we both totally bust up laughing on the phone, and over the sound of my own laugh, which, for those of you who don't know me in real life, is, shall we say, LOUD, I hear my dad saying, "oh dad, you are sooo funny!" And I just have to agree, cause, hey, I'M laughing.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The satisfaction of a job well-done

I just sent a new draft of my chapter 2 to my chair. And there was much rejoicing. SERIOUSLY!! :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

And to celebrate, I will eat a piece of Death by Chocolate cake (which will only make me stronger!), read a talk from my brand-new-purchased-and-spiral-bound General Conference Ensign, and go to bed. :)

But, GOSH! it sure feels good to feel good about what I got done today. It's been a while...

Saturday, May 06, 2006

I'm an aunt! Well...again. Or still. But anyway - YAY!!!


Heidi was born yesterday at 12:05pm. She weighs 8 lbs something, and is 20 1/2 inches long, and has hair!! and when I talked to her 5-yr-old big brother he said, "She had a poopy AND a wet diaper and Daddy had to change it!" and when I talked to her 7-yr-old big sister she said, "We're in the middle of a movie."

And my sister who is in China emailed the following:

I hear she's just a little smaller than I was when I was born... so, dainty, but powerful; substantial, but not cumbersome; assertive, but not overpowering...
Welcome to the family, little one!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Friday afternoon

So apparently I've had a bit of blogger's block. And I'm a perfectionist. So I have thought of a million funny, philosophical, personal, random, insightful, or otherwise, ya know, significant things to write about, but have not been willing to take the time to write out "The Perfect Post" on any of them, and so have written nothing at all. And I'm bored of that. This blog is about me, and I am not perfect, so everything I write doesn't have to be the exactly perfect. And I am realizing that a desire to do something "exactly right" and "without any mistakes in it" sometimes keeps me from doing anything at all.

Cases in point:
  1. Thesis writing
  2. Dating
  3. Budgeting
  4. Doing family history research
  5. Cutting my hair
  6. Scheduling maintenance for my car
  7. Scrapbooking
  8. Cooking
OK, I think I'm a little frightened of how long that list got in about 5 seconds. I really was just going to put the top two. Moving on...

Last Sunday I had dinner with a missionary friend whom I have not seen in probably six years. We were serving in the same region at the end of my mission, and after I went home she wrote me a letter that I have reflected on again and again. I must have written to her about how hard it is to return home after missionary service and try to balance who you were before the mission to who you are now, returning to "normal" life but not regressing spiritually. She was serving at the time right near the Grand Canyon, and wrote a beautiful analogy about how the things that we do and become in our lives are different layers of who we are, like the layers in the Grand Canyon. Adding a new layer does not destroy what was there before, and does not make that now maybe partially hidden layer any less a part of us. That concept has been a comfort to me I don't know how many times. We are in the process of becoming something magnificent, but we should not ignore the "magnificent" that we are right now.

And there I go again, deleting several attempts to develop that idea further.

It's just that if I wait to live life, to be me, to do great things, to do ANYTHING!, until I have figured out exactly how to do it, then I won't ever do anything. A letter I got from another dear friend at the beginning of my mission said, in response to me saying that I didn't know how to be a missionary, "I've got news for you - you ARE a missionary. So however you do things, THAT'S how a missionary does it!" So every once in a while I take a deep breath and get ready to... and then remind myself that I am not preparing to jump into life, I am in it. ("I am the Brute Squad.")