Monday, December 14, 2009

I <3 my sister Amy

We just had the following gChat conversation, after I sent a relatively incoherent and babbling email to the family in response to a suggestion about future Christmases, admitting in the email that the incoherence was due to the fact that I was saving all coherent thought for the paper that's due in 7 hrs:

2:46 PM Amy: You know, that email actually made a lot of sense. Does this mean I should be worried about the coherency of that paper-?
2:47 PM
me: i don't think you should be worried about the coherence of the paper, but if you wanted to just WRITE it, that would be terrif.
2:49 PM Amy: Oh, shore!
(That was not "sure," that was, "running for the shore, ain't writin' no more papers this month")

Bwah hahahaha! And her funny...ness is not the only reason I love her, but it shore helps! Um, as in...uh...she lives near the shore...and I'd shore, eh, sure jump in and drown if she wasn't my sis...

Yeah, about that paper.

P.S. And she responded as follows to the family email: "I think we should agree to not decide until AFTER Christmas day, when everything's a little more sensible. Just so Margaret's head doesn't explode before she regurgitates its contents into her papers."

Regurgitating its contents...yes, that would be why this paper is making me feel like I want to BARF.


Friday, December 11, 2009


If you're going to crawl around like a crazy woman on playground equipment at an amusement park with your friends' kids, I supposed you'd better be prepared to have it documented.

(Yes, I'm supposed to be writing a paper right now; yes, it's due Monday. What do you want from me?!)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


So it's finals time again, which means that I'm escaping reality (2 papers and 2 finals next week) by blogging - YAY for procrastination?

Except that that's pretty much all I have to say. It snowed here the other day, really snowed, so now we think winter is here to stay. I heard it's gonna be 11 degrees at some point this week. Have I put long johns on my Christmas wish list yet? and boots? I already have an electric blanket, which I turn on high as I'm getting ready for bed so my bed is toasty warm when I get in. Unfortunately, I sometimes (often) forget to turn in down before I fall asleep, so I have crazy dreams and wake up ROASTING in my bed at 2am and THEN turn it down. Good times, good times.

My grandmother passed away a week ago last Sunday, and the funeral was in the west last Thursday, and I couldn't go. I keep hearing about family members who did get to go, and it makes me sad that I missed the chance to see them and to celebrate my grandma's life with them. She was a wonderful lady, and I miss her, but I am glad that she has been released from mortality and can move on. I love her.

I substitute-taught early morning seminary on Friday and Monday, and it was a good reminder of how I want to be in the scriptures more. There is so much peace to be found in the Spirit that is in the scriptures.

So I have begun, sort of, the countdown for tests and paper due dates and my departure for the holidays, and I'm trying to quell the panic and just WORK. Wish me luck! :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The things you find laying around the English department...

I study language stuff, and this is really funny to me.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Quick summary of my week

Monday: research proposal application due to the IRB. This is so that data that I gather for a class project this semester can be used for conference presentations or publications.
Also Monday: Arabic essay due. Not written yet. eep. So obviously I'm using my time well by blogging instead of writing it. :P
Tuesday: Meeting in the evening with the finance committee of the student gov't. We will have to 'defend' our request for funding for the symposium that is slotted to be next April, but for which we don't have any funding yet. eep! This meeting REALLY needs to go well!
Thursday: Midterm for my Middle Eastern Studies class.
Also Thursday: Leave after my midterm for a conference in a neighboring state! Two of my colleagues and I are presenting some of our research there. :) :) Unfortunately, we aren't QUITE ready to present yet, tho we are getting closer, and there is a lot of work to fit in this week to get ready for that.
Friday: Arabic test, that I'll miss because I'm at the conference, but will have to take on Monday.
The weekend: Halloween, which is HUGE in the town where I live, AND Stake conference, at which we'll be getting a new stake presidency. I'll still be out of town. :(

Oh, and I almost forgot to add that I still have just the regular homework and reading to do - 3 chapters by Tuesday, 5 articles by Wednesday, and I don't even know what I have to read for Thursday!

Um, wish me luck?? :)

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Spelling counts.

I was part of a group presentation in my Arabic discussion section the other day, and I didn't freeze up and die, which was a BIG DEAL to me.

I did, however, make a typo on one of my slides. With one letter I changed the full name of the city of Mecca from "Beloved city" to "Hated city."

Yes, I am just. that. awesome.

Monday, October 05, 2009

So there's this guy... :) :)

His name's Dan, he's 27, from this town where I live now, plays rugby, and can fix anything that could possibly go wrong on a car. He's also punctual (gasp! I didn't know those people even EXISTED!!) and thinks I'm funny and likes to hear my thoughts about stuff and tell me his. :) He loves the temple and honors the priesthood, and amazes me with his insights into the scriptures and his understanding of the Atonement. We've been best friends for about 6 months and dating for a week and a half now, and I'm ridiculously happy about it. :)

Just thought you might want to know... ;)

Thursday, September 03, 2009

I go back and forth...

...between being excited for classes and for what I'm going to learn this semester and TOTALLY tired of school. I know this will be a good, growing, stretching, learning, enlightening year, I just hope I have the energy to make it happen. :)

Time with family and friends the last 3 weeks was good...but never enough. I didn't get to see everyone I wanted to - blame it partly on the fact that I was DEATHLY ILL for almost HALF of my vacation time! Ok, fine, not DEATHLY ill, but ill enough that I wanted to die. :) Green stuff coming out my eyeballs, horrible sinus pressure, no voice...yeah, it was pretty awesome. :)

So I came back to school pretty excited to be back, but then not enough time to get settled into the new apartment, or life, again before school started. And I've been messing with my class schedule, so I still feel pretty unsettled. I think I decided today what classes I'm actually going to take, so that is a nice feeling, but I also feel like I'm already behind in Arabic, and I'm gonna have to bust my tail to not get behind in my other classes. The second day and already I'm worried about being behind? That ain't good, people. Maybe I worry too much, ya think? :)

On the other hand, it IS really fun to be back with my friends in this town, and to start to get my head back into this field that I enjoy and have enjoyed so much, and to start to get settled into my cute new house.

And as I flip back and forth between excitement and something close to panic I am reminded of that quote by President Hinckley where he talks about life being like an old-time railway journey - twists and turns, and only occasionally beautiful views and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick, he says, (and this is what I need to remind myself when I feel down,) (this plus "go eat something," :P ) is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I feel like this sums it up nicely...

"I really like....not talking to crazy people. It's pretty much my favorite."

- Dan

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I don't curse.

And yet my sister says this to me:

I'm sure if you pray to God about things to repent of, He'll bring that to your remembrance.

Um, yeah. I'll get right on that. :P

Monday, August 03, 2009

Sunday, August 02, 2009

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is that.

"Pretty much everything in the universe is common sense to me."

- Dan

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Pockets are pretty amazing. And so is this line from E.

So he didn't have any of the following with him one day a few weeks ago:
  • cell phone
  • keys
  • wallet
And when asked why, he responded:
Because I put pants on this morning, and they weren't in them.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a reason.

Friday, July 31, 2009


After dinner in the dorm cafeteria tonight I went to the commons room in my dorm and while I was reading your blog (yes, YOURS), the ice cream bar that I stole from the cafeteria totally melted.

So I stood over the trash can and slurped it out of its package.

Yes, I totally did.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

So there ARE some fun things...

For example, today we had to write sentences using the new vocab for ch 12, and I wrote the following. The bold words are the new vocab.
My day off was great! I missed class, and I didn't learn about the death of my teacher. I was appointed to speak at her funeral.
My teacher even laughed when she read it, and that was kind of a triumph for me. :)

Also, one of the students in my class is still in high school (!!), and she's considering going to college in Scotland, and we had this big (tangential) discussion today about how people in many (most?) other countries don't take great care of their teeth, and she was kind of disgusted. Then later we were answering conversation-type questions, and another student said, in answer to one of the questions, that he ended a relationship once because the girl had Scottish teeth. :) hee hee :)

So it's not ALL totally heinous and painful. :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My rules for the next ten days

1. Don't panic. You ARE capable of learning this stuff, and you know your mind shuts off when you panic.

2. FOCUS. On Arabic.

And that is all.

Monday, July 27, 2009

WAY more panic today, people!!

So we have two weeks left of this Arabic program, and I alternate between the following:

1) 12 days and 10 hrs until I'm with my nieces and nephews - WAHOOOOOO!!!


2) Oh. My. GOSH. I am going to fail in life and die. In five minutes.

See, 2 weeks in this program is HALF A SEMESTER of Arabic left to go. That's a LOT of material. And I STILL don't have a very good grasp on the material from the last two weeks, so I have LOTS of catch up and LOTS of keeping up to do.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009


...apparently the prayers of the internets are not effective :P ;) because my sister and her husband have decided to send their kids to public school.


They bought a plane ticket - for ME! - from their town to our parents' town!! So this means that I get to drive across two states with them and their kids and then fly back across those 2 states. And lest you think this would NOT be a fun way to spend YOUR vacation, allow me to remind you that this means that instead of two days with them, I now get THREE AND A HALF!!! WOOOHOOOO!! :)

Arabic, on the other hand, is SERIOUSLY giving me the people's elbow to the face these days. I am WAY behind, and sentences that are supposed to mean something to me...don't. I'm tempted to just "survive" for the next 11.5 days of class...until I remember that that equates to more than half a semester, so I really just need to kick it into gear and catch up and keep up. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Studying vocab

So I think I've mentioned that I have a lot of vocab to memorize. I haven't? Well, internets, guess what?


It's a frightening amount, and I struggle to get it for every chapter. I have tried different things to help me to remember the sound and the spelling of each word, and since it's always a struggle, I have felt like those things weren't necessarily helping.


The chapter that we're currently in? I'm TOTALLY not getting the vocab down, and I realized that it's because I changed my studying a little bit. I didn't do for this chapter a technique that I have done with previous chapters, and I can tell that my grasp of this vocab is weaker because of it. So I'll do it today and hopefully I'll know the vocab in time for the test on Friday AND so that I can USE it in conversation, which really is the point of vocab anyway, eh? :)

It just reminded me that sometimes in life we don't realize how important the "little things" really are, and we don't always know how much they are helping, BUT THEY ARE. That one vocab study technique? I wasn't sure it was helping until I didn't use it for one chapter, and THEN I realized how much it helped. It makes me wonder what the "little things" are that I am doing now that are keeping me sane (or as sane as I am ;) ), and I want to make sure I don't neglect any of them. They ARE helping. :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The stars have aligned...

...and my fingernails are ALL the same nice length AT THE SAME TIME.

I know, it's like a little miracle.

Aren't you glad you came to read my blog today?! :)

So I've come up with two analogies to explain the almost scary cheerfulness that I've been feeling since Monday morning, despite the bad news. Are you ready? Here they are:

#1 - Emotional foreclosure. :) Too much to handle, so we reset the counters.

#2 - Computer freaking out - let's reboot.

Or maybe, really, I just needed to cry and let out some of what I've been bottling up for the last 6 or 7 weeks.

Either way, I'm feeling much better, and I think I'm going to survive. :) Only 13 more days of Arabic class! :)

And on another happy note, my roommate for next year and I turned in an application for a really cute duplex!! YAY! :) I may even get to move my stuff in before I head west for family time! :)

And I talked to my sister again today, and it turns out that since Sunday they have revisited the question of continuing to home school their kids rather than send them to public school, and if they go the home school route the first day of school in the school district won't matter and they'll be at the reunions longer! I know they need to do what's best for their kids, but would it be too much to ask for the entire internet to pray that they'll decide to home school, so I can spend more time with those kids next month?? That's a valid reason to make important decisions about your kids' education and future, isn't it?? ;)

Monday, July 20, 2009

The proverbial straw

Through all the stress of this summer - the Arabic program, the personal stresses, the housing stresses, and let me again mention the Arabic program - there have been 2 things that have been keeping me going through this Arabic struggle. One of them was the family reunions at the end of the summer - one-and-a-half or two weeks with ALL my nieces and nephews. I have been holding on to that as if it would save my sanity these past weeks, and it has.

And last night I found out that one sister and her four kids will only overlap with me at the reunions for TWO DAYS. They just found out the day that school starts in their new school district, and because of that and the end date of my Arabic program, we'll only be together for two days.


I am heartbroken.

I sat in my car last night and sobbed and sobbed and beat my steering wheel and yelled in frustration and sorrow and anger - about this HUGE disappointment, on top of everything else I have been dealing with this's just too much...and so I think that that bit of news was more than my already-beaten-down little psyche could handle - nothing else will register, and this morning I went to class more cheerful than I have been in days. I can't handle the thought of that small amount of time with them when I was looking forward - for eight months!!! - to so much more time together, so I think I am suppressing the pain and disappointment to the point that it doesn't exist or can't hurt me anymore.

Except when I think about it for more than 2 seconds. Then the tears start again.

I know life isn't supposed to be fair, but after eight months of looking forward to time with them - only TWO DAYS?! Puh-LEASE!!

It's a good thing I'll be with my other two adorable nieces and my other two fabulous sisters and my wonderful parents for longer than that - missing ALL of them would kill me for sure. I just wanted us all to be together for a while...

So Life, if you have any more disappointments or pain in store for me, could you hold off, please? Even just for a couple of months? I'm pretty much operating at capacity right now.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Getting settled in, maybe? :)

So the past few days of this Arabic program I feel like my life has settled into a pattern, and that's a nice feeling. I usually get up early and study, shower quick, grab a quick breakfast of 2 bowls of cereal with fruit and 2 glasses of orange juice :), and go to class. I study vocab on the way to lunch, eat lunch, study vocab on the way back to class. After class I usually walk some - on the bike path or just around - and sometimes call a family member to chat. Then I study / read / nap, then dinner, then studying, then bed. I've been sleeping consistently about 5-6 hrs, which is not a ton, but I'm surviving, and it IS a consistent amount of sleep each night, which I hear is good for you. And I've been consistently reading my scriptures, and spending some good time pondering and writing in my scripture journal and my regular journal, which I also hear is good for you. :)

I have had quite a few days of class recently during which I _didn't_ want to die, so that's been a nice change. :) I'm getting into the habit more of studying and learning and struggling through. Today on the way to class I was panicking a little because this is day 2 on chapter 6, and I STILL didn't have all the ch 6 vocab mastered, and I knew we'd have to actively USE it in class. And I was thinking how frustrating it is that it takes me 3-4 days to be comfortable with each new set of vocab, and yet we only spend about 2.5 days on each chapter, so I'm not comfortable with it by the time we move on to the next set. But then I had a thought that stopped me in my tracks - I DO get comfortable with each set of vocab. !!! :) :) So even if it takes me 3-4 days, it DOES happen, and so these new words ARE and WILL slowly work their way into my vocabulary. I was relieved when I realized that - I've been beating myself up that I can't absorb and assimilate this vocab as quickly as we move through it, but I DO get it eventually, and that was a very satisfying feeling. :)

I also had an AWESOME moment in class today when _I_ was right and the punk kid who is REALLY smart and always seems to be WAY ahead of the rest of us was NOT right, and he complimented me - TWICE! - on figuring out this new concept. :) That was a good feeling, and it's nice to feel like even if there ARE things that I don't catch on to as fast as him, and even if my vocabulary isn't as good as his, and even if he doesn't have to look words up to remember the short vowels, and even if he did memorize the ENTIRE chart of plurals...I am NOT an idiot, and I feel like I proved that a little bit today, to him and to me. :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Today was a good day. :)

That's pretty much all I have to say, but it's true. :)

I spent all afternoon and most of the evening with some dear friends, and got to vent my stress and discuss solutions and get good counsel.

And I talked to my mom and dad, and was reminded again of why I love them and of how excited I am to see them in just...TWENTY-SEVEN DAYS!! :) :)

Monday, July 06, 2009

Time flies when you're...drowning in Arabic??

So a quick update. Or not so quick - "wait 'til I get going!" (Name that movie to further solidify our friendship...)

Housing: My apartment has been sublet. WOOHOOOOOO!!! That saves me $1200. :) :) Well, $1198, plus utilities. :) I'm very relieved to have that taken care of. This does mean, however, that since I no longer have another home, I officially live in the dorms, for the first time since 1995. :) And I officially park my car at the institute building. :) And I officially have one check left, until I unpack my boxes at the beginning of September and find my next book of checks. So if I tell you "the check is in the mail," it just ain't true.

Arabic...yeah, about that. It's still stressful, I'm still not where I would like to be with it, but it's LOTS better than it was last time I posted, so that's nice. :) And the attitude adjustment that I SERIOUSLY needed? I got it. :) A small part of it had to do with remembering that I ALWAYS take a while to get adjusted to new situations. So I was not adjusted to this intensive Arabic thing, and was feeling bad that I wasn't just loving every second of it. I'm still not loving every second of it, but now I'm feeling more like I will, eventually. :) Of course, the quickest I've ever adjusted to a new living situation was about 2 months...and this is a two-month program. :) So hopefully I'm adjusted and happy before it's over. ;) But I got an 87% on my last test, and I thought I'd done much worse than that, so things aren't looking too bad right now. :)

And people - it's week 4!!! That means that by the end of this week, we'll have done an entire semester of Arabic - CRAZY!!!! It also means I'm almost half done with this program. I know it's just Monday of week 4, but for some reason the weekends are slow and the weeks just FLY, so I feel like it'll be Friday before I know it.

And I went to an AWESOME fireside last night! I was reminded of how much I have to learn, to do, and to BECOME in order to be like my Heavenly Father. (But not in a panicked, stressing out, way, right, E? ;) ) So I'm more motivated than I've been in a while to really WORK at being who He wants me to be. It's a good feeling. :)

Friday, June 26, 2009

AAAAHHHH!!! and also - UGH. and also - ARGGGGHHH!!!

So I feel like all my one-liner posts lately have been just little teasers and not actual news, and this one will be no exception. Except that maybe it will, because now that I'm sitting down to write ANYTHING, writing seems like a good idea. So we'll see how this goes. Wow, that was quite a disclaimer.

So the real point of this post is the subject line. I just needed to let that out. Things are really stressful for me right now for a number of reasons, and I need an outlet RIGHT NOW, and you are it, you lucky internets, you. So here are the issues:

1) I'm in an intensive Arabic immersion program right now. We just finished week 2, and since we're doing 2 semesters in 8 weeks, we just did the equivalent of half a semester's work in the last 2 weeks. It's a little depressing how much Arabic I CAN'T speak. And how much English I'm not SUPPOSED to be speaking, but am anyway. Eep.

There is LOTS more to say about that, but two colleagues and I are doing a research project related to our experiences in our 3 different intensive language programs this summer, so I really should be writing about the Arabic stuff on that private research blog instead of here. So you get nothin'. Sorry. Um, except that I think that the Arabic program relates in one way or another to each of my other points. So, um, read on. Or not. whatever. :)

2) I am AGAIN in a situation of needing someone to sublet my apartment. I say "again" because I was in this situation last summer, and it was sticky and uncomfortable and expensive and took some tolls on my mental health and my relationship with one set of roommates. This summer I need to sublet because the Arabic program, being an immersion program, requires me to live in the dorms. So I'm living in the dorms (oh joy oh rapture) and my apartment is sitting empty. Well, with all my stuff in it. I have been looking for someone to sublet, and there have been probably 6 or 7 options, some of which were people related to or connected to members of the Church that I know, and some of them would have wanted to use my furniture and dishes, which would have been fine with me, mostly because then I wouldn't have to move or store my furniture right now, so I didn't actually pack up my apartment, which was NOT smart. I didn't post it on Craig's List because of the possible options that were turning up in other ways, but now there is no one in it, and July's rent is due next week. Awesome. There are still 2 options of people to move in, but the first has been slow on the paperwork, and now the manager of the complex is out of town, and if she refuses to rent to them, you know, once she gets back in town at some undetermined point next week, then my OTHER option will have already had to have found another place to live, since their current contract ends next Tuesday. Again, awesome.

And all of this is really weird deja vu back to last summer - I had 2 options lined up, the first fell through, but by the time she fell through, the other had found another option, so I had no one. And it ended up costing me about $1500. Sigh. And yet I'm doing the same thing again. Why?!?!

But it's less of an issue this summer, even tho I'm still feeling really stressed right now about it, because it doesn't involve negative feelings with roommates, so that is really nice. The main problem now is that I have no time to go pack up the apartment because, whadda ya know!, this "intensive" Arabic program, really is INTENSE! So free time? not so much of it these days.

3) There is some, um, personal stuff going on, which, since it's personal, I won't be discussing here, but suffice it to say, it's stressing me out. And one reason for needing an outlet RIGHT NOW was related to it. All of which sounds really mysterious and probably a titch crazy, but hey, whatever, I'm a titch crazy.

And after all that, here's the good stuff, because there IS good stuff! :)

1) I have a couple of family reunions coming up at the end of the summer, and I am REALLY excited about that!!! I talked to one of my cousins the other day about one reunion, and I am SO excited to be around all those great people!! :) :) And to be RELATED to all those great people! :)

2) Two classmates and I had a proposal accepted to present at a conference this fall, based on research we did last semester! AWESOME!!!! :) :) I'm a scholar! hee hee hee!

3) I don't think I ever posted here that I got a REALLY awesome funding package for next year, which will allow me to NOT be a TA of any sort - I just get to take classes, and they'll pay me! AND they'll pay my tuition! :) :) It also means that the decision about which TAship to take for next year was a moot point. I won't say that it was unnecessary, because it did get me focused in some good ways, but in the end, my concern about offending one prof by NOT accepting that TAship...didn't matter; I ended up taking neither. :)

4) My family loves me. :)
4a) My fabulous aunt called me from France the other day!! She has a study abroad group there again, and I'm SO flattered that she'd call me to get my input!! Of course, I missed her call due to my Arabic program, but still!! and it made me super excited to hang out with her at the reunion in August!!
4b) I talked to my dad over the weekend, and then he sent me an email the other day, expressing his love and confidence in me, and it really meant a lot to me. And I get to see him at the end of the summer, too. :) :)
4c) My sister emailed me the other day, and the subject line of her email was, "How do you say, 'I miss you' in Arabic?" and I REALLY needed to hear from someone close to me that day, and her email was perfect. :) And then later when I called her house and talked briefly to her husband in an attempt to track down my dad, she called back a minute later and said, among other things, "What's this?! I send you an email saying how much I miss you and then you call and don't even talk to me? How do you say, 'you suck' in Arabic??" And that made me laugh, and then it made me cry, because I love her and she loves me, and then I babbled about how stressed I am, and that didn't make it all better, but it helped. Love helps. :)

5) I run!!! And by that I mean that I dragged my sorry tush out of bed before 7am yesterday AND today to go running - BY MYSELF. GO ME!! And if two days doesn't seem like a big accomplishment to you, that's because you don't know that MY RUNNING PARTNER LEFT TOWN early Thursday morning!!! Do you even REALIZE the significance of this information?! That means that EVEN THOUGH I would not be standing someone up if I didn't get up and go running, I STILL WENT RUNNING!!! I KNOW! It's HUGE!!

Let me put this in perspective so you can actually appreciate what a big accomplishment this is. We are talking about a girl who has a REALLY hard time getting out of bed without a firm early morning commitment that involves other people. For example, back in the day when Jer and Brooke lived in Springville, and I lived in Provo, the only reason I got to work at a reasonable hour was because they picked me up on the way to campus. Picked me up and drove me across the street to where Jer and I worked. Across the street. Literally. It would have taken me almost the same amount of time to walk to work as it took for them to drive me, but if I had walked I would have gotten there at 11am. Maybe. When they picked me up - 8am every day.

So please, celebrate the running with me. :)

Um, ok, I think I'm done. Yeah, this was a little more than a one-liner, and it felt good. I might be back. :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Comment from 20-yr-old friend A after I mentioned that I did the study abroad in Jerusalem in 1996

"You've been intelligent so much longer than I have. I was still coloring outside the lines [in 1996]."

Monday, June 08, 2009

Line from a good guy friend after an hour-long conversation about his dating life

"I've dumped a lot of girls, but the best ones have dumped me."

And also - heehee!

And also - ouch.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Today I...

...went to 3 museums (this one, this one, and this one)
...wore my new capris, and they rock!
...ate at this restaurant that was new to me, and this familiar favorite
...soaked my feet in a fountain near the National Mall
...ate a frozen lemonade while soaking my feet in said fountain
...walked and talked all day with a good friend
...had lunch and a great conversation with 2 good friends
...went to institute and saw a million friends and they were happy to see me and one said, "Welcome home!" and one said, "You belong here!"

It was a good day. :)

Monday, June 01, 2009

In which I get political (ok, not really, but weren't you excited about it, just for a second?!)

Maybe the problem with our government is that they spoil all the fun...

and make no sense.

Friday, May 29, 2009

I visited some old friends today...

I was in the neighborhood, so I stopped by to see George...


...and Jeff.

It was nice to see them again. (Hi, guys! :) )

Friday, May 22, 2009

That poor digitized feline...

I'm editing video today, so I'm down in the lab where they do that sort of thing, and the other guy in here working today is hilarious, and he was putting another DV tape in the deck, and it makes a HORRIBLE sound as the tape goes in, and when the horrendous noise started he went:
"Oh yeah! W W W dot catintheblender dot com!"
And it totally cracked me up. :)

Friday, May 15, 2009

For Carolina

Word of the day: acquiesce

I'm using it in a paper, but do I need cite that the only reason I know this word is from the first "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie? You know, in which Keira Knightley and Geoffrey Rush both say,
"I'm disinclined to acquiesce to your request."
That would look awesome on my references list.

A letter to my dearly beloved

I miss you.

I know that when we first got together it seemed like we'd be spending a lot of time together, just you-and-me alone time, and I think we both really looked forward to that, and yet that hasn't really happened as much as I think either of us would like. These little brief snatches of time that we have together really aren't enough! And I know it's my fault - I've been so caught up in other things lately that I haven't made time with you a high enough priority, and I regret it - A LOT. This has been a problem with me in the past, with similar relationships, and I have always regretted it.

You have been there for me, consistently, and yet I have not given you the time you deserve. And really, everything in my life goes so much better when I get to spend more time with you on a regular basis. I sleep better, I feel calmer, I am more productive, and I have more energy. It's really amazing to me what an impact you have on my life!

So I'm asking for another chance to make things right between us - I do better, I really can! After today, when I turn in my papers at 5pm and then at 10pm, we'll get to spend LOTS of time together, dear bed, I promise!!

So...can I see you tonight?


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Finals week

No, but seriously - mine's gone, can I borrow yours?? Just for 32 hours?? I'll give it back - I promise!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

If I fail in life and die... will be because I was checking blogs when I was supposed to be finishing my stats final that I have to turn in in about an hour.

Yeah, take a wild guess how much I am luuuurving stats right now...

Monday, May 11, 2009

A tough choice

So I was in a meeting with my boss and my advisor the other day, and I'm not sure how it came up, but I told them that usually after finals I either get a) sick or b) a haircut.

Which do YOU think I should do this time? Meaning, on Saturday, or Friday night at 10pm, after I hand in my two research papers?

I really am thinking of getting a haircut, maybe a drastic one, and I keep thinking about this one, even tho my hair isn't quite as long now as it was in the "before" pictures there, and even tho that one doesn't really look as drastic as it felt at the time. :) But the hair is getting to be a bit much, and I'm ready for LOTS of it to be gone. So I'm trying to decide how short to go, and I'm really wishing I could have my fabulous stylist in the west cut it, but I won't be there until August, and I can't wait that long. I would love to go to her and just say, "ok, cut it off. do whatever you think will look good." And she would, and it would be great, but when I have to a) decide what I want on my own and b) trust someone besides her to do it - that's scary. :)

So I went through lots of pictures of me during the past few years, to remember the different lengths I've had my hair and to remember what it's like at those lengths so that I can think more clearly about what I want to do. And I came to a fascinating conclusion.

Ready? Here it is:
When I actually DO my hair, I like how it looks. Whatever length it is, basically whatever style it is (not that it's been THAT varied over the past few years).

When I DON'T do my hair, I don't like how it looks. Whatever length it is, basically whatever style it is.
Rocket science, eh? So it sounds like the solution is not a new haircut, but actually DOING something with the haircut I have? Lame.

Maybe I'll just get sick instead.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

I'm trying out a new feeling.

So - school. It's going well, even though I now officially have ONE WEEK to write two research papers, neither of which is in a very good state right now, but that's not what I want to write out right now. :)

I'm trying to figure out which TA-ship I should do next year. And yes, I recognize that it is REALLY NICE to have options. And, as I told my mom on the phone the other day, they are both good options - as in, if some external force made the decision for me, I'd pretty much be ok either way. And as my mom pointed out to me, that means I really can't make a bad decision here - there isn't one. And that's kind of a relief. :)

The thing I'm struggling with is what I am "supposed" to do with my career. For the last few years I have felt like I wanted to go in a certain direction with my career, and that impacted my decision to come to this school, and has impacted my choices of classes and research projects so far. I also feel some sense of obligation to the faculty that I worked with during my masters - they knew my plans and direction when I came here, and I feel a little bit like changing direction would be betraying them and the support they gave and continue to give me. But I also recognize the ridiculousness in that, and that I can't and shouldn't live my life based on what I think my former advisors think I'm doing. :) Or even what they hope I'm doing. I have to live my own life - it'll be a really painful career if I'm doing it based on someone else's interests.

And then there's also this - I took a long time to finish my masters degree, and even though I got to do a lot of really cool stuff during that time, taking that long to finish didn't do happy things for my self-esteem. And part of the reason that it took so long was because I didn't know what I wanted to do at the end of the degree, or even what thesis project I wanted to do during the degree. When I found the topic that ended up becoming my thesis, it was very exciting to me - I felt like I had found my purpose, I had found something that I loved and that I could actually DO, and I


had some direction!! So that topic / research direction / career direction is, I think, very associated in my head with that emotional release and relief of knowing that I had FOUND IT. So the thought of letting go of this direction to maybe try out going in a different direction feels a little bit like a betrayal of myself as well, and a little bit like I'd be letting go of any semblance of control or of the power of a previously-made choice about what direction I'm going, and I also REALLY don't want to reenter that "no man's land" of "I don't know what I'm going to do at end of this degree" feeling, because that feels too much to me like "I have no direction in my life or career" and I've already spent enough time feeling that way and was VERY happy to get out of it.

But in talking to my mom the other day about the options for TAships for next year, and the possible future implications of that choice, I realized that my whole view of my future and of Heavenly Father's plan for me might be wrong.

I realized that I've been feeling like there is some GOAL or PLACE or NICHE TO FILL out there in the wide world somewhere for me, and that it is static, and that I have to make sure that I make the "right" choices, find the "right" path, turn to the "correct" page in the "Choose Your Own Adventure" that is my life, so that I can arrive at that specified place.

But what if that's not really how it is??

It might be that this whole "life" thing and this whole "career" is much more freeform than that, that I really do develop it and form it as I go, and that as long as I don't make any morally incorrect choices, and as long as I involve Heavenly Father in my decisions and follow the promptings that I receive, I won't - can't! - make a wrong decision. Maybe it really is that I just choose as I go along, and rather than feeling like I'm struggling or fighting to find the "right" path, I just create it as I go, and whatever I create is fine.

It's kind of a freeing feeling, and kind of a scary feeling, and I'm trying to try it out to see if I like it. And that's not as easy as it sounds.

Favorite talks or scriptures about baptism??

So I mentioned that my friend A is getting baptized on Saturday - YAY! :) Well, she asked me to give a talk on baptism. I've been reading and studying and finding references, but now I'm asking you - what is your favorite scripture or General Conference talk about baptism? or that would be appropriate to share in a talk on baptism? I've been thinking about baptism itself, but also about covenants in general, and about newness of life, the change that occurs in our hearts as we grow closer to the Lord, being the people of the Lord...


And the soundtrack of my day today is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on YouTube, and found this. Oh man, I really LOVE this piece:

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Hooray for...

...the cute little bunny rabbit I saw outside the public library last night :)

...the public library not charging me late fees for the two books that were two weeks overdue (phew!)

...good friend A getting baptized on Saturday!!!!! I'm so thrilled!

...the General Conference Ensign arriving in my mailbox yesterday - WAHOO!!!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Happy happy joy joy!!

I was chatting online with my sis just now, and then my niece woke up from her nap, and my sis typed, "incoming" and I got this in my inbox:

Subject: There's a message for you on the card

You can click on the picture to see the message on the card, and if her little pudgy hand holding the card and her tousled bed-head and her pink cheeks and her cheery little "I just woke up" smile don't just melt your heart...then maybe you aren't ME!

So I quickly took a (really bad) picture of myself with my cell phone, signing "I love you," and sent it to them, and my niece babbled excitedly at my picture. :) I love it. :)

Saturday, May 02, 2009

I think I'm ok that I live here. :)

So I've been running lately. I haven't put in place anything so committed (read: stressful and guilt-inducing) as an actual schedule or plan, however. Running is supposed to RELIEVE stress, not create more when I don't feel like it on the day I'm scheduled to go! But it's been nice. There have been days when I get home and I think, "I'd really like to go for a run tonight," so I do. :) There are a couple of parks and a lake near my apartment, so I've run there, and it really is nice to be out in nature. I spend so much time with my nose in a book or my eyes on a computer screen that sometimes I forget that there are things like, oh, trees. And grass. And ponds. And breezes. I really like all of those. Water is especially peaceful for me, and I've thought a lot about how the Savior's voice is compared in the scriptures to the sound of rushing waters. I've always loved living near water, and just standing on the edge, looking out.

Last night, while my laundry was in at my friends' house, I went running in the neighborhood around their house. After barreling my way up a hill (go me!), I found myself running along a golf course, and it was really peaceful and good for the soul. :) When I turned around to head back, I got to watch a gorgeous sunset over the green hills and trees of the golf course - awesome!

It was a little chilly on my run - summer hasn't quite hit yet, but it is surely spring. Being in school means that the seasons only matter in terms of what they indicate about how soon finals are coming :) and apparently summer does come later here than where I've lived previously, but that's ok with me, since finals come later, too. :) So I've been glad that it's not too summer-like yet so that I'm not distracted from the 2 big research papers I have to write in the next two weeks.

And being out running has reminded me that it really is beautiful here, in this place where I am! There are LOTS of parks all over the place, and I really love the trees, and the fact that pretty much every park has a pond. I was thinking last night while I was running that I like it here. :) And that's good, seeing as how my documentation supports the fact that I really do live here now. :)

Friday, May 01, 2009

Note to self

Dear self,

If you stop eating, you'll have this problem again.

It's annoying.

You should eat.


Thursday, April 30, 2009

Word of the day: Brocade

If your bros approve of your girl...

she's been brocade. Bro-okayed? brokayed?

Nice, E.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

just some stuff

Yesterday I got new license plates for my car for the state in which I currently reside, replacing the ones I got when I purchased the car nine years ago this month. So I guess I really live here now. :)

I also got a new driver's license for this state. Actually, I didn't get it - it will be mailed to me in the next 7-10 business days, but I did get a piece of paper that I can show to a cop in place of an actual license if I get pulled over. All of which means that when I tried to check out a computer from the library on campus today and they asked for 2 forms of photo ID, I only had one. Dang.

That particular transition - to a DL from a new state - would have been hard for me, nostalgic packrat that I am (I was REALLY sad to give up my first DL from the state in which I grew up), except for the fact that my current license was from the state in which I only lived for 11 months. I found out when I moved there, having just driven across the entire country, that my license had expired SIX MONTHS PREVIOUSLY. So then getting a new license was a source of considerable panic instead of nostalgia. So it wasn't too hard to give that one up, although it was a bit odd to see the guy just staple right through it.

Today I got back a paper that my group and I handed in on Monday. Never mind that it was probably 6 weeks late, and that last week the prof said he really wanted it THAT WEEK. OK, well it was only kind of that late - the deadline was really squishy. But it was late. But the point is that as I parted from a classmate on Monday so that I could go hammer on the paper to turn it in, she commiserated with me about what a hard grader this prof is, so I was kind of despairing about getting a good grade, since I didn't think my part of the paper was that good, and since it was so late.

Internets - we got an A+. :) :) The prof wrote: "This is a terrific piece of work - well worth waiting for." Nice! :)

And at Institute tonight I talked to one of my friends, and it looks like she's graduating next summer (instead of December), so we might be roommates next year! That would be so great!

Just wanted to share. :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Yes, I asked him to define it.

So I was headed east across campus for a group meeting, and in passing, said hi to a guy from one of my classes. On the way west an hour and a half later, here he was again, also going the opposite direction again! :) So we stopped and chatted for a minute, and he complimented me on my sunglasses. I get that a lot. ;)

He said, in reference to the glasses, "I almost didn't recognize you when I saw you earlier."

To which I responded, mostly joking, "Oh, because I looked so cool that it couldn't possibly be me?!"

And he said, "No, no, it's just that they cover half of your face, so I couldn't tell it was you. I was like, 'who's the hot coastie?'"

(We're just going to pretend that he wasn't saying that the only reason I looked hot was because you couldn't see half my face... ;) hee hee)

The funny thing is that I JUST learned about the word "coastie" last week! So of course, since I'm a big language nerd, I asked him to define it. :) It refers to girls (or girls and guys?) from the east coast, mostly Jersey and New York, and part of the meaning, and the one that he referenced when he described it to me, is dressing chic. :) He said my glasses are definitely NOT in the style of the state where we live.

Which is true. I got them at the Minnesota State Fair. The same place where you can get unlimited milk refills. If that's not chic, I don't know what is.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Life lesson

Event: I got 100% on my second stats midterm.

Life lesson: Jeremy is harder to convince of my stats knowledge than the TA who graded my test.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Good quotes from today

"It's not a lack of cookbooks that makes one a poor cook." - one who prefers to remain anonymous

"Have you ever been to Hawaii?" - one of my profs

"Hang loose!" - same prof. (Turns out that's why he asked me the above question. And it's a good thing that I realized that that was why, because I was about to get really bitter about it.)

"You are in a good position - lots of people are trying to give you money!" - same prof, after he offered me a PAship for next year. And told me that he respects and admires my "intellectual assertiveness" and "intellectual excitement." :) :)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

A Big Moment

It was during my stats class. The prof was talking about variance, and how we figure out how much variance is explained or accounted for by various factors, blah blah blah. And then he mentioned overlap (not the technical word) of explanations of variance. And then -

I got it.

And I raised my hand and said (hee hee!), "So if you want to explore just the questions that interest you, choose your own contrasts and deal with the overlap. But if you want to explain all the variance, choose an orthogonal set of contrasts and deal with the complex contrasts."

And the prof smiled and gave me a big thumbs up and went on with the lecture.

And I sat back in my seat with a huge satisfied grin on my face because - FINALLY! - something about some of the choices we might make about what statistical procedures to use when made sense to me.

Awesome. And by "awesome" I mean, "Mwahahahahahahahaaa!" :) :)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Done and done.

Abstract: Check.

Stats test: Check.

Phone call from my mom asking if I'd been evacuated because of some out-of-control possible terrorist pilot: Check.

Wait - what?!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Dear my-friends-who-are-partying-right-now,

I hope YOUR party is as fun as MINE. I'm writing an abstract to report on a research project that I haven't done yet. Yippee!

AND I'm about to eat a chicken pot pie, hot from the oven. Yowza!

And after THAT, I'm going to work on my stats midterm that's due tomorrow. Woohoo!

Please try to control your envy.


Word of the day: Cf.


Main Entry:
1 calf
2 [Latin confer, imperative of conferre to compare] compare

Meaning #2 is what I was looking for. Thanks,

Wikipedia was also helpful:

"Cf. is an abbreviation for the Latin-derived (but also modern English) word confer, meaning "compare" or "consult", and is hence used to refer to other material or ideas which may provide auxiliary information or arguments. It is mainly used in scholarly or educated contexts, such as in academic (mainly humanities) or legal texts."

I kinda got that that's what it meant, but I was trying to make it stand for "compare" (the 'f' is invisible as well as silent?!) or "cross-reFerence." So I asked my friend C, and she said, "Oh yeah, I just looked that up the other day."



I can look things up.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Word of the day: reify


Main Entry:
\ˈrā-ə-ˌfī, ˈrē-\
transitive verb
Inflected Form(s):
re·ified; re·ify·ing
Latin res thing — more at real
: to regard (something abstract) as a material or concrete thing


This is an example of one of those things that stresses you out again and again, but then only takes 2 seconds to resolve. I've seen this word lots of times in the last 8 months, and have read it a number of times in the article I'm currently reading, and it bugged me that I didn't know what it meant. And the energy that I had put into finding the meaning was a FRACTION of the energy that I had previously put into being bugged and stressed out that I didn't know what it meant.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

I'd like my dignity back, please.

Do you ever look back on recent events in your life and wonder, "Who is the IDIOT that's been living in my body and interacting with my friends recently?!"

Well, that's the question of the hour around my house right now. Seriously, I'm cringing. Eep.

Here's hoping that the REAL Margaret gets back soon and takes over again. And that her friends won't hold her absence against her.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Aaaaaand it's gone.

Today I just want to be done with school and have a job with a salary and paid vacation time so I can go to Paris.


Monday, March 23, 2009

It comes and goes...

...but today is a day that I feel like YES, I really could enjoy a profession as a professor and researcher! :) I'm writing a research proposal for one of my classes, and I'm getting all excited about it, and that's a good feeling. I just hope that the excitement lasts long enough for me to get the proposal done by 4pm, which is when it's due. :P

And sure, I could have been working on it all last week, but hey - it was Spring Break and I had places to go and important people to see! And, you know, laundry to do...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What does the universe have against my pants?! ...or maybe it's just me...

On Saturday I went to visit these dear friends, who have not, at latest report, had their baby yet. The main purpose for my visit was to return their 4-inch memory foam mattress topper that I have been sleeping on since August. I no longer need it because (drum roll please!) -
I bought a bed!
And Daniel was confused about why this was such a big deal until he realized that yes, this is actually my first major purchase. So yes, it was a big deal. But that is a different story. :)

So after chatting and chatting and chatting, Crystal invited me to have dinner with them, and we sat down for some yummy potato soup. And oh - it was yummy! And at one point, I picked up the serving bowl full of hot soup to serve myself some more, and it was one of those moments where things move in slow motion and are just etched in your memory...

Crystal said something about how the bowl was really hot, and I made some comment about how I could totally handle it...and then the bowl sliiiipppppppedddddd and thick hot soup was all over the table and my lap!!

The two funniest moments:
Me, frantically trying to do SOMETHING, but kind of frozen in time and space, watching the soup drip and ooze: Oh my gosh you guys!! Oh my gosh Oh my gosh Oh my gosh Oh my gosh Oh my gosh Oh my gosh Oh my gosh

Crystal: Is it burning?
Me: YES!
Oh man, and I think I said, "Oh my gosh" about a million times. And as I sloshed out of my seat and headed for the kitchen sink, trying to hold the crotch of my running pants up so that no more soup would hit the floor, at the same time not allowing it to rest against my skin and burn me, Crystal ran out of the room, and I was thinking, "Ouch - this hurts! and I've offended poor 9-months-pregnant Crystal with my unending stream of 'oh my goshes' and she had to leave the room!"

And I slopped the soup off my pants into the sink and wiped them down, and Daniel said, "Um, how do we even start to clean this up?" as the soup continued to drip from the table onto the plate that I had put on the chair to catch the drips before I realized JUST HOW HOT the soup was that was all over my hands and my gut.

And then dear sweet Crystal came back into the room - NOT mortally offended - with the pair of pre-pregnancy running pants that she had just dug out of a box for me to change into. :) And she said they were too long for her anyway, so I could keep them if I wanted - nice! :)

Oh my gosh. What a mess! We were all cracking up and cleaning up, and then Daniel said, "So, would you like some more soup?!" :)

Fast forward to this morning. Here are the key facts:
  1. I've been wearing those pants of Crystal's around my house since Saturday - they are so comfy!
  2. Since it's Spring Break, I somehow managed to stay up until 4:30am this morning, even tho I knew I had a 10am meeting with a classmate on campus.
  3. I was NOT reading a book until 4:30am, I was surfing the internet and creating a blog for my sister, who just started homeschooling her kids last week. (NoSurf, I gave her your name and number. I hope that's ok. :) )
  4. I had been to the library earlier in the evening to get out the 3rd book in a series that I am rereading this week, but the library didn't have the book, and apparently it's impossible for me to leave a library without a book (gasp!), so I checked out an Agatha Christie that, amazingly enough, I haven't read yet, and I really did want to read it!
So now you have to imagine me, at about 9:20 this morning, in those comfy pants, trying to squeeze in a few minutes of Agatha Christie while I ate my knock-off Cheerios. And please don't ask why I felt that the best place to do said multi-tasking was sitting cross-legged on my bedroom carpet, especially since I have a gorgeous kitchen table and chairs. Perhaps it's related to fact #2 above.

At any rate, I'm sure you can imagine the scene - I try to turn a page, with my cereal bowl in hand...the tippage...the spillage...the dread thought of milk in the carpet-age...and my incredibly-slow-on-4-hrs-of-sleep reflexes...watching the milk soak into those pants, and the carpet, and my t-shirt...those pants...that Crystal dug out for me because of my last slippage moment.


At least this time it wasn't burning, eh, Crystal? ;)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Open letter to the guy sitting in his car outside my apartment

Please turn your music down. Surely there is a volume at which you will be able to hear it and I will not.

Thank you.

Monday, March 02, 2009

I'm awesome.

Ok, I'm off to class.

Even though I'm woefully unprepared because I fell asleep this afternoon trying to do the reading for class.

And I wouldn't have fallen asleep this afternoon if I hadn't stayed up much too late last night reading this great book that Barbi lent me.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


So I was in my stats lab the other day, and made enough comments that it was obvious to at least one of my classmates that there is something wrong with my voice. As in, it's pretty much totally gone, going on Day 6 of this now = awesome.

I say that apparently it was obvious because after class one of my classmates, with whom I've had a couple of conversations, said to me, rather abruptly, "give me your hands." And then to explain, "I'm a massage therapist."

So I'm thinking, "SWEET! She wants to make my life a little better while I'm so obviously sick by giving me a hand massage!"

Uh, no.

She grabbed a certain part of the meaty part of my hand between my thumb and first finger - and SQUEEZED. And it HURT! Badly! MUCH more than it should have hurt for the amount of pressure she used.

I yelped, "Ouch!" and gave her the look that you give someone when you don't them know very well and they suddenly inflict pain on you. Yeah, you know, that look.

She said, in some approximation of these words, "Just as I suspected, your immune system is totally hosed."

She looked me full in the face and said, "You need to take care of yourself. Sometimes we need someone to tell us that. I hereby give you permission to take care of yourself."

And I gulped and teared up a little bit and admitted (to myself) that I did need that. So I bought oj on the way home from campus that night, and went to bed at 9pm, and I'll offer her my hand again tomorrow, hoping that the sharp pain will be reduced to just a dull ache and that I'll be feeling human enough to remember to thank her.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Jeremy is my hero and saved my 11-page final paper, and hence my life, during finals week.

Details to follow.

Jer - is that enough of a shoutout that you'll get off my back?

Everyone else - Hi! I'm not dead, just in grad school. :)

And wow, turns out that last post isn't actually funny enough to be the only thing posted for almost 2 months. Yeah, um, sorry about that.