Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The only "fun" thing about "fun size" candy bars

...is that I feel less guilty eating more than one of them than I would if they were full-sized. And eating more candy is more "fun," right?

Happy day-after-Halloween, friends. :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

You know that thing it says on the side of the box of nasal decongestants about how you shouldn't take more than 6 doses within 24 hours?

Well, they'd better mean it.

Because if they DON'T mean it, and I've been sitting here all stuffed up, even WITH the approved dosage, and I could have been taking MORE decongestants...

I'm gonna be ticked.

The end.


On a happier note, today at a garage sale I found the perfect night stand, just what I've been looking for. And it was $3. Woohoo!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I totally don't have my dad's permission to post this on my blog.

But he and my mom are going to Paris tomorrow, and we already know how I feel about my parents, or my possessions, taking trips to places that I want to go.

And so, without further ado, or permission from my dad, I give you...the email he sent to my sisters and me entitled "Resurrecting my French." (I should mention that he was fluent in both French and Spanish as a young person, and continues to be fluent in Spanish also as an older person, but not as fluent in French. Hence the need to "resurrect" the French.)

And now, ladies and gentlemen, my father:
For the last couple of weeks I've been immersing myself in French for almost 2 hours per day.

I remember how we heartless children used to make fun of my father, listening to his Berlitz records late at night, and never getting anywhere. 





So ashamed.  As busy as he was - coming home at night and working on that.  We were wretched.

If you cast your bitter herbs on the water, they return to you.  Or verbs.

I got some intermediate/advanced CDs and work on them walking to and from the train and on the train.  The guy says something in English.  Pause.  Girl says it in French.  Pause.  In French again.  Pause.  Then the guy on a new phrase.  So I use the pauses to try to figure out how to say it, then correct myself, and work on pronunciation. 

Two hours a day of this is pretty intense.  I'll look for them.  Cram some of this down their charming oh-so-competent "sur le pont d´Avignon" throats.

Ruining Spanish - sometimes a French word or pronounciation intrudes.  And French phrases and conjugations keep flitting through the brood-o-sphere.  And dreams.

The verbs are the worst.  Je suis.  Tu est.  Il est.  Elle est.

The whole language nothing but insane labyrinth of verbs.  Doing things to or by a few innocent nouns.  Subjunctive.  Passe compose.  Conditional.  Darn it all.

Thank heaven for the occasional cognate.  [My mom] woke up Sunday absolutely bushed after Saturday's excesses.  "Je vois que tu est tres poupée."  Yes!  I can do this!

The nightmares.  In my dreams it still doth haunt me.  The prehistoric jungle with gigantic insane reptilian birds verbing their way through the dense miasma of eons-old wreckage and decay.  Purple.  Greenish orange.  Brownish blue. That's just the birds.  Snatching out your liver.  Ma fois!

Marie Antoinette.  "Qu'ils mangeant du brioche."  A precursor to the tumbrils, the guillotine.  Charles, a peasant, hauled to the scaffold for disobeying her.  "Je n'aurai pas du ne pas y en avoir mangé du brioche.  Avoir.  Chouette."  "I shouldn´t have not eaten the cake."  J'ai.  Tu as.  Il a.  Elle a.

me te se nous vous
le la les
lui leur


Darnit darnit darnit.

Gloria en excelsis les neuf inmortels.



And to that I say also - amen! :) And also - bon voyage! :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I took a walk on the wild side...

You know those tags on your hair dryer / curling iron / straightening iron that warn you not to electrocute yourself or your small children by licking / using while in the tub / dropping in the toilet?

Last week I cut those tags off my hair dryer AND my straightening iron.

Oh yes I did.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I feel happy :)

I just had a flash of feeling really happy, and thought I'd share. :) I'm working hard at and enjoying my new  project assistantship for this year, my coworkers are pleasant people, I'm working toward identifying a dissertation adviser and a topic, I've been getting enough sleep and still getting my work done - it's all good. :)

How are you??

Sunday, July 10, 2011

See you on Saturday?

Just a quick note for any of you who might be heading toward the Hill Cumorah this weekend...my family reunion is there, so I'll be there and would LOVE to see you! Our festivities will begin with a big dinner at the Hill on Saturday night, so please call me or text me and come find us and eat and say hi! :)

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

A reminder

I was driving home from Mutual just now, giggling over how funny my dear friend Pam, our YW secretary, is, and I was struck, like I would have stopped in my tracks if I hadn't been driving :) , by the realization that I've been really HAPPY lately. Not just giddy cheerfulness, and not that I don't have my moments of stress over work and Arabic and school and laundry and groceries, but there's been an underlying level of lasting-feeling happiness and peace lately, for at least the last couple of weeks, and especially for the last couple of days, and I'm really humbled and grateful for that, and glad for the nudge to recognize it.

I think at least part of it has to do with the time I've spent with our youth - we had stake youth conference 2 Saturdays ago, and then ward youth conference the next Tues-Wed, so that was 3 full days in a 5-day span that I spent in close proximity with our awesome youth. It was so fun and uplifting to be with them! They're so funny and fun and GOOD. I went to a baptism this last Saturday, and one of the missionaries said while bearing his testimony that he's a better person for having known this new convert, and I was struck then by the thought that THAT was how to describe how I felt about the time I've gotten to spend with the youth these last few weeks - I am a better person because of the time I've gotten to spend with them and around them. They are GOOD people. They talk about and love the gospel, they serve each other and include each other, they are helpful and generally cheerful. Just good folk to be around.

And then yesterday was our ward 4th of July party, and I was reminded of the friends of all ages that I have in my ward, and how much I enjoy them. Oh wow I laughed so hard with Pam, and the YW (and leaders) ROCKED the YM (and leaders) in a tug-o-war, and I made friends with two new young couples that just moved in.

And also - one of our youth confided in me about a member of the opposite sex (teehee! didn't you LOVE being a teenager?!), and while I did NOT start the spontaneous water fight of the 10-yrs-old-and-younger crowd, I WAS the main target and DID get completely soaked (and did some soaking of my own as well, thankyouverymuch). :) And, people? If those last two items don't make a person feel like she's "arrived," I'm not quite sure what will. ;)

It's just been some really good times lately, and some good spiritual growth, and some good development of friendships of all shapes and sizes, and I'm grateful that my Heavenly Father saw fit to hit me with a 2x4 tonight and point out that - HEY! YOU'RE HAPPY! - because I sure wouldn't want to have missed this. :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Distilled truth

Last night I was hanging out at my friend Teresa's house after a meeting, and I was maybe a little bit teasing her 12-yr-old son, and suddenly he said, "you'd be a perfect aunt."

To which I responded, "Yes, yes, I am." :)

Monday, May 23, 2011


Actual conversation I just had with my sister:

Her: I want to tell you one more thing. Did I already tell you this?
Her: You don't know yet.
Me: Nope.

Heehee! :) And that's how we roll. :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Breakfast: Of champions.

My coworker saw me eating cold cereal and milk at my desk this morning, and we had a little chat about the importance of breakfast, during which he said:
Breakfast is important. It's so important that I don't mind doing it 3 or 4 times a day.
And oh, he does.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Friday, March 11, 2011

True dat.

So after several hours of logging video from Abu Dhabi, I went into my coworker's office and said, "I just want spring break to start NOW!" and he said, "Start it!" and I said, "the problem is that it's not like I'll really have a break. I mean, the only thing that really changes for me next week is that I don't have Arabic class" and he said, "Um, but Arabic class is the bane of your existence!"

Well, yes.

So I guess it will be a nice spring break. :)

Friday, March 04, 2011

"a long speech" :)

So this afternoon was the 3rd discussion with these native Arabic speakers that I found, and I really feel like it is helping - YAY!

I met one of them in his ESL class when I went there to help with some technical problems the teacher was having. The teacher told me she had native Arabic speakers in her class, so I gave 2 of them my email and offered to get together to let them practice English and me practice Arabic, and one of them emailed me!

So last Friday was the first time we got together - me and Martin, a guy in my class, and him and one of his friends. We decided that we'd do 30 min in English for them, and 30 min in Arabic for us. And I was thinking once a week, but Martin suggested twice a week, and they said ok! So we did last Friday, and then Monday and then today! Today is the day that went the most smoothly. All three times we started with English and then did Arabic, but the last 2 times much of the Arabic time was spent giving us new vocab and the conversation didn't really flow from the English part to the Arabic part, but today it totally flowed! It was time to switch to Arabic, and Martin was about to say something, and he said, "Just this one thing," and I said, "you can say it in Arabic!" and he did! :) And then they asked us questions - about our goals for learning Arabic - and so I did my awkward speech about how I want to teach language teachers, and - I think they understood! They prompted me and corrected me from time to time, and asked clarifying questions, but at the end one of them said, "That was a long speech, and you did it!" :) And I felt very successful!

We talked about food in our town, the ethnic diversity here, the acceptance of other cultures that (Martin feels) is prevalent in the US, and about religion, in the US and in Saudi Arabia, where these guys are from. We talked about good ways to study new words :) and about how Muslims aren't supposed to date.

I think we talked about all that stuff in English, and I can't remember exactly what we talked about in Arabic :) but I do remember that I followed most of it and that it was AWESOME to understand and be part of a conversation!

These guys are really cool about me stammering out my Arabic - YAY! It's giving me lots more confidence that I can do an OPI and not die! :)

And, I'm pretty proud of myself for FINALLY taking the initiative to set this up - it took me a while to have the guts, and I'm glad I finally did! :)

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Plain yogurt

I like it. In France in 2006 we ate it almost every day as dessert, with white sugar mixed in to make it sweet. It came from the local farm in little glass Danone jars, and I took one home with me at the end of that summer.


Tuesday, March 01, 2011


I like it.

I think I need to try out some sushi places in this town.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Post-prelim letdown?

I don't know if it's just that finding out my prelim results ended up being anti-climactic after all, or if I spent too much time with my eReader that first week and it rotted my brain, or if my trips out of town the last two weekends have just thrown me out of my groove, or maybe it's that I need to eat something besides cold cereal and burritos, or the fact that we haven't seen the sun for a while, but it's been several weeks since I felt good, physically or emotionally, and I haven't felt this low for this long for a really long time, and I'm tired of it, but also too tired to have the wherewithal to do anything about it. And I feel really pathetic even posting this, but there you go, that's my life right now.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

el oh el

So one of the undergrads I work with recently told me this in an IM:
my dad sent me a text today that said "hey [name] watch out for snow el oh el"
then I asked why he said el oh el and he said he thought if he put lol that I wouldn't get it


Monday, February 07, 2011


New personal best: 163

New personal worst: I'm so out of shape that I have sore muscles.

From bowling.

Something has GOT to be done.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011


Aaawwww yeeaaaahhh baby! More time to play, I mean READ, on my new toy! heehee

AND my roommate's work got canceled, so she'll be home, too...

AND we both bought plenty of ice cream this weekend...

AND she has Netflix and bought a Wii a couple of weeks ago, so we have an endless supply of movies...

...it's gonna be a good day. :)

Monday, January 31, 2011

You'll NEVER guess what this post is about

I PASSED!!!! WOOHOOOOO!!!!!!! All four parts!!!!! :) :) :) :)

AND - one of the profs on the committee, who I've never met and from whom I've never had a class, asked if I would come to his class to present my analysis of one of the articles to his students. heehee

And you know what this means...

...this afternoon I go buy my new toy. I would buy it RIGHT NOW but I don't think Borders or Sears is open yet. :)

Friday, January 28, 2011


I'm going to have heart failure.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

No results yet

So when I finished my prelims 2 weeks ago today I was told that the faculty have 2 weeks to grade them, and that some of them would take the entire 2 weeks, and that I would get an email with the results when they'd all been graded.



...any minute now?

And I have all these really cool thoughts about prelims that I want to record and remember - about the studying process, and what the week was like, and the priesthood blessing I got the Sunday before they started, and how I didn't panic all week, and how t.i.r.e.d. I was that whole week even though I slept good hours and ate good meals, and how just COOL it was to realize that I KNOW STUFF about my field...

And I really wanted to write these thoughts all out before I get my results, since the really good feelings about it all are NOT connected to my results since, did I mention that I haven't gotten my results yet?

So here's the quick summary, since I'm tired and I want to go to bed. :)

I felt good about my prelims. :)

I think the hardest part was between exams (there were 4 different exams, 4 days in a row), when I realized how much adrenaline had been pumping through me during the exam itself and when I thought about needing ANOTHER and then ANOTHER and then ANOTHER chunk of that same amount of energy to just power through each exam.

Were the exams hard? Well, yeah, but I also feel like I was pretty well-prepared. I took time at the beginning of each exam, after I had read the question, to outline and organize my thoughts about the topic, and to list who I was going to cite to make my points, and guess what?! I HAD thoughts to organize for each topic and I HAD people to cite - I didn't blank out, which was cool! - I know some stuff! :) And then after outlining, it was a matter of writing as fast as I could to just power through the rest of the 3-hour block of time for that day. THAT was exhausting.

I felt REALLY blessed during the last 10 days of prep and the week of the exams. I know that a lot of people were praying for me - THANK YOU!!! - and I really felt crazily calm about it all, which was a HUGE deal to me. I was given some really meaningful counsel in the blessing that I got before the exams, and that was a great way to start the week and good guidance throughout.

Anyway, this isn't all that I wanted to record about this time period, but some of it will go in my journal, and I may share more here later.

But now I need to go to bed...so that I can get up in the morning...and check my email...


Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Proofreading is a good idea. I almost just sent an email with the subject line "A Poo equipment overdue."

It was supposed to say, "AV Pool equipment overdue." Sometimes this keyboard bugs the L out of me.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

shots from today

One of the labbies at work was getting to know a fancy camera today, and thus we have preserved this:

...shirt I bought in Abu Dhabi when our luggage didn't arrive and I didn't want to wear my "I've been wearing this for 24 hrs of traveling" clothes to meetings at the university, new haircut that I am LOVING, aaaaaannnnnddd...dumb expression. Terrif.

And this:

...action shot of me and the pizza. ?!?

For the love.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

For your midnight snacking pleasure: a bit of nostalgia

So it's 12:07 am and that means it's Sunday, and since I don't study on Sundays, that means I'm done with my prelim studying.

Read those last 6 words again, please, and see if they register with you a little more than they register with me as I think, type, and read them.

And also, it's after midnight, as I've already noted, which means that my emotions are a little closer to the surface than usual (no, I'm not crying) (Jer), so humor me while I wax nostalgic here for a minute.

I've been preparing for prelims for almost 2 and a half years now, since September 2008. As first year students my cohort (now my dear, dear friends) and I were warned to start preparing immediately, there was a lot to read. And there was, and we did. We had a very consistent study/reading group that first year. It petered out a bit second year, as we realized we were on different schedules for the actual date of prelims (I'm the last one of that cohort to take them; Arabic classes put me a bit behind in my other coursework), but even this previous semester, when I was the only one still preparing, we have met every couple of weeks and talked about their dissertation proposals and pilots and my prelim prep. They've talked me out of (and into :) ) panic on multiple occasions and been THE. MOST. FABULOUS. supporters and cheerleaders and co-conspirators that a grad student could ask for.

And now my exams start Monday. There will be four 3-hour exams, Mon-Thurs, and then I'll wait for ~2 weeks to find out if I pass or if I have to retake any of the portions (in May).

It's just crazy -- all this time, all this reading, all this trying to understand, to reason, to remember, to put things together in my head, to not doubt my abilities to understand, reason, remember.

The last couple of days, and especially today, I've felt a difference in my reading and reviewing and comprehension. I feel like I FINALLY (only now?! ;) ) understand what I should be looking for as I read a theoretical piece or a research article. I'm finally seeing some of the big pieces in my field and how they fit together. And I feel like--let's just get this prelim thing over with already! :)

And yet with all that is a bit of nostalgia--is this really happening? Is the dread of prelims really going to be a thing of the past in just a few days? Am I really one of those students who does this, who makes it to this point, who TAKES PRELIMS, for goodness sake?? This is a big deal, a big step. It's been pretty emotional to talk to my family and friends about it -- there's so much emotion and insecurity tied up in my confidence in myself, in my fear that I actually CAN'T do big important things or ever be an expert in anything.

When I was taking a little study break earlier I found this, from a post back in 2006 when I was working (and working, and working) on my Master's thesis:
I have realized recently that the good feeling [that I had posted about the day before] 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 [...] I have broken through that "wall" and can now move forward. And right now, moving forward means getting the thesis done. Here I go!
I think that's part of what I'm feeling now -- this is the next step for me, it's progression, and it is scary, but good. And I'm happy that I'm doing it. :)

So it's really interesting to be here, now, to feel like, for better or for worse, I'm taking prelims the day after...today, and people? I'm ready. (And fine, now I'm crying. :P) I don't know everything, but I know quite a bit of "stuff," and I hope and pray it's enough, and deep down I feel like it is. It's still scary--they may, they probably will!, ask me something that I really have to dig and stretch to be able to say anything about, but I'll write something, and I'll turn it in, and...life will go on. And maybe in a few weeks I'll wonder what the big deal was. Maybe. ;)

And I haven't cleaned this up yet:

But hey, it's past midnight (did I say that already?) and I'm going to bed.

Besides, I'm not quite ready to say good-bye yet.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

This is what's up

So I'm studying for my PhD prelims exams. Other programs might call them quals, or something else, but we call them prelims, and they are the HUGE exams that we have to take (well, not just take, but also PASS), before we can officially do dissertation stuff. Did I mention that they are huge? And scary? And start on Monday?


So I've been back from Christmas break since Friday night and studying (or attempting to study) since then. And it has has NOT been awesome the last couple of days. I hit a point yesterday, as my wise past-quals BIL warned me I would, where I realized I was getting limited returns on my study efforts - my brain was full, and trying to hammer more in there was not working. And I was really worried. So I kinda took 23 hrs off. eep. Not really intentionally, or premeditatedly, but...yeah.


I had a break-through tonight! I FINALLY started doing what I should have been doing all week, but was too scared and felt too unprepared to do - drafting outlines to previous prelim questions, to see how I would have answered them, and tying all these ideas and theories together. I've been DREADING doing this, because any time I've read a previous prelim question I've TOTALLY PANICKED because I have had NO IDEA how I would answer it! And that happened today, too, but I guess I am finally at a point where I decided I had to muscle through that, so I did and guess what?! I know some stuff! :) I'm writing down the references that I can think of off the top of my head, and how I would tie them in, and then I'm looking up more (from among my reading list - nothing new at this point - good heavens!), and...

IT'S FUN!!!!!


One thing that's been really worrying me is that I've been feeling like I know so few research studies that I can reference along with all the theoretical stuff, but in doing this outlining-and-looking-things-up thing I am finding that I only need small prompts to remember studies that I've read and analyzed, so that's been a HUGE relief - woohoo!

So I'm feeling lots more hopeful and relieved and I think I'll actually be able to sleep ok tonight instead of lying awake worrying about everything I DON'T know. (You should try that sometime...actually, no, don't.)

AND I'm actually looking forward to studying tomorrow - more fun!

All of which goes to show that I really like my field (which I initially typed as "fiend" - Freudian, anyone?), or that I'm up too late.

Good night.