Sunday, July 29, 2012

apartment living

I concede that my last post was cheating and not really a substantial post. My apologies (again).

I don't even know if this one will count as a substantial post, either, but once upon a time a friend asked me to post pictures of my apartment so she could see what my new life was like down here (granted, she asked me this like eight months ago... better late than never, I suppose). I wanted to wait until I finalized some of my organization projects. Except, I have a short attention span and can't focus worth a darn. I started this organization project and lived with it for nearly two weeks spread out across my living room:

These pictures are the organized version of my organization project. I had a path I could navigate through. But then one day, I had a burst of organizational energy and swept through my apartment with the fury of something furious.

The best part of my apartment is relief from the heavy, sticky Louisiana summer when I open the door and step in. And maybe all the colors. I like colors.

my apologies

I apologize for my blogging attention deficit disorder. I know, I know. I kept the same layout and background for a solid two years AND THEN I decided to change the appearance of my blog like eight times in the past year. I think I am good for a while. I think.

I think.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Run the Mile You're In

"Good luck wit your mar-a-tawn-ning!"

I couldn't tell where the visitor was from; he had an accent, spoke on the phone a language that sounded Arabic, but replied "Florida" when asked where he came from. He was stamping his park passport book and I commented on his technical marathon shirt, the type they hand out at races that have the race logo and sponsors emblazoned on the back. We exchanged some running stories and I said that I wanted to run a full marathon, but have only completed a half marathon.

"It's mental," he told me, "you've made it half way already, so you can do the whole thing. The trick is to train your mind to overcome its own obstacles."

I appreciated the encouragement. And since I had a half hour to think on my run (and since it is no fun to run outside in the Louisiana humidity, I run on a treadmill... an excellent place to think for that is all you can do), I started thinking about the idea of mind-over-matter. I specifically thought about how that could (and almost should) be applied in life.

Oh, man! Another one of Elizabeth's how-life-relates-to-running analogies.

Sorry. You probably shouldn't visit me, neither, for I have running/inspirational quotes all over the place, too.

I not only have to overcome legitimate obstacles in life, but also overcome the obstacles I have created for myself. I am very good at creating those. So what do I do to train my brain to overcome them? Maybe start with acknowledging them. Maybe take a step back and take a deep breath. Maybe keep pushing.

That is what I realized about myself. I need something to work for, I need goals to work towards. When I run, I have a goal and I push myself because I know I am working for the goal. Training for the race, I run with the race in mind. Running during a race, I run to cross that finish line. Writing my thesis, I wrote to graduate. Working hard as a student-level park ranger, I worked to secure my "big girl" park ranger position. So now, I find I am stuck. Do I have a goal? What is my goal? And I will call this my "Mile 19." I am hitting a wall, but I know it is all mental. The run itself does not get easier, you just get better. This is just a part of my training. I just have to push through my own mental hurdles. And focus on my goal, whatever that may be.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Blogs and Blogging

In response to one blog post and in preparation for another, I thought I would take a moment to hash out my thoughts regarding... blogging. Actually, I think this will about the combination of both blogs and blogging. The "places" or published thoughts as objects and the act itself.

The other day, I read this blog post on the Mild Mannered site about blogs. If you've followed me over, well, anytime since I came back from the Pacific, you will see that I have often questioned my own blogging purpose. I have sometimes wallowed in my lack of purpose, in fact (so much that I created another blog more focused on some of my interests and studies so that I would have purpose and stop perishing without a vision). But I like what the blogger says about blogging. It's a hobby, it's for fun, it can be a platform, and it is a conversation. Actually, the conversation part was part of why I chose to create the other blog. I read all sorts of blogs about history and interpretation and I wanted to be able to jump in, too.

I have also been slightly interacting with other blogs via Mandy's Book Blogger's Club over at the Well-Read Wife. Mandy commented on my blog several weeks ago, encouraging me that my blog is my own space. Do what you want with it and be free of what others think was her advice. A while back, she decided to start a book club of bloggers- a group of people who might share the same interest. That was very brave, in all actuality. And I wonder if the club is working out like she planned? It has been a good experience for me and I appreciate her efforts. Indeed, the book club has introduced me to a wide variety of blogs and bloggers. That was a freeing exercise in itself (I usually follow history blogs, blogs of those I know, and the occasional food/fitness blog).

In the same initiative-taking spirit, that blogger who wrote about blogging decided to launch his own website, Classic Fiction Magazine, because he didn't like what was already available and decided to make it work for him. I'll call that brave, too. The site is fun to cruise through, too. It isn't easy to digitally publish yourself, even in the world of blogging. I think people can be very critical with little thought to you. It is easy to be critical of a glowing screen, forgetting that somebody created the content on that glowing screen. A buddy of mine, (okay, my [awesomest] brother-in-law [ever]) told me "write like you are emailing a friend" as a form of advice. While that is freeing (I often pretend I am writing my family, and that seems to help), it can also hinder. But somebody other than an emailed friend might read this!

So what?

I am contemplating writing a post for my History and Interpretation blog about the use of blogs by historic sites. I follow some pretty good ones and want to advocate for their use. And actually, I will probably borrow some of my arguments from the foundational ideas presented in the Mild Mannered post. So between thinking about what has been written about blogs and what I want to write about blogs, let's just say I had blogging on the brain. And needed to blog about it.

Thanks for following.

Adventures in Reviewing

Note: This is a about a book review of a book with adult language in the title. You've been disclaimed.

Assignment time! (Almost)

Mandy's Blogger Book Club
As promised, I am writing a book review of America, You Sexy Bitch: A Love Letter to Freedom by Michael Ian Black and Meghan McCain for Mandy Book Bloggers Book Club. Mandy of the Well-Read Wife provided copies of the book free of charge to 47 bloggers; I was one of the lucky bloggers! I am stoked to be a part of the bloggers book club. I was especially stoked when I got my book in the mail. 

I read the book in three days. If I had received it on a day off, I probably would have sat down and read through the whole thing (instead, between work and home duties, I had to break it down). The reading was light, it kept my attention, made me laugh out loud several times, and even provoked some thought.   Plus, I was reading to write a book review. That meant serious reading.

I’ll admit it, though. I have not written a book review in nearly three years. While in school, I wrote many reviews and felt particularly confident about my book reviews towards the end of my coursework. School assignments often also had some form of framework to operate within. Opinions “I liked it” or “I didn’t like it” were generally frowned upon. Rather, the review argued the positives or negatives in light of the field, the argument, the historiography, or other intellectual mechanisms. And if I chose to review a book negatively, I operated within the comfort of a classroom. My paper was not accessible to the world. My points could be debated within the class and generally, what happened within the classroom, stayed within the classroom.

This review is different, however. I am free to say what I want. But I also recognize that my thoughts will be published to the vast unknown that is the interwebs. Granted, I don’t imagine a number higher than a class population will read my thoughts on the book, but writing for the internet definitely changes my approach. I also consider myself a particularly positive person, generally seeking the good. I can relate to Meghan McCain’s continual approach to picking out the positives in her world. I keep tripping up on how to approach this review. Do I do it Reading Rainbow-style? Do I offer suggestions on improvements? Do I only say what I liked about it?

This whole reviewing thing is becoming much more difficult than I expected. Mostly because I am making this way harder than I need to.

So like I said, I enjoyed reading the book. There were many aspects to the book that made me want to talk to somebody about it, say, like in a book club. (Oh, wait…)  From the crocs and linen pants style choice of Michael Ian Black to the sad Waffle House scene to the distinctions described between Memphis and Nashville. Blogging is going to be different than an actual discussion, for I get to write my thoughts into space and may or may not have further discussion. I think America, You Sexy Bitch would be an excellent airplane ride book. It’s funny, it’s light, it will help any flight go by faster, and its style lends itself well to being interrupted during travel. Its content would complement a trip, as well (seeing as the foundation of the book is essentially about a road trip across the United States). I don’t think the book was designed to be more than the thoughts of two people as they rode across the United States (for Cousin John actually did the driving, Gumdrop). So maybe, I wasn’t expecting much more than some light summer reading interspersed with giggles. The book served as that. But then again, the idea of the book provides much potential: two people coming from different backgrounds, both claiming a different political party, to write about their shared experience of trekking across the continental U.S. in an RV. So maybe I was expecting a little more?

Based on a comment my [awesomest] brother in law [ever] made when talking about the book and reviewing the book, I decided to leave this post be (a post where I write about reviewing) and write a separate, official review. Consider this my preface post. I am historian, what can I say? I like using a lot of words.    

Calling It: My Official Review

Note: This is a book review of a book with adult language in the title. You've been disclaimed.

"You want to call it?" I ask Meghan.
"Yeah, she says."
"Me too," I agree.

Over a set of escalating dares made on Twitter, Michael Ian Black and Meghan McCain decided they should roadtrip across the United States and write a book about it.  A Democrat comedian and a Republican commentator? Sure. Add an RV, a crazy driver, a quiet, accompanying planner, and a pair of crocs, and you've got yourself an adventure.
America, You Sexy Bitch

America, You Sexy Bitch: A Love Letter to Freedom served the role of a humorous book discussing politics. The book provided laughs, showed some of the complexities of many contemporary issues facing these United States, and did so with a fairly harmless approach. This was one attempt at a particularly difficult task, however, and the authors provided some food for thought. I enjoyed reading the book, but I believe I am the audience-type the authors wrote for. Twenty-something year old abreast of popular culture who is neither entirely content with the political atmosphere of contemporary United States nor is offended by the use of colorful language sprinkled throughout the book. I got the humor and laughed out loud more than once. I will say, since I am reviewing the work and providing my honest opinion, throughout the work I felt the something lacking, something nagging.

The roadtrip begins in California, travels across some of the United States, and ends in Connecticut. Black and McCain do not make it to the Pacific Northwest, nor do they spend much time amongst the original thirteen colonies. They do try to find as many "American" places to visit (in a limited period of time) as a way to see different perspectives. Their first stop: Arizona. This starting point, McCain's home turf, gave Black a chance to experience a little of McCain's background and to shoot some guns. They had a big time and started to loosen up around each other over the day. I think I was most impressed with Black's linen pants and crocs matched up with a holster and cowboy hat. Sexy.

This early scenario in the book, however, reveals a little of what I felt was lacking. If somebody wants to show several sides of an issue, then the several sides should be shown. Black got to experience for himself the enjoyment of shooting weapons and they used this as a launching point to discuss gun control in the United States. But this only shows one side. How about having a conversation with a mother who lost her child from a bullet, after all the fun has settled down? I live within an hour's drive of Baton Rouge, a city that has higher homicide rates than New Orleans, New York, and Los Angeles. Regularly, pictures of a crime scene (accompanied by a body being wheeled out on a stretcher) are published in the local newspaper. Can one demonstrate the complexities of an argument with just an afternoon's worth of time? That idea resurfaces each time a new argument pops up. "There is so much more to this story!" I think. But the book kept my attention and I followed through.

The group (for Black and McCain travel with their driver, Cousin John, and their organizer, Nermal) travels up to Nevada (to experience Las Vegas), over to Utah (to meet Mormons), down to Austin, Texas (to meet the weirdos), and over to New Orleans before they start working their way through the Heartland and over to the East Coast. Their adventures are humorous. They meet some wild characters and begin to build camaraderie over the course of the month. Well, they build camaraderie when they aren't arguing politics, that is. Maybe the premise of the book was going to be explosive, anyway. Two people who disagree on almost everything decided to travel together in a smelly RV for a month. "Calling it" happened throughout the book. It became a game to see who could hold out the longest, not "calling it" until the other did so first.

This "calling it" attitude echoed throughout the book, beyond the game time between the two, reflecting the polar attitude of society. Giving in is defeat! I am right and refuse to bend down for anything (because if I do, then I am weaker)! Maybe, unintentionally, that is where my lacking, nagging feeling comes from. Black makes a point, "The argument doesn't resolve because these arguments never do."(p. 223) This nation is so big with so many people and so many backgrounds! Arguments don't get resolved. Rather, conversations happen. Or should happen. Black and McCain have several heated arguments (one that popped up throughout the whole book was about the phrase "freedom isn't free"), but they also seemed to have many enlightening moments, too (when they conversed and not argued). Sometimes, in moments where Black forgot to be his comedic self, he showed some real insight. Sometimes, when McCain wasn't defending herself or her background, she asked provoking questions, revealing complexities. Sometimes, they both quietly admitted at least understanding the other side a little better, even if not agreeing with it.

The traveling duo had limited time to complete this experiment, unfortunately. By hopping from city to city, I do not believe either got a true "feel" for the place. They tried to meet locals and mingle as much as possible, but they also lived up the stereotypes. The visit to Austin fulfilled the stereotype that people who live in Austin are an eclectic mix of odd (though the city promotes itself with the slogan, "Keep Austin Weird"). The visit to New Orleans fulfilled the preconceived notion that the city is there for people to get wasted and have a good time. The visit to Nashville fulfilled the stereotype that the city is a honky-tonkin' place run by country musicians in cowboy boots. Each of these places, however, are rich and complex and have more to them. Just like the richness and nuances of the whole nation isn't fairly represented with 14 stops, spending a day in a place does not necessarily mean you experience that place to its fullest. I suppose that was what the two were trying to show: this nation is ginormous with a crazy amount of diverse people. I could even argue that the book's planned outcome of showing complexity in this nation was reached, even if the designed method of hopping from place to place didn't get the reader there.

Regardless of the lacking feeling, I enjoyed reading the book. I think Michael Ian Black is hilarious, and I found myself relating to Meghan McCain quite a bit. I especially appreciated her comments about women in politics. It is difficult for people to deal with a woman who dresses well, wears makeup, and looks pretty AND be smart and strong and capable in the political world; society just isn't ready to handle that "hot mess" (to borrow the phrase from McCain). If you are looking for some humor jumbled up with some political opinions, take a gander at America, You Sexy Bitch: A Love Letter to Freedom. It is almost worth it for the linen pants and crocs, alone.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Sting

Mondays are my Fridays. So as I was closing the gate to the park yesterday evening, I had an extra bounce to my step. I usually pull up past the gate, hop out of my car, haul the heavy beams to the "closed" position, and lock the gate, all while my car is running (the whole process should take less than 60 seconds). Last night, as my right hand was pulling the keys out of the lock, a waspy-type critter buzzed up against my hand. I don't believe it had time to land before I felt excruciating pain shoot through my pointer finger. My original motion that started as a "shoe-go-away"movement quickly turned into a "get-off" fling, then massive flailing and brushing by my other hand (because the sting felt like something was still on it).

[deleted expletive].

I stood there, doubled over in pain, my left hand pressed against my right, throbbing hand.

[deleted expletive, deleted expletive, deeeleeeeeeeted expleeeeeeetive].

I have never been stung by a wasp or hornet or bee or any other insect from the order Hymenoptera. They must have worked a deal out with the insects of order Diptera to make sure I get my fair share of bites (did you like how I dropped my sciencey terms and did not use the word "bug," Biologist Friend in the OK state?). I am also prone to many different types of skin allergies. One of the first thoughts to my mind was "I wonder if I am allergic to stings?" Followed by "I wonder how I will know if I am allergic to stings?" Followed by "I wonder what I am supposed to do with an allergic reaction?" Followed by the mental image of me sitting in a waiting room in my uniform. Been there, done that, would like to not repeat the experience.

I decided the best thing would be do go ahead and start home and look up some home treatments (and tentatively look up signs of allergic reactions). Okay. Just need to grab my keys and get going.


In the process of flinging the little monster away, I flung my keys, too. I vaguely remembered hearing them hit... something. My mind was a little preoccupied during the moment of "The Sting." So, while holding my burning hand, I looked for my keys as nonchalantly as possible. It is amazing how a close examination of the pavement shows the similarities in color of a set of work keys. It is also amazing how years of looking at I Spy books had not prepared me for searching for my keys. At one point, I called a coworker to let her know I seriously needed to get rolling (for I could see my finger swelling and wanted to treat it as soon as I could). As I was about to announce defeat, I saw them dangling over a gutter drain cover. I had flung them over my head, about six feet behind me. I am also particularly grateful that they did not fall into the drain. Ew.

My finger is still slightly swollen and feels a little tingling. But it looks like I have survived the ordeal. I will live to see another day. And hopefully, never another sting.

Today is my Saturday. I am going to write today. It's on my "to-do" list. I have some draft posts I want to revise. I have some ideas I want to hash out. I also have a book review overdue. Chores are begging me, too. Maybe I can play up my hurt finger enough that my dishes will feel sorry for me and wash themselves.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


I read this article yesterday. I think it sums up how I feel. In my own little quiet corner of the world, I struggle with the pain, the sorrow, the sadness, the sympathy, the grief, the disquiet, the unease, the solemnity, and the tragedy of the shooting in Colorado.

There are no words, really.

So over these past two days, I haven't felt like writing. The many ideas swirling around my head were stilled by this news. I will write again at some point in the near future (tomorrow, even, who knows), but for now, I want to contemplate.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


I currently volunteer with the American Red Cross. Sometimes, when people ask me why I do what I do, I brush it off with my standard "to keep out of trouble" answer. I was asked today why I volunteer and I stated "to keep off the streets," like my regular smarty-pants self. Immediately after, I realized there is so much more to it. Usually, I help out at the office doing the endless tasks it takes to manage a volunteer force. Spreadsheets, copies, phone calls, organizing, filing, you name it and it is probably something that needs to be done. 

No, I don't thrive on making sure the ten massive "Shelter Operations" binders have all the correct documents (in order) or monotonously typing information in a database. I do thrive on positive attitude, a willingness to serve, and dedication. The people who work and volunteer for the American Red Cross have those things in spades. My few hours every Wednesday afternoon brighten up my whole week as I get to work along side some amazing people. 

I think volunteering also serves as an exercise of getting over myself. I go even on days when I don't want to because I've made the commitment. I never regret going; even those bad attitude days get turned around after I leave my shift at the office. Maybe the positive vibes come from the doing for something bigger than myself. I feel slightly macabre admitting that working for an emergency relief agency reminds me that I have so much to be thankful for (seeing how quickly everything can be taken away when a disaster strikes). Seeing the other volunteers give so much of themselves selflessly inspires me, too. I will always have my own luggage to haul around, but so does everybody else. I like that my load feels lighter on days when I am helping to lighten others' loads. 


Monday, July 16, 2012

Life = Complete

I made it! I made it onto the Rangers Pointing at Things Tumblr! My life is now complete, my destiny fulfilled.

That is all. For now.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

When I Grow Up

Over the course of my life I have rarely finished the statement "when I grow up, I want to be a ..." in a consistent manner.* I have ended that statement with a variety of occupations including (but by no means limited to) teacher, astronaut, archeologist, costume designer, paleontologist, pilot, baton twirler, forensic scientist, and (of course!) a park ranger.

Here's the thing: growing up sounds so boring. And I am not going to do it. 

Whew! So glad I got that off my chest! I understand that still I have to do grown-uppy things. After work, I ran, ate dinner, and did dishes. But I also decided to style my hair in a faux-hawk, add glitter to my nail polish, broke out all of my colored pens to write out some outlines for upcoming blog posts (black ink is so boring!), and will probably pop in a movie after I finish writing, staying up way too late. Why? Well, just because. 

*Note how I never wanted to be a nurse or a doctor or anything that meant somebody else's life depended on me. 

**The other grown-uppy things I did this evening included not eating ice cream for dinner and making my "to-do" list for the upcoming week... So maybe it is too late and I am already all-growed-up... Alas.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Things I Tell Myself

I made myself a chocolate milkshake this evening, complete with real ice cream.

I threw in a spoonful of peanut butter because that is how I rock and roll on Saturday nights.

I will call my milkshake my "Sanity Instiller." Or maybe "Soul Food." And tell myself that since the milkshake was created for sanity's sake, its calories will be easier to burn.

Madam Feisty

I tried talking myself into a stellar day this morning. While I pounced on the day with attitude, I still ended up having to deal with troublesome visitors. Well, really just one troublesome lady. This particular elderly lady felt the need to feistily challenge me after her walk through the museum. "How do you know what you are saying is true and how do I know you aren't just making that up?" she asked. Then she decided an underhanded insult would be a comfort by telling me how she learned anybody who uses the phrase "that is a good question" does not actually know answers. I cleared my throat many times while maintaining my fake, Barbie smile on my face.

"Well, ma'am, we have been trained in the history and I have read many books about the topic. I am not just making it up."

"You are just saying those things so I leave you alone."

I answered in the negative, that it was my job, (but, yes, all while wishing on the inside that she would have left me alone). Then I wouldn't have felt so shaken after she left. "You don't like your job, do you?" she asked.

Ma'am. I work hard and I do not make stuff up. I usually do like my job, contrary to my elderly lady visitor friend's perception, I just have a harder time when grilled by the brutal intensity of an eighty-two year old. I understand my role as a public servant and want to do my very best. I would like to think under the circumstances, I handled myself well. But I am definitely fighting the urge to go find, buy, and drink a large chocolate milkshake to salve my wounded pride.

I still might go do that. All in the name of sanity.

Fair Warning to the World

I woke up to Joan Jett's Bad Reputation playing. Day, you are mine.

I feel like little things keep kicking me, trying to get me down. Sometimes I let those things bother me too much. Sometimes those things require a lot more resiliency than I think I have. Sometimes the little things add up so when big things hit, I can't hardly manage. But I'm not dead, yet. Nope. I woke up this morning (again). The sun rose (again). The birds are chirping (again). And I have made myself a cup of very strong coffee. Nope. Not dead, yet.

Keep it up, World! I know I have got an amazing life and that you can't take away hope. So throw what you've got at me. I will just keep singing.

What doesn't kill me makes me stronger.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ahh! Nature!

An unnamed reader suggested posting a picture of the lizards, practically daring me. Suggesting that I won't do something only means I am going to do it. Said unnamed reader should know this by now.

I told these guys to get a room, but they didn't listen.

New Goal: Update

I decided to log in to tumblr using an account I created eons ago and never actually used to ask the creator of the Rangers Pointing at Things if I can contribute. Doncha know he posted my question. So much for stealthily meeting my destiny and getting myself posted on that website.

It will still happen. Wait for it.

New Goal

"Shoot for the moon and if you miss, you will land among the stars." -my paraphrased quote from a million versions of inspirational quotes similar to this one.

I want to be on this website. It is my new goal. Wait for it. It will happen.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Oh, those lizards

The park I work at hosts several "cultural camps" for varying ages over the course of the summer. This week, we have a gaggle of 6 to 8 year olds, exploring, learning, and playing. During our break, the campers have a choice between playing kickball or staying with the ranger, hula hooping (the campers hula hoop- it turns out the uniform interferes with rangers getting quality hula hoop time). The campers who opt for the hula hoop time also tend to "find" things. Like snails. And dead cicadas covered in ants. And lizards. Oh, those lizards. It wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact that the campers like to share their discoveries. "Hey, look here Ranger Elizabeth!" And I can't deny a child's exploration, so I choke down the gross vibes and feign interest. "You are right, Johnny! That IS a cool looking caterpillar!" [gag]

This morning, I heard several comments about the lizards. Oh, those lizards. Campers tend to be particularly fascinated by the brilliantly green reptiles. I had noticed that the lizards seemed to move a little slow and the campers commented accordingly. Then I heard one or two campers mention that the lizards were shedding. "There was this weird thing on it," one little girl described to me. "Mm-hmm," I reply. "That's neat." Then another little girl said, "here is one with two! This one is helping that one!"

What? What is she talking about?

I walked over to investigate. Now, I am no lizard-ologist, but I have seen enough National Geographic Explorer shows in my lifetime to figure out what the two lizards were doing. Explorer Elizabeth wanted to use this moment to share about the Circle of Life. But Awkward Elizabeth beat her, knowing that I was not ready to have a Circle of Life conversation with a 6 year old. 

"Yep, two lizards! How about a hula hoop contest!?"

Oh, those lizards.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Blogging x2

Once upon a time when I mentioned to my [awesomest] brother-in-law [ever] that I wanted to start a second blog, he commented that oftentimes trying to maintain two of something would create extra work (and he did not want to see this one suffer). I told him that I would have no problem maintaining two, just wait and see.

So now I feel if I post on my other blog, I have to post on this one, too. Because I have this irritating habit of trying to prove that I am right. I assure you, all-who-know-me-personally, I do not like this trait about myself. But if I said I can maintain two blogs, by thunder I can maintain two blogs!

He was right that I have created extra work for myself, but I enjoy stretching my history/interpreter muscles writing for my other blog. And I enjoy having a place where I can write whatever I want to write here. I also enjoy warm cookies from the oven, playing in ocean waves, and reading engrossing novels while snuggled under blankets when it is storming outside.

Friday, July 6, 2012


I didn't grow up with an average home. I did not have one home town and with the exception of our stint in Japan, I did not live in any one house longer than 2 years. "Where are you from?" Sometimes I say "everywhere," sometimes I say "nowhere," and sometimes I say "I am an Army Brat" and that seems to suffice. So where is home? I think everybody's definition of home is different and I imagine it can change over the course of a lifetime. For me right now, home is where my heart beats happy. For this past week, that was in west Tennessee.

I decided to surprise my sister with a visit. Original plans included her and her husband visiting me in Louisiana. Unfortunately, work schedules did not permit them to come and we sent a few lamenting text messages back and forth about the situation, sad to be apart for the first time in several years on the fourth of July. Then I thought "why don't I just go up there?!" I shot a text message to my [awesomest] brother-in-law [ever] and got an affirmative. I would go and surprise her.

The visit has been fun and relaxing. I am very comfortable around my family and I know they are comfortable around me. I have made enough visits here that I consider this place a home. Well, that and the fact that I am loved here. My heart beats happy here. My short-but-pleasant visit recharged me. Bring on the rest of summer! I am ready for whatever it is you are going to throw at me.

P.S. Thanks Sister and [Awesomest] Brother-in-Law [Ever] for letting me crash at your place! And I am sorry for shoving 11 cookies into your VCR. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

come on, creativity

Sometimes when I sit down to write, I can't think of anything to write about. I believe this is called "writer's block." My disciplined self wants to write, understanding you only get better at sometime with practice. My creative self wants to write, too, but sometimes lacks inspiration. I don't think I have a muse. I don't even know where I get my inspiration. As I have mentioned before, I used to use this blog as a place to get my writing juices flowing before I would work on my thesis. So my motivation to write here came from my motivation to finish my thesis. But I don't necessarily know where I got my inspiration.

I like to see creativity in its many forms. I am currently visiting with my sister and [awesomest] brother-in-law [ever]. They are fans of geeky stuff like comics and gaming (a different kind of geeky than me). I may not be a fan of the geeky stuff like they are, but I do appreciate the creativity behind the stories, the art, and the overall engagement that happens among the geekiness. I wonder where those folks (the writers, the designers, the artists, etc.) get their creativity from?

I suppose philosophers have been wondering about this for centuries. Where does creativity come from? I can't say "it just happens" but sometimes it just does. So when it just doesn't happen, I feel stuck. Come on, creativity! I need you to happen.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

I thought of something else

Running the Rock 'N Roll half marathon in New Orleans was another positive thing about the first half of 2012.

An Intermission Day

Farewell, First Half of 2012!

You most certainly have not been my favorite six-month period, though I will give you credit for not being the worst six-month stretch of my life. Highlights include: trips to Tennessee, a trip to Texas, and my trip to DC/Gettysburg. Sorry, Louisiana. Can we just agree to remain professional acquaintances, complete with awkward acknowledgements when we cross paths? I am recording these past 180 days as "learning experiences," and leave them where they belong- in my past.

Greetings, Second Half of 2012!

Don't let me down! I am looking forward to what you present me, while trying not to set my sights too high. Maybe if I have low expectations, then anything you throw at me will be a good thing. And the "anything you throw at me" part is not a challenge. But I am ready. So go ahead and bring it. Tomorrow is only a day away.