Archive for December, 2010

31 December, 2010

In the Coming Years

I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions. The idea of them is nice enough, and I don’t have any trouble making them. But the follow-through is something else entirely. I’ve always thought it had something to do with the wording. It’s alarmingly easy to say that you’re going to “be nicer” to people you don’t like. But what does that actually entail? Not throwing them under a bus? Only sending them one dead rat per week instead of two? And you have to do it in a year. What’s up with that? Some people take a lifetime to love.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that your mind will trick you into believing you’re making progress, if you give it half a chance. This is probably why I always THINK that my papers are well on their way to being written, until I sit down to “finish” them the night before they’re due – and then discover that I’ve really only written about four paragraphs. Tricks and lies, I tell you, from the imp of the mind.

But back to New Year’s.

I think that the principle behind resolutions is a great one. The beginning of a new year is a wonderful time to take stock of where you are in life and what you want. To remind yourself of the goals that you have, and to let go of the things that are holding you back. It’s also a good time to think of your friends and family, and what you hope for them.

I wouldn’t call them resolutions – just reminders. And so…

In the coming years, I hope to continue studying Russian and working towards my goal of fluency. I want to go to grad school, and to work as a TA under Dr. Garza. I want to get my Doctorate degree. I’ll never forgive myself if I don’t do it, and I’m not one for living with regrets that I can prevent.

In the coming years, I hope to find someone to share my life.

In the coming years, I hope to be able to travel, and to visit all of the places I read about. Moscow. Edinburgh. Transylvania. I hope to have adventures.

In the coming years, I would like to write something that people want to read.

In the coming years, I hope for success in our OCD groups – both professionally and personally, for myself, and for others. I hope for progress and peace in everyone who comes to meetings. I hope that our group will be able to reach people who need help, and provide them with that help.

In the coming years, I hope to let go of the fears I have about disappointing people. I hope that, someday, my own decision is enough for me. I want to work towards not letting other people have power over my happiness.

In the coming years, for my friends, I hope for success. I want to see Kelly writing again. Really writing. I want to see Jenny enjoying her job as a nurse, and Una finding a vet clinic where she is really happy. I want to see Dan in college. I want to see Mellie telling anxiety to go to hell. I hope for all of them that they see they have the strength already to do whatever they want to do.

And while it’s good to be nicer to your enemies, in the coming years, I hope to be nicer to my friends. This means I’ll only send them one dead rat per month! It’s a bargain. But really – I’m a bear to be around sometimes. It wouldn’t kill me to go a little easier on people.

No deadlines, no pressure… just some things to think about.

As for tonight? Well, I’ll be dressing like a hooker and going to a party. I did say I wanted adventure, right?



29 December, 2010


There’s just something about walking into a clean apartment. It’s the reason I spend so much time cleaning before I go anywhere. It gives me a warm, contented feeling.

As nice as it was to spend time with the parental units, I am very happy to be home. It’s blessedly quiet here. I know where everything is. I can crawl under my covers and sleep until noon if I want, without feeling guilty that I’m leaving others or forcing them to be quiet because I’m asleep. (Okay, it’s not like anyone has to do that much anyway. I sleep like the dead.) Still. It’s just nice to be home. It smells like me – the candles I put out.  Don’t get me wrong – I do miss ma and pa and the puppies. Cooper misses Hawkie and Tucker. Mom misses Cooper. (He is awfully cuddly.) But it’s kind of like wearing high heels. You like doing it every once in awhile – but you really love getting back into your old tennis shoes too.

I guess it answers my question about where home really is. You know it when you leave it. You crave it. Two nights ago, I had a dream about being home and when I woke up, I was actually disappointed that I wasn’t here.

I had intended to stay in like a hermit this evening. I told Kelly I wasn’t going anywhere, unless there was steak involved, and alas, she did not find steak at the grocery store.

Really, I didn’t lie.

There was steak involved. Lots of steak.

Another reason I love being home is because here, my Awesome Neighbors walk by and say “we’re going out to a Brazilian steak house – want to come?” And I say yes, because it’s an adventure I haven’t ever had before. And because I’ve been wearing sweatpants for the last week, and the chance to put on real clothes and, dare I say it, dress up, makes me salivate.

And because tomorrow, I’ll be home too, and I can be a hermit then. Or the next day.

Brazilian steak houses, by the way, are awesome. I had ribeye, sirloin, filet, and pork ribs – all in one night. This place deserves a review of its own though, so that’s all I’ll say about it for now.

Now, I’m back. Sitting quietly on my bed, getting ready to fall into a book until I pass out. Now, the winter break has truly begun.


28 December, 2010

Kindle Love

Ahhh, my precious… my darling… my beautiful, little charcoal grey box of literature and possibilities. My electronic ticket to lands far, far away.

(Makes it sound a little like an electronic boarding pass, doesn’t it? Maybe I should revise.)

Anyway… ahem…

To My Kindle

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

Your 3-G network can reach, when wi-fi is out of sight.

For it’s the end of being an unconnected disgrace.

I love thee to the level of everyday’s

Desire to read, by sun or book-light.

I download freely, without copyright;

I love thee purely, as I sing your praise.

I love thee with a plan to put you to use

With the old favorites of my childhood days.

I love thee! –With your bookmarks, knowing I will no longer lose

My page number or my place, — I love thee with the passion

From romances I have read, of all my life! — and, if God choose,

I shall but love thee better with each new book release.


Kindle Notes:

I now have a total of 35 books downloaded to my Kindle, most from marvelous free sites like Project Gutenberg and Project Gutenberg Australia. These sites house books that are in the public domain. Hint: The Australia site has books published between 1923 and 1935 that aren’t available on the US site. I’ve also perused the Kindle store’s free section and downloaded a couple of books that look promising. In short, my Kindle is loaded and ready to go. (Free audiobook versions of these classics can be downloaded from Librivox – also playable on the Kindle.)

I’m using Calibre for management, and really liking what it can do. It’s great for converting my downloaded .epub files into Kindle-friendly .mobi files. Really, it’s like the iTunes of e-books. Great tool.

Kindle’s text-to-speech robot voice is surprisingly good. I will always choose to hear a book rather than read it myself if I have the option, because I absolutely love being able to close my eyes and just go into the story. (This method not to be employed while driving. It is generally frowned upon to shut one’s eyes while operating a motor vehicle.) But seriously, the robot voice is much better than the text-to-speech robots on my Mac. What this means for me is that I might finally make it all the way through Gone With The Wind.

I love love love love LOVE the 3G network, and the fact that I don’t need wi-fi to connect to the internet. What THIS means for me is that I will no longer have to incur data charges for net usage on my cell phone. I can simply use my Kindle.

The built in dictionary is impressive and it’s really cool that I can simply move the cursor to any word within the text I’m reading and have a definition pop up on screen.

I may propose marriage to my Kindle any day now.

My iPod is jealous. (It shouldn’t be. It still has a very important place in my life.)

It’s true… I’m a technology junkie.

Now, if you’ll excuse me… Mr. Harker and his vampiric encounters await my presence. It wouldn’t really be polite to leave them waiting.



27 December, 2010

Confessions of a Nail Biter

I should say up front that there will be typos. Oh, boy, will there ever be typos. Already, I’ve typed out “cinfessions” and “tyos.” And this is only the beginning, I’m sure. See, I’ve given into my vanity – as I do about twice a year – and plastered on some fake nails. They’re fabulous. Pink and pretty. Of course, I can’t do anything in them. I can’t pick stuff up. I can’t open doors. I can’t open tabs on soft drink cans. Most of all, I can’t type. Not without serious typos.

This is what happens when you’ve spent twenty-one years as a nail biter.

I admit it. I’m jealous of people who have long nails. My mother. My friends. My world lit professor, whose long, beautiful nails are always painted black. Every day I’d go to class and stare down at my own hands, and feel the indescribable urge to hide them in my sleeves or sit on them. Nicely manicured nails = put together and professional. My nails? More like “high functioning anxiety sufferer with oral fixation issues.”

Thank God I’m not Freudian. I’d really be in trouble.

Why, then, don’t I just stop biting them? It’s an excellent question, and I am prepared to pay handsomely for the answer. Lord knows I’ve tried. I’ve painted on the nasty tasting nail polish. I’ve dipped my fingers in pepper. Short of wearing rubber gloves 24/7 (which I’ve also done for other reasons), I’ve tried everything imaginable to keep my fingers out of my mouth.

Even the OCD hasn’t been able to win the Battle of the Bite. I KNOW how many germs get on my hands. I know that putting my fingers in my mouth constantly is likely to lead to more sickness. I totally get how counterproductive it is to wash my hands and follow it up by chewing on my fingers. But the nail biting lives on, complete with bloody cuticles and nail beds.

If only I could apply that kind of drive to other areas of my life. If I persisted in studying the way I persist in nail biting, I’d have been a college graduate three times over now.

So, what do you do?

Most of the time, I pretend that I don’t care. I figure that the jagged nails go along with my image as eccentric, offbeat, and dysfunctional. And when I’m really bored, I buy a package of the fake ones and glue them on.

Most of the time, they don’t last the night. For the uninitiated, fake nails hurt. At least, they hurt me. They pull on my already damaged nail beds. They get caught on things because I don’t know what to do with them and they rip off. And once one of them goes, that’s it. I start to work on the other nine, and it provides hours of entertainment.

I’m not sure entertainment is the right word. It’s more like one of those 3D puzzles where you try to get something large out of something small, and you curse at it and throw it against a wall a few times over until you finally get it out. Then you swear you’ll never do another puzzle like that again. That’s how it is with me and these nails. I put them on, rip them off, and swear I’ll never do it again.

But I will. You and I both know it.

Chalk it up to my neuroses. The desire to look as if I’m all together overrides my common sense. It is responsible for my wearing heels to campus even though I can be sure that I’ll come home with blisters. It’s responsible for my staying up half the night making sure that my homework is mistake free, even when the homework is only credit/no-credit and will be read by a TA instead of my professor. There’s just something about me that won’t allow me to give people a reason to think that I’m not right on top of things.

This, by the way, is probably why I bite my nails in the first place.

Who can live up to that kind of internal pressure?

Really, sometimes I just don’t make sense to myself. As for why I did this today… well, there’s no one in Lockhart to care whether or not my hands look nice, so I’m going to blame the spectacular lack of sleep thanks to last night’s noise pollution, and the brain cell death caused by 24/7 TV exposure.

Yup. That’s it.

When all else fails – blame the parents.