Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I think I am a pretty nervous person, in some situations. I thought it might be related to my previous employment situations (see post from yesterday), but now I think it's more likely an ingrained personality trait.

I am a terrible cuticle- and hangnail-chewer. Terrible. It doesn't help that I have the World's Driest Skin on my hands. And when I am nervous about something (or a couple of somethings...) my fingers automatically go to my mouth. I hate it, I know it looks awful and unprofessional, and I have a heck of a time stopping. I managed to for our wedding...not sure why that worked when it hasn't so many other times.

I mean, I'm a health care provider, for heaven's sakes. I know just what germs and nastiness are on my hands (even after I wash them). It's frustrating to me that I can't just stop this behavior.

Right now I am nervous about the email I just sent to my old boss, replying to her snarky comment from yesterday. I'm also nervous about a meet and greet tonight, which might give me some leads on part-time jobs. I'm anxious about whether we should do any home improvements this year, or whether we should just count our blessings (thank you, tax refund) and wait. I'm nervous about the talk I have to give Saturday morning. I could go on, really, I could.

Chew, chew, chew...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cutting ties

This isn't particularly related to life in the great Midwest, but it is related to the fact that we wound up here after I had some interesting experiences trying to leave my previous position. The person I worked for had a difficult time, we'll just say, letting me go. She wanted me to stick around long after my work there was completed - at my own expense, and with my husband already halfway across the country, in our new home. For the second time in my life, I put my foot down, declared that this was not the way things were going to be, and left when I wanted to. While our relationship suffered a bit at the beginning, recently, her communications have been more cordial. Every now and then, though, her emails go completely off the deep end. And then I have to figure out how to respond, if at all.

This is only the most recent difficulty I've had in these sorts of situations...leaving my previous job was an exercise in futility. 3.5 years later, I still can't believe that I tried to resign from that position at least three times before I was successful. My boss simply refused to accept my resignation. Granted, the situation was complicated by the fact that I was in school, and we had a relationship that went beyond just a simple boss-employee relationships. But still. It certainly did not need to be that hard.

Both of these episodes occurred at the same employer, so I am left wondering...Is it me? Or is it that employer? Because I could make the argument that I had a difficult time standing my ground, or that I wasn't able to make my needs clear. But I could also make the counter argument that this was an extremely toxic employer, and both of these individuals were merely acting in ways that are accepted in that environment.

Either way, I am reminded periodically of what life was like before, and what life is like now...and I realize how much happier - and calmer! - I am now. But, of course, I still have to deal with crap in occasional emails....and even though I love where I am now, that is not easy.

Monday, March 23, 2009


So, we took a drive in the country yesterday. In our new home, this isn't that difficult to accomplish. Take two lefts, and then at the "T", take a right. After about, oh, 100 yards, poof! Country!

I had wanted to see where this road led for a while...if you take it in the other direction, as I do a million times a week, you head into town. But I'd never gone past the few houses that you can see from the intersection where we turn to get to our house. So yesterday my wonderful husband humored me and took me on a drive.

Seriously, it was 3 minutes, maybe? and we were in the middle of farms. I'd heard that our current home state has people living on only 5% of the land. The other 95%? Agriculture and farms. After our drive yesterday, I completely believe it. I also learned last week that the population of the county we lived in for the past 2.5 years (Back East, as they say here...and yes, it is capitalized) is now around 1 million. That is 1/3 of the population of our new home state. I never thought I would love living in a rural state as much as I do. I love driving past the fields, seeing who has started the spring burn, which farms have their cows and hogs out, which farmhouses have been remodeled...

Of course, our lovely drive in the country led us in a big circle, until we ended up at our local mall, where we indulged in a Sunday lunch at a large chain restaurant. So it's not like we live in the middle of's just that the country? Is a lot closer here than it's ever been for me. And I really, really love it.

Friday, March 20, 2009


I have been walking around (and sometimes, dancing around) all week with a smile on my face. Not that I'm usually a depressed kind of person - but this week has been especially spectacular.

In bullets...because that's how I think...

  • It's spring break! Because I left campus to do my dissertation research, I haven't had a spring break in...huh. Actually, it's been since college, since during my coursework I would work during all of my breaks. Not that I haven't done any work, but I've only done a little each day, I only had one meeting, and it's been much more relaxed than usual.
  • We got a tax refund. Ordinarily, this would completely tick me off. However, we were fretting just Monday evening about what we would do if we owed thousands and thousands of dollars. What with moving, job changes, and buying the house, we were really concerned that we would owe. A Lot. So, to hear that we waaaay overpaid, and that we would be getting money back? A gift. We're thrilled that we'll be able to spiff up our savings account. Yay!
  • But we did splurge a teeny bit, and bought a chair we'd been contemplating for the living room. We had a huge open space and seating for 4 - including 3 on the couch. They just delivered it and it looks so nice.
  • They delivered it the day after we bought it. This is something I love about living in a small town. No waiting a week for delivery. And, we got to deal with the really nice people who sold us the rest of our LR furniture.
  • On a funny note, though - when we went in to ponder chairs on Saturday, the salesperson remembered us. And our furniture. And where we live. Hm.
  • A long dinner with friends on Wednesday night. As in, four hours. At a local restaurant that just reopened after flooding last summer. It was fantastic - good food, good friends, good conversation. She is newly pregnant, so we were celebrating that. But it was just a nice reminder of the fabulous friends we have, and how much fun it is to spend time with them.
  • MARCH MADNESS!! I love love love college b-ball season, and this is my favorite weekend of the year. And, since it's spring break, I've been feeding my addiction. My brackets (2 pools, one family, one family+friends) stink, but really? The fun is in the watching. I even root for upsets when it's going to mess up my brackets. So. Much. Fun.
  • Random thought...what do rumble strips feel like in a buggy?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


It's spring break this week, so things around here are rather quiet. We've also had absolutely gorgeous weather for the last few days, and it's been such a treat to go out without a coat! or gloves! or a hat! Although a woman on the bus had all a coat, gloves, hat, and scarf when it was 50 degrees outside. But I digress...

So I've been taking advantage of spring break (no classes! no meetings!) to clean up a bit around the house. We moved here in stages, given some restrictions put on me by my last place of work, and things have been piled up and generally disorganized for way too long.

I've been working on the extra bedroom, which, if we should ever have children (and that is not looking very likely) would be a kid's room. It's now a catch-all for all the random stuff without a home. Yesterday I spent an hour organizing toiletries. We don't have to buy band-aids for about 5 years. Good grief.

On Monday, I found my old journals. I wrote in a journal most nights from about 7th grade through right about when I met my husband. I now type faster than I write - and, to be honest, my writing is pretty messy - so I have a private blog that functions as a journal for me. Once I found the journals, though, I just had to sit down and read through some of them. I know which ones are really old and which ones are more recent. So I went back to 7th grade.

I have no idea how my parents didn't give up and leave me on the side of the road. Seriously. I was such. a. twit. I spent waaaay too much time arguing with them, wondering what other people thought of me, worrying about the "cool kids" in school, and having crushes on boys. Sheesh. I'm sure everyone goes through this - but it really hit home to me, reading my 12-year-old self's musings.

I guess it just goes to show that, eventually, everything works itself out. The boy I had the crush on? Happily married to his high school girlfriend. The "cool kids"? Well, I was never one of them but I think I'm doing just fine. And most of them are doing just fine, too. Worrying what other people thought of me? I am still working on that one, but I think I'm finally comfortable in my own skin.

And it's only taken me 21 years.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


So, I have often wondered what it must be like to be beautiful. I have never considered myself to have one of those faces that stop traffic (in a good way) or attract a lot of attention (also in a good way). But I look around during the course of my days here, and I see a lot of people who I consider to be absolutely, stunningly, beautiful.

And I wonder...what must it be like to be gorgeous? What is it like to have a face and a body that are a 10 on society's beauty scale? I have never turned heads, but I have also never had to wonder whether people like me for who I am or what I look like. I have never had to deal with unwanted attention. Others have never been jealous of me because of my appearance. But at the same time, I have also been the girl out with her friends who doesn't get any attention from the opposite sex (my personal preference; although I've never gotten any attention from lesbians, either, now that I think about it). I have learned that for me, my brain is what is going to help me make it or break it in my life. And sometimes that can be tiring. At the same time, though, I am perfectly comfortable going out to walk the dog in grubby clothes. I don't feel compelled to wear makeup on a daily (or even, um, a weekly) basis. Days when I am at home I don't dry my hair. But do I get in a I wear baggy clothes...because I know that no one out there (other than my husband) will look twice?

So I wonder...about what it must be like to be beautiful.

And I am glad that no one I know - or really, anyone at all - will read this. Because I know what they would say - it's how we all respond when someone says "I wonder what it would be like to be be be thin..." Nearly always? the other person tries to convince the speaker that s/he is beautiful...or just the right height...or thin enough. I'm not interested in that. This post is more of a...huh...there are people out in the world whose faces could likely stop traffic (in a good way). And I do wonder what life is like for them.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


So, I love license plates. Particularly vanity plates. I think I get this nerdy tendency from my father. We both enjoy trying to figure out what vanity plates mean - and if they are incomprehensible, well, that takes away from some of my fun. I extend this to other license plates...our little rectangular state in the middle of the country still uses three letters at the end of its license plates. It's amazing how many words and/or phrases you can make up from those three letters.

Yesterday, I saw ###-FZZ. Fizz. What an excellent license plate. I liked my old one because it was ###-MTO...made to order. You see where I'm going here? I do it every time I pull up behind a car at a light. Seriously, I'm a nerd.

Most of the vanity plates around here have something to do with the University in town, using some variant of the mascot name. I see the same ones around town and in the parking ramp - something I love about living in a smaller town. There is the occasional plate from the rival University a few hours away. Those plates usually poke fun at our University - all in good fun, I'm sure - so they're also fun to try to decipher.

But the kicker had to be the plate I saw the other day when driving to pick up my husband at the airport (20 minutes away! Have I mentioned how much I love living here??) It was a University vanity plate. And it read:


Seriously. Stalker. Dude, time to think up a new license plate, because really? I'm not sure that's the impression you want to be giving.