September 28, 2008

A Mere 206

Back in early March, I posted about my cop-out on a much needed dentist appointment. I ended the post with this statement:

Wonder how many days it will take to actually reschedule it?

It took 206. Well, it took 203 days to make the phone call and an extra 3 to get in for an appointment (a cancellation). It was still way longer than it should have taken.

I will admit that I have horrible follow through at times. I forget to reschedule canceled appointments; I struggle to remember to return phone calls; I take forever to respond to emails. I've gotten so that I put things as tasks in my Outlook calendar, complete with reminder alarms and everything, so that I remember to do them.

Good news is that my teeth still look great. No cavities -- which I think is pretty impressive for being 30 years old! -- and the cracking on the enamel is minimal and nothing to be concerned about.

Downside to last Friday's visit was that it took the hygienist almost an hour to clean my teeth. My mouth was so incredibly sore the rest of the day. Thankfully the office has tv's on the ceiling above all the chairs so the patients can keep themselves occupied. Hopefully the next trip won't take nearly so long and won't be as painful. I suppose it is my punishment for going almost 1000 days between dentist appointments.

And yes. I scheduled my next visit before I even left the office.

September 24, 2008

Exercising My Rights

Regardless of whom I'm voting for, and what my stance on all of the propositions are...isn't it more important that I am voting at all? Isn't my mere desire to vote more important than the fact that I'm thinking about voting by absentee ballot because it truly is a struggle to take KT places on some days?

The last thing I want is for her to be having a bad day and I end up trying to drag a defiant, strong-willed toddler to the polling place where everyone looks at me like the evil-incarnate of Satan for letting her scream and distracting them.


But yet, I'm subtly criticized for opting to vote by absentee ballot. That's fantastic if you (generalizing, not pointing fingers at anyone specifically) have kids that are well behaved enough to take places and you can go fulfill your civic duty. I've had to walk out of the post office within minutes of getting in line due to tantrums and meltdowns because she's not allowed to run around freely.

I know there's a chance I can walk right in and barely wait at the polling place. But there's also a chance that she'll be screaming in the car before we even set foot on the asphalt of the parking lot. Or there's a chance that the lines will dictate me waiting with a ticking time bomb of a toddler. I do not want to risk not voting because of her unpredictability.

This state is swayed so far right, that it doesn't particularly matter if I vote or not (in terms of the presidential ballot). But I will because it's my right and I strongly believe in exercising that right.

I'll instill a sense of civic and community duty in my daughter when she's old enough to understand what's going on. And old enough to wait quietly with me in line. If that makes me a poor citizen then oh, well. I can live with that on my conscience.


Yeah, I know. Many of you who know me in real life would argue that I could never be normal. It's all relative.

Tuesday nights I weigh in before working out. I wasn't expecting much of a loss, but was pleasantly surprised to see more than a pound (not much more, but still more) lost in the last 7 days.

Because of this...


This feels like a huge accomplishment. I'm so very slightly in the normal range that it's kind of funny but I'm there. I'm getting to where I want to be.

September 23, 2008

Letters to the Editor

One of the perks to my job is that I'm continuing to lengthen my publications list. My hope is that this will come in extremely handy when I begin searching for my next position.

When many people think of a job in research, they don't see a connection with writing. They envision people working in labs wearing funny goggles and crisp white lab coats.

Our research is so different from that. We plant seeds in fields, we look at different fertilizer rates, different ways of irrigating crops, crop rotations -- all in an attempt to minimize chemical applications, maximize water efficiency and help producers be sustainable.

No matter what the basis, research needs to be published to avoid it being repeated time and time again. Lengthy publications lists make researchers look accomplished and it helps to bring in funding.

So in our downtime I write. And write. And then edit and write some more. I actually enjoy doing it. I don't necessarily see myself as a "writer" but it comes with the territory of the job and it makes me more marketable.

Up until recently, all of my publications were in scientific journals. Stuff that is not read by most people; only looked up when someone is doing research themselves and needs to know what has already been done. I have my name on 9 journal articles (2 of which I'm the main author, the other 7 I'm a co-author). They're excellent to have on my publications list but they're not always practical if that makes sense.

Earlier this summer we put together a magazine article for an industry publication highlighting our project. It was published in September's magazine and it made me giddy to see the article in print. To actually be in a material that people READ! That everyday farmers might read and pay attention to! When the magazine came in the mail, I danced around the kitchen like a teenager who had just been kissed for the first time. Our article was even listed on the front cover! And I was the main author with my picture in the front under the section for the contributors...

In the grand scheme of things, a magazine article isn't viewed very highly, especially in research. To date though, it's been one of the greatest accomplishments in my career.

September 22, 2008

DIY Weekend

I'm the type of person who hates paying people to do something I could do myself. I'm sure this is a HUGE surprise to some of you. Sometimes, it is easier, and worth the money, to just pay to have it done (oil changes, as of late) but it still bugs me to see that transaction on the bank statement.

Sometimes though, I just can't justify the amount of money spent on things.

Our dogs grow fur like crazy. I honestly think that Logan must be part bear due to the amount of fur that sprouts from his skin. When I sweep my floors daily to keep the fur bunnies from attacking our feet as we eat meals at the table, I know the dogs need a haircut. To take both of them to the groomer costs us close to $80, not including a tip.
Alas! I have clippers. How hard can it be?



Dakota was boycotting getting his picture taken this morning. He's not a morning person.

Truth be told, it isn't as easy as one would think. Or as easy as I originally thought. I'm still glad I did it myself and will continue to do it in the future. Logan's fur is weird, the texture(s) that is. You can't just put a guard on the clippers and run it up along his back -- they bog down. So you have to comb through it, grabbing a chunk of fur with the comb and then clipping that off. Sometimes in short increments to avoid the clippers screeching in protest. It's tedious. But 3 hours of work (it would be less if I had a grooming table and the ability to work non-stop) is well worth saving almost $100. I kid you not, there was half a trash can full of dog hair when all was said and done. Perhaps they needed haircuts a month ago. *oops*
Since my birthday I've also made a conscious effort to devout more time to my sewing/craft projects. I bought a new project book that is fantastic. This is the first project that I tackled over the weekend. It's a knitting needle roll.

I love how it turned out! The ever-present OCD in me means that as soon as I finished I came up with 4 ideas on how to make the next ones better. One benefit to my tweaking is that it makes it more "mine" and less the design of someone else.

September 20, 2008

Going Down, Down, Down

I haven't posted much lately about my WW progress. And I have been asked (thanks, Kris!) so I figured this was as good of a time as any to update.

The last couple of weeks have been hard to stay on track.

12 hour days driving from field to field to dig holes in the middle of nowhere doesn't leave much room for staying on track diet wise. We eat what we can, when we can and it usually entails something pushed through your car window that is wrapped in paper to contain the grease.

My water intake was at a miserable minimum as well. I drank what I needed to wash the dust out of my mouth, the grit out of my teeth and to give me the energy to dig another pit. Many of those days, I was the only female in the group. The only female amongst the most conservative (and gentlemanly!) guys I have ever and will ever know. You put me and them out in the middle of this potato country and there's no question why I limit my water consumption. Until you live out West, you don't understand how you can stand next to a vehicle and see FOR MILES. Miles without a tree to squat behind or even a shrub to help conceal my business. In that case, I'll hold it as long as I can. Which means drinking about 20 ounces of water when in the company of these men.

My days at the gym have been limited too. That hasn't been such an issue though. The bruises smattering my arms and legs attested to the hard labor. Hauling 5-gallon buckets of soil halfway across a field; digging trenches 12" deep and 20' long; hoisting 50 pound burlap sacks of potatoes in the bed of a pickup -- yeah, that beats a gym workout any day.

Through it all though, I keep inching closer and closer to my goal.

In 6 weeks I've lost almost 11 pounds. I have 6 left to get to my goal weight, so I'm 2/3's of the way there.

With the loss of just over a single pound, my BMI will drop to a point that will no longer classify as overweight. For the first time in as long as I can remember I will be "normal". It's nice to see that looming so closely.

My thighs are getting smaller, just not at the same rate as other parts of my body. It's a start though. I know my body type and my thighs will always be bigger; they will never be playboy worthy. I'm sure they will always rub together when I walk, but that's okay, it will keep me warm in winter.

September 19, 2008

Dangerously Delicious

It took 846 days of living in this town for me to find the LONE candy shop.

The shop that makes the most decadent chocolate truffles.

The shop that gives out copious amounts of free samples.

Not only was I allowed to taste numerous truffles (I stopped at 2 and allowed KT to easily eat half of each piece), the gentleman in the shop allowed my wide-eyed toddler to choose a candy stick of her liking.

Without any question, in the 10 minutes we were inside it quickly became a place that I will frequent when I need to either fulfill my chocolate craving, or purchase tasty treats for others.

Thankfully it is on the other side of town or I can imagine that it would wreak havoc with my wallet and my waistline.

September 17, 2008

The End is in Sight

At least, it's much more clear now than it was.

The grant money that pays my salary is done next June. We had submitted a pre-application to the same agency for another project. Word came in just now that our pre-ap has been denied.

One of the 4 reviewers gave us a 30% score. That one irresponsible review probably threw us out of the running. He/She didn’t bother to give any specific details on the scoring (like the others did) and the only comment was “. . . . I can’t believe that this is new stuff”. My guess is that this person didn’t even read the proposal. One reviewer gave us a 98% and said that the proposal was the greatest.

This was my BIG hope for job security for another 2-3 years.

Damn. When the funding is gone, so will be my job.

This blows.

September 9, 2008

A Photo Journey

I figure that if I'm going to embarrass her, it's only fair that I embarrass myself as well...

New Year's Eve, 7th or 8th Grade

Freshman Year (1992)

Sophomore Year (1993)

Junior Year (1994/1995)

Senior Year

Senior Prom, 1996

Ode to the Baby

Today, the last person in my closest group of female friends hits the big 3-0!

Kristin and I have been friends for what seems like forever. Our friendship is the longest, consistent relationship (minus family of course) that I've had in my life and it means the world to me.

We met in Mrs. Geiger's 6th grade Language Arts/Literature class. As our school days went on, we formed a friendship that would serve to be invaluable for the rest of our lives. Although her fashion sense left a little to be desired at times (but what 6th grader in the late 80's really had good fashion sense anyways??), I quickly learned that she is an amazing person and fantastic friend.

High school brought more memories than I'll ever be able to recap. But suffice to say, those memories are peppered with Varsity basketball games (we kept stats for the team), 5 o'clock phone calls, Homecoming dances, the red LeBaron convertible, fashion shows and BOYS. Oh, the boys.

Our schedules were incredibly hectic and the circle of friends we individually "ran" with merged and separated over time but we always stayed close. All 4 years of High School we shared a locker, ensuring that we always stayed up to date with the current happenings of the other. Even if it was by eavesdropping on conversations.

4th of July in 1996, she introduced me to the first real love of my life. I was in a mess of stupid relationships (2 different guys at the same time, neither of which were worth the breath it took for me to say their names) and she called me to go to the fireworks with her, her boyfriend and one of her boyfriend's best friends. I hesitated to go, but desperately needed to get away from the drama in my love life. Little did I know that night would be the beginning of a relationship that would consume the next 27 months and help to define the rest of my life. The relationship that would begin to show me who I really was, what I really wanted in life, and that only I could go after the things I wanted.

When he and I broke up in '98, Kristin was still involved with his best friend. For the 1st time in over 10 years, our friendship fractured. It was too hard to stay in contact when her significant other thought I was the spawn of Satan.

A year later we picked back up. A semester in Nepal had brought me to C, and she had become involved with someone new as well. Within a few conversations we were back to where we had been years before, as though things had never changed.

3 years ago, we found ourselves in a place that changed both of our lives tremendously. I was battling with 2 miscarriages and she was pregnant, struggling to be considerate to my thoughts/feelings and yet make sure that I felt included in her excitement. That Fall rolled around and her extremely uneventful and easy pregnant took a turn and she found herself in and out of the hospital with complications. Baby Girl V wasn't due until February but kept threatening (pre-term labor) to make an early appearance. I jokingly said one day that I had a due date in December '06 that I wasn't going to use, that she could have it if she wanted. It was agreed upon that V needed to wait until much past that date to make her appearance.

Hours before my alarm was to go off on December 9th (the due date we had joked about), my phone rang with the news that turned a dreaded date into a joyous one. Victoria had made her appearance almost 12 weeks early and faced a challenging journey in the NICU unit after her birth.

Shortly after the Christmas holiday, I received a phone call that reduced me to a heap of tears in the parking lot of Wal-Mart in Pt. Huron, Michigan and talked of a cruel twist of fate that saved Kristin's life. Although my writing will never do it justice, it was discovered that much of Kristin's abdomen was full of infection and required a full hysterectomy (and more) to save her life. As Victoria was valiantly fighting in the NICU, Kristin and Rod were given the news that she would never have any biological siblings.

For many weeks after that phone call I cried. I cried for what Kris had been through; I cried for the journey they still faced with V's NICU stay; I cried for the incredible love shown by Rod; I cried for what they would never experience again. And I cried, time and time again for the simple reason that I still had my friend. That I have the chance to make more memories as our lives go on.

Happy Birthday, my wonderful friend. May today and the days forthcoming be filled with love, laughter and happiness. I'm so glad you've been given the opportunity to see today.

Technical difficulties are stopping me from posting more embarrassing pictures. They'll come within the next few days, I promise.

September 4, 2008

"Cancer Can Kiss My Ass"

It can kiss mine too.

One of my fellow "villagers" (thanks for that term, Jen) has been dealt a shitty hand. If I try to go into detail, my computer screen will merge into a blur of colors and lines from the blinding hot tears.

All we know for now is there are "lumps/enlargements". More than the lump she initially found on her neck. Now we wait for a definitive diagnosis and more importantly, a prognosis.

Damn, this sucks.

House of Waffles

There isn't any way to leave comments, but I'm sure she'll notice the increase in visitors and feel the support.