Saturday, December 29, 2007

Hola de españa!

We made it to Spain safe and sound. The flight got to Barcelona at 7am local time--but our brains were still at midnight, which was Arkansas time. We wandered around Barcelona and slept a tiny bit in the train station until we could take a late train to Madrid, where we arrived about 11 pm local time. After getting kicked out of the train station, we quickly found a sketchy (but much welcome, since we had so little sleep) hostel, where we gratefully crashed for 5 hours. It was our first real sleep since leaving Arkansas. We arrived in Torremolinos (the south of Spain, near Malaga) this morning, where we´re staying for a week in a neat little studio.

It´s pretty cool here. Lance loves all the pork products that he can eat as well as fish. I may not be able to talk him into getting back on the plane at the end of our stay--or me either! We´re having a great time. We did a little grocery shopping today, buying the staples: wine ($1.50 a bottle and good!), baguettes, and cheese, tuna for me and salty anchovies for Lance. We also walked on the beach, picking up shells and watching the Mediterranean flow in and out. I haven´t seen an ocean since I was a little girl, so that was pretty neat for me.

Well, internet time is limited and expensive, so adios for now.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Today, I made several calls to get everything prepped for our Spain trip. Like calling credit cards, printing out itineraries, e-mailing them to people, and making copies of passports*.

It's the last day of work before the holiday break, and the air is festive. And restless. We're all bouncing off the walls, though I'm not sure how much of that is the sugar consumption. The Dean just hinted loudly that we could leave early if we could live with that on our conscience. That may be up to my boss, though...

Well, back to do a little last minute work in hopes of getting the heck out of here a teensy bit early...I'll try to post while on vacation, but we shall see!

*I have the WORST passport photo EVER. I think I've talked about this before, but's awful. I weigh about 70 lbs less now than I did when I had the photo taken, so I pull it out to remind myself not to eat too much and get fat again.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bookish Things

My daily web browsing and Google Reader offerings have brought several different websites to my attention, so I thought I'd share them with you all.

First is a used book site, Alibris. Like Amazon's used books, Alibris coordinates independent sellers who might have what you're looking for. I've noticed that often their prices are cheaper than Amazon's (and the shipping is also standardized). And right now they are offering $2 off any order. I ordered a book from them, and I was pleased with the speed of shipping, which is sometimes lacking in Amazon's sellers. (Though I'm guessing it might vary). Basically, it offers an alternative place to look for used books should Amazon let you down or not have what you desire.

Now, have you ever desired to make your own paper? Recycle the paper that accumulates around you? This tutorial looks interesting, and I'm longing to try my hand at homemade paper for my bookbinding purposes...I guess I just gotta get someone handy to build me the frames for it!

If you're environmentally minded, recycling paper is great, but what about the paper that goes into all those books I purchase? All the textbooks that I need to buy? Eco-Libris offers a way to make up for the environmental impact of new books. For $1 each, you can buy a tree and balance out your paper consumption! I thought this was a pretty neat organization, so I wanted to pass it along.

And finally, do you want to read new books, but don't want to spend all that money for a book you'll maybe read once? The BookMooch is a program that allows you to trade books with other Book Mooches, creating a reading community and cutting down on consumption. It's a way to share good books, de-clutter your bookshelf, and get books you want to read with minimal cost. Woo! (Donna, aren't you using BookMooch or something similar?)

Anyway, that's some nice fruits from my web-browsing. Time to go home and make some books!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Setting Up House

Yesterday, I received a packet through campus mail. It was a paper I had written last spring for my literary theory class, graded with comments. I had earned a 95% on it--and the only fault he had with the paper was that I hadn't done much outside reading for it.

I do believe that was a paper I actually worked pretty hard on. It helped that we had to present a 10-page version of it, so all I had to do was expand and edit and incorporate feedback. A 95% is better than I was expecting, I think. I tend to feel like I don't deserve my A's (I got all A's again this fall) because I don't always put 100% of my effort into a given project or paper, and sometimes I slack off. Really, I'm probably just too hard on myself, but I still feel guilty for being rewarded so richly for not putting forth a whole lot of effort.

Going back and re-reading those papers has been enlightening. I like my academic writing style. It's clear and concise, and I sound confident and intelligent. As Emily says, my writing and style still needs a bit of polish and sophistication, but I'm starting to see how I can be good at this writing/publishing aspect of my chosen profession.

In other news, I've moved into my new space, and after 3 nights there, I'm in love. Not only is the layout better than my other apartment, not only do I have much more space, I'm now living alone (with my kitty), and we're both very happy. Rory (the kitty) is less stressed, I'm much more relaxed, and because I'm content, so is Lance. I still have a lot to unpack, but I managed to get the kitchen in order (you see my priorities?) and a friend helped unpack some books, which was really nice. I even went ahead and set up my Christmas tree! So homey. I love it.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Enemy Fire

When someone gets it into her head to be openly hostile and mean, there's not much you can do except avoid them. When you live with that person, however, it makes avoiding significantly more difficult. I've been trying to keep my head low, counting the days down eagerly, and avoiding her, but the hostility is just too much for me; I broke down last night and fled to a friend's apartment.

All of this merely affirms that I'm making the right decision, but it's hard to watch a friendship disintegrate. Perhaps I didn't handle things very well, but I'm not sure it warrants this sort of treatment of my person. I'm so tempted to retaliate (i.e. cutting of the utilities early, etc), but I'm trying hard to come out of the situation cleanly and honorably.

I want to think of myself as an assertive person, but when it comes to hostility, I shrink down into a little ball--unless I have reason to feel righteous fury. Even then, my impulse is still to flee. I don't like nasty confrontation, but I will do it if forced.

Anyway, this nastiness will soon be over. I hope to leave behind an olive branch if she cares to take it up, though I'm not holding my breath. I just want to be in a comfortable, stable environment--something I haven't had for at least a few months.

Oh! And there are still 2 slots on the pay-it-forward exchange. If you're already participating and paying-it-forward elsewhere, I think you won't necessarily have to pay it forward an extra three times, if you want me to make you something...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Various Sundries

  • Pay It Forward: like some of my fellow bloggers I am taking up the Pay It Forward challenge from my ISE 4 pal. Which means the first three people to comment gets something mysterious and homemade (i.e. I don't know what yet, nor what craft...) from me within 6 months. The catch? You gotta make the same offer to pay it forward. Always wanted something lovely from yours truly? A book, a knitted thing, a sewed thing, a box? Leave a comment and join in the pay it forward challenge!
  • I'm moving, possibly, tomorrow. If not tomorrow, possibly Saturday. I really hope I can get all my stuff moved this weekend, so I can relax and enjoy my home once more.
  • Christmas stuff! Yikes! If you want a Christmas card from me, send me an e-mail (*ahem, Tim*) with your address so I can send one.
  • Christmas baking--I may post on the ol' Baking Blog. Keep your eyes peeled for fun stuff.
  • Umm, it's now 5 o'clock, and I'm going home to pack, bake, and attempt to ignore my roommate and her rudeness.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

No Rest for the Wicked

...Or the really busy.

I foolishly delayed my Christmas stuff until too late. It wasn't entirely my fault--I had a lot going on this past semester. So now I'm making lists and planning days to sew, knit, and glue things together because otherwise there will be crying children. Or I'll have to actually spend money and buy gifts, and I don't like that idea at all.

I've been making Christmas gifts for quite some time--this year my goal was to make as many as possible. This year I went all out, combining my many talents to make books, knit projects, and sew things. If I can pull it off, it'll be exciting. If I can't...well, we'll see what happens.

Back to being busy!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Finished, I suppose...

I printed the project out. I'm not excessively proud of it--however, it's done, and I'm going to turn it in and hope that it doesn't kill my A in that class (I highly doubt it will).

I reached the saturation point for the semester, and so I just decided to do as best I can, but not stress too much about it. I think it's probably a bit shorter than she would want, but I simply couldn't do any more. The writing is decent, though, and I did a lot of research and leg work.

I'm very tired now. I was up until one working, but then I didn't sleep until 2 because I was so wired from the Americano that I imbibed at the coffee shop.* Up at 7 am, out the door by 7:30 to get to work early and do any last minute edits.

Tonight, I think I'll collapse in front of a TV and knit. Sounds like fun to me!

*Usually caffeine doesn't affect me late at night except when the stars are in a specific configuration and I drink espresso later than I should. I never know when or how, but then I'm super alert for a while...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

E-S-C-A-P-E: Escapay?

Ahhh, I'm at the coffee shop. Of course, there's an art sale going on, and I'm sitting on the corner of a giant table because I couldn't find a smaller one of my own, but it's a change of scenery, and I'm out of my dratted apartment*. (The cats have been distracting me, big time.)

I hope I can finish up my project here, but I may just hang out for a few hours, then go home (or over to a friend's to finish up). It's noisy, but if I can fall into a rhythm of writing, I can tune out everything, and I do have an iPod to neutralize some of the noise.

I've been trapped at home for most of the weekend, and I'm just ready to be done. I had a hard time sitting down to work because it feels like the semester should be over already. I'm working on my project where I got to hold the 200-year old Crevecoeur piece in my hands--Letters from an American Farmer. In the course of my research, I discovered that it was the first American printing of the book. The project has been pretty fascinating overall, but I'm looking forward to turning in the project tomorrow.

Well, back to the scribbling away!

*One more week, I hope. Please let me move next weekend!!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Word Game

Thanks to Lance, I'm now addicted to a word game. But not just any word game--the more you play, the more the world benefits. How?

Free Rice teams up with advertisers to donate rice for every word you play. Not only do you learn vocabulary (hircine means goat-like? I knew what a seraglio is!), but you help feed hungry people. So hop on over and play...

And I have a challenge. My current high score is 45 (out of 50). If you can beat my score then I'll...well, I'll do something cool. Like donate some money to Heifer Project*. Play, play!

*Heifer Project is a great organization--if you're looking for a good place to donate to (and also give donations as a gift for Christmas), it's a good one to pick.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Lots of exciting events are developing. No, and I'm not just talking about Christmas (which is becoming that thing that happens before we go to Spain). I'm talking about moving, about my own apartment, about finishing the semester, and about Spain.

I'm usually a big fan of Christmas, but I think the unreasonably early exposure to Christmas decorations and music on the part of retailers and my roommate has killed my normal Christmas buzz. So now I'm just focusing on making sure I've got the gifts I need to give. I'm certain I'll feel differently when I get to my parents' house (and Lance's parents').

We set up and decorated Lance's grandparents' tree yesterday, which made it feel a little more Christmas-y.

So, if you didn't hear from other sources, I'm moving. Unfortunately I wasn't able to exit with the grace and amiability that I had hoped, but I did try. Now I just have to get through the next week or so. I'll be into my very own place sometime after December 15th!

And Spain. I'm so excited. We have to plan some stuff still, but I think we'll get it all together--Lance's parents are even helping us out a bit with a lodging deal. Yay!

Sorry I haven't posted much this week. I've got one more final, then I'm done until January 14th. I hope next year/semester is better...

Monday, December 03, 2007


I'm sad to say that I was two posts short of completing NaBloPoMo--and it was tragic. I was in a place with no internet or some such excuse.*

I did learn some things from blogging daily (for the most part). Usually I don't, and I only post when I have things to say. I found that when I was compelled to post, I didn't always write things that were useful, meaningful, or all that great. I struggled at first with this, but then I found posting meaningfully became a little easier**.

I think that my fellow bloggers also liked that I posted with some frequency. I'm not too terrible--I don't go weeks without posting or anything. But several of them are daily bloggers, so it gave us a sense of community. Or something. But I did like posting with some regularity, so perhaps I'll try to keep it up--I make no promises for when I'm in Spain, though!

*This sort of thing usually seems to confirm my inability to actually complete things when I start them. Do I really have that sort of tendency? I hope not...but I fear it is so! Will I get to the end of my Ph.D. program and not graduate because I just can't finish? Or will it be confined to things like desiring to run a marathon and not completing NaBloPoMo? Perhaps...
**Don't think it meant all my posts are this. Quite the opposite.