Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Memories of Super Duper

The end is near.

I remember starting my Ph.D. program at Super Duper University nearly three years ago – how terrified I was, how inadequate I felt, and how overwhelmed my life became. I remember those first classes, as my husband drove me three and a half hours to class, sat in a coffee shop for eight hours while I took class from 2-10 p.m., and then we drove back three and a half hours so I could go to work at 8 a.m. the next day.

At Super Duper University for the first time
I remember meeting my adviser for the first time, trying to find commonality in the fact that we both run. I remember when he asked me if I would be moving to the state, and I said, “No,” in a fearful voice. And then he said that would be okay; they could work with me.

I remember my first research class. Sitting in the back of the class with the slackers, naturally. Hating research. Writing about how I hated research.  It didn’t get much better the next semester, either, with the second research class. Same teacher. I thought I might die. But I didn’t. I grabbed another 4.0 that semester.

I remember taking the mini-session, a stats class (with the same professor) that lasted a week. How I dreaded that class – but how it turned out to be so much fun. Stats, when you use a computer, turns out to be fairly easy. And it helped that instead of keeping us from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, the professor had us stay from 9 a.m. to noon. Fabulous. We headed to the coast, spent a day at the beach, watched movies…frankly, it was a great week.

Gulf Coast -- a beautiful sight 
I remember working to take in-state classes to get that much-wanted in-state tuition. Both were disasters. The first one, turns out, was a pass/fail grade. Guess what? Super Duper doesn’t accept pass/fail grades. So I may have passed the course, but the class itself was a fail (yuk, yuk). The second class nearly killed me. The professor was a doofus. I consider surviving that class a badge of honor.

I remember comps, that awful week of stress. High blood pressure, hell-llo! How my husband tried to make it better by taking me to the zoo, telling me to schedule a massage, and picking out fun places for us to eat. I remember getting my results in on my dad’s birthday – passed! Then oral comps were on Halloween. Passed!! Sitting out in that hall waiting for them to make their decision was tense. I know it probably didn’t last more than three minutes, but it did feel like an eternity.

A sign I saw while waiting to take my comps. 
And now, I see the light. I had to replace a member on my dissertation committee, and my new committee member sounds so excited to be on my committee. I sent him an email asking if he would serve, and when he called me back, the first word out of his mouth was a resounding “YES!”

I have two hurdles left in this journey. The first has officially been scheduled. March 19 – the day I defend my dissertation proposal. What this means, basically, is that I have to give a very good explanation of why I’m going to write what I’m going to write. The second hurdle is completing the dissertation and defending it in full.

And then I’ll be a Ph.D. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Winter blues? Where?

I don’t believe we’ve had a winter. But I would like one.

Each season has its ups and downs – of course, though, if you live in Louisiana, there are two seasons: summer and that other season, fake winter. Fake winter is where everybody and their mama posts a picture of a teeny-tiny snowflake (if it ever comes), where schools are canceled if the slightest hint of snow and/or ice is broadcast, and where you only bundle up in clothes if you’re making a fashion statement, because, frankly, there are very few days in fake winter where you actually need to bundle up.

But I really do like it.

Hot chocolate and fake winter go well together. Fake winter also goes well with scarves (fashion statement), soups, and running. I LOVE running in this time. I breathe easier and run faster. I get dizzy running in the heat. Seriously. In the winter, I can easily run six miles without taking a water break. In the summer, I’m barely making two.

But fake winter this year occurred maybe seven days. And now it’s hot(ish). I ran 12 miles yesterday (yeah, that’s a pat on the back, lol!) in 75 degrees. In February. How is that even right?

However, I am looking forward to several things this spring:

·      The Big One: Defending my dissertation proposal, which most likely will occur in March. I have two hurdles left to jump over for my Ph.D. – this one and then defending the dissertation itself, probably in May.
·      Salads and fruit: Oh my gosh, I love going to the grocery store and seeing fresh strawberries and blackberries and blueberries. Yum!! Also, with spring comes the reopening of our farmers market!
·      Nehemiah: Our pastor preached a series about Nehemiah back in the fall, and our women’s Bible study on Wednesday nights is starting a Nehemiah study by Kelly Minter on March 7. I love our women’s group and can’t wait to start the new study!
·      Supper Club: Since Kyle and I teach Sunday school, we don’t often get to hang out with the people from our old class. However, our department has started supper clubs, so we’re going to get to see some of them more.
·      Clothes: I cannot wait to wear open-toed shoes again. And flip flops. And shorts. And bright-colored nail polish. And capris. Ahhh…
·      Symposiums: I am officially a nerd. I was chosen out of our department to participate in the Liberal Arts Symposium, and I am PSYCHED. Also, I should hear back from Super Duper University soon to see if I was chosen to present at their graduate symposium, and a little birdie told me that I should receive good news…
·      Parks: I love that we live next door to a park. LOVE it. I love walking the dog there, love hiking there with my hubby, and love that there’s a school on the other side of the park where, on weekends, I can release the pup and let her run free through the fields.

It may not be my lovely fake winter, but I must say, I’ll welcome spring or more fake winter.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Iron Stomach

I printed out my confirmation sheet for my half-marathon, which is coming up in just a little over a week. I was a bit confused at first, though, because it had my wrong age. I’m not 28.

Then it hit me. Oh, yeah…I am.

Le sigh.

My body is probably the fittest it has ever been (thanks, running!), but I see age in other places, specifically – and most sadly! – my stomach. I used to brag about my iron stomach. It took everything and kept going. There’s a certain hamburger joint near the campus that was notorious for serving the greasiest food in north Louisiana. Upperclassmen warned the younger ones not to eat there unless they planned to be, ahem…busy for a long time. Me? I didn’t even notice it was greasy. I could put down a burger, fries, and milkshake without blinking.

Now? Oh, I feel it. While I still eat whatever I want, I feel it more. A diet coke before a run? Bleh. Hot jalapenos covering a burger? Oh…I felt that last night. ALL last night, as a matter of fact. But I love jalapenos so, so much. The hotter, the better. But they do not agree with my stomach as much as they used to.

It also didn’t help that I ran five miles on a treadmill set at 1.5 incline right after all those yummy jalapenos. Boy…that was a hard run.

HOWEVER.

I would like to brag a little bit. I’ve still got it – somewhat. In preparation for this halfie, my running partner and I have been running our long runs Sunday afternoons. This past Sunday, a few friends wanted to go to a well-known burger place after church. I, of course, could not turn that down.

This burger place, though, is well-known for its delicious plates…and for its wait time. I had my run scheduled for 1:30 p.m. My meal – a nice-sized burger and steak fries – came at 1:12 p.m.

Yep.

I am a fairly fast eater in general, but I downed that burger in record time. I gave myself eight minutes to eat…and finished in seven. AND ran 11 miles starting at 1:30 p.m. Without barfing up my guts, as my husband predicted.

Yeah, that’s called being awesome.

Thankfully, though, that particular burger did not have jalapenos. Otherwise, my husband might have been correct in his prediction.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Recipe time

I sure hope you didn't give up sugar for Lent, cause I'm about to ruin your day if you did.

Introducing....banana nut scones!!!


It's okay. I'll wait while you swoon.

Even my husband, who usually is not a fan of scones, absolutely loved these. His blood sugar, however, did not. I've mentioned how I love to bake, right? And how hard it is to bake something nutritious? Most of the time, I do succeed, but this is soooo not the case.

These are ooey, gooey, ridiculously sinful. While I'm eating them for breakfast right now, they're not much of a breakfast food. Anything topped with brown sugar is more of a dessert than breakfast (so says the girl who usually eats oatmeal for breakfast -- PLAIN oatmeal with raisins). And, to be fair, they're really not that sweet. They just have a lot of "bad" carbs for diabetics.

However, my diet needs to be a bit different from my husband's. I run. A lot. And I need carbs. The "bad" ones. ;)

Plus, they're oh, so good. And if you have a strong cup of coffee with you, how much better can life get?


So we've decided these are a special treat, not an everyday occurrence. But right now, until I eat them all, it's a good week.

Recipe can be found here. Happy Ash Wednesday!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Party animals

One year ago, two beautiful baby girls were born on the same day in different hospitals. We saw them and their happy parents on our way back from my half-marathon in New Orleans. This year, we were able to celebrate their first birthdays with them.

First, the morning was devoted to Molly.

Hey, where's my cake?

Soooo...what am I supposed to do with this?

Happy birthday!!
Next, Payton was up, celebrating her first birthday in the afternoon.

Fox, Payton, and my sweetie 
Kyle and Payton stare each other down
Momma-to-be holds the birthday girl

Me and one of my favorite former students!!

It was all fun and games until Fox decided to help his baby girl out and show her how to eat the cake. As soon as he ate the icing, the tears came.


But she was just as happy once she discovered she could eat the cake, too!

Now I'm looking forward to next year's celebrations! =)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Stuff Runners Say


A a multitude of videos have been posted on YouTube discussing *stuff* people say.  Stuff journalists say. Stuff runners say. Stuff anyone-you-can-think-of says. I did watch the runners one and the journalists one, and, while they were funny, I do think I need to add what this runner says, just for the prosperity of mankind.
Ahem. Stuff Runners Say: The Addendum. 
“Watch out, there. I’m crop-dusting.”
“If someone else honks their horn, I will find them and slash their tires.”
“Ice cream. Hamburgers. Sushi…why are we running by so many restaurants?”
“My running partners have all ended up injured.”
“8 a.m.’s too early. How about 10 a.m.?”
“Well, it may be hilly now, but at least our halfie is flat." 
“How about we just skip that run?”
“Do you know what kind of underwear is the best to wear during runs?”
“Yeah, I’ll run in the rain.”
“So, the other day, I fell down…”
“That area has too much traffic.”
“That area’s too dark.”
“That area’s too sketch.”
“We got this!”
My third halfie is coming up – less than a month away now. My running partner and I ran nine miles Saturday, and we’ll do 10 this Sunday. Woo hoo! 
I’ll be honest. I can’t WAIT til this is over. Running, smunning. I need a running break! Maybe tennis?  

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Eleven

Brooke tagged me in her 11 things post, so, without further ado, here goes! 11 things about me, 11 questions to answer, and 11 questions to pose to anyone willing to answer. I doubt I have 11 bloggers who read what I write, so if you’re interested, participate! =)

Randomness

1. I have a love for cheese, chocolate, and coffee. If possible, I like to be extravagant on all three.

2. I often listen to rap when I run.

3. In that same thought, my husband made fun of me one day, saying I couldn’t rap. In return, a couple of weeks later when the opportunity presented itself, I rapped the entirety of “Look at Me Now” to him. He filmed it on his iPhone and nearly wrecked the car in shock. One day, if you’re lucky, I’ll let you see it.

4. I’m a bit of a daredevil. It terrifies my husband. My next goal is to learn to surf. He’s not happy…but we made a deal. ;)

5. My husband and I are running the Warrior Dash in April. Can’t. Flipping. Wait!

6. I love to bake. My husband has diabetes. Therefore, I eat a lot. And share a lot. =)

7. I would rather pay someone to mow our yard and tend our flower bed than do it myself.

8. Flowers from Walmart are better than flower shop flowers. Why? They are CHEAPER.

9. Most of the time, my idea of a good night out is a night in.

10. I love biking on trails.

11. I would run a marathon, but I don’t want to train for it.

My Questions from Brooke:

1. Do you keep your nails painted?  Toes?
Sometimes. I do what I can. Currently, my toes are painted (from New Year’s Eve), but my nails are not.

2. Do you budget?  Explain.
Yep. Most of the time, my husband is the one who watches the budget, too. I’m glad, because I’m not a fan of watching our money that closely!

3. Which do you like better – Twitter, Facebook, or blogging?
Twitter is the quickest, so I like it best.

4. What’s the strangest dream you’ve ever had (and remembered of course)?  I’m not talking goals, I’m talking about the crazy movies you see in your head when you sleep at night.
Honestly, it’s been a while since I’ve remembered my dreams.

5. Who was your childhood hero?
Um….lol, don’t remember. Probably Rainbow Brite…yep, a fictional character.

6. Do you still look up to that person?  Why/not?
What do you think?

7. Do you have a song that describes your life?
I’ve never really considered it.

8. If you had to choose 1 item of clothing to wear every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A T-shirt, most likely.

9. 1 food item?
As much as I love cheese and chocolate, I’m going to go with a sweet potato. Filling and delicious!

10. How do you feel about tooting in front of your significant other?
It’s a weapon of choice.

11. What’s in your coffee?
Straight beans. I want it black.

Ok, now it’s your turn!

1. Why did you decide to go to college? Or not go to college?

2. How did you pick your children’s names? (And, if you don’t have kids, do you have the names picked out?)

3. What was your favorite book as a kid?

4. Favorite book as an adult?

5. Is there some food item you hated as a kid but now like as an adult?

6. What’s the best thing about your job?

7. What’s the worst thing about your job?

8. Why do you blog?

9. Why do you read my blog? Ha!

10. Do you do Valentine’s Day cards to family members/your significant other?

11. What’s your favorite flower?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What Super Bowl?

We invited our Sunday School class over to watch the game at our house -- our first time to host a Super Bowl party in our new home! To be honest, I didn't see much of the game or the commercials. I was too distracted...

Like by this sweet one-year-old and her aunt...



Molly and Vicki became BFF while Molly visited. Her poor dad tried to feed Molly...and Molly, in turn, wanted to feed Vicki.

During the first of the night, we had Vicki dressed up in her Superdog costume...turns out, Superwoman came over as well...


This actually was the second picture we took. In the first one, Vicki apparently had something on the roof of her mouth that she was trying to remove, and, in turn, when I took their picture, this is what I captured.


Vicki has never snarled in her life, so this was QUITE a sight!!! Ferocious little Superdog!

Here's hoping you were cheering for the Giants Sunday night! ;)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The one where we got locked outside

At our former house, getting locked out was no big deal. If I got locked out, I’d run over to my neighbor’s house, borrow a credit card, and “break in” my house. Yep. The hubby and I were fairly apt at unlocking our side door without a key.

However, this new house is different.

Last night, I decided to take Vicki on a walk. She’s been wandering around the bedroom at night instead of sleeping, so I’ve decided that she needs to be worn out before we go to sleep. Therefore, we powerwalk the neighborhood. She’s not a big fan of it, but it’s great on two fronts: 1) She is sufficiently worn out after a 15-minute powerwalk up and down hills and 2) Walking that fast usually makes her do No. 1 and No. 2…sadly also usually in someone else’s yard.

My husband had a bit of work to do with a client around 4:30 p.m. but said he would be in shortly. So when I locked myself out of the house at 5:15 p.m., I didn’t care, because I figured he’d be home soon.

He came home at 6:45 p.m. His client took longer than expected, so Vicki, the cat, and I chilled on the back porch until he came home. I really didn’t mind. I had the kindle on my phone, so I spent the hour reading in fairly nice weather. Even when it started raining, it was fine, because our back porch is covered.

Apollo and Vicki, however, were a different story. Both were equally aggravated.

Apollo was mad because 5-6 p.m. is her dinner time, and I was not feeding her. She’d lean up against our glass back doors and look back at me as if to say, “WHY ARE YOU NOT BRINGING ME DINNER???” She swatted Vicki and me several times and was, overall, just very impatient.

Vicki was mad because she knows she is an inside dog, and about 30 minutes outdoors is all she wants – especially when that cat decides to attack her randomly. She shook the entire time while sitting on my lap, even though it was a very mild 65 degrees outside. She wasn’t shaking from the cold, though. She was just ready to go inside.

At some point, I decided to film them because, well, they are just hilarious. I hope you enjoy.

video