Ugh...

I can't believe it's almost Monday already.  Thanksgiving was nice, Matt and I had food and napped and spent the day together, which was awesome.  We went for pie at a friend's house, which was really nice until my wisdom tooth started to bother me.  All in all, even though I got a toothache, Thanksgiving was nice.  I miss my family, but then that's nothing new for the holidays.

I spent all day yesterday, and all day today (and I mean literally) studying for my geology test.  The test is tomorrow and I don't feel like I know anything.  This test, which is over 3 sections, is the hardest test we've had so far and I don't think he gave many (if any) extra point days, so I'm on my own with this one.   The problem is, I epic failed the lab final last Monday, so I really need to do okay on the lecture tests just to make a C in this class.  Right now, even after the whole weekend spent studying, I feel like I'm going to fail it.

This is not my usual doom and gloom, believe me, there's a difference between freaking out for no reason and freaking out when there's plenty of reason!  This is the second, there's plenty of reason.  If I don't pass this test, and I fail the class as a result, then I don't graduate, and don't go to grad school and everything is messed up.  I do mean EVERYTHING.  If I don't graduate, I can't get anymore financial aid because I already had it repackaged.  Everything's set for me to move on, I just need to actually do it and graduate, which is riding on this class.

Oh, and did I mention that just to make matters worse I have to mail my video card to Alienware to have them fix it.  So, my desktop doesn't work.  Not only does that suck, it's down right bad right now since my netbook doesn't have MS Word, just Works, and I have a 20-25 page paper due in a week.  Yay for my shitty luck.

And, if I didn't feel shitty enough, I failed at NaNoWriMo but lucky me I got to watch Matt validate and collect the winner goodies.  I'm proud of him, but I feel pretty damn unhappy that I didn't finish.

Ugh, okay, I'm done bitching.  I know this probably sounded like a crazy amount of rambling.  I'll let you know how it goes.  For now, even though it's only 9pm, I'm going to bed.  I'm going to get up early in the morning and study some more before class.  Wish me luck, I need all the good luck and good vibes I can get!

I hope you had a very happy Thanksgiving.  See you on the other side of doom test! :(

Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm making thanksgiving dinner for Matt and me, so I've been up since 8:30am working on it.  What I didn't realize is that for the kind of ham we got, it only takes two hours to cook, so dinner may actually be more like lunch. I got it in the oven about 9am, so it should be done by 11am or so.  Then I have to make the stuffing, potatoes (which are coming out of a box this year), and a veggie.  Then, about the time I was putting the ham in the roaster, I realized that I had managed to forget to take the cool whip out of the freezer (which is always a problem for me) so the pink salad won't be served with lunch, it'll be a part of desert because it takes 6 hours to defrost in the fridge.  C'est la vie -- it should be delicious no matter what time of the day it comes together!

We got a pumpkin pie and a lemon meringue.  I know the lemon isn't exactly a holiday pie, but Matt likes it, so we got one.  Which reminds me, I need to take them out of the freezer... okay, maybe not, it says to leave it in there until it's ready to cook.  Works for me!  Of course, my freezer is so full, taking something out made it impossible to put it back in the same way.  I love Thanksgiving, really, I do -- you believe me, right?

We got so many awesome invitations this year, but we're staying home together and having food.  We'll probably go to Melanie and Joey's for pie and games later tonight, which will be fun!  Then, tomorrow, it's back to work studying.  I'm going to spend tomorrow studying for my geology make-up, Saturday & Sunday studying for my geology test, then Monday afternoon studying some more for the geology make-up.  Two tests in two days, what a nightmare.  After that, it's onto the paper that's due December 7th.  So much to do, so little time to finish it all.

For today, I'm trying to be thankful for all I have.  I'm thankful that I'm finally graduating (barring unforeseen circumstances).  I'm thankful that I'm healthy and have a husband who loves me.  I'm thankful that I have an amazing family and some really great friends.  I'm thankful that there's a roof over my head and food in my mouth.  Most of all, I'm thankful that I got my grad school acceptance letter... Ha!  No, no, I kid.  I am very thankful for everything I have and I hope y'all have a really Happy Thanksgiving holiday!

Time to check on the ham!

Accepted, sort of...

Thank you to everyone who took the time to leave me a thoughtful comment on my anniversary entry.  I truly appreciate it!

Now, onto today's bit of news.  I got the acceptance letter from the English department this morning and the graduate coordinator took the hold off my records so I could register.  Acceptance to the College of Graduate Studies at my school is only half-way there.  Graduate candidates also have to be accepted by their major department.  The acceptance letter was very good overall, but I'm not feeling particularly good about it.  I swear to you, I'm not only person who can get good news and be uncomfortable with it.

I'm happy to have gotten registered, but the conditions under which I was accepted are making me feel anxious.  My overall undergraduate GPA is 2.88 right now.  It'll go up after this semester, I'm sure, but not all the way to 3.0.  I have some bad grades from community college, grades I made when I was 18 and couldn't care less, following me around.  Couple those with the C's I made across the board in French and my valiant effort to educate myself hasn't been as valiant as it could have been.  My program GPA is 3.11, my department GPA is 3.33, but my overall remains below a 3.0.  It's terribly frustrating, to say the very least.  Luckily, my school will accept graduate students as provisional/conditional admissions with a GPA of 2.5 so it doesn't really matter.  It also helps that admissions is based solely upon my GPA for my last 60 hours of course work, which is 3.29.  So, you can imagine my confusion when I received a letter that said:

Dear Kristyn,


Congratulations!  The graduate English department has evaluated your application for admission into our program and we are pleased to inform you that we have accepted you on a conditional basis for the spring, 2010 semester.  The committee had some concerns about your undergraduate gpa and we want to ensure that you are ready to complete the necessary requirements for an MA after this spring.


At the graduate level, is it generally expected that students will make As in all their classes, although lower grades sometimes occur; we recommend that you only attempt 6 hours of graduate English classes so that you are more likely to maintain As in your graduate classes this spring.  At the end of the spring semester, we will evaluate your performance and admit you as a fully-fledged graduate student for the fall if you have maintained a 4.0 for the semester.


That's the letter I received, word for word.  They're concerned about my undergraduate GPA.  I don't see why, if they're judging me based upon my GPA for my last 60 hours of coursework, which I have been assured is the procedure.  My overall GPA may be a bit depressing, but my GPA for the last 60 hours is above 3.0 by a bit.  3.0 is all one needs for full admissions.  I could see if they were giving me conditional admissions because I haven't taken the GRE yet, like the College of Graduate Studies did, but based upon my GPA?  I just don't understand.


Then, I about had a flat out heart attack when they said I have to make a 4.0 to receive full admissions for next Fall.  A's and B's are the only acceptable grades for graduate school, if you make a C, you fail.  I can understand that B's aren't desirable grades, they're like making a D as an undergraduate, and I have every intention of giving this 110%, but what if I make an A and a B?  Then what?  Do I lose my admissions status on the weight of a 3.5 GPA?  I really, really, really don't want to fail out of graduate school because I made a B.


So, as you can likely imagine, I'm feeling very nervous.  I know I should be happy, and I am, but I'm also overwhelmed.  I'm overwhelmed and I haven't even technically started graduate school yet.  All these conditional admissions are making me feel like a second class citizen.  I know it's my fault, had I done a little better along the way, or put in a bit more effort, or taken the GRE before applying for grad school I'd be more likely to be a full admit.  Unfortunately, I can't go back and change it and I'm feeling a bit like the pressure of having to make A's is going to undermine my best efforts in that task.  Does that make sense?


I don't know.  Right now, I just need to focus on studying for finals so I can graduate.  Nothing happen without the bachelor's degree firmly in hand.  None of this worry matters at all if I don't graduate.  So, I'm pushing forward with the tasks at hand and wishing that I was better equipped to be optimistic about those things that I should be optimistic about.


Sometimes, pessimism is the furthest thing from pretty!

Help me out here...

In February, Matt and I celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.  I can hardly believe it's been so long!  I've been thinking about it a lot lately and I really want to do something special for our anniversary.  You really only get one 10th anniversary and I want ours to be amazing.  It's the first real milestone.  The problem is, I have no idea what to do.

We're not really go-away-for-a-weekend kind of people, so that's definitely out of the question.  Then, I thought maybe for our 10th we could trade in our rings and get a new, matching set of wedding rings to commemorate our 10 years together, but it's so expensive and really isn't necessary.  So, that's out.  We could go out to eat (and probably will), but we do that every year.  I could make dinner, but it seems a cruel and unusual punishment, I mean, it's my anniversary too!

I just simply don't know, which is why I'm thinking about it so far in advance.  I want to celebrate in a meaningful way, but I can't come to what that way might be.  I asked Matt, but he doesn't seem to have any suggestions either.  We're just plain pathetic!  So, that said, I'm open to creative suggestions if you'd like to offer me one (or two, or whatever).  I don't necessarily want to spend a lot of money, but we could probably afford a little, in the interest of making our 10th amazing.

So, what do you think?

A little piece of home...

I'm feeling really achy today.  I think my weight and my laziness are starting to get the better of me.  If I sit too long, I ache.  So, rather than sitting around today and just watching the game, I decided to bake!  I cleaned up my kitchen, which took all weekend since I took things out of the cabinets and washed them, and now that it's clean, I find that I want to use it!  Funny how that works.

I'm going to share the recipe and pictures of what I baked, but I'm afraid it's not something you'll likely be able to make.  I'm sorry for that, but one of the major components isn't something you can buy.  Alright, with that warning, and without further adieu...

Brandied Fruit Bread

1 c. Raisins
1 c. Sugar
1 c. Water
1/2 c. Margarine

3 3/4 c. Flour
2 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
3/4 tsp. Ground Cloves
2 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt

2 1/2 c. Brandied Fruit
1 c. Nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a medium saucepan, combine raisins, sugar, water, and margarine (1/2 c. = one stick).  Bring to a boil over medium heat, making sure to stir so it doesn't scorch.  Boil 1 minute. Remove the raisin mixture off the burner and cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, and salt.  Combine until the mixture is a light tan color.  Add cooled raisin mixture, brandied fruit, and nuts (if desired) to the flour mixture.  Mix until the the mixture looks wet.

Grease two bread pans and fill with bread batter.  It only makes two loaves, so be sure to split the batter evenly.  I only have one pan, so the first loaf came out larger than the second.  I baked them for 45 minutes and then checked them in 10 minute intervals thereafter until a tooth pick inserted in the center came out clean.

Cool on a wire rack until the pan cools down then remove the bread from the pan and finish cooling on the rack.  This bread freezes very well and so is great to make ahead of time.

I'll probably freeze a loaf and a half of it and bring it out next week on Thanksgiving.  I don't know, it'll depend whether I can keep Matt off of it. ;)  I took a lot more pictures of it, I even edited more than what you see, but if I'd included them this entry would have gone on, and on, and on.  So, I tried to keep it to a minimum.  There was one more I wanted to share with you...

The picture above is the brandied fruit component of the bread.  My dad's been making Brandied Fruit Bread for holidays for as long as I can remember.  Jars exactly like the one above (since I actually got that jar from my folks) sat on our counters and my dad would refill them when they were low, but when the holidays came, daddy would break out the recipe and make this amazing holiday bread.  After winning that jar of brandied fruit from my dad on a bet (ha, finally won one!), I got the recipe and started making it.  Being so far away from home, having this makes me feel closer to my family during the holidays when we're so far apart.

I have two jars, both of which are half -or less- full, so it's time for me to refill them.  The refill on this is actually just 1 c. sugar and 1 can of fruit cocktail (I use Very Cherry fruit cocktail).  Once the jars are refilled, it takes two weeks (at least) before it can be used again.  The fruit ferments in the jar and turns into a really potent alcoholic mixture (hence the "brandied") but the alcohol bakes out leaving just the amazing taste.  My dad eats it straight, on vanilla ice cream, but I'm not that brave.  Just one more thing.  I wouldn't attempt starting it at home, there's aparently a "starter" with some additional ingredients.  I don't know what they are or I'd be happy to share it.  My dad actually doesn't know what they are either, since he got his starter years ago from a family friend.

I hope your coming holidays are amazing! :D

This land was made for you and me

I've been both busy and not feeling well over the last few days, so blogging hasn't really been a priority for me.  While I haven't been writing, I have been reading a lot of blogs but commenting, like blogging, has been less of a priority than just reading what others have had to say.  On that count, while making the rounds, I read something that really upset me.  I don't want to address everything this person said, because I feel like this person was always more capable of upsetting me than anyone else might, and we have very different opinions and debating the issue would just upset me more and get nowhere.  However, there is something I want to say because it's been bothering me and I need to get it off my chest.  Please, understand that I'm not interested in debating politics (another reason I'm not discussing the other person's opinions), but the point I'm about to make is one I stand firmly upon and when I say "you" or "me" I mean everyone, including myself.

It is never okay to tell another person that they should leave their own country just because they have a different opinion or political persuasion than you do.

Yes, that one sentence gets to be its own paragraph.  Calling someone less patriotic than you are, or "inviting" them to go find another country to live in, because they may be more liberal or more conservative than you are is degrading and should cross the line of what is and is not appropriate to a debate on political matters.  We live in a country where everyone has the first amendment right to exercise free speech and freedom of religion.  They should be able to do so, on both counts, without fear that someone who doesn't agree with them will ostracize them, or worse yet, "invite" them to exile, or worse even still, commit an act of violence against them.

Every single American should have the right to their opinion, so long as their opinion does not injure someone else, it's called liberty.  When it does injure someone else, it becomes license and should not be tolerated, as license treads upon the fabric of liberty.  Trying to silence those with different opinions, in telling them to leave their own country, is inexcusable and should never happen.  We are all responsible for what we say, and what we do (a lesson I've learned in technicolor recently) and that responsibility extends to knowing what is and is not appropriate to say in the interest of winning an argument or making a point.  Just like with any argument, it is possible to cross the line.

Restraint should come into the picture somewhere, as without it, freedom of speech means nothing.  If we abuse our rights, then they mean less. Every single American should have the right to say what they think, or believe, without fear of retribution but should also understand that every other American has the same exact right.  We should all be able to have an opinion on our government without being told our opinions are inferior and that we should leave. 

This country belongs to every single citizen living in it.

It even belongs to those citizens with a different opinion than you have. I acknowledge that the person whose opinion offended me has a right to it.  Likewise, that person, and people like them, should have the same understanding that if my opinions are different I'm still entitled to them as an American.  I would never suggest that they move to another country because I don't believe the same thing they do, and they should likewise not infer the same about me.  It is when they do, when they tell others who disagree with them that they should go somewhere else, that they have committed license against that person's freedoms and liberties.

No person has the right to make fellow countrymen feel inferior for thinking.

Doing it ourselves!

I was feeling so down yesterday after the stuff with my paper, Matt took me to a local place to look at flooring.  Sounds strange, doesn't it?  Since I've been eager to see what there is available and what it's going to cost, going to the flooring place actually cheered me up.  They were really nice and took us over to see some laminate flooring that looks like hardwood flooring.  It's made by Quick-Step and comes in panels that look like two or three planks of hardwood flooring and clicks together through grooves, which is awesome, because it doesn't use any adhesives.  It just snaps into place!

The cost is about $1.80 a sq. ft., which is really reasonable since the room is only about 93 sq. ft. in total.  At that rate, if we buy 100 sq. ft. worth of material so there's some overage, it'll cost us about $180.  The price per sq. ft. includes the underlayment, which is roll out foam stuff.  The women there said that it was really, really easy to lay, making it ideal for do-it-yourselfers.  I asked about having someone lay it, they said installation cost was $1.50 per sq. ft. which effectively makes the installation more than the flooring, since the flooring is $1.49 per sq. ft before the underlayment.  We said no thanks, we're going to give it a shot ourselves!

Honestly, I can't wait!  It's going to be really inexpensive, as home improvement projects go, and it'll give me and Matt some time together which makes it even better.  He says he's going to help, and I'm going to hold him to that, because I think it would be fun for us to do this together -- I wish my dad was here to help us!  In addition to the floor, we're going to need some minor tools, like wood blades for the jigsaw and a rubber mallet.  Then, we'll have to get some quarter round molding to cover the gap between the flooring and the wall, which isn't terribly expensive.  The only thing I'm worried about with that is that the corners won't lay together, not sure how that's done.  I'm expecting the whole project to be about $250 after all the supplies.

When it's all laid down, depending on how it looks and the level of difficulty, we're going to do the living room.  The living room is a bit larger, so it'll cost a bit more, so we probably won't do it in the spring semester.  There's vents in the floor in this house, most of which are rusting and breaking apart.  I'm going to get some pretty ones, which are about $13.00 each -- I want to get these aluminum satin ones, but I'm conflicted about how they'll look against the natural colors on the floors.  It could be that the contrast will be amazing, it could also be that they'll clash.  I don't know.  In all, if I replace all of them in the house, it'll only be about $100.  I could replace them with plastic ones for $5 each, but I don't think they're sturdy enough... and they're ugly!

After the room is all put together, with the floor replaced, I'm going to get a bookshelf.  Ikea has one that's perfect called Expedit. It's big enough that it should do what I need it to do.  To be honest, my first inclination was to do the cedar block book case.  If it's done right, it can look good and be functional.  I could paint the blocks white or whatever, and get nice sturdy wood for the shelves. Since we're planning to move in a few years, I don't know that I need to get another huge piece of furniture I'd have to either sell or move.  Cinder blocks and wood can build a sturdy shelf system to fit my needs, but I'm a little worried it's ghetto, you know?  When I was a teenager, I built one from extra stuff my dad had laying around and I loved it!  Any suggestions or opinions on this?

So, all accounted for, the whole thing will be somewhere around $550, which I don't think is too much to spare for a small, but substantial home improvement project.  If I don't get book shelf, it'll be about $350 -- which is another really good reason to consider the cinder block shelf!  Anyway, The carpet must be replaced, even if we don't do anything else, because of the animals, but I'm hoping we can swing the whole project because I'm really excited about it!  We're probably going to do it in the end of January, or early February.  I'll make sure to take before & after pictures of the whole thing, as well as some photo's of the whole project in progress.

Did I mention I'm really excited about this?!

Underachiever

I've been feeling pretty discouraged today.

Last night, I sent my professor my paper, because I wanted some feedback and because I needed to be sure I was on the right track.  I think I said so before, but I'm feeling very in the dark with this assignment, so I'm seeking as much guidance as I can get.  I got it back last night, she was really fast about the critique, and her remarks made me feel like a terrible underachiever.  Her email was upbeat, she encouraged me to keep up the work and reminded me about the standards by which this paper should be written, but there's a lot wrong with the paper so far and I'm only half done.  I'm glad I didn't finish the whole paper, just to find out that it needs this much work and re-writing.

Even with her feedback, I'm still feeling really lost.  Part of the problem is that I don't know how to make the leap from undergraduate writer to graduate writer.  The standards are much higher when you're a graduate student, my paper shouldn't sound like it was written by an undergrad, it should sound like a scholarly article fit for academic publication.  I'm still an undergrad but I'm also a grad student.  I know that I should know how to write the way she's suggesting I should know how to write, but I don't.  I write the way I write, I've always been conscious about what I'm saying, and though the way I write has always been acceptable, suddenly it's not anymore and I'm at a loss to understand how to bridge the gap.

One day, they're handing you a bachelor's degree, the next they're expecting you to write like a scholar, rather than a student.  There's zero guidance.  They don't tell you how to ramp up the writing skill, they just expect you to magically know.  I don't mind learning to be a better, more conscious, academic writer but it's not something I can learn all on my own.  This is the equivalent of going straight from 7th grade to college.  It's really very frustrating and it's left me feeling very hollow about my ability to succeed as a graduate student.

So, I'm going to revise what I have so far based on my prof's suggestions, but I also set out this afternoon to find guidance about academic writing on the graduate level, because I'm so lost.  By way of help, I found this Graduate Level Academic Writing Guide from The University of Western Ontario.  It's a PDF presentation that offers quick tips about being a better writer on the graduate level.  I found it really helpful and am going to sit down and try to fiddle with my paper using some of their suggestions.  Hopefully between my professor and The University of Western Ontario, I'll be able to whip this paper into shape and get a good grade.  I can't do poorly in this class, I simply can't.  As it is, I'm entering graduate school with one grade on my record, I really want it to be a good one.

If you have any, and I do mean any,  suggestions about how I might improve upon my writing style and subsequently my grade, I want to hear them!  If all else fails, I'm going to go talk to one of my professors and see if she can offer me some tips to make the transition by.  For now, I'm off to hunt down more help, because let's face it, I need all the help I can get.

Cleaning? Who has time for that?!



I saw this picture and it made me think of myself. I'm so tired lately and my house is a huge mess, which is half my hatred of cleaning and half my inability to spare the time to clean it.  Things just keep piling up and its gotten out of control.  Of course, when that happens it makes wanting to clean it up even more difficult because it'll take more effort.  It's a vicious cycle.  What's worse, I don't know that I'll have any time to actually clean it up until school's out for the semester.  By then, we may just have to have it condemned and hope for better luck next time.

Cooking is only scarcely better.  I only do it because I have to and though I enjoy it sometimes, I only enjoy it when my kitchen is perfectly clean, which seems to be a serious problem lately.  The floor needs mopping, the doors and appliances need cleaning, the dishes need doing and I have several cabinets that need to be emptied and washed out.  So, cooking hasn't exactly been a joy lately.  The fact that Matt can't cook to save his life (or my time) doesn't help anything.  If we could afford it, I'd just get take out, or hire someone to keep my house clean so I could enjoy cooking in my own kitchen.

I think I'm going to try to find a day this week to get it cleaned up... or at least picked up.  Maybe I'll talk Matt into helping me, that would be great since he has far more time than I do -- I got some feedback from my prof on the 25 page paper and it seems I have a lot more work to do!  Then, when the semester's over, I'll set to some serious scrubbing and get my house cleaned up just in time for it to get messed up again for my inability to spare the time to clean it over the spring semester.  I think I need a plan, or some advice about how to keep things clean and do everything else that's expected of me.  Maybe I should try the 15 minutes a day method.  Clean up for just 15 minutes, every day.

One thing I am happy about is the plan to replace the floor in the office at the end of January.  Right now, that room is a disaster beyond my ability to describe it.  It's not just messy, it's disgusting!!  I use it to store random boxes and old furniture, but it really needs some cleaning up.  When our cat, Chummer, was sick and lived in there, he made a mess of it.  It wasn't his fault and I tried to clean it up after he passed away, but the scent of him clung to the space.  Since then, I can't keep Anakin and Galileo from going potty on the rug in there.    Now, the rug is GROSS.  I clean up after them, but the carpet is just too far gone.  My greatest fear right now is that when they take up the carpet, the sub-flooring will be ruined and we'll have to have part of it replaced.  If the sub-flooring is okay, it shouldn't cost us more than about $350 to have someone replace the floor in there with linoleum planks that look like wood.  The room is only about 95 sq. ft.  I'm going to go talk to some flooring places in town about what it'll cost.

When the floor is replaced, I plan to put my desk back in there, get a book shelf or two, and use the space as an office.  In addition to giving me a place to go to get away from the TV and the telephone, it'll give us more space in the living room.  With two desks, a sofa and love seat, a table and a console television in the living room, which is already tiny, everything is terribly cluttered.  Getting the floor fixed in there is a HUGE deal for me right now.  I really want to reclaim my office space.

Until then, I'll just have to settle for keeping things picked up and hope I have time soon to give it all a thorough cleaning.  I cannot wait for this semester to be over with -- I need a break, even if that break will be spent scrubbing my house!!

Words, lots and lots of words!

I've been working on my 20-25 page paper all weekend and I've managed to write 10 pages.  If my paper runs 20 pages, then I'm about half done.  I don't think I'm going to get much more out before tomorrow night when it's due.  I've really struggled to get out what I've gotten out.  I'm really floundering around in the dark with this paper, this is uncharted territory for me and I really don't like it.  The amount of discomfort I'm feeling in writing this is so far off the scale, leading to a great deal of insecurity.  I want to get it done, but it's going to need a lot more work.  The final draft is due in 3 week, on December 7th, and it's probably going to take me that long to finish it.  At least with half the paper written, I can turn it in to my prof and get her opinion about what I'm doing and her suggestions for how I might make it better.  I'm just terrified she's going to say that I'm doing it totally wrong.  I need to pass this class with a B or better, as a C or less is failing in grad classes.

When I put down my pen (as it were) last night, I was exhausted, but rather than closing up shop and going to bed, I worked for almost 3 hours on my novel.  I got about 2,000 words written.  So, now I'm only 12,000 words behind, rather than 14,000.  I'm going to catch up, if it kills me!  Getting to work on my novel was my reward for getting so much work done on my paper yesterday!  I didn't get to bed until late, but I did get a lot done yesterday.  My paper outlined and started, 2k words written, and Kate's blog moved to wordpress.com.  Like I said before, all the entries are locked, but at least the blog is visible.  I also made a small button for my sidebar that links to the site -- for some reason, wordpress.com is moving super slow lately, so bear with it.

When I got up this morning, about 11am, I didn't feel like I could jump right into my paper for the fog in my head, so I worked on a little something to make myself feel motivated to keep writing.  I added a "Remembering Tomorrow" page to my blog (see it?  Up there on the nav bar?) and put the mock book cover I made on that page.  Eventually, there will be information about the book's stats (ie. page numbers, final word count, etc) and an excerpt and synopsis.  I also plan to put editing progress up on that page, when I get to that step.  For now, the only thing there is the cover, but I'm happy with how it came out.  All the stuff for this novel is taking on that same picture/theme, the broken heart, but I think it fits.  It's helping to keep me motivated to keep going, even when I have so much else to do right now.

I think tonight, I'm going to put in a little bit more time on my paper and then work on my novel.  If I'm lucky, I'll get a few thousand words written.  I'm aiming for 5,000, but I probably won't make that.  The book is starting to take off, it's just getting into the main plot, and I'm looking forward to getting to writing that.  It's almost 6pm, so if I'm going to do it, I need to get started, as time is running short.  I hope you're having a great weekend!

Good night!

Wherein I gush!!

Last night, Matt said the nicest thing a person can say to an unpublished author, and he said it to me!  I read him the last 5 or so pages of what I've written so far and he said "Your book sounds like a book!" and I could see that he meant it.  He's very much about honesty, if he doesn't like something he says so and he's always got a reason available -- he didn't like my last book and though he tried to be delicate about it, he wasn't a fan.  Of course, my last book was terrible!! Anyway, he's read a lot, so he definitely knows what a book "sounds" like.

Right then, I almost cried.  Yeah, almost, I'm not much of a crier, but I couldn't stop grinning after that.  I tried to be humble about it, because I don't feel much faith in my words.  I know I'm good at description, but I only give in to that because a lot of people, some who don't know me from Adam, have said so.  It's the only common thing everyone says, the one common thread, so I've accepted it.  Otherwise, I'm a bit lukewarm about my writing, though I give it 110% when I sit down to write.

As you can see from my sidebar, the 34 double-spaced pages I've written so far is less than half of what I should have written up to now.  I'm critically behind.  That doesn't mean I'm giving up, though!  Once I get past this weekend, and have this paper written, I'm going to give the whole rest of the upcoming week to making it to class and working on my novel -- with the exception of Thursday, when I've promised Matt I'd game with him.  Over thanksgiving, I'll probably have studying to do, but I'm going to try to squeeze in some writing then, too.  I hope to finish this yet, even if it means that rather than writing 1,667 words a day, I have to write 5,667 words!  I'm going to finish this.  The first year I did this, I wrote 14,000 words in one day, two days before the end of November.  If I could do that then, I can do it now!

Just one more thing before I'm off to write my paper. I'm going to move Kate's blog to WordPress because I hate Blogger -- namely their comment system.  Ugh. That said, I don't think WP has the option of locking a blog for private use. Instead, I'll just have to lock the entries.  So, her blog might be open to the public, but all of the entries would be locked. Her about page and any subsequent pages would be all there was to see. How's that for a tease!

Okay, now I'm off to work on my paper. I must get it done, it's coming due.  Hope y'all are having a great weekend so far and if you're writing, I wish you many high word counts. If you're not, I hope your weekend is filled with more relaxation than mine will be.
Wish me luck!

Brain Scramble

The randomness I have planned for this post is epic...

First up, the weekend I've been dreading is here.

I have a rough draft for a 25 page paper due Monday and I haven't really started writing it yet.  Okay, not haven't really, I haven't started writing it at all.  Since writing is the least of the work for that paper, I'm not as stressed out as I could be, but still, it's a lot of work to do in a few days.  The hard part of this assignment is the research and outline.  I don't normally outline, but for this paper, which is a manuscript study, an outline is going to see me through.   I usually formulate an idea about what I want to write about, read and highlight my on my sources, and then write.  Easy as that.  Of course, I also don't normally write rough drafts, so I'm a little bit anxious about the assignment.  I'll write my paper, turn in the rough draft and get some feedback, and then make the changes and be done with it.

It's going to be an ugly weekend, I can see it already.  The kind of weekend where you don't get any rest, so when Monday rolls around you feel like you're still running on the previous week's steam.  Yeah, that kind.

So, tomorrow I start and I'm planning to divide and conquer.  Saturday, I'll research some more.  I'll sift through the hundreds (yeah, wish I was kidding about that) of pages of manuscript and typescript again.  Then, when that's done, I'll sit down on Sunday and write.  All day, I'll write and if I don't get it quite done, I'll work on it some on Monday morning and during the break between my lab and the 6pm class when the rough draft is due.  I can do this, it'll just be difficult.  I never expected it to be easy, so I'm prepared for the work.

I was half-heartedly planning to start today.  Instead, though, I went to class (which I'll talk about in a minute), and spend the afternoon hanging out with Melanie.  Although, that means that she didn't her paper started today either and she's in the exact same boat as me.  The problem is, I've been planning to start writing this paper for weeks... and weeks!  Every time I sit down to get started, something comes up or I have other school work that's more urgent at the moment.  I have so much going on that I'm really, really pressed for time.  That leaves me two days before the rough draft is due.

In other news...

I got my test back in Renaissance and Reformation today.  I made a 98!  That's a high A.  I was so freaking happy!  I've been feeling like things aren't working out right this semester, but having gotten that test back with a good grade on it really helped me feel like I can pull this off yet!  Now I just have to sit tight and hope that my History of the South test grade comes back good.  I'm really hopeful about that one, which is unusual for me, and could lead to serious disappointment.

Speaking of which, I realized today that I still have 4 tests to go in Geology and could still screw that up royally.  Anyone who says Geology is easy has rocks in their head (pun intended!!).  It's not easy, by any stretch of the imagination, and there's a hell of a lot more to it than looking at pretty rocks.  I have the last test, a make-up exam, the lab final, and the class final to go.  There's only about 3 weeks left to go, so time's a wastin'.  This means that I'm going to be studying my face off for Geology over the next few weeks!  Gah, I hate science!

Third (I am on the third thing, right?)...

I submitted my application with writing samples.  Wish me luck.

Finally, one last thing before I go...

When I was in the bookstore, buying super-exciting scantrons and blue books, I got myself a little something extra.  I saw the tassel's hanging there and decided it was just what I needed to remind myself why I haven't run screaming from this semester yet.  I'm almost to the finish line, if I stall out now, I'll never forgive myself!

I couldn't decide which one to get, so I got both of them -- the standard one for the cap and the souvenir tassel.  The one in the picture is clearly the standard tassel.  Our school colors are purple and white, so the souvenir tassel has both colors and the full year.  I took a bunch of pictures, deleted half of them, and then chose this picture because I liked it the best.  That's my HS tassel and college tassel together.  My camera is old and doesn't take terribly good shots -- 3.1 megapix, fail-- so this pic is relative good for what it's capable of.  I really want to get a new camera (this is the one I'm looking at, in red!!) -- maybe I'll get some money for a grad gift and can get one.  Who knows?!  Okay, that's beside the point.

The brown case is the Vera Bradley Mini Laptop Case I got for my netbook (in Imperial Toile).  Turns out they have a messenger bag in the same design, the Imperial Toile, so I'm going to get it next semester.  Sadly, it's $84!  I'd really like to start grad school with a new bag, I deserve it, I've been using the same one for a long time and I've never had a really nice bag!  Anyway, I think I may take some pics of it and my netbook, or maybe make a little video, later on (and by later on, I mean in the future, not today).

Co-starring in the pic are my Pocky, Nintendo DS, and Alien!!  If you haven't eaten Pocky, I command you to go out and get some immediately, you'll thank me. So yeah, eat them. ;)

Okay, time for me to go, this post is over 1,000 words!  I think I'm going to try to get Matt to turn off 'Mad Max' so I can work on my NaNoWriMo stuff.  Damn AMC for playing all the 'Mad Max' movies back to back, anyway!!  Wish me luck on my paper.  I'm nervous about getting it done.

Good night.

I LOL'd

Today, I bring you this...

I'm pretty sure I did okay on my history test, better than the last one, which is good and means I passed.  Today has just been so exhausting, I didn't get enough sleep and studied all morning before the test, so my brain is slightly fried.  The result is that I'm too tired to regale you with the days exploits.  I'll write tomorrow.  For now, I hope the picture made you smile.  It makes me giggle every time I see it, even when I'm tired and cranky!

Wherein I bitch about studying...

I've been studying for my History of the South test since 3pm.  It's now 11pm and I've now finished typing everything out.  Next step is to print and read until my eyes bleed.

I'm supposed to have read a book for this section, Origins of the New South 1877-1913 by C. Vann Woodward, but I couldn't do it.  I tried, I really did, and more than once, but the book is utter garbage.  I shouldn't say that, my professor (who I adore) chose it so it must have some redeeming quality, right?  Not that I can tell.  There's so many quotes, it's hard to tell where the author is.  Rather than its actual title, it could have been named Overly Verbose Book of Racist Quotes by Dead White Guys and it wouldn't have been inaccurate.  I have no idea how the author got away with publishing this crap.  He didn't write anything, he just compiled other people's opinions.  It's really disappointing, because the author is a renowned historian specializing in this era.  You would expect a book by a preeminent historian to be more lively than this.  So very disappointing.  I hope the book for the next section, Standing at the Crossroads: Southern Life in the Twentieth Century by Pete Daniel, is more lively than this, or at least easier reading.  I'm not holding my breath.

Other than studying all afternoon and evening, I've managed to take a break to make and eat dinner.  Matt and I still have to eat, even when I don't have much time to cook dinner.  My house is a mess, so cooking dinner wasn't a fun experience.  I dragged a clean pan out of the cabinet and tossed some chicken into it, made noodles and corn for sides, and settled down to watch the new South Park while I ate.  It was a nice divergence from the monotony of studying, but I found that when "Dances with Smurfs" was over, I didn't want to go back to homework.  I will be so glad to get this test out of the way so I can stop worrying about it.  I just hope not reading the book doesn't screw me royally  *fingers crossed.*  I also hope that all the info I'm stuffing into my brain makes sense tomorrow.

Truth be told, I hate this class.  I love my professor, she's amazing, and but she's also the only reason I signed up for this class and she's crazy hard.  Her tests are nothing to balk at, if you don't study, there's no way to pass them.  Her attendance policy is also fairly strict.  6 absences is all you get over a semester, excused or otherwise, which comes out to something like one every 3 weeks or so.  There're three textbooks over the 16 weeks, which wouldn't be as bad if the books were more lively.  When I was registering for this semester, I gave the professor more weight than the subject in signing up for the class.  Normally I like history, but I find that I'm really more interested in European and world history from the restoration back, toward classical history (Greek, Roman, Egyptian, etc), rather than forward toward modern history.  Ask me about WWI and WWII, I couldn't tell you more than the basics, but I know a hell of a lot about the history, mythology, and literature of Greece and Rome.  Of course, Greece and Rome are where my primary interest lies overall.

I should really go and print my 12 typed pages of notes so I can start to study them.  I have 13 hours until my test, in which to sleep and stuff the history of the south from 1865-1913 into my brain. Ugh.

Good night (notional).

PS.  Any dictionary that uses the word it's defining inside the definition for that word should be eradicated from the face of the planet.  That is all.

Sick & Tired

Today, I'm sick.

I felt fine when I woke up.  Then, sitting at my computer, I started to feel worse and worse.  I'm nauseous, dizzy, and I ache.  Matt drove me to class, because my dizziness was making it hard for me to even stand, let alone drive.  When I got out and about and to class, I started to feel a bit better, so after class Matt and I stopped my Montana's and had half-price appetizers for lunch.  Their appetizers are huge, so it's a good lunch, but the fried food just made me feel yuck.  My nausea settled a little, probably from the Diet Coke I had with lunch, but I got a stomach ache.

Matt started telling everyone at Montana's that I had swine flu.  I told him to hush, I don't have swine flu and there was no reason to scare people.  We sat through lunch, which was uncomfortable, both because I'm sick and because I was so worried about Anakin, but we made it and Ani was okay while we were gone.  When we got home, we laid down in the bedroom and slept for about 4 hours.  I told him I didn't want to go in there and lay down because we'd go to sleep, he swore to me that he wouldn't let me go to sleep.  I don't have time for naps, I have too much to do this week.  Likewise, I don't have time to be sick, so I'm going to school even if I'm dying.

So, I guess my week's not getting any better at all; if anything, it's getting worse.  I still have a lot to do, like I said, so I'm going to have to push through.  I hate having to peptalk myself, hate it!  It's not easy for me when I'm not sick,  when I am sick the urge to quit is stronger.  I have a test on Thursday, so I need to start studying.  I won't even start my paper until Friday, I'm not trying to shove it into a schedule where it won't fit.  That means, of course, that my whole weekend is eaten up again.

Just 3 more weeks.

It's a conspiracy!

I swear to you, the universe is conspiring against me today.

My alarm clock didn't go off this morning, so I didn't wake up until 20 minutes before I should be leaving.  I apparently turned if off so it wouldn't go off over the weekend and forgot to turn it back on.  Hurrying around, I tossed some clothes in the dryer so the wrinkles would fall out, and hopped in the shower.  At 20 minutes until class I realized that there was no way I could get to campus, park, and get to class, since the jerks-that-be at the school decided to tear up not one, but two "white zone" parking lots in the middle of the semester!  What kind of idiot rips up two student parking lots in the middle of the semester when there's already a shortage of parking?  Could they not have done this over the summer, or during winter break?  Yeah, I'm pissed in a major way.

So, I woke Matt up to drive me, which was an issue for two reasons, 1) Matt doesn't wake up very easily or quickly, and 2) We're not in the habit of leaving Anakin alone lately because of his health issues.  With no other choice, 15 minutes to class came and as we were walking out the door we saw that some asshat UPS dumb-dumb left a package on our steps.  This wouldn't normally be a problem, except they put it on the second step, which meant we couldn't open the door without knocking the box off.  It's something I've been waiting for, it's breakable, so just swinging the door open and punting the box across the lawn wasn't an option.  Matt, who's much thinner than I am these days, squeezed out the door and onto the steps and collected the package.  10 minutes left to get to class.

We brought the package inside and hurried out to the car.  We were 1/4th of a mile from the house when I realized I didn't have my lab.  Last week, my geology lab went on a field trip.  That means last weeks lab is due today.  Not only had I forgotten it, I'd forgotten my geologic map and the lab was incomplete.  Fuck.  I told Matt to turn around and just decided that maybe today wasn't my day and that I should stop trying to make it my day.  I decided to stay home until 2pm when I have to go to my lab.  I did manage to get last weeks lab partially completed, so at least I'll get some credit for it.  If I could skip the lab, I sure would, unfortunately, going to the lab is an important part of passing geology as it's worth 25% of my geology grade and there're no make-up labs.

So here I sit, when I should be in class, because I couldn't make today work for me.  I hate Mondays, they're my longest day, and this one has failed in a way none have this semester.  I still have my geology lab and then I have a class at 6pm, but I'm thinking it's online this week.  I just have so much to do this week and its been off on such a bad foot already.  I have a rough draft for a paper due in 7 days, and other than some of the research, I've not even started writing it yet.  I have a test Thursday.  Oh, and I'm like 6,000 words behind on my NaNoWriMo novel.

I swear to you, I'm about to just give up.  So much is riding on my graduating this semester, which requires that I pass everything.  It's too much pressure.  I got accepted to grad school, but that will be revoked if I don't graduate with decent grades.  I got financial aid for the spring, which we really need, but I can't get that unless I'm still a grad student in the spring, which rides on my graduating with decent grades.  Everything, and I mean that, is riding on me getting done.  I don't feel like I can take the pressure, I feel like I might crack, and right now, I'm thinking crawling into bed and not coming back out until January sounds pretty good.   In January, I'll wish I hadn't.  I just have another 3 or so weeks to go until finals, I can hang in for another 3 weeks.  I really have no other choice.  I have to do what I have to do.  I only wish it were easier sometimes.

Friday cannot get here soon enough.

Too cute to keep to myself...

I was getting around, getting ready for class the other morning when, passing the sofa looking for my book bag, I saw this...



I stopped what I was doing immediately and went for the camera.  Normally, I would remove anything that I didn't want in the picture (like Matt's clothes because he can't get it through his head that the living room's not a hamper), but had I done that this time, it would have ruined the picture.

It's not unusual for Ani to curl up with us when we sleep, which is what Matt was doing right then, but I've never seen him draped over the arm of the sofa like that.  He looked so cute, I had to share!

Wherein I ramble...

It's so quiet here this morning.

Matt's still sleeping, but the TV is on -- he fell asleep watching it last night.  I try not to complain for several reasons: 1) I like it when I can sleep undisturbed, 2) the bed hurts his back, and 3) he sleeps so rarely that I could care less about where he's doing it, and more that he is.  So I slept well, he's sleeping well, and I get a little while in the morning to blog and procrastinate on NaNoWriMo.  I promised him I would game with him today, though I should be working on my novel and doing homework.  I feel like life is so busy lately with my trying to graduate and do NaNoWriMo that we get so little time together.

I almost said no when he asked me, I was a bit angry, to be truthful.  Before NaNoWriMo started, I told him that I would likely not have the spare time to game during the month.  He said it was okay.  Then, knowing I'm behind on my book, and on my studying, he asked me to give him a whole day!  I have a test on Thursday that I need to start studying for and a 25 page paper to write that I haven't had time to even start, so the idea that knowing this he would still ask me for a whole day, it ticked me off just a little bit.   I thought about it and it occurred to me that I really should pay more attention to my husband than I have been lately, and he's been so understanding about the fact that I have so much going on.  Gaming is so time consuming, which is my only objection to it right now.  Normally, I'm all for it because it's a pastime that we both enjoy.  So, I'm doing it today and I'm going to try to ease up and forget that I should be doing other things, because Matt's a good husband and deserves that.  Then, I'm going to tell him to take a number for the rest of the semester, which goes through mid-December.

Then, amid all the business of the month, I woke up yesterday thinking about my thesis.  Now that I've actually gotten into grad school, I need to start thinking about what I want to do, which is clearly something my mind realizes on multiple levels.  The master's program is only two years --4 semesters-- and in that time I have to stuff classwork, assistantship, comps and thesis.  Two years doesn't seem like nearly enough time.  Add to that the fact that I'm starting in the spring, rather than the fall, and the traditional schedule is out the window.

Anyway, my initial inclination (way back when I was first considering grad school) was that I would do my thesis over the American Gothics.  I love them, so that's not a far stretch.  Then I found out, not but a few days ago, that I could do comparative lit based thesis and use the Greeks.  The second I heard that, the American Gothics went out the window... mostly.   I don't want to say what it is I'll be doing until it's firmly decided upon, but I'm happy with what I have so far.  I need to talk it over with one of my professors, who happens to specialize in comparative lit, and see what she thinks about the viability of my plan, then I'll talk about it.  I'm also a little worried that some random, wandering, English-major-without-a-clue might happen upon this and borrow my idea.  Paranoid? Me?  Nah!

Anyway, I need to run so I have time to work on my novel before Matt decides to wake up.  I hope you're having a good weekend!

Goals & Dreams

I have plenty of things to say, but rather than being my usual verbose self today, I simply give you this.  You can consider my total lack of opinion today my desire to spare words for the novel I am horribly behind on.  I was reminded today about CreateSpace's awesome offer to NaNoWriMo winners, and it has definitely lit a fire anew beneath my waning novel.

I saw this and thought it was cute -- I was going to graduate college and pursue my goals, but then who would make dinner?!  Ha!

Shame on you, Amazon!!

During my grad class Monday night, we were talking about digital archives and e-books.  My professor mentioned that Amazon is altering e-texts in order to make them less valuable to pirates.  Apparently, the problem is not so much with the Kindle, but with the free e-book reading software they're making available for computers.  In order to spot stolen or shared books, Amazon's new method, one they recently patented, will substitute synonyms for words throughout the text.  Initially, I was utterly shocked at the idea that books would be altered.  Can you imagine that rather than seeing this, when you open Pride and Prejudice...

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."



You see this...

"It is an accuracy universally accepted, that an individual male in possession of a sizable sum must be in requirement of a bride."



I can't even fathom it.  The first thought that occurred to me was, "Why on earth would anyone want to read it like that?"  The whole mess would likely just dissuade readers from purchasing e-texts, rather than dissuade piracy.  It seems, after looking into it, that they only intend to change a few words, not dramatically alter the text as my example insinuates.

That does not make it acceptable.  Changing texts, at all, is a crime against literature, from where I sit.  Do I blame amazon.com?  Yes, but I also blame all the people who're pirating literate.  There are clearly two sides to this story and those stealing other peoples intellectual property are just as guilty as those doing stupid things to dissuade it.  Books are not that expensive and there are public libraries where books can be checked out for free, there are absolutely no good reasons to steal them.

So rather than speculating, I got to looking into it and got to thinking that if the texts were altered by Kindle software if someone tries to transfer them that that wouldn't be nearly as bad as Amazon altering the texts people are actually paying for.  It turns out that's not the case.  The person paying for the text gets the altered version, and so are being punished like criminals in the interest of tracking a crime they haven't even committed.  The only people this will dissuade are people who actually care about the integrity of literature.  Average Joe book reader isn't going to care if two or three words in the text are different than what the author intended.

Matt and I have been tossing around the idea of getting a Kindle, but if Amazon starts doing this, changing texts, then I'm not doing it.  No matter how cool the thing is, and how easy it is to get books, if the books are altered they're not worth the ease.  This brings up a whole lot of problems in the academic world, where people study differences in texts through textual studies.  This isn't carelessness, which is a major contributor to texts being altered, this is criminal, purposeful alteration of texts.  Intent makes this a crime.  So, I think I might look into the Nook, B&N's reader, instead of the Kindle.

All I can say, without going off on a total tangent, is that I'm really disappointed in Amazon.

A Rare Good Day...

It's been a pretty good day!

I don't say that much, I know, but today it's been the truth.  With daylight saving time, I've been waking up and getting around with plenty of time to have a morning before I have to be off to class, so I'm not having to rush around.  That, by itself, is awesome and puts me in an a better mood than might otherwise be the case. I'm not much of a breakfast person --unless you consider Diet Coke as breakfast?-- so I skipped breakfast in favor of checking my email, playing a few games of Tetris, and joining the MLA.  I even curled my hair and wore make-up.  Any day I bother to primp is either a really good day, and I feel like looking as good as I feel, or it's a really bad day and I'm trying to make myself feel better by looking good.

After a good morning, I was off to my 11am class with more than enough time to find parking and sit with my galpal Melanie between classes.  One of her supervisors, Ms. G, came out for a cigarette and we got to talking about my starting grad school in the spring.  We told her that I was wanting to apply for an assistantship for the fall,  as they're not generally offered mid-year, when she advised me that I should talk to Ms. N, who runs the writing center, and see if there was something available for spring.

I took it into consideration and was off to my 11am history class, which was just alright, not great like it normally is.  It just seemed like the prof wasn't really into it today.  Normally, I love listening to this particular professor talk.  He's good looking, dark hair and bright blue eyes, and has charisma in spades -- tiny little crush on said professor, I must say.  On any normal class day, the 50 minutes comes and goes in the blink of an eye,  but not so much today.  He just got married, or so I'm guessing by the shiny gold ring on his left hand, so that probably has him tired and distracted and who could blame him.  Anyway, after my 11am, I spend an hour with Melanie between classes.  She told me that she told Ms. N to be expecting me to discuss the spring assistantship, which was awesome of her because it softens the anxiety of having to approach someone I don't know.

After lunch I had Historical Geology and got my exam back.  I made an 82!  That's a B!  I was so happy to see a good grade on that exam, I really need to pass geology so that I can get the heck out of college.  Everything I have planned for spring is contingent upon my successfully graduating this semester.  Come hell or high water, I'm getting out of college!  Now all I have to do is try to make a decent grade on the next 3 geology exams, and the lab final, and I should pass.

After geology I went to the Humanities building to find Ms. N.  As it turns out, she remembered me from earlier in the semester when she met me at the writing center.  We spoke for a minute and she took my email address.  She's going to email me the application for the assistantship in the spring, but she said that if there were no assistantships available, she might be able to put me in a tutoring position!  So, it looks like I might have a job lined up for spring!  It will be contingent upon my application, writing samples, and the committee's willingness to hire me, but given all of that, at least there's a chance. I haven't gotten the application yet, so I'm a little worried that I may have omitted the dot between my first and last name in my school email address.  I'm going to give it a few days and then email her, just to make sure.

So, between my good grade on the geology exam and the chance at a job in the spring, I've been pretty darn happy all day long!  My afternoon has been no less great, though it's been somewhat lazy.  I need to be working on NaNoWriMo, which I'll do when I finish this entry.  I should also be reading for History of the South and studying for my Renaissance and Reformation test, which is Friday.  So, with all that said, I'm off to do all the stuff I should be doing this evening.  I only have one class tomorrow, so I have plenty of time to study for Friday's test and read for History of the South, but with all that to do, there'll be not time to catch up on NaNoWriMo if I fall behind again.  Well, I could use Friday to play catch up, but I'd rather not do that.

Yeah, rambling now, time to go.  Hope you're having as good a day as I am!

NaNoWriMo, Day 3: Caught up!!

*Small note: Reading over what I wrote last night, I feel like the title is a little misleading.  No, I have not caught up with Matt, I've just caught up to where I'm supposed to be. I'm still the tortoise.

I wrote 3,436 words today.  I started the day at 1,792 words, and as you can see by my sidebar, ended it at 5,228.  It took me all afternoon and all evening to write those words, but I did it!  That officially has me caught up, I needed to be at about 5k words today to be on schedule to finish this thing.  Monday tried to derail me, but I over came it and I'm really proud of having done so!

On that same note, my story is coming along really beautifully!  I was a little worried that it might not come together, but so far, things are progressing remarkably.  I'm happy with how Remembering Tomorrow is going so far, even if it will need some crazy heavy edits when November is over.  There's NaNoEdMo for that, you know, so I'm trying not to worry about it.

I did go ahead and start a blog for my character, like I said I would.  I know it sounds obsessive, but believe me when I tell you, it's a part of the book.  Every entry on that blog will go directly into the book, but it's easier to write about a blogging character, when you give said blogging character a blog!  The blog is at rememberingkate.blogspot.com, but it's locked.  Sorry about that, but since it's going into my book, it's better that way.

On a final note, because I'm tired and already feel like I'm rambling, I wanted to say that while November's not a good month for everyone --it certainly isn't for me-- there is an unofficial event called JulNoWriMo for those who want to take on the 50k in a month challenge.  The event is not as big as NaNoWriMo, but it's basically the same gig, different time of the year.  JulNoWriMo actually has 31 days, which is nice.  One day may not seem like much, but in a challenge like this, every day matters.  So, if you can't do NaNoWriMo for too much to do in November, or if the summer's better for you, you might want to check it out!

Alright, on that note, I'm out of here.  It's getting late, I still have reading to do for tomorrow's class, and I need to sleep at some point.  Sorry for the lack of edits to this entry, I'm really tired.  I'm sure by the end of the year, y'all are going to be so damn tired of hearing about NaNoWriMo.

Good night.

Of long days and field trips...

It's been a hell of a long day.

I hate Mondays in a way I don't feel I can express.  It's nearly 11pm and I am so, so tired.  On a usual Monday, I have a history class at 11am, a geology at 1pm, a geology lab at 2:25, and a class at 6pm.  It's my absolute longest day.  Today, I had all of the above, but rather than just having a class at 1pm, I had a brutal geology test (no idea how I did, I'll let you know when I know), and rather than having a on-campus lab,we went on a field trip.  Yes, you heard (saw?) that right, a field trip.  We went to Glen Rose, TX to look at geologic formations.  This was the second of two field trips, but was much more fun than the first field trip.

Unlike last time, I got to sit in the front of the van.  I get really, really car sick and I have bad knees.  Neither of these things make climbing in and out of the back of a van easy.  I can't climb into the van very easily, it kills my knees, so I struggle which makes me look like an idiot.  Then, of course, there's the motion sickness from actually sitting back there.  Sitting in the front is much, much nicer.  My professor drove, it seems he's not terribly talkative while driving (though he can be at other times), so it was nice and peaceful.

The drive to, and around, Glen Rose was amazingly beautiful.  The leaves were turning yellow and orange and red.  The roads were narrow and winding, it was a lovely drive through the countryside between locations.  There were places where the road was covered by quickly running water, others where the creek went under the road, and the whole way was skirted by makeshift ranch fence, crafted of large branches of wood and barb wire.

There were 7 stops, in all, but the crown jewel of the field trip was definitely getting to see Dinosaur Valley.  I didn't get to actually see the tracks, as I would have had to cross a river on slimy rocks, wading ankle deep in icy water.  I decided to pass on that, given my terrible balance.  I really, really didn't want to end up in the Paluxy river.  So, half the class waded across, while the other half sat on seating built into the rock wall.  Half the people who elected not to go had phones out, just waiting to catch a snapshot of someone falling into the river.  It was really very nice, the weather was absolutely beautiful!  I wished Matt had been there, it was amazing.  So much so, in fact, I'm going to try to get Matt to go out there sometime, it's only a half an hour out from Stephenville.

The trip back to S'ville was really nice.  The sun started to go down and pink rose from the rims of the ridges all around us as the sun sank below the horizon.  There wasn't a cloud in the sky, it wasn't cold, nor was it hot, there was no wind.  It was perfect weather be out and about in Texas.  It was almost dark when we pulled back into Tarleton at 5 minutes to 6pm.  Rather than loitering around with some of my classmates, I was off and across campus for my 6pm class.  By the time I got to Humanities, all the way across campus, and used the restroom, it was 6:10pm.  I was only 10 minutes late for my grad class.

After class, I went to Wal-Mart to get cat food and dinner for myself and Matt.  I didn't get home until nearly 9 o'clock.  I'm exhausted.  The time change is making me feel really unsettled.  I feel like it's an hour later than it is.  Maybe I just need to go to bed and get a really good night's rest.  Of course, in all that time, with everything going on today, I've had zero time for NaNoWriMo.  Now, it's 11:15pm and I'm too tired to work on it, but if I don't, then I'm going to be behind.  Right now, I think being behind would be better than whatever might spill out of my brain in an attempt to write anything.  I don't have class until 1pm tomorrow afternoon, and it's the only class I have, so I have plenty of time to catch up tomorrow.  Wish me luck in keeping up, November is such a bad month for me.

For now, I'm off, knowing that even if I didn't get NaNoWriMo worked on, this post represents success with NaBloPoMo!  Two posts in two days, 28 more to go!  Good night.

NaNoWriMo, Day 1: The Tortoise & The Hare

It's 5:15pm, I'm high on Halloween candy, and taking a break from studying for tomorrow's geology test.   We've kicked off NaNoWriMo here, with varying degrees of success, and we're having a good time with it!  I've managed to write 1,792 words today, which I feel is pretty awesome given everything else I have going on.  The absolute daily limit is 1,667 per day, that's what I'm aiming for,  which I not only met, but exceeded.  Still, there's nothing quite like realizing that my husband has written 10,548 words today to make a girl feel like a serious underachiever.  Matt wrote a bit more of 1/5 (about 21%) of the total word count in one day!

The man is a machine!  If I didn't know better, I'd have to accuse him of cheating.  I repeat, The man is a machine!!  He's been planning out his story for more than a month, he knows what he wants to happen and when.  He's been absolutely dying to get started and if I hadn't smacked his hands a time or two (proverbially speaking) he would have started long ago, rules be damned.  I convinced him that it's in the spirit of the event that he wait for November 1st.  If he keeps this up, he'll have the whole thing done by Friday.  I figure he can't possibly keep this voracious pace, especially given that he has school work to do at some point, but even if he writes half that per day, he'll finish well before November 30th.  So, I've been encouraging him to keep on going, even after he hits 50k, and he tells me he thinks his story will go longer than 50k anyhow.

Meanwhile, like I said, I'm just puttering along trying my damnedest to get my word counts written.  I'm pretty excited about my story.  So far, my poor character, who I named Kate, has had a rough 1,792 words.  Her life will start to get better soon, which should be fun to write.  I'm going to start a blog for Kate, which will serve as a portion of the book, but it will be completely private -- sorry! I think that's going to be fun, especially since blogging is my favorite pastime!  Writing one for my Fictional Miss should be amazing fun, and somewhat unconventional, which I love.

So, I guess it's not exactly like the tortoise & the hare, since we're not competing, and because I'm pretty sure the hare is going to kick the crap out of the tortoise.  I'll make it to the end this year, I'll win the race if it kills me!  But, for now I'm off, have much more studying to do.  Wish me luck on my Geology test, and keeping up with NaNoWriMo.  If you're participating this year, good luck -- you can do it, I know you can!!  If you haven't signed up, it's not too late!!