Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Merry Christmas girls! Can you believe we've been doing this for a whole SEVEN MONTHS? Here's hoping we can continue on into the new year. Love you all! <3

It's Crimbas!!


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Big news!

Hey guys! I've got big news! Can anybody guess what it is? I bet you can! Anybody? Anybody?

I SURVIVED MY FIRST SEMESTER OF GRAD SCHOOL! *cue dance party and confetti cannons!*

You knew that was coming, right? :P

Yesterday (or this morning from my perspective) I turned in my very last paper, a 14 page doozy on the character of Moriarty in BBC's Sherlock. It was so much fun, but also SO HARD, because I basically had to write my own theory/methodology to deal with the second season of the show. Which is cool, cause that's the kind of stuff REAL scholars do, but frustrating because the concepts lend themselves very well to presentation, but not so well to a paper. Ah well, it's done, and it is, according to my professor after my presentation, "conference material," so we'll see where that goes!

These past two weeks haven't been nearly as stressful as they could have been. I had 4 papers, 4 presentations (3 of which were on a paper that I'd written so they almost don't count) and my piano proficiency, and they all just sort of happened. I mean, obviously I've had to work at it, but I was way more stressed early in the semester before I got used to how much work this was gonna be!

The end of the year also means holiday parties. I had one on Sunday and it was interesting. You know how in every subject there's that one textbook that every school that has an even remotely decent program uses? Well, the guy that wrote that textbook for music history teaches here. He even goes to my church. Anyway, he was hosting the departmental holiday party this year, so I have a) been to his house, b) met his cats and his husband, c) had more than passing conversations with him, and d) had a personal tour of his library. Talk about starstruck! It helps that he is pretty much the nicest man ever, so he doesn't make you feel like he's this big high muckity-muck up on his throne of awesome-ness. But it's still kind of startling to think about - Oh hey, yeah, I know that guy! :P

I also have a dinner tonight (Wednesday) at the house of my 551 professor. You've heard me complain - you can imagine how much I'm looking forward to that. But I will survive, and then, and THEN! I get to go home! In fact, as you read this I am probably in the car somewhere along I-69, belting out Christmas carols at the top of my lungs. Imagine me with the biggest smile on my face, because I will be the happiest person in the world right then!

I will then be spending about 48 hours banned from any sort of device (hence typing this up early) because between typing four papers and my piano proficiency, my tendonitis is killing me. I plan on reading my way through the stack of 25 novels and 3 non-fictional film music books as best I can in those blissful 48 hours. I may even bribe Mom into making a fire so I can be warm for the first time in a month (my apartment is almost always freezing because I'm cheap and I have blankets).

Then it's back to the grindstone - I have one entrance exam left to pass, on early music history (400ish-1750 A.D.). YUCK! Then I need to do my instrumental proficiency, and I'm hoping to get it done early in the semester (in case I fail and need to retake it before the end of my 2nd semester, after which I'm not allowed) so I'll be practicing for that. There's also some kind of "styles" exam in February that I should probably start studying for. Doesn't Christmas studying sound fun?! NOT!

One other thing I'll be doing over break - I'll be looking at internships/fellowships for the summer! I'm actually quite excited about those! Of the ones I have picked out to apply to so far, 3 put me nearer to some of you - 2 in D. C. (Library of Congress and Smithsonian) and one in Cleveland (Rock 'n' Roll HoF)! I may be looking for a couch in one of those areas for a month or so over the summer *hinthint* :)

Alright girlies, that's my news. Hope you all have a fabulous holiday! <3

What have I been up to?

I wish I could say I've been busy... I haven't really.

I got your crafty gifts done and in the mail, so that's exciting. I hope you like them. :)

I still don't have a job. I finally went down to Publix and applied there. I could be cashiering next week. It will be part time with variable hours, and I will be bringing some income into the home, which I'm happy about. I really hate that I'm not contributing financially to our household. And though Publix won't be much, it will still be something.

Also, Publix is SO much better than Walmart! For one, they are not 24 hrs. Which means I can't be scheduled to work at 11 at night or 5 in the morning! YAY! (Also, they are not open on Christmas!) And did you know they have a computer system that calculates the number of cashiers on shift and the high traffic hours of the day and then gives everyone a schedule so that they don't end up with the situation of fifty people in line and only three registers running? WHAT? Why don't more stores have this? And they actually give their part time people significant bonuses for staying with the company and getting good evaluations. I'm impressed, can you tell?

 Mostly, I've been writing, writing, writing. First, I was working my Merlin story for Nano. And it's done, but it needs polishing. So I'm working on that. But oh my goodness, fanfic. I've been doing a lot of that too. Lots of ONCE stuff. Did you know the writers had considered a romance between Regina and Archie in season 2? WHAT? Totally exploring that now! And it's super cute!

Also, I need to make Christmas cookies. James and I are on our own this year, so things have been a little blah as far getting into the Christmas spirit. We don't have a tree up, mostly do the fact that we bought the cats a cat-tree and that's standing where the Christmas tree was supposed to go. And I have no idea where else to put it. I could try decorating the cat tower, but I think the cat's would demolish anything I put up. We're also probably the only house on the street that doesn't have lights up. Neither of us have the desire to put the work into that. haha.

But I am totally doing cookies. James wants buckeyes and I want meringues, so that's what I'm doing. Also, if you have never had homemade chocolate chip meringues, you need to (the store bought are too hard). Most delicious thing you will ever put in your mouth. I only made a dozen last year, and mom and I were very thankful for that because we could not stop eating them.

Kind of tempted to string lights around the cat tower now.....

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Exhaustion Has Become a State of Being

*ducks barrage of bubble wrap and rusty spoons flying toward her head*

Okay. Yeah, I know. But you should be aware that I picked bubble wrap out of the myriad of possible weapons largely because of the high likelihood that I would not get around to posting on Monday.

And the most frustrating thing about it is that I'm not even really that busy. Certainly nothing like I've been in the past. I work five days a week, I get home at about 5 every day, I have a choir rehearsal one night a week, and I go to church on Sundays. I am honestly not that busy.

What I am is exhausted. This is such a high-stress job, and couple that with moving and the holiday and Maggie being sick, there's so much I haven't gotten done and so much I have to do as soon as break gets here.

So an update on Maggie for y'all. She's having surgery on Thursday to remove her gall bladder, and we're hoping that's the end of the saga, but her doctor is worried that there might be something else going on, so she's been having lots of tests lately and feeling pretty crappy and not allowed to eat really anything (she breaks that rule a lot, though). But from what I understand, it's not a very invasive surgery, and they won't even keep her overnight. But she's very anxious about the surgery, so drop her some good thoughts and encouragement, yeah?

Anyway, as far as my life goes (and yay, folding in previous topics!), I was able to return to BG for Thanksgiving to help with the candy making (254 lbs!), but because of the aforementioned candy making, I didn't get to see nearly as many people as I wanted. I did see Anne very briefly at church, but it was sadly more like a fly-by than anything else, since we sit on opposite sides of the choir.

The drive to and from sucked majorly, though. Weather and bad drivers and weather delayed us significantly on the way up, and we stopped in Cleveland at 1:30am when our initial arrival time in BG was supposed to be midnight. And we got a later start than we wanted coming home and it's just a long drive, guys. I think we got home at 12:30 that night? And I had to be up for work five hours later. But regardless of the drives, I am very glad I got to visit home, for however brief a time.

I feel like I'm rambling. Am I rambling? I don't have a through-line; I'm so disjointed these days . . . I saw a great post on Tumblr a few weeks ago, a webcomic that basically said "Tired is no longer a momentary descriptor of how I am; it has become an integral part of my being." I entirely relate.

Anyway, the reason why this wasn't up on Monday was because I had a bell rehearsal scheduled very suddenly for the evening, and then Chase asked me if I wanted to take a winter stroll through downtown and do some Christmas shopping before my rehearsal, and how's a girl to say no to that? Then we got home, and I had to put together my Secret Santa gift and then it was time for bed.

(Don't ask about yesterday. I have no excuses.)

And speaking of Secret Santas and Christmas, I want to reassure you all that you WILL be getting your Christmas presents, the candy and the other thing that has nothing at all to do with Harry Potter or Patronuses, but they will probably be more like New Years presents, for two reasons. One, because that's when they'll be finished (can I get a time machine to go back to the moment when PastCassie said "Sure, I can handmake nine Christmas gifts this year, no problem!" and smack her?), and two, because then I'll have a nice new paycheck in the bank and be able to afford all of the shipping I have to do. :/

Let's see, what else? Seriously, I have no through line, guys, I'm just typing.

I haven't seen Frozen or Catching Fire or Thor 2 because I am bad at movies, but I have seen Ender's Game, which was one of the best book to movie adaptations I've ever seen done, to say nothing of just brilliantly cast and performed, and I have also seen The Book Thief, which was a lot better than I had braced myself for. There were a lot of things I wish they had done differently and been able to incorporate, but that's a beautiful movie with absolutely perfect casting, and I sobbed like a child.

Um . . . pretty lowkey Christmas plans at the moment. I've got a bunch of church stuff coming up, as expected, but mainly my plans involve cleaning, unpacking, decorating, and then spending a quiet Christmas with Chase. We aren't coming up to Ohio because his job only gives him Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off, and I abandoned him at Thanksgiving, so I can't very well do the same on Christmas without feeling like a horrible person.

Well, I think I've rambled enough, and besides, I need to get back to my Christmas projects so that people have things to open eventually. Ready your bubble wrap, and I'll see you all next week, with any luck.

Monday, December 16, 2013


Hellooooooo Dunbar Girls! It's been a while for me, and for that I apologize. You could say one or two things have been going on, but the truth of it is a busy schedule and a girl in need of brain organization surgery. Do they have that yet?

So I'm a waitress, exciting. God's been moving mountains: exciting-er.  

For Thanksgiving each of us on the team cooked or baked something different. Everything was delicious but I think the highlight of the meal was Amanda's sweet potato casserole. I'm convinced that's just human-kind trying to cheat and eat dessert first.  

We've decorated!

We can't travel on the program so we'll all be staying here for the holidays. It's been and will continue to be a lot of firsts for me, especially the holidays. Thanksgiving was my first away from family and Christmas will be as well. But my parents are coming to visit this weekend! I'm so excited, and only a little trepidacious.

One of the things you hear about this program from anyone who's ever been on it is how much you grow. You're bound to: thrown in a completely new environment with people you've only known for a few days and all of a sudden you have to rely on these girls like family. The only thing constant in your life is the Word of God that got you here. What happens when you throw the safe and familiar of family back into your life? Even if only for a few days?

So that's new. Our leadership is throwing a holiday party for us this Saturday, which means we have to get almost everything done this week in five days instead of six.  And that's the negative perspective so here's the positive: it's going to be so wonderful! Rev. Berryhill is this mustachioed southern man with a guitar, twinkly eyes, and perpetual smile. The team of all girls doesn't even phase him: he and his wife only have daughters!
You would all love his wife Jean.  She's got quick humor and a sharp wit. She knows exactly when to be Mom and when to be the woman that makes you get stuff done. 
The holiday party should be great, because its intention is to be an evening for us to be able to relax and be at ease. 

I wonder about the growth part and when I'll get to see it for myself. Our perspective is internal and we don't always see what others do. I wait for the point that I look at myself and recognize, "So that's who I've become."

Sunday, December 15, 2013

'Tis Life!

Life has, indeed, been a little crazy here as well.  I look forward to hearing from all of you, since it sounds like we've all been a little busy.

For starters, the fall semester is now officially over.  Grades are posted on Tuesday, and to my knowledge, I have three As and one B.  Exams went better than I thought they would.  The one that I was most worried about - Civil Law - was actually one of the easiest.  Business Law was the problem child, even though it was only fifteen questions (more of a quiz, really).  Then there was that insane research project I had to do in lieu of an exam for Legal Research and Writing.  We were given a scenario and, in a style similar to that which we would use in the field, we had to pinpoint all of the legal issues within the scenario and then research the answers.  After weeks of panicking and stress, I got a full score!  I have only one more semester to go, and then I can hopefully get a job and get a life  on track.  Living with Mom is okay - I love her more than anything in the world - but I'm very, very ready to be on my own.  Mom laughs at me because I have had a Zillow account for months now.  I'm on the app and/or website almost daily, looking at new listings in the area.

I did, however, have to take a couple of breaks during exam week, right?  Right.  On the 7th, Mom, Angie, and I went to see Wicked at the theatre downtown.  It was awesome!  The vocalists were really good, and there was even a twist at the end that I didn't see coming at all, despite having lived with Cassie for two years  =P  I liked the humor, and the intelligence of the plot, and the origins of the characters.  I have to keep the Wicked plotline seperate in my head, though, since my Oz story still isn't set in stone.  After the show, we went out to dinner at Red Robin (yuuummmmmm!), and the Angie and I went to see Frozen.  Another amazing show.  Anyone who hasn't yet seen this movie should find the time to do so because it is completely worth it.  It was really interesting for us in particular because there are a lot of similarities between Frozen and Wicked.  There really isn't a real villain in Frozen.  Like in Wicked, there are bad people, but no overarching evil force.  It's about being misunderstood, not being evil.

Since exams ended this past Thursday, I've been cleaning and baking.  I put together the dough for Christmas cutouts today (well...some of the Christmas cutouts...), and I will likely be baking them tomorrow.  There are a lot of cookies to be made this year, so I think I'm going to do it in phases, since I also have a lot of crafting to do before Christmas gets here.  You guys will forgive me if presents are late this year, right?  Because I might run out of time  =P  I'm completely finished with my non-crafting Christmas stuff.  I actually finished my shopping and wrapping weeks ago.  It's definitely a personal record.

Otherwise, life is pretty much normal.  Sport is doing fabulously.  We took him to the vet before school ended and found out that he had whipworms, which was easily killed with three days of anti-parasitic medication.  He is also fifty-five pounds now!  When we got him, he was supposedly only about forty pounds.  And he is so, so sweet.  He loves to snuggle up with Mom and me, and he is never demanding or loud.  He always has to be where Mom and I are, so he'll follow us around the house.  He's still timid with strangers, and even sometimes with Mom and me, but that's okay.  And he loves the snow.  Whenever we let him out, the first thing he does is eat a couple of mouthfuls, and then he'll toss the snow up in the air and run away, as if he's trying to be a certain distance away before it lands again.  He runs circles around the yard like a horse or a gazelle.  It's really amazing to watch.  Sure, he has his moments, but so do all dogs, and he's still a puppy, so he's allowed to get a little goofy.  The other animals are all doing well too, and are enjoying having someone home all the time.

Everybody waiting for Mom to get home.

Snuggling brothers  =)

OH!  I can't believe I almost forgot.  Another movie you guys have to see when you have the time is The Hobbit:  The Desolation of Smaug.  AWESOME movie.  Cassie, our boy Richard Armitage puts on a stellar performance, and Maggie, our favorite dwarf (i.e., Kili) has some amazing moments!  And Smaug was amazing.  Benedict Cumberbatch did a fabulous job with his vocals, and they incorporated a lot of the dialogue from the book to great effect (like when Smaug is bragging about how awesome he is).  There's action and adventure and Legolas and a badass female elf (I think her name is Tauriel), and a couple of rulers who are awesome in their not-so-awesomeness.  So yes, go see The Hobbit.  You will not regret it. The Hobbit is a preview of a movie called Maleficent - the story of Sleeping Beauty from Maleficent's side.  The thing is...Maleficent is played by Angelina Jolie.  Thoughts?  I personally am a little wary of it because I dislike that actress a lot, but I wonder what you guys think.  The makeup job on her looks stellar if that helps.

I'm sorry I posted late.  I passed out cold yesterday after cleaning.

Love and miss you!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Is it a bad sign that whenever I notice a topic hasn't been posted and the blog has gone silent, I immediately think, Must be a week for either me or Maggie?

I'm sorry, guys. Really and truly. I don't think I posted once in November because life just exploded with insanity.

So let's do a catch-up week, shall we? I know down here we have a lot to talk about and fill you in on, so let's make that our official topic.

And I promise to post on Monday; you can hunt me down and beat me with, oh . . . tubes of bubble wrap if I don't. :)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The life of a graduate student

Thanksgiving? Did that happen in there? Let's see... I spent a week at home so that must mean there was some kind of holiday happening, right?

Kidding, only kind of not. Thanksgiving break for me was 10 drafts of two different papers (one 500 words, one currently somewhere around 17 pages and likely to be longer), 60 pages of French reading, and coming up with a topic for another 500 word paper. While I would say I did get somewhat of a break (I finished a non-academic book I had started THREE WEEKS AGO!), most of my Thanksgiving was just doing work, with the added bonus of being around different people. Admittedly with Christmas music on the radio and a fire in the woodstove so I was nice and toasty warm :)

That's not to say we didn't do a few holiday-ish things. Mom and I watched the parade while cooking dinner, Grandpa came over from the Heritage (and actually ATE STUFF, which was impressive). I made my first ever pecan pie and it came out perfect, so that was exciting. After dinner I was supposed to take the rest of the day off... but I couldn't let myself, so I wrote another draft of one of my papers and THEN took the evening off.

The next morning Mom and I did a ladies' day shopping trip, which we usually do on Black Friday. We don't do all the crowded places though - the busiest place we go is usually JoAnn Fabrics, so yeah. I found lots of pairs of shoes, because with walking to and from school I seem to be wearing out my shoes faster than usual (surprise, surprise lol)

Right now Christmas is pretty up in the air, as far as I know. Granted, I have a lot else on my plate right now so all I really have to do is show up! I'll probably be home for about two weeks, so I'm sure there'll be shopping with Mom and the usual decorating/opening presents/fancy dinner. Grandma's coming from Eastern Ohio so that will be nice. BUT (again, life of a doctoral candidate) I will also be studying to retake the one entrance exam I failed, practicing for my instrument proficiency (if they ever email me back about the repertoire) and looking into/applying to summer internships/fellowships (there's one on archives in England, based in Oxford for an entire month. YES PLEASE!)

I'd better stop there. Can you tell I'm procrastinating three papers and two presentations? lol <3 you girls and I hope we hear from those of you who have gone MIA soon!