Tuesday, February 22, 2005

the light..

Things are brightening up for me. Here's why:

1. I leave for Florida in 11 days. Sunshine!
2. I bought a wedding dress this weekend.
3. I resolved some issues with friends.
4. I have gathered some motivation to keep working on my thesis (although this has not translated into actual work yet).
5. I feel a little less tired.

I am working towards that feeling of laying on the beach with the sun warming my skin (it better be sunny!).

Here's to hoping that spring comes to state college soon!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


the mornings have been the worst lately. i wake up early, groggily force my body to make it through grueling work outs, stumble into the shower, try on a million things which never look good, grumpily walk my dog frustrated at him for not being quick about his peeing, and then scrounge the kitchen for something healthy to make for lunch. by the time i leave for school, i'm already frustrated and feeling really negative about myself and my life, especially as i consider all i am to accomplish each day.

i know that everyone goes through tough periods like this, where life just gets you down and even the little things seem like they are the biggest obstacle on earth. i know the cliche - 'this too shall pass' - but i don't *feel* like the end is anywhere close to being in sight. and everytime i think about what i need to get done this semester, i just want to go into my room, shut my door, crawl under my sheets with a great novel, and leave a sign outside announcing to the world that i am unavailable until future notice. or else get into my car and drive far away on roads i don't recognize just for the feel of freedom and a place that doesn't know me, judge me, or place demands on me. dramatic, i know.

but i just hate being this unhappy and i honestly want to change my outlook but i don't know how. i am trying to take things one task at a time, but i even feel incapable of handling that. and my guess is that it's not just the task things that are getting to me, but all the stuff that's been going on in my personal life.

okay, enough wallowing. sorry to make you read that. especially if you're having your own struggles. i have to believe that somehow i'll make it through this year, even if it sucks. as my mom reminds me, the greatest predictor of future success is past success. i *will* get my degree, even if it kills me or lands me in a mental institution!

let's hope next time i write, i'll have more uplifting things to say!

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Time to help!

Okay everyone, if you remember my post about Burundi and the link to my sister's website, then here is the follow up:


Jodi emailed Claude about finding a way to donate online, and so here it is!

I know there are a LOT of causes that are in need of support, but if you feel like you want to help the people of Burundi specifically, then here's your chance.

You can try to raise money from people you know and then donate it online or just give what you can give to this site.

Post the link to the site wherever you can and if you want, include Claude's letter.

Hopefully we can at least make a small difference in a few people's lives.

Friday, February 11, 2005

The foods of LOVE

Do any of you have exciting plans for Vday? I'm making Jesse dinner including chocolate crepes (which I am nervous about -- never made crepes before). Any advice on crepe making?

Here are some clips from an article I read about the foods of love. I thought it was interesting so I'd share it.

"Montezuma, they say, drank 50 cups of chocolate a day to increase his virility. Casanova popped raw oysters daily. And Marc Antony fed Cleopatra grapes to get her in the mood. Foods that purportedly increase sexual desire or performance, or aphrodisiacs, have been part of our cultural lore (and Saturday night courting rituals) for millennia.

Some foods, such as chocolate and chili peppers, are valued for their physiological effects, like heat or euphoria, thought to mimic the flush of being in love. Other foods are prized for their erotic shapes or textures (think bananas and oysters). According to Jonathan Zearfoss, Professor in Culinary Arts at the Culinary Institute of America, while the science behind the lore is scant, the psychological effect — knowing a food is rumored to have amorous powers — can count for a lot.

Zearfoss recommends cooking at home to increase romance. "We associate food with love. Making a meal for someone shows there's caring and commitment and that in itself will predispose people toward positive feelings." He also suggests serving interactive food, like fondue, or dishes that have to be eaten with your hands. And if all else fails, there's always chocolate, a treat whose psychological associations with decadence and sin, says Zearfoss, are practically a shortcut to seduction.

Ready to get started? Here are some classic aphrodisiacs and healthy ways to work them into a romantic Valentine's Day dinner à deux:

Oysters: They're loaded with zinc and are believed to have, uh, a positive effect on the male libido. Have them shucked, then arrange the half-shells on a tray of shaved ice and serve with fat-free sauce: mix together rice vinegar, chopped ginger, diced chives and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Lobster: It's pricey — but very worth the splurge. If cracking them at the dinner table doesn't make your heart thump, remove the meat ahead of time, mix with mango, red onion and a light dressing and scoop into lettuce cups for "mmm"-inducing finger food.

Asparagus: According to folklore, its vaguely suggestive shape drives women wild. Combine with mushrooms and saffron for a heavenly risotto — just skip the finishing butter. (For added flavor, purée half of the stalks — not tips — with a cup of the cooking broth.) Lazy day option: Spray asparagus with nonfat olive oil cooking spray and roast until tender; sprinkle with sea salt, lemon zest and chopped parsley.

Chili peppers: Certainly, they make you hot and sweaty. Whip up a spicy salsa to feed to each other on baked tortilla chips, or spoon on top of poached white fish or chicken breasts for a main course. Just chop rehydrated ancho or pasilla chiles with tomatoes, onions and cilantro.

Chocolate: It contains the potentially mood-enhancing stimulant phenylethylamine, which is thought to relieve depression — and the Aztecs swore by it. You don't need much — pear halves poached in a sugar-water solution and drizzled with store-bought chocolate sauce is elegant and delectable. Alternatively, break up a small, high-quality dark chocolate bar to munch with dried apricots and figs.

Strawberries: They're juicy — causing you to lick your lips a lot. Make individual trifles by layering sliced berries with low-fat ricotta whipped with almond extract. Or, simply drizzle with good balsamic vinegar. "


Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Less cleanup!

Jesse sent me this quote today -

Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion .. . . I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.
-- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

So, I'm all up for some laughing! Post any funny jokes or stories or embarrassing things that happened to you and we'll see if we can get some laughter going.

I'll start:

Courtney and I were backpacking in Europe the summer before junior year of college (2002?). While in Prague, we switched hostels which meant we had to lug our packs on the bus.

Now, the bus drivers in Prague forget that buses are not sports cars and take turns like they're on a race track. They also forget that some people are standing on the bus and that turning very fast and speeding are dangerous.

So there I am, too short to get a good grip on those bars over my head, bracing myself as the bus whips around turns. My pack is a good 40 lbs. and suddenly, I lose my balance and topple backwards onto the tiniest 98 pound woman sitting on the aisle seat. As if it wasn't bad enough to fall on her, I couldn't get up. I was like a turtle on its back trying to get up - my arms and legs flailing, trying to grab onto something. The entire bus is staring at me for what felt like an hour and NO ONE is helping me. Courtney is at the end of the bus, looking slightly mortified and completely amused.

I finally manage to grab some guy's hand and plead "HELP!" He didn't really have any choice and I pulled myself up, turning quickly to see if I completely squashed the poor tiny woman beneath my bulging backpack. I apologized profusely although I don't think she understood me and said something about the crazy bus driver and the turns.

The rest of the ride, I kept my head down and focused intently on trying not to let my feet sway one bit, thinking that everyone must be looking at me -- the stupid american girl with the huge backpack who squished a poor small woman who was just trying to get to work.

Now, your turn!

Monday, February 07, 2005

The little things...

Wasn't it that band BUSH back in the 90's that had the song lyrics that said "oh it's just those little things that kill"? I might be making that up.

Anyway, I feel like I have only had enough emotional reserves to deal with life without any glitches. One minor thing goes wrong and I'm in tears. It's so silly, but I can't help it sometimes. I broke my rice cooker yesterday (it was dearly loved), got a parking ticket today, overslept (what happened to my alarm?!), forgot to do my homework until right before class, and then when I attempted to do my work out tape after dinner, I managed to break my VCR and the cable internet connection at the same time.

Now my tape is stuck in the VCR and the VCR won't even keep its power on. I love that work out tape too. In my frustration of trying to get it to work, I somehow broke the cable plug to our modem. Figures. Jessica remedied it for now, but still. This last thing going wrong put me over the edge and I called my mom in tears.

I sometimes wish I didn't have video tapes or rice cookers or cars and then things wouldn't be able to go wrong with them. Ya know? We have so much that I think sometimes it makes us unhappy. Isn't that ironic?

After some good talks to mom, Jesse, and Vickie, I managed to pull myself together and write three pages of my paper due on Thursday. It's not much, but it sure is a start. And at this point, I need to hold onto those little accomplishments.

So, goodnight all. I wish all of your electronics better luck than mine.

Decisions and REBT

So, I got an email on Friday night telling me that I have been accepted into the PhD program at the University of Texas at Austin. I'm definitely happy - it's nice to be wanted. And although I haven't gotten my official letter yet to tell me if I got funding or not, I did get an email from a friend who attends UT. She went to PSU for her Master's program and started at UT this past fall.

She loves it there, but wanted to tell me about some shady things she heard about the interpersonal faculty. I was glad she told me, but this just made me feel even more like maybe I am not meant to be there. So, we'll see what kind of package they offer me (if any) but for now it looks like I'll be at PSU for my PhD as well. Let's hope I can figure out what faculty member I could work with.

This past weekend was pretty good, although I'm feeling more and more stressed and weighed down. I guess I knew going into this semester that it was going to be really tough, but now I'm doubting my ability to get through it! Somehow things always get done - I realize this - but it doesn't mean it's going to be fun.

Jesse has been trying to tell me about some cognitive tricks to change how you feel. REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy) I think it's called. I just googled it and found this article. The basic concept is that people can change how they feel by changing their irrational beliefs about things that happen. Instead of speaking in absolute terms and thinking about events in terms of "shoulds" and "musts" and all that, you're supposed to replace those thoughts were more flexible terms in hopes of not feeling unhealthy negative emotions.

I definitely can be quite dramatic about things -- at least I talk that way. So maybe I do need to try to change my thoughts about a lot of these things I have on my plate right now and maybe I'll be able to handle them better. Honestly, my first year here was so difficult, I'm sure I can get through whatever comes my way this semester. The problem is that I'd also like to have a life and be happy as well. We'll see how well I can balance these things.

Okay, enough complaining for me right now! Hope you all are having a happy monday morning.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Let's DO something

Please go read this amazing and heart felt post that my sister wrote and let me know what you think we should do.

How can we read something like that and NOT help Augustin and his people? How can we hear someone pleading to help and just turn away?

I said the other day that I didn't know what I could do to help, but it seems like this is a real opportunity to do something for anyone that feels that desire.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005


So it was crazy to see my dad on larry king live last night. my heart was beating so fast everytime they asked him a question because i was so nervous for him.

overall, it was a frustrating show to watch and i definitely didn't envy his position being up there.

if you want to catch up, here is a link to aaron's blog with some video highlights and here is the transcript of the show.

who knows what will come of this, but hopefully some people watching saw a more compassionate face of christianity.

if you saw it, tell me what you thought! i will try not to be offended even if you criticize my dad! ;)