Friday, February 29, 2008

Me 'n' Jose.

So Ranger Man's graduation was yesterday, and now he's got to drive from Super Secret Army School back to Ft Lewis.

His parents just happen to be vacationing in Aspen, which happens to be on his way.

Oh, did I mention his mom didn't just move out of the house after being married for thirty years?

Apparently, this was my final straw. I bought some tequila today, and after I finish reading and outlining one more chapter on US/Cuba/Africa relations I am having margaritas and watching 'Guys and Dolls' and maybe 'A Knight's Tale.' And knitting. Which may be a bad combination (The tequila and the knitting), but I'm working on my fourth try for these socks having just ripped out almost an entire sock, so I figure I can't do much worse than I've already done. It's just me and Jose tonight.

Oh, and as something to throw out to the universe: If you happen to be in a position where you regularly sell alcohol to people, including people who after the month they've had may have red and puffy eyes for the rest of their life due to reasons you know nothing about, you should not pass judgment on these people who come into your store and buy nothing but one small bottle of Jose. Just sayin. No, I do not want 'a soda or something' I just want the tequila. I have 'something' to mix it with at home, not that it is any of your business anyways.

Side note: The book is actually pretty good- interesting anyways (although I'm really only on the second chapter), but it provides a different insight. It's called Conflicting Missions: Havana, Washington and Africa, 1959-1976 by Piero Gleijeses. It's a school book, and Cuba really isn't my particular area of interest, but it does seem particularly relevant these days even knowing that it's not my deal.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Is it bad...

... that I can't tell my parents (either one of them) how much they're hurting me?

I can tell them what is going on- the rest of the craptastic-ness that is my academic life right now, and while I'm telling them, I want to SCREAM at them that if I just knew that my home was still my home, at least I would have some sort of foundation from which to deal with the criticism and the humiliation that I am getting.

But I can't do that. It isn't my decision to make; it is theirs. This isn't their life that I am living; it is mine. So I can't decide which is worse: that I want to tell them but don't, or that I want to tell them at all.

My mom told me last weekend that she loved me and she thought about me all the time. I wanted to call her a liar. But I didn't. My dad said he'd call my mom... and that made me cry harder than all of the stuff I had to tell him about school- he shouldn't have to call her. They should be in one place. I feel like such a little kid- like I want to cross my arms and stamp my feet and scream until someone listens to me (and for the record, I am pretty sure I never did that as a small child).

So much for feeling like a human being. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

phew. sigh of relief.

I finally feel like a human being again tonight. For the first time in about a month, I am feeling better.

Perhaps its because Ranger Man passed his final test at Super Secret Army School today (yay Ranger Man!), and he was thoughtful enough to call me right away to tell me. Perhaps its because I know my mom called my dad yesterday about me, so I know that at least they are talking. Perhaps it's because I may have come to a very tentative/preliminary compromise of sorts with my professor about my thesis and I have another professor who has expressed faith in my abilities rather than pessimism. I think it's a bit of all of it, and probably about in the same order as I wrote it in.

Mondays and Tuesdays are extraordinarily busy for me- start work at 8am, and don't get home from school until 10:30pm, so I haven't been knitting, and I miss the 'me time.' But still, I feel better today. Don't get me wrong, I have a crazy amount of work ahead of me, crazy crazy crazy- but at least it doesn't feel pointless any more (for the time being at least). I am feeling more confident. phew. finally.

Oh yes, and congratulations again to Ranger Man! I am so excited for him! (although I'm trying really, really hard not to think about the fact that I'm going to miss yet another graduation of his.)

Sunday, February 24, 2008


I had a bit of a thought last night.

I'm not going to go into all the really crappiness that was last week. Let's just say that I found out for the first time in my academic career that when all of my professors told me I could write... they lied. When people told me that I had a shot at finishing this degree... they lied. So I spent last week with the head of the department telling me how disappointing I was and how much he didn't expect me to finish. To my face. Repeatedly. Craptastic Week.

(and yes, that was not going into the details...)

But here was my thought last night. I really have a hard time (possibly I'm completely unable) to do things purely for myself. I kind of thought that I was going to school for myself, but now that it has been made clear to me (and why the heck didn't anyone tell me sooner?) that my papers are the kind that professors don't like to read, it's really hard to motivate myself to do them. Doing the readings so I can participate in class is still okay, no one's yet told me I can't speak, but trying to write knowing that it's painful for others to read is difficult.

Perhaps in that way this blog is the most for-me thing that I do, not really expecting anyone to read, just writing... but at the same time, there's a lot that I don't write about because it's a public forum and people don't need to be reading that, and on the flip side, sometimes I put information out there because I feel like maybe someone else might be in the same situation.

Even with knitting- a lot of it I do to keep myself sane by distracting my mind from things and keeping my hands busy, but on the other hand, I can't stay interested if I'm knitting something for me. The last pair of socks I did and the current pair of sock I'm doing are for me because I'm still trying to get used to sock yarn which is thinner and lighter than the yarn I've used before. I wouldn't want to give anybody anything that was terrible.

Don't get me wrong, a lot of things that I do have selfish purposes along with good ones- Soldiers' Angels helps me at least as much as it helps the soldiers I write to, for example- but I don't know how to do something purely for me.

This is the problem that I'm running into with my thesis, which is the impetus for this whole pathetic line of thought. Because it has been made abundantly clear to me that a. I'm not cut out for this type of work (constructive criticism works much better for me than insults and humiliation), b. I'm not expected to succeed and c. getting me to succeed is going to take a lot of work on the part of other people other than me, and it won't be enjoyable for them. So now I have to make the decision that I want to write a Master's Thesis because I want to. Because I want the degree. And it's really hard.

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Feast!

So I started working at the local community center in the mornings... and the best part about it is, that there is a Farmer's Market there twice a week. Not that it's a large Market or anything, but it is there and there are cheaper fresh fruits and veggies (although I have no idea how to cook most of them). The other day, I bought a few red potatoes and some green beans. I don't have a kitchen in my little prison cell, but I do have a rice cooker, so I steamed my food with some butter and I had some garlic powder. it was yummy. I meant to put some cheddar cheese on the top, but I forgot.
And I had some coffee. With Kahlua. that was yummy too...

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I haven't been posting... I try to avoid either (although I don't always succeed) whining, or alternately panic.

I did talk to my parents. I don't feel guilty about not speaking to them again, but other than that, there were no grand epiphanies or reconciliations. I am still upset and hurt and isolated and everyone that is personally dealing with it (i.e., not living on an Island) seems to be just fine. My dad and brother called again this weekend and I talked to them again. My mom called today and I ignored the call.

Partly because the quest for the Masters thesis is feeling like walking the plank of doom. This is the avoiding writing about panic part. Without the gory details... this process so far has made everything else about this horrid little Island seem like pieces of cake. I now officially have abandoned the PhD idea, academia is not my thing. I may teach high school or community college, but staying in 'real' academia will kill my soul. And quite frankly, I like my soul.

I have some choice words for some people in my program after this week, but since this is a public forum I will keep them to myself. But I have determined that as much as I hate everything about being here, I am not letting these people win. I will finish this degree and then I will get the heck out of dodge and never look back. But I will not let them win (and then add with a hint of resignation: at least not without a fight).

I've been knitting knitting knitting... Seeing as how nearly everything in my life that made any sense is now not making sense any more and disintegrating (read: everything by Ranger Man), knitting is the only thing I can do to feel like I'm being truly productive, so I am knitting with a vengeance.

Oh, and I started working too. data entry is a blast. But, no seriously, I'll soon not feel guilty about eating. Have I mentioned I want to get off this awful Island?

Oh... and there was no drinking. yet. mostly because I feel guilty about eating, drinking would make my feel really guilty... but I haven't. Just to clarify.

Monday, February 18, 2008

On the bright side...

Not being on any NOK lists means that I don't have to be afraid of men in Class A uniforms...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I did it.

I did it, I called them. Picked up like nothing was going on, like there's no big deal. sigh. I don't like this at all. My family could probably write the book on Passive-Aggressiveness.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

[resigned sigh]

Bette is right below in the comments. I know it- I know that it's not nice of me... and I am going to call them. Tomorrow. Today I am doing some Soldiers' Angels stuff, and trying to not be sick (I think maybe I'm allergic to school). Tomorrow I will face reality. And then I will probably do some drinking.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Here is what Microsoft Word for Mac has to say about the definition of empathy:

em·pa·thy n
1. the ability to identify with and understand another person’s feelings or difficulties
2. the transfer of your own feelings and emotions to an object such as a painting

Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Developed for Microsoft by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

(sidenote: wow, it comes with its own citation? That is nifty! Scholarly articles from certain databases should come with that... it would make footnotes so much easier!)

Anyways. Sometimes I feel like I have more than the normal amount of empathy. I don't just read about things happening in the news, I feel them. There are a lot of days that I can't read milspouse blogs that are going through a deployment, because I feel it too much, and it hurts. I don't watch the news - at all- besides the nightmares that it gives me, I end up bawling through the whole thing, the good parts and the bad parts. If I'm reading, at least I can pick and choose what to read, and what paragraphs to merely skim.

Today has been one of those bad empathy days. I just can't seem to pull myself out of this rut. And I know that my life isn't that bad, but I feel so weighed down by everything that is going on all around the world. All I want to do is hide from the world.

I know that this is probably stemming from the fact that I haven't spoken to anyone in my family for the last two weeks. Ranger Man called my mom last weekend, to make sure she was okay... and I know logically that every day I go without talking to her, the harder it is making it. But I also know that the longer I don't talk to her, the more I can be in denial. I don't have to recognize the fact that I can't go 'home' anymore... it doesn't exist anymore. Denial is a good place. Until you get to days like today, when the only good reason you have for denial is denial itself- and denial without a modicum of justification isn't quite as sweet.

So instead I read the news, and I read other blogs, and everything compounds and I feel emotionally drained, even though I really didn't do anything today. It's almost as if the effort of not doing anything is weighing on me as much as I was doing something- it's not a passive nothing, it's a very active nothing. And I know, I know... I will have to talk to my mom and my dad again. But for now, I just don't want to. I want to pretend that they still live together and that everything still makes sense.

I think that's part of the problem, my worldview was rooted in this foundation that was consistent... and now that it's gone, maybe trying to adjust the way I see things is taking some time? Or am I making excuses again?

I'm still trying to figure out what it is that I am most upset about... What a rotten day.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Fool's Gold

There is a reason that I usually listen to Ranger Man... He is usually right. At first it was a little unnerving that he had a tendency to know me better than I did, but now I just take it at face value and listen to what he says and follow his advice. He hasn't steered me wrong yet. (And btw, this works the other way around too- it's not one-sided)

So last night, PLU friend and I went to the movies. We had set out to see that Katherine Heigel (sp?) movie about the weddings or whatever... thats what I wasn't so stoked about. However, one perpetually tardy bus system later and we ended up seeing the movie "Fool's Gold" with Matthew McConaghy (I am so bad with spelling names, I am so sorry!) and Kate Hudson (finally, one I can spell!). It was actually really good. I had a great time. The two best parts about the movie:
1. There was a lot of Scuba Diving in it. Ranger Man is a diver and he has been trying to get me to do if for well, as long as we've known each other. I'm not much of a water person, so I've been resisting... but this movie totally made it look appealing as a couple's bonding type of experience (well, minus the treasure hunting, of course...) and I told him last night that I am completely on board with the idea of me learning to do it with him. Cool.
2. For a girl that lives on an Island without my man... this movie was just enough to a. temporarily satiate my need for muscle-y men while b. still not being quite enough to fully quench it... I am a big shoulder muscle kind of girl and there were lot of big shoulder muscle, but there were no Ranger Man-ish 6 pack abs... darn it all, I need to get off this Island!

Oh wait, and the best part of all??
There were two main female characters in the movie: a blonde and a brunette. And the smart one was the blonde girl! yay!

It was a good night- that is why I listen to Ranger Man...

Friday, February 8, 2008

Off to the Movies

In one of the amazing coincidences of the universe, there is a girl here in the same program as I am in... from my undergrad school. We actually had a class together as undergrads! Apparently I'm stalking this girl, taking the same class at PLU as her, moving to the same Island as her, taking the same classes as her again, and then when I moved recently to the other side of this Island, well now we're practically neighbors.

So we're going to the movies tonight. I don't know the last time I went to the movies with a girl- I just don't usually have girl friends... and the last one that I had was a great drinking buddy, but we didn't go to the movies together. So this is a new experience. Going to the movies with a new girl friend, and going to see a 'chick flick'... hm. I am skeptical of the situation (I am such a homebody misanthrope!), but Ranger Man really wants me to go, so I'm mostly doing it for him. Hmph.

Headaches and Jobs and Theses

I am feeling much better now- besides for a lingering headache of doom that won't go away. yuck.

On the brighter side, I had a job interview today (says the girl who has quit four jobs in the last four months...) but I like this one, it's a five minute walk from where I live, and it would be four hours per day of receptionist-type stuff for the community center. I think that I can get behind that. Only going to school two days per week is screwing my body up; I need a real schedule to keep myself on track. plus, there won't be an hour of waiting for the bus each way to get to work (that was a major turn-off). I'll find out on Tuesday whether I got it or not. At this point, I just need something to do. Well, and some money so I can afford to eat again.

Other big news, I turn in my provisional topic synopsis (Read: Proposal) for my Master's Thesis on tuesday... I'm pretty scared. However, during class last tuesday, I had a bit of an epiphany about what I truly wanted to write about, so I started getting less scared. But then today, when I sat down to actually write the synopsis, I realized that my topic is only tangentially related to my degree/program/thingy so I emailed my professor (the department head) and explained my idea and my rationale, so that I don't get too much more excited about this topic if it's going to get yanked from the get-go. So, now I'm waiting impatiently for his response, and trying not to move too quickly for fear that my head might not follow the rest of my body.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Is it possible to get the flu by some sort of long-distance sympathy germ?

This super secret Army school is not agreeing with Ranger Man- he's had the flu twice now, and Rangers don't get sick, much less the flu (or so I'm told). For him anyways, who his is four year service anniversary last week, this is twice as often as he's had the flu since joining the Army.

The first time was right before I flew out for Thanksgiving, and about as soon as I stepped off the plane I started getting sick (culminating in the most miserable plane ride back to the Island that I have ever experienced).

Last week, he was sick again, and something hit me in between my two classes today (side note: two graduate seminars in the same day may not be the best idea. two in the same day two days a week is certainly a bad idea), to the extent that the guys that are in both of my classes could see a difference in me. I felt like I was a vile shade of green through my second class and the whole way home.

I'm hoping that maybe I've got some hormonal thing combined with the abnormal amounts of stress from last week and next week (preliminary topic for my thesis due) combined with not eating enough, because the pop-tart at the second class's break seemed to help. Ugh.

Besides, otherwise it's just weird that I keep getting sick right after him. We're an ocean apart for crying out loud!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Creeped Out!

Okay, as if I needed more topsy-turviness in my life right now...

I think I've mentioned before that I don't really understand the Facebook phenomenon. I have Myspace to keep in touch with my Soldiers from SA, and I have Facebook for school. I really don't know how to use either one, and Facebook is the one that I know the least about.

Today, I got a 'friend request' from a guy whose name I've heard before in regards to the program I'm in at school, but I've never actually met him. But, Facebook is for networking and so I thought sure, why not... Confirmed as a friend. Take a peek at the dude's profile-thingy... nope, I sure don't know who he is and [bonus] it says he's "In a Relationship."

The next thing I know, I've got this in my inbox... (edited to change my name, and remove his but other than that it's a copy)

(no subject)

Hi KJ,

Your in the MADMS prgram at hpu?

Your the best looking girl I remember seeing in the program..

Good luck on all your classes :o)

Okay- first of all... umm?? what?

I think this guy has graduated, or at least I know he's been in the graduate program longer than I have, and he can't get the difference between your and you're? or that there is an 'o' in program?

and... is that a compliment? what does that mean? ick! I'm totally creeped out. On ravelry, my profile picture is a picture of Webster... I hate to do that for a site where the whole point is professional networking but if this is what happens when guys can see that I have blue eyes? ick. ick. ick. Congratulations? I'm glad that being in graduate school is not a bigger accomplishment than having blonde hair and blue eyes... wtf? Seriously, I feel like I stepped back in time about 50 years. Good thing I didn't actually meet this guy, because had he said something like that to my face after the week I've had... well, I am a Ranger Girlfriend and things do rub off. just sayin'. people disappear.

Put another tally mark on the Pros side of the Pros and Cons of dying my hair a different color than Blonde!

Saturday, February 2, 2008


All right, I know that I don't have the best camera or lighting ever, but here are my very fist socks! yay!

Due to the dreader boyfriend sweater curse (that as soon as you knit a sweater for your boyfriend he bolts), I'm really not chancing anything, so these socks are on their way to a very dear friend of mine, who goes by the nickname "Danger," and therefore I avoid any potential superstitious nonsense and "Danger" gets some new socks. He doesn't have a girlfriend to knit for him... so he deserves to be taken care of every once in a while. He was my deployment buddy when Ranger Man was deported this last time- "Danger" and I would go for a long walk once a week and then out for drinks afterwards and he would listen to my ramblings about the pitfalls of military relationships.

Anyways, the socks are from a pattern in the book by Judith Durant: Never Knit Your Man a Sweater (Unless you've got the Ring!), which is not the only reason why I'm not tempting the sweater curse, let's just say that there are some things that just shouldn't be messed with and the knitting for your boyfriend deities are one of those things. (Bad grammar I know.)

I do obviously have to get back to knitting the fourth sock, and a I have a ton of reading to do this weekend...

Sounding Familiar...

Oh. My. Gosh. According to CNN, France is sending troops to Chad to protect French Nationals there.

Wouldn't you think that at some point policy-makers would start to see patterns forming? And at that point wouldn't you think that policy-makers maybe could try to make a difference in the world? That maybe by not following the pattern, or by making a new pattern would be possible?

Seriously- It's almost eleven on a friday night, and here are some headlines...

Somalia: Doctors Without Borders Pulls Out"
"Spreading Banditry Dilutes Benefits of a Plan for Ethnic Peace in Kenya"

the headlines for a region of the world that is historically underreported. urgh.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Two Good Things

When I was in Middle School, some days I used to catch a ride home with one of my (at the time) best friends. Upon picking us up, her mom would expect us to come up with two good things that happened to us during the day. It's a good trick for staying positive. So here are my two things for yesterday:

To put this into context... I still haven't unpacked. There are boxes and luggage all over this teeny tiny little room. It's kind of like a maze, but mostly I just don't want to be living on this Island and if I don't unpack, then maybe I don't actually live here.
But my printer ran out of black ink yesterday. I knew that I not only had a replacement ink cartridge, but that I had seen that cartridge since moving, so I knew that it had to be somewhere kind of handy as I was looking I made two great discoveries (and the ink was actually in the box underneath my desk- nearest to the printer. who woulda thunk?)

1. I realized that my old laptop-mouse that I had with my Dell laptop which bit the dust shortly before coming here was actually here with me. I'm not sure why I hadn't thought to plug it into my new laptop before- probably because I assumed the Microsoft mouse wouldn't be compatible because the other peripheral I had, the Dell printer sure didn't work with my iBook. Anyway, I thought, "what the hey" and I plugged it in. Lo and Behold, I know have the scrolly-ball thingy again. yay! and my carpal-tunnel afflicted wrist can be just a touch happier.

2. My second discovery is kind of a girly one, two Christmases ago (which might make this a little gross), my Grandma gave me a Burt's Bees Head to Toe Starter Kit. It had the little sample sizes of a bunch of lotions and salves and stuff like that. well I took the stuff out that I was using right away, but about half of it I left in the little bag and I found the other half of my yummy lotions yesterday.

So those are my two good things for yesterday. What are yours?