Archive for March, 2007

hang out a sign that says “do not disturb”

Posted in Church, dissertation, Life, School on March 30, 2007 by drbolte

well, first things first.

i passed my exam! exciting news. it doesn’t mean i’m a doctor. i’m not a doctor yet. it means, though, that i am officially admitted to phd candidacy. it means that i have met all of the prerequisite requirements to beginning the dissertation process. it means that, save the defense, i will never have to take another exam as long as i live.

that is GOOD news.

the exam itself was painless. i was very nervous going in, but i was also praying a lot. i thought about calling my mom an hour before, crying to her about how i felt like i was going to throw up and worrying about it with someone who could talk me through it, but i decided instead to exercise a particle of faith and lean on my Heavenly Father.

it was a good choice.

when i walked in there, i knew that i had done all that i could do. i had read (at least somewhat–i’ll admit to some serious skimming the night before my exam) everything i said that i would read. i had kept my word and gone as far as i could. i knew that He would make up the difference. and He did, as He always does.

it wasn’t very long–only an hour and a half. in the grand scheme of things, considering how many hours i put into the process, it seemed so short. i really didn’t want it to end because, by the end, i was having fun. i knew what i was talking about. it’s a nice feeling.

they asked me to step out, so that they could talk about whether or not they were ready to sign. that’s the most nervewracking part. i was probably only out of the room for three minutes, but it is a long three minutes. my director came out and said, sarcastically, “it was a very hard decision.” of course, she’s never sarcastic, so that was sort of different. but it was nice to do so well as to not even elicit any concerns at all. i have to do a revision on my prospectus, but that’s for next week’s worrying–and it’s completely do-able.

but it’s strange, really. i don’t feel any different, except that i’m really, really tired. i don’t feel like i, myself, am any different. in fact, it was a bit anti-climactic. i expected to feel this giant weight lift off of my shoulders, and i didn’t. i called my mom right afterwards, and i told her how it went, and she told me that she was very, very proud of me and that i should be proud of myself.

i think it’s only when i think of things that way–how much work i put in, how hard i worked, how much i tried to have integrity in the process and keep my word–that i feel the import of it. and when i think about the fact that no one else in my family has ever gotten this far. i am the first, but i know i won’t be the last. it’s nice to be a trailblazer in that way, i guess. i am proud of myself. i know i should be more so…but it’s a strange sort of vacuum that i’m in right now. it’s good but it doesn’t feel done.

i suppose that’s a blessing, really, since i haven’t even really started the real work of the dissertation. it will be so much reading, so much writing, so much thinking. it’s good that i haven’t adopted this idea that i’m done–that would make it so much harder to get started once more. but at least now i get to take it piece by piece, step by step, and really concentrate on the stuff i like–analysis, reading, writing my arguments–rather than the stuff i don’t, the global sketching out of a larger argument. that will be good.

but i was really hoping for more of a vacation afterwards. but since i don’t really feel any different, and i still have 1 million and 1 things to do every day, i still feel like i’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off. that’s no good. i’m hoping next week will be better. it’s the lull before the next storm, which is my conference in kentucky. i still have to write that stupid paper. oy.

i think what i am right now is introspective. i’m tired. all i really want to do is watch netflix and be a bum.

but instead, i have an adventerous weekend planned which, for the most part, i’m looking forward to–an all-day concert, dinner with the sister missionaries, movie night with the girls, dinner on the grounds, and conference sessions all day sunday.


but i know i’ll be ever-so-grateful for monday, when all i have to do is sleep and watch netflix and plan for class. it sounds like bliss on a stick.

who knew i’d be looking FORWARD to monday?

two bare feet on the dashboard

Posted in Life on March 25, 2007 by drbolte

so summer’s almost here.  have you ever noticed that summers, or particular times of fun and frolic, have a soundtrack and a smell? the most amazing summer ever–last summer–has a soundtrack of country music and the smell of coconut lime verbena lotion and salt water.

i’m planning on killing that summer with the fun i’ll have this summer.

to that end, i’ve compiled a little list of things i want to accomplish this summer. perhaps it’s a pragmatic way to go about it, but it’s what i did last year (in my head), and look how that turned out?

so, if you live here and want to join in the frolic, let’s do it! let’s rock the list out!  and let’s add to it!

from april to august, i want to:

•    exercise five times a week, no matter how hot it is

•    pick strawberries MYSELF

•    go fishing and camping, possibly not together, but both at the beach

•    go to at least one concert

•    road trip! (to where?!?)

•    average one trip to the beach per month (total of AT LEAST four)

•    go to a UF baseball game

•    go bowling and crack 125

•    see the bats again and get deliciously freaked out

•    gator hunting at Paynes Prairie at night

•    playgrounding

•    have at least one barbeque

•    host at least two game nights, one including Cranium and one including Pictionary

•    float down another river (with better innertubes!)

•    arrange a night of photo scavenger hunting (ward activity?)

•    go to the Family History Center at least twice to get names ready

•    go see 4th of July fireworks instead of sitting like a lump


wow, you’ve got guts.

Posted in Life on March 23, 2007 by drbolte

some random chick just knocked on my door.  at 1 a.m.

no, i don’t know her.  she was walking through the parking lot with her dog and someone else. she’s not my neighbor, at least not that i know of.  i stood there, looking out my peephole for like a minute, trying to decide whether or not i wanted to answer the door.  i mean, just because she’s a chick doesn’t mean she’s not got something nefarious on her mind.

i ultimately decided to open it, but she had already walked away and was apparently uninterested enough to not linger very long.

but that takes some serious guts, you know?  to just randomly knock on somebody’s door that late?

not like i wasn’t up, but really.



Posted in Life on March 22, 2007 by drbolte

i signed the lease today.

i officially have two roommates and a new apartment for the fall.

i don’t know what my life in gainesville will be like not living here, by myself. i’m looking forward to it.  i have a positive outlook.  i’m sure it will have its trials and challenges, but i think it will be good.

but it will be weird, too.

but now it’s official.  and that’s kind of cool.

why this week rocks and sucks at the same time

Posted in Church, dissertation, Life, School on March 21, 2007 by drbolte

i spent my first day in orlando as a temple worker today. i LOVE it.  it’s amazing. i think that i could easily be addicted. and i’m pretty excited that i am accomplishing yet another thing on my list of things i want to do before i die. i totally understand why all of these little old couples spend so much time working there. there’s nothing like it–going to the temple is awesome enough, but being able to be there with the only intent of making a patron’s experience better?

that’s awesome.  i love it. i can’t wait until saturday.

and it’s amazing how much the world lifts off of you when you’re in the temple for hours at a time.  i find it really interesting that i felt perfectly find when i was in the temple, but the minute that i left, i got a headache and was exhausted.  when i woke up from my necessary nap (i only got 3 1/2 hours of sleep last night–it’s amazing i didn’t die on the highway), i had the worst headache i’ve had in ages.  it seems metaphorical to me–the weight of the world hindering my ability to deal well with life.  it’s so true.

in other news, i got a letter from my best friend. that also makes this week awesome. i love letters.

i also met with my director yesterday and she basically told me that i am in good shape to pass my exams. actually, my direct question was “i’m not going to walk in there and fail, am i?” and she sort of laughed at me and said “no.”

good news!  it’s amazing how non-stressed i am. i actually need to be more stressed. i have a lot more reading to do and not very much time to do it in.  oh well. i’ll get there. i always do.

this craziness–the end of the craziness related to exams–is what’s making this week suck.  that, plus the fact that i’m feeling rather inept in my calling and a great weighty feeling of responsibility about that ineptness. i have a plan. i’m doing my best to change things, but it’s still hard. i want to show love for everyone, but sometimes it’s hard when you feel like it’s rebuffed. i don’t like rejection.  i don’t love feeling stymied in my attempts to do what i think is right.  but i’ll keep trying until the Lord tells me to stop.  and even then…i might keep trying.

thank heavens, the migraine is abating.  it may be because i am sitting in a dark room, but i think it might be the excedrin migraine i took.  i am grateful for that.  it’s amazing how the small and simple things become so incredibly important.  i love those little pills.

in case you don’t know it, those of you who i know and love, you are awesome. thanks for being my friends.  i don’t say it enough, or show it in the important ways, but i am so grateful for you.  you fill my life, which could otherwise be grey and boring, with color and life.  thank you for that.

have a great week, everyone!

utter contradictions

Posted in Church, Life on March 19, 2007 by drbolte

i saw a commercial today that got me thinking about the contradictions that i have in my life.  i said, in my 100 things about me, that i am at heart a very contradictory person. that’s not to say that i’m not genuine, nor that i am putting up a front. i guess i just sort of see myself as a collage–made up of many different parts, all distinct but overlapping to form what it is that everyone knows as me.

for example…

i like stripper shoes and angel wings. they both truly make my heart sing.

i depend on people far more than i ever articulate, yet i believe i am often viewed as a distinctly independent person.

i am shy, strangely, at the heart of my supersocial self.  it takes real effort for me to be as social as i am, especially in large groups.  few people really know me–or so i think. it’s true that rarely does anyone crack the inner core.  when they do, i am most afraid of what will happen.

a lot of people seem to trust me–more than i would really expect–but i trust few.

i really like naps.  not sure there’s anything contradictory there, but i just wanted to say it. really love them.

i love attention, but i worry about being the subject of conversation.  i inevitably assume that people are speaking ill.

i find it strange…and these are just off the top of my head.

on a completely different topic, i was driving today and the sun was hitting the highway in the way that it does to create that false mirage/wet pavement look.  when i was looking at it, such an amazing effect, and realized that i would never get any closer to it than i was right then, i began to think of it as a metaphor for the warped sense of perfection that we all strive for.  you know–to be a certain size, to have a certain look, to be a part of a non-existent (or, if existent, ridiculously cliqueish) in-crowd, to make ourselves into the “best”.

it’s impossible. it’s this crazy mirage that has us believing that there is such a state, that it’s just ahead of us, that if we just keep working and keep doing what we’re doing, we’ll get there. but we won’t.

perfection can’t be solely attained through our own efforts.  superwoman complex that i have, i sometimes think i can work my way into anything that i want–a phd, a family of my own, a happy social life, exciting experiences–on my own.

it’s as false as that mirage.

none of us can do it on our own–and when we try, we end up chasing a ghost.  it’s only when we realize that we need the Savior–that we need the atonement and His understanding arms to buoy us up–that we can get anywhere.

i don’t remember that enough.  sometimes i think i just get in my own way when i don’t.

just some things i’m thinking about lately.

a few good reminders

Posted in etcetera, Life on March 19, 2007 by drbolte

(by Mary Schmidt)

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’97… wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be IT.

The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.

I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.

You are NOT as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.



Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.



Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements.



Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself, either. Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s. Enjoy your body, use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance. Even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings; they are your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography in lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.



Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you’re 40, it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

what the world needs now

Posted in Life on March 17, 2007 by drbolte

seriously, would it kill everyone to be a little bit more compassionate? a little more empathetic?

i have been struck today by the distinct lack of it–and i don’t mean just in other people.  i realize that i, often, don’t put myself in other people’s shoes enough. obviously, that’s metaphorical, but don’t you think it’s true? too often, we are all about how someone else inconvenienced us, or how someone doesn’t fit into our mold of what should or ought to be “normal” or “perfect.”

it’s absurd. and i’m pretty sure it’s wrong.

i just don’t think anybody is hurt by giving somebody the benefit of the doubt every once in a while.  you never know where that person’s been, or how they’ve been hurt/stressed/offended that day.  sure, they might annoy you. sure, their behavior may actually repulse or offend you.  but does it really hurt any of us to squelch that for two seconds and reserve judgment?

so, like the cheesy 70s song says (what is with me and 70s songs lately?), what the world needs now is love, sweet love.

rant over.  thanks for listening.

rainy days, sweatshirts, and big bowls of general tso’s

Posted in dissertation, Life, School on March 16, 2007 by drbolte

i was going to title this “rainy days and mondays” after that annoying (but true, in some ways) 70s song that says they always get us down. 

but it’s not true.

today it’s raining–and i mean REALLY raining–in north carolina. and it’s hecka cold. yesterday it was in the mid to upper 70s? today? 40s. 

yeah, and we wonder why people get sick so often in the transitional time between seasons.

but here, in this home that i love and feel safe in, hanging out with my mom for a week and spending the day today trying (successfully, i am happy to report) to finish the last book for the written first draft of my phd qualifying exams, everything is good.

i am happy, rested, and feeling good about things in general. i miss florida sunshine and i desperately wish i had had some beach time this week, but this…this confluence of sweatshirts, shopping, hugh grant movies, sleeping until 11 a.m. with no guilt, chinese food, and baking banana bread and shortcake was exactly what i needed. 

i am not ready to come home, in the sense that i am not ready for the intellectual sprint that will comprise next week’s workload.  but i am ready–oh, boy, am i ready–for march 27th to get here.

i’m ready to be done, to shift my focus, to get back to some of the things that i want to do (like exercise! i KNOW–it’s shocking) that i haven’t had time to work into my life thus far. 

but here, today, sitting on the sunporch with no sun at all, watching the birds eat seed in the middle of the last of the winter storms, i am happy.  give me the chinese food that will come later, and bliss may be approached. 

i am glad. 

what i’m waiting for…sans the alcohol

Posted in etcetera on March 10, 2007 by drbolte

(thanks to lonestar) 

You got your feet squeezed into heels that hurt
Cause they go with the job and they go with the skirt
You gotta look good when you’re out there
Climbing ladders

You go above and beyond and then way beyond that
You do it all, yeah, you wear every hat
Hoping someone that matters will realize you matter

But all that really matters is it’s Friday
And the sun is shining over my way

Toss your heels in the backseat
Drive home in your barefeet
Throw in that Van Morrison Cd
Chip away a little by little
Til you find your groove

I’ll pick up some takeout, we can just hang out
Levis and wine, blankets and lights down
Lay your head right here on my shoulder
And just be you when you’re with me
Girl, you got nothing to prove

I could listen all night if you wanna talk
Or we can lay here and say nothing at all
I already know who you are and that I love you

So, baby, take a long deep breath and exhale
Cause all you gotta be tonight is yourself

Toss your heels in the backseat
Drive home in your barefeet
Throw in that Van Morrison Cd
Chip away a little by little
Til you find your groove

I’ll pick up some takeout, we can just hang out
Levis and wine, blankets and lights down
Lay your head right here on my shoulder
And just be you when you’re with me
Girl, you got nothing to prove
You got nothing to prove

I’ll pick up some takeout, we can just hang out
Levis and wine, blankets and lights down
Lay your head right here on my shoulder
And just be you when you’re with me
Girl, you got nothing to prove

When we’re together you got nothing to prove
You got nothing to prove, you got nothing to prove
You got nothing to prove