Archive for July, 2007

because I’m a woman…

Posted in ghetto life, i hate vegetables, someday I'll be a real middle class girl, you have to be a chick to understand on July 23, 2007 by drbolte

…I must, of course, fret about the fact that I don’t think I’ve eaten anything green that wasn’t artificially so (M&Ms don’t count, do they?) since the paleolithic era.  I should really change that.

…I find it hilarious that I felt like a big spender when I bought good bread (not the already-stale, $1.25 crap bread that you really do have to eat in one day or else it turns to cardboard) today at the store.

…I am genetically compelled to bake for birthdays.  Birthdays not my own.  I take joy in it.  It’s a little sad.

…I don’t things being late (and by things I, of course, mean the thing that send every woman rushing for the Advil and every man heading for the hills).  Good thing there’s no worries there, huh?  Or else I’d have more to stress out about.   But it messes with the schedule. I don’t like it.  It’s the second month in a row.  Freaking hormones.

the Harry Potter weekend

Posted in books are bliss on July 22, 2007 by drbolte

Don’t worry–I won’t give away the ending. It’s too good to ruin for anyone else.

I finished the seventh and–GASP!–final Harry Potter book today. I cheered, cried, clapped, and gasped (and not necessarily in that order). The excitement I felt when I opened my mailbox and saw that Amazon package reminded me–shocker–of when Book 6 came out. Suddenly, I was replaying that moment in my mind, but even that–and that was pretty good–was nothing compared to this.  I read from 4 to 5 and 11:30 until 3:45 a.m. last night (party inbetween, inconvenient social life!) and the minute I could, I was back at it today. In order to make sure that I didn’t miss a thing, I used my finger to trace the words so that I could digest every phrase.

I continue to stand in awe of the artistry of J.K. Rowling. For a story that came to her on a train ride, this series is truly magical.

No pun intended, if you can believe it.

The book is, by far, her best. It is a grownup book. I don’t mean that it has more language–although I think there are a few choice Ron Weasley swear words–or that it is darker–although it certainly is, with Voldemort as central to every moment as he is. I mean it’s about grownup questions of love and sacrifice and responsibility and following your instinct and trust and believing in yourself. It is, throughout, the final test for all of these characters that we have grown to love.

They, like all of us, have to figure it out on their own. Harry is an adult in this book, and I liked it. I saw it even in their magic–they were casting spells and using charms I’d never heard of, and I was thinking “wow…Hermione’s really a brilliant witch” or “Ron was paying attention in class?!?” No longer the babies who were learning how to levitate a wand, these character are mature, fully fleshed out, and real.

Not perfect. Not even always smart. But always real. Always themselves. And now very much adults.

It was truly a joy to read.

I can’t wait to read it again. And again.

And how COOL was it that there was so much anticipation, excitement, and hubbub over a BOOK!

Makes a bibliophile’s textual heart sing.

toot! toot!

Posted in books are bliss, teaching, the joys of living in Florida on July 20, 2007 by drbolte

That’s me, with my own horn.

The numbers don’t lie. In my first full-length British Literature survey class, my students rated me a 4.80 out of 5.

That’s, like, a 96%!

(And if I told you how long it took me to do that math in my head, you would cackle and write your own blog post about how they really should not let idiots teach the future of our country.)

It’s a nice reminder that maybe I don’t suck at what I do.  Maybe I do have a future in this business after all.  It’s especially gratifying since, actually, that class is my specialty.

Going into Harry Potter lockdown now. I’ll emerge, victorious, on Sunday night probably.  I’m very excited.

Happy reading!

Go down, you bitter pill! I’m trying to move on, dagnabbit!

Posted in Life, life lesson number 498, me on July 20, 2007 by drbolte

So, I don’t remember if I wrote about this. Probably not.

And I’m going to speak in very vague, philosophical terms because, well, it’s about my real life. My real life intersects with my blog life too often and that can sometimes turn around and bite me in the butt.

Have you ever had a situation that, despite you being COMPLETELY and TOTALLY over it with no real emotion attached to it anymore, keeps rearing its ugly head in your face? And, to that ugly head, you just want to scream: “Leave me alone! I’m moving on! Stop dragging me down this path!”

I have just one such situation. It was a giant learning experience for me. Picture learning the alphabet, learning to walk, being able to recite your phone number for the first time kind of learning experience. I did something that I didn’t expect to have the guts to do, and it didn’t turn out the way that I had anticipated. In fact, it went all pear-shaped. But, ultimately, it was for the best. And I really don’t have any ill will towards the parties involved.

Well, at least I’m trying very hard not to. It was harder, much harder, at first because the whole situation felt like it was calculated to demonstrate my inadequacy. I am learning that’s not true. Distance helps.

I was succeeding, dangit. I was totally heading down life’s gentle, rolling highway whistling to myself and enjoying the scenery. Truly…I was over it.

I just didn’t want to have to think about it a lot.

It’s not that I was in denial about the situation–life in my world is not such that I can ever remain firmly ensconced in Fingers-in-Ears-Singing-“La la la”-Land for very long. But I had diverted my attention. It was working. I was swallowing my bitter horse pill of a lesson and realizing that, despite the bad taste, it was working wonders on what ailed me.

Until forces conspired to bring me screaming and kicking back.

And now I’m just annoyed.

Listen, I realize that I need to accept that things didn’t go my way. I understand that life often presents us with people and situations that we find less than ideal or that drive us a little nutty.

I’m all on board with that.

But don’t expect me to be superpatient with other people’s ridiculousness in the midst of it. You won. I get it.

Now leave me alone.

Thanks very much.

i nearly lost it laughing

Posted in hilarity, teaching on July 18, 2007 by drbolte

I asked my students, after we reviewed fifteen different logical fallacies, to create an ad pitch for a product (actually, it turned into a series of statements about the product) that used, as outrageously as possible, as many logical fallacies as they could.

Don’t be impressed.  I got it off some website somewhere.  The best teachers are the thieves.

My students had so much fun with it.  And the best one?

“Use Windex, because other countries can’t afford it.”

Now, this probably doesn’t strike you as that funny. I, in contrast, nearly fell off of my chair. The ingenuity and verve these students shows is truly keeping me going in the midst of my mid-summer meltdown (literal and figurative, I suppose).  They are great. I am blessed.

And they’re funny–and think I’m funny too (unless they’re just humoring me, which could be true…).  It’s a good thing.

I’ll still be glad when it’s over, though.  No offense towards them intended.  I just am tired.

on the altar

Posted in Church, me on July 18, 2007 by drbolte

So I just got back from Institute–Mom will be happy, I’m sure–and I am so glad that I went. For a few moments, my head pounding, my carcass happily ensconced on the couch with my grandma’s blanket, I considered not going. Thoughts of “what does it matter?” went through my head.

It didn’t last long, and I ended up there.

It was exactly where I needed to be, because it was all about obedience.

And, lately, I’ve been grappling with my own question of obedience.

Lest you think I’m deeply mired in sin, I’m not. It’s not a big deal. It’s not even ME breaking a rule. It’s just me being okay with rules being broken, me even encouraging it with my complacency because I don’t particularly like the rule. I’d like to think, in this particular situation, I am part of an exception.

But lately, the thought has been nagging at me that it’s my responsibility to stand up and be obedient. To encourage obedience and strictness where there ought to be obedience and strictness.

Of course, because I didn’t want to, I ignored it. I have continued to ignore it. It just didn’t seem like a big deal–not a serious sin, not a earthshattering choice.

But tonight in Institute, it was all about agency and how to be the best person you can be by submitting your will to the Lord. And our Institute director, Brother Jansen, said something that really struck me. He said that when he thinks of how submissive our Savior is, how willingly He sacrificed His will to His Father’s, a decision that brought upon him the huge pain and anguish and utter torment of the Atonement, it makes Him our perfect example of obedience.

That hit me. I mean, it wasn’t a body blow kind of revelation–we’ve all had those, I think–but more of a crystallizing of something that had been on my mind for a while. The only real analogy I can think of is it was like, sitting in that room, the staticky transmissions of the Spirit suddenly got very, very clear.

I knew that I had to obey. Not because I agree with the rule. Not because I want to, because I don’t particularly want to stop doing what I was doing. But I want to be obedient, and I want to do what the Lord wants me to do. That desire–to submit cheerfully–overwhelms the “want to” of this stupid little thing that is really of no consequence.

And I have this feeling, quiet and deep within me, that me standing up and saying I’m not doing it anymore WILL be of great consequence. Possibly far more than I know.

So, I will do it. I will obey. I’m not even sure it will be hard for me, especially, because it’s my choice. There is great power in choice, great power in the recognition that no one tells me what to do. I choose, myself, to follow the path that will lead me to the greatest happiness.

I’m willing to sacrifice for that. I really am.

That gives me courage.

It’s 89 degrees with a heat index of 97–do you know where your sanity is?

Posted in Church, etcetera, Life, the joys of living in Florida on July 18, 2007 by drbolte

So, I thought it had reached critical mass heat a few weeks ago.

I was wrong.

I was talking to my mom on the phone last night–one of two bright moments in an otherwise ridiculous day that saw me flattened by the heat (my hair was merely the outward expression of an inward state), so idiotic that I left a bag of groceries (inevitably the ones containing the only healthy food I bought) in the cart at the grocery store, and with a Netflix disc that was literally cracked in half (is that not CLEAR to those who package them?)–and I told her that I was remembering that the last half of July is the worst. I hate it.

I think these are the dog days of summer, if the dog to which they refer is a mangy, foaming pitbull with an attitude who has decided that my entire being is his mortal enemy.  I feel lethargic and blah and not a little bit irritable.  I am tired of being tired.  It’s not like me.

Today, I grew a brain and decided that looking professional was last on my list of priorities, behind “not dying on the walk across campus to class” and “maintaining my last existing brain cells not killed by heat, Tylenol and Sudafed consumption, or the mass intake of MSG-infused fat calories in my Chinese food,” so I’m wearing shorts and the coolest t-shirt I could find.   My hair is braided and completely up.  I am wearing flip-flops.

There’s no reason that I shouldn’t be able to handle the heat.

Oh, but I’m not succeeding very well.  I don’t understand how people are wearing jeans. I don’t understand how people are riding bikes (although you do get places faster).  I frankly don’t understand what my problem is.  I nearly cancelled class yesterday just so that I could stay in bed, inside, under the covers with the air conditioning blasting (a decision I will surely regret when the bill comes). I didn’t. I showed up.

That’s gotta count for something, right?

In the process of talking to my mom, and telling her how I had basically dropped off the planet and not gone to any of my church stuff (a new thing, since I’ve been in the RS Presidency for so long that I normally go to EVERYTHING), I got the feeling that she thinks maybe I’ve fallen too far off of the planet, since she made sure to ask me if I was going to Institute tonight.

Yes. Yes, I am.

At this point, I can use all the help I can get managing all of this, which is nothing really to manage.  All I have to do is teach and tutor.  That’s really it because, let’s be real–it’s not like I’m actually working on my dissertation chapter or exercising or doing any of the other multitude of things I could or should be doing.  I’m packing, but sporadically.

I just don’t get it.  Why am I so tired?

connection failed

Posted in blogging, ghetto life, me on July 17, 2007 by drbolte

I was without cable or internet for much of the afternoon.

The house was quieter than it has been in ages.

I HATED it.  It’s always astonishing to realize how much you’ve come to depend on something when it’s taken away from you. For me, it was the capacity to look up things with ease (I’ll admit to being a bit of a Googleaholic), to have information at my fingertips. The mere idea that I could not check my email made me a little nutty–so sad.  So very, very sad.

It’s back now (obviously), but I’m realizing how grateful I am for the things I have been provided with.  We are really blessed to live in a time when information and connection with others (oh, how excited I was to read my blogroll!) is so easy and convenient.

I like the noise, the constancy of activity.  I know I need to learn to be more zen about my life, but I like being able to, when I think about it at 2:30 in the morning, email someone about something I just though about (sometimes prompted by prayer).  I like that I can reach across the seemingly impenetrable distance to the people that I love most and let them know that I am thinking about them without disturbing them or having to calculate time zone differences.  I like having noise in my house.

It makes me feel less alone.

So, thanks, dear internet pals (and real ones, too–sorry I’ve been antisocial lately, but I’m coming out of it, I promise) for being around.  It’s nice to know you’re there.

leftovers

Posted in etcetera, ghetto life, me, the joys of living in Florida, you have to be a chick to understand on July 17, 2007 by drbolte

It is JULY SEVENTEENTH, right?

Could someone explain, then, why some nitwit outside is shooting off fireworks at 12:58 in the FREAKING A.M.?  Is it “I drank too much Corona and now must blow off my appendages in an apartment parking lot on a random Tuesday morning” day?

Oh, gosh. Well, then, please continue.

In other news:

Chinese, delivered to me by a moderately attractive young man who had a pen for me to sign the CC slip with that was nice to write with: $13, including tip.

Netflix, so that I am never without entertainment: $30 a month

Sudafed nighttime, to fight the massive and constant sinus headache I have Gville in July: $8

Sleeping through most of primetime programming, shutting off my phone, and KNOWING that I am missing bowling with church people, not doing my work, and not being anything but selfish: PRICELESS.

(Yeah, it’s trite and overused, but gosh if it doesn’t really capture the moment. Plus, it’s 1:02 a.m., and I’m in the throws of a sodium hangover.  Cut a girl some slack, will ya?)

broom hilda update

Posted in you have to be a chick to understand on July 16, 2007 by drbolte

Heaven bless the person who invented online ordering, text messaging, and DVD players.

My Chinese is on the way. The DVD’s going in.  The pajamas are going on.  The phone is being silenced.

All is right with the world.

(Except that I’m not in the world, but you know…one small step for womankind, one giant leap for the decreasing homicide rate.)