Archive for December, 2007

bliss in turtle pajamas

Posted in ghetto life, i hate vegetables, Life, me, TV and me are pals, you have to be a chick to understand on December 15, 2007 by drbolte

I’ve spent all day in my pajamas. Even when I went to the post office to mail a package and to the grocery store and the Chinese takeout, I still wore my pajama shirt.

It’s long sleeved and completely decent, lest you think I’m walking the streets in some kind of Pretty Womanesque halter or something.  No, thank you.  It’s too cold for that crap.

The minute I hit the door, the turtle pajama pants went back on.

It’s freezing cold here. It’s raining, which is wonderful because it’s droughtland here.

I thought the day would be spent out in the world, going to movies and shopping and trying desperately to stay warm.   Instead, I’ve spent my day on the big overstuffed yellow couch, trying desperately to stay warm and eventually succeeding with two blankets covering me, watching the Hallmark channel.

I’m not even a little bit kidding.

I’ve watched basically every one of those “Love” movies…Love Comes Softly, Love’s Unending Legacy, Love’s Attempt to Completely Take Over the Schmaltzy Made-for-TV Movie Market, Love Equals Falling For A Hot and Of Course Single Sheriff With Incredible Blue Eyes, Love Means Having Abnormally Coiffed Hair for the 1890s, etc.

I ate a Toaster Streudel for the first time in YEARS.

(On a completely different topic, can someone explain to me why it is that I cannot buy a pastry-type product lately without it being a Cinnabon offshoot? All I wanted was brown sugar cinnamon toaster streudel–they used to have them, I promise–and all I could find was “Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll” ones.  Shocking how they tasted EXACTLY the same. I don’t want to know if Mom paid more for them. That would just send me into a rant of sizable capitalist proportions.)

I don’t think I could have asked for anything better today.

It’s exactly what I needed.

There’s a time and a season for everything, yes?

Well, this is my season for schmaltz and streudel.

truth and consequences

Posted in Church, Life, me, teaching, you have to be a chick to understand on December 15, 2007 by drbolte

i failed a student this semester.

and i didn’t wrestle with it much at all.

the student didn’t fulfill the expectations of the semester–2/3 of the work that was to be turned in never was submitted during the semester and in what i can only assume was some kind of hail mary pass to attempt a passing grade, one-third of that missing work was turned in literally as i was finishing grades.

so i didn’t accept it.

i felt a little bit badly about that but it seemed appropriate.  i mean, if you don’t do the work, why should you benefit as i you did? if you make a choice, whether intentional and well-considered or one of a refusal to act and deal, there are consequences for that choice.

we all face them.  in some ways, i think the greatest courage we can have is in the facing of those consequences with honesty. can i escape certain realities? that i prefer ice cream to brussel sprouts and that my bigger-than-i’d-like butt demonstrates this preference? that i am about six months behind where i’d like to be on my dissertation because i like my social life and my laziness more than i have motivation to move forward–or, more truthfully, that i hesitate because with the completion of this dissertation comes the smack in the face called real life and a real job?

we face the positive ones as well.  i certainly don’t mean to downplay those.  my entire life right now is a testimony to the good choices i’ve made–to be obedient, to be kind, to invest in the relationships that keep paying dividends that i don’t even understand yet.  that i have the people in my life that i do, to the degree that i do, means i must be doing something right.

sometimes, though, as i am learning, at times i am a main player in someone else’s drama of consequence.

sometimes, my actions are meant to demonstrate that there are consequences for actions, whether they be stupid, shortsighted, unkind, illogical, hurtful, fantastically kind, generous, or loving in the grandest way possible.

it’s a bit of a strange position to be in, though.  i’ll admit that.  it makes me feel both a bit…unconnected and of great use.

i’m beginning to wonder why me.

because sometimes you just wish you were a gorgeous indie rock star with the ability to make even the crappiest things seem beautiful and wonderful, don’t you, before you punch somebody in the face?

Posted in i love youtube--so sue me, Life, me, The Single Life, you have to be a chick to understand on December 13, 2007 by drbolte

if you haven’t heard this song, you’re crazy.

watch it and listen closely.

it’s the best song i’ve heard in a good long while. or, i should say, it’s the best song i remembered hearing months ago but only caught the end of on a random radio scan while driving up i-95 today for eight hours today.

this song describes me too perfectly.

and it annoys me. i’m done. i really am. most days, totally good. ready for what’s next. knowing that what’s next is not a romance but a love affair with some literature that has been far too neglected of late. and totally cool with that.

and yet, i’m still haunted. by a drive through a neighborhood where i have memories or a song or a word or anything that seems to bring memories flooding back of good times, which inevitably bring back bad memories because right now they’re all a muddled mess.

and then it makes me want to do stupid things like text message or facebook message or something otherwise masochistic and wrong. and i have to talk myself down like a freaking addict when all i want to do is just move on.

how is when you give someone even a piece of your heart, it takes so very long to get it back and put it right?

it’s now making more angry than anything else.

so, to follow up that one, i present this, which has become my new mantra.

i’ve gotten mad.

i’ve gotten a whole lot stronger.

i know what i’m made of. and it’s not this vacillating, tossed-with-every-wind-of-circumstance-and-memory crap.

here’s to jumping into the canyon with a heart full of faith and NOT ONE MORE REGRETFUL LOOK BACK.

heck to the yeah.

more me, part two

Posted in blogging, books are bliss, Church, dissertation, Life, me, someday I'll be a real middle class girl on December 12, 2007 by drbolte

I love…with my whole heart. daisies. the smell of vanilla. bundling up with covers on winter nights. holding hands, especially in public. the gospel of Jesus Christ. feeling of use. reading. the thrill of having a moment of academic brilliance. playing in playgrounds at night. my birthday (probably far more than i should). chocolate (again…probably far more than i should). facebook. the feeling of peace that comes from knowing that what you’ve done is right.  hope.

I ache…after i have been on my feet all day. for all the things i didn’t do. for people who hurt when i can’t help. for my dreams to come true.

I always…wear my seatbelt. cringe when i see grammatical errors in print. believe the worst of myself when given the opportunity.

I usually…see the glass half full. am about five minutes late for everything related to church. bounce back fairly quickly. can find the humor in any situation. will make others happy before myself. can speak intelligently about a general interest topic for at least five minutes.  drive over the speed limit.

I am not…your typical only child. as old at heart as i am in body. amused by people telling me what to do or who i am. as independent as i seem, nor as tough.  the ugly duckling anymore.

I danced…twice at my senior prom.  without abandon at the winter formal, especially when kanye came on.  too close to the fire of heartbreak…and got burned, but was nevertheless surprised.

I never…swear, as i think it’s unimaginative and inappropriate (but i am far too apt to say things that i shouldn’t lately). liked green beans until i started making them myself. thought that i would be friends with who i am friends with now…or have not spoken to who i have not spoken to.  imagined that i would be a PhD and yet i am a breath and 200 pages away. will be an outdoorsy girl who doesn’t want a shower after two days or who likes to pee in anything other than a toilet, but that doesn’t mean i’ll never camp.  want to look back at my life and wish i’d done more.

I rarely…exercise, which is something i’m hoping to change. say no to opportunities for social interaction. am not in the mood for ice cream.  miss the point of a joke.  dislike teaching, except when i’m grading.

I cry…when i read one particular blog, only because she manages to say what i want to say so much better than i can ever imagine doing it myself.  at hallmark commercials. when i am so frustrated i can’t speak. too much lately. at almost everything–any excessive emotion and out comes the waterworks.  not often when other people cry.

I am not always…kind enough. sassy. smart or confident. sure where i’m going or what i’m doing.

I lose…stuff on my desk routinely.  my motivation for working on my dissertation too often. sight of what i’m really here for amid the distractions of everyday life.  clothes in the black hole that is my closet. hope in men when some of them act the way that they do. my cynicism when i play with my cats or my roommate’s dog.  my fear on good days.

I’m confused…by contemporary ideas of celebrity. why i love TV so much. the crack-like nature of Publix donuts. why people like me so much. any math other than algebra. how everything is so expensive all of the time and how i am ever going to pay off my credit cards.

I miss…my best friend more than i can articulate. the carefree feeling of childhood.  christmas mornings with stockings stuffed.  being someone’s girl.

I need…at least seven hours of sleep in order to function.  copious amounts of water a day for the same purpose.  too much reassurance sometimes. to stop acting like i know what’s best for everyone all of the time and learn to be humble. to be a better budgeter.  to learn to love research.  to scourge the lazy out of me. to remember who i am more often. to see beauty when i look in the mirror more often than not.

I should…keep working on my list of things to do before i die. risk. take more bubble baths. never apologize for my wit and spunk. recognize my blessings. blog more and more honestly.  move confidently and assertively into the future.  stop wishing to know where i’m going and enjoy the journey.

how do i forget?

Posted in blogging, books are bliss, dissertation, Life, teaching on December 11, 2007 by drbolte

…how amazing it feels to be smart and to accomplish some sizable academic goal?

i finished the second draft of my first completed dissertation chapter tonight…well, this morning, i guess, since it’s 3 a.m.  it wasn’t nearly as difficult as i thought it would be (the big things rarely are as monstrous as i make them out to be in my head) and there were moments when i was like “man. i am SMART.”

it’s not conceit. i promise. i think we all have those moments, rare as they are, when we sit back and are amazed at how good we are at something that we really are good at.  it’s nice to have those moments. i have not been feeling that altogether solid about my talents, so it’s nice to feel as though i am on the right track.

now, on to the student papers.  now, on to getting ready to get out of this place.

it will be an awesome three weeks.  i feel ready for a change and blessed with enthusiasm and excitement where i didn’t have it before.

i am grateful for that.  so much more than i can express in words.

ironic, that.

waiting for eureka…which is nothing whatsoever like waiting for godot, except in the sense that you never really get anywhere

Posted in blogging, Life, me, School on December 9, 2007 by drbolte

i keep coming back to the blog, almost as if with just the attempt at blogging i’ll be able to say what it is i want to say.

or perhaps i’m hoping that i’ll be able to find what it is that i think that i want to say that seems, regardless of the attempt, to elude me.

everything that i’ve been thinking about lately has been so serious, of such consequence, that i rather think i’ve exhausted  myself.  i’m missing the balance between the weighty and the mundane, i think. maybe that’s what i’ve been looking for.

i keep writing, though.

i have multiple saved drafts of posts that somehow…when i got to about this point in them…slipped through my fingers, turned up empty, or left me feeling as if it just didn’t express what i thought i wanted to say or…yeah.

seems like not much has changed, actually.

do you ever have those moments? when you’re searching for words for thoughts that don’t seem to have words. or, if they have words, you find yourself completely unprepared for the task of articulating them?

i keep writing, though.

it’s like panning for gold, i guess.  maybe one day, someday, i’ll hit the mother lode.

until then, sift through as you will.

i’ll keep digging.

one can only hope that, if the brilliance isn’t present here, it’ll manifest itself in my dissertation.

heaven knows i could use the help.

a question for the bloggery masses

Posted in blogging, me on December 7, 2007 by drbolte

if i blog when i can’t manage to say what i want to say in my real life or write what i want to write in my academic life, what do i do when i can’t blog what i want to blog?

more me, part one

Posted in Life, me, memelicious on December 7, 2007 by drbolte

I found this at this blog, which is one of my new favorites (have you been there? if not…make sure that you visit soon), and thought it might offer me a new way to think about and express myself.

And a distraction…because, lately, I’m looking for those.  Feel free to steal it if you’d like, but you must promise to be scrupulously honest.  I have tried.

I am…fiercely loyal, an only child, a 4th year PhD candidate in literature, an idiot savant about TV, a teacher at heart, not as skinny as I wish but much smaller than I was, Mormon, naturally funny and purposefully spunky, not afraid to say what I mean, very ready for a dramatic change.

I want…a house in the suburbs with kids and a husband and a job as a room mom, to be debt-free, people to not act like they’re not responsible for their own actions, a break from myself sometimes, my best friend to be home from Australia already, people to not expect me to be perky and sassy all of the time, my attitude to always be one of gratitude, to submit my will to the Lord’s always, to find magic in everyday living, to have joy.

I have…a genetically great sense of direction, too many friends to count, read the entirety of Jane Austen’s writing, a list of things to do before I die, accomplished more than I ever thought I would by 30 none of which was what I thought it would be, never been outside of the country, no skill with budgets and money, an infectious laugh, a great desire to make people happy, no patience for cowardice in a world that requires everyday bravery.

I wish…that I was bolder, that life was fair, for love and happiness, on stars and straw wrappers.

I hate…cottage cheese with a passion, drivers who drive in the fast lane and don’t go fast, Mondays, arrogance, regretting not saying something better after the conversation is over, the dentist, the word irregardless, the fact that I procrastinate so much, being an adult most days.
I fear…frogs in my house, failure when I know I could have done better, living alone for the rest of my life, being a disappointment to anyone, finishing my dissertation, escalators, not knowing where to go next, the way I can be paralyzed by fear.

I hear…praise often that I don’t believe and my own criticisms too often, my roommate’s TV right now and Top Chef on mine, my phone ring much less often, the bells in Century Tower in the afternoons, my alarm clock and cringe.

I search…the internet too much, my soul often, for peace, reassurance, excitement and passion in life, the scriptures.

I wonder…what’s next. really.

logic makes no sense

Posted in friends, Life, me, The Single Life, you have to be a chick to understand on December 6, 2007 by drbolte

How is it that finally being free from a situation that, at the end, only brought a great deal of pain or angst be both so amazing and so empty feeling at the same time?

It’s a strange sort of adjustment.

I am a yo-yo right now. Less now, this week, than in the past few…so much less that it’s hard to articulate the positive difference…but still I find myself moving from a great giddy excitement about all of the possibilities that the world offers me right now and a sense of melancholy poignance about when things were good and great and exciting that I think anyone who has loved and lost knows.

I want, somehow, to make myself make logical sense during this process.

You know the drill…Logic rears its ugly head with the line of bunk that basically begins with “if you were a stronger person, you would be able to…” or the train of thought that begins with imposing time limits on life lessons and derails about the point when I realize that it takes as long as it takes to learn whatever I’m supposed to learn or the comparisons to other people who seem to be fine with whatever comes their way.

In those terms, I seem to fall miserably short.

But none of that really works for me in this particular situation, because nothing about the whole thing ever made any kind of logical sense.  Why would the end be any different?

Do you know the film Never Been Kissed? At the end, when Drew Barrymore’s character has to write her soul-baring, career-saving article about her journey? And she says that she left high school the first time with a lot of regrets, but that second time, her regrets were down to one?

I feel that way as well.  I really just have very few regrets.  It’s nice.  Even when the situation is still so close, with true distance and perspective months yet away, I see the whole thing as for my benefit, even though it ended so much worse differently than I predicted.

(Emotional tumult is also an excellent diet. I will say that I was rather pleased with the way the jeans were fitting tonight.  Who knew of such side benefits?)

So, I’m moving on, my eyes trained very clearly ahead and not behind.

I feel almost catapulted into action, on both spiritual and academic levels, and perhaps that is precisely what I’ve needed. I know where I am is where I’m supposed to be, on this path and focused, for the moment, on actually finishing my dissertation. It’s been on the back burner for far, far too long.

But you’ll forgive me, I’m sure, if I take a few glances back every once in a while.

I think it’s only natural.

Even if it doesn’t make any sense.

an open letter

Posted in Life, me, The Single Life, you have to be a chick to understand on December 4, 2007 by drbolte

To my next and future boyfriend:

First of all, good job for picking me. I’m pretty frickin’ amazing.

This open letter’s purpose is to give you some advice.  Before you get too attached, or think you’ve found in me the one you’ve always wanted, can we get a few things straight?  I think we’ll all be much happier if we do.

  1. You should know, first, that when I’m in something, I’m all in.  In it to win it.  I’ll give all, and do just about anything I need to make something work. I am loyal almost to a fault…so if you’re not, you should not even try.
  2. Learn to love text messaging.
  3. Don’t try to change me.  I am what I am.  I’m pretty amazing, actually.  I’m smart. I’m funny–expect to laugh a lot.  I’m kind.  I’ll do anything for my friends.  I’ll tell you what I think.  I’m fiercely independent and guarded at first, but I’ll grow to depend on you.  You need to be cool with that. I won’t need you to do lots of things for me.  I can get my own oil changed and my own tires rotated. I own a drill, and I can follow directions to put together almost anything. If I need something heavy lifted and I can’t do it, I might ask you to help–but I’ll be on the other side lifting it with you.  So, don’t try to dress me or tell me what to say.  Don’t hope that I’ll turn into some sort of giggly, silly emptyheaded girl who will laugh at everything you say, even if it’s lame, and never call you on your crap.  Because that, sir, is never going to happen.
  4. You don’t have to take me out a lot.  I’m pretty much happy being around you.  And I can buy pizza too.  I’m not offended by that.
  5. I won’t try to change you.  If I see you wanting me to mold you into something that you aren’t, I’ll grow concerned.  I want to get to know YOU…not some image that you hope I’ll like.   If there are changes that you would like to make and you think that I can help, encourage, inspire, or otherwise aid that change, let me know.  If I think you’re being ridiculous, I’ll love you enough to tell you. If I think you’re being amazing, I’ll love you enough to tell you. The latter is much more likely to happen.
  6. I love flowers.  Pretty much, if you get me flowers, I’m a goner.  Pretty much if you’re kind to me in any unexpected ways, I’m a goner.
  7. If you’re too immature to handle having a difficult conversation about something, where you might have to admit fault or deal with something uncomfortable, you’re too immature for me.  Don’t even try.
  8. Remember my birthday. This is one of those quirky things that you just have to embrace.
  9. Please understand that I have work to do, things to accomplish, goals to continue to strive for.  Please help me to achieve those things.  If that’s not an okay agreement, if you want the world to revolve around you and only you, find someone who’s willing to forget all of the life that they have worked hard to establish to dote on you.  I’m not that girl.
  10. I deserve amazing.  If I’m with you, it’s because I think you are.

In short, dear future (and hopefully forever) boyfriend, I’m crazy and complicated and wonderful and totally worth it.

So are you.

So, let’s go.

If we’re smart, we won’t regret it.

Sincerely,

Carrie