Feb 25, 2011

Winter Cleaning

A while back, I did some "winter cleaning" around the apartment. It really was only about a month ago. I could not wait for my lovely month-long Christmas break to finally clean out some spaces in our home that never really got fully moved into - if you know what I mean. Micah was a gem and sorted out our guest room (aka room with a bed in it that houses every single item that doesn't fit anywhere else in our apartment) in the months after we moved in. He did a great job making the room sleep-able for guests, but it never fully got organized the way I would like it. So I spent my weeks after Christmas organizing the guest room and some of our closets and trying to get rid of stuff (Did you know I hate "stuff"? I am such a minimalist. Micah is not. We are working through it...)

The guest room is nowhere near where I want it to be. It is still so crammed full of.... "stuff." But at least now it's somewhat organized, and I tried to make it as cute and homey as possible. Here are some pics. Feel free to come visit. The guest room is all yours! And I've heard Arizona springs are lovely!

 This is how it began... talk about stress central... but Micah actually sorted through most of this.
Thanks Hubs!

 Micah actually agreed to get rid of all these old dress shirts. What a feat!

 Closet in progress.... (I forgot to get a really good "before" pic, but I assure you, it was awful!)

Closet almost finished...

 Bookshelf in progress... stuff, stuff, everywhere! Ah!

 Bookshelf all finished, which means alphabetized! English nerd for life...

 Our little desk...

 Another closet... if you think this looks cluttered, you should have seen it before. But I also forgot to take a good "before pic" of this one. Again, it was awful.

The bed...waiting for visitors!

Feb 24, 2011

You get a lot of homework done in an ER waiting room....

So I didn't exactly have the typical Wednesday evening last week. Usually on Wednesdays I get out of class at 3:15, go home for a quick run and a shower, scrounge up a quickie dinner and head to Missional Community with Micah at 6:30pm. This Wednesday, I got out of class and spent the next eight hours reading The Faerie Queene in medical waiting rooms (by the way...FQ is NOT a book you will find on my Good Read page or my Amazon recommendations....just FYI).

So after class, I headed to the ASU walk-in clinic to try to get some answers about my breathing inadequacies. After checking in and waiting for a good hour or so, I finally got a room. Twenty minutes later, I even got a doctor! He was super nice and gave me a breathing treatment - the type an asthma nerd would take (sorry if you have asthma, we all know inhalers are a little nerdy - but I also know they save lives - and I now OWN a $42.00 inhaler - so I'm making fun of you AND ME in a nice way!). The breathing treatment lasted 15 minutes and seemed kinda like smoking a hookah (which I have never done before but have seen pictures of). I then got a chest x-ray and took another breathing test, but the breathing treatment didn't seem to be helping much. I left the doctor's office with an inhaler and an appointment to meet with a internal medicine doctor next week. This whole process took a little over 2.5 hours, no biggie. Here are some pics of the adventure. I'm not too concerned about HIPPA for myself clearly... I took all these pics without a flash in flourescent lighting, so I apologize for their horrible qualtiy. I didn't want the nurses to see me taking pics, because I was pretty sure they would find me strange. "Oh, you can't breathe...and you are worried about your blog right now???"

Since it was already after 6pm when I got out of the clinic I decided to head straight to Missional Community. However, my doctor called me back as I was walking to my car and changed up plans on me. He looked at my x-rays again with another doc after I left and decided I should go the ER for catscan just in case my breathing probs were being caused by blood clots in my lungs. Since my mom has a blood clotting disease, you bet your bottom dollar that Micah and I were sitting in the ER by 7pm....and we were still sitting there at 10pm. Micah got to leave and get Wendy's, but they told me I couldn't eat in case I had to have surgery... it was so fun watching Micah eat my chicken nuggets with the thought of surgery dancing in my head. I went into triage and they took another x-ray (I'm sure radiation twice in one day is super good for you...) and took a blood test (yuck), but they sent me back out to the waiting room to wait and wait and wait some more... Let's just say I got more homework done on a weeknight than ever before. I know Micah was tired and bored...but he stayed with me the whole time and only complained like twice...

***Sidenote: I don't really support lying, but if you ever go the ER don't say your pain level is zero... they push you to the bottom of the list and let everybody else get admitted before you. Say something like "I don't have any accute pain, but the general discomfort from not being able to expand my lungs all the way would probably put me at a two at least" (Clearly, I learned this the hard way...)

Finally, I got a room and a doc who told me I didn't need a catscan because my blood test showed no sign of blood clots. Instead they did an EKG on my heart, told me I was safe to wait for my internal med appointment next week and sent me home with a rec for a cardiologist as well. It was a looong night with little results, but at least I know I don't have blood clots and I got a ton of reading done...hooorah!

Hospital bed photo shoot...

Now I am going to go take a puff from my inhaler and try to go for a four mile run...

Feb 22, 2011


First of all, I love mommy bloggers. They are so fascinating, entertaining, and inspiring. The first obstacle of my reserach has been to narrow down how many mommy blogs I am going to follow consistently, because there are soooo many out there and only so many hours in day (many of which must be devoted to other things like finding nourishment, working off too much nourishment, writing papers for OTHER classes, doing the laundry, and things of that nature).

So I have officially narrowed down my list of blogs to follow. Okay, I shouldn't say officially, because chances are I will stumble across some new webpage that I just LOVE in the next few days. However, I just finished writing a questionare that I plan to send to the moms I am following most closely. I hope I get lots of helpful responses, even though I know they are all busy and have a ton of other things to do.

But here is the other thing...part of my research involves being involved in the mommy blog community as much as I can, even though I'm not officially a mom (yet...hope to be someday). So my own blog is part of my research. The great thing is that my blog readership has at least TRIPLED since I started this research project, but the bad thing is that most of my readers don't officially "follow" my blog (there is a button to "follow" me on the righhand column of the blog) or subscribe (which I just added). Although I am blessed, and honestly a little surprised, that so many people have been reading my blog, it would help me immensely if you would connect by officially following me (and you don't even need to have your own blog to do it, you just need an e-mail address and I know you have one of those!). This will help me with my research by letting me know who is reading my own blog and by giving me more connections and resources in the mommy blogging community. And you don't have to be a mom. I have stumbled across many good mom blogs from friends who are not moms. I am also interested in women who are just involved in the blogging community in general or who use their blog as an online business (do you sew? craft? make jewelry? cook? do photography? simply advertise on your site?)... basically I want to hear from any woman who uses blogging as a narrative space to write about life, support a business, build community, etc. Studying mommy bloggers may lead to lots of other online research. So please follow me so I can connect with you and contact you if necessary.

*And if you have any ideas or comments on blogging, why you do it, or what the blogging community means to you, please share your thoughts here, as well as a link to your own blog. I would love to check it out!

Feb 21, 2011

Valentine's Day

I have never been a huge fan of Valentine's Day, even during the years Micah and I were dating. It's just a slightly weird holiday. As one of my blogging friends put it, it's not a real holiday unless you get the day off work. I am inclined to agree. It turns out they don't cancel class for Valentine's Day either, and Mondays just so happen to be my busiest day of the week on campus. Let's just say I was rapidly reading homework with wet hair from the shower like 20 minutes before our guests arrived. In fact, after dinner, when everyone wanted to take some pictures, I excused myself to the bathroom first to apply minimal make-up and run a straigtener through my hair first. I'm not typically overly concerned with cosmetics - but I didn't want my pale face and the frizzy post-shower hair I sported during dinner to be forever recorded in photos on Facebook. Call me a romantic, I guess...

However, over the past two to three years I have grown out of my aversion to February 14th. Now, I probably won't ever love it as much as my friend, Stace, but I now get Micah a gift and we do a special dinner or something. In the past, I have cooked, but this year Micah changed things up on me... he cooked!!! And we had friends over for a little double date at home. Although my Monday was stressful, I must admit grilled steak and four dessert choices were a nice way to finish the evening. Micah even did the dishes - maybe V-Day should get some kind of national observance after all. Micah doing the dishes is somewhat equivalent to getting the day off work and should be observed around the country if you ask me!

Here are some pics of a fun night with friends...

 The Feast...


 All of us... (post make-up obvi...)

Probably my favorite part of the night...

Feb 15, 2011

Arizona = Asthma???

I don't claim to know much about breathing disorders or desert climates, but I've heard the two go well together. Supposedly, people with asthma have fewer symptoms with dry desert air... or at least that's what they told my Grandma, who now lives in Las Vegas. So WHY in the world, since moving to Arizona, do I have strange breathing problems?

This started the week of Thanksgiving. I was having problems trying to catch a deep breath all week. Cheri, my mother-in-law, was visiting us and was concerned. She thought I should go to the doctor, but I figured it would go away soon enough. And it did...by Saturday of that week, it was gone. But then it came back...again and again.

So now I have intermittent breathing problems. For a few days I will have trouble catching a really deep breath - like I can't always voluntarily fill my lungs to capacity and I have to concentrate really hard when I do catch a deep breath. But then this little annoyance will go away for a week or two. And then it will come back.

So what's going on? Is there adult-onset asthma like there is with diabetes? Do I have some weird lung infection? Is this excercise-induced asthma? That's the most likely thing I can think of, considering these symptoms first began when I was hitting the peak of my half-marathon training program...

But thing is, I can run faster and farther than I ever have been able to before in my life. So why can't I breathe correctly? Micah even told me I am finally a REAL runner because during the half marathon I a) lost a toenail (true runners always lose their toenails...gross huh?) b) chaffed my right armpit from the friction of swinging my arms (true marathoners always chafe...gross huh?) and c) ran sub ten minute miles, which was 30 seconds faster than than the mile pace I was hoping for. So basically I rocked the race...for me. Now I'm not a runner by nature, so I am very proud of my 9:57 minutes miles. I know many of you could run there and back in that amount of time, but this was really fast for me. Since the race, I have been running 8:49 minutes miles for my 3 and 4 four mile runs... I have never been in this good of running shape in my life. So WHY do I suddenly have asthma?

Now I don't really know if I have asthma, but this week marks almost another full week of struggling to breath, instead of just having symptoms for a day or two at a time. I probably should go to the doctor...

But let me use the asthma rant to celebrate the marathon weekend. My dear friends Ashley, Bekah and Sarah came down from Seattle to run with Micah and me. Sarah and I ran the half (and she REALLY rocked it - wanted to break 2 hours and ran a 1:49... amazing!!!) and Bekah, Ashley, and Micah ran the full! Bekah broke 4 hours - woo hoo! And Ashley came in right behind her! These girls are amazing. Micah had a weird race. He ran the first ten miles with the 7:00 minute mile pacer. (Are you kidding me?!) But then his legs locked up and he had to slow down a ton. He had been having off and on leg problems during the last few weeks of traning, and it hit him right in the middle of the race. He was in great pain, but finished the race anyway (just a mere 16 miles more). He says he learned quite a bit though. The first lesson: not to go too fast at first, but to let his body warm up. And secondly, he learned what his body is capable of because he said he felt GREAT running with the 7 minute mile group. His breathing and heartrate were great if not for his silly leg muscles. So he is amazing even though he didn't get the time he wanted. All of us girl admitted we would have quit if we had gotten injured on mile 10... my husband is a stud.

Here are some pics of our fun weekend. Thankfully, I was asthma-free on the day of the race...

 Pre-race pazookie at Oregano's... maybe not the ideal runner's food, but it was GOOD!

Ready to run!

6am the morning of the race

We did it! And we can still move! (Not so much a few hours later...)

Feb 14, 2011

What do you do when your plane goes on the roof? Get it down, of course.

While you were likely watching Super Bowl XLV, my wife was making me wait "a few more minutes..." before leaving to watch the game at a friend's house.

Next thing I know I'm the one making us late and I'm standing on the top of our two story apartment building.

So when we got married last July we got all the necessities to run a house and a few extra gift cards... one of which I used to buy a remote control toy plane at Target! Needless to say this was radical and the best wedding present we got! While I was waiting for my wife to come out to the car I was seeing just-- how--high-- I could fly this little airplane.  My first thought was "wow, I can't believe I still have radio reception at this height." Soon I was thinking, "this probably isn't a good idea..." And then my final thought was "I'm screwed..." as the airplane went too high, lost reception, and crashed on the roof of the neighboring apartment building...

Sure, I got this plane on sale and made the purchase with a gift card. To some people this might not be a huge loss. But remember, this was our BEST wedding present. I was determined to get it down. I considered climbing the gutter, calling the maintenance guy, or waiting for a wind storm, but then I figured the most logical way to get the plane down would be to climb a tree and jump to the roof. A circle around the building proved that one tree was high enough (and possibly strong enough???)  to complete the task, and that almost everyone in the building was so occupied with the game that I could get away with scaling the tree and tip toeing across the roof top to reclaim my plane.

I shimmied up the tree while my nervous wife took pictures down below, probably wondering if we were going to spend the next few hours watching the game or hanging out in the emergency room. Stepping from the tree to building felt kind of like when you step from a boat to a dock.  The transfer of weight from unstable to stable and sturdy. But stepping from the building to the tree felt like...I can't really explain how it felt, but I definitely remember staring down a 25-plus foot drop onto rockery and thinking "this tree will hold me, right?"



 Made it!

 Found it...

The scary part...

 Just hangin' around...

 What a beauty...
Shimmied down and made it in time for the second half... great wings with great friends at Zips.

Feb 7, 2011


I remember this fact from the 1992 Olympic Summer Games in Barcelona... the width of a balance beam is five inches, only slightly wider than the average TV controller. I was so into gymnastics that year. Those were the days of Kim Zmeskal and Shannon Miller. My sister and I would run across our family room, doing carwheels and landing with our arms held high like real gymnasts.

If I look around for a remote control in my living room, I won't find one. We don't have a TV! That's right - we spend our nights eating dinner, reading, cleaning, laughing, browsing the Internet, occasionally watching a movie on the laptop, but we never watch TV. But if I look around for a balance beam in my living room or anywhere in my life, I won't find one of those either. I feel like I have NO balance right now. Poor Kim (my fave) fell off the balance beam in the games that year. It was disappointing to say the least, although she bounced back with outstanding performances on her other routines. I feel like I fell off my balance beam too when the semester started about a month ago...

Here's the thing about my life. I am busy. Very busy. But I have always been busy. I have always been a work two jobs, coach a volleyball team, lead a Bible study, go for a three mile run, meet two friends for coffee today kind of girl. I don't know how to not be busy. (I know this can be a bad at times...) But the thing is, I thrive on busy. I love having a schedule and having to be disciplined about how I spend  my time. If I have a free day (which is rare), I barely get anything done. But if I only have 20 spare minutes in my day, I might get the bathroom cleaned AND the dishwasher unloaded in that time slot.

The problem I am running into right now is that I live in too many worlds. I am a wife and a teacher and a student. And it's hard...and often confusing. Literally, confusing. Like I can't keep track of what my next priority is because it's almost time to eat dinner (wifey), I have 20 drafts to read before tomorrow (teacher), and I have to read three cantos of The Faerie Queene by Wednesday (literature nerd). All these things are TOP priority in their own little world.

So I have to admit, three worlds is a lot for me. I am loving my new role of wife more than I thought I would. I have loved setting up our little AZ home, and I enjoy finding new recipes and cooking dinner a few nights a week. I like hanging out with my husband and going on little adventures around our new city. I even kind of like cleaning my own kitchen and bathroom, knowing that only one other person lives there to make it dirty (cleaning with multiple roommates is always complicted and never ending... especially when they are all girls...five heads full of pretty girl hair do not a pretty shower make). I would LOVE for Micah to help me a little more around the house (hint, hint...I wonder if he even reads "our" blog...), but all in all, I like being a wifey.

I also like being a student...and a teacher...but I am quickly discovering it's hard to do both at the same time. I am so thankful to be back in school pursuing my dream of getting my PhD. I love school, so I came up with a way to stay in it as long as possible. I have secured myself SIX more years of school. Pretty impressive, huh? I am challenged by my coursework and excited about the all the possibilites with my degree.

But I also love teaching. In some ways, teaching is easy this year. Compared to teaching high school, my job is a breeze. I only teach three days a week. I only have two classes with 38 students total...which means I only have to grade 38 essays at a time, instead of the 120 essays I was constantly hauling around with me last year (not joking). But grading 38 essays is a little different when you are also trying to read the 3,800 pages of reading assigned from your own teachers and are currently writing two 38 paged papers for your own classes. (I am exaggerating...but only slightly...grad teachers are pretty generous with their reading assignments).

Basically, all I am saying is that my life is crazy right now. I feel like I could do the wife and student thing well or the wife and teacher thing easily. In the past, I could have easily survived the teacher/student combo, but I don't plan on getting rid of my hot hubs anytime soon....

Truth be told, I don't plan on getting rid of any of my little worlds, because I love them all so much. I am taking suggestions though on how to manage my time better. If you have any ideas on how to find my balance beam, get back up there like Kim did, and walk evenly between these three world, I would love your suggestions! I am loving this calendar by Emily at Jones Design Company. It has a place for prayer requests at the bottom, which I think is the only way I will make it through this semester!

At least TV is not stealing anytime out of my schedule....

Feb 2, 2011

Best Baked Potato Soup

For all of you trying to survive the blizzard that seems to be hitting just about every area of the country this week, I thought I would post the recipe for a delicious Baked Potato Soup I made last week. It made it onto Micah's list of favorite dinners instantly, probably because it involves bacon... While it's not blizzarding in Phoenix, it's even pretty cold here. I've never heard so many people cuss about weather under 40 degrees in my life. Nor have I ever seen so many people wearing shorts and eating ice cream cones in 35 degree weather either. Yes, I witnessed both of these things happening on campus today. Arizona is a strange place... Let's just say that it is cold enough here that I actually put on my mittens in my car today to touch my cold steering wheel (not to buffer my hands from a hot steering wheel, which is how I use the same mittens in August), and I had a strong desire to be wearing earmuffs as I walked to my car after class.

But anyway, back to the soup. I modified this recipe from one I found on Allrecipes (I pretty much modify every recipe I make because I'm picky, lazy, feeling creative, don't have ingredients, etc.) and turned it into an amazing crockpot creation that cooks while you do whatever the heck you want all day long (or go to work, school, etc). If you are stuck at home in snowy weather, this soup will warm and cheer you right up. Hopefully you have ingredients or can find a way to get to the store to pick up some groceries....

Plan to spend about 20 minutes putting the soup together in the morning. I didn't give myself enough time, and I was almost late to school and had to leave dirty dishes in the sink. Yuck.

Add to a crockpot:
Two 14.5 oz. cans of chicken broth
1 small onion chopped into tiny pieces (I only use half an onion because I don't love onion...)
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried basil (I used fresh because I had it...)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 large baked potatoes, cubed (You can peel them, but I didn't...)
1 cup half-and-half cream (If you want to be healthier, you can mix milk and half and half)
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce or salsa (I used salsa... just a little spoonful)

Now you need to fry up 3-5 strips of bacon. You can actually do this before or after you put everything in the crockpot. When the bacon is done cooking, take about 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease and add it to the crockpot. This is the secret ingredient.

Cut the rest of the bacon into tiny pieces and put it in the fridge until dinner time. I use handy ol' kitchen scissors for this job. I love kitchen scissors.

Let the soup cook for 6-8 hours on LOW. It helps if you can stir it once about halfway through the process, but if you can't, no big deal. Just stir it up about 5-10 minutes before you serve it.

Serve both the homemade "bacon bits" and grated cheddar cheese as a garnish for the soup.

I wish I had a picture of this goodness from last week, but I forgot to take photos... sorry! It was gone before I could get out my camera (okay, not really... this easily feeds 4-6 people and we still have some in our freezer which I will probably enjoy for lunch tomorrow...I am just not used to taking pictures of what I cook yet because, let's be honest, it's kind of a weird thing to do). But I promise, it's amazing!

Feb 1, 2011

My Big Sexy Paper

Tonight in class my teacher told me that my research on mom blogs could easily become a "big, sexy, publishable paper." While my favorite word in that phrase is "sexy" (because how many people would consider mom blogging sexy??? Except it IS...there are some hot mamas out there who have carried 2-4 children in their bodies and still look AMAZING) the most important word in the phrase is "publishable."

Getting published. It's what being a grad student and a professor is all about. Being published means getting job, keeping a job, earning tenure, etc. It's important. And it's scary. I don't like to think about trying to get published because it seems daunting and depressing with lots of denial letters (probably e-mails these days, let's be honest, why waste ink?) and recommended revisions. And the biggest problem is that before you can get rejected or accepted or "accepted with revisions" you have to actually think of something to write about. Some new "sexy" topic that not too many people have already written about...

That seemed really difficult... until tonight. Apparently my topic is sexy. Mothers who gain power through writing online is a hot topic. It's not like my paper is ready to be published. I mean, it's not even written yet. I have no idea where this project is going... but it's encouraging to know it might go somewhere. It makes me want to work even harder at it, knowing that there is a SMALL chance that I could publish a paper during grad school. And even if this hypothetical, sexy, yet-to-be-written paper never gets published, it still excites me that a legitimate interest of mine - mommy bloggers - is also a legitimate reserach area in the rhetoric community at large. Here is just a sampling of my research summary that I presented in class tonight. This is the conlcusion in which I explain my interest in my chosen community:

"Although I am not a mom right now, I hope to be in the future. As a new wife, I stumbled across a few mom blogs this past fall when looking for new recipes online to fulfill my new wifely cooking duties. I was instantly fascinated by these women who network, write, and work from home. Although I will probably never be a full-fledged stay at home mom, I hope to work part-time and devote a good deal of my time to nurturing my own kids someday. I honestly did not really realize this mom blog world existed until a few months ago, but I am eager to learn more about it this semester. Some of it seems silly to me, of course. I can’t imagine writing a full blog posting about going to the grocery store or getting the mail (and I have just recently stumbled across a housewife parody blog that I find highly entertaining), but at the same time I admire these thrifty, creative women, their business pursuits, their honesty about the hardships of motherhood, and their devotion to their families."
To all the sexy mom bloggers out there, thank you for giving me some sexy research...

P.S. Apparently when you put the word "sexy" in your blog, Google places creepy online dating/sex forums ads in your sidebar. Sorry. Please do NOT click.
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