Wednesday, April 29, 2009

First Line of Defense.

So, I got a sunburn on April 17.

Not a bad one, but you know, red, tender all that. On my shoulders, neck, a bit on my forearms.

I am publicly declaring this will be the one and only sunburn I get this season.
Yep, the only one.

See, the thing is, on the whole I'm pretty strictly anti-cancer. I've known two great people who have died of skin cancer, and both Matthew's parents and mine have had large patches of face and other parts removed thanks to ol' skin canceresque molies.

So... I'm just not playing. I'm not playing the game that says I need to have a tan to be pretty, to feel good about myself, or to be sexy for my man. If you've seen Matthew, you know that he's whiter than me. And, Praise Jesus, he likes his ladies thataway. So ... no worries there.

How shall I defend myself? I regularly wear SPF 35 facial lotion and makeup that has SPF 15 in it. As of one week ago I now mix in some 85 SPF with my moisturizer, and I wear it on all exposed parts. I am tracking all moles and the like on my body too, just to I can be aware of what's up.

I also plan to get a ridiculously large sun hat to wear when gardening or outside at all, and I will be wearing brimmed hats more often to protect my chalky-white scalp.

I know I got burned a handful of times as a child, and often chose not to wear sunscreen in high school. As much as I HATE to admit it, I even fake baked in a tanning booth just shy of a dozen times. YIPES. That was in the era of acrylic nails too...don't judge! So here's the thing... I'm already behind. Aside from the fact that I have blue eyes, light brown (naturally, yes, light brown... shut your mouth)hair, and pale freckled skin, I have deliberately exposed myself to harmful rays for the sake of my vanity. OY.

So... I quit! Like I said, I'm not buying what yer sellin. I like the look of tanned arms, and sure, I'll spend time in the sun! I LOVE the sun! But that's just it. I'll wear sunscreen, I'll be smart, and I will not fakebake ever again. Oh no no no.

My challenge to you is... quit too! At least quit being irresponsible about your sun exposure. And ladies... come on. Keep your face OUT of the sun! We've seen leatherfaces about... that's what happens to YOU when you're in the sun too much! Not just the ladies in Miami! WEAR SUNSCREEN. You'll still get color! We're young now, but it adds up, it really does! And when you lay out (if you must... I know some of you crazies are just made to soak up sun), then STILL WEAR SUN SCREEN and COVER YOUR FACE!

Rant over. Cheers to a summer of smelling like sunscreen!

Book Buffet.

Today is my last day of finals. So far I have felt very good about the tests and papers I've submitted. Tonight I'll turn in one last essay, and take on test and write one final essay. Sigh.

What does this mean though, really? Well... it means I can shelf old William Wordsworth, John Keats, Berthold Brecht, Rolf Hochhuth, Percy and Mary Shelley...and so many others. Oh, and MLA Handbook, natch.

And once shelved, I can read WHATEVER I WANT.

I'm really only giving myself the month of May to read whatever without adding in any comps-list books as well. So-- send me your fluffiest, silliest, most mindlessest books you've read and loved recently. I will buy them, read them with delight, and relish in the minimal mental engagement they elicit.

Oh man, that sounds like heaven!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Debbie Downer!

Ok folks, I just posted the two posts, and in thinking about the first, I think I need to rewind.

Here is a list of all the GREAT things happening, and the reasons I'm thankful for both school, and el surgerisco.


2- I like to learn

3- I like books

4- I like having intellectual conversations about totally minute and ultimately unimportant things

5- school contains the above three items.

6-I'm almost (one week!) half way done with my Master's degree!

7- Soon, I will no longer have two Brooklyn accented cysts living in my neck (because, naturally, if you are named Frank and Vinney, you are clearly from Brooklyn, duh).

8- Dudes dig scars.... so whatever my little scar looks like, I'm going to be THAT much cooler, and ever MORE attractive to my sweet and unsuspecting husband! MWAHAAH.

9- I get to see my parents. What better way to lure them out to see me than have a medical occurrence. Hahahahah, I've got your number Dr. and Mrs. Cain!!!

10- I get to take my finals first, and THEN have the surgery- talk about awesome timing! How fantastic and convenient that I got to schedule the surg on my time, AND my professors are working with my to bump all schoolness entirely from the week I have surgery (so as to ensure I'm not thinking of scalpels as I explicate a Sonnet, etc).

11- Less in the vein of surgery or school, but I have a pretty amazing husband. Like, this man blows my mind. And I can go hyper to mushy in about 1.2 seconds if I need to, but I'll avoid that, because if you've met him you know he's a man of integrity, kindness, and for some reason loves this girl. Wow.

12- we planted berry bushes!!! You can only imagine how happy this makes me, as you all know my great affinity and at times obsession with berries. Blueberries, blackberries, rasps, and strawberries are in the ground. SO excited!

13- The trees in KY springtime are AMAZING. We have had the most beautiful bloomings here lately! See the Easter pics for the latest pink blooms in front of our house- WOW!

14- Dutch is continually entertaining, and I know he is helping me avoid an ulcer right now. Petting that little guy until he starts kicking me with his little hind legs is such a stress reliever followed by tension breaker. I mean, can you really take yourself seriously when you have a little beasty cat trying to eat your fist? (answer: no)

15- I am almost back to reading WHATEVER I want. My part time job this summer is going to be preparing for the comprehensive exam, which does mean reading specific books. But the beauty: they are pretty much all books I've WANTED to read. I can choose the order, how long it takes me, and at least for the next 4 months, I won't be writing 15 page papers on them :) I'm sure i'll throw some non-school books in. In fact, I'm giving myself May to read WHATEVER. Comment your recommendations please!!!

16- I get to write this summer. Hello. Better than that, I'm actually inspired and excited to spend regimented time on writing. BIG HELLO.

17- I have an FRG (Family Readiness Group) co-leader! This means MUCH less work and pressure for me, and another person to learn with! HOORAY!

18- I'm bike hunting on, and am so excited to get a bike! I'm thankful even for the prospect of cruising around the neighborhood!

19- Spring and summer mean fabulous fruit and vegetables. That is a reason to be thankful for this time of year for SURE.

20- And finally... Life is good. It really is. Over all, it is. So please forgive me for being a freaking Debbie downer whiney face in the last post. LAME. Cause I have SO much to be thankful for and happy about. That doesn't make the other stuff go away, but wow, how self indulgent to sit down in the middle of it all! So... there you go. Thankful for the attitude adjustment too!

The Evolution of a Name.


One More Week.

Well folks, One more week of school.


One week.

I have to say, in the last week the whole semester has caught up with me. I am really quite exhausted with the whole school thing. Summer really couldn't come at a better time.

I think the semester will finish well. I'm trying to remember that all I can expect from myself is my best. I feel like I've run out of gas, but I still have to make it to the end. I guess I'm hoping I'm driving a hybrid and the electrical part can kick in and get me there.

Really, it's not so bad. I turn in a paper tonight, I need to revise a draft of another paper that is due next Wednesday. I have a few poems to revise that will be included in my poetry portfolio due next Tuesday. I have two finals- one next Tuesday, and one next Wednesday. And then I'm finished. So really, not so bad.

I think what is making this so hard is that I am just... over it. That sounds so lame and I really do love school, so don't think I'm being silly. I'm just really ready for a break. I think knowing that the surgery is two weeks from tomorrow plays a part in all this too... knowing my body will be changed forever (granted, for a good reason), is always on my mind.

I don't know if that awareness comes solely from vanity, or from a feeling of fear for the actual procedure, or what. It doesn't help that whenever someone asks where I'm having the surgery and I respond "at the post hospital" the response inevitably includes widened eyes, a kind of balking action in the reverse, and finally some kind of "oummm, well i hope that goes well for you." Err... yeah. Me too.

Don't worry though (I say to myself)- God is in control of the Doctor's hands just like he's in control of everything else. I have my pre-op appts tomorrow and I think knowing some more details about the procedure and recovery will help (at least I hope). My dad is then going to call and chat up the Dr, make sure he's legit and we don't have any doubts about his capabilities. In all honesty I just want to get Frank and Vinney out- have them be gone, and move on. I think sleeping on my stomach is going to be so pleasurable when I don't have a big globule pressing in to my trachea.

The funny thing is, I really did start out here to talk about how psyched I am that I only have a week left. I suppose the anxiety of actually finishing, and of the surgery, have shown themselves here. But hey, yous guys can handle it.

I'll let you know how the finals etc go. Again, I'm resisting the urge to feel that anything less than a 4.0 is good enough. I have that real sense that I'm less good, less valued, less intelligent, if I get anything less than that. But I KNOW that isn't true. That creeps in and trips me up as I do my work. Rather than writing as well as I can, I start aiming at A's- NOT GOOD. So I'm working on shifting my brain back AGAIN (how many times have we had this conversation, me?) to the reality that I am loved by God, my husband, family, friends, whether I get a 4.0 or not. Sounds silly, but wow, it is a relief! Now I just need to work on ME accepting that.

Ok, I need to stop babbling about that. I'm going to do my very best. Then I will know that I've done all I can do, and that is precisely what I can expect from my brain.

Teter- OUT.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Last Few Months...

It has been a long while since I've downloaded the pictures from my camera to the computer. Here are the fruits of this most recent labor:

This is where we find Dutch most days-- looking out at the birds that flock to his bird feeder (conveniently placed within his view). He chatters at them a lot. We love the mix of birds that come! Cardinals, blue birds, black birds, doves, quail, etc!

This was some time in February, before our tree had bloomed!

Matthew dusting with the dust mitt my mom got us...

He quite enjoys it.

Our Cardinal, William.

Our Valentine's day feast-- Porterhouse Steaks, baked potatoes, garlic sauteed spinach, rolls... WAY too much food.

We recently discovered we make pretty good buffalo wings, which is handy, because we can make them on the grill, not fry them, and they are a LITTLE better for us. The homemade sauce ain't bad either.

This was my creation of a few weeks ago. Homemade grilled flatbread with grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, alfredo, and a bit of cheese. Tasty, and a nice change up!

We had a LOVELY surprise in early March when Josh and Laura drove through on their way to Memphis for their Spring Break mission trip. We got to spend a few hours catching up and it was such a nice time to spend with people we know! I love unexpected visits! It's good for the soul.

Just a few weeks later Matt and Melissa came to visit us! It was SO GOOD to see them! I hadn't seen Melissa since the wedding... I think that's the longest we've ever gone without seeing each other, and it was, again, good for my soul and heart to be with my best friend!

We had many adventures and I did a very bad job taking pictures of it all. Here are a few from their last night here.

The primary soundtrack to the evening was, appropriately, N*SYNC.
See, Matt is LOVING it!

Mel with Matthew's headlamp-- I love this picture.

It was so sad to see them go, but we vowed we would NOT go another year and a half without seeing each other, and I believe us.

The other day I discovered some seriously glorious Italian bread at the commissary.
The stars aligned when I realized I had this bread, mesquite turkey, a red onion, a ripe tomato, and a ripe avacado, all waiting to be combined into a lunch masterpiece.
Oh, wow, I enjoyed that sandwich!

My sweet mom sent us some pillows and a blanket for our living room. I've been trying to Spring it up and have had GREAT success thanks to her additions! I've taken the red couch cover off the love seat and the light yellow/tan couch beneath has really lightened things up. The baby blue pillows work well as an accent with the dark brown couch and the soft brown blanky my mom sent! Thanks mom!

Below, Dutch enjoys the packaging of the aforementioned giftage.

We ate burgers one night. (heh)
Here is Matthew's triple burger, most likely inspired by an episode of
Man Vs. Food on the travel channel.

And again, the stars aligned with the proper vegetables, and some superior bacon, to make one heck of a burgalicious dinner.

As if seeing Josh and Laura, and Matt and Melissa wasn't enough, Whitney is here!
Today is her last day with us and we are very sad to have to see her go. She came in last Tuesday night and leaves tomorrow early morning. We've had so many adventures!

She has done a significantly better job of keeping track of our time together on her camera, so hopefully she'll do a post with pics. She and I had some good quality time on the days when Matthew was working. We discovered some AMAZING BBQ out here, have had lots of great meals together, got to celebrate Easter together, go to the Grand Ole Opry, and visit Andrew Jackson's plantation home, The Hermitage. We've had a great time!

On Friday night we stayed up late and solved all the world's problems (til 3am). It was SO good to just sit and talk for hours!
Here is Whitney, answering the phone.

I love this picture!

Here are a few pictures from Easter.

Dutch definitely had stuff to look out- this is the first time he's been outside in a while.

And our Easter Dinner.

And so, a quick catch up. I really will try to keep on top of things. I have about 3 weeks left of school and then I'll be getting in to summer! I may or may not get a job-- I'll be looking and applying for some teaching stuff here and there, but I have lots of prep to do for my master's exam, and I need to get working on my thesis, so if I don't get a job, it's not the end of the world. (And afterall, that means better and more adventurous meals :)

Until the next post, cheers!
He is Risen!
He is risen indeed!