Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I've Moved!

Find me blogging over at Kate the Great!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Summer Reading

Hey friends!

How are you?  Things are going well over in my neck of the woods.  I took some much needed (and well-deserved, if I do say so myself) time off once the semester was over.  I watched a bunch of the TV shows I've been wanting to either try out or catch up on.  Highly, highly recommended are: Sherlock (the BBC series), Arrested Development (seriously, I'm not sure how I hadn't been on the bandwagon before... I'm on it now), House of Cards (on Netflix), and Veep (on HBO).  I, of course, also love me some Game of Thrones, New Girl, The Mindy Project, and several others, but I do a pretty good job of keeping up on those during the season.  Because I, apparently, love TV.  Don't judge.

I've also been reading a whole lot over the last several months and have more books than I'll possibly be able to read this summer on my "To Read" list, so I thought I'd share!  Keep in mind that I really love historical fiction (especially war

time historical fiction), however, there is a good variety on the list.

Books I've Already Read (And Recommend):

Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society by Amy Hill Hearth
This was a fun, really fast read.  It is set in Naples, Florida in the 1960's - back before it was transformed from a rural area near the Everglades into the vacation haven it is today (trust me!).  My enjoyment might have been increased by the fact that I was in Sanibel and only 1 county north of Naples when I read it, but I so enjoyed the way Hearth weaved so many different lives together, dealing with racial, gender, and sexuality issues.  It is funny and heartfelt.

The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin
OMG.  I CAN. NOT. WAIT. for Goodwin to come out with her next book!!!  If you like Downton Abbey (at least the first couple of seasons...), or really anything set at the turn of the 20th Century, you will LOVE this book!!!  It's thick, but I loved it so very much that I read through it a heck of a lot quicker than I expected to, but never wanted to end.

Hemingway's Girl by Erika Robuck
Once again, this was a beach read for me way back in January.  I really enjoy reading books that speak to my current mood or things that are relevant to my life at the time.  The setting for this book is Key West, Florida and I was in Florida at the time I read it.  I loved that aspect of it.  Even more, though, I loved the story.  Did you read The Paris Wife?  If you liked that, if you like Hemingway, or if you are a fan of vibrant historical fiction, I think you'll like this one.  Robuck's description of a cafe meeting between Hemingway and Mariella, the book's heroine, where Mariella eats a piece of key lime pie had me dying for some and you best believe I took care of that craving at dinner that night...

The Baker's Daughter by Sarah McCoy
Serious WWII historical fiction!  Ok...  I have a real thing with 1) wartime historical fiction, 2) stories in which the main character discovers something from her family's past, and 3) stories that are set both in present day and the past, transitioning seamlessly from one to the other.  This is ALL of those things.  A woman in El Paso, TX is forever changed after interviewing Elsie Schmidt in her German bakery.  Elsie was a German living in Germany during WWI who saved a young Jewish boy from the Nazis.  I love this book because it tells a story that we don't often hear: that of the struggles of German nationals who were also severely impacted by the horror of the Nazi regime.  I also love that this is a story of challenge, discovery, families, and love.

Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
Ok...  I could almost copy and paste the description of The Baker's Daughter down here.  haha  I'm a weirdo.  I love stories like this so much that it bothered me NONE that they were so similar.  Again, this is the story of a young German woman just trying to survive WWII and keep her daughter safe and alive.  Fifty years later, her daughter starts to discover the truth about her mother's story and about the sacrifices her mother made to save their lives.  This one will REALLY make you question your notions of what is right and what is wrong.

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker

This is another piece of historical fiction and yet another story about a child's discovery of a parent's past and true self.  However, the setting is a rural village in Burma.  This is an absolutely beautiful story of love and acceptance between a boy with no sight and a girl who could not walk.  I liked the setting for this story because it reminds me some of Bangladesh.  There are rickshaws, crowded markets, and beautiful open fields.  It wasn't my very favorite read so far this year, but it was definitely enjoyable.

What I'm Reading Now:

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
So far, REALLY good!  I picked up this book for two reasons.  First, I remembered reading that this was a very courageous piece of writing.  The author takes risks, he describes the nitty gritty parts of life in a really beautiful way.  Second, the story is set on a rocky side of Italian coastline.  Duh.  There are a lot of tangled pieces right now... And I am anxious to see how they sort themselves out...

My Summer Reading List:
I currently have about a bazzillion unread books in my bookcases.  I should really start utilizing the library more often, but I have a real problem.  I LOOOOOOOVE owning the books.  I like to hold them, I like to look at the covers, and I like to be able to loan them to fellow book lovers.  My mom is the same way.  We often borrow books from each other ... though hers somehow manage to find permanent spots on my shelves while mine always make their way back to me.  Oops.  So not fair!  haha  Ok.  So, in an effort to clear out the "To Read" pile (if only so that I can justify buying crap loads of new books this fall), here's my list for the summer (in the order they're currently stacked/piled on my shelves)!

Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall
The Dry Grass of August by Anna Jean Mayhew
bread & wine by Shauna Niequist
still points north  by Leigh Newman
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
The Paradise Guest House by Ellen Sussman

Ok!!!  Your turn!  What's on your To Read list???  Come on, I'm dying to know.  I mean... I really need suggestions for my Fall Reading List...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Catching Up


Well, that was an unexpected several month hiatus...  Oops.  Anyway, before I resume regular posting, here's what has been going on in my life since January:

1.  I have a new niece!!!!!  Grace Michelle was born on April 18th.  She's getting cuter by the day!

As is this little guy.  And my obsession with my nephew is still going strong.  He's totally got an attitude and I love it.  "No, T.  No see me. Go 'way."  It's precious.  

2.  I adopted a dog in January.  Meet Walter:

He's sweet and chubby and adorable.  He has one white paw.  It is my kryptonite.  He is also a little naughty and we have an appointment at doggie obedience school tomorrow.  Nellie is still skeptical...  But they're growing on each other.

3.  I studied for 2 and a half months, spent 8 hours a day for 4 days in a little office at school taking my written comprehensive exams (with no notes at all), then orally defended my answers 3 weeks later.  These exams are required by my PhD program in order to move past my coursework and move onto my dissertation.  I also did all of this while teaching my first college class ever, playing on 2 volleyball teams, and training for a half marathon.  I am crazy.  It was a stressful and intense process, but I PASSED!!!!  Then, I celebrated.  Hard core.

4.  Last weekend, I ran my 6th half marathon.  Never before have I been so mentally or physically unprepared for a race.  But, it was the best race experience of my life.  The miles flew by and I loved (almost) every minute of it.  I have some theories as to how this happened.  Maybe I'll share them one of these days.  :)

Turning into the home stretch, smiling the whole way.

Cheering on friends running the full marathon.

So, things have been a little busier than usual.  But, they're starting to calm down a bit, so I'm planning to spend a little more time on here.  I miss writing to you all.  I don't know how many of you actually enjoy reading the crap I write, but I enjoy doing it.  Sooo...  I'm going to do it more.  haha

Take care and enjoy the late spring/early summer weather.  

Until next time...

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Isn't it funny how a word or a quote or an idea will strike you and, once it does, you see and hear it everywhere?  I don't know why it happens.  Is it because there's something you're looking for?  Or is someone (God, the universe, Buddha, your mom) trying to tell you something?  Sometimes when it happens, it's a little disconcerting and sometimes it's just cool.  Anyway, this has happened to me.  

I'll spare you most of the long, drawn-out, gory details but, in short, the idea of vulnerability has been presented to me again and again over the last several months in one form or another.  To this let me just say: YUCK.  

"Katie, you have to open up and let people get to know the real you."

"Katie, you need to put yourself out there.  Make new friends.  Go on dates."

"Katie, you need to tell people how you feel.  And not just the people who you already trust, but also the people you want to build relationships with."

Like I said...  Yuck.  I mean, I'm tough.  I'm strong.  I hold it together when others are falling apart.  I don't like to feel sad (no one does - duh).  I don't like to feel uncomfortable.  I don't like to show weakness or vulnerability.  I don't like to cry in front of most people (with a few exceptions - fun fact: I have an ex-boyfriend who refers to me as "The Crier").  I like to make jokes, avoid the crap out of uncomfortable situations, and use logic to keep myself from getting too emotional in most circumstances.  I don't even like to type the word vulnerability - it sounds so ... "let's form a hug circle and talk about our feelings" (i.e. NOT ME).

But, like I said, this idea of being vulnerable and needing to let people get close to me in order to create true intimacy has been tugging at my leg for a while.  Then, a month or so ago, I came across a story on NPR's "On Being."  The hostess was interviewing Brene Brown, a PhD in social work who researches shame and vulnerability.  I immediately fell for her message.  She was funny, she was real, and she's a Type A professor who, herself, has avoided vulnerability for years (we'd probably be BFFs if we ever met).   

In a nutshell, here's what she says:  In order to live life with our whole hearts, in order to live a life in which, no matter how much we screw up, our own sense of worthiness is not up for negotiation, in order to be a good leader, a good parent, a good partner, a good friend or family member, etc., etc. we have to open up and put ourselves out there and let others do the same.  We have to do things even though we are scared and even though we might fail.  We have to love even if we might not be loved back.  We have to feel pain and let those we love feel pain, too.  Dr. Brown has also found, through 15 years of teaching Masters and PhD students and years of research, that people who have overcome tough times in life end up being the most hopeful.  

Now...  I'm mildly obsessed.  I have listened to the NPR interview about a million times, watched both of her TED talks, read a bunch of her articles, and am a few chapters into her latest book.  I've bought into this idea and I'm trying to learn what it takes to be a little more courageous, to stop avoiding the pain and discomfort, and to open myself up to others.



Let me tell you what.  Reading about vulnerability is a whole freaking lot different than doing vulnerability.  

A few years ago, the yoga studio I go to in Lincoln hosted a little New Year's intention-setting gathering.  We spent some time on our own, but guided by the teachers, thinking about the past year and about what we'd like to manifest in the coming year.  We wrote down a whole bunch of intentions (i.e. "I want to get closer to my family."  "I want to pay off my credit card debt."  "I want to be more patient with my coworkers.") and picked the one that stuck out to us most as our intention for the year ahead.  I loved this exercise, so when my mom and I found out they were offering another gathering at the end of 2012, we jumped at the opportunity (and drug my sister along with us).  As we sat down in the studio on Sunday evening, lights low, candles lit all around, warm and comfortable, I started thinking about my 2012 and 2013 and started preparing for some quiet time with myself (surrounded by 40 other people, but still).  Ummmm...  I couldn't have been more mistaken about what was to come.  Before we started, we were asked to think about an animal we most identified with, write the name of the animal on a name tag, and put the name tag on.

My first thought?  "Seriously?  They're going to make me think creatively tonight?  Um, cat? Dog? I don't know what fucking animal I am."

My next thought (after choosing giraffe)?  "Please don't make me explain to everyone why I chose giraffe."

Guess what we had to do?  Go around in a circle and explain why we chose our animal.  


We also had to make the sound that our animal makes.  

Double shit.

1)  I do not know what sound a giraffe makes (I tried to channel my 2 year-old nephew and failed miserably).  2)  I do NOT WANT TO DO THIS.  3)  It makes me uncomfortable even telling you that I did this.  Let's not even mention how uncomfortable I was actually DOING it.

Um, the night was not over.  We wrote about the things that happened in our lives in 2012 and shared them with the neighbor on our right (thank goodness my neighbor was my sister).  Then, we wrote about the things we want to happen in 2013 and shared them with our neighbors on the left (this time a complete stranger).


We had to pick a partner and sit cross-legged across from that partner.  My mom and sister chose each other leaving me high and dry (a choice they have been paying for ever since), so I partnered with someone else.  Luckily, this someone else was one of the studio owners and someone I've known for a while.  But, we're sitting across from each other, and the other owner and leader of the workshop tells us to look into each other's eyes.  

WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?  (*curses in my mind at my mom and sister*)  NO!!!!!!!!  GOD!  UNCOMFORTABLENESS!!!!!!!!!!!

"Look deeply into your partner's eyes.  See who they really are.  Let them see you."

If I could have smacked myself in the forehead and had a "Doh" moment right then, I absolutely would have.  I mean, here I am, reading and listening to this researcher talk about being vulnerable and letting others around you be vulnerable, and then I'm put smack in the middle of a situation in which I have almost no choice but to be vulnerable.  I have to stare in someone else's eyes, for god's sake.  For like 5 minutes.  And I was SOOOOO uncomfortable.  I even fished my glasses out of my purse and put them on, just to have a protective barrier between me and everyone else in the room (yes, I realize they can all see through the glasses...).

My point?  I'm still all in.  I'm forging ahead.  But, holy shit, this vulnerability stuff isn't easy.  It's uncomfortable.  It can be really stinking scary.  Because I know I can - and probably will - get hurt.  I think it'll be worth it, though.  At least I hope so.  

I also hope I don't have to stare into someone else's eyes for minutes on end again any time soon.

Happy New Year, friends, from my family to yours.  May 2013 be a fan-freakin-tastic year, full of fun, laughter, love, courage, and a little rest.

p.s.  You really, really MUST watch or listen to Brene Brown's stuff.  I'm dead serious.  Maybe you won't be as into it as I am, but there's some good stuff in there and my blog post just can't do her work justice.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Lesson in Self-Compassion

I remember sitting with my friend Roslyn over drinks one Tuesday night in early September saying, "How am I ever going to get through this semester?"  So, the two of us sat for a while, strategizing ways for me to finish the very last of my PhD coursework and make it out with my sanity (and hopefully happiness) in tact.  Well...  I've done it.  Thank goodness.  It wasn't easy, but frankly, I think I learned some of the best lessons of graduate school during this last semester.  Lessons that people have been trying to teach me for years.  For instance, sometimes, life gets in the way of perfection.  I wanted to make it through graduate school with a 4.0 GPA, probably in part to prove something to myself, in part to prove something to all who doubted me along the way, and in large part because my true nature as a perfectionist was shining through.  I wanted that 4.0 so badly that at one point, I actually talked a professor into bumping an A- up to an A.  Yes, I really did that.  This semester, though, it just wasn't in the cards.  I was in a difficult statistics course and not in the right mindset to really give that class my all.    At some point, I knew that a grade less than A was nearly inevitable.  So, I began to come to terms with it.

When I was living in Lincoln and training for half marathons with the YMCA Marathon Class, the great and all-powerful Ann Ringlein must have said at least a dozen times that when goal setting, you should take into account all of the other things (besides training) that are going on in your life.  She told us repeatedly that sometimes life gets stressful and those times might not be the best for trying to run a new distance or a personal best time.  I always listened to her...  But I don't think I actually heard.  As a result, last spring I turned in a terribly disappointing half marathon performance.  I wanted to quit/die half way through and ran my second slowest time ever.  Ummmm...  Well, yeah.  Probably a training season in which I lost a loved one, got injured and missed almost a month of long runs, turned in my first grant proposal, had a full course load, and experienced a couple of other emotional personal losses was maybe NOT the best time to expect a stellar running performance out of myself...  Geez, Katie.

In any case, I think this semester I finally got it.  Sometimes, life gets in the way and you have to ease up on yourself.  You can't expect perfection from yourself in one arena of life when you're struggling with so many others (and let me just say - for the record - that while I expect perfection from myself, I absolutely know that I, myself, am far, far, far from perfect).  An A- or a B, while they will wreck my 4.0, are not the end of the world.  They do not mean that I'm not a good graduate student, they do not prove the nay-sayers right, and they will not keep me from getting the job I want or being successful in the future.  But my backing off of myself a little and being ok with the A- or the B (whichever it turns out to be) will help me be happier, less stressed, and more content now.

Interestingly, I have happened across a couple of articles on self-compassion over the last couple of days.  People are afraid to show themselves compassion because they fear it will lead to laziness, lack of discipline.  Some research has shown that self-compassion actually leads in the opposite direction of disaster, though.  Maybe in the past I was afraid that if I accepted the fact that I wasn't capable of going after what I wanted 100% that I wouldn't go after it at all?  Or that I would stop wanting it?  Or that I'd stop being motivated to do anything at all???  I'm not entirely sure.  I was very uncomfortable when I found out that I would be ending my semester, and thus my graduate career, with a less than perfect GPA.  My friend Meghan has also been telling me for years that a B here or there wouldn't matter at all.  I believed her.  Completely.  I just didn't want to have to find out.  But, I tell you what...  When the wheels not only go flat on the bus of life, but start to fall off and roll in different directions, there isn't a damn thing you can do about it.  You can be upset and stressed out and frustrated that things didn't turn out the way you wish they had.  Or, you can show yourself a little compassion, try your best to accept what is, and move on.  I know myself, so I know that I will forever struggle with this.  I also know that when I look at my transcript and see the A- or B, it will be a little painful.  But, I'll know that I did the best I could in the moment and that sometimes, that's really all I need to ask of myself.

Here's to the end of graduate classes!  Only comprehensive exams, a year of research, and a dissertation to go...  This is the "easy" part, right?  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Heroic Life

Hey everyone.  A lot has happened since last I posted.  Not the least of which was the notice last week that I received the first grant I applied for!!!  Wenner Gren, an anthropology funding organization, decided to fund my dissertation research project, which means that I'll be heading back to Bangladesh for a year or so next summer.  I'm so excited for the big adventure, so relieved that I don't have to continue submitting grant applications, and feel sooooo stinkin' lucky that I got funded so quickly.  So, in celebration, I want to post something I wrote a couple of years ago and never published (though I can't remember why)...

For some reason, I was looking back through old blog posts and stumbled upon this one.  After reading it again wanted to share it with you now.  I should note up front that while there are a few mentions of religion (gasp!) and politics (double gasp!), this is neither a religious nor a political post.  You should also know that while I certainly do not consider myself a religious person, I do consider myself a person who is always looking for inspiration, and this most certainly is about that...

Two years ago...

A couple of Sundays ago, before heading back to Missouri, I went to a church service with my mom in which the topic of the sermon unexpectedly hit me like a ton of bricks.  The pastor (I guess he's called "pastor" - as a severely lapsed Catholic, "priest" is about the only title in my repertoire) said that although we can't all be heroes in the way the woman was who pulled the ammunition away from the Tucson shooter (in the incident where Congresswoman Giffords was shot), we can all strive to lead heroic lives.  We can treat people with kindness and love.  We can stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves.  And we can make a difference in people's lives in our careers, in our communities, and in our homes.  Amen.

I was raised to believe that the right thing to do is always to help others in need, to defend the defenseless, and to view others as equal, regardless of race, religious affiliation, nationality, or sexuality.  I believe in these principles and try to live by them.
Disclaimer:  It should be known that as a child and adolescent, I was hopelessly selfish and awkward when it came to helping people outside of our family and, frankly, I just plain didn't understand it.  In fact, I remember one Christmas Eve after mass, as my mom, my sister and I were headed out of church, with a plethora of traditions and festivities awaiting us at home, when my mom made us stop in one of the pews where an old woman sat, crying.  My mom sat with the woman for what seemed like forever to me.  When she stood up, I was ready to get on with things, but she announced that instead, we would be giving the woman a ride back to her nursing home. She told me later the woman had lost her husband that year and didn't have any family around for the holiday.
As an adult, of course, this story is both heartwarming and heartbreaking and gives me a sense of admiration for my mom that is deeper than I knew I could have.  My sister shares this ability to be completely and absolutely compassionate for others.  If she sees someone in need, she seems to instinctually know what to do and how to help.

But my point of telling you all of this is to say that while my mom and my sister seem to share this amazing ability in such a way that their heroism is so incredibly evident to me, I'm not sure that I am a member of this club.  I hope that in my adult life I have stepped outside of my comfort zone once or twice, but I think my propensity for heroism lies in my ability to educate as well as in my (often exhausting) desire to fight for people who can't fight for themselves.

... which, as I sat in church two Sundays ago, led me to question the inherent heroism in my chosen future career.

From where I sit, graduate school is seemingly one of the most selfish endeavors a person could undertake.  It is insanely time-consuming, complicates relationships with friends, family, and significant others, and seems to benefit no one but the student.  What one chooses to do with the education, on the other hand, can be selfless.  I have one friend who (you know who you are) has her PhD and devotes her professional life to counseling others and teaching students how to better counsel others.  I once had a professor at Hastings College who believed in me when I didn't believe in myself and helped me find the courage to apply to graduate schools (I hope he's reading this).  I have an ex-roommate who is using her Master's degree to help high school kids stay healthy and play the sports that they love.  These people are undoubtedly heroic.  And it most certainly doesn't require a degree or even a career to live a heroic life.  I could write volumes about the heroism I witness in the people around me.

So, what about my own chosen career?  Is there a path to heroism in there for me?

Tonight, in his State of the Union address, President Obama recounted a story of a woman in her 50's who went back to school to become a mechanical engineer (or something like that) because she wanted to show her daughters that if they work hard enough, anything is possible.  They could become whatever they wanted.  And so they would understand just exactly what hard work is.  This seems heroic to me.  And it is a message that I hope to pass on to my own children someday.  I also want to teach my kids that following a dream is a worthwhile and necessary part of life.  Perhaps, this is the heroism that graduate school has to offer.

This concept of heroism - in the way that it allows one to make a difference in the lives of others - is one that I value and that is at the very core of who I am and who I want to become.  Now seems like a critical point in my life at which I can either choose to continue meandering down the path I've started on, or to reflect upon the career path I've chosen and determine whether or not it is consistent with one of the beliefs I hold so strongly.

Back to present day...

I'm so happy to say that I believe I have answered these concerns for myself.  My trip to Bangladesh last year showed me that the work I do will absolutely have the potential to positively affect people's lives.  In the two short months I was there, I learned that my research might allow the hundreds of people I work with to be offered access to free hospitals and clinics.  I also know that being a teacher, whether it's at the university level or the kindergarten level, is a great thing.  My professors and advisors have made an enormous difference in my life and I'll have opportunities to do the same for my own students someday.

I hope you're all having a lovely Sunday...


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Taking a little break

Hey all!

I was alerted by someone (you know who you are) last night that I haven't blogged in a while, therefore, all 5 of my faithful followers may be giving up on me.  So, I thought I should blog...

The truth is, there are about a bazillion other things I should be doing right now.  For one, I have a grant proposal due on Saturday (who made that deadline decision??) that is in need of a total rewrite of the introduction and some major cutting to get it under the 5 page maximum requirement.  For two, I have a humungous stats assignment due one of these days soon.  For three, I'm heading home this weekend for *someone's* 2nd birthday party and I have done none of the following: buy a birthday gift, pack for the trip, or buy cat food so that my cat doesn't starve while I'm gone.  Ah, but such is life. Sometimes a short break in the middle of a busy day to do something creative (like write this blog post) can actually foster more productivity ... or at least that's what I'm hoping for in this case.

So, when I last left you, I was getting ready to leave Madison, which I did.  I packed all of my things, went out for one last breakfast at the best bagel place in the Midwest, said goodbye to my wonderful roommates and new friends, and headed for Missouri.  And cried the entire way to Iowa...  But never mind that.  Once back in Columbia, I finished and submitted a grant proposal, then made a short trip home to visit the fam and friends before my semester started.  Since then, I've been in the full swing of things, getting used to classes and homework again and getting settled into the routine of a new semester.  As a person who really, really dislikes change, you'd think I'd despise the start-stop-start again cycle of being in school but, in fact, I love it.  I like the clear beginning and end that each semester brings and I like making new schedules just as much as I like sticking to them.

I will say, though, that I have noticed myself feeling a sense of discontent lately.  I'm in that weird in-between almost done but not really almost done phase of graduate school.  This is my last semester of coursework.  Many of my very close friends are slightly ahead of me, so they aren't on campus a whole lot anymore and I spend a lot of time alone in my office.  I didn't choose the classes I'm taking because they interest me in any particular way, but specifically because they are required for graduation (except for the 5 hours of theory-heavy statistics I masochistically signed myself up for).  I've been in semesters like this before and know that the trick is to put my head down and power through it.  And it's not that I don't like the classes (again, statistics is teetering on the edge), but for the first time in a long time, I'm not finding the work particularly fulfilling.

I've been around the block enough to know that not everything in life will be fulfilling and that not every aspect of a chosen career path will make me want to bound out of bed in the mornings.  I also know myself well enough, though, to know that feeling generally fulfilled most days is important to my mental and emotional wellbeing.  So, I've made a list of the things that I find particularly fulfilling or that make me feel good about my day.  The list includes things like yoga, running, cooking, talking to friends and family, as well as things like reading academic articles in my areas of interest, brainstorming new ideas for papers, cleaning my house, and folding my laundry.  I'm going to make a very concerted effort for a while to include 1 or 2 things from my list in my everyday activities.  I'm going to make an even more concerted effort to come out of this semester with my sanity and rosy attitude in tact.

Wish me luck.

Oh, and wish this little(???) guy a very happy 2nd birthday!  :)  (And for those of you who don't know already, he's going to be a big brother this spring!)