floridagatorgirl

23 year old girl scientist, happily married to a man in uniform. In my 2nd year of my PhD, new home owner, and owner of 1 dog and 2 cats.

Thursday, March 24, 2005


a close up of the inside of my ankle. The torn ligament is on the outside, but I can't get a picture of that because it's really tough for me to turn my foot around and get a good angle. Trust me, it's even more swollen, bruised, and gross.

Sunday, March 06, 2005


Yay! Water!

He LOVED the fountain even more than the butterflies, I think!

a butterfly sunning itself...

My nephew, Wyatt, LOVED the Butterfly Rainforest. [Secret: Aunt Sarah loved it MORE.]

The in-laws & hubby & I went on a picnic at Lake Alice. We had a visitor...

Monday, February 28, 2005


Jodi took this picture Friday as Fritz & I were about to kiss... she's a talented 14 year old girl.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

I'm alive!!

Just super busy and haven't been updating much... so sorry! Here's the basics until further notice!
  • School: OK
  • Research: Excellent
  • Marriage: Excellent
  • Home: v. dirty
  • Exercise: 3-4 times a week since Jan 1
  • Murphy: Happy and well-exercised from new dog park we discovered
  • Friendships: I've been slacking! But you guys all know I love you, even during busy times.
  • Work: need to balance our lab accounts.
  • Laundry: did 2 weeks worth over the weekend. blech.
  • Family: also slacking in this area, although did call Great Grandmother over the weekend.
  • Personal time: not much

At the end of every single day, I ask myself, where DID the time go? What happened to the last 17 or so hours? Note to self: work on time management.

Friday, February 11, 2005

blogger has pop up commenting!

I'm just saying... :)

Thursday, February 10, 2005

TAG- you're it!

Someone sent me this, and I thought I'd post it here. American Dante and Francine, I want to see yours!! Sorry I can't comment... my stupid computer is messing up. First the power button broke and now it freezes w/ haloscan, which is why I took it off mine. Sorry :( I have to send it to Gateway.

1. Total amount of music files on your computer: 812 files.
2. The last CD you bought was:... Simon & Garfunkel Greatest Hits (for Hubby)
3. What is the song you last listened to before reading this message? Jeremy Camp, "Walk By Faith"
4. Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you:
"Sentimental Journey"- originally an oldie by Doris Day, my grandad used to play this song animatedly on his piano, and my entire family would loudly begin singing along. As a surprise, my mom burned one of his old records of him playing onto a CD and had it played for our first dance at our wedding. I was crying so much I could barely dance, and H had to hold me up. Such a bittersweet but wonderful memory.
"You're So Vain"-Carly Simon. Before any Kate Hudson movie brought this song back into popularity, my Aunt Annette would sing it while she was cooking dinner. Since she lives next door to my mom, I have dozens of memories of her sipping her diet tonic and gin, apron loosely tied around her neck, stirring her pasta sauce and absentmindedly singing her favorite song.
"Little Miss Magic" -Jimmy Buffet. I am a huge Jimmy Buffet fan, and this is one of his obsolete songs from his box set. He wrote it for his daughter when she was born, and the lyrics are so sweet and loving.
"I Can Only Imagine"-Mercy Me. There's just something so... powerful about this song. The first time I heard it, I was covered in goosebumps. This happened again & again. I wonder, would I dance in Your presence?
"You're So Cold"- Rolling Stones. Rolling Stones- another huge favorite of mine. I love classic rock of all forms, but this was one of my firsts. Of course, it also has sentimental value. My mom loves this song and we'd sing it in the car on our way to the beach with the windows down, the radio on top volume, hitting repeat and singing it again. As a young girl, I liked to imagine that my future boyfriends were singing the song about me and I thought it was hilarious.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Tuesday night of happiness

After a one hour seminar on environmental justice (why do they make graduate students attend 15 random seminars every semester? Don't they just know I draw and doodle all over my notebooks the entire time anyway?), I came home to play with my husband. We decided to try a newer restaurant down the road, Grill Master. It used to be a Perkins or something, so I was never too excited about it. But after looking at their online menu and seeing caprice (tomatoes & fresh mozzarella), artichoke/shrimp dip, and a ton of seafood items, we decided to check it out. While getting dressed and fixing my smudged makeup, husband walked up to me and patted my behind. He kind of leaned back, peered at me, then said, "Hmmm, it looks like you're losing some toosh. Don't lose too much of that." He was obviously on my good side all night, and we laughed and talked and had a wonderful time at dinner. I realized we don't really spend much time with just the two of us... we're always with other couples and our friends. I love it though- we're both social creatures and it's fun times.

His softball game was tonight, so I picked up Crystal so we could look for boys for her. Unfortunately, there was probably a 90% chance all the college boys were younger than us, and most of them were short/skinny so we opted instead to spend the game figuring out which guys were probably gay, whose legs were stark white, who had arms like a girl, who had a possibility of being cute, etc. Then we realized there was a girl sitting behind us (a girlfriend of one of the players we were probably critiquing) and most likely heard every word we said. Say it with me: shit. Ah, the life of shallow and petty women... comes back to haunt us. We are actually very giggly and silly and no one would guess I'm a PhD physiology student and she's an engineer girl.

Husband & I went to Coldstone creamery after the game. He got a strawberry milkshake (which I instantly was jealous of and wish I had gotten) and I ordered sweet cream with bananas, almonds, and caramel. His earlier compliments stuck with me, and I only had a couple bites and stuck the rest in my fridge. We curled up in the big green chair and watched The Forgotten and he fell asleep. It was a sweet, happy night. A night I completely cherished because I had no neurology to study, hanging heavily and guiltily over my head.

Sweetness.

PS. No more haloscan...

Every time I try to open haloscan, my computer messes up. So, I've uninstalled haloscan & changed my template while I'm at it. Sorry I can't comment on your blogs guys! But I am reading them! :)

For template backgrounds, go to www.grsites.com. They have a ton! You have to play with your blogger template, everyone's is different. You will have to replace the url for the background in blogger with the new url you like. It took me forever to mess with, but it's worth the time b/c it's fun :)

Monday, February 07, 2005

boys night

5:00 am wakeup call +

3.5 hours +

*15 long, essay-question handwritten pages =

1 very brain dead girl

I came home tonight to a very happy husband and a sweetly meowing kitten. I emailed earlier to my vet school/veterinarian listserve, and a local veterinarian came by this afternoon and fell in love with her, and took her home. I'm a little sad (I was thinking of naming her Glia) but relieved because really, 3 cats is too much for me right now. I'm also on a dangerous track of becoming a crazy cat lady! I adore them. I'll stick with my 2 for the time being. (btw, American Dante, yours are absolutely adorable!!! I love the pictures!)

My husband and his buddies went drinking this afternoon while I napped. He called me 4 times from the bar to tell me he missed me and to ask if I would come meet them. Silly boy. I'm getting ready, all dolled up (he specifically asked if I would dress sexy tonight, which I am more than excited to do considering I've been wearing gym clothes/sweatpants the last 2 weeks) and we're going to a bar/restaurant then BOYS NIGHT at a gay club.

Yes, that's right. My homophobic, squirrel shooting, camo wearing husband and his buddies picked the bar where boys drink free. I'm delighted, my girlfriends are delighted, and I can't wait to blow off some steam, have some fun, and look drop dead sexy.

More later!

*PS. If anyone would like to know about neural circuitry, organization of the higher and lower cortices in the brain, neural cell development, electrophysiology or special senses, I'm totally your gal.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

hours and hours and hours and hours and hours

of studying. Chemical senses, neurogenesis, neuroanatomy, parkinsons vs. huntingtons disease, upper and lower motor neurons.

Hundreds of terms.
Hundreds of functions.
Dozens of neural circuits and pathways.
Dozens of neurotransmitters, chemicals, and ions.

I'm starting to become dyslexic and mix my words up. I forgot how to spell "signaling" earlier. I forgot to run after the ball in soccer this morning... [although that could have been my AWESOME BAD-ASS header (giving me a potential concussion)! Oh, and let's not forget my fabulous BACKWARDS kick move! *OH YEAH* Too bad we still lost.]

Neurophysiology final exam, covering all 15 sections, is in 9 hours. I am terrified yet feel fairly prepared.

Neurophysiology final exam, covering all 15 sections, is in 9 hours. I am terrified yet feel fairly prepared. I must make at least an 83% to pass with a B.


Friday, February 04, 2005

Friday night

My house was cold and still tonight when I got home from work. I'd turned off the heat yesterday (after $170 electricity bill last month), so the thermostat said 67 degrees. Brrr. I bundled myself up in lined workout pants, 2 long sleeved t-shirts, and a fleece sweater and I curled up in my chair with a fuzzy fleece blanket and my two kittens. (These cats, btw, are the most loving and snuggly cats I've ever met in my life. They also both purr an excessive amount of the time. I ♥ them) After watching 2 hours of Smallville on TIVO (Clark Kent is sooooooo hot, despite the obvious lipstick), I had to force myself up to work out and head to Borders for an evening of warm, relaxing studying.

What is it about bookstores? They've always been such a place of retreat to me. The quiet, jazzy music in the background, the warm colors on the walls, the subtle smell of new, crisp books underneath the powerful aroma of coffee beans... it relaxes me the second I step in. I ordered a delicious Ginger Peach tea and settled in for the evening. One of my favorite things to do when I'm alone is people watch. I watched the middle-aged women sipping their lattes over travel books, the two high school aged girls animatedly debating that is was absolutely necessary to date a boy for at least one year before marrying them, the long-haired earring guy reading a book on death, the groups of med students still in their scrubs, studying. Driving to Borders, I felt a little silly for making studying my Friday night plan, but the place was packed with students studying. I was in my element. I covered almost 2 chapters of neural development (learning about the transition from tiny egg cell embryo to mature brain/spinal cord, stem cell research, and the stages of neural development).

Came home for a long, hot bubble bath and In Touch (no Us Weekly yet, bummer), my soft cotton pajamas, and my warm flannel sheets. Perfect start for my weekend of hard-core studying.

throw the ball throw the ball throw the ball throw the ball


The Murph Dog. Gotta love this guy!

Husband just cleaned out his car trunk & back seat, and he found 4 of Murphy's stuffed babies. (silly, brightly colored stuffed elephants, pigs, tomatoes, etc.) He dumped them all on our kitchen floor. Murphy loves the kitchen and the new cold tile, and will immediately run in there and plop on his stomach, tail banging against the ground, when we let him inside.

Tonight, I let him inside, and he began his usual bouncing and jumping and panting and frantic tail wagging. No adjectives or adverbs can precisely communicate the tenacity of his excitement when we get home.

He ran into the kitchen and looked BACK AND FORTH and BACK AND FORTH between all the toys, his tail wagging at light speed. He picked up one toy, then another, then another, then tried to pick up two at once. He finally just looked at us and then PEED ALL OVER THE FLOOR.

Like, "THANKS A LOT, Mom & Dad. This is WAY too much for me to handle."

Monday, January 31, 2005

The Three Steps to De-Stress During PhD Studies

I've been horrible about posting lately. I'm so swamped with the grant, studying, working out, and everything else in my life that the last thing I feel like doing is sitting BACK down at my computer (after a day at work in front of a computer) and writing more. I asked a very wise PhD student friend of mine how she handles stress. Her three keys to success are my new mantra:
  1. Be aware of the dates that end the current stress, and take comfort in knowing that each hour and each day that passes, you are one step closer to relaxing.
  2. Realize that you are lucky to be doing what you are doing, and that you are blessed to be in the healthy and happy circumstance to be earning your PhD and becoming a doctor.
  3. Don't look at it all as work. Just do it, knowing that it must be done, don't dread it, just work through it slowly, methodically, understanding that this is your life right now, and these tasks must be taken care of. Soon enough, other events will take their place, and you will be smiling and at peace.

Francine, I hope you don't mind me posting your advice. I just thought it was beautiful & so helpful.

Two posts in one night! (pats self on back) I will return following my neuroscience final on Monday. (Maybe I'll pop in once or twice before then!)

To Hoot or Not to Hoot...

Hubby just called from Tampa, where he's doing a patrol for this weekend's Gasparilla. Last year he got his first arrest, so this annual trip is a little exciting for him. He went with Cheater, Crystal's ex-boyfriend scum ball. I can't stand that guy, for many reasons (mainly being that he enjoys cheating on women, specifically my best friend). So for some reason, I was feeling a little... apprehensive about this weekend trip. Visions of philandering men on business trips filled my mind. Not that I don't completely trust Hubby. I do. But I also have an overactive imagination and a certain sense of paranoia. He has been great about calling me & text messaging (he never emails or anything technological so his texting is pretty impressive & meaningful) me to let me know he's thinking of me. He just called after his lunch break.

H: You would be so proud of me, baby.
Me: Why? Did you eat all your vegetables?
H: Yes. But here's the thing: all the guys wanted to go to Hooters for lunch and I told them I didn't want to go.
Me: Really? Why not? [laughing a little at how adorable he is]
H: I just didn't feel like it was the right thing to do, and I didn't want to. I told them I don't go there anymore now that I'm married.
Me: Now that you're married? I didn't realize you usually went there, anyway.
H: Nah, not really. But I'm also the only guy here who goes to church, so kind of wanted to be a good example.
Me: That's a good idea.
H: They all gave me a hard time, so I said I'd just walk across the street to Wendy's while they ate at Hooters.
Me: Did you?
H: They all came with me.

He was so proud of himself. It was so cute, and so sweet & considerate that he'd think about a decision like that. The funny thing is, I really wouldn't have been angry at him for going (although I definitely wouldn't have as much respect for him as this phone call elicited). I just texted his phone saying "Thanks for being such a wonderful husband, I am proud to have you," and he responded, "thank u baby i miss u so much be careful bye."

He's going to be such an amazing father. He's already an amazing husband.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

I love lists

Things I did Sat.:
  • Slept in until 10:30 and meowing cats woke me up
  • Puttered around my house in my pajamas all day. Went outside at noon & scared neighbors w/ my bed-head and glasses.
  • Finally put in contacts & put baseball cap and workout clothes on around 2:00
  • TJ Maxx shopping for two hours. I love TJM.
  • Church w/ Amy, where we ended up writing notes about how tired & stressed we are from school.
  • Amy's house for bellpeppers w/ cheese (our fav. snack) then...
  • Catholic Schoolgirl & Priest party that cops busted up. No, neither C nor I dressed up. Yes, we left after an hour to go see...
  • The Aviator. Loved it- Leonardo DiCaprio did a fabulous job.


Things I did not do Sat. OR Sun., but should have:

  • Gym (but I played soccer for 90 minutes straight, that counts)
  • Library
  • Go into work to finish stuff I left due to leaving at 3:00 Friday
  • Walk poor neglected Murphy who whines at the door everytime I come home. I did give him 3 treats yesterday, though.
  • Eat a rounded, healthy dinner. Instead, I had meringues, baked Doritos, tofu, and bellpeppers & cheese.

Things I did Sun:

  • Slept until 10:30 again. Had dream about running from scary people & hiding in tunnel with little hispanic girl.
  • Played one soccer game in 35 degree freezing ass cold weather.
  • Contracted severe hypothermia and limb stiffness (See above)
  • Cleaned kitchen
  • Mall with Crystal to help her buy a suit for future interviews
  • Pedicures as a reward for us working out 4X a week since January. Yeah!
  • Boston Market then my house for American Dreams & Committed.

Overall, it was a lovely, relaxing weekend- just what I needed! It left me with a renewed sense of purpose & drive for studying hard core before my neuro final Feb. 7th.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Just like chicken...

It was very heavy and felt just like a brain should. All the little bumps (they are called gyri) and crevices (they are called sulci) were so perfect and defined. There's a name for each section, subsection, and brainstem bump. Hundreds and hundreds of names. Brains aren't the gray, gooey slime balls depicted on TV. They are firm and specific, a tight ball of beige-colored tissue. The protective coverings cling to the brain despite efforts to peel them away. The outermost covering, the dura, looks exactly like the pig ears I feed Murphy.

My brain was sliced around the middle in a perfect circle where the coroner had slipped while sawing the skull.

I can understand why stroke victims have such specific symptoms. Two areas on the left of the brain, Wernicke's area and Broca's area, are used for speech comprehension and speech articulation, respectively. That's why if someone has a stroke in that general part of their brain, they have slurred speech or trouble understanding people.

The human spinal cord was so small and delicate. With all the bones and protective dura removed, it was merely a long, flat piece of tissue, about as big around as my ring finger. The cervical sections (of the neck) were so short, I questioned if I had a child's spinal cord, but my prof. told me it looked like a normal female, about my size. Wow. At the very end of the cord is the cauda equina (latin for horses tail), where the cerebrospinal fluid ends (around Lumbar Vertebrae 2) and the nerves begin. This is what looked like chicken to me. The pulled chicken one might add to a flavorful, richly seasoned pot of chicken gumbo. The nerves were a big jumble, large and twisted and the beige color of boiled chicken.

I was captivated for the entire two hours, lifting and poking and identifying the structures I'd memorized from my textbook. Finding the 12 cranial nerves was almost impossible, as the delicate nerves had been lost in the transition from body to jar of formaldehyde. In addition to my entire brain (which weighed about 8 pounds, and apparently was abnormally large), I had a half a brain (this way I could identify the ventricles, corpus collosum, thalamus, etc.), an intact brainstem, a severed brainstem, and a bucket of preserved cross-sections of brain. My bucket of preserved cross sections was very old, and had the beginnings of mold around the corners of some of the pieces.

A few times during my dissection, I thought about the huge brain and tiny brainsections. The sections were small and probably belonged to a child or very old, small woman. I wondered about the thoughts and emotions that once flew through these neurons and synapses. Identifying the primary sensory cortex made me wonder if the woman had felt intense pleasure many times in her life. I hoped so. As morbid as it sounds, it enforced my belief in organ donation. All 20 of us students in that room left with a renewed appreciation and enhanced knowledge of the central nervous system and brain. I'll never forget the feeling of the 4 bumps on the back of the brainstem, the superior and inferior colliculous, that make you turn your head when you see a bright light or loud sound, respectively. I'll always remember how the optic nerve twists and turns throughout the inside of the brain, traveling to signal and process the sights we see. Or how females have a larger corpus collosum, which is a reason we integrate so many of our logical decisions with emotions. I learned many homosexual men have larger corpus collosums. That explains a lot. I wonder if it's used in fashion sense too?


**Francine, correct me if I'm wrong about any of these terms or anything!! :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

the rest of the weekend...

Saturday morning got off to a rusty start when Fritz hit "snooze" on the alarm (so he thought) but accidentally turned it off. As a result, we woke up at 8:30. Breakfast started at 8:00. We ran around frantically getting ready, which. I. hate. doing. I snapped at him for turning off the alarm, he told me to just calm down, I got irritated, and so on. We made up in the car after deciding we shouldn't go into our Christian conference pissed at one another. Once again, the group of 30 had waited on us to start (which made me feel even worse after the same thing happened when we were late Friday night). We started off with a devotional and speech given by this old man veterinarian from several towns away. He was just adorable and got teary eyed a few times during his speech as he talked about his wife and getting saved when he was 42. Then we separated into groups and went to different rooms for talks like "Thriving in the Professional Marriage," "Long Term Missions: Bolivia," and "Women in Vet Med: Issues & Tribulations." At the last one, all they talked about was having babies and families. It was honestly a little surprising to see the room full of beautiful, intelligent women struggling to make it through vet school but only concerned about when they could have children. Some of the topics weren't applicable to me (being a large animal vet while pregnant, etc.) since I'm going into the science/research field, but most women/career talks definitely hit home. It made me feel a little better for all the baby thoughts that have been flooding my mind this past year. They come and go, but I'm determined to finish school first. Otherwise, I don't think I would. Plus I'm terrified of becoming pregnant before I get into better shape- I am scared to become a huge person! Silly, I know.

After getting home around 11:00 Saturday night, we fell into bed. Sunday morning we woke up early to work on our tiling projects- the foyer and guest bathroom. We put in this gorgeous tan/marbled tile in the guest bath and are going to tile halfway up each wall. Doing the wall turned out to be more difficult than we thought so we put it off. My parents came up to look at the house next door (on the other side of us than Dan & Marg). They may buy it for my brother, who's applying to law school here. Then we all went to Atlanta Bread Company for soups & salads. I really enjoyed spending time with my family, it seems I've been too busy to recently.

Sunday night, we had our favorite people over for dinner & Scene It. I love our close friends, each for their own reasons. Dan & Marg, our neighbors, have become two of our closest friends. They are both so pleasant to be around, very excited about life and madly in love with each other. They rarely come over empty-handed, and can break any uncomfortable silence in a crowd easily. Amy & Tom, whom I've mentioned a lot, are another couple we hang out with a lot. Amy is a strong Christian girl, a DVM student, and marathon runner. She's happy and easy going and very low key. Her husband and Fritz get along great. We're going on the mission trip with them. Last but not least is Crystal and Devin. Crystal's my (psychic) best friend for 10+ years and like my other half. She literally completes many of my parties and events- she'll usually be my master planner and consultant from everything from tablecloths/tealights to the perfect menu. Devin is her new guy :) who plays on our soccer team and is Fritz's hunting buddy.

It was a fun, happy evening filled with a lot of wine, good food, and laughter. I spent Monday picking up around my house, doing laundry, walking Murphy for a long time, then spending four straight hours in the library with C. I got a good amount of work done, but not as much as I had hoped. I ate a ton of peanut butter M & Ms at the library then went to a hard-core workout class where I wanted to die and puke up all the M & Ms. The instructor walked around the floor and screamed in our faces if we weren't kicking our knees high enough or squatting low enough. Ugh.

Today: work, gym, statistics class, seminar, study for Neuro quiz tomorrow. Sob.

Monday, January 17, 2005

getting out there

It's been a whirlwind weekend. Friday night started off with a potluck Italian dinner welcoming the other vet students from around the Southeast. I made two huge pans of vegetarian ziti (pureed broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, onion and peppers in my awesome food processer) and two huge loaves of garlic bread. It all turned out really well. We ate & all talked, then listened to the guest speaker and watched a slideshow of the past mission trips some of these groups have been on.

It was incredible. The people there have traveled to Ethiopia, Tanzinia, Nigeria, South Africa, Bolivia, Honduras, Haiti, Costa Rica, the Amazon, all over the world, just donating their services to these third world countries, vaccinating their animals and making sure they have safe food to eat. They neuter the feral cats, test the cows for tuberculosis (they don't test in these places, which is a reason why quality of life is so low), build shelters and clinics and do ministry. Some of the pictures brought tears to my eyes. It makes me feel silly & little for the things we obsess about in America, when we have it so easy. I'm tired of the petty conversations and hours I spend going around and around the same things when I really could be making a more solid contribution to this world. Unfortunately, I'm stuck here in college-town-craphole a few more years while I finish this PhD. Sigh.

The date is set for Honduras: May 22-June 5th. Some days for travel are included in there. I'm a little scared of the rural areas and primitive conditions, but I'm absolutely delighted to be getting out there. It's also giving me great motivation to work out: I want to be in pristine condition for trekking around these mountainous towns with no AC anywhere. This will be good for me, as I have a tendency to be a prissy girl sometimes. It will be a rewarding experience, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Sore!

Yesterday, I woke up in the morning in a wonderful mood. I've lost 2 pounds! Real pounds, not just water weight, I feel so much healthier already. The 3 hour nap I took on Wednesday in lieu of work/homework/gym did wonders.

Accomplished:
  1. Neuroscience journal presentation at 9
  2. Did statistics homework due at 1:50
  3. 2 hour stats class
  4. "It's all balls" workout class (combo of stability & medicine balls, weights, etc.)
  5. Missions trip meeting at 6:00
  6. Make ziti for Real life/ Real Impact CVF conference tonight.
  7. Discuss meaningful relationships and love with C
  8. bed!

On the agenda today:

  1. 2 hour neuro class (*sigh* every day...)
  2. Submit purchase orders for our rat bills & laundry at work
  3. Cardio sculpt at 2:15 (although I'm SO sore from yesterday, may take the day off, but I'm taking whole weekend off for this conference... hmm... debates)
  4. Stop by Chriss's lab after class to say hi!
  5. Go home early to make garlic bread, then get to University Church early to help set up.
  6. Mail car payment.
  7. Work on grant background
  8. Do neuro homework for 1 hour today.


Yestereday flew by... hopefully today will, too. Gotta remember my Healthy Choice (50% off at Publix- I stocked up on them for $1.29 apiece!!) for lunch & red bull for class!! :)


Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Yesterday's synopsis

I woke up early and remembered my class was canceled today (*cue magnificent church choir singing Hallelujah!) and forced myself to lay down and cuddle with husband for awhile. He was so warm & snuggly and smelled so good... and I had just put clean sheets on the bed... *sigh*

Then we ran to Sports Authority where I found adorable gray/pink shoes in the girls section. They fit perfectly and were only $50, compared to the women's $100 non-pink versions. Besides one blister, they made me really happy all day. Then I went to my Neuro meeting at the Brain institute and discussed genetics presentation for Thursday (yawn). Ran to my office to complete boss's travel forms and gulp down rice & beans for lunch before my statistics class.

And I am pleasantly shocked at myself for working out yet again this afternoon. 30 minutes of step (NO MORE THIS WEEK) and 30 of sculpting. By the end, Crystal and I were both tired and silly and not trying much, but I rationalized that at least we were putting in effort & burning calories.

Fritz made a lovely comment this morning as I woke him up. I was wearing favorite silky bright blue nightie and we were laughing at something, and he looked at me seriously and said, "Wow, I can really tell you are seriously toning up. You look hot!" YEAH!! It is amazing the effect just 2 weeks of intense working out can have on your body & your self image.

This evening has flown by. We made shrimp stir fry for dinner, neighbors stopped by to take some vanilla pudding & fresh strawberries I made, watched Lost, then wrote horrible 3 page synopsis. Decided to update blog before I join Fritz in bed. I'm wondering... with all this crap I am constantly doing, when did I have time to study for Neuro quiz tomorrow? A girl just simply can't work for 16 hours out of the day. All work & no play makes me a dull girl... and a stressed out and psycho one.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

late night ramblings

It's 12:59 am and I'm still wide awake. I just finished folding the 6 loads of laundry I did over the weekend- sheets, towels, workout clothes, all the lonely socks who have lost their partners. How do I manage to lose socks in the journey from my feet to the dryer? It's the Borrowers. I read that book when I was younger and loved the idea of little people taking the things I misplaced.

I've spent this weekend scrubbing, cleaning, chloroxing, washing, organizing, trying to get my life back in order. I'm realizing how much I overextend myself. I have so many wonderful friends that I try to fit in my schedule. Add that to a full time job, PhD work, more homework than I have time to do, helping to write a huge grant by February 1st, being a wife, and trying to exercise 4 times a week? No wonder I have no personal time anymore.

I'm learning to say "no" when I don't have time for something or just simply don't want to. Too often I'll say "sure" when inside, I'm cringing and wishing I hadn't. Sure I'll come to dinner! Sure I'll hang out with you tonight when I should be writing my grant. Sure you can come over, and everyone else can too, and I will cook FOR ALL OF YOU PEOPLE when what I really, really need is a few evenings of uninterrupted alone time with my husband. Looking back over the past few weeks, there are very few nights he's off that we don't have someone over or we aren't going somewhere.

miss the carefree, silly days of my undergrad, when I'd sleep in late, skip classes, shop during the day, go out dancing till early the next morning, then repeat. Life has changed so much for me and I don't identify with that girl anymore. That life seems so... shallow and insignificant when I look back on it. What was I living for? Where was the "meat" of my life? My husband, my research, my education, my faith, family, friends, my house & animals... they all mean so much to me. As much as I complain about my "grown-up" obligations, they are more than worth it. I wouldn't trade any of this for all the free time in the world. Without Fritz to come home to at night and curl up with, all of that silly stuff would mean absolutely nothing. As stressed as I am now, I've never been happier and more aware of my existence.

On a completely unrelated note, Murphy has thrown up 3X tonight and is looking miserable. He keeps laying at my feet giving me these sad, pathetic puppy dog eyes. I gave him a rawhide earlier and it must not have agreed with him, poor pup!

Saturday, January 08, 2005

My half-ass attempt...

at exercising today wasn't as successful as I originally planned. Since silly freshman girls filled up my Cardio Kickboxing class (they're the ones who unfailingly quit ~3 weeks into the semester, filling up spaces for late-inclined graduate students such as myself), I decided to go running. With my new Dell Mini DJ and Murphy the Wild Dog. I switched on my specialized workout playlist (starting with my classic favorite, Daniel Bettingfield's Gotta Get Through This), wrapped the leash around my hand and opened the door.

*ZOOM*

goes my dog, who is attached to my hand. I stumbled out my front door and earphones flew out of my ears, swinging around my body as I struggled to stay upright and keep my dog from charging down the street after nasty stray cat who poops in my yard daily. This was the cycle of our 1 mile run: me run, him pee on various lawns and mailboxes while I try to tug him away, earphones constantly fell out of my ears (they SUCK!) and I nearly strained my back & sustained massive callousing to hands from leash.

When I got back to my house, there were 3 teenage boys playing football in my yard & neighbors yard. I pretended like Murphy was an attack dog when he tried to jump on them (hopefully they didn't notice his tail wagging in sheer delight at the sight of a ball being thrown in his yard). I yelled, "No, Dog, No!" in a really mean voice then apologetically said, "I'm sorry, you might want to back up, he's bitten before. He doesn't really like men." Smiled & let myself into my house.

Hey, I live 2 blocks from the ghetto area. The cars on my block were spray painted with phallic symbols 2 Halloween's ago (found this out AFTER we closed on our home.) One can't be too careful.

Not sweaty enough, I raked our yard (Fritz was pleasantly shocked) and ran back and forth through my house with laundry and piles that belonged in other rooms. That counts as exercise, right? 1 mile + 30 minutes yard raking + running in house + kickboxing kicks + squats while on phone with great grandmother (who reminded me that soccer is good for helping me "to keep the weight off," Thanks GG).

Spanglish & Congratulations

Went to see Spanglish with Katie last night. I enjoyed the movie more than I originally anticipated. Adam Sandler is the big name actor(along with Tea Leoni, who plays his wife), but the stage was stolen by Paz Vega, the gorgeous Mexican maid. She was beautiful & captivating and I enjoyed just watching her the entire move. The Mexican women all wore the cutest clothes & skirts, another reason I loved the movie. I am easily pleased (obviously).

I took Chriss out to lunch for her birthday at Panera and enjoyed the time with her. Then went to the gym, but Cardio Kickboxing was full (bummer!) so decided to go shopping at Michael's and Target. My adorable madly-in-love neighbors are on a picnic right now, and he's proposing to her! So I made an equally adorable Congratulations-on-your-engagement gift basket to leave on their doorstep.

So very Martha Stewart of me! At Target, I bought new workout pants, a ton of cleaning/chlorox stuff (I love to chlorox things), $1.00 earrings, new sponges, a rubbermaid container for leftover wrapping paper, kitty litter, candles, and 2 new water bottles. See how absolutely random I am? I went in with the goal of buying chlorox spray for my kitchen and spent $75.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

The 1st day of the rest of 2005...

I wrote this on Jan. 1st but forgot to post it :)

Went on long bike ride in surrounding neighborhoods with my little sister, Jodi, today. I was sweating by the end, since January in Florida = 80 degree weather. It was good exercise after New Year's excessive eatings. I've been going through gym withdrawal, since our gym is closed until January 3rd. While up north, I actually had a dream about going to the gym and doing squats, lunges, pushups. I was so happy and felt wonderful. There's something to be said about pushing your body into prime shape and challenging yourself. Not like my eating habits/ lack of exercise this holiday season shows for it. Just jumping on the bandwagon and joining the crowds who swear to go to the gym more as my New Years resolution! Crystal is a great workout partner, which holds each of us accountable if we don't feel like going. The only problem is finding convenient times we can both go. Damn full time job. Damn PhD work.

My cousin Paula was visiting from the Keys last night, and asked where we'll travel this year. I sent out a picture newsletter with all the places we visited last year- Hawaii, San Diego, New York, beaches in Florida, camping. Strangely, I don't feel like we're huge do-ers, but looking over our past few years Fritz & I have been together, we've been so busy. We've gone fishing in the Keys, camping on the beach, camping in the mountains, all around NY, DE, Philadelphia, Memphis, San Diego, Seattle, etc. This year we're going on a mission trip to Honduras (currently in the middle of horrible fundraising for trip, which is $1300, UGH!) and HOPEFULLY my boss is sending me to a conference in Holland this August. I'm keeping my fingers crossed- it has been my dream to go to Europe, and a freetrip? Can't beat that!

That's one of the major benefits of a career in science (besides the laid-back atmosphere, flexible hours, and potential for Nobel Prizes)- the compensated and numerous travel opportunities. My boss has given seminars in Belgium, London, Paris, spent an entire summer doing his sebatical in Australia, etc. He's been all over and says he's tired of traveling. Luckily Fritz is so supportive of my love of traveling, and wants me to go even if he can't go along. I'm lucky to have a husband who stands behind me and encourages me to succeed. I told him once I finish my doctorate, he has to call me Dr.Wife. He laughs and happily agrees.

My little sister is the perfect little sis- she's freaking drop dead gorgeous, smart as hell, and has a wonderful, kind personality. The rest of the day was spent helping Jodi with her science fair project, which is one bad ass science fair project. She tested the effectiveness of different hand soaps on bacteria growth in petri dishes. We made a recessed box complete with a stainless steel sink (aka dog bowl) and stainless steel knobs ($5 from Home Depot), and painted the background bright green with pink polka dots. She told me she was aiming for a Shabby Chic look... how awesome is that 14 year old? She totally rocks.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Happy New Years!

In honor of the new year & self-improvement, I'm listing my personal resolutions & goals for the coming year:
  1. Every night after dinner, do my dishes immediately. This will keep my kitchen from piling up and becoming disgusting as it tends to do, which stresses me out even more.
  2. Organize notes for EACH class in SEPARATE folders. Review notes each day after class.
  3. Don't wait until week of final to freak out and frantically cram.
  4. Work on research study.
  5. Publish 2 manuscripts by this summer.
  6. Eat well every day. Vegetables & loads of colorful, healthy food. Cut down on: sugar & coffee.
  7. Exercise at least 3 times a week, not including Sunday soccer games.
  8. Prepare for qualifying exams, gag.
  9. Spend quality time with husband, and travel often with him. We live so close to the beach... why aren't we there more often?
  10. Be as good of a friend as my friends are to me... listen carefully and love them.
  11. Go to church more often. Mission trip in August. Enrich my faith in my life.
  12. Spend quality time with my little sister- she's growing up so fast!
  13. Call great grandmother more often & ignore her passive aggressive rude comments.
  14. Drink loads & loads of water.

Friday, December 31, 2004

See ya next year!

Happy New Years! Going down to my mom's to bring in the new year with the family. Pictures will follow.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Got a wonderful, blissful, uninterrupted 12 hours of sleep last night. Pure bliss. I didn't even flinch when Fritz left for work at 6:30 this morning.Feeling refreshed & energized, I've been cleaning my house like a mad woman. Here's my to-do list for the day:
  1. Clean out spilled roast beef juice that's jellied on bottom of fridge.
  2. Clean out entire refrigerator, throw out old/unhealthy foods and chlorox it all.
  3. Vacuum kitchen and living room.
  4. Organize cabinets in kitchen.
  5. Put away clothes from trip.
  6. Wash all rugs in house.
  7. Vacuum rest of house.
  8. Wash guest room sheets.
  9. Start healthy eating plan. No more coffee, only green tea.
  10. Pay bills.
  11. Write about NYC and rest of trip in blog.
  12. Clean bathroom from top to bottom.
  13. Clean up nasty kitty litter mess cats have tracked all over house.
  14. Take down Christmas tree & pack up decorations.
  15. Laundry, laundry, laundry.
  16. File old bills piled in office.
  17. Paint toenails & give self manicure after chlorox party.
  18. Call dad & stepmom to thank again for Dell mini jukebox.
  19. Clean piles accumulating all over house.


My next post will be about how I ♥ NYC. That will come soon, I promise. :)


The Miller Family in Delaware!

During family photo time (a little blurry, sorry!)

Christmas morning at the in-laws (all this stuff!!) My mother in law was delighted that she had a baby to buy for, so half this stuff was for my nephew, Wyatt. The poor kid (14 months old) fell asleep in the middle of opening all his presents so didn't even get to them till later that afternoon! So cute!

end of the night, it was FREEZING!!

Waiting for the ferry into NYC

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas! I won't be posting this next week because we'll be in Delaware with Fritz's family, but just wanted to stop by and wish everyone a happy, happy holiday!

Love, Sarah

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

salon hair, turkey fryers, and peeking butt cracks

I love, love, love going to the salon for a haircut. Head & neck massage, strong hands scrubbing my head clean, and perfectly straight, blown out hair. A sweet-smelling head of straight hair will make my entire next two days just a little better. Somehow I can never get my hair to look the same as my hairdresser.

So it was with an uplifted attitude and lovely hair that I headed down to my hometown last night for the ceremony of receiving The Turkey Fryer, i.e. Christmas gift exchange. I have to say, Fritz was SO excited about this turkey fryer. I honestly wonder how often we'll actually use it. But he was turning it up and down, reading the "extras," exclaiming how "we could not only use it for turkeys, but for clams! and potatoes! and other things!" My parents were so happy with his excitement, and he was so happy, so I couldn't help but feel happy for the all the happiness. Plus we were watching the Grinch, and I learned What Christmas Is Really About. I am probably the Biggest Sucker in the world for Christmas movies. I even got teary eyed at Jim Carey's heart growing three sizes that day. Or maybe my happiness was the fact that my mom gave me not one, not two, but three boxes of new thong underwear. I have a really weird fetish for underwear. I love it! And I don't wear fullbacks. It did feel a little weird to keep opening like 20 pairs of underwear with my old dad sitting right there. My mom and sister kept giggling. Fritz was blushing.

We woke up this morning & my mom made us eggs, bacon and toast for breakfast. I think last year at Christmas was the last time I've eaten a real breakfast like that. (note: only ate 1 egg, 1 piece of bacon, and 1 piece of wheat toast, v. good on diet).

Went to Olive Garden with mom & little sister for soup & salad for lunch. While sitting at the table, this round, sweet looking elderly woman walks over and puts her arms around me. I wondered if I should know her from somewhere.

Me: "Hi!?"

Her: "Hi, honey. You don't know me, but I just wanted to come over and tell you something. Your low-rise jeans are slipping down, and we can all see your [[stage whisper]] crack!"

Oops! Thank God for my new, pink-striped cute underwear from V.S. This is one time I do wish I wore fullbacks, because the table of little old ladies behind us got quite the giggles out of my butt crack at lunch today. Not to mention my mom and little sister, who insisted on telling the story to everyone at my dad's veterinary clinic when we came back from lunch. Thanks, guys. And thank you, little old lady & Victoria's Secret.

Monday, December 20, 2004

fry me up

Told my mom I wanted a pink mini Ipod for Christmas.

She replied, "Oh, The Ipod. Your brother wanted The Ipod, so we used all our Best Buy certificates and got him one for Christmas."

Me: "A normal or mini? What color?"

Her: "I didn't know there were options! I just brought in my shopping list, pointed to The Ipod, and said I wanted one."

Me: "You're SO out of it, Mom! I want one, too."

Her: "No, we already got you & Fritz your present. We got you a turkey fryer!"

Me: "A turkey fryer??!? Why? Ben got an IPOD!"

Her: "Now that you're married, you need things like turkey fryers."

Had to laugh at my mom's reasoning... she's a cute lady.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

gotta have faith

Amy woke me up at 9:00 this morning, asking if I wanted her to pick me up for church. Since I was still tangled up in my one sheet (meant to remake my bed with clean sheets last night, but got lazy and wrapped myself in one clean sheet & down comforter), wearing pjs and makeup smeared all over, told her I'd meet her there. Was 25 minutes late for church, so I missed the singing. Singing is my favorite part. It's the one way I really seem to get into the service and really feel like I'm worshipping. I wore my new filmy long sleeved shirt from Forever XXI with new corduroy blazer over it. Cute!

There was a couple sitting in front of us seriously snuggling. The guy was big and muscular, blond, very attractive. The girl was also blond and gorgeous, and teeny tiny. He didn't take his arm from around her and periodically kissed her forehead and cheek. GAG. H is working and we aren't so lovey-dovey now that we've been together so long. Felt jealous, and hated them, then felt guilty, because that's not a very church like attitude now, is it?

Was talking with boss last week about religious beliefs and faith, comparing opinions held by non-religious friends to psycho-religious friends. I definitely fall in the middle. I don't believe in the strict boundaries and white/black definitions many religions teach.

I remember talking to a pastor-woman once, when Fritz & I had just gotten engaged and were having serious, many-hour long debates about our different religious beliefs. (He was raised in a v. fundamental family. My family is very openminded and fun-loving). Anyway, this pastor woman told me there were some people who viewed life with gray areas, some strictly black and white. Obviously, I'm a gray person.

My boss is an incredibly gifted genius. When I say genius, I mean a bona-fide scientist and inventor, with patents and papers and textbook chapters and millions of dollars of funding in his life. He's tenured at the University. I respect him and his opinions more than almost anyone else in my life. I met him when I was 12 years old, sick and in pediatric intensive care. I participated in research studies in his lab, as a patient, and he said, "When you grow up and come to college, come see me if you want a job." So as a college sophomore, I went back to his lab and said, "remember me?" It's been almost 4 years now and I'm the lab manager and run his lab. It's funny how things work.

"There's a major difference between religion and faith," he told me, "and religion is where the problems often begin. The key is to have the faith, then you can decide for yourself what your religious boundaries are."

This is something I've felt strongly about my entire life. I was raised Southern Baptist, and endured Sunday mornings of hellfire and damnation and was terrified of tarnishing my soul and being punished for eternity. At my private, Christian school, I got detentions for talking back to my teachers, wearing my skirts too short, and kissing boys in the hallway. My teachers conferenced with my parents, "concerned" with my excessive "spirit." Luckily my mom was like "screw all of you narrow minded idiots" and plucked me out of there & put me in public school for high school. Or maybe that was because public school is free.

It's been a journey since then, a process of discovering and rediscovering my own beliefs, outside of what I've been told to believe. Since then I have developed my own opinions, my own interpretation of the Bible and scriptures, and strengthened my personal relationship with God. And I've never felt more fulfilled, more emotionally secure and at peace with myself.

I told Amy this morning, "I know it sounds so cheesy and silly, but church and prayer/meditation are like food for my spirit... they are the only things that quench this weird internal hunger I feel." She replied, "nourishment for the soul!" and giggled like she always does.

I've left my house before and forgotten to put on my wedding ring, or forgot my purse, and all day I just feel this void, like something is missing. The lack of sensation of something I've forgotten. That's how I feel on the days or weeks I don't pray, the times I forget about my spiritual health and self.

Like everything else in life, it's a personal journey of self discovery. I've been seriously criticized for my liberal attitude towards my faith & my beliefs, but I strongly believe it's an intensely personal decision that everyone must come to in their own time, in their own way. Who are we to say someone else's beliefs are wrong?

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Sign on the dotted line, please

After I got home from Christmas party last night, I was thinking of my current/past friendships. Some failed, some have flourished, and was thinking why.Before becoming friends with me, I should make all FF (future friends) sign a disclosure & notification form, like the following.

********************************************************************************
Fascinating Future Friendship Form
Please read carefully and sign at the bottom

I understand that being friends with Sarah will put me at risk for:
  • bodily harm in the form of over-eating
  • constantly getting lost and driving around Orlando for an hour and a half during simple shopping spree
  • bankruptcy after said shopping spree
  • ear-aches as a result of listening to her chatter about any of the following options: school, work, husband, family, friends, shopping, entertainment industry, food, blogging, and major pet peeves.
  • arrest when she loses her temper and yells at the policeman grabbing her rear
  • learning to be patient and understand (and fully embrace) her tendency to be a little late and neglecting to make specific, set-in-stone plans. Flexibility is key.
  • countless and never-ending stories about C. It's been 11 years of friendship, people. You're just going to have to listen. Jealousy should not be one of your characteristics.
  • Psycho paranoia, especially during certain times of the month, when sensescrazy-woman tendencies are heightened.
  • Questions may be re-asked and also may be more personal than you ever imagined. Will also probably often be sex-related.


Also, I understand to never, ever, ever*:
1. flirt with her husband
2. tell her she's looking very fat lately
3. tell her she really shouldn't be eating that cookie, ice cream cone, entire tray of rice-crispies
4. take out my bad mood on her
5. say catty, bitchy passive aggressive comments
6. steal her clothing, books, cd's, husband, kittens, or underwear
7. talk badly about her behind her back
*numbers 1, 5, 6, and 7 qualify for immediate dismissal

Further requirements of friendship are:

1. hugs
2. frequent phone calls, emails and chats
3. laughing (together at stupid, senseless things, or at her hilarious humorous jokes, or at her when she behaves badly)
4. loyalty
5. sharing all interesting gossip with her immediately


In return, she will be one of the most loyal, devoted, fun and exciting friends you've ever had. You can enjoy full access to her closet, bookshelves, refrigerator & pantry, family's lakehouse and horses, loveable purring cats, tail-wagging Stinker Dog, and all snacks she carries in her purse. She will never steal your husband/boyfriend or flirt unnecessarily with him. She may be late for plans, but will apologize profusely. You will be set up with all available men if you are single, and double dates will further ensue. Tips on makeup, dieting, weight loss, fashion, decorating, cooking, and gardening will be shared. Good times will be had by all, and comfort will be offered in bad times.


***********************************************************************************


Friday, December 17, 2004

Fabulous Friday

Going shopping in Orlando with Crystal today... stocking up on presents for everyone else goodies for me at Forever XXI. For that reason, I am thankful I have all my Christmas shopping done. Am not thankful for my incredibly sore rear end due to 75 squats and 50 high kicks I did yesterday.

Fritz and I have developed a new fitness regimen for myself. It involves me jumping around like a maniac, guard up, kicking at his face and nether regions. And giggling hysterically. He stands there and occasionally, very casual-like and slowly, sticks one hand out to block me. It's very Superhero-Power like of him. That's how incredibly bad I am. Then, after I'm panting for breath and all sweaty, he'll do one of his crazy wrestling moves and pin me on the ground in 1 second flat. I tell him this is good practice for me in case I ever get mugged one day. He seems to think this is all hilarious.
The best parts of my day today:

  1. Wonderful, best gal pal company to giggle with for entire 2 hour drive.
  2. $3 accessories at ForeverXXI
  3. LUNCH AT CHEESECAKE FACTORY, mmmmmm.
  4. Day off work!
  5. Only 3 more days of work until my 1.5 week break, YAY!!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Where for art thou Romeo? say the little men.

"Miss Ghetto Fabulous," my husband said, laughing, as he kissed megoodbye and I bundled all my lunch, paperwork, and Christmas cardmaterials in my arms and climbed out of his car. He was teasing me forreplaying "One Step, Two Step" and pretending Missy Elliot's solo was myown this morning. This was not a private performance, either. Ryan was riding along and had the pleasure of my unique rapping skills. Ieven threw in a little shaking/dancing/bouncing routine for addedeffect. Not bad for an early, slightly hungover morning.

Bad Things Today:
  1. Headache
  2. Made stupid account balancing mistake and have to redo all last week's paperwork. Grrr.
  3. I completely forgot all feminine protection today. CRAP.

Good Things Today:

  1. Wearing bright red workout pants today... so of all the days to forget f.p., today is a good one.
  2. Whole box of Mini Gingerbread men sitting in front of me. I've already made them swim a deadly death into my mouth, do a dance to Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer, plane crash into my mouth, and Romeo & Juliet balcony scene off my desktop. Here's to you, little men.
  3. Obvious from #2, none of my coworkers are here. All 3 labs, to myself. Peace & Quiet.
  4. Fritz is Christmas shopping for me today, Yippee!!
  5. Leftover couscous for lunch, mmm.
  6. Kickboxing class at 3pm. Buff booty, here I come!

company

Had Tom and the neighbors, Dan & Margaret over for dinner last night. We originally planned on 8, so after Fritz & Murphy picked me up from work, we let Murphy outside (into the cold, mean dog owners we are) and snuggled up in our warm bed. Ended up falling asleep till 7:30, then frantically running around picking up. I actually love doing this- having company forces us to do massive house cleaning that I probably wouldn't be motivated to do otherwise. Luckily I had most of the food pre-prepared.

We had salmon marinated in Tequila Lime, a huge salad of fresh greens, tomatos, crisp green beans, and bartlett pears, couscous with fresh tomato/onion/cilantro (Margaret made that), fresh asparagus, and eggplant (my mom grew it in her garden! I sauteed it with a little flour and Italian dressing).

During this time, we generously poured the wine. Dan & Margaret are huge wine afficianados. They brought 1.5 bottles, which we went through, and then finished another bottle in my fridge. ~woozy~ Fritz teased me because I got so silly and was blowing in his ear, pinching his nipple, giggling at every little thing in the movie. We watched SpiderMan 2, which wasn't as awful as I anticipated. I didn't really like the first one. I don't like Kirsten Dunst, and Toby Maguire's character is such a pu$$y and SO ANNOYING!! AGH! I was like, c'mon dude, just Tell Her you're spiderman, that's why you stood her up for the 100th time. It also really irritated me that unless he had his spidey suit on, he dropped everything and was a total klutz.

We exchanged gifts after the movie. They gave us a wonderful bottle of Moet White Star, a top of the line champagne, for us to celebrate New Years on our own, since Fritz has to work. Margaret said, "Enjoy this during an alone night, because I know you guys have to spend so much time apart." She is so sweet. We got them this funky, hand painted wooden chicken for their kitchen. She *loves* chickens but Dan never lets her buy anything chicken related. So they were very giggly and happy about that.

We made Amy a plate since she's studying like a maniac for the last of her 2 finals. Sometimes I'm so happy I didn't go to med/vet school. They have absolutely nothing else to do besides study, there's no other choice. It stresses me out sometimes just talking to them about it!

In summary, a lovely evening. I'm really enjoying this cold weather and looking forward to traveling up north for Christmas!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Don't Walk Around with All Your Goodies Hanging Out

I sat with my Uncle Charlie and drank my second glass of Reisling. He was wearing lime green polyester pants and a matching, coordinated top, with his obligatory FSU windbreaker keeping him warm. He looked so old, his eyes rimmed with red. I remembered when I last visited him in Tallahassee, with Fritz, his fly was open and he didn't realize it. I felt sad for him, but felt uncomfortable mentioning it to him, so told my brother Ben to. Ben didn't. My mom told me he had to wear a condom constantly because he'd become incontinent recently. More sadness.

Uncle Charlie told me how he goes to Waffle House down the street every morning for breakfast. He orders the same thing: one egg, over easy, with a side of bacon, raisin bread toasted, and coffee black. The waitresses fight over him because he's such a good tipper. There's another place, his favorite old coffee house, that he eats at occasionally, but it's more expensive and he has trouble getting there. He went yesterday morning before leaving for Miami, and tipped his favorite waitress and cook $20. That stuff is important, he told me. Always remember the people who help you.

He grabbed my hand while we were talking. For such a feeble 90 year old man, he had a suprisingly strong grip. He told me he loved me and thanked me for coming down to visit. He asked what I was doing in school, what I was studying. I always have trouble explaining it to people who aren't in science. I told him I was studying lungs and human breathing, getting my PhD. He smiled, said he was proud of me.

Suddenly, he gripped my hand tighter, and his pale blue eyes filled with tears. " I miss her so much," he said. "I just can't believe she's gone. I can't even explain how much I miss her. I think about her every day, the second I wake up. She took care of me, like I was her baby. I loved that woman, so much. I just don't really know what to do now that she's gone."

His wife, Hilda. I noticed he would grasp his wedding band and twist it. There was cloth tape wrapped around the back of his ring, to help it stay on his finger. He's lost weight since she died. He cried while talking to me, and his eyes wandered away. I think he forgot I was sitting there with him.

He's hard of hearing, so I had to talk loudly. It felt really awkward carrying my voice for such a serious, sad conversation. "I miss her too, Uncle Charlie. You took care of her, too. I know that meant so much to her, how you took care of her in the end." I clasped his hand, with it's age spots and big purple blue bruise. What can you say to a man who has just lost his wife of over 60 years? Maybe 70 years? I can't remember how long they were married.

Trying to lighten the situation, I told him and Margaret, his daughter in law, a story of Aunt Hilda's marriage advice for me. When I told her Fritz & I were getting married, she squealed like a little girl, she was so excited! She was in her hospital bed in Tallahassee, hooked up to tubes and wires, but still clapping her hands together and squealing.

She said, "Sarah, I will give you my marriage advice. This is my secret, what's kept your Uncle Charlie & I happy for (70?) years. I've never let him see me naked." then she giggled.

Me: "Um, Aunt Hilda, haha, I'm sure that's NOT the case. You guys have kids!"

AH: "Well, of course there were TIMES when I was naked, but I at least always kept my socks on! It's very important to always maintain a bit of mystery and romance. In other words, don't walk around with all your goodies hanging out."

We had a wonderful laugh together about that. It's my last memory of her before she passed away earlier this year.

Hoping for death by 2065

I went down to Ocala last night to meet up with family in town. I visited with my Uncle Charlie, who is 90 years old. He just lost his wife a few months ago, and his son & daughter in law are driving him down to Miami to visit his sister, who just had a stroke. She is 91. And my Great Grandmother, GG, who is also their sister, is a ripe 94 years old. I have some killer genes in my family. Discussed these wonderful genes with Uncle Ed & Aunt Annette, and we all agreed we hope to go waaaaay before we're 90.

Why do I want to die younger? Because I never, ever want to turn out like my great grandmother. I definitely recognize tiny aspects of her in my own personality. She is a true Southern woman, born and raised in the south. She spent most of her life on the Florida Keys and has the wrinkles to show for it. She used to dance and party with the best of them, in the 30's and 40's. She had 7 brothers and sisters, a son, 4 grandaughters, and 8 grandchildren. A rich, happy life. A life that's now faded away from her and distant. Not in an Alzheimers way, either. This old woman is sharp as a tack. She still does the New York Times Crossword puzzle every morning. Then she sits in her rocking chair with her cup of coffee and Siamese cat on her lap, rocking away and thinking about all she's lost. Dwelling on her past, counting the number of phone calls she's received. Obsessing about how she's all alone, and doesn't get enough attention. She gets angrier and more bitter every time we talk.

It sounds awful, doesn't it? Me complaining about my poor old great grandmother. The thing is, I love her dearly. Except I don't ever want to call her, because all she does is remind me that I haven't visited her in X weeks or called her in X days. She's comment, "I guess you're too busy for your family now that you're married, and living in Gainesville." Nevermind that I work full time and am getting my PhD. Over Thanksgiving, I chastised my brother for not calling me back the week before.

"Hey, GG, chill out!" he teased me.
"Yeah, GG!" my mom chimed in, giggling.
"I'm not like that!" I defended myself.
They all said, "Sure, GG!"

I realized that yes, I do have a little of that in myself, but will make the conscious effort to curb that side of myself.