Thursday, December 28, 2006

We Wish You a Married Christmas

Well, the Doctor and I officially had a first Christmas together and it was quite marvelous. In the prior years, I've always flown back to the VA to be with my family for the week and he's gone back to L.A. to see his parents, so this year was our first together.

Before going to midnight mass, we lit luminarias down our porch, the candles flickering in the cold night. I haven't been to mass in years (yes, I know, we cafeteria Catholics do pick and choose) and this was my first time in ABQ. The priest has recently been promoted to monsignor, probably because he loves to hear himself talk. Oh my. The homily dragged on slower than a sloth. We didn't get home until 2 a.m., which is not an unusual time for us to go to bed on a weekend, but the fact we had been in chuch simply enhanced our sleepiness.

I got up at 10:30 and waited for the Doctor to roll out of bed. We peeked in our stockings (and gave the Roo her knuckle bone from Santa) before making mimosas and toasting Baby God Jesus a happy birthday.

I got resoundly drunk on champange while roasting the turkey, mashing the potatoes and fluffing the stuffing and actually remember very little of the meal, but the Doctor insists the food was delicious (the leftovers were top notch, if I do say so myself).

So yes, the first Married Christmas was wonderful, filled with light, love and a wee bit of shag-drunk-lovin'.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Dreaming of a Whiiiiiiite Christmas!

We had our first real snow yesterday. I have to say, it's odd to see the snow in the Southwest. I knew the weather tended towards snow and cold here, but the juxtoposition of ice and snow on cactus and adobe is just strange to my eyes.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Mistakes We Make

I'm beginning to wonder if that decision I made is going to affect me for the rest of my life.

I'm finishing a book now, The Memory Keepers Daughter. The basic premise is that a man makes a choice thinking he is doing the best for himself and his family, but it's an immoral choice, and he hides it from everyone but one person. The outcome of that decision haunts him for the rest of his life, destroys his family. You know, the typical "immoral secrets are a bitter poison" storyline.

But it got me thinking---what are the secrets in my life that could potentially haunt me? Have I made these decisions yet? Already, is a small secret, a choice, a decision, burrowing its way into my soul, making me bitter, unforgivable, angry? Has something I've already done begun to sour my future?

I can think of a few things.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


This is our first Christmas Tree.

So. Cute.

So far the animal house has been good to the tree---only minimal knocking of ornaments and all the precious ones are to high for their little paws and noses to get to.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Roughly 49 to Go

I went to a sheep roast/camping trip at the family ranch of my dear friend BDH this past weekend with 20 or so of his closest friends/neighbors/work associates. I had an absolutely phenomenal time. Here's the scene:

Let me just say, fresh roasted sheep on an open spit is delish! Mouthwatering, really. So tender and rare. The only thing that fazed me for a BRIEF second were the hooves still attached to the legs in the pan. BUT that didn't stop me from eating the delicious thigh meat!!!!

So yes, the food rocked, not to mention the fun we had camping. BDH is in his thirties, so being slightly older than me means that many of his contemporaries have small children. So of course, there were lots of young children running around with dirty faces and bare feet, not wearing pants. Dogs (who normally probably look well groomed in their homes) fought over carcasses and growled at each other with a wild look in their eyes. At one point, after a few beers, we climbed a rickety old ladder into an old water tank and pounded out primal rhythms with our hands and chanted. The stars in the sky were amazing.

At one point in the night, someone brought out their guitar (and BDH pulled out his accordion) and we all stood around the fire and sang songs. And this old Tracy Chapman song got pulled out of my distant memory--"Talking About a Revolution."

And it hit me. This is what I am missing in my life. Revolution, social justice in a Real Way, not just the lip service I toss around in my politically correct world. My friends in Tucson are and activists, working for change, full of idealism and ideas. I heard words and phrases tossed around that I had not heard since I left town---things like "sustainable development" and "straw-bale houses."

Where do I find that vibrancy here?

I have gotten complacent in my life, I think. I have become too self-righteous in my smug life, and I feel the tug of dissatisfaction. How is it that I no longer get my hands dirty in this world, but sit behind a desk and answer the telephone or on the couch watching TV?

Yes, I have a low income, I have financial responsibility, I have pets, I am busy. But these are not reasons for complacency. They are just excuses.

And I will not use them any longer.

This year has been hard. Living in a new, lonely city with a new husband who is gone more than he is home and a neurotic dog that eats everything is not ideal. But maybe what I am learning (every so slowly) is that life is never ideal, it just is. We all make compromises in our lives each and every day to do what we have to do to fill that void, whatever it is.

Like every year, I continue to be amazed at the generosity of my friends, who at this point are scattered across the United States. I rely on them for so much and so often, it feels like I am not able to adequately return the favor. You know who you all are and I love you so much.

So every year as my birthday nears, as I look back on my life, this year I am not satisfied. And so, I choose to look forward. I can no longer wait for my life to begin, but must begin to actually live it.

Today's Birthday Dec 1:
What a testament you are to your family. This year you take whatever legacy you were given and spiff it up until it shines. Accolades and applause follow! The winter smiles on your romantic realm. Your tenderness is appreciated. A February investment pays so well! Gemini and Aquarius people are contributors to your bottom line.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


Life as I used to know it can resume!

I uploaded my final word count at 50,010.

I need a beer!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 29: The Final Hours

The final hours of National Novel Writing Month are dawning. It's almost over and I have just over 46K.

I can do it.

I might have to stay home from work tomorrow, but I can do it.

And let me tell you, being finished with this novel is going to be the best birthday present ever!

PS: Sorry for the insanely boring blogging as of late---this novel is sucking the life out of me and my writing.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 9: Fighting the Two-Week Slump

After Monday's emotional railroad, I feel a little sidelined in my writing. I didn't write on Monday and I've barely put any words on the screen since then. Word count currently hovers around 16K. It's nearing the end of week two and I need to be at 25K.

My novel is starting to NOT come together. I'm bored. My characters are annoying me, my dialogue feels stilted.

I did get new, ultra-adorable glasses yesterday though, which helped perk me up. The frames are a transparent blue/green plastic. At least I look cute writing.

Monday, November 06, 2006

A Day for Remembrances

Today is a significant day for me, reasons I won't go into.

But I wanted to say, I am ready to acknowledge this moment.

Friday, November 03, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 3: The Word Count Rises.

I swore I wasn't going to update obnoxiously, but I'm so impressed with my word count that I had to boastingly post.

10,337. YES. Over 10K!! I'm officially 1/5 of the way finished on Day 3.

Off topic entirely. My lovely, long-lost high school friend Leslie recently posted on her blog a list of "Things to Do Before She Dies."

As many of you may know, I'm a secret fan of lists. Not lists like "To-Do" lists, but lists like, "My Top 10 Favorite Things to Do" and "Questions I Want to Ask God When I Die."

One of my lists is "Things to Do Before I Kick IT." Ironically, writing a novel has never appeared on my list (well, until now!). So far, I have accomplished exactly one thing on my list--SCUBA diving. (And yes, it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.)

But the rest of my list?
--ride a hot air balloon
--SCUBA the Great Barrier Reef
--Drive the Pacific 1 Highway
--Climb Machu Picchu

Any other suggestions?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

NaNoWriMo Day 1

I obviously won't update every day because that would be just TOO boring.

But I wanted to say, on my first day as a psuedo-novelist, I logged an impressive 2,648 words.

It was a boring day at work.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Bird Flu? The Doctor is IN!

Last night was a Halloween party....due to my creative inabilities when it comes to Halloween costumes (thanks, Mom & Dad for denying me the joy of trick-or-treating), we came up with....Bird Flu. Lame, I know. But the party was fun and the pumpkin lasagna turned out to be delicious (despite my cooking skills!).

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Because I am officially insane AND bored, I signed up for NaNoWriMo.

What is NaNoWriMo?
National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and -- when the thing is done -- the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.

In 2005, we had over 59,000 participants. Nearly 10,000 of them crossed the 50k finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.

Can't wait! I'm really looking forward to starting---but if anyone has any plot suggestions---pass them along!!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Wedding Fever!

This past weekend, I journied up North to the frozen tundra of CT for my lovely friend Amanda's wedding. I've known Amanda since the start of Freshman Year at William & Mary, so it was truly an honor to stand up with her at her wedding.

It was a beautiful affair, with a gorgeous display of color--both inside the church and out. The flowers were stunning, the leaves burst with color; but of course, nothing eclipsed Amanda and her bridal glow.

So, one more down and three more to go. I do feel like my college GPB friends are marrying at an alarmingly quickly rate compared to others who graduate in our same GPB year.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Dropping Like Flies

Two weddings in less than a year! Three weddings in 1.5 years. Slowly but surely, my college girlfriends and I are dropping like flies to the swat of marriage.....

I'm headed to CT to stand up for my dear friend Amanda.....
Full Report upon my return!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

She's Baaaaaaaaack!

Well, the Spare Cat has made a reappearance in our lives. Sadly the couple that adopted her couldn't keep her....

So she's home.

Anyone want a cat?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Goodbye to the WB

Last night was the Farewell Extravaganza for the WB. In case you missed it, for five hours, they showed the series premieres for Felicity, Angel, Buffy and Dawson's Creek.

I have never actually watched an episode of Angel and Buffy (guess vampires weren't my thing?) but I feel like in many ways (as pathetic as this is to admit), I grew up on Felicity and Dawson's Creek. Age-wise, I was right in between Dawson and Felicity.

Watching those first episodes, those kids taking their first tentative steps towards adulthood, reminded me of that time in my life, between adulthood and childhood (and yes, I know this sounds corny). It kind of makes me miss teetering on that edge, so unsure of who I'll be or where I'll go.

So anyways. Goodbye WB.

(Unfortunately, 7th Heaven is still on the air.)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Only Living Girl in ABQ

Do we ever find our place in life?

I often feel like I'm merely waiting for the next stage in my life to begin. I suppose it is a symptom of the past 24 years of my life, a product of being an almost professional student. As I progressed through degrees, it really became more about finishing up education to begin "real life" or "What I Wanted to Do when I Grew Up" and less about simply living.

Except I'm finally here. I'm grown up for all intents and purposes. Yet I feel like I'm still waiting but I'm not sure exactly what I'm waiting for. I've achieved all the major milestones that psychologists require for adulthood. Completed schooling, income, marriage. On paper I look damn good. You'd hire me.

So why do I feel like I'm still searching? What am I looking towards? What am I passing by on my search? Will I know it when I find it?

At what point do we sit back in our lives and say, "Yes, I've made it. I'm here." Or is it simply part of being human and cerebral that we always have one thumb out, hitching a ride to the next milestone of life, chasing time, until the road runs out?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Catch Up

Sorry it's been a while. Things have been busy in ABQ. Let me fill you in.

A). Friend Sasaki came to visit for a few days on her way to California. We had an amazing adventure involving some natural hot springs, a gorgeous hippy man and some parking lot nudity. Here's a shot from the hotsprings:

Neat, huh?

B). Work sent us to Phoenix to get trained in a special database so I got to go back to my sunny state of Arizona. It was so wonderful to walk off the plane into that blinding sun and heat. I got to see several of my friends who had migrated to Phoenix from Tucson after graduation. It was so nice to see them again, to feel like a normal person with friends, someone to call after work. I cried a little when the plane's wheels left the ground, heading towards ABQ. I don't know when I'll be back again.

C). Currently the New Mexico State Fair is consuming my life. Work has a vendor booth where we sit and hand out fliers about our programs for hours at a time. I don't know that I've been to a state fair back East, but this one is very....cowboy. Like, real cowboy. EVERYWHERE. With tall thin men in tight jeans, wearing hats wider than they walking with women in tapered-leg jeans and hair almost as large as the cowboy hat. It's so....Western?

So this is currently my life. I miss home so accutely, like punch in my stomach.
I just want to go home.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


I hate this goddamn state.

In less than one week, there have been two evening news reports about animal cruelty.

The first one: Someone left a dog at a shelter. The dog's ears had been cut off with scissors. Clean off. Gone.

The second? A woman's dog went missing and returned to her, on her driveway, stabbed through the heart.

People in this fucking state are uneducated, cruel and sick.

I want to move. I hate this goddamn state.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Clearly Clairvoyant

This past week was my very first business trip. It was actually less business and more middle-school, since the purpose was to get to know the other offices in the Southwest Region--lots of "Get-to-know-you" games and fun activities. We did get to take the "Oldest Cog Railway" up to the top of Pike's Peak; I was hoping for some snow at the top, but it was just cold. We stayed in Manitou Springs, a tiny town outside of Colorado Springs ("Home to 73 (!!) Evangelical Christian Non-Profits") which was very quaint and rather hippyish. Lots of youths in dredlocks who smelled like they hadn't bathed in a few weeks.

The highlight had to be visiting my first Clairvoyant and having my palm read. Having grown up in a ultra-religious household, palm reading was on par with believing in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and celebrating Halloween---delving into the occult was not appropriate afternoon behavior.

But when we walked by the "Mystical Gardens" (a blue tarp next to a few scraggly flowers and some incense), I had this overwhelming urge to get my palm read. So I coughed up my "$20 for 10 minutes" and ducked inside the tarp. She was tall, thin, reddish-blond hair, tight jeans and long nails painted red and yellow, French manicure style. She had me picture an orb of color behind my eyelids until I could see it (which I was completely unable to do!) and then she began to study my palms. Here's the gist:
1. Apparently, I am clairvoyant as well. Despite my tramatic childhood, the angels have allowed me to "see" things in dreams that have later come to pass. About five years ago, I closed that door but the angels want me to reopen that door because things will come to pass that will affect my family.
2. Speaking of family, I will have three children and two great loves. The man I am with now I will "breed" with (her words, not mine) but will leave him when I meet my "True Love" around age 40.
3. I have hot, red hands which indicate "healer hands" and should be in a healing field of work.

Obviously, she was full of Clairvoyant Shit (although, did I suspect anything other than fake simply from her nails?). I find the idea that I myself am psychic laughable. If her ramblings were true, why would I need to have a List of Questions to Ask God When I Die--a list that is only getting lengthier as I age?

And, no, I still think her parents did it.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

One Song for It All

It always strikes me as odd how powerful music is.

I'm not a music-fiend by any means. I can go weeks, months even, without listening to my iPod. I like music, but I listen to NPR more often than music radio. I'm just not on the cutting edge.

But every so often, I will hear a song and memories just come rushing back to me.

Exhibit 1: "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey
Sorority Sister Cristin brought this song to my attention with a Journey's Greatest Hits CD after I blushingly confessed I didn't know the band or their music. Of course I fell in love with the song, but I have one poignant memory that sweeps over me every so often when I hear that song---a memory of me dancing in a bar in Seattle, my friends Jim, Brian and Meigan next to me, all of us shouting, "Don't Stop Believing!" That moment was one of the moments in my life where I paused, looked around and realized how happy I was with my life right then, at that moment. I hear that song now and I ache for my friends and life in Arizona.

Exhibit 2: "Heaven" by DJ Sammy
This song brings me back to my EuroTrash days of studying in Valencia. I remember the first time Amanda, Jessica and I (following some strange boy's instruction) took the bus to a club on the outskirts of town; we paid our 10 Euro entrance fee and went inside to a giant warehouse with the techno pounding, lights spinning, my chesting pumping with the beat of the bass. And the drugs! Everywhere----strangers trying to hand me ecstasy tablets (and the girls vomiting in the bathrooms). I have this gorgeous memory of Amanda dancing, across from me, the lights hazy around her head.

Exhibit 3: "Be Mine" by David Grey
Now this one seems obvious, since it was our wedding song. But when I hear Be Mine on the radio, all of those dance lessons come rushing back. Laughing, sweating, stepping on each other's toes, our dance teacher standing behind us clapping out the beat with her hands and feet. The smell of the studio. Practicing it over and over and over and over until we knew it by heart (but still not quite with the beat).

Exhibit 4: "Sweet Thing" by Van Morrison
My college roommate Barbara sent me two CDs while I was in Kenya. And the first time the song played, it hit my chest like a ton of bricks. I have this memory of laying in bed together during our senior year, the windows open, the cars driving by outside, a breeze gently blowing the half-lowered shade, the smell of those verdant pines that penetrates William and Mary. The comfort of laying with someone who knows you inside and out, who knows you and loves you regardless of your shortcomings. The peace that comes when you don't know where you are going, only where you are that moment.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I Miss the Rains Down in Africa

My friend Jim left for the Congo today. He's working for the Catholic Relief Services and will be Kinshasa for a year. He never ceases to amaze me with his energy and dedication. I love Jim with the kind of unfailing love that means I would do anything----literally anything----for him if he needed it. I'd fly across the world to be with him at a moment's notice if he needed it. I love all my friends, but in terms of understanding me like no one else, Jim takes the cake. He is the most compassionate and kind person I know.

He also served in the Peace Corps in Madegascar. So consequently, whenever I speak with him, I start to reflect on my own short-lived months as a volunteer. Which led me to google several of my PC friends and neighbors today...and I found some great updates on people. Everyone is leading interesting and brilliant lives.

Consequently, sometimes, I feel like a fraud. I know I was there for longer than some, but I was also there only a short time. I start to wonder if by leaving early, did I cheat myself of some unique opportunities that otherwise I will never have? (Probably.) Did I blow my brief negative experience out of the proportion? (Perhaps.) Did I make the right choice to come home early? Or is it such that the grass is always greener? (I will never know.)

Can I even call myself an RPCV? Do I have that right?

I wish I had gone to Kenya the person that I am now---more compassionate, more aware, more open, more willing, less arrogant, less brash. I think I would have stuck out my whole two-years. But that's the mother of all catch-22's, right? My experiences in Africa help shape me into who I am today and without them, I'd still be the same asshole right-out-of-college twit. But I do wish I had experienced some of the sadness of life before my African heartbreak nearly ripped me in two.

I worry sometimes that life will never right itself and this passion that glows in my heart for Africa will burn out before I can set foot on African soil again. I have made some heartbreaking decisions based on this elusive desire to return and work there. Were those decisions in vain?

I feel like I need a reminder, every now and then, of the person I was, the person I am and the person I hope to someday be.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Foster Cat Finds New Home

After taking Briar Patch into our home at a moment's notice, we decided it was time to find her a permanent home. We realized that we couldn't hide a cat from our landlord for three years and it would be best to adopt her out.

I agonized over this decision. I literally held Briar in my arms and cried. I love this little calico cat, but I also know that adopting her to a new home is in her (and our) best interest.

So we posted on Craig's List and a couple responded. We asked to meet them and, even though I was certain they wanted her for her fur (a la Cruela Devile), they turned out to be wonderfully nice cat lovers.

So it's decided. On Saturday, Briar will move into her new home. They are so excited about having her join their family and I can tell she will have a wonderful home.

However, I can't help but feel a little sad each night as I cuddle her soft little body into me and kiss her pink nose. Only a few more days left and she will be out of my life forever....

Friday, August 04, 2006

Getting Here from There

I made the catastrophic mistake of rereading my blog entries--all of them. It blows my mind that I've been keeping this public journal for almost two years. In the past three years, I've seen and done so much and it breaks my heart a little to see the person I am on the other side of that tunnel. Between Here and There and Africa and Boyfriends and and Heartbreak and the Unexpected and Unplanned, my life took a different course than what I had originally charted.

Reading those early entries, when I first moved to Tucson, the ending of my relationship with Ex-Beloved, made me start thinking, "How the hell did I end up here, so far off my expected destination?"

Had you asked me two years ago to predict the course of my life, I never would have predicted the path my life has taken. Yet somehow, as I look back, I can see exactly how each decision that I made has led me right to this point in my life. I couldn't have known it then, of course, but I realized that every decision I made is not a discrete thing, isolated in its own time and place; rather every choice is inexorably linked to the one before and the one after, even without me knowing so.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Moving On

Moving is so hard. Sometimes, when I'm driving through the streets of Albuquerque, I feel the waves of loneliness wash over me. I look around at the buildings lining the roads and I can taste the saddness in my throat.

I miss my home. I miss my home with a desperation that is palpable. I want to go back to my land of Saguaros, Sonoran hotdogs. I want my little apartment with the big bathroom. I want my friends.

I want my life back.

Sometimes, I take a step back and wonder, how did I end up here? I drive through this city and feel like a stranger. Even though I've been here two months, I still don't know which way is North most of the time. I feel disoriented.

And when I'm at the top of the city, near the Sandias, I look out to the wide, empty land that stretches far beyond I can see and all I can think: "That. That is the way home."

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The New Addition

Meet Briar Patch.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Pugglett

The Resident and I went on a walk the other night, as usual, with The Roo in tow. It was getting dark, shadows draping over the streets.

Out of a shadowed driveway, a small pug appeared. He was adorable--little smashed face and black collar with a tiny bow with no tags. After some deliberating, we christened him The Pugglett and brought him home to spend the night with us.

We made him a bed next to ours out of soft blankets, but as soon as the lights went off, he jumped into our bed and snuggled up, squirming his way through the night.

Sadly we found his owners and had to give him back. They were glad to have him safely home, but he left a little hole in my heart.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

My Devil Wears Talbots

I've been looking forward to the opening of The Devil Wears Prada, so naturally, I dragged the Resident to a Saturday matinee. The movie did not disappoint. Meryl Streep was amazing as a demanding, cold-hearted, inscrutable fashion maven and head-hauncho. Loved her. Anne Hathway was decent as the wide-eyed turned vicious assistant. Particularly, I loved Miranda's fashion speech which pointed out the true industry that fashion is (i.e. NOT just anorexic models and gay men)---made me rethink the sweater set I just purchased in a unusually hideous shade of Olive Green.

The In-Law Grandmother gave me a gift card for Talbots--as store I had not stepped foot into until this weekend. Unfortunately, Talbts is more a store for the older generation and women's whose vocabulary contain the words "Knit Sportswear." But I couldn't let the gift card go to waste.

I spent hours browsing in Talbots, pawing through the racks of tapered-legged dress pants and brightly colored tops. Finally, I settled on a sweater set. I know that sounds awfully sorority sister of me, but I felt like it was really the only option.

After watching Prada, I think I might be returning it.

Friday, June 23, 2006

HipHipHooray, or, The Day I Became Gainfully Employed

After three months of job hunting and 35 resumes, cover letters and applications later, I am officially entering the "Professionally Employed" phase of my life.

That's right, people: I GOT A JOB!! And it's even in my field of study!

I am the Health Education Program Coordinator for the American Lung Association of New Mexico.

I think it will be a really interesting job and I'm looking forward to leaving the house on a daily basis AND having a purpose!

So, virtual beers for everyone!!

Saturday, June 17, 2006


In a desperate attempt to make friends in this godforsaken state, the Resident signed us up for a Mudd Volleyball Tournament to benefit the Carrie Tingley Hospital . It sounded vaguely fun, until we received instructions to bring duct tape, which would be used to tape our shoes to our feet.

We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. This is apparently the event of the year in ABQ (mostly because there is nothing else to do except roll in mud) . You could see the enormous parking lots filled with cars, glittering in the sun, from the highway.

Although I am loathe to admit this, the experience was pretty fun. The mudd was up to my knees and I sloshed around, trying to chase after the ball (not often successful, since my feet stuck to the bottom of the mudd). The mudd was cold, though, and squished between my toes, even with my shoes on (and yes, everyone duct-taped their shoes to their feet---play does not stop to look for shoes!). The beer (and illegally smuggled liquor--how college was I?) flowed freely, which helped with the whole "What filthy diseases am I picking up from this foulness" feeling.

But the best part was really just getting out of our house and talking to another live person besides the Resident. We met some really neat people, one of whom is in his Intern Class, so we will be seeing more of her and her fiance, I'm sure.

The only downside (besides the raging hangover)? I now have mudd buried deep within crevices and nooks and crannies of my body. I showered, of course, but being covered in mud repeatedly over a several hour period makes it tough to get our. Even the natural lines in my skin feel dusty. And don't get me started on my hair, which not only feels dirty, but has the texture of filth.

Definitely an experience of a lifetime.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Aqua is the New Blue

The Resident and I decided to use some of our wedding money to buy ourselves a new bed and mattress since the double bed was getting a little small for our family of 5.

We ordered it from the store in Tucson before we moved, but arranged for it to be delivered from the ABQ store (mainly so we didn't have to move across the Desert).

Today, after weeks of waiting, the bed finally arrived. It was fantastic to put all of our new sheets and quilts on the bed. Getting the bed also meant that we could unpack the few remaining boxes scattered through the house. And we hung all our pictures on the wall, which gives it a "home" feel.

So everything is nice, neat and in its place.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Domesticated Goddess

Since we're almost 100% unpacked and I have no job, I've become a veritable 1950s housewife. I fill my day with laundry, vacuuming, scrubbing and cooking. I'm not alone in this domestic spree--The Resident pitches in and does chores right along side me.

But it's funny, this feeling that I am becoming my mother. I find myself saying the exact phrases she always says, "Will you please put the dishes away," "Don't go too far, dinner is almost ready," and "Want to go for a walk?"

It's not just makes me wonder how I turned into this domesticated goddess overnight. I mean, what happen to spooning peanut butter out of a jar for lunch and letting my laundry pile up until I had no clean underwear (no small feat, considering I have over 100 pairs of panties).

Too much time is a bitch, people.

And now, I have to go get my cherry pie out of the oven.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


I reluctantly signed up for an account on MySpace a few months ago. Truthfully, I didn't really see the point and it seemed like a complete waste of time....

Until yesterday.

I finally figured out how to effectively search for people on MySpace---And I realized you can search for old classmate---even as far back as high school! Or even middle school, I suppose.

So, I ran a search on all students that graduated from Stonewall Jackson High (yes, the South) in 1999. MySpace came back with 76 hits. Amazing. I haven't thought of most of the people that came up in YEARS, if ever.

It's been hysterical reading people's profiles. Some people have really neat lives now, cool jobs and still seem like fab people. Others are still in Manassas, working as waitresses, living exactly the kind of life I thought they would have at age 25.

Like my friend Lindsay says, MySpace is like a high school reunion you can go to in your pjs.

Monday, June 05, 2006

"I didn't claw my way to the top of the food chain to eat vegetables."

One of the intimidating things about moving to a new city where you don't know a single soul is trying to figure out where to eat. The second night we were in ABQ, we still didn't have any food in the house, so making dinner was out of the question. We were driving home from Walmart with a car full of essential odds and ends and realized it was 9:30 pm and we still hadn't eaten (this daylight savings thing really throws off my internal clock and sense of time in relationship to daylight. Dammnit.). The Resident looked up and saw a sign for "Rudy's BBQ," which is one of my favorite things.

We parked and went inside. The interior of the restuarant was a counter and lines of picnic tables covered in red&white table cloths. At first we were a bit confused because there was no apparent "real" menu, except listings of various meats by the pound. After some asking, we determined that you actually ordered your chosen meat by the poundage, were given some slices of bread and at the table, you make your own sandwich with the meat and the "sause" (your choice of "BBQ" or "Sissy") provided on the table.

Oh.My.God. I love meat. We had 1/2 a chicken and 1/2lb of pulled pork. The meat was delicious---tender, juicy, falling off the bones. We ate every single piece of meat that was on that tray. Plus a side of beans, creamed corn and greenbean salad.

Since Tucson had a dearth of good BBQ places, I'm very excited to find that ABQ has at least one good meat-eatin' place.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Great Desert Move

Despite the 11 hour drive, two cats and a dog, a thunderstorm and hail, from one desert to another, we've arrived in Albuquerque in one piece. The new house (OUR house) is as adorable as I remembered. The adobe is yellow, the yard is huge, the rooms are tiny. We've been busy unpacking, hanging curtains, filling our kitchen with the unused appliances we receieved as wedding gifts. Unpacking is far and away more wonderful than packing. Even though I packed a mere few days ago, I have forgotten half of what we have. Opening the boxes are infinitely exciting, disovering pots and pans I've never used, books I still haven't read.

Adjusting to the city is hard, but I forgot just how hard it is. I feel lost, even with a map. I feel so alone and isolated. Nothing is familiar, everything is new. The newness is exciting, to be sure, but also overwhelming. We drove around for 20 minutes trying to find a Denny's (Spanish for next to La Quinta Inn) for breakfast because we don't even have a phone book.

I know it's only been a few days, but I keep catching myself thinking, "When I get home..." and it's with a pang of sadness that I realize this is my home. I am living here for the next three years. And the reality is, I may never live in Tucson again, a reality that makes my heart wrench a little.

I watch my husband build bookcases and install curtain rods, smiling at his man-ness. And I am relieved to know that, at least this time, I don't have to make a new city home all by myself. I have a friend by my side.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Big Move: Stage One--Preparation

The Big Move to Albuquerque is beginning. Take Off Date is June 1st---a mere few days away and we are in the throes of packing and cleaning and putting away memories.

Today, the IRC came to pick up our unneeded furniture (my couch, his chair, my bed). My apartment is now empty of all large furniture, but filled with boxes of wedding presents and books. I haven't even started on my clothes (right now, I'm envisioning trashbags).

It's sad, though, this packing away of my life. I know how corny this sounds, but it really is saying goodbye to a stage in my life. My single life is over, for real this time. Even though we're married now, not sharing space makes the marriage feel a little fake. We still have "mine" and "his." But in a few short days, we'll just have "ours." Our house. Our yard. Our dishes. Our couch. Our bed (beautiful and new!). And Our Bathroom (the biggest adjustment, I'm sure).

I'm scared about moving. Will I find a job? Will I make friends? Will Albuquerque someday feel like home? Will I find good stores to shop at? I know the true answer to these questions is yes, but how long will it take?

Tucson has been my home for the last 1.5 years, and some of them have been good months. But there have also been very sad months. Even though I am brokenhearted to be leaving the city that I call home, in some ways, I feel like I am finally saying goodbye to one of the saddest and hardest times of my life. I truly am closing a chapter in my life and moving forward to the new, the exciting and the completely unknown.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Wedded Bliss, Again

So I thought I'd post some wedding photos taken by a some of the guests. However, if you would prefer to see the professional ones, feel free to check out my photographer's website:

Go to "online proofs," find the Williams-Gross wedding and the password is 050706

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Tropic of Capricorn

Not to, you know, make anyone too jealous, but this was the view from our hotel room in Jamaica. And yes those colors are real.

The vacation was very relaxing---plenty of sun, sand, swimming, SCUBA and sex (you know, the essential "S's"). We had a great time just being alone together, especially after the prior week of family and graduation.

The weather was gorgeous and sunny most of the time; it rained twice, but since we live where it's sunny 300 days a year, it was nice to snuggle inside and listen to the rain patter on the porch.

I also learned to SCUBA dive and actually got certified while we were there. I know this will sound corny, but I fulfilled a life dream by SCUBAing and I am SO proud of myself. Kneeling on the bottom of the ocean was absolutely amazing and was not nearly as terrifying as I initially thought. I had a few moments of panic on the surface when my feet just hung down, not touching anything, but after we descended to the bottom, the fear completely disappeared.

I have to be honest though. Driving to the resort from the airport was a bit strange. Since most Jamaicans are of African descent, I felt very much like I was back in Kenya. The school children in matching uniforms, driving on the left, the verdant rolling hills. The houses even had the same jerry-cans on the roofs to collect water; I could even tell which out-buildings were the toilets and showers. I almost felt like I was betraying my roots or something---I lived like that and now I was one of those rich white people who got chauffered around to spend their thousands of dollars that I despised. And the disparity between rich and poor is so evident, and like most places, racially divided. The hotel is staffed by Jamaicans, again most of whom are black, and even though I applaud the hiring of locals, it smacks so much of neocolonialism---whites being served by blacks. I'm having a difficult time explaining in words what I felt, but it was definitely an uncomfortable feeling.

White guilt, perhaps?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Wedded Bliss

Yep, yep. The knot has been tied. It was lovely- simple, short and beautiful. Even the hot Arizona weather cooperated with sunny skies and temps in the low 90s.

This week has been crazy between the wedding and graduation (the Med Student is now The Doctor and I am now a "Master"-- a concept I find laughable!). Honeymoon starts on Monday.

I will update with more wedding pictures and details before the Big Move to NM.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Art of Using Gift Cards

The Med Student often mocks me because he claims I "hoard" gift cards. People often give me gift cards for birthdays/Christmases/(soon to be Hannukah!) because I live far away and it's cheaper to order a gift card online than it is to mail a bulky present.

Gift cards are like two-in-one gifts, mainly because not only do I get "free money" I gte the excuse to go buy things! But I also like to save my gift cards and not reckless spend them on the first new perfume at Sephora. Consequently, I have hundreds of dollars in gift cards. Some (like my Banana Republic ones) are being saved for something big (like a suit for job interviewing and the like). Others (like my Sephora) I was saving for when I found something I REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted (and I haven't yet).

But yesterday, I spent two cards.

After the stress of Match Day and the reality of "Oh my god, we're moving and I have to pack and UHaul and how are we going to get a dog now?" set in, I realized I needed a massage ASAP. The Med Student had given me a gift card to a favorite spa/salon for Valentine's Day (last year), so I called to cash for an appointment.

I also decided to go naked for this massage and honestly, it was 100 times better with panties to get in the way. Getting my ass rubbed was as close to heaven as I can imagine.

Then, after the massage, I realized I need new panties. I get made fun of from a number of my girlfriends on this....but, I love cotton panties. I just do. They're always comfortable, they breathe and they're good for both workout days AND the menstrual cycle. I own a wide variety of panties, from your basic boyshort to the tiniest of thongs, I have mesh, lyrca, no-show, etc. I think I the last time I counted I had over 100 pairs. But the last time I had purchased new cotton panties was sometime after I got back from Kenya (it's been over two years).

Megan had sweetly given me a gift card to Victoria's Secret for my birthday, so I decided to use it for some new cotton panties! I got five cute pairs in multiple prints (all of which looks vaguely Sixties-ish).

So now, my ass is covered in comfortable printed cotton and my back is loose and limber! Yesterday was a good day.

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Land of Enchantment

Well, the verdict is in.

Match Day has come and gone.

We are moving...... Albuquerque, New Mexico!

A little suprising at first, but after the shock wore off, we're both looking foward to another adventure and another new place.

Good things about Albuquerque
  • surrounded by mountains
  • inexpensive living
  • as white people, we'll be in the minority
  • still in the Southwest
  • on Route 66

Bad things about Albuquerque

  • gets cold in the winter (it IS almost a mile high)
  • actually SNOWS (will have to buy a winter coat)
  • job market is a little iffy

So that's my list so far. But I don't know enough about the city to make any other judgments, yet. It's going to be a crazy few months. Here's the rundown:

April: 7th--thesis presentation, 10-13--Mother visiting, 17--thesis paper due, later April---fly out to NM to find place to live

May: 7th--WEDDING, 13-14--Graduation, 15-21--Honeymoon, 31---my lease is up (must be packed and moved out!)

June: Early June--move to NM, 25 June---the Med Student starts work! (I guess I'll start calling him The Resident? The Intern?)

Truthfully, I'm not sure how we're going to get all this accomplished....but I'm sure we'll get through it, one thing at a time!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Women, Infants and Children

I've been spending lots of my mornings in the WIC office lately. As part of my internship duties with the IRC, I drive refugee clients to the office (out in the middle of nowhere) and register them with the WIC program.

The WIC program is a "nutritional supplementation" program that gives pregnant women, infants and children (up to six) food packages every month. The food varies depending on whether the woman is nursing or pregnant or the age of the child. Don't get me started on the evils of the food that WIC includes---it's all politics and makes me mad! But it's a good and needed service for many women.

Anyways, the office is a great place for watching people. The waiting room is always filled with mothers and babies, most of whom are very cute. It's always chaotic and busy, and usually, we have to wait an hour before getting seen, even though we have an appointment.

Last week, there were teenagers from a group home signing up for the services. Some of these girls could be no older than 12. One girl must have been newly pregnant because she didn't have a baby with her, but she looked terrified. These poor girls looked so young. My heart broke for them for two reasons. Firstly, they are so young to have a baby. In my opinion, unplanned pregnancy is a tough situation no matter how old you are, but a 12 year-old just has it so much harder than even an 18 year-old. Secondly, these poor girls had no family support. They had no mother to show them love, despite her disappointment. I know that we all make mistakes and some are worst than others, but these girls need love and support more than anything right now---not being kicked out and living in a group home.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Calling All Irish!

Okay, Lasses. I need an instrumental version of "Danny Boy" for my wedding!


(My grandfather, who is of Irish descent, will not be able to attend my wedding and I wanted to play the song as part of the preludes to honor him).

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Le Baron, Cont.

Le Baron has been recovered! I got this email last night from John:

"Coppers found Jim's car this morning and she's back at the pimp palace. Robber even cleaned the outside. But no gas was added. yippee!! Found at 707 W Miracle Mile at Wayward Winds Lodge next to TD's West. Shady area and no workable prints. End of story"

Let us note that Miracle Mile Road (real name) lives up to it's name; hordes of prostitutes (real women AND transvestites) roam the area at night (if my memory serves me correctly, the No-Tel Motel is nearby). TD's West is a notoriously trashy strip club where Weds is Chicken Parm night (Entree for $3.50). This is not a high class area, people.

Ah, the adventures of Le Baron.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Le Baron

Jim is one of my closest friends here in Tucson. Like me, he is a returned Peace Corps volunteer and together we share a love for Africa. This semester, he has abandoned me to do his thesis project in Niger; a public health project involving a nutritional assessment and the British Red Cross. While he's gone, Jim kept his apartment and car here in Tucson, entrusted to our friend John, also a RPCV and recently returned from a whirlwind trip to Ghana with Engineers Without Borders (we're an Africa-loving bunch); he's currently living in Jim's apartment (nicknamed Pimp Palace because of the hot pink flashing flamingo sign proclaiming "Realto Palace") and driving Jim's car, a 1992 Le Baron (nicknamed "Le BarON").

Le Baron is a piece of shit, though it has served Jim well over the years. It's gears are shot and the battery regularly dies, needing a jump every few. However, it's a (mostly) working vehicle, so John's thankful for the loan.

Or was.

I got a phone call last night. "Elisabeth, it's Johnny. Qick question: Do you know Jim's birthday?" After we determined that Jim's birthday was either at the end of June or July and he was either 28 or 29, John told me his reason for call.

Le Baron was THIEVED!

John parked the car next to the dumpster, which is right behind Jim's apartment window. He went out later that day to throw some trash in the dumpster and.....Le Baron was GONE! At some point, someone had come by and stolen the Le Baron right behind Jim's apartment window.

The irony of the entire story: The thieves stole a complete lemon. Le Baron's gears had shifted out of place and were held only in place with some duct tape. John had made an apointment with a mechanic to tow Le Baron in for some work for the next day.

Tucson is the Capital of Car Theft and apparently the thieves are as dumb as shit.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Strictly Ballroom

As a generous gesture, the Med Student gave me an introductory course to ballroom dancing for Valentine's day. The total package included four half-hour lessons and one group class for BOTH of us. The idea was to pick up some ballroom basics so we didn't just do the MiddleSchool Shuffle Sway around the dance floor for four hours at our wedding reception.

And amazingly, it's actually turning out to be loads of fun. The instruction occurs on the ballroom floor with several other students getting lessons at the same time--you never feel lonely! Our teacher, Christina, is a little petite riot and is continually making me laugh AND feel less self-conscious, which is no small feat.

Thus far, we've learned the basics of the waltz, foxtrot, rumba, chacha, tango and the nightclub two-step. We're not great, but we're not usually horrible. But most importantly, we're having a blast laughing and getting ourselves out of our rut and around people that we can make friends with!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

It's Blah Life follow on the footsteps of my Favorite Barbara Ever, I am living a blah life right now. I kind of feel like I'm simply existing. I'm not depressed, necessarily....just bored. Alot. I'm not taking classes this semester in lieu of my internship/thesis (which has been exceedingly slow to be started). Work is boring--same old, same old. Several of my friends have moved and/or gone for the semester, so my world has narrowed down to a few people, all of whom are exceedingly busy people. I sit at home and talk to my cats (who are starting to talk back to me).

So, I've fixated on a dog to solve my problems. Now, I know that a dog is more than an upper---it requires patience and love and attention, blah blah. I know the committment that is required with a dog (I've had one before), but that is exactly WHY I want a dog. I want something that is time consuming, something I HAVE to get up for in the morning to take on walks. I want to go to dog parks to let my pup run free and meet other people with dogs.

I know that timing may not be right at the moment on the surface, seeing as how we're moving in a few months, etc. etc. But the upside to my small apartment is that I have time right (oodles of time) to spend with a dog, showing it affection, love and acclimating it to the cats.

So I want a dog. A nice, warm dog to love and be loved by. I've beaten down the Med Student by constantly talking about a dog and practicing my leash walk. He's agreed to get one as soon as next week....And now I have cold feet! What if it doesn't work out, what do I do? What if the cats don't get along with New Pup??

Stay tuned......

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Crossing the Continental Divide

Driving trips are somehow infinitely more satisfying than flying--something about being physically connected to the land you are traveling across. Bird's eye views are thrilling but nothing compares to the feel of the road bumping beneath you.

The Med Student and I drove to Albuquerque this week for a second look at his residency program. I tagged along for the drive and to scope out potential job leads. The drive was awe-inspiring. Out West, the highways are so empty and you can see the rise and fall of the road, stretching out before you for miles like a black asphalt ribbon going no where. The scrubby desert plants, the yellow grass. The wide-open space, bringing to mind a past time.

On the way back, we took more deserted roads and drove through the Apache Reservation. The landscape changed from high desert to mountains. The road scaled up a mountain and then down again, weaving through the tall pines, the smell of smoke permeating the air.

There are no lights lining the highways or side roads (and no towns on the horizon), so when night fell and the sky darkened, the only lights were our headlights piercing the darkness. Just for fun, we turned our lights off and immediately were catapaulted into erie pitch dark with only the stars to light our way.

We crossed both the Rio Grande and the Continental Divide, at which point the Med Student asked, "If I stood on the Divide and urinated, which way would my stream go?" So much for the majesty of the Old West.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

None of Your BIZ-ness

With the Med Student gone on another residency interview, I get lonely in the evening. I love the cats, but when Turtle and Zola start talking back to me, I know it's time to get out and actively seek human company.

So last night, my partner-in-crime Meigan and I decided to go out. We had a lovely dinner at a healthy Japanese restaurant (Mushroom Soba soup for your's truly) and then hunted down our friend Lise. After a drink and a mini-ghost hunt at Historic Hotel Congress (try corner room #24), Lise went home. After aimlessly driving about, Meigan suggested the local lesbian bar.

Surprisingly, despite my history of bar hopping and drunken debauchery, I've never actually been in a "gay" bar before. I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting (think: older, established lesbian crowd, maybe a bit down-home, honkey-tonk, cowboy boot dyke?), but what we found was NOT it (in fact, the only cowboy boot wearers were the two of us). The bar was actually a pulsating, vibrating, thumping dance scene--almost like a frat party, minus straight men. I think the bar/club actually caters to the Latina lesbian scene. It was fantastic. Ironically, both of us kept talking about our boyfriends the entire time. Not intentionally, just out of...habit?

Meigan and I danced for an hour, used the unisex bathroom and headed home, a little bit wiser about a different crowd of Tucson.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Brokeback Mountain, or, What Could Have Been

Well, I went to see Brokeback Mountain a few nights ago and I can't shake that movie out of my head, no matter how hard I try. It was truly a stunning, visually appealing, tormented love story. It was phenomenal. I loved it in a depressing, heart-sinking, crushing way.

The story is beautiful. Watching the love between these two men grow, take over and destroy their lives slowly is so heart-rendering. The ending is perfect. It isn't devastatingly sad, nor is it wrapped-up-Hollywood neat. The ending was left in limbo, like the love they shared, making you think on what could have been instead of what was. It just about broke my heart in two.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Wow. It has been a while and I apologize for my apparently inability to consistently blog.

Sadly, and truthfully, nothing new to report. Wedding plans are moving along nicely and the Tucson Event of 2006 will be well underway soon.

I'm not taking classes this semester---thank god. I am starting my internship project, which is slow starting because the Human Subjects Review Board is taking their sweet time reading my proposal. But, I'm enjoying the break.

I've been accompanying the Med Student along on his residency interviews. We got back from Portland last week after a great trip. Portland is a stunning city and the hospital complex is set on the side of a hill. Don't ask me how emergency vehicles get up winding, narrow road during ice storms or snow, but what a breath-taking view. The only downside of Portland is the constant dripping rain, which could be a downer if I actually had to live there. Talk about Seasonal Affective Disorder!

I'm off to St. Louis this weekend to visit with my great friend (and old college roommate) while Cliff goes through another two interviews. I had a blast the last time I was there and fully expect a fantastic weekend (although I'm sure my cats are not pleased to be left alone again!).

So, it's been a quiet life. Lots of television of dubious quality. You know, the usual.