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From [livejournal.com profile] geredan:

I got into Auburn!
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DDR pads have arrived. God help our downstairs neighbors in the new apartment.
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You were the most amazing and smartest and bestest cat ever. And no matter how old you got, you were always, and you will always be, my babycat. I'm sorry I wasn't there at the end, but I think you knew, and I know you said your goodbyes during the last week. I'd never seen you so amazingly affectionate and loving. I hope you're enjoying neverending catnip and that your limp is long gone. I love you. We love you.
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So we bought tickets to Harry Potter for tonight and I woke up sick this morning, and have been getting progressively worse all day. Running a high fever now, and having trouble staying awake, so we bailed out on HP. I suck. I'm sorry guys. I love and miss you all.

Susan came up yesterday and stayed until this morning. From the moment she got here until the moment she left, minus sleeping and showering time, we talked. Constantly. Like we haven't done in a long while (haven't had the opportunity to, really). It was amazing and wonderful, and so exactly what I needed right now. Thank you and I love you and there's a reason why you're my best friend.

Went to Chris' birthday party on Friday night and had a great time. Have I mentioned yet how much I really like him and his wife? And also everyone else? There's a potential regular house game of Texas Hold 'Em in our future, and I'm looking forward to that possibility.

New Orleans and Louisiana peeps -- we'll be in Baton Rouge the weekend of December tenth. We're planning a trip to the Casino among other things, but we're sort of open-ended on how long we'll be there, so if you're not going to be at the game on the tenth but you would like to see us, let us know and we'll make some plans.

Cam folks not from around here -- anyone coming up for the Atlanta game on the third?
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Okay, that was freaky...

We're getting the rainbands from Katrina, of course, and with that comes toranado warnings and such.

About five minutes ago, I was sleeping on the living room floor, and all of a sudden I hear "BEEPITY BEEP" and I look up to the TV and see it go all black and red with TORANADO WARNING, and about the same time, I hear the tornado sirens going off. Then I hear the guy mention /our/ highway exit (the exit we live about 1/2 mile from). Mark's napping in the bedroom, the cats are sitting /by/ the window. So I grab 'em all and we go in the hallway down to the outside and wait.

It went away without getting too close, apparently, but that was a little creepy. I've never heard tornado sirens before.
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This is the New Orleans weather statement that was issued.

It's the End of the World as We Know It )
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Good luck with everything down there. I'm hoping that those of you along the coast have moved much further inland. We're four or so hours from New Orleans. If anyone has no place to go, let us know. We've got plenty of floor space.
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I'm back from Missouri. And, as always, sick. Every.Single.Time. we go home, I get sick. I'm pretty sure it's a combination of the drier air and the house filled with stale and secondary smoke. My immune system gets weakened, my lungs get attacked, and then I'm vulnerable to whatever little illnesses and infections the grandkids are carriers for.

But I had a good time anyway. Got to see the kids open presents, which was really fun. I don't want any, but I like hanging around with them sometimes. Especially when they're happy. Although sleepy kids are also very cute.

I managed not only to /not/ gain weight while home, but also to lose some. I'm now officially at 22 pounds lost, and today is my six week anniversary of starting this program.

I didn't work out as much as I would have liked while there because of the sickness, but I'm getting back on track this week. I /did/ go running outside. And it taught me a very fine lesson.

Running on a treadmill is fun and easy. Well, okay, not really, but it's more shock-absorbing. Running on concrete is ...not. I've now had like 20 people tell me to go out and buy a good pair of running shoes and not to skimp. If good running shoes will alleviate the pain in my shins and hips that running outside caused, then I will be forking over some good, hard-earned cash to Just For Feet in the next few weeks.

I went to the store a week or so ago and tried on a pair of pants another size down, and they fit. Since then, I've lost four pounds. I think there are some new clothes in my future. *dances* Eventually I will get the nerve to tell you all how much I actually have to lose. (Every time I say it, people are shocked. Apparently I don't /look/ like I have to lose that much, but I really do!)

Okay, work's over. Off to meet the D Man.
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Went to Beaumont last night for a game and had my ego stroked like nobody's business. At some point the DC told me that he'd heard me referred to as "The classiest girl in the Cam." That was nice. :)

As well, everyone was very cool and supportive and encouraging about the weight loss and the stuff I'm doing -- AND two someones I like and respect very much offered to come out and run the Crescent City Classic with me in April. One of whom has run many many marathons in his life and told me he'd come run at my speed to keep me motivated to keep going through the whole thing. And the people from the group are turning the day of the race into this big social event and everyone's coming out to line the course and meet me at the finishing line.

I feel .... so loved.

Merry Christmas. :)
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Yay Return of the King!

We were going to wait until we got back from Missouri, but I just couldn't do it. I couldn't wait until the 30th. So we went last night. Yay! I love trilogies that are more like one seamless movie than three separate movies. The trailer for the new Harry Potter looks good. Hermione is turning into a little hottie. :) (I'm going to hell, I know)

Today is the last day working at the lawfirm. It's been a long couple of weeks, but mostly painless. Could have been a lot worse. Of course, I've also spent most of that time thinking about how much dissertation work I could've gotten done during that time, but I'm taking two weeks off in January while D works to work on the dissertation, and that will help loads.

I'm doing well on the walking/weight loss plan except that I didn't walk last night because I was sitting in a /three and a half/ hour long movie (I can't wait to see how long the director's cut release is going to be!). But that being said, I am continuing my daily routine of wearing something I haven't been able to wear in forever. It's fun to do, just on principle, even if I don't really like the clothes any longer.

Anyway, I'm off to Beaumont for the weekend tomorrow and then to Missouri on Monday morning, so I'm not likely to be around much. You all have a wonderful holiday season, however it is you celebrate (if you do!).
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So I've been kicking ass on this weight program. I'm almost up to 20 pounds, and there are very few clothes in my closet that fit right anymore. I have about five pairs of dress slacks and a bazillion skirts, and I can only wear two of the pairs of pants and the skirts will need belts now. The other slacks are just falling off of me and the thighs are too big, so I can't even just belt them, it looks like I'm wearing parachute pants or something.

The fitness part of it is going well too. I'm up to almost 2 miles a day, and right now about 20% of that is jogging and 80% walking. So I'm well on my way to the marathon in April. I'm also starting Tae Bo this week. I wanted to have something to do on the days when I didn't walk, and something to do if I'm visiting someone who doesn't have a tread mill or lives in the snow so that walking outside is no damn fun.

I'm drinking the water I'm supposed to be drinking. This was a big breakthrough for me because I never drank as much water as I was supposed to be drinking. I have about a 45 minute bladder now, but it's also made amazing changes to my inner workings.

So where's the problem? The problem has been that I have not been able to apply this same level of discipline to my dissertation as I have been to my health and fitness. I need to break through the barrier that is keeping me from doing what needs to be done.

When I look at it, I can see some similarities. Part of the reason it took me so long to get serious about my weight loss and fitness had to do with the enormity of it all. I need to lose a lot of weight. More than most of you realize. (Just admitting that is a little painful -- made easier by the fact that I'm in the process of losing it, and I know it will eventually all be gone) So it's a huge thing. It's hard to look at something that big and say "hey, I can do this." I had to break it down to smaller goals and take the first steps needed. For me, the first steps were the South Beach diet.

The dissertation is also a big thing. A huge thing. And everytime I talk to my advisor, I realize it's even bigger. She keeps telling me that the work I'm doing is ground-breaking. That just puts it into my head that this is bigger than I can handle.

But it's /not/ bigger than I can handle. It's just not. But I need to break through that barrier. Hard.

So today I sat down and came up with a schedule. It's rough, but it's realistic. A way to get through the process and be done by the April 2nd deadline. And I realized that it's possible. With the extra energy I have and the on-campus schedule I have, I have lots of time where I need to be in the library and where I'm not doing other things. So I /know/ the time is there.

I feel like I'm in the military. Fitness, healthy living, working out, regimented time schedule ... But if I can do this, then I'm done in 3.5 months.

One page at a time.

But if I turn into a time nazi for the next few months, please forgive me everyone.

Goals

Dec. 10th, 2003 11:50 am
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So, along with South Beach, I've been doing an updated, more vigorous workout routine than I've done before. And I've decided that I want to move up from the treadmill to actually doing some jogging out in the real world. So I've set a couple of goals.

The first is to be able to do 5K a day. I have a training schedule that takes you from couch-potato to 5K a day in eight weeks. Weeks can be repeated, so that it can take you 16 if you want, instead of 8, or any combination thereof.

The second goal is to jog the Crescent City Classic 10K run in April. I downloaded their suggested training schedule for January through April.

I'm mostly just posting this so that it's out there in the public and my friends can poke me later to make sure I stay on target.
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Sorry for the lack of lj-cut, but I don't remember how to do it, and I really want everyone to look at this anyway. Just scroll past it if you've already seen it or if the thought of McCarthyism Take Two doesn't bug you:

From Michael Bednar
Department of History - The University of Texas at Austin
Congress Moves to Regulate Postcolonial Studies (fwd)
Oct. 20, 2003

Friends,

As many of you who know me well will soon realize, I have become a political activist for the first time in my life. I am not here to rant, but to inform you on current legislation that is being debated in the House of Representatives. The legislation in question, H.R. 3077, will rewrite the Title VI legislation that has provided FLAS money to many of us and that also funds the various area-studies centers in our universities.

In particular, the legislation proposes the creation of an "advisory board" that may severely impact universities by dictating the curricula taught, course materials assigned in class, and the faculty who are hired in institutions that accept Title VI funding.

It gets worse. The U.S. House of Representative's Subcommittee on Select Education Hearing on "International Programs in Higher Education and Questions about Bias" on June 19, 2003 (http://edworkforce.house.gov/hearings/108th/sed/titlevi61903/wl61903.htm) begins with an opening statement by Representative Phil Gringrey that includes the following passage: "we are here today to learn more about a number of programs that are authorized and funded under Title VI, which are some of the oldest programs of support to higher education. These programs reflect the priority placed by the federal government on diplomacy, national security, and trade competitiveness. International studies and education have become an increasingly important and relevant topic of conversation and consideration in higher education... However, with mounting global tensions, some programs under the Higher Education Act that support foreign language and area studies centers have recently attracted national attention and concern due to the perception of their teachings and policies."

Testimony provided by Dr. Stanley Kurtz (available from the link above) portrays areas studies centers as hotbeds of unpatriotic Anti-Americanism. Dr. Kurtz focuses, in particular, on post-colonial theory and the work of Edward Said's Orientalism in which "Said equated professors who support American foreign policy with the 19th century European intellectuals who propped up racist colonial empires. The core premise of post-colonial theory is that it is immoral for a scholar to put his knowledge of foreign languages and cultures at the service of American power." (Quoted from Kurtz's statement found at http://edworkforce.house.gov/hearings/108th/sed/titlevi61903/kurtz.htm

Kurtz asserts that the rampant presence of post-colonial theory in academic circles, with its bias against America and the West, has produced a corps of professors who refuse to instruct or support (with FLAS grants) students interested in pursuing careers in the foreign service and/or intelligence agencies.

Kurtz comments that: "We know that transmissions from the September 11 highjackers [sic] went untranslated for want of Arabic speakers in our intelligence agencies. Given that, and given the ongoing lack of foreign language expertise in our defense and intelligence agencies, the directors of the Title VI African studies centers who voted unanimously, just after September 11, to reaffirm their boycott of the NSEP [National Security Education Program], have all acted to undermine America's national security, and its foreign policy. And so has every other Title VI-funded scholar in Latin American-, African-, and Middle Eastern Studies who has upheld the long-standing boycott of the NSEP."

The answer, Kurtz proposes, is to create an oversight board that will link Title VI funding to students training for careers in national security, defense and intelligence agencies, and the Foreign Service. How effective was Dr. Kurtz's presentation? The committee not only believed everything Dr.Kurtz claimed, they even implemented most of his suggestions, including the "advisory board."

An amended House Resolution, H.R. 3077, proposes to create an International Education Advisory Board, with appointed members from homeland security, the Department of Defense, and the National Security Agency, "to increase accountability by providing advice, counsel, and recommendations to Congress on international education issues for higher education." (Quoted from the Sept. 19, 2003 press release of Congressman John Boehner, committee chairman, http://edworkforce.house.gov/press/press108/09sep/>hr3077psub091703.htm)

The full resolution of H.R. 3077 can be found at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c108:H.R.3077: H.R. 3077 was amended in subcommittee and this amended resolution elaborates on the composition and role of the International Education Advisory Board (see especially pages 16-24). The amended H.R. 3077 can be found at: http://edworkforce.house.gov/markups/108th/sed/hr3077/917main.htm . Click on the link that says "Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute" which will download an Adobe Acrobat PDF file. This amended H.R. 3077 has been sent to the full committee, which met on Thursday, September 25 at 11:00 AM to discuss the resolution before sending it to the House of Representatives.

Just in case you think that I have lost my marbles or that I am over-reacting, the Higher Education and National Affairs newsletter, published by the American Council on Education, and available at http://www.acenet.edu/hena/ includes the following comments on H.R. 3077 (page 1, continued on page 4): "House Republicans intend for H.R. 3077 to build on existing international and foreign language studies Title VI programs, adding what many in the higher education community believe is unnecessary Federal oversight through a new International Education Advisory Board." Federal international education programs were the focus of a House subcommittee hearing in June, during which one witness testified to a strong "anti-American" bias in many college and university international departments which he claimed could possibly undermine American foreign policy. ACE presented opposing testimony (see http://www.acenet.edu/washington/international/Hartle.Testimony.pdf

As a subcommittee press release asserted, this advisory body would be created in consultation with homeland security agencies in order to "increase accountability by providing advice, counsel, and recommendations to Congress on international education issues for higher education."

Higher education leaders oppose this board on the grounds that the powers it is granted are so broad that they put institutions in danger of losing control over their own curricula, hiring practices, and other aspects of their international programs."

In short, it seems that the House of Representatives is about to regulate the courses and content that we, as future professors, will teach in colleges and universities. The possibility that someone in homeland security will instruct college professors (with Ph.D.s) on the proper, patriotic, "American-friendly" textbooks that may be used in class scares and outrages me. This morning, this was news to me. If this is new to you and if you feel as equally scared
and angered that the government may censure your future academic career, then I urge you to:

1) Distribute this message to other professors and students in area studies;
and
2) write a handwritten letter (in ink) to your local congressmen and to

John A.Boehner, Chairman of the Full Committee on Education and the Workforce at the following address:

John A. Boehner
1011 Longworth H.O.B.
Washington, DC 20515

Please refrain from emails and typewritten or computer printouts as these are often ignored in Congress as being mass-produced by special-interest groups. Write in ink, in legible penmanship, and let your voice be heard.

Best,

Michael Bednar

Department of History - The University of Texas at Austin
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I'm back to the lawfirm for a couple of weeks. It's a couple weeks too many, but hey, the money is good, so I can't complain. Besides, this will guarantee that we can at least buy Christmas presents for Mark's nieces and nephew (we'll be there for Christmas) if for noone else. And let's face it, kids should have more presents than everyone else anyway.

My dissertation is ... okay. I'm trying to work on it, really. I think I've hit some psychological hurdles. Mark has been trying to work me through them, but it's still rough. We'll see. It's just a great big paper. I keep trying to tell myself that, but it's not working. :)

As of Monday we've been on the South Beach diet for three weeks. I lost 12-13 pounds in the first two weeks, and then stalled for a few days, but am now at 15 pounds, so the stall ended. We're in phase II which is much less restrictive, and really, I don't miss the things I can't have. The only thing I kind of miss is french fries, but I don't miss them enough to cheat. I'm going to a friend's birthday party in January at Fox and the Hound, and they've got great fries, so I think that's going to be my treat to myself.

I'm also up to walking a mile in a little under 21 minutes. For someone who hasn't done any /serious/ exercise in a long time, this is a pretty groovy improvement. My goal is five miles in an hour and a half every day. Plus I've started doing some weight training and various other exercises. I love the way it makes me feel, but I still don't really enjoy /doing/ the exercise. It's still work. I'm waiting for it to be fun, because I remember from my days on the swim team how neat it is for exercise and walking/running to be fun.

Can I just say that Blue Bunny is the stuff of the gods? All of their sugar-free stuff is made with Splenda, which is yummily tasty and so we can have things like ice cream.

D has less weight to lose than I do, and he's about 1/3 of the way to his goal. He looks /amazing/. *swoon*

One day at a time...
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So this is how the food turned out:

Turkey -- roasted in oven, no oven bag. Delicious.

Green beans with garlic, almonds, soy sauce, salt and pepper and a little chicken broth, cooked in the oven -- perfect

Steamed broccoli and cauliflower -- it's steamed veggies, what do you expect? :)

Mushrooms stuffed with a mixture of ground sirloin, finely blended red peppers, green peppers, red onions, celery and water chestnut -- mmmmmmmm. Too much meat, not enough mushroom caps, so the leftover made mini-meatballs

Black beans with half a can of diced tomatoes with peppers and onions and Louisiana Hot Sauce. It sat on top of the oven all day, covered, as the turkey cooked, and this softened everything up and blended it together, and now it tastes vaguely like a rendition of vegetarian chili. It's really amazing without the heavy black bean taste (I rinsed the beans because I don't really like that heavy black bean flavor).

Spinach salad with cashews, red peppers, tomatoes, red onions, and cucumbers with a homemade pear vinaigrette. Yummy on all counts.

The homemade, sugar free chocolate mousse. Well, it turned out more like ... well, have you ever had partially frozen cool whip? It's not hard like ice cream, but not quite whippy like mousse. It's delicious though.

New Orleans flooded out today though, so Mark in his great big ol' truck had to go pick our company up. So dinner is sitting under lots of tin foil waiting. :)
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So we're having company for Thanksgiving, but Mark and I are in the middle of South Beach, so we can't have stuffing or cranberry or pumpkin pie or anything like that. So I've modified it, and here's our alternative Thanksgiving menu:

Roasted Turkey with garlic and a little spice
Spicy black beans with peppers and onions made with Louisiana hot sauce
Roasted greenbeans with slivered almonds
Steamed broccoli
spinach salad with pear vinaigrette and cashews
pickles and olives relish tray
guacamole with celery sticks and cucumbers and cherry tomatoes
And for dessert, I'm trying this thing where I mix up frozen sugar free fudgsicles in the blender and then add cool whip to make a kind of chocolate mousse. We'll see how that turns out. :)

As of this morning, I've lost 9 pounds.
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South Beach Update -- This is the sixth morning of the diet, and I've lost five pounds. I seem to be losing a pound a day during the really strict phase one of this thing. I have absolutely no cravings for carbs, and almost no cravings for sugars. They recommend doing phase 1 for two weeks, but I may do it for an extra week just to really kick start the whole process.

Dissertation Update -- Ugh. I have so much work. But I have finally started to realize the ways in which this dissertation /does/ question and challenge almost all the accepted methods of dealing with the kind of texts I'm dealing with, and it's a little daunting. I'm basically flying in the face of a lot of critics who will smash me upside the head if this thing ever gets published. I'm seeing it now. My advisor tells me that's part of what makes this work I'm doing groundbreaking. We'll see.

Married Update -- Still married. :) Very happy. Working on thank you cards.

Cat Update -- They are currently curled up in a ball and Heathcliff is grooming Isabelle. I imagine this will last for ten seconds before they begin chasing each other. Cats are worth their weight in amusement value.

I called up my temp agent and told her I needed money and gave her my available dates. She called up my favorite firm in the city, and they filled every one of my available dates for me. Sometimes it pays to have a work ethic. It makes people go out of their way to give you money. And working around holidays is always good at this firm because there isn't much in the way of work. So I can maybe get some dissertation stuff taken care of. Maybe.

I'm still working on composing some thoughts and a post about the wedding. There are so many things and people that I just want to gush about. Eventually.
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So I started South Beach with D on Monday. It's only Wednesday, but I'm three pounds less now, with my weight being the lowest it's been since D moved in two and a half years ago or so. I was already losing weight, and this just kicked it into high gear.

Of course, all that crap about how the first two weeks, the "strict" phase is so easy that you won't even notice the craving for carbs and sugars disappearing is bullshit. I can't even walk /past/ a bag of potato chips. I'll be glad when the two weeks is over and I can feel like I'm eating like a human again. :)

But I have learned one thing -- lean summer sausage and peel-n-eat shrimp are your friends. As are sugar free popsicles.
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The wedding was amazing. More beautiful than I thought it could possibly be. When the lights went out and they lit up the strings of lights throughout the Spanish moss, I almost died from beauty overload.

The food was amazing. The music was phenomenal (thank you, Julia). The DJ was great. The decorations were astounding. The flowers were great. The groomsmen and bridesmaids were fantastic. Scout was a bridesmaid in all but name, and without her, things would have been much more stressful. The company was fun. The champagne was tasty. There were people there I haven't seen in years, and I must have said "I love you" to sixty different people over the weekend. It was an "I love you" kind of weekend.

Most importantly though, Mark was amazing. When I saw him standing there at the foot of the stairs, and when he took my hand.... I was home.

I love you my amazing husband.

Done

Nov. 1st, 2003 11:27 pm
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I just finished the rough draft of the Sheri Reynolds chapter.

Introduction, done
Theory and History chapter, done
Rosemary Daniell, done
Lee Smith, done
Sheri Reynolds, done
Conclusion -- not done, but only because I'm not doing this until all the revisions are done.

So, I lived up to my self-imposed deadline of having a completed rough draft done by the time of the wedding. In fact, it's a week before the wedding.

Now I can sit back and actually enjoy the next week.

I'm starting off by having a Woodchuck. After which I will probably crash and burn and sleep the sleep of the dead.

Go me!
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