A Turkish Delight

Ab Proof

 

I finished this book about a week ago or so and forgot to let you know how it turned out.  The Abyssinian Proof by Jenny White was a really pleasurable read.  It’s a historical fiction novel set in the Ottoman Empire, but it’s also a crime novel.  White is a professor of anthropology, and I think she did a super great job combining historical accuracy and the flavor of Turkish society with a fictional detective story.  If the elements of religious uncertainty, relic hunting, and suspense appealed to you from the De Vinci Code, I think you might like this piece too.

The book centers on Kamil Pasha, a magistrate in Istanbul.  After a rash of thefts of religious icons, he is tasked with catching the perpetrators.  His search teams him up with a local police chief, Omar, and drags in his friend, Malik, who is the caretaker of a temple for an isolated and little known religious sect in the city.  This sect has roots to the city back hundreds of years when Istanbul was Constantinople and the gem of Byzantium, and the search for the missing artifacts uncovers its history, hidden tunnels under the city, and a larger secret about the origin of religion.  It also has all the good stuff like foreigners, a little romance, spies, and murder.

The Abyssinian Proof is set in the nineteenth century, which I enjoyed a lot, but it might be a turn off for others.  Other than that, I have very little negatives to report.  It was a fast read but had enough meat to it that I enjoyed it over several days.  The crime plot was really well developed and had tons of twists and turns.  There were plenty of sub-plots too, so as I read I got involved and invested with the characters.  I’m not a big fan of religious history, but White did it very well and balanced it with the detective-murder plot tastefully.  Overall, it was one of the most engaging and enjoyable books I’ve read in a long time.

What I didn’t realize when I bought the book is that it’s actually the second book in a series of novels following the same character.  From what I gather, the books don’t build off one another, but now that I’ve read this one, I think I’m going to go back and get the first one.  It’s called The Sutlan’s Seal, and it sounds just as thrilling and colorful as this one.

(*I also loved that on the back cover of the book there was a note about what tattoo studio did the cover model’s tattoo.  Got to know the important stuff, people!  She looks so sexy!)

Advertisements

Status: T minus 30

It’s true.  We’re down to the last dirty thirty before this separation is over.  I fear the rest of the year is going to be one long, panic-stricken whirl.  I declare today to be the official beginning and figured it merited a status report before it all goes to hell. 

I step foot back in the gym today.  Oh it wasn’t pretty.  I had some genuinely indignant muscles.  As much as I fear their wrath tomorrow, it needed to happen.  I feel all over better when I work out regularly, and I think it’s a universal compulsion of military wives to try and get in shape right before their husbands come home.

I got reassigned a new advisor for my thesis today.  Excited and nervous.  Hope he likes all the work I’ve put in already, or I’ll be back to square one.  I think tomorrow will my first official day writing too.  Starting with military telegraphy I think.  It’s been speaking to me.  It’s a small aspect of the paper, but it’s also a great example of the relationship between the military and postal service.  Hopefully it’ll be an easy couple pages, and the rest of the composition juices with rise to the surface.  The first few pages are always the most telling of the whole paper…

My mom asked me to drive her to the airport on Friday.  I’m starting to sweat just thinking about it.  If I end up on the side of the road crying before my mom makes it through airport security, is that a bad sign about future independent driving on my part?  Uhh…  I want to say no so badly.  Damn myself for knowing what’s good for me!

Super Rad has a date to come home!!  I hope I can meet him when he comes off the plane again.  DH is telling me not to hold my breath with how our schedule is looking.  His brand of sensitivity is NOT one of his traits that I’m missing.

Seriously, I’m freaking out about this driving thing!  I wish I hadn’t brought it up.

And the biggie…When DH and I finally get back together after long absences, it’s always a grab bag for how I’ll feel.  I usually don’t get excited until the very last minute, like maybe the day before or afternoon of.  It’s too hard to get all ramped up in advance.  Part of me doesn’t believe it’ll happen I think.  I’m usually extremely nervous and scared once we’re together.  I worry that we won’t be the same when we see each other, and he won’t like me anymore.  I worry that I’ve forgotten how to be with him.  I worry that I’m not going to get all those lovey feelings back toward him.  (Maybe I worry too much?)  I’m sure I’ll get all those feelings when the time gets here, but I’m also feeling a lot of different things this time.  I’m sad.  I know it sounds weird, but I don’t want to move to our new duty station.  I don’t like the area of the country.  DH probably won’t get to be there long before he deploys, leaving me to essentially move in and get to know a new place that I’ve never seen alone.  I have to decorate and furnish our first house, and it’ll all be strange to him when he gets home.  I’ve been crying a lot.  I’m having to prepare for deployment when I don’t even have my hubby.  Super Rad is coming home, relieving that intense fear that my family’s been living with, but I’m not really getting any break.  My hubs is going, and I’m left with that crippling fear about watching the news or getting a phone call when everyone else’s is ending.  There’s so much to do and keep track of and organize during this process.  It’s overwhelming.  My head’s a jumble of jobs, therapists, fences for the dog, car loans, op orders, refrigerators, dining room sets, visits to family, ordering checks, winter coats….  It’s so much that some days I can’t function.  Other days I’m in the middle of this eerie calm where I feel nothing.  It’s over a month away.  I’ll figure it out later.

Today is not one of those days.  And I have a migraine.  If I can survive this, I can do anything.

Guess Where I Was Today?

book festival

 

Here!  (Cool poster, huh?)

My mom and I packed our backpack full of books and went down to D.C. today for the National Book Festival.  We were so excited.  We waited hours and hours to have our books signed and got to listen to them speak later in the day.  There was an impressive list of authors attending this year.  I could have listened to so many authors and would have loved to get some of my past favorites signed from when I was a kid, but I had to prioritize.  Judy Blume and Lois Lowry were there!  Ahh!!!

I was so excited to see Tim O’Brien.  The Things They Carried moved me so much the first time I read it.  I have a copy packed away, and I didn’t want to rebuy it, so I settled for Lake of the Woods instead.  I haven’t read it yet, so I’m excited to see what a non-war novel of his is like.  He read from a piece he’s working on right now about his son.  He had a really hard time getting through it, and it brought tears to my eyes.  I hope he publishes it.  It was intensely personal, but he’s such an amazing writer.

The bummer was that it rained most of the afternoon.  We came home wet, tired, and hungry.  I stood in line no less than 2 hours at a time to get my book autographed.  I stood in line for two books for my mom too, so it was a lot of waiting in the rain.  Personally, it was totally worth it, and I had a great time.  So glad I went.

Success Even Though It Feels Crummy

I had some great success today.  It doesn’t feel as great as it is, but I know deep down it’s good.  I’ve been wrestling with my thesis advisor since about June.  He’s been unresponsive, vague, and completely unhelpful.  I can’t get a straight answer out of him about anything.  It takes him sometimes weeks to even give me that much information.  I haven’t heard from him in over a month, and he hasn’t graded my first two assignments for this class.  I have gotten zero guidance for my thesis and am researching blindly hoping that I’m headed in the right direction.

After waking up in a bad mood this morning, I’d had enough.  I sent an email expressing my frustration to my go-to person in the administration.  (As a side note, we graduated together a few years ago with the same degree.  I think he was always sweet on me too, and yes, I sometimes use that for my advantage.  hehe)  I got his out of office reply.  Arg.  I was so fired up and forwarded it to his boss (also graduated with him, although we didn’t know each other well) saying I couldn’t wait until Monday.  My email was immediately forwarded to the director of the program.  I’m getting reassigned a new advisor and have an extension on my entire thesis!  I was so stoked!! 

After thinking about it for several hours now, I’m not as excited about the extension.  If I have to redo so much that it’s going to take me weeks more, I’m not going to be a happy camper.  But at least I have the time, unpenalized, if I need it.  And I like researching, so it won’t be the end of the world.  I will not let it ruin my huge victory.  I spoke up.  I was unhappy and said something AND I GOT RESULTS!  It’s very hard for me to do that.  Even now I’m sitting here worried about what my crappy advisor is thinking about me complaining about him.  I don’t want to hurt his feelings.  I want to give him the benefit of the doubt even to the point that my Master’s degree is compromised.  Have I lost my mind?

I want to be proud of this accomplishment.  And I want to cry.  I wish I had people around me that I could celebrate this moment with.  I wish I had a therapist right now that I could talk to.  They’re paid to be interested, but I’m ok with that.  I want to analyze this victory and have someone know right off what it means.  I’m sick of explaining this stuff to people.  I’m sick, but they expect me to be well enough to explain it and help them find the best way to help me.  Hello?  If I could do that, I’d just skip to that stage myself.

To backtrack, DH and I exchanged some heated words last night.  We’re both tired and grumpy.  This separation needs to come to an end.  We’re both strained to the max.  It’s just put me in a crummy mood.  It’s so hard to end a fight when you can’t see each other.  The argument just fades away without a clear resolution.  It’s too easy to hang up the phone, avoid calling, and pretend that all the nastiness didn’t occur the day before.  And right now, it leaves me feeling like I don’t have my main confidant to talk to.

To sum up, it’s a double crummy.  Feeling guilty for speaking up and missing an outlet for my emotions.  Tomorrow my mom and I have big plans, and I hope so badly that my bad mood doesn’t ruin it.  We’ve been planning and looking forward to it ever since I got back.

 

 

 

 

 

Internally raging and maybe a little moping to Staind’s “Yesterday” off 14 Shades of Grey.  It’s serious self-empowerment.  Use wisely.

I’m Starting the Hunt

I just started my job search at our upcoming duty station.  I’ve glanced at the classifieds a few times over the summer, but now it’s down to real looking.  I’m unimpressed.  Museums and archives are not an easy field to get into, and once you’re in you don’t really move around much.  That is going to be oh so helpful once we start PCSing consistently.

It’s coming at a good time though.  Right as we get there, I should be finishing up my thesis.  I won’t graduate until next June, but all my coursework will be finished.  Hopefully that’ll open up another level of possible jobs since I’ll be super smart–at least on paper.  I’m a bit anxious though.  I’m going to be so disappointed if I have to take a job that either has nothing to do with my degree or is way below my new education just to get a job.  What did I work so hard for the past year and half if it’s not getting me anywhere?  In this economy, can I afford to be picky?

One of my hugest beefs with the military is their attitude toward working spouses.  They appear to seem very concerned.  They suggest ways to word applications and resumes that downplay the constant moving.  Most installations also have classifieds for local and on base jobs.  But there’s my problem.  The list consists of openings at the commissary, Starbucks, and daycare centers.  They encourage women left at home while their man is out to war to take courses for dental or legal assistant.  Umm…what about all us wives who are kick ass smarter than our military husbands?  What about us who want an actual career where we could possibly make more than our warrior breadwinners?  I understand that many wives have kids, and if their husbands are often gone, they need something that is more conducive to school schedules or toddlers.  But the answer is Starbucks?  Or home daycare where the women then never get to leave the confines of their government issued dwelling or have a conversation above the five year old level?

I know I will have to move often to follow my soldier, and I’m ok with that, but I fully anticipate looking for real, full-time, fulfilling work.  And I’m determined to do it even more now to prove the damn military wrong.  I’ll settle for some job that isn’t my favorite or doesn’t perfectly fit my degree before I become the waitress at the bowling alley.  Ugh, it steams my broccoli just thinking about it.

They Love Me! They Really Love Me!

I just got this text message from Red. 

“last night [Mr. Red the Giant] says that u should come back and get a job and he’ll buy u car so u can come and go as u please, n theres a museum in [Prairieville] she can work at”

This is probably the third or fourth time she’s mentioned me coming back to visit since I left two weeks ago.  Sigh…I have the bestest friend ever.

Back To Business

I’m back! I got back from my marathon vacation two days ago. It was hands down the best time I’ve had in a long, long time. Red and her new family are doing well. It tore my heart out to leave them. I think it’s so unfair that one of the rare people in this world that completely accept me for all my weird, dented, malfunctioning glory lives so far away. We’ve only ever had one fight in the 13 years we’ve been friends. I can say or do the oddest thing, and she’ll shake her head and laugh but not in a mean, condescending way. Nothing but acceptance. I don’t get that a lot. In her voice, in her actions, I only see her concern and care for me. I wish I could have that more than every few years when we visit for a few days. I don’t know what to do with that yet. Am I lucky or am I being denied what everyone else gets? More thoughts on that later.

The rest of my family in Prairieville was equally as great. I had the best time with my grandparents. It was slow and easy. I got to see both my cousins’ new babies, Thing 1 and Thing 2. They’re both girls and cute as a button. Everything about my trip just felt like home. I was so sad to leave. As I was saying goodbye, my grandfather hugged me and said “You always know where home is.” I couldn’t hold back the waterworks after that. My grandpa is absolutely one of my favorite people. He is a wonderful man, and I always wanted to marry someone just like him.

While I was there, I bought the cutest sweater. Not newsworthy really, but I’m so excited for it to get cooler so I can wear it. 🙂

My grandma and I took a trip and went to see the incredible house of the guy who started Arbor Day. He really was a remarkable man, and his home is fabulous. It was a beautiful day for it, and we got some fresh blueberries to make blueberry pound cake. All around, it was a neat trip. The house is on a state park now, so it’s a good day trip to take where you can picnic and be outside. There are tons of orchards around it with activities for all ages, so I would recommend going later in the summer when the apples are in season.

It’s not often when you go on a vacation that was so awesome that you regret seeing your own bed again, but mine was that way. It was so long that it feels a little strange to be back here. I have yet to unpack. That’s not going to be fun at all. Boo. I’ve been catching up with all my blog friends instead. Waayyyy more fun. I’m starting to have assignments due for my thesis for school. I spent all day today putting together an 8 page bibliography. It was insane. I never want to do that again. While out gallivanting around I finished all my research, and I’m sitting down to write. To be honest, it’s scary. I’m so not looking forward to sitting and typing for the next two months straight. Ugh…

I finally talked to Super Rad yesterday too. Oh yeah!! I missed him like crazy. He’s got a tentative time to be coming home. It is probably the most inconvenient time for me, but as long as he’s home for good I’ll be happy.

My mind is racing 900 miles per hour because it’s 39 days until DH is done and we can be together again. Sigh… I can’t sit still!! I’ve been planning my new house every night as I try to fall asleep, and I don’t even know what it looks like yet. I’ve been collecting small things that I’m going to need and freaking out because I’m afraid I’m going to forget something else. Number 1 on Sis B’s list made me laugh but is also freaking me out! I’m in list making mode. I’m in crap, I need to apply for jobs mode. I’m groaning because there’s no way I’m going to fit half of my stuff back in our car. Speaking of our car, DH says it’s on its last leg so we’re going to have to squeeze in buying a new one before he leaves. That also puts me into money worry mode. I’ve been collecting projects that I can work on while DH is deployed (which unfortunately is coming up just as quickly). I’m in too antsy to wait anymore mode. Eight months!! I’m so excited this is finally ending, but I’m getting pretty stressed too. That with the looming mountain of thesisness and leaving my bestest friend in the world is inching me closer to instability.

So I’m hoping to make a plan. I need to get my butt out of bed in the morning while it’s still morning. I need to exercise—yoga, walking, the gym. I need to sit down and work my fingers down to nubbins while my parents are at work. I need to get a resume put together and apply for any job that will pay me reasonably well. I need to make all my calls, send in all my forms, and all around tie up loose ends.

 

 

It’s ok if I can’t get it all done early. There will be time once we get there.

Breathe.

Again.

Quit procrastinating but take breaks. It all doesn’t have to be done today.

But seriously, you’ve got a lot to do so get your ass out of bed.

Previous Older Entries