Guess Who

…has two thumbs and just won the 2012 Moroney Postal Award for an outstanding and significant contribution to Postal scholarship?


I submitted my Master’s thesis almost two years ago and got notified yesterday that I won the junior prize for 2012.  What do I win???  $1,000!  Yes, that is a comma.

I’m so excited and proud.  I knew my ideas were good even if I couldn’t find another person who thought they were interesting.  My dad said he might even have to read it now.  Yessss!  On my bucket list is to get published, so maybe one day I’ll expand on my now award winning thesis and have my name permanently in black and white.  Right now I’m enjoying rolling in my $1,000…as soon as they send the check.

If One More Person Tells Me This Is A Beautiful Miracle, I’m Going To Punch Them In Their Huevos

I know I’ve been rather silent since my big announcement.  Work has been crazy busy lately, plus babies make you insanely tired!  My house is a pit.  I have no food in my fridge.  All I really care about it getting a nap.  Unfortunately, writing does not make that list most days.

I’ve been trying to organize my thoughts too.  I do not want to make this space like Babys-R-Us.  I’m always interested when my bloggity friends have kids, and I want to know how it’s going for them, but the rest of the world seems to die away and their blogs become the 24/7 diaper update zone.  I totally understand how that happens now, but I want to try really hard to keep this a fairly neutral space.  I am determined to retain some of my hobbies and interests when Peanut gets here.  We’ll see how much I accomplish of that.  Feel free to remind me if I quit posting about anything but how my feet are swelling and the best price I can find on a onesie.

That being said, I’m doing great health-wise.  I’m tired but have had zero morning sickness.  I feel pretty lucky in the knocked up department.  Most of my problems are coming from just sorting all this out mentally.  I had about a week where I didn’t know if it was weird hormones or the start of prenatal depression or a bad hair day.  I hated this little peanut.  I hated everyone in the world for not cleaning my kitchen for me.  I was sad that the life that I thought I was going to go back to when DH got home is no longer possible.  I was freaked out of my mind thinking about telling my family that I had no self-control when DH got home because really, that’s the only thing “hey, we’re having a deployment baby” sounds like.  Ugh.  It’s been messy.

But I am here and plugging away.  I’m sure I’ll have stories to tell when I come back from the families’ houses next month.  We’re going back for holiday leave and plan on sharing the news with everyone then.  Yikes to the eleventy billionth power.

On a completely unrelated topic, DH and I were planning on going to Spain this coming summer.  Since Peanut has now taken over ALL our 2011 plans, we took the day today and went to see Cirque du Soleil’s Ovo.  I don’t feel like I’m giving anything away by saying it definitely wasn’t Spain, but we had a fantastic time.  Cirque du Soleil always does fantastic shows, and it’s worth every penny to go.  Oh, and I submitted my Master’s thesis for a research award, so I’m pretty excited about that.  Otherwise, life is plugging away.  Hope everyone is doing well.


My thesis is done!  I turned it in yesterday and am soooo happy to officially be done with all coursework for this degree.  I thought that having written that many pages, the actual quantity would be less daunting.  I was wrong.  Editing all those pages was still a monumental task that took longer than I anticipated.  But that makes it that much more awesome that I made it through and am totally finished!  All I have left is to attend residency in June where I’ll graduate.  It stinks that I have to wait so long to officially be able to say that I have an MA, but the hard part it over.

I learned, among other things, that a Masters is no joke.  It’s tough.  It’s a lot of very hard work.  It’s frustrating and exhausting.  It will tie you up in mental knots and spit you back out again.  Don’t get me wrong, I was prepared for starting my Masters.  I was a good writer.  I had excellent study habits.  This degree destroyed what I thought I knew though.  It pushed my writing ability past any limits I had and forced me to juggle more work than I thought possible.  Unlike my Bachelors, I feel like I accomplished a monumental task with my Masters.  I worked my butt off and produced an original body of research that can carry its own weight in the world of history.  That’s so totally kick ass.  Man, I am incredibly proud of myself!

Final Review

I finally got my thesis back from my advisor with all the edits.  I’ve been so anxious to get finished with the whole thing because that would mean I’ve completed my MASTERS people!  The whole hiccup with my crappy advisor put me behind, but a cracked rib and medications that made my new advisor too loopy to read added significant delays too.  All that doesn’t matter though because it’s finally back in my hands.  It’s been over two months, and I haven’t looked at it once.   I had my mother edit it too.  She’s a professional editor, and another set of eyes, non-historian ones at that, could always help.  I’m going to sit down over the next couple days and reread it.  I want to compare the comments and see what needs rewriting.

The good news is that my advisor made minimal corrections.  There were very few issues with content and absolutely nothing wrong with the main points of my paper.  I’m feeling confident that I’ve produced an original body of quality research at the graduate level.  My advisor even suggested that my argument could be expanded to include other events in American history, which I feel means that my argument holds water.  Mission accomplished!

As much as I was sick of this topic, looking at the research, and ready to chuck the whole paper out the window by the time I was finished with my draft, I really like what I chose to write about.  I examined the relationship between the postal service and the military that developed to meet the needs of an expanding Western frontier that were not provided by a fiscally conservative federal government.  It sounds so dry, but that’s only because I have to describe fifty pages in one little sentence.  It really is a cool paper, and the research was fascinating.  I see why people get so invovled with their graduate reseach and end up turning it into a book.  I could easily extend the argument to World War I and the American territories overseas.  If someone wanted to pay me for all the research and writing for a book, I’d be over the moon!  Seriously, I would consider retiring because I’d have accomplished everything I could ever want.  Maybe I should set my sights a tad lower and think about finishing my final draft and actually getting to commencement first.

Close Enough To Taste It

Hear that?  It’s the sound of exuberant relief.  I turned in the first draft of my thesis this afternoon.  Sigh…  I am so close to being finished.

I was so excited to turn it in today that I forgot to attach my bibliography.  Oops…hehe.  I called everyone I knew.  No one was available to talk.  Clearly they do not have the same priorities as I do, geeze.  To be perfectly honest, when I’m getting close to a deadline and really engrossed in a paper, hygiene suffers.  I get the basics.  My teeth are always clean.  My clothes and hair–not so much.  It’s nasty.  I’m not proud.  Think of it as part of the creative process.  I took the longest shower I could today to celebrate.  Double sigh…  No wonder people were avoiding me.

I’m really proud of the paper I turned in today.  It’s certainly not the final.  My footnotes and bibliography are still rough, and I know my advisor will have comments and areas for me to smooth out.  The main effort is done though.  My mom is a profession editor, and I’m so lucky because she wants to poor over every comma and pronoun usage.  I’ll repay her with dazzling facts about the Post Office’s reliance on the military during the building of the West.  See, you’re mouth is watering right now in anticipation of more.

It’s alright.  I won’t be offended if you’re actually looking for an exit.  I know that there only a few people nerdy enough to be intrigued by that statement.  It’s a lonely life.  Hehe.

My brother asked me a few months ago about my topic.  We chatted.  He attempted to convince how dull it was.  I told him I’d give him a copy of the final version for Christmas since he seemed so intrigued.  He told me he would give me a gift equally as valuable if I tried it.  Somehow I don’t think he was envisioning priceless gems or solid gold toothpicks like I was.

I’m going to give it a day or two and then dive back in.  I need to start polishing the footnotes and finalizing my bibliography.  I kind of like that part, so I not quite looking forward to it but I’m not dreading it either.  In a few days, maybe by next Monday, my advisor will have comments.  The first hurdle is past though.

Closer To A First Draft

I finished writing my skeleton draft today.  It’s 39 1/2-40 pages.  I’m too tired and annoyed with working with this material to be happy.  The draft is very rough, mostly just the bare bones of paragraphs minus the topic sentences and thesis related junk.  My footnotes are about in the same shape.  Nothing peeves me more than unfinished footnotes, so I think that’s going to be my next task.  Revising, revising, revising over the next few days.  My advisor told me my outline tended to get off topic…yesterday as I was finishing my last two topics.  Arg.  That just tells me I need to do more revising than I thought, and I’m so not looking forward to it.  First hurdle down though.  I’ve got to keep my head in the game and finish this monster with full strength.  No half-assing now.

Status: T minus 20ish

I’ve been working my bum off this past week.  I’m 4,772 words into my thesis, which is a little over a third of the way there.  I’ve been just throwing words on the paper and will organize the whole thing later.  Because there’s so much information, I need to get all the facts there, so I can revise like crazy and add in all the cosmetic, thesis-related sentences in there.  I usually don’t write this way, so it’s a little wierd.  My advisor wants me to look at a few other sources about public policy and redo my thesis statement, so that’s my weekend plans.  His area of expertise is the Civil War and public policy, so I’m not surprised, but it was a really good idea that will help my paper tons.  Once I’ve got that done, I can relate all the facts that I’m writing now to my revised thesis.  No point to really do it twice.

So things are moving along.  I’m really happy with my progress so far, and I’m getting anxious to get to the revising part.  I’m so close to the end of this degree!  It sucks that I’ve got to research a few more sources…thought I was passed that…but I guess that’s part of the process.  See where there are holes and fill them as you go.  I’m on track to have some sort of a complete draft in two weeks, although with the change in advisors I have more time if I need it.  I’m working so hard, I hope I don’t need it!






In the zone with my research and rocking to Ladyhawke‘s “My Delirium.”

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.

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.

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.



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.

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