Thanks for Cooking

This year's Thanksgiving will be very low-key for us, more so than usual. I usually take great pride in preparing more dishes than my family could ever hope to eat and spending all day in the kitchen. This is followed by a Thanksgiving coma, good night's rest and the day after tradition of watching White Christmas and setting up the Christmas tree. These family traditions have been going for so long I'll hardly know what to do with myself tomorrow.

We are going over to hubby's parents' house and all I'm tasked with is showing up. Of course I'll still be making fresh bread and a side dish and making hubby wear something other than a t-shirt and jeans. His family's holidays are very simple almost to the point of just being dinner together. There will be a turkey, mashed potatoes and a veggie. To most people that sounds like Thanksgiving, but to me it sounds like somebody stole half of dinner. I have found memories of working in the kitchen with my Mom and two sisters cooking all day, trying new recipes, watching my Dad carve the turkey and try and not take his hand off with the electric knife, and listening to my Mom cheer over the football game.

This Thanksgiving I'm kind of glad I'm not spending the day with my side of the family. It will most likely be a somber occasion. I will see my parent's at the funeral in DC so we decided to stay in town and not travel to their house this year. Hubby's Mom will be glad she gets to keep him. They've had dibs on us for Christmas for the last 6 years so I guess it might be time to switch it up. One of these years it might be nice to stay home at our house, invite all of our stray friends for the holidays and create some of our own traditions, but without kids in the picture the assumption seems to be that we are the strays who need to be subdivided amongst our relatives. That's ok, for now I'll let somebody else do most of the cooking. Maybe I can even encourage them to make a bigger deal out of the holidays. Even I, who have had the same post-Thanksgiving tradition for over 20 years will break my pattern and not set up my tree first thing in the morning. I will actually dare to brave the black Friday crowds. Our TV which we bought at Sears is going on sale $600.00 off that day if I get a price adjustment before noon. I may actually drop by Old Navy too. Cashmere sweaters for less than $30.00 is hard to beat.


Correspondence Classes Suck

I am finally getting back to my mass media law class. This was a summer sessions correspondence class that I took for the fun of it. Life got in the way and as the story goes with correspondence classes in general it got put off. Now, my incomplete in the class will turn into a big fat ugly F if I don't finish the course by the second week in December. Like all of my correspondence classes, which I make lovely schedules for, I'll end up finishing it at the last minute of the extension that I shouldn't have needed in the first place. Of course, there is a catch. My professor only accepts 2 lessons a week for grading. This makes sense as I wouldn't want to have to grade an entire semester's worth of work for the entire class all at once when grades are due. This makes me have to start now and not get off schedule. I finished the first 6 lessons over the summer which leaves me with the last 6 still to go. Along with a term project. I have covered the history of the 1st amendment, prior restraint, libel, invasion of privacy (appropriation and intrusion) and invasion of privacy (publication of private information and false light) so far. This leaves me with gathering information, FOIA, protection of sources, regulation of obscene and other erotic material, copyright, regulation of advertising and telecommunications regulation. It's a lot to digest at once, but I know it's my own fault for procrastinating.

My regular semester class is going great. I'm taking contract law for engineers. I got a perfect 100% on my midterm which was a first for me. With languages I was constantly spelling things slightly off and with engineering 100% was unheard of, so getting that grade was awesome. My professor sent me a personalized e-mail telling me my grade and informing me that it was top in the class and asking if I'd ever thought of law school. I got a huge grin on my face that day which was very needed giving the way the rest of life has been going lately.

Actually, that isn't entirely true, just my family life is miserable, and not even my own family unit, its my extended family. I switched jobs as well and my new job is awesome. I keep saying how much I love it, and this is making hubby question why I would want to leave to go to school. Basically I switched from contract administration of engineering projects to design work. I'm in a group/team environment which is really great to bounce ideas around in. For the first time in my professional life I have other electrical engineers that I'm working with and can ask questions of. I'm usually surrounded by other disciplines, and trust me, it makes a big difference. I normally feel overwhelmed and silly, like my degree didn't prepare me to be a real EE. Now I realize that everybody feels that way when they get out of school and even people who have been working for 15 years have some of the same questions I did. I thought it was just a problem with me. I'm still going to work on finishing up my applications this week. I like to keep my options open and law school really excites me.

In more sober news, they have scheduled the interment at Arlington. I have booked tickets to fly into DC on the 1st of December. If I change my mind I can always cancel them. That is one of the perks of flying 150k miles a year, no change fees or cancellation fees.

I did do one happy non-school thing today. I ordered my Christmas cards. I always order from Naitonal Geographic. That way I get gorgeous photography and I support something that I believe in at the same time, science and exploration. I have cute penguin cards on their way.


The Perfect Snowflake

As you can probably tell from my last post, life has been sucking a lot lately. I have been so demotivated. Then on Tuesday it snowed. Being an Alaskan, this is nothing new to me, it snows all the time. But the snowflakes were different than I've ever seen before. The snow was huge, so large that you could count all 6 sides of each flake and watch them come lightly to rest on your sweetheart's hair before melting. So large and fluffy, not slushy at all. They were perfect, beautiful snowflakes, and after 17 years in Alaska, the prettiest I've ever seen. They were beautiful enough to break me out of my self-absorbed thoughts and look around me again. Here is what I saw:
I didn't have my camera with me, but I found these on another blog. They capture what I saw beautifully.


This was my soldier

I won't post his name here because I don't want my family finding my blog under these circumstances.

This was my cousin. He was a West Point graduate serving with special forces in Iraq when he was killed on the 6th by an EFP. Last night, about 10 minutes before class my Mom called to tell me that my cousin had been killed on active duty. He was one of my closest cousins growing up and I have tons of West Virginia memories of us doing stupid things like floating along in inner tubes when the "crick" was flooded. I'm feeling like shit right now, not least because hubby is also in the Army and doesn't seem to see why this makes me so upset. I live in a military town in a military state in a BUSH country so it's not like I'm getting a lot of helpful comments. Instead, it's all, "Well, you know he was a hero." I know that he was a strong Christian and that he believed in what he was doing and loved it, and that should make me feel better, but I don't want to be told how I should feel, I just need to grieve a little and deal with personal family stuff.

He has requested burial in Arlington (DC) and depending on the family arrangements I might attend. I have never seen news footage of 9/11. On the day it happened I was at work and refused to turn on the TV when I got home. I didn't want to put myself through that emotionally. When reports come on Iraq that are at all personal I switch the channel. Not only did I have a cousin who was a Captain, I have a brother at West Point right now and a husband who joined ROTC in 2000 for the scholarship money, never imagining what the consequences of that would be. It's really hard to love the soldier and hate the war and not have everybody think you're a bad person in this country. Shouldn't everybody hate that we're at war, regardless of the reason for the war?

Me bursting into apparently random fits of tears isn't the best thing at my new job. I'm going to try not to think about this for awhile.

Well Done - Be Thou at Peace


Will post soon

I really need to post the rest of my Santiago trip posts. Life has just been getting in the way lately. I leave again tomorrow for another trip to St. Louis Missouri. I also started my new job today. I'm trying to get some design experience rather than just pure contract administration experience. Not to mention the fact that I'm getting together my personal statements, begging for letters of recommendation before my professors leave on sabbatical. Oh yeah, and I'm married and trying to have a life. It's just a lot to deal with while jet-lagged and fighting a cold. I'll post soon, I promise. I'll have nothing better to do while on the plane than make blog posts.