Saturday, May 14, 2011


I haven't updated during the entire month of May? Seriously? I keep thinking of things I would like to write about and then I just don't have time. I suppose this is a positive thing: I'm using my writing time for dissertating and/or writing freelance articles. That's what I SHOULD be doing with my writing time. I'd still like to figure out a way to write here on a more regular basis, though. Apparently I've only made 7 entires in all of 2011, which is just pathetic. I haven't even written a proper post about my wedding, for god's sake, and I've been married for more than four months. I fully intend to write something about my wedding day eventually, though. I even started a post a few weeks ago during all the royal wedding hoopla, when it felt appropriate to write about my own wedding. But I never got around to finishing the post and now it's outdated and I suppose at this point I should just wait for my half-year anniversary or, hell, even my first anniversary, at the rate I'm going.

As for married life itself, though, it's very good. To be completely honest, on a day-to-day basis married life doesn't feel all that different from living-with-your-boyfriend life, but in my case that's a good thing because living with my boyfriend/fiance was always pretty damn awesome. You're going to have to wait for me to have several free hours to wrap my mind around a wedding/honeymoon post to actually hear about my thoughts on why doing the big wedding and tying the knot officially was important to me. Even though in conversation I'm sort of flippant about it and always joke that nothing really changed when Penn and I got married, I do honestly feel like getting married was the best and more important thing I have done in my life so far. I'll tell you all about it, someday...

We've had some big changes in the few months that we've been married. There was Penn's sister's illness and the subsequent revelation of a whole bunch of shit that I don't really feel like getting into here but that is still having a profound effect on my in-laws. That drama has sort of been the unifying theme of the past two months, unfortunately. It's always in the back of my mind and I know it's always in the back of Penn's mind (if not on the front burner) as well. I wish I could say things are getting better for her, but they are not. I don't know what is going to happen with her situation ultimately, and all I can do in the meantime is support Penn as he tries to support her while subsequently not getting so involved in her life choices that he exhausts himself emotionally. It's a really sucky tightrope to walk, and I wish he didn't have to deal with this, but it's the hand he (and, by extension, I) have been dealt. I think he's handling the situation well, all things considered, and I'm just doing my best to be the support he needs to be the support she needs.

Good things have been happening too, though, and I don't want to give the impression that I've done nothing since March 15th but worry about my sister-in-law. There are actually a lot of other things going on. We got a second hound dog! We adopted him from a rescue group almost three weeks ago and he is wonderful. He's a sweet, happy guy who is the perfect mate for my first hound. I fell in love with him instantly (how was I ever worried that I wouldn't be able to love two?) and Penn and I have been getting a kick out of watching Meatball and the new dog interact. Who needs cable when you have dog wrestling every night?!
I joined a covenant group at my church. The purpose is spiritual growth. Church groups normally aren't my thing, but the assistant pastor at my church (a fellow newlywed) suggested that I join the group and I thought, "Why not?" We've been members at this church for a year now and I've been hoping to get to know other members better, and I like the idea of having other female friends outside of work--and mom friends* specifically, since most of my closest girlfriends here are either single or other so-far-childless newlyweds--so this seemed like a good way to broaden my social circle. And I honestly would like to work on improving my faith, or, more accurately, figuring out what exactly "faith" means for me. This group meets every other week and so far I'm really enjoying it. There are ten women there. The pastor and I are the youngest, but there are other women just 5-10 years older than us and then a few much older women. It's a good mix and I really enjoy meeting with the group and it may sound silly but I feel more peaceful after every session.
I also joined a book club. A friend of a friend started it and invited me to join. We've only had one meeting so far, but I loved it. The women in the group are diverse and smart and funny and lovely and it was so much fun to read a book and then hear everyone's opinions over a couple of bottles of wine. We're planning to meet once a month from now on, and I really hope the enthusiasm for this sticks because I've wanted to belong to a book club for ages and it's great to find one of young(ish) people. Also, it's yet another way to meet new people.
My neighbor and I spent six hours last Friday creating a flower bed on the property line between our driveways. We went to the nursery together and picked out flowers and then dug the flower bed ourselves and planted everything. We decided to do the entire flower bed in various shades of pink. Our husbands were as thrilled with this decision as you might imagine. I love spring time here so much. It's just so in-your-face with all of the blooming and the color. It turns out that all of the bushes in front of our house are azaleas, and they all bloomed in various shades of pink, purple, and red and I don't care if they look scraggly all fall and winter, those bushes are staying here for as long as they want to keep living just because they put on such an amazing show for three weeks in April (and they look pretty good now that all of their leaves have come in).
I'm plugging ahead on the dissertation. I conducted a very important interview last week. I have plans to have two chapters to my advisor by the end of July. Go me.
Penn's dad and his dad's wife are coming to visit tomorrow, so I need to head to bed so that I'm not a zombie when they get here at 9 AM. I hope we have a good visit with them. If nothing else, their imminent arrival spurred a flurry of home improvement projects we'd been putting off: wedding pictures got framed and hung up, stepping stones were purchased and placed in the back yard, the back porch was swept for the first time since winter ended.
The semester is about to end--I give my class their final exam on Monday--so hopefully I'll find time to give this blog some TLC during my three weeks of downtime before my family vacation and the start of two major summer projects.

*Nope, not pregnant. I feel like ever since I got married my friends and family have been on pregnancy patrol, and I really have to watch what I say. I made the mistake of posting a Facebook status post last month about how I was unusually hungry, and I had half a dozen people ask me if I was pregnant. I'm glad everyone is excited, and I'd love to share exciting news sooner rather than later, but there's just nothing to report at the moment. Still, I'm consciously beginning to think of ways to build my local support for when that time does come, and it seems wise to connect with other moms.**
**Speaking of other moms, my cousin who lives nearby just gave birth to her second child and he weighed 12 pounds. TWELVE. POUNDS. And she got him out in under ten minutes. I am in awe.