family, goodness, life

That’s a proud mommy

My folks are having trouble hiding their pride that I’ve finished my Master’s degree.  Mom sent out an email to some family friends that read thusly:

As Friends who have encouraged and watched this one grow, thank you for all of your encouragement and love.  Many of us have chatted about [tigerlilytoph] recently, and she just aced her thesis and had a paper accepted by the International Social Sciences Conference.  Very proud of this woman, and please enjoy her glory. What a Woman!

So sweet.  And of course all the people on the thread wrote back words of love and encouragement.  I was so touched.  Of course I had to write back:

Thank you, family of my heart.

I turned 30 in February, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to see what the next decade brings. You’ve all played pivotal roles in my development into who I am today; so much encouragement, such excellent humor and love for so many years. Luke, my gentle giant, teddy bear and jungle gym. Anthony, always a welcome companion with a ready laugh and sharp mind. Mary Kay, my literary mentor, without whom my love for writing might never have awoken. Marge and Peggie, the matriarchs of our tribe from whom I continue to draw strength. Chris, Cheryl and mom, the women who danced with me and served as the clever, hard-working, paycheck-earning, loving role models I needed. Each of you, lighting a different candle within me, even now.

I would be diminished without you. Thank you.

So much love,


I’m so lucky to have had these people in my life from such a young age.  It really goes to show how important your parents decisions are, and what a huge impact (good or bad) something as seemingly personal as the kind of friends they choose have on a child.

goodness, life, school

All pau with school

Tonight I turned in my final paper for my Master’s degree.  I am finished with grad school.

Now I have time to look for a job and read that excellent book my parents got me for my birthday, The Modern Maya.

Actually, this is the list I have going for shit to do now that I have time:

clean room (omg it is a shit show)
learn french ratatouille song (I have to learn a French song)
memorize shinkendo language (becoming a dojo bum starts tomorrow)
buy tabi (for dojo bum status, and late bday present to myself)
buy ramen from mitsuwa (been missing that tonkotsu magic)
organize Into the West viewing (movie watching with dojo people)
ask Hiroko-sensei if she teaches private lessons (for a friend)
play ukulele (YES)
buy stationery for poem and future nonsense (so much future nonsense)
reply to Japan job (GOTTA LAND THIS ONE)
Japanese homework (get ready to get fucking rocked, Hiragana)

badness, school

Treat me like an adult or I swear to god I’ll act like a child

So… I got docked for not using what is essentially the two-column note-taking system most of us were taught in high school for my field notes.  They’re explained in the syllabus, and when I read their description at the beginning of the semester, I thought, “You must be fucking kidding me” for a few of reasons:

 1) If I need to be told how to take field notes in my last semester of grad school, I am fucked.
2) That’s not at all how this program taught us how to take field notes in the first semester.
3) Two-column notes are for high school suck-ups who don’t know how to take notes.
4) The two-column system assumes note-taking in an actual notebook…  We’re supposed to take down as much dialog as possible (to make the notes accurate and useful) which can most easily be done in real time by typing 80wpm instead of writing at less than half that speed.  Also, it’s fucking 2014 and we’re all in grad school.  Chances are there’s a laptop or two floating around.

I am now at an impasse: do I alter my field notes to meet the absurd requirements set before us (aka. be a kissass), or take a hit on my grade and continue to take excellent field notes?  I’ll have to email the professor and ask for some answers to the above questions (once I’ve taken the poison out of them).
Okok, I just had another look at the fieldwork observation guidelines, and it states we should either do two column notes, OR bracket our “analytical question or observation to think about later” amidst our field notes.
I cannot hate this more than I do at this moment.  This level of micro-management (and the fact that it has already affected my grade) makes me bristle.  It also makes me wonder how the previous classes fucked up their field notes so badly that this kind of hand-holding was deemed necessary.  I’m inclined to misbehave just to see if I get threatened with a spanking.
family, goodness, life, manfolk, martial arts, school, work

The past two months

I can’t believe it’s been almost two months since I posted.  Unacceptable.  “Marjorie, pull yourself together!”

Things have been moving very quickly over the last few months.  I’ve started my last semester of grad school, which is bittersweet.  I’m ready to be done with school, but sad I won’t be able to tell people I’m a grad student, which I’v fantasized about doing since I was just a kid.  I’ll be done with classes in about six weeks, and I’ll walk at the graduation ceremony in early May.  My parents will be so proud, which makes me very happy.

give me a life in the country

I’ve applied to the JET program, which, if I’m accepted, will take me to Japan for a year to teach English.  I’ll essentially get paid to do accent reduction as a TA and live in the countryside, which sounds like a fucking dream.  I probably should’ve asked Boyfriend what he thought of that idea before I applied, but I didn’t because I want to go to Japan, and that’s that.  Turns out he’s totally into it, and will come visit/live with me for short stints if it works out.  Very exciting 🙂  I’m signed up for weekly, 2-hour Japanese classes; they start next Thursday.
UPDATE: 1/21/14
I just found out that I didn’t get into the JET program.  I’m totally crushed.  I can’t think of why they wouldn’t take me.  I didn’t even get an interview.  Ugh.  Ouch.

taught my Master Tatsu. no, really.

I’ve taken up Shinkendo, which is very challenging but rewarding (and I passed my first test!  Woot!).  We’ve started learning bō, my favorite weapon, and I could not be more excited.  Bō speaks to me in a way the sword does not, it’s like having a dance partner; it does what it wants, all I can do is give suggestions.  We form an agreement (most of the time), and communicate well.  Perhaps more importantly, I’ve found some amazing people who have become good friends at the dojo, and I’ve had the chance to reconnect with an old friend from elementary school, and can’t wait to help that friendship grow.  I also started another blog, which is what I’ve been spending my time on instead of

It’s all about life in a martial arts studio, and how hilarious and stressful it can be.

Office Job is still pretty dull, but better since Little Mole Boss was removed from her position as my boss.  She was a good boss (maybe the best I’ve had), but it’s nice to work with my co-workers more directly and speak frankly when we exchange ideas without fear of stepping on anyone’s toes.  I’m taking a more active role in the upcoming events our office is planning, which feels good.

I’ll upload a photo of our bees’ honey soon!

The bees are doing just swimmingly, and we might actually harvest some honey this season!  Soon!  We did a minor inspection and found a few bars dedicated to honey and nothing else.  I held up the comb in front of the setting sun, and it glowed amber and gold.  The comb broke open when I pulled it out (the bees built two bars of comb together, so it broke apart when I pulled one bar out), and the honey dripped out of the cells.  We tasted it right off the top of the hive.  It had a clean, light taste, ultra sweet and just beautiful to look at (surprisingly light in color).  I can’t wait to see what it looks like once we harvest a little bit.

Thanksgiving this year was good, but boozy for the cousins.  I love them, but omg they are annoying drunks, and they drink a lot, lol.  I’m such a lightweight, maybe I’m jealous? (hint: NOPE)  Next year we’ll have to divvy up the apartments by temulency rather than gender.  Diminutive Friend came up for Thanksgiving day to hang out and eat with the family.  She seemed grateful to have people to spend the holiday with since she couldn’t spend it with her family in New Orleans.  I love her so much.

Dad told me a while back that he’s unhappy at work, and since he’s unreceptive to changing jobs, I told him I expect him to find some way to change his attitude toward his job.  Instead of taking his job personally (and constantly checking his damn email), he’ll have to find a way to let it go.  We’ll see how that goes.  It strikes me that I’ve chosen a good path: teaching English as a foreign language is a job I will enjoy (assuming I can find one).  Frankly teaching just about anything at all would make me happy, and I’m lucky to have discovered this as early has I did.

My folks gave Boyfriend a subscription to Bon Apetit magazine for Xmas, which I’ve already reaped the benefits of with a delicious rosemary chicken and a butter-basted halibut.  He is an amazing person.  We’ve been together over 5.5 years, since April of 2008.  I find the idea of marrying him very, very intimidating, even though I would love to have him as a life partner, and he clearly feels the same.  Luckily, neither of us is in any rush to make it official, and I’ve never had a burning desire to wear diamonds.

I spent this past weekend at GameHaus with friends, and, like every Sunday, doing Shinkendo and enjoying my dojo family’s company.

I am so lucky.

badness, school

Grad school, wut are u doin… grad school… STAHP

i made this

i made this

Another semester will begin in just over a week, and two thirds of the reading materials aren’t even available for the one class I’m taking.  Thus begins the nonsense that is the Master’s program in which I am currently enrolled.

Sometimes I wonder if they’ll ever get their shit together.  I had one professor this semester who was all over that shit.  So technologically capable, totally comfortable with the online setting and format.  She did hand-written edits to a paper I turned in on a tablet of some kind, and even sent me an audio file with vocal commentary on the areas that she liked.  AMAZEBALLS.  Why can’t they all be like that?  Alas, she is the first prof I’ve had through three semesters who has this level of comfort with the technology necessary to run an online class smoothly.

I also just found out that the person in charge of finding me a classroom that I can observe this semester has, in fact, not been in touch with the people he claimed to have been in touch with at the school where I need to complete my observations.  Le sigh.

So when school sucks, I remind myself that:
1) if it were easy it wouldn’t be worth while.
2) it’s leading me toward something I genuinely want to do.
3) fuck you, school, I will cut you in the parking lot if you keep fucking with me, Isweartogod.

badness, humor, school, work

Parking fail

I park in the same parking garage off campus every day.  People who park there are like me: repeat customers.  You’ll typically find the same cars in their favorite spots.  Every car there belongs to someone who works at or attends the university where I work/go to grad school.

So it’s weird when someone does a horrendous parking job.  It’s not like they’ve never parked there before.  There is really no excuse.

But since it’s possible that this horrible parker is a co-worker or classmate, I can’t put mean notes on these cars.  I have to rely on comedy to get my point across.



i made this

UPDATE: April 1, 2013
Once again, some oblivious sheep did a shitty parking job with an SUV in a compact spot.  So I became a smartass.  Again:

sweet parking job bro

sweet parking job bro


goodness, life, manfolk, school

No rest for the awesome

I haven’t had time to write a new post recently due to too much awesome shit happening to/around me.  Let me just put down some quick updates on every relevant topic.

so cute, i’m so proud of her

Old Home, New Owner
Diminutive Roommate has received a sideways-promotion to Diminutive Friend, due to her purchase of a house in the valley.  She moved in and started tearing up some truly hideous shag carpet and disco linoleum to show some beautiful wood floors underneath, and has plans to install central air (because it’s the valley, duh).  She’s excited, but was worried about living alone (since I won’t be able to move in with her after all).  But it turns out our other friend is moving in with her because of lame roommate problems.  Let’s call her Busy/Genius Friend depending on the situation, because she’s wicked smart, but cannot arrive anywhere on time, nor make solid plans due to keeping way too busy.  She’s also a really hard worker and very resourceful, so she’ll help Diminutive Friend improve the house like crazy, which is awesome.  I’m gonna help out too, if I ever get my life back.  We’re all pretty excited for her, can’t wait to harass her over there with board games and sleepovers 🙂


our tea collection is unrivaled

Moving in With a Handsome Man
I’m moving in with Boyfriend!  He’s been living in his grandfather’s house (now that his grandfather has passed away) for the past two years or so rent-free.  His family is allowing me to move in for $600 rent since I’m a student (which is very generous of them, knowing I’ve been paying $850 at my old place).  I’ve basically been staying at the house for the last month to get used to the idea of living here with permanence so it’s not a system shock to either of us (so far so good; Boyfriend keeps saying stuff like, “This is fun!  It’s fun having you here all the time.  This is gonna be great.“).  All the heavy lifting has been done by Boyfriend and dad (hutch to my folks’ place, refrigerator to rental garage near Highland, bookcase and bed and white bookshelf  at the house).  We finished taking just about everything this past weekend.  Moving is awesome because it’s a great way to purge myself of crap I haven’t used in a while.  I long for a simple life, but I can’t seem to get rid of a lot of stuff because they all come with memories I can’t bear to part with, or they’re things I’ll be proud to show off to my future friends/kids, or I need those damn clothes for work, etc.

i made this

Graduate School (or Why I Have No Life)
My first semester of graduate school is winding down (just two weeks left) and winding up (three papers and a video due within two weeks).  I haven’t been able to fall asleep without lying awake for two hours first.  My mind won’t slow down.  I can’t seem to calm myself down about school.  I have so much reading to do on top of the assignments, I seem to spend all my time trying to get them done before class that I’m worried I won’t have time to write papers or make time for friends.  I’m always wishing I had gotten more done.  I’ve started reminding myself while I lie awake that I’m doing my best (which is true, I’m going to beat the shit out of this grad school program), and because of that, I am allowed to sleep.  It doesn’t seem to be helping much, but I’ll keep trying.

“i fell.”

Zombie Kitten
I picked up the kitten I rescued from the vet on July 25th, and he’s been living at Boyfriend’s house ever since.  He’s HILARIOUS.  We both wish we could keep him, but Boyfriend’s family says we can’t have a pet here at the house 😦  Boyfriend and I  are super sad about it.  We’re pretty attached to him, he’s so funny.  He loves falling asleep on our laps, purrs super loud (he purred in my lap for a solid hour today), and chases after a laser pointer like his life depends on it.  He’s also really chatty, which can get annoying, especially during class when he circles my chair and whines about not being on my lap, then attempts to jump onto my lap but can’t quite make it, so he digs his razor-sharp claws into my legs (I’m still healing from the last four attempts).  That’s not so much fun.  Otherwise he’s awesome, and we’re sad to have to get rid of him.  The good news is that I found a nice person to take him 🙂  Now all we have to do is make friends with this person so we can come visit Zobo all the time, hahaha.

goodness, life, school


I got into grad school 🙂

I had a day off yesterday, and I did nothing.  It was a gift.  To me.  For getting into grad school.

And I bought a laptop!  So exciting!  I’ve never had one before.  It’s a Lenovo, which is apparently a really good brand, though I’ve never heard of it before.

My folks and I made a deal back in the day stating that, if I went to a school where they wouldn’t have to pay tuition, they would pay for my grad school.  If that’s the case, I’ll probably quit Karate Job to make time for school so I’m not working my fingers to the bone for the next couple of years with two jobs, plus school.  The folks will help me out a lot less than they do for Sister (she’s more of a spender, I’m a saver), which will reinforce that sense of smugness I associate with our respective financial tendencies.  I realize this is childish and… bad.  I’m too excited about getting into grad school to care.

Now everybody dance!

goodness, life, manfolk, school

Good shit

Tonight, I arrived at home to discover that everyone in my apartment has had an excellent 24 hours.

a work in progress

Teacher Roommate met the owner of Mendocino Farms (our new favorite place), and he gave her a free sandwich (she’s painting a jelly fish right now– see picture at right).  Diminutive Roommate exchanged the Xbox her coworkers bought her for her birthday for a Wii (she’s hooking it up right now!).  Boyfriend just discovered that he landed a job that will take him to London for a week.  And of course, I applied to graduate school yesterday; I even got a phone call from someone in the program congratulating me on completing (and submitting) my application in full.

And Calico just got her dinner.  So everyone is having a stellar day.

goodness, life, school

That nagging feeling

I found this artist, Jenny Holzer, recently.  This plaque of hers really struck me.

I’ve woken up so many times feeling this way, like something’s wrong but I can’t put my finger on it, so I can’t fix it, so I can’t escape it.  This must be the “silent desperation” Thoreau wrote about.  I’ve pinned it on not applying to grad school all this time, so we’ll see if that changes.

Yesterday, I sent in my application to grad school.  I didn’t tell anyone until later that night, when it occurred to me that it was probably worth mentioning to Boyfriend, who was more excited than I was.  It’s strange; I’ve finally applied to grad school, and I feel nothing.  I guess it’s just been a long time coming.  I’ll be (way) more excited if I’m accepted.