Some good pots.

Well, I made it through another semester of grad school. This was probably the toughest yet. I really had some difficult classes. During the last several days of the semester, trying to finish my last two assignments, I think I spent between 50 and 60 hours working in 5 days, including the 20 hours I worked out of the last 27 hours before the assignments were due. Still, I persevered, and I made it through. As long as I was making progress, it wasn't so bad. The only times I got really discouraged were when I went more than an hour or two without figuring out anything new. Sharayah was amazingly supporting, putting up with the 12+ hour days and taking care of everything else in the house so I could just focus, not to mention putting up with me during those frustrated times. Sometimes I'm not sure how I'm making it through, but other times I know it's her constant support and encouragement. I would have quit a long time ago without her.

So today we went ice skating at the rink at UD. I like skating, but I'm very bad. I can generally stay up (I only fell 2 or 3 times in the 2 hours we were there!) but I have terrible form and I know I look silly not falling. However, Sharayah holds my hand to serve as a point of balance and I do alright. I saw plenty of people who were worse than I was, which is always an encouraging thing. Oddly enough I skate better when I skate faster, although I'm not great at stopping (read: I don't know how to stop except by coasting until I slow down) so that's maybe not a good recipe for success. Either way it was fun as always. I'd never skated on a full-size rink before, since I've only skated on cruises and those are like 1/4 size (imagine a cruise ship big enough for a full hockey rink. cool.) Hopefully we'll go again sometime soon.

In an amazing feat of perfect timing, the new Zelda game came out just before the aforementioned week of absurd amounts of homework. Still, we found a little time to play it now and then, and a little more now that I've finished. If you've ever played a Zelda game in the past and enjoyed it, I'd definitely suggest you get it. We've had a lot of fun so far.

We are so on top of Christmas this year. We got our chop-your-own-tree tree the first weekend after getting back from Thanksgiving vacation, we got a real wreath on our door (by which I mean it's made of real branches and stuff) and we have totally finished Christmas shopping already. Normally we don't finish until... well normally we don't finish, and some people end up with nothing from us. Sometimes we correct it in time, and sometimes it's March and we think... hmm, by now it's just offensive to call this a Christmas gift, I guess we'll wait until next year. So the big deal here is that we actually got everyone in our immediate families a gift this year. And we were over a week early! (Though we are waiting for things to be shipped to us, after which we have to ship them, so... don't expect anything Christmas morning...)

We saw a tiny orange fluffy cat at Petsmart. If we didn't think we'd look crazy for having 3 cats in such a small space, we may have gotten him. He was an adorable ball of... orange fluff... and he would follow Sharayah's finger as she traced it around his little window. And I don't mean follow with his eyes. He chased her finger around his whole little cage. I think I would have named him Percival. Is Percival a good name for a cat? You could call it Perry. Or Percy if it was girly. I was thinking today that pets are a good outlet for names that you kinda like but obviously would never want to name a child (no offense to the 0.0008% of children born last year who were named Percival, or the 0.0003% the two years before that).

the first time that you opened your eyes


i am employed.

That's right, I have accepted a job offer. Quite an exciting and apprehensive time. I'm actually going to do it. Crazy.

There was about a week of feeling overwhelmed, which I did not like at all. I don't like to make seemingly super important decisions overnight, and when you have a couple companies wanting/needing a prompt response to their job offer... I did not like that at all, especially since each place had at least one aspect that I was uncomfortable committing to. I don't like to decide on a choice that I am not completely comfortable with. I realize, though, that that is sometimes inevitable. The hard part is determining if the reason I'm uncomfortable is a legitimate one (something that should definitely be given more time to consider) or just something that may not be as convenient or comfortable as I had imagined my ideal situation would be (in which case, I should just get over it and deal with it). It's annoying.

When I get overwhelmed, the idea of curling up under a pile of blankets goes from an appealing scale of 3 ("Hey, it's a pile of blankets! I bet it'd be awesome to crawl underneath them all and see how dark it is!") to an 8 ("Must. Hide. Must find. Pile of blankets. Safety!").  Being able to hide for a short period of time actually seems pretty therapeutic. It's dark. Warm. There are no visual reminders of what was stressing you out. You focus on your breathing (due to the fact that it gets stuffy really fast), which is supposed to help you calm down (I think?). I know it might sound weird, but I think it's a perfect way to handle feeling overwhelmed. The trick is to not let yourself stay under the blankets for too long. A way to make sure this doesn't happen is to not give yourself any air holes for fresh air to come in. That way, as soon as it starts getting stuffy and hot, you know your hiding time is over and it's time to be normal again. Fool proof way of dealing with feeling overwhelmed. Is there a way to patent it? I'm on it.

Anyway, I think for several days in a row I began and ended the day by asking Jason, "What am I supposed to do?" And after he pulled me out from under the blankets, he always knew. He's ridiculously good for me. He solves all my problems. Now if only I could help solve some of his... but he isn't a big fan of just writing down my willy-nilly solutions to his math problems. He has this thing about "proving"  it or something. Psh. Such an odd fellow...

So, Jason gave me the confidence to politely turn down the first couple job offers, which was rather a relief. They just didn't quite seem like the right opportunity, but I wasn't sure if I was just being unreasonably picky/just poorly reacting to the possibility that I was being pushed out of my comfort zone more than I had originally expected or if it just wasn't the "right" job . I guess I just had a slightly irrational (and also slightly rational) feeling of obligation to take the first job I was offered, to get my "foot in the door" so to speak, since I haven't really (and by that I mean not at all) pulled my weight job/money-wise. Self-inflicted guilt is quite the motivator. Luckily, I have an awesome husband who is quick to let me know I'm being silly and that he only wants the best for me. And within a week of turning down the not-quite-right positions, I had another job opportunity offered to me that, as far as I know (given the understanding that I have not yet actually started the job), is nearly ideal for what I currently need/want.

And like that, I am employed. Paperwork has been signed. I am awaiting a foot pedal in the mail from the company. And then training will begin. I am obviously still a lot apprehensive (what if, despite the entire Career Step course, I'm a horrible transcriptionist?), moderately excited (I'm going to make money without being in retail or in a call center!), and overall content (it's nice to make a decision that involves zero red flags inside your gut). God is a good God.

On another note, I can't believe it's Christmas already. And I can't believe it's been over a month since our last blog post. Here's a quick catch-up summary of the past month:

  • We visited the Christmas tree farm and sawed down our classically-shaped Christmas tree. 

  • Thanksgiving vacation was awesome, filled with tennis, swamp walks, large-scale chess, rotisserie turkeys, licorice, puzzling, tether ball, and a balcony camp-out (!). 

  • Christmastown at Busch Gardens: singing/dancing shows, light displays, Clydesdales, a rather romantic sky-high ride, a fantastic coaster ride on the Alpengeist (on a cold, dark night? incredible), and 19th century carolers. Lovely.

  • Longwood Garden's Christmas shindig.

  • Zelda Skyward Sword. So psyched.
  • We got two Angel Tree kids this year, a little girl and a baby boy, and I had a ton of fun shopping for them (Jason may or may not call it 'fun'). There are some adorable baby clothes out there... Seriously. It's ridiculous.
  • I might have convinced Jason to purchase a goat and some chickens
  • Puma now has a hand-crafted, bright pink yarn ball, courtesy of me and my fancy balling (yarning?) skills. I love watching him carry it around in his mouth, his jaws open so wide trying to get the biggest chunk of it possible.
So, there you go. Christmas is upon us, and I can feel my excitement rising. Jason's finals are due Thursday (you can do it, babe), and he is quite deserving of the break to come. I love this time of year. :)

He is not ready for Christmas.