Category Archives: Living

Changing Locations to Finish My Thesis (a writing mini-retreat)

Happy Coffee
http://funny.funnyoldplanet.com/funny/happy-coffee/

My goal is to finish (or darn near finish) my master’s paper: TODAY!

But I am taking a short break from writing my master’s thesis to blog because blogging relieves stress and unleashes some creative awesomeness. As part of today’s thesis writing marathon, I decided to change locations from where I normally write/study. I chose a coffee shop instead of my desk at home, and instead of my campus office.

According to a post by the Thesis Whisperer, there has been ample research to suggest that taking a thesis writing retreat will benefit the writing process. The change of location can be invigorating. So here I am at a coffee shop for a mini-retreat. However, for my dissertation… I might take a month somewhere. I have already floated the idea to my wife and she seems interested. For her the “no” factor is always money… which makes sense. But the “yes” factor for her is travel because travel is fun.

I am thinking Seattle, Portland, New York City or Chicago could all be great places for a month long retreat. Almost anywhere in Colorado could work.

Have you ever taken a retreat (or mini-retreat) to finish a major project? How did it work out for you?

Wife of the Year

So, today is my one year wedding anniversary. I have been so busy with graduate school that I have had little or no time to blog. But today is a special day because of my amazing wife.

We moved here last August. My wife quit her job, left her house, her church, her friends and drove an awkward Penske moving truck (which had repair issues twice with the car trailer) 1600 miles to the Northwest. As I approach the end of my first year of graduate school, there are a lot of things my wife has done to make life easier for me. If you have never been to graduate school…here is a brief sample of my life:

  • I typically read 400 to 700 pages of “intense reading” every week. No cool pictures or anything, it’s all words.
  • I typically write one paper every two weeks. These are double-spaced and are normally 10 pages or longer.
  • I grade papers, tests, and other homework.
  • I teach
  • Plus, allegedly, I am supposed to use my extra time to focus on my research.
  • Sometimes it feels like I study 36 hours a day, eight days a week. If you are considering grad school don’t let this scare you. It is perfectly doable… it’s just A TON of work.

During my first year of grad school my wife has been very supportive of my insane study load. The two main reasons we haven’t had a major blow up are communication and communication.

We have a budget that we discuss every couple weeks because we use the cash system advocated by Dave Ramsey. Being a graduate student I do not get paid millions… and my wife is still unemployed so living on a shoestring budget has been a challenge. But our communication has helped keep the budget under control.

Our communication has also helped us eke out a few of our goals. We had discussed that we wanted to have a backyard farm, which is not easy. My wife does most of it… and I am happy to say that we have 21 hefty cornish cross chickens. Well, we did have 21. Twelve of them have already found their way into the freezer because of the hard work of my wife.

My wife and I pray together… although we do not pray as much as I would like because I study a lot and I’m tired a lot. We attend church together and volunteer together (when I have time).

I reserve one day each week that I devote to her. We sometimes hang out around the house, sometimes we go to Portland or Seattle. We are hoping to go out fishing for the first time within the next couple weeks. She likes fishing, how cool is that!?

My wife is amazing, and I am training her to like football : )

With me poorly estimating how much time grad school would actually take, I am very fortunate to have a wife who does so many things to help… errands, drive me to school, cook, laundry, butcher the chickens, grocery shopping, manage the budget… there are probably many other things I am forgetting. What do I do around the house?

  • I fix things around the house
  • I help feed the chickens
  • I do the dishes
  • I empty the kitty litter boxes
  • Sometimes I go with her to do the grocery shopping just so we can spend some time together.
  • And, that’s about it… I do basically nothing to help around the house. She does a lot.

I love her. I would not trade her for $1.5-Trillion dollars. She is clearly Wife of the Year … and I hope this next year allows more time to be with her!

Baby Bunnies Born Today: Video

So my wife walked into the backyard today, and found these crawling in the grass and on the path. We didn’t even know the rabbit was pregnant!! The mother rabbit pulled fur “after” giving birth… thankfully we didn’t step on any of the them. They all seem healthy and doing fine.

Chickens in our Backyard Farm – 6 Weeks Old

2 or 3 days old

This is an update on the chickens. In approximately two weeks, we will begin butchering the white chickens (Cornish Cross). We are keeping the Ameraucana and Rhode Island Red chickens for egg layers. The Cornish Cross have grown freakishly fast in the 6 weeks we have owned them. My wife and I knew that the Cornish would grow quickly, but it is still a surprise. We are going to weigh them tomorrow.

In the video, you can really see the size of the Cornish when they walk next to the milk jug. Currently they eat a half pound of food every day (each). Honestly I know very little about chickens. My wife and I had chickens last year … and we have them this year. But, in total, I still have less than one year of chicken raising experience. These chickens seem healthy… and the egg layers are healthy.

The egg layers are lightning fast too. I wonder if the egg layers are really that fast… or if they look fast when compared to the lumbering Cornish Cross chickens…

My wife spotted a small possum in the chicken run yesterday. I have not seen it yet but we are definitely concerned about it. Possums can eat chickens… and eggs… sigh…

5 Things I Learned After Turning 30

5.) My body doesn’t fall apart. I hiked Pike’s Peak twice, and hiked two other 14ers after turning 30. I also bike 10 miles roundtrip whenever I ride to grad school.

4.) My brain can still learn new things/concepts. Remembering what my wife says could still be improved though.

3.) I can still make great friends and have fun. *Note: Fun at age 30 is not passing out drunk on a couch, passing out drunk in a bar, or passing out drunk anywhere. Leave that to the nervous high school and college kids.*

2.) Traveling to other countries on a budget is easier because I have gained “some” wisdom.

1.) People don’t know my age just by looking at me. It’s not like I have the number 37 stamped on my forehead.

Comment below and share with others. Thanks for reading!