you’re back

I knew I missed you more than I’ve ever missed anyone. I knew that I would have a very strong reaction at seeing you again. I knew that all I wanted was to feel your embrace again.

I didn’t know just how much I loved you until you were gone. And now that I know just how much you mean to me, to my life, I never want to lose that. I was completely overwhelmed at my feelings for you, even after such a short time together. I’ve never felt like this before; you bring the best out of me.

I caught a glimpse of you when I got out of the shower this morning. You were cleaning something off the couch, something that I had meant to do for days. You didn’t seemed annoyed that, despite my organization, I’m the absolute worst at actually cleaning. You then came into the bedroom, called me ‘babushka’ with my “hair turban” on, gave me a kiss, and jumped in the shower. A smile crept across my face as I realized, “This. This is it.”

That leap of faith we took three month ago is paying off exponentially. I wouldn’t have us be any other way.

why i love you

You know when I’m in a down mood and just let me be

You laugh with me when I forget how to say words and make sentences

You want to do things I want to do

You understand when I want to lay on the couch with silence and a good book

You want to help me, but also know when to stand back and let me try

You love me for who I am know, not for who I could be

You know that flowers, a Monster, and a big hug make every bad thing in my day melt away

You’re perfect for me and I’m perfect for you and everything just feels right

thai curry with steak

I’m a huge fan of curry. It’s such an easy meal to throw together for a last-minute dinner. Usually I stick with chicken or tofu when I’m making curry, but I’ve avoided beef in the past. I used to really limit the amount of red meat I would eat, but I’ve been opening up to beef as an option more recently. I used some thin-sliced steak sandwich meat for this meal and cooked it in the hot curry sauce to avoid overcooking the steak (I’m a fan of rare steak). I also used sweet potatoes as the carb because I’m such  a sucker for spicy roasted sweet potatoes. If you need a template for your homemade curry, see the recipe below.

red thai curry with beef, broccoli, and sweet potatoes
1 head broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 sweet potatoes, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 pound steak, cut into pieces
1/2 jar red curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen, found at Publix and Whole Foods)
1 can full-fat coconut milk
olive oil
seasonings of choice
cilantro, for topping

Toss the broccoli and sweet potato in olive oil and your seasoning of choice (I use garlic powder and sea salt). Roast at 425* for 15-20 minutes.
Cook the red pepper over medium heat for 5-6 minutes. Add the curry paste and coconut milk to the pan and combine. Heat for 2-3 minutes, and add the steak. Reduce heat to low and cook to desired doneness.
Serve the steak and curry sauce over the roasted vegetables and garnish with cilantro.

i think i finally have a next step

People who know me in real life know that I can wax poetic for ages about what I want to do next with my life. I’ve been in kind of a rut since finishing the MBA program in 2014, and now my professional life is getting sucked up into that rut. It’s not that I don’t like what I do, but I really can’t see this going on for much longer. I’ve tried making the jump into private industry more than a few times, and each time I get a bite I’m told that I just do not have the experience to switch industries. It’s like that great job hunt of 2010-2011 all over again, only this time I have 6 years under my belt plus two Master’s degrees…and it’s still not enough.

I’ve known for a while now that if I want to switch my career I’ll have to jump back into school…again. I like school, but I really haven’t been sure if I was ready to commit to paying my way through grad school again. I have too many graduate credits through USF to get any sort of financial aid, and I haven’t been in the best place financially to get enough saved up for the first semester tuition payment until recently. So now that I can maybe actually afford to get going, it’s time to start looking into different programs and schools. After evaluating what I like to do with options that were available, I finally found a program that suits my needs and my future career desires: Information Learning and Technologies, specifically the online program through The University of Colorado – Denver. The program costs about the same as the in-person program at USF, and it is more design-focused versus teaching focused. I want to design courses and online learning technologies, not actually teach the course.

I know this seems so far off from economic development research analysis, but after evaluating myself I came to three conclusions:

  • My favorite job that I’ve ever had was tutoring in the AVID program. It wasn’t being in front of students that I loved, it was coming up with different ways to help students learn the same concepts. Not everyone learns well with the traditional AVID approach, and it was my job to find new learning avenues for the kids that were still struggling in my study groups.
  • I really love technology. I’ve been coding blog layouts since high school, so I have a pretty sound knowledge of HTML and CSS. I pick up new ideas and concepts pretty fast, so I’m not intimidated to really jump into something new. I’m constantly on the lookout for new technologies to help convey my ideas.
  • One of the reasons I dropped out of the MURP program a second time was the attendance requirement of the in-person classes. I have a full-time job that sometimes has weird hours or after-work events. Sometimes I have to miss an in-person class, and being penalized for attending to my work duties didn’t sit well with me. An online program would probably be a better choice for me knowing where I am in life currently. I plan to keep working in my current job as long as I can while attending school so I can pay my way through without taking out any additional loans.

But what about my grand ambitions for that PhD? Wasn’t I supposed to have those letters behind my name by the age of 30? Well (1) that isn’t going to happen and (2) my interest is in public policy to help disadvantaged communities. An education Master’s would still let me pursue that down the road if I still choose to. I’ve discovered that I’m more concerned with setting myself up in a good place career-wise versus jumping through academic hoops in the pursuit of new letters to tack on behind my name on a business card. With the state of academia (and the state of public policy, #letsberealhere), unless something drastically changes and the adjunct crisis calms the hell down, I think I’ll stick with working my 40-50 hours and having a life outside of the office.

Whew. That was a long-winded way of saying “I’m applying to UC-Denver’s Information and Learning Technologies Master’s program (eLearning focus) for a Spring 2018 start.” Does this mean I get to say “Go Buffs!” now?

there’s so much you haven’t seen

It’s been six years since I was last in a fresh, new relationship with someone. I spent over five years with the same person, and I’ve forgotten how exciting and scary and new everything can feel. It’s so strange that there are major things he hasn’t seen yet (my academia-induced panics that occurred around finals) and minor things (me being legitimately sick and still insisting on cooking). He’s seen so much of my weird neuroses, and at the same time hasn’t even scratched the surface.

He knows that I have about 12 books on rotation at any given time and tend to wake up stupid early on weekends. He knows what shows I like to binge watch and that I eat Halo Top out of the carton. He knows that I keep the space cold despite always being cold and that I’m weirdly tidy.

But he doesn’t know how I can be when my Saturday is wasted by a migraine. He doesn’t know how completely ineffectual studying at home is for me. He doesn’t know that I can waste a whole day watching college football and eating cheese sticks and drinking cheap, shitty beer.

Ok, it’s more like he just hasn’t seen those facets on me yet. But that’s still a strange thing after being with the same person for so long. It’s also so strange to think that there are so many important things that have defined my life that he may never get to experience (see: grad school). But that’s the interesting part of starting a new relationship in your late 20’s. So much has happened that shape you as a person, and it’s incredibly easy to forget about that because it’s unseen.

One day he’ll see all of these sides…