Oct. 24 | Cave at Henry Horton State Park

I hiked with Ian and some friends yesterday for a few miles at Henry Horton, which is down in Chapel Hill. It’s gorgeous out there, and Ian and I definitely plan on going back to camp there this season.

Incidentally, later that night a few tornadoes were spotted right in the area where we had been. At least we weren’t camping last night!

Edited to add: Oooh I almost forgot! While we were hiking we saw a big black snake, probably a black racer according to our friend, and the other people we were with freaked OUT! They just moved down here from Michigan and had never seen a snake in the wild. As someone who is used to being the token “girl from the city,” I was excited to not be the one encountering some slinky southern creature for the first time.

Chihuly Nights

Chihuly Nights at Cheekwood

Thursday after work, Ian and I met up with his dad and his wife at Maggiano’s for a seriously tasty dinner, and then piled in the car and drove down the road to Chihuly Nights at Cheekwood.

It was awesome.

I really don’t know what else to say: The glass installations were beautiful. I’m kind of a glass-whore already, and this exhibit didn’t disappoint. I would imagine seeing it at night made it even more awe-inspiring, despite the spotlight-crazy curator at Cheekwood who apparently thought it would be better to point the blinding spotlights right through the glass up into the patrons’ eyes instead of positioning them at the bottom of each glass piece and shining the light up through the structures.

But what do I know.

They’ve extended the event another week, so if you haven’t gone to see it yet and want to you’ve got another week. Otherwise, you can go look at my photos of our trip there.

Nine years in four months, and I’m (almost) done with The X-Files

Agents Mulder and ScullyI finished the last episode of The X-Files on Sunday, which saddened me a bit more than I expected. I have been tweeting my way through the series since I started watching it back in late June, and I was going to paste all of those tweets in this post, but I think I’m going to wait. I started reading back through them and they are freaking hilarious. I was so naive back in the first couple of seasons.

I still have the second movie to watch, so I think I’m going to wait until I have a chance to watch and tweet that and then post all of the updates. I’m sure it will only be funny to me to read back through my reaction to nine years of a series watched in four months, but I’d like to have a record of the experience since I have so much time invested in it.

I’d also like to point out that Ian bitched out on me somewhere in the second half of season seven, so I’ve been watching the episodes by myself. With no one but the cats and the Internet to scream in despair to. The joke’s on him, though: I’m totally going to make him watch the second movie with me.

Wearing purple is not enough

I appreciate people wanting to bring attention to a cause, but how is wearing a certain color on a certain day really doing anything?

It’s not.

Wearing a certain color doesn’t accomplish shit except give people an excuse to feel like they’re doing something with little to no effort. Who doesn’t know about breast cancer? And do you really think if everyone sees people wearing purple throughout the day they’re going to stop hurling “tranny” or “queer” as an insult?

Stopping the bullying of LGBT people and finding a cure for breast cancer should not be akin to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day by wearing green.

If you want to wear purple today, that’s great. Do it. But don’t let that be all you do. Find out how you can actually make a difference. Show kids that being LGBT isn’t wrong or bad or shameful. Stop using variations on those terms as playground insults. Speak up when you hear those around you being intolerant and hateful.

Kids aren’t born bullies; they learn it from you. Teach them that wearing purple isn’t enough.

Questioning authority (again)

I think one of the most difficult adjustments to being back in school is the amount of homework that is required. It’s a lot. I could easily spend 15-20 hours a week on the minimum of what is required.

And I have to remind myself that this is school, not work—where if I found myself overwhelmed to the point of not being able to get something done, I could ask for help. It’s strange to find myself involved in something where I am expected to conduct myself semi-professionally—complete assignments on deadline and to a high level of quality—but the return isn’t necessarily the same. Assignments are graded weeks after being turned in, and there is no explanation for how I am graded. One week I might be counted off 2 points for something, and weeks later I might make what seems to be a comparable error (though not the exact same, because that would make me stupid) and I’ll be deducted 10 points. It makes no damn sense.

I guess I’ve gotten used to an open workplace, where if I don’t understand how my performance is evaluated I can just ask, and for some naive reason I’m expecting a similar environment in the classroom. I considered emailing the professor to ask for an explanation, but I find myself afraid of insulting or angering her.

And really, I’m just there to learn, not to receive a grade, so I probably shouldn’t get too worked up. But at the same time, I’m putting in my valuable time and following certain rules to finish the work. It would be nice if there was some accountability on the other side as well.

II.

Ian and I

This past weekend, Ian and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary by heading up to Big Ridge State Park for a little tent camping. We initially had intended to camp for two nights, but rain moved in on Sunday morning and we were afraid we wouldn’t be able to find any dry firewood for that evening. That, and camping in the rain just plain sucks balls.

So instead, we hiked about five miles through some very wooded (and VERY steep at times—whoever selects the trails’ difficulty levels needs to stop trying to impress someone) and very gorgeous trails, and then packed up our campsite and headed out.

A side note: I love camping and can generally handle the accompanying bugs in their natural habitat much better than I could, say, my house, but I had a run-in with a stickbug in the bath house that still has my skin crawling. That thing just should not exist in nature; it’s a goddamn alien if I’ve ever seen one. I’m also convinced that it stole my Nashville flood t-shirt that I was carrying to the bath house to change into that morning. As soon as I saw that abortion of nature’s beauty and stifled a scream, I noticed my t-shirt—that I had carried maybe 100 yards IN MY HANDS—was missing. Coincidence? Or EVIL FUCKING STICKBUG THAT WILL EAT YOUR BRAINS? You decide. I scoured the path from our campsite to the bath house at least three times and no shirt was ever found. RIP, comfy Nashville flood t-shirt.

On the way home, Ian indulged me and we drove local highways instead of the interstate most of the way home. There’s something calming and humanizing about driving through teeny tiny towns in the middle of nowhere, and I’ll choose a highway over the interstate pretty much any chance I get. Especially since roughly 500 miles of my life are spent on interstate asphalt each week.

Our actual anniversary was Monday, and we celebrated by hanging around the house with the cats and grilling out that night. Tuesday we tailgated the MTSU Blackout Game on campus with some friends, leaving us with Wednesday to recover and mentally prepare for heading back to work on Thursday.

And you know, I thought I was a genius, scheduling my vacation so that when I went back to work I’d only have two days before the next weekend, but let me tell you: These two days have dragged on like weeks. TGIF for sure, but I just want to go back to the woods.