Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Past Year: Grad School and a Feminist Job

Does anyone else feel guilty about abandoning online spaces? This disused blog is one of two such digital creations that I ignore—including my erstwhile LiveJournal, which I’m scared to look for. Oh, the angst.

If it were a crime to ignore your digital creations, we’d all be serving time. I think it’s probably a good thing that real life gets in the way.

Even though it’s been more than a year, I do think it’s useful to stop by here to give a little update on the Moulton Belecs since, surprisingly, some distant friends do check in here. Again, I’m not sure what to do with this space now that we’re not documenting our contrarian wedding planning. I think if we have kids, I’ll probably do a lot of writing about how horrifying and gross pregnancy and childrearing is (or seems to be), since women are typically under a social gag rule—even among their closest friends and relatives—about the downsides of compulsory heterosexuality and reproduction.

But those blog topics are mere speculation at this point, because I’m not sure what the future holds for our careers, location or multiplication. But since it’s been a while, let me catch you up on our lives since I had that delicious, free salt bagel in May of 2010.

Two major life shifts began last year: I started grad school and a new job. In the same week.

After my three-year tenure at the enviro magazine Trout, I applied for an editing job at a women’s issues nonprofit on a whim. During the painful graduate school application process, I decided I wanted to move into a career that aligned more precisely with my interests: film criticism and feminism. Because I’m an inexplicably fortunate person, I was well on my way by late summer to do just that when I started an MA program in women’s studies and film and somehow landed the editing and writing job at a major feminist organization.

Embarking on these new endeavors was scary. I had to give up an awesome workplace and boss at Trout Unlimited, and starting a new school journey was an intimidating prospect, especially since I knew I’d still be working. But luckily, I’m still in good touch with my old boss and TU friends, I made great friends at GW, I survived the insane reading and academic blowhards in my first two semesters, and my new job (well, not that new anymore) convinced me that I would enjoy sticking with a career in the publishing world. Before that, I was planning to leave editing behind for teaching or academia. But being busier and working with copy that’s more relevant to my political passions has made all the difference.

So from August to May, that’s basically all you need to know about the life of HB—work, school and tears. But life as I knew it couldn’t have worked without Eric’s help. Not a lot has changed for him since last year. He’s still a brilliant teacher, still jamming in a funky band, still a skinny runner, still bearded and still my total rock. The only thing that has changed is that he probably has a thicker skin for my stress-induced breakdowns near finals time and has definitely sharpened his cooking skills since he was kind enough to pick up my domestic slack.

And now you’re up to date on Talls and Smalls. We’re so happy to be enjoying summer (well, he will be in two days), and we’re looking forward to volcanic adventures in Hawaii in late July. Until then, look for us

  • on our futon watching Battlestar Galactica as research for my thesis,
  • harvesting the mighty bounty of my garden,
  • reading Entertainment Weekly cover to cover,
  • avoiding watching season five of The Wire because we don’t want it to end,
  • brunching or drinking with my favorite feminists
  • maybe, just maybe, running a race or two.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Peppy Life Update: Courtesy of a Free Salt Bagel

Happy bike to work day, DC!

What can I say? The weather is beautiful. I'm spending this weekend cheese-making with my best friend. My partner is a dreamy rock star. I saw the first fireflies of the season last night. I'm starting a Master's program at GW this fall. My bro Shade made a surprise DC visit this week. I have a trip booked to Tempe for this July.

And I was the proud recipient of a free salt bagel this morning.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mopey Life Update

Oh party people, how I have neglected updating you on the lives of the Belecs. I admit, the infrequency is exacerbated by my disdain for online journaling of the let's-document-my-every-move variety. You don't need to know every detail of our daily lives, and you don't want to know. This blog started as an issue-based medium to show off our thwarting of the wedding industry and to justify to our traditional families why we eschewed certain sexist or just plain ridiculous wedding practices. But now that the wedding is over, we've stepped off the soap box and we're clearly unsure of what we want this space to be.

We'll figure it out. But until then, I guess we'll write occasional updates so you know generally where we're headed in life, career and love. On second thought, life and career are up in the air, but at least we've got love figured out, and I'm thankful for that.

Seeing that my last update was before I ran the Marine Corps Marathon, I'm happy to report that I successfully finished, and I'm tentatively planning on running MCM again this year. Check out my finisher's page or see some photos my adoring fans took.

After MCM, I had a jam-packed few months of studying for the GRE, taking the GRE, taking an honors women's studies class, completing grad school applications, going on a business trip, finishing up the winter issue of Trout, planning a surprise visit to Arizona and travelling after Christmas. After all that, I was happy to sit back and wait for news from grad schools to tell us what my academic future held.

But alas, my droogs, the rejections have been rolling in. It's hard not to be pessimistic about the four schools I haven't heard from, because two were big stretches anyway (New York University and the University of California-Los Angeles). The rejection from the local University of Maryland--what I considered my safety school--was an especially crushing blow. My only hopes now, however vague, are George Washington and the University of Texas-Austin. For now, I'm working under the assumption that those, too, will be rejections, and I'm marking my calendar for next year's round of applications. I've been in a sizable funk because of this unexpected academic setback, but like a professor reminded me last week, even Jean-Paul Sartre failed his philosophy exam the first time he took it.

I don't know what's going to happen, but I'm having trouble pulling myself out of mope-ville. This really sucks. But when I find myself here, again, in the doldrums, I just start to feel guilty about what yuppie problems I have. That's right, I'm healthy, employed and married to a wonderful partner, and I'm edging toward depression because I might not be able to break into academia. I admit it.

But there is some hope, my droogs. If I don't have any options but to stay in DC and work, that's what I'll do. Eric and I will move to an apartment that isn't so craptacular and we'll probably get a dog. I'll re-apply to grad programs next fall and keep taking classes at my local community college, where I received a small women's studies scholarship to do so. I'll take Spanish immersion classes to fulfill my longtime goal of learning another language. (No, mom, Latin doesn't count. Sorry.)

Aside from having to deal with my drama, Eric is doing very well. He's on a new fitness kick and plans to ride a full century this year (hopefully with me in tow). He biked a metric century with his dad last summer. He's also really digging his new band, Dimestore, and I have to say they could really go places. If we ended up leaving DC--like I said, a diminishing possibility at this point--I'd be sad that he had to leave the band. They play locally and often, and their sound is much more Eric's and my style than his previous bands were. They're worth checking out.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Don't Stop Me Now

After 17 weeks of training for the Marine Corps Marathon, I'm so glad to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have only one more absurdly long run left before race day (one more 20 miler) before we start tapering. I'm holding up pretty well, and I'll be proudly sporting my yellow DC Road Runners shirt (they call it a singlet), so keep an eye out for me.

I've gotten a lot faster, and my long runs have gone well despite a few nagging knee and hip pains. I don't know that I'll ever do another marathon--training has basically taken over my life since June--but I can't say for sure. I have an addictive personality and I tend to revel in doing things most people find painful and otherwise impossible. I'm addicted to being a badass. It was this tendency that led Elizabeth and me to train, in the weeks before senior prom, with countless vanity curls to hopefully be more muscular than our dates. Did we succeed? I'll have to post pictures and let you decide.

If I haven't seen you in a while, or if you doubt my reputation as a "badass mufu," then I not-so-humbly present you with this evidence, inspired by my scrappy ways and created by KB. Thanks, KB! I'd love to do a moon marathon someday.

And send me fast, uninjured vibes on October 25! If you're in DC, get in touch with me or one of my head cheerleaders (Elizabeth and Eric) to join in the hollering.

Friday, August 7, 2009

By Jove, We've Done It!

The past few months have been nutso for Talls and Smalls, so much so that I've forgotten to write about a huge development. It came about so fast, we haven't had much time to celebrate the victory ourselves, to be honest.


I don't mean to get all dramatic on you, but this has been the subject of 80 percent of financial conversations since we decided to "do the damn thing" and pay off 12 years' worth of student loans early. We were never really sure how early we could make it work--although the amount varied, we dedicated hundreds a month to eat away at the balance. With a lot of tough budgeting and sacrificing gift money to the cause, I'm thrilled to say that we took care of the debt in less than a year, faster than either of us thought we could do it.

Now that the loan is taken care of, we can't wait for the first few paychecks where the money we put away is money we eventually keep--even if it's in savings or investments. At least it's not going down the black hole at Citibank. Now I'm thinking of getting rid of our only remaining debt--my training-wheeled $500 limit credit card. Let's get all old-school with this money-handling.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Always Coming Back Home to You

The past few months have been a blur. Talls is now out of school and tenured as a Montgomery County teacher. He's spending his first day off in a blur of sleep, food and Pixar.

Meanwhile, I'm in quarter-life crisis mode, fighting off mad homesickness and boredom. What I need to do is write out my goals and stick to them. I've made it harder on myself by joining the DC Road Runners and beginning a marathon training program, which has basically taken over my non-work life, but I'm at least enjoying a chiseled exterior.

Hokay, so, back to the goals.

Study for GRE
Take GRE by August
Enroll for Montgomery College women's studies class
Practice Spanish
Run my marathon, simultaneously kicking ass
Get serious about my feminist blog
Apply for various grad programs at UMD, GW, UCLA, UCSD, UCSB, ASU, U of A
Get serious grad school funding lined up
Pay off student loans by October
Start a house-savings plan
Start an investment plan

All doable, I just need to get my shit together, and read the signs until decision time comes. I have to admit that after five years in DC, I'm starting to feel the pull to spend some time closer to my family. It's a hard thing to explain, but I think that some people need to spend some time independent and have room to fuck up and prove themselves. I feel I've done that, come into my own and had the five best years of my life in the meantime. But maybe it's time to go home, back West. Atmosphere knows what I'm saying. Check out the secret track after "Always Coming Back Home to You" starting around the 4:30 mark. Check out the opening track, too, because it's also awesome.

Some excerpts:

Roam if you must, but come home once you've seen enough
If you know this is where you want to raise your kids
If you can drink tap water and drink the air
(Well, not literally something you should do in Tempe)
If you're not gonna leave because that's where you're from

Monday, April 27, 2009

She Stole My Karma

Seeing Kings of Leon last Friday was the kick-off for a frenzy of a weekend for Talls and Smalls. We were pumped to see the Kings after we missed their Constitution Hall show last November. My trout buddy Chris introduced me to the Kings this fall, and they're my favorite new obsession, but I'm not the only one. They blew up this fall thanks to their good looks and lusty singles like "Sex On Fire."

They played all of my favorites, including "Charmer."

Saturday, we spent the day as local celebrities at Run Amuck, a 5K mud run, which we and 13 friends ran in costume as members of the Mario Kart pack. Eric and I were Toad and Toadette, complete with spotted hats (our bike helmets with shower caps stretched over them). Eric had the good luck to run into one of his students and her parents in full costume. Luckily, she's a good kid whose mom wrote to Eric the first week of school about how much her daughter loves his class. What can I say, Talls has it goin' on.

We wore cardboard cars and made quite a splash, literally through the mud and figuratively by the awesome reaction everywhere we went. Kids and adults wanted to take pictures with us and of us. Talls and I concluded that we've never been cooler in our lives.

Sunday hosted great weather for a rooftop goodbye to my friend and colleague Kate, who is off to Guatemala this week for Peace Corps work. It's such a cool opportunity, but I left feeling really down about the heaviness of growing up, moving on and moving apart. It's just depressing to face the fact that all of the people I want to see can't be in the same place.