Archive for December, 2012

December 31, 2012

Uberlist 2012

by Tabitha Kidwell

It’s that time of year again! Uberlist time! Lets see how I did this year!

1. Change passwords to be more secure (if by more secure, you mean they are all the exact same combination of letters & numbers, definitely!)
2. Add addresses to e-mail contact list
3. Join Google + (Anyone know the point of google+?)

4. Do a little work on Violet Blanket while home (I should just throw the thing out!)

5. Figure out retirement savings plan (I did open a Roth IRA, but that just means that I now have like 5 different accounts I should consolidate or something)
6. Run credit report 3 times annually (Didn’t really do this either)

7. Finish Course in Miracles (Ok, it is taking forever. Next year.)
8. Begin ‘Bible in 3 years’ plan (also next year)
9. Spend 2 weeks at Taize (and it was awesome!)
10. Do weekend meditation course at Mendut Buddhist Temple

11. Improve signature
12. Respond to e-mails within 48 hours (Mostly)
13. Take Scoopy in for required maintenance
14. Adjust mirrors on Scoopy every time I ride (So didn’t do this)
15. Stop doing that thing on my motorcycle where I don’t look both ways on purpose because I think if I don’t look, nothing will be there. (um…)

16. Teach Speaking 2 spring semester
17. Teach Media in Language Teaching sp. Semester

18. Do 1 lecture per month for students at STAIN
19. Do 1 lecture per month for teachers at STAIN (close enough)
20. Do 1 program every 2 months at American corner IAIN Semarang
21. Do 1 program every 2 months at American corner UGM Yogya
22. Do 1 program every 2 months at American corner UMY Yogya (These are all way too aggressive goals that would have been overkill. I did enough presentations, FOR SURE!)
23. Read all issues of Forum
24. Finish article on Student-Centered teaching
25. Write article on common mistakes (Ug, I did all the data analysis and just need to write it but it is like the most boring thing ever)
26. Write article on interventions to common mistakes (didn’t even start)
27. Get an article published somewhere besides Register
28. Present at a conference besides TEFLIN (Yeah, like so many. I am conferenced out.)
29. Renew in Indonesia (here I am!)
30. Figure out a job for fall 2013 (Ugh!)
31. Go to 2 concerts of bands I have never seen live before. (CD101 Summerfest! Thanks Nate!)
32. Learn one (easy) song on the guitar (Come as you are, Nirvana. Super easy!)

33. Learn US Presidents in order
34. (Re)Learn World Capitals
35. Learn US state capitals
36. Learn names, main characters & plot summaries of Shakespere’s plays
37. Learn English monarchs
38. Learn periodic table of the elements (Yeah… I’m more accumulating general knowledge rather than memorizing this stuff.)
39. Take Jeopardy online test (And I passed… but couldn’t make it home for the audition. Next time!)

40. Read 20 books (I read like 25 last spring, and like 2 this fall. Not sure what I’ve been doing instead. Mad Men and The Wire maybe?)
41. Read The Language Instinct
42. Read Madame Bovary in French (Still on the kindle, I’ll get to it!)
43. Re-read Le Petit Prince in French
44. Re-read l’étranger in French
45. Read La Casa de los Espiritus in Spanish
46. Re-read Cien años de Soledad in Spanish
47. Read Maria in Spanish (This was not the year for Spanish)
48. Finish Bahasa Indonesia level 3 at UKSW
49. Begin Bahasa Indonesia level 4 at UKSW
50. Finish Basic Indonesian book with Pak H. (I haven’t studied BI all fall either. What happened to my free time?)
51. Begin to study Arabic
52. Memorize 4 poems

HEALTH: (Rocked this category!)
53. Chew food longer
54. Avoid overeating to the point of discomfort
55. Visit Dr. Miely (dentist) once
56. Visit Dr. Ansel (dermatologist) once
57. Visit Dr. Benjamin (general) once
58. Visit Dr. Lawyer (chiropractor) once
59. Get massage from Jayne Wilson

60. Do 18 mile marathon training run
61. Do 19 mile marathon training run
62. Do 20 mile marathon training run
63. Run Marathon (Ooh… so didn’t end up doing a marathon this year. Bali 2013?)
64. Run 5K
65. Hike Mt. Merbabu (Thanks, Jon!)
66. Hike Mt. Merapi

67. Chop off hair
68. PERSONAL GOAL (that I so did NOT accomplish! Bummer.)
69. Write two blog posts per month
70. Turn 30 without complaining out loud (Complain? I loved it!)

71. Record Grandmother’s life story (Still want to do this, but when I brought it up I think it freaked her out.)
72. Visit Katie (she came to C-Bus instead)
73. Go somewhere fun with the Tipsy Chicks (Kelley’s Island! Where are we going next year?)
74. Visit Baby Gohr (Didn’t make it to Cinci…)
75. Visit Baby Zaranac (Eva! Love her!)
76. Visit Baby Kiefer (Didn’t make it to Cinci…)
77. Visit Ella Walker (So cute)
78. Meet KMS students for Bastille Day Reuinion

79. Take a picture in Indonesia with the Columbus Dispatch & send it in (Yeah Katie!)
80. Get open water diving certification (And my advanced too!)
81. Go to Gednung Songo (And I’ve been like 3 times now!)
82. Go to Dieng Plateau (Amazing!)
83. Go to Bromo (Underwhelming)
84. Go to Pacitan (Next year)
85. Go to Jamu Jago tour in Semarang
86. Do Jamu tour in Yogya (I think I must have just learned about Jamu last December. Why was I so into it?)
87. Go to Affandi museum in Yogya
88. Go to Sulawesi
89. Go to Kalimantan
90. Go to Sumatra
91. Go to Lombok
92. Go to Singapore

93. Go to Red, White, and Boom (Way too tired after getting back from Europe!)
94. Go to a Clippers game (Thanks, Debbie!)
95. Go to Ohio State Fair (It’s becoming a tradition)
96. Go to UA 4th parade
97. Go to Doo Dah Parade
98. Go to Zoombeezi Bay (Why did I want to go there again?)
99. Go to Gallery Hop (Thanks, Erin, Angie, and Allison!)
100. Visit Camp Akita
101. Watch all the films nominated for best oscar
102. Go on road trip with no pre-determined destination (Still my dream!)
103. Eat brown rice at Chipotle (Like the first day I was home!)
104. Eat at La Casita (With Valerie!)
105. Eat all 5 daily specials at Press Grill
106. Eat at North Star Café
107. Eat at Figlio
108. Eat at Dirty Frank’s
109. Eat at Taste of Bali (Hard to do since they went out of business…)
110. Eat beef jerkey & drink a Stella Artois at Char Bar (Always classy)
111. Finish a Thursday NYT crossword without looking at the answers. (Success!)
112. Write Uberlist 2013 (Get ready for tomorrow’s post!)

Totals? Drumroll please…. 68/112, or a 61%. Thanks to grade inflation, that is a C here, so I’m totally satisfactory! I’ll take it… it’s been a very busy year!

December 15, 2012

Eddie George 2.0

by Tabitha Kidwell

I’ve never been a huge animal lover. Someone gave me a Hamster named Shithead in college, and he was pretty fun. I would put him in a yellow ball, let him run around, and then forget about him until someone down the hall would roll him back to my dorm room. Otherwise, dogs and cats basically just seem like little creatures that make your house dirtier and knock over glasses of water. I don’t especially dislike them, I’m just indifferent to their existence or their presence in my house.

So when I heard a loud meowing coming from somewhere near my back yard one morning, I basically just ignored it. When it was still going strong that evening, I decided it was time to investigate. I pulled up a chair to the wall separating my backyard from the backyard of the unrented house next door, and came face-to-face with the noisemaker. He looked right at me, and meowed a meow that was very easily interpreted as “HELP!”


My theory was that the cat had climbed over the wall, then got stuck there because there was nothing to help him climb back over. I tried to call the number listed on the rental sign, but got no answer. (This may also explain why the place has never been rented!) I thought maybe he was hungry, so I opened a can of tuna and threw it over. Then I was worried he was thirsty, so I slid a container of water over the wall in the hope that it would land right side up with its contents intact. It did not. I soaked a sponge and tossed it over, thinking he could suck the water out. I tried the number again. Still no answer.

So I went to bed, but I could hear his plaintive meowing all night long. It made me think of another cat far away. My sister Katie adopted Eddie George the cat a couple of weeks after moving into our house at 222 W 2nd Avenue. She opted for a 7-month old rather than a tiny kitten, reasoning that the kittens probably got picked first. I would reason that that meant she was getting a rejected kitten that had now grown to a surly adolescent with abandonment issues. Eddie would follow Katie from room to room. When she wasn’t home, he would whine and cry would wait for her at the door. I was not a qualified substitute – he could sense my indifference to him and responded with disdain and peeing on my pillows.

Eddie was full of curiosity, but, unfortunately, the old adage did not apply to him. He had frequent emergencies, like getting stuck on top of the refrigerator, or in a tree, or on the roof of our neighbor’s 2-story house. This required rescuing by my sister or, once, by extremely conveniently located tree trimmers. And then, one September, he disappeared for over 2 weeks. Katie feared (and I hoped) that he was gone forever, but one night when I was out of town, and Katie had guests so was sleeping in my room, he returned to my bedroom window at 3 AM! Had he been waiting for me to leave so he could return in such a spectacular way? Maybe. Katie was overjoyed. I was, as always, indifferent. Except that Eddie then made it a habit of coming to my window in the middle of the night to be let in. Our house was almost 125 years old, and the ancient screens couldn’t be removed, so I had to either ignore the meowing 2 feet from my head or go let him in the back door. Sometimes he wouldn’t come down and I would have to lug out a chair and grab him. In the middle of the night.

So, I believe that somehow Eddie has deployed one of his far-flung relatives to seek me out as a reluctant feline rescuer. His friend was still meowing up a storm the next day, so I came up a plan. I took this big stick that was in my backyard:

I'm not sure why it was in my backyard...

I’m not sure why it was in my backyard…

and fed it over the wall on the other side of the house (which led to the outside rather than to my backyard), this creating a little ladder he could use to claw his way out.


I waited a little while to see if anything happened, but then I had to go to work. I assume he escaped, because when I got home, there was no more meowing. I felt pretty good about my service to the furry creatures of the world.

Until yesterday, that is, when I heard meowing from the backyard of the house on my other side. I peeked over the wall and saw the same cat – but he wasn’t the one meowing! He’d invited a friend! There was some other, invisible cat, wailing away either inside that house or in the next one over. The house on the end is vacant, and the house directly next to me is rented, but the inhabitants live in another town and only stay there a couple of weeknights to avoid driving home after work. I assume they’ll come sometime and let out the trapped cats. Or maybe they are actually their cats, and they are just meowing because they want more tuna? Or maybe they are messing with me? I don’t know. But I think I have done all I can for the cats of the world. They’re on their own. Someone tell Eddie George to stop climbing trees.

December 13, 2012

The chop

by Tabitha Kidwell

Careful readers will remember item #67 on my uberlist back in January: Chop off hair! I wanted to wait until the triathlon was over, and since the world was supposed to end anyways, I decided 12-12-12 was the day!

This is the 4th time in my life I’ve done the grow-your-hair-really-long-and-chop-it-all-off thing. The first time was during my senior year of high school, when I my friend Brad cut it off onstage during our drama club’s skit night (in a skit totally plagiarized from Camp Akita). Brad and I played an unhappily married couple coming to see a wacky therapist, played by my friend Laura. Laura hypnotized us, then got a phone call. “Her water broke?” she said to the phone. Brad poured water over my head. “Cut it out!” said Laura, oblivious. Brad hacked off my braid and totally freaked out the audience. The second time was my senior year of college, when I returned to sorority recruitment after winter break sporting the “reverse mullet” popularized by Kate Gosselin from Jon & Kate Plus 8 – long in the front, short and spiky in the back. Half of my sorority sisters (the ones who also had that haircut) thought I looked great, the other half stood in the back during recruitment and wished they had been cool enough to be in another sorority. The third time was after the Peace Corps, when my hair was so damaged and disgusting from being dyed blonde in Africa that I had to just start anew.

So this has been a long time coming – I haven’t had more than a trim since 2007. I was so ready – I came home after class, put my hair in 5 little ponytails (as instructed on and cut them off myself:


I felt like that would be easier than explaining what I wanted in Indonesian. I may have been a little over-generous with my hair donation, though – I cut it to about the length I thought I wanted my hair to be, unaware that the stylist would then cut like 2 more inches off. Oops. I guess it will grow. I went into the stylist looking like this:

I actually like this blunt-cut style (though it was super raggedy in the back) - maybe I'll try this in a few months when it grows more.

I actually like this blunt-cut style (though it was super raggedy in the back) – maybe I’ll try this in a few months when it grows more.

And showed her this picture of Katie Holmes:

I'm fairly sure the stylist thought this was actually me.  I didn't correct her.

I’m fairly sure the stylist thought this was actually me. I didn’t correct her.

And left looking like this:


Though I can also do a pretty good Justin Bieber swoop:

This is also basically my brother Rickie's haircut.

This is also basically my brother Rickie’s haircut.

All in all, it’s not exactly what I wanted or expected, but I look in the mirror here about once a day, so it’s a good time to have hair I don’t love to look at. And even if I don’t love how it looks at the moment, I do love how much easier it makes my life – how much shorter my cold showers are, how I can just pop my motorbike helmet on and off, how I don’t have to move my bun around for different Yoga poses. Not too bad. Oh, and the people in my office spontaneously applauded when I walked in the next morning. They’re easy to please.


My hair is now en route to Dublin, Ohio, where A.J. Hawks’ charity will pass it on to someone who will make wigs for cancer patients or Britney Spears or whoever. I sent it the same day I sent an expense report to Georgetown for almost $1000. Hopefully I didn’t get those mixed up! I imagine there are few things creepier than an envelope full of hair. Also, I really need that reimbursement. I have a lot of barrettes to buy.

December 2, 2012

Laguna Phuket Triathlon 2012

by Tabitha Kidwell

After almost 4 months of training, last Sunday was finally race day. I went to Phuket, Thailand, with my friends Jackie, Jess, and Miranda to do an International Distance Triathlon: a 1.8 km swim, 55 km bike ride, and 12 km run. Since August, I have been doing (or trying to do) 9 workouts a week (3 biking, 2 swimming, 3 running), and it paid off: it was a blast! Well, I didn’t think that at kilometer 9 of the run, but it was mostly a blast. Also, I did not die. Success.

It had been rainy and humid the day before, but we had a perfectly clear, cool(er) morning. For it only being my second triathlon, it was a good race, but a mixture of strong points and things to work on for next time. I felt strong throughout the swim, but my complete inability to swim a straight line meant that I was all over the swim course and got out of the water about 10 minutes later than I expected. I would love to see a map of exactly where I swam; I wouldn’t be surprised if it was more like 2K! Lesson learned: practice swimming straight in open water swims. The bike was a beautiful ride through rice paddies and rubber plantations. I really enjoyed it, except for couple of crazy hills at the beginning and the moment around 40K when I took a fast corner, almost ran into a car also taking a fast corner, and careened into some bushes. I was lucky to hit the bushes – there was a (concrete) house to my left, a tree in front of me, and a rock to my right. I was more or less okay, except for a tweak in my calf that I kept needing to stop and stretch during the remainder of the bike and run. That evening, when it was tied up in a tiger-balm-proof knot, I was worried my calf was really hurt. Happily, a week later, it’s just a tiny bit sore. Lesson learned: take sharp corners carefully! The run was through a golf course, with mostly nice, soft surfaces. I was feeling great the first lap, but then, the second lap, nature called. I lost a couple of minutes in a golf course bathroom. Usually I make sure that business is completed pre-race by eating prunes the night before, but I couldn’t find any in Salatiga last week. Lesson learned: stockpile prunes.

My goal was to finish the race and to feel good throughout, and I definitely accomplished that. But I also had a secret goal: beat my slowest marathon time, 4:40! With an official time of 4:39, I did just that! I finished after my more athletic friends, which meant that they were there to run me in at the finish line.

Unfortunately, given that it was just a weekend trip, we didn’t actually see much – it was basically just getting ready for the triathlon…

Checking in

Checking in

Carb loading - Pad Thai in Thailand!

Carb loading – Pad Thai in Thailand!

Just add triathlete

Just add triathlete

More carb loading!

More carb loading!

…doing the triathlon…

Ready before the race

Ready before the race

Don't I look bad-ass in this photo I downloaded for free?

Don’t I look bad-ass in this photo I downloaded for free?

…and recovering from the triathlon.



Massage tent

Massage tent



In closing, I want to share what I was thinking about on that long bike ride: all the wonderful people who have been part of my athletic journey! I am by no means a natural athlete – I’ve never been on an organized sports team, and I dreaded gym class in school. But running, and now biking and swimming, have become an essential part of my life, and even my identity. So I thought about Michela, who got me to start running in Madagascar. I thought about Suzi and Claire, who I ran my first half-marathon with in France. I thought about the many, many people at MIT (who I won’t try to name because I will forget someone important) with whom I clocked hundreds of miles beside the Olentangy River. I thought about all the people I joined for runs and races: my sister Katie, my cousin Kelly, my friends Erin, Tess, Debbie, Erica, Allison, Angie, Meghan, and all the middle school cross-country runners I coached. I thought about my Ironman friends Maggie and Ann (i.e. “Thank goodness I don’t still have to run a marathon. ”). But mostly, I thought about the 3 amazing women who crossed the finish line with me. They are at a totally different level: Jess got first in her age group, Jackie missed 3rd by seconds, and Miranda competed nationally in Indonesia for swimming. They train like maniacs because they are competitive, and I train like a maniac just to be there. But being there has taken me to incredible places and has introduced me to amazing people. So I will continue training like a maniac, because there is nowhere else I would rather be! Bali Marathon, anyone?