Yearly Update in Which I Ramble About Doctorates, Naked Mole Rats, and Penises as Counting Devices

I was just reading about how the colony of naked mole rats in DC have selected their new queen after an epic mole rat war (with five casualties). Whilst watching naked the live-feed mole rat cam (something you might want to very carefully google at work), I decided perhaps an update is in order.


I’m now 34 and a half, and it’s a week before Christmas. I need to get the tattoo touched up and I’m planning another. I got the Subaru; Her name is Belle because I’d open the garage to look at her and say, “Hello, my beautiful” every day after getting her. I had many other great name options, and I admit it gives me some anxiety that people like thing I’m team Twilight given the generic name of my ride. That said, my first new car makes me feel like a real adult way more than the whole getting married, buying a house, finishing degrees, and pricing insurance options ever supplied. Mortgage? Meh, just fancy rent. Doctorate? Eh, fancy master’s degree. LEASING A NEW CAR? LOOK AT ME FLY! I AM AN ADULT BIRD ON THE WING, FULL OF FREEDOM, SMELLING OF NEW CAR! NEW CAR BIRD! LET’S MOVE SOME SOD IN MY GLORIOUS ADULT-MAKING VECHICLE! But, also make sure we vacuum it out after, yeah?

The new house now feels like we’ve lived here forever. We spent a year renovating which really involved a whole bunch of sanding, painting, and moving the epic ton of giant river rocks from out backyard to our front yard. You want rocks moved? I’m your gal! (Only if I can get Pastry to drive the wheelbarrow through the gravel as that gets hard for my puny t-rex arms.) The wiener dog only occasionally eats poop, and the old gentleman lab has been having many a dog-dream of recent. He’s also on this super expensive heart medicine at this point and has more specialist doctors than I do, but he’s still doing great. Pastry had a job he hated, got laid off, and then was rehired by the same company. It was an emotional rollercoaster of a week which happened to take place whilst we were visiting family in Arkansas so there was lots of drinking on a lake within the job purgatory time, but it worked out great in the end.

I graduated with my doctorate last May and just got around to framing my diplomas. It’s weird having people refer to me as a doctor, and I only insist on it very occasionally, mostly when old white men always get the default title treatment. Students, the one group that I sincerely do not care what they call me as long as they are learning something, almost always call me Dr. Lastname – It’s my own academic field and institution that is really aggravating with the title. “Good evening all, I have the distinct pleasure of introducing Dr. Penis-Haver, Dr. Penis-Holder, Dr. TwigNBerries…and Pepina.” Uh, that’s DR. VAGINA FOR THE WIN, thank you. “Dr. Phallus and Pepina, how did you approach this research question?” “It’s Dr. Lastname if we are going with labels…” (confused look) “Oh.” I recently presented on my research at a national conference, during which a man asked me, “Well, surely Dr. Dick-Recipient did all the quantitative analysis?” Well, sexist asshole, given that I have hard time even counting my pin money for my lady-like endeavors such as tampon-hat-making plus the analysis would have definitely required counting on my fingers AND toes, I surely had to rely upon the male academic to analyze those number things. Afterall, with a penis, you can count up to 21 due to the extra appendage involved! I’m fairly certain I said something to the affect of “Though my collaborator for this project is a clinical psychologist, you might note that the measures for this study are within a different field, the field in which I have a doctoral degree. Also, as my name is on the study and I am presenting on the research, it might be best to assume that the analysis was, you know, done by the woman in front of you.” He then asked to see all my syllabi, literature reviews, measures etc. to help his own project. You keep waitin’ for that email, sugar pie.

Many years ago prior to meeting my Pastry, while I was working as part of a team on a large research grant for a renowned research center, I went on a date as single ladies are wont to do when they are finding new ways to procrastinate during their degree programs. It didn’t start out well – My phone was stolen out of my bag on campus and I didn’t know where I was going so I had to run to my office, find the location, plot a course, all without being able to contact said date. All in all, I was about 15 minutes late. Not the end of the world, but I hate being tardy. My date was waiting for me at the bar, drinking a beer. He was slightly annoyed but understood when I explained the careening around a major city. Said date, post-bachelor’s degree in journalism, had quit his job to start a webpage detailing hiking trails. He asked me what I did…I explained my current project as a researcher as well as some of the other research projects I had on the horizon. HE THEN TOLD ME I WAS WRONG AND SPENT 10 MINUTES TELLING ME WHAT RESEARCH IS. He mansplained qualitative research to a qualitative researcher. I, being the sass I am, told him that I was going to order dinner and he was welcome to leave so I could dine in peace. THEN HE STAYED. And, thus, a hiking enthusiast watched me eat a steak and drink a Manhattan as I ignored him. He offered to walk me to my car. I declined lest he want to explain anything else to me on the way there. I think about this date a lot whenever I do not get the title treatment or I get asked who helped me in my own research. And, I do not have any solutions beyond a steak, a Manhattan, and a pithy comeback. It also makes me truly and deeply love that Pastry has never done things (and has secretly become a staunch feminist in his old, centrist-yet-registered Republican ways).

So, in summary as this is not what I thought I’d be writing about for this yearly update, I want all lady researchers to channel their inner naked mole rat queen and their quest for world domination. You suppress those gendered explanations and take control of your complex system. Live extra long and prosper. And, if questioned, that’s Dr. Queen Mole Rat.





The Hotel Cock Block


“Blocking a hotel rooms is a great way to help guests find a reasonably priced and convenient place to stay near your wedding activities! Simply follow these easy steps to look into blocking your rooms!”

Three weeks later, a delegation to my mom to take care of business, numerous in-person meetings, forgotten emails, and a few minor snafus in the meantime, our block went live for our guests.

AND, IT DID NOT WORK. Queue confused calls and texts from guests.

Grumble, grumble, hiss, hiss, obscene gesture, boo.


I asked my mom to take on the whole hotel block contract shenanigans in January as I figured it would be an easy-peasy phone call and contract to arrange for a small grouping of rooms at the hotel located literally between the ceremony and reception site. We want between 12-15 rooms. That’s it. She emailed, called, and met with the sales people of this particular boutique hotel. They signed a contract, a contract which requires us to pick up 90% of the rooms in two months with no resell clause. The sales lady very clearly told the mom that only the standard room is offered as part of the block for $150 a night. Suites, though we can book them for $200 a night, are by contract only and if guests book a suite it does not apply to our block of 15 rooms. Sure, okay, so they will offer the standard rooms when guest call, right? Yep. Moving on…

Pastry’s mom calls the first night to book her room. They tell her the option is a suite for $200 and that the only other option “is a handicapped room that is much, much smaller” for $150. Say, wha? Pastry’s uncle calls – They give him the same run around, book him a suite, and tack on the resort fees to everything something that is clearly waived in our contract. My best friend calls and ends up with a suite. They have now booked four rooms, all suites, for $200 a night and fees, and none of them count toward the hotel block.


Summary of my feelings.

Now, my mom is an epic lady who has managed many, many people for her entire career. She sent perhaps the saltiest email ever to the sales manager at the hotel. Please read the following in a deep, threatening voice of a lady not with whom to fuck.

“We have a major problem with the implementation of the contract we signed for the wedding. Our guests have started to call to book rooms and are being offered only a suite rate of $200. One guest was told the $150 rate was only for a handicap access room, another guest was told that only group sales could handle her request. I am very disappointed in this poor service and the confusion it is causing for our guests is unacceptable. I have an early appointment on Friday morning, but I will call you as soon as I am free.  My expectation is that when are guests call they will be offered the $150 contracted rate. The $200 rate for suites should not be offered at all as we contracted specifically for 3 suites and I have already booked them.  When we speak tomorrow I will look forward to your solutions and expect prompt corrective action.
The hotel then groveled sufficiently and another friend had no issues when booking her room the next day. Mind you, this is also the same location of the $136 tacos. So, I am not convinced they deserve any business at this point let alone our glorious personages in residence eating tacos at our leisure. But, life and planning move on…
They were very lucky they had to deal with my mom rather than me.




The Rehearsal Dinner = Taco Eating Contest


In a recent Taco Eating Championship, the grand prize winner managed to scarf down 103 tacos in eight minutes. The second place winner trailed at 59 tacos. (The tenth place winner ate only a total of seven tacos which makes me think I should enter a taco eating contest as I can definitely put that many away in a short amount of time. Plus, free tacos.)

Pastry and I are attempting to plan our wedding rehearsal dinner. Counting just the wedding party of awesome, family, and kids, we are around 22 adults and 5 kids for the event. There is a snazzy restaurant literally between the wedding site and the rehearsal site IN THE HOTEL IN WHICH WE ARE ALL STAYING. It serves fancy tacos. And, it almost always only has about one table full. Despite all that, the food is really great (which makes me really wonder why it’s so empty all the time). We figured, awesome! Fun taco place conveniently located! Bright colors! Sangria! No issue getting a table! This will be swell!

They want a minimum of $3,000. MOST EXPENSIVE TACOS EVER. It averages out to $136 a person for TACOS. 

I figure in order to get your money’s worth, each wedding party member would need to eat at least 54 tacos and have two glasses of sangria. “Why, yes, I will have the pulled chicken taco that likely cost you a total of 73 cents to make, and about 53 additional tacos for my doggie bag, please. Wait, no, make that 37 chicken tacos and 16 carnitas tacos, please.” 

In an article of New York City’s wildest and MOST EXPENSIVE tacos, the most costly option was $36 for a lobster and filet mignon taco at Dos Caminos. LOBSTER AND FILET MIGNON TACO. A. Yes, please. B. Even if we bought each rehearsal dinner attendee New York’s most expensive taco, it would still only be $792!

Look at its apparently reasonably priced glory…

Steak taco

For $3,000 we could order 55 of them and have them flown first class from New York to the desert. 

“Well, no, we’re not flying first class to our honeymoon, but our rehearsal dinner tacos flew in on American Airlines from New York just last night. They enjoyed a glass of champagne and their Bose headsets. Yes, I know, still so reasonably priced from that one Mexican restaurant! I mean, I was looking forward to eating 53 tacos the night before my wedding, but one must just prioritize sometimes! We’ll just have to see who is getting married next for the next opportunity to have a family taco eating contest. Watch out for my mom, she loves herself some carne asada.” 

$136 per person for tacos. Pffft. 




Flowers are slowly driving me mad.

Flowers are slowly driving me mad.

730f04fd81cb732aae13f2ea1a21f11fTranslation: I’ve reached my first wedding planning hiccup and it makes me want to fire bomb a peony-selling establishment just out of spite. Okay, maybe not that extreme…But, it’s just been a truly odd experience having wedding flowers, something I assumed would be easy, be the hardest and most frustrating part of planning this shindig.

So, I adore flowers. I love getting them, I love picking them, I truly light up when I get to put them in my hair. I stop to smell them on walks. I am now contemplating hitting every flower I see and just calling it quits, spray painting some Home Deport stir-sticks gold, and putting them in dollar store plastic containers on each reception table. There. Done. Le Home Depot chic wedding theme.

Stir Stick Art for Every Table

I thought the flower process would go something like this…

“Hey there, established and reputable vendor, we’d like bright and colorful with lots of texture for this total price point, bonus points for creativity and the ability to let us rent a giant tree for an odd community art project for the middle of the reception.”

“Yeah! Awesome! Here’s the quote with an item breakdown by unit. We buy wholesale and offer competitive prices! Also, here are some other creative ideas in your price point! We’ve worked at your venue before and this will totally work there!”


Me: “Hi, yes, I did call earlier. No, I can’t come meet you in the middle of the work day as, uh, I work. Clear over there, huh? Sorry, I can’t drive an hour away to talk about succulents for 20 minutes…Your minimum fee is $5,000? Would you take a kidney donation perhaps as a down payment? No? Liver? Wait, I need that…Yes, I can send you a pinterest board for ideas. Oh, and we’re just going to discuss that after I drive way over there? Okay…”

60 miles of driving later…

Florist: “We’ll send you our proposal in the next week and should you not accept it within 48 hours, it will self-destruct, rendering your computer, left side of your face, and hopes and dreams useless. Also, we will not provide any details and instead quote you a totally random total cost with no justification whatsoever. Additionally, our proposal will consist of cropping pictures from your pin board that you sent us and just naming random flowers in the text. For no additional cost, we will also forget to update sections and writing a long detailed section about the use of pastel yellow ribbons. Because when you said ‘saturated, bright yellow’ we thought you were tasteless and decided light yellow is the way to go. Here’s a free bouquet toss bouquet. YOU WILL TAKE IT AND LIKE IT, YOU WEDDING HEATHEN. Enjoy this bouquet of PINK BEARS. That will be $4,000 and a kidney.”

Also, it seems like all florists are really technologically challenged and they all just REALLY want to talk on the phone. Maybe it’s a lonely profession amongst the flowers and they just want a bit of human contact…But, they really want to call me in the middle of the work day. This is time consuming and I don’t want to have to get obsessed, fall in love, break up with floral ideas anymore. Also, NO LIGHT YELLOW RIBBON.