Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Lately, I've purchased several things online. One reason is that, with a real (eek!) job, I don't have lots of time to go shopping in stores. Lots of my loved ones have birthdays in November, and Christmas is right around the corner. So I've started using the Internet to be my little helper in gift purchasing.

One of the best things about this process is that you can track your packages as they make the great journey to your door. I love watching the boxes make their trek from the factory or store to Memphis, TN. For instance, JR's birthday present is supposed to arrive at my office today, but before this it spent a little time in Nashville, Missouri, and North Dakota! These websites also time-stamp each stop on the journey, so I know that at 1:37 am, some hard-working UPS people were unloading and scanning my box in Nashville. It really is neat when you get a glimpse into some other profession, such as that of UPS worker. Those folks work very hard to get your packages to you as quickly as possible, meaning that they're loading and unloading planes and trucks even while I'm cozy and asleep in my bed. I sure am grateful for that.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Looking for motivation

Back in March when Jess and I ran the ING Half-Marathon, we made a commitment to each other to run the St. Jude Half-Marathon in Memphis in December. Well, the date is fast approaching, and my running is not nearly where I'd like for it to be. I've had some speed bumps that have gotten in the way (getting sick, falling during a run), but I've really let them impact my training more than they should have. I want to be ready for the race in just a few short weeks, but I fear that my training won't be able to get me there. Any ideas for ways to increase my motivation to train harder and get the job done?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Better and better

So, as some of you know (and as I've alluded to in previous posts), I've been dating a marvelous man for a little while now. I saw a "little while" because it has been quite brief (almost 5 months). However, he is the most incredible person, and we have an amazing time. I feel like I knew we had something special going on from the first date (or at least by the second). He completely loves and appreciates me for the person I am, and I do the same for him. We have this amazing chemistry and freakishly similar backgrounds. (I mean, how many couples do you know who both had Chevrolet Celebrities as their first cars?) Indeed, we have notable differences as well, but I feel like those complement and enhance our relationship.

For a while, I kept waiting for a shoe to drop. --This can't be happening. It's too good. There's got to be some deep, dark secret lurking. He must not be telling me the whole truth.-- But time after time, I found that everything was real. He was being honest with me. All these feelings were not only built on truth, they were also mutual!

I feel so remarkably blessed to have him in my life. I don't know what the future holds, but I know that the present is terrific, the (brief) past has been amazing, and I only hope that the future gets better and better.

Monday, July 21, 2008

What was I thinking?

I have been blessed in life to have some amazing friends and family members. For some reason, though, I've dated some people who really have not been good for me and who make me feel bad about myself. Why on Earth would I do this? Now, don't get me wrong. I've dated some very nice guys (and the current fella is so wonderful and a wonderfully amazing match for me, it's quite uncanny), but I've dated some people who just weren't very nice.

Now, it would probably shock these people to death to hear me say that they weren't nice or that they treated me badly. The reason for this is that many of them are, themselves, wounded, and that is why they treated me so shabbily. You see, it goes like this. Dude dates Colby. Dude has issues about himself. Dude turns these issues around to make them about Colby and how Colby doesn't measure up. Colby feels bad because of these issues and momentarily forgets that the real problem is Dude and Dude's issues. Then, Dude and Colby break up. Dude plays pitiful victim role and Colby feels super bad. But then Colby remembers that the problems included Dude and his issues, and he made her feel bad about herself anyway. So, Colby moves on and tries to find better guy. However, Dude often tries to hold on, continuing to make Colby feel bad. This is why Colby must shake off the haters and find happiness and satisfaction in spite of these Dudes. After all, living well is the best revenge one could ever have.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

All in good time...

So, I sort of had an epiphany today about the timing of things happening. I had a partial-epiphany about this about a year ago, but I realized a little bit more of it today. (Maybe it' s more of a progressive epiphany...) Basically, it's about the timing of things and (somewhat) what motivates us to do things when.

The back-story goes like this: In the last six years of my life (for those of you keeping score at home, that would be the duration of my graduate career), I've had problems at times getting motivated. Granted, I had difficulty getting motivated before 2002, but it seemed like I always had deadlines or parents or teachers or some other external force to motivate me before graduate school. In graduate school, you have several really big things that you have to do, and, at least in my experience, you kind of have to do a lot of the motivating for yourself.

This is a problem for me.

While I'm quite conscientious and many people would say I'm self-motivated, I have trouble working really hard on something that has a deadline looming way out there in the distance. In graduate school, the major example here would be my dissertation. Now, when I entered my program, I knew that a dissertation would be required in order for me to graduate. (I mean, it is a doctoral program, after all.) However, it always seemed like something that was far away, way off there in the distance, that I wouldn't have to worry about for a long time. Well, time passed. Years went by. I had some major ups and downs in my life (that I won't go into here), but the dissertation still didn't get done. Until one day I looked around, took stock of where I was in my life, and realized that I needed to get my butt in gear if I was gonna get out of UGA alive (and with my degree). This epiphany came at a time of major change for me, but it was just what I needed to knock out my prospectus and dissertation in a pretty short time.

The next time I had such an epiphany was in the fall of 2006 when I was, again, having some difficult times in my life. Again, I looked around, took stock of where I was in life, and decided to make a change, this time literally getting my butt in gear. I got in shape. I ran. I swam. I lifted weights. I even tried riding Jessica's road bike. (Perhaps some time in the future I'll ride a bike of my own.) But the coolest part: I achieved some major goals! In March 2008, Jessica and I ran the ING Half-Marathon in Atlanta. This is something I never thought I could do. Like the dissertation, this goal seemed so big and far-fetched that I didn't know where to begin. When the time was right, though, I had the physical, mental, and emotional strength to reach this goal. And I'm not stopping there! We have plans to run another half-marathon (the St. Jude one here in Memphis) in December.

So that leads me to today's epiphany. I've been putting off making the final revisions to my dissertation and submitting it to the graduate school since last summer. I haven't been doing this on purpose or for any specific reason. I just haven't felt it. (Or, to put it another way, I haven't been motivated to do it.) However, on Saturday I made the final changes, and I submitted it for the format check today. The format checkers got back to me super quickly, and I've been working on the changes this afternoon so that I can get it out of the way and off my plate. I'm big-time motivated to get this done now.

Thus, the epiphany...things happen in their own time. You can't force it. When everything is in place to allow you to accomplish your goals, you'll be able to accomplish them much more easily. If you try to force things before you are ready (or perhaps before the universe is ready for you to accomplish them), you'll run into problems. I've had some experiences in my day when I've tried to force something to happen that I thought I really really really really wanted to happen. However, I see now that those things weren't the plan for my life, and they failed. Today's epiphany reminds me that I need to "wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!" (Psalms 27: 14) I know some people might not take this to the Bible in this way, but I feel this verse particularly appropriate for my current state of mind.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Brain dump

I was reading someone else's blog yesterday, and the content was basically a "brain dump." This is a post where you just sort of let the thoughts flow with no real theme or plan. I thought it might be appropriate and productive to have one of these "brain dump" blogs today, as my brain is sort of swimming with thoughts.
  • Why is it that I'm becoming (pretty much) obsessed with reading other people's blogs but I don't keep up with my own? Could it be that it is a phenomenal way to avoid work?
  • Am I making the right choices with my life on a daily basis? What about the bigger choices I'm making or preparing to make? How am I doing with those?
  • Do I spend enough time with Rory?
  • Am I becoming a crappy friend/daughter/sister/etc., or am I just following the natural ebb and flow of life?
  • What are my deal breakers? How do I know when the deal is broken? (in multiple contexts)
  • Do brain dumps have to be full of questions?
  • OK...some statements...
  • I really like my new Palm phone, even though I can't quite figure it all out.
  • I really need to get back into running. I took a little break after my 1/2 marathon and never really got back on the horse. I took another break when I thought my health was potentially compromised, but I haven't gotten back into it since finding out I'm healthy. Need to do that.
  • I can't believe that I'm graduating in a month and a half! It has been a long road, and I can't wrap my mind around the fact that it's almost over.
  • I need to relax and let life happen as it will. God has a plan for my life, and I am confident of this. He has not given me challenges or opportunities that I could not handle. When I am nervous and uncertain about the future, I need to take comfort in that fact.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Things That Are My Favorite About Memphis

Also known as: Why Memphis is Starting to Grow on Me OR Reasons I'm Happy I've Decided to Stay In Memphis

Well, much to everyone's surprise (including my own), I've decided to stay in Memphis for another year. Earlier in 2008, I went through the process of applying for post-doctoral fellowships. For those not in psychology, this is somewhat akin to a medical fellowship (with my current internship being sort of like residency). Although I will officially be Dr. Butzon on August 2, 2008 (Can you believe that?! I can't.), I will not be able to become a licensed psychologist in most states without some additional supervised work experience. In other words, most states aren't quite ready to unleash me on the unsuspecting public quite yet. Thus, I had to apply for a post-doctoral position to gain additional experience. I applied to several great places, and I received interviews and job offers from some of my top picks. Among them, I was offered a position with Emory in Atlanta (at the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Clinic/Maternal Substance Abuse Program at the Marcus Institute). Now, everyone (and I mean everyone) was sure I would take this position because (a) it's closer to home (i.e., family), (b) it's Emory, and (c) it's not Memphis. BUT, I was also offered a position at the Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities in Memphis. This is the place where I've gotten my feet wet with a type of therapy I've been interested in for years (Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, aka PCIT). Staying at the Boling Center would not only allow me to get much more experience in PCIT, but would also allow me to train some other folks in this type of therapy (which would allow me to train people on my own when I'm a "real" psychologist). In addition to the rockin' PCIT, I'd also get great assessment experience at the Boling Center, particularly with young kids and kids with suspected developmental disabilities. So...after much stress and debate, I decided to stay in Memphis for my post-doc. This means that I will be in the Blues City until at least August 2009. However, given the list below, I'm not yet packing my bags for my exodus.

So, without further delay, my favorite things about Memphis:
  1. Memphis in May: For this one I don't just mean the great month of festivals that take place every year in May (although my experience with them so far has been quite wonderful). The weather in Memphis this May has been phenomenal, and it makes me just want to be outside. Spring is one of my favorite seasons, and I think May will take the cake for my favorite spring-time month this year.
  2. Central BBQ: Amazing barbeque! The ribs are delicious, pulled pork to-die-for, and the homemade potato chips are terrific. This is just a great place to go for lunch, dinner...whatever. (Plus, the smell of the smoker outside is enough to make your full belly yearn for more delicious pork.)
  3. Good BBQ in general: Now, I'm a true Southern girl, so I'm kind of particular about my bbq. I don't get into the arguments of dry vs. wet, vinegar-based vs. ketchup/other-based (although in SC the bbq is mustard-based), I just love good pork barbeque. Thankfully there is plenty to be had in Memphis. I don't know what I'd do if I moved some place that didn't have good barbeque and sweet tea.
  4. Good food in general: And while we're on the topic of my stomach, let me just say that Memphis has some truly delicious food. At first, I was disappointed because I wanted food that was familiar (like some Barberito's tacos or Cups coffee or Big City Bread raspberry muffins). However, once I gave Memphis the chance to show me her own take on the culinary arts, I have not been disappointed. I've had great sushi, awesome steaks, delicious fish, and even killer muffins (at the VA, no less!) all in Memphis.
  5. Walking along the Mississippi: Can you think of anything cooler than walking your dog along the Mississippi River as the sun is setting over Arkansas? It's pretty great.
  6. Interstate commerce: Given Memphis's proximity to Arkansas and Mississippi, it is sometimes necessary to go out-of-state to do my shopping. I still think it's quite funny to head over the river or go south into Mississippi to go to Wal-Mart or the pet store.
  7. Living downtown and walking to all sorts of fun places: Now, unfortunately, I'll be moving out of my prime location downtown in a few weeks. However, I've loved living within walking distance to the Peabody, Beale Street, the Mississippi River, and great restaurants. I'm excited to move to a bigger place in Midtown, but I have certainly loved living downtown.
  8. Not having to follow the speed limit: One positive aspect of both #1 and #2 of the "Why I Hate Memphis" post is that, with all the bad drivers and crime going on, cops really have more important things to do than pull me over for speeding. I mean, I don't drive insanely fast, but I don't even bat an eye going 10 mph over the speed limit on the highway.
  9. No state income tax: For folks who pay taxes, it is nice to have that little bit of extra that you're not giving to the government.
  10. Living in the past (aka-Central time): I still get a kick out of the fact that I'm an hour behind most of my friends and family "back east." I love leaving messages saying "It's five o'clock my time, six o'clock your time." I enjoy staying up to watch the evening news and a little late-night TV and still going to bed at 11:00. The downside: I don't always make it home in time for the six o'clock news because it comes on at five.
  11. Great music: I mean, the home of the Blues and Elvis Presley?! As one of my friends often says, even mediocre musicians in Memphis would be considered great musicians anywhere else.
  12. Nice places to run and workout: I'm so happy to have a great Y downtown where I can workout and train. And running around downtown and Mud Island is wonderful! Now, I have to admit that the Memphis facilities can't hold a candle to the Ramsey Center at UGA, but could any place really do that? I don't think so.
  13. The wonderful people I have met here: Save the best for last. This really is my favorite thing about Memphis. I've met some great people here, and I am so thankful for that. I think about what life might have been like if I'd taken the post-doc in Atlanta. Sure, I'd be much closer to the amazing friends that I have back in GA/SC/NC. Sure, I'd still have met great people here. However, I wouldn't be able to put in the time and effort into truly getting to know the people here on more than a superficial level. I feel that there is most definitely a purpose for me staying in Memphis, and this last "favorite" thing could be a big part of that.