Friday, March 29, 2013


Many of you have noticed that the title of my blog has changed. I wrestled with the idea for a while but after my post on Wednesday about the "lobsters" I realized it was necessary. See when I started this blog under the title Bones, Buried Treasure and Beliefs I wanted to showcase my work that I had done in my undergrad. I posted my projects, speeches, papers, and even notes that I took in some of my classes. I continued to write very anthropological and archeaological heavy material and it was great and very informative content.

Then the real world hit. I ended up in a job in a corporate environment doing HR and contract work and eventually promoted to Project Control Specialist where I focused more on writing proposals. Funny thing is people ask me all the time why I don't talk about my "real" job on my blog. Well many of you know this, many not, but I work for a IT/Security Government Contracting Firm and hold a Top Secret clearance. This means that most of the things that I do at work I'd have to kill you if I told you (just kidding, but you get the gist).

Then I started my Master's Program at the University of Maryland and fell back in love with Geospatial Science. So my focus shifted from the anthropological side of things to the more tech and writing side of things. And you know what, I'm glad it did. I am able to have a great job with people I love to work with, I'm learning so much in my Master's Program even if it is really hard at time (I mean let's face it what tech degree isn't), but I also get to still love anthropology. I will always be an anthropologist which is why I changed the title to: Chronicles of an Anthropology Nerd. I feel it is a lot more fitting and gives me more wiggle room about what I post about.

This doesn't mean I'm going to stop posting about the bones, the buried treasures, and beliefs. In fact I'm planning on posting more that I've really found what I want this blog to be. When I first started it I had a few followers that were very loyal and now I have grown to many loyal followers. I also want to start having some guest bloggers to add to the awesomeness of these chronicles. See I have friends who are digging up mammoth bones in North Dakota, working for CRM firms doing surveys by road sides, studying their Masters Degrees overseas, and a few who aren't anthropologists but live and work all around the world. I want to tap into their knowledge and experiences and share them. I'm also hoping I can convince Grant to write a few guest blogs as well. He's not really one for social media but when he does write he is utterly brilliant (let's face it would I ever be marrying someone who wasn't brilliant?

So the first order of business will be starting next week as I will be participating in the Witches in Fiction 2013: to the Bone over at Pagan Culture. This is one blog party that I couldn't pass up. I mean it's got bone in the title! So from April 1 - 13th I will be blogging about all bone related things. I'm planning on doing an entry at least every other day (let's face it I am one busy gal and that is even a stretch) because I love this topic so much. The first entry on Monday will kick it off with why I am so in love with bones (and yes all bone related jokes/puns are welcome I am not above that) and after that I will have a spattering of post about forensic anthropology, burial sites, lists of my favorite bones related books, etc. One entry will be completely dedicated to one of my favorite Professors Dr. Dean Snow who taught my Forensic Archaeology class and is retiring this year.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


At the age of 22 I was the happiest I had ever been. I had an amazing job, an amazing boyfriend (now fiance) that I had fallen completely in love with, I had been accepted into the GIS Master's Program at the University of Maryland, and I had published my first book. Things were beyond awesome but still there was something inside of me that was weighing me down. It literally felt like one of those anvils on the roadrunner cartoons that was inside my stomach. The thing was I wasn't being myself around my family.

My friends and some family (namely my brother) all knew who I was, knew the little quirks about me, knew the real me. My parents didn't. I never went out of my way to hide it from them but instead never said those words to them. In fact my whole life I never hid it from anyone; if anyone asked about it I would tell them the truth but I  never went out of my way to tell people. That was never who I was. Finally I decided that it was time, there was no point in letting that anvil sit in my stomach weighing down on my insides.

On a warm May day on the way home from work I swallowed hard and took the exit off of the highway to my parents' house. I sat in my car outside for a while (and pretty sure they knew I was out there since my bright blue Ford Escape isn't exactly known for it's inconspicuousness) until I finally mustered up the courage to walk up the sidewalk and the front steps to knock on the door.

That was my mother's first sign that something was up - I knocked on the door. I had had keys to their house; I never knocked on the door. My mom answered, I walked inside and then I lost it. Tears gushed from the eyes like a waterfall - something that rarely ever happened for me. I barely got out the words: "Is Dad home, I need to talk to you guys about something?"

Without skipping a beat this dialouge commenced as I walked into the living room:

"Were you in a car accident?"


"Are you pregnant?"


"Did something happen to Grant?"


"Well then what is it? What happened?"

"Well," I took a deep breath trying to stop the tears, "There's something that I've been wanting to tell you guys for a long time but I could never find the words."

"You can tell us anything, what's up? You're scaring me..." my mom said as she placed a hand on my back and my dad looked at me concerned.

"Well I... I like girls... as much as I like guys...."

There was a pause where my mom and dad just looked at me, then each other, then started laughing as my mom pulled me into a hug, "Is that all?" she said still laughing, "That's the thing that has you so upset, that you felt that you couldn't tell us?"

"Yes..." I said sobbing and trying to get over the shock of their reaction.

"You still love Grant right... he's the one you want to spend you time with?" my dad asked still sitting in his usual arm chair.

"Well yes, I fell in love with him but that doesn't stop me from still being attracted to girls..."

"Yeah, didn't stop me either," my dad laughed.

Then cue the lobster story - this was the go to story that my mom had for the subject of homosexuality. See she had a story for every - abortion, illegal immigration, you know all the hot button topics. This one was about her good friend Steve who she worked in the Senate with. See Steve was gay, and back then it was still a pretty big deal to be gay and work in the Senate. My mom was good friends with Steve and his partner. My mom and my dad went over to their Steve's house quite often for dinner. One dinner they served lobster and my parents still rave about the lobsters.

"They were really good, even for gay lobsters," my dad joked in that way he had that sometimes was never that politically correct. He thought he was hilarious.

So I sat there, after just coming out to my parents listening to them talk about lobsters, and the anvil slowly lifted out of my stomach. It was gone, never to return. I realized that I was scared for no reason; that anvil never had a reason to be in my stomach. I realized also that I never gave my parents enough credit.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Scream That Launched a Thousand Ships

Oh that scream that you just heard? Yeah, that was me yelling at my computer after trying to download the millionth piece of software for my Spatial Database class. Pain in the butt is an understatement. After wrestling with it for about an hour it's finally on my computer and now comes the fun part, (yes that was sarcasm, you all should know me by now) playing around with the software. Actually so far out of all the tech languages that I have learned over the years SQL is the most comprehensive. I tell it to do something and it ACTUALLY DOES IT; shocking I know.

As much as I like to rant and rave and yell at my seemingly innocent computer I like learning this stuff. "This will help me in the long run", "I can lord it over people that I know these languages", "Soon I will have a Master's Degree" - Those are the things that I constantly tell myself while I wrestle with my computer to get this assignments done.

That's the funny thing about studying GIS: you all see all the pretty interactive maps like google maps, etc while us techies are slaving away behind the scenes trying to get things to work. The end result is quite extraordinary (In a couple posts from now I'll tell you what my final project is going to be for this class, it's going to be awesome and of course Anthropological related) but the copious amounts of coffee, alcohol, hair pulling, and cursing at inanimate objects is quite ridiculous.

So from now on if you hear random cursing or screaming just shrug it off and realize that it will most likely be me and any other database designer (student or professional). It's always nice when the "solution" to a problem with Oracle or SQL is "just fiddle around with it, eventually it will work." Sigh... and we wonder why techies are over caffeinated.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spring Break: Minus the Spring and the Break

As many of you know, the University of Maryland is on Spring Break right now. This means that all the little undergrads get to journey home to their parents' house or go on wild and drunken adventures in Cancun. So what about us grad students you ask? Well we're still slaving away at our classwork, research, and jobs. There really is no such thing as a break for us.

In fact, my "break" is going to have even more work involved in it. In addition to my full time job, the lab work I have for my Spatial Database class, and the normal everyday "work", I have decided to really attack Summer's Hollow. Too long has it been sitting on my computer staring back at me with those beedy eyes, taunting me with its unfinished prose. Well it shall do that no longer! Starting today I am attacking it with everything I've got. I am determined by the end of this week have almost all of the edits done.

But you know what I've realized? Writing is hard. This blog is easier to write since it's practically stream of consciousness on what I observe around me (anthropological or otherwise). It doesn't have the level of effort into it as say writing a short story. Obviously it requires some level of effort, especially when it comes to doing research on topics that I talk about, and I assume that since you guys all keep coming back that I am a decent writer when writing these types of posts. Writing a novel on the other hand: one of the hardest things I've ever done.

Short stories are my passion, they are what got me started with my writing and they are what I have always loved to write. This novel, don't get me wrong, I truly love, but it requires just that much more attention. Let's face it, we are coming up on year 8 of working on Summer's Hollow and it has never been more difficult. Despite all of this I am not a quitter. I may have stowed it away for a while due to other things going on in my life or (though I'm a bit ashamed to admit it) fear that it won't work out but now I am more determined than ever.

It is my goal to have Summer's Hollow completed by the end of May. I'm talking done and off to the printing presses (and yes this novel will be my first work in print!!!). So with that I am off to get some work done (all three types of work).

Image Courtesy of

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Math: A Love Hate Relationship

Growing up, math and I never got along; we just ran in different circles. In fact when I went through my "emo" poetry phase I even wrote an angsty poem about how much I really hated math. I was never bad a math, in fact I was always ahead of the typical math track for my grade. In high school I even took AP Calc and passed with an A. So why the hate you ask? Well I like things that are able to be interpreted which is why I love English, History, Anthropology, etc. That's why I tried to take the least amount of math as possible in undergrad.

I was able to accomplish my goal for a while and then I got into Grad School. For any of you who know anything about Geospatial Information Science (GIS) there is quite a bit of math involved, especially statistics. I found myself having to pull out old math books, having Grant (who likes math a little too much sometimes, hence his car "bling"), give me refresher courses, and wrapping my head around concepts that I blocked out a while ago.

Well now that I'm farther into my Grad program I have learned to make peace with math. We're not bffs by any means, but more like those cousins that you only see at family functions a couple times a year. In my job I tend to use math as well since I help out with the billing (especially now since my supervisor is on maternity leave). Needless to say we have to at least get along for me to survive in the tech environment that I planted myself in.

So the reason that I'm talking about math today? Well it's pi day! For those of you who don't know, the number pi is 3.14159265359 (and on and on and on) and is used in many different mathematical problems. Today is March 14 (3/14) hence why today is pi day. 

Pi is a number that I happen to use a lot in  my GIS studies especially since it requires geometry to map areas. Now when it comes to pi, we've never had a problem. We've always been very cordial with each other and I think this has the most to do with pi day. It was the one "math holiday" that I liked because, well we got PIE.  Pie happens to be my favorite dessert so it would make sense that today would be a great day. So enjoy your pi day and dig into your favorite slice (or whole) pie!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Nerd's the Word

In a society that is booming now with "geek culture" and "nerd culture" the question has come up: What is the difference between a geek and a nerd? Is there even a difference? Well according to they are similar but not the same:


  1. A foolish or contemptible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious: "one of those nerds who never asked a girl to dance".
  2. An intelligent, single-minded expert in a particular technical discipline or profession.


  1. An unfashionable or socially inept person.
  2. A person with an eccentric devotion to a particular interest: "a computer geek"
So basically the same except that according to this definition a nerd is considered to be an expert where a geek is just extremely devoted but they are essentially the same thing. I opened the question up on my Facebook page and I got some pretty interesting answers if you follow the link:

What is my take on this? Well I have always used them interchangeably though if you notice I am more likely to call myself a nerd rather than a geek. Now what are my qualifications you ask? Well it's funny because there are times when Grant and I have competitions to see who is the bigger geek/nerd (the cake above is the one he wants for the wedding). For me at a young age I was obsessed with learning so I buried myself in books, museums, history channel specials, you name it. Though I was also a jock growing up (have played softball my whole life and am obsessed with working out) so Grant thinks that is a strike against me in the competition.

My nerd qualities really took off in Middle School when I started writing fan fiction of my favorite books and shows as well as started cosplaying (the picture to the left is my cosplay from Comic Con of last year). My obsession at that time was anything to do with Lord of the Rings (LOTR) or Harry Potter. It was especially with LOTR since it was one of the few book series like it that we were allowed to read and do reports on at Christian School (don't worry the next blog post is going to be ALL about that). My friends and I even dresses up on the release day of the movies. We even found that we could use band aids to make elf ears! 

In high school my nerdom really took off when I started to get into web and graphic design. By junior year I was assistant webmaster of our school's website and by senior year was running the website, designing tickets for the school plays, and still cosplaying whenever I could. In high school I also became even more obsessed with literature and especially Shakespeare. For many of my English classes we would make our own versions of Shakespeare plays and film them. My favorite: Much Ado About Nothing.

Of course I can't talk about my nerdiness without talking about the man who I devote it to: Joss Whedon. When Buffy first came out I was actually on 7 but it didn't take me long to get into it. By age 9 I was almost obsessed as I am now. Then the spin-off Angel started and I became even more obsessed, then Firefly and Dollhouse and Dr. Horrible and my Whedony nerdiness took off completely with no sight in coming down. The most recent bout of this: the release yesterday of the Muco Ado trailer (which don't worry once again I will do a full blog post on). I brought new meaning to the term "fangirling" as I squealed and bounced in my seat through the entire trailer and after. My coworkers though are quite used to my nerdiness bubbling over at times.

So now it's my turn to ask you: What makes you a geek/nerd?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Norwegian Kitchen Witch

It's no secret that I'm Norwegian and therefore love anything to do with the culture. So when my friend Renee over at Sosanna's Closet posted pictures of the Scandinavian kitchen witches she made I squealed like a little girl at a Justin Bieber concert. Well of course I had to get one for my kitchen! Well on Monday mine arrived at my apartment and I already have it hanging in my kitchen (pictured left).

For those of you who have never heard of a kitchen witch (like Grant who after I told him what it was asked if it was like the "elf on a shelf") here is a brief history of what they are. The kitchen witch, also known as  a cottage witch or a "Scandinavian" kitchen witch doll, is a poppet or homemade doll resembling a stereotypical witch or crone displayed in residential kitchens as a means to provide good luck and ward off bad spirits.

There has been a big debate over what country the kitchen witch actually came from. Most claim Norway and others Germany, but all seem to think that is an old European tradition. The poppet is supposed to depict a witch who inspires productivity and safety in a kitchen, but also counteracts any ill-will directed to the home. It is considered good luck to give a kitchen witch to a friend or family member. For centuries, Norwegians have hung these witches in their kitchens. They believe she has the power to keep roasts from burning, pots from boiling over, and sauces from spilling.

There are many different visages of the kitchen witch but what drew me to the ones at Sosanna's Closet is how closely they resembled the ones that my family had growing up. I'm now delighted that I have my own kitchen witch hanging in my kitchen to prevent all the mishaps that, being the klutz I am, tend to happen. So if you want one of your own, head on over to Sosanna's Closet check out the shop! She has some wonderful other pieces as well from fimo animals and Ren wear, to Holiday wreaths!


 The Legendary Secret of Goof-Proof Cooking: The Famous Kitchen Witch